The morality of polarization makes an appearance in Israel

Israel

While the United Kingdom’s Balfour declaration, calling for creation of a Jewish homeland predates the Holocaust, little action, apart from mass Zionist purchases—they seem to have made generous offers—of Palestinian land, was taken until after the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps.[1] Accordingly, I hadn’t even questioned that Israel was founded in response to the Holocaust as the latest and most horrific in a series of pogroms that occurred over a period of centuries.[2]

Apparently, however, Barack Obama’s speech in Cairo, given in 2009, connecting the Holocaust with the founding of Israel caused outrage because it was understood to have undermined the Zionist claim to indigenous status in Palestine,[3] a claim which is ridiculous given that nearly all residents of the region for thousands of years, at least, have had somewhat darker skin than the Ashkenazi Jews[4] who dominate Israeli politics, often discriminate even against darker-skinned Jews, and are often the most vocal Zionists. (Spare me your white Jesus bullshit. Just spare me.) This truly belongs in the same category with Rachel Dolezal, a white former college instructor who claimed to be Black.[5]

But now that U.S. Republicans are saying it rather than Obama, guess what? It’s all okay,[6] offering yet further evidence for my theory of the morality of polarization.[7]

Gotta tell you: It’s bad enough that a country founded as a political response to the Holocaust engages in genocide against Palestinians. Hypocrisy such as this is its own reason for the obliteration of Israel.

Ron Kampeas, “Linking Israel’s founding to Holocaust, once cause for outrage, is now accepted,” Times of Israel, January 15, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/linking-israels-founding-to-holocaust-once-cause-for-outrage-is-now-accepted/


  1. [1]David Fromkin, A Peace to End All Peace (New York: Owl, 1989).
  2. [2]Avigail Abarbanel, “A change needs to come,” Electronic Intifada, May 26, 2008, http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9567.shtml; Albert Memmi, Portrait of a Jew, trans. Elisabeth Abbott (1962; repr., New York: Viking, 1971).
  3. [3]Ron Kampeas, “Linking Israel’s founding to Holocaust, once cause for outrage, is now accepted,” Times of Israel, January 15, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/linking-israels-founding-to-holocaust-once-cause-for-outrage-is-now-accepted/
  4. [4]Masha Kisel, “How does it feel to be white?” Times of Israel, November 29, 2019, https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/how-does-it-feel-to-be-white/
  5. [5]David A. Love, “Can Rachel Dolezal redeem herself as an ally?” Grio, June 14, 2015, http://thegrio.com/2015/06/14/can-rachel-dolezal-redeem-herself-as-an-ally/
  6. [6]Ron Kampeas, “Linking Israel’s founding to Holocaust, once cause for outrage, is now accepted,” Times of Israel, January 15, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/linking-israels-founding-to-holocaust-once-cause-for-outrage-is-now-accepted/
  7. [7]David Benfell, “The morality of polarization,” Not Housebroken, December 23, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2018/09/21/the-morality-of-polarization/; David Benfell, “The theory of the morality of polarization,” Not Housebroken, December 23, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/23/the-theory-of-the-morality-of-polarization/

Winter? What winter? What’s a ‘winter?’

Climate crisis

When I woke up and looked at the weather report this morning, it was 59° F. As I was driving home—I quit around sunset—the thermometer reading in my dashboard told me it was 72-73° F. As I was fixing dinner, I received repeated warnings of impending thunderstorms—it might be quite a night. There is, of course, no snow on the ground.

I’ve been remembering, from my time here 50 years ago, walking door-to-door with a snow shovel, realizing that as I walked up people’s walks through freshly-fallen snow, I was compacting it beneath my footsteps such that it would adhere to the concrete below, making my own job harder. I had no idea what to do about that.

It’s certainly not a problem this year. The maintenance folks at my apartment complex usually (they missed one day) douse the walks and parking lots heavily with salt whenever snow or ice threatens.

Don’t get me wrong. There have been cold days and even snowy days. But the snow melts within a few days and I’m still not wearing winter clothing—I wear a Gore Tex windbreaker I bought for San Francisco Bay Area rain, not my heavy winter coat, and I’m still wearing sandals—because the effort required to don winter clothing seems wildly disproportionate to any fleeting discomfort I might feel in my brief exposures to the cold.
RAYGRAPHIC
Fig. 1. Pittsburgh snowfall by decade. Graphic by Ray Petelin, January 9, 2020.[1] Fair use.

