Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 3007 (since 2011-11-07 00:34:23)

Peace, social justice, belonging, human rights, homeland for the peoples of the Holy Land.

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  • No rescue!
    • In some ways the famine was worse, in some ways better. Ukrainians had a higher body count, but they were not expelled from their land, which retained its boundaries and even grew in size. Plus, I doubt Stalin singled out Ukrainians because Russians were affected too across the border in large numbers.

    • Hello, Marc.

      You wrote:
      Whatever your faith community or theological persuasion, on Easter Sunday let’s be clear: The world is unredeemed.

      Rabbi Maimonides, the Rambam considered Isaiah 43:4 Messianic and also thought it meant the Messiah would be killed. The verse says.
      He shall not fail nor be crushed, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.
      Why does it not just say that he will not be crushed, period? Instead, it proposes that isles will be waiting for his law when he does his work. In other words there is a period during the Messianic era when the islands are still in wait for his law. The redemption is not instantly absolute everywhere. I wish it were, of course!!

  • Southern Poverty Law Center takes Blumenthal's side against smear campaign
    • David,

      Maybe Max should explain why his Breivik accusation was worthier than those presently leveled against him.
      Sounds like you and Sean have provided some pointers for Max.

      Peace, my friend.

  • On Easter, costly Jews - and costly Palestinians
    • Hello, RoHa.
      Jesus was speaking out against the religious authorities, and Jesus' close associate John the Baptist was killed by Herod. In the gospels, Jesus goes on trial by the Sanhedrin and Herod first.

    • Thanks for sharing the Syriac (Aramaic song). I noticed some Greek: Christ is risen from the dead.

    • It would not make sense because Pilate was the main ruler of Judea then. So it was "under Pilate".

    • Dear Marc,

      You wrote:

      What does a Christian pastor – or rabbi – become if by telling the truth they’re suddenly no longer well-placed? Do they become wandering, itinerant preachers who have nowhere to lay their heads? Especially on Easter and Passover, holy days that model the suffering of displacement for speaking and acting on truth.

      It involves sacrifice. Broadly considered, the place of personal and communal sacrifice is the prophetic, which risks everything, including exile.

      Are you talking about people risking rejection by their community and sacrifice? Isn't this the essence of John the Evangelist's passage that you find offensive? Would you be willing to reconsider then whether John's writing is really "anti-Semitic" as it may seem to you, as the theme is a Jewish Christian writer talking about the difficulty of communal rejection?

    • Page: 30
    • Our wonderful progressive Christian brothers and sisters are in full confessional mode.

      That's nice.

      Historic anti-Semitism dogs Christians. After all, it’s right there in the New Testament.

      So how does one explain the idea that the New Testament is anti-Semitic if it was written by Jewish believers?

    • Hello, M.
      We have a general rule that we should criticize our own sins before those of others. And so one can point out that the Romans and pagans played a main role in the Crucifixion. The Nicene Creed never says "The Jews" killed Jesus, but that Pontius Pilate did!

      On the other hand, isn't there a tradition about the prophets being sometimes rejected by their community? Is this a theme that Marc Ellis writes about on occasion, with "the prophetic"? Does this explain where the Jewish Christians were coming from in their Passion narrative?

    • Hello, Walid.
      Your clip cited Isaiah 53, which says in part:

      we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
      Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God,

      The idea that the nation would reject the Messiah is somewhat reflected in this verse. You can also see this in David's life, when David was temporarily rejected by the Nation. David is also considered a forerunner of the Messiah. The prophets themselves were at times rejected by their people. I wonder if Ellis' writing about the "prophetic" also takes this into account. Did you or Ellis consider the possibility that the idea of the people, along with the Romans and pagans, rejecting the Messiah may actually be within the ancient Israelite religious tradition?

  • Mark Halperin excommunicates Rand Paul, over Israel
    • It's about money because the USA is a moneyarchy AKA capitalist.

      A socialist or feudal oligarchy would not really care about money either.

    • I'm afraid that it probably isn't just the Republican party that does this. I can imagine that the Big Donors may actually not fund a real peace candidate in the Democratic Party like Kucinich because they think the same way: namely, maybe they would actually worry (Imagine that!) that the candidate would push for peace all over the world. Kucinich proposed a Department of Peace. That should be awesome, right? Yes, that Democratic Donors would do this should not make sense to the normal person.

  • Long ago, Bill Buckley and Woody Allen agreed on occupation
    • Well, strictly speaking it can just be religious Jews moving to the Holy Land. I don't know that this is reactionary. However, I think many strands of Zionism, including Chomsky's, have a conservative side that would formally segregate society.

    • Buckley's eyes flitter in a weird, somewhat creepy way when he talked. He has kind of a creepy attitude.

  • Resurrecting Passover?
    • Dear Walid,

      Out of curiosity, can I ask what is your religion? You don't have to answer.

      I would not be surprised if Puritans committed genocide and ascribed it to "wrath", granted, I am not sure they would associate it with Jesus' love.

    • In my reply to Jeff I expressed surprise that secular Israelis consider Reform Judaism a religious mistake, and skepticism over whether the WCC was cruel, as it is based in Switzerland like the Red Cross and comes from the standpoint of other such humanitarian organizations. I also suggested that the PCUSA's relationship with the NJPS is not so contradictory as the unfortunate situation in the Holy Land, where the State proclaims democracy but very many Palestinians lack its benefits. It is this contradiction that confronts the PCUSA, which does not have some inherent interest in a conflict with the NJPS.

      May I ask if this comment is incorrect, or perhaps the way I expressed it was incorrect? That would help me to better comment in the future. Thanks, and Happy Passover / Paschal Season, as the case may be.

    • Hmmm... This brings up an interesting point. The ancient Israelite scriptures prophecy that the Temple would become a house of "all nations". Yet in Jerusalem's time entrance into the inner courtyard was restricted only to Jews. Christian Zionists portray the Temple as something also restricted. Yet here in the ancient texts we find a prophecy of universalism carried into Christianity.

    • I have heard different theories about what Jesus objected to.

