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Obama says Netanyahu’s demands are ‘noise’ and Romney seems to want to ‘start another war’

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Obama and Romney on 60 Minutes

Hot diggity– Israel was a main event in the 60 Minutes interviews with the two major-party candidates for president tonight, offering the high likelihood that Israel will continue to be an issue in the presidential debates, and the real possibility that the special relationship will be politicized. Not a word about Palestinians, of course.

Notice that Obama is somewhat dismissive of Netanyahu, putting him in the category of “noise” he has to tune out when he’s considering what’s good for Americans:

[Steve] Kroft: How much pressure have you been getting from Prime Minister Netanyahu to make up your mind to use military force in Iran?

Obama: Well, look, I have conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu all the time. And I understand and share Prime Minister Netanyahu’s insistence that Iran should not obtain a nuclear weapon because it would threaten us, it would threaten Israel and it would threaten the world and kick off a nuclear arms race.

Kroft: You don’t feel any pressure from Prime Minister Netanyahu in the middle of a campaign to try and get you to change your policy and draw a line in the sand? You don’t feel any pressure?

Obama: When it comes to our national security decisions, any pressure that I feel is simply to do what’s right for the American people. And I am going to block out any noise that’s out there. Now I feel an obligation, not pressure but obligation, to make sure that we’re in close consultation with the Israelis on these issues because it affects them deeply. They’re one of our closest allies in the region. And we’ve got an Iranian regime that has said horrible things that directly threaten Israel’s existence.

And notice that Romney starts talking about Israel when asked a question about reducing anti-American sentiment in the Middle East. He injects Israel into the issue. Wait, is meeting Netanyahu a way to reduce anti-American sentiment? My  mother-in-law called me after the show to express anger that Netanyahu had stuck his broad nose into our presidential election.

[Scott] Pelley: How would you ease the anti-American sentiment that we see in the Middle East?

Romney: Communicate to nations like Egypt, and Egypt is– if you will, the major player, 80 million people, the center of the Arab world. Egypt needs to understand what the rules are. That to remain an ally of the United States, to receive foreign aid from the United States, to receive foreign investment from ourselves and from our friends, I believe, around the world, that they must honor their peace agreement with Israel. That they must also show respect and provide civil rights for minorities in their country. And they also have to protect our embassies. I think we also have to communicate that Israel is our ally. Our close ally. The president’s decision not to meet with Bibi Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, when the prime minister is here for the United Nations session, I think, is a mistake and it sends a message throughout the Middle East that somehow we distance ourselves from our friends and I think the exact opposite approach is what’s necessary.

Finally, note that Obama suggests that Romney wants “another war” with Iran.

Kroft: Since the Benghazi tragedy, your opponent has attacked you as being weak on national defense and weak on foreign policy. He says you need to be more aggressive in Iran, haven’t done enough to support the revolt in Syria, and that our friends don’t know where we stand, and our enemies think we’re weak.

Obama: Well, let’s see what I’ve done since I came into office. I said I’d end the war in Iraq. I did. I said that we’d go after al Qaeda. They’ve been decimated in the Fatah. That we’d go after bin Laden. He’s gone. So I’ve executed on my foreign policy. And it’s one that the American people largely agree with. So if Gov. Romney is suggesting that we should start another war, he should say so.

60 minutes Obama Romney 620
60 minutes Obama Romney 620
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60 Responses

  1. surewin
    surewin
    September 23, 2012, 10:00 pm

    Obama referring to Israel: “They’re one of our closest allies in the region.”

    That way of saying it seems significant, too.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      September 24, 2012, 12:00 am

      @ surewin, just a week ago or so Obama said Egypt was not our ally, and as to Mitt, Morsi just said the US needs to start honoring its treaty under Camp David by actually supporting Palestinian statehood, and start respecting the Arabs. Mitt does not seem to hear Morsi’s new set of rules for Democratic Egypt.

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      September 24, 2012, 1:52 am

      Obama referring to Israel: “They’re one of our closest allies in the region.”

      Yes that stood out like a sore thumb. ONE OF as opposed to THE.

  2. manfromatlan
    manfromatlan
    September 23, 2012, 10:05 pm

    Still soft pedalling on Israel, imo. Though the entrail sniffers in the media might suggest otherwise..

  3. Bandolero
    Bandolero
    September 23, 2012, 10:17 pm

    For me the most interesting sentence is this one:

    “And we’ve got an Iranian regime that has said horrible things that directly threaten Israel’s existence.”

    I read it twice. It’s not Iran’s nuclear programme what “directly threaten Israel’s existence” but the words of the Iranian government.

    What these horrible things are that the Iranian government has said is up to the listener.

