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Total number of comments: 204 (since 2012-01-07 21:41:43)

Just a guy who reads a lot

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  • Timeline: Attempts to censor students and faculty who stand up for human rights on UC campuses
    • Nowadays he works for Kerem Navot, where he does important work.

    • Shmuel,

      I think this conversation has exhausted itself. We're all repeating the same things over and over. I assure you I know Dror Etkes, and am in contact with him, as I have been for decades, including tours with him on the West Bank. Hagit I know from e-mails, not personally, but Dror is the more important of the two, I think; Hagit deals much more with Jerusalem.

    • James,

      Unlike many at MW, I don't base my knowledge on websites. I go and visit. And following my recent visits to the West Bank I stand by my statement: No new settlements are being built, and there is very little outward expansion of the existing ones. Nothing in any of the links supplied here says otherwise. There is some construction going on in the existant settlements, I'd be an idiot to claim otherwise, but the oft-repeated claim made here at MW about how the settlements are gobbling up additional Palestinian land: Not true.

      This holds fully for the link Blake just added, from al-Jazeera.

    • I have, James, by pointing out the fallacies in their arguments and deficiencies in their linked sources. I cannot bring a link to a proof that there are no settlements, because... they're not there.

      So instead of my proving that something which isn't there isn't there, let's do the opposite. If there are any new settlements, surely they have names, addresses, and can be photographed? So how come no-one - here, or at all those other websites - is capable of naming any of them, telling where they are, or showing pictures of them? Not to mention telling how many people live in them.

    • Page: 2
    • Colin and others,

      Is it too much to wish for a bit of intellectual rigor? There are three separate amtters regarding the settlements. The first is their very existence. I agree with you that it were better if they weren't there in the first place. But they are, which brings us to the second issue: are they multiplying, and even if they aren't, are they growing ever outwards, and thus taking over more and more land. The answer to this is No. they are not multiplying, and they're not significantly growing outwards, either (tho I won't say this isn't happening at all, anywhere, not even by inches, since I don't know that to be true). All the links that have been supplied here fail to demonstrate any new settlements since 2002 (a decade ago), nor any significant outward growth. And the reason there are no such links is that there are no such phenomena.

      Finally, there's the third issue of the population of the settlements. Where the first two were Israeli attempts to control the West Bank, mostly in the early 1980s, the third isn't. Assuming 300,000 settlers, one could envision putting all of them into 10 World Trade Center-size structures half a mile over the Green Line, with that number of people, and there would be no issue of an Israeli policy of controlling the WB. The number of the settlers is less important than their geographic spread, especially as more than 80% of them live in a few concentrated areas. Most of the links supplied on this thread address the numbers, not the geographic spread.

      I never said the numbers aren't growing. The birth-rate in the two Haredi settlements of Modi'in illit and Beitar Illit alone acconts for well over half of the entire population growth, and has nothing to do with construction. Haredi families are simply very large. Nor do they ask for permission from any government or international organizations if they may have additional children.

      So I stand by my statements, in spite of the irrelevant comments and links: no new settlements are being built, and very little construction is on new land.

    • Sean, Colin, Hostage and American -

      Here's a quick summary of your positions as I understand them.

      Zionism is evil. Israel, it's creation, is an evil state. Israelis, it's citizens, are evil people. Anyone who defends them are evil. Anyone who presents alleged facts which undermine the thesis of Israel's evil must be lying. These liars can and should be defamed for their lies, and worse, for the enormity of the evil they employ their lies in defense of.

      The imperative to prove Israel's evil is so complete, that arguments with them often deteriorate into uncivil discourse. When external agents or authorities - say, the UC administration - tries to cool the heat and insist on some level of dignified discussion, they thereby prove that they're part of the problem, since no-one reasonable could possibly defend pure evil. If said authorites happen to have Jews among them: voila! That explains their eagerness to defend the defenders of the evil Zionists.

      The sad part of this is that it forces you into a intellectual position from which you're impervious to facts, except the ones which bolster your position, and sadder, it prevents you from engaging in one of the most admirable human endeavors ever, the search for understanding. Since you know the answer in advance, you can't allow in any other options. Nor can you deal with hues of gray, or with complexity. The facts must prove Israel's complete evil, or they're evil Zionist propaganda themselves.

    • Woody -

      I didn't justify the dispossession, nor defend it. My point was that it hardly constitues proof of an Israeli policy of disspossessing the Palestinians of the West Bank, and there's no hint in it of genocidal Israeli policies. And the reason I brought it up, I remind you, is to explain why the Israel-Palestine issue doesn't particularly interest most people these days, except for the locals and the fanatics.

    • Colin,

      The map states very clearly that it's from 2002. A decade ago, as I said above. Had the settlements been growing since, then someone would be able to supply an updated map. But they can't, because the land on which the settlements stand today is about the same as 10 years ago. Minus the four settlements which were disbanded in 2005, of course.

    • James,

      First, look at the links Shmuel gives. The "detailed rebuttal" contains various allegations about 10,000, and elsewhere 25,000 new housing units being constructed in the settlements... and one list (from 2009, that's 3 years ago) with 1,820 housing units.

      Don't you think that if thousands of units were being built now, not three years ago, someone might be able to say where they are, and perhaps even show pictures of them?

      Second, I didn't say no construction was going on in any of the settlements. Here's what I said:
      "There are no new settlements being built. The last wave was about ten years ago, and it was very limited in effect. Most of the settlements were built in the early 1980s, which is 30 years ago.

      There is limited construction going on inside the perimiters of some settlements."

