Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 5193 (since 2009-08-12 22:27:08)

yonah fredman

"i am a zionist who believes in a two state solution." This was my profile sentence for the last three years. Here is my update: The two state solution is striking in its simplicity and its legal basis on the 1947 partition resolution and UN Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967. A US president should certainly pursue this direction. But unelected to the US presidency, I am not so limited. Recent calls from various parts of the Israeli political spectrum to grant the right to vote (in Israeli elections) to West Bank Palestinians appeals to me. The trick is to turn this idea into a policy of the state. Granted this would not solve Gaza or the refugees, but it would be a giant step, if not a leap. Another addendum: Shlomo Sand is the last person I thought would "buck me up" in my Zionism, but he has. The attempt to dismantle Israel in the one state plans offered will not result in a solution, and I think that at some point the situation will clarify itself into forcing israel to turn itself into a nation of its citizens and to get Israel to withdraw from the West Bank. As Sand says things don't look good from here.

Showing comments 5193 - 5101

  • Just as Dermer turned the White House into a diplomatic battlefield, Danon will do the same at the UN
    • The United Nations is inherently hostile territory to Israel at least since 1975. The United States is Israel's most important ally. Comparing appointing even someone highly objectionable (to me and not only to you) like Danon to the UN post to the appointment of Dermer to the US post is ridiculous. The US post is a major post, the UN post, despite its high visibility is a minor post in comparison.

  • Racism is part of the landscape in the southern Israeli town of Dimona
    • I was just about to ask about the Arabic and you beat me to the punch and told me that it's poorly written. I read it as, la nfkr l'msh fatah yhudiya. i would think that "don't think" second person singular would be "la tfkr" and not"la nfkr" and I have no idea what l'msh means. fatah yhudiya means young females of the jewish persuasion. please teach me how the correct spelling would look like.

  • Over 1,000 Black activists, scholars and artists sign statement supporting freedom and equality for Palestinian people
    • Keith- I know about Yair Stern's (Lehi or FFI or Stern Gang) contacts or attempts to contact the Nazi party. But Begin and the IZL? Please explain.

  • Aftermath of Iran Deal: a divided lobby, but Biden's camp says he has 'Jews'
  • Leading Israeli journalist says Israel is an Apartheid state
    • just- there are laws on the books against Palestinians inside Israel proper. I certainly think the term legal discrimination is apt. I would not use the term apartheid to describe what goes on in Israel proper. There is a battle to be fought to improve the situation inside Israel. That battle is now going the wrong way.

      bintbiba- No it wouldn't kill me to use the language you pick for me to use. Still I tend to use the language that I choose rather than the language that you choose. You must have a need to be angry at somebody.

      ritzl- your question is rhetorical. you apparently need someone to be angry at.

    • It's "apartheid" on the West Bank. (I include quotation marks, because I'm not a student of South Africa, but...) it's unjust and wrong and headed in a bad direction on the West Bank. I am not willing to join hands with the BDS movement, although I do not object to Peter Beinart's limited boycott (but when I travel in Israel and the quickest bus from Beit Shean to jerusalem is through the west bank I travel through the West Bank despite the politics. I purchase items in the Old City of Jerusalem and not only from the indigenous, although I prefer to purchase a water for five shekels from the indigenous rather than pay 6 shekels to the settlers in the Rova, Jewish quarter. Some of my favorite spots in Jerusalem are in the old city and I do not avoid those spots because of politics.)

      I don't know how the future will unfold.

  • In latest thrust at Obama, Netanyahu names UN ambassador who trashed him and said Palestinians can have 'Facebook state'
    • Phil Weiss labels centrist David Horowitz as right wing. To some here Peter Beinart is right wing and then Horowitz who is to the right of Beinart is for sure right wing. But otherwise what does the assessment mean? That he opposes a two state solution? That he opposes the Iran deal? I know Horowitz does not oppose a two state solution and I assume he opposes the Iran deal in principle, although he is probably pragmatic now that it has been signed. But what precisely qualifies someone as right wing? (Granted Gideon Levy is left wing. Amira Hass is left wing and Avrum Brug is left wing. Is Ari Shavit right wing? Is there any such thing as a centrist according to Phil Weiss?)

  • Jeffrey Goldberg's melodramatic apology for Chuck Schumer
    • If Schumer's vote was merely symbolic, there would really be nothing wrong with it. It would mark his opposition to the Iran regime, a regime which may be slowly changing, but certainly one that deserves contempt for its past and present and fear of its future. Further it is certainly within the realm of reason to vote against a pact when one feels or thinks that a better deal was indeed feasible. (It is only because Obama's term in office is limited to two terms and therefore coming to its end, that Obama was in a hurry to reach an agreement that led to this situation where we, the United States and the world, ended up with this agreement. It is entirely conceivable that if Obama had another term in office coming his way, he could have pressured Iran for another few years and come up with a better agreement than this one. He was elected president and he decided that he was not going to let this opportunity pass, because his term in office is ending and this is the best deal that could be achieved at this moment in time.) As such to vote in opposition to the pact to register the fact that one believes that a better deal was achievable a few years down the line, is certainly within the realm of reason. Schumer's vote though may not be merely symbolic. It might mark in effect the defeat of the pact or at least the defeat of the US part in the pact and this could lead to the unraveling of the inspections that Iran has agreed to. As such it is incumbent on Schumer and those who oppose the pact to present a credible description of what would happen as a result of the Congress blocking the pact. I don't think he has done that. The non presentation of an alternative (given the facts) really does not seem to add up to treachery, but does seem to add up to irresponsibility.

  • Roundtable on the Palestinian solidarity movement and Alison Weir
    • Stephen- How many big bankers are there in this country? What assets or loans or actions must a banker undertake in order to be categorized as a big banker? How many of the big bankers are Jews? This statement that there is a highly disproportionate number of Jews among the big bankers in this country should be backed up by facts. Otherwise it is not a fact, but a supposition.

  • 'Bernie, what about justice 4 Palestine?'
    • It is always dangerous to call a candidate a sure thing when a single ballot has yet to be counted. Just ask Ed Muskie. (You'll have to use a seance.) Still New Hampshire certainly does not reflect the Democratic Party and I still have to consider Hillary the favorite. But not the shoo-in that I once thought. The American public gets tired of yesterday's stars and always hungers for the new and Hillary has had much more than 15 minutes. (It is almost 24 years since her "stay home and bake cookies" appearance at half time of the Super Bowl in 1992).

      One other factor: If on the initial vote by the Congress if the block the deal folks get more than 2/3rds of both houses, the override vote will be fierce and ugly and it's tough to be sure exactly what it will look like and how that will overflow into the presidential contest.

  • President Obama wants us to argue about the special relationship
    • President Obama will do much to protect this his sole foreign policy accomplishment, this pact with Iran. If it requires getting America to discuss the special relationship, he's willing to go that far. But if he can get it passed (or protected from override) without such a discussion, there is no reason to believe that he wants this discussion. I predict that this pact will not be vetoed by the congress and that after this skirmish is over, he will not press the point. If he goes and abstains in a french resolution at the UN regarding a reinterpretation of 242, then that will be the sign that he wants such a discussion.

  • Former Iranian political prisoners urge U.S. support for Iran Deal
    • This is from the Daily Beast. August 14th. link to

      Iranian dissidents opposed to the deal.

      Iranian human rights activists warn the West not to give money to the regime that terrorizes them.

      In the past few weeks, some Iranian activists have vocally supported the nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 (China, Russia, France, United Kingdom, United States and Germany). While we deeply respect the experience and views of these men and women, it is important to hear all perspectives.

      We represent another collection of Iranian activists who share the world's hope for a better future but believe that appeasing the Iranian regime will lead to a more dangerous world.

      We have spent our lives advocating for peace, justice and freedom in Iran. We represent a diverse array of Iranians who hope to warn the world of the danger of this regime regardless of how many centrifuges spin in Iran.

      “This money will not be spent on the Iranian people but rather to enrich a repressive regime.”
      This deal will provide up to $150 billion windfall of cash into the bank account of our tyrants and theocrats. This money will not be spent on the Iranian people but rather to enrich a repressive regime.

      Sadly, the world has not demanded real improvements in human rights. Thousands of activists continue to languish behind bars (including several Americans) and it is tragic that their release was not included in these discussions.

      We are sounding the alarm bells before it is too late. Those who care about peace should help restore focus to the Iranian regime’s brutal human rights records, its support for global terror and role in destabilizing the Middle East. More pressure should be applied to the regime, not less.

      One day when the Iranian people are finally free, they will hold an accounting of who stood on their side and who stood on the regime's. It is not too late to hold the Iranian regime accountable for their continued human rights violations.

      Today in Iran, political prisoners are tortured. Bloggers, journalists and teachers remain behind bars. Sexual and religious rights are trampled. Women are treated as second class citizens.

      Western apologists and appeasers of Iranian theocracy do no favors to the Iranian people. They distance the likelihood of positive change and undercut the hopes of the Iranian people.

      When the Iranian regime no longer fears its people, then the world will no longer have a reason to fear the Iranian regime.