    One may think it’s Ahmadinejad’s Khomenei quote saying that the “regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.”

    Another one may think of different horrible things like Ahmadinejad suggesting in the UN that Israel may have had a role in 9/11 or asking whether the Palestinians were guilty of the holocaust and if not why the Palestinians shall pay the price for the holocaust.

    Others may find different things the Iranian government said “horrible.”

  4. abujihad1
    abujihad1
    September 23, 2012, 10:41 pm

    Israel is constanly threanining to attack iran, pushing America into to a corner so it can launch another war , yet Iran is mentionioned in this video as saying not so nice things about Isreal. Oh my god, when are we going to wake up and realize what is happening to our country.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      September 24, 2012, 12:07 am

      @ abyhugad1
      Mittens thinks he’s just engaging in a Really Big leveraged buyout of America Inc. Trouble is, he might pull it off. If so, guess who will hold the debt and how it will be paid off.

  5. radii
    radii
    September 23, 2012, 11:16 pm

    this time the American public, the Israeli public, the world – we all get it that because Bibi has bellowed so long and so loud in his quest for America to fight another war for his Likkud Zionists that he overplayed his hand and now it won’t happen and if Bibi starts anything ALL will blame him personally … as for 60 Min interviews, Kroft was a bit tougher on Obama than Pelley was on Romney … it was a missed opportunity for Obama (or cut out in editing) that he did not frame the situation in the context of an I/P peace agreement … as for saying horrible things – I think when I was on the schoolyard in the 3rd or 4th grade some really terrible things were said to me … I got over it and worried much more about someone taking action than spewing words

  6. MRW
    MRW
    September 24, 2012, 12:16 am

    Your mother-in-law is the pulse that’s worth listening to. She got it right.

  7. David Doppler
    David Doppler
    September 24, 2012, 12:29 am

    Why couldn’t Scott Pelley ask Romney: Prime Minister Netanyahu has badgered President Obama to set red lines that, if crossed by Iran, will automatically result in US attack on Iran, yet President Obama has refused to set such lines. If you were President, would you set such redlines? Would you do it because you believe that it is in America’s best interest to do so? Or would you do because it is so important to our ally, Israel. If so, what do you see being the objectives and likely outcome of such a war?

  8. Citizen
    Citizen
    September 24, 2012, 12:30 am

    Obama: “So if Gov. Romney is suggesting that we should start another war, he should say so.”

    Great, kool response.

  9. kalithea
    kalithea
    September 24, 2012, 12:57 am

    Whenever this site starts getting hopeful that Obama’s going to do something different like getting tough with Israel, I see it as a cue for me to step in and write: Snap out of it! I’m here for the reality check with this bit of news:

    http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/09/obama-nominates-megadonor-haim-sabans-wife-to-un-post-136113.html#.UFttlz4Zql4.blogger

    Obama nominates wife of “mega-Zionist” as U.N. rep. A slap heard from Palestine to Iran.

    When Romney kisses up to Israel; Obama replies – I love you more.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      September 24, 2012, 5:06 am

      @ kalithea
      Thanks for the link. Maybe that’s better than having Mitt appoint Adelson’s wife to the “largely ceremonial” UN post? Wouldn’t that be an even bigger slap heard?

      • kalithea
        kalithea
        September 25, 2012, 1:15 am

        Sorry, I don’t distinguish between Zionists. To me, there’s no such thing as “zionist lite”. Zionism is bad on all fronts. The only difference between them is their level of delusion and hypocrisy. The Adelson type is more deluded while Saban’s wifey is more hypocritical.

        The fact that Obama appoints a ZIONIST speaks volumes about how anemic his intention to further a just resolution for Palestinians really is. All he cares about is his politically correct legacy, not making waves and scoring points with Zionists to get re-elected. He’s a coward.

    • ColinWright
      ColinWright
      September 24, 2012, 5:09 am

      kalithea: “…Whenever this site starts getting hopeful that Obama’s going to do something different like getting tough with Israel, I see it as a cue for me to step in and write: Snap out of it! …”

      Well, this is a game of jnches — or perhaps more accurately, of two steps forward and one back.

      We all — or at least I — chronically get excessively hopeful. That quantum leap we just took turns out only to be a modest hop.

      But if we look back over time — if we look at how universally accepted Israel’s legitimacy was in the West thirty-forty years ago — we realize how far we’ve come.

      Moreover, when one looks at the elements in Israel’s political equation now — with Labor as the fifth largest party and everyone ahead of that some species of raving lunatic — one realizes Israel’s highly unlikely to pull back from the brink. I just don’t see it as politically possible.

      So we’re all impatient for it to end — for the situation to move on to the various ‘betters’ we envision — and we’ll keep on being too optimistic.