      In Shmuel's comment there was no single fact to say otherwise, nor are there any such facts in the links he gave.

      This may surprise you, and will certainly surprise some of the shriller commenters here, but I haven't defended the construction of the settlements. I'm pointing out the fallacy of describing the settlements as an ever-growing land-grab actively taking over the West Bank. It's not happening. It was happening in the early 1980s, and it has happened to lesser extents in spurts since then, but it hasn't been happening at all for the past decade. There's a population of hundreds of thousands in the settlements, and very few additional housing units are being constructed there, while tens of thousands are constucted annually inside Israel; and the units that are being constructed in the settlements are inside the perimeters.

      Ah, and when construction does happen, it's usually in a small number of large setlements, Modi'in Illit and Betar Illit together making the lion's share of the growth; both straddle the Green Line and are likely to be swapped for territory elsewhere if the Israelis and Palestinians ever reach an agreement.

      The story about the settlements which are taking over the West Bank was ture, if ever, 30 years ago.

    • Annie - you mistake anecdotes (which can be true, I didn't say otherwise) with the full picture. The full picture is as I said: no new settlements. Yes a very small number of Palestinians being forced off their land. So we agree about the anecdotes, and maybe it's time we agree also that they're not very significant.

    • eljay -

      The well-being of nations isn't defined by popularity polls, but by hard facts such as economics, trade, the full gamut of diplomatic relations; and by the well-being of their citizens. By all these real measures, Israel is done reasonably well.

      Part of the problem with spending too mch time in an echo chamber such as Mondoweiss is that one misses the facts which are obvious to the people who aren't in the echo chamber.

    • Hostage - here are the facts: there are no new settlements being built. The last wave was about ten years ago, and it was very limited in effect. Most of the settlements were built in the early 1980s, which is 30 years ago.

      There is limited construction going on inside the perimiters of some settlements.

      The Road Map was operative, if ever, remind me, when? 2004? That's 8 years ago.

    • Piotr -

      You've never met me, you've got no idea who I am, and actually, beyond the fact that I stand up for Israel on this site, you know nothing about me. Yet you blithely allow yourself to write that I regret not enough Palestinians are getting killed.

      I have never had such a sentiment in my life. On the contrary, as my Palestinian friends will tell you. Yet based on nothing, you make the assertion. This is what the psychologists call 'projection'', and it says nothing about it subject and everything about the projector.

      Perhaps you'd be interested in explaining why you allow yourself this kind of projection?

    • No-one's being stripped of all rights, quietly and methodically dispossed of their land and herded into ghettos. There are a small number of Palestinians who claim, perhaps correctly, that they're being pushed off their land. A small number. The rest is blatantly not true, no matter how often it gets trumpeted at Mondoweiss.

    • Annie - Read again. I responded to Sefoid. So if anyone hi-jacked the thread, it wasn't me. I was then followed merrily by many others, yourself included.

    • mikeo - did you actually read the article you linked to? First, it rated only a handful of countries. Second, in the US, 50% now rate Israel favorably, compared to 44% last survey. (There are many other surveys which put the number higher). In Nigeria, it's 54%. True, in Egypt Israel's popularity is abysmal, but what exactly does that prove?

    • Not everything, Annie, but lots of things, yes.

    • Think so, Seafoid? The past few years have seen the lowest casualty numbers between Israelis and Palestinians in decades. The number of Palestinians who work in Israel has climbed up to about 100,000. There are no new settlements being built, and the existing ones are mostly not growing, and what construction is going on is happening inside the settlements. Even Mondoweiss, which seeks bad news about Israel with all its energy, spends most of its time talking about non-lethal incidents which never make their way into broad-based media reports, which is no surprise given the amount of worse things happening elsewhere. Over the past few years most full-time foreign journalists have been pulled out of the country.

      The locals and the obssesives still obsess themselves with Israel and Palestine, but no-one else does anymore. Given that the report here deals with human rights, it's instructive to note that even the international human rights organizations don't have that much to say about Israel and Palestine these days, compared to times past.

  • Rudoren writes up settler/colonist leader as 'worldly, pragmatic' wine-lover
  • Time magazine's romanticized Jerusalem battleground leaves out Palestinians
    • A civil and informative response, annonymouscomments.

      There is no such data, because it's not true. Not on google and not elsewhere.

    • Skyrocketing home demolitions and evictions, Allison? Do you have any data to back up that description, such as the absolute number of each group, and comparisons with the past to prove they're rising? I very much doubt it, but would be interested in it if you do.

  • Why Obama shouldn't go to Israel
    • OK, Woody, this conversation has run its course, I think. Here's my final statement, and whether you respond or not, I'm finished.

      You see the world in black and white. I see it in endless hades of grey. You also see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a clash of good and evil, victims and perpetrators. I see it as a tragic clash between two nations who can't find the common ground on which to build mutual accommodation. And even that isn't accurate: while I see no chance for peace between the sides anytime soon, I am convinced that within the Green line Jews and Palestinians are well on the road that could some day bring them to a joint equitable society, and I know Israelis from both sides who agree with me. As for beyond the Green Line - well, if the present functional peace goes on long enough and both sides restrain their worst impulses long enough, they'll find a way towards mutual reconciliation. Someday. If.

      As for all that stuff about how evil the Israelis are: nonesense. Easily demonstrably not true.

    • "You're out of your mind"

      Invective, invective, invective.

      The Palestinians I was talking to this morning didn't seem to be suffering the indignities you claim. It's not true. There's a conflict, yes, and much that could be improved, first and foremost that the Palestinians need an independant state besides Israel. But the distance between that reality and your depiction of it is immense.

