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Helena Cobban

Helena Cobban is the owner of Just World Books. She’s been blogging since 2003 at Her 1984 book The Palestinian Liberation Organisation: People, Power, and Politics, was published by Cambridge University Press and is still in print. Her early-1990 study “The PLO and the Intifada” was published in The Middle East Journal (Spring 1990).


Showing comments 105 - 101

  • Liberal Zionists say that Israel and the U.S. are in the same struggle against rightwing forces
    • I have huge respect (and affection) for Naomi Chazan. But like all liberal Zionists she is sadly looking more and more out of touch these days. The crucial difference between the US left and the tiny morsel that still remains of the "Peace Now"-type Israeli peace movement is the difference over refugee rights. And the more that Trumpian brutality against Central American asylum seekers or refugees becomes raised as an issue in the US, the sharper that contrast becomes. In Israel, *some* liberal Zionists have rallied to protest Netanyahu's mistreatment and expulsion of African refugees-- but how many have ever given any support to the Palestinian refugees' internationally recognized right of return??

  • Stars — They’re Just Like Us: Celebs outraged over Gaza are speaking out
  • Slain Palestinian journalist's media org vows to hold Israel accountable 'for this heinous crime'
    • Please mention also that Yasser made some lovely short videos for Just World Books back in 2014-- and Youtube recently took them down. The whole story is told in this Twitter thread--

      If you read on in the thread, you can find a link to where we found an "unlisted" version of the videos, so please do go and see them-- and buy "Gaza Writes Back", for which we're offering a 40% discount, to read the powerful, post- "Cast lead" writings of these and other young Gaza Palestinians.

      Also, help us press Youtube to restore the original versions of the videos! Zionist-inspired censorship can't be allowed to pass.

      Rest in Power, Yasser.

  • The 'New York Times' stops being a stenographer for the Israeli army (today anyway)
    • Please also, absolutely do note that back on April 3, the online version of the NYT published this great little op-ed by the great Palestinian writer Rawan Yaghi, who wrote it from inside Gaza. Things are moving, slowly. (And talented women like Rawan are helping that happen.)

      By the way, she is also a contributor to the short-story collection "Gaza Writes Back".

  • Mohammad Saba'aneh sends Christmas greetings from Palestine
    • J Lewis, are you capable of getting out of your own preconceptions and trying to understand what Mohammad is trying to convey? A good idea to try to do this, because he actually lives under the heel of the occupation and has a highly developed and nuanced theory of the esthetics of representation. In several of the talks he gave when he was here in the US last spring he explained that, unlike some other Palestinian cartoonists, he *does* want to represent the faces (and therefore the essential humanity) of the Israeli occupation soldiers; but he does so in a way that shows how *the situation of occupation makes everyone involved in it extremely ugly.* In case you hadn't noticed, in his art, the Palestinians living under occupation all look very sad, tired, old, and even ugly-- even the children.

      As for noses, he's definitely an equal-opportunity proboscis-magnifier when he sees the artistic need to be! (Check out the size of Santa's nose in one of these images-- also, the size of the noses of the "Arab leaders" and various even Palestinian leaders, in his art.)

      As for some of the armed Israeli security personnel being "gals", I leave to you to figure how offensive and inappropriate in every single possible way that term is.... Like those armed female Israeli military who filmed themselves humiliating Palestinian men at checkpoints and then posted it all to Facebook: they're just "gals being gals"??

      Fyi, the term for any adult female is "woman".

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  • Dangerous signs that Trump, Netanyahu and the Saudi Crown Prince are planning wider Mideast war
    • Bandolero (above) has it exactly right. Ben Yahmad was already ways behind the curve when his piece was published and Alastair Crooke got it right with his piece:

      Luckily (for the benighted peoples of Yemen and Palestine, and indeed the rest of the world) MBS is now starting to drown in the sea of his own hubris. The Israelis refused to be the "stick" with which he could "beat" the Hizb and their Iranian allies. Israel and Hizbullah have had a fairly stable balance of mutually assured devastation since 2006 which neither side wants to upset.

      And no-one else (French, US, etc) wanted to proceed with his plan to massively destabilize Lebanon, either.

      Now, if only the numerous Saudi princes and business leaders whom MBS has stuck it to very seriously could figure out how to unite effectively against this dangerous whipper-snapper and get him out of the way, the whole region could breathe more easily.

      But wait! He has Tom Friedman on his side!

      (How many "Friedman Units" till MBS's demise, I wonder? I'm guessing three or fewer.)

  • Between our life and our mother Algeria, we chose our mother: Excerpt from 'Inside the Battle of Algiers: Memoir of a Woman Freedom Fighter'
    • @JeffB Why are you ignorantly even raising the issue of "slaughter/ racial purges" in connection with the Algerians' attainment of national independence? Also, "Algeria... killing large numbers of its own people"? Do you know anything about the "Black Decade" of the 1990s that the country was forced to live through due in the main to the Wahhabist assault on the country's legitimate authorities and national infrastructure. (Which, by the way, was a precursor to the terrible assault the Wahhabists and their allies unleashed on Syria in 2011.) If you're interested in learning more about the roots of the crisis of the Black Decade, you could try reading e.g. this excellent study.

    • The pieds noirs didn't just "side with" the occupation/settler colonialism in Algeria-- they were the long-time, direct beneficiaries of its depradations, like colonial settlers everywhere.

      In all the many examples of decolonization that occurred between 1947 (India/Pakistan) and 1974 (Angola & Mozambique), the settlers/colonists were summarily ejected from their positions of privilege and in most cases from the previously colonized land, immediately. The first major instance where this did not happen was in South Africa, in 1992, where the settlers were ejected from their position of political privilege bit got to keep and continue to enjoy all the economic and resource takings/gains they had made from the 400 years of settler colonialism there.

      In Algeria, a small proportion of the pieds noirs chose to stay on the basis of living under a system of political equality, and they contributed their skills to rebuilding the country after the devastations the departing French had visited on it. Those were the pieds rouges.

      For goodness sake don't blame the FLN for the fascistic, rightwing sentiments of many of the pieds noirs who returned to France. They had benefited mightily from the stolen lands and resources the colonial regime endowed them with. If they didn't like being upended from their previous position of privilege, whose fault is that?

    • And we should trust, of all people and all publications, Fouad Ajami and New Republic, to be reporting truthfully on the events of the decennie noire in Algeria, a country whose rulers have always hewed to an imperialist and anti-Zionist position??

      Come on!

      The "Black decade" of the 1990s in Algeria was, in many ways, a dress rehearsal for how, in the past seven years, Saudi-funded jihadists have tried to break a proud, non-sectarian, anti-imperialist Arab state and bend it to their Wahhabist will.

      Yes, the government in Algeria (as in Syria) used excessive force in some instances in their campaign against the jihadist challenge. But in both cases the violence of the jihadists was far worse. For some reason, Fouad Ajami didn't write about that?

  • For Americans who can't imagine the occupation -- Waldman and Chabon's collection might do the trick
    • I intended to completely exempt from my criticism of these writers the Palestinians among them. Raja Shehadeh's writing is always luminous and touched by his deep sensibility and groundedness; and I give full support to whatever decision he and other Palestinians writers made about contributing (or not) to this collection.

      By the way, people should read the whole, wonderful books that Raja has written about the situation of Palestine. He in no way "needs" these two Johnny-come-lately book editors to allow his voice to reach the English-reading public. Thus, his deciding to contribute to their collection was an incredible gift to them-- one for which I hope they were duly grateful. (And let's hope he gets a decent share of any royalties.)

