Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 3548 (since 2011-11-07 00:34:23)

Peace, social justice, belonging, human rights, homeland for the peoples of the Holy Land. To discuss Mondoweiss articles further, please come to the Mondoweiss Friendfeed page:

Showing comments 3548 - 3501

  • Judaism's hijacking by Zionists drives 70% of secular Jews to marry non-Jews-- Koppman at Huffpo
    • I think 70% is too high to blame it on Zionism. I think the real reason is that people don't care about religious differences as much as they did. So Jews and non-Jews have a lot more contact and intermarriage than before.

      Take for example, Sarah Silverman. She loves the Israeli State - more exactly, she loves Obama and she promoted him in her video by emphasizing that "He loves Israel".

      Yet she also wore a cross on an interview, creating a mini-scandal with her family, including her sister who is an Israeli Reform Rabbi:
      Susan Silverman added, "I'm her rabbi sister and called her and asked WTF? She got it, like our dad said, on a recent movie set and she just liked that it pointed to her boobs."
      link to

      So Israeli nationalism led her sister to become an Israeli rabbi, while in her case, nationalism did not stop her from mixing with Christian culture (see also her irreverent movie Jesus is magic) and considering herself to be non-religious. That is, her serious nationalism did not make her object to religion, and it made her sister attracted to religion.

      Granted, I was surprised about Sarah's position on the State's system- I like her, she is fun to watch, pretty, irreverent, and told Israelis to vote for the left parties Meretz and the green movement. So it was surprising to hear her say that Palestinians are responsible for the conflict because they have no humor and "only smile when a bomb goes off".
      link to

      I was also surprised at her signing the petition that practically gives them the only blame for the casualties, accepting the "human shields" accusation, without explaining it:
      link to

  • Beinart urges young Jews to get arrested in the West Bank for the sake of Zionism. Will they?
    • Marc,
      You wrote:

      But he’s much too kind to Beinart. And frankly, given the fecklessness and irrelevance of the skim milk liberal Zionist movement, I find myself wondering why I invested the time in another Beinart post.

      It's understandable I guess- MW is dedicated to a Jewish, progressive viewpoint on the topic, and Beinart is one of the figures he notes when he scans the horizon for signs of people moving to the left on the topic. If Beinart doesn't please you though, it raises another question: Has Phil considered discussing Neturei Kartei's actions? Or are they, like Beinart, too irrelevant for the community?

    • I thought Phil had a good analysis.

    • In the photo, how young does Peter Beinart look? 25?

  • In Gaza, Palestinians celebrate resistance and credit it with 'victory'
    • If you like, we could continue the discussion here, or take it onto Friendfeed if it is too long for the closing deadline.

    • Annie,

      I thought you made a good point explaining what is a very confusing idea by Israelis that they were defeated and blame their leadership, when you said:

      Netanyahu’s goal was not merely to stop the rockets. don’t forget he started this thing and completely freaked out over the unity agreement, the goal was to eradicate hamas/sever their authority, place the PA in charge … which he completely failed to do

      But how rationally did Israelis think that Netanyahu could eradicate Hamas without a ground invasion? How would bombing hospitals and churches and UN shelters defeat Hamas? Since when did aerial bombardment, without a ground invasion, change a government?

      You are right what you said:

      “Wasn’t that goal achieved by the ceasefire? ”
      it’s a temporary ceasefire. there’s no way to guarantee

      But nonetheless, I don't know why that is not a victory for the goal of stopping rockets. A ceasefire is an agreement to stop fighting. I think North and South Korea have a decades-long ceasefire, so they can become semi-permanent. I don't know how the Israelis can rationally think that they could get more than an agreement to stop fighting, other than an actual peace treaty. And Israelis don't even have a peace treaty with the PLO, just a semi-permanent peace "arrangement".

      So if the alleged goal is stopping the rockets, then they achieved their goal. If the goal was to get rid of Hamas, then how did they think they were going to do that without a ground invasion?

      And if they did want a ground invasion, then how did they think they could invade, hold, and occupy it securely with minimal casualties and then succeed in putting the PLO in power?

  • The Palestinian message to Israel: Deal with us justly. Or disappear
    • it’s my understanding the primary palestinian focus is liberation, equality and (of course) justice ~Annie.

      Sure. I also, I understand that Hamas does economic activity to help Palestinians, and that they have a broad base and their views are representative of a large section of Palestinians. Not only that, but in Gaza they won an election over their main rival, Fatah.

      Nonetheless, I would distinguish Palestinians from Fatah and Hamas, the two main parties. While Hamas might say "Act Justly or Disappear", perhaps many other Palestinians would say "Act Justly or Undergo BDS - especially sanctions, and international intervention."

      This issue reflects the question of how much support a people must give to an organization before we equate the people's views with the organization. Most American Jews in surveys have said that they support the Israeli system and also disagree with the idea of having a second, Palestinian, state. But because I am reluctant to make generalizations about populations, I would avoid generalizing about Jewish Americans with regards to either statement.

      Even when we make statements that apply to 90% of a population (like massive Israeli support for their attack on Gaza), I still have some doubt about whether it is fully correct to make generalizations about populations.

    • I think that the title is misleading and perhaps counterproductive. The article actually says "Hamas has sent a clear and forceful message to Israel: We won’t submit even if you kill us. Deal with us justly – or disappear". This message is from Hamas, rather than from the Palestinian people. Although I am sure that many Palestinians would agree with the statement, the main statement I think Palestinians would make would focus on peace and human rights, rather than the abuser disappearing.

    • Ivri,

      The reason people voted for Hamas in Gaza was because they wanted a party that would go against their decades-old suppression. Was Hamas' electoral win in Gaza an "improvement" of the Israeli position?

      Is the Israeli State better off now after almost a decade of blockading and bombing Gaza?

    • . Abbas and his Palestinian Authority bear their share of the responsibility for this as well. For his own reasons Abbas has silenced his most articulate spokespeople, filled his Authority’s diplomatic posts for the most part with ineffective political hacks and makes it almost impossible for reporters to get information or responses – all in contrast to Israel’s vaunted hasbara and legions of professional spin-doctors. As a result, there has been little official Palestinian messaging at all.

      There are articulate and effective PA officials and spokespeople, and I doubt that reporters find it "impossible" to get information on some topics. There has been official Palestinian messaging about the desire for peace and security for the Israelis and Palestinians.

      I think that Halper would like the PA to take some steps like applying to join the ICC that the PA hasn't done. On those kinds of topics that are in direct resistance to US and Israeli policies and desires, the PA is sometimes silent. The PA is careful n what it says officially to disturb the US and Israelis too much. But don't mistake that for willful longterm ineffectiveness. There are two sides to that issue. Take for example joining the ICC. Do you think the ICC would actually prosecute if it did that, and that the ICC can only prosecute abuses that occurred on member states' territory? If not, can the PA be called ineffective for failing to take that unnecessary step?

  • Yale Protestant chaplain says Americans must curb Israel so as to curb anti-Semitism
    • More and more Jews and non-Jews are going to express themselves over the Gaza horror show of 2014, that was a sequel to the Gaza horror show of 2009 and a sequel of 25 years of peace processing and colonizing more Palestinian land– a pattern demonstrating that Israel has not a clue about how to deal with its Jim Crow constitution except to marginalize, sequester, and kill brown people.

      My guess is that this latest attack is not just a sequel, but a prequel to more. Based on past experiences of mowing the lawn, it's one more link in a long, indefinite series of small to mid-sized massacres of Gaza.

      I don't understand why the Israeli State agreed to its ceasefire at all instead of just attacking indefinitely. With the Israeli public apparently now disfavoring Netanyahu for what they imagine to be some kind of defeat by not doing more, one might expect more and more repetitions of this.

  • Ceasefire deal after weeks of fighting in Gaza promises easing of blockade
    • Israelis got a ceasefire, have hardly ever lost casualties from the rockets they alleged they were trying to stop, and had a "war" casualty ratio of 1 : 32, all in the space of a few months. I am confused how they consider that to be a defeat.

    • Jon S,

      OK, so explain this more to me. Let's say the IDF stops being Mister Nice Guy. How are they going to know where all the Hamas tunnels and storage places are? How are they going to know where all the ten thousand or more Hamas are? How are they going to stop every person out of 1.5 million in Gaza from being able to shoot primitive tube rockets?

    • Marc, what you are saying is leaking into my brain. It's hard to understand why they are upset with their leadership about the largescale bombing and now ceasefire from their rightwing viewpoint, but perhaps the Israeli mindset is radically different from what many American lefties are familiar with.

      Their goal was, naturally, to stop the rockets. Wasn't that goal achieved by the ceasefire?

