Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Granta,  "Once Again, Germany Defines Who Is a Jew | Part I"
George Prochnik, Eyal Weizman & Emily Dische-Becker

Forensic Architecture again. The thing made me want to puke. Germany/Israel. I remember the miserable Israeli hipster who broke up with a boyfriend who loved her because she could only marry a Jew. She ended up the second wife of a German who could only marry Jews.

EDB is an old acquaintance. She's a German and a Jew: the schism is internal. She was always tempted by aestheticized politics. So am I, but I'm also tempted by nihilism. And when we used to talk she was a kid, and I didn't want to be an asshole.

More later.

various, recordkeeping. watching change happen

NYT: "Gaza Civilians, Under Israeli Barrage, Are Being Killed at Historic Pace"

Even a conservative assessment of the reported Gaza casualty figures shows that the rate of death during Israel’s assault has few precedents in this century, experts say.

Israel has cast the deaths of civilians in the Gaza Strip as a regrettable but unavoidable part of modern conflict, pointing to the heavy human toll from military campaigns the United States itself once waged in Iraq and Syria.

But a review of past conflicts and interviews with casualty and weapons experts suggest that Israel’s assault is different.

While wartime death tolls will never be exact, experts say that even a conservative reading of the casualty figures reported from Gaza shows that the pace of death during Israel’s campaign has few precedents in this century. 

The tunnel arguments and videos were a dud.
ABC News (AP), "Israel reveals signs of Hamas activity at Shifa, but a promised command center remains elusive"

The Israeli military brought journalists, including an Associated Press correspondent, into Gaza on Wednesday to show them what it claimed was a Hamas military facility under Shifa. Soldiers unveiled what appeared to be a subterranean dormitory accessible by a heavily fortified underground tunnel that Israeli authorities say stretches for hundreds of meters (yards). The military said the dormitory lay behind a blast-proof door with an opening meant to be used by Hamas snipers.

The quarters included an air conditioner, kitchen, bathroom and pair of metal cots in a room fashioned from rusty white tile. They appeared to be out of use. 

Canberra Times header for the same article: "Removing the tunnel vision on a central Gaza claim"

Newsweek, Fact Check: "Did Israel Build Bunker Under Shifa Hospital?" True

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Foucault and the obvious, again and again, and again.

From an academic who found this interesting.  

There has been a lot of debate about Michel Foucault’s political orientation. He himself seemed quite content that readers found it hard to place him on a conventional left-right spectrum. But where did he stand, in the end?

I have been thinking a lot about this question. Foucault always subscribed to a number of social projects. And in his texts he was talking to readers in an ongoing transformative process. Over the past year I edited his 1971–1972 lectures at the Collège de France, together with Bernard Harcourt, and it became clear to me that his thinking revolved around the idea of change, of transformation, of individuals and collectives. In the stale climate of the 1960s we thought the transformation could occur only through literature and art. And in the early 1970s, when things were opening up, Foucault thought that social change was possible merely by changing a small number of very important relations of power — for example, the prison system. But already in 1976 he realized that this project of social change was a failure, and that people are much more easily mobilized by religious motives or nationalistic ones. The great movements weren’t social. He didn’t give up on his project of social change. But it had gotten more complicated.

The aristocratic critique of bourgeois democracy and moralism. click on the tags 

What’s on the menu?” asks Kissinger, and I can barely restrain myself from shrieking, “What’s on the menu, Henry? Would that be Operation Menu?

Liberals are idiots. Optimists are first optimists about themselves. The demimonde is always full of monarchists, etc. etc. But Ewald seems sort of grotesque.

The coverage of the Palestinian experience in the American press has never been this open. 

I got a laugh saying the fact that Bella Hadid exists is more important than anything Edward Said ever wrote. It's called naturalism. 

Sunday, November 19, 2023

RAND, 2021, Alternatives in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The one-state solution ranked, on average, as the second least unfavorable alternative for the Palestinians. A number of Palestinian participants enthusiastically supported this alternative, with participants reporting that it was the “first solution proposed by the Palestinians and the best solution for us” and that, “to a large extent, the one-state solution is the best for Palestinians’ liberation.”7 Those who supported this alternative emphasized the potential benefit along core dimensions, including political and social equality, security, and economic opportunity. Detractors were primarily concerned that the one-state solution would legitimize Israeli control over Palestinian land and erode the Palestinian identity, though many also believed that Israel would be unwilling to follow through on the guarantees for political and social equality specified in the one-state solution alternative. This alternative was generally more favorably viewed by Gazans, as compared with West Bankers, which seemed to be in large part because they viewed this option as giving them the best opportunity to alleviate their poverty and improve their employment prospects.

