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While a million thoughts go racing through my mind, I find I haven’t said a word.  Possibly that’s because I have nothing very useful or hopeful to say.  But I was glad to see this item over the weekend.  It ain’t perfect, but this whole J Street thing seems to be a start.  More of them and less of AIPAC, please.  And here’s hoping that the incoming administration is listening.

On a related note, Neve Gordon and Jeff Halper raise a legitimate question, albeit—to gauge from the comment thread—one that people tend to answer in disparate ways.  Funny how that works.

Posted by on 01/06 at 02:01 PM
  1. Regarding J Street I thought it was conventional wisdom that a really good friend was one who told you when you were wrong.  AIPAC and its buddies (Marty Peretz, et al) never learned that.

    Posted by Linkmeister  on  01/06  at  05:47 PM
  2. Yeah, one reason I was glad to see J Street’s response was that I was just thinking, “aren’t any of Israel’s allies going to step in and do an intervention—not the ‘humanitarian’ kind, mind you, but the kind where you sit a friend down and tell them that s/he’s engaging in deeply destructive behavior”?  As for AIPAC and its buddies, my sense is that Peretz, Dershowitz, Pipes and the like have long since lost the capacity to acknowledge when Israel is in the wrong.  They seem to be at the point where they see any form of the sentence “Israel is in the wrong” as apologetics for terrorism.

    Posted by Michael  on  01/06  at  08:56 PM
  3. Regarding interventions, I wrote Israel a letter back in 2006 during the Lebanon fiasco.  Looks like they didn’t read it.

    Posted by Linkmeister  on  01/06  at  09:27 PM
  4. but now to the serious business of blog award whoring.  as none of you know, skippy is nominated in the 2008 web log awards for best large blog authority 301 - 500, whatever the hell that means.

    i wouldn’t normally stoop this low...ok, sure i would...but so far the lead vote getter in this category is abhorrent rightist blog jammy wearing fool (ahead of the nearest lefty blog by more than 400 votes!)

    come on, lefties!  don’t let me down! you can vote once every 24 hours, so i don’t care if you vote for the agonist or bloggasm or miss cellenia every other day, and then vote for skippy on the off days, or even if you just vote for fafblog and skippy, but let’s not let the rightists steal this very important category of authority 301 - 500!!

    we now return you to your regularly scheduled blog thread.

    Posted by skippy  on  01/07  at  01:38 AM
  5. On a side note, I thought you’d relish this bit of news:

    http://www.villagevoice.com/2009-01-07/columns/nat-hentoff-s-last-column-the-50-year-veteran-says-goodbye/1

    Posted by Roxanne  on  01/07  at  01:40 AM
  6. "In the real-world, being anti-Jew is not politically good because of the Jewish vote.”

    I suspect this is Michael’s comment (only because the comment is attributed to A “Michael") from the Gordon and Halper post, which I too read, found encouraging, then nearly forgot about in the wake of the comment thread.  It reminds me of my childhood…

    Big brothers are sometimes easy to pick fights with, but when they finally give in and hit back it’s much easier for Mom and Dad to see them swinging(after all, they are much bigger).  So, maybe we see Israel dropping hundreds of tons of bombs on Gaza when we didn’t notice the rockets that provoked it.  Still one has to wonder what provoked the rockets.  Sure I pinched big brother, but maybe he farted at me first or something.  Trying to find an origin of the violence in Gaza is only slightly more trouble than I put my parents through (sorry Mom and Dad!).  Either way, big brother and I are both left sitting in a whole lot of stink, as are Israel AND Palestine.  It isn’t anti-Semitic to point out that “two wrongs don’t make a right.”

    Now that isn’t a very academic way of putting it, but apparently even academia (the Chronicle IS an academic publication) can spin out two sides to bombing.  I thought we were supposed to be teaching our students what a REAL ad hominem argument is.  I guess we fail again since criticism of this violence is being interpreted as anti-Semitic.  Academic defense of violence (following the comment thread of the chronicle post) is all the more frightening because, as Gordon and Halper point out, Israel has targeted a University for weapons R and D.  You (all you other academics) can excuse it if you want to, but I work at a large public University that DOES receive defense funds.  I certainly don’t want others getting the idea that it’s okay to bomb us because some researcher down the hall from me built a better microchip, and after all, remember when Israel bombed the hell out of Islamic University!?!?

