Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 3875 (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.

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  • Obama 'betrayed' American Jews and Trump is a 'swineherd' -- Bernard-Henri Levy
    • Roha- You're right. I skipped the Syrian Israeli tension. (not on the Golan Heights, but on the armistice line, no man's land). Sorry about that. The es Samu incident occurred in november 66 and the clashes with syria were before that.

    • Because his parents were Algerian my analysis may not be enough. One recalls de gaulle's distancing himself from israel in the period before the war, and how a maoist mindset might react to de gaulle's "none of my business" attitude.

    • No matter Israel's sin against the Palestinians, the rhetoric of the Arab street in the weeks preceding the war was a bit much. And it was enough to push BHL to get on a plane to israel. I for one do not accept BHL's explanation that it had no connection to some nationalistic identity that was given to him by his parents, despite themselves. I think jews in France in the 50's and 60's who pretended that there was no past they were hiding from, communicated a terror to their children and the message was sent and received despite themselves.

    • Mysterioso: the June 11th commitment by eshkol is news to me. Quick Google found it unsourced. Do you have a source?

    • Let me add to the proximate causes the israeli attack on es Samu on west bank, then controlled by jordan in nov. 66. when rabin went to visit Ben Gurion in sde boker before the war BG had two criticisms, the mobilization of reserves and the attack on samu. Israeli oblivious ness re: the inter Arab rivalry (enmity) meant that in the name of deterrence they stirred the pot that brought on the war.

    • I suppose raising the issue of the cause of the 67 war was bound to attract negative reactions.
      The point that I was raising was not the immediate cause of the war (meaning in this case: who shot first) nor the underlying cause of the war (as in the 48 war and its effects on the region), but the intermediate causes of the war. Nasser did what he did (mobilizing forces, asking the UNEF to leave and declaring aggressive intents regarding the Strait of Tiran) based on two factors: russian, aka Soviet misinformation, and inter Arab tensions. Avi shlaim, not a propagandist, stated that the cause of the war was the inter Arab rivalries. That is what caused the escalation that triggered (rather than started) the war.
      Eshkol did everything in his power to avoid the war. Unfortunately, mobilizing the reserves (prematurely) put Israel in a tenuous position and decreased the flexibility he might have had to avoid the pressure of his generals to go to war. Also his disastrous address to the israeli public made the public feel less secure rather than moreso and that address forced him to acquiesce to the generals' demand that he appoint Dayan as defense minister. Once that appointment was done in the aftermath of the Jordan egypt rapprochement, the die was cast.

      Whatever speeches he made after the victory are relevant regarding the underlying tensions and the attempt to ballyhoo his or the nation's accomplishments, but are an inaccurate indication of the cause of the war.

    • You present certain aspects of the war. Presenting a simplified version: do over of 1948 in order to conquer the west bank is as propagandistic as anything I've heard.

    • Because BHL raises the topic of the six day war.
      I found in my notes (I think from avi shlaim), that the turmoil that preceded and caused the war had more to do with inter Arab rivalry (nasser versus syria. Syria versus jordan. Nasser versus king hussein) than it had to do with the Israel Arab enmity.

  • Trump 'promise' to move US embassy to Jerusalem stirs international furor
  • Obama's failure, and achievement, in Palestine
    • The end of the Obama administration is a landmark occasion, worthy of comment.

      The one state, two state argument. By chance I've been reading some biographical accounts of David Ben Gurion and besides wondering at the indomitable will of the man, I was struck by two things: there were many Zionists after wwII who were opposed to statehood at that time, sufficient numbers that I cannot ideologically invalidate proposals of new governance for i/p. My objections are not ideological, but practical.
      Second point: Ben Gurion's insistence in adjusting to the historical moment. Certainly he was guided by practicality rather than morality, but he consistently was trying to balance what he saw as Israel's interest versus the geopolitical and regional power dynamics.

      Obama plus bibi was never going to work. If olmert, livni, sharon, barak or rabin had been in power at the same time as obama, the situation would have had possibility. But bibi, no, nothing doing.
      It seems clear that if current trends continue, ultimately, the Democratic party will represent their voters rather than the donors and the party will pull away from supporting israel. Will future democrats cite obama in justifying the party's move away from israel? I don't know. According to pundits the short term health of the Democratic party is iffy, so it could be 13 years before democrats really get on top of their game. So in such a longer time frame Jimmy Carter and Obama will be mentioned by those taking over the rejuvenated democratic party, but dynamics on the ground in i/p and on the ground in the future democratic party will play the major role in the new policy and historic precedence and presidents won't play a major role.

