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Total number of comments: 96 (since 2014-04-11 13:07:33)

I'm interested in myths, mythologies, and national epics. I'm preparing for a six-week seminar in Italy to study Dante's Divine Comedy.

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  • 'Survival and well-being of the Jewish state' is a national security interest of U.S., Indyk says
    • In other words, Begin recognized at Vilna that the situation "back home" was not as dire as he had initially thought.

      Perhaps we should all try to assess the original conditions, contexts and causes of this whole situation, and de-hyperbolize them in order to break the cycle of pathology BEFORE we all end up in a prison of our own making.

    • Iran is far more stable than Israel.

      Stephen Kinzer has observed that Iran has had a functioning system of citizen-input to their government's decision-making for nearly a century, with awareness of constitutional governance that goes back even farther.

      And if Israel is such a boon to the US, why is it the US is discussing calling upon Iran rather than Israel to aid in countering ISIS in Iraq?

      --- Oh, I know: because Israel stands to gain from Kurdish separation from the Iraq orb. As in the Ukraine, Israel is working counter to US preferences, and working for Israel's advantage, in Ukraine and wrt to Kurdistan.

    • aka Moron replies to Shingo:

      As J J Goldberg noted in his discussion of the Kishinev pogrom,

      "The event, and the worldwide wave of Jewish outrage that it evoked, laid the foundations of modern Israel, gave birth to contemporary American-Jewish activism and helped bring about the downfall of the czarist regime.

    • from the Haaretz article:

      "Is our downtrodden past at the root of the prevalent violence? And, if so, how does one break this pathological cycle?"

      No, the "downtrodden past" of the Jewish people is NOT "at the root."

      What IS at the root of "this pathological cycle" is the mythology that Jews have a uniquely "downtrodden past."

      In late August 2012 Jane Eisner spoke at a J Street event. Among other things she said,

      "The Jewish community today is at a historic turning point. We face . . .opportunities that we might not have imagined a generation or two ago . . .challenges brought about by our prosperity, by our transition from a victimized minority to a group with extraordinary wealth, social status, and political power.

      Mark the date well: August 2012, and hold it in mind while considering Edwin Black's explanation for the anticipated efficacy of the Jewish-led boycott of Germany, March 1933 - 1941:

      "Among the Hoffjuden who considered themselves the custodians of Jewish defense, Jacob Schiff stood out as a central figure. A major factor in international finance, Schiff’s greatest weapon was money: giving it, denying it. After the notorious Kishinev pogrom of Passover 1903, Schiff decided to personally lead a crusade to force Czar Nicholas to abandon his antisemitic campaign.

      “Schiff used his influence with friends and family in Europe to commit major Jewish and even non-Jewish financial houses to a banking boycott of Russia. And before long, Russia’s loan requests were systematically denied in most French, English, and U.S. money markets. In 1904, after war broke out between Russia and Japan, Schiff lobbied tirelessly among commercial adversaries and cohorts alike to grant high-risk war loans to the Japanese. About $100 million, suddenly infused, quickly armed the under-equipped Japanese, allowing them to score a series of humiliating victories. Schiff’s loans were officially recognized as the pivotal factor in Japan’s victory, and the Jewish leader was commemorated in Japanese newspapers and history books as a new national hero.

      “The banking boycott and the financing of Japan’s victory were only the first rounds. In 1906, Schiff and other influential Hoffjuden formed the American Jewish Committee. Their first major objective was abrogation of the Russo-American commercial treaty, the legal basis of all friendly relations with Russia. The Committee asserted that the czar’s denial of Russian visas to Jewish American citizens was an affront not just to America’s Jewish citizens but to the United States itself.”

      Presidential candidate William H. Taft made a campaign promise to abrogate the treaty but refused to honor the pledge once elected. Thereupon, Schiff and the American Jewish Committee lobbied Congress to force the resolution.

      “Within weeks, after the House voted 300 to 1 to abrogate, Taft capitulated . . . and terminate[d] the treaty.”

      [Still the czar would not yield.] “Massacres continued, and the Jewish death toll rose. So the banking boycott was tightened. Its effects became most destructive, however, during World War I, when the czar needed multimillion-dollar military loans. Committee members were criticized for the stubborn continuation of their boycott even as it threatened the Allied war effort. But the boycott remained in effect until the monarchy was toppled in 1917.”

      –(The Transfer Agreement, by Edwin Black, pp. 30-32)

      Leonard Stein, assistant and companion to Chaim Weizmann for over 20 years, devotes almost 700 pages to chronicling Weizmann's efforts throughout the course of World War I to insert himself among Britain's decision-makers and influence their actions in order to obtain the The Balfour Declaration.

      In Chapter 5 of her book, Against Our Better Judgment, Alison Weir's narrative (buttressed by Edwin Black's narrative in Transfer Agreement) claims that

      "After the [first world] war, the victors met in a peace conference and agreed to a set of peace accords that addressed . . . the fate of the Ottoman Empire's Middle East territories. . . .

      Zionists, including Brandeis, Felix Frankfurter, World Zionist Organization officials, and an American delegation, went to the peace conference to lobby for a Jewish "home" in Palestine and to push for Balfour wording to be incorporated in the peace accords. The official U. S. delegation to the peace conference also contained a number of highly placed Zionists. . . .

      Ultimately, the mandate over Palestine given to Britain supported the Zionist project and included the Balfour language. . . ."

      While delegates negotiated in Paris, the King-Crane Commission interviewed hundreds of leaders and members of the indigenous populations of the lands being discussed. The Commission advised that national governments
      "should derive their authority from the initiative and free choice of the native populations," and that it seemed clear that Zionists intended "a practically complete dispossession of the present non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine."


      "Zionists through Brandeis dominated the situation . . . and the report was suppressed until after the Peace Accords were enacted. . . . [A] pro-Israel historian noted, "with the burial of the King-Crane report, a major obstacle in the Zionist path disappeared." The U. S. delegation was forced to follow Zionist directives."

      In Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy, Eric Weitz narrates the influence of Jewish persons in Germany on the establishment and conduct of the Weimar Republic, from the German revolution 1918 until Hitler's appointment as chancellor, January 1933.

      Black's Transfer Agreement provides some insight into the otherwise shrouded period between January 1933 and 1938 when Zionist anti-German activism and financial and settlement activity in Palestine reached a fever pitch. Of that same period, 1933 - 1938, Breitman and Lichtman wrote:

      [B]efore the war Nazi oppression of German Jews followed a jagged trajectory. Some Nazi activists physically assaulted Jews in the early exuberant days of Hitler's semilegal revolution. Once secure in their authority, Nazi officials curbed personal violence, but enacted a series of discriminatory laws and decrees . . . against Jews. Only in late 1938 did central authorities instigate [sic] the violence known as Kristallnacht . . . For the first time, the Gestapo's agents imprisoned tens of thousands of German Jews in concentration camps. . ." [emphases added]

      Lynne Olson's record of "America's Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941" includes discussion of numerous highly placed Zionist and Jewish activists in the interventionist camp.

      In Roosevelt's Second Act: The Election of 1940 and the Politics of War (Pivotal Moments in American History), author Richard Moe records that Felix Frankfurter was the only with whom FDR discussed his decision to run for an unprecedented third term, in a private conversation in the White House within days of FDR making public that intention.

      John Judis has traced the baleful influence of Zionists on Truman's decision to recognize Israel in 1948.

      Over the past century and more, from Jacob Schiff in 1903 to Louis Brandeis, Felix Frankfurter, and Rabbi Stephen Wise, to Martin Indyk today, Jewish persons have used wealth and influence upon leaders at the highest rungs of major governments and institutions to shape events and decisions that affected the lives of millions of people.

      So precisely what "transition from a victimized minority to a group with extraordinary wealth, social status, and political power" is Eisner referring to? Exactly when in the past 110 years have Jews NOT had wealth and political power disproportionate to their "minority status"?

      Perhaps the way to "break this pathological cycle" is for Jewish people to confront their own reality, and shed the falsified narrative of perpetual victimhood.

  • Please, pray for Palestine
    • The problem with your irenic proposal is that it rewards Israel for sixty years of criminal behavior that has destroyed the lives and futures of millions of innocent people.

      And why would the USA or Florida want a colony of such brainwashed ideologues in its environs? Your argument is, "Israelis act this way because they are in the Holy Land. Take them out of the Holy Land, put them in some of the most desirable geography in USA, problem solved."

      Zionism is a real estate-specific ideology. Where would Jerusalem be?

      Are you sure the situation would be a win-win? How would Jewish leaders and even Jewish young people who have been raised on years of believing they are in charge, and they are superior, respond to living in a federation and a state where they have no military of their own; where they are required to comply with rules that they do not have complete control over, etc?

      Would Hebrew be their national language? Ooops, national -- what does that mean? Would Jews still be a people? Would their identity be somehow different from their surrounding Floridians?

      "The problem is not in our stars but in ourselves" -- or, in centuries-long ideological indoctrination. THAT is what has to change.

      As much as I abhor the Nazi comparison, recall a comment Norman Finkelstein made in a videod conversation with a Lebanese journalist after 2006. He compared Israel to Germany, noted that both had powerful militaries; that Germany suffered defeat and was now "the most morally conscientious of all states." He continued, "Israel must suffer a defeat, to bring them to their senses."

      I would add, Then, Israel must be de-zionized and must live under occupation for a hundred years, just as Germany was forced to do.

    • One way to maintain the balance that Daniel Rich advises is by spotlighting the "good guys". I make lists of those American thought leaders whose voices I wish were heard more often than those who appear to control American foreign policy.

      Andrew Bacevich, Chas Freeman, and Flynt and Hillary Leverett are on that list.

  • Visit to Hebron (or How can I explain this living hell to a nice liberal Jew in Brookline?)
  • The Aftermath: Home demolitions and dead Palestinian teen follow Netanyahu call for revenge
    • In "Fortress Israel, The Inside Story of the Military Elite Who Run the Country--and Why They Can't Make Peace," Patrick Tyler writes that Moshe Dayan learned the tactic of home demolition from the British, whom he admired.

      But the tactic is also part of Hebrew Scripture which, Tyler reports, Dayan mastered as a military field manual. --

      Judges 16:30 "He prayed to god "that I may be at once avenged." He stood between the pillars of their temple and cried out in a suicidal rage, Let me die with the Philistines! and in the moment he pulled down the house on the lords of his enemy. "So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life."

  • The rationality of Israel's War
    • "He is not fully wrong then, but I feel that he should be more encouraging towards Presby activists on the issue."

