The View from My Window: Pomerol’s Vineyards and More

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Pomerol France vineyards 2009.jpgMy colleague Daniel Levy and I have spent the last couple of days in the Village of Pomerol in the Aquitaine region of France discussing next steps in our Middle East policy work. September and October are going to be big roll out months for all of those engaged in the Israel-Palestine/broader Middle East quagmire.
We expect that somewhere about the 3rd week of September through the beginning of October, President Obama will put stakes in the ground on what he is going to do to take a two states negotiations process forward.
In other news, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is soon off to Cuba. Years ago, a friend of mine ran into Richardson walking along the beach enjoying a cigar — but we suspect that he is up to some real good down there this time and is kicking the tires on a next round of confidence building steps that the Raul Castro government might initiate in soft, untied exchange for U.S. gestures.
Suspending Radio Marti might be a great start. It’s interesting to note that while Barack Obama was in the US Senate, he voted against funding Radio Marti — according to him not because he opposed the idea of broadcasting but rather because he felt Radio Marti did not work.
mercedes mechanic pomerol clemons.jpgLaura Rozen, who has done superlative work in making The Cable one of the hottest foreign policy reads on line, is leaving Foreign Policy magazine‘s fold and joining Politico. Congratulations to Laura and Politico — though Ben Smith had a friendly salute somewhat warning her that he’d still be trying to scoop her — while linking to her too.
TWN is departing France tomorrow and is back to Washington — if my car works in the morning. The gentleman standing next to the cute little Mercedes on-the-road fix-it car was a mechanic dispatched yesterday to get my Hertz car to start as the battery had gone completely dead. I can’t figure out anything I might have done to drain the battery — but seeing the car they dispatched made it all worth it.
For those of you in Asia, I will be chairing a panel and actively participating in the World Ecnomic Forum’s “Summer Davos” forum taking place 10-12 September in Dalian, China. The focus of the overall meeting is on relaunching global growth and should be interesting — and depressing for those of us who would like something in the US like the high speed train link up that makes it possible for people to travel from Beijing to Tianjin in 30 minutes.
More soon.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

126 comments on “The View from My Window: Pomerol’s Vineyards and More

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    But what you AREN’T telling us, Nadine, is that Abbas refuses to give his approval for these death sentences.
    Besides, Nadine, you have shown us, through your comments, that the life of a Palestinian means nothing to you. I would think you would revel in such executions, as it is just one less Palestinian that you need to fry in white phosphorous.

    Reply

  2. nadine says:

    POA, Here’s a recent enforcement of the edict. Earlier enforcements used lynchings, which are a normal feature of PA “justice”. They don’t get too hung up on due process in the PA.
    As for the MSM not pointing it out, are you kidding me? The MSM has been “lying for peace” for years. They think if they don’t point out the many and various unsavory aspects of the PA, PLO, Fatah and Hamas, they are helping peace along. In fact it has the opposite effect.
    Pa Gives Land-seller To Jews Death
    Thursday, 30 April 2009
    In the first case of its kind, a Palestinian Authority “military court” on Tuesday sentenced a Palestinian man to death by hanging after finding him guilty of selling land to Jews.
    The verdict came shortly after the PA’s chief Islamic judge, Sheikh Tayseer Tamimi, issued yet another fatwa (religious decree) banning Muslims from selling land or houses to Jews.
    The death sentence is seen as an attempt by the PA leadership in Ramallah to deter Palestinians from conducting real estate transactions with Jews. It follows reports according to which Jewish individuals and organizations recently bought land and houses from Arabs in Jerusalem and some areas in the West Bank.
    The man sentenced to death is Anwar Brigith, 59, from the village of Bet Umar, north of Hebron.
    The three-judge panel found the defendant guilty of violating PA laws that bar Palestinians from selling property to “the enemy.” In its ruling, the court, which convened in Hebron, said that Brigith had acted in violation of a Palestinian “military law” dating back to 1979, which states that it is forbidden for a Palestinian to sell land to Jews.
    The accused was also found guilty of violating a law dating back to 1958 that calls for a boycott against Israel, as well as another law from 1953 that bans trade with Israelis.
    The judges issued the verdict unanimously and pointed out that the defendant did not have the right to appeal. The death sentence, however, must be approved by PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
    The court was headed by Gen. Abdel Karim al-Masri, who sat together with two other PA security officers, Muhrez Atyani and Nabil Jaber.
    The court also decided to confiscate Brigith’s money and property.
    Although the PA has never executed Palestinians accused of selling land to Jews, several “suspects” have been kidnapped and murdered by Palestinian security personnel or members of armed groups in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
    Hatem Abdel Kader, a PA legislator from Jerusalem, told The Jerusalem Post that he fully supported the death sentence against “traitors” involved in real estate deals with Jews.
    He urged the PA courts to issue death sentences in absentia against any Palestinian found guilty of such transactions, especially in Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem.
    “We are fighting against Jewish presence and house demolitions in Jerusalem from one house to another,” he said. “We are fighting on all levels and thus far we have been successful in preventing the demolition of some 28 houses in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. In the Old City, the number of Jews is about 3,000, as opposed to more than 30,000 Arab residents. Although the occupation is 43 years old, the Jews have been able to seize only 55 houses in the Old City.”
    http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/74856/-pa-gives-land-seller-to-jews-death.html

    Reply

  3. questions says:

    Do you understand that future deadlines generally encourage just this kind of behavior? If you know that soon you won’t be able to get or do something, you stockpile, or do it a lot….

    Reply

  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Israel Accelerating Settlement Growth in East Jerusalem
    Group Cautions Growth an ‘Urgent Threat’ to Peace Deal
    by Jason Ditz, August 30, 2009
    Email This | Print This | Share This | Comment | Antiwar Forum
    In a report issued today, Israeli peace group Ir Amim cautioned that even as the US was negotiating with Israel on a possible settlement freeze, the nation was dramatically accelerating the growth of settlements in East Jerusalem, a move the group cautioned was an “urgent threat” to the prospect of a negotiated settlement with the Palestinian Authority, which has sought East Jerusalem as its capital.
    The report went on to note that though the expansion activity was largely being done by private groups, they were part of “a strategic move, coordinated and facilitated by national governmental units” to implant a Jewish population “precisely in the areas of the most intense dispute in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”
    http://news.antiwar.com/2009/08/30/report-israel-accelerating-settlement-growth-in-east-jerusalem/
    Gee, I have an idea! Lets do absolutely NOTHING, and maintain the status quo. That’ll change whats goin’ on between Israel and the Palestinians, by God! Its about time we did nothing about this!

    Reply

  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gads, he sure can put together a lot of fluff around the sentence “Maintain the status quo”, can’t he?
    Nadine….
    I have done some research on your “sales to Jews” claim, and although I can find reference to the PA edict, I can find no recent accounts of its enforcement, and find some claims that it has been ignored for some time now. There seems to be a great amount of discourse about it on zionist websites, but very little mention in mainstream accounts.
    I’ll keep digging, you wretched bigot. But if I was you, I wouldn’t comment about “not only won’t POA admit he was wrong, he won’t touch the subject again” considering your outrageous deceptions about conditions in Gaza.

    Reply

  6. questions says:

    A Paul/questions dialogue….
    Questions,
    ## I can cope with this point.
    have you ever voted in your life?
    ##Yes.
    Ever said “yes” to something, and “no” to something else – despite the sacrifice of
    some good things within what you said “no” to – because, after all, what you said
    “yes” to was preferable?
    ##Yes. See I did it again. But international policy deals with actual lives, not the brand of mustard or car or gasoline one buys, the restaurant or concert one goes to, the length of sleeve of a shirt on a chilly day…. There are always opportunity costs, but when those costs are potentially enormous (death and destruction) I tend to be pretty careful in my thinking.
    Ever made an effort to take a stand, formulate an opinion that makes sense in the
    world of politics?
    ##Yes. I see injustice in lots of places and I would prefer a range of actions that make sense and don’t come with opportunity costs that are outsized and that undermine the original purpose of my preferred action.
    Or do you perhaps regard interpretation ad infinitum as a sound tactic against those
    who always “leap before looking”?
    ##There’s tension in this. Socrates is a look before leaping kind of guy. POA is a leap before looking kind of guy. I’m closer to Socrates. But I quite well understand the theory/practice divide. Sadly, though, when the theory is completely wrong, when the actor ignores huge amounts of evidence, when the lack of imagination on the part of the planner is vast, the action will simply suck.
    While discussing political issues (as we usually do here at TWN), do you never feel
    an urge to formulate clear statements? Is clarity some kind of betrayal against the
    perpetual act of looking, of discovering ever new aspects of a phenomenon that
    complicate them even further?
    ## This is bullshit. (How’s that?!)
    Whether you believe it or not, I have an eye for complexities as well. But somehow I
    believe that clarity and simplicity are not always enemies of knowledge,
    ##Great insight here. But if the simplicity is factually wrong, misses out on significant implications, disagrees with huge bodies of scholarship, I might lay my bets elsewhere. I don’t do simplicity on the money/Congress issue because the vast body of scholarship and data analysis comes to a more nuanced conclusion. Data be damned isn’t one of my mantras.
    but have
    their rightful place in a political discourse, because policy doesn`t only require
    knowledge, but also actions within the options at hand, and an ability to communicate
    some kind of direction, or position.
    ### Deep misunderstandings of the world and of the range of effects of a policy cause will bring about more misery than doing nothing. But then, I don’t advocate doing nothing. Using soft power is taking action. It’s just not the action POA craves deep in his… whatever.
    Thus there has to be some kind of dialectics
    between acknowledging the complexities and trying to simplify, between expanding and
    reducing to some main features.
    ## Again, DOING in the name of DOING is just dumb if the DOING doesn’t take account of the range of effects of the DONE. Incrementalism is an attempt to deal with this fact of the world. It’s a simple response really. Do a little, carefully and see what some of the results are, and if it’s ok, do a little more. And keep at it. And POA explodes in a giant impatient “GADS.”
    While you seem to avoid clarity like a plague,
    ### Bullshit.
    and simplicity like cholera.
    ##Fucking bullshit.
    You seem
    to think that this is a more rewarding, and more difficult method.
    ##Fucking stupid bullshit.
    But when you go on
    complicating things, you`ll sooner or later reach a point where you`re actually
    making things easier for yourself, by limiting your options to zero,
    ##Really fucking stupid fucking bullshit.
    justifying non-
    action, justifying your avoidance of taking a stand, of risking anything.
    ##Whose lives are you risking by ACTING? It cuts both ways.
    And while I`m at it, I think you`re giving books and reading a bad reputation.
    ## Bullshit. POA attacks books, boasts a lack of formal schooling, reads all he needs on the most ideologically loaded websites, dismisses data analysis, throws out “your game theory” as if cursing a field that underpins economics, political science, behavioral thinking, sociology and other fields will just make it all go away. Game theory isn’t the be all and end all, there are reasonable critiques of it for sure, but the basic idea that individuals (or nations) have coordination issues is a pretty fundamental insight not to be dismissed.
    And, oh my, I learned about it in a bunch of books.
    So where’s this alleged “giving reading a bad name” Paul?
    Some
    books are useful because they expand our knowledge and show us the complexities of
    different issues. But other books are actually useful because they cut the crap and
    clarify issues that appeared chaotic and confusing. We need to “read up” on both
    kinds of books, don`t you think?
    ## Bullshit reduction. Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten really simplifies things. And in its time it was a best seller. Gosh.
    Find me a book that simplifies the world and likely it’ll be either a misreading of the world or a misreading of the book. Any (non-fiction) book that manages to get published does so on the grounds that what has come before in the field has been either largely wrong, or wrong in some nuanced but significant way, and this new book is about to correct all of that. What the hell is simple about all of that?
    Blowback is a great book. It’s not simple. It doesn’t restate hallowed truths. It challenges major interpretations of US military policy. “Blowback” seems like a simple concept, but really it’s a complex reading of causal chains over broad swaths of time and space. It traces rapes in Japan near military bases all the way back to US military policy. Nothing simple there. Nothing direct there. Long, difficult-to-trace causal chains.
    So Paul, I call bullshit.

    Reply

  7. questions says:

    Paul, give me a break.
    Your reduction to the absurd (Heidegger is a German, so waddya think-a-that?) is really nonsense and you know it.
    Try comparing that to “Cut all aid for Israel and let the world be damned. We’ll just see what happens.”
    I think there’s a, umm, lurking asymmetry here.
    On policy issues, regarding seemingly small changes like increasing pollution standards or raising or lowering a tax, one can find very big changes in behavior. A lot of people’s decisions are based on such policies and the macro effects of micro changes are, well, macro.
    I have said repeatedly that I am an incrementalist when it comes to policy because I am well aware of the macro effects of micro incentives.
    So too, with I/P policy, I am an incrementalist. I think that major changes in policy will lead to major headaches and will cause a range of problems that will undermine the main goals of changing policy in the first place.
    The kind of sad funny thing here is that POA has set up a world in which I am some kind of monster lurking in cave saying, in TOO MANY WORDS, DO NOTHING. LET THE CHILDREN AND PREGNANT WOMEN DIE. SUFFERING IS GOOD and so on. Where he gets this fantasy creation is beyond me…. What I really think is that if we go his way in the world more people will die than if we don’t. Action works that way when it’s not well-considered. And I don’t think he’s doing a lot of considering. I think he’s impatient for justice. But the road to justice is full of a lot of potholes and burials along the way and taking the wrong road leads to even more burials. In my view at any rate.
    If you think otherwise, please tell. What happens if we defund? And if you’re not for defunding, then presumably your position is closer to mine than to POA’s and yet he doesn’t curse you out and you don’t restate your differences routinely. He doesn’t call you an insect, a hasbarite, an ACADEMIC (you must be pretty close to one if you translate German philosophy).
    So what really is POA’s beef about things? I use too many words to discuss a complicated situation with complicated and contradictory motivations? I am uncertain where he demands CERTAINTY? I disagree with him? Who knows.
    And as long as we’re here, how ’bout it if you clarify, just for my insectival and overly complexified brain, your views on funding/defunding, status of alliances, Israel’s potential move towards alliances the US might not like, ways to put pressure on Israel, POA vs. questions…. I’d enjoy reading a statement about this, or getting a link that shows clearly the extent to which you agree with POA or disagree. And I’d be curious to see if, upon disagreeing with POA (if you do) whether or not you too become insectival. Or maybe there’s just a proper way to disagree with POA and I do it all wrong….. I’d love to know!

    Reply

  8. nadine says:

    So POA, you’re not only an a–hole, but completely ignorant of the situation you’re screaming about:
    “From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Jump to: navigation, search
    The Palestinian Land Laws[1] are Palestinian Authority (PA) laws that prohibit Palestinians from selling Palestinian territory lands to Jews.[2][3][4][5] These land laws were originally enacted during the Jordanian occupation of the West Bank (1948–1967),[3] and are deemed by the Palestinian Authority as being necessary to prevent further expansion of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories and to “halt the spread of moral, political and security corruption”.[5] The law carries a sentence of the death penalty.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]”
    The PA land laws are hardly some esoteric secret. But then when the Palestinians are window glass you don’t know anything about them.
    questions, now watch: not only won’t POA admit he was wrong, he won’t touch the subject again. The moral purity of the Palestinians must be maintained and by far the easiest method is never to know anything about them.
    BTW, I am NOT trying to say that the Palestinians are all criminals or terrorists (just the majority of their leadership), only to stress again that if you take the position that criminals simply do not exist, then ALL police action becomes police brutality, by definition.

    Reply

  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I said: “We need to “read up” on both kinds of books, don`t you think?” But you`re
    the interpreter here, the complicater, so if you want to interpret that as: “Kant is
    easy to understand”, I`m not the one who will stop you”
    Well, Paul, questions has obviously read a couple of books on clairvoyance and mind-reading. In addition to the ones he’s read on how to say nothing in five hundred words or more.

    Reply

  10. Paul Norheim says:

    “To the extent that you side with him, I assume you want the money supply cut. I’m
    not sure about Dan.”
    You`re free to assume whatever you want.
    “And as for books, you’re telling me that Kant’s moral demands are a)easy to
    understand or b)not worthwhile if they make moral decision-making insanely difficult?

    Again: feel free to claim that I`m telling you that Kant is easy to understand, not
    worthwhile, etc.
    I said: “We need to “read up” on both kinds of books, don`t you think?” But you`re
    the interpreter here, the complicater, so if you want to interpret that as: “Kant is
    easy to understand”, I`m not the one who will stop you.
    But I have to say that it`s rather amusing to see your interpreting techniques in
    work.
    Now, let`s try again. I`m going to claim that “Heidegger was a German philosopher”.
    Can`t wait to see your “interpretation” of that statement, Questions.

    Reply

  11. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “To the extent that you side with him, I assume you want the money supply cut”
    Gee Paul, because you agree with me that questions cannot be concise or direct, and purposely obsfucates as a strategy of debate, it must mean that you “want the money supply cut”.
    Think he learned to make such ridiculous connections in one of his books? Maybe it was “Jackass Logic” by Dr.Dufus T. Nerdwell.

    Reply

  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Hows the status quo working, questions?
    Changing nothing is a BRILLIANT strategy, questions. You get that idea out of a book?
    For someone into books, that sure is a naive little wishlist you cobbled together.

