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  • US has intervened in twice as many elections as Russia
    • After the summit with North Korea this is Russia summit is another excellent action from Trump. I would even claim he's acting in America's interests and I'm sure there are officials and advisers quietly supporting him. Quietly, because the reactions to his actions are reminiscent of the Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

      It doesn't matter much what the intensity was of Russia's undercover actions. In normal circumstances one would expect a lot of aggressive stuff, and when tensions are high, even more.
      But I doubt that Russia has been involved in even one of the things it has been accused of, a position which in the current climate is shunned because it damages the reputation of those who hold it.

  • On Rabbi Andy Bachman’s public congratulations to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
    • Citizen, show me.

      i know she got the news with a tweet about the Gaza massacre, and after that she got interviewed about it. I have no idea if this got posted on her site, although there is a newsfeed there with highlights. If it appears there and then disappears again that is not an issue.

      I wouldn't be surprised if after a while she caved over that issue, but even then this would be too soon to make sense.

      In the meantime though I've seen lazy and cheap dismissals from leftwing commentators. They're irritating.

  • First they came for Alan Dershowitz
    • Annie, I'm watching it. She's impressive indeed. Says some smart stuff about not watering down your stances, that it's self defeating. And about the aim of getting people to vote. About Obama voters who then voted for Trump. Lots of stuff.
      I've watched her interview with Greenwald, though i missed parts of it then.

    • Echinococcus,
      I could reproduce that, at some point it also went straight to the spanish page. So it's a bit amateuristic.
      I think what you're applying is confirmation bias. It doesn't make your predictions wrong about what will happen, they are plausible, but the clues from which you conclude that Cortez is more of the same, they aren't worth anything. You're selling a prediction as a deduction.

      I also think your predictions are off because
      - the adapting of a new politician with a popular base to the system is much more gradual than that so the hypothetical scenario is implausible, even if decent arguments were given. It's much too soon.
      - times change. For the same politician what is impossible to say at one stage become possible 10 years later. For instance it becomes possible to be critical about Israel. I think it becomes possible to say that 17 years of war with Afghanistan is enough.

    • Finkelstein is so thoroughly decent. Compare with Half Man Half Biscuit (witty but very local to North West England) being unfriendly towards some public figures

    • Echinococcus,

      With me the link points straight to the english page , to the subject 'A Peace Economy'.
      That is the part which had disappeared, as is explained here .

      Now you can have a glass half full/half empty discussion about Cortez, or a revolutionary/small steps discussion, but the returning issue about the missing page is nothing more than building up distrust based on nothing.

    • Upon her victory breaking news, said information block vanished.

      briefly. I think it's this page .

  • Hasbara is dead
    • To clarify, I believe the War on Fake News is important. Fake news is a pretext to implement a range of censoring mechanisms which will try to minimize the online footprint of undesirable content and a whole range of organisations of variable legitimacy get to decide about that. It's an ambitious project and the opposition against it is frighteningly small. The ADL has jumped on that bandwagon and on the new market.
      Targets include hate speech(any vocal objection to injustice) , incitement (same as previous, also any form of activism) russian trolls (just about anything , but certainly foreign policy and russiagate) racism/antisemitism(anything which is not nice enough about Israel), conspiracy theorists (any display of distrust in the powers that be), fake news(anything contradicting the mainstream narrative) terrorism(more aggressive activism)
      I expect mechanisms to work at multiple levels
      - litigation: making it legally risky to say stuff.
      - censorship: removal and blocking of posting certain content, banning of online users.
      - demonetizing: google ads becoming more strict and repressive. Paypal, gofundme and other systems for small online transactions have introduced new rules that their mechanism cannot be used for 'the wrong things'.
      - reducing visibility: downgrading in all possible rankings, from google search to twitter listings so the content can still be found in principle but is much less likely to be found
      - discouraging publishing, viewing and sharing through 'karma' mechanisms where content and publishers get a weight and proximity (visiting,linking, forwarding) affects your online presence/popularity and to a lesser extent those you are linked to.

      AI simply means 'better automation' so you can track more content, and the mechanisms don't have to be very good.

      A positive side effect may be that flat earth theories will be accompanied with a warning. I wouldn't bet on creationists though. Obviously the system is not perfect and it will correct for reported mistakes.

    • The ADL is working with all the major online media (Google, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter etc) to suppress, derank, demonetize , discredit and reduce visibility of content they disapprove of. They are working on AI to scale it up and offer it to others.(see )
      Hasbara isn't dead. It transmogrified into the War on Fake News.

  • 'We have been ignored': Palestinian diaspora in Guatemala responds to Jerusalem embassy move
    • In Back to the Future the Ronald Reagan 1955 joke was was told. Someone should go back to 1985 en tell Michael Fox about Trump.

  • Miriam Adelson urges young American Jews to 'have more Jewish babies' and 'lobby governments' for Israel
    • Pinot means pine tree (because of the shape of the grape clusters). Given that pine trees are the erasers in the zionist enterprise(through the JNF), the grape is appropriate in some odd sense.

  • NY insurgent who said 'Dems can't be silent anymore' about Palestine clips AIPAC poodle in primary shocker
    • This matters for I/P because it shows that it is possible to get elected with this 'pro-Palestinian' position. I am relatively tolerant towards politicians who decide pragmatically they will focus on some issues they make their core issues while compromising on other issues because they consider it political suicide. The question to ask people who criticize Elisabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders for taking a cowardly position on Palestine is : do you think they should take the moral stand at the risk of committing political suicide , or do you think it is actually a viable position?
      For Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez the moral position is a viable position. Maybe it is now and was not the case before, but it should make other politicians reevaluate their position.

  • 'Israelism' documentary tracks changing generational attitudes of American Jews
    • It's 'Mein Kampf'. It took me many years to find out that the title was not about some kind of summer camp so now I know exactly how it's spelled. My German is not good but I should have known better. It did fit nicely with the idea of Hitler Jugend though.

