Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 36 (since 2012-01-14 23:46:14)

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  • 'A better relationship with Iran' is the deal's secret promise, but supporters can't say so
    • Not to be out-loonied by the Israeli ministry of culture, the Iranian ministry of Culture & Islamic Guidance has announced that "once it became known that some of the leaders and those in charge of this orchestra have Israeli identities, this issue was confronted with immediately and this orchestra will not have permission to perform in Iran. ... The Islamic Republic neither recognizes this regime, nor collaborates with their artists." This followed a report by the hardline Fars News Agency warning of the "impending presence of the Berlin orchestra, headed by a citizen of the Zionist regime, in Tehran."
      link to
      link to
      Regev, clearly, underestimated the Iranians in seeing through his dastardly reverse-psychology plot to plant the "Zionist-affiliated" Barenboim at the heart of the Islamic Republic.

  • Schumer defection raises fears about firewall on Jewish support for Iran Deal
  • Defying Obama on Iran deal, Schumer cites Hamas
  • Nine reasons Obama is going to win on Iran. The first: Netanyahu
    • @Kathleen

      "The Leverett’s are always pointing out how “democracy” based on alleged U.S. standards do not apply in Iran etc." That's b/c much of the Leveretts' views on Iran are at the level of Orientalist morons.

    • @Annie Robbins

      This "truly horrendous" so-called "Iranian Holocaust" perpetrated with "British complicity" is alleged by Mohammad Gholi Majd in his book "The Great Famine and Genocide in Persia, 1917-1919." Fortunately, according to historians inside and outside Iran, it is mostly a figment of the author's shoddy scholarship.

      Take, for instance, this report on the "Roundtable to Examine the Great Famine" held in 2013 in Tehran. It was a session on a scholarly project started the previous year examining 4000 documents from the National Library and Archives of IRI, and the archives of Iran's Foreign Ministry and parliament. Dr. Elham Malekzadeh, chair of the session, said that, contrary to common perceptions, during the relevant period, there is essentially no significant evidence of looting or attack on the population by the British, and a preponderance of evidence of looting and attacks perpetrated by the Russians and the Ottomans, mostly in western Iran. She indicated that various documents put Iran's population at no more than 13 million at the time and the number of deaths at no more than 1 million, in contrast to the 8 to 12 million deaths alleged by Majd. Furthermore, much of these deaths were not due to famine, but causes such as contagious diseases and various ethno-religious strifes.

      Majid Tafreshi, another scholar at the session, while agreeing that there was famine at the time, mentioned that Majd, whether deliberately or unknowingly, makes the mistake of counting any reduction in population in various areas of Iran as deaths, whereas much of those population reductions were the result of migrations within Iran. Dr. Ali Tetri, manager of the Documentation Center of the Iranian Parliament, indicated that 80-90% of the relevant documents at Iran's parliament regard complaints of Russian practices, while there are no complaints of British looting or attacks during the relevant period. There were also complaints of Ottoman behavior, while the Germans were the most popular.

      Mahmood Taher Ahmadi, another historian at the session, ridiculed the figure of 8-10 million deaths at the time, putting the figure at below a million and mostly due to Cholera and Influenza. He addes that, in contrast to significant documentation on "Mongol-style" attacks by the Russians in northern Iran, there are no documents in the National Library and Archives of IRI indicating forceful grain confiscation by the British.

      Historians outside Iran have also been dismissive of Majd's claims of an Iranian genocide. E.g., in an interview with the Iranian monthly Kheradnameh in 2007, Mohammad Tavakoli Targhi, Professor of History and Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto, is quoted as "There's no doubt in the existence of famine and deaths. But how can it be believed that in the era following the Persian Constitutional Revolution 8 million Iranians are killed and in Persian papers there are no news of that "genocide"? Due to the worldwide importance that public health had attained since the beginning of the 19th century, even if that number of Iranian cows and sheep had been killed, we would have certainly found news of that in Persian documents and publications. Believing in an era of ignorance is the presumption of such a strange account." Encyclopaedia Iranica, a project of Columbia University, in its detailed "Famines in Persia" entry, only refers to "serious episodes of famine ... during the two world wars" with no reference to Majd. Under "Demographic consequences," the article makes no reference to the alleged 1917-1919 "genocide."

