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Rusty Pipes

"I am a Progressive Christian who wants to see our government act evenhandedly in resolving the conflict in Israel/Palestine, bringing about a just peace." I have been an active participant in I/P diaries at Daily Kos and related blogs (Booman Tribune, Talk to Action, Street Prophets) since 2005.


Showing comments 1202 - 1201

  • 'Killing Gaza' gives faces to statistics of 2014 massacre, echoing Goldstone
    • The last fifteen minutes or so of this conversation between Abunimah, Blumenthal and Norton is very revealing about the effect that divisions over Syria have had on solidarity work within communities supporting Palestinian rights over the past seven years. I find it especially interesting because, in 2011, all of them accepted, if not heavily promoted, the "Syrian Revolution" narrative. Both Blumenthal and Norton over time rejected that narrative; although Abunimah says that he tried to stay neutral, EI attracted attacks from "regime change trolls" when Rania Khalek starting reporting stories that challenged that narrative (and ultimately left EI). Abunimah says that the "regime change trolls" don't allow neutrality, make it difficult for people to focus on Palestine solidarity alone, apart from Syria. Blumenthal and Norton see a confluence of interests between pro-Israel trolls and regime-change trolls.

  • Dems have four congressional candidates willing to criticize Israel -- and 'reap political rewards'
  • Isaac Herzog won't apologize for saying intermarriage is a 'plague'
    • One would think that even the most secular Jews who only hear the word once a year at Passover would know what it means. But maybe there was only an inconvenience of locusts, a straying of frogs, a dilution of blood, a common cold of the first-born.

  • Riveting Thai cave story was missing one element -- Israel to the rescue!
  • Wah!!! Dershowitz shunned on Martha's Vineyard!
  • Laurie Anderson screams in Jerusalem, but has nothing to say about Gaza
  • Portman's move puts pressure on liberal Zionists to take a stand
    • Rather than putting the pressure on Liberal Jews to speak up, I think that Portman's actions and words takes some pressure off Liberal Jews to remain silent, especially beyond inter-Jewish dialogue. Initially, Portman did not want to speak out on specifics, she just wanted to avoid going to Israel at this time. It was the actions of hardliners trying to force her back into line that motivated her to clarify why she wasn't going -- a public statement that backfired on the Brand Israel optics of the award ceremony. So maybe more Liberal Zionists will be emboldened to say publicly that they are horrified by the IDF's actions toward nonviolent protesters in Gaza.

  • Israel just lost American Jews
    • As of yesterday, nothing from Leahy, just his aide:

      An aide to Patrick Leahy, Sanders’ fellow Democratic senator from Vermont, told the publication Splinter that Israel’s actions in Gaza should be considered in light of a US law that prohibits aid to foreign military units that engage in human rights violations.

      Leahy hasn’t tweeted about the matter.

    • Do you have a recent link for the Congress people who have commented on Gaza? As of yesterday, Electronic Intifada adds Barbara Lee to the list, but not Patrick Leahy.

  • Pelosi and 9 Dems had 'excellent meeting' with Netanyahu even as Israel sent 'dozens of snipers' to Gaza
    • Jamie Raskin, a progressive whose father was a co-founder of the Institute for Policy Studies, has had nothing to say about Gaza either. If there was any frankness at all in their conversations, did they mention that the young people in their base increasingly do not support Israel? Did they just mouth allegiance to the 2SS, or was there some acknowledgement that Netanyahu openly dismisses it? " Leader Pelosi said. “At each of these interactions, our delegation reiterated American support for a two-state solution and for enduring peace in the region.”"

  • AIPAC conference will feature lots of liberal Democratic speakers
    • In the age of you-tube, potential 2020 Democratic contenders may not want clips of an AIPAC speech circulating among potential primary voters, especially former Bernie supporters. That doesn't mean that those contenders have stopped soliciting funds from AIPAC's donors or ceased rubber-stamping the vast majority of bills that AIPAC sends to congress.

  • We'll be waiting a long time for Al Jazeera's undercover investigation of Israel lobby
    • Since the beginning of the Arab Spring, Al Jazeera's Middle East coverage has become tainted by Qatar's heavy-handed interference in pushing its Ikhwan-friendly bias (especially in its coverage of countries like Syria, where Qatar has funded the insurgency). AJ has even pulled its punches in criticizing Israel's activities supporting the Al Qaeda- dominated insurgents on the Golan Heights front. At this point, Qatar's assuaging Zionist pressure regarding its American documentary is less of a surprise than that AJ made the documentaries on Britain's and America's Israel Lobbies at all.

  • A Jewish 'sickness': Israeli journalist explains young American Jews' support for Palestinians
    • Haven't they been told about the cherry tomatoes?

      if you look for tikkun olam, the best place is Israel. Because the contribution of Israel to humanity per capita is the highest in the world. But they don’t know it! They have no idea. For them Israel is occupation… They just don’t know!

  • In 'NYT,' Israeli minister calls BDS activists 'enemy soldiers' and compares them to Nazis
    • A common Liberal Zionist mantra has been "Do not Compare." Even though they know that right-wingers make comparisons to Nazis frequently in Israel, how gauche of Bennett to do so in the NYT. Phil mentions in another article, that right-wing Israelis may think thus of the NYT: "“We have to remember, it’s a Jewish newspaper,” Israeli author Ben-Dror Yemini says of the New York Times". But a lot of non-Jews also work for and read the NYT. Such a shonde.

  • The not-so-secret life of Mathilde Krim
  • Palestinian ambassador reveals details about Trump's meetings with Abbas, accuses the U.S. of 'backstabbing'
    • Frankly, the Palestinian ambassador's interview is disturbing. If behind Abbas' proclamation of cutting off negotiations with Israel, the ambassador is begging for resumption of negotiations, all of Abbas' moves at the UN are an empty show, just a move to exert pressure to resume fruitless negotiations, fiddling while Rome burns (or while Israel continues its piece by piece process of consuming Palestine's pizza).