    • Woody,

      I spent the morning at a Jerusalem hospital. There were Jewish and Arab patients, staff members, and physicians, all mixed up, all stiving together for the better health of whoever was there. Such a scene could never have happened in the segregated American South, nor in Apartheid South Africa.

      I stand by my comment. Argue the facts if you will, or present reason to interpret them differently. Hurling invective merely demonstrates that you don't have any substantial points to make.

    • Heavy on invective, extremely light on facts, Justice. Not a sign of seriousness.

    • OK, Colin, let's add innocent Palestinian victims of indefensible military behaviour. Using standard international criteria, so that the victims of My Lai were murdered, but what the Americans and British call collateral damage at time of war, aren't. Then indeed Israelis have killed many hundreds. Maybe even a few thousands, tho I'd have to see a detailled breakdown of instances. There is no way the number is remotely near 20,000.
      Now compare those numbers to the exact parallels in the rest of the Middle East since the end of WWI.

    • Actually, Colin, I agree. There were, of course, people who went to Nazi Germany in the 1930s wth the intention of seeing what they wanted to see and came back reinforced. And you're right that seen in the context of the 1930s, such a phenomenon isn't hard to understand.

      My original point here was different. There weren't millions of normal tourists in Germany in the 1930s, there for their own reasons and unable to see the reality. There were (relatively) very few such tourists, and I'm not aware that they came back saying how wonderful the place was. There are millions of perfectly normal tourists to Israel every year, the majority of them non-Jews from all the continents. Only a tiny minority of them come back with the impressions of, say, Richard (see lower down on this thread) or Annie, or of course Phil Weiss. Annie says that Israel manages to hide the horrendous reality from those millions. I say that the millions are seeing the reality more accurately than the tiny number of activists who come with their preconceptions firmly wedged in their minds.

    • Ersatz,

      I think a reasonable person would see my point and comprehend it. Some might even agree. Your need to descend to the pits of invective says more about you than about my line of argumentation.

    • libra: the lack of evidence is hardly proof, especially as it's not clear where you sought the lacking evidence. But consider the following: the thugs are active in two or three rural parts of the WB. A large majority of Israelis have never seen them in the flesh, and the same is true for a large majority of the settlers themselves, most of whom live in 4 or 5 urban areas not near the thugs. As a matter of fact, a large majority of Palestinians, who are also urbanites, have also never encountererd the thugs.

      This isn't to defend the thugs, nor the passivity of the Israeli authorities in stopping them. But from that particular issue to the broad generalizations bandied about here, is rather a leap.

    • Richard,

      The security for the presumptive nominee would be the same as for POTUS? Huh? Care to re-visit that statement?

    • Richard,

      Since I'm often in Israel and the West Bank, and you say you were here once; and my familiarity with the place includes knowing some of the languages (Hebrew and some Arabic) and requires no guides as intermediaries, I stand by my assertion. Just yesterday I made a shiva visit to a friend at one of the oldest kibbuttzim, and who was sitting there alongside me but one of his Arab friends.

      I stand by my assertion, no matter what your guide told you. It is impossible to spend a day in Jerusalem and not encounter diverse interactions between Palestinians and Israelis. There is no reality of apartheid here, tho of course there are diverse social groups, some better off than others. Even those differences are demonstrably smaller than they used to be, so that the trajectory is positive even if not every single instance is.

      I often notice how here at MW conversations with me eventually end with my interlocuters getting personal and nasty (3-4 times on this thread alone). This puzzles me: surely if one is intereted in facts, the personal is irrelevant? Look thru my comment archives: I don't think you'll find a single example where I stooped to use invective against anyone, even though I disagree vehemently with most of what is written here.

    • Ersatz,

      When comenting on MW I do my best to be civil and factual. I was once nasty to someone and the moderator blocked me, which I can understand. I don't think I've ever repeated that transgression. You can disagree with me to your heart's content, but I'd appreciate not to be insulted.

      Especially as you haven't the faintest idea who I am or what I do, as is the case with most commenters here.

    • I once wrote a PhD about Nazi Germany. I never came across the fact that "lots of people came away from visits favorably impressed etc." Any source for that statement, Colin?

      On the other hand, large numbers of gullible Marxist-leaning westerners were indeed convinced in the 1930s that the Soviet Union was a much better country to live in than the US. History knows them as "useful fools", for the way the Soviets manipulated them. Very few of them however, actually traveled tothe USSR, and even fewer roamed it freely. Some, such as Arthur Koestler, did - and came back to tell the harrowing tale.

    • Annie -

      can you substantiate this statement with evidence? Not evidence that some individuals from the hundreds of thousands of settlers are thugs, but that the thugs represent the larger group in any statistically significant way? I don't think you can, because your statement is counter-factual.

    • Tree found three cases in which "psychopathic Israelis" (your term, justice) murdered inoccent Palestinian civilians in cold blood. Over the past century there have been another few cases he didn't mention. All in all, perhaps 100 victims in the 95 years since the end of WWI. Each death tragic, of course.

      I understand that the readers of Mondoweiss are convinced that Israelis routinely murder Palestinians, for sport, bloodlust or whatever other reason. Meanwhile, the cold facts are that in a century of bloodletting, the number of non-combattant Palestinians to die by acts of Jews is smaller than the number of dead Syrians since last March, and vastly smaller than the number of Arabs killed by other Arabs in the same century. These are facts, not speculation.

    • Well, Woody, you might be right. People would remember that. Except that fortunately such things are rather rare, and they don't reflect more than a narrow part of the reality.

