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Total number of comments: 28 (since 2011-02-25 06:06:15)

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  • And now a message from our first Jewish president . . .
    • For many reasons, I dislike this sort of rhetoric "the Jewish President". Your actually arguing that there's something inherently supportive of Israel in being Jewish, and that supporters of Israel are all Jewish. I don't think that's what you mean to imply. Furthermore, there are some domestic issues of ethnicity you're wading into by tacking yet another ethnicity onto the first non-white President, who is already called an Islamic radical and unamerican Kenyan.

      Besides that, yes, this is a repugnant vid. The bright side, I think will be the "Joe the Plumber" effect. When you force-feed Americans a kind of jingo that doesn't come naturally, they'll rebel. If you tell them they love America, that's fine. If you tell them they have unshakeable bond with Israel, or that today we are all [insert nation here], they'll question it. A lot of the time, at least.

  • Community board of leftwing radio station in Houston is so freaked out by boycott it calls for boycotting 21 countries, including US
    • Heaven for fend we talk about ourselves with the same disdain we reserve for those "occupiers".

  • My response to 'DailyKos' smear
    • No, actually. I said what I said, and meant it, this is a visceral reaction, not an intellectual one. There is no evidence for the 60% figure, it's simply been recycled for years. There's no evidence for your claim that Bush was brought down specifically by the loan guarantee issue. It may have been one factor, obviously a very minor one. THere's no evidence for your tangential point about Clinton knowing about Oslo in its primary stages; writing the word CIA, isn't an argument. Not that that actually matters.

      In short, you've provided no evidence for your assertion. Nor did I actually introduce the idea of agenda. I described what you are doing, expressing a feeling that you can't substantiate with evidence. Many people do this, on the left, and right. Way too many.

      It was indeed you who accused me of having an agenda. In the comments section of an article about Dailykos branding a discourse as outre, its surprisingly ironic. Just to be clear, I think what Dailykos did was unacceptable. That doesn't mean that either you or Weiss have made convincing arguments. Anyone should be understandably angry when being accused of having an "agenda" when pointing out the weaknesses in another person's argument. It is a dishonest tactic.

    • "What's your agenda?"
      You don't know how stupid and useless you appear when you ask such questions. Impute whatever agenda you like, you're still simply restating your evidence-free assertions, now adding purity tests to hide the fact that your ideas are visceral, not cognitive.

    • Again, lots of problems with your reasoning process, which affect your methodology in ways you don't seem to be able to understand. In the first place, a pro-Israel agenda means what exactly? In the early nineties, large numbers of Israelis were opposed to the Oslo accords.

      "Re GHW Bush, he had lost the popularity that he had gained during the first Gulf War when The Lobby and close supporters of his in the Republican party and in the media, such as William Safire and George Will, turned against him after he twice denied Israel its request for $10 million in loan guarantees."

      According to whom? Some line from one book? The economy was in the tank, he was the laughing stock of the nation. He was incredibly unpopular for reasons having to do with the moribund economy and his appearing completely unaware of the country's malaise--the supermarket scanner, we are not in a recession. Repeating your line about losing the Jewish vote, doesn't bring it closer to being true.

      Take your "Jewish" goggles off, or I'll put my "white people [including Jews] are responsible for everything bad in the world" ones on. You'll find that my arguments in that regard are unassailable.

      I've now read at least two well researched accounts of the inception of the Oslo process in Oslo. The Clinton admin was eventually told about it, but not until it was in the pipe. And again, it was hugely unpopular with American Jews.

    • There are some problems with your argument that are pretty obvious to anyone not invested in your beliefs. Chief among them that you can't look at a list of names and pick out the Jewish ones, or that they even identify as Jews. The same would be true for any race or ethnicity. The first mistake is assuming you know the ethnicity, the next is the assumption that you know how and why it guides political behavior. Your leftcurve link also has some problems. I remember the Bush period well, as do many people and I still find this interpretation odd. Bush 1 was an incredibly unpopular President by the time of the election, and his approval rating, was one of the lowest in history. His action was designed to cause the downfall of Yitzahk Shamir, and he was successful. I would also add that Oslo was undertaken outside of the purview of the Clinton administration and in secret. There might be a reason for that as well.