  • Antisemitism and its useful idiots
    • Because of the existence of zionism and the facts of certain Israeli excesses, it is really impossible to gauge antisemitism. Certainly the real barriers of 60 years ago in many aspects and corners of society have fallen. America has undergone a revolution of openness in many ways and openness to jews is one category. On the other hand, though it is difficult to gauge the numbers represented by the likes of bannon and spencer, the sewer lids have been lifted. On the other side of the tracks, there has been no black jew hater of the severity of farrakhan since farrakhan, and he's an old man, but cancer didn't kill him, but if the anger of a young malcolm x feels like a bolt of lightning, the anger of the old farrakhan is the smoldering stick creating a breathing hazard.

      This is to say: zionism in Europe was a reaction to antisemitism. The reality of that hatred can only be denied by ignorant people. The political dynamics of enlisting jew haters to promote zionism is a valid point, but to assert it without some cognizance of where zionism came from, and that is: it arose from a bad situation that eventually became even worse, much worse. To omit that is to distort history.

  • The immaculate conception of Louis Brandeis
    • I recall an approximation that about 7% of the Palestinians of 1947 palestine were immigrants attracted to the economy of Palestine particularly after 1933.

  • Statement: Palestinian students in UK demand resignation of National Union of Students VP following Al Jazeera investigation
    • No
      It is the totality. No smoking gun.

    • Continue watching videos on the offered youtube set up ( not in talkback's video but in the al jazeera video in the main text) and catch some great stuff: be exposed to antisemitic caricatures and a defence of Ernst zundel.

    • Mr or Dr. Martin, with his calm mentions of farrakhan and David irving, and eliciting laughter with "I understand they have lots of high holidays", on a tape of an ihr event, a known holocaust denial organization, is a stain on talkback and on mw comments.

  • It turns out Jews are as stupid as everyone else
    • Einstein on what is a jew:

      What is a snail? A snail is an animal inhabiting a snail shell.
      What is a jew? A jew is a person professing the Jewish faith.
      It is known that a snail can shed its shell without thereby ceasing to be a snail.
      The jew who abandons his faith is in a similar position. He remains a Jew.
      End quote.
      I found this in the einstein and zionism book.
      It is arguable that Einstein's impression is based upon two features: the society of his birth and the recent ness of abandonment of faith. Einstein's society went nuts in the immediate aftermath of world War one, crazy with jew hatred. Not all of society, but vast sectors of society. Largely quiescent in Germany in the 20's, when the depression came it was bye bye germany. The abandonment of faith was recent in Einstein's case, so the echoes of faith, ensured the snail was a snail. But faded echoes of the faith are quite often not enough to make the snail aware of his snail-ness, it is not a biological category, (in most cases) but a psychological/sociological category, and it can be shed sometimes, echoing the abandonment of faith.

    • Rosross- maybe under different noninternet circumstances you'd have enough courtesy not to tell me what I need to study.

      You feel free to tell us what Einstein and Freud were, and although both wrote on the topic of jewishness, God forbid you should quote them, because then you'd have to argue with them regarding their self identities.

      Unfortunately many propagandists have twisted Einstein and Freud's words to make them into nationalists, which they weren't, but such misuse of these men and their words does not give you license to categorize then according to your limited 2017 perspective rather than allowing them to express their opinions in their own words.

      (Karl marx was a piece of fecal matter and including him with an original thinker like Freud and the preeminent scientist of the 20th century , albert einstein, is a real disgrace.)

      The possibility of a genetic component to Jewish accomplishments cannot be dismissed, although it is politically incorrect. But it is not an argument that i, as someone who has not studied genetics nor the relevant statistics am willing to make, nor have I made such an argument.

      The period in question: the last quarter of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century featured certain dynamics that were in play regarding the Jewish populations of central and eastern europe, totally unrelated to the rituals or theologies of judaism. The dynamics involved a suppressed population that saw educational excellence as their path out of the ghetto, both the ghetto imposed by the wider society and the insularity advocated by the society of Jewish conformity which individuals yearning to breathe free, found suffocating. As far as excellence in science and math, where the progress of the west was remarkable, attributing the excellence of Einstein to his roots seems farfetched and I offered the explanation of yeshiva people half tongue in cheek. As regards to the humanities exemplified by Freud ( whose scientific contributions were minimal, at least from 2017 eyes, but whose cultural contribution was gigantic particularly with the advent of cinema and early television ) I think his jewishness was a major contributor to his innovation, global perspective and stubbornness in the face of wholesale opposition of non-Jewish vienna. I cannot read kafka's Gregor samsa awakening to discover his roachiness, without thinking of the fact that the nazis were soon to treat kafka's ethnic group like insects needing extermination. The jew as middle man and obsessed with words and books, salesmanship and oratory, contrasted to the taciturn peasants of the other ethnicities of the region, certainly played a part in the development of media industries in the period involved.

