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Here are the headlines from Mondoweiss for 09/02/2010:

‘New York Post’ joins campaign against Moustafa Bayoumi
Sep 01, 2010 10:25 pm | Alex Kane

The New York Post, the sensationalistic right-wing daily in New York, is joining the smear campaign against Moustafa Bayoumi, the Brooklyn College professor and the editor of the newly released book titled Midnight on the Mavi Marmara: The Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and How it Changed the Course of the Israel/Palestine Conflict.

In an opinion piece for the Post, Ronald Radosh, a neo-conservative adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute, argues that the Bayoumi book assigned to all incoming freshmen, How Does it Feel to be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America, is “extremely slanted.” Radosh argues that, while it may be legitimate to assign Bayoumi’s book, what’s also needed is “a contrasting opinion, one challenging the view that Americans and New Yorkers in particular are completely Islamaphobic.”

Reading the whole column, it’s clear that underneath all the concern for Brooklyn College students being “indoctrinated” is an aversion that Radosh feels to any airing of criticism against Israel, especially if it comes from an Arab or Palestinian point of view.

Radosh mentions Bayoumi’s associations with Edward Said and Rashid Khalidi, without explaining why that is relevant to what he terms the “scandal” at the college. The mention of Said and Khalidi are really a wink and nudge to hard-line supporters of Israel who don’t want to hear Khalidi’s and Said’s perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He also goes after Bayoumi for editing Midnight on the Mavi Marmara, which is about the Israeli attack on the flotilla last May. Radosh labels the book as a ”pro-Islamist” work that includes “selections from such noted foes of Israel as Noam Chomsky, Alice Walker, Max Blumenthal, Philip Weiss and scores of Arab authors.” Radosh is too polite to really say what he’s thinking, but he apparently thinks there’s a problem with “scores of Arab authors” criticizing the Israeli raid that killed 9 people in international waters.

The reason why it matters that the Post is joining in on the campaign is that the flexing of their Zionist and Islamophobic muscles has power. The Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper has played a central role in ginning up anti-Muslim hysteria over the community center near Ground Zero. And it was the Post which brought down Debbie Almontaser, the founding principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy.

Watch for the campaign against Bayoumi to heat up in the coming weeks.

This article originally appeared on Alex Kane's blog.

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Freeman: Obama has failed in Middle East due to ‘pathologies’ of US political life
Sep 01, 2010 10:12 pm | Philip Weiss

Whatever his talents as a diplomat and reader of confidential cables, Chas Freeman is a fabulous writer. Here, at Helena Cobban's blog, is his speech to the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday on America's inability to make peace in Israel and Palestine. Scathing description of the peace process and of the lobby's generosity to politicians. A respect for the existence of a Jewish state. And throughout the speech, the sense that the lobby has never been so powerful, that it has spavined a president who had the best intentions.

Read the whole speech to see Freeman's statement that 9/11's perpetrators saw it as "a reprisal" for Palestinian conditions, which he describes as ghettos on the West Bank and prison in Gaza. Finally, look through this excerpt for Freeman's warning about anti-Semitism rising in the west if the current state of affairs continues.

The widening involvement of Americans in combat in Muslim lands has inflamed anti-American passions and catalyzed a metastasis of terrorism.  It has caused a growing majority of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims to see the United States as a menace to their faith, their way of life, their homelands, and their personal security.  American populists and European xenophobes have meanwhile undercut liberal and centrist Muslim arguments against the intolerance that empowers terrorism by equating terrorism and its extremist advocates with Islam and its followers.  The current outburst of bigoted demagoguery over the construction of an Islamic cultural center and mosque in New York is merely the most recent illustration of this.  It suggests that the blatant racism and Islamophobia of contemporary Israeli politics is contagious.  It rules out the global alliances against religious extremists that are essential to encompass their political defeat.

