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Rabbi Yonah

55 Comments

  • Colbert’s more of a comedian than of a journalist; then again, conspiracy theorists, IMHO, do not deserve the same platform – if any – as ‘regular’ political theorists. As one German Jewish journalist once put it (in the context of a book of a rather popular author), “Conspiracy theories are an insult to any rational mind”.

  • The fear mongers keep trying to spin and the IL boys keep telling it like it is. I think M & W are doing a great service Jews, Israel and the world.

    As they point out the lobby does not reflect the best interests of Israelis or American Jews and the sooner it is exposed and defanged the better off we all will be.

  • “The Lobby” does not refer to AIPAC, Aaron, it refers to all Jews who are in any way affiliated with the broad Jewish community. You, as the owner of a Jewish oriented website, qualify as a member of the “Lobby” in their terms. This is not a discussion about outsized power of AIPAC in DC but a criticism and a false, indefensible claim – not even veiled – about Jewish power that is supposedly leading and manipulating an entire country in the wrong direction. They do this even as they ignore the military complex and Big Oil as manipulators of the same country’s policies. It’s a disgusting book and if anybody needs defanging, it is its authors.

  • I read the original paper in full, twice. I also read the shortened Review of Books article. Is that enough for you? Because the several reviews of the “book” have indicated that little has changed from their paper to the book and that even some of their errors, or reading of history that takes the most antithetical view of Israel and its actions over the decades, remain the same. You can bet there isn’t a chance I’ll be buying a copy of the book any time soon.

    Why?

  • I’ve read it. I dismiss it for a number of reasons, the first of which is the fact Levy dismisses Leslie Gelb’s on-target review of the book.

    He also doesn’t address the points I’ve raised. For example, he speaks as if the book is about AIPAC and the lesser influence of Christian Zionists. That is not the case. The book, as the paper that preceded the book, claims that “The Lobby” is a loose and undirected coalition of Jewish organizations and the Jews that belong to them, not to mention Jewish owned or influenced media outlets and other sources of Jewish influence such as DC lobbies like AIPAC. They, of course, also focus on “Neo-Cons” with the premise that they’re Jewish and hence the war in Iraq.

    According to Walt & Mearsheimer, the 64% of Jews in the US who have some positive interest in Israel constitute “The Lobby.” The claim goes further. It indicates that many Jews who are indirectly involved in organizations such as synagogues or charities, become indirect members of “The Lobby” because these organizations are then used by politicians or by lobbyists to make the presumption that all Jews are in support of certain US foreign policies.

    As for Levy’s claim that the book is “well sourced” with gazillions of footnotes, all I can say is that their paper was also sourced with a gazillion footnotes and those of us who debate people like you on the Internet know exactly where they got their information. My guess is that sites and forums like Electronic Intifadah gave them a lot of direction, which they sometimes followed to the original source and sometimes they didn’t. Proving this is impossible, but I’ve seen enough of these debates over the years that it was clear to me their information came from online forums. Levy dismisses as moot the fact that they don’t have any primary sources. It isn’t moot. It’s actually indicative of their explicit political objective.

    The case against Israel’s moral standing was weak and poorly presented. It was biased to an extreme and, like the rest of their thesis, lacking balance to a degree where it tarnishes the remainder of what they say. Israel moral standing is tarnished, but it is far from bad. There are many reasons to consider Israel’s moral standing to be quite high in light of the country’s circumstance. I say this as somebody who believes the settlement policy in most of the the West Bank is foolish and should be terminated and reversed.

    What Walt & Mearsheimer do is take a position which is highly misleading because of all the possibilities they omit. How can you write a book about American foreign policy without taking a look at the Saudis, the oil industry, the defense industry and the Pentagon?

    How can you write a book about Iraq without seriously addressing the decades old positions of the VP of the USA, not to mention the Defense Minister and President. All non-Jewish and all completely dismissive of outside influences? How can you ignore the implications of an “uncompleted” war by the father of the current President? How can you dismiss the Iraqi exiles who lobbied for this war for decades? How can you claim that the “Israel Lobby” created a war when you define the Lobby as the majority of American Jews at a time when 75% of American Jews oppose and have opposed the Iraq war?

    And on and on and on.

    You know what the problem is? The problem is that when you exclude all other viable options to emphasize just one, and then you take extreme steps to push for that single hypothesis, you undermine your own credibility because you are no longer an unbiased source. That’s what they have done here. And I will say again what I’ve said before about them. They may not be antisemitic but in my opinion what they wrote surely amounts to antisemitism. It is extremely troubling that it came from two prominent academics.

    They play the media like victims – just as Carter has – even as they go around on endless interviews and public engagements. Their opponents? The Jews who will call them antisemites. Great plan! Call the Jews guilty for mistaken American foreign policy and then cry victim when Jews take offense. They press their disingenuous case for a great deal of money while suggesting that they are unfairly vilified for having attacked Jews. Well, they have attacked the Jewish community of the US, and have done so to promote a false theory. I see two options: either they entirely and genuinely believe what they wrote, in which case they’re not very good researchers or academics who are blinded by their own theory; or, they don’t entirely believe what they wrote but have a particular goal or target in mind and have twisted information to make the run against that target a more realistic possibility. I, personally, prefer the second option.

    I should add one thing. There is nothing wrong with discussing the influence of AIPAC or even the Jews of the US if one does it in a fair and measured manner. Walt & Mearsheimer didn’t write that book.

    I suggest you go into our search box and look up Mearsheimer on this site. You will find the several posts I wrote about their paper and first campaign.

  • Furthermore, why does it seem like everyone on the left has fallen hook, line, and sinker for the line that AIPAC is right-wing/neo-con and/or pushed for the war in Iraq??? AIPAC’s function is to lobby the US gov’t in favor of *current* Israeli gov’t policy, whether it is right or left. They do not go against Israeli policy. If, for ex., the current Israeli gov’t decides to get rid of all settlements, AIPAC will support and lobby for that in the US. That’s their function. They do not support Likud over Labor or Republicans over Democrats. It is simply BS to have all of AIPAC (whether you support them, or not) labeled as “neo-cons” on all left wing websites, which is too commonly the case nowadays.

    Maybe a real discussion would revolve around whether Israel would be better off without US involvement/meddling in Israeli affairs. W & M have it all wrong. It is the US that controls Israel, not the other way around.

    And lastly, re: “the Israel Lobby ” whether it is AIPAC, 57% of American Jews according to M & W, the “Jewish Lobby” according to Richard Dawkins, Israelis, American Jews, Likudniks, settlers, neo-cons, Zionists or whatever the phrase of the week is, we all know *who* they really mean and no, Aaron, i don’t think they have *our* best interests in mind.