    • Not to get involved in this useless bs, but you're wrong about Akhmetov. He's worth 16 billion, the 39th most wealthy person on earth, and recently bought the msot expensive home on the planet. Carry on trying to prove that one group of people is at the heart of everything wrong with the country. It always works, unfortunately.

    • These are seriously impoverished ideas. What happens when you try to decode a crystal by just looking at one fascinating facet. Use Israel to explain neo liberalism, support for authoritarian states throughout the world and the drug war, and you'll make a believer out of me. Otherwise, you need to step back and take a look at the bigger picture.

    • I have some problems with your arguments:

      "Jimmy Carter was a one-term president in some measure because he alienated Jews by opposing settlements."

      Unsubstaniated. Many people will tell you why Carter was a one termer. I assume it had much more to do with economic issues than any other.

      "The next one-termer, George H.W. Bush, tried to stop the illegal Israeli settlement project in 1991 and paid "dearly" for it in the 1992 campaign (as Donald Neff writes in Fallen Pillars). Bush himself has said that this stance hurt him in that election. "

      He didn’t try to stop settlements. He punished Shamir for crossing him, and his goal was to cost him the election. And he did.

      Your focus on the right wing press’s claims that Obama lost Jewish votes with his 1967 remark, obscures the reality. Did he lose that support? I’m under the impression that no one knows that yet.

      We can debate the importance of the Israel lobby and the Jewish presence inside the establishment all day long. What explains support for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States? For Plan Colombia? For the Drug War? Is there also an inordinate number of Gulf Arab-Americans in government? Too many Colombians? Why do the Teabaggers get so much support? Is it because there are too many white people in office and in those offices.

      By the way, I’ve spent all of two seconds on Daily Kos in the past ten years. It sucks, period.

      Is there an Israeli Lobby? Yes, of course. Wherever you find an inordinate amount of interests accumulated in one direction, you will find a lobby right behind it. Is that lobby inordinately Jewish? I have no idea. Certainly, you've made some arguments that show a superficial representation of Jews. I have a feeling it goes deeper than that, and that military contractors, and other investors are also inordinately represented.

      I could sarcastically comment that the inordinate number of white people in the government is what's at the heart of everything wrong with our country. Is that true? Well, there are a lot of white people in our government, they possess the wealth, and our country sucks. Will our country's economic direction change when there are less white people with money and in a position of power? I think I'd be laughed out of the room for asking these questions. Certainly, many people who espouse some of this rhetoric wouldn’t support my theory.

  • Israel makes it clear it views 'Israel/Palestine' as one state
    • There needs to be some care taken here. Because Kadima, and various other "left" parties of the Knesset voted No for this in blocks. From your reasoning that would appear to indicate that they support a "two state solution". Whatever that vague assembly of words now means, Kadima claims to be in support of a "two state solution", though I'm sure they imagine something along the lines of what already exists in the West Bank and Gaza, codified into a permanent solution.

      I think it's quite likely the law will be overturned in the court, and that the "left" will declare it as a victory of the Democracy that all Israeli functionaries are always going on about. The government of Israel doesn't support an anti-boycott law as a whole, because they don't need to. They have other ways of undermining the boycott, while maintaining the veneer of democracy over their rotting apartheid fiefdoms.

  • Marriage equality-- are we fighting to get into a Norman Rockwell painting or for true liberation?
    • For better or worse, social institutions are obviously normalizing agents. During segregation in this country, one could certainly have made the argument that public schools were areas of indoctrination, where people were taught lies about the history of the country and trained in jingoistic mantras designed to allow one military and economic war after another. Still, the importance of having access to the institution was important, and that access, in itself, with the higher levels of educated African Americans involved in pedagogy, actually began to change the curriculum. That's obviously a tougher sell for involvement in the military, but I would say that the military is an obvious ill for the country, with little redeeming value. Access to institutions like school, marriage, the full spectrum of professional careers, is not simply for its own sake, but for its ability to alter stagnant social definitions of male, female, right, wrong, ethical and unethical by including those who carry an identity previously banned from them. Myself, I don't believe in capitalist society and am waiting for a meteor to undo all the damage we've done and bring us down to a more harmless level. Barring the meteor, I seek the betterment of the conditions of everyone in the society, for the betterment of the society.