      But I think it’s really over. Mind, the fussing may go on for a decade or two yet, but it’s really over.

      • gingershot
        gingershot
        September 24, 2012, 8:44 am

        For me the critical juncture is avoiding the Israelis swindling us into Iran – that is the sine qua non without which Apartheid over the next 5 or 10 years is doomed

        Iran is the figleaf for Apartheid – if Israel doesn’t get her war against Iran she is naked and twisting in the winds of Apartheid

        My ‘excessive hopefulness’ rides on not allowing Israel to suit us up and push us into a 1000 yrs of clashing with Islam and another 1000 yrs of Israeli aid

        If the ‘redline’ for Iran is Iran not weaponizing then Iran really don’t have anything to worry about and Netanyahu is just playing and losing his fool’s game

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright
        September 24, 2012, 2:43 pm

        gingershot says: “For me the critical juncture is avoiding the Israelis swindling us into Iran – that is the sine qua non without which Apartheid over the next 5 or 10 years is doomed…”

        Well, that’s just it. In my opinion, Israel has reached the point where all roads lead to…the same end.

        It’s just a question of precisely how much pain she causes for others on the way down. So yeah, she could drag us into war with Iran. That makes things a lot worse for us, but it doesn’t ultimately do Israel any good.

        She winds up with us bitter at her, and herself frankly a pariah as far as everyone else in the world is concerned. Israel starts a major war with Iran, and relatively uninvolved players like Japan say ‘you know, that country has got to go.’

        All the ways out for Israel involve taking steps that I think have become politically and psychologically impossible for her at this point. That’s why I think it’s all over but the shouting. That last may well be quite loud and prolonged, but nevertheless…

      • ToivoS
        ToivoS
        September 24, 2012, 4:09 pm

        I agree with Colin here. Maybe 30 years but Israel is unsustainable. Her politics are simply broken and she is unable to do what would be needed to survive as state. There is no way to stop the one-state solution and with that Israel is no longer Israel. It will be called Palestine.

  10. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    September 24, 2012, 1:12 am

    Professor Juan Cole rips Bill Maher a new… Over at Informed Comment

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      September 24, 2012, 5:29 am

      @ Kathleen
      Thanks for the link. I’ve been watching Maher’s HBO weekly show for quite a while. It’s clear to me he hates all religions due to history, which I don’t mind since it’s at least arguable religion is a net negative for humanity. But I notice the two religions he spits out really intense hatred for are Islam and Christianity; he continually drops acid on Roman Catholicism as a breeder of priestly pedophiles, and on Islam as a breeder of suicide bombers and women-haters. I read he was child of a mixed marriage and his father was Roman Catholic, and he was reared as such, and resents he didn’t find out he was half Jewish until his late teens. I’ve never heard him deplore the plight of the Palestinians; OTOH he does do the Liddle-Israel-Surrounded-By-Nasty-Arabs schtick sometimes.

      • Ellen
        Ellen
        September 24, 2012, 6:04 am

        Maher is as bearable to watch as Netanyahu, for whom he shills.

        He is not too bright and his snarky gig, weary. Doesn’t seem to understand that all organized religion are used, become a tool for those who want control. It is not the religion itself.

        As Rome was falling apart, Constantine — who figured that out big time — suddenly found Jesus and Rome survived a bit longer, only to have the Church fill in the power vacuume.

        Until the Golden Calf of Zionism came along, Modern Judaism survived this ugly trap, it seems.

        Maher and his shilling for Zionism under the guise of cheap at the expense of others is revolting.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        September 24, 2012, 9:25 am

        Citizen,

        It would oversimplify matters to say that Bill Maher is a Likudnik, a neoconservative or even a Kahanist, but he often sounds like one. Without a doubt he is yet another Israeli asset and propagandist who specializes in promoting the same Islamophobic themes as Pamela Geller and Daniel Pipes.

        I don’t know what really goes on his head, but I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that at root he is an emotional Jewish nationalist — that is the side of his heritage with which he probably identifies.

        He can also be quite funny and progressive on many issues. But his strident self-righteousness and preachiness can quickly become tedious. In his own way, he is as messianic as any of the religious fundamentalists he despises

        This would be an interesting exercise in content analysis: count up the number of times, respectively, Maher has made criticial remarks about Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It is obvious that his real malice is reserved for Christians and Muslims.

        Maher is hysterical on the subject of 9/11: he buys the official story lock, stock and barrel. Leaders of the 9/11 Commission itself think the official story is a crock. Why is Maher so zealous about obstructing an honest investigation into 9/11? What happened to his aggressive skepticism and independent thinking on that subject?