  • Falsely accusing Palestinians of anti-Semitism is malicious
    • Rightly accusing Palestinians of anti-Semitism is malicious too. I find it disgusting when people point the finger at those in Gaza who hates Jews. What do you expect an average person to do in these conditions, be a supermoral superintellectual? Norman Finkelstein once responded to this hypersensitivity about confusing Jews and Zionists with 'Why so pious?'. His parents also often didn't bother distinguishing between the Germans and the Nazis.

      A lot of this has to do with the calculus of reputation. Reputation is the elephant in the room. Everyone is using it all the time but never explicitly. Antisemitism is at the bottom of the ladder so the pro-Israel camp will use any possible link to antisemitism to hurt the reputation of antizionists, Antizionists use in part the same frame so they will keep as far away as possible from antisemitism, terrorism and violence, to the extent that they can paint themselves into a corner. One can argue for it but mostly it works through reputation. You instinctively know you have to avoid contamination from the people with bad reputation because it hurts your reputation. The mainstream knows antizionists don't have enough of a reputation to take them in account , but there is a slim chance if you are very Jewish and very vocally antiviolence and very anti-antisemitic.
      Palestinians obviously don't have a level of reputation which is worth taking them in account. Nobody ever asks them. The demonstrations in Gaza are about as Ghandilike as it can get but nope, not good enough for the mainstream.

      This I consider a great achievement of Phil Weiss, that he managed to let Palestinians speak in their own voices on this site.

      I've followed the antisemitism campaign against Corbyn a bit. Ken Livingstone just has quit Labour. My point of view is that Corbyn has to take in account how reputation works and therefore it's a real dilemma to choose between supporting those accused of antisemitism and distancing yourself. Those accusing Corbyn of caving are generally disregarding the validity of reputation thinking, while constantly participating in the reputation game themselves.

      My general guideline is avoid the temptation of raising the bar for others, but I won't go as far to advise people to disregard their reputation. Certainly not politicians. So I accept that people like Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn have to compromise a lot. I don't like it though.

  • By wrecking Iran deal, Trump politicized Israel
    • Kay24 says:

      CNN just reported that apparently Israel claims Iran fired rockets into the Golan Heights.

      False flag?

      Not at all. A restrained response from Iran after many attacks from Israel. Golan is still Syrian territory which underscores the restraint. The Guardian describes the situation as Israeli retaliation because they're fine with that. Mainstream doesn't really do 'adversarial journalism'.

  • Maybe Israel is interfering in our politics over the Iran Deal? Naaah!
    • Here is her latest article

      But too many of the Middle East's contemporary political orders are simply not constituted on bases permitting them to pursue genuine foreign policy independence - or tolerate its pursuit by other regional states. These orders - including, most prominently, Israel and Saudi Arabia - remain fundamentally dependent for their long-term survival on an American superpower committed to consolidating and maintaining dominance over Middle East security and political affairs. Such reliance compels them to oppose efforts by regional neighbours to chart their own paths. As a result, they regularly misrepresent commitment to foreign policy independence by states like Iran, Qatar, and Turkey as a "threat to regional stability" to justify their own coercively interventionist postures.

    • Cigargod says:That’s not why.
      Start working on a list of owners and managers.
      You’ll get it.

      then why so many public intellectuals join in on the narrative? I have a pretty well defined understanding about how media conformity works and maybe I'll find a place to expand on it. In any case, it's there, the mainstream perception of international politics is its own reality, it aligns with power, and it easily detaches from the reality on the ground. It's being challenged by alternative media for now due to a window which has opened in the last 15 years, and the war on fake news will try to close that window.

    • I value Hillary Mann-Leverett's point of view a lot and in an earlier online appearance at Al Jazeera she pointed out that the Trump administration actually has a general strategy even if you don't like it. And it's better than 'he's working for Israel'. It's more 'I'll make Iran the enemy and you pay the US an awful lot of money'.
      I have to dig to find it but here she is on april 25th.

      One could claim he has a point in declaring the Iran deal a bad deal. Iran gets something for giving up something it never was interested in in the first place, so what does the US get out of it?

  • The remarkable disappearing act of Israel's car-bombing campaign in Lebanon or: What we (do not) talk about when we talk about 'terrorism'
    • The main reason Trump wants to rip up the JSPOA agreement with Iran is because he's been bought by a foreign agent.

  • The 'fake news' story is fake news
    • I don't have any use for 'fake news' except maybe as an alternative name for clickbait.
      It has been instantly appropriated to mean 'anything undesirable'. It will become a reputation/weight to information and rest assured anything antizionist will get a low reputation which will be an impediment with whatever you can think of. It will be deranked at google search and demonetized at Google adsense, and Facebook and Twitter will also find deranking mechanisms for it.
      I mean to say I don't like it.

    • Page: 5
    • Clearly people who voted against Clinton had to draw conclusions based on invalid arguments. By definition Fake News caused people to vote for Trump.

    • AFAIK desinformation through the approved channels like our press is by definition not fake news.

    • Fake news didn't start as propaganda, it started out as news pulled out of thin air.
      Now fake news is anything which is disreputable. There is a consensus that fake news should be suppressed. And countered.

      This is the setting up of an infrastructure for censorship, with support of mainstream press and intellectuals. Censorship meaning: all possible manners of making something less visible and less reputable.
      In principle the censoring rules can be very soft at the start and that once the infrastructure is in place new rules can be implemented in the blink of an eye. but it's clear nobody intends to wait that long.

  • Kovel's 'Overcoming Zionism' was ahead of its time
    • And we all know Einstein did as well.

      This is completely wrong since Naftush doesn't know.

  • Netanyahu's cheap theatrics fall flat, but alas, he has an audience of one -- Trump
    • Not a peep out of the whole mainstream press that we have a critical problem with an evil triangle of Saudi Arabia, Israel and the US which is bent on war and escalation. At the moment the simpleminded word 'evil' is appropriate.

    • I'm one of the few idiots who believes Iran should be presented as an example for the world in their aversion for nuclear weapons. They applied an unusual amount of wisdom there and never tried to make them while they are surrounded by a lot of unfriendly states.

      China has nuclear weapons but has managed them fairly responsibly.

      The other nuclear powers are hardly examples of responsible behaviour. The worst culprit by far is the US because they drove the arms race, and feel the least restrained but I'm not sure who would come second. Not Israel I think but it can change any moment if they start using low yield nukes.