    Reply

  13. questions says:

    Paul, give me a break.
    Decisions get made all the time. I make them. Policy makers make them. When I screw up, I don’t generally directly kill people, but I am sure that in some sense I’m complicit in death because I use manufactured products, generate pollution and so on.
    If a policy maker screws up, people die as a direct result. If a foreign policy official screws up, huge numbers of people die and world history changes. It’s an awesome responsibility. “Awe” here meant pretty literally.
    Please remember that huge numbers of people, on or about 9/12/01 were screaming for ACTION. We sure took action. Look where it got us. The policy makers listened to the wrong people, the people had the wrong set of fantasies about action, revenge, the need to DO SOMETHING rather than nothing. The incrementalists (like I) were mocked for not being man enough to fight. THESE COLORS DON’T RUN was some of the rhetoric being used around the country.
    Well, I kinda think that it might be better to do a whole lot of thinking about alliance formation, destabilization of alliances, cultural change, lasting cultural change, comparative levels of violence, and a host of other issues that I see POA simply ignoring because more than anything else, he wants the money supply cut.
    To the extent that you side with him, I assume you want the money supply cut. I’m not sure about Dan.
    And as for books, you’re telling me that Kant’s moral demands are a)easy to understand or b)not worthwhile if they make moral decision-making insanely difficult? What I typically read is not easy, does not make life easier, does not simplify human relationships or emotions, does not make it simple to DO anything.
    Socrates. Shakespeare. Chuang Tzu. Hume. Descartes. What in heaven’s name is easy about living well, doing the right thing, leaving the planet better than it was when you entered, dying well, being a good friend,managing desire properly? What is easy at all?
    ANALOGY TO FOLLOW, this is a warning that the topic will shift slightly to make a similar and related point. Our regularly scheduled posting will continue in a moment:
    I know one thing we can do that’s easy. We can cut neural tube defects in half or more (e.g., spina bifida) by adding folic acid to the food supply. Nevermind that it turns out that there are people for whom folic acid is dangerous. We policy makers have solved neural tube defects!!! And we’ve avoided the cost of an education program. The point of this, if you don’t see the connection, and I’m sure you don’t because you never seem to… is that simplistic policy responses to any human problem will add complications no one thought of. Some people suffer so that others aren’t born with spina bifida and no one has to pay for ad campaigns or the like.
    ****END OF INTERRUPTION
    Please tell me the secret. Please sell the secret. You’ll get rich as so many charlatans have before. You can quit your day job and stop posting here as you’ll be famous.

    Reply

  14. Outraged American says:

    If Israel doesn’t want the “paltry” sum that the US is giving her
    then ISRAEL, DON’T TAKE IT.
    Israel shouldn’t be there. Period. The Arabs had nothing to do
    with the Jewish Holocaust and the Torah is not a legal
    document.
    I want my public pool back open Nadine, so I can go for nice
    long swims.
    It was closed because my city and state are shutting down,
    because of WAR, one of which, Iraq, was for Israel. I want the
    schools that the kids in my family go to not to have to beg
    parents for school supplies.
    I’m all for “Jihad” which just means “shaking off” as a bird shakes
    off water. I’m not for killing anyone, but Israel slaughters
    Palestinians, Lebanese, et al, with impunity. Using our tax
    dollars and weapons.
    How can you live with yourself, knowing that Gaza is the world’s
    largest open air prison? And that Israel is HELL (and I don’t use
    that word lightly) bent on starting WW III.
    The Lodz ghetto, the Warsaw ghetto — and yet the Zionists are
    now railing against the Palestinians for trying to survive what
    amounts to an extermination attempt against them.
    I think you work for the Arabs.

    Reply

  15. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “POA, if it’s an outrage that some rabbis are considering banning land sales to Arabs, sales which Israeli law permits, is it an outrage that the Palestinian Authority makes land sales to Jews not only a crime, but one punishable by death?”
    Gee, Nadine, because you say its so, it must be, eh?
    Show us some proof of that, you bigoted lying wretch.

    Reply

  16. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “In a nutshell, if you cut off ALL aid to Israel/Palestine, the Palestinians won’t be able to afford jihad any more without getting themselves a real economy. Which they could easily do, but not if they wage jihad at the same time”
    Is there anyone here, questions included, that buys into Nadine’s last snippet of pure unmittigated horseshit?
    Israel has done everything in its power to guarantee that the Palestinians CAN’T develop a working economy.
    And note how the wretched bigot understates, grossly, United States financial “aid” to Israel.

    Reply

  17. Paul Norheim says:

    Questions,
    have you ever voted in your life?
    Ever said “yes” to something, and “no” to something else – despite the sacrifice of
    some good things within what you said “no” to – because, after all, what you said
    “yes” to was preferable?
    Ever made an effort to take a stand, formulate an opinion that makes sense in the
    world of politics?
    Or do you perhaps regard interpretation ad infinitum as a sound tactic against those
    who always “leap before looking”?
    While discussing political issues (as we usually do here at TWN), do you never feel
    an urge to formulate clear statements? Is clarity some kind of betrayal against the
    perpetual act of looking, of discovering ever new aspects of a phenomenon that
    complicate them even further?
    Whether you believe it or not, I have an eye for complexities as well. But somehow I
    believe that clarity and simplicity are not always enemies of knowledge, but have
    their rightful place in a political discourse, because policy doesn`t only require
    knowledge, but also actions within the options at hand, and an ability to communicate
    some kind of direction, or position. Thus there has to be some kind of dialectics
    between acknowledging the complexities and trying to simplify, between expanding and
    reducing to some main features.
    While you seem to avoid clarity like a plague, and simplicity like cholera. You seem
    to think that this is a more rewarding, and more difficult method. But when you go on
    complicating things, you`ll sooner or later reach a point where you`re actually
    making things easier for yourself, by limiting your options to zero, justifying non-
    action, justifying your avoidance of taking a stand, of risking anything.
    And while I`m at it, I think you`re giving books and reading a bad reputation. Some
    books are useful because they expand our knowledge and show us the complexities of
    different issues. But other books are actually useful because they cut the crap and
    clarify issues that appeared chaotic and confusing. We need to “read up” on both
    kinds of books, don`t you think?

    Reply

  18. nadine says:

    POA, if it’s an outrage that some rabbis are considering banning land sales to Arabs, sales which Israeli law permits, is it an outrage that the Palestinian Authority makes land sales to Jews not only a crime, but one punishable by death?
    Just asking here.

    Reply

  19. nadine says:

    POA, if it’s an outrage that some rabbis are considering banning land sales to Arabs, sales which Israeli law permits, is it an outrage that the Palestinian Authority makes land sales to Jews not only a crime, but one punishable by death?
    Just asking here.

    Reply

  20. nadine says:

    “That was to the point, for once. “The world” (USA, Europe, Iran…) should stop paying the two sides. That would be a good start.”
    For once we are in total agreement, though I don’t think you have thought through where this leads.
    Israel has a European sized economy approx $100 billion GDP, to which $3 billion in American aid (which is mostly loan guarantees, which could be got elsewhere, or defense equipment at inflated prices from American contractors, which could be got elsewhere more cheaply) is a small percentage.
    The Palestinian territories, on the other hand, rely on international aid for at least one third of their GDP, and that’s just counting the stuff above the board. It doesn’t include the arms flows from the Gulf and Iran under the table. Basically, the PA is a welfare squat.
    In a nutshell, if you cut off ALL aid to Israel/Palestine, the Palestinians won’t be able to afford jihad any more without getting themselves a real economy. Which they could easily do, but not if they wage jihad at the same time.

    Reply

  21. Outraged American says:

    I didn’t mean by “girlriends” that Questions and Wig Wag are locked
    in a passionate embrace, just that I think that they’ve indicated
    that they’re both womyn and not he’s.
    In which case, they are invited to my homeland of Feminazia, but
    only if they can make chicken soup for the soul.
    I’m getting out the matzo now.
    Sorry for the typos, can’t find my damn glasses. I hate glasses.

    Reply

  22. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I’ve never seen Paul or Dan argue that “money is the key”. But they have pointed out questions’ inability to formulate a direct or concise argument, hence his need to maliciously formulate a straw argument to put on their shoulders.
    Longwinded, obtuse, AND petty. Not a glowing resume.

    Reply

  23. questions says:

    Change works in more than one way, and if you pay enough attention to policy you will find all sorts of disasters come from people who think they have a handle on things, who want ACTION before reason, who insist on building stuff without asking, say, why a building or the stuff is needed in the first place.
    So if we stop sending money (which isn’t likely to happen anyway because there are some (non-AIPAC) entrenched interests standing in the way — so talk about fantasy lists) — if we stop sending money, and Israel goes ever further rightward, links up with China and kills a whole lot more of the people you want to protect, then what will you have accomplished with your ACTION?
    If Israel aligns with Russia (despite Russia’s storied anti-Semitism there are numerous Russian ex-patriates in Israel), what then?
    Maybe these are crazy scenarios and maybe not. But if Israel continues getting aid, only gets it from non-US sources, then the shift may not be good.
    Unlike you all, I don’t have huge amounts of experience setting foreign policy, and so I merely speculate about things that make some sense to my twisted little dark and overly bookish cavelike insectival mind.
    And Paul, if you don’t interpret the world correctly before you change it, what will your results be? Leap before looking is not an old proverb, near as I can tell. Cut now, measure next week? Hmm, that should work!!!!
    POA’s complaint about idiot contractors is so interesting. They don’t know what they are doing, and so they screw up. It’s not from reading books that they screw up, it’s from not knowing what they need to know, however it is that one learns something.
    Somehow, my concern that we should interpret correctly in order to take appropriate action, my sense that the couple of actions POA has managed to come up with are not the best ideas, my sense that forced cultural change doesn’t work well and that soft power might actually be a little bit smarter — it all makes me, apparently, really dumb, insectival, excrescent, overly complexified, backwards Marx, and, dear lord, foggy.
    The crux of the matter, near as I can tell, is that I disagree with POA and I’ve read some books that make me think that there’s more going on than meets POA’s eye.
    But POA’s a-gonna make a man outta me yet! Take me out on a trail and have a mule be biting at the ass of my mount. Right out of a movie!! “Taming of the questions” by William “POA” Shakespeare…. You are so gendered in your outlook, you don’t even realize it. Anally obsessed, hyper-masculine, action-oriented. You are such a man, POA. Gee. There’s no way but POA’s way. There’s no power but POWER, and he’s a-gonna show’em. They’ll bend right over…. Take any ol’ academic bookreader idiot and show that ol’ academic bookreader idiot the REAL LIFE OF REAL MEN — on a REAL TRAIL with REAL ANIMALS REALLY biting one another’s asses. Really?
    In fact rather than in folly, there’s not going to be an aid cut and an aid cut is probably not wise.
    In fact not in folly, the right wing crap needs to burn out not be encouraged.
    In fact, not in folly, the Palestinians are going to have to learn some civil disobedience tactics because those work nicely against the hyper-masculine Israeli sensibility. You feel pretty damned stupid beating the shit out of someone who is handing you a rose, but you feel like a MAN beating the shit out of someone wearing a suicide vest.
    In fact, rather than in folly, ranges of stability need to be maintained if Israeli society is to be able to change successfully.
    In fact rather than in folly, we’re not going to have quite the world we’d like, but we can probably push in some careful ways and get something a little better.
    Policy does not move in straight lines and policy outcomes aren’t always what one would want.
    But I’m guessing it’s just too complicated for you two to see that the shortest distance from here to there may not, in this case, be a straight line, for that straight line most likely will turn crooked and land you somewhere else. Real men on real trails avoid real deep white water river crossings and go long ways around or risk drowning their mounts.
    You see simple paths between cause and effect, but history doesn’t listen to simplicity, and policy outcomes end up surprising the most careful designers. The policy makers don’t control all the policy users and the makers end up not where they thought they’d be.
    But POA doesn’t think this way. He sees direct cause and effect. We all respond to money. Take our money away and we’ll change in a hurry. (Unless there are other sources of money, or pride or patriotism or other strong incentives that make the source of money pale in comparison.)
    And near as I can tell, Paul and perhaps Dan Kervick all agree that money is the key. It’d be nice if it were so simple.

    Reply

  24. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Questions insists on interpreting the complexities, unable or unwilling to translate his interpretations into a clear political language that may effect change. Unwilling to make political choices, because choices violate the complexities of the issues”
    Thanks Paul, thats quite clear. And an astute observation.
    “However, warning against changes is also a statement, frequently a dubious one”
    Yes, that’s were underlying motive and concealed loyalties enter the picture. Personally, I almost prefer Nadine’s unabashed application of blatant untruths over questions’ steady over-load of vague circular argument that always takes you right back to the status quo.

    Reply

  25. Paul Norheim says:

    POA, it was just a play on a Karl Marx quote:
    “The philosophers have only attempted to interpret the world,
    in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.”
    Questions insists on interpreting the complexities, unable or
    unwilling to translate his interpretations into a clear
    political language that may effect change. Unwilling to make
    political choices, because choices violate the complexities of
    the issues.
    However, warning against changes is also a statement,
    frequently a dubious one.

    Reply

  26. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Paul, that is the first time, ever, that I don’t follow your reasoning or your point. Can you clarify, or rephrase it?

    Reply

  27. Paul Norheim says:

    I`m not competing, but here is another summary:
    “The rebels have only attempted to change the
    world, in various ways. The point, however, is to
    interpret it.”

    Reply

  28. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Rabbis Meeting to Consider a Ban on Selling Houses to Arabs
    by Gil Ronen
    (IsraelNN.com)
    Hareidi and national-religious rabbis will meet Monday in Jerusalem to discuss ways of dealing with the Arab influx into Jewish neighborhoods in northern Jerusalem, as well as the purchasing of agricultural land in the Galilee by wealthy foreign Arabs.
    The rabbis are expected to call for an end to the phenomenon of sale of land and houses by Jews to Arabs. The organizer, Aryeh King, who heads the Israel Lands Fund, told Arutz Sheva’s Hebrew service that he is hoping to see the rabbis issue a pronouncement that sale of land and houses to Arabs is forbidden.
    continues…….
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/133178
    But of course, can’t have those nasty sand niggers moving in and ruining land values, can we?
    Blatantly and arrogantly racist, the Israeli’s have no doubt the check is in the mail, and we will send them our tax dollars, no matter how low they sink into the cesspool of bigotry, extremism, and human rights abuses.
    Perhaps questions, while signing the next check, can “wish” this behaviour away.

    Reply

  29. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “But because my policy response doesn’t fit into….blablablah…”
    You don’t have a “policy response”.

    Reply

  30. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Questions entire body of “policy suggestions” can be summed up by simply typing the sentence;
    “Maintain the status quo while wishing for change”.
    I challenge anyone reading his “suggestions” to offer a more succinct summary.
    I must admit, however, that he sure can use a lot of words to say so little. I suppose it could be considered a skill, of sorts.

    Reply

  31. PissedOffAmerican says:

    You forgot a number of additional labels that clearly apply to you.
    “I think the border guards need to handle crossings very differently. I think the Gaza blockade should end. I think the the wall path should be different. I think children should have easy access to school. I think everyone should have easy access to health care. I think Israel should ease up on the right wing rhetoric. I think soft power and cultural exchange are pretty important. I think immigration and labor need to be restructured. I think olive trees should not be cut down”
    And listing a number of behavioural changes you would like to see Israel make IS not a list of foreign policy suggestions. You offer changes you would like to see Israel make, yet you ignore opining on what incentives could force these concessions. Although you are willing to opine that conditional financial aid is not the answer.
    Again, your “suggestions” seems to boil down to “change nothing”. For someone so prone to demanding policy advocations, you offer a pretty empty slate yourself.
    We routinely veto any UN votes that cast Israel in an unfavorable light or ask for humane treatment of the Palestinians. You don’t suggest changing that dynamic.
    Our financial “aid” is not contingent on Israeli behaviour. You don’t suggest changing that dynamic.
    We consistently send munitions to Israel that are used in circumvention of international law. You don’t suggest changing that dynamic.
    Just what the fuck DO you suggest, questions, besides this asinine tepid bit of stupidity…
    “I think the border guards need to handle crossings very differently. I think the Gaza blockade should end. I think the the wall path should be different. I think children should have easy access to school. I think everyone should have easy access to health care. I think Israel should ease up on the right wing rhetoric. I think soft power and cultural exchange are pretty important. I think immigration and labor need to be restructured. I think olive trees should not be cut down”
    … which is a list of naive and ridiculous “wishes” that say NOTHING about changes in American foreign policy towards Israel. And you accuse ME of being simplistic?
    Is your brain really so full of useless crap that you actually think Israel is going to change policies if we maintain the status quo? Your argument, and your “wish list”, (stupidly masqueraded as foreign policy suggestions), is infantile in its inanity. And you are feeding this garbage kind of “thinking” to your students?
    You remind me of our modern crop of tradespeople, who, sans an apprenticeship, after a year of learning the rudimentary foundation of a skill and reading a couple of “how-to” manuals, go into business for themselves and spend a lifetime fucking their customers out of fees paid for substandard workmanship. You live in a fantasy world where real life issues are solved in the inner chapters of whatever think tank “report” or tome fits your skewed classroom outlook on the workings out here in the real world.
    I’d like to take you on a trail ride into the Bitteroot for a month, and have you concentrate on keeping a tired and pissed-off mule from biting the ass of your mount while you are negotiating a particularly treacherous bit of shale littered switchback. Trust me, you could use the therapy. And, undoubtedly, your students could use the break.

    Reply

  32. questions says:

    I have actually made a number of policy suggestions starting with not cutting off aid because I think that will be counterproductive. I think the border guards need to handle crossings very differently. I think the Gaza blockade should end. I think the the wall path should be different. I think children should have easy access to school. I think everyone should have easy access to health care. I think Israel should ease up on the right wing rhetoric. I think soft power and cultural exchange are pretty important. I think immigration and labor need to be restructured. I think olive trees should not be cut down. I think that Palestinian humanity should be recognized. I think that Hamas and Fatah and the uneasy relationship with varieties of Islamic faith and secularism need to be dealt with. I think the settlers are insane (many of them) and the whole parliamentary system in Israel lends itself to right wing control. I think politicians should not play with paranoia in Israel anymore than they should here with the birther/deather crap we see routinely.
    But I disagree fundamentally with POA on the funding issue and therefore I am evil incarnate. Oh well. But we’ve been over this before.
    I think that changes have to be motivated internally or they are unlikely to take hold, and are even more likely to set off right wing hysteria beyond what we’ve seen.
    I disagree about using aid for policy ends at this point because I think it will make Israelis turn ever further to the right and completely undermine the point of making aid contingent. We won’t get what we want either way. And we might get what we don’t want if we apply the wrong pressure.
    If the goal is to help the Palestinians, then pushing Israeli society is the wrong means. If the goal is merely not spending money on a cause one doesn’t support, then there’s no moral argument being made.
    You clearly don’t take this argument seriously, and I clearly do. I don’t know who’s right, to be honest, but I’m leaning my way for now, not yours.
    And as for “it always boils down to one thing…” once again you’re not reading very well, but given how much you belittle reading, who’d be surprised.
    I have said repeatedly that Israel overresponds, is paranoid, is demagogued, that Israeli politicians play up fear the way that rightists everywhere do, that the brutality is just that, brutal, that the status quo is unjust, that many Palestinians would probably chill out were Israel to do the same. But, clearly, not all Palestinians will and that “not all” is used as an excuse for Israel to go ballistic routinely. I have condemned this over and over and over again.
    I have pointed it out over and over and over again. But because my policy response doesn’t fit into POA’s box for proper responses, he doesn’t cope well. And he doesn’t even seem to see the points. In fact, if he notices one, it becomes all the clearer to POA that I am a hasbarite just tossing in a criticism of Israel so that I SEEM aboveboard. So no matter what I say, it doesn’t matter. Only if I repeat POA verbatim am I legit. But I won’t do that because I simply disagree with his overly simplistic reading of what might work. The money game just isn’t going to fly, in my reading at any rate.
    I don’t land where POA does, but I also don’t land where Netanyahu does. Gee. I must be evil.
    Oh, and isn’t Elaine Hagopian one of those benighted academics lurking where there are BOOKS and caves and too many WORDS??? AAARGHHHHH! Oh wait, she retired. So I guess she’s safe and so are her students! PHEW!!! Or is it that she says what POA believes and so she’s an OK academic. It’s only those who don’t cut up the world in POA fashion who are insects, excrementalists, hasbarites, foggers, bullshitters and the like.