      With respect, W Jones, Presbyterians should grow a pair and disregard the words of Ellis or of any of the army of zionists who attempted to influence their Conferences and decisions. Their standard for decision-making should be found in the example of Jesus, not the letters of 1700 rabbis, etc.

    • "Like Ariel Sharon but with much better English, Benjamin Netanyahu is a plodder. Events have fallen into his lap, as has happened throughout Israel’s history. To attribute conspiratorial heroism to Netanyahu is foolhardy."

      This is a wildly inaccurate reading of Netanyahu's -- both Ben Zion's and Bibi's -- agency in creating events that "fall in his lap."

      Ben Zion and Benjamin drew the blueprint for the Global War on Terror and rolled it out to key participants, included George H W Bush, in the Jerusalem Conference on International Terrorism, July 3 - 5, 1979. In 1982 Bibi edited a book about the conference that included key speeches and papers He's published nearly half-a-dozen reiterations of the same themes since then.

      Benzion was Vladimir Jabotinsky's acolyte; he absorbed Jabotinsky's militarism and Iron Wall doctrine and handed it on to his son, who has brainwashed the Israeli population -- and large parts of the USA -- with the same ethnocidal ideology.

      The Netanyahus have put their stamp -- which is Jabotinsky's Revisionist brand -- on Israeli policy, and American foreign policy, for over seventy years.

  • Turning blood into cement: Reflections on nationalist violence in wake of suspected revenge killing of Palestinian teen
    • "Nazism wanted and Zionism wants to eliminate the ‘other’ altogether. It’s not a coincidence that there are rallies with crowds chanting “death to arabs”. The nazis tried to get rid of the jews with the Transfer Agreement but got more aggressive later, zionists tried with 66 years of Nakba, most dramatically in 1947/8/9 and 1967."

      Wait a minute --
      1. Rabbi Stephen Wise recorded in his autobiography that "within a fortnight of der Fuhrer's appointment, Louis Brandeis said to Wise: "All Jews must leave Germany. ... I urge that no Jew shall remain in Germany." (See Challenging Years, p. 242)

      2. Wasn't it zionists who negotiated the Transfer Agreement?

      To sustain the parallel you insist upon, one would have to have Palestinians insisting on their removal from West Bank and Gaza, Jaffa and the Jezreal, etc., and that before the Balfour agreement in 1917.

    • Accuracy is important

      A. Present day zionism emerged from Russia in the 1880s -- see, for example, Jacob Pinsker, The Haskalah Movement,

      referencing Smolenskin, 1869 (nb. before German unification) --

      "That the salvation of the Jews lies in their distinctiveness, and that renationalization will prove the only solution of the Jewish problem, is the central thought of Smolenskin's journalistic efforts. Jews are disliked, he maintains, not because of their religious persuasion, nor for their reputed wealth, but because they are weak and defenceless. What they need is strength and courage, but these they will never regain save in a land of their own. Twelve years before the tornado of persecution {263} broke out in Russia he had predicted it, and even welcomed it as a means of arousing the Jews to their duties as a people and their place as a nation, and that his conclusion was correct, the awakening which followed proved unmistakably.

      For Smolenskin Jews never ceased to be a nation, and to him the Jew who sought refuge in assimilation was nothing less than a traitor. He was thus the forerunner of Pinsker, and of Herzl a decade later. Indeed, in the resurrection of the national hope he was the first to remove the shroud. According to him, "the eternal people" have every characteristic that goes to make a nation. Their common country is still Palestine, loved by them with all the fervor of patriotism; their common language had never ceased to be Hebrew; their common religion consists in the basic principles of Judaism, in which they all agree."

      Smolenskin, and Pinsker predated Herzl in their advocacy for a Jewish homeland.

      It's important to get the facts & history right, because blaming all manner of disruption on German/Nazism/Hitler, or to any of the other of the enemies du jour that cultures create, without sound evidence and rock-solid logic, is, first of all, simplistic and all too frequently a practice that merely parrots propaganda.

      More importantly, simplistifying history fails to properly diagnose the events and the full panoply of their causal agencies, thus allowing morbid tendencies to continue to function, masking and perpetuating the problem rather than remedying it.

    • "fuck you??"

      "fuck" getting history wrong, then basing present policies on that wrong history = "fuck you?"
      Perhaps that explains why US & Israeli policy is so fucked up.

      NO, Kristallnacht is NOT the appropriate analogy if it is examined with intellectual integrity rather than hasbara-incited emotionality.

      For one thing, while these comments state that Netanyahu provoked the violence --

      joecommon says:
      July 2, 2014 at 11:30 am
      tit for tat? Here is the worst part. That TFT has become the weapon of choice for monsters like netty. In fact, this weapon is netty’s favorite weapon to the extent that HE PRECIPITATES THESE EVENTS. In effect, creating them. because he needs them to rationalize his theft of property and racist ways. Until monsters like him are outlawed, we’re toast.


      Kay24 says:
      July 2, 2014 at 12:01 pm
      I agree. It was as though he was waiting for an excuse to seize the opportunity and send his ruthless troops to attack homes, and most notably, arrest many including suspected Hamas members (getting rid of them perhaps). Either he reacts violently like this, or he “retaliates” by stealing more land. In fact there was such a suggestion by some Israeli zionist leaders, I guess time will tell if Nutty Ben will follow through.

      Hitler did NOT make a speech to enflame violence in retaliation for the death of vom Rath; Netanyahu did.

      Grynszypan admitted to French police that he killed the German diplomat. He was never tried and punished. Nobody has admitted their responsibility for killing the Israelis, but Palestinians have been extrajudicially punished.

      The German government did NOT launch fighter-plane attacks on Jewish enclaves; Israel launched attacks on Gaza.

      Do you really want to force a comparison of all of the factors in these situations?

  • Israel needs no proof to kill Palestinians for teens' death, Israeli colonel says
    • “Would this pass muster in any court of law anywhere?”

      Nope. Herschel Grynszpan murdered vom Rath in Paris and the Nazis used it as a pretext for holding the Kristallnacht pogrom. There are too many similarities here to be ignored, as an alleged murder here is being used as an excuse to launch a pogrom. Let us hope that the current pogrom in Palestine does not have the same results for the suffering victims as that one did.

      In my opinion, there are very few similarities, Woody T, and unless you are willing to engage in full due process, it seems imprudent to raise the matter of the assassination of vom Rath and the Night of Broken Glass and relate them to the current situation in Israel and Occupied West Bank.

      1. Grynszpan admitted to French police that he shot vom Rath. So far, there does not appear to be evidence of who shot the three teenagers.

      2. SA officers were tried and punished for their parts in the violence. Will Palestinians be given a fair trial? How about Jewish leaders who carried out extra-judicial violence, destruction, and killing?

      3. In 1952 Nahum Goldman demanded and received reparations from the German government of Konrad Adenaur in the amount of $500 million. Will Israel pay reparations to Palestinians for their losses?

  • Missing Israeli teens found dead near Hebron; Netanyahu: 'Hamas is responsible and Hamas will pay'
  • Dream and Reality in Israel/Palestine: Excerpt from Marc Ellis' 'Future of the Prophetic'
    • re

      In the biblical narrative, the main line of Israel’s journey unfolds. Through Abraham, the people Israel are called into being to inhabit a certain terrain. Israel descends into slavery in Egypt, is liberated with a promise of land, enters the Promised Land, settles there, and becomes a kingdom. When, through abuse of political power, injustice reigns, the prophets appear. Israel is chastened by the prophets. Exile from the land is penalty for this abuse.

      Through repentance, Israel returns to the land, is exiled again for backtracking on its promised repentance, returns, and is exiled once more. Israel then begins an almost two-thousand-year sojourn outside the land.

      No mention of the saving hospitality extended by Egypt for (either) 240 or 480 years?

      And through repentance, Israel returns to the land, but no mention of Persia, or Cyrus, or the financial and political support the Persian people extended to Yehud to "return to the land."

      No mention of how that Persian support was repaid -- Esther had Haman and his sons and another 75,000 Persian slaughtered?

      Benjamin Netanyahu made a point of reminding President Obama and the American people of Esther's non-godly activities -- prophetic or a warning?

  • Glib, simplistic, and extreme -- the world according to Richard Landes
  • Reporters talk about Sykes-Picot of 1916 (and ignore the Balfour Declaration of 1917)
    • The role of Sam Untermyer & his son Alvin in securing, or attempting to secure, the rights of the heirs to Sultan Abdul Hamid's oil-rich holdings in Mesopotamia is intriguing.

      If it is true, as the reports claim, that the Sultan owned oil rights worth billions of (1922) dollars, no wonder Theodor Herzl's decade-long attempt to persuade the Sultan to convey Ottoman Palestine to Jews in return for relief of debts. The Sultan didn't really need the money/debt relief; he had an ace in the hole.

    • Eventually the whole story will be told and the world will come to label ISIS zionism -- the reclaiming of Islamic lands for Muslims -- as Woodrow Wilson's War.

      Chaim Weizmann's leading role in acquiring the Balfour Declaration will become common knowledge (Deo volente; the influence on Wilson of Bernard Baruch, Louis Brandeis, the Warburg brothers in Versailles negotiations, that pivotal moment when the promise of Arab self-determination was betrayed but zionists achieved "a dual triumph" will become as well known as the theme from Exodus.

      Hoteliers in Oberlin, Ohio will thrive as journalists pore over the King Crane reports, which failed to find their way into Wilson's hands before the end of the treaty confab, but which are now archived at Oberlin College.

  • In 'turning-point' vote, Presbyterians divest from occupation-linked corporations
    • re the speaker from Oklahoma, "Will divestment come at the cost of our relationship. . . .A rabbi in my town asked me if PCUSA is against Judaism" (or words to that effect).

      This tactic and concern is appropriate for junior high school girls, but it is the wrong question for a body like the Presbyterian church to be asking.

      In junior high school parlance, it boils down to, "If you don't look the other way as we brutalize Palestinians, you can't be my BFF."

      Presbyterians should -- must -- set a different standard: They should ask and act on the standard, "What must we endorse as just and equitable?"

  • I’m a Lutheran member of a Jewish organization, and I support Presbyterian divestment
    • With respect, piotr, and from one old fogey to another, why is the patriotic motivation of one group hunkey-dorey, even if it's a vicious pack of lies, as is this post-WWII training video by Theodore Geisel and Frank Capra, but the patriotic motivators of the OTHER are odious and outrageous?

      We have got to look at the Other as human beings, not as demons. Period. Full stop.

