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  • Ocasio-Cortez hedges criticisms of Israel-- 'I may not use the right words'
    • Annie Robbins [emphasis added]:

      [Ocasio-Cortez:] I just look at things through a human rights lens, and I may not use the right words– I know this is a very intense issue.

      that to me is not an apology. i just didn’t hear her apologize nor walk back her words. furthermore, she comes from DSA, she has not walked back anything from DSA and they voted 90-10 to boycott israel.

      And it should be pointed out that "looking at things from a human rights standpoint" has been the fundamental strategy adopted by the BDS movement--and it's been extremely effective.

    • echinococcus: clear, unequivocal stance

      She's against the occupation, against the settlements, against Israeli war crimes, and in favor of a two state solution.

      You may not like that stance, but I don't see much equivocation there.

    • Philip Weiss:

      Liberal Zionists have had it both ways for too long: supporting a “Jewish state” that they also claim is a “democracy.” Trump has marked the end of that farce. Now they must give up a cherished dream; the liberal Zionists who want to shape the future will have to build coalitions with Palestinians and anti-Zionists.

      From the Palestinian and anti-Zionist standpoint, what we are seeing is what activist and writer Sarah Schulman told us would happen five years ago: As you go from a vanguard movement to a broad-based movement, you must give up some of your litmus tests, egotism, and ideological purity, in the name of change.

      Everyone, be nice.
      [emphasis added]

    • echinococcus: Avnery and a bunch of “Labor” and our very own Johnny S all support a boycott of the post-1967 territories

      I'm talking about the official BDS movement which does NOT restrict itself to post-1967 territories.

    • Eljay: I’ve made it very clear that I oppose any type of supremacist state including a “Jewish State”. Has she said or implied the same? Didn’t think so

      C'mon Eljay, her entire life, her entire record, makes it clear that she opposes racism and ethnic supremacism.

      For you to suggest otherwise, absent even a shred of evidence, is grossly unfair if not slanderous.

    • Eljay: given that she “believe[s] absolutely in Israel’s right to exist”, is “a proponent of the two state solution”

      Support for Israel's continued existence and a two state solution is perfectly compatible with the BDS movement.

      In fact, it's perfectly compatible with your own finely-honed anti-Zionist position as well.

      [Eljay:] As you know - and I know you know this - I advocate a solution comprising two secular and democratic state.

      * * *
      [Eljay:] IMO a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict should (perhaps too obviously) include Israel.

      What it shouldn't include is any type of supremacist state, including religion-supremacist "Jewish State".

      Has she said or implied anything about a Jewish supremacist state?

  • Netanyahu’s war on transcendence 
  • US Jewish leader expresses compassion for refugees at US border-- and contempt for Palestinian refugees
    • jon s: Yesterday the goverment decided to impose a near-siege on Gaza. [...] I doubt that increasing the misery among the long-suffering people of Gaza will cause enough pressure on Hamas for them to stop the arson.

      You doubt the efficacy of this collective punishment . What about its morality and legality?

  • Birthright walkout is met with vitriolic rage in Israel -- 'Radicals' 'You will get raped'
    • Misterioso : Reality: NEWSWEEK – 5/10/18 “More Israelis are moving to the U.S.—and staying for good”

      But net migration remains positive: more people are immigrating to Israel than emigrating.

      Even more importantly, the Jewish Israeli birthrate is very high; the population will double in 40 some years, with Jews maintaining their super-majority. If more educated, secular Israelis leave, that just means a hyper-militaristic, nuclear-armed Israel becoming even more right-wing and bellicose. Nothing to cheer about.

  • "A Watershed Moment in Palestinian History": Interview with Jamal Juma’
    • Nathan: It just can’t be that the same person is complaining that there won’t be a separation AND then he appears leading a demonstration against the separation.

      Allow me to clear up your (willful) confusion. The demonstration is NOT against a separation that would allow a fully independent and viable Palestinian state. Rather the demonstration is against the Apartheid Wall which in fact PREVENTS such separation and independence.

      Jamal Juma’: It is clear that the wall was designed to isolate and lay siege to Palestinians.

      To "isolate and lay siege" is a far cry from to separate in order to allow the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

      Jamal Juma’: The project to place Palestinians under siege by means of the wall has been completed. It closed off all the dynamic areas that Israel considered necessary to isolate various areas. Eighty percent of the Wall is within the West Bank.

      The second part of the siege is reinforcement of the settlements. Each settlement has what Israel calls a buffer zone – a security apparatus consisting of barbed wire and roads that Palestinians are not allowed to use. This, together with the alternative (bypass) roads (which we call the apartheid roads), allows them to control the territory. Today there are two road networks: one is for Israeli settlers, about 1,400 km long, and its purpose is to connect all settlements to one another and to Israel in a kind of network.

      So the Apartheid Wall works together with settlement expansion and the imposition of an apartheid occupation regime (dual system of law, dual road system, buffered settlement projects, checkpoints, military control etc.). To repeat: it is NOT designed to separate a Palestinian state from Israel. Just the opposite: it is designed to PREVENT a Palestinian state from coming a reality.

      Jamal Juma’: When you talk about Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim, and so on, it will be as though the entire West Bank is a suburb of Tel Aviv. This will make it impossible for there to be any separation in the future, for there to be any independent Palestinian entity; instead, an apartheid system of cantons will be imposed on Palestinians.

      Since the Apartheid Wall works together with the apartheid settlements, apartheid roads, etc. to create an apartheid system of cantons, there is absolutely no contradiction in opposing that wall and pointing out that such an apartheid system (supported by the wall) precludes an independent Palestinian state.

    • The 'ultimate deal' that Jared Kushner is proposing for Palestine would strip the people of all their dignity

      After three Arab-Israeli wars, tens of thousands of Palestinian deaths and millions of refugees, does Kushner really believe that the Palestinians will settle for cash?

      Robert Fisk

    • Excellent article. Laser-sharp analysis of recent developments.

  • Liberal Zionists say that Israel and the U.S. are in the same struggle against rightwing forces
  • Israeli activists respond to Palestinian call, hang photos of fallen protesters along Gaza fence
    • Annie Robbins: no i don’t appreciate that notion. a self defined community activist, alexandria ocasio-cortez, just ousted the 4th ranking dem congress person. most people don’t liken activists to extremists unless the cause is extreme

      Well-stated. I agree completely.

  • One Democratic State: an ongoing debate
    • Mooser: What do you have in mind for the IDF?

      From Jeff Halper's previous article:

      [The ODSC Program For One Democratic State Between The Mediterranean Sea And The Jordan River ]

      2. Individual Rights. No State law, institution or practices may discriminate among its citizens on the basis of national or social origin, color, gender, language, religion or political opinion, property, sexual orientation or other status. A single citizenship confers on all the State’s residents the right to freedom of movement, the right to reside anywhere in the country, and equal rights in every domain. All mechanisms of governance, law enforcement and security shall be thoroughly integrated on the basis of individual merit, including the military and internal security and police forces. The IDF and other Israeli security and police forces will be replaced by newly constituted national forces.

  • Gaza protests are where we say 'NO' to Trump's decision to move embassy -- demonstrator explains
    • genesto : You can recognize the existence of a Palestinian ‘state’, as a people with nationalistic ambitions, without supporting the two-state solution.
      And you can support a two-state solution without being a Zionist.

      Why do Zionists falsely claim BDS movement opposes two-state solution? by Ali Abunimah February 2013

      […] any informed person would know that the vast majority of organizations represented on the Palestinian Boycott National Committee (BNC) – the movement’s steering group and collective leadership – explicitly support a two-state solution. You can see a list of organizations that currently make up the BNC.

      Omar Barghouti makes this point in his book BDS: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights:

      While individual BDS activists and advocates may support diverse political solutions, the BDS movement as such does not adopt any specific formula and steers away from the one-state-versus-two-states debate , focusing instead on universal rights and international law, which constitute the solid foundation of the Palestinian consensus around the campaign. Incidentally, most networks, unions, and political parties in the BNC still advocate a two-state solution outside the realm of the BDS movement. (pages 51-52)

  • Democrats are losing their fear of AIPAC and Haim Saban
  • Mr. Lansman comes to Tel Aviv: Jeremy Corbyn's senior ally wants to restrict free speech on Israel
  • US leaves UN Human Rights Council, a 'cesspool' of bias against Israel
    • Eva Smagacz: Every time US has a hissy fit and leaves an international forum, its ability to influence that forum becomes non-existent.

      No, the U.S. can still influence the forum via friendly state members such as Saudi Arabia.

      Meanwhile, US funding of the HR council and the HR Commmisioner is cut off completely.