      As for the term "Iranian Holocaust," it shows poor judgement, given the background of Holocaust denial and anti-semitic propaganda that became an industry in the Ahmadinejad years. Many of the Iranian radicals, while dismissing the Nazi Holocaust as a myth, would claim that "real Holocausts" have been perpetrated by Jews throughout history against Iranians and others. But, semantics aside, this alleged "Iranian Holocaust" is a myth.

  • 'We should seize it' -- Obama announces Iran deal as 'new direction' for the Middle East
  • Don't let's go to the war of civilizations again
  • 'Racist, fascist bullshit'-- Marcel Ophuls exposes Islamophobia in Israel
    • Although, given his family background as victims of the Nazis and his criticism of Israel, he is credentialed for the honor, Ophuls did not make Dennis Prager's latest "Jews-devoted-to-hurting-Jews" list:
      link to
      In that piece, the radio talk show host specifically attacks Shlaim, Pappé, Finkelstein and the 90-year old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein and concludes with,
      "These are only four of the many Jews who devote their lives to helping those who wish to destroy Israel. What makes these useful idiots of the Jew-haters tick? Well, these four all have something in common — they or their parents have suffered at the hands of Jew-haters — in three instances the Nazis, in the fourth Muslim Jew-haters (in Iraq, which Shlaim’s family fled when he was 5 years old). I am convinced that many Jews who hate Israel subconsciously believe that if they side with the Jew-haters, they will be spared if the Jew-haters win. Or, if you will, it is a form of the Stockholm syndrome. Finally, they believe they will show the world that whereas almost no Germans spoke up against the Nazis during the Holocaust, they will speak up against the Jews in the Palestinians’ “genocide.” They are, in a word, sick."
      Though he has previously held academic positions, Prager, who recently teamed up with Rabbi Boteach to debate whether "Hamas is a greater obstacle to peace than Israel," at the Oxford Union, does not provide any arguments as to why the views of his designated Gang of Four should be viewed as "sick."
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  • Netanyahu at the United Nations: Hamas, Iran, ISIS and 100 cheering Israelis
    • In the 1st clip, around 3:22, when Netanyahu is describing the photo of the gunman with the prisoner, his cheek scratching, while mentioning "Hamas & ISIS," is one of the lying-man gestures. See step 3 @ link to

    • >>>"The following day amongst supporters in New York, Netanyahu said the battle with Hamas, Iran and ISIS were wars against our “common civilizations to the Jewish Federation . “Every time I come to the UN I try to tell the truth as it is. But here’s a picture I didn’t show in the UN yesterday. This is an impending execution,” he said."<<<

      Here's a related clip from that meeting w/ Jewish Federation leaders:
      link to

      And here's Malcolm Hoenlein Jeter-honoring the "captain of the Jewish ship":
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      And text of his remarks to lieutenants of the "Jewish ship":
      link to

  • When Rouhani says blaming ISIS on Islam is Islamophobic, is anyone listening?
    • While Rouhani's speech makes reasonable points, it also conveys notable hypocrisy. Rouhani, as the president of a Muslim country, would do well to set an example by practicing in his own society what he "high-mindedly" preaches to others. The Islamic Republic has a very poor record of tolerance & respect towards religions outside the state orthodoxy. The "phobia" of other religions that Rouhani criticizes in the West, are extensively engaged in by Iranian state media and some gov't officials. Vulgar anti-Baha'i and antisemitic propaganda on state TV are not infrequent and often reach lunatic levels. Other sects of Islam, including branches of Shi'ism, that differ from state orthodoxy are also demonized. Baha'is, as well as various sects of Islam are actively persecuted in the Islamic Republic.