    • Yesterday Chris Hedges and Noam Chomsky talked about militarization, and how the "intellectual elites" took over the role of running the nation, with the rest of us mere "spectators" to be guided by their propaganda. The masses are conditioned to acquiesce to war. At the heart of that conditioning of the masses is the dehumanization of the Other.

      In a conversation with Prof. John Dower, Dr. Sanho Tree spoke about the conditioning that is essential to change an 18- or 19-year old human into a soldier who would kill. At the heart of that conditioning is the dehumanization of the Other.

      The most potent defense -- rather, antidote -- to that relentless process of conditioning to hate through dehumanization is to put eyes on the Other, human-to-human.

      That seems to be what happened to Phil Weiss: he travelled to Palestine and saw human beings, not the demonized caricatures of the manufacturers of war. It seems to be what happened to Morgan Bach: she went to Palestine and observed reality-in-reality, not a created reality whose purpose is to serve a private agenda. Morgan Bach, and those delegates at the Presbyterian Conference who, like her, wear the Just Peace badge of the Israel-Palestine Mission Network, are history's NEW actors, who are working to create a JUST reality and the reality of justice.

  • Why a false understanding of the 'Six Day War' still matters
    • Foxbats Over Dimona: The Soviet's Nuclear Gamble in the Six Day War

      anxiety about Israel's imminent nuclear capability and an unwarranted confidence in Arab military strength led Moscow to develop a plot to provoke the Israelis into striking first before being overwhelmed by a devastating riposte, in which Soviet forces would participate. The plan never recovered from the quality of Israel's first strike, although bits of it were implemented as Israel appeared to be marching on Damascus.


      "Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez have challenge [sic] the widely-accepted idea that the Six Day War happened without anyone wanting it. Instead, they present a theory that the U.S.S.R. instigated the war as a way preemptively to destroy the Israeli nuclear facilities." -- Daniel Pipes,

    • Pardon me for still hammering at Presbyterian criticisms of Zionism Unsettled.

      Under the core argument that "false understandings matter," with which I could not agree more, Nikles' review notes that

      Ari Shavit repeats . . .The accepted orthodoxy of this war, and the occupation that followed, is that it was justified because Egypt, Jordan, and Syria had massed troops “vastly outnumbering Israel” along the border, and that Israel, threatened with its very survival, launched a necessary pre-emptive attack on its neighbors, gaining a great and unexpected victory in just six days. . . . in his book My Promised Land, where it fits well with his “concentric circles of threat” surrounding Israel."

      In other words, Shavits works to sustain a falsified narrative of Israel's history.

      The Zionism Unsettled Study Guide mentions Meier Kahane and Ze'ev Jabotinsky. (It also discusses Ahad Ha'am and Rabbi Judah Magnes.)

      In Feb. 2014 Rev. Chris Leighton, Executive Director of the Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies and an ordained Presbyterian minister, published an Open Letter to the Presbyterian Church. Leighton took issue with the Study Guide's focus on focus on Jabotinsky and Kahane which placed zionism in a negative light, which, Leighton argued, branded All Jews everywhere as "bad zionists." This, in turn, makes "bigots" of Presbyterians.

      Leighton wrote:

      The study guide correctly notes that there are secular Zionists and religious Zionists. There are Zionists who are militant and support the annexation of lands conquered in 1967. There are also Zionists who are sharp critics of Israel’s settlement policies, who are staunch supporters of a Palestinian State, and who struggle in solidarity with Palestinian activists. Not only are Vladimir Jabotinsky and Meir Kahane Zionists, but so are Abraham Joshua Heschel, Peter Beinhart, and Ari Shavit; so are the supporters of Americans for Peace Now, J Street, and a number of other Jewish organizations with which we might work together. A sweeping indictment of Zionism amounts to blanket condemnation of the vast majority of Jews; it prevents collaborative work between our Church and Jewish peace groups, and it renders us bigots.

      I just thought it was interesting that in his attempt to conflate "good zionists" and "bad zionists" into one lump, then apply it to "all Jews" in order to be able to claim the label "bigots" for Presbyterians, Leighton pointed to Ari Shavit, who, as Nikles and also Jerome Slater have observed, perpetuates a false narrative of Israel's history:

      As Jerome Slater observed in his review of Shavit’s book: “It is hard to think of another long-standing conflict in which the irrefutable facts, long well-known to anyone who has seriously studied the issue, seem to matter less than in the Arab-Israeli conflict.” Although the true facts about the 1967 war have been known to many from the outset, . . . this has not dampened enthusiasm for the “justified self-defense” story. The facts propagated by Israel have not been critically examined by the world community.

      Having the wrong facts is not helpful. Critically, from Quigley’s standpoint as a scholar of international law, the erroneously assumed facts have allowed The Six Day War to become a “prime example” of the use of defensive war.

      One goal of Zionism Unsettled is to challenge the "taboo" against "frank discussion about the ways in which ideology -- that is, political and religious doctrine-- has been a driving force of the [I/P] conflict." Arguably, Ari Shavit operates from precisely that political-religious ideological base rather than from a foundation in reality that justice requires.

      Yet Craig Leighton, a strenuous and influential critic of Zionism Unsettled, holds up Ari "facts be damned" Shavit as an exemplar of those who will resolve the conflict.

      Let's hope reality, not ideology, prevails in Detroit this week.

  • Iran wins points from Brazil to State Dep't (even as Bill Kristol calls for another Iraq war)
    • whoa, hophmi is hitting me with --- with -- with Freedom House!

      Well, I'm convinced.

      Ruth Wedgwood wouldn't dissemble, and Kenneth Adelman doesn't have an axe to grind. Freedom House vice-chair Thomas Dine has no conflicts of interest, and Joshua "We Must Bomb Iran" Muravchik is the soul of objective analysis.


    • This needs to be fully addressed, imho. The whole idea of “GWOT” is disingenuous, to put it mildly.

      A good starting point for "addressing ...GWOT ... fully" would be the Jerusalem Conference at the Jonathan Institute, July 1979, presided over by Benzion and Benjamin Netanyahu. At that conference the blueprint for the global war on terror were rolled out for a western audience that included George Herbert Walker Bush. Bibi edited the book that recorded the conference's proceedings, International Terrorism: Challenge and Response.

      Milemarker 5 must be Benji Netanyahu's appearance before a US Congressional committee chaired by Dan Burton on Sept. 12, 2002, the same day George Bush the younger appeared at the United Nations to state his rationale for invading Iraq. Netanyahu the younger urged the committee to endorse Bush's plan, since, Bibi argued, "Iraq is the keystone of a network of terror that includes Iran, Syria, Libya ... Take out the keystone and the rest will fall."

      In response to Dennis Kucinich's question about the position of Iran on the list of Middle East nations to be "taken out," Bibi responded that Iran's young people could be "subverted" by beaming in "Beverly Hills 90210" and similar programming calculated to turn young people into consumers with insatiable appetites.

    • I'm not Phil, but it's worth observing that the US "works with" Israel, a state that routinely violates human rights.

      btw, precisely whose human rights are Iranians violating, hophmi, and what makes you so concerned about them?

    • bully for the UK, opening an embassy in Tehran, but if I were Iran, I would be a bit wary. Iranians did not take hostages at US embassy on a college lark, they did so after discovering in inadequately shredded documents evidence that US was spying on and subverting the interests of the Iranian people, under the protective cover of the US embassy.

      There's a lot of mistrust that will have to be rebuilt before High Fives are celebrated all around.

    • Graham's comments should be listened to and assessed very carefully, with the history that he glibly used to introduce them clearly understood (see Why a False Understanding of [History] Matters ).

      Graham's opening implied that US should use Iran just as US used Stalin's forces in World War II. To date, many Americans think that the US won WWII single-handed; that (false) triumphalism was celebrated again on the 70th anniversary of D Day.

      The facts are that Russian troops destroyed Berlin (from the ground) while Eisenhower held Allied forces out of harm's way. From Berlin, Russian troops stormed into Poland and initiated about four decades of misery and suffering as the region was divided and the US exchanged a hot war with an "ally of convenience" for a Cold War against that ally-turned-adversary.

      Hillary Mann Leverett assessed Lindsay Graham's proposal with history fully in mind, and offered this nuanced analysis:

      durn it, can't embed the video clip --

      here's the link --

      from 7:00 to 10:12 min.

  • Neoconservatism is 'vindicated' in fawning 'NYT' piece on power couple of Kagan and Kristol
    • C Span is one barometer I use.

      Last week C Span Washington Journal gave a microphone to Michael Rubin, then Kimberley (Mrs. Fred) Kagan, who discussed ISIS in Iraq and proposed US reactions.

      Callers to C Span are becoming emboldened. During the Kagan appearance, one caller said, "How about a different perspective from these neocons who got us into the mess in the first place? We'd like to see Juan Cole, from University of Michigan..."

      Low and behold, this morning Washington Journal hosted Hillary Mann Leverett.

      She was brilliant, as usual -- fortune favors a prepared mind; she did not lose her composure when a caller from Florida said, "How can you suggest working with Iran when Iran has sworn --sworn to destroy Israel!" Leverett calmly and intelligently refuted the assertions of another caller that US military intervention has consistently been "a force for good," and turned that claim into an endorsement of the key thesis of Hillary and husband Flynt Leverett's recent book, Going to Tehran: Why the US Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran; namely, that US leaders must follow Nixon's footsteps in going to China in 1972.

      Mann Leverett took advantage of an opportunity to gently disparage (without naming them) "experts" who have never been to the countries they pronounce upon, in contrast to her own experiences as a student in Egypt, a scholar, and a foreign service officer who has actually sat face to face and listened to what the Other Side had to say. She called those faux experts "not only counterproductive but dangerous."

  • Documents open window into how Israel lobby courts student government members
    • Many foreign policy pundits including and especially neocons readily and eagerly cite Machiavelli's The Prince to provide cover for amoral, ends-justify-the-means tactics.

      But that may be a misreading of Niccolo's overall perspective. In the last few minutes of this discussion of The Prince, Michael Ignatieff explains that Machiavelli was a democrat through and through, and he believed that power gained by wealth, or the spreading around of largesse/bribes, was not authentic power.

      Machiavelli endorsed the principle of Consent of the Governed: Only the people ruled could convey authentic power to those who ruled them.

    • related but not precisely on topic: One major stumbling block in the Presbyterian effort to Divest is retired pastor Rev. William Hartel, who has pledged to do all he can to block Divestment. For many years Hartel has led Christian tour groups to Israel and considers himself an advocate for Israel in the process of "seeking peace" between Israel and Palestine.

