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Total number of comments: 828 (since 2009-08-11 17:12:53)

David Doppler

I am a retired professional living in Northern California. The name is a pseudonym because I value my privacy.

Showing comments 828 - 801

  • Trump's vow to move embassy to Jerusalem is now a 'decision-making process'
    • Could this be the initiation of a "deal-making process?"

      Whatever Israel wants, he's happy to promise, but then the costs start being enumerated. He says, I want to help you out, but, if I do what you want, it's going to cost me x, y, & z. What does the US get in return? And what do you have for us to give to the Palestinians and Saudis, and EU, and everyone else, to pay for what it is you want?

      Let's enumerate wants and costs, and negotiate conflicting interests. See if we can make a deal. But let's negotiate it. Let's get it all on the table. Everything you want! It's yours. But it's not free.

  • With US reportedly poised to abstain on U.N. resolution slamming Israel, Egyptians withdraw it under pressure
    • Do you think Trump and Obama discussed this in their initial meeting that went long?

      Hey, Donald, Netanyahu wants to play us off against each other during the transition, but maybe we should be doing the playing?

      I'm listening.

      I'm thinking of refusing to veto at the UN, you can condemn me all you want publicly, but then there'll be something more he needs from you, i.e., undoing what will come of the UN vote.

      You know I like to make deals, and use whatever leverage I can get. That would add leverage. I was thinking of holding out the Jerusalem embassy, too, but, to get that, you got to do this.

      Exactly. To get the embassy, and to get the UN deal undone, well here's what it will take. Carrot and stick.

      And if you don't deliver, well I've got Yair Lapid's number here, too. He's totally using my wall idea. Great idea by the way, as political symbols go. I've got Herzog's number, too. I like you, Bibi. I think we can do an historic deal together. Or NOT. Your choice.

      But you don't want to face voters with me telling the world that you're holding up the deal to move the US embassy.

      Oops, look at the time. Let's keep talking.

  • On '60 Minutes,' Stahl is positive about BDS and suggests Netanyahu is anti-American
    • I thought it was a good interview, and that Nethanyahu was cast in the position of supplicant at the hem of Trump - a very different attitude than he's grown accustomed to giving Obama: a constant show of disrespect/disdain. I think Netanyahu felt no fear of Obama, either in his ability to affect US policy toward Israel, or to move Israeli voters in their attitude toward Netanyahu. I think he now fears Trump on both fronts.

      I get a sense that Trump is already negotiating, and that Yair Lapid's call for new elections, and proposing to just go ahead and "build a wall" to separate the two people in two nations, shows how much and how fast political ground may shift or is already shifting in Israel, due to Trump's election.

      I never understand the relationship between the big media outlets and political initiatives (maybe they're actually independent sometimes), but I thought Lesley Stahl cast doubts on the solidity of Netanyahu's position, on Europe, BDS, the Occupation, and in her point, which you leave out, where she rebutted Netanyahu's tired canard that peace is entirely up to the Palestinians, they just need to recognize Israel's right to be a Jewish state. She'd just asked him about how his relations with Egypt, Jordan and the Saudis had been improved into an alliance of sorts against Iran, by the Iran deal, (again, Netanyahu invoked God in his answer - God yes) and she asked whether any of these others states had given such recognition, or whether he'd demanded it of them. [O course not, that's just excuse we use to justify building more settlements]. I thought her attitude showed his canard to be a phony.

      You also left out a curious distinction Netanyahu made: Trump's a friend of Israel, of THE Jewish people, and of "Jewish people." Not sure what he meant by that THE, but he seemed to have a distinction in mind, as if the latter was more general than the former. Maybe to your points about the shattering of Jewish unity in the US, the distancing of Diaspora Jews from Israeli Jews.

      When she asked about undoing the Iran deal, which Netanyahu nearly drooled at achieving with Trump, she adopted Mattis's follow-up, "then what?" His hemming and hawing led her to push, you've got something in mind, tell me. I've got five things in mind, he said, but I'd rather discuss them with Trump before 60 Minutes. So's he's very eager to get some things from Trump, and he's publicly made himself the supplicant in that process.

      As Annie asked recently, what will Trump ask in return?

  • Adelson delivered! Now it's Trump's turn
    • Great set of connections, Phil & Annie, not being closely examined elsewhere that I saw.

      What will he ask for, Annie? That's a great question. He hinted early that he might be able to make a deal in the Middle East, because he's such an awesomely better dealmaker, not afraid to say to the assembled Jewish donors he knew he would be on the short end of their fundraising, because he understood they wanted someone they could control, he understood and respected that, and he wasn't that guy. "Lot of dealmakers in this room," he said. I think he was throwing down the challenge - "you've never had to deal with me."

      He wants to make a deal for lasting peace. He wants to eliminate ISIS. He should want to tamp down the sources of jihad - he hasn't articulated that (instead he's made of himself a source of Muslim unrest), but some of his generals have clearly articulated it, few better than Mattis. With the generals and admirals, he wants for the US to be strong and unpredictable when it commits its troops, no longer hamstrung by weak and indecisive political leadership, unwise strategy. He wants to weaken Iran. He wants better relations with Russia. He wants better deals from all of the US's "retainer nations."

      He should also want his CIA and Israel's Mossad working toward common goals under guidance from him and whoever he cuts a deal with in Israel [why Lapid's call for elections, and for "building a wall," all of a sudden? Why the Chief Rabbis promising reform of how they treat American women who convert to Judaism in the US, all of a sudden, if not Trump starting to flex his muscles?]. We keep reading that the CIA has been arming jihadi groups, that Mossad has been providing them material support, in Syria at least, that the CIA was involved in shipping arms from Libya to Syria, etc., etc. That CIA-backed fighters were fighting DOD backed fighters.

      Today's anonymously-sourced CIA's MSM-reported "consensus" that Russia hacked our election to help Trump, immediately countered by Trump himself, suggests that there's already a great deal of tension there, and that some in the CIA side with the elite establishment in trying to derail Trump (the hack of the RNC at the time in question surely wouldn't have hurt Trump, if released, because at the time in question the RNC was opposed to Trump).

      I suspect Trump will want a lot. And that it will largely be unpredictable. And it will be different. If it succeeds in putting America's realistic interests first, then I'm supportive of a change in direction.

  • 'He won because of race' -- Netanyahu's upset anticipated Trump's
    • I think your parallels are strained and overblown. It is true that Israeli racism gives license to racism elsewhere, especially anti-Muslim racism, but beyond that?

      Herzog had none of Clinton's flaws - corruption, lying, two-facedness. [Maybe a lack of charisma held them both back.]

      I think you over-estimate the racism of the 52M Americans who voted for Trump. There are racists in there, for sure, but I think most voted for change, for which they are enthusiastic, not for race, fascism, white supremacy, or other fringes the losing elites have been conflating to all Trump voters. A halt to the demonization and denigration of American history and culture, maybe, which is different from asserting White Supremacy. Diversity yes, anti-White people, no. Anti-all-of-the-American-social-institutions-de-Tocqueville-praised, no. Acceptance of other cultures, yes, praise for national anthem kneeling, no. There were a lot of white Obama voters who switched to Trump, or stayed home, and they weren't resonating with any of the feelings of Netanyahu's ultra-right-wingers who were persuaded to concentrate their plurality vote in Likud, against their inclination to go farther right with Bennett. Those Americans wanted a change in direction, and, especially, a change in the voice of the elite establishment, which has lost all credibility.

  • We are in an era of conservative counter-revolution
  • More insultingly stupid propaganda for Israel in the 'New York Times'
    • On a tangent from the Elite Establishment Media:

      Did Trump Plan Yesterday's Birther Reversal Five Years Ago?

      Few things about Donald Trump have both attracted the attention of, and irritated, the news media than his tendency to forcefully state outrageous falsehoods. But it seems there may be method to this madness. As I've suggested here before, he deliberately creates cognitive dissonance as a tool to fix the attention of the fact-checking class on him and what he says. And he learned this in the World Wrestling Federation.

      I was never a wrestling fan as a kid, which I dismissed as "fake." But I still remember a thirty-second snippet of video seen thirty or forty years ago before I could get up and turn the channel. Some beefy, bare-chested, long-haired wrestler was being interviewed about his hope for a rematch of a championship bout he'd recently lost, which would've come with a gold convertible Cadillac, which the interviewer was asking about. "I didn't want that gold Cadillac," said the wrestler. Besides, he said two seconds later, "I went out and bought my own gold Cadillac, just like it."

      Why do I remember it? It created cognitive dissonance, and, for those for whom factual accuracy is important, it triggers an emotional need to correct it. And it has stuck with me, like a good joke, as the iconic example of how fake professional wrestling is.

      When Trump said he hoped the Russians would hack Hillary's server to find those missing emails, the media descended on him with crushing force, seeing treason, where there was only a stunt to draw attention. The servers were long since de-commissioned and in the FBI's hands. There was no way they could be newly hacked. But Hillary had created them on non-secure servers where they were vulnerable for years, then deleted half of them, at least one set after they'd been requested by investigating authorities. She claimed these were only the "personal" ones, but no one doubts there were juicy political liabilities, as well as serious breaches of security precautions contained in them, as well. The fact-checkers were so intent on slamming Trump that they've talked for weeks about the incident, thus keeping the email issue alive, front and center. To those on the fence, it is more proof that Hillary actually plans to be deceptive and even builds elaborate processes to allow her to cover it up.

      Trump is not stupid. He did launch the Birther movement five years ago, and looking back, I think he demonstrates a true mastery of WWF method, because he picked an issue that Hillary's close aid Sidney Blumenthal had raised in 2008 to smear Obama. He has often said he's "not ready, yet" to withdraw that. I think he knew the origins of that issue when he launched it, and has stuck to it for so long, because he planned to "end" the controversy, in the election's final weeks, as he did yesterday, claiming credit for ending it, while pinning its beginning on his opponent. The mainstream media have loudly denied that Hillary had anything to do with it, that Trump is making that up, too, but today's news confirms that Sid Blumenthal urged a McClatchy editor in 2008 to look into it, causing them to dispatch a reporter to Kenya.

      Her campaign memos from that time stress she was born in the middle of America, an Iowa campaign worker for her (unidentified in recent reports) forwarded reports of his Kenya birth, and was reportedly fired for it (Hillary's cover story), but Sid Blumenthal wasn't fired. He remains her close confidante. Hillary and her many supporters in the media look stupid and hypocritical, they look "had," as a matter of fact. Most of the fact checkers don't even get that they've been had, either, by this master of publicity manipulation. They think Trump is below their level of intelligence. They do not entertain the possibility that he could outsmart them.

      Who knew ham-handedness could be so subtle?

      Next up: watch for Hillary's and the Elite Establishment's demonizing of Russia-tied-to-Trump to blow up in their faces, as well. Victoria Nuland and Howard Kagan, watch out.

      No insider information here, just seeing a pattern emerge. Trump looks so relaxed and confident when the Russia issue comes up. He looks "in charge," like he's got something something up his sleeve.

  • The United States of Innocence -- the worldview of Major Todd Pierce (retired), Part 2
    • Full of false innocence from Mr Gooey eyes of the non-accountable elite, but nonetheless a great line today: "We set out a decade ago to democratize the Middle East, but we’ve ended up Middle Easternizing our democracy."

    • Excellent interview, interesting guy, although how you go from being a Neocon to being a Mondoweiss fan is a tough stretch.

      On a tangent, Congress yesterday unanimously passed the sue-the-Saudis bill, after a dozen years of suppressing the 28 pages detailing Saudi involvement with the 9/11 attackers. Those Saudi connections were the most concrete leads the country had into who was behind the attacks, those and the Mossad agents with box cutters who'd been listening in on the hijackers, and who were arrested on 9/11 for celebrating in New Jersey in their white van. Yet the Mossad agents were sent home, though the FBI found them to be lying, the investigations into the Saudis were terminated and preliminary results suppressed. A Justice Department search warrant issued by a 9/11 grand jury to raid a Dallas-based Muslim charity got its cover blown by Judy Miller, no doubt tipped by one of her neocon pals in the government whose identity she refused to divulge, when she called the charity for comment during the short time period between its secret issuance and its execution shortly thereafter, which provided the opportunity for any inconvenient documentation to be removed.

      Whenever Congress overwhelmingly does something - whether it was to ignore whodunnit and focus instead on the Patriot Act and War in Iraq, then to suppress the 28 pages for so long, or now to unanimously reverse course to approve suing Saudi Arabia for its involvment - one suspects that Congress's paymasters are keeping them in line, in pursuit of hidden agendas.

      The Saudis have promised to dump $750B in Treasuries, by way of financial reprisal, if it passes. Obama has vowed to veto it, but unanimity would override the veto. Throw in the possibility of a contested election or even a Trump victory, with other things that could go wrong in the world, and there could be a financial crisis.

      It's now been as long from the dotcom bubble bursting to the subprime mortgage lending bubble bursting, as from the latter to the present. Could it be financial catastrophes are coming at 8 year intervals? I think it was 2010 I heard a top OMB official addressing a group of business leaders, one of whom asked: "Two bubbles in eight years (2000 and 2008), is historically uncommon. Is the government anticipating continued greater frequency for these events?" to which the official, possibly Jacob Lew, replied, "That would be above my pay-grade."

      Also, as to how the NYTimes willingly worked with the CIA to propagandize similarly fascistic behavior in the 50s and 60s (various assassinations of elected leaders to be replaced with compliant strongmen, helping various industries, reported along pure propaganda lines), see David Talbot's "The Devil's Chessboard," about Alan Dulles.

  • Huma Abedin dumps Anthony Weiner, occupation denier
    • Nice quote, JWalters: works for Trump, works for Netanyahu. Why is it okay for Hillary to embrace these traits among Israelis, while condemning them among Americans? "Pay to say?" Or "pay to bray," maybe?

  • Dershowitz will play Trump in Clinton's debate rehearsal, WNYC reports
    • Cognitive Dershonance is certainly a mainstay in Trump's formula for attracting attention. Accusing Hillary of having allowed foreign governments to hack into her confidential state-department (and influence-peddling) emails would not have grabbed nearly so much attention as urging the Russians to hack them now in the present tense. The fact that the servers in question were long-since decommissioned and in the possession of the FBI - just more attention-grabbing dissonance.

