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Total number of comments: 4134 (since 2011-11-07 00:34:23)

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  • Combatants for Peace responds to Memorial Day report
    • No, because armed conflict with Palestinians, blockades of Palestinians like in Gaza, serious yearly casualties, etc. are ongoing. Can Palestinians get tax free status for being deprived of their homeland? And at least conservative pro-Americans today realize Amerindians "exist" as an ethnic group. I would definitely rather be an Amerindian at a memorial for US soldiers from the Indian wars, and find ways like "military honor" or modern "romanticizing" of Amerindians to make it more palatable.

    • I appreciate CFP for at least writing here a response. But here is another thing I don't understand the original interview about the CFP event says:

      Retired Israeli police officer Haim Blair, 60, from Gan Yavne criticized the Israeli Jews in Combatants for Peace as naive and that the presence of Palestinians at the event was inappropriate. Wearing a white muscle shirt that read “I ♥ Israel,” he explained, “Today is meant to remember IDF soldiers and the warriors of the underground groups (a reference to pre-state Zionist militias Lehi and Haganah) … and everyone who lost their lives here and elsewhere by the terrorist groups, who they [the attendees] are now backing.”

      Isn't the police officer correct about the definition of the Israeli memorial day, in that it's for Israeli soldiers, not Palestinians?

      If so, I am confused what the purpose is of bringing Palestinian attendance for the holiday. It seems like bringing Amerindians to a holiday occasion memorializing US soldiers fallen in the battle against Indian tribes, war parties, raiders, etc.

      I think that the holiday is one of the main events for CFP? Or is there a holiday for Palestinian fighters (eg. who fell in the 1948 and 1967 wars) that CFP gives equal attention to?

    • The letter by CFP says that the original interviewer misunderstood their positions, and that their actual position is that:
      "Supporting BDS will undermine our efforts especially in the Israeli side, and in different circles around the world."

      However, did the original interview actually say that this was the opinion he got from CFP, and then state that he disagreed with this CFP position, which CFP has just reiterated here?

      Secondly, I assume that BDS will undermine any of CFP's efforts bringing in Israelis who support the occupation, since those Israelis don't want to be sanctioned for the occupation. However, is that really a reason to avoid supporting BDS? If you are in South Africa and you actually believe that your society is discriminatory and your goal is to reconcile ex-SA police and ex-ANC rebels, then why would you oppose or be lukewarm about the international community pressuring your country to follow international law?

      As for "different circles around the world", the only ones I can think of that would be seriously hurt by your message as a result of BDS would be conservative pro-Israeli ones like CUFI, AIPAC, etc.

      Now, I suppose if you are the Red Cross it makes sense that you don't want to take a position on BDS or other political issues because you have a vital job to do about being totally apolitical to cross borders and give humanitarian aid. But CFP is not the neutral Red Cross, it's a self-proclaimed organization of those who are against the occupation - unless I am mistaken and CFP doesn't even have a position on that.

  • Marking Memorial Day in Tel Aviv with Kahanists and Combatants for Peace
    • There is so much irony in that. CFP is an ex-combatants group, right? So it is made of people who thought it's wrong to fight, right? So why are they going to a memorial for people on the conquering side only who died for making that "wrong" choice?

      And isn't this memorial one of the main events for CFP? Are they also bringing Israelis to a memorial for Palestinian fighters?

      So what is the purpose behind an "anti-combat" group doing that for the conquering side's combatants only?

  • The moral hypocrisy of American Muslims for Palestine on the Armenian Genocide
    • Dear SAMI:

      The argument I would make from a pro-Palestinan perspective is this:

      Large numbers of Armenians came to Palestine as refugees from their homeland and composed a large portion of the pre-Israeli population. Then when the Israelis conquered Palestine and imposed the Nakba, the Israelis deported thousands of Armenians. You can find photos of Armenians in "transit" camps in Haifa awaiting their ethnic cleansing out of Palestine by Israelis.

      Next, I would point out that the Israelis impose discriminatory policies on the Armenians in Jerusalem even though there is a historical Armenian quarter. As a result of these harsh policies, the Armenian citizenry there are dwindling.

      So the argument you should make to Palestinian organizations is that Armenians have borne the impact of Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestine just like other Palestinians, both in the Nakba and today. In fact, based on the Palestinian Authority's definition of "Palestinians", Armenian inhabitants are "Palestinian" too, since the P.A. defines Palestinians as the people living there before the time of the mass Israeli settlement project in the 20th century. The Armenian quarter long predates that. As a result, Palestinian organizations have a duty to respect the hardships imposed on Armenians not only by Israelis but by the Israelis' ally, Turkey. One of those hardships has been the persecution of the Armenians by Turkey which forced them to move to Palestine in the first place.

      Please let me know if you read this.

      Regards and Respect.

  • Leading American rabbi issues first public criticism of apartheid conditions in Jerusalem
    • Yes, Mooser.
      I know personal cases of that with Palestinians and either their families or their own fears and prohibitions about others knowing their human rights concerns on the topic. They don't want to get under government surveillance for supporting other Palestinians- a concern the rabbi wouldn't have.

      Phil is right that they don't have to worry about family members shunning and hating them for being "wrong", but they have other more problems and risks that can be worse like Odeh had.

    • These rabbis are deeply immured in a communal conversation, which is why I think people should respect for Ellenson making this public break. Obviously it gives him pain to issue the criticisms that he does. (BTW, Palestinians who support the right of return don’t have to break with their siblings, parents and grandparents; no, they affirm that community by doing so.) - See more at: link to

      I take umbrage at that. The statement is true that they don't face pressure from close relatives on speaking out if their relatives are other Palestinans. BUT Palestinians have tons and tons of pressure from speaking out publicly about Palestine in a way that people raised in "pro-Israeli" communities do not. Namely, when the Palestinian says it, their opponents, who can be very hardcore PEPs and Neocons, may label them as being supporters of terrorism, Hamas, etc. etc. This libelous charge of being an Arab "pro-terrorist" can damage them in a wider American "pro-Israeli" society both in terms of reputation, job loss, fear of criminal charges, etc. in a way that a mere "ex-pro-Israeli" or rabbi would not face. A good example of this is the case of the "Holy Land" society in the US where Arab Americans were charged with supporting Hamas terrorism when they gathered humanitarian support for Gaza.

      So the good rabbi has it backwards when he says critics coming from the pro-Israeli community have it harder. While yes, Palestinians don't have to deal with relatives' support for Israeli abuses, their relatives actually have in some cases demanded that their children not talk about Palestine for fear of serious recriminations in the US.

    • Israel: The Danger of Idolatry
      Rabbi Arthur Waskow | 2/20/2015

      After looking at the specific question of the Netanyahu Speech, I will look more deeply into the distinction between seeing the State of Israel as an achievement to be celebrated and criticized, or as an idol to be worshipped.

      The Talmud also tells the story that the ancient rabbis hunted for the yetzer hara, the evil impulse, of idolatry. They thought that if they could find it, they could kill it – and end idolatry. They did finally find it – hidden in the Holy of Holies, at the sacred center of the Holy Temple.

      It is easier to make an idol of something greatly valuable than of something trivial. We face a choice between celebrating Israel when it is a worthy instrument for justice, peace, and Jewish culture — or worshipping it as an idol no matter how it acts. Idolators do not criticize their godlets. Torah sees idolatry as the worst of sins, for it leads to all the others. Greed. Lies. Slander. Robbery. Murder. God forbid that we turn the State of Israel into a Jewish idol.
      link to

  • Jewish and Palestinian women are segregated in Israeli maternity wards -- Chomsky
    • Maxine,

      The problem with (a) mixing up the babies is that it creates the prince and the pauper "tragedy". The children in the Prince and the Pauper analogy have the same ethnicity, but due to noble birth, one is selected to rule the land and the people in it. Palestinians and Israelis very often do have the same ethnicity. There are many cases of Jews and Arabs converting to eachother's religions over the centuries and interbreeding. However, in the Israeli ideology, one cultural-religious community is the "rightful" owner of the land and thus those of "correct" birth must be kept separate from those who are born to be the ruled/dispossessed. That's the ideology. If you are Israeli, then God or the Balfour declaration or history has made you the "rightful" ruler of the land and your state must be dedicated to your group alone, after which over 50 laws have been imposed that separate you from the other groups who are ruled.

    • Anyway, it's obvious why they do this. They would not want even the possibility of a mix up where Isr./Pal babies are switched at birth like in the movie THE OTHER SON. You could risk the possibility of a baby with Israeli background being raised in a Muslim home, brought up in Islam/Christianity, treated as a Palestinian Arab / second class citizen by Israeli society and its law enforcement, etc. That should not be allowed to happen.