  • 'We’re going to have nothing to do with (peace process) any longer' -- Trump threatens Palestinians
  • Norman Finkelstein's new book on Gaza is a meticulous account of Israel's crimes
    • And then there's Likud's "charter."

    • Palestine's star is on the wane among several Arab nations that have been its wealthiest backers, like Saudi Arabia, that are publicly normalizing relations with Israel and pressuring other Arab nations that they support financially, like parties in Lebanon, to follow suit. The Saudis have not been entirely successful in their efforts. Finkelstein discounts the shifting politics toward Palestine in Europe and among American young people, who follow events in Palestine through social media and in spite of the neglect of the MSM and Human Rights groups.

    • While it is not the focus of Finkelstein's book, his indictment of the neglect of Gaza by purported "human rights" organizations is searing. Anyone who has followed the neocon/neolib assaults on Libya and Syria closely cannot have failed to see how Amnesty International and especially Human Rights Watch have been complicit in American, British and French efforts to launch regime change in those countries based on the questionable "Responsibility to Protect" doctrine. While HRW has been a constant presence on Corporate media hyping the threat of Barrel Bombs and Chemical Weapons (based on allegations from Al-Qaeda-linked activists) in Syria, it has neglected to publicize the evidence of Genocide in Gaza. When concern for "Human Rights" is used as a weapon in America's foreign policy arsenal, its enemies get targeted (even if allegations get manufactured) and its friends get a free pass. When organizations that claim to promote Human Rights reflect America's (Britain's or France's) foreign policy priorities, they do not deserve the right to be respected as "independent":

      Finkelstein does have one major new finding. He argues that the major international human rights organizations, after effectively denouncing Israel’s assault on Gaza in 2008-09, have since quieted down, to the point that Human Rights Watch issued only one feeble report after the biggest Israeli attack of all in 2014. Israel’s hasbara (propaganda), along with other kinds of pressure, is successfully whitewashing Israeli crimes.
      His most original finding — and one of the most alarming — is that the mainstream international human rights organizations have been silencing themselves about Gaza. He reports that Human Rights Watch “just barely issued one report” after the 2014 Protective Edge attack, which was the deadliest assault so far. Amnesty International did somewhat better, but he goes on at great length to argue that Amnesty’s reports were so contorted as to constitute a “whitewash.” He also charges that B’Tselem, the most prominent Israeli human rights group, also “acquitted itself without distinction in its reporting on Gaza.”

      His conclusion is deeply pessimistic. He unsurprisingly dismisses the “peace process” as a fraud, and warns that Israel’s power and influence in growing, both in the Mideast and worldwide. “Meanwhile,” he concludes, “Palestine’s star is on the wane,” partly because “the cause of Palestine has now been eclipsed by the numberless humanitarian crises wracking the Middle East.” He predicts that Palestine “will be reduced to the minuscule weight of its demography and territory, and come more slowly to resemble the self-determination struggles in East Timor and Western Sahara.”

    • Finkelstein's continued support for a 2SS is based in large part on his commitment to International Law and his estimation of what is possible in International fora based on Israel's protection by American politicians. I'd be interested in hearing his take on what Palestine's options are at the UN and ICC, in the aftermath of Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

  • Fearing breakup of Israel lobby, liberal Zionists stress the power of Jewish unity
  • White House official: Kushner and Greenblatt haven't spoken to Palestinian leadership since Jerusalem fallout
    • Since Israel's admission as a member relied upon the UNGA alone, would there be any reason that its suspension would need to involve any other body or committee than the GA (or any risk that the US could thwart the move with a UNSC veto)?

    • Going beyond its suspension of recognition of Israel and its bid for membership in the UN, Palestine and/or its friends should move to have Israel's membership in the UN suspended (since it has failed to comply with the terms of its acceptance into membership for almost 70 years, conditional upon repatriating Palestinian refugees).

  • Netanyahu has taken a wrecking ball to Israel's favorability ratings among Democrats
    • This has already been the DNC's strategy for years: "The DNC will counter by adopting more pro-Israel rhetoric and suppressing Democratic supporters of Palestinian rights." Rather than giving real voice and power to Progressive democrats (Arab-American, Muslim American, BLM, Young voters, Berners, etc.), the DNC continues to resist reform. Maybe the looming 2018 elections will shake their complacency. One of my Establishment Dem friends has finally paused from blaming Berners and Russian interference for Hillary's loss and noticed the Republican suppression of minority voters in states like Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in 2016.

  • Why is the Israeli army finally worried that Gaza is on the brink of collapse?
    • Perhaps they are concerned that Abbas' threats to pursue Sanctions against Israel in International fora are not entirely empty and that charges of Genocide in Gaza could leave Israel's political and military elite vulnerable to prosecution.

  • Ahed Tamimi has polarized western opinion -- but stirred some liberals to solidarity
    • International Law has a long tradition of supporting the rights of an occupied people to resist. The resistance at Nabi Saleh is mostly nonviolent, but entirely unarmed. Even the children at Nabi Saleh have become accustomed to using nothing but their bodies -- their hands, feet and teeth -- to protect members of their family and their village (as is evident in the famous photo of the women and children who are resisting the abduction of a Tamimi child).

  • Anti-Christianism
    • I'm a Liberal Christian and I don't find the cartoon anti-Christian. I have some friends and family members who identify as Evangelicals who might find it offensive; but none of them live in Alabama, so maybe not. For the past forty years, fundamentalist Christians have been trying to coopt the broader umbrella-term, "evangelical" to try to spread their version of extreme right politics to a wider moderate to conservative group of Christians. Even though some of the leaders of the Moral Majority have died or semi-retired, there are still efforts to hold the Religious right together. Politicians like Donald Trump and Roy Moore have tested the strength of that alliance, not only because of their "moral shortcomings" but because of their lack of repentance (indeed, doubling down on defending actions which evangelicals consider sinful).

