Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


JDPriestly's Journal
JDPriestly's Journal
December 17, 2014

We assume, perhaps safely, that our the torturers working for our government are the "good guys,"

and that the people being tortured are the "evil-doers." And so, we and many Americans think the torture program was OK. Maybe it wasn't even torture, many think.

But even if that is true today, to judge the ethics and morality of the torture program for its universal and ultimate value, we have to ask, what if the tables are turned?

What if the people doing the torturing, the people trying to find information through torture or "enhanced interrogation" are the "evil-doers"? And what if those "evil-doers" are as convinced as we are that they, not we are the good guys?

What then?

If torture is OK because, after all, it is being used to help the good guys, then can the "evil-doers" justify it by arguing that after all, they are in fact the good guys and therefore it is OK for them to use torture?

Laws have to be applied universally or at least written and obeyed as if they should or could be applied universally.

There can't be one law for the good guys and a different law for the evil-doers.

There can't be one code of behavior, one set of rules for good guys and another for evil-doers.

That is a big mistake that we make.

We don't want to be tortured or to have our soldiers tortured. We should not be torturing others. One law should apply to all.

December 9, 2014

Comments about keeping the freeways open for emergencies are well taken, however

I am struck today by the proximity of the release of the torture report and the demonstrations against police brutality.

Maybe we are, finally, getting to the point at which we can just say no to the brutal use of force by authorities in our country at various levels of our society.

I hope that some of the people who support the NSA wiretapping, surveillance and eavesdropping programs will stop and ask themselves whether we want a government that is capable of torture of prisoners who have not be tried, of killing suspects with chokeholds and barrages of redundant bullets to have the kind of alll-encompassing knowledge about our communications that the NSA programs permit.

I for one do not.

The convergence of CIA overstepping demonstrated by the torture programs, local police overstepping as demonstrated by the killings of Brown and Garner with the scandalous NSA data collection programs is just enough for me. Somewhere this kind of power has to be checked and checked drastically.

Our government from the national to the local level needs to answer to us for its treatment of suspects and of our information.

December 9, 2014

Problem is the GDP does not reflect median income.

The bigger and more trade deals, the lower the median income compared to GDP in the US. That is how it has worked so far.

U.S. real (inflation adjusted) median household income was $51,939 in 2013 versus $51,759 in 2012, essentially unchanged. However, it has trended down since 2007, falling 8% from the pre-recession peak of $56,436.


We are comparing GDP which measures dollars per individual human being (per capita) of $53,000 per person with per household income of $51,939.

Having lived in Europe, I can say that comparing GDPs is like comparing grapefruits to tangerines. In some countries, small children and babies are commonly cared for by their grandparents or other relatives, for example. There is no monetary transaction to contribute to the GDP of that nation. Same with work on farms. If family farms are the rule, the work of many of the family members does not contribute to the calculation of the GDP. GDP is not just products sold and their value but also services sold and their values. In many countries, services are provided for free and do not count toward the GDP although those same services would be bought and sold and contribute to the high GDP in our country.

Thus, GDP can be a very misleading number and what is more, our GDP compared to the household income in the US reflects the terrible disparity in wealth in our country, a disparity that grows with each trade agreement and our trade deficit. Why is the trade deficit related to our declining wages, living standard and household income? Because the trade deficit represents jobs and wages lost to other countries.

The US trade deficit is much too large.

The reason is that the oligarchs who profit from "free" trade, that is from being able to import products into the US without exporting an equal value in products from the US, take their profits outside the US mostly in small countries in which tax rates are, thanks to their small populations and therefore relatively small infrastructures, governments, etc. and do not pay taxes commensurate with their role in the US economy. They do not pay for the roads that transport the foreign-made goods to markets. They do not pay for the social structure, the schools, hospitals, the lifestyle, etc. that make the US a good place to sell their products.

The rest of us buy the cheapest item offered unable to control where it comes from because almost nothing we need to buy is made in the US.

The GDP of the US does not reflect the loss in living standard that Americans have experienced and are experiencing at an accelerating rate due to free trade that profits the wealthy and leaves other Americans behind.

WASHINGTON - The U.S. trade deficit fell slightly in October as exports rebounded while oil imports dipped to the lowest level in five years.

The deficit edged down 0.4 per cent to $43.4 billion, a drop from a revised $43.6 billion in September, the Commerce Department reported Friday.


While China, Russia and Germany have trade surpluses -- pretty large ones, we have the largest trade deficit in the world.


The last thing we need is yet another trade deficit.

December 3, 2014

My grandparents were farmers. They did not have "savings" sitting around, but they owned

land which they sold to their son. They had "savings" in the sense that they owned something that they could sell. Prior to the 1930s, a good percentage of Americans owned land. It was not so unusual.