      And even when they're the total reality of particular families, the decision as to what to do with the memories are still there to be made. Here, for example, is a website of Palestinians and Israelis who don't seem to share your viewpoint. As I said, it's a matter of choice.

    • Annie -

      As I have repeatedly said, I"m not here to convince anyone. The Mondoweiss community has its mind firmly made up already, and there's nothing I could say that will change it. I come here to learn the mindset of the MW community, to understand how its members respond to various statements.

      As someone who is often in Israel and also the West Bank I assure you, Annie, that were the reality anything like what it's presented as here, people would see it. Instead, they come, say, to Jerusalem, and see Jews and Palestinians mingling freely on the streets, in places of entertainment, in institutes of education, in supermarkets, on public transportation, in the hospitals, in stores, in offices, and so on and on. So when they're then told about apartheid they raise their eybrows, shrug, and get on with life.

    • Violating the Boycott? A violation that could cost him an election? Have I missed something?

    • Yours -

      Millions of tourists travel to Israel every year. Only a tiny (truly tiny) percentage come back with the observations you'd expect them to have. So either they're all blind, or they're all hoodwinked, or... the reality isn't what Mondoweiss says it is.

    • tree -

      You are the only one of the ten respondents I got who was able to name more than one case, that of Baruch Goldstein. Good for you.

      I stand by my original statement. Murder is murder is murder, and there's no defense for Goldstein or Popper or Zada. None, and I'd appreciate if further responders don't twist my words to sound as if there is. There isn't.

      My statement was not that in the century-long conflict between Jews and Arabs, there have never been cases of Jews murdering Arabs. Of course there have - tho far fewer than in the opposite direction, and vastly fewer than Arab-on-Arab murders during the same century.

      My point was that although Israelis are armed to the teeth in comparison with any populace in the developed world, and unlike Americans they've got widespread access to automatic weapons, still there are no contextless mass murders of fellow civilians, such as are all too common in the US, and happen from time to time elsewhere, too.

      None of the many commenters who responded here brought any facts to refute this statement.

    • All three links go back tothe same single source, which is Iranian. Perhaps that's the reason no-one reputable is publishing it, and not a Zionist conspiracy to hush it all up.

    • The only tracable source is Iranian. Hmmm.

    • You've never been in Jerusalem when an American president (or the Pope) is in town, Phil. The place gets shut down.

    • Have you ever noticed how the number of Israelis walking around with fully automatic weapons (which tend to be illegal in the US) is startingly high, and yet Israel has never had a single Columbine- or Aurora-style senseless mass-murder?

  • Stand With Us to run counter-ads to maps showing loss of Palestinian land
    • No Palestinian militias? Huh? Of course they had militias. In the 1930s they had them, and in the 1940s, and in March 1948 it even looked like they were winning. Who was Abdul-Kadr Husseini? Fawzi Kaukji? Who blocked the road to Jerusalem for months? Who won the battle of Nebi Daniel? Who conquered Kfar Etzion in May 1948? Who did most of the fighting in the Old City, forcing the Jews out of the Jewish Quarter in May 1948?

  • Election theatrics: Obama to sign bill that gives Israel $70 million while Romney hints Jerusalem is capital
    • Not only is Jerusalem the capital of Israel, it's also recognized as such by every single political leader from other countries, from American presidents down, when they make officials visits to Israel's leaders in Jerusalem.

    • A capital is the city in which a country stores its institutions of government. Since Israel's institutions of government are almost all in Jerusalem (the ministry of defense is in Tel Aviv), and in addition roughly 100% of the citizens call Jerusalem the capital - whether they're in favor of dividing it or not - it's hard to see what case can be made that it isn't. Perhaps, one might say, it OUGHTN'T be, but in the meantime it clearly is.

  • EU upgrades Israel because 'nobody wants fuss' with Jewish community or Washington
    • Also, Train, you might be interested in the booming commercial ties between Israel and China. Here's a report from today

    • Train,

      It's hard to know what to make of a statement such as yours. It blatantly lacks any roots in reality - but even as fantasy it's not very convincing: good fantasy starts with a premise which is at least vaguely plausible and then does interesting things with it.

      Here's a site with lots of hard data. I recommend you spend some time on it.

    • And your evidence for this, Justice, is...?

      You may be right that many Europeans dislike Israel. When it comes to buying stuff, however, they seem to have no problems with buying it from Israel when the quality and price are good. Selling stuff to Israel, even more so. Investing in Israel, by all means, since the returns are good. Investing in research in Israel? They're stumbling over each other in the rush to get a piece of the action.

      In all of my interaction with Europeans and Israelis in Europe, which have been going on for deaceds and at times have been quite intensive, I"ve seen animosity directed at the Israelis only extremely rarely. The opposite, however, I've seen all the time. That anecdotal subjective evidence of mine explains the objective facts of growing trade much better than theories about how Israel's trade exists mostly because of AIPAC, as Phil seems to think.

    • Greenwood found one annonymous source whose opinion fits the Guardian's party line, and we're to believe it outwieghs the commercial interests of the EU decision makers. If they were merely trying to suck up to the Jews, they could have offered upgrades in 2 fileds, or 6: but why 60?

      Sorry Phil. The Europeans are upgrading their commercial relations with Israel at a time of acute European crises because trading with Israel is good business. That's the way the world works.