        Bottom line: Bill Maher is yet another component of the Israel lobby in the mainstream media. If he began to treat Israel as honestly, skeptically and aggressively as he treats other issues, he would lose his gig immediately.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        September 24, 2012, 10:29 am

        “I don’t know what really goes on his head, but I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that at root he is an emotional Jewish nationalist — that is the side of his heritage with which he probably identifies.”

        And, as usual, you’d be wrong, because Bill Maher did not even know he had Jewish roots until he was a teenager. He was nominally raised Catholic. So you’re just speculating here. Maher is on record as being a fairly militant atheist, and if you’ve seen his documentary, he’s an equal-opportunity offender.

        “This would be an interesting exercise in content analysis: count up the number of times, respectively, Maher has made criticial remarks about Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It is obvious that his real malice is reserved for Christians and Muslims.”

        It is obvious that you have no clue what you are talking about. That said, I’m not sure why, in terms of critical targets, you would equate a religion of 14 million people against two religions of 1.5 billion people each who constitute of a majority of most of the world’s nation-states. Clearly, people here bash Judaism a lot more than they bash Islam or Christianity.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        September 24, 2012, 11:11 am

        hophmi wrote:

        So you’re just speculating here.

        Yes, moron, I said explicitly in the comment you are responding to that I was speculating.

        Bill Maher is a pro-Israel militant and an anti-Muslim militant. In important ways he fits the Likud and neoconservative profile to perfection.

        People need to press Maher hard and relentlessly: why exactly are you so emotional about Israeli and Muslim issues? Where are you coming from on Mideast politics? Why do you direct much more venom at Christians and Muslims than at Jews? Why are you so anti-progressive when it comes to Israel? Why are you docile and groveling when interviewing neocons like Benjamin Netanayahu, Richard Perle and David Frum? Why are you afraid of an honest investigation into 9/11? What’s your game, Bill? Just how vigorous is your skepticism and intellectual independence really?

        Compared to the best bloggers on the Internet, Maher is a lightweight and, apparently, a bit of a fraud.

        Now, hophmi: stop trying to pretend that you haven’t yet answered the discussion points concerning Moses Hess, your extreme Judeocentrism, Benjamin Netanyahu’s use of the term Amalek, messianism in contemporary Israel, etc. Please answer the questions that were directed at you, especially in the Brecht Forum thread here:

        http://mondoweiss.net/2012/09/after-zionism-at-the-brecht-forum-next-tuesday-night.html

        Don’t try to change the subject, which is your habit whenever you get jammed up in discussions, which is all the time.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        September 24, 2012, 11:42 am

        Let’s start with the abuse: “Yes, moron”

        “Bill Maher is a pro-Israel militant and an anti-Muslim militant. In important ways he fits the Likud and neoconservative profile to perfection.”

        Yes, he’s definitely to the right on the I-P conflict. Do you have a record of his statements on Muslims that defines him as an anti-Muslim militant? He was quite critical of Daniel Pipes when Pipes was on Politically Incorrect years ago.

        “People need to press Maher hard and relentlessly: why exactly are you so emotional about Israeli and Muslim issues? ”

        Do people need to press you and ask why you’re so emotional about Israeli and Palestinian issues? Or, for that matter, any European politician who is emotional about it? Why is necessary to “press hard?” He has his point of view. Do you have an argument against it? Or are you just interested in the ad hominem side of it?

        “Where are you coming from on Mideast politics?”

        Where? You know his point of view. He isn’t hiding anything.

        “Why do you direct much more venom at Christians and Muslims than at Jews?”

        Again, you’ve not proven that this is true. This is a SPECULATION, unsupported by you. This is exactly what I mean. You make a faulty assumption. Then you tell other people to do the research for your faulty assumption.

        “Why are you afraid of an honest investigation into 9/11?”

        LOL. Most people are not interested in 9/11 conspiracy theories like you are, Sean. So, why don’t you tell US why YOU are so emotional about it. What’s your game?

        “Compared to the best bloggers on the Internet, Maher is a lightweight and, apparently, a bit of a fraud.”

        When you don’t have facts, get personal.

        “Now, hophmi: stop trying to pretend that you haven’t yet answered the discussion points concerning Moses Hess, your extreme Judeocentrism, Benjamin Netanyahu’s use of the term Amalek, messianism in contemporary Israel, etc. ”

        I’ve answered you on Hess. I don’t believe he’s greatly influential in modern Zionism. And I also believe that it’s very easy to take the ideas of writers from past centuries and use them to distort current reality. People do it all the time. We simply do not agree on what Zionism is. You call it a messianic movement; it clearly is not a messianic movement because it does not fit the definition. It’s a political movement. The idea was to achieve a state for Jews. That’s what it did. All of this 19th century philosophy is background noise today. What animates most Israelis today is a desire to live in peace and quiet. The settlers, a minority, see the land as paramount to the state. That’s not Zionism, at least not to me.

