Palestine Women’s Project: Cherie Blair and Hani Masri

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Cherie Blair, Founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, was kind enough to give me a few minutes at the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative to talk about her partnership with Hani Masri and the Tomorrow’s Youth Organization in Nablus, Palestine.
Blair and Masri have teamed up to help provide women who move beyond the educational program of TYO with support and counseling to start their own businesses and to pursue other economic opportuinities.
Former President Bill Clinton highlighted this partnership and the work they were doing as part of the stakeholder commitments in a viable Palestine that have to happen if there is going to be any alternative future there.
As Masri told me in an interview that I will soon be posting, Palestinians can’t wait for the Israelis to stop the humiliation of the Occupation, or for the politicians and George Mitchell to succeed, to improve their condition.
I realize that the visual quality of the video is not what it should be — but bad lighting and inexperience of this blogger with the camera are to blame. I still think that the message is important and should be heard. I’ll be posting the Hani Masri video soon.
These interviews were part of a project sponsored by the new blog, The Palestine Note.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

87 comments on “Palestine Women’s Project: Cherie Blair and Hani Masri

  1. questions says:

    No, POA, I can argue my point in all sorts of ways.
    Despicable straw to follow (though how straw can be despicable, I am unsure.) And how a scarecrow can type, hmmm. Though I guess one can sing and dance come to think of it…….
    I think conditions of any sort for now are likely to cause the same kind of problems that a cut off would.
    How’s that?
    There’s a lot of insecurity, a lot of mistrust, and in that situation, I don’t think conditions and forcing that aren’t bilateral or trilateral are going to help.
    Think family therapy — you FORCE your kids to do stuff in order to get stuff and you get rebellion. You and your kids work slowly but surely on confidence building exercises, you make small mutual promises and actually keep them, then over time (maybe even years) you might start liking each other again and you might be able to trust each other again. I and P and the US work the same way. You crack down, you get rebellion. You ease up, maybe there will be some taking advantage, and maybe there will be slow change, slow realization that all sides can be trusted.
    I advocate the slow and cultural and therapeutic path towards reconciliation. You want NO CHECK WITHOUT THE NPT. That’s not a negotiated mutual stance guaranteed to build trust…. That’s pretty much gonna mean NO CHECK.
    And let’s face it, we already know Israel has nukes, so why the the bullshit inspection stuff. They have their own self-interest at heart, and I think it’s likely they’re more secure with nukes, actually. I’m not particularly shocked that they a)have nukes and b)don’t want inspections or disarmament. Are you really surprised at Israel’s stance?
    Sincerely,
    The Scarecrow Made of Straw

    Reply

  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gee, another long batch of straw horseshit from questions. Suprised? Note how he responds to my reasoning behind placing stipulations on aid to Israel by claiming that I want to “pull out US resources”. Anyone seen me say that? I have always contended that the billions we send to Israel should have conditions placed on them. And questions always claims I advocate totally cutting off aid. Its what questions does. He argues against positions that are created in his own mind, because that it the easiest way to arrive at the conclusions he wants to arrive at.
    How’s the status quo working out? Israel KNOWS, no matter its actions, that the check is in the mail. What if the check WASN’T in the mail, unless they sat down at the table, and negotiated in good faith? What if the check WASN’T in the mail, unless they stopped settlement expansion? What if the check WASN’T in the mail, unless they allowed medical goods and infrastructural needs into Gaza? Do you think then they would exhibit the arrogance and disdain they currently exhibit for Obama’s reasonable requests regarding the settlements?
    And what if the check WASN’T in the mail, unless they joined the NPT, and allowed inspections? What kind off leverage would THAT give us with our negotiations with Iran?
    Questions can only argue his point if he claims I want to cut off ALL aid, as he often does. Its nothing but bullshit. But that shouldn’t be news to anyone reading this blog on a regular basis. Questions is made out of straw, and his arguments are made out of straw. Its what he does, constantly, unfailingly, and willfully. Its a despicable manner of debate.

    Reply

  3. questions says:

    POA,
    Will you fucking stop with the “propaganda” thing already? I don’t work for Israel or AIPAC. I’m a regular person. Why, I’m not even an IR specialist or an area studies expert. So I offer my view, based on my thinking, that if Israel feels abandoned by the US, the results won’t be good for the Palestinians.
    Israel has a lot of Americans living there. There’s an umbilical cord effect of sorts. We reject them and they rebel. Just like in families, since families and nations share a lot of psychic responses.
    Once you lose the “propaganda” bullshit charges, go ahead and REALLY argue with the real position. Not any motives you think, in your deluded fevered insane conspiracy-laced imagination (I should toss in a few more adjectives….). Okay? Just lose the bullshit and think through the position.
    If pulling out US resources would actually DO something, make the case for it. I think the result would be the following — in the US, crazed defense contractors and some pretty irritated actual voting constituents (so it isn’t going to happen anyway and arguing for the position is a foolish waste of time)
    and more importantly, in Israel: a far more right-wing public (yes, it can happen), far stronger feelings of abandonment and victimhood and “justice is on our side”, a push for Israel to befriend other nations in ways the US might not want given alliance issues, more nastiness towards the Palestinians, a longer refusal to settle the fight.
    If you make yourself read something that isn’t the slightest bit conspiracy laden, try the Wiki page on “game theory” and on the “prisoners dilemma.” I’m sure there’s a write up there, and likely it’s readable. Game theory was devised (invented??) by a mathematician named von Neumann, it was enlarged upon by others including Nash (of “A Beautiful Mind” fame), it’s been taken up by many many economists and social scientists, and there’s really solid math right under it.
    Israel and Palestine are in something like a prisoners dilemma. They cannot communicate in trusting ways, they act with their self-interest in mind, but in doing so, they end up harming themselves because the results of their actions are systemic, but the motivations for their actions are isolated.
    If you don’t take account of systemic effects of actions, you end up in a mess.
    Game theory is a field of enquiry that works out some of the ways we fail when we cannot coordinate.
    So read up on “prisioners dilemma”, “dilemma of the commons” or “tragedy of the commons” (both names are used), “battle of the sexes” (a game theoretic situation — there are many).
    Wiki is accessible and easy to run through. Click on some sources. Check out the “Rock, Paper, Scissors” book. It’s fun, clear, easy to read, and best of all, it’s not a conspiracy theory or a nut case.
    I’m sure you won’t do this because it might interfere with your very strong sense that the only thing that matters in the universe is where your own money is spent, but there’s nothing I can do about that.
    ******
    …, thank you for beginning (maybe) to see that no, indeed, I’m not a propagandist.
    And no, the settlement stuff doesn’t do the action of radicalizing. Fact is, the settlements are multi-faceted. There are financial incentives for settling, and there are religious nuts who are already radicalized and fucked and biblical and dumb. Those who are dumped into the settlements based on financial incentives probably want what everyone wants, — an affordable life, peace and schooling for kids. They’ve been dumped. They could, with another round of incentives, be moved elsewhere where there are schools, yards, streets, laundromats, and peace and quiet.
    The religious nutwings are the problem. They are already off the deep end, but they could be made worse if they get more social support than they have. My sense is that there’s a definite strain of cosmopolitan secular thinking in Israel and the nutwings are not 100% loved. The military service thing is an issue, there are issues with divorce and ethnic purity…. There are strains. But people unite under threat, and the threat of a US pullback is the kind of uniting force I would see as problematic.
    And regarding the religious nutwings, the structure of the Knesset gives them disproportionate power in Israel. It is not a good idea to enlarge upon that flaw in the Israeli political system. Just as in the US a few senators from rural states hold disproportionate power and can gum things up for the bulk of our population (I have no idea if Canada has this kind of built-in anti-democratic flaw), so Israel has this problem of small ultra-religious parties who have way too much power.
    Sometimes, the best way forward in diplomacy is not a straight line, is not really forward, is not direct. In fact, direct — in diplomacy — can be disaster.
    I could certainly be wrong about my reading, as I’m not an IR person, I’m not an area studies expert, I’m not Israeli, I don’t play one on TV…. But then, what about you?
    So argue the position for a change instead of the personality and the bs propaganda shit…..

    Reply

  4. ... says:

    poa – that might be true too… i’m not sure questions motive is propaganda though.. however i do agree that israels ongoing settlement advancements and avoidance of the goldstone report do radicalize israel further… if that is something questions is concerned about, i’m not sure how these 2 issues and the way the usa is supporting israel on them is anything other then a continuation of same which can only lead to more of same, which is in direct opposition to questions stated desire here….

    Reply

  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “… i appreciate your response and think it is well thought out…”
    Yes, its well thought out, allright. For its propaganda value.
    As if committing to actions such as backing off on the settlement issue, and burying the Goldstone report doesn’t “radicalize” Israel???
    What a crock of shit questions advances here. How does placing stipulations on monetary aid “radicalize” a nation?
    Israel is “radicalized” by our complicity and subsidation, so much so that they feel empowered to dump white phosphorous on civilians, continue settlement expansion, and imprison and dehumanize an entire population. Our policies, as they stand now, are the policies that “radicalize” Israel.
    By placing concrete stipulations on aid to Israel, we could actually “deradicalize” them into dropping policies that are every bit horrendous as many of Hitler’s policies.
    It amazes me the mental gymnastics and bullshit this jackass questions will resort to in order to excuse and rationalize Israel’s actions, and our sponsorship of those actions.

    Reply

  6. ... says:

    okay questions… i appreciate your response and think it is well thought out… the very last part of your post is what many of us feel the need to challenge…at least from my own pov, that is what i challenge regularly.. thanks for your comments here..

    Reply

  7. questions says:

    …,
    There’s an asymmetry of power. That’s real. If the US radicalizes Israel, Israel is still the more powerful nation of the two — I and P. A more radicalized I will cause more problems for P. Does that make sense?
    I is already fucking up big time regarding P. I is being really stupid, but stupid in an asymmetrical situation where so far the cost of stupidity is less than it might be. Asymmetry works that way.
    One day, it’s possible that the cost scenario will change and Israel will figure out just how colossally stupid it’s been. That often ends wars, actually.
    So, no, it’s not hypocrisy. It’s a realization that I is bigger and badder than P and I needs to figure out for itself that it has a fucking problem.
    If the US gets involved in a destabilizing way, my sense is that we will not like the results.
    It’s not hypocrisy. But you’re right, it’s not even handed because the powers aren’t even handed or evenly distributed. Life sucks that way sometimes. Really really sucks.

    Reply

  8. ... says:

    my response to questions quotes…”Think up ways that Israelis can like themselves better, feel safer, be happier, without sanctions against Gaza. Or blockades, embargoes, white phosphorous and the like.”
    questions, it would appear some israelis and jews feel better carrying around a perpetual persecution complex, along with the chosen ones complex…. this interferes with their own ability to like themselves better… if they could see themselves as one and the same as the rest of us, they would feel much better.. however they seem to think they are better then that… perhaps religion does this to people.. it certainly seems to have interfered with the israeli peoples ability to treat their neighbours as they would like to be treated…. white phosphorous just doesn’t work for anyone and they ought to know this by now…
    questions quote “And that’s what needs to happen.”
    very authoritative questions… their are many roads to the top of a mountain… keep that in mind when reading others ideas instead of dismissing them out of hand….
    questions quote “Do not threaten the Israelis for that will drive them further and further to the right.”
    would you care to tell that to the israelis as well questions? once again you would like a certain approach to be taken, but please note it is the exact opposite of what israel is doing to palestine… this might be one of the reasons some folks find your comments here hypocritical…

    Reply

  9. questions says:

    Yet again, you read only one sentence. I pointed to many things I think of when I think of all the “reasonable questions” people have about 9/11.
    And as for the pothole, really fix it yourself, along with everything else that needs fixing. There’s no reason for government to do anything at all. Do it yourself. You’re a libertarian, after all.
    And you, chief conspiracy theorist of TWN think I have something in common with Aug and Pre? Wow. At least I kind of figure you and Decco and Carroll are three different people…. And I kind of think there isn’t a google conspiracy, an Israel conspiracy to make Free Gaza dot whatever disappear and so on. Lord, POA, I don’t do conspiracy. Not even regarding BradBlog.

