Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 235 (since 2012-08-22 13:26:49)

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  • University of Illinois Chancellor steps down as judge upholds Salaita lawsuit against school on 1st amendment grounds
    • Just a huge warning sign . . . turning the classroom into an anti-Israel podium – can cost you your teaching job.

      The ruling said that University of Illinois's failure to hire Professor Salaita was a violation of freedom of speech. The "huge warning sign" is that if you "cost a professor his job" due to his views on Israel you could be up for hefty damages.

  • Defying Obama on Iran deal, Schumer cites Hamas
    • hophmi, I'm unable to reply directly to your post below where you say "No one disputes any of these things, Mooser", so I'll answer it here. The fact is that several of the things you say are disputed, while others just give one side of the picture. I'll go down the list:

      It just denies that gay people exist . . . It’s official Iranian policy.
      One person - President Ahmadinejad - said that gays "didn't exist". He very quickly clarified that to say he meant that they did not exist in such numbers as in the West. In no way can that off the cuff remark, since clarified, be turned into "official Iranian policy".

      No. It just funds the Syria despot who has killed hundreds of thousands . . .
      You know, there are other parties in Syria committing terrible atrocities in Syria, and have been from the beginning. These include Al-Qaeda allied groups supported by Israel.

      It just helps fund and sustain Hezbollah, who essentially used it militia to take over Lebanon
      The bloc containing Hezbollah as a political party regularly wins a plurality of the vote in Lebanon. Hezbollah's military is viewed as heroic and patriotic by many non-Shiite Lebanese for its serial defeats of Israel.

      It’s just provoked the rebellion there against a government friendly to the United States
      Nobody has adduced any evidence of this. Please don't quote the GOI.

      It has funded Shiite militia there, though, and helped contributed to the sectarian governing philosophy of al-Maliki
      The "sectarian governing philosophy" is unfortunately shared by most Shia and Sunni alike in Iraq.

      funding Hamas and supplying them with weapons which are used to target Israeli civilians, it’s definitely contributed to Gazan suffering.
      Iranian funding of Hamas has tailed off to practically nothing. In any case, the world is aware that it's Israel that is primarily responsible for Gazan suffering. This is one fact that really is undisputed, outside of Israel and the Republican Party.

  • The day after 9/11, Kagan father-son duo said 'take the war' to Palestine
  • Obama tells Americans it is 'abrogation of my constitutional duty' to defer to Israel on Iran Deal
    • The reality is that given the collapse of so many Arab states in the region . . . there is simply no much choice anymore.

      Gee, and just how did that happen?

      If you look at the neocons' policies and their behavior when they had a chance to affect outcomes in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, it's hard to believe that their goal (and Israel's also) was to anything other than to fragment Arab nations and destroy their societies. To take one example, look at Douglas Feith and his painstaking preparations for the care of Iraq.

  • Sanders risks losing left over unprogressive views of Palestine -- Washington Post
    • I still support them because I understand that they are the power-base of the US and the US` s support of Israel is crucial. You always need to have your priorities ordered.

      Yes, and your priority is "Israel First". If only more American supporters of Israel were as honest as you.

  • You be the judge
    • catalan, the Amish joke discussion was about who is allowed to make fun of who in the New York Times, an organ of power if there is one in the US.

  • 'NYT' must think it has no Amish readers
    • The point is power, catalan. Weiner could make that crack in the Times because she is a member of a privileged group. Do you think the Times would give a platform to an Amish guy to make jokes about Jews?

      What was it someone said - Comedy is funny and brave when aimed at yourself or the powerful. It's lazy and cruel when aimed at the weak.

      It's not a level playing field. That's what gets me. You don't notice because you take it for granted.

    • Yes, you could joke about ultra Orthodox Jews in much the same way, and people do.

      No, nonJews don't, not in the New York Times. I agree with the OP - this slightly crass excerpt indicates privilege.

      However, as the British might say, "Worse things happened in the war".

  • Scenes from a Sanders presidency
    • I'm not surprised that poor Bernie is not up to speed on race relations. For the past 50 years he has lived in Vermont, which has about three African-Americans.

  • Press can't justify red carpet for Oren tract and blackout for Blumenthal's 'definitive account' of Gaza
    • John, the media is a business and what it chooses to focus on is what it thinks would “sell”, namely attracts enough interest.

      Oh, so that explains why neocon faces are all over the airwaves. The public is screaming for them.

  • Israel's real fear about the Iran deal: It puts pressure on the occupation
    • yonah, having been against the Iraq invasion doesn't make one a "dove". It makes one sane.

      Don't you agree, or do you think that act of aggression was a good idea?

  • The people love the Iran deal -- to judge from 'NYT' letters
  • Obama gets on the same page with Iran ('we don't have to be imprisoned by the past')
    • Every time Obama talks plainly about equal human rights for all in the Middle East, he frightens the Israelis.

      Excellent insight!

    • And you believe that making a deal with the leading state supporter of terrorism, a theocratic dictatorship, reflects this?

      Iran is one of the most democratic countries in the Middle East. It's far more democratic than our closest Arab allies - Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt.

      "the Leading state supporter of terrosrism" is rich coming from a partisan of one of the leading state practitioners of terrorism.

  • 'America I'm putting my queer shoulder to the wheel' -- Allen Ginsberg
    • I am a fan of Ginsberg's poetry. What's more, I met him. He was really a wonderful person. Pace yonah, the photo does show how he looked in his later years. One of the things about Ginsberg was that he didn't try to hide much of anything.

  • When will justice's 'thunderbolt' come for Palestine?
  • Corey Robin revisits Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem
    • I think it is apposite to quote Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s letter . . .

      Oh, Sherman said that, but Ben-Gurion did it. There is a big difference. Furthermore, the conquest of Palestine was attended by numerous massacres of civilians, unlike Sherman's march to the sea. Finally, the South was defending slavery as well as their homes, while the Palestinians were just defending their homes.

  • The crisis of the American Jewish community
    • The Jewish community will divide more and more clearly in the next year or so between Zionist Jews and non-Zionist ones. This open division will license politicians who depend on Jews (as donors, or as voters in blue states, or as an opinion-forming elite inside the Democratic Party) to divide themselves.

      Phil, this would be more believable if we had evidence of major Jewish donors who truly support justice, as opposed to mere Liberal Zionists who dislike Netanyahu but oppose placing serious pressure on Israel. That would be a worthy subject for a thread.

  • Pro-Israel wealthy Jews feature in 'Forward,' Christie roast, and U of Michigan censorship
    • The bipartisan consensus on Israel was much less strong 40 years ago than it is now. In the '60s and '70s there were senior administration officials (Dean Rusk, George Ball, James Baker), senators (Chuck Percy, William Fulbright), and even a President (Jimmy Carter) who were willing to be strongly critical of Israel.

      It's my opinion that the bipartisan consensus was created by the carrots and sticks of the Israel lobby. Largely the sticks. All of the individuals above were hurt. The consensus has always had to be enforced.

      In 1996 Mother Jones published something called the "Mojo 400", a list of the largest individual donors to both major parties. I took the time to analyze those top Democratic donors whose names were identifiably Jewish. Almost all of them had direct ties to Israel, either as members of major pro-Israel groups or as benefactors of Israeli causes. This is not a new phenomenon.