      Rouhani, himself, by any indication I know of, is probably not in support of such practices, at least, not to the extent that is happening. The state media is in the hardliner camp, and its directors act under the Supreme Leader's supervision. Judicial persecution of certain faiths is also headed by clerics loyal to Khamenei and not directly controlled by the Rouhani administration. However, as president of the country, Rouhani has at least a platform and some influence in speaking (and acting) against such abominations taking place under his watch. But all that seems to have taken place in the 1 year since his inauguration, has been respectful messages towards Iran's Jews, such as his foreign minister's, Zarif's, acknowledgement of the Holocaust & Rosh Hashana message to Iran's Jews last year. (Jews are mostly allowed to practice their religion, as they're officially a "recognized faith." But Jews in general are demonized in state media and by certain officials.) But persecution and demonization of faiths, including Islamic ones, not acceptable to state orthodoxy continue unabated. Since Iranian propaganda often refer to the Supreme Leader as "Leader of the Faithful," meaning Muslims worldwide, you could say that Iranian leaders are aiding and abetting Islamophobia by engaging in such intolerant practices, and Rouhani hasn't done much to alleviate it.

      To say that "Rouhani is as high-minded as Chomsky" is quite a stretch. Chomsky has for decades been criticized for being too "anti-American" for not criticizing other states as strongly as the US gov't. His response has always been that, while he has criticized other states (including the Islamic Republic), a citizen's responsibility is first & foremost towards the actions of his own state & society, which is why he mainly focuses on US policies. Rouhani, being part of the leadership, is more than a citizen in his country and, hence, should at least show as much commitment to combating religious intolerance taking place under his watch, as he advocates in sermonizing others.

  • The best U.S. 'strategy' to combat ISIS? Stop supporting religious states
    • The author should have worked out some of the glaring inconsistencies in the article more attentively. To argue that the US needs to "stop supporting religious states" and then to recommend forming "a natural alliance with one of the strongest nation-states in the region, [Islamic Republic of] Iran," seems inconsistent. If the author has a "natural alliance" in mind which doesn't amount to "supporting" the theocratic state, it requires elaboration, as it is not evident. Israel is more of an ethnocratic and racist state, while Iran is more of a theocratic and religiously-ruled/religiously-intolerant state. (In this comment, by Israel is meant w/in the Green Line, excluding the occupied territories.) Saudi Arabia, US's first and foremost MidEast ally, is even more theocratic than Iran.

      That "Israel wants to demonize Iran forever because it needs an existential threat" is only part of the story. Whatever one thinks of Israel's belligerence and aggressions, there is a case she can make that Iran at least wants to act as an existential threat to her. That the Islamic Republic should do its utmost to bring an end to the "Zionist regime" has been part of Islamic Republic's rhetoric since its inception. During Israel's latest attack on Gaza, Iran's Supreme Leader prescribed armed struggle to commence in the West Bank, as well. The main reason, though he didn't explicitly state it that way, is that Iran would then be in a better position to gain a foothold in that territory, as it would be a natural source of arms and related support, while w/ peaceful (on the part of the Palestinians) resistance, Iran wouldn't have much of an influence to exert. Iran's ideological vision of a "just solution" to the Israel-Palestine conflict, envisions the majority of immigrant and immigrant-descended Israeli Jews to be expelled from that area (although in international venues Iran typically votes w/ majority nations in support of the 2-state solution, while denouncing the latter). While Israel grossly exaggerates the Iranian threat as nuclear & Nazi-like in character, a threat nevertheless exists. Of course, Israel also poses a threat of aggression to Iran. Much of IRI's official enmity towards the US ("world arrogance") and Israel ("international Zionism") is for the same reason that any ideological state, including the US & Israel, would posit official enemies to "demonize forever." The only obstacle to the "natural alliance" between US & Iran is not from Israel. Iranian propaganda also excludes such a possibility. Even though Iran & the US already have an at-least-tacit alliance in fighting the Islamic State, IRI propaganda states that ISIS is a creation and tool of the US, UK & Israel, and, therefore, no such alliance can take place. The Rouhani administration has been under constant attack from Iranian hardliners, who view themselves as foremost devotees of the Supreme Leader, for attempting detente w/ the US, w/ Khamenei himself engaging in double talk. The Israeli gov't & US radicals are not the only significant obstacles to a US-Iran rapprochement.