    Reply

  10. questions says:

    Ron Paul is a libertarian. Not a good way to think. The denial of the need or reasonableness of governmental power to overcome game theoretic situations, to compel aid, to provide the coordination of behavior is all a little crazy.
    Natural freedom is an insane fantasy — read your Hobbes. Natural freedom does not at all square with safety, security, or even, paradoxically, freedom itself.
    So there’s government. The thing Ron Paul and his ilk seem to have a problem with.
    The Paul supporters are among the biggest pushers of the conspiracy stuff because government is, for them, the source of much that is bad,and therefore the idea that it was the government that cause the very bad 9/11 events just fits naturally. Never mind the evidence. All that matters is the notion of the evils of collective governance. Yikes.
    And yet, you want your fucking swimming pool — provided by the, ummm, GOVERNMENT??
    And POA wants his damned cul-de-sac paved — do it yourselves since you’re libertarians. Do it yourselves. That’s what liberty is all about!

    Reply

  11. Outraged American says:

    Questions, why should my tax $ go to wars waged on innocent
    people under the pretext of an un-investigated attack? By which
    I mean HONEST investigation, not the whitewash of the 9/11
    report that EVEN PEOPLE ON THE 9/11 Commission QUESTION.
    So, I like to lap swim in an Olympic sized PUBLIC pool paid for
    by what’s left of my tax dollars as opposed to some rinky dink
    backyard water hole.
    And provide the opportunity for kids all over a very cold place
    (115 F heat index is positively chilly) to instead of doing drugs
    or burglarize my house or having sex or staring at a computer
    screen, get some relief and outdoor exercise? The latter of
    which, exercise, is horrible for kids. ROLLS EYES.
    Shoot me — your type has shot just about everyone else.
    Ron Paul is dangerous because he tells the truth, and I think that
    your relationship with the truth is… remote.. and if you are
    indeed a policy maker, dangerous.

    Reply

  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “….what pops into my head are the following: there are people who think the planes were holograms…”
    Note how this asshole latches his argument onto the most radical and asinine propaganda premises designed to detract from and bury the very real unanswered questions about 9/11.
    Questions is every bit the disingenuous piece of shit I have always maintained he is, and when he offers such obviously propagandized arguments, it only underscores that fact.
    Have you ever seen anyone here claim that the aircraft “were just holograms”? Questions, take your straw bullshit and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine.

    Reply

  13. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Note that POA is concerned about the Palestinians qua Palestinians. But he couches his concern in MONEY. And his fucking pothole in his fucking cul-de-sac that he won’t just fucking repair himself. He could easily call a driveway repair service and pay for them to come out and dump some hot asphalt into the hole all by himself. Not sure why he doesn’t just do that”
    Don’t understand symbolism and nuance, do ya, ya indecisive obsfucating asshole??
    Why are you on this thread instread of the Riz thread? You are MADE for for those two assholes posting over there. Three peas in a rancid pod.

    Reply

  14. questions says:

    Kathleen,
    Unsure what exactly you’re referring to, but ok. When I think of “questions about 9/11” what pops into my head are the following: there are people who think the planes were holograms; there are people who think the mysteries of Building 7 are not answered by numerous firefighters who were on the scene and have stated publicly that the building was host to a long-running out of control fire and had huge holes on two sides running together to make the equivalent of one vast multi-story hole and the building collapsed in the direction of that hole, just as one would predict; I think of people who can’t see how preposterous it is that such a deep deep dark secret could be held by many for so long without a peep, a document or whatever; I think of people who seem not to understand complexity and the nature of events; I think of people who don’t see that the probably natural instinct AFTER THE FACT is to hide just in case you were the fucking idiot who let one of the hijackers go through air port security.
    If you’re none of these, fine. Sorry not to be nuanced every time I write about it. I suppose I could stick this paragraph in each time I write about Truthers…. But probably I’ll keep writing about truthers just the way I do, because most of them seem to hold on to some pretty crazy notions.
    Does this mean I worship at the feet of my government? No. I think they FUCKED up. But the fuck up is at the level of the imagination (not being able to think the worst), at the level of deep disrespect for the Clintons, at the level of a foolish and tragic self-regard that kept many individuals from crossing agency boundaries, and at the level of an inability to think post-9/11 thoughts on September 10th. And honestly, who could really fault anyone for this one?
    So if you have all of these questions, why not post something a little more specific — do some copy paste stuff about the official NORAD story, the problems you see, and why you think there had to be a NORAD-complicity component (if you still have questions about NORAD.)
    When you just post this vague sense of the questions about NORAD, you provide fodder for the CT crowd who simply read in their own doubts about the existence of actual planes. Nothing I came across made NORAD seem complicit, so what did you come across? If you deal in specificity, it really might help. Otherwise you just support POA’s nuttiness — the guy really thinks I would bother to post under multiple names, that I can’t just support my own positions with my own words. If he can’t understand how deeply I just don’t NEED alter egos, then how could he possibly keep it in his head that 9/11 might be less than he thinks? Why feed the insanity? Deal in specifics and I’ll be happy to try to answer something if I can, though lord knows, I’m no expert in avionics, missile targeting, the US policy towards shooting down civilian aircraft over large cities using whatever missiles are handy, whether or not we have always had anti-aircraft planes guarding NY and DC airspace and ready to shoot down suspicious civilian aircraft…..
    But no one can respond to “I just have some questions about NORAD.” Or whatever you have questions about. That’s the way the conspiracy stuff gets fed, and it’s really unhealthy for governance. And yes, I do think governance is really important. I am absolutely not a libertarian. I think Ron Paul is dangerous at some level.

    Reply

  15. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    questions…you make assumptions about us..if we still have questions about 9/11 because, unlike you, we don’t accept the official version, you assume we are just crazy CT people who’s questions only merit dismissal…

    Reply

  16. questions says:

    …,
    Please don’t assume anything about me. I’m full of surprises.
    In my reading about I/P thus far, one of the few things I’ve noticed, one that Nadine points out regularly, and one that seems to be actually accurate, is that there is a huge amount of financial corruption in the so-called governing of what might be called Palestine. Arafat had huge sums of money salted away (there was a 60 Minutes piece somewhere about this a few years ago), and so aid money will go in and never go to its intended target. In fact, that’s a big problem with direct aid money. It’s corruptive, it distorts local markets as well. I’m sure there are other ways to accomplish the goal of aiding without sending direct money. That would be fine by me. Especially if we could know that the money/assistance isn’t going right out the smuggling tunnels and being exchanged for the next gen rockets.
    The sad fact of the matter is that the Palestinians live right next door to Israel, and they need TOGETHER to develop a culture of neighborliness. It is not an easy thing to do given the history, the tensions, the domestic pressures on both sides, the psyches of the people, the bombs bursting in air….
    Posters here seem to think there’s some quick and easy substitute for the settling of the conflict. But prisoners dilemmas, game theoretic inabilities to coordinate, are really fundamental issues. Right up there with physics “problems” like gravity. You don’t ever defy gravity, though you can use a whole bunch of energy to go up, and a whole bunch of energy to stay up, and some other physics principles like lift and drag and thrust to get you from one place to another. But, damn, that gravity shit will get you back down eventually.
    I and P are in a physics-like game theoretic nightmare. They each respond accordingly. Morality doesn’t generally get people out of game theoretic problems. Kant uses self-regard to generate concern for others. Rawls uses self-regard to generate concern for others. Self-regard probably has to be the foundation of any and all regard for others. It’s not quite what a deity would do, but it is totally what humans do. We’re not fully moral on this issue.
    Note that POA is concerned about the Palestinians qua Palestinians. But he couches his concern in MONEY. And his fucking pothole in his fucking cul-de-sac that he won’t just fucking repair himself. He could easily call a driveway repair service and pay for them to come out and dump some hot asphalt into the hole all by himself. Not sure why he doesn’t just do that.
    And OA couches her deep concern for P in the lack of swimming pool service in Phoenix in the summer. Jeez, she could just pay to open it herself. With all her Hollywood connections and all that money that seems to flow through, she could just pay a pool service.
    So the goal of diplomacy, given that “the dear self” always shines forth in morality (that’s from Kant), the goal of diplomacy has to be a telling of the story and a setting up of incentives that push the self-concern buttons.
    Think up ways that Israelis can like themselves better, feel safer, be happier, without sanctions against Gaza. Or blockades, embargos, white phosphorous and the like.
    And that’s what needs to happen.
    Do not threaten the Israelis for that will drive them further and further to the right. We see this process in the US all the time. It’s deep in the notion of the “carpet bagger”. See, we even have a term for outsiders who interfere.
    My recommendation is to keep things constant and stable and slowly work through all the stuff the game theorists suggest. And then see where we are. The goal is the well-being of the Palestinians. NOT POA’s cul-de-sac hole, or OA’s swimming hole.

    Reply

  17. ... says:

    questions, yes – you responded in a similar manner a couple of threads up… i like some of your ideas and the idea of building on success rather then making a situation worse would make sense as well… if you are not for pulling US funds out of israel, perhaps you are in favour of giving the same amount of funds to the palestinians? you see, money is a helpful tool for doing all sorts of things, including beating your neighbors over the head, if that be the choice you want to make… unfortunately that has been the choice of the israelis, in spite of the benefit of US funds! you may as well promote doing the same for the palestinians! i am going to assume that is what you now advocate, unless i hear back otherwise… asking for this for an israel controlled us congress is very unlikely, so it will be easy to give it lip service…

    Reply

  18. questions says:

    …, already responded to this point somewhere else. Tit for tat is NOT a good strategy. It’s actually what needs to be avoided. That’s the point of confidence-building strategies.
    The fact is that though the deeply moral thing to do is to put others before self, humans don’t do well with this task.
    We put self before others, and some aspects of self (instant gratification) before other aspects of self (long term good).
    The point of diplomacy, then, is to make the long term good seem like instant gratification. What you and POA call for, …, is instant gratification of your own. But you fail to see the long term problems.
    What I and P need is structural change, self-interest served by cooperation rather than defection to borrow from the language of the prisoners dilemma. Try to think this way instead of screeding on blogs. What sorts of specific deals can they make where success is likely, self-interest is served, confidence is built. Iterated games make for more stable and optimal outcomes, hence the repetition of confidence building moves. Small, repeated successes over time will do more to ease the tension than a pull out of US funds.
    My position on this one has been really consistent, if you ask me.

