Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Free at last, POTUS goes from Mild to Red Hot Contempt

In view of Jeffry Goldberg's recent article:" The Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations Is Officially Here

The Obama administration's anger is "red-hot" over Israel's settlement policies, and the Netanyahu government openly expresses contempt for Obama's understanding of the Middle East. Profound changes in the relationship may be coming."
I recalled a post I'd written in  2008.  Read this and tell me how wrong it was to have grave doubts about America's "first Jewish president":

And for those who keep referring to his speech to AIPAC, let me draw your attention to this little story from Ali Abunimah, from "The Electronic intifada". By Abunimah's own testimonial, this is what Obama said to him in

"the winter of 2004 at a gathering in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. He was in the midst of a primary campaign to secure the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate seat he now occupies.

As he came in from the cold and took off his coat, I went up to greet him. He responded warmly, and volunteered, "Hey, I'm sorry I haven't said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I'm hoping when things calm down I can be more up front." He referred to my activism, including columns I was contributing to the The Chicago Tribune critical of Israeli and US policy, "Keep up the good work!"

Does it need translation? Isn't Obama practically saying that he cannot reveal his genuine sentiments about the Palestinians because he is in a campaign to get elected? What remains unsaid but pretty clear is that as long as he needs to court the Jewish voice, he cannot be "upfront" about his own position.

As Abunimah himself helpfully adds later in the article:

... given his historically close relations to Palestinian-Americans, Obama's about-face is not surprising. He is merely doing what he thinks is necessary to get elected and he will continue doing it as long as it keeps him in power. Palestinian-Americans are in the same position as civil libertarians who watched with dismay as Obama voted to reauthorize the USA Patriot Act, or immigrant rights advocates who were horrified as he voted in favor of a Republican bill to authorize the construction of a 700-mile fence on the border with Mexico.

Only if enough people know what Obama and his competitors stand for, and organize to compel them to pay attention to their concerns can there be any hope of altering the disastrous course of US policy in the Middle East. It is at best a very long-term project that cannot substitute for support for the growing campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions needed to hold Israel accountable for its escalating violence and solidifying apartheid.

A quick tour of the rabid anti-Israel Left blogs and media outlets can reveal some other telling quotes which suggest Obama's so-called staunch support of Israel is merely a convenient pose. Like this quote from an article by Joshua Frank, for example:

Less than two weeks after Obama gloated to AIPAC about his love for Israel, he unexpectedly admitted the truth while campaigning in Iowa recently. "[N]obody is suffering more than the Palestinian people..." said Obama, "the Israel government must make difficult concessions for the peace process to restart..."

So we have it on the best of the Indecent Lefty's authority that when Obama says

"[N]obody is suffering more than the Palestinian people..."

(Really? Not even the genocided people of Darfur? Not even genuinely starving, AIDS victim kids in Africa? Not even persecuted women in Pakistan and Iran? Not even the residents of Sderot, with the daily barrage of Qassams being lobbed at their children, by the very people who suffer most in the world ???)  he is "unexpectedly admit[ting] the truth".

Shades of Carter, Tutu.. etc etc..

Can this be a coincidence, when Obama's choice of Foreign Policy expert includes "Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, who says that Obama offers “a new definition of America's role in the world.” (Here)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Comment trail:

A Sane Face on an Old Insanity

  • Avatar
    "Justice [Aristotle] said, consists in treating equals equally and unequals unequally, but in proportion to their relevant differences. This involves, first, the idea of impartiality ... Impartiality implies a kind of equality - not that all cases should be treated alike but that the onus rests on whoever would treat them differently to distinguish them in relevant ways .... That is what is really meant by the right to equal consideration-to be treated alike unless relevant differences have been proved." (Stanley Benn, Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

    Cannot help but note how the ferocious boycotters in the comments pounce on the author for laying out with simple, rational arguments the black hole at the centre of their supposedly 'pro-Palestinian' advocacy. There is no light to be had from them. They will never understand why something that feels so intuitively just to them is actually another dot in a long tradition of Jew-loathing (there, I said it!)