  • So, Mearsheimer deflects criticism by claiming that the “Israel Lobby” isn’t a cabal, rather, they’re just another lobby group such as the NRA. Except that the NRA is a tangible, accountable organization. They have regular meetings, an elected leadership, local chapters, membership lists, etc. If you want to know the organization’s stance on an issue, then you can easily find that information. None of this is true of the “Israel Lobby”, at least not the way Mearsheimer defines it. One minute he’s claiming they’re not a cabal, and the next minute he’s being deliberately vague about who “they” are and who makes decisions for “them”.

  • Tori, AIPAC does not always lobby the US government in favor of current Israeli policy. They may be influenced in their thinking by Israel’s policies but are actually fairly independent.

    The reason many associate AIPAC with the Right, and not necessarily Neo-Cons, but the Israeli Right, is that Netanyahu managed to effectively influence them when he was PM. Some of his strong supporters ended up becoming prominent activists for AIPAC and as a result, it was assumed the lobbying group had become a voice for Israel’s Right.

    At times, they have been more hawkish than the Israeli government. However, as we are learning now, at least one of the two former AIPAC staffers who were charged by the government turns out to be a kaffiyeh-wearing Leftist.

    I think a fair statement would be to say that AIPAC is independent, takes positions that they believe will benefit the US and Israel, and pay attention to Israel’s policies while not always endorsing them. There are times, I believe, when Israeli PMs approach AIPAC for assistance, but in the articles I’ve read, I’ve always understood that ultimately AIPAC made its own determination as to whether and how they wanted to get involved.

  • It’s a disgusting book and if anybody needs defanging, it is its authors.

    I can’t think of a conceivable reason why the elimination of both of these snakes should be regarded as mutually exclusive.

    I’ll readily concede not only that W&M’s scholarship is pure dreck, but that characterizing their work as anti-Semitic is almost certainly accurate and fair as well. (Then again, my threshold for inferring the existence of such a mindset is fairly modest, and includes no requirement for a “smoking gun.” Such as, for example, the racism of those who wiggle with excitement and chant “Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson” in response to any story about African-Americans, or that of bloated, nigger-hating junkie Rush Limbaugh, in designating Obama “the Magic Negro.”) That said, how does the speciousness of W&M’s claims in any way diminish the malevolence of AIPAC, or the enormous damage it does to the interests of both Israel and the American Jewish community as a whole? The answer is, it doesn’t; of course AIPAC incites anti-Semitism – through it’s cynicism, its arrogance, its rank hypocrisy and fundamental dishonesty – and the sooner American Jews and Israel dissociate themselves from the organization once and for all, the better off both will be.

    Sure, let’s acknowledge right off the bat that whatever may be problematic about AIPAC has nothing whatever to do with any of the anti-Semitic tropes (whew!! It took me over 40 years to work that word into a sentence. Now maybe I’ll get really lucky and figure how to squeeze in metric by the end of the paragraph) used by W&M, as outlined in Middle’s superb analysis of their obvious deficiencies. No cabal; no conspiracies; nothing excessive or disproportionate about AIPAC’s influence on the American political process. Fine. Let’s say the scope of its influence is merely analogous to that of such other slimy, one-note lobbying groups as the NRA or whatever organization is trying desperately trying to starve ordinary Cubans so the country can be picked off by the bloodsuckers in Miami once Castro kicks off. That may thoroughly discredit W&M, but hardly renders AIPAC any less destructive to the interests of either American Jews or Israel.

    The real problem with AIPAC is reflected precisely in Tori’s explanation of how the organization works.

    AIPAC’s function is to lobby the US gov’t in favor of *current* Israeli gov’t policy, whether it is right or left. They do not go against Israeli policy. If, for ex., the current Israeli gov’t decides to get rid of all settlements, AIPAC will support and lobby for that in the US. That’s their function. They do not support Likud over Labor or Republicans over Democrats.

    That really is a very lovely theory, one that may even have had some plausible basis in reality sometime in the distant past. Now, of course, it’s unequivocally false in every respect. The notion that AIPAC is a dispassionate representative of the entire American Jewish community, or that it serves as an evenhanded advocate for Israel regardless of the country’s current policies, is true in exactly the same way as the claims that America doesn’t torture or Larry Craig opposes the homosexual lifestyle. Quite simply, AIPAC has become a tool of most fanatical, authoritarian wing of the Republican Party, and is managing to erode support for Israel among the American public at large with greater efficacy and speed than Jewwatch and its brethren could hope to do in a lifetime.

    Oh, there’s no question that AIPAC spreads its money around among representatives of both parties, or that its demands for obeisance are issued to Democrats and Republicans alike. But there is no question whatever where its priorities lie. There is the pattern of their routine political extortion, as was demonstrated by the glorious episode when Minnesota Rep. McCollum told them to go fuck themselves. There is its history of efforts to undermine Israel’s leftwing governments, and to otherwise stick their snouts into the country’s domestic affairs. There is its intimate embrace of the most extreme religious fanatics of the Christian Right and the most deformed neocon warmongers like Richard Perle, Elliot Abrams, Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney. Most of all – most of all – there is the cesspool of propaganda that slanders every opponent of AIPAC’s agenda as an anti-Semite or self-hating Jew, and characterizes every position opposed by the Likud as “anti-Israel.”

    The simple truth is that opposing AIPAC is “anti-Israel” in exactly the same way that detesting George Bush and Dick Cheney is “anti-American.” Which means, not at all.

  • an advocate for Israel regardless of the country’s current policies is actually a pretty good description of AIPAC, the unhinged rants of david smith notwithstanding.

    seriously most of you AIPAC-haters sound like you (a) only became politically aware circa 2002 and (b) know next to nothing about political science nor US or Israeli history.

  • TM,

    That was how AIPAC was explained to me by one if its members, who is coincidentally left-wing. And if I’m not mistaken, they fully supported Oslo, even while Netanyahu did not. If that’s a right-wing position then that’s news to me.

  • TM —

    “75% of American Jews oppose and have opposed the Iraq war?”

    http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=w071001&s=judis100307
    ” According to the American Jewish Committee’s annual survey, released in January 2003, 59 percent of Americans Jews approved and 36 percent disapproved of the United States taking military action against Iraq.”

    who is this keffiyeh-wearing lefty in AIPAC?

  • *sigh*

    Drawing from the results of 13 polls conducted since 2005, the Gallup Organization found that 77% of American Jews think the Iraq War was a mistake, compared with 52% of the general American public. The poll found that Jewish opposition to the war in Iraq transcends political boundaries, with Jewish Democrats and Jewish Republicans being more likely than their respective non-Jewish counterparts to oppose the war.

    “These data show that the average American Jew — even those who are Republicans and may support the Bush administration on other matters — opposes the war,” Gallup concluded in the report, released last week.

    The keffiyeh wearing AIPAC activist is Weissman.

    You’re probably salivating at hearing that he has a forthcomng AIPAC “tell all” book.