      Given that she is deeply corrupt, and he is dangerously ill-suited for political power, we're all looking at the third party candidates. But there's a different option: elect then impeach. What Hillary did with her private servers, what the Clintons did to earn $250M since 2001 - mostly in speaking fees to those who would corrupt, can be viewed as the very definition of "treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors." This description of what is impeachable was a term of art in England at the time of the Revolution, and referred to just such forms of corruption of the power of office. It is hard to eradicate because those who would corrupt also use their corrupting skills and resources to influence those who are supposed to be policing them - and the ultimate corruptors become the deep state itself, as documented in David Talbot's "The Devil's Chessboard" about Allen Dulles and the CIA.

      Our constitution empowers Congress to remove the President, even though that means rank politics playing a role in a trial-like process. Where blind justice is supposed to rule the Justice Department and the Courts, impeachment by political process is provided as an additional political cure to bad government. She's lied to the public and to Congress about her emails. She mishandled classified information and lied about that. She mixed her staff, and got State Department staff working to provide "constituent services" to Foundation donors. The public doesn't trust her because she is corrupt. One of Trump's chief appeals was also one of Bernie Sanders' strengths, he is unwilling to recognize many of the taboos that protect the corrupting deep state. If all those dis-satisfied with the establishment in both parties could vote together, there would be an overwhelming majority. But that's not a choice.

      Hillary is likely to win the election, and do so with all the support she's earned from all the major lobbies - Israel, Pharmaceutical, Insurance, Banking - by corruptly serving their interests. So let's elect her, shatter that glass ceiling, but vote Republican in the House and Senate. They have grounds for impeachment. They need two-thirds of the Senate to convict.

      Democratic President Tim Kaine with a Republican Congress - all supported by voters who voted in protest of the establishment - seems a better and more realistic choice than any of the third-party candidates, or the inevitable Clinton administration. I'd rather look forward to that, than to trying to parse how effective Dershowitz might be in prepping Hillary for the Donald.

  • Palestinian Foreign Affairs Ministry to World: Stop issuing useless condemnations
    • You should always be careful what you wish for. More condemnation is needed, not less. Sarcasm is one of the least effective forms of rhetoric.

  • Netanyahu accidentally calls Arabs 'goats' in video intended to promote 'equality and dignity for all'
    • "Droves" of Arabs or Palestinians?" The English term droves derives from "draf" meaning beasts driven in a body, and the road along which cattle are driven.

      Perhaps "my Arab goats" going "in droves" hither and yon, are all part of a piece, a layered and multi-faceted Freudian slip, explosing his racist attitudes toward Palestinians? As collected in the book, "A Murder of Crows," there are many creative terms developed to refer to different groups (a string of violins, e.g.).

      Perhaps Palestinians in this context of occupation deserve their own unique crowd term, not rooted in the animal kingdom. In English, perhaps the word "Pale" would be apropos, combining both a root of their own name, with the English "Pale" referring to areas in Ireland outside of English control, and for the bigoted English, more broadly, meaning outside the realm of civilization itself. A "Pale of Palestinians," e.g., a frustrated crowd queued up at checkpoints, is perhaps a worthy candidate, if there are no offensive overtones overlooked. They certainly find themselves as a group in circumstances outside normal considerations for universal rights.

  • Why Trump's revolution succeeded, and Bernie's fizzled
    • Very funny, Senor Mooser. Well-stated, Annie.

      "White America" is a term freighted with racist overtones. But there IS an American culture, the foundation of which was Anglo & European colonist/settlers, whose original sins were displacement (including ethnic cleansing and genocide) of Native Americans, and slavery compounded to ant-African racism. In declaring independence from a tyrannical monarchy in England, as Adams complemented Jefferson, it took a list of settler grievances and turned them into a statement of the universal rights of humankind. In forming its Constitution, one of the first written constitutions (neither Great Britain nor Rome, despite thinking and debating a lot about their "constitutions," had or have a written one), an extraordinarily talented group distilled out the chief evils of government from history, and strove to fashion a template that would limit the evil that those in power could inflict on their populace, and recognized they were engaged in an effort to continuously make a "more perfect union." The great evil of slavery was expunged in the Civil War, but not the anti-African racism that had been married to it. The Americans who emerged from the Civil War a stronger, more unified, "more perfect" union progressively extended the right to vote to women and, in the Civil Rights movement, to the victims of race-based discrimination. In WWII, the Americans went to war to save Europe from Nazism and Asia from Imperial Japan.

      That culture has gained strength from incorporation of more diversity, and from immigration of the best and brightest from around the world pursuing the American Dream, while continuing to struggle with rectifying the evil done by the racial component of its slave history.

      But I would argue that, ever since the rise of the CIA and the unaccountable deep state it enables, and which is influenceable by various hidden interests, and which, I believe recent scholarship (like Douglass's JFK and the Unthinkable, and Talbot's Devil's Chessboard) establishes to my satisfaction included involvement in the assassination of JFK, and this blog's documentation of the so-far unaccountable influence of the Neocons and the Israel Lobby that has led the country astray in pointless or counterproductive Asian wars, American power has been turned to unaccountable and secret purpose contrary to the ideals of limited government embodied in the constitution and contrary to the best interests of the American people.

      The passion for Trump and Sanders is, in my view, directly related to the dissatisfaction and disgust with the elite establishment, its abuse of power, and its claim to non-accountability, its claim to be "an Empire now, we act and create a new reality."

      I share in that passion; unfortunately, it is boiling down to a choice between Trump and Clinton, a choice, as always, between the "lesser of two weevils" (a joke out of British naval history). My hope is that the dissatisfaction will continue to grow, and, whoever wins will only be able to do so much harm, before four more years will provide another opportunity to sluff off the corrupt and incompetent, and elect a new champion for the best of American culture.

      Rather than proclaim "white America is dying," an inherently racist view, I see a more diverse America continuing to strive to perfect itself.

      Human beings like most social species are territorial by evolved nature, and Annie's comments are all well taken: "If we acknowledge that the interests of the locals have moral significance, it looks as though the putative right of immigration will have to be restricted or qualified to take those interests into account.

      But then we will have immigration laws of some sort."

      Yes, we do. Reasonable immigration laws are an essential part of a successful society, and the alternative of completely free movement is being tested in the EU, and the results are not yet in. Our own porous borders are in need of repair. Social biology/evolutionary psychology suggest that societies compete in their own evolutionary "survival of the fittest" process. I would say history has shown that monarchies and theocracies have not thrived as states, while constitutional democratic republics appear to be emerging as a stronger structure. States based on ancient religious texts have never thrived for long, since they are inflexible, and confuse political power with religious establishment, corrupting both.

      The so-called "right to emigrate," is a lot like the very common phenomenon of inter-group exchange found in all social species, where some of those making the effort find a better future for their gene-pool, while some get killed.

    • “It would seem to be obvious that Trump’s Make America Great Again message was a message to a white American nation in its dying throes. Our country’s changing, and Trump’s forces don’t like that. ”

      It only seems obvious from the perspective of elite, multi-cultural urban centers, to whom Obama explained Republicans as rural people who were "clinging to guns and religion." The children and grandchildren of the Greatest Generation are still here, though they're having two children per couple, not three to five like their post-war moms and dads, or new emigrant families, or the poor. They learned not to act entitled, just because they were white, and accepted diversity as a good thing (many of them anyway).

      But when parts of that elite start talking about them as a white America that is "dying," or backward, or not entitled to the same opportunity that attracts all that immigration, well, it's bound to piss them off. It's not fair for other ethnic groups to start acting entitled in a country that recognizes its strength in equality and diversity.

      What both Trump and Sanders showed is that the most passionate wings of both parties are fed up with the self-annointed elite establishment that acts as if it is entitled to power without accountability, and which is dismissive of those not part of their group as lesser people, in various shades and stripes of "non-seriousness, uncoolness, clinging to primitive ideas, etc."

  • Iran deal is still imperilled by deep state-- hardliners, Israel lobby, Hillary Clinton
    • Apropos the "Deep State," Will Mondoweiss be covering the 28 pages finally released on Friday, a "perfect" day to bury news? The 28 pages from the 9-11 Commission report suppressed since 2002, detailing evidence of direct Saudi government involvement in supporting many of the 9-11 attackers of Saudi origin, in moving to the US and, in some cases, securing training in flying Boeing aircraft?

      The suppression during the run-up to the Iraq War is exposed by Maureen Dowd as likely of a piece with the Bush Administration's manipulation of evidence to justify an Iraq invasion: actual evidence of material support from various Saudi officials would've distracted the public from the phony evidence about Iraq then being pitched.

      Bush's motives may be explained away as part of his failure as President, but what were Obama's motives in continuing the suppression, and of downplaying their significance, even today? Dowd doesn't touch that one.

      Why does our deep state government want to suppress inquiry into 9-11?

  • Jewish entitlement, and Jewish populism
    • I agree with Mooser, both on ownership, AND value.

      Is anyone else reminded of Phil's story about never having been "good with money," having gotten a $20 bill as a gift as a boy, leaving it there with the other wrappings, and then not being able to find it? Wondering if the giver had taken it back to teach him a lesson?

      I have been looking forward to some future book that synthesizes everything, maybe to commemorate a peace deal!

    • "We’re like the WASPs were in the establishment in the 1960s, except then there was more of a frank acknowledgment of the role– the best and the brightest, the Protestant Establishment, the Episcopacy, etc."

      On what do you base your understanding of this "frank acknowledgement," and how does it compare to the joke you quote from Wieseltier?

  • Clinton's 'infatuation with war' and neoconservatism stirs misgivings on the left
    • Hillary's anointment by the elite establishment is possibly further illustrated by the "chance" private meeting between Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch at the Phoenix airport yesterday, and the way it is reported by said establishment's official news organ, complete with unnamed source granted anonymity to allow us all to see how things are about to play out:

      This establishment's power is greatly enabled by the NYT's willingness to grant its operatives anonymity. Note the tee up for what is about to happen, by the reference back to how "completely independent career prosecutors" declined to prosecute anybody for waterboarding, contrasted with how Eric Holder, a political appointee, reduced the recommended charges against Petraeus for similar charges Hillary could face, from felony to misdemeanor.

      For deep historical background on how the CIA used the NYT and other media during the 50s and 60s to shape public perception of events that were being manipulated, often illegally, by that era's power elite, see David Talbot's recent book, "The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government."

      "Plausible deniability" has turned our democracy into a place deeply corrupted by secret power, whose primary goal is always its own survival.

  • Video: All hell breaks loose in Knesset as Zoabi demands apology following Israel-Turkey agreement
    • Talk about your "valuable hatred." Thanks for publicizing this, MW. It needs a broader audience.

  • 'Washington Post' publishes article by Jewish leader urging boycott of Israel
    • Yes, and let there be a broad-based American voice for peace, that favors neither Israeli or Palestinian, Jew or Muslim, but equal justice for all.

  • Michael Lerner brings down the house at Muhammad Ali funeral by standing up for Palestinians and against Netanyahu
    • Thank you, Mondoweiss for featuring and linking this part of the memorial service that didn't get coverage in my usual sources. Thank you for the link to the incredible back story about Ali requesting that Lerner speak there, despite decades of non-contact (except Ali reading his books, and one letter), which, to me, makes amends for Lerner's using the platform to promote his views, which seemed a bit out of place, over the top, upon viewing, without yet knowing of Ali's specific request. If Ali wanted it, then it was not out of place.

      And thank you ritzl, Annie, Sibiriak, Marnie, for parsing Lerner's Jeremiad. His central message - be Ali today, speak truth to power - resonates deeply, and deserve the kind of coverage and analysis only Mondoweiss seems capable of.

  • South African Nobelist Coetzee on Israel and apartheid: 'Draw your own conclusions'
    • I nice technique worthy of a Nobel laureate wordsmith: describe in your own words the commonality between two systems you would compare, thereby avoiding the labels that can be hijacked into "label-discussion" as a way to avoid discussing the real issues.

  • Front-page play for Israel battle shows that Israel has lost the Democratic Party base
    • I guess it's arguably no longer an "occupation," but an "annexation." Either way, the illegality seems clear.

      Moreover, quibbles over terms are just a very frequent way to stir the pot and deflect attention from the larger issue: the injustices being done to the Palestinians.

    • I think Sanders would say, sorry, you're too late, "tables turned and now it's your turn to cry." Populist against populist will motivate all the Trump and Sanders folks, and leave all the Clinton supporters depressed, disengaged. Heavy turnout favors Sanders in California.

      I think Trump is unpredictable, except that he can't resist a spectacle in which he has a starring role.

      Either way, Trump elevates himself, especially if he ever figures out what "appearing presidential" means. He's got nailed what it means to appear bigger and more "in charge" than everyone else. [E.g., if she does want in now, she'll have to ask his permission.]

    • Hillary is so very conventional and forever studying the rear-view mirror.

      The potential big story in development today is the pending agreement for Trump and Sanders to debate before the California primary. She's refused to debate Sanders, declared her victory prematurely, sought to shift to a one-on-one with Trump, pursuing her ever-conventional thinking, and is blind-sided by two much more innovative political minds. Sanders stands to gain a lot at Hillary's expense in such a debate, which will be humiliating for her to miss. Trump will certainly gain more publicity, and an opportunity, post his own nomination wrap-up, to woo Democrats, while fighting for free markets vs socialism. He will have plenty of room to muddle in the Democratic party nomination process. I can just hear him boasting: "I don't know whether I want to bash this guy, Crazy Bernie the Communist, or help him so he'll beat Crooked Hillary. Only I could engineer such a choice, you see how I negotiate deals? All those pundits who a month ago thought some elite establishment conspiracy would decide the Republican nomination never imagined that I'd get to choose BOTH nominees! Unbelievable, believe me. Unbelievable."

      Hillary stands to lose a lot to both candidates, because the stage will be dominated by two anti-establishment populists, one from the socialist left, the other from the megalomaniacal right, while the establishment will be routed, without even a voice on stage (except whoever moderates).

  • Sanders appoints Palestine advocates to committee drafting Democrat's 2016 platform
    • I think the effort to fuse Sanders activism onto a Hillary - XXXXX ticket will ultimately fail, because Hillary is a shill for the establishment: Shillary she is.

      Trying to reconcile the Netanyahu-government-manipulated establishment position on Israel with impassioned activism for Palestinian justice reminds of Nixon going out to talk to the activists on the Mall - starkly fascinating in its dissonance, a last exercise before the failed war-policy is abandoned, its progenitors all discredited and eventually run from office (but not alas further held accountable). Having the DNC and the party nominee attempting to manage that kind of revolution in world view under the microscope of the general election, with Wasserman-Schultz poised to lose her seat to an academic challenger in August, with Lieberman in Israel ready to launch wars, and with Trump there to ridicule Hillary's every misstep, is a recipe for a Democratic disaster.

