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05 May 2011


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William R. Cumming

WELL not sure it is only the Palestinians that face choices as so do BIBI and Obama.

NOW that he is dead other than US withdrawing totally from the MENA what was UBL's vision as to that area of the world and Islam in general?


Pat, can't you find something better than this Zionist/Orientalist crap to post.
For example:
"The second new development is the American military operation that killed Osama Bin Laden. That success reinforces America’s credibility in the Middle East and strengthens President Obama’s prestige as a strong and determined leader."
This regurgitates Bernard Lewis' discredited idea that Arabs respect people who use violence against them. As the events in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Syria, and elsewhere demonstrate, this is complete bollocks. If anything the people of those countries have demonstrated a braveness that is sadly missing among the general populations in the West!

"Once again the Palestinians will have missed an opportunity!"

They never had a chance in the first place! Actually, it is the dumb Zionists who are missing an opportunity. If Netanyahu had the balls to withdraw from the Golan Heights, remove the settlers from the West Bank, raise the blockade of Gaza and recognize a Palestinian state on pre-June 1967 borders (including Jerusalem), Israel might have a chance of surviving. As it is and as he won't, I doubt Israel will celebrate it centenary.

And Netanyahu won't be the only one to miss an opportunity. The assassination of OBL gives BHO the perfect opportunity to "declare victory" in Afghanistan and get out while the going is good. Instead he will vacillitate a while longer, stay just long enough to make it "impossible" to quit and Americans will go on dying for the next twenty years. As for my country's so-called Prime Minister, he is too ignorant and stupid to realize that he needs to get out now, so Brits will go on dying in Afghanistan as well. As for the poor bloody Afghanis, they deserve none of this.

Patrick Lang


No. You can't have a conversation without more than one opinion. What do you take me for, Fox News? pl


I disagree with Robert Lifton on several the basic premises of his essay.

1) There really has never been a peace process. There has been the gradual expansion of settlements into what might have been a viable Palestinian state. Once all territory of value has been siezed, the Palestinians would then call whatever is left a "state." The peace process has been the diplomatic charade to cover all this up. The US is fully and totally complicit in all this.

2) There really is nothing Palestinians can do to change public opinion in the US. Statements of sympathy for Bin Laden are unfortunate, but hardly decisive.

3) Those changes in Egypt's policy, the Arab Spring, Iran's growing influence, etc. are not the obstacles to peace, (unless peace is defined as total capitulation to Israel's maximalist positions) they are the only chance for real peace. And therefore...

4)...peace requires a balance of power more favorable to the Palestinians and their sympathizers. Which means **precisely** the sort of things Mr Lifton wishes to avoid; Egyptian rapprochement with Iran and Turkey, Palestinian reconciliation, a more powerful Iran, collapse of the so called "moderate" Arab governments ESPECIALLY Saudi Arabia. Perhaps this balance will never be attained, but it seems much more possible now than ever before.


The Arab Spring, American victory of her enemy and the Palestinians acting like a democracy by using negotiations between two group of groups of Palestinians to ensure they as a people form a government of the people through elections means:

"It will leave the US Congress no alternative but to ....."

...finally start putting the interests of the American people first?


Mr Lifton

I disagree with the title of your article. I believe it is actually Israel that is at a fundamental crossroads in its history. The Arab Spring has forced the equally unpopular Hamas and Fatah parties into an alliance to fend off street protests against both of them. No matter, this is still in the best long term interests of the Palestinians.

For the record, Ismail Haniyeh is under tremendous pressure in Gaza for being too liberal and inclined to make peace with Israel from more militant minded Gazans. His (idiotic) comments on UBL were for a domestic audience.

The bulk of your piece I agree with but I am convinced Israel is heading for disaster. Time is on the side of the millions of Egyptians, Jordanians and all the other neighbours of Israel. If it doesn't make peace now (and I believe it wont) then it will be faced in time with democratic states less inclined to suppress their Palestinian brothers through illegal border closures in Gaza or supporting Israeli foreign policy objectives detrimental to Palestinians.

Israel is on the cusp. It seems intent on dragging America into the same abyss.

Roy G

I appreciate the opportunities given to a wide range of voices here, however, in this case, I see a bit too much of the same old Middle East boilerplate, and blaming the victim.

Mr. Lifton does not seem aware or willing to admit Israel's early role in funding and supporting Hamas when they felt it was in their interest, nor in recognizing that Hamas has consistently held up its end in the cease-fire agreement.

