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  • Dangerous signs that Trump, Netanyahu and the Saudi Crown Prince are planning wider Mideast war
    • Thank you for this excellent article, James. I will be looking for more from Yahmed. And thank you for pointing out the consistently awful Thomas Friedman. He is likely the best representative to show how conservative politics and attitudes on the issue of Palestine are now being called "liberal," or at best "moderate." [He beats out H. Clinton by a hair...] What makes Friedman particularly frustrating - aside from his clever-clever, self-amused, glib, and often simply confused style of writing - is the fact that he’s so widespread in the media spectrum that you know he’s effecting the minds of a large portion of the population with his transparently Israel-first ideas.

      As you know, James, we're far from alone in this view of Friedman’s rhetoric and writing. Glenn Greenwald wrote this of Friedman’s writing:
      “He literally negates his own principal claim… in the very same column in which he advances it… But incoherence is the least notable aspect of this column.

      This is to say nothing of the warped imagery Friedman often uses of the invading U.S. as a 'midwife' — as though Muslim countries are our little babies who need and pray for our parental imperial guidance out of their primitive wombs.

      If I had to pick just a single fact that most powerfully reflects the nature of America’s political and media class in order to explain the cause of the nation’s imperial decline, it would be that, in those classes, Tom Friedman is the country’s most influential and most decorated ‘foreign policy expert.’”

      And this from Rolling Stone’s political writer/reporter Matt Taibbi:

      “…This is Friedman’s life: He flies around the world, eats pricey lunches with other rich people and draws conclusions about the future of humanity by looking out his hotel window and counting the Applebee’s

[Re: Friedman’s method of creating an argument or making a point]: It’s crazy, a game of Scrabble where the words don’t have to connect on the board, or a mathematician coming up with the equation A B -3X = Swedish girls like chocolate.”

  • Machsom: mornings at Checkpoint 300
  • Anti-BDS crusader Kenneth Marcus named to top civil rights post in Trump administration
  • Wichita teacher sues Kansas for denying her work because she boycotts Israel
    • Kansas Dept. of Administration: "Excellent customer service, every time!" And who is their customer? Why, Israel, of course! And you know what they say? The customer is always right. Thank you Mr Suarez...

  • Israeli plan to 'transfer' 300,000 Palestinians to West Bank is new normal -- Zoabi
    • Normal - that's the watchword. During our 2015, July/August Interfaith Peace-Builders delegation's first meeting here in Palestine, the phrase “a normal life,” and the general idea of “normalcy” was repeated by those speaking to us at the Youth Center in the al-Bustan neighborhood of Silwan. Our guide for the day spoke of just wanting a normal life. His village of Silwan suffers regular home demolitions which systematically displace Palestinians as part of this ongoing Israeli public policy. It's also known for its high rate minors (children) being illegally apprehended by heavily armed soldiers, often in the dead of night, and taken into administrative detention.

      Muslim, a 15 year old boy from Silwan, spoke to us about being arrested 15 times - presumably for throwing stones - since he was 9 years old. For Muslim and hundreds of other minors subject to administrative detention, being arrested often means being beaten, deported out of your hometown or village, being separated for extended periods from your family, being afforded no legal representation, having no formal charge lodged against you, etc... One of Muslim's arrests had him jailed for 8 days, forcing him to miss a good amount of school while he was confined to a prison cell. When asked by a member of our delegation what the jail was like, he replied, “4 walls. No sun. No air.” This is the current “normal” in Silwan and many other Palestinian villages and refugee camps.

      Our delegation's next meeting, via Skype, was with an American Friends Service Committee youth group in Gaza. Throughout the discussion with these young adults from Gaza (which is quite literally the world's largest open air prison), the desire for a “normal life” was specifically mentioned again. Despite being periodically assaulted over the last 6-7 years (2008-09 Operation Cast Lead, 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense, 2014 Operation Protective Edge, etc...), leveling their infrastructure, killing thousands, including hundreds of children, creating mass unemployment, etc., these kids keep moving forward. This is their “normal” since the illegal blockade of collective punishment was imposed on Gaza by Israel in 2007. These youth somehow remain vital and actually retain a sense of humor in their talk with our delegation. It is near miraculous.

      In solidarity circles, the term “normalization” is oft used and is a big term in the Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions movement. Our meeting with one of the main leaders of this movement, Omar Barghouti, touched on this normalization concept. There are many interpretations and shades of what this concept means, but in a general way, it means if one tries to simply make the occupation more comfortable to live under, as opposed to resisting it, one “normalizes” the occupation. Situation normal... SNAFU.

      When we met with Nomika Zion (Other Voices) in Sderot, she told us that in most all of Israeli society, “[T]he occupation is second nature... [This] means you don't see it anymore.” This is another way of saying that it has become normalized. And she meant this in the most negative sense. She also directly referred to the situation between Sderot and Gaza as “abnormal.” Since the illegal blockade of Gaza, Sderot is one of the Israeli towns close enough to the Gaza border to consistently receive their retaliatory rocket fire. Nomika's two references to normality were extremely tame compared to other criticisms she had for Israeli action, policy and society. For someone who has lived under the threat of rocket attacks from Gaza to still be so honestly self-critical of her own society's behavior and policy is brave and illuminating. She is a living lesson.

      When Benjamin Netanyahu and countless other politicians and pundits refer to Israel as “the only Democracy in the Middle East,” they are trying to convince the West that we share a similar standard of democratic “normalcy.” And when seen through the prism of other colonial enterprises historically, Israel's illegal occupation and systematic abuse of International Law can appear, in away, normal. But in another much more profound way, when seen up close and in detail, it's gruesomely abnormal. They've transformed a perverse abnormality into their own, relatively unique, normalcy.