  • Las Vegas print shop refuses to print JVP banner over Israel politics
    • Roha, I think you are using a 'prototype situation' to understand free speech , that of many independent players who are free to do their own thing. If one player refuses to print your stuff there is another one next door who will. In such a case I wouldn't be eager to intervene either.

      But as soon as there is coherent behaviour on a large scale , which can take the form of pseudomonopolies , Facebook, Twitter and Google refusing to post your content, or dominant mentality 'we don't serve blacks here' then you can start to think seriously about enforcing rules, either to enforce a change against people's will or because nobody really objects but they don't want to stick their necks out and be the first one.

      You can't bluntly allow private persons/companies to ignore free speech , otherwise you open the door for a strategy which shuts down free speech by privatizing it.

      We have a massive censorship operation coming up to speed right now so I think the issue has some urgency.

  • Emergency statement: Gaza protests and Israel’s military response
    • I don't like it but it's not really sarcasm. I think it's simply how it works. I doubt Chomsky realizes how important reputation is in explaining the Propaganda Model.

    • ? this belongs in the Finkelstein-youtube-removal thread

    • A consensus has been building that disreputable posts on social media should be suppressed and discouraged. What these are exactly is subject for debate but with clearcut cases as fakenews, Russian trolls, hatespeech and incitement, bots and antisemitism we can be sure the mainstream media knows how to do the right thing. And the mainstream media is very good at identifying what is a reputable source and what is a disreputable source. They are very sensitive to that and will automatically and instantly shun disreputable sources, or if they have to confront them, do so in a very critical manner making clear they are keeping these sources at a safe distance. Advertisers also know that they do not want to be shown adjacent to a disreputable news item so they are really fighting the same battle.
      So what we need to do is to push disreputable sources away, make them harder to find through google, make it harder for them to find online advertising, make them less visible on youtube , facebook and twitter. You can also discourage everyone from linking to them by making clear this 'disreputabilty' is contagious.
      I feel that with the new vigilance towards fake news things will quickly move in the right direction.

  • Israel and its Democratic Party friends complain -- Trump gave Syria to Russia 'on a silver platter'
  • Jewish leader refuses to debate BDS with young Jew, at J Street conference
    • We are what we eat.

      It's complicated. It has been shown that when someone feels like junk food and then eats junk food, then afterwards they feel like junk food.
      But someone feels like an apple and eats an apple, then afterwards they no longer feel like an apple.

    • A glass with a drop of water is a milestone, a landmark or a turning point, which fits nicely with an epiphany.

  • As Israel becomes a political liability it is time to challenge its enablers
  • Neocons and liberal interventionists are back in the saddle again -- though 'nobody wants a big war'!
    • Former British ambassador Peter Ford

      Gilbert Doctorow who follows the Russians closely is in an outright panic now.

    • Why would Israel have a death wish? If you look at plausible outcomes then either other powers get involved more deeply or the conflict remains contained while Assad's side is weakened again. And the US can stay longer.

    • I believe the risk of uncontrolled escalation is high. During the cold war there were margins of error which were larger: larger warning times so more time to find out whether an alert is false. They didn't have missiles on the Russian border then.

      And there was an awareness of the danger of the situation. Like a dangerous crossing where the drivers are aware of the danger. And even then there were multiple close calls. That means we got lucky.
      The end of the cold war allowed for the rise of more bellicose figures, because they were good for business or just for the purpose of popularity. The attitudes we see now were not present then. There's no fear, not just with the loonies in the white house but overall in the West. The Russians are scared but we aren't. You can hope to last a few crises that way but not a century.

  • The search for 'balance' in the Gaza shootings
    • All of us who speak out publicly are conscious that we have been and may still be perceived as betraying the tribe. If one has grown up in the mainstream, it is natural to fear the loss of credibility and voice when we do so, and there is pressure – internally as well as externally generated – to want to show that we are still loyal, to pull our punches, to make our criticism more palatable to our side.

      This is an important statement and I want to emphasize these are very powerful constraints.
      We are very sensitive to our reputation and in a social context it is also very sensible to do so.
      Most people will steer clear of low reputation sources: antisemites, terrorists, neonazis, climate deniers, conspiracy theorists, Russians. Low reputation sources are treated as a contagious disease. Any association with it, even indirectly, should be avoided. Socially adept people can play the reputation game well and in a more ambitious way. They will steer clear of 'low reputation' claims and people and will associate themselves with high reputation sources.

      This is why the conformism of mainstream thinking is much wider than corporate journalism: any public thinker understands the constant threat of being dismissed as having a low reputation. Mainstream journalism trusts the system and will steer clear of conspiracy theorists or simply anyone who distrusts the system. This is also why character assassination as a standard procedure is so effective.

      It would be nice if the reputation game has a good linkage to more scholarly values but you cannot count on it at all and in general I would consider thinking around low reputation sources, while sensible, to be mediocre from an intellectual point of view.

      We react to the current 'low reputation news' scare by raising the bar for acceptable news and censoring as much as possible . This is counterproductive in its current form and all the information which challenges the high reputation news and has a chance to correct it is being buried. We need to lower the bar.

  • 50 NYU student groups endorse BDS, call on university to divest from companies complicit in Israeli occupation
  • Israeli sniper films shooting of unarmed Palestinian -- and celebrates
    • Yes, the most moral army in the world. The protester/terrorist was shot in the leg.

      Reminds me of the expression 'shooting oneself in the foot'.
      If an army considers all protesters as terrorists , they drop all the way to the bottom of the morality ranking.
      Of course nothing stops them there to mutter to themselves how incredibly humane they are every moment they are not exterminating those antisemites , or more of them.

  • Slain Palestinian journalist's media org vows to hold Israel accountable 'for this heinous crime'
    • There have been indications of a buildup towards a chemical attack so that would have been my first guess but in this case it seems there hasn't even been any involvement of chemical poisoning, not even accidental.

      I had the same feeling about the Skripal case: when asking myself what was the most plausible explanation I had a preference for a false flag, but now the most likely explanation is food poisoning - with all the opportunistic propaganda followup which would also accompany a false flag operation.

