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Total number of comments: 43 (since 2014-03-04 13:25:41)

Boomer Bob

Showing comments 43 - 1

  • The Death of Palestine: Israeli Ambition and Palestinian Weakness
    • An excellent, albeit depressing analysis. For me, the most depressing aspect of the situation is that the United States supports and enables the oppressor.

  • Russia denounces Obama Plan for Syria Air Strikes as Violation of Int'l Law
    • Regarding Kerry's comments about Ukraine, it seems that one could say much the same about U.S. policy. We seem to operate on the assumption that it is fine for us to meddle in other countries, but objectionable when others do so, regardless of the history and facts of the case.

  • Obama's ISIL Actions are Defensive, Despite Rhetoric of going on Offense
  • History and Betrayal: UNSCOP and Palestine, 1947
  • "Let my People Fish": After the war, Israeli Blockade leaves Gaza Civilians Protein Poor
    • And brave U.S. politicians continue to support Israel with words, weapons, lots of money, and the threat of the veto at the Security Council.

  • Open-Ended Ceasefire reached in Israel/ Gaza: But how Long will it Last?
    • Great crimes have been committed against the Palestinians, crimes enabled by the U.S. I have heard noting from Obama or his administration except support for the perpetrators whom we continue to enable.

  • Obama's budding Cambodia Policy in Syria
    • This morning BBC's history feature "Witness" discussed the story of the Kurds in the 1970s, when the U.S. and Israel provided them assistance through the Shah, until Saddam and the Shah reached an agreement that ended their dispute and the flow of assistance to the Kurds. We don't hear much in the U.S. media about the long history of meddling in that region. It no doubt seemed tempting at the time. Perhaps it is sometimes even a good thing.

  • Is Zionism/ Jewish Nationalism a Political Cult? The Salaita Firing
    • A disturbing case, which, as you point out, is not unique. It takes bravery on your part to say these things. Thanks for saying them.

  • Gaza: Israel has Left 1.7 mn. with no Clean Water, Little Electricity
  • CIA Chief Shocking Admission: We spied on Senate staffers
  • Wiping another Country off the Map: Israel does it to Palestine
    • I had much the same question. After all, it isn't just an apartheid regime, but one largely based on taking land from the former inhabitants, expelling some of them, and oppressing those who remain. Perhaps the answer lies in perspective. From the perspective of Israel, it is hateful for these truths to be spoken. From the perspective of an objective observer, they are merely truthful statements. Being perceived as "hateful" by the perpetrator doesn't mean it is "hate speech." And Professor Cole didn't say that it is.

    • When one looks at the four historical maps, sometimes reported here, that show the growth of Jewish areas and the reduction of Palestinian areas in what is now Israel+occupied territories (including Gaza), it is obvious who has been engaged in wiping someone off the map (with help from the U.S.). I'm often amazed by the extreme rhetoric, and the extreme reversal employed by Zionists. I recall Sharon ridiculing Palestinians who wanted to return to their homes before they died, "like salmon swimming upstream." This from the leader of a nation that says its fundamental basis is the right of people who never lived there to "return." The Zionists accuse their critics of being racist, this from a group based on race (or religion . . . the terms vary depending on what is convenient for the argument). To the extent that it is not consciously done, I suppose this is "projection." But I have to think it is mostly a consciously used technique . . . like "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" using lies to attack Kerry's bravery, when their own candidate "served" during the Vietnam war by partying and working in his daddy's campaign.

  • UN Official Breaks Down on Camera; another says: "Children Killed in their Sleep - a Source of Universal Shame"
    • In contrast, from U.S. officials, only words of support and more weapons for Israel,

      "The muted reaction to Gaza by our government and our elected representatives is partly a response to the money wielded by donor groups controlled by the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which has become the National Rifle Association of American foreign policy.

      All this reveals a country that has lost the sense of conscience and purpose that were once the bedrocks of the world’s greatest democracy. Unless we find a way to recover our intellectual center of gravity, we will continue to watch US-made bombs burst over Gaza and elsewhere with a shoulder shrug and an Alfred E. Neumann “what me worry” attitude as our great republic crumbles around us."

      from: link to


  • What is Congress Suing Obama about? Drones? Surveillance? Unauthorized War? Guess!
  • Washington Condemns Israeli Shelling of UN School w/out Mentioning Israel
    • If we mentioned Israel, it might raise the question of why we are sending more weapons there.

