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Total number of comments: 100 (since 2010-04-21 21:18:43)


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  • The Gaza blockade is illegal-- and so is the use of force to maintain it
    • Norman,

      What incident(s) precipitated the siege? How should they have been responded to?

      The Great March of Return wasn't just to end the siege; it was to assert the Palestinians' right to return to their homes in what is now Israel.

  • Here are the questions any journalist talking to the Israeli military should ask
  • Examining 'Ten Myths about Israel', by Ilan Pappe
    • Does someone know of a source for this?

      In 1928, the Palestinian leadership, notwithstanding the wishes of the majority of their people, consented to allow the Jewish settlers equal representation in the future bodies of the state. The Zionist leadership was in favor of the idea only as long as it believed the Palestinians would reject it. Shared representation was the opposite of what the Zionists wanted. When the proposal was accepted by the Palestinians, it was rejected by the Zionists. This led to the riots of 1929. Even in 1947, when Britain decided to refer the question to the United Nations, the Palestinians suggested with other Arab states, a unitary state to replace the Mandate in Palestine, with equal rights for Jews and Arabs. This the Zionists rejected.

  • Open Letter to Ben Jealous: Please take a progressive stand on Palestine
  • Senator Cantwell, are you listening?
    • The use of "flaunts" is appropriate in this sense from Merriam-Webster: 2
      : to treat contemptuously
      flaunted the rules — Louis Untermeyer.

      The Israel government has not simply ignored our demands. It has ostentatiously and contemptuously done so.

  • Pro-Israel 'gatekeepers' at California university shut down search for Edward Said scholar, a candidate says
  • Passover has become little more than an act of communal hypocrisy
  • Jimmy Carter's proposal to recognize Palestine is dissed by all the usual suspects
    • We should recognize Palestine as a state, but with undefined borders (like Israel) or with the same borders as Mandate Palestine. That would give the Palestinians power in the UN. The two states could meld into one or form a condominium. Even if the area were one integrated state or a binational state, the Palestinians could call the place Palestine and the Israelis could call it Israel. The UN could call it Palestine-Israel or Israel-Palestine.

  • Obama Justice Dep't is representing Elliott Abrams against suit by Palestinians opposing settlements
    • We should all be sending messages to the Justice Department and the White House demanding that the Justice Department stop representing Abrams.

      We can loose the grip of Zionism in our government by supporting candidates who are running against known Israel-firsters. Here in the 10th Assembly District in California our incumbent Assembly Member is a principal coauthor of AB 2844, an anti-BDS bill that may yet pass, despite significant opposition by a large coalition of people who care about human rights and free speech. His challenger is Veronica "Roni" Jacobi, another Democrat. (In California, the top two winners of the primary compete in the general elections, even if they are of the same party.) Israel-Palestine is not her issue--climate change is--but she supports the right to boycott.

      Her incumbent has received large donations from corporations and wealthy conributors, whereas she is running a shoestring campaign on borrowed money (at this point). Please go to her website,, and donate.

      If Jacobi could win, it would send a message that being an Israel-firster is a liability.

  • Dershowitz approves Clinton's 'muscular foreign policy,' and Sen. Warren is a 'surprising Israel hawk'
    • What a depressing article! I'm totally disillusioned with Warren, and Tom Friedman is even more tribal than I had realized. Add to that Barbara Lee's No vote on the pro-Palestinian amendments as a member of the Democratic Platform Committee. The Green Party is the only party we can rely on.

      Note to Elizabeth Warren: Why doesn't your concern about big money's influence on our economy extend to big money's influence on our foreign policy?

  • In long obit for Hedy Epstein, 'NYT' buries Palestinian solidarity
    • The dramatic incident featured at the beginning of the Times obituary of Hedy Einstein was significant because of her age: 90. The photo above the article was enough to draw the reader into wanting to learn about her Palestinian activism as well.

      All New York Times readers should subscribe to Barbara Erickson's excellent critiques of New York Times bias in her blog

  • Sanders will not attend AIPAC, offers to share remarks
  • What Bernie Sanders should say at AIPAC (and cause a political revolution)
  • Netanyahu feels complete impunity because all US politicians need 'support of Jewish community' -- former Israeli diplomat
    • I believe it was John Whitmore who suggested that Western countries should refuse to grant visas to Israeli settlers. That action might discourage people from living in the settlements, and it would underscore the illegality of the settlements. It would punish the people who need punishing.

  • Why Rabbi Susan Talve was called a 'real terrorist' by St Louis activists
    • This article and the accompanying open letter from Saint Louis Jewish Voice for Peace are watershed articles, two of the most powerful articles I've read. Send them to every Jew you know who is progressive except for Palestine. Send the articles also to the heads of the Interfaith Councils and to Christian leaders who give Zionists a pass.

      The problem with PEPs is their inability to see go back far enough, to understand how the decision to establish a Jewish-majority state by force, on as much land as possible, set forth endless violence, just as the State Department predicted it would. To justify the expulsion of the Palestinians and the appropriation of their lands on the basis of our having done the same to the American Indians is like saying it's OK to have slavery in this day and age, since the U.S. was once a slave state.

      The only way out of the mess we have created is to focus on equality and justice.

  • The Case for Parallel States: Excerpt from 'One Land, Two States: Israel and Palestine as Parallel States'
    • Parity for Peace was conceived and written ten years ago. At that point, persuasion by stressing the advantages for each side seemed possible. Now pressure against the dominant power is necessary.