Conservatives think that we are still that kind of agrarian society in which if you work hard, you can "save," that is accumulate property or money that you can hand on to your children and that will support you in your later years.

The industrial revolution changed that.

As a society, we did not respond to that change until Teddy Roosevelt and the Progressive Party popularized the idea that working people, people who worked in industry should not have to work a 50 hour week and that child labor should not be permitted. Then, finally, in the 1930s, Franklin Roosevelt instituted Social Security which is the savings that most of us have and rely on.

The Republicans still think we are an agrarian society.

Now we have undergone a technological revolution of sorts. The social changes that we need to respond to this new "revolution" in which computers do much of the work we used to do have not yet happened. I don't think we have even figured out yet how to respond to this age of technology. Jobs that used to pay well no longer exist or are filled by people who will work for a bowl of rice and a roof.

Bush talked big about the "ownership society." Remember? Everybody was going to be an an owner. That led to the mortgage crisis and nearly brought down the world economy. Most of us never got to own things, we just got owned.

Each new age, each new level of technology and innovation, as it sweeps across society requires a new kind of social organization.

This is what Republicans don't understand or don't want to admit.

People can't save because the system is rigged to make them think they need all kinds of things they can't afford on the wages that the system is willing to pay them. Our businesses rely for their income on the fact that people spend and don't save.

We need to change the system.

Some people are good at inventing new technology. We need some people in our government and leading our society who are good at inventing new ways to keep our society healthy and working in the technology of our time.

In short, and I know I repeat myself a lot: our new technology requires us to make some changes in our social organization. That's the job of Congress, but there will be individuals, creative individuals to whom we need to listen who will have ideas about how we can best live together in peace with all our new technology.

Right now, the richest, rich either because they are creative with things or because they are clever at accumulating money through sometimes devious means or because they were just born rich, are pretty much grabbing the money and holding onto it tight without doing much of anything of social use.

Even those who have charities are actually controlling where their money goes and trying to determine what kind of society we will have. They are not necessarily the best qualified to respond to technology with ideas about social change. It is a totally different talent.

So the reason that so many people have no savings and no way to support themselves in times of emergency or when they age is that our social organization and the way we allocate money as a society is outmoded. It no longer works.

We still think we are farmers. Most of us are not. There will be no farm to sell or to continue to live on with our children when we are in our 70s, 80s and 90s. (I'm already in my 70s.)

November 6, 2014

So, we have to figure out a new way to campaign.

I've stood on street corners and handed out information for organizations like the ACLU and the Democratic Party. Find someone with a really friendly smile who is a dedicated Democrat, and you will reach many voters. Little old ladies like me are really good at this because we are obviously not a threat.

It's hard work but it is rewarding when your candidate wins or you gain friends for a worthy cause.

Unfortunately, I'm involved in family issues right now and cannot do it.

I really believe that we need to have a loving, kind society that upholds our families, that embraces our children and grandchildren, that is not too busy or too greedy or too needing all kinds of superfluous things to take a moment to listen to someone who has a story to tell or something to say from their heart.

If you want the kind of society that I want -- and it isn't so much about money as about respecting each person for who they are -- then you are a real Democrat and you have a lot to learn from and to teach and to share and to gain from other people who want what you want.

I do sincerely believe that most Americans want to live in a supportive, kind, helpful society. I do believe tha most Americans are loving and creative. I do believe that most Americans deserve a better life than they now have.

And we can build the big tent and the society we want, but we cannot do it if we are driven by people who think that huge salaries make them more worthwhile than the man or woman who cleans their offices at night.

So that's my blueprint for Democrats winning future elections. It's pretty touchy-feely and very big and broad. It isn't a matter of capitalism v. socialism or Christianity v. some other religion or red states v. blue states. It is a matter of valuing the gifts that each of us has. It's a matter of being able to smile at a person, look into their eyes and learn what there is in that person that is loving, that aspires to be better, to share more, to help more, to be more in society than that person thinks he is.

As Democrats we have moved a long way from my view of what we should be.

I think I read everything that I could get my hands on that was written or spoken by Eleanor Roosevelt. I suppose she was my super-hero when I was young. We need to return to her concept of the Democratic Party. And the first step is to validate the union movement which, when healthy, brings all the people that I have described above up and encourages them to want to do something to improve their lives. If they believe that voting Democratic will improve their lives, they will go to the polls. If we who are active Democrats do not persuade them that they will be part of something bigger than themselves, that they will be able to share their ideas and aspirations when they vote for Democrats, then we have failed.

And when I say that I am talking to the Blue Dog, Third Way, corporate Democrats. If you don't respect and love and want to help those who clean your floors and serve your food in restaurants and babysit your kids and cross the border for a better life, then get out of our party. You are not Democrats.

October 26, 2014

Please see my post 186.