  • Mal Hyman's outspokenness on Gaza massacre is a sign of things to come in Democratic races
    • Marnie : Jews ‘found’ it?

      No, they "founded" it.

  • Killings shouldn't be necessary for world to hear Gaza voices
    • Stephen Shenfield: Even if the march had been conducted in a totally non-confrontational manner, as its original organizers had wanted, Israeli soldiers would still have shot unarmed protesters.

      Perhaps, but the numbers killed and injured would have been drastically reduced, and the effectiveness of the protests as well.

      Civil disobedience has always been an essential feature of the non-violent strategy adopted by Gandhi, MLK et al.

      Civil disobedience is meant to challenge and disrupt the daily operations of the oppressive regime as well as trigger a violent response that sparks public outrage and delegitimizes the authorities.

      Civil disobedience involves direct confrontation and breaking unjust laws, not non-confrontational, law-abiding protests.

      Consider Gandhi’s confrontational tactics in the famous Salt March ( ). Or MLK’s call for “direct action” and the willingness to “break laws” in his Letter from Birmingham Jail ( ).

      But Gaza is not like Ghandi’s India, or the U.S, or the West Bank, for that matter. There are no accessible targets for civil disobedience inside Gaza because there is no Israeli occupying regime on the ground there. The only potential targets are the border itself and the blockade, and confronting those targets requires confronting the Israeli military head on. And that, of course, guarantees a bloody outcome.

      I’m not saying non-violent civil disobedience should be the only, or even the main tactic of Palestinian resistance or that by itself it can produce any great results. (It would likely be far more effective in the W.B. with both the PA regime and the Israeli apartheid apparatus as targets.)

      But are you suggesting that the Gazan Palestinians entirely abandon any strategy of civil disobedience? If not, how can they engage in civil disobedience if they don’t directly confront the Israeli military?

  • A boyhood shadowed by the impending fall of Palestine
    • Determined to Return

      by Robert Fisk

      [...]Few camps could be more vile than the slums of Chatila, where Mohamed Issi Khatib runs his equally shabby “Museum of Memory” in a hovel adorned with ancient Palestinian farm scythes, photocopies of British and Ottoman land deeds, old 1940s radio sets and brass coffee pots – and keys. Just three of them. One, without even a proper bit, was probably used for an animal shed.

      The Khatib family lost their own key (the one I held belonged to the grandfather of a refugee called Kamel Hassan). Mohamed was born in Lebanon, just after his parents fled al-Khalisa, and a few days before the independence of the new state of Israel was declared.

      * * *

      [...]The documents and brown passports are familiar to me. Over the years, I’ve read through similar papers, land deeds and passports, usually surmounted by the crest of Mandate Palestine’s British “protectors”, that familiar crown, lion and unicorn, and the imprecation honi soit qui mal y pense – “may he be shamed who thinks badly of it”.

      But shamed we Brits were by all this nonsense. Khatib blames us for the Palestinian disaster, and points to the keys. “You did this,” he says, smiling in complicity because we all know the history of the 101-year old Balfour Declaration, which declared Britain’s support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine, but referred to the majority Arab population as “existing non-Jewish communities”.

      But when I ask Khatib if he will ever return to his “Palestine” – a consummation which many Palestinians have in reality abandoned – he insists that he will, and explains his belief with a long and disturbing and quite chilling argument: that Israel is a “foreign body” in the region which cannot survive, which was implanted from outside.

      He sounds, I tell him, like the former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad – a crackpot of Trump-like proportions in my view – and I conclude it must be goodbye to the two-state solution if this is how Arabs plan to regard their future neighbours. But Khatib says – rightly, I fear – that the early Palestinian desire for such a solution has long ago been abandoned in the face of Israeli violence.

      So what, I ask, did the Palestinians do wrong in all these years? Didn’t they make any mistakes? “They did,” he says. “Their mistake was to leave, to go out of Palestine. They should have stayed [in 1947 and 1948]. Our fathers and grandfathers should have stayed, even if they felt themselves in danger, they should have stayed on their land even if they died. My mother said to me once: “Why did we leave? I should have kept you with me and stayed with you there.”

      What a bitter conclusion. Many Palestinians did stay. But many others stayed and died – think Deir Yassin – at a time, just after the Second World War, when the West’s sensitivities were blunted by conflict and did not care if a few hundred thousand more refugees were put out of their homes. I understand Mohamed because parents do not always make wise decisions but, if I was in their shoes – holding my front door key – I’m not sure I would have stayed. Anyway, I would have thought I was only going away for a few days…

      I’ve gone back to his parents’ “Palestine” many times, taken some old keys with me to Israel – the locks had been changed, of course – and knocked on the front doors of those Arab houses that remain, and talked to the Israeli Jews who now live in them. One expressed his sorrow for the former Palestinian owner and asked me to pass on his feelings to him, which I did.

      Another, an old Jewish man originally from a city in southern Poland, a Holocaust survivor who had been driven from his home by the Nazis, his mother murdered in Auschwitz, drew me a map of where he and his parents once lived. I even travelled to Poland and found his old house and knocked on the front door, and a Polish woman answered and asked – as Israelis might ask if they thought the Arabs were going to reclaim their property: “Are they coming back?” Polish law gives former Jewish citizens the right to take back Nazi-confiscated property.

      I acknowledge Mohamed Khatib’s need to remind the world what actually happened to the Palestinians. He asks me why I am “pro-Palestinian” and I reply that I am “pro-truth – but I am not pro-Palestinian”. I’m not sure if he understood the point. His parents’ house had three rooms with a stream beside it, he says. His father was a policeman for the British mandate. I Ieave him, though, with the feeling that history stretches out into the future as well as the past, that he will never return and that his little museum and its keys are a symbol of regret rather than hope.

  • The dangers of conflating anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism
  • 'The Israeli military said,' the New York Times reports
  • 'Every bullet has a precise address' – another Israeli journalist justifies the massacre
    • Eljay, you are correct about the "outposts" idea. Perhaps Stephen Shenfield was referring to this passage toward the end where "terrorists" is omitted, possibly inadvertently.

      ...Margalit knows what the plan is – a “temporary outpost” of children and handicapped on the Israeli side – which as we all know would be an imminent and existential danger, to which we would have to respond by massacring. This wouldn’t look good, but hey, we get away with it don’t we. Most of all it would be “foolish” for the Palestinian children and handicapped because they would die just before their inevitable defeat

      Note: the phrase "most of all it would be foolish for the children and handicapped" implies they wouldn't be the only ones there, which of course, would be absurd. Actually, the whole thing is absurd.

  • Literary hero Yossi Klein Halevi says anti-Zionist Jews aren't Jewish
  • 'I'm targeted by the Israeli army,' Razan al-Najjar said before she was killed
    • American Perspective: You guys are obsessed with “authentic” racial identity, with maintaining the race purity of particular geographic areas...

      Don't feed the troll.

    • American Perspective: Connected Gaza sees the Arab nationalists [sic] surrendering. Surrendering to globalization, surrendering to Israel, surrendering to the future.

      Connected Gaza sees Gaza as:

      Part of an independent Palestinian State, contributing to an emerging transnational city region.

      Creation of an independent Palestinian state is the first step--everything else in the Connected Gaza vision, whatever its worth, follows from that.

      Surrender would not lead to an independent Palestinian state.

      You're spewing nonsense.

  • 'Israel has no choice' -- 'NY Times' columnists largely line up behind Gaza massacre
    • What about Yemen?

      Saudi-backed forces begin assault on Hudaydah port

      The port is the main point of entry for aid for people in rebel-held areas and agencies have warned of a humanitarian catastrophe if it is attacked.

      About eight million people in the war-torn country are at risk of starvation.

      Bombing started after Iranian-backed Houthi rebels ignored a deadline set by the government to withdraw by midnight (21:00 GMT on Tuesday).

      [...]The conflict has created the world's largest food emergency.

    • Keith: [quoting Whitney Webb:] ...the UN’s emergency relief coordinator [...] add[ed] that, if conditions do not improve,the number of Yemenis at the brink of starvation would rise from the current figure of 8.4 million to 18.4 million by this December. "


      18.4 million facing death by starvation! Where's the response to this impending genocide?

      More info:

      Anglo-American Media Complicity in Yemen’s Genocide

      NW Yemen has been blockaded for years now. And the Saudi strategy is working well. Yemen has had up to a million cases of cholera, an illness unheard of in countries with modern antibiotics. Untreated cholera is fatal in about half of all cases (versus 1% when normal treatment is available). Since medical supplies are being blockaded (with the help of the US Navy), and few journalists have made much effort to find out what has been going on in the blockaded areas, we may be dealing with an unreported death toll of half a million people, most of them children.