      Finkelstein is trying to keep some distance from Tucker with this title. I prefer him to be more hardcore and omit the 'reputation safeguards' but I understand it's hard.

  • Jews and trauma
    • Your dad was wise even if I see good reasons to be insulted.
      The idea of an American's disdain of live axles in 67 does not sound very convincing though.

  • A brief, unhappy history of Israeli massacres
    • The nuclear armed submarines follow the logic of the 'triad' , air, land and sea based nuclear weapons. They demonstrate that their nuclear armament kan just keep going. It's not enough to be nuclear capable, you want to have them built and ready. Then you want to be able to deliver them anywhere, and in any amount, and at any speed, and after whatever first strike, and you want more types of bombs and smaller ones. There's not even a nuclear arms race going on there ,but there surely is a lack of restraint.

    • Finkelstein has written about Gandhi and I haven't read it but I'm sure it will be enlightening. I've read Orwell though
      One the one hand the British started out liking him because they equated nonviolent with ineffective:

      It was also apparent that the British were making use of him, or thought they were making use of him. Strictly speaking, as a Nationalist, he was an enemy, but since in every crisis he would exert himself to prevent violence — which, from the British point of view, meant preventing any effective action whatever — he could be regarded as “our man”.

      On the other hand Gandhi's ideas about nonviolence were more radical than we might assume:

      When, in 1942, he urged non-violent resistance against a Japanese invasion, he was ready to admit that it might cost several million deaths.

      The Israeli approach appears to have two sides
      1. target acquisition: 'Show us the Palestinian Gandhi'
      2. it's never nonviolent enough so it's in the same ballpark as blowing yourself up on a schoolbus. Ahed Tamimi violently assaults a soldier. kids throw rocks. It doesn't look violent but it's instigated by violent people. It's threatening.
      Those Indians intruding on the personal space of the soldiers was very uncomfortable too.

  • The double standard for 'a peaceful English town' and Gaza
    • As the hasbara crowd on here has already demonstrated profusely it's not so hard to think up a rationale for whatever conclusion you want to get. I can imagine failed attempts. When all you are interested in is to kill someone effectively you can use plenty of the deadliest poison. But if you want to limit the effect so other people are spared you have to dilute to a certain concentration and then it doesn't matter if one poison is more deadly than the next one. Only once you limit the concentration it also becomes vulnerable to wild variations: fast decay , large variation in how much is absorbed dependent on what people do exactly.

      My main concern is the eagerness to interpret and escalate what could just as well be treated as a 'spies amonst each other' issue. Where do they get the idea that it's this novichok thing(a family of substances) when there is no clear proof pointing in that direction and when one of the attributes of the novichok family is that it's easy to make which is the opposite of pointing to a clear culprit? And why do they want to create the most tension out of it (Russians attacked with WMD inside Europe! )

      I wonder if we have anyone left whose job it is to avoid unnecessary escalation. If anyone sees the need for it they sure don't consider it part of their own job.

  • Passover is a reminder the battle between Moses and the Pharaoh is still raging
  • AIPAC is suddenly getting a lot of bad press, in Jewish papers and 'Washington Post'
  • 'Someone is paying Trump to do it' -- Pompeo elevation shows neoconservative lock on foreign policy
  • American Jews need Israel to be safe -- megadonor Paul Singer
    • And if Corbyn had any integrity and moxie whatsoever, he would have stood up to the hysterical charges of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

      Corbyn has shown plenty of courage and integrity and that doesn't disappear when he does something disappointing.

    • That is truly astounding. I didn't believe it before I saw it.
      I mean, a German who developed a sense of humor!

    • Re: novichok
      The first thing to note is the agenda setting. Alround eagerness to escalate, which I'm very much against. When the eagerness is so explicit you have to think pretext rather than cause.
      Then when you think pretext there is good reason to also question the incident itself, though it should not be necessary and it can divert attention. To question or just estimate or just spell out the most plausible hypothesis. The most plausible hypothesis is that the British decided to build on the success of chemical weapons claims and set up an incident. The relevance of these novichok agents is mostly that the British think the claim is convenient but proof of who can make them(any pesticide plant), how effective they are and whether they were used is all dubious.
      Moon of Alabama is a very competent 'distruster' and he's following it up closely , including the link to the Steele dossier. Craig Murray made an informed post today about the absence of proof

    • And you try to insult him and he can't even hear you from a mile away.

    • and yet, he said it without anyone putting a gun to his head!


  • As Trump administration finalizes peace plan, Palestinian ambassador calls US embassy opening in Jerusalem a 'media stunt'
  • There are only two kinds of Jews, Schumers and Feinsteins
    • This looks a bit like what I call 'blanket distrust' so what I'll do is attack my straw man 'blanket distrust' and anyone can steal any idea from it they consider useful.

      With public discourse we have a problem that the media trust the official sources and the sources know that they can get away with anything so they become very dishonest. This means someone with a policy of blanket distrust will often be right, especially when it's used to drive critical assessment of claims. But it will go off the rails unless at least two other skills are present

      - avoid appealing theories when it's too hard to find out whether you're wrong. Going on a policy of general distrust will lead to unbridled conspiracy thinking : Because all the decision making happens by powers working in the dark you can speculate and believe in plausible theories and never find out you're wrong.

      - seeking out the positive. Because even the best things in the world are full of compromises, mistakes and judgement calls you can find negatives in everything and dismiss everything. But without any trust nothing can work. Finding the positive is a skill and it needs practice. People who never do it are not capable of it.

      I think the Intercept is a good case to practice on since it's so obviously compromised :)

    • marc b. says: he is a fraud.

      Now that is just stupid.

    • You continue to keep ol’ Konrad Lorenz spinning in his grave.

      I see a potential source of green energy here.

      I have a book by Lorenz somewhere, something about animals. I forgot the title but I recall I liked it. About how smart his dog was , and his raven.

    • Fairly valid arguments. The right side of history, that may be an overstatement.
      I often take a position of accepting mediocrity. Don't blame people for only being average. Then I think liberal zionists generally are decent enough people. The question of what people contribute to a situation is different. Decent people can have all the wrong ideas, they can make an existing situation worse and they can be useless for improving the situation.
      So as far as I'm concerned I would rather say a lot of decent people often are on the wrong side of history.