    • I welcome the publication of this book. However, it still feels hard to give a lot of moral credit to Waldman and Chabon who blithely say they "weren't paying attention" until Ayelet Waldman just happened to visit Al-Khalil in 2014. Oh come on! Where were this dynamic duo in 2006, when the US and Israel started to overthrow the elected government of the PA, in Gaza? Where were they in 2008-09, when Israel pursued its horrendous, sustained assault against Gaza? Where were they in 2012, ditto... And so on.

      No, saying they "weren't paying attention" is not an excuse-- especially since Ms. Waldman was born in Israel. Rather, the two of them seem actively to have *chosen not to pay attention* until that point in 2014 when she deigned to visit Al-Khalil and to dip her delicate toe into the waters of "paying attention".

      What a marker of her privilege that, living in the US as an Israeli American, she could choose to do that. Palestinians, it turns out (whether living in the homeland or in exile from it), can't enjoy the privilege of "not paying attention" to what has been happening to their homeland and to all the loved ones who live in it. Their hearts are every day broken anew by the news from the homeland.

      ... And then, there are the hordes of other writers who contributed to this book, who apparently did not feel it professionally "safe" to try to experience Palestinian reality until they had the "cover" of going with Waldman and Chabon. Have any of those people ever shown any interest in joining the international, essentially Palestinian- and Arab-led group of very distinguished writers who go annually to connect with, work with, and solidarize with the Palestinians of the homeland via PalFest? I don't recall that any of them did...

      Honestly, the PalFest writers are the true pioneers.-- and they have done considerable amazing and innovative work as a result of their engagement. Check out their most recent anthology: I think no review of the Waldman/Chabon group is complete unless it also recognizes that the PalFest writers paved the path and lighted the way.

      Anyway, let's hope that these latest "converts" to the idea that just possibly the Palestinians might be human and might have some rights are also brave enough to join robustly in the BDS movement.

  • Remembering Jean Stein
    • Condolences on the death of a friend, Phil.

      You add crucial details to the obits I'd read. Why had none of them mentioned her friendship with Edward Said or her support of his and Norman F's views/work? (Ok, not hard to guess why.)

  • Hunger Strike: Former Palestinian prisoners of Israel describe what it’s really like in Israeli jails
    • Huge thanks to Mondoweiss for publishing this-- and Pam Bailey's reporting from the young Gazans.

      This material is *so* much more valuable and essential for building a strong Palestinian-rights movement than the endless to-and-fro re Gilad Atzmon. But why do so many other commenters seem to flock to the Atzmon article and want to engage in endless debates there, rather than engaging with this amazingly powerful piece of reporting and figuring out, as a community, what we can do to gain more attention for reports like Sheren's and Pam's?

  • Abbas should stop playing us for political gain, say young Gazan writers
    • Great reporting, Pam-- though I'm not sure that Hamas as such counts as a "ruling class". But it's great to hear the voices of smart young Gazans that you report.

  • 'This miracle, this gift, this jewel' -- Obama's ambassador to Israel declares he's a Zionist
    • No, the word "Israelis" is not "generally "understood to mean Jewish Israelis only.. except by people who want to perpetuate the conflation of those two categories and-- as you seem to be doing here-- to deny the full citizenship, rights status, and humanity of the Palestinian citizens of Israel.

      It is true that in many Israeli-run opinion polls, the pollsters used to ask just Jewish Israelis-- not the 20-plus percent of Palestinian Israelis-- and then present the findings as "Israeli opinion". But they got called out on that conflation a long time ago and these days most of them will note that their findings represent only Jewish Israelis.

  • Trump's new war has neocons, Clintonites, and Israelis applauding, but left and realists dismayed
    • Yup, I agree with Donald Johnson on that. Phil, you wrote definitively that "When Syria crossed Obama’s red line in 2013 and the president refused to strike... " Why do you so easily buy into the MSM's framing of that? It was not ever proven-- and at the time the real experts, like Ted Postol etc, used their expert analysis to conclude it was almost certainly not the government forces that had used the CW then.

      This time, of course-- as with the whole, never-authenticated hue-and-cry about the imminent killing of "10,000 people" in Benghazi in March 2011-- the warmongers absolutely did not want to wait for the acquisition of the actual *evidence* that would be required to back up their claim, but argued they "had" to launch war immediately.

      Did not end well in Libya.

  • Open Letter: Against the blacklisting of activists and writers
    • Hi, all. Kudos to Mondoweiss for having published this important statement, which I was very happy to sign.

      All who have worked in the Palestinian-rights movement have seen, over the past few years, the degree to which very deep differences over Syria have split and weakened our movement. There can be, and indeed are, deep differences of (often deeply-held) opinion over Syria among people of good will; and we all need to find ways to discuss those differences in a calm, fact-based, and collegial way without having them fester and lead to a worsening and calcification of the splits that they have already caused. If people cannot discuss these differences calmly and collegially, then I believe that discussions concerning them should simply be set aside until this is possible. Liberating Palestine cannot be "placed on hold" while fellow activists yell and scream at each over Syria.

      Vilification, name-calling, and dehumanization of fellow activists who hold differing views (on Syria or any other topic) should have no place in the Palestinian-rights movement. And nor, absolutely, should the actual issuing of threats against people of who hold differing views on Syria-- something that a small number of anti-Asad activists have done to Rania Khaliq, Max Blumenthal, and also, I believe, a number of other people.

      The statement published here represents an attempt to try to underscore these basic principles of movement collegiality, and to start to staunch the serious weakening of the Palestinian-rights movement by those who have used it as a shrill platform for propagating their own (often harsh) views about Syria. Enough!

      I'll just note that since the statement was issued yesterday, a few other people have come forward to sign it and one person whose name was on it as a result of miscommunication has had their name taken off at their request. The definitive current list of signatories can always be found here.

  • Video: Support for one democratic state grows as Palestinians lose hope in two-state solution
    • Mondo friends! Please note that all the references to "Palestinian public opinion" you make above refer to polls conducted only among that minority of the Palestinian people who are still graciously "permitted" by the occupying power to reside in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. Seventy years of dedicated ethnic cleansing by Israel (using many means to achieve this end, including violence, forced removals, socioeconomic strangling, and administrative harassment) has resulted in a situation in which more than half of all Palestinians today are not permitted to reside in their homeland at all, whereas another 1.2 million or so live as Palestinian citizens of Israel within "1948" Israel.

      When anyone refers to "Palestinian opinion" while counting only the opinions of Palestinians allowed by Israel to reside in the WB and Gaza, they are in essence colluding in that campaign of disenfranchizing all those other Palestinians. If all actual Palestinians including Palestinians forced by Israel to live in exile from their homeland and Palestinians who have Israeli citizenship were to be polled, the results would have been very different (and far less supportive of any Palestinian mini-state) all along.

      And yes, my criticism certainly includes Khalil Shikaki and Mohammed Shtayyeh, both of whom have bought into (indeed, have helped to propagate) the "Palestinians = only the current residents of the WB & Gaza" framing.

      Please try to take adequate note of this whenever you publish (or generate) any writing referring to "Palestinian public opinion".

