Recent Comments

  • Is Rula Jebreal right about US Media Bias against Palestinians? (12)
    • I think Mr. Blitzer's reporting is more nuanced than this description implies. He actually is among the few anchors who makes sure to interview prominent Arabs, and his long experience with the region is often an advantage. We all have our biases but just reading off people from their background is glib.

    • Do not forget the extreme pro-Israel bias of CNN's anchor, Wolf Blitzer, formerly of the Jerusalem Post.

      It is pretty clear from his many remarks, introductions, summaries, etc that his perspective is that of an Israel.

      During the era of Palestinian suicide bombings, in the early 90's, CNN would provide all day long stories and pictures of the scene of the bombings, continually coming back to these scenes throughout the day, while the many more Palestinian deaths carried out by IDF under Ariel Sharon were ignored.

      Nor was there any context given for these suicide bombings which were usually responses to IDF assassination of Hamas leaders, including Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, head and founder of Hamas, and his successor, Dr Rantissi.

      Some saw in these assassination, a strategy of Ariel Sharon of intentionally provoking such Palestinian responses such as suicide bombings in order to reap political benefit knowing the CNN and other media would giver full coverage to the deaths or injuries of civilians in Israel while ignoring the provocations for it or the many more Palestinian deaths at the hands of the Israeli army and air force.

    • This is especially important to Hamas , as its what they are holding out for...the world to give them relief from the blockades by land and sea....

  • Green Energy Robin Hood: India Doubles Tax on Coal to Fund Solar and Wind (2)
  • Obama needs Europe in responding to MH17 Crash, but NSA Spying a Bar (22)
    • Let us thank Professor Reich for reminding us how we are supposed to continue “policy-think” based on traditional, proven-failure Great Game “analysis” and shibboleths and argument. Regarding Ukraine and MH17, maybe let's start with the silly notion that “all the facts are not in,” followed by reflections on past “incidents” where the Players have played the rest of us by various manipulations of apparent factoids (anyone for a piece of yellowcake? With a side of centrifuge tubes? and trailer labs full of Germ Weapons?) on the downhill slope to more war, all the time.

      Nice "{serious}"think piece, complete with credentials. Full of hoary old thought processes, assumptions and "policy advice." Starts with the assumption that The One Great Power of the World, through its Emperor/President, can and should "act!"to "do something!"about the inevitable use of weapons of war against "civilians" in a world where the mythology of "international law and order"is really starting to diverge steeply and visibly from the reality. Weapons profitably made, "policy"mostly about deploying them and "force structure"and "power projection"and "creative instability,"under the chin noise about "spreading democracy." All to make sure extractive businesses are safe from Something or Other… link to alternet.org

      Just about every line in the piece is challengeable. Americans want to do the right thing, and root for the underdog? Really? European powers (other than Britain and France, I guess) don't get involved in war? How many German and other NATO troops and weapons have been part of our Imperial "coalitions?” And Obama holds Putin accountable? Gee, who fomented a coup in Ukraine recently? link to informationclearinghouse.info I guess maybe it's sort of “true” that “few” in the “US security establishment” have concerned themselves with Russo-Ukraine relations -- the "few" involved in continuing the ol' policy of "encirclement" and "destabilization." An eastward-spreading “regional transition to liberal democracy?” Really, one can say that with a straight face? And who is setting things up for more shoot-downs by giving “moderate gunmen” guided antiarcraft weapons, speaking now about the broader global Battlespace and Grand Strategies? link to dfat.gov.au, a “policy” leading this list of fun and games: link to en.wikipedia.org, and gee, what a surprise, "Trigger-happy men star in history of passenger plane shoot-downs," link to nation.co.ke And yes, a Buk SA-11 is not a MANPADS, but it’s just another device shootable by “trigger-happy” or BokoHaramidiotic males...

      "Re-engage Europe?" The mostly US-originated financial crash has trashed the ordinary people of Europe, but the "warrior classes" there have been busy as Coalition bees in Iraq, and Afghanistan and multiple other US imperial adventures imperiling ordinary people all over the planet, under the general rubric "Global Interoperable Network-Centric Battlespace.” Which has as its goal the interconnection of military castes and classes and armament makers and other contractors on all "sides," to make the world safe for extractive vulture capitalism (aka “liberal democracy”) and be ready to "run things" when the global warming consequences break older institutions and relations into "competing" pieces.

      What a surprise that Europeans would resent visible spying on them by “US,” since “we” don’t resent e.g. Israeli spying on “US” very much. And we have this bit from Ambassador Victoria “F__k the EU” Nuland, on what it costs to overthrow a democratically elected government: link to informationclearinghouse.info As to deterrence of the Russian Bear, welcome back to the comfortable days of Cold War idiocy, that other face painted on the raddled b__ch called the “Great Game.” link to earthspheredevelopment.com

      The Professor critiques EU nations for apparently not spending as large a percentage of their GDP on the weapons and tactics and strategies that so threaten more instability and destruction. Is percent of GDP the proper measure of a “right-sized military?” Hmmm? How much do European nations spend on weapons of social destruction, again? “Adequate military deterrent to Russian incursion?” Really? While using the veiled threat of Western power, from sanctions to several thousand nuclear weapons and everything in between, to “incur” into Russia, setting the table for a Putin to keep the Bear Stew on the boil? Of course, this is part of the mix, too: link to hangthebankers.com

      A “game changer,” is MH17? Maybe a “game instigator,” or “game extender.” One wonders, in the age of “Wag the Dog” policies and sneaky-petery, how one manages “indisputable proof” of ANYthing. When our Empire assumes the “right” to pursue what our elites define as their “interests,” in ways at least as intrusive and outrageous as anything Great Game apologists assign to “Putin,” who rides the tiger as surely as “Obama,” where do “we” get off chatting up the “badness” of the Russian side of interventions in Ukraine? All the polling, and even says US citizens oppopse any US involvement in Ukraine, while of course, out of habit and greed and idiocy, “our” sneaks are busy fomenting yet another “regime change” and boatload of instability -- link to alternet.org

      Yeah let’s US ‘expand and deepen” those so-very-effective “sanctions,” and is it not sad that Obama, who has loosed the black-ops drone dogs of war all over the place is supposedly “allergic” to more messy entanglements of the sort so beloved of neoliberaliconservatives? Yeah, let’s line up some solid, long-term support from the Players in Brussels to “get anything done,” meaning what, again? More of the same “interventions?” More death and poverty for ordinary people? What music, specifically, is Professor Reich advising the Empire and its “partners” to dance to?

  • Is Rula Jebreal right about US Media Bias against Palestinians? (12)
    • In and amongst the drama, the propaganda driving matters gets lost. This is the stuff that precludes meaningful progress toward resolving the underlying conflict.