    • I don't know much about Feinstein but I recommend this article about the initiative Feinstein,Sanders, Merkley and Markey took(I don't even know the last two) calling for new arms control talks . It explains why Sanders joined the Russiagate believers lately.

    • This remind me about the two lessons that were learned from the Holocaust: 'never again to Jews' vs 'never again to anyone'.
      An advantage of these categories is that even when loyalty is an issue there is this possibility to drift to the nicer group. Since you're still very Jewish you have a defense against the accusation of disloyalty. With the more general humanist position that is much harder.
      So you can still put your own tribe first but there is room for others.

      It also helps a lot if one can relax the antisemitism obsession.

  • Gideon Levy on Israeli denial: 'Anyone who raises a question is demolished'
    • Another thing about that good core.

      Pinkwashing, greenwashing, lifestylewashing etc is not just hasbara, it's also what any half decent person does: try to ignore the ugly things you're embarrassed about and compensate elsewhere. Internal reporting on crimes only underscores the good core. You can report it proudly as long as it's on a token level. Not sure what kind of 'washing' that should be named but you can add it to all the other washings.

    • The second very deeply rooted value: we are the victims, not only the biggest victims, but the only victims around…. I don’t recall one occupation in which the occupier present himself as the victim. Not only the victim– the only victim….

      If you believe this then there is nothing unprogressive in supporting Israel. That is why I don't like the use of 'PEP' for describing progressives who support Israel. It denies their progressive side.
      I should add the idea is pretty immune to challenges as well. If the victimhood is the core attribute then you can acknowledge all the bad things done as flaws that detract nothing from this core. It's not as if the Holocaust is going to disappear and suddenly 'unhappen'.

  • 'NYT' free speech advocate Bari Weiss reportedly helped bring down a Columbia dean over 'intellectual heresy'
    • [posting indirectly because I have trouble submitting this]

      Thanks, it means the less I explain the better it's understood :) So there we go...
      if with political culture you mean the media I agree. There are individual cognitive mechanisms, social/tribal and economical/power mechanisms enhancing the internal coherence of stories at the expense of fit with reality. Media are storytellers and a story has to be coherent and stereotypes make it easier. They are storytellers in an economical context and its business environment demands stories that sell well. Joris Luyendijk gave a very good example about banking, comparing the movies 'Marching Call' and 'The Wolf of Wall Street'. The first one was about nerdy mathematicians , it had a good fit with reality but nobody saw it. The second one had a psychopathic villain and a weak match with reality and it got funded very well and sold very well. An example of journalistic writing with is the opposite, good fit but bad coherence is Seymour Hersh's. Apart from his stories providing counternarrative - narrative which clashes with the dominant narrative, his stories are full of things which you have a hard time fitting together.
      With politics there is an additional factor that the politicians provide the stories and the media inherently trust the system , they distrust those who do not trust the system, and they have a relationship of trust with politicians. An example of that would be David Sanger. He has all the right ideas to make him the goto person for officials which makes him a good storywriter and the NYTimes promotes him to Chief Washington correspondent.
      When there are conflicts of interest between powerful players the system can still work, but when there are conflicts with external players with little clout the result is a disaster and stories are actually told and understood at the level of toddlers, with the good guys always worrying (always legitimate)and the bad guys being cunning(not legitimate).
      I found the debate between Greenwald and Risen particularly interesting because it was apparent that Risen has more trust in the system and he more readily allows it to direct his attention: he adopts the framing and the agenda setting even if he's critical at the content level. Neither of them points out however that Greenwald sometimes has problems getting the point across because it's simply less stereotypical. It's easy to be clear when you are saying what the other person is already thinking.

    • Phil was indeed too conformist there. Ahmadinejad is very conservative . That means he has a lot of ideas we find objectionable, but sometimes it means something else than we think it does, the conservatives in Iran are better in offering social provisions for the poor.

      We're horrible at lumping positive and negative things together. It always ends up in the way which minimizes cognitive dissonance.
      Trump being innocent in Russiagate. Racist white americans being more against war and intervention than liberals. North Korea having legitimate national interests. Progressives who favor Israel. Intelligent people doing stupid things. Liberal zionists.

      Holocaust denial in the case of Ahmadinejad is intended as an insult and as a way to gain popularity in the Sunni world, and they again will deny the holocaust out of spite. It's like namecalling. I find all the huffing and puffing about Holocaust denial in general hypocritical and dishonest. Warmongers thrive on it. There's no reason to call Ahmadinejad a warmonger.

    • no, just me not thinking. and getting rightly snagged for it.

      It wasn't bad though. Should have dug your heels in :)

  • Rabbi Cardozo: outlawing circumcision would 'end the state of Israel'
    • And just imagine the gratitude in the young man’s eyes when his father tells him how he evaded the law to have his son circumcised.

      That's the part Johnny Cash glossed over in 'A boy named Sue'.

    • And, yes, Tuyzentfloot, it should be “its origins”.

      Noted. That's 3 commas and not a single apostrophe though so I hope you don't mind my doubting whether you take this equal opportunity thing seriously.

    • Mooser says:“Eljay” opposes child abuse and incest, too! Go to it, “catalan”.

      You go ahead and show your son that “Eljay” can’t control you!!

      So right. When I cross a dog turd on the pavement I also think 'wait a minute, am I going to let a dog turd control where I walk?'.

    • Jon s, we have Cardozo’s word for all this being directly related to the possible end of Israel.

      It's the magic bullet! The problem is that bullets are circumcised and as soon as you want to use it you won't be allowed to use it...

  • Netanyahu in DC: I don't want Palestinian 'subjects' but the West Bank will remain 'militarily under Israel'
    • Eljay says:The rapist broke into the woman’s home, chained her in his basement, abused her for weeks…and now he’s arguing that he should be in charge of security in her home because she can’t be trusted to treat him right.