  • Azaria's conviction will end a totalitarian ideology
    • This seems like a very bizarre form of argument, right through. Not just YH's apparent "conviction" that Azaria will be convicted-- really? But also the argument, as expressed in the headline that this will "end hasbara culture"... or even that, as YH writes: "the hasbara culture cultivated by Benjamin Netanyahu will at last be confronted by a sane Israel led by former Prime Minister Ehud Barak."

      Excuse me? A "sane Israel led by former PM Ehud Barak"? What has YH been smoking? Barak-- who was Netanyahu's comrade-in-arms for many years in the atrocity-committing commando group Sayeret Mekhel? Barak-- who twisted and turned the truth in the way he lured Arafat into the fatal Camp David talks then lied vociferously about what had happened there? This is the guy who might lead a "sane" Israel?

  • Life in six words
  • 'Make this my dream as well' -- in historic appearance, Palestinian offers one-state vision to a NY temple
    • Jonathan Kuttab is a veteran human rights lawyer of great standing in the Palestinian community, and a wonderful, inspiring person. His spouse Beth Kuttab, ditto (but a humanitarian-affairs leader, not a lawyer.) Kudos to this temple for inviting Jonathan to come and share/explore his thinking with the community.

      It is definitely worth noting in any such discussion the deep roots of the one-state ideal in Jewish/yishuv society in pre-Israel Palestine. I hope that Judah Magnes and Martin Buber and their legacy were integral to the discussion?

  • FIFA postpones decision on sanctioning Israeli teams in the occupied territories
    • This is a good report on an important topic. Worth remembering the key role that the sports boycott of South Africa played in "persuading" many reluctant "White" South Africans that they'd need to support the peace talks with the ANC if they wanted to continue playing their beloved Rugby football on the world scene... (Do not, of course, confuse the hard-nosed, principled way the ANC negotiated with the bootlicking, kowtowing way the current PA heads "negotiate".)

      Just one caveat. The West Bank is not just " territory that is being disputed by the Palestinian Football Association (PFA)" as stated here. It is territory that is rightfully claimed by the Palestinians but is currently held under Israeli military occupation. The adjective "disputed" is a weasel-word that many pro-Israelis use to describe these territories when they don't want to say the OPT's are OCCUPIED.

  • Israel's plan to retool occupation includes color-coding 'good' and 'bad' Palestinians
  • Liel Leibovitz wants to excommunicate most American Jews, beginning with Beinart
  • Giving up on political propaganda, Israeli consulate turns to Ted-style inspirational conference
    • Re this Bar person:

      Him speaking of "how he was stationed in a watchtower in the no man’s land of the Golan Heights and came to an epiphany while watching refugee children playing and laughing about the tendency to dehumanize the Other... " doesn't make sense.

      There are no Palestinian refugees anywhere in or near the occupied Golan. If he was in the no-man's-land area, that means he was in a forward observation position looking deep into Syria... No Palestinian refugee camps (such as would house "refugee children") anywhere near. It is *possible* he might have watched some children from Syrian families displaced from Golan by the war of 1967, though by and large they didn't stay close to the occupied area but were dispersed far and wide throughout Syria. But they wouldn't have been refugees-- they were internally displaced from one part of their own country (Golan, which is part of Syria) to another.

      Also, what's with this desire/tendency to infantilize the "Other"?

      Finally, how disturbing is it that someone who runs a networking resource as crucial to the US do-gooding movement as Idealist is apparently of a strongly Zionist enough persuasion that he performs in this conference? Is everyone who uses Idealist to post jobs, find jobs, or do other networking things in the do-gooding world happy that their whole databases may be shared with various Zionist organizations? Just asking.

  • Two more young Palestinians are shot dead -- this time after one allegedly throws a knife
    • I strongly challenge your decision to claim in the headline that the Palestinian woman *did* throw a knife. You present (and I have seen) no independent corroboration of that claim made by the Israeli police spox.

  • Goldberg on Obama's Syria credibility 'crisis'
    • Annie, thanks so *much* for this great piece of research and analysis. I hadn't seen the video. At 0:22 it stopped me in my tracks: "When Bashar Al-Asad actually *used* chemical weapons, he [Obama] realized that... " So Jeffrey Goldberg, former Israeli prison guard, is now definitively telling us what no intel organization in the world has been able to, that he *knows who it was* who used those chemical weapons in August 2013. Gimme a break. Even in his written article, he reports (quite accurately) that the US intelligence community was saying that the claims that it had been Pres. Asad who used the weapons were "no slam dunk". But now, in the video, Cpl. Goldberg tells us he knows. Why does anyone give this cheap pro-war propagandist any credibility? (A question that I would extend to Pres. Obama, as well... )

  • Public Theater made a 'firm commitment' to Palestinian play-- I wouldn't have contributed otherwise
    • Ah, they all look so smug and happy standing in their too-preppy-for-words outfits in front of the repeated "Bank of America" logos. Is the Public Theater an institution that once had a social change agenda?

  • Maya Angelou stood with Palestinians, but Israeli military uses her for Black History Month hasbara
  • Two establishment Jews (Harvard and Microsoft) endorse boycott of Israel and 'single state' in Washington Post
    • Phil, this was all great till you got to: "Terry Gross needs to interview these guys on NPR." come on, Phil, surely you know what a super-ardent Zionist gatekeeper Ms Gross is! Hell will freeze over beford she lets onto her show anyone who challenges the AIPAC orthodoxy.

      Also, by saying, "Terry Gross needs to interview these guys on NPR" you invest her with way too my authority/credibility. To heck with the small-minded, provincially bounded Terry Gross. There are plenty of other people in the MSM more significant than her. It is *they* who should be, and may well be about to be, interviewing these guys. Don't give TG any more credit or credibility than the very small amount she deserves.

  • How NPR talks about Israel/Palestine
    • It is highly relevant to note that NPR nationally-- and also many of its affiliate stations in crucial media markets-- has been subjected for many years to intensive, Zionist discourse-policing by the brownshirts of organizations like the Orwellianly-misnamed, Boston-based CAMERA (Committee for "Accuracy" in Middle East Reporting in America.) Back in the aughts, Camera and its allies organized numerous "donor boycotts" of NPR affiliate stations that it wanted to discipline for NPR being, to their mind, too "even-handed" re the Palestine Question... and those boycotts were stunningly effective, leaving NPR-central essentially emasculated re doing any serious, hard-hitting, objective coverage of Palestinian-Israeli issues.

      CAMERA and its allies realized that the vulnerable underbelly of NPR was the reliance of so many of its affiliate radio stations on (mainly local) fundraising. And given the prevalance of PEP (Progressive "Except for" Palestine) donors among the general donating-to-NPR crowd, they were stunningly successful.

      Now, however, it strikes me that PEP is an anachronism; and we need to think of organizing a bit of PIP (Progressive Including on Palestine) pressure on NPR affiliates. That is, all those people who regularly donate time or money to their local NPR station should consider explicitly raising the issue of the nature of NPR-national's sadly lacking-in-objectivity coverage of Palestine/Israel with the stations when donation time comes around. Of course, it is not the individual, $50 donors who are really effective in swaying the stations (and thereby, NPR-national), but rather the much larger donors, megadollar "Family Foundations", and such. So our campaign should be very broad, and seek to include as many people as possible from such larger donating entities.

      Who says boycott campaigns-- or even threat-of-boycott campaigns-- don't work? Not CAMERA, that's for sure.

      And here, for extra credit, is a little taste of how closely CAMERA bird-dogs, polices, and eventually organizes its brownshirt supporters to discipline NPR: (Explore their website. It is truly fascinating.)

