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J Street Squanders its Credibility:

Has any political organization squandered its credibility as quickly as J Street, a new organization that promotes itself as a peacenik alternative to AIPAC? Supposedly, the machers at J Street thought that AIPAC was not properly representing the Jewish community's views on Israel because AIAPC too "right-wing." It's become obvious, however, that the J Street founders' problem with AIPAC is not that it's too right-wing (in fact, despite claims emanating from left-wingers about AIPAC's "right-wingedness", AIPAC rarely deviates from supporting current Israeli government policy, and its leadership has been largely Democratic for decades--the architect of AIPAC's prominence beginning in the 1980s was former Ted Kennedy staffer Tom Dine), but that it is too nonpartisan; AIPAC, as a nonpartisan pro-Israel lobby, cooperates with both Republicans and Democrats, exactly as a non-partisan lobby should. J Street, it turns out, wants to be an adjunct of the Democratic Party, and apparently wants to discredit pro-Israel Jews who cooperate with the Republicans.

Consider the current front page of J Street's website:

We Won! Palin Not Speaking at Iran Rally

We collected over 20,000 signatures in 24 hours asking Iran Unity rally organizer Malcolm Hoenlein to take Sarah Palin off the schedule for Monday's rally, and he caved to our pressure on Thursday afternoon citing the fact that the rally had become too partisan.

This is the right decision. A unity rally to express communal solidarity is no place for partisan politics [recall that Hillary Clinton backed out after accepting an invitation o the rally, and other prominent Democrats were welcome as well]. And to give such prominence to Sarah Palin alone would have spoken neither to, nor for, the American Jewish community.

How exactly does this "victory" have anything to do with J Street's purported mission:

J Street is the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement.

J Street was founded to promote meaningful American leadership to end the Arab-Israeli and Palestinian-Israel conflicts peacefully and diplomatically. We support a new direction for American policy in the Middle East and a broad public and policy debate about the U.S. role in the region.

J Street represents Americans, primarily but not exclusively Jewish, who support Israel and its desire for security as the Jewish homeland, as well as the right of the Palestinians to a sovereign state of their own - two states living side-by-side in peace and security. We believe ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is in the best interests of Israel, the United States, the Palestinians, and the region as a whole.

J Street supports diplomatic solutions over military ones, including in Iran; multilateral over unilateral approaches to conflict resolution; and dialogue over confrontation with a wide range of countries and actors when conflicts do arise.

Did J Street somehow know that Palin "supports military solutions over diplomatic ones, including in Iran?" I doubt it, and even if she did, the obvious response would be to try to engage her to try to support J Street's perspective, not to try to prevent her from speaking--especially since neither J Street (nor anyone else) really knows whether Palin's overall views on the Middle East might be to its liking. Unless, of course, J Street, whose leadership is composed of leading Jewish liberal Democrats, was serving the interests of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, and not its purported, "pro-peace, pro-Israel" mission.

UPDATE: Here's the speech the McCain campaign says that Palin was planning to deliver. It makes a nonpartisan (or bipartisan) pitch, and calls for sanctions and other diplomatic actions, with only the vaguest implication of a potential military response.

ap:
It's a PAC, unlike AIPAC. So your complaints ring a touch hollow.
9.22.2008 6:55pm
PLR:
Has any political organization squandered its credibility as quickly as J Street, a new organization that promotes itself as a peacenik alternative to AIPAC?
No, never in recorded history.
9.22.2008 7:00pm
great unknown (mail):
Don't forget that J Street was (mis)begotten by Soros.
9.22.2008 7:05pm
PatHMV (mail) (www):
Even for the left, the Democrats' response to this episode has demonstrated an extraordinary level of mendacity. Hillary Clinton had accepted the invitation and didn't back out until she discovered that Sarah Palin had also been invited and was planning to attend. As others have noted, it's rather odd (though quite telling) that the event was non-partisan as long as only Democrats were showing up, but became intensely partisan once prominent individuals from both parties were going to appear.
9.22.2008 7:14pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Did J Street somehow know that Palin "supports military solutions over diplomatic ones, including in Iran?" I doubt it

Well, while I agree with this criticism, it's worth noting that the reason J Street doesn't know this is because there's no evidence that Sarah Palin has ever seriously thought about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or understands the historical currents, grievances, and motivations that underly it.

So yeah, because Sarah Palin probably isn't qualified for the job, criticisms that she "believes" this or that tend not to have merit. That isn't, however, a point in her favor.
9.22.2008 7:15pm
Bored Lawyer:

A unity rally to express communal solidarity is no place for partisan politics.


George Orwell would be proud.
9.22.2008 7:40pm
Angus:
I'm amazed at Republicans who can't see the difference between a former candidate attending, and a current candidate attending. In the current atmosphere, the event would have been seen as nothing more than a Palin campaign rally by the media and (largely uninterested) observers.
9.22.2008 7:51pm
EH (mail):
Hillary Clinton had accepted the invitation and didn't back out until she discovered that Sarah Palin had also been invited and was planning to attend.

There's an election coming up, is it beyond the pale for Hillary to say, "Meh, I'm not going to show up with that charlatan" (irony alert for some, I'm sure) and cancel out. This is perfectly normal politics, whether you like it or not.

As others have noted, it's rather odd (though quite telling) that the event was non-partisan as long as only Democrats were showing up, but became intensely partisan once prominent individuals from both parties were going to appear.

