Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 4525 (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 4525 - 4501

  • The sensitive Zionist -- a review of Natalie Portman's new film
    • Natalie Portman was in a 2005 movie called the Free Zone. I got that the Conflict is bad and that we need peace, but did not really get what the movie was trying to say, particularly the ending where it focuses on her face for maybe 5 minutes when she is crying and it plays the same chorus over and over about "the lamb".

      link to

      The Free Zone
      link to

      Do you understand what the movie is trying to say at that part?

  • Thank you, Chief Rabbi. Now I know: Judaism is to blame for the Nakba
    • Speaking of the Nakba, this below on a Nakba talk by SJP sounds like a confusing new story. What do you think?

      "On Wednesday April 7, Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine decided to cancel our event “The Exiled Palestinians.” This was due to the presence of Alison Weir, who has openly expressed anti-Semitic sentiments. ... When asked to remove her materials, she eventually removed her books but left other materials advertising her website."
      SOURCE: Stanford SJP, link to

      So someone who you are against attends one of your events, so you shut down the whole event instead of getting security to get the person to leave or rescheduling it? This sounds very Weird.

      Ali A. thanks Stanford SJP for canceling the event while it was going on:
      link to

      Why was the Nakba Tour Canceled at Stanford?
      April 7, 2016, Berkeley, California
      link to
      "When Alison learned we did not yet have any written materials along to provide the audience, she brought some along with her for us to use and also gave us some of her books that we could sell to help raise money for the tour.
      Amena [the guest speaker] then began discussing the situation with the students, and was extremely upset when they told her that she could not speak truthfully about her feelings and the feelings of the thousands of dispossessed Palestinian refugees living in camps about their situation, about the Nakba, and about whether or not Israel has “the right to exist” that Israel partisans claim. "

  • Democratic Party is now split over Israel, and Clinton and Sanders represent opposing camps, says Pew
  • Donald Trump has one proposal to unite a fractured Republican party -- Islamophobia
    • He ends it by saying that he doesn't know why pro-Israelis vote for the Clintons so strongly, but then concludes that after November, some people in this room will know why.

      He seems to be saying that there are some unspoken connections that aren't publicly known with Clinton's campaign.

      What do you think he means by that?

    • I came across this JTA video of Trump with reporters where he talks about his positions on the IP Conflict. He has an attorney answer some questions for him like whether we should say Occupied Territories.
      link to

  • Advice to British leftwingers on kicking racism out of their anti-Israel rhetoric
    • R. Cohen writes:
      《But after days of news coverage about Zionism and antisemitism, none of which has shed the slightest light on the plight of the Palestinians, my sympathy with how some left wingers express their views on Israel has worn very thin. Their verbal antics have allowed distraction and deflection to triumph as an exaggerated crisis about antisemitism in Britain rules the airwaves.》

      I agree that what he said was not strategically wise, helpful, or necessary.
      I know someone could use L.Brenner's work and theoretically make an argument for it.

      But I think the best way to understand the statement is to notice IJAN Holocausr survivor Hajo Meyer's reaction and outburst when he was being peppered by accusations that he was anti-semitic for being antizionist.
      link to

      Meyer is making the kind of borderline statement that is not very helpful, but that some people can find arguments to support, ie that antisemitism today is coming from mistaken foreign policies. This is what the Rev Bruce Shipman scandal at Yale involved.

  • 'Hi pal. I love you' and 'Russia has seen the lord' -- loopy Biden froths over Netanyahu
  • Most Jews want to expel Palestinians -- Pew's ugly portrait of Israel
  • Why I support a one state solution and still consider myself a Zionist
    • Hello, Becca and thanks for your essay.

      Zionism as I understand it means a movement for the world's Jewish population to make aliyah/return to Zion. Is this your position, and if so why?

      You also support Jewish self-determination in Palestine. I am fine with this idea and support peoples' self determination.

      You write:

      In essence, I believe in a bi-national state, which could allow for both people to live on this land but to enjoy semi-autonomous representation. Today, we live in a state in which a different set of laws apply to Israeli citizens (mostly Jewish) and Palestinians. A Jewish person with citizenship and a Palestinian from the West Bank who both live in Area C (Israeli-controlled West Bank) are subject to a completely separate set of laws and judicial procedures. In order to create a just bi-national state, both peoples would need to be subject to the same laws and rights.

      The main risk I see with a "binational" state with semi-autonomy for both groups is that it could create a situation of "separate but equal" on paper, but not in reality, like in the 1950's US South. If one of the two autonomous groups has major political and economic power, then using its autonomous status and separate institutions of political, social, and economic clout there could in fact be massive disparity. I think that this inherent disparity existed even in the binational model that Chomsky and others proposed with parallel nationalist social and economic institutions.

      If we divided the US based on race into two autonomous groups, I think that the same kind of thing would happen.

  • Can we take 'Avi does the Holy Land’ seriously?
    • I think that based on her section on African Refugees she is disagreeing or being skeptical about the idea of a Jewish state.

  • Jews aren't special
    • A pure secularist could think that the combination of ethnicity as religion could create heightened superiority.

      Usually people believe that their religious community is more holy. When your ethnicity is the same as your religion, it makes the ethnicity itself holy, thus superior.

      I know most Israelis might not think this way, but for a pure secularist, the idea might rub off onto the member of that culture.

      You might want to look at other times in world history when they are combined by other religions.

  • Videos: Proof of Sanders's lifelong anti-racist activism breaks on eve of Nevada Caucus
  • African refugees are likened to rats in Israeli exam question -- and it's supposed to be funny
  • Saudi court overturns death sentence for Ashraf Fayadh; new sentence is 8 years and 800 lashes
    • 50 lashes for each of 16 sessions.
      What do you think - 2 sessions per year?

      If 800 at once, it might kill people.

  • Cultural Zionism good, political Zionism bad
    • So we can rewrite the title:
      Cultural Zionism - good, political Zionism - bad, Cultural Conquest - no problem

    • Hello, Roland. I am not sure if you understand my point.
      You appeared to herald it as an achievement that about 2 million Palestinians speak Hebrew, even though they would not have wanted the cultural conquest that caused this.
      Would you consider it a wonderful “achievement” that the Native Americans speak English or Spanish?
      Instead of the achievement of “the creation of 8 million Hebrew speakers”, how would we feel talking about the “achievement” of all the billions of English and Spanish speakers in the Americas? Maybe you don’t understand what issue I am talking about or what there is not to be proud of in that?

      I am not talking about whether Indians enjoy equality with whites, but whether cultural conquest is an achievement.

    • Hello, Roland. I am not sure if you understand my point.
      You appeared to herald it as an achievement that about 2 million Palestinians speak Hebrew, even though they would not have wanted the cultural conquest that caused this.
      Would you consider it a wonderful "achievement" that the Native Americans speak English or Spanish?
      Instead of the achievement of "the creation of 8 million Hebrew speakers", how would we feel talking about the "achievement" of all the billions of English and Spanish speakers in the Americas? Maybe you don't understand what issue I am talking about or what there is not to be proud of in that?

      I am not talking about whether Indians enjoy equality with whites, but whether cultural conquest is an achievement.

    • OK, now I see how Roland Nikles supports Cultural Zionism:

      But the real accomplishments of Zionism, suggested Avishai, are cultural: the creation of 8 million Hebrew speakers who are running a $360 billion economy. The Hebrew language and the culture it has created are now secure. These accomplishments are not going away, no matter what the politics of the country are. The amazing thing about the Zionist venture he suggested is that couples in tank tops and shorts can walk down the street holding hands in Tel Aviv, speaking a language that Moses would have understood. That is a cultural achievement, a cultural legacy that will survive a more liberal politics. These eight million Hebrew speakers and the culture they have created will not go away if the state stops its discrimination against Arabs.

      Many, maybe 20%, of those "8 million" Hebrew speakers would not prefer for their society to have gone in the direction of speaking Hebrew over the last century.
      That being the case, was it really an "achievement" that this 20% speaks Hebrew any more than the fact that Native peoples in the Americas speak European languages?

      It appears that at least Avishai's and Nikle's description of "Cultural Zionism" is still a form of Cultural Conquest.

    • OK, now reading the comments and his writings in the comments section, I see that he supports "Cultural Zionism".

    • It sounds from this essay that Nikles supports Cultural Zionism, because he did not get much into critiques of it.

  • American Jewish Committee agent tries to dig up anti-Semitic dirt in a German refugee housing block
    • It doesn’t need the Israeli flag painted over it – it’s tacitly understood by default. Does this directly mean ‘hate of Palestinians?’)

      Of course not. "Palestinians" do not exist in their minds, so there is nothing to hate. It also proves why Palestinians cannot have rights and must accept any illegal abuses. After all, how can something nonexistant have rights.