  • Israeli embassy's attack on Rosengarten just made her stronger
    • Just fyi everyone, Lillian herself is very careful *not* to describe herself as "a Holocaust survivor", but as "a refugee from Nazi Germany".

      Also, NYC people, yes please do come to the book launch next Monday when Phil Weiss and Lillian will be exploring these issues in person with the audience.

      I wish Phil had put the notice about the event at the top of the article, not the bottom. But that's just Phil, being self-effacing.

      Really, people, come out and show your support for Lillian and her right to tell her story! (Pre-registration at that Eventbrite page is required.)


    • It is *not* available at that "nwiddepok" site, which is a phishing platform used to hoodwink people to gain your credit-card and other personal details. Buyer beware! It *is* available via this page on the Just World Books website-- with free shipping for orders placed before the October 5 publication date.

  • Iran Deal's liberation: Judaism is not Zionism
    • There is a long and distinguished history of non-Zionism and anti-Zionism in the American Jewish community that needs to be resurrected and highlighted. For example, most supporters of the Jewish Bund (socialist labor organization) in the US were non- or anti-Zionist. There was Nahum Goldman. There was the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which well into the 1970s had almost physical tussles with the Zionist emissaries at the Vienna train station at which Jews emigrating from the Soviet Union would arrive. (Hias wanted the arrivals to be given free choice of where they would head, and offered aid if they should choose to come to the US. The Zionists absolutely did not want free choice, but wanted to corral them all onto the next plane for Tel Aviv.)

      It wasn't till quite a time after 1967 that the pro-Zionists started to dominate all the US Jewish organizations, federations, etc. Their campaign of constant conflation of Judaism and Zionism has become stronger and stronger in recent years. Thank G-d that a combination of JVP's stellar organizing and Netanyahu's arrrogant over-reach has now forced a major crack in that conflation!

  • The day after 9/11, Kagan father-son duo said 'take the war' to Palestine
  • The global arms race between the US and China is devastating Africa and the Middle East
    • Setting this up as some kind of trade/moral equivalence between US arms exports and Chinese arms exports, as both Lowenstein and your headline writer do, is highly problematic. The major international database on international arms transfers is run by the Swedish organization SIPRI. Their most recent report on the matter (through the end of 2014) is here (PDF). In it, you can learn that in the 5-year period 2010-2014, the US originated 31% of global arms transfers-- and China, a "whopping" 5%.

      I'm sure if you dig deeper into the SIPRI database than I have time to here, you could find the figures for arms transfers to Africa and the ME.

      But get real, people! This is not any kind of an "equivalent" situation-- and even further from being an "arms race" as the headline writer described it. It is more like an arms-selling free-for-all in which each big (government-backed) US company is trying to outsell both its US and its non-US competitors; and I imagine it's the same on the Chinese side, though they have nothing like the market share that the US has. (Lowenstein might also have noted that Russia far outflanks China in this arms-selling business, with 27% of the market share, worldwide.) In several cases, China and the US were probably supplying the same side in a conflict-- and I certainly know that in several conflicts, e.g. in Iraq, megalethal US arms have been exported to both sides.

      So enough with the talk of a "US-China arms race". It may fit handily into the "fear of rising China" theme that arises frequently in the US MSM, but we shouldn't have to deal with it here on Mondo... Since the vast majority of Mondo readers are US citizens, surely our major task is to rein in the bellophilic and arms-addicted behavior of our own government, and urge non-military approaches to international problems wherever and whenever we can-- rather than play into fears of some almost wholly imagined international "arms race"?

  • Press can't justify red carpet for Oren tract and blackout for Blumenthal's 'definitive account' of Gaza
    • I agree with WH. While I am 100% confident that Max's book is excellent, to have one white guy whom I really like (Asa) describe the book of another ditto (Max), and then have that picked up by a third ditto (Phil) does kind of ignore the excellent literary production on the war, in English, of actual Gaza Palestinians. Mohammed Omer's Shellshocked is indeed amazing. As is Atef Abu Saif's The Drone Eats with Me. And to present a more multi-dimensional and female-including collection of writings that foregrounds the voices of Gaza Palestinians, my company published Gaza Unsilenced, co-edited by Gaza Palestinians Laila El-Haddad and Refaat Alareer. So while, yes, it is notable that Max's book hasn't gotten any MSM reviews, I think the lack of MSM attention given to these other three books is equally notable and-- in the context of the long history of the marginalizing and silencing of Palestinian voices here in the USA-- even more egregious. (Shellshocked did get one well-deserved mention in, I think, the NYRB.) I wish that Phil would extend his campaign to these other books, too!

  • Retired Jordanian intel chief reveals 'crazy proposal' to expel fleeing Syrian refugees to Saudi Arabia
    • Actually, since 1948, "Jordan" (a creation of the British) has functioned very effectively as Israel's main Bantustan-- that is, a repository for the people Israel has expelled and doesn't want, in which they are given the semblance of "civic and political rights" but always under the control of the master-state. (With the identity of the main master-state in question shifting over time from Britain to the US to Israel.) And amazingly, unlike Apartheid South Africa's Bantustans, "Jordan" has been accepted as a so-called independent state all along-- though everyone understands that really it is just a modern-day form of a satrapy (i.e., a highly dependent political entity.)

  • Irish activists hit hard against 1st Irish dance competition in Israel
    • I dunno. Dabke looks a lot more fun than this. Maybe they could learn something if they skipped Israel altogether and insisted on going straight to do some collaborative dancing in Gaza?

  • The living martyr, a visit to the Bakr family in Gaza
  • 'NYT's public editor slams anti-Irish bigotry in news story on Berkeley balcony deaths
    • I'm not sure that Ms. Sullivan writing "as a mother"-- or James and Phil also claiming to write "as a mother"-- is actually helpful. First, it essentializes the role of a mother ("embodiment of empathy!") Second, it's sexist. Third, it essentializes the role of a parent. How about just "as a human being"? A person doesn't have to be a parent of either gender to be fully human.

      It's okay, Phil and James, you don't have to do the full Caitlyn and bear children too, in order to prove that you're capable of human empathy.

  • Israeli leader turns on US Jewish journalists Friedman, Wieseltier, Remnick and Silvers for disloyalty and anti-semitism!
    • Gore Vidal (RIP) once remarked that Weiseltier "has important hair." I see it has now become more important than ever. What a self-important narcissist.

  • What I Was Told: Arabs hate Jews
    • Having quite a few, totally non-hating Jewish people in my family, I've wondered about how some of this fear/hate gets perpetuated. I do notice that a lot of Jewish communal/religious observances are based on celebrating the "escape" of earlier Jewish communities from the heavy hand of oppression at the hands of neighboring communities who are very easily conflated with Israel's current neighbors. E.g., the whole Exodus story about escape from enslavement by "Egypt", or the Hannukkah story which is told as a story of surviving oppression by "Syria". But where are the stories of celebrating relations with non-Jewish neighbors? I'm sure there must be some... (One is almost tempted to ask, "Why do 'they' teach their children to hate?")

  • Turning Lebanon into Gaza -- Israel's hole card against Iran deal?
    • I think it's great that Huffpo published Paul and Trita's important piece. The only issue I had with what they wrote is the uncritical way they used the term "preventive war". Basically, a "preventive war", as opposed to a "preemptive war" is one that is quite optional for the state that wages it and the best casus belli the war initiator can come up with is that the war is to "prevent" some fairly distant and unquantified threat. It is thus very different from a pre-emptive war, which "pre-empts" a very clear and imminent danger and for that reason is sometimes allowable in the classic understandings of the laws of war. A "preventive war" is very different. I know that Paul and Trita know this, but I'm not sure how many readers of Huffpo necessarily do. Someone reading the term who's not familiar with it may understand it to refer to a war that *actually* prevents something bad.