Now, by non-partisan to you mean apolitical? I think it's reasonable to observe that they both carry politics with them wherever they go. That there would be fireworks if they were both there together seems similarly obvious to me. Hillary backing out signals an aversion to that kind of drama, Palin accepting, a naivete towards what she thinks she can handle (false dichotomy alert). If they were there and had to make an appearance together (and even if not) you can imagine who would be giving who a backrub for the cameras while stabbing her in the coochie. Point being, I think Palin should be grateful.
9.22.2008 7:56pm
Federal Dog:
"We Won! Palin Not Speaking at Iran Rally

We collected over 20,000 signatures in 24 hours asking Iran Unity rally organizer Malcolm Hoenlein to take Sarah Palin off the schedule for Monday's rally, and he caved to our pressure on Thursday afternoon"

People who view silencing the free exchange of ideas are despicable. That Jews would engage in such totalitarian mind control is shocking.
9.22.2008 7:57pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Except that Hillary Clinton is one of Obama's leading surrogates (e.g.).
9.22.2008 7:57pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
(previous message was a response to Angus).
9.22.2008 7:58pm
Sagar (mail):
"So yeah, because Sarah Palin probably isn't qualified for the job, criticisms that she "believes" this or that tend not to have merit."

Yeah, the fact that someone hasn't published their seriously thought out positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should automatically disqualify them for the VP position! Let's add this to the pre-reqs for the job.

The first couple of years of Bush presidency when we were not actively trying to solve this problem was such a relief. If they get tired of their status quo, they are more likely to come around to some settlement.
9.22.2008 7:58pm
Bored Lawyer:

I'm amazed at Republicans who can't see the difference between a former candidate attending, and a current candidate attending. In the current atmosphere, the event would have been seen as nothing more than a Palin campaign rally by the media and (largely uninterested) observers.


I am amazed that intelligent people swallow the proverbial Kool-Aid and regurgitate distinctions that make no difference.

The rally in question is against a rogue state whose leader has publicly advocated an act of genocide and complete elimination of a sovereign state. One would think that opposing this monster could inspire what used to be called bipartisanship -- the setting aside of partisan differences to promote ideas and policies which both parties agree with and which are in the national interest.

Like it or not, Sarah Palin is now on the national, if not international, stage by virtue of the fact that she is VP nominee of one of the two major parties.

Hillary Clinton is likely a prominent Democrat by virtue of her being a Senator, a NY Senator, and a candidate who almost became the presidential nominee.

Would it be too much to ask to put aside the partisan differences to condemn Mr. Ahmenijad and the genocidal evil he spews?

The notion that "the event would have been seen as nothing more than a Palin campaign rally by the media and (largely uninterested) observers" is utter claptrap. All Hillary would have to say is that while there are many things on which she disagrees with Ms. Palin, that the President of Iran must be stopped is one of those things BOTH parties agree with. Is that so hard to grasp?
9.22.2008 8:02pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Yeah, the fact that someone hasn't published their seriously thought out positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should automatically disqualify them for the VP position!

Of course, my comment said nothing about "automatically disqualifying" Palin. It just said that she was probably not qualified and the fact that she has never given any thought to the Israel-Palestinian conflict and she doesn't understand the complexities of the situation is one indication of this.

The first couple of years of Bush presidency when we were not actively trying to solve this problem was such a relief. If they get tired of their status quo, they are more likely to come around to some settlement.

Of course, even if you think letting it fester is the right strategy, how do you know that Palin will let it fester rather than taking some action without any understanding of the consequences?
9.22.2008 8:05pm
great unknown (mail):
Sadly, there was another squandering of credibility in this issue. I have met Hoenlein several times and respect his efforts, but in this he was steamrollered. Twenty-five years of hard work down the drain in a few hours.

The story I've been hearing is that the crowds for this year's event were less that twenty percent of previous counts, and there were many McCain/Palin placards displayed. I suspect that Malcolm will be the sacrificial lamb for this debacle. The wages of appeasement.
9.22.2008 8:06pm
Bored Lawyer:
"likely" in my last post should read "likewise"


Hillary Clinton is likewise a prominent Democrat by virtue of her being a Senator, a NY Senator, and a candidate who almost became the presidential nominee.


And BTW, didn't Obama claim that he was interested in bipartisanship and reaching across the aisle? Or is that all rhetoric?

(To their credit, Sens. McCain and Obama appeared together at a memorial for 9/11 victims. No one thought THAT was a political event. Context is everything.)
9.22.2008 8:06pm
Sagar (mail):
After the rightwingers going apesh*t over Bill Clinton for 8 years and the leftwingers' BDS for the next 8 years, I was hoping for some sort of "normal" partisanship - apparently Palin is engendering the palin madness syndrome:)
9.22.2008 8:06pm
MartyH (mail):
Dilan-

Palin isn't running for President. Her areas of concentration will be ethics reform and energy policy. Unless McCain dies, she won't be setting policy on Israel.
9.22.2008 8:12pm
Oren:
DB, they have a colorable argument that certain GOP foreign-policy elements have a negative effect on Israeli security. This opinion is not unheard of in Israel -- that they are better off having a Dem in the WH for a variety of reasons that don't need raising here.

Whether or not you believe such an argument, it's not out of the realm of reasonableness to think that GWB et al. were worse for Israeli security than, say, 8 years of Gore or whatever else.
9.22.2008 8:22pm
wm13:
Yeah, well, Jews don't like Republicans. Cats don't like dogs. It would be foolish for Republicans to go around worrying about this.
9.22.2008 8:34pm
jbvv (mail):

AIPAC rarely deviates from supporting current Israeli government policy, and its leadership has been largely Democratic for decades-

If so, don't you think it is a bit odd that the first group that Sarah Palin met with after her nomination was AIPAC?

She's met more with AIPAC lobbyists than she has with members of the press since her nomination.
9.22.2008 8:40pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Palin isn't running for President. Her areas of concentration will be ethics reform and energy policy. Unless McCain dies, she won't be setting policy on Israel.

You can disagree with this (there are reasonable counterarguments), but I consider the qualifications for veep to be equivalent to those for President. Especially when you have a 72 year old candidate, but I would say the same thing if Obama had chosen someone of similar apparent qualifications to Palin.
9.22.2008 8:43pm
Sagar (mail):
Dilan

I didn't imply that letting it "fester" is a strategy! When we are not sure what would be the best solution and have tried several approaches (and Bill Clinton spent a lot of effort towards the end of his presidency), and they haven't worked or backfired, taking a break is better than doing something for the sake of doing.