  • How many more orgasms will be had for Zionism?
    • "Benedikt von Schirach" - it vaguely brings to mind the famous name "Joshua ben Sirach"...

    • Yeah, Hitler youth camps could have been cool if you took out Hitler, the Nazism, the fascism, the authoritarianism, and the racism.

      Just singing German songs in lederhosen with accordion accompaniment and dozens of hot youthful blondes around a campfire after hiking and Bavarian mountain climbing. Ahhh, why can't life be so perfect?

    • Page: 45
    • Shmuel,
      Sure, I understand. In your case, you are describing an Orthodox summer camp, so I can understand that they would be religiously/moralistically strict.
      What about for the Reformed and only weakly religious community though?

    • The bunk beds in our tents touched each other, and only sheer mosquito netting separated us. One night, a friend in the bunk next to mine had sex for the first time–our bunk beds so close that the metal bars on my bed were shaking as he and another camper moved on top of each other–and I could hear the Israeli music from the Israeli folk dancing still in the distance. Though I wasn’t the one losing my virginity, I felt part of something big.

      Christian summer camps (even nonconservative ones) are "moralistically" very conservative. This is not to deny that in practice there could be individuals who "stray", but it would be schizoid for college students who sign up to do so. I even rock danced too much with one girl at one Christian camp and a few years later she seemed to think back about it with offense.

      Is anything analogous to such moralistic Christian camps uncommon in the Jewish community? Or are such things as in Liz Rose's essay and in the MW "Birthright trip" essays the main option?

  • 'Little Jewboy' moment highlights coming divorce between US Jews and Israel
    • Because I can't remember hearing the epithet before. It sounded strange to me. So I went online to see if it had ever been used. Is it something you heard before?

      I was old once that I looked like a "little English boy", although I am probably only about half or so English.

  • Pope Francis's missed opportunity to speak the truth
    • " Jews are now recognized by the Church as their “elder brothers” with an enduring covenant with God"

      Do you believe that too? If Christians and Jews are part of the same covenant, can Palestinian Christians share the land and get treated as human beings of equal worth so that we can all go home now?

      Too bad Marc never writes back.

  • Sick of Zionism’s stranglehold on Jewish culture? There is an alternative.
  • The Rabin distraction
    • some of the crazy conspiracy theories that are popular in Israel about the murder (like Rabin set it up, that the secret service did it, that the conspiracy went awry…)

      What do you mean "crazy"? 30% of Israelis believe those theories.

  • Our Top Ten posts of 2015
  • US spying on Israel reveals cynical heart of the 'special relationship'
    • Dear David Green,

      You claim:


      I agree that US globalist interests are imperialist toward the Middle East, but that doesn't account for everything in the USFP there, does it?

      What is the "interest" of either US elites or the 99% of regular Americans in maintaining the brutal occupation? Even JVP has stated in an previous FAQ that the Occupation is not an American "interest". (See JVP Portland website).

      And yet in practice the USFP has come to effectively support the occupation, allowing tax write offs for gifts to illegal settlements, etc.

      This does not make sense for our country to do, David, whether one uses an anti-imperalist viewpoint or not. Weir brings something to the table on this issue, and indeed it's a point that Phil Weiss himself occasionally discusses.

    • Rugal,

      You ask:
      "For those who are supporting Allison Weir, and disapprove of JVP’s stance towards her and her work, may I ask why specifically ?"
      She goes on many speaking tours for Palestinian rights, while JVP's stance is weak for two reasons:

      1. Weir did not actually say anything that is definitely anti-Semitic, and if you are going to accuse a major fellow peace activist, the proof must be definitive, not debatable.

      2. Weir's position that the US Interest does not support the occupation of Palestine has been said before by JVP in one of its FAQs, yet this was an explicit basis to reject her ideology in JVP's letter.

      You ask: "Secondly, why is she not acknowledging the crimes of the US state that are just as unethical as any of the Israeli state action in Palestine or worse?"
      If you do a google search on her website for terms like Iraq and Afghanistan, you will see that she and her materials do criticize those wars.

    • In the USSR, the KGB was not supposed to wiretap and impose certain spy methods on party members, but they did it anyway.

      Maybe something similar happens in the US, as per the Snowden revelations.

  • The most memorable stories of 2015
  • NYT's Rudoren says Mondoweiss critique of her recent article is 'nuts'
    • Her article was basically promoting the wine company, talking about how it was indigenous wine, etc.

      "With a budget of about $750,000, mainly from the Jewish National Fund — a century-old Zionist organization that has helped transform Israel’s agricultural landscape" ~Rudoren.

      It just sounds from this like JNF is a normal economic or charitable development fund that means not much more than its name, kind of like the UNDP's funds, YMCA, or United Way.

  • Netanyahu: In wake of Paris attacks, world should condemn attacks against Israel
    • It could be that certain security groups expected that this event would occur, but then let it happen because they expected to benefit from the political fallout. By now there is a pretty intense monitoring program in place where somebody would probably know about it, although not everything an be predicted beforehand.

      For example, the school day would have ended at 3 PM or so, but the incidents occurred that night, and France's "Local" new service reported:

      Deha, who lives on Boulevard St Germain, told The Local, adding that this his son came home from school on Friday with a letter advising parents what to do in case of an emergency. “It was completely out of the blue – I don’t know if this was a coincidence or there were alerts before, but it doesn’t feel like a coincidence,” he said. “It was advice for parents on what to do in an emergency – such as not calling or coming to the school, staying away from the area and listening for updated from to a radio station, France Blue.”

      link to

  • Netanyahu's fancy watch
    • Aw, Come on, Phil. Netanyahu is the "leader of the free world", and you are worried about him wearing a $5000 alligator watch? He has to deal with topics of global importance, not worry about whether his car costs only a million dollars. This is probably chump change.

      FOX NEWS "Who is leader of the Free World: Obama or Netanyahu?"
      link to

  • All Israeli politics is local -- it's American
    • "Instead, with increased military aid to Israel now assured and Middle Eastern governments support for Israel’s increased repression of Palestinian resistance, it seems that what some thought was a series of political blunders has, instead, worked in Netanyahu’s favor."
      Fundamentally, the Lobby, with its assets in place, remained, so what is there to make a turning point like those pundits claimed?

  • The idea that people living under violent military occupation must be instructed in nonviolence is problematic
    • Rashers,
      You write:
      "focusing on the article, I would like to see the source of the comment which inspired it. There is no reason to assume it to be other than bona fide but an attribution or link is always useful."

      "Were I a young male victim of the occupation, I would probably be studying the operational tactics of the Maquis during WWII rather than the teachings of Gandhi."
      It's hard to put oneself in such another person's shoes. However, it was interesting to learn how imprisoned Palestinians were actually studying Gandhi:

      ""In non-violence you have to be very very strong,” Awwad continued. “Starving for seventeen days is like killing yourself each day. You demonstrate how much you believe in your cause by standing even against yourself…When using non-violence you are not a fighter, you don’t identify with political values. You identify with humanity.”

      Following the hunger strike, Awwad began learning more about non-violence. He did not receive formal education about nonviolent resistance but studied Gandhi and Mandela in prison."

      link to

    • Elizabeth,

      The Awads produced a good video of their Nonviolence project. The playlist for their film, Little Town of Bethlehem is here:
      link to

      M. Awad now lives in the US, while his family continues their work in Bethlehem.

      I believe that we should promote their work. The fact that M. Awad was expelled like you said suggests that this is actually one of the more effective strategies to achieve peace and justice.

    • Bryan,

      Palestinians' nonviolent opposition arguably has some success, however weak. If they hadn't used any noonviolent resistance and used only violence, they might not have gotten the UN recognition for their state or some EU countries' limited restrictions on settlement products. I understand a counterargument that these benefits are hardly enough, but I do think that Palestinians won some more admiration internationally due to their nonviolent actions.

      If there was no nonviolent protest, the movie 5 Broken Cameras could not have been made and presented in Hollywood at all.

      I like the rest of your post, and I agree with the importance of efforts and recognition by the international community. I also agree when you say:

      Here I would argue that violence is the best crutch that Zionism possesses because it allows the continual refrain that they hate us, the’re all terrorists, they want to drive us into the sea, they constantly assault a peaceful nation with a hail of rockets and suicide bombs, etc. Take that crutch away, and what is left? Cherry tomatoes, a naked occupation, and outright racism.

      I don't agree with judgmental attacks on the Palestinian people for past decades of resistance, however my own sympathy is strongest with promoting and teaching nonviolent resistance. You made some good points.