But if a local meteorologist is to be believed, it actually turns out that this has not been an exceptionally low-snow decade.[2] I honestly don’t know how to reconcile his chart (figure 1) with, for examples, my mother’s ongoing terror of a Pittsburgh winter (she grew up here in the 1940s and 1950s) or what I hear from just about everyone. Something’s clearly off kilter there because contrary to what he says, what I hear even from younger folks is that there is less snow than there used to be. Those who were here for it recall an exceptional blizzard in the late 1990s, a much lower-snow decade than the 2010s, let alone the 1960s (I was here for a couple years in the 1960s).

I have to think that total snowfall in each decade is somehow—this would actually be a good human science question—the wrong measure for people’s experience of snow and cold.

Robinson Meyer, “Australia Will Lose to Climate Change,” Atlantic, January 4, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2020/01/australia-caught-climate-spiral/604423/

Ray Petelin, “Pittsburgh Weather: Did You Really See More Snow When You Were A Kid?” KDKA, January 9, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/01/09/did-you-really-see-more-snow-when-you-were-a-kid/


Ireland

Kate Devlin and Oliver Wright, “DUP and Sinn Fein agree deal to revive Stormont assembly,” Times, January 11, 2020, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/northern-ireland-s-power-sharing-government-is-expected-to-be-restored-within-days-after-sinn-fein-and-the-democratic-unionist-party-signed-up-to-a-draft-deal-brokered-by-the-british-and-irish-governments-three-years-after-sinn-fein-walked-out-gsk0sph39


Israel

Times of Israel, “In blow to Netanyahu, Knesset legal adviser said set to okay immunity debate,” January 10, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-blow-to-netanyahu-knesset-legal-adviser-said-set-to-okay-immunity-debate/


  1. [1]Ray Petelin, “Pittsburgh Weather: Did You Really See More Snow When You Were A Kid?” KDKA, January 9, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/01/09/did-you-really-see-more-snow-when-you-were-a-kid/
  2. [2]Ray Petelin, “Pittsburgh Weather: Did You Really See More Snow When You Were A Kid?” KDKA, January 9, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/01/09/did-you-really-see-more-snow-when-you-were-a-kid/

There are no words

Iran and Iraq

There is a new blog post entitled, “Every bit as stupid as World War I, if not more so.”

The first article here is actually from yesterday, but it’s been updated and worth a re-read. One part is especially weird: Donald Trump threatened Iraq with harsh sanctions and demanded repayment for the costs of an air base should the country indeed force U.S. troops out.[1] The U.S. military, nonetheless, may—or may not—be preparing to withdraw.[2]

Normally I wouldn’t care much about words from third parties, but a comment from an Israeli Defense Force general is interesting for his characterization of the assassination of Qassem Soleimani as part of a contest between Iran and the U.S. over control of Iraq.[3] Which is to say, pretty fucking bluntly, that Iraq is a colony, albeit with a yet-to-be-determined colonizer. Iraqis won’t appreciate that but there’s some real truth to it. This is a contest that’s been going on for a while.

“[Qassem] Soleimani hurt American interests and represented a significant danger to Americans in the region. We must look at the assassination as part of a fight between Iran and the United States over Iraq’s character. That is the story,” said IDF Southern Command head Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi.[4]

Erin Cunningham, “Iran announces it is suspending its commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal,” Washington Post, January 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/body-of-commander-slain-by-us-strike-arrives-in-iran-to-crowds-of-mourners/2020/01/05/4ca3281a-2f17-11ea-bffe-020c88b3f120_story.html

John Hudson et al., “Killing of Soleimani follows long push from Pompeo for aggressive action against Iran, but airstrike brings serious risks,” Washington Post, January 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/killing-of-soleimani-follows-long-push-from-pompeo-for-aggressive-action-against-iran-but-airstrike-brings-serious-risks/2020/01/05/092a8e00-2f7d-11ea-be79-83e793dbcaef_story.html

David Smith, “Suleimani killing: Donald Trump defends threat to target cultural sites in Iran,” Guardian, January 6, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/06/suleimani-killing-donald-trump-defends-threat-to-hit-cultural-sites-in-iran

Times of Israel, “IDF general distances Israel from Soleimani killing in first public comment,” January 6, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-general-distances-israel-from-soleimani-killing-in-first-public-comment/

