Recent Comments

  • Unlike Iraq, Iran, Libya, N. Korea, Israel has Impunity from Defying UNSC (Gaza Ceasefire) (20)
    • This gets to how LITTLE Obama has to do: namely let Israel be accountable for its actions. It'd be far less than any active measures. What if Samantha and her potential deputees somehow, accidently, just missed a key vote? Because even this incredibly low bar to US independent action would be next to impossible (and yet, the most realistic and positive scenario I've heard.

    • It only takes 34 votes in the Senate to stop Impeachment (what the house does is actually pretty meaningless under Constitution - it is essentially a grand jury request to try the suspect).

    • I don't think most Israelis are any more interested in committing suicide than any other humans and non-Israeli Jews are definitely not suicidal, although if a group of extremely insane Israelis actually did try the Samson Option, EVERY Jewish human left alive would probably pay a heavy price leading to the end of the Jewish culture..

      Threatening to nuke a substantial part humanity is definitely a sign of insanity and the rest of the world should ensure that Israel is completely disarmed.

      It would not require military power, but basic economic weapons because Israel is not self sufficient in either energy nor food. I suspect that if the sane Israelis started going hungry, the weapons would be turned over fairly quickly, just like Syria decided to turn over their chemical weapons.

      Other than a miniscule number of humans, all humans want to live as long as possible, even when their dreams die..

    • Let's see, Israel has one of the best air forces in the world, warships, well armed and well trained ground forces, and the usual superb collection modern communications and warfare electronics. And the threat from the other side is tunnels.

      So Gaza gives up it's formidable tunnels, which have obviously been around long before the latest fighting, yet have not facilitated an MSM level attack on Israel. Then what does Israel give up? Not even the right to do it all over again. Hamas dare not grab a shovel, but Israel will repair its damaged equipment, replace it's lost equipment, and probably shop the US for newer and better stuff.. .

  • Israel's Gaza Campaign Endangers US Security: Why Obama & Kerry are Furious (34)
    • I feel the same way Bob. Even more mortifying is reading the post on The Times of Israel and seeing how Christian Zionist scream Go Israel. I am deeply ashamed of these people.

  • Abushagur reported kidnapped (1)
    • I have known him for a long time a very good person and great scientist got good news he has been released

  • Unlike Iraq, Iran, Libya, N. Korea, Israel has Impunity from Defying UNSC (Gaza Ceasefire) (20)
    • "The truth is that Mr. Obama could end the madness fairly easily. He could just abstain when the UNSC votes sanctions on Israel for its violations of international law."
      So what is he afraid of? impeachment? assassination?

  • Gaza: Why a 'Cease-Fire' is Not enough (39)
  • Gaza: Palestinians "Philosophical," Israel "foils Foreign Infiltration" during 1957 Occupation (British "Report") (4)
  • Unlike Iraq, Iran, Libya, N. Korea, Israel has Impunity from Defying UNSC (Gaza Ceasefire) (20)
    • It may not be so simple.
      In his 1991 book “The Samson Option, Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy”, Seymour M. Hersh suggests that the State of Israel, if it feels too threatened, may detonate its atomic bombs to kill its enemies and itself as the biblical Sampson did.
      Judging by Israel’s ongoing military ferocity, the global moral condemnation and the suggested USA abandonment,, Hersh’s admonition seems to be more significant now, 23 years later.
      One of the greatest travesties of the American MSM journalist is that they have withheld from the American public the crucial knowledge that Israel has an arsenal of atomic weapons. Worse yet, MSM journalists, together with the USA government, propagandize Israel as vulnerable.
      Things would be very different if the American public knew about Israeli atomic power.
      Before it is too late, for the sake of Israel and the survival of the rest of the world, we need a decent, open MSM. We ought not die due to having kept our heads in the sand.

    • Hard to understand Obama indeed. Supposed to be smart and balanced, & doesn't face reelection. Cannot resist the lobbies ? Really disappointing legacy, if not cowardly.

    • Nice idea but hard to implement. I hardly could reply with a US BDS.

    • This is yet another reason why it is vital that we in the U.S. work to enact meaningful reforms of campaign finance laws and lobbying regulations. We will not have a system that crafts good policies until we make those reforms.

  • Gaza: Palestinians "Philosophical," Israel "foils Foreign Infiltration" during 1957 Occupation (British "Report") (4)
    • Quite shocking - the whole attitude and the unmistakable tones of Bob Danvers-Walker doing the voiceover (he was the voice on much British newsreel footage in WW2). At least, over here in the UK, clips like these are now likely to be used as educational case studies on colonialism.

  • Gaza: Why a 'Cease-Fire' is Not enough (39)
    • Christina,

      ... there is one theme in your post, you reiterate several times, which is wrong ... that I must respond to. In your post you proclaim with the highest certainty, that Israeli (disclosure - myself among them), are raised from birth to see the Arabs as primitive, Jews-hating, which their lives are disposable. I would not know were to start to refute this so preposterous and ridiculous claim, but I will try.

      1. When in high school, for the final exams in history and literature, all students learn that in the 10th-14th centuries while Europe was deep into the dark ages, with European Jews suffering from Church-based provocative antisemitic feeling, the Jews in the Arab/Muslim region (from Spain to (today) Iraq) enjoyed from "Golden decades", The "Rambam", the poets of spains, and more. - No teaching to hate Arabs here !

      2. Every school has the opportunity to select several ex-curriculum programs - such as recycling, enhanced science and more. One of the popular (which my kid's school had selected) was to visit neighboring school from Tira - mostly Muslim-Arab village and engage with confident building activities.

      3. I can go on and on about how in the state (Federal) level programs and actions are made to enhance relationship between Jews and Arabs. But I fear your mind is so set, I will probably could not budge you from your position.

  • Unlike Iraq, Iran, Libya, N. Korea, Israel has Impunity from Defying UNSC (Gaza Ceasefire) (20)
    • UN can do the tunnel bit. Israel uses enough excuses, including ignoring a lot of the 2009 accords/

    • Sir,
      Yesterday you posted "Why Obama & Kerry are Furious".
      I thought it a bit optimistic.
      Now you say: "One major exception to UNSC authority is Israel, which routinely thumbs its nose at the world body while suffering no sanctions or other punishment."
      Seems to me more realistic.