President Obama’s inability to break this pattern must be an enormous personal disappointment to him.  He came into office committed to crafting a new relationship with the Arab and Muslim worlds.  His first interview with the international media was with Arab satellite television.  He reached out publicly and privately to Iran.  He addressed the Turkish parliament with persuasive empathy.  He traveled to a great center of Islamic learning in Cairo to deliver a remarkably eloquent message of conciliation to Muslims everywhere.  He made it clear that he understood the centrality of injustices in the Holy Land to Muslim estrangement from the West.  He promised a responsible withdrawal from Iraq and a judicious recrafting of strategy in Afghanistan.  Few doubt Mr. Obama’s sincerity.  Yet none of his initiatives has led to policy change anyone can detect, let alone believe in...

Arabs and Muslims familiar with European history can accept that European anti-Semitism justified the establishment of a homeland for traumatized European Jews. But asking them even implicitly to agree that the forcible eviction of Palestinian Arabs was a morally appropriate means to this end is both a nonstarter and seriously off-putting. So is asking them to affirm that resistance to such displacement was and is sinful. Similarly, the Arabs see the demand that they recognize a Jewish state with no fixed borders as a clever attempt to extract their endorsement of Israel’s unilateral expansion at Palestinian expense.

The lack of appeal in this approach has been compounded by a longstanding American habit of treating Arab concerns about Israel as a form of anti-Semitism and tuning them out. Instead of hearing out and addressing Arab views, U.S. peace processors have repeatedly focused on soliciting Arab acts of kindness toward Israel. They argue that gestures of acceptance can help Israelis overcome their Holocaust-inspired political neuroses and take risks for peace.

Each time this notion of Arab diplomacy as psychotherapy for Israelis has been trotted out, it has been met with incredulity. To most in the region, it encapsulates the contrast between Washington’s sympathy and solicitude for Israelis and its condescendingly exploitative view of Arabs. Some see it as a barely disguised appeal for a policy of appeasement of Israel. Still others suspect an attempt to construct a “peace process” in which Arabs begin to supply Israel with gifts of carrots so that Americans can continue to avoid applying sticks to it.

The effort to encourage Arab generosity as an offset to American political pusillanimity vis-à-vis Israel is ludicrously unpersuasive. It has failed so many times that it should be obvious that it will not work. Yet it was a central element of George Mitchell’s mandate for “peace process” diplomacy. And it appears to have resurfaced as part of the proposed follow-up to tomorrow’s meeting between the parties in Washington. It should be no puzzle why the Saudis and other Arabs could not be persuaded to join this gathering.... 

[L]et me make a quick comment on a relevant cultural factor. Arabic has two quite different words that are both translated as “negotiation,” making a distinction that doesn’t exist in either English or Hebrew. One word, “musaawama,” refers to the no-holds-barred bargaining process that takes place in bazaars between strangers who may never see each other again and who therefore feel no obligation not to scam each other. Another, “mufaawadhat,” describes the dignified formal discussions about matters of honor and high principle that take place on a basis of mutual respect and equality between statesmen who seek a continuing relationship.

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s travel to Jerusalem was a grand act of statesmanship to initiate a process of mufaawadhat – relationship-building between leaders and their polities. So was the Arab peace initiative of 2002. It called for a response in kind. The West muttered approvingly but did not act. After a while, Israel responded with intermittent, somewhat oblique suggestions of willingness to haggle over terms. But an offer to bicker over the terms on which a grand gesture has been granted is, not surprisingly, seen as insultingly unresponsive.

I cite this not to suggest that non-Arabs should adopt Arabic canons of thought, but to make a point about diplomatic effectiveness. To move a negotiating partner in a desired direction, one must understand how that partner understands things and help him to see a way forward that will bring him to an end he has been persuaded to want. One of the reasons we can't seem to move things as we desire in the Middle East is that we don’t make much effort to understand how others reason and how they rank their interests. In the case of the Israel-Palestine conundrum, we Americans are long on empathy and expertise about Israel and very, very short on these for the various Arab parties. The essential militarism of U.S. policies in the Middle East adds to our difficulties. We have become skilled at killing Arabs. We have forgotten how to listen to them or persuade them.