  • Israeli consul warns American Jews: 'Our marriage is Catholic -- no divorce'
    • Unlike many American Jews, Dayan seems unaware of how common annulment is among American Roman Catholics. Dayan acts more like Israel is the man in an Orthodox marriage, refusing to give his wife a Get. More and more American Jews are telling Israel, "I Divorce you" and walking away.

  • Pro-Israel groups' campaign against Linda Sarsour targets another progressive institution -- New School
    • Just to be clear, Linda Sarsour is not universally admired among Arab Americans, supporters of Palestinian rights, Progressives and feminists. For over six years, these communities have been deeply divided over the Syrian conflict. Sarsour's strong vocal support for the Syrian opposition has put her at odds with many Arab Americans (the majority of whom are Christians), Syrian Palestinian refugees (the majority of whom oppose the insurgency), Progressives who oppose the neocon (Bush)/neolib (Obama/Clinton) agenda for taking out seven countries in the Middle East (including Syria) and feminist Bernie supporters who are concerned that the pink pussyhat march and the Resistance are efforts of Establishment Democrats to divert energy away from reforming the Democratic Party into simple anti-Trump rhetoric.

  • Prince Charles decried White House's failure to take on 'Jewish lobby' over Israel
  • Cartoon of Dershowitz mingled appropriate satire and anti-Semitic imagery
    • The cartoon makes Dersh look like a fat contortionist in a black suit (not a stretch for a professor or a lawyer) with one hand and one shoe exposed. The leg's awkwardly bent knee puts it in position to more effectively squash a Palestinian under foot. If anything, it makes fun of fat people.

  • 'NYT' leaves out Dennis Ross's charge to US Jews: 'We need to be advocates for Israel'
    • The only identifier the NYT gives for Ross:

      Dennis Ross is the counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the author, most recently, of “Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israeli Relationship from Truman to Obama.”

      Some people do exist who are not aware that WINEP is a cutout of AIPAC (especially when it is branded as "The Washington Institute"); even more are unaware that Ross was one of its co-founders, with Indyk, nor that "His first WINEP paper called for appointment of a “non-Arabist Special Middle East envoy” who would “not feel guilty about our relationship with Israel.” " Nowhere in Giraldi's article nor in Ross's rebuttal is the term, "Zionist" used. So Giraldi can blame Jewish neocons and Ross can claim that some influential neocons are not Jewish and that he's not a neocon and entirely avoid the bipartisan support among Jewish Zionist pundits (neocons and neolibs) for Middle East wars (against Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran ...) that benefit Israel's foreign policy objectives rather than America's.

  • Elisha Wiesel's Rosh Hashanah remembrance
    • Perhaps the prominent rabbi had recently read one of Norman Finkelstein's works in which he not only coined the phrase “There’s no business, like Shoah business,” but exposed the various ways Wiesel cashed in on the Holocaust Industry and served as one of Israel's most prominent diaspora Hasbarists. A son has the right to remember his father with all the sentimentality he wants. The rest of us are entitled to cringe and walk away.

  • Changing the narrative, from BDS to antifa
    • I am not familiar with the history of "antifa" in the US or Europe; but I am familiar with a pattern at American peace demonstrations over the past several decades. It is very common for anti-war marches with a vast majority of nonviolent demonstrators to be infiltrated by a small cadre of young people (wearing black and masks) who destroy property or attack people. The actions and images of this tiny minority often dominate the media coverage and derail the message of the nonviolent demonstrators. Whatever they are calling themselves this year, I'm sick and tired of them coming to our peaceful events; as far as I am concerned they are agents provocateurs and useful idiots. Some Establishment Democrats and Liberal Zionist organizations and pundits who were fear-mongering during the 2016 election about Trump and the rise of neo-fascists have seemed excited about these anti-fascist activists who have been confronting Trump supporters. Some seem to be resonating with the reasoning of "Fascists have to be confronted and shut down early before they gain traction like in Hitler's Germany." Fantasies right out of Inglorious Basterds.

  • Chomsky still believes in the old Israel. I did too, once upon a time
    • Elizabeth Block, Ilan Pappe has been using the term, "genocide" to describe the situation in Gaza (where over 95% of the water, which is essential for life and health, is undrinkable) for several years. With the siege conditions that have been imposed by Israel for over a decade, it's amazing that a cholera epidemic, like that in Yemen, has not hit Gaza.

  • Both political parties are fighting openly over Israel's role in our policy-making
    • Gillibrand certainly looks like she's running. Her Forward letter certainly looks like a firm commitment for the major donors. But no matter how well she's funded, she doesn't want to get into the primaries on the wrong side of the ACLU and their interpretation of the First Amendment, or she'll lose a lot of support from Progressives (especially those who don't pay attention to Israel/Palestine, but don't want their friends criminalized for having an opinion).

  • Lessons from Finkelstein: International Law and equal rights should be the focus for Palestine solidarity
    • Seth, thank you for this:

      And despite what Finkelstein has come to believe in recent years, there is absolutely a basis for the right of return under International Law. Article 11 in UN resolution 194 states that the refugees have a legal right to return. Amnesty International say they have a legal right of return. Human Rights Watch say they have a legal right of return. And these are powerful institutions and organizations, that are uncontroversial and trustworthy to the broad public, and therefore a strong tool for those of us who seek to reach a broad public.

      If we want to do everything that is in our power for the Palestinian people, to use the means and institutions that are available to us in our countries, to put pressure on the Israeli government and system of oppression, then this is our strongest case: International Law and equal rights.