    • What's up with DaBakr and MAYHEM writing in to deny clearly established facts (see below) without actually providing evidence that specifically refutes Chomsky's claim?

      (eg. just because Dabakr says that the doctors aren't segregated doesn't mean that the patients aren't)

  • There is no better way than boycott
    • Some liberal forces had proposed that the "answer" was to replace Netanyahu with a liberal candidate for the prime minister's office, and they put their hopes on Livni/Herzog. However, Netanyahu is still considered the winner of that election.

      Their expectations of that election are a bit confusing for me. They should have known from the poll numbers that Netanyahu would either win or have a close enough outcome that he could rule with a coalition. Yet, to make a coalition, he would have to ally with some forces to his Left.

      My question is: What happened to the parties to Netanyahu's Left so that Netanyahu still was able to form a coalition with some of them? Did he form a coalition with Kahlon or Herzog? If not, then did Herzog and Kahlon consider forming their own coalition of centrist and left parties that would have more votes than Netanyahu and could rule the government?

  • Fingerhut boycotted J Street because 'millions of dollars' were on the line
  • Calling out Pamela Geller's hate speech in Philadelphia
    • Does anyone think the city's response and that of the interfaith center were adequate?

      I don't know what more one could expect. I suppose they could include discussion and criticisms of Geller's ads, but actually they did to some degree.

      To do more they could have called out "pro-Israelis" and how they have been pushing us to war and conflict with Muslims, but that's a lot to expect.

    • If you combine the two rulings it means this:
      1. Ads attacking Muslims do not cause a reaction of security threats.
      2. Ads criticizing Israeli abuses can cause a reaction against those displaying the ads. (eg. threats were called in to the bus company)

      Thus, the court rulings lead to the conclusion that pro-Israeli forces are an actual threat, while pro-Muslim forces aren't enough of one to censor speech.

  • Approaching Easter and Passover
    • As with Passover for Jews, the triumphal language surrounding Palm Sunday and Easter should be toned down. -Marc Ellis

      Israeli security forces are doing a fine job of that blocking native Christians from Easter in Jerusalem.

      "Remnants of Christendom continue apace in Christian Zionism and beyond."
      Aren't majority "Christian" societies from Russia to Argentina "Christendom", not just Christian Zionism. No need to overgeneralize or conflate everyone with that. Christian Zionism is probably a fraction of all Christendom.

      It is curious, though, how the most obvious aspect of Jesus confronting the contemporary occupation of Jerusalem is highlighted while Jesus’ Jewishness is barely acknowledged and rarely, if ever, emphasized.

      Jesus' Jewishness is acknowledged over and over again by basically all Christianity, the theologians of all denominations, Church fathers, etc. It comes up whether you read St Jerome in the 4th century or Fr. Meier's JESUS: A MARGINAL JEW in he 20th.

      BUT he did have views different than the religious mores of his community in terms of, say, observance of the Torah. The concept of ritual cleanliness did not seem very strictly enforced. He did have his followers do the handwashing ritual of phariseeism and modern Judaism, for example.

      The other thing is that Christianity teaches that we are to all be one in Christ whether we are Jewish or not. So in that sense, what is the spiritual need of emphasizing Jesus' Jewishness far beyond the way that our scholars and preachers and writers repeatedly already do?

  • Video: Max Blumenthal on the ways Zionism exploits anti-Semitism
    • Hi Yonah,

      If someone is against Jews simply for being Jews, particularly in their ethnic make- up, then they are anti-semitic. Anti-semitism, after all, is a form of racial enmity. They could express this different ways.

      I might as well ask you the same thing I asked Hophmi. Don't you think actual anti-semites and hardcore pro-Israelis are some of the most intense, often unhinged posters on the internet?

    • Hello, Hophmi.

      I did seriously ask for other peoples' views on this for more ideas and information.

      But as to you, it would be interesting to know whether you would agree that many pro-Israelis are really really really really intense about being pro-Israeli and avoid criticizing their political system and policies.

    • OK, up until 2:34, it was good, and it's important to be against anti-semitism like he explains. But then he says Gilad Atzmon is inciting against Jews. However, if Max is wrong and Atzmon is not making incitement, then Max is unfortunately also misusing the term anti-Semitism and labeling people who aren't.

      In reality, Atzmon (who is Jewish) does not criticize all, Jews, but directs much attention against those who create secular nationalist organizations because he believes that solidarity organizations should not be divided based on one's nationality, and that to do otherwise is exclusionary (what he calls "tribalism"). Now I think Atzmon is too strong in his criticism, but in any case, do you actually think that he is inciting against people for being Jews?

  • White House will go after AIPAC next -- Newsweek
    • "But in a January court response to IRMEP, the Defense Department said it was seeking Israel’s OK before releasing the document."
      Right. Because the Administration needs approval from the higher-ups before it can take such steps.

  • CUFI Leader John Hagee confirms Christian Zionism is anti-Semitic
    • For better or worse, JeffB is generally right on this one.

    • Ben,

      You wrote:
      Farah resolutely maintains that Christian Zionism is, in its very essence, an anti-Semitic ideology, as, in his view, it is an “anti-biblical position” to claim that Jews are not automatically damned to eternal suffering in a lake of fire merely by virtue of their being Jewish.

      This of course is incorrect. It is not virtue of merely based on being Jewish that the "Christian" Zio Evangelicals think this happens, but rather on whether one believes Jesus is the Messiah or not. Certainly, they would not consider Messianic Jews to be condemned. The parallel to this kind of thinking are Israelis who believe that Christianity is idolatry and that Christians get condemned.

      Thus, the Christian Zionists are not so much anti-semitic as intolerantly anti-Judaism, and unfortunately there are parallels on the Israeli side.

  • American Jews are taking back their power from Israel
    • Why is this rupture happening now? Why didn’t it happen during any number of earlier provocations, from the building of Har Homa settlement outside Jerusalem to the fomenting of the Iraq war to the slaughter of Cast Lead?

      One reason was how brazen Netanyahu was. Obama wants peace with Iran, and Netanyahu decided to run a full-house concert style applause session against Obama. There are other things, but that definitely played a big role.

    • Phil is the best regular writer here (no surprise, I suppose) with the way he writes about insider politics.

  • Netanyahu's victory ‐ what is the cost?

      In some ways it's better than Alabama, in other ways worse. It's better because slaves were directly owned by the whites. But it is worse than the slave days because Alabama wanted a black population to do work, and thus it had to avoid ethnic cleansing.

      So in some ways it's better, in others worse.

  • An American translation of Netanyahu's racist get out the vote speech
    • Thanks N’yahoo for taking off your mask and showing the world what you’ve always stood for. Now no one can pretend they didn’t know.

      What more could you ask for about him revealing himself? Coming to the US Congress and literally saying something like "I am your Prime Minister"? That would be too much. Although he could have said "Right now I am the 'leader of the free world' because we are on the front lines against Muslim extremism", and I think the Congress would have applauded.

    • Yes, it's huge.

      I think FInkelstein was previously parroting Chomsky on BDS because he said Chomsky was his ideological mentor now that he left Maoism. For him, the affect of such a strong mentor could be like reading that George Washington, the Bible, and Lenin were all against BDS. (and BTW this is not to denigrate Chomsky's good contributions otherwise)

      So I am simply skeptical that Finkelstein was so opposed to BDS all on his own. I think that someone who studied the issue so well as a radical should know better. But then, who knows. He used to be starry eyed about the peace process (to the extent that he thought it was realistic even if not ideal). Now Netanyahu has crushed Finkelstein's faith in the Israelis achieving the 2SS.

  • Netanyahu's honesty towards Palestinians casts unwelcome light on American Jewish leadership
    • Take comedienne Sarah Silverman for example. who tweeted last week “ISRAEL! If you are a Meretz supporter you NEED to VOTE MARCH 17. Every vote counts. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.” Now, I love Silverman and her sick comedy really speaks to me. And Meretz was one of the two parties I considered voting for. I certainly didn’t want this essential player in Israeli politics to fall beneath the electoral threshold. But there was something so insulting about Silverman’s tweet that I was glad I had already decided not to vote Meretz.

      Silverman, like every other person in the world, can express a view on another country’s internal politics, but going as far as to suggest to the citizens of that country how they should actually use their vote is crass and in extremely bad taste.
      (Anshel Pfeffer, "Diaspora Jews butted in but Netanyahu won the elections anyway")

      I don't get it. The Israelis call themselves the state of the world's Jewish people, so how is it crass for Diaspora Jews to weigh in on "their" state's elections? After all, Netanyahu says openly that he represents the world's Jews.

