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Friday: A sensitive subject

Dakinikat says this cartoon by Thomas Oliphant of the Boston Globe reminds her of something:

Mr. Oliphant should expect to get long, lecturing letters about the Holocaust, which he obviously has never heard of.

In other news:

  • The NYTimes still hates Kirsten Gillibrand.  Now they are highlighting the work she did as a young attorney working for a firm representing Phillip Morris.  Look, guys, this personal vendetta you have against Gillibrand is getting ridiculous.  Caroline Kennedy didn’t get the job.  Give it up already.  Those who want to help Gillibrand out can contribute here.
  • Paul Krugman (why aren’t you in the administration?) writes about where the finance industry went rogue on us in The Market Mystique.  He knows what I described the other day is probably true: The MBA Lifestyle was born and exploded onto the scene in the 80’s.  He also thinks we have to get rid of it:

As you can guess, I don’t share that vision. I don’t think this is just a financial panic; I believe that it represents the failure of a whole model of banking, of an overgrown financial sector that did more harm than good.

I don’t think the Obama administration can bring securitization back to life, and I don’t believe it should try.
Much discussion of the toxic-asset plan has focused on the details and the arithmetic, and rightly so. Beyond that, however, what’s striking is the vision expressed both in the content of the financial plan and in statements by administration officials. In essence, the administration seems to believe that once investors calm down, securitization — and the business of finance — can resume where it left off a year or two ago.

To be fair, officials are calling for more regulation. Indeed, on Thursday Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, laid out plans for enhanced regulation that would have been considered radical not long ago.

But the underlying vision remains that of a financial system more or less the same as it was two years ago, albeit somewhat tamed by new rules.

Now, if we could only get people like Paul to acknowledge that taxpayers have a right to protest instead of submitting quietly while the intellectuals and academics write sternly worded columns, maybe we could turn this baby around…

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134 Responses

  1. Obama will meet with big bankers today at the White House. Why?

    “White House officials said Obama likes to hear directly from those who will be affected by his decisions.”

    Really? Then will President O also be visiting the newly poverty stricken American citizens in the tent cities that are popping up around the country?

  2. Obama backs banks

    The administration late yesterday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to bar New York and other states from enforcing their fair-lending and other consumer-protection laws against federally chartered banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co.

    The legal brief, which adopts the Bush administration’s position, is a setback for consumer and civil-rights groups that had urged President Barack Obama’s team to switch positions. The filing puts the administration at odds with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo over the respective roles of state and federal regulators. The high court will hear arguments April 28.

    “National banks are created by the government to serve federal purposes,” argued Solicitor General Elena Kagan, the Obama administration’s top courtroom lawyer. “Oversight of the banks is therefore principally entrusted to the United States.”

    • Sadly, the one person who could walk that line and stray neither into “eat the rich” (because all that money does indeed drive our economy), nor into “screw the poor and middle class” (because we desperately need protections) was Hillary.

      The wonky pragmatist, with a liberal’s heart paired with steely-eyed realism, gets that balancing act – she GETS IT.

      • Indeed. Hillary was the last chance for a post Bush II soft landing….but the Upper Crust said, ” hell no. We aren’t though destroying every safety net yet, ” and paid off the Dem party. It wasn’t hard. (Frankly I think Tool Barry was in the pipe line for decades, since Columbia at least ) ….. and of course for obot true believers , ( those not even smart enough to get a pay off ) Hillary’s refreshing realism was utterly abhorrent … They wanted the magic rainbow damn it! So here we are….I just Thank God Hillary is co-POTUS at State. I believe Biden’s prediction of Barry being tested by an overseas power would have come true already, but for Hill being there.

        Oh any by the way, how many people know Hill is currently in Mexico? One wouldn’t if you just watched TV news. Without a pretend Clinton scandal to gin up , the media isn’t interested in her successes . But Hillary might prefer the news black out so she can do her work without the usual media slime machine going 24/7.

    • Si in other words we should be marching with pitchforks toWashington because THEY are responsible.

      Someone needs to bookmark this for his re election. That way we can use his own words to argue his share of the responsibility for this mess.

  3. Here are some comments from Hot Air re: the Oliphant cartoon:

    The “Palestinians” living in Israel in 1948 left of their own accord.
    Their friends in the invading arab armies promised that they would chase the “evil Jews” into the sea and then the Pals could come back and take everything.
    It was a great plan-except that the ‘Jews” won.
    Every time the Israelis make concessions they get terror in return and then a world guilt trip when they finally fight back. The problems of the “palestinians” aren’t because of the Israelis-they’re because of their own poor leadership and the leadership of the arab nations.


    It’s been debunked and the guy who spread the rumor Danny Zamir is an Israeli version of Ramsey Clark. Your ignorance about Jews, Israel, Rabbis, and the IDF is astounding. Israeli soldiers have been killed because the IDF stupidly holds back on firepower in order to save the worthless lives of Arabs. I wish that Gaza were totally leveled. Jsut wait until Netanyahu steps in. Step back and watch how a real man operates not a jackoff like Olmerde.

    Hilts on March 26, 2009 at 4:41 PM

    I think the “worthless lives of Arabs” comment says it all.

    • Wow!

    • Good grief

    • wow, what a bigot. It always surprizes me the disconnect between what American Jews and Israelis understand about Zionism. In Israel they are much more aware of the reality of the situation and either defend it or disaprove. But in America, many jews, even liberal ones seems to have eaten the myths about “land without a people for a people without a land” and the arabs are all nomads and never developed”….etc whole.

  4. Here’s another Hot air comment:

    It takes a lot of effort and a lot of self induced blindness to side with the Palestinians in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Such effort and blindness could only be motivated by Jew hate, there is no other explanation.

    Maxx on March 26, 2009 at 1:14 PM

    IOW – If you support the Palestinians you are anti-semitic

    • I think that is the consensus reality view. Personally, I don’t know the answers to this situation. I only know that I don’t like to see any human being treated as subhuman.

