Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 500 (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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  • Reports of anti-Semitism in Ukraine and Hungary
    • Yes, it's a side issue. But both sides know there are big political dividends in accusing the other side of anti-Semitism if the accusation can be made to stick.

    • I just prepared a translation:

      Independent Donetsk Republic
      Chief Headquarters

      Respected citizens of Jewish nationality:

      In connection with the fact that leaders of Ukraine’s Jewish community have supported the Banderite junta in Kiev and are hostile toward the Orthodox Christian Donetsk Republic and its citizens, the Chief Headquarters of the Donetsk People’s Republic has decreed as follows:

      All citizens of Jewish nationality older than 16 years who reside on the territory of the sovereign Donetsk Republic are required by May 3, 2014 to appear before the acting commissar for nationality affairs in the building of the Donetsk Regional Administration Room 514 for registration. The cost of registration is US $50.

      Have with you the sum of US $50 to pay for registration, your passport for entry of a note on religious confession, documents on the composition of your family, and also documents establishing your legal ownership of any real estate or means of transportation.

      Those guilty of avoiding registration will be deprived of citizenship and forcibly expelled from the republic with confiscation of property.

      Your People’s Governor Denis Pushilin

      "Nationality" is used here in the (post-)Soviet sense of ethnic affiliation, although in para 3 the author refers to Jews as a religious confession. Pushilin denied having anything to do with the document and also said that he has never called himself a "people's governor." So it appears to be a provocation, though we don't know by whom or for what purpose (it would be easy to come up with several divergent hypotheses).

      The so-called independent Donetsk republic probably no longer exists. At any rate government buildings in Donetsk have been recaptured by forces loyal to Kiev.

      It is true that Ukraine's Jewish leaders have expressed support for the "Banderite junta in Kiev" and no doubt that helps to protect Jews in central and western Ukraine, but at the cost of endangering Jews in the southeast. The best strategy would be to say nothing and try to remain as inconspicuous as possible.

  • Alleged K.C. killer: 'If Jews can have a state of their own, why can't we have a White Christian state?'
    • Admiration for Israel is very common among present-day fascists. Some make trips to the West Bank to help out the settlers.

      In Germany there is a group called National Socialists for Israel. Check out their website (in German).

      Ukrainian fascist leaders have been appealing to Israel along the lines of "we are nationalists like you, why can't we respect one another?"

      Rybak rybaka uvidit izdaleka (a fisherman spots a fisherman from afar).

  • About that special relationship...
    • Israeli neutrality in the new Cold War between Russia and the West goes back at least to the Russia-Georgia war of 2008. Nothing new about it.

      It is part of a diversification strategy to provide insurance against the weakening of US influence in the world and/or a weakening of US support for Israel.

      A big factor is Israelis who came from Russia. To a large extent they have retained their Russian identity and take Russia's side in its conflict with Ukraine. They are a big voting block.

      Also many business/criminal operators are jointly based in Russia and Israel and link the two countries; a lot of money made or stolen in Russia is invested in Israel.

      Both Russia and Israel are hostile to the 'Arab spring' and prefer to rely on existing regimes.

  • The Jewish community must not embrace Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    • I just listened to a few videos of Hirsi Ali to try to form my own view. I think the first thing to say is that she agrees with the militarist jihadis like Al-Qaeda that what they stand for is the true Islam. So when she says that the West is at war with Islam she is referring to those forces. If it were pointed out to her that there are also many people who call themselves Moslems but believe Islam is a religion of peace, I think she would say that she has nothing against such people but they are mistaken in thinking they are Moslems. They have thought up a new religion that is not the true Islam. So there is a misunderstanding here about terminology.

      This view of Islam, which Hirsi Ali shares with Al-Qaeda, may be right or it may be wrong. To decide whether it is right or wrong it is necessary to investigate the content of Islamic doctrine. I am not going to attempt that here and I do not consider myself competent to do it. But her view of the matter -- that Islam as such is the problem and not just an incorrect interpretation of Islam -- should not be rejected in advance as illegitimate. She shares it with some scholars who seem to me very knowledgeable, such as Ibn Warraq.

      I wholly agree with the point that viewing the world through an 'anti-Islamic lens' or fitting everything into an 'anti-Islamic box' creates a highly distorted perspective. Here even Ibn Warraq is vulnerable to the same criticism. Focusing exclusively on one particular problem (cause, evil) leads naturally to interpreting and assessing everything solely from that point of view. By fighting against one evil you end up supporting other perhaps even greater evils (because those evils are also fighting the evil with which you are solely concerned).

    • I don't see why raising income levels would have that effect, at least not by itself, seeing that high-income Hindus also observe caste.

      Caste is not confined to South Asia. Judaism too contains elements of caste (compare Brahmins with Cohanim as priestly castes).

      But we are getting bogged down in particulars. I am trying to make general points about the problems involved in giving religion a privileged status in terms of immunity to criticism, for what amount to reasons of political expediency.

    • Let's abstract from the specific issue of Islam and try to discern the general principles being promoted in articles like this one. Certain views are being denigrated as illegitimate (or at least not fully legitimate), although some allowance may be made for their expression in deference to the right to free speech. The rules seem to be as follows:

      Rule No. 1. No religion may be described as inherently oppressive or harmful. Certain variants of any given religion may be so described, but not the religion as such.

      This also delegitimizes a militantly anti-religious stance that views the phenomenon of religion as such, i.e. all religions, as inherently oppressive or harmful.

      Rule No. 2. No religion may be appraised as inherently better or worse than any other religion.

      In order to maintain these rules it is necessary to delegitimize the critical examination of the inner content of religions, because there is inevitably a risk that such examination will lead to conclusions that contradict the above rules.

      Let's consider Hinduism. And let's assume we agree that the caste system in general and untouchability in particular are oppressive and harmful. These rules require us to take the view that the caste system is not essential to Hinduism, only to certain variants of Hinduism. But what if careful inquiry into the content of Hinduism leads us to the opposite conclusion? For much of his life Dr. Ambedkar, the great champion of the untouchables (Dalits), thought that a non-caste Hinduism was possible, but eventually he concluded otherwise and converted to Buddhism.

  • Amira Hass predicts Israel's 'colonial project' will eventually fail--but at what cost?
    • I didn't realize there were so many dissident intellectuals in militarist Japan. Can you recommend a source on that?

      Most Israeli 'apostates' emigrate. After Zionism they will return. To be a dissident and stick it out in the 'crazy country' (as Adam Keller calls it) you have to be even more exceptional.