    • Nice article.

  • Netanyahu's victory marks the end of the two-state solution
    • Drug use has in some cases like early industrial China ruined societies and made them very weak.

  • Who can save Israel now?
    • Citizen,

      Net's popularity went up 2 percent points among republicans and down by what, 10 among Democrats.

    • Typical. Calling them sir probably isn't enough. They are just second class citizens and should be treated as such without it being formally recognized, according to this thinking.

      Do you think JeffB falls into the class where criticizing Israeli policies is opposed as a rule?

      Hophmi and some others seem to.

      link to

    • Mooser,

      What is MRW referring to here: "You should have listened to those us who tried you the truth many months ago."

      Does he mean that Phil was predicting Netanyahu would lose and now Phil is finished as no longer credible because Net. won?

      I feel like I find Phil's reporting credible, just his predictions as too optimistic often.

    • Page: 41
    • Netanyahu's election wasn't great. It just has its pluses and minuses like lots of elections.

    • Jeff,

      I don't see anything you wrote that contradicts my conclusion. Jewish Americans, as we both agree, will not care as much about the Israelis. Even if they somewhat move to the right in the US, I don't think i will be that strong, anymore than say Italians, who were still Democrats. Due to being a somewhat secular religious minority they will still be more likely to be liberals in cultural values.

      So we are going to see a future widening of a divide between the support base in the US and the Israeli state in Palestine.

    • Maxim,

      On content, it was a domestic policy divide on economics. The Israeli Neoliberals/Neocons won that election because of all the war mongering. Livni and Herzog were presented as more flexible on Foreign Policy, even though you're right that in content their positions were close (except the NO 2SS announcement by Net was new)

    • LOL, you caught me to it, Maxim.

      "Israelis have never indicated they want a strained violent relationship with Palestinian"

      So let's say I come along and say that everyone here on this apartment block with my religion has been here for 2000 years and anyone of another religion has not, and now I am either going to kick out these loafers or gracriously give them second class status. nothing personal. I don't want a strained relationship.

    • "This moment is immensely clarifying because it will bring those voices into our discourse and force American Zionists to say, What is this Jewish democracy, and what are you prepared to do about it?" ~Weiss

      "I’m not quite so hopeful about liberal Zionists in the West. Some may come to their senses, some not." ~ Donald


      You need to understand that he is an optimist as much or more than a realist, although of course he is sincere. Of course, his optimism can be correct. People should ask what happened to the exit polls vs. the official results.

      Phil is right in that this moment is one of many steps along the way that will eventually force the Liberal Zionists to ask what went wrong.

    • You're right, Donald.

      The main question then is whether the US Zionists are following what is the strong Israeli shift to the right over the generations. In another 50 years or so we are looking at someone in power there who is twice as right wing as Netanyahu. So if Netanyahu (or his heir) decides the 2SS is over and continues saying that, what will the US Zionists do?

      In the US, the main generational change seems to be that younger Jewish generations in general are not so much left wing on the question of Israeli nationalism as they don't care about it. So the main thing to watch for will be the shift in opinion in both countries as the decades go on.

      Yes, I would love Israel/Palestine to have the same feelings and experience of the anti-Apartheid success of South Africa combined with that of interfaith reconciliation on a national scale. Or at least a resolution under the UN parameters with the Israelis withdrawing to the UN lines and Jerusalem being internationalized. But we don't always get what we want.

    • I was influenced by the excitement of the Zionist Camp, which believed Netanyahu would end up with as few as 18 seats in the Knesset. Netanyahu got 30. Zionist Camp only 24.

      I was influenced instead by the Exit polls showing Herzog ahead. It's strange. We got repeated announcements that Herzog was slightly in the lead or about tied. Is this potential Florida style voter fraud then?

      Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who are governed by Israel, who according to Israel live In Israel, cannot even vote because of the color of their skin.
      Formally, that is correct- it is one "people" ruling another. However, based on the way the state defines membership in the people, it is actually one religious community ruling others.

  • Netanyahu won. Now what?
    • Good points with more than a grain of truth.

    • I think it is true because more and more Diaspora Jews, U.S. Jews mainly, will continue to become a larger voice and presence in this issue which, probably along with global BDS, will have some impact at least on the thinking of Israeli Jews.

      Getting overly optimistic on this is a trap. You have to look at the survey data and pay attention to the generational gap:
      link to

      Most Israelis under 30 don't think Russian Israelis should have the right to practice Christianity, compared with a big majority of those over 50 approving of that right. You need to consider the major generational shift that has been very steady over the last 60 years. People are now Neocon Likud where decades ago they were "liberal" Labor.

      JVP and BDS have 'some' impact, but it will take a ton more of that to make a major reversal. AIPAC had 16000 delegates. how many did JVP have? 1000? And meanwhile JVP and others are up against major forces like Adelson.

      I am definitely not dismissing you. You are right on what is needed and you need to be encouraged. I just want you to be realistic so that you don't get jaded over how much intense more output is needed to make a shift. (Maybe 8 times as much!)

    • Regarding this statement: “Israel has always prepared itself psychologically and economically to being isolated,” I disagree. Israel has, for its entire existence, been dependent on U.S. Food Stamps, U.S. taxpayer money. Not that this will stop any time soon, but they simply ain’t economically independent no could they exist without this funding.
      The article is suggesting that they may have a Masada complex that makes its dependency less relevant.

      The other thing to consider is that hardcore right wing supporters like Adelson sadly still much outnumber JVP.

    • "Life will get very difficult for Jews in Israel soon enough,"

      Why is that?

    • So what's up with the rainbow flags? Gays for a Hard Right?

  • Why I hope Netanyahu will be crushed tonight
    • Phil,

      Netanyahu and the opposition parties can have either effect when in power.

      A month ago, you could make the case that you would not want Netanyahu to speak to Congress, because it would advocate war with Iran. And now afterwards you can see that it had a salutary effect of disillusionment with Iran.

      About 2002, you could make the case that you would not want Netanyahu to speak to Congress on Iraq, because it would more likely mean war with Iraq, and you would be right.

      In other words, things can turn out different ways and it is hard to make a totally solid prediction. Someone in chess can make one move, and it can normally be a good move, but it just means that the other player has to react accordingly and change strategy.

      Yes, if Herzog wins, it will make it harder to blame the Israelis when you are in conversation with J Street people, because they can more easily imagine that they have a new government that is open to change. You can change your strategy though and point out that even now with a "liberal" government in power they still have discrimination. So you case can now be bolstered by the failure to bring changes with Herzog. Yes, you might have to work harder because more people might be happy about a new Israeli government. But then again, a more liberal government might really allow NGOs some more wiggle room that can make solidarity work easier too there, and this could pay off over time.

      So I think that the Israeli election is not really determinative by itself, it just means that there are new realities and people with concerns for Palestinians have to continue to adjust their analyses and strategies too as time goes on.

      Syria and Ukraine are disasters. Herzog will not be a disaster, it's just uncertain if his coalition will get enough support, because frankly it looks like Israelis probably would prefer a right government than a "left" one.

    • Yes, Herzog's ticket will get more votes than Likud.

      But how is it conceivable that Netanyahu will not be prime minister, since the right wing parties will together will still outnumber the "left" ones in votes? How do people see left wing parties getting more votes in total and putting together a bigger coalition than the right wing ones?

      For Netanyahu to lose, you have to accept the claim that a significant part of the right wing parties will join the "left" wing ticket. How do you see that happening?

  • The farewell party of the mezuzah-kissers
  • Sheldon Adelson is not the problem
    • "Certianly, soft Christian Zionism exists among mainline Protestants and Catholics, but more as background music to their major voting concerns."

      I would be more specific, Rusty: It OCCASIONALLY exists among some of those mainliners.

      As a teenager, an old Catholic man once told me that the Jews (today as before) are God's Chosen People, and suggested this had political/social repercussions. But what was unusual about the conversation is how unusual it was in mainline Christian discussions. It's actually not a widespread open belief among mainline Christians.

      For example, I was as a teenager pretty partial to the Israeli narrative and hadn't much of the Palestinian one, and my partiality was based to a major degree because I had a Biblical association. But would have said that God was still acting in the same way with the modern secular state as in Biblical times? No, because the New Testament doesn't really describe much of an ongoing close relationship like there was before, and nor do our mainline Christian theologians. In fact, the New Testament sometimes might imply that that particular relationship is over, with the rending of the Temple's curtain at Jesus' crucifixion, the earthquake at that time, etc.

