Commenter Profile

Plato’s Winter Pow Wow

February 4, 2016 3:01 pm
Taxi, You are right that Israel largely owes its survival and success to American support -- but then one has to look into the role of Israeli organizational efforts and ops in facilitating that support -- both overt and covert. You wrote: "We’ve had this discussion many times before. You always over-praise israel’s abilities and underestimate its enemies’ abilities despite being provided with plenty of facts on this matter over the years." You know, Israel's adversaries in the region have been promising to crush Israel since its founding, and look at where they stand now -- look at Egypt, Iraq, Libya and Syria. They haven't succeeded in reacquiring a single inch of Palestinian territory -- and increasingly they are silent on the plight of Palestinians in general. With regard to Russia's emerging role in the region -- some strategic analysts have speculated that Russia, taking into account its own strategic interests, may actually place a restraining hand on Hezbollah. It might be a mistake to assume that Russia is going to champion the Palestinian cause. My guess is that Israel exerts more influence among Russian policy elites than Palestinians -- or Hezbollah. Russia, like the United States and Europe, is becoming increasingly paranoid about Muslim movements in general.  
February 4, 2016 2:31 pm
Also take the case of Andrew Sullivan. For decades he was a reliable supporter of the New Republic wing of pro-Israel activism. After the failure of the Iraq War, he had a change of heart and began to aggressively challenge the Israel lobby and the neocons in the style of Walt and Mearsheimer. Then the flood of prolific writing on his blog The Dish came to an end. From Wikipedia: BEGIN QUOTE In January 2010, Sullivan blogged that he is "moving toward" the idea of "a direct American military imposition" of a two state solution on Israel, with NATO troops enforcing "the borders of the new states of Palestine and Israel". He commented, "I too am sick of the Israelis [...] I'm sick of having a great power like the US being dictated to". His post was criticised by Noah Pollak of Commentary, who referred to it as "crazy", "heady stuff" based on "hubris". In February 2010, Leon Wieseltier in The New Republic suggested that his former friend and colleague Sullivan had a "venomous hostility toward Israel and Jews", and was "either a bigot, or just moronically insensitive" towards the Jewish people. Sullivan rejected the accusation, and was defended by some writers, while others at least partly supported Wieseltier. END QUOTE https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Sullivan#Israel One might get the impression that influential critics of Israel are being silenced one by one -- when the overt attacks on them begin to surface (like Leon Wieseltier's accusation that Sullivan possessed a "venomous hostility toward Israel and Jews"), the covert attacks may well follow -- and we will never know what really happened. Shmarya Rosenberg has also been a vigorous critic of Israel. What has always impressed me is the high level of verbal violence and even outright threats expressed by many pro-Israel activists in open publications and media channels (see, for instance, the comment sections of the Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel and Ynet News). Where there is that much smoke there has to be fire. The playbook for silencing political opponents by covert means is huge and sophisticated -- and of course includes state-of-the-art hacking and cyberwarfare -- as well as all the old school methods. Pro-Israel militants believe they are in an all-out war for their survival against the forces of darkness (Amalek) -- the gloves are off -- they are not interested in engaging in free and open rational debates about Israeli policies -- they are operating on an entirely different plane. That, of course, was the attitude that produced the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.  
February 1, 2016 5:38 pm
I agree -- "Taxi" is by now a well-established brand -- the product of a great deal of effort. It's like band names -- it doesn't matter what the band name is -- the band defines the name.  
February 3, 2016 11:51 pm
Of interest: "FailedMessiah blogger signs off after 12 years of haredi muckraking" (Times of Israel) http://www.timesofisrael.com/failedmessiah-blogger-signs-off-after-12-years-of-haredi-muckraking/ "Shmarya Rosenberg, who focused on exposing scandals in ultra-Orthodox community, says he’ll now work on anti-poverty issues" Comment: Douglas Kent: "I find it very odd that he is just dropping out after so many years of this. Something is defintely up."  
February 3, 2016 4:00 pm
There are also other possible explanations.  
February 3, 2016 11:23 pm
Israeli capabilities supposedly aren't that impressive -- but for over half a century Israelis been able to easily overpower and dominate adversaries who greatly outnumber them and who have dismissed those capabilities with contempt. Remember when the Arab world was full of bold promises to utterly crush Israel? What happened? One needs to look at these issues as realistically and objectively as possible, Taxi -- Mossad, in collaboration with Unit 8200, easily ranks among the top 5 intel agencies in the world for effectiveness and fearsomeness. And it is quite smart about leveraging the capabilities of other intel agencies around the world. Its successes have greatly outnumbered its few public blunders. It is safe to say that Israel keeps close tabs on anti-Israel activists all around the world at a highly fine-grained level -- that is not difficult to do with the right cyber and data mining tools these days. And it has at its command a global network of dedicated covert warriors that reaches nearly everywhere. There are also various shadowy independent groups out there without ties to Mossad or the Israeli government that have a quick trigger finger -- those may be the ones to worry about most.  
February 3, 2016 5:00 pm
Was the Bernadotte assassination a propagandistic hoax? The deeper level of activity going on here: some pro-Israel activists have the power to pull strings at major Internet companies, federal intelligence agencies, local police departments, etc. -- and to use them to run ops against their "enemies" -- to pick them off one by one and silence them. By the way, Stephen Zunes (a notable critic of Israel) recently went black on Facebook for a few weeks after being subjected to sustained harassment.  
February 3, 2016 6:01 pm
A healthy respect for Mossad wouldn't be misplaced -- they are competent (most of the time), very innovative, and can reach out to nearly any point on the planet with the greatest of ease. Some very smart people think they are the best at what they do.  
February 3, 2016 4:28 pm
He may have been maliciously hacked -- in numerous ways -- in cyberspace, physical space or social space. We know these kinds of operations have been going on for some time -- and that they have dramatically escalated during the last year or two. Did you see this? "Jewish Voice for Peace and Jews Say No! take credit for faux ‘NYT’ highlighting biased coverage on Israel/Palestine" http://mondoweiss.net/2016/02/jewish-voice-for-peace-jews-say-no-take-credit-for-faux-nyt-highlighting-biased-coverage-on-israelpalestine/ "Yesterday we reported on a parody edition of the New York Times being handed out on the streets of New York City. Since then the fake paper has generated headlines around the world and the Twitter account and website associated with the effort have been suspended." >>>"the Twitter account and website associated with the effort have been suspended"<<< What? It would be good to hear that he has simply become bored with the Great Mideast Debates and decided to tune them out -- that would be perfectly understandable. After a while they can become unbearably tiresome and toxic -- there are so many other important things going on in the world.  
February 3, 2016 5:22 pm
They may look at the world very differently than you do -- you shouldn't project your mindset and redlines on them -- they are in an entirely different mental and emotional space. In any case, perhaps someone will be able to verify that everything is cool with American -- and that he just had the good sense to turn his attention to more life-enhancing topics and issues. The Great Mideast Debates are a depressing snake pit -- anti-life -- truly a lunatic asylum. Many Americans and Europeans have been forced to pay attention to these controversies because foreign policy matters to American and Europeans -- and increasingly they resent having to deal with this mess. Wouldn't you love to know the private thoughts and feelings of, say, Barack Obama and John Kerry on these issues.  
February 3, 2016 3:10 pm
Does anyone know what happened to American?  
February 3, 2016 4:40 pm
Of interest: 1. "New search engine to target anti-Semitism" http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4760276,00.html "Meet the Sniper, an app that will scan the net using a new algorithm, looking for anti-Jewish content. Individuals will be able to check the content and take action as needed." 2. "Meet The New Sniper Golem (Gilad Atzmon)" http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/2016/2/3/meet-the-new-sniper-golem  