      Israel's normalization of the abnormal is mirrored in the U.S. by the alarming rate of our cops killing our own innocent, unarmed black civilians. The situation in the states is not as bad as in Israel, but the parallels are clear. And this is not to minimize what is happening to black men and women in the U.S. It feels like it's getting noticeably worse by the week. Reading about another U.S. police officer killing another unarmed black civilian in our newspapers back home is becoming way too normal.

      Last March in Haaretz, Anshel Pfeffer wrote this of Israelis' relationship to their own country: “Deep down, they know normalcy is an illusion.” But it's not an illusion. It's a choice. They're choosing supremacy over normalcy.

      So what's the “normal” bottom line? I see both Israel and the U.S. espousing a desire for creating a normal situation for the Palestinians and Israelis, while actively working against one. Their conception of “normal” for the Palestinians seems unfortunately, and thoroughly, linked to their own control and repression of another people. On the other hand, everything I've heard and seen here from the Palestinians themselves during our delegation points to their conception of “normal” as containing true universal and equal human rights. Something much closer to what true democratic (and hopefully still, American) ideals represent. It's about freedom, equality and justice. Got Normal?

  • UN takes first concrete step to hold Israel accountable for violating Palestinian human rights
  • Why the split inside the Democratic Party over BDS needs to happen
    • Hello Phil.

      "This week the Jerusalem Post listed Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace as one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world. Vilkomerson supports BDS; and there were no liberal Zionist leaders on that list."

      Schumer and Greenblatt aren't liberal Zionist leaders?

  • White Jews: deal with your privilege and call out Jewish support for white supremacy
    • Hey there Mayhem:

      "...the anti-semitic Black Lives Matter movement...," "A small minority of leaders within the Black Lives Matter movement have supported... anti-Semitic — positions."

      My first impulse is to simply say B.S. But maybe I've missed some important stuff. Can you point me to some good sources on this BLM anti-Semitic stuff? Thanks...

    • Uhh... Ok:

      [Lesley] used her position there to promote her own political views... [by] bringing Ali Abunimah to promote his book[.]

      Yup. A longtime librarian brings a prominent writer to speak at a library on one of his recent books. Shameful! Outrageous! Imagine the balls on her. Not only was it right to force her out, she should've been publicly beheaded. I mean, seriously. A librarian inviting a writer to speak. What in the hell was she thinking?

  • Pressure builds on Booker, Gillibrand to get to Yes on Israel Anti-Boycott Act (for sake of 2020)
  • Trump response to Charlottesville sugarcoats a rotten morality
    • “Jd65” what kind of car was was used in the assault? Tells me all I need to know.

      Barrel o' laughs, Mooser.

    • Hello again Mooser...

      Keith (w/ me agreeing): “I am not in favor of counter demonstrations which frequently and needlessly become confrontations, often violent.”

      Mooser: Maybe we should simply turn the streets over to the “alt-right” from dusk to dawn. They can shake down anybody unlucky enough to be caught out for a ‘contribution’.

      So, to show us all how much you hate Nazi, White Supremacist, and racist ideology, you need to equate allowing a grotesque rally by a few hundred disgusting human beings for a few hours on one day, to allowing these same people to commit actual violent crimes, in the streets, all the time (from dusk to dawn)? This is the type of wildly exaggerated false equivalence you need to write to demonstrate your progressive/liberal/leftist street cred? Has a bar ever been set lower?

    • Hey there Mooser:

      You had me, I was 100% with ya, until that final “Fuck You”.

      Sorry, man. Not my intention to offend. Two things about that: I use "curse words/four letter words/swear words" because they're good at emphasis; not to push buttons. So if swear words are generally offensive to you, then you'd better be careful around the internets. I sure hope you're not telling me you think I'm a Trump supporter or a neo-Nazi, 'cuz if that's the case, I guess you now what I've got to say...

    • Hey Keith:

      Allow me to offer a dissenting opinion. I am not in favor of counter demonstrations which frequently and needlessly become confrontations, often violent. Not only does this result in increased publicity for the original demonstration, but creates the psychology of being under attack on both sides.

      I agree with this.

      As to Bryan's question directed at you, "Sumud is also a waste of time and energy?, he is equating Palestinian "Sumud" w/ a counter demonstration at a political rally. I don't see this as a good analogy/equation. I understand Sumud to be resistance. Having your beloved homeland occupied and stolen, being regularly slaughtered, being controlled by a government that you are not allowed to participate in, having your freedom of movement denied and your economic capabilities cut off, not being allowed to enter/return to your country of origin or heritage, constantly being unfairly demonized as terrorists by your occupiers and the world's superpower is not the same thing as having to endure a rally by a group of people whose ideas you abhor. No Bryan, this counter demonstration was not the same thing as Palestinian resistance. And anyone who reads this post and thinks I'm some kind of neo-Nazi or Trump supporter, all I can say is Fuck You.

  • Lessons from Finkelstein: International Law and equal rights should be the focus for Palestine solidarity
    • Hey again Sibiriak:

      Finkelstein’s take on international law isn’t the only possible one, btw.