    • I first heard about the estimated share of national Democratic Party donations made by Jews around 1996, via JJ Goldberg. As a supporter of Palestinian rights I was stunned. I was even more shocked by the fact that this massive political reality and its massive foreign policy implications were mentioned nowhere by the mainstream media. This was enormous malfeasance, amounting to deliberate deception of the public.

      This is related to a second massive reality regarding the media itself. Jewish supporters of Israel have for years constituted a very disproportionate share of publishers, editors and journalists in mainstream media. Given the pro-Israeli bias of US media, this is an in-your-face opportunity for investigation. Is it really credible to suppose that Abe Rosenthal's views on Israel had no effect on the New York Times' reporting during his 11 years as Executive Editor? How did Katharine Weymouth's Zionist background affect her stint as publisher of the Washington Post? There has never been a finger lifted to investigate these situations or many other similar ones. Again, the American public be damned.

  • Sheesh: A conservative response to the special relationship
  • The U.S. is at last facing the neocon captivity
    • JeffB @ May 19, 2015, 12:59 pm:

      The American people don’t like anti-American governments and generally favor military action to get rid of them.

      Walker @ May 19, 2015, 7:26 pm

      Please post evidence that Americans “generally favor military action to get rid of (anti-American governments)”. This is characteristic of the quality of your argumentation. You simply made this up.

      JeffB @ May 20, 2015, 7:46 am:

      Now my claim was that Americans don’t like anti-USA governments. You argued that was a fabrication. So now present some examples of governments hostile to the USA that are popular among Americans.

      JeffB can't type anything without redisplaying his tendency to just make things up.

      This is not really funny, though. This shell game type of argumentation, designed to deceive, is a standard approach of hasbarists. They are very good at it.

    • Now you can apologize for being an asshole rather than phrasing that request politely.

      JeffB, it is annoying that I can't reply to your post directly.

      The saddest thing about your "evidence" is that apparently you can't tell how bogus it is. You muster just three examples from among the many scores of anti-American governments that have been around over the years. Of your three cases, Iran and Iraq only illustrate the public's being "sold on the need for war based upon trumped up charges, backed by fabricated evidence", as oldgeezer put it. We attacked Afghanistan only because it hosted Osama bin Laden, not because it had an anti-American government.

      Your response confirms my original point about the quality of your argumentation. The bad language is just icing on the cake.

    • The American people don’t like anti-American governments and generally favor military action to get rid of them.

      Please post evidence that Americans "generally favor military action to get rid of (anti-American governments)".

      This is characteristic of the quality of your argumentation. You simply made this up.

  • Hundreds of academics call on State Dept to revise its definition of anti-Semitism, respect criticism of Israel as protected speech
    • JeffB, thank you for the clarification. You have confirmed beyond all possible doubt that Israel and its supporters (such as yourself) have no respect whatsoever for international law, and so can't be called hypocrites for constantly violating it. Thanks for emphasizing that.

      My link to the Pew survey shows what I said it shows - that a large majority of the American public supports the UN.

      My point about whether the settlements are illegal is not "completely wrong". UNSCR 476 state that Israeli settlement "constitutes a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention". You use as an example of "no legal validity" a contract to sell someone the sun. This makes no sense at all as an analogy to Israel's concrete daily actions in the occupied territories.

      Please provide a link to support your claim that "Hamas has a policy of trying to capture Israeli civilian hostages". From somewhere other than an Israeli propaganda site, please.

    • JeffB, unfortunately the limit on comment nesting prevents me from replying directly to your post.

      Applying a double standard would be flip out when other countries violate the UN security council and being unconcerned when Israel does it. It is not a double standard to be semi-indifferent or somewhat hostile to the UN across the board, which is what the vast majority of Israel’s supporters are.

      What you really mean is, as former Israeli Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni put it, "I am against law – international law in particular". You express this by attacking those institutions which embody international law, such as the UN, because time and again they have decreed that Israeli settlement of territories conquered in 1967 is illegal.

      Most of us - most people around the world, in fact - believe that international law matters and the UN should be respected. One of the saddest things about the US over the past two decades has been our slow adoption of Israel's attitude of contempt towards international law.

      The UN Security council for example in 476 and 478 said that actions taken by Israel have no legal validity which is a substantially weaker claim then the acts being illegal. If you are going to be a sticker for the UN Security council then at least quote the council and not BDS fabrications.

      This rivals Bill Clinton's "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is". "Illegal" and "have no legal validity" mean the same thing. The UNSC resolutions condemning the settlements (including 476 & 478) reference the Fourth Geneva Convention as the basis of the law being violated. The suggestion that this is a "BDS fabrication" is wrong. Almost every nation in the world (including the US in UNSCR 476) has voted to condemn the settlements as settlements as illegal. So has every international body that has considered the issue.

      if you are going to take the Geneva Convention seriously then one of the 4 grave breaches of the Geneva convention is taking civilian hostages. A matter of policy for Hamas.

      I'm not sure what this means. If you're referring to so-called "human shields", could you please provide a reference from a reputable source that establishes that Hamas used civilians as human shields? The Goldstone Report did not make that claim. It did show that Israeli forces used Palestinians as human shields. The Wikipedia entry on Human Shields" is replete with substantiated accusations of Israelis using Palestinian civilians as human shields. This seems like a classic case of projection.

    • Actually, supporters of Israel can only defend the country by applying a double standard. What other nation has been allowed to go so long in blatant defiance of UN Security Council resolutions?

      So Jeff, I believe that countries should be expected to respect UN Security Council resolutions. including the many that have pointed out that Israel's settlement of occupied territories (including Jerusalem) is illegal. These resolutions point out that Israel is in violation of the Geneva Convention, law that should certainly "apply equally to all".

      That's not a high bar for normal people. I'm happy we are in agreement here, Jeff. Who would have imagined?

  • Netanyahu: Jerusalem was always the capital 'of the Jewish people alone'
    • JeffB:

      1) Palestinians speak a language that evolved from an eastern Arabian peninsula dialect of Aramaic

      zaid:

      1-Arabic is a western Semitic language

      JeffB:

      Look at your own graph. Where is the tree for Aramaic. Where is the branch for Arabic. Your graph agrees with me.

      zaid:

      I never claimed that Arabic evolved from Aramaic……..YOU DID!!!!!! . . . Arabic evolved from western Semitic languages which clear in the chart

      JeffB:

      Actually I said the opposite. My key point that you are agreeing with is that Arabic did not evolve from Aramaic.

  • 'NYT' plays shameless propagandist for Israel's threats to kill Lebanese civilians
  • 'NYT' runs piece of unadulterated propaganda for Israeli army
  • 'New anti-Semitism' on college campuses is largely blowback against orchestrated Israel advocacy
    • What shameful garbage . . . it is disingenuous to claim that antisemitism on campus is “blowback” against students who exercised their First Amendment right to oppose divisive BDS and Israeli Apartheid Week programming on campus.

      Speaking of shameful garbage, you fail to present any evidence at all of antisemitism on campus. Looking at the video of the interview with Beyda, it's clear to me that the interviewer, despite her mistaken use of the term "as a Jew", does not display any animus towards Beyda personally at all. To me it seems obvious that she was inquiring about Beyda's potential Zionist bias, which is understandable in the context of the attempts of Zionist groups around the world to criminalize criticism of Israel.