  • TM, you said “have opposed.” That AJC poll was at a crucial time just before the war started.

  • “How can you claim that the “Israel Lobby” created a war when you define the Lobby as the majority of American Jews at a time when 75% of American Jews oppose and have opposed the Iraq war?”

    My comment stands, as does its premise.

    If you want to go back to one survey by one organization in 2003, then you have 54% of Jews opposing the war and 43% opposing.

    http://www.ajc.org/site/apps/nl/content2.asp?c=ijITI2PHKoG&b=838459&ct=1051549

    The 2002 AJC survey is the one TNR is discussing – the results are released to the press in January of the following year. In that survey you do have 59% of Jews supporting an invasion of Iraq. For you this is meaningful, supposedly because Jews control US foreign policy. Well actually, it turns out that Americans control US foreign policy. Take a look at this general population survey from 2002 regarding invasion of Iraq

    http://www.worldviews.org/key_findings/us_911_report.htm#kf6

    75% of Americans supported an invasion.

    I know, I know, it must have been the Jewish owned press controlling American minds.

    Seriously, xisnotx, why not try to get over the bullshit premise that Jews control the universe. It doesn’t become Walt & Mearsheimer and it doesn’t become you, somebody who tries to introduce a superior level of discourse to the debate over the Arab Israeli conflict.

  • TM,

    Yup, the Forward article provides yet additional compelling evidence (as though any were needed) that AIPAC doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the priorities and political beliefs of American Jewry, but views them as a lucrative cash crop with which to support its scheming political machinations. Ironically, it was precisely the requirement of loyalty to its American constituency that was cited by a prominent AIPAC functionary as the rationale for its efforts to undermine Rabin both before and after Oslo (which is, to my knowledge, their most notorious instance of being “more hawkish than the Israeli government,” but which you didn’t reference in your earlier comment.) The functionary in question was a creepy, hairless little weasel named Mitchell Bard, who outlined that rationale in some condescending article called “Israelis Need American Civics Lesson” (http://www.mitchellbard.com), and who, as head of some rightwing front called the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, has moved on to the effort to bring America’s system of higher education under the control of the Republican Party. This article struck me as just about a perfect illustration of the hypocrisy, the dishonesty, and, most all, the truly deformed arrogance that defines AIPAC’s relationship with American Jews.

    Seriously, xisnotx, why not try to get over the bullshit premise that Jews control the universe. It doesn’t become Walt & Mearsheimer and it doesn’t become you, somebody who tries to introduce a superior level of discourse to the debate over the Arab Israeli conflict.

    You may have a point, TM, but I’m not sure your accusation – ”You’re probably salivating at hearing that he has a forthcomng AIPAC ‘tell all’ book” – does a whole lot to elevate the conversation either. Specifically, I wonder how your remark differs from speculation that you’re salivating at the prospect of hearing Weissman denounced as a kapo and a traitor and a self-hating Jew once he no longer toes the AIPAC party line.

  • Why do you think Weissman will be denounced as a kapo? He has a legitimate problem with AIPAC which unceremoniously and unethically dumped him and Rosen as soon as they became too hot to handle. Weissman is giving them the payback they deserve. His book will be judged on the basis of its accuracy and premise. If it turns out to be a vindictive tome, he will end up with the attendant criticism. If he writes a serious book that evaluates both the good and the bad in AIPAC, it might actually become a catalyst for change.

  • I looked up Mitchell Bard’s article on “Israelis need American Civics Lesson” and found it far less offensive than you, David. I will also ignore the negative physical description of a guy who is balding, since only terrorists with warts on their noses deserve to be abused in this way and Bard is far from one. Both his Myths and Facts books as well as his Jewish Virtual Library projects are worthwhile and useful sources of information.

    I know nothing about the AICE. Do you have some sources (reasonable, please) that I can explore?

  • creepy, hairless little weasel

    deformed arrogance

    really, david smith, do you think you in a position to talk about “elevat[ing] the conversation”?

  • Come on, Rootlesscosmo, give him points for the poetry of these insults. T.S. Eliot would have been proud to write those two lines.

    The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
    by T.S. Eliot and David Smith

    Let us go then, you and I,
    When the evening is spread out against the sky
    Like a patient etherised upon a table;
    Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
    The muttering retreats
    Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
    And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
    Streets that follow like a tedious argument
    Of insidious intent
    To lead you to an overwhelming question. . .
    Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
    Let us go and make our visit.

    In the room the women come and go
    Talking of Michelangelo.
    Creepy, hairless little weasel
    Deformed arrogance.

    The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes
    The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
    Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening
    Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
    Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
    Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
    And seeing that it was a soft October night,
    Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

    And indeed there will be time
    For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
    Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
    There will be time, there will be time
    To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
    There will be time to murder and create,
    And time for all the works and days of hands
    That lift and drop a question on your plate;
    Time for you and time for me,
    And time yet for a hundred indecisions
    And for a hundred visions and revisions,
    Before the taking of a toast and tea.

    In the room the women come and go
    Talking of Michelangelo.
    Creepy, hairless little weasel
    Deformed arrogance.

    And indeed there will be time
    To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
    Time to turn back and descend the stair,
    With a bald spot in the middle of my hair —
    [They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]
    My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
    My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin —
    [They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”]
    Do I dare
    Disturb the universe?
    In a minute there is time
    For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

    For I have known them all already, known them all: —
    Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
    I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
    I know the voices dying with a dying fall
    Beneath the music from a farther room.
    So how should I presume?

    And I have known the eyes already, known them all —
    The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
    And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
    When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
    Then how should I begin
    To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
    And how should I presume?

    Creepy, hairless little weasel
    Deformed arrogance.

    And I have known the arms already, known them all —
    Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
    [But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
    Is it perfume from a dress
    That makes me so digress?
    Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
    And should I then presume?
    And how should I begin?

  • I found that poem here.

    You know, re-reading some of his poetry, it amazes me how talented he was. These poems read as fresh and brilliant to me as they did the first time I read them. Can somebody explain why he and Roald Dahl, of all people, had to have been rabid antisemites?

  • Because we are about rules.

    The banner we are carrying, so lumpily, and even grumpily (but we never let it touch the ground) has rules written on it. It flutters over our heads, and sometimes other people can read it better than we can.

    Who cares.

    Shakespeare liked me. Are you as good as Shakespeare, Mr. Dahl and Mr. Elliot? No.

    It was – and remains – cheap and easy for the creative to dislike the banner of the rules. But being creative isn’t a dislike for rules, it’s getting the rules to carry you on their shoulders and buy you an ice cream. You can see very far from up there.

  • We stand for the rules. What is worse, we are so at home with the rules that we are not constricted by them. We are not just a nation of priests. We are a nation of artists. Without even trying. Born that way. Would that not be maddening to an artist of another nation?