    Reply

  19. ... says:

    questions, your 5:34pm post from yesterday is uncharacteristic, but i welcome it!
    cutting financial support to israel would give israel a taste of its own medicine… it cuts off more then just financial support to the inmates of gaza… let them try it on if they think it is the answer to controlling gaza… i think it would make a difference and would make israel think of the fact they don’t operate in isolation from the rest of the world community… now if we could get an american leader with some backbone, that would be helpful too… it seems many american people desire this and are not happy with a congress beholden to special interests groups whether they be power brokers for israel, or the military industry… those 2 might be quite connected as well, following the ‘war is money’ maxim…

    Reply

  20. Paul Norheim says:

    BTW Questions,
    thanks for your reply at 5:34PM.
    Apparently Nadine doesn`t have a clue as to the meaning of the word “empathy”; thus she
    didn`t understand my comment. This also makes it understandable how she regards all NGO`s
    and organizations who have documented the suffering among the civilian population in Gaza
    as sympathizers of Hamas, or as evil agents of those who want to exterminate the Jews. I
    made my point regarding empathy twice, and she misunderstood them both times.

    Reply

  21. questions says:

    OA, I haven’t changed my position at all, you just haven’t been paying attention. I am quite aware of the need for humane responses to the ME mess. I don’t think defunding Israel will get us where we need to be. Not so hard to understand those two points in tandem, is it?

    Reply

  22. Outraged American says:

    UK man who lost son in Iraq refuses to shake Blair’s hand
    because “You’ve got my son’s blood on it.”
    From the Daily Mail UK, by far my favorite tabloid because I now
    know every detail about every single British celebrity while still
    having no idea who they are. According to the Mail, Kerry
    Katona has gained 4 stone in eight months, while Katy “Jordan”
    Price a former “glamour” model (which I’m guessing means
    something about being a soft porn star or something) is now
    dating a cross-dressing cage fighter.
    You have to love what’s left of the British Empire. They’re what
    we were yesterday.
    ‘You’ve got blood on your hands’: Father of dead soldier refuses
    to shake Blair’s hand after memorial to Britain’s fallen heroes
    http://tinyurl.com/yhtzya4
    This begs the question: what was heroic about killing Iraqis? But
    good on this dad, because Blair needs to be drawn and
    quartered and then crucified on whatever insignia the EU uses
    before he becomes President. What a joke.
    And I think Questions might be the one who’s bipolar, or 13,
    which is kind of the same thing, because in the post above she
    sound relatively sane about the Palestinians. The mushrooms
    must be kicking in.

    Reply

  23. questions says:

    The imagination, Nadine, to understand what it must be like to be a Gaza parent, a Gaza resident, trapped, unable to get medication, unable to provide for one’s loved ones, powerless, unsupported, unable to “make rational plans for life” as Rawls says. There’s not a lot of good there. And Israel seems to want a collective cry of “uncle”. It’s really inhumane. Maybe it’s born out of terror. And maybe the terror is even rational. But exiting this prisoner’s dilemma is really really important. And all the exit strategies have to be entertained seriously. These are human beings, and there is human suffering, and there is profit off of suffering. And it isn’t enough to say, “Hey, the Palestinians do it to themselves as well” because it doesn’t matter what anyone else does, it matters what you do. Actions are independent that way, or can be.
    De-link Palestinian good behavior from Israeli humane behavior. Let Israel be humane first.
    And maybe the Palestinians will respond as ingrates. Maybe there will be more rockets. There will also be less suffering in other ways.
    Nadine, there’s a humanity issue that has to transcend terror.
    It’s really simple. Humanity has to come before serving one’s own fears. It’s actually probably pretty damned religiously acceptable to put others’ suffering before your own. Give it a try.

    Reply

  24. nadine says:

    “I notice that you have the chutzpah to measure the actual suffering, fear, and
    humiliation of a population under occupation by referring to the tactical maneuvering
    of a leadership you admit is corrupt. The Israelis are currently the only ones in a
    position to give, and you have the chutzpah to claim that if the Palestinians don`t
    take what they are offered, it`s a prove that the population is doing just fine.”
    ****************
    What, there is some way to do an end-run around the corrupt leadership, and just give territory to the population only? Do tell, you’ve been sitting on quite a secret there.
    How childish is it to say “Israel is in a position to give” as if that was all that counted, without considering if the Palestinians are in position to receive. A corrupt terrorist leadership without working institutions will only make an authoritarian terrorist state whose top priority is jihad.
    That’s what the population of Gaza got when Israel “gave”. Are they better or worse off now? Whose lives will be improved by handing the West Bank to Hamas as well? Not the Israelis, when rockets start raining on Tel Aviv. Not the Palestinians, when the Israelis start reprisals to make the rockets stop.
    Tell me Paul, do you think that repeating the Gaza experiment would improve the situation? Really?

    Reply

  25. nadine says:

    questions, what is it that Israelis are failing to imagine? The results of a binational state with Hamas? I think they can imagine that one quite well. Why does everybody suppose there is some obvious answer that the Israelis are too “unimaginative” to see?
    Easy to say you just need imagination from thousands of miles away. Not knowing any of the details is so helpful.

    Reply

  26. questions says:

    Paul writes,
    “I was not surprised when Questions responded by suggesting several academical
    criteria for defining someone as a “fascist” or “racist”, and challenged me to get
    involved in a longwinded discussion with you about the pros et contras of the Israeli
    and Palestinian positions.
    The Jewish tradition of religious, philosophical, political, and critical thoughts,
    as well as literature, art, and science, is extremely rich and subtle. I admire this
    tradition, and have for decades learned a lot by studying some of those who represent
    it. Recently I translated (as I`ve done before) an essay by Walter Benjamin for a
    Norwegian magazine. My debt to this tradition is immense.
    Watching the militant paranoia, constant manipulations, hysterical propaganda and
    aggression among the current generation of Israeli politicians – their systematical
    imitation of the worst mentalities in “Old Europe” – is very depressing. The only
    thing I see from Tel Aviv is a complete lack of political imagination, tolerance and
    intellectual boldness; a perversion and abuse of a culture I have admired as long as
    I can remember.”
    *****
    Damning with faint damnation?!
    But yes, Israeli culture lacks imagination, is fraught with anxiety. I am convinced as only a new convert can be that game theory is the answer to everything! Eventually I will become disillusioned and I will cast my game theory texts upon the ash heap of history for they can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion. (pace Hume)

    Reply

  27. Paul Norheim says:

    Nadine,
    I notice that you have the chutzpah to measure the actual suffering, fear, and
    humiliation of a population under occupation by referring to the tactical maneuvering
    of a leadership you admit is corrupt. The Israelis are currently the only ones in a
    position to give, and you have the chutzpah to claim that if the Palestinians don`t
    take what they are offered, it`s a prove that the population is doing just fine.
    The losers are whining.
    The brutality and cynicism inherent in these arguments speak for itself. They are not
    political, but pathological, and thus belong more to an asylum than to a political
    forum. They are not political arguments in a normal sense, they are confessions from
    a dehumanized mind.
    “Great, the Palestinians are responsible for something. Like what?”
    I usually try to avoid discussing core issues with fanatical propagandists and
    missionaries. I said “something”, and I think we`ll leave it there. Unspecified.
    Both the Palestinians and the Israelis have narratives about their history that are
    mutually incompatible. You are a propagandist for the Israeli narrative. Personally,
    I neither believe in that nor in the Palestinian narrative. But my narrative is
    incompatible with yours anyway, and I see no point in discussing these issues with
    you.
    Questions seems to think that I have an ambition to convince you that your position
    is wrong. When I was very young I frequently argued with members of Christian sects
    within my own family, as well as radical Maoist students, and I learned that this is
    a futile exercise. Like all these people with a blind faith of some sort – including
    fanatical Islamists, even fanatical and paranoid anti-Zionists – you are arguing from
    an absolutist position where intellectual honesty plays second fiddle, despite all
    your arguments and facts.
    Like the above mentioned groups, you never approach a discussion as a dynamic
    exchange or mutual widening of the horizon of the participants, only as a crude tool
    to convince people that Zionism is a good cause.
    I frequently learn things from people like WigWag, whom I also often disagree with,
    because although he (or is it she?) shares your strong sympathy with Israel, he does
    not approach these issues with the same fanaticism as you. He is also both willing to
    and capable of discussing a wide range of other subjects.
    This means that I am not any more interested in these back and forth arguments with
    you about the Israelis and the Palestinians, than to get involved in discussions with
    people who may sympathize with Mao, Jesus Christ, Stalin, Scientology or the second
    coming of the Mahdi.
    My initial comment above was not an invitation to discuss the political culture of
    the Palestinians. I wanted to ask you: Why are you here? What do you expect to
    achieve? Who do you expect to convince at The Washington Note?
    Secondly I tried to address your pathological contempt for a population living under
    occupation.
    Thirdly, I tried to address your intellectual dishonesty.
    I was not surprised when Questions responded by suggesting several academical
    criteria for defining someone as a “fascist” or “racist”, and challenged me to get
    involved in a longwinded discussion with you about the pros et contras of the Israeli
    and Palestinian positions.
    The Jewish tradition of religious, philosophical, political, and critical thoughts,
    as well as literature, art, and science, is extremely rich and subtle. I admire this
    tradition, and have for decades learned a lot by studying some of those who represent
    it. Recently I translated (as I`ve done before) an essay by Walter Benjamin for a
    Norwegian magazine. My debt to this tradition is immense.
    Watching the militant paranoia, constant manipulations, hysterical propaganda and
    aggression among the current generation of Israeli politicians – their systematical
    imitation of the worst mentalities in “Old Europe” – is very depressing. The only
    thing I see from Tel Aviv is a complete lack of political imagination, tolerance and
    intellectual boldness; a perversion and abuse of a culture I have admired as long as
    I can remember.
    I`m sorry, Nadine, but I regard you as an incarnation of that perversion and abuse,
    and I have no more interest in getting involved in discussions with you about the
    current conflict in the Middle East, than in discussing the religious or literary
    genius of Ron L. Hubard with a bunch of scientologists from Los Angeles or Oslo.

    Reply

  28. nadine says:

    Great, the Palestinians are responsible for something. Like what? Their own political culture, maybe? What they write in their school textbooks about how there was never a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and the Jews are European invaders with no connection to Palestine?
    Look, it takes only one side to breed a war, but two sides to make a peace. As we stand, the Israelis have accepted the idea of statehood for the Palestinians (though with conditions that are currently unacceptable to the Palestinians), but the Palestinians have not accepted the idea of statehood for the Israelis. They will not endorse two states for two peoples, they will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state, even though it is one and has existed for 60 years. This makes the Palestinians the main blockade to peace.
    Nor do the Palestinians (as far as one can tell from their leadership) act as if they are oppressed or fearful; it’s clear they feel protected and in no hurry to do any kind of deal, despite all the whining about their suffering and oppression. They behavior shows they feel no great pressure to either attack, surrender or deal. They set and wait for things to be handed to them. Abu Mazen seized on Obama’s “settlement freeze” condition as a great excuse to stop negotiating altogether. Actions do not match words.
    When you show me a Palestinian peace camp of any size, shape or form being rebuffed by Israeli hard-liners, I will change my tune in a hurry. But I will need to see evidence.

    Reply

  29. Paul Norheim says:

    Yes, the Palestinians are responsible for something. But not for
    EVERYTHING that goes wrong in the conflict, as you always claim.
    That`s an absurd point of view.