      Yemen is a perfect target for artificial famine and blockade, because it never had enough farmland to feed its people. Before the Saudi invasion, Yemen imported almost 90% of its food supplies. When the Saudis imposed their blockade, cutting off all food imports to Hodeidah, the one Red-Sea port serving NW Yemen, those imports stopped. There has never been any alternative route for food supplies to Yemen. Even before the war, road traffic between Saudi and Yemenwas all but shut down.

      * * *
      [...]When the Shia fighters pull out — or even if they stay and make a last stand in the rubble of Hodeidah — the blockade will be airtight. From then on, it’s just a matter of waiting for the blockaded population to die off in such numbers that they lose the will to fight.

      * * *
      [...]It’s happened before. It’s how the Nigerian Army crushed the Igbo in Biafra in the 1960s. The Biafrans won on the battlefield, but the Nigerian Army was as well-connected, world-wide, as it was cowardly and corrupt. So it laid out big money to its foreign friends and got a very cooperative silence while it starved Biafra to death.

      That huge international silence had a lot to do with oil and money, just as this one does. When oil, money, and a huge international alliance all line up with the people starving out a troublesome minority, you can expect a complete media blackout on news about those who are dying.

      See also:

      Yemen - The Attack On Hodeidah Is A Prelude To Genocide

  • How to tell when defending Israel is actually racist
    • Keith: Saying that having realistic goals and objectives in regards to Palestine is akin to anti-Arab racism is bullshit, pure and simple. Linking to Norman Finkelstein to imply that he is, by your perverse definition, an anti-Arab racist is despicable ...

      I agree 100%.

      [Salaita:]"“Proposing “solutions” based on what Israelis will or won’t accept. Or, saying that certain things are “impossible” or “unrealistic”... "

      Yeah well, the next time someone argues that a two state solution is "impossible" or "unrealistic"--because Israel would never willingly accept a sovereign Palestinian state, or Israel would never willing accept the removal of a single settler etc.--- well then, by Salaita's logic that common anti-Zionist argument should also be labeled "racist".

  • Open Letter to Wajahat Ali: Don't undermine the Palestinian struggle
  • Roseanne Barr talked trash about Palestinians and Muslims for years, without regrets
  • Genesis Prize threw Natalie Portman under the bus to protect Netanyahu
  • Fathi Harb burnt himself to death in Gaza. Will the world notice?
    • Britain turns to Israeli tech to form new air-defense system

      UK arms sales to Israel hit peak, as Prince William plans visit to Jerusalem

      British defense companies made a record amount of money from selling weapons and military hardware to Israel, anti-arms campaigners’ data shows. New figures were revealed ahead of the royal trip to the country in June.

      According to Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), defense contractors made at least £221 million ($294 million) last year from deals with Tel Aviv. That is a significant increase compared to £86 million ($114 million) in 2016. Export licenses to Israel issued by the UK government and tracked down by CAAT cover a wide range of military equipment, ranging from missile components and explosives to body armor and weapon sights.

      The news emerges just days after Prince William announced the date of his forthcoming trip to Israel and Palestine.

  • 'NYT' writer who claims Zionism and human rights are intertwined ignores Palestinians
    • Keith: ...Jewish Zionists dominate the doctrinal system, controlling the mythology which shapes society’s perceptions of reality.

      For a while, it seemed that the internet and social media were presenting a challenge to Establishment control of society's perceptions of reality.

      But important steps are being taken to wrest back that control.

      FACEBOOK May 17, 2018

      Announcing New Election Partnership with the Atlantic Council

      Facebook is investing heavily to prevent our service from being abused during elections. We’re doubling the number of people who work on safety and security and using technology like artificial intelligence to more effectively block fake accounts – the source of many bad ads and a lot of misinformation. In addition, we’re more actively working with outside experts, governments and other companies because we know that we can’t solve these challenges on our own. For example, last month we announced an independent commission [including the Hewlett Foundation, the Omidyar Network, and the Charles Koch Foundation ] to help fund and organize research into the impact of social media on society — starting with elections.

      Today, we’re excited to launch a new partnership with the Atlantic Council, which has a stellar reputation looking at innovative solutions to hard problems. Experts from their Digital Forensic Research Lab will work closely with our security, policy and product teams to get Facebook real-time insights and updates on emerging threats and disinformation campaigns from around the world. This will help increase the number of “eyes and ears” we have working to spot potential abuse on our service — enabling us to more effectively identify gaps in our systems, preempt obstacles, and ensure that Facebook plays a positive role during elections all around the world.

      Facebook will also use the Atlantic Council’s Digital Research Unit Monitoring Missions during elections and other highly sensitive moments. This will allow us to focus on a particular geographic area — monitoring for misinformation and foreign interference and also working to help educate citizens as well as civil society.

      Finally, we know that tackling these problems effectively also requires the right policies and regulatory structures so that governments and companies can help prevent abuse while also ensuring people have a voice during elections. The Atlantic Council’s network of leaders is uniquely situated to help all of us think through the challenges we will face in the near and long-term.

      This effort is part of an broader initiative to help provide credible and independent research about the role of social media in elections, as well as democracy more generally. We look forward to working together to protect free and fair elections across the world.



  • Live Blog: Massacre in Gaza as US and Israel celebrate embassy move to Jerusalem
    • The Guardian:

      Emily Thornberry MP, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, responding to the killing of Palestinians in Gaza today, said:

      We condemn unreservedly the Israeli government for their brutal, lethal and utterly unjustified actions on the Gaza border, and our thoughts are with all those Palestinians in Gaza whose loved ones have been killed or injured as a result.

      These actions are made all the worse because they come not as the result of a disproportionate over-reaction to one day’s protests, but as the culmination of six weeks of an apparently systemic and deliberate policy of killing and maiming unarmed protestors and bystanders who pose no threat to the forces at the Gaza border, many of them shot in the back, many of them shot hundreds of metres from the border, and many of them children.

  • The 'One Democratic State Campaign' program for a multicultural democratic state in Palestine/Israel
    • Keith: Now you say that he is talking about some other “leadership?”

      Good points, and I may have misunderstood the "leadership" reference.

      The fact remains, though, that the Gaza protests have been labeled "The Great March of Return", supposedly by Palestinian organizers.

      Protest organization

      In 2011, Ahmed Abu Ratima (Rteima) whose family originally came from Ramla, conceived the idea of Palestinians going peacefully to the separation barrier and protest for their right to return to the homes from which they had been driven, or had fled, in the past.[54]

      In early 2018, Gazan journalist Muthana al-Najjar, originally from Salamah, pitched a tent near the border, where he stayed for over a month, while others began planting olive tree seedlings in the area.[55] He and others tried to keep the protest unaffiliated with Hamas or any other political group, but were overruled when Hamas took over the protest by mass mobilization of Gazans to join the march. Recruitment included calls on television, local media, social media and by word of mouth to join the protest. Hamas planned to keep the peace by having its security personnel dress in civilian clothes and move among the protesters to ensure no violence would occur, of the kind that might supply Israel with an alibi to assert that it was dealing with a 'swarm of terrorists'.[56] It gained support from Gazan intellectuals like Atef Abu Saif and graduates of Gazan universities, who are said to have drawn inspiration from the example of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi.[57]

      By March, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the faction of Muhammad Dahlan (who was expelled from Fatah in 2011) had endorsed the protest.[58]

      The organizers of the event, including the local government authority Hamas and various Palestinian factions, had encouraged thousands of Palestinians to converge on the Israeli border for the 42nd anniversary, in what was dubbed the "Great March of Return ".

      Okay, Wikipedia is not necessarily a reliable source, but I haven't seen any Palestinian disavowal of the RoR focus, have you? And that's certainly the way it's being portrayed by the media.

      I agree with you, of course, that the protesters are also protesting the unbearable conditions of life in Gaza caused by the blockade, which can only intensify the desire to return.

      (It's super late where I am; I haven't digested all your comments yet.)

    • Donald Johnson: A step forward” suggests that you are stepping forwards towards something.

      Yes, a better life.

      [Donald Johnson:] If Palestinians want to work for a 1ss, then good for them

      It may or may not be good for them. Time will tell.

      [Donald Johnson:] The “ realistic” alternative is decades more of meaningless negotiating about negotiations.

      Tell me, when do the negotiations about negotiations for a single state begin?

      What Finkelstein has suggested are not more negotiations, but more pressure on Israel.

      BDS does not call for a single state, btw. And if the BDS goal of ending the occupation of lands occupied in 1967 were ever attained, two states, not one, would become a reality.