  • You have a point that his impotent crankiness and mysogyny strike just the right note for today’s culture.

    “Creepy, hairless little weasel, Deformed arrogance”. Classic projection. Right back at you, TS.

  • While I generally agree with JM’s idea that societies have need for rules to keep functioning, I have to disagree with the notion though that Jewish rules have triggered the anti-Semitism of certain non-Jewish authors. Firstly, other societies have sets of rules as well, some based on a Judeo-Christian heritage, others based on other systems of beliefs. Non-Jewish artists are not per se anarchists. Secondly, ‘chosen’ denotes ‘responsible’ (not guilty!) and not ‘superior’. Thirdly, rules generally are restrictive to artists. While this restriction may be a source of inspiration to some (e.g. Chagall), it in general clashes with artists’ urge for expression. Noteworthily, many artists – Jewish and what-not – are decidedly atheist or add a hipsterish / hippyish twist to their concept of religion which doesn’t exactly relate the philosophy of that very religion.
    I suppose we need to determine other motivations behind the abovementioned authors’ anti-Semitism. As far as Roal Dahl is concerned, I once read that initially he took objection to Israeli politics; this objection then gradually turned into anti-Semitism. That evolution to some degree is mirrored in the utter dislike many people feel for Muslims in response to actions taken by Muslim leaders.

  • It is impossible to “add a hipsterish / hippyish twist to Judaism which does not relate the philosophy of it”. That non-conformist quality comes with Judaism, factory setting, out of the box.

    Our founder, Abraham, was the biggest hippy of all. In an isolated area, he opened his doors to four passing strangers. They could have taken everything, including his gorgeous wife, and no one would have stopped them, or ever punished them.

    We reach higher than the Greeks ever did for rules, and for optimism at the same time as constraints.

    We are fine. We don’t NEED these people.

    We can’t even be bothered being scared of them, or of what scares them.

    How insufferable we must look to them. We find them interesting, when they want us to take their miseries seriously. Our reaction is indulgent tenderness.

    We put their efforts on the refrigerator with a magnet, saying “very good!”

    Ouch!

    My attitude is, be yourself, TS and Raoul, and if you have really done your day’s work, go to bed, and don’t have an opinion about me one way or the other. Take responsibility and don’t blame me for your landscape.

    I didn’t make the yellow fog.

  • Religious studies determine Moses as the founder of Judaism though as from him on the religion got a definite profile whereas Muslims also relate to Abraham in their popular history. (BTW, as by the biblical narration, Abraham travelled in company of a larger group he ruled over; a few people might not have necessarily posed a threat to him. It would rather have been risky to reject people in need for food and drink and in return be rejected by them in times of need sometime later.) Hospitality is also considered a major virtue among Muslims and other religions that stem from the Middle East.
    Orthodoxy (Greek: ortho = right + dokein = to teach) is all about conformity. Chutzpah has more than once pointed out what happens to people that decide not to be conformable with their neighbourhood – even if they abide by the laws of the Torah.
    Mind you, many of my friends are Chasidish, but it’s not the Chasidim that practise free love in Williamsburg.

  • Religious studies show Judaism having a great deal of influence on the later religions of the Middle East, which arose millenia after Judaism. It is not a mystery when their founders lived.

    As for Williamsburg, there is nothing bourgeois, normal, materialist or even at all practical about remaining Orthodox in America. It is the position of a dreamer.

    Yes, dreamers can be quite conformist. That is exactly why I stay off most college campuses, most of the time, although not always.

  • With all due respect, neither have I ever stated that Judaism had not had a big influence on other religions, nor that it had not been predecessor (one of the predecessors) to other religions – just as religious historical studies have shown that Judaism had had its own predecessors and influences. Claiming exclusiveness of a mindset that had come into being through the actual circumstances – even when going by the biblical descriptions – long before the assumed giving of the law, is hubris. Even cultures that are in no determinable way associated with Judaism put emphasis on hospitality.

    If not in (Northern) America, with readily available kosher food, no bans on joining certain professions, and freedom of creed ensured by the respective constitutions, then where could it be ‘normal’ or ‘practical’ to be Orthodox? Then again, if not for the Orthodox, who would have preserved tradition? But also, does conversationalism in the truest sense of the word justify about any oddity that seem to have evolved in the Orthodox communities? And back to TM’s question, how could rules that anybody non-Jewish could easily emulate and adapt to their own needs provoke envy or even hate in those non-Jews? Does one not usually get envious of those things one may not be able to copy just as easily?

  • Being Orthodox is indeed a difficulty, but people manage. “Let’s meet over lunch. Oh, right. You can’t”. “This has to be done, sorry it’s Friday, fellas. Oh right. You have to go have a candle-lit dinner, while we work late”. “The client is only free Saturday. Oh right. You are not available at all on Saturdays. I guess I just have to miss MY son’s ballgame, but not you. Religious freedom, and all. Swell.” The dreamers manage, and work around these problems, but it is not easy. They work later during the week, for instance.
    ————
    The giving of the Law had to be the culmination of a long process. It could not have just happened, boom, kick-off, one fine day. The story has to start with Abraham, not Moses.

  • Maybe the story, but not the religion if that very religion determines itself by abiding to the laws that according to popular history were given to Moses. The idea of a covenant symbolized in blood starts with Abraham, but Abraham isn’t exclusive “property” of Judaism – even the Torah acknowledges his two sons.

  • Rootlesscosmo,

    You asked,

    ”creepy, hairless little weasel,”
    “deformed arrogance”

    really, david smith, do you think you in a position to talk about “elevat[ing] the conversation”?

    Gee, I have to concede that I just didn’t appreciate the extraordinary tenderness and delicacy of your sensibilities, what noble ideals you cultivate regarding the acceptable limits of such conversation. I mean, we all know that political debate can be a somewhat rough-and-tumble affair, but plainly there are slurs that go too far, that aren’t merely crass or inappropriate, but are simply beyond the bounds of human decency. Apparently, deformed arrogance and being a weasel are accusations you regard as being beyond the pale of civil discourse. And while it’s impossible not to admire someone who subscribes to such lofty standards of politesse, there is something I find a little perplexing.