I don't know what Palin (as the VP) will or will not do; but you seem to have convinced yourself that she will do something and that will be something you don't like. Now you can go about fishing for facts to fit that theory:)
9.22.2008 8:49pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
JBVV--I don't know if AIPAC was really "first," but as I pointed out, AIPAC is strictly nonpartisan, which, in the eyes of some on the Jewish left, makes them "right-wing." It was Dine, as I recall, who recognized that AIPAC couldn't really solely on its relationships with Dems in the House and Senate, but needed to reach out to Republicans in the executive branch under Reagan. But he did this not because he was a "right-winger," (he clearly wasn't) but because this was good for AIPAC's power (and, to AIPAC's people, what's good for AIPAC is good for Israel, though that's not always true).
9.22.2008 8:49pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):

It's a PAC, unlike AIPAC.


Not every thread has the most stupid comment first.
9.22.2008 8:57pm
Arkady:
Folks, the political calculus ain't rocket science: Hillary Clinton, whom many believe is qualified to be President of the United States; Sarah Palin, whom as many, if not more, believe is not. Sarah stands next to Hillary on the stage. Hey, Sarah's as qualified as Hillary! I'm pretty sure it had very little to do with Israel.
9.22.2008 8:57pm
DrGrishka (mail):
Bob,

AIPAC (despite the name) is not a Political Action Committee (PAC). AIPAC stands for American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Because theya re not a PAC, they don't donate $ to candidates.
9.22.2008 9:06pm
David Warner:
"the fact that she has never given any thought to the Israel-Palestinian conflict and she doesn't understand the complexities of the situation is one indication of this."

Fact? That was quick. Somehow I think its a stretch to believe that someone who has an Israeli flag flying in her office has never given any thought to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

I'm aware that the existence of her inability to understand complexities is an article of faith in some quarters (as it was with W, Reagan, Truman, Churchill, Jackson, Pitt, Elizabeth, Luther, et. al.). Some epistemological humility here would not be misplaced.

At least until the debate.
9.22.2008 9:08pm
Federal Dog:
Damn. I meant: People who view silencing the free exchange of ideas as a victory are despicable.
9.22.2008 9:09pm
Bad English:
Spare us. Hillary Clinton married Bill Clinton. Period. She reaped everything she has from her married status. At least Palin accomplished everything she did on her own. Clinton refused to appear because she would have been completely upstaged by a genuine feminist who didn't need to ride her husband's coattails in life.
9.22.2008 9:13pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I don't know what Palin (as the VP) will or will not do; but you seem to have convinced yourself that she will do something and that will be something you don't like. Now you can go about fishing for facts to fit that theory:)

I have no idea, Sagar. I am not convinced of anything when it comes to what Palin will do.

But that's exactly the point. I want some indication that a candidate for Vice-President of the US has thought deeply about these issues and is aware of the competing claims and interests. That would give me some assurance that the person might make wise, informed decisions.
9.22.2008 9:35pm
Randy R. (mail):
Bad English: "Clinton refused to appear because she would have been completely upstaged by a genuine feminist who didn't need to ride her husband's coattails in life."

Yes, of course. That MUST be the reason Clinton backed down. Hilary has never accomplished anything in her life on her own. I guess getting that law degree doesn't rate as highly as being a beauty pageant queen in terms of Republican 'feminist' values.
9.22.2008 9:51pm
Kateliz (mail):
J Street should realize that Israel needs all the friends it can find as Iran readies its nukes. Sarah Palin believes ferverently in the freedom of democracy and would support Israel's right to security. J street realy missed an opportunity to show the world that they are not cowed by Iran and the US backs them now and in the future. Instead they opted to dis Palin in favour of so-cslled non-partisanship. Ha! No one believes that one!!!
9.22.2008 10:38pm
Hey Skipper (mail) (www):
Dilan Esper:

I would say the same thing if Obama had chosen someone of similar apparent qualifications to Palin.

And Ms. Clinton's extraordinary qualifications are what, exactly?
9.22.2008 10:43pm
Angus:

Except that Hillary Clinton is one of Obama's leading surrogates (e.g.).

DB, a surrogate is still not a candidate, and is not covered by the media as if he/she was the candidate.
9.22.2008 11:07pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Skipper: Mr. Obama's extraordinary qualifications are what, exactly? He's the one running for POTUS.
Dilan is a treat, isn't he?
9.22.2008 11:08pm
David Warner:
Randy,

"I guess getting that law degree doesn't rate as highly as being a beauty pageant queen in terms of Republican 'feminist' values."

Does this sort of thing even convince yourself? I guess successfully standing up to Big Oil doesn't rate as highly as being a Goldwater Girl in terms of Democratic 'feminist' values.

See? Not very persuasive.

Richard,

"Dilan is a treat, isn't he?"

I think he is. He's one of the most honest and astute posters we have. I'd like to think I'd be a lot like him if my experiences had been his. Not to mention that I've never seen him make a typo, which is amazing.
9.22.2008 11:37pm
PLR:
JBVV--I don't know if AIPAC was really "first," but as I pointed out, AIPAC is strictly nonpartisan, which, in the eyes of some on the Jewish left, makes them "right-wing."
No question that AIPAC directs the payment of large sums of money to seeks the support of both political instrumentalities parties in this country.

And they offer free training programs for people like Sarah Palin.
9.23.2008 12:09am
Larry Fafarman (mail) (www):
The original post says,

in fact, despite claims emanating from left-wingers about AIPAC's "right-wingedness", AIPAC rarely deviates from supporting current Israeli government policy

That's why AIPAC is right-wing.

and its leadership has been largely Democratic for decades

Democrats are sometimes right-wing, too.