      To pretend that because monotheism or sabbath observance or avoidance of bacon seem to be unrelated to the developments of an information society and then to conclude that jewishness, occupying a specific ethnic and sociological role in society, is an irrelevant factor strikes me as ignorant and arrogant.

      Both Freud and einstein were unashamed of their ethnic roots and for some punk to come a hundred years later and spout how they were non-Jewish because of their lack of attachment to the religion, is the height of juvenile sophomoric childishness. No one who has studied the issue with any degree of scholarship and seriousness would treat you as anything other than a child.

    • Jewish excellence in America in science and mathematics has decreased markedly as the generations have gotten further away from the immigrant experience.

    • Regarding a scientist like Einstein there is little to support the Jewish aspect of his genius. Yeshiva people automatically think, if only he would have studied torah he would have been a great rabbi, and the culture of books and queries involved in talmud study, we of the books attribute the culture of ours for producing einstein.

      Regarding the humanities and a pseudo science like Freud, I believe there was a significant Jewish element in the contributions, the Jewish story telling, literacy, yearning for meritocracy, pushing with two elbows, were a serious contribution to the cultures of Europe in the late 19th and early 20th century and in Hollywood and radio/tv in america since the 1920's. Those are Jewish accomplishments, Western accomplishments, nations accomplishment, human accomplishment.

    • 1. Won't join club that would have me as a member. 2. Can my daughter wade in up to her knees, she's only half jewish.

    • As far as the golf club, all I can say is that groucho crystallized all there is to be said in two jokes.

      Makovsky and insular hillel and "Israel Lobby" raise some real questions. Israel diplomacy as exemplified by the handshake between rabin and arafat has collapsed and the new reality is much darker. The only valid point to make in Israel's behalf is the chaos of syria (and the region).

      Netanyahu's whole hearted embrace of trump in the aftermath of the Obama abstention was sure to alienate the majority of American voters who voted against trump, but bibi could care less. Narrow minded political survival short term thinking.

      Right now the trump presidency is about to begin and i cant say how embarrassing this moment is for america.

      Also the hope that the mozes yediot achronot scandal might sink bibi is too hard to believe. Out of superstition I feel it unwise to even mention it.

  • Video: Support for one democratic state grows as Palestinians lose hope in two-state solution
    • Maghwatan - a wish list is useful. But not quite what I have in mind. As far as hamas and fatah, on paper they are the "owners" of the west bank and gaza and any one man one vote proposition denies their ownership, something I cannot imagine either of them endorsing at this time. Individuals from West bank society who say one man one vote, they don't win elections. The insights of a wishlist contrasted to the social political dynamics of the parties which dominate.

    • Be specific: If the un or fatah or hamas would advocate a one state solution, what would be the statements and policies of those 3 institutions?

  • Democrats' sympathy for Israel has crashed nearly 25 percent in last nine months -- Pew
    • Since the election, even before the un resolution abstention, bibi was cozying up to trump at the precise moment when liberal democrats were recoiling at the reality wrought by the electoral college and the voters of Wisconsin Michigan and pennsylvania. Of course the extreme anti obama rhetoric after the abstention is still ringing in our ears.

      If the issue is #8 on the foreign policy concerns list of the constituents, but #1 concern of donors, what's a congressman to do?

      What percentage of democrats know who Keith Ellison is?

  • Netanyahu has isolated Israel and is driving the US 'off a cliff into chaos' -- Lloyd Doggett
  • New poll shows sharp partisan divide on UN settlements resolution, and between Jews and African-Americans
    • There are 2 separate issues: a Palestinian state on the west bank and settlements on the west bank. . I think the two issues overlap in many Jewish minds. I think retaining military occupation of the west bank, from a purely military point of view is safer than having a Palestinian state there. The settlers present themselves as being the obstacle to a dangerous military situation: the Palestinians control the mountain Ridge overlooking the narrow coast.

      Of course there is no such thing as purely militarily, the Palestinians are political beings, humans, with needs and demands that are festering wounds. The occupation is as corrupting as yeshayahu leibowitz asserted. His conclusion: the occupation is more dangerous or indeed toxic, than a Palestinian state.