      With all due respect to Rula for even broaching the subject so directly, she and others become so (understandably) indignant that there message gets lost. NOT so the relentlessly coordinated PR offensive of Israel. In watching the 3 panel split screen between Host, Lake, and Rula, notice how sagely the Host nods his head as the Israeli apologist makes the case for Israel's forbearance (and remember, he is NOT even an official spokesperson).

      But the clip from Greg Phil is terrific if you have the patience to bear with his initially rambling delivery, which starts hitting home at about 9:00. In fact, it may be more effective to have him slowly lure in his listeners with his does. From then on his delivery is positively enlightening, especially at minutes 16 and 18 when he is able to describe precisely how pressure is applied in the case of BBC to distort their coverage, and his conclusion around 21:00.

    • Tariq Ali notes pro-Israel bias in the British and French media: Blinded by Israel, Visionless in Gaza: The Power and the Ignominy by TARIQ ALI - link to counterpunch.org

    • I actually think NBC is better than some others on this issue,

      Make that "NBC is not as bad as others."

      Apropos from Mondoweiss:

      Dear American media, I’m asking you to simply tell what’s happening in Gaza by Emily Manna - link to mondoweiss.net

      and

      CNN headline: “100 people killed today in Israel, Gaza fighting” by Adam Horowitz - link to mondoweiss.net

    • To me, this subhed, repeated in many newspapers, is telling:

      13 IDF, 70 Others killed

  • Hottest June On Record Since 1880 (1)
    • I believe the author meant to write "fucking stupid" instead of "damned stupid," referring to climate change deniers.

  • What Has $121,000,000,000 US Aid to Israel Really Bought? (13)
  • On 'Human Shielding' in Gaza: The Israeli army has tried to justify striking civilian areas (1)
    • Actually, if Israel has an "Iron Dome" starwars missile system which protects it from all of Hamas's primitive rockets, why does Israel have ANY need to attack the putative launch sites and sources of these rockets? No Israeli can possibly be in danger, because of the hi-tech defensive system! (Not to mention the pathetic record of Hamas's rockets in hitting anything.) This "ultimate defense" concept was the reason the United States and Soviet Union signed a treaty to ban such systems: because, with sufficient protection against the missiles from the other side, there would no longer be a deterrant against starting a nuclear war. Not as "MAD" as it sounds!

      The obvious conclusion is that Israel just wants to kill Palestinian civilians and destroy their homes and livelihoods. No wonder they have to slap on an awful lot of lipstick for the American audience.

  • Is Rula Jebreal right about US Media Bias against Palestinians? (12)
    • One thing that also goes unmentioned is that the tactics used by the fighters in Gaza are typical of asymmetrical warfare (not anomalies employed only by Hamas).

      When fighters have no gunboats, submarines, tanks, F-16 fighter planes, and the like, the only possible way to fight is to use guerrilla warfare and the only way to survive is to fight out of the areas that Israel is less inclined to hit. Israel (and supportive media) imply that such a tactic is monstrous and bestial and shows that Palestinian fighters are "less human" than Israeli fighters.

      But this kind of fighting is par for the course among any groups where the playing field is uneven. Israelis should know this as their fighters used guerrilla tactics against the British back when their forces were vastly inferior.

      The media's bias shows when pundits don't discuss the normal differences between fighters of vastly disparate strength and what that means for trying to end the combat.

    • What...is this a serious question?

  • From Kerry to Selena Gomez & Rihanna, Israel's Claims of Precision, Compassion are Dissed (29)
    • Not to be too sarcastic, but the various denials of the Palestinians include such luxuries as food and potable water. And the sufferings of the Israeli's are real, with any number of people who may have turned an ankle scurrying for a shelter (a direct hit, like a meteorite strike, will kill you) or loosing sleep.

      Bibi was on the shows talking about "what would you do," which is the real question. And the issue is one of proportionality, and how do you honestly address the underlying condition.

    • Over the last 10000+ years, human behavior has actually been fairly consistent. That is, we repeatedly make the same mistakes, even though all of our classical literature (Art of War, Bible, Torah, Confucius, etc) clearly documents what mistakes to avoid. Humans just can not help themselves when their egos, power madness, racism and superiority complexes kick in. Once that happens, all rational thought disappears.

      Right now Israelis are in the middle of a massive paranoid delusion with no capability of rational thought. As a result, they are on a steep downward path that will ensure that Israel does not exist in 30 years.

      History says that most colonial invaders get defeated by the locals and make no mistake, the Jewish Israelis are unwelcome colonial invaders. As many people have pointed out, Israel can not kill its way to peace and prosperity because eventually the humans they are brutalizing will find a way to turn the situation around.

      If one takes a macro view of history, it is easy to see how power constantly flows from one group of humans to other groups of humans over time and no group of humans can retain power for very long. The US and Israel have some power today, but will not be able to retain it. In the case of the US, it may not suffer too much from its decrease in power, but with Israel, the loss of power will very probably lead to the end of Israel and the scattering of most of the Jewish inhabitants to other parts of the globe.

      You are correct that Israel is in the process of self destruction and I see very little possibility of any rational change of behavior. As a result, the smartest Israelis should probably leave sooner rather than later because things will just get uglier.

  • Is Rula Jebreal right about US Media Bias against Palestinians? (12)
    • I listened appalled this morning to UK PM David Cameron telling Parliament that Hamas was firing rockets into Israel "unprovoked". At least one Labour MP (David Winnick) spoke up: "If shelling a hospital isn't a war crime, then I don't know what is." Imbalance was soon restored, with a short, unmediated, soundbite of Netanyahu lying his head off.

    • It is absolutely outrageous how organizations like AIPAC and the World Jewish Congress have convinced Congress that they are the spokesmen for Jews in this country, whereas in fact there are thousands of Jews like myself who hold diametrically opposite views, and are utterly appalled at the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the inhumane Israeli blockade of Gaza, and the dreadful current Israeli massacre of Gazans. Tikkun recently quoted an American rabbi who said that his congregation would have no problem if he criticized God in addressing them, but that he would lose his job if he dared say one word critical of Israel. Our Congress has been sold a bill of goods to the effect that poor Israel wants nothing more than peace and now has to fight for its survival against the Hamas terrorist onslaught, necessitating the slaughter of hundreds of Gazan civilians and unbelievable destruction of the impoverished and barely functioning Gazan infrastructure including hospitals and water supply. What an utterly shameful state of affairs. Our heartfelt thanks to Juan Cole for his efforts to present a truthful view.