      In any case, Christian Zionist sentiment in terms of creating an Israeli state in Palestine simply isn't a mainstream doctrine widespread among mainline Christians.

    • MHughes,

      I agree that one can find earlier beliefs in a Jewish State in 19th century Western civilization like Scofield, but they were not "widespread" across wide sectors of American society.
      1. The name "Salem" reflects Christian "Supersessionism" and the belief that Christians are inheritors of ancient Israel. Zionists oppose this idea because it negates a philosophical need for creating a Jewish state in Palestine. For example, there is a major 17th century "New Jerusalem" monastery in medieval Russia, and it's hard to see them as pro-Zionist.
      2. George Eliot's novel "Deronda's" portrayal of Jews was not widely accepted, as it was controversial:

      Eliot's friend John Blackwood noted upon publication: ...even her magic pen cannot at once make them a popular element in a Novel." Many years later, FR Leavis called for the Jewish sections of the novel to be cut out completely,"

      link to
      In other words, Zionism was actually not popular in 19th century Britain.
      3. Even individual figures like Blackstone do not mean that Zionism was "widespread" in US society. I only know of him from familiarity with US legal philosophy. You would need to show at least that a large minority of US politicians or pastors and priests (maybe 40%) were talking about Zionism, which we know they were not, to make it "widespread".

      Zionism was not "widespread" in American society. Even the Pittsburgh principles in Reform Judaism did not accept Zionism. If Zionism was still controversial in pre-war America among Jews, it absolutely was not "widespread" among mainstream Christians. In fact, two of the examples you gave suggest that Zionism was not popular.

    • Interested Bystander:
      You ask: "But isn’t that to say that ordinary politics will overcome big money politics? And that’s the whole point."

      No, I said that public opinion is a "potential" key to changing policy. It does not mean ordinary politics "will" overcome big money politics. Theoretically, big money politics could control some particular issue for generations until society goes bust. Far right Israelis could square off against a far right Pakistan in a nuclear conflict and the issue could become moot. It's only as a matter of faith and hope that such tragic outcomes would not occur. But people should not be blind to the potential for those bad outcomes.

    • Roland and Donald:

      Roland claims about Derfner's article: "Not surprisingly, to me, there is no mention of money or Adelson in his lengthy analysis".

      Why does Roland say this? Derfner's article does mention Adelson, saying: "Sheldon Adelson’s pro-Netanyahu free sheet Israel Hayom... has puffed [Bibi] up." So Adelson has so much cash that he can run a free newspaper that campaigns for Netanyahu.

    • Bystander,

      First, you ask: "It sounded false to me, but then you have ~475 Congressmen and Congresswomen applauding, so who’s to say that narrative has lost its power."
      That the narrative of manifest destiny lost its power is shown by how rarely supernatural ideas of divine destiny are discussed by mainstream politicians or openly applied to foreign policy. Typically even evangelicals don't have an agreed-on "doctrine" on America per se.

      The near=continual Applause at Netanyahu's speech didn't necessarily mean approval of one individual idea that he spouted, as should be obvious. In the middle of the speech he spent 4 paragraphs on Iran's threats, ending it with a statement about Iran now dominating Mideast capitols. It was a totally irrational moment for an audience to applaud as they did unless they were hardcore pro-Iranian.

      Second,>/b> if it weren't for the Lobby, then some alliance would still exist just as it does with perhaps a dozen Christian or democratic states in the region. The reason for those alliances is geopolitical. I think if Americans woke up about the issue, the relationship would change some. However, there are issues in America like poverty or the problems with invading Iraq that many Americans are awake about, and yet those problems were not fixed either. Probably Chomsky is right that the US political or economic system would have to change radically in order to solve the issue of special interest political power in Washington and the "special relationship."

      Third, you comment: If we write the problem off to the 1%... we are missing the boat on understanding how change might come about.
      No we aren't. Whether one ascribes the relationship to special interests or not, one can still understand that changes in public perception are a potential key to changing US policies. Also, as the Israeli state goes more and more right wing, it will become more and more likely that Americans will become disillusioned with it.

    • Avnery's article doesn't "confirm" Adelson's "limits" because it doesn't provide any facts or information to refute those limitations. How does failing to provide direct evidence of under the table direct lobbying disprove it?

      You want Avnery to come up with a phone call by Adelson, or else it didn't happen?!

    • Good response, Keith!
      Thank you.

    • Dickerson: Of course there is "a" major difference. It's not racial. America is a melting pot. The thinking is still very imperialist though and not different maybe from the thinking of the Roman empire, or even more so.

    • Get rid of Adelson–you haven’t solved the problem. As the article notes, there was $7 billion spent on the campaign in the 2012 cycle and Adelson accounted for 2% of that. They say 60% of money to the Democratic party comes from Jewish sources each election cycle; that’s not Adelson–that’s the rest of us. To the extent that such funds are raised, channelled, and directed by politically harmful organizations like AIPAC, that just suggests it’s the politics that matter.

      So you are actually thinking that a major problem is not so much donations by Adelson, but donations by "Jewish sources" with pro-Israeli politics?

      If you believe that is really a big chunk of the problem, why not write an article on that for the NY Times? Or is there something holding you back?

    • I’m not sure what you believe to be “dishonest” about the article (mine)? ~Bystander

      This statement is either dishonest is delusional:
      "Israel has enjoyed overwhelming American support from the outset."

      It's not "overwhelming" if you mean politicians, since Eisenhower opposed and stopped the Israeli war on Egypt in the Suez Crisis.

      And not if you mean an overwhelming majority of regular Americans, most of whom were not particularly interested in Israeli politics. I don't think most mainstream preachers were spouting Christian Zionism from the pulpits, nor are most of them doing so today. Most Americans in the 1950's were thinking about workdays, unions, the mafia, the Cold War. The Israeli state was not particularly important to most people, as most mainstream Americans should be able to tell you from their family background. And guess what? We still had racial segregation and there was more anti-semitism than there is today! How does one imagine segregationalist southerners with anti-black racism in the 1950's being pro-Israeli?

      To say that the Israeli government has always had widespread American popular support or overwhelming US political support is dishonest, delusional or extremely misinformed.

    • Correction: “This article was sufficiently [pro-Israeli] to appear in the NY Times.”
      Ridiculousness is not a criteria. But it is not an obstacle if the argument is pro-Israeli enough.

      The article was ridiculous because it proposes that support for the Israeli State has been very longstanding and widespread in America. It should be obvious to people informed on American culture that there was no widespread popular belief demanding or politically supporting a state for the Jewish religious community alone in the Middle East prior to the 1960's. It is not a major theme in US literature or culture, or something most everyday Americans spent much time thinking about.

      I am positive that few Americans know the vast extent of US Israeli aid compared to other countries. Americans have more favorable views of many other countries. To say that this is all from some longstanding widespread support for Zionism among everyday American households is totally ridiculous.

    • Roland Nickles fails to provide real details proving this longstanding supposedly widespread popular support for Zionism:

      U.S. Support for Israel

      Israel has enjoyed overwhelming American support from the outset. ...public support has been consistent and widespread. “In the United States,” says Mead, “a pro-Israel foreign policy does not represent the triumph of a small lobby over the public will. It represents the power of public opinion to shape foreign policy in the face of concerns by foreign policy professionals.”

      Mead points out that this popular American support for Zionism goes all the way back to the founding fathers.

      Most people from mainstream Protestant and Catholic backgrounds on this board should be able to attest that going back earlier than the 1970's Evan. movement and 1967 Israeli war, a "Christian Zionist" interest in creating a Jewish State in Palestine was not a particular social concern of their parents or grandparents.

      Open support was certainly not something I encountered at Protestant Sunday school, at Catholic school, or even at a rural Evangelical school even in the 1990's. Nor was it something I particularly remember from reading pre-1967 US folk history or literature.

      Look at this quote from Herman Melville in the article:

      “We Americans are the peculiar, chosen people — the Israel of our time; we bear the ark of the liberties of the world.”

      Not only was "America as Israel" not exactly a major theme in Melville or US literature, the quote nowhere mentions a Jewish state. Perhaps most importantly, this quote actually goes against the concept of supporting a Jewish state for a simple reason: it is a version of what pro-Israeli writers deride as "Supersessionism". In this way of thinking, the Church, or in Melville's case, Christianity, are the people Israel. Therefore, to equate a secular government someplace else as precisely God's Biblical people is superfluous. If America is now Israel wondrously "bearing the ark of liberty", then what is the point of going back to an older concept of a nation-State in the Middle East that is not spreading liberty? Certainly, the Israeli national philosophy does not include spreading democracy to the people it militarily occupies or battles, or to the rest of the world does it?

