Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 419 (since 2009-08-09 15:40:46)


Showing comments 419 - 401

  • Video: 'You are godless atheists' --Jewish settlers harass Palestinian kindergarten
    • There is no language there about being chosen and being chosen has nothing to do with throwing Muslim insults back into Muslim faces, which seems to be the idea. And yes, it’s still obnoxious.

      Yes when settlers finally get to the point of striking back against those arabs that doesn't mean we should not hold them up to our exalted ethical standards

    • The way I understand it religion is to a large extent a form of tribal loyalty. When more loyalty is demanded the religion becomes more extreme. From that point of view an atheist is indistinguishable from a traitor.

      An unusual thing about western Christianity is that the concept of truth became very important in it. So once you started to ask 'yes but is it true' there was a risk that you decided 'it' was not true and you were forced to place yourself outside of the group even if you didn't want to. That makes an atheist again hard to distinguish from a traitor. As far as other Gods are concerned I understand that while the loyalty to one God has to be asserted, there is the additional claim that there are no other Gods while compensating this by saying the other Gods really are kind of the same one as ours so it's ok. It's never nice to hear that your God doesn't even exist.

      I don't think Kaffiri is a synonym for atheist in the sense of 'believing there are no Gods'. It suffices that they're not loyal to 'our' religion.

  • What's wrong with colonialism?
    • Just because it’s ‘human’ for people to put their own group first, doesn’t mean that it is right.

      I would be cautious about rejecting that people put their own group first whatever that group is. The issue is how whether you do more for say your family over other people, it's how steeply your concern falls away as the distance increases (yourself -- your family and friends -- larger family --your business --your tribe -- nation -- world). That includes to what extent you're treating those further away as enemies , as lower beings or as disposable.

      Of course there are issues where people create distinctions of inside/outside where others think there should not be any distinction at all or at least (pragmatically)not as large. For instance it is a common principle that a state should treat everyone who is part of that state at an equal level (maybe not for everything), and that this should be extended to some aspects of individual interaction. So distinctions man/woman , upper class/lower class(that's the UK), black/white have become unpopular. But worldwide tribal loyalties are still omnipresent and in time of conflict they can become dominant.

      I think Israel's main problem is worse than a class based system with first rate citizens and second rate citizens. It's more extreme , more towards the caricature where there are Jews and there are antisemites, and as far as (a lot of) Jews are concerned the antisemites can all go and die, even if some of these antisemites are citizens. I honestly think it's closer to YouKnowWho in Germany. Or Sparta, but with more effort to cover things up because times have changed.

  • A private tour of the Hebron Heights winery
  • When Zionism is the essence of life, a break has huge consequences
  • Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as capital of 'Jewish people' is assault on my religion -- Queens rabbi
    • I see no reason to doubt Jesus existed. Also Nazareth was tiny in the days, so the indication was quite specific. Sepphoris nearby was much larger and that was the capital of the region.

  • 'We have taken Jerusalem off the table' -- Trump bullies Palestinians
  • The New York Times tries to make the Ahed Tamimi story go away
  • The never-ending crisis of Zionism
    • I looked up Steve Grover because I didn't see any pun there and found a Jazz musician who was still alive at the time of first post. Best matching single word anagram was funny though.

  • Photos: 'Day of Rage' rocks Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza after Trump's Jerusalem announcement
    • let’s see if you’re smart enough to figure out why that is.

      But 'no brainer catalan' has a tribe so he doesn't need a brain!

  • Palestinian officials say, Trump 'destroyed' the two-state solution
    • In fact this crime against international law will become the most anti-semitic act by any western leader since A. Hitler wrote Mein Kampf!

      Oh, he's done worse things than writing that book you know.

  • Watch Donald Trump's Jerusalem announcement
    • Press reaction here: keywords are disputed(Jerusalem) and counterproductive(the decision). No blame in any way towards Israel. but it's ok to blame Trump. In other news press wonders why they're not popular.

      Also, how explicit do you have to flaunt that Logan act to get noticed. But back to Russia. After all, that's why that act was brought out of mothballs.

  • Netanyahu ditches US Jews for alliance with Christian evangelicals and the alt-right
  • Arthur Finkelstein ruined Israel, says Ehud Barak
    • Brain washing , is that like saying look how smart Jews are so they can't be bad?

    • Freier is german (and dutch)for suitor or boyfriend. A derived meaning is that of someone who visits prostitutes, which is then derived again metaphorically to become loser.

      If you then start associating any form of decency , fairness or honesty with being a loser then the result is really pretty.

  • War rumblings continue, as Netanhayu says Iran is another Nazi Germany
    • Friedman, like so many others, view Saudi Arabia, as an country of extremists, but with the leadership, on our side and therefore, our best bet, is, to support the leadership, and that's what he's selling to us,,( and take your free commas here : ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,)

      I think that is a very problematic view.
      First, even if you take that view, it doesn't mean you let the Saudis get away with everything. It just means you apply pressure while making clear you don't intend to remove them.
      Then considering the extreme policies of the Saudis it's not even clear whether they are able to distinguish those extremists from others, or whether they even bother and are just putting up a good cop/bad cop show.
      Let me put it this way. With 9/11 a credible story is that the CIA asked the saudis to find out more about some Al Qaeda people in the US, that the Saudis started supporting these people for that reason, and that the whole thing blew up in their face. The extra question though is whether this was bound to blow up. I wonder if they even know who is part of the 'moderates'.