      To me it is beyond understanding that what today is happening in the Gaza Strip is allowed to happen by the world statesmanship.
      So, I do not buy any guess which optimistically supposes a "solution" which constrains the Israeli strangulation of the Gaza Strip to what can be called a bearable nightmare.

  • Gaza: Palestinians "Philosophical," Israel "foils Foreign Infiltration" during 1957 Occupation (British "Report") (4)
    • Interesting that Eisenhower did the right thing about the invasion - but sadly his administration had already orchestrated the overthrow of the Mosaddegh government in Iran, setting in motion a whole chain of ugly consequences for the Middle East.

  • Weapons paid for by US are Missing in Afghanistan: Did they go to the Taliban? (3)
    • One of the "you might likes" in this post is titled "Obama plans for complete US Withdrawal from Afghanistan in December." Announced to ruffles and flourishes and the sounds of trumpets and cymbals and tambours back on Feb. 26, 2014. Something else appears to have gone missing, maybe? And it does not take a certifiable conspiracy theorist to Google up all the manifold episodes of "ACTUAL internal threat to ACTUAL Ordinary People Level "NATIONAL SECURITY" resulting from so many and varied instances of Really Smart Sneaky Petery, either on their little old own and for their own purposes and account, aided and abetted by theft and fraud by "our" military and its "partners." Iran-CONTRA and the many little ethical squiggles related thereto sort of leap to mind, not to mention ground wars in Asia and now Eastern Europe That We Want To Encircle Putin With.

      Fog of war, right? And since "we" are stuck to a permanent petroleum-product Tarbaby of "our" own construction, the fog of permanent war into which all this real wealth disappears is forever, until maybe global climate change disperses it by raising the temperature permanently above, WAY above, the "dew point" of that peculiar frontal movement?

      And all of these little blips, including "the US" buying or underwriting or "brokering" the purchase and delivery of arms to any number of "moderate" or at least "we just know and pray that they will do what we want them to with these our gifts of death and destruction and the means to go off on their own little power trips which we just KNOW will not happen because that's not part of the strategy we tell everyone about" groups...

  • Unlike Iraq, Iran, Libya, N. Korea, Israel has Impunity from Defying UNSC (Gaza Ceasefire) (20)
  • The Persecution of Christians by ISIS contradicts idea of a Caliphate (4)
    • Disgusting. These thugs are blatant hypocrites. One would think why would not the most "brethren of isalmic caliphate" not care about what is going on in gaza? Instead if killing Shias and clean using the most ancient if people from their households? Yeah not very Islamic

  • Weapons paid for by US are Missing in Afghanistan: Did they go to the Taliban? (3)
    • “Weapons paid for by the US have gone missing.”
      US money in Afghanistan has “gone missing.”
      US allies in Afghanistan have “gone missing.”
      Afghan support for the US mission has also “gone missing.”
      There seems to be a trend here!

  • Gaza: Palestinians "Philosophical," Israel "foils Foreign Infiltration" during 1957 Occupation (British "Report") (4)
    • 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.

  • Gaza: Why a 'Cease-Fire' is Not enough (39)
    • As I understand it, please correct me if I am wrong, the long term Zionist agenda is the creation of a 'Greater Israel', to be achieved via the total destruction/subjugation of Palestine/Palestinians. As far as Zionist Israel is concerned, the Palestinians/Arabs already have Jordan as a nearby Muslim State in which to potentially live, among twenty or so other Muslim Sates, but the Zionists/Jews only have one State of their own: Israel, which happens to have been carved out of Palestine, and contains many millions of Palestinians who have lived on the same land for generations. The Israeli claim to Palestinian land, a mythic 'right to return' (only extended to them) goes back thousands of years, when Jews where forced out of the area by Ottoman Turks. To reclaim and expand the same territory thousands of years later, in the creation of a 'Greater Israel', means identifying Palestinians as interlopers on historic Israeli territory, the destruction of Palestine, the displacement of Palestinians, or their total subjugation under Israeli law. Zionist Israelis are achieving their aims by stealth, via the construction of illegal settlements in the West Bank - which divide and diminish Palestinian communities, by imposing punitive restrictions on the rights of Palestinians who are not afforded equal rights to Israelis, and by waging intermittent and devastating wars on Gaza, which Israel also subjugates and contains within an illegal land/sea blockade. What triggered the current 'operation' by Israel in Gaza is the treaty between Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza. Such a treaty might have legitimated Palestinian claims to territory across the region, giving realistic grounds for peaceful negotiations, but these might have stalled and even reversed 'Greater Israeli' expansion. By identifying Hamas as a singular terrorist entity however, Israel can claim the right to defend itself against their rocket attacks (which are frequently launched at Israel in resistance to their punitive/illegal blockade, and IDF attacks on Hamas leaders in Gaza) Because of these rocket attacks, which are nearly all intercepted by the 'Iron Dome' defence system, Israel claims the right to bombard Gaza at will. Being the most densely populated place on Earth, the results of such bombardment is that most of those killed/maimed are Palestinian civilians and children. Israel claims that Hamas is using civilians as 'human shields', and that because they give warnings via text messages to Palestinians to flee, they can therefore bomb homes, hospitals, schools, media outlets, UN buildings... with impunity. America funds and supports this because of powerful/insanely rich Zionist lobbyists, and so that they have a military superpower as an ally in the Middle East.

  • Unlike Iraq, Iran, Libya, N. Korea, Israel has Impunity from Defying UNSC (Gaza Ceasefire) (20)
    • Not to distract from Israel's behavior, but also in Ukraine another US ally gets away with murder. UNSC Resolution S/RES/2166(2014):

      "The Security Council...Demands that all military activities, including by armed groups, be immediately ceased in the immediate area surrounding the crash site to allow for security and safety of the international investigation."

      Australian and Dutch investigators have been unable to get through to the MH17 crash site in eastern Ukraine for the third day running as fighting continues in the rebel-held region.

