Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 312 (since 2011-01-30 15:09:34)

I'm from Philadelphia. I support a one state solution where everyone in what is now Israel has equal rights regardless of religion, ethnicity, or gender; and there is separation of church and state. I have a particular concern about the role of Christian Zionism in the Middle East crisis.

Showing comments 100 - 1

  • 'Tablet' says writers who talk about Israel Firsters are channeling Hitler
  • Why Christian Zionism is nothing short of outright heresy
    • See my comment to Real Jew above.

    • According to a speech Netanyahu gave to Hagee's organization Christians United for Israel in Jerusalem on March 8, 2010, he believes mid-19th century Protestant Christian Zionists were responsible for the origin of Zionism. View his speech at

      link to

      The relevant passage begins at 5:25.

      If you are speaking about today, the Israeli government does blatantly pander to Christian Zionists in order to manipulate American public opinion. I was in Israel in November and it was quite amazing to see the evangelical groups being shuttled around to be shown a quite controlled narrative like they were visiting Disney World or that creationism theme park in Tennessee.

    • Glad to see your post Craig. The role of Christian Zionism in U.S. politics is little known by the rest of U.S. society outside of this subgroup. The momentum that Newt Gingrich has at the moment is not something that has happened overnight. The dogma of the Religious Right theocratic agenda as been an underground brush fire in American politics for 30 years which is now breaking out into the open. It will finally come under the scrutiny of every thinking person of whatever belief. It is late, however. As Mark Twain said, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes”.

      Rachel Tabachnick at Talk to Action (link to has been covering the Religious Right for years. Her column "Eight Reasons Newt Gingrich is Emerging as the Religious Right's Anybody-but-Mitt Candidate" is important background information for understanding the source of Gingrich's current momentum. It is at
      link to

  • New book Palestinians in Israel explores the contradiction of the ‘Jewish and democratic’ state
    • FYI: Another film everyone should be aware of:

      “5 Broken Cameras”
      Palestinian filmmaker Emad Burnat spent five years filming his village’s resistance to Israeli settlers — and brought his intimate but powerful documentary to the Sundance film festival.

      link to

  • Shlomo Blass honors Martin Luther King... and does Blackface
    • If you have never heard (and I mean heard, not just read) Martin Luther King's 1967 anti-Vietnam War speech, you do not really know what he was about. After hearing this there is no way you could claim that he supported the suppression and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

      Martin Luther King, "Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam"
      link to

  • 'NYT' and 'Haaretz' and world opinion are now greatest threat to Israel, Netanyahu reportedly said
  • UK's deputy PM says Israel is 'vandal'-izing the two-state solution. Israel accuses him of 'gratuitous bashing'
    • Correction: The link for this article was wrong.

      "Israel 'will launch significant Gaza offensive sooner or later'
      Israel Defence Forces chief of staff speaks on third anniversary of start of a major three-week Gaza assault"

      link to

    • Given that "the Republican candidates were falling over themselves to align themselves with Israel", we can count on the Israeli government creating crisis in the region over the next ten months to influence the American election. These articles show there is a political and a military strategy to this end. The last article shows this will be complicated:

      "Synced AIPAC trips by president and PM may force Obama to play favorite
      In unprecedented situation, both President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will attend AIPAC's annual policy conference in March."
      link to

      "Israel 'will launch significant Gaza offensive sooner or later'
      Israel Defence Forces chief of staff speaks on third anniversary of start of a major three-week Gaza assault"
      link to

      "Closer ties between conservative Evangelicals and Catholics may distance U.S. Jews
      The overwhelming majority of American Jews are liberal on social issues and consequently not great fans of the overtly-theological Republican approach to 'family values.'"
      link to

  • Today in Pittsburgh, Jesse Lieberfeld, 17, will deliver a hammer blow to American Jewish support for Israel
    • The audio for Martin Luther King's 1967 speech against the Vietnam War is at

      link to

    • Glenn Greenwald has an excellent post today which brings out the connection between the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. and Martin Luther King's understanding that this struggle cannot be isolated from the global struggle. Greenwald highlights Martin Luther King's 1967 speech where he connected being against the Vietnam War with the Civil Rights Movement. Greenwald then goes on to connect this to our governments Endless War in the predominantly Muslim parts of the world. This is why Jesse Lieberfeld's speech is appropriate today.

      "Who are the victims of civil liberties assaults and Endless War?" is at:
      link to

    • The point is that Martin Luther King's message was universal. It was against all oppression anywhere. To recognize this, as Jesse Lieberfeld is doing, is to honor Martin Luther King.

  • Bibi throws in with GOP, Democratic base turns critical, and Israel finally becomes partisan wedge issue like abortion -- Blumenthal
  • Israel's nightmare: Jew against Jew
    • I have great admiration for Norman Finkelstein, but on the two-state solution I feel he is losing touch with reality. The IDF works side by side with the settlers to harass and attempt to ethnically cleanse the West Bank. They cannot be relied upon to remove the settlers for a two-state solution. I think we must direct our energies to the apartheid state of Israel. The goal must be a state that has political and social equality for all regardless of ethnicity or religion. As Lillian Rosengarten says, this means a separation of church and state, the only basis for a democratic, not theocratic, society.

  • Rick Santorum says murder of Iranian scientist was 'wonderful thing'
    • If you don't know who John Hagee is view this Max Blumenthal video. Note what Hagee was saying about Iran in 2007:

      link to

      Note Santorum in the video.

    • And the winner is....

      "Rick Santorum Wins Endorsement Of Evangelical Leaders"
      link to

      John Hagee of Christians United for Israel was one of the 150 evangelical leaders. You can be sure that he reassured anyone that had qualms about Santorum's celebrating the assasinations of Iranian scientists that this is part of the what is necessary in the End Times since there is much more death to come.