  • Apartheid is no longer verboten word for Israel in 'NYT' and 'CNN'
    • I was kicked off for linking to this site.

      Many other sites are touchy about this subject.

      {Edit} - this was intended to be posted under the comment below.

  • 'NYT' reports 'surge of hostile sentiment against Jews' nationwide -- on what basis?
    • Unfortunately the key question was phrased poorly.

      Ms Beyla never should have been asked "Given that you are a Jewish student . . .". It never follows that because someone has a particular background they automatically think and act a certain way.

      Her leadership in Hillel could certainly be grounds for discussion. But not the fact that she's a Jew.

  • Netanyahu speech was 'very dark day for American democracy' -- Matthews
    • It's astonishing that people like Kristol get away with the things they say in public.

      Can you imagine the Pope coming to Congress against the President's wishes to lay down the law about foreign policy? Can you imagine somebody like Gary Wills then saying how proud he felt "as a Catholic" to see such a display?

      Actually Wills is a poor example. There is no Catholic commentator with as much raw political clout as Kristol. And Kristol doesn't have that clout because he's so smart - far from it.

    • Page: 2
  • Factchecking Netanyahu: An annotated guide to the Israeli P.M.'s speech to Congress
    • Mondoweiss, great overall coverage of the visit.

      Here is a terrific discussion of the topic by Stephen Walt:
      Bibi Blows Up the Special Relationship

      It's a very refreshing antidote to posts on this site that say that opposition to Netanyahu's speech is all based on antisemitism (or Jewish self-hatred), by one who has been unfairly accused of the same.

  • Journalists Goldberg and Gordon once again try to 'drag us into a war'
    • Thank you for noting Michael Gordon's article The Times appears to wheel him out only to communicate dangerous misinformation. The Times did not enable comments for this article.

  • Bipartisanship is dead, as Netanyahu, AIPAC, and GOP square off against Obama over Iran
    • Bipartisanship is injured (needlessly, in my view), but it is very far from dead; if it were, Elizabeth Warren would not be interested in stating her pro-Israel bonafides

      That's a rather roundabout way of acknowledging that Elizabeth Warren will not be attending the speech.

      . . .

      But as I’ve said so many times to you, the relationship is much stronger and deeper than these conflicts, and it will endure in the long run

      To the contrary, the relationship is much weaker than it appears. It only continues in its present form because of the duress of the lobby. I only hope it does not take a major disaster for the American public to realize this.

  • Phila Inquirer publishes a lie: 'Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are one and the same'
    • JeffB, in reality Zionism isn't simply saying that Jews deserve a land. It's saying that they deserve the land more than the people who already live there. That is unacceptable. You somehow forgot to include that basic twist in any of your lengthy disquisitions.

      BTW, I'm unable to respond to your post above, but do you really believe this:

      Christians are unable to respect Jews because they are a defeated people. So there can’t be a parity.

      Is that your personal experience?

  • How a culture remembers its crimes is important: A review of 'American Sniper'
    • gracie, I really believe that the tolerance that the US public has developed for torture was conditioned by "24 Hours". It's a big mistake (or a big lie, depending on the person) to say "it's just entertainment".

  • Can we just retire the phrase 'relative calm'?
    • The Times has treated Israeli news - politics, culture, etc - as local news for years. (By "Israeli" of course I mean "Jewish Israeli", a nuance of which the Times itself is totally oblivious). I'm sure this is partly due to the newspaper's home town, which is the center of Jewish population and culture in the US.

  • Palestine, an Islamic issue?
    • 35 years ago at the height of the ascendency of Arafat and the PLO, the notion that Palestinian resistance to Israel was a Muslim/Jewish conflict would have been laughed out of town. Historically the Palestinian Christian and Muslim communities reacted exactly the same way to Israeli aggression. Some of the most radical Palestinian groups fighting Israel were either communist (like the DFLP) or led by Christians, like George Habash's PLFP. Very prominent Christian nationalists who were not part of the guerrilla movement include Edward Said and Hanan Ashrawi.

      This notion that the Palestinian conflict is fundamentally a struggle between Jews and Muslims is untrue. It's very helpful, however, to Israel and its American supporters, as well as to promoters of the War on Terror generally. Therefore Netanyahu and his cheesy friends promote the hell out of this meme.

  • Netanyahu crashes Paris unity march, French gov't fumes
    • Israel doesn’t have a leadership role in the USA. Israel is a vassal of the USA.

      The proof of that is that whenever an American President visits Israel, 90% of the Knesset signs pledges to do whatever he wants, regardless of the wishes of the current government.

      I can't believe you're saying that Israel plays the same role for Jews that Christ does for Christians.

  • Fireworks in Ramallah, as Abbas signs treaty to join International Criminal Court
    • Man, what a bunch of crap.

      "Hard bargaining". Tell me, ivri, what "hard bargaining" have the Palestinians been able to conduct with Israel, with the US as the guardian angel? What "hard bargaining" will they ever be able to conduct?

      None, that's what. And that's exactly what you and your sponsor prefer.

  • Islamophobia reigns in Newsweek comment section-- 'Towel head camel humpers'
    • ckg, you're right. Forgotten in this shift from Arab to Muslim hatred is the historically prominent presence of Christians in the Palestinian resistance ranks.

    • Like many other unpleasant things in our society, Islamophobia has been exacerbated by our relationship to Israel.

      For many decades the media have been printing one side of the IP (formerly "Arab-Israeli) conflict. For decades the public has been told about terrorist attacks, suicide bombings, and Palestinian hatred for Israelis without being well informed of the other side. Americans came to believe that this Palestinian acting out was basically unmotivated, and therefore Arabs (now "Muslims") were not decent human beings.

      When 911 happened the US public was prepared to take that ball and run with it.

      Of course, the incredibly biased US media is not the only problem. There's also "American exceptionalism" and the way we live our lives in an echo chamber. That problem predates the birth of Israel.

  • Thanksgiving: The perfect holiday to ruin with politics
  • In and out of love with Israel: Tzvia Thier's story
    • Isn’t that what happened? What happened instead?

      The Zionists were evicting Palestinians from areas that were declared Palestinian under Partition. The Arab armies entered those areas to defend the Palestinians. No doubt they might have been interested in "throwing the Jews into the sea", though you would be very hard put to find anyone who actually said those words. However, they barely touched 1948 Israel.

    • What a fantastic interview. What a peach that woman is!

      This interview is the kind of thing that changes people's minds.

  • Netanyahu heads to New York to ‘refute all the lies’ and praise ‘the most moral army in the world’
    • This reminds me of the last time he addressed the UN. There was an enormous outburst of applause. When the (IIRC BBC) camera panned to the audience, the delegates seemed to be all sitting staring fixedly at their folded hands. But against the wall in the back was a claque that Netanyahu had brought with him jumping up and down, cheering and banging their hands together. The American networks, with a meet sense of decorum, broadcast the applause but did not show the source.

  • When Rouhani says blaming ISIS on Islam is Islamophobic, is anyone listening?
    • I certainly agree. This site's restriction on replying to nested comments prevents me from directly responding to JeffB's breathtaking claim that "over the 1990s the American people had come to believe that (Iraqi) regime change should be our policy". According to who?

  • Burke and Lincoln would have hated the special relationship
    • the U.S. learns to look upon Palestinian slavery with complacency.

