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always had you down as a maga lunatic Steve ;)

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😁 Guilty as charged.

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So recite the Maga Shahaddah; say three times, with conviction, "Trump won" in front of another redhat and you are one of them.

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founding

As another person from a generally left perspective often distressed by current left discourse, I share Steve's frequent discomfort with the term woke and applaud his comments here.

Among the many, many problems with the comments of the folks with whom he quarrels in this thread, one of the most egregious and ignorant is made by Mikael, who says in referring to Jews, that they are "people who have no connection to the middle east since thousand years". Even if it were true that Jews' modern connection to the Middle East had begun with the founding of Israel in 1948 or the beginning of the Zionist movement around 1880, it would certainly not justify Hamas' horrific actions towards Israeli civilians.

But even a cursory look at the facts shows that this supposed lack of connection of Jews to the modern Middle East is a total myth. There have always been thousands of Jews living is what is now Israel, in Ramallah, in Jaffa, in Jerusalem, and many other places. Moreover, beginning in the late 19th century and continuing through the 1940s and 50s, Middle Eastern Jews, who numbered in the hundreds of thousands in countries such as Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Yemen and Iran, were forced directly or indirectly from the lands where they had live for many hundreds of years by Arab governments. In fact almost all of them were expelled. So, right now about half of the Jews in Israel are Mizrahis,, or Jews or recent Middle Eastern origin. Most were Arabic speakers and very much part of the local culture when they were expelled and fled to Israeli. In many cases their property was seized and others moved into their homes (yes of course this has also happed to many Palestinians at the hands of Israelis and both action were totally wrong).

The Palestinian/Israel conflict is a complex and may layered one. Both peoples have very compelling narratives and claims which are valid in some ways and with which all decent people should be able to empathize. I strongly oppose many Israeli actions and have always supported Palestinian rights and a Palestinian state. But justifying civilian massacres and falsifying very basic, easily accessible history is surely not the way towards a peaceful, just solution.

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"I strongly oppose many Israeli actions and have always supported Palestinian rights and a Palestinian state. But justifying civilian massacres and falsifying very basic, easily accessible history is surely not the way towards a peaceful, just solution."

I truly cannot understand why more people aren't capable of understanding this. A disturbing number of people seem to think the only way to oppose Israel's actions is to support Hamas'. Or vice versa.

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founding

Yes indeed, so very true. I draw a lot of inspiration and hope from reading your work you, almost always! Have you heard about the group Standing Together? I am still learning about what they do, but from what I have seen so far they seem very worthy of supporting and highlighting as they are Israeli Jews and Palestinians working together to oppose violence and push for peace in realistic ways.

On another note, would you consider coming to speak in Seattle on better ways to communicate with each other, ways to work towards a more sensible, honest, and productive progressive movement, or really any topic you would like to highlight? If so, I would be glad to help promote it and I think you would find a lot of people very interested in what you have to say. All the best to you !

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Dec 4, 2023Liked by Steve QJ

The irony that Mikael is guilty of "exploiting palestinian and israelian deaths" for his own ego.

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Good points as usual, Steve.

One small aside: About a quarter of those killed in the Al Aqba flood attacks were active duty Israeli soldiers. I don't put them in the same category as innocent civilians. Killing enemy soldiers in combat (even via sneaky tactics) is warfare, ugly but not terrorism. Intentionally killing innocent civilians for the purpose of killing them, and thereby trying to terrify a population, is the core of terrorism.

So I'd say nearly 1000 innocents were killed in an act of terrorism (along with a smaller number of soldiers). This doesn't contradict your main points, it's just an aside.

There is a difference between "intending to kill or capture as many civilians as you can as your primary purpose, and killing as many soldiers as required to achieve that" (kill the civilians hiding behind soldiers) versus "trying to kill enemy soldiers with the unintended side effect of killing as few civilians as possible while still achieving that primary purpose". (kill the soldiers hiding behind civilians).

Of course, it may not matter much to a dead civilian (or their relatives) whether that death was the primary intention or an unavoidable 'collateral damage'. But motives do affect whether an act is a crime, or what kind.