      For the list of signatories look at the Daily Beast link.

      (Given that the deal has already been signed, I am in favor of the Congress not overturning the US participation in the deal. But certainly the voices of the dissidents should be heard.)

  • Rightwing Israeli violence on the rise as leader calls for arson attacks on churches
    • Regarding Gopstein and his incitement to burn churches: The tension between the content of the Torah which is quite intolerant towards any religion that is not Judaism and certainly any religion that has icons, and the modern conception of tolerance of belief and freedom of religion is something that is a natural tension. (Reestablishing a Jewish "kingdom" after so long, trying to combine liberalism and Jewish traditions, will lead to the contradictions being laid bare.) The existence of uncertainty regarding Israel's borders, the existence of a large Jewish community in a territory where they (the Jews) have a right to vote and the others (the nonJews) have no right to vote, creates a lawlessness, a protected status for some and a powerless vulnerable status for others, a contradiction to democracy or at least the aspirations of western style democracy. The occupation and the settler movement accentuate the contradictions between old style Judaism (circa 1800) and liberalism. Old style Judaism was tolerant towards Christian icons when they were subjects in a state and worried only about themselves and not the worship of the predominant population. But with the establishment of a Jewish state, the temptation to impose a belief system on the population comes together with the desire to assert sovereignty. In other words: orthodox Judaism never went through a reformation or an adjustment to reality that occurred during the reformation in Europe and the separation of church and state that has evolved in the last few centuries. How to impress liberal values on the mind of a Gopstein, when his values are those of the intolerant Torah, there is no natural process to this adjustment that the western countries accomplished over centuries.

  • 'They are the terrorists'–-Palestinians mourn a second death from settler arson attack
    • Artwork inside the burned-out Dawabshe home blames the Israeli government for the firebombing. - See more at: link to

      The dastardly murderous arson was a horrible act. Indeed the occupation created conditions that exacerbate hatred and create a vacuum that is filled by acts of hatred and the current government is part and parcel of this occupation, hatred and vacuum.

      The artwork is too neatly summed up in the words that you use in the caption. It is a Jewish hand with a Jewish menorah burning Palestine. The colors of the clothing on the arm of the hand holding the menorah are the colors of the flag and the menorah is a symbol of the Jewish state.

  • Shocker: 'NYT' runs front page press release for AIPAC warning Obama to cool his jets
    • unverified- why do you mention quenelle? to titillate?

    • It isn't yet clear if there is a real chance for Bibi to get enough votes to override the coming veto. But Obama is laying the ground work for an all out battle if it should come to that. Those that fear that Obama is pushing too hard are being silly. This is the entirety of Obama's legacy in regards to foreign policy. (Rhetorical excess but not by much.) Do you think he will let it get defeated by Bibi without a fight? Do you think he will fight with one arm tied behind his back? He will fight with his entire arsenal.

      (BTW, although Makovsky is part of the Israel Lobby which is by definition right wing, particularly while Bibi is Prime Minister, he is no right winger himself. Unless everyone to the right of Peter Beinart is a right winger.)

  • Iran Deal Latest: AIPAC lies and, in a first, Schumer runs from the cameras
    • What if it’s a society of 80 million mostly educated people trying to maintain its end of a regional power struggle? - See more at: link to This hypothetical ignores the power of the imams in Iran. I know that after the revolution khomeini or the students had moderates killed for being insufficiently anti west. I know that was a while ago. i don't know exactly what role the passage of time plays, but i think this "maintain its end of a regional power struggle" really ignores the history. of course the history of US 1954 intervention and Shah imposition gets mentioned over and over again. but is the influence of Khomeini dead? what is this new iran? who are these new imams and what credibility do they possess? I read that the capital punishment in iran went through the roof recently. is this true? if so, what is this talk about 80 million educated people. it is not a stable administration there and this is not analysis it is belief in hope for the sake of hope.

      i am not opposed to the nuclear deal with iran. I would vote in favor of it if i were a congressman. i really oppose defeating this deal. it looks to me like a stupid move on bibi's part. he is not thinking ahead to the day after. i must aver that i am not a rocket scientist and lacking the evidence to prove the efficacy of Obama's deal i do not argue its virtue. it is in the context of the sweep of history and my gut reaction that i oppose those who would stop this deal. i believe that it will go through and i believe that it should, given american history.

      it is feasible that the imams are really powerless and the will of the people of Iran is being accomplished and except for their hatred of israel which i oppose and which others here favor, the current imams are essentially merely regional power players, rather than heirs of a dangerous ideology. I know little about the specifics of Khomeini-ism. I do know that Bani Sadr and Ghotzbzadeh were on day one on nightline every night and less than two years later had been executed by the revolutionaries. i do not trust a revolution as bloody as that. if it has evolved to harmlessness... no. i do not believe that.

  • Ideology behind Jewish terrorism is 'official business' of Israeli government -- Avishai and Blumenthal
    • Bernard Avishai, was inaccurate. He said, "last week, the Netanyahu government evacuated a little settlement called Beit El which was started by groups like the Hilltop Youth" - See more at: link to Beit El, which according to wikipedia has some 6,000 inhabitants was NOT evacuated. A few buildings housing a few tens of people built without proper permits were evacuated and demolished by order of the Israeli Supreme Court. Even this limited evacuation was protested with nonlethal violence by the hilltop youth. Why Avishai would give the impression that all of Beit El was evacuated is a mystery to me. Maybe he was pressed for time and did not wish to waste time on speaking accurately, rather than sweepingly.

  • Obama ushers in the crisis of the Israel lobby
    • Never before have I heard Obama go step by step over why he was right to oppose the Iraq war, 13 years after the fact. But he is trying to defeat that “mindset,” which as Paul Pillar says, he can’t identify too explicitly because of political orthodoxies in D.C. THOUGH HE SAID THAT MINDSET'S PARANOIA and reliance on force are inconsistent with American values and he’d be “abrogating” his constitutional duty if he sided with Netanyahu on the Iran Deal. - See more at: link to

      I'd bet 200 dollars that the word paranoia was not in Obama's speech. Please quote me the sentence (or two) that sums up as paranoia in his speech.

  • Following fatal settler attack, Israeli army raids Dawabshe family homes in the West Bank village of Duma
    • tree- sorry I was reacting to something that occurred a few days ago rather than this new piece of news. attacking soldiers in occupied territory is not terrorism. attacking settlers is.

    • bumblebye- The settlers who were attacked were civilians not occupying foreign troops.

  • Obama tells Americans it is 'abrogation of my constitutional duty' to defer to Israel on Iran Deal
    • Recently citizen in the comments section has referred (not in these very words, but in words that meant the same thing) to WWII as a war that the Jews led the United States into.

      And Pat Buchanan has spoken disparagingly about WWII and US participation. Let's be clear. World War II was the birth of the modern world and there was no way for the US to avoid it and those who are still arguing the side of America First circa 1941 are just wrong headed. Hitler was not something that could be condoned. War was the only cure for Hitler.

      (The Japanese alliance with Hitler and the clash between America and Japan in the Pacific is a colonial slugfest and the inevitability of that war or the coincidence of that war and the German reaction to WWI, are of a less inevitable situation. But whoever is willing now in retrospect to envision America sitting out that war has a very contused view of history, in my opinion.

      How does a kid born in 1995 react to WWII? Like ancient history.

      I don't know what FDR could have done for the Jews and there is no precedent in the time of conflict that was unprecedented for a president to worry about anything other than victory. atrocities being committed by the other side are issues for after the war. atrocities of this scale might be unprecedented, but the dawn of modernity was unprecedented and FDR had a war to fight and win. I don't know if Jewish powerlessness in 1942 is similar to other powerlessnesses at the time or before or since.

      In Walker Percy's the Moviegoer, the narrator describes himself as a southerner who reads constantly of the civil war and is always trying to change the past while reading. WWII is kind of like that for me.

      in ian kershaw's fateful decisions hitler's decision to kill the jews is one of the ten decisions. maybe some here feel that kershaw is some kind of a zionist rather than a historian. but there is little question that the primary takeaways of most end of the 20th century historians rated "the holocaust" as one of the primary stories of the century and those here who think different can find their historians as well.

    • Here's an article about karski and reaction to him from the Brits and from to

      If FDR had made a big deal out of the holocaust while it was happening would that have helped deter the nazis. if the german people had been warned about the consequences of their actions would that have deterred the nazis? these are unanswerable questions. bombing the railway tracks has been discredited as a viable method of making a dent in the nazi killing machine by people who know something about making war. i don't know. but one has to wonder about whether FDR decided not to make it an issue because of those who called wwII a jewish war. he could not get out front and say, this is one of the goals of our effort to stop this, because he had to keep the american people rallied behind the cause and he feared that antisemitism or the american first sentiment that still existed (and still exists to this day here in our very own little corner of mw comments) would view such a declaration as an impediment to the war effort. in which case, then if such an announcement would have made a difference in the behavior of the nazis and if fdr refrained from making such an announcement due to his fear of the reaction of the american people, then at least in fdr's mind he had to hide the holocaust from the world in order to keep the american people unified in its effort because he suspected the american people of saying, "so, it is a jewish war after all" and his fear of these "anti jews" was in fact in his mind when he did (nearly?) nothing in reaction to the news brought to him by karski and others.