  • Green Energy Robin Hood: India Doubles Tax on Coal to Fund Solar and Wind (2)
    • This doubled tax is still extremely, extremely low. One watt of solar for $2 will displace some 0.5 kg coal/year for, say, 30 years for a total of 15 kg coal displaced.

      This means $0.83/ton of coal doesn't go very far to finance solar. You burn a ton now and displace only (15/2)*0.83 = 6 kg or less than 1% in 30 years.

  • What Has $121,000,000,000 US Aid to Israel Really Bought? (13)
    • Thats not true. There are different forms of US taxpayer aid to a rich foreign country (Israel) - military aid is one component of it. There is also economic aid, there are "loan guarantees" (which are never repaid), we subsidize their own defense industry and they repay by selling advanced weaponry to our enemies (e.g. the Chinese fighter planes carried Israeli missiles when they took down the US navy observation plane). I feel we ought give half of that aid to the Palestinians to build their businesses and infrastructure so these unfortunate 4 million refugees can have half-way decent lives as Europeans/Russians romp on Palestinian land in Tel Aviv.

  • From Kerry to Selena Gomez & Rihanna, Israel's Claims of Precision, Compassion are Dissed (29)
    • Having your club dancing disturbed by noise is clearly far more traumatic and dangerous than being shelled by tanks and artillery or being bombed from the air and assaulted by land units, not to mention being subjected to an air-sea-land blockade and your family denied normal access to healthcare, education, employment, political rights, or security.

    • It's terrifying watching someone self-destruct in front of you. Watching a country do it is even more horrifying.

      Israel may still be around for a good long time, but its public fall from grace has begun and there will come a time that publicly supporting Israel's policies of annexation, collective punishment and pre-emptive warfare will become political suicide no matter how much money its supporters throw around.

    • The voices from the children of Gaza will continue to be heard long after this siege is over. link to electronicintifada.net

  • Ignore the Smears: Germany's Green Energy is 1/3 of its Power, Price Falling, Coal Down (5)
    • Pumped storage hydroelectric generation should be looked at as a way to store solar energy. The daytime surplus solar is used to pump the water to the upper reservoir during the day. It can then generate hydro power during the afternoon peak and into the night.

  • What Has $121,000,000,000 US Aid to Israel Really Bought? (13)
    • How much lost tax revenue is involved from donations, tax deductible, to Israel? Of course the actual donation money is lost as well, by the fact that it is money that could otherwise support american institutions..

  • From Kerry to Selena Gomez & Rihanna, Israel's Claims of Precision, Compassion are Dissed (29)
  • What Has $121,000,000,000 US Aid to Israel Really Bought? (13)
    • Yep. Joel appears to have this quaint notion that if that $3billion is withheld from Israel then it simply.... disappears.

      Err, no, it wouldn't.

      If Obama ever withheld that $3billion from Ya'alon then he'd simply turn to the Secretary of Defense and hand him that money, and say "Here, Chuck, you spend it".

      Net impact on the US economy: zero.

      Actually, probably that would be a marked positive effect, since $3billion worth of extra high-tech military hardware would require more bases, more facilities, more support infrastructure.

    • joelsk44039: "Most of the money provided to Israel comes back to the U.S. in the form of contracts (meaning JOBS) with American companies."

      Yeah, funny that: the USA gives Israel a $3billion gift voucher, marked "redeemable at any reputable Merchant of Death", but with a little note saying "offer valid only in the USA".

      How dare Uncle Sam! How dare he insist that US dollars can only be used to purchase US military hardware!

      Doesn't he know that Israel wants to spend those US dollars on its **own** domestic military-industrial complex?

      Oh, wait, it does: alone amongst all recipients of US military aid Israel is entitled to immediately skim 20% off the top and spend it on Israeli-built armaments.

      Fancy that, heh? Uncle Sam is actually subsidizing the Israeli armament industry (a competitor, remember) to the tune of $600million each and every year.

      Sweeeeeeeeeet.

      Joel: "Can’t say that about any other country to which the U.S. provides foreign aid."

      Actually, you can. All other recipients of US military aid are required to spend 100% of that military aid money on the purchase of US built military equipment.

      None of them - not a one - is entitled to skim off a single cent to spend on their own domestic arms industry.

      Nobody is, except Israel, who skims off $600million of that money each and every year.....

  • From Kerry to Selena Gomez & Rihanna, Israel's Claims of Precision, Compassion are Dissed (29)
  • Ignore the Smears: Germany's Green Energy is 1/3 of its Power, Price Falling, Coal Down (5)
  • From Kerry to Selena Gomez & Rihanna, Israel's Claims of Precision, Compassion are Dissed (29)
  • Mosul w/out Christians for First time in 1,900 Years as Radical Fundamentalists Threaten Minorities (11)
    • Boko Haram actually warned Christians to leave Northern Nigeria, but Nigerian Christians have nowhere to flee too - & they will fight Boko Haram eventually if the Nigerian government cannot.

      Just wanted to point out that ISIS and Boko Haram are birds of a feather.

    • Gee, is this in any way analogous to how Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge first came to be the Top Gunmen in Cambodia, and then another former Big Bad Enemy went for various reason across that border "we" had so disingenuously and "covertly" ignored for decades, and did a cleansing regime change apparently without the Empire's permission? Naw, the situations are nothing alike: Arabic reads from right to left, with those furrin, evil-lookin' characters, while Vietnamese at least scans the PROPER direction, including on the bar codes on all the clothing that's made there and fills the loyal, patriotic racks and shelves at KWalmart? (What to make of "our" love-hate with Chinese, then, with ideopictographs written every which way?)

  • Mohammed Suliman's Twitter-Journal on Surviving Israel's War on Gaza (5)
    • Arutz Sheva 7 , the Israeli national news service reported that Lieutenant General Dolev Keidar of the Israel Defense Forces was killed by Gazan militants during an infiltration attempt. His funeral will be tomorrow:

      link to israelnationalnews.com

      Also, despite Israel's UN ambassador's statement on Sunday denying the capture of an Israel soldier by Hamas, an Israeli government spokesperson today stated that it is still "investigating" whether the Hamas claim is accurate.

      One article has called the mood in Israel "somber" despite the initial high confidence in the Iron Dome performance previously and anti-war demonstrations are growing within Israel. 25 IDF personnel have been killed in action.

  • What Has $121,000,000,000 US Aid to Israel Really Bought? (13)
    • What you have stated is equally misleading though: Israel is by far the largest recipient of foreign aid by the US bar none; it’s an artificial first world country in part as a result. Concerning jobs, I don’t want my economy helped in any way by what is demonstrably an Apartheid state. As for Amnesty International, just go their site and see how much they have in fact had to say against abuses in countries about which you allege they are relatively silent.