      Also, fwiw, the whole Dahiyeh Doctrine (using total destruction as a crushing means of collective punishment intended to force total submission) was *invented* by current Defense Minister Ya'alon against Lebanon in 2006.

  • 'New York Times' tour of conflict is led by Israeli who works for AIPAC, Birthright, and Israeli army and prisons
  • Shit Israeli soldiers did in Gaza
    • Same when they occupied West Beirut right after Bashir Gemayyel's killing in 1982. Probably the same in 1967, 1956, 1948. Worse than animals.

  • French philosopher who shut down Paris BDS event as 'anti-Semitic' and one-sided will lecture in NY on 'Free Speech'
    • Oh for goodness' sake Phil, since when did linking to the boudoir picture that this kookie French "intellectuelle" posted do anything to denote a "sense of style" or indeed have any relevance to anything... It's a real pity that so many French women all feel they need to present themselves in public as looking like Catherine Deneuve. I don't think you, as a male, should encourage them.

  • On 'Birthright,' a checkpoint is called a tollbooth, and Jews have E-ZPass
    • Great piece by Julia and Chase! I'd never seen this thing about them reframing checkpoints as "tollbooths" before... And Jewish privilege as the ultimate "EZ Pass"-- Yes, indeed!

  • From Brooklyn to Palestine: A thank you note to Palestinian and Middle Eastern sisters who re-educated me on my world view
    • There is clearly an important *book* to be written about the relationship between African-American struggles/movement and the Palestinian ditto. Back in the late 1970s, when I was in Beirut covering the PLO there (among other things), they were super-energized to have visits from Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Joseph Lowery of the SCLC... But then, clearly, something got lost. Why?

      In part, I think, it was because the PLO leadership as such became pumped with the idea of dealing with those in *power* inside the US, thinking they could move and jive with the best (or worst) of them as equals, and therefore, with their simplistic-- and as it happens completely erroneous-- way of thinking came, in effect, to disdain those still struggling for equality and rights within the US system. (There was also Arafat's terrible Nahnu la al-hunud al-humr-- "We are not Red Indians!-- statement of disdain for Native Americans... ) But also, the various Zionist organizations in the USA redoubled their efforts to try to regain/retain an alliance with African-American leaders-- and in far too many cases, they succeeded...

      Who wants to write this book, I wonder?

  • Book Review: In Our Power - U.S. Students Organize for Justice in Palestine
    • Walid, a couple more points, in addition to Annie's:

      (1) It is absolutely *not* only Palestinians who are part of the movement. Working with Melanie on the cover design, it was my impression that the guy front right is intended to "look like" a younger punkish guy of unspecified ethnicity and the unveiled woman could be Hispanic or Italian-American or Palestinian or anything. When, as I hope, you buy and read the book you'll find that many of the students featured in it are Palestinian-Americans and many others are not.

      (2) I'm amazed that you don't know any Palestinians who "look like that". There are plenty of dark- or darkish-complected Palestinians inside and outside of Palestine! Actually, I'm kind of sorry for you if you've never met any of them...

      Blaine Coleman, your amazing set of claims re there *not existing* in the U.S. a student movement for justice in Palestine-- what crass and silly hasbara. Your "research" method of looking in Google news for those terms-- in early January, during winter break at every single U.S. college, was completely laughable... Do you even expect anyone who reads such silly comments to take you or your "conclusions" seriously?

  • Collective punishment of 1.8 million human shields in a prison -- Newsweek dares publish the truth of Gaza
  • Israel's proposed Jewish nationality law is a flop on Broadway
    • In this case, the role of liberal Zionists is thrown into sharp relief. This is kind of a perennial political version of what many Israelis have liked to describe as "shooting and crying".

      In the military field, this is shorthand for Israelis saying something like, "We have been forced to fight against our Arab neighbors (and by the way, has anyone noticed that we're really very good at it?) But don't imagine for a moment that we enjoy doing it. Indeed, we are so terribly sensitive that even as we shoot, we are crying." (Of course, a natural extension of this was Golda Meir's dreadful dictum-- or was it Peres?-- that "What we really resent the Arabs for is not so much that they kill us but that they force us to kill them." Excuse me while I barf here... )

      The political version of "shooting while crying" is exactly what the liberal Zionists engage in-- but, instead of shooting, what they're talking about is cementing the ethnic-cleansing, colonialist expropriations the Zionists took in 1948 (along with a good few of those they took in 1967, especially in E. Jerusalem.) And the "crying" is all their handwringing over how "undemocratic" certain current actions of the Israeli government make the whole Israeli-Zionist project look.

      So they are busy doing all this "crying" in an attempt precisely to preserve all those earlier colonial takings. And indeed, until now, all their public handwringings over the "state of Israel's soul", etc, have helped preserve the idea in the West that Israel is indeed, at root, a very ethical place in which all these oh-so-sensitive people can thrive, flourish, express themselves, and make a huge contribution to Western and global culture... Yes, Amos Oz, David Grossman, etc, I am looking at you.

      At some level though, if these people have an ounce of empathy or morals, they must surely see that they are either the useful idiots of their hardline Zionist compatriots or, actually, their witting colluders. Of course, that would require that they can start to see the whole edifice of Jewish privilege in Israel, their role in it, and the huge degree to which they have benefitted from it. (So I'm not holding my breath.)

      But really, for the rest of us, I think we should understand the role that the "cryers" on these issues have played-- for many decades now-- precisely in enabling the continuing project of the "shooters" (colonizers.) Frankly, regarding any of these public handwringers, Bernard Avishai and such, I don't really care how woefully, or how artfully, they wring their hands. What is more important is that they be called on to start using their privilege to uphold and start recovering the humanity, the dignity, and above all the rights of the long-dispossessed/oppressed.

  • 'Zionism' is now a dirty word for American opinion elite, Frank Luntz concedes
    • You have to admit the video is very weird. It's a huge gathering of members of the Jewish AEP fraternity from around the US and Canada. Gathered in some lovely, up-market hotel...

      The kids are identified in the video only by their first names, as though it's an AA meeting or something. Or, in some kind of suggestive way (to go along with the deliberately scaremongering demo scenes in the intercuts) to suggest that these nice fraternity brothers might be scared of fully identifying themselves in public... But if the latter, shouldn't they have done some face- and voice-masking? Certainly, anyone who's in their home colleges could easily recognize their faces.

      So it might be better to think of this as *potentially* an AA-type gathering for recovering Zionists?

      Was that really Luntz skipping around in the middle? Also bizarre...

  • A conversation with Abu Yazan, one of the founders of Gaza Youth Breaks Out
    • "If he had his way, what would he do in Gaza?" ~ and in his answer he says not one word about ending the occupation, ending Israel's iron fist of control over Gaza, winning the self-determination of Palestinians in Gaza or elsewhere... Nothing!

      As though any of those things he does mention, like the economy, etc, could "somehow" be fixed without ending Israel's control?

      Either this guy is extremely naive, or he is extremely disingenuous...