      The US media and political class conditioned the public to view not just Palestinians but all Arabs and even Muslims as savages by publicizing the crimes of just one side of the conflict.

      I’ve boldfaced the moments that apply to Israel’s influence in the U.S

      Boldface all you like, Phil - with this interface we won't be able to tell :)

  • Netanyahu erases the boundary between world Jewry and Israel in celebration of 'our country'
    • Try imagining a plan whereby a Muslim nation was subjected to all forms of non-violent protest to force them to liberalize their laws that restrict freedom for women or sexuality. The backlash would be enormous -

      We don't need to "try to imagine". The US sponsored a sanctions regimen on Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, and there was very little protest.

      at least 90% (even more) will see your plan as nothing more then soft-pedaled anti-semitism/Jew hatred . . . overcoming the huge % of western, asian and latin supporters of Israel will not be easily accomplished

      Israel is one of the least liked and admired countries on the planet. . I'm sorry to break this to you, but it's time you knew. It's possible for Israel to change this. A first step might be for supporters to stop posting ridiculously unconvincing hasbara.

  • 'Civility' is for dancing classes, not universities, and is tool of pro-Israel political operatives -- Franke
    • The problem with cheering this approach is that in the next round it will hit home…

      Very good point, ivri. At the same time there is a very great need for really straight talk on this issue. Zionist excuses, misdirection and prevarication have to be addressed directly. There's been too much silence, partly motivated by sympathy and partly by cowardice.

      Non-Jews have to do this without waiting for permission.

    • Salaita’s words were probably not enough to justify firing him and he was fired due to money pressures and therefore opposing his firing has basis in basic fairness.

      Well said, yonah.

  • Jodi Rudoren effectively annexes Golan Heights to Israel
    • (Israel's) 1981 effective annexation of the area being considered a violation of international law by virtually every other country, including the United States

      Why the "virtually"?

  • Israel carries out extrajudicial killing of two Palestinians suspected in Israeli youths kidnapping
    • If they try to put their principles into practice, many of them will literally take it lying down.

      That has the same tone as 'Tomorrow there's no school in Gaza, they don't have any children left.'.

  • Israeli Supreme Court upholds law allowing housing discrimination against Palestinians
  • Senator Warren's progressive supporters demand accountability for her rightwing pro-Israel positioning
    • You're right, hophmi. Why can't everyone simply ignore Israel's grinding of Palestinian faces into the dirt, with your help? Things would be much more serene if they did.

  • ASA statement on Salaita: An 'assault against the Program in American Indian Studies at UIUC '
    • There will come a time when somebody in the Arab world will rise up pose the BIG question: Was it really worth it?

      As an American I ask my country the same thing about our official devotion to Israel, which costs us so very much and gains us so very little. Without Israel it's quite possible that there would have been no 911, no Global War On Terror, and certainly far less well-deserved opprobrium for the US from around the world.

      Ah well, I mustn't forget that Israel sometimes bravely stands with us when few others will.

  • Israel surveils and blackmails gay Palestinians to make them informants
  • Salaita firing turns into a 'catastrophe' for University of Illinois
    • There continues to be no evidence that Wise decided not to hire Salaita because of “Zionist pressure.” Wise herself has explicitly repudiated that position.

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

  • The Palestinian message to Israel: Deal with us justly. Or disappear
    • Walid, Israel is endemically insecure – that`s clear as the sunshine and is true from day one of its establishment and will not change.

      Israel is endemically insecure because it was founded by driving out under threat of death Palestine's native inhabitants. Those former inhabitants still live in the immediate neighborhood. The facts of Israel's founding can't be undone. Long term, it will take great effort and great changes among Israelis for the country to continue.

  • Elizabeth Warren says killing Palestinian civilians is 'the last thing Israel wants'
    • (Warren and Clinton) are both heirs of decades of conviction among the mass of progressive people that Zionism was a triumphant force of liberation, justice and enlightenment.

      No, that's not the case. My parents, who personally observed the arrival of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon after partition, still spoke admiringly of kibbutzes. However, that view of Zionism has been dead for 40 years. What's true of both Clinton and Warren is that they are schooled in the belief that if they deviate from the line they will be bludgeoned. Early in the Clinton presidency Hillary made a fairly tame remark in support of justice for Palestinians and the reaction was swift. She's never said anything similar since. And if you must keep repeating lies, eventually you have to make yourself sort of believe them.

  • Chancellor Wise, why not accept the scholarly inquiry of your colleagues over the politicized judgment of Salaita's critics?
    • I do have a problem using Zionist to mean those demons in human form who crucified Jesus and try and subvert the good people of the earth from living in the righteous peace of Christ that would exist if they weren’t present.

      I have a problem with that too. My problem is that it's only supporters of Israel such as yourself who are trying to resuscitate this phony trope at MW.

  • Salaita's hire set off fundraising alarm at U of Illinois, per emails to chancellor
    • I think he was emotionally agitated and said anti-Semitic stuff though while lashing out -

      .

      This is total fabrication on your part.

      If you’re defending #Israel right now you’re an awful human being. Clearly aimed at non-Israeli Jews.

      This is obviously not true, unless you think "defender of Israel" and "non-Israeli Jew" are synonyms. If that's the case, what about Hillary Clinton and the host of other non-Jewish supporters of Israel?

      Not a single one of your conclusions makes sense. The only value they have are as textbook examples of how supporters of Israel have defamed opponents as antisemites over the years. The key is to harp and harp on the false analogy that because Israeli Zionists (and many other Zionists) are Jews, it follows that criticism of Israel is a criticism of all Jews. It doesn't, and making that argument to Phil Weiss of all people shows how stupid it is. The sad thing is that this kind of accusation can have a terrible effect. It can cause people in this country to lose their reputation and livelihood.

  • 'Common Dreams' website traps Hasbara troll spewing anti-Semitism
    • Annie, I always kind of resented the moderation and thought I was being picked on. Now I understand that what you do is very intelligent. It preserves this site as a forum.

      I never thought I would ever come to this, but I would like to thank the moderators for their great pains and perseverance.

  • Salaita’s stellar teaching record exposes political motivation behind his firing
  • What's 7 letters and begins with Z and runs in the 'NYT'?
  • At least 20 Palestinians killed as Israel resumes attacks on Gaza
    • A snippet from an article in today's Guardian:

      A poll published by the Israel Democracy Institute found that 92% of Jewish Israelis believed the war was justified. Forty-eight per cent of those questioned thought an appropriate amount of force had been used by the Israeli military; 45% said too little force had been deployed; and 6% thought too much had been used.

  • Israeli soldiers carved Stars of David in homes in Gaza, report Blumenthal and Cohen
    • This reminds me that the Guardian had a story on Israeli troops shitting on the floors of Gazan houses they occupied, while Jodi Rudoren made a decorous reference to "detritus".

  • Have I failed to acknowledge Palestinian violence?
    • . . . in fact Palestinians and Israelis were able to get along before the 1947 Partition and 1948 war.

      Wow. I'm sure this is well-intentioned, but it is hugely inaccurate. The very reason Partition was decided upon was that the Zionists (not yet Israelis) and Palestinians emphatically did not get along. Which is not surprising, since their goals were diametrically opposed.

      What's true is that Arabs and Jews generally did get along in Palestine prior to Zionism.