      He referred to it as a "Den of Thieves", so I take it that he was objecting to financial exploitation of people. A thief takes someone's money against their will, so perhaps the lenders were in a position where religion required them to buy things and the lenders were charging excessive rates for what everyday people had to do?

    • Thanks for sharing, JeffB, that Puritans' ideas were not always genocidal about Indians. I am not very surprised to hear Puritans' ideas about the plague being "wrath" for Indians, since they also brutally executed almost 20 "witches", Lord have mercy. Nonetheless, I question whether they equated Jesus' love with ethnic cleansing, and unaware whether they thought God was instructing them to kill Indians.

      I actually find that some Zionists like yourself can be more tolerant toward Christian religious beliefs than some anti-Zionists. Granted, discrimination against Christians is not uncommon among the Israeli right. I think the more liberal and open-minded someone is, the more tolerant he is going to be of people with other religious beliefs.

      The Puritans and Israeli right are an example of the opposite, unfortunately.

    • Isn’t it swell that Christians finally learned that Jesus’ love offers a mutual embrace rather enslavement and ethnic cleansing! Congratulations Christians!
      That's nice, except that I don't remember Christians generally learning that Jesus' love offers ethnic cleansing.

      I don't even think the Puritans who ethnically cleansed the Indians thought that Jesus' love offered ethnic cleansing, but maybe I am wrong about that. Fortunately, that was not a belief of the Church Fathers.

  • Haaretz joins Rush Limbaugh and company in trying to link Max Blumenthal to KC shooter suspect
    • [After his release] Miller slowly worked his way back into the supremacist movement. At some point he began using the Miller name publicly, in his political campaigns, newsletters and Internet posts... But Miller apparently retained the Cross name as well. He is charged under that name.

      link to

      Why is someone in the witness protection program slowly rejoining a supremacist movement?

    • Records suggest that F. Glenn Miller Jr. was once in witness protection program
      By Dave Helling, Judy Thomas
      April 15, The Kansas City Star

      The federal government appears to have shielded murder suspect F. Glenn Miller Jr. in the early 1990s as part of its witness protection program, potentially providing money for his family — and causing lingering confusion over his name.
      The 1987 sentencing memorandum recommended witness protection for Miller...
      But records show Frazier Glenn Cross Jr. received a Social Security number in 1990. That was the year Miller was released from prison — and 35 years after Frazier Glenn Miller Jr. obtained his Social Security number. Public records connect both names and Social Security numbers to Miller’s address in Aurora, Mo.

      He testified in a 1988 sedition trial in Fort Smith, Ark., where 14 white supremacists were accused of conspiring to kill a federal judge and FBI agent, and plotting to overthrow the federal government. All were acquitted.
      link to

  • Friedman prepares American Jews for a divorce from zealot Israel
    • :)


      If liberal nationalists like Friedman and JStreet wanted the abuse of Palestinians to stop, why not take clear and public steps to do it, like having a human rights vigil outside a consulate and publicly delivering a petition?

      Anyway, when he talked about “American boys and girls going from house to house” in Iraq it sounded like something out of the pages of WWII Germany, so I question how liberal some liberals are. link to

      We left you here alone and you played with matches until suddenly you blew up a Passover seder in Netanya. And therefore we are not going to leave you along any longer. We will go from house to house in the Casbah.

      Yes, well actually you did not leave the Palestinians "alone". And what are you talking about "going house to house"? Who else in history went "house to house"?

      Throw me a lifeline here, Krauss.

    • Dear Phil,

      I hope you will please make a list of ways to talk with everyday Jewish liberal nationalists about achieving Palestinians' rights. I can tell it is the kind of topic and target audience you like. And besides, there are "Hasbara" talking point lists. Personally, I am OK with a two state solution, but Palestinian refugees must have their right of return. I believe this is possible based on the 1947 United Nations lines or where people were living in 1947.

      Liberal nationalists openly recognize that Palestinians are being abused, so one can talk about this point of agreement. One can also compare the analogies of the conquest of Native Americans and the Civil Rights movement of Black Americans to give a reference point.

      Where to go from there? I believe their answer is for the Israeli left to win an election and for most Israelis and American Jews to support a two state solution, so that with a liberal Israeli government in power, the government can offer a two state solution on the 1967 lines.

      I like the idea of a two state solution, and also the idea of a leftwing coalition in Israel. I think it would be very hard psychologically for Israelis to voluntarily give up so much land that the Two State Solution with the Right of Return I mentioned would be realizable. They are happy to be in a place of control and they don't trust the Arabs.

      Palestinians for their part will have a very hard time signing an agreement that does not give them alot of the right of return, the 1967 borders, and much of East Jerusalem. So we are stuck with the reality of a long term occupation even if a liberal Israeli government is elected, because they won't reach agreement.

      The liberal Zionists' reply could be that even if there is an occupation, we can give Palestinians maximum rights, like having autonomy: Puerto Rico is a U.S. "territory", yet people have rights. My response could be that even when liberal governments were been in power, Palestinians have been abused: Chomsky was on one of the most liberal Kibbutzes and when the war started, he said they expelled the neighboring friendly village because they felt they "had to."

      The liberal Zionists' reply could be to encourage Israelis to be liberal and respect peoples' rights and to promote positive investment in the Palestinian territories. I agree with both those things, but unfortunately this hasn't worked. Israeli left groups and even the US government have programs to encourage tolerance among Israelis.

      Where can we go from here? Can we suggest to liberal nationalists that, just like we do for America's wars, we should have vigils outside consulates to express regret over human rights abuses?

    • Here it is.
      First, there is no moral defense of the occupation. A permanent occupation leads to systemic inequality.
      At the same time, that outcome of it being permanent is undesirable, because inequality is a bad situation.

  • Let God's people go -- and return, too
  • Fear of Arab-Americans in the public square
  • Handling holy hypocrisy at holiday season
    • Yes, the Catholic Church did have a tyrannical aspect. Nonetheless, I am trying to answer Marc's question - if it were not in with the tyranny, would it still be "Catholic"? And one can add- were it not tyrannical, would it still be Catholic? I believe that the answer is yes, because "Catholic" is really more of a philosophy about being full. Do I believe the Catholic Church should have avoided tyranny? Yes, and I think it would have looked different if it had, because that would have carried over into administrative rules. It would have looked somewhere between the Catholic church and the Quakers.