    • Mooser,

      How could a theology of nonviolence, or what Ellis calls Jewish Liberation Theology, be promoted to most Israelis? It seems like they are moving further to the right. I don't mean the question rhetorically. It seems that they have a vested interest in Settlement expansion and land acquisition, and have a strong ideological/philosophical/religious belief in them. It seems analogous to trying to persuade the American pioneers idealized in Hollywood movies that they shouldn't move into Native-American-claimed areas.

    • My point is only that those of us who are Americans have no standing to urge Palestinians to take this course, with the possible exception of Americans who are themselves willing to risk jail or beatings or death in nonviolent protest.

      I think those of us Americans who look to Martin Luther King Jr.'s strategies and who oppose the dispossession of the Native Americans have "standing" to promote nonviolent resistance to Palestinians in a non-judgmental, friendly way, because those situations are analogous.

      Regarding the Native Americans, it's a hard question what they could or show have done. They were faced with an asymmetrical balance of power and could not effectively conquer their opponents. It's a good question what their best tactic would have been. On one hand, perhaps if they hadn't resisted, the Sioux would have been more fully routed and had less social cohesion than they do today. On the other hand, reprisals by Amerindians were one of the main excuses used by the American army to dispossess them.

      Since I support nonviolence, personally, I think this strategy should have been promoted to the Amerindians by their friends among Americans. I imagine that the Quakers of that day did counsel the Indians against resisting with violence.

      However, those Americans who don't believe in nonviolent resistance and would not follow it themselves of course don't have standing like you said to dictate to Palestinians that they must observe it.

    • "Those Palestinian kids are Israel [sic] worst nightmare,... their message is clear : Give me dignity or i will Kill you."
      ~"Zaid" with an avatar of the pro-Axis Mufti

      I wonder how many sockpuppets there are who intentionally write things like this to either make Palestinians look bad or to encourage them to write self-incriminating trash.

    • Hello, Diaspora!

      It is neat hearing from you, since you are Palestinian. You are right that "There are still many many peaceful protests every Friday all over the West Bank, and have been for decades. Bil’in and Ni’lin to name a couple." It is neat to hear about them. Palestinian nonviolent protestors have been inspiring and creative, as shown in the movie Five Broken Cameras.

      It was also neat for me to hear about the tradition of protests in the Christian areas, like the Santa Claus demonstrators. Even placing a Christmas tree can be an act of nonviolent resistance, like the one in Nazareth Illit! △ ☆ †

      Generally speaking, JFK's quote is right when it come to understanding how societies work. And you made a good point:

      Israel has made nonviolence impossible with its policies. Just read how at the beginning of the Aqsa Intifada demonstrations were peaceful and nonviolent, but Israeli response was brutal to the point where it effectively killed any hope for nonviolence.

      This is an important point to make when talking about Palestinian nonviolence and the challenge it faces, since nonviolence is brutally repressed. This surprisingly does not actually make nonviolence impossible, however, because the oppressed still have an option to take this extremely heavy burden despite being crushed during its peacefulness. Take for example the many Indians who were massacred by the British while opposing British rule, despite Gandhi's leadership. Often, civil disobedience occurs in recognition that the oppressor will brutally oppress it.

      An interesting example may be the Rosenstrasse protest against deportations in Berlin during WWII. A large protest erupted by the German wives of Jewish husbands who were to be deported. It is somewhat surprising that the Nazis, instead of simply crushing the protest, chose to allow the husbands to stay. I write this while myself acknowledging that the Nazis were one of the most brutal regimes in suppressing resistance. However, for some scholars it raises the question of whether more protests could have been effective in stemming the Nazis' course more.

      So perhaps even in the Palestinian context there could be real outlets for instances nonviolent civil disobedience that are not impossible, despite the usual brutal suppression.

      To say that there is a need to teach, promote, or educate about nonviolent resistance for Palestinians in no way denies that Palestinians are widely already using a tradition of nonviolence, nor does this need mean that Palestinians are even violent. That is because a belief in teaching an ideal strategy can mean reinforcing it or giving better understanding to it. Many Churches have "Education Departments" that teach their members their faith. To have education departments and teach the faith to the faithful in no way means that the churches are filled with ignorance. Rather, the teaching can be needed to reinforce, strengthen beliefs, or understand it better.

      In the Palestinian context, promoting nonviolence can mean studying it to see how it can be used best in the challenges you describe. For example, if the Israeli army uses tear gas on demonstrators or bullets, then what can be done? Film it? Show it on social media worldwide? Raise awareness about the flotillas? Teaching and promoting nonviolence can mean teaching the answers to these challenging questions.

      In no way does teaching nonviolence support the claims of Ivri or other Occupation-supporters that somehow Palestinians are the main guilty party in the Occupation or that if only" they never used violence then the Israelis would definitely choose a 2 State Solution. Nor does it mean that we need to take an arrogant attitude of "challenging" Palestinian men who are supposedly more violence prone.

      There are great programs by Kairos Palestine, Sabeel, and Christian Peacemaker Teams that advocate and promote nonviolence by Palestinians, and I support their work and education efforts. My support does not in any way downplay already-existing nonviolence.

    • Kris and Donald,

      You write:
      “Maybe ask Desmond Tutu to talk to them. I don’t see why Palestinians would give us too much credence on this subject.”

      They would not be giving particular credence to the US government or Obama about this. They would be giving credence to the human rights activists worldwide who are committed to this tactic and believe in it themselves. A great example is KAIROS USA and FOSNA, the allies of KAIROS and SABEEL in Palestine who are committed to peaceful strategies.

    • Donald,

      You write:
      "Most Americans, Christian or not, aren’t pacifists, so we can’t preach pacifism to others."
      The US can't hold Palestinians to a standard of pacifism for the reason you mentioned - the US government is certainly not Pacifist.

      However, those who believe in Pacifism and in the strategies of Gandhi and MLK Jr. really can promote their belief in it as the most effective strategy. Since Gandhi and Tutu were effective in their modern strategies and the IDF has overwhelming superiority, it seems that this nonviolent strategy is arguably the best and has zero to do with judgmentalism against Palestinians.

      The call from the Churches of Palestine, the Kairos Palestine Document, promotes peace and nonviolence many times without judging Palestinian people harshly:

      4.2.2 When we review the history of the nations, we see many wars and much resistance to war by war, to violence by violence. The Palestinian people has gone the way of the peoples, particularly in the first stages of its struggle with the Israeli occupation. However, it also engaged in peaceful struggle, especially during the first Intifada. We recognize that all peoples must find a new way in their relations with each other and the resolution of their conflicts. The ways of force must give way to the ways of justice. This applies above all to the peoples that are militarily strong, mighty enough to impose their injustice on the weaker.

      See other examples here:
      link to

      I sympathize with promoting to Palestinian society the Churches' call.

    • Donald,

      AFSC stands for the American Friends Service Committee, the main Quaker organization. There are smaller Palestinian Gandhis like Naim Ateek of Sabeel or the Awad brothers of Nonviolence International.

      Someone who would successfully help promote nonviolent resistance would be someone like Tutu, like you said. Still, a major concern of the Occupation is the problem if a major nonviolent force or figure of peace and reconciliation would arise. Rabin, for example, with all his faults, was actually taking some steps for reconciliation, however flawed, and that is why his opponents decided he had to go, with "Death to Rabin" being shouted at a Netanyahu rally before his removal. In my personal opinion, it would be helpful if NGOs did promote nonviolent resistance, drawing on, for example, Palestinian Liberation theology and figures like Tutu. This is what KAIROS PALESTINE calls for.

    • Chocopie,

      Perhaps it is ironic, but the Palestinian Authority has at times even requested NATO or UN troops to provide at least semi-independent oversight for the brutal Occupation, while the Israelis do not even want to be part of NATO, much less have NATO troops interfering with their Occupation/De Facto Annexation/Settlement Expansion.

      "Israel rejects proposal by Abbas for NATO troops" , Feb 9, 2014

      Yes, that's how bad the occupation is and how much it violates even the international "Establishment" consensus.

    • Mooser,

      You are right that there are longstanding traditions of nonviolent cultural resistance among Palestinians. You would have to ask how Christianity was able to survive there (10% of Palestinians were Christian in 1900) after 1200 years of Islamic rule. The Turks and some of the medieval Caliphates were quite brutal, for example.

      Still, there is also a developing school of basically nonviolent Palestinian Liberation Theology promoted by Sabeel. Marc Ellis has mentioned this in his writings and based his own Liberation Theology on it. I sympathize with this particular theology of nonviolence among Palestinians and with its promotion.

    • Amigo, the path of Quakerism finds that there is a higher, more effective ideal in nonviolent resistance. It would have been interesting in terms of this challenging article by the AFSC Mideast director to see how that ideal could be promoted within these questions.

    • "In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a conscience. The United States has none."
      Nonviolence and conscience played a role in ending segregation in the 1950's and 60's in MLK Jr.'s time.