      Sorry, but I just don’t think appropriating land and having a US/European outpost in the Near East is bound to have a good outcome in either the long or short run, esp. when that outpost is designed to variously divide, suppress, and appropriate the resources of the less fortunate peoples of the region, be it for our benefit or that of our allies.

  • The Pretender-Caliph and Islamic History: The Truth about Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (8)
  • Ignore the Smears: Germany's Green Energy is 1/3 of its Power, Price Falling, Coal Down (5)
    • Negative electricity prices are a sign that electricity storage is not keeping up with generation. Battery fabrication has a long way to go if alternate sources ever really replace fossil fuels for all uses. Or is the future in hydrogen technology? That was a fad for a while but nobody talks about it anymore (it is energy storage, an alternative to batteries, not an energy source).

  • Mohammed Suliman's Twitter-Journal on Surviving Israel's War on Gaza (5)
    • But the diary of Anne Frank only became available years later.

      These tweets can be read NOW, within second of their being written amidst the bombs of Gaza. The world has no excuse. We cannot say we did not know. And yet the world watches, and turns away. Again.

  • From Kerry to Selena Gomez & Rihanna, Israel's Claims of Precision, Compassion are Dissed (29)
    • Another example of how the veil of denial about the Nakba distorts the dialogue of the conflict in Palestine. Efforts to accelerate the enlightenment and education about the Nakba should be expanded on an ongoing basis during this period of heightened interest and awareness.

    • I agree.

      As you say, for young people WWll is ancient history and what was one a sure-fire way to silence an opponent - the 'anti-semite' slur - will evoke no more than a shrug of the shoulders. Plus, as the power of the established West fades, and countries like Brazil and China come to the fore, Israel will no longer have such influence in the corridors of global power. This change will take years, even decades, but it's already happening.

      Also, Israel's just not 'cool' anymore. I think it was Max Blumenthal who wrote an article about some Zionist love fest back in the seventies, live on TV. That would never happen now. Israel has precisely zero soft power. All they have - in Western capitals - is money, and in the Middle East, violence. Both will only get you so far. Zionism is doomed.

    • The huge brothels under the Capital Dome and in the State Department in D. C. won't permit it.

    • Ronan Farrow and Joy Reid have been doing a damn good job at trying to accurately report what is going on in the conflict. Melissa Harris Perry that last three weeks has had Hillary Mann Leverett on with other guest to discuss the issue. Real efforts of sharing the facts on the ground. Today Rula Jebreal went off on MSNBC's Ronan Farrow talking about the media's decades long roll in inaccurately covering the conflict. Quite the truth teller. Daily Beast Eli Lake could not bring himself to tell the truth about this fact. That the MSM has been complicit with Israel's views for decades. The situation is clearly changing. What is with Senator (voted for the Iraq war) Feinstein (she should be investigated for her families profiting from the Iraq war) lecturing Putin about "taking responsibility" and "manning up" for heavens sake. This woman is partially responsible for going along with the invasion of Iraq and she has the arrogance to bring up deaths of innocents. Aye yi yi. No one in the MSM actually showing accurate maps of the West Bank always showing it as one contiguous piece of land. Never talk about Palestinians right to protect themselves or their land.

    • Also a CNN reporter was removed when she tweeted that she was threatened by a bunch of Israeli guys who were cheering missiles on Gaza and who said they would bomb her car if she said anything wrong. She ended off calling them scum.

      link to politico.com

    • Here's what's happened after the earlier gutsy NBC story.

      NBC inexplicably tried to remove the reporter who witnessed the Israeli shelling of the boys at the beach.

      Their initial excuse was it was 'unsafe', at the same time were sending in another unqualified reporter.

      They reversed the decision. Its unknown whether it was social media pressure or other political pressure for the earlier decision.

      This is the environment. At least it didn't totally end on a bad note.

      link to dailykos.com

      link to mondoweiss.net

  • Mohammed Suliman's Twitter-Journal on Surviving Israel's War on Gaza (5)
  • What Has $121,000,000,000 US Aid to Israel Really Bought? (13)
    • It's even more of a slap in the face to US citizens when you consider that every US taxpayer dollar given to Israel frees up an Israeli taxpayer dollar that can then be spent giving Israeli citizens universal healthcare, topnotch education, improved infrastructure, etc. It's criminal IMO,

  • Obama needs Europe in responding to MH17 Crash, but NSA Spying a Bar (22)
    • Both sides have the same missiles but the Ukrainian govt. would have no reason to shoot down any plane. The separatists don't have aircraft and government forces couldn't possibly fire without knowing the plane was civilian UNLESS it was a FALSE FLAG OPERATION.

      Circumstantial evidence is pointing LOUDLY at Putin and the separatists being the guilty parties. Why didn't they allow investigators access to the crash sire on the first day?

  • Mohammed Suliman's Twitter-Journal on Surviving Israel's War on Gaza (5)
    • This is depressing.
      The cruelty and blatant evil as the world's pro-Israel/anti-Palestine govts cheer leads the massacre.

  • From Kerry to Selena Gomez & Rihanna, Israel's Claims of Precision, Compassion are Dissed (29)
    • "Kerry’s exasperation with Israeli brutality is shared around the world, though, as with Kerry, most public figures won’t express it in the open." -J. Cole

      Why not is the question begging to be answered.

    • For a truly cringe-worthy experience, Google "Maher Netanyahu" for his lap-dog interviews of Netanyahu.

    • This is one 'baby boomer' who couldn't be more appalled by the savagery of Israel's onslaught. I'm also Jewish, and sometime feel ashamed for my co-religionists, though I know there are fair and sympathetic ones among them. What bothers me the most is that the MSM here and the politicians actually think this all started with Hamas' rockets, not with 'administrative' detentions (and killings), and a brutal siege of Gaza and the theft of Palestinian land and water, etc, etc ad nauseam. Even in Israel there's more balance in the media and in the body politic.

  • Obama needs Europe in responding to MH17 Crash, but NSA Spying a Bar (22)
    • You are to be commended for following more than the "fake mass media news." Those of us with whom you disagree do likewise.

      Aside from the "Maine" episode of 1998, your examples lack any evidence and appear to be woven from whole cloth without substance. Malaysian Airlines, like many others, routinely used the air corridor over Ukraine. There is clear evidence of SA-11 launchers returning to Russian territory, there is no CIA report "suggesting" that those who fired the SA-11 were Ukrainian central government soldiers, nor is there evidence that KAL-007 was on a "surveillance mission."

      You will have to do better than that to be taken seriously.