I am not myself an “Arabist,” but I am old enough to remember when there were more than a few such people in the American diplomatic service. These were officers who had devoted themselves to the cultivation of understanding and empathy with Arab leaders so as to be able to convince these leaders that it was in their own interest to do things we saw as in our interest. If we still have such people, we are hiding them well; we are certainly not applying their skills in our Middle East diplomacy.

This brings me to a few thoughts about the Western and Arab interests at stake in the Holy Land and their implications for what must be done.

In foreign affairs, interests are the measure of all things. My assumption is that Americans and Norwegians, indeed Europeans in general, share common interests that require peace in the Holy Land. To my mind, these interests include – but are, of course, not limited to – gaining security and acceptance for a democratic state of Israel; eliminating the gross injustices and daily humiliations that foster Arab terrorism against Israel and its foreign allies and supporters, as well as friendly Arab regimes; and reversing the global spread of religious strife and prejudice, including, very likely, a revival of anti-Semitism in the West if current trends are not arrested. None of these aspirations can be fulfilled without an end to the Israeli occupation and freedom for Palestinians. 

Arab states, like Saudi Arabia, also have compelling reasons to want relief from occupation as well as self-determination for Palestinians. They may not be concerned to preserve Israel’s democracy, as we are, but they share an urgent interest in ending the radicalization of their own populations, curbing the spread of Islamist terrorism, and eliminating the tensions with the West that the conflict in the Holy Land fuels. These are the concerns that have driven them to propose peace, as they very clearly did eight years ago. For related reasons, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has made inter-faith dialogue and the promotion of religious tolerance a main focus of his domestic and international policy.

As the custodian of two of Islam’s three sacred places of pilgrimage – Mecca and Medina – Saudi Arabia has long transcended its own notorious religious narrow-mindedness to hold the holy places in its charge open to Muslims of all sects and persuasions. This experience, joined with Islamic piety, reinforces a Saudi insistence on the exemption of religious pilgrimage to Jerusalem from political interference or manipulation. The Ottoman Turks were careful to ensure freedom of access for worship to adherents of the three Abrahamic faiths when they administered the city. It is an interest that Jews, Christians, and Muslims share.

There is, in short, far greater congruity between Western and Arab interests affecting the Israel-Palestine dispute than is generally recognized. This can be the basis for creative diplomacy. The fact that this has not occurred reflects pathologies of political life in the United States that paralyze the American diplomatic imagination. Tomorrow’s meeting may well demonstrate that, the election of Barack Obama notwithstanding, the United States is still unfit to manage the achievement of peace between Israel and the Arabs. If so, it is in the American interest as well as everyone else’s that others become the path-breakers, enlisting the United States as best they can in support of what they achieve, but not expecting America to overcome its incapacity to lead.

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Look at this list of settler-initiated crimes against Palestinians in the last few weeks
Sep 01, 2010 06:27 pm | Seham

I have been to the West Bank, I have seen with my own eyes how the settlers walk around with machine guns, terrorizing the native Palestinian population.  They are only in the West Bank to justify a continued Israeli military presence there; and they are armed to the teeth.  

Where did the settlers get their machine guns from?  Where did the settlers learn that it is OK to hate Palestinians, that their presence in the OPT is justified even if it comes with the wholesale subjugation of a people? The settlers, the majority of them are trouble-makers who need to be removed from the Palestinian territories, asap.

The killing of the settlers was simply a reminder to everyone meeting in Washington that they cannot continue to ignore the democratically elected leadership of Gaza, no matter how despicable the West and Israel may find them.  Most Palestinians, apparently with the exception of Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies, find all Israeli leadership to be even more despicable, more criminal and more violent than Hamas—but alas, they are left with no choice but to deal with them, no matter how many innocent Palestinians they have murdered.