      The lame duck out of the door, flipping of the bird on the way out, might not bother your average person of color democrat, but it certainly made an impression on Jews. Norm finkelstein's impression is widespread and not a cause for much Jewish cheer in the mainstream.

  • Terrorism: How the Israeli state was won
    • The urge to survive is natural and good. The urge to reject the coercive powers of the czar and like minded ministers and peasants is good. Freedom is good.

      The choice of Palestine was a logical choice, for any urge for self rule required attracting large numbers and only a popular destination could attract the sacrifice and effort that would be required for the attempt at self rule.

      I have cousins who are alive today because of zionism. (They were able to escape poland where they were fated to be slaughtered and instead settled in palestine, due to the existence of the British mandate.) I do not expect Palestinians to value the life of my cousins to the degree of accepting their own loss of freedom and their homes. But in effect you are telling me to regret the survival of my cousins. I do not regret their survival.

    • Roha- I would put it as follows: the Jewish urge to self rule in 1897 was natural and good. The location chosen for that self rule was wrong, from the perspective of the Palestinians. Since in fact hundreds of thousands of jews who made it to palestine before 1939 saved their lives based upon the evil done to the Palestinians, it emerges that a great salvation and a great catastrophe occurred as a result of the same act.

    • Roha- as far as Zionism goes, the urge towards self rule does not suffice, because the oppressing nation or the nation that refused to recognize the Jews as one with the rest of the nation, did not have to pay a price for their treating them as "other" and instead it was the Palestinians who were not involved in European "otherness ideation" who paid the price for the "they are not of us" attitude of eastern Europe, so there is no justification (that I cited) for the specific place that zionism focused upon.

      but it is juvenile and puerile to compare the nationalism or urge to self rule of 1897 eastern (and central) european jewry to 2017 when someone who lives in a multicultural society stops believing in a belief that is no longer a key tenet of the society (or even if it is a key tenet, the belief does not cause the majority to relate to the disbeliever as other in his ethnicity but strictly other in terms of belief. ) 2017 britain or US or Australia has an openness to multiple ethnicities, let alone deviant belief systems, that does not at all describe the situation of the Jews in Eastern Europe in 1897. (The Jews were considered, "not one of us" by those nations and thus the urge to self rule is not some silliness, but serious business, resulting from serious exclusion which the excluding people or nations concocted through ideas that they based on nationalism.)

    • Mooser, you asked a serious question, but you are not a serious person. How should I respond?

    • In 1881 or 1897 or 1917 what percentage of Russians or poles or Ukrainians or Hungarians or Romanians said about the jews living in their geographic neighborhood, "They are of the same nation as us, they only pray to God differently than us." Very few. The nations considered the jews a nation apart. Jews who moved to the US were in a different category, because there was a separation of church and state in the constitution of the US and an aspiration for such enlightenment elsewhere in the west. In the east, not so.

      So play your games of anti historical analogies, the choir will cheer you on, but as soon as you are ready to deal with history rather than your college dorm nonsense let me know.

    • Zionism was based upon the Jewish will towards self rule in a specific place, viewing the natives as obstacles. It took advantage of the last gasp of British colonialism. The big dreamers saw the necessity of exiling populations, which in itself is an act of violence against civilians.

      The acceptance of the necessity of violence was essential. How do you unleash violence and then rein it in? There is no formula .

      The haavara agreement certainly causes discomfort. I'm not enough of a historian to assess the possible success of the boycott to assess the damage done to the cause by the agreement.

      My current frame of mind attempts to follow yeshayahu leibowitz 's logic. Accepting the very human Jewish urge to self rule, recognizing that violence was necessary, but ultimately was used carelessly by early israel, but the true catastrophe is the occupation, rather specifically the west bank.

      When I grew up there were riots in Detroit in 67, and h. Rap Brown said, "violence is as american as cherry pie." I'd say that violence is part and parcel of history. The urge to self rule occurred at a time of great tumult and violence in eastern europe and the move to self rule in that spot there, entailed violence and keeping that violence measured was never an easy proposition. The capturing of the west bank with its allure for settlers without giving citizenship to those already there was a gross error.

      I try to imagine a history without the nakba, but the only way I can write it out is by editing out hitler as well. A gradual increase in population could have created a Jewish homeland without full statehood, more coexistence and less violence. But history is a given and the tumult of 47 to 48 was a direct result of ww2. (33 to 45)

    • This piece is propaganda. The choir cheers. But it does not stand up to analysis.