      I think the power of Zionist ideology lies in its skill and ruthlessness in manipulating emotions.

  • 'In every generation they rise up against us' -- Passover and the Jewish imagination
    • I was thinking of the Middle Ages. Perhaps in those days the master of the house really did open the door and call out, as the Haggadah says he should (I have never heard of anyone actually doing it nowadays). If a non-Jewish stranger responded to the call would he have been welcomed? I very much doubt it. So yes, you are right: the invitation was limited to Jews.

      The Jews are "a people who dwell apart." The dietary laws, for instance, are designed to prevent Jews and Gentiles from eating and socializing together. There are always a few mavericks who defy the customs of their tribe, but that is the general rule.

      Judaism is a tribal religion. Passover, Purim, Chanukah etc. are tribal commemorations. Their main purpose is to cement the tribe, and the presence of outsiders would undermine that purpose.

      It is understandable that Jewish self-segregation should upset non-Jews, and especially those like yourself who would most like to be friends with Jews. It is sad and I am sorry if your feelings have been hurt. But it is functional in the sense that it preserves the tribe. Even the negative reactions that it produces are functional in that sense, up to a certain point.

      But why seek to preserve the tribe? Surely there are better goals to pursue. And in today's world tribal identity can only be preserved by desperate and dangerous means. That has become the main rationale for Zionism -- a necessary means for preserving the tribe.

      Once a Jew starts thinking along those lines, he or she has started the journey away from tribalism and Judaism (and not only away from Zionism). The journey away from being a Jew to being a human being who happens to be of Jewish origin.

      Others will disagree. And I admit that Judaism contains the potential to change into a religion for all human beings (what is called a universal religion). Christianity, Hellenic Judaism, and in modern times the most far-reaching forms of Reform Judaism have all been movements in that direction. But if such a movement succeeds it is no longer called Judaism but something else, because the very word Judaism is linked to the tribe called Jews.

    • I agree but only partly. The key phrase is amad aleinu. Amad means stand, also in the sense of persist. Aleinu is translated as some preposition (which preposition depends on the context) + "us". In many contexts it is "to us". Here I think "stand against us" is best. Both "rising up" (from below) and "stand over us" (above us) have implications that are absent from the Hebrew.

    • “Let all who are hungry, come and eat; let all who are needy come and celebrate Passover.” This is supposed to be called out by the master of the household after opening the front door, so it can be heard by any traveler in the vicinity who is far from home and will appreciate being welcomed in for the Pesach Seder. As for many centuries Jews lived in their own Jewish areas the traveler can be assumed to be Jewish. What would a Gentile traveler be doing in the Jewish ghetto or shtetl and why would he be interested in celebrating Passover?

  • 66 years ago today 42 members of my family were slaughtered in Deir Yassin
    • To fill in the bigger picture, let's not forget that there were several massacres on a similar scale to Deir Yassin -- Tantura, for instance -- and lots of "little" massacres. They all helped to terrorize indigenous people in different parts of Palestine.

    • Some of those who committed these atrocities as youngsters in the Zionist armed formations must still be alive, but the commanders, who bore the heaviest responsibility, Begin and others of his generation, are already dead. Those who believe there is a hell may find some consolation in the thought that that is where they now are. The most others can hope for is that their names will be dishonored, but I think that is well worth doing.

  • Zionism has distorted American Jewish life
    • What evidence is there that Jews in Ukraine are starting to run for their lives? Who exactly has run where?

      Mind you, as Ukraine is gradually sliding into civil war and possibly famine it might not be long until people start running for their lives. Not Jews in particular though.

  • Narendra Modi, a politician who presided over anti-Muslim pogrom, may be India's next leader, and U.S. cozies up to him
    • "It may have something to do with heading off Putin at the pass. Also to be remembered is that India is very cosy with Israel and one of its major arms customers."

      Also with getting pissed off with Pakistan as an unreliable and treacherous ally (from the point of view of the US security elite).

      Also with access to vast Indian mineral resources.

      Also with encircling China.

  • Jewish National Fund lures singles to Israel with tasteless sexual joke in NYT
  • 'The clash of civilizations’ theory is absolutely and completely dead
    • Except for the awkward fact that Putin's main adversaries at the moment happen to be Ukrainian nationalists who are cultural conservatives and traditionalists just like him. Don't Russian and Ukrainian nationalists belong to the same civilization (Slavic, Christian Orthodox)?

  • Ohio State Hillel member calls Desmond Tutu a 'neo Nazi' for criticizing Israel
    • Who are these Nazis Tutu is supposed to have led a prayer service for?

      By the way, holding Jews to an especially high moral standard is the traditional standpoint of the Jews themselves. How else could Jews be "a light unto the nations"? You may disagree, but as this is the traditional Jewish standpoint it is unreasonable for you to call it anti-Semitic.

  • 'NYT Book Review' owes readers an apology for printing blatant racism about Palestinians
    • The blood libel may have its origin not so much in the slave trade as in the trade in children's blood, which was believed to have curative and rejuvenating qualities. This was a belief that crossed the religious divide -- both customers and traders might be of any religion. It might be compared with the contemporary trade in human organs (except that it was based on pure superstition). I learned of this from Toaff. (I don't feel qualified to judge his work, but the fact that he was pressured to withdraw his book says nothing about its validity one way or the other.)

      I found another interesting suggestion about a possible origin of the blood libel in a book about circumcision. The author (a Jewish author, I recall) suggested that it might originate in the horror felt by Gentile maidservants witnessing circumcisions in the homes of their Jewish employers. Indeed, circumcision was even more perilous in medieval times than it is today and often led to the child's death, whether from bleeding or infection.

  • Israeli embassy pressured Amnesty to cancel launch of 'apartheid' book -- Ben White
    • I was responding to Joe Catron's question: "Are there many examples of other states’ diplomats behaving this way?" but my comment got displaced so far downward that the context was lost. I should have reproduced the question.

      Horrible as the Israeli occupation is, it does not constitute genocide. I am afraid that it might LEAD to genocide if Israel attempts a "transfer" (a new Nakba), but that has not happened yet and can still be averted. If we misuse the word "genocide" to describe what is happening now, what word will we use for the real thing if (God forbid) it comes to pass?

    • Turkey uses similar tactics in the cause of denying the Armenian genocide.