The government has the right to keep secrets, but not the right to keep the secret that it is violating our constitutional rights.

In our country, the Constitution and our laws and treaties are the supreme authority. The NSA is subject to the constraints the Constitution places on all of our government. The NSA cannot just do what it will, violate our individual rights to privacy which are protected in a number of the provisions of our Bill of Rights.

Remember. The Bill of Rights does not GRANT us rights. It prohibits the government from STEALING or TAKING our innate rights, the rights that we are born with. We are born with a right to privacy. The Bill of Rights limits the legal authority of the government to violate the right to privacy that we are born with.

The surveillance programs to the extent that they violate the rights of law-abiding Americans violate our innate, constitutionally protected rights to privacy in our communications and associations with others. Remember that often forgotten little phrase in the First Amendment about 'FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION"? That part of the First Amendment has not gotten much attention until now. But when the government studies and analyzes your communications, the lists of those who e-mail you, those you call on the phone, it is violating your right to freedom of association.

There is so much wrong with the NSA's surveillance programs that I cannot discuss it all in one or even dozens of posts. It is a very, very sick program.

It is the equivalent, if you put it in terms of the society at the time of the American Revolution of placing a guard at every intersection of every country road across America so that the guard can take notes on which roads Americans take to visit friends and relatives. It is the equivalent of watching every inn to see who sits at whose table to talk politics, love, business or family issues.

This program poses a great danger to the fabric of our democracy. I think that people don't get it because they haven't really read much history or law. This is a dangerous program. We need to stop it now. And we need to make it impossible for foreign nations to eavesdrop on us too. We need the technology for that, and we need it soon. And if it means that our corporations cannot find out as much about us, well, too bad.

August 3, 2014

Here you go.


List of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel, 2001
List of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel, 2002–2006
List of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel, 2007
List of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel, 2008
List of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel, 2009


List of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel, 2010
List of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel, 2011
List of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel, 2012
List of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel, 2013
List of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel, 2014


and for 2014

This is a detailed list of Palestinian rocket and mortar attacks on Israel in 2014. All of the attacks originated in the Gaza Strip, unless stated otherwise. For information pertaining to the wider conflict, see Arab-Israeli conflict and Israeli–Palestinian conflict. This list does not include reports of deaths and injuries caused by Hamas rocket and mortar attacks that fell within Gaza.

On 5 March, the Israeli Navy intercepted a ship containing dozens of long-range rockets being smuggled from Iran to the Gaza Strip.[1]

On 10 March, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, unveiled a monument to its rocket attacks on Israeli cities and towns, a life-sized model of an M-75 rocket in Gaza City. The group declared that the attacks "managed to take the battle to the heart of the Zionist entity (Israel)".[2]

On 23 April, Fatah and Hamas signed a reconciliation deal.[3]


3,055 rocket attacks in 2014 alone.

Israel built a wall and refused entry to Palestinians (one of the reasons they are accused of Apartheid) to protect against suicide bombers.

Here is the Al-Jazeera story on the wall:


That tells it from the Palestinian point of view.

Here is the Israeli view on the wall:

Before the construction of the fence, and in many places where it has not yet been completed, a terrorist need only walk across an invisible line to cross from the West Bank into Israel. No barriers of any kind exist, so it is easy to see how a barrier, no matter how imperfect, won't at least make the terrorists' job more difficult. Approximately 75 percent ofthe suicide bombers who attacked targets inside Israel came from across the border where the first phase of the fence was built.

This diagram shows why a wall is being built in a few specific places where Palestinian snipers have terrorized motorists.

During the 34 months from the beginning of the violence in September 2000 until the construction of the first continuous segment of the security fence at the end of July 2003, Samaria-based terrorists carried out 73 attacks in which 293 Israelis were killed and 1950 wounded. In the 11 months between the erection of the first segment at the beginning of August 2003 and the end of June 2004, only three attacks were successful, and all three occurred in the first half of 2003.

Since construction of the fence began, the number of attacks has declined by more than 90%. The number of Israelis murdered and wounded has decreased by more than 70% and 85%, respectively, after erection of the fence.


But then the Palestinians shot rockets into Israel over the wall, so Israel built a shield to protect its citizens from the rockets.

Here is the story on the shield.

As soon as US President Barack Obama disembarked from Air Force One on his first visit to Israel last month, an Iron Dome battery was ready for his inspection at Ben Gurion airport.

There could have been few clearer signs of the importance attached to the missile batteries that are the pride of the nation’s defences. If one product has come to define the high-tech military apparatus of Israel Inc, it is the Iron Dome.

The anti-missile defence system shielded the country from a barrage of Qassam and Grad rockets fired from Gaza by Hamas during the eight-day Operation Pillar of Defence in November. Israel’s defence ministry says Iron Dome had a success rate of more than 80 per cent during the operation, in which about 170 Gazan Palestinians and six Israelis died.