      Unfortunately, I think Finkelstein may disagree w/ you there. Seems to me he often feels that his way of looking at things is the only reasonable way. Here's Holly Hunter unwittingly channeling a future Norman Finkelstein in the 1987 classic Broadcast News:

      Over the last few years I feel like I've seen NF become increasingly condescending and totally convinced of the superiority of his own ideas, opinions, and attitudes over all others to the point of being rudely dismissive. He's smart of course. And obviously he's contributed a great deal of positive, useful material and energy over the decades to the problem. But my sense is that he's one of these guys who has for so very long had his wagon hitched to a two-state solution, that he's unable to unwire/rewire his brain to deal w/ the reality that that "solution" is no longer a realistic option (maybe it never really was in the first place?). And because this NF old dog is unable to learn new tricks, much of what he says and thinks on the subject, while still often coming off as "smart" and "reasonable," regularly turns out to make little sense when put through the ringer.

  • American Jews have a right to resist Israel as Jews
    • Hello Paranam Kid:

      So I don’t understand what you are taking issue with in what I stated above.

      I can't speak for George, but my guess is that this may be the thing:

      The only way to make Israel understand that it does NOT represent the Jews worldwide is for the non-zionist Jews to stay out of the discussion, let it be an Israel-Israel/Zionist-Zionist discussion.

      That doesn't make sense to me, and maybe that's what doesn't make sense to George.

  • If you can't say 'equal rights,' I can't work with you
    • ...even the threat of certain things will send Israelis fleeing to the other side of the hyphen.

      The other side of the Haifa isn't as safe as it used to be.

    • @ Sibiriak:

      Robert Cohen: Equal rights recognises that there is no pre-Zionist Palestine to return to.

      Nada Elia puts it this way:

      Palestinians will need to come to terms with the reality that “post Zionism” does not mean a return to 1947, before Israel came into being, or even 1916, before the Balfour Declaration. Because, just as there is no return to a “pre-colonial past” for any country that has been colonized, there can be no return to a “pre-Zionist” past for Palestine. This is the reality of the world today.

      Ok. I'm not sure I understand what the point either Cohen or Elia is trying to make w/ their two statements above. And when I say I don't understand, I don't mean I disagree. I mean I literally don't understand. Surely they aren't simply trying to say that time marches on, right? I mean, we all know this. Seems to me that they're implying something by telling us that time doesn't stand still. But I can't see what they're trying to imply. Or how coming to the (simple/given) realization that time moves on would change some fundamental attitude toward this issue. I don't get it. Maybe I'm just tired...

    • Hello Robert Cohen. Really appreciate you taking some time to post here.

      ‘Equality’ does not mean forgetting the ‘sins’ of the past. I’m not suggesting that the ‘slate is wiped clean’ and everyone just moves forward as if nothing happened. To get to equality first requires acknowledgement of wrong doing, redress and reparations for the Palestinian people. There’s a great deal of ‘levelling up’ before equality can be achieved... Equality means the end of Zionism. Zionism has always required theft.

      Yes to this.

      I’ve been asked about the Jewish ‘Law of Return’ (I don’t support it) and the Palestinian ‘Right of Return for Refugees’ (it’s a moral imperative).

      Yes to this as well. However, in my opinion, what you wrote in the above article/speech - Equal rights recognises that there is no pre-Zionist Palestine to return to. - doesn't square in my mind w/ what you've written in the above comment. But I understand your point about “A 10 minute speech is never enough time to do justice to an idea” being an issue here and could let that one slide. However, this one I can't get past...

      And why do I come at this from a Jewish perspective ahead of Palestinian solidarity? Because I’m Jewish and that’s what makes this issue my problem.

      Interesting. What you write in this comment, in my opinion, is very different from what you wrote in the article/speech. Saying that you “come at the issue from a Jewish perspective” is not at all the same as saying "...I come [at this issue] firstly from a concern for the future of Jews and Judaism." Those two statements are in no way the same thing. One can come at this issue w/ a Jewish perspective and prioritize one's concerns of the crimes committed against Palestine/The Palestinians over one's concern for Jews. In case you didn't see my above post, I'll repeat part of it here: Saying you come to the Palestine issue firstly out of your concern for Jews is like saying you come to the issue of equal rights for Women out of your concern for Men; Or like saying you came to the issue of Slavery in the Unites States out of your concern for White People. I suppose [you] might argue some sort of rational selfishness or Objectivism, but I’ve never been an Ayn Rand fan myself.

      And don’t underestimate the damage Zionism is causing to Jews. It’s different but it’s real.


    • Hello RoHa:

      ‘ “Equal rights recognises that there is no pre-Zionist Palestine to return to.”

      It’s too easily read as stating that Palestinians expelled prior to “Israel independence” have no right of return; nowhere to return to. ‘

      I find it difficult to read it that way. To me, the obvious meaning is “Zionism brought a lot of Jews to Palestine, and they are going to stay. Accept that they are now part of the population.”

      So your reading of that sentence ignores its inclusion of the word/idea of return altogether. Ok...

    • Sure thing, Mooser. I read that sentence and immediately knew it needed a serious response.

      I'm kinda hoping Cohen reads comments to his pieces 'cuz I'd be interested in a reaction from him. However, I posted another relatively extensive response to a piece he blogged a couple years ago, and he didn't respond to me (though he responded to others in the same "thread."). Oh well...

    • Bingo, Talkback. I assume you're referring to this from the above article:

      Equal rights recognises that there is no pre-Zionist Palestine to return to.

      It doesn't matter that he "qualifies" that sentence w/ his reference to the future landscape afterward. And it doesn't matter how you try to explain away, linguistically, what you may have intended that sentence mean. It's too easily read as stating that Palestinians expelled prior to "Israel independence" have no right of return; nowhere to return to. One could argue that this is mere semantics and that he simply meant "equal right of return for all," but I can't swallow that; and that alternate meaning itself brings up more problems.