    • It seems to me you're making a similar argument as another writer on this page made to a pro-Israeli activist who asked, "why Israel, instead of one of the other bad countries on earth?"

      To the extent that people work best when they are motivated for a goal, and when they share common cause with communities meaningful to them, I think it's probably best that people organize around the issues they feel affect them and toward an end they see as benefiting their community best. For organizers and advocates, this means seeing the points of intersection in these disparate movements, and calling them to action for larger, more general goals. This has been how effective coalitions have been built in the past, not by telling the labor movement, for example, that building a labor movement in a capitalist system reinforces capitalist structures. but by inviting them to expand their awareness of the way the same system affects others--segregation, misogyny, globalization, for example--and taking them into a larger movement. Otherwise, we have pro-palestinian activists telling immigration justice advocates to abandon their goals in favor of ours, or those struggling for economic justice for African Americans to pipe down while we start our race-blind socialist movement.

  • Boycott law is crossroads for U.S.'s liberal Zionists
    • This kafkaesque part of the bill is being a bit overlooked. From Human Rights Watch:

      "On its face, the law also applies to Palestinian "permanent residents" of East Jerusalem, an area that Israel unilaterally annexed in 1967 but is still considered part of the Occupied Palestinian Territories under international law. In a statement, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Physicians for Human Rights - Israel, Adalah, and the Coalition of Women for Peace pointed to the "absurd result" that "a boycott call by the residents of East Jerusalem against the settlements" would give settlers the right "to demand compensation from victims of the occupation." "

      link to

  • 'Flytilla' protest rocks the Israeli status quo in a sacred place - the airport
  • Welcome to Israel
    • Where were Ethan Bronner and Isabelle Kirshner from the New York Time's Jerusalem desk? I suppose proofreading yet another Israel slice of life story.

  • Strauss-Kahn. Israel every morning
    • I think that Western Jews are for the most part indoctrinated with the idea that Zionism is an integral part of Judaism from a young age. This is obviously not a specific problem for mainstream Judaism. American Christians are generally taught to accept imperialism as a natural outgrowth of their religious beliefs.

      Shaking off the idea of imperialism and colonialism--whether that's in terms of culture, economy, gender or otherwise--is the key to seeing through all manner of bullshit that one was taught when they were children. It's a universal anti-body.

  • Amira Hass, the flotilla, & Jewish stereotype
    • It's a weird rhetorical device. You can't reverse stereotypes, because stereotypes are based on the fact that the group of people are threatening to those making the stereotypes. Stereotypes are only reversed when the out group becomes mainstream. It has nothing to do with whether or not the out group did something to earn the respect [or fear] of the in group, which is what Haas is implying. I can assure you that amongst the odious group of Jew-Haters who use the Palestinian issue as an excuse to validate their banking and media hysteria, nothing could be more in keeping with the Jewish stereotype than Israel running every government on earth, through pressure, or money, or what have you. It may simply be a matter of perspective, but where others see pressure, I see governments seeking their own self-interest, as they do within the boundaries of their own countries--Turkey, the best example.

  • UN report on ‘Freedom Flotilla I' was questioned from the start
    • Well, you're right, poor use of language on my part, which has a lot to do with me not having a good grasp of how the ICC works. But...

      link to

    • Comoros is party to the ICC, Turkey is not; which means, that Comoros can file a claim in the ICC. Rather than support a claim with a diplomatic efforts and a cutting off of diplomatic involvement, Turkey has tried to get closer to Israel since the incident, and has literally absolved it from an institutional fault. Seeking to sweep the incident under the rug, and while doing so, undercutting the families who are bringing the suit at the ICC.

      Incidentally, the reason Turkey isn't a signatory is because it has its own "Palestinian problem" with the Kurds.

    • Yes, the New York Times put it as succinctly as anyone could...

      "Diplomats said Wednesday that the two sides had been searching for a word that would sound like an apology in Turkish, but not in Hebrew."

      In Turkish that word is "self-interest", and in Hebrew it is "regional power broker".

    • I continue to not be able to understand how Turkey seems to escape negative characterization here. There is no other country that has done more to diminish the strength of the criticism of Israel, than this country that should have been leading the charge in every international body, rather than declining their responsibility to do so almost from the beginning.