      Ukrainian troops “had entered into” the towns of Shakhtarsk and Torez and “battles were continuing for the complete liberation” of the towns of Pervomaysk and Snizhne, the press office for the Ukraine military operation against the insurgents said.

  • Jews and Arabs Refuse to be Enemies: Social Media Campaign (4)
    • It is correct that Jews and Arabs as categories are not necessarily in opposition. Nevertheless, "Jew" is not just a religious marker. Jewishness is both a religious and an ethnic marker. There are ethnic Jews who do not ascribe to Judaism. There are non-ethnic Jews who practice Judaism as converts. And, of course, there are ethnic Jews who practice Judaism.

  • Unlike Iraq, Iran, Libya, N. Korea, Israel has Impunity from Defying UNSC (Gaza Ceasefire) (20)
    • why isn't the mainstream media picking up on the huge disparity between Israeli casualties and Palestinian casualties? It isn't even close!

    • 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.

    • Yes, the US will protect Israel until the pain get too high and then it will stop overnight and throw Israel to the wolves.

      This is the thing Israelis can not seem to understand, the US does not stay bought and when they become un-bought, they get viscous about expressing that.

      I have no idea what the trigger will be, but I can guarantee that the US will eventually not only walk away from Israel but will set it on fire in the process.

      Israel has scorched so much earth, when the US walks away, they will have run out of options. The result will not be pretty, and Israelis will insist that they are "innocent" but will still suffer for their hubris.

      Israel has just accumulated far too many enemies and burned too many "friends."

  • Israel seeks to force 400,000 People from Homes in North Gaza (2)
    • Israelis hubris will cause Israel to go too far and fall over a cliff, and suffer massive damage.

      10,000 years of history says Israel will eventually suffer massive, humiliating defeat and lose everything.

      So sad when people are so blinded by hubris and ego.

  • Gaza: Why a 'Cease-Fire' is Not enough (39)
    • succinctly put, mr cole.
      naturally, peace is an important outcome, and the peaceful attitudes and behavior of the population being marginalized is the big problem being less successfully the fig leaf for 'israel'.

      one hopes (a hope that exists only with faith now) that the (especially current) israeli administration is only actively contributing to the repeated beating of a hornet's nest in a knee jerk reaction mirroring former behavior.
      as a (now retired) curial cardinal points out, it is WORSE than an open air concentration camp.. and the only thing that is stopping peace now is israel.... with the help of the u.s. policy. if the u.s. were to tell israel to make peace, it would make peace.

      sadly, what one sees in this sandstorm is the practice and honing of dehumanizing tactics meant to desensitize the israeli and international viewers (inoculating us to future outrages in 'israel' and abroad) and distract from any future escalation.. keep the ratings up and the populace ambivalent to apathetic.

    • Yeah man, they will be committing suicide...but they'll be fine with it. They'll do it just outta spite to deny the Palestinians their prize of pre-1948 Palestine...and ethnic cleansing is even more likely as Lieberman and Bennett often like to bark. That is the mindset among the Israeli extremists and right-wingers. They might not keep it, but they won't let the Arabs have it again either. Some of the saner Israeli's might flee, but right wingers will stay till the end. You think the Israeli religious nuts are any less suicidal than the Muslim ones?

      As for US, abandonment will not come until money is taken out of US politics...Good luck with that. In so far as US interests or population being in danger...They have been...for decades now. Has the US changed course? Nope. Money talks my friend and the US political class is awash in it.

      Pre-1948 Palestine is a dream. Give it up. It's gone.
      Palestinians are not helped by this fantasy. All it does it put ammo in hands of Netanyahu and his buddies to say Palestinians "don't really want peace".

      What "hot" war are you talking about any way? The entire world supports the Palestinians up to and only including a two state settlement, West Bank and Gaza. As both Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein have pointed out repeatedly...going beyond that to isolate or destroy Israel-proper will leave the Palestinians just as alone as the Israelis are now. It's not gonna happen.

  • Weapons paid for by US are Missing in Afghanistan: Did they go to the Taliban? (3)
    • "Fun Facts" from C. J. Chiver's fabulous (and scary) book, "The Gun" (ISBN-13: 978-0743271738) . . .

      - There are over 100 million AK-47 and equivalent weapons (AR-15, M16, etc.) on earth, with thousands more being made each and every day of the year. This includes not only the licensed versions, but the unlicensed versions (it is not that hard to copy an AK-47 and start your own factory - it was designed to be made by rather primitive methods..

      - That is, there is one AK-47 equivalent weapon for every 50 to 70 humans on earth..

      - The kits or plans needed to convert a "civilian" semi-automatic version of an AK-47 into a fully automatic military version are readily available everywhere on earth.

      Basically the world is awash in very lethal weapons.

      have a nice day.

  • Israel's Gaza Campaign Endangers US Security: Why Obama & Kerry are Furious (34)
  • Unlike Iraq, Iran, Libya, N. Korea, Israel has Impunity from Defying UNSC (Gaza Ceasefire) (20)
    • So let us (the rest of the world) BDS the US. No more tourism, buying of good/services produced by/in the US or by US multinationals, and BDS politicians of your own country that buy US made goods (such as munitions, planes, weapons etc.,). Money talks to US citizens, and that will get their attention.

    • To be fair both side ignored UN cease-fire proposal. Hamas wanted israelis troops to depart the Gaza trip before they can agree to a cease-fire. While the israelis wanted the tunnels destroyed. Both side have a legit claim on this matter and this where UN must rise up to these demands. Not just oral cease-fire.

    • "The European Union has forwarded the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the US, as an American sphere of influence." Is that because it's US Oil /Gas interests at stake there?

  • Israel's Gaza Campaign Endangers US Security: Why Obama & Kerry are Furious (34)
  • Israel seeks to force 400,000 People from Homes in North Gaza (2)
    • Saw Netanyahu et al on AJ last night announcing these plans, and it rather answers your prior question of whether Israel has gone "too far." Their tone was that of someone announcing a resolve to do something absolutely nasty. The answer is that they apparently intend to go quite a bit further, and they really just do not care what you, I, or the rest of the world think. They kept coming back to that close-minded, and increasingly hollow and desperate line, that "we will not compromise our security."