    • Sure, in theory the government is supposed to protect all its citizens equally, but where wealth disparities exist, rich people get to hire better lawyers, make bigger contributions to politicians, and so on. Actual power is different from constitutional power, as we can well see.

      If you read the above article and/or Parity for Peace, you would see that parallel states doesn't mean side by side. It's more like "overlapping." It's like looking at a computer screen and switching from one window to the other, yet looking at the same screen. This is the analogy made by Israeli peace activist Deb Reich, who coined the term "parallel sovereignty."

    • Two states on the same land in this case means two states with identical borders and no territorial division--something never tried before. It is a new concept. Refugees could return to any part of the shared territory. Please read the above article or before commenting further.

    • Annie, I think your criticism of Parity for Peace's not proposing enough incentives to make Israel give up power is valid. The site badly needs updating. It has not been touched since August 24, 2009 (if you look at the end of the website). The writer (me) is computer-challenged, has forgotten how to edit and upload, and is focusing on trying to change public opinion in the United States to the point where Israel will have to give up power or land.

    • Israelis do not "control" more wealth; they already have it. The Israelis would not be able to contribute to the elections of Palestinians (and the reverse would also be true). Israelis, with their wealth, might dominate the media, but there would also be a free and fair Palestinian media and Palestinians don't need the media to tell them what they are experiencing. They are assured that 50 percent of the power in the condominium government will be Palestinian so that Palestinian rights are protected.

      How would the South or South Africa be different if black people had enough actual power to protect their interests?

    • Look at the United States. We have one-person one-vote. Then look at the role that wealth plays in supporting candidates that reflect their positions and hurting candidates that do not. Look at the role that wealth plays in shaping public discourse that in turns shapes elections. When there are great disparities in wealth, the wealthy have more power than their numbers would suggest. That's why Parity for Peace stipulates a 50-50 power relationship from the outset.

    • Parity for Peace differs from "the blueprint Zio-supremacists advocate" by having a different power structure: Zionists would no longer have supreme control of the land, not even the 51 percent that Jabotinsky envisioned as the possible end result, once the Palestinians were willing to accept a Jewish state. The power structure between the two states would be 50-50. This would take away the demographic concerns that prompt Israel to get rid of the Palestinians and replace them with Jews so that Israel can be at the same time Jewish and "democratic." In fact, under Parity for Peace, Arab Israelis would belong to the Palestinian state, because that is the state that would best represent them and their culture and aspirations. They would not have to move to be part of the Palestinian state, because the entire land would be "Palestine" or "Israel," depending on how one wanted to identify it.

      There are variations on this concept. You can read about some of them on the website Approaches to Coexistence.

      Although a one-person one-vote solution may seem more democratic, in the case of Israel/Palestine, one must now also consider the relative wealth of the Israeli Jews and the Palestinians. A power structure of 50-50 from the onset would mitigate the corrupting influence of wealth. Dividing power this way would be, at least, a good place to begin. Parity for Peace enables changes to be made if both nations agree to these changes in separate plebescites.

    • If the national governments each have control over cultural events and areas of life, like marriage, that will at least give each national group the right to have these events, which is not the case now. Each government could have its own laws on matters that do not pertain to the other national group, such as marriage (interfaith marriages could be handled by the condominium government. But the most important thing is that each government would have equal power on matters affecting both populations. Thus equal rights by individuals to resources could be enforced. Sure, there may be gridlock; we also have gridlock, so a condominium government may not be worse. A mechanism could be created for breaking gridlocks.

      Will the Israelis give up power for peace? Not likely without tremendous international pressure. But if both sides get most of what they want (Israel: land and security; Palestinians: land, freedom, self-determination, security, the right to return) and the sacrifice of sharing the land is equal between the two national groups, this may be the best deal.

      Those people not willing to live with this kind of government, whether Israeli or Palestinian, should be allowed to move to, and become citizens of, other countries as long as they give up irredentism.

      Do read Parity for Peace ( It is not long.

    • And if a plan like that didn’t exist, somebody would have to invent it.
      - See more at:
      Mooser, what point are you trying to make? I don't understand.

    • The idea of parallel states as a solution to the current predicament has been conceived independently by at least four people, two of them Israelis. See for a detailed plan calling for two states on the same land with equal rights for all individuals, regardless of nationality, and bilateral governance on all matters of mutual concern. This plan has been up on the Web since 2005.

  • 'Why I am a Zionist'
  • Roundtable on the Palestinian solidarity movement and Alison Weir
    • Thanks to all for your good insights.

    • Stephen Shenfield,

      I want to thank you in particular for helping me understand what anti-Semitism is, but I would like to ask you another question. Do you think Clay Douglas is a white supremacist? As far as I can see, his issue is more about control than about race. His reason for being attracted to a worldview that blames Jews for many of our problems seems to me to arise from not wanting to be controlled. Please look at his website and let me know what you think ( I am just tried to retrieve the Spencer Sunshine article that discussed Clay Douglas and white supremacy, but I can't get it anymore. It seems to me that if someone is really concerned about anti-Semitism and Jew hatred when classical anti-Semitism no longer exists might prefer to couch conspiracy theorists as white supremacists rather than as anti-Semites. Basically, depicting Clay Douglas as a white supremacist is important to the logic that is being presented by JVP and the Campaign that you have to keep the movement strictly focused on human rights and the power structure that supports racism and human rights abuses. The irony is that Clay Douglas is very much focused on the power structure--he just has a different version of it. I don't think his view that Jews have too much control translates into wanting to harm them. It translates into wanting to find ways to set up independent banking systems, Liberty Villages, etc. Please comment before we end this discussion. Thanks.