  • What Has $121,000,000,000 US Aid to Israel Really Bought? (13)
    • I have read on other sites that the total $233 billion of US tax dollars to Israel. The main thing this money has bought is 66 years of conflict, growing terrorism and fundamentalism among 25% of the world that is muslim. That money would have been better spent on US roads, US schools, US education, US technology. I heard that Israel, a country with more millionaires per capita than the US, gets something like $14,000 per citizen per year from the US aid. If US aid and diplomatic immunity were pulled, the Israelis would be forced to find an honest peace based on international law rather than the law of the Merkava tank and F16

  • From Kerry to Selena Gomez & Rihanna, Israel's Claims of Precision, Compassion are Dissed (29)
  • What Has $121,000,000,000 US Aid to Israel Really Bought? (13)
    • Not JUST tax deductions, a whole raft of favored trading incentive serving US businesses... Just in case you wonder how US supermarkets (locally Trader Joes, where margin IS the deciding factor in what gets stocked, as an example) have shelves full of Israeli food products... PRODUCE and other items, that somehow could be competitive with produce from your own state and locality.

      But to answer the question "What has US aid really bought?

      A front-line heavily armed client state in a regional extractive resource war.

      My departed father, who smuggled guns to Israel in the late 40s and later the ADL regional coordinator for the southeast US until his death, undoubtedly did NOT expect that outcome. He was blinded, in my estimation, by loyalty to the religion, which he was NEVER a scholar of (when my mother found out he was lecturing at UNC-Asheville on Jewish Studies she laughed out loud and said: "Your father never had a religious bone in his body!), American Exceptionalism (the government supports it so it must be right), and crass consumerism of the products that ongoing-but-not-always-hot extractive resource war garnered for America, with no thought as to the long term consequences or moral/ethical implications of the methods used.

    • Actually, there is one other country that could use that aid money to create jobs - the United States.

    • Not at all

  • Wagging the Dog: Gaza & MH17 Plane Deaths Stem from Netanyahu, Putin, Search for Popularity (3)
    • History has shown that the Zionists apparently believe they can murder their way to success. That is reminiscent of a Chicago gangster called "Schemer" Drucci who thought he could become President of the United States merely by assassinating his opponents. That didn't work, either.

  • From Kerry to Selena Gomez & Rihanna, Israel's Claims of Precision, Compassion are Dissed (29)
    • You never can tell if these things are for real or from The Onion, but HUffington Post is reporting this ludicrous tweet from the IDF: link to huffingtonpost.co.uk

    • How deeply the US is ensnared in this ineluctable danse macabre with Israel was perhaps best revealed on Real Time with Bill Maher this past Friday. He and his panel took the opportunity of the events of the past few weeks to go on a bigoted screed against Arabs and Islam. The conversation on this show spear-headed by this alleged bane of the conservative media may as well have been a meeting of AIPAC.

      What was really despicable was the ahistorical nature of the conversation, which was devoted in no small part to dumping the blame on Hamas, with no historical context (Nakba, what Nakba?), and certainly no discussion about the iron grip Israel has imposed on Gaza. I suppose if my land were appropriated, my medical services shut down, my means of livelihood unjustly removed, my entire community effectively reduced to a prison-like existence, and – the last straw - my children periodically killed in cold blood, that I’d be launching a few rockets too. What really made my blood boil was the panegyric to Israel about how industrious and “kick-ass” it was, as though it had achieved that on its own without vast amounts of assistance from the US in terms of money and weapons – not to mention manpower in its army in the form of young people who hold dual citizenship.

      But we don’t get that from Maher – instead he gets to add Islamophobe to his proudly won title of misogynist. And this is what passes for Liberal today. Gosh, I wonder why they hate us so much?

    • We might all hope that your prognosis for a better future proves to be true, but I wouldn't bet on it. Shakespeare had Hamlet say, "Frailty, thy name is woman." It would have been more accurate if he had said, "Frailty, thy name is humankind." As long as the mainstream media are owned by supporters of Israel's right wing, there is little cause for optimism for future prospects.

    • One would get that impression if they only read the conservative Albuquerque Journal. It favors Republican causes across the board.

    • The Millennials have basically received little or no information on the Nakba and therefore are not familiar with the root cause of the conflict. The increased awareness of the Nakba through the efforts of activists and organizations throughout the world will appeal to the Millennials' higher regard for humanity.

    • And she is a university graduate. Clearly, U of NM didn't do much in moral enlightenment.

    • You always wonder where John Kerry the anti-Vietnam War activist went, who compared the US campaigns in Southeast Asia to the predations of the Mongols. It turns out he is still in there somewhere, just not allowed to appear before the cameras.

      John Kerry's body and mouth are obviously still around. The question is, "Where did his soul go?" Or, perhaps, "To whom did he sell his soul?"

  • What Has $121,000,000,000 US Aid to Israel Really Bought? (13)
    • Your video is highly slanted against Israel, U.S. aid to which is no where near half of all foreign aid. That's one lie.

      Most of the money provided to Israel comes back to the U.S. in the form of contracts (meaning JOBS) with American companies. Can't say that about any other country to which the U.S. provides foreign aid.

      Amnesty International and the United Nations are highly prejudiced against Israel so any opinion provided by either should be taken with a grain of salt. Neither of these august organizations ever makes serious comments about the actual "war crimes" perpetrated by the Palestinian Authority or Hamas against Israel. For that matter, neither has much to say about the war crimes committed by Syria and other Arab countries or about horrendous human rights abuses in Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia or Venezuela.

  • Mohammed Suliman's Twitter-Journal on Surviving Israel's War on Gaza (5)
  • From Kerry to Selena Gomez & Rihanna, Israel's Claims of Precision, Compassion are Dissed (29)
    • There was a report in today's (7/21) Albuquerque Journal from a graduate of the University of New Mexico who was vacationing in Israel. She gives a sympathetic portrayal of Israeli suffering in Tel Aviv: spending days at the beach, dancing in nightclubs full of people, watching the World Cup from sidewalk cafes. Oh, and sometimes warning sirens sound and Israeli jets fly over, which is so scary she has to sleep with her windows closed. "Civilian life has remained relatively regular," she notes and ends with the obligatory "I can't help but wonder what America's response would be if it were under attack."

      Clearly, she has no idea of what it means to be "under attack."

    • Pray for Gaza! and hope someone hears it.

  • Gaza: Netanyahu, Goaded by Israeli Far Right, Risks Breaking Int'l Law (7)
    • No significance in breaking international law at all. The US will always protect Israel, both at the UN and through pressure on allies. The US protects a state which conquered territory in a pre-emptive war, which occupies the territory without granting citizenship, denies the right to return, plants settlements to squeeze out the landowners and bombs the unhappy occupied masses. Perhaps the ultimate cynic Putin can now agree with the US it that this is an acceptable policy and apply the same tactics to Ukraine - for a start.