        I don’t agree with your ridiculous ad-hominem characterization of me as “extremely Judeocentric”.

        I don’t find Netanyahu’s use of the term “Amalek” as anything more than a rhetorical device, much like President Bush’s “Axis of Evil.” Both have religious overtones, but they essentially mean the same thing; Iran bad and we don’t like it. I base my opinion on my own religious knowledge of what the term “Amalek” means, how it is used today, and how it is perceived. The way you are using it and distorting is very similar to the way people distort the meaning of Jihad to make Muslims look violent.

        “Don’t try to change the subject, which is your habit whenever you get jammed up in discussions, which is all the time.”

        I owe you nothing. You make the same tired arguments over and over and over again. I’m not obligated to indulge you on all of them.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        September 24, 2012, 1:38 pm

        @ hophmi

        You are pulling BS out of your butt.
        I’ve been watching Maher very closely for a long time. I completely agree with seanmcbride’s take on Maher. He’s very far from an equal opportunity offender.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        September 24, 2012, 3:25 pm

        “I’ve been watching Maher very closely for a long time. I completely agree with seanmcbride’s take on Maher. He’s very far from an equal opportunity offender.”

        Yeah, I’m sure everybody here agrees with Sean. That’s not at all a surprise.

        Most of the room is on one side of the spectrum.

        However, in his general critique of religion, Maher is equal opportunity.

        But really, again, I look at the assumptions of the questions. The assumption is that every religion deserves the same amount of criticism.

        No one has made any case here for why that should be true.

      • Polly
        Polly
        September 24, 2012, 5:30 pm

        ….I’m not sure why, in terms of critical targets, you would equate a religion of 14 million people against two religions of 1.5 billion people each who constitute of a majority of most of the world’s nation-states. Clearly, people here bash Judaism a lot more than they bash Islam or Christianity

        Islam, Christianity and Judaism are routinely referred to as The Big Three religions – clearly the number of members doesn’t count for as much as you think.

      • LanceThruster
        LanceThruster
        September 24, 2012, 6:09 pm

        Bottom line: Bill Maher is yet another component of the Israel lobby in the mainstream media. If he began to treat Israel as honestly, skeptically and aggressively as he treats other issues, he would lose his gig immediately.

        In a sense, this is the Zionist version of a Salman Rushdie fatwa and I think there’s too few in the industry willing to risk such (that is if that is where their sympathies lie).

        I think a similar mindset comes in to play on his 9/11 views whether or not that is how he truly feels about the attacks.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        September 24, 2012, 6:21 pm

        @ hophmi

        Nobody said Mather doesn’t have a matra as the declared atheist ridiculing religion generally–he even made a movie about it (which ridicules some religions more than others). You changed your tune. Gee, what a surprise.

        Instead of looking at his general assumption (said mantra), start counting which religions get the most hits, which the least.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        September 25, 2012, 12:34 am

        “Islam, Christianity and Judaism are routinely referred to as The Big Three religions”

        Usually by people who haven’t noticed Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese Tradtional Religion, or Sikhism, for starters.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        September 25, 2012, 10:09 am

        “Usually by people who haven’t noticed Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese Tradtional Religion, or Sikhism, for starters.”

        Exactly. Islam and Christianity are major world religions, but Judaism isn’t. It is a geographically diverse, minor religion.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        September 25, 2012, 11:33 am

        Woody Tanaka wrote:

        Exactly. Islam and Christianity are major world religions, but Judaism isn’t. It is a geographically diverse, minor religion.

        But Judaism has been hugely influential in Western and world civilization — Christianity and Islam are largely offshoots of Judaism, which is the fountainhead of the Abrahamic tradition.

        Judaism is a major player on the world stage. Like or dislike it, it must be fully reckoned with and understood.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        September 25, 2012, 8:50 pm

        “But Judaism has been hugely influential in Western and world civilization”

        Judaism has had close to zero influence on the Far East.

        Christianity is a mix of ancient Mediterranean religions and Hellenistic popular philosophy. The influence of Judaism is only because it is part of that mix. Similarly, Islam shows a good deal of Christian content as well as some native Arabic content. Again, the influence of Judaism is only because it is part of that mix.

      • Taxi
        Taxi
        September 25, 2012, 10:38 pm

        Judaism is a slow-growing religion, unlike islam, christianity, hinduism and buddhism – even atheism.

        Judaism was put on the contemporary political map of the world by the nazis, not by it’s sheer spiritual attractiveness or philosophical powers.