  • Israel Bombs Gaza back to Stone Age: Razes only Power Plant & Plunges Strip into Darkness
    • Thank you for this report. It is disturbing, but good to know what my country is enabling. We are complicit. Obama could at least end our complicity, if not the killing. Without your report, I would know so much less. The U.S. media I mostly depend on didn't say much about it when I was watching or listening. For example, yesterday (i.e., Tuesday), on PRI's "The World" on NPR, Marco Werman opened the program by saying something to the effect that "the news from Gaza was more of the same, so we won't talk about it." (That's a paraphrase from memory, but gives the gist.) On NBC I saw a few pictures, but (while I was watching) not much detail or context. No doubt there were more informative reports on some programs, but I'm sure nothing like the attention given to Ukraine. My TiVo yesterday, in the "popular on the web" suggested a news program about Gaza, but when I tried to view it, I was told that it was from Al Jazeera and "not available in my location." So thanks again for what you do. I only wish more Americans knew more about what is happening.

  • Gaza: Palestinians "Philosophical," Israel "foils Foreign Infiltration" during 1957 Occupation (British "Report")
    • A reminder of the colonial, imperialist, racist attitudes that were so common then, that have caused so much suffering, and that continue to do so.

  • Unlike Iraq, Iran, Libya, N. Korea, Israel has Impunity from Defying UNSC (Gaza Ceasefire)
    • So true, and so sad. As I see the news from Gaza, I feel the same shock and dismay that I felt when we attacked Iraq. In this case, it isn't the U.S. Army and Air Force, but we provide the weapons and the impunity. Morally, we are complicit. Now, as then I feel helpless, impotent, and deeply saddened. Only Mr. Obama has the power to change this tragic dynamic, yet he does not. I wonder, Is he a coward, or a sociopath? His behavior and his character remain mysterious for me.

  • Israel's Gaza Campaign Endangers US Security: Why Obama & Kerry are Furious
    • Re: "virtually the entire population of Egypt wants to see the Israeli attacks on Gaza stop. To have high US officials defend it is distasteful to them." To that I would add that many Americans feel the same way. And to your list of reasons, I would add moral outrage, human compassion, and justice. As an American, it is distressing to know that my elected leaders have for so long enabled, defended, and financed the oppression of the Palestinian people.

  • Can People of Muslim Heritage defeat the Radical Fundamentalists?
    • Can decent people in America defeat the neocon warmongers, the military-industrial-congressional complex, the bankers and corporations that rule them?

  • Night of Destiny in Palestine: A Third Uprising?
    • Thank you for this informative report on important developments. So far this morning I have checked several of the major U.S. news sources, but didn't find a clear discussion of what happened. Without your contribution, I would still be confused and uninformed about this subject, as will likely be the case for many Americans.

  • Gaza War Devastates Israeli Tourism Revenue, Points to Fragile Apartheid Future
    • Another thing this episode in the Gaza conflict reveals (not a "war" so much as it is "shooting civilians in a barrel," -- to coin a phrase) is how easy it would be for the U.S. to stop the killing. Obama has many levers to use, if he had the will. Instead, we continue to enable this horror, as we have done for decades. We hear a lot of complaints from our government about Russia's guilt, because it provided the weapon that downed the airliner over Ukraine. But we are guilty of far more deaths, and for the ongoing dispossession and oppression of the the Palestinian people. (To say nothing of what has happened, and continues to unfold, in Iraq and elsewhere. For that matter, our hands are hardly clean even in Ukraine.)