    • IF you don’t support Obama you are a racist.
      Seems about the same level of emotional manipulation and character assasination to me.

  5. I think the cartoon is offensive because Oliphant used the Star of David. Oliphant clearly doesn’t show the other side of the conflict.

    Israel has lived with countless coordinated terrorist strikes by Palestinian suicide bombers in public places – which also kills civilians – for decades.

    PLEASE NOTE: I’m not saying that justifies Israel’s actions. Nobody is right at this point. THERE IS NO justification of attacking civilians, AT ALL, from either side.

    I really hoped Tzipi Livni would’ve won the election against Netanyahu. She, as well as the Kadima party, hold the key to resolving the issue once and for all. Hardliners like Netanyahu only add fuel to the fire.

    • The cartoon is shocking in more ways than that. But by definition, political cartoons take a specific point of view. It’s not a cartoonist’s job to show both sides; it is his/her job to challenge status quo, mainstream narratives.

      • Oh, of course BB. I know that a political cartoonist is showing a certain opinion.

        I think Oliphant could’ve made the point without using the Star of David. Had he used the crescent moon and star symbol, it still would be equally as offensive.

        • Not really.

          It’s politically acceptable to be 100% pro-Israel, but the pro-Palestinian position is considered by many to be anti-semitic.

          We see depictions of Arabs as cold-blooded terrorists all the time, but it doesn’t cause any controversy.

          • We see depictions of Arabs as cold-blooded terrorists all the time, but it doesn’t cause any controversy.

            But that’s offensive too!

        • Two things, SM:
          1.) King David Hotel bombing. Google it.
          2.). The Star of David is on the Israeli flag. The stars and stripes are *our* national symbol; the SoD is theirs. It would be perfectly natural for a cartoonist to use it to represent Israel. The fact that it also represents Judaism *is* problematic. But this is something Israelis chose. Maybe a mennorah would have been overtly anti-Semitic but they conjur up images of harmless holidays and Adam Sandler. So, the star in the cartoon is not necessarily anti-Semitic or offensive. It’s merely a symbol for Israel’s state and policies.

          • I know what you’re saying, it’s that using the symbol itself is very harsh. I totally see your point as the Star of David being used to represent both state and religion.

            I personally would’ve preferred that Oliphant not use the Star and instead put the word “Israel” on the soldier instead.

            But that’s me.

      • Yes, but I think Oliphant’s overstatement in this case just muddies the waters. It’s one thing to champion a cause and another to so demonize the opposition that you get people to come to their defense. I can’t see any helpful purpose to this cartoon.

        • I’m with that, Purple.

          Civilians have been killed on both sides of the issue.

          • Yes, true, but the numbers of palestinians killed has always been many many times the number of Israelis killed. That is a sad fact that pro-Israel peopl never seem to want to explore.
            It is not just about Hamas putting munitions in civilian neighborhoods, I think it is ethnic cleansing and always has been since before 1948.

            1.Move massive amounts of Jewish people in from all over the world, creating “facts on the ground”.
            2. Move Palestinians out of their homes and across the border in to other countries.
            3. Pretend Palestine never existed and the people trying to get back to their homes are Jordinians.
            4. Kill those who will not leave.
            5. Allow those who get back in to Israel to work as laborers in the orchards and feilds they used to own.
            6. Make Jewish villages over the top of all Palestinian villages and pretend they too never existed.
            7. Cut off access to healthcare.
            8. Cut off access to jobs.
            9. treat the words Arab and terrorist as synonymous

          • Teresa, your points are very well taken.

    • But isn’t the star of David on the flag? It’s a national symbol like our Eagle or the Hammer and Sickle were to USSR. Isn’t it both a religious and secular symbol because of that or not?

      • Same thing as the crescent and star on the Pakistani flag.

        And yeah, using the crescent moon and star OR the Star of David the way that Oliphant did is offensive to me.


  6. Other responses:

    Jewish groups call Oliphant cartoon ‘anti-Semitic’

    March 26, 2009

    JERUSALEM (JTA) — Jewish groups have denounced a cartoon by a prize-winning political cartoonist as anti-Semitic.


    “Pat Oliphant’s outlandish and offensive use of the Star of David in combination with Nazi-like imagery is hideously anti-Semitic,” Abraham Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League national director, said in a statement. “It employs Nazi imagery by portraying Israel as a jack-booted, goose-stepping headless apparition. The implication is of an Israeli policy without a head or a heart. ”

    The Simon Wiesenthal Center said in a statement: “The imagery in this cartoon mimics the venomous anti-Semitic propaganda of the Nazi and Soviet eras. It is cartoons like this that inspired millions of people to hate in the 1930s and help set the stage for the Nazi genocide.”

    “Mr. Oliphant clearly has the right to his views, however noxious,” said RAC associate director Mark Pelavin. “But newspapers, and others, are under no obligation to become publishers of such trash.”


  7. O/T but get this one: Newt Gingrich is converting to Catholicism this weekend in DC!!!!!!!!

    I said this before, but you are looking at the next presidential candidate for 2012 (and if things keep up the way they are right now under Obama, Newt is a shoe in) and this “conversion” is the next step on the road to the WH. Nothing worse than a “convert”, believe me.

    • Thanks for the warning. Just when you think it can’t get any worse ……………………… I thought W was the “bottom” of our decline. What did I know???

    • Why would Newt convert to Catholicism? I mean really, Catholicism?

    • i thought he’d already converted for wife number..wait, I lost count.

      I’d take the Grinch over Obama any day.

    • Being Catholic has not historically been a great way to win the presidency. A third of Americans are Catholic and we have had exactly one Catholic president. Not great odds.

      Timing also seems odd. Generally, people converting go through a process that culminates on Easter.