    Reply

  33. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Why Hamas is Not the Issue
    Gaza: History Matters
    Elaine C. Hagopian is Professor Emerita of Sociology, Simmons College, Boston.
    Elaine C. Hagopian
    CounterPunch
    January 9-11, 2009
    Mohammed, age six, marched with determination to his bedroom, put on a record of the Fatah marching song, picked up a wooden toy rifle and marched out to the balcony. He pointed the rifle to the sky where minutes ago, Israeli planes flew over dropping bombs on Palestinian refugee sites. Mohammed told me he wanted to be a pilot so he could fight Israeli warplanes. “But Mohammed, the Palestinians do not have planes.” “I don’t care, I will fight them whatever way I can.” Was a resistance fighter born this minute or was he a “future terrorist”? (Beirut 1973)
    How does one explain the horrific fate that has befallen caged Gaza – a land saturated with rubble and body parts – carpet-bombed by air, invaded by ground, attacked by sea? Put to the test of history, Israeli “explanations” fail the credibility test.
    History matters. Israel conquered and occupied Gaza (along with the West Bank and East Jerusalem) in 1967. Hamas was an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brothers. In Gaza, it provided a network of social welfare institutions supporting the poor. During the first Palestinian Intifada (literally “shaking off” the occupation), a Hamas resistance military wing was formed. Israel and the US favored and met with Islamic Hamas leadership as a counterforce to the secular Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Fatah faction then dominant in the Intifada. As Hamas later strengthened, Israel reversed the process.
    History matters. Palestinians have consistently resisted Israeli dominance over their lives. Gazan resistance has been especially problematic for Israel. In the 1970s, before Hamas, Ariel Sharon was charged with “pacifying” Gaza. Sharon imposed a brutal policy of repression, blowing up houses, bulldozing large tracts of refugee camps, imposing severe collective punishment and imprisoning hundreds of young Palestinians.
    Domination and colonialism are contrary to the United Nations Charter. The legitimacy of struggle for self-determination by peoples under colonial and foreign domination was reaffirmed in U.N. General Assembly resolution 2787 (December 6, 1971). As others before them, Palestinians have and do exercise the legal and moral right to resist.
    History matters. In 2005, Israel withdrew its illegal colonial settlers from Gaza. Israeli scholars Uri Davis, Ilan Pappe and Tamar Yaron noted in a Counterpunch article at the time that the primary motive of the evacuation of the settlers was to remove them from harm’s way in anticipation of an intensified future mass attack on Gaza.
    History matters. After Hamas won elections in 2006, its leadership accepted a two-state solution based on the pre-war June 4, 1967 borders, but this was unacceptable to Israel. Earlier, Israel destroyed secular Fatah leader and Palestinian Authority President Arafat for failing at Camp David in July 2000 to comply with its demands to accept permanent Israeli control over Palestinian life and land confined in enclaves. Hamas became the new challenge to Israel’s vision.
    The facts of history affirm that Israel will not accept a sovereign Palestinian state on any part of historic Palestine. Hamas is not the issue. All Palestinian leaders sooner or later, secular or Islamic, are declared unacceptable partners for peace no matter how much they concede to Israel. That Israel hides behind the “Hamas Islamic threat” today to destroy it as a potential partner is becoming transparent.
    Today, Palestinian Authority President Abbas’s Fatah “security force” is used against Hamas supporters on the pretense that Abbas could be accepted by Israel as a satisfactory “partner” but for Hamas. Both before and after Hamas won the 2006 elections, Abbas fared no better than Arafat though he conceded more. In fact Jonathan Cook’s new book, Disappearing Palestine,” describes the persistent Israeli strategy to achieve the diminution of Palestine. Nonetheless Abbas continues to comply with Israeli/US demands, faulted by his people and humiliated by his keepers.
    The picture changes when history matters. Treating Israeli war crimes as historically detached events, unrelated to its Zionist ideology and militaristic strategy to control all of Palestine, becomes more transparent each day.
    Israel has a choice: by accepting Palestinian rights under international law now and jettisoning its exclusivist ideology and militarism, Israel secures the future of its people in a shared Israel/Palestine; or by continuing its present policy of ruthless repression of indigenous Palestinians and denying them self determination, it cultivates an intensified and unyielding native resistance. Israel has always chosen the latter. Will President-Elect Obama have the courage to help Israel embrace the first?
    http://www.counterpunch.org/hagopian01092009.html
    Obviously, NO, he won’t.

    Reply

  34. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “From a game theory standpoint, it seems rather obvious that the Palestinians have achieved a local maximum by threatening and using violence sufficient to get themselves billions of dollars in aid”
    During Fiscal Year 2009, the U.S. is providing Israel with at least $7.0 million per day in military aid and $0 in military aid to the Palestinians.
    http://www.ifamericansonlyknew.org/stats/usaid.html#source
    Note too, that this racist lying wretch Nadine fails to note that PROMISED aid is not REAL aid.
    Billions in international promised aid to the Palestinians is stalled by the Israelis and international political subterfuge.
    “Notice how POA won’t answer “What level of threat is there for Israel in your view?” Yet he is focused obsessively on Israel to the exclusion of the Palestinians. It doesn’t take a huge leap to suspect that he won’t answer because his real answer is “not enough, there should be more””
    Actually, military parity might work far more constructively towards peace than the huge dispartity that currently exists. I do not see that the Palestinians pose a “threat to Israel” as a nation, yet the threat to Israeli citizens is real, albiet not near on the scale that Israel represents to the Palestinians. The collective punishment of the Palestinian people is disproportionate and illegal. If international outcry will not stop such war crimes on a grand scale, it is truly a shame that the Palestinians do not have the military might to defend themselves. Perhaps then Israel would be less willing to fry little kids in white phosphorous, steal their land, and maintain their campaign of dehumanizing and oppressing an entire population of people.
    Of course, you will never see questions answer what will happen to the Palestinians should they comply with Israeli demands, and completely disarm, as the Israelis demand. But even if they did, Israel would need to resort to false flag antagonations to continue their campaign of expansion and slow genocide. Israel’s long term goals are not peace with the Palestinians. Israel’s singlemost important long term goal is NO Palestinians.

    Reply

  35. Paul Norheim says:

    “Strange that the world keeps paying for the conflict yet acts surprised when the conflict continues.”
    That was to the point, for once. “The world” (USA, Europe, Iran…) should stop paying the two sides. That would be a good start.

    Reply

  36. nadine says:

    From a game theory standpoint, it seems rather obvious that the Palestinians have achieved a local maximum by threatening and using violence sufficient to get themselves billions of dollars in aid. Enough in fact that their average standard of living is higher than the average in Egypt or Syria despite their having relatively little economy of their own. With enough aid, you don’t need an economy – and boy does it advantage the rulers to get the money directly instead of through taxes! Peace by comparison would be nothing but headaches for them, supposing their ideology even allowed it.
    Strange that the world keeps paying for the conflict yet acts surprised when the conflict continues.
    Notice how POA won’t answer “What level of threat is there for Israel in your view?” Yet he is focused obsessively on Israel to the exclusion of the Palestinians. It doesn’t take a huge leap to suspect that he won’t answer because his real answer is “not enough, there should be more”.

    Reply

  37. PissedOffAmerican says:

    It always boils down to one thing with questions; Israeli actrions are responses to Palestinian actions. It is never the opposite with questions.
    He constantly demands policy advocations from me, as if I have never offered any. Yet I have.
    Aid should be contingent on cooperation towards peace. Our money should buy concessions.
    Israel’s nuclear program should be taken out of the closet if we expect to have constructive discourse with Iran on it’s nuclear ambitions.
    Military acts, such as dumping white phosphorous or cluster bomblets on civilian populations should be countered with STRONG condemnation, and renegotiation of aid packages.
    The list is far longer than I care to reiterate here.
    Now, where is this jackass questions’ policy advocations? What has he offered except an endless litany of fearful excuses for maintaining the status quo? Time after time after time this obsfucating longwinded bore offers up these convoluted rambling rants telling us how we dare not rock the boat, as it may have “unintended consequences”.
    So in questions obscure world of circuitous reasoning, it takes ten city blocks to get to his next door neighbor’s BBQ party. And for all his intellectual forays into “unintended consequences”, “game theory”, and academic intellectual pompousness, he always arrives at the same destination; “Change nothing”.

    Reply

  38. questions says:

    Oh rats. I’ve been trying to fool all the people all the time with my useless barrage of obfuscating bullshit. But I’ve been outed by the wise POA.
    I feel so much better. Confessional society is so healthy, much more so than, say, discursive society in which people cite and argue and actually try to figure things out. Far better to have it figured out already, even if you happen to be wrong. At least you don’t have to experience time as an unfolding of the unknown as it is already known. Time becomes the waiting for what you know already to happen, and so you can enjoy your impatience all the more.
    But I still would like to know what kind of border policy POA thinks Israel should adopt. And I don’t mean the mantra “the 1967 borders”. I mean movement of people and goods, trade and labor, exchange and cooperation. Where’s the trust for that? And if not that, where’s the stability? And if the borders remain closed, but highly 1967esque, what will life be like in Palestine. These are things I don’t know, but POA must.
    I find the whole regional mess just that, a mess. No easy fix. You change one aspect and you’re likely to get a cascade of other problems. Thus any intervention has to have its eye on systemic issues. Pulling back to some previous border is insufficient. Opening borders with no control is stupid. So where is the sufficient and intelligent policy?
    And at this point, POA explodes. As if, maybe, he knows these issues are important but doesn’t have answers??? For if he had answers, he’d offer them. Or as if I’m so stupid that he can’t bother answering with the obvious? But then he’s being ungenerous because I actually honestly don’t know the answers, but he clearly does. As if, perhaps, he feels that I am so sneaky and underhanded and wicked and evil and cavish and booklike and not to be trusted that I am actually luring him into a deep dark cavelike bookish obfuscatory trap of TOO MANY WORDS?
    So even if I say that I see clearly that some kinds of reforms are likely safe, doable in the short term and worth pursuing (better-behaved border guards, soft power campaigns, and easy access to food and medicine and schooling for Gaza, and some other road system for the West Bank) somehow I am wicked still.
    Larger issues of how to pullback, how to deal with borders, how to set actual defense that isn’t offense has to come more slowly and with the kinds of iterations that game theory suggests produces trust. It’s a process. It’s slow, painful, full of backward steps and unintended consequences and distrust and error and miscalculation.
    There will be suffering no matter what. Even if POA is made dictator of the the US ME/I-P policy, there will be suffering.
    But I’d still like a “blueprint” from POA that shows what he’d do and maybe even some awareness of the pitfalls of his particular version of a plan.
    Oh, and thanks for calling the whole gang out. You’re right. They all see right through me and they all hate me!! It’s so nice to be understood so clearly!!

    Reply

  39. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Dan Kervick, Paul Nordhiem, myself, others here, have ALL pointed out to questions his obvious obsfucating jerk-off manner of creating volumnous essays of over-complicated and vague blather, all designed to mask his complete and utter inability to defend positions with direct and concise argument.
    On a cocktail party circuit, he would quickly earn the reputation of being a hopeless bore.
    On a lecture circuit, he would soon experience diminishing fees on a par with his inevitably diminishing pool of yawning attendees.
    In a neighborhood bar he would soon have the bartender thinking “Oh shit, here he comes again, I wish he’d put a cork in it” everytime he pulled up a stool.
    And my bet? 3/4s of his students, after ten minutes on the first day of class, are thinking “Oh God, what the hell is he talking about? I wonder if its too late to transfer out.”

    Reply

  40. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Then POA says I am exaggerating on the laying down of arms issue, but what exactly is it that POA wants with the borders and movement of people and space to breathe and lack of pressure and economic development and the like? It seems to me to be akin to the laying down of arms”
    No, it doesn’t “seem that way” to you. It simply fits your useless barrage of obsfucating bullshit to say it does.
    I’ve wasted to much time with your crap as well.
    You aren’t fooling anyone here, questions. You, Wig-wag, Nadine…you’re three peas in a pod.

    Reply

  41. questions says:

    Oh, Paul, one more thing….
    I am not a “game theory specialist.” In fact I bemoan my limited dealings with the field. It’s become more and more relevant over time, and yet, it, like quantitative analysis, is a little bit beyond me.
    I think the problem is that I’m far from ideological about the I/P issue and it seems to drive people to distraction that I can in the same series of electrons quite readily admit the insane level of brutality Israel perpetrates and yet not see the obvious out.
    Others see obvious outs, I see unintended consequences, domestic political realities, a huge array of barriers to attaining the dream of ME peace.
    I never think anything is simple. Mostly because things aren’t simple.
    Read (oh that dreaded evil wicked cave-like dark and nasty word, scourge of TWN (which nobody here READS)) some policy analysis and you’ll discover the wonderful world of thinking you’re doing one thing and finding in a decade or so that you’ve really done something else quite different and occasionally dreadful instead. It’s amazing what that evidence can do to an instinct for simple policy fixes. Really amazing, the power of reading, analysis, data analysis, and evidence. Really amazing.

    Reply

  42. questions says:

    POA, you have never said, “There are no rockets.” This fact Nadine has wrong. You have, however, routinely denied that the rockets are a serious threat, that Israel has any justification to harsh on the Palestinian mellow-rocketry program, that the rockets are a factor to be calculated.
    If I have your position wrong, please fix it instead of exploding about how I’m exaggerating or lying or fogging, or bsing, or obfuscating.
    If the rockets are no factor at all, then in a metaphorical sense, they don’t entirely exist.
    And if there haven’t been suicide attacks in ages, and so suicide attacks are not a factor, then metaphorically-speaking, they don’t exist either.
    What level of threat is there for Israel in your view? What level of defense is legitimate in your view? Where do you draw lines? It’s not enough to explode at the bad treatment. You need to specify the alternative. What level of pullback? What level of settler-squishing do you think is even possible in the current Israeli political system?
    Instead of playing in utopia-land where Israel MUST do whatever you say or Obama should blow them off, what really can be done? Take a stab at actual policy instead of fantasy.
    You bash think-tanks. But you give generalities as well, as if they were the kernels of the greatest wisdom. You don’t admit to limitations on your understanding of the specifics, and yet you are, it seems to me, quite limited to the same points over and over. Try a new shtick.

    Reply

  43. questions says:

    Paul and POA, you’ve got it wrong again. I am not defending Nadine. I suggested that Nadine was heading towards racism. Not a great defense.
    I am not defending Israel because there’s a “grain of truth”. I am characterizing the way that myths function in society. As long as there is a grain of truth, which there is, the myth can have a long and prosperous life.
    Because there actually is something of a threat, not at the level the mythmakers propound, but at some level, one cannot demand a laying down of arms, but one can work for a modification of the use of arms.
    Then POA says I am exaggerating on the laying down of arms issue, but what exactly is it that POA wants with the borders and movement of people and space to breathe and lack of pressure and economic development and the like? It seems to me to be akin to the laying down of arms.
    If Israel MERELY pulls back settlers, but keeps the borders closed and refuses to let Palestinians in for labor and medical treatment and trade, Palestine will not necessarily prosper. Prosperity will come from thoroughly linked economies, open borders, movements of people and property, one multi-culti society enjoying the many fruits, vegetables, and glasses of water that there are. Absent openness, I don’t see a lot of evidence for a happy ending. And hence, I speak of a laying down of arms.
    If you disagree with this position, explain, please, exactly what you think should happen. Just what kind of pullback, what kind of border system, what kind of support ought Israel to undertake?
    What I really think is that the Israeli right, like all political rightists, exaggerates the threat, plays generational politics, terrifies its own people for political gain and carries through with horrific and inhumane policies for political gain. Likely there are many who believe the threats, and equally likely there are many cynics using the threats for career interests. It’s all fairly typical politicking, but with pretty tragic results.
    At the same time, I recognize that beyond a reaction to Israeli policies, there’s probably a core of Palestinian “nationals” who would do as much damage as they could were they given free reign. I would guess, as is typical, that it’s not a huge number, but it’s an unknown number. I would guess that, typically, were Israel to alter policies, some would give up the fight and get on with their lives, and some, an unknown number, would not. That unknown number is the “grain of truth” that Israel has to deal with. Because it’s an unknown number, it’s subject to nightmarification”, to exaggeration, to cynical manipulation the way that any unknown threat/risk can be played. And because the Palestinians are closer to a failed state/corrupt mess, revolutionary-style “government,” there is little chance that this group of people can be brought under control.
    I don’t think that the mystery number of ill-wisher/ill-actors is big enough to justify much of what Israel does, and likely, Israel’s policies drive up rather than down, that number.
    So, clearly, thinking this way, that there are fairly typical political behaviors and responses, that Israel causes some of its own misery, that Israel needs to ease up but will have to judge the extent of easing up based on an unknown threat — clearly I am a racist scumbag of the darkest caviest bookest type. OOOOHHHH, don’t trust me. I read books!!
    Paul, one reads up on game theory to see how people get trapped in positions that are sub-optimal because they cannot coordinate their behavior with others absent certain kinds of frameworks. The international law debate you’re having above works within the game theory framework as well. The problem is the impossibility of coordination between parties that cannot communicate because either there’s a physical barrier or a psychic/trust barrier. What do you think is happening in I/P?
    But feel free not to read. It seems to be the theme here. One already knows, without reading, that there’s a clear line between offense and defense (describe, please). One already knows that Israel has crossed the line (when, please tell), one already knows that there’s a unified structure in Israeli politics such that Obama declares a policy and Israel’s dictator ignores the electorate and acts….. One know all of this and more without reading.
    Except of course, Paul, you’re exceptionally well-read. And even POA reads huge numbers of internet sources that confirm the POA worldview. So why is reading on trial here? I would think the more you read, even when the material fails to confirm your worldview, the better. If a whole body of scholarship tells me something contrary to my first instinct, I take a long hard look at my instinct. Funny, it is, how evidence can alter views. And funny, it is, that when one exits the world of ideological internet sources and enters the world of scholarship and data and the sad failure to find the thing you most want ideologically-speaking, one is forced pretty routinely to question one’s instincts and tendencies.