      Now perhaps their goal was to stop even the ability to shoot rockets at all. But how did they think that they could they stop each of a million Hamas people from being able to shoot a practically homemade rocket?

      Granted, with satellites, couldn't they see where the primitive rockets are being launched from and then target it enough times to minimize rocket fire? Or was rocket fire still serious despite doing that, because Hamas would fire and return to their tunnels too quickly? And if that's really the case, then what did they expect their leadership to do?

      They could level Gaza and its tunnels even more and make 10-100 times as many casualties, including among Hamas, but would that really stop every person's' ability to fire rockets? I am having trouble seeing how Israelis expected to achieve a goal that went beyond a ceasefire.

    • His poll numbers have already dropped in recent days from 82 percent to 38 percent.

      Israelis are that mad at him for making a ceasefire?

  • Our new look
    • According to Sean - and he is an internet technician - Crowd Favorite hardly the optimal way to get the site redesigned to look more professional.

    • The arrangement of the New Look is pretty, and sure I can understand the two day limit now because of the need for moderation work. For that, you could probably bring on a few more unpaid staff who you trust and who are willing to do the moderation the way you want.

      However, unfortunately the New Look is a major handicap. There are major problems in it: No chronological list of all the articles for the past week, the practically transparent highlighting, the lack of an edit button, etc., etc. I am stuck going to "MONDOWEISS ON FRIENDFEED" now to get a chronological list of the latest articles.

      If someone chose to sabotage your blog intentionally, this is what it might be like.

    • Mooser,

      MJR tweeted what I find to be a pretty intolerant message about the traditional passover ritual - one I don't need to repeat. I would not be surprised if he got offended by MW posting an article criticizing some circumcision rituals though either. Some people are contradictory.

    • MJ's complaint about the comment section is basically that it has too much anti-nationalism. He wrote that Ali A. was racist and said that the evidence was in general the way Ali A. talks about "Zionists". What Ali A. does is that he often writes about how "Zionists" attacked Palestinian forces and villages in 1948. Factually this is true, as the Israeli state did not yet exist, and so the forces were "Zionist" (ie. their aim was Zionism - a nationalist state.)

    • New Mondoweiss design is terrible BUT at least it hides ugly comments section. ~ MJ Rosenberg

      link to

    • Yeah, it’s totally anti-Semantic. You can tell just by looking. - See more at: link to

      Were it to be more word-friendly, it would allow an edit function, because people often make mistakes. But then, love your people while you still have them, as Ma always said. While having an array of commentors may bring a lot of attention of all kinds to the site, it also means that the site has a lot of supporters- more than otherwise. Having a comment section at all means that people feel connected to the blog, even if they are not writers or editors.

      In other words, while some critics may complain about commentors, putting pressure on the site, it means that the site also has more supporters interested in it than it would otherwise.

    • I meant to say:

      There are sockpuppets that, in the course of their work, make donations to things they are against.

      That thought would not normally occur to people working in Solidarity work, because probably most Solidarity organizations run on a shoestring budget. Even the biggest ones have minimal paid staff.

    • With no Edit function, Ritzl is really going to have a hard time tolerating my writing. The fact is, that it's normal for people in the course of their writing to make spelling and grammar mistakes, or even to write things that should haven't had been said. Often, the realization that one made those mistakes only comes after one has already submitted a post or piece of writing and then is checking it for even the second or third time.

      It's better than having no Delete button, but the Delete key has a reason for existing. It was such an improvement when Computers came out because one became enabled to correct one's writing much more easily, even than those wonderful typewriters that were able to use an erase ckey.

    • <>~ Marc B. ______________ Maybe Marc is using a Mac or some other computer settings, but I am seeing nothing even with my face inches away from my screen.

  • Rolling in underground tunnels
    • It was assumed that afterwards they could be branded with a new, divided consciousness as Arab-Israelis, Arab-Jerusalemites, fundamentalist Gazans, West-Bankers, and exiled Palestinians without the right of return. But we in the West didn’t anticipate that the Palestinians would still see themselves as one people.

      Israeli nationalists claim that Palestinians are just "Arabs" who came from the Arabian desert, and so try to avoid calling them Palestinians, which associates them with the land- Palestine.

      And yet Israelis are happy calling all the other "Arab" peoples by their names - Libyans, Algerians, Iraqis, etc.

      This rejection of calling them only "Arabs", not "Palestinians" is pretty common among Israeli nationalists, and I wonder how common.

  • 'Common Dreams' website traps Hasbara troll spewing anti-Semitism
  • State Dep't says it's 'not OK' that Israel detained another American teenager without informing us
  • My personal BDS
    • [The Nakba] was out of a fear (justified or not), in the midst of a fight for a place to build a nation surrounded by enemies and obviously not welcomed from within – a fear that these people may potentially be hostile and harm the Zionist project. Those who were not suspected of being potentially hostile were allowed to stay, so ethnicity is not the issue, the issue is fear, possibly unwarranted but nonetheless very real.”

      OK, what about the ethnic cleansing of the Native Americans. Couldn't many of the pioneers who massacred Indian villages from New England to Washington State make the same claim that they were acting out of fear, rather than ethnic hatred?

      Then again, why must ethnic resentment and fear be mutually exclusive? "Xenophobia" means fear of another ethnicity. She claimed that they feared the other ethnicity in the Nakba because it could be an enemy.

  • 'Lesson: The Jews will defend themselves even if it means killing children'
    • There are non-Jews who are Israeli citizens, there are Jews who intensely dislike Zionism, there are even a handful of anti-Zionist Jews in Israel. None of these facts can change the fundamental truth: in Zionism the Jews set out to re-create a national existence on the political playing field, in their ancestral homeland, and Israel is its expression, or outcome, or whatever you wish to call it.

      At what percent of a group's support or performance of something does it become correct or permissible to say that the group supports or performs it?

  • HAMAS made me do it!
    • It may be difficult for reasonable, moral, people to accept that that is the evil Hamas strategy: they fire from schools, mosques, hospitals and residential areas, knowing that the IDF will attack those facilities and cause civilian casualties among their own people.

      The fact that someone in a fight expects the other side to attack civilians in retribution does not mean that the person made that other side attack the civilians.

      Russia fought the Mongol hordes from Russian cities, forts and civilian buildings, and expected that to crush resistance, the Mongols would, based on past Mongol actions, level those structures and settlements. Yet the Russians didn't "make" the Mongols level their villages.

      The problem here is proportionality. Massacring a Russian village because some people offered weak resistance to the hordes was not proportional. Leveling Gaza and its hospitals because some fighters launched metal tube rockets causing practically no casualties is not proportional. Gazans did not "make" the Israelis use extreme, disproportionate force or illegal weapons like Napalm. The Israelis have the option well within their grasp of whether to use force and how much to use.

    • Their logic is that Hamas shoots rockets (which cause few casualties), so the Israelis "have" to attack the rocket launchers, and when they do, the bombs also harm the nearby civilians. So indirectly, Hamas has been "making" them harm civilians for the last 8 years or so.

  • Lobbyist tells Eliot Engel he has 'the blood of hundreds of Palestinian children on his hands'
    • "Israel is their vassal on the Arab Frontier. All de monies & weapons that Israel has received from the US"
      Under the vassalage system, the vassal pays its overlord its tutelage. Who would be the vassal in that relationship?

  • Witnessing Gaza
    • ((“Nonetheless, it’s important to recognize that for most of its history, the ancient Jewish community operated rather similar to modern Zionism, in that it was dedicated to a state for one religion and nationality.”))

      I don’t give a husky f–k what the Bible says about the “ancient” Jews.

      Hello, Mooser.
      I think that this is a worthwhile topic. If Judaism's main spiritual book, the TaNaKh, describes the ancient Jews as managing and seeking a theocracy or nationalist state for their religious community, then wouldn't you say that the TaNaKh's descriptions are relevant to the relationship between Judaism and Zionism?

      Also, I sympathize with your desire to distinguish Judaism from nationalism, and tried to give three ways to make the distinction. What did you think about them?

    • Mooser,
      There are three ways I see to avoid equating Judaism with modern nationalism.
      First, Judaism's visions of a theocratic or ethnic kingdom can be "spiritualized", so that instead of talking about a political state, the prophecies were about a "state of being" or a religious community (an assembly, Church, tribe, etc.).
      Second, the visions could be seen as real promises of a political theocracy, but one whose time has not yet come and still awaits the Messiah.
      Third, the promise of an Abrahamic kingdom could be seen to open up to include all nations that accept the Messiah, as Abraham was promised to be the father of many nations. So rather than an exclusive vision, Israel could come to mean a house or realm of many peoples.

      I believe that one of these three is the best interpretation of Judaism, but am not sure which one. What do you think?