    • @Keith

      Finkelstein in that video says:

      Now unfortunately, the leadership [of the Gaza protests] right now has decided not to focus on the siege, and has instead decided to focus on the right of return. And I think that's a complete disaster, because you can't get public opinion behind it.

    • Why do you assume a "solution" must exist?

      I agree with Finkelstein--internal and external pressure on Israel to force the withdrawal of some 250,000 settlers and a settlement in line with the international legal and political consensus. That wouldn't be a "solution"-- it would be a step forward though.

      (I do, however, think Finkelstein attacks BDS too much. BDS is fully compatible with two states, and, in fact, would directly lead to that outcome if its goals were attained.)

      The realistic alternative to two states is not one state, it's fragmented Palestinian enclaves aligned politically and/or economically with surrounding Arab states.

    • Pie-in-the-sky-ism has a certain rhetorical value, if nothing else.

  • Netanyahu's cheap theatrics fall flat, but alas, he has an audience of one -- Trump
  • The struggle of Palestinians is the struggle of Native Americans
    • Palestinians Should ‘Shut Up’ or Make Peace, Saudi Crown Prince Told Jewish Leaders

      The crown prince of Saudi Arabia reportedly harshly criticized Palestinian leadership during a meeting with American Jewish organizations in New York last month, slamming Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for rejecting peace offers.

      “In the last several decades the Palestinian leadership has missed one opportunity after the other and rejected all the peace proposals it was given,” Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman told the Jewish organizations, Barak Ravid of Israel’s Channel 10 reported Sunday for Axios. “It is about time the Palestinians take the proposals and agree to come to the negotiations table or shut up and stop complaining.”

      * * *

      [...]Saudi Arabia and Israel have grown increasingly close in the past few years, as both governments are concerned about the threat of Iran and its allies in the region.

      During his American tour, MBS told “60 Minutes” that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was “very much like Hitler.” He also told The Atlantic that Israelis “have the right to their own land.”

    • Netanyahu accuses Palestinian president of antisemitism

      Abbas accused by US and Israel of stirring religious hatred in speech blaming Jewish role in banking for historical massacres

  • Gaza and the limits of American sympathy
  • Adi Shosberger called Israeli soldiers ‘terrorists’ -- and Israel has turned on her
    • @Jackdaw: ..."the Armistice Demarcation Line which they cross in peril of being shot by Israelis or imprisoned by the Egyptians."

      Hamas nowhere to be found.

      "They can look east and see wide fields, once Arab land, cultivated extensively by a few Israelis , with a chain of kibbutzim guarding the heights or the areas beyond.

      It is not surprising that they look with hatred on those who have dispossessed them."

    • Jackdaw: ... the good people of Gaza are behind a security fence because [they] have thrown their lot in with [Hamas]...

      The rise of Hamas cannot possibly be the cause of the imprisonment of the people of Gaza, since that imprisonment began decades before that rise.


      Canadian Lt.-General E.L.M. Burns, chief of staff of the UN Truce Supervision Organization (1954-1956), "Between Arab and Israeli" :

      The Strip is about forty kilometres long, and averages eight and a quarter kilometres in width; thus it contains about 330 square kilometres.

      There are about 310,000 Arab residents in the Strip, 210,000 of them refugees from the southern parts of Palestine now occupied by Israel. Thus there are about 1500 persons to the square kilometre of arable soil -- about 3900 to the square mile ...

      One does not see people starving or dying of disease in the streets; nevertheless the Gaza Strip resembles a vast concentration camp , shut off by the sea, the border between Palestine and the Sinai near Rafah, which the Egyptians will not permit them to cross, and the Armistice Demarcation Line which they cross in peril of being shot by Israelis or imprisoned by the Egyptians.

      They can look east and see wide fields, once Arab land, cultivated extensively by a few Israelis, with a chain of kibbutzim guarding the heights or the areas beyond.

      It is not surprising that they look with hatred on those who have dispossessed them.

  • Portman's move puts pressure on liberal Zionists to take a stand
  • Revealed: Israeli Justice Ministry directly involved in international 'lawfare' activities against BDS movement
  • Natalie Portman's criticism of 'atrocities' leaves Israel's advocates silent
    • Natalie Portman: Israel was created exactly 70 years ago as a haven for refugees from the Holocaust. But the mistreatment of those suffering from today’s atrocities is simply not in line with my Jewish values.

      American liberal Zionism is alive and kickin'!

  • Leanne Gale's bold challenge to the Jewish community on BDS and anti-Zionism
    • Stephen Shenfield: ... Jews were sick and repulsive people and considered it natural and inevitable that Gentiles should hate them.

      American Zionists roundly rejected such a view of "diaspora" Jews.

      Louis D. Brandeis, for example, crystallized the basic ideas, however misguided, of American liberal Zionism in a famous 1915 speech:

      [...]Let no American imagine that Zionism is inconsistent with Patriotism. Multiple loyalties are objectionable only if they are inconsistent. A man is a better citizen of the United States for being also a loyal citizen of his state, and of his city; for being loyal to his family, and to his profession or trade; for being loyal to his college or his lodge. Every Irish American who contributed toward advancing home rule was a better man and a better American for the sacrifice he made.

      Every American Jew who aids in advancing the Jewish settlement in Palestine, though he feels that neither he nor his descendants will ever live there , will likewise be a better man and a better American for doing so.


      [...]There is no inconsistency between loyalty to America and loyalty to Jewry. The Jewish spirit, the product of our religion and experiences, is essentially modem and essentially American. Not since the destruction of the Temple have the Jews in spirit and in ideals been so fully in harmony with the noblest aspirations of the country in which they lived.

      America’s fundamental law seeks to make real the brotherhood of man. That brotherhood became the Jewish fundamental law more than twenty-five hundred years ago. America’s insistent demand in the twentieth century is for social justice. That also has been the Jews’ striving for ages. Their affliction, as well as their religion, has prepared the Jews for effective democracy. Persecution broadened their sympathies. [...]


      Since the Jewish problem is single and universal, the Jews of every country should strive for its solution. But the duty resting upon us of America is especially insistent. We number about 3,000,000, which is more than one-fifth of all the Jews in the world, a number larger than that comprised within any other country except the Russian Empire.

      We are representative of all the Jews in the world; for we are composed of immigrants, or descendants of immigrants, coming from every other country, or district. We include persons from every section of society, and of every shade of religious belief. We are ourselves free from civil or political disabilities, and are relatively prosperous.

      Our fellow Americans are infused with a high and generous spirit, which insures approval of our struggle to ennoble, liberate, and otherwise improve the condition of an important part of the human race; and their innate manliness makes them sympathize particularly with our efforts at self-help.

      America’s detachment from the old world problem relieves us from suspicions and embarrassments frequently attending the activities of Jews of rival European countries. And a conflict between American interests or ambitions and Jewish aims is not conceivable. Our loyalty to America can never be questioned.

      (Hertzberg, " The Zionist Idea: A Historical Analysis and Reader " emphasis added)

  • Israel and its Democratic Party friends complain -- Trump gave Syria to Russia 'on a silver platter'
    • Mooser: "somebody, for some reason..."


    • Regime change in Syria--good for Israel; good for the U.S.

      Hillary Clinton Email Archive

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

      The best way to help Israel deal with Iran's growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad.

      Negotiations to limit Iran's nuclear program will not solve Israel's security dilemma. Nor will they stop Iran from improving the crucial part of any nuclear weapons program — the capability to enrich uranium. At best, the talks between the world's major powers and Iran that began in Istanbul this April and will continue in Baghdad in May will enable Israel to postpone by a few months a decision whether to launch an attack on Iran that could provoke a major Mideast war. Iran's nuclear program and Syria's civil war may seem unconnected, but they are. For Israeli leaders, the real threat from a nuclear-armed Iran is not the prospect of an insane Iranian leader launching an unprovoked Iranian nuclear attack on Israel that would lead to the annihilation of both countries.

      What Israeli military leaders really worry about -- but cannot talk about -- is losing their nuclear monopoly. An Iranian nuclear weapons capability would not only end that nuclear monopoly but could also prompt other adversaries, like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, to go nuclear as well. The result would be a precarious nuclear balance in which Israel could not respond to provocations with conventional military strikes on Syria and Lebanon, as it can today. If Iran were to reach the threshold of a nuclear weapons state, Tehran would find it much easier to call on its allies in Syria and Hezbollah to strike Israel, knowing that its nuclear weapons would serve as a deterrent to Israel responding against Iran itself.

      Back to Syria. It is the strategic relationship between Iran and the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria that makes it possible for Iran to undermine Israel's security — not through a direct attack, which in the thirty years of hostility between Iran and Israel has never occurred, but through its proxies in Lebanon, like Hezbollah, that are sustained, armed and trained by Iran via Syria.