  • Mosul w/out Christians for First time in 1,900 Years as Radical Fundamentalists Threaten Minorities (11)
  • What Has $121,000,000,000 US Aid to Israel Really Bought? (13)
    • You forgot that the US allows tax exemptions for private donations to Israel - thus we lose tax revenue and help encourage financial support of Israel - Israel is the only such country which has this benefit. You also forgot that when Israel borrows money from us, they never have to pay it back - I think this is called the Cranston Amendment.

  • Obama needs Europe in responding to MH17 Crash, but NSA Spying a Bar (22)
    • I follow more than the fake mass media "news" and note that:
      1. MH17 normally routes elsewhere and this flight was diverted to the war zone, and Kiev is concealing the ATC records.
      2. Both sides are said to have the same missiles, US has failed to find launchers claimed to be "going back to Russia," and a CIA report of satellite evidence suggests that soldiers at the battery which fired seem to be in Kiev uniforms.
      Don't forget that US media also claimed that the Maine was blown up by Spain in 1898 (it had a coal bunker explosion), refused to report the US military cargo on the Lusitania in 1915, and neglected to inform us that KA flight "007" was shot down over USSR missile bases on a surveillance mission.

      So much for US media information.

  • From Kerry to Selena Gomez & Rihanna, Israel's Claims of Precision, Compassion are Dissed (29)
    • Israel has a demographic problem around he world. A large majority of the people that have any sympathy for Israel are (naturally) dying off. As the US and European "boomers" die off, they will be replaced by humans that view WW2, the Holocaust and the establishment of Israel as ancient history. All this next generation has lived with is constant Israeli war and they are long ago tired of it. As the older generation dies off, Israel will be dealing with people that will view Israel as a inhumane aggressor and will simply ignore the old slur of "antisemitism." As more and more people publicly defy Israel, the "antisemitism" slur will become worthless and Israel will not be able to shut down discussion like they have in the past. As more discussion takes place, Israel will look worse and worse..

      The coming generations are NOT going to tolerate Israel, causing Israel to have a very bad future.

  • Wagging the Dog: Gaza & MH17 Plane Deaths Stem from Netanyahu, Putin, Search for Popularity (3)
    • I am increasingly pessimistic about Israel having any future what so ever. There does not seem to be anyone in Israel with a brain capable of thinking more than 32 seconds into the future. Every one of the assumptions about the world and the future that Israelis appear to be making, are completely invalid and and any actions based on those invalid assumptions will lead to disaster.

      - The IDF can (and will) be defeated. exactly ZERO military organizations over the last 10,000 years has remained undefeated.

      - The Israeli assumptions about themselves and their opponents completely ignores Sun Tzu's admonition that over-estimating yourself and under-estimating your opponent will ALWAYS lead to failure.

      - Eventually the USA will RUN away from Israel, just as the USA has thrown every "partner" in the last 200 years under the coal wagon.

      - Israel does not have enough resources (cannon fodder, material and wealth) to last very long without USA help.

      - When the Israel war gets too hot, at least a third and possibly more than half, of the Israelis will simply do the same thing humans have done for 10,000 years - FLEE the war zone, which will further decrease Israelis availability of canon fodder.

      - Israel will NOT get any help from any other country, no matter how delusionally they think China, Russia or whoever will help. Israel has NOTHING that China, Russia or any other country would find of value.

      Basically Israel is isolating itself and creating more enemies every hour. One of these days those enemies will be much more powerful than Israel, then what?

      "Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate" - Thomas Jones (1892 - 1969) - So true, yet Israelis never learn.

      Do Israelis even care about their future?

  • Falluja and Gaza: Why Counter-Terrorism fails when the Problem is Political (21)
    • Cole's article is well researched. He took the time to study history. He was never interrupted by anyone firing rockets at his house.

  • Obama needs Europe in responding to MH17 Crash, but NSA Spying a Bar (22)
    • Did Vladimir Putin give the separatists this sophisticated missile without making sure they could not play cowboy and shoot down a civilian aircraft by mistake?

      It's looking like that's what actually happened. These separatists were playing cowboy and pulled the trigger without taking the time to find out what kind of plane they were bringing down. Now, they are delaying the investigation and destroying key evidence while Vladimir Putin is nowhere to be found.

  • Wagging the Dog: Gaza & MH17 Plane Deaths Stem from Netanyahu, Putin, Search for Popularity (3)
    • Russia vs Ukraine, well, I have read items describing how NATO has been conniving with Ukrainian puppets in order to establish NATO/US military bases in the Ukraine and particularly the Crimea. So it may be understandable why Russia would regard this as unacceptable and take counter measures. Not that this excuses the pro-Russia rebels for firing on a civilian aircraft, even though this was probably a ghastly mistake rather than a deliberate act of terrorism. The Americans shot down an Iranian airliner in 1988 and offered similar excuses, so methinks the US doth protest a bit too much in this regard, esp. given the thousands of civilian deaths American gunfire, drones, and bombs have created since 2001. There are no clean hands here. And "blowback" pretty aptly describes the results of American policies to arm an Islamic fundamentalist resistance to the Soviets in Afghanistan, doesn't it?

  • Falluja and Gaza: Why Counter-Terrorism fails when the Problem is Political (21)
    • There is also the fact of how much ego our putative leadership has tied up in their own exceptionalism. The think they are the masters of their particular domain and are constantly stroked by supplicants to think that way. It's only natural, as well, that being ambitious people, they are constantly eyeing their immediate organizational competition and alliances within their particular milieu. This is how life works, and once on the international stage, ALL these people by nature are going to look at events almost exclusively in terms of personality match-ups. And it only follows that if you can knock off a fraction of those in that notorious deck of Iraqi playing cards, the problem will be largely solved, as the post alluded.

      The thing also is that "leaders" in relatively developed organizations are really managers, whose skill is navigating their system. Real leadership is a creative out-in-front deal, and the distinction is enormously critical. When the israelis and the US knock off managers they create the chaos and clear the way when genuinely powerful and creative leaders to rise-up from obscurity, who will be far, far from manageable.

  • Noise and Silence in Israel/Palestine Today (1)
  • "Evacuate Where? Have you Seen [how teeny] Gaza is?" - Jon Stewart (3)
  • Mosul w/out Christians for First time in 1,900 Years as Radical Fundamentalists Threaten Minorities (11)
    • No matter what the conflict, Christians have been continuously caught in the crossfire. The Western World is largely unaware that they are turning a blind eye to a group of people who largely helped found and form their religion. How can these Christians ever return to a country that has turned their back on them as they have been bruised and battered for conflicts that truly have nothing to do with them?