      Try this paragraph:
      Indeed, most Jews and Jewish leaders dismissed Zionism as the latest anti-Semitic cult. They had fought for equality, and resented being told that they should now make a new ghetto—and worse yet, to do so on other people’s land. They resented being cast as a separate race of people as Zionism demanded. - See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2017/01/terrorism-israeli-state/#sthash.FG6A2UnR.dpuf

      Maybe this is true for British Jewry and maybe American Jewry. (Even regarding British Jews and American Jews, the language of antisemitic cult is certainly anachronistic.) But in 1897 the majority of Jews did not live in free societies, they lived under the rule of the Russian Czar. These Jews might have wished for equality rather than what most considered a quixotic quest for an opportunity to rule themselves, but they were still in a ghetto (the Pale of Settlement) and the opposition of most of their leaders (religious leaders) was based upon quietism, not rocking the boat, and had nothing to do with opposition to being viewed as a separate people, which indeed the majority of rabbis did view themselves. As far as "worse yet, on other people's land", this is clearly an anachronistic imagination by Mister Suarez, the idea of colonialism was still riding sufficiently high in 1897 that the concern for the rights of the indigenous certainly was not their first concern, even if we might wish to imagine their moral sensibilities being ahead of their time rather than of their time.

      No, Mister Suarez is basing these supposed thoughts upon an imagination of British Jewry, which was a small percentage of world Jewry and in fact putting his own thoughts in their minds and mouths.

      That the House of Lords would put up with listening to Mister Suarez is a testament either to the patience and politeness of the House of Lords or to their apathy and ignorance.

    • Never heard of Paul Nathan before and it seems he was referring to intra Jewish tensions over language. The clear implication here was that the violence was focused on arabs, but as far as I could tell from the times archive article it was a language war between jews that occasioned his statement.

  • Resolution for 2017: Stop substituting 'the occupation' for 'Zionism'
    • I do not consider myself an heir of yeshayahu leibowitz and if a student, a very reluctant student. It is rare to find a real liberal zionist, but I would propose him. His ferocity against the occupation was unparalleled, but he called himself a zionist. I am not saying what his precise answer would be when at this moment we face the death of the two state solution. (Gideon levy was once a zionist, but is one no longer, so a similar change might have occurred in leibowitz, but he was a Zionist given his time here on earth.)
      I've never seen him comment on the nakba and his disillusionment with Israeli actions preceded 1967. But he considered the 6 day war the greatest catastrophe of the Jewish people.

    • The perspective of the writer vis a vis herself or her people is clear.
      When I wish to clarify my thoughts I read yeshayahu leibowitz. He very clearly endorses the establishment of israel and furiously condemns the occupation. If it's a war of ideas, then it is his ideas which you need to defeat.

      I consider his ideas valid for his people and your ideas valid for your people.

  • Why Obama waited 8 years to take on Netanyahu
    • Thinking about Obama's future, if there would be an open senate seat from Illinois that would be a perfect fit. Give him a public voice and a reason for opening his mouth. The Democratic party needs rebuilding throughout the country. But even in the Senate there are not enough strong eloquent democratic voices. Ideally he would take two years off and then find a Senate or congressional seat.

  • The formal end of the two-state solution
    • If things work well, the army will reflect the population, and the American army circa 1953 will be the goal, integrated and representing all sectors of society. (2016 American army with its all volunteer population ends up with over representation of blacks and hispanics, because poverty/need is the primary motivator for volunteering.) The precedent set by druse participation in the idf, is the ideal paradigm once a real peace is achieved. But this ideal should not blind us to the difficulty involved. Currently Arab Israeli participation in the IDF is minimal and a transition from the current situation to an ideal situation will not result overnight or by mere good wishes.

      The US military is not fighting any immediate neighbors of a different ethnic grouping and so the idealized us military ( except for its regrettable volunteer basis which makes the country less democratic) is not sufficient proof that the imagined Israeli, but nonzionist army, can work.

      The army is an essential element of zionism and an essential rite of passage for the youth of israel. There is a major war (major bloodletting) just north of israel in syria, and the war against isis ain't that distant either. The US military fighting across the ocean against forces whose populations are not highly represented in the US military is an entirely different dynamic and the example is useful only for scoring points in a debate, rather than an attempt to reckon accurately the challenge that will be involved in turning the imagined one state into an egalitarian democracy.