  • University of Exeter students vote to boycott Israeli settlement products in a landslide
    • Those Contras sound like the tired old Apartheid apologists who argued against the S. African boycott on the grounds that it would "hurt the Black South Africans." The Black South Africans told them what they could do with *that* argument.... And the Palestinians at Exeter clearly have been doing the same to their Contras.

  • The Titanic of the occupation -- SodaStream (Update)
    • Thanks for pulling this all together, Annie!

      I noted especially, in that last quote you used, how matter-of-factly the business reporter for the UK's Independent referred to the place where SodaStream is made as being "an illegal Israeli settlement." May that usage spread much broadly through the MSM-- especially in the US!

  • Food writer Melissa Clark on being Jewish
    • But anyway, why didn't she give a shoutout to The Gaza Kitchen????

    • Probably worth pointing out to the many Mondo readers who are *not* familiar with NY-Jewish history that "settlement" in this context means something completely different from what we talk about today.... That is, those "settlements" were (as I understand it) do-gooding efforts by richer New Yorkers at the end of the 19th century to improve housing and social conditions for low-income New Yorkers (especially in the Lower East Side??)-- with many of the latter group being recent Jewish immigrants...

  • Gaza and the American awakening
    • New Yorkers should know that Alice will be reading from her great new book On the Brink: Israel and Palestine on the Eve of the Gaza Invasion</a on Tuesday night (9/23), 7 pm, at Revolution Books, 146 W. 26th St, NYC--at 7th Ave.

      Come if you can-- and tell all your friends!

      If you can't make it, you can watch the event by Livestream, at this link. If you don't already have an account with, you'll just need to set one up as you sign on. It is easy and free and takes 20 seconds.

      Plus, of course, we're hoping that everyone loves the book as much as Phil Weiss and its other early readers do! You can see their fab reactions to the book, here. Tell all your friends about this wonderful new resource! And if you'd like to invite Alice to come and talk about it for your community group, congregation, or college class, give us a holler!!

  • Dutch activists disrupt Israeli apartheid whitewashing event in Amsterdam
  • Elie Wiesel plays the Holocaust trump card in Gaza
  • Joan Rivers slams CNN and BBC coverage of Gaza -- 'you're all insane'
  • 'Washington Post' exhibits naked double standard in Israeli, Palestinian deaths (and injuries)
  • On the defensive, Barney Frank accuses Clemons and Kornacki of ganging up on him, and Israel
  • The heart of the problem with Israel: The mass expulsion of the Palestinian people
    • 1967 was 47 years ago. 1948 was 66 years ago. Not so much difference in length of time from today's POV as there was in, say, 1974, when it was more plausible to talk about "rectifying the wrongs of 1967" without even addressing 1948.

      I have *always* understood Gaza to be the crucible of Palestinian nationalism. (Check my 1984 book on the PLO for details of this.) It is a crucible today in more ways than one. Very importantly, Gaza's population is around 80% refugees. It is impossible to think of Gaza's situation being "resolved" in any way that does not at least address the issues of 1948.

      I want to write an article sometime titled "What we're not talking about when we're not talking about 1948"... For a huge long time there it was considered "impolite" to raise the issues of the refugees and what happened in 1948 in "polite" society in Washington DC... Even at last week's event at New America, that I blogged about here, the moderator got very flustered when Noura Erakat and Samer Badawi started talking about "ethnic cleansing" and started saying "You can't talk about that!"

      Kudos to Donna for writing this!

  • Israel is in a pickle
  • NY Times profile of Gazan long distance runner reveals reality of occupation
    • Ira, the 'Times" aren't a-changing very much at all, at all. Jodi Rudoren takes her "courage" in her hands and travels to *Beit Hannoun* in the far northern end of the Gaza Strip to write about-- marathon runners. She makes no mention at all of the very numerous Gaza-Palestinian students, academics, writers, business people, and plain ol' family members whose desire to travel to and from the Strip has been completely stymied by the system of control maintained by the Israeli military over all passage of people or goods into or out of the Strip.

      And she includes this mendacious and demeaning "description" of the Strip:

      Hamas imposes strict religious rules on Gaza, a dense and dirty patchwork of dilapidated shacks and concrete apartment blocks, and its 1.7 million residents bear with economic isolation, daily power blackouts and occasional Israeli airstrikes.

      Wow, amazing! The "economic isolation", "daily power blackouts" etc have no author. According to her, they just happened! (Or possibly, by implication reading her text, they are the result of Hamas's allegedly "strict religious rules"?) And the only Israeli military activity is "occasional Israeli airstrikes"?

      This is truly misleading and inaccurate as a description of the current situation inside Gaza. (Also, had she traveled a bit further into the Strip than Beit Hannoun, she could have seen lovely market garden, orchards, occasional playgrounds, etc. ..)

      Ms. Rudoren, we're coming up to the 47th anniversary of Israel's military occupation of Gaza, the West Bank (including E. Jerusalem), and the Golan. When will you get your head around the fact that this situation of generations-long military occupation is, as a whole, something that needs to be clearly identified and, by any lovers of freedom and human dignity anywhere, robustly opposed??

  • Liberal schizophrenia and moral myopia: On Ari Shavit's 'My Promised Land'
    • Great work, Alex! The work of dismantling the foundation myths of "liberal Zionism" will be long and hard; but you make a super contribution to it here.

      Like many reviewers of Shavit's book, you note the conclusion he articulates re the Lydda massacre... namely that "the dirty, filthy work [of massacre and expulsion there] ... enables my people, myself, my daughter, and my sons to live.” You're quite right to note that this denotes a truly zero-sum-game, "it's either us or them" view of the relationship toward Palestinians. But what also needs to be underlined, I think, is the sheer hyperbole (and cloying sentimentalism) of what he writes there. The doings of the Zionist colonizers did not "enable" his people, himself, or his daughter and sons to live. His "people", including his parents, he himself, and his children, have always-- since the end of the Holocaust; that is, since before 1948-- had robust and satisfying ways to live that did not involve participation in the Zionist project of colonialism, ethnic cleansing, and endless violence. Of the Jews who've lived outside historic Palestine since 1945, far fewer of them have been killed or maimed in acts of violence than the proportion of Jews who went to Palestine and participated in the Zionist project there. Jewish life in the Diaspora is rich and satisfying. If Shavit's parents had not gone to (been in?) Palestine in 1948, he could have grown up and lived a very satisfying life as a Jew almost anywhere else, and undertaken religious pilgrimages to Jewish holy sites in Palestine as and when he pleased... Ditto, his children.

      Really, his hyperbole there needs to be strongly called out!

  • By 2035, Jewish population in Israel/Palestine is projected at 46 percent
    • This 'counting' of Jews-vs-Palestinians who live in the area of Mandate Palestine is at one level a complete diversion and at another directly misleading. The government of Israel has controlled this whole territory for nearly 44 years, including crucially it has controlled who can enter or reside in not just 1948 Israel but also the OPTs. It has used this power to actively exclude not just all Palestinians who were outside this area as of June 5, 1967 but also HUGE numbers of Palestinians who were in it as of 1967 but later left "temporarily" for job or educational opportunities elsewhere-- primarily in the Gulf-- that were completely DENIED to them inside the OPTs. Tight Israeli regs have excluded HUGE numbers of Palestinians who were resident there before 1967 (and their descendants), along with all the Palestinian refugees from e.g. East Bank Jordan who prior to 1967 could at least visit or perhaps even move to some spot in historic Palestine.... Bottom line, this obsessive 'counting' of the ethnicity of the people west of the Jordan River completely ignores not only the rights/existence of the large majority of Palestinians currently forced to live outside their homeland but also the fact that the "administrative" ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the OPTs continues to this day. These facts need to be highlighted whenever anyone gets into the "counting the people west of the river" game...