        There are more western converts to buddhism than there are converts to judaism.

        There are even more ‘no religion’ people than there are adherents of judaism.

        We know there are approx 20 million jews in a world of 6.8 billion.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_religious_populations

        Abraham didn’t call himself ‘jewish’ – it’s a tag his follower tribes attached much later after his death. And though christianity and islam are “offshoots” of judaism, their influence on the world is by far greater, as the science of numbers clearly informs us.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright
        September 26, 2012, 2:55 am

        hophmi says: “…Clearly, people here bash Judaism a lot more than they bash Islam or Christianity…”

        Well, that would be because the topic here is Israel, and Israel is associated with Judaism.

        Worse, I’m not sure your remark is even true. Most of the negative remarks I’ve read here concerning Judaism have to do with the rather unpleasant expressions of the faith Israel chooses to make. Do people here bash Judaism more than they bash Islam or Christianity? Certainly I’ve read several distinctly Islamophobic screeds — far worse than anything I’ve seen aimed at Judaism.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright
        September 26, 2012, 3:05 am

        To Roha:

        I think you veer too far the other way. Both Christianity and Islam rely on the fund of stories making up the Old Testament to an enormous extent and are indeed essentially developments of the earlier faith — they largely just tack on respectively one and two more prophets. I think that absent Judaism, both the West and what is now the Islamic world would be so different as to be unimaginable.

        This is not to say that Judaism itself remains influential. I don’t think it is any more. One could compare it to Einstein’s father. Obviously, critically important to the development of modern physics — but not in himself.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        September 26, 2012, 8:56 am

        “they largely just tack on respectively one and two more prophets.”

        N.B., in Christianity, Jesus Christ is not a Prophet, but is God, himself, made man.

      • manfromatlan
        manfromatlan
        September 26, 2012, 10:42 pm

        If people really wanted freedom of speech they’d want it for everybody. But I think they only want the freedom to bash religions other than their own.

        Egregious examples of talmudic texts, hophmi?

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        September 27, 2012, 1:31 am

        I’m not sure what point you’re making with the Talmud, manfromatlan. It is not part of this discussion.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        September 27, 2012, 3:15 am

        To Colin:
        Christianity does use the OT stories, but the essential saviour god beliefs are more Hellenistic.
        The origins of Christianity are much debated, but it is difficult to avoid the syncretism.
        Islam is less Hellenistic, but still includes more than just OT stories.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright
        September 27, 2012, 4:35 am

        RoHa says: “To Colin:
        Christianity does use the OT stories, but the essential saviour god beliefs are more Hellenistic.
        The origins of Christianity are much debated, but it is difficult to avoid the syncretism.
        Islam is less Hellenistic, but still includes more than just OT stories…”

        But at the same time, it’s been pointed out that Jesus’ miraculous powers are precisely those usually ascribed to Jewish prophets…and I’ll point out that Islam also incorporates a good deal of Christian teaching — at least, it seems to. Moreover, both faiths seem to find ample precedent for their teachings in the Old Testament without straining too hard.

        I don’t really know enough to argue it all in greater detail, but I’ll content myself with my central point: whatever additional influences there were, Judaism really is essential to both Christianity and Islam, and it’s hard to imagine either faith being anything we would recognize absent it.

        Happily we do have other religions that arose about the same time in about the same part of the world. Neo-platonism and other mystery cults in the Roman world, some developments I’m hazier about in the Persian world. Naturally, there must have been cross-fertilization, and naturally, there are some similarities to be pointed out — but none of these really look much like either Islam or Christianity. I think it’s fair to say that both religions are above all developments of Judaism.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright
        September 27, 2012, 4:43 am

        Woody Tanaka says: ““…they largely just tack on respectively one and two more prophets.”

        N.B., in Christianity, Jesus Christ is not a Prophet, but is God, himself, made man…”

        Well, yeah, but He’s also a sort of uber-prophet, in that He does all the usual prophet things and prophesizes (!) His own return.

        Indeed, in some fascinating book about the ‘historical Jesus’ I was cruelly robbed of about half-way through, it’s even been pointed out that there are signs that in the original versions of the gospels, Jesus may not have been referring to himself as the Son of God, but merely prophesying His (future) appearance. One of the many fun things about the New Testament is that it’s quite problematical what was originally believed as opposed to what was finally edited, collated, purged, reconciled, and set down one-two hundred years later. It’s almost fair to say that God (!) knows what Jesus actually taught.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        September 27, 2012, 10:30 am

        “Well, yeah, but He’s also a sort of uber-prophet, in that He does all the usual prophet things and prophesizes (!) His own return.”