  • Sunday morning macabre
    • Annie -- you and the Forward; great minds and all that ---

      "Confessions of a Christian Zionist" (w/ photo of convert to Judaism w/ his bride at Jewish wedding)

      " September 11 changed things, even in my tucked-away corner of Northern Georgia. We felt encroached upon by violent forces. The evening of the attacks, my family gathered in our close-knit country church. We prayed for the grieving survivors and, of course, for the protection of Israel. I said to my mother that day, “Jesus… he’s coming back soon, isn’t he?” She nodded reassuringly. All this suffering was necessary, I believed with sadness, watching in fear for what Jesus had described as the “birth pains” before the End of Days, when the world would be made new.
      The days following 9/11 turned our attention to Israel and its position in the Middle East. As evangelical supporters of the Jewish state and believers in the coming apocalypse, we frequently begged for God’s protection over the country and her people.
      We did this in shouted prayers. We spoke in tongues. Some who prayed would fall to the ground, slumping under what was believed to be the influence of God’s overwhelming power. We prayed that the Jewish homecoming to Israel would inspire willing Jews to abandon their faith and accept Jesus Christ as their savior before the Rapture.


      ". . .At the same time, the evangelical world was being shaped by forces other than those on 9/11. One was the gathering Republican platform designed to give political voice to our beliefs and concerns; another was the massive popularity of the “Left Behind” series of Christian thrillers, which described apocalyptic world politics and the salvation of the Jews. . . ."


      "When I decided to convert, I returned to my study of Israel, but with very different eyes. I realized just how deeply the evangelical and Jewish worlds misunderstand each other. Still, there were some sparse similarities. For instance, I recognized the romanticism of my older Jewish friends. Israel symbolized the promise of a better future for them and their offspring. Their Zionism was good-natured, rooted in the decades-old optimism that once widely characterized the American perception of Israel. The more I read, however, the more I asked myself the question: To whom had Israel been promised?

      Because I had never visited Israel, I was stunned to discover that the religious status of converts was a politically charged issue. Under the Law of Return, Israeli citizenship is the right of all Jews, yet the question of who is a Jew is controversial. Many of my fellow converts have immigrated as Jews, only to be heartbroken when, for instance, the Orthodox establishment denies them a marriage license on the grounds they aren’t Jewish.

  • Wisconsin Jewish leaders open the door to-- shhh -- anti-Zionists
    • That may be so -- defensiveness may be misplaced.

      I just spent a glorious sunny Sunday working through "Zionism Unsettled" and it left me unsettled. Even more unsettling were the criticisms of the Presbyterian Study Guide from other Presbyterians.

      I thought "Zionism Unsettled" went out of its way to be equitable and to draw on sound sources, tho I did think the DVD could have done without James Carroll bashing the Catholic church. And Presbyterians need to replace their muddle-headed, fuzzy, unconditional commitment to dialogue with some tough-minded critical thinking, not to mention self-reflection.

      The banner of one of the groups that demanded that "Zionism Unsettled" be removed from Presbyterian sites, proclaims on its banner its mission of "advancing responsible and effective peacemaking policies". It's been doing so for 65 years. During those "responsible and effective" advancements, millions of people in the Middle East have lost their homes, lives, and futures.

    • Ron Edwards,
      My intention was less to "make sense" than to demand respect for Catholic institutions.

      I thought your flippant statements about Jesuit priests, Catholic universities, and Catholic identity were offensive. If you are not Catholic, j'accuse anti-Catholicism; if you are Catholic, your comment displayed aspects of a self-hating Catholic.

      Jewish people maintain their values and identity by defending them, not by subjecting them to, or allowing them to be subjected to, disrespect and ridicule. Catholics would do well to imitate that characteristic of Jewish people.

    • Hi Mooser,

      It was not and is not my intention to "decree" which things are Jewish and which are not. That is for Jewish people to decide -- or not, as they decide, or not.

      See also response to Ron Edwards, below.

    • Did Germany have a past before WWII and if so, what happened?

      One more thing that happened in Germany's pre-WWII past -- The Politics of Hunger: The Allied Blockade of Germany, 1915-1919

      Please take careful note of the dates -- 1915 to 1919. The armistice was in November 1918; the Allied blockade remained in place and was even strengthened over a period of nine months AFTER the armistice, in order to force Germany to sign Versailles treaties.

      An estimated 800,000 German civilians died of starvation in that period.

      One of the most poignant passages in Vincent's chronicle of the blockade of Germany captures the impact of starvation on those -- particularly children -- who survived but were malnourished for extended periods:

      "You think this is a kindergarten for the little ones. No, these are children of seven and eight years. Tiny faces with dull eyes overshadowed by huge, puffed, rickety foreheads, their small arms just skin and bones, and above the crooked legs with their dislocated joints, the swollen, pointed stomachs of the hunger edema. . . . "You see this child here," the physician in charge explained; "it consumed an incredible amount of bread and yet it did not get any stronger. I found out that it hid all the bread it received underneath its straw mattress. The fear of hunger was so deeply rooted in the child that it collected the stores instead of eating the food: a misguided animal instinct made the dread of hunger worse than the actual pangs.""

      I am beyond outraged that our foreign policy leaders -- Madeleine Albright, I'm talking to you -- have failed to learn the lessons of history, and that they really don't mean "Never Again," when they once again, and again and again, deliberately starve other people's children and expect a positive outcome.

    • No, it's not at all relevant, Ron Edwards, but thanks for all the words.

      I spent sixteen years of my education in Roman Catholic schools -- gr. 1 thru BA. I taught in RC high schools and at the college level. Many Catholic universities, including the one I attended and those where I taught, take their Catholic identity seriously. Jesuits are Roman Catholic priests. Pope Francis is a Jesuit.

      Mondoweiss covered Sheldon Adelson's appearance at Yeshiva University when he told host Shmuely Boteach and the audience that "Obama should drop a nuclear bomb in the Iranian desert."

      Did you come across that MW article, Ron Edwards? Do you have information or an opinion on the Jewish identity of Yeshiva University? Is it for "fuddy duddy conservative" Jews? Is it run by heretics? Does it not claim a Jewish identity in the same way that Hebrew day schools are Jewish?

    • What most intrigues me is that Jews get to speak freely of their anti-zionism on the campus of a Catholic university.

  • The world was right about Iraq-- though Israel got its 'Clean Break'
    • As to the " 'clean break' " in DaBakr's "A.", and the comment:

      "The irony of the whiners here who complain about Israel not going blithely along with Obama policy as the epitome of umbrage while back then-despite many in top echelon of Israeli military told the US that Iraq was the lesser danger to the the region as compared to Iran but still went along and backed US with loyalty in its build up and invasion of Iraq-to its own detriment.

      Anyone who doubts, or seeks to obfuscate the position of Israel's leaders and, according to Benjamin Netanyahu, "the majority of Israelis," must confront the words straight from the horse's 'A.', er, mouth, that horse taking the shape of
      Benjamin Netanyahu in an appearance before a US Congressional committee on Sept 12, 2002, where he urged the Committee and the US Congress to stand behind George W. Bush who that morning had spoken at the United Nations and indicated his intention to wage war on Iraq.
      (That's Ron Dermer, "Bibi's Brain", behind Netanyahu's left shoulder)

    • re:

      Its roots can be traced, at least in part, to a paper published in 1996 by an Israeli thinktank, the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies. Entitled “A clean break: a new strategy for securing the realm”, it was intended as a political blueprint for the incoming government of Binyamin Netanyahu. As the title indicates, it advised the right-wing Mr Netanyahu to make a complete break with the past by adopting a strategy “based on an entirely new intellectual foundation, one that restores strategic initiative and provides the nation the room to engage every possible energy on rebuilding Zionism …”

      The paper set out a plan by which Israel would “shape its strategic environment”, beginning with the removal of Saddam Hussein and the installation of a Hashemite monarchy in Baghdad.

      "Roots" is, perhaps, botanically inexact.
      Try to untangle and identify these roots in which A Clean Break is entwined:

      "[This Conference was convened]. . . to focus public attention on the grave threat that international terrorism poses to all democratic societies, to study the real nature of today's terrorism, and to propose measures for combatting and defeating the international terror movements.

      Over the last decade terrorist activities grew tenfold and the arsenal available to terrorists has greatly improved. The current threat promises to become intolerable when terrorists gain access--as they show every sign of doing--to weapons of mass destruction, or when they gain control of whole peoples and governments and establish themselves as de facto terrorist states.

      It was the intolerable spectacle of legitimization of terror groups and the frequent capitulation to their demands that made the . . . Conference so necessary. The United Nations has proven itself to be hopelessly incapable of dealing with the problem. The Western governments themselves have too often tried to make their separate deals, fearing that a full-fledged battle against terrorists and their supporters could have negative political consequences.

      In the face of such paralysis, pusillanimity and impotence, the . . .Conference was convened to begin the formation of an anti-terror alliance in which all the democracies of the West must join."

      - - -
      The ellipses takes the place of these words:

      The Jerusalem Conference on International Terrorism was convened by The Jonathan Institute on July 2-5, 1979 . . .

      The passage is from the Foreward to International Terrorism: Challenge and Response, and was penned by the volume's editor, Benjamin Netanyahu.

      The date and venue for the Conference is highly significant and provides an insight into the psychological dynamic behind the GWOT to this day. The Conference took place on the third anniversary of the death of Jonathan Netanyahu in the Israeli raid on Entebbe, July 4, 1976 -- coinciding not coincidentally with the 200th anniversary of American independence.

      Jonathan Netanyahu's death -- "martyrdom," in the eyes of his doting father, Benzion, forever changed and marked--one might say distorted-- Bibi's life.

      Among the Conference's participants were, in addition to Benzion and Benjamin Netanyahu:
      Shimon Peres
      Sen. Henry Jackson
      Menachem Begin
      Richard Pipes
      Sen. John Danforth
      Rep. Jack Kemp
      George Will
      Norman Podhoretz
      Midge Decter
      Ben Wattenberg
      Lane Kirkland
      Ambassador George Bush

  • Think back to 2003. . . the year the U.S. didn't invade Iraq
    • It's useful to compare the evolution of George H W Bush's thinking on the situation in Iraq in light of the fall of the Berlin wall, the vacuum created by the end of Cold War and the vanquishing of US's enemy, which initiated the USA's "unipolar moment" -- no longer could USSR hold US power in check-- with the various versions of Glaspie's statements to Saddam.

      Bush took several days to clarify his own thinking and response to Saddam's incursions into Kuwait, and even when the decision was made to use military force to dislodge Iraq, the Bush team was absolutely clear: their purpose was NOT to save/protect Kuwait, it was NOT to defend democratic principles or territory or anything of that kind: The USA invasion of Iraq was the first, deliberate step in US's imperial pivot.