J Street, it turns out, wants to be an adjunct of the Democratic Party, and apparently wants to discredit pro-Israel Jews who cooperate with the Republicans.

Not only that, but Democrats and some Jews want to prevent the Republican Party and Christian fundies (Palin is one) from getting credit for supporting Israel. The truth is that the Republican Party is as pro-Israel as the Democratic Party because of Republican Christian fundies' support for Israel. An online Time magazine article said,

The Democratic party, with its many Jewish activists, has traditionally supported Israel. But the Republicans have no such ethnic affinity. It is the Evangelicals, major stakeholders in the G.O.P., who have made it a bastion of pro-Israel and pro-Jewish sentiment. They make being on Israel's side as American as apple pie.

A CNN news article says,

A recent poll found that 59 percent of American evangelicals believe Israel is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy.

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs estimates 85 million evangelicals believe God tells them to support Israel -- more than six times the world's Jewish population.

One of the most successful Jewish fundraisers, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, raised $39 million last year from Christian Zionists to fund human services and humanitarian work in Israel and the settlements.

Christian Zionists often converge on Washington by the thousands to lobby members of Congress in support of Israel.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Connecticut, was among the speakers at last month's convention of Christians United for Israel.

"There are a lot more Christian Zionists in America than Jewish Zionists," the former Democratic vice presidential candidate told the group. "The support of Christian Zionists today is critical to Israel's security and strength and to America's security and strength."


As I have pointed out many times, none of the other 14 members of the UN Security Council ever voted "no" in support of any of approx. 40 US vetoes of resolutions directed against Israel in the period 1972-2006, and in the period 1988-1997, there was an unbroken string of ten 14-1 such vetoes (i.e., there were no abstentions). That's inexcusable.

Iranian Pres. Ahmadinejad may be a madman but he is right about one thing: holocaust mythologies have been exalted above god, religion, and the prophets. A "systematic" Jewish holocaust was impossible because the Nazis had no objective and reliable ways of identifying Jews and non-Jews.

Also, this is supposed to be a law blog and once again David Bernstein has hijacked it to discuss Mideast policy, a subject that normally does not belong on law blogs. He is abusing his position as a law professor who had the good fortune to be invited to be a co-blogger on a very popular law blog.
9.23.2008 12:25am
Michael Edward McNeil (mail) (www):
It's hard to credit Dilan as “one of the most honest and astute posters” when he says stuff like “the fact that she [Palin] has never given any thought to the Israel-Palestinian conflict….”

He can't possibly know that this supposed fact is a fact.
9.23.2008 12:26am
PLR:
Also, this is supposed to be a law blog and once again David Bernstein has hijacked it to discuss Mideast policy, a subject that normally does not belong on law blogs. He is abusing his position as a law professor who had the good fortune to be invited to be a co-blogger on a very popular law blog.

You must be new. So new you haven't seen any posts by Jim Lindgren, apparently.

It's Eugene V's playground. There are other playgrounds, with helpful links on this very page.
9.23.2008 12:52am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
David:
Dilan honest? Did you see him on women in combat arms?

I'll give him typos, though.
9.23.2008 1:21am
Recovering Law Grad:

Did J Street somehow know that Palin "supports military solutions over diplomatic ones, including in Iran?"


How could they have? Palin will not speak to the media or otherwise give Americans the opportunity to learn anything about her.
9.23.2008 1:34am
David Warner:
Michael,

"He can't possibly know that this supposed fact is a fact."

Already pointed that out above. I get the sense that Dilan hasn't had much experience (recently?) with challenges to his worldview, so he's not very familiar with his own blind spots and logical leaps. He does respond to such challenges with good faith, however, if not much imagination. He's often a useful corrective to my overactive one.
9.23.2008 1:40am
Michael Edward McNeil (mail) (www):
Recovering Law Grad sez:
“Did J Street somehow know that Palin ‘supports military solutions over diplomatic ones, including in Iran?’

How could they have? Palin will not speak to the media or otherwise give Americans the opportunity to learn anything about her.

Another lying leftist meme. What was the ABC interview but “speak[ing] to the media” — which in turn was edited by the network in the direction of thoroughly trashing and distorting her views — thus preventing “Americans [from having] the opportunity to learn anything about her.”

It was certainly a grievous error by the McCain campaign to not have their own camera present also recording the interview so they could have immediately countered ABC's propaganda blast, which left many Americans convinced, e.g., that Palin really thinks that useful insights into Russia derive from being able to see that country across the Bering Strait — a horrible caricature of what she actually said in this regard.
9.23.2008 2:42am
Larry Fafarman (mail) (www):
PLR said,
You must be new.

No, I am not new -- I have been commenting on this blog for a long time.

So new you haven't seen any posts by Jim Lindgren, apparently.

What sort of inappropriate subjects does he blog about?

There are 18 co-bloggers on this blog and I do not follow the blogging habits of all of them. I just happen to be aware of David Bernstein's blogging habits because I frequently comment on his posts about Israel.

It's Eugene V's playground.

We were talking here about David Bernstein, not Eugene V. Anyway, this blog should not be regarded as anyone's "playground." This blog is frequently cited by law journal articles -- there must be well over 100 citations by now -- and the bloggers here are therefore under an especially heavy obligation to follow the highest ethical standards of blogging, including refraining from arbitrary censorship of visitors' comments.

There are other playgrounds, with helpful links on this very page.

So why doesn't David Bernstein find an appropriate one of these "playgrounds" -- as you call them -- to play in, instead of cluttering up this blog with posts that are not appropriate for a law blog. Is this a law blog or isn't it? A lot of people seem to be under the illusion that it is a law blog.

I'm just telling it the way I see it.
9.23.2008 3:16am
Mad Hominim:
Re: J Street- it's George Soros that's bad for America.
9.23.2008 3:50am
HUSKRDEW:

Well, while I agree with this criticism, it's worth noting that the reason J Street doesn't know this is because there's no evidence that Sarah Palin has ever seriously thought about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or understands the historical currents, grievances, and motivations that underly it.