Times of Israel, “US military says it’ll ‘move out’ of Iraq, but defense secretary denies pullout,” January 6, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-military-tells-iraq-it-is-preparing-to-move-out-official-letter/


  1. [1]Erin Cunningham, “Iran announces it is suspending its commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal,” Washington Post, January 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/body-of-commander-slain-by-us-strike-arrives-in-iran-to-crowds-of-mourners/2020/01/05/4ca3281a-2f17-11ea-bffe-020c88b3f120_story.html
  2. [2]Times of Israel, “US military says it’ll ‘move out’ of Iraq, but defense secretary denies pullout,” January 6, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-military-tells-iraq-it-is-preparing-to-move-out-official-letter/
  3. [3]Times of Israel, “IDF general distances Israel from Soleimani killing in first public comment,” January 6, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-general-distances-israel-from-soleimani-killing-in-first-public-comment/
  4. [4]Times of Israel, “IDF general distances Israel from Soleimani killing in first public comment,” January 6, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-general-distances-israel-from-soleimani-killing-in-first-public-comment/

Vermin in uniform

Police

There is a new blog post entitled, “The binary between “Black” and “Blue” Lives.”

Andrew Sheeler, “Black drivers in California stopped and searched more than others, state study shows,” Sacramento Bee, January 2, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/article238915598.html


Iraq and Iran

For historical reference:

Reuters, “Iraq war, the notable quotes,” March 11, 2008, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-war-quotes/factbox-iraq-war-the-notable-quotes-idUSL212762520080311

That[1] didn’t go well. But war is the answer. War is always the fucking answer.

Oh, and just sayin’, ’cause I’ve said it before, Iran won’t go any better.[2]

Carlos Latuff, in the above, raises an interesting point. For all the apparent hostility between Barack Obama and Binyamin Netanyahu,[3] Obama gave the Israeli government nearly everything it wanted except for two things:

  1. Complete acquiescence to Israeli hegemony in the West Bank.[4]
  2. War with Iran.

Julian Borger and Martin Chulov, “Iran general Qassem Suleimani killed in Baghdad drone strike ordered by Trump,” Guardian, January 3, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/03/baghdad-airport-iraq-attack-deaths-iran-us-tensions

Zachary Evans, “State Department Warns Americans to Leave Iraq ‘Immediately’ in Wake of Soleimani Killing,” National Review, January 3, 2020, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/state-department-warns-americans-to-leave-iraq-immediately-in-wake-of-soleimani-killing/


Veganism

Telegraph, “Veganism is a philosophical belief and is therefore protected by law, judge rules,” January 3, 2020, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/01/03/veganism-philosophical-belief-therefore-protected-law-judge/


  1. [1]Reuters, “Iraq war, the notable quotes,” March 11, 2008, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-war-quotes/factbox-iraq-war-the-notable-quotes-idUSL212762520080311
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Forever war and inhumanity, delusional raging narcissist-in-chief style,” Irregular Bullshit, June 27, 2019, https://disunitedstates.com/2019/06/27/forever-war-and-inhumanity-delusional-raging-narcissist-in-chief-style/
  3. [3]Raphael Ahren, “Spurning lawmakers, Netanyahu loses the Democrats he never thought he had,” Times of Israel, August 16, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-never-thought-he-had-the-support-of-democrats-now-he-might-not/; Khaled Elgindy, “Obama’s Record on Israeli-Palestinian Peace: The President’s Disquieting Silence,” Foreign Affairs, October 5, 2016, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/israel/2016-10-05/obamas-record-israeli-palestinian-peace
  4. [4]Adam Entous, “The Maps of Israeli Settlements That Shocked Barack Obama,” New Yorker, July 9, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-map-of-israeli-settlements-that-shocked-barack-obama

The not-so-temporary immunity

Vegans

There is a new blog post entitled, “Is veganism a protected class?