      But I don't think it would have worked, say, for the Native Americans in the Caribbean to avoid colonial Spanish enslavement until some more convenient time. Granted, it may have allowed them to survive better if they became slaves than if they were seem as a constant, albeit much weaker, threat to the Spanish colonists. It's not that the Spanish had no conscience to the Indians at all. In fact, they may have had more conscience, arguably, than the Puritans did to the Indians because the Spanish integrated the Indians to some extent in the Caribbean rather than practically only ethnically cleansing them. Rather the Spanish had a pretty strong goal and MO of enslavement. It's an interesting question.

    • I think Michael is trying to criticize those who place the blame for violence basically on Palestinian people collectively. For example, you've described the harsh military oppression Palestinians live under as a "relatively normal situation in the Palestinian territories", and then you callously demand avoiding "pushing people down to abyss by with the use of inflaming language on how bad is they condition or how urgently they need liberation".

      So you are demanding that people avoid strong language about how bad their brutal repression is. This is very callous and arrogant, because as a matter of human rights principles it's important to recognize and declare how bad the conditions are people are living in. The Israeli narrative emphasizes so much how bad their condition is from Arab aggression or would be without the Israeli army, that it is only callousness when they demand silence about Palestinians' suffering.

      The main weakness in Michael's essay is different - this essay does not distinguish between (A) the kind of arrogant demands of nonviolence that the brutal Israeli army and advocates of the current Israeli system demand, and (B) the teaching of nonviolence, the strong promotion of nonviolence to Palestinian families. At least in this essay, the Israeli army's actions make nonviolent teachings "ring hollow". In fact, a strong argument for advocating nonviolence to Palestinians should be made, while rejecting arrogance against Palestinians.

    • Michael,

      You begin your essay with:

      This morning I read yet another comment from someone in the US putting forward their solution to the “conflict” in Palestine and Israel. Apparently Palestinian women need to start pushing for Ghandian nonviolence, challenging their men who are more naturally inclined towards violence (like all men).

      I think in this case it would be most helpful to quote the American's comment in your essay, because nonviolence can be the right thing to teach Palestinians, but there can be a wrong way to do it.

      So if your American correspondent writes (A) that the main reason for the conflict is that the Palestinians collectively are violent, that the only thing they need to change is to switch to nonviolence to achieve their goals, or that Palestinian men are inclined to violence and need to practically all be "challenged" in an arrogant way, then yes, I understand how your correspondent is using a supremacist or arrogant attitude toward Palestinians that misses the fundamental asymmetrical nature of the conflict.

      However, if it is only a matter of (B) teaching and promoting nonviolence to Palestinians as a successful and most admirable, ideal strategy, then in fact this is arguably the best thing to do. This is the teaching of MLK Jr, Gandhi, Nonviolence International, Mennonites, and the Quakers when they face(d) the violence of their oppressors.

      So from the philosophy of nonviolence in (B), it can be true that "They need to teach their kids about the value of nonviolence." And it's ideally true for supporters of nonviolence that "if Palestinians can manage to teach a new generation of youth to internalize nonviolence then the 'cycle of violence' can be upended and peace can be achieved", even if non-Pacifists may consider this ideal unrealistic.

      You ask: "He was forced to stay at home alone, naked, wrapped in a towel, as soldiers invaded his home. When the soldiers left the building another neighbor was so scared she started to vomit. Could this experience make a mother’s words about nonviolence ring hollow?"

      I agree that for one who believes in Quakerism, in the Mennonite teachings, or in Gandhi's strategy this is an extremely challenging situation. There are many other examples, like the case of half the world's Armenians being slaughtered by the Turks. How could someone even avoid the temptation of seeing hollowness in the teaching of loving one's enemy? I have not been in such an extreme situation myself, so maybe this Christian commandment of loving enemies would become empty for me too. One way Christianity tries to keep feelings of love while undergoing persecution is to keep before us the image of those like Jesus who died while loving their persecutors. I agree that it's a challenge, but from this radical peace perspective, it's one we must at least try to meet.

      I encourage others' thoughts on this challenge.

  • Permanently ghettoizing the Palestinian people is Yitzhak Rabin's true legacy
    • Rabin has a conflicted legacy.

      Probably Assad is another example of a conflicted leader. He is better than the main opposition, ISIS, because he is secular and moderate in religion and tolerates Christians and wants good relations with the rest of the world. But he is authoritarian in his ruling style.

  • Anniversary of Rabin assassination is marked by incitement
    • Like I said, there is not much in English in great detail like books on the topic.
      One exception is: "Lies, Israel's Secret Service, and the Rabin Murder" By David Morrison. ou can preview it on Google Books:
      link to

      There is an essay here:
      link to

      And the WRMEA printed one by the semi-famous Ostrovsky:
      "Commission Report Leaks Make Strong Case for Complicity of Shabak Officers in Rabin Assassination" By Victor Ostrovsky
      link to

    • Blah chick,

      Barry Chamish documents lots of abberations in the Rabin Assassination. The problem is that he is a right wing pro-Settler conspiracist, so that it cuts down his credibility. In his mind, the group with the most secret control of the Israeli establishment is part of the US establishment too. So according to Chamish, while Rabin was the elected president and the nominal leader, there was a more powerful group that was working in coordination with a similar group in the US, and at their behest. Since he is pro-settler, he seems to think, if I am reading him right, that this establishment is actually trying to bring down Israeli society. But that doesn't seem to make much sense, because israeli society is moving to the right and building settlements like Chamish would want. I'll let you guys work out Chamish's thinking if you want to. This is the kind of sleuthing that you are stuck reading if you don't know Hebrew but are interested in the topic.

      Anyway, when it comes to the Assassination, Chamish brings up information like the witnesses whose accounts contradict the official one. They heard Amir say that his bullets were just blanks. In the Kempler video, you can find the cameraman focusing in on and following Amir even before the assassination. But how would Kempler know to do that if Amir hadn't done much suspicious at that point in view of the observers?

    • At one particularly raucous rally just after the signing of the Oslo II accords in September 1995, Benjamin Netanyahu — then an opposition leader and today prime minister — stood on a balcony with other hard-line leaders in Jerusalem’s Zion Square as the crowd below chanted “Death to Rabin.” Ephron notes that Netanyahu seemed “unfazed by the mayhem — even as protesters threw burning torches at the line of policemen.” When he spoke, Netanyahu excoriated Rabin, accusing him of having to rely on Israeli-Arab political parties for support. When presented in Parliament, his peace deals would lack a Jewish majority, and therefore, legitimacy. Later, Netanyahu would say he hadn’t noticed images of Rabin made up as a Nazi officer, and he hotly rejected any suggestion of culpability.

      ...Rabin was struck in the back by two bullets from Amir’s Beretta; he fell forward and was shoved into a waiting car. So why was there also a clean hole in the front of his shirt and undershirt? The question haunted Rabin’s daughter, who kept the information to herself for fear of feeding conspiracy theories suggesting Amir was just a patsy for a bigger plot. Ephron’s research dispels the idea by scientifically ruling out an additional gunshot.

      link to

      OK, so the hole in the front was from a bloodless an exit hole?

      "Saturday in Tel-aviv, 300,000 Israelis jammed the square where rabin was killed", to show their support of Peace (2008), while Rabin's Family and the Labor party blamed Netanyahu for incitement.
      link to

      Rabin had a forceful character and he could have gone ahead with his peace plans. He had the political capital, I think, in parliament to succeed. The only thing that would stop him would not be Palestinians or the overall electoral votes, but some right wing zealous force that could take strong actions to stop him, which is what happened.

    • This Mondoweiss article raises the lid on the Rabin Assassination to say that it goes beyond just one or two "lone nuts", and that the decisionmaking and discussions directly involved in the assassination included at least a handful of people.

      There is, however, several times more circumstantial evidence to suggest that there was much more involvement. Take for example the rabbinical Pula d Noura against Rabin, which shows that at least one rabbi must have approved it.

      The problem is that it seems like there is not that much in English or Russian (the other main language among Israelis besides Arabic) about the critical aspects of the case, like things that could point beyond a handful of fringe extremists. The best English source seems to be Barry Chamish, who has his own drawbacks as a reliable source ( a right wing pro-settler Israeli-American conspiracist). There must be much more available in Hebrew, but I can't read it.

      What do you think?

    • There have been unsubstantiated media reports of the curse being recited against archaeologists and authors. Prior to the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, there were reports that the curse had been recited against him. On February 26, 2012, Tamar Yonah of interviewed Yosef Dayan, who with rabbinical guidance was involved in the Pulsa DiNura of Yitzhak Rabin and Ariel Sharon.
      link to

  • Coffee at Isaac Bashevis Singer Boulevard
  • Karmah Elmusa rocks Elle Magazine
    • Yes, Annie is a good writer. I like her mind. She is a good critical thinker who is able to see through hype. Not everyone can do that.