    • Brewer- The leaders of the free world knew about the Holocaust early on (1942). Their passivity regarding the Holocaust was attributed by Jan Karski to the statelessness of the Jews.

    • I think Obama's speech was particularly effective, particularly in his cool. I doubt that Americans are listening. August is not a month of serious business. In September after Labor Day when the Congress takes its first vote (before the veto) on this matter, that is when the battle will sharpen. If on the first vote there is not a 2/3rds majority, then the game is won. if there is a 2/3rds majority then the battle royal will begin.

      (Obama's cool differs so markedly from Netanyahu's heat. McLuhan cool and heat, of course.)

      Bibi is playing for the history books. "I did my utmost to stop this agreement" he will be able to claim. He is in no danger of losing his reins of power as a result of his policy on Iran. He has already served too long and so the Likud party would be well advised to replace him. Bennett's time, if it comes, is not soon. Likud got 30 seats and Bennett 8 seats, down from 12, explain to me how he is the next prime minister?

  • Reps Deutch, Lowey, and Israel choose Netanyahu over Obama-- and who will bring down the hammer for the Iran Deal?
    • doubtom- Americans by birth had their citizenship removed for blatant treason. Please cite some link or a name I can google. I doubt you.

  • Leading US Jewish group opposes Iran deal, citing 'baseless hatred' of Jerusalem temple destruction 2000 years ago
    • I think this is the meaning of the JCRC in regards to baseless hatred and the destruction of the 2nd temple:
      When you are arguing against this deal keep in mind decorum and love of your neighbor (American neighbor, I'd presume to say), for if you allow hatred to be perceived as your basic attitude, you cannot succeed, for what we are trying to accomplish here is the negation of the destruction of the second temple and since it was destroyed due to baseless hatred, by definition we must personify love in our arguments. (the arguments themselves will be focused on the danger presented by the Iranian regime, but the manner of the arguments must not exemplify hatred but instead keep in mind the destructiveness of hatred.)

  • The deep roots of vigilante violence in Israeli society
    • After the parade, right-wing Israelis gathered in Jerusalem’s Zion Square to celebrate the stabbing rampage. - See more at: link to
      Dan Cohen: Did you see this gathering? How many people participated in this gathering? Where is reportage in relation to this gathering?

  • The two-state pipedream: Israel will move 100s of 1000s of settlers
    • jeff davis quote: the Jews have it now — in accord with the law of violence — and will stay there until the rest of the world decides, as it has repeatedly in the past, that Jewish bad behavior requires correction. - See more at: link to
      Jewish bad behavior repeatedly in the past required correction. What does this mean? Jewish bad behavior required: pogroms, a holocaust, expulsions, ghettos, quotas or threats. Or am I misunderstanding you. if so, please explain. if not, moderators please explain your tolerance for this comment.

    • The value of the two state solution is that it is well delineated: if one accepts the Geneva Accord of 2003. It is also backed by the US, Russia, China, France, Germany and Japan among others.

      The question regarding the two state solution is how? and it is a good question.

      The value of the one state solution is it aims at perfect justice. The question regarding the one state solution is how? and it is a good question. (When I offered the first step as an annexation of the west bank by Israel, which someone admitted later is the obvious first step towards a one state solution, i was roundly excoriated for being a colonialist and a right winger.)

      How do you envision your one state solution coming about, James North? Or is this merely: you call us utopian, well you're no closer to reality than we are? Is that the only takeaway here.

  • The burning of a Palestinian child: not an exception, but a result of Zionism
    • James Baker is famous for telling Israel to give the white house a phone call when it's serious about peace, so I trust him regarding the Middle East. I don't think France will offer up a security council resolution so i don't think Obama will get a chance not to cast a veto. A condemnation of settlements by the UN would be superfluous. I've read about a resolution that would give the parties (PLO and Israel) 18 months to negotiate Israeli withdrawal based upon the 67 borders (allowing for a swap of territory) and in the eventuality of them not reaching an agreement, the UN would reach its own decision regarding the territory. I guess that's fine, but I trust James Baker enough to ask his opinion on this process before placing all my markers betting on it.

      (The Israeli position against a diktat by the UN is well known and given Middle East turmoil the logic of opposing a diktat at this time has its logic as well. I am not optimistic about a major effort by Obama in this direction and my statement about what I would do if I were Obama was more a prediction than a prescription.)

      (The 18 month period after a September or an October UNSC resolution would end up in the first months of a Clinton or a Biden or a Republican presidential administration, and so this kind of ends up in the lap of the next president who will not have the freedom of lame duckness in order to choose the best path for the US and the Middle east.)

    • Annie- After having thought about it a bit, I would advise President Obama to consult with James Baker and whatever James Baker advises that's what he should do.

    • There is no question that the Zionist enterprise brought violence to the Palestinians and to view anything since November of 1947 outside of that context is superficial.
      (Some may think that my exclusion of events prior to November of 1947 is superficial.)
      It is simple to negate Zionism, but it is not simple to turn the clock back to November of 1947. Can a person love a place? Certainly. And I love Jerusalem and have only known that it is called Al Quds much more recently than my love of Jerusalem.
      Soldiers and weapons are everywhere and resentment and turmoil are in many eyes. This does not increase my love of the city. It is not a fact that I can envision tackling head on. Where would I begin?
      In Israeli society there used to be a dividing line between those Jews who were prepared to withdraw from the West Bank and those Jews who saw the West Bank as a value within itself. But in the meantime the facts on the ground created a two tier society or anti society in the West Bank which created a specific continuity or context to the previous situation from 48 to 67. All told acts of violence by the state against Gaza, plus the two tier anti society of the west bank, plus the concept of a "demographic problem" revealed the violence against the refugees of 48 to be part of a singular concept, which is not a workable concept.

      The desire to fix 67 and ignore 48 had (even has) its value in terms of practicality. But 67 was unfixed and remains unfixed and it all adds up to ugliness.

      If I were president Obama how would i react to this? I wouldn't. I would realize that the Palestinian versus Zionist struggle is not going to be solved in the next 17 months and right now my plate is filled with Iran.

  • The normal horrors
    • it is ironic that the word normal is the focus of discussion when the zionists yearned for normalcy.
      normal sometimes means something statistical: near to the norm or the average.
      let me pick one aspect: zionist israeli jewish attitudes towards gaza. the normal attitude adds up to an ugly apathy to the governmental cruelty that has its direct causes in the original exile of the Palestinians in 48, who make up 2/3rds of the population, and the lengthy full fledged occupation , 67 to 2005, followed by the more recent siege, 2005 til today. it would require a truly revolutionary zionist (or is it nonzionist) spirit to look at gaza as some opportunity for turning the past into the past and the future into a different future. but that is a bridge too far. and thus the normal israeli zionist jewish attitude towards gaza is blind and ugly.

  • The extremism of the center in Israel
    • There was a gay pride parade in Tel Aviv this year on June 12th. Yes. Tel Aviv is a safer place for a gay pride parade than Jerusalem.
      link to

    • Certainly violence breeds violence and the stabbing on Thursday of the gay parade in Jerusalem might have provided an added push towards the violence of those who burned and killed in Duma. Certainly the incompetence of the police in dealing with the gay parade attacker recalls the incompetent or unserious attittude of the police in regards to price tag violence. Nonetheless the future shock of modernism juxtaposed to the traditions of a very large chunk of Jerusalem's citizens is a far more natural/understandable phenomenon than the war going on in the West Bank. New York City had its stonewall 45 years ago and only now has instituted gay marriages, in a city known for its libertine ways. Jerusalem is supposed to adjust to the future shock of diversity and tolerance overnight. there is a distinct culture clash. keep an eye on the meshugenes, for sure.

      The west bank is occupied territory (although Israel denies it and tries to call it disputed territory) and the violence that occurs there is 99% the fault of the occupying authorities for allowing civilians to move there and turning that occupation into a settlement occupation. the remedies to the situation today involve imprisoning the rabbis who inspire this murder with their writings and to turn hundreds of thousands of Jewish Israelis living on both sides of the green line into a terrorist population (because of their terrorist philosophies) by definition. Netanyahu with Bennett inside his government will never do anything like that.

    • Shmuel- I too recoiled when I heard Netanyahu's words. (Was it merely a quote that caused the recoil or did I actually hear the voice that augmented the recoil? i think just the quote and the voice that i've learned to hate was merely imagined.)

      I don't know the history of the Irgun fighters that you named. I know there were certainly attacks on Arab populations (Palestinian civilians) undertaken by the Irgun, but you know better than I which of those individuals you named were convicted for attacks on civilians and how many children died in those attacks. Most of those killed hanged by the Brits were killed for antiBritish activity rather than attacks on civilians. If my statistics are wrong, let me know.

  • Palestinian toddler killed in settler price-tag attack
    • Kris- the current government of Israel is filled with people of ill spirit and this government in particular (because it is Begin's party, the Irgun's party, and his commitment to the settler movement), but in fact all governments since 67 share responsibility for the settler movement and Jewish supporters of Israel who support the settler movement are responsible as well.