Designed to intercept short-range rockets, Iron Dome is the smallest and best-known component of a multilayer anti-missile defence system Israel is building to shoot down ordnance fired from as far away as Iran.


The article is about Obama's 2013 visit to Israel and is dated March 2013.

Here is what set off Israel's current attacks on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. You don't read about this on DU because it doesn't confirm the DU party line on Palestine and Israel. I probably would not be permitted to post this as an OP because people would read it as pro-Israel when in fact I am trying to be fair.

SUFA, Israel — Israel’s decision to invade Gaza has its roots just outside of this small kibbutz in southern Israel where open fields and citrus orchards offer a pastoral scene that residents say has long been deceptive.

At dawn on Thursday, 13 Hamas gunmen from Gaza emerged from the mouth of an underground tunnel about a mile away, inside Israel territory. The air force thwarted the attack, but the government said that the attempted incursion was the final straw and that the ground invasion would commence.

By Friday, the Israeli military said it had already uncovered 10 tunnels with 22 exit points and that there were dozens more “terror tunnels” spread around Gaza. In a statement, it described tunnels crossing the border from Gaza to Israel as “complex and advanced,” and said they were “intended to carry out attacks such as abductions of Israeli civilians and soldiers alike; infiltrations into Israeli communities, mass murders and hostage-taking scenarios.”
Continue reading the main story
Related Coverage

Gadi Shamni, a former commander of the Israeli Army’s Gaza division and of its central command, said that destroying the tunnels posed a technological and operational challenge and that each of them had offshoots going in different directions, making it difficult to track and disable the whole route.


That New York Times article on the tunnel invasion was dated July 28, 2014 and was the last straw I guess for Israel. That is why they started bombing and invaded Gaza.

You'd never guess that from DU.

I am rather ashamed at the group-think on DU on this issue. The fact is that the Israelis invested millions of dollars, enormous effort and thought to try to avoid killing innocent Palestinians, and Hamas or the Palestinian terrorists managed to find a way to destroy the fragile peace anyway.

They need to negotiate for peace. Wise people on both sides have tried to do it over and over, and every time, extremists on the Palestinian side, extremists that Palestinians cannot control, destroy the peace.

The Palestinian extremists are the worst enemies not just of Israel but of the Palestinians themselves. Do Palestinians need aid and a good settlement? Yes. But the Israelis need to be free from the constant harassment and criminal activity of the Palestinian extremists -- the terrorists.

That's the only fair view in my opinion.

I think that half of DU has me on ignore by now because I have tried to research this issue and find out what happened and then decided my point of view based on my research. But that's the way the cookie crumbles. I am trying to be fair to both sides when I express my opinion. The Palestinians have to control their extremists if they are to form a prosperous, safe nation.

August 1, 2014

Actually, I am taking into account the facts as the Allies saw them at the end of WWII.

The Allies were responsible for the safety of the many, many Jewish refugees. Those refugees could not be left safely in Germany after the war. They could not be returned to their homes because those homes were now occupied by Germans (or others in Europe) who would take revenge if they had to give them up to Jews. To try to repatriate the Jewish people to the homes they lived in and the businesses and status they had before the war would have prolonged the war.

The Allies were overwhelmed by the numbers of refugees. The US took a lot of them. But remember, we had just come out of the Depression to fight a war. We had a housing shortage, even in some areas, a schoolroom shortage. We had failed to take refugees during the Depression because we did not have the jobs and economy to support them. That, we recognized as a mistake, and we did what we could but it was not enough, could not be enough.

In short, there was a crisis of refugees but especially of Jewish refugees. They could not stay where they were. They wanted to go to what is now Israel. It was at the time a British Protectorate. It had that status not because the British had sought to make it a colony but because it was part of the Ottoman Empire which the British and allies defeated in WWI and which Britain governed after that war.

After WWII, the people living in Palestine were viewed as supporters of Hitler. Fair or not, that is how the Allies perceived them because some of their leaders had supported Hitler. So Palestine was viewed as a sparsely populated land that had never established a national or sovereign government for any length of time but had passed from the supervision and control of the Ottoman Empire and Turks to the British Protectorate and sided with the enemy of the allies in WWII.

The Jewish people had not had a homeland since the Romans destroyed their nation (please correct me if I am wrong about this), yet they had maintained a national identity as Jews, not just a religious one but a national one. The phrase, "Next year in Jerusalem" had great meaning to them just as a pilgrimage to Mecca has meaning to Muslims. Israel was a spiritual as well as national significance to the Jewish people from what I gather. (I am not Jewish.) The Jewish people were, for centuries, not accepted as full citizens across Europe. Hence the expression, "The Wandering Jew."