    • James North, your alternative history is built on the unchallenged underlying assumption that there was a good and necessary reason for the US to remove Saddam Hussein.

      He was the USA's bff through Iraq's war with Iran, to the extent that US supplied him with intelligence to use poison gas against Iranian civilians and military (US corporations supplied the gas -- see Amy Smithson, Sr. Fellow, Center for Nonproliferation Studies ).

      You note that Saddam's conflict with Kuwait was over financial concerns. Jack O'Connell, advisor to Jordan's King Hussein, had helped the king work out a deal that Saddam had agreed to, but the G H W Bush administration had another agenda and a peaceful negotiation would have interfered with those plans.

      According to Bush library historian Jeffrey Engel, Saddam's conflict with Kuwait provided the pretext for the senior Bush administration to initiate a plan that, according to Engel, was the fulfillment of the "promise to those who fought in World War II" -- that they would be empowered to create a "new world order"; to "make the world a better place." The toehold in the Middle East provided an opportunity and a starting point to fill the vacuum left by the fall of the Berlin wall.

      Bush 41's advisors were "99% certain" that the Iraqi people would rise up and overthrow Saddam in the 1990-91 US invasion of Iraq. Further, says Engel, "if they had to do it again, they would proceed with the same certainty," which is roughly what George the Latter later did.

      Thus, James North, the underlying assumption that your alternative history fails to challenge is that the US is somehow entitled or empowered to overthrow Saddam. Your scenario reinforces that assumption and carries it out, albeit by different means.

      It is also noteworthy that your alternate history does not acknowledge the deaths of a million Iraqis, half of them children; and it apparently maintains in place the sanctions that killed them and the no-fly zone that tormented them.

      A REAL alternative history would consider what the region would look like today if Jordan's King Hussein had been able to bring his negotiation to fruition.

  • 'Numb, speechless, sad', Israel supporters grieve Cantor's loss
    • the fact that Cantor is Jewish gave him “access to donors we didn’t typically have access to.” Cantor not only helped the GOP fundraising machine make inroads into the big-money (and typically Democratic) Jewish precincts in Los Angeles, Miami, and New York; he also helped GOP congressmen tap their local Jewish communities for money.

      It could be the case -- please Zeus it IS the case -- that the vote for Brat, who spent $200k, signals that money is no longer all that it takes to win an election. The electorate is getting wise to being bought-ness, and has raised its price: they can't be bought with (dramatically deflated) dollars, but only with sound ideas, and respect for their values and demands.

      Hard to imagine that Cantor could not be replaced if the AIPAC machine put its mind and money to the task, but the notion that money is no longer the game-changer is a game-changer.

  • The Banality of Religion: 'Prayer summit' at the Vatican fails to inspire
  • Boston subway ads are shocking-- 'and so is the reality on the ground'
    • Citizen,

      One little chink in the armor would be the Goebbels = mass propagandist meme.

      Yes, it's true that Goebbels studied Bernays, and that he was in charge of propaganda for the German government.

      But just how successful was the Goebbels propaganda campaign? I recall reading on the website that German propaganda was "too rational;" the German psyche was unable fully to exploit appeal to emotion, which is a key element of hasbara and good propaganda.

      So the notion that Goebbels was a master propagandist might just be a propaganda coup for the Bernays, aka anti-German, crowd.

      Thus, effective exposure of the methods of propaganda, and use of them to counteract the relentless pro-Israel propaganda, probably should avoid Nazi analogies and Goebbels comparisons.

      In any event, I find the increasing resort to Nazi analogies a sign of desperation.

    • Conversation at a prominent Episcopal church in DC suburbs today:

      They: "Please join our bible study group. We would love to hear your perspective from your Catholic background."

      We: "I would probably get into trouble with your group because I am opposed to zionism."

      They: "Surely you mean that you are in favor of zionism, don't you. It's biblical . . . .?"

      We: "No, I am opposed to zionism. It is a political movement . . ."

      They: "Oh. Well. Hmmm. Anyway, next week we will discuss the prophet Joel."


      These are good people; they are not stupid people, but they are seriously misinformed. Their thinking is not based on history and facts but on sentimentality and false piety and a kind of approbation of Jews that emerges from the fear of thinking critically about issues that have "Jewish" in the mix. That word, "Jewish," automatically invokes a protective shield that "nice" people are afraid to penetrate.

  • Jewish safety in Europe and Muslim safety are interconnected
    • "There were fifty Jewish generals in the Italian army in World War I. "

      Are you sure you want to go there?

      When a friend of mine wanted to disparage my Italian lineage, he would offer to sell me a rifle from the Italian army: "Never fired, dropped only once."

      Italians are lovers, not fighters. As far back as the time of Diocletian, Italians hired Germans to do their fighting --

      Hessian soldiers were recruited and paid by Rothschilds among others to fight in the US war against England. Of course, many, many Hessians stayed in the US, including my spouse's ancestors.

      Thought experiment: what would the US look like today if Italians had been hired to fight the British?

  • Jeff Goldberg gets hit from right and left for suggesting Jews should leave Europe
    • for what it's worth ---

      Boris Pasternak was "partly Jewish" -- his parents were assimilated Russians who "belonged to the cultivated Jewish milieu of Odessa," [Jabotinsky was from Odessa but had very little involvement with the Jewish community, cultivated, religious, or otherwise]. But, Pasternak wrote:

      "I was baptized as a child by my nanny, but because of the restrictions imposed on Jews, particularly in the case of a family which was exempt from them and enjoyed a certain reputation in view of my father's standing as an artist, there was something a little complicated about this, and it was always felt to be half-secret and intimate, a source of rare and exceptional inspiration rather than being calmly taken for granted. I believe that this is at the root of my distinctiveness. Most intensely of all my mind was occupied by Christianity in the years 1910-12, when the main foundations of this distinctiveness -- my way of seeing things, the world, life -- were taking shape..."

      Thus, in his writing, especially Dr. Zhivago,

      "Pasternak . . .preferred to present a wholly RUSSIAN image, identifying himself solely with Russian literary and cultural tradition [similar to Jabotinsky], and with the Russian Orthodox Church [unlike Jabotinsky]. On more than one occasion conversations in the novel refer disparagingly to the Jews’ wish to keep their own identity and destiny sacred and apart . . ."

      His references to Russian Jews was not, however, unsympathetic, and the word "disparagingly" might be too harsh. Judge for yourself, from these passages from Dr. Zhivago.

      First, Pasternak lays the foundation of the concept:

      " "You come across talented people," said Nikolai Nikolevich. "But now various circles and associations are the fashion. Every herd is a refuge for giftlessness, whether it's a faith in Soloviev, or Kant, or Marx. Only the solitary seek the truth, and they break with all those who don't love it sufficiently. Is there anything in the world that merits faithfulness? Such things are very few. I think we must be faithful to immortality, that other, slightly stronger name for life. We must keep faith in immortality, we must be faithful to Christ! Ah, you're wincing, poor fellow. Again you haven't understood a thing."

      "M-m-yes," grunted Ivan Ivanovich, . . . whose little beard made him look like an American of Lincoln's time. . .

      "I said we must be faithful to Christ. I'll explain at once. You don't understand that one can be an atheist, one can not know whether God exists or why, and at the same time know that man does not live in nature but in history, and that in present-day understanding it was founded by Christ, that its foundation is the Gospel. And what is history? It is the setting in motion of centuries of work at the gradual unriddling of death and its eventual overcoming. Hence the discovery of mathematical infinity and electromagnetic waves, hence the writing of symphonies. It is impossible to move on in that direction without a certain uplift. These discoveries call for spiritual equipment. The grounds for it are contained in the Gospel. They are these. First, love of on'e neighbor, that highest form of living energy, overflowing man's heart and demanding to be let out and spent, and then the main component parts of modern man, without which he is unthinkable--namely, the idea of the free person and the idea of life as a sacrifice. Bear in mind that this is still extremely new. The ancients did not have history in this sense. Then there was the sanguinary swinishness of the cruel, pockmarked Caligulas, who did not suspect how giftless all oppressors are. They had the boastful, dead eternity of bronze monuments and marble columns. Ages and generations breathed freely only after Christ. Only after him did life in posterity begin, and man now dies not by some fence in the street, but in his own history, in the heat of work devoted to the overcoming of death, dies devoted to that theme himself."

      [ This is where the zionist project started out tragically wrong: as Howard Sacher wrote in 1919, zionism sprang from the determination to avenge the Roman conquest of the Jews in 70 CE. Sacher and those zionists took the wrong model; they admired the "boastful, dead eternity of bronze monuments and marble columns," which Christ and the earliest Jews who were part of the early Christian communities disdained as "giftless." -ed]

      Later, Zhivago and Misha Gordon (Zhivago's Jewish friend) reflect on a scene they had witnessed in which an elderly Jewish man was tormented and humiliated by a Cossack, and discuss "peoplehood" as distinguished from "personhood", ---

      [Gordon:] "That Cossack mocking the poor patriarch, along with thousands of cases like it, is, of course, an example of the most elementary baseness, which should occasion, not philosophizing, but a punch in the nose, that's clear. But to the question of the Jews as a whole, philosophy is applicable, and then it turns its unexpected side to us. . . .

      [Zhivago]: " 'What is a people?' you ask. Must we make a fuss over it, and doesn't he do more for it who, without thinking of it, by the very beauty and triumph of his deeds, raises it to universality and, having glorified it, makes it eternal? Well of course, of course. And what kind of peoples can we talk about in Christian times? They're not simple peoples, but converted, transformed peoples, and the whole point is precisely in the transformation, not in faithfulness to old principles. Let's remember the Gospel. What did it say on this subject? First, it wasn't an assertion: this is so and that is so. It was a a naive and timid suggestion. The suggestion was: Do you want to exist in a new way, as never before, do you want the blessedness of the spirit? And everyone accepted the suggestion, caught up for the millennia.

      "When it said that in the Kingdom of God there are no Greeks and Jews, did it merely mean to say that everyone is equal before God? No, there was no need for that; the Greek philosophers, the Roman moralists, the prophets of the Old Testament knew that before. But it said: in that new way of existence and new form of communion, conceived in the heart and known as the Kingdom of God, there are no peoples, there are persons."

      Goldberg has not read Pasternak, or has rejected Pasternak's challenge to be a "solitary thinker" rather than part of the "giftless herd."