Kind of like Obama, who can't decide if Jerusalem should remain undivided or not. There's someone who has thought seriously on the subject and has a clear plan guided by the "historical currents, grievances, and motivations."

Good grief...
9.23.2008 4:35am
bobby b (mail):
"she was probably not qualified and the fact that she has never given any thought to the Israel-Palestinian conflict and she doesn't understand the complexities of the situation is one indication of this."

She likely understands more than most of us, but Obama's demonstrable command of the many complex issues that roil the region - and especially with his dominating expertise concerning the Jerusalem question - is going to force her to learn quickly.
9.23.2008 4:52am
bobby b (mail):
Dang. Beat out by someone who broke up more than twenty years ago. I'm not only living in the past, I'm dying in it.
9.23.2008 4:55am
HUSKRDEW:
They still tour occasionally.
9.23.2008 5:05am
Jeffersonian22 (mail):
How much clearer can it be that, for the port side of the political spectrum, acquisition and retention of power is the primary secondary and tertiary considerations of life, with any and all other issues subordinated to that goal? From slandering one's own military to jockeying childishly for tactical advantage while a psychotic madman plays with his nuclear tinkertoys, there is no depth the Left will not plumb to get its sweaty hands on the levers of power.
9.23.2008 10:54am
ejo:
is there some evidence that JStreet has thought seriously about the Middle East peace (hard to type that one) process? as far as Israel, aren't they about to have a prime minister who makes Palin look like Margaret Thatcher?
9.23.2008 11:30am
Yankev (mail):
PLR, Farfaman is not new -- he renews his holocaust denial here from time to time. He claims to have a web site supporting his Holocaust denial theories, but I've never had the stomach to visit it.

I guess all the people I've met with numbers tattooed on their arms dreamed the whole up.
9.23.2008 11:38am
Sunflower (mail):
Eli Parser of Move4 On is affiliated with J Street. Is it any wonder they use Nazi like tactics?
9.23.2008 11:40am
Jim,MtnViewCA,USA (mail):
Is there any truth to the report that Sen Obama's finance chair (Penny Pritzker?) is hosting a reception for Ahmadinejad during his visit?
Maybe this brouhaha is simply a realization on the Dem side that they don't agree with J-street's opposition to Iran's nukes.
9.23.2008 11:56am
PLR:
What sort of inappropriate subjects does [Jim Lindgren]he blog about?

They're not inappropriate, they're just outside of the legal arena, which was your stated beef.
We were talking here about David Bernstein, not Eugene V. Anyway, this blog should not be regarded as anyone's "playground." This blog is frequently cited by law journal articles -- there must be well over 100 citations by now -- and the bloggers here are therefore under an especially heavy obligation to follow the highest ethical standards of blogging, including refraining from arbitrary censorship of visitors' comments.
I don't agree. Then again, I seem to have mislaid my copy of the ethical standards applicable to blogging.
So why doesn't David Bernstein find an appropriate one of these "playgrounds" -- as you call them -- to play in, instead of cluttering up this blog with posts that are not appropriate for a law blog. Is this a law blog or isn't it? A lot of people seem to be under the illusion that it is a law blog.
And a lot of people are under the illusion that the lame duck Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has the motive and opportunity to launch a single nuclear weapon in the direction of Israel in order to ensure the prompt destruction of his own country. A little rational inquiry and astute observation will help to distinguish the illusion from the reality.
9.23.2008 12:03pm
ejo:
PLR-ignoring the public pronouncements of Iran so you don't have to. what is the basis for this certainty of yours? is it your geopolitcal wisdom? your travels in Iran and familiarity with the theology of its more psychotic mullahs?
9.23.2008 12:16pm
ejo:
I thought the pritzker thing was debunked. however, given the stupidity above, I think it more likely that she would host a mahmoud luncheon than a palin one. the latter is a more serious issue for democrats than the former.
9.23.2008 12:18pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
And Ms. Clinton's extraordinary qualifications are what, exactly?

I didn't vote for her, and one of my reasons was I don't count being First Lady as "experience in government". (I think the position should be abolished, and wives of heads of state should just go on doing whatever they were doing before like Cherie Blair did.)

But that said, my point about Palin is that there's no evidence that she has given many of the great problems and issues the country and the world faces any deep thought or that she has any interest in them. Hillary Clinton has many faults as a politician, but she meets that minimal standard.
9.23.2008 1:06pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
It's hard to credit Dilan as “one of the most honest and astute posters” when he says stuff like “the fact that she [Palin] has never given any thought to the Israel-Palestinian conflict….” He can't possibly know that this supposed fact is a fact.

Michael, show me one public or private statement that Sarah Palin ever made about the subject before being named McCain's running mate.

It doesn't exist, because she hasn't thought about the issue, as is the case with many other important issues facing the government.
9.23.2008 1:07pm
Morris (mail):
Arkady said: "Folks, the political calculus ain't rocket science: Hillary Clinton, whom many believe is qualified to be President of the United States; Sarah Palin, whom as many, if not more, believe is not. Sarah stands next to Hillary on the stage. Hey, Sarah's as qualified as Hillary! I'm pretty sure it had very little to do with Israel."

So, Biden won't show up for the VP debate, and McCain won't show up for the presidential debate, right?
9.23.2008 1:15pm
ejo:
none of us are running for office yet we still have opinions on the psychopaths of Iran. some of us (the major jewish organizations that organized the protest) consider the matter of less concern than pro-Democratic electioneering. others, including Palin's infamous speechwriters, appear to have more concern.
9.23.2008 1:20pm
PLR:
PLR-ignoring the public pronouncements of Iran so you don't have to. what is the basis for this certainty of yours? is it your geopolitcal wisdom? your travels in Iran and familiarity with the theology of its more psychotic mullahs?

"The public pronouncements of Iran?" Got a link to the press release?