    • Kris- I said nothing of the sort. I will be more explicit regarding the quotation that you cited.

      The settlers who burned down and killed this child and her family do not represent all settlers. Most settlers will recoil at this cruelty. But all settlers are part of a system of occupation and therefore they too are part of the movement that must share culpability for the acts committed by these settlers. The criminals that did this act are responsible. But the settler movement is also responsible.

    • Netanyahu's rhetoric last summer was abominable and his stance towards Palestinians cannot be interpreted as compassionate.

      The settler movement and its law unto itself has led to this ugly bloody point. There are settlers who are normal and recoil at this cruelty, but the two sets of laws: civil for Jews and military for Palestinians, the two sets of people- voters in Israeli elections and those without any such rights for 48 years of occupation, this imbalance creates the situation where the ugliness has some sort of acceptance as a status quo that can continue.

      The young men smiling and singing after being convicted of burning the bilingual school infuriated me. the ministers who defended the Beit El miniature uprising this past week are demagogues and play to this rabble.

      Ben Gurion chased the Palestinians out of much of 48 israel. Although the years of the Palestinian uprising of the 30's do not strike me as a time of love and hope, the image of Jerusalem and its environs, pre Naqba is very alluring, as if we could only go back in time before this sin, in the days of our innocence. There is no cure in such nostalgia. The murder by these men is raw and horrible.

  • Pelosi says Iran deal has the votes, and Podhoretz urges Israel to attack Iran
    • Podhoretz is dangerous. There is a Strangelovian logic to what he is saying. Looking at the middle east as at a chess board has its virtues, but Podhoretz reveals the limitations. It is not a chess board and fighting wars, such as an attack on Iran that Podhoretz espouses what ever its possible logic, should give pause and Podhoretz takes no pause.

  • Congressional support for Iran deal solidifies-- and Cory Booker pushes back against friendship ultimatums
    • piotr- Do you feel that Iran (strengthened by the end of the sanctions) will be a positive player in Syria? What will Iraq look like if Iran has its way? What will Iraq look like if Iran does not have its way but is a stronger player? What do you want Egypt to look like in 2 years, in 20 years? how will a strengthened iran play a role in your future vision for Egypt.

      I realize that because of Iran's rhetoric over the years plus their support for Hezbollah and Hamas that I am biased against them. But...

      Do you really consider Iran an innocent player in the region? a beneficial player?

      Do you consider the imams to be benevolent dictators? What was the capital punishment rate in Iran last year? in the last few months?

  • You be the judge
    • lysias- If you go to the settlers to find the truth of your bible, you are really hard up. that verse led to the spilling of much blood and it is a verse of which christians ought to be ashamed and not proud.

  • When a U.S. president demanded inspections of a nuclear facility in the Middle East (and failed)
    • Putting the assassination of the Kennedy brothers in the same paragraph with suspicions of Israel regarding 9/11, Iran and Iraq, is the work of a propagandist. Not someone interested in truth. A lover of rumors and innuendo.

  • Iran deal is overwhelmingly supported by American voters -- 54 to 38 percent
    • I support the Congress not overriding Obama's signature on the pact with Iran. It is too complicated to view such an act by Congress as adding up to anything positive. I think it is natural for those who feel protective of the lives of those who live in Israel to feel scared of Iran's intentions and thus to wonder if a pact of a longer duration (for limits on Iranian nuke program) with less loopholes might have been negotiated had other people been in charge of the US negotiating team.

      Some here have scoffed at fears for the population of Israel. I came across two quotes of Khomeini and Rafsanjani that seem to consider such fears well placed. I hope that the thinking of the current imams in charge of Iran is more practical and less apocalyptic than these quotes (especially Khomeini's). Still I think a discussion of these fears without these quotes is incomplete.


      we do not worship Iran, we worship allah. for patriotism is another name for paganism. i say let this land burn. i say let this land go up in smoke, provided islam emerge triumphant in the rest of the world.


      if a day comes when the world of islam is duly equipped with the arms israel has in possession application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the muslim world.

      The khomeini quote is from "Nest of spies" by amir taheri. it is disputed by historian Shaul Bakhash.

  • It's time for American Jews to recognize they have been duped
    • Avigail- The first time I heard the phrase "Am Israel Chai" was in the context of the Shlomo Carlebach song, where the lyric goes, "od avinu chai, am yisrael chai" or "our father still lives" and "the jewish people live". this was an echo of the verse where Joseph after hiding his identity from his brothers, reveals his true identity and his first question is: "does our father still live?" and in the song Carlebach was expressing that our father still lives and the Jewish people live. There is nothing triumphalist about the song. It is an expression of hoping one can progress despite a long period of absence (exile, hiding and loss). is my father still alive? yes. he is still alive and the jewish people are (still) alive.

      It is true that this expression is used by many who wish to assert something triumphant or triumphalist but that is not my usage. I used this expression to express my opposition to your opposition to the existence of the Jewish people: they are a cult. and even though you do not advocate violence you wish the jewish people (as a group, but not as individuals once they are reeducated) to cease to exist. I am opposed to that and i use the phrase am Yisroel Chai, to assert my opposition. I also used it to express my opposition to some of the commenters here who say that the idea of a Jewish people is also part of the duping process.

      Here is the quote from Hannah Arendt in which she uses the phrase "the jewish people":
      (it was in reaction to the storm created by her book or articles on the Eichmann trial and an invitation from the American Council for Judaism as a type of home for her in that storm.)

      You know that I was a Zionist and that my reason for breaking with the Zionist organization was very different from the anti-Zionist stand of the Council: I am not against Israel on principle, I am against certain important Israeli policies. I know, or believe I know, that should catastrophe overtake this Jewish state, for whatever reasons (even reasons of their own foolishness) this would be the perhaps final catastrophe for the whole Jewish people, no matter what opinions every one of us might hold at the moment.”

      What do you think Arendt would think of your "Jewish people is a cult" meme? You seem honest enough to admit that she would scoff at it.

      I respect Judah Magnes's critique of the Jewish state in the making that he rejected in 1948 because of the tensions that are added to the world's headaches and because of the suffering inflicted on the Palestinian people. Yet in the battle between Magnes and Ben Gurion, BG won and it is practicality rather than triumphalism that attracts me to the idea of west bank annexation. in the article in Haaretz, Saeb Erekat more or less says "show me a complete plan and then I will react to it." he does not reject it as ludicrous. Why do you use the word and he doesn't? Because he is a practical man. Sufian Abu Zaida (the other PLO rep quoted in the article) rejects the separation between Gaza and the West Bank. "there are no easy solutions here" he says. no shortcuts, in other words. But he does not use the term ludicrous. that's a word for compassionate sociologists.

      I agree with Sibiriak's comment that one can be supportive of the Jewish people's will to live and still be duped about Israeli policy. I think an either/or a black or white way of thinking is a way of not thinking, a way to promote dogmatic singlemindedness and close off discussion. yours is not the path of compassion but of polemic.

    • I understand that the role of your protest movement (or maybe any protest movement) is to set your goal and full speed ahead. but when i hear your vision of Israel recognizing the right of return, then I think you are waiting for the day that some soldier not Israeli controls Lod/Lydda airport and the only circumstances where I see that are after a major war, so to me your advocacy of such single mindedness is in fact advocacy of a major war.

      Yossi Beilin signed an accord a fake accord a piece of paper in 2003, attended by the int'l community. that is the bridge to a better future. bibi is not interested. I think abbas is more interested in that accord than bibi is. so in my book bibi is the bigger obstruction on the road to the better future.

      Meanwhile, because of the Zionist dictum: It is in our hands, I am interested in what unilateral moves Israel might take. Therefore I am attracted to the idea of annexation and full citizenship. It is a dynamic unilateral move. It is an interesting idea.

      Under the Beilin-Rabbo accord of Geneva, Gaza gets a fair shake. this idea of annexation does not give Gaza a fair shake.

      On the topic of the movie Exodus and the novel, I offered up what I had to say in the spirit that Avigail Abarbanel offers up her personal experiences. but she is in a friendly place and I am in an unfriendly place so for me to offer up my thoughts on Dov Landau is foolish. The psychology of the Jew in 1961 is different than the psychology in 2015. as they say in the yiddishe shprach, in the mama loshen. (but spelled like the german:) genug.

      so let me just end by saying, am yisrael chai. the jewish people live. hannah arendt believed in a jewish people and she had a very anti ben gurion attitude, but people cite her remembering the anti b.g. attitude but forgetting her consciousness of jewish peoplehood.

    • irishmoses- the last time we conversed on the pages of mw you called me a troll and cut off all conversation. why should i start again?

    • oldgeezer- here is the hebrew noam sheizaf article in haaretz on the topic

      link to

    • old geezer- You expect me to faint in dread at the suggestion that I am not left wing? zionists are called nazis all the time on this site. name calling and labels are really not in the realm of ideas.

      here is the link to the article in 972 where the Erekat quote can be found.
      link to

      It is linked back to an article in Hebrew Haaretz, which I am at this very moment trying to decipher.