    • I have not changed my statement of purpose which is for a two state solution. But this is not the only place where i encounter people who are very involved in the israel palestine issue. and in those other encounters there are many advocates of the settlement enterprise and to them I always question their willingness to annex and offer citizenship. In pure honesty I offer you the same idea that I offer them. Frankly if one reads news of "death of two states" day in and day out, then one begins to believe it. And then I am forced to evaluate the one state destination. I appreciate that people here dream about disbanding the Zionist army. I do not and it is in the context of agreement with the original act of declaring a state and building a Jewish army that my opinions are formed. The borders needed for that state and the condition of constant war are questions that arise and rankle. There were paths towards peace in the time of sharrett that i wax nostalgic about. but time is one directional.

    • Sibiriak, you are a firm supporter of the 2 state solution, so your objections I accept, but those who are all gung ho on one state, how is that going to evolve. How is the un going to undo Israel's membership? What armed forces will control the lod airport?

    • Listen people, last I heard there are three paths here: 1. 2 state solution, 2. One state solution and 3. Status quo. The refrain I hear here is that the 2 state solution is dead and the essence of mw is opposition to the status quo, which leaves one state solution. Apparently you're imagining some armed forces other than IDF controlling Ben Gurion airport, (obviously renamed) and also controlling the country's other points of entry as well. Or you're imagining a UN revoking Israel's membership and here is your list of demands. Well give me a brief scenario or something to imagine this new reality you are waiting for. I gave a glimpse of the way a Zionist sees the evolution towards one state. First the west bank. Only later gaza. And then even later refugees. That's just stating plain sense.

      You imagine having a loaded gun pointing at zionism's forehead and the demilitarization of israel and the coerced dissolution of zionism.

      Meanwhile the Palestinian split "government" hamas and fatah consider themselves as the sole owners of gaza and the west bank, so my suggestion (which is only an attempt to flesh out the support Phil Weiss heard from the dude at the reform temple last week for the idea of annex and give citizenship and let history sort out the result.) is more in the realm of a thought experiment than a proposal that stands a chance at this time.

    • I knew the "timely fashion" would attract comment. I knew you would object. Caroline glick, not my favorite, advocates annexation and investigating each prospective new citizen for terrorist roots and requiring an oath of loyalty, although I'm not sure of her details. A timely fashion could be six months or a year. I am hedging, allowing myself a little wiggle room when the actual negotiations take place.

    • The obama-kerry farewell speech was inevitable given the circumstance of the incoming president trump. If a smooth hand-off to clinton had instead been the end of this transition period there would not have been this noisy send off. Trump will begin a new era, which I personally revolt against sensing from his manner and speeches and temperament that he will offend me and coarsen the world I live in. But he has made clear that all that has come before will not bind his hands as he faces the future, and therefore obama and kerry as custodians of the past were freed to say what was on their mind. Probably regarding israel palestine the trump presidency will be a hiccup, and thus as soon as a democrat returns to office the kerry statement will be the template upon which that future president will (with some stretching and tugging) base his/her policy. Although the Clinton parameters of December 2000 were never referred to by obama.

      Obama would have loved to work with an ehud olmert or an ehud barak, opportunities which his two predecessors had. Even sharon was far more pliable and certainly calmer than bibi.

      The one state solution (minus gaza) which is the logical consequence of the status quo is far from ideal, and "let the cards fall where they may" is hardly hard minded logical thought, but denying the reality of politics as given plus the facts on the ground requires something beyond un resolutions to give it reality. That is: the UN plus the kerry speech do not seem to bring the peace of two states any closer, and therefore though it seems irresponsible ( since I am not prime minister nor in the knesset where my opinion would be different for I would be a potential doer rather than just an observer) I favor annexing the west bank and in a timely fashion giving all its inhabitants full citizenship.

  • John Kerry gives the 'separate but not equal' speech to Israel
  • Israeli hysteria over UN vote is solidifying country's new status, as a rogue state
    • I am not surprised that Obama ended his term in office with a (UN) statement against the settlements.

      I am not surprised that the un statement made no distinction between the Jewish quarter of the old city and all other past the green line settlements.
      (Obama via samantha powers could have made that point in her statement. She didn't. Was that careless or intentional?)

      I am surprised that bibi has over reacted. I'm not sure what his rationale is. I think it is primarily for domestic consumption. I think it would have been difficult to react calmly, but a clear calm statement of his settlement policy would have been better than this tantrum.

      I think that even if olmert livni or ehud barak had been prime minister the last 8 years it would have been difficult for the Palestinians and Israelis to have reached a peace treaty, but I believe that Obama would have given it his all and he might have gotten close.

      (I think the easiest issue is borders and the toughest issue is Palestinians ' "Right of return" and a delineation of borders signed by the leaders even without agreement on refugees could have solved the conflict over settlements.)