  • Falluja and Gaza: Why Counter-Terrorism fails when the Problem is Political (21)
    • You raise some fair points. I'd offer two suggestions. First, there are bigots on all sides of these conflicts, and they will use facts that suit them. So there will indeed be anti-Semites who will use some facts about Jewish history to make their case. But that does not invalidate those facts. Second, Israel's defenders have long accused any criticism of being anti-Semitic, and have managed to have many intelligent voices effectively sidelined (e.g. Noam Chomsky). I suggest people read these sources and think for themselves. The fact that such fundamental facts as these are entirely missing from America's mainstream discussion of a major life and death issue speaks volumes about the power of the campaign to bury these facts.

  • Mosul w/out Christians for First time in 1,900 Years as Radical Fundamentalists Threaten Minorities (11)
    • With all due respect, Omer, God has noting do with it as man has free will. The IS thugs are just a mean and nasty criminal enterprise who know how to fight, and who have taken advantage of "the void" that was created by the warring political/religious factions in Syria and Iraq. They are just using a religion as a vehicle to facilitate their enterprise. One wonders what their endgame is since they keep killing and/or extraditing the peoples in the areas under their control?

  • Gaza: The Israeli Army's Unlawful Targeting Practices are bad for Children (5)
    • The article still assumes that "fighters" are allowed to be targeted despite the fact that they do not have an official army, defence forces, imported high tech weapons from the USA, and in international law are permitted to defend themselves against illlegal occupation or invasion. Israel has no legal right to claim victimhood when it goads reponses by its constant attacks, then makes any incident a pretext for further disproportionate violence.
      "self defense" must apply to all Palestinians, not just children

  • Mosul w/out Christians for First time in 1,900 Years as Radical Fundamentalists Threaten Minorities (11)
    • I was familiar with a number of Chaldean-rite Christians from Mosul, which is a city near the ancient ruins of Nineveh.

      They had sustained persecution since the fall of the Baathists in 2003 and many had feared to leave their homes since that time. Many emigrated to Germany or the U.S. following the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991.

      The Chaldean-rite Christians of Mosul - due to their link to Nineveh - had established an annual holiday three-day fast to honor the biblical visit of the Old Testament prophet Jonah to to Nineveh.

  • Gaza meets the New Politics of the Middle East: "Islamic State," Egypt, Turkey (8)
    • Well, Tayyip seems to think he can play last Muslim brother standing here, order the colonialists out,* and expect to be protected by those colonialists when the excrement hits the fan. At least, that's how it works in Professor Davutoglu's class. (Yavuz Baydar discusses this essay in his Today's Zaman column today.)

      *Turkey is not a colonizer, you see, it's all Ottoman Property, RTE Sole Owner and Proprietor

  • Dodging Israeli Bombs in Gaza: A Personal Journal of Survival (1)
    • Seems it would be a good idea to allow at least the children to hide in the tunnels ,at least at night....dreadful situation ...

  • Mosul w/out Christians for First time in 1,900 Years as Radical Fundamentalists Threaten Minorities (11)
    • The Christian and other minority residents of Mosul are probably not going to wait to find out if ISIS is or is not in control, who have a strong presence regardless.

      Iraqi Sunni insurgent groups, like the Baathists or Sunni tribal heads, allied with the local and foreign Sunni fundamentalist radicals and a good deal of the disgruntled Sunni Muslim population in those areas had welcomed them, or at least were reluctant to resist them initially...what did they think was going to happen by accepting extremists as their own?

      Those claims by some Sunni residents "they're not so bad, we're better off and safer now, they won't treat any Iraqi, including Christians, differently", or claims Iraqi Sunni rebel militant or political leaders "We're in control, lead and run the show, ISIS are a small part of the resistance who are helping us, its not just a Sunni revolution, but an Iraqi one" have now probably gone mute.

      At least the Sunni tribes around Tikrit are putting up a fight, despite the Shia-led Iraqi army's pathetic failure. But they face being squeezed in as IS destroys routes around the area making movement and support difficult.

      Let's hope all the Iraqis do finally halt ISIS's Taliban like takeover and take back the territory lost.

  • Obama needs Europe in responding to MH17 Crash, but NSA Spying a Bar (22)
    • WSJ is asking some who-knew-what-when questions.
      Ukraine Knew of Separatists' Air-Defense Capabilities, Say Officials
      Claims Raise Questions of Why Ukraine Failed to Close Airspace
      KIEV—Ukraine intelligence officials said they knew three days before the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that rebels in the east of the country possessed sophisticated air-defense systems capable of felling a jetliner at altitudes in excess of where the Boeing 777 was flying.

      The disclosure deepens the mystery of why Ukrainian aviation officials failed to entirely close off the airspace in the Donetsk region, where the jet was flying went it was shot down, killing all 298 people on board.

      Next question: what did the "West" know and when.

  • Border Wars in the Homeland "Stop Stepping on the Pictures" (4)
    • I think the time has come for people to seriously consider the replacement of police forces with new kinds of public law enforcement institutions. Representing the real people, the poor, not commuting henchmen who love the rich. Unfortunately the privatizers and militia racists will move in exactly the wrong direction.

      The mayor of New Haven once cited "suburban adventurers" on his police force as part of the problem of abuse of his minority population. We firstly need police to be required to live in the neighborhoods that they bully and dominate. Meaning, they need to be recruited from the neighborhood and responsible to some sort of council of residents. We must put an end to the sense of military occupation that guarantees that young males in slums will grow up on the wrong end of the Stanford Prison Experiment, with the corresponding attitudes that ensure the continued state of racial cold war.

  • Obama needs Europe in responding to MH17 Crash, but NSA Spying a Bar (22)
    • We should have dissolved NATO in 1991. It should have been Europe's business to defend itself from whatever arose from the ruins in Russia. Instead we tried to expand NATO and guaranteed the Russian people would turn to a strongman to stem the tide of humiliation and Wall Street rapine.

      If we're willing to demand that our government respects the will of Europe's voters - not just in one or two gerrymandered neocon states - then there's a way out of this. Europe must abandon the pathology of "austerity" and start taxing its tycoons and paying its people to build their own military, fully independent of the Pentagon. Which has not existed in 60 years. I'm proposing that all of Europe adopt deGaulle's stance of having a sovereign foreign policy, kick out US bases and aircraft, and stop treating their entire national militaries as supplements on Pentagon's order of battle.

      That means it's up to them how to deal with Putin, war or peace. DeGaulle's handful of nukes aimed at Moscow may have been all the deterrent the West ever needed, and surely Germany, France and the UK together can build such a deterrent now. As for the rest of the world, the Communists' power projection turned out to be laughable and a narrow-minded nationalist like Putin can't even get past Syria.