    • It's awfully late, so I can't formulate an answer to your three points. Tomorrow we will probably be starting with a clean slate. I basically agree with you. I tried to answer your earlier post by hitting the Reply button right after that post so that you could see what I was referring to.

    • Irishmoses,
      I did not answer your questions, because I thought you had misunderstood me. I was not arguing that all three examples were examples of anti-Semitism. All three examples were given by a JVP rabbi. The first was of criticism, which the rabbi thought was OK. The second was an example that reflected anti-Semitism, but wasn't anti-Semitism, according to the rabbi. The third was an example of real anti-Semitism, according to the rabbi. I neither agreed nor disagreed with these examples so did not feel the need to answer your questions. However, I think you offered good ideas for making statements not seem anti-Semitic.

    • Stephen,

      You have answered my first question. What about the next two questions from my post?
      The second question would be, is Alison’s willingness to be interviewed on a show where the interviewer has this worldview but doesn’t seem hateful amplifying hate? Third question: is she required to attack his worldview at every turn? - See more at:
      Perhaps the 2nd question should be: If the interviewer is anti-Semitic, does appearing on the show in order to talk about the Palestinians and Zionism amplify the interviewer's worldview?

    • Those examples were not mine. They were given by Rabbi Alissa Wise, as indicated in my comment. Sorry that wasn't clear. The question I would ask is, if you have a worldview that Jews have long considered to be anti-Semitic, but you don't hate or harm Jews, are you anti-Semitic? The second question would be, is Alison's willingness to be interviewed on a show where the interviewer has this worldview but doesn't seem hateful amplifying hate? Third question: is she required to attack his worldview at every turn?

      I agree that the charge of anti-Semitism is often used to silence discussion on topics that should be freely discussed.

    • Rabbi Alissa Wise, of the JVP Rabinnical Council, gave a talk about anti-Semitism at a conference in Vancouver, Canada, in which she tried to differentiate between criticism, reflecting anti-Semitism, and anti-Semitism itself. Here is one of the topics for which she tried to give a distinction:

      – A clear criticism: “In this issue, as in so many, the corporate media provide one-dimensional, sensationalized coverage, usually biased toward whatever side the US government is backing – when they cover it at all.”

      – A way to say this same idea in a way that reflects anti-semitic sentiment, even unwittingly would be to say: “The media, controlled by Zionists, never talks about the plight of Palestinians.”

      – A way that anti-Semitic organizations or people say the same idea: “Zionist control of the media is part of a vast web of Zionist power over banks and world governments in their conspiracy to rule over humanity.”

      You can read the whole speech here:

      I will say that Clay Douglas's worldview is in the third category, so by this definition he is anti-Semitic. However, he doesn't appear to me to hate Jews or want to harm them.

      You can read the entire August 25, 2010, interview on Clay Douglas' radio show here:

    • I wish JVP, ETO, and Alison could all get together and try to mend the rift. Alison, in particular, I think needs an apology for the way her herem was handled.

    • I've looked at the Free American website, which has changed over a period of time, but the main issue of Clay Douglas, the owner, is not white supremacy (racial), as far as I can tell, but being controlled, which he applies to a number of issues, including government mandates for vaccinating children. He does believe that Jews have too much control over banks, the media, etc., and in that respect he amplifies long-standing ideas of what is considered anti-Semitic. I think Zionist control is something to be explored and debated, not dismissed out of hand, and that you can believe that Zionists exert too much control over our government and media without having an irrational hatred of Jews as a collective, which is how I would define anti-Semitism. Douglas does care about the Palestinians and even had Ali Abunimah listed for an August 3 interview about the West Bank toddler who was burned in his home, and alongside the announcement was a link to the Electronic Intifada's account of the incident. Abunimah must have refused to be interviewed or asked that the interview be withdrawn, because nothing comes up when you press the link. Still, I'm wondering whether Abunimah missed a good opportunity to educate the truck drivers who might have been listening to the radio broadcast.

      I'm sorry about the way Alison's ouster was handled by both JVP (to which I belong) and ETO (to which many of the organizations I work with belong). I know that Alison asked to meet with JVP but was instead directed to JVP's lawyer. ETO said she had until August 3 to respond to their charges, but they jumped the gun and ousted her before that date.

      My guess is that JVP and ETO have concerns that Alison's message will increase the hatred of Jews. If so, JVP and ETO should have been honest and to the point. Instead, they have come up with a high-sounding framework that wants to position the I-P movement into a movement that brings down all the oppressive power structures in our country. That sounds like a task for every generation.

      A more focused goal, which would more quickly end the suffering of the Palestinians, would be to educate as many people as possible about the plight of the Palestinians and what we need to do to help them. Education needs to includes facts about the Zionists' role in our government and media, something Alison does well.

    • As a former history teacher, I found Alison's book fascinating, informative and well-researched. Did I end up hating Jews as a result of reading it? No. That's partly because I know so many Jews whom I admire and love, and I don't assign collective blame. Do I think we can learn from the book? Yes.