    Specifically, here’s a sample of some illustrative comments submitted by Jewlicious readers over the past couple of weeks:
    >
    I love liberals; they’re so … sane. And tolerant.
    >
    Liberals think they should always be allowed to say whatever they want, however disruptive or inappropriate whenever they please.
    >
    The liberal “progressive” movement in this country has taken what it needs from the Jews and squeezed them out.
    >
    The reason inviting Achmedinejad to Columbia is because it was done by would-be terrorist appeasers who wanted to “subvert the dominant paradigm” by making it OK to talk to a dangerous lunatic.
    >
    If Hillary does become president, one can only hope that she will stay focused on the job, unlike her husband who was too busy getting blow jobs to worry about that pest, bin Laden.
    >
    Great, another dumb Jew making the rest of us look bad. As if famous Jews like Babs, Soros, Woody Allen, Amy Winehouse, etc., don’t make us look bad enough, now we have some wanna-be famous sh!t stirrer exercising his freedom of speech.
    >
    Western liberal culture is, by any yardstick, far superior to anything the Arab world has to offer. . . . We may not be perfect, but we’re light years ahead of the primitive savagery that pervades Islamic culture.
    >
    Anyone who believes in human rights and personal freedoms must kill antihuman antifreedom Islamists – kill their leaders and militants – and financially fine their supporters.
    >
    I wonder how many on this list are really Jewish or are just poseurs who become “Jewish” after years of celebrating Christmas and Easter with their one Gentile parent.

    >
    And then, there’s my very, very favorite of all, the enthusiastic joint wish by Ephraim and Jewish Mother to Madonna: “Fuck off, you pretentious shiksa cunt.” Isn’t that just adorable? (Of course, this isn’t an example of misogyny or a transgression of the rules of civilization or a coarsening of our culture’s standards of civility, because . . .umm . . . you see . . . well . . . because, well, because Madonna really is a shiksa cunt!! See?)

    I have to admit that it strikes me as a bit curious that – unlike “weasel” or “deformed arrogance” – not a single one of the foregoing comments appears to have elicited any indignation your part, much less the asserion that it was “unhinged rant.” The only explanation I can think of is that being “unhinged” appears to be a function of nothing more than – as the saying goes – whose ox is being gored.

  • But you know, David, you should feel good about the fact that I didn’t combine “fuck off, you pretentious shiksa cunt” with T.S. Eliot. Your insults are far more sublime and, uh, poetic.

  • “The liberal “progressive” movement in this country has taken what it needs from the Jews and squeezed them out.”

    Awesome!! That’s my quote. I forgot I wrote that. So true, so true.

  • David Smith, the comments you cited are for the most part, prima facie idiotic. I personally am no fan of the Republican Party, and I am, by any reasonable measure, on the Liberal end of the political spectrum, while strenuously striving not to be too doctrinaire. I find your rhetoric a little too… strident at times? Discordant perhaps? Do opponents of the right have to adopt the strategies of the attack dogs? I’d like to think not. Name calling generally does little to elevate the level of discourse. Now I understand how you might feel extremely indignant about certain things. I too, in a fit of indignation have resorted to name calling. But I try to make that the exception rather than the rule.

  • But you know, David, you should feel good about the fact that I didn’t combine “fuck off, you pretentious shiksa cunt” with T.S. Eliot. Your insults are far more sublime and, uh, poetic.

    TM,

    Thank you, but no need to explain; I was deeply flattered by the comparison right off the bat.

    I should point out, though, that my principal intent with such insults is political, not aesthetic. Specifically, the rhetorical posture I’ve recently embraced in circumstances like these is a very deliberate response to the fact that there are lots of Republicans – at Jewlicious and elsewhere – who believe that it’s some kind of natural birthright to indulge in gratuitous, irrelevant and wholly unsupported invective against liberals on every occasion; what’s more, they seem to think that such abuse ought to be regarded as a kind of default position, a baseline for further discussion, and that responding in kind is somehow hitting below the belt. (As I suggested to ck, the following cartoon by Tom Tomorrow is the most ineffably perfect expression of the phenomenon ever produced: (http://dir.salon.com/story/comics/tomo/2005/12/05/tomo/index1.html).

    Of course, there are a number of thoughtful and accommodating members of the Jewlicious community – you, ramon marcos, grandmuffti, for example – who are consistently willing to patiently explain to those hurling abusive and unsupported insults why they’re wrong: to explain, for example, why you’re not actually a self-hating Jew, why liberals don’t hate America, why Muslims aren’t barbaric savages, and the like.

    I don’t subscribe to that particular approach.

    Instead, I think the conversation should be steered in a different direction. Specifically, it’s my view is that every single time a commenter accuses liberals of appeasing terrorists, of not supporting the troops, of wanting America to lose, and similar claims of egregious stupidity, the response ought to resemble something along the lines of the following:

    ”Neocons are gutless chickenhawks who want the children of ordinary Americans to die in Iraq, while they keep their own kids home and teach them to count their goddamn money;” or

    “Neocons are twisted, lying fascists who worship authoritarianism and boot-licking servility more than any other values in life;” or

    The Republican base consists of grunting subhuman baboons that weren’t breastfed, but were weaned on Rush Limbaugh’s cock.”

    In short, the very notion of elevating the conversation with people who have learned the rules of intellectual discourse at the feet of people like Rush and Ann Coulter is an illusory and unattainable distraction. The only appropriate and realistic objective when dealing with the Republican right is to discredit their agenda – to defeat them – not to compromise with or accommodate them in any way. In other words, as I put it to ck, my interest in dealing with the right isn’t elevating the conversation, but in leveling it.

    One more thing re: my comments on Bard and AIPAC. Not surprisingly, we have a somewhat different threshold of what is offensive in the context of rightwing “pro-Israel” advocacy. Nonetheless, the Bard quotes I cited in my comment to ck really do strike me as grotesquely arrogant. Let’s see; Rabin, Beilin and other senior Labor Party leaders didn’t have the “slightest idea” of how the American political system worked. Among their other “problems” was a lack of sufficient gratitude to AIPAC, a circumstance that, in Rabin’s case, was a reflection not only of his ignorance, but his “temperament” as well. In short, the prime minister of Israel “just didn’t get it” (to cite an especially condescending and obnoxious example of neocon-speak). All in all, more resources need to be spent not on supporting Israel itself, but on “educating” its high government officials on the goals and motivations of AIPAC.

    Yup, let me reiterate: creepy little weasel.

    As for the AICE, the only information I have is the copious material referenced in the Biography and Articles sections of Bard’s site mentioned in my earlier comment (http://www.mitchellbard.com). And, Good God, it is way, way more than enough. There are the usual omissions, distortions, and other assorted propaganda in such publications as Myths and Facts: Guide to the Israeli-Arab Conflict, The Media’s War on Israel, Academic Freedom as a Shield for Anti-Semitism, Anti-Israel Jews Helping to Erode Support for Israel in America, and Rewriting History in Textbooks. But none of this even remotely compares to the malignancy of Tenured or Tenuous: Defining the Role of Faculty in Supporting Israel on Campus, which, like Campus Watch and the David Project, seeks to bring the U.S. higher education system under Republican control. The essence of this assault on democracy and freedom of conscience is an insidious and (at least for me) obscure legislative proposal intended to “reform” Title VI of the Higher Education Act (discussed on pg. 26 of “Tenured or Tenuous), called the International Studies in Higher Education Act.