  8. Help, I think my link landed me in moderation.

  9. I am in moderation and I don’t have any coffee!

  10. bb, OT The news from North Dakota was even more frightening this morning. At least they seem to be very prepared to evacuate and not lose lives in this disaster.

    • I know. It is really terrible, and this is only the beginning. Grand Forks (location of U. of ND) will be next. They are already sandbagging. They are preparing up in Canada too. The Red River flows north. I hate to think what the rural areas around Fargo and Morehead, MN are like.

  11. {{snort!}}. Ok that was funny

  12. If Newt should get elected he will be our first “Big Love” Commander in Chief! And we won’t have to worry about any Rev. Wright moments since we already have the Pope!

    • Newt chose the wrong religion.

      Mormonism seems to better with him.

      But then again, Mormons ban the use of alcohol.

      And we all know that Newt can’t be the deluded without the help of booze.

  13. But that’s offensive too!

    Tell that to Hollywood

  14. During the late ’80s and ’90s I worked for a few small investment firms that structured investment funds based on commercial equipment. When the tax code was rewritten in the ’80s to remove a substantial amount of tax shelter benefits, these products were never the same – lousy returns and even lousier performance. The ’90s brought securitization. What a novel idea, take the “crap”, as Mr. Partnoy would say, and turn it into cake. Securitization was a gift for these greedy bastards. I felt crummy listening to our investor services representatives explaining to the clients, mostly senior citizens, how they should stay with the investment no matter how much it sucked. And I feel crummy now knowing that even if I could have done something, I wouldn’t – it was a job and I was helpless to do anything. The salesmen were the key. They could get people to buy anything, especially the elderly. It’s a crying shame.

    No one’s talking about the elderly. The people who are surviving on a razor thin fixed income and possibly some savings or IRAs that are being slammed by the incredibly low interest rates. These folks are totally forgotten. How will they survive when their income keeps dwindling?

    • How will they survive when Obama makes the inevitable announcement in a year or two that social security, medicare, medicaid, welfare, and food stamps are obligations that our government can no longer meet? If spending and borrowing continue at this unbelievable rate and all the money goes to these private banks, the we the people will literally be on our own.

      Now Obama is expanding the war in Afghanistan and into Pakistan (did Congress approve this?). More money that will not be used to help our own country in a time of crisis.

      • If spending and borrowing continue at this unbelievable rate and all the money goes to these private banks, the we the people will literally be on our own

        You just put the plan in a nut shell. Since Bush couldn’t get Social Security for Wall St in 05 , they decided to come though the back door and empty the joint out. Also it’s been pointed out, they don’t want our creditors to find any thing when the notes come due .
        Upper Crust is cashing out….with our cash

  15. Personally, I don’t have a dog in the I/P fight and I think the truth is closer to the middle than either side wants to admit.

    My issue is with the fact that one side has established a near-monopoly on morality in the discussion, to the extent that we’re allowed to be far more critical of our own government than the government of Israel.

    • well it is very hard to argue with the moral right of Jews to have a safe homeland. But I have always thought it would be better if they had not taken some one elses.
      It is such a hard issue. Before 1948 Jews, Muslim, Christians shared the land there in relative peace (I say relative) and there were Jewish people who were actually born and raised in the region who wanted things to remain the same, they opposed the forming of a Jewish state. I tend to think they were right. Brittain and the US made a mistake out of guilt. But how could they know that at the time?

      • Doesn’t everybody have the same moral right to have a safe homeland?

        • There is blood on both sides. But I often find it enlightening to switch words in statements one has heard over and over.

          We hear often that ” Israel has the right to defend itself ” and that ” Palestinians must give up violence. ” But when have we heard that Palestinians have the right to defend themselves and that Israel must give up violence. ? Not very often . If the names in an agreement cannot be switched, the agreement is inherently unfair and ultimately unworkable .

          One can care very much about Israel and be against thier current policies. Because State sponsored genocide is never justified and , in the end , is self destructive. IMO

        • yes

    • I have no dog in the I/P fight either.

      I just think that both sides have equal right and equal blame.

      But whatever. I’m a hippie liberal.

  16. ooops, I either used a bad word or I am too opinionated.
    BTW my children are semetic, I am NOT anti semetic, I am just not pro-Israel.

  17. They will be told to take responsibility for themselves, stop being lazy and get back to work. ….like they didn’t already for many decades. Social Security is in the cross hairs and the push back must be very hard….but even if we do save SS, the fixed income elderly will be slammed by the inflation that people are saying is coming. As you say, so many are just barely making it now….and are just another “fee ‘ or two away from a glad bag at the bus station. You ask” How will they survive when their income keeps dwindling?
    but I don’t have to tell you if that crosses the powers that be minds at all, it’s in wonderment the eldely can still hold on and not how to help them to do so.

  18. http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=10682

    Interesting article posted at noquarter.

    “Barack Obama was always going to disappoint. When you promise almost everything to almost everybody—I’ll stop the fighting in Iraq but I’ll also keep going after al Qaeda there; I’ll make the economy grow more but I’ll spread the wealth around, and so on—you will inevitably let many people down. Human beings, even those who read fluently from teleprompters, simply cannot walk on water.”

    It goes on to talk about Hillary’s role and even mentions Newt.

  19. “we’re allowed to be far more critical of our own government than the government of Israel”

    And some of the harshest criticism of Israel is Israel’s own leading newspapers, especially Ha’aretz. They publish articles and opinion pieces that would never be seen in any U.S. paper.

    I give major props to Oliphant but he better be prepared for a s***storm of major and unheralded proportions and I sure hope he’s not expecting much support from his WaPo editors.

    As for Gingrich turning Catholic, I as a Catholic am deeply offended. Well, as a person too, there is no end to the ways in which Gingrich offends me.

    • Weird factoid about the Newtster:

      His Congressional district had the highest percentage of college graduates in the nation.

  20. “Brittain and the US made a mistake out of guilt. But how could they know that at the time?”