    • But sorry for the rude reply. Too impulsive.
      A lot of the Israeli attacks were about support for rebels. They know all too well that there never was a nuclear reactor in Syria, and all the chemical weapons are gone without ever being used. The land bridge for Iran is a minor issue, there are no Iranian bases in Syria.
      But yes, influence of Iran is growing.

    • That article stinks.

    • Page: 4
  • Dangerous signs that Trump, Netanyahu and the Saudi Crown Prince are planning wider Mideast war
  • In age of forest fires, Israel's law against Palestinian goats proves self-inflicted wound for Zionism
    • Fast growing = fast at erasing evidence of previous inhabitants. Pine trees are erasers. That or they have a secret obsession with the hanukkah bush.

  • Israel has more legitimacy than US because the bible mentions Jerusalem, not New York -- says David Harris
    • I don't know this Isaiah friend of yours well but a nonreligious Zionist would put the end of those 2000 years around the creation of the state of Israel.

    • The Bible predictably doesn't mention that Jeruzalem and all the other biblical places in the area were a desert for 2000 years until the zionists came and made it bloom.

  • AIPAC and Federation officials criticize Israeli leaders for being clueless about U.S.
    • Mmmm, what if Germany started promoting itself as the nation state representing Germans everywhere?

      Pan-Germanism and Pan-Slavism are the origins of Pan-Jewism.

  • Thousands march to UK parliament calling for justice on Balfour centenary
    • Re the partition plan ,I think it's a good place to recommend the long interview with Akiva Orr on here

      In his account of the 1948 war it becomes a war of independence against the British.
      The British arranged with the arab states they had control over (they controlled Egypt but Jordan was much more autonomous and made its own deal)to go to war so that the British would have to reenter the region in order to save the Jews from extinction.
      That failed completely because the Zionists didn't require the help.
      What the Palestinians thought or did or what was done to them then did not matter much to any of the players in this version of the events.

  • The Balfour centenary is also the centenary of the Zionist lobby
    • I highly recommend this video from David Icke about Balfour.

      I've heard about David Icke but I'd rather watch him talk about his secret reptilian invasion than this boring Balfour stuff.

  • R.I.P., Shiksa
  • The Russia influence story just crashed into the Israel influence story
    • Trump put out a book ' The Art of the Sellout' . That explains how he may well survive. He thought he could make a deal with Russia and North Korea. He learned since that the real players to deal with are the Pentagon (done) and the CIA (todo). If he does what they want why would they want to replace him?

  • Leon Wieseltier on the Jewish people sounds a lot like Richard Spencer on white people
    • Mooser says:Perhaps your faith will be rewarded on Monday

      I don't expect anything to happen on monday which would change my mind. Maybe people even go to jail over it, it still wouldn't change my mind.
      That should make me wary of course, where's the falsifiability? What would cause me to change my mind? To what extent am I relying on reporters I trust?
      To what extent am I relying on my own insight?
      But enough of the diagnostic mode. Just trust me. Do you want me to explain your car to you? I can do that too.

    • Donald says: I am agnostic on Russia gate, but assuming everything attributed to him was really done by him, what he did was small potatoes compared to what we do and have done.

      The bottom line is not what Russia did but what they want. They want better relations. If you just look at what the other side did, wars wouldn't end except by complete surrender of the other side.
      And I'm not agnostic about Russiagate. I consider it propaganda, propaganda which has found fertile soil. The press loves it for one.

  • Contest! Design a logo to celebrate the IDF's 70th birthday
    • Why just one branch. They should depict the whole tree, roots and all to emphasize their generosity.

  • Eli Valley lost work at Jewish paper for savage cartoons of Foxman and Dershowitz (but only the Israeli press cares)
    • Maybe Beinart is hoping to gain some credibility. If anything Valley represents 'Diaspora Boy' standing his ground, contrary to the zionist self-hate narrative: Diaspora Jews should hate themselves.
      Mizrahi Jews should hate themselves too, they should get rid of their arab past Non-jews should hate themselves too of course, because of their antisemitic essence.

    • i can’t believe this video only has 188 views.

      209! Man, Eli is going to be so grateful I posted that that he's going to send me his book for free, signed and all. I'm sure!

    • I see a distinction between 'inside the tent' and liberal zionist. Valley doesn't strike me as someone who says Israel should be a jewish state, though i also don't recall him saying the opposite. But then I haven't read him that closely. That's for that other reason: it's tribal. I don't feel the need to be that deeply informed about jewish tribal issues.

    • Yeah, he makes the kind of outrageous matter of fact stuff which makes me think he's got his head on straight. I used to be into comics.
      I still have a dozen or so Will Eisner comics . Maybe Jane Eisner is related.
      I think I'll watch this

    • I'm not Keith. Keith is Keith.

    • Valley is just a sore loser. He picked a fight with reality to see who could outparody who, and he lost.

  • Danish pension fund blacklists four Israeli companies linked to settlements
    • echinococcus said: Skitt’s law: “Any post correcting an error in another post will contain at least one error itself.”

      Here, that's clever. I just found the error.

  • Feel-good Gaza poster in NY window draws feel-bad response from neighbor
    • I recall Akiva Orr saying the Rotschilds weren't zionists but rather french nationalists.
      Somewhere in here

      but I'd have to rewatch the whole 150 minutes of it.

  • Zohra Drif's memoir of Algeria's fight for freedom is stunning
    • Dunno, but God did kill countless children during the Great Flood and then again in Egypt.

      It's well established that the people from after the Great Flood are a lot less smart, because of all the inbreeding.