  • Imagine you are a Palestinian academic or a student
    • jon s, try to be slightly honest. Israel tightly controls all aspects of Gaza's economic development including its electrical generation capacity due to the economic siege that it has imposed since 2007.

      In fact Israel has deliberately suffocated the Palestinian economy since its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza started in 1967.

      Harvard's Professor Sara Roy has written extensively about how Israeli actions have damaged Gaza specifically. Her The Gaza Strip: The Political Economy of De-Development was published in 1996.

      Israel has a responsibility under international law to supply Gaza with electricity. It charges through the nose for that electricity.

  • Tough Hillary Clinton says 'dreadful' pictures of dead women and children make it hard to get at truth-- Hamas is to blame
  • The threat of sanctions worked against Israel in 1956 -- and it can work again
    • I don't know anything about the BBC story. In the US, all the reports seemed to be based on that one article from a Palestinian news agency.

    • I remember that report. It was never really substantiated.

      The story really caught my attention because Sharon's alleged statement would have explained a lot, if it was accurately reported.

      I went through the trouble of contacting the original publisher - I can't recall if it was the Maan news agency, Palestine Times or what. I finally exchanged emails with the reporter. He said that the source was a Palestinian taxi driver who claimed he heard the story on his car radio in Hebrew from an Israeli station. This man insisted it was true. His say-so was not enough to confirm the truth of the story, though I could see the Israeli censors and US intelligence eavesdroppers colluding to hush up something like this. Georgie Anne Geyer, the columnist who published the story in the US, was forced to retract.

      The lengths to which I used to go to uncover the actual truth about Israel/Palestine.

  • Jeffrey Goldberg leads the charge on latest BDS smear: Presbyterian Church divestment is anti-Semitic because David Duke supports it
  • Oldman says Hollywood is 'run by Jews,' then offers over-the-top apology
  • Why a false understanding of the 'Six Day War' still matters
    • It's not just the truth about the '67 war or even the Nakba that's been replaced by a false narrative. It's the entire history of Zionism in Palestine, starting with the selection of Palestine as the site of the Jewish state.

      It's depressing how little is understood even compared to the general state of knowledge 25 years ago. We've gone backward in that respect. This allows contemporary supporters of Israel get away with statements like "You can't blame the settlements for anything - look at how the Arabs attacked Jews for nothing prior to 1967".

  • Neoconservatism is 'vindicated' in fawning 'NYT' piece on power couple of Kagan and Kristol
    • I just don’t get it. Today . . . the New York Times has chosen to run a fawning profile of neoconservative Robert Kagan

      What do you mean, you "just don't get it"? This is what the Times is, and has been for decades. It's published and mainly controlled by warm Jews who feel a personal connection to Israel. It has a tendency to feature and also protect people who also feel that connection and/or a connection to their own Jewish roots. I don't get why you don't get it.

      This reminds me of a previous fawning profile in the Times. It was written by Bill Keller about Paul Wolfowitz, and the sycophancy was practically surreal. It was published when Keller was in competition for Managing Editor at the Times. I thought when I read it "He'll get the job", and of course he did.

  • The world was right about Iraq-- though Israel got its 'Clean Break'
    • As Israel’s security has been threatened repeatedly by attacks . . .

      Israel itself started most of the wars it's been involved in. This is a simple matter of historical record obscured by decades of empty propaganda such as your post.

    • Ok, Iraq didn’t have MDW, but the US-led coalition overthrown a bloody dictator who oppressed, massacred and gassed his own people.

      Gee, there are just two problems with this. The first is that the invasion was not sold on the basis of "liberating" Iraqis . It was sold on the premise that Saddam was an imminent threat to the US, which was completely false. Second, the invasion made Iraq worse off. It resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens; the exile of millions; and an ongoing political catastrophe and civil war which you can read about if you open your newspaper today.

    • Axiom fail. The teensy little belligerent state did not seek that war.

      That's pure apologetics. Regardless of the actions of individuals, the Government of Israel DID want the US to invade. It worked very hard both directly and indirectly here to make it happen. Much of the phony "intelligence" used to egg on our aggression - such as the alleged Nigerian yellowcake - was thought to have originated in Israel.

      The Israel lobby here strongly pushed for a US attack. How often do you ever see that lobby take a firm position in opposition to the wishes of the Israeli government? How often do you ever see the US take such a drastic action in the Middle East in opposition to that lobby? Indeed, to me the only explanation for the apparent blindness of the liberal members of Congress who supported was the invasion was that the lobby wanted it.

      The Israeli public also wanted the invasion. Just prior to the invasion there were exactly two countries where a majority supported it. One was Australia, which had already committed troops to the invasion so public support was probably patriotic fervor. The other was Israel.

  • Notice who is welcoming the Pope, and who is outraged
    • The Boston Globe doesn't pull any punches this morning:
      Cardinal says Pope Francis backed Palestinians at security wall

      JERUSALEM -- In the most direct statement yet by a senior church official about the significance of Francis’ surprise moment of prayer on Sunday at the barrier between Israel and the West Bank, Cardinal Edwin O’Brien told the Globe on Monday that it amounted to an endorsement of the Palestinian cause. . .

      “The pope acknowledged the state of Palestine on this trip, and issued a strong call for a two-state solution,” he said. “The wall symbolizes everything that stands in contradiction to that.”

      O’Brien called the barrier, justified by Israel on security grounds, a “scandal” that’s damaged the lives of “persons and families.”

      Note - Cardinal O'Brien is not part of the Pope's official delegation. He is Grand Master of a Catholic order dedicated to supporting the Christian sites and communities in the region.

  • Israel tries to blame killings on Palestinians as int'l outrage builds
    • You miss the point. The point is found in seafoid's excellent pick from the Guardian posted above:

      “Commenting on efforts to cast doubt on accounts of the affair in +972 online magazine, Dahlia Scheindlin, a public opinion analyst in Tel Aviv, attempted to explain recent comments: “Public figures are well aware that the postmodern mindset makes it hard to pin down facts.
      “Throwing out theories, no matter how wild, raises doubts even if far-fetched. Using words inaccurately, or not admitting to one’s actions is another form. Accusing the other side of full-out conspiracy and elaborate fabrications is another.”

      Depravity, but of a different kind.

    • The astonishing arrogance, smug, lazy, complacent blowing off of any demand for a coherent, responsible, serious response

      They're like that because they can get away with it.

  • CNN airs evidence Israelis used live bullets on Palestinian protesters
  • Anthony Bourdain laments 'twisted and shallow' depiction of Palestinians in US media
    • Speaking of the media, there is today a vivid contrast between the NY Times' reporting on bias in Spain vs bias in Israel.

      Today's Times features the following headine: Fans in Spain Reveal Their Prejudices, and Social Media Fuels the Hostilities. It begins:

      MADRID — Spain’s sports fans have given Europe a version of the Donald Sterling racism scandal roiling America. While prejudice in sports is nothing new in Spain, a spate of racist and anti-Semitic abuses has set off a round of chagrin and soul-searching — and even a government clampdown — that has raised broad questions about why such behavior seems so hard to combat. . .

      It includes this acute observation from a Spanish sociologist:

      Racism or anti-Semitism . . . is "never a problem in their daily life, so that explains why such officials don’t take adequate measures and are so far from what was done in the N.B.A."