      The end of the Assad regime would end this dangerous alliance. Israel's leadership understands well why defeating Assad is now in its interests. Speaking on CNN's Amanpour show last week, Defense Minister Ehud Barak argued that "the toppling down of Assad will be a major blow to the radical axis, major blow to Iran.... It's the only kind of outpost of the Iranian influence in the Arab world...and it will weaken dramatically both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza."

      Bringing down Assad would not only be a massive boon to Israel's security, it would also ease Israel's understandable fear of losing its nuclear monopoly. Then, Israel and the United States might be able to develop a common view of when the Iranian program is so dangerous that military action could be warranted.

      Right now, it is the combination of Iran's strategic alliance with Syria and the steady progress in Iran's nuclear enrichment program that has led Israeli leaders to contemplate a surprise attack — if necessary over the objections of Washington. With Assad gone, and Iran no longer able to threaten Israel through its, proxies, it is possible that the United States and Israel can agree on red lines for when Iran's program has crossed an unacceptable threshold. In short, the White House can ease the tension that has developed with Israel over Iran by doing the right thing in Syria.

      The rebellion in Syria has now lasted more than a year. The opposition is not going away, nor is the regime going to accept a diplomatic solution from the outside. With his life and his family at risk, only the threat or use of force will change the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad's mind.

      The Obama administration has been understandably wary of engaging in an air operation in Syria like the one conducted in Libya for three main reasons. Unlike the Libyan opposition forces, the Syrian rebels are not unified and do not hold territory. The Arab League has not called for outside military intervention as it did in Libya. And the Russians are opposed.

      Libya was an easier case. But other than the laudable purpose of saving Libyan civilians from likely attacks by Qaddafi's regime, the Libyan operation had no long-lasting consequences for the region. Syria is harder. But success in Syria would be a transformative event for the Middle East. Not only would another ruthless dictator succumb to mass opposition on the streets, but the region would be changed for the better as Iran would no longer have a foothold in the Middle East from which to threaten Israel and undermine stability in the region.

      Unlike in Libya, a successful intervention in Syria would require substantial diplomatic and military leadership from the United States. Washington should start by expressing its willingness to work with regional allies like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar to organize, train and arm Syrian rebel forces. The announcement of such a decision would, by itself, likely cause substantial defections from the Syrian military. Then, using territory in Turkey and possibly Jordan, U.S. diplomats and Pentagon officials can start strengthening the opposition. It will take time. But the rebellion is going to go on for a long time, with or without U.S. involvement.

      The second step is to develop international support for a coalition air operation. Russia will never support such a mission, so there is no point operating through the UN Security Council. Some argue that U.S. involvement risks a wider war with Russia. But the Kosovo example shows otherwise. In that case, Russia had genuine ethnic and political ties to the Serbs, which don't exist between Russia and Syria, and even then Russia did little more than complain. Russian officials have already acknowledged they won't stand in the way if intervention comes.

      Arming the Syrian rebels and using western air power to ground Syrian helicopters and airplanes is a low-cost high payoff approach. As long as Washington's political leaders stay firm that no U.S. ground troops will be deployed, as they did in both Kosovo and Libya, the costs to the United States will be limited. Victory may not come quickly or easily, but it will come. And the payoff will be substantial. Iran would be strategically isolated, unable to exert its influence in the Middle East. The resulting regime in Syria will see the United States as a friend, not an enemy. Washington would gain substantial recognition as fighting for the people in the Arab world, not the corrupt regimes.

      For Israel, the rationale for a bolt from the blue attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would be eased. And a new Syrian regime might well be open to early action on the frozen peace talks with Israel. Hezbollah in Lebanon would be cut off from its Iranian sponsor since Syria would no longer be a transit point for Iranian training, assistance and missiles. All these strategic benefits and the prospect of saving thousands of civilians from murder at the hands of the Assad regime (10,000 have already been killed in this first year of civil war).

      With the veil of fear lifted from the Syrian people, they seem determine to fight for their freedom. America can and should help them — and by doing so help Israel and help reduce the risk of a wider war.

  • The 'Jewish nation' is the central myth of Zionism. It needs to be dismantled.
    • Keith: I strongly suspect that Google’s biggest customer is the US government (NSA, CIA,etc). Facebook, Google, 23andMe, etc, are all part of the most intensive surveillance state ever imagined. ETC.
      Excellent points.

      Mark Zuckerberg has, under great pressure, finally fessed up to some of his company’s major misdeeds, and is taking important steps to rectify them--one of the first and most important being a completely independent and unbiased analysis of the problem.

      The Atlantic, April 9, 2018:

      “Well, I certainly feel very bad, and I’m sorry that we did not do a better job of finding the Russian interference during the 2016 election,” Zuckerberg told me. “I mean, that was a huge miss.”

      * * *

      “Now I just think we understand—both because of the ability for us to develop these things and because of the scale at which we operate—that it’s also our responsibility to make sure that all these tools are used well, not just to put them in people’s hands,” Zuckerberg said.

      * * *
      Today, Zuckerberg unveils the newest attempt at reform. Facebook will give a committee of senior academics independent access to its data, allowing researchers to study the social network’s effect on democracy and elections. The work will be paid for by foundations spanning the ideological spectrum , and—most importantly—Facebook says it will not be able to veto studies before their publication.

      * * *

      […]Both the committee of academics and their research grants will be funded by a group of independent foundations, including the Hewlett Foundation, the Omidyar Network, and the Charles Koch Foundation.

  • Jewish leader refuses to debate BDS with young Jew, at J Street conference
    • Mooser: Love to hear your plan for preventing the passing of the older generation and the ascension of the new.


      The new generation of Israeli Jews is certainly inspiring, and their ascension unstoppable.

  • Israel's genocidal explanations for killing unarmed protesters are only isolating it further
    • @eljay

      jon s wrote elsewhere:

      Let's take an extreme example : picture an ISIS compound. There's one building which serves as a barracks for the ISIS terrorists, a second building where they're holding prisoners and hostages. Now imagine that you have the power to blow up those buildings. Are you saying that blowing up the first building is just the same as blowing up the second, because in both cases you're perpetrating a massacre?

      As far as I can tell, jon s is simply making a distinction between intentionally killing a group of ISIS terrorists and intentionally killing civilian non-combatants.

      Now, you might (or might not) oppose the the killing of ISIS terrorists en masse, but jon's distinction hardly seems unusual. In fact, a distinction between killing combatants/terrorists and killing non-combatant civilians is well-established in international law and accepted by every democratic state in the world, is it not?

      The main point, though, is how is this issue relevant at all to the situation in Gaza? By any reasonable standard of judgment, the Gaza protesters are almost entirely civilians-- not armed combatants/terrorists-- Lieberman et al.'s baseless opinions notwithstanding. In the context of the Gaza events , why get into a long debate whether it's okay to kill terrorists or not? It's just another distraction.

    • eljay: do you [...] favour selective massacres?

      I don't favor massacres , period.

      eljay: || … Has he stated that “non-innocence” can be determined by his own feelings alone? … ||

      Nope, which is why Lieberman’s determination of the non-innocence of Gazans is a valid basis for massacre according to jon s’ “logic”.

      Sorry, I can't follow your logic . Can you quote jon s directly and show how his statements lead logically to the conclusion that "Lieberman’s determination of the non-innocence of Gazans is a valid basis for massacre .

      Unless jon s has stated that 1) he thinks subjective opinions about non-innocence in general, or Lieberman's opinions in particular, can alone serve as a valid basis for determining "non-innocence" and 2) that "non-innocence" per se is a valid basis for "massacre", then your argument has no logical basis.

      eljay: He has stated that ... “armed terrorists and criminals” can be massacred.

      I confess I have not kept track of all jon's and your statements--could you please remind me where jon explicitly stated that "armed terrorists and criminals" can in any circumstances legitimately be massacred . I'd just like to review it. Thanks in advance.

      I have interpreted his comment to mean the former. [i.e,, every person who is not an “innocent civilian” is not-innocent and can be massacred ]

      That's your interpretation , fine, but it seems he never actually stated that. That was my basic point.

    • eljay: He would, however, continue to support the massacre of those Gazans he felt were not-innocent.)

      Not innocent of what?? There are obviously many crimes one can be guilty of. Has jon s claimed that every "non-innocent" person of any type can be legitimately killed? Has he stated that "non-innocence" can be determined by his own feelings alone? Has he claimed that all the Gazan protesters that have been killed are terrorists? (If he is saying that terrorists, objectively defined , can be killed, is he saying anything different than what every single Western liberal democratic government says?)