Here is a small excerpt from a list of the exiles of Jewish people. You need to go to the Wikipedia page to appreciate the long, long history of the exiles of the Jewish people. The amazing thing is that the Jewish people retained their identity as a people through so many exiles. That is astounding. Here are just a few examples of the persecution of Jewish people.

The German Nazi persecution started with the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses in 1933, reached a first climax during the Kristallnacht in 1938 and culminated in the Holocaust of the European Jewry. The British Mandate of Palestine prohibited Jewish emigration to the Land of Israel. The 1938 Evian Conference, the 1943 Bermuda Conference and other attempts failed to resolve the problem of Jewish refugees, a fact widely used in Nazi propaganda (see also MS St. Louis). Many German and Austrian Jewish refugees from Nazism emigrated to Britain and many fought for Britain in the second World War.

The Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries, in which the combined population of Jewish communities of the Middle East and North Africa (excluding Israel) was reduced from about 900,000 in 1948 to less than 8,000 today. The history of the exodus is politicized, given its proposed relevance to a final settlement Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] When presenting the history, those who view the Jewish exodus as equivalent to the 1948 Palestinian exodus, such as the Israeli government and NGOs such as JJAC and JIMENA, emphasize "push factors", such as cases of anti-Jewish violence and forced expulsions,[1] and refer to those affected as "refugees".[1] Those who argue that the exodus does not equate to the Palestinian exodus emphasize "pull factors", such as the actions of local Zionist agents aiming to fulfil the One Million Plan,[3] highlight good relations between the Jewish communities and their country's governments,[5] emphasize the impact of other push factors such as the decolonization in the Maghreb and the Suez War and Lavon Affair in Egypt,[5] and argue that many or all of those who left were not refugees.[1][3] Israel absorbed approximately 600,000 of these refugees, many of whom were temporarily settled in tent cities called Ma'abarot. They were eventually absorbed into Israeli society, and the last Maabarah was dismantled in 1958.

(Living in France and in Los Angeles, I have met many of these Jewish refugees from the Middle East. They did not all go to Israel, so I do not think that Zionism was the real reason for their leaving their homelands. In fact I am very sure it was not based on conversations I have had with some of them.)

Due to the 1968 Polish political crisis thousands of Jews were forced by the communist authorities to leave Poland. See also rootless cosmopolitan, Doctors' plot, Jackson-Vanik amendment, refusenik, Zionology, Pamyat.

State-sponsored persecution in the Soviet Union prompted tens of thousands of Soviet Jews to emigrate to Israel, and some also to the United States with "refugee" status.


In the US, we view Jewish people as just the same as everyone else, no more to be ostracized or persecuted than any other religion. But that is because of our First Amendment. If the right-wing Christians had their way, who knows what religion they would persecute?

Genocide is wrong. The establishment of the nation of Israel was intended to right the centuries, close to two thousand years of genocide against the Jewish people. Genocide is still wrong. But is Israel practicing genocide?

A lot is said about how intolerant Israel is of people of other religions. But compared to Saudi Arabia where Bibles are pretty much banned or Egypt where the Christians have been persecuted from time to time and are subject to certain limitations based on their religious affiliations, Israel is an extremely tolerant society. All citizens have the vote, and last I heard there were non-Jews sitting in the Knesset, their parliament.

As far as I have heard, people who are not Jewish still have civil rights in Israel. The violence going on now does not appear to be aimed at non-Jews in Israel. Not from what I have heard. I question, therefore, whether what is going on can be called a genocide. I don't think it is violence based on race or ethnicity. I think it should be viewed as a war.

Genocide is wrong. War is wrong. My solution is to pray for peace and to wish well to those who are negotiating right now for peace.

The Palestinians want the right to return to Jerusalem and the land partitioned for Israel. They want to live in the homes that they think their grandparents live in. Do you live in the home your grandparents lived in? I live thousands of miles from that home although I have cousins who still live there. Most Americans live closer than I do, but we don't expect to live near where our grandparents lived. Lucky is the American who does. And the world increasingly reflects US culture in that people live near work, not near their ancestral homes. There would be no immigration in the world if living where your grandparents lived was an important value to us today.

The Israelis are accused of genocide, perhaps rightfully so at this time, but it is mostly because their military power is greater and most important better organized than that of the Palestinians.

Let's look for a moment at the military situation from the point of view of the Palestinian role in it. The Palestinians bombard Israel with rockets, etc. and then protest loudly when Israel responds with its superior military capacity. The Palestinians then pretend to wonder why so many of them are killed and why the area given to them has shrunk each time that Israel responds with its superior military organization and power. The process has become predictable. It may be somewhat cynical. I don't know, but it may be.

Do you seriously think that the Palestinians believe at this point that they can win back land with their rockets? Why are they sending the rockets? They must know what the response will be to those rockets. They must have figured that out by now.