The Palestinians overwhelmingly indicated that this alternative would not be feasible. Specifically, they stated that they did not believe that Israel, as the more powerful party, would be willing to make the many compromises that would be necessary for the one-state solution to succeed, particularly given demographic trends that suggest a gradual erosion of Jewish influence.8 Some of the participants sharing this view said that the one-state solution was incompatible with what they viewed as Zionism, which favors Jews above others, and that the hate, racism, and prejudice on both sides would make this very difficult to implement. A few participants were a bit more optimistic but stated that the details of the alternative would need to be much better articulated and have an associated international vision for overseeing and guiding their implementation:

This alternative will not be implemented unless there is there is an international vision to create one state that would be supportive to Palestinians and encourage integration similar to South Africa.9

Palestinian participants highlighted three major factors that explained why the one-state solution was preferred to the confederation, the status quo, and annexation. The first was that, for some participants, it was the only alternative that could lead to equality between Palestinians and Israelis (Table 5.4). Participants were supportive of the proposed governance structure, specifically the creation of a democratic govern- ment that represents Palestinians and Israelis in proportion to their demographic size. As compared with other alternatives, some Palestinians viewed governance under a one-state solution as achieving equality with Israeli Jews and the ability to exercise their political, religious, and cultural rights.10
7 The first quote is from Hebron, and the second is from Gaza.
8 As an example, a participant in Bethlehem opined, “I think it is a thesis from the left, but it won’t get the Israeli consensus. The majority of Israelis reject this solution, fearing the demographic expansion of the Palestinians and Arabs in general.”
9 Discussant in focus group in Khan Younis. 
10 One participant equated this alternative with secularism, which was an appealing factor: “What I like about this option is that the state would be secular and democratic. Religion has a lot of influence in many communities, including ours, leading to fundamentalism. In my opinion, a secular and democratic society makes life easier” (discussant in focus group in Bethlehem).

...The continuation of the status quo was the preferred alternative among Israeli Jews, with support across the political spectrum. Notwithstanding the problems of the status quo, as identified by some study participants as “occasional flare-ups,”1 the status quo is familiar and clear. This was true even among participants who self-identified as center-left, a group that is typically characterized as against the status quo. Israelis under the status quo are satisfied with their lives. Deviation from the status quo could entail risks, but there is no incentive to change. One participant in such a group stated that “Sometimes the devil you know is better than the one you don’t know.”

Few participants doubted the feasibility of the status quo, which most participants interpreted as its sustainability. Unlike the discussions around other alternatives, study participants for the most part seemed not to understand why they were being asked about the feasibility of the status quo. In their minds, the fact that they were living in the status quo meant that it is feasible. There was a general sense that conditions were perhaps not ideal under the status quo but that the problems were reason- ably well understood and that Israel had proven able to manage those problems. One participant described this view as follows:

The status quo is the status quo. Of course, it is feasible. It is the current situation. We have been in the same crisis for 70 years, and crisis needs to be managed. We are managing the crisis and it’s not as bad here.2

1 The relative security and “occasional flare-up” phrase were raised in every group—for example, in the groups of immigrants from the former Soviet Union (Ramat Gan, Israel, July 12, 2018), traditional right-wing voters (Ashdod, July 16, 2018), and center-left voters (Ramat Gan, Israel, May 21, 2019).
2 Soviet émigré, Tel Aviv, 2018.

, Nov. 10, "What Israelis Think of the War With Hamas" 
Poll results were also hawkish when it came to the use of force in Gaza: 57.5% of Israeli Jews said that they believed the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were using too little firepower in Gaza, 36.6% said the IDF was using an appropriate amount of firepower, while just 1.8% said they believed the IDF was using too much fire power, while 4.2% said they weren’t sure whether it was using too much or too little firepower.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

TikTok Bin Laden

"I'm not sure why people are surprised and even upset that some teenagers don't know who the hell bin Laden is."