      They've gotten into a spin they appear to be incapable of recovering from.

  • Israel's Gaza Campaign Endangers US Security: Why Obama & Kerry are Furious (34)
    • The cost will come, in due time.
      The world is very complicated, even more so with all the nuclear weapons out there.
      The key is to try and maintain some veneer of civilization out there.
      There are no easy solutions.

  • Did Israel go too Far? The Massacre at the UN School/ Refugee Center (12)
    • You're right, as far as you go. The world, however, is turning, literally and figuratively. The context in which Israel (and others) may get away with things is always changing, and Israel has to change with the world to stay alive. Otherwise, its just a matter of time before their disconnection with it becomes too extreme and they become history. Forever, or indefinitely, is too long a clock to try to run out.

  • Israel's Gaza Campaign Endangers US Security: Why Obama & Kerry are Furious (34)
    • No, it wouldn't require that.

      All it would require is for Obama to stand up alongside some US soldiers in uniform, and then state that Israel's actions are putting those brave boys in danger, and he won't stand for that.

      Followed by a media blitz of a carefully selected cross-section of Our Boys In Uniform pointing out that they are put in danger of blow-back every time Israel goes Whammer-Jammer! on poor defenceless civilians.

      Get THAT campaign going and let's see how much traction the Israeli Lobby can manage.

      After all, in the face of THAT campaign there wouldn't be a single member of Congress willing to stand up and say "F**k our soldiers, Israel is far more important that the lives of OUR men in uniform!"

    • The "key human" theory has been WELL DOCUMENTED to be completely false.

      Every humans is replaceable.

      Sure the replacement will have different skills and may not be as effective in a particular area of expertise, but they will do OK any way.

      Note that if the "key human" theory was valid, the US would fall apart after we replaced the POTUS after a 4 or 8 year period of absolute rule. Notice that the US continues to muddle on.

      This is why, unless Israel kills all 1.5 million humans in Gaza, they will continue to have resistance. In addition, the more Gazans they kill the worse the resistance will become because Israel can not kill its way to peace and security.

    • Some things to think about . . .

      - Except for a 200 year period out of over 5000 years of history, China was a MAJOR regional power and in less that 50 years, China has completely caught up with the "west." Israel has no resources that China can not "borrow," improve and make for much less than Israel. Israelis are no more intelligent than Chinese and there are a LOT MORE Chinese.

      - To lesser extent, India is very similar to China (if the Himalayas hadn't made conquest by either an extremely difficult adventure, they might have fought more).. Again, Israel has nothing India needs that it can't make itself or buy for very low cost from China.

      - Russia has few resources (oil and wood mainly), minimal to marginal infrastructure and a very small population. While Putin has delusions of grandeur, he has done nothing to ensure a long term future for Russia. While Israel might be able to make an alliance with Russia, it would gain almost nothing.

      - Like all large groups of humans, Americans are primarily focused on what is "good for them." Eventually Israel is going to do something that causes Americans to throw them over board. I can guarantee this because Israelis have no clue about the psychology of other humans and even it they understood are so egotistical that they just do not care.
      Over the next 25 years, I think Israel is going to suffer greatly for their "sins" of the last 100 years (the Zionist movement started in the the late 1800s).

      I have no desire to see more humans killed in the ME, but I think that is what it is going to take to unwind the huge mess created by the Brits, French and Americans. Just like the Europeans , Chinese and Indians had to go through many long wars before they learned how to live together, I think the ME will also have to suffer and unfortunately I suspect the Israelis will suffer the most because they have inflicted so much suffering on others.

  • Israel & Palestine both Need to Root out the Hate (3)
    • There was peace between Israel and Gaza until Netanyahoo accused Hamas of kidnapping three settler teenagers in the West Bank and organized rough searches and mollesting of Gazans. He wanted war to start so there would be NO unification between Hamas and the Fatah. So maybe the hate should be set aside in the Israeli PM's head first. Mind you it's probably not hate but land grabbing for Eretz Israel that's the main objective.

  • Israel's Gaza Campaign Endangers US Security: Why Obama & Kerry are Furious (34)
  • Can Norway's Dams serve as a Huge Battery storing Europe's Green Energy? (1)
    • Australia. we have one of the sunniest and largest land mass on the planet but we don't even have a PLAN to for green energy!

  • Israel's Gaza Campaign Endangers US Security: Why Obama & Kerry are Furious (34)
    • That's the entire reason Israel's acting now - the upcoming midterm elections.

    • It's no accident that the current Israeli attacks are occurring during an election year. The Israeli far-right wants the US far-right back in power...

    • Obama may or may not be furious. but he is still blabbing about "Israel's right to defend itself" and still calling Hamas a "terrorist" group and even using Israel's pet phrase. "Hamas's terrorist infrastructure".

      Anyone who thinks Obama is progressive on this issue should think again.

      Obama supports everything Israel is doing, he just want to keep the killing of Gazans down to a more manageable number.

  • In Palestine, R2P isn't Dead; It was never on the Table (3)
    • The doctrine of "Responsibility to Protect" is neither an overarching moral nor overarching legal obligation. Insofar as states wish to apply boycotts, divestiture, and sanctions against a state, be it Libya, syria, Israel, Zimbabwe, or the Congo, fair enough. If certain states wish to engage their armed forces against such countries because of violations of human rights, that's fair, too. but it is neither a moral nor a legal obligation. It is up to individual states to make that determination.

      The United States engaged in armed force (from the air) against Libya, in conjunction with NATO allies and Qatar, under a UN Resolution that was prompted, in part, by the idea (if not doctrine) of a "Responsibility to Protect," to get rid of Gaddhafi, and what was gained? A chaotic, undisciplined, failed state run by militias in various areas. Bill Clinton's "apology" notwithstanding, we are fortunate we did not interven militarily in Rwanda in 1994 when the Tutsi and Hutu were at each other's throats. Likewise in Syria with the Assad regime and the rebels.

      Some conflicts are best resolved by the complete defeat of one side by the other, or when both sides are so exhausted they call for diplomatic intervention. But to get involved in every conflict in which there are atrocities is a fools' errand. To quote John Quincy Adams's succinct observation in 1821: "[The United States] is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own."