      Much more problematic for me, however, and likely the reason he was able to write the problematic sentence about right of return, is this:

      I come to this issue out of solidarity with the Palestinian people but I come to it firstly from a concern for the future of Jews and Judaism.[emphasis added]

      Compared to his right of return sentence, the problem here, as far as I'm concerned, is black and white. If, when working on the Palestine Question, you prioritize your concern for Jews and Judaism over the expulsion of Palestinians from historic Palestine and the Zionist theft of that land, then I can't work with you. It's why I left JVP.

      Saying you come to the Palestine issue firstly out of your concern for Jews is like saying you come to the issue of equal rights for Women out of your concern for Men; Or like saying you came to the issue of Slavery in the Unites States out of your concern for White People. I suppose Cohen might argue some sort of rational selfishness or Objectivism, but I've never been an Ayn Rand fan myself.

      Cohen obviously has a decent understanding of Palestine/Israel, and he also obviously cares about everyone there. Too bad he prioritizes Jews over all others. I couldn't work with that...

  • 'I will not be bullied, intimidated threatened over my unshakeable support for Palestinian liberation' -- Linda Sarsour
  • 'Disappointed' AIPAC targets Gillibrand for removing her name from boycott bill
  • Jew and Israeli: Solomon Schechter and Shlomo Sand
    • yonah: "assimilation is viewed as a negative, because it involves loss of true self, as in, conforming to a society and denying your essence."

      Ok. So General Ripper is Israel, Women represent non-Zionist cultures/societies, and Captain Mandrake is the rest of the world? Got it...

  • Debunking the 2 claims: anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, and BDS unfairly singles out Israel
  • National movement to silence BDS disguises itself in MA legislature as 'No Hate in Bay State' act
    • Thanks YoniFalic. Seems to me that the words "boycott" and "Israel" being left out of this bill is a significant sign that the authors know they don't have legit legal ground to stand on. Maybe this bill is political grandstanding more than anything else?

      You likely know much better than I about a lawyer being able use the "extremely broad" definitions in this Massachusetts bill to somehow target BDS as violating it. But, ironically, maybe another skilled lawyer could just as easily use this same broadness as a basis to defend folks who engage in BDS? Also, my main point is still that none of the actionable discriminations listed in the bill - [a] person’s race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, gender identity or sexual orientation - are the basis for BDS actions.

    • "“An Act to Prohibit Discrimination in State Contracts”, states that anyone entering into a contract with the state of Massachusetts shall not currently or for the duration of the contract “refuse, fail, or cease to do business with any other person when that action is based upon such other person’s race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, gender identity or sexual orientation.”

      My reading of this excerpt from the bill means that it will not apply to BDS actions because BDS actions are not "...based upon such other person’s race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, gender identity or sexual orientation." Right? The anti-BDS legislation here in Illinois had specific language about Israel, BDS, companies, etc. that made it explicitly "anti-BDS," not just generically "anti-discrimination." Does this Massachusetts legislation have more explicit language in it? If it's simply redundant of other anti-discrimination legislation, and has no explicit anti-BDS language in it, but has pro-Israel/anti-BDS forces spinning it to make it seem like it states something that it in fact does not (as is implied in the article), then I guess I'd say what's the big deal? Save one's energy to fight against actual anti-BDS action/legislation.

      But I'm assuming there actually is explicit stuff in the bill that just wasn't presented in this article?

  • 'You are thieves of history!' Hotovely tells Palestinians, waving books at them
    • Wow. A comment of mine was censored/disapproved/monitored and removed from this thread. Interesting. I guess I'll never know why?

  • Israeli paper investigates 50-year-ago attack on 'USS Liberty,' while US papers leave it in the letters column
    • Hey James,

      Sorry about the delay in responding to your question. I didn't see this until just now. No, I'm definitely not suggesting that. I assume you're asking me because I wrote "LOL" as a response to your post:

      "Eileen – – Lyndon Johnson had a passionate attachment to his own reputation, which he knew would be utterly destroyed if the truth behind the deliberate Israeli attack on the USS Liberty became widely known.

      The reason I wrote "LOL" was because I thought your use of the phrase "passionate attachment" was funny/clever in an ironical way; seeing as I assume everyone here associates that phrase w/ the "special relationship" between the U.S. and Israel. I also assume you did that intentionally, which I liked...

    • "Alison Weir do not present herself as a nationalist, or a pro-US imperalist but I still perceive her as such because what she choose to not say[.]"

      Oh, I see.

    • Thanks for the response, Bont.

      "[White nativist-nationalist] is a set of beliefs that fundamentally supports the establishment and continued existance of the white-supremacist American state as it was set up by the European settler-colonialist on Turtle Island."

      I guess that's not too bad a definition. I don't agree that Alison fits this definition. Can you give us some specific examples? Keep in mind that I don't buy the argument that her having done interviews with folks who are believed to be white supremacists (or are actually racists...) so that she could reach a wide audience on the topic of Palestine shows that she, herself, is also racist. The guilt by association game has been exhausted, in my opinion.

      "White nativist nationalists are at best, indifferent to the historical and present injustices perpetuated in the formation and existence of the American state or at worst, explicitly support them."

      I'm not so sure I buy that being indifferent would make someone a "nationalist." But, again, I would say that your assertion that actively supporting American/United States injustices (perpetual war, mass incarceration, etc...) is not too bad as part of a definition of "white nativist nationalist." And again, I don't agree that Alison fits this definition. In terms of her work through IAK, I believe her to be doing the exact opposite. Could you give us some examples of Alison's active support of American/United States' injustices?