      And judging from Obama's speech in Poland, neither he nor his advisors have taken George Kennan's advice and immersed themselves in Russian literature in order to understand the Russian people. Obama's advisors may be leaders of their "herd," but that does not make them any less "giftless."

  • In Brussels whodunnit, Netanyahu irresponsibly claims anti-Zionist, anti-Semitic motive
  • Time to End the Palestine/Israel Status Quo: 'Zionism Unsettled' challenges theological and political exceptionalism
    • It would be helpful, and also more true-to-history, to separate holocaust from the zionist project and Israel.

      Zionists had already acquired major portions of Palestine's finest agricultural land -- the Jezreal valley -- by ~1908; Tel Aviv was built by 1910

      "In his recommendation to the JNF in support of the founding of Tel Aviv he explained that a Jewish urban settlement would create a market for the agriculture produce of the Jewish agriculture sector, and would also divert the flow of capital from the Arabs of Jaffa (who profited from the rent of apartments), into Jewish hands (in: Shavit & Biger 2001, 66). Ruppin explained the attraction of Tel Aviv for immigrants and Jewish capital as being a place where immigrants can live in a “healthy European atmosphere” (in: Shavit & Biger 2001, 24) as opposed to Arab Jaffa. This same policy of separating the Arabs (economically and culturally) from the Jewish cultural space lay behind his decision to build the Hebrew Gymnasia in the Jewish neighborhood of Tel Aviv, even though it was far from the homes of most of the pupils and many of their parents opposed Ruppin’s choice of location (ibid., 76).


      Major political, territorial, financial, industrial, infrastructure, and cultural elements of Jewish dominance of Palestine were "securely in place" by 1923; Chaim Weizmann boasted that Keren Hayesod (The Palestine Foundation Fund) had collected collected nearly as much that year -- $40 million -- for Palestine as England had collected for the Red Cross during World War I ($50 million).

      Apparently that well ran dry around the end of 1932, in the time of the worldwide depression. Edwin Black notes in "The Transfer Agreement" that the Jewish project in Palestine was facing financial ruin, absent an infusion of financial support.

      In his autobiography, "Challenging Years," Rabbi Stephen Wise records a conversation he had with Louis Brandeis sometime in the first two weeks of February, 1933. Brandeis told Wise,

      All Jews must leave Germany; that is the only way. . . .I urge that no Jew remain in Germany."

      By 1935, Jewish Palestine had reversed its financial distress and was the most prosperous enclave in the world in the midst of Depression. By 1937, Erich Mendelsohn had completed numerous monumental constructions in Rehovoth and other locations in Palestine, thereby establishing the "international style" of architecture in Palestine. Mendelsohn's projects included residences for Chaim Weizmann and the Schockens (for whom Mendelsohn had built department stores in Germany), Haifa Hospital, the Anglo-Palestinian Bank, the Agricultural College at Rehovoth, and sections of Hebrew University.

      Many scholars, such as Allan Lichtman and Richard Breitman mark Kristallnacht, in November 1938, as the opening note of holocaust

      By that time, zionists had established everything but the formal, explicit declaration of Jewish state, as occurred in 1948.

  • Israeli government tries to undo image of Pope at the wall
    • CBS radio correspondent Dan Raviv was guest on C Span Washington Journal. He covered some of the same information Phil's article covered; more precisely, 50% of the information Phil presented: C Span showed images of Pope Francis at the Western wall, and emphasized that Netanyahu told the pope that the separation wall was necessary, and to be fair, your popeness, you should come to the wall of Israeli victims, which the pope did.

      In other words, Raviv's appearance served the interests of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

      Come to think of it, Raviv recited MFA talking points so smoothly or even glibly, one might suspect that Raviv works for MFA.

      C Span moderator Greta Brawner did her bit to feed lines to Raviv, mentioning Iran only in contexts that gave Raviv the opportunity to reinforce the demonization of Iran.

  • The Pope in Palestine
  • 'National Interest' readers mutiny over Israeli exceptionalist argument
    • Former Ambassador Richard Butler presided over the negotiation of the permanent extension of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1995. Delegates from Iran, Egypt, and other Arab and Muslim states in the region gathered around Butler's dining table as he tried to convince them to agree to the Treaty. He obtained their assent with the explicit understanding that a conference would be convened to discuss a nuclear-free Middle East, and Israel's nuclear weapons would be unambiguously on the table.

      That was 1995.
      The conference has yet to be held.

  • Apartheid label is reminiscent of runup to Holocaust -- Michael Oren
  • Denial of Palestinian self-determination in the 40s haunts U.S. policy to this day
    • Judis's thesis and Mr. Brownfeld's assessment of it --that is, that it was zionist influence on Truman in the post-war period ~1948 that "denied Arab self-determination" and "haunts us to this day" surely must be amended to account for this bold statement in Edwin Black's "The Transfer Agreement," (p. 5) --

      "Majority Jewish sentiments won out at Versailles, assuring a Jewish homeland in Palestine, with stipulations preserving Jewish rights in other countries.

      American Jewish Congress leaders returned from Versailles in triumph. They had helped create a Jewish homeland, as well as secure international guarantees for minorities in Europe. "

      Versailles negotiations occurred in 1918-1919, 30 years before Truman was in a position to affect policy toward Arabs.

      It was at Versailles that Woodrow Wilson's 14 Points promise of Self-determination to Arabs was betrayed, and as Black makes abundantly clear, the other side of that betrayal of Arabs was the "triumph" of Jews.

  • An Israeli tells American Jews they're miserable
    • "I don't buy SodaStream because they are made by Palestinians. . . . Close the factory. Close the factory. Close the factory. Put the Palestinians out of work."


      But then, destroying the economies of other people's nations has become a hallmark of USA "diplomacy."

      Do Americans who gripe about unemployment in the USA ever reflect that the USA is pulling levers to cause the misery of unemployment among other "children of Abraham"?

  • 'Price tag' attacks, land confiscation and plans for transfer: A crash course in the struggle of Palestinian citizens of Israel
    • This morning's news reported that a case of MERS had migrated from KSA to Orlando, FL. The carrier is an Arab person.

      David Horowitz & Caroline Glick are carriers of "rightwing nut job" disorder. Shouldn't they be quarantined, for the good of the larger community?

      Caroline Glick argues that the U.S. pursuit of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict has failed miserably and is based on Palestinian claims to land that are unfounded. She argues that the U.S. should push for a one-state solution, with Israel having sovereignty over the entire West Bank. This event was hosted by the David Horowitz Freedom Center in Los Angeles.

  • 'Forward' runs shocking images of Israeli children glorifying violence
    • Efrat, by the way, is widely considered a “moderate” settlement: within the area of “[Jewish] Israeli consensus”, a bedroom suburb of Jerusalem, relatively liberal religiously, led by the “moderate” US-born Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, well-to-do, many professionals, high level of education, etc.

      A lot like Bethesda MD, a bedroom suburb of Washington, relatively liberal religiously (if I could do photos I'd post several of the "We Support Israel" banners at synagogues on Old Georgetown Road). Bethesda, which means place of healing is home to NIH, Bethesda Naval Hospital & now the facilities of Walter Reed Medical Center. It's also corporate headquarters for Lockheed Martin, and Boeing, Grumman, and every other major weapons dealer in the world has a large presence in that place of healing.

      Bethesda is home to one of the wealthiest, most highly educated demographics in the USA. Hard to know what proportion of its wealth is generated by the healing industries vs the killing industries.

  • Using Schwerner and Goodman and the Nazis to deny the Jewish moment (privilege)
    • Etan Bloom's dissertation on Arthur Ruppin makes extensive use of the term "Weltanschauung."

    • It's not clear to me what group is leveling the charge, "Check your privilege."

      Hard for me to believe that in an Ivy league university, Blacks, Hispanics, or Asians would be telling their white peers to "check your privilege." But then, I went to college at a time when women were required to wear skirts or dresses and men wore jackets & ties to class.

      So from my perspective, the students who are urging their peers to "Check your privilege" are WASPs -- other white, privileged students whose parents achieved the status and prosperity that greased their admission to Princeton. Say what you will about WASPs, they did have a sense of noblesse oblige. Of humility. Of acknowledging their privilege and refraining from boasting about it. Members of my family worked in a firm headed by the son of Polish plumber. The firm's rules forbade hiring the children of firm members; those children were expected to make their own way, and it was thought that it was unseemly to ask for more advantages than they already had -- of decent nutrition, housing, pre-college education, exposure to cultural riches.

      Phil and others may not like reading this, but Phil has set up this theme: Jewish people consider themselves the new WASPs. Mr. Fortung would like to bask in that limelight absolutely and fully, rather than assume other of the now old-guard WASP characteristics, like checking their privilege.

      PS. Was it Schwermer or Goodman who was a member of a Unitarian congregation in Maryland?

  • Now that Israel has killed the two-state solution, will liberal Zionists support equality or ethnocracy?
  • Boycott on the horizon if Starbucks buys stake in SodaStream
  • Apartheid label will stick
    • JeffB --

      The world right now wants Israel to be ambiguous about its degree of nuclear power. I don’t think they want an open discussion of how far Israel has gone

      In 1995 when negotiations for permanent extension of NPT took place, Egypt, Iran and other states in the region were persuaded by Ambassador Richard Butler to agree to the extension, with the promise that a conference to discuss a nuclear-free zone in Middle East, with Israel's nukes very much on the table. (see Penn State Symposium . )

      To date, that promise has not been kept.

      My statement that "no one resents Israel ...." was sarcasm, not reality.

      US/West/Israel rely on BS responses to "why do they hate us" in order to obfuscate the facts about the offenses those same parties have, indeed, committed and continue to commit against states, like Iran and Egypt, that have done what they could to promote nonviolent resolutions to conflicts in the region such as sign extensions of NPT.

      Well yes. Iran is a PIA for western powers for 3 decades and a bit reckless when it comes to funding terrorism so they aren’t anxious for them to have nuclear weapons.

      1. Iran does not want to have nuclear weapons; that argument is as bogus as WMD in Iraq.

      2. Iran has been subjected to closer nuclear scrutiny than any other NNWS or NWS.

      3. Recklessness in funding terrorism? Iran funded the 9/11 operatives?? The shoe bomber?? The xerox cartridge scheme? Please list the terror actions Iran has funded. Line them up alongside Israel's terrorizing of Palestinians.

    • Yes, Israel diverges from international norms on Palestinian matters, but also, and in a very devious way, on nuclear matters.

      Another Nail in the Coffin of NPT.