      I have thought about that metaphor, but it turned a bit creepy. The home was turned into a restaurant, and there were fans who visited and boasted that it was so nice. Ok, the cellar was a bit controversial but it could be justified. And in the restaurant worked people who preferred just to talk about cooking and avoided the subject of the cellar as much as possible, and other people who spent a lot of time making up all kinds of justifications for the cellar.

      I've been told the latest Ottolenghi book is pretty nice.

  • Zionism, anti-Semitism, Israel — and the UK Labour party
    • Regev’s pants are on fire. Always

      He takes after the great surrealists: burning giraffe, burning tuba...

  • AIPAC panics over progressives abandoning Israel
  • Jared Kushner's swift rise and long, long fall
    • I don't think the comparison with Nero makes sense but one can try and come up with things. There are enough historians who claim that Nero's bad reputation is in large part due to history being written by his adversaries.

    • Danaa says:**PS wasn’t it Einstein who was reputed to say that “coincidence is god’s way of staying hidden”?

      To me it looks like the conventional view where God makes sure every intervention in the world's events is covered by deniability. Now doesn't that sound familiar! It doesn't look like sth Einstein would say, unless of course he could deny it afterwards.

  • In calling for end of Jewish state, Avraham Burg is painted as 'troublemaker' at liberal NY synagogue
    • Broadside says:.
      Actually, Steve, it’s gotten a lot cooler.

      How old are you?!?!?

      I've been told that if Steve Grover and Mooser ever meet in real life, then the moment they touch hands they will be annihilated in a burst of gamma rays.

    • P.S. Burg said that Israel has only ever executed one person, Adolf Eichmann, in 1962. Many human rights groups would dispute this claim.

      He's of course exactly right as far as formal executions are concerned.
      As opposed to casual and informal executions that is.

    • South Africa had the Apartheid problem and a problem of concentration of power. Mandela succeeded in the Apartheid struggle but failed to challenge the concentration of power and wealth. I don't know if that was wise of him or which problem was the largest of the two but I'm not going to condemn it outright.
      Israel also has a problem with power/wealth concentration.

  • Mohammad Tamimi: 'They beat me into confessing'
    • The origins of petard and péter are Latin and Greek. 'Pedo' , or foot, is used to describe escaping, fleeing. So they're no onomatopoeia.

  • In fit of mendacity, Israeli official claims Mohammed Tamimi, 15, was not hit in the head by a bullet
    • Not exactly. I'm only aiming for equal opportunity for comma,s and apostrophe's.

    • I noticed that too. They can have a fit of honesty but not mendacity. But obviously I can also choose to read it in the way it was intended...

  • AIPAC conference will feature lots of liberal Democratic speakers
    • I just looked at the book title, I have it in my bookcase and it's not 'State of War' but 'Pay Any Price'.

    • People like Christopher Hitchens and James Risen are the rule, not the exception. For them, truth is whatever serves to pay their salary.

      No. I don't doubt the integrity of James Risen but it is inherent in the journalistic guidelines of impartiality and objectivity that it can be 'played' so that even the most conscientious become an extension for propaganda, its ideas and its agenda.

    • What kind of reporter would do nothing, for 14 months, w the scoop of scoops?

      You want me to keep Greenwald in low esteem because he's too complimentary about Risen? I don't consider that a good criterium.
      As for Risen 'making himself look good', 'playing malcontent' and 'sitting on it', that's a bunch of lousy perceptions. It's a legitimate argument to say that he should have gone out on his own and publish quickly, like Hersh(although Hersh at least got a clear 'no' from the Newyorker). Instead he stayed inside the system, he put up a long fight about it while the others were stalling and he only got the NYTimes to publish once he told them it was going to be in his book by that date. But he certainly wasn't sitting on the info and-I read State of War but I forgot the exact timeline-I also have my doubts about whether he would have taken in account the elections. Pushing to publish yes, but before the elections, that would be political and I think his interpretation of journalism is that he should not do that. I appreciate Risen even though I believe his view on journalism is too timid and conformist and I believe there is a strong need for Greenwalds more activist approach to journalism.
      So I think you mischaracterize Risen, but I also use different standards for 'deserving praise'.

    • I’d be very careful w Glenn Greenwald, if I were you, he seems to have followed the path Poitras took.

      I for one am impressed by the level of his thinking. The high standards you hold people to suggest your level is even more impressive.

  • Skeptics who see Russiagate as warmongering will never get respect in the press
    • I like the observations about Chen. The thing is, we have a tribal, social nature with a high sensitivity to group status. That means that there are people and things you don't want to be associated with because it affects your status , your credibility in the group, because it's not safe. Chen doesn't want to be associated with indy journalism. It's like staying clear of conspiracy theorists, antisemites or really unpopular people. It's about possibly being able to offer one unpopular idea but only after first confirming 4 other popular ideas to show you're ok. It's about being critical about everything because simply being in favor of something or someone lowers your status. It's about not being able to be skeptical about russiagate because it makes you pro-Trump or a puppet of the Russians.

      Groupthink is a word used to describe situations where a group really goes off in the wrong direction, but i prefer the idea that we have an omnipresent conformism which is second or even first nature, and that it's not necessarily bad. It's got its downsides though.

    • What makes me feel really cynical about this “Russia-non-gate” is that in comparison with USA involvement in subverting other countries’ government it is a grain of sand on a beach.

      That is because Russia has mastered the so-called 'butterfly effect' of social media, where somehow an insignificant input can have huge consequences. We will only be able to defend ourselves against this power if everyone steps into line and thinks the same.

    • Nevertheless, he is a man of integrity, who would have offered a breath of fresh air to the Presidency if HRC hadn’t succeeded in sabotaging his efforts.

      What does it mean, integrity in politics?
      Suppose Sanders simply thought he had to pick his fights carefully , so he would focus on his priority and go with the flow on the rest.
      Those who oppose this kind of compromise, do they think he should take a stand on the other issues even if it would affect his chances of achieving anything at all, by making too many enemies and offending too many voters and funding? Or do they think it would it actually be a smart approach which would benefit him in the end?

    • Russia-bate is latest development in the machinery’s rapidly advancing technology of manipulation.