    Reply

  30. nadine says:

    Paul, so, the Israelis made Arafat create violent semi-chaos in Jordan and Lebanon?
    In real history the Israelis looked long and hard for somebody else to talk to, not Arafat. Remember the Madrid negotiations? You are side-stepping the rather obvious evidence that Arafat chose his own style of rule in Jordan and Lebanon and Tunis and Palestine. When you are confronted with evidence, we are all treated to another chorus of “the Israeli hard-liners wanted Arafat!”
    Don’t tell me I know, whatever it is, the Israelis are responsible for it. The Palestinians are never responsible for anything.

    Reply

  31. Paul Norheim says:

    “You think the Israelis wanted Arafat?”
    Of course the hard liners wanted Arafat, He was the perfect terrorist.
    Yes, there are certainly terrorist elements and extremists among the Palestinian population. But if there were no terrorists,
    Israeli hard liners would have invented them. Terrorism is the excuse they need to continue the occupation and
    settlements.
    When they didn`t want Arafat anymore, they helped creating another terrorist organization: Hamas, to fight Arafat. This
    way they strengthened militant Islamism in the Palestinian political culture.

    Reply

  32. nadine says:

    Paul,
    Three times in his life Yassir Arafat was able to create and rule a state-within-a-state: first in Jordan in the late 1960s (until he was expelled in Black September 1970), next in “Fatahland” in Lebanon in the later 1970s and early 1980s (until the 1982 expulsion to Tunis), and third in the cities of the West Bank and Gaza, which became “Area A” under control of the Palestinian Authority in 1994.
    Each rule was characterized by one-man rule (his own), overlapping competing militias (Palestinians used to joke that Arafat assigned two drivers to each car and told them to drive in opposite directions), no working institutions of government beyond the propaganda ministry, and violent semi-chaos.
    How can you claim that Arafat only ruled this way because the Israelis pre-empted a better Palestinian political culture? Did the Israelis set him up in Jordan and Lebanon too? You think the Israelis wanted Arafat? But no, the Arab League declared the PLO the sole “legitimate” representative of the Palestinians and the Palestinians had to go along – or else. I suggest you look at the internecine Palestinian casualty figures. They never get reported but they are high – in the thousands just since 1994.
    The local Palestinians political culture got pre-empted all right. But not by Israel.

    Reply

  33. nadine says:

    questions, thank you for your sane and civilized response. For the record: I do NOT think that the Palestinians are genetically incapable of good government.
    In fact the tragedy of the Palestinians is that they are full of capable, educated people, esp. in their diaspora, where they have become sort of the new Jews of Middle East-they’re smart, they work hard, and the other Arabs don’t like them much either.
    But none of these smart, educated Palestinians who will tell you what a mess Arafat left in private will say any such thing in public, and that’s because they can’t. This touches on the Palestinian political culture, which kills moderates as traitors and lends itself to the rule of the most violent and extreme. This is true for all the Arabs but more so for the Palestinians – and the more so has to do with the conflict they are locked into with the Israelis and the what the paymasters are paying their leaders to do. Which isn’t to make peace or teach moderation. Arafat certainly didn’t.
    My reaction to Dan was simply to take him at his word. He said that the Israelis had destroyed the Palestinian public culture. For something to be destroyed it has to exist first. So I asked, who are you talking about? What public culture? When? The Mufti? That was before Israel.
    It was actually the Mufti who set the pattern for most of the political pathologies that Arafat continued – paranoid one man control of everything, reliance on militias rather than an army with a chain of command, refusal to build institutions of government, assassination of rivals and even prominent men who might become rivals. This was in the 1920s and 1930s. The upshot was that the Mufti set the stage for the nakhba, because in 1947 the Jews were organized in a proto-state, but the Arabs were not. Prominent men among the Arabs of Palestine (they didn’t call themselves Palestinians yet) had learned to keep their heads down, and when they saw war was coming most simply evacuated, leaving the local Arab population leaderless.
    I think Dan doesn’t know much about the history of Israel so he finds it easy to accept the Palestinian line: “It’s all Israel’s fault! Whatever our problems, Israel made them! They did it to us!” The rest of the world is complicit in this line by turning the Palestinians into welfare dependents. Nobody who gets welfare because he’s a victim will voluntarily stop being a victim.
    “You wanna knock Nadine down, you have to find clear proof that the only cause of Palestinian corruption and suicide bombing and the like is Israeli behavior, and that no one is “paying” the Palestinians and no Palestinians stand to benefit from Palestinian violence. For Nadine, Israel’s behavior is an excuse for an already-corrupt regime. Show she’s wrong on this count, and do it without a naive reading of the inherent goodness of the Palestinian heart.
    If you could convince Nadine of this, I’d be really impressed.”
    Me too. You forgot one motivation besides pay, and it’s a strong one: ideology. Both Fatah and Hamas are founded in an ideological commitment to destroy Israel and retake ALL of Palestine. For Fatah it’s a nationalist ideology, Hamas it’s a religious command, jihad. You want to convince me I’m wrong, the Arabs are moderating their irridentist ideology and are ready to accept the existence of Israel (inside any borders), show me some evidence of that. Let me hear a Palestinian leader endorse “two states for two peoples.” They never have. It is my belief that the root of the conflict is the Arab refusal to accept the existence of Israel.

    Reply

  34. questions says:

    By the way, the word “prove” above should have scare quotes around it. Sorry about that.

    Reply

  35. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Kathleen…thanks for the link…I much prefer having the primary source to read, rather than the opinions of so-called pundits.
    Steve…I was with you all the way to the John Bolton Center for the Advancemet of Women in Palestine….you lost me on that one because then my brain went directly to “front for a black/psy-op” a la the AspenFolk in Rome.

    Reply

  36. questions says:

    POA, it’s only racism if you think that people do it because of their genetic natures. Think about the kind of work done in the US to prove that people of African descent have smaller brains, extreme sexual drives, an inability to think, large thighs (that was some sportscaster or other who lost his job….)
    So far, Nadine has not come out and said that people of Palestinian descent are genetically incapable of non-corrupt self-government, or that people of Palestinian descent are naturally, NATURALLY given over to suicide bombing.
    Nadine may be a lot of things I don’t want a beer with, but she isn’t racist unless she uses RACE as a criterion for decision-making.
    I honestly think it’s a good idea to keep these categories straight.
    Nadine has political issues, for sure. She seems to have quite a one-sided sense of history. She’s not very empathetic. She seems terrified and anxiety-laden. She seems almost as paranoid as you, POA, but with a different target. But without the claims of genetic qualities, she ain’t racist.

    Reply

  37. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The Palestinians have made an industry about whining about their oppression”
    This racist abomination, Nadine, epitomizes the root cause of anti-semitism. If questions or Wiggie really cared about the future of Jews, they would tell her to shut the fuck up, and they would distance themselves from her hatred and bigotry.
    But they don’t. Questions offers his usual “yeah buts” and tepid excusals, while Wigwag lauds Nadine regularly for her “interesting points”. Their failure to take Nadine to task for her nurturing of anti-semitic sentiments places them squarely in the same class of bigoted racists that Nadine so clearly shows herself to be.

    Reply

  38. questions says:

    Paul,
    Though I don’t really come down where Nadine does, and I have some level of dismay at her preference scheme, I think one thing that has to be considered regarding your last post is that what she speaks isn’t really what you’re saying — at least I think.
    Nadine’s concern, it seems to me, is that if there comes to be an entity one could call an independent Palestine, it will focus itself on a)the destruction of Israel b)the enrichment of its own elites c)a decided inability to control its own people via a relatively non-corrupt reasonably respected and well-functioning legal system.
    Dan argues that Palestine has none of this because Israel pre-empts even the possibility of there ever being such an institutional set up. Nadine seems to think that he who pays the piper calls the tune, and the piper-payers actually want the corruption and lack of control.
    I don’t think Nadine’s point is NECESSARILY racist, though she may well think the Palestinians are, umm, genetically incapable of reasonable rule (now THAT would be racism). I do think that Nadine needs to consider Dan’s views more, and I think Dan needs to consider the possibility that the payoff schemes lead to a preference for chaos of a sort.
    I get the feeling that between Israeli pre-emption and Palestinian elite preference, one can easily find much of what Palestine is at this point. And I think that it would be worth the world’s while to try to set up small development groups — schools for boys, for girls, small business investments, a range of low level options for people so that unemployment and lack of purpose are less of an issue, small organizations that cannot all at once be destroyed by Israeli bombing campaigns…. There are always interstices where life can continue even in the midst of chaos, and those interstices are the places where the rest of the world should focus some resources. Avoid the corrupt leadership, avoid the radicalization process. Train some medics and pay them a salary and let them wander the neighborhoods. Train some women to start useful services and seed the projects with early money.
    Bakers, gardeners, repair people… there are all sorts of small trades that make for a respectable life, that don’t need massive infrastructure, that can’t be bombed from the air — lots of this and maybe what Palestine can be it will become. In the interstices at first.
    Development is a slow process, it needs to be local but supported.
    But I’m not convinced that Nadine, though very conservative, is a statist attached to some cult of personality/charismatic ruler — and these are the kinds of things I, at least, think about when I think about fascism. If Nadine is anything, she’s profoundly distrustful of anything Palestinian — either because she’s a racist (I won’t dismiss it out of hand), or because she feels that she knows how the Palestinian elite function. And this latter point is the one she comes back to again and again. She KNOWS the kinds of corruption, she KNOWS where the money is, she knows what the Palestinian elite actually are gunning for….
    You wanna knock Nadine down, you have to find clear proof that the only cause of Palestinian corruption and suicide bombing and the like is Israeli behavior, and that no one is “paying” the Palestinians and no Palestinians stand to benefit from Palestinian violence. For Nadine, Israel’s behavior is an excuse for an already-corrupt regime. Show she’s wrong on this count, and do it without a naive reading of the inherent goodness of the Palestinian heart.
    If you could convince Nadine of this, I’d be really impressed.
    But if you have to introduce any kind of even-handed remark like, “Well, the Palestinians might actually not settle for 1967, or they might keep bombing, or if the borders are re-opened there might again be suicide bombers, or if many had a chance, they probably would blow Israel off the map…” if you allow any of this, suddenly Nadine isn’t quite the insane, creepy witch she’s made out to be. She’s extreme, for sure, but maybe not off the deep end.
    There’s a lot to balance in the ME, and it’s not clear exactly where things will settle. The gaming is intense as each side would like to maximize its position, and the incentives for now seem to encourage further gaming rather than settling differences. It’s not fascist to point this out.