  • Obama doesn't talk to Jimmy Carter -- because of Israel
    • If you look at Obama's record on a whole range of issues, domestic as well as foreign (bank bailouts, healthcare reform, trade union legislation, etc.), you will see that he NEVER stands up to sustained pressure from any interest group that "counts" -- that is, with the power to harm him significantly. While he may justify this to himself and his confidants in terms of "realism," the psychological aspect is not hard to discern. He has no backbone, no stable inner self. He feels vulnerable -- and of course he is, but perhaps he feels even more vulnerable than he really is. Our masters knew this when they selected him as their figurehead.

      Obama was quoted somewhere as saying, in a leaked private conversation, that he did not want to share the fate of Martin Luther King, who like Kennedy was assassinated by the CIA. So yes, he is a coward. In his defense I would point out that the influences that make us cowardly or courageous (or both, depending on circumstances, mood, etc.) are mostly out of our control.

  • Israeli teens dressed as KKK and in 'black face' for mock lynching at school Purim party
    • As the pogrom against African asylum seekers in South Tel Aviv demonstrated, white racism is very common among "white" Israeli Jews. There is therefore good reason to suspect that the "pranksters" identified with the KKK. They were probably unaware that the KKK were also anti-Semites; whether knowing that would have changed their outlook is an interesting question.

  • Tony Benn, who said there is no moral difference between a stealth bomber and a suicide bomber
  • Kerry tries to get out of Jewish-state trap set by Netanyahu and the lobby
    • If Israel unilaterally changed its official name from "the State of Israel" to "the Jewish State of Israel" then recognition of Israel would automatically entail recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

  • Does Israel Have a Right to Exist as a Jewish State?: An excerpt from Ali Abunimah's 'The Battle for Justice in Palestine'
    • Can states have rights? Surely not. Rights are for people (and arguably for members of at least some other animal species). Israel is a state. Therefore Israel cannot have rights.

      A more accurate statement of the Zionist view would be that "the Jewish nation has the right to national self-determination" and that this right has been realized in Israel and cannot be realized in any other form. That assumes many things: that nations exist, that the Jews are a nation, that nations have rights, that national self-determination can only be achieved in an ethnically exclusive nation-state, etc. etc.

      The idea that nations have collective rights can and often does conflict with the idea of individual human rights, because in order to give a nation its rights people of different ethnic origin have to be oppressed, expelled or killed. The idea of national rights is now in decline and the idea of individual rights is on the rise. Though not yet everywhere, alas! But the spirit of the times is now turning against Zionism and other ethno-nationalist movements. If only the process were a bit faster.

  • Northeastern University SJP chapter suspended as members are subjected to police interrogation
  • On American Zionist Education: An excerpt from 'The Politics of Teaching Palestine to Americans'
    • I remember that he says the topic of the Holocaust was avoided and downplayed in the US in the late 1940s and 1950s. Only three books on the subject were published at this time. One reason was the fear that an emphasis on the Holocaust would strengthen opposition to the rearmament of West Germany and the consolidation of NATO as an alliance with West Germany. Once these goals were accomplished this consideration lost its force.

      So we have the very curious phenomenon of emphasis on the Holocaust growing the further it recedes in time -- the opposite of what a naive observer would naturally expect. That points to a hidden agenda of shifting power politics.

      I would add an impression I have gained from reading material from the early postwar period. It seems to me that at that time the Holocaust was still perceived as an integral aspect of fascism; a focus on the Holocaust was associated with the broader cause of anti-fascism. And this cause was still perceived as a left-wing cause, as it was in the interwar period. So conservatives preferred to avoid the subject. For one thing, they did not want people to remember how they had sympathized with fascism before the war.

      By contrast, the cult of the Holocaust promoted since 1967 serves the cause of right-wing politics by removing the Holocaust from the original broad anti-fascist context and interpreting it solely in terms of Jews and anti-Semitism.

  • State Dept to 'check out' vicious attack on Palestinian athletes
    • I thought I was joking, but it turns out that there really is such a thing as a quark bomb, at least at the conceptual level. Not the kind of bomb I was thinking of, however. That would have to be given another name. Ask the IDF.

    • These were "quark bombs." The design is diabolically ingenious. When at risk of detection the carrier transmits an inconspicuous signal (for instance, by moving his tongue in a certain way) and this triggers a process of fusion and shrinkage, ending with the bombs seeming to disappear altogether. In this case, fortunately or unfortunately, the process did not have time to reach completion. Of course, the bombs really still exist, only they turn into a form of matter that is invisible and intangible to the human senses. A fuller explanation would require me to delve deeply into the physics of subatomic particles.

    • Psaki is just following standard internal regulations. These regulations define "checking out" allegations against the IDF as making a call to the IDF's PR people (any other channels of inquiry being strictly forbidden), who in turn say that "we will check it out and get back to you." Following their own internal regulations, they then do exactly nothing. These regulations are designed by operations specialists with a view to maximizing efficiency by saving staff time and energy for higher priority tasks.

  • Anti-anti-semitism: How did a movement against bigotry lend itself to another form of bigotry?
    • A hundred years ago means before the Balfour Declaration. At that time many people, including many Palestinians, were indifferent to Zionism because as it did not yet have the backing of a colonial power they did not take its prospects seriously. My own guess is that at that stage the majority of people who cared sufficiently about Zionism to be either for or against it were Jews, and the great majority of both religious and secular Jews were against it. Many of the non-religious reasons for opposing Zionism remain as valid as ever.

  • Penn Hillel pushes Birthright-like trip for non-Jewish students
  • Thought experiment. Dateline Ukraine
    • Finally, it strikes me that perhaps it was Jewish-Ukrainian oligarchs who used their connections in Israel to hire the Israeli mercenaries! Who else is likely to have paid them?

    • The Israelis who helped the Ukrainian fascists turn the peaceful protests in Kiev into an armed coup (the mystery snipers may well have also been Israelis) were probably mercenaries in the employ of a private security firm(s), though no doubt with good connections in the IDF.

      Israeli ruling circles are divided on the question of whether Israel should continue relying overwhelmingly on the US or diversify its foreign policy in light of the long-term decline in American power. The diversifiers think that Israel should stay out of conflicts in the post-Soviet region in order to sustain good relations with Russia. In 2008 the Israeli foreign ministry managed to rein in Israeli security entrepreneurs who wanted to fight with Georgia against the Russian incursion; officially Israel took no position on the Georgian-Russian conflict (they said there was no need for Israel to concern itself with every international issue outside its own region). Under Netanyahu the diversifiers may be weaker and the mercenaries stronger: current Israeli policy on Ukraine requires special study.