      International Law is a powerful tool, which we should use as best we can, supporting lawyers and scholars to press those cases. In addition, unlike most UN member states, Israel's acceptance into membership in 1949 was conditional upon its accepting and reintegrating Palestinian refugees. Israel has managed to avoid that obligation for UN membership for almost 70 years; so a review of its status in that body is long overdue. The reason for the delay in that review points to a shortcoming in relying solely upon International Law -- namely enforcement mechanisms (and the International community's inability or unwillingness to apply them to Israel). Legal victories, hard-won though they may be, continue to be symbolic as long as they are not enforced against Israel.

  • Start 'Birthright' earlier and hire conservative professors-- to stem 'national security issue' of Jewish kids abandoning Israel
    • There have always been programs to start Zionist indoctrination early for children whose families are connected to Jewish institutions, like Zionist summer camps and high school confirmation class trips to Israel. Birthright is specifically designed for students who have not had a chance to visit Israel, including students who have not been in the network of Jewish institutions. It's hard to imagine how Birthright could identify unconnected young people before they enter college. More funding for scholarships for existing programs, like camps and class trips, might increase the participation of minors in Zionist immersion experiences. Since parents have to sign permission forms for children under 18, I question how willing they would be to sign their child up for the full Bedouin Tent experience for which Birthright is becoming known.

  • The US and Israel: 'An integrated political system'
    • Israeli Military and Intelligence has become progressively intertwined with the US MIC through decades of diligent shaping of Congressional legislation by the Israel Lobby and by monitoring and unauthorized obtaining US weapons and industry technology and assets by Israeli intelligence. For years, Israel has been one of the top foreign countries that have spied on American industries. Netanyahu helped pilfer nuclear triggers in the 80s. Congress has passed exceptions for Israeli companies to allow them to produce components for US military hardware that is supposed to be produced only by US companies. Israel has marketed itself as the "start-up nation" and lobbied states, like California, to sign technology deals. Just because the Lobby does not have to try as hard to maintain this state of affairs does not mean that they have not been instrumental in our country's having gotten to this point.

  • Jews made America great so 'we deserve our influence' on Israel policy, Dershowitz tells Scarsdale synagogue
  • 'Look, I didn't write that letter' -- Sanders on defensive for signing letter slamming UN on Israel
    • No one expects that Bernie wrote that letter. There may be serious doubts that anyone in the Senate even wrote the draft of that letter. The question is whether any Senate staff member bothered to make any changes to the letter that AIPAC drafted for the Senate. Too many congresscritters are still in the mindset of worrying about getting passing marks on their AIPAC report cards.

  • Abbas fears the prisoners’ hunger strike
    • I'd bet that Abbas is a lot more threatened by Mahmoud Dahlan than Marwan Barghouti. Dahlan, whose thuggish allies in Gaza helped unravel the unity government in 2007, has been shopping around for backing from various Arab leaders. Over the past decade, Abbas has made many moves to keep Dahlan and his faction out of leadership in Fatah --not too difficult in the West Bank, because Dahlan hasn't been very popular. As Cook notes, the greatest threat to the PA from the hunger strike is that Palestinians will respond violently to the death(s) of strikers. Then Netanyahu may finally get the violent intifada he's been trying to provoke for several years. Netanyahu would love the excuse of "terrorism" to flatten the West Bank the way he flattened Jenin in the last intifada, because he still assumes that he can easily manage the narrative for America's MSM.

  • Broad coalition attends teach-in on Israel lobby ahead of AIPAC conference
    • I'm afraid that Israel's leadership is content with the reality of its one-state Apartheid solution. As long as the US continues to send military aid and protect it in the UNSC, Israel can continue to push its program of Ethnic Cleansing under the rubric of protecting its security. Other nations and the BDS movement will need to make strong in-roads in isolating Israel long before US or UN Sanctions would be approved. Let's hope there are still some Palestinians left in Palestine by then.

  • If baseball coverage of Team Israel is 'the story of Israel itself,' then we should not forget the Palestinians
    • "Mensch on the Bench" is more likely targeted to a diaspora audience than Israeli. Not only does the yiddish, "mensch" rhyme with "bench" in English. But also, being a "Mensch" is valued among American Jews -- whereas the same behavior may get one labeled as a "Freier" in Israel.

  • Jewless Holocaust. Israel first.
  • Netanyahu's tweet for Trump suggests two leaders have cut a deal on Jerusalem or Iran, says former ambassador
    • Then again, maybe the ultimate promoter of Brand Israel is just promoting one of Israel's brands: the Israeli company that built Israel's wall could bring some money home if it got the contract for Trump's Mexico wall.

    • Cut a deal? Maybe. Or Netanyahu may simply be responding to Trump's initial positive signals to Israel (choice of Ambassador, Kushner as top advisor, Jerusalem embassy move, tear up Obama's Iran deal), by buffing Trump's well-known ego. Aligning with a settlement-friendly Trump may also help Netanyahu's domestic standing.

  • More and more people see 'one state only' but Remnick fears it will be like Bosnia
    • I see the Remnick quote that mentions civil war, but see nothing about Ethnic Cleansing. Indeed, the greater danger of the one-state reality is that GOI will use civil "unrest" or "uppity Arabs" as an excuse for stepped up Ethnic Cleansing (and if any MSM reporter ever-so-slightly hints at the reality on the ground, the network will need to air a few Israel human interest stories to atone). Even as awareness of Palestinian human rights grows among American activists, I don't see our politicians willing to act to halt the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.

  • Video: Support for one democratic state grows as Palestinians lose hope in two-state solution
    • UN would have to declare that Israel is committing Apartheid and/or Ethnic Cleansing/Genocide, which would compel it to enforce sanctions. The US would block those in the UNSC. The UN General Assembly could declare again that Zionism is Racism, but such a declaration would need teeth to make a difference on the ground. The UN General Assembly could withdraw or suspend Israel's membership until such time that it fulfills the obligations it committed to in order to be accepted as a member of the UN in 1951(?) -- accepting the return of Palestinian refugees. Palestine could dissolve as a nation and demand for its citizens to be given full rights as Israeli citizens. The US could also block enforcement of that in the UNSC.