      For clarity sake, this is my order of preference for resolution or steps towards improvement of the Palestinian-Zionist conflict:
      1. a negotiated settlement (along the lines of the 2003 Geneva accord)
      2. withdrawing 98% of settlers from the West Bank and leaving Israeli troops there.
      3. a unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank, except for parts of east Jerusalem.
      4. a unilateral withdrawal from the west bank including all of east jerusalem
      5. annexation of the west bank and giving full citizenship to its population

      The reason I mention #5 before the others, is because to be honest when i talk to right wingers i don't consider the first 4 to be an option that they will take seriously that puts them on the spot. further if i propose to Avigail one of the first four which I know the Bibi government is not serious about, then I would be scoffed at, but at least when I mention #5, which we know the right wingers want only the land and not the people, so at least there is something new introduced here: a different idea than one that: Withdraw today now! i accept that withdrawal today and now is a better alternative. Not going to happen and not very interesting to discuss. Not in the realm of ideas. In the realm of dogma. Which fits right in with your tendency to label me.

      I feel that Israel is very static and a static defense will not work in this situation. If your primary objection to annexation is the will of the indigenous occupied people, then let that be the first step in my proposal. the next prime minister of israel states: the status quo sucks. we cannot negotiate with hamas or feckless fatah, therefore the path we see is annexation and with this in mind we ask the int'l community to conduct an election: yes or no to annexation and citizenship. it isn't going to happen in the near future, but yes, i think this offer of honesty: we hate the status quo and wish to improve the situation and we are offering full citizenship to the west bank population, yes, i think this is a dynamic response. and even if the election is lost and the population votes 70% to 30% against annexation putting us back to square one, Israel will show initiative and dynamism rather than its current status quo defensive posture. also there will be that 30% to be built up upon.

    • RHE- Are you greater than the prophet Elijah? When the prophet Elijah scorned Ahab he did not deny that he was Jewish. (anachronism: Ahab was not from Judea, but from Israel) He called him many bad names but he didn't deny he was Jewish. Are Zionists worse than Ahab or are you greater than elijah?

    • That great thinker Rod Stewart once said, "Every picture tells a story, don't it?" Well, here we have a headline. it is time for american jews to recognize that they have been duped and it is accompanied by a photo of Leonard Cohen and Ariel Sharon. If in 1953 Sharon was a monster on behalf of Ben Gurion/Israel, in 1973, Sharon was a hero on behalf of the Jewish people.

      I agree with annie robbins observation that Avigail is trying to convince young american jews to drop their sentiments in the garbage can and fess up to the pure and true reality that Israel was brutal towards the Palestinians.

      But I come back to the photo which is not Avigail's fault, but the editors' fault and in fact I feel that Leonard Cohen was not duped by Israel. And the wish for Israel to accept the refugees with open arms is just a wish and not near reality and in 1973 Israel fought a war that was a crushing calamity in its first few days and for Leonard Cohen to come to Israel with an urge to work on a kibbutz and end up playing for the troops was not as a result of being duped, but was as a result of devotion to the Jewish people. And to Avigail I guess Leonard cohen is duped, but to me, he is not duped at all. He has his head on his shoulders.

      Of course that was 42 years ago (almost) and Israel's moves towards peace guided by the persistence and single mindedness of Jimmy Carter occurred more than 36 years ago. and in fact the sword of destruction that pushed the Palestinians into exile needs to be part of the consciousness of the Jewish people as they move forward and ignoring the Palestinians is not only wrong but foolhardy and the impetus to figure out methods of improvement, real methods and implementing them is of the highest importance and it is easier to move towards those moves if one feels empathy with the Palestinians. If one views them only as the enemy it is highly unlikely that the motive will be there to figure things out.

      But this: the american jews exemplified by Leonard Cohen were duped?! No! Leonard Cohen was not duped. He just doesn't think of the Jewish people as a cult that needs to wither away. He views it quite differently.

    • old geezer- I appreciate your recoiling from the idea of Israel annexing the west bank. It would be far preferable for Israel to withdraw from the west bank with mutually agreed land swaps as envisioned in the Geneva accord of 2003 (not a real accord, but a framework negotiated by those not in power). but because this does not appear to be on the horizon it is necessary for me to say to the right wingers, "put up or shut up" if you want that land and you feel that there can be no peace, then annex it and give the Palestinians the Israeli vote.)

      As a student of history it intrigues me what would be the reaction in Israel, in the world and in the territories to such an annexation. (I believe I read Saeb Erekat's reaction that he is not afraid of annexation: Give me the blue card, the Israeli identity card, is how I believe he put it. I consider Erekat's reaction before yours, but nonetheless I appreciate your objections. I think your objections are at least one quarter of the reason why Israel does not go through with annexation. "the world wouldn't accept it" is how those who see no alternative to the status quo put it. and thus since they don't want hamas rockets lobbed from the west bank and they don't trust the PLO to stop the lobbing of such rockets if in fact a withdrawal a la Geneva 2003 takes place, therefore there is no alternative to the status quo.

      But any such annexation would not be written in stone and my impulse in this direction is based upon the hope that in fact the west bank Palestinians would follow Erekat's impulse and would find their way to turn the annexation into an opportunity. i think the "have your cake and eat it too" of the status quo is far worse psychologically and morally for Palestinians and israelis than the envisioned annexation. but i appreciate international law (as a model) and accept your objections if not your vehemence.

    • Avigail- In fact you are right. it is impossible to fix it. but it is possible to move in a positive direction. currently there is no movement in a positive direction. that's why i suggest giving the West bank palestinians citizenship. that wouldn't fix it, but it would be a giant step in the right direction. but even that is not on the horizon.

    • annie- I was responding to the headline: when will american jews recognize that they have been duped and was attempting to deal with it objectively: what is the dupe-ology of the dupe-ization of American Jews.

      As far as the current generation of american Jews who have never been duped, i hear you. but that was not the headline.

    • Avigail- The purest approach to the problem of Palestine is to condemn the colonialist aspects of Zionism.

      But to approach the question from a less purist and more political point of view: how are we to change hearts and minds away from this belief in a false innocence, then the question becomes political and psychological.

      I do not know what connections the young 'uns (meaning young American Jews) have to Israel. For an old fogey like me the original text is the movie "Exodus" with Paul Newman. the direct line between the suffering/humiliation of Sal Mineo in the camps and his resurrection as an Irgun freedom fighter in Palestine is one of the more lasting impressions of that film.
      You are attempting to overcome "Exodus" by highlighting the fact that the political facts in the film were wrong regarding the Naqba, but the emotional pull of the film is really not about the Palestinians, but about the Jewish resurrection.
      But to you that's just so much invented trauma and cult attitudes of otherness and you have nothing to say about the Jewish content of the movie "Exodus" and instead you have your purist vision of the sins of the Zionist colonialist.
      As I said, I don't know what drives the Jewish young 'uns into the mindset of support for Israel. I have to assume it has to do with the positive social experiences they had in the proximity to a flag of Israel. Presumably a heart warming Friday night service in the close proximity to a flag of Israel. Again the essence of the connection is not logical historical but sentimental and familial.
      Of course the politics is an important matter. My formulation: Israel has to fix its relationship to the Palestinians. (In fact I would be satisfied with a marked improvement: like giving west bank Palestinians a blue hawiya and a vote.) But a frontal attack on Jews calling them a cult of trauma obsessers and then a purist political polemic. They don't add up to a communication with those with whom you disagree. This is a polemic to inspire your fellow anti Zionists.

    • First I focus on the front page photo of Leonard Cohen and Ariel Sharon from the Yom Kippur war. Although historians attribute the war to Sadat's frustration with Golda Meir's intransigence, the war is perceived by most Jews as the last heroic war that Israel engaged in. They were attacked and under threat and it took spontaneity, resilience and initiative to turn around the war after initial losses that can be attributed to a static rather than a dynamic posture.

      Now the assertion of this post is that Israel was never heroic. It was always evil because it bulldozed over the lives of the Palestinians.

      But in fact the change in American Jewish perceptions will turn on the endlessness of the wars, rather than the cruelty of the 47-48 war. the ethnic cleansing is less relevant to the majority of American Jews than the fact that Israel has no plan to end the cycle of fighting. The wars since the 73 war, which have been waged against Gaza, Lebanon and the Palestinians have been particularly cruel, ugly and televised and it is the facts of those wars and no prospect to the end of those wars that particularly turn off the American Jewish individuals.

  • 'NYT' must think it has no Amish readers
    • I don't know precisely how many generations or degrees of separation jennifer weiner is from the shtetl and the ultra orthodox jews who visually represent the shtetl in 2015. I know for myself that any study of the amish reminds me of the ultra orthodox and there may be a bit of that in most jewish told amish jokes.

      is it really relevant to mondoweiss? yes. weiner mentioned a trip to israel and that she was jewish, therefore she is a valid target.

