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Total number of comments: 52 (since 2012-09-19 21:12:05)

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  • Sam Harris defends his silence on Gaza slaughter (or tries to anyway)
  • Portrait of a Zionist
    • Jon Podhoretz is so bad, as are some of the others (Dershowitz, et al), that they make me wonder whether their intent is not actually to discredit the cause that they appear to support.

  • The Brits are way hipper about Palestine than Yanks
    • "Why does America continue its blind support of this one-sided exercise in ethnic cleansing? WHY? I just don’t get it. I really hate to think its just the power of AIPAC… for if that’s the case, then your government really is fundamentally corrupt. No, I don’t think that’s the reason… but I have no idea what it could be." - Eno

      It's not just campaign cash from AIPAC. It's a bundle of different things. The most powerful tool in the bundle is the raw NSA feed shared with Israel. We need to get beyond the idea that campaign cash is the answer.

  • Kerry is off the Israel bandwagon
    • "For the Jewish vote, the NYT says; leaving out the financial angle." - Phil Weiss

      That makes it sound like the "financial angle" is the true bedrock of the problem. There's also the propaganda angle, involving news and entertainment media. But deeper than these things is the surveillance, and the political use of the information.

      link to

  • Gaza massacre is generating ideological crisis in American Zionists
    • "The ongoing Gaza massacre is exposing the fact that whatever its merits on paper as a Jewish liberation story, Zionism unfolded in the real world to become what we see in the news, a violent and racist regime that, backed by powerful Americans, has lost touch with moral norms and is justly isolated in world opinion." - Phil Weiss

      The words "has lost touch with moral norms" makes it sound like it happened recently. Presumably when the decision to attack Gaza was made.

      I think what has happened recently is that the U.S. mounted a serious effort to resolve the Israel/Palestinian conflict; the Israeli government refused to cooperate; the Palestinians merged their political organizations; the Israeli government decided to attack Gaza; and worldwide perceptions of Israel reached a breaking point.

      I don't think that Israel or the Israeli government just recently lost touch with moral norms.

  • Democrat Eliot Engel appears at pro-Israel rally featuring anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller
  • Israel's war is just beginning and has never ended
    • "Israel will stop when it’s in Israel’s interest to stop. Not before."

      That would have been a long time ago.

  • After repeated calls for vengeance, Netanyahu urges Israelis to be 'cool-headed' and seek 'justice'
    • Netanyahu's words bring to mind Richard Landes's theories, as reported here a few days ago, except that Landes was talking about Arabs.

  • 'About 60,000 Americans were murdered' by Palestinians in Israel, says Shmuley Boteach
    • "The rotting corpse of the Presbyterian Church suffered another nail in the coffin with its general convention vote on Friday to divest from companies doing business with Israel."

      That's not what the church did. He can't seem to nail anything down correctly.

  • Iran wins points from Brazil to State Dep't (even as Bill Kristol calls for another Iraq war)
    • Iran is probably going to get even better after Khamenei passes on. Good chance there will be a reformation of the government in which unelected Supreme Leaders will be replaced by elected non-supreme ones. And there's no reason to expect the country to depart from its tradition of cautious and non-inflammatory foreign policy. The U.S. should most definitely cooperate with Iran on the present Iraq troubles, and should reject the advice to do it ourselves in such a way as not to strengthen Iran. The only people who have anything to fear from Iran are those who want all the Muslim countries in the region to be or become failed states.

  • Neoconservatism is 'vindicated' in fawning 'NYT' piece on power couple of Kagan and Kristol
  • 'Numb, speechless, sad', Israel supporters grieve Cantor's loss
    • Cantor's defeat is actually very good for the Jewish people; some don't understand that, but we're working on it...

  • Shmuel Rosner's RX in the NYT: Occupation forever
    • Isn't this Naftali Bennet's long-term strategy? Israel will "manage the conflict" until, well, never mind when.

  • South African radicals wanted to kill Paul Simon for violating boycott -- Steve Van Zandt
    • It has been obvious to me for a long time that Paul Simon is a snake. If I recall correctly, there were people who said that his album "Graceland" was part of the impetus for the end of apartheid, and I don't think he ever demurred.

  • America's rabbi hoovers celebrities
  • Now Rand Paul wants to 'Stand with Israel'
    • It's good to have this coverage of Rand Paul and his machinations, even if he has no meaningful chance of becoming President, as I believe is the case.