This page previously displayed a document containing, in translation, the full text of Osama bin Laden’s “letter to the American people”, as reported in the Observer on Sunday 24 November 2002. The document, which was published here on the same day, was removed on 15 November 2023.

The number of people calling for the banning TikTok doubled in a day.

" platforms are perhaps the most important speech regulators in the world." 

Youtube removed the video and gave me another strike. Back to Daphne Keller, Evelyn Douek, Stanford and the Knight Anti-First Amendment Institute.

Two days ago American big tech threw a party for Xi Jinping. Both use spyware and practice "speech regulation". It's all so obvious.
I still have the video file. We'll see how long this lasts.
DUBAI, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Iran's supreme leader delivered a clear message to the head of Hamas when they met in Tehran in early November, according to three senior officials: You gave us no warning of your Oct. 7 attack on Israel and we will not enter the war on your behalf.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Ismail Haniyeh that Iran - a longtime backer of Hamas - would continue to lend the group its political and moral support, but wouldn't intervene directly, said the Iranian and Hamas officials with knowledge of the discussions who asked to remain anonymous to speak freely.

The supreme leader pressed Haniyeh to silence those voices in the Palestinian group publicly calling for Iran and its powerful Lebanese ally Hezbollah to join the battle against Israel in full force, a Hamas official told Reuters.

Hamas didn't respond to questions sent by Reuters before the publication of this report. After publication, the group posted a statement on Telegram saying it denied the validity of the report, which it described as "baseless". The post didn't specify what was inaccurate, and Hamas didn't immediately respond to a request for clarification.

Oct 9 Chicago Council on Global Affairs 

Prior to the recent attack by Hamas, six in 10 (57%) said the United States should be ready to meet with leaders of Hamas, including half of Republicans (51%), and majorities of Democrats (61%) and Independents (59%).

On most other questions there are great partisan differences. While most Americans preferred the United States take neither side in the conflict (64%), Republicans were equally likely to say they should take Israel’s side (49%) as no side (48%).

from AA, on the 13th, who missed the larger point, as I said there but not here. Hamas fucked up. 

Monday, November 13, 2023

Twitter is still the best news aggregator by far, as long as you stay out of a bubble.

It was played straight on CNN
It won't last, [if it doesn't last] here's the video.

In December 1920, the mayor of Jerusalem, Raghib al-Nashashibi, organized a large event in honor of British High Commissioner Herbert Samuel. When he invited Prof. Abraham Shalom Yahuda to speak at the event, there was no need to say the lecture would be given in Arabic. For both of them, sons of distinguished Jerusalem families, one Arab-Muslim and the other Arab-Jewish, Arabic was the local language. It was the language in which members of all religions here wrote, spoke, traded and argued.

Arabic was viewed as the language of the land also among the Zionist movement, which acted to renew the Hebrew language. David Yellin and Yosef Meyouhas, two of the founders of the Hebrew Language Committee and Hebrew education in the land of Israel, could not have imagined that their project for the rebirth of Hebrew would serve one day as a tool to displace Arabic.
Some of the hostages held by Hamas have German citizenship, so when I asked a politician from Germany’s governing coalition what the government’s position was on those people, I was shocked when his response, in private, was: Das sind doch keine reinen Deutschen, which translates to: well, those aren’t pure Germans. He didn’t choose from a host of perfectly acceptable terms to refer to Germans with dual citizenship, he didn’t even use adjectives such as richtige or echte to refer to them not being full or proper Germans – instead, he used the old Nazi term to differentiate between Aryans and non-Aryans.

"Germany is a good place to be Jewish. Unless, like me, you’re a Jew who criticises Israel"

Germany is not a good place to be Jewish. The piece is hard to read. 

Whenever I told people I was of German descent, they would argue with me -- then upon discovering that I was Jewish, would say "Oh, so you're not German, you're Jewish" (strangely, I never heard anyone say to someone, upon discovering that they were Christian, "Oh, so you're not German, you're Christian"). 

Self-hatred runs deep. Feldman, Lipton, Stanley, Lipstadt, Corey Robin; the last two can at least look for evidence in the mirror. With the possible exception of Feldman, every one of them defends the existence of the Jewish state in conquered Palestine.

Feldman's latest book, Judenfetisch, isn't available in English.

Feldman in The Forward in 2015, returning to the scene of the crime.