      "White nativist nationalists generally don’t care about principles of justice and liberty, they only care about losing their place in the hierarchy of oppressors."

      Plainly none of us are inside Alison's head, so speculation on whether she's concerned with "losing her place in the hierarchy..." is silly. As for whether she cares about "principles of justice and liberty"... She does. But what those words/concepts/ideals mean is endlessly debatable, and of course, depends on one's perspective and place. I think she cares deeply about justice and "liberty." You don't. Oh well.

      "Hence, they often rally against Israel whilst at the same time support a strong US military, border control, law enforcement and the police as well as capitalism in general.

      A few things here... "Rallying against Israel." I have no problem with that. I personally believe that Israel is an extremely immoral, unjust and cruel "country/regime" and basically deserves any rally against it that occurs. They're killing lots of human beings and creating daily suffering for a huge number of people who don't deserve it. So since Alison may rally against it, I have no problem there. You do. Oh well. As far as "[ing] a strong US military, border control, law enforcement and the police..." Those issues get too thorny to get into the minutiae here. If you've got a specific example of something Alison supports as related to those issues, give us/me a link and I'd be interested. Lastly, capitalism. I know nothing of Alison's attitudes toward it. However, if you're saying that she supports capitalism, and you have a problem with that because you're under the illusion that Israel is some kind of socialist/communist utopia, I've got some land in Florida I'd like to sell you...

    • "Lyndon Johnson had a passionate attachment to his own reputation..."


    • Thank you, eileen.

    • Hey Bont. Can you give us your definition of "white nativist-nationalist?" Thanks...

    • @ Annie & Citizen: +1

  • Mennonite Church USA endorses boycott of businesses profiting from occupation
  • Wonder Woman is a hero only the military-industrial complex could create
    • Jonathan Cook: Excellent as ever, and thank you.

      "...the manifold ways the U.S. military and security services interfere in Hollywood..."

      As Cook, and likely every one else here knows, this is nothing new. If anyone's interested, here's a short vid, from 'bout 5 years ago, where I edited together some of Glenn Greenwald's comments about similar issues on Zero Dark Thirty:

  • When Kafka met Orwell: Arrest by algorithm
    • Another is that he is likely to be related to someone who has been arrested and tortured by the Israelis, especially a brother, father, or other close relative, so that he has a motive for revenge.

      In other words, the arrest and torture of Palestinians by Israel/IDF is its own justification for further arrests and torture of more Palestinians by Israel/IDF. It's a fucking freak show...

    • You beat me to it, Eva :) Kinda ironic that it's a Spielberg film...

  • Israeli musicians to Thom Yorke: Canceling Radiohead show will disrupt Israel's 'business as usual' facade
    • echinococcus: Yup, I hear you.

    • @ Marnie:

      "Anyone who is willing to play Tel Aviv is a sell-out. They know what’s going on, but are going to play anyway. Radiohead, Spears, the rolling stones, Robbie whatever his name is. The musician in you? Oh, okay."

      I read this response to my post as your saying that you did not mean to put Radiohead's music on a par w/ Britney Spears's; Only they're equivalent ignorance of the destructive criminality of Zionism and the equivalence of their ignorance of the nature of BDS. Good :)

    • Good point, Talkback. However, I think it would've been a better idea to have simply folded that direct response to Yorke's specific anti-BDS comments into a wider response/request to the whole group re: their playing in israel. Oh well...

    • jd65: "Why is the letter addressed to Thom Yorke?"

      JustJessetr: "Because Yorke is the one taking great pleasure in telling BDS to fu*k off."

      Well... It does seem to be the case that Yorke is the one getting the [nominal] press coverage in terms of his non-backing of BDS. And the way you've phrased it, it seems that you feel Yorke takes more pleasure than the other members of the group in dissing the idea of BDS. This being the case, you're kinda proving my point. Assuming/hoping Radiohead makes group decisions collectively, if the other members of the group possibly have more empathy toward BDS/Palestine, then addressing the letter to the entire group would be more productive, yes? Kind of like addressing the entire Democratic Party on issues related to Palestine, as opposed to simply addressing one's concerns to Chuck Schumer?

    • My intention is not to turn this into a geeky, contentious music criticism thread, but I gotta say I absolutely disagree that Radiohead "hit their stride 20 years ago." And even though you likely didn't mean "Radiohead is on par with Britney Spears" as a musical equivalence, the musician in me has to point out the grotesque ridiculousness of that sentence.

      Yes, I hate that it looks like Radiohead will not participate in the BDS movement. Yes, Israel is a criminal Apartheid state. Yes, all Zionist institutions participating in the theft of Palestine should be dismantled and Palestinians should have the full right of return plus reparations. Yes, justice should be meted to Netanyahu, Livni, etc. for war crimes, etc. However, if you're gonna try to put forward the idea that Radiohead, as a musical group, is somehow on a par w/ the music of Britney Spears, you're gonna have to be able to deal w/ being called out on your complete ignorance.

    • This is an excellent letter and, yes, it took some balls for these Israeli musicians to make it public. But I've got one somewhat nitpicky question: Why is the letter addressed to Thom Yorke? It's not The Thom Yorke Band that has a scheduled date to play in Israel. It's Radiohead. Sure, Yorke is seen as the leader. But if I was another member of that group, I'd feel disrespected. My assumption is that if joining the BDS is under consideration by Radiohead, it would not be Yorke's decision alone to make. Kind of a big mistake addressing the letter to Yorke, imo. I guess, maybe, this point isn't so nitpicky...