  • Park Slope Food Coop censors letters on BDS
  • When Palestinian 'protection' stands in the way of equality
    • Marc,

      These two surprising articles have a major relevance to your criticism of the events of 1948:

      Up to Six Mass Graves Discovered in Jaffa, with Hundreds of Victims from 1948
      "Sami Abuskhade: the Israeli discourse denies the very existence of the Naqba, but after decades of denial Palestinians are finally able to bring their history to light".
      link to

      link to

    • Does Marc read the comments sections?

      Because I would like to compliment him on his rare insight and outspokenness when it comes to distinguishing between "Progressives" who accept inequal social structures and those "of Conscience" like Marc who don't.

    • I think Marc is taking the view that the settlements ideally could be removed and criticizing Ascherman for implying approval of the settlements.
      I think Ellis' Esay is insightful, but he could have clarified some things more.

    • My main complaint about Rabbis for Human Rights in the US (now renamed the Rabbinical Call for Human Rights) is not really a disagreement with their politics (eg. on BDS) but their relative inactivity, which is unfortunate.

      The IP Conflict is one of the major conflicts in the world today, and Rabbis for Human Rights has a decent-sized membership in the US, comparable to JVP's or J Street's, although smaller. They appear to have a respectable number of members, particularly rabbis, in the major urban areas in the US, and their focus is basically good - support for human rights of Palestinians and other repressed people. That is what makes its inactivity seem like an affliction and hard to explain. Some time ago I helped organize a peace event that included talks by JVP members, and roughly accorded with JVP's views. RHR in the area was contacted but not interested, or at least did not make a serious turnout.

      I am not even demanding that they go to JVP's events. But if they have a sizable membership, why wouldn't they be active and attend or have many events if they are committed? I could be wrong, this is just my impression.

  • Majority of Palestinian citizens of Israel blame gov’t for violence, fear revenge attacks, limit their movements
    • Is the Israeli public changing its views at all over the last few years, especially in relation to the current tensions?

  • You can't save Israel from itself by appropriating BDS
    • GL,

      You write: that in Wikipedia it says that NIF wants: (("“democracy and equality for all Israelis”. This clearly sounds as if NIF is an anti-Zionist organisation. "))

      You should know by now that just because someone says that they want democracy and equality for all Israelis does not actually distinguish between strong supporters of the Israeli system and its strong critics. I am sure Ethan Bronner, J Street ("pro-Israeli, pro-Peace, ... ... ... pro-Palestinian"), JVP, Chomsky, IJAN, NIF, Rabbis for Human Rights, Tsipi Livni, and many others with mutually opposing views would all say that they want democracy and equality there. You might consider engaging with hardcore PEPs in online forums for a week to get a better handle on the PEP way of thinking and talking, to see how the terminology compares to a dissident view.

    • German Lefty,


      The NIF's Naomi Chazan On Why BDS Is Wrong
      link to

      Samah Sabawi: a Palestinian woman’s response to Naomi Chazan on BDS
      link to

      link to

      Thus, NIF is similar to J Street, with slogans such as pro-Israeli, pro-Peace, anti-BDS, liberal Zionist, anti-war, 2SS, etc. N. Chazan is the founder of the NIF, and a former Knesset delegate. So probably she will say some things you agree with (pro-Peace) and other things you may criticize (some of the premises of the Israeli ideology WRT relations with Palestinians). Perhaps you will ask some good questions in the Q&A, and also point out areas on which you agree.

    • Annie,

      I see the problem you pose. JVP says it can coalition with Zionist organizations, while in its letter to Weir, JVP announced that it cannot work with Solidarity activists who associate at all with racists, even by giving interviews to them.

      Meanwhile, PACBI announces that it considers Zionism to racist. So how can PACBI coalition with JVP, if anyone who even gives interviews to racists is banned by JVP? The only logical explanation would be if PACBI does not accept JVP's principle of banning anyone who has even rare association with racists. In fact, that explanation applies to anyone else who claims Zionism is racism.

      So for example, if Ali Abunimah considers Zionism racist and he agrees with banning anyone (in his view especially Weir) who apparently has a principle of allowing herself to give rare interviews to racists, then logically Ali A. would must ban cooperation with JVP, as being in coalition with racists is a far stronger "association" of mutual support than just giving an interview. It's one thing to be interviewed by a far right speaker, and something else to be in coalition with one.

      I'm hardly in expectation though that PACBI and Ali A will apply the same standards to JVP with regard to Zionism that Ali A and JVP apply to Weir and her rare interviews with intolerant programs. As the Electronic Intifada article itself said:

      Should Palestinians be simply grateful that, amid the increasing construction of settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the overwhelming surge of racism in Israeli society, there are still some Israeli voices willing to “recognize” a Palestinian state?

      link to

      In the current situation, PACBI and others have a hard time making strong demands on JVP and the US CEIO in regards to holding the same standards in regards to Israeli politics.

    • Yoni and Annie,
      As Annie said, ETO is what some people use to name the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. (link to

      Based on naming conventions, in which abbreviations are made of the capitalized initials of proper nouns in a title, the organization's abbreviation is US CEIO.

    • Your question is not off topic, Annie, it's a direct case in point of the thesis Barghouti is proposing that simply opposing the Occupation or even imposing BDS does not mean disagreement with the Israeli system's principle of "Separate but Equal" in the Land of I-P.

      Norm Finkelstein explained how the Palestinians could get a "independent state" under a 2SS that was in fact a demilitarized bantustan state scattered with settlements and cut off with massive walls, but which was no longer "occupied" anymore than Gaza, since the Israeli army would not regularly patrol it.

      Ben Gurion's proposal for a 2SS is of course a corollary of his own political system, and thus a strong demand to End the Occupation does not in any way contradict the Separate but Equal philosophy, but in fact could be a more effective implementation of it. On this score, the Washington Post article's authors are right.

      To partly answer your question, JVP announced that JVP chapters can coalition with pro and anti-Zionist groups, but not with groups with pro- or anti- Zionist slogans. I do not really understand that, except that it must mean the coalition groups can take a position on Zionism, but not include that position in its slogans. See here: link to

      The US Campaign seems to comply with the requirement of not using pro or anti-Zionist slogans, and it's not clear it even has a position.

    • I am not sure whether this argument applies to the Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation as well.

      Electronic Intifada has a similarly forceful article:

      The term solidarity — much like co-existence — is so overused in the liberal Zionist discourse as to render it meaningless.... Can every instance of Israelis flocking to the streets chanting “End the occupation” be blithely described as solidarity? ...Many argue, though, that struggling shoulder-to-shoulder with Zionist leftists widens the support base for Palestine and provides Palestinians with an opportunity to debate and convince the other side. This would be true if Zionists viewed Palestinians as equal partners but they do not. ...A “joint” Palestinian-Zionist march does not offer an opportunity to engage in a productive dialogue; it rather gives Zionists one more chance to marginalize Palestinians’ voices and lecture Palestinians on how they should resist and what they should accept. ...For all their activism, they have failed to fully embrace the Palestinian public and get it involved. Their demonstrations are dominated by white, secular liberal Zionists and the Palestinian voice, which they supposedly want to make heard, is inaudible amid a chorus of Hebrew-language chants about peace and coexistence.

      link to

      On one hand, the US Campaign to End the Occupation does say that it supports the refugees' rights to their land, and that it is against discrimination in Israeli society. Doesn't a major part of the "liberal Zionist" movement accept these as well, proposing that the right of return, which they recognize, should be compensated financially? If these positions are the same, then does the US Campaign to End the Occupation contradict or fully accord with Solidarity and real equality (as opposed to "Separate but Equal"?

      The main difference I see is that Liberal Zionism explicitly promotes the state's system, while the US Campaign to End the Occupation does not take a position on Zionism. If the US Campaign to End the Occupation takes a clear position on it, then what is the Campaign's stated position?

      In other respects, by concentrating such a high portion of its energy on ending the occupation, rather than strongly addressing the events of 1948, the Israeli system, US lobbying, Palestinians' right of return, the Israeli nationalist philosophy, and Israeli domestic discrimination, does it appear that the US Campaign is in accordance with the liberal proponents of the system that Omar Barghouti is discussing above?

  • Please Jo, call for equal rights and no more occupation
    • Is JKR really such a major trendsetter, very high quality author, and she someone who can actually be reached personally by such appeals about children's rights under occupation? Or is she a PEP establishment person whose books promoting the occult to children are sold en masse to audiences by the establishment?