      Think about it. The Zionists had a formidable task. Most Americans, including most American Jews, had no interest in establishing a Jewish state. Many Jewish leaders were dead set against the idea, having experienced the advantages of the separation of church and state, being concerned about possible accusations of dual loyalty should a Jewish state come into being, and expressing concerns about Palestinian rights as well as the violence that was taking place. Nevertheless, the Zionists persevered. The results are evident today.

      One of their techniques was to figure out how best to win support from various segments of the U.S. population. Different groups were approached in different ways. Why don't we in the movement for Palestinian rights do likewise and support each other in what we do best? JVP's approach may be the best for winning over Jews and guilt-ridden Christians. The U.S. Campaign's plans to join Palestinian solidarity work with solidarity for other oppressed groups can help benefit all oppressed groups. Friends of Sabeel could work with churches. If American Knew could do what it does so well--inform people about media bias and Zionist pressure, in addition to highlighting the plight of the Palestinians.

      In fact, Alison already uses different hooks for different populations. For veterans, the USS Liberty is a good entry point. For members of the Tea Party, it may be the amount of money we give to Israel. For Libertarians, it can be issues of control. If people go to Alison's website and then learn more about the Palestinians, she will have accomplished something. Pro-Palestinian groups don't all have to work together, but from their various vantage points they can help to break up the Israel lobby's grip on America. It is our money and diplomatic support that keeps the Palestinians under occupation.

      Jennifer seems to think that certain topics are definitely anti-Semitic. Words like "control" and "conspiracy" in reference to Zionism are buttons you are not supposed to push. But is it a sin to explore these topics? What if there really was a conspiracy? What if Zionists really do control the media? If these "tropes" turn out to be true, is it legitimate to call them anti-Semitic?

      Everybody should read Alison's book, "Against Our Better Judgment." It is unfair to criticize it without having read it.

  • Episcopal Church rejects BDS resolutions citing fears divestment would hamper church in Jerusalem
    • "Bishop Suheil Dawani, Anglican," signed the Kairos Palestine document of December 15, 2009, calling on Christians around the world to engage in BDS against the Israeli occupation. Now, apparently, he is Archbishop. He must have changed his mind after becoming Archbishop and receiving pressure from the Israeli government.

  • Journey through a fractured landscape
    • Sandy Tolan's account of conditions in the West Bank is heartbreaking. I hope the United Church of Christ has the guts to pass not only the BDS resolution but also the apartheid resolution that has been presented for consideration at the General Synod taking place the last week of June.

  • Tutu endorses UCC divestment: 'It is unconscionable to remain silent'
  • Once again, 'NYT' fails to tell its readers that many Jews support BDS
    • I recommend to readers. This website is dedicated to detecting bias in the New York Times. See the current article on BDS coverage, which provides additional information about Orange and gives further indications of bias.

  • Surprise-- 'NYT' publishes straightforward report on Israeli human rights violations in Gaza
  • Wall around Bethlehem is Christmas billboard in Atlanta
    • The Israeli government does not allow Israelis to go to Bethlehem, so Mary and Joseph coming from Nazareth, Israel, would have a hard time today getting into this Palestinian city, wall or no wall. The main problem with the wall is that the Palestinians inside Bethlehem cannot get out without a special permit from Israel.

  • TX congressman who expressed concern about Gaza deaths undergoes 'healing process' and will fly El Al to Israel
    • As soon as I read about O'Rourke's vote, in The New Yorker, I sent him a check. If enough of us did that while saying it was because he voted against the $225,000, he would not feel so threatened by the lack of Jewish donations. If we all pledged donate to time and money to Elizabeth Warren in a presidential campaign in which she distanced herself from AIPAC, perhaps it would give her the courage to chart an independent course.

  • The elephant in the room, in Marin County
    • Pabelmont, we do have debate in Congress and the media on climate change, and there is some debate in the media on corporations. But on Israel there appears to be no debate. Imagine Congress considering what might have caused an increase in rocket attacks from Gaza before unanimously voting to give Israel the right to "defend itself" from "unprovoked" rocket attacks. No one questions the spin. In an article on AIPAC in the September 1 issue of the New Yorker, freshman Congressman Beto O'Rourke, one of four Democrats to vote against AIPAC's request for more money for Iron Dome, is quoted as saying, "I could not in good conscience vote for borrowing $225 million more to send to Israel without debate and without discussion, in the midst of a war that has cost more than a thousand civilian lives already, too many of them children." If there had been debate, might he have been able to influence members of Congress to vote against the bill?

  • Our new look
    • I liked being able to see all the articles at once and being able to hover my cursor over the titles to get some text giving the gist of the article. This was particularly useful on days when I did not have time to read each article.

  • And now a word from our Democratic Party standard bearer
    • At least Elizabeth Warren did not cosponsor H.Res.498 expressing "support for the State of Israel as it defends itself against unprovoked rocket attacks." Neither did Patrick Leahy or Dianne Feinstein. We should thank them and the handful of other senators who did not vote for this resolution giving Israel the green light to attack Gaza. You can see the long list of cosponsors here:{%22search%22%3A[%22support+for+Israel%22]}

      I think "unanimous consent" can represent only a handful of senators, depending on who shows up for the voice vote. However, this resolution did have overwhelming support, judging from the number of cosponsors.

  • Chomsky supports portions of BDS agenda, but faults others, citing realism and int'l consensus
    • On the signature page of Resolution 194 is written "Recognizing the difficulty of implementation." Israel seems to think that gets them off the hook.