      Wise words then, wise words today.

  • Gaza: Why a 'Cease-Fire' is Not enough (39)
  • Israel's Gaza Campaign Endangers US Security: Why Obama & Kerry are Furious (34)
    • Aside from destroying the little remaining standing the US has in the ME, this fiasco detracts from the self righteous positioning the US is striving for in Europe. How can the US criticize Russia for arming the rebels when our rockets and bombs fall on Palestinians.? Additionally, this crisis is taking up valuable media real estate in the propaganda war against our eternal Slavic enemies.

  • Can People of Muslim Heritage defeat the Radical Fundamentalists? (4)
  • Israel's Gaza Campaign Endangers US Security: Why Obama & Kerry are Furious (34)
    • Usually Professor Cole gets the nuances of the Middle East better than this article.

      From the Jerusalem Post, "Palestinian officials in Ramallah on Sunday launched scathing attacks on US Secretary of State John Kerry and accused him of working to appease Qatar and Turkey at the expense of Egypt and the Palestinian Authority.

      The officials also criticized Kerry for failing to invite representatives of Egypt and the Palestinian Authority to last weekend’s meeting in Paris to discuss a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

      Protesting against the participation of Qatar and Turkey in the Paris parley, senior Palestinian officials warned against attempts to 'bypass the PLO as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.'

      Walid Assaf, a former PA minister, pointed out that 'this was the first meeting to discuss a Palestinian issue without Palestinian participation.'

      Qatar has become the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, Assaf said with a tone of sarcasm.'

      'This was the conference of the friends of Israel.'

      PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction said in a statement: 'Those who want Qatar or Turkey to represent them should leave and go live there.' The statement is directed against Hamas.

  • The Persecution of Christians by ISIS contradicts idea of a Caliphate (4)
    • "In a concerted and deliberate plan of ethnic cleansing, ISIS then offered Christian families three choices: convert to Islam, pay the Jizya tax (a tax of 14g of pure gold that Christians must pay in addition to normal taxes for the privilege of their faith), or leave their homes. Anyone who could not pay or refused to convert to Islam was threatened with death."

      - Why am I not surprised?

      "In Mosul, ISIS militants have begun to desecrate the city. They are physically rendering it into their extreme, minimalist interpretation of Islam. And their actions have not solely focused on Christian buildings. The ancient tomb of Jonah (a major landmark in Mosul which was venerated by Christians, Jews and Muslims alike) has been levelled and Shi’a shrines and mosques have been destroyed too."

      - As an idol worshipping kafir who has grown up around desecrated temples, shrines and deities I can tell you this is just par for the course. Expect more to come.

      ISIS should worship Isis. People tend to jump from the frying pan (monotheism) into the fire (atheism) while skipping the beneficial aspects of polytheism altogether. Polytheism teaches one respect for religious freedom of choice and diversity of thought and tradition.

      By the way, the US and other well off developed countries should give asylum to these Christians and keep those barbaric backward ISIS criminals in their own self-desecrated and destroyed region to suffer the karmic results of their own behavioral choices.

  • Israel's Gaza Campaign Endangers US Security: Why Obama & Kerry are Furious (34)
    • Well since Congress gives a great impression of having been bought hook line and sinker by AIPAC, and US presidents have never had the courage truly to sanction Israel, this is what I predict:

      --Israel will continue its rinse-lather-repeat cycle of 'mowing the grass' in Gaza ever 2 years or so
      --Insodoing it will become even more of a pariah state than it is now
      --Life will be hell in Palestine and fraught in Israel
      --The US will remain Israel's only friend and ally (a rather one-sided friendship, it must be said)
      --US financial and military aid to Israel will continue, thus helping to increase the deficit and hasten the US's economic decline.

      All in all, not a very pretty picture.

  • Jews and Arabs Refuse to be Enemies: Social Media Campaign (4)
    • While I wouldn't dream of criticizing this initiative, it should be pointed out that the premise that puts the categories of Jew and Arab in opposition is incorrect. "Arab" is an ethnic marker, "Jew" is a religious marker. There are plenty of Jewish Arabs in the world (or, Arab Jews, if you prefer, just like Arab Muslim or Arab Christian, or the reverse). This is not to deny the fact that Jewish identity has been "ethnicized," largely in Europe, but does not change the fact that the category "Arab" does not in any way exclude Jews.

  • Israel & Palestine both Need to Root out the Hate (3)
    • There are a lot of young voices also full of the tribal idiocy of the moment. Not worth crapping up this space with links to comment threads and stories that shine the light into those corners, and of course it's not limited to one side or polity or another. Too many people getting rich and getting off on all this stuff. Anyone that's ever been anywhere near a mob, including political conventions and Big-Church Preach-a-Thons, let alone firefights, has to at least have some vague comprehension of the phenomenon...

      Maybe there is some diagnostic help on the way, from those scientist people who are looking for hints into the roots of behavior that seems so strange -- a whole species and all the ones we can drag down with us, threatened by our idiot addiction to the pleasures of the moment, to combusto-consumption as the One True Organizing Principle, even if it kills the lot of us (or at least our posterity that might have been -- "Eat, drink and be merry, because after all, 'After me, the flood -- and I'll be dead, so what you gonna do about it, hey?'" )

      Here is one little bit of context I ran across that is part of the effort to diagnose the disease, on the off chance that a cure is possible:

      "Scientists Are Beginning to Figure Out Why Conservatives Are…Conservative" -- and likewise liberals.
      link to motherjones.com

  • Can People of Muslim Heritage defeat the Radical Fundamentalists? (4)
    • Bennoune has written a book on this subject, Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here. It is full of stories of Muslims around the world fighting against fundamentalism. She also goes into more detail about her theoretical assumptions. She finds fundamentalism in all of its guises to be a problem and in opposition to truly human development.