  • Letter to J.K. Rowling: For the sake of all Palestinian children who love Harry you need to say their lives matter
    • When JKR announced that her novels' children's boarding school principal was gay, she apparently got mainstream establishment applause for it. Meanwhile, in real life hundreds of Palestinian children are in jail, where they are frequently beaten.

      Back in JKR's world, "Rowling thinks it's wrong that girls love Draco Malfoy", the anti-hero. <>
      link to

  • Video: Two prominent Israelis envision replacing Dome of the Rock with Jewish temple
    • Ancient Jewish and Christian synagogues and churches have been found in the NEar East from the first two centuries AD with images inside them of saints or angels. So having images in churches is not idolatry and shouldn't be covered up. I think that the Jewish community has come to discourage images in houses of worship more since that time though. Maybe it has to do with the influence of Islamic iconoclasm.

      Islam indeed is iconoclastic, even though theologically they appear to be a variety of Christianity, since Islam teaches the virgin birth and Jesus' Messiahship as "al - Masih". And as Walid says, the Christian community has rejected iconoclasm.

  • Netanyahu: 'We need to control all of the territory for the foreseeable future'
  • JK Rowling stumps for Israel -- what would Harry Potter do?
    • Mooser,

      To explain better:

      "A trusting view would be that she just likes to write great novels, which happen to be about witchcraft, and that the novels’ success in the market is due basically to her literary skills, rather than to financial leverage. The cynical view would reach an opposing conclusion.”

      So to take a very cynical, rather than trusting view of her success, it would be that her novels aren't great, it's not a coincidence that her mass marketed books are about the occult, and that her literary skills aren't what mainly spread her books, but rather her success has more to do with connections or financial leverage. The entertainment industry has a large selection of the occult that it mass markets, with occult groups like Marilyn Manson.

      "Skulls, Satan and Dave Grohl: Inside Mysterious Occult-Rock Band Ghost"
      Rolling Stone
      link to

      "Exorcists warn Vatican over 'beautiful young vampires'"
      The Independent

      The proliferation of “beautiful young vampires” in TV series and Hollywood films including True Blood and the Twilight movies is encouraging young people to dabble with occult forces, a leading authority on demonic possession has warned a Vatican-backed exorcism course.

      link to

      You don't have to actually believe in the occult to notice the involvement of the entertainment industry in promoting it. I don't know why Hollywood and the Industry do what they do. The trusting view of the Free Market is that she is mass marketed because her books are excellent, while the cynical view would be that JKR is part of an establishment industry that aims to promote and mass market her genre.

    • CYNICAL:

      1) believing that people are motivated by self-interest; distrustful of human sincerity or integrity.
      synonyms: skeptical, doubtful, distrustful, suspicious, disbelieving; More
      pessimistic, negative, world-weary, disillusioned, disenchanted, jaundiced, sardonic
      contemptuous; mocking.

      2) concerned only with one's own interests and typically disregarding accepted or appropriate standards in order to achieve them (GOOGLE DEFINITIONS).

      A trusting view would be that she just likes to write great novels, which happen to be about witchcraft, and that the novels' success in the market is due basically to her literary skills, rather than to financial leverage.
      The cynical view would reach an opposing conclusion.

    • Like in writing children's novels that promote the occult?

    • If you want to be cynical, you could imagine that her books idealize children performing sorcery, are mass marketed to mainstream the occult to them, and are part of an "occult faction" in the entertainment industry establishment.

      As innocent as it may sound, many believe that another Harry Potter book is another attempt at the entertainment industry making the occult fashionable again. One of those people is Steve Wohlberg. ...In his book, Hour of the Witch, he unmasks the subtle bewitching of American youth.
      Hollywood is helping. With television shows such as Charmed and movies like Bewitched, Wicca is almost becoming chic. This upward trend is older than the first Harry Potter release in 1998 but not by much. Wohlberg details how covens were small and spread out across the world through the ‘50s to the ‘80s. He credits Hollywood’s interest in the ‘90s with bringing Wicca into the mainstream. According to Wohlberg, the pagan community is taking notice and using the popularity of Harry Potter to recruit more witches and wizards. “Grimoire for the Apprentice Wizard is written by a master occultist. He’s a real wizard, and he wrote this book specifically for Harry Potter readers, who want to learn about the real thing.”

      link to

      See also: Mass Media and Religious Identity: A Case Study of Young Witches, by Helen A. Berger, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
      link to

      So to a cynic, JKR could be imagined as part of an "occult faction" of the entertainment industry who, like other major non-radical figures in the Industry (unlike, say, Michael Moore), has certain establishment political limitations.

  • American press coverage grants Israelis all the humanity
    • I know how the mass media affects people's thinking. For years I was under the impression from the mass media that Palestinians were basically Muslim extremists attacking the Israelis in a battle of semi-equal power relations. This impression was particularly strong during the intifada of 1992. I read that New Jewish Agenda was JVP's predecessor and it collapsed in 1992 over the issue of that intifada.

  • Ayotte, Rubio and de Blasio are bought and paid for by the 'magnificent' Israel lobby
    • Sawah,
      Have you seen the chapter titles in M.Blumenthal's book "Goliath"? Imagine if Weir had made titles of that provocative caliber what others' characterizations of her would have been.

  • Netanyahu did everything but use the 'n-word' against Obama to stop the Iran Deal -- Susan Rice
    • "The man who was once called “Israel’s lawyer” tells his story from the perspective of Israel and its lobby, and says that Israel started getting the brush from the Obama administration after Tom Donilon stopped serving as national security adviser and Susan Rice took over."
      As in, the Obama administration "brushed it off"?

  • J Street names Jewish victims of latest violence, but leaves out Palestinians' names
    • Emory,

      "Liberalism" is apparently also a set of capitalist politics, as opposed to "social democracy".
      Take for example the term "Neo-Liberalism", which reminds me of the Republican Party's economics in the 1970's-1980's.

      A more interesting term is "pro-Israel, pro-Peace, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .. ... pro-Palestine", as J Street describes itself in one statement. It normally calls itself just pro-Israel, pro-Peace.

      I don't especially object to being pro-Israel and pro-Peace. In fact, Peace and justice, I think are both right for Israelis and Palestinians. The conundrum or peacemaking is when you put the title of the victorious, more powerful belligerent before the word "Peace".

  • Howard Stern says no one lived in Palestine before Jews got there, but Roger Waters wants them to go 'back to concentration camp'
    • You should probably edit the title. I read it thinking that Waters said they should go to concentration camps.

  • Salaita, Khalidi, Bayoumi appearances make this a landmark week in NY
    • Sibiriak,

      Your recommendation for Weir is reasonable. At the same time, this is not meant as a rhetorical question: Do you think it's better if the far right in the US knows the truth about the IP conflict? It seems to me that it is, as with most major human rights issues, because otherwise they just join the far right chorus of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim militarism. But if it's important to inform them, how else do you do so, if the mass media blocks it, except by making at least a few appearances on AFP, Rush Limbaugh, etc.? Of course, Alison herself says that she wishes she did better in her interview with Douglas, and she hasn't been back in three years. So it wouldn't be a major loss to her if that was all CEIO requested.

      But how would you recommend Weir reconcile with JVP? If you read JVP's statement, the second main reason JVP gave for banning all work with her was that: she has a "political framing" that does not see an "American interest" in advancing aspects of the conflict like the Occupation, she rather attributes US policy on the Occupation to lobbying efforts, and that this is "chauvinist" on her part.

      It seems that Weir would have to alter her views in a major way in order for her to compromise with JVP. For example, she would have to find and emphasize some kind of major, direct US interest in the ongoing, permanent occupation that would drive US support for the occupation, at least to no less a degree than lobbying drives that support. So you have to consider how sound that demand is.

    • A4tech,
      The issue is not calling out racism, which is good to do. It's the wisdom of banning all work with one of the main activists when the anti-racist activist is not actually accused by JVP of being racist herself. As Ali A says "We are not calling her anti-Semitic".

    • Sibiriak,

      Ali A's intent was ambiguous, and that will probably be reflected in the transcript. Strictly speaking, your interpretation is "technically" correct. There are four reasons to think he wanted to cryptically suggest the alternate interpretation, but that he didn't say it directly, because the case for calling her anti-semitic is much weaker than the one for saying that she associated herself with them through interviews.

    • Kathleen and Sibiriak,

      Another curious thing is Ali A's use of the term "We", when he says "We are not calling her anti-Semitic", etc. Who does "We" mean? The Electronic Intifada hasn't formally taken a position, and he isn't on the staff of the US CEIO. He isn't actually speaking for the whole movement, or we wouldn't have had a "Roundtable". Nor does he really speak for Weir's opponents, since J. Hitchock said some of Weir's writings are anti-Semitic, and a CEIO person said Weir has "racist politics". (See Section #12: link to

      Perhaps Ali was referring to a non-formal network that discusses such internal issues and came to a collective decision, as you write: "I believe he is working with JVP and U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. So has clearly picked the groups that seem to serve his purpose more."