  • Calls grow for Freedom Flotilla to launch from Egypt
    • Why does everyone assume that states such as Egypt and Greece are disinterested actors being "forced" by Israel to do anything? Greece entered into its trade negotiations with Israel a year ago, Israel has been pitching more and more aid for Greece from the EU since then. I'm sure the issue of future flotillas came up during the negotiations. Treating world leaders as if they are fellow activists in the Palestinian struggle, certainly helps them at home, as it did Erdogan. But as soon at the spotlight is off, they're back to helping Israel, as Turkey is at this moment, throwing away its complaint against Israel for the killings on the Mavi Marmara.

  • Akiva Eldar says that Dennis Ross, a Zionist, has all but destroyed the two-state solution and Palestinians should deal for one state
    • I'm glad people are finally starting to get it. I do think pushing for a one state solution makes more sense than a two state one, but I don't see it as very likely in the short term, either. I suppose it's the quantitative difference between infinity [2 state solution] and a millenia [one state solution]. I won't live to see either, I guess, but the latter is at least possible, if not an eventuality. In any case, it would only be the beginning of another very long road, maybe the equivalent of beginning a civil rights movement during Jim Crow. I like to imagine that in a hundred or two hundred years, there will be a Levantine entity, and all this business another boring chapter in the history book unit of 20-21st century stupidity.

      That being said, it's almost absurd to see anyone suddenly claiming the end of Oslo in 2011. It's been dead for nearly a decade now, and its tombstone was the Road Map to Peace.

  • Irish flotilla ship will not sail to Gaza due to extensive sabotage
    • I vacilate between thinking that Israel can spin any turd into gold and that they're going to carry a big black eye on this one. In the turd to gold scenario, they claim they saved lives by sabotage, and that this was the more humane act. Seeing as the world has already given them permission to commit whatever sovereignty violating action they like throughout the globe, they come off as heroes.

      In the black eye scenario, this is just one more wearying act of bullshit for a world's generation that has no special feelings for Israel and doesn't frighten at the accusation of anti-semitism.

  • Challenging Israeli apartheid, starting at Ben Gurion Airport
    • Thanks for doing this. I would just like to make one comment about one thing that bothered me, despite the fact that I am very excited about the action and grateful that people will spend the time, money and take the risks necessary to do it.

      You say that Palestinian solidarity activists must lie about their reasons for being in Israel. But if you're Arab/Palestinian, it's a tough nut to crack. If you have an Arab name, the likelihood of being able to spin a convincing story about avoiding the territories is slim to none. It's a whole nother level.

  • Mitchell resignation makes Obama the Mubarak of the Palestinian spring
    • Surprised that none of these mention the unification of Hamas and Fatah, and the upcoming [possible] Palestinian elections and UN declaration. Seems like they would have been involved in Mitchell's calculus.

  • Backgrounder on Hamas-Fatah split
    • When I lived in Ramallah, I knew several Christians who also preferred a Hamas government. Mind you, this was in 2001 or so, when nothing of the kind seemed even remotely likely. But Fatah is renowned for it's corruption, and unlike Americans, Palestinians for the most part are quite aware of the service role that the PLO took on for the Israeli occupation as a product of Oslo.

      My own opinion, as a diaspora Palestinian like Abunimah, is that a one state solution is not only preferable, but inevitable. Whether or not the Palestinian people prefer that makes no difference to me in terms of my advocacy. Nor does the fact that Israeli hasbaristas often shake it like some taboo stick to frighten Israeli bigots and children.

      Far too often we hold up OPT Palestinian opinion as if it's some kind of holy writ. I don't think that the will of the majority of Americans is any more valid simply because a lot of Americans hold the view--certainly, I didn't think so during our invasions of Iraq and other places.

      While Hamas is no doubt, a slightly better alternative to Fatah, and has forced Fatah to at least be accountable to an entity somewhere, it's a very problematic organization, and not a very effective one. I think Palestinians on the ground should reject the Palestinian Authority, the Hamas version and the Fatah version, a system wide general strike from Area A to C, that recognizes that the PA is nothing more than a subsidiary of the Israeli colonization project. Perhaps this will finally happen at years end--I have a sneaking suspicion that the unity agreement, the Rafah opening, and the unity agreement are little more than smoke and mirrors. There will be yet another rude awakening, something Palestinians must be bone-tired of by now.

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