British Broadcasting Corporation, “Sacked vegan brings landmark discrimination case,” January 2, 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-50969168


Israel

Despite [Binyamin] Netanyahu’s assertion that any immunity would be temporary, his actual request sent to Edelstein indicated otherwise: the prime minister’s lawyers wrote he was asking for functional immunity in one of the three cases against him as well as in certain aspects of another. Functional immunity protects parliamentarians from prosecution for things they did in fulfilling their parliamentary work, and is permanent, rather than temporary. Procedural immunity is temporary, and has to do with offenses committed by a parliamentarian that are unrelated to his parliamentary work.[1]

Just as Donald Trump’s supporters claim that impeachment seeks to overturn the results of the 2016 election, Binyamin Netanyahu claims that the indictments seek to overturn the will of voters, despite the fact that Netanyahu has failed to form a government. It appears unlikely that the Knesset will grant immunity, even once it is able to do so, so the principal effect of this is to stall the indictments.[2]

Times of Israel, “Netanyahu asks Knesset for immunity from prosecution, delaying indictment,” January 1, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-announces-he-is-asking-knesset-for-immunity-from-prosecution/


  1. [1]Times of Israel, “Netanyahu asks Knesset for immunity from prosecution, delaying indictment,” January 1, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-announces-he-is-asking-knesset-for-immunity-from-prosecution/
  2. [2]Times of Israel, “Netanyahu asks Knesset for immunity from prosecution, delaying indictment,” January 1, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-announces-he-is-asking-knesset-for-immunity-from-prosecution/

War is the answer

There is a new blog post entitled, “An unhealthy relationship with guns.”


Iraq

You might recall from yesterday’s installment that Iraqi protesters had stormed the U.S. embassy in Iraq. They were protesting a U.S. bombing in the country.[1] In yet another stunning demonstration of “unclear on the concept,” the Trump administration responds to this by sending . . . wait for it  . . . more troops. It appeared the embassy protest might be going on for a while[2] but Iraq’s prime minister has promised to submit the question of a withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country to parliament. Such a withdrawal will be the price of peace at the U.S. embassy there,[3] which is to say that the U.S. has now lost Iraq in addition to Afghanistan.[4]

That makes us zero for two on George W. Bush’s immediate response to the 9/11 attacks, the same response that Barack Obama expanded to more countries. But hey, war is the answer. War is always the fucking answer.

Thaier al-Sudani and Maher Nazeh with Ahmed Aboulenein, “Iraqi militiamen hurl stones at U.S. Embassy, prepare for extended stay,” Reuters, January 1, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-security-usa/iraqi-militiamen-hurl-stones-at-us-embassy-prepare-for-extended-stay-idUSKBN1Z01N9

Mustafa Salim and Liz Sly, “Supporters of Iranian-backed militia end siege of U.S. Embassy in Baghdad,” Washington Post, January 1, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/supporters-of-iranian-backed-militia-start-withdrawing-from-besieged-us-embassy-in-baghdad-following-militia-orders/2020/01/01/8280cb34-2c9e-11ea-9b60-817cc18cf173_story.html


Israel

Ruth Eglash, “Netanyahu to ask Israeli parliament for immunity from criminal charges,” Washington Post, January 1, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/netanyahu-to-seek-immunity-from-criminal-charges/2020/01/01/9f635378-2b1a-11ea-bffe-020c88b3f120_story.html


  1. [1]Luke Harding, “Trump accuses Iran over storming of US embassy compound in Baghdad,” Guardian, December 31, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/31/us-embassy-stormed-in-baghdad; Mustafa Salim and Liz Sly, “Protesters chanting ‘Death to America’ break into U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad,” Washington Post, December 31, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/iran-backed-militia-supporters-converge-on-us-embassy-in-baghdad-shouting-death-to-america/2019/12/31/93f050b2-2bb1-11ea-bffe-020c88b3f120_story.html
  2. [2]Thaier al-Sudani and Maher Nazeh with Ahmed Aboulenein, “Iraqi militiamen hurl stones at U.S. Embassy, prepare for extended stay,” Reuters, January 1, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-security-usa/iraqi-militiamen-hurl-stones-at-us-embassy-prepare-for-extended-stay-idUSKBN1Z01N9
  3. [3]Mustafa Salim and Liz Sly, “Supporters of Iranian-backed militia end siege of U.S. Embassy in Baghdad,” Washington Post, January 1, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/supporters-of-iranian-backed-militia-start-withdrawing-from-besieged-us-embassy-in-baghdad-following-militia-orders/2020/01/01/8280cb34-2c9e-11ea-9b60-817cc18cf173_story.html
  4. [4]Craig Whitlock, “At war with the truth,” Washington Post, December 9, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/afghanistan-papers/afghanistan-war-confidential-documents/; Craig Whitlock, “Built to fail,” Washington Post, December 9, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/afghanistan-papers/afghanistan-war-nation-building/; Craig Whitlock, “Consumed by corruption,” Washington Post, December 9, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/afghanistan-papers/afghanistan-war-corruption-government/; Craig Whitlock, “Overwhelmed by opium,” Washington Post, December 9, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/afghanistan-papers/afghanistan-war-opium-poppy-production/; Craig Whitlock, “Stranded without a strategy,” Washington Post, December 9, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/afghanistan-papers/afghanistan-war-strategy/; Craig Whitlock, “Unguarded nation,” Washington Post, December 9, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/afghanistan-papers/afghanistan-war-army-police/