  • Who will be the last neoconservative?
    • I noticed the references to prosperity by the U.S. source interviewed by Nahum Barnea and by David Brooks here. These references are aiming in different directions but both seem to be the same tactic, namely to threaten or inspire fear.

      The interview source said "Israel is not China. It was founded by a UN resolution. Its prosperity depends on the way it is viewed by the international community."

      Brooks said "...the order that we’ve counted on for the free movement of peoples and goods...that we really do rely upon..." Phil paraphrased Brooks' comments as "saying that the US needs to continue to run the world, and keep up the global stream of goods and services, or everyone’s prosperity will suffer."

      It's just interesting to see this tactic used on both sides now. Brooks is speaking to the mostly-American NPR audience saying, in his own euphemistic way, that the public should support a reassertion of the Pax Americana in order to ease the pain they're feeling in their wallets lately. Of course, this isn't why Brooks is making the argument. He doesn't give a rip about the American public.

      The reference to prosperity by the interview source, however, is particularly interesting. After a frustrating period of time working on an Israel/Palestine solution, a U.S. State Department source who must have had the approval of Kerry and Obama, and who might have been Kerry himself, starts talking about Israel's prosperity being at stake. That strikes me as cutting pretty close to the bone.

      I don't think the "peace process" is over, although it might not continue to look like a peace process. A very significant part of the American establishment, a network of people whose power is deeper than that of the Cheney/Rumsfeld network, decided a while ago to make some changes to American policy with regard to Israel. It is not about Obama and/or Kerry trying to secure their personal legacies. And this establishment is not going to "give up" because Israel refuses to cooperate.

      The interview was not a parting shot coming at the end of the latest peace effort. The pressure will continue, and I don't think that a Democratic successor to Obama will switch sides. And if, God forbid, Jeb Bush succeeds Obama, I don't think he will take us back to the days of Cheney and Rumsfeld, either.

  • Kerry says that Israel could wind up being 'an apartheid state'
    • It's silly to think, as Norman Finkelstein apparently does, that this round of two-state talks is all about Obama's and Kerry's preoccupation with their personal legacies. Since about 2006, a deeper American establishment than the neocon one has reasserted itself. They waited until their new President was re-elected and then launched the current two-state process.

      There are various motives, but my strong sense is that some of the main ones have to do with domestic U.S. politics. I don't think the ongoing Sheldon Adelson spectacle, for example, is good for the Republicans. Some voters notice it, but more importantly the political class does, and it's repulsive to most of them.

      It will be interesting to see how Hillary behaves in the meantime. Assuming she runs, I don't think she'll reveal much in the way of support for a solution to the conflict before the election, but I think she very much wants the conflict to be resolved.

  • Snowden revealed a world of conspiracies I once would have scoffed at-- Bryan Burrough
    • "I’d suggest that Gross or others at NPR get Chase Madar on to explain [Chelsea Manning's] significance."

      I'd suggest that Burrough study Bob Woodward for starters and then move on to 9/11. It's hard when you have a nice career in journalism and at some point are forced to look at evidence and facts that invalidate your worldview. Most don't want to know and won't go there. A few do, people like Robert Parry and Russ Baker. They are the ones we should be listening to. Maybe Brian Burrough will make the full transition, but we'll have to wait and see.

  • 'Secret' London conference seeks to link BDS to... terrorism
  • Why are two Republican congressmen doing a walkabout on the Temple Mount?
    • "The evangelicals are different. For a variety of reasons, the worse Israel behaves, the better it is fulfilling their needs."

      What are those reasons? I'm not implying an opinion here, just asking.

  • Hillary Clinton to do NY fundraiser with man whose 'only agenda' is Israel
    • P.S.: mondoweiss covers the media dimension of the question quite well, but there has to be more. Probably somewhere in the Edward Snowden realm...

    • It is absolutely not all about cash. Are we to believe that the behavior of the Senators who conducted the Chuck Hagel hearings was only about campaign money? Impossible. So what else is it? I'd like to see the mondoweiss team focus on this question. I think that shedding more light on the answers would have a very positive impact.

  • 58 angry, selfish, foolish Jews don't understand: AIPAC speaks for Israel
    • Hey Tzombo: Marcus is pretty much right. Every single time the far left has been in power in Israel, especially since 1977, AIPAC has supported them, except for Rabin in the 1990s. But he wasn't far left, he was, I don't know, crazy or something.