  • Rachel Maddow's lineup of crazy U.N. speeches spotlights Arafat-- and leaves out Netanyahu!
    • I must say I watch Maddow, because her coverage of the Russian investigation can be interesting.

      Interest exists in the eye of the beholder. I use different sources and I consider Russiagate disinformation of the level of the Iraq war. And with any good campaign any reasonable person who follows the mainstream should be convinced.

  • Soros and the Illuminati! Netanyahu Jr. spreads anti-Semitic cartoon
    • I thought Soros's ideas about an open society and about economics were reasonable.
      I'm generally suspicious about his liberal interventionism though but not because of some hidden agenda behind it.

  • Israeli support for Myanmar is the natural alliance of regimes based on ethnic supremacy
    • p.s. i have a good friend (totally non political) who moved to myanmar 3 years ago

      i like to claim that the mainstream is just like us, only more so. We hate cognitive dissonance and they hate it more and strongly prefer a simple minded narrative.

      The Royingya suddenly are pushed center stage. That there are geopolitical interests that guide our attention there does not mean their suffering isn't real. That there are Al Qaeda links in their resistance movement does not delegitimize their aspirations either. It's just that we have to be aware that moral outrage which is directed at will by geostrategic interests will often achieve something very different from what we would like.

  • Eisner and Greenblatt refuse to see Israel's face in Richard Spencer's mirror
  • Charlottesville is moment of truth for empowered U.S. Zionists (who name their children after Israeli generals)
    • David Gerald Fincham August 21, 2017, 6:53 am

      Jack Green:
      “Almost every Israeli has a friend or relative who was killed or injured by an Arab.”

      Highly unlikely: Evidence please.

      If one assumes sufficient degrees of separation and a loose interpretation of 'friend' and 'relative' then obviously one cannot go wrong. .

  • The 'vertical apartheid' of the Israeli occupation
    • Well, one nice thing, a quick Google search of “Micheal Signer Zionism” yields next to nothing.

      That's clever, I get a link to your comment!

  • At town hall, Sen. Warren says Israel Anti-Boycott Act 'violates our basic constitution'
    • James are the Leveretts around anywhere…writing?

      Flynt Leverett switched to China issues after that. The general thrust of his writing is similar: trying to explain the very reasonable concerns of the other party in order to help bring about a mutual understanding and some form of agreement in certain areas instead of wasteful conflicts.

  • Israel would use nuclear weapons to keep refugees from returning -- Noam Chomsky
    • NOT agree with you that my remark “…. in contrast with you” represents an ad hominem attack.

      It is not ad hominem, I was talking about psychologizing. You deduced that I was obviously defending Chomksy because I was some kind of acolyte (an amanuensis?). Someone who considers everything Chomksy says as gospel.
      At hominem that's me responding to the other guy here in the thread. Or is that at nominem.

    • Hmm hmm… Sometimes great intellectuals manage to utter the madness that even the despots they criticize have not.

      I guess that is a downside of thinking independently. Failing feedback from others can lead to crazy thinking.

      Regardless of the bizarre suicidal concept of nuking refugees in your vicinity, if that’s what he actually meant –

      It looks like a more general statement of Israel considering return of refugees as an 'existential threat' justifying going all out, whatever that entails. It could just as well meaning going to war with Iran . In war situations,however unrelated they are, there will be no return of refugees.

      Chomsky might have an unintended point here about Israel being a genocidal regime. But Genocidal regimes require fierce opposition.

      I don't think it's unintended, it's drawing a distinction between making a ruthless assessment of the situation while still sticking to more 'realist' policy recommendations. Chomsky said he would vote for Clinton over Trump. I think concerning BDS he is advocating more modest aims.

      Personally I don't know enough to have a solid opinion but I don't see the urgency in Chomsky's comments. Yet. If you consider the BDS aims as staking out a position by listing everything that is justified, then you can include things that are negotiable. If the right of return can be converted to some extent to the right for compensation then that could be part of the negotiation.

    • Because its such obvious anti-Semitic trash?

      That would be another example. But since your name sounds as if it was generated by a spambot I assume it's not a witty snark.

    • but that does not make accept just anything they say, in contrast with you.

      There, you're doing it again!
      It's not really a personal comment, you just happened to be the first in my line of fire. There's plenty of others in this thread.
      My criticism relates to the general criticism of 'ad hominem ' attacks although I mean to criticise the sincere convictions that come with psychologizing. not the dirty 'ad hominem' trick.

    • It annoys me that the motives of Finkelstein and Chomsky are questioned. If anything they try to think in an intellectually independent manner, even if it disagrees with everyone around them.
      In that respect there is a tension with activism because there is always an element of conformism in that. That doesn't make them right but it does make them courageous. It also makes them disciplined and reliable.

      There is a common practice of 'psychologizing' the other person in an argument. The other side of the argument is reduced to a product of a psychological state and therefore to something that can be dismissed. This can make sense but if the argument is valid then it is valid. On the other hand it's a trap, an easy trick to dismiss whatever the others are saying without listening to it. A habit even.

  • Zionism is apartheid, and worse
    • Israeli photoshop software has an option to bomb the actual place in order to enhance the picture. It's next to the pinetree icon that's used for wiping an area.

    • Jonathan Cook introduced a group of let's say novices to the subject of Israeli Apartheid. He deliberately focused on Israel proper . I think it's a very good introduction.

  • 'Transferring' Palestinian citizens of Israel to a Palestinian state goes from outrage to Netanyahu policy
  • Lindsey Graham asks whether AIPAC, which comes to Capitol Hill in 'droves,' is a foreign agent
    • Graham wanted to ask a rhetorical question and accidentally put his foot in it.