  • US foreign policy in the Middle East
    • Agreed. Except that down at the roots where it says Saudi Arabia it should also say Israel? I'm fairly certain for the watering/flowering/growing of Al Qaeda at least, anyway...

  • An appeal to 'Radiohead,' the band that woke my soul to the Palestinian crisis
    • Hey ArafatHero: What's your Radiohead song?

    • Good piece, Jack Gain. Unfortunately, as Jonny Greenwood's wife appears to be a rather solid Zionist (take a quick look at her recent twitter feed...), my assumption is that so is Jonny. So I guess the options, as far as Radiohead supporting BDS, are either split up a marriage, or split up a band. Rather obviously Apartheid is a worse option than either of the those two in the big picture. But Radiohead doesn't see that. Bummer...

  • Ehud Barak says a Palestinian state would be 'non-viable'
    • Yes, amigo. And you basically beat me to it:

      Barak: “History will never forgive us if we don’t stop in time the new incarnation of Jewish blind zealousness and bigotry." Uhh... If we don't stop in time? You're a little late, Ehud. That train left the station 'bout a century ago.

  • Attacks on Israeli police in East Jerusalem are not terrorism
    • Thank you, Rima. Well written, direct, and true. As I commented on another article here at MW, this particular recent event that triggered your article (the killing of these three Palestinians and the one Israeli police officer), for some reason, feels to me like the kind of thing Israel uses as pretext for mass slaughter. I'm of course hoping my feeling is wrong. All the best to you...

  • Israel cancels 250,000 Palestinian permits to enter Israel during Ramadan after deadly attack
    • Is this it? Will this be the pretext/beginning of pretext? 2008-09 - Cast Lead; 2012 - Pillar of Defense; 2014 - Protective Edge; 2017 - [Insert Orwellian Name of Operation]?

  • Maqloube denied! Celebrating Ramadan dinner at the checkpoint in Hebron
  • 50 years of occupation: Palestinians recall the 6 days of the 1967 war
    • Excellent, Sheren Khalel. And thank you especially for giving Khalid Saifi and Mazuna Abu Srour a lot of space. I found the details of Saifi's experience particularly illuminating. Just incredible in so many ways. Reading this little article was like a palate cleanser after hearing the nauseating All Things Considered interview with A.B. Yehoshua earlier today on the radio in the car...

  • Fearless Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh defines popular protest
    • Every single person standing up to the IOF in this video is a hero. HEROES:

    • Thank you Dave, Miko, & the Tamimis for being brave and doing the right thing. All the best to you...

    • Thank you for the excellent article, David. Small note/point [correction?]: In the third pic down from the top of the article - the one w/ the caption "Nabi Saleh resident gives an Israeli police commander a piece of his mind." - the gentleman getting in the commander's face looks an awful lot like Miko Peled.

      More power to the Tamimi's!!!!!!!

  • If Trump is serious we may be seeing the most significant step in 20 years of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations
    • "Not to be too dismissive or negative, the Area C to Area B idea isn’t a serious one, if it even has been put forth behind closed doors. Israel would still have security control and can use the settlers to thwart any exercise of Palestinian rights created on paper, plus the details would likely be heavily favorable to Israel, where son-in-law and supposed peace envoy Jared Kushner (and his family) has massive conflicts of interest, including investments in Israeli settler housing.


      It reminds me of the "disengagement" from Gaza.

  • Liberal Jews stage sit-in to block annual 'Jerusalem Day' march into Muslim Quarter
    • @ Joe S.:

      jd65, first of all that is a silly thing to ask for. No group that purposely punts and takes unprincipled stances is going to admit that they are unprincipled.

      I assume my asking if I'd missed where INN referred to their organization as "Liberal Zionist" and suggesting you could point me in a direction to where they refer to themselves as such is the "silly thing" I'd asked for. I don't think it's silly. Plenty of people refer to themselves as Liberal Zionists. Not sure why you'd think it's silly for me to think that maybe they refer to themselves that way when you yourself call them that and I mentioned to you that I knew not much about them. refusing to endorse BDS [INN is] effectively saying they oppose it for all intents and purposes.

      I don't agree w/ this. And I completely support BDS. It makes just as much sense to say that by refusing to condemn BDS, one endorses it. And that actually makes more sense, in my mind, than that inverse that you're saying. Keep in mind, I am personally all for BDS. Big time.

      This is similar to the issue of endorsing/condemning Zionism. If you don't "take a stand" on Zionism, are you opposed to it? Or if you refuse to take a stand on Zionism, are you endorsing it? I would call myself an anti-Zionist. And unless you're Gilad Atzmon, it should be fairly clear essentially what that means. Brant Rosen, on the other and, would (and does) refer to himself as "non-Zionist." I personally dislike that term. I think it's milk-toast. I think it's something Gil Scott-Heron would say an "Oatmeal Man" would say. However, I know for certain that Brant Rosen is not "pro-Zionism."

      So while, as I said the other day, while INN's failure to put out a unified statement supporting BDS and condemning Zionism as an organization is WEAK, I personally don't think it necessarily means they're "pro-Zionism" or "anti-BDS" either. I kinda understand how one may think it does mean that. But I'm not one of them. It feels too much like putting words into someone else's mouth.

      During an anti-ZOA protest, they allowed activists to hold up pro-Israel and pro-Zionist slogans (including the fascist “Am Israel Chai”) while ejecting Palestinian students and other anti-Zionists. In DC, they staged a sit-in against AIPAC while Palestinian community organizers had been organizing their own demonstration for weeks and INN had been asked repeatedly to support that instead.

