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Brother Joe Observes

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Name: Jonas (but I've always been called Joe, so...)
Gender: Male
Hometown: NY,NY
Home country: US
Member since: Thu May 19, 2016, 07:18 PM
Number of posts: 61

Journal Archives

This is for those who Mistake my Support of Israel for Bibi Worship

Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel-Palestine

by Thomas Friedman

Israel has recently been under intense criticism on the world stage. Some of it, like the “boycott, divestment, sanctions” (B.D.S.) campaign, is a campus movement to destroy Israel masquerading as a political critique. But a lot of it is also driven by Israel’s desire to destroy itself — thanks to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s steady elimination of any possibility that Israel will separate itself from the Palestinians in the West Bank.

Netanyahu is a man who is forever dog paddling in the middle of the Rubicon, never crossing it, always teasing you (“I’m coming your way — I’m going to make a decision”), only to remain right where he is, balancing between all his rivals, so that he alone survives. Meanwhile, Israel sinks ever deeper into a de facto binational state controlled by Jewish extremists.

Soon, this newspaper will have to call Netanyahu what he’s made himself into: “Prime Minister of the State of Israel-Palestine.”

I raise this now because Israel under Netanyahu has gone from bad to worse. He just forced out Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon. Yaalon, a former army chief of staff, is a very decent man — a soldier’s soldier, determined to preserve the Israeli Army as a people’s army that aspires to the highest standards of integrity in the middle of a very dangerous neighborhood.

Netanyahu plans to replace Yaalon with the far-right Avigdor Lieberman, who boasts he could not care less what American Jews think about how Israel is behaving and a man whom, Haaretz reported, was only recently dismissed by Bibi’s team as “a petty prattler,” unfit to be even a military analyst, and whose closest brush with a real battle was dodging a “tennis ball.”

Lieberman, when he has not been under investigation for corruption, has mused about blowing up Egypt’s Aswan Dam, denounced Israelis who want Israel to get out of the West Bank as traitors and praised an Israeli soldier, Sgt. Elor Azaria, who fatally shot a wounded Palestinian assailant in the head as he was lying on the ground awaiting medical attention.

Describing Netanyahu’s dumping of Yaalon for Lieberman, Yediot Aharonot columnist Nahum Barnea wrote, “Instead of presenting to the world a more moderate government ahead of the diplomatic battles to come in the fall, Netanyahu is presenting the most radical government to ever exist in Israeli history.”

Yaalon himself warned, “Extremist and dangerous forces have taken over Israel and the Likud movement and are destabilizing our home and threatening to harm its inhabitants.” Former Labor Defense Minister Ehud Barak said, “What has happened is a hostile takeover of the Israeli government by dangerous elements.” Former Likud Defense Minister Moshe Arens wrote in Haaretz that Bibi and his far-right cronies “insulted not only Yaalon, they insulted the I.D.F. [Israeli Army]. It’s a people’s army.”

This whole episode started March 24 when Azaria, a medic, was caught on video shooting the wounded Palestinian. He was one of two Palestinians armed with knives who had stabbed an Israeli soldier, lightly wounding him. Azaria just decided on his own to kill him.

Yaalon and the Army chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, reacted swiftly, saying this is not how the Israeli Army behaves. Azaria was charged with manslaughter and inappropriate military conduct. At first Netanyahu, too, said the killing violated the army’s values, but when his settler base came out in favor of the killing, Netanyahu shifted, urging the court to take a balanced view of what happened. Lieberman actually went to the court to show support for Azaria.

All of this deeply troubled Yaalon and the army leadership, and it erupted on Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day when the army’s deputy chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, speaking to the nation, said, “It’s scary to see horrifying developments that took place in Europe begin to unfold here.” Yes, you read that right.

Netanyahu slammed Golan, but Yaalon, in an address to the army’s top generals, said, “Keep acting in accordance with your humane conscience and moral compass, and not according to which way the winds are blowing.”

So Netanyahu, who only acts the way the wind blows, purged Yaalon. With that move, said the Hebrew University religious philosopher Moshe Halbertal, we are witnessing “Israel’s ruling party being transformed from a hawkish nationalist party that used to have a humanitarian and democratic base, into an ultranationalist party that is now defined by turning against the ‘enemies’ from within — the courts, the NGOs, the education system, the Arab minority and now, the army — anyone who stands in the way of their project of permanent occupation of the West Bank. Having failed to deliver a solution for the enemies on the outside, so now Likud is focused on the enemies inside. This is a major transformation in Israel and should be looked upon with great concern.” The army’s leadership, added Halbertal, “is trying to transcend this war of all against all and impose moral order on chaos rather than inflame it for narrow political gains.”

Netanyahu does just the opposite. For those of us who care about Israel’s future, this is a dark hour.