      Regarding the role being played by the Orange oligarchs. Israel Shamir claims that the three chief oligarchs on the Orange side (Kolomoysky, Pinchuk, Poroshenko) are all of Jewish origin (certainly true of the first, I haven't looked into the other two) and have been funding the fascists. I don't trust Shamir as a source (he is basically a pro-Russian propagandist), but what he says is not inconceivable. The fascists playing down their anti-Semitism may be part of the deal. What interest do these people have in backing the fascists? I suspect that the fascists are their insurance policy against the left. It is always possible that a popular uprising will acquire a leftist or at least anti-oligarchic orientation, and the fascists block this possibility by effectively intimidating the left. They have beaten up and badly injured even trade union activists (for them all varieties of leftist are "communists").

    • In the leaked phone call between Nuland and the US ambassador in Kiev, she demanded that Tiahnybok be kept out of the new government. But however many cookies she may have handed out, neither she nor any other foreign official can control what happens in Ukraine. They may have helped sow the wind, but they will also reap the whirlwind. Why be surprised though? After all, it's not the first time the Zionists have allied themselves with fascists (i.e., fascists of the Gentile variety). And the Svoboda party ease any qualms the Zionists may have by tactically avoiding anti-Semitism (though this is not true of Yarosh, leader of Right Sector, who is also in the government). And there are still people who believe that Zionism has something to do with protecting Jews against anti-Semites?

  • 'New Republic''s literary editor attacks its senior editor as nasty, ignorant self-hating Jew
    • "Had the Palestinians changed course, had there not been a war in 47 the Nabka likely wouldn’t have happened."

      The Nakba was not a response to the war. The war was a response to (i.e., an attempt to stop) the Nakba, which had been in progress for several months before war broke out. Ever since the Zionists have used the war as an excuse for the Nakba, but this falsifies the sequence of events. What happens later cannot explain what has already happened earlier (outside of science fiction anyway).

    • What Rosa Luxemburg wrote was: "I have no special corner in my heart for the ghetto [because] I am at home in the entire world." The context makes clear that she is expressing solidarity with all human suffering, including but not specially emphasizing Jewish suffering. With typical Zionist mendacity, Wieseltier (Weasel Tear?) distorts her meaning by omitting the crucial word "special" and groundlessly throwing in "proudly," thereby presenting her humanism as anti-Semitism.

  • Jewish community commits intellectual suicide before our eyes
    • That is not the only possible extension of this line of thought. There are Jews who think that "great Jewish minds" have arisen through cultural inter-fertilization that can occur only in the diaspora: they cannot develop within the standardizing environment of a Jewish state. I remember a correspondence with a librarian working in a Jewish theological seminary who said he agreed with me, but as it turned out he hated Israel because he saw it as culturally mediocre and not out of sympathy with the Palestinians.

  • Adalah founder assails myth of 'Jewish and democratic' state
    • Are there any other cases of a state being recognized as being of a certain quality (rather than simply being recognized)? Or of the issue of such special recognition even being raised? Distinguishing two types of recognition has great potential for complicating international relations. As a departure from accepted diplomatic practice, it affects the interests of the world community as a whole.

  • Conviction rate for Israeli interrogators who use torture: 0%
    • Does anyone know how decisions are made concerning the circumstances under which torture is to be used? Presumably there are internal guidelines of some sort, perhaps disseminated only by word of mouth but approved by relevant officials and ministers, including the prime minister. I mean guidelines different from the High Court ruling of 1999, as torture is obviously not used solely in "ticking bomb" cases, but then under Netanyahu the executive has not recognized judicial decisions as binding. I find it hard to believe that individual interrogators decide these things completely on their own.

      Of course, even the clearest orders from above would not relieve torturers of legal and moral responsibility, but the responsibility of those who issue the orders or guidelines is even greater.

  • Scholar explodes 'canonic' American Jewish belief: Russian Czar was behind 1903 massacre
    • Stalin kept a few Jews in leadership positions right to the end. The most prominent example was Kaganovich.

      I think that all the figures about the ethnic breakdown of various categories of officials in this or that year obscure a basic point. Even though Stalin and others had their personal ethnic prejudices (Stalin hated Jews, but perhaps not quite as much as he hated Poles), the regime as such always pursued goals that had absolutely nothing to do with ethnicity. Whatever their own ethnic background, it was never fully legitimate for officials openly to express ethnic interests. The way that different ethnic groups were treated changed with circumstances but always reflected the interests of the regime.

      Thus, Jews were initially favored because they included a very high proportion of the literate people available for service to the regime. Most educated Russians were unwilling to help the Bolsheviks. If there had not been a large number of Jews willing and able to serve as an alternative educated class, the regime would have been doomed (Lenin himself said so). At the same time, the Bolsheviks (including Jewish Bolsheviks such as Trotsky) realized that relying so heavily on Jews had the great disadvantage of causing ordinary people to view the regime as "Jewish" -- that is, it made popular anti-semitism a factor that worked against the regime.

      With the enormous expansion of education under the Soviet regime, increasing numbers of loyal and educated Gentile personnel became available and the need to rely on Jews gradually declined. The policy of reducing the proportion of Jewish officials, managers etc had general support among leading Bolsheviks, including the Jews among them, because it reduced the danger that anti-semitism posed to the regime. This was already the policy before Stalin and it never depended on Stalin, although in the last few years of his life (from 1944 on) it developed into an anti-semitic campaign that Stalin's colleagues opposed and halted after his death.

      In 1941-44 having Jews in prominent positions again served the interests of the regime -- by facilitating efforts to mobilize solidarity with and aid for the Soviet war effort in the West, especially the US. Stalin took care not to turn against the Jews until it was clear that Germany was going to lose the war.

      In the post-Stalin period there were still many Jewish scientists, engineers, musicians, even managers, but very few Jews in the upper reaches of the state and party hierarchy and none at all in the KGB. Anti-semitism was therefore now a factor that worked for and not against the regime.

    • In-depth research on the Black Hundreds shows that many of them, especially from the lower classes, expressed social grievances, but they looked to the tsar to redress them (as the "little father"). They shared the centuries-old belief that the tsar himself was good and cared for the people, but that he was surrounded by corrupt officials who isolated him from his loyal subjects.

      Of course, many Russians wanted social reform rather than revolution. They were represented by parties like the Octobrists and Kadets (constitutional democrats) and in practice also by the Mensheviks, who believed that conditions in Russia were not ripe for socialism.