    • Rachel Tabachnick at Talk to Action has details on the chaos in Religious Right circles over the Republican nominee. "New SC Poll: Romney 23, Gingrich 21, Santorum 14, as Religious Right Leaders Meet in Texas to Unite" is at:

      link to

  • Campaign within campaign was battle for Adelson's millions
    • All of the individuals and organizations in the articles I linked share a common world view. While those articles detailed some of their domestic views, they are directly connected with their end times theology. Christian Zionism is an integral part of this. Please read this article by Frank Schaeffer, a former leader in the Religious Right:
      "Newt Gingrich the Republicans and the Loony Religious Fringe" at:

      link to

    • Philip,

      Here is an answer to your question about what role Christian Zionists play in trying to promote Gingrich:

      "Cognitive Dissonance in GOP as SuperPac Launches Attack in SC on Romney" at Talk to Action:

      link to

      A December 29th article on Talk to Action, "American Family Association's Don Wildmon Endorses Gingrich" has more information:

      link to

  • Paul's challenge to progressives
    • Dan, your characterization of anarchism and socialism is not historically accurate. Study the conflict between scientific socialist Marx and the anarchist Bakunin in the International Working Men's to see that they are opposites.

      link to

  • Neoconservative responsibility for the Iraq war
  • Ron Paul challenges liberals on love of 'big finance' and 'big-ass wars'
    • Glenn Greenwald has posted a powerful, no holds barred column today which directly addresses the hypocrisy of progressives who, while ready point out the reactionary defects of Ron Paul, are willing to overlook the Obama's gutting of the Constitution, promotion of endless war, and carte blanche support of Israel. "Progressives and the Ron Paul Fallacies" is at:

      link to

  • You don't write, you don't call (Ron Kampeas version)
    • If the U.S. attacks Iran, as it is clearly laying the groundwork to do, this debate will take on a higher level of intensity and deepen the crisis of Zionism.

      After the initial flag waving that greets every war, when the consequences we will have to live with as a result of this war begin to become our way of life, these questions about U.S. foreign policy and the enabling role that Zionism has played in the U.S. empire's colonial enterprise will become more widespread.

      They were able to get away with Iraq and Afghanistan because it only affected the small portion of the population in the military and their families. An attack on Iran will impact every American because of the disruption it will cause to oil production and the radicalization it will cause in the Muslim world. I fear it will be a catastrophe for the world, but maybe people will finally start to pay attention to what is being done in their name and why.

  • Horror of Memories: Reflecting on the third anniversary of the war on Gaza
  • The gift of the Jews
    • patm, Thank you for the kind words. If you think a struggle for identity from the dominant culture is difficult as a Jew, the establishing of a progressive identity in the ethnic group I come from has not been a cakewalk!

      I do not see science as the cause of the world's problems and the rejection of science, as the Anabaptists do, as the solution. The problem is capitalism, a system where science is put to the use of private profit and not human need and progress. Ultimately, science is going to be the solution to our problems if it is freed from the profit motive.

      The idyllic view that "the English" have of Anabaptists as a return to an innocent Garden of Eden where life is free from the problems of modernism is not something I share. There is something to be said for the collectivist lifestyle where the interests of the group are put before the individual's interests. However, this is a double-edged sword. The Amish do allow the "walk about, but how many people are willing to give up their family and the identity of who they are to leave the group that they grew up in?

      My view has been shaped by growing up gay in this subculture. My experience has been that if your existence is not found in Scripture (as they would frame it, "God doesn't make mistakes"), then you cannot exist as yourself. Given a choice between recognizing the evidence of science and following their interpretation of Scripture, they always choose Scripture. (Which is why I am drawn to Spinoza because he was excommunicated from his synagogue for holding that the Torah must be interpreted based on the laws of nature as revealed by science.) My experience has been that the "very peaceable" Anabaptists can be quite totalitarian if they feel their religious beliefs are challenged by reason.

    • So Philip, I hope the suffocating atmosphere of the Christmas holiday is the cause of your reacting with this “chauvinist streak of my own”, but what does this mean in the fight against Zionism? I think it always good to try to view the world objectively, not subjectively. Isn’t ethnocentrism a major component of Zionism which says “the Chosen” are unique and are therefore above international law and can therefore establish a theocratic Israel based on a several thousand year old tradition even if it is not shared by the indigenous population of the area?

      I agree with you that, objectively speaking, there is a large Jewish influence far beyond the number of Jews in the population in U. S. culture today. As you know, because of the dead-end of Zionism, however, this influence is not always good for Jews or the rest of society. While I do not share your apparent belief in the omnipresence of “the Lobby”, I do think it has been able to exploit the crisis of international capitalism for theocratic ends.

      There is no question that the intellectual and social pursuits of Jewish culture have had a profound affect on Western culture as you allude to in your article. Many of Lessing’s Jewish friends you cite in the article had probably rejected Zionism, if not religion itself, as the basis of their life. Freud wrestled with this in his last (controversial) book “Moses and Monotheism”. Regardless of the controversial historical questions he raised, the book is a psychoanalytical study of how the Jewish people were able to maintain their identity as the Other under many times horrendous social conditions. The philosopher Spinoza is another example of a Sephardic Jew who, in the 17th century, wrestled with being brought up as “the Other” and universalized his struggle against superstition to a world view based on science.

      As someone who grew up in the Anabaptist tradition (Mennonite) where we were also considered “the Other” (we were taught to consider ourselves “the Elect”) I can appreciate your pride in the accomplishments of many Jews. My ancestors also suffered great persecution in Europe before immigrating to America centuries ago and many have maintained their ethnic identity through strict enforcement of religious belief. Ironically, many of my ancestors first went to Amsterdam in the 17th century before coming to America and some of their leaders, while rejecting Spinoza’s science, were influenced by his views on separation of church and state, views which played a role in Philadelphia during the Revolution. Unlike the many Jews who have made many great advances in science, however, my ancestors saw science as a threat to faith. As a result, many of their descendants are mired in a peasant mentality which is not far removed from the Middle Ages. So you can take pride in this heritage, but watch out for the “chauvinist streak”!