      That may be true in part but usually people see centralized control where problems are more systemic and trends are more caused by confluence of multiple agendas and natural group dynamics.

    • The Intercept posted an imporant discussion between Risen and Greenwald.

      The key concept is trust. Trust is beneficial for a group and trust can be abused. It makes sense to choose to keep operating in a regime of trust, to 'give' trust even while you know the system has not fully 'earned' trust. It's valuable to prefer to trust because a system where trust breaks down completely is in deep trouble.

      You could set up a spectrum of trusting attitude and then mainstream journalism has its own range but overall it is very much on one side: it trusts authorities and institutions and it regards those further on the spectrum as paranoid conspiracy thinkers. Official statements are true until proven otherwise. Some people distrust the whole system and they have to speculate in the dark. They have to become conspiracy theorists. Assange distrusts mainstream press to the extent that he does not rely on them for publishing leaks while Greenwald chooses to maintain that trust knowing the press institutions don't fully earn that trust . I can understand Risen's choice to trust the agenda setting of the system enough to investigate wherever you're pointed.

      Greenwald opts for the general strategy that journalists should 'be difficult' : official statements are false until proven true. At the same time he resists getting dragged into the Russiagate agenda by following a 'meta' agenda of monitoring the media.

      Not being a public intellectual like Greenwald I like the simplified position of dismissing Russiagate as trivial. The whole agenda of Russiagate is poisonous in itself and going along with the agenda feeds the agenda. The agenda is that we should escalate tensions with Russia and make them our enemy. The expected level of nefarious activities of Russia should already be considerable when relations are good,(for instance, I just read about GCHC hacking Belgian telecom) and it must be higher when relations are bad. We now have a climate where everyday there's a new claim pumped into the media , and some of them are bound to have some truth in them. Since the reaction to the true claims is also excessive(they're compared to some fantasy reference frame without hacking , propaganda or troll farms)this can only escalate and there's little to be gained from investigating them in public.

      My agenda is we should deescalate whatever truth there is in Russiagate. So, completely opposite to those comparing it with Pearl Harbor.

    • Seymour Hersh has heen a regular at the New Yorker for 25 years but he had to publish his Obama articles in the London Review of Books. For his latest article he had to move again, this time to Die Welt , because:

      Hersh had also offered the article to the London Review of Books. The editors accepted it, paid for it, and prepared a fact checked article for publication, but decided against doing so, as they told Hersh, because of concerns that the magazine would vulnerable to criticism for seeming to take the view of the Syrian and Russian governments when it came to the April 4th bombing in Khan Sheikhoun.

  • Israelis disfigure Damascus Gate with steel watchtower
    • I brought up the ‘dead arabs’; not you and not Phil. So on it’s face, I am the most concerned.

      Why does RoHa keep bashing the low to the ground commas while giving the elevated commas a free pass? It's class justice I'm tellin ya.

  • Zionism's tailspin: Stark minority of young California Jews are 'comfortable with idea of Jewish state'
    • Mooser,
      I'll type this very slowly so you have the time to let it sink in. I'll also do some excessive simplification because because this stuff too difficult for me otherwise.

      If you're the US government and you have this noncompliant regime which you want to break, it is very easy to get well meaning progressives on board. First, because it's often a nasty regime (most regimes are somehow) you can come up with any incriminating story you want and everyone will gobble it all up. This you can sell to everyone , no need to be progressive. Even better, after a few of these stories it only becomes easier and easier to sell them the next story.

      Secondly, say you're going to save those poor people suffering under the regime. Which well meaning progressive doesn't want to save these poor people. You want to get progressives on board to give the enterprise an air of legitimacy. From then you make sure the options remain simple: you only want the best for the people of this nasty regime, but unfortunately there is no other choice than to destroy the regime.

      When a state (or fill in your power player) wants to start saving the people in Afghanistan, Iran, Libya, Syria, Iraq , North Korea or Russia then forget it, they're after something else and progressives are only useful idiots to lend the project some legitimacy. The mainstream media is very complicit in this. You don't get a career in the media if you don't implicitly trust the power centers.

      10 years ago there still was a lot of goodwill in Russia towards the west and things could move in the right direction . That was a good thing because everyone got better and you really don't want them as an enemy. Since then we've been going quickly and enthusiastically from bad to worse. I put most of the blame on the West. The chances we'll find out that we're handling it wrong aren't good though, since everyone who even thinks about deviating from the script is now by definition a Putin stooge. And that's where we are now. At the 'everyone knows' stage.

    • Re McCarthyism,
      people seem to have funny ideas about McCarthyism. There was a cold war going on Russia was the enemy. There was a lot of spying going on. It was real. In the current mindset people would think McCarthyism was completely justified.
      But the effect of McCarthyism was drowning out of stifling dissent, killing off critical thinking, fueling the arms race (with the US being the far more powerful player) and empowering a military industrial complex.
      Now you could say the Military Industrial Complex has become very powerful , the mainstream media is more docile than ever and dissident voices only get published in alternative media, or on Russia Today.

      Russiagate quickly blended with Fake News, which is the new Terrorism in that it starts of as something specific but is quickly molded into 'whatever your opponents do'. The limited meaning of fake news is not even propaganda, but things that are made up out of thin air and passed on as news. It quickly expanded to cover everything that is too understanding of Russia or just dissident and not mainstream. Black Lives Matter, the Intercept, WikiLeaks, Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein are all paid by the Russians. All the best dissident journalists have appeared on Russia Today at some point.

      The main problem with Russiagate is not whether it is true or not, but how it is used to enforce a new cold war consensus. Even if it were all true, even if Russia did much worse things, I believe there would still be a desperate need to deescalate the tension, to listen to the other side and to put serious work in making the nuclear standoff safe. At the moment we're entirely capable at blowing the whole place up either through escalation or by accident without ever figuring out which tiny mistake caused it. And the Russians have always been open to talk. That may not remain the case.

      At the same time I think there is this excessive eagerness to see Russian conspiracies everywhere and that they are viewed in comparison with a fictitious baseline behavior where Russia should be doing no spying or hacking at all, which doesn't even happen between countries with the best relationships. So yes, I think Russiagate is a combination of falsehood , exaggeration and paranoid speculation, in short it's all bullshit. And it wouldn't even matter if I was wrong on that. Well except that it would hurt my pride.