  • US watched ISIS rise in Syria and hoped to 'manage' it -- Kerry on leaked tape
    • Bill Neely is better informed on this issue than most in American MSM and he has interviewed Bashar Assad in Damascus. His tweet reflects that level of awareness. That may not translate into what the network wants him to cover on air.

  • Desperate Netanyahu lectures Obama about US responsibility to veto UN resolution
    • No doubt, you've seen Abunimah's objections to this resolution at EI. Unsurprisingly, he objects that it locks Palestine and Israel into a 2SS. Other weaknesses he notes are its declaring post 2001 settlements illegal (thereby giving Israel a chance to stake a claim on pre-2001 settlements). He also notes that there are no teeth visible in this resolution:

      Since there are already plenty of resolutions on the books which use almost identical – and often stronger – language why is a new resolution needed?

      All that is needed is for action to enforce existing resolutions – such as sanctions on Israel.

      But this resolution, like its predecessors, takes no action. In a masterful example of empty diplomatic phrasing, the draft only commits the Security Council “to examine practical ways and means to secure the full implementation of its relevant resolutions.”

      This leisurely “examination” has been going on for half a century now while Israel continues to violently steal and colonize Palestinian land.

  • Israel threatens to toss Antony Loewenstein after he asked Lapid question about apartheid
  • I'm not worried about anti-Semitism
    • I suspect that among Puerto Rican and Mexican-Americans the percentage against Trump was higher and among Cuban-Americans the percentage for Trump (especially after Obama opened up relations with Cuba) was higher.

  • Epic battle looms over accused anti-Semite entering White House, and 'NYT' graywashes the moment
    • Breitbart might more accurately be characterized as a white separatist site, home to about four overlapping communities (one of which, the "1488ers" AKA neo-Nazis, have anti-Semitism as part of their ideology):

      what, according to Breitbart, does the alt-right want? The agenda is frankly segregationist: “They want to build their homogeneous communities,” after “liberals” allow

      conservative areas of their countries to reject the status quo on race, immigration and gender…. They want their own communities, populated by their own people and governed by their own values.

      And if they don’t get their way? “The risk otherwise is that the 1488ers start persuading people that their solution to natural conservatives’ problems is the only viable one.” The 1488ers—you know, the real racists.

      So, Trump is getting voices in his administration who represent constituencies that support white supremacy and separatists in America. As long as he supports Jewish supremacy and separatists in Israel, the Israel Lobby is not calling him an anti-Semite.

  • Biden speaks for Trump, assuring 'anxious' Jews of 'no diminution' in US support for Israel
    • This is barely two paragraphs of a half-hour speech. Biden is just reiterating the obvious about the influence of the Israel Lobby on any president:

      Even if the new administration were inclined to reduce the commitment, which it is not, Congress would never let it happen, the American people would never let it happen. That’s the point I want to make to all of you.

      You measure your influence on how well you influence me, presidents, vice presidents, secretaries, senators, congressmen, but your influence on the American community at large has been profound. That’s the ultimate guarantor that every American president, and every transition, will never dare, even if they’re inclined — and the Trump administration is not inclined — to reduce the nature of support.

  • New York panel highlights fissures on the left over Syria
    • The only woman on the panel, wearing a miniskirt and plunging neckline, was arguing that she was active in a secular democracy-loving contingency of the insurgency through 2013 and that there are still such members active in Syria (which is why she demanded that the American Left should accept her narrative and support the "revolution"). I'm interested in finding out about where in "liberated" Syria, women can comfortably choose to wear miniskirts.

    • Blumenthal covers the work of USAID's Office of Transitional Initiatives (OTI) in his recent Alternet articles:

      Back in July 2012, a year after the Syrian conflict began, USAID began to lay the groundwork for its Syrian Regional Option. With American analysts excitedly proclaiming the imminent downfall of Bashar Al-Assad and his government, USAID rushed to “provide support to emerging civil authorities to build the foundation for a peaceful and democratic Syria,” according to a USAlD executive report from that year.

      The grants were authorized by USAID’s Office of Transitional Initiatives (OTI), spearheading efforts to encourage what proponents like to call “democracy promotion” in countries like Cuba and Venezuela, but which amount to failed attempts at regime change. In Cuba, USAID’s OTI caused an embarrassing diplomatic incident in 2014 when it was exposed for funding a program aimed at spawning instability and undermining the government through a Twitter-like social network called Zunzuneo.

      Following a series of pilot programs carried out by a for-profit, Washington DC-based contractor called Development Alternatives International (DAI) at a cost of $290,756 to U.S. taxpayers, the OTI began setting up local councils in rebel-held territory in Syria. The idea was to establish a parallel governing structure in insurgent-held areas that could one day supplant the current government in Damascus. According to its 2012 USAID executive summary on the Syria Regional Option (PDF), “foreign extremist entities” already held sway across the country.

      In addition, Palestinians are not all of one mind about either USAID or about Syria. There is a variety of opinion among Palestinians about the role of NGOs -- especially government-linked NGOs like USAID -- in sustaining the occupation as well as differences of opinion about the various actors in Syria (such as Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the US and Israel) and the Syrian government -- including about their historic and promised levels of physical and monetary support for Palestine.

  • 'Atlantic' editor says that Israel's 1948 expulsion of Palestinians was not 'a tragedy'
    • It's quotes like that that make me wonder what folks in Blacks Lives Matter think about Goldberg being appointed as editor of a magazine founded by Abolitionists. Cynically, perhaps it is a reflection of how white people claimed the right to interpret the movement (erasing the Free Blacks who were active in the Abolitionist movement) and continue to twist the legacy of slavery in America.