      Israel actually enjoys extensive participation in development of nuclear technology, and as Prof. Dan Joyner warned, stands to gain even more rights and ability to do business with suppliers of nuclear devices and technology, all without having to abide by Comprehensive Safeguards that NPT signatory states must conform to.

      Of course, no one resents Israel for making end runs around international treaties, while simultaneous Hurting, Hanging, Suffocating and Starving Iran which IS a signatory to NPT and IS subject to constant monitoring of its compliance with Comprehensive Safeguards.

    • So is that why it is inappropriate to think of the Islamic Republic of Iran as parallel to the Jewish state of Israel, because in Iran, Islamic is a genuinely creedal designation, while "Jewish" means many things, from ethnicity to culturicity to religion.

  • Kerry's cowardly apology on 'apartheid' is giant blunder for Israel's propagandists
    • "For more than thirty years in the United States Senate, I didn’t just speak words in support of Israel, I walked the walk when it came time to . . . fight."

      --John Kerry, April 28, 2014

      "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die [fighting] for a mistake?"

      - - John Kerry, April 22, 1971

      John Kerry.
      Willing to Fight for Israel, but not for the United States.

  • Jewish Voice for "Real" Peace
  • Kerry says that Israel could wind up being 'an apartheid state'
  • NBA owner Sterling reportedly sought to justify his racism by citing Israeli racism
    • There may be a larger and terribly tragically complex story involving the relations/tensions between Jews and Blacks (which is what the Israeli news focused on) than skin-color-racism. Blackwashing??

      As was pointed out a few weeks ago --

      Dozens of villagers from Ramya and political activists organized a demonstration in front of the ‘Israel Lands Administration’ office protesting their displacement from Ramya, a village which has become part of the ever-expanding Karmiel, a city which was originally established on lands seized from Ramya villagers.

      Karmiel was a pet project of the now-deceased wife of David Shapira, president of the Giant Eagle grocery and fuel chain in Pennsylvania and Ohio ---

      "Much of this work was done in her capacity as founding chairwoman of the Israel and Overseas Pillar of the United Jewish Communities, where Mrs. Shapira was one of the few women to represent North American Jewry at the top level. Right up to the time she could no longer travel due to her illness, Mrs. Shapira was visiting one of her favorite projects, an exchange program between Pittsburghers and Israelis in the Galilee city of Karmiel and the surrounding Misgav region."

      One of the key Pittsburghers Karen Shapira partnered with is Bill Strickland, who founded and created the Manchester-Bidwell Center, an extraordinary program to give poor, inner-city Black and white young people a boost in developing artistic and career talents and skills. When his organization was struggling to get started, the Jewish community contributed funds to his project. Several years ago Strickland was tapped to establish a Manchester-type community center in the Karmiel environs that would
      reach out to [displaced] Bedouin and Arabs in the Galilee.

      "For Manchester Bidwell president and CEO Bill Strickland, his recent United Jewish Federation-organized visit to Israel capped a whirlwind month.
      . . .
      The facility he hopes to build in Northern Israel will be modeled after his highly-acclaimed Center which he established in Pittsburgh's Manchester section four decades ago.

      "It is our hope that this first international version of Manchester Bidwell will assist Arab and Jewish children and adults, including immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union, Ethiopia and around the world," said Jeff Finkelstein, UJF President and CEO, who accompanied Strickland to Israel along with Mark Frank, Chair of UJF's Community and Public Affairs Council (CPAC), Jeff Cohan, director of CPAC and Tsipy Gur, Director of Advanced Education for the Agency for Jewish Learning.

      (Among other things, Cohan was a member of the Iran Task Force that, together with ZOA, UJF and at least half-a-dozen other similar groups hosted events in the Pittsburgh area whose purpose was to demonize Iran as a "nuclear threat" and persuade state pension fund managers and others to divest from businesses that do business with Iran.)

      Now, it's a wonderful thing that a Northern Israel Center for the Arts is being established in Israel, and that Strickland's generous spirit and prodigious skills are shaping it. What is troubling is that a Black man's generosity and talent are being put to the ultimate purpose of stealing lands from Palestinian Arabs and Bedouins, and also that part of the profits from the huge revenue stream produced by a privately-held, large, deeply-rooted and prosperous grocery chain where thousands of people -- Black and white -- buy their Thanksgiving turkey is being funneled to dispossess Palestinians in Israel.

      Judaizing the "Negev and the Galim" is part of the long-term strategy of the highest levels of Israel's government. In 2007 an AIPAC panel including Efrat Duvdevani, Director General whose work for Israel Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres directly involves moving Jews into the Negev and the Galim and moving Arabs and Bedouins out of that region. Duvdevani called the N & G the "heart of the Jewish homeland." One focal point of the panel discussion was how Israel was reacting to the 2006 war with Lebanon. Duvdevani emphasized that the N & G would have to be developed so that Jews would be secure "in future wars." She stated that the Israeli Air Force and army had already moved major facilities and forces to the region.

  • Tony Blair's Middle East speech: dangerous and anti-Muslim
    • Do Blair and his co-conspirators seek to head off an Iranian-style revolution by aiding the present Egypt government in disappearing Muslims and others that are not under the control of western powers?

      Iran is always the bogey-man; it's reasonable to read between the lines to find its shade in Blair/British/US/Israel commentary.

      As Flynt & Hillary Mann Leverett argue, the PTB's problem with Iran is that it resists western hegemony, in financial as well as what US pundits euphemistically mendaciously call "liberty and democracy" terms. For example, the Leveretts argue that "Iran's government will be Islamic because that is what the majority of the Iranian people want."

  • John Kerry and the Pope set to face off with Jewish Knight Templars on the Temple Mount
    • I couldn't disagree more, Ellen.

      The analogy with Crusaders & Knights Templar distorts the reality.

      Framing Israel's problems, dysfunction and crimes with earlier Christian historical events only serves to further muddy the history and permit Israel to say, as it does regarding its "original sin" of taking the land of another, that "the USA did it to Native Americans so it's ok for us."

      Israel must be assessed sui generis, on its own terms.
      And by the way, those terms ought to be gleaned from the documents and evidence of history, not hasbara central or ADL or AIPAC.

  • Passover Auto-Pilot
    • PS I've attended several Holy Thursday services that equate the Last Supper with the Passover, and pop culture attempts to link Easter to Passover.

      I disagree radically, on both counts.

      The spiritual concepts commemorated are totally different, even opposite, in my humble but uncompromising opinion.

    • Now I get it: "Aliyeh" means "to rise," correct? For Jews, to make aliyeh is to return to the land of Israel.

      So from a Jewish pov for Jesus to have arisen = Jesus returned to the land of Israel.

      Those Christian billboards, and the concept of the Resurrection that they try to reduce to a phrase, express an entirely different image and realization. Joseph Campbell (RIP) used to say that notions of "kingdom" etc. were internal, spiritual concepts. For example, "the kingdom of heaven is within you but you do not see it...." Campbell derided literal readings of the Gospels that had acquisition of real estate as their ultimate achievement.

    • I attended Good Friday service at the Roman Catholic Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. It was moving, and crowded. It's tempting to write, "There was a cross-section of humanity," but that's not exactly true: I didn't see a lot of obvious displays of wealth. Lots of people in their blue-collar best; plenty of Asians, Hispanics, and Africans in native dress. I was troubled to see that the last ten or so rows of pews in one section were almost all Black people -- is there still "back of the bus" segregation even in church, even on the day we contemplate Jesus's message that only by dying to ourselves and thinking of ourselves as no better and no worse that every other human person do we attain the fulness of life?
      There were people from every race and ethnicity devoutly following the innumerable, "Let us kneel, ... Let us rise" rubrics. Catholic congregations are not noted for their participation in song, but this one joined the superb choir.

      I was moved and impressed. I intended to attend Easter Sunday Mass at a suburban parish, but when I checked their website for the times, I was put off by the message.

      Instead, I decided to immerse myself in Dante's Divine Comedy. The great poem takes place in Holy Week: it starts on "the day before Good Friday," which Catholics call Holy Thursday, the day of the Last Supper. and ends on the Wednesday after Easter in that same Holy Week in 1300. The Allegory is one of sin and redemption, a universal theme.

      A group used to celebrate Easter by meeting at sunrise on Sugarloaf Mountain, about 30 miles NW of Washington.

      I think that group, and Dante, are fine ways to commemorate the journey of all men and women of good faith (not necessarily 'creed,' but faith), who seek to make sense of their own lives and renew their sense of what it means to be part of the Community of Humankind.

      Doing so, we not only find no need to have to elevate our own little gaggle of humanity by derogating another little gaggle of humanity; we come face to face with nature -- a mountain that's bigger than any and every gaggle of humanity; and with the universality the hero's journey.

  • John Judis's Truman book is a landmark in anti-Zionism
    • Will Phil/Adam/Annie bring this to the attention of the Mondoweiss community?

      from Dan Joyner's blog, Arms Control Law: Another Nail in the Coffin of the NPT

      the gist of the item is that Israel would gain access to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which would give Israel nearly all the benefits that NPT signatories are supposed to enjoy (but don't, i.e. Iran) without actually signing and abiding by NPT and Safeguards agreements and oversight.

      While some agencies in US government are reviewing evidence that Israel stole bomb-grade uranium from the US, Mark Hibbs of Carnegie Endowment says that:

      Nuclear expert Mark Hibbs said such an acknowledgement by the NSG would be important for Israel. “It would be a recognition from a very important nuclear non-proliferation related body that Israel is a responsible nuclear state.”

      see also

    • I don't think that's quite accurate, lysias; the boycott did proceed, it was not "squelched;" there are plenty of photos and histories of crowds picketing Sears Roebuck, Woolworth, numerous shops in USA, and stories of merchants being forced to destroy their inventory if it bore marks of "Made in Germany."

      Among European states, Poland was especially impacted by the boycott. The furor that promoted boycott action against Germany had the effect of poisoning the possibility of negotiating a nonviolent resolution of of the Danzig problem, for example.

      According to his biographer, Richard Hawkins, Untermyer actively pursued boycott activism until just a few months before his death in early 1940. Untermyer also used themes of demonization of Germany in speeches and assemblies where the purpose was to raise funds to build Hebrew University -- then as now, sex sells, and fear opens wallets.

    • Leonard Stein was Chaim Weizmann's friend and assistant for ~20 years. He wrote The Balfour Declaration, a 700-page tour de force chronicling Weizmann's activities in persuading the British to cede Palestine to zionists. (Weizmann accomplished with the British what Herzl had failed to accomplish in over a decade of negotiating with the Ottoman sultan Abdulhamid II).**

      Stein explained that one of Weizmann's chief strategies was to assess the degree of antisemitism in his interlocutor, according to three categories: blatant antisemitism, philosemitic, and "guilty" antisemitic -- those who, in Weizmann's judgment, were antisemitic but trying to hide it. This last category was the most useful for Weizmann's purposes, and Alfred Balfour fit the category quite comfortably. Stein writes that Weizmann played on Balfour's latent antisemitism to gain the goals he desired.