    Reply

  39. Paul Norheim says:

    “As for the oppressive nature of the occupation, you should really make an effort to try to
    get a hold of some facts about it. The Palestinians have made an industry about whining
    about their oppression. Now, I will grant them all the levels of humiliation they want to
    claim since nobody can quantify it.” (Nadine)
    Some weeks ago I read a sentence by another commenter here that I said was the most
    disgusting statement I`ve ever read at TWN (at a personal level; it was directed towards
    another commenter). That was my gut reaction at the time. But I have to say that your
    attitude towards the Palestinians, Nadine, examplified by the sentences I quoted, is way
    beyond that level. Your demonstrative indifference with regards to the implications of the
    Israeli occupation, may on the surface be motivated by a wish to provoke your fellow
    commenters, but its deeper motivation has its roots in the same kind of collective
    pathology that inspires fascism.
    Your contempt for intellectual honesty seems to be related to this. Dan Kervick said: “The
    chief reason the Palestinians lack a capable political culture is because that culture has
    been intentionally and systematically destroyed. This is what the Israeli scholar Baruch
    Kimmerling called “politicide”. If the Plaestinians attempt to build a new one that shows
    signs of efficacy, that one will also be destroyed. If the Palestinians attempt to build a
    unity government uniting the West Bank and Gaza, the Israelis will attempt to subvert it
    and attack it.”
    Your reply: “Really? when did they have one to be destroyed? What good leader are you
    looking back to? The Mufti?
    Think of the Palestinian leadership for the last 40 years. Think of Arafat. Think of Abu
    Mazen and Hamas. Who supplied their money? To what masters did they have to answer?”
    It should be obvious for anyone else than a propagandist that Dan didn`t refer to an
    existing, capable political culture; nor did he refer to actual “good leders” – that was
    something you invented as a strawman argument. His point was of course that any ATTEMPT TO
    ESTABLISH A CAPABLE POLITICAL CULTURE would be destroyed by the Israelis before it matured.
    You distort the statements of your opponents and add things they never said just to attack
    them, perhaps without even noticing it. You frequently lie, perhaps also without noticing
    it.
    There are many here who wonder why you waste your time and energy writing comments like
    this at TWN. If you really love Israel, you should stop commenting. Anyone who reads you
    will associate Zionism with the occupiers, with fascist attitudes and a complete lack of
    intellectual honesty. And that is not the kind of associations you would prefer that the
    readers of this blog would connect to the cause of Israel – is it?
    Perhaps you don`t mind? And perhaps your attitudes actually represent Israel anno 2009. If
    not, one would assume that some of the other supporters of Israel would categorically
    distance themselves from your posts. Judging from how Kotz and WigWag have responded so
    far, it looks like our militant fascist has a small, but devoted fan club.
    Because only a fascist is capable of saying about an occupied people that she would “grant
    them all the levels of humiliation they want to claim since nobody can quantify it.”

    Reply

  40. nadine says:

    “The chief reason the Palestinians lack a capable political culture is because that culture has been intentionally and systematically destroyed.”
    Really? when did they have one to be destroyed? What good leader are you looking back to? The Mufti?
    Think of the Palestinian leadership for the last 40 years. Think of Arafat. Think of Abu Mazen and Hamas. Who supplied their money? To what masters did they have to answer?
    Look down the list: the UN, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, foreign aid donors, lately Iran (for Hamas). Money from the actual Palestinians is low on the list, and it’s mostly from charities, not taxes. That means that none of these people ever had to answer in a serious way to the Palestinians they ruled.
    The Palestinian leaders were aided by a Palestinian political culture that clings to its leaders in public and won’t abandon them no matter what. I remember one quote: “We’re like the Bedouin, we follow our Sheiks.” Towards the end of his life, the Palestinians knew Arafat had failed and when he died they scarcely mourned him. But they never turned against him.
    Those who paid the Palestinian leaders were not paying them to make peace. More often, they were paying them to prevent peace. That is why the one time that peace seemed really possible was after Gulf War I: Arafat had burnt his bridges with his paymasters and the Gulf stopped funding him, and he was stuck in Tunis. But the Arabs still insisted that only Arafat was the “legitimate” representative of Palestinian people (what made him legitimate? nobody ever voted for him) and Arafat enforced his legitimacy by killing rivals, in the tradition started by the Mufti. So the Israelis suckers made a deal with him.
    As for the oppressive nature of the occupation, you should really make an effort to try to get a hold of some facts about it. The Palestinians have made an industry about whining about their oppression. Now, I will grant them all the levels of humiliation they want to claim since nobody can quantify it. But when they start claiming how impoverished they are, there are some economic facts about the territories that are you can check for yourself.
    When Israel took the territories, much of the population did not have electricity and there were no universities. If you wanted to use a bank in the West Bank you had to go to Amman. Jordan invested nothing. Israel invested a lot, brought in modern roads and electricity and water (except where the UN prevented them because they wanted to keep the refugee camps miserable), and allowed Bir Zeit and other universities to open. From 1967 to 1993 per capita GDP grew in the West Bank and Gaza by about 10% per annum. Go look it up. That was the high water mark; and then they handed the territory over to Arafat. It cratered during the intifadas, but now the West Bank is recovering and Ramallah is doing very well.
    It’s evolved into a standard feature of the occupation: the Israelis try to create prosperity to get quiet, and the radicals blow things up to destroy the prosperity and force Israel to put up checkpoints so they can wail about oppression. It goes in cycles.

    Reply

  41. Outraged American says:

    My husband, the drunk, sardonic, CANADIAN, HALF-JEW has the
    “right of return” to “Israel” but Palestinians don’t? To the land
    they or their direct ancestors lived in since Homo Sapiens first
    crawled in there?
    As opposed to the blue-eyed Ashkenazim, who fit in with all the
    phenotypes of the natives, huh?
    The chutzpah, it’s killing me here. I’d be belly- laughing at your
    schtick if it didn’t mean that Israel’s narcissistic personality
    disorder would not kill tens of millions of people.
    I’ll call this one Questions — if UsRael attacks Iran, Pakistan’s
    government will be overthrown and she will side with Iran.
    Then all hell will ummm… you get the point.
    Questions, Israel’s going down, and it better happen fast for the
    sake of all Jews and everyone else in the world.
    Why aren’t you in the IDF, if you care about Israel so much?
    You expect Americans to sacrifice everything for a country that
    you obviously cherish over your own, but you don’t have the
    guts to put your own life on the line.
    Again, the chuztpah, it’s killing me here, and it’s going to kill a
    lot more people before the Zionists get through with their truly
    sick agenda.

    Reply

  42. questions says:

    POA, I can always count on you for a laugh!

    Reply

  43. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I’m so glad you do understand “exactly what questions is”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
    Well, Chavez isn’t the only guy with an excellent sense of smell.

    Reply

  44. questions says:

    POA,
    I’m so glad you do understand “exactly what questions is”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

  45. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “It seems to me that you are always looking for intellectual escape hatches because you don’t want to confront the reality of naked aggression and conquest”
    Wrong. He doesn’t want YOU to confront it. Thats the purpose behind the willfull obsfucation. You don’t yet understand exactly what questions is, do you, Dan?

    Reply

  46. questions says:

    Note also, “prove they can govern themselves” is a loaded phrase. Governing in this case refers in part to less of a kleptocracy, more control over the people so that suicide bombing is not tolerated, becoming an appealing and attractive and internationally supported society such that Israel’s violence isn’t quietly applauded while publicly condemned.
    The Palestinians need, with whatever they have, to build. And indeed, they don’t have much. So if there are some international initiatives to provide seed money and opportunity, I say go ahead and take it. Maybe you’ll get something good out of it. Certainly the rockets aren’t doing a hell of a lot of good, even if shooting off feels pretty fucking good.

    Reply

  47. questions says:

    That’s not quite my position, actually. And I don’t think you have DC quite right either. The level of violence in the District is really something, and attempts to do something about it are blocked by Congress. Attempts to keep revenue in the city are blocked. It isn’t only tanks and artillery that cause death, mayhem and ruination.
    As for the Palestinians, I don’t think Israel would be anywhere near as successful rhetorically if the Palestinians had responded not with suicide bombs and rockets, but with commerce. There’s been a trajectory of worsening repression by the Israelis in response to the bombings, and the bombing provide all sorts of convenient excuses for further wicked violence. Retaliation brings retaliation.
    Every rocket is a new excuse for Israel to be wicked in response. Stop giving excuses. Israel’s response hardens over time, and it hardens in response to Palestian violence. AND EVEN IF Palestinian violence is ALWAYS in response to Israeli aggression, the Palestinians could do with a new set of options. Political development is not to be sneezed at, even if the terms of “development” are open to debate.
    So GET REAL. The US isn’t going to do anything about the Palestinians. You can scream day and night on the blogosphere and it’s not going to help. Instead of diagnosing my “intellectual escapes” from the “reality of naked aggression” try to see why you come here and elsewhere and beg for the US to alter its current alliance system when in fact that will never happen.
    It’s possible that political development might accomplish some of the goals we can all agree on. The Palestinians are humans who are suffering and they deserve to have the suffering ameliorated. But their best chance at this point isn’t from blog-posters who demean attempts at political development. There’s some chance that their best chance is from organizations that push the development.
    And as for confronting the reality of conquest, that’s exactly what the Palestinians need to do, and what YOU would avoid having them do. They’ve been conquered. That’s the reality of naked conquest. Now what?

    Reply

  48. Dan Kervick says:

    “One of the arguments against real home rule in DC is that DC is corrupt and cannot run itself. I haven’t lived there in a while, but I assume that that argument is still made. So what should DC do? Fight and scream and send rockets towards Capitol Hill? Or develop a political culture such that eventually Home Rule is the obvious thing?”
    Well, questions, if Maryland and Virgina came in with tanks, planes, artillery and bulldozers; subjugated the DC inhabitants, confined them behind walls and build checkpoints; continually pushed the DCers out of their homes and neighborhoods; bulldozed those homes and neighborhoods; built new ones in their place; gave the new neighborhoods Virgina and Maryland place names; and moved settlers from Maryland and Virgina into the annexed territory, then I don’t think some neighborhood economic self-help movement would succeed in expelling the invaders.
    The chief reason the Palestinians lack a capable political culture is because that culture has been intentionally and systematically destroyed. This is what the Israeli scholar Baruch Kimmerling called “politicide”. If the Plaestinians attempt to build a new one that shows signs of efficacy, that one will also be destroyed. If the Palestinians attempt to build a unity government uniting the West Bank and Gaza, the Israelis will attempt to subvert it and attack it.
    The Israelis want “Judea and Samaria”. They are not going to grant the Palestinians home rule or any significant piece of Palestine because such an outcome is “obvious” once the Palestinains “prove they can govern themselves”. This isn’t some existential psychodrama against “the other”, with conflicted brothers locked in a love-hate cycle of fatal fratricide. Sometimes people just want things, and they are willing to take the things they want by force. And when one side has much more conventional power than another, military force sometimes gets them exactly what they want. The history of the world, the map we see when we look at a geography book, has been carved out by successful acts of conquest. However, there have also been successful acts of resistance to conquest.
    It seems to me that you are always looking for intellectual escape hatches because you don’t want to confront the reality of naked aggression and conquest. Such bald lust for territory and forceful, determined seizure of that territory doesn’t fit into your conceptual scheme of human society, where people are always complicated, dithery and conflicted, musing about Martin Buber and Rawls, and where nobody really wants to hurt anyone else or take what their enemies have.
    The Palestinians have been seeing their home gradually conquered and absorbed by Israelis for many years. They probably can’t stop the Israeli onslaught with rockets, rocks or vest bombs. They can only stop it with outside help. So the question is are we going to help them or not? Or are we going to instruct them on why their subjugation is their own fault, because they haven’t proven they can govern themselves, and ask them to stick to commerce?