    Reply

  44. Paul Norheim says:

    “This is how POA views Israel. Palestinian/Arab threats against Israel don’t exist;
    there are no terrorists, no rockets, no wars, only innocent victims of Israeli
    oppression.”
    This is pure fiction – in line with Questions` absurd framing of the dilemma in
    approaching Israel: Either respect Israel`s absurd claim that their actions are all
    rooted in survival (because somewhere there is “a grain of truth” in this claim) —or
    demand that they should lay down their arms. This is a false choice, invented by game
    theory specialist Questions.
    To make it absolutely clear: Nobody has been talking about laying down arms. Israel
    has a legitimate right to defend itself.
    We`have been talking about all these actions that go far beyond self defense and
    survival. For Nadine, these actions are just fine. Questions apparently thinks that
    they`re not fine. But since there is a grain of truth somewhere in this survival
    propaganda, we should be extremely careful to criticize the abuses – especially if we
    don`t have a Phd in the political game unfolding in the Knesset, and don`t care to
    “read up” on game theory.
    Why shouldn`t we have the right to criticize Israel`s abuse of Holocaust to legitimate
    aggressive actions that go far beyond self defense?
    Why do we have to read up on game theory to mention the obvious: that “self defense”
    and “survival” are excuses for offensive actions?

    Reply

  45. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “This is how POA views Israel. Palestinian/Arab threats against Israel don’t exist; there are no terrorists, no rockets, no wars, only innocent victims of Israeli oppression”
    I have wasted too much time with your bullshit.
    You are a shameless racist liar, and the only way you seem to be able to defend your spew is by creating straw positions for your opponents, or by formulating another lie.

    Reply

  46. nadine says:

    “The white/western vs. colored/oriental theme comes up in a book called “Islamaphobia” I’ve been working on fitfully over the summer. It’s not my issue either. But if you push it too hard, you open yourself to reasonable charges of racism. Might want to think before you leap.”
    In my opinion the person who judges both sides by one standard is NOT the racist, while the person who uses a race-based double standard depending IS the racist. In today’s topsy-turvy line of thinking that gets me called a racist instantly. It is a way to silence the message by shooting the messenger.
    “And when I talk about police brutality and criminality, I’m not going your way either. The problem is that what police think “reasonable” is not at all what I think is “reasonable.” Of course there are criminals, but the issue is how does one respond, what is “reasonable force”? I’m not going to land where you do, believe me, even if I also don’t land where POA does.”
    Ah but the catch is, you say “of course there are criminals”. That’s just the point: in POA’s world criminals don’t exist by DEFINITION. Since they don’t exist, he can’t notice them.
    Let me give you two hypothetical cases of police brutality to illustrate.
    Case 1. An armed house invader shoots one occupant of the house, takes another hostage, and at one point in the ensuing siege by police raises his gun to shoot at the police. They shoot him first. Every court in this country would call that justifiable homicide, not police brutality.
    Case 2. Police, mistaking a perfectly innocent man walking down the street for a criminal, gun him down without warning. The turns out to be a highly respected clergyman with no criminal history whatsoever. Every court in this country (or nearly) would call that murder and police brutality.
    Both cases involve multiple police officers shooting and killing a man. Nobody can deny that shooting and killing a man is a brutal act. But nearly everybody sees that there is a difference between the two cases.
    Here’s the point: if criminals don’t exist, then Case 1 = Case 2. Every case = Case 2.If you see every police action through the lens of police brutality and self-censor yourself from admitting that criminals do exist, you have no way to distinguish Case 1 from Case 2. Ever. Furthermore, if your total focus is on police brutality, pity the poor victims of criminals because you won’t care about them.
    This is how POA views Israel. Palestinian/Arab threats against Israel don’t exist; there are no terrorists, no rockets, no wars, only innocent victims of Israeli oppression.
    Also, just as the police brutality fanatic sees no victims of criminals, these soi-disant champions of Palestinian rights see no abuse if the abusers are themselves Palestinian or Arab.
    When Hamas put down the Al Qaeda uprising in Rafah last week, it took about 30 prisoners. Cell phone video is filtering out of Gaza now: Hamas shot their prisoners. Fatah made the video available to Israel, who confirms the executions via their monitoring sources. Can you imagine what a “masssacre” this would have been if Israel had done it? But since it was Hams, nobody cares. Unless some genius can find a way to blame Israel for not stopping it.
    If you care about Palestinian human rights only if certain people violate them, do you really care about Palestinian human rights at all?

    Reply

  47. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “This is by definition, to a multi-culuralist, which POA give every sign of being. A multi-culturalist self-censors himself from even thinking of judging Israel (classed as white & Western) by the same standard as the Palestinians (classed as colored & Oriental). This is why I point in vain to the actual statements and actions of Hamas and Fatah. No multi-culturalist allows himself to notice them. The Palestinians are window glass, transparent”
    Read this through a few times, and let it sink in what this racist wretch is saying. Consider, if you will, the spew Nadine has regurgitated here on a regular basis. And questions defends this despicable hateful bigot?

    Reply

  48. questions says:

    Not sure you have a good definition of “multi-culti” stuff. I don’t judge cultures as worse or better than others, which I think is what the multi-culti people tend to emphasize. When one conservative idiot or another wrote “Show me the Tolstoy of the Papuans” I was pretty pissed off, actually.
    I think you have to find a different term from “multi-culturalism” to indicate what you disagree with vis-a-vis POA.
    The white/western vs. colored/oriental theme comes up in a book called “Islamaphobia” I’ve been working on fitfully over the summer. It’s not my issue either. But if you push it too hard, you open yourself to reasonable charges of racism. Might want to think before you leap.
    And when I talk about police brutality and criminality, I’m not going your way either. The problem is that what police think “reasonable” is not at all what I think is “reasonable.” Of course there are criminals, but the issue is how does one respond, what is “reasonable force”? I’m not going to land where you do, believe me, even if I also don’t land where POA does.

    Reply

  49. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “POA will not try to answer them. Because for him, there are no criminals”
    Actually, you racist wretch, it is YOU who consistently denies the criminality of criminal actions.
    “You cannot rationally discuss the extent of police brutality if you’re not allowed to notice the existence of criminals”
    Who was it that implied that white phosphoprous wasn’t used in Gaza, Nadine?
    Who was it that claimed prosecuting the CRIMINALS that used torture was “criminalizing the policies” of previous administrations?

    Reply

  50. nadine says:

    questions, You raise good points here:
    “There are brutal police, for sure. But there actually are criminals. Reforming police behavior doesn’t mean getting rid of police departments. It means, instead, that we have to change the kinds of assumptions that police make about the “reasonable” part of “reasonable force.” Rethinking the other, in the face of all the distrust that is rational, is the goal.”
    “Argue in convincing fashion that no Palestinian will attempt to kill any Israeli if Israel gives in on every Palestinian demand, or on the demands you think reasonable.”
    POA will not try to answer them. Because for him, there are no criminals. The police are brutalizing a community composed of 100% innocent victims of color.
    This is by definition, to a multi-culuralist, which POA give every sign of being. A multi-culturalist self-censors himself from even thinking of judging Israel (classed as white & Western) by the same standard as the Palestinians (classed as colored & Oriental). This is why I point in vain to the actual statements and actions of Hamas and Fatah. No multi-culturalist allows himself to notice them. The Palestinians are window glass, transparent.
    You cannot rationally discuss the extent of police brutality if you’re not allowed to notice the existence of criminals.

    Reply

  51. questions says:

    I believe I wrote above “a grain of truth” in the defensive posture. Just like there’s a grain of truth in the anxiety about medical care changes in this country. That grain is enough to make the propaganda side seem true rather than distorted. But read it how you need to.
    Is that too subtle for you? Sinister. Waste of brain cells.

    Reply

  52. questions says:

    “I’m right. The jackass IS an academic.”
    You sly sleuth you. Wow. You’re good!!!!! You’re probably the first even to think it was a real possibility!!!! My cover is blown now. Oh noes!
    POA, do you ever get it? I have suggested repeatedly that I’m not convinced of the level of threat that Israelis feel. But I don’t dismiss out of hand any and all threats. Absent border control, suicide bombing will likely restart. Absent pressures of various sorts, the pebble or maybe petal throwers will likely find larger things to throw. Absent some amount of nastiness, perhaps the rockets’ red glare will be seen again. It’s a patriotic thing for the Palestinians, it’s a threat for the Israelis, it’s an opportunity for politicians to demagogue. No great insight here.
    Are the Palestinians MERELY responding to Israeli atrocities and would never ever ever commit their own?
    The fact is that domestic Israeli politics won’t allow for an easy exit right now, and there’s just enough threat that so far, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for Israel to lay down arms, not in a domestic political context, that is.
    So argue for the opposite. Argue in convincing fashion that no Palestinian will attempt to kill any Israeli if Israel gives in on every Palestinian demand, or on the demands you think reasonable. Cite something convincing. I can’t think of much that convinces me that any kind of Palestinian government can control the population well enough to guarantee, really guarantee, security. And so I have a hard time demanding the most radical laying down of arms, though modifications of border control and economic/labor market issues could go a long way towards easing the tensions while still maintaining adequate security.
    But I guess you know better, since all I have is a dark cave full of stupid and contentless books…. Immoral books. Vapid books by dead guys who knew nothing at all since they were just academics, too. What a crock it all is, this knowledge business. A total crock…. Cave dark, absent light and truth.
    And now try to see some perspectives other than your own. It might help.
    Israeli society has made significant turns to the right over security issues. The security issues have inculcated the population with a sad and scary level of some combination of racism and nationalism. The place is a mess and the people don’t think very clearly. The rhetoric of self-defense plays well and has JUST ENOUGH validity (there have been rockets and suicide bombers after all) — just enough validity to keep the right going strong.
    If you intervene in this situation in the wrong way, you harden the right and maybe lose another big chunk of time before there’s some kind of policy window for altered action within Israel.
    Now, do you understand at all the distinction between my description of Israeli politics, my description of Israeli thinking and my actual preferences for Israeli behavior? If I talk about a “defensive posture” maybe, just maybe, I am describing what Israel does and how it sees itself, and maybe just maybe, I’m not saying that thousands of Israelis have already died or are under imminent threat. Maybe, just maybe, I am responding to multiple sides of the mess rather than simplifying it so that you can relate.
    Sinister. Dark cave. Waste of brain cells, time, and air. Causer of suicides. I AM POWERFUL.
    And have I ever used the word “terrorists” to characterize the Palestinians? I personally have a hard time knowing who the terrorists are, usually. But I have a hard time with a lot of things.
    And as for the use of words, what a basis for an argument!! questions will cause young fathers everywhere to commit suicide if questions ever writes an assembly manual. Gee, that’s an argument guaranteed to win over the masses. Too many words. Too many words. Too many words. The world is simple. It only takes three words to characterize everything. Fog. Bullshit. Obfuscation. The rest shall be left over in silence as it need never be put to words.
    Wow.
    Just consider how many words you link to. How many electrons you dump here…. Wow.

    Reply

  53. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I’m right. The jackass IS an academic.
    Defensive posture, my ass. Thats the propaganda behind it. Thats why they get away with killing kids throwing rocks, shooting peaceful protestors in the head, and dumping white phosphorous on women and children.
    Whats defensive about razing farmlands and olive orchards? Whats defensive about stopping truckloads of staples, such as toilet paper, from entering Gaza? Whats defensive about forcing womewn to give birth at checkpoints?
    Questions, for all his lengthy over-intellectualized vague pablum, always manages to bury the same old propaganda underneath the subterfuge of his feigned moderation.
    “Well, they are just defending themselves”.
    Bullshit. There are far far too many instances of offensive actions taken by Israel to buy into that age-old excuse any longer.
    Its interesting that questions so nonchalantly inserted this shit about Israel “laying down its arms”. Has anyone here EVER seen me advocate for Israel to “lay down its arms”? I have NEVER made that argument, nor would I. Dumping white phosphorous on urban areas can be condemned without offering the argument for disarmament. Its quite telling that this obsfucating tome with a pulse offers the above essay, while ignoring the fact that it is ISRAEL demanding that any future Palestinian state be disarmed. The irony here is that the Palestinian’s actions can more easily be defended as “defensive” than the Israeli’s can. The Palestinians aren’t stealing land. The Palestinians aren’t forcibly evicting Israeli citizens onto the streets. The Palestinians aren’t using cutting edge weapons technology to level neighborhoods or incinerate city blocks. Yet, with all of Israel’s power and might, with its modern military that is used daily to oppress, murder, suppress and intimidate, it is the Palestinians that are told to lay down their sticks, rocks, suicide belts and crude rocketry, so that they can be defenseless against a neighbor that shits in their ovens, fries their children in white phosphorous, razes their farmlands, and steals their homes.
    Its a-ok, in questions’ dark cave of books and useless knowledge for the Israelis to defend themselves, but if the Palestinians do, its simply terrorism, and the Israeli’s have a “right” to their fear. Nadine’s craven hatred, racist spew, and indisputably untrue arguments and assertions are “justified” in questions alphabetic world of academic intellectual pomp and foolishness.
    What a crock of shit. At least Nadine is honestly dishonest. Her blatant deceptions are harmless, rendered impotent by their obvious fallacies. But questions? What a tremendous and sinister waste of brain cells, time, and air. If I had to find a blessing in questions’ existence, I would have to thank God that he doesn’t write assembly instructions for children’s toys. If he did, the suicide rate of young fathers would spike right around Christmas time, and we’d have a surplus of one-wheeled tricycles.

    Reply

  54. questions says:

    POA,
    It’s not “my” game theory, really. Would love to have figured it out, but I’m not that smart, or that old.
    Game theory deals with the fact that individuals alone work differently from individuals in groups. There are group interests that are better served when people coordinate their behavior instead of acting in what they perceive as self-interest. But there are real barriers to the coordination of behavior.
    If we all pursue individual self-interest, we will screw up all sorts of things.
    (The savings paradox comes when we all save money at the same time — the economy collapses from lack of spending; arms races happen when we try to maximize our own position in the world instead of trusting and working with neighboring nations; common grazing land is destroyed when we all sneak a few extra cows onto the public land to save our private land for other purposes; the height advantages of SUVs melt away when everyone drives them, so the individual good of extra visibility is lost when we all behave this way. It would have been better to have no SUVs, as their downside is huge and their upside is lost as soon as a lot of people have them.)
    If we cannot coordinate our behavior with others, we’ll all go down the tubes, or at least, we all lose the little bit of competitive advantage whe thought we were gaining.
    Hope that makes sense so far.
    Problem is, we have no reason or force to make us trust others, and so we continue to rely on self-interest. And we continue to waste resources, re-invent the wheel, spend more than we should, and go down the tubes.
    Changes in health care will benefit society generally, but there will be individual trade offs. It would likely be generally better if there were some central decision-making for locating expensive imaging and testing facilities. But that would “interfere with the market” which, of course, is USAAMERICA mythspeak for a non-starter. The “market” though, does a terrible job of allocating resources in coordinated ways. Cooperation coupled with a little bit of force works better in many circumstances, though certainly not all.
    Game theoretic insights into the problems of coordinating individual behavior so that the group doesn’t self-destruct are a lovely and quick refutation of libertarianism. The instinct for liberty and “don’t tread on me” thinking run smack into the inability to share resources efficiently, to sacrifice one’s own position in the short run in order to maximize it in the long run, and so on. Instinct is wrong, reason gets it right. And you dismiss the whole thing as fog, nonsense, “your” game theory.
    You manage to find every single ideological piece out there on Israel. Try to find a reasoned piece on game theory and follow through the profound significance it has for decision-making. Maybe you’ll start to see some nuance.
    And Paul, my absurd question is not so absurd. Yes, Israel is acting in pretty horrific ways. I take that as a given. But it does so in what it sees as a defensive posture. Because there is a grain of truth to the defensive reading, it becomes harder to demand a laying down of arms. And near as I can tell, it is this insight that the left in Israel fails to grapple with. People are frightened and threatened, and the right always wins in that situation unless someone like Martin Luther King, Jr. emerges to mitigate the fear with a profound and pretty much insane coordination of disobedience.
    There are brutal police, for sure. But there actually are criminals. Reforming police behavior doesn’t mean getting rid of police departments. It means, instead, that we have to change the kinds of assumptions that police make about the “reasonable” part of “reasonable force.” Rethinking the other, in the face of all the distrust that is rational, is the goal.
    Israel has the same work to do. It has become the embodiment of brutality, but brutality it sees as justified. Israel won’t change its behavior until that justification goes away. We can all see, as outsiders, the game that Israel is stuck in. We can call for “peace.” But any call will fail at the outset because Israelis will perceive it as our asking them to risk their lives for some abstract and distant resolution that is unrealizable. How can anyone call for that? And how can anyone demand that someone in a defensive posture stop defending himself?
    You can argue that Israel isn’t actually in a defensive posture, but that’s not Israel’s self-perception, and in fact, one has to deal with Israel’s self-perception if one wants Israel to change its behavior.
    It’s not that I agree with Israel’s self-perception or with Nadine’s fear, but it’s not really in my power to tell someone in the throes of paranoia to lay down arms.
    POA, you seem to be against gun control for similar issues? A hunter’s got a right to hunt, a homeowner has a right to defend himself? Well, guns are involved in a lot of brutality and I think that we’d be better off collectively without any guns. But I probably will never convince you that you don’t need to hunt, that guns DO kill people, and that there should be no guns anywhere.
    I see an analogy, but I bet you don’t.