I do not think the Palestinians are stupid or so emotional that they cannot keep from sending the rockets. I think that they are sending the rockets to incite Israel to respond with violence. That is the only reason I can think of for the rockets and stones. Yes. It is an expression of frustration. But it has never gained back any territory. It has never helped to obtain peace. I think it is done to incite Israel to attack. It makes no sense otherwise.

The small weapons of the Palestinians are like flea bites on a lion's back. What does the lion do? It takes it's mighty tail and whips its backs to make the fleas stop biting. That's what mighty tails are for. How can the Palestinians expect less of Israel?

Of course, Israel fights back when it is repeatedly harassed and its people cannot live in peace. Do the Palestinians seriously expect Israel to respond to their rockets and stones with rockets and stones? Of course not, Israel responds with its mighty tail. The Palestinians tease Israel and then pretend righteous indignation when Israel swings it tail. Seriously, how would you respond if your neighbors threw potentially harmful things, say broken glass, into your back yard where you garden and your children play?

I think the plan is to cause the world to condemn Israel. Younger children do this to their older siblings. A little pinch from the younger child, the larger child responds with a slap or a kick, and mom and dad scold the older child. That is, I think the Palestinians' plan.

My point: There are two sides to this. I am presenting Israel's side because we do not see it on DU.

The only answer is meaningful peace negotiations. The exchange of land for a negotiated peace is a good possibility in my view. But the Palestinians and Israelis will have to take a long view. It will not just be an exchange of land for peace. It will involve a lot of personal exchanges and a plan to build trust between the two sides. Finally, I believe it will require a couple of generations possibly before the borders can be made secure enough that Israel can accept a powerful Palestine as its neighbor.

Sometimes peace negotiations can take place before a dispute reaches a crisis. (As I have posted so many times, there are three ways to end disputes.) After so many years of fighting and so many failed attempts to negotiate a peace that would leave the Palestinians with some national identity and pride, the Israelis may be resigning themselves to the final resort of simply conquering Palestine. It's a rather sad situation, but Israel is certainly not entirely to blame for it.

I have presented an argument in support of Israel. Many DUers have made the argument in support of Palestine. I repeat that there are two sides to this dispute and because there are two sides it is better not to take sides but to pray for peace and support the peace negotiations.

My hope is that Israelis and Palestinians will be able to live together in peace, side by side for the moment, and one day in a unified country in which religious and cultural tolerance is the rule.

I hope all DUers on both sides of this issue will pray or if they prefer to put it this way, "send good vibes" to the peace negotiators.

July 26, 2014

I quote from Glenn Greenwald's book "No Place to Hide."

At page 190, Greenwald describes the tactics used to deceive and damage reputations.

"One PowerPoint slide presented by GCHQ (the British surveillance service with which the US collaborates in spying on innocent people and spreading disinformation) surveillance officials at the 2012 SigDev conference describes two forms of attack "information ops (influence of disruption)" and "technical disruption." GCHQ refers to these measures as "online Covert Action," which is intended to achieve what the document calls "The 4 D's: Deny/Disrupt/Degrade/Deceive."

Further, a power point slide states again at page 190 of Greenwald's book cited above"

EFFECTS Definitions

- "Using online techniques to make something happen in the real or cyber world"

- Two broad categories"
- Information Ops (influence or disruption)
- Technical disruption

-Known in GCHQ as Online Covert Action

- The 4D's Deny/Disrupt/Degrade/Deceive.

Speaks for itself.

Russia uses, of course, the same techniques. Very unfortunate when they are used in the US by any person or country because some one of us who is so used to and tired of the deception of our own media -- deception for pay not for ideology -- is bound to point out what it is.

Deny Disrupt Degrade Deceive.

We see a lot of that on DU. I'm sure it is heartfelt, but it is what it is.

Unfortunately, a lot of people come to DU naively believing what they read and hear elsewhere. Their posts in their early time here reflect those borrowed ideas.

We all need to inform ourselves well enough that we can read and listen critically and make informed decisions about what may be true and what is obviously not. Having to defend your ideas on DU develops a lot of critical thinking. I know it has for me.

RT is what it is. Thom Hartmann is a great, independent commentator.

If you don't like RT, you can also hear an hour of Thom Hartmann a day on KPFK Los Angeles -- independent, listener supported radio. I don't always agree with it either, but it at least doesn't repeat the same old same old corporate garbage.

July 20, 2014

What was the context of the formation of Palestine?

Combat operations, ethnic cleansing, genocide, and general fear resulted in millions of people being uprooted from their original homes in the course of World War II. Between 11 million and 20 million people were displaced according to estimates. The majority were inmates of Nazi concentration camps, Labor camps and prisoner-of-war camps that were freed by the Allied armies. In portions of Eastern Europe, both civilians and military personnel fled their home countries in fear of advancing Soviet armies, who were preceded by widespread reports of mass rape, pillaging, looting, and murder.