  • Christian Zionists expose their anti-Semitism at conservative summit in Iowa
    • in reaction to Giles and the semantics. in fact the regular term for opposition to the Jews is antisemitism. but we have been told that this term concocted in the minds of central europe to refer to jews, is not specific to jews and refers to others as well and to find a different phrase. as far as i can tell from reading a little yiddish and hanging out with adults who were closer to the pre american experience, the primary term for haters of jews was sonei yisroel or hater of israel. because of the goal of avoiding confusing hatred of jews with the hatred of the country israel, the traditional term would not work here. so the two terms: Wilhelm Marr's term and the traditional term are not really available for use.

      i prefer the term anti semitism to jew hatred because it is a phrase that avoids the loaded word "hatred" and can merely mean opposition to jewish interests. sometimes in certain situations the jews as an economic or demographic cultural entity have specific interests in a given society (or in the international scene). and the antisemite who is proud of the term announces: i am opposed to those interests. thus if jews want admissions tests in 1920's poland that admit them into schools without quota system and thus limit the number of places available to the nonjewish poles, then to oppose this policy is anti Jewish. (it also speaks to fairness, but in fact the opposition of jews to quotas and the jewish neoconservative opposition to affirmative action stemmed from anti jewish quotas in other countries in recent history.)

      religions have their own concepts of redemption and heaven and these concepts can be downright insulting some times. easter and christmas were times of the year when christian anti jewish hooliganism was a factor that jews considered when they went home late at night in eastern europe. thank god america is far more modern regarding openness to other religions. In a modern society the inherent tensions that exist between christianity and judaism can be discussed calmly or heatedly in the public square or on talk shows or podcasts. modern times are great.

      i wish to assert again: the need for israel to fix its relationship with the Palestinians is essential. the animus expressed towards the jewish religion and the jewish perspective that one finds in post nationalistic post religious western societies that nurture the anti zionist movement are in fact interesting and worthy of study or thought. but they are not of the essence. it is a distraction from the need of the zionists to look reality in the face and figure out how to fix their relationship with the Palestinians.

    • In response to Giles- the example of Goldhagen with its specifics of German extermination of Jews is totally non appropriate to my statement here. I do not think that annihilationist impulses are endemic to the new testament. I think there is a natural tension between believing Jews and believing Christians given the content of the new testament. Those believing Christians who are able to distance themselves from certain verses of the new testament are in my mind similar to those Jews who are able to distance themselves from certain verses of the old testament. (actually there are entire chapters and even books in the old testament that need distancing.)

      I think any attempt to understand European history between 1881 and 1945 without accepting the role played by Jew hatred is ignorant.

      And I think anyone who reads the comments section of MW without accepting the role played by Jew hatred is also ignorant.

      I think that the Jew hatred expressed by anti zionists is really besides the point. israel has to get itself set up with the Palestinians in some workable modus operandi different from its situation today and the Jew hatred expressed by anti zionists is really besides the point and a distraction from the work that needs to be accomplished. so to that extent the jew hatred in the comments section works against the zionists. it makes zionists think and say to themselves, "You see they hate us." well, in fact if this comments section is any reflection of the hard core of the anti zionist movement then in fact, there is a large percentage (more than 10%) of jew haters in the ranks of the anti zionists. but the fact is that despite that israel has got to get its game together and change things and focusing on the jew hatred of some of the anti zionists is besides the point. israel needs to get its game together.

    • Do not pretend that Christianity does not have a specific attitude towards Jews and Judaism beyond any other belief system? it was born out of Judaism and its attitude towards Judaism is thus special and in fact antagonistic. The recent (1965) popes have tried to rewrite this subtext of the New testament and refer to the Jews as elder brothers, but it isn't there in the text.

      If I approach you and you have a bible in your hand (not as a book to be studied but as a text to be revered), meaning a new testament and an old testament, odds are you harbor anti Jewish attitudes just from the text in your hand. you believe you know the messiah and you know that i come from the tradition that rejected the redeemer. this is a tension inherent in the birth of Christianity.

      The meeting place of American civil society is the best atmosphere for Jewish believers to meet Christian believers: the public square of America. The meeting place of support for Israel is a very confusing place for this meeting. I know why right wing supporters of Israel find some kind of solace in such support, but it seems very tangled to me. It is also unavoidable considering the current level of "Whose side are you on?" rhetoric. Allies will be found in all camps, wherever.

  • 'If we don't take out Iran,' it will reenact the Holocaust in US and Israel -- Steven Emerson to Times Square rally
    • My assessment of the predominant political instinct of the crew here at MW is that you don't know diddly about winning elections or congressional votes.

      Colin Powell is the only possible republican candidate that would probably defeat Hillary Clinton. People around here like Jon Kerry, good enough, it's okay if you like unpopular heroes. but then they go and say he should run for president. Jon Kerry is the only democratic candidate to lose the popular vote for presidency since Michael Dukakis lost it in 1988. every democratic candidate except for jon kerry won the popular vote and the people here at mw are touting him as a candidate.

      Colin Powell is not my hero, but he could help Obama on this vote and that's all my comment reflected upon; his popularity and ability to help Obama on this vote.

      The MW crowd here would love for Obama to lose the vote, for that would show the Israel Lobby's power and make Americans hate the Israel Lobby. Well, I do not want Obama to lose the vote. And therefore my thoughts went in this direction.

    • This rally was not designed to lead the charge against the pact. This rally was designed for right wing Jewish New Yorkers to express themselves on this issue. Ultimately the bill will depend on Obama convincing a sufficient number of Congressmen from his own party that they must back their president. That argument will not be focused near the rhetoric of Steven Emerson or the temperament of New York right wing Jews.

      Now is the time for Colin Powell to step forward. He backed Obama for president and if he indeed backs this pact it would behoove him to say so and it would behoove Obama to get his support on the record.

  • If Americans support Iran deal, 56-37, what gives Israel the power to 'croak' it?
    • It is understandable that antiZionists will emphasize every aspect of negativity (in this case desire for expanded boundaries) contained in any aspect of the Zionist movement. Clearly since June 11, 1967 Israel has decreased its scope, giving up (back) Sinai as a result of the peace treaty with Egypt in 1979. The conquering of Lebanon in 1982 was not accompanied by a settler movement (although there were voices in the settler movement that wanted to begin establishing settlements in Lebanon, the government did not cooperate) and eventually Israel withdrew from that territory. The withdrawal from Gaza is incomplete and bloody still at this interim situation, but Hamas will tell you that they kicked Israel out of Gaza, so that is another withdrawal (if only partial). So despite the rhetoric of the right wing, the facts on the ground are that since 67 Israel has reduced its borders rather than expanded them and citing the rhetoric of the right wing in order to establish fears of the future, are mostly propaganda and not a serious analysis of the facts.

    • I think an American rejection of the accord with Iran at this point in time is quite dangerous. I think a Congressional rejection of the accord (meaning Congress overrides Obama's veto) would be truly dangerous for Israel. I don't think losing the vote is an option that Obama is willing to consider and when push comes to shove he will be willing to go on TV and force enough democrats to support him. I think he will pull out all stops on this and I can't imagine that he will lose.

      Netanyahu is a battler and he will give it a hell of a battle. He has spent the better part of the last 16 years devoted to combating the Iranian nuclear program and now that he has his last chance to stand in the way of this accord, there's no way that he will wave the white flag until the fat lady sings.

  • Video: Israelis in West Jerusalem call for attack on Iran
    • Viewed from 2015 there never was much of a chance of Israel attacking Iran although waving that stick helped force the powers to impose sanctions which led to this agreement. Unfortunately waving the stick is what has remained as the image that has formed in the mind of the Israeli Jewish public from this confrontation.

      Kubrick's great film Doctor Strangelove was subtitled: how i learned to stop worrying and love the bomb and even though Israel has nukes, in fact Iran having nukes is something to cause worry. my impression of Khameini is of a sane man, whereas the original ayatollah Khomeini was borderline meshugene, who might have sacrificed Iran for the chance to wipe out the Zionist state, i really don't see that in Khameini. Nonetheless just as the jews have gog and magog, i betcha there are apocalyptic tunes in the Islamic reportoire and apocalyptic weapons plus apocalyptic religious themes are not exactly reassuring. so in terms of serenity, no, there is little serenity just thinking about iran.

      i feel bad that netanyahu's rhetoric emphasized the fear and planted it firmly in too many Jewish minds. given the nature of politics and the science of the atom: ten years of strict regime on iran is something and it is not munich 1938. still, i will not say, there's nothing to worry about, for it scares me too. i try to keep a level head.

  • Nine reasons Obama is going to win on Iran. The first: Netanyahu
    • We want Mondoweiss to be a place that everyone feels comfortable visiting, to read and comment, regardless of political perspective. People might not always like what we post, but everyone should feel invited and encouraged to join the discussion, share their opinions, and engage in debate. - See more at: link to

      4. No personal attacks. We encourage spirited, passionate debate, but if you have to resort to vicious personal attack, you’re not advancing the discussion. Stay on the issues. - See more at: link to

      The question is: why does mw have a comments policy. maybe you should add #8. Please disregard these rules. these are a joke to be applied haphazardly whenever it tickles our fancy to get serious, but we are not. This is a joke. we hope to entertain and we encourage discourtesy if it is entertaining. we also hope to discourage Zionists from participating. go to your own web sites if you don't like being attacked.