  • What Comes Next: Five Palestine futures
    • Another, out-of-the-box possibility exists besides those listed by Richard Falk for resolving the conflict. That possibility is Parity for Peace, a different kind of two-state solution, in which Israel and Palestine have identical borders; within these borders, one would simultaneously be in two states at the same time. Statehood for each of the two nationalities would enable each to have representation as a state in the United Nations and provide additional guarantees. For example, a coup in one state would not translate to a coup in the other state. Statehood immediately sets up a situation of equality between the two states, so that decisions regarding the shared territory would be made as equals. Israel could remain Jewish but in a context where it could not exploit the Palestinians. Palestinians could return to live at or near their former homes if they wished to without affecting the power structure. Each state would have enough power to protect its own interests but not enough power to dominate the other. Each state would govern its own population on personal and cultural matters, such as marriage, but on matters concerning the shared territory, decisions would be made jointly. See for more details.

      Although this proposal meets core needs expressed by each side, nothing is going to happen until Israel is willing to give up power, and that will take concerted international pressure to the sanctions level.

  • From Mississippi to Gaza -- Dorothy Zellner reflects on 50 years of struggle
    • With respect to the Zionist elite, a very interesting book by Alison Weir has come out that examines how the Zionists amassed support for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. The book is "Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel." It is available from Amazon. It is short and well documented. Among the techniques used to support Zionism was to see that fellow Zionists were highly placed. Justice Louis Brandeis, the leading Zionist in the U.S., got a wealthy Jew to endow a chair at Harvard that enabled Felix Frankfurter to secure a position there. From that position, Frankfurter moved on to the Supreme Court. When, as a Supreme Court Justice, Brandeis could not be overtly Zionist, he used influential Harvard professor Frankfurter to carry out Zionist missions for him.

  • Iran politicking gets in the way of visa waivers for Israelis
    • It's not just the entry of spies that threatens our security. The bill calls for increased cooperation in Homeland Security and cybersecurity. The U.S. government has already given Israel raw NSA data on our phone calls. Under the Strategic Partnership Act, this kind of activity will be be perfectly legal, even harder to end.

  • Israelis are in Nigeria to help search for girls -- Susan Rice
    • "Nigeria is one of Israel’s closest friends in Africa, and Israel provided Nigerian authorities with medical supplies following a Boko Haram attack against three churches on Christmas Day in 2011 that killed dozens."

      On a trip to Israel in 2011, I was amazed to see many Nigerian tourists, who were traveling in groups--with their own cook. I talked with her. She told me that the Nigerian government offered paid trips to Israel or Mecca, depending on the Nigerian's religion. I wonder how these trips are financed. I imagine Israel helps to finance them. Of course, not all Nigerians can go. The cook, who had her own catering business in Nigeria, had been there multiple times--to work, of course.

  • Obama and Kerry are spurred by 'vainglory' in pursuing talks -- Finkelstein
    • At last! A comment by someone who has read Finkelstein's whole article, as I did. I think Finkelstein is giving us a wake-up call. He says that Kerry is allowing Israel to get essentially everything it wants, including taking no responsibility for the ethnic cleansing in 1948.

      "If the goal of resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict is, as it should be, justice and reconciliation, then the Kerry process is a sham. It amounts to unilateral Palestinian submission to Israeli diktat.

      "The fact that the Kerry plan is a sham, however, doesn’t mean that it can be safely ignored. If Palestinians sign on the bottom line, they will forfeit their essential rights under international law, especially because the UN Security Council and General Assembly will in short order ratify the result. The Wall will no longer be illegal; it will become Israel’s internationally recognized border. The Kerry plan will render the most formidable of Palestinian weapons, international legitimacy and international law, null and void. . . .

      "Only mass nonviolent civil resistance can catapult Palestine back on the international stage. If a popular revolt, like the first intifada, erupts under the simple slogan, Enforce the Law, and if the international solidarity movement does its part, it might be possible to mobilize public opinion—including sectors of liberal American Jewish opinion—and exert sufficient pressure on the international community such that Israel will be compelled to meet its legal obligations. . . ."

      "I said it’s hard to be optimistic, but I still sincerely believe that victory—a just and lasting peace—is within reach if we are guided by truth, on the path to justice, and make one last push, before it’s too late."

  • Stirring debate on BDS, 'NYT' allows readers to speak out about inequality
    • Henry, "wonder" no longer. I found the answer this morning. I called up the New York Times Letters section (phone number above) and asked whether the International edition included only one letter or all of the letters in its print edition. It included all of the letters! I'm even going to be sent a copy. I asked that the American print edition also print the letters. The person on the phone said she would relay my request (which was also made yesterday on their answering machine) but that "we get so many letters." (As if that were an excuse.) Heck, they selected these letters for an international audience. Don't Americans need to read them, too? Anyway, now we now that "a version of this letter" can mean all the letters.

    • The letters do appear in the national, as well as international, online edition. Check for yourself. How about writing to the New York Times ([email protected]) and asking them to print the letters in the U.S. print edition? Or call or fax the Letters editor at

      Phone: (212) 556-1873
      Fax: (212) 556-3622

  • Oh hey, you forgot the Palestinian flag
    • Sherien, please give me the recipe for mint lemonade. I love that drink and have tried to make it without a recipe, but so far the results have been disappointing.

      Thank you so much.