        He’s not a prophet in Christianity. He’s God in the flesh.

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright
        September 28, 2012, 5:56 am

        Woody Tanaka says: “He’s not a prophet in Christianity. He’s God in the flesh.”

        He’s both. Anyway, the point is that along with being God, Jesus has most of the usual attributes of Biblical prophets. The argument was about the extent to which Christianity and Islam are derived from Judaism, and to me, it’s obvious they both are almost in their entirety. There are certainly other influences — but both are about as closely related to Judaism as children are to their parents.

        Jesus is actually the Messiah of Judaism — that’s the much of the schtick right there. It’s just that the Jews wouldn’t accept him. I don’t think there’s a Messiah in orthodox Islam — but there certainly is in various of the sects.

        It is, incidentally, worth pointing out that in at least one once-widespread but finally suppressed version of Christianity, Jesus wasn’t God. Specifically, Arianism, which was practiced over much of Europe in late antiquity. Nestorian Christianity survives to this day, whose position Wikipedia sums up as “Jesus Christ, who is not identical with the Son but personally united with the Son, who lives in him, is one hypostasis and one nature: human.”

        Then too, Islam accepts Jesus — but firmly returns him to the category of ‘man.’ Indeed, it’s worth contemplating just what variety of Christianity it was that Mohammed was exposed to. Islam may not have been all that different from what the Christians around him were preaching.

        I don’t think it’s going too far to see both Christianity and Islam simply as further developments of Judaism — particularly Christianity, which more or less started out as a Jewish sect. From the Jewish point of view, of course, both would be wicked heresies — from their own, they are decided improvements. However, all three faiths are so closely intertwined that it’s very hard to conceive of either of the latter two without the first.

      • manfromatlan
        manfromatlan
        September 28, 2012, 10:52 pm

        hophmi sez: “I’m not sure what point you’re making with the Talmud, manfromatlan. It is not part of this discussion

        This particular discussion is about Bill Maher NOT being an equal opportunity religion basher, and you well know that. Here he is, quoting some Zionist Christian’s cherry picked quotes from the Koran, and saying “the Koran is a hate filled book” and “a culture of suicide bombers” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVTK_XffAvk then please point me to where he ever applied selective examples of Jewish thought to make equivalent points about Judaism? So please don’t tell me he’s not selective. Or you either, for that matter.

    • gingershot
      gingershot
      September 24, 2012, 9:00 am

      Maher has had it coming for a long time – ohh so liberal and ooh so progressive except his Likudnik mean streak.

      When Jon Stewart starts getting called for his own fawning interviews and pedestals he provides for the likes of Neocons like William Kristol then I will really know the 2nd American Revolution to rid ourselves of non-registered AIPAC and the Neocon Cabal has succeeded

      The Neocons and Israeli Lobby get endless bites at the apple … hopefully this enviable position is no longer tenable and they are held responsible. The 2nd and 3rd tiers of Israeli apologists and enablers (Maher being one) – the ones that only get to show their colors when things are going badly for Israel and they are really needed – are beginning to be engaged and this is great news

      here’s Cole:

      ‘The only thing he (Maher) has in common with the Islamophobic Right is his somewhat bloodthirsty form of militant Zionism. He strongly supported the Israeli attack on helpless little Lebanon in 2006, in which the Israelis dropped a million cluster bombs on the farms of the south of that country. He talks about how the besieged Palestinians of Gaza deserve to be “nuked.” His interviews with Likudnik Israeli officials are typically fawning, unlike his combative style with other right wing guests.”

      • manfromatlan
        manfromatlan
        September 25, 2012, 11:00 am

        @gingershot, when even BBC’s “Hard Talk” talkers go all limp then we know who holds the power to intimidate.

        Jon Stewart is a comedian and entertainer, as is Bill Maher. Imagine if you had to be nice to say, Scientology :) to get ahead in Hollywood. Multiply it to the nth factor then you get to see why it’s only the powerless and the ineffective that complain about the state of things.

  11. ColinWright
    ColinWright
    September 24, 2012, 1:21 am

    Outstanding. I had a feeling that if Israel could just be stuck with the Republican brand that it would all start coming apart. Lookit everybody getting up on their hind legs.

  12. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    September 24, 2012, 5:18 am

    RE: “Now I feel an obligation, not pressure but obligation, to make sure that we’re in close consultation with the Israelis on these issues because it affects them deeply. They’re one of our closest allies in the region.” ~ Obama

    MY INCREDULITY: One of our closest allies in the region? Only one of our closest allies in the region? Is Obama actually saying that Israel is not our closest ally in the region, bar none?!?!
    Off with his head! ! !
    Off with his head! ! !
    Off with his head! ! !