  • Joint List MK: Lieberman deal reveals 'the real face of Netanyahu'
    • Interesting comments from Netanyahu, Yaalon, Herzog, and others on the day's developments:,7340,L-4805670,00.html

      As I understand it, Netanyahu was negotiating with Herzog to bring him in as foreign minister to placate dissatisfaction among the nations, and to bolster his majority of 1 with the ZU's many seats, when Lieberman suddenly offered to bring his much-weakened Israel-Beiteinu party in, an offer Netanyahu jumped at and the right-wing celebrated. Yaalon's resignation as defense minister - which would've been forced by Lieberman's appointment, anyway, was perhaps to be softened with the foreign ministry (and still might), but Yaalon appears to be separating himself from Netanyahu, drawing a personal line in the sand. Herzog may have damaged himself among his constituency by negotiating to come into the government; now that his opportunity has been dumped on, we'll see what he does next. Netanyahu seeks survival and endurance for his government, but it is hard to see a favorable path forward veering farther to the right (proverbially than Genghis Kahn).

      Netanyahu's move could backfire, if enough others resign due to conscience, if the international community decides to stiffen its measures, or if NOT blindly supporting Israel becomes a winning position in the US presidential race. Interesting times.

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  • Whistleblower: US General Sean Swindell bears responsibility for deadly Kunduz hospital attack
    • “Bomb the shit out of things; send in aid as a pretext for CIA operations. It’s just what we’ve been doing for the past hundred years. We just do it under a new regime,” he said. “Very unfortunately, neoliberalism is the only foreign policy we have right now.”

      For deeper exploration of CIA history, methods and 'purpose,' including use of major media outlets like the NYT to propagandize its cover stories, see, David Talbot's "The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government."

      While foreign policy and CIA profess to support western-style democracy, in fact, it has used Communism and now Terrorism as excuses to destroy national governments, whether or not duly elected, and replace it with those the CIA can corrupt and control, for purposes that, without transparency, cannot be clearly determined. Those purposes may incorporate or hide behind multiple disguises - patriotism, national security, Anti-Communism, Capitalism, Anti-Terrorism, Zionism, human rights, but, given human nature, they are likely to boil down to preserving power for those few who exercise it.

      The unrest among the American populace with the establishment isn't going to be resolved until the secret government is exposed and held to account for its many crimes. Generals and Defense Secretaries who avoid accountability have been corrupted by the secret government, who dole out absolution, and blame scapegoats, in exchange for obeisance.

      I predict Debbie Wasserman-Schultz will get knocked off in her primary on August 30 by an obscure academic, in a reprise of Eric Cantor's surprise defeat a few years ago.

      People are fed up with the establishment.

  • Anti-Semitism is considered a serious moral failing. But no one calls out anti-Palestinian bigotry
    • We see here two tools of manipulative sophistry: conflation and nuance. All criticism of Israeli oppression is conflated with Anti-Semitism, and with denial of Israel's right to exist, and on those bases condemned. All efforts to defend or discuss criticism of Israel are drawn off into endlessly nuanced historical, definitional, etymological, cartographic, religious and philosophical digression. While, as you point out, flatly racist labeling of the victims of oppression - blaming them for their own suffering, denying their humanity or even their existence - are asserted as fact, not subject to debate, and all efforts to discuss or debate them are promptly rolled into the conflation ploy.

      It is somewhat more sophisticated than the techniques used in the South fifty years ago - "Oh, so you're a N*****-lover??" the inevitable conversation stopper directed at anyone who sought to challenge Jim Crow oppression from within that society, coupled with actual lynchings, cross-burnings, beatings and arrests directed at those not within that society - but similar in its intent and effect: to intimidate and silence dissent from blatant racism justifying awful oppression.

      Enough sophistry. Stop the oppression.

  • Saying Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish state is not anti-Semitic
    • So, Mooser, would you delay justice for the Palestinians until their oppressors work out all nuances of the meanings of Zionism, Judaism, and Anti-Semitism, to your and their mutual satisfaction?

      Or should the US and the international community (and those Israelis who don't support their own government's policies) require the oppressor to stop oppressing?

    • It's not about the Jews. It's about what the State of Israel is doing to the Palestinian people. One can and should oppose racist, Apartheid-like oppression, wherever it occurs, without having to be endlessly distracted by how many definitions of Zionism and Anti-Semitism can dance on the head of a pin.

  • Sy Hersh's 'forbidden statement': Sanders's liberation from NY Jewish money could change US foreign policy
    • I believe that the perception that organized issue-focused money is effective in buying candidate loyalty on key issues discourages other givers from supporting those candidates, to the extent that they care about the issues pre-empted by that organized money. What's the point if candidates have pledged their positions secretly in exchange for large sums of organized money backed by effective lobbyists? Donating to such "pledged candidates" just helps the organized money. I believe there is vulnerability to Hillary in this regard, although apparently not in New York. Here's an indication Sanders could win in California:

    • "But before you went to the Jewish community, you had a conversation with the lead AIPAC person in your state and they made it clear that you needed a paper on Israel. And so you called all of your friends who already had a paper on Israel – that was designed by AIPAC – and we made that your paper."

      These papers all exist somewhere. Why doesn't some enterprising journalist or blogger collect them on-line, to make them publicly available, so that all voters can see what positions have been taken or pledges made. AIPAC wants to stop the Iran deal, try to start another war in the Middle East, humiliate our President, make the Israel-American relationship partisan, let the voters know what they require in order to fund our Congressional candidates.

      Have you adopted a position paper on Israel for AIPAC or in connection with campaign fundraising? If so, please share it, and, if you won't, why not?

  • Sanders 'put everything on the line' for Palestine because BDS movement has changed US conversation -- Peled
    • I agree, pabelmont, and this was my question when Tom Friedman came out for 1SS, which he said would involve a "low-grade civil war." By which I think he meant, Israel takes over the whole land, then accomplishes ethnic cleansing/minority oppression at a level that can be kept under wraps.

  • 'NYT' exposes Clinton as most hawkish candidate when it's too late for readers to choose
    • "It’s an open question how well Clinton’s hawkish instincts match the country’s mood. Americans are weary of war and remain suspicious of foreign entanglements. And yet, after the retrenchment of the Obama years, there is polling evidence that they are equally dissatisfied with a portrait of their country as a spent force."

      As if, you're either weary of war or don't want to be a weakling: either beat this guy up or your a weakling yourself.

      Excuse me, but this is the Times claiming the role of elite opinion molder, again, and framing false choices, designed to paint those who choose "wrongly" as weaklings. This has worked with Obama, who is neither fighter nor executive, and was constantly put in a position of doing what the warmongers wanted, to avoid being shown to be weak. He ultimately squirmed out of attacking Syria, but only after having been manipulated into drawing a red line, and then appeared weak to everyone when he failed to take action, which finally came by deferring to Congress. He's weak in not being able to force his state and defense establishment to follow his lead. He complained about the playbook and his advisors, but, as leader, he should write the playbook, not complain about how it was used against him. He should've fired the warmongers, not leave them in a position to manipulate him.

      Hillary is the true tool of the Neocons/Likudniks, who pitilessly pine and plan for the war of civilizations, and who can only be taken out by brute frontal assault.

      The polling evidence of dissatisfaction is with the US being manipulated into counter-productive foreign entanglements that leave us weaker than before, at enormous expense. And with manipulators like the Times goading the country forward with false choices, of being humiliated as weak unless you do as you're told.

  • Clinton will hold fundraiser in Tel Aviv
    • Did Joseph do anything wrong?

      Let's see. At the end of a seven year drought, prediction of which earned him his freedom and high position in which he eventually exercised all the authority of Pharoah, Joseph controlled almost all the wealth and power in Egypt.: All the grain, all the money, all the herds, all the land, and finally with almost all the people enslaved, but then allowed to work their former land as share-croppers, with grain to plant previously withheld now provided, and to keep 4/5 the produce. Excepting only the priests, who were taken care of through an allowance of grain from Pharoah. Later, the succeeding Pharoah "did not know Joseph," and the Jews were then "dealt shrewdly with" and themselves enslaved.

      So Joseph invented the one percent model (the one percent being Pharoah ,his family and retainers, the Priests, and the Jews who prospered in Egypt with Joseph), and found a way to win everything from the general populace through general economic collapse (cf the Big Short).

      I'd like to know why he felt compelled to testify that he could find nothing that Joseph had down wrong to these Orthodox scholars at this setting. It reminds me of Glenn Beck singing the praises of Leviticus to that Orthodox priest in Jerusalem, linked here several years ago.

      Looking for a blessing in all the wrong places. No wonder he looks weary.

  • Obama's November surprise
    • Clinton appears to have handily won NY, despite Sanders driving a wedge between his candidacy and hers on the issues of being too uncritical of Netanyahu, defending disproportionate force against the Palestinians ( a war crime), and ignoring Palestinian rights in her speech to AIPAC - the long-awaited (by Mondoweiss) politicizing of the War of Ideas in the Middle East in a presidential campaign.

      Or were the reported mishaps that blocked many Dems from voting part of an organized effort to "deliver" the election to Clinton? Some 126,000 voters were purged from Democratic voter rolls in Brooklyn in the last few months, part of a large net drop in total eligible voters in that borough, which is a suspicious sign when Sanders is the one bringing masses of new voters to the primary polls for the first time in state after state.

      Now we have this report of an elaborate plan for J Street and a "lame duck" Obama, to try to advance the peace process after the election, i.e., to keep the peace process out of the election, where Americans can vote on it directly. What? The American people can't handle the issue directly? Obama is too timid to fight for peace until after the election is over?

      Well, I think Sanders has put his differences on display, and, I believe, that difference will grow in importance in other states, especially California. The Emperor's nakedness is now well passed having been noticed and laughed at. People are at the stage of being angry that parade continues, their integrity insulted.

      I also think, if Clinton and Trump win their respective nominations, Clinton will have to face much blunter and more forceful accusations of having, in partnership with Obama, destroyed the chances of peace whenever they've arisen, while even more steadfastly having advanced the causes of counter-productive wars, and the careers of those who use bureaucratic infighting to achieve them.

      The only hope for peace to is directly take on those for whom the opposite of peace is their motivating mission in life, from Netanyahu on down through all the Neocons and so-called neo-libs allied with him in the US. They don't want peace, and should be treated as the war criminals and war-mongers they are.

  • 'Forward' columnist and Emily's List leader relate 'gigantic,' 'shocking' role of Jewish Democratic donors
    • I think elected officials should face demands from their electorate to publish those AIPAC papers, spelling out what they have promised in exchange for all that financial support. I'm going to write my Congressperson.

  • In Brooklyn, Sanders stand on Israel attracts support despite controversy
    • Thanks Dizard for insight into what people thought at that Brooklyn bar, for that image of the DC factory town machinery, and to some new [to me] internet slang: e.g., dank af, and kthxbye, used here to mean listen to what I just said but I don't have time to talk.

      Perhaps we should liken Sanders "suspension" of Zimmerman to Lincoln's pledge to uphold Slavery and enforce the runaway slave laws in his first inaugural address: things said but not meant for short term tactical advantage? New Yorkers will give judgment on Clinton and Sanders today, and a lot will flow from that, whether short-term insincere tactics will continue to mean more than who you really are, underneath the tactics.

      Hey, Hophmi, don't Bogart that joint, my friend. kthxbye.

  • Clinton propagates false understanding of Camp David
  • Jewish leaders' excommunication of Sanders aide over Israel will only alienate young Jews -- Open Hillel
    • Again, what exactly does "suspended" mean???? Is there now to be a war of supporters vs detractors???? Will she be given a chance to introduce herself in more depth to the world?

      I hope so.

  • Video: Israelis feel the love for Donald Trump
  • Sanders slams Clinton for ignoring Palestinian needs and thinking Netanyahu is 'right all the time'
    • Thanks, Kris, for this further coverage. The "Jewish establishment institutions and press outlets affiliated with them" appear to be eating their young, or attempting to. But the kids tend to prevail in these generation gaps, over time.

      How did Sanders deal with criticism of Israel in the debate? Very carefully. He definitely gave Hillary a shove for her cravenness at AIPAC, for treating Netanyahu as if he were "right all the time," and for insisting that concern for the Palestinian people needs fair attention from the US, and Israel. I will say this about Netanyahu: he is far right all the time. And Hillary certainly looked like she'd taken a punch in the face, for her efforts to identify so closely with him.

      Zimmerman's comments drew the "valuable hatred" from the powerful establishment wedded to oppression of the Palestinians, and Sanders' couldn't-be-more-public call for empathy for the Palestinians, accusation of disproportionate force, clear separation from Netanyahu & AIPAC, outline the position he would rally the reformers around.

      A well-thought-out position. How will New Yorkers respond?

    • Operative word in the Zimmerman Affair: "suspended." Bernie's got one foot on the freedom boat, and one foot on the establishment pier, and he's trying to prolong the moment before he has to choose (or take a dunking). At least until after Tuesday.

      Simone Zimmerman appears to be a young force to be reckoned with, and an unlikely candidate for Chuck Hagel style donkey play, or Samantha Powers style lessons with Schmuley. I think her story is worthy of close Mondoweiss monitoring.

      Yond Simone hath a lean and hungry look.

  • Democratic debate: Is Netanyahu welcome at White House on Day 1 or an arrogant, deceptive asshole?
    • How does Mondoweiss compare to the NYTimes on the coverage of this issue? Contrast this great - and newsfull - story here, with this Times analysis of what to expect in the debate tonight concerning Israel, and how to put it in context:

      "Unless Israel becomes a matter of dispute on Thursday, it [Israel] may play no meaningful role in the Democratic race at all. That would be a watershed, of a kind, in New York politics, and perhaps a sign of shifting currents in Democratic politics nationally."

      Translated, that means, I think, "Hopefully, the full-on Neocon hatred display directed at Sanders and Zimmerman will, once and for all, silence all criticism of Israel among anyone at all important."

    • I agree with your tribalism critique, and hope you've expressed that as well in the ongoing Mondoweiss reader survey, and that Phil, et al, will take it to heart.

    • This is beautiful because Bibi is an asshole and a war criminal, objectively speaking. Bernie with help from Simone just need to rely on that objective truth, and let all the hysteria a direct frontal challenge to the bully Netanyahu will ignite wash past them, and see, what, if anything, it does to that objective truth. My prediction is, underscore it.