    The principle to be extracted from the quote about justice, equality and onus, is very simple: If you single out Israel for special treatment (BDS) you need to be able to explain in simple, rational arguments why. Why Israel, only Israel and none but Israel, deserves to have a world-wide movement of millions (billions, actually, if you consider the entire Muslim world is automatically in boycott of the Jewish state) people who feel it is necessary to boycott and suffocate it. There must be furnished one cogent argument as to why only Israel is boycotted. The fact that it feels right to the variegated boycotter does not meet the threshold of reason,

    Klinghoffer: A Night At The Opera

    "the opera may portray the murderers in a more sympathetic light than many might prefer,"

    "when it comes to Kissinger, Adams and Goodman turn him into a clownish villain."
    In an interview for the Guardian, Goodman says:

    "This, she argues, was her mistake: to depict terrorists as human beings and their victims as flawed. In one particularly caustic attack in the New York Times in 2001, Richard Taruskin denounced the opera for "romanticising terrorists". Taruskin noted that Adams had said the opera owed its structure to Bach's Passions.But in Bach's Passions, argued Taruskin, every time Jesus is heard, an aureole of violins and violas gives Christ the musical equivalent of
    a halo. Klinghoffer has no such halo, while the Palestinian choruses are accompanied by the most beautiful music in the opera.

    What upset Taruskin was giving beautiful music to terrorists," snaps Goodman. "They have to sing ugly music"

    So these two librettos sprang from the same mind and the flaws you have noted (in the quotes I provided) are also not unconnected. The same mind that decided to clownize Kissinger, a Jew with a German name, lionized Palestinian terrorists who killed a Jew with a German name.
    This cannot be a coincidence.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hummus, hummus 
everywhere ...  

Prof. As'ad AbuKhalil gets up in the morning and has hummus on his mind. And Israel is never far from his mind. So the two subjects somehow collide in that highly intellectual and sophisticated mind of his, and, presto, a news item is manufactured for his "Angry Arab News Service" (the only news fit to read by the fabled Arab street). As usual, whenever Israel is mentioned, it is a post dripping with venom:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hummus and Israel     

It occurred to me that Israel only recently started to claim that Hummus is an Israeli dish. In the Israeli media and (stolen) "culture", there were no references about the Hummus craze until relatively recently the 1980s.  Yet, I grew up with Hummus (and "ful", fava beans) stores all over the cities and towns of the Lebanon.  So how is that explained? Is there a divine explanation for this one too?

I remember growing up in Israel where felafel and hummus stands were to be found at every street corner.  You don't have to take my word for it. Here is Yotam Ottolenghi's own memory of it:

"both chefs got in plenty of trouble as kids for their love of a street-fresh falafel sandwich on the way home from school. Ottolenghi recalls trying to resist temptation:
"You know you shouldn't buy yourself falafel in a pita because you're going to have
lunch served in five minutes, but you really, really must have it. ... You arrive back home, you're so full, your shirt is covered with tahini sauce, it's been dripping all over you ... and we literally had the same experiences, the angry mother, the falafel, the whole thing is so similar in many ways, and we were really living in two separate cultures."

AbuKhalil likes to pretend, I daresay, that all Israelis are of the gefiltefish eating variety. The fact that more than 50% of Israelis are refugees from Arab lands* doesn't jive with his favourite narratives about European colonization.

And "... hummus ... is, of course, an Arab dish that has its variations all over the wider region from Persia to Greece, adopted by the Israelis as one of their national treasures and turned into an obsession."

 AbuKhalil doesn't mind Persian hummus, Greek hummus, Romanian hummus, only Israeli hummus gets his goat! Hummus made by Israeli hands is haram! Why? Need we pry any deeper into that hate-corroded soul for a plausible answer? For the same reason he conveniently forgets that 50%++ of Israeli Jews originate in Arab lands and when their parents and grandparents had arrived in Israel, they did not fall in love with the Yiddish cuisine but preferred to cook and eat the kind of foods they had eaten for many centuries. Somewhat like AbuKhalil himself who prefers to eat, in California of the US of A the foods he had eaten when he was growing up in Lebanon, things like hummus and fried eggplants, or whatever.