I don't profess 100% certainty. I'm informed by reliable sources, such as the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran.

What evidence do you have that one or more of "the mullahs" suffers from psychosis? And is that charge supported by substantially more factual evidence than the charge that George W. Bush is a sociopath?
9.23.2008 2:14pm
ejo:
have you been living in a cave somewhere? missed years of public pronouncements from Iran? got a link to a press release-how about the years of quotes (I know, you have a back channel to the regime and those are just for PR). psychosis-I guess I am not a psychiatrist. however, when I hear someone waxing poetic about the joys of genocide, I have to say it is consistent with being a little off. Maybe you have different feelings on whether such pronouncements are a sign of rationality?
9.23.2008 2:24pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
PLR.
What part of the NIE are you referring to?
9.23.2008 2:57pm
David Warner:
Dilan,

"Michael, show me one public or private statement that Sarah Palin ever made about the subject before being named McCain's running mate.

It doesn't exist, because she hasn't thought about the issue, as is the case with many other important issues facing the government."

There's also no evidence that she's stopped beating her husband. Does it therefore follow that she still is?

If one were truly as curious as you seem to be, I'd say you could contact one of the Jewish organizations in Alaska with whom she has worked. Or, like the rest of us, you could assume she's put the same amount of thought into it as any other state governor, with the likelihood that she has put that much or a bit more being heightened by the current Christian fascination with Jews and Israel and the Israeli flag in her office.

Its entirely valid to oppose her likely anti-Palestinian bias, but the ignorance assumption doesn't fly.
9.23.2008 3:14pm
ejo:
anti-palestinian bias? what's the basis for that (although, too be honest, given the behavior of the Palestinian people, I would have to say I am biased against them as well-something about the fact that their only value is murder).
9.23.2008 3:26pm
ATG (mail):
"Their only value is murder"
It's ignorance like that that makes so many people on this planet love us.

And I do think it's fair to question how well versed Palin is in Middle East policy, for two reasons-

a) Yes, she is a governor, but governor's don't really have much experience in the foreign policy realm. Saying she probably has as much as your standard American governor isn't really saying much, and it's probably not true considering she's been serving for less than 2 years and didn't know she'd be running for national office until a few weeks ago.

b) Nothing in her background suggests that she would have ever seriously engaged these issues. McCain and Biden are both longtime foreign policy heavyweights in the Senate. Obama is a serious intellectual who studied international relations at Columbia and has done a lot of traveling. The three of them all have likely devoted a decent amount of time to thinking about Israel and Palestine, certainly more than a journalism major with a pretty thin resume who has barely set foot on foreign soil.
9.23.2008 4:10pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
ATG.
So, what are the Palestinians' other values?
See any objections among them to their terrs attacking Israeli civilians?
Who was it they voted for last time?
Something about greenhouses....
9.23.2008 4:34pm
ejo:
ignorance? what other great advance other than new and novel techniques of killing people have the Palestinians graced us with? is there any current activity of their factions that give you some glimmer of hope of improvement? if there is, I can't imagine you possess any more knowledge of the ME than the nearest five year old. I understand they are the oppressed heroes of the left but be serious. if you are going to throw around this heavyweight status, can you present to us one original or novel thought announced by BHO? other than being for Jerusalem before he was against it. hopefully, you aren't a member of the organizations from this thread who preferred Democratic politics to actually presenting a united front to a madman.
9.23.2008 4:37pm
ejo:
perhaps there is some subtle life affirming message I miss in their children's cartoons that tell them to go martyr themselves by killing jews. I'll watch Scooby Doo tonight on Boomerang and see if we issued similar messages back in the '70's.
9.23.2008 4:44pm
PLR:
have you been living in a cave somewhere? missed years of public pronouncements from Iran? got a link to a press release-how about the years of quotes (I know, you have a back channel to the regime and those are just for PR). psychosis-I guess I am not a psychiatrist. however, when I hear someone waxing poetic about the joys of genocide, I have to say it is consistent with being a little off. Maybe you have different feelings on whether such pronouncements are a sign of rationality?
You could save keystrokes by posting "Sorry, I have no specific statements, just accumulated hearsay that I don't look into."

PLR. What part of the NIE are you referring to?
I don't answer questions from posters who already know the answer.

I am happy to consider new factual information, however, at such time as anyone bothers to lay down his or her bullhorn and make those facts available for review.
9.23.2008 4:51pm
ATG (mail):
The Palestinians are people, not the cartoon characters you have in your head. Yes, there are some terrorists among them, and yes, many of them support these terrorists. Yes, terrorism is despicable - beyond that, it's probably counterproductive to the ultimate goals of the Palestinians. But it's a pretty large leap to go from that to "their only value is murder." That's the kind of right-wing boilerplate that is ignorant, racist, and makes people think Americans are radical warmongering idiots hellbent on destroying Islam. If that's your idea of a serious opinion, then I'm pretty sure I've forgotten more about the ME than you will ever know, ejo. Try reading a book sometime, then come back and we'll talk.
9.23.2008 5:02pm
ejo:
Iran President: Israel “Will Soon be Wiped Out”
In Iran, president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has renewed his previous calls for Israel’s elimination.

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: “I want to tell them (western counties) just as the Soviet Union was wiped out and today does not exist, so will the Zionist regime soon be wiped out.”

Ahmadinejad spoke Tuesday before a widely-condemned conference that is questioning whether the Nazi Holocaust occurred.

just a cut and paste from a 10 second google-there were many more and that's just from MA. all sorts of other ones are easy to find. So, to repeat, are you living under a rock? just been released from prison after a 40 year sentence? honestly, you can find much better quotes than this out there if you open your deluded eyes.
9.23.2008 5:02pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Okay, PLR, I'll take a stab at the answer I "know".
You're referring to the high confidence that Iran stopped a certain process in 2003. Not the moderate confidence that they haven't restarted since then.
How'd I do?