  • Unravelling the false history of the Iranian nuclear program: An excerpt from 'Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare'
    • New Yorkers! Please note that Gareth will be discussing this very timely book at two events in New York this week:

      * Tues., February 18 (tomorrow!), 10:30 am - Noon. At the "Church Center" across from the U.N. Details are here.
      * Thurs., February 20, 7:00 - 9:00 pm. At Bluestockings Bookstore, 172 Allen St, in Manhattan's NoLita neighborhood.

  • Surviving anti-Semitism smear, Walt and Mearsheimer seem to have influence in high places
    • Phil, I really do think it's a problem when you write about John M: "I found his article most moving on the human costs of the disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq"... and then proceed to quote only what John writes about the costs to Americans. Right, I know that Americans (of whom I am one) are humans... but we are by no means ALL of humanity! In fact, we are < 5% of humanity! And the human costs of the United States' wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to Iraqis and Afghanis have been many, many times higher, per-capita and even just in raw numbers, than the human costs to Americans. Pus, the US invasions of their countries has effectively destroyed most of whatever physical and social infrastructure they both had prior to the invasions. So please don't ever represent the "human" costs of wars as applying only to Americans.... Bad enough, the effects those wars/invasions had on U.S. families. But 1,000 times worse, the effects they had on our brothers and sisters in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Jewish groups used anti-semitism smear to try to stop boycott debate -- Holocaust scholar who heads MLA
    • Hey, Phil! Nice piece. But please don't forget the freedom to travel to and from GAZA.... and indeed, freedom to travel between the West Bank and Gaza, and even around and within the West Bank itself (which also includes occupied east Jerusalem.)

      By the way, people who want to see the archived video of the hour-long Hangout we held last week with five young writers from Gaza, can do so here.

  • 'Scarlett letter' -- Social media pillory Johansson for representing settlement business SodaStream
  • Eric Alterman declines request to debate Max Blumenthal at Brooklyn College
    • It's very unclear what Yonah means to convey with the "Dennis the Menace" reference. Maybe, a little boy who creates trouble for all around him? (Oh, trying to demean him by comparing him to a child, there, are we Yonah?)

      Otoh, if we expand the analogy to think of the boy who was brave enough to call out in public that "The [Zionist] Emperor Has No Clothes!", then I think Max and all of his friends should totally embrace it! Yes, I am that kind of a "child", too!

  • Reactions to Ariel Sharon's death over social media (Updated)
    • I mean, I knew the guy was physically large but this breaks all records in Israel's longstanding policy of implanting necro-colonial settlements inside Palestine. (Anyone seen the Mount of Olives recently?)

  • Ariel Sharon, whose political career was unhindered by civilian massacres, dies at 85
    • Someone could do a real service by writing a roundup of WORLD media coverage of Sharon's death-- including, of course, reactions from some of the survivors of his many massacres. Of course it is interesting and instructive to see (once again) the cravenly pro-Zionist hypocrisy of much of the US MSM. But this is not new. I think that what discerning US citizens need to see more than anything is the huge *contrast *between the pro-Zionist pap that their (our) own dominant media feeds us with and the way the other 95% of humanity thinks about these issues...

  • Israeli champion of 'tolerance and multiculturalism' suggests medal of honor for army torturer
  • In 'intractable conflict,' Israel must periodically and forcefully 'mow the grass'
    • The latest Inbar/Shamir paper is particularly timely given the fast-approaching (Dec 27th) fifth anniversary of the start of Operation Cast Lead (one of its four 'case studies'), and provides helpful background as we all ponder the 'meaning' of that terrible, 23-day-long Israel assault on the people and infrastructure of the Gaza Strip.

  • Narrative stronger than weapons: the 23 short stories in 'Gaza Writes Back'
    • Annie: Huge thanks for this! As Refaat says in the book's Acknowledgments page, your contribution to the project was enormous!!

      By the way, everyone should know that the excerpt Annie used above was used by permission. Anyone else seeking to use substantial xcerpts from the book should get prior written permission from JWB, as the managers of the copyright for the work.

      Dr. Hatim and other friends-- one thing we're planning with some good friends, for January 16th, is a worldwide Google Hangout that will involve Refaat Alareer, some of the writers who are currently outside and (power situation permitting) inside the Gaza Strip, and people who want to join a discussion about the book from around the world! Stay tuned for more details about this!

      One thing we're currently trying to figure is: What is the best time of day for this? Should we optimize it for participants in the Middle East, the USA east coast, USA west coast, or East Asia (where Refaat currently is)? Any input on this would be much welcomed.

      Another thing we're thinking is it would be great for people to have little "Google Hangout Parties" in their homes, in cafes, or in other meeting spots, so they can participate as a group in this great discussion, rather than everyone just looking into her/his own computer... As I said, stay tuned, especially via the Just World Books Facebook page and the book's own rapidly developing website.

  • Israel shouldn't rely on Obama's word, says chair of (US) Center for National Interest
  • 'It's 3 am, in the cattle cage' -- Susan Abulhawa publishes first book of poetry
  • Palestinian women seeking to exercise in neighboring Israeli town are told to get lost
    • What is the basis for this apparently racist comment about the Israeli-Palestinian women walkers in Aviv Engler's commentary: "they dare to do what they cannot do within the Arab community – to take care of themselves for a change." ???

  • National Security Agency gives data on Americans to the Israeli government
  • Israeli activists hit signs that segregate and promote fear of Palestinians
    • Except that the English translation on the signs of amakin filastiniyya is wrong. These are not 'Palestinian settlements'. They are 'Palestinian places.' Inded the whole area on which these signs are erected is Palestinian... Why don't they say simply, 'You are welcome in our country, Palestine'??

  • Israeli who works in DC and attends Brandeis lectures Mohammed Assaf, 'we're stuck together and not going anywhere'
    • Great piece, Annie!

      Plus, Odenheimer was an IDF veteran before he went to a college in the U.S. Maybe he should talk some about what he did in the Israeli Occupation Military to help build peace, mutual recognition, etc etc.

      It says a lot about the ATFP that they have this patronizing, tone-deaf, and privileged young man as an intern there...

  • We scoop the New York Times and Washington Post and publish-- a recipe for Ramadan (Circassian Chicken)
    • Or of course you could check out all the fab recipes in Laila El-Haddad and Maggie Schmitt's great Gaza Kitchen cookbook. It's in English. It's published here in Virginia, USA. Laila lives and is celebrating Ramadan with her family in Maryland... Phil, you don't need to go to Europe for great recipes!

  • Shrewdly positioned as Syrian interventionist, Samantha Power has neocon backing
  • Why so shy, Lieutenant T?
  • Egyptian protesters' axis of interference
    • Phil, I think Issandr's pieces at the Arabist and in the National were far more nuanced than the way you characterize them. He writes about how, in addition to making several bad moves of its own, the Morsi government has been the target of a sustained and often vicious campaign of delegitimization. Not that simply it "has now lost legitimacy."