      People love to make arguments about necessity- the Church "had" to be tyrannical", we "have" to have the death penalty, the Israeli government "has" to be severe. I don't believe this way, and many Catholicism don't either, based on other aspects in Catholicism that have nothing to do with tyranny except to oppose it.

      Peace, my friend.

      P.S. May I ask what your background is?

    • So Catholics would still be calling themselves "universal" because being "Catholic" is a philosophy meaning "fullness of the faith" that is independent of whether a government accepts it or not.

      A great example of this is how practically all Christians say they believe in a "Catholic and Apostolic faith". A wide range of Christians say this, from anarchist to establishment groups, because it is just a philosophy of fullness, not government support.

      I think your conception though is that "Catholic" reflects the idea that very many Christians accept that particular church. Would they all accept "Catholicism" without tyrants? Well, I believe that Catholicism would be different if there were no tyrants, and my personal belief is that the Pope has a dictatorial role based on the model of a Roman emperor. And yet nonetheless, I believe that a version of Catholicism- ie. mainstream Western Christianity - would still be accepted without tyrants. The reason I say this is because Christianity spread in the West precisely while it was being repressed by those very tyrants.

      This brings up one of the interesting issues, Marc. According to the Bible, spreading the knowledge of God was a main role ascribed to the Messiah. And there are descriptions of a suffering Messiah both in rabbinic and in Biblical thought. How is it then that Jesus of Nazareth and his followers, despite all that persecution, brought knowledge of God to most of the world's population through Christianity and Islam? I am aware of counterarguments made against Christianity, but in any case, this is a noteworthy point.

    • Dear Marc,

      You ask "if the Catholic Church hadn’t been in bed with all sorts of ancient and modern tyrants would it have become the “universal” church it is today?"

      Yes it would. Catholics use the word "universal" to mean the "fullness of the faith". Historically, even when they were not in bed with tyrants and became a repressed group, they still considered themselves to have the fullness of the faith.

      Now I don't believe they are the universal church, because I am not Catholic, but I must emphasize that Catholic philosophy does not base itself on acceptance by earthly tyrants.

  • Palestinians can have an embassy in Jerusalem, but God forbid not a capital -- Israeli mayor
    • Thanks. Is there a survey showing how many of them hold to this idea and did they express an opinion on how to achieve it in the survey?

    • The Israeli right in surveys does not want Palestinians to have a state, and the percent of people with that opinion reaches almost half depending on the survey. What is the solution then that they see for Palestinians? Have they made surveys about this, or is their answer "no opinion"?

  • Alterman says BDS is helping Netanyahu
    • Daniel,

      No, fortunately I am not a psychopath.

    • At one rural town hall meeting with a US Senator, a missionary to Palestine [nationalists shut down when they just hear that word] said that the situation there was the worst he ever has seen and that they have no water rights. That was the end of the Town Hall meeting.

    • The Israeli right is in expansionist mode. Even if they were to pay the "Arabs" to leave, and they all left Judea and Samaria and Gaza, the Israeli right would next turn to taking on the Sinai, the Golan, and the other neighboring areas as much as it could politically and militarily control. Meanwhile, there have been alot of "Arabs" around for a long time, and probably will be in the future. That's why Max Blumenthal says you might as well get used to living in the neighborhood and respect other cultures and nationalities. One makes his bed and then lies in it.


    • Right-wing Israelis are therefore able to take advantage of the widespread distaste for “BDS-style rhetoric and tactics, because they know that the more attention the BDS movement receives, the more difficult it will become to build serious international pressure on the occupation itself.”

      Even if one inserts oneself into the warped thinking of Chomsky and Alterman that BDS would have a [nonexistent] anti-semitic motivation, giving attention to BDS would still add to international pressure. If strict, right wing Americans (who are in reality Christian Zionists) were leading the call to avoid buying Israeli goods and emphasizing human rights concerns as the reason, it would still be helpful. That's because in public debates on the subject, the opponents of this alternate reality version of BDS would still have to address the human rights issues in the course of their argument. They would still be forced to address whether or not the mistreatment exists, and since it does exist, they would be confronted with the problem of whether to actually do anything to stop the mistreatment or not.

      In any case, human rights activists are hardly motivated by "values" of intolerance, and people must address whether as supporters of human rights we are going to oppose all measures against systematic abuse.

    • +1
      Or not repressed by them.

    • Larry,

      Netanyahu's actions showed that the Israeli establishment is not interested in a two state solution, although one could tell that after the Din was called condemning Rabin.

      Alterman and other critical supporters of the system who oppose BDS speak out about some abuses, but they do not support actual measures to stop those abuses. Their answer for the US government and other liberal supporters to talk strongly and persuasively to the State and to Israelis has failed and is failing worse, as settlements expand and the talks have been shown to be a stalling game for many decades. The only conclusion can be that the liberal opponents of BDS, like other strong supporters of the state's system, value the system so much that they oppose actual measures to stop the system's severe abuses that they criticize.

      Please remember:
      If someone seriously cares about stopping drastic human rights abuses, then one must not oppose taking real-life measures to end them.

    • Israel has never paid a price for expansion; it just keeps expanding.
      Yes, and Altermann and JStreet definitely do not want it to pay any price, based on their view of being "pro-Israel". This is why JStreet applauds increases in military backing of the IDF by the US and the Visa Waiver bill opposed by human rights activists.

      Their view is to criticize the Israeli right for the occupation, and fund the army as much as possible while it builds up the occupation.

      He’s lost that status to BDS, which is really doing something about Palestinian rights.
      Yes. BDS -AKA actually doing something even minimal to push back against the repression - drives the system's supporters bonkers.

      Their implicit reasoning behind this reaction must be that the religio-nationalist political system is so important that supporting it materially far outweighs the system's repression.

      In fact, even if the system imprisoned and abused hundreds of children, used chemical warfare against civilian targets, and created one of the largest refugee populations in the world, the system's supporters would still demand increased material support.