    • Goldberg is not anywhere near anti-Zionism. As you say, he adopts the JStreet narrative. He's still a Liberal Zionist, but he no longer feels obliged to defend the actions of the current Israeli administration. He's reflecting to the audience the clear splt that he perceives between American Jews (especially younger progressive Jews) and the increasingly right-wing Israeli government -- and he's placing significant responsibility for that growing divide on Netanyahu and the Israeli government. Netanyahu has bitten the hand that feeds him and suffered for it.

  • Jeffrey Goldberg, anti-Zionist
    • I think you're optimistic, Phil. I think that as editor, rather than just a columnist, of a national (anti-abolitionist rooted) magazine, he'll just put his Zionist background out of the spotlight and focus on bringing a variety of American voices to the magazine. Maybe he'll give more room to those with whom he's disagreed. Just because his future is not with Israel doesn't mean that he's going to cut all ties with past sentiments (or opportunism).

  • Israel's bogus history lesson
  • The two-stroke solution
    • I can't imagine how the Secret Service would feel about this. Even if Netanyahu rolls out the red carpet and skips the treatment many Americans of Color receive (strip search, long quiz, #6 on the luggage), there are plenty of crazy settlers who would love to injure Obama even after he's out of office.

  • 'Beholden to AIPAC' -- progressive senators Warren, Murphy, Brown sign letter seeking to limit Obama's actions
    • Politicians who have been worried about their AIPAC scorecards (even those who occasionally risk stepping out of line) have gotten used to signing on to "toothless" resolutions or letters because the only constituents who used to pay attention were Zionists. With the rising influence of the internet over the past decade or so, many more of their constituents are becoming aware of their signatures on AIPAC's napkins.

  • Amos Oz would never stand in the street in Tel Aviv shouting 'Kill all the Arabs'
  • Broadway club cancels 'Black Lives Matter' benefit because of movement's stance on Israel
    • Are people in the entertainment industry more afraid that supporting BLM will get them on the new Blacklist or that supporting BLM is becoming the new Black?

  • Bidding for access to Clinton, Goldberg says Bill can cut peace deal and win Nobel
    • Oh, the logic here is so obvious:

      I am writing this article in the courtyard of East Jerusalem’s American Colony Hotel, one of the loveliest places on Earth, and an epicenter of intrigue during the glory days of the peace process, in the 1990s. Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, set himself up here during his lengthy, unsuccessful term as a Middle East peace negotiator starting in 2007. There’s no reason the U.S. government couldn’t rent much of the place out for Bill Clinton. I think he would enjoy it very much, and my guess is that Hillary, and in particular her top aides, might enjoy having him here as well.

      Maybe the Clintons' dirty laundry is all so well explored that there is no risk of having Bill entertained in Jerusalem by a series of attractive Mossad agents. Also what risk could there be of any entanglements undermining his efforts to cement a deal?

      Also, as far as Clinton's major donors are concerned, these guys are all losers -- so why would Bill want to compete for the same prize they got? “Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, and Barack Obama—all… are recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize. Exclusion from this group cannot please such a competitive man.” On the other hand, Henry Kissinger and Elie Wiesel also got the prize ...

  • After building a protest movement, West Bank village of Nabi Saleh steps back from weekly Friday protests
  • Syrian death tolls and the kinder gentler jihadists
    • Thank you for revealing the stark contrasts between how our media relies on outside groups and data in reporting the destruction caused by countries in and out of favor.

      I would note that a slice of the Left does make exact parallels between Gaza and "liberated" (insurgent-held) areas of Syria. Qatar has been one of the major backers of the Syrian insurgency from the beginning. Its state-owned media, Al Jazeera, has extolled Muslim Brotherhood-allied insurgents across countries touched by the Arab Spring as revolutionaries and freedom-fighters. Many Progressives who had come to rely on AJ for its coverage of Palestine before the Arab Spring, continue to accept Qatar's framing of the conflict.

  • Huma Abedin dumps Anthony Weiner, occupation denier
    • Abedin and Clinton would have done well to have maintained some clear professional separations. Much as their private lives have made the headlines, this scandal about Weiner's sexting is minor compared to the role that Abedin had in both the Clinton Foundation and the State Department at the same time. Just another aspect about Clinton's "carelessness" with classified information and carelessness about the "appearance of impropriety" with donor access.

  • Progressive foreign policy missing from revised Sanders revolution
    • I went to one of the local Sanders watch parties; not only was Foreign Policy absent from his speech -- it's absent from the issues page at the Our Revolution site.

      After the presentation, one of our delegates told us some highlights of the convention. His retelling of the Panetta speech and "No More War" berniecrat chants got lots of laughs and cheers from the local supporters. There certainly continues to be support among Bernie's base for a more cooperative, less belligerent foreign policy.

      I know many Leftists and Greens who crossed over to voter for Bernie who will be supporting Jill Stein. I have heard varying opinions from my Progressive Democrat friends about whether they will vote for Clinton or Stein. With Clinton polling in the double digits against Trump, some of those Democrats may feel safer voting for Stein at this point.

  • Druze Arabs in the occupied Golan Heights discuss borders, identity, colonialism and war
    • Perhaps if Cantu had managed to find some other "Arabs" from the Golan Heights to interview, maybe from among those residents whom his interviewees admit to being in the majority, we might have gotten a more rounded picture of what it is like to be Syrian Druze in the occupied Golan Heights. Druze in different communities (Lebanon, Syria, occupied Golan and Israel 48) have divergent opinions on Bashar Assad, the Syrian Government and the Israeli government:

      WT: You asked what the connection to Syria looks like now. Because of what’s happened in 2011, it took things into flesh and blood, so it is no longer just something spiritual. After [the Syrian revolution] began, some of us in Majdal Shams, artists and others, wrote a manifesto that supported, very obviously and very directly, the demonstrators and revolutionaries in Syria, the peaceful people who were demanding freedom and dignity and so on. And we were also very obviously against the regime of Bashar Assad. So this was the moment of how a big gap developed in Majdal Shams between people here supportive of the revolution and people who supported the regime.