American Empire’s Shifting Strategies in the Middle East

January 23, 2016 6:13 pm
One way to define Empire: the aggregation of the world's most wealthy billionaires, corporations and nations as defined by: 1. Forbes: The World's Billionaires http://www.forbes.com/billionaires/list/ 2. Fortune: Global 500 http://fortune.com/global500/ 3. World's Richest Countries http://www.worldsrichestcountries.com/ The trick is to extract meaningful insights by mining that data -- particularly concerning ever-shifting alliances of special interests within this group/dataset. Who is running the show, what do they want, and what methods are they using to get it?  
January 23, 2016 5:24 pm
When we use the term "Empire," to what exactly are we referring? One slice at this: --Empire/current vanguard institutions 1. Amazon.com 2. Apple 3. Aspen Institute 4. DARPA 5. Davos/World Economic Forum 6. Facebook 7. Goldman Sachs 8. Google 9. Harvard 10. Microsoft 11. MIT 12. Oracle 13. Silicon Valley 14. Stanford --three key drivers 1. appetite for knowledge 2. appetite for exploration 3. appetite for innovation The fascinating thing is that the pursuit of wealth and power is not always the dominant drivers of Empire -- often wealth and power follow in the wake of more visionary and idealistic motivations. Are some cultures more curious, adventurous and innovative than others? -- maybe so. And those cultures tend to accumulate material advantages over less energetic cultures. Empire is the inevitable and organic product of human nature. See, for instance: "The father of civilisation: Alexander the Great's hunger for knowledge gave us everything from the Old Testament to algebra and even robots" http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1260702/The-father-civilisation-Alexander-Greats-hunger-knowledge-gave-Old-Testament-algebra-robots.html Regarding Alexandria: BEGIN QUOTE There is not, and has never been, another city to match it. It was a glittering metropolis, home to the most sexually charismatic queen of all time, founded by a man whose megalomaniac ambitions knew no bounds. It was a buzzing hub that boasted one of the seven wonders of the world, where intellectual geniuses from both East and West met to tussle and debate in a library containing all the knowledge on the planet. END QUOTE There are both great upsides and downsides to Empire -- there can be especially severe downsides for groups that are viewed as exploitable natural resources by Empire.  
January 22, 2016 4:58 pm
Taxi, They are also specific individuals with specific loyalties and agendas -- and that group is subject to internecine conflict -- even to the level of completely shattering and dissolving. I think we are on the verge of seeing major disruption on that front -- witness current events in Europe with regard to the EU.