Don’t you dare call Israel racist! Or the Burmese genocidal!

Anti-Semitism

So a White House official confirmed to CNN that Donald Trump was about to sign an order declaring Judaism a nationality. That appears to be inaccurate,[1] but it sure kicked off a fuss.

That said, the order relies on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism, which includes “claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”[4] Which is to say that Israel may engage in ethnic cleansing and genocide of Palestinians, but we can’t call it racist.

Jacob Kornbluh and Melissa Weiss, “A first look at the language of Trump’s executive order on antisemitism,” Jewish Insider, December 11, 2019, https://jewishinsider.com/2019/12/exclusive-a-first-look-at-the-language-of-trumps-executive-order-on-antisemitism/

Veronica Stracqualursi, Paul LeBlanc, and Betsy Klein, “Trump aims to crack down on anti-Semitism on college campuses using civil rights protections,” CNN, December 10, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/10/politics/trump-order-judaism-nationality/index.html


Israel

Ruth Eglash, “Israel heading for third election in less than a year after politicians fail to form government,” Washington Post, December 11, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/israel-heading-for-third-election-in-less-than-a-year-after-politicians-fail-to-form-government/2019/12/11/d9d4818a-1ac6-11ea-977a-15a6710ed6da_story.html


Amazon

Danny Fortson, “Is Jeff Bezos’s Amazon now the ‘evil face of capitalism’?” Times, December 8, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/is-jeff-bezoss-amazon-now-the-evil-face-of-capitalism-3lxjs0k0n


Rohingya

Aung San Suu Kyi will need to do better than this. Even if she is correct in blaming “the separatist Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army” for “forc[ing] Myanmar [Burmese] forces to respond,” “mass executions, sexual violence and arson”[5] are war crimes. Executed on the scale Burma is accused of and especially at a largely noncombatant population, they amount to genocide.

The one point that she might have is that international courts do indeed try claims almost exclusively against small, poor countries.[6] But “selective prosecution” is a weak defense against crimes against humanity.

Note that until a relatively legitimate government, which has not existed there in a very long time,[7] exists to assert the name “Myanmar,” I will continue to refer to the country by its admittedly colonial name, “Burma.”

As to the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and the Rohingya generally, they appear not to be separatist at all but rather, according to C. Christine Fair, seek only “to return to Myanmar with citizenship and, problematically, with government recognition as a distinct ethnic group.” Crimes against the Rohingya, including land confiscation, concentration camps, forced labor, and arbitrary taxation, appear to precede the ARSA by decades,[8] entirely undermining Aung San Suu Kyi’s argument.

So my message to the Nobel laureate is this: Get over yourself, you lying bitch.

Clyde Hughes, “Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi rejects genocide claims,” United Press International, December 11, 2019, https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2019/12/11/Myanmar-leader-Aung-San-Suu-Kyi-rejects-genocide-claims/1061576065233/

Marlise Simons and Hannah Beech, “Aung San Suu Kyi Defends Myanmar Against Rohingya Genocide Accusations,” New York Times, December 11, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/11/world/asia/aung-san-suu-kyi-rohingya-myanmar-genocide-hague.html