  • Two critiques of Norman Finkelstein
    • These are very insightful articles. There can be no clearer expression than these that the two-state solution is dead.

  • Israel says it's 'disgusting' for world to take stand on 'domestic affair' --settlers
    • The Israeli newspaper Haaretz is finally drawing attention to the alliance between the Netanyahu government and the religious right in the U.S. The U.S. religious right is very involved in the West Bank settler movement. The Israeli government sees no problem in accepting this outside interference from the religious right or intervening in the "internal affairs" of U.S. politics. You can only understand Israeli and American politics if you investigate this major factor in the current situation.

      link to

      This alliance has been going on for many years. See Netanyahu's speech to Christians United for Israel in Jerusalem on 3/8/10. In the speech Netanyahu credits Protestant Christian Zionists for "enabling" Jewish Zionism. The relevant passage begins at 5:30:

      link to

  • Thomas Friedman finds Al-Qaeda in Iraq
    • Every time I read one of these idiots trying to justify what we did to Iraq I replay this interview from last week on Democracy Now so my consciousness is seared with awareness of how pathetic these apologists who enabled this historic war crime are:

      link to

  • Busted by Goldberg, Klein now says commas caused war in Iraq, not neocons
    • Those wanting to look into the origins of Christian Zionism may find this video interesting. (Note: It's an hour long.)

      "The Roots of Christian Zionism: How Scofield Sowed Seeds of Apostasy"

      link to

  • 'Silly messianic superstitious nationalistic ... waste of Judaism' (Did Hitchens abandon these ideas?)
  • Kinsley ran many pieces in 'New Republic' opposing Palestinian statehood even though he didn't agree
    • Philip, We are all a product of our past and maturity can only come from a universal view of the interests of humanity as a whole. You have spent your life trying to recover your humanity from the spirit destroying ideology of Zionism and alert the world to its danger. Having grown up in a Protestant, fundamentalist evangelical home, I have spent my life trying to recover my humanity from the spirit destroying ideology of Christian Zionism and to alert the world to the danger to humanity that this ideology represents. The truth is, that we are both right. Each of these ideologies has their sphere of influence and together they represent an immediate danger to the planet in their denial of the reality of our situation.

      We must go deeper, however, and recognize the backing that corporate interests and the financial community give to Zionism and the fostering of sectarian divisions in the Middle East in the interests of the long used method by colonial powers of dividing and conquering the people in an area they wish to exploit.

      The two links below illustrate what I mean:

      This video from Democracy Now is one of the best descriptions I've seen recently of the consequences of the U.S. colonization of Iraq:
      link to

      This recent video of Norman Finkelstein deals directly with the influence of "the Lobby" on U.S. foreign policy. The relevant part of the video begins at 32:30:
      link to

  • Iraq-- I'm sorry
    • With his look forward, not back mantra, Barack Obama is as guilty of war crimes as anyone in the Bush administration. He is complicit in the coverup of the war crimes. Can you ask the people of Fallujah not to look back? They have to live with the consequences of U.S. crimes every day of their lives!

  • Adelson is helping Gingrich, as he once helped Bush
  • Friedman line, 'Congress is bought and paid for by Israel lobby,' is shot heard round the world
    • from Haaretz:
      U.S. love for Israel comes with a price
      The Republican's unconditional support for Israel is undoubtedly gratifying for many Jewish voters, but in the long run, it could do more harm than good.
      By Chemi Shalev

      link to

    • What makes you think that is not happening? In Pennsylvania the legislature has just put so many restrictions on abortion that only wealthy women will be able to get one. Last week, with all our problems with homelessness and education, the Philadelphia City Council spent a day debating whether there should be state sanctioned school prayer.

      Jewish Zionism and Christian Zionism are dependent on each other. Each could not exist without the other. Christian Zionists give Israel carte blanche for whatever it does because they believe the Bible tells them to and they believe an expansionist Israel is necessary for the Second Coming. As Netanyahu's Christmas message shows (on today's posts) Israeli Zionists are very conscious of the importance of Christian Zionists in influencing political dialogue in the U.S.

  • Gingrich comment that Palestinians are an 'invented people' enters primary debate
    • "I would say Israel was established to advance the cause of Zionism and successive Western foreign policies have been influenced, if not hijacked, to support this objective. "

      libra, I think this gives far too much power to the Zionist establishment. I think the Western powers established Israel in 1948 because it was strategically useful as a pretext for interventions in the societies of the region particularly to gain access to the natural resources of the area such as oil. "Defense of Israel" has been used as the excuse for overthrow of governments and wars against Arab and Persian states for sixty years. Israel would not have been established if the Western powers did not want it no matter what the Zionists said.

      I do not mean to minimize, however, the role that Zionism as an ideology has played in galvanizing support for Israel. In Western societies, the Zionists skillfully used the Holocaust and centuries of anti-Semitic pogroms to promote their ideology. These legitimate grievances became a pretext for using the Jewish people for the interests of the Western powers.

      The combination of Jewish Zionism and Christian Zionism has created a lethal combination which has poisoned American politics. Religious superstition is now the guiding force in U.S. foreign affairs. It is this audience that Newt Gingrich and neocon extremists in the Republican and Democratic Party are playing too.

    • The Palestinians are the descendents of people who have lived on this land for centuries. What they have not had is a Western type nation state with a national government, etc.

      What has been "invented" is the state of Israel. This is a Western state that has been imposed on the indigenous population of the area and used for sixty years to advance the imperialist aims of the the United States and Europe in the Middle East.

      The modern Palestinian identity has been forged in opposition to this colonialism which has been imposed on them.