  • Netanyahu adopts Facebook strategy to claim sovereignty over Jerusalem for the Olympics
  • Bulgarian Foreign Minister: Mistake to blame 'any country or organization' for Burgas attack at this point
  • Backer of NY ads exposing Palestinian land-loss says response has been 'astounding' and news 'coverage is pouring in'
    • You'll be surprised to know, Seafoid, that I agree that the occupation is morally wrong, and should have ended long ago. Yet even as we agree on that, we disagree on about 92% of what gets said on this site. Or 98%.

      Food for thought.

    • Sin Nombre -

      There's nothing new in regarding the Jews as being unusually evil in one way or another. That's the point of the story of Jew hatred, and it's been going on since people started blaming Jews for killing God.

    • The problem with the maps isn't that they're antisemitic. It's that they're factually false. The earliest looks at property owned by individual Jews, without asking what property was owned by individual Palestinians. The next looks at a line drawn by the United Nations, accepted by the Yishuv but violently rejected by the entire Arab world. The third tells of a limited agreement between nations, defined at the time by the Arab states as temporary. The fourth also tells of a temporary agreement, for the first time in the series one of them being Palestinian, and carefully omits Areas B & C, an essential part of that agreement, implying falsely that they are controlled by Israel in the same way as inside the Green Line.

      For the consecutive ones to be comparable with the first, it would have to show privately owned land of both ethnic groups, irrespective of citizenship, at all stages - or, perhaps, political control at all stages. Were it to do either, the graphic would be very different... but that's the point. The creator of the map wasn't interested in history, facts, intellectual coherence. He or she was interested in making a propaganda point.

  • Zionism as a political movement is dead
    • You know, Phil, I'm beginning to think you and your readership actually believe this. After many centuries in which Jews had no political movement, and certainly no political power as a nation, you now think their political movement is dead, even as their State flourishes, close to half the world's Jews live in it, and most of the others are committed to it. True, some aren't - mostly in the progressive corner of American Jewry. But there's no indication their position impresses that of all the rest.

      In a recent post Adam scoffed that a certain Israeli position looks like a belief in the earth being flat. How is your position in this post any more credible, Phil?

  • Psst lazybones-- time to contribute to our summer fundraiser!
    • I'm a regular visitor, but my motives are not the ones you attribute to me. I'm not alone, either. Reading Mondoweiss doesn't have to mean agreeing with Mondoweiss.

  • Head's up Mr. President-- Romney's going to Israel
    • At the same point in the campaign 4 years ago, Obama did the same. I even remember being held up in traffic as he left the Kind David hotel one evening.

  • Roger Waters urges Presbyterians to divest
  • Syria: No to intervention, no to illusions
  • Tablet's editor ostriches in Jlem: there is no 'emotional, psychological or spiritual emergency' for Israel
    • You see, Seafoid, the problem with your method is that you cherrypick the parts of the story that bolster your thesis while pretending the rest of it doesn't exist. Also, you don't evaluate your sources: if someone said it' it's fine, irrespective of that somone's authority, or agenda, or if there are other authorities saying the opposite. Finally, you confuse trees for the forest. there are always parts of the picture which are unpleasant, regretable, unfortunate and so on. That's life.

      My statement, on the other hand, specifically took the long view. Whether a derpessed EU economy is importing less while a growing Asian one is importing more, is a significant trend, is hard to know when you're in the middle of it. The long term, however, looks at trends not individual cases. Just as the explosion of successful sales of Israeli hi-tech compaines in the past 18 months may be a trend, and it may be a new norm. It's hard to know.

      As for the housing bubble: I don't know if there is or isn't one. Nor does anyone else. So you are free to your opinions, which you state clearly, and I'll keep mine.

    • Actually, Shingo, Israel has "gobbled up" considerably less land in the past decade than it evacuated. I understand that the universal opinion on this website is that Israel is constantly grabbing ever more Palestinian land on the West Bank, but the reality is that it isn't. Here and there it has of course happened, regretably, but by and large the additions to the settlements are limited, and most of them happen within the existing perimeters of the settlements. Actually, most of them happen within the perimeters of rather few settlements in identifiable blocks. The heyday of Israeli settlements, when new ones were sprouting up all over the place, was in the early 1980s, and has long since past into history.

    • Kruass could be right, of course, tho he has the intellectual integrity to note that it may take many years for this to become clear.

      And he could be wrong. Seen from the perspective of thousands of years of unbroken history, it's hard to find a period in the past many centuries in which the objective position of the Jews was better than it now is. The Jews of Spain in the 13-14th century had it pretty good, but they were only a fragment of the entire nation. The three communites of Judea, Alexandria and Mesopotamia had it good at different moments between the 3rd century BCE and the 5th century CE, though most of the time there was no full Jewish political sovereignty.

      Sovereignty plus widespread economic well-being plus personal freedom all at the same time have been exceedingly rare in the past 2600 years, and in spite of what many of the Mondoweiss community are convinced, there are precious few indicators that the current conditions are headed towards any sort of a catastrophe. Meanwhile, in Israel, the conditions of the Palestinians of Israeli citizenship are consistently improving, thus strengthening Israel further.

      Even the Palestinians of the West Bank have it better now than a decade ago, and there is hope that a protracted period of relative calm will eventually lead to the ability of the two sides to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. This would have seemed highly improbable a decade ago.

    • Actually, she's right. in Israel no such emergency exists. It may exist in certain sections of American Jewry, though it certainly doesn't exist in the growing orthodox section of American Jewry. As for the others, I'd say Newhouse is in a reasonably good position to have an informed opinon. Poking fun of her because you disagree isn't solid argumentation, it's merely poking fun.