Can we suspect AbuKhalil of being racist for pretending Israelis are all white Ashkenazi colonizers who steal  "Palestinian" ownership of hummus? Or a hypocrite, for allowing himself what he denies to others?

From the self-proclaimed anarchist who says: "I don't like flags, and I don't like nationalisms, but...for Palestine and the Palestinians, anything and everything." this is par for the course.

The term 'hypocrite' fails to do justice to this person.


AbuKhalil to the rescue, providing a quote from Ottolenghi, here:
"Chickpeas have been around for thousands of years in the Middle East, says Israeli-born chef Yotam Ottolenghi. Some scholars even claim an Old Testament passage indicates that Jews ate hummus in Biblical times."
Now where is Hummus mentioned in the bible? Here, Ruth, chapter 2, verse 14:

And Boaz told her at the lunch break: Come here and share the bread and dip your pita in the chickpeas. So she sat with the other harvesters and he served her some of the cooked (roasted?) grains, and she ate her fill and even left some ...

ויאמר לה בעז לעת
האכל גשי הלם
ואכלת מן־הלחם
וטבלת פתך בחמץ
ותשב מצד הקוצרים
ויצבט־לה קלי
 ותאכל ותשבע ותתר׃

The Israeli author Meir Shalev explains the linguistic argument for hummus in the Bible.

Bottom line is important, making humus doesn't require great intelligence, it's not quantum theory:

And Professor Felix says that this ? [unclear] hamitz, a mixture of hamitz, is the hummus. And a mixture, it mean something like, like a porridge. Something which is soft, and, and you can...now we know that the plant hummus...himtza in Hebrew...

The chickpea?
...the chickpea was known here for about 4,000 years. The problem is whether our ancestors already knew how to mash it, and add some tahina, and olive oil, and garlic, and lemon, and salt, whatever, you know...the secret form-, formulas of, of hummus. Or maybe they et- [sic], ate it as, as the seed.

You know, maybe they burnt it in fire. Maybe they cooked it. We still cook it today, and eat it with black pepper and, and salt. It's very good.

And, and I feel that it's not such an ingenious unpredictable idea to, to mash the cooked hummus peas, and make it as a porridge, and eat it. We do the same with potatoes. We do the same with, with beans. This is something which is very easy to do.

Israeli hummus recipe:

1 cup dried chickpeas
1/4 cup tahina
1/2 cup lemon juice (or to taste)
2 cloves garlics (or to taste)
1 teaspoon salt
ground pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons pine nuts
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

Greek hummus recipe:

1 (15-ounce) can chick peas, drained
1 lemon
1 sprig fresh oregano, leaves chopped
A handful fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 rounded tablespoons tahini paste
Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup kalamata olives, well drained, coarsely chopped
1 sack pita chips, sea salt variety (recommended: Stacy's)
1/2 seedless cucumber, cut into sticks for dipping
A medium red pepper, seeded and cut into strips for dipping

Romanian humus recipe:

  • 1 Can White Kidney Bean
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Onions – Chopped
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • Salt & Pepper


* The mid-20th century  uprooting of Jews from the Middle East Arab countries was a traumatic event.  Entire communities were dislodged and removed from places where they had dwelt for centuries and even millennia.  Yet this drama remains recondite and often suppressed. There is a kind of collaborative effort at work suppressing the still deeply felt pain of this catastrophe. One reason for the silence is that Human rights organizations fear that recognizing  the mass removal  of Jews from Arab countries as the Arab-ethnic cleansing of Jews may jeopardize the status of Palestinian refugees who claim that they were ethnically cleansed from the land of Palestine with the creation of the state of Israel. (Une si longue présence : Comment le monde arabe a perdu ses juifs, 1947-1967)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Spinoza opines about Muslims in his Theological-political Treatise:

“In this the Turks have achieved the greatest measure of success. They hold even discussion of religion to be sinful, and with their mass of dogma they gain such a thorough hold on the individual’s judgment that they leave no room in the mind for the exercise of reason, or even the capacity to doubt.”