I'm troubled by how much pain and harm is being done to Palestinian civilians, but it's hard to second guess. We don't decide which side of a war just by the relative body counts on both sides, or we'd decide that the Axis powers were on the right in WWII, the Russians right in Ukraine, etc. Who attacked who and how and why and what alternatives they had have to be taken into account. But it's still a tragedy, on both sides.

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"Killing enemy soldiers in combat (even via sneaky tactics) is warfare, ugly but not terrorism."

Yeah, I guess we could keep pulling at this thread. There was a ceasefire on Oct 6th, so is it still warfare at that point? I don't know. I just don't buy into the premise that there's an acceptable or justifiable way of killing people who weren't trying to kill you. And yeah, collateral damage is an equally troubled concept.

But I was mainly referring to the settlements when I wrote about Israel's crimes. That and the effective apartheid state in Israel. The bombings are a two-way thing. But these aren't.

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Agreed that the West Bank settlements are a major problem.

Steve, in my reading "apartheid" refers to a system of segregation, disenfranchisement, and official discrimination between racially or ethnically distinct portions of a nation's legal residents. If you have a more precise definition, I'd love to hear it (ie: how YOU use the term, to help discern if it applies to Israel or not).

As far as I understand, about 21% of Israelis are of Arabic descent (and overwhelmingly Muslim), but they are full citizens. They vote in the same elections, elect Arabic members of Parliament, and the high justice who ruled against Netanyahu was Arabic. They are not involuntarily segregated in living, employment, transportation, banking, etc. They are exempt from mandatory service in the IDF but can volunteer. Does that really match the conditions of Apartheid in South Africa?

I see the "apartheid" characterization as one of the typical word and emotion manipulation tactics of the Critical Social Justice ideology movement, not as a factual or objective characterization. As such, I question the repetition of it, absent better evidence for justifying it.

Please understand - things can still be wrong even if they don't fit under a hyperbolic label, so it's fine to criticize Israel for any factual mistreatment of their citizens one can cite, but to qualify as "apartheid" is a distinct step. The IS a degree of actual and/or asserted discrimination in Israel. If the label doesn't fit, it's best to stop using it and just describe more specifically the infractions on their own merits, rather than use an intentionally misleading label applied by propagandists.

If you still think the "progressive western activist" label of "apartheid" for Israel is factually justified and you carefully considered the issue before adopting their terminology as accurate, could you give your operational definition and some of the evidence which you considered? I'm open to reason on this labeling. (And I agree with much of the criticism of Israel in other areas).

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"As far as I understand, about 21% of Israelis are of Arabic descent (and overwhelmingly Muslim), but they are full citizens. "

Not really. Not even Sephardic Jews, who are racially identical to Palestinians, are first-class citizens. They may have legal rights but the treatment they receive is quite different from that of the Ashkenazi majority.

Israeli law openly and unapologetically disfavors non-Jews. If a Jew marries a non-Jew, they may not live under the same roof. And that marriage cannot be performed in Israel.

American racists are overwhelmingly driven by inferiority complexes; they are mostly uneducated, poor, humble of intellect, so they cultivate the belief that others are lower than them.

Israeli bigotry is altogether different, a deeply-held conviction that they are the master race (the "Chosen People") and that others are literally subhuman. There is a wiely-held belief that a killing is only a murder if the victim is a Jew.

Why do we support these people?

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Stop making excuses. Israel is clearly killing indiscriminately, and killing children deliberately as well, but to say that it's "inadvertent" doesn't hold water, not when Israel soldiers have for decades been shooting Palestinians in what can only be described as sport.

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I had to go back and re-read the opening paragraphs. I thought he was saying you were a MEGA lunatic, but I see now it's actually MAGA. But I suppose from his perspective, he is saying you're both. My quibble is with the word "lunatic." It needs no qualifier. In fact, I argue that the use of a qualifier nullifies the qualified. Lunatic means a deranged person, someone with a clear mental illness. Mental illnesses don't manifest themselves only when certain criteria are met. One is mentally ill all the time or one is not mentally ill. Now, I find that political idealogues from all points of the spectrum will garble grammar and blatantly misspell the simplest of words, but I do find it more on the Progressive front these days. It goes rather nicely with their total disregard for rational thought.