    Reply

  49. questions says:

    POA,
    Since when is “I can’t understand” proof that there is nothing to understand?
    It’s been called “blind and dumb criticism” and it’s a fairly poor rhetorical strategy.
    When “I don’t get it” is your only response, maybe it’s because you didn’t do your homework??
    Note that Kervick actually made an attempt to puzzle through the point despite not quite seeing what I’m saying.
    And as for the living room analogy — think about it from a different angle. You live in a town that’s been “taken over” by a new ethnicity, by a developer, by any change you don’t like. It happened in the usual mild power struggle way — block busting or buying up property under false names or whatever. You can’t stop the mall’s being built. You can’t make everyone be white or speak English anymore. You can’t make all the, say, Korean signs go away. You complain, you graffiti, you protest,you riot and burn down a few stores and then you have to take the bus to get your groceries….
    “They” aren’t going away. I’d recommend that you develop a power base of your own, even if the Korean grocers’ group is the one to pay for the club.
    The reality is that the neighborhood has changed, even if by force. The reality is that the international community, the state, the chamber of commerce… no one is coming to your aid. the reality is that you adapt or leave. At some point, you probably have to deal with reality. It sucks to be on the bottom of the universe, but most of us actually are. Most of us couldn’t really stop most invaders. Home invaders maybe, since there are institutions to prevent that for the most part. But town invaders? Neighborhood invaders? Border problems during wars? Sorry.
    Get real, develop skills that will help in the future, get over the past, you can’t go home again even if that would be the most just solution. Though at this point, I personally don’t see how right of return could work.
    Is this any clearer?….. Sometimes justice doesn’t come in a straightforward easy way. Sometimes you don’t get your stuff back. In fact, most of what’s ever been taken hasn’t been returned, and return probably is unworkable even as it is a primal demand we all feel. So maybe the thing to do is find some other way through. I think political/organizational development is not a bad idea. Crazy, huh?

    Reply

  50. questions says:

    Because, Dan, the politics on the ground isn’t going to change via a power struggle. There’s deep asymmetry, a seeming lack of political development on the part of the Palestinians, a need for a non-corrupt legitimate political system to be able to move slowly into power.
    One of the arguments against real home rule in DC is that DC is corrupt and cannot run itself. I haven’t lived there in a while, but I assume that that argument is still made. So what should DC do? Fight and scream and send rockets towards Capitol Hill? Or develop a political culture such that eventually Home Rule is the obvious thing?
    If one is something of a gradualist, then the second option makes sense. If one realized the rockets don’t do anything at all, then the second choice makes sense. Develop a political culture, become worthy of trust, join the world, and it’s amazing what can happen. But it only happens if you stop worrying about betraying your own by being like the other.
    The point wasn’t an ethnicity point, it was one about betrayal. Become like the other, the other trusts you, even if you fucking hate the other and would actually like to bomb the shit out of the other, in asymmetrical situations, the bombs won’t get you what you want.
    In terms of your never understanding anything I ever say, sorry. I think in analogies and I see connections across a broad spectrum of issues. So when you start worrying about how the Palestinans might be horribly co-opted by the very hand that bites them and white-phosphorizes them, I am instantly reminded of a range of American racial politics issues that sound a lot alike to me.
    But it’s in the Palestinian’s best self-interest, I think, to lose the worry about who’s handing what, take what they need, make use of it, and move history along.
    Besides, my guess is that most people would actually prefer a quiet life of a small business, healthy children, birthday parties attended by the birthday kid instead of being held in a chair by a window while the sole surviving parent holds a fading photo of a long-dead child. How does anyone get to the better version? Cultivate local politics and give up the bombs. Leave the face-saving stuff for someone who’s got big-fucking-bombs. Nose-cutting and face-spiting and all…..
    Sorry if you didn’t see the connection. It’s clear as day to me.

    Reply

  51. Paul Norheim says:

    If we expand a bit on Dan Kervick`s example, Nadine would mention that the victim in
    this case has a relative living next to him, who is in the same situation, and this
    relative hates the Estonians so much that he says that “all the Estonians should be
    killed”. And this fact legitimizes in Nadine`s eyes anything the Estonians may do
    against the victim and all his relatives in the area.

    Reply

  52. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “questions, I always struggle to discuss things with you because I often can’t understand the way you look at the world”
    Well, I understand it. When he read your paragraph, he muttered to himself….
    “Mission accomplished”.
    You just paid a compliment to a master obsfucator.

    Reply

  53. John Waring says:

    DonS,
    Cynicism and deep pessimism are warranted.
    Despair is not. The Lord really does bless the
    peacemakers.
    Daniel Levy is one of my oracles. He can see
    where I cannot. I don’t know if he is correct,
    but I hope he is.
    Please take a good look at the photo Ben Katcher
    placed at the top of his post on Iran today. The
    President, Secretary and Undersecretary of State
    are thinking together. Not only are they thinking
    together, they are thinking together on several
    levels simultaneously. Two of the finest
    political minds of my generation, and probably our
    finest diplomatic mind, are deeply and fully
    engaged on the issue of Iran. I hope these three
    talents can see where I cannot, and find
    possibilities where I cannot.
    It may all come to naught, but for once our system
    is actually working. We are giving it our best
    shot. I can’t ask for more.

    Reply

  54. Dan Kervick says:

    questions, I always struggle to discuss things with you because I often can’t understand the way you look at the world. But anyway, again, I didn’t say anything about authenticity and westernization. These are concepts you are introducing into the discussion.
    If I wake up in the morning and find a man camped out with his family in my living room and kitchen, and happily throwing my furniture out the door as he moves his own into the house, how should I respond?
    If we need to give this man some sort of cultural identity for the example to make sense to you, we can assume he is Estonian.
    Well, I could ask the man and his family to leave. If they don’t leave, I could call the police. If the police won’t help, I could try throwing him out of myself.
    Or I could just retreat permanently to the upstairs part of my house and tend to whatever business I can conduct in my now drastically contracted home. I could say, “Oh well, I think I’ll just focus on my own room here and build an internet mail-order business and get on with life.” That’s an approach. I could try to get on with life even as I notice the man and his family expanding their foothold hold on my house one square foot per day. I could hope that if I ignore it and tend to my business, somehow the invasive process will stop of it’s own accord.
    But now suppose that, like most people, I find this passive approach doesn’t appeal to me, and I am determined to get him out. How would one explain my attitude? Am I worried about my authenticity? Am I worried that I will be Estonianized? Am I worried I will be Europeanized? Um, well maybe. But why bring in such concepts? Isn’t it obvious that the main issue is that I’m just pissed off because a guy has grabbed half my house, the police won’t do anything about it, and he is continuing to take more?
    Now I don’t think concerned Americans or Brits should put themselves in the position of saying to Palestinians, “Yeah, maybe the Israelis have taken most of the land you used to have and are grabbing another piece of it every day. But you should really get on with life and make yourself a little business. Tend to your commercial gardens.” To me that’s a recommendation to ignore an ongoing process of conquest and dispossession, and hope passively that it gets better some day.
    So that’s how I see it. The Israelis are taking, by force, what is left of Palestine from the people who inhabit it. They take another piece every day. Why do we need to appeal to psycho-cultural concepts of authenticity or westernization to recognize that there is something wrong with that, that we shouldn’t let it happen, and that we shouldn’t recommend to Palestinians that they turn their attention to other matters and stop paying attention to pilferage of their homes and lands?

    Reply

  55. questions says:

    I think, as usual, that it’s more complex. I am grasping at some kind of analogue with some African-American discourse about co-option should “white” values become acceptable. After all the white people are the colonizers or occupiers or whatever illegitimate power. If this analogy holds, then whatever prosperity white helpers offer African-Americans must be deemed somehow illegitimate, treasonous to accept, muzzling, pacifying or whatever because it will turn people white at some fundamental level.
    I think that that’s the underlying concern you seem to have over this program for the Palestinians. It will turn them into, umm, westerners or Israelis or Americans or whatever, and it will make them forget that they are oppressed and miserable and they have to fight the power. But if they get some power, then they are the power and they don’t have to fight it anymore. That’s what liberation should be.
    But I might be wrong about your position, so feel free to say so. As I said, I’m grasping at this analogy, a little unsure if it works.
    I think that it’s fine to get Palestinian women into leadership roles even with western help as leadership is simply not something racialized or inauthentic or always already co-opted. If the Palestinians are to have alternatives to their current governing, they need an entire generation of people who are trained, experienced, trustworthy, uncorrupt, attached to broad communities, and ready to lead.
    They need low, middle and high governing structures to train people and have them develop reasonable constituencies, they need all sorts of opportunity to move through social levels, collect personal and political debts and so on. All the stuff of politics starts with individuals who have moments of success in groups at the lowest levels. Getting women into the program is great regardless of the source of the funding.
    An assertive woman who is confident, experienced, has run, built, done whatever is not definitively going to be a tool of the western world. It is precisely such voices that are absolutely necessary if a liberation movement is to liberate.
    If there’s no vast governing experience, then my guess is that handing Palestine to the Palestinians, the goal in the end, will lead to endless kleptocracy of the sort that they have experienced already, near as I can tell.

    Reply

  56. Dan Kervick says:

    questions, I’m not really so concerned about authentic self-rule as opposed to beneficent foreign care, or about what kinds of foreign intervention are possible *in theory*. My concern is that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank is *in fact* a brutal system of oppression, control and dispossession. It is not a beneficent foreign charity project. So any form of foreign assistance that helps normalize that occupation, routinize it, and encourage its victims to collaborate with it and make their peace with it, can become a means of facilitating the occupation, cementing it more solidly in place, and helping the occupiers achieve their ultimate goals.
    Obviously, these considerations have to be weighed against the sheer responsibility to care for the destitute and come to their aid. But I would hope people bear in mind the difference between relief that helps people resist subjugation and dispossession, and relief that makes it easier for the occupiers to do their thing. There are many kinds of relief and activism that westerners can engage in that would both help relieve the economic stress of the women and children of Palestine, and also empower them to resist the rapacious expropriation of their homeland.
    It’s fine to want to give Palestinians a better chance at prosperity. But if you are *giving* to Palestinians with one hand, while using your other hand to cover the mouths who are trying to spread the news of what is being *taken* from the Palestinians by force, and are keeping your own mouth shut as well, how effective is your action?

    Reply

  57. WigWag says:

    “Yes Outraged – I have a number of good friends who vastly prefer reading the banter following the blog posts rather than my posts themselves. I have gotten used to it.” (Steve Clemons)
    With all due respect, Steve, it might be time to find some new friends. More often than not, your posts (and the guest posts)are smart, informative and entertaining.
    Most of the comments (including mine)are little better than drivel.

    Reply

  58. questions says:

    Dan,
    I’m not convinced that those who start philanthropic organizations actually control those organizations after a time. Any kind of group, business, parenting, service, ends up teaching the people who run it a number of leadership skills — organizing, meeting, speaking up, thinking out loud, thinking about others, planning and so on. It is out of these kinds of smaller groupings that effective local leaders with some amount of respectability can arise and maybe challenge some of those whose power is derived from family ties.
    So I still think that over the long term (and it really helps to engage in long term thinking when we’re dealing with nation-building) any kind of organization that both makes life easier in the short run and trains people for increased responsibility in the long run is worthwhile.
    As for the domination/what are they ruling issue, I think it’s important to…umm, let me go the long way around this. If one is wedded to a notion of authenticity, that, say, the only legitimate community leadership system or purpose must be an authentic local one, then one would have to reject any kind of western-support for a non-western group. But if one sees that parenting and business and medical care and the like are fairly universal, then one can allow the “west” to provide seed money for such organizations while still allowing local people to determine much of the structure.
    A mixed process here allows for an important space for local understanding, but doesn’t quite stick to the authenticity line. I’m happy with a kind of localism, but authenticity creeps me out. I wouldn’t want to be told by someone else that my national curriculum must contain these 10 works, but I wouldn’t mind it if someone provided money and classrooms for me to teach kids what seems reasonable to me.
    I don’t think co-opting is a necessary result of support, and I do think that organizational training and support are crucial steps along the way to there being a successful national movement.