And that what they stopped was engineering a warhead, reputedly the easy part, while continuing to accumulate fissile materials.

Okay?
9.23.2008 5:06pm
ejo:
counterproductive to ultimate goals-other than killing jews, what might those be? As to your wisdom on ME issues, I have yet to see evidence of it-perhaps, given your forgetfulness, a little more knowledge and common sense have drifted away than you realize. Racism? aren't Palestinians caucasians or do you use the all purpose "brown" description?
9.23.2008 5:10pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
ATG. I'm sure Palestinian mothers mourn their kids. When they get killed doing suicide bombing. For which their mothers and fathers prepare them.
There are terrorists among them???? Hell, they voted for a terrorist government. That would mean a majority like terror against Israel. That's more than "terrorists among them".
It is not necessarily the fault of the Palestinians that they are the only three-generation refugee population in history. And it could be said that it isn't their fault that their arab bros have spent uncountable resources turning them into expendable cannon fodder. It is merely the fact that they are a sick society functioning as expendable cannon fodder.
As a society, if any has passed the point of no return, they have. Even if it's not their fault.
Remember the museum reproduction of the Sbarro massacre, complete with simulated Jewish entrails?
9.23.2008 5:14pm
ejo:
how do you tell someone is a racist under the ATG formula-you point out facts that somehow escape his vast knowledge of the Middle East.
9.23.2008 5:30pm
PLR:
ejo, since you share George W. Bush's enthusiasm for the Google, and since you have misquoted Ahmadinejad, I'll give you a link, which is more than you gave me:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmoud_Ahmadinejad_and_Israel

And for the record, here's the exact quote:

بايد از صفحه روزگار محو شود
Okay, PLR, I'll take a stab at the answer I "know". You're referring to the high confidence that Iran stopped a certain process in 2003. Not the moderate confidence that they haven't restarted since then. How'd I do?

And that what they stopped was engineering a warhead, reputedly the easy part, while continuing to accumulate fissile materials.

Okay?
If those are the cherries you wish to pick, fine.
9.23.2008 6:35pm
ATG (mail):
First off, please don't question my knowledge about ME issues if you can't get it straight that MA is Iranian, not Palestinian, and therefore should not be interpreted as the voice of the Palestinian people, ejo.

Second, not to sound like a blowhard, but I've got a degree in international relations, have taken many classes on the Middle East, I know and am friendly with both Palestinians and very conservative Jews, and have read a lot of history of the region. And my views have evolved a lot over time with this study. Contrast that with you, who has probably allowed a few inflammatory anti-Palestinian op-ed pieces shape your view of the conflict, and you've decided you know all that is important to know.

Third, the goal I was referring to was not killing Jews, it was establishing a safe Palestinian state.

Fourth, don't give me that "caucasian" crap. If you think an entire nation of people has no value except murder, I would call it racism.

Aubrey - they voted for a party which has condoned/committed terrorism. But that's not why they voted for Hamas. Hamas is not only a group of terrorists - it's a political party that has stepped in to provide a ton of social services that the government was not. They have so much support at the ground level in Palestine because of these activities - if this weren't the case, they would never be put into office. Seeing them as just another terrorist organization is a one-dimensional approach. It would be like oversimplifying American politics by saying Americans vote for torture and corruption when they vote Republican and therefore are irredeemable as a people. Sure the Republican party's stance on torture is tough to swallow, and they have had their share of corruption problems in the past, but the Republicans also (ostensibly) stand for a muscular foreign policy, lower taxes, smaller government, conservative social policy, freer markets, freer trade, etc. etc. I guarantee that most Republicans don't agree 100% of the time with the party, but vote for them for other reasons. There are many, many moderate Palestinians (and many moderate Israelis), you just don't hear about them because the violence drowns them out.

It's impossible for you to have a serious discussion about this issue if you write off 100% of Palestinians as a lost cause. Again, they are people, not cartoon villains. They were born with the same brains, abilities, and instincts as everyone else on the planet. Sadly, they have been put into a very shitty situation, and many of them have chosen to respond with violence, and I think many of us, even though we don't know it, would respond the same way given the same level of poverty, lack of education, exposure to extremism, and ties to people who had been killed or evicted by a long-time enemy. Unless you think that people born outside Palestine are inherently somehow better than Palestinians, you have to accept that there are probably environmental/structural factors that lead them to do the things they do.

By de-humanizing people we disagree with, we make it absolutely impossible to ever understand them and address our disagreements. To do so is counterproductive, and is the kind of thinking that will do us no good if we're serious about making ourselves safe from terrorism.
9.23.2008 6:44pm
ejo:
you could call it racism, I suppose. It just wouldn't be consistent with your scary intelligence on Middle Eastern issues. In fact, it might almost sound infantile and certainly unworthy of someone not trying to sound like a blowhard. what if, instead of offering excuses for their vile behavior, you held them to that human standard of conduct you are thumping your chest about?
9.23.2008 6:51pm
ejo:
PLR-so, is it your position now that MA is actually a closet zionist. and when he talks about wiping the Zionist Entity off the map, he is talking about political destruction? just out of curiousity, how would one establish a safe Palestinian state? safe from what-the other Palestinian factions trying to kill you? I hate to tar someone by stating that dead jews don't hold much significance for them but sometimes it is just inescapable.
9.23.2008 6:56pm
ATG (mail):
I mean, if you can think of a better word than racism for it, by all means, I just don't think there is one. And while it may sound like I'm trying to make excuses, I would call it a balanced re-examination of the facts. Given that we don't think that there's anything inherently inferior about the Palestinian brain, why would they turn to violence more than other people in the world?
9.23.2008 7:01pm
Yankev (mail):
Apparently Hamas is simply a group of peaceful agrarian reformers.
9.23.2008 8:31pm
ATG (mail):
See, that's the type of conscious distortion that keeps people from having serious discussions. I never said they were peaceful. I never said they were agrarian. I never said they were reformers. I certainly never said they were simple. Check your facts. It shouldn't be too hard considering they're in writing a couple of inches up the page. And please don't comment again if that's the level of thought you're going to put into this conversation.
9.23.2008 8:38pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
ATG.
The Palestinians are people, and us others might react as they do.
But the point is, it's them who are the problem. However they got there. How they got there is not relevant to the question of what to do now. You admit they are strongly affected by their circumstances. Which means they are strongly affected by their circumstances which means their Jewish neighbors ought to be concerned.
As should the rest of us.