    Oh they knew all right — the U.S. conducted a major investigation (the Hart-Krane report) that found overwhelmingly negative sentiment against establishing the Jewish homeland on Palestinian land. Not because the Arabs hated the Jews but because they knew from previous experience that the colonists intended to drive them out and take their lands. As it turned out, they were absolutely right in that fear. Britain (which had charge of “Mandated Palestine” at that time) promised to maintain order in the region but didn’t; it pretty much looked the other way and then abandoned the Palestinians to their fate.

    It’s always been a huge question mark why the Palestinians have had to bear the punishment for Europe’s guilt.

    • Yeah, as much as I hate how Michael Moore drank the Kool-Aid this time around, he may have had a point about Bavaria being a more appropriate choice.

  21. New thread – an economumbo-jumbo post even

  22. Cheers,

    As in noted elsewhere, Jews and Palestinians are Semitic peoples. Among those who’ve lived in the region for 2000 years, there are no genetic differences, much the same as with Serbs and Croats.

    Worthy of note is that the region is environmentally unstable in the long, short term (Think Anasazi, Rwanda, Easter Island). The number of people that are using the land in the ways that they are, is not sustainable. Gaza, like Somalia, and Afghanistan (to name a few) has a birthrate over 6%. Water usage for irrigation is draining the aquifers at unsustainable rates. One of the major aquifers is filling with salt water as fresh water is drawn.

    {Accordingly, it is reasonable to expect another incursion into Lebanon so as to acquire the Litani river, as it is the only river in the region that is not heavily exploited. It is also the border line of ancient Judea.}

    This said, the situation between the Israelis and the Palestinians, with respect to the resources they have to sustain themselves, is at good as it is going to get, without fundamental change. That fundamental change is unlikely to occur, because parties with power inside or outside the conflict are unwilling to bear the moderate unpleasantness that is required to workably compromise. Necessarily, this means we are willing to accept the extreme unpleasantness that will occur in the near future. It is likely to be gangrenous to the body politic.


    • excellent comment.. yes it is mostly about resorces.. it always is

    • Actually, the population growth rate in both the West Bank and in Gaza has slowed down considerably in recent years, and is now 2.4% in the West Bank and 3.4% in Gaza–still too high given the environmental instability and resource depletion that you mentioned, but moving in the right direction .


      • Inky,

        Your source says Gaza’s estimated birth rate for 2008 is 3.985%, which is good news, assuming my source for the 6% was correct: Volatile Places (2007).

        As you note, a 3.4% population growth rate is still too high as it means a doubling of the population in less than 20 years, especially because the present population of all communities in the neighbourhood is living on their children’s environmental inheritance.


  23. I’m tired of all the Israel bashing. But I understand that some people hate Israel. The idea of Jews having their own country and defending themselves is hard for some people to handle – but the Jewish people know that they have no one to turn to for help but themselves.

    • “The whole world hates Israel blah blah blah . . .”

      I guess all those billions in aid we give Israel every year is nothing?

    • I don’t see anything in the cartoon or the post that says or implies that “the idea of Jews having their own country and defending themselves is hard to handle” or in any way wrong.

      “the Jewish people know that hey have no one to turn to for help but themselves.”

      I was under the impression that the U.S. has in the past and still does provide a great deal of support for Israel. I believe the U.S. has provided Israel with both money and military hardware and weapons development support and information. Was my impression mistaken?

    • there is a lot of victimhood.martydom in your post. Claiming the greater victimhood is not a very convincing way to make your point.
      Neither is hyperbole very convincing. No one here said they hated Israel.

  24. Daring to question whatever Israel does, and the reaction it often brings , reminds me of other quarters where daring to question Obama is not tolerated either. But I say one can question Israel ‘s policies without be anti-semitic and one can question Obama without being rac*ist.

  25. A few questions: 1. Why are so many Palestinians still in refuge camps? Why haven’t their Arab brothers allowed them to become citizens in their countries. 2. Shy is it that only Isreal allows the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza to cross the borders and work in their country. Both the West Bank and Gaza have borders with other countries (Egypt and Jordon) – why don’t these countries hav e open borders for Palestinian workers? 3. If Palestinians have a right of return to the properties they left, does this mean that the jewish have a similar right to go back to France, Germany, Russia and other countries and reclaim their families’ properties – what about American Indians – do they have a right to get back their property ? If not, why not? What is so special about the Palestinians? People have been forced out of their homes all over the globe for centuries – and, with the help of other nations, they find new places to live and start new lives. Why not the Palestinians?

    • Who said that Palestinians have a right to get back their property? I wasn’t aware that proposal was on the table. I thought the two main proposals were for a two-state solution and a one-state solution. But I already admitted I don’t know enough to choose sides.

      Many Native Americans (they are not “Indians,” BTW) haven’t moved to other countries either and they are still living in camps (reservations) after centuries. That’s not a really good argument for the point you appear to be trying to make.

      • Many prefer “American Indian,” and point out that anyone born in America is a native American.

        • Perhaps you could reply to my question, since you seem to have read my comment?

    • why should the Palestinians have to become members of some foreign nation? In fact many have moved to other countries, that is their choice and other nations have taken them in. What if they just want to live freely together with other palestinians in their homeland. Native Americans have that right. Why not Palestinians?

    • “Why haven’t their Arab brothers allowed them to become citizens in their countries”

      What country in their right mind is willing to allow 10 MILLION immigrants??

      That much immigration would desttoy the country……

  26. I saw that cartoon at No Quarter yesterday, but didn’t read the article. Actually, knowing some of the hateful comments made by Larry Johnson made seeing him publish this cartoon, made me want to throw up.

    But today I decided to read their comments first before commenting here. I think it’s important to do some unbiased research from trustworthy sources before spouting opinions. I suggest checking out the comments there re this cartoon.