      How many American thinkers or even politicians wrote about it at length before the state's creation? At best, there was a range of opinions and typically weak interest in it among sections of the American people before 1967. So it is strange that the author proposes support for the Israeli state is based on a longstanding and widespread belief in Christian or political Zionism among Americans for centuries.

    • Exactly, Seafoid.
      Isn't it true that 1% of Americans own 40% of the wealth or something?

    • Roland,

      The US and Israel are not both settler states in a promised land. The US no longer has an ideology of Manifest Destiny for its land and the Native Americans are not only full citizens but given tax breaks. However, there are remnants of colonization, like unequal economic status for Indians.

      Even if it were true, it would not be enough to "explain the special relationship between the countries". The fact that two countries (like the US and Israeli State) each think their own colonized land was promised to each does not mean that they will create a special relationship, since their promises are separate. For example, Muslims who conquered a North African country a few centuries ago may believe that their own land was given to them by Abraham's God (I heard that Islam may have such a tradition about "Muslim lands"), but that hardly means that they will create a special bond with the Israeli state.

      Finally, even if merely having a special relationship is due to the commonality of colonization, this still does not mean that Adelson et. al. do not play a key role in forming it. US politics is based to a large degree on donations, campaigning, and lobbying. If Adelson et. al. make large donations and have a major lobby and assets - as they do, then how would that not play a major role in forming such a relationship?

      All of this should be so obvious that it is surprising one would propose the complete opposite.

  • The Obama-linked ad that imagines Mr. and Mrs. Netanyahu leaving the official residence (Updated)
    • PHIL,

      Netanyahu in the anti-Netanyahu ad is definitely played by an actor.

      This shown by the fact that the bottoms of their earlobes are of a different genetic type- one is clearly attached, the other is clearly unattached.

    • No one else can overplay that hand so well. Please don’t take joy in a loss for Bibi. We need Bibi! He’s the best chance for peace through
      You got it. Too bad he didn't tell Congress "I am the leader of the free world", which is what some conservative pro-Israeli media is saying anyway:

      link to

    • Oh yes, Annie. I think even with the Arab parties they won't be strong enough to outvote a right wing coalition. Why would Lieberman et. al. bloc up with Livni against Netanyahu anyway?

      Not only that, but I don't get why many Israelis would see Livni as better than Netanyahu anyway, since we are looking at 85+% Israeli support for the latest lawnmowing in Gaza.

      Maybe Israelis want less settlements or something, who knows. They are getting more right wing overall, so Netanyahu is a good match for where they have been going. Somewhere between Home party on the right and Livni. And I have even heard that Livni is unpopular because she is too liberal? Weird.

      Yep, more years of Netanyahu. Maybe 80% chance of that unless some political surprise comes up. Netanyahu is just a highway marker on the long journey right.

  • Netanyahu flails against int'l conspiracy, as liberal Zionists seek orange revolution against 'fading strongman'
    • Seafoid,

      "No Arabic in the Likud ad. Not even a pretence."
      You mean the anti-Netanyahu ad?

      "Yossi isn’t going to vote to cut his cashflows, is he? So the system moves on towards breakdown."
      What do you mean reverse his cash flows, and how do you see an inevitable breakdown?

    • Yeah. I am kind of doubtful that he would be the one to be ballsy enough to take that initiative by himself, but maybe. Adelson was there, so why not. Maybe they talked it over first. Net had already talked in congress before, and he or one of the folks youmentioned probably thought it was a good idea to repeat it. Net.'s popularity among Conservatives went up after the speech (2 %), so from a hardcore pro-Israeli Neocon mindset it all makes sense I guess.

    • Seafoid,

      Maybe they are dubbing this stuff in Russian because they are going for the right wing nationalist vote. (Home Party)

    • Leahj,

      Maybe Piotr and I just have a penchant for over the top totalitarian political style, particularly by Netanyahu. You really need to appreciate the glorification of The Leader of the Free World.

      Benjamin Netanyahu: Leader of the Free World
      Matt Barber,
      Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stepped forward to answer the call. He has become de facto leader of the free world – chief defender of Western civilization.
      As America’s light fades under the Obama regime, Israel has become – for now at least – “the shining city on the hill.”

      link to

      MSNBC reports:
      "In recent weeks, conservative media declared Benjamin Netanyahu the “leader of the free world” over and over and over again."
      link to

    • Piotr,

      Yes, I was using Google Translate for the Polish, and agree "ne usunal" looks better. Nice catch.

      And what are you talking about here:
      It is a good slangy version of a political commentary, like “We Jews have disagreements, as we are a rambunctious democracy (the only one in the region!), but nobody will hurt another Jew too badly, except for self-hating kapos and Judenrats, and we know how to finish off those black sheep.”

      I totally did not get that out of your Polish rhyme!!! LOL

      Also: I wish sometime you would talk more about de-Zionisation in Israeli-era Poland. I know that the Russians, Czechs, and I assume Poles were expecting the Israelis to be their "Non-aligned" partners after the Soviet Bloc supplied the Israelis enough to win the 1948 war. But then the Israelis opposed Russia in the Korean War. So there is a possibility that the East bloc did not like how the Israelis went pro-NATO and it might have helped lead to the De-Zionisation campaign. What do you think?

    • In Netanyahu's ad, he says that the legislators are complaining "ne ubral" (nie usunięte), and I think that this is referring to his failure to remove Hamas. This refers to Netanyahu's failure to remove Hamas in 2014. The legislators were whining that he didnt fight as much, and so in this ad Netanyahu shows the glorious things he did against Muslims, like the Apartheid Wall, building settlement highways, sanctions, etc.

      Isn't that reading correct?

      I wish they put it on US TV, because Americans would be like "What is this about?"

      I am surprised that more Americans didn't react more to the Congressional applause celebration, because I think it was televised nationally too.

    • Piotr,

      Exactly. My guess is that the critics don't know Hebrew or Russian, or else want to take the ads at face value. The Likud ad is awesome. The music of glory, the speech before the US congress, making the US pass sanctions and stop its own peace agreements, along with the Apartheid Wall and more glory music as Israeli missiles shoot in the air? What more could you want? Clips of democratically elected legislators whining like babies while the national leader shows them amazing achievements against peace? It's got that too.

      I suppose that OBEY posters along with Palestinians under guard would help, but you can't really expect that. Nice accompaniment music:

    • "So, did he cook up his visit to Congress?"
      Dermer contacted Boehner first I think, so it's only a question of who thought of it first- Dermer or Netanyahu.

    • Phil,

      Thanks for posting Netanyahu's new campaign ad with its amazing, glorious music, the photos of the barbed wire Apartheid Wall, Netanyahu saying he stopped a US agreement, and the Congress applauding. It's my favorite clip about Netanyahu so far, even better than the ones made by his critics.

      The Victory, the Separation Wall, the Glory.

      To outdo it, he would need to add in the OBEY posters, and the music from "Red Alert", although the melody he used has some similar, top class moments too.

  • Even if Netanyahu loses, he can still win
    • Jonah,

      As you know, in practice what happens is electing parties, No? So the most popular candidate is not always the winner, but the one whose party makes a coalition. You of course I assume are well aware of that.

      So the real question is will the parties get together and choose him in a coalition, which I assume they well because of the right wing drift.

      Did I miss anything?

  • We may not have Netanyahu to kick around anymore
    • Netanyahu: The Victory, the Apartheid Wall, the Glory.

    • Please think about mentioning this new official Netanyahu the Great campaign ad in one of your next articles, Phil or Annie. It has all the bells and whistles you have learned to love:

      (Plays glorious music, shows Netanyahu speaking with emphasis)
      "We got sanctions against Iran"
      "And now to stop the agreements that are dangerous for Israel"
      (Shows a photo of Congress applauding Netanyahu)

      But "From you we hear..."
      (Shows picture of Knesset legislators whining)

      "We closed the hole in the wall"
      (plays glorious music and shows Separation Wall with barbed wire)

      "And again you say"
      (shows Knesset whiners)

      Netanyahu is amazing! Barbed wire walls, passing US sanctions, and stopping US agreements! But oh, these whining legislators!

    • For Netanyahu to lose, a large part of the parties who are even more conservative than him would have to make a coalition with Livni. Shas, Lieberman, etc.

      Israelis are moving to the right, whoever wins. And if Herzog is in power and they keep building settlements, bombing Gaza, etc., and meanwhile the PA is petitioning the ICC, then what?