    I found a superb analysis of this proposed “reform” in an article called Strategizing Control of the Academy by a Harvard economist named Sara Roy (http://www2.nea.org/he/heta05/images/2005pg147.pdf), which provides a bone-chilling account of what the neocon enemies of democracy like Bard are trying to accomplish. Personally, I think this is absolutely essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the mindset of the neocons themselves, as well as those of us who think their defeat is critical to the preservation of American democracy.

  • ck,

    (I initially posted this comment before the one to TM, but it doesn’t seem to have been picked up for some reason.) Anyway:

    An eminently fair comment, some of which I’d already taken into account.

    ”the comments you cited are for the most part, prima facie idiotic.”

    True enough. Quite some time ago, there was an argument in which I’d been critical of the Jewlicious community as a whole for it’s failure to condemn an assortment of viciously bigoted comments, in response to which you interposed essentially the same objection as you have here. Frankly, that objection was well-taken; the truth is that silence isn’t always consent, and there should be at least something overt that suggests the nature of someone’s views before insisting upon accountability for them. That’s precisely why I very deliberately directed my criticism solely at rootlesscosmo for what struck me as his glaring hypocrisy. Specifically, my obvious sarcasm was directed not at his ostensible approval of the offensive comments I cited, but the fact that, among all of them, my calling someone an “arrogant weasel” was the only one regarded as “unhinged.”

    “I find your rhetoric a little too… strident at times? Discordant perhaps?”

    I certainly appreciate the tact, but, hey, feel free: intemperate; hostile; insulting, obnoxious, contemptuous. All true. But there are two relevant circumstances I’d mention in response. The first – as I’ll describe in greater detail in a moment – is that my “stridency” is, for better or worse, not impulsive, but a fully considered and deliberate rhetorical strategy. Second, while it may well be fair to characterize many of my arguments as “attacks,” they’re never gratuitous or based on ad hominem fallacies, but on circumstances I can articulate with specificity. For example, my description of Bard as an arrogant weasel wasn’t mere “name-calling,” but a response to his specific statements addressing criticism of AIPAC by Rabin and other Labor Party leaders. The following examples are typical:

    “During that meeting it became clear that none of the Israelis had the slightest understanding of what AIPAC did or how the American political system operated. They just didn’t get it;”

    The misunderstanding and lack of appreciation for the Israeli lobby is widespread in Israel. Yitzhak Rabin, who was very familiar with American politics from his days as ambassador, also had this problem. In his case, the issue was one of temperament as much as knowledge;

    At the risk of sounding paternalistic, it is time that resources be devoted to educating Israelis [about] the motives and decision making processes of key organizations like AIPAC.

    (Emphasis added.) While one could certainly argue that my description of Bard is inaccurate or excessively derisive, the one thing these statements suggest it plainly is not is an “unhinged rant.”

    Do opponents of the right have to adopt the strategies of the attack dogs? I’d like to think not. Name calling generally does little to elevate the level of discourse.

    Now that – THAT – is where I strongly disagree, for a couple of important reasons. I’d ask that you take a look at my already-drafted comment to TM which follows this one, and which explicitly discusses this view. Let me just reinforce a couple of quick points. First, I have no interest in elevating the conversation, only in leveling it. Put differently, would I like to see the public discourse in this country suddenly, and magically, elevated? Sure. But it has become crystal clear that “taking the high road,” “being bigger than them,” or anything else of the sort doesn’t elevate the conversation in response to the right’s relentless attacks. All it does is make liberals appear weak and diffident, and I’m done with that approach. (Incidentally, as I suggest to TM, I’d urge you to have a look at this Tom Tomorrow cartoon, the best illustration of this phenomenon ever produced: (http://dir.salon.com/story/comics/tomo/2005/12/05/tomo/index1.html).

    One very concrete illustration: The political landscape in the country as a whole seems to have become increasingly bitter and polarized in recent years, a circumstance that reflects, at least in large part, the consolidation of the leftwing blogosphere as a counterpoint to rightwing radio and the Murdoch propaganda empire. Beyond the substantial portion of the electorate that identifies with one side or the other, the rest of the public seems to have become ever more disgusted and fatigued by this relentless political hostility. That’s something that can and should be made to work to liberals’ advantage. As I’ve noted before, Giuliani is the single candidate in America – hell, the one human being – as smug and self-righteous as Bush himself (except perhaps for Joe Lieberman, of course, who has – Thank God – been mercifully neutered). Moreover, Giuliani’s authoritarianism and sneering hatred of his enemies not only isn’t a political liability, but is precisely what makes him the dream candidate of the Republican right. My position is that the single worst thing the left can do is to act in a manner that suggests they are willing to seek common ground with Giuliani in any way whatever. Instead, what we need to do is provoke, condemn, torment, bait and antagonize him every hour of every day, in order to convey a single message: to wit, if Giuliani is elected, the country will find itself immersed in an state of political and cultural civil war so vicious and all-consuming, that the Bush era will come to be seen as a virtual Woodstock, a delirious love-in of peace and harmony.

    But you know, David, you should feel good about the fact that I didn’t combine “fuck off, you pretentious shiksa cunt” with T.S. Eliot. Your insults are far more sublime and, uh, poetic.

    TM,

    Thank you, but no need to explain; I was deeply flattered by the comparison right off the bat.

    I should point out, though, that my principal intent with such insults is political, not aesthetic. Specifically, the rhetorical posture I’ve recently embraced in circumstances like these is a very deliberate response to the fact that there are lots of Republicans – at Jewlicious and elsewhere – who believe that it’s some kind of natural birthright to indulge in gratuitous, irrelevant and wholly unsupported invective against liberals on every occasion; what’s more, they seem to think that such abuse ought to be regarded as a kind of default position, a baseline for further discussion, and that responding in kind is somehow hitting below the belt. (As I suggested to ck, the following cartoon by Tom Tomorrow is the most ineffably perfect expression of the phenomenon ever produced: (http://dir.salon.com/story/comics/tomo/2005/12/05/tomo/index1.html).

    Of course, there are a number of thoughtful and accommodating members of the Jewlicious community – you, ramon marcos, grandmuffti, for example – who are consistently willing to patiently explain to those hurling abusive and unsupported insults why they’re wrong: to explain, for example, why you’re not actually a self-hating Jew, why liberals don’t hate America, why Muslims aren’t barbaric savages, and the like.

    I don’t subscribe to that particular approach.

    Instead, I think the conversation should be steered in a different direction. Specifically, it’s my view is that every single time a commenter accuses liberals of appeasing terrorists, of not supporting the troops, of wanting America to lose, and similar claims of egregious stupidity, the response ought to resemble something along the lines of the following:

    ”Neocons are gutless chickenhawks who want the children of ordinary Americans to die in Iraq, while they keep their own kids home and teach them to count their goddamn money;” or

    “Neocons are twisted, lying fascists who worship authoritarianism and boot-licking servility more than any other values in life;” or

    The Republican base consists of grunting subhuman baboons that weren’t breastfed, but were weaned on Rush Limbaugh’s cock.”