      ** interesting factoid: in the 1920s, Sam Untermyer -- who participated with Brandeis, Frankfurter, & Rabbi Wise in zionist activism, esp. in the Jewish boycott of Germany -- and his son represented the heirs of Abdulhamid II in their claims to vast oil fields in Mesopotamia.

    • Very early on the King-Crane Commission was branded as antisemitic and shelved by Wilson's advisers, much as reports from British intelligence that Saddam did NOT have WMD were shelved by Condi Rice & the Bush administration.

      Oberlin College holds the King Crane archives --

    • Yes, Wilson hated Communism and, in the course of WWI tried to wipe out Bolshevism. America's Secret War Against Bolshevism: U. S. Intervention in the Russian Civil War, 1917-1920 by David Fogelsong, prof of history at Rutgers.

      Wilson's scheme backfired: it was an attempt to persuade Russian peasants to rise against Bolsheviks in their country, but had the outcome of pushing Russian peasants to ally with Bolsheviks against the intruders/invaders.

    • Fortunately, no-one fears a WWIII now

      Please get that memo to Ukrainian people whose democratically elected leader the US has Mossadeqhed; and to the Syrian people, who are the pawns in a proxy war in which US is arming the opposition to a leader who has majority support; and to the Iranian people who are struggling under an economic & cyber war intended to soften them up for "all options on the table."

  • How many 'Palestinian Arabs' want to kill 'all Jews?'
    • Perhaps something more than a quantifying modifier is in order; perhaps an extended modifier such as, "It is understandable that some of the family members whose parents, siblings, etc. have been killed or imprisoned by Israeli actions against Palestinians harbor enough rage to want to kill Jews in retaliation."

      In his book, Payback: The Case for Revenge, Thane Rosenbaum argues that it is part of human nature to seek revenge, and morally reprehensible not to seek revenge when one is wronged.

  • No rescue!
    • Judaism and Christianity have always had political/geopolitical considerations at their core; it's foolish to pretend otherwise, and wise to recognize the reality.

    • Marc's use of the phrase hocus pocus was disconcerting and offensive.

  • Stephen Walt: publishing 'Israel lobby' ended any thought of serving in US gov't
    • Benjamin Netanyahu pounded THIS into my head:

      September 12, 2002
      Benjamin Netanyahu before a Congressional Subcommittee chaired by Dan Burton,

      Netanyahu said Iraq was the "keystone" in a network of "terrorists" and that Iraq should be the first of the terror network to be taken down. The rest would follow.

      The hearing was the same day that Geo W Bush was at UN stating why he believed US had the right to attack Iraq. Netanyahu said the US Congress should endorse the position of Geo Bush.

      It seems ineluctably unambiguous that Israelish interests were in favor of an invasion of Iraq.

      It's ludicrous to claim otherwise, against evidence such as Bibi's appearance before a (shameful & fawning -- except for Watson, Morella, & Kucinich) panel of US Congressmen.

      - - -
      Having just read a biography of Cicero, I'm in a Roman empire frame of mind. The machinations, political risk, corruption, quest for power, mendacity, propaganda, manipulation of the masses are universal behavior, not limited to zionists or Israeli advocates in USA. That's one more reason why the people of the USA should and must think of themselves as empowered and even responsible -- against all risks -- to call out those who would undermine their values and Constitutional legacy, even against zionists or Israeli interests: those adversaries should be considered no different from the threats that Cicero perceived that Cataline and Caesar posed to the Roman constitution and the Roman people. "Antisemite" and "denier" are merely two weapons than an adversary uses, but the fundamental agenda is the same. The people of the USA should NOT be pusillanimous and should demand to be heard in defense of their Constitutional principles.

  • Resurrecting Passover?
    • Christians AND Jews reflect on what they call history as if the events that involved, i.e. Jews, and i.e. the historic era of Jesus, were the only things going on at the time.

      Jews and, even moreso, Christians were very minor players in the world of the Roman empire 100 BC to 400 AD; the actions of Pompey, Cataline, Cicero, Caesar, and the writing of Virgil were of far more salience, and should be mastered by those who claim to be scholars of religion.

      And yet Judaism & Christianity think their little movement from that specific moment in history is the central point of all "western" civilization (permit me to drive the point home, for all you Orientalists: the "west" locates the central point of its culture in the East).

      At the same time, the Judaic & Christian revisionists of history tend to write out of history of that era the profound impact and influence of the Persians, (with whom very many Jews were allied since the time of Cyrus and persisting, in very large numbers, well into the 20th century), over the 700-year long span of Roman-Persian wars and cultural contact along the long, shared borders of the waning Persian empire and the waxing Roman empire.

      Notions of the prophetic that reach back half-a-millenium before the time of Jesus, are veiled in interpretive fog; the history of the time of Jesus is more readily able to be discerned based on facts and evidence, but "facts and evidence" and the full context of the era have been shrouded in just as much fog as the more mystical notions that Ellis discusses.

      If you don't get the facts of history right, no structure, no policy, no human interactions atop it can be right: it's the same as trying to build a house that is plumb, square and level on a foundation that is skewed, distorted, and fundamentally false.

    • re "fierce moral clarity,"

      it would be helpful if Ellis provided a definition of "prophetic".

      also helpful if he stopped bashing Christians.

      My intensely Catholic upbringing emphasized the "mystical body of Christ," explained this way: When One member suffers, the whole body suffers; when one member rejoices, the whole body rejoices.

      This concept seems to have been displaced, even among many Catholics, by notions of choseness and particularist advantage: now, we celebrate inflicting punishments and measure their effectiveness in terms of increasing pain experienced .

      We will have truly arrived at what I suspect -- or hope -- Ellis means by "prophetic" when we can recognize that Egyptian suffering in the events of Passover far exceeded those of the Hebrews.

  • Haaretz joins Rush Limbaugh and company in trying to link Max Blumenthal to KC shooter suspect
    • Does the Haaretz argument boil down to exculpating the shooter of antisemitism (in the defined sense), "Hatred of Jews just because they are Jews?

      Haaretz claims Blumenthal's reporting on behavior -- i.e. 'facts on the ground' by Jews against Palestinians enraged him to the point of taking action against a Methodist & doctor and his grandson, and a middle-aged Roman Catholic woman.

      It was the actions, the behavior of people that the shooter has been fulminating against, not a religious or ethnic identity.

      If Haaretz could get its analysis right, it's 3/4 of the way to a solution: Change the behavior.

  • You know Israel's in trouble when 'NYT' runs op-ed saying it's replacing Iran as isolated theocracy
    • Abbas Milani lacks credibility among many Iranian thought-leaders.

      His extrapolation of Iran's declining birth rate --

      By contrast, Iran has a falling birthrate — a clear indication of growing secularism, and the sort of thing that keeps Ayatollah Khamenei awake at night.

      is completely off-base: In a radio interview from Charlottesville, VA in ~2009, Nesta Ramizani, wife of highly-respected Univ. of Virginia professor Rouhi Ramizani, explained the reproductive policies implemented by the Khomeini and subsequent Islamic governments in Iran.

      Iran lost nearly a million of its people in the war with Iraq, many of them young men who would have started families. The Islamic government of Iran encouraged reproduction by providing financial incentives, housing assistance, medical coverage, and education for women, with special emphasis on girls (and boys) in rural areas.

      As Iran's demographic status improved, the Islamic government encouraged and subsidized various forms of birth control. Iran has been under sanctions since 1995; it has a large population in the under-35 range; the Islamic government did not think it prudent to continue to expand population while the nation was under economic threat.

      Perhaps Milani has data that could support his assertion that secularization is causing a decline in Iran's rate of reproduction; absent compelling evidence, I don't think that is the case.

      As well, the notion that Iran will "secularize" is more of the same Orientalist arrogance that seems to afflict the West. Flynt and Hillary Leverett argue ceaselessly that the Islamic Republic of Iran must be accepted on its own terms. Granting Iran inclusion in the "international community" to the extent that Iran westernizes is equal parts arrogant and foolish: it's not going to happen; the West really doesn't have such a marvelous track record, and the world will be richer to the extent it can incorporate cultures different from the western model.

  • To reach the 'moveable middle' in Jewish life, you must be inside the tent
  • Simon Schama's Israel whitewash
    • "The fact is that Israel was created AFTER WWII,

      Israel declared itself a state AFTER WWII, but it had acquired land, created political & cultural institutions, colonized extensively by ~1912 (see Etan Bloom, "Arthur Ruppin and the Production of Hebrew Culture in Palestine")

      Bloom writes that Tel Aviv was built by 1910, in that location, near to Jaffa, in a bid to supplant Arab trade.

      "was a war which mainly established the principals of human rights, and rejection of conquest of territory by war.

      That sounds like a Schama whitewash of WWII. The second world war was a war for dominance & empire betw England & Continental European states. Both of those sides lost; USA won.

      It is still sold as "the good war" but that is a fiction the Allies have to sustain to cover up the crimes against humanity that the ALLIES perpetrated throughout the war, including casually overlooking Stalin's starvation of millions of Ukrainians 1932-1934; Allied firebombing of 75% of Germany and six major cities in Japan, deliberately targeting women, children & refugees.

      Moreover, Nuremberg principles are, for the most part, acknowledged only in the breach. George W Bush anyone??

    • Cultures of the Jews, David Biale, ed.

      Don't have the book at hand just now so I can't state who wrote the chapter on Jewish integration to Christian Europe in Middle Ages.

      That author explained how the relatively few instances of persecution of Jews were recalled, just as bad news is news but things that happen most of the time -- like amicable relations with Christians -- is not news.

      Further, instances of real tragedy, as when Crusaders traveling through Europe attacked Jews, were memorialized at the time by surviving Jews. Those memorials took the form of prayers & liturgy that were repeated routinely, and are repeated to this day. Some historians made the mistake of relying on the persistence of the liturgy to define persecution as a persistent historical pattern.

      The multivolume history of Heinrich Graetz is heavily slanted to emphasize persecution-and-survival -- Schamas's work is nowhere near original.

      It's worth noting that Rabbi Stephen Wise and his wife were diligent students of Graetz's history, as were many Jews of their generation. Wise was a zealot's zealot in promoting zionism in USA.

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