    • Thanks, Annie.

    • Hello, Kathleen.

      Thank you for letting us know about this. As he said, JVP and others have a right to avoid working with people. What would happen if for a similar reason similar groups openly spoke against Ali A. and chose not to work with him?

      Bear in mind that JVP and CEIO do not ban Zionism as a form of racism because there are non-racist versions of Zionism, like that of JVP advisor Chomsky. The entire Free Gaza Movement was banned primarily for G.Berlin's offensive tweet titled Zionists ran the concentration camps that linked to a racist's interview, for which she apologized. And according to JVP, equating the Israelis with the Nazis is anti-Semitic. (Nota Bene: I agree that there are non-racist versions of Zionism and I don't equate the Israelis with the Nazis. But is insulting Zionism, while wrong and to be avoided, inherently anti-Semitic?)

      MJ Rosenberg previously spent about two months calling Ali Abunimah anti-Semitic because Ali A. has a habit of speaking in harsh generalizations about Zionists. StandWithUs has dossiers on Ali A, just like it does on Weir, wherein Ali A. said: “Supporting Zionism is not atonement for the Holocaust, but its continuation in spirit.”
      link to

      Now, I am sure that Ali A. isn't going to be banned. But theoretically, what would Ali A. do if he was similarly denounced for his questionable statements, like those about Zionism?

      Do you see the problem, Kathleen? It's right to openly oppose advocates of anti-Semitism. But if you ban fellow anti-racists who have failed to sufficiently oppose intolerant interviewers, then who will be left to defend you when you make mistakes like stereotyping Zionists?

    • Thanks for staying on this, Henry.
      Please continue to do so. The whole affair is a surprising, strange event, not just to me, but to not a few others.

      Is there some way to find your email online?

  • 'We want him to speak up on Palestine': Boston SJP statement on being kicked out of Bernie Sanders rally
  • Iran Deal coalition breaks apart, and J Street looks more and more like AIPAC
    • Tree,

      You're right, except that activists shouldn't even slap each other's wrists, in my view. They should work together and make constructive criticisms, not take a penal attitude. If Weir did not advocate anti-Semitism, then she does not need slapping. She and CEIO are both anti-racists working on a major social justice issue. If they denounce each other, then it's destructive of their efforts towards a movement that is still socially marginalized.

      The same goes for JVP. I certainly would not want the Solidarity movement to ban JVP just because it is inclusive of supporters of the concept of the Israeli State as the UN recognized that state in 1947 with the borders that the UN gave it.

      Instead, with the Weir controversy, the groups should work together to achieve the best outcome. eg. They should consider how have progressive movements treated these questions in the past to lead to positive outcomes for both parties. With JVP, the UN has declared the 2SS, so it's a legitimate position for some people in JVP to take. Why not live and let live and work together if your allies have the same basic values and goals of social justice? Otherwise you are working against justice and peace.

    • Renaissance Man,

      You asked: "How could they make such a decision unless Allison was exposing some uncomfortable facts about the sordid history of Israel’s crimes, past and on-going?"

      Isn't JVP's official answer to your question twofold?:
      (A) During her campaign of reaching out to hundreds of outlets, Weir included interviews in the last six years (but chiefly from three to six years ago) to two racist programs and a homophobic program without sufficiently challenging their intolerance.
      (B) JVP considers focusing on the American interest and seeing lobbying as the crucial factor in US foreign policy on the conflict as "chauvinist".

      So you have to decide if those two things are bad enough to ban all collaboration with Weir, as JVP did.

  • Parents of slain Palestinian teen say Israeli forces planted knife
    • Isn't this a simple issue to solve? There are pictures of the lady, but are there any pictures of her holding the weapon? If she was not brandishing it at the soldiers, how would they know that she had a knife? Are they saying that she just stood there and brandished it at them, even though it's not in the photos, and that's all she did, and then they took her out while she was just standing there? It sounds strange.

  • What's behind Netanyahu's war on stone throwers
    • In case you haven't seen it already, compare:

      Israel Relaxes Live-Fire Rules Against Palestinian Stone-Throwers
      Peter Beaumont, Guardian UK
      "Israel's security forces will have greater latitude to use live ammunition against Palestinians throwing stones and firebombs - including against minors - as part of a tough new series of measures pushed through by the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu."

      NYTimes: Israel Acts to Combat Violence in Jerusalem
      "The security cabinet will ease some rules on police shooting and is proposing harsher sentences as it clamps down on Palestinians throwing rocks, firebombs and fireworks at Israeli citizens and soldiers."

  • Church group condemns cancellation of Rev. Hagler's 'Ferguson to Palestine' speech
    • “We are going to kill you in the name of Christ if you come to Rochester”
      Does that sound, I wonder, like the kind of thing a CUFI troll would say?

      Maybe a very deranged one.

  • Fasting for Palestine
    • Dear Marc,

      Thanks for still writing here all these years.

      It looks like a lot of your readership here will go through its own "Prophetic Exile" now within the Solidarity movement due to the official banning of Alison Weir by two of its biggest institutions.

      I am going to be paying more attention to the spirit of your work now to think through how to deal with this, Marc. I'll start with your book:

      "Future of the Prophetic: Israel's Ancient Wisdom Re-Presented". I notice that you have a section talking about Atzmon's "prophetic" insanity, which by virtue of your mere discussion of him makes you a fellow exile in a way.
      link to


  • Rev. Graylan Hagler disinvited to speak on Palestine, sent death threats
    • It's strange. I heard Finkelstein speak at U.Puttsburgh 10 years ago. Yet nowadays Finkelstein is on the right wing of the Solidarity movement since he doesn't support the BDS Campaign because it doesn't explicitly support a 2SS. Finkelstein is relatively less radical in terms of the Solidarity movement, so why should he have been disinvited?

  • Nostalgia
  • Losing My Religion: A high holy days reflection
    • I see that this essay is a kind of Day of Atonement talk.

      For those who are interested, the corollary in the Eastern churches to the sacrificial Day of Atonement is the Elevation of the Cross feast, which is occurring this week. Here is a video of the service in the Levant:

  • 'New Yorker' says anti-Zionism is 'firmly rooted' in British left, and it's anti-Semitic
    • Dear Phil,

      Please see my message to you and Adam below (September 15, 2015, 6:18 pm). I think that your article raises an important topic.

    • Dear Phil and Adam,

      As you can see from the title of this article that you have posted- and you are excellent writers, one of the main issues is the charge and sensitivity over anti-Semitism.

      My question for you is whether it is appropriate for us to declare that even when anti-Semitism is real, in the current context there is too much sensitivity about it? The problem with making a declaration like that though is that I don't want to deny anti-Semitism's existence either.

      Let me give a few examples. Iran had a kind of Holocaust "Revisionist" conference a few years ago. That's nasty, and of course it's right for people to criticize it. But it seems that some people go overboard to the extent that it becomes a motivating factor driving the war with Iran. I mean, I think that people are genuinely incensed and feel very strongly about that, or about something that they might find in the Hamas charter referring to Jews, which I don't need to recite here. But in truth, Hamas and Iran don't actually propose intensely persecuting the Jewish people like in WWII Europe, since there is a significant Jewish population in Iran. At the same time, there is clearly no desire on our part to see any discrimination or theocracy in Iran as positive - it is harmful.

      Just objectively speaking, it seems like there are two factors driving confrontation with Iran and Hamas. One of them of course is militarism and a drive to have armed conquest instead of resolving things peacefully, a militarism that reflects the Clash of Civilizations.

      But the second factor appears to be a sincere opposition to anti-Semitism, but one that seems to be an overreaction, considering the current balance of forces. To give another kind of example closer to home, look at the firing of Steven Salaita or MJ Rosenberg's past diatribes against Ali Abunimah. I think that at least one partial motivation is that the accusers are sincerely concerned about anti-Semitism, and they see it indirectly in Salaita's tweets about Gaza or Ali A's comments about Zionists. The other motivation is of course their own positions on the IP conflict, which prevents them from seeing that Salaita and Ali A are genuinely opposing militarism directed against Palestinians and are not chiefly coming from some kind of anti-Semitic background.

      So considering these two factors, is it appropriate to not only object to the militarist "answers" that the Neocons and hawks propose for the Middle East, but also to explain that their concerns about anti-Semitism are oversensitive? Is it OK to advocate openly for less sensitivity about anti-Semitism? But to do that would also feel wrong. How could it be appropriate to tell people to care less about intolerance? Wouldn't that be downplaying genuine feelings of concern? If so, should that debate or motivation simply be avoided?

      What do you think, Phil and Adam?