  • Sharon's journey was Israel's journey-- and what does that tell you
    • I am reading right now Dr. Kanaaneh's book "A Doctor in Galilee" and would recommend it to all who want to understand what it's like to be a Palestinian citizen of Israel. The same things happened to them that are happening to the Palestinians in the West Bank--land theft, house demolitions, killings, etc.--designed to get the Palestinians to leave.

  • The NY Times Non-Story of 2013: Israeli abuse of child prisoners
    • When I couldn't get the link to the Times article on stone throwing, I searched the article by title and found it and the letters that followed on two successive days.

      The first letter, from someone in Jerusalem, lamented the use of the term 'rite of passage' and thought it would encourage more stone-throwing:
      The second letter was by someone who had been a target of Palestinian stone throwing and talked about the importance of reversing "the culture of conflict."
      The third and final letter that day was by a Holocaust survivor who lauded the article and said that it's "way past time to let American Jews especially know what is really going on there."

      The next day, the Times published one more letter, by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren. He thought the times "dehumanized" the settlers that were attacked.

  • Unintended consequences
    • The missionaries I know, including my parents, assumed that everyone had a right to an education, good health, and freedom. There were no hidden agendas that I know of. My father supported Gandhi while living in colonial India. He also worked hard to train Indians to take over the leadership of the church. Don't forget: In this day and age, Christians are supposed to be able to read the Bible. Leaders need to be educated.

  • Contribute to Mondoweiss end of the year fundraiser and receive copy of Max Blumenthal's 'Goliath'
    • I found out from the receipt for my donation that my address is already known from the credit card information.

    • I just donated $60 via PayPal but was never asked where I wanted the book to to mailed to. How is Mondoweiss going to know where to mail the book?

      Also, it occurs to me that copies of Goliath would make good Christmas presents, so those you who have already bought the book could donate $60 or more and then give the book to someone else.

  • Corasanti responds to Abulhawa: My purpose in writing 'The Almond Tree' was to shine a light on Palestinian suffering and help bring about peace
    • It seems to me Corasanti did a good job of dealing with the criticisms Abulhawa made. Corasanti's heart is in the right place, and Annie gave a good example of how her book is reaching people's hearts and making them sympathetic to and more knowledgeable about the Palestinians. Why are we wasting time on the Corasanti/Abulhawa feud? Let's move on.

  • Preaching to the choir: reflections on Max Blumenthal's 'Goliath'
    • There us precedent for states having equal power. That is how the United Nations General Assembly is set up. Equal power between the Israelis and the Palestinians would be a plus for the Palestinians, because the far richer Israelis could well dominate a single state, even if they are a minority; wealth buys power.

      Judaism is a nationalistic religion: according to Judaism, God has chosen to have a special relationship with the Jews and has given them the Land of Israel--indeed, commanded them to take that land. Many Jews therefore consider themselves not just a religious group but a nation. If you regard the Jews as a nation, then I think you could justify having a state for them, especially considering how they have been persecuted. They should not have been allowed to create a state where they were not wanted, but they have done so. Now we need to figure out a way for Palestinians and Jews to share the land as equals, and that is what Parity for Peace tries to do.

    • If Jews are not willing to have a binational state where they would likely become a minority, then the solution is to have two states--one Jewish and the other Arab--with identical borders, forming a condominium or "parallel states." The relationship between these two states would be equal, regardless of the size of each state's population, thus giving each state enough power to protect its people and ensure their rights (to land, water, and other resources) without fear of being dominated by the other. Each state would have its own democratically elected legislature and government. The two legislatures would come together to make laws affecting the common territory, and a special condominium government that was equally staffed by both governments, and with positions of power rotated, would carry out and enforce these laws. Internal and external security would be the responsibility of the condominium government. See for details on how such a plan might work. This plan would allow the Palestinians to return to their homes while maintaining a Jewish state that would be a haven for Jews.

  • BBC festival features Palestine Strings and condemnation of apartheid to jubilant applause
    • When I first heard of Israel's June 19, 1967, "peace offer," I was surprised I had not heard of it before, so I did some research. I looked in Mark Tessler's 906-page tome, A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (1994), and couldn't find any June 19 peace offer. I looked in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Middle East Conflict (1999), authored by Mitchell Bard, a former AIPAC employee who gives the Zionist spin on every facet of Israeli history. I couldn't find it there either. I finally found something in Avi Shlaim's The Iron Wall (2001), pp 253-254. Shlaim relataes Abba Eban's effusive account of the meeting between him and Dean Rusk on June 21 in which Eban transmitted the June 19 cabinet decision, and quotes Eban as writing, in his autobiography, "A few days later replies came back through Washington stating that Egypt and Syria completely rejected the Israeli proposal." Shlaim goes on to say, "The American record of the meeting confirms that Rusk considered the Israeli terms as not ungenerous, but it makes no mention of a request by Eban to transmit these terms to Egypt and Syria. Nor is there confirmation from Egyptian or Syrian sources that they received a conditional Israeli offer of withdrawal through the State Department in late June 1967. One is left with the impression that Eban was more interested in using the cabinet decision of 19 June to impress the Americans than to engage the governments of Egypt and Syria in substantive negotiations." According to Shlaim, the cabinet decision of June 19 was "a closely guarded secret in Israel. Even the chief of staff was not told about it. Rabin only learned about the proposal from his American colleagues after he had taken off his uniform and become ambassador to Washington. Moreover, the ministers who made the decision soon had second thoughts. They quickly concluded that the offer to withdraw to the international border had been too rash and too generous and that a higher price should be exacted from Egypt and Syria for their aggression. . . . As early as mid-July the politicians started approving plans for the building of Jewish settlements on the Golan Heights. . . . The decision of 19 June became a dead letter even before its formal cancellation in October."