  • US and Israel are accused of manipulating Hague to acquit accused Serb and Croat leaders
    • Ah, right, Meron's at ICTY not the ICC. Much of my earlier critique still stands, though. In particular, my critique of the idea that allegedly 'international' tribunals (or any tribunals, in any jurisdiction) can deliver a 'pure', totally unpoliticized form of justice... Plus, my critique of all these international tribunals formed during the years of 'western' dominance of the world system which somehow, mysteriously, never have the many and continuing crimes committed by western and pro-western governments (including Israel), on their docket... There is no equality of nations or responsibilities before the bar of 'international' criminal justice; and absent far-reaching reforms in the world's governance system it is illusory to imagine that there could be.

    • Actually, to be correct, in Sept 1967 he was the legal advisor to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, and offered this judgment regarding the illegality of Israeli settlements in occupied territories:

      Interestingly, in many more recent biographies of Judge Meron, his earlier service to the state of Israel has been completely expunged.

    • Some very interesting aspects to this issue:

      (1) Neither the United States nor Israel is actually a 'state party' to the ICC. It is outrageous, therefore, that the Assembly of States Party appointed an Israeli-US jurist to be the president of the court. They were kowtowing, to try to win U.S. support for the court.

      (2) Though the U.S. is NOT a party to the Rome Statute (and therefore, handily, its officials are not subject to the jurisdiction of the ICC!), it has nonetheless tried over a course of many years now to USE the Hague court in furtherance of its own imperial policies in various parts of the world.

      (3) Ted Meron himself is a fascinating figure. He was the chief legal counsel of the IDF in 1967-68 (!) But in that period he actually issued an advisory ruling to the IDF, as the occupying power in the OPT's, that the implantation of Israeli settlements in the OPTs was contrary to international law... Regardless of that ruling, the fact that a previous chief legal officer of the IDF was appointed not just a judge but also president of all the judges on the ICC speaks to the extreme political/juridical bankruptcy of the ICC as a 'world' body. (The illusion of all the ICC advocates/supporters in the western liberal glitterati, that any court anywhere could be completely a-political and 'pure' is surely unrobed by that fact?)

  • 'Palestine Through Graphics': Program teaches Palestinian youth to tell their story through graphic novels
  • Updated: Report: Obama will travel to Israel
    • In re Harry above, I've been arguing since Obama got re-elected that he should visit Jerusalem, as such, and indeed make TWO distinct visits there: One to a significant Israeli place in West Jerusalem and the other to Orient House in East Jerusalem. He should make clear ahead of time that he'll only go to West Jerusalem if it is understood that the visit to East Jerusalem will be conducted only under Palestinian auspices. Plus, in both places, he should speak clearly about the need for the conflict to be resolved on the basis of international law.

      Are these legitimate demands to make of him? You bet! How could any decent person argue against any of them?

      Certainly, if he were to do this, it could be a game-changer on the order of Sadat's visit to Jerusalem in 1977. (Sadat, as I recall, also insisted on visiting occupied East Jerusalem in addition to the Knesset-- in his case, it was the Dome of the Rock, and Al-Aqsa.)

      Anyway, for my whole argument on this point, check out the archived video of the Pal. Ctr's annual conference on Nov. 9.

  • Broadwell scandal not the first time Petraeus was sloppy with email -- in 2010 he leaked his own emails scheming with neocon Max Boot
  • Exile and the prophetic: 'israel'
    • Marc, I am very upset by the casual breeziness of your reference here to the ongoing crisis between Turkey and Syria, and inside both countries (especially Syria.) This crisis has already left somewhere around 20,000 Syrians dead and many thousands more gravely wounded-- with many of these casualties caused by the hands of the "opposition", as well as those caused by the Syrian government and its allies. This crisis and the attendant foreign "interventions" have also, like the earlier west-backed "interventions" in Mozambique, Nicaragua, etc, left hundreds of thousands of residents of the targeted country displaced either within or outside their country, and have wrecked a substantial proportion of the country's basic, life-sustaining infrastructure.

      Our country has major culpability in this situation, Marc. Do not evade that fact.

      What do you mean, therefore, by your glib reference to Syria and Turkey as "mixing it up"? Marc, there is a possibility of deeper, considerably escalated warfare between these two countries, and your language there is too glib by far.

      Also, when you say, "No question that the Syrian government is collapsing"-- what is the evidentiary basis on which you build this abrupt conclusion? People in the west have been "predicting" the imminent collapse of the current Syrian government for >18 months now. Syria is NOT, as you claim, "already the next Libya." Luckily, in Syria's case, major portions of the power elites in the NATO powers (including Turkey) have already realized that the idea of using military means-- in addition to the extremely long-drawn-out and actually very damaging imposition of sanctions by the US and its allies-- may be counter-productive for them. So we in the 'west' still have a good chance to avert NATO military action.

      Words are powerful tools, Marc. I hope that in the case of a deeply tragic situation like the current one in Syria you might try to deploy yours in a way that is a lot more considered and more compassionate than the way you do here?

  • Jingoism: 'those Muslims are so primitive they killed our ambassador over a movie'
    • Um, Phil, you know how much I admire the vast majority of your work. But the last portion of your PS here doesn't make any sense: "I supported [the US "intervention", = acts of war, in Libya]; and don't regret that support; and sense that there's pro-American feeling in Libya on that basis."

      You "sense" that there's pro-American feeling in Libya? Since when was that a scientific method? Also, you "sense" this on the basis that you supported the US war there last year? One of your weakest sets of arguments ever, I'm afraid...

  • Romney's racist bundler: J. Philip Rosen believes Palestinian society is 'pathological'
  • IDF fiction in 'New Yorker' portrays Palestinian demonstrators begging soldiers to shoot them so as to get into papers
    • No, this is ways than Golda. She claimed that the Palestinians somehow 'forced' the Israeli soldiers to shoot them. (It was never specified how this force was exerted... ) Now, this guy claims that the Palestinians strongly 'desire' to be shot, and the Israeli soldier gives in to their desire-- and this is an example of her 'compassion'.

      Lying disinfo and BS. I can't imagine why Remnick published it. His decision to do should be strongly criticized!

  • Miko Peled in NYC, June 18; in DC June 20-24
    • Ned, Miko grew up in W. Jerusalem, which was (and remains) THE most thoroughly ethnically cleansed of all the urban areas that came under Israeli rule in 1948. Jewish Israelis from Haifa or the Galilee would have had more contacts with the remnants of the Palestinian population in Israel-- though as in the old US South, this would have been mainly in service or other subservient capacities...

  • City Council bill introduced to rein in 'out of control' NYPD abuses
    • I think it's great that this movement is arising and active in NYC, and that Muslim Americans and Arab-Americans are part of it. In earlier times, Arab-Americans were generally glad to come under the US racial classification of "White" or "Caucasian" (whatever "Caucasian" actually means???) But for the younger generation, it seems fairly clear that the "White" world is going to treat them like people of color... so getting into coalition with all the country's other peoples of color (and "White" allies) seems like a very smart thing to do.

      I am also fascinated with this concept of "Desi", which is a cultural identification used by people from both India and Pakistan, that celebrates the many, many threads of their common culture regardless of religious or "national" differences. I wish there were some similar unifying cultural concept that Arabs and Jews in the Middle East could draw on and use. For mizrachi Jews, there certainly is (as shown in the work of Ella Shohat, etc). But for Indians and Pakistanis-- especially perhaps those living in the west-- the concept of Desi culture is extremely powerful, and unifying. And it defies all that divide-and-rule that the Brits used so skillfully in "British" India, for so long.

  • Turkish harbormaster let 11 of us sail (and 25 are left behind)

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