      Jews were politically active in large numbers almost right across the political spectrum. While a disproportionately large number of Jews were Bolsheviks, the proportion was even higher for the Mensheviks. Jews were prominent in liberal reformist politics. Some Jews were even patriotic conservatives, despite the anti-semitism rife in such circles.

      The proportion of Jews who were politically active must have been considerably higher than the proportion of politically active Gentiles, but that does not mean that a majority of Jews were politically active. Many remained loyal to religious tradition, which dictated abstention from Gentile politics. Trotsky was excommunicated by the rabbi in his home town.

      For all these reasons the association of Jews in general with "bloody revolution" was a stereotype that badly distorted a complex reality. When in my research I was reading Novoe vremya, a tsarist-era magazine aimed at a conservative gentry readership, I was struck by the fact that Jews were always portrayed either as an exotic curiosity or as "Jew-terrorists" and "Jew-revolutionaries." This must have instilled a deep fear of Jews in the minds of the magazine's readers. I was also struck by the parallel with today's stereotyping of Palestinians as "terrorists."

    • This gels with what I have read on the subject (except that the local anti-semites were mainly Romanians, not Russians). One factor was apparently commercial rivalry between Jewish and Greek merchants.

      Zipperstein has it right but he has not discovered anything new. Serious scholars have always known that the interpretation of pogroms as a government conspiracy is at best a gross oversimplification. It does contain a grain of truth inasmuch as the anti-semites did have some influence within the government and the church. Both these institutions were deeply divided on the "Jewish question." The best account of which I am aware is Hans Rogger's book "Jewish Policies and Right-Wing Politics in Imperial Russia" (University of California Press, 1986).

      Regarding pogroms specifically, there were two schools of thought in official circles. Some believed that if the masses were encouraged to attack the Jews that would provide a safety valve and they would be less likely to attack the Gentile upper classes. Others believed, on the contrary, that once constraints on violence were relaxed the masses would not stop at attacking Jews but go on to attack Gentile landowners and capitalists. Curiously, there were corresponding schools of thought among the revolutionaries. Some saw pogroms as hopeful signs of mass rebellion and thought they might develop into uprisings against the upper classes, while others viewed them as diversions of mass anger against scapegoats and therefore reactionary phenomena.

    • The term "Kishinev Russians" is inaccurate. Kishinev -- now Chisinau, capital of Moldova -- was a multiethnic city. The pogromists in this case were mainly Romanian (at that time there was not yet a distinct Moldovan identity). Krushevan is a Romanian name. Some were Greek. Most pogroms took place in Ukraine, with Ukrainians as perpetrators. One of the points in the standard narrative about pogroms that Solzhenitsyn objects to in his book on Russian-Jewish relations is the practice of blaming Russians for actions mostly committed by members of non-Russian ethnic groups. Russians have a right to take offense at this.

  • Judis's scholarly book on Truman's decision gets the Jeffrey Goldberg treatment
    • One of the assumptions on which Zionism is built is that Gentiles are naturally anti-Semitic (although a few "righteous Gentiles" of exceptional character may somehow overcome their natural inclination to hate Jews). Anything they say about Jews inevitably expresses their hatred and is therefore to be construed as in some sense anti-Semitic. However, they can avoid accusations of anti-Semitism by never talking about Jews.

      It is though quite possible to call Zionists anti-Semites if you want to play that game, or at least argue that Zionism and anti-Semitism are closely related and share basic assumptions. The best means of defense is attack.

    • I tried looking into this. I couldn't find much indication of a debate among reform Jews leading up to their volte face on Zionism. It was more like a sudden and unexplained moral collapse. I think their shock at the Holocaust must have played a big role, though that doesn't rule out other factors.

  • Revealed: Right-wing group StandWithUs' strategy to combat Israel Apartheid Week
  • Oppression by consensus in Israeli 'democracy'
    • Without questioning the basic validity of this analysis of Israeli education, there is surely some shift underway from a somewhat more flexible system of thought control to a more rigid system. There has in the past been space within Zionism for some variety of viewpoints (even if insignificant by comparison with the contrast between Zionist and anti-Zionist views) and that space is now contracting. Criticisms that were considered tolerable even a few years ago are no longer tolerated.

      Israel is making a significant contribution to political theory by proving that democracy and totalitarianism are not mutually exclusive phenomena.

  • I stayed away from Israel just as I stayed away from Nazi Germany -- Hugh Trevor-Roper
    • Mikhail Gershenzon, a great Russian-Jewish philosopher in the late tsarist period, wrote a brilliant essay against Zionism in which he argued that Jewish nationalism would be similar to the Prussian-German variety and that the Jewish state would be in a perpetual state of war with its neighbors.

  • Kerry's framework according to Friedman and Indyk (Updated: Abbas Weighs In)
    • The current Israeli governing coalition is so extreme it is bound to reject even the modest concessions implied in this account of Kerry's plan. Keeping the land occupied by 80% of the settlers sounds a pretty good deal for Israel, but Netanyahu has promised not to uproot even a single settler. And only a minority of Israelis are willing to accept a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem -- unless East Jerusalem is to be interpreted as meaning the village of Abu Dis (the devil is in the details).

      So if Abbas plays his cards right, he should for once be able to make Israel take the blame for saying no.

      What bits of pre-1967 Israel would the Israelis contemplate giving up? It must mean the Triangle. I can't think where else.

    • True. If they had all left Palestine in good time and of their own free will, humbly acknowledging that "the master has returned," then there would have been no need to expel them by force.

  • Kerry’s billions: US economic plans for Palestine place investment over freedom
    • This is similar to the way the international financial institutions -- which really means the governments that dominate those institutions -- treat other weak and dependent countries. For instance, there are conferences where American, Canadian, and European officials plan "development" in Haiti -- without a single Haitian present.

  • 'NYT' fails to disclose that Op-Ed author arguing Israel's case against BDS is husband of 'NYT' reporter in Israel/Palestine
    • Zionists are not just a subset of Jews. Non-Jewish Zionism goes back at least as far as Jewish Zionism. Napoleon was a non-Jewish Zionist, for instance. Regina Sharif has written an excellent book on the subject ("Non-Jewish Zionism: Its Roots in Western History").

      Please consider the fact that the Balfour Declaration was supported by all members of the British Cabinet but one. The lone minister who opposed Zionism was also the only Jew in the Cabinet. All its non-Jewish members were Zionists.