    • There is an implicit model that lobbying can be tolerated from countries you have a friendly relation with but it can not be tolerated if the relationship is hostile.

      I'm not sure if those who oppose the Israel Lobby fit into that model or not.

  • Russian meddling is Watergate-worthy, but Israeli meddling is hunky-dory
    • some comments

      - Philip's willingness to accept the dominant narrative that Russia interfered aggressively in the US elections is reasonable in the sense it that it should not matter.
      Even if it were true there is a need to reduce tension with the Russians. You make peace with enemies, not with friends. Currently the dominant narrative is that Russia should be treated as an enemy.
      Also the mock outrage over Russian intervention ignores the base level of all the nasty stuff everyone does in normal conditions, and it certainly ignores the nasty stuff the US does , such as aggressive intervention in other countries elections.
      So the stories should be downplayed more even if they are true.

      - On the other hand it is not reasonable to think the Russians did intervene aggressively. Both the Russians and the Chinese very much wanted to know what went on and what was going to happen, but the narrative of Russian aggression is internal propaganda.It's more likely they showed more restraint than otherwise. Some powerplayers think it's in their interest to push that narrative (The democrats, the CIA, the press)and not enough powerplayers are interested in countering it.

      - on the other hand it is reasonable to think the Russians did intervene aggressively. There's a constant stream of high key stories. Any reasonable person will end up getting the general idea. That is not just a mainstream media problem.
      It takes effort to figure out what's happening, or at least a lot of experience to know which people to read.

      - The terminology 'propaganda campaign' appropriate but there is a difficulty. There's a default assumption of a well coordinated approach with a centralized organization where some people at least have a clear view of what is true and what is not true. In this case I doubt if it's centralized, which means one party does not know what the other party is making up, and in any case there are too few people who care to know what is true and what is false. The poisonous role of mainstream media is that they still preemptively claim that role of truthseeking, so people aren't fully aware that there is a job vacancy that urgently needs to be filled.

    • (b) when “suspicion” became a verb.

      Well I checked safire's rules
      and his list doesn't say that verbing weirds language.

  • 'Netanyahu doesn't have a vision for peace,' Gillibrand says at town hall aroused by boycott bill
  • The Spirit of '68 Lives On: Zionism as racism, and the network of lies
  • In war against 'cell phones,' Israeli launches social media app
    • I recall a similar app years ago. Semaphore or something, I don't find any links about it. It didn't work well. [edit: it was megaphone]

  • Speaking up in times of apartheid, in Berlin
    • Study: People Express Moral Outrage to Compensate for Their Own Guilt”

      Hm, such an artificially limited perspective. How about expressing moral outrage because of a perceived benefit. Then that benefit can be to divert attention of something else, something else on occasion being some form of guilt. The benefit can also be in being viewed as some kind of moral leader. Newspapers like to do that.

      Of course moral outrage can be very real while the expression can still be strategic.

  • Amazon pulls blank 'History of Palestinian People' -- which aims to dehumanize in order to subjugate
    • I don’t know what passage of Plato you’re thinking of, Tuy? I would think that it’s impossible to dehumanist those who as a matter of fact are human without an element of contempt.

      The Republic. Some extrapolation/deduction is needed though since it's all so benign. But it's got the seeds for totalitarianism with eugenics. The point is that enforcing a darwinian selection on the population can be seen as a good thing(whether Plato supported it or not). In such a case the discussion shifts to implementation details(let's be nice and just make sure some people cannot reproduce), and to what the good criteria are(Roma and mentally ill ok, but by God, not the Jews!).

    • Yeah, so real that one can convert to this so called people.

      I'm told that it's so real you can feel it in your blood. I don't have much experience there, but I think it's a bit like when I eat a lot of strong mints and then having to pee.

    • The nationality law of the people of Palestine was enacted in 1925.

      Nah, that's people-ish, not a real people like the Jews!

    • It may sometimes be useful to distinguish hate from contempt, I suppose.

      Yes, when people claim in their defense that they're not hating. But contempt isn't needed either. In Plato's world getting rid of unwanted people was not a matter of contempt either. He was just making things better. When you dehumanize people you don't have to hate them.

      On the other hand it is to be expected that when you abuse people systematicallly some will hate you for it. My point is that the division of good guys who do not hate and bad guys who hate can very legitimately be reversed into the bad guys who don't hate and the good guys who do. Did the Nazi's hate gypsies? I doubt it.

    • One can argue that dehumanizing is not hate. Hate is a specialty of those who are oppressed, or that least, those that feel they're being done injustice to.
      So Israel was a land without a people, since you can have as many persons as you want in that area but that doesn't make it a people, and you can oppress and destroy them without hating them, so what is the problem. Down with hate speech!

  • Trump aides end all doubt about whose side they'll be on in the next great peace process
    • It is slightly bothersome when characters ( or stories really)that are too outrageous for parody are demoted to the real world. Frankly I think it's getting to be a bit much.

  • Israeli musicians to Thom Yorke: Canceling Radiohead show will disrupt Israel's 'business as usual' facade
    • Normalization means accepting whatever Israel is doing as normal. I'm sure there's another meaning, one which is supposed to reduce tensions between conflicting parties, but that is not relevant in this situation.

  • A burning Zionist and non-Zionist debate the settlements
    • That would be a bit contradictory.