  • Israeli army OK's attack dogs as 'non-lethal weapons'
    • I think what he means, Annie, is that it was the homeland of the Jews before it was the homeland of the Arabs, Palestinians or otherwise. I don't think he means first as in "previously empty". If so his point is hardly controversial. Unless of course you'd like to refute the history of Christianity, or the Roman Empire, of Hellenism, of the Persian empire, of ancient Egypt, and so on.

      You might of course say that it's not very important, one way or the other; better to concentrate on the present and future than on ancient history. But you see, the ancient history is part of the present conflict. Most Israeli Jews will easily recongnize a conflict between two groups, each of which has legitimate claim to the same tiny land. Most Palestinian figures who engage in negotiations or inform Palestinian public opinion, reject the Jewish claim. This dynamic makes attainment of some sort of compromise effectively impossible, or at least it has so far.

    • Daniel: No 2nd or 3rd generation holocaust survivors are entitled to German compensation.

  • Settlers burn wheat fields, chop down olive trees, and release wild boars on to Palestinian crops
    • You're right, Sumud. Why are they? And after you explain that, I'd like to know why (and HOW) they're keeping wild boars? And how they've trained the boars to cause damages to the specific fields they "aim" them at? And if they've managed to do all that, how come they're so inept that they leave traces that identify them, so that we know that the boars who ate the crops weren't just regular boars going about their business with nary any cajoaling from the settlers?

      Of course I'm disputing Maan. And also, Mahmoud Abbas, who publicly made this same claim last year. But I'm also questioning the judgement of whoever swallows this tall-tale, including Kate and Mondoweiss who hosts her.

    • Wild boars, Kate? Kind of like the sharks near Sharm-el-Sheikh last year, right?

  • Israel's reliance on US has turned it into a 'global pariah'
    • Isn't it interesting how researchers such as Pappe have access to Israeli archives? You'd think, if the country was as bad as it's routinely made out to be here at MW, that they'd do something to keep their critics away from their documents. Democracies all open their archives, or at least the de-classified sections of them; non-democracies don't. I guess Israel is in the first camp.

    • Since I see people are citing documents from the Israeli archives on this thread, might anyone have any links to the actual documents themselves? Has anyone here seen them? I assume they're in Hebrew, but maybe someone has an English translation?

      I ask because it's the easiest thing to say "there's a document that says...", but it's common practice, in such a case, to supply a footnote to the document itself so as to enable other people to evaluate if the document really says what's being attributed to it.

  • Why was political adviser Axelrod present when Obama and security aides picked 'kill list'?
    • It's a fascinating report, above all for the way it show that real leaders who wield real power and have to answer for real failures that result in their own people dying, more aften than not behave differently than they thought they would when the had none of the power and responsibility. Nothing surprising about that, of course, but the transformation of Barack Obama is an unusually clear example.

      It also shows the futility of using legal tools to resolve moral issues. Lawyers interpret laws according to their needs; when a lawyer becomes President, he'll find legal justifications for the decisions he feels he has to make, not the other way around.

      Which is the way it should be.

  • 'NYT' chronicles underground passage from Egypt to Gaza
    • seafoid -

      The reason I frequent this site (when I frequent it) is to probe the insights you people have, and to see what responses different comments generate. It's fascinating, I assure you, and I appreciate the opportunity.

    • Tree,

      I assure you, I'm far better informed than most people on this site, though I choose to remain anonymous - as do many others.

      The link you sent me to, in case you haven't noticed, is from January 2007. A bit of water have flowed down the Mississippi since then, you know? The Nile, too. I assure you - from direct knowledge, not from websites - that the Israelis have no control over the decisions the Egyptians make about what crosses their border with Gaza and what doesn't. If there are still tunnels under the Egyptian border with Gaza, it's not because of any Israeli policy, pressure, or secret domination over the Egyptians.

      Further down you cite another Gisha report, from the beginning of 2010. Again, it my have slipped your attention, but in the early summer of 2010 Israel made some major changes to its policy on what could or couldn't enter (and leave) Gaza through the Israeli border crossings, so that your source is no longer relevant. But even if it were, this thread is about the Egyptian border, not the Israeli one, so it's irrelevant.

    • Allison,

      One of the main themes of this report is that the correspondent is afraid she'll be hit by an Israeli bomb, while the tunnel operators find her fears humorous. She speculates that perhaps they've become innured to the constant danger. Yet an earlier New York Times report offers a different explanation: that the tunnel operators are fully aware that Israel doesn't attack civilian tunnels, only military ones; this would indicate that the tunnel operators Ms. Izzedien talked to were unafraid, because there's nothing to be afraid of.

      And note: the source for that earlier NYT report were... the tunnel operators themselves.

    • Israel, Annie? The tunnels run under the Egyptian border.

  • High Israeli official hints, We made the Flame virus
    • Daniel -

      The experience of Jews being afraid of their surroundings is not new. Some try and hide their identity, others flaunt it, and both phenomenons go back centuries, and of course pre-date Zionism.

    • I responded to this above, Woody. Now we wait to see if it passes the moderator. Some of my comments do, others don't, and never because I use uncivil language.

    • Actually, Djinn, while I indeed have a broad range of qualifications and experience, in a number of unrelated fields, there are vast segments of human activity I know nothing about. I do my best never to say anything about them. But yes, swathes of the discussions on this website fall into the areas I'm very well qualified to address. More so than many of the other people who comment here, tho I don't recollect you complaining about their occasional unfounded comments.