      Collective responsibility is a slippery concept. It is an easy transition from collective responsibility to collective guilt, with all the injustices that entails. I would sooner say that each individual is individually responsible for his or her actions -- or inaction. And responsibility is proportional to what each individual is in a position to do. Whether you are Jewish or not, you are culpable not only if you support Zionism but even if you remain silent and fail to oppose it. But if you do what you can to oppose Zionism, why should you be held responsible for it?

  • 'You seem to be on both sides of this legitimate/illegitimate kind of a thing': State Dept. spox says neither Israeli settlements, nor settlement boycotts, are legitimate
    • I'm not going to get ahead of where we are in the process. I couldn't discern any move from a first act to a second. In the first act Jen says as many words as she can while saying nothing and Matt tries to trick her into saying something -- but as she is well trained in the art of saying nothing he fails over and over again. This can go on forever, or at least until one of the combatants collapses of exhaustion or frustration. That is likely to be Matt. Jen is then declared the winner -- still in the first act. But she is only "doing her job" and Matt surely understands that.

  • At Auschwitz: 'The IDF is the Jewish people's answer to the Holocaust'
  • Why Palestinians don't want settlers in their midst
    • Is anyone preserving the evidence of these attacks -- not just in general terms but with names and addresses of perpetrators and accessories, who did what where and when, so that when circumstances make it possible these thugs can be properly charged and tried for their crimes? Whether or not anything effective can be done right now, awareness that this material was being prepared for future prosecutions might have some deterrent effect.

  • Abbas lays out his two-state vision in video address to Israeli security conference
    • Abbas talks about living together with the Israelis in peace as neighbors. That sounds quite conciliatory and accepting of the other side to me, and I think to any reasonable person. It seems you expect him to repeat various Zionist mantras word for word after you. That is crazy.

      Why do you imagine you have the right to tell Abbas to go away? Are there any limits to your arrogance? Do you recognize anyone's right to tell you to go away?

    • Right at the start of the interview, Abbas is asked what action he is taking against "violence, terrorism and acts of hostility." He could have interpreted the question logically as referring to violence against both sides and at least mentioned the Zionist violence against Palestinians in some of its forms (even though he would have been hard put to say what he was doing to protect his fellow Palestinians). Instead, he interprets the question in the way the Israelis expect of him, as referring exclusively to Palestinian violence against Jews.

      The asymmetric rule with which Abbas complies is that only Israel's security matters. The job of the PA forces is exactly the same as the job of Israel's direct security forces -- to take care of Israel's security. No one even raises the issue of security for Palestinians. Perhaps Abbas tries to raise it in private, to give him the benefit of the doubt. Does anyone have any insight into this?

  • 'NYT' publishes Holocaust trivia on front page
    • The figure of six million was a rough estimate formed just after the war. Research done since then makes a more accurate estimate possible, but the initial estimate stuck and has been endlessly repeated. The biggest error concerns the former Soviet territories, for which adequate data were not available until recent years. The six-million estimate assumed one million Jews killed in occupied Soviet territories. It has now been established that the true figure is about two and a half million, including one and a half million in Ukraine alone. So the total is not six million but about seven and a half million.

  • Last mass in Beit Jala, as state is poised to grab Palestinian Christians' land
    • Not only Christians but also Jews believed for many centuries that God had withdrawn the "promise of land" from the Jews, though for a different reason -- that is, as punishment for the Jews' sins. The covenant was from the start conditional on the Jews' behavior. Of course, God, being God, could do whatever He liked without being charged with breaking the covenant.

  • Rabbi raises 'dual loyalty' question-- and all hell breaks loose in DC Jewish community
    • There are many concepts of loyalty. Some are defensible, others not. There is an authoritarian concept of loyalty as a duty of uncritical obedience to certain power structures, but there are also democratic concepts of loyalty to a community in which you have rights and to which you have corresponding obligations. Democratic loyalty does not stipulate what policies you should support or oppose -- you can constitute a minority of one if you consider it necessary. It does require that in determining your views you should be guided primarily by the interests (as you perceive them) of the community in which you live and not by the demands of a foreign power.

  • When you watch football, you are complicit in violent assault
    • Kicking a ball around a field can be fun as well as good exercise. Abolish professional sports but encourage amateur sports for everyone. Either on a completely non-competitive basis (without anyone keeping score) or with competition constrained by a requirement for good sportsmanship. By this I mean that the referee assesses the two teams for sportsmanship. If both teams reach a high standard of sportsmanship the winner is the team that gets the most goals. If only one team reaches the required standard that teams wins, regardless of goals. And if there is foul play on both sides both teams are declared losers!

  • Former 'NYT' reporter says Times should assign non-Jews to cover Israel/Palestine
    • Giladg: Your insight into Philip's innermost motives is so penetrating that it can only be explained by extraordinary telepathic ability. It would be interesting to hear from you what life is like as a telepath. Is there anything that non-telepaths can do to develop the same ability? Or is it just determined by our DNA?

  • Undermining Kerry, Democratic Rep Engel says West Bank is Israel
    • "All of this works to the detriment of the Palestinians." I'm not so sure.

      From what we know of Kerry's proposals, which is not that much, they give the hard-line Israeli forces almost everything they want. If those forces had the sense to cooperate with Kerry, the Palestinians would be locked into an agreement on very unfavorable terms. However, "almost" is not enough for them -- they want everything. The settler lobby, in particular, will use its clout to keep the settlements in the Jordan Valley. (There is an excellent analysis of the settler lobby in Ami Pedahzur's "The Triumph of Israel's Radical Right.") So Kerry will fail. When Israel is finally forced to make compromises and reach an agreement, the overall balance of forces may no longer be so favorable to Israel and the agreement would then be somewhat less unfavorable to the Palestinians.

  • Sharon's journey was Israel's journey-- and what does that tell you
    • There is another possibility, you know -- one that is even more frightening. Perhaps Sharon did have a clear sense of right and wrong -- only what he considered right and wrong was very far removed from what people like us consider right and wrong.

  • Fact-checking Jeffrey Goldberg: the American Jewish unanimity on Israel
    • Isn't there a clear connection between policy on Israel and domestic issues like hunger? If the US stopped aiding Israel and preparing for wars that would mainly serve Israeli interests and used the money to improve conditions at home, that money would stretch a long way. I expect someone has worked it out in more detail.

  • Christie's other scandal: $12 million special election he claimed wasn't political
  • Jewish Federations angry at Wasserman Schultz for backing Obama on Iran deal
    • The Himyarite Kingdom in Yemen lasted from 110 BCE to 525 CE -- 635 years.