      We are looking a long term trends that go beyond a single president there.

  • Senator who spearheaded letter to Iran got $1 million from Kristol's 'Emergency C'tee for Israel'
    • In this clip, Netanyahu is sitting Dermer behind him, who arranged the recent speech to Congress against Iran. Netanyahu is before the legislator in 2002, opposes Sen. Kucinich and says that Sadaam is feverishly making nukes even though they haven't been detected, and that the victories in Afghanistan and Iraq will make the next victories easier:
      link to

      And what other major politicians were openly demanding invading Iraq in 2002?

    • According to Chomsky, the Israeli lobby is "one of the smaller lobbies", citing Stephen Zunes' writings. (eg. link to

      Now let's think about just one statistic. At the AIPAC conference this year, and every year, there are about 16,000 delegates, and they go see their legislators after the meeting. That comes to about 300 per state, some many more. Let's say you are a senator and 300 constituents come to your office from a conference where the key US politicians have just spoken and ask you to consider some legislation.

  • On 'Birthright,' a checkpoint is called a tollbooth, and Jews have E-ZPass
  • It was a bad week for the Israel lobby
    • Wouldn't be surprised if the DOJ hadn't pursued the charges before as much because Menendez is a Democrat, or because corruption is widespread in DC. The latest unconstitutional invitation of Netanyahu to humiliate the Executive might have changed the balance of factors.

  • Israeli voters not impressed by Netanyahu's speech to Congress
    • I am confused why Allison said that it didn't affect them or impress the Israelis. She wrote: "Of those that did listen the speech, 43% said Netanyahu was unable to change their vote, according to polls released Wednesday evening by Israel’s Channel 2. "

      Doesn't that mean that most people did not say that he couldn't change their vote?

      His position in the polls may have only changed a tad, but that is still a major effect from a speech in a tight race.

      The main thing not to be missed in all this, Allison, is that Israelis are moving to the right steadily over the decades. It's not as if tomorrow we should expect a huge shift either way. Net's speech did not make a huge impression on many of them, but an effect it did have. Instead of making a sudden major shift, it is only one step in a gradual long term one to the right among Israelis.This is revealed in polls on tolerance in religion showing a major gap among generations even among the secularists.

  • In praise of Mr. Netanyahu’s political theater
    • MAXIMUS,

      Very simple question:

      Which organization's or nation's leader could come to the US legislature and get a comparable amount of applause (1/4 of a long speech)?

      1. Those who consider the lobby to be small say that the special relationship is due basically to US capitalism and imperialism. Would the head of any key business or military organizations like Haliburton or NATO get a comparable amount of applause?

      2. Those who support the Israeli system say that it is simply because of sympathy and natural alliances against Islam. Would the leaders of very potentially strategic Mideast Christian societies or their major forces like those in Lebanon, Armenia, Iraq (1.5 million), or Cyprus get anywhere near similar applause?

    • Dear Jonathan,

      Unfortunately, due to the existence of the "Progressive except for Palestine" phenomenon, you reach the wrong explanation here:

      the US maintains vast levels of military, economic, and diplomatic support, no matter which party is in power. Here, President Obama, Speaker Boehner, minority leader Pelosi and virtually all of the Democrats who skipped the speech are on the same page.

      The consensus cannot be simply explained by the power of a narrow “pro-Israel” lobby. Rather, both Israel and the US are afflicted by a self-destructive political culture whereby global challenges are met by militarism, aggressive interventionism and disregard of fundamental norms of international law

      This thesis is that the consensus on intense military and economic support for the State is not due to the lobby alone, but to a "culture" of militarism in global challenges.

      Let's say however that the US did NOT have a culture of militarism in global challenges, but instead its culture was to follow international laws and avoid interventionism. In that case, intense aid to the Israeli State could still exist as an EXCEPTION to a pro-peace culture.

      There are several major examples to show this.

      1) In the pre-WWII period, the US took a non-interventionist stance in the Eastern Hemisphere, and yet the pro-Israeli movement was strong in US politics. From then until now, the US Left has also been generally pro-Israeli. Just look at Bernie Sanders and others even in the US congressional left who still support massive aid.
      2) Even in the 1950's and mid-1960's, even the "far left", which was pro-peace and anti-militarist was frequently pro-Israeli at a time when the worst ethnic cleansing in that State's history was enacted.
      3) J Street and AIPAC are two of the main lobbies, and both of them support massive military aid, even though J Street proposes itself as pro-peace. J street and Americans for Peace Now have a pro-peace culture yet support the special relationship.
      4) Modern Germany is not very militaristic and yet it gives massive aid.

      These examples and others show that one can be pro-peace in one's culture (like Bernie Sanders and AFPN, perhaps) and yet still have intense support for the Israeli system and military aid.

      The existence of large, influential numbers of PEPs in US history show that it is not enough to have a pro-peace culture, but to apply it in this particular case.

      Second of all, lobbies can be a decisive factor in whether the US, political parties, and any "pro-peace politicians" choose to apply "pro-peace" values to the conflict or make an "exception". That's because lobbies run the US political system. Just look at the oil, gas, tobacco, gun, and healthcare lobbies. If a lobby is particularly powerful in the capitalist political system, legislators find it very persuasive.

      In conclusion, due to the fact that important pro-peace politicians still support the consensus of intense military aid, a pro-peace culture is insufficient to determine whether that aid continues. If Progressives Except for Palestine (Sanders, J Street, etc.) are politically stronger than those who are consistently pro-peace (as they are), then that support would continue.

      The question becomes: If PEPs overpower consistent Progressives and neither are militaristic, then how do you account for the greater political power of the former?

      THE NATION has a strong "culture of peace". So why is Eric Alterman a writer there and yet Phil Weiss, who is far more "pro-peace", not getting tons of invitations from the major pro-peace outlets?

  • Netanyahu speech was 'very dark day for American democracy' -- Matthews
    • Regarding Matthews, why do you think he used the Log Cabin Republicans' spokesperson to support the Republican position on Netanyahu's speech.

      I have a good guess.

  • Over one quarter of Netanyahu’s speech to Congress consisted of applause and standing ovations
    • The lead in cartoon to this article was a nice summary.

    • Stephen,

      In the Netanyahu speech video, they are using a gavel to stop applause. If they had not used the gavel, I am not sure how long it would have gone on when Net. introduced himself. You would have the AIPAC folks who filled up the empty seats still clapping, and few of the legislators would want to be the first one to stop.

    • Nancy with Net. before Speechgate:
      link to

      Says a lot.

    • Good article, Ben.

      27% of the speech was applause with 50% of the ending section being applause? I didn't realize how much the political theatre involved was similar to that in Stalin's speeches.

    • I didnt realize there were so many speakers of Russian on this blog.

      You can see him getting annoyed at the end

    • Lysias,

      One thing I noticed is that the Congresspeople clapped for Netanyahu immediately after he declared that Iran had taken over capitols, and in fact this was after a long passage, in the middle of his speech, describing Iran in very dark terms. As a purely rhetorically issue, this was not a place in the speech where one would rationally clap. It's worse than laughing long before the punch line in a joke.

      In contrast, if Stalin said that Iran was a bad threatening place for the Soviet Union, then his people would not, I assume, clap at that moment in the speech. But in Netanyahu's case they did. So in Netanyahu's speech it means they are just clapping for anything, not even if it is rational.

    • Lysias,

      Typically the word in that context would be "Hvatit".

      Etymologically Hvatit means to catch something, I think. But anyway, it's used in speech as a command to tell someone that they had enough of something that is now annoying and to stop doing it.



      Looks like I was right.

    • "“The most depressing part of it was that there was not a single lawmaker – Republican or Democrat – who dared to resist.”

      But is that true? Didnt Feinstein say that she wasnt going to be jumping up and down?

  • Factchecking Netanyahu: An annotated guide to the Israeli P.M.'s speech to Congress
    • In a discussion I had on this topic, the other person replied that this is still not direct evidence for my claim of collusion.

      Perhaps the Israelis made a "miscalculation" in judging the strength of ISIS, or perhaps the Israelis are not supporting the attacks on Assad so greatly that he will fall to ISIS, etc. For them it came down to lack of evidence for the claim of Israeli support for ISIS.

      (Some Muslims BTW claim there is a direct link between ISIS and the Israelis nonetheless).

    • They would just deny that they support the ISIS headchoppers. They just supply humanitarian assistance to the "moderate rebels" (apparently that means Nusra).