An Israeli grad student wrote a paper which said the reason that IDF soldiers do not rape Arab women is that they have dehumanized the women. Can't win for losing, with grad students, I guess. I do not dehumanize Palestinians. They happen to exhibit some miserable human characteristics. Other species might not.

The Palis like social services more than they dislike killing Jews. Their choice, and one which Jews are entitled to address.
9.23.2008 9:45pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Speaking of Palestinian brains being different, which somebody did, or suggested somebody else did.
I recall an article by a Christian clergyman from the US who had a church in the West Bank. Got run out during the intifada, but since it wasn't the IDF doing it, nobody cared.
He said his congregation, Christians all, were so whacked out that they thought Yasser Arafat was an Israeli agent. P. J. O'Rourke in Holidays in Hell found some folks in the Bekaa Valley so far out they thought Syria was a Zionist entity.
Is anybody going to be so culturally chauvinistic as to insist that all people think as we in the west do?

Iraqi mothers will send their kids to Algeria or Tunisia for difficult medical issues, but not to Israel. First things first.
9.23.2008 10:03pm
elim:
why would they turn to violence-perhaps a lack of a moral compass, with some enabling by compassionate souls such as yourself. the more degenerate their behavior, the more leftists and jew haters have flocked to their defense. in a way, you're worse than they are.
9.23.2008 11:41pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
There's also no evidence that she's stopped beating her husband. Does it therefore follow that she still is? If one were truly as curious as you seem to be, I'd say you could contact one of the Jewish organizations in Alaska with whom she has worked.

This is a false analogy. Palin is part of a NATIONAL CAMPAIGN THAT HAS MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. If she had prior, intelligent public statements about the Middle East, the campaign would have provided them to the press.

Look, this is Dan Quayle all over again. Yes, movement conservatives went out of their way to never, ever, ever admit that Dan Quayle wasn't ready to be President. But the reality was different. Thankfully, this country never had to find out just how irresponsible a choice that was.
9.24.2008 2:52pm
Larry Fafarman (mail) (www):
PLR said (9.23.2008 11:03am) --
What sort of inappropriate subjects does [Jim Lindgren]he blog about?

They're not inappropriate, they're just outside of the legal arena,

That makes them inappropriate.

This blog is frequently cited by law journal articles -- there must be well over 100 citations by now -- and the bloggers here are therefore under an especially heavy obligation to follow the highest ethical standards of blogging, including refraining from arbitrary censorship of visitors' comments.

I don't agree.

That's obvious. And the reason why you don't agree is that you are not ethical.
I seem to have mislaid my copy of the ethical standards applicable to blogging.

You can't mislay things that can be found on the Internet. And bloggers' codes of ethics are generally similar to journalists' codes of ethics.
9.24.2008 4:17pm
Yankev (mail):
Okay, AGT. Here are some things that are more specific. After Israel took over administration of Gaza, Judea and Samaria following the 1967 war, medical care, hospitals, education rates, life expectancy, infant survival rates, employment and per capita income of the Arab population in those areas increased dramatically. When the first intifada began, they declined preciptiously because of measures that Israel was forced to take in self-defense.

When the Oslo process began, Israel offered development aid and economic partnerships, and the Arabs said they wanted Israel and the Jews out of their life. The PLO blatatnly violated every Oslo promise they made and stepped up attacks on Jewish civilians Arafat decided to reject Israel's offer of a state that would include 97% of the land the PA said it wanted, with land from within the green line to make up much of the other 3%. Instead, the Arabs further intensified the violence and launched the Second Intifada. Israel responded with more checkpoints and closures, further devastating the Arab economy.

Israel withdrew from Gaza, leaving behind greenhouses and other valuable economic assets, which the Arabs promptly looted and burned. The Arabs then intensified missile attacks against Israeli citizens, leading to more checkpoints and closures. Arab bombers and acid throwers take advantage of Israel's humanitarian lanes at checkpoints in order to launch more attacks, then complain when the checkpoints are closed. In short, the Arabs preferred killing Jews to having a state and economic stability. In the process they devastated their own economy and social structure. And I am supposed to feel sympathy for their choosing the genocidal Hamas because Hamas provides social services that would not have been needed to begin with had the Arabs stopped opting for genocide?

I realize that many may not symptathize with Hamas' goals but cannot speak their minds. That fact does not excuse them from electing Hamas.

By the way, my reference to "peaceful agrarian reformers" was not an attempt to put words in your mouth or distort your position, but to suggest that you were willfully overlooking the murderous activities of Hamas by focussing on their social work, just as apologists for the Chinese communists did in the years following the second world war. I think most readers of this blog recognized the allusion and did not read it as charging that you had said Hamas was peaceful or agrarian, or that like James Earl Carter you had called them reformers.
9.25.2008 10:41pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Jeez, Yank, that's like a huge cluebat. Hell of a swing you got out of that puppy, too.
Point is, there's nothing there AGT doesn't know. I guess he was hoping we wouldn't.
9.25.2008 10:47pm
Yankev (mail):

that's like a huge cluebat.
He wanted facts, I gave him facts. He wanted thought, I gave him thought.

Point is, there's nothing there AGT doesn't know. I guess he was hoping we wouldn't.


If somebody _______ on my back and tells me it's raining, they better expect to get the bill for cleaning my suit.
9.26.2008 11:35am