  • Story of Israel's influence shadows the Russian influence story
    • I have to say there is a trivial reasoning being applied in practice: if a nation you get along with interferes in your political system it is less of a concern than when it's a nation you don't get along with.

  • Video: 'You are godless atheists' --Jewish settlers harass Palestinian kindergarten
    • There is no language there about being chosen and being chosen has nothing to do with throwing Muslim insults back into Muslim faces, which seems to be the idea. And yes, it’s still obnoxious.

      Yes when settlers finally get to the point of striking back against those arabs that doesn't mean we should not hold them up to our exalted ethical standards

    • The way I understand it religion is to a large extent a form of tribal loyalty. When more loyalty is demanded the religion becomes more extreme. From that point of view an atheist is indistinguishable from a traitor.

      An unusual thing about western Christianity is that the concept of truth became very important in it. So once you started to ask 'yes but is it true' there was a risk that you decided 'it' was not true and you were forced to place yourself outside of the group even if you didn't want to. That makes an atheist again hard to distinguish from a traitor. As far as other Gods are concerned I understand that while the loyalty to one God has to be asserted, there is the additional claim that there are no other Gods while compensating this by saying the other Gods really are kind of the same one as ours so it's ok. It's never nice to hear that your God doesn't even exist.

      I don't think Kaffiri is a synonym for atheist in the sense of 'believing there are no Gods'. It suffices that they're not loyal to 'our' religion.

  • Reminder: They got Capone on tax evasion
    • They considered getting Trump for unauthorized acts of war against Syria but it felt inappropriate.

  • What's wrong with colonialism?
    • Just because it’s ‘human’ for people to put their own group first, doesn’t mean that it is right.

      I would be cautious about rejecting that people put their own group first whatever that group is. The issue is how whether you do more for say your family over other people, it's how steeply your concern falls away as the distance increases (yourself -- your family and friends -- larger family --your business --your tribe -- nation -- world). That includes to what extent you're treating those further away as enemies , as lower beings or as disposable.

      Of course there are issues where people create distinctions of inside/outside where others think there should not be any distinction at all or at least (pragmatically)not as large. For instance it is a common principle that a state should treat everyone who is part of that state at an equal level (maybe not for everything), and that this should be extended to some aspects of individual interaction. So distinctions man/woman , upper class/lower class(that's the UK), black/white have become unpopular. But worldwide tribal loyalties are still omnipresent and in time of conflict they can become dominant.

      I think Israel's main problem is worse than a class based system with first rate citizens and second rate citizens. It's more extreme , more towards the caricature where there are Jews and there are antisemites, and as far as (a lot of) Jews are concerned the antisemites can all go and die, even if some of these antisemites are citizens. I honestly think it's closer to YouKnowWho in Germany. Or Sparta, but with more effort to cover things up because times have changed.

  • A private tour of the Hebron Heights winery
  • When Zionism is the essence of life, a break has huge consequences
  • Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as capital of 'Jewish people' is assault on my religion -- Queens rabbi
    • I see no reason to doubt Jesus existed. Also Nazareth was tiny in the days, so the indication was quite specific. Sepphoris nearby was much larger and that was the capital of the region.

  • 'We have taken Jerusalem off the table' -- Trump bullies Palestinians
  • The New York Times tries to make the Ahed Tamimi story go away
  • The never-ending crisis of Zionism
    • I looked up Steve Grover because I didn't see any pun there and found a Jazz musician who was still alive at the time of first post. Best matching single word anagram was funny though.

  • Photos: 'Day of Rage' rocks Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza after Trump's Jerusalem announcement
    • let’s see if you’re smart enough to figure out why that is.

      But 'no brainer catalan' has a tribe so he doesn't need a brain!

  • Palestinian officials say, Trump 'destroyed' the two-state solution
    • In fact this crime against international law will become the most anti-semitic act by any western leader since A. Hitler wrote Mein Kampf!

      Oh, he's done worse things than writing that book you know.

  • Watch Donald Trump's Jerusalem announcement
    • Press reaction here: keywords are disputed(Jerusalem) and counterproductive(the decision). No blame in any way towards Israel. but it's ok to blame Trump. In other news press wonders why they're not popular.

      Also, how explicit do you have to flaunt that Logan act to get noticed. But back to Russia. After all, that's why that act was brought out of mothballs.

  • Netanyahu ditches US Jews for alliance with Christian evangelicals and the alt-right
  • Arthur Finkelstein ruined Israel, says Ehud Barak
    • Brain washing , is that like saying look how smart Jews are so they can't be bad?

    • Freier is german (and dutch)for suitor or boyfriend. A derived meaning is that of someone who visits prostitutes, which is then derived again metaphorically to become loser.

      If you then start associating any form of decency , fairness or honesty with being a loser then the result is really pretty.

  • War rumblings continue, as Netanhayu says Iran is another Nazi Germany
    • Friedman, like so many others, view Saudi Arabia, as an country of extremists, but with the leadership, on our side and therefore, our best bet, is, to support the leadership, and that's what he's selling to us,,( and take your free commas here : ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,)

      I think that is a very problematic view.
      First, even if you take that view, it doesn't mean you let the Saudis get away with everything. It just means you apply pressure while making clear you don't intend to remove them.
      Then considering the extreme policies of the Saudis it's not even clear whether they are able to distinguish those extremists from others, or whether they even bother and are just putting up a good cop/bad cop show.
      Let me put it this way. With 9/11 a credible story is that the CIA asked the saudis to find out more about some Al Qaeda people in the US, that the Saudis started supporting these people for that reason, and that the whole thing blew up in their face. The extra question though is whether this was bound to blow up. I wonder if they even know who is part of the 'moderates'.

    • But sorry for the rude reply. Too impulsive.
      A lot of the Israeli attacks were about support for rebels. They know all too well that there never was a nuclear reactor in Syria, and all the chemical weapons are gone without ever being used. The land bridge for Iran is a minor issue, there are no Iranian bases in Syria.
      But yes, influence of Iran is growing.

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