    In short, the very notion of elevating the conversation with people who have learned the rules of intellectual discourse at the feet of people like Rush and Ann Coulter is an illusory and unattainable distraction. The only appropriate and realistic objective when dealing with the Republican right is to discredit their agenda – to defeat them – not to compromise with or accommodate them in any way. In other words, as I put it to ck, my interest in dealing with the right isn’t elevating the conversation, but in leveling it.

    One more thing re: my comments on Bard and AIPAC. Not surprisingly, we have a somewhat different threshold of what is offensive in the context of rightwing “pro-Israel” advocacy. Nonetheless, the Bard quotes I cited in my comment to ck really do strike me as grotesquely arrogant. Let’s see; Rabin, Beilin and other senior Labor Party leaders didn’t have the “slightest idea” of how the American political system worked. Among their other “problems” was a lack of sufficient gratitude to AIPAC, a circumstance that, in Rabin’s case, was a reflection not only of his ignorance, but his “temperament” as well. In short, the prime minister of Israel “just didn’t get it” (to cite an especially condescending and obnoxious example of neocon-speak). All in all, more resources need to be spent not on supporting Israel itself, but on “educating” its high government officials on the goals and motivations of AIPAC.

    Yup, let me reiterate: creepy little weasel.

    As for the AICE, the only information I have is the copious material referenced in the Biography and Articles sections of Bard’s site mentioned in my earlier comment (http://www.mitchellbard.com). And, Good God, it is way, way more than enough. There are the usual omissions, distortions, and other assorted propaganda in such publications as Myths and Facts: Guide to the Israeli-Arab Conflict, The Media’s War on Israel, Academic Freedom as a Shield for Anti-Semitism, Anti-Israel Jews Helping to Erode Support for Israel in America, and Rewriting History in Textbooks. But none of this even remotely compares to the malignancy of Tenured or Tenuous: Defining the Role of Faculty in Supporting Israel on Campus, which, like Campus Watch and the David Project, seeks to bring the U.S. higher education system under Republican control. The essence of this assault on democracy and freedom of conscience is an insidious and (at least for me) obscure legislative proposal intended to “reform” Title VI of the Higher Education Act (discussed on pg. 26 of “Tenured or Tenuous), called the International Studies in Higher Education Act.

    I found a superb analysis of this proposed “reform” in an article called Strategizing Control of the Academy by a Harvard economist named Sara Roy (http://www2.nea.org/he/heta05/images/2005pg147.pdf), which provides a bone-chilling account of what the neocon enemies of democracy like Bard are trying to accomplish. Personally, I think this is absolutely essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the mindset of the neocons themselves, as well as those of us who think their defeat is critical to the preservation of American democracy.

  • Superb analysis? It was nothing of the sort. It was essentially a polemic leveled at fellow academics who have more power, prestige and influence than Roy.

    I did a little research on Roy as I was not familiar w/ her work. Turns out she is a Counterpunch contributor which leads me to believe she is guided more by her particular (anti-Zionist) ideology than by academic standards.

    You can read her rail against “censorship” in the academy here:

    http://mepc.org/journal_vol14/0707_roy.asp

    “Dear Ms. Roy:
    …After careful review and much consideration of the merits of your piece, we have decided that we are ultimately unable to publish your review for this edition. Your review was evaluated by several of our editors and an external editor for objectivity. Unfortunately, they disagreed with my decision to publish your review for the following reasons: despite their agreement with many of your points, all reviewers found the piece one-sided. This one-sidedness dissuaded readers from reading the piece to the end; ultimately, this last point is the most important. Although I found your arguments valuable, if readers consistently feel this way, I am unable to move forward with a piece.”

    Roy Responds:

    “In more than 20 years of writing and publishing I have never experienced such behavior or encountered what to me, at least, is so blatant a case of censorship.”

    Boo hoo Ms. Roy. Edit your reviews like the rest of us.

    BTW, Wolfowitz is not a Likudnik. He’s stated this on numerous occasions. He’s also stated his opposition to the settlements. I heard him, with my own ears, at the New School for Social Research. Not that any of this matters to M&W, the clowns at Counterpunch and the rest of the loony left.

    “[O]f course AIPAC incites anti-Semitism – through it’s cynicism, its arrogance, its rank hypocrisy and fundamental dishonesty – and the sooner American Jews and Israel dissociate themselves from the organization once and for all, the better off both will be.”

    This is a very similar criticism that the radical left has of Israel. It seems that the problem is Jews having power and influence. If only we could go back to the time of being perpetual victims, we could once again be favored by the radical left.

    “ne-note lobbying groups as the NRA or whatever organization is trying desperately trying to starve ordinary Cubans so the country can be picked off by the bloodsuckers in Miami once Castro kicks off.”

    The reason Cubans go without food on the island is the fault of the system of economic rationing implemented by Fidel Castro and co., in other words “proletarian socialism” ™. It is not due to the U.S. embargo. There is plenty of food to go around in Cuba. But the government reserves the best for foreign tourists in hotels run by Spanish, French, Italian, and Canadian capitalists. But don’t take my word for it, go check Cuba out for yourself.

    Lastly, the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE) does fantastic work including the Jewish Virtual Library. “AICE is seeking a research assistant to research and write articles for the Jewish Virtual Library, the world’s most comprehensive online encyclopedia of Jewish history and culture. The RA will also assist with data collection, drafting fact sheets and talking points and researching and writing for Myths and Facts and other AICE publications.”

    No, I don’t work for them. But if you’d like to work for them, contact Jennifer Feinberg at 301-565-3918 for more information, or visit the Jewish Virtual Library web site.

  • I love liberals; they’re so … sane. And tolerant.

    Poor baby. You found this offensive? Hilarious. Even funnier that you personalized it. If the shoe fits, etc.

  • Offended by you? Hardly. How could I be, when I’ve never actually encountered one of you except on the internet. Quite simply, you’re not allowed where I went to school, where I work, where I eat or where I socialize. Oh, I have no doubt there are some of your type circulating on the periphery of these institutions, wallowing in hatred and jealousy of your betters, but fortunately – and unlike the internet – you’re generally self-aware enough to keep your mouths shut in polite company. Let’s face it; the whole reason people strive to attain a measure of academic success, profession achievement and social station is to escape the necessity of ever having to rub up against the dregs of humanity like you.

  • WEVS1:

    I have to commend you on a rather remarkable response; if I’d set out to actually invent an ideal model of the dishonest political smear, there’s simply no way I could have come up with one that more dramatically illustrates, as I put it earlier, “the cesspool of propaganda that slanders every opponent of AIPAC’s agenda as an anti-Semite or self-hating Jew . . . .”