I completely agree with Mr Friedman: Netanyahu is not a good leader for Israel, and his policies will prove to be very detrimental in the long term.
Posted by Brother Joe Observes | Wed May 25, 2016, 06:47 AM (4 replies)

Rights group: Israeli army probes of soldiers a fig leaf

Source: Associated Press

May. 25, 2016 1:48 AM EDT

JERUSALEM (AP) — A leading Israeli rights group says it will stop seeking investigations of Israeli soldiers suspected of abusing Palestinians, arguing that internal military probes have failed to deliver justice.

B'Tselem said Wednesday these probes are deeply flawed, create a "mere semblance of justice" and effectively help whitewash half century of military rule over Palestinians.

It says it will stop cooperating "with a system whose real function is measured by its ability to successfully cover up unlawful acts and protect perpetrators."

The Israeli military had no immediate comment.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/df01023abd694775bb48612da373b628/rights-group-israeli-army-probes-soldiers-fig-leaf

Cover up? Please! Whether you agree with IDF policies or not, you have to acknowledge that the Israelis have always been extremely scrupulous about just what they're doing. I debated whether or not I should post this, because it'll doubtless be used by the Israel-bashers to "prove" their "points." But I decided to go ahead, because "Blame Israel First" groups like B'Tselem really piss me off!
Posted by Brother Joe Observes | Wed May 25, 2016, 02:05 AM (2 replies)

A Letter to a Bernie-or-Bust Voter from Slate

By Darby Saxbe:

I get it. I was just like you once. In the year 2000, fresh out of college, I cast my second-ever presidential election vote for Ralph Nader. Later that night, I watched in horror as the contest between Al Gore and George W. Bush ended in an unprecedented electoral college toss-up, leading to a messy recount battle and the infamous Supreme Court decision Bush v. Gore. The chosen successor of a popular incumbent administration, Gore should have sailed to victory on the strength of the economy alone, yet he conceded the election to Bush, a candidate initially considered too unserious to be a true contender.

Gore lost Florida by 537 votes. Nader received almost 100,000 votes in Florida. And he actively campaigned in swing states, including Florida, in the lead-up to the election. If Nader had quit the race and thrown his support to the Democrats, we might be reminiscing about a Gore administration right now.

And I share the blame. Now, before you post mean things in the comments, let me clarify: I voted in New York state, which went blue in 2000, so my individual vote did not help swing the election. But I still feel complicit. I jumped on the Nader bandwagon and bought into a set of beliefs that seemed right to me at the time but were proven very wrong over the eight years that followed.

Chief among them, I thought that Gore and Bush were essentially indistinguishable. Carbon copies of each other. Both corporate insider candidates, beholden to big-money interests and out of touch with people struggling at the margins of the economy. I’m from the Rust Belt—I grew up near Cleveland—and I had seen factory closures turn a once-vibrant part of the country into a series of ghost towns. I blamed NAFTA and the Clinton administration’s failure to defend unions and stem the tide of outsourcing. In this and on other issues—welfare reform, prison sentencing—I thought the Clinton administration had bent so far backward to win over the right that it had lost its progressive conscience. The economy boomed during the Clinton years, but the gulf between the rich and poor, the haves and have-nots, only widened.

Nader voiced the discontent I was feeling. I was young and idealistic and wanted political revolution. It felt good to back a rabble-rouser, not the stiff, robotic Al Gore. I was annoyed with the Democrats for picking a predictable, incremental candidate who played not to the left, but to the mushy middle. I went to a Nader rally in NYC: Bill Murray, Michael Moore, and Susan Sarandon spoke. Eddie Vedder sang. I felt inspired, part of a movement to bring about real change, ready to cast my protest vote.

Alarmingly, some Sanders supporters seem to welcome the chaos of a Trump presidency.


Chaos? Naw! Just nuclear war, is all.

Posted by Brother Joe Observes | Tue May 24, 2016, 08:48 PM (18 replies)

President Trump Creates Major Traffic Disruptions, Damages Infrastructure

But hey, whatever you do, stay pure!

Posted by Brother Joe Observes | Tue May 24, 2016, 04:33 AM (7 replies)

Trump Admits Climate Change Is Real…At His Golf Course

Posted by Brother Joe Observes | Tue May 24, 2016, 01:31 AM (1 replies)

I just saw "The Witch" (no spoilers)

It has a 91% "Certified Fresh" score on Rotten Tomatoes, and it sucks! I'm sorry, I'm not young and hip anymore, but when I sit down to watch a "horror" movie, I expect to see SOME shit actually happen! Maybe if I'd seen it in a theater, I would have had a different view, but I seriously doubt it

And the sound was AWFUL! If anybody else here has seen it, let me know if you noticed that.
Posted by Brother Joe Observes | Mon May 23, 2016, 09:12 PM (8 replies)
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