    Posted by Derek T.  on  01/07  at  03:52 AM
  7. “In the real-world, being anti-Jew is not politically good because of the Jewish vote.”

    I suspect this is Michael’s comment (only because the comment is attributed to A “Michael") from the Gordon and Halper post

    No, that’s not me, Derek.  In fact, if you ever find me saying something like that, go ahead and shoot me, because you’ll know that I’ve been replaced by an android.  I would never equate criticism of Israeli policies in the Occupied Territories with being “anti-Jew.”

    And Roxanne, yeah, I saw that—it’s the end of an era, I suppose.  Hentoff has been one of my father’s friends for over four decades, but I haven’t been able to read him for . . . at least two of those.

    Posted by Michael  on  01/07  at  06:01 AM
  8. The problem with that metaphor, Derek, is the fight goes back to when the younger brother was the much bigger brother, and an uncle was beating them both.

    Posted by Matt  on  01/07  at  11:43 AM
  9. "No that’s not me, Derek...”

    Phew!  A sigh of relief...it was right before I went to bed and I wasn’t thinking clearly.  No, I didn’t dream of electric sheep.  I didn’t mean to imply that YOU were equating questioning Israeli policy to being “Anti-Jew.” Actually, the comment that I quoted from makes a sanguine, albeit sarcastic, point that I reiterated above.  I should have quoted more of the original comment--sorry!  And it’s no wonder I’m confused.  Check out:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28404637

    The first paragraph alone could confuse anyone.  Have they called a cease-fire?  Does conditional cease fire mean that they get to keep bombing away, but also save face in the world community?

    And here:
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090107/wl_mideast_afp/mideastconflictgazairaqsadr_newsmlmmd

    Just as many predicted, our support of violence fuels more violence. 

    “The problem with that metaphor, Derek, is the fight goes back...”

    I agree to an extent Matt, but the point of the metaphor was the “fight.” Big or small, uncle’s influence or none, could some responsible parent just step in and stop the damn fight?  I saw something on the news or Dateline (I hate that show!) the other night where a father was goading his son and another TODDLER to fight one another on camera.  Maybe they should give the man a congressional medal for doing exactly what the US has done for years…

    Posted by Derek T.  on  01/07  at  01:57 PM
  10. "I suspect this is Michael’s comment [...]”

    Why do people do this?  Someone once attributed a comment they were going off on to me because whoever wrote it signed it “Rich”.  It’s as if you must be responsible for every person on the Internet with the same first name.

    Michael, by the way, why isn’t your RSS feed working?

    Posted by Rich Puchalsky  on  01/07  at  04:53 PM
  11. "Why do people do this?  Someone once attributed a comment they were going off on to me because whoever wrote it signed it “Rich”.  It’s as if you must be responsible for every person on the Internet with the same first name. “

    Again, I apologize.  As I tried to clarify in my last comment, I was not trying to take Michael to task for anything.  If one reads the comment I allude to from the Chronicle blog, it is not (I don’t think) meant to be inflammatory.  I thought it relevant to a discussion of the situation, and I meant to build on the point it was making, regardless of whether Michael said it or not.  It was a suspicion (one of which I myself noted the tenuous nature), nothing more, and one that Michael clarified.  No libelous intentions.

    Posted by Derek T.  on  01/07  at  05:38 PM
  12. i remember learning a sweet, sad lesson years ago from ol’ Page Smith’s multi-volume “People’s History of the US” (not to be confused with a more popular tome) in his discussion of American slavery as “social schizophrenia.” (and, of course, wj cash can tell all y’all unsoutherners a thing or two about it as well.)

    “social schizophrenia” is an appropriate historical metaphor here as well, i think. it certainly explains the need for gloves when one speaks of israel.

    and my, my, i know i was reaching for the Haldol mid-way thru them thar comments at the Chron. Mercy sakes alive! That’s pretty fucked-up over yonder!

    Posted by neill  on  01/08  at  12:36 AM
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