Turks in Spinoza's Europe would be generally understood as referring to Muslims since the Ottomans were the most influential Muslims in Europe at the time.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

John Kerry shares an understanding of the Middle East with Neo-Nazis: 

Wulfrick's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 6,124
Re: UK: Goldsmiths University Row As Holocaust Motion Voted Down Over 'Colonial' Fears

Stating the obvious:
We would not be having this problem with ISIS if the jews had not decided to poke the bear in his cave... and steal his cave off him. Palestine.

Either way you slice it, If ISIS is a false flag operation, they are still feeding on the fuel of the Palestinian occupation and genocide.
A "Holocaust" that won't be on the jews list.

So, as for Goldsmiths, the whole subject is completely toxic.
With jews not willing to accept any responsibility it makes it all a pointless exercise.

Friday, October 17, 2014

David Gergen's Displeasure with Honest and Correct Israeli Media

This is for the record:

U.N. School, Market Hit in Gaza; Dozens Reported Dead; Rocket Attacks on Israel From the Gaza Strip; U.S. Resupplies Israel with Ammunition; John Kerry Truce Bid Assailed; Ukraine Accuses Rebels of Laying Landmines Near MH17 Crash Site; Mapping the Wreckage from the MH17 Crash; House Votes to Sue President Obama
Aired July 30, 2014 - 21:00   ET

COOPER: Secretary of State John Kerry's work to broker a ceasefire in the Middle East has been met with strong criticism from the Israeli public where support for the war tops 85 percent in one recent poll. Critics include some columnist who say that Secretary Kerry's effort have been doing more harm than good.

Joining me now are CNN Senior Political Analyst David Gergen and Ari Shavit, Columnist for Haaretz newspaper and author of the new book "My Promise Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel."

Ari, thanks very much for being with us. I want to start by reading part of a recent column you wrote on Secretary Kerry. You said and I quote, "U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry ruined everything." And then you went on to say, "The Obama Administration proved once again that it is the best friend of its enemies, and the biggest enemy of it are friends. The man of peace from Massachusetts intercepted with his own hands the reasonable cease-fire that was within reach, and pushed both the Palestinian and the Israeli's toward an escalation that most of them did not want."

What exactly did Secretary Kerry do that in your opinion basically pushed the escalation?

ARI SHAVIT, COLUMNIST, HAARETZ: Anderson, let me start by saying with this terrible evening, a terrible day that we had. I'm a proud Israeli and I think Israel is right to defend itself. But I am horrified by the pictures that we've seen this evening. And my heart, my heart goes out to the innocent victims in Gaza and to so many Israelis or victims of this terrible tragedy.

Now, this has to do with what you asked me about. I belong to those Israelis or in the minority who do not want to see an escalation and do not want to see the Israeli army, God forbid, conquering Gaza. It's a difficult battle we have back home because 85 percent of Israelis want to move on. The right wing ministers are very aggressive. And it's a great battle to prevent further escalation that would lead to total catastrophe.

So, it is within this context that the moderate Israelis are looking for American leadership. And I think the few that these Israelis have is that there is a misreading of the map. The only way to stop this terrible carnage that we see today is to have assertive diplomacy building the alliance of the moderates that will lead to some sort of solution. The alliance of the moderates is the moderate Arabs mainly Egypt but also Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the Gulf countries and the moderate Palestinians lead by Mr. Abbas in Israel.

COOPER: And so you see John Kerry basically as having at one point though he supported the Egyptian process basically the next that within 24-hour period flipped over supporting a process that's supported by Turkey and cut it out? SHAVIT: Exactly. The tragedy and never mind the details. The tragedy, the specific tragedy, within the greater tragedy was that it was perceived. Never mind the details. It was perceived as if he is not giving the Egyptian option. This is not an Israeli but the Egyptian option enough support. I believe that if America will lead this coalition of moderates, this is the only way to end this terrible tragedy now and actually to have a kind of political solution that will give hope for the people of Gaza by giving them much more life and the (inaudible) prosperity while demilitarizing Gaza.