    Reply

  59. Outraged American says:

    Steve, didn’t mean “wet, steaming, heap” as an insult to you. I
    was just outside picking-up dog poop, and that phrase “wet,
    steaming, heap” kind of sprung to mind about both US foreign
    and domestic policy.
    I’m just saying Steve that you have very important things to say,
    well occasionally, about literally GRAVE matters, and I like it
    when you couch it (and where did “couch it” come from?) with
    humor.
    We are an infotainment society now, and I’m one of the many,
    very guilty ones for making us that way. My own mea culpa was
    the work in indie TV and radio news, and this new radio show
    I’m going to be doing.
    It’s going to have a “serious” guest every week, which will be
    Steve every single week after I blackmail him a la Letterman, but
    then we’re going to make fun of everyone and everything. Like
    using white phosphorous as a party favor in Fallujah, the Gaza
    Strip and Tal Afar. Talk about a fun bomb-bomb.
    I am absolutely serious in inviting other posters on here to guest
    co-host.
    Nadine, you are first in line. I think that Nadine and I would
    have a really good time and become best friends and share pink
    nail polish and flirty, ankle long skirts and head scarves, and
    have Passover seders in Phoenix and Tel Aviv or probably East
    Jerusalem. Ignoring the sounds of demolition/ construction
    work around us by playing Havah Nagilah really loudly on our
    iphones.

    Reply

  60. Outraged American says:

    Steve dahling, you should hire a joke writer if you want people
    to read the wet, steaming, heap of policy issues you address.
    Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are probably doing more to
    educate Americans than the limited hang-out propagandists (IN
    MY OPINION) Maddow and Olbermann over at MSNBC.
    And the Apocalypse Now crowd over at Fox… I can’t bring
    myself to type the word “news” after the word Fox. Did type it –
    – “Fox” and “News” in the same sentence, need to get to a toilet
    bowl or bucket fast, my vomit needs an exit strategy.
    This has been proven in actual studies — that Americans get
    their news from comedians. Which is joke, given that now the
    majority of Americans think that we have to attack Iran is a joke
    that writes itself. In blood.

    Reply

  61. DonS says:

    John Waring, I am usually interested at your comments that, perhaps because they are pithy, seem to have and air of prescience. Re Daniel Levy’s interpretation — which fits into the Obama-the-quiet- tactician notion — maybe he is right. We hope so.
    But, as has been noted here, we are all as cynical has hell, so I’m not holding my breath that incipient this new direction will lead to a new outcome.
    Any although I realize that Mr. Levy had only a short paragraph or two, I still wish he had devoted a clause of it to delineating the supposed ways in which Israel has been the valued ally of the US. This cliche never seems to get fleshed out, just assumed.
    Meanwhile my pig just seems to get ever uglier layers of lipstick.

    Reply

  62. Steve Clemons says:

    Yes Outraged – I have a number of good friends who vastly prefer reading the banter following the blog posts rather than my posts themselves. I have gotten used to it.
    Best, steve
    PS — as you know, I’m no saint…..like the guy in “Julie and Julia”

    Reply

  63. Outraged American says:

    Wow, your DC friends actually read the comment section? I need
    smelling salts and someone to catch me before I faint, because I
    do type standing-up.
    Steve, you are a tremendously nice guy — I think you’re a bit of
    a saint — although I do think it’s because you’re a zombie so
    don’t really realize what your interviewees are actually saying,
    you’re just thinking about what they’d taste like with some
    mustard or wasabi.
    Steve, I’ve been told repeatedly on here that I’m too light in the
    loafers, a phrase, having lived in We Ho and all, that you might
    get.
    I have banged my head against the wall, and there are the holes
    to prove it, we’re going to have to line them with rubber, for five
    years, trying to get Americans to think critically about issues like
    the destruction of the EPA, big Pharma, why we now have a new
    country designated “Af-Pak” and are still searching for this
    mythical and miraculously talented band of Stone-Age warriors
    called “Al Qaeda.”
    I can’t do it anymore. I cannot be serious anymore. All I can do
    is help my friends and former interviewees (and believe it or
    not, I’m still friends with 99% of everyone I’ve ever interviewed) –
    – people who actually know things — get more media attention.
    So Steve, to your DC friends, should they be concerned about
    Outraged American the Insult Dog-ess, tell them to take MY
    comments at least completely not seriously. Also that they
    shouldn’t reflect at all on you, although we do look alike in that
    sleep-deprived, late 40s way.
    Except I have a beard. Literally not figuratively. The
    electrologists, or whatever they call those nasty women with
    electric tweezers, in Arizona are overjoyed. I pay for their new
    vacation homes every few days.
    On a positive note, I EMBRACE the kids too, after I hose them
    down with Lysol and put on a Hazmat suit.
    Unless the comments are serious, like that Muhammad Sahimi
    was on ABC Nightline last night and he really knows Iran. I’ll see
    if I can find a link to the interview.
    Here is a very interesting article on the Ahmadinejad is a Jew
    controversy. It’s from Belief Net, which is like a religion
    clearinghouse, trying to find communalities rather than
    differences between religious beliefs. We had the guy who
    started the site on the show. He’s very interesting too:
    Is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Jewish?
    Monday October 5, 2009
    Categories: Israel, Judaism, News, Politics, Religion
    Rumors of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Jewish roots have circulated
    for quite some time and are surfacing once more. Interestingly,
    the most recent versions are more firmly rooted is specific
    details which point to at least the fact that his family is one with
    Jewish roots and perhaps that the Israel-hating, Holocaust-
    denying Iranian President is himself actually Jewish, at least
    according to Jewish law.
    Details uncovered by The Daily Telegraph point to his parents’
    conversion to Islam in the 50’s, and as I pointed out in a recent
    post, that conversion would not end their status as Jews in the
    eyes of halakha (Jewish law). In other words, not only might
    Ahmadinjad’s family have Jewish roots, he really may be Jewish!
    But does it really matter?
    History is filled with stories of converts and crypto-Jews who
    spent their lives trying to prove that they were “really” no longer
    Jewish by tormenting Jews and making sure that people
    appreciated the “truly ugly nature” of Judaism. From the early
    centuries of the Catholic Church this was a popular trend
    (including Paul?), which continued through the middle ages and
    into the present day.
    http://tinyurl.com/y9s5tbt
    And here’s one from the Guardian UK via antiwar.com about
    “self-hating” Jews
    The tropes of ‘Jewish antisemitism’
    The concept of the ‘self-hating Jew’ has been dignified with a
    pseudo-psychopathology by those keen to suppress dissent
    http://tinyurl.com/y9582nw
    Why do I think that this issue is important? Because if
    Ahmadinejad is indeed a self-hating Jew, then his very
    mistranslated rhetoric on Israel and the Jewish Holocaust should
    not be used as an excuse for UsRael to attack Iran.

    Reply

  64. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Hows frying the fairer sex in white phosphorous work into this whole woman’s empowerment thing?
    Oh, silly me, I forgot, we aren’t supposed to recognize that Israel is doing those kinds of things. Our government is asking us to look the other way, nothing to see here….move along….
    Maybe Dan can write Hodes a nice letter.

    Reply

  65. Dan Kervick says:

    Questions, if you engage in philanthropic institution building where there is no independent state, but only an occupied and subjugated people, then depending on the form of the philanthropy, you might not be engaged in nation-building, but might instead be helping to build the approved social infrastructure of control and domination.

    Reply

  66. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Steve, when you lavish praise on some yes-child right wing vote machine like that Schock crock, it can hardly be called “cynicism”.

    Reply

  67. Dan Kervick says:

    Steve, I’m sorry for this suspicion. But if John Bolton were building a center for the advancement of women in Palestine, I think we would all think, “What in the world is this cat Bolton up to now?”, and reasonably suspect that there is more to it than meets the eye.
    Are Tony Blair and Bill Clinton in John Bolton territory. No. Are they people whose efforts and motivations I entirely trust when it comes to Israel-Palestine matters. Hardly.
    In my view, there are many things going on right now on the IP front that are designed to divide the Palestinians further, distract the world’s attention from the fundamental issues of the ongoing occupation and colonization of the West Bank, and undermine the foundations for a serious and viable Palestinian state. My sense is that Netanyahu wants to create small, Israeli-dominated Palestinian homelands in the West Bank with very limited autonomy; make sure they have a few industrial parks with big shiny, Dubai-like buildings so they don’t look like embarrassing Bantustan slums from a distance; dismantle not a single Jewish settler from the West Bank; and call the result the “State of Palestine”.
    As I said, I know nothing about Cherie Blair. If she would go to bat for the Goldstone report, that would be useful. Helping women get ahead in the West Bank while covering up the killing of women and children in Gaza isn’t a wash. But I understand that she is constrained somewhat by her position.

    Reply

  68. questions says:

    Hey Steve, here’s a positive note!!
    Nation-building at its finest is precisely this kind of effort. A nation is, at least in one view, a contractual agreement among co-signers to share prosperity, divide labor, improve one another’s chances for survival, share information and create some common understanding of behavior such that they can predict one another’s reactions.
    All of this stuff together makes it far easier to rear children, and since women end up doing way more of the child-work there is in the universe, it makes sense to start with the women. If women sign on to some contract or other en masse, then maybe the men will end up following, at least out of laziness if not out of industry.
    So I’m for any and all small efforts to get women some health care, education, child-rearing support, economic support, defense against predatory jerks and some of the dumber cultural barriers.
    If women control purse strings, women do better. When women do better, generally, societies do better. Add child care networks into the business mix, add support groups for the women whose husbands are jerks, and you will have women united in a fairly progressive if diffuse group which can function as the beginnings of progressive politics.
    (And I remain curious about how many people actually read the comments here!)

    Reply

  69. John Waring says:

    http://www.prospectsforpeace.com/2009/10/so_did_netanyahu_really_win.html
    Please read Daniel Levy’s comments about final status negotiations.
    Maybe there is less lipstick and less pig than meets the eye.

    Reply

  70. Steve Clemons says:

    The other night, I was told by close friends that those posting
    here were becoming worse than the DC set for predictable,
    irrelevant chatter. You guys are more cynical than I am, which is
    tough.
    In any case, if George W. Bush was opening a center for women
    in Palestine, I would strongly applaud. Anyone that builds an
    institution that helps given women in that region opportunities
    that they will not get on their own deserves a salute. The Cherie
    Blair Foundation for Women is doing excellent things helping to
    provide counseling and resources for women to have other
    options than working in sweat shops or being stuck in a narrow
    range of options and otherwise dominated by men. Seriously,
    this is a good thing.
    Cherie Blair is the wife of the person who will be Europe’s next
    President — and having stakes in Palestine and what is
    happening there with the Occupation, with the ethnic removal of
    Palestinians from their lands by Israeli settlers, and the like is
    positive and important.
    You folks need to reconsider your views from time to time. I’m
    particularly surprised by Dan Kervick, a great poster here, who
    starts off quite cynically by “who” is involved rather than his
    normal, rational assessments of what they are doing and what
    the results could be.
    If the John Bolton Center for the Advancement of Women in
    Palestine were opening and had the same goals as what the
    Tomorrow’s Youth Organization is achieving, I would applaud
    and write positively about what Bolton was doing.
    So, there — you guys (and gals OA) need to lighten up and
    embrace good things now and then — and then go back to
    illustrating and railing about the negative.
    all best,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  71. Dan Kervick says:

    You’re right Nadine, as always. Please buy more bulldozers and get on with it. American bulldozer manufacturers could use the work.