  • IDF kills Palestinian protester and tweets '#Fail'
  • Gingrich says Palestinians are an 'invented people'
    • Andrew Sullivan usually gets it wrong, from his initial support of the war in Iraq to his support of Obama attacks on civil liberties. On this question, he got it right though because he understands the role of Christian Zionism in the Republicans drive to get the world into all out war for their religious superstitions:

      link to

  • AIPAC posterizes Obama in Senate, 100-0
  • GOP presidential candidates offer red meat on Israel (UPDATED)
  • Israel trades $100 million in frozen PA funds for nuke-ready submarine
  • NBC and the Israel lobby
    • I think an attack on Iran by Israel is going to bring all of this to a head. I was in Israel a few weeks ago and witnessed a guided missile test by the IDF while in Jerusalem. The Israeli press was filled with comments by Israeli officials that the time for diplomacy is over and an attack on Iran is immanent. Being in Israel, I of course wondered what "immanent" meant. Obviously, there are conflicts within the Israeli government as the attack did not happen in the past weeks. Haaretz had a column the same day saying a former head of Mossad saying an attack on Iran would be "crazy".

      I asked our Egyptian guide when we were in Egypt what would be the response if Israel attacked Iran. He said he thought there would not be a response because there is animosity between Iran and the Arab dictatorships dating back to the Sunni/Shiah divide and current geopolitical conflicts. He didn't think the street would react. He is a middle class intellectual, a supporter of El Baradei. We were in Tahrir Square last Tuesday and he was skeptical that Friday's demonstration would accomplish anything. So I don't think he is very in touch was most Egyptians.

      When I got back to Philadelphia, I went to Saturday night's GA at Occupy Philadelphia. I spoke at the open mike about my trip to "Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Egypt". The facilitator immediately started waving two fingers in my face. I had never seen this hand signal before, so I proceeded and completed what I had to say about my conversations with Egyptians. I later found out that she was signaling that my two minutes was up, even though she had allowed previous speakers to ramble on for eight minutes.

      If Israel attacks Iran it will be a disaster for everyone. Iran has said that it will attack Israeli nuclear facilities and disrupt Persian Gulf oil shipments if they are attacked. If this happens the Jewish lobby and Christian Zionists will bleat for all out war. Hagee has been saying for years that such a war would follow his fantasies about Biblical prophesy.

      Whatever happens, the status quo will not hold!

  • Israeli newspaper owner says Obama can't stop settlers' 'apartheid regime' because of 'Jewish lobby'
    • How does this explain the 29 standing ovations Netanyahu received when he addressed Congress on May 24th. This was from both sides of the aisle. I'm sure money from Jewish Zionist lobbies is a factor, but isn't it far more likely that they feared the political consequences from Christian Zionists if they were not seen standing with Israel?

      link to

    • I can't find Hagee's specific PAC, but if you look at CUFI's website you can get an idea about their political activity. Checkout their speaker's bureau and the outreach to churches, including the calendar of events. Also, look at their press releases such as 31,000 e-mails to the French President on November 10th calling for him to vote against Palestinian statehood. The website is at:

      link to

    • Mr. Schocken may be being diplomatic when he refers to the "Jewish lobby", but he does not understand the current condition of the U.S. government if he does not include Christian Zionism as part of the Jewish lobby. The only way Jewish Zionist supporters have any support is because they fit into the end-times eschatology of Christian Zionists. Christian Zionists are a large minority in the Christian community, but they have a political influence far beyond their numbers. They are running the Republican party and Democratic politicians, including Obama, kowtow to them.

      I was in Jerusalem a few weeks ago and witnessed the symbiotic relationship which exists between Orthodox Jews and evangelical Christians. Each is very friendly with the other, but their theology believes in the ultimate demise of the other. (Note: Not all evangelicals are Christian Zionists, but all are at least enablers.)

      Christian Zionists base their world view on superstitions based on the Book of Revelations. They believe Jews must be converted to Christianity or destroyed. It is the same ideology that has plagued Jews for 2000 years.

      Christian Zionists are the driving force behind an attack on Iran. They work closely with settlers on the West Bank to achieve the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. See this video of a 2007 conference of Christians United for Israel to see the nature of their ideology:

      link to

  • UNESCO votes to admit Palestine as a full member
  • Racism toward Arabs is what unifies the Zionist right, says JJ Goldberg, liberal Zionist
  • Why Palestinian rights are not front and center for OWS meta-brand
    • The more I think about the article by Newclench the more it ticks (I want to use stronger language) me off. Do we tell the Democratic and Republican candidates that they must confine themselves to domestic issues? We live in a global economy. What is done in one part of the world affects the rest of the world. This is especially true in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Look at this article on Talk2Action about the role that Christian Zionism has played in the Perry campaign. Were is your criticism of this Newclench?

      "John Hagee Refuses Open MSBNC Invitation To Clarify Remarks" by Bruce Wilson at:

      link to

    • I agree with some of the commenters above that, in a global world, the issue of equal rights for Palestinians must be raised at OWS. After WWII, the corporate powers in the U.S. and Europe exploited the suffering of the Jews of Europe to establish a Western state in the Middle East which would advance Western interests. Israel has been the base for many wars and a pretext for interference in the governments and societies of the region for sixty years to gain access to the resources of the region. If we are confronting Wall Street, we must confront this history.

      The orchestrated campaign to malign OWS as anti-Semitic is part of the campaign to prevent this history being discussed by OWS.

  • Occupy Wall Street movement is making room for Palestinian issue
  • The Real ‘Theater of the Absurd’: Netanyahu, Givat HaMatos and his endgame in Palestine
    • There is an interesting article at Salon which describes the inner workings of the Zionist regime during the Sharon period. It would to be interesting to see a similar article about what is going on inside the Netanyahu regime, but I guess that has to wait for history.

      The Salon article, "Ariel Sharon’s fascinating appetite.
      In my years reporting on the Middle East, I witnessed his bizarre relationship with food -- and the story behind it" is at:

      link to

  • Props for the amazing political space OWS created (but who is talking about Palestine?)
    • "Left" does not equal Stalinism. It was the gravedigger of the left. Study the history of the Left Opposition and Trotsky. Millions of those Stalin sent to Siberia and executed where called "Trotskyites". Trotsky wrote an important book in the period called "The Revolution Betrayed".

    • Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and their ilk have been waving the anti-Semitism flag for several days to condemn OWS. For anyone who has been part of an occupation, we can only shake our heads at these rabid demagogs because this is manifestly not part of OWS. There have been two individuals featured in these reports out of the thousands involved in OWS as their evidence.

      In my opinion, this is an orchestrated campaign by the right-wing, including supporters of Zionism, to prevent the issue of equal rights for Palestinians being raised by OWS. Their strategy is to intimidate anyone involved in occupations who raises the issue of the Palestinians with fear of being called anti-Semitic.

  • Fragile Egypt
    • The realization is growing in Israel that the only solution out of the sectarian conflict is a democratic, secular state where everyone has equal rights regardless of religion or national origin.

      link to

    • This is really excellent and courageous reporting!

      I agree with pabelmont that the U.S. government and the Israeli government are operating through the Egyptian military to stoke this sectarian violence. The removal of Mubarak did not change the structure of the state. While I agree that sectarianism has taken on an energy and life of its own, the underlying factor fueling the divisions is the geopolitical and economics interest of the of U.S. corporations and banks and their client, Israel.

      The instances that Philip cites of individual Muslims and Christians joining together to fight the sectarians is encouraging. This must be turned into a political movement which is the only way to advance what the Egyptian people began in their Arab Spring.

  • In Cairo, we consecrate the freedom of religion
    • I neglected to link the information for the Philosophy Festival. It is at:
      link to

      Also, a very good recent book on Spinoza is "A Book Forged in Hell: Sprinoza's Scandalus Treatise and the Birth of the Secular Age." by Steven Nadlar.

      link to

    • The whole question of Jewish identity and the struggle against oppression as a minority is thousands of years old. I was privileged to see the play "New Jerusalem" last night in Philadelphia. It is about the "The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza at Talmud Torah Congregation: Amsterdam, July 27, 1656". I found it to resonate profoundly on today's issues surrounding Zionism, the separation of church and state vs. theocracy, and freedom of speech and expression.

      Anyone who can get to Philadelphia to see it should do so. There is also a Philosophy Festival as part of the play. Information is at:

      link to

  • 'That’s what democracy means': Kristof makes the common sense argument for one state
    • The half a million settlers in the West Bank have made the two state solution impossible. They are showing signs that they want to ethnically cleanse the West Bank. This would be a catastrophe for the world.

      The current Palestinian proposal in the U.N. is valuable because it is exposing to the world that the Zionists and the U.S. government have never been serious about a two state solution.

      Since the settlers have settled the question with their annexation of Palestinian land, the only way forward for those who are looking for a solution to the problem is a secular, democratic state where everyone regardless of religion or national origin is treated equally. Yes, it means a struggle like the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and Jim Crow in the American South. Engaging in such a struggle is the only way to bring the justice that will lead to peace.

  • Behind aid-cut to Palestinian Authority, more than meets the eye
    • The European Union and the Arab League are making plans to increase their aid. What would this mean for the dynamics of the situation? At the very least, doesn't this mean this withholding of aide would backfire on the U.S. Congress because it shows the rest of the world the U.S. is not the superpower it claims to be?

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  • US withholds $200 million from PA for punishment over statehood bid
    • I hope other countries step in to replace this aid. This could be one more step in the isolation of the U.S. and its decline as a world power.

  • Mourning the Jewish New Year
    • The only way to recover from this "stain on Jewish history" is for right thinking Jews to get behind the one state solution. A secular, democratic state where all are treated equally regardless of religion or national origin is the only just and viable way forward.

      A leadership must rise up among all peoples in the area who will develop such a state. What form its constitution would take would be developed in the struggle.

      All who want to study the theoretical issues involved should study Spinoza.

  • Palestinian negotiator Hanan Ashrawi pressed on next steps for Palestinian statehood
    • So how would this two state solution be achieved? Some commenters in this thread propose the Jewish settlements on the West Bank be turned over to the Palestinians. So do they also propose that Palestinians in East Jerusalem and what is now Israel be forcibly moved to the West Bank or Gaza?

      I'm not saying there are no problems with the one state solution. They are monumental. For one thing the Zionist establishment, along with the elites in the PLO and Hamas, would to everything they could to sabotage it because it would threaten their privileged position. If you get past that there would be the problem of uniting all sides under a common constitution. How to bring that about is also hard to imagine. A leadership would have to develop among both Jews and Palestinians that would want this and campaign for it.

      I just can't forget what happened in the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947/48. Over one million people were killed in the ethnic cleansing to bring about partition. Study this historical lesson and decide if this is what we want for the future of Israel and Palestine.

    • Remember the violence the settlers provoked when they were removed from Gaza? This would be much worse. Just look at how the partition of India and Pakistan was achieved and what has been the result.

      I know it sounds naive and impossible right now, but the one state solution, a democratic, secular state where all are equal regardless of religion and national origin would solve many problems. This way all could preserve their religious rights and the country could move away from the segregation which is costly for both, and an injustice for the Palestinian that cannot survive.

      I know diehard Zionists would never accept this, but does a discriminatory state have anything to do with Jewish traditions? Theocracy is a medieval idea which is part of monarchy and inherently undemocratic.

  • Palestinian statehood and the struggle for self determination and national rights
    • It is good that, as some commenters state, young Palestinians are abandoning the two state solution for one democratic, secular state solution which will give equal rights to all regardless of religion or national origin.

      The two state solution would created a situation worse than the partition of India and Pakistan because Palestine would be a puppet, apartheid state at the mercy of the Zionist government of Israel. The Zionist settlements have made the two state solution impossible.

      Separation of church and state is one of the great achievements of the American revolution. It was a break with the medieval theocratic state which brought Crusades, the Inquisition, and centuries of oppression. It is the only way forward in a global community where we are all interdependent.

      There is opposition to this in the political class of both Israel and Palestine because such a state would threaten their interests. A democratic, secular state is in the interests of all and the only way to peace in the Middle East.