Please don’t accuse me of advocating vigilante justice, because I don’t. But, those settlers are illegally squatting on Palestinian land, and the list of those responsible for what happened to them yesterday must include near the top the Israeli leadership that lured them from around the world into living in cheap, government subsidized housing with all kinds of welfare benefits so that Israel can continue its illegal military presence in the West Bank.  Golda Meir said that there couldn’t be peace until the Arabs learned to love their children more than they hate Israelis… I posit that there won’t be peace until the Israelis learn to love their children more than they love the continued theft of Palestinian land.

And all of this talk of “why, why, why did Hamas do this?” Take a look at this list of settler initiated crimes against Palestinians from the last few weeks.  What type of superhuman moral restraint do you expect Palestinians to continue?  How long must they be intimidated by these thugs before they strike back?  How long would Americans tolerate this sort of thuggish behavior before they fought back? 

Jerusalem settlers assault 9 year old, parents say

Witnesses: Settlers beat 10-year-old Palestinian girl

Settlers harass family near settlement

Early morning settler attack on Palestinian family in Hebron area

Israeli Settlers Attack Families And The Military Abducts Two In Hebron

Masked settlers attack international peace activists in Hebron

Settlers Assault A Palestinian Woman In Hebron 

Police: Family attacked by settlers after car crash

Israeli Settlers Attack Palestinian Farmers Near Salfit

PNI leader attacked by settlers

Witnesses: Armed settler threatens farmers

Dark days in Al Buwayra: a week of settler attacks

When Settlers Attack....Today (And Everyday) In The West Bank

Settlers Attack as a Palestinian Villagers try to Secure Water in the South Hebron Hills, Joseph Dana

East Jerusalem: Settlers Take Over Another House

Official: Settlers uproot 200 olive trees south of Nablus

Armed settler guards attack mosque in Wadi Hilweh, shots fired at Palestinian residents

Price Tag:  Settlers riot after structures razed

Witnesses: Settlers raid house, burn crops

PA official: Settlers set fire to village land

Settlers Destroy Farm Lands, Troops Arrest Civilians And Invade Areas In Gaza

Israeli settlers try to seize lands in Jerusalem

Settlers torch farmland east of Nablus

Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian car

PA official: Settlers vandalize cars after Hebron shooting

Bus damaged by rocks near Nablus

Israeli army escorts 500 Jewish Israelis into controversial settlement near Nablus

Report: Israeli settlers insult prophet Muhammad

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Hamas attack was wrong
Sep 01, 2010 06:22 pm | Ahmed Moor

The Hamas attack on settlers in the West Bank was wrong. The attack was wrong strategically, but more importantly, it was wrong morally.

The so-called peace talks aren’t going anywhere. But even if they were, executing civilians is always morally repugnant.

Colonized people have a moral right to armed resistance. That moral right only extends to legitimate targets. The Israeli army is a legitimate target. Civilians are never legitimate targets.

These murders were a strategic blunder, too. Hamas could have demonstrated its incontestable role in Palestinian political life by conducting a commando raid against Israeli troops in the West Bank. I would have protested in that case also, but not on a moral basis.

Instead, I believe that the time for armed resistance is over. The Palestinian struggle has transitioned from Abu Nidal to Mustafa Barghouti. Ours is now a peaceful civil rights struggle. Hamas undoubtedly has a role to play in that struggle, but Zionist civilian deaths do not.

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What is Hamas thinking?
Sep 01, 2010 06:10 pm | David Samel

As the “peace talks” are about to get under way in Washington, Hamas has decided to remind us all of its vitality by executing four settlers. According to the New York Times article, Hamas claimed that the attack was “a natural response to the crimes of the Israeli occupation and its settlers” and demonstrates that the “armed Palestinian resistance is present in the West Bank despite the war to uproot it.”