      I think the israeli people (a majority) chose bibi over olmert livni and barak, because they opposed the delineation of borders that I consider worthwhile. Bibi is not prime minister despite his tough stance against the Palestinians, he is prime minister precisely because of his tough stance. He wants to solve it all ( on terms that Abu mazen cannot accept) and he does not want the borders delineated unless a complete end of conflict is signed.

  • Israel's political left also condemns the UN's anti-settlement resolution
    • The Abba eban history is relevant but there are other factors. The center left is convinced that a peace treaty between palestine and israel is impossible or at least far away and thus they too are committed to the status quo. If one terms this as: un declares jewish presence at wailing wall is war crime, then the center left sees this as a danger and an assault. The glee antizionists take in this defeat of bibi/israel is also cause for alarm among those who cherish israel, or shall we say, the Western wall.

  • Trump appoints ex-Israeli settler to oversee peace process
    • One can imagine reuven rivlin as prime minister advocating precisely bibi's platform minus bibi's personality and the resulting rivlin obama clash is far less troublesome than the bibi obama clash.

    • I wonder whether just being a student for a year or two makes you a settler. I suppose if he received training to carry a weapon and did guard duty then there is an additional factor.

  • Netanyahu accuses Obama of betraying 'commitment' to Israel and initiating U.N. resolution
  • 'NY Times' trivializes UN abstention, reducing it to 'tense and tetchy' relationship between Obama and Netanyahu
    • Eva- once upon a time journalists worried about accuracy and I thought James north was from that school. Even a minor factual error would embarrass a real journalist.

      Remind me. Have we (me and you, eva) ever had an exchange of thoughts or ideas that one could call civil? So why are you curious about my opinion all of a sudden?

    • It is not case of journalistic malpractice, but Netanyahu is not the longest serving prime minister of israel, that record is held by Ben gurion. Netanyahu's current premiership of 7 years and almost 9 months is the longest consecutive service, longer than Ben Gurion's longest stint of 7 years and almost 8 months. But bibi's total is 10 years and 9 months, less than ben gurion's total of 13 years and 4 months.

      (Ben Gurion's first term in office began before he was elected to office, from may of 48 until elections in January of 49. Since the election itself was for a constitutional assembly and not for knesset and the assembly renamed themselves as a legislative body, the knesset, strictly speaking his term as elected prime minister rather than putschist prime minister began later after the second knesset elections. But Israelis consider his elected term of office to have begun in February 49, making his total term in elected office still longer than bibi's so far, by about a little less than 2 years. )

  • Breaking: UN Security Council passes historic resolution against settlements as two-state solution 'slips away'
    • Read aluf benn on the topic. He captures my reaction.

    • Should obama have vetoed the resolution? No.

      Should obama be applauded? Yes, but tepid applause. (Two index fingers brought together three times would suffice.)

      Why are bibi and Bennett so upset? Because it is against their policy. Why am I not ecstatic? Because considering last acts of lame duck presidents is a depressing passive activity. Compare some previous lame duck moves: clinton parameters and reagan initiating talks with the plo. Clinton parameters before a change of party control over the white house is most comparable. That had the nature of a Hail Mary pass, if both sides had accepted maybe bush could have continued to pursue. Not that it worked out that way. This is enough to make bibi get upset and Annie robbins to celebrate.

      Is it a blow against the settler movement? More like a wagging finger than a blow. Will it be of use to liz warren when she is inaugurated on January 20th 2021? a small help. Will it increase the power of int'l bodies to take actions against israel? Maybe. Will it improve the footing or the potential for the bds movement? Maybe. If those two maybe's are the basis of your euphoria, then don't let me stop you. Do you think Palestinians are celebrating the victory? I doubt it. Bibi's prolonged rule is weakened a tad and as drama queen he brooks no dissent. Since chemi shalev considers it a major defeat for bibi, I suppose your position must have validity. But what will Gideon levy and amira hass say about this: I can't read their minds, but I predict that they will say, ho hum, not a big deal. Lame duck obama with one tiny step for the causes of peace.
      Is the two state solution closer today than yesterday? Yes. How much closer? The journey of a thousand miles is six inches closer.

    • The only reason this resolution was passed now and not earlier in the administration has to do with domestic politics warping foreign policy. You really think a lame duck toothless resolution unwarps that?

      Listen I hope trump is defeated in 4 years which will be by a democrat who will wave the banner of two states, whether its corey booker and aipac by his side or Elizabeth warren and j street by her side. In 4 years what will this resolution mean?