      To say that Iran is of more relevance in fighting ISIS than Israel, is true. But on the flip side, Iran has been more of a factor in creating ISIS than Israel. The IRI is perceived to have supported, perhaps tacitly, the Maliki gov't and various Iraqi Shia militias in repressing and ethnically-cleansing the Iraqi Sunnis. Iran is perceived to be the main state actor supporting the Alawite Syrian regime in attacking its mostly-Sunni protesting and then rebelling population. Internally, the IRI has many issues involving human rights violations against the Sunni minority, mostly concentrated in the peripheral ethnic regions, and suppression of their political activists, even though Iranian propaganda claims that she seeks Shia-Sunni unity.

  • Seven congresspeople go to Israel on AIPAC's dime-- and one gets defensive about it
    • Meanwhile, Norman Finkelstein has called for another, even larger than last Tue.'s, civil disobedience action in front of the Israeli mission to the UN for Fri. 8/8 @ 12PM: link to

  • Video: If you voted for Hamas, Israel has a right to kill you, says president of NY Board of Rabbis
    • Is this the same woman as the one on the bus?
      From link to
      "... there [at the pro-Israel rally] were a couple of people with signs, in English, Arabic and Hebrew, mourning the dead in Gaza. “To the older woman who kept following me with her own ‘Stand with Israel’ sign to block my own sign and yelling out loud—look at the traitor—he’s a mamzer—a bastard—I turned and said, calmly—my father is a Holocaust Survivor, please respect him if not me,” wrote the rabbinical student Amichai Lau-Lavie. “To which she replied—he should have died there. There were other obscene and racist statements that I won’t describe.” People like this woman, obviously, are not reachable."

    • Symphony for Palestine composed by the Iranian-American Kayhan Kalhor.
      Shorter clip: link to
      Full performance: link to

    • There were apparently a whole lineup of various public officials at the rally, estimated at about 10,000, trying to outdo each other in expressing support for Israel. Here's freshman Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, who should write the next Netanyahu speech:

      Reps. Eliot Engel, Nydia Velazquez, Grace Meng & Steve Israel didn't miss the boat:
      link to
      "Rep. Steve Israel announced he will be traveling to Israel on Saturday to express his support for Israel. “Not only do we stand with Israel in New York, we stand with Israel in Israel,” he said. [Congressman] Israel also announced a congressional letter directed to the UN in which congressional members warn the international body not to investigate Israel’s operation in Gaza. “If you want to investigate Israel for alleged war crimes, give it up! Investigate Hamas instead,” he said to thunderous applause."
      And more from Senator Schumer,
      "“Let us not forget one word describes why there are so many innocent who died: Hamas. Who is responsible for the deaths of so many of these Palestinian civilians?” The crowd chanted “Hamas!” “That is exactly right. The bottom line is very simple. We must send a message from one corner of this globe to the other and to that building over there [the UN] that you will not have peace as long as Hamas has power. Hamas is a terrorist organization sworn to Israel’s destruction who believes they have a moral right to start war at any occasion [apparently, w/ no sense of irony].”"
      link to
      A rally participant: link to

    • Maybe Weiss has more footage of it, but here's a short clip of senator Chuck Schumer at the rally calling for more attacks:

      An acquaintance of mine happened to be on a public city bus at the same time that some of the participants who were leaving the rally were on it. He says that a couple of the older women (rally participants) on the bus were loudly calling for the wiping off of all Gazans from the face of the earth based on fatwas issued by some rabbis against enemies of Israel. The loud genocidal outbursts embarrassed even the other rally participants on the bus, who admonished the women to tone down the racism in public.

    • Norman Finkelstein has called for civil disobedience action at the Israeli mission to the UN for today, Tue 7/29/14:
      link to
      The goal was to get at least 100 people, which I'm not sure if they've reached yet, but they're down there at the moment, "WE'RE MARCHING AND WE'RE GETTING ARRESTED!" & "IT'S TIME TO ACT! ISRAEL MUST BE STOPPED!" His latest message at the FB page reads, "CAN SOMEONE BRING SOUND EQUIPMENT TO THE DEMO?"

  • Assault on Gaza fuels surge of civil disobedience in protest of Israeli actions
    • Video of today's civil disobedience and arrests in NY, called by Finkelstein:

      The article currently states that this action was "in front of the Israeli consulate," whereas it was in front of the Israeli mission to the UN.