  • Quashing Jewish Dissent on Israel
    • Excellent, albeit sad, review of the situation. I learned a lot from it, but the general picture has been clear even for outsiders. (I had no idea of Aristide's background: the American media reports that I saw were not very informative, even about what happened to him, much less why.) The current over-the-top attack on Dwight Howard for saying "Free Palestine" shows that some things have not changed. link to

  • The Map: A Palestinian Nation Thwarted & Speaking Truth to Power
    • The map is powerful. I recall the first time that I saw it was when Harpers published it, which I believe was right around 9/11. (I don't recall whether just before or just after.) For me--and I suspect for some other Americans--much of its impact arises from the way it concisely, yet accurately, presents important information that has been ignored by the U.S. government and our big corporate media for most of the past 66 years.

      Perhaps things are changing, perhaps not. To me, the map is now a commonplace; its impact somewhat reduced by familiarity. From that standpoint it seems odd that it should elicit controversy. But from another standpoint, the reason for controversy is all too clear. Thanks for presenting it and the related background.

      I also greatly appreciated the post elsewhere on your site of the film and commentary from 1896. Previously, my clearest vision of 19th century Palestine was that provided by Mark Twain from his travels there, which I read as a youth. He observes that Mary, Mother of Jesus, would naturally have resembled the other brown-skinned residents of the region. It may have been a scandalous observation then. Evidently, for some people, there remains some potential for scandal when discussing the demographic history of the region.

  • Israel's Groundhog Day: Reverse Snowballs and the Horror of Lawn-Mowing
    • Thanks for this informative review. I don't know what the future holds, but the present is depressing. Earlier this week NBC Nightly News showed a woman in Gaza who lost her unborn child when Israel destroyed her home. It was a rare example of U.S. networks showing the reality of life there. It was hard to watch, especially knowing that my tax dollars and my elected leaders support the oppression of the Palestinians. Last night PRI's The World included an interview with an employee of Oxfam who lives in Gaza. She indicated that most of the tunnels have been destroyed, and food is limited to what they can grow and what Israel allows in. Evidently supplies are low. I suppose medicine and other supplies are controlled by Israel too. Clearly the need is great. I feel powerless to help. It is good that you at least speak out.

  • Americans need to Answer: When Will Palestinians get their Fourth of July?
    • "Americans don’t have a responsibility to liberate everyone in the world. But they do have a responsibility not to help Israel deprive Palestinians of their inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Amen to that. And, I would add, having supported and enabled the dispossession and oppression of the Palestinians for the past 66 years, we Americans have a moral responsibility to make amends as best we can. Having taken their homeland from them, we could at least offer them a new one here by giving those who want it citizenship and financial help to make a new start. For the others, financial reparations, and an apology.

  • Hyenas vs. Rhinos: Who could the NYT get to write an Op-ed on Iraq? Hmm...
    • Your comment about Keller reminds me of a long, pointless op-ed piece he wrote after it was obvious that the NYT was guilty of repeated serious errors on Iraq. By that time, I had already lost respect for the man, but that judgment was confirmed by his own words. I quote from memory, but what has stuck in my mind was a phrase along these lines: "putting aside those critics who were against the war from the start." Keller obviously wasn't concerned about them. They didn't deserve credit for being right, nor consideration. They were not (to use Paul Krugman's phrase) Very Serious Persons, whose opinions mattered. Keller seemingly was only concerned with criticism from those who supported the war initially. It seemed a bizarre, contorted, column that reflected a bizarre, contorted world view.

  • How WW I, British Greed, and Oil Distorted Modern Iran
  • Religion and the Fight over Public Space in Egypt
    • So sad . . . so much hope, gone. So many lives, lost. Back to the status quo ante.

  • Afghanistan and the Artificial US War on Terror (Anand Gopal's New Book)
    • Sadly, this has the ring of truth. Wisdom comes too late to avert the tragedy of the past decade (though I recall there were voices, even at the time, who urged a different strategy). Perhaps at least our leaders will be wiser in the future.

  • Who are Iraq's Sunni Arabs and What did we Do to them?
    • PS: another bit of history, from today's WaPo:

      "When the party of Maliki’s rival, Ayad Allawi, won slightly more seats in parliament than Maliki’s in the 2010 elections, the U.S. Embassy backed Maliki’s bid for the premiership over Allawi’s because they feared a transition of power could destabilize the country."