      Three days ago the Times published an article by Isabel Kerschner entitled As Pope’s Visit Nears, Hate Crimes a Concern in Israel. Signal excerpts from this article include "The Israeli authorities are working to contain the vandalism, but say it is impossible to prevent every provocation.", and the following quote from an an anonymous Israeli security official: "In a democratic country I don’t think it is possible to wipe out the mind-set of people". He goes on to characterize (reporter's paraphrase) "puncturing of tires and offensive graffiti as a form of terrorism because it was intended to deter the government from carrying out its policies". (Emphasis added).

      In the article on Spain, the headline frames bigoted acts as something Spaniards commit, while the headline on Israel presents price tag attacks, which are far more serious than the bad language cited in the article on Spain, as events that just happen to take place in Israel.

      The Spanish article presents research statistics about the prevalence of bias in Spain, the Israeli article does not. The latter does describe without comment some of interactions between price-tag vandals and Israeli authorities, including the following, which is typical:

      Four residents of Yitzhar were arrested in connection with the Umm al-Fahm attack, after the car used by the perpetrators was captured on footage from a security camera. But they refused to answer questions and in the absence of conclusive evidence, all have since been released.

      Unlike in the article about Spain, nowhere does Kershner put the story in its proper context of strong Israeli bias and official discrimination against Palestinians. Nor does she explicitly point out that though Israeli authorities say much about their opposition to price tag attacks, in effect they have done very little.

      There could not be a more vivid example than these two stories of the different treatment the Times accords Israelis and, for that matter, Jews, versus its treatment of others.

  • Inspiration on the quiet streets of Palestine
    • Zionists . . . can’t express themselves freely like you.

      Would you care to say exactly what types of speech are prohibited here? Don't say anything that will get you banned, but please be as specific as possible about the types of things you can't express freely.

  • The NYT and the NSA: Abramson and Baquet have different journalistic values
    • Dean Baquet may not be great news, but neither was Abramson. She, after all, oversaw the egregious Times I/P coverage and was the ultimate supporter of its practically Israeli reporters.

      The last straw for me, though, came two weeks when the Times featured a front page story on, of all things, first person accounts of the aftereffects on pedestrians of being struck by vehicles. Abramson was the reporter for this story featuring herself.

  • Video: Israeli soldiers detain 6-year-old child on his way to school in Hebron
  • 'Al Jazeera' examines Jewish constellation of lobby elites, and marginalized 'universalists'
  • Haaretz joins Rush Limbaugh and company in trying to link Max Blumenthal to KC shooter suspect
  • Israel's brand rides high on NPR
    • I have heard as many reports from (NPR) that focus solely on negative aspects of israel to ever believe that they function in tandem with anything even remotely close to a pro-Zionist standpoint.

      It's interested that when asked for examples of those stories critical of Israel that you personally heard on NPR you come back with words lifted verbatim from the hasbara site Camera.org.

  • Israel wages war on universities because it's lost control of the narrative -- Hedges
    • adele,

      I believe that in his four years a bureau chief, Hedges must have seen or been involved in many specific cases where the Times rewrote or spiked stories to favor Israel. Those are the revelations that would be really helpful. Not just the media but everyone has avoided discussing the nitty-gritty of the pro-Israel hegemony in the media.

    • Hedges was the NY Times Middle East Bureau Chief for four years.

      If he really wanted to affect the narrative he could do so very simply and powerfully by doing one thing. Publish his own insider's view of the Times' coverage of I/P news. The Times has had a powerful pro-Israel slant for decades, and Hedges must have much personal experience of how that worked in practice. He should cite names and dates.

      Certainly he would face personal and perhaps legal risk in doing that. Nobody has the standing to require that of him. But if he wants to make a difference, that's what he should do.

  • 'You seem to be on both sides of this legitimate/illegitimate kind of a thing': State Dept. spox says neither Israeli settlements, nor settlement boycotts, are legitimate
  • Pete Seeger interview: 'The greatest people will come forward, after I kick the bucket'
    • I personally feel that Pete Seeger deserves better than you gave.

      I second that.

      Great, great post, Phil. A real gift.

  • Vote at the Guardian: Should Oxfam sever ties with Scarlett Johansson?
  • Eric Alterman declines request to debate Max Blumenthal at Brooklyn College
    • I think maybe Alterman is tired of Blumenthal, and others in the pro-Palestinian movement, being untruthful about his views and his writing, and he feels no need to provide Blumenthal with an additional platform.

      If this were true you'd think Alterman would jump at the chance to set the record straight. He'd be providing himself with a platform.

      Blumenthal's aim is probably not to bask in the reflected light of that great luminary, Eric Alterman.

  • AIPAC fail: Goldberg leads, and Sen. Blumenthal climbs off the war bus
    • Matthews cut that off, saying in essence: I hate to tell you, but even if the public had known about it, they wouldn’t have cared.

      Wow. The public did find out and the public did care. Nixon kept the bombing secret out of fear of public reaction. Congress passed the War Powers Resolution, which required the President to get the assent of Congress before committing acts of war, as a direct result of the bombing of Cambodia.

  • Europeans with 'no legitimate claim' to America wiped out indigenous people -- 'totally different' from Israel (Harris)
    • So why does it matter that it took place before the age of decolonization?

      It makes a big difference because standards change. It was one thing to found a nation that allowed slavery in 1776. It would be quite another thing to try it now. Israel's behavior violates international norms today, so American support for Israel brings the US into very bad repute.

      The people whom you accuse of doing this ethnic cleansing were in the process of decolonizing it, not colonizing it.

      So much for the Nakba.

  • 'The Israel I love is increasingly hated'-- Richard Cohen
    • . . . because my belief is strong that most American Jews who “love Israel” love a fantasy, a story, but not the reality, especially not the reality of 1967-present

      The reality of 1947-1967 was actually worse. The Nakba occurred; Israel prevented Palestinians from returning to their homes afterwards; Israel kept its Palestinian citizens under martial law; Israel invaded Egypt, etc. In fact the problems long predated the establishment of Israel.

      One of the unfortunate things I've witnessed over the decades is an erosion of the general awareness of the history of the area, and its replacement by a substitute reality.

      Another unhealthy trend has been near-total Jewish assumption of control of the discussion. The very fatuity of Cohen's column is a symptom of this. There used to be serious, substantial non-Jewish critics of Israel and/or US policy, public figures like George Marshall, Dean Acheson, Dean Rusk, George Ball. These men didn't quake in their boots when criticizing Israel or its lobby, or feel obliged to hedge their statements with expressions of undying love for the place. Hard to imagine now.

  • 'Wolf of Wall St' reflects Jewish rise (though Scorsese leaves that out)
    • As recently as the 1970s . . . America was still an agglomeration of ghettos: Italians knew Italians, Jews knew Jews, Poles knew Poles, Irish knew Irish, WASPs barely knew any of them existed.

      This is ridiculous. I hope that anyone under the age of 40 reading this isn't misled. As a kid growing up in the 1960s I went to school with Italians, Poles, Jews, Irish and WASPS, plus others. In the 1970s as a corporate programmer I worked with Italians, Poles, Jews, Irish and WASPS, plus others.

  • 'Haaretz' says many Orthodox are taught to see non-Jews as 'not quite human'
    • Excellent point, Elliot.