      There is a growing crowd of people fed up with people loudly and aggressively denying the objective truth. As it escalates into apoplexy, it will be seen by an ever-growing group as "valuable hatred." Valuable because it attracts broader attention and builds up over time a school of popular opinion that is prepared to take the necessary action to overthrow those in power who are joined at the soul with a very bad thing - here, Israel's mistreatment of the Palestinians. See Phil's wonderful post based on his reading of Lord Charnwood's Lincoln, and my comment there quoting US Grant on the subject.

  • Imitating a candidate, Ryan goes to Israel and calls BDS an anti-Semitic 'shenanigan'
    • As Speaker, and a major fundraiser for Republican Congressmen, Ryan is shaking the Anti-BDS tree (pretty efficiently, too). His testing-presidential-waters actions should be read in that light, and should be viewed as a possible but unlikely long-shot. His statements now are more likely to serve his more likely continued role as Speaker, & not necessarily indicative of how he would govern as President.

      I think he's running Congress, raising money, getting himself enhanced standing in any convention brokering process. I don't think he's anyone's sicophant.

  • Why Clinton's Iraq decision matters
    • "Clinton is a rather typical sort of politician, the kind who tells people what they want to hear if that will get them the votes they want or the donations they need."

      Spot on! Plus she drives with her gaze fixed in the rear-view mirror. She shows little vision, and is subject to blunder, when she tries to bring up original ideas.

      "And that’s the problem. People start to accept this as the norm and adopt the values of the cynical politicians they support."

      This is an interesting insight, but incomplete, as explained below.

      "Thomas Frank is right — the Democrats are to some degree the party for the 10 percent, the affluent successful people who believe in the “meritocracy”, the best and the brightest who did well on their SAT’s."

      A party built on the votes of unions, African-Americans, other minorities and immigrants cannot seriously be described as "the party for meritocracy, the best and the brightest who did well on their SATs," except in the sense that it has been where those with high SAT scores, working in non-leadership positions, i.e., followers, have tended to congregate. What is unspoken here is the hidden power-structure that seeks to define both who gets power, and who gets to be the top ten percent.

      Look at how universally condemned both Trump and Sanders have been for denouncing the Iraq War. The entire establishment spectrum from Dick Cheney to Paul Krugman have joined together in placing such condemnation as beyond the pale. Why? because almost the entire establishment spectrum follows the lead of a discrete set of voices, the same set of leadership voices that wanted that war as a transformative event.

      It is not the cynical politicians who set the values, nor the top ten percent. It is those behind the money that buys their support, and seeks to define the nature of "merit." The same money that funds think tanks, and public relations campaigns, and owns corporate media, and floods "elite" universities with funding tied to strings, and seeks to hide its influence, to justify its manipulations with Platonic and "Neo-Straussian" philosophical sophistries like "noble lies," made by philosopher kings (or the meritocracy), for the "greater good," which translated means, the maintenance of power and influence among those who hold it. And you'd better agree, or you will not be taken "seriously," instead you will be attacked personally, and ostracized from the "elite."

      What's interesting and possibly unique about this campaign is that the more united the establishment has been in condemning both Trump and Sanders, the more passionate the populist movements become supporting them. It is also interesting how diverse the different camps supporting these two insurgents - from rust-belt white workers to young educated women.

      Whichever party selects the populist as its leader is likely to harness the passion aroused by the deep dissatisfaction with the self-appointed, self-absorbed, "elite establishment," those who've accepted the cynical values pushed down through politicians and other institutions onto a portion of the high-SAT scorers who, like HRC, as those values necessary to maintain their own power and status. Those who continue to place the criticism of the decision to invade Iraq as beyond the pale.

      And it's still not at all clear whether that will be zero, one or two of the parties.

  • Leahy challenge to Netanyahu over killing of Hadeel Hashlamoun, 18, shows change in Israel's image
    • The ongoing reluctance to discuss these issues openly relates back directly to indiscriminate charges of Anti-Semitism hurled at Israel's critics, given broad currency in media and in polite conversation in board rooms and faculty clubs, against a background of real, ongoing Anti-Semitic bias among certain elements, with which good Americans cannot in good conscience associate, nor want to be associated.

      The conflation of criticism of Israeli leadership and policy as Anti-Semitic dumbs down the conversation, by ramping up the emotional dissonance involved. A clever manipulative ploy, but destructive to Israel in the long run.

  • In NY, Sanders says settlements are illegal and Israel slaughtered 'innocents' in Gaza
    • That's a great photo for this article. As selfies go [I assume it is a selfie, with the camera held at an angle], the angle reminds of a picture you might see of two faces of a couple lying together in bed.

  • Shocker: 'NYT' forum on anti-Zionism tilts toward equating Zionism with racism
    • My whole point is that choosing between two polar opposites isn't necessary. I don't condone at all the racism and oppression practiced in Israel. But I also don't condone at all the notion that Israel has to cease to exist. Should America cease to exist because it incorporated slavery into its founding constitution, and engaged in ethnic cleansing? Everyone other than the Native Americans go back to where their ancestors came from? Or can societies improve over time, become more perfect?

    • Words matter, and "equating" Zionism with racism, is as imprecise as "equating" criticism of Israeli policies with Anti-Semitism.

      Can some form of Zionism exist, consistent with Palestinian rights? If so, then labeling all of Zionism as racism is a political conflation. It feeds into (by opposition) Israeli hasbara that criticism of Israeli policies constitutes an existential threat.

      One can oppose specific policies of the Israeli government, without denying all of Zionism, and without denying Israel's right to exist, with a predominately Jewish people and culture.

      The American ideals of an informed public, equal rights, limited government periodically elected, with various checks and balances on power, is designed to survive and correct incompetence and corruption, in part by minimizing the harm any one person or group or movement can inflict.

      This kind of reckless conflation of terms on the side of the Israeli establishment appears designed to escalate harm and the appearance of the threat of harm, in service of those trying to manipulate fear for propaganda purposes, in order to allow continued oppression and land-seizure. The Palestinian cause expressed by ZahZah below avoids that trap, but your headline falls into:

      "Palestinian self-determination is a crucial step in ending the logic of racialization and civilizational hierarchy that produced anti-Semitism and genocide. This logic measures Palestinian life as less valuable than Israeli life. To say otherwise is to suggest that standing up for Palestinian rights is somehow anti-Jewish. Critiquing this logic is a moral responsibility."

  • Liberal Zionists are losing control of US discourse, and they know it
    • "This is good for a military trying to control a population, but it has devastating effects on the prospects for peace."

      "Good" here is a poor word choice. There are short term tactical advantages for the military in driving the occupied to despair and distrust. But the effect on the military of being an occupying force is also deeply corrupting for the military. It's like being a jailer, or a slave owner: you've got unchecked power which allows you abuse other human beings, and you de-humanize them as objects of scorn, cruelty and the butt of humor, to allow you to function in the face of their plight. But it's not at all "good" for you, as a human being or the military as an institution, as US Grant noted - about the South having the most to gain by its defeat - in his memoirs. Not that Israel has more to gain than Palestine from ending the occupation, but it will itself be "better" when that occurs.

  • NYT Public Editor: It is impossible to accurately cover Sheldon Adelson without employing anti-Semitic stereotypes 
    • In other news today,

      Random House announced that it is publishing Solzhenitsyn's "200 Years Together" in English.

      Henry Kissinger is conducting behind the scenes discussions to lay the groundwork for a possible independent Donald Trump - Bernie Sanders ticket, in the event that each is denied their party's nomination. The Trump group reportedly favors the National Party as a name for the new group, while Sanders is holding out for the Socialist Party.

      Pope Francis announced meetings with the Chief Rabbis of Israel to explore possible bridging of ancient schisms. (Said one Chief Wabbi, "I have a fwiend in Wome, named Biggus Popus.")

  • Read the speech Bernie Sanders planned to give to AIPAC
    • Not much coverage for this speech, except Mother Jones. Bernie's on a different page than MSM & AIPAC, the latter of which got what it wanted from both HRC & DJT. Will it matter?

      For MW to truly get its wish for a full debate, Bernie will need to overcome Hillary's lead, and make this a point of key difference between them, and then with Trump, who seems to be working to get the establishment moving behind him.

      Trump's pandering to the worst of the Republican bigoted right wing may evaporate now as he starts to focus on beating Hillary.

  • Goldberg on Obama's Syria credibility 'crisis'
    • Sorry to hear that, Annie. I would've enjoyed reading it.

    • Annie, is there a connection between Goldberg's piece and the "coffee party" reference by Haim Saban in an email to Clinton about a US News & World Report "hatchet job" on Obama discussed here some weeks ago?

      Also, the word "playbook" has had some currency in recent years, as has "talking points." Any etymologists out there who care to explore whether there is a connection between these usages and organized influence peddling efforts?

      Finally, Obama seems almost ego-less as he submits himself to this kind of critically-toned article about some of the events that mark his presidency. He's proud of having avoided getting bogged down in Syria, and having, with Russia's help, nonetheless gotten rid of Assad's chemical weapons. But where is the passion - or permission - to go after those who might have either orchestrated or at least known about non-Assad actors who might have launched those attacks in an effort to make it appear Assad had done so, in order to suck(er) us into another war? The passion to persuade the public that it is he who is keeping America safe from the (named) war-mongers?

      "Not a slam dunk," (one can picture the pause and raised eyebrows) includes, I believe, a reference to a taboo, namely, the taboo against naming the obvious potential manipulators/covert operators.

      How galling is it to watch Patrick Clawson at WINEP complain about how hard it is to start a war with Iran, to recite a long history of casi belli, many with clouds of suspicion over who was responsible or knew about it in advance but withheld information for manipulative effect, suggest that another such incident might do the trick, denying he's suggesting it be done (I'm not saying, I'm just saying) but reminding everyone that we are engaged in covert actions against Iran, and yet see our media rake our President over the coals for being weak, for having avoided another trap.

      It seems like a simple formula: identify a scary threat, demand that leaders act strongly against some real or imagined or manufactured or deceptively-disguised action connected to that threat, then punish those who don't follow the playbook with a weakness slander. It's just been used too much, now, and too overtly, to be effective anymore, except for pissing everyone off.

  • 'NYT' columnist says Hillary Clinton is not pro-Israel enough!
  • Rubio's defeat means the downfall of neoconservatives
    • I think the big development comes when they sink Hillary's chances. Bernie can do her harm by calling her out on it, and, of course, there's the Donald waiting to do it, if Bernie doesn't.

  • 'What certainly influenced me' to support Iraq war, Clinton says, was Bush's billions of aid to NYC
    • What an insightful incident! "I made a deal with Bush. NY got $20B to rebuild [from the blowback fiasco caused by the first Gulf War (bin Laden's stated grudge was infidel US forces defiling sacred Saudi Arabia land)]. So I voted with Bush for the fiasco that created the blowback known by 3 or 4 names - ISIL, Daesh, etc.. Trust me to be President, because I do big deals starting wars and throwing billions in taxpayer dollars around with all the elite players - unlike Bernie [and I don't even see why this story might be a problem for me.]

  • Ya'alon comes to D.C. to gain 'moral support' for 'nation state of Jewish people,' against weapon of BDS
    • Netanyahu is the Prime Minister of Israel, his policies are as clear and unchangeable as chiseled granite, and his agents and minions in the US will stay on message until . . . . until what?

      Until the US demands a change in policy and leadership in Israel, as the price of renewal of our security agreement. He continuously insults Obama for not being more compliant with his demands, more willing to overlook the deceit and double-talk with which his policies are sold to the West as "the right to exist as a Jewish state," while implemented in the Middle East as Apartheid, ethnic cleansing, open, blatant racism, disproportionate violence, and a permanent occupation designed to and destined to result in annexation of all of Palestine and expulsion of all Palestinians and Arab Israelis.

      Get over it he demands. And will continue to demand with escalating harshness until he is ousted. There is no way forward with Netanyahu except his way, and the sooner the US and the rest of the West assert just as clearly that it is unacceptable, the sooner Israel can try to right itself under different leadership.

  • 'A nation with a special purpose'-- Rubio gives 2-1/2 minutes to Israel in stump speech
  • What Bernie Sanders should say at AIPAC (and cause a political revolution)
    • "[Raucous applause]" Yeah, right.

      Maybe, since he's running for President of the United States, he'd reach down for a basic American tenet with which to close: that all persons are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among people, deriving their just power from the consent of the governed. Until Israel learns to respect its Arab citizens and the Palestinians whose land it occupies, as having equal rights, it is not deserving of the unshakable support from the United States that this organization demands.

      [Raucous crowd hostility]

      [But neither speech will ever happen.]

  • Clinton's date to pander at AIPAC leaves an opening for Sanders, you'd think
    • AIPAC confirms Trump and Clinton among the presidential candidates confirmed to speak, but none other, so far, a little over a week out.

      I guess the invitation list could be broadened, post FL and OH primaries, to include any other serious survivors. Rubio may have to win in FL to get invited. Kasich in OH. And Cruz may need them both to win to keep the brokered convention hope alive. Cruz's lack of a confirmed speaking date can be interpreted as doubt in the Israel Lobby whether he will survive Tuesday.

      Given the virulence with which the Neocons have opposed Trump, is this not likely to be a major take-down, or take-down effort? A set up for Trump to self-immolate? Or for immolation, by whatever means? Will Trump's speech be televised? I guess it will be available on Youtube shortly after the event, in any case.

      I would love to hear Trump-Clinton-Sanders, but am tired of listening to Rubio and Cruz. Kasich, I like, but he doesn't seem to have a chance, except in the most remote brokered-convention probabilities, as everyone's second choice where that becomes the only level where a majority can be cobbled together.

    • Sanders impresses as very clever politically, especially in light of courting the Arab-American vote in Dearborn, and his pointed efforts to pull that off. Capable of thinking outside the box, acting on it, to pull off a important upset. He's been very careful in the issues he chooses to address, and in timing and nuance. A Socialist with a very practical manner of succeeding in politics.

      So he's being careful on the Israel relationship. You think it is emotional: "a generational attachment to Israel as the deliverance story for his parents." I expect that emotional attachment is there in the background, but I also assume his parents have passed on, and I doubt Netanyahu, Likud, and the entire right-wing Israeli government inspires any positive emotions in him today - just the opposite. I expect he seethes inside toward Netanyahu and the Neocon playbook with similar feelings he expressed about Kissinger. But he is holding that back, for now, reading the political winds as best he can.