      AC: Did some people here see loyalty to Assad as part of their opposition to the Israeli occupation?

      WT: Some. [Supporters of the regime in Majdal Shams] took photographs of Assad and brought it in our faces, saying, “This is our god whether you want it or not, and he will be forever,” and so on. And the supporters of the regime succeeded in gathering more people than our side. They’re the same people who gather at the border twice a year and shout [to counterparts in Syria], “You are the best!” “No, you are the best,” and so on, this comedy took place for 20 years, every year, people lying to each other. And this was also one aspect that made young people feel that political life was disgusting. But for two or three years after 2011, things became very directly said and expressed, and even people here stopped speaking to each other and greeting each other.

      AC: What happened as the war went on?

      WT: When things in Syria went in other ways and the fundamentalists took the scene, things started to calm down [here]. The amount of blood and killing people see every day made people feel something… it meant there was something wrong in their original thinking, it’s not just one narrative. And people thought the regime will, you know, support the Druze, but Assad has killed the Druze, too. But the other part of it is, as Syria continues to be in chaos, there is less opposition to Israel’s occupation here.

  • Sanders-backed candidate in FL says Wasserman Schultz won't 'protect' Israel
    • So, rather than focusing on turning out the 35% of Bernie voters in the district for the special primary (which generally have low turnouts), he's trying to grab some of DWS' voters from the Zionist right. Among those 35% are possibly some young African Americans and Arab-Americans whom he could alienate with that tactic.

  • Sanders delegates recount 'Orwellian' message control by Clinton supporters during DNC
    • Did anyone get the Bernie email about helping to take back the Senate? I think that Bernie supporters should make it clear that they will give no support if it means helping Chuck Schumer (AKA Israel's Shomer) become majority leader (especially after the way the establishment treated Palestinian advocates at the convention).

  • New York Times's breathless story on landing interview with Netanyahu reads like 'the Onion' on crack
  • Hillary Clinton has a decision to make
  • Elie Wiesel is Dead
    • Frankly Marc, your assessment of Wiesel is far too generous. With all of the hagiographies in the MSM, I need a strong dose of Norman Finkelstein's old books at this point.

  • As occupation enters its 50th year, draft Democratic platform won't say the word
    • Any guess at how much of the next month is going to be dedicated in the MSM to his hagiographies?

    • Saudi Arabia is the leading State sponsor of terrorism in the region, by supplying funding, indoctrination and recruits. Turkey and Qatar are close competitors -- Turkey, by facilitating the transportation of weapons and recruits through its territories and Qatar, through funding and propaganda.

  • Harvard scholar calls for US-Israel treaty to 'lock in' special relationship before young Democrats end the romance
    • Israel defined its borders when it petitioned to become a member of the United Nations. It will not like to be reminded about what a small percentage of historic Palestine that was, nor that the UN has not recognized larger borders (acquired by war) since then.

      Israel also wouldn't like to be reminded that part of its agreement for being accepted as a member state of the UN was to allow the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. More than 65 years later, Israel still hasn't fulfilled that commitment. Maybe it's time for the UN to review Israel's qualifications for membership.

  • Unlawful and brutal attack on Turkish boat improves with age in the New York Times
    • As the autopsy reports verify, the Israeli commandos sprayed the deck of the Mavi Marmara with machine gun fire as they descended from the helicopter, which downed Furkan Dogan. The only shots they had encountered from Furkan Dogan on the deck were from his camera shutter. The Israelis instigated the violence at every stage.

    • Nine Turkish victims and one American citizen, Furkan Dogan.

  • Dershowitz approves Clinton's 'muscular foreign policy,' and Sen. Warren is a 'surprising Israel hawk'
    • She has already shown that proclivity as Secretary of State in Honduras, Ukraine, Libya and Syria.

    • Warren could woo back the "Run, Warren, Run" progressives who pushed her to be a candidate for over a year and only reluctantly jumped on the Bernie bandwagon when they finally accepted that her "no" meant "no." A Warren pick could also help some other progressive Democrats feel less depressed about the Clinton ticket. But for those progressives who were attracted to Bernie primarily for his economic message, a Warren pick would have to be more than symbolic: Hillary would have to do more to make them feel hopeful -- like taking Bill off the economic team (if she had to pick out china, so can he), and accepting Bernie's economic proposals in the DNC platform.

      But some progressive Democrats feel so angry and betrayed by the DNC and the Clinton people that they will not vote for her, no matter who her running mate is (Warren's sounding like a typical fundraising Senator at AIPAC won't help Hillary win these folks over). Most Independent Bernie supporters I have met would rather vote for Jill Stein.

    • Oh no, he's gonna broker a deal, a huge deal. More beautiful than any deal you could imagine. He'd love to tell you all of the details he has in store for the deal. But then he'd give away his negotiating position. But it's gonna be beautiful. All sides will love it -- especially his friends, the Israelis.

  • The view from Gaza: 'The Turkish government has sold us out and wants us to be grateful'
    • Refreshing to see that you have all the talking points down consistent with the neocon playbook of regime change in seven MENA countries, including Syria. GOI has such humanitarian concern for the people of Syria that it is willing to operate as Al Nusra's MASH unit for Golan operations, but will not even allow Palestinians from Syria to take refuge in Israel/Palestine.