      Not really. You wouldn't be leading by example , but that's something else.
      It could be contradictory if you claimed you were doing the right thing. Then again, one can always claim 'it's complicated'.

  • If Trump is serious we may be seeing the most significant step in 20 years of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations
    • ossinev Call me naive.

      Do you mean to suggest that people can stop you from fact checking by threatening to call you naive?

    • The idea that Trump is a great dealmaker is nonsense.

      Maybe because 'dealmaker' sounds like a good thing. If instead of 'dealmaker' you substitute 'sellout', as his inclination to throw people and values under the bus in order to get a deal done, then suddenly it sounds more acceptable.
      That could also be how Trump can survive: by making things so interesting for some powerplayers that they will prefer keeping him around. I suppose the military already like him.

  • Remembering Jean Stein
    • This is very nice. I didn't know her.

      Delicate mention of 'militancy'. Sure, it can be boring.

  • 'The Trump opportunity' -- some Palestinians are optimistic about Abbas visit to White House (!)
    • biggerjake:.The only thing that MIGHT work would be if he stopped any and all support for Israel, including military equipment and money, and instead offered to give it all to the Palestinians.

      It always feels so limiting to focus on military aid for Israel . Of course , 'giving all the military aid to the palestinians' would shake up things, especially if it's to Hamas. But I suppose that was not the intent.
      Instead I'd like to point to the old game Israel likes to play with the Palestinians: when it suits them Palestinians are a domestic matter and nobody else's business. At other times they prefer Palestinians to be an external matter and not Israel's responsibility. All you have to do is refuse their classification.
      Do you know what amount of money other countries and organizations have invested and intend to invest in the West Bank and Gaza to compensate for damage Israel is doing to its own citizens? And how much money Israel is not investing in its own citizens while it is required to? Just bill it to Israel. It's a lot.

  • Gilad Atzmon’s attack against me – the 'merchant of JVP'
    • Whomever accused Norman Finkelstein of being a Holocaust denier and an anti-Semite might want to come back to reality, as he’s clearly neither if you have ever heard him speak or read any of his books.

      Oh really. And what has reality to offer to convince this person to come back to it?

  • New York rabbi links Jewish Voice for Peace to Osama bin Laden and Assad
    • mooser: Hey, I may not be totally wild (I’m more of a suburban ungulate) but I just bought my first small sports car (Scion FR-S). Last Saturday.

      Sunday I took it up on a backroad vrrrm, vrrm, and a deer, a big doe, jumped in front of the car. I braked hard, she bounded away. I remembered why there are speed limits, (and heart attacks, which I nearly had one.) and went back to adhering to them. There goes the sports, and all I’ve got left is the small. The thing is tiny.

      Nice choice, especially in the rain.
      I always thought you were a Volvo guy. I wonder how I got that idea.

  • Trump dines, Arabs die
  • The false piety over Spicer's Holocaust mistake
    • Also, I think Phil uses 'piety' because he thought of Norman's 'Why so pious?' :)

    • It’s obviously a good idea for officials to know basic historical facts, but the fact that Spicer got this wrong is a reflection of his age (45) and background. He clearly was not steeped in Holocaust information.

      Maybe he was not aware of the historical facts, but it's possible he knew the facts well but didn't connect the battlefield with the Holocaust. Thinking is quite linear.
      Just imagine making a statement using "Germans refrained from using chemical weapons in battles during WW2" + "Assad gassed his own people" to conclude Assad worse than Hitler, which is a satisfactory condemning statement.
      Then someone tells you, 'the way you phrase it you just said Hitler didn't use chemical weapons on the Jews', to which you reply 'oops, I hadn't made that connection.' Because that use of chemical weapons is not a battlefield situation, so it's a different context.

  • Sean Spicer needs to go to a Holocaust center
    • Another interview with Stephen Cohen, this time with Tucker Carlson.

      Tucker Carlson is confusing to watch. Too much parody.

    • eljay , so he isn't very smart. The battlefield context is implicit in chemical weapons.
      If you say 'Hitler used chemical weapons on the Jews' it takes some time to process, because people don't look at it that way. Contrary to using 'Hitler used Zyklon B..' or 'Hitler gassed..', then you instantly know it's right. If you did a poll, the distribution of Yes/No answers to the first and the last questions would be very different

    • eljay

      I agree that his comments don’t prove that he’s a Holocaust denier. But it’s odd that he – a W.H. spokesperson, the greasiest of the greasy – was unable to quickly and easily clarify / re-frame his initial comment without slipping from snafu to full-blown clusterf*ck.

      Because by then it had become very difficult to recover. The phrase 'Holocaust center' sounds like he has a grasp on what happened, and it underscores the distinction he made with the battlefield , but he's not using the right words. That makes him an outsider and fair game.

    • His outrageous statements indicate that the Trump administration is going to pursue the imperial destabilization strategy which will result in increased death and destruction to Syria, and increased probability of direct military conflict with Russia.

      Right. When interpreting events like this one should ask 'what do the players prefer the facts to be like'.

      The only explanation for pursuing this neocon insanity is that our rulers are, in fact, insane.

      Big words. It's to be expected that the US will want to recover its lost influence with additional display of military might, because that's what they excel at. The role of the president is overestimated. Obama managed to apply some restraint, Trump not yet.

      I also think Cohen's words should be taken very seriously.

    • It looks to me Spicer tried to take an interesting fact, that there was no or little battlefield usage of chemical weapons in WWII, and tried to work that into 'How Assad is worse than Hitler' and messed up when taking the readymade cliche of 'using gas on his own people'. And then made things worse trying to twist himself out of it. That's what you get when you throw cliches together.