    Reply

  72. arthurdecco says:

    Nadine, The votes are in and counted. You have been found to be a bald-faced liar, a dissembler, a celebrator of violence, even murder, a base racist and one of the thousands of reasons that anti-Semitism is raising its ugly head again all over the world.
    You epitomize, no, you PERSONIFY stupid, avaricious Evil.
    And yet you continue to bray and blather as if everything is perfectly fine with your positions and opinions in the face of the mountains of evidence to the contrary.
    What do you get out of your masturbatory contributions to these comments sections? Your compulsions mystify me.
    But I suppose that’s because I’m sane and you’re not.

    Reply

  73. kotzabasis says:

    Nadine
    Leftists are more concerned to score on their ideological divinations even if they do this at the expense of their self respect. That is why when intellectually they miss their mark and lose confidence in their platitudinous arguments they resort to abuse and scarecrows and alas before the bench of reason they admit willy-nilly their intellectual insolvency. Even the sublime Kervick accuses you now, and indeed, as always, of being “fanatic driven,” “ethnocentric zeal and hatred,” “fascist,” “neocon,” and most original of all, of being an anthropophagus, since he detects that one of your cannibalistic ‘aperitifs’ is to eat livers. The ‘man’ is sans shame!

    Reply

  74. nadine says:

    Dan, you may have raised the occasional point, but when I answered it, your stock of ammo apparently ended. Is this what passes for argument on TWN, a bunch of lefties who tell each other how right they are? The only reason that a country called Palestine doesn’t exist now is that its leadership doesn’t want it to exist next to Israel – only instead of Israel. Their every action for the last fifteen years says so. (If you think they are willing to compromise, show me their counter-offer. There isn’t one. There never will be because a counter-offer would declare a limit to their claims.)
    If you agree with them that Israel should be destroyed, then you are the one driven by ethnographic hatred. If you don’t, you are just another useful fool. Like the NY Times reporters who told us from 1994 to 2004 that Arafat had nothing to do with the suicide bombers, he couldn’t help it, he was a brave moderate who wanted peace, after all, he often said so when NY Times reporters were listening.
    I used to believe in the two state solution too, then I used my eyes and eyes and found out it was Arafat’s ruse the whole time. Ironic that Israelis, who pride themselves on not being suckers, should fall for it, but being a Leftist makes people believe things that would be nice if they were true, but aren’t true.
    JamesL, to the modern liberal, every war is Vietnam and every ethnic conflict is southern segregation, whether it bears any resemblance or not. Small wonder their ideas miss the mark by so far.
    It is true the Israelis (who are black as well as olive and white) may be racist towards Arabs, but the Arabs are 10 times more so to the Jews. Jews don’t recommend slaughtering the Palestinians; but Hamas and Hizbullah recommend slaughtering the Jews on a daily basis, and have the backing of their fanatical religion for their proposed genocide.
    That is why Hamas could not build Gaza into anything prosperous when it took over, but had to blow up the crossings and shell Israel instead, until after years and thousands of shells they got the war they wanted. They also destroyed the economy of Gaza, but for Hamas, this is a feature, not a bug. Hamas is committed to jihad. They are only allowed to lay off jihad for a temporary truce or in face of force too strong to be defeated. It’s their religion and their charter. I don’t know why you treat them like children who don’t mean it.

    Reply

  75. JamesL says:

    Nadine, there’s a book called Black Like Me. I won’t suggest you read it, that would be too intellectual–not enough gut to make any impression on you. But it’s a good model. I wish you could be assigned a Palestinian name, given Palestinian ID cards, dressed in black swaddling clothes, and parachuted into Gaza. A week would be good, a couple of months better yet. You could come back and tell us what you saw.
    You can keep on calling a pig a swan all you want, but when you go to sleep at the end of the day, it’s still going to be a pig.

    Reply

  76. Dan Kervick says:

    Nadine, I have engaged your assertions with more careful responses elsewhere, with long and involved arguments that extended beyond the two syllable scope of “bull” and “shit”. But I am exhausted. You are a fanatic driven by ethnocentric zeal and hatred, against which mere words are futile. Your most fundamental values and goals are so alien and orthogonal to mine that debate and argument are worthless, since reason can only make progress in moral or political matters where the disputants have some substantial shared basis of common ends. I’m neither Jewish nor Palestinian, so my third-party revulsion at the Israeli taking and absorption of Palestine can be no match for your craving to take and absorb. My modest anti-zionist positions, which merely reflect the reactions of a concerned outsider to the acquisition of territory by force, are no emotional match for the indefatigable fanaticism and determined will to power of you and your soulmates, who are direct participants.
    So go ahead. Take more of Palestine. Kill more Palestinians. Send in more bulldozers. Pour more concrete. Drop more death from planes. You can even eat their livers if you want after you kill them. I am powerless to stop you.
    The United States is powerless too. It’s all over.

    Reply

  77. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “If my facts are wrong, refute them, citing evidence, not just the opinion of fellow yahoos. If there are holes in my argument, point them out. Using logic, if you know any. If you don’t, the only conclusion is that you don’t because you can’t”
    Go screw yourself. You have been discredited and shown to be a liar here more times than we can count. Tell us again how no Palestinians are being deprived of medical care, and how none are going hungry.
    Fact is, Dan is 100% correct. You are full of shit.

    Reply

  78. Kathleen G says:

    Transcript of the IAEA Director Generals remarks at the Joint Press Conference with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran 4 October 2009
    http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Transcripts/2009/transcript051009.pdf

    Reply

  79. nadine says:

    “Dan Kervick’s response, “Oh bullshit Nadine” get’s closest to an appropriate valuation”…
    …an appropriate valuation of the low level of facts or reason or logic that are applied to making an argument here. Any point of view outside the liberal bubble is met with the good ole “bullshit” response.
    If my facts are wrong, refute them, citing evidence, not just the opinion of fellow yahoos. If there are holes in my argument, point them out. Using logic, if you know any.
    If you don’t, the only conclusion is that you don’t because you can’t.

    Reply

  80. nadine says:

    No bullshit, Dan. The Palestinians have neither built the institutions of a state (Fayyad recently said he planned to build such institutions, an admission they don’t exist) nor have you EVER heard a Palestinian leader endorse “two states for two people”. That’s because they want one state for Arabs only. That’s why the negotiations have always broken down over the Palestinian insistence on the “right of return” of 5 million Palestinian refugees to Israel, not to Palestine.
    If you want to build Palestine why do you want all your people to move to Israel? Tell me that. I think you know the answer.
    The sustained pretense that radicals are moderates helps the radicals and hurts the moderates.

    Reply

  81. Neo Controll says:

    It’s hard to argue with the Israeli propagandist ‘Nadine’, and the reams of information fed by her handlers.
    Dan Kervick’s response, “Oh bullshit Nadine” get’s closest to an appropriate valuation. Same goes for Wig Wag’s constant barrage of bamboo spiked booby traps. Full time occupation for a twisted mind. Engage at your own risk.

    Reply

  82. Dan Kervick says:

    “If Arafat or Abu Mazen had wanted independence they could have had it 10 times over.”
    Oh, bullshit Nadine. You’re so full of it. Anyway its over. There is never going to be a Palestinian state. You and the rest of the vultures win. Enjoy your carrion.

    Reply

  83. Outraged American says:

    Muhammad Sahimi, an expert on Iran’s nuclear program & USC
    Prof. on ABC Nightline tonight.
    He blogs at the PBS linked blog:
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/
    Muhammad knows more about Iran than any of us and pseudo
    experts put together and multiplied by a thousand. Or a million.

    Reply

  84. nadine says:

    “I don’t know anything about Cherie Blair.”
    Really? You should like her a lot, Dan. No lefty cause she hasn’t been for, down the list. Right up your alley, I should think.
    “I worry that these kinds of initiatives, though often well-meaning, dovetail all too comfortably with Netanyahu’s apparent strategy of beguiling the Palestinians away from politics and independence, and further undermining what is left of Gaza-West Bank unity, by encouraging and aiding self-interested Palestinian notables in seeking foreign investment to build an economic enclave in the West Bank, an area that could then become a semi-autonomous, prosperous ghetto under overarching Israeli rule, run by the co-opted notables.”
    This would make sense if it didn’t fly in the face of, oh, the last 15 years of history. Have you never noticed what Arafat did to the territories? He parceled out a bunch of monopolies to his cronies. E.g., the Qurei clan (relatives of Abu Ala) had the cement monopoly. The Qureis grew rich building the Jewish settlements. Investors fled.
    There is some truth that Bibi is looking for prosperous semi-autonomous Pal areas under Israeli over-arching control. But you seem to think that’s an alternative to prosperous Pal independence. That’s not even on the table. If Arafat or Abu Mazen had wanted independence they could have had it 10 times over. What they much prefer is to collect billions in aid to run a kleptocrat terrorist welfare squat, where nobody makes money unless he works for them. It’s all about control, and never giving up the dream of destroying Israel.
    If you want an explanation of how the Israeli government sees the current situation, former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe (Bogie) Yaalon’s article in Azure is probably quite close to the consensus: http://www.azure.org.il/article.php?id=474

    Reply

  85. Dan Kervick says:

    I don’t know anything about Cherie Blair. But if Tony Blair and Bill Clinton are involved, that is reason for at least suspicion.
    I worry that these kinds of initiatives, though often well-meaning, dovetail all too comfortably with Netanyahu’s apparent strategy of beguiling the Palestinians away from politics and independence, and further undermining what is left of Gaza-West Bank unity, by encouraging and aiding self-interested Palestinian notables in seeking foreign investment to build an economic enclave in the West Bank, an area that could then become a semi-autonomous, prosperous ghetto under overarching Israeli rule, run by the co-opted notables.
    In the end, this might help some Palestinians, a prosperous minority who know how to play ball and reap the benefits. But it will never help the majority of Palestinians achieve genuine dignity, independence or even prosperity. To achieve those things, there is no substitute for an autonomous state comprised of all the Palestinian people.
    Palestine isn’t going to be saved by limousine liberals.

    Reply

  86. Outraged American says:

    Tony Blair conspired with Dick Cheney to lie both the US and the
    UK to kill more than a million Iraqis. Tony thinks he’s going to
    become president of the EU, which could well happen.
    But I don’t keep up because it’s just too f*cking depressing.
    Beyond that, my favorite British tabloid, the Daily Mail UK,
    reported that Cherie Blair is asking for 500,000 pounds, and I
    have no idea what the exchange rate is today but I think that
    would be around $750,000 US A YEAR for government paid for
    police protection.
    She and Tony better never get near me because I have a potato
    gun and know how to use it. Now she’s pretending to care about
    of all things the Palestinian women. How do these people look
    in the mirror without seeing horns and/or dollar signs? Or in
    Cherie’s case pounds, but she might have just been looking at
    her scale.
    ARTICLE
    Cherie Blair demands armed police protection… and it will cost
    the taxpayer £500k
    Scotland Yard has abandoned plans to scale down security
    around Tony Blair after his wife Cherie complained to the Home
    Office.
    Metropolitan Police chiefs had drawn up detailed plans to reduce
    the size of the team guarding the Blairs’ London home.
    Senior officers said the £500,000 bill for an armed police guard
    was an unnecessary burden on the taxpayer because the couple
    were often away from their £4.36million West London mansion.
    continues
    http://tinyurl.com/ybpfdtz

    Reply

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