      Nonetheless, it's important to recognize that for most of its history, the ancient Jewish community operated rather similar to modern Zionism, in that it was dedicated to a state for one religion and nationality. Granted, the ancient Israelites might not have been as focused on driving out other peoples from Palestine as the Nakba was, but at times they too could be harsh (eg. under Joshua).

  • UPDATED: Bay Area demonstrators succeed for **fourth** day in 'Blocking the Boat for Gaza'
  • Jewish Voice for Peace stomps AIPAC and J Street in latest online traffic figures
    • I would like to second that. I love Mondoweiss. I would like to ask why the comments have been limited to two days? I think that the conversations in the comments section have been very enlightening, and more days means deeper conversations. Nonetheless, I can see that there can be an advantage to limiting comments- it means they are more manageable for moderators.

      One suggestion I would make is that you might include occasional citations to articles by or about Orthodox NonZionist Judaism, even if it is a marginal movement. It might help to give a broader range of thought in the broader religious community.

      A final suggestion might be to make friends for a few months with a sincere Christian- not for the purpose of conversion one way or the other, but rather to broaden one's horizons. By this I am not insinuating that your horizons aren't broad enough- since in fact they are broad. Rather I think that this gets to one of the key issues of the IP conflict, since the dividing lines have really been drawn along religious lines rather than ethnic ones by the nationalists, and the friendship criterion is one that you mentioned.

    • It sounds like Posner is saying that she or others she describes are "pro-Israeli", but they do not like the Israeli attacks on Gaza. So they aren't in agreement with JVP for not being "patriotic"/strongly nationalistic, but they aren't in agreement with J Street for accepting the Israeli wars. Such is the difficult nature of a position supporting the political system that is also a "antiwar"/pro-peace position, at a time when that system is involved in conquest.

  • Rabbi slams 'militarization' in St. Louis but when it comes to Gaza-- the press 'loves underdog and suffering'
    • This is what I think. as long as Hamas can feed itself and has physical bodies, they are going to use that to make tunnels. and if they have metal they will make tubes that they can use as light "bottle rocket"-level weapons. We are talking about very primitive, weak means of resistance. It makes directly occupying Gaza costly because of the manpower needed to "secure" all the locations, but there are not many casualties inflicted by Gazans either.

      This is why the Israelis found it more practical to evacuate Gaza than to still occupy it. And anyway Gaza is so small and dense that it is not really worth using it for settlements either. Sderot and the other neighboring villages are geographically about where settlements would be in that general region if Gaza had a decent sized territory.

    • I actually doubt how much the humanitarian aid goes to paying for digging tunnels. Their tunnels as far as I heard are hardly US Highway style tunnels, but rather earthen dugouts with boards and soil. They rely on manual labor rather than finances. Thus, the claim that humanitarian aid is being misused to build tunnels might be a way to cast a bad light on humanitarian aid.

    • Has Hamas ever said that they want civilian casualties among Gazans in order to get support?
      It's obvious to me that this is just a way to misinterpret reality and blame Hamas for Israeli attacks on the population.

  • Top legal scholars decry 'chilling' effect of dehiring scholar Salaita
  • Question for the American Jewish Establishment: Where does Zionism end and Judaism begin?
    • I understand that polls show support decreasing for the State among young Americans, but have there been polls of young Jewish Americans?

      To my best recollection, the latter group did not change in whether they supported it, except that it was not as important to them as their parent's generation.

  • Blaming the Victims: A night with AIPAC in St. Louis and protesters in Ferguson
    • Talve said that just as the United States is a Christian country which protects minority rights, Israel strives to be a Jewish country that protects minority rights.
      Which of the founding documents or statutes declares that America is a "Christian" country?

      In culture and religion, American society, yes, is largely Christian. But it is not enshrined in law. That's different.

  • Israel's foundation in a 'terroristic campaign of expulsion, ethnic cleansing and murder' is the 'deep wound in that part of the world' -- Sullivan
    • This beats writing celebrity profiles for glossy women’s magazines.
      What about Joan Rivers'? (joke)

      More seriously, sure you are right that there is a gift in terms of one's abilities to interact in this topic. Blumenthal said that he had much more access than others would have to to interact with Israeli society. Blumenthal was able to even go on a Birthright trip and film all kinds of things.

  • Liberal Zionism has lost its refuge-- a plausible two-state solution
    • Piotr,
      I would like to discuss this with you more, and the thread is closing, so I wish to invite you to the Friendfeed exchange.
      link to

      Are you saying that it was without coordination that the Israeli immigrants from Poland's postwar population chose to emigrate? That simply they passed the word to each other that it was possible to emigrate to Palestine, that it was more desirable for nationalist or political reasons as a destination than other destinations? Or was their immigration rather coordinated by Stalin, the Polish government, or by nationalist pro-Israeli organizations?

    • I do see why this situation leads to the ruination of the Israeli left. Since it is a situation where one religious community rules two others that make up a demographic majority, the situation is inherently illiberal. The drive toward conquest and control is inherently illiberal, while "liberal camps" look to peace. It is very hard to be promoting peace where one is a strong member of a society driven to war. Likewise, a liberal mentality, including promoting social benefits and social equality is also one that tends to find nationalist intolerance anathema. Thus, liberalism and nationalist intolerance and strife are in an ideological and emotional conflict. With the growth of strong nationalism and militancy, it is not a surprise then, unfortunately, that liberalism would diminish.

    • Page: 35
    • Piotr,
      You made a good point. And since you are Polish, I would like to ask: How was the Israeli immigration from Poland achieved after WWII? Did the Polish government arrange for it and provide the trains? Or did the Israeli immigrants all decide that they had a better and more nationally inspiring opportunity in Palestine than in postwar Poland and then each person used all means possible to reach their destination?

    • Marx said Existence determines Consciousness. To some extent, Liberal nationalists are liberal passengers on the ride, whose road was laid down by nationalist colonialism, unfortunately.

      P.E.P.s and liberal nationalists are similar. They will often make liberal-tinged excuses for the state's policies as much as possible. I suppose to some extent that is true of American society too- liberal party bureaucrats will make liberal excuses for their party's policies even when they aren't liberal. When that happens, those fake "liberals" are really passengers along for the ride, and the real, unstated laws of the political system are really what are in the driver's seat.

      If the real, underlying rules of the Israeli system lead to the rule of one religious community over the others, then that is where that system and its liberal apologists will end up.

    • All the handwringing and killing and crying are mocked by Adam Shatz in a brilliant satire of a liberal Zionist’s interview at +972 (“How would you feel with the Ho Chi Minh trail running beneath your beaches?”).
      This is very close to the way they talk, it's a realistic interview. I doubt he would directly mention Ho Chi Minh, and think he would more likely mention a Taliban trail. But who knows.

  • Accounts of Israeli war crimes in Khuza'a, Gaza pile up
    • Thanks for mentioning that about the attack during the calm.

      One of the most troubling things about the attack on Gaza has not been the bombing of churches and Christian casualties — yes, it’s disturbing but the slaughter of children, elderly and other civilians, the destruction of tens of thousands of homes, schools, public buildings, factories and infrastructure should be just as disturbing to Christians.

      I tend to think that bombing the churches and the UN shelters are one of the most troubling things because it doesn't match the supposed goals of the attack. Obviously, UN shelters are not holding rockets and churches are not places of "radical Islam". So when those places get hit, you can ask why the attackers are doing that.

      Bombing schools and hospitals and sniping children are other insane tragedies of the "war".

    • That girl knows her stuff.

    • One of the most troubling things about the attack on Gaza has been the bombing of churches and Christian casualties.

      Yet this article has Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcast Network reporter claiming that Gaza's bishop told him that Hamas was firing rockets from a church courtyard and that bombs are targeting militants who are in the alleys, and that this results in the church being damaged.
      link to

      What do you think about this claim that rather than the Israelis intentionally targeting churches, they are targeting militants who are nearby?

      It seems to me that we have seen a campaign of collective punishment going back to the blockade itself that restricts basic foods. Are we supposed to think that the bombing is different and the civilian casualties are only unintended collateral damage?

  • Hundreds of scholars say they won't engage with University of Illinois unless decision to block Salaita is reversed
  • The Walzer Problem
    • Dear Jerry,

      You quoted Walzer as saying about Gaza:

      “People don’t leave, or not all of them leave; they are caring for elderly or sick parents; they can’t bear to abandon a home of 30 years

      I think that this is a good point, and I appreciate you writing this article, suggesting that Walzer and his audience reconsider their support for the idea of the Gaza attack without its failings. As that quote shows, people cannot realistically be expected to leave en masse. I would go further and suggest that people should not be expected to leave en masse their homes where they have lived for centuries to a place that is economically worse (eg. moving a population spread out across Gaza into Gaza's even more crowded shores). Just as the idea of Jews returning to their ancestral homeland can be romantic, the idea of Palestinians living in their native homes and cities can be not only romantic, but essential to their identity, past and present.

