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Moving piece—but what is to be done?

Adam Shatz continues to be one of The Nation’s best writers to deal with Palestine (Eric Alterman, conversely, annoys me to no end). I appreciated his latest piece “Writers or Missionaries,” though I am not totally sure of all the conclusions he comes to.

Whether as a political activist or writer, when one is doing work with people and situations outside of one’s experiences, listening is indeed important and shows respect. And using one’s critical thinking skills is also of paramount importance. The way that Shatz shows this in the article, through experiences in Palestine and Algeria, was moving. I am not sure what all the ossified and dogmatic aspects of anti-Orientalism (politically or academically) are, but if has become a program versus a guide, I can see that as problematic.

And sure, Shatz is correct that a number of US-based activists who do work around Palestine don’t work with a full view of all the myriad political and social forces at work that are at play in Palestine. Our political movements in this country could use a bit more sophistication in that regard. I have less of an idea of the point of saying that not all the “issues” are the fault of Israel or the United States. This is true, but I think most people on the left of any sophistication can see that Palestine would be clearly better off without the murderous colonization of Israel and funding of that colonization by Washington. That wouldn’t end all the problems of the world, but it would be great nonetheless/everthemore.

Like I wrote above, I appreciated aspects of the long piece, but would have appreciated some more clarity on what he expects from political activists, if he has a specific view.

Jul 21 2014 - 5:24pm

Cohen is on the wrong side

To Professor Stephen F. Cohen: Upon reading your articles on events in Ukraine I wished only one thing. That is, to have seen you in Maidan Square on October 30, 2013, in Kyiv, when around 1 million Kyivan families rushed to protest Yanukovych regime’s declining EU integration. If that is compared to the Orange Revolution in 2004, one can be astonished by the difference in size and unanimity. Nothing of your sentiments about “eastern and western Ukrainians”—that was the revolution of humanity and dignity. The first victims of the regime that winter were from the east of Ukraine, Armenian by origin, and Belarus. We had plenty from Crimea, Donbas, Luhansk.

Putin was quoted as saying in February, “We shall see them shooting their wives and kids that we put in front of our troops.” That is exactly what he did in March through July—he made women and kids shields to protect his merceneries and gangsters; he sent his troops and hard weaponry, which finally downed the Boeing 777. I wonder how such an attitude can be held by a professor teaching the young generation in the US. Writing narratives for the world media? Mr. Freeland answered all your allegations in the CNN interview, but you didn’t wish to listen to it. It’s a pity, mostly for America.

Jul 21 2014 - 1:48pm

Energy executives: they honestly don’t care

The article describes the role of Dominion in the natural gas terminal at Cove Point. The two great lies of the frackers is that fracking is clean and that it is provides a transition to a renewable energy regime. On June 27, Dominion CEO Tom Farrel spoke to the Cleveland City Club. He was asked when the country would shift to renewables. He answered, "Never." I love it when tycoons are candid. That is exactly how they look upon shale gas fracking, as a way to permanently defeat renewable energy.

Jul 17 2014 - 8:22pm

Thank you for this article!

“If Israel is not brought to justice, it will commit the same crimes again and again.” You are absolutely right—you demand justice for the Palestinians, while the majority of US media support Israel’s lawless invasion of Gaza and the slaughter of the Palestinians. Thank you!

Jul 17 2014 - 6:19pm

War is hell, but necessary sometimes

I'm old enough to remember WW2. We killed lots of German and Japanese civilians in order to get to their vicious leaders. Needed to be done to save our boys’ lives and to win the war.

Now, we need to get to Hamas, a terrorists organization sworn to eliminate Israel. Sorry about the innocent civilians, but they did vote these gangsters into power.

Jul 16 2014 - 10:54pm

Canceled subscription

I just canceled my subscription. The anti-Israel ranting is too much. I will not walk into a gas chamber because you want me to. Israel has shown more restraint than any other nation in history while 75 percent of its population is being terrorized by terrorists. Maybe you want Jews to crawl off and die. It will not happen.

Jul 15 2014 - 11:44pm

Room to criticize

Re: “There is increasing room to criticize Israel’s occupation here in the US—but are any policy changes on the table?” I just wanted to let you know that on this day as I’m reading about the horror in Gaza, I received an e-mail from the white house about “traffic jams” on US highways. The mundane idea of “traffic jams” beside the horror in Gaza reminded me of Paul Simon’s “American Tune”: “And I wonder what’s gone wrong.… Still, tomorrow’s going to be another working day/ And I’m trying to get some rest/ That’s all I’m trying to get some rest.”

Thank you for the article. With tears in solidarity from Canada,

Jul 15 2014 - 10:19pm

The greatest mistake of the twentieth century

The greatest mistake of the twentieth century, acknowledged by every history-aware and learned expert, the creation of the State of Israel, a state for north European, non-Semitic, with no racial or historical connection to Palestine, Zionist Jews! Today descendants and followers of the same know-nothing empirical European imperialist fools, who believed the world as theirs to rule, separate, carve and promise to some highest lobbying bidder, and who in the Geographic Society rooms of Paris and London, while smoking their cigars, drinking their sherry with pompous arrogance and vanity, drew lines on maps of geography they knew nothing of, creating one artificial state atop the other, only thinking about the wealth received by the interested lobbyists. A hundred years later, the world and these many fool descendants and followers still continue to believe they can and will make this delusion and mistake a reality, no matter the cost in lives and wealth. Today the US and its lack of real-world diplomat/statesmen and its great fear of the Israel lobby continues on this same bloodstained path, rather than accepting and realizing and making an attempt at fixing the greatest mistake of history, continues arming to the teeth, financing and defends the criminal activity of Israel, while making more enemies for itself!

Jul 15 2014 - 4:49pm


The Nation has fallen for the ploy of the division of citizens by religious fundamentalists.

When you consider women as different from a citizen, you cop out on the US as a people of and with equal status. The “unborn” fetus has no rights until it is born, as it is undocumented. (Yes, I get the citizen’s healthcare side of it.) When have the undocumented had power over a US citizen? When has religion had power over a US citizen? Answer: when you allow a religious view of “personhood” to control a citizen. Try thi: remove the word woman and in that place put citizen. The whole point of your article changes to an all-encompassing citizen’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Please stop this divisive use of gender.

Jul 14 2014 - 7:51am

A stick to beat feminists?

“By failing to connect the plight of trans women to the struggles of all women, feminists overlook the same culture of male entitlement they seek to combat.” The author wishes to attract attention to the plight of cisgender and trans women as under-represented in the national consciousness, or I think that’s what she intends. It is indeed a very serious problem, and the numbers of murdered trans women about whom no ruckus is made in the national media is scandalous: Ms. Talusan is to be thanked for bringing it to the attention of Nation readers, and for her intelligent analysis. I’ve posted it on my Facebook page—with one qualification.

How this comes to be a stick to beat “feminists” with is a ponder. No evidence is given for feminist culpability: Is the implication that the mass media responsible for the Twitter crowds’ awareness of Santa Barbara’s massacre but silent on the murder of trans women are controlled by an ignorant and bigoted feminist cabal? (Tell that to Jill Abramson et al.!) In the crowded annals of stuff feminists get blamed for, this is a new one.

Jul 12 2014 - 2:04pm

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