      Bibi has to make a choice. How adult is he willing to be re: settlements? With the adult (obama) in the room leaving one of the kids (trump) in charge, bibi must show how similar or dissimilar to bennett is he willing to be, or can he avoid choosing and find some halfway measure. Bibi on full throttle in opposition to obama is his natural position and is a play for support in the realm of Israeli politics. Please to realize: he's been in office this time almost 8 years and almost 3 years last time, so this is primarily survival in Israeli politics that is paramount. One cannot overestimate the contempt right wing and indeed 65 to 85% of Jewish Israelis have towards the un, so vociferous opposition is just a given politically for bibi. From what I've read it didn't add a jot or a tittle to the law. It will be up to corey booker or Elizabeth warren to figure out the next step if they or we can defeat trump in 2020.

    • BTW 2 p.m. xmas eve buries the story. America is too busy to pay attention to this.

    • Word choice regarding Russian involvement in syria was a bit loose. Could be Obama's choice re syria was wise. It was historic. It dwarfs this event.

    • Bibi is a drama queen.

      This resolution is as real as jimmy carter's in 1980. What did that one achieve?

      People were talking about a resolution with specificity to turn ambiguities of 242 by specifying parameters and setting a time limit with forced arbitration if the deadline wasn't met. Instead there is this statement. You're impressed, I'm not. Sue me.

    • I am 1. For a two state solution based on the 67 "borders", with agreed upon land swaps. 2. For the most part opposed to all settlements outside of the Jewish quarter in jerusalem and 3. Rooting for trump to be a one term president.

      Nonetheless this resolution seems feeble, particularly from a historic point of view, whereas the following historical events dwarf it: 1. The iran nuclear deal, the results of which will not be clear for ten to twenty years. 2. The iran versus Saudi Arabia conflict and its proxy wars. 3. The devastation in syria where russia has replaced the USA as the only power who really cares about the middle east enough to get down and dirty. 4. The mubarak to morsi to sisi revolution and counterrevolution in egypt. Compared to these headlines, a toothless un resolution approved by Obama in his last month in office seems like peanuts. Maybe in the future historians will see today's action at the un as pivotal. It's difficult to make predictions, particularly about the future, but from here it looks minor.

  • Hell just froze over: the New York Times runs an article saying Zionism is racist
    • Boehm is interesting. (He has written on Abraham and Isaac in a direction parallel to my thoughts.) Referring to the avraham/yair stern letter to the nazi's as the original sin is an eccentric choice of words. (Euphemism for false and misleading.) Aside from the season of 1941 that casts the shadow of coercion on any communication, stern was not near the center of power and was only accepted as an israeli hero after begin in 77. Not to denigrate lehi, nor their eventual role at pivotal moments, a letter from their leader in 1941 is far from the original sin, but just a convenient anecdote.

  • Historical evidence does not support Zionist claims re the Western Wall
    • Regarding Jonah and the fish or whale: television and comedy history reports that the smothers brothers comedy hour, satirical critic of the war , lbj and all things staid, was kicked off the air as a result of David steinberg's Jonah routine which cited the biblical language which used the term fish and rejecting the whale interpretation proceeded to tell of Jonah being swallowed by a giant guppy. ( The content of steinberg's routine was probably irrelevant, the fact that the script had not been submitted to censor/monitors was the cause of the show's cancellation, in fact it was a retreat by cbs away from controversy. )

      I have spent literally hours on the walls of the old city of jerusalem near the rova, aka the Jewish quarter, looking straight at the temple mount, the mount of olives and the silwan neighborhood which I think has been suggested as the alternative place of the temple. Certainly the buildings tip me to consider this as preposterous, muslim conquerors built their mosques on holy sites to claim all holiness proprietary to Muhammad and his crew, so I have not looked at the temple mount bare of its eye attracting buildings. But the topography feels obvious to me that the imagined temple being built in silwan seems ridiculous. If you had spent years looking at the old city from different angles then I would listen to you, but mere belief in the authority of scientists does not deprive a person who has spent time in those spots of having an opinion based on the sense of sight. Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes? to quote Chico marx.

    • It was difficult for me to imagine that you were obnoxious enough to raise a topic from 4 weeks ago. To paraphrase menken, one would never go broke overestimating your obnoxiousness.

    • oldgeezer- jon s and i are two different people. the name jon usually is short for jonathan, son of saul, best friend to david. the english version of yonah is jonah. he was swallowed by a whale. two different biblical personalities.

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