    • Thanks for this review. I found the section dealing with the U.S. role particularly relevant. How quickly we forget. Of course, if we depend on U.S. news media, we are never reminded of many aspects of that role . . . if we are ever told at all.

  • 7 Myths about the Radical Sunni Advance in Iraq
    • As you note: " In fact, this has been the obvious course since 2001, when president Mohammad Khatami of Iran staged pro-US candle light vigils throughout Iran after 9/11. Instead, Neocons like David Frum maneuvered the Bush administration into declaring Iran part of an imaginary Axis of Evil on behalf of right-wing Israeli interests."

      How sad, how tragic the outcome for us and--far more--for Iraqis.

  • Enter the Ayatollah: Sistani calls on Iraqis to enlist in Fight against "Terrorists"
    • Thanks for this background information. I have seen several reports from major news sources in the US, and all of them omitted significant points you make, or were simply wrong. So much of what we read and hear is superficial or distorted.

  • The Second Iran-Iraq War and the American Switch
  • The Fall of Mosul and the False Promises of Modern History
    • Thanks for this interesting and relevant analysis. Most of us don't know enough about history to realize how it still affects us. There are so many interconnected threads here. The fabric of history is dense. I wonder how many of our "leaders" know, or care, about such matters.

  • Curious about the biggest trade deal in history? Sorry, it’s classified
    • This is a disturbing report. (By the way, the new website format sometimes leaves me confused about who wrote a given item. On my screen, I see "By Juan Cole," but the dateline is Bangkok. Of course, those are not necessarily inconsistent. But as I said, I'm sometimes confused about the author.)

  • Netanyahu's Blood and Soil: The Racist-Nationalism of his "Jewish State" Ideal
    • Re: "Netanyahu isn’t speaking in religious terms here. He is talking about a national grouping, i.e. a racial one, having a special connection to the soil. In other words, he is hearkening back to Ernst Moritz Arndt’s (d. 1860) notion of “blood and soil.” It is an extremely pernicious form of nationalism, from which Jews suffered horribly."

      This reminds me of reading a book, years ago, that discussed the influence of 19th century European (mainly German) ideas about race and nationalism on 19th century Zionist thought. It was chilling, with the benefit of hindsight, so see how the same ideas were subsequently used and abused.

  • Israel okayed nearly 14,000 squatter homes on Palestinian land during talks with Palestinians
    • Prof. Cole: Thanks for being one of the best sources available to Americans concerned about this. There are rare exceptions: Yesterday I saw a good report on BBC World News America, carried by the local PBS station. I don't recall seeing anything like it on ABC, CBS or NBC. Presumably, they could if they wanted. Evidently they don't want to show the reality. The disparity in world view or narrative is breathtaking. A settler complains that for 20 years Israel has "given and given."
      link to

  • Pictures Don't Lie: Refuting #there_was _ no _ Palestine
    • Fascinating. I have often read variations of the assertions, "there was no Palestine" or "there was no Palestinian people." It is a strange notion; it is hard to understand the mentality of the person who says such things.

  • US sent CIA Director as Ambassador to Tehran after CIA overthrew Iran's Democratic gov't (US now Complaining about Hostage-Taker Amb.)
    • Thanks for this history lesson. It would be wonderful if more Americans were aware of it.

  • US Hypocrisy on Crimean secession move: Washington Supported Break-up of Sudan, Yugoslavia, Iraq
    • Sad but true. Sad, but good that you say it, since so few will, based on the news reports I've seen and heard.

  • What today's GOP gets Wrong about Leadership: Obama & Eisenhower, Russian & Israeli Recklessness
    • Prof. Cole, thanks for another excellent commentary. You do a great service. I share your esteem for President Eisenhower. Being human, he made a few mistakes that are visible with the benefit of hindsight, but he was truly a great man and a great leader. My only comment about your analysis would be to suggest that Russia's actions today in the Crimea seem far more defensible than Israel's with respect to the Palestinians. I would not equate them. It is a shame that the U.S. has--as you have often eloquently pointed out--enabled the dispossession and oppression of the Palestinians. The U.S. applies different standards when judging our own actions and those of others.

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