  • Destruction of Gaza's children is something 'every one of us must confront' -- Jon Snow
    • @Annie Robbins,

      According to the CBS interviewer, apparently. I was referring to the title of the Face the Nation interview w/ Meshaal, which I linked to.

    • @Kris,

      Thanks for writing them. What's really ridiculous is that this "seasoned journalist" doesn't even try to strike a formal "balance" and, even if in a lame manner, present "both sides." He simply reflects the most extreme Israeli view of the conflict, doesn't even bother w/ paying lip service to complaints of the other side, and essentially calls those falling for dead Palestinian babies as fools (unlike himself).
      I haven't yet watched the interviews on that program w/ Netanyahu & Meshaal, which I linked to, but the titles are suggestive. Netanyahu expresses his view of the current conflict, but the essential question for Meshaal to answer, even given the current killings, is recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

    • @Pixel,

      I provided the link; check their description.

    • Contrast Jon Snow with CBS's Bob Schieffer. In his commentary on today's (7/27/14) Face the Nation, Schieffer blames the Gaza conflict on Hamas terrorists getting their own kids killed for sympathy, which he says is working "in some [gullible] quarters," and then cites the well-known Golda Meir quote (which he's just discovered) about Arabs forcing Israel to kill their babies being worse than their killing of Israeli babies:
      link to
      Is there any difference between his commentary and Netanyahu's analysis? People should complain about the racism in his commentary.
      This program also included interviews w/ Netanyahu, "Benjamin Netanyahu denounces Hamas for violating cease-fire agreements," and Khaled Meshaal, "Will Hamas recognize Israel as a Jewish state?":
      link to
      link to

    • Meanwhile, the Jewish Agency is seeking donations in support of foreign jihadis:
      link to
      "Israel calls them the lone soldiers. They are men and women who left their parents behind in places like Ukraine, France, New York, London, Los Angeles and elsewhere to help defend Israel. Since Operation Protective Edge, three lone soldiers have been killed. Some have been injured.
      Donate $150 and receive a copy of the award-winning One Egg Is A Fortune coffee-table cookbook as a free gift!"
      "JAFI [Jewish Agency For Israel] in partnership with the Ministry of Immigration and IDF work together.
      This week, we buried soldiers from Morocco, Russia and Ethiopia here. Soldiers who fought for the Jewish nation."

  • Breaking: Israel shelling hospital in Beit Hanoun, injured Palestinians and internationals trapped inside
  • 'Israel is wrong by any moral standard' -- Robinson says, as US media pile up
  • In photos: Over 1,000 New Yorkers protest Israel's attack on Gaza
  • Finally, Israel is alienating the US mainstream media
    • Someone who'll, apparently, never abandon his cowboys-vs-savage-Indians diatribe is Bill Maher w/ a panel of like-minded propagandists:
      link to
      He even manages to drag in the number-of-Jewish-Nobel-laureates-vs-Muslim-ones argument into this Gaza discussion! He claims that good science is done by atheists, which can't exist in the Arab world. He, of course, forgets the contributions of the Muslim world to the development of science by observant Muslim scientists & philosophers when Europe wallowed in witch burning. He also forgets that some of history's top Western scientists have been religious of one sort or another, such as Isaac Newton & Leonhard Euler. In more modern secular times, most scientists (in Europe & its offshoots) tend to be secular or atheist. But there exist top Western scientists who are religious, including Jewish ones. One of the Muslim world's Nobel laureates that Maher is referring to was the late Pakistani physicist Abdus Salam, a devout Muslim from the Ahmadiyya branch of Islam (though the Ahmadiyyas have been persecuted in Pakistan).

  • Massacre in Gaza: At least 60 killed in Shuja'iyeh, over 60,000 in UN shelters
    • seafoid:

      I hope they continue to separate meat and dairy. Have to get the priorities right.