      The holding back occurs on his side and on the MSM side. There's still a taboo about who can say what where, but we're in a season where taboo-smashing is becoming the new phenomenon.

      Trump is showing that he can flaunt such taboos, violate them for positive political effect among a large and passionate part of the Republican electorate, in WrestleMania style, all the while treating every interaction as part of future deals to be negotiated. "Megan, I called you unfair, said I didn't like you, attributed your behavior to your menstrual cycle, and walked out on a debate claiming you were unfit to 'moderate.' Now, what is our relationship going to be going forward [now that you and I - two high profile celebrities - have such a fascinating feud going on?]:"

      "Mr. Trump. Hi. How are you?" "I'm well, thank you, and you're looking very well." One of the attention-grabbing high-points of last Republican debates, of celebrity value to both of them.

      There is a level where politics are like Wrestlemania, as others including David Brooks have pointed out: dramatized conflict that on some level everyone knows is fake, but that doesn't prevent the fascination. Kabuki Theater is another example from a very different culture. He's insulted the Mexicans, the global Muslim population, the Chinese, the Japanese, the RJC, which has set an awkward table for when he will sit down with them next, but isn't that just what he wanted to do? He has shown that he will punish each and every critic with double quid pro quo. But it is all set up for the main event, the future deals to be made, where terms are malleable, you prioritize and make trade-offs, which cannot be missed!

      Somehow I'd love to see Trump debate Sanders. I think Sanders can and is rallying support among Dem activitists by not fawning over Saban and Netanyahu, and Hillary could slip on that front, on the email indictment front, on some other messy secret front, of which we can only assume there are more. Somehow Hillary drives via looking through the rear-view mirror, striving for perfection based on how it was, but is blind to bumps in the road ahead. Her speech to AIPAC could be such a bump, if Sanders plays it right. If they've invited all the candidates, and they all show up, it could be beyond fascinating to compare Trump and Sanders and Clinton, and how they play to that audience. It could frankly be Clinton's opportunity to go too far. Blind loyalty and no daylight vs friends don't let friends drive drunk vs straight level table, someone, a Jew, who is prepared to campaign for the Muslim American vote vs a talking points reciter, vs one who might not get invited at all and who doesn't take slights lying down. A real three ring circus.

      Somehow I think the Israel-America relationship will get to front and center, and I don't think AIPAC-Likud-Neocon-Netanyahu will survive the glare in the main event. Can Hillary and her pledge of loyalty stand the take-down from both the nuanced Socialist on the Left and the Wrestlemania rabble-rousing deal-maker on the Right?

      Not by looking in the rear-view mirror.

  • Sanders's outreach to Arab Americans on Islamophobia helped deliver Michigan surprise
  • Palestinian citizens of Israel respond to poll showing Jewish support for expelling Arabs from country
    • People generally consider themselves to be "good," defining that in terms of the sensibilities of some discrete social unit (e.g., honor among thieves), while, in a conflict situation, they regard their opponent as "bad." It's the conflict situation that allows people to fall into the mindset documented by Pew. Who knows what the answers would've been if White Southerners had been polled 60 years ago about deporting African Americans: Monrovia in Liberia is named after our fifth President who tried to do just that. I'm sure President Monroe thought he was doing a good thing, and, crucially, was supported in that thinking by near consensus among his peers.

      It's the consensus among Israelis that they have the right that must be attacked and undermined, and will take a long time. On that front, I see Obama and Netanyahu have had another dustup, with Netanyahu publicly announcing he's cancelling his visit "because he doesn't want to interfere in our elections" [a nearly direct quote from Obama declining to meet with him last year while he was here to berate him before Congress a couple weeks before the Israeli elections.

    • A great report. Headline: Half of Israelis support expulsion of all Palestinians. That's one way to end Apartheid.

  • Another instance of Israel lobby influence in this election no candidate will bring up
    • At, Justin Raimondo has a post up calling Trump's comments about neutrality a big breakthrough. And he quotes extensively from Chemi Shalev's piece in Ha'aretz:

      “The notion that the Republican Party is a monolithic bastion of support that will withstand the test of time is evaporating. The belief that any Republican president who will follow Obama will be better for Israel is eroding with each passing day. Faced with the Trump phenomenon, Netanyahu’s Fortress GOP strategy is collapsing like a house of cards.”


      “Every time Cruz and Rubio try to hit Trump over the head with an Israel club and nothing happens, it is Israel’s weakness that is exposed. Every time Trump wins a party primary without challenge from his supporters, another nail is driven into the coffin of the unshakeable alliance between Israel and America’s deep right.”

  • Romney echoes neocons: Trump will lead U.S. 'into the abyss'
    • The WSJ post-debate poll of "who won?" shows Trump 61, Kasich 18, Cruz 12, Rubio 9. So the sum total effect of all the attacks - by Romney, McCain, Kristol, the whole elite establishment and those who would gather their support - is that those who attack Trump become less popular, at least among those following the race and willing to vote on online polls.

  • Jeffrey Goldberg compares Iranian Jews to 'petting zoo' animals
  • Bill seeking to suppress BDS rejected in Virginia state legislature
    • There are in Virginia deep traditions, both of racial prejudice, but also the core values embodied in our constitution, limited government, divided government, free speech and press, freedom of religion, equal rights for everyone (Jefferson and Madison being the key draft-persons). Jefferson could both own slaves, and write "nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people shall be free," and that he "trembles" when contemplating judgment by a righteous god for their mistreatment. He put authorship of the Virginia law on separation of church and state on his short list of three achievements he wanted to be remembered by on his tomb (declaration of independence authorship and founding UVA, being the other two).

      Eric Cantor, one-time neocon A lister from the Richmond area - thinking he was on track to become Speaker - got thrown out of office unexpectedly by a novice professor who attacked him and the DC establishment, tapping into this streak that neocons don't seem calibrated to recognize and certainly are not playing to.

      Amid corruption (their last governor is in jail), and the remains of centuries of slavery and Jim Crow, there is a noble streak in the old dominion that probably cares little about the Palestinians, but doesn't want to be party to dismantling freedom of speech and the right to petition for redress of grievances in such a blatant way, nor care to be Israel's tool in creating more sectarian chaos in the Middle East.

      As voters go to the polls in Virginia, Trump leads 37-22-18 over Rubio and Cruz, among Republicans. But voters can pick either primary to participate in, so Virginia will test Trump's ability to attract Democrats, both those who like him and those who want to vote to prevent him getting the nomination.

  • Trump's refusal to name a 'good guy and a bad guy' in conflict is 'anti-Israel,' says Rubio
    • And NBC News has Trump up 39 - 21 - 19 over Rubio and Cruz. So he did himself no damage with the voters.

    • I see the Drudge Report post-debate poll (right-wing biased) shows Trump the big winner.

      Does this not reflect the stupidity of the Israel Lobby's choosing the Republican Party?

    • Rubio: It is not a real estate deal. The US cannot be an honest broker when dealing with terrorists.

      Reality: It is in fact a territorial dispute, a kind of real estate deal, two peoples fighting over one piece of land. Israel uses settlements and elaborate foreign policy gyrations including the global war on terror aka the clash of civilization, and the biblical divine grant, and its modern IDF backed by the US, while the Palestinians use stones and scissors and knives. One side is winning. The other has been losing. For 68 years. Rubio is a pawn in Israel's continuation of its strategy, a walking excuse for taking the rest of the land. Trump sees it clearly for what it is, wants to bring peace to both sides, and is suffering the slings and arrows of violating Zionist talking points.

      This is in fact a crucial moment in the war of ideas in the US about how to deal with the Middle East: how best to settle a dispute over property. I think Trump has a better chance than anyone of making it happen, and he is likely to make liberal use of the international equivalent of eminent domain - taking from one side, and giving to the other - in order to achieve it. The Zionists know that it is game over for their decades-long strategy of taking it all, if it gets treated as a territorial dispute that can be resolved by compromise.

      The "cannot-be-an-honest-broker" phrase is the key issue for American foreign policy in the Middle East. Netanyahu is leading the Zionist cause to this ultimate point, and demanding no compromise, no land for Palestine, no negotiation with them because of who they are, and attempting to cast all opposition as denial of Jews right to exist.

      Now is the time for America to reject Rubio's demand that we cannot be an honest broker. Trump can point out that it is Rubio who is indistinguishable from Hillary - both simply recite Israeli talking points. Rubio says he will be more in the face of the Palestinians, while Hillary will play the fake negotiations game for her entire term.

      Only Trump has the cajones to say, in the heat of the debate in the run-up to Super Tuesday, that he sees it for what it is, and will do what he can to negotiate it. The Zionists and their fellow travelers are going all in this week. How will it play out on Tuesday?

  • Finally, Israel issue explodes into presidential primaries
    • Maybe Trump should respond: "We don't need another president who just recites Israeli talking points. I'm not going to recite anybody's talking points, and that's what Marco Rubio does, especially if they come from deep pocket donors. Most of the American Jews I know, particularly the younger generation, don't believe in those talking points anymore, because they're not believable. They're a gross oversimplification. If the President is going to make a deal in the Middle East, it won't be by reciting Israeli talking points. When I get my deal done, Israel will be safer than at any time in its history, and that's a promise. It's not whether your rich pro-Israel donors anoint you as their sock pocket of the moment, it's whether you, unlike your predecessors, can take on the biggest deal-making challenge of our time, and succeed. And that requires listening to, and respecting all parties' legitimate and lawful interests."

      As to William Kristol, the sentiment he expresses (of wanting to see a bully with his nose bloodied) applies as well to him and his neocon buddies, and to Netanyahu and his right wingnuts in Israel. It makes me wonder if part of the neocon deceit tactic is to project all manner of one's own failings and weaknesses onto one's opponent.

      As to Rubio as bully-nose-bloodier, I'll believe that when I see it. He's more of the "I'll tell your Mom" kind of a guy.

  • 'In every important way Israel has failed'-- leading American Zionist says No mas
    • I find the attitude of washing his hands of it all very unimpressive. What I dedicated my life to I now see was wrong. Oh well, I wash my hands of it.

      We Americans - Jewish and non-Jewish - are stained with the wrongs done by Israel to the Palestinians, and we need to atone for them and rectify those wrongs, to the extent we can, sooner rather than later. And it's not by acknowledging that it's now one state, and, gee, let's look the other way and change the subject while the right wingnuts' final solution to the Palestinian problem is ground out by our "closest ally" in a "low grade civil war," punctuated by periodic bouts of excessive violence.

  • J Street is in denial of one-state 'consensus'
    • "I’d argue that the worst thing that could have happened to Israel’s non-Jewish minority would have been the establishment of that second non-Jewish state. Thank God (Allah) it didn’t happen."

      Please! This site has become a hasbara organ for the de facto one state solution. How could Palestinians be better off without a state, suffering what Tom Friedman has been swift to label a "low-grade civil war" but which would be Jim Crow on Zionist steroids, than they would've been with the pre-settlement West Bank as their own state? How is the reality in the West Bank today a justification for conceding to the settlers their right to have created it in defiance of international law, and to continue to expand it, and as justification for giving up on the Palestinians altogether, which is where Friedman is steering us.

      Low grade conflicts have ways of flaring up, at which time further ethnic cleansing and even genocide will be the impulse, and the "terror" inflicted by the victims will be the well-worn excuse given to justify it.

  • Trump repeats 'neutrality' vow on Israel, surely sensing shift in US opinion
    • Trump is difficult to grasp, because most writers attempt to caricature him as a simple bigot defined by his offensive tweet or politically incorrect statement of the day.

      I think that, 1) he is his own man, with outsized self-confidence that has allowed him for most of his life to keep his own counsel, and f*** what everybody else thinks. 2) an astute celebrity skilled at branding and at reading people and crowds and presenting his Alpha Male on steroids persona to bully individual opponents WWF-style, and to rile up the crowd, also WWF-style; 3) an astute deal-maker who has made a lot of money developing real estate, and who relishes pulling deals together in which he is a winner, especially the major winner. But real estate deals (except for the occasional [2 or 3%] bankruptcy) are substantial win-win projects, in which, while he as the developer makes lots, also make winners of everyone else joining him: the workers who build it also get good work, the suppliers of materials and subcontractors get business, the tenants and purchasers get improved real estate they desire, the jurisdiction gets enhanced property values, even the lenders make their fees and interest. It requires vision, a lot of operational talent, and a high risk tolerance, coupled with good judgment in choosing which risks to take and which to pass on. It's a rare skill-set not to be dismissed nor under-estimated, nor under-valued in a leader.

      In his remarks about Israel and the Middle East, he reflects that 1) he is not going to be owned by that special interest group, just as he is not owned by any other; 2) he's feeding his ego by pursuing the most powerful political leadership position in the world, and views I-P and the Middle East in those terms, and shows multiple signs that he will blow up the orthodoxy that has poisoned America in its dealings there these last twenty years and more, but to feed his ego, not to do justice for the Palestinians, nor to act out some [non-existent] deep-seated Anti-Semitism, nor to suck up to AIPAC or the RJC, but to show that he can succeed where others have failed, by 3) being the ULTIMATE deal-maker. He can already taste the glory.

      All those snipers firing charges of Anti-Semitism, Anti-Islamism, Anti-[insert minority] misread him. He's anti-everyone who isn't himself, unless he can get them to defer to his Alpha-maleness, whereupon, he basks in the glow. If you're not going to defer, he's going to read you warily, look for your weakness, while he calculates what deal he can make without you, how he can remove you from his path, or force you to join him.

      He's been snubbed and disrespected by Netanyahu, despite his having delivered an endorsement to him when he needed it, and he's not going to forget that knife he can twist when it will do him some good.

      The Palestinians, he regards as future celebrators of his extraordinary deal-making abilities, even if they're Muslims and spawn a lot of terrorists. He's aware of Israel's wall, and of the enormous corruption of American politicians by Israel's supporters, which he's not offended by, since he has used his money to play that corruption game himself. He's the kind of person who would repeat the joke about a politician who he supports and who comes through for him when he needs it, "Now that's what I mean by an honest politician: when you buy him, he stays bought."

      He sees the election as a deal, which he's taken over the driver seat of, and all the critics he dismisses as not yet deferring to his leadership. He'll do what he can and needs to get the nomination, then, I predict, he will pivot on many issues as he goes after the general election win. And he will pound away at his rivals weaknesses whatever they are. Once elected, if elected, he will strive to do deals, to win accolades. I even think he'll start thinking of his place in history, comparing himself to his best-regarded predecessors, striving to find ways to outdo them.