The mock horror and outrage of supporting Hamas carry little weight when the author and his lobby have been historically invested in keeping totalitarian dictators installed in MENA.

Israel can carp about its inability to restart the meaningless kabuki of the 'peace process,' but the bride has already been laid bare, and the world can finally see how Israel has had no intention all along of negotiating a peace. Have you read the Palestine Papers, Mr. Lifton?

Diane Mason

1. I think one of the basic premises of the piece - that if the Palestinians will just jump through one more hoop, they will finally win independence - is wrong. Fatah/PLO has been jumping through hoops for 20 years, and there is always just one more to go through before they can be independent. First the hoop was that they must recognize the state of Israel. When they did that, it became they must recognize the state of Israel's right to exist. Now it is becoming, they must recognize Israel's right to exist "as a Jewish state"...

The point is: there can never be a final condition the Palestinians can satisfy, because the usefulness to successive Israeli govts of a U.S. mediated bilateral "peace process" is that such a set-up leaves Israel free to progressively colonize the West Bank. By definition, there can be no final obstacle that, once cleared, will convince the Israelis to allow Palestine independence, because the very aim of the process is to keep the hoop-jumping going on long enough to ensure that such an outcome has been rendered impossible by the settlement project. The general awareness that this is what the "peace process" has been used for is the reason why it is entirely without credibility today.

2. The suggestion that if the Palestinians don't do as you recommend, "It will leave the US Congress no alternative but to support Netanyahu", strikes me as absurd. The U.S. Congress will support Netanyahu anyway, regardless of what the Palestinians do, because the position of the U.S. Congress on Israel-Palestine is a function of internal U.S. politics, not Palestinian action or inaction.

3. Overall, the piece seems to be based on the belief that trying to please Israelis must be the Palestinians' guiding principle. I think it's quite the reverse: that the Palestine Papers showed them offering everything they could to make Israel happy in bilateral talks, and yet finding that it's never enough, and that it's time to give up on that approach and reassert their own constituents' rights and interests whether Israel likes it or not. They will do far better to pursue this in international fora where the U.S.-Israel position is increasingly isolated, than in a three-way set-up dominated by a U.S. and an Israel that want to preserve the status quo, rather than end it. And if Israel is feeling pressure from the changes in its neighborhood, well maybe that's a good thing. It's faced precious little pressure in 20 years of U.S.-dominated "peace process", and the result has been nothing but a deeper hole.

Patrick D

I will add to Lysander's list the observation that for 4 years of excluding Hamas from power in the West Bank and repressing all Islamist elements there, the PA and Fatah got more Israeli settlers.

Robert C.

That Hamas is committed "to seek Israel’s destruction" is well known because it shows up in print in major US newspapers on a monthly basis. It is slipped articles here and there. Yet, the MSM and Mr. Lifton fail to report that Likud's platform includes the concept of Eretz Israel, greater Israel and nowhere does Likud acknowledge to right of the Palestinians to have a state of their own. Further, lets be clear, Likud has been the dominant political party in Israel for the better part of 25 years..if not longer.

Oh yeah, his article read like propaganda.



Thank you Patrick D.

One other point I wish to add to the list is Iraq. It is a wealthy country once stabilized with plenty of water, arable land and oil. The potential capacity of oil is estimated at 11 million barrels per day.


We can only guess what Iraq will choose to do with this wealth. But potentially it could use it as the Anti-Saudi Arabia. Meaning it might shield various countries from US economic sanctions and finance Arab politicians more comfortable with the resistance axis. It will likely dilute Saudi influence in the region. It will quite possibly be an engine of economic growth for the whole middle east.

Of course it is unpredictable exactly what Iraq will do, but it will certainly change the nature of the game. A topic worthy of detailed study.


I don't know from being there, but it seems obvious from afar that many people in the Middle East are pretty upset about the state of affairs in Palestine. As such, it stands to reason that as the people of the Middle East move to establish democratic governments, those governments will reflect their citizens' concerns about the living conditions of Palestinians.

Also, I have read right here on SST that the previous government of Egypt played a key role in scuttling previous reconciliation efforts between Hamas and Fatah.

I guess I'm not sure what the "choice" the Palestinians are "supposed" to make really is, here. Is it to recognize the right of Israel to exist? Would you make that choice if you were a 25 year old Palestinian and the only life you knew was one of violent oppression by a racist state with vastly superior firepower?