    • So do we get to cash in on that betting game sponsored on MW. I called something right:

      IIRC, Phil predicted that Netanyahu would cancel the speech to avoid conflicting Obama. Phil was once more overoptimistic and overestimated them, unfortunately. Sorry, Phil.

    • At this point, you have to realize that the Congress would applaud for him for WHATEVER he says to characterize Iran.

      He could say: "Our researchers have found that Iran was with OBL and did 911."
      And he would get applause. Once anti-Iranian congressmen are clapping for Iran dominating capitols, practically anything is possible, even logically incoherent statements.

    • NETANYAHU: In the Middle East, Iran now dominates four Arab capitals, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa. And if Iran's aggression is left unchecked, more will surely follow. So, at a time when many hope that Iran will join the community of nations, Iran is busy gobbling up the nations.


      OK, so exactly which part of that statement were the Congress applauding?
      1. Iran dominating capitols?
      2. Iran gobbling up nations when many hope it will join the global community?

      Or are they just clapping for whatever comes out of his mouth like he was a pachinko machine?

    • I read that Obama got more ovations here: link to (claiming Netan. got only 22)

      But elsewhere I heard that Netanyahu got about the same amount. What is the right answer?

    • By the way, those were 25 standing ovations.

      Remember that part where Feinstein said:

      Feinstein: I'll Be at Netanyahu Speech — But I Won't Be 'Jumping Up and Down'
      (Source: National Review Online‎)

      Well, was she?

    • 42 times it says applause here.

      A record?

  • Pelosi blasts Netanyahu speech as 'insult to intelligence of U.S.', Amanpour calls it 'dark, Strangelovian'
    • link to
      Tears of joy, Nancy, tears of joy.

      I feel bad for her. She is being forced to clap for something she disagrees with, and she is the House Minority leader, so theoretically, she has the legal right to stop it.

    • Charlie Rangel changes course, attends Netanyahu speech
      New York Daily News
      Charles Rangel (D-NY) until Tuesday morning had been strongly opposed to Benjamin Netanyahu's speech

      So, you think you get a say in whether you go to Netanyahu's speech, Mr. Rangel? I think not.

  • Thanks to Netanyahu, Israel support turns into a political football
    • "He has to address the rift. How in the hell can he address this rift with out looking like a back stabber and warmonger that he is?"
      Why can't he just say anything he wants to? Feinstein and Durbin are coming apparently, even after he snubbed them.

      Maybe he will look bad you think. OK, look bad to whom? To Jennifer Rubin and the Mideast desk at the NY Times? To Feinstein? And what is she going to do? To 90% of democratic activists and delegates? Maybe you are one of the 90% or more of Americans who didn't notice this:

    • Yepppppppp

      Downside is that a couple legislators foolishly abandoned the amazing opportunity to celebrate world boxing champ Net--an--ya--hu!
      Maybe if Netanyahu actually had a close election race at home and a bigger liberal public there he would be more careful.

    • Part of it is the issue. Dems are on board with Obama on the Iran issue, as are much of AIPAC's base.

      If the issue were human rights for Palestinians, then it would be tougher because the lobby's hardcore supporters are more intense about that issue than about a mere "deal" with Iran, which won't get nukes soon regardless of a deal or not. And after all, how can you support human rights for Palestinians if they "don't exist"?

  • White House says Netanyahu offers no alternative but military action (and Liz Warren won't say if she's attending speech)
    • Flashback to 2011:

      link to
      The speech by Netanyahu "had all the trappings of a state of the Union address by a US president with soaring approval ratings."
      Netanyahu got 29 ovations, Obama got only 25 before Congress.
      Ex-US Senator Gravel says Netanyahu is stronger than Obama on Mideast policy because of Aipac. Netanyahu comes to town and upbraids the president saying that what Obama wants won't happen.

  • AIPAC and Bill Kristol turn up the pressure
  • Right-wing bomb thrower David Horowitz behind anti-SJP posters
    • Let’s remember in the lead up to the Holocaust the Jewish councils in Eastern Europe organized the ghettos. They got everybody’s name so it would be easy for the Germans to exterminate them. Of course, they didn’t believe they would be exterminated.

      Isn't this the kind of thing that Greta Berlin got in trouble for re-tweeting?
      link to
      link to

  • Netanyahu speech is 'destructive' of 'bipartisan, immutable relationship' between US and Israel, Rice says
    • Trapped Democrats Can't Decide on Netanyahu Speech

      for the more than 15,000 Aipac volunteers who will descend on the capital. Congressional staffers working on the issue say they expect the volunteers will ask lawmakers to co-sponsor the Kirk-Menendez bill on Iran sanctions, which Obama says he will veto, but will not press for a vote before the March 24 deadline for a political framework to come out of the Geneva talks.
      link to

      According to Chomsky, the Israeli lobby is "one of the smaller lobbies."

      Do you realize how much lobbying power 15,000 lobbyists is? That is the size of a large university population. Some "major" Christian peace groups can put together a few hundred volunteers for a conference.

    • How much more obeisant can US officials appear, beyond the unanimous 28 standing ovations to a full joint session?

      Walking to an enthroned foreign dignatory on the knees, kissing toes, and laying prostrate is no longer very "PC". But we still have politically obilgatory "pilgrimages", in one of the most recent of which Obama laid a wreath for Herzl. What do you think? Or is this a sensitive topic, wherein criticizing some signs of respect could be considered anti-semitism?

  • Israel's new Asian allies
    • Cloak,

      It sounds like you have a lot of first hand knowledge from traveling to China, and it sounds quite newsworthy, because you said that it keeps on giving. It's quite new for me as well. Do you think you might consider writing an essay for Mondoweiss or a similar site on this topic? To make it more relevant, you might consider relating it to the Middle East today.

    • Was that actually an openly Jewish lobby in China and Britain on the Opium trade?

    • If China fights for the Israelis at the UN, what will China get in return? More arms contracts? It is already getting them. China will get a lot of flak from Muslims (20-30% of the world) instead. China doesn't need that.

    • Good point. China and India are not going to have a domestic pro-Israeli lobby, with all it entails- Christian Zios, pro-Israeli religious summer camps, etc.

    • China isn't going to veto UN resolutions against the rest of the world, including Russia, on behalf of the Israeli State. China is cautious in world policy. Israel would have to be like North Korea, Nepal, Vietnam, or some other country with super-close relations before it would do that.

  • The 15 billion dollar deal that will make or break Israel's regional hegemony
  • Racism is in the air: Video showing racist exchange between Israelis and a flight attendant goes viral
    • Then I realized it was an Israeli family.

    • One time I was on an international flight and the boy and his Mom behind sitting me were having an issue. The mother scolded him and the boy cried repeatedly in English to stop hitting him. I turned around and told her "You don't have to hit kids". She fired back that she did not him, and I felt extremely embarrassed in front of the other passengers sitting right next to me. Then she scolded him really really harshly in Israeli Hebrew, and he didn't say anything after that.

  • 'Large group' of indigenous Indians are cleared to immigrate to Israel and convert to Judaism
    • Ben Menashe

      Prior to their conversion to Christianity by Baptist missionaries in the 19th century, the Chin, Kuki, and Mizo followed animism and practiced ritual headhunting... The various tribes speak languages that are branches of Tibeto-Burman.

      A total of 350 genetic samples were tested at Haifa's Technion – Israel Institute of Technology under the auspices of Prof. Karl Skorecki. According to the late Mizo research scholar Isaac Hmar Intoate, who was involved with the project, researchers found no genetic evidence of a Middle-Eastern origin for the Mizo-Chin-Kuki.

      In December 2004, Kolkata's Central Forensic Science Laboratory posted a paper at Genome Biology on the Internet. They tested a total of 414 people from tribal communities of Mizoram (Hmar, Kuki, Mara, Lai and Lusei). They found no evidence among the men of Y-DNA haplotypes indicating Middle Eastern origin; rather, the haplotypes were of East and Southeast Asian origin.[25]

      BBC News reported, "[T]he Central Forensic Institute in Calcutta suggests that while the masculine side of the tribes bears no links to Israel, the feminine side suggests a genetic profile with Middle Eastern people that may have arisen through inter-marriage".

      OK, so they may be partly Middle Eastern on the mother's side, butthat doesn'tt mean they are Jewish.

      The far more obvious answer is that the Lost Tribes were absorbed into the neighboring countries like Syria and Iraq. Doesn't the Bible even say that? Paul was from the tribe of Benjamin.