Hamas, and all Palestinians, have good reason to be pissed off. The Washington peace conference excludes any recognition of Hamas, principally because it has blood on its hands –– a tiny percentage of the blood on Israel’s hands. The Palestinian representative at these talks is a pathetic, impotent figure whose popular support among his supposed constituents is laughable. The sponsor for the talks is the most powerful country in the world, which has consistently given unwavering military, economic and diplomatic support to the other side, regardless of questions of international law and common decency. More generally, Israel is in its 44th year of imposing a military dictatorship over millions of people that has no signs of abating, and is engaging in its umpteenth maneuver to extend such control indefinitely while feigning a willingness to relinquish it.

But are any of these reasons to murder four people in cold blood? Was it necessary to prove that the Hamas-less conference in Washington was a charade? Couldn’t it collapse under its own weight?

What is Hamas thinking? It has shown that “armed Palestinian resistance is present” all right, but also that it can act as murderously and stupidly as the government it fights against. Apart from the moral unacceptability of randomly killing human beings, Hamas’s outrage seems doomed to backfire. The world’s view of the situation is finally changing.

The horrors of Gaza and the Mavi Marmara have focused much-needed attention on Israeli violence, and earned Hamas somewhat of a pass for its own past deeds.

Many are finally realizing that excluding Hamas from peace talks with Israel because of its history of violence is absurdly hypocritical. Now Hamas has placed its own murderous predisposition front and center, ceding the moral high ground to Netanyahu, a development that appeared nearly impossible a few days ago. And, if Israel reacts in its usual bloodthirsty and arbitrary fashion, innocent Palestinians, whose only offense is their ethnicity, will die.

American politicians will fall over themselves to get to the microphone to applaud Israel’s exercise of its “right to self-defense” and “deterrence” by demonstrating that “there is a high price to pay for Jewish blood.” The Jews of Israel aren’t going anywhere. They are there to stay, and the only question is whether they will insist on maintaining a cruel and unjust system in which they dominate and control, and dispossess and occasionally kill, the indigenous Palestinian population, or whether they accept true equality.

I think equality is inevitable, both morally and historically, but the time it takes to arrive at that resolution is dependent in large part on worldwide opinion. Hamas has just done its best to postpone that outcome.

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Abunimah on settler murders: security for all
Sep 01, 2010 05:52 pm | Philip Weiss

Ali Abunimah was on Democracy Now this morning condemning the murder of the four settlers and pointing out that thousands of Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been murdered in the last two years by the Israelis. Listen here. He also said that the act surely reflects divisions within Hamas that mirror divisions between the political and military wings of the Sinn Fein in northern Ireland in the late period of the troubles, when the military wing insisted on using violence. But of course George Mitchell talked to the Sinn Fein. Abunimah  referred to his NYT op-ed demanding that Hamas be included in all political discussions of the future of Israel and Palestine.

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Yale stands by it, but it sure can’t spell it
Sep 01, 2010 04:21 pm | Philip Weiss

Here's a letter from Yale to Maen Rashid Areikat, the Palestine Liberation Organization's rep in Washington, responding to Areikat's complaint about that disgraceful conference that a Yale center dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism held last week. all about self-hating Jews, Palestinian identity formation (not good), and criticism of Israel (presumably at the behest of major donors). 

President [Richard] Levin has asked me to respond to your letter of August 30th.

I very much appreciate the reference in your letter to the importance of free speech-- a fundamental principal [sic] respected by individuals and institutions around the world. As an institution which holds this principal [ditto] in the highest regard, we cannot prevent speakers at an on campus event from speaking their minds. By the same token, the fact that speakers at a recent conference at Yale expressed various points of view does not in any way imply that the University endorses any of those views. Rather, it reflects Yale's robust policy on freedom of expression. 

Thank you for taking your time to express your views on the subject.