    Reply

  55. nadine says:

    “Nadine, the occupied territories in question is not “your own” country, it
    belongs to someone else. ”
    To whom does it belong, and how?

    Reply

  56. nadine says:

    “Nadine, I covered Gaza. We had everyone on the show from Human
    Rights Watch to Gazan journalists/ doctors to Israeli refuseniks to
    Israeli peace activists to UN observers to George Galloway and
    Cynthia McKinney.”
    Well that certainly covers the political spectrum…from Far-Left to full bore Looney-Left and on Saddam’s payroll to boot.

    Reply

  57. Outraged American says:

    A lot of us don’t care about Israel. Don’t you get that? We care
    about peace.
    Israel could fall of the edge of the flat Earth and a lot of us in the
    know would applaud.
    STOP BEING THE VICTIM AND ALSO THE AGGRESSOR.
    You want Jews hated? Israel and her Zionist fellow travelers are
    doing a great job.

    Reply

  58. Paul Norheim says:

    For the sake of clarity: My last comment referred to something Questions said
    above Nadine`s post.
    “By definition you cannot colonize your OWN country or borderlands that move
    back and forth in war.”
    Nadine, the occupied territories in question is not “your own” country, it
    belongs to someone else. Thus settlements is theft and colonization. Occupying
    it doesn`t automatically make it yours. You should comply with the UN
    resolutions and retreat from the territories occupied in 1967.
    And now I`m tired and going to sleep. Goodnight everybody.

    Reply

  59. PissedOffAmerican says:

    You don’t get it, do you? I don’t give a shit about your game theory.
    You? Your bullshit is worse than Nadine’s. I gotta believe you are immersed in the world of academia, and undoubtedly are hard pressed to figure out a straightforward reason to tie your own effin’ shoelaces.

    Reply

  60. nadine says:

    questions, maybe your analogies are correct and maybe they aren’t. Until you give a specific example it’s impossible to say.
    The risk to Israel to in signing any particular peace deal is hard to measure. But the risk in peace-processing is quite easily quantifiable: Mark a timeline of the last thirty years with the periods of active peace-processing. Compare to a histogram of Israeli civilian casualties of terror attacks. You will see the two correlate quite well.
    It should hardly be a surprise, when you consider how much motive hard-line groups like Hamas have to blow up the peace process (literally) and how little motive Arafat ever had to stop them. The latest Fatah conference declared Fatah’s right of “armed resistance” (aka terrorism) and made the Al Aqsa brigades the official military wing of Fatah.

    Reply

  61. Paul Norheim says:

    “Can we morally ask Israel to bear greater risk?”
    That`s a rather absurd question in relation to my
    post above.

    Reply

  62. nadine says:

    “However, most of the colonization throughout history violated other people`s rights exactly because there were no international treaties or
    laws recognizing or protecting their existence or sovereign rights. Thus no violation,
    according to the colonizers.”
    Ah yes, but the colonization always occurred in some territory that was separate from that of the colonizers, e.g. the Europeans in Africa. By definition you cannot colonize your OWN country or borderlands that move back and forth in war. When Frenchmen moved to Alsace after WWI, they weren’t “colonizers”.
    So in order to delegitimize Israel’s actions as “colonizing” you must carefully speak of the West Bank as a separate place, “Palestinian land”, to use the formulation of the BBC. It was all part of the same Mandate of Palestine, and if there was no international treaty, Paul, that is because the Arabs refused to sign one recognizing the truce of 1949 and refused again in 1967 with the three “nos” of the Khartoum conference. This is not a situation where white men refused to recognize the human rights of illiterate natives, as you imply. The Arabs simply decided as an act of will never to recognize the reality of Israel.
    “While Jordan held [the territory], they did not allow any talk about creating an Arab
    Palestine.”
    “Thus Palestine and the Palestinian people is an invention created out of nothing, a
    fake, some evil intended Arab bullshit… in stark contrast to Zionism, born in Basel in
    1897, and in contrast to the recognized nations of the world? ”
    Zionism is actually far older than that. But we can use 1897 if you prefer. Palestinianism dates to the 1960s, as you can see if you read the contemporary accounts of the 30s, 40s, and even 50s, where the Arabs refugees were “Arab refugees” not “Palestinians”. Arabs have been there for hundreds of years, but before the 1960s they were not “Palestinians”. And why should they have been, when Palestine, like the rest of the Middle East, was a bunch of lines the British drew on the map in 1920? To the Arabs it was an arbitrary creation.
    The Palestinian national consciousness did not really form until the Palestinians were united under one government after 1967. Had the Arabs managed to destroy Israel in 1948, 1956, 1967 or 1973, they would never have created an Arab Palestine. They would have merely divided the territory, as they did with what they took in 1948. You can see in the UN resolutions of 1967 such as the famous Res. 242, nobody mentions “Palestine”. It’s not there. The only matter discussed is return of the land to Egypt and Jordan.
    The Palestinian national consciousness exists now. But let’s try to view history historically, not project the present back onto the past a-historically.
    “But if you see it that way, systematically stealing people`s homes through settlements
    does not constitute a violation of anybody`s rights. Because these people simply didn`t
    exist until they maliciously invented themselves.”
    The Israelis didn’t steal their homes. They built on government owned land, which is most of the land in the region. Tell me, which Palestinian towns were stolen post 1967? What mass deportations of Arabs happened? The West Bank has tripled its Arab population since 1967.
    What did you expect to happen to West Bank after the Arabs refused to sign a peace treaty? Perpetual limbo? When the Jewish owners who had been dispossessed in 1948 sued to get their property back, should Israel have told them no, the land is in perpetual trust for when the Arabs decide to sign a peace treaty 1000 years from now? It had been Jordan’s decision to invade. Nowhere else would anyone have thought that Jordan deserved a do-over on the war.
    Now I wish that the West Bank Palestinians could have ruled themselves. But the Arab League never allowed it. They were saddled with the terrorists of the PLO as their “sole representatives” and anybody who tried to make a local deal with the Israelis got killed as a traitor. So we go with a Palestinian political culture where the only virtue is Jew-killing, and each man wins by being more militant and less compromising than his rival.

    Reply

  63. questions says:

    Paul, the basic idea of the prisoners dilemma (if I have this right) is that each party does best when the other cooperates and he alone defects. That is, there’s a strong personal interest in being the defector while the other is the cooperator. Given this pay out scheme, each party would rather defect and in fact will defect. No one will cooperate, and the pay out if both parties defect is lower.
    The highest group pay out happens if both parties cooperate, but that will not happen given the pressure to be the defector. In fact, both will defect and the social pay out will be the lowest possible.
    Refusing to defect is an acceptance of possible harm to oneself.
    Can anyone morally ask another to harm himself in order to benefit another? It’s a huge question in ethics. Can you be pushed to donate a kidney to a stranger? Can you be pushed to lay down arms in a conflict? Who should be the first to take action in a pay out scheme in which the first actor ends up at a disadvantage.
    And regarding the stuff on Medicare, the point is that people can be insanely misinformed about policy issues and can have deep panic about those issues. And at the same time, there can be just enough truth underlying the panic that one ought not dismiss it out of hand. Medical care changes are scary. Israeli policy changes are scary. People might or might not die because of it. People are panicking. Not so unclear all in all.
    And POA, simply read up on game theory and it’ll all get clearer. All I’m referring to is whether or not it’s moral to ask or demand that someone else bear suffering for one’s own preferences. Can we morally ask Israel to bear greater risk? Now you may deny the risk, but I take it a little more seriously. As sure as I am that Israel is immoral in its treatment of the Palestinians, I am equally sure that there is risk in Israel’s laying down arms. The question then becomes what kinds of reasonable modifications should be made to Israel’s policy while still maintaining reasonable security.
    And Nadine, I’m not quite as out of it as you surmise. I think it’s quite reasonable to suggest that fear-mongering is a part of Israeli elections and that analogues to the US have some validity. But I am not a scholar of the Israeli election process and so it seems to me to be reasonable to limit my claims.
    Didn’t do a word count. Have I hit infinity yet?!
    Roland Barthes talks somewhere about “blind and dumb criticism.” It goes like this: I don’t understand it, so there’s nothing there to understand. It’s a beautiful proof of something. David Hume also raises the point.

    Reply

  64. Outraged American says:

    Nadine, I covered Gaza. We had everyone on the show from Human
    Rights Watch to Gazan journalists/ doctors to Israeli refuseniks to
    Israeli peace activists to UN observers to George Galloway and
    Cynthia McKinney.
    I’m going to dinner with another poster and he’ll be able to confirm
    all of this because I’m going to bring my computer with my guest
    database for the news show I worked on.
    Israel did use new weapons in Gaza, and if I weren’t so lazy I would
    look up the investigation, which was headed by Israeli physicians.

    Reply

  65. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “POA, if you`ve really met “true believers” – which I`m sure you have – you`ll know
    that they dismiss stuff ……..”
    Paul, I’ve already conceded that she is batshit crazy, you don’t need to convince me of that.
    But I do not believe that she offers conviction based in insanity. She knows she’s lying. The batshit crazy part is that she expects us to believe her.

    Reply

  66. Paul Norheim says:

    “But she plays fast and loose with KNOWN history, that is undisputed by the
    INTERNATIONAL body of media entities.”
    POA, if you`ve really met “true believers” – which I`m sure you have – you`ll know
    that they dismiss stuff like accepted science, “the international body of media
    entities”, NGO`s etc… in short anything that contradicts their version of reality –
    as biased attempts to distort the REAL truth, and there are always sinister motives
    behind any story that doesn`t fit into how realities look like from inside their
    little bubble.
    The UN is not credible. Peace Now is not credible. International media is manipulated
    by anti-semitic propaganda. The NGO`s are leftist, manipulated by the Arabs etc. etc.
    In short: The whole Universe is lying, and The Bubble is right. I assume there are
    plenty of Palestinians who share that mentality today from the opposite side. They
    mirror each other.
    And then there are those who believe that lying serves the cause, in addition to
    being true believers. It`s often difficult to distinguish between those who both lie
    and are indoctrinated, and those who simply are indoctrinated, because some of the
    latter are completely unable to distinguish between facts and propaganda.
    In Nadine`s case, I`m not sure. But I`m sure she`s indoctrinated. Thus facts and
    intellectual coherence doesn`t impress her if it goes contrary to her beliefs.
    Occasionally facts and arguments threaten her world view. One little detail… and
    her bubble bursts – so there is much at stake.
    But perhaps she lies intentionally as well – who knows?

    Reply

  67. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “……but could you please ask
    someone to translate this and the rest of your
    comment to English?”
    Extremely doubtful.
    But I guarantee his attempt will be at least an 1,000 word essay. I hope you’re not prone to migraines.

    Reply

  68. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I`m not any longer 100 % sure Nadine knows that
    she`s frequently manipulating with facts”
    Oh gads, Paul. Give me a break.
    Did you know that I am immortal, and that I also time travel. My favorite vacation spot is a little resort on Venus, circa 1734. Honest.
    Paul, if Nadine’s CRAP was purely ideological musings, than the argument could be made she is just a “true believer”. But she plays fast and loose with KNOWN history, that is undisputed by the INTERNATIONAL body of media entities. For God’s sakes, even Israel admits it used white phosphorous in Operatrion Cast Lead. There are literally HUNDREDS of photographs of a military action that she implies there are no photographs of. And there are plenty of photographs of human victims of these white phosphorous attacks, some of which I have linked to on this blog, and all readily available by even a half hearted and cursury internet search.

    Reply

  69. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Well, so far, we have seen two people come to Nadine’s defense, and neither of them have addressed Nadine’s blatant dishonesties, which I have SPECIFICALLY listed.
    There are other chinks in Nadine’s credibility, and the three cited examples are by no means the entire body of Nadine’s encyclopedia of deception. I merely use these three examples, above, because they are cut and dried examples of what can irrefutably be considered “lies”.
    Note that neither Kotz or questions will approach specificity in their defenses of Nadine. Kotz offers NOTHING, really, to lend credibility to Nadine’s deceptive blather. And questions offers the premise that Nadine might just be completely and utterly ignorant of the facts, so therefore, dishonesty on her part is not a given.
    Great argument, eh? It opens the door to my arguing that night is day, and day is night, and if you can’t read my mind, perhaps I’m not lying. After all, I might really believe night is day, mightn’t I? I mean, hey, try to prove I don’t believe it.
    Kind of right in league with Nadine’s brilliant opinions on “criminalizing” criminal activity.
    But in true questions’ fashion, I am using far too many words to make my point. All I need do is ask questions if he concedes that people are going hungry in Gaza, that Palestinians have been deprived of medical care, and that white phosphorous was used by Israel during Operation Cast Lead on urban areas in Gaza. And probably even more germaine to his argument, does he REALLY expect us to believe the pure unmittigated CRAP premise that Nadine is unaware of these FACTS? Because if he is feeding us that line, he’s a prevaricator on the same scale as Nadine.

    Reply

  70. Paul Norheim says:

    POA,
    I`m not any longer 100 % sure Nadine knows that
    she`s frequently manipulating with facts. I`ve met
    countless of indoctrinated people in my life. Even
    the Christian organization my parents belonged to,
    and which I was unfortunate enough to grow up
    inside and had to rebel against for several years,
    was a sect. Zionism contains a lot of sectarians.
    Rebels WITH a cause.
    I recognized the mentality inside that bubble when
    I later, in the late 70`s, discussed different
    issues with Norwegian Maoists. And later in life
    with several political, religious and nationalist
    members of various sects. When you`re inside such
    a bubble, you`re incapable of displaying basic
    intellectual honesty, and you filter out all the
    facts that do not fit to your narrative – in a
    much more dramatic way than most people do.
    To us, it seems like lies. And objectively, we`re
    dealing with lies. But subjectively – with regard
    to motives – the story may be more complicated.

    Reply

  71. Paul Norheim says:

    “I don’t quite assume Israel is right on the
    survival thing. I actually think that risk should
    be encouraged as a way out of a version of the
    prisoners dilemma. It’s not a standard way out, but
    it is a moral way out. But I know better than to
    expect it, and in fact, it would be immoral of me
    to make someone else risk something I’m not sure I
    could manage.”
    Questions, I`m not sure which country you come from
    and where you live, but could you please ask
    someone to translate this and the rest of your
    comment to English?

    Reply

  72. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “As for “lying,” how could you even know if Nadine believes what Nadine writes? To lie is to say quite deliberately as true what one knows to be false. I don’t really know what Nadine knows”
    Fog. Or is it just willfull bullshit? Whatever it is, you excel at it.
    She is a liar.
    We all KNOW that hunger is an issue in Gaza.
    We all KNOW that Palestinians have been deprived of medical care.
    We all KNOW that white phosphorous was used on urban areas in Gaza.
    Are you positing that she’s “learned” her body of knowledge in a vacuum? That for all her bluster and spew, she has done exactly ZERO research on the three items cited above, and has seen exactly ZERO accounts of the truth behind these three FACTS??
    Its bad enough that Nadine spews forth with such blatant dishonesty, but do you really have to follow suit with such a transparently ridiculous defense?

    Reply

  73. Paul Norheim says:

    “What’s in it for the Norwegians to care so much about the Palestinians?”
    Don`t ask me, Nadine. I write as an individual, not on behalf of Norwegian interests.
    And there is nothing “in it” for me as a person either.
    “Paul, could you at least acknowledge the game theorizing of Arabs?”
    Of course. It`s reciprocal. “The Arabs” also make their calculations.
    “Thus all the talk of Israel “colonizing” the West Bank as if it were a separate
    country…”
    Here you assume that colonizing is an act that only takes place if the territory and
    people subjected to colonization are internationally recognized as a sovereign country
    or nation – a “separate country”. However, most of the colonization throughout history
    violated other people`s rights exactly because there were no international treaties or
    laws recognizing or protecting their existence or sovereign rights. Thus no violation,
    according to the colonizers.
    “While Jordan held [the territory], they did not allow any talk about creating an Arab
    Palestine.”
    And according to your way of arguing above, there is no reason for Israel to think
    differently about the issue now then Jordan did then. As you say: “(The Arabs`)
    theorizing is that the “country” of Arab Palestine (…) suddenly sprang into existence
    in 1967.”
    Thus Palestine and the Palestinian people is an invention created out of nothing, a
    fake, some evil intended Arab bullshit… in stark contrast to Zionism, born in Basel in
    1897, and in contrast to the recognized nations of the world? But isn`t that a central
    part of the whole problem, Nadine? Also Norway, even France, Italy and the United States
    were once invented.
    But if you see it that way, systematically stealing people`s homes through settlements
    does not constitute a violation of anybody`s rights. Because these people simply didn`t
    exist until they maliciously invented themselves.
    And their current existence is simply a fata morgana created by the Arabs – right?

    Reply

  74. nadine says:

    “What little I know of Israeli domestic politics (not at all my field) is that there’s an electoral system that feeds on pretty much the same partisan exaggeration and fear mongering that any electoral system needs to feed on. Politicians anywhere quickly learn that demagoguing fear is a wonderful electoral strategy, but maybe not a great governing strategy.
    Israeli politicians have pushed the fear issue pretty hard near as I can tell …incoherent inchoate fear underlies most aspects of the domestic situation in Israel. Nearly everyone does military service in Israel which I think probably damages huge numbers of people at some level….
    In Israel, there have been plenty of suicide attacks, bombs bursting in air, lots of bombastic rhetoric flying as well. What does one make of this situation if one lives in it? Well, look at the post 9/11 USAAMERICA and you’ll have a pretty good mirror image.”
    Questions, before we can have a rational discussion of the facts in Israel/Palestine you must take a little trouble to discover them. If you persist in projecting analogies from the US instead, the discussion will never get anywhere.
    “And as for myths, Nadine, I was under the impression (correct me if I’m wrong) that you underestimate the number of Palestinians originally in the region, the basic founding violence, and you may well overestimate the violence of current Palestinians and overestimate the extent to which the rhetoric would be followed by action. I could be wrong about your views, or I could be wrong in my reading of the situation. Feel free to correct.”
    This is so vague that it’s very hard to respond to it. I am following the accounts of legitimate historians as best I can. Without any specific example, I can’t say more.