  • Alleged K.C. killer: 'If Jews can have a state of their own, why can't we have a White Christian state?'
  • You know Israel's in trouble when 'NYT' runs op-ed saying it's replacing Iran as isolated theocracy
    • "Palestinians" get one mention in the whole article.

    • Unfortunately, "Palestinians" are only named once in the whole article. It's like they don't really count, their society doesn't really exist. The authors may counter that their article is about Israeli society, not Palestinians. But in any case, this is a hallmark feature of liberal nationalist thought- the other society doesn't count or enter into the picture. Others have noticed this looking back to their nationalist upbringings- they only heard the name "Palestinian" later on.

  • About that special relationship...
    • You mean "neutrality" in the Russia-Georgia war of 2008. Don't forget the quotation marks.

    • Rabbi Azman visited the Holy Land to get armed assistance for democracy in Ukraine before the events of Maidan occurred. But who knows who the snipers belonged to except that they weren't from Yankovych.

    • The Israelis know that whether they vote for the Crimeans or not they will get 29 ovations at a joint session of the legislature from everyone, so it does not matter if they vote for the Crimeans. but voting on behalf of the Crimeans does help its relations with Russia. So there's nothing for it to lose and something for it to gain by voting for the Crimeans.

      Actually, that should be rather obvious to anyone who is informed.

      What's the US establishment going to do? Negotiate tough on IP? Call up JStreet to enact adverse measures? It will have a far far easier time making pigs fly. Really.

      I would be wiling to bet Obama that I could make a pig fly before he could give Palestinians a normal independent state.

    • Yeah Just, Putin does look this way in the photo. That is the way Netanyahu can look at Obama.

    • Putin comes across as smooth if he can deal this way with Netanyahu. Putin does not look worried about Netanyahu. Obama and Sarkozy worry about him. So ironic.

  • To reach the 'moveable middle' in Jewish life, you must be inside the tent
    • Phil,
      That's an interesting comment you made about the war. Liberman did in fact become conservative, even running against the democratic party in connecticut, as you may know. In other words, he was politically conservative in more ways than people realized.

      You also have the fact that the same guys who wanted the Iraq war would have wanted it in 2000. In fact the "clean break" document to go to war openly says it is a plan for 2000, and it was written when a democrat was in power and Gore was vice president. It was written without regard of which party came to power. So if Liberman supported the Iraq war, and Iraq had nothing to do with the events of 2001, then why would he as a conservative vice president not choose to go to war with Iraq when given the chance?

      I do think it would be strange for Gore, a democrat, to be demanding entrance into the Iraq war. But guess what, we are talking about an alternative timeline, and how do we know 911 would not have happened, which jolted people into militarism? And didn't Kerry also support the war in Iraq despite being a Vietnam protestor? We are talking about a strange correlation of facts. So it is hard to say for sure what would have happened, but there would have been serious pressures brought to bear.

    • It's interesting to question the alternatives. I tend to think a Democratic president is better for freedom and peace than a Republican one, but perhaps they have the same interest groups working on both and thus one can only in good conscience support a third party. Casualties in Afghanistan are up since Bush's presidency. Mccain would have been bad in Syria, but the antiwar movement would have been bigger. The antiwar movement has suppressed itself to some extent because Obama is the president. There is a coopting of opposition that occurs.

      If APN and Ameinu were not allowed into the conference it would make them more vocal and oppositional in reaction to their exclusion, whether they realize it or not. This is how psychology works. If you are inside the tent you are less likely to disturb it because you are part of it. when you are outside the tent it is more natural to make noise.

  • Amid 'climate of fear' at Vassar, president comes out against 'action and protest' re Israel
    • Annie,

      I have been to Middle Eastern cultural events and SJP events and they remind me of eachother, even when one takes out the politics. I like Middle East culture and I imagine ancient Israelite culture was like it. Actually, by definition it was a part of it.

      An outside observer coming to these events brings his/her own cultural standpoint. I think that this bias is reflected in the professor's ridiculing of the students with "lalalalala". However I think even a more sympathetic person, including myself, has his or her own biases that he/she brings. And I know Phil has sympathy for the students.

      I am sure you would have made a different report, Annie, than some other people would have, especially based on your comments throughout this thread. Everyone has his/her unique lens, and that is a good thing by itself.

      All the best.

    • Ellen,

      I heard that statistically people in power are more often sociopaths on power trips. Also, it sounds like you picked up on what I meant about perceptions when i made my satire.

    • Black rage is all the rage again; you can't turn on your television without hearing media moderators and their mirror-image experts - our ubiquitous fin de siecle experts - babbling on about the rage in the hearts of the black poor. Politicians echo the message, amplifying it and broadcasting it to an anxious nation.

      When these TV types speak of fear at all, it's always white fear. Black rage, white fear: That's the monochrome message, coming at us from our color TV sets, the stereotype of two communities, us and them.

      Some of the TV types are white, some black; it makes no difference. They all live outside the inner-city, and their message is the same: We're afraid; they're enraged, violent and vengeful, full of just fury, out to punish us for our sins and the sins of our fathers. The few inner-city voices we do hear, the strutting young men who pose for the cameras, embody the menace and reinforce the message. We are the community, they tell us; watch out.

      link to

      The article goes on to say that actually it's blacks who often fear crime.

    • I think that when the professor shakes her head around and goes lalalala she is making fun of Arabs and is not reflecting a deep "climate of fear". If she was actually scared of them, she would not be making fun of them in their faces. There is alot of cultural bias that people can have when it comes to third world cultures. Was there an "angry black man" portrayal that some people were trying to use to paint Rev. J. Wright onto Obama? Rev. Wright could have been portrayed as someone passionate about inequality instead.

      I am not saying to stifle one's reactions, but it's worth thinking about perceptions. I tend to think that if Edward Said were at Vassar he might have a different perception. Maybe I am being too harsh, which is not my intention. If so, forgive me.

    • You are right that your value is as a reporter, and you don't need to ignore other people's words. I think you are reporting what you felt and I notice that you felt rage was OK, so you are not unsympathetic. It is helpful and good writing that you describe how you feel.