Donald L. Filer

Director, Office of International Affairs

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Don’t jump to conclusions about who staged yesterday’s attack
Sep 01, 2010 03:21 pm | Paul Woodward

If there’s just one lesson we can draw from the last decade it is this: utter the word “terrorism” and thought grinds to a halt, perceptions become blinkered and the power of human intelligence is suddenly put on hold.

Consider the attack near Hebron in the West Bank yesterday in which four Israelis were gunned down by Palestinian gunmen.

A report in the Jerusalem Post conveys a particularly harrowing moment in the attack’s aftermath as volunteers from Zaka, the Israeli community emergency response network, arrived at the scene of the shooting.

Zaka volunteer Momy Even-Haim was dispatched to the scene of the attack with his colleagues, when to his horror he discovered that his wife was among the dead.

“We saw a crying volunteer, and at first we did not understand what was happening — he has seen many disasters before,” Zaka volunteer Isaac Bernstein told The Jerusalem Post.

“Then he started shouting, ‘That’s my wife! That’s my wife!’ We took him away from the scene immediately,” Bernstein added. Even-Haim was taken to his home in Beit Hagai by his colleagues.

Tragedy takes infinite forms. Those in closest proximity can never be expected to respond rationally but from a distance, rationality is not only possible — it is essential.

Instead though, this attack — like so many before — has produced a series of highly predictable knee-jerk responses.

The White House issued a statement saying:

The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the terrorist attack today perpetrated by Hamas in which four Israelis were killed in the southern West Bank. We express our condolences to the victims’ families and call for the terrorists behind this horrific act to be brought to justice. We note that the Palestinian Authority has condemned this attack. On the eve of the re-launch of direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, this brutal attack underscores how far the enemies of peace will go to try to block progress. It is crucial that the parties persevere, keep moving forward even through difficult times, and continue working to achieve a just and lasting peace in the region that provides security for all peoples.

Is Washington already ahead of Israel in identifying the culprits?

That seems unlikely. Much more likely is that the White House is content to parrot press reports in which representatives of Hamas are quoted claiming responsibility for the attack. If Hamas claims responsibility, its claim will be accepted at face value; if it were to deny responsibility, it’s denial would be treated with skepticism. That’s the way the “analytical” process works.

Israeli press reports are less clear on the matter.

In Haaretz, Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel report:

Even though no official claim of responsibility was made, the investigation by the security services of Israel and the Palestinian Authority suggest that the culprits were a cell which identifies itself, more or less, with Hamas. Fauzi Barhum, one of the spokesmen for the group in the Gaza Strip, did not openly claim responsibility for the attack, but hinted that his group was behind the shooting.

“The resistance continues everywhere,” he said.

In recent months the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip and Damascus has pressed West Bank-based teams of gunmen to resume the attacks in an effort to make it more difficult on the Palestinian Authority and stir up tension with Israel.

Two months ago a large Hamas network was uncovered in the southern Hebron Hills, a “sleeper cell” that was revived, whose members are suspected of murdering an Israeli policeman in a similar shooting incident, along the same route, several kilometers from the spot of last night’s terror attack.

A cell which identifies itself “more or less” with Hamas — that’s pretty vague. Moreover, a previously unknown group calling itself the Al-Haq (“Rights”) Brigades has claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s shooting, according to the Ma’an news agency.

As for Issacharoff and Harel’s claim that a Hamas cell was responsible for the June Hebron Hills shooting, that also is far from clear. When suspects were arrested by Israel’s internal security services, Shin Bet, Haaretz reported:

It is unclear… who is responsible for the establishment of this group, which is reportedly affiliated to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement. Israeli security sources have been examining the possibility that the gunmen behind the June 14 attack were from various Palestinian militant groups.

Whether or not Hamas had a role in yesterday’s attack it is too soon to tell. And even if some or all of the gunmen turn out to belong to the movement does not necessarily reveal a great deal about the level of command and control or political motives for the attack.

Whatever the motives, the outcome itself has opened political opportunities to each constituency that now portrays itself as a victim.