    Reply

  75. questions says:

    I don’t quite assume Israel is right on the survival thing. I actually think that risk should be encouraged as a way out of a version of the prisoners dilemma. It’s not a standard way out, but it is a moral way out. But I know better than to expect it, and in fact, it would be immoral of me to make someone else risk something I’m not sure I could manage.
    What little I know of Israeli domestic politics (not at all my field) is that there’s an electoral system that feeds on pretty much the same partisan exaggeration and fear mongering that any electoral system needs to feed on. Politicians anywhere quickly learn that demagoguing fear is a wonderful electoral strategy, but maybe not a great governing strategy.
    Israeli politicians have pushed the fear issue pretty hard near as I can tell and the response from the people is right up there with “Take your government hands out of my Medicare.” That is, incoherent inchoate fear underlies most aspects of the domestic situation in Israel. Nearly everyone does military service in Israel which I think probably damages huge numbers of people at some level.
    If you add all of this together and try to figure out how it is that people figure out how to live, to live well, even, you get what might be a picture of what it is like to be Israeli, not a universal picture, but a slice of life for many people.
    Now, remember, Medicare may have to alter reimbursement rates in response to cost concerns. Some doctors do indeed turn down Medicare patients because the reimbursements can be below cost for some procedures. So there’s a slight grain of truth in and amongst the medical myth.
    In Israel, there have been plenty of suicide attacks, bombs bursting in air, lots of bombastic rhetoric flying as well. What does one make of this situation if one lives in it? Well, look at the post 9/11 USAAMERICA and you’ll have a pretty good mirror image.
    So I don’t think that Israel is entirely a victim of the game in that politicians make use of gaming strategy, but I don’t think the gaming is baseless, and that is why it’s effective.
    So again, the real question has to be how to change the calculus that people make such that a more humane, more moral response is more logical and outweighs the fear-mongering of politicians. I’d suggest that those who wish to think about this issue should first come up with a way to get, say, Glenn Beck’s audience to believe in Obama. How would one even begin such a project? In the same way, how does one alter the Israeli calculus, since there’s just enough chance that suicide and a laying down of arms are one and the same.
    The people with answers to this are likely Israeli citizens, not sideline spectators.
    And as for myths, Nadine, I was under the impression (correct me if I’m wrong) that you underestimate the number of Palestinians originally in the region, the basic founding violence, and you may well overestimate the violence of current Palestinians and overestimate the extent to which the rhetoric would be followed by action. I could be wrong about your views, or I could be wrong in my reading of the situation. Feel free to correct.
    And now I’m going to spend 3 hours curled up with Othello, which is a really really interesting play all about obsession and desire and deceit and self-deceit, and story-telling. Nothing like a little “anthropophagai” to light up the evening. Iago’s line “I am not what I am” is my current favorite Shakespeare line, and Desdemona’s and Emilia’s complicity in murder makes moral complexity shine ever so brightly. We are, none of us, entirely clean. Not even Michael Cassio, who is pretty good and even prays for forgiveness right before he stabs someone (IF he actually does the stabbing) is 100% clean. He does get drunk once. And he has a girlfriend, Bianca, he’s not utterly kind to.

    Reply

  76. nadine says:

    Paul, could you at least acknowledge the game theorizing of Arabs? Their theorizing is that the “country” of Arab Palestine, which never existed before 1967, suddenly sprang into existence in 1967 with all the rights of a country, but none of the responsibilities, since the Arabs refused to negotiate the peace treaty which could have created it. Thus all the talk of Israel “colonizing” the West Bank as if it were a separate country and not merely part of the Mandate of Palestine which had been occupied by Jordan from 1948 to 1967. While Jordan held it, they did not allow any talk about creating an Arab Palestine. They certainly did not allow any Palestinian parties to form or to agitate for Arab Palestine. All this happened post 1967. Post 1967, the Green Line which had been of no regard when Jordan attacked Israel in June 1967, suddenly became a sacred international border.
    I understand why the Arabs play the game this way but I don’t get why you buy into it. What’s in it for the Norwegians to care so much about the Palestinians?
    BTW, since you care so much about them, do you have any comment about King Abdullah of Jordan’s stripping Palestinians of citizenship if they have resided less than 40 years in Jordan? He’s purging the army and regime of Palestinians too. He’s claiming this to prevent Israel from declaring Jordan as Palestine but since there is no move to do this in Israel, and they couldn’t do it anyway, the excuse is pretty transparent. King Abdullah is working to forestall a Palestinian attempt on Jordan.

    Reply

  77. Paul Norheim says:

    “Humanity demands action a la Daniel Levy, game
    theoretic logic, anxiety, survival demand stasis.
    Which do you think wins out every time?”
    (Questions)
    Just to make it clear: I also acknowledge the
    Israeli security fears Nadine refers to above.
    However, Questions assumes that Israel is solely
    about survival. Thus “stasis”.
    Except for the fact that “the peace process” is
    going nowhere, where do you detect any signs of
    “stasis” in Israeli policies from 1967 until
    today?
    I see dynamism, pro-activism, aggression, a
    systematic colonizing policy, several wars of
    choice (Lebanon 2006, Gaza 2008/09), aggressive
    attempts to influence the US to violently
    reorganize the power structure in the Middle East
    (Iraq 2003, Iran) that makes “stasis” a highly
    inappropriate characterization, and goes far
    beyond the existential objective of survival.
    I see a small state constantly and aggressively
    playing high risk games, thus even risking the
    welfare of it`s own citizens in the long term.
    Israel is constantly playing the kind of regional
    – occasionally even global – high risk games that
    politicians like the Georgian leader Saakashvilii
    have attempted just once.
    It`s leaders often remind me more of those
    adventurous, adrenaline-addicted extreme sport
    practicers who willingly put their and other
    peoples lives at risk to feel alive. On a
    geopolitical level.
    That`s the “game theory situation” Israel
    willingly puts itself and it`s neighbors in – and
    has very little to do with stasis and survival in
    existential terms.
    And this is basically what pisses me off, besides
    the human rights abuses and civilian causalities
    in the wake of their “proactive” adrenaline kicks.
    A lot of their actions are unnecessary for
    Israel`s survival and prosperity. It could have
    been better achieved with other means.
    I think you, Questions, realize this, and are
    frequently pissed off as well. But you continue to
    confuse high risk adventurism of a kind that finds
    it parallel in the recent US neocon adventures,
    with a simple quest for survival – thus fail to
    see that Israeli policies essentially has nothing
    to do with “stasis”.

    Reply

  78. nadine says:

    Hey, questions, thanks for a rational response. I let POA and OA rant on. Israel is using sci-fi weapons now? They know this how? Oh, some Hamas guy told some HRW guy, that makes it so.
    You acknowledge that security fears about the Palestinians are not made up from nothing, esp. if you listen to what they say or notice what they do. (POA and OA never do that so they don’t have the problem.) This gives a debate something to start on.
    You’re right, they’ll scream at you too. This should give a clue as to the quality of their argument.
    BTW, what “founding myths” do you think I subscribe to? I have spent most of my time on things that happened during the 20th century, which certainly ought to be (but in the case of I/P rarely are) historical facts.

    Reply

  79. Outraged American says:

    Israel has used much worse than white phosphorus. Probably
    testing out new weapons for us. DIME is one, but there was
    another one, that kept burning the skin until it went down to the
    bone.
    There was supposed to be an investigation on it, IIRC headed by
    the UN and an Israeli human rights/ doctors’ organization.
    Don’t know where that investigation went. Probably buried by
    “our” Israeli Congress in exchange for re-election, gad abouts to
    “The Holy Land” and real whores, ones with more integrity, because
    at least they work for their money, as opposed to the US Knesset,
    whose only purpose is to screw us all.

    Reply

  80. questions says:

    Well, I’ll take the bait, and regret it later….
    Nadine seems, to me, to be more of a strong nationalist than a racist. An anxious Israeli partisan of one or another country. Fairly certain of her own view of things and not very willing to risk changing policy on the off-chance that her view is correct rather than incorrect.
    POA, I really recommend that you read up on game theory situations. The problems that game theory highlights are precisely the kinds of problems we see in the I/P mess. There are structures in place that make the current situation tenable, rational, acceptable and unchangeable. There are behavioral structures that keep people from doing what might actually be more sensible because they cannot guarantee that other parties will behave properly in return. Thus, both sides end up locked in place.
    Game theory doesn’t speak to the inhumanity of the situation, only to the logic. If humanity were to take over the center, though, the security concerns might remain and make it hard to act in the name of humanity.
    Humanity demands action a la Daniel Levy, game theoretic logic, anxiety, survival demand stasis. Which do you think wins out every time?
    There is no trust on either side, no reason to trust, no possibility of trusting until someone somewhere somehow constructs a new framework in which what makes sense for the payout is cooperation rather than defection. For now, defection makes sense and the parties defect.
    (Wiki search “prisoners dilemma” and “coordination games” for more.)
    Nationalism is a familiar emotion. It argues for the preference of one people over another, precisely what USAAMERICA does as well. Nadine is a nationalist who has a preference for Israelis over Palestinians, but would tolerate Palestinians if given a real guarantee of security. A racist would never tolerate the other under any circumstance.
    I don’t generally agree with Nadine’s views, though I can appreciate the sheer anxiety. I don’t really agree with you a whole lot either, though the humanity concerns are indeed central issues. The problem is that cruelty and inhumanity are a lot harder to defeat than you think, and a lot more people benefit from utter nastiness than I would ever want were I to create a world.
    As for “lying,” how could you even know if Nadine believes what Nadine writes? To lie is to say quite deliberately as true what one knows to be false. I don’t really know what Nadine knows. But perhaps you do.
    On the other hand, maybe Nadine is wrong about a lot of things. That I could believe.
    As for “embarrassment” and “blight,” since you often seem to think I’m headed in that direction, I’ll defend Nadine on these charges. Nadine expresses some fairly commonly held beliefs, a set of founding myths that are quite similar to what show up in US history texts about local innocence against global enemies. I didn’t believe it in high school, and I don’t believe it here either. But “blight?” A little strong for my tastes.
    Go fer it…. Attack, scream “obfuscator” since I don’t quite agree with you and I use a fair number of words to do the disagreeing. But then, you asked for it.

    Reply

  81. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Great, Kotz, thanks for your predictable input.
    Nadine, by her own words, has shown herself to be a racist of the worst sort. Further, she routinely formulates lies that are transparent and easily disproven, in order to advance her racist spew. For one to formulate such openly dishonest bullshit, she, in addition to being a racist and a liar, is obviously batshit crazy. Why in God’s name would anyone consistently offer easily discredited crap as credible argument?
    Now YOU on the other hand, to completely disregard and ignore her dishonesty while launching a defense of the racist wretch, display an equally flawed and dishonest manner of offering debate.
    Why don’t you defend her contention that no one is hungry in Gaza, or that no Palestinians are being deprived of medical care? Or, this latest bit of shameless denial, that white phosphorous was not used to great injury and fatal consequences to Palestinian non-combatants. Why? Because YOU KNOW she’s full of shit. Because YOU KNOW she is purposely and willfully LYING.
    I make no apologies for my treatment of Nadine here. She is despicable. She is a blight on this blog, and an embarrasment to Israel and the Jewish people. And your defense of her says volumes about what YOU are all about.
    Perhaps now, questions and Wig-wag will either defend her assertions, or repudiate her for once and for all, as a liar and a racist, and a damaging factor in any debate seeking to cast Israel in a favorable light.

    Reply

  82. kotzabasis says:

    POA
    If you had a modicum of proclivity for introspection you would have seen in the ranting ATROCIOUS language you use against Nadine its parallel: If you ever were involved in war you would have committed the greatest ATROCITIES imaginable against unarmed civilians far outstripping in scale and barbarity even the imaginary atrocities of your bete noire, the Israelis. You would have been hanged as the greatest of American war criminals.
    And in the ‘seriality’ of your posts on the same subject, you reveal both the inferiority of your intellectual status and the guilty conscience of one who cannot seriously contend with one’s opponents. You are always in the perennial state of either redacting or inflating your original statements since you deeply feel you missed your points.

    Reply

  83. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “….where the Israeli are more eager to withdraw than the Palesitnians are to have them gone”
    Lying seems to be the only thing you are capable of.

    Reply

  84. Outraged American says:

    Thanks POA. I’ve covered much more than the Middle East,
    including a lot of domestic issues — the financial crisis being one.
    We actually called the housing bubble before it happened.
    It’s just that if Israel launches WW III, and there are many
    indications that she might, then all the other stuff we’re currently
    concerned about domestically will mean nothing. We’ll all be toast,
    well done toast.
    We’re playing with really big guns now.
    I hold no animus towards anyone, except Australians, and Indian
    men. And dogs. I hate our dogs and wish they’d drive themselves
    back to the pound.

    Reply

  85. nadine says:

    Paul,
    Glad to hear it. Perhaps you understand why the Israelis are reacting badly to a Swedish reporter “innocently” printing stories about Jews killing young people for body parts in the paper, then saying in his defense, “I don’t know if it’s true. The police should check it out.”
    I have no way to psychoanalyze Levy, he is just an old leftist with an old schtick about the injustice of occupation, which has become quite ironic in current circumstances, where the Israeli are more eager to withdraw than the Palesitnians are to have them gone.
    The leaders of Fatah are very well paid as things are, and would get killed by Hamas if the Israelis were to withdraw. Perhaps this is why they selected a hard-line extremist to succeed Abu Mazen, who doesn’t accept Oslo at all. You think? Certainly they do not act like people in distress who are eager to escape an untenable position. No, they act like people who are in no hurry at all.

    Reply

  86. PissedOffAmerican says:

    If OA is instrumental in getting the truth to the people, than I could care less about the jokes I don’t find funny, and I am delighted when she comes up with the occassional one I can laugh at.
    There are some here that seek to belittle her efforts. To do so, because you don’t care for her humor, or because her efforts seem to be concentrated in one arena, is despicable. To see her put in a position where she feels compelled to ask “What are YOU doing?” is extremely disheartening, especially when her question is met with derision and sarcasm.
    Speaking for myself, I am in awe, and have great respect for those such as OA or Kathleen, who actually HAVE done something beyond typing an endless stream of blog comments, such as I am only able to do, due to employment and financial restraints.
    We owe them thanks, not derision and snide comments about their offline efforts.

    Reply

  87. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Lets try this Nadine. Lets just see how the rest of this blog feels about your horseshit.
    Is there ANYONE out there reading this that is willing to come to Nadine’s defense, by joining her in denying that Israel used white phosphorous in Gaza, and claiming that there were no injuries or fatalities from its use?
    Wig-wag? You’re fond of ignoring Nadine’s LIES. Care to join in her in one?
    Questions? How about it, man? Can you obscure Nadine’s latest line of pure unmittigated bullshit?
    Anyone?

    Reply

  88. Outraged American says:

    I’ve covered the new mysterious weapons that Israel used
    against the Palestinians in the attack before last.
    I have interviewed Dr. Mona El Farra, Amjad Shawa, and the
    chief-of-staff at the Al Shifa hospital in Gaza about these new
    weapons. Which are kind of old now because they were used in
    2006. Israel’s new weapons weren’t white phosphorous, but
    something far more sinister.
    I don’t just rattle on, I do. When I was traveling I saw
    tremendous injustice in dozens of countries, so I set out to
    change it.
    I’ve now realized that I can’t do F-all to change the world, so I
    just laugh.
    I’m running out of shoes to throw at McCain’s old house. Gonna
    have to steal some from the neighbors.

    Reply

  89. Paul Norheim says:

    Yes it does.
    Now tell me: is Levy a “self hating” Jew?

    Reply

  90. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “But all they have to do is make claims and the NGOs will repeat them: Israel is using white phosphorus to burn people! Got any pictures of the wounded?”
    You know what, you racist lying ghoul? You are an abomination, a monster of epic proportions. You aren’t doing Jews, or anyone else any favors with your rabid denials of known history. Are there photos of incinerated and horribly wounded Palestinians? YES, and I have posted links to them on numerous occassions AND YOU KNOW IT. There are also widely distributed photos of white phosphorous raining down in URBAN Gaza, which you are also well aware of. You’re a damned liar, Nadine, the WORST the Jewish people have to offer. If the jewish posters here, such as questions or wig-wag had any guts or integrity, they’d tell you to shut the fuck up or go away, as you are DAMAGING to the image of Israel. Lie after lie rolls off your keyboard, and you expect people to take your propagandizing racist spew seriously or without animous. Wise up you ignorant jackass. If you’re going to be a shameless liar, than at least feed us a line of shit that takes more than five seconds to disprove. And NO, you ignorant bigot, I’m NOT going to repost links to photos you ALREADY KNOW exist.
    Why don’t you paddle your ass back to Israel, and feed THEM your bullshit?

    Reply

  91. nadine says:

    Gideon Levy is not one to miss an opportunity to strike his enemies in the Likud, even if it helps Arabs peddle libels against the Jews (& I say “the Jews” and not “Israel” advisedly).
    There is a long history of the Palestinians making ludicrous charges against the Israelis. Arafat & co charged at various times that Israel was poisoning the wells in Gaza, dropping poisoned chocolates from airplanes, shooting youngsters for their organs (it’s not a new charge), and using female strippers on tanks to distract the virtuous youth of Palestine. There was never any evidence presented but then, none was needed. It used to be that only Arab papers reprinted these charges but now I see that Scandinavia has joined the act. The only thread of logic in that Aftonbladet article was, you know how those Jews are! What else could be connection between charges against the IDF in the West Bank and a Jew in New York?
    While we are discussing context, Paul, and I know you are so sensitive about it, does the context of the “blood libel” against the Jews – usually in the form of accusations of the ritual murder of childen – ring any bells with you?