      May I make a constructive suggestion for you as well, Jerry? It's impressive how much reflection you have made, and I would like to ask if you might reconsider whether Palestinians would have needed to undergo a planned, compensated expulsion in order to create two states in 1947-1948? After all, the U.N. originally tried to draw the borders based on where each population was already living to create the respective majorities in each state. And even if the UN lines weren't correct, the borders could be redrawn to create a natural majority in each. The creation of a natural majority in each state would be made more achievable with the successive generations of Israeli immigrants to their corresponding section.

      Previously you recommended that I read your blog on this question - and while you have many well thought out and scholarly articles on your blog, I was unfortunately unable to find one addressing the creation of the respective majorities in each state as it pertains to either the UN lines or to a creative, careful redrawing of the borders to accommodate the native homes and cities of each population in the first half of the 20th century.

      May I ask if you are open to reconsidering your position on compensated expulsion?

  • Washington D.C.’s 'Day of Rage' directs ire at U.S. complicity in Gaza assault
    • Not only there is US complicity, but what about this new ICC announcement?

      link to

      Today, the 5th of August 2014, the Prosecutor of the International criminal Court (“ICC” or the “Court”), Mrs Fatou Bensouda received H.E. Mr Riad al-Malki, the Foreign Minister of Palestine at the Seat of the Court in The Hague following a request by the Minister for a meeting. At the meeting, Minister al-Malki expressed serious concerns over the latest conflict in Gaza and requested clarifications on different mechanisms for a State to accept the jurisdiction of the ICC and generally regarding the legal framework of the Rome Statute. The meeting focused on providing those clarifications.
      Palestine is not a State Party to the Rome Statute; neither has the Court received any official document from Palestine indicating acceptance of ICC jurisdiction or requesting the Prosecutor to open an investigation into any alleged crimes following the adoption of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution (67/19) on 29 November 2012, which accorded non-member observer State status to Palestine. Therefore, the ICC has no jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed on the territory of Palestine.
      For further information, please consult the Report on Preliminary Examinations Activities (2013) of the Office of the Prosecutor.

  • Have I failed to acknowledge Palestinian violence?
    • What’s true is that Arabs and Jews generally did get along in Palestine prior to Zionism.
      In any case, whether you date the creation of problems to the 19th century or to 1947, the Palestinians were not chiefly responsible, since they got along with the Jewish population in the preceding period.

    • Your concluding three paragraphs were good.

    • I think it's fine, or even important, to acknowledge and caution Palestinians against violence. Tactically they cannot militarily win against the State, and there is also a Quaker ethical pacifist teaching against violence that is at least debatable. Granted, in terms of tactics, perhaps one may imagine that even if one loses each battle, one can still wear down another force by sustained fighting. But in any case, should you choose to take a pacifist view, it is sound, particularly in this case. The belief that the conflict can be overcome through nonviolent means is for me a much more attractive one.

      The main problem would be if one not only acknowledged the problems of Palestinian violence, but then used it to justify crimes and abuses used against Palestinians, or saw Palestinian society as inherently and chiefly responsible, when in fact Palestinians and Israelis were able to get along before the 1947 Partition and 1948 war.

  • US branch of the Jewish 'family' owes the homeland 'unconditional love' -- Rosner
    • Mooser:


      Or in Yiddish
      A ṗnym az bgs par a záq yn dr náz?

    • That's probably why some things are not more overt on the news. Why don't they run Netanyahu's speech with the joint session unanimous ovations from everyone on CSPAN, CNN, and NBC if it was that important?

  • Fatelessness
    • Danaa,

      Could you or another commentor point me to other articles that you've written on Mondoweiss, or is this your only one?

    • Danaa,

      A few days ago, you asked about a "conundrum":
      link to
      The world's Jewish population is around 14 million, although it could be larger depending on how you define Jewish. Your question was how many and what percent of people were sympathetic or active about the rights of Gaza's people. Statistically, among Israelis, the figure was under 10% of Israelis who did not support the attack. However, the Diaspora would have a greater figure.

    • This is an excellent passage:

      the fate of the people of Gaza is that of people who were relegated by a world gone deaf and numb to a place beyond history, where descent into madness is a kind of a rite of passage. For us, the interested spectators, it is also an opportunity to vicariously sample – from a safe distance, of course – the heart of darkness that casts such a pall over much of humanity’s barbaric past. Gaza is indeed a disturbing glimpse down the rabbit hole into the dark forces of conquest that have all too often strayed into outright genocide, as conquistadors, hordes and “settlers” of days gone did what they could to “clear the land”’ of its inconvenient natives. My concern however is not with contrasting the triumphant armed acquisitions of old with today’s more carefully disguised trophies of land and might.

      This passage brings to mind the brutal episodes depicted on film from dark periods of history, after which the moral is that society must prevent such abuses. The audience, and society, is taught the virtues of our international courts and the ability of the international community, with organizations like the United Nations, to intervene and protect people. In the movies, those organizations, like the League of Nations, were either impotent because the abusive power was too strong to control, or else the international community was not concerned enough about the victims, which in the story reflected darkly on society's carelessness.

      The passage by Danaa Marec drew a parallel to the current situation in Gaza, presenting the real time audience a live event of the kind depicted in those stories, where the international community is either impotent to intervene or unconcerned about the abuse.

      The only real "audience" to this modern tragic movie, though, are conscious members of the Solidarity community. That is because in those movies, the audience is aware that they are watching a tragic movie. The narrator or the screenwriter make it clear enough that they oppose the cruelty depicted in the movie, and bring their audience to sympathize with the victims, perhaps by showing the goodness of the innocents among them and the excessive cruelties that all of the victims face. In this real-time drama with Gaza, it is only the Solidarity community and others who sympathize with the massive collective of victims who are conscious of and troubled by the cruelty, like the audience in the movie who are informed by the screenwriter's presentation.

      And in the real-life drama of Gaza's ruin, the international community plays the same role it does in those tragic films. Yes, there are isolated cases of courage and involvement by human rights activists. There are brave intervention efforts like the Mari Marmara and the Gaza Ark, led by individuals like Greta Berlin, some of whom were attacked directly or indirectly as a result of their efforts. And yes, thank God there is a Solidarity movement. But by and large much of the international community has played their same role: either like Ireland, Russia, and Jordan the countries are politically unable to stop the abuse, or like Britain and France, they really are in a position to intervene but show insufficient concern. The US and Canada are a mix of both, along with being outright allies of the story's dominating power.

      Thus, the world is a theatre and we are but actors on its stage.

  • Is the firing of Steven Salaita the beginning of a new Blacklist?
  • Boycott Israel?
    • The UN, NGOs and churches have to face the question of questions: Should they continue to serve as they have with the results obvious to all or contemplate a boycott of Israel?

      The UN should impose sanctions for war crimes, and the NGOs and churches should observe those sanctions.

      So UN, NGO and church business as usual during Israel’s invasion of Gaza?

      Perhaps there’s no other choice. The UN, NGOs and the churches may be trapped like the people of Gaza.

      Yet where there’s no way out, a way out still has to be found. What is that way?

      That's a good way of putting the problem and the question.

  • Professor Salaita was fired for disagreeing too vehemently with Professor Nelson
    • Lysias,

      I think you are right, and generally the state laws are pretty similar in principle to the Common Law that you are familiar with. Normally if a college agrees to hire someone and announces it, and then it changes their mind after he quit another job, the plaintiff could sue.

      The Defense would have to say that the reason for breaking their contract was "compelling" or "necessitated" their retraction and out of their control and expectation, right? Or would it just have to say under the Common Law that it's a "reasonable" basis to rescind their agreement? I guess it would have to be the former.

      The college would have to say that his statements on behalf of Palestinians were so troubling that he could not reasonably be allowed to teach students at their school, right? In turn, how compelling the school's reason was would become an issue for a jury to decide.

    • Isn't there a basis for a lawsuit if an organization makes a promise to someone, breaks it, but the one who was given the promise had relied on that promise to their detriment?

      For example, if you promise to sell someone your boat and they buy a motor for your boat, then aren't you responsible for their loss?

      In this case, Prof. Salaita was promised a college job and then the university retracted their promise, but it's reason for doing so - his human rights objections to war - should not be good enough to fire him, and they should already have been aware of his politics before they hired him.

  • 'One nation, one state, one leader' -- frightening slogan at Tel Aviv protest
  • Six arrested in civil disobedience at Federation offices in Philly
    • Dear Larry,

      Thank you for your reply. My main question is: <b?What should the international community and human rights organizations do if Israeli society is deeply uninterested in the "People to People Dialogue Program" you mention?