  • Ismail Khalidi: A tragic lecture, justifiying a vicious occupation, with no awareness that we killed the two-state solution
    • I for one am glad to see the two state solution die. There was always the danger that Palestine/Israel would become another India/Pakistan. Over one million people died in the ethnic cleansing needed for the partition of India/Pakistan in 1948, and they have had continuous military tension and four wars since.

      The settlers have made the death of the two state solution a fait accompli anyway. The governing elites of Israel and Palestine will not like the solution because it threatens their interests, but the only way forward is a democratic, secular state where everyone is equal regardless of religion or national origin.

      The concept of a nation based on religion is medieval in a global world. A leadership must be developed in Israel and Palestine ready to break with ethnic nationalism and build a nation which represents all of the people of the region equally?

    • What is there to negotiate eee? When they should commit suicide?

  • Obama speech was shattering to liberal Zionists
  • Israel's remaining friends rally around flag outside of UN
    • At least the role of Christian Zionism in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict is finally on full display. For decades the Christian Zionists have been running a stealth campaign to give political and economic aid to Israel with as little public attention in their role as possible. It has warped the U.S. politically and culturally to go against our own self-interest. It is a sign of desperation that they now feel they must campaign publicly for what they have been trying to do secretly. This also makes them very dangerous.

      Finally people can see the true source of the problem. People must begin to look at their absurd, but dangerous, theology. At its heart it is anti-Semitic because it depends on the medieval concept of conversion or extermination of the Jews in a Jewish homeland for the Rapture to happen. This is the only reason they support Israel.

  • September uprising? Hopes, prospects and obstacles for Palestinian popular struggle
    • It seems the world is finally waking up to the injustice that the Palestinians have suffered since 1948. If nothing else, this week will expose the reactionary nature of the Zionist settler movement, as they must do on the world stage what they have been doing for years.

      I have concerns about the two state solution, however. The Zionist settler movement has made this solution unviable. What the Palestinians will be left with is an apartheid state completely at the mercy of the Zionist leadership in Israel.

      The other danger is that a two state solution could lead to a situation that existed in the partition of India and Pakistan along religious lines in 1947. Abbas’s recent statement that Jews and Muslims cannot live together in Palestine/Israel is not reassuring. It is estimated that the ethnic cleansing required for the partition of India and Pakistan lead to the slaughter of over one million people in 1947/48. There is constant military tension between them that has lead to four wars. Could this be the future for Palestine and Israel?

      The only way forward is for a leadership to emerge in Israel and Palestine calling for one secular and democratic state where all would be treated equally without regard to religion or national origin. The current leadership of both countries is looking out for the economic interests of a tiny elite in their country, not the interests of all the people of the region.

      This may sound far-fetched given the current situation, but look at the alternative!

  • Art museum’s censorship destroys its integrity
  • How Saloma left the Amish
    • Too bad I was not able to comment earlier, so most will miss this, but I have a lot of experience with Anabaptists (Mennonites and Amish). As someone who grew up in a post-Mennonite home (my parents left the Mennonites during WWII because my mother worked in a defense related industry and, since Mennonites are pacifists, they were shunned as a result, though in all other areas my parents kept their Mennonite upbringing; most of my relatives were Mennonite); I am used to the idealized view of Anabaptists in the U.S.

      As with any culture, there is good (promoting a civilized life involving a strong work ethic and concern for the community of believers) and bad (suppression of expression, hatred of the Other, suppression of intellectual freedom and openness to new ideas). The restrictions Anabaptists place on their children are all designed to keep them "in the fold" and prevent them from joining "the world". This has been largely successful for over 300 years, but the pressures of mass communications and agribusiness are eroding their isolation.

      Some commenters have alluded to how lucky Anabaptists are to be cut off from our sick and militarizing culture. This is true. I personally have had no problem not having a TV (maybe because we didn't have one for much of my childhood), getting my information from sources I select on the internet. The past week of anesthetizing the masses with 9/11 hysteria is a good example of the corrupting influence mass media has on our culture, to say nothing about the cult of celebrity and the obsession with professional sports. The honest approach to death by Anabaptists is due to their closeness to nature as small farmers, something very rare in a culture dominated by agribusiness.

      However, the Anabaptist practice of rejecting "the world" comes at a high cost. There is a stifling of individual expression and visceral attempt to hang on to a prescientific world view (Creationism, rejection of all technology except for utilitarian purposes to improve farming, anti-intellectualism; a literal, ahistorical acceptance of the Bible). The practice of shunning, rejecting those who have "left the fold" (the analogy with sheep is appropriate), is a heartless practice which belies the innocence which outsiders attribute to Anabaptists. This practice involves being rejected by family and the community they grew up in of individuals who dare to question orthodoxy and seeing them as dead to the community.

      Personally, I take my inspiration from Spinoza and his struggle against the Orthodox Jewish community of Amsterdam during his lifetime.

  • See the children's drawings that terrified the San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council and the Jewish Federation of the East Bay
  • We've learned nothing since 9/11
    • He is the full link to the Scheurer interview. Maybe tinyurl doesn't work for everybody.

      link to

    • There was a recent interview on Fox News which shows how brazenly right-wing thinking is moving in an openly fascist direction. The drain on our economy from endless war and the increasing loss of credibility of all branches of government are leading to a crisis which can only lead to the warmongers ratcheting up the war propaganda to try and get the population to support their a lust for war in order to maintain their system.

      Look at this exchange between Lou Dobbs and Michael Scheuer, former CIA agent in charge of the Bin Ladin unit until 1999, on Fox News, talking about where we are. They throw off all pretenses that have been the government camouflage about the cause 9/11 for ten years and acknowledge the motives of the attacks on 9/11.

      Look at how they then break with the logic 0f this acknowledgment, however, into a call for all out war on Islam all over the world. Note in particular how this twist of logic, which begins at 3:44, continues the demonization of Muslims even after acknowledging U.S. policies and Israeli are responsible for the increasing isolation of both Israel and the U.S. in the global community.

      Scheuer scoffs at the current military tactic of “winning hearts and minds” and says we must be about “killing the enemy”. No reason, no purpose, no goal, no military objective…just kill!