    • annie- In regards to: american and iranian unity would go a long way in stabilizing the middle east. this is a hope rather than a strategy. hope is important. Good. But I really need more than your hope. I need some understanding of the dynamics on the ground. It's not enough to say, oh I think white will win this chess game. You have to point to some alignment of forces that show white's strength compared to black's weakness. I am not even sure of what the goals are regarding stability. I am quite clear regarding Israel's desires in the region certainly vis a vis Egypt, Hamas and Hezbollah, but I am not sure what Israel wants in Syria. I am not so clear on Iran's desires in the region and I don't think America is clear what its desires in the region happen to be.

      I don't know what the populations of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, want or need, but their unelected leaders consider the Iranians to be troublemakers and subversives and representing a current of history against the Sunni populations and power. This is part of the dynamic of the tumult. How does Iranian American unity fit into that dynamic?

      The Assad regime was one of the most repressive in the world when the Arab Spring brought thousands of brave unarmed civilians into the street who were met with extreme violence. the nature of the armed rebellion that occurred afterwards, where they get their guns and support, I don't know. I know Assad gets his support from Iran. How does that civil war get solved? I think short term it doesn't. I think long term the rebels win. I don't see Iran being a help on this issue.

      The situation in Iraq is quite different than in Syria, if merely in cause and effect. In Syria, there was a dictator who repressed his population and then foreign money aided rebels to take over half the country and the rulers got money from Iran and soldiers from Hezbollah to fight off the rebels. That is pretty clear.

      In Iraq, the status quo of decades was destroyed by the first gulf war, and a new status quo lasted a bit more than a decade until the second gulf war. the cumulative effect of the two wars was the overthrow of a tyrant, leading to the assertion by the Shiite majority of their democratic will and a conflict or war with the Sunni populations who feel neglected and repressed now that democracy has been expressed. The removal of Saddam Hussein resulted in a vacuum which was filled by sectarianism and violence. And thus the birth of ISIS. Much more complicated dynamics than the Syrian situation merely in the birth of the crisis involving an invasion by the US and the creation of a vacuum by the removal of a tyrant. How does Iran and American unity solve this problem? Whereas in regards to Syria I see American and Iranian interests clashing, it could be in Iraq they have common interests and then I could begin to understand an optimism regarding stability. but the dynamics in Iraq are foggy to me compared to the dynamics in Syria, so I have no way of judging your optimism in that sector.

      So: regarding Syria I think your optimism is foolhardy. Regarding Iraq, I have no way of judging your optimism. and given the clash between Iran and the Sunni countries, I don't see that American and Iranian unity does anything to stabilize the middle east. Until you can delineate what the new stability looks like vis a vis Iran versus the Sunnis, you are using the word stability independent of any analysis of the dynamics and your statement becomes empty optimism.

    • annie robbins- reactions:
      this first: i'm not so sure iran's democratic process, as is, is that different that what the majority of iranians want. - See more at: link to
      this is a very rich sentence. if the majority of people want a dictatorship, is that copacetic with you. Does that turn a tyranny into a democracy because currently most of the people support tyranny?

      and on what do you base your assumption that the people are satisfied with a system where the ayatollahs have to approve candidates.

      there was a decision by the supreme court of the united states in brown versus board of education of kansas. that decision was undemocratic- against the will of the majority of americans in 1954. lucky for us, the approval of the majority of americans was not written into the us constitution and american institutions were able to aid in moving the country to a more perfect union. i am not sure what challenges there are in iran, surely no domestic challenges comparable to the challenge that the history of american slavery had left on the agenda for america in 1954. but a country controlled by the ayatollahs will not be able to meet any challenges that require something beyond their own thinking and to be so apathetic about democracy in iran leaves me wondering.

      people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. israel's control of the west bank, its psychology of "demographic problem" and its history of exiling vast populations does not win any democracy awards from me.

      but the progressive mindset (i like that word better than liberal) is aiming for a better world and that involves a consciousness of the difficulties of increasing democracy. democracy is not the end all. american democracy is hurt by the economics of haves and have-nots, although that is more a question of the interaction of democracy with other concerns. and hats off to you for trying to figure out how to undo the after effects of 9/11 regarding american freedoms. the balancing act between security and freedom was not protected by Vice President Cheney and by the congress and president that followed his lead. i'm no expert on how to balance that act, but hats off to you for that assertion.

      but please, the situation in iran is extreme. the country is controlled by a college of cardinals. they approve candidates. they control the judiciary. this is a severely backward situation and "oh, the people really want it that way" is so condescending and somehow seems to be lowered expectations for people of color or something. "their culture is like that and they like it." this is condescending.

      it should not necessarily affect US foreign policy, but a progressive attitude should not be so laissez faire regarding Iran's lack of democracy.

    • I am not sure that commenter is a word. It gets the red line treatment here. commentator sounds so pompous, but that appears to be a real word.

    • "Three Faces of Eve" was one of my favorite movies at one point in time. I think Lee J. Cobb, a full 100% fellow tribesman, was in that flick.

    • Now that there is a deal, a veto of the deal by the Congress would not only be against the interest of the United States, but possibly against Israel's as well, because the net result of a total kibosh on the deal would be the unraveling of the sanctions which is not in the interest of Israel. In fact a total kibosh is not possible and in fact, there is now a deal, with or without the united states' participation. so leaving a lasting legacy of the united states being cut out of the action and being deprived of world leadership, where the world has agreed to the deal, but the US congress defies the deal, this is not a good result. Rather than being able to point to the tension between Netanyahu and Obama as a rough patch of history, the actual kiboshing of US participation in the deal will be a constant reminder of this contentious period in US-Israel relations, and for those who want to put this contention into the past, such a reminder would be bad news.

      Bibi has been compared to a gambler in Vegas who having lost his pants, now bets his underwear. I read that this week in Haaretz. It amazes me that the rest of the Likud has not tossed him out yet. I do not understand the secret of his strength and possibly this spells his end. This 60 day period is his last burst of energy, possibly, although I don't understand the weakness of the rest of Likud and Bibi's strength, so maybe I'm missing some knowledge here. But where is the Likud and when will they grow some brains and realize that Bibi bet it all against Obama and Obama has beaten him?

      Is it such a bad deal for Israel? Ten years is a very short time. Ten years is a very long time. History keeps moving on. Israel can now put its focus nearer to home: Hezbollah and Hamas and Da'esh (ISIS). Innovation in regards to the West Bank seems to not be on the immediate horizon, but innovation in regards to Gaza, although dependent on both skeptical sides, is not so distant. maybe the strengthening of Iran means more stubbornness from Hamas vis a vis an agreement with Israel regarding Gaza. Maybe this ascendancy of Iran is bad news for the Palestinians. But whereas regarding the west bank there is no light at the end of the tunnel, regarding Gaza, the resolution is quite near, only lacking will. (The Palestinians are ill served by Abbas. Abbas's policy of cooperation with Israel may be in the Palestinian interest, but his lack of charisma is a killer. He's been there forever, he's old, Fatah needs to put somebody new in charge. Oh, by the way, I don't know what is in the best interest of the West Bank Palestinians. It could be that an occasional dead settler is in their best interest, an occasional dead soldier might be in their best interest. No one has proven the efficacy of nonviolence in this situation and no one has proven the efficacy of violence either. Of course I do not want dead Israeli soldiers or dead settlers, but that is not the point, rather a question of strategy. But aside from strategy, I am saying that Abbas is old and tired, and there needs to be a new leader of Fatah. That I am saying.)

      The real question is how will the ayatollahs of Iran behave? How will the war in Syria and in Iraq play out? These questions are for experts, but responsible amateurs have a duty to at least raise these questions. Is there anything to suggest that Iran will play a positive role in the region? The US goal vis a vis China by the Nixon move in 72 was aimed in removing China from the Soviet influence and to play China against Russia. An opening with a very specific goal and a readily apparent cause and effect. The fall of the Soviet Union was accomplished mostly by the failure of the communism, but also by the burden that competing with the US militarily put on the weak Russian economy. Very unlike the sudden visit of Nixon to China the collapse of the soviet union was the result of decades of effort by the US. If we wish to compare Iran to the Nixon visit to China or to the collapse of the Soviet union, we have to ask: Is there any plan in how democracy will replace the ayatollahs? Is there any vision in how the strengthened Iran will make the Middle East a less tumultuous region or a more democratic region? I assume that most people recognize the nondemocratic nature of Iran's regime, should a plan for the future US Iran relationship include some ideas regarding the freedom of the Iranian people? If not, and it is probably not an American priority, please come right out and say it: We don't care about democracy in Iran. It's none of our business.

      The US does not care in a consistent manner about the freedom of the Chinese people, nor does it care about pollution in China either. Thus caring about the freedom of the Iranian people is not a primary American concern. At least some comment should be made to that effect that we Americans really don't care about the Iranians. (We have failed at exporting our values. Something to that effect. but the bottom line is: we are having trouble at home, why waste energy or dollars on trying to improve the lives (as in freedom rather as in dollars) of the Iranian people? We cannot afford to care for foreigners half a world away when we are hurting at home. I hear you, but just say it and don't pretend that the ayatollahs will change their stripes after this amount of time in power. Ask the people in China whether commerce has made their lives freer? Has made their air more breathable?)