      But from there to Holocaust revisionism, and inadvertently showing what he really thinks? Nope, that's going too fast for me. I must have overlooked something. Or maybe everyone else is not thinking right. I like the second option.

  • Trump makes war, and everyone swoons
    • I'll have to correct that. Medialens points out that Owen Jones also takes for granted the claim that Syria has just used chemical weapons. Now, I think that that's pretty mediocre, but it doesn't really weaken his opinion piece, which is about the liberal support for warmongering. You could even claim it strengthens it.

    • @chet, I had to think about this, and I'm not entirely satisfied with the result.

      I never tracked the Guardian that closely. I have a lot of opinions though.
      One opinion is that it hasn't gotten much worse because it has always had its weak sides and it still has its strong sides.

      On the issue of mainstream media and progressives I mostly think the differences are exaggerated.
      If you consider progressives as looking at things in terms of oppressors/aggressors and victims/beleagered people,
      then I'd keep in mind that
      - progressives do not have to look at everything in this way. It can be part of the time.
      - the victim can depend on the perception. Contrary to the descriptive 'PEP' I think progressives have a long history of looking at the Israeli Jews as the victims.
      What's not progressive about that? In Syria, if you look at it as the population as the victim and the government as aggressor (with an optional foreign interference component), then it's natural to support the overthrow of Assad.
      If you look at it as foreign aggression(with an optional legitimate local uprising component ), then it's more natural to support Assad.

      - mainstream media: so I believe the propaganda model has value, that media adapt to their environment, newspapers are a business and any business avoids unnecessary conflicts and attracts people and attitudes that fit into that. Mainstream media have a strong bias in whom they regard as reliable sources and whom they distrust. Official sources are reliable above all. The NYTimes is reliable.

      But I believe even more in older warnings by Chomsky and Orwell about intellectuals.
      Our media are not operating in a social vacuum, they are not disconnected from the ideas around them, and they are more representative than critics may think, although not on the front pages.
      So our media are surrounded by a large periphery of intellectuals, middle class progressives, elites that have overlapping ideas. And these people rely on their media to tell them what's happening in the world, so you get a bit of a lockin that constrains how they pay attention to things (I don't mean to say that other people do not have such a lock-in). And it does not automatically make them wrong on things either. But yes, if progressive intellectuals trust the Guardian editors who themselves trust officials you get odd effects.
      I also use trust a lot in my judgement. It's not trivial. It's not as if others just follow hearsay and I follow facts. The VIPS (veteran intelligence professionals for sanity) immediately published a memorandum where they claimed without the usual caution that the syrian army did not commit a chemical weapons attack. I trust them, and it fits with other observations. Why do I trust them over the barrage of sources I get from mainstream media? So other people trust the NYTimes. It's a reasonable approach to do so. Convincing people that the NYTimes has a very unreliable side is hard work, because it's just not a simple issue.

    • Owen Jones seems to be the darling du jour of zionists.

      I know, and I notice that hasn't stopped him from writing a good piece about the Syria assault .

    • Indeed, I hadn't noticed. I had just remarked to a friend what a disaster the Guardian's reporting was on the matter.

  • It turns out Jews are as stupid as everyone else
    • @oldgeezer PNAC and Yinon clarify why Israel has no objection to permanent war in Syria, but it does not show a clear preference towards Assad actually being defeated.

      Israel could become more aggressive now that the Syrian army is gaining ground and since Turkey is no longer working against them.

    • Israel has been pushing for the destabilization of Syria. Get serious.

      I doubt Israel has made a big difference in this conflict. Maybe in part because it approved of the way things were going without them.
      A new article by Gareth Porter for instance claims the US was mainly egged on by the Saudis, Turkey and Qatar.

  • The truck attack that killed four Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem was not 'terrorism'
    • In Belgium there was an interesting incident about this. Dyab Abou Jahjah, A lebanese immigrant and activist managed over the years to build up some media credibility and even recently got a column in a quality mainstream paper , De Standaard. But he got fired in the followup of this attack. First he claimed that the attack should not be called terrorist, which surprisingly was treated as a totally new but acceptable idea ( to some of the mainstream ). But when he claimed that the Palestinians should have the right to defend them with any means it deems necessary that went too far and he got fired. He defends his position here ( ) .
      Karel Verhoeven of De Standaard defends his decision here ( in dutch. unfortunately . Verhoeven says they try to broaden the spectrum of opinion but this went too far. I think that by accepting Abou Jahjah they did broaden the spectrum - at least briefly and that is something I consider important.

    • He continued, loosely suggesting a link to ISIS terrorism: “This is part of the same pattern inspired by Islamic State, by ISIS, that we saw first in France, then in Germany and now in Jerusalem. This is part of the same ongoing battle against this global scourge of the new terrorism. We can only fight it together, but we have to fight it, and we will.”

      Ah, all he's saying is that 'you should react to this the same way you react to Isis', which is not really new. The reporting I saw said there was a link to Isis. I found that odd since Isis is considered somewhat of an ally.

  • There is no such thing as 'Progressive Except Palestine'
    • Suppose the progressive view is that you recognize a situation of injustice and oppression and want to defend the victim.
      The problem with IP then is that progressives were declaring the wrong people as the victims to be fully progressive about.
      They were still being progressive though. So PEP may sound good, but I don't like it too much .