      When someone goes to a meeting of people who are very involved in a human rights issue, whether it is the NLG or civil rights era NAACP or student rights organizations there is energy in the room. Arab and African American culture also has an unruly or turbulent side. I do think that white Americans and Europeans partly have a natural tendency to identify with Israelis because they can fit them better into models of European culture. Very many Israelis prefer the European style of culture too over others. Ironically, Palestinian culture should be much more naturally aligned to ancient Israelite culture than to almost all other cultures on the planet.

      Let me give an example. One time I attended a cultural event and there were many Middle Easterners. I felt out of place because they were dancing a middle eastern dance. A young lady near me, when I asked her, said she was not going to participate, because she was white. In my words to her, I also gave a hint of the differences between our culture and theirs. Her response actually made me react by joining in one of the dances myself, which I was able to fit into, although clumsily. She and I both had biases and predispositions that we were not aware of and thought were normal or neutral.

      The other thing, as you pointed out, is that your blog's article about this topic was circulated. I believe this is something neat about your blog- it has a noteworthy readership, and an impact. Some people might get hesitant about that, but for you, there is still open speech about how you feel. This is also positive.

      Reporters are also like me and the girl in many ways, although some sources like Itar-Tass can be pretty dry. They do color their writing. The US news can refer to pro-EU indignant "protestors" in Kiev and an "angry mob" in eastern Ukraine. They have a choice of words that are synonyms yet have different connotations.

      You are free and should report how you feel, however the perceptions, impressions, and standpoint of the observer color one's writing, and then affect a readership.

      Thank you for your writing.


    • What are you talking about? The deep guttural chanting in some weird foreign tongue, beating drums in strange rythms, wearing this nationalist headscarf, "haya haya"? Dancing around wildly. This is wildness, Rudy. Then there is spray painting? People jumping around? Wildness! And strange oriental clothes and barbed wire. It is no wonder the good people of Vassar express their concern.


      This is what I mean about perceptions. A person can observe something a make a perception that is factually valid on each part, and yet it has an effect of creating a perception that may be much different than the one those who were portrayed intended. Of course, that perception may not be wrong either.

    • Phil,

      As you know, the words one uses have a big effect on portraying an issue. If the activists are seen as "angry", having "rage", making "fear", this is a different portrayal than being seen as "indignant", "passionate", articulate, zealous, etc. If we were talking about the civil rights era, the abolitionist era, or passionate activism during the time of opposing South Africa's system, how would we wish to portray those activists?

      Some of the same kinds of debates are in play, as rights of an oppressed group are weighed and advocated against other interests, values, and belief systems.

  • Dershowitz plays McCarthy, and John Dingell is labeled 'anti-Israel'
    • Both my parents had Jewish friends, and I have as well, and we are Christian. I'm not interested in picking on Phil, and everyone has his/her own choice of friends.

      I don't struggle with making friends with people of other cultures and faiths, and I don't think one should either. If we are in a movement for radical egalitarianism, then there can be no suspicion of anti-semitism or racism. If one were to say that the oppression of blacks, native Americans, or the victims of genocides are not important, then one could think that the person saying those things is racist. But if they oppose those things, then it is with an anti-racist perspective that they turn to the suffering in the Holy Land. As a result, one cannot justifiably suspect people of anti-semitism for making egalitarian arguments. The belief that all people are equal and should have full political rights is not a racist idea.

      What does "very Christian" mean? Christianity means Jesus is the Messiah, or Christ. Someone who is very Christian then, is someone who seriously believes Jesus was the Messiah. There are a wide range of Christians of a range of sects and even some in no sects. Quakers are traditionally a branch of Christians, and Adam worked for the Friends Committee. I think it's helpful if Phil or others are open about how they feel too. You can and should be nice to people, but you can't "make" anyone like you.


    • Excellent point. JStreet takes the position that there is abuse against palestinians, that the "answer" is a 2 state solution, that the Israeli government is opposing a 2 State solution, that the answer is for Obama to have "tough talks" with Netanyahu and for Palestinians to get Netanyahu's permission for a state that he does not want, and that the Israeli government needs to get increased military and economic support regardless.

      It's much like Ben Gurion's position and Dershowitz's except that those two were not interested in thinking about Palestinian suffering. There are hundreds of children in Israeli jails and they are getting abused accoding to the human rights organizations. JStreet talks about the abuse sometimes, its members are fully aware of it, and then it goes with Dershowitz's positions except that they blame Netanyahu and don't want to do anything real about it, so in reality they do not give a real way to solve the problem.

      They openly recognize there is suffering but they are strongly against doing anything serious to stop it.

    • Hello, Rudy.

      Thank you for speaking out against abuses of human right, including when liberals turn a blind eye to it. I can also understand what you mean about people who think that if you don't share their beliefs you will go to hell. I attended an evangelical school and felt it was stifling, like when they talked about creationists. I preferred the Catholic school. Imagine that- a protestant who liked Catholic school better, Rudy. And naturally, the Catholics were serious about their faith, but they did not take an attitude that other religions were going to hell. I did not get communion, and the other students were sympathetic to me about that.

      What that showed me, and what I hope your friendships at Temple showed you, is that one does not need to use religion as a litmus test on whether one can be friends with another person. A person can be serious about religion and not take the view that another person is going to hell or put up a social wall between one person and another. Look at Kovel's friendships with Catholic clergy in their common efforts to help the poor of Latin America who were being repressed.

      Wouldn't you say that this can be a kind of awakening when one person can open up to be friends with other people even if they come from other cultures, ethnicities, or religions, Rudy?

      Do you still live in the Mid-Atlantic region?


    • Thank you, Phil.

      As you can tell, I enjoy reading your blog because of the insight and self-reflection that you bring. It carries over from your days as a hard-hitting journalist.

      However, I would like to please ask you what you meant when you said:

      It’s not like my wife or my friends are very Christian. If they were, we wouldn’t be friends. They respect Christ as a teacher, but mock Christian religious claims and stay away from church.

      Joel Kovel described his friendship with Jesuit human rights activists in Latin America, and there are many other examples of close relationships between Jews and believing Christians in human rights work. So I wanted to please ask if you could show me where you are coming from when you say you would not be friends.