      Now this is the kind of stuff that needs to be said and dealt with. And thank you for writing it. Allowing folks you're protesting with to hold up pro-Israel and pro-Zionist signs at an anti-ZOA protest is not only fucked up, it borders on unbelievable. Quite plainly it simply doesn't make any sense. This happened? Wow... And INN "ejecting Palestinian students and other anti-Zionists" from this protest? What in the world was the reason they gave for doing that? And INN not supporting/following the lead of their Palestinian brothers and sisters in the DC is a total drag as well. Do you have any stuff you can point me/us to to read more about those events?

      As to INN "holding a flashy sit-in" having "[t]he sole effect of... reset[ting] the discussion to diversity of opinions within the Jewish community, freezing out the Palestinians from having any agency even in Palestine itself," did INN actually "freeze out" Palestinians from this action? I'm not saying they didn't, but I haven't heard you, or anyone else, specifically say they did for this specific action. And this particular action could've been very dangerous for Palestinians to have participated in. So maybe it was just as well that this wasn't a joint action. Yes it's admittedly disgusting that Jewish Privilege resulted in one broken arm when the same action likely would've resulted in multiple fatalities and many worse injuries had the participants been Palestinian. But, assuming in this particular event there was no "freezing out" of Palestinian participants, the reason the result could be the discussion of difference of opinion within the Jewish community instead of a broader discussion of why "The Jewish State" is bullshit, is not necessarily the fault of the protesters themselves. Jews, just like everybody else on the planet, have the right to protest. There are good ways to go about it, and bad ways. This we know...

    • @ Joe S. & echino:

      I REALLY appreciate both of your responses. Busy all day w/ work, so I won't be able to take the time needed to respond fully until later tonight. For me (and I think broadly), this is an important and tough subject. Didn't want you to think I was blowin' off...

    • @ echinonococcus:

      "You seriously did not expect them to write on their shingle something like: 'We’re liberal-Zionists, working to control and deviate solidarity with Palestinian resistance and extend our illegal presence in Palestine', for example?" Sarcasm aside, I'm fairly certain that many individuals and groups/organizations openly refer to themselves as Liberal Zionist[s]. As much as most of us here @ MW believe that term to be oxymoronic (included),not veryone in the world shares our views/attitudes. And like I mentioned in my previous comment, I'm not that familiar w/ INN, so I thought that maybe they self-identified as Liberal Zionist. I didn't see that self-identification at their website and I certainly don't intend to spend time searching as I don't really care. As I mentioned to Joe above, if you'd like to point me to something that shows me this organization is "working to control and deviate solidarity with Palestinian resistance and extend [their] presence in Palestine" (apparently this is a working definition of "Liberal Zionism"), I'm glad to see it. Or if you simply see their above protest/sit-in as evidence of their desire to control Palestinians' resistance, I'd end my participation in a discussion about this with you as that would be just as silly as the concept of Liberal Zionism itself...

    • I'm not too familiar w/ INN. So I took a quick look at their website and read a few things. Did I miss where they called themselves "Liberal Zionists?" If so, I honestly would like for you to direct me to some stuff for me to read/watch that will better acquaint me with their views. Their statement on their website that said something like "We don't take a unified stance on BDS, Zionism, or statehood" is admittedly weak (to put it lightly). And while I understand your comment about 'co-opting of resistance,' "Fuck INN, just go away" seems a bit much. Oh well...

  • Leonard Cohen song is anthem of Jewish exclusivists
    • @ Tony G.:

      I agree w/ a lot of what you write. Particularly separating the art from the artist. But at the same time, even if one understands, or holds the opinion, that a particular artist's work, or a single piece of artwork, is great as a work of art, it doesn't follow that one should be able to, or be obligated to, support/enjoy that work of art (yes, that/this was a very, very, long/rough/ungrammatical sentence...). Nor does it mean that one should not point out to others the issues/problems one has w/ that particular artist. Artists should never be able to hide behind the "But I'm/he's an artist" defense for personal behaviors or attitudes that have nothing to do w/ art. Artworks are not more important than people. I'm not saying you that you're saying that, Tony. But I just wanted to put it in black and white as it's an issue I've put a lot of thought into and have actually written a little bit about. Thinking an artist is a genius, and not being able to enjoy that artist's work because of issues you have w/ that artist as a human being, are, unfortunately, not mutually exclusive impulses. Keith Jarrett, anyone? :)

  • A non-Zionist on segregation and resistance in the Zionist State
  • Warren and Sanders stand firmly behind Trump officials -- on guess what issue?
  • Gilad Atzmon’s attack against me – the 'merchant of JVP'
    • Sheesh. GA really brings 'em outta the woodwork, eh? Although I am jealous, karmagal, of your ny locale. I wish I still lived there. Great state...

    • Thanks Jonathan. And yeah, it did take patience to make. As I've said before, Gilad doesn't make it easy. So thank you for your patience in watching as well. I feel the length alone may put most folks off from watching it at all. Others may be put off by my goofy film/pop culture references and attempts at humor (it felt natural, even helpful, to me to include that stuff), making them feel the vid is not taking the subject seriously. Anyway, again, good article above and all the best...