  • Clues to the end of the world shared during final 2016 presidential debate
    • On the one hand you have a dominant mainstream tendency to escalate tensions with Russia to the extent that the risk of nuclear war becomes large. And Clinton is a hawk who is going to escalate tensions even more .
      On the other hand you have Trump stating that the main danger facing humanity is nuclear war and and saying he wants to get along with Russia and North Korea.

      On the one hand you have a smart and knowledgeable candidate who is acceptable to the establishment and who can keep her cool when things get tense. On the other hand you have an ignorant ruffian who is unpredictable and throws tantrums.

      'The little scoundrel president who saved the world' .It does have some degree of movie appeal doesn't it.

      What bothers me a lot is how many people go along with the escalation of tensions with Russia. This is not just Clinton. She's not that much out of step with the rest of us. I would like to see that part change. Urgently.

  • Problem with Comments
  • Trump praises Israeli policy of ethnic profiling following bombing in Manhattan
    • I think Trump's main skills are celebrity skills. It's a way to earn a living and not everyone is capable to do it. In that respect he has significant communication skills. He knows he has to be larger than life. He managed to get nominated. So he's similar to Paris Hilton, another presidential candidate .

  • 'NY Times' rigs a purported news article to push U.S. escalation in Syria
    • CigarGod: The Arab-Spring phrase didn’t exist for years yet, when the usa/israel had been busy destabilizing Syria.

      No, but what would you conclude from that? That the US/Israel are the driving forces? When the regimes ofTunisia and Egypt fell that provided one hell of a boost to aspirations for change, especially in a bad economical climate. And when it got the mere vocal support of the US, who stated (more or less) Assad had to go the way the others had gone, then that was all that many people needed for an uprising without any need to negotiate. The US is always important, but not in a secretly-pulling-the-strings way. They've been important in blocking solutions. They're important as enablers of their allies. But it would have required a radical change of course for the US to block the Saudis and Turkey from fanning the flames.

    • Interesting video, with some good insights from Scott Ritter. I think he's going a bit overboard in claiming the Syria uprising was basically violent. It was a spectrum. There was a violent side and there was foreign intervention very early on but there was a major democratically inspired arab-spring component which later became sidelined.

  • Many leftwing Israelis are leaving the country -- 'Forward' breaks an important story
    • Alright, and if the secular Ashkenazis leave, what happens to the money? Will the money leave as well?

  • Syrian death tolls and the kinder gentler jihadists
    • Dammit I have been mixing up two ambassadors. That's embarrassing. William Roebuck made the analysis of the weak points of the regime and how we could cause it to overreact to internal problems , not Robert Ford .

    • oldgeezer:Notice how it is never the fault of the US or Israel for hoppy.

      I don't see US or Israel as the main actors in this either. The US isn't driving the conflict. I think it has mainly been tagging along.
      There has been a decent 2piece overview article about US role in the conflict and . So the article seems to agree with you but I think the article overestimates the role of the US . The article has links to Joshua Landis who doesn't make that mistake.

    • One can’t help but notice that to liberal hawks US interventions that cause massive death tolls simply aren’t acknowledged and the answer to a failed intervention is more intervention.

      I think it goes far beyond liberal hawks. Most progressive people just want that evil regime gone, which makes them effectively in favor of more intervention, so more general than hawks the description 'liberal interventionists' fits better. Everyone's a liberal interventionist now.
      And it's normal too because the 'realist' position that prefers to keep the regime in place is ugly(it's been my point of view all along but I wouldn't call it attractive). The attitude of R2P(Responsibility to Protect) is generally accepted.
      And it all becomes more palatable by representing the opposition as having a significant moderate component, which isn't there. Progressives and warmongers, one front.
      This week my daily newspaper published an interview with an expert on the matter, Syrian ambassador Robert Ford.
      But if you read what wikileaks has to say on Ford, he's one of the guys who has been trying to make the place blow up in the first place. It's like that all the time.
      This is not just about propaganda and people being fooled. Bluntly overthrowing bad regimes is just considered acceptable by many.

      A key concept in such cases is : what options are you offering the other party. This is also relevant in the I/P debate: when people insist on nonviolent resistance, they are demonstrating to the other side that there are acceptable ways out of the situation.
      Violent resistance can do that too, and it has more clout, but it's harder to communicate that there's a reasonable way out, and it's easier for hasbara to obfuscate this.

  • Months after saying he won't appear at Israeli foreign ministry events, Amos Oz will do just that in Paris
    • Gideon Levy on Oz, which I remembered in part because of the pun(oz also means courage)

      First of all, I had Oz and Yehoshua at my home for dinner a few weeks ago, so I have to be very cautious in what I say, but I am very critical about this kind of thinking. You can add [Israeli President] Shimon Peres and Labor to this. This is the typical Israeli hypocrisy, and I in many ways appreciate [Israel’s far-right Foreign Minister Avigdor] Lieberman more than Shimon Peres, because with Lieberman, at least, what you see is what you get. It’s very clear what he stands for. With people like Shimon Peres or Meretz – and I don’t say they are identical – or Oz and Yehoshua and Grossman, they want to eat the cake and leave it complete, as we say in Hebrew. This doesn’t work.