      While Hillary defends the health insurance industry, Trump - like Sanders - sees clearly how they and the pharmaceutical industry use political influence to structure policy to deliver outsized - and socially unnecessary and destructive - profits. Unlike Sanders, Trump has no fear in taking on the vested interests. The bigger they are, the greater is the ego boost when he bests them or makes them bend to acknowledge his leadership.

      He is not a simple person to be underestimated or dismissed lightly. And I think he is the vehicle that will make Phil's dream come true - an election in which the war of ideas in the Middle East bursts into the general election and coverage of it.

      He's scary, for sure, but maybe he will at least force Hillary to re-set her corrupt positions, because you know he's going to expose them.

  • Haim Saban warned Clinton that Tea Party is 'chickensh--' to the neocon 'Coffee Party'
  • Hillary Clinton once dreamed of 'revenge' on Kissinger for Vietnam 'carnage'. Then she got over it
    • The defeat of HillaryCare must have been a very difficult chapter for her, so it's no surprise that it would play in her dreams, as she sorted out her feelings and experiences. It is interesting that, in her dream, Henry Kissinger represents that plan's many opponents.

      Did he actually play any role? I do not recall that, but wikipedia credits William Kristol of Neocon fame for orchestrating Republican opposition. Did she learn through that process that she needed the Neocon apparatus to get anything done, and how to sacrifice her ideals to forge helpful alliances? If so, it was a tunnel at the end of her light-filled idealism.

  • 'Politico' editor held 'secret contest' with Clinton aides at State Dep't to name a column
    • I'm a little acronym challenged, and had to look all these up, although maybe an insider knows better:

      SCIF - sensitive compartmented information facility
      SVTS - secure video teleconference system
      PDB - project database?
      sitrep - situation report
      [fubar -
      snafu - ]

      Credit Rozen with choosing her own name for her own column.

      Credit Reines with stimulating interest among a key constituency and sources of information for a new column in his journal.

      Credit Mondoweiss with uncovering another lever and pulley in the establishment media machine.

      I find it interesting to watch the united effort by that media machine it its attempts to destroy Trump and Sanders. I believe its failure to succeed so far is a testament to the American public's awareness, on some level, of that media's corruption by its own power and lack of accountability, and on the candidates' refusal to be intimidated by it, an essential part of their appeal.

      Watching Hillary defend the health insurance industry - which profits by taking premiums from those who don't need much care and avoiding or denying coverage for those who do - against Bernie, who sees how universal coverage is provided at markedly lower cost elsewhere, is amazing. How many votes does she hope to pull in by that defense? How much money?

  • More details about Bernie Sanders and Kibbutz Sha'ar ha-'Amakim
    • I thought it interesting in the debate last night that Bernie pointed out that, if he is elected, that, too, would have historical significance (with reference to Hillary's first-woman argument), but without specifying why. The first Jew (however that might be defined), the first Kibbutznik, the first former Communist, the first Israeli citizen?

      On what planet is it off limits to ask Bernie if he is or was a Communist, or a Zionist, or an Israeli, and, if so, what that means to him now as a POTUS wannabe? Or just, "in what way would your election be historically significant?"

      I also thought his venting on Kissinger carried some personal emotion possibly tied to their shared Jewishness, and how they've dealt very differently with it, in public service to America. Exploring the various facets of how he sees himself in comparison to others he clearly sees himself as representing in an historical campaign is REQUIRED.

      Deliberate blindness is not a journalistic virtue.

  • 'Let the one-state era begin'-- Tom Friedman explains there will never be a Palestinian state
    • "Legality from an international perspective is useless. Israel has been breaching security council resolutions for the last 60 years and nothing has come of it." So, it's time for the UN to change its ways with Israel, with US and EU backing, to force change.

      "And please spare us the talk of American “founding values” they had nothing to do with what you listed, America was born out of settler colonialism and privileging of one group over all others, similarly to Israel. I’m sure the natives appreciated the founding values of the colonists as they suffered genocide."

      America certainly began as a colonial enterprise, and heinous crimes were committed against Native Americans, African Americans, and other minorities, yet the Union born out of the American revolution bore all the seeds that led America to what it is today, including slave-owner Jefferson's universalism to justify the colonists break from their Empire, "all men were created equal," later invoked by Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr., to justify correcting historical injustice, including slave-owner Madison's "more perfect Union" perpetual aspiration, to have a form of government designed to check abuses, and incubate improvements. These values have served America well, and illuminated the path from where we began to where we are - still not perfect, but a progressive pathway nonetheless.

      The crimes committed in 1948 are similar. They are now history, they cannot be undone. The adults involved are all dead or in their dotage. Those born since are entitled to justice in our time, are obligated to provide justice in our time. International law recognizes the West Bank as land for the Palestinians. Just because there are right-wing nuts in Israel willing to assassinate politicians who take international law and the rights of the Palestinians seriously doesn't mean their views and behavior should be accepted by the rest of us, doesn't mean we should embrace one-state and "low-grade civil war," meaning rock-throwers against tanks and AK 47s who continue to systematically displace and ethnically cleanse, as the inevitable future in which the situation never improves. Our founding values led America from race-based slavery and ethnic cleansing to what we have today (still not perfect), and can show the way forward in the Middle East. They are in stark contrast with Neocon values, clashes of civilizations, Islamophobia, religious-state dreams, messianic dreams, war as cover for ethnic cleansing. The one-state solution Friedman speaks of is not justice. It is giving up in the face of right-wing Israeli intransigence, which will only get worse until it is stopped by the international community.

    • What bothers me about the turn to the one state solution is the sheer illegality of it. "We stole the land fair and square, so get over it. We're entitled to impunity, so let's now talk about how we might modulate [a little bit] our oppression of the defeated Palestinians under this new reality."

      The sheer illegality under international law, plus the absolute inconsistency with American founding values like equal rights, legitimacy of government deriving from the consent of the governed, separation of church and state. Friedman pontificating about it, as if there is no obligation to the Palestinians for justice and redress. Mondoweissers cheering it on, appearing to relish the turmoil greater Israel will face attempting to manage its minority problem.

      The only thing that makes the one state solution inevitable is Israeli expansionism, and right-wingers threats to anyone who stands in their way or refuses to drink the Kool-Aid. For the US to acquiesce is to aid and abet war crimes. We need more Ban Ki Moons fighting against the oppression, not adapting to its growing pains.

  • Generational sea change within the Democratic party will also include policy towards Israel
    • Since Hillary has promised to invite Netanyahu on the first day, and Bernie, as I recall, lived on a Kibbutz, shouldn't a debate line of questioning focus on what their policies are? Settlements? BDS? Assassinations of Iranian scientists? Aid and comfort to al Nusra?

      The notion of not saying anything unless asked seems like deference to war criminals. Force them to confront the issues! Americans only seem ignorant because so-called elites practice self-censorship. A sorry state when two progressives won't address such an Important islet of issues.

  • 'Little Jewboy' moment highlights coming divorce between US Jews and Israel
    • I look forward to a debate question that puts the issue out there bluntly - both in the primaries and in general election. If Hillary is to win, let her explain her no-daylight, BFF-with-Bibi-positions when Netanyahu, Dermer, Bennett, Hotovely, etc., are the right-wingnuts she's cuddling up to. Let Bernie explain whether he's a Zionist, politically, and, if so, what does that mean to him?

      I think Trump's right-wing red meat comments about excluding Muslims ("until we figure out what's going on over there") then in front of the Republic Jewish Coalition "I don't know if the Israelis want peace [boos] I don't KNOW that" and "I understand you want a candidate you can own and that's not me, and I respect that," suggest he may have some zinger-tweets and taunts to strip away hypocrisy, just as he did when Hillary tried to play the sexist card.

  • Human Rights Watch calls for sanctions against Israel over settlements
    • Israel Likud have made very clear they will keep doing what they're doing until real consequences force a re-assessment. Sanctions - government to government - might work. All the failed diplomacy, feigned solidarity, and tolerance have done nothing but make us complicit. Half measures just encourage Israel to strive in dozens of covert ways to escalate terrorism, to deflect criticism. Half measures, and Neocon aggressive measures, serve Israel's purpose of making Arab and Muslim populations angry at the US.

  • Extremists vandalize Jerusalem church with Hebrew threats: 'Death to heathen Christians'
    • The cultural and intellectual level of these houligans, their crimes and their graffiti reminds of redneck teenagers in the South during Jim Crow: Have a few drinks, then, "let's go N***** Knockin'!" The burning of crosses - a remarkable link - raises that level from the juvenile deliquent to the KKK level of adult involvement and organization, with more sophisticated symbol selection to help broadcast the message.

      And it does fall to the educational and cultural support system in which the children are raised, and which the adults create, endorse, or tolerate: Their victims are ostracized as "other," who are a threat, and, all "offenses" against the culture must be repaid tenfold.

      Netanyahu and Likud [and especially the points to their right] are George Wallace and Jim Crow Democrats, giving political voice and legitimacy to that culture.

      I'm sick of being part of the extended socio-political network and culture that tolerates and even supports this ugly bigotry.

      I'd like to see our presidential candidates debate the settlements, and, more broadly, what Zionism means to them. Hillary's proud to say she'll invite Netanyahu to the White House on her first day. She should be asked if her pride extends to his Arab baiting and promise never to make peace on his own election day, to Netanyahu's boasts to his right wing about settlement building despite Obama's pressure to halt it, to Netanyahu's warmongering to halt the Iranian deal, to his "mowing the grass" in Gaza.

  • 'Netanyahu at War' on PBS was dreadful but not without interest
    • Further to this new (still opaque) direction in MSM reporting, Vanity Fair has a piece about Huma Abedin, Hillary's "other daughter," wife of former Congressman Anthony Weiner, that is eye-opening, if baffling, in her connections, or should we say, position at the switch, between Saudi Wahhabism, the Muslim Brotherhood, and liberal Israel's presidential candidate of choice, Hillary Clinton. Here's a key paragraph about her that I did not know:

      "In June 2012, then congresswoman Michele Bachmann and four conservative congressmen wrote to the State Department warning that the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated the highest levels of the U.S. government. The letter specifically cited Abedin: “Huma Abedin has three family members—her late father, her mother and her brother—connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations,” they wrote. But a month later Senator John McCain, no friend of the Clintons, took to the Senate floor to denounce Bachmann’s letter as an “unwarranted and unfounded attack” on Abedin. “I know Huma to be an intelligent, upstanding, hard-working, and loyal servant of our country and our government.”"

      It seems the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, founded and run by her parents, where she once worked and her sister works, is allegedly (according to David Horowitz) part of a Saudi Wahhabist initiative to activate Muslims in western countries, to discourage assimilation, and promote the spread of Shariah law, and Muslim influence.

      The Vanity Fair article further reports that her role within the Clinton world has become something one doesn't question or talk about, if one knows what's good for oneself. All the bad stuff about her is introduced by mentioning the right-wing conspiracy-theorists one will find when one googles her parents and their organization.

      With those who know her best afraid to speak, and reliable but not too bright Neocon puppets like McCain leaping to her defense, across party lines, not contesting the facts, but defending her character, one wonders about the full story.

      Have the Likudnik/Neocons been "playing" the Wahhabists all along, to promote their vision of sectarian chaos throughout the Muslim world, and a clash of civilizations with the West? That would explain a lot, e.g., why Saudi Arabia recently executed that Shi'a cleric, trying mightily to derail the Iranian agreement (who else has been vowing to do that?), why Patrick Clawson of WINEP was so openly bemoaning how hard it was to start a war with Iran in 2012, why the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi and the Mossad was following them, why Israel supports Al-Queda-affiliate Al Nusra in Syria, why Judy Miller, armed with a very hot leak from a federal grand jury, alerted the Holy Land Foundation between the issuance and service of a search warrant intended to find out its sources of funding and connections to 9/11, why Congressman Charlie Wilson checked in with his Jewish funders (according the movie, "Charlie Wilson's War)" to gain approval for US arming the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan to resist the Russians (was he checking in, or taking direction?), why Act of Valor, made with full cooperation of the Navy (with access to intelligence, and an axe to grind over Liberty), included a Jewish mastermind behind the terror network they were fighting. And at the time Israel's march to its own war with Iran was at the brink, Admiral Mullen telling the Israelis not to fly over Iraq, "we don't want another USS Liberty."

      This Vanity Fair article could also use a full Mondoweiss dissection, because there's so much to this young person, even aside from the totally weird Anthony Weiner side. Too many connections and coincidences to justify a journalistic hands-off approach.

      If gingershot is right that Netanyahu at War is American Jewry's slow separation from Netanyahu, is this Vanity Fair piece an escalation? Those who know the elite establishment better, what say you? Who is Huma Abedin, why is Hillary so joined at the hip with her, and why are Neocons defending her? What's in it for the Neocons, if not a key operative in the effort to foment WWIII?

    • I agree Ritzl. While lacking substantially in balance and diversity among the voices included, it was good and sometimes original (for me) to hear directly from those voices.

      On further reflection, if the piece IS sophisticated hasbara, PBS flavor, it is to set the table for Netanyahu to prove himself Churchill, by what he says now, in the "appeasement" stage, to contrast with what will need to be done in the coming all-out war stage, which is surely the end-game of the Neo-cons/Likudniks. So stark and dark are his angry statements about how bad a deal it is, the hasbarist contrast is of him who "knows" we are already at war, with those who are naive peace-wishers. The strangely neutral point of view seems very studied, perhaps serving the ambivalent American Jewish viewpoint - tied to Israel in so many way, yet deeply disaffected with it in many ways, unable or unwilling to act to force change in Israeli leadership, unable to do anything but watch, with a strange mix of horror and pride, as Netanyahu continues to lead Israel to the right, and to a war comparable to WWII in which, this time, the Jews will "win."

      Unless, of course, enough Americans - both Jews and non-Jews - rise up and reject Neoconservativism, Islamophobia and Israel's right-wing momentum, as un-American. This has started with Obama's election and re-election, BDS and academic condemnation, with rancor among Democratic Party faithful, with veterans and former intelligence operatives opposing the methods and ideas of the Neocons, with Jewish Voice for Peace, Mondoweiss, Open Hillel, etc. Perhaps Hillary's edging downward is contributed to by her allegiance to Israel. It won't have real momentum until there is more accountability for those who abuse the power tied to Israel's influence, or just sit silent in seats of power or influence, and let the abuse go on, afraid to object.