  1. [1]Jacob Kornbluh and Melissa Weiss, “A first look at the language of Trump’s executive order on antisemitism,” Jewish Insider, December 11, 2019, https://jewishinsider.com/2019/12/exclusive-a-first-look-at-the-language-of-trumps-executive-order-on-antisemitism/; Veronica Stracqualursi, Paul LeBlanc, and Betsy Klein, “Trump aims to crack down on anti-Semitism on college campuses using civil rights protections,” CNN, December 10, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/10/politics/trump-order-judaism-nationality/index.html
  2. [2]Jamal Dajani (@JamalDajani), Twitter, December 10, 2019, 8:49 pm, https://twitter.com/JamalDajani/status/1204578922702069760
  3. [3]Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA), Twitter, December 11, 2019, 9:20 pm, https://twitter.com/RWPUSA/status/1204586619057115136
  4. [4]International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, quoted in Jacob Kornbluh and Melissa Weiss, “A first look at the language of Trump’s executive order on antisemitism,” Jewish Insider, December 11, 2019, https://jewishinsider.com/2019/12/exclusive-a-first-look-at-the-language-of-trumps-executive-order-on-antisemitism/
  5. [5]Clyde Hughes, “Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi rejects genocide claims,” United Press International, December 11, 2019, https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2019/12/11/Myanmar-leader-Aung-San-Suu-Kyi-rejects-genocide-claims/1061576065233/
  6. [6]Marlise Simons and Hannah Beech, “Aung San Suu Kyi Defends Myanmar Against Rohingya Genocide Accusations,” New York Times, December 11, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/11/world/asia/aung-san-suu-kyi-rohingya-myanmar-genocide-hague.html
  7. [7]Lawrence James seems not to specify when, precisely, Burma fell under sway of the British empire in The Rise and Fall of the British Empire (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1994) but notes campaigns were fought there in 1824 and 1853.
  8. [8]C. Christine Fair, “Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army: Not the Jihadis You Might Expect,” Lawfare, December 9, 2018, https://www.lawfareblog.com/arakan-rohingya-salvation-army-not-jihadis-you-might-expect

Anti-Semites for Israel

Donald Trump

Donald Trump again used a trope of Jews and money, suggesting that they’d have no choice but to vote for him because Elizabeth Warren would take their money away.[1]

Eric Cortellessa, “Trump tells pro-Israel conference that some US Jews don’t love Israel enough,” Times of Israel, December 8, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/trump-tells-jewish-group-theyll-vote-for-him-to-protect-their-wealth/


  1. [1]Eric Cortellessa, “Trump tells pro-Israel conference that some US Jews don’t love Israel enough,” Times of Israel, December 8, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/trump-tells-jewish-group-theyll-vote-for-him-to-protect-their-wealth/

The wages of fire

There is a new blog post entitled, “How the neoliberal (usually known as Democratic) party may well lose in 2020.”


Pacific Gas and Electric

The Los Angeles Times story incorrectly states that “[t]he wine country fires in 2017 scorched more than 200,000 acres mostly in Napa County, destroyed or damaged more than 5,500 homes, displaced 100,000 people and killed at least 41.”[1] These fires were mostly in Sonoma County, rather than in Napa County. This settlement does not include this year’s Kincade Fire,[2] which also occurred mostly in Sonoma County.

Howard Blume, “PG&E reaches $13.5-billion settlement with victims of devastating California wildfires,” Los Angeles Times, December 6, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-12-06/pge-settlement-fire-northern-california

Dale Kasler, “PG&E makes deal to pay California wildfire victims. What it means for utility’s future,” Sacramento Bee, December 6, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article238138009.html


Elon Musk

Tim Higgins, “Elon Musk Cleared by Jury in Defamation Case Over ‘Pedo’ Tweet,” Wall Street Journal, December 6, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/elon-musk-cleared-by-jury-in-defamation-case-over-pedo-tweet-11575678498


Palestine

Democrats Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar and Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress who have gained notoriety for their strong criticisms of Israel, both opposed the resolution [H.R. 326], as did the two other left-wing congresswomen dubbed “The Squad.” They objected that the resolution’s authors, in a bid to gain broad support, removed a call to end Israel’s “occupation” of Palestinian land.[3]

As I have previously said, a country founded in response to genocide cannot allow even the appearance of ethnic cleansing. Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians, even refusing to acknowledge their identity and labeling them “Arabs” instead, and further, refusing them the right of return to lands they were expelled from, is in fact an erasure of the Palestinian people—genocide.

Thus, Israel erases its own legitimacy. As a state it can no longer have a right to exist.