  • Israel's Gaza Campaign Endangers US Security: Why Obama & Kerry are Furious (34)
    • You know, the US has sacrificed its own security interests to those of Israel for a long time. The question becomes when will the cost become so high that it will outweigh the combination of carrots and sticks the congress has brought to heel with. And that could be quite a bit. As other commenters have suggested, if American priorities change, in-line with more genuinely compelling interests, Israel's status would shift, but there's a lot of history for their continued domination of US policy.

      Back in the Yom Kippur War, the US stripped a full wing of F4's from Europe and allowed them to be flown directly into combat after a quick repaint. Those were front line aircraft and the backbone of our European defenses. OK, Israel needed them badly, but were they the 51rst state?

      Then there was Desert Storm, where Schwarzkopf's planning was hamstrung by the need to hunt scuds far beyond the point of diminishing returns, due to Israel's power to make their needs (in this case, psychological) come first. A number of more recent US generals have voiced how the US relationship with Israel has endangered troops operating in the area, as well as hugely complicated their overall missions, due to the politics of guilt by association (if not the reality of it).

      No, how Israel has managed to compromise true US national security interests is a problem that goes far deeper, and its been with us for some time.

  • Israel & Palestine both Need to Root out the Hate (3)
    • This is really great. Although it seems small, and it'll probably take decades to bear fruit, the Kids4Peace effort seems to be one of the best ways to bring Palestinians and Israelis together so that a fair and just peace can occur. Thanks, Mr Englander, for this note of hope!

      Reading comment boards and listening to statements by Israelis in the news, it appears too many of them have lost the ability to feel empathy. Many Israelis seem to feel that their sense of unease over distant booms from rockets is somehow more significant and valid than the feeling of a Palestinian watching his home and family literally blown apart.

      Worse is the impression that, having become the bully of the Middle East, Israel is relishing its role as invincible, unstoppable destroyer. You can almost hear Take that, Adoph!

      Queue up the new generation. This one has become dangerously obsolete.

  • The Persecution of Christians by ISIS contradicts idea of a Caliphate (4)
    • I do find this confusing. As I thought the idea of ISIS was 'strict enforcement' of Islamic principles (subject of much debate of course). But I thought it was a prety much universally accepted understanding that the Prophet Muhammad specifically forbid the destruction of churches etc. So, I'm curious what logic is being claimed as the basis to justify this sort of action ?

  • Israel's Gaza Campaign Endangers US Security: Why Obama & Kerry are Furious (34)
    • This is a cycle: we have been here before, we should recognize the pattern. This is the “shoot” phase of the “shoot and cry” policy that Israel has been following for years. Cast lead, the Intifadas, are previous iterations of this cycle. When the shoot phase is over they will crank up the hasbra machine and begin the “cry” phase. Then all will be well in their world and they will prepare for the next cycle.

      Will we fall for it this time? Almost certainly, it has worked every other time. The hasbra is not working so well in the rest of the world but the Israelis don’t care. Perhaps one of these times it will stop working in the US but I am not hopeful.

    • A wise and benevolent, term-limited dictator is what this vision would take, and the case could be made that's what the US Presidency is turning into, but we aren't there yet. Being practical, this is just not a reasonable scenario.

      It'll take Israel doing something that looses them all the support they've bought and paid for, and that's beyond my ability to imagine. But as you've pointed out before, forever is a long time, and at some point fate will catch up with them

    • Cynicism aside, judging by past Israeli behavior, supply chain issues could lead to a cease-fire on their part, as stocks will need to be replenished. But prompt US replenishment is an absolute given. You will note that ground-operations are proceeding, assuring a nominal amount of Hamas rockets in response. Once fully re-suppled, Israel can resume full-scale ops, blaming it on those dinner-party-interrupting Hamas rockets ("there, see, what have we been telling you?...its all THEIR fault").

      But speaking practically, this operation has been planned for a long time, and Israel started it now with certain set objectives. When those objectives are met, which may include shaking down some amount of money/resources, or other concessions from the US, they will allow a cease-fire of some description. Their behavior in these regards has been very consistent,

    • David Gregory would be glad to help.

    • Obama and Kerry could not resist the deep state that controls "our" government, even if they wanted to.

      Juan, you make some unequivocal statements about public opinion in Egypt being very much anti-hamas. I am curious what your source is. I am sure the elites in Egypt who benefit from the current Kleptocracy that Sisi represents are very much anti Hamas, just as they are very much anti-democracy. But my understanding is measuring the public opinion of the bottom 70 percent of the public in Egypt is very difficult. Many are in fear that telling the truth could damage their careers or even land them in jail to be tortured. They are also constantly barraged by propaganda by the Egyptian media which is owned by the Kleptocracy. Under those circumstances, how can you be so sure of what they actually think? As opposed to what they are forced to say by the circumstances?

    • Kerry's "discussions" with the Netanyahu bunch on Gaza were certainly improbable, as were Kerry's attempted settlement to begin with. My poor theory is Obama wants actors in any particular region to step up first, prior to the USA jumping in. The problem is I don't see this working anywhere but the Korean Peninsula. I support him on this anyway.

  • Jews and Arabs Refuse to be Enemies: Social Media Campaign (4)
    • For Zionists, the 1st step is admitting you have a problem. Conflating Israel's survival with the survival of Jews IS the problem.

      In my opinion the conflation is illegitimate AND INTENTIONAL and promulgated by people,who are often more socio-culturally affiliated with Christianity (and western consumer-culture) than Jewish historical philosophy and tradition.

  • Israel's Gaza Campaign Endangers US Security: Why Obama & Kerry are Furious (34)
    • This is when I continue to deplore another one of the classic George Bushisms, "We can't reward 'bad behavior'", which so memorably crystalizes thought... in the worst way possible.

      I've heard this argument from Netanyahoo and other Israeli officials. It's the all-purpose excuse: when your adversary is so desperate that he does uncivil things, this negates the need to address any of the problems that motivated those actions. He was 'bad." He gets nothing. End of story.

      The United States needs to stop buying into this pathetic excuse to avoid talking with Hamas, or the PLO, or the PA, or indeed, any Palestinian. I'm with spyguy: the US needs to lay out, in detail, a plan for peace, and then insist it be followed. The two parties will never arrive at an agreement, since it's near-impossible to ever even get them together.