      In that sense, the strange neutrality of Netanyahu at War speaks to the tension in America's values as our country is pushed ever farther in support of Israel's right-wing Neocon agenda, while the popular justifications for it progressively fail to persuade.

    • Thanks for this analysis and the link to +972. Much of the footage is valuable recording of different people's views and insights or imagined insights - and the viewer isn't necessarily forced or expected to accept this view or that. Could've been more and different voices, could've covered more or different contexts. But valuable is the conclusion I take away. Martin Indyk about talking to Netanyahu at Rabin's funeral, worth a lot by itself.

      I see it also as speaking to what is allowable in MSM coverage. It's a dark picture of Netanyahu, and his desire to be understood in the Churchill mold isn't the universal response, isn't the universal reaction. Makes me concerned Israel is planning events that will make his Churchillian stance seem correct and heroic in retrospect. I'm reminded of WINEP's Clawson's 2012 proposal to start a war with Iran by sinking one of their subs:

  • Forty Brazilian diplomats issue statement against Dani Dayan appointment
    • I haven't yet seen any reference here to Frontline's piece last week: Netanyahu at War

      It could use Mondoweiss's surgical journalistic dissection, of what's included, what's left out, and why.

      For me, it confirmed the belief that Netanyahu will keep escalating his war-footing, against Obama, Iran, the Palestinians, Islam in general, NGOs, BDS, international human rights organizations, etc., until he's thrown from office. Reason isn't going to change his mind, nor soften his tactics. Opposition just escalates his intensity.

      While the piece put Netanyahu's rise to power in the context of the Israeli politics surrounding Oslo and Rabin's assassination, and the right-wing fervor opposed to Rabin and the concept of land for peace, it failed to touch at all on the recent Israeli election, even amidst substantial coverage of his speech to Congress, weeks before his own election day.

      I think Netanyahu in this term plays ever more to his right wing, and specifically strives to get out ahead of people like Naftali Bennett (who think he's too soft), by insulting the US, Brazil, France, etc. There's no component of his government to urge moderation; only pressure to escalate.

      It will get much worse, unless and until his own people reject him.

  • Knesset anti-BDS meeting reveals Israeli fear of isolation
    • You may be right Krauss, about cultural isolation. Mandela said he studied his jailers, his enemy, to learn what was in their hearts. And he learned that rugby and the Springboks National Team was their core sports passion, and so he persuaded the global boycott movement to focus on excluding South Africa from participation in international rugby. That worked. After his release and election, he then worked to give it back to them, to bring the World Cup to South Africa, and share the championship as a bond-building process among all the people.

      I don't know what is in the hearts of the Ashkenazi Jews, but Mandela's model would call for discovering it, then working to take it away from them, through BDS. If holding their heads high among world cultures, or Western cultures, is what is nearest and dearest in their hearts, then that needs to be taken away, provisionally, i.e., something they can earn back by making peace and changing their oppressive ways.

  • Trump calls out Clinton for her support for Israel's separation wall
    • "Obviously Trump is a clown but there’s an element of truth in what he says (as there was when he said that Sheldon Adelson would own Marco Rubio)."

      And when he told the Jewish Republican Coalition that he didn't know if Israel wants peace, and refused to back down, sticking to his analysis of whether a peace agreement - a "deal" - could be made, and his cold assessment that if one side (implication Israel) doesn't want a deal, it won't happen, he's okay with that, but he wanted them to know he is clear-eyed about it.

      Conspiracy theorists have new grist for the New Year this morning as the NYT reports about a new jihadi recruitment video that uses Trump's remarks about banning Muslims just as Hillary argued was already happening. Although fact-checkers found no evidence, yet Hillary doubled down, cleverly using Trump's own tactic against him, and now she's proven "right":

      How did she know that in advance???

      The source of the video was SITE Intelligence, sometimes speculated to be a Mossad operation or CIA/Mossad operation, once outed in Germany as being the intermediary between a German jihadi terror cell and its supposed international terror organization, questioned by VeteransToday as to whether such an international group existed outside of the CIA/Mossad.

      If he ever gets to debate Hillary, he might ask her: how did you know in advance that video was coming out? Who on your staff told you and reassured you that that would happen, Hillary? Because that person doesn't work for, you work for them.

      Trump may be a clown, but he seems to be the only politician in America able to see through the smoke and mirrors of crowd manipulation, and unafraid to speak his mind about what he sees. What he wants is power, and what he would do with it, if he got it, isn't clear. But he's got crowd manipulation and deal-making skills of his own that command attention.

  • Krugman's economy: I will spend none of my immense journalistic capital criticizing Israel or its lobby
  • Obama wiretapped a cunning and dishonest foreign leader, for the sake of world peace
    • As I read the reports, the surveillance has been pretty much constant since long before the Merkel affair resulted in some foreign leaders being exempted, and the NSA brought these materials to the White House's attention; it wasn't the President acting to "order a wiretap." As I further read it, the White House even declined to give NSA any specific direction, merely asking NSA to disclose to them what it thought it should know.

      Here's former CIA officer Phil Giraldi's take at the American Conservative:

      His comments lead one to speculate that at least some Congresspersons, when asked, "what does it take to get you on board?" responded with a "quid" for that "pro," but that NSA hasn't necessarily turned any of that over to anyone. Apparently, if they turn over to the Administration that a specific congressperson was observed or overheard, they must also disclose that to the Congressional Intelligence Committees. Given what happened with the effort to prosecute Rosen with Lawrence Franklin, perhaps Justice would be shy about prosecuting illegal influence, just as many in the news media are shy about expressing anything about the propriety of Israel buying influence in Congress.

      So, sheer speculation here on my part, if there were Congresspersons caught in compromising deal-making on those phone calls, it's possible an intrepid spy, might instead of disclosing it, file that information away - a la J. Edgar Hoover - for potential one-on-one use in their own dealings with Congress.

  • US university defeated BDS by hiring three Israeli soldiers to talk up 'love' for Israel
    • "And all we can say is that Barack Obama knows all this, and is fighting back against the lobby."

      Surely he knows all this, and doesn't agree with it, but he isn't doing much fighting. He doesn't know how to fight. He's the POTUS, with more power at his disposal than anyone, and exceptional native rhetorical skills, yet he is chronically afraid to use his power, chronically reluctant to offend anyone, chronically willing to forgive and overlook, and give a pass. Unable to wear the mantle of him who must be feared.

      He just needs to take Netanyahu on directly, on any one of the many issues where Israel's policies and actions are totally unacceptable under international law and western democratic values. He just needs to draw a line in the sand on one outrageous crime, and make Netanyahu and his right-wing government, embraced by an increasingly racist and fascistic society, bend, or forfeit substantial US support. He's got a year left. He's accomplished a lot on the economic and policy fronts, but he hasn't impressed as a fighter, as one who can deal with a bully.

      He's still the emperor marching around in invisible clothes, wearing a s***-eating grin, deserving of history's contempt as a weak president.

  • Israel and its lobby lose the Iran Deal all over again, in news of damning wiretaps
    • A fascinating WSJ story, with a great deal more depth.

      E.g., the President's fear of using his own power, or being accused of abusing it. When the intercepts of Israelis "swept up contents of some of their private conversations with US lawmakers and American-Jewish groups. That raised fears - an 'Oh-s--- moment,' one senior US official said - that the executive branch would be accused of spying on Congress."

      . . . .

      "[t]he White House let NSA decide what to share and what to withhold." . . . . "The agency's goal was 'to give us an accurate illustrative picture of what [the Israelis] were doing,' a senior US official said."

      That's known as being afraid of your own shadow (also abrogating presidential duty to oversee NSA - "no, you oversee us - we trust you more than anyone trusts us."

      E.g., "Despite NSA surveillance, Obama administration officials said they were caught off guard when Mr. Beohner announced the invitation on Jan.21."

      Does this signal Dermer which of his communications were secure and which compromised?

      E.g., "NSA intelligence reports helped the White House figure out which Israeli government officials had leaked information from confidential US briefings."

      Does this let someone know his efforts to conceal his actions were breached?

      Overall, however, I agree, it is likely to anger many especially those who support Trump and Sanders, who are fed up with Washington business as usual, who don't like purchased influence driving the US toward war. More grist for the potential that Hillary may to have carry the Israel Lobby on her back in her fights against both Sanders and Trump. And Trump isn't afraid to kick the hornet's nest.

      As to the Harman affair, you neglect to mention how effective the campaign was to block charges against the AIPAC officials, although Harman's efforts were apparently not part of the winning strategy. I assume you mean that Saban was the assumed Israeli agent in the Harman affair, not this recent Dermer initiative.

  • Rubio's neocon-establishment team bolstered by 'Zionaire' hedgefunder who denies existence of Palestine
    • Better check out Seymour Hersh's latest bombshell in the LRB.

      Here's alternet's report:

      Obama's policies that Assad must go, via material support and training of the imaginary moderate rebel groups, were reportedly viewed by the JCS (as would any clear-eyed realist) as ineffective and likely to fuel the growth of IS. Thus the President and his staff are portrayed as outfoxed by the JCS to deliver intelligence, via Israel, Germany and Russia, to pro-Assad Syrian military, to prevent yet another power vacuum from feeding the ISIS growth. The deal reportedly was that Syria-Assad, in order to get the military support and intelligence it needed, had to agree to 1) restrain Hesbollah from attacking Israel, 2) restart Golan Heights negotiations with Israel, 3) accept Russian military aid, and 4) promise to hold elections after the dust settles.

      Israel is two-fourths of this bargained-for equation, but it isn't clear whether these issues flow from the Israeli government, or Israel's own rogue intelligence service seeking to outfox the Likud government, or the US/Germany/Russia seeking to counter Likud's hidden but driving principle of continuously escalating the clash of civilizations, ever useful as cover for continuous settlement expansion, land annexation, and violent repression of the Palestinians.

      This is such a bombshell - as always delivered via an anonymous source - it is impossible to decide how much of it is truth, how much is further misinformation/disinformation, leaked to Hersh to further someone's agenda.

  • Sanders warns U.S. against 'quagmire' of 'perpetual warfare' in Mideast for 20, 30 years
    • IDF General Levin (ret) defends "Breaking the Silence," but only in Israel:

    • Again, great coverage. I couldn't watch the whole thing, then relied on the NYT to summarize. No mention of Mossadegh, there. In searching to see what coverage there was, I couldn't find any about the debate, and precious little about Sanders Foreign Policy in the MSM. But here's a fine article at about his recent speech at Georgetown, and the tendency to dismiss him as not serious on foreign policy, because he's not saying what hawks (i.e., the Elite Establishment) want to hear:

      “Our response must begin with an understanding of past mistakes and missteps in our previous approaches to foreign policy. It begins with the acknowledgement that unilateral military action should be a last resort…and that ill-conceived military decisions, such as the invasion of Iraq, can wreak far-reaching devastation and destabilize entire regions for decades. It begins with the reflection that the failed policy decisions of the past – rushing to war, regime change in Iraq, or toppling Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, or Guatemalan President Arbenz in 1954, Brazilian President Goulart in 1964, Chilean President Allende in 1973. These are the sort of policies that do not work, do not make us safer, and must not be repeated.”

      This seems like an indictment of CIA covert operations as generally applied to engineering regime change through violence with "plausible deniability." And there are several different forms in his bag of "failed policy decisions."

      Iraq involved "fixing the intelligence" to match the policy, adopted very publicly. I believe many of those other actions were taken covertly, without public debate, blamed on locals to preserve "plausible deniability," and who knows how much the President or the Congress, which alone has constitutional authority to declare war, knew about these decisions. Certainly, killing a foreign ruler is an act of war.

      So Sanders seems very much on board with holding the Elite Establishment accountable, but can he do that without mentioning AIPAC? or what his own Zionism means to him as an American politician?

      I still think Hillary has the best shot, but it is tantalizing to imagine that, at some point, she and Sanders will have a donnybrook on her pledge of allegiance to "neoliberalism," its money men, and their "policy advisors." And, surviving this, will have to do it all over again, against Trump, who won't be so nice, in how he discusses these issues and people.

  • Why did Brookings Institution hold a secret panel countering BDS?
  • Settler Impunity: Israeli Defense Minister says there is not enough evidence to detain or prosecute Dawabshe killers
  • Obama's ISIS czar says we can't defeat extremism without resolving Palestinian issue
    • Contrary to the beliefs of Islamophobes who support Trump's call for blanket exclusion, Muslims, like other groups, immigrate to the West primarily for education, economic opportunity, the chance for a better life for their children. What stimulates jihadi instincts throughout the Muslim world are brutal invasions by Western powers of traditionally Islamic countries, where the people, places, culture, and icons of Islam are killed, occupied, defaced, and smashed, without sensitivity, accountability, without acknowledgement that the West has no business, in light of international law and its own core value of self-determination, seeking to occupy Islamic countries, depose their rulers and replace them with those to our liking.

      Islam has been adopted by many different racial and ethnic tribes, from Asia to Africa, whose current geo-political configurations are a mishmash of natural, historical, former colonial, and other delineations. The only thing capable of stimulating a unified desire for or action to support a Caliphate across that multi-cultural, multi-racial world, is a unified threat to Islam.

      Unfortunately, it has been the deliberate policy of US Neocons, and their Israeli Likudnik partners, for two decades, in order to generate that clash of civilizations as a cover for ongoing expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, to perpetually foment as many such insults to Islam as possible, while continuously blaming the Muslims, and condemning any effort to ascribe the obvious motive to them as both non-serious (or harsher adjectives) and Anti-Semitic.

      Stop doing stupid stuff, Obama advised, but his non-confrontational, always nuanced manner (which comes across as weak) is always at risk of being overrun by the hate-mongers and fear-mongers, especially as each violent incident on either side challenges everyone's sense of security, and drives everyone toward a state of primal fear, where kill or be killed instincts reach for the controls, and nuance disappears from view.

      So I'm glad to see Malley telling it like it is, but, until the larger context of Israel's (Likud's) purpose in avoiding peace is brought forward and the advocates for that cynical course are condemned, he will continue to be a voice crying in the wilderness.

  • Trump and Netanyahu call it off
    • Well reported, Just, and excellent advice at the end.

    • Possibly.

      But note that Trump's response was, I'll go after I'm elected President. That includes the implied message that, unlike everyone else running for President, I will get there without Israel's support (and despite the united opposition of all who are subject to Israel Lobby influence). He also referenced the video he did supporting and endorsing Netanyahu in his last, very close election - a favor done and not returned - representing a deficit in Netanyahu's favor bank with the Donald.

      So there's a signal that, "When I do come, it will be to negotiate, and guess who will have all the power."