Here is a listing of the incredible number of expulsions mostly by the NAZIS of the citizens of various countries in Eastern Europe during and after the War:


At the end of World War II, 12 million people had been driven from their homes. In 1946 there was 200,000 inquiries for lost children. There were more than 7 million men and women living in Germany who had been moved to the German Reich as slave laborers or prisoners. The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) took care of these people. UNRRA was essentially a temporary organization which expired in June 1947. Afterward, the International Refugee Organization (IRO) took care of Displaced Persons. Almost 6 million DPs were repatriated in the 5 months from May to Sept. 1945. Three years after the war, there were 370 camps in the English, French and American Zones in Germany, 120 camps in Austria and 25 camps in Italy with well over 800,000 DPs. Of this 800,000:

55% Roman Catholics
27% Protestant and other Eastern orthodox faiths
18% Jews
(Statistics provided by Scholars in the DP Camps by Edward B. Rooney, SJ):

Near the end of 1947, a US emigration bill required every DP emigrant to have a sponsor in the US. When not enough sponsors were found, in June 25, 1948, Congress passed Public Law 774, the Displaced Persons Act which provided for more than 200,000 DPs to enter the US over the next two years. 85,000 were Ukrainians.

. . . .


Between June 1946 and 1957, the United States received over 2.6 million refugees.


Shoah Resource Center, The International School for Holocaust Studies
Displaced Persons, Jewish
At the end of World War II, between seven and nine million people had been uprooted from their homes by the Nazis. By the end of 1945, more than six million had returned home to begin life anew. However, many Jews who had survived forced labor camps, extermination camps, concentration camps, and death marches did not want to go home. After experiencing the horrors of the Holocaust, they wanted to leave Europe altogether and rebuild their broken
lives elsewhere. Some did return home, only to leave again after finding their homes and property stolen by their former neighbors. None of these Jews had anywhere to go. Thus, they congregated in Displaced Persons' (DP) camps located within the central European areas controlled by the Allies. They organized themselves under the Hebrew name, She'erit ha-Pletah,
a biblical term meaning "surviving remnant." The She'erit ha-Pletah organization existed from the end of the war until December 1950.

Those Western European Jews who survived generally returned to their countries of origin, while those from Eastern Europe flocked to DP camps in the Allied zones of Europe. Soon, thousands more Polish, Soviet, Czechoslovakian, Hungarian, and Romanian Jews who had tried to go home
began to flee westward to the DP camps when they realized that nothing was left for them in Eastern Europe. By the end of 1946, there were approximately 250,000 Jewish DPs–185,000 in Germany, 45,000 in Austria, and 20,000 in Italy.

A year and a half earlier, in the summer of 1945, public interest in the DP camps had influenced President Harry S. Truman to send Earl G. Harrison as his personal emissary to check into the conditions of the Jewish DPs in the camps of the American zone in Germany. Harrison reported that the conditions in the DP camps were terrible. He accused the Americans of being responsible for the awful situation, and declared that the only solution was to let the Jewish DPs immigrate to Palestine. Harrison advised that the Americans work to improve the conditions in their camps, and that the British allow 100,000 DPs to move to Palestine. . . . .


Why couldn't the Jews of Western Europe simply move back into their former homes in Western Europe?

Based on my experience in living in Western Europe, it is clear that

a) the hatred of Jews which was prevalent all over Europe especially following the Inquisition made life there dangerous for Jews. The last of the anti-Jewish Catholic shrines in Austria was disavowed and closed in the late 1970s or early 1980s. (I was there but don't remember the year.)

b) the NAZIs had confiscated the homes and property of the Jews, at least those things that the Jews had been unable to entrust to their friends. The properties had been sold or were being lived in and used by non-Jews. In most cases, the properties could not have been simply handed back to the previous Jewish owners. This included not just homes but businesses. The losses were terrible and could not be made right.

The US was barely out of the Great Depression when WWII began. During WWII, Americans sacrificed. I still have pages of ration stamps for sugar that were erroneously made out in my name (I was a baby) with the wrong year. Pristine condition and a reminder of the relative poverty of the time.

After WWII, there was a severe housing shortage not only in the US but in Europe as the baby boomers arrived. Schools were overcrowded. The crisis was very difficult to deal with.

Israel was just one country that made room for displaced persons. The Ottoman Empire of which the area that Palestinians claim as their country was actually a British Protectorate beginning in the aftermath of World War I.

The allies fought against the Germans in the Middle East during WWII.