      To make the situation clearer, the $3.2B destined for Israel should immediately be rebudgeted to the Veterans Administration. This should make the deficit hawks happy.

    • 'Obama’s doctrine has been to attempt the possible and discuss the improbable.' This is a great line. Is it original?

    • With our military might, our long suit is to create absences (with a little help from our friends):Hussein, Gaddafi, The Taliban (temporarily), bin Ladin. But we don't have the tools or power to fill the absences with the the indigenous Thomas Jefferson's whom we assume are waiting in the wings. In the case of bin Ladin we assumed that al Qaeda couldn't possibly function without his brain. For a while we had our sights on Assad, but someone in the Administration took a good look at out wake, and counseled against it.

      Israel, on the other hand, functions like the dictators we deposed, with regard to the occupied territories. And we are politically incapable of accepting that view of Israel.

  • Did Israel go too Far? The Massacre at the UN School/ Refugee Center (12)
  • Gaza: Why a 'Cease-Fire' is Not enough (39)
    • In my opinion, the comparison with the Marshall Plan doesn't stand. The primary political aim of the Marshall Plan was to prevent Europe from falling in the Soviet sphere of influence. Communist parties were very strong, particularly in southern Europe. Thus the US did what it does best, buy people off with loads of cash. The political aim of Israel in Gaza is the colonization of the Palestinian territories and the expulsion and/or submission and/or cleansing of the Palestinian population, whichever may turn to be feasible with the support of the "international community" (the US and its allies). So far, everything is proceeding according to plan.

  • Israel's Gaza Campaign Endangers US Security: Why Obama & Kerry are Furious (34)
    • All the negative feedback will soon cause Netanyahu to end his criminal war against the Palestinians in Gaza. By that time, there won't be many places left to bomb.

      The focus of the United States will shift to Ukraine, Russia and Vladimir Putin. Yesterday, our State Dept. released intelligence maps showing blast marks of missiles fired from Russia and craters in Ukraine.Did those Rooskie missiles cause those craters in Ukraine?

      We don't know, but they aren't Ukrainian sinkholes.

      The slaughter of innocent Palestinian, especially women and children, gets a sympathetic response. NOT GOOD FOR THESE NEVER ENDING WARS. "Vlad the Bad" ain't a good guy, so the U.S. govt. and media will transition from Gaza to Ukraine soon enough.

  • Jews and Arabs Refuse to be Enemies: Social Media Campaign (4)
    • Do you think that these images misconstrue the conflict as one where two groups not geographically associated (specifically with regard to a nation state) are fundamentally at odds? As though there is something fundamentally incompatible between the outlooks and traditions of two groups that exist all over the world versus those supporting and associating with specific nation states (or territories if I am to be more precise)? (As would be communicated in photos showing individuals purporting to be Israeli and Palestinian kissing).

  • Israel's Gaza Campaign Endangers US Security: Why Obama & Kerry are Furious (34)
    • This particular 'threat to US security' is also a symptom of the broader changing attitude the world has to the US and its role as arbiter of global affairs. By extension it is also a 'threat' is to the Western world, to its less fundamental moral concepts, assumptions, standards of living and expectations. Similar symptoms heralded the disintegration of Rome; ruthless social division, financial constraint, endemic corruption, powerful enemies encroaching on overstretched borders, and the melting away of moral authority until, like a cloud illusion, Rome just wasn't there any more; it remained an echo, a variously regretted memory, for a generation or so and then a subject for historical dialectic.

      The stand-off between the US and Russia seems to me more immediately significant than the horrors perpetrated by Israel in Palestine because if the US pushes the people of Europe too far towards another goddam war they could detach from it like a vast ice-flow in a warming sea. That would shake the kaleidoscope and, should it happen, Israel would be doomed, without a supporter left on earth, and the peoples of our world could find themselves sufficiently united to view the present as one helluva near miss and, contemplating how close we were to disaster look to establishing the more federal global structure I suspect younger generations dream of already. It seems to me doubtful Russia, China, India, or any group of nations would be seek take up the moth eaten mantle of US imperial ambition. Maybe it is Israel's destiny to bring us to the brink so we turn towards a new horizon where our exponential scientific abilities are applied to our common humanity and the care of our fragile environment rather than the mindless and soulless destruction of both.

  • Natural Gas isn't the Global Warming Solution: It Endangers the Earth (1)
  • Israel's Gaza Campaign Endangers US Security: Why Obama & Kerry are Furious (34)
    • The US has never held a plan to manufacture peace in the ME one one hand, and support anything Israel does on the other. And, of course, the Bush invasions made everything that much worse. Obama's doctrine has been to attempt the possible and discuss the improbable. But, his hands are tied by our Israel First commitment. All while militants grow stronger, US support weakens, and American politics are at rock bottom. Nothing portends particularly well.

    • Frankly, I think you're underestimating the negative ramifications on US interests in the region. With a broader and deeper analysis, I suspect it'd look even uglier than you suggest.

      A good degree of Erdoğan's posturing is theatre, but even amongst educated, secular folk, there is a growing and perhaps even boiling contempt for Israeli actions. There were student demonstrations in support of Palestine last week, from the people most opposed to him. Recep is a populist, and Turkey's alliance history with Israel runs deep, but the I'm wondering where Israel really may be screwing their own pooch this time around. They are unleashing an awful, awful lot of bad karma here.

      But we always come back to the question of what Obama/Kerry can do about the situation, given how Israel effectively owns the US Congress? (And their direct influence on the executive branch, to be fair). Is it really just a matter of Obama/Kerry growing a backbone? I don't mean that rhetorically: I'm just trying to imagine how the US might possibly, at some point, manage to get itself out of this corner, given the above.

    • "For the US, few dilemmas are more foreboding than a military conflict between its two most important Middle East allies." What I find most worrisome is that the United States government can't afford to do much of anything vis-a-vis either of these "allies" that would offend the petromonarchy in Saudi Arabia.