  • Not everyone is allowed to have a 'Good Life in Germany'
    • German Lefty- Oh, I believe it. But it certainly is not a solution that will work in the short range and if you wish to wait that long in order to solve it or if you envision great violence in order to solve it, you are not talking about a solution that greatly interests me.

    • annie- sentiment regarding: if only the Jews can be convinced to leave, are sentiments rather than a plan. ugly sentiments? can be construed that way. but certainly sentiments rather than a plan.

  • 'I trust Obama more than the Prime Minister of Israel to run our policy' -- George W. Bush's former pollster
    • Gush Shalom is in Israel. Gush Shalom is moderate. Meretz is moderate. It has five seats in the knesset. not a lot but it is there.

  • British gov't welcomes Iran back into the 'community of nations' -- why can't we?
    • just- if you read my self description on my commenter's profile page you will see no claims for expertise. on the other hand mw flies the banner: the war of ideas in the middle east. it is clearly false advertising. there are no ideas about the wider middle east here. there are ideas for the Palestinians, against Israel, against the Israel lobby, against US military involvement . these are vital attitudes when preparing to dissect the middle east. but preparation like an appetizer, is not the same as a meal. there is no knowledge here regarding the wider middle east. and how can there be real ideas without knowledge. instead there is wishing and hoping. those are hardly ideas. Might i suggest changing the banner to "the war of ideas in Israel Palestine" or "the war of ideas regarding Palestine". that would be truth in advertising.

    • Nope. No opinion.

    • annie-

      the answer to my insult would be to link me to some writing that you or anyone here at mw has done on the topic of syria that shows some astute analysis. link me to one article on egypt that shows that you have your finger on the pulse of the changing region and mw is one step ahead of the tumult. you can't answer my insult with a link, because my insults are spot on: mw is lacking in knowledge of the middle east. there are no links that will show such knowledge. there is no arguing with my insult, because i am accurate.

      the pact with iran will impact the region, a region about which this web site shows an amazing naivete and ignorance. yes, it's an insult. an accurate one.

    • you remind me of the monty python routine. oh, you want arguments. arguments are down the hall, this is insults. nary a word of content, justice will prevail, only a litany of insults. not a word of comment on any aspect of the middle east, just a litany of insults. very weak, sir.

    • If mw had a record of success in describing the middle east, had any record of any sort in describing a vision of the middle east and how we go from here to there, then mw's wholehearted endorsement of the Iran pact would have some basis in reality, it would have a context in which it would fit. but mw knows only how to endorse mass rallies in cairo and not how to rule cairo. it only knows how to attack the dictators of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, not to describe the path of democracy and how to navigate the dangerous shoals that the Muslim Brotherhood presents. it only knows how to condemn those who wish to overthrow Assad but nary a word about Assad's cruel regime. it only knows how to extol Hezbollah, but nary a word on how Lebanon is supposed to mature into a solid country rather than a country with a sectarian militia independent of the army. The Arab world: Iraq, Syria, Yemen are in turmoil. How does this pact fit into that? Show me some modicum of thoughtfulness on these issues then I would be forced to relate to your wholehearted endorsement of this pact in a context of thoughtfulness. but this site provides zero assessment of the middle east and its turmoils and its future and thus your endorsement of this pact is based upon ignorance and starry eyed "audacity of hope". (and of course, opposition to Zionism).

  • Israel's real fear about the Iran deal: It puts pressure on the occupation
    • Giles- au contraire. after the murder of the prosecutor in argentina, no one's backing down. tehran did it.

    • Iran has been Netanyahu's rhetorical focus for a while and now it will not be. ("now" means after he puts up a battle for the US congress. it is not in his personality to not go all out in condemning iran and the deal in the next 60 days, if only out of momentum.) he has practically staked his career on it. i don't know the source of the weakness of the other leaders of the likud, but i would think that those (gideon saar) who seek to replace him are thinking "this is the end of bibi".

      i agree that obama is not going to back the french resolution. there may not even be a french resolution. the palestine issue is not destined to be part of obama's legacy. (i don't think.)

      the two photos of him and joe biden: obamacare and the announcement of this pact are the two significant accomplishments of his presidency. in a way obama's negotiating posture was weakened by his lame duck status. he wanted a deal on his watch and his watch is coming to an end.

      the american people voted for obama for two reasons: the symbolism of a black man in the white house and his opposition to the war in iraq. this pact is a direct linear consequence of his opposition to the war in iraq, his dovishness.

      the consequences of the nuclear aspect of this pact will probably not be apparent for another decade or so. the turmoil of ISIS, the turmoil in Syria which is independent of ISIS and tension vis a vis Israel versus Hezbollah are "events" that will come before any nuclear tensions.

  • 'We should seize it' -- Obama announces Iran deal as 'new direction' for the Middle East
    • Piotr- I disagree. It is not just economics, it is military and nuclear military to be specific that many of those who oppose this deal are upset about. At the end of the day these people fear that this pact opens the path for the Iranian nuclear program a decade or so from now. Here is how the NYT terms the prospects for this pact:

      "For President Obama, the deal struck Tuesday morning with Iran represents a similar leap of faith, a bet that by defusing the country’s nuclear threat — even if just for a decade or so — he and his successors would have the time and space to restructure one of the United States’ deepest adversarial relationships."

      Thus the NYT sums up the pact with the phrase: "defusing the country's nuclear threat, even if just for a decade or so." The brevity of this period seems ridiculously short to those who fear the Iranian bomb and to pretend that merely economics is in play: or even economics plus conventional military, is to negate the reality of the NYT's realistic assessment of the brevity of the defusing of Iran's nuclear threat.
      link to

    • amigo- If there is a rigorous round of inspections for 10 years, a 20% improvement would have rigorous inspections for 12 years. if arms embargo persists for 5 years, a 20% improvement would have it persist for 6 years. If a ballistic missile technology embargo is in place for 8 years, a 20% improvement would have it in place for 9.6 years.

    • I don't trust Iran either. Who can say that if the United States had played its cards a little wiser, it could not have gotten a deal that was 20% better. My often stated opinion: if in the aftermath of 9/11 the united states had focused its attention on the iranian nuke program rather than iraq, the nuclear deal could have been 500% better.

      it seems to me that a veto proof rejection of this pact by the US congress is the next thing on the agenda. i wonder if netanyahu's overheated rhetoric and tweets will be the key to winning such a rejection. I do not expect netanyahu to win.

      a rejection by congress would be interesting. democratic party dynamics alone would be worth the price of admission. how would iran react? wouldn't the other countries of the world be enough to give Iran cause to just write off the US and proceed with the pact as if fulfilled by all sides? I would think so. the pact will end the international isolation of iran, even if the US congress keeps the US out of the rapprochement.

  • Et tu, Michael Oren?
  • Michael Oren misrepresents 1971 synagogue bombing that changed his life
    • Irfan- It is fine of you to construct a unified understanding of Kahane in 2015 that sees the continuity between Kahane circa 1968 and Kahane circa 1972. I was speaking for the shul that invited him to speak. They were inviting a controversial character but certainly not the above board racist that he was soon to be revealed to be.

      regarding street crime and vigilantism. I agree that vigilantism is no cure for street crime. but your advice, call the cops, is cold and easy for you to say. in fact the murder rate doubled in the 60's. i'll repeat that doubled in the sixties. thus there was a crisis. if the solution to the crisis was the wrong one, in regards to vigilantism, at least admit there was a crisis. in 2015 with the drop in the murder rate to early 60's levels, you really have no right to be so apathetic towards the crisis that the inner city was experiencing in 1968. if you have no cure for the crisis: there indeed may be no cure, but at least fess up that it was a crisis situation. but no, instead we have an attack on the suburban Jews of New Jersey for their housing discrimination. great. it is good and great to focus not just on those suffering in the moment in the bronx, but to focus on the discrimination of west orange new jersey. i am proud of schwerner and goodman. but i am also proud that someone stood up and said, "i care about the poor jews left behind in dangerous neighborhoods."

      the upper east side manhattan Jews and the scarsdale jewish limousine liberals as Kahane scolded them, were in fact as apathetic as you towards the crisis of the inner city Jews. And they deserved to be scolded. Leaving the old neighborhoods and not giving a damn about the people you left behind, is low. (Do you object to the idea of caring about poor people from one's ethnic group? Is that too particular for your tastes?) Kahane was scolding those Jews whose politics included concern for long range social goals while being blind to the raw facts of leaving the poor Jews in the Bronx behind to deal with the facts of life of 1968 America.

      And what was an appropriate response to the Jew hatred emanating from Oceanhill Brownsville. I suppose that was all right too by you.

      I sense the possibility that you do not merely object to Kahane, but the mere idea of Jewish concern for other Jews, for Jewish pride in objecting to anti Jewish rhetoric. If that is your position, say so.

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