    Reply

  92. Paul Norheim says:

    Gideon Levy has a different take on the organ harvesting story in Haaretz:
    “Swedish article on organ harvesting was cheap and harmful journalism
    By Gideon Levy
    (…)
    The bizarre Swedish report led to a no-less-bizarre Israeli response. Bad and irresponsible journalism crossed paths
    with bad and irresponsible diplomacy. Instead of simply denying the report, Lieberman, true to form, acted like a bully.
    In his fiery response – from his disrespectful mention of the Holocaust to identifying every criticism of Israel as anti-
    Semitism, to his ludicrous demand that the Swedish Foreign Ministry condemn the article – Lieberman caused great
    diplomatic damage to Israel. He even scandalously attacked Norway for marking the 150th birthday of its greatest
    author. However, the article’s damage to the fight against the occupation cannot be ignored.
    Serious journalism’s task is to document, investigate and prove – not to call on others to investigate, as the Swedish
    tabloid did. One may, for example, accuse the Swedish reporter of a crime, writing that he rapes little boys or girls, all
    based on suspicions and rumors, and call on the Swedish police to investigate. That’s what the reporter did with his
    claims of trafficking in Palestinian organs.
    There were cases in which the organs of Palestinians who had been killed were harvested without permission,
    something the Institute of Forensic Medicine has done to others in Israel, for research purposes. But it’s a long way
    from that to suspicion of trafficking in organs based only on the fact that in 1992 a dead Palestinian was found whose
    organs had been removed and his body sewn back up. And 17 years later a few Jews were arrested on suspicion of
    trafficking in human organs. That’s not professional journalism, that’s cheap and harmful journalism.
    The Israeli occupation is ugly enough without the contribution of Nordic fairy tales. Its wrongs are abominable even
    without exaggerations and inventions. We, a small group of Israeli journalists trying to document the occupation,
    always knew that we must not publish an unfounded report. One mistake and the whole journalistic enterprise would
    fall into the hands of official propaganda, which automatically denies all suspicions and is just waiting for a mistake.
    Look what the IDF Spokesman’s Office did to the organization Breaking the Silence, just because it was set up as a
    nonprofit limited company and not a nonprofit organization; as if that were relevant to the quality of the testimony it
    presents.
    Over the years, the IDF has killed thousands of innocent civilians, among them women and children. The Shin Bet
    security service has tortured hundreds of people under interrogation, sometimes to death. Israel prevents food and
    medicine from reaching Gaza. Sick people are extorted by the Shin Bet to become collaborators in return for medical
    treatment. Thousands of homes in the territories have been demolished for nothing. Dozens of people have been killed
    by special units when they could have been arrested instead. Thousands of detainees have sat in jail for months or
    years without trial. Is that not enough to draw a reliable portrait of the occupation? Is that not shocking enough?
    Like the perverse comparison to the Nazis, any exaggeration in describing the occupation’s cruelty will ultimately
    damage the struggle against it. It’s easy to prove that Israel did not traffic in Palestinian organs, as it’s easy to prove
    that Israeli soldiers do not act like Nazis or that Israel is not commiting genocide. That doesn’t mean the occupation is
    not evil, criminal and brutal. The false stories serve Israeli propaganda: Look, we’ve issued a denial, we’ve proved that
    the occupation is not as cruel as they say, and we’ve cast doubt on all other, serious and well-founded testimony.
    (…)
    Now all serious researchers, journalists and human rights groups have to prove the accuracy of their findings. The truth
    is that the occupation is very evil, even if not in the way Aftonbladet presented it.”
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1110401.html

    Reply

  93. Paul Norheim says:

    Here we go again…
    arthurdecco and …, both Canadians, don`t think Outraged`s
    jokes against Canadians are particularly funny. Neither do I. On
    the other hand, many commenters regard some of Nadine`s
    claims as outrageous. While arthur, as well as Carroll, think people
    like POA and I pay to much attention to fanatic bigots like Nadine.
    Fair enough. It`s a matter of different opinions.

    Reply

  94. nadine says:

    If anybody is going hungry in Gaza, it’s because they have fallen foul of Hamas and have been cut off the gravy train. Hamas is getting billions of dollar of aid for only one million people. But all they have to do is make claims and the NGOs will repeat them: Israel is using white phosphorus to burn people! Got any pictures of the wounded? No, but never mind, Israel must have committed a war crime, we know how those Jews are! Israel is shooting Palestinians to harvest their organs! Got any evidence? Well, no, but you know how those Jews are! Israel is starving the children of Gaza, despite the UN aid trucks coming in every day! Got a picture of a starving child? No, but you know how those Jews are!
    So HRW repeats it (did you know HRW has taken to presenting its anti-Israel bona fides to Saudi Arabia, that bastion of human rights, to raise money?) and thus sanitized, the left-wing newspapers all follow.
    Its warfare by other means. Heaven forbid Hamas should ever be held responsible for what happens in Gaza, which it rules.

    Reply

  95. Paul Norheim says:

    “But when some racist lying jackass can get on here and tell us
    that “no one in the Gaza strip is going hungry”, or “no Palestinians
    are being deprived of medical care”, and it elicits LESS
    condemnation than OA’s attempts at humor, something is really
    twisted here.”
    If you revisited the thread where Nadine made this claim, you`ll
    see that this is not correct. People here react much stronger
    against Nadine`s distortions and weird opinions than against
    Outraged`s weird jokes – which is how it should be.

    Reply

  96. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gads. What the hell is this bullshit?
    A sense of humor is highly individual, some people prefer dark humor, some enjoy light humor, bawdy humor, or even slapstick seems to tickle some. And some find ethnic humor funny, such as polish jokes.
    If its not funny to you, don’t laugh. Simple enough, isn’t it? If its offensive to you, then why read it?
    But when some racist lying jackass can get on here and tell us that “no one in the Gaza strip is going hungry”, or “no Palestinians are being deprived of medical care”, and it elicits LESS condemnation than OA’s attempts at humor, something is really twisted here.
    Do I agree with OA’s take on Canadians and Australians? No. But so what? Its her take, not mine. Its not racism, but I suppose you could consider it bigotry of a sort. But somehow I doubt OA is gonna SERIOUSLY advocate dumping white phosphorous on ’em.
    I guess its just inexplicable to me that someone can get on this blog and claim that torture saves lives, without offering specific examples or evidence, and yet the gripe d’jour on this thread is OA’s somewhat disconcerting humor. Or someone like Nadine, who REALLY DOES think its ok to incinerate someone because of their ethnicity or race, does not get the same degree of derision from some here.
    Personally, I’m sick of this “blog monitor” horseshit that some here have assumed for themselves. It rarely ends well, and usually just loads the threads up with useless crap. I mean hey, if ya gotta go after someone, at least do so for a worthy transgression. And a somewhat macabre sense of humor just doesn’t seem to qualify, in my not so humble opinion.

    Reply

  97. Paul Norheim says:

    My simple point is that your efforts to save us from WWIII and
    your network of celebs do not make your sick jokes about
    Canadians and Australians less puerile.

    Reply

  98. Outraged American says:

    I’m having dinner with a TWN poster in the near future. He’ll be
    able to confirm that everything that I’ve typed here is true.
    Why the bitterness, or rather, perhaps, jealousy?
    I just got off the phone with someone intimately involved with
    the Sibel Edmond’s case.
    Have you ever heard the song by NWA, “Straight Out of
    Compton?”
    Well, I came straight out of Calcutta, and then Phoenix. Two
    benighted places at the time that I was growing-up in them.
    I made my life into what it is. I would suggest that you do the
    same. And I don’t mean that in a mean way at all.

    Reply

  99. Paul Norheim says:

    According to them, your`re even more puerile than Jim Carrey.

    Reply

  100. Paul Norheim says:

    Yeah,
    but today I received emails from Harold LLoyd and Charlie
    Chaplin, and both say you`re NOT funny.

    Reply

  101. Outraged American says:

    I used to work with Jimmy Miller, Dennis Miller’s brother and the
    manager at that time of comedians like Jon Stewart, Jim Carrey, Will
    Ferrell, the Wayans brothers, and most of the Saturday Night Live
    cast.
    Jimmy thought that I was hysterical. But I guess you guys can spot
    funny people better than he can.
    BTW: he’s much farther to the left than his brother, in my opinion.
    Which wouldn’t be hard.

    Reply

  102. Paul Norheim says:

    “The Jewish Holocaust was mass murder and I’m not a fan of that.
    Unless it’s Australians on the receiving end.”
    Outraged, nobody is laughing of your juvenile, asinine “jokes”,
    haven`t you noticed?

    Reply

  103. Outraged American says:

    Carroll, was that Israel test article a joke? Because if it wasn’t it
    kind of proves that all of us who won’t bend over for the Israel
    lobby are correct in our views.
    Here’s one about Netanyahu receiving “Auschwitz plans” found
    mysteriously in a Berlin apartment that was being cleaned.
    As someone who has been to Auschwitz, although I didn’t get
    there in a cattle car, I want to see those plans to see how they
    match with what I saw.
    These newly discovered plans reveal that Auschwitz was planned
    to have a gas chamber.
    Sorry, but the “gas chamber” at Auschwitz is the size of my
    living room.
    This is not to deny that the Jews were subjected to horrible
    atrocities at the hands of the Nazis. The Jewish Holocaust was
    mass murder and I’m not a fan of that. Unless it’s Australians on
    the receiving end.
    My point is only that Netanyahu, the craftiest politician out
    there, who’s been beating the war drums for decades, and who
    for whatever reason was forewarned of the London 7/7 attacks
    by “Islamic terrorists.”
    And who used to have a weekly conversation with Larry
    Silverstein, who was renting out the WTC on 9/11, now suddenly
    has a new reason via these “Auschwitz plans” to pontificate on
    how another Jewish Holocaust can never happen again (and I
    agree, which is why I think that a one state solution is the only
    thing that works) so the world needs to attack Iran.
    Whose apartment were these Auschwitz plans found at and how
    did they survive the destruction of Berlin? Maybe they were like
    the miracle hijacker’s passport found unscathed at the WTC after
    9/11?
    Why would the person who had them keep them when they
    could have led to the planner being tried as a war criminal?
    Smell strong waft of the oder of Bull Shiite.
    Israel’s Netanyahu given Holocaust plans in Berlin
    http://tinyurl.com/nxj8vq

    Reply

  104. ... says:

    dan k – you’ve summed it up well, thanks!
    “Israel, you must do such-and-such!”, we say. “But know this: if you fail to do such-and-such, there is nothing we will do in response.”
    usa ”’power”’ circa 2009 and on a continued downhill slide..

    Reply

  105. Carroll says:

    And before the next million bytes contest between the nadines and the ‘others’ begins I am posting this slightly off topic as a public service to TWN commenters who continue to bang their heads against the nadines of the zionist world.
    Because ‘this is’ the core craziness of the zionist.
    Get it? They are truely “crazy” like a cult.
    They operate in an ether of unreality.
    They actually believe this stuff is true.
    They believe unquestioningly because they ‘want’ to believe it.
    You are wasting your precious time trying to interact with this kind of insanity.
    Instead of wasting words on the crazy nadines you should be spending more time on the corrupt politicans who have allowed a cult takeover of US ME policy.
    http://www.onejerusalem.org/2009/08/the-israel-test-in-ten-questio.php
    The Israel Test in Ten Questions
    By George Gilder
    1) What does it mean to pass the Israel Test?
    You must admire and emulate those who surpass you in achievement and excellence rather than envying them and resenting them and trying to tear them down.
    2) This is a moralism applying to everyone. Why do you focus on the Jews?
    Throughout the 20th century, the world’s tiny minority of Jews has led the world in excellence and achievement, whether measured in Nobel Prizes, fundamental inventions, or wealth creation. Thus they arouse the envy and resentment of anti-Semites, who fail what I call their Israel test.
    3) But what does this have to do with Israel as a country?
    Israel now concentrates the genius of the Jews. Of all the nations in the world, Israel ranks first in per capita achievement and excellence, whether measured by technological innovation, venture capital investment, share of GDP produced by high tech companies, scientific papers, or numbers of companies on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Most of that is per capita. But even more impressive, Israel ranks second only to the U.S. in absolute terms in such fields as telecom, microchips, software, biotech, medical instruments, and clean-tech. Anti-Zionism today is just another form of the anti-Semitism of the past, resenting excellence and achievement.
    4) This “achievement” and “excellence” all seems to come down to measures of capitalist wealth. But doesn’t much wealth come at the expense of the poor and the environment? Wasn’t Israel launched as a socialist country attempting to escape the economics of selfishness, greed, and imperialism?
    The golden rule of capitalism is that the good fortune of others is also your own. Israel’s creativity and entrepreneurship has opened opportunities for others around the world, particularly in the United States. For just one of many examples, the world leading American microchip company Intel Corporation has been so deeply dependent on Israeli research and development centers and factories that its products should be stamped Israel Inside.
    Until Israel transcended its socialist beginnings, though, it failed to achieve real wealth and power. It was heavily dependent on help from outside. As a socialist country it might well not have survived.
    Socialism–whether in Russia, Hungary, or Germany–has always been a disaster for Jews. Socialism focuses on gaps rather than on achievements; on equalizing excellence rather than nurturing it. Historically, equalizing excellence has meant beating down and restricting the achievements of Jews.
    5) If Israel is so creative and generous why does it have to exploit and oppress the Arab Palestinians?
    The Arab Palestinians are the greatest single beneficiaries of Israel. Between 1967 and 1991, for example, when Israel inherited the territories after Arabs rejected offers of land for peace after the 1967 war, the West Bank and Gaza were world leaders in economic growth. Their GDP and investment rose by close to 30 percent per year for more than two decades. During this period the territories grew far faster than Israel itself, which was still bogged down in socialism.
    6) But didn’t all these statistical gains come from a brutal process of occupation and settlement, displacing Arabs from their homes and farms?
    During this period from 1967 to 1991, the total number of Israeli settlers was 250 thousand, while new Arab settlers numbered close to 2 million, or at least eight times more. So there was no net displacement at all. Quite the opposite. Israeli investments in infrastructure, electrification, irrigation, healthcare, education and industry attracted the migration of millions of Arabs. Not only did the Arab population nearly triple in 20 years but their per capita incomes also tripled. Their lifespans rose on average from 40 years to 70 years. Their educational levels soared. It was nothing short of a golden age for the Palestinian Arabs.
    7) But isn’t that claim ridiculous? Like saying that the United States provided a golden age for the native American Indians, or that the British empire provided a golden age for the American colonials, or even that bringing slaves to the U.S provided a golden age for African blacks in America?
    That’s changing the subject to very different historic eras and events. But if you insist… Unlike the African blacks, the two million Arab Palestinians settled freely and in general prosperously on the West Bank and in Gaza, as the Israelis improved conditions there. And unlike the Indian tribes indigenous on the American continent who at first suffered displacement and deadly diseases, the Palestinian Arabs under Israeli rule drastically improved their health and wealth. Unlike the U.S. colonials, moreover, if the Arab Palestinians had desired a state, they could have created one peacefully at any time. From 1948 to 1967, for example, the territories were ruled by Jordan and Egypt, but there was no move toward statehood.
    8) Doesn’t the huge growth of the Arab population in the territories portend a day when Jews will be a minority in the area, unable to reconcile majoritarian democracy with a Jewish homeland?
    If the Arabs wish to live in peace with Israel, they can negotiate many different forms of federation and self rule. I agree with historian Benny Morris that the eventual solution should be a federation of the Palestinians with Jordan. It is only Arab unwillingness to accept an Israeli state that makes it essentially impossible to create an Arab Palestinian state.
    9) Isn’t all this argument beside the point when Israel is surrounded by millions of enemies devoted to the destruction of the country, including an Iranian power moving rapidly to acquire nuclear weapons? And how can Israel, which already possesses nuclear weapons, complain when Iran seeks them?
    By publicly declaring an intention to use nuclear weapons against Israel, Iran made itself a nuclear outlaw. Israel and its allies must do what they can to save the country from such an attack. As for the Arab advantage in numbers, in this age military defense is a function more of technological capabilities than of military manpower. Israel is steadily and decisively increasing its military and economic advantage over its adversaries. Time is on the side of Israel. But in the short run the U.S. government confronts an Israel Test. As Israel faces attack, the U.S.–still overwhelmingly the world’s greatest military power–should come to its defense with any aid necessary. The U.S. needs Israel perhaps as much as Israel needs the U.S.
    10) How can you say such a thing? Israel is a tiny nation while the U.S. is a global leviathan. Isn’t it way overreaching to say that the U.S. needs Israel?
    During the 20th century, just a few score Jewish scientists saved the West by leading and manning the Manhattan project that created the atomic bomb. Jewish scientists played a key role in the rise of the computer industry, with all computers based on the essential architecture invented by John von Neumann. In recent years, U.S. technological leadership has been heavily based on Jewish inventions and Israeli designs. Today, while the U.S. suffers from economic turmoil, Israel commands what is perhaps the world’s most creative and promising economy. It is led by Benjamin Netanyahu, the world’s most knowledgeable and experienced warrior against terrorism and most learned economic leader from his early days at the Boston Consulting Group. Israel is vital both to the future of American capitalism and to its defense.”

    Reply

  106. Carroll says:

    Sometimes it helps to follow the big picture….
    http://original.antiwar.com/kessel-klohendler/2009/08/25/israeli-swedish-row-heats-up/
    Israeli-Swedish Row Heats Up
    by Jerrold Kessel and Pierre Klochendler, August 26, 2009
    This Israel vr Sweden row is another example of the trend in the big picture.
    Whether the story is true or not true, the biggest implication is this latest example of Israel wielding the..”Blood Libels of the Jews!..’Anti semitism! of the holocuast!”…weapon against all comers
    is that no one/country cares anymore.
    The zionist have worn out the “anti semite holocaust” club…it’s been used against all criticism for decades and now it’s going, going, gone.
    Whether it’s Mary Robinson, Obama’s Freedom Medal recipient who publically declared she wasn’t intimidated by the ..quote..”bullying elments of the jewish community’s tactics of smearing people”
    or Germany pubically calling Israel’s occupation of Palestine what it is and demanding their withdrawl…the get out of jail free holocaust is near totally maxed out.
    Whether this universal attitude toward Israel produces any real change we will have to wait and see. My guess is it will, but only after the US has once again fucked up any just I-P settlement by being Israel’s lackie.