    • Dear Phil,

      You asked: "Has Americans for Peace Now ever criticized AIPAC by name?"

      APN wrote:
      "APN Calls on Congress to Stand up to AIPAC on Problematic Iran Hill Initiatives"
      link to

      AIPAC Illustrates Current Threats Facing Israel With Bombing Photo--From 1997
      By Lara Friedman on June 25, 2013
      link to

      AIPAC doesn't speak for me
      link to

      APN Corrects the Record on the AIPAC "FAQs" Regarding HR 4681
      link to

      In addition, may I please ask you a question, Phil, if you get a chance?

  • For Miliband, the road to 10 Downing Street runs through Jerusalem and Sderot
    • If we are talking elections, read this 2014 article by Norman Solomon, a congressional candidate from California, who by the way happens to look like Phil:

      J Street ultimately lets the Israeli government off the hook by declaring that relationship sacrosanct, no matter what. The organization insists that political candidates funded by J StreetPAC “must demonstrate that they support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, active U.S. leadership to help end the conflict, the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel, continued aid to the Palestinian Authority and opposition to the Boycott/Divestment/Sanction movement.”

      The sanctity of the proviso about “the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel” became evident to one of us (Norman Solomon) while running for Congress in 2012 in California. After notification that J Street had decided to confer “On the Street” status on Solomon and another Democratic candidate in the primary race, the group’s leadership suddenly withdrew the stamp of approval — after discovering a Solomon op-ed piece written in July 2006 that criticized Washington’s support for the Israeli bombing of Lebanon then underway. In a specially convened conference call, J Street’s top leaders told the candidate that one statement in the op-ed was especially egregious: “The United States and Israel. Right now, it’s the most dangerous alliance in the world.”
      link to

  • Simon Schama's Israel whitewash
    • Dear Jerome Slater,

      Thank you for your reply. Whether Palestinians had to be "transferred" is important because it is a premise of what you and others see as a necessary "safe haven". I see transferring a population out of its ancestral homeland to be problematic, even if the poor peasantry would take the compensation. It is helpful that you rule out force, but I worry that some people have an unfortunately "flexible" idea of what voluntary means.

      Leon Trotsky's idea reminds me of yours, when in an essay proposing the possibility of Zionism under world Socialism, he wrote:

      Socialism will open the possibility of great migrations... It goes without saying that what is here involved is not compulsory displacements, that is, the creation of new ghettos for certain nationalities, but displacements freely consented to, or rather demanded by certain nationalities or parts of nationalities. The dispersed Jews who would want to be reassembled in the same community will find a sufficiently extensive and rich spot under the sun. The same possibility will be opened for the Arabs, as for all other scattered nations.

      link to
      His idea that "the Arabs" (his name for Palestinians) were scattered and should "return" is like the Zionists' idea of "transferring" Palestinians whom they portrayed as nomads from "Arabia". Further, considering Trotsky's use of labor battalions and his military background, I question what would happen if the Arabs did not agree to what the "planners" saw as ideal, and how malleable his idea of the Arabs' "free consent or request" would be. If only 55% of the Arabs "requested" to be transferred to Arabia, would that be enough to say "the Arabs" did?

      Granted, Trotsky explained in this series of essays that he saw integration to be the ultimate ideal result, not Zionism, which he considered a temporary option. He saw a world tribunal (like the UN) as providing the best answer, and he rejected the safe haven argument because he thought the Mideast was unsafe.

      I would be glad to hear your thoughts about Trotsky's passage here, as it reflects: (A) that many others have made this claim about consensual or requested "transfer", (B) I question how realistic it is that you would find 3/5 of Palestinians willing to be paid to lose not just their homes, but their ability for themselves and their children to have citizenship in their homeland - as you said it would negate the right of return, (C) I question how "consensual", "desired", or desirable this transfer of a population out of its homeland would be.

      Whether the population required "transfer" is also an important topic because similar claims about the most desired outcome are used nowadays to block the peace process and the right of return. While you are generous enough to say that you believe the "price" of the Nakba was not worth the creation of the "safe haven", unfortunately many other Zionists do not agree with you.

      My main follow up question was whether the Israeli State's borders could have been drawn to make a Jewish majority. Did you consider this possibility, considering how much district gerrymandering occurs in the US?
      I also asked whether Jewish immigration would have added to the ratio to make such a majority, thus making it easier to draw boundaries for that majority. Unfortunately, I don't understand your answer that

      As for achieving the same ratio by Jewish immigration into the original boundaries as established by the UN, that possibility was no longer feasible after the expansion of Israel in the 1948 war.

      Since the UN says that a nation's boundaries may not be expanded by territorial conquest, why do you believe that Jewish immigration into the UN's boundaries was no longer feasible, Professor? May not the United Nations draw the state's boundaries, or even redraw them, to create a Jewish majority without negating the refugees' right of return?

    • Dear Prof. Jerome Slater,

      Thank you for taking the time to reply. Your answer was that even if one accepts the 1947 lines that created a 5 to 4 Jewish majority, this majority was not large enough, as a 80-20 ratio was required. I believe that you relied on Jewish immigration into the UN lines in making your answer, since you wrote that only about 200,000 Palestinians would need to be transferred, which without Jewish immigration would leave only a 5 to 2 ratio or 60% majority.

      My follow-up question, which I alluded to above, is Whether boundaries could have been redrawn to create a sufficiently large Jewish majority, particularly once the full aliyah of perhaps a million arrived as reinforcements?

      This aliyah would create about a 80% majority within the UN lines, and otherwise boundaries could have been redrawn accordingly, making population transfer unnecessary to achieve it.

    • Dear Hostage,

      You are showing interesting figures, and it would be interesting to see how the other person who posted about this would respond.

      In any case, they still could have drawn boundaries in a way that would create a Jewish majority without expelling people. In addition, over the next few years the Aliyah movement continued as the nationalists hoped and that would have made a much larger majority within those lines.

      I am also seeing if I can get J.Slater to reconsider his views about transferring the native population out of their homeland if I can solve his "demographic" dilemma.

