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Israel’s Democracy: Just for Jews?

Sixty-six years after the establishment of the State of Israel, even the most ubiquitous term employed to describe the political nature of Israel as a “Jewish democratic state” is no longer valid. The Netanyahu government and its right-wing coalition partners are preparing a law, which will exclusively define Israel as a “Jewish State” for the “Jewish people”. For independent observers, who do not wear rose-colored Zionist propaganda glasses, Israel was never a democracy in the classical Western sense of the term, but always a Jewish democracy or a democracy sui generis, i.e. full democratic rights for Jews only. Jewish …

Volunteering with Olive Farmers in Palestine

We live in a culture based on images, none more powerful than those of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine. In this age of the armchair activist, a voice of dissent is a click, a tweet or often just vitriol in a comment box. We can happily surf away to another distraction from the safety of our sofas. What if you took your solidarity and you turned up, in real time, to the trouble spot on the screen? This is exactly what 30 year old Brazilian teacher Victor Paes did when he recently joined The International Solidarity movement (ISM) …

What the Death of Remy Fraisse Teaches Us

It is funny to see how sometimes the same story can be perceived differently. I was back in the nineteenth district of Paris for some few days, last week. It was without surprise that I could still witness the direct signs of the catastrophic situation of the French economy, as it took me an hour and forty-five minutes to be served at the local post office. But what worried me more, though, were the protests and demonstrations that had been taking place for weeks in different cities across France. Paris, Toulouse, Nantes and in many other cities, for days, images …

Thanksgiving for Social Scientists

Wish It Were

I wish there could be a Thanksgiving for the applied bounty that could come from the hundreds of thousands of political scientists, economists, sociologists, psychologists, and anthropologists.

I am referring especially to those social scientists who are full-time, tenured professors at universities, colleges and community colleges who are not indentured to commercial moonlighting. Those of us who look for ways to get things done for the betterment of society seek such contributions from people who spend their days studying what is happening in our country, and to whom. Other than …

The Zionism of Max Blumenthal

The Jewish activist Max Blumenthal wrote an expansive book on Israeli racism, but he failed completely and categorically to grasp the culture that drives Jewish supremacy within the Jewish State, Jewish politics and beyond. Interestingly enough, Blumenthal has a lot to say about ‘German pathology,’ German people, the colour of German people’s skin and their ‘sickening society’. If anyone still had hope that there was something positive that Progressive Jews could add to the discourse, Blumenthal’s latest interview will end that idea. He exhibits the ultimate form of Jewish racism, goy hatred: in fact, far more insidious than hard-core right …

Denial in Ferguson: The Wrong Response of the Right

When law is treated as an exercise of sterile objectivity, one where vision matters less than procedure, citizens can best forget that they play any viable role.  Seen through a naked prism of law and order, Ferguson, Missouri simply looks like black indignation against white order. While it would be deceptive to tarnish all arguments with the colour divide, it is unavoidable in parts of a country where authority and policing are inextricably linked to race.  Slavery, after all, co-existed with enlightened notions of human equality for decades.

The conservative press outlets, and certain commentators, have resorted to various tricks of …

Disassociating from Zionism

Some supporters of Zionism are trying to disassociate from the meaning and use of the word. Recently with a growing number of people the word Zionism has a negative connotation, more so than any time before. Where it was once taboo to question anything related to Israel, it’s now become a contentious process defining what Zionism truly is and what it represents. Seeing and hearing different and completely contrary explanations to existing beliefs concerning Israel, makes some people understandably uncomfortable. While talking truthfully about Zionism will make some think twice, others will shut down instantly.

Since the early days of the …

The Darren Wilson Non-indictment

Resistance to oppression is a human right!

Barack Obama, the obsequious errand boy for the financial and corporate plutocrats who own the U.S. government, made a pathetic appearance on national television to try to persuade the “natives” to remain peaceful in response to the non-indictment of the Ferguson killer-cop. His inane comments extolling the value of non-violence and the rule of law seemed strangely incongruent with the militaristic rhetoric and policies of his administration over the last few years.

Yet, Obama’s positions on law and violence are not as contradictory as they might appear when these positions are resituated within the context of imperial logic and the framework …

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Soul-Searching

The rise and fall of Palestine’s socialists

When news reports alleged that the two cousins behind the Jerusalem synagogue attack on 18 November were affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a level of confusion reigned. Why the PFLP? Why now?

The attack killed five Israelis and wounded others. It was, to a degree, an expected addition to a violent episode caused by police-sanctioned right-wing violence and abuse targeting the Palestinian population of the illegally occupied East Jerusalem. Much of the violence targeting Palestinians is systematic, involving severe restrictions on Palestinian movement, targeting houses of worship, and nightly attacks by Jewish mobs assailing Arabs, or …

Beyond the Election

The American people tend to view the Republican and Democratic parties as near polar opposites, but this is far from true. Indeed, they are clearly more united on the fundamentals underpinning U.S. society than they are at odds.

The heated legislative and political battles that characterize both parties, which are fought bitterly every two and four years in national elections and throughout the 50 states, are taking place within a much larger context of agreement between the right/far right Republicans and the center right Democrats.