      Without proof that the Egyptians and Syrians received the "peace offer,"how can we say that the Arabs "rejected" it?

  • Why so shy, Lieutenant T?
  • Meet Catherine Ashton, Tony Blair’s pro-Israel proxy in the EU
    • It is hard to imagine why the EU plan to condemn Israel and label settlement products could in any way have hindered the "talks." Because Israel holds all the cards, the pressure needs to be put on Israel.

  • Approaching 60, Norman Finkelstein reflects
    • Israel does not need to disappear, even as a state. What is needed, if the notion of statehood for Jews and statehood for Palestinians is to be preserved, is a different kind of two-state solution--Israel and Palestine on the same land, with the same borders, having equal power over the shared space. A number of people have come up with this idea independently of each other. A detailed explanation of this idea is on Check out also "parallel states" and "parallel sovereignty."

  • Flipping the political map: Yehouda Shenhav upends liberal understandings of Israel/Palestine in 'Beyond the Two-State Solution'
  • Hopeful reading: Obama will go over Israeli leaders' heads to youth and say regime must change
    • "What we told the Israeli government is that the President [Peres] was very interested in speaking to the Israeli people, and that, in particular, he wanted to speak to young people. "

      Surely the word in brackets is supposed to be Obama, not Peres.

  • '5 Broken Cameras' director detained in LAX on way to Oscars (Updated)
  • The limits of liberal Zionism: 'NYT' columnist Roger Cohen misrepresents the Nakba and the right of return
    • The Jewish desire to reclaim the Land of Israel can be reconciled with the Palestinian right of return under a different kind of two-state solution: two states--Israel and Palestine--on the same land (identical borders), with equal access by all individuals to resources and with 50-50 bilateral governance on all matters of mutual concern. See for a detailed description of how this would work.

  • Tom Friedman's endorsement of Hagel as the DefSec Israel needs is wakeup call to Bill Kristol on Boxing Day
  • 'Cross borders, cross pollinate' -- Rae Abileah says goodbye to Code Pink
  • Charting the 'peace process'
    • Israelis will tell you that the Geneva Conventions prohibit FORCED transfer and that since Israeli citizens are going to "Judea" and "Samaria" willingly, it's OK. How does one get around that argument?

  • UK's Owen Jones: 'What people on earth would tolerate...'
    • Syndicated columnist Joel Brinkley has a very one-sided column today in the San Francisco Chronicle and goodness knows how many other newspapers. For example, he writes, "When Hamas began firing hundreds of missiles at Israel this month, and Israel understandably responded . . . " and "Neither Morsi nor any other Egyptian official offered even glancing acknowledgment of the rocket volleys Hamas fired into Israel. That's what ignited this current crisis, not anything Israel did--other than exist" and "Find me a single nation on Earth--including Egypt--that would not respond if terrorists fired missiles at its two largest cities."

      We've got to write rebuttals to this kind of distortion, try to get them into print, and ask editors of the newspapers that carry Joel Brinkley to stop carrying him.

  • 'By God's promise this land is ours!' Settlers attack Palestinian oliver-pickers
    • As the settler says, "By God's promise, this land is ours!" When Israeli soldiers help the settlers dispossess the Palestinians, who is to say that this part of the Jewish religion is not a driving force of the Israeli government? (Reference your new Comments policy.)

  • Exile and the prophetic: Adelson's triumph signals Israel's end as a battlefield for Jewish identity
    • If the link between Israel and Diaspora Jews is weakening, do we really have a Jewish nation that encompasses Jews worldwide, or is Jewish nationhood confined to Israelis?

  • Exile and the Prophetic: Prophet Gray
    • Correction to what I just wrote: Tom Lantos was not in Auschwitz; in lost relatives in the Holocaust.

    • On how obits are written: Rep. Tom Lantos and Dr. George Habash died at about the same time. The mainstream-media obituaries extolled Tom Lantos for being a leader on human rights (not mentioning his blindness toward Palestinian human rights) and connected his passion for human rights with his experience in Auschwitz. George Habash was rightly portrayed as a leader in Palestinian resistance. However, no context for his passion was given. He was a doctor in Lydda (Lod) when the Israeli forces took the town and expelled the Palestinians. In Lydda, he worked in a hospital where many wounded and dead Palestinians were brought following a massacre.

  • The occupation machine can't run on empathy
    • As the view of Jerusalem includes a view of Deir Yassin, where about 100 Palestinians were massacred on April 9, 1948, it would seem fitting to have a Nakba museum on that site.

  • Israeli gov't study declares West Bank not occupied, Earth flat
  • A Fresh Coat of Paint for the Rubble: The message the Presbyterian Church (USA) sent to Palestinian Christians
    • The satirical reflection offered in the second part of this piece should be read in lieu of scripture at every Presbyterian Church this Sunday.

  • I left my hasbara in San Francisco
    • How about India, Egypt, Iraq (Mesopotamia)? Or do Middle Eastern civilizations stop being continuous when a different religion becomes predominant? India has certainly had a continuous civilization since ancient times.

  • Lobby will go grassroots in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida
    • I, also, would like to see more of Jeff Blankfort again. His knowledge is so detailed and covers such a long period of personal involvement with the I/P issue.