      As you correctly point out, some people are not interested in engaging in a way that treats others as having equal worth and seeks equality, nor do they feel compelled to do so. If Israeli society doesn't want to, should the international community compel them to engage in a national dialogue forum?

      I understand the value and importance of people dialoging in a respectful way if they want to achieve peace, and that is why I appreciate your efforts.

      Nonetheless, (1) the international community, the US State Department, US AID, and NGOs already desire, fund, support, and offer national dialogue programs,
      (eg. The U.N. “Civil Societies in Dialogue: Israel / Palestine program", "Face to Face" with the Interreligious Coordinating Council, the U.S. Hands of Peace dialogues, the U.S. Institute of Peace dialogues, etc.)
      (2) Israelis do engage and talk with both Israeli and Occupied Palestinians in a broad range of settings - from markets, workplaces, Israeli settlements (eg. in Hebron), and their military service in the territories, Israelis have considered Palestinian views on major issues like the attacks on Gaza, the mass expulsion of 1948, the settlements, whether Israeli Palestinians should have equal rights, etc.

      As a result, I am sure that the Israeli government has had a chance to decide how much it wants to promote those programs, and Israelis have decided how much they wish to participate in them, and how much they support Israeli policies and Palestinians' human rights. Please correct me if I am mistaken (and I would prefer to be), but 90% of Israelis supported their government's brutal assault on Gaza, the leftwing peace camp is declining, and attitudes among young Israelis are becoming less tolerant.

      To test whether your People to People Dialogue Program will succeed, consider this: You run an excellent peace project, have interacted with many Israelis and heard their views, and participated in many dialogue programs. Let's say that you write to 500 Israeli civil society organizations and state agencies inviting them to a people to people dialogue program. In fact, if you believe this is the answer, you should do it.

      After sending out all those invitations, how many Israelis do you expect will participate in the program? 1000 in a population of several million? And what topics and discussions will the forum tolerate? (Palestinians are not even allowed to memorialize the Nakba.) With so few Israelis opposing their government's Gaza attack, how much positive, voluntary participation and engagement do you expect?

      This is why I ask: What should the international community and human rights activists do if the Israeli government's response to the proposal for a National Dialogue is to give it minimal support because it isn't interested in the Peace Process, and Israeli society gives it minimal participation, because it is uninterested in equality for Palestinians and their rights?

    • Hello, Larry.
      It was nice and impressive
      how you said that you "pray and work for peace every day." I recognized your column on the Times of Israel. You are a prolific writer, with an article every week about war and peace.

      Your proposal for "Israelis and Palestinians to sit down together and listen to each other in a National Peoples Dialogue Program that garners the formal support of PM Netanyahu and President Abbas" is excellent and very helpful: if they can each relate to each other on a human level and discuss and show how each of them are hurting and what they feel in a sympathetic way, it would be very healing. Palestinians who meet Israelis in US youth summer camps report happily that it is the first time they have been able in their lives to relate to Israelis as equals and friends.

      So thank you also for your work that you mentioned on those programs, which must be enjoyable and enlightening for you.

      My main question to you is about the challenge the international community faces in achieving such a program. President Obama, the State Department, and international NGOs have all been advocating for Israelis and Palestinians to dialogue formally and care about each other like you say. What if the Israeli state and most of Israeli society were very uninterested in dialoging with Palestinian society in an open minded way?

      Further, Israelis do interact with and hear the views of Palestinians - often as guards, soldiers, settlers, readers of papers like the Times of Israel, Haaretz, and as internet users. Yet despite familiarizing themselves with Palestinians' situation, Israelis have overwhelmingly supported the conduct of the attack on Gaza. As a writer for the Times of Israel, you must be well acquainted with whether many Israelis are open to a left wing, pro-peace viewpoint and to seeing Palestinian Israelis as full and equal members of their society. Certainly there have been figures like Rabin who worked for peace - and he paid for that.

      In case Israeli society and its government are deeply and sincerely uninterested in having an open, sympathetic, and respectful dialogue with Palestinians that would treat all people as having equal worth, what do you think the international community should do? What if Israeli society agrees to host national dialogue programs, and the overall response from Israeli society after the programs is a reaffirmation of their government's harsh approach toward Palestinians?

    • Have there been instances where people have been expelled from synagogues for their position on IP?

  • American woman abandons Zionist group after hearing Palestinian describe slaughter of six family members
    • Dear Mooser and Annie,

      You are right that JVP does not exclude anyone, and besides, it includes members who are neither Jewish nor Palestinian. Nonetheless, if religion were not involved, then I believe it would be better to have a Solidarity organization that was Jewish-Palestinian than one that was only Jewish, because of the importance of unity and cooperation among both nationalities.

      As a general rule, if one's goal is integration and equality, as well as achieving the rights of an oppressed minority, then it's better to use an advocacy organization that represents both national groups than one that represents the ruling group. For example, in South Africa and the Civil Rights era US, it would be better to advocate for Blacks' rights using an organization for all South Africans or all Americans than a simply White one - even if it allows Black members. Otherwise, Blacks would naturally feel that their voice was being diminished within the organization. In Ireland, if one's goal was to unite both groups in Ireland as one nation, it would be better to use a general Irish organization (or an Anglo-Irish one) than one that was simply "Anglo-Ulster Scotch". In pre-revolutionary Russia, groups that advocated for the rights of minorities, including Jews, called themselves "all-Rossian" rather than ethnic "Russian". A Canadian organization calling for the rights of the French or Eskimo minorities would better be simply "Canadian", rather than "Anglo-Canadian", even if it allowed members from the minorities.

      It is better to make an organization of both nationalities because its work will reflect the kind of united society it wants to achieve, and because if it wants to promote the minority's rights and interests, then it should best make itself an organization directly representing that oppressed minority, rather than representing the majority.

      Nonetheless, JVP is different and special because it has a religious focus. It makes sense to have religious groups that can develop a liberating religious teaching in a way that an interfaith or nonreligious organization would find much harder. As a Jewish theologian, Marc Ellis can make Jewish religious ideological criticisms in a way that an "interfaith" scholar might not. This is why it can make sense to have Catholic religious organizations that speak out for justice in Ireland or Latin America, while it would not be particularly helpful to use a ethnic "Spaniard" organization in a Latin American society to overcome discrimination against native peoples.

    • Hello, Mooser.

      I agree with what you said about finding supportive and informative groups. As to JVP, you were right when you said that they do not exclude people, in our last conversation. (link to

      My point there was that JVP has a good reason for being explicitly Jewish - it has a rabbinical council and it can take a serious religious stance on the issue, much like some Christian organizations did to support equality in South Africa.

      However, if JVP didn't make any religious statements, then in my opinion it would be better if it were a dual Palestinian-Jewish organization, because it wants to promote an integrated society and advocate on behalf of Palestinians, who it sees as oppressed. For example, if your ideal for South Africa would be an integrated society, then it would be more effective to make dual black-white Solidarity organizations, then an explicitly Boer one.

  • Gaza war gives rise to new Jewish group targeting Jewish institutions that support occupation
    • If the group is formed for a religious reason, or has a religious aspect, then it has a good reason for making what you consider to be sectarian. It's worth having organizations like JVP that can formulate and promote an antiwar or non-nationalistic religious perspective on the conflict. JVP, for example, has a religious council. It is worth having Christian organizations in South Africa, for example, that could give a Christian viewpoint promoting equality.

      On the other hand, should an egalitarian dissident organization chose to be explicitly secular and dedicated to one nationality if it believes that this nationality is oppressing another nationality and that the goal should be an egalitarian society for all its citizens? For example, if your goal was to advance the rights of French Canadians under British rule in the 1930's, would it be better to make an English-French "all-Canadian" advocacy organization, or to just make an explicitly "English" Canadian organization that advocates for the rights of the Quebecois?

      So if your goal is for Israeli society to integrate itself, wouldn't it be best to make a dual "Jewish-Palestinian" organization, unless you intend to give a religious perspective, in which case a simply Jewish organization (like JVP with its rabbinical council) would make sense too?

    • A recent Gallup poll showed that many young Americans are very critical of Israeli militaristic policies. another poll showed 90% support among Israelis for their attack on Gaza. Is there a reliable poll surveying young Jewish Americans on the Israeli system or on the attack on Gaza, particularly as their opinions compare to their parents' generation?

  • What I said to the couple holding a banner with a swastika on it
    • Mooser,

      J.Street concluded:

      Messages of hate are destructive, hurt the direction of the Palestinian solidarity movement, and take us all further away from living in a world that we desperately wish to live in.

      While I understand that comparing the devastation of Gaza's UN shelters to the Germans' WWII crimes can be offensive to some, I actually doubt that it is a "message of hate" - after all, the protestors opposed the crimes in both conflicts.