      The video is at:
      link to

      Scheuer recently spent an hour on a TV call in show on C-Span. His position is seen as perfectly acceptable in ruling circles.

  • 'DailyKos' bans Simone Daud, who sought to inject Palestinian view into US political discourse
    • This comment is indirectly connected with the ‘DailyKos’ ban of Simone Daud, but it is a vital connection. Zionist pressure may have led to his banning, but looming behind everything having to do with Israel in the United States is Christian Zionism. It is a black hole which our politics is increasingly being sucked into and is warping the social fabric of our society. While Daily Kos's actions may be motivated by a "liberal Zionism" they will have to answer to history for their role is aligning with this reactionary movement.

      There is a good article on the Al Jazeera website about this:

      "Exposing religious fundamentalism in the US: The US media has been downplaying a radical Christian theology that is increasingly influential in the Republican Party." It is at:

      link to

  • Bulletin: Children's pictures from Gaza are banned in Bay Area
    • Could the organizers of this exhibit start a website and post the children of Gaza's art? I'd love to see it!

      They could have a page describing the shutting down of the exhibit.

  • Mea culpa, Irene
    • john h,
      Dominionists basically believe that our government must be based on the Christian Bible and Christian belief . Central to this is "end times" theology, the belief that the earth must be prepared for the return of Jesus. There are variations within Dominionism about the specific time line of the Rapture ( a glaring proof that all of this belief is based on human imagination, not divine inspiration). What they all share is that the establishment of Israel is a sign of the end times, and Jews must be converted to Christianity for the second coming.

      Every Dominionist is also a Christian Zionist. The reason I see them as the "greater danger" than Zionism itself is because of the portion of the population that accepts the Christian Zionist worldview, and the danger of the largest military in the world coming under their control. This is why Netanyahu received 29 standing ovations when he spoke before Congress a few months ago.

      See this video by Max Blumenthal to get an idea of their mentality:

      link to

    • annie,

      I am referring to the article "Terry Gross gives a fearful earful on a Christian movement seeking ‘dominion of politics, business and culture’" by Philip Weiss on August 29th, 2011 at:

      link to

      I think it is wrong to compare Christian vs. Jewish Zionism and their impact on the culture. Right now the two have a symbiotic relationship to advance each others common agenda, the promotion of a theocratic state in Israel. I see Christian Zionism as a greater danger just by their percentage of adherents in the U.S. population. What happens if there is rapprochement between Jews and Palestinians in the Middle East (I know this is not on the horizon at the moment)? Christian Zionism would become even more extreme and turn on Jews for once again rejecting Jesus as the Messiah.

    • Now I'm waiting for your Mea culpa to those you dismissed last week (such as Fresh Air's Terry Gross, though she is not above criticism for not informing about the dangers of Zionism as you stated) for informing about the dangers posed by Christian Zionism, Dominionism, New Apostolic Reformation, et al. :)

      See link to

  • Bank, king and God (not necessarily in that order)
    • For a detailed analysis of the ideology and history of the Dominionist Movement see the new article posted on Talk to Action, " Inside the Christian Right Dominionist Movement That's Undermining Democracy" at:

      link to

  • Libyan triumph exposes the west's double standard for Palestine
    • Libya was a colony of Italy and then the British and French until 1951. I'm not sure when the Western powers turned from imperial interests to benevolent supporters of the Libyan peoples desire for self-determination occurred, but the rank and file rebels who have illusions about NATO will be sorely disappointed when they find their fight has been hijacked by Western corporations interested in taking their oil with little benefit to Libya.

      If you can stomach it, this clip from Faux News shows pretty clearly the thinking in Western ruling circles.

      link to

  • Congressman says, I'm going to Israel, and his site is flooded with ragefilled comments about 'sucking teat of AIPAC' to serve ethnocratic, apartheid state
    • It certainly is on the part of Christian Zionists. They are banking, of course, on a mass conversion of Jews to Christianity because they fantasize this is needed for the Rapture. If this doesn't happen, they will be the leaders of a revival of anti-Semitism.

      See link to

  • Here's hoping that rightwing crazies' support for Israel-- Rick Perry!-- will make liberal Jews do a reality check
  • Glenn Beck: Russo-Cuban AFL-CIO Islamist Israelis occupying Tel Aviv?
    • From "Talk to Action"
      "Christian Zionist Agenda Exposed by NAR Apostle Don Finto at Rick Perry Event, and Few Noticed" at

      link to

    • Christian Zionists do no want peace in the Middle East. They support Zionism and the settlers because they believe their conversion to Christianity will bring about the Rapture. When Jews don't accept this the Christian Zionists will resort to their underlying anti-Semitism. Glenn Beck is the latest manifestation of this trend along with linking his animus to accusations of socialism.

  • Slouching toward theocracy: Tehran and Tel Aviv may have something in common
    • Thank you for making the connection of what the Muslim fundamentalists in Iran have in common with the Zionist fundamentalists in Israel. The same applies to the Religious Right in the U.S.

      At least the common absolutism of the fundamentalists in the three monotheistic religions is being exposed for all to see. What they all share in common is hostility to the ideas of the Enlightenment and humanist thought for the last 500 years (source of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution).

      For them reason must be guided by faith, rather than faith be guided by reason. They are putting their faith in a reactionary ideology that theological justifies the ruling elites in their societies instituting authoritarian forms of rule to hold on to power. They are advocating an end to democracy and a return to a monarchical authoritarian government. Such a government will only be possible with severe repression wherever these fundamentalists are allowed to flourish.

      Now that their agenda is being exposed, what are we going to do about it?

  • Dreams of a multi-ethnic democracy-- Tent protesters cheer Palestinian demands
    • It is good to see these demonstrations taking up the cause of the Palestinians and turning away the bigoted West Bank Zionist settlers.

      There is another angle to consider, however. It is only a matter of time that these Israelis in the streets will get wise to the the basic anti-Semitism of the Christian Zionists who are supporting and encouraging the settlers.