    Reply

  107. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Ha’aretz: “Peace Now: ‘Natural growth’ – Israel’s trick for West Bank expansion”
    By admin on May 19, 2009 11:02 AM
    5/17/09By Akiva Eldar
    Figures released recently by the Central Bureau of Statistics cast doubt on government officials’ claims of housing shortages for young couples living in West Bank settlements – the central argument Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to present to U.S. President Barack Obama against freezing settlement construction. Figures for 2006-07 reveal that the housing shortage in settlements stems largely from “migration” from Israel proper to communities beyond the Green …
    5/17/09
    By Akiva Eldar
    Figures released recently by the Central Bureau of Statistics cast doubt on government officials’ claims of housing shortages for young couples living in West Bank settlements – the central argument Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to present to U.S. President Barack Obama against freezing settlement construction.
    Figures for 2006-07 reveal that the housing shortage in settlements stems largely from “migration” from Israel proper to communities beyond the Green Line, as well as the addition of new immigrants from abroad.
    The data show that in 2007, natural growth accounted for 63 percent of settlement population growth, whereas internal migration accounted for 37 percent. The previous year, they show an addition of roughly 5,600 residents (which accounted for those who arrived minus those who had left) across West Bank settlements. For every 10 residents leaving settlements that year, 15 others arrived.
    President Shimon Peres told Obama in their meeting earlier this month that “It is unacceptable that children born in Judea and Samaria will not have a place to live. We can’t put them on the roofs.” Similar remarks were made to U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell when he headed the fact-finding commission examining the causes for the outburst of the Second Intifada. In the report he submitted to then-president George W. Bush in 2001, Mitchell rejected Jerusalem’s assertion that Jewish construction in the West Bank was aimed merely at housing natural population growth.
    Instead, the commission largely accepted the Palestinian claim that there is no difference between the creation of new settlements and expanding existing ones, and determined that Israel should cease all building in the settlements, even that intended for what Israeli officials described as “natural growth.”
    That demand was contained in the Road Map, an outgrowth of the Mitchell Report, presented to Israel in 2003. A letter sent from Dov Weisglass, then-prime minister Ariel Sharon’s diplomatic adviser, to Bush that same year includes an explicit commitment to freezing settlement building, particularly in those outside the “settlement blocs” or east of the separation fence.
    U.S. diplomats said their government rejected the argument that Israel must allow every young couple raised in the settlements to find suitable housing in the West Bank.
    The diplomats said they had obtained a copy of a classified Defense Ministry report compiled by IDF Brig. Gen. (Res.) Baruch Spiegel attesting that unauthorized building had occurred at about 75 percent of settlements, and that significant infrastructure projects had been initiated at more than 30 of them – including roads, schools, synagogues, yeshivas and even police stations – on privately-owned Palestinian land.
    At a press conference last week, the chair of the Yesha council of West Bank settlements, Danny Dayan, and council secretary Pinhas Wallerstein said every year a “quiet eviction” was taking place in the West Bank of young couples raised in settlements who were unable to find housing there. They said 1,600 young couples of the 2,100 who marry annually are forced to find accommodations outside of the communities in which they grew up. Dayan and Wallerstein called on Netanyahu to change construction policy to allow such young people to erect homes in close proximity to those of their parents.
    Most legal analysts around the world, including U.S. State Department jurists, view the construction of settlements in the West Bank as a violation of international law relating to war and conquered territories. The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits states from moving their own citizens into conquered land.
    A response from Peace Now to the remarks made by the Yesha council officials, said the “bluff of natural growth is just one of the tricks the government is using to keep it from fulfilling its obligation to freeze settlement building. It is a shame that the president is perpetuating that lie.”
    http://peacenow.org/entries/archive6217
    Instead of confronting Israel over its lies, the Obama Administration perpetuates the lies, merely passing them on to the American public so that it can APPEAR that Israel is making concessions it is not in fact making.

    Reply

  108. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Once again, my “embarrassing” blather has proven to be the exact and prescient analysis of the true situation, Dan. Look back on the thread where your condescending snit took place, and you will be hard pressed to defend your attack with any conviction, or honesty.
    Enough said about that.
    The elephant in the room is the allegations set forth by Sibel Edmonds. The fact that she has been gagged, and that the media won’t touch her story, speaks to the veracity of her assertions and sworn testimony. So, considering her assertions that blackmail is being used to sway the policies of our Washington elite, there is no longer any clear gauge through which we can judge the motivations behind American foreign policy. There is NO nation on Earth that seems to be able to exert the power that Israel does over Middle Eastern policy decisions. Exactly how is this power cultivated, beyond the corrosive and divisive coercion of AIPAC and the various lobbies?

    Reply

  109. Dan Kervick says:

    If the reports are correct, then Israel is getting one version of its desired “natural growth” exemption, something Obama said he wouldn’t allow. But as I mentioned in a recent comment about Israeli ambassador Michael Oren, they have decided to re-label that kind of natural growth as “normal life”:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=111997920&ft=1&f=1022
    I suppose the distinction between the normal life exemption and other forms of natural growth exemption is that the normal life exemption permits the construction of new edifices inside existing colonies, but does not permit the territorial expansion of the colonies – “natural” or otherwise. If this is really the case, then I can accept that there is a legitimate sense in which the new policy can be called a settlement “freeze”.
    Nevertheless, if this is supposed to be some sort of negotiation, then given the Obama administration’s initial bargaining position, the perception created by the article is of the Israelis getting three things in the negotiation – a limited form of natural growth exemption, overflight rights in Arab countries, and a harder line against Iran – in exchange for nothing at all. I hope there is at least some face-saving tidbit for the other side. Otherwise, the administration will look weak, and this perception of weakness will embolden its opponents on all sides.
    Ideally, what the Israelis should be giving in return is some relaxation of their vicious hold on Gaza, and some acquiescence in the necessity of some role for Hamas in any process that has a chance of succses. The Guardian and Haaretz articles seem to be based solely on Israeli and US sources, so maybe there is more to the story than what we are hearing so far.
    As I have said since rumors of a linkage between the peace process and US policy on the Iranian nuclear program were first floated last year, such a linkage is bad policy and a dangerous precedent. Either Iran’s nuclear program is significantly dangerous to the US or it isn’t. If it is significantly dangerous, then the US should be taking a firm line against it, independently of what is happening in Palestine. If it is not significantly dangerous, then sacrificing a chance at a new relationship with a country of over 70 million people in order to pursue a quixotic and unnecessary – and dangerous – hard line toward that country is a foolish use of US influence, and bad policy.
    And the spectacle of the US loaning out its national security policy toward Iran to another much smaller country in the region is humiliating to the United States.
    On the other hand, it was entirely predictable that this is the way things would go following the Iranian election imbroglio. The Iranian government has mainly itself to blame for dealing a few more powerful cards out to the Israeli hand.
    The US is supposedly a great power; it supposedly possesses great power. But Obama and a succession of US presidents have enfeebled and humiliated the US, at least where Israel is concerned, by occasionally making requests of the Israelis that, while sometimes delivered in a laughably firm tone of voice, are never backed up with even a subtle suggestion of any actual negative consequences for failure to accede to the requests.
    “Israel, you must do such-and-such!”, we say. “But know this: if you fail to do such-and-such, there is nothing we will do in response.”
    Not a very impressive display of power.
    Nadine seems to think Israel has given up too much. But WigWag seems to agree implicitly with the public Saudi assessment that Israel has already received enough concessions and shouldn’t be given more at this stage.

    Reply

  110. ... says:

    Israel to freeze settlements in exchange for tougher Iran sanctions
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1110230.html
    He (Netanyahu) reiterated during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street in London, that Israel will not limit construction in East Jerusalem.
    i love this exchange concept where netanyahu is calling the shots while maintaining dual obsessions of expansion in east jerusalem and dictating how the world interacts with iran according to israel doctrine…these folks have a lot of chutzpah! and they’re much more fanatical then i’ve ever given them credit for being… i guess they’re too busy reading for signals in their own dirty mirror..

    Reply

  111. ... says:

    it’s a shame americans (and many other people in the western world for that matter) have been led to believe in politicians or gov’ts ability to do something of value for people in general… they’ve sold their soul to corporations and the almighty dollar while making money the god of the day… this must suit certain moneyed interests perfectly… for a price anything can be bought including bs arrangements made by others for foreign countries with less power or means.. i am sure obama will be working out his arrangements with aipac as wigwag stakes but it’s nothing to feel SMUG about..

    Reply

  112. kotzabasis says:

    WigWag is a downy bird among the pigeon heads of the TWN who were considering prior to the election that Obama would make a principled and strong president. Like all the enthusiastic voters who in a spin of political ignorance elected him as president, the political illuminati of TWN too, from Clemons to Kervick, picked a lemon for president in their orgy of impassionate hate against the Republicans.

    Reply

  113. nadine says:

    “And now, if the Guardian article is to be believed, the settlement freeze will be limited in duration (9-12 months), not include Jerusalem, and exclude 2,400 housing units already under construction.”
    And at that, Obama is getting more from Netanyahu that he got from Saudi Arabia or Egypt, who gave him nothing at all. He asked for a gesture from King Abduallah and got a tirade instead.
    Obama’s grandiose attempts at bringing Mideast peace by his magical presence having failed, he’s falling back on a show of optimism and a pretense of progress, which is why nobody is mentioning the Palestinians too much, Dan.
    If you noticed the actual Palestinians you might just have to notice the results of the recent Fatah conference, which selected the hardliner Mohamed Ghaneim as Abu Mazen’s successor and enshrined the suicide bombers of Al Aqsa Brigades as the official military wing of Fatah. And then you might have to notice Hamas and total rift between Hamas and Fatah.
    No, if you need a show of optimism, much better not to notice the Palestinians at all.

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  114. WigWag says:

    The Guardian article that Dan posted can’t possibly be right. Is this really the deal that Obama cut?
    Here’s what Obama and the rest of his team were saying about settlements just a few short months ago:
    “Now, Israel is going to have to take some difficult steps as well, and I shared with the Prime Minister the fact that under the roadmap and under Annapolis that there’s a clear understanding that we have to make progress on settlements. Settlements have to be stopped in order for us to move forward.” (President Barack Obama, May 18, 2009)
    “Israel, must work toward a two-state solution, not build settlements, dismantle outposts and allow Palestinians access to freedom of movement.” (Vice President Joseph Biden, May 5, 2009)
    “Israel, too, must take hard steps toward the path to peace,” It must facilitate greater freedom of movement for Palestinians and a commit to a settlement freeze.” (Chairman, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry, May 5, 2009)
    “He wants to see a stop to settlements;- not some settlements, not outposts, not ‘natural growth’ exceptions… We think it is in the best interests of the peace process that settlement expansion cease…That is our position. That is what we have communicated very clearly. … And we intend to press that point.” (Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, May 27, 2009)
    “I think we’ve been very clear with regard to settlements. They need to stop, and that includes natural growth. I don’t have anything more to add to that. The Israelis are well aware of our position. And we’ll obviously continue to have talks with the Israelis on this subject and other issues, but our policy remains the same.” (Robert Wood, Official State Department Spokesperson, July 22, 2009)
    “The U.S. has made clear to Israel that it views construction in East Jerusalem with the same opposition that it has for settlement activity in the West Bank… This is not a new issue, those issues came up a number of times… We’ve made our views known to Israel. This kind of construction is the type of issue that should be subject to permanent-status negotiations…We are concerned that unilateral actions taken by the Israelis or the Palestinians cannot prejudge the outcome of these negotiations.” (P.J. Crowley, Official State Department Spokesperson, July 22, 2009).
    And now, if the Guardian article is to be believed, the settlement freeze will be limited in duration (9-12 months), not include Jerusalem, and exclude 2,400 housing units already under construction.
    In return according to the Guardian, Israel gets confidence building gestures (such as over flight rights and trade missions from a few Arab nations.)
    Of course they get their most ardent desire from the United States and the Europeans, dramatically enhanced pressure on Iran.
    If the story is right, the extent to which Obama caved in is extraordinary. Of course he will claim a great victory because of the restarting of peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, but this claim is laughable. Negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians took place almost continuously during the last two years of the Bush Presidency. Olmert and Abbas were in constant contact for all of that time; claiming that restarting peace talks is as a great step forward will just make Obama look stupid.
    I’m particularly amused by Obama’s time frame for a conclusion to the talks to be reached. He calls for an agreement within two years. Anyone who believes that this time-frame might be realistic is a fool. Two years from now the United States will just be gearing up for another presidential election. I can’t wait to watch Obama pressure Israel for concessions just during the time he’s starting his reelection bid. Yeah, that should go over big in Florida and with all those major donors whose money he is going to need to collect if he wants to win.
    My guess is that in two years instead of pressuring Israel for concessions, Obama will be appearing in front of the AIPAC convention bragging about how he supports a unified Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty; always has, always will.
    Perhaps the Guardian article is wrong. But if it’s right, Obama’s even more feckless than I thought.
    You Obama supporters out there have nobody to blame but yourselves.
    His team seems to be negotiating with the Israelis with all the alacrity and forcefulness with which he’s negotiating with the health insurance companies.
    Is this guy a loser or what?

    Reply

  115. JohnH says:

    The ME negotiations will be kind of like a Harlem Globetrotters game, where they get to pick the opponent, who must always lose. In the case of the Globetrotters, at least the losers get something in return for their efforts…

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  116. Dan Kervick says:

    Well, here is the uninspiring preliminary lowdown on the preliminaries for negotiations on the framework for negotiations:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/aug/25/barack-obama-middle-east-peace
    This Guardian report reflects a rather strange perspective on the whole conflict. It turns out that the Middle East contains some Arab states like Bahrain, Qater, Saudi Arabia and the UAE; and it contains the state of Iran; and the State of Israel.
    But apparently the region contains none of those legendary people sometimes known as “Palestinians”. At least none who appear to be any significant part of the talks going on. Or did I miss the part about what the Palestinians in the piece?
    It turns out there is some guy named “Mahmoud Abbas”. Given his singular importance in the story as the sole index of Palestinian existence, I gather he is the Supreme Emperor and Pope of Palestine.
    The words “Hamas” and “Gaza” do not appear in the story. I guess the conflict has zero to do with those entities. Maybe they are imaginary.
    Perhaps we should just change the name of the conflict to the “Israeli-Israeli” conflict. They are the only party to the conflict that appears to count.

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  117. JohnH says:

    More humor. Obama plans to eliminate health insurance industry death panels–oh my god!–and replace them with government ones. And he is planning to ambush Israel at the opening of the UN General Assembly!
    http://www.onejerusalem.org/2009/08/red-alert-red-alert.php
    Oops–those stories were supposed to be believable.
    It’s getting piled higher and deeper. And those PR activities probably even get counted in the GNP figures. So the economy must be growing…

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  118. JohnH says:

    Mysteries, mysteries, mysteries: Iraqis never greeted us with roses. The US harbors a terrorist named Posada Carriles. Liberia convicts a torturer while the US is conducting torture. And Honduras never named a town after Oliver North, even though he did his best to contribute to economic development by smuggling drugs…
    http://www.narconews.com/Issue59/article3777.html
    And now the most ironic development of all–the drug flow to the US may be inconvenienced by campesino resistance in Honduras! Time to send in the Honduran military!

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  119. samuelburke says:

    i was prompted to bring up granma.cu the cuban paper to verify whether the harrinton story was real or another of his bulldoodoo stories …i dont get his satire….whats the point?
    but whatever, while obama and the young americans seem ready willing and able to take on the dreaded cuban lobby (not), if they take on the cuban cia guys…who knows what stone will be turned over if that crowd feels betrayed by their heroes over at central intelligence (or lack thereoff).
    i wonder what stories those guys ( cuban cia ops) will disseminate about what the cia had them do over the years, if they feel betrayed by a witchhunt against posada.

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  120. mark spoo says:

    Vineyard, smart car it all reminds me of the film “A Good Year” (2006). If only you are lucky enough to have the assistant — Gemma!

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  121. Carroll says:

    Posted by JohnH, Aug 25 2009, 11:08AM >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I think that story is another one of Harrington’s satires….unfortunately.

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  122. samuelburke says:

    An election held under the guns of a foreign occupation army cannot be called legitimate or democratic. That’s a basic tenet of international law.
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/margolis/margolis161.html
    Nevertheless, the US and its NATO allies have been lauding last week’s faux presidential elections in Afghanistan as both a sign of growing support for Hamid Karzai’s Western-backed government and the birth of democracy in Afghanistan
    the washingtonnote has led the way in standing up for the rights of the afghani citizens who feel betrayed by the faux elections.
    thanks washington note…your stance on democratic elections around the world have become world renowned.
    this buds for you.

    Reply

  123. JohnH says:

    Here’s another good way to kick off a round of discussions with Cuba–extradite Luis Posada Carriles, the terrorist that the US has been harboring for years.
    And guess what? It appears to be happening!
    http://original.antiwar.com/thomas-harrington/2009/08/24/lockerbie-outrage-moves-obama/

    Reply

  124. MNPundit says:

    The rollout seems dead. Have you read the report of Netanyahu’s telling Obama to go Cheney himself on peace?
    “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to tell the special U.S. Mideast envoy on Monday that Israel will not accept any limitations on its sovereignty over Jerusalem, and will allow settlers to continue to live in the West Bank,” the paper [Ha’aretz] reports.
    As I said there, it’s time to stop selling Israel war gear. If they take their ball and go home can we.

    Reply

  125. samuelburke says:

    and lets not forget …we are hearing from sources close to the president that his office is ready to investigate the afghanistan elections for possible irregularities and maybe outright fraud.
    http://antiwar.com/radio/2009/08/21/gareth-porter-63/
    after the fraudulent iranian elections now we have to deal with afghanistan.
    the world is a twitter.

    Reply

  126. Dan Kervick says:

    “We expect that somewhere about the 3rd week of September through the beginning of October, President Obama will put stakes in the ground on what he is going to do to take a two states negotiations process forward.”
    Anything more specific on what their plan is?

    Reply

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