    • Wrong link to vid in my post above. Sorry. Here's the link (administrator: if there's anyway you could simply place this correct link in my above post it would be greatly appreciated, but I wouldn't be expecting you to take the time to do that...):

    • Good article Jonathan Ofir. Much appreciated. Atzmon is a very tough nut to crack, and as you write, often the best approach to him is to simply take a pass. But he's a provocateur. And a rather skilled one, so sometimes he gets the better of us. He's a huckster. Something of an odd mirror image of Pamela Geller or David Horowitz. I used to think he was merely confused, but now believe that he intentionally distorts to gain attention. He's very good at it, and that's very unfortunate.

      You write, "...[Atzmon] alters my last name to 'offir'. He obviously thinks this is amusing." Yup. He's a curious mix of a precocious 8 year old trapped inside an adult pseudo-intellectual's body. And these two points you mention, I feel, are key:

      1) If I did [respond to Atzmon] I would have little time for anything else. (Abunimah)

      2) Now those terms can seem puzzling for some. What is this coded language?

      Totally agreed on these two ideas/points. I address them in a video response I made to Atzmon a couple years back. As Abunimah writes, correctly, responding to and unpacking Atzmon thoroughly takes a lot of time because of GA's ability to pack so much gobbledygook into such small spaces (whether it's his speaking or writing). Again, although he is often disingenuous or simply wrong, he remains skilled.

      If interested, here's a video I made a couple years back where I did my best to unpack a shamefully manipulative video GA made about Max Blumenthal; GA's pet target. I have a lot of respect for Max, so this time I felt the urge to create some type of response. It's long, so set aside 30 minutes if you wanna check it out. It also tries to keep a sense of humor about the Atzmon situation/conundrum. Anyway, good article Jonathan, and here's the vid:

  • Why not a probe of Israel-gate?
    • Hey Ossinev.

      It will be interesting to see how much media coverage is attempted / allowed on Israel`s glorious attack on the USS Liberty...

      I'd assume close to zero coverage by MSM, and not much by most other "alternative" news sources. Salon will maybe have something, Alternet and DemocracyNow will likely have something. But 90% of Americans will remain in the dark about this grotesquely covered-up event. And of the 10% who are aware of it at all, 90% of them will remain under the Zionist hasbara trance (Israel regrets, war is hell, right to defend itself, etc...).

      If I remember correctly, I ordered a bunch of pamphlets on this subject from IAK many years back. They're cheap and informative. Anyone who hasn't used that IAK service should check it out. They're not high quality, publisher house fancy binding, etc. But they're priced accordingly, they have tremendous information w/ detailed sourcing, and buying them is helping a great organization.

      Also, when the USS Liberty subject comes up, I'm always reminded of Ralph Nader. Add this vid below to the endless list of examples of why he's one of the greatest human heroes. Anywhere. Of all-time. How appropriate that he received honors w/ Omar Barghouti last weekend at Yale:

  • 'SNL' cracks about man 'so blinded by devotion to Israel he ignores all reason'
    • I hear you Ismail (and everyone else here who commented similarly). Particularly the false equivalence of the two parties. Yes, for some of the bit Louis does fall into that bullshit trope.

      However, there's a lot of reasons I think Louis CK's bit had a lot more balls to it than the Weekend Update thing. The first, and most obvious thing, is that Vanessa Bayer "bit," as relates to Israel (and only mentioning Israel), is a single line that lasts 5 seconds. And it's completely decontextualized from Palestine. Sure, all of us here at MW immediately think of the implications re: Palestine/Zionist crimes, etc... But I think it's quite possible that many who saw/heard that chuckled, didn't know why, and didn't think about Palestine/Palestinians for a second: "Hardy har. Israel. Jews. They're funny. A woman dressed as a boy. Yuck yuck. Is it time for bed yet?"

      While the Louis CK bit was 2 and 1/2 minutes. That's 30 times longer. It also clearly contextualizes the bit as being about "the conflict." It clearly talks about Palestinians specifically. Louis refers to his kid that represents Palestine as the one he "like[s] a little more," while giving the kid who represents Israel a loud, rude, kinda bullying voice. And while, as I said before I agree w/ you that Louis does fall into the false equivalence trope here and there, there are other things in the bit that belie that idea. Surely when he says, "The little one is like Palestine because she always gets screwed. She gets the worst deals," it goes against this idea of equivalence. Not to mention it completely contradicts all the pro-Israel B.S. about Israel making wildly generous offers to the Palestinians, etc etc... And he also contradicts the false equivalence when he says that he represents America, saying to Israel, "I'll work it out. You and me. We'll go out, I'll buy you a really cool missile. Whatever you do with it is totally up to you." And he's saying those lines as America as if they're under his breath; like America doesn't want anyone to hear what it's saying. Like it's a secret.

      A 5 second, un-contextualized single line about Israel, or a 2 and a 1/2 minute long bit clearly about the conflict, that while occasionally falls into the false equivalence trap, also clearly shows Palestine as getting screwed (in that language) and Israel as being told by its parent that it can do whatever it wants w/ the missiles it's being given re: Palestine. I'll take Louis...

    • Not bad. But if we're talking about SNL crackin' wise about Palestine and maybe gettin' in Israel's/America's face a little, the above SNL news clip is nothing compared to Louis CK's monologue a while back (Palestine always getting screwed, America arming Israel and essentially saying do whatever you like...). I assume you all have seen it, but just in case check it below. The bit on Israel/Palestine starts at 2:56, but I'd say just check out the whole monologue 'cuz Louis kills it:

  • Freed to travel, Barghouti will receive Gandhi award on Sunday at Yale
    • Absolutely fantastic news. It will be interesting to see the "special interest" groups and sundry other powerful Pro-Israel individuals either try to get this cancelled, or bloviate on how this event means Yale is anti-Semitic, etc.

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