    • My main point was that it can be helpful to send a strong message that the Nazis' abuses were wrong, that we should be vigilant against any repetitions of genocide wherever and by whomever they could occur, and that this should motivate us to ask for the protection of Gaza's population. The people who made the poster that J.Street wrote about were thinking along those lines. However, I tend to agree with your initial reaction and would be reluctant to make that kind of poster, because the legacy of the crimes of WWII have been misused to justify attacks on Gaza.

      You responded by suggesting that God could give the best advice and pointed to Job 3, which is about how Job is suffering so much, that he thinks he might as well be dead, asking:

      11. “Why did I not die at birth?
      Why did I not perish when I came from the womb?
      12. Why did the knees receive me?
      Or why the breasts, that I should nurse?
      13. For now I would have lain still and been quiet,
      I would have been asleep;
      Then I would have been at rest

      I suppose the answer is to redirect Job toward his "job" in life, even though he was suffering.

    • Jordan,
      Now overall, I tend to agree with you that the signs are counterproductive, because they can easily offend people, including yourself.

      For the sake of arguing, however, I'll point out that you mention being a Quaker. Yet isn't it true that in the Abolitionist movement, of which the Quakers played a leading role, the stark images of the harsh reality of slavery was often used by Abolitionists to bring on popular support?
      link to

      I am sure that advocates of slavery were offended by abolitionists' condemnation and caricatures of slaveowners. More recently, in the antiwar Vietnam War protests, stark imagery was sometimes used. And again in the 2003 antiwar protests there were caricatures of Bush, showing his portrait as being harsh or even like Hitler. Perhaps this would be offensive to some.

      Pinochet was a fascist leader who killed many people. Wouldn't it be helpful for people who protested Pinochet to make portraits comparing him to Hitler? So if Israeli leaders have made statements supporting wiping out Palestinians, wouldn't it be helpful to criticize them for this by pointing out the dangerous similarity to fascism?

      If someone opposes the Nazis' abuses, should it be because the Nazis harmed specific groups, or should it be because decimating any subject population is wrong and must be opposed? If the latter, then our common opposition to fascism could be a motivating inspiration to oppose war crimes wherever and to whomever they occur.

    • Mooser,

      As you know, there are some intense rightwing individuals who talk about wiping out Palestinians or Muslims. Is it helpful or harmful to ask them "Isn't that the same kind of thing that the Nazis did?" Perhaps this will encourage them to rethink, at least for a moment, their harmful beliefs?

      On the other hand, I don't want to make it so that their thinking will be further clouded by being offended, as you say.

    • Jordan and Mooser,
      I agree with you, Mooser: If it's just a few people in a large crowd holding up offensive signs, then it's not really indicative of what people think, especially when they put their signs down.

      The main problem with the sign is that it can be misinterpreted as supported offensive intolerant ideas, when the actual intent was to give a clear picture to people that war crimes are wrong by associating the abuses with Nazism.

      Further, the signs could offend people to the extent that their minds become clouded, making it harder to dialogue with them as Jordan said.

      Now, here is the rub. If people actually did "get the picture", and understood that war crimes are wrong and associated with Nazism, then the signs really could be justified. The war crimes of the Nazis are a paramount example in modern law and human rights circles of detestable abuses. Reminding people that war rimes are bad by associating them with Nazism can teach an important lesson that we should uphold human rights and stand up instead of being silent. If demonstrators remind their audience about this and take a strong stand and make clear their message against Nazism and Nazi-style war crimes, then it can be a useful, effective tool.

      You find Nazism to be cruel and you oppose their abuses, so that shows you that when you see other nations trying to crush other populations, then you should take a stand too. There are notable examples of survivors of WWII who say that their experience has led them to speak out more strongly in favor of protecting Palestinians from senseless slaughter.

      So, by showing signs that stand against fascism, it could motivate some people by showing them that the stand against fascism isn't just limited to WWII, but even continues in the form of preventing it from occurring in the modern world, especially when we see populations being abused. The main downside, unfortunately, is simply how the signs could be misinterpreted.

  • Israel, your brand is tanking
    • Phil's article mentions Al Franken and others. Here is an article about that;

      Noam Chomsky vs. Al Franken: Behind the odd progressive divide between senators, intellectuals on Gaza

      For many outside the U.S. Senate, the discovery that even progressive stalwarts such as Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Al Franken, D-Minn., voted for the resolution is more than disappointing. It does more than confirm U.S. Senate support for Israel. It pushes that statement beyond any rational or ethical or moral framework imaginable.

      The resolution not only gave the green light to the invasion—it gave the IDF a high-five and armaments as they crossed the intersection. All this after more than 400 civilians already had been killed by Israeli forces, the vast majority of them children. It was as if that bloodshed were not of a sufficient quantity.

  • Seven congresspeople go to Israel on AIPAC's dime-- and one gets defensive about it
  • Israeli deceptions revealed in story of ‘kidnapped’ soldier
    • They often use deceptions, which makes it harder to know when another story is correct. Take for example this story from the Washington Post about an alleged Israeli-built compound underneath Shifa hospital that is an alleged Hamas Headquarters:
      link to
      What do you think?

  • Tariq Abu Khdeir goes to Washington -- and finds surprising support
    • Ruebner marveled at the fact that organizers of the briefing, which he moderated, “had to turn away congressional staffers.”


  • Will 'Protective Edge' galvanize the US mainstream, as 'Cast Lead' galvanized the left?
  • Liberation theology and the war in Gaza
    • Good job quoting Boff. He is a foundational place to start when it comes to Liberation Theology. Of course, it doesn't mean one must accept everything he says, but in any case, it can serve as a useful starting place.

  • Peter Beinart demolishes Gaza hasbara
    • Donald,
      What is going to make that "eventually" happen in the case of the Israelis? In the case of the US, there were no such further incidents, and thus Americans relaxed like Sullivan. However, the Israelis are acting as prison guards over a population bigger than them all the time. There is a studied psychological effect of being a prison guard, and statistics say that the State's attitudes are getting worse, unfortunately.

  • The threat of sanctions worked against Israel in 1956 -- and it can work again
  • Gaza protests across West Bank are suppressed by skunk water, dogs, rubber bullets, teargas
  • Video: If you voted for Hamas, Israel has a right to kill you, says president of NY Board of Rabbis
    • Mooser, I meant to add that the "AJC" (American Council for Judaism), not the SJC, does not take a position. So it's not like if you belong to a certain religion you must take a certain position on this topic.

    • Mooser,

      If 80% of a given community supports a political system, and the community's leaders and its official organizations with the most members support a political system, can it be said that "the community supports the political system"? I am not asking that as a rhetorical question.

      It would be unpleasant for me to say that "American society supports" certain bad policies that I may strongly disagree with, even when it is only, say, 20% of the population that agrees with me. This is because I am reluctant to make a broad statement about people's beliefs. The SCJ for example does not take a theological position about the Levant today.

  • Hasbarah Bingo
    • Speaking of the exchange of ideas on the top, Chomsky has a new article in The Nation responding to the replies to his article: link to

      Two of his key ideas are that the State's system inside the Green Line cannot be compared to Apartheid (although he said otherwise in his interview with Safundi) and that international law offers only "weak reeds" in support of the Right of Return.

  • (Updated) In Photos: Worldwide protest against Israeli attack on Gaza
    • The British chose to avoid imposing a mass conversion of Irish to protestantism, although they did ban Catholicism and persecute it in Ireland. Why didn't Britain forcibly convert them? I read that it's because then the UK would actually have had to care about the Irish, who were starving. That's responsibility.

      The Israeli tactic of attacking Hamas is a failure. Palestinians are motivated to oppose the State because the Israelis are brutalizing them. That's where the resistance comes from. Even if the leaders are taken out, there are tons of Gazans who want to resist, and it's not really that hard to use a sugar powered bottle rocket. And there are tons of Gazans who don't want a compliant government.

      The actual way for the Israelis to solve the problem is for them to address Gaza's economic and social restrictions and to make themselves more appealing to Palestinians so that they won't be interested in using rockets, but rather see the 2SS as a real, viable possibility.

      The problem is much like that with Britain and respecting and feeding a huge population of converts from Catholicism in Ireland. The Israelis are not actually interested in having a 2SS with a real, viable Palestinian state. That is why they are not interested in taking the constructive measures of appealing to everyday Palestinians that will move them toward that goal. They find it preferable to crush Hamas and the population - which it has turned out is their real, ultimate target, unfortunately.