      IMO this impulse of "sanctifying the name" powerfully affects public discussion in the US.

      It was absolutely scandalous how, during the leadup to the Iraq invasion, the mainstream press made practically no mention of neoconservatism or how the strong pro-Israeli sentiments of Paul Wolfowitz, Scooter Libby, Doug Feith and others might affect their pro-war positions. You had to look to someone like Jim Lobe standing off to the sidelines for information about neoconservatism. In my opinion these guys' backgrounds and activities might have been given a pass by Jewish publishers and editors out of a desire to avoid embarrassing the Jews.

      This is done out of love in a way. But what about the rest of us? What kind of consequences did we (not to mention Iraq) suffer due to this desire to hide dirty laundry?

  • Israel's endless enemies -- the dangerous myth in Ari Shavit's book
    • No matter for how long, how often, and how thoroughly the mythologies that continue to pass for the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict have been discredited, nothing seems to penetrate the psychological walls that most Israelis and American supporters of Israel have erected

      The bigger problem is that the pro-Israeli bias in the media has helped induce the American public to erect those same psychological walls. There are other reasons, but in my view that's the biggest.

  • Israel's real fear is BDS and 'delegitimization,' says Goldberg
    • Curiously, the Guardian subtitles the piece "Religious leaders react angrily to Roger Waters . . . ". Of the six Waters critics (all Jewish) cited, exactly one is a rabbi. Speaking in support of Waters the Guardian mustered . . . Waters.

  • Shimon Peres' selective memory of apartheid
    • I agree with your observations. The reason they're true is that Israel has an undeservedly high reputation in the US due to media misrepresentation. And the primary reason that the media misrepresents is because of helpers like you.

  • After attending Mandela's memorial, Knesset member's blood rejected in gov't drive because she is African
    • For once I sympathize with the Israeli government. Blood donation via the American Red Cross is likewise hedged with arbitrary exclusions. For years I wasn't allowed to give blood because I had once had a hepatitis vaccination, and you aren't allowed to give blood if you've even visited various countries.

      This sympathy does not extend to the "special kind of Jewish-Ethiopian blood" comment.

  • Deconstructing Netanyahu's tribute to Mandela
    • He led the world to accept the fact that Jews like other peoples should enjoy equal rights to sovereignty.

      Unlike Gandhi he posited that his people should enjoy their "equal right to sovereignty" in someone else's country.

  • Jewish establishment stays silent on Israeli plan to forcibly displace Bedouins
    • "Attempts by a loud and violent minority to deny a better future to a large and broad population are grave,” the prime minister said. “We will continue to advance the law for a better future for all residents of the Negev."

      Man. This says far more about Israel's actual attitude towards apartheid than all of Peres' gassy statements on the death of Mandela.

  • The unspoken alliance: Israel’s secret relationship with apartheid South Africa
  • 'Globe' readers slam paper for ignoring unfair distribution of water in Israel and Palestine
    • Good letters, but they were published on a Wednesday. The original front-page story was in a Sunday edition, which is much more widely read. This may be a coincidence, or it may be yet another example of unequal treatment by the Globe.

  • Sleepless with Dan Snyder
    • Alison, congratulations on writing such an evocative piece. However, I question your dismissal of Charles M. Russell as simply "a boozer and wife-beater" . Russell was loved by many who knew him in Montana. His sympathy for Native Americans was genuine, according to what I have read. I would be curious to know the names of some of those library books upon which you based your essay, if you can recall them.

  • 'NYT' article on Palestinian refugees manages to quote Israeli govt spox but no Palestinians
    • That’s rich – you not only “absorbed” Jewish refugees from Arab countries, you worked very hard ( not shying away from using bribes, threats and even terrorism) to make them leave their homes and move to Palestine.

      That is the truth.

      In addition, when hasbarists couple Palestinian refugees and Jewish immigrants, they usually don't mention the fact that the Palestinians were driven out first, in 1948. Jewish immigration from Arab countries happened later, over a period of many years. Hasbarists would like to have the public believe that there was a symmetrical exchange at one point in time, making the two issues appear equal. They are not.

  • Preaching to the choir: reflections on Max Blumenthal's 'Goliath'
    • No matter how politely the idea is phrased, it still comes down to the claim that Jews matter more than other people.

      Absolutely. Well said.

      At the same time, as others have noted, Mr Slater deserves great credit for honestly engaging here, and doing so in a civil manner.

    • The weakest part of Mr Slater's case is his view of the nature of Zionism. Not surprising it's the shortest part of his post. First, Zionism was not the only colonial endeavor motivated by self-preservation. Second, Zionism's biggest defect is that it isn't simply the belief that Jews deserve a state of their own. It's includes the presumption that Jews deserved the land more than the people who actually lived there. That is an indelible problem inherent in Israeli Zionism. It's one that liberal Zionists refuse to confront.

      New England is an example of a colonial enterprise that shared both characteristics. Unfortunately for Israel, since 1620 the moral consensus has progressed the point that colonization, like slavery, is rightly no longer viewed as acceptable.

  • Klug on Kristallnacht: Opponents in Israel/Palestine debate are locked in an 'acrimonious circle'
    • This commentary is full of insight. Unfortunately, it stops short.

      Klug is deliberately evenhanded between the "antisemitism" and "anti-antisemitism" crowd, implying that the blame is equal on both sides. My own experience is that a very small proportion - I'm tempted to say zero percent, but I know that's an emotional overstatement - of the critics of Israel and its lobby are antisemitic by Klug's excellent definition. However, if they are effective critics they are almost invariably accused of antisemitism. The real-life consequences of being accused of antisemitism can be very heavy, while the penalties for false accusations are very weak. It is not a level playing field by a very long shot.

  • United States takes a 'new path' forward in the Middle East!
  • Boston Globe article on water partnership gets the story wrong in Massachusetts and Israel/Palestine
    • The article was even worse than it's portrayed here. It took up about a third of the front page of the Sunday paper. It displayed a map of Israel that included the occupied territories. The word "Palestinian" did not appear in the entire 2500 word article. The only oblique possible reference to the serious ethical issue of the poaching of Palestinian water was that Israel had "yes, a good amount of chutzpah". Its entire tone was one of breathless admiration.

      There was something very weird about the whole thing. It was written by a Globe reporter, Erin Ailsworth, whose sojourn in Israel was paid for by something called The International Center for Journalists. I'd be very interested to know more about why and under what circumstances this story was written, and why it was published in such a prominent spot. To me this was a discouraging new low in the standards of my home town paper.

  • Terry Gross aired Blumenthal when he went after Republicans, but Israel -- no thank you
    • Great thread. I really appreciate the reference to Consortiumnews.com, a site with great integrity, and one for which I have a huge soft spot.

      Another current story there of potential interest to MondoWeiss readers is How US Pressure Bends UN Agencies, detailing the mainly untold history of how US pressure has resulted in the appointment and removal of UN officials in posts connected to the Middle East.

  • In Pew poll on American Jewish identity, 'caring about Israel' is way behind 'working for justice'
    • no matter the establishment will ignore consensus findings.

      What do you mean? The survey shows that 85% of American Jews regard US support for Israel as being "about right" or "not supportive enough". Since US policy is already heavily skewed towards Israel mainly due to the efforts of that establishment, doesn't this demonstrate that AIPAC reflects the consensus?

      Maybe not.