  • Jewish groups used anti-semitism smear to try to stop boycott debate -- Holocaust scholar who heads MLA
    • I would use the word "pressure". Blackmail is usually in the mix somewhere. I don't accept the scare-mongering about bloodshed and disaster. The main obstacle to an imposed two-state solution is the domestic political situation in the U.S., and it looks like that obstacle is in the process of falling. It is also becoming increasingly clear that Kerry is not begging the parties to agree. He's going to lay out the deal, and the U.S. is going to insist that it be implemented. We'll have to wait to see in what forms the pressure is applied, but it's naive to think that the U.S. does not have the power. It does, and its now-dominant political establishment obviously intends to use it.

    • "When the two-state solution officially goes down this year..."

      By "goes down" I assume you mean "fails". It could also mean "happens". I think a lot of people are underestimating the chances of it happening. I think this administration intends to impose a deal on the parties to the conflict, and I think the chances are pretty good that the next administration will be of the Democratic Party and will see the process through if it's not finished already. The deep American establishment is behind this; the opposition is becoming narrower. Some think that the U.S. cannot impose a deal, but I think we'll find out that it can.

  • Fearless authors dance on third rail of US politics...
  • 'Guard the state, no surrendering to Kerry' -- right-wing Israeli campaign
    • Lieberman is maneuvering to succeed Netanyahu. One scenario is that he teams up with the haredim and the various liberal parties, and in the meantime something is done to fracture Yesh Atid and bring about half of its members into a coalition. The other half can refuse to work with the haredim and stay out if they prefer. Likud and Naftali Bennett will be out.

  • Round up all the usual suspects (the peace process in pictures)
  • In 2014, BDS movement will outflank Israel lobby -- Beinart
    • I don't think they will "coast". I think they'll get creative. Bush Sr. helped to get rid of Shamir. There are many ways the U.S. can change the game over there if necessary. My sense is that something big has begun to happen since Obama's re-election with respect to the conflict and the region. It's consistent with the changing attitudes that this site monitors and is helping to bring about.

      And as I said, I think it has a lot to do with U.S. partisan politics. If Obama and Kerry keep pushing for a deal, and the Republicans get all nasty in 2016 in support of the settlers and Netanyahu (or some other right-wing leader), that isn't going to play well for the Republicans. It's like, they made their bed with the Israel hawks, and now the Democrats are forcing them to sleep in it. There's a lot at stake, and much of it hinges on the Democrats extending their control of the executive branch beyond two terms for the first time since 1952.

    • I think the Democratic nominee will be torn between the pressure coming from the Israel hawks, including the lobby, and the policies that the Obama administration has put into place thus far in the second term. Meaning Kerry pushing for a two-state deal, the refusal to invade Syria and depose the Shiite government, the agreement with Iran, and perhaps other things. I doubt Obama and Kerry (et al) will give up on a two-state deal. I think they will probably keep pushing until they get it or until the 2016 election. The Democratic nominee will probably try to stay aloof and even hint that she might not continue those policies if elected. In the meantime the Republicans will be very vocal in opposing Obama's Israel/Syria/Iran policies.

      I didn't say that the Democratic establishment is anti-Israel or anti-Zionist. I said that it wants a two-state deal. It's true that the Democratic establishment's foreign policy is now that of Eisenhower, Nixon, and Bush Sr. I don't think Israel will ever be an "enemy" of the U.S.

      To some extent I see these Obama policies as having a lot to do with domestic U.S. partisan politics. The Israel hawks shifted toward the Republicans after Bush Sr., and eventually did much to help bring about the invasion of Iraq. The Democratic establishment is now using this legacy against the Republican party. I'd say the tactic is working pretty well.

    • Beinart: "If [Kerry] fails, the United States won’t take another shot until it inaugurates a new president in 2017, and maybe not then."

      Probably not then. The new template would seem to be that Republican administrations do not push for a solution, and Democats do so only after being re-elected, if then. So if Obama and Kerry fail this time, the earliest resumption would be around the beginning of 2021. And that would be if the Democrats hold the Presidency for four straight terms, which would be the longest run for either party since FDR and Truman.