  • The killing fields
  • Joan Rivers slams CNN and BBC coverage of Gaza -- 'you're all insane'
    • and she agrees with me that the mainstream media are showing more sympathy this time to the Palestinian view of things... ~Phil
      This is debateable.
      The NYT can report on both Israeli and Gazan rockets and casualties and present "both sides" of the story equally. Yet some will say that it's biased coverage because it doesn't represent their views as the only correct one. They would prefer for the news to sound like YNET, after which they would triumphally say that the news was "good".

  • PLO official Hanan Ashrawi: Israel's assault on Gaza is 'state terrorism' and should be referred to the International Criminal Court
    • Good question by Kevin about victor's justice and who the ICC prosecutes.

    • Thanks. I wonder what pretext the prosecutor would use to avoid exercizing his discretion under the Rome Statute if the PA joined the ICC.

    • Walid,
      I would tend to agree with Hostage's defense of Abbas. And yet nonetheless, what kind of discussion can we have if I don't let you discuss your point of view about that?

    • Walid,

      This is a mixed bag. Some folks will say Abbas is a collaborator and isn't doing more for that reason. Others say Abbas is certainly not a collaborator- he wants sovereignty, and the problem is that he has too much pressure from the S.O.I. and the U.S.

      Hostage was very knowledgeable about our topics on MW and fun to talk with. It was neat to hear that he worked with resettling people in Vietnam. I didn't expect that he would vanish over a critical discussion.

    • Walid,

      Just consider the argument:
      First, even if the PA joined the ICC, does the ICC's prosecutor have the ability to avoid prosecuting?
      The ICC incorrectly claimed that it had to resolve the question of the PA's statehood before prosecuting, so perhaps the ICC would still find another excuse?

      Second, perhaps the Israeli State would take punitive measures against the PA leadership for seeking justice and an end to the abuse in the ICC?

      Of course, acceding to the ICC would still be a step forward.

    • Hostage's view, correctly, was that the ICC even has enough standing at this very moment to prosecute, even without the PNA joining the ICC as a member. The last time around, the ICC decided that it would not intervene until it resolved the question of Palestine's status as a state. In fact though, the Geneva convention never says that the victims of war crimes have to belong to a state that is a member of the court in order to launch a complaint.

      However, naturally if the PNA is a member of the court, then it has more of a voice to push its claims than if it wasn't.

      Now this is an interesting issue: What if the Palestinians did join the ICC? Could the ICC still refuse to take up the matter, based on some pretext, like the ex-prosecutor claimed? Well, if the ex-prosecutor is saying that, then even if he is wrong in terms of law, it suggests that in reality if he was still the prosecutor he might have succeeded in avoiding the prosecution. At least in US domestic law, the prosecutor has discretion whether to prosecute or not.

      How can you "make" the ICC do its job when the prosecutor doesn't want to?

  • Dr. Kristol's curriculum: US 'special responsibilities' include 'ancient longings' of Jewish nationalists
  • Israel's actions 'unjustified' in eyes of women, non-whites, Dems, indy's, and those under 50 -- Gallup
    • Right, Cliff.

      The first time I was exposed to Israeli nationalism was when I went to a summer camp for a few weeks at Johns Hopkins while in elementary school. The instructors were Israeli-Americans- or Americans who had lived there, and they said that when the Israeli state fought Egypt, the "road to Cairo was open", and it was only the American government who stopped them from conquering it. They said this with a sense of disappointment.

  • 'Israel is wrong by any moral standard' -- Robinson says, as US media pile up
    • I think it falls within the normal rules of war. The moral bottom line seems clear. ~ Ori Nir of "Peace Now".

      A "faux pas" or a "faux pax"?

    • “I don’t like the civilian casualties that result from bombing the homes of the Hamas leaders,” [Peace Now's Ori] Nir says. “And what’s happening in Shejaiya is horrible, but I think it falls within the normal rules of war. The moral bottom line seems clear.” And then, semi-amazed to be doing so, he quoted Netanyahu: “‘We’re using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles.’”

      An Israeli "Peace Now" defending war now?
      What's the point of having a Peace "Now" group. with a name of such urgency, if it advocates continuing the assault?

  • Gaza massacre is generating ideological crisis in American Zionists
    • In the latest New York Review of Books (not yet online), Jonathan Freedland praises Ari Shavit’s neo-Zionist book, My Promised Land, and dismisses John Judis’s book on Truman, Genesis, by saying that Jews– and he and I agree that Jews matter– will only hear criticism of Israel when it comes from inside the fold.

      I don't get it. How is Judis' book outside the community a the way that Ari's is not?

      Didn't Judis actually go to a Jewish community center to talk about his book, in a controversial event? If so, doesn't that mean that he was making criticism from inside the community?

      Maybe what Freedland really means underneath is that Shavit supports Israeli nationalism, while Judis doesn't. In other words, someone who supports the conquest is "inside", while someone who doesn't support conquest is therefore "outside".

  • Avishai says we misrepresented his views
    • Mooser,
      For Alopecia, try taking the vitamin called Biotin.

      Earlier you asked about Eczema. To treat it, the best thing is really soaking it in sea salt overnight. You can put a few tablespoons of salt on a wet rag and soak the rag on the affected area overnight. This works because eczema is really an allergic reaction in your skin, and saline solutions pull the chemicals causing the allergy out of the body tissue.

    • Right. If Phil is not mischaracterizing him, then what else is the point of the email?

      It's a situation of cognitive dissonance like a prince criticizing the king's war, and then getting quoted by the French, which makes him decide to write back with disagreement to the French editor.

    • I understand that Avishai is saying that he has long ago criticized Israeli policies.

      But I am confused when he asks:

      ((t Israel will not shrink from inflicting hundreds of random civilian casualties, through which it hopes to discredit Hamas. If you don’t think this is a war crime, talk to your Palestinian friends.” ~Avishai's original quote))

      Anyway, even if Israeli strikes can be vaguely justified as a response to them, you need to be incapable of compassion, or devoid of Palestinian friends, to refrain from seeing the bombing as criminally cavalier. This is what I argued, which is not really what you insinuate, is it?

      Weiss wrote that Avishai saw war crimes as being imposed on Palestinians,
      ((Bernard Avishai had a piece at the New Yorker last week called “Watching Gaza” that said Israel is guilty of war crimes, killing civilians in an effort to discredit Hamas.))

      So, I don't understand why Avishai is saying that Weiss was wrong in characterizing Avishai's statement to that effect.

  • Why Israel's legal justifications for 'Operation Protective Edge' are wrong
  • 9 Reasons why Israel is under rocket attack 
  • It's time for liberal Jewish bodies to take a stand
    • Seafoid,
      A friend who defended the community's stance said that when the Gazan rockets happened now it closed down Israeli summer camps, so the American community decided to send "care packages". She said that people in the community asked "What about the Palestinians?", so they sent care packages to Palestinians too.

      Is this for real? Maybe that was a nice sounding way of saying that the packages went to Israeli citizens at large, some of whom are naturally Palestinian Israeli citizens?

    • I was OK with the article up to "If Israel is to survive as a liberal, democratic nation". What about the 50 laws discriminating against Palestinians? Palestinian Israeli citizens have an extremely hard time even buying new land or founding a new town, not to mention reclaiming the towns they were kicked out of.

  • Speaking to the Deaf: Activists attempt to talk with the Israeli public about Gaza
    • Flynt Leverett... From March 2002 to March 2003, he served as the senior director for Middle East affairs on the National Security Council (NSC).

      Prior to serving on the NSC, he was a counterterrorism expert on the Policy Planning Staff of the U.S. State Department, and before that he served as a CIA senior analyst for eight years. Since leaving government service, Leverett served as a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy

      link to

      For real? How is this the biography of the person talking?

  • 'Heartbreaking' is U.S. government's talking point for Gaza massacre
    • They hit targets like hospitals after the UN has confirmed that they don't have weapons. They are basically targeting the population.

      There are hardcore Hasbarists who talk this way about targeting Gazans. It's no surprise their military thinks this way.

  • 'Slate' blames Birthright for indoctrinating American Jew who was killed fighting for Israel
    • Do you know what is the origin and meaning of the hexagram, or is it purely decorative?

    • Perhaps. Tolkien's story about Sauron's ring bears a close resemblance to the myth of Solomon's ring, some versions of which claimed that the ring was inscribed with a hexagram. This in turn became a major symbol in magic since medieval times. So when Tolkien wrote about Sauron's eye he may have also based it on the all-seeing eye symbol used in contemporary magic and religion.

    • There are all kind of weird things and unknowns going on over there.

    • Is that an eye symbol with a curved upper brow?

  • Arab reporters come under attack from Israelis
    • Maximus,
      I had a Jewish friend who said she went to Israel on Birthright and she loved how she was surrounded by a whole society for the first time in her life from her community. However, she said that she didn't recommend it for others because she doesn't agree with their social and political structure of inequality. Others may not have the same hesitancies about it.