      Of course, that's a big "if" on winning the general election, where he's offended and highly motivated to vote against him many substantial voter blocks (Latinos, the PC crowd, Liberals and Progressives generally, in addition to the Entire Elite Establishment, to mention a few), but he's somehow maintained and increased his lead for the Republican nomination, and what does that do for Netanyahu's Republican strategy?

    • Israeli papers reporting that Prime Minister did not request cancellation.

  • Even as Clinton opposes sanctions over Israeli settlements, new poll shows her Democratic base is for them
    • That's not an appropriate use of "three-to-one," when 51% don't agree that "Israel has too much influence." "Half" is accurate and makes the point: Clinton will throw the Democratic Progressives on Palestine under her bus, just as the elite establishment continues to do.

      Interesting that Trump is scheduled to visit Israel this month, and Netanyahu today is resisting calls to revoke the invitation.

  • 'Absolute scum' -- Trump's frightening speech
    • So far, Trump is the only candidate who appears likely to introduce an independent view of Israel into the election. He's pandering to the right-wing mob right now, but, if he wins the Republican nomination, if he's serious about gaining power (I think he is), he will re-discover various issues that made him a Democrat for much of his life - pro-choice, e.g., And he's already stood up and told the Republican Jewish Coalition that I know you're not going to support me, you want a candidate you can control with your money, I understand that because I respect people who know how to make deals, and I'm not hear to be bought, [like these other candidates], and, "I don't know that Israel wants peace."

      Half the Democratic party believes the US should use its support for Israel as a lever to force change in Israeli policy toward settlements, the floor at the Democratic convention booed Obama's force-thru of the Jerusalem-as-Israel's-capital plank, all representing Democratic votes that Trump can go after, once he's focused on getting out in front of and demagoguing the whole mob, not just the right-wingers. So Mondoweiss should reflect on the old adage: be careful what you wish for (a wide open debate on Israel in the 2016 election), because Trump bashing Rubio and then Hillary for being bought and paid for by the Israel Lobby may be what we get, bragging that only he can cut a deal in the Middle East because only he is prepared and capable of negotiating with "the Big Jews" who back Israel and own Congress, because only he isn't taking their money, isn't even asking for it.

      The Elite Establishment isn't prepared for a fully open discussion about Israel, and Trump can channel both right and left wing frustration over that fact to change the conversation. Phil like David Brooks has predicted Trump's demise over and over, but the frustration over the lack of accountability within the elite establishment is very widespread - only the elite establishment are immune to it because they're willfully blind to it - and Trump is the only candidate who's prepared to talk truth to the power-base funding the elite establishment. That entire elite establishment is now united in bashing Trump - Hitler-like picture of Trump at the RJC just an example, so far to little effect - and his elite enemies may just be his super-power.

      Wait till he's got the Republican Party nomination, if he gets it, and his anti-immigrant pitch can be expanded to go after both white blue collar workers and the African-American voters, many of whom deeply resent undocumented workers taking low-wage work, and legal immigrants climbing the economic ladder above them. His anti-Jihadist/anti-Muslim pitch can be expanded to go after Neocons and messianic Zionists, both Jewish and Christian, who crave a clash of civilizations - why would we buy a clash of civilizations? I don't want a clash of civilizations, that would be "stupid" as Obama also said [don't do stupid stuff]. I still think his thousands of Muslims cheering in New Jersey remark, coupled with his claim to have the best memory in the world, was tied to a specific broadcast that I think was on Fox and that coupled images of thousands of Palestinians cheering in the Middle East, with the story of the five Israelis cheering in New Jersey. Those four broadcasts have now been "disappeared," but here's Justin Raimondo's discussion of them way back when on

  • Trump wasn't anti-Semitic
    • The media, part of the elite and heavily influenced by the Israel Lobby, will do its best to bring Trump down, both in the primary, and, if he wins, in the general election. But Trump is clearly resonating with those from many different strata who resent the elite in part because of elite bias in favor of their their own power, whether they acknowledge that about themselves or not. The farther Trump gets, the more important fact-checking the elite media on its treatment of he who will not be bought by the Israel Lobby will become.

      One thing is certain: Trump is prepared to negotiate, appreciates the power of the media, and recognizes that his own countervailing power to deal is measured by polls now, votes, on Election Day, but thereafter if he wins by all the power vested in POTUS.

      Mondoweiss has done exemplary service in documenting media bias in the war of ideas in the ME; it has become essential reading on the subject. As the world watches Trump's trajectory, making headway against steady and nearly unified elite media bashing, trailing off into contempt and ridicule, it will be interesting to see if Phil's wish for a front-and-center seat at the presidential debate over the Israel Lobby turns into a face off between the Donald and the Hillary.

  • Trump's claim of 9/11 celebration in New Jersey is based on arrest of 5 'laughing' Israelis
    • I ask again, is Trump mis-remembering? or is he goading AIPAC and Sheldon Adelson, who are not supporting his campaign. He also derided his opponent Marco Rubio about Sheldon Adelson grooming him to be a perfect little puppet. He knows about buying politicians. He knows about media. He knows about power and negotiations. He knows finance. He doesn't need AIPAC's money, but, if he's going to win and govern, he will need to have a working relationship with such a media and political power base, which so far is not on his side.

      By launching this issue in the wake of the Paris attacks, he may just be another stupid, anti-Muslim racist, or, he may be a very savvy right-wing politician, focused like a laser on winning and then effectively wielding power, showing through indirection that Israel has a lot to lose by alienating a guy like him. It's like an astute move in chess, opening up multiple lines of attack with a single move. He's feeding the right-wing mob raw, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant red meat, while subtly warning Netanyahu through AIPAC not to get in his way, not to dismiss him, not to oppose him, not to think that he will toady to them as Obama does, but someone potentially worth dealing with on his terms.

      Dismissing him as stupid is pretty dangerous, especially given his past membership in the Democratic Party, suggesting that his right-wing appeals may just be politics to win in the primary.

      The politics of the right-wing is very dangerous, but then, the current Israeli government has very clearly adopted that path, and will not stop in its drive toward catastrophe until forced from power.

  • Protesters stage citizen's arrest of Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely at West Coast Ha'aretz conference
    • Amen, JWalters. Ditto the detailed analysis of who's who in the Syria conflict in the NYTimes recently, nary a mention of its neighbor to the South, which has been providing material support, including hospital care, to one of the rebel groups, Al Nusra, I believe, officially known as a terrorist group and Al Queda affiliate, and which strongly advocates for removal of Assad.

      Also, did you notice when Trump claimed to have seen thousands of Arabs cheering in Jersey City when the towers came down, the many denials in the media that it ever happened seem to fail to mention that Carl Cameron did a story on Fox News, since erased, that detailed the five Israeli spies arrested for videoing and cheering from NJ. They were part of a "front" moving company, complete with box cutters, that was set up close to one of the terrorist cells. As I recall, the video also showed thousands of Palestinians cheering in the Middle East, then cut to details about the arrest of the Mossad agents, who were reported as Middle Easterners suspiciously videoing and cheering as it collapsed, then arrested. The FBI took over the investigation, it all got hushed up, then they were released and returned to Israel, where they were interviewed on a TV show, saying, "we were there to record the attack."

      Trump stands by his claim, and also claims he has "the best memory in the world," (which memory science has shown doesn't mean too much). Is he goading the Zionists? He said of Marco Rubio,"he'll make a nice little puppet for Sheldon Adelson." Trump knows his way around buying politicians, and he knows his way around media. He may have mis-remembered what he saw, or, he may have remembered it very well. The effect includes exposing media constraints in reporting about Israel, which is backing his opponent in the primary, and whose money he, unlike all his opponents, he does not need, but with whom, as a politician, media phenomenon, and power broker, he may already be negotiating.

  • How rightwing settlers and a wealthy Aussie Zionist used Facebook to control Netanyahu gov't
    • Great reporting!

      It is good that someone is covering the Israeli right wing that is not so easy for Netanyahu to move, as he has found America to be. Until America understands how Netanyahu has to fight to stay out in front of his right-wing coalition, bent on ethnic cleansing, "maximum Jews on maximum land," all the while denying it to the West, we'll continue to be complicit in all of their war crimes and crimes against humanity.

      Peter Baker? Will you be a journalist or hasbarist?

  • NPR's Martin says that Beirut and Baghdad victims matter as much as Parisian ones
    • "He never addresses why people might feel this way (racism); or how the media contributes to the idea of worthy and unworthy victims."

      Does racism explain this? or is the press in part following Netanyahu in generalizing from ISIS to Islam to Palestinians, and excluding ISIS violence on Palestinians, ISIS violence on other Muslims, as inconsistent with his clash-of-civilizations narrative? Isn't Netanyahu exploiting subconscious white racism to make ISIS's attack against Paris the same as Palestinian violence against Israeli Occupying forces, and the press doing its usual ingenuous amplification?

      Perhaps we need a concerted effort to draw the lines as between violent religious fundamentalists versus the secular and moderate religious. ISIS is violence in the name of God, as was Rabin's assassination, as are the threats against Rueven Rivlin, and what would happen to Netanyahu if he actually tried to divide the land and make peace with "the Arabs."

  • Netanyahu: In wake of Paris attacks, world should condemn attacks against Israel
  • Theocratic Israel
    • Without a formally adopted written constitution, the implication is that Israeli civil authorities exist by virtue of a (not-necessarily-public) grant of right from the high priests, which would make them revocable by the religious authorities, also. I also understand that the Chief Priests, one for the Sephardim, one for the Ashkenazim, are elected, and one imagines that only the Sephardim and Ashkenazim are entitled to vote? So religious law defines who is a citizen, who is a Jew, for what purposes, and who votes.

      I understand that the US constitution was the first to be written down, that the very idea of writing a form of government into existence was new. Prohibition against laws respecting an establishment of religion, or restricting the free exercise thereof, are the first of the First Amendment rights.

      As Sixty Minutes examined the human impact of the Paris terrorist attacks last night, I couldn't help but wonder how the American public would feel watching a similar interview of victims of Settler aggression, showing the human impact.

      Is it not Netanyahu's mission to continue to escalate hostility between the Israeli and Palestinian people, as justification for greater security measures, greater expansion of settlements, greater oppression? With the effectiveness of Zionist loyalists within governments and media throughout the world, not to mention Mossad agents, his power to prosecute the escalating clash of civilizations as cover for his own mission is formidable. Can this escalation be stopped prior to Netanyahu being ousted from power in Israel?

  • Seachange in public opinion: 'I am tired of Israel using US-made rockets to bomb Palestinians so that ultra-conservatives can steal their land'
    • A crowd endowed with a false belief in its own victimhood and its own divinely-justified moral high ground faces a chasm of cognitive dissonance, to reverse its direction. It is not a simple walk across that chasm, but a traumatic upheaval. Martin Indyk is the voice of diplomatic reason: very few will follow him through such trauma. Netanyahu is the cheerleader for mob violence, who feeds the crowd raw meat, and draws from them his "legitimacy" (in their eyes). It takes a charismatic leader, a dispersal of the mob, the unfolding of big events that separate the false leader from the mob, to get more people on the margin to switch sides.

      But Netanyahu only has a one-seat majority. Perhaps Indyk can persuade one MK to change direction. Everything else could follow from a vote of no-confidence. Nothing will change until that happens.

  • Netanyahu brings neocons and liberal Zionists together again
    • I believe Saileta did land on his feet, the notoriety having both positive and negative effects. The mitigating value of any positive economic effects would have to be subtracted from his losses in calculating damages. $600K plus fees and costs admits liability and is a good result. Finkelstein, I think, suffered rather more in terms of financial loss, his loss of tenure coming a decade or so ago, before the Mondoweiss effect. Salaita's new book, Uncivil Rights, Palestine and the Limits of Academic Freedom, just came out two weeks ago. Timing is good for him to settle and dismiss, in case his book becomes a best seller, leads to other jobs and profits.

  • Man who gave us Iraq war cares more about Beethoven than foreign policy
    • The arts can be an effective bridge between people who otherwise see themselves as having little or nothing in common. Phil has something in common with - something he can admire about - the godfather of neoconservativsm. This is a good thing.

      The 4th sentence in the last paragraph has a typo, a random "of" I believe. Assuming it should read: "This is why so many support democracy as a way out of tremendous bloodshed."

      I would substitute "western-style democratic republic" for democracy, since "pure" democracy can too rapidly devolve into unruly mob behavior. The checks and balances on democracy built into an enduring Republic are every bit as important as, and essential to, a country that can embrace and thrive on multi-culturalism. Israel lacks a written constitution, separation of religion and state, equal rights for all citizens, agreed-upon defined borders, commitment to international law. It needs to embrace all of these fundamentals in order to save itself, to be worthy of international support.

  • Leading US anthropologist signs on to BDS despite qualms
    • Time for regime change in Israel. Time for someone to confront the racists and fascists, because, Netanyahu has proven that, given more rein, he will move farther to the right, farther away from fair-mindedness and good judgment. He will rely upon the sword till the end. The Israeli mob-mentality that enables this movement needs to wake up to the cold morning of real consequences for his/its behavior.

  • Hillary Clinton promises to invite Netanyahu to White House in her first month
  • Glen Weyl's agonizing journey to boycott the country he loves
    • For some reason, events of the last several months inspired me to read Flavius Josephus, The War of the Jews; Or the History of the Destruction of Jerusalem.

      First hand reports are always a fascinating and challenging way to study history, but an essential one.

      One thing that resonates with reading Mondoweiss today is how passionately divided the Hebrews were then, even as Titus with his Roman legions, having destroyed various outlying strongholds, encircled Jerusalem, to the extent that warring factions occupied different parts of the Temple throughout, maintaining open violent conflict among themselves, even in the face of a true "existential threat." Another is how often the opportunity to save the Temple and City, and a reported 1.1 M lives, was rejected due to what can only be characterized as thoroughly muddled, but deeply passionate intensity.

      Zionists would do well to re-read this history, and ponder how to improve upon Israel's track record, in the nation-building-and-sustaining department, and whether there might be lessons from more recent, American and Western European history, to serve as a better guide, in addition to the Torah and the Talmud.

  • Facing down hecklers in NY, Gideon Levy calls for equal rights for all in one state
  • Israel approves stop-and-frisk just as Mayor de Blasio arrives in solidarity
    • PEP isn't so easy, or sellable, when Netanyahu has aligned himself with the Republicans, and gets his strongest support from people who listen to Rush Limbaugh.

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