Commenter Profile

What now, Einstein?

August 19, 2015 7:04 pm
It's up to JVP members to do invite Weir to events and be Open JVPs.

An Open Letter to: Secretary of State John Kerry and Attorney General Loretta Lynch – James Zogby/HuffPo

August 16, 2015 2:44 am
Hostage. Great creativity in your order to compel. Why do I think that these are rarely granted? It seems like there is so much failure to enforce important laws in terms of some major issues like Immigration and the Special Relationship (eg. the one against supplying arms to conflicts involving human rights abuses), that for some reason this legal tactic would not be successful with the courts in reality.

Mondoweiss: Bird In A Cage

August 16, 2015 10:17 pm
Dear Hostage, It is interesting and nice talking with you because you have a great brain. And now that you are against stoning Alison Weir, I think you have a great heart too. Regarding Chomsky, I think you and I beat that horse so much it is not reacting anymore. The main problem I see is the exclusion of Alison, and I tend to think that Chomsky wasn't involved in that, although of course I would be interested in knowing. Neither Weir nor Chomsky consider the Lobby the near-exclusive cause or not a cause at all for US support of the ongoing oppression in the Levant. Weir focuses a lot on it in her work while Chomsky doesn't seem to. You can find Chomsky's debate against the AADC's positon on the Lobby here: As for JVP's people whose position on the Lobby reflects the JVP Statement's condemnation of her that she has a "tail wags dog" theory (the second half of JVP's Statement on Weir), See: "No, it's the dog that wags the tail", by Mark Levine Levine is a JVP Academic Advisory Council member Mitchell Plitnick, former director of education and policy at JVP, gave a talk at Berkeley saying: We need to understand that lobby, what its effect is, and what its nature is. That means asking, directly and fairly, is this a “Jewish lobby”, and does this lobby truly have the power to be a tail wagging the dog of American Middle East policy? ...Current support for Israeli policies is the result of an entrenched foreign policy, and an aversion to taking a risk on a new one... Policy continues to be decided by a perception of US interests, and the mainstream of that perception continues to see Israel as the key to US influence in the Middle East... The myth of the powerful lobby intimidates and disempowers many people. But the idea that policy is decided in halls of inscrutable power is equally disempowering." Gabriel Ash of IJAN challenges Plitnick's solution to the Lobby issue in his essay here: SEE ALSO: Phyllis Bennis, ETOC director, "Of dogs and tails",+the+unc+hanging++nature+of+the+U.S.+-+Israeli+alliance&source=bl&ots=ze7DK71umR&sig=cUe3y01hnYbpggHKRRLDzCp42Gs&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CB8Q6AEwAGoVChMI-p2tysquxwIVRReSCh21WgEb#v=onepage&q=%29.%20Of%20dogs%20and%20tails%3A%20The%20changing%20nature%20of%20the%20pro%20-%20Israeli%20lobby%2C%20the%20unc%20hanging%20%20nature%20of%20the%20U.S.%20-%20Israeli%20alliance&f=false "The intersection of these pro-Israeli right wing ideologues, the arms indusry, influential institutions and powerful people in government make the question of who are the dogs and who wags the tails essentially moot." My impression from Bennis' essay is that the main emphasis she gives as to the driving forces is to US strategic imperial goals in the Mideast, with a lesser emphasis on the Christian Zionists and pro-Israeli lobby itself, although her thesis statement is that the question is moot. In any case, JVP's Statement clearly makes their disagreement over what they see as Weir's "tail wags dog" theory to be the second main grounds for censuring her. And that is probably the impetus for the timing of the censuring, since her book tour is current-day, but her Douglas interview was 6 years ago.
August 19, 2015 9:39 pm
((Sweeping statements like this really piss me off. No quotes to indicate the offense, no context, nothing. Pompous holier-than-thou bullshit. ~Taxi)) Hostage, This is a good example of why Weir didn't go through and debunk Douglas' claims like ETO expects her to. If she had tried to, the same thing would have happened that I could be led into doing with Taxi. Taxi or Douglas would demand evidence for the objections, and then the conversation could get totally sidetracked into debating the ins and outs of what is racist and how it doesn't have merit or there is a tiny grain of truth to it. I am sure Weir strongly wanted to avoid going down that path. It doesn't mean that somehow Weir actually agrees with every thing Douglas said. Kapische?
August 17, 2015 1:01 am
Can someone find out what Jeff Blankfort thinks about this:
August 19, 2015 8:55 pm
That's remarkable, brother. The decision on Weir is tough. I don't know if you have trawled through all Taxi's, American's and Pepsi's comments, but some of their views are offensive. If just posting here somehow means you and I automatically agree with every single thing they say, it's a huge problem, isn't it?
August 15, 2015 11:44 pm
SEAN, SEE: Note that the Corries have been on one of the three programs JVP objected to.
August 19, 2015 8:49 pm
Hello, Hostage. I am not sure it is worth debating you on this. Were you arguing in favor of JVP's banning of Weir for emphasizing the importance of the lobby in her campaign, it would be different. Here, I was just responding to your question: ((Please do name some names in JVP or ETO then, and cite some evidence to back up the claim “They are very much against promoting seeing the Lobby as a major problem.”)) It's clear that JVP's objection to Weir is that she is emphasizing the lobby in her advocacy work, and they complained that she has a "tail wags dog" theory. So to answer your request for naming names about this, I listed the writings and talks by several JVP and ETO figures who appeared to have downplayed the lobby's importance. It's true that Chomsky and the others did not deny that the lobby was any problem, but I found the thrust of their arguments, like Levine's "it’s the dog that wags the tail” to downplay that importance, even while some of them called it a "moot" point because of the intersections of the lobbies involved. Personally, I don't see it as a moot point, because you have just debunked the Strategic Asset claim from your personal experience. Consequently, I think that there is a valid point to discussing the different roles played by the different power players. While I agree that there is a context of imperialism, I also think that it's legitimate and not "chauvinist" for some activists to emphasize the importance of lobbying like Weir does, because of how important lobbying is in our current system. If you want to argue that those authors are not necessarily wrong, it's OK, Hostage. I am mainly concerned like you are about totally banning people over their positions on that topic.