      It get the distinct impression that you are putting words in his mouth.

    • eljay: In which case – according to jon s – Israel is right to massacre every single one of them.

      Not if jon s rejects Lieberman's claim.

  • 50 NYU student groups endorse BDS, call on university to divest from companies complicit in Israeli occupation
    • Correction: "modern English speakers ".

    • James North : I’m surprised at you, RoHa. Instead of maintaining “tradition” — better put as “accuracy” — you caved in to the ignorant mob

      Lol! But seriously, for modern English speaks, modern English usage of loanwords trumps original language usage . Better to cave in to the commonsensical mob than be a arrogant snob.

  • Jews must ditch Zionism, now
  • Israeli snipers shoot 6 Palestinian journalists, killing one--making international headlines
    • Peter Feld: Snipers who murder protesters, journalists and children will face terminal Nuremberg justice , likewise those who command them. Social media officers like you who assist them will share in their fate.

      These vile murders serve no national security purpose. They are a global propaganda disaster. They endanger crucial support among U.S. Jews. Nevertheless, they do serve one very important long term aim: they make the idea of an eventual peaceful reconciliation between Israeli Jews and Palestinians Arabs increasingly unthinkable. They make the idea of a future harmonious Jewish/Arab democratic state even more utopian.

      The same tactic—brutal, seemingly sadistic violence against innocent civilians—was used during the breakup of Yugoslavia for the same purpose.

    • Israeli officials: U.S. must strike in Syria

      The US must attack the Assad regime in Syria in response to the alleged chemical-weapons attack in Douma, which killed dozens of people, Strategic Affairs and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said on Sunday.

      Erdan, who is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s No. 2 in Likud, said he hoped US military action against the regime would be taken as it was when the Syrian Army used chemical weapons against its people in the past.

      The shocking attack shows the incredible hypocrisy of the international community focusing on Israel confronting the terrorist organization Hamas that is sending civilians to our fence, when dozens are being killed in Syria every day,” Erdan told Army Radio.

      “It shows the need for strengthening the presence of Americans and other international forces, because without them the genocide we are seeing will only intensify.”

      * * *

      Zionist Union leader Avi Gabbay said he was shocked and pained by the pictures from Douma. He said it was a reminder that Israel must rely on itself if Syrian President Bashar Assad, who he noted heads the small Alawite minority in Syria, can attack his people with the support of Russia and silence from the US.

    • john douglas: ... MSNBC is a fraud. It’s belligerently pro-war, knee-jerk anti-Russian and silent, deadly silent, on Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people.

      The anti-Russia and pro-Israel agendas go hand in hand.

      Now--as predicted-- we have another false flag chemical weapons attack in Syria.

      At least 70 reported dead in suspected gas attack

      The US state department said it is monitoring the "very disturbing" reports, and that Russia - which is fighting alongside the Syrian government - should be held responsible if deadly chemicals had been used.

      Dark forces are pushing for war (the fizzling Salisbury incident having served its purpose.) Soon events in Gaza will be overshadowed by vastly greater calamities.

  • 'NY Times' bias about Israel's massacre in Gaza just won't go away
  • Killing Palestinian protesters turns into a PR debacle for Israel
  • The double standard for 'a peaceful English town' and Gaza
    • Mooser: Wow, Robert Mueller must be one of, if not the most, corrupt people in the US Government.

      Rest assured, Mueller will reveal the the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth:

  • 'NY Times' covers up Israel's killing of nonviolent protesters along the Gaza border
    • B’Tselem “warned in a statement that any shoot-to-kill policy against unarmed demonstrators would be unlawful. . .”

      "Unlawful." Such a feeble term of condemnation. Devoid of all gravity and emotional charge. Hell, a parking violation is unlawful. Of course, if a Palestinian kills innocent civilians, it's "terrorism"! "Terrorism!" Just a step below genocide on the scale of human evil.

  • Jeremy Corbyn and ’anti-Semitism’ - making sense of the hysteria
    • Corbyn should demand , as a precondition for discussions, that Jewish leaders fully accept that criticism of Israel and/or Zionism is not antisemitism.

      Of course, Corbyn won't do anything like that. He will fold, just as he folded against the new anti-Russian Cold War 2.0 McCarthyism.

      He simply can't afford to get bogged down in those very likely losing battles.

  • On the 'double standard' for Israel
    • RoHa: You think Israel should get the same treatment as other countries, such as Iraq and Libya?

      Israel is being treated by TPTB like any other ally to the U.S. state and transnational capitalist/militarist empire.

  • War-loving, Muslim-hating John Bolton wants to give 'pieces' of Palestine to Jordan and Egypt
    • Anti-Russia Cold War 2.0 liberals and progressives shouldn't be too unhappy with Bolton. You reap what you sow.

  • Criticism of Women’s March leaders reminiscent of attacks on Jesse Jackson 30 years ago
  • Ahed Tamimi, 17, to serve 8 months in prison for slapping soldier in occupied village
  • Kenneth Marcus, Trump's nominee for civil rights, has a long history of working against them
    • Emory Riddle : The look on this guy’s face is screaming that he is a smug, ignorant, arrogant, racist.

      Physiognomy is a key weapon in the anti-Zionist arsenal.

  • American Jews need Israel to be safe -- megadonor Paul Singer
    • MHughes: Stating a provisional judgement but noting that it is not final may be mistaken but it is not self-contradictory.

      Stating that there should not be a rush to judgment, then approving of May's rush to judgment/ expulsion of Russian diplomats, is indeed self-contradictory. Rushing to a judgment and rushing to a "provisional judgment" is a distinction without a difference when that judgment is acted upon in a highly consequential and irreversible way. There is absolutely nothing "provisional" about the expulsion of the Russian diplomats etc. which could only be justified by a rushed judgment of guilt.

    • MHughes976: I think that Corbyn’s latest statement, to the effect that we should not rush to judgement but that things do point to Russia, is reasonable.

      It's a step in the right direction, but hardly reasonable. It's self-contradictory.

      Corbyn says there should not be a rush to judgment, refers to the false intelligence reports regarding Iraq, Libya etc-- but then he turns around and supports Mays expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats, a blatant contradiction to the call not to rush to judgment.

      Nor is it at all reasonable to say that "things do point to Russia." There is very little if anything pointing to Russia.

      As Tuyzentfloot says, "the most plausible hypothesis is that the British [or rogue British intelligence elements-Sibiriak] decided to build on the success of chemical weapons claims and set up an incident."

      The anti-Russian propagandists have told us over and over that Putin has been desperate to get sanctions rescinded, and for that reason supported Trump and meddled in U.S. elections--any yet we are supposed to believe that Russia tried to kill his guy in Salisbury using a nerve agent that could be immediately traced back to Russia and which with absolute predictability would cause an incident that would immediately be used to increase pressure for more sanctions on Russia. It's beyond absurd.

    • Dr Robin Black, Head of the Detection Laboratory at the UK’s only chemical weapons facility at Porton Down, a former colleague of Dr David Kelly...

      Just a reminder:

      David Christopher Kelly, CMG (14 May 1944 – 17 July 2003) was a Welsh scientist and authority on biological warfare, employed by the British Ministry of Defence, and formerly a weapons inspector with the United Nations Special Commission in Iraq. He came to public attention in July 2003 when an unauthorised discussion he had off the record with BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan about the UK Government's dossier on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was cited by Gilligan and led to a major controversy. Kelly's name became known to the media as Gilligan's source and he was called to appear on 15 July before a parliamentary Foreign Affairs Select Committee investigating the issues Gilligan had reported. Kelly was questioned aggressively about his actions. He was found dead two days later. [2]

      * * *
      The second trip [to Iraq] was from 5 June 2003 to 11 June 2003 when Kelly went to view and photograph two alleged mobile weapons laboratories as a part of a third inspection team. Kelly was unhappy with the description of the trailers and spoke off the record to The Observer, which, on 15 June 2003, quoted "a British scientist and biological weapons expert, who has examined the trailers in Iraq." The expert said:

      They are not mobile germ warfare laboratories. You could not use them for making biological weapons. They do not even look like them. They are exactly what the Iraqis said they were – facilities for the production of hydrogen gas to fill balloons.[8]

      It was confirmed in the Hutton Inquiry that Kelly was the source of this quote.[9]

      * * *

      On the morning of 17 July 2003, Kelly was working as usual at home in Oxfordshire. Media coverage of his public appearance two days before had led many of his friends to send him supportive emails, to which he was responding. One of the emails he sent that day was to New York Times journalist Judith Miller,[ 18] who had used Kelly as a source in a book on bioterrorism and to whom Kelly had mentioned "many dark actors playing games."[19][20] He also received an email from his superiors at the Ministry of Defence asking for more details of his contacts with journalists.