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Actually some mental illnesses have very narrow invocations. A lot of psychotics are perfectly rational in every thought except one.

But most are generally crippling. No telling if a “trans” is capable of rationality because they never stop obsessing over “trans.”

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Oh, some do indeed have narrow invocations. But the illness is pervasive. Some words and environments are more triggering than others. There are certain behaviors that lead an observer to say, "You're a looney!" (if that observer were, say, John Cleese or Graham Chapman) but the illness is always there whether one provides the triggering stimulus or not. It's like an alcoholic... One is always in recovery even if one does not take another drink for fifty years. Because the illness is always present... The best one can hope for is to manage an illness, not fix it.

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Dec 4, 2023Liked by Steve QJ

Are you familiar with Graham's Debate Triangle? Seems to fit nicely here:

https://themindcollection.com/revisiting-grahams-hierarchy-of-disagreement/?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

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This is great! Yes, it fits nicely. I think Mikael was using a far simpler version though:

Does he agree with me? > No > MaGa LuNaTiC!!!

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I was expecting something more profound than that. Frankly I'm not enthusiastic about the second from the top, "quotes," by which I presume I mean citations. Citations are good for settling a factual argument but as a debate tactic I do't have a lot of enthusiasm for them; one can find citations supporting any position you want, and debates that just exchanges of dueling citations are little better than name-calling. They end up as quibbles over whose citations are more authoritative.

Debate by citation frankly strikes me as decadent, and the people who use them most tend to be those who can't make their own case.

Not to mention that a lot of people who post them are just trying to appear scholarly, like an inept film director who tilts the camera because he's seen tilted cameras in films by real directors but doesn't understand how and when.

There's a guy all over the substacks, goes by steersman, who promotes an idiotic position that prepubescent children and postmenopausal women are neither male nor female. He's been at this for at least eight years, posting the same citations to obscure journals that don't support his idea at all if anyone actually reads them. He can't make his case (how could he? It's absurd), so he posts his links and he has his insults all lined up. The citations don't help at all, but he's been working at this a long time and it appears to be his life.

I prefer debating people who can make a case, not dig up people with credential-lettuce who appear to support.

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Very useful Web site! Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

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Dec 4, 2023Liked by Steve QJ

Oh, man, you found the perfect illustration of the "woke" virus! I suspect M, like many other people affected by this illness, is well-intentioned (in his head). Alas, good intentions were never enough to cure the world and rid it of nasty people and behaviors, so the wokes' propensity to insult and prejudge has only added to the misery. There is not much to do here, other than, maybe, follow Salman Rushdie's wise advise, and avoid pussyfooting around assholes as much as we can: “Citizens of free societies, democracies, do not preserve their freedom by pussyfooting around their fellow-citizens’ opinions.”

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Another bit-brain. If you don’t like some position ludicrously labeled “left” then you can only be a Trump supporter.

I dislike the term “woke” for the same reason I dislike “ask” as a noun. It would be “awoken” but better grammar doesn’t make it any less stupid.

Terrible times to be a grammar absolutist, I’m tellin’ ya.

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I prefer the term Grammar Nazi. It can offend just about everybody.

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When I first heard people referring to themselves as woke, I thought it arrogant claim of Buddha like enlightenment. Then I noticed this from the liner notes of Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection -JIM CROW BLUES:

“When I come in a train, I stop in Las Vegas.

This white fellow was with me. He sat down and

I thought it was all right. Man taps me on the

shoulder and says, ‘I’m sorry, we don’t serve

colored.’ And I says ‘Oh, no you don’t?’ and he

says, ‘No.’ And that white fellow got up too. We

ain’t got to eat in Las Vegas. So many places like

that. I just feel sorry for them people. They ain’t

woke up yet.”

I can be on board with the idea of waking up to the ignorance of racial discrimination and such, but not with their methods. Lead Belly didn't hate the bigot, he felt sorry for him in his ignorance and the white fellow who was with him was alright. He didn't express venom toward all white people. It seems to me that in many ways the woke "ain't woke up yet" but they think that they have. Woke could be a good word for a good concept, but the assholes messed that up.