    Of course, that’s hardly surprising, as I can’t recall a single comment you’ve ever submitted that didn’t use such figures as Counterpunch and Noam Chomsky to tar every opponent of AIPAC and the neocons as the “loony left,” and which oh-so-conveniently never includes an explanation of who these members of the “radical left” are and what they believe. Precisely as you’ve done here.

    This is a very similar criticism that the radical left has of Israel. It seems that the problem is Jews having power and influence. If only we could go back to the time of being perpetual victims, we could once again be favored by the radical left.

    Ah, so my criticism of AIPAC is “very similar” to the criticism of the “radical left,” and just happens to focus on the anti-Semitic stereotype of Jews being too powerful and assertive? Hmmm; I wonder if, just as a kind of wacky scholastic exercise, we might consider what I actually had to say? Let’s see:

    ”let’s acknowledge right off the bat that whatever may be problematic about AIPAC has nothing whatever to do with any [ ] anti-Semitic tropes . . . . No cabal; no conspiracies; nothing excessive or disproportionate about AIPAC’s influence on the American political process;” and ”I’ll readily concede not only that W&M’s scholarship is pure dreck, but that characterizing their work as anti-Semitic is almost certainly accurate and fair as well. . . .”

    Moreover, beyond explicitly disavowing precisely the views that you attribute to me, I spent paragraph after paragraph outlining the specific claims upon which I base my criticism of AIPAC and neocons like Michael Bard.

    I cited a number of quotes from Bard’s article demonstrating AIPAC’s inappropriate intrusion into Israel’s domestic political affairs, and its sneering disrespect for Israel’s duly elected leaders. I noted the threats to Representative McCollum and other U.S. government officials. I discussed the betrayal of AIPAC’s contributors, its alliance with far right warmongers and religious fanatics, and the efforts – such as yours – to smear its enemies as Jew-hating enemies of Israel. Most of all, of course, my criticism of AICE was based on a detailed analysis of the anti-democratic implications of the International Studies in Higher Education Act, with a passing reference to an analysis of said act by a Harvard economist.

    And your response to all this? Not one word – NOT A SINGLE FUCKING WORD – that made even a passing mention of any of these claims, much less a substantive response to any one of them. Instead, there is a bizarre, paragraphs-long smear of the Harvard professor whose analysis was utterly peripheral to the substance of the discussion (and which, comically, doesn’t include a cite to anything in her actual review), and which inevitably ends with the irrelevant idiocy about “M&W, the clowns at Counterpunch and the rest of the loony left.” There is the breathless revelation that Paul Wolfowitz is not a likudnik, which might have been even more dazzling had I ever said anything to the contrary (such as, for example, the claim I actually did make, which is that he is a neocon warmonger). Finally, there was something about Cuba, which was too dull and irrelevant to bother refuting.

    All in all, you’ve done nothing – absolutely nothing – to demonstrate that Bard and AIPAC aren’t precisely the malevolent rightwing fanatics I claimed them to be. If you really want to help the cause of democracy in both Israel and the U.S., write a letter to every Democratic presidential candidate demanding a pledge that no neocon will ever be permitted access to anyone working for the White House during the coming administration.

  • Giuliani was a wonderful mayor. He enforced the rules hard, without respect to race. He saved umpteen lives, by reducing crime, many of them minority lives. After the 2001 attack, he got the love he had always deserved but never got.

    I have no idea if that makes a president.

    It does make him perhaps the best mayor in memory, and I have a long memory, for me.

    He IMPROVED RACE RELATIONS A MILLION PERCENT. People could relax. All people.

    Minority people do not like being robbed any more than majority people like it. They may actually like it even less, as they sometimes make less money than majority people, and can ill spare the crime tax.

    “Get home safe” you used to hear. Not any more. Thanks Rudy.

    I do not know if this makes a president. That is another thing, and I am waiting and seeing. But thanks, Rudy. Thanks a lot. A lot.

  • Well, that’s what makes the world go ‘round, and what makes it so utterly delightful to ridicule ‘Dolph as a grotesque racist thug at every opportunity. And that’s why I pray he wins the nomination, so the people of New York have a chance to make very plain that they detest him and everything he stands for more than any other group of voters in the entire United States.

    It’s a close call, but I’d say tormenting Giuliani is about as much fun as referring to Bush as a grunting baboon and an imbecile. What makes it really fun is expressing that disdain to those members of the “base” who don’t merely support Bush’s policies, but virtually worship the man, like the guy who commented last week that he “thanks God every day” that George Bush is president, and can’t imagine who could be so mean and disrespectful to a decent Christian like President Bush. The great part is that expressing that disdain for Bush also makes clear to his supporters the belief that every value they hold sacred, every ideal they cherish, every dream they harbor for themselves and their children is worthless garbage, and should be treated with disgust, loathing and contempt.

  • david smith:

    How could I be, when I’ve never actually encountered one of you except on the internet.

    One of who, exactly? Please be specific. And what about me qualifies as “dregs of humanity”? Again, please be specific.

  • My private opinion is that voters like men they would consider dating. Bill Clinton! Tall, with good hair! What good looks can let you get away with! It is not a fair world.

    By contrast, Giuliani has pinched, thin lips, and George W. Bush has stick-out ears.

    It’s the visuals.

    Maybe the country needs a good-looking conservative.

    It is pitiful that people use the same criteria, in politics, to evaluate people, as they use after work, with a glass of something in their hands. But it’s a different situation. Daytime, not evening.

    We have sweeties at home, don’t we? We don’t need cute people in office.

    People in politics should be sized up the way you size up a prospective boss in a job interview. Is this executive talent? If not, purposely fail the interview, because you only want to work for a good one.

    Can we size up an executive? Forget the hormones.

  • Giuliani is not a racist. He is the un-loved, and un-charming saver of many, many minority lives. Five people a night used to buy the farm in New York. He brought that down to two people a night. Those people were not society ladies in pearls with teacups in their hands. Those folks stay indoors at night.

    That makes three people a night still alive. In a year, that’s about nine hundred, say, and this went on for some years. Say, three or four thousand saved lives. Plus, every one of them has one mother and one friend. Another eight thousand people not crying. That is a lot of un-shed tears.

    What’s racist about that? But you can’t love him. The man has no charm. General Grant had no charm either, but he got it done.

    I don’t know if all that makes a president. But it is worth remarking.

  • The present climate in New York is very, very nice in racial terms. It’s “please, thank you, excuse me”, in the subway and it’s a friendly thing. We all know what we have and how precious it is. Everybody is just so, so, so relieved. Nobody talks about it, ever, but it is in the eyes, and in the air. The smiles. They are complex smiles. Grateful smiles.

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