    A few things I’d like to add to the discussion – these type of cartoons were very popular in Germany for many years before the holocaust began. IThey couldn’t just start one day putting people in concentration camps. It was important to first stir up hatred, making them scapegoats during their economic disaster (sound familiar?).

    Second, the lack of knowledge of what is actually happening in Israel, Palestine, other Arab countries, with Muslims in Europe, never seems to deter people from spouting opinions, usually denouncing Israel.

    Actually, in Israel there’s a full gamut of opinions, from right to left, pro-aggression to pacifism. Jews love to disagree and argue over ideas. The Israeli parliament is no exception. Their system is much more democratic than ours, with many parties representing a large range of opinions, and with new elections average every 22 months. When there is injustice, Israelis are the first to rebel. That doesn’t mean that the official policies are always correct.

    As in Israel, too, in Palestine the government is not the same as the people. Even though Hamas was elected, that doesn’t mean they’re not scr*wing their own people. Or that their reports are accurate and truthful. Or that Israelis are always telling the truth.

    So I’m saying that anyone who presents an opinion on this has an obligation to educate themselves. Check wikipedia on Israel. Haaretz is a left Israeli newspaper that seems to present all points of view.

    One thing I find shocking and upsetting is the incorrect information that’s repeated here. And I see a new thread is up so it’s likely that no one will read this. But I had to write it anyway.

    • Actually people continue to read these threads days, weeks, and months after they are no longer active. Some people even comment long after the fact. A lot of our earliest posts still get page views. Amazing, isn’t it?

    • Anti-semitism wasn’t invented by the Nazis, it has a long history throughout Europe. It wasn’t caused by cartoons either.

      If you read SCOTUS cases on freedom of speech, they talk about the “marketplace of ideas.” In order to properly educate yourself you need information from different sources that present all sides of the issue.

      How do you determine who is “unbiased?” Do you take their word for it?

      When someone decides to only permit information that they deem “true” into the marketplace of ideas they are creating a monopoly.

  27. Speaktruth wrote:

    “Actually, in Israel there’s a full gamut of opinions, from right to left, pro-aggression to pacifism. Jews love to disagree and argue over ideas. The Israeli parliament is no exception. Their system is much more democratic than ours, with many parties representing a large range of opinions, and with new elections average every 22 months. When there is injustice, Israelis are the first to rebel. That doesn’t mean that the official policies are always correct.”


    I think the problem some people are having is that it is OK for Israelis and American Jews to criticize the Israeli government, but the rest of us must keep completely quiet and never criticize anything Israel does or risk being characterized as anti-semitic.

    Since our tax money goes to support Israel, some non Jewish Americans think they have a right to an opinion on this situation.

    • Portraying Israel as jack booted thug is propaganda, not criticism. It might be that some don’t like the idea of Israel defending itself which might explain the disproportionate and hateful imagery used so often. I know it is hard to believe but some people do hate the idea of a Jewish State (and even of a Jewish people).

    • I am shocked and deeply offended by the portrayal of the Jewish State as a jack booted thug. That Israel is evil may be the opinion of some. But my opinion is that I see the imagery presented in this post as vicious anti-Israel propaganda which seeks to weaken Israel and its ability to defend itself.

  28. My two cents as a Jew—there is paranoia in our community. Whether justified or not, it exists. There is a fear that we are always on the edge of being blamed for everything and pushed out-a major reason for the creation of Israel was so that Jewish people would have somewhere to go when every nation pushed them out. Whether pograms in Russia and eastern Europe or the Holocaust or other inquisitions-there is a history that accounts for the paranoia. The same reason that Jews are associated with money-because historically they were not allowed into ‘the professions’ and partly became money lenders to allow them to stay in some countries. I personally cringe when all this comes up-and I feel bad for the Palestinian people. Part of the problem is that their pop. density is so high. And now, just as all crime increases as the econ. deteriorates, anti-semitism and racism increase. People need a scape goat in hard times. I don’t know the answer to the problem, but I do know that the Arabs and Jews have more in common than not and that someone or group has a vested interest in keeping this going.

  29. “Their system is much more democratic than ours”
    Unless you’re an Arab, in which case you get zero rights and, if Avigdor Lieberman has his way, have to take a loyalty oath before you can vote.

    I think the angry arab makes a very good point about this cartoon: That if the Star of David were depicting Judaism, it would clearly be anti-Semitic; but since it is depicting the state of Israel (which is entirely distinct from the religion of Judaism) it can’t be branded as such.

  30. Oooh boy so much disinformation, so little time:

    “A few questions: 1. Why are so many Palestinians still in refuge camps?”

    Because that is where the state of Israel has forced them to live. Not content with that, the state of Israel regularly builds illegal settlements on Palestinian land.

    ” Why haven’t their Arab brothers allowed them to become citizens in their countries. ”

    Because the Palestinians HAVE their own g**ddamn country already. It’s the one Israel forced them out of and constantly tries to get more of, in contravention of international law, scads of UN conventions, and basic human decency. Why should they go somewhere else? That IS their country, not Jordan, not Libya or any other place where their “Arab brothers” live.

    “Why is it that only Isreal allows the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza to cross the borders and work in their country. Both the West Bank and Gaza have borders with other countries (Egypt and Jordon) – why don’t these countries hav e open borders for Palestinian workers?”

    Ha ha ha. Palestinians have to cross several hundred border checkpoints to get into Israel, Palestinians are not allowed to visit family members who live in Israel or vice versa, and they are routinely kept from crossing the borders on various pretexts even when trying to get to work or to get desperately needed medical services.

    Yes, Egypt is at fault here too. Because Egypt is so heavily dependent on U.S. aid (that’ s one reason), it has to go along with what the U.S. wants, and what the U.S. wants is what Israel wants.