      The meat-dairy separation, as far as I know, originates in the Biblical command "Thou shalt not cook a kid in his mother's milk." (By "kid," of course, is meant a baby goat, not a human one, for which no boiling medium is specifically ruled out.) Subsequent rabbinic law expanded the injunction considerably, such as to include poultry and dairy: "Do not cook a chick in its mother's milk!"
      When I first came across this biblical injunction, my immediate impression was of an attempt to engender empathy towards food animals; be mindful of the suffering and deprivation inflicted on the slaughtered young animal and its mother, denied a nurturing opportunity. It's, of course, symbolic, as you are killing the kid, anyhow.
      So, some of those who observe this injunction fastidiously, would, nevertheless, not hesitate to kill human kids and adults indiscriminately, under whatever pretext, without much regard. Observe a law or ritual, but reject the spirit or the underlying moral message of it.

  • Activists occupy UK govt office demanding end to arms trade with Israel
    • Another event same day, 7/20, at 4PM near Times Square is the United-We-Stand-W/-Israel rally:
      link to
      link to
      At the event's Facebook page, one of the posts currently reads [emphasis his]:
      "PLEASE KEEP IN MIND. WE are doing most of the killing and THEY ARE DOING MOST oF THE DYING. So our tone needs to be serious and somber - NOT CELEBRATORY. The civilian residents of Gaza are not our enemies - our enemy is HAMAS. The chants need to be simple and rhythmic: STOP the ROCKETS - blame HAMAS! STOP the ROCKETS - blame HAMAS! STOP the ROCKETS - blame HAMAS!"

      Same day at 11AM, similar rally in S. Florida:
      link to

    • The "Come Support Israel!" event at NYC's 92Y on 7/20 at 8PM will feature Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in NY:
      link to
      Can it be protested?

  • Terror in Gaza: 57 seconds after 'warning,' Israel destroys a house
    • There seems to be some sort of mismatch between the 2 projectile hits in the clip. There's a larger white building which gets demolished after the missile hit. Beside it is the gray shorter building, which is the one that gets the mortar "knock on the roof or balcony" at the beginning. A person, apparently in white outfit, comes out on the gray roof/balcony around 0:55, and shortly thereafter is the missile hit, after which the white building lay in ruins but the neighboring gray one that got the "roof knock" is standing.

      In other words, it appears that the building that got the warning and the one that got the hit are not the same! Does that mean that the white building had gotten a warning earlier, as someone suggested above, and the gray one possibly got demolished later on? Or did the Israelis make a mistake in either the warning or the hit? In any case, it is terrorizing.

  • Protest the Israeli onslaught: Demonstrations planned worldwide against Israeli attack on Gaza
  • Video: Diane Sawyer misrepresents photo of Gazans in aftermath of Israeli bombing as Israeli victims of Palestinian missiles (Updated)
    • On the ABC evening news, just a few minutes ago, Sawyer clearly apologized for yesterday's error, saying she was "truly sorry," and correctly identified the family in the photo as being in Gaza.

  • What's your politically-correct World Cup bracket?
  • Why I pull against the U.S. in the World Cup
    • Besides international sports competitions, national sports events should be viewed more critically. Chomsky, e.g., considers national sports to be a highly organized attempt to nurture chauvinism and obedience to authority in the population. This also applies to various degrees to international competitions.

      The author mentions the case of Iran's soccer team. It's a big nationalist cause there w/ large public support. The public's reaction to the game vs Argentina appears to be what Rouhani indicated in the cited tweet. However, there have been differing voices. Sadegh Zibakalam, a political science prof. at Tehran University, recently made the controversial wish that Iran would not win, for 2 reasons.

      One was that, as he put it, the Iranian authorities would act similarly to those of the former Eastern Block countries, like the USSR & E. Germany, advertising athletic victories as evidence of the superiority of their system & ideology. The other was the chauvinism & racism that would follow a major win, interpreting it as an indication of the superiority of the heroic Iranian people and their glorious millennia-old civilization, and the like. Therefore, he argued, a loss would avert the ensuing government propaganda and national chauvinism that would contribute to masking the country's many shortcomings. So, perhaps, sports victories for underdeveloped/developing countries should also be viewed more critically.

      Incidentally, Zibakalam has recently been sentenced to 1.5 years in prison on the charges of propaganda against the Islamic Republic, spreading untruths to confuse the public mind and insulting the judicial authorities. The main culprit for his prosecution is apparently the complaint by the notorious editor of a hardline paper b/c of a letter the reformist Zibakalam wrote him criticizing Iran's nuclear program as mostly a waste of resources.

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