  • Is flying a nationalist flag ever a progressive act?
    • There is a trend among certain, typically non-Palestinian, left activists and socialists that the Palestinian cause of equality and freedom is not per se is important, rather it is economic freedom that is the real issue. This is represented by groups like the Trotskyist "Workers' Liberty" IIRC and the J 14 protests a few years ago in Tel Aviv.

      The author here is right about class conflicts among Palestinians, collaboration by the PA, and other problems. If Palestine gets independence and solves its political problems of Hamas and the Israelis, it would look like a state such as Turkey, Armenia, Egypt, Cyprus, etc. And the author would be right to complain that it would be ccapitalist and have class problems like those countries.

      Nonetheless, the problem with those leftists who marginalize Palestinians' national and civic rights by instead speaking in favor of economic rights and equality as the focus is that they do a disservice to the latter political rights. To suggest as some do that political rights for equality are so secondary leaves the issues unresolved until the time, which at this moment appears far off, when such economic rights will first be respected.

      Let's give an example. At the J 14 protests, calls for Palestinian rights, and the whole Palestinian issue, were basically put aside by the organizers, because it could be "divisive". The "Workers Liberty" group proposes first having a socialist revolution with united Jewish and Palestinian workers before fixing Palestinians' national rights. However the idea that a socialist government would necessarily resolve the national conflict is belied by the fact that Israel did have a Labor government in the 1950's with accompanying socialist elements like the kibbutzes and mass trade union economy and nationalization of land. Yet it was exactly at in that era that the Nakba occurred (2 years earlier, in 1948).

      The fact is that Israeli-Palestinian society suffers from bot just a class conflict, but one of nationalist oppression too, and merely dedicating the main society in power to socialism doesn't fix things, because Palestinians can simply be left out in the cold. Were the Histradrut and its working class membership interested in helping Palestinians? The fact is that both struggles, the national struggle and the one for economic rights must be recognized. In parting, I find it noteworthy that it is non-Palestinians who more frequently look at the conflict and say that the national one for Palestinian rights is not particularly important and should be delayed until economic rights are achieved.

    • "for Palestine and the Palestinians anything and everything.”

      I didn't take that literally, Stephen, because that would be absurd.

      I think he means that they should have any and every of their full rights as a nation and as a nationalist activist: flag, equality, language, protests, etc.

    • Ellen,

      You also asked: "So is there a difference when the members of a colonized or oppressed people wave their flag?"
      Of course, since their flag or society is not oppressing another one.

      You write: "The implication is that all members of the nation stand together and have the same interest in opposing the oppressor power."
      Just because someone has a Palestinian flag doesn't mean they "stand with" Hamas in its tactics, even if they both want a Palestinian state.

      This is incorrect: "The strategy that flows from this analysis is that first there will be a struggle for national liberation and internal problems will be dealt with later."
      Just because two groups have a goal doesn't mean they only deal with internal problems later. Why would you think that?

      You ask:

      hus I have my problem with flying the flag of any nation in the world today, even the Palestinian one. Is it supporting developers and profiteers, who collude with their Israeli counterparts? Is it supporting the PA and their police? Is it saying, don’t worry, we’ll deal with them later? Most importantly, is it implying that ordinary Palestinian workers, students, farmers and professionals have more in common with these exploiters and enforcers than they do with other workers in the rest of the world?

      I don't see how supporting Palestinian sovereignty or flying a Palestinian flag must mean any of those things.

      You contradicted yourself here:

      An examination of liberation movements of the last century reveals that this nationalist thinking has dominated struggle in many countries and has yet to lead to significant betterment of the lives of ordinary citizens... Overt apartheid-like regulations may have disappeared, but class distinctions have not.

      If people are not living under Apartheid law, isn't that a "significant betterment".
      Maybe blacks were just as badly off before and after desegregation in the US, but would you claim that the end of Segregation was not a significant improvement? Aren't political rights and freedom from racist, theocratically discriminatory rule important?

      Also, you are mistaken here:
      "What is the alternative to waving the nationalist flag, the banner of the ruling class of whatever nation?"
      A nationalist flag is not necessarily the banner of its ruling class in particular. It is simply the nation's flag, representing the nation as a whole, even if it were not ruled by capitalism. When Cuba for example had a Socialist revolution, it did not get rid of its flag from its capitalist era. Different nations, whether capitalist or not, have different national flags, and to fly them doesn't mean one supports a certain economic system.

    • Ellen,

      Your question is:
      Is flying a nationalist flag ever a progressive act?
      Certainly it can be. Self-determination of peoples, along with anti-colonialism, is a major principle in progressive politics. An Irish flag at a protest in the 19th century, or an Indian flag in the early 20th, would have a progressive meaning for the freedom of those nations from British rule. In fact, if Jews and Palestinians were clearly two different nations, and were Palestine's Jews being ghettoized and abused by an explicitly non-Jewish Palestinian government and army, then an Israeli flag at such a march would be progressive.

      In the case at hand, Palestinians make up a native nation that includes Jews living on the land before the Israeli State's creation. Currently, Christians and Muslims do not have a really sovereign state there that represents them. They are considered second class. To promote instead the idea of a Palestinian state dedicated to their nation regardless of religion is progressive. Of course, it can also be admitted that this does not mean that a "Palestinian state" is the only "progressive" outcome- one could have a progressive one state or two state outcome.

      Having a Palestinian flag does not mean one supports the "destruction" of the Israeli state or supports a strict theocracy like Hamas or even all the tactics of the PLO or policies of the PA. It simply means that one supports the progressive goal of sovereignty for the occupied Palestinian nation.

      Again, I don't believe that one has to agree with a Palestinian state to be progressive (there are other options), but nonetheless, it is so obvious that Palestinian sovereignty is progressive at this stage that I seriously question why other "progressives" would propose otherwise.

    • I always have a problem if I go to a protest in the U.S. against war, injustice or workplace abuses and see some demonstrators waving the American flag. There is no doubt what that flag stands for – the American political system, with its false promises of democracy and equality and its proclivity for war.

      I think it depends on the context. If Mexican Americans march for their rights and fly a US flag, reminding people that they are Americans and should have full rights, perhaps it is a good thing.

      If one of the arguments of the flag wavers is that US wars abroad are unconstitutional, perhaps the flag waving is not even reactionary.

      But yes, I understand how at an antiwar rally it seems contradictory to have a US flag in prominence if the US is the aggressor.

  • In Their Own Words: Four residents of Yarmouk speak
    • If that's all the Left Opposition is - coffee shops, it would be sad. That would not be a serious opposition. Why don't more people ask the Leftist supporters of The Revolution there what kind of numbers the moderate forces have on the ground and exactly how democratic and moderate they are? That has got to be the key question not enough people are discussing. It's like people just throw out "pro-democracy" or "anti-Jihad" generalizations without giving exact details on force sizes and politics.

      I just checked out about the new FSA commander, who received Israeli training:
      CounterPunch says: . The FSA military leader, General Abdul-Ilah al Bashir, who defected from the Syrian government side in 2012, said in an interview with the McClatchy news agency last week that the CIA had taken over direction of this new moderate force. He said that “the leadership of the FSA is American”, adding that since last December US supplies of equipment have bypassed the FSA leadership in Turkey and been sent directly to up to 14 commanders in northern Syria and 60 smaller groups in the south of the country. Gen Bashir said that all these FSA groups reported directly to the CIA. Other FSA commanders confirmed that the US is equipping them with training and weapons including TOW anti-tank missiles.
      link to
      So if it's US special forced-run, then it's pro-democracy, moderate/secular, and that's good, right? Or are pro-democracy Leftists not supposed to talk much about such a strong US role either?

      Israel Support to Al Qaeda Rebels: New Free Syrian Army (FSA) Commander Trained in Israel
      link to

      I liked this brief analysis by Michael Beer of the US-Based, Palestinian-founded NONVIOLENCE INTERNATIONAL, which I suspect has had connections to the real nonviolent groups in the Arab Spring:
      link to

    • Walid,

      Maybe you are not supposed to know about this Paris meeting. It sounds like some weird off-screen politicking.

      It's strange to hear about the MBs wanting to cooperate so much with the Israelis, especially since the Israelis are crushing Gaza, which is run by the MBs.

      I am aware of the "enemy of my enemy is my friend" strategy, but it's still somewhat strange that Israelis would pick anti-Israeli fundies as their ally of choice in Syria. I mean, if Syria goes Fundy, that could mean more threats for the Israelis, right?

      Also, a related question is why the US supported certain forces in Egypt. Why did some US forces support overthrowing the dictator Mubarak and replacing him with the conservative religious MB? And then on top of that, were the US next in favor of Sisi overthrowing the Egyptian MB?

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