This article is extremely condescending to the Palestinian people. I am not an apologist for terrorist tactics or demagogic attitudes that permeate the Palestinian political landscape, but I do expect a modicum of compassion for what it must be like to be Palestinian.

I heard an interviewee on NPR say it best some years ago. "Israel is the party with vastly greater strength and resources, as such they can afford to, and need to compromise more if an agreement is to be reached."

To put it even more plainly, perhaps the government and citizens of Israel should try to show people in the Arab world that they deserve to exist rather than trying to force people to agree with them.


Lifton is simply wrong when he says that "[Bibi's] opposition to negotiations with the Palestinians will be self-evident."

In fact, Bibi's opposition HAS ALWAYS BEEN evident. Likud's modus operandi has always been to give the impression of being reasonable while conceding nothing. Unfortunately, recent events change nothing on the Israeli side.

On the other side, Israel faces a hostile neighborhood unlike any it has faced before. With the traditional regional powers--Turkey, Egypt, and Iran all lining up as hostile, what will Israel do?

If past behavior is any clue, Israel will just continue its arrogance and provocation with the expectation that Uncle Sami will come to their rescue when they get in trouble.

Obama needs to reign in this group of zealots, before they totally destroy him.


The lie is in the opening paragraph "the choice is in their hands"


i thought lang selected a reasonably good rational unbiased post here.yet blowback the first thinks natanyahu needs balls to withdraw from the golan and the west bank it is a ridiculous suggestion actually what is israel gaining by making such gestures,why did they take it to begin with,showing such incompetent weakness guarantees war of course, one in which they would probably lose thousands of soldiers, of course he would never do that,only the nutcases would suggest such a policy, you know something blowback the first, if you had any balls, which let me tell you, you do not,you and the other mental midgets would admit that you all just simply lust to see israel destroyed no different than ahmedinejad and that you want to see jews murdered, that is what you are essentially advocating. i think you are totally misreading where lang is coming from and i think it is you all who have colored lang's reputation for the worse. lang is not a david duke if you truly liked him and respected him so much you would be more interested in what he really thinks but i see no great interest in picking his brain while he is right here everyday just waiting for an intelligent question. yes the us intelligence community have a long standing bone to pick with aspects of the us/israel relationship, but to understand what lang means one needs to know more and he can only give you some info lang is a patriot and he is not inclined towards being the first one to disclose stuff this is just entertainment for him pat you know some of your comments could incite nitwits here don't you think and this is why he carefully chose lifton's article, he knew it would induce responses which is what he needs to remain stimulated, see, it worked


From my inhibited, as Pat says, German perspective on this matter, what sticks out for me is the at this point misguided believe in the power of slogans in Robert K. Lifton's essay. It feels unwise the gamble with the concept of Israeli/Jewish intellectual superiority

I am aware of the view that public opinion can ultimately be shaped according to one's advantage, but I think there are limits. In this context it would demand an authoritarian control that not only can't work but also ironically mirrors the early 20th century myths.

Patrick Lang


"I think you are totally misreading where lang is coming from and i think it is you all who have colored lang's reputation for the worse. lang is not a david duke"

Any idea what "Rocky" is talking about? What reputation does he mean? pl


Judeo-Christian, the hyphenated god, always struck me as an absurdity: Jesus's core mission was not to uphold the zionist vision of claiming a piece of real estate which is the central vision of Judaism.
Fifty years of conjoining those dissonant core religious beliefs has resulted in fusing those beliefs, and like fusing a Doberman with a poodle, the product is a monster.

Among Jesus' words in Gethsemane were, Put down your sword, Peter; from the Cross he said, Father, forgive them.

America, founded on Christian principles, has been pierced by that hyphen and now exults in solving problems by killing the emasculated men of Schechem, by wiping out the metaphorical land of Canaan, and of taking down Jericho, the then-cradle of civilization.

The US has become a nation that has been blindered to the true beliefs of Judaism. Daily, Jewish people recite,

Here's the rest of that passage:

"When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery."

Notice two things: the last phrase, "brought you out of slavery" -- All you bible believers, where is the recognition that Hebrews lived and prospered for 480 years on prime, fertile land given to them by the Egyptian government? Where is the acknowledgment that the Hebrews who had been treated so well by Egypt for 480 years responded by killing the children of the Egyptian people, calling down mortal illness on Egypt, calling down diseases on the crops of the Egyptian people.