      I think they lack courage, some of them. Others, like Shimon Peres, are hypocrites who talk about peace and do the opposite. I think that Oz and Yehoshua and Grossman, who I know very well personally, mean well. But in many ways they are still chained in the Zionistic ideology. They haven’t released themselves from the old Zionistic ideology, which basically hasn’t changed since ’48 – namely, that the Jews have the right to this land, almost the exclusive right. They are trying to find their way to be Zionistic, and to be for peace, and to be for justice. The problem is that Zionism in its present meaning, in its common meaning, is contradictory to human rights, to equality, to democracy, and they don’t recognise it. It’s too hard for them to recognise it, to realise it. And therefore their position is an impossible position, because they want everything: they want Zionism, they want democracy, they want a Jewish state, but they want also rights for the Palestinians… it’s very nice to want everything, but you have to make your choice and they are not courageous enough to make the choice.

      It's a lot less cynical than one would think. I still don't have patience for Oz, and I appreciate Levy much more, but at the same time, I wouldn't claim I'd be doing so much better in his situation.

  • After Israeli military clears soldiers of killing families in Gaza, Palestinians call on Hague to investigate
    • Hague? Its name is 'Den Haag' (the hedge, meaning the boundary of the forest of the duke ) and it's always used in full, so the 'The' is required.

  • Israel bans entry for two more US activists
  • Clinton Foundation's 'good friend' Bahrain quashed Arab spring without protest from Sec'y Clinton
    • Although Hillary’s neo con connections cause strong anxiety and fear,

      I'd mostly agree but that's a pretty noncommitted statement. Right now this is very dangerous.

  • Let's talk about Russian influence
    • Just like Hitler said on Sept. 1, 1939: “now we shoot back on the polish border”, after the german army already invaded that country!

      And he added "And those who hesitate to respond to this foreign aggression are just a bunch of Chamberlains!" Not many people know that.

    • I am impressed by your positive attitude, however I don´t want to belong to that 1% left over!Yup. I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than 99% killed, tops!

    • That's the positive thing that I can think of about Trump: he said about Russia and about North Korea that you can talk to these people. I think we desperately need this attitude. I also really worry that with Clinton things will get worse quickly in a major effort to assert dominance. That means a big chance things get out of hand with near extinction. You can't keep that up for a long period without it going wrong. The good news is that even with near extinction wheref 1% of humanity survives it's still a comfortable 70 million people you can start over with.

  • French premier says 'loathing of Jews' is behind BDS
    • Halper's new book is important because it evades the dichotomy around the pro Israel Lobby: the classical 'the lobby is normal and legit and nothing to see here please move along now' vs 'the lobby is the most powerful force distorting us from following a sane policy'. With dichotomy I don't mean to say people's views lack nuance but that they're caught in a polarisation that narrows down thinking.
      The Chomsky view that focuses on general US foreign policy behaviour , puts the emphasis on natural imperial tendencies in US policies. If you view it through the dichotomy then it's closer to the classical view on the lobby I think. But you don't have to view it that way. My preference is for how the Leveretts put it, that the lobby is powerful but also very effective because it's pushing an open door of US foreign policy doctrines. These policies would still exist if the lobby wasn't there and they manifest themselves in other non-middle east areas in the same manner.

      Halper looks at worldwide attitudes towards Israel, and points at the business ties, mainly defense and security business which translates roughly in providing protection of those in power against the people around them and under them. So there's a plain business side, an elite business aspect and a 'merchants of oppression' flavouring. And then you get countries like China that have no significant influence from US lobbies and that turn towards Israel rather than away from it. So I think Halper has made a valuable contribution.

  • Goldberg on Obama's Syria credibility 'crisis'
    • Gareth Porter discusses Goldbergs article as well here , and he draws conclusions from it that are quite favorable towards Obama. And convincingly too, and contradicting Goldberg's view. So I do think now that often Obama's views on foreign policy are better than those of his advisers, and it was him who stopped the US from bombing Syria.

  • Pure rubbish
    • Israel has declared preemptive war on parody. I recall Eli Valley's problems coming up with parodies and finding they had already been claimed by reality.

  • Ban Ki-moon keeps woofing at Israel over occupation -- but not a word about sanctions
    • You’d think that with so many Palestinians willing to give up their lives in order to demonstrate the inhumanity of the occupation– 160 have been killed since October, most wielding knives– the international community might actually take some symbolic steps to put its money where its mouth is. But you’d be wrong.

      I don't condemn violent resistance but how do you know most were wielding knives? Does having your hands in your pockets count? And eating with fork and knife? A fork can be a dangerous weapon too you know.

      I think very few were killed in order to defend someone from imminent lethal danger.

  • Why are American pro-Palestinian voices silent about the brutal war on Yemen?
    • Most media outlets have uncritically echoed this accusation, describing the war as “sectarian” and a “proxy war.” Investigative reporters like Gareth Porter have revealed, however, that the ostensible role of Iran has been exaggerated, or even blatantly lied about, in order to justify the bombing and destruction.

      Porter examined the main claims and found they were baseless. That there was nothing there. I do not find any allegations in Porter's article that there have been exaggerated claims about Iran's role in Yemen.
      Exaggeration means that something can be substantiated, so what is it that can be substantiated? It's not implausible that there is something but I don't know what.

  • Suddenly, comparing Jewish state to ISIS is OK
    • Not at all the same thing, but go ahead and tell yourself that. Israelis are doing what no one else in the region does – being self-critical.

      I do see that happening. First reporting the event as something that some very extreme people do who are not at all representative for what's going on in Israel. And then triumphantly highlighting the occasional criticism as a proof of how good Israel is and to show that everything's fine really. Criticismwashing would be an appropriate name for it. Terrible sounding word though.

  • The people love the Iran deal -- to judge from 'NYT' letters
    • I think it's great news.

      And how nice, the first pictures of Iran's secret ball of plutonium show it's got a heart.

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