    • Yes. Armenians got genocided by the Mongols, by the Muslims, got conquered by Russia, genocided by Turks, perhaps half their people, lived under subjugation for many centuries as dhimmis, finally got their country in 1991 fully independent. And they still have separatist conflicts with Nagorno-Karabakh. Theoretically, many of the same conditions can be found.

    • Dear Seafoid,

      Armenians suffered a genocide of 1.5 million, and in 1960, Armenia's population was still under 2 million. For centuries they lived as persecuted citizens under the Turks.

      I don't know if you have noticed, but some Israelis and their supporters are quite zealous, particularly about IP politics. This has sometimes been ascribed to the need for a state, a reaction to centuries of persecution, etc. My question is why aren't Armenians this way? And yes, I have met a number of Armenians.

    • You have to get inside the mindset of a "land without a people", ie that others don't count, an idea not wholly different from the idea of European settlement in other continents.

    • Rational Zionist,
      Native Americans definitely should be allowed to become full citizens, and in fact should get tax breaks due to the mistreatment.

      Palestinians are one of the world's biggest refugee population today. Let's have them be full citizens in their homeland based on what you have said about overcoming injustice.

    • Hello, Miriam. So do you think one of these days there is over a 1% chance we will see a cable TV series called "Story of the Palestinians?"


    • Dear Jerome,

      Since your last major article here, one of the commentors pointed out that there was a Jewish majority within the U.N.'s 1947 lines before the Nakba occurred.

      Previously, your view was that a "transfer" of Palestinians would have been needed to create a Jewish majority. I understand that there are always new facts like these coming up and that you prefer to write on your website.

      However, I would like to ask whether this new fact would alter your view about whether a transfer of the native Palestinian population was necessary?

      As you may be aware, the issue of millions of Palestinian refugees who cannot live in their homes is one of the most important problems in the Middle East today, and nationalists from Chomsky on the left to the revisionists on the right have supported preventing the refugees' return.

  • 'In every generation they rise up against us' -- Passover and the Jewish imagination
    • In the Bible, it is interesting that the prophets like to attack the Middle Eastern deities, including the Babylonian ones, but the Egyptian deities are never mentioned, as far as I know. Nor are the Persians'. Yet Persia and Egypt play major roles in the Old Testament. I think this may be because Israel was politically under Egypt, either directly or indirectly.

      Lebanon and Persia get sympathetic portrayals in the Bible. Lebanon helped build the Temple, and Persia's king is a prophetic image of the Messiah.

    • OK. Psalm 3:1 says: How many rise up against me! - qamim alay.

    • After 2001, many Americans were asking "why do they hate us?" and our government settled on "for our freedom". I would not be surprised if America was not the only culture whose establishment answered these kinds of questions this way.

    • Dear Yonah,

      As you know, the idea of a leader "rising up" is a common Biblical term. If you believe that 'stand over' is a better translation, can you please say what the Hebrew is?

      I note that it elsewhere says "tyrants fall but others rise to take their place." Naturally, "stand over" is incorrect.

      Edwards is correct. The natural idea is that at some point they are not oppressed, but someone will rise up to do that. In any case, Moses' law predicts protection in return for obedience, meaning that the tyrants would not be an actual threat so long as people were following God and His law.

  • State Dep't tries to clean up Kerry's 'Poof'
  • Australia opposed Palestinian UN bid because foreign policy was 'subcontracted to Jewish donors' -- report
  • 'NYT' self-censors, axing headline blaming Israeli settlements
    • They are in the habit of shutting down the News and the peace process. The Nakba is decades old history and yet the lamestream hardly notices it. How are you to expect that they will report it if during the course of a conflict, the pals get deported a second time like in the Nakba?

      A growing minority of Israelis (30%) support this "solution" to their demographic "problem".

  • 'Poof' -- Kerry blames Israel for breakdown of talks (Updated)
    • They are often depicted in such documentaries as Occupation 101, sometimes playing their own characters.

    • Seafoid,

      Have you heard the stories of the left wing settlers who talk about how progressive their communities and communal gatherings are? There are PEPs in Palestine.

    • Did any of the strongest advocates of Kerry's talks - CMEP, JStreet, Kerry's supporters, Finkelstein - actually believe they had a good chance of succeeding, or did they just hope that by pretending it did that it would?

    • Half of Israelis and their supporters don't want a two state solution. Much of the other half is not interested in actively opposing them. The rest of the world does not care a lot, and the Palestinians are conquered and dispossessed.

      I don't see how the situation of a "no solution" is going to change anytime soon.

  • Outspoken Rahm Emanuel goes off-the-record when asked about Israel
    • Hello, Keith.

      It sounds like you are aware of the continuum of economic schools, ranging from anarcho-communism to socialism to social democracy to keynesianism to liberalism to neoliberalism to conservatism to neoconservatism and all other such strains.

      Regarding Phil's politics, I assumed he would be social democratic or an advocate of "welfare capitalism", based on a strong concern for people's welfare. The main thing I am confused about with Phil is how on one hand he had very positive interviews with Mark Braverman and Joel Kovel and then said he would not have Christian friends unless....
      However I don't want to put words in his mouth, and would just like to get a better understanding of what he meant.

    • Hello, Keith. Liberal does not necessarily mean the same as leftist. There is a school of "liberal economics."

    • the fiction that there was some secuirity reason for seizing the West Bank in 1967.
      Good point. Ben Gurion remained extremely upset that the West Bank was seized, although his concern was a political governance one. But you are not allowed to talk about it here because of an American thing that is not R. Emanuel's business.

    • Emanuel is a liberal, and many liberal supporters of the Israeli system, including Jstreet, blame Israeli political problems on Netanyahu for being right wing. Plus, Emanuel is close to Obama.

      The facts that Rahm said openly would lay the blame on Netanyahu's feet - Hamas is weak, Abbas is willing, and there is no security issue on the 1967 lines. That leaves Netanyahu as the unmentioned issue. That is, if the Palestinian "side" is not an obstacle, then it means Netanyahu is.

      So the opaque part was a blaming of Netanyahu.

      The next part is more interesting. He actually censors himself a second time:

      Sometimes American politicians can’t say things that have already been said in Israel—

      RE: You are not allowed to here! Because the American—well, for whatever reason, that is a whole different debate. I don’t want to talk about this. It is not my business. I don’t really care.