August 17, 2015 2:06 am
The ROUNDTABLE post on Alison is a bit like a tiny barometer or like sticking the toe in the water. Phil and Adam did not write out 2 opposing articles on how each of them feel. You can guess how they feel based on Phil's past letters on Alison and on Adam's signature against Atzmon. If Phil and Adam had both written how they felt, it might have run similar to that: Adam's essay using the mentality in the petition against Atzmon, and Phil's essay reiterating what he already said about Weir, except the context being the recent scandal. And the comments section would have worked out about the same as it did in real life with the comments to Jennifer and Russ' articles. So in effect the Roundtable was a way to play it safe.
August 19, 2015 8:30 pm
Hostage, You wrote that a directional shift began when Blankfort was banned, and that you had said the same things as Blankfort yourself. Notice that in 2007-2011 a report came out by Political Research Associates on Finkelstein, Blankfort, and Alison aimed at portraying them as anti-Semitic. Ostensibly the report was a left wing one also directed against Islamophobia. Notice that one of the charges against Finkelstein in the report was that a CUNY trustee denied a pro-Palestinian writer Kushner a degree because "Kushner had disparaged the State of Israel, an assertion (the trustee) said came from Finkelstein’s website." The two paragraphs about Kushner seem to draw a practically non-existent link between Finkelstein and the attack on Kushner. Why? Notice also that all three activists targeted in the report have become somehow persona non grata in both the Solidarity movement and for JVP, all based on questionable grounds. It's true that Finkelstein has a pretty mixed take on BDS, but so does Chomsky, and Chomsky still gets invited to speak at events. Blankfort gets into very touchy subjects, but you and Brenner have written the same things. And now Weir is non grata for doing a few of the same things mostly six years ago that Chomsky and others have done in their lifetimes. Why?
August 16, 2015 10:24 pm
Is Henry Siegman related to JVP? He writes: "When things really come to a head, the dog is still the dog and the tail is still the tail." I am not really taking a position on Tail vs Dog, but trying to look for where the current day impetus is coming from in banning Weir.
August 17, 2015 1:21 pm
Walid, I found a few articles about Native American Solidarity. Additionally, if you recall also, Salaita was a Palestinian who focused on Amerindian studies and draw a parallel. Native American Indians Take a Stand For Gaza American Indian Palestinian Solidarity Network
Abunimah: The Native American analogy doesn’t work Ali Abunimah on December 5, 2010 Earlier today Weiss did a post mentioning Native Americans and the argument that American historical sins immunize the Israelis from the Palestinian right of return. Citing the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans as a way to justify not recognizing the Palestinian right of return, as I’ve often heard people do, is usually disingenuous.
See more at: Native Americans and Palestinians Issue: 1999, Volume 32, Issue 5 Subject: Civil Rights|Human Rights|Land and Homes|Native Americans|Refugees Author: Finkelstein, Norman Issue Description: In 1998, a delegation of Palestinians visited the Lakota Indians on their Pine Ridge Reservation. Soon after, a delegation of Native Americans visited Palestine. What they found is the subject of this issue.
August 16, 2015 1:05 am
"I am willing to bet he is seriously against this battle against Alison Weir, of all people. It can’t possibly be a good thing for the BDS movement he supports." ~ Danaa Yes, he is.
August 17, 2015 2:14 am
"Furthermore, privileging a white middle-class target audience can lead into traps. For example, the postcard by If Americans Knew that asks, “What would you do if the world demanded that we ‘recognize the right’ of another country to take over 78% of our land?” uses a slogan that many of us have used in some version over the years, but we have come to realize that this slogan insults the many millions of Native Americans, past and present, who already know exactly how this feels. We can’t afford to ignore that large-scale ethnic cleansing was central to the founding of the US as well as Israel." - (from the Rachel Corrie statement)
I don't get how that question necessarily insults the Amerindians. Why can't Amerindians respond that they know how it feels and are therefore in solidarity with Palestinians?
August 15, 2015 10:39 pm
Sean, In this case, most of the action (50-90%) is going on offline. like who is contacting whom to get support for the blacklisting, who believes what, who is for real, what are their actual motivations, even why they are writing or silent on the scandal. You and I can only speak for ourselves and a few other people, generally those we've talked to offline when it comes to these questions. I can say that you can't treat the main arguments behind expelling her at face value. Weir's appearances don't explain why she got the axe, because other activists appeared on the same programs. Certain people like Henry Norr and Annie you can take at face value when they explain their opinions on the controversy.