      It is possible that the circumstances surrounding the whole issue have already changed enough that this will not be the outcome. But the lobby would probably be in favor of this template, and 2016 is going to be a pitched battle with respect to Israel/Palestine. Hillary is doing everything she can to get their support, but the Democratic establishment obviously wants a deal, and Presidents are supposed to do what they're told, so I doubt the Israel hawks will trust Hillary.

  • Netanyahu tweets red-telephone picture, to show how happy he is with Kerry
    • Kerry: "...recognizes Israel as a country that can defend itself, by itself, ..."

      By itself. That's interesting.

  • Israeli ambassador's present to Obama -- settlement cufflinks!
    • We should not underestimate the significance of what the U.S. administration has been doing since the 2012 election. Petraeus out; Hillary out; Kerry in; Hagel in; Obama saying some interesting things when in Israel; two-state process renewed with some urgency; Kerry saying some blunt things; interim deal with Iran; and some other developments that might be quite related, such as the Snowden affair.

      Obama does not seem to me to be a force of nature. He is more a spokesperson. And a good one. Maybe the greatest of the great communicators to date. Case in point: scroll back up and look at that smile. It's the phoniest, most hideous smile you'll ever see, especially if you know the context. He maintains deniability while sending his message, loud and clear. Perfect!

  • Two rightwing supporters of Israel make huge grant to int'l LGBT campaign
  • Rouhani has 'American blood on his hands,' Emergency Committee for Israel says
  • Bored with the Jews
    • That's a bummer about Dershowitz. Harvard should have waited for him to resign and then appointed a Jewish dean.

  • Obama confidante says Iran would not use nuke against Israel, but 'I still think he will pull the trigger'
    • I don't think Obama will attack Iran, but I think he might attack Syria. The main reason for attacking Syria will be to diminish Hezbollah's ability to threaten Israel and thereby to diminish one of Israel's main excuses for refusing a two-state deal. Everyone with a brain believes that Iran won't actually use nuclear weapons against Israel. No one has ever used them since the first time, in 1945. In a multi-polar nuclear world, using nuclear weapons is not part of the logic of having them. Lester Crown tells us that Iran won't use nuclear weapons, but that if they get them it will exacerbate the Hezbollah problem. The problem is Hezbollah, not Iranian nukes. I think Obama will address the problem, not the non-problem.

      The real problem that Crown doesn't want to identify is that a nuclear-armed Iran will circumscribe Israel's imperial ambitions. That is the "emergency" that requires a "committee". The fear is of continued loss of imperial momentum, which has been happening for about six years now, and which I think will continue. The fear is not of a physical threat to Israel, which hardly exists, especially given America's unwillingness to tolerate such a threat.

  • Goddamn the neoconservatives
    • "Brooks 'let his veil slip' ... he has damaged himself, irrevocably."

      He did let his veil slip, no doubt about it, but I can see him recovering if he is allowed to. This piece by Phil is very encouraging in that respect, however.

      Recently MJ Rosenberg tweeted that "David Brooks combines condescension of the high bred WASP, his aspiration, with the ethnic chauvinism of the parochial Jew, which he is."

      Amusing as always, but not quite right in my view. In the Jewish Week article about Brooks (dated 11/15/11) that Phil linked to in his July 4 article a week ago, Brooks says of his family "that their social lives are less involved with Washington’s power brokers and journalists, but rather built around weekly Shabbat dinners with friends from their shul and their kids’ schools."

      I see Brooks as following the path that David Mamet has taken (one example among many), not as aspiring to be a high-bred WASP.

      The high-bred WASP act is camouflage, as are Brooks' many positions that make him a "moderate" Republican. It gives him the appearance of reasonableness, of being willing to consider all points of view and to balance them out and avoid extremist conclusions. On every issue except one, of course. Moderate, reasonable Republicans find themselves unemployed and powerless these days, unless they do the one thing that can make them unassailable.

      This approach, Brooks' approach, necessarily creates a certain amount of cognitive dissonance on the part of his readers, listeners, and interlocutors, apparently including Gail Collins. Many NYT/NPR/PBS followers will respond to statements like "We should be trying to turn the Syrian civil war into Iran’s Vietnam" by not quite knowing what to think, and in many cases just filing the idea away in their minds without due diligence.