    Red Queen: “OFF WITH HIS HEAD!” (Alice In Wonderland) [VIDEO, 00:18] – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eobuu-IexvI

    P.S. MY CLARIFICATION FOR “HOMELAND SECURITY” AND OBAMA’S “SECRET SERVICE” DETAIL: I certainly did not mean to suggest that I intend to behead President Obama. I was merely spoofing the the more rabid supporters of Israel and alluding to the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland.
    I hope that’s kosher.

    • ColinWright
      ColinWright
      September 24, 2012, 7:39 pm

      Dickerson3870 says: “MY INCREDULITY: One of our closest allies in the region? Only one of our closest allies in the region? Is Obama actually saying that Israel is not our closest ally in the region, bar none?!?!
      Off with his head! ! !
      Off with his head! ! !
      Off with his head! ! !”

      Yeah. I noticed that too. A definite straw in the wind.

    • manfromatlan
      manfromatlan
      September 24, 2012, 8:31 pm

      @DICKERSON3870, I’m sure that Obama’s “SECRET SERVICE DETAIL” is quite capable of stepping back and giving a wide berth around the limousine and the trailing car running out of film at the precise moment the president’s car turns into Dealey Plaza in Dallas, just jokingly referring to events that took place a long time ago, 1963 to be precise.

      Wasn’t JFK the last US president to demand nuclear inspections at Dimona?

  13. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    September 24, 2012, 10:31 am

    With the Obama administration’s choice to de list the MEK, upgrading sanctions, repeating the debunked claims that Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map…Obama sounds like he is on the slow train which will attack Iran…eventually. Had thought there was a really different tone coming out of the Obama administration about Iran, but back to thinking that is not the case. Just delaying an attack

    • ColinWright
      ColinWright
      September 24, 2012, 7:50 pm

      Kathleen says: “…Obama sounds like he is on the slow train which will attack Iran…”

      I don’t think so. Obama doesn’t want to attack Iran. Americans don’t want to attack Iran. Obama’s just playing this back without giving the Israel lobby an ‘in.’ It’ll never go anywhere.

  14. American
    American
    September 24, 2012, 10:54 am

    “When it comes to our national security decisions, any pressure that I feel is simply to do what’s right for the American people. And I am going to block out any noise that’s out there”

    That is what most people want to hear.
    I think that statement can be taken to it’s logical conclusion as….he isn’t going to put Israel above US interest.
    The other mumbling on Israel can be taken as the usual political blather.

  15. Polly
    Polly
    September 24, 2012, 2:09 pm

    Any politician who is a true believer in the US-Israel-Best-Friends-Forever horseshit would simply NEVER refer to Israel as “one of our closest allies”.
    Obama’s heart is in the right place on this issue regardless of how much/little ground he gains on getting the US out from under the Zionist thumb.

  16. Citizen
    Citizen
    September 24, 2012, 6:32 pm

    Fox News just showed their special report on the foreign policy issue as between the candidates, focusing most on Obama by far–core content: He’s out playing around with a light schedule while Hillarie is up to her ass in meetings with heavyweight foreign leaders on foreign policy. Then they showed a clip of the 60 Minutes interview, followed by an anonymous report to the Fox talking head that when Obama said he screened out “the noise” he meant “so he could focus on the security of Israel.” They cut off the video clip when it came to this Obama line: “So if Gov. Romney is suggesting that we should start another war, he should say so.” Fox News sells Obama as a lightweight, a child unable to see how serious things are (short clip of dirty Arabs flaming the US embassies), but god forbid they say outright Mitt wants to take us to war. Or even raise the question in context of what he has said and Obama suggested.

  17. atime forpeace
    atime forpeace
    September 24, 2012, 6:53 pm

    Just watched a nice little exchange on faux-news with Juan William, Billy the Israel lover Kristol, and Mr Israel firster Krauthammer, Juan williams was defending Obama with respect to his dissing of Netanyahu.

    It was a beautiful thing to behold, i think we are this close to having this entire election being about Israel.

  18. ColinWright
    ColinWright
    September 27, 2012, 12:18 am

    Anyway, either it’s officially over — or Israel is about to strike. One of the two.

    ” Israel’s Foreign Ministry: Sanctions against Iran are having dramatic impact

    Foreign ministry reports 50 percent decline in the volume of Iranian oil exports; ‘There is more and more domestic resentment there,’ says Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.”

    — Haaretz

    Anyone else, I’d be sure this meant they were throwing in the towel. This being Israel, they may just be being ‘clever’ ala their run-up to Cast Lead. Lull the enemy into a false sense of security and all that.

    However, if an Israeli strike doesn’t happened within the week, it really is over.

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