    • No doubt, IF a "novichok" nerve agent was actually used in the British attack, the U.S. had samples of it in its stock of chemical weapons.

      Check this out:

      U.S. and Uzbeks Agree on Chemical Arms Plant Cleanup

      By JUDITH MILLER MAY 25, 1999:

      The United States and Uzbekistan have quietly negotiated and are expected to sign a bilateral agreement today to provide American aid in dismantling and decontaminating one of the former Soviet Union’s largest chemical weapons testing facilities, according to Defense Department and Uzbek officials.

      Earlier this year, the Pentagon informed Congress that it intends to spend up to $6 million under its Cooperative Threat Reduction program to demilitarize the so-called Chemical Research Institute, in Nukus, Uzbekistan. Soviet defectors and American officials say the Nukus plant was the major research and testing site for a new class of secret, highly lethal chemical weapons called ”Novichok,” which in Russian means ”new guy.”

      * * *

      [President Karimov's] government has worked closely with American defense officials , granting them access to sites whose whose counterparts in Russia are still off limits.

      * * *

      [...] some international arms inspectors have said there is no proof that the Nukus plant was used to produce chemical weapons, now banned.

      After touring the plant last year, inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons [...] concluded that the institute may have tested weapons but was not a production site.

      Mr. Mustofoev, the Deputy Foreign Minister, scoffed at the finding [...] noting that a major defector from the Soviet chemical weapons program, Vil S. Mirzayanov ...has told them and later said publically that the plant was built to produces batches, for testing, of Novichok binary weapons designed to escape detection by international inspectors.


      So back in 1999 we see the Soviet defector Mirzayanov, U.S. officials, and the illustrious NYT reporter Judith Miller working together to produce this Novichok story.

      Flashforward: 2016 a leading chemist at Porton Down had doubts that such chemicals exist. (Paul McKeigue, Professor of Statistical Genetics and Genetic Epidemiology at Edinburgh University, Piers Robinson, Professor of Politics, Society and Political Journalism at Sheffield University and the former British Ambassador Craig Murray point this out):

      As recently as 2016 Dr Robin Black, Head of the Detection Laboratory at the UK’s only chemical weapons facility at Porton Down, a former colleague of Dr David Kelly, published in an extremely prestigious scientific journal that the evidence for the existence of Novichoks was scant and their composition unknown.

      In recent years, there has been much speculation that a fourth generation of nerve agents, ‘Novichoks’ (newcomer), was developed in Russia, beginning in the 1970s as part of the ‘Foliant’ programme, with the aim of finding agents that would compromise defensive countermeasures.

      Information on these compounds has been sparse in the public domain, mostly originating from a dissident Russian military chemist, Vil Mirzayanov. No independent confirmation of the structures or the properties of such compounds has been published. (Black, 2016)


      And now Mirzayanov is at the center of things once again:

      There is no independent evaluation of the alleged poison. The British government claims that its own chemical weapon laboratory at Porton Down, only a few miles from where the incident happened, has identified the poison as one of the 'Novichok' chemicals.

      * * *

      The former Soviet scientist, Vil Mirzanyanov, who 'blew the whistle' and wrote about the 'Novichoks', now lives in a $1 million home in the United States. The AFP news agency just interviewed him about the recent incident:

      Mirzayanov, speaking at his home in Princeton, New Jersey, said he is convinced Russia carried it out as a way of intimidating opponents of President Vladimir Putin.

      "Only the Russians" developed this class of nerve agents, said the chemist. "They kept it and are still keeping it in secrecy."

      The only other possibility, he said, would be that someone used the formulas in his book to make such a weapon.

      Read more details in the MoA article. The whole thing stinks to high heaven. (Skripal's connections with Christopher Steele is a whole nother story.)

  • There are only two kinds of Jews, Schumers and Feinsteins
  • Jared Kushner's swift rise and long, long fall
  • In calling for end of Jewish state, Avraham Burg is painted as 'troublemaker' at liberal NY synagogue
    • Mooser: Zionism needs at least ten million Jews in Palestine...

      And Zionism will soon have them:

      Israel’s projected future looks a lot like a visit to the Jerusalem central bus station: crowded and very religious.

      According to a government report to be released in full next week, the Jewish state’s population will double in about 40 years. Some 29 percent — or 5.25 million of its projected 18 million residents — will be haredi Orthodox Jews. That’s more than triple the current 9 percent.

      “Israel will have the highest population density in the Western world,” Sergio DellaPergola, a preeminent Israeli demographer and member of the report’s steering committee, told JTA. “Interestingly, haredim will overtake Arabs as the largest minority.”

      [...]Israel is growing rapidly mostly because of its birth rate, which DellaPergola said is the highest of the world’s 100 most developed countries, “some of which aren’t that developed.”

      Once exceptionally fertile, Arab-Israeli women now have an average of 3.13 children, the same as their Jewish fellow citizens. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics report, Arabs will comprise 20 percent of the Israeli population in 2059, compared to the current 21 percent.

      By contrast, the haredi fertility rate has remained steady at 6.9 children per woman.

    • eljay: I didn’t say I had a problem with the holiday.

      C'mon. Own up to it.

    • eljay: t I don’t know that that’s what Mr. Burg is advocating, which is why I started off my previous comment with an “if”.

      Well, if he's advocating a fascist state, then I'm against that.

    • eljay: If Mr. Burg is indeed suggesting replacing one form of Jewish supremacism with a different form of Jewish supremacism, I agree that “it seems that it hasn’t been thought out too clearly”.

      A political entity can retain a national character without necessarily being supremacist.

      You yourself have forcefully affirmed in the past that a Jewish-majority state could maintain a Jewish national-cultural character while ceasing to be a "Jewish supremacist" state.

      Of course, to do that, it would have to adopt a fully democratic, non-discriminatory state. Something which Israel has never been willing to do.

    • Nathan: Even though the Jewish political entity in Palestine is not an independent state – nevertheless, it determines that the Jews have a distinct political identity, and this identity has a geographic point of reference (Palestine). So, what is the difference between Burg’s “post-Zionism” and just regular Zionism? There’s no difference.

      "Regular Zionism" in practice sought an independent, fully sovereign Jewish state, not merely Jewish national political entity within a larger state.

      But you make a good point. A multi-national state containing Jews with collective national rights or a separate fully democratic Jewish-majority state along side a Palestinian state-- both of these could reasonably be construed as being forms of liberal Zionism, i.e. liberal nationalism.

    • Nathan: [Burg] suggests a “one-state solution entailing federated Jewish and Palestinian political entities”. The federation of a Jewish political entity and a Palestinian political entity means that, nevertheless, there will be a Jewish political entity. What’s the difference between a “Jewish state” and a “Jewish political entity”? There is no difference.
      A "federation of a Jewish political entity and a Palestinian entity" means a single multi-national state. "A Jewish state" means a nation-state for the/a Jewish people. There's a huge difference between a nation-state and a national political entity within a state.

  • Zionism's tailspin: Stark minority of young California Jews are 'comfortable with idea of Jewish state'
  • NYT fails to report that Netanyahu started air war over Syria as corruption probes close in on him
  • Thomas Friedman justifies slaughter of Arab civilians by 'crazy' Israel
    • Talkback: [Wikipedia:] “Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality”


      Zionism [...] is the national movement of the Jewish people that supports the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland in the territory defined as the historic Land of Israel.

      Wikipedia definitions are wonderful.

  • How to win the battle for freedom, justice, and equality
    • Yitzchak Goodman: Does anyone advocate strict adherence to either one [res 181, res194]? They both call for an international Jerusalem

      In terms of Jerusalem, no, not really. If Wikipedia is correct, although the EU has not formally renounced the res 181 position on Jerusalem, it no longer views it as a an outline for the future.

      The European Union currently views the status of Jerusalem as that of a corpus separatum including both East and West Jerusalem as outlined in United Nations Resolution 181.[47][54][55]

      In the interest of achieving a peaceful solution to the Arab–Israeli conflict, it believes a fair solution should be found regarding the issue of Jerusalem in the context of the two-state solution set out in the Road Map. Taking into account the political and religious concerns of all parties involved, it envisions the city serving as the shared capital of Israel and Palestine.

      EU vows push to make Jerusalem capital for Palestinians too

      The EU’s top diplomat pledged on Thursday to reinvigorate diplomacy with Russia, the United States, Jordan and others to ensure Palestinians have a capital in Jerusalem after U.S. President Donald Trump recognized the city as Israel’s capital.