  • Media accusations of blood libels -- against Abbas and Sanders -- amplify a Jewish tribal fantasy
    • Unfortunately, the well-known realities among Palestinians that right-wing Rabbis, like the IDF's Chief Rabbi, incite soldiers to kill Palestinian children, that Hebron-hills settlers poison Palestinian flocks and that settlement waste water and sewage contaminate Palestinian fields and ground water can lead Palestinians to accept claims about Israelis in Arab media without fact-checking.

  • Democratic establishment wants to make Palestinians go poof in platform
    • If J Street can craft compromise language, Bernie would probably be thrilled to take it because the majority of his supporters are more focused on his proposed domestic policies . It would probably be closer to language that reflects the views of the majority of Democratic Jews, even if it does not reflect fully the justice concerns of Palestinians.

      It would be a coup by J Street over AIPAC, even if it upsets the more hardline of the Democrats' Zionist donors. By the convention, the Democratic nominee will already be pretty well set for cash and will need to be more concerned about getting the base motivated to vote.

  • Facebook hires longtime Netanyahu adviser
    • Another reminder that I spend too much time on facebook -- mostly weeding through junk from acquaintances. Facebook doesn't provide precise enough tools to show me the kind of information I care about getting from my friends and family, so that my time is not consumed with the minor details of their lives.

  • Barak says Trump should name Rice or Gates v.p. to improve his chances from 30 percent
    • If he's referencing Zabotinsky, Barak is even out-of-touch with American Liberal Zionists -- who still may idolize Ben-Gurion. Condi Rice and Robert Gates are not power-hungry enough to want to spend 24/7 next to an ego-maniac like Trump, even if it puts them one step away from the top. Are there any Republicans other than Trump's friend Chris Christie who would be willing to take the spot?

    • Barak is delusional if he thinks that Netanyahu could have gotten this from Obama: "Netanyahu should have accepted the inevitability of the deal a year ago and done his utmost to get concessions from the Obama administration. For instance, Israel could have gotten a large role in monitoring Iran and demanded from the U.S. the military “means to execute an independent surgical operation” against Iran if it violated the terms of the deal." Clinton, maybe, but not Obama. Netanyahu's arguing against Obama on the floor of Congress just made it easier for the American people to see the daylight between America's interests and Israel's.

  • 'We are Israel and Israel is us' -- Governor Cuomo ends all the confusion!
  • A government blacklist aimed at political beliefs -- NYCLU and UCC come out against Cuomo's BDS order
    • It is not clear whether mainline church divestment measures would be covered here, because most of them have been targeted not at Israeli companies, but at American companies whose businesses help Israel enforce the occupation of Palestine (like Caterpillar, Motorola and Hewlett Packard). However, Mainline church boycott measures clearly would be covered here, as they target the goods of Israeli companies that are produced in settlements in occupied Palestine. Some of the measures have mentioned specific products, like Medjool dates from the Jordan Valley, others have been broader in scope. Every local mainline church in the state of New York might be said to be participating, through a parent institution (denomination), in this boycott campaign to penalize Israel as a means of coercing political action.

      Should we mention that some of these denominations have been advocating for the return of Palestinians and a just and peaceful resolution since 1948? Does continuing to issue regular appeals to politicians to pressure both sides evenhandedly constitute promoting others to coerce political action or impose policy positions (like abiding by international law) on the government of Israel?

  • Shift: Two NY Jewish leaders describe checkpoints, innocent Palestinians killed, and 'good Jews' who denounce Israel
    • I wish that I could be as optimistic as you are about the leadership, Phil. I wasn't there; so I didn't hear the full context of these statements.

      The Hillel director's statement sounded like an Israeli sensibility to me -- calling Reform Jews, "secular." It sounded as though she was blaming some American Jewish parents for bringing their children up to be such "good Jews" that they become too soft-hearted, which leaves them open to deceptive tactics pushing human rights and justice that they become Palestinian advocates' "freiers." It sounded as though she thought these kids needed better indoctrination.

      The AJC director's statement sounded a bit more challenging. He was telling them that they could not afford to dismiss all people who consider BDS as anti-Semites. From his experience in trying to persuade people against BDS, he was finding that some of them experienced visiting Israel/Palestine differently than American Jews (especially those who visit the West Bank). He also heard people question whether Israelis share our values (we don't destroy peoples' homes). It's possible that he's only asking for a kinder, gentler occupation -- which would make it a lot easier to change the subject from BDS to talking about how much Israel wants peace.

  • How Eli Lake tricks readers so as to cast realists Walt, Mearsheimer and Freeman as anti-semites
    • The Saudi-Zionist axis wants to destroy Iran, Russia and Venezuela. Venezuela's independence and charitable giving under Chavez, when oil revenues were high, were a source of irritation to Israel and its supporters.

  • 'Either Assad or we'll burn the country' - An excerpt from 'Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War' (Update)
    • Better to read "Syria is Burning," by Charles Glass (a real journalist) than "Burning Country" by these citizen "activists," who have recycled the propaganda from MSM and Gulf media over the past five years into a coherent narrative.

    • Actually, it looks as though it was released on 11/30/15, but written during the Albright years at the end of Bill's term, 12/31/00. The sender and recipient aren't available. But this looks boilerplate PNAC rationale. This is before Bashar had done much of anything in office, so it is only in reaction to Syria's policies towards Israel:


      Date: 2000-12-31 22:00
      Subject: NEW IRAN AND SYRIA 2.DOC

      UNCLASSIFIED U.S. Department of State Case No. F-2014-20439 Doc No. C05794498 Date: 11/30/2015

  • Are Clinton and Sanders really all that different on Israel/Palestine?
    • On most foreign policy issues, Bernie has aligned himself with Obama -- and where he has disagreed with Obama, he has been in even stronger disagreement with Clinton who was pushing Obama toward those hawkish positions (like regime change). Obama would find any peace initiatives furthered more by a subsequent Sanders than Clinton presidency.

      As an aside, the Feel the Bern site is not an official statement of the Sanders campaign.

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