    • Shingo -

      You've never designed a complex software system, have you. So here's some food for thought. Softare companies invest large, sometimes even enormous sums in developing large systems. Then, once they've got a product to market, they collect additional large sums - sometimes millions of dollars - from organizations who wish to implement their products. The reason for this is that while the out-of-the-box product does address the needs of the client organizations, it can't deal with the specifics of each client.

      The idea that a piece of software designed for one kind of an organization - a manager of centrifuges, say - could inadvertently impact a totally different kind of organization - a nuclear reactor, say - is laughable.

    • Theo -

      For many years the Israelis had a policy of granting visas to any German born after 1927, while investigating applicants born earlier. (Do the math). By sometime in the 1980s, however, the policy was dropped, and the requirement for Germans to acquire visas was also dropped, and no-one asked the question anymore. So, yes, I think it's pretty clear the Israelis regarded even Germans old enough to have been Nazis on a case-by-case method.

      I don't know why this is relevant to the blogpost about Flame, but since you asked, that's the factual answer.

    • And the underlying issue, Woody, is... what? Stuxnet attacked centrifuges. No nuclear reactor has centrifuges, which fit into a different part of the chain of supply. I'm rejecting the allegation made by CloakandDagger that Israel and the US 'will have doomed millions of people around the world on a scale never seen before." I think any reasonable person would agree, since it's a harsh allegation, and there's no credible reason to accept it.

    • Annie and MRW-

      According to all credible sources, Stuxnet attacked centrifuges. There were never any centrifuges at Fukushima, or at any other reactor for that matter, because reactors don't use centrufuges. The centrifuges are meant to produce enriched Uranium, which will then later be worked into the rods which fuel reactors.

      If you've got any credible evidence to refute this, please present it. Until then, the allegation is outlandish. The fact that one can use google to find outlandish allegations merely demonstrates there are lots of lies on the Internet.

      Remember, this sub-thread started when CloakandDagger insinuated that Israel and the USA "will have doomed millions of people around the world on a scale never seen before." That's a serious thing to say, and any reasonable person should reject it with disdain, or demonstrate why it might be true. No-one here has done either, prefering instead to attack me for pointing out the wierdness of the claim.

    • So: damned if they did it, and damned if they didn't.

    • American -

      I rather doubt that the readers of Mondoweiss are "the world". So far as I can see, sometimes Israel's version is accepted, sometimes it isn't; many people support Israel no matter what, others damn it no matter what; demographically, most of the world's 7 billion people probably don't much care one way or the other.

      30 years ago Israel had diplomatic relations with fewer than half the world's nations; today it has relations with almost all the non-Muslim ones, and it has commercial relations even with some of those. I don't see what irrefutable evidence there is for your statement, beyond wishful thinking.

    • Annie -

      your long response illustrates one of the characteristics of discussions on Mondoweiss: the reluctance to evaluate sources by quality, and the propensity to evaluate them by content. Thus, a set of crackpot websites versus the mainstream media about what Stuxnet did or didn't do: who knows? They're all equally on the internet so how are we to tell? Or the entire mainstream media versus an insider among the decision-makers with access to information which may take years to reach the public: the media is on the internet, the classified deliberations happen behind closed doors in carefully guarded installations: who knows? How can one possibly tell which is more reliable? The ones that are on the Internet, at least they can be linked to, so they must have the truth.

      And then of course, there's the tried and proven method: if it supports an Israeli narrative it must be hasbara, being disseminated by "ziobots"; if it damns Israel, there can be no doubt it's simple self evident truth.

    • Woody - According to the update Ira added to his own post, it was probably the Americans, not the Israelis - unless the Israelis have truly awesome capabilities.

      The thrust of your statement, however, is that since Israel sometimes does bad things, anything it ever does is bad. (Except you used the more forceful word 'evil'). This is a common sentiment on Mondoweiss, but that doesn't make it rational, and certainly not logical. As for historical: I'd say that no nation in the historyof the world ever committed only evil. None, ever.

      Do you still insist?

    • That I'm the French developer of Stuxnet, you mean? nah.

    • OK, Annie, I did. This, for instance, is purest innuendo, even if it's on the website of a respectable university

      This one
      isn't even innuendo. All it says is that there were siemens computers in both places (I assume they mean Siemens systems, not Siemens computers, but why nit-pick).

      This one isn't even spelled correctly, but again, all it is empty speculation.

      Then there's this link:
      beside the erronous "fact" that stuxnet attacks nuclear cooling rods, it contains the allegation that the entire earthquake and tsunami were man-made:
      We can also divulge that the 9.0 - 9.1 earthquake and tsunami that hit the nation of Japan was a meteorological terrorist attack launched against Japan by the out-of-control New World Order (NWO) elite who have decided that at least 25% of the world's population must be eliminated before the final financial meltdown collapses the world economy.
      The technology used in these meteorological black ops are commonly known as HAARP and Tesla.

      Are you certain you wish to stand by your position, Annie? No second thoughts?

    • Any substantiation whatsoever for that, Cloak? It's a serious allegation. If it can be supported, even only partially, it should be touted loudly. If not, it's merely slander.

      I never read anywhere that stuxnet had any sort of capabillity to effect functioning reactors at all. In all the endless verbiage about it, this claim was naver made.

    • Seems like a badge of honor. Someone, whoever, invested a tremendous effort in being as fully informed as humanly possible. No one was killed, no one was persecuted. Someone did a spot of successful spying. What could possibly be objectionable about that?