      What is the "American _______" that blocks politicians from saying the same things that have been said in Israel, a debate that is wholly different from Netanyahu's negotiations, and is not Rahm Emanuel's business nor does he want to talk about? In fact, he repeats on his own four times that he does not want to talk about it. He does not even want to go off the record about it, which is why it is more interesting.

  • Friedman says Iran's friends include BDS and Jews in Open Hillel movement
    • Yonah, why do you say they would not have survived anyplace else? Seafoid mentioned South America, where a large population remains up to today.

      Seafoid, what is the Ur problem?

    • Yes, now that all competition has been neutralized, the process of takeover of the West Bank can begin unimpeded.
      Nonetheless, Power Corrupts. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.

  • US is 'absolutely adamant' that Palestine not go to ICC and wreck the peace process -- Power
    • Thanks, Hostage.

      What was the insurrection in Jerusalem that you are referring to? Was it a revolt against the British in 1947?

    • Hostage,

      Thank you for pointing to Ben Gurion's 1949 speech where he disagrees with taking the West Bank. He concludes that if the rest of the land were conquered, then they would form one state and it would have to address a Palestinian majority. So he felt this way for a long time.

      He then says Deir Yassin was a needed event to achieve a majority, but avoids the issue of whether they could have just kept their normal majority in the 1947 lines without the Deir Yassin incident. But why does he condemn Deir Yassin then n p. 514? Maybe I am misreading something?

    • Thank you for sharing, Hostage.
      It sounds like even in 1967 the Israelis did not really have a plan for the West Bank. They did not see absorbing it as an option because they felt they would have to give palestinians rights. But they did not want to give Palestinians even autonomy because they worried it would mean "irredentism", ie. a word meaning in this context that Palestinians would want their land back once they have a governing body of their own.

      Their conclusion is that instead they want the West Bank to be demilitarized and have economic and travel "arrangements". Without even autonomy or absorption, it means a kind of permanent limbo status where people do not have political self-determination rights.

    • Ben Gurion opposed the take over of the West bank, but i am having trouble finding much on this except a brief mention that he worried it would lead to binationalism.

    • In case no one noticed, the Israeli Right is growing and their position is not a democratic nor two state solution. Please anyone (Hophmi, Dimadok) correct me if I am wrong about their view on the Two State Solution, because I would like to be. About half of Israelis, ie. the right wing, does not want a Two State Solution.

      So the problem is the Israelis? Well, not just. About a similar portion of the American Jewish community does not want a two state solution either. And the right wing portion who does not is also the ones who have the passion, politics, and resources on this issue. And it is that alliance that keeps things rolling. The Christian Zionists as a collective generally supports whatever the Israeli government does.

      So let's please be clear about where this situation is headed, please. It is not much going in the direction of much of a two state solution.

      Even if you combine the Arab countries, the US and European left and libertarians, JStreet, Mondoweiss, Palestinians, most US politicians, and everyone else who accepts the principle of democracy for Palestinians in the West Bank, the actual force they create on the issue is weak by comparison. But that is still important - it's been enough to stop total longterm conquest of Jordan and to postpone the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza at least this far, along with humanitarian support for Palestinian refugees.

      I know some activists take the position of defunding the PA. I am not sure they go as far as asking to defund the refugee camps. But I would wait for a self-abuser of the level of Dahlan to take over the PA before asking that it be defunded.

    • If "Palestine" becomes a full state as part of the two State Solution, "Palestine" will still become part of those bodies, right? So can the Israeli State be 100% against "Palestine" joining the UN agencies as a rule? Or have Israeli leaders ever said that they are OK with "Palestine" eventually joining the ICC?

      Just think. Even if you have a two State Solution, even one favorable to the Israelis, "Palestine" will still be part of those bodies, right? And then when the Israelis abuse the Palestinians, will "Palestine" have a right and desire to seek international redress? How would that work out? Or does the Israeli State have no desire for "Palestine" to become a real state, but only a compliant autonomous area? The only way is for the Israeli state to continue to deny millions of people their rights.

  • Narendra Modi, a politician who presided over anti-Muslim pogrom, may be India's next leader, and U.S. cozies up to him
    • The New York Times, in a foolish editorial, endorsed this as a “pragmatic step.”

      I've noticed that for some people, their dedication to the party in control of the IP conflict has bled over into other areas like hatred of Muslims in general, while 70 years ago they probably would have promoted all round interfaith tolerance.

      On another note, I heard someone suggest once that there is more to Ghandhi's death than just a "lone nut" or two. Would anyone have knowledge about those claims?

  • Ultra-Zionists push back as Jewish establishment tacks toward center
    • Two facts make me question whether this is the establishment tacking to the center. The primary incident was Dershowitz's 700 listener-strong audience on the JStreet Challenging attacking Jstreet's liberal ideas that was sponsored by 16 establishment organizations. The audience, according to the previous article here on Mondoweiss, zealously attacked, Dershowitz, JStreet's critic, as too liberal. Considering the establishment's arrangement of the movie against JStreet, this is the first fact.

      The second fact is another one discussed here on Mondoweiss. According to MW articles, there is a trend of a major part of the younger generation caring less about the Israeli state, but not necessarily demanding equality and binational rights. As a result, I question whether that leaves the ardent nationalists as those who are energized on the issue and as a result dominating the establishment's activity on the issue. That is, while part of the community will care less about the issue, that will also result in a weakening of the liberal wing's political activity, leaving the field to those who do not tack left.

      Consequently, out of realism and despite one's own preferences, I have to question the basis that the establishment is making a liberal "shift" or tacking to the left. Perhaps you can provide more information on this?

      I question whether the establishment's facilitating of JStreet's speaker in one city is representative of the establishment's naturally welcome tack to the left, although if you were to make a case for this, I would be interested and open.

  • Both Sides: Anti-BDS concerns on campus vs. life in the occupied territories
    • Kate failed to do the follow up for the picture in the lower right where the schoolgirl gets detained at night by the cops for disturbances and then gets her photo posted on nationalistic websites that monitor for cases of "PalArab" unruliness.

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