  • Falluja and Gaza: Why Counter-Terrorism fails when the Problem is Political (21)
    • " US security analysts wrote me at the time saying that killing leaders was crucial, because leadership skills are rare and leaders are hard to replace."

      That's the crucial error that most people, particularly people who are associated with government, the military and academics make. Leaders are NOT "difficult to replace" --- but a key aspect of being a successful leader is to create that illusion.

      In fact, almost every major war and political event can be primarily analyzed in terms of strategic elements. WWII involved the obvious candidates --- there was no "Ethopia makes a run for it" or "The Chilean offensive". Thus, it's trivial to show that if you have the right community with the right tools, the right leader can be invented.

      But the incorrect belief is a huge problem, leading to strategic mistakes. Instead of minimizing the damage from objectively emerging communities, the damage is maximized by focusing on the "leadership" rather than on the community that is creating them.

      But it's hopeless to convince people that they aren't the end-all and be-all --- hell, the communists kept on falling into this illusion, against their ideological commitments. Even the religious will think about their prophets rather than their gods...

  • Obama needs Europe in responding to MH17 Crash, but NSA Spying a Bar (22)
    • You're right, but the way that democracy interferes with diplomacy makes it impossible that things will be done your way. Complex arguments don't sway publics - either they cave in to a faction expressing a simple emotion, belligerence or cowardice, or they put their faith in a leader whose complex maneuverings they trust without understanding.

      I wish I knew of an alternative to that, but I've given up expecting voters to understand a damn thing about the outside world when they want to believe that Latin American kids are Moslem terrorists carrying the Ebola virus.

    • Rogue states? Sounds like Russia has rejoined the ranks of historical great powers, all of whom have committed countless horrible crimes since the rise of the West 500 years ago.

      Have you forgotten that Iranian airliner full of civilians the US Navy shot down 25 years ago? What worthy cause were we there supporting at the time? Saddam Hussein?

      Or the way we rewarded Suharto's new dictatorship in Indonesia with an alliance after it murdered half a million Chinese and leftists in 1965-66? And went on to murder hundreds of thousands more in several anti-separatist wars?

      That's normal great power behavior. To be a rogue state, you have to threaten wars without being of use to the global capitalist economy. China and Russia are too important to ostracize with that economy still in danger of collapsing.

  • The Colbert Report: "Questionable Compassion for Child Immigrants" (1)
    • Conservatives, especially Southerners, got burned badly in the '60s by being seen as bullies supporting the beating of MLK's non-violent protestors, and baby-killers for supporting the war on Vietnam. They learned the self-victimization game quickly. Now they are full of compassion for everyone who they want to deprive of government aid and protection - the pregnant women that they logically imply are murderers, the native Americans they say were victims of the Federal government (not the greedy settlers who voted for that government), the blacks they say are living on a "welfare plantation" because getting a tiny AFDC check is so much like being beaten and paid nothing to work. But most of all, they trumpet themselves as victims of equality and power-sharing, and embrace fetuses, Israelis, crime victims, white men who were cheated out of jobs by "them", as their fellow wretched of the earth. Implying that the billions of humans and millions of Americans worse off than them are really inferior and will deserve what they get once we go back to the 18th century where we all belong, free to starve if the eternally infallible private property system so decrees.

  • Mosul w/out Christians for First time in 1,900 Years as Radical Fundamentalists Threaten Minorities (11)
    • Juan,

      Thanks for posting this.

      Regarding ousting (un)Islamic State, I feel that the most moral policy is to provide massive support to the Syrian moderates.

      The combination of the Iraq army acting in Iraq and the Syrian moderates acting in Syria along with disgust of the (un)Islamic State from the Sunni population in Iraq and Syria may be too much for the small numbers of this brutal organization.

      And helping the moderate Syrians will help them overcome the torturing Assad regime which is so bloodthirsty to remain in dictatorial control, that some 170,000 Syrians have died thus far.

      As a practicing Muslim, I am outraged about the ultimatums made to the Christian community and for them to then leave their home and land.

      I am not a scholar of Islam but I know that there are multiple commands in the Qur'an for Muslims to do and enjoin the "ma'ruf."

      Although I am not an Arab, my understanding is that mar'uf has meanings of what is universally accepted as good and right.

      Regarding the jizya, maybe it was considered normative in the far past for outlying communities to pay some amount to formally demonstrate recognition of the new religious/ethnic group that has taken over the geographical area and maybe also as to compensate from having to provide any men for protecting the state and not needing to pay any tax such as zakat for helping those in poverty.

      However, I would assume that God would want Muslims to calibrate what is ma'ruf regarding political and economic understandings of peoples within the context of time and place.

      So a community may not feel threatened 1400 years ago by having to pay some amount to the new authorities but communities of today would feel threatened.

      I am not making any "fatwa" because I am not a scholar but I do know that Muslim rulers are supposed to provide fairness, security and prosperity to all they are ruling, and thus not of course not to provide the opposite policy of threatening ultimatums.

      So for this criminal led organization to not be sensitive to others but rather threatening and brutal is embarrassing for Muslims.

      Although not confirmed yet, if any damage was done to an ancient church in Mosul, it shows that the (un)Islamic State is in violation of 22(39-41) of the Qur'an which is pasted below because Muslims are supposed to protect churches...and also in violation of the beginning of this passage which indicates that Muslims should help to protect everyone's homes and thus not the opposite of threatening them.

      In fact verse indicates that Muslims should be willing to fight to protect all houses of worship including monasteries, churches, and synagogues. And verse 41 again uses the word ma'ruf (translated as what is considered "right."

      "Permission [to fight] has been given to those who are being fought, because they were wronged. And indeed, God is competent to give them victory.

      [They are] those who have been evicted from their homes without right - only because they say, "Our Lord is God." And were it not that Allah checks the people, some by means of others, there would have been demolished monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which the name of Allah is much mentioned. And Allah will surely support those who support Him. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might.

      [And they are] those who, if We give them authority in the land, establish prayer and give zakah and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. And to God belongs the outcome of [all] matters."

  • Gaza: The Israeli Army's Unlawful Targeting Practices are bad for Children (5)
    • Joey Ayoub has, sadly, raised a very clear issue. Many political and religious figures in Israel have characterized non-Jews as "vermin," and said that killing them is not murder. There is no reason to think that the IDF has no soldiers who share these views. And HRW is trying to pretend that this assault on an open-air prison can be conducted lawfully, if Israel's allies (read, the US) would just tell the Israeli military to shape up.