Second, should we teach our children to celebrate sheltering themselves without paying rent, and obtaining their daily bread on effort they did not exert; killing to solve problems, and basing all their rationalizations on a hyperbolized lie?

Welfare queens are the real Americans, by this measure.

The hyphenated god. Three more passages from the Good Book:
"No man can serve two masters."

"Because you are neither hot nor cold I will vomit you out of my mouth."

"Those who live by the sword die by the sword."


Any idea what "Rocky" is talking about? What reputation does he mean? pl

No idea Sir though you could do with some Hasbara praise. At least, the brigade is hoping that a little brown nosing from their side would sway you from your American Patriotism to make it second place and make you doff your cap first to Israel.

Your call, sir. :)

Patrick Lang


I agree that Rocky's ploy was just that. pl


Pat, it wasn't my intention to in any way harm your reputation. As I think that Jeff Klein's observations could partially support the picture Robert K. Liftion paints.

As you know, my main interest aren't politics but the arts, and I think that the US and Israel joined at the hips scenario is neither good for Israel nor for the US. To quote Daniel Barenboim:

After 1967 Israel turned very much toward the United States—not necessarily to its own advantage. The traditionalists said, "we will not give up the newly occupied territories." The religious Jews said, "these are not occupied but liberated, biblical territories." And with that the end of Socialism in Israel was sealed. Since then the conflict in the Middle East has been instrumentalized by world politics. For decades we have seen headlines about exploding violence; one war and terrorist act follows another. This has cemented the situation in people's minds. Today, in the times of Iraq and Iran, one hardly reads anything more about it, which is even worse. Many Israelis dream that when they wake up, the Palestinians will be gone, and the Palestinians dream that when they wake up, the Israelis will be gone. Both sides can no longer differentiate between dream and reality, and this is the psychological core of the problem.

but I'll shut up again. ;)


"… you know something blowback the first, if you had any balls, which let me tell you, you do not,you and the other mental midgets would admit that you all just simply lust to see israel destroyed no different than ahmedinejad and that you want to see jews murdered, that is what you are essentially advocating."

I'm not sure just what Rocky is trying to get at. This blog is one of the few places that facilitates actual conversations with differing viewpoints - especially with a world wide participation. What has become clear to me over the last few years is that virtually none 'lust to see Israel destroyed'. Many do disagree with the Policies of Israel's government and quite a few believe those policies will actually result in the collapse of Israel. The first being the moral collapse as is being seen by the flight of liberal Jews out of Israel and the further adoption of extreme apartheid like policies within Israel as a portion of her own Jewish population gives up the moral fight against their kin and returns to their original counrty of birth. (This flight does give rise to another point - can you be American/French/Russian/etc and Jewish at the same time? Where does loyalty lie?) The other collapse is the collapse of international support for the nation-state of Israle due to the policies of her government.

As to reputation? I have no idea what Rocky is actually trying to express.


Col: This article is informative: it contains just about every silly Zionst talking point.

The Middle East is fundamentally changing, and the Zionists still shovel the same crap about everyone needing to cater to them.

The Zionist project is in trouble. Good. I only wish it more trouble.


Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem to partake in the Roman census and pay their taxes. Good taxpaying citizens Joseph and Mary. Just what kind of message does that send, or more appropriately is anyone listening to that message today in America?

Roy G

An editorial post in Al Jazeera today perfectly encapsulates the difference between the internationally recognized human rights of the Palestinians, and the self-proclaimed rights of the Israeli state. The last graf sums it up neatly:

What Israel has been negotiating over with the Palestinians is the form, the terms, and the extent to which Palestinians must recognise its rights without equivocation. It is this reality that has characterised the last two decades of negotiations with the Palestinians. Negotiations will never restore the internationally-recognised rights of the Palestinians; on the contrary, the negotiations that the Palestinians entered with Israel two decades ago are ones wherein one party, the Palestinians, must surrender all their internationally recognised rights and recognise instead Israel's self-arrogated rights, which are not recognised by international law or any other country for that matter. Sixty-three years after the establishment of the Jewish settler-colony, this Palestinian act will not only lend the first international legitimacy to Israeli claims, it will constitute in effect nothing less than the first international recognition of Israel's self-arrogated rights. Israel need give up nothing in return.


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