  • Could Syria's revolution have been different?
    • The refugee problem from ISIS is probably comparable to the refugee problem from the Nakba, except that hopefully ISIS will not be anywhere as permanent.

      If you support democratic, moderates within the FSA or other rebels, it's OK. But first, how many soldiers and what percent do those actual moderates represent? What portion of them are better than Assad? Are we talking about 50,000 pro-democracy moderate fighters, or less?

      The lion's share of the brutality in Syria and Iraq is done by groups like ISIS, not Assad. ISIS & co. seems worse than the Taliban!

    • Is Assange still hiding in Ecuador's embassy in the UK?

  • Debacle for the Israel lobby: Booker jilts Boteach, and Netanyahu sinks AIPAC
    • David,
      You wrote:

      If Israel started yet another war in Gaza or Lebanon, the Congressional rush to support it would be just as near-unanimous as it’s ever been.

      As you may know, one of the main reasons JVP banned Alison Weir this summer was because in their eyes she has a "tail wags dog" idea about US-Israeli relations, which JVP's Statement on her calls "chauvinist".

      Previously here on Mondoweiss you made an excellent defense of Ali Abunimah when he was attacked by M.J. Rosenberg as "anti-Semitic" because Ali A. misrepresents "Zionists" and stereotypes them in his view.

      What do you think about the scandal this summer with Alison Weir, and what did you think about the Solidarity activists' writings about it:

      Mondoweiss Roundtable with J.Hitchcock, S.Landau, R.Greenleaf, and about 1000 comments, a very large majority of which favor Weir
      link to
      JVP member A.Kisch's "Response to JVP regarding their excommunication of Alison Weir"
      link to
      "Ned Rosenberg", JVP Member writes a "dissident view" of the expulsion
      link to
      Media With a Conscience, "Open Letter" to CEIO
      link to
      H.Norr on VOMENA radio "on the Accusations against Alison Weir"
      link to

  • BDS is here to stay: Message to a CT synagogue
    • ^You are being sarcastic and alluding to Weir's expulsion on the charge of failure to oppose an intolerant framing.

    • B. Grand,

      Do you know anywhere that CEIO has taken a position of explicit disagreement with Zionism? I mean, has it ever said that it was a mistake, or something like that? I don't necessarily mean openly "anti-Zionist" like IJAN.

      Weir is in a very asymmetrical power relationship with those who've banned her. What Solidarity organization is bigger or stronger than CEIO and JVP?

      SJP? Maybe J Street, but I don't think that it counts.

    • Sorry, Mooser. I should have quoted them more explicitly, as in the accusations of:
      violating anti-racism principles by making
      (1) "troubling associations and choices (that) further include giving interviews"
      link to
      Not explicitly "Guilt by Association with Racists". This was my loose paraphrase of the charge.

      and (2) of making "little to no effort to challenge" the interviewer's views.
      link to
      Not “failure to condemn all racist claims in several interviews”, which was also my loose paraphrase of the charge. This was my interpretation, because as others have shown in the MW comments section, each time she was given a chance to talk after he said something offensively racist, she frequently or almost always did make a serious "effort to challenge" something, but on the other hand, she did not challenge all the interviewer's views either.

    • Kathleen,

      The decision to ban and shun the anti-racist Weir for "Guilt by Association with Racists" and "failure to condemn all racist claims in several interviews" is an irrational scandal. If JVP and CEIO, two of the biggest Solidarity organizations, combine to make a leading Solidarity activist persona non grata, it adds weight to the claim by Finkelstein that the Solidarity community can function as a "cult" where some leaders make a decision that the followers have to obey, even if the community is not on board with it. Or it lends weight to Atzmon's claims that there are AZZs who gave up their belief in a state intensely dedicated to one religion or ethnicity only and who strongly oppose Israeli military policies, but who otherwise generally carry along with them uneeded premises or biases that led to this belief. That is because if she is being judged based on "association via interviews with racists", it suggests that there is a bias at work in the denunciation.

      Personally, I don't like thinking about a "BDS cult" or about CEIO being AZZs, but if they are going to ban people for focusing on the Lobby or for allegedly overestimating its power, despite the fact that IP policies being decided in a bourgeois system where lobbies are typically extremely important in influencing major policies, then what are dissidents supposed to think?

    • Based on the timing of the expulsion and the outdated nature of the circumstantial evidence used against her, one can tell that the reason JVP and CEIO are banning her is because she is touring for a book that says the same kinds of things that Phil does about the Lobby.

      Weir sees the lobby as a key factor in some major parts of US policy on the Mideast, and perhaps the leading factor in US policy that supports Israeli control over Palestinians. JVP's leaders and at least a few of CEIO's object to her thesis and writing on this topic. Naturally, what happened may have been a confluence of factors: Weir contacted JVP chapters, USC chapters and went on a tour in major cities where they heard about her talks. Phil Munger had already confirmed in the MW comments section that people had tried to stop weir from speaking before, and Weir had long had opponents. One would logically expect that the Lobby would oppose her thesis and tour, and that her "weak point" would be her opponents in the activist community, since the Lobby would have difficulty shutting her down directly. So with the Lobby and a sector of the activist community opposing her talks that emphasize the Lobby's role, it is natural to see that their reaction to her tour was to make this denunciation and banning.

  • Pro-Israel Jews have 'inexcusable prejudice' against Obama -- Sandy Berger
    • I know a Chinese business lady who has lots of Jewish things in one of her conference rooms like a star of David and I think a menorah. However, she definitely isn't Jewish, and the reason is because she says that she has business colleagues who are.

      Now is that anti-Semitic? There is no need for her, someone who isn't Jewish, to be making over the top allusions to Jewish people and Jewish culture, and she is doing it all based on "business", that is, making money, which ties into the stereotype about Jews being good business people. That's what this discussion about Polish people with pictures of Jews for "luck" reminds me of, although of course if the Jews in the pictures are being made to look ugly like trolls or something then I would agree that it's offensive. Do the Chinese lady and the Poles discriminate against Jews? What is the right way to think about this if you don't want to get paranoid about both anti-Semitism AND unsubstantiated accusations of anti-Semitism?

  • Young, Muslim and Zionist?
    • I'm not talking about Farooqi here in particular, but it's just reality that basically if you want to get employed in any kind of work related to this conflict, you have to speak Arabic, work for a pro-Israeli group (pro-Israeli being said here in the broadest sense), or pack your bags and go to the Middle East, in which case it's still wise to know Arabic.

  • Ben and Jerry won't tell you who's trying to kill Iran Deal
    • Ben and Jerry’s has responded with a mealy-mouthed appeal for “cross-cultural understanding,” which has never really been a good antidote to oppression. No wonder they can’t call out AIPAC. They’re generally on AIPAC’s side.

      Unfortunately, that must be true if they are working in the Settlements and see cross cultural understanding as The Answer.

      Plenty of Israelis know Arabic, for example, although I think most don't. Is that fixing things? If you were looking at a conflict where the powers involved were of equal force and they were not in a struggle for a massive mutually claimed resource, maybe the cross cultural understanding could be practically all that was needed.

  • Why the mainstream media is still ignoring Max Blumenthal's excellent book on Gaza
    • Bint,

      Yes, Max is a very good writer and speaker.

      As for your last statement, Max's chapter names in Goliath sound far more anti-Semitic than anything Weir has written on her site. Max's explanation is that they were things that Israelis said. That may be true, but I think that if Weir had done that with chapter names she would not have lasted as long as she did before getting shut down.

  • Jewish community is Humpty Dumpty-- it won't come back together again, and shouldn't
    • Tree,
      I understand your point about some of Ben's (Toky's) views. However, you can also consider that what Ben (Toky) has just said that he would do - invite Weir to speak - would be considered a violation of JVP's ban on any cooperation with Weir. If Ben were a JVP organizer, it would make him an Open JVP advocate willing to give people like Weir an opportunity to focus on the Lobby's major role in Congress. What JVP's Statement calls her "tail wags dog" view is the second main grounds that it gives for banning cooperation with Weir. Based on that, Ben is a radical.

      Think about that for a moment.

  • A year after Shipman lost his Yale job for speaking out on Israel's actions, some Jews say the same thing
    • Pabel,

      It's hard to say. Look at what happened to Weir recently.

    • They could at least post a book review as we have been discussing in the comments section for a while. Phil has been on Weir's panel in DC in the past where he did a fine job.

      It would be strange if MW took a position against Weir, considering tha MW basically repeats Weir's thesis about the power of lobbying, not to mention that Marc Ellis has written things more offensive on MW than Weir and that MW even helped sell Shlomo Sand's book that promoted a version of the Khazar theory, which I find more "controversial" than anything Weir has theorized about.

Showing comments 4525 - 4501