  • Haaretz's 'Palestinian and Arab Affairs correspondent' will speak at event for US Friends of the Israeli army
    • Avi Issacharoff is arguably the best journalist in Israel. He has spent decades on one rather narrow beat, gaining an enormous amount of knowledge about it. He speaks perfect Arabic, of course, and maintains excellent personal relations with Palestinians of all walks of life and diverse political persuasions. When Fatah and Hamas don't talk to each other, members of both groups always talk to him. His politics lie to the left side of Israel's political map, but he never allows his politics to interfere with his reporting.

      If you don't know Arabic yourself, the second best way to understand what's going on in Palestinian society is to read Avi Issacharoff.

      Anyone interested in the lives of the Palestinians should go listen to him if he's in your neighborhood, no matter who is offering him the platform. Assuming one is interested in the reality, not the slogans, of course.

  • Are Obama and Netanyahu now joined at the hip for election season?
    • Tape, Annie? Huh? Was there some evidence released in 2009 that suddenly clarified to the Israeli voters that Netanyahu had been fooling them back in 1999? I get the impression that you (and also Phil) think that Israeli voters gather their information about their own situation from the same sort of online sources (in English) that you like to visit. I assure you this is false. Israelis glean their information from the wide plethora of sources which present themselves to anyone who lives in their own society; online sources in a foreign language are way down at the bottom of the list.

      The same is true of Palestinians, of course. And Russians. And Malaysians. This is one of the many reasons the readers at Mondoweiss have such an odd view of the situation, a view mostly unrecognizable to any of the locals.

    • Citizen -

      Your opinion of the ability of more than 200,000,000 American voters to think for themselves - or rather, your conviction that they can't - is offensive in the extreme.

    • You know, woody, I wonder if you've ever met living Israelis, and made an honest effort to understand their relationship to Palestinians. And I wonder if you've ever met living Palestinians, beyond the ocasional activist who makes it out to wherever you are, and made an effort to understand their relationship to Israelis. Because there's precious little hard evidence for the sort of sentiments you attribute to them so thoughtlessly, and mountains of contradictory evidence. This isn't to say there isn't a real conflict - of course there is. But it's largely a conflict between two groups who recognize the other side as flesh-and-blood people, not cardboard images; and it's a conflict populated by large numbers on both sides who recognize the complexity of the reality they live in, even as they firmly reject fundamental positions of the other side.

    • You're right that it isn't Annie. But the reason isn't that no-one forces it onto the agenda, rather the opposite. For decades the Israel-Palestine issue was the defining line of division in Israeli politics. Eventually, the political left convinced a large majority of Israelis they had to end the occupation and make peace with a sovereign Palestine. A few years later, the right and the Palestinians themselves convinced a large majority of the Israelis that partition wouldn't work. So, having spent decades (literally) focusing obsessively on the issue, the Israelis decided early in the previous decade that it was not possible to resolve it, and they moved on. No external pressure will force them to change their mind. Would you change your mind about an existential matter because someone on the other side of the world demanded it of you? Or would you write off that faraway foreigner as hopelessly confused?

    • Why do you think that Israeli voters decide who to vote on based on any American figures, presidential or otherwise? And do you seriously think large numbers of American voters decide who to vote for based on what Israelis tell them?

      I always thought the main issue for American voters is the economy, certainly in an election year such as this one; and the issues for Israelis are Israeli issues, not American ones. The fact that Israel's economy sailed unscathed through the world's economic crises is surely vastly more important to Israeli voters than anything Peter Beinart might have to say, no? Especially as almost no Israelis beyond the very small readership of Haaretz have ever even heard of Beinart, and Remnick or Perlman: who are they?

      Finally, you seem to assume that the liberal elite in New York sees the situation in Israel with clearer eyes than the Israelis themselves. This is unlikely, but even were it true, it only reinforces the certainty that the Israelis (the ones who can vote for or against Netanyahu) will do so according to how they understand the world, not the way the outsiders see it.

      I expect the same goes for American voters. They vote according to what they see and understand, not what outsiders tell them.

  • BDS Scorecard: Methodists recommend sanctions & boycotts; reject divestment
  • Israel closes investigation of those responsible for al Samouni family massacre, no legal action taken
    • Always one for civility, aren't you Shingo.

      I read it, I wrote about it, and the report consistently claimed that the evidence it had collected must demonstrate Israeli intentions. That was the lynchpin of the entire war-crimes pronouncement. Without proven intent there can be no war crimes.

    • Sumud -

      I've read the entire report, all 575 pages of it, slowly and carefully. One of its many weaknesses is that it purports to know what the IDF intended, without having any access whatsoever to the decision-making process in Israel. True, Israel didn't offer the information, but still, the fact remains that the commission didn't have it. Lacking this information, there is no logical grounding for many of the pronouncements of the commission - and perhaps, for all we know, no factual basis, either.

    • Stevieb -

      The discussion is about legal proceedings, not emotions. Legal proceedings must start with empirical evidence that will plausibly convince a court, and they end once the court (or the top level court if there are appeals) rules as to whether the evidence was convincing or not. Not only are emotions such as bereavement or a relationship to the victims not acceptable, judges who have them are expected to recuse themselves.

      In cases where the judges find insufficient evidence to convict, no-one will be convicted and certainly nooe will be punished, no matter how heinious the original action may have been.

      Would you wish to live in any orther sort of country than one that operated by such rules?

    • Huh, Sumud? The UN report came out in 2010, and the IDF investigation was completed just recently, in 2012. It rejects previous findings - go read the item at the top of this thread. That's the whole point of the discussion, isn't it?

    • Sumud,

      The present decision of the IDF comes after the Goldstone report, and represents precisely such a claim. You may choose to dislike it, but you can't say no such claim was made.

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