      [...]“The European Union has a clear and united position. We believe the only realistic solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine is based on two states and with Jerusalem as the capital of both,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told a news conference.

      The Palestinian leadership, of course, has long claimed East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, and has been willing to recognize West Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

      Israel has insisted on an undivided Jerusalem as its capital alone.

  • Palestinian legislators are 'dragged out' of Knesset as Pence promises embassy will move in 2019
    • Mikhael: There are no Palestinian Members of Knesset [...] All the MKs are citizens of Israel.

      They may be citizens of Israel, but their nationality is Palestinian.

  • What's wrong with colonialism?
    • Nathan: Yes, ending the Jewish state means the end of Israel.
      Ending the "settler-colonial structure aimed at creating and maintaining an exclusively Jewish state " wouldn't necessarily mean the end of Israel. It depends on how that was done. (A two state solution, for example, would not be incompatible with that formulation.)

      However, ending the Jewish population majority in Israel/a single Palestinian state would most likely result in the the end of Israel. Faced with the reality of being a minority group in a majority Arab/Muslim state, many Jews would leave, creating an ever stronger Arab Palestinian majority. Why would that strong Arab Palestinian majority not exercise its democratic rights and get rid of the Israeli name, flag, constitution etc. leaving nothing left that could properly be called "Israel"?

  • Trump's line on 'shithole countries' is a mainstream view in Israel
    • @Jon66 I thought eljay was paraphrasing (or caricaturing) a Zionist "whatabout" argument with that list and characterization , not expressing his own views.

  • Ahed Tamimi should stay in prison because she might slap again -- Israeli ethicist
    • DaBakr : You folks are just never going to get over the fact that MLK was an ardent supporter of israel

      MLK was wrong about Israel and Zionism. So what? Why is that a big deal?

  • Vic Mensa's searing piece in 'Time' on Israeli oppression is prefaced by clunky disclaimer re anti-Semitism
  • Privileged American Jews are safe thanks to 'Israel's might'-- Roger Cohen
    • inbound39: one direct hit on Dimona renders Israel kaput.

      No, a bit traumatized, but hardly "kaput":

      Should Israel Close Dimona? The Radiological Consequences of a Military Strike on Israel’s Plutonium-Production Reactor

      [..] a successful strike on an operating Dimona reactor that breached containment and generated an explosion and fire involving the core would present effects similar to a substantial radiological weapon or dirty bomb.

      Although consequences would represent only a small fraction of the Chernobyl release, for Israel, a country the size of New Jersey with a population of some six million, the relative economic dislocation, population relocation, and immediate and lingering psychological trauma could be significant… [emphasis added]

  • From Spinoza to Vilkomerson, Jewish voices for peace have long been banned-- by Jews
    • RoHa: As for the rape of language, I do my best to prevent it...

      The rape of language is okay, but God forbid the death of an institution!

  • What Palestinians can learn from South African anti-apartheid struggle
    • Noam Chomsky touches on that point about the war in Angola in a discussion with Ilan Pappé:

      NC: I would not push the South African analogy too far because there are striking differences. One difference that cannot be acknowledged in the USA for obvious reasons is that it was the Cubans that destroyed the South African regime. It was they who drove South African aggressors out of Angola, Namibia, broke the mythology of the white superman. It was Black troops that were driving them out. It had an enormous effect. It is going to take a long time before this enters the US consciousness.

      The other thing is what you talked about. The homogenous white community. Which meant that there was a crucial class issue. It was possible to reach a settlement in South Africa the kind of which is impossible in Israel. The final settlement was, let’s keep the socio-economic system and have some Black faces in the limousines. You cannot do that in Israel.

      IP: Making the parallel between South Africa and Palestine has advantages and disadvantages. You already have a Palestinian bourgeoisie inside Israel. You did not have African heads of medical departments in South Africa. Take the Galilee for example. There the intertwined communities are slowly becoming a fact of life. It already has a reality that reflects the future. The nature of the state is still ethnic and segregationist, but the transition to a state that recognizes the reality that already exists on the ground does not have to be as dramatic or drastic as it was in South Africa.

      In other parts of the country, especially in the West Bank and Greater Jerusalem area, dismantling the present reality and replacing it by a more just one would be very similar to the process occurring in the transition in South Africa from apartheid to a post-apartheid state. So there is no harm is studying closely the South African case so as not to repeat the mistakes made there and also be aware of the differences that would require original thinking for the case of Israel and Palestine.

      NC: South Africa was different because the white population needed its Black counterpart. It was its workforce. Israel does not want the Palestinians. South Africa actually supported the bantustans. They wanted them to develop because they had to reproduce the workforce and to be internationally recognized. In details it’s not going to be a similar process even though there are some similarities. What I mentioned before—Israel determined that they will be a pariah state, but that it did not matter as long as the US backed them. That’s very much the South African position. That is why I have often written, since the 1970s, that the people who call themselves supporters of Israel are in fact supporters of its moral degeneration and probably ultimate destruction.

      IP: Absolutely.

      ["On Palestine" (pp. 74-76). ]

      * * * *

      NC: […]there is a crucial aspect of the end of apartheid [in South Africa] that is totally suppressed here and in Britain for reasons of ideological fanaticism. Apartheid was substantially ended by Cuba. The scholarly record on this by now is just overwhelming. The Cubans sent military forces, mostly Black soldiers, who drove the South Africans out of Angola, forced them to leave Namibia, broke the mythology of this white superman, which had a big effect on white and Black South Africa. And the South Africans know it. When Mandela was let out of jail, his first comment was to praise Cubans for their inspiration and their help, because they played a huge part in ending apartheid. You cannot say that in the USA or in England, because we have a kind of religious fanaticism that says that we are not allowed to tell the truth about these matters. But that was an overwhelming factor, and of course, it’s missing here. We should think about other models, but it is important to break through the ideological constraints in the West which prevent recognition of what in fact happened. That’s pretty important.

      ["On Palestine" (pp. 88-89) ]

  • When Zionism is the essence of life, a break has huge consequences
    • Stephen Shenfield: they cannot believe that they would be allowed to remain with equal rights in a state with a non-Jewish majority.

      It's not just about equal rights-- it's about cultural/linguistic/religious predominance as well.

  • Haaretz smears the Tamimi family to counter worldwide solidarity with 16-year-old Ahed
    • Marnie: . There is no way anyone with even half a brain can look at israel and see nothing but evil.

      I think notions of pure evil like that are themselves evil (but not entirely so, of course.)

  • 'We have taken Jerusalem off the table' -- Trump bullies Palestinians
  • I'm proud to stand with Cindy Corrie in this fight
    • Tova Perlmutter: For the record, Mondoweiss does not receive funding from Jewish Voice for Peace, has not in the past and does not expect to in the future.

      Thank you. That should put an end to these spurious attacks on Mondoweiss.

      [Emory Riddle:] I don’t believe that.

      Whoops. I guess not.

  • Why liberal Zionists have nothing to say about Ahed Tamimi's slap and arrest
    • Nathan: The Palestinians insist on the right of return as a personal right – so, no, they do not accept a symbolic number of returnees.

      Wrong. In all negotiations from Camp David on, the Palestinians have NOT insisted on more than a symbolic right of return, compensation for refugees, and only an extremely limited, demographically inconsequential number of Palestinians permitted to actually return to Israeli territory.

      They do not accept the right of a Jewish state to exist

      Wrong, In all negotiations from Camp David on, the Palestinians have accepted that Israel will be a Jewish majority state within 1967 borders (w/ agreed upon land swaps).

      They claim all of Jerusalem

      Wrong. They claim only East Jerusalem.

    • Nathan: Avnery presents it, Israel remains (mostly) a Jewish state with a policy of Jewish immigration. Moreover, only a symbolic number of refugees will be allowed to settle in Israel. It’s obvious that the Palestinians won’t agree to either of these points

      No. The Palestinian leadership has been willing to agree to both of those points. Likewise with prominent Arab-backed peace initiatives.

      [Nathan:] and they won’t agree that West Jerusalem be the capital city of Israel

      No. The PLO has officially recognized the 1967 Green Line as the internationally accepted border between Israel and Palestine and claims only East Jerusalem as Palestine's capitol.

      So the fundamental premise of your argument is simply false.

      It is Israel that has rejected a two-state solution in line with the international consensus--not the Palestinians.

      It is only because Israel has consistently rejected such a two-state solution that the focus has shifted toward the single-state apartheid reality.

    • Maglawatan: . Someone has to tell Yossi that if the Palestinians get the vote Zionism is khalaas. Over.

      I suspect Yossi already knows that full well.

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