The only way to do it to prevent this horrible violence is this assertive diplomacy and a political, economic alliance between these ...


COOPER: I'm sorry. You don't believe John Kerry is giving that assertive alliance. I do want to bring in David Gergen.

David, what about that? Is that a fair assessment? And certainly it is the perception among many Israelis that John Kerry has done more harm than good here.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, there is a perception among many Israelis and, you know, it's a perception that is shared among some American columnist on this that Kerry purposely put on the table. The most recent one favored Hamas too much. And Ari's argument is that it led to the collapse of the middle and the extremist came to power and grew in power on both sides both in Gaza and Israel. And I respect Ari. His book here has got great reception in America.

But what is -- I'm sorry, what I can't understand, Anderson, and even here with Ari. Ari basically has wrote in his column, if there is more offensive, there is more blood, its going to be -- we should blame it on John Kerry. And A, I don't think that's fair. But B, I don't understand why Israelis are targeting John Kerry and brutalizing him the way they are from left and right with the government part of this. And in fact, they're making it so personal and making it almost impossible for America to play a leading role among moderates.

You know, America has been Israel's best friend. We stand up for Israel. Again, we just learned tonight, a moment ago, Anderson, in your show that Israel is asking us to resupply ammunition. Why then go after your best friend and humiliate him and brutalize him in the way he's being treated in the Israeli press and to a degree by the government?

COOPER: Ari, what about that?

SHAVIT: So, first of all, let me say where I stand. I'm the greatest supporter of that great alliance between your great democracy and our frontier democracy. I am deeply grateful for everything America has done for my country. And by way, I am sometimes more pro-American than many of my American friends. I think America saved the world in the second half and in the -- true, to 20th century. And I really pray that the America will go on leading the world into 21st century.

So, I'm grateful. I respect. I admire America. And by the way, I share totally Secretary Kerry's vision, values, ideals to hope for two-state solution. We are totally on the same page.

I think that what happens is that in times of crises when you see the catastrophes eminent and you try to prevent what we've seen now which is going on, which is so horrific throughout the country. You really try to -- in these sense, it's a cry of despair. So many moderate Arabs and moderate Israelis are actually want a new way that will turn the wish to end the violence into a realistic, assertive diplomacy that will be realistic.

So, if anyone is offended, I really understand it and I'm deeply sorry for that. That's not the idea. I really think that they align first of all as Israelis, America is saving us, America is supporting us, America created -- supported, I am done with this saving but America, there's no other country in the world where America is so admired and loved. This is really a debate within a family and within people and the countries and nations that I think loved each other very much.

COOPER: David, do you think ...

SHAVIT: I think that we as Israelis have the duty to be grateful. I hope that some Americans will listen to what their friends, their closest friends, in the Middle East had been saying to them for sometime.

COOPER: David, do you think it's gotten so personal that at this point John Kerry can no longer be a mediator here?

GERGEN: I worry about that. I think there is going to come a time, I hope sooner rather than later when we actually get a cease-fire. And at that point, it's going to be very important for United States to be at the table to help lead those negotiations and the man the president's going to want there is John Kerry. And if he's seen as such a lawsome (sic) figure and he's been so brutalized, I think it may -- I think it makes his job a lot harder. And I think to go to Ari's point which I support the general point that what we want to do is encourage bridges along the moderates and strengthen the moderates on both sides.

I think that's absolutely right. I don't think that the way he's been brutalized as a way to get there.

COOPER: Unfortunately, we ran out of time on this but Ari Shavit, I appreciate you being on. We would like to have you on again. You're a good voice to have and David Gergen as well. Thank you both very much.

GERGEN: Thank you.

SHAVIT: Thank you.