  • Netanyahu delivers predictable speech fear-mongering on Iran
    • Wasn’t one of them his wife Sara?

      Apparently, yes.

      The NY Times naturally omits the actual reception of Netanyahu's speech, but Haaretz's Barak Ravid was not so bashful. The following excerpt is courtesy of War in Context:

      One by one, Netanyahu’s donors, associates and supporters flocked in to watch. Casino magnate and owner of the Hebrew daily Yisrael Hayom, Sheldon Adelson, was followed by American-Jewish attorney Alan Dershowitz, former advisor Dore Gold, family friend Zeev Rubinstein and others. Last to enter was Sara Netanyahu, who took her place near the podium. When Netanyahu made his entrance, in front of a half-empty, drowsy hall, his friends, advisors, supporters and entourage all rose to their feet and applauded for several minutes. Still, the fans the in stands hardly helped. . .

    • I saw the BBC clip on this. It was a hoot. As Netanyahu took the podium there was a distinct smattering of warm applause. This was mystifying, because all of the delegates I could see were sitting on their hands. Then the camera panned to the back of the hall. There were a small bunch of guys standing against the rear wall clapping like crazy.

  • What if your friend had to die to preserve a Jewish state?
  • David Brooks plays his readers about Israel -- McGowan
    • I don't believe our pro-Israeli media is something that has just "naturally happened" due to the unconscious bias of those in charge. I see it as a carefully constructed and maintained artifact, with severe penalties for those who go outside the limits. Over the years I've seen excellent journalists who published consistently critical views on Israel get marginalized and eventually lose their jobs. (William Pfaff is an example. Once a regular columnist at the LA Times, his work began appearing less and less frequently before disappearing completely).

      Black journalists don't lose their jobs because they publish a critical article on prisons.

      I'm sure that it's true that pro-Israeli Jews in the media aren't always consciously aware each and every time they favor Israel. At the same time saying that the media's pro-Israel bias is an innocent accident is like saying that the misleading information produced by the US government prior to the invasion of Iraq was an unconscious byproduct of it's desire to invade.

      Bias in Middle East reporting due to the views of publishers and editors has been an obvious subject for investigation for decades. I don't expect the CJR to undertake it any time soon.

      Your post brings up a subtle point, having to do with how I (a non-Jew) and you (a Jew) perceive the same thing. Perceive each other, in fact, because I somewhat identify with McGowan in your post. I do agree that it's important not to slip into a "those typical Jews" attitude. That's not something I saw in McGowan's article.

      I view discussion of this as simply talking about what goes on in an arena that has a powerful effect on all Americans. Something that has deeply affected the country.

  • National Security Agency gives data on Americans to the Israeli government
    • You yourself and other commenters here worship the cult of BDS

      This is like saying that the Civil Rights movement worshiped the cult of sit-ins.

  • Was Obama bluffing on Syria all along?
    • If President Obama proclaimed the need for war but really never wanted one, then he's like Kurt Vonnegut's Howard W. Campbell, Jr., "a man who served evil too openly and good too secretly, the crime of his times".

      it was extremely predictable the american public would reject the idea of another ME war. it doesn’t take a master chess player to see that.

      I don't buy this. For 12 years the American public has been all too consistent a supporter of American aggression when the flag is waved.

      I do like that you're a dreamer though.

    • Yes, exactly. If President Obama had been antiwar to begin with, why did he assert so deafeningly the lies that the US had legal authority to attack Syria on its own, and that legally he didn't even need support from Congress? He laid on the "national security" trope heavily (though unconvincingly), and I think that he expected more domestic support. After all, when have Americans last refused to give it?

      At this point I think he's just relieved by such an incredibly unexpected reprieve.

    • To me President Obama and John Kerry seemed dead serious about going to war with Syria. If not, it was a terrible risk for them to have relied on uncertain Russian intervention.

      David Sirota's Salon article has a trenchant comment on the "Obama was bluffing" theory:

      As President Obama apparently submits to domestic and international pressure to back off his plan for an immediate war with Syria, prepare to hear the standard Multidimensional Chess™ talking point.

      You’ve heard this one before — it’s the one from partisans that pretends every good idea their preferred politician opposed but is then forced to embrace was always that politician’s idea all along. As the Atlantic’s James Fallows put it, it portrays Obama as “a chess master who always sees several moves ahead of his opponents.” In that chess game, seemingly stupid moves are actually brilliant calculations designed to create a chain reaction. We are thus asked by these partisans to believe that every dumb, corrupt or misguided position their preferred politician takes is really just a secretly brilliant plot to achieve that politician’s real goal of driving the policy debate to a better place.

      It goes on in the same vein. Note - I don't think Annie is a blind supporter of the President.

  • No one knows what Obama stands for
    • Annie, I didn't mean to make you feel badly. I'm sorry. My reactions are based on experience, not racism. My knee-jerk objection to having Jews in positions where they can powerfully affect US Middle East policy is based on the belief that most of them will be biased in favor of Israel. Well, aren't they? Please go ahead and google the MOJO 400 (I think the last year was 1998) and check out donor backgrounds.

      To the extent that this is a knee-jerk negative reaction it's not sane. But it is rarely wrong.

      This doesn't spill over to other spheres. I don't react against Jewish folksingers, novelists, engineers, what have you. I also don't think that political positions are built into anyone's DNA.

    • tokyobk, this is a sore point. What you say is absolutely true. However, Kate's concern about the number Jewish mentors of Obama can't simply be dismissed out of hand. (Please note I have no idea whether Obama had many Jewish mentors or not).

      I would like to draw your attention to this 2012 AJC survey of American Jewish opinion. 70.6 % of respondents agreed with the statement "Caring about Israel is a very important part of my being a Jew".

      How many non-Jewish Americans do you suppose would agree with the statement "Caring about Israel is a very important part of my being an American"?

      When considering in addition the peer pressure facing Jews who are personally indifferent to Israel, my default assumption is that Jews in positions of power are less likely to report the news fairly or carefully weigh American interests.

      In the past I haven't just rested on that assumption; I've taken pains to research whether it was accurate. Mother Jones magazine used to publish the "MOJO 400", a list of the biggest individual donors to national politics. One year I took the trouble to review the backgrounds of the largest donors who appeared to be Jewish. I found almost without exception that they publicly supported Zionism and in many cases had leadership roles in Zionist organizations. When Katherine Weymouth became publisher of the Washington Post I took the trouble to find out that she was the daughter of Lally Weymouth, a pro-Likud journalist, and was on a first name basis with Benjamin Netanyahu.

      There are many, many exceptions to the tendency of Jews to be supporters of Israel, but few seem to me to be in the public mainstream. They seem to be particularly rare in the upper reaches of the media, politics, or government. I think this is partly because Zionist Jews tend to feel responsible for Israel's well-being, and seek to put themselves in a position to support it.

      For me the problem is exacerbated by seeing decades of downplaying the power of Zionism in politics. It's exacerbated by seeing decades of failure to investigate or even remark on obvious potential connections between publishers' attitudes and how news on the Middle East is reported. So when I hear that a Jew has been appointed Undersecretary of State or Defense, or that a Jew has become the publisher of a major newspaper, or that a Jew is running for Congress, I admit that I wince. I realize that this is to some extent wrong, but it feels like self-defense. Do you understand?

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