      The core of Christian Zionist belief has been that the establishment of Israel must lead to the return of Jews as preparation for the Rapture. This coming together of Jews and Palestinians will not be welcomed by Christian Zionists. They will say the Jews are once again betraying Christ. This attitude could already be seen in Texas Governor Perry's prayer fest Saturday.

      Christian Zionist expert Rachel Tabachnick at Talk to Action had this observation of the Texas event:

      "3. Changing Public Tone Toward Jews

      John Hagee spoke, but Apostle Don Finto, former senior pastor of Belmont Church in Nashville, delivered the prayer for Israel. This is huge.

      Finto is one of the most revered figures among the apostles and is at the center of an international network of support for Messianic Jews and missions to proselytize Jews in Israel and worldwide. They make Jews for Jesus look like amateurs. Finto wrote the manual for how Christian Zionists should befriend Jews and ingratiate themselves in Jewish communities. This book has been distributed through the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem, the largest international Christian Zionist event in the world.
      Finto openly prayed for conversion of Jews of the world in order to bring about Jesus' return. He then invited Messianic Rabbi Marty Waldman to join him at the microphone.

      What this says to me is that the Religious Right thinks they can win with a multi-racial evangelical coalition of their own and to hell with Jews - quite literally. Or they figure that right-wing Jews and Israel single-issue voters are so besotted with Christian Zionists that they won't notice or care about this shift in tone."

      The full article is at: link to

  • Anti-Muslim law enforcement trainer cited by Norway killer rakes in U.S. taxpayer cash
    • Shoebaat has strong ties with the Religious Right in the U. S. As the website Talk to Action detailed in the article “CNN to Air Report on Taxpayer Funded Fake Former Terrorist” on July 13th:

      “ This self-proclaimed terrorist, Walid Shoebat, was one third of a traveling anti-Muslim sideshow called the "3 ex-Terrorists," and is now a very popular solo act on the Islamophobic fear-mongering speaking circuit. The other two members of Shoebat's trio were Zachariah Anani, and Kamal Saleem.
      In between his many tax-payer funded speaking engagements, Shoebat is a popular speaker at events such as Tim LaHaye's Pre-Trib (Pre-Tribulation) Research Center conferences and John Hagee's Christians United for Israel (CUFI) events. Anani is a Lebanese-born Canadian citizen who claims to have killed 223 people while a Muslim terrorist. Saleem, under his real name, Khodor Shami, worked for Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network for sixteen years, was hired by James Dobson's Focus on the Family in 2003, and founded Koome Ministries in 2006 to "expose the true agenda of [Muslims] who would deceive our nation and the free nations of the world.”

      The full article is at link to

      Related to this, today on Talk to Action there is an article about the 6th annual Christian Zionist summit whose featured speakers were Benjamin Netanyahu and Glenn Beck. “Hagee Invokes Memories of George Wallace, Bashes Obama at Christian Zionist Summit” is at:

      link to

  • Col. Travers: Israel's treatment of Palestinian children shows that it does not seek peace
  • Akiva Eldar says that Dennis Ross, a Zionist, has all but destroyed the two-state solution and Palestinians should deal for one state
    • eee,
      The reason there is so much uncritical support of apartheid Israel in the U.S. is that a significant minority of he American populace are Protestant Evangelical. This religious sect believes that the founding of Israel portends the Second Coming of Christ. As a result, no criticism of Israel is tolerated. This is why Netanyahu received twenty-nine standing ovations when he spoke to the U.S. Congress in May.

      Netanyahu himself believes that U.S. Evangelicals are responsible for the founding of the state of Israel. See this video where he expresses this belief (the relevant passage begins at 5:30):

      link to

      I guarantee you that if Israelis start waking up to the fact that a democratic, secular state where everyone has equality regardless of religion or national origin is the only way to go, these Protestant Evangelicals will start to show their true anti-Semitic colors. They are not friends of Israel, they are using Israel for their own theological superstitions.

      For more information see this article form “Talk to Action” : “Christians United For Israel Lashes Out (Anatomy of a Misquote)” at:

      link to

    • I saw the panel discussion Akiva Eldar was part of on Al Jazeera on Monday. He said if the two state solution is no longer viable, then Israel should have a policy of "one man, one vote" including all residents regardless of religion.

      For other Israelis who are coming to this realization, see "The General's Son" at:
      link to

  • US flotilla passengers begin fast at US Embassy in Athens
    • To see how Israel is using this barbed wire pen, see the video:

      link to

    • Richard Witty,
      Sorry, no matter what happens, this is not a "disaster" for the flotilla. That a humanitarian mission of civilians can send the Israeli and the U.S. government into such extreme measures has once again exposed Israel's true intent. It once again shows they do not want peace with the Palestinians.

      When you say there should be a"democratically elected PA" (which, like it or not, Hamas is), you mean a puppet government controlled by Israel.

      The only way there can be peace is if a truly democratic, secular state is established where everyone regardless of religion or national origin can live as equals. The Israeli's will never recognize the Palestinians right to exist as long as they keep trying to impose a theocracy which discriminates against the indigenous population of Palestinians in the region.

    • According to Agence France-Presse the captain of the U.S. boat is being held in harsh conditions. The U.S. embassy has been unresponsive. See:
      link to

  • The Goldstone Report and Israeli criminality-- what the Israeli left (and the US left) refuses to get its head around
  • Awakening: Kushner mugging leads UCLA prof to reject Zionism
    • I mentioned this last week, but for anyone who missed my comment it should be noted that even Netanyahu believes that the Zionist project was first conceived and started by early 19th Century Christian evangelicals, the originators of today's Christian Zionism. See this video of a speech given by Netanyahu to John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel on March 8, 2010. The relevant portion starts at 5:25:

      link to

      If you are not familiar with Christians United for Israel you should view this video:

      link to

  • A concoction of distortions, half-truths and emotionally-potent oversimplifications of scripture is Christian Zionism

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