      Khazaria: 652 CE to 1016 CE-- 366 years.

      You can measure in decades if you like, but centuries is more convenient.

      I don't think Israel will last for centuries though.

  • A bible park grows in (occupied) Jerusalem
    • There is no Jewish or Palestinian history, only history. The continuity implied by such expressions is delusory. Suppose, giladg, that you were transported back to the times of David or Solomon in a time machine. You would feel that you were in a very strange land. And the ancient Israelites would find you very strange too. You would probably get stoned to death as some sort of sorcerer.

  • Avigdor's triumph: Israel reportedly wants to transfer northern villages into Palestinian state
    • There is a near-consensus among Israeli Jews that only a Jewish majority is legitimate (at least on important issues). In deference to this near-consensus, no party leader will consider inviting parties mainly or wholly representing Arab citizens to help form a governing coalition. A leader who did this would be deserted by his other coalition partners, so probably he would be unable to form a majority coalition, but if his party were strong enough to achieve a viable coalition with Arab parties alone it would generate such a backlash that his government would soon collapse. Unless and until a seismic shift in Jewish Israeli opinion destroys the existing near-consensus, the Palestinian citizens of Israel have no clout whatsoever.

    • There is and will continue to be only one real state throughout post-mandatory Palestine, i.e., Israel. The apartheid regime in the West Bank is much more rigorous than the apartheid regime in pre-1967 Israel, so OlegR is right to imply that adjusting the border between the two zones (an internal not an international border, as Israel is in control on both sides of it) will leave these villagers with fewer rights. In particular, their movements will be much more restricted once they are no longer citizens. But this does not prove that Israel is not so terrible after all, because both of these apartheid regimes are designed and imposed by Israel.

  • Israeli 'hospitality': Netanyahu throws cold water over Kerry's plans
  • Update: Israel cages Palestinian children in outdoor holding pens during freezing storm
    • Not collecting data on such things is always good policy:

      1) It allows you to feign ignorance.
      2) Data that are not collected cannot be leaked.
      3) Lack of documentation will make it harder to prosecute you (if and when it comes to that).

  • Simon Wiesenthal Center calls Falk, Walker, Waters, Blumenthal and ASA anti-Semites
    • There are also important differences in degree of "holiness" among Jews, with Cohanim (descendants of the priestly caste) a cut above all the others and mamzerim (the illegitimately born) at the bottom. Only Cohanim have first class souls.

  • Guilty on Christmas
    • I'm sorry to spoil the celebration, but I don't see how Judaism can ever be anything but tribal. It's the religion of a tribe who try to remain faithful to a covenant with God that their ancestors supposedly entered into in ancient times. It has a certain universalist potential that arises from God being a universal as well as a tribal deity, but for this potential to be fully realized Judaism has to abandon the covenant and emerge from its tribal cocoon -- but then it is no longer Judaism (by definition), it has transmuted into something else.

  • 'WSJ' piece argues that Israeli Christians and Jews are aligned, but not Muslims
    • It is good strategy in several ways for the Zionists to cultivate an image of Jews and Christians allied against Moslems. It is especially important in sustaining the sympathy of European and American Christians for Israel. At the same time, there are many Israeli Jews who hate Christians at least as much as Moslems or possibly even more (Christian proselytism is viewed as a serious threat; Moslem proselytism is not). Expressions of this hostility -- beating up Christians, desecrating churches, etc. -- have been more or less successfully hushed up so far (e.g., see link to mondoweiss.net) but future outrages may be harder to conceal. The propaganda line that we are discussing here may be designed to counter this threat to Israeli influence over foreign Christian opinion.

  • Major Jewish org: boycott vote is wake-up call in battle against 'extremist' delegitimization of Israel
  • JNF 'Blue Box' erases Green Line
    • The JNF box I remember from my childhood (1950s -- early 60s) was all blue, including the patches indicating land bought by the JNF. I wonder whether the switch to green was to create an excuse for deleting the green line or whether there were other reasons (to appeal to the environmental movement?).

  • JNF launches $1 billion program to settle ‘Western’ Jewish immigrants 'fueled by Zionism' in the Negev and Galilee
    • The concept of Zionism as an alternative fuel is new to me. A new means of overcoming our dependence on hydrocarbons. "Fill your tank with Zionism not gasoline!" Explosions guaranteed.

  • Remnick asks Shavit whether Zionism is a historical mistake
  • 'Goliath' is indispensable to understanding the real Israel in 2013
    • Yes, Israeli society has a nice face. An Israeli woman once put things in proper proportion by telling me: "You know, we don't spend all our time torturing Palestinians." I acknowledged that what she said must surely be true. Israelis, like everyone else, have to spend time sleeping, eating, shitting, brushing their teeth, commuting, etc. etc.

      But then we should also recognize, for instance, that Nazi Germany also had a nice face and its citizens, even SS men, did not spend all their time torturing Jews. We should get that into proper proportion too, shouldn't we?

  • The 'genetic truth' of Jesus's (and Hanna Rosin's) 'classically Semitic appearance,' as revealed to Jeffrey Goldberg
    • The problem has always been that the Jews who trekked east from France, Germany etc. in the wake of the medieval pogroms were not numerous enough to explain the large size of the Jewish population that appeared in eastern Europe. I suspect that even adding in Judaized Khazars doesn't make a big enough difference. There must have been a large number of Slav converts to Judaism as well, presumably at the period when the Khazar empire encompassed large areas of Slav habitation in present-day Ukraine and Russia. Then there were the Jews who took refuge in Khazaria from persecution in Christian Byzantium. They were the most likely to have originally come from ancient Palestine (or whatever you want to call it).

    • The curious thing is that despite the widening genetic spread of its adherents Judaism remained a tribal religion of people who imagined a common descent from "our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." As this was enshrined in the Holy Book, I suppose it was difficult to throw off. The Khazar king who introduced Judaism among the Khazars claimed to have had a dream in which God made a covenant with the Khazars, distinct from though obviously modeled on the covenant He had previously made with the Israelites. Descendants of the Judaized Khazars forgot all about this separate covenant.

  • In '50s, CIA secretly funded anti-Zionist lobby group in US
    • In 1951 Israel was still closely allied to the Soviet Union. This must have been a factor in the attitude of the US elite. If the CIA continued to fund anti-Zionist groups after Israel realigned with the West that would really surprise me.