Many Jews had fought for the Allies during World War Two and had developed their military skills as a result. After the war ended in 1945, these skills were used in acts of terrorism. The new Labour Government of Britain had given the Jews hope that they would be given more rights in the area. Also in the aftermath of the Holocaust in Europe, many throughout the world were sympathetic to the plight of the Jews at the expense of the Arabs in Palestine.


In contrast,

Al-Husseini was the scion of a family of Jerusalemite notables. After receiving an education in Islamic, Ottoman and Catholic schools, he went on to serve in the Ottoman army in World War I. At war's end, he positioned himself in Damascus as a supporter of the Arab Kingdom of Syria. Following the fiasco of the Franco-Syrian War and the collapse of the Arab Hashemite rule in Damascus, his early position on pan-Arabism shifted to a form of local nationalism for Palestinian Arabs and he moved back to Jerusalem. From as early as 1920, in order to secure the independence of Palestine as an Arab state he actively opposed Zionism, and was implicated as a leader of a violent riot that broke out over the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. Al-Husseini was sentenced to ten years imprisonment, but was pardoned by the British. Starting in 1921, al-Husseini was appointed Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, using the position to promote Islam, while rallying a non-confessional Arab nationalism against Zionism.

His opposition to the British peaked during the 1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine. In 1937, evading an arrest warrant, he fled Palestine and took refuge in, successively, the French Mandate of Lebanon and the Kingdom of Iraq, until he established himself in Italy and Germany. During World War II he collaborated with both Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy by making propagandistic radio broadcasts and by helping Germans recruit Bosnian Muslims for the Waffen-SS. On meeting Adolf Hitler he requested backing for Arab independence and support in opposing the establishment in Palestine of a Jewish national home. At war's end, he came under French protection, and then sought refuge in Cairo to avoid prosecution.

In the lead-up to the 1948 Palestine war, Husseini opposed both the 1947 UN Partition Plan and King Abdullah's designs to annex the Arab part of British Mandatory Palestine to Jordan, and, failing to gain command of the 'Arab rescue army' (jaysh al-inqadh al-'arabi) formed under the aegis of the Arab League, formed his own militia, al-jihad al-muqaddas. In September 1948, he participated in establishment of All-Palestine Government. Seated in Egyptian-ruled Gaza, this government won a limited recognition of Arab states, but was eventually dissolved by Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1959. After the war and subsequent Palestinian exodus, his claims to leadership, wholly discredited, left him eventually sidelined by the Palestine Liberation Organization, and he lost most of his residual political influence. He died in Beirut, Lebanon, in July 1974. Husseini was and remains a highly controversial figure. Historians dispute whether his fierce opposition to Zionism was grounded in nationalism or antisemitism or a combination of both.


Remember, at the time, there was a lot of anti-Jewish sentiment in the US so just receiving all of the Jewish refugees here was not an alternative.

It is so easy to judge decisions made in times of historic upheaval.

But if you had lived in the years between 1946 - 1956, what would you have done?

Remember, the Allies had just won WWII with the help of Jewish soldiers. Some of the Americans who built our atomic bomb and split the atom were Jewish. Because of the actions of Al-Husseini, they viewed Palestinians as German supporters and allies. Palestine had never been an independent country in modern times.

We all love to second-guess history. But what would you have done had you been faced with the task of setting new national boundaries in all the areas in which the war had taken place.

Strasbourg, France and the Alsace-Lorraine became as it had been off and on through history, a part of France. (Its population was divided German and French.) Yugoslavia was formed. The Iron Curtain fell.

Peace came at a price, and that price was paid by many people across Europe and the world.

Israel was in my view a necessary part of the compromises that finally ended WWII.

To try to do away with Israel would probably mean more war. It is time that the Palestinians make a peace. They should try to exchange peace for land and live as friends with all their neighbors. They are wasting their lives and those of their children in constant war.

I posted this as an OP in a thread under Israel/Palestine. It was locked because it was not a recent event. I remember this history. I predicted the Yom Kippur War way back when based on my understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The brutality of the fighting, the absurdity of the fighting does not speak well of the Palestinian leadership. They are the worst enemy of the Palestinian people. Israel is a democracy (in which Palestinian residents vote by the way). If Israelis feel safe living next to Palestinians, they will vote for leaders who will make peace with Palestine. The Israelis have proved in the past that they are capable and willing to destroy settlements and trade land for peace. It is up to the Palestinians and up to Hamas in particular. Peace or the suffering of war. It's up to the Palestinians.

Life is not fair. Peace is to be preferred over so many decades of war. Getting justice means getting the right to be yourself and to live in peace with the world, not just getting back at those who have hurt you. It is not easy to "get over it," but sometimes "getting over it" is a huge victory.


Profile Information

Member since: Sat Dec 6, 2003, 05:15 AM
Number of posts: 57,936
Latest Discussions»JDPriestly's Journal