We will touch upon this matter after discussing the recent trouncing of the Democratic Party in the …

Leaving Da Camera On: Max Seems a Roach from da Cold:Diary of a Drabman

Where do They (you know: Them) get such chutzpah? You can’t buy that kind of
chutzpah. Not even Amazon sells that kind of chutzpah…

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“So simple, even an American can do it…” (a running joke throughout)

And coming soon:

The Droned Stranger and his Double-agent Injun’ companion, Running Joke

an fer da inllectshulls:

The Coffin Factory, a Modern Urban Drama, based on the novel, by Dostoevsky, as
adapted for the stage by Samuel Beckett and Lenny Bruce (later adapted for the
screen by Richard Pryor and directed by David Lynch).

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Yeah, it’s the Two Minute Warning, but Maybe we’re not the losing team. I mean,
every person alive on earth …

Israel’s Model of Political Despair in Jerusalem

Relations between Israelis and Palestinians have descended into a dangerous melee of tit-for-tat attacks and killings, with the violence of the past few weeks centred on Jerusalem. The city, claimed by Israel as its “undivided capital”, has been torn apart by clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian residents since the summer, when 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir was burnt alive by Jewish extremists.

Subsequent attacks by Palestinians culminated last week in a shooting and stabbing spree by two cousins at a synagogue that killed four Jews and an Israeli policeman. In this atmosphere, both sides have warned that the political conflict is …

In the White City

In the White City, all the days are beautiful days. The weather is temperate and mild. The parks are spacious and gleam with care. People stroll with elegant animals, talking on the latest devices, filling the cafes at all hours of the day. In the coffeehouses where the best coffee in the world is brewed cup-by-cup for them, they sit in parallel rows like they did as children in school, seeing no one else now, gazing intently into the white screens of their gleaming devices.

There are hardly any old people or school-aged children left in the White City. Everyone is …

Spy On This!

President Barack Obama has always been quick to censure detractors when it comes to his regime spying on the public. His common retort always involves some sort of no-nonsense, Freudian super-ego-ish condescension, like, “I’m sure the NSA doesn’t care about what you’re doing on your computer.” And then he drones on, indulging himself in his awfully homiletic and providential presidential address.

Really? The government isn’t at all worried about what the anarcho-socialist workers and students do on their laptops in their homes, or what they’re reading in local libraries? Could Obama really be telling the truth when he says that he …

War Crime Politics and the ICTY

Šešelj Rides Again

The trial is essentially a series of unfolding disasters.”

— Marko Milanovic, Radio Free Europe, Nov 20, 2014

He has been released, at least temporarily. Vojislav Šešelj found a warm welcome in the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) headquarters in Zemun after the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) had tired of him. As he boarded a plane to Serbia on November 12, he proclaimed that he would first deal with politics, then health. It was a sound assessment. Politics seems to be shoring up his health.

His treatment at the hands of officials in The Hague …

US Investment Denied by GOP

In this age of pseudo GOP austerity, in which Republicans are eager to demonize government at all levels, public investment in our future suffers mightily. In effect, decrying public spending has become a Republican crusade, which reflects not just an anti-government doctrine but also a strategy to vanquish Democrats, especially Barack Obama. Perhaps the exception is looking after the military sector and the private elite.

In the private sector, today’s competitive global markets exert powerful pressure to improve return on investment (ROI), but concentrating on capital assets from a strictly financial viewpoint. Too little attention is paid to measuring and improving …

In Praise of Russell Brand’s Sharing Revolution

For all of Brand’s joking and braggadocio, a sagacious theme runs through his new book: that a peaceful revolution must bring about a fairer sharing of the world’s resources, which depends upon a revelation about our true spiritual nature. 
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The political conversation on sharing is growing by the day, sometimes from the unlikeliest of quarters. And at the present time, there is perhaps no-one calling louder for a new society to be based on sharing than Russell Brand, the comedian-cum-activist and revolutionary. It is easy to dismiss much of Brand’s polysyllabic and self-referential meanderings, as do most of the …

A Brief History of Jerusalem

“Eternal, Undivided Jewish Capital”?

The most recent Zionist reiterations of the claim to “eternal” Jewish ownership of East Jerusalem—as part of an “undivided, eternal capital of Israel” as specified by a “Basic Law” passed by the Israeli Knesset in 1980–make me want to review the Bible tales about Israel and specifically the city of Jerusalem.

I find those stories of more than mere literary and religious interest; they carry profound contemporary political meanings. And having first encountered them as a child, and having sincerely believed them (as I was taught to do at the time), they still retain for me a childlike charm. …

The Masters Make the Rules

Did you really believe Darren Wilson was going to be indicted for murdering Michael Brown? Did you think a cop was going to face a trial for gunning down a young man he thought should be arrested? Do you think the law treats all people equally-civilian and cop, rich and poor, black and white? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have been watching too much television. From the crime drama Law and Order to FoxNews and CNN the viewer is fed a constant storyline that portrays cops as heroes in a system that is …

What Americans Celebrate on Thanksgiving Day

When Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, they don’t know what they are celebrating.

In American folklore, Thanksgiving is a holiday that originated in 1621 with the Pilgrims celebrating a good harvest. Some historians say that this event is poorly documented, and others believe that the Thanksgiving tradition travelled to the New World with the Pilgrims and Puritans who brought with them the English Days of Thanksgiving. Other historians think the Pilgrims associated their relief from hunger with their observance of the relief of the siege of Leiden.

The Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving, if it happened, might not have been the first in the New World. Historians …