  • Gaza: Why a 'Cease-Fire' is Not enough (39)
    • if Israel uses even one of its nukes, it will be committing suicide. Not only will every Israeli die, but the survivors of the nuclear exchanges will very probably take their revenge out on any non-Israeli Jew they can find. It would be the end of the Jewish culture, but possibly not the end of mankind. In the real world, nukes are only good for one thing, committing suicide and very few Israelis are interested in committing suicide for their country. In fact when the war gets too hot, as much as half the Israelis will do the same thing all humans do during a hot war, flee.

      As for the US protecting Israel forever, that is a very invalid assumption. Over the last 200 years, the US has broken almost every "treaty" and agreement it has ever had. If Israel causes Americans any personal pain whatsoever, Israel will be thrown overboard in a heartbeat.

      Right now, Israel is deeply endangering the future of the US and as things deteriorate, the US will do what is best for the US, even if that means the complete destruction of Israel.

      I can guarantee the US will NOT protect Israel forever, especially to the detriment of the US. And once the US throws Israel overboard, it is toast becuas no other nation on earth will come to its rescue, ZERO.

      Americans are just as self-centered as all other humans and will happily sacrifice Israelis to protect Americans, count on it.

  • Israel's Gaza Campaign Endangers US Security: Why Obama & Kerry are Furious (34)
    • It is long past time for the POTUS to marginalize the Israel hawks in congress by pitting US internal needs against the huge drain by Israel. The after neutralizing congress, the POTUS should publish a full peace proposal for the ME including defined borders for Israel, then point blank tell Israel to remove their citizen from the territory that isn't theirs and follow up with a UNSC resolution.

      The hawks in Israel could scream all they want, but if the US backed sanctions, Israel would have to cave.. Israel is not self sufficient in energy and food and can not survive for long without free trade.

      It is very doubtful that China, Russia or any of the usual suspects would tray to get around sanctions because most countries view Israel as a loose cannon.

      Until the US directly confronts Israel, it will be a festering wound that will make the US less and less able to function in the world.

    • We could hire Frank Luntz to help us out with the PR disaster.

    • Just one question - is the US supply chain replacing Israeli munitions as fast as they are being dropped on civilians?
      That would be a more accurate way of knowing the degree of pressure being applied to stop this killing than any public statement.

    • IS will be the future home of Palestinians of Gaza. And this will happen when the US takes Syria. Obama is running behind schedule in Syria. Assad's removal is two years overdue.

      IS is in position. Saudi's armed forces is in position. Assads army will be ambushed.

      All we are waiting for now is another "shock and awe" false flag amidst the slaughter taking place in Gaza. Assad will be blamed.

    • 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.

  • The Persecution of Christians by ISIS contradicts idea of a Caliphate (4)
    • The article has a false headline. Whilst the persecution of Christians may contradict the idea of a caliphate, that is not what the article is about. No explanation is given as to how the persecution might contradict the idea of caliphate.

  • Gaza: Why a 'Cease-Fire' is Not enough (39)
    • Oh, sure, agreed: the very notion of a occupying power "going to war" against the people that it holds under a belligerent occupation is a nonsense, and a gross violation of international humanitarian law.

      But even if Israel shouts "Is Not! Is Not! Is Not!" whenever anyone says that the IDF is still the occupying power, that fig leaf still doesn't grant Israel any right to blockade anyone ONCE A CEASEFIRE IS IN EFFECT.

      I'm merely pointing out that Catch-22 i.e.
      either:
      a) The IDF is still the occupying power, in which case "blockading" that occupied territory is a war crime,
      or:
      b) The IDF is no longer the occupying power, in which case "blockading" that territory absent an armed conflict is a war crime.

      It is damned either way, no matter how much it plays pretendies with its fellow travellers and apologists.

      "Blockade" is legal only during an "armed conflict".

      But an "armed conflict" and a "belligerent occupation" are mutually-exclusive terms.

      Equally, an "armed conflict" and a "ceasefire" are mutually-exclusive terms.

      Pick either (and Israel seems to want to cherry-pick both depending upon its mood) and what you end up with is this: the blockade is illegal.

    • Just on the face of it this all sounds transparently like disinformation, to de-legimize Hamas by association.

      The engineering skills to build a tunnel are common and construction in the developing world is often done intuitively. I cannot imagine anyone going to North Korea for anything state-of-the-art. Any ladder of sophistication they've climbed could have been acquired at any good engineering library.

    • Most importantly, Mearsheimer & Walt did the most thorough and careful description of Israeli influence (lobby influence? the distinctions become tedious) on US politics, best distilled in this article, although they later did a thick book on the subject. link to lrb.co.uk

    • The Gaza blockade isn't even legal during "armed conflict" because Gaza is an occupied territory of Israel, not a sovereign state, and the blockade is directed at Palestinian non-combatants who are Israel's legal responsibility.

  • Did Israel go too Far? The Massacre at the UN School/ Refugee Center (12)
    • Unfortunately this is incorrect, although it is a very popular idea. Wrong actions are not inevitably self-correcting in this way. Israeli policy has no real counterweight, and can continue indefinitely if it is not changed. The policy will not change itself.

  • Gaza: Why a 'Cease-Fire' is Not enough (39)
    • Michael, much of what you have written is plainly wrong. Your ideas reflect limited reading. For example:
      1. Israel's illegal settlements in the occupied territories have made the occupation illegal. This is not disputed.
      2. Occupied Palestinians can legally resist occupation. This is not disputed. No one but you tried to interpret this to mean that terrorism is legal resistance, it isn't.

      Please provide a scholarly source that justifies Israel's settlements.

      Have you read "Scars of War, Wounds of Peace" by Shlomo Ben Ami or "Lords of the Land" by Zertal and Eldar or "Knowing Too Much" by Norman Finkelstein? It's time to read serious history.

      Don't just read the Jerusalem Post and Dershowitz.

    • Granting the truth of #1, which I'm not sure of , the colonization is still a violation of Geneva convention. How about collective punishment?! You Israeli apologists are laughable!

  • Can People of Muslim Heritage defeat the Radical Fundamentalists? (4)
    • Can people of Jewish or Christian or Hindu or Sikh or Zoroastrian heritage defeat ( or sften into insignificance) THEIR radical fundamentalists?

      Seems to me the crudescence is sort of universal. As might be any remedies...