Eric Cortellessa, “In rebuke to Trump and Netanyahu, US House passes resolution supporting 2 states,” Times of Israel, December 6, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-rebuke-to-trump-netanyahu-us-house-passes-resolution-supporting-two-states/


  1. [1]Howard Blume, “PG&E reaches $13.5-billion settlement with victims of devastating California wildfires,” Los Angeles Times, December 6, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-12-06/pge-settlement-fire-northern-california
  2. [2]Howard Blume, “PG&E reaches $13.5-billion settlement with victims of devastating California wildfires,” Los Angeles Times, December 6, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-12-06/pge-settlement-fire-northern-california; Dale Kasler, “PG&E makes deal to pay California wildfire victims. What it means for utility’s future,” Sacramento Bee, December 6, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article238138009.html
  3. [3]Eric Cortellessa, “In rebuke to Trump and Netanyahu, US House passes resolution supporting 2 states,” Times of Israel, December 6, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-rebuke-to-trump-netanyahu-us-house-passes-resolution-supporting-two-states/

The anti-Semitism lie against the Labour Party in the United Kingdom

Updates

  1. Originally published, November 27, 6:32 pm.
  2. November 27, 9:49 pm:
    • Donald Trump signed the bill supporting Hong Kong protesters[1] that had passed both houses of Congress with “veto-proof” majorities, but which he had nonetheless threatened to veto.[2] In a signing statement, Trump threatened to pick and choose which parts of the law he will comply with.[3]

Anti-semitism

The British general election campaign is proving very, very ugly, pretty much no matter what side you’re on. Among the ugliness is the resurrection of allegations of anti-Semitism against the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn, notably in an op-ed published in the Times.[4]

As near as I can determine, these allegations are utterly unsubstantiated, and likely result from the Labour Party’s occasional sympathy with the Palestinian cause.[5] Honestly, if libel laws in the U.K. weren’t so lax, I’d say there should be some lawsuits. And yeah, Ephraim Mirvis’ op-ed is more of the same fucking bullshit.[6] Read it and see for yourself, because—it’s amazing—this is as much substance as we ever see to these allegations.

Ephraim Mirvis, “What will become of Jews in Britain if Labour forms the next government?” Times, November 25, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ephraim-mirvis-what-will-become-of-jews-in-britain-if-labour-forms-the-next-government-ghpsdbljk


Koalas

Natasha Daly, “No, koalas aren’t ‘functionally extinct’—yet,” National Geographic, November 25, 2019, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2019/11/koalas-near-extinction-myth-australia-fires/


Bolivia

Marjorie Cohn keeps being right. I expect she is this time, too.[7]

Marjorie Cohn, “US Is Again Complicit in an Illegal Coup, This Time in Bolivia,” Truthout, November 27, 2019, https://truthout.org/articles/us-is-again-complicit-in-an-illegal-coup-this-time-in-bolivia/


Hong Kong

Paul LeBlanc, “Trump signs Hong Kong human rights act,” CNN, November 27, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/27/politics/trump-hong-kong-human-right-democracy/index.html


  1. [1]Paul LeBlanc, “Trump signs Hong Kong human rights act,” CNN, November 27, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/27/politics/trump-hong-kong-human-right-democracy/index.html
  2. [2]David J. Lynch, “Trump says he might veto legislation that aims to protect human rights in Hong Kong because bill could affect China trade talks,” Washington Post, November 22, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/11/22/trump-says-he-might-veto-legislation-that-aims-protect-human-rights-hong-kong-because-bill-would-impact-china-trade-talks/
  3. [3]Paul LeBlanc, “Trump signs Hong Kong human rights act,” CNN, November 27, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/27/politics/trump-hong-kong-human-right-democracy/index.html
  4. [4]Ephraim Mirvis, “What will become of Jews in Britain if Labour forms the next government?” Times, November 25, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ephraim-mirvis-what-will-become-of-jews-in-britain-if-labour-forms-the-next-government-ghpsdbljk
  5. [5]Wikipedia, s.v. “Antisemitism in the UK Labour Party,” last modified November 27, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism_in_the_UK_Labour_Party
  6. [6]Ephraim Mirvis, “What will become of Jews in Britain if Labour forms the next government?” Times, November 25, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ephraim-mirvis-what-will-become-of-jews-in-britain-if-labour-forms-the-next-government-ghpsdbljk
  7. [7]Marjorie Cohn, “US Is Again Complicit in an Illegal Coup, This Time in Bolivia,” Truthout, November 27, 2019, https://truthout.org/articles/us-is-again-complicit-in-an-illegal-coup-this-time-in-bolivia/