    “If Palestinians have a right of return to the properties they left, does this mean that the jewish have a similar right to go back to France, Germany, Russia and other countries and reclaim their families’ properties”

    The right of return for refugees is guaranteed by the United Nations. Argue with them. And in fact, a Jewish person who grew up in Hoboken, N.J., and never set foot in the Middle East, has the right to “return” to Israel and live there as a citizen, whereas a Palestinian whose home was demolished and whose land was stolen 40 years ago does not have the right to return to their home. They don’t even have the right to VISIT their former villages.

    And I love that phrase “the home they left,” how cute is that. The Palestinians didn’t exactly go on a long vacation in 1948, you know — they were systematically driven from their homes and their villages were decimated. THAT is why they are “refugees” in their OWN land.

    You seem to be implying that it’s perfectly all right for Israel to drive out all those inconvenient Arabs and make them go live somewhere else. The basic fact you are overlooking–deliberately or not–is that the Palestinians already have a home. All they are asking for is the right to live on it without constant oppression, starvation, and violent assault.

    Did you think it was wrong when the U.S. rounded up Japanese-Americans into internment camps? Should those people have been allowed to return to their homes or maybe we should have told them to go find a home with their “Japanese brothers?” How about the black South Africans who were similarly kept in oppressive, squalid bantustans? Perhaps instead of pressuring the South African government to give them equal rights we should have told them to go live among their African brothers.

    • Speaking of “so much disinformation” – where are your links to ur information? Where do you get your info? Can you back up what you present as facts?

      • It is called READING and EDUCATING “”speaktruth””, try it sometime, you may be amazed.

        • Your comment here showed very well the level of discourse, prejudice, meanness, bigotry and plain ugliness present in these discussions.

          That was disgusting and uncalled for, Owen. And excuse me, who are you to speak to me that way.

          And when information is presented as facts, as it has been above, there is something wrong. I ask the same question again – how can you back up your accusations. I’m going back to get more specifics, but I know for sure that many of the things that otherwise intelligent and educated people have presented here are factually wrong. How did so many Israel haters become such experts on this country? Have you been there? Have relatives who live or have lived there? Had long conversations with native Israelis? Read books about Israel, present or past?

          Owen, what have you for example read, aside from Israel bashing sources? Did you bother checking your ideas?
          Obviously not.

  31. bb, you are one of the people I was referring to as “people I respect”. Meaning, you are someone who does great research on practically every topic you write about, yet I get the feeling you haven’t done much on this very complex topic. I admit that I don’t know nearly enough on this topic, though I’ve been trying to research it for years.

    So when you say “our tax money….”, I believe that “our” tax money also goes to “support” or assist many other countries, including Arab and Muslim ones, including fascist countries in S.Amer. (though this was in the eighties, I don’t know about now.) But again, researchwise, do you know numbers on aid to Israel, and other countries? I don’t. Also, we give money to Israel, not for altruistic reasons, but because is there to serve as a buffer in the volatile Middle East, because much technology has been used by this country, probably other self-interested reasons.

    And of course, you’re entitled to an opinion on everything, and have a right to express it. For me, at least, the issue is a lot more subtle than this. And I’m still working on formulating my ideas.

    I’ve always been left-leaning and have many friends who are very critical of Israel. My ex-inlaws, old Socialists, would never visit Israel, though in their last forty years they went just about everywhere else in the world. Though they were Jewish (committed atheists) I considered them anti-Semitic.

    My parents were mostly agnostic, but with a cultural connection to Jewishness. But we all rebelled against any orthodoxy and fundamentalism. It seems that the right-wing in Israel is mostly very religious. If I lived in Israel I’m sure I’d be part of groups fighting against them. In many ways they’re similar to fundamentalist Christians and Muslims.

    So I think my issue with criticism of Israel is the way it can be used and interpreted. I fear it’s use in stirring up “us and them” thinking, demonizing of pro-Israel people, and Jews in general. Because that’s what happened in Germany. I think that’s what’s beneath the emotional reactions of all Jews. Germany is certainly not the first place Jews have been killed. I heard stories about the pogroms in Russia from my grandfather who lived through it before he came here. It happened in almost every country Jews have lived. So maybe our DNA is attuned to even subtle precursors to threats to our existence, or, what I’ve experienced, to our financial survival.

    I think it’s important for reasoned moderate Jews to make this understood, and for people to find ways to be able to assess Israel without it becoming dangerous. I think doing research on all sides of the issue is a start. Continuing to dialogue is another.

    • I haven’t criticized Israel at all. I haven’t even defended the cartoon. But I do think everyone has a right to an opinion about any government. Unfortunately, I have recently learned that even defending a friend who criticizes Israel is considered unacceptable and anti-semitic by some. I was brought up in a country where freedom of speech and expression used to be a sacred right. I still can’t willingly let go of it.

      • I have no problem with criticizing actions of Israel when it’s done in a civil manner, and – most important – when it’s based on research and facts, and when it’s not part of a double standard for Jews and everyone else in the world. Look at all the war crimes and atrocities commited by the US, in Vietnam, Iraq, even WWII. I was shocked to hear stories from old WWII vets about raping women in France (our ally) after the war was over.

        As far as free speech, I believe in it, even when I disagree.
        And disagreeing with criticism is also part of free speech.

        Since I think you’re brilliant at research, bb, I would love it if you’d do some on this topic. I know, there’s lots of conflicting info, which is why it’s important to pursue the truth.

  32. The Gillibrand article is pure BS. As I’m sure every lawyer on here is aware, junior Biglaw associates have NO choice as to what assignments they take. And I would love to be pointed to an article, any article, similarly criticizing a male lawyer-politician for the assignments he received as a junior law firm associate.

    That’s OK, I’ll wait.

  33. Before anyone breaks an arm congratulating each other on their superfine, superficial moral compass, can someone indicate how many posts have been done here on the half million Muslim civilians dead in Iraq since the US moved in with tanks and jets. Maybe the US media has not been as accomodating as those of other nations. Gasp. We wouldn’t want to be guilty of being spoonfed by our poor, bumbling, can’t get full access to the war media, especially on the left, since there’s no more fun stuff to write about Obama. Could we be more predictable if we tried. Doing reseach to prove an embedded bias or point of view is radically different from doing broad minded research to formulate a point of view. Do people get this, at all. Or has politics in this country become too similar to courtroom law.