David Gergen asks: "Why then go after your best friend and humiliate him and brutalize him in the way he's being treated in the Israeli press and to a degree by the government?"

And one wonders how David Gergen is going to explicate the meaning of the words Israel's best friend  has been speaking and how exactly are Israelis supposed to embrace and trust such a very good friend, who sounds so much like an enemy:
"As I went around and met with people in the course of our discussions about the ISIL coalition," Kerry said, "the truth is we – there wasn't a leader I met with in the region who didn't raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt – and I see a lot of heads nodding – they had to respond to."

Monday, October 06, 2014

The strange case of Obama's problem with words
What is it with President Obama's problem with language? I remember the greatly missed Norm Geras puzzling over this issue as well. As in here, for example:

"I wouldn't want you to get the idea that I'm obsessive or anything - not that you possibly could get such an idea - but here is another FKATWOT update. If the three reports I'll be linking to in this post are to be believed, serious thought is being given by President Obama's national security team to the question of how to rename the war on terror (please forgive the crudity). In case you might be hoping to find out from them why it needs to be renamed, don't. It's the same bunch of irrelevancies as before. Like:

After all, "terror" or terrorism is a tactic, not a country or some other identifiable foe to be targeted, confronted or defeated.


Critics have long decried the use of the phrase "war on terror" on the grounds that terrorism is a tactic, not an identifiable enemy.

I have news for these guys: perceptive as they are in this matter, crime, drugs and poverty are also not countries or identifiable foes or enemies in the sense they intend, and yet metaphorical wars have been fought against all three. The president himself seems at a loss for a good reason for ditching the phrase. He is quoted as saying:

I think it is very important for us to recognize that we have a battle or a war against some terrorist organizations... But that those organizations aren't representative of a broader Arab community, Muslim community.

So for him it is a battle or a war, and against identifiable enemies at that, the 'interpreters' who preceded him here notwithstanding. But the terrorist organizations against whom this battle or war is being fought aren't to be thought of as representative of all Arabs or all Muslims. Indeed not. 'War on terror', however, doesn't say anything to the contrary, since what it says is, not 'Arabs', not 'Muslims', but 'terror'. I think I'll contact Obama's security team to suggest 'the struggle formerly known as "the war on terror"'. Meanwhile, in these words just quoted from the president we have the wherewithal for FKATWOT 9."

 These days we see another linguistic oddity from the change&hope President: his refusal to name, to provide a proper title, to the campaign against ISIS. This lacunae has some pundits (Not Peter Beinart, though) scratching their heads in befuddled mystification. What can it mean? Why the reluctance to define a project by a short and to-the-point name?

Obama, who seduced the entire world by the magic of his words when he ran a campaign to be elected or re-elected, is at a loss for words? There are not two or three words he can put in the proper sequence to provide clarity of purpose and action for an American military operation at one of the world's most combustible regions?

Is Obama engaged in a war on language? Refusing to name the obvious?

Albert Camus is reputed to have warned that: "Mal nommer les choses, c'est ajouter au malheur du monde." 

But Obama's eccentric refusal to use language to communicate clarity of meaning goes beyond "malnommer". He refuses to use language at all, as if the very absence of a name or a title will impact a course of the rapidly developing events to the better. As if, to channel Camus again, he is de-facto saying "There are no rats in Oran". Remember Oran, Camus' doomed seaside town whose houses were built to face away from the sea?

Once there was an Iranian blogger, Selma, who wrote on a blog she named "With love from Tehran". She was a poet and a translator and she went silent when she applied for a teaching job at the university. Before she made the momentous decision to erase her words from the Internet, she wrote:

poor poor, poor words
butchered so bad
lucky, lucky, lucky words
pampered so well

What shall we name Obama's fear of words?

A phobia is a name for a mental condition that is associated with irrational, paralyzing fear. These   fears  have acquired names, like agoraphobia., In some cases, the naming of phobias has become a joking game, as in  a 1998 humorous article published by BBC News.

Can we name Obama's phobia Logosphobia or Nominophobia?