  • Palestinian negotiators angered as Kerry proposes Israeli demands
    • I know the Zionist lobby is an important factor always present in the background, but I think the immediate cause of the tendency of American politicians like Kerry to take the Israeli side is that they perceive Israeli Jews as "Western" people like themselves and Palestinians as strange and exotic beings. The tendency is exacerbated by the especially "American" characteristics of Netanyahu (at a superficial level, but that is the level that counts). They spend much more time with Israeli than with Palestinian leaders and the Israelis make good use of their greater access to inculcate their perspective. Only those like Jones with a deeper understanding of the region have a chance of withstanding the brainwashing.

  • After attending Mandela's memorial, Knesset member's blood rejected in gov't drive because she is African
    • Under apartheid in South Africa (if I recall correctly) members of all racial groups could give blood but the blood was stored separately, so that white people would only get "white" blood, etc. If Israel followed this model, they would accept "Ethiopian" blood and store it for use with Ethiopian patients. In this respect Israel is actually worse than apartheid South Africa.

  • Judaisation vs Justice: Israel’s war on the Bedouin proves 1948 settled nothing
    • There was also an area just beyond the Green Line that was emptied of its 200,000 inhabitants during the 1967 war. Perhaps that should be called the second Nakba, making the Prawer Plan the third. Or if we count the Jordan Valley (another 100,000 people dispossessed) then the Prawer Plan is the fourth.

      I think it is most accurate to talk about a single process that started even before 1947, when fellahin were pushed off land sold to the Zionists by their often absentee landlords, and that is still continuing with no end yet in sight. The process is sometimes faster and sometimes slower; the methods vary (military force, legalized force, harassment and intimidation, enclosure, economic pressure); but it is a single process with a single aim.

      The idea of the Palestinians as squatters is based on the idea that the Jewish people retained ownership of the land, given them by God, throughout all the centuries of the "exile." Now that "the master has returned" (as they say) the squatters should pack their bags and get out.

  • On the death of Nelson Mandela: a dissenting opinion
    • The ANC Charter demanded not just the end of apartheid and political rights but also a wide range of social and economic rights such as decent housing and healthcare. The deal that was struck between the ANC and the representatives of local and foreign capital was that the nonwhite people of South Africa would be allowed to take the first step toward freedom provided that they gave up the prospect of further steps. No encroachment on white property rights, due subservience to the international financial institutions, etc.

      The main responsibility for the victory of neo-liberalism in SA was not Mandela's. The key figure was Thabo Mbeki. See the book by William Mervin Gumede "Thabo Mbeki and the Battle for the Soul of the ANC."

      Actually, a secular democratic state in Palestine may also prove to be only a first step toward freedom. I remember a discussion with a Palestinian friend at university who said to me that even if the secular democratic state were achieved (this was about 1969 or 1970, not long after the PLO adopted that as its goal) Jews would remain in economic control of the country. I replied that the main beneficiaries would be the privileged from both communities, including people like him, and he cheerfully agreed. It's a long and winding road.

  • Schumer says it's a 'mistake' for Kerry to criticize settlements
    • First it is necessary to define the term "existential threat" in operational terms. I suggest creating a panel of policy makers and measuring various physiological changes (blood pressure, cranial pressure, perspiration etc.) associated with anxiety when they are suddenly confronted with an image of the "threat" (e.g. a sinister-looking ayatollah figure). True, this would only measure perceived existential threat, but as normally used the term has no objective referent. Though it does for individuals threatened by assassination, for instance. Risk of being assassinated could be measured if the necessary information is available.

  • Israeli ambassador's present to Obama -- settlement cufflinks!
    • If you listen to the president's greetings for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (most recent dated 9/4/13) you will see that he repeatedly uses "we" to identify himself with Jewish religious observances. In terms of public self-presentation he is just as much a Jew as a Christian. As for his personal beliefs, only a telepath can judge them -- it is quite possible that he is an atheist.

  • 'Globe' readers slam paper for ignoring unfair distribution of water in Israel and Palestine
  • Corasanti responds to Abulhawa: My purpose in writing 'The Almond Tree' was to shine a light on Palestinian suffering and help bring about peace
    • Perhaps this book would have been less pretentious and less vulnerable to criticism while keeping the qualities that made it a commercial success if its basis were openly and not covertly autobiographical (with changes of detail to protect privacy).

  • Only sanctions against Israel will end occupation -- Gideon Levy
  • Preaching to the choir: reflections on Max Blumenthal's 'Goliath'
    • The best way to show people what you think is the right way to do something is simply to DO IT. Let Jerome Slater write a book of his own in which he presents the facts about the situation in Israel-Palestine or (if that is too big a task) about just one significant aspect of the situation in exactly the way he thinks the facts should be presented. Let him then try to get his book published and promoted to the "mainstream." His success or failure in that endeavor will then prove to everyone (including himself) whether his argument against Blumenthal is correct or not.

      On the substance, it never ceases to astonish me that presumably educated people can argue that early Zionism was not colonial. (It can reasonably be argued that it was not colonial in quite the same way as other colonial movements, but that is hardly the same thing: colonialism took a wide variety of forms.) All early Zionists acknowledged that Zionism was a project of colonial settlement. It was on that basis that they sought the support of existing colonial powers. The idea of denying the colonial character of Zionism never entered their heads. Why should it? At that time almost everyone in the colonialist countries -- with the exception of socialists and other mavericks like Mark Twain -- thought colonialism was a good thing.

  • 'LRB' runs Adam Shatz's long report on murder of Juliano Mer-Khamis
    • This information about Juliano's brother strongly suggests that his parents were in the Communist Party (Spartak is the Russian form of Spartacus as well as the name of a Russian soccer team). Even if Juliano himself was not a communist, this is surely relevant to an understanding of what he was trying to do. The communists for a long time formed the only social milieu in Palestine where the ethnic divide was largely if not completely overcome and where intermarriage was a normal phenomenon. They were also for many years the only milieu in the USA and South Africa that bridged the racial divide. They should be given all due credit for that, even though at the same period terrible crimes were being committed by other "communists" in other parts of the world.

  • Iran deal poses conflict of loyalties for US Jews, say Economist and Haaretz
    • "Getting the hell out" probably means settling in Israel, strengthening the Zionist state demographically, financially and militarily. Do you really want that? Alternatively, loyalists of a foreign state in conflict with the US could be placed under surveillance, excluded from sensitive jobs and political office, and if necessary put in internment camps.

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