      If Brooks isn't "the best of the neocons, the most nuanced and presentable," I don't know who is. He's insidious and dangerous, and he shouldn't be left alone to do his underhanded work. If he is, the damage he has done to himself will, alas, be revocable. It's good to see that Phil doesn't intend to let that happen.

  • David Brooks's track record on lesser cultures and religions that lack the 'democratic mentality'
    • I haven't looked around for a site or a writer that tenaciously shines a disinfecting light on the complex and dangerous discourse of David Brooks. It's good to see it happening here, but I think it would be appropriate to increase the effort and make him more of a focal point for mondoweiss than he already is.

  • Egyptians lack 'basic mental ingredients' necessary for democracy, says 'NYT' columnist
    • Egypt has a population of 85 million. Far from having defective mental equipment or intellectual DNA, the Egyptian people are by and large very worldly. For at least the last 32 years, Egypt has represented one of the world's most appalling wastes of human potential. Why couldn't Egypt compete with India as a high-tech economy? It could, but we all know why it hasn't.

      Every word that David Brooks writes or speaks is meant to influence events. Although he throws some of his stuff on Iran and other Muslim countries in this piece, I think his priority is that Egypt continue to be ruled by a dictator who will keep the 85 million Egyptians completely stunted. The notion of all those people being allowed to develop themselves, their political culture, and their skills and prosperity, makes Brooks and his ilk shudder.

  • David Brooks welcomes 'Enrique Cohen-Chan' diversity
    • " As America changes and there are more and more "Enrique Cohen-Chan"s walking around, a Jewish state is going to seem like more and more of an anachronism. Some day David Brooks will flipflop on that one too. "

      Uh, I'm going to say he won't. In fact, when I began to interpret Brooks as an Israel-Firster a few years ago, I found it to be an illuminating hypothesis. He's mild-mannered about it most of the time, even somewhat covert, but I think that's a more effective approach, and whatever we might think of his ideas (so to speak), he is a very effective, even dangerous, propagandist. He writes about a lot of topics, but I get the impression that in the end there's really only one thing he cares about.

  • 'NYT' columnist praises fundamentalist Jews as collective of 'the future'
    • Remind me, does MJ Rosenberg include Brooks in his list of alter kockers (along with David Mamet and others)?

  • Which will prevail-- latest neocon charge on Hagel over Israel, or D.C.'s fatigue over delay?
    • I would much prefer that the U.S. had a fluid party system as some parliamentary governments do. But even to break the party duopoly in America would require fundamental legal changes that aren't on the horizon at the moment. Something that's worth working for.

    • I've thought about Hagel running for President in 2016. I won't rehearse all the logic, but I think his best odds would be to switch parties and run as a Democrat, and those are long odds.

    • AJC says: "But in light of his complex record in the Senate..."

      Not good to have a complex record in the Senate. Must be simple and clear.

  • Hagel obeyed Senate taboo against criticism of Israel-- 'our most important ally in the entire world'
    • Do the Senators have a rational strategy in this case? Hagel is still expected to be confirmed, so what are they trying to do?

      Hagel must be enraged by this. Should they be concerned that his response after being confirmed will be to do the opposite of what they want him to do, or as little of it as he can get away with?

      Are they setting up a confrontation with the Administration, which seems to be moving in the wrong direction as they see it? If so, how risky is that? Do they know for sure that they can prevail when the time comes?

      It seems to me that it can't just be about campaign contributions. And the word "intimidation" doesn't even seem strong enough. It seems more like they're under control.

      I get the sense that some kind of reckoning is coming soon. I don't know how it will play out.

  • Endless 'debate over two-state solution' is cover for the real story, annexation of West Bank
    • The two-state solution is a solution to a problem. The problem is the public relations challenge associated with a gradual takeover of the West Bank. The solution is to talk about the two-state solution until the takeover is finished.

  • Was Obama just doing the rope-a-dope last night?
    • I don't think Obama won the battle, but I think he got closer to winning the war. He's just running out the clock at this point. My biggest fear is that Romney will close the gap enough that some faceless committee of people will decide that they can steal the election for him.

      And poor James North should just get rid of his television. Life is too short for tedious, centrist, dull, unchallenging TV programs.

  • Garrison Keillor comes out, slightly
    • Much better than nothing. By the way, and help me out here, but is he also joking by putting himself in the position of God? " have nothing to atone for to me..."

  • Obama says Netanyahu's demands are 'noise' and Romney seems to want to 'start another war'

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