  • Famous Gaza killing featured in 'New Yorker' broke the ceasefire that led to 'Operation Summer Rains'
  • One state, two states and the art of the possible
    • Homingpigeon: "We should be imagineers for the outcome in Israel/Palestine."

      There are some creative plans for solving the conflict. One is Parity for Peace--two states with sovereignty over the whole territory that was once Mandate Palestine, forming what international law calls a condominium. People can live anywhere they want to in the shared territory. Each state governs its own population in personal matters. The two states share governance equally on all matters that relate to the territory, economy, foreign affairs, security, defense, and inter-communal relations. See for details.

      Others have suggested that areas that are 95 % Jewish be the Jewish state, areas that are 95 % Arab be the Arab state, and mixed areas, including Jerusalem, be a condominium.

  • Should we call it apartheid?
  • Senate challenge to Obama on refugees came from Israel
    • For the UN's position on who qualifies for refugee status, see this interview with UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness,, who says (the rest is a block quote):

      UNHCR's Handbook on Procedures and Criteria for determining Refugee Status provides in paragraph 184: "If the head of a family meets the criteria of the definition, [for refugee status] his dependants are normally granted refugee status according to the principle of family unity."

      In effect, refugee families everywhere retain their status as refugees until they fall within the terms of a cessation clause or are able to avail themselves of one of three durable solutions already mentioned -- voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement in a third country.

      Also, Chapter 5 of the UNHCR publication, Procedural Standards for Refugee Status Determination under UNHCR’s Mandate is very clear that in accordance with the refugee’s right to family unity, refugee status is transferred through the generations. According to Chapter 5.1.2 "the categories of persons who should be considered to be eligible for derivative status under the right to family unity include:" "all unmarried children of the Principal Applicant who are under 18 years."

      Chapter 5.1.1 makes it clear that this status is retained after the age of 18. It states "individuals who obtain derivative refugee status enjoy the same rights and entitlements as other recognised refugees and should retain this status notwithstanding the subsequent dissolution of the family through separation, divorce, death, or the fact that the child reaches the age of majority."

      In addition, UNHCR typically cites a Palestinian refugee population number in their State of the World's Refugees reports: see as an example this document. This makes clear that the practice of registering descendants of refugees is not disputed.

  • Israel lobby's favorite senator tries to erase Palestinian refugee status for millions
  • Walzer says Jews were on the left because the left supported Jews
  • 'Be on our side': Bay Area ad campaign features Palestinian and Israeli women calling for U.S. sanctions against Israel
    • I really like the tone of these NorCal Sabeel ads. They stress the positive: peace with equality and justice, Israelis and Palestinians working together. They are a great contrast to the negative ads Stand With Us has put out.

  • Cuba-Gaza parallels explored (by Gaza Center for Political and Developmental Studies)
    • There is something wrong with this sentence: "Literacy in Palestine is the lowest in the world, say experts." According to UNDP, the adult literacy rate in Palestine is 93.8%. There are countries with higher and countries with lower literacy rates.

  • 'Israel Firster' gets at an inconvenient truth
    • A number of years ago, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (my representative) told a group of us sitting in her office in Washington, DC, that other members of Congress had told her that when they had to choose between supporting Israel or supporting the United States, they chose Israel. We did not press for names, and I am sure she would not have given them to us if we had.

  • A regular commenter on this site seeks a more temperate comment board
    • Thank you for publishing this piece. I sometimes forward the article that a Mondoweiss article refers to rather than the Mondoweiss piece because I don't want readers to be put off by the tone of the commentary following the piece. I'd prefer have a more elevated discussion. Some comments add new, relevant information, but you have to wade through a lot to get to them. Bottom line is that the tone of some of the commentary may be hurting our cause.

  • Two strikes for Ethan Bronner; does he get a third?
    • Not only is Bronner's willingness to moonlight for a West Bank firm doing PR work for Israel an indication of bias, but his bias is reflected in his writing, as in this Times article republished in SFGate:
      "Every year in mid-May many Palestinians mark what they call the nakba, or catastrophe, the anniversary of Israel's declaration of independence in 1948 and the start of a war in which hundreds of thousands of Palestinians lost their homes through expulsion and flight" ("Palestinians hit Israel with wave of protests," SFGate, May 16, 2011) In this sentence he inaccurately calls the nakba an anniversary (a day), rather than an event lasting more than a year. He inaccurately puts the focus on the Palestinians' reaction to Israel's declaration of independence rather than on the Palestinians' experience of ethnic cleansing. He ignores the expulsions and flight of some 370,000 Palestinians that occurred during the civil war preceding the declaration of independence and makes it seem that the expulsions and flight were the result of war rather than a campaign that went alongside the wars. His sentence both belittles and ignores the Palestinian experience.

  • Mondoweiss liveblogs the UN General Assembly speeches
    • CNN had some balance after all in that after Netanyahu's speech they had two split-screen commentators who took the sails out of his speech as well.

    • MSNBC ran Abbas for a few minutes then let some commentator take over! I did not want to listen to the commentator instead of the speech, so I switched to CNN, which ran the entire speech. Then CNN had Richard Haas (Jewish?), president of the Council of Foreign Relations, comment on the speech. He did his best to downplay the speech and try to deflate all the hopes raised. Such bias!

  • Palestinian statehood and the struggle for self determination and national rights

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