    • I am a progressive American rabbi who leans left pretty hard. I've been engaged, as a US faith leader, in work to reform gun laws, ~Rabbi Creditor, Editor, 'Peace in Our Cities: Rabbis Against Gun Violence'

      So Americans should have as few guns as possible to protect themselves, but Israeli youth and settlers get to be totally armed even when they are off duty to fight the natives. Nice.

    • 24 hours of no American flights? Privation? I guess.

  • Gaza onslaught is p.r. problem for Israel's 'moral authority' -- Albright
    • racial injustice is really dependent on broader economic ideologies: that post got rejected :)
      Sounds like you're trying to open a can of worms.

  • Naomi Wolf walked out of synagogue when they had nothing to say about Gaza massacre
    • That's funny about the hemlock.
      Socrates Café are gatherings around the world where people from different backgrounds get together and exchange thoughtful ideas and experiences...

    • Mooser,

      In ancient times, the Temple was the center of ritual, while the synagogues also served as discussion forums, something like the Roman "forum", or a "Socrates cafe." In those days, the rabbis argued different points of view, and early Christians stood up to say that the ancient prophecies like Isaiah 53 predicted a Messiah who would be killed. The Christians were persecuted and rejected for announcing their visions, but nonetheless they could serve as a model: that rather than walk out, I could agree with you that ideally dissenters should stay and take the opportunity to speak out loudly about the crucial moral and humanitarian issues of today, particularly the conflict in Gaza.

    • Bilal,

      You are on to something. Once they started out expelling peaceful friendly villages and planning on it being permanent since 1947, they set out on their present course. They already engaged in a certain mindset of claiming the land. Chomsky, as a former young kibbutznik, writes that Yes, they were socialist kibbutz builders, and yet the racism was so strong that he would not have lasted.

      It is actually questionable whether the plan for a 2 SS was realistic, when from the beginning they claimed the whole land, desired it, and their power was far greater than the natives.

      You would have to demand a kind of intense self control in 1967 and since, when in fact they acted with reckless impunity expelling people since 1947. In fact, the current occupation may be less drastic than the Nakba of 1947, since at least in the current situation many of the people in the Territories are still within their homeland.

      So while I understand the logic that the biggest obstacle started in 1967 with the Occupation, in fact it was the expulsions of 1947 that set things on this course.

    • The article clarifies when they wonder two months from now where she's been.

    • I agree with you, Mooser. But can I say that she "has" to go back if she is so disillusioned with her faith community's general stance on the issue?

      How hard is it to find a synagogue where they talk about Palestinians' rights?
      (I don't ask that rhetorically.) JVP has a large rabbinical council.

    • Thanks for writing. My sympathies.

  • Burning children
    • Or begs for anti-wrinkle cream?

    • Speak about God – if it makes sense to the burning children of the Holocaust and Palestine. Taken seriously, the seminaries of every faith would have to close. As would the synagogues, churches and mosques. God-talk cannot make sense to a burning child.

      I sympathize- this is a really big problem in the world.

  • Renouncing my Israeli citizenship
    • Kalithea,

      I am saying that the tally comes out to about 100% of the people having an opinion. I think that in reality many Americans don't have a serious opinion. It's not something I hear everyday Americans talking about at food counters, gas stations, supermarkets, etc. I think that the poll answers would have at least 10-20% saying they have no opinion. And even those with one arent hardcore.

    • Lenny,
      Interestingly Chomsky has said that he is what was once considered Zionist (the Buberites and nationalist anarchist movement), but that he would no longer be able to live there because the country has changed so much.
      Personally I think that this is still considered "Zionist", but nonetheless he agrees with you.

    • I am suspicious with the poll, because where are all the Americans who would answer "No opinion"? I think many Americans don't have a serious opinion about the conflict or know alot about it.

  • Finally, Israel is alienating the US mainstream media
    • RoHa,

      Isn't it true though that Palestinians have a certain virtue in their position? The Israelis demand that the Palestinians submit to whatever they offer them, and that if the Pal.s don't accept, then it's their fault there is no peace. The Israelis have overwhelming force and slaughter them, yet they doggedly refuse to submit.

    • That's a good way of putting it, Citizen. The Supreme Court held that Separate but Equal was Unequal in practice and reality. It might be said that what we see within the Green Line is a reflection of that- the seemingly rational principle of having two separate but equal communities in the Holy Land, called a "democratic state" that focuses on just one religious community led to a reality of unequal treatment within the Green Line.

      Chomsky's "nonstate" Separate but Equal system could easily become the same thing. Chomsky's vision was both more and less segregated than US Segregation. Chomsky would have denounced separate water fountains and other irrational divisions, and yet even the US South's main political parties were not officially and formally dedicated to just one nationality.

    • Chinese Box,
      The thing is, if the Left was the same way it was back in 1975 on the IP issue, and nothing had really changed in left wing circles in 1982 and later, then the media would be more supportive of the IDF's actions.

      It was due to some pressure that NBC reassigned Ayman to cover Gaza, and that pressure wouldnt have been there were it not for the Left having moved at least a bit on the issue.

      In other words, we might not directly see something having changed in the media, but it did. It does not mean the media is good on the issue, but just that it may be paying more attention than it did sometimes in the past. But then again, I don't want to delude myself into being over optimistic about it.

    • Hello Donald,

      this has happened before–during the summer 1982 Lebanon War, for instance. Israel mercilessly bombing Lebanese cities. Within a few years it was like it had never happened.

      That's not quite true. The 1982 bombing led Finkelstein and a number of leftists to become active in the Palestinian topic. When the Israelis every few years attack Gaza, it becomes an issue that gets more and more attention. It does not really go away but builds over time.

      You commented:

      The moral denunciations of Israel’s bombing–it was like it never happened at all. I read about it later in Chomsky (yeah, that awful terrible Chomsky guy who is secretly an agent for the Zionists or whatever the current line on him is).

      This is a good example. Chomsky was affected by it and wrote about it and then in turn it affected you. If it was really like it hadn't happened, then you would not be where you are, posting on Mondoweiss.

      This is a positive thing about Chomsky, whereby a nationalist who is focused on IP because of his ideology writes about the issue eloquently and sounds the alarm, not because he is a nationalist, but because he is generally a person who cares about human rights.

      However, Donald, I would encourage you to follow Chomsky's advice to be 'realistic', even when it comes to Chomsky himself. Chomsky cannot be a "secret" Israeli nationalist, since Allison Weir asked him about being a nationalist youth leader and he replied that his nationalist views have not changed: link to

      Famous figures can be complex and even contradictory. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were way ahead of their time in terms of Democracy, and yet they owned slaves, although they later freed them. Lincoln freed the slaves, and yet presided over the US army's crushing of the Indian revolts. And yet I admire Abraham Lincoln. Chomsky hardly owns slaves or advocates fighting Indians, but nonetheless can be an interesting, inspiring, complex, radical, and -as hard to admit as it may be - in some rare moments even a contradictory and reactionary figure. I consider his ideal of dividing political parties along religious lines and his claim that there is no internationally agreed on right of return to be a rare example of the latter.

    • The American people have many admirable characteristics but their inability to see virtue in “losers” is not one of them.
      Pat Lang is certainly mistaken about this. Americans have seen plenty of virtue in losers. They usually give examples of one people brutalizing another "losing" people as an example of the losers' virtue.

      The fact that the Native Americans were wiped out by colonists, rather than the other way around, has come to reflect virtue in Native Americans nowadays. The fact that Gaza "lost" the 2009 "war" came to reflect its virtue to the US Left.

      Thus, Pat Lang is mistaken to talk about the virtues of suicide attacks, which while having some advantages of reflecting resistance, have a downside as well.

      It's actually human nature for people to sympathize with others who are victims. That's why Israelis nationalists are at such pains to describe themselves this way.

  • Video: A beautiful brother went looking for his family in the death zone (Updated)
    • Seafoid,

      What's the platinum package look like? "You can't ever come to the synagogues?" I have heard of people who can't find a synagogue they can talk about IP in openly, but I am not in their shoes, as I attend ekklesia ("the congregations"), so I don't know firsthand to confirm how hard it must be for them.

    • Seafoid,

      But are we to think that this was all there was to it? Goldberg writing an article attacking him and the South African leaders meeting him in a private conference?
      “Debating face to face with the community really shook him,” said David Saks, associate director of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, who received a read-out on the meeting right after it took place. “When he saw the extent of the anger and he couldn’t answer the accusations against him… I think he realized he was wrong.”
      Read more: link to

      so just being in a meeting with 10 community leaders and constantly being criticized about it was enough to change his ideas or make him disavow them?

    • It would be interesting to know what happened to Goldstone. He was shunned by his synagogue.

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