Given that the attack took place in an area controlled by the IDF, President Abbas could have taken the opportunity to point out that the attack underlines the fact that there can ultimately be no security solution to the political conflict. Instead, Palestinian security services have been quick to launch what is being described as one of the largest arrest waves of all time in the West Bank.

Hamas lawmaker Omar Abdel-Raziq said more than 150 members had been detained, and others had been summoned to police stations for questioning.

He accused Abbas of trying to please the Israelis.

“These are political arrests,” he said. “They are trying to tell the Israelis that they are capable of doing the job after the attack.”

At the funerals of the four Israelis killed, settler leaders took the opportunity to push for settlement expansion, call for vengeance (a call which has already been acted upon), deny the existence of the Palestinian people and make a thinly-veiled appeal for ethnic cleansing:

Rabbi Dov Lior of Kiryat Arba eulogized the victims saying that “this is a grave tragedy for the families, for the people of Israel and for the state. God, avenge the spilled blood of your servants.”

“There is an army, which must be used,” Rabbi Lior continued. “The mistake is to think that an agreement can be reached with these terrorists. Every Jew wants peace, but these evildoers want to destroy us. We need to give them the right of return and return them to the countries from which they came.”

When President Obama tries to press Benjamin Netanyahu to extend the so-called settlement freeze, the Israeli prime minister will no doubt tell him solemnly that in light of recent events, his hands are well and truly tied.

They shoot and we build has become the settlers’ slogan — one that is almost certainly to Netanyahu’s liking.

Update: In a conversation I just had with Hamas expert Mark Perry, he made the point that when it comes to identifying armed militants in the West Bank, the Al Qassam Brigade (affiliated with Hamas) and the Al Aqsa Brigade (affiliated with Fatah) are virtually indistinguishable in most of the area, but particularly in Hebron. The clearest differentiation in armed groups is between those who are on the Palestinian Authority’s payroll and those who aren’t.

Mark also pointed out that if the Obama administration was not trapped inside its own terrorism rhetoric, they could point out that the attack underlines the unnecessary vulnerability that Israeli’s expose themselves to by grabbing Palestinian land and building settlements.

This article is cross-posted at Woodward's site, War in Context, under the headline, Terrorism is like advertising--it short circuits the rational mind.

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The Israel lobby will be televised
Sep 01, 2010 03:02 pm | Philip Weiss

What do I mean by the Israel lobby? Well for one thing, I mean the routine inclusion of a pro-Israel point of view in our media, without contradiction.

For the better part of an hour this morning, MSNBC featured commentary on the peace talks from Mitchell Bard, an advocate for Israel (here he says that the U.S. and Israel have common values and common interests and pushes to get Israeli professors hired at American universities and to improve Israel's image). Bard has written a book called The Arab Lobby, which I am betting claims that American policy in the region is driven by Arab interests; MSNBC featured images of the book's cover. So an advocate for Zionist ideals is given a platform on American television-- without the other side. No John Mearsheimer, no Ali Abunimah.

For the better part of an hour this afternoon, during the hostage crisis at the Discovery channel HQ in Silver Spring, MD, CNN featured commentary by Aaron Cohen, who was described as a trainer of Israeli commandoes. Cohen repeatedly explained how Israel handles such situations. When the anchor asked whether the police could just wait till the guy wears down, Cohen said that in "terrorist" situations people don't just wear down. So an advocate for one side in a terrible cycle of violence is given a platform on American television.

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Israel vs Israel
Sep 01, 2010 12:48 pm | Joseph Dana


A beautiful picture from Joseph Dana's twitter feed, of demonstrators crashing a settlers' tour of Silwan in East Jerusalem a few minutes ago. His photograph. Scores of settlers, outnumbering the demonstrators. Arrests of demonstrators.

Update: Man at right is Eyal Raz. He is Israeli and in custody with seven other Israelis. The protest is over now. We were protesting the Elad conference. CBS was here the whole time. Look for it.

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