    Also it would help to know whether TC has officially taken a position supporting the leadership of Hamas over Fatah. Because if the matter is going to be raised, as a political blog it has an obligation to state its broad position on the issue. Something more dimensional and complete than cowardly, juvenile hit and run spitballs. Juvies can be quite provocative that way. Overwhelmed by too many hormones and stimuli, too dumb or young to apply any wisdom. America is often accused of being an adolescent by our Allies, though I would be willing to debate that, on some matters. If Joseph Cannon is TC’s de facto position, an affirmation of that would be useful.

    • Last time I checked this blog had no position on the I/P issue.

      My personal position is that I would like to see all sides permitted to freely (but politely) express their point of view.

      • that’s the way I feel … i’d like to see dialogue on this issue from folks that read a lot and study a lot and could share some of their opinions and inform me, who doesn’t know much and would like to know more.

        • There are some folks on NQ site who seem to know a lot about Israel, though I can’t stand Larry Johnson’s take on it. He’s just nasty.

  34. I’m not going to give my opinion on whether Oliphant’s cartoon is anti-Semitic or not but I will say that the caption RD put on it:

    Mr. Oliphant should expect to get long, lecturing letters about the Holocaust, which he obviously has never heard of.

    is pretty damned insensitive to Jewish people in that it obviously conveys the sentiment that you are tired of hearing Jewish people talk about the Holocaust. I guess they should just GET OVER IT, huh?

    • well, angie, i’d rather folks discuss their differences rather than closing the door to any discussion, but that’s just me

    • Yes Angie – if the “Israel is a Thug” cartoon had been posted for discussion that would be reasonable – but the pre-emptive snark re: whining about the Holocaust bothered me too.

    • No, angie, I don’t think they should JUST GET OVER IT. I think they should stop thinking that it’s all about them.
      Those of us on the receiving end of these letters are already on their side and we don’t need re-education on the Holocaust. We are not Holocaust deniers. We are friends and sympathizers and completely understand the Holocaust.
      But the Holocaust should not be used as a “get out of jail free card” for excusing policies of the Israeli government that end up exacerbating a bad situation. No one is infallible and the Holocaust doesn’t make Israel free from legitimate criticism.
      Do you get it now????

  35. I couldn’t see what the last 2 choices were on the poll so I couldn’t vote. The colors are pretty and all, but I couldn’t’ see all the choices. Perhaps a redo on the color scheme is warranted.

  36. “……unless you’re an arab, and then you get zero rights”.

    Uh, not exactly, dancing. Not even close.

    Some FACTS about Israel –

    Arabs in Israel are citizens, have equal voting rights, equal rights to own or lease land. Arabs hold 8 seats in 120 member Parliament, have been on Supreme Court, cabinet, etc. It’s one of the few places in Mideast where Arab women can vote at all.

    Arabic, along with Hebrew, is one of the official languages of Israel.

    When Israel was founded there was one Arabic high school. Now there are hundreds of Arab schools.


    Um, it’s called READING and EDUCATING, “Owen”. I’ll be back with more facts as they get them.

    And, BTW, I’m not against Palestinians. Just against Hamas. And any fundamentalism that’s bigoted, racist.

  37. More facts – only difference in rights, obligations is Arabs are Not required to serve in Army because it wasn’t right to force them to fight against their brethren. But they can serve if they wish to. Many do.

    • I guess those Palestinians must just all be insane.

      The way you describe it they are rejecting a virtual paradise of democracy and prosperity in favor of squalor and poverty. They prefer to launch pointless violent attacks against innocent Israelies despite the fact that it results in far more deaths and injuries for themselves.

      How do you explain the Palestinians’ behavior?

  38. Arab Israeli citizens are not same group as Palestinians. My next step is to research what the difference is exactly – I don’t know why Arabs are living in Israel, citizens, in government, while Palestinians are living horribly in Gaza. I believe they are different groups.

    But the fact that we don’t know is part of my point, that Israelis are being attacked from many sides, mostly with little knowledge of the truth.
    I don’t like what’s happening to Palestinians in Gaza either. But neither do I like missles being sent every day to Israel. None of it is simple. And how did it all begin? These are questions, not answers, and there are two sides.

    I do believe that part of the answer to your question is that Hamas is responsible for their attacks, which are not in the interest of the people. And that Hamas is not the same as the people, any more than Bush or Obama are for us. And Israel, too, has broad range of opinion, like us with Obots and Bushies, for killing all Iraquis, lefties protesting Iraq, Vietnam,. Obots, not knowing what they stand for.

  39. I was at a meeting a while ago, with a couple from Israel, here to speak about their lives, and doing their bit for peace and understanding. One was Arab, the other Jewish. They met at a peace commune in Israel. They spoke frankly about the problems there. The woman, Arab, felt there was some discrimination and distrust of the Arabs, though Israelis tried to be fair. Most of it seemed to involve precautions and fear of Arabs because of suicide bombing. But that wasn’t the original intention. Original intent was for Israel to be a beacon of hope and peace in the region. I think both sides messed that up.

    • Thank you for your work speaktruth. My impression is that the claim of neutrality in this post and comments does not match the reality – therefore thank you as well for your guts in posting what goes against the conventional wisdom.

      • What is the conventional wisdom?

        Did it ever occur to you that our “claim of neutrality” looks false to you because YOU are biased?

      • Thank you a lot, Flight of Stairs. I really appreciate the support. I don’t know what possessed me to take this on the past few days, and I guess I’m glad I did, because I guess it clarified some things, even though they are sad things.

        At this point I feel pretty beat up and I’ll give up my fight that seems pretty inconsequential and futile, and join the other people who don’t feel welcome here. So I just wanted to thank you for putting yourself out there,too.

  40. I am on vacation, visiting my brother in CA, so I’m completely out of whack with my blogging routine–so here I am at midnight CA time just catching up on the thread.

    THANK YOU RD for slamming the NY Times hit piece on Gillibrand this a.m. It is preposterous and so reminiscent of their Hillary assassination pieces. Here is what I wrote to the Times, as if they’ll post it:

    Apparently, the Times has gotten tired of distorting Gillibrand’s record on guns, so they have moved on to other exaggerated and false claims. You make preposterous assumptions and associations out of routine legal work. I live in Gillibrand’s former district, and the only thing that rang true for me in the entire piece were these quotes: “although Ms. Gillibrand had less experience and stature than other lawyers on the panel, she was assertive, deeply involved and very effective in advocating on behalf of Philip Morris,” Ms. Wharton said. “She worked as hard as anyone and was a very capable, smart lawyer.” That sounds like the Gillibrand that we have come to know, respect, and support with a 78% approval rating. That is exactly the kind of advocate she is as a public servant as well. She is now using her talent and skills to fight for progressive values.

    I noticed you didn’t include any details about Gillibrand’s 100% anti-tobacco, pro-health Congressional voting record. Senator Gillibrand voted in both the House and the Senate to raise cigarette taxes to increase access to health insurance for low-income children. She co-sponsored and voted for a bill to mandate FDA regulation of tobacco products that was strongly endorsed by the public health community, including the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association and the Campaign for TobaccoFree Kids. Gillibrand also supports smoke-free laws that require workplaces and public places to be smoke-free to eliminate exposure to second-hand smoke. She is a proponent of education initiatives that will prevent young people from starting to smoke and Internet access regulation to ensure that underage kids can’t purchase cigarettes online. She also supports increasing access to tobacco cessation programs to help tobacco users quit so they can lead healthier lives.

    Furthermore, Her voting record is solidly progressive. She opposed the war in Iraq, is a staunch advocate of women’s rights, pay equity and choice; gay rights; stem cell research; increasing the minimum wage; and expanding affordable housing, Head Start and SCHIP. She is also greatly respected for her experience in financial services and banking. She has been endorsed by numerous progressive democratic issue-groups, including the ACLU, the League of Conservation Voters, EMILY’S List, NARAL, the Sierra Club, and the AFL- CIO. Where are the positive articles about Gillibrand’s efforts and accomplishments? Reading the Times’ coverage since she was appointed, it is clear that you have an agenda. Do we need to remind the press, again, what their role is in a democracy? You do not get to decide who to promote and discredit. What happened to “just the facts?” You are denying the voters of NY an opportunity to accurately evaluate a tenacious, intelligent and dedicated public servant.

    • I agree and am inspired to start contributing to Sen. Gillibrand’s campaign.

  41. A few facts. Call it an informational hit and go

    let’s see, RD asks us to google the KIng David Hotel Attack
    let us google it

    “The King David Hotel bombing was an attack by the right-wing Zionist underground movement, the Irgun,[1] on the central offices of the British Mandatory authorities of Palestine, the Secretariat of the Government of Palestine and Headquarters of the British Forces in Palestine and Transjordan, which were located at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.[2][3] The attack, carried out on 22 July 1946, was the deadliest directed against the British during the Mandate era (1920-1948).

    Mostly disguised in Arab costume, Irgunists planted a bomb in the basement of the main building of the hotel, under the wing which housed the Mandate Secretariat and part of the British military headquarters. Telephoned warnings were sent to the switchboard by the hotel’s main lobby, the Palestine Post newspaper and the French consulate (though not directly to the Secretariat or military headquarters, which had separate switchboards).[4][5] Contrary to the intent of the warning to the hotel, no evacuation was carried out”
    methinks RD is severely misinformed.

    Then let us go further and look at @theresainpa@’s reality. It is a fascinating hodge podge of badly digested propaganda and utter disinformation.

    “3. Pretend Palestine never existed and the people trying to get back to their homes are Jordinians.”

    @7. Cut off access to healthcare.@
    an outright lie. There is more than enough eidence to show that Israel has provided more than its share of medical help towards the people who want her destroyed.

    @8. Cut off access to jobs.@

    the right of the Israelis to not be blown up in their homes, streets and buses comesbefore the rights of the people performing the blowing ups.

    And we go further and we hear about the fabled aid that teh US provides to Israel. Of course, those who mention it, a susual, know nothing about it.
    Allow me to explain.
    the US does not give money to Israel. The US allocates ISrael a certain amount with which Israel has to buy weapons from a list of US weapons merchants and makers.
    The @aid@ is just a nifty way for the US goernment to give some money to its weapons industry.

    8. Cut off access to jobs.

    Palestine as entity does not mean @land of the palestinians@. there is no such an ethnicity and there has never been. Conflating the two is dishonest and/or ignorant.

    Jordan is the country created in 1922 ( if memory erves) to provide a home for the arab inhabitants of what was at eh time the British mandate of Palestine, with the purpose of creating a jewish state in the remaining area of the mandate. Jornad occupies 80% of the territory of the former mandate, namely the better lands, leaving for the Jewish state an area that was mostly uninhabitable desert, @Jordanians@ or @jordinians@ are in fact the @palestinians@ you refer to.

    4. Kill those who will not leave.
    5. Allow those who get back in to Israel to work as laborers in the orchards and feilds they used to own.
    6. Make Jewish villages over the top of all Palestinian villages and pretend they too never existed.
    7. Cut off access to healthcare.
    8. Cut off access to jobs.
    9. treat the words Arab and terrorist as synonymous

  42. According to Wikipedia, “Israel has been the largest annual recipient of direct economic and military assistance from the United States since 1976, and the largest total recipient since World War II.”


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