With regard to Mikael, an Elon Musk response would be appropriate.

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"I thought it arrogant claim of Buddha like enlightenment."

I think there's definitely a degree of this too😄

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You're on a roll, man! You MAGA dingleberry, you!!! Cya at the white supremacist rally...Trump's gonna give the opening address. It'll be....confusing and disturbing, I'm sure. ;) But I'm looking forward to Candace Owens's speech on how we should bring back the Inquisition to deal with recalcitrant liberals and the scold's cage for women who won't STFU about equality :)

After bragging to my family at Thanksgiving a week and a half ago that I got called a 'k*k*sucking Zionist asswhore' by one of your fans <snicker> here in the comments, last night I triggered a snowflake on another SM platform who screamed into the void, "Can someone get this motherfucking Nazi off this platform before I lose my shit???" He left it a week ago and no one kicked me off, so score one for the mf'ing Nazis :) I helpfully posted a history lesson, a website link about how much the original Nazis looooooooved shutting down free speech and alternative opinions. When I went back this morning I didn't look at his response (I'm sure it was a profuse thank-you for setting him straight ;), I blocked him. Oh yeah, someone else called me a twat and told me to take it to XTwatter. The ironic part is I don't think they read my actual article in question, they simply reacted to a snarky comment I made about the Regressive Left (not the 'woke') so I guess I touched a nerve. But it was funny because if they'd read the article they could have reamed me out for noting that the Indigenous Americans were guilty of all the shit Europeans were before Columbus. No, they picked out the toss-off opening shot :)

Nancy Pelosi says if they're attacking you, it's a sign that you're effective.

There's so much wrong with this dingbat, most glaringly what is almost certainly his complete lack of knowledge about the political mess in the Middle East, not to mention his risible idea that you can educate yourself about it by 'skimming the history' (I guess it seems pretty simple to understand in five minutes if you operate under the woke assumption that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in any way resembles the historical racial problems in the US with the good guys/bad guys clearly delineated solely by their skin colour).

The ones who think they know the most about it know the least.

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"The ironic part is I don't think they read my actual article in question, they simply reacted to a snarky comment I made about the Regressive Left (not the 'woke') so I guess I touched a nerve"

Genuinely astonishing how often this happens😅 I guess it's no surprise that the people who only read headlines before getting all into their feelings are also the most chronically ill/uninformed.

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I wouldn’t call it all that complicated, and I’ve been following it for forty years.

“Israel is stealing other people’s land” seems to cover about 95% of it. “Hamas is reacting brainlessly, in a way that enables Israel to turn world opinion against the Palestinians” is the other 5%.

Millennia-old claims to land that's changed hands dozens of time don't mean a goddamn thing.

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So you admit that, in fact, Palestinians don't throw rockets at Israel and terrorize their people because they want "their land back", since claims to land don't mean a goddamn thing. Their only purpose in this war is to kill the Jews.

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Yeah they’re just intrinsically hateful and savage people and all that stuff about killing the Joooooioooooooooos has nothing to do with being killed for Israeli sport for 75 years.

No wool over YOUR eyes. You have it all figured out.

The settlers are fine people who just want to be left in peace. “Bibi” is a saint; a dead 8yo boy will never throw a rock .

/s

In 15 years those firecrackers killed two (2) Israelis.

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All snarky hyperbole and sarcasm aside, you might want to go back and look at the never-ending conflict that has plagued that part of the world, from the beginning until today. Both Jews and Arabs have legitimate claims to that land, as they have had settlements on those territories for hundreds of years (or millenia, if you are willing to go as far as the Kingdom of Israel). They had periods of peaceful coexistence, but also countless pogroms and massacres going as far back as 470 BCE. Nothing in recent or less recent history can lead us to believe the two cousins would ever live peacefully in the same nation-state. So I give credence to the worldwide belief that two states in that area would be the best option to stop the carnage. Alas, none of the Arab states in the region is willing to allow Jews to live among them, so that's how you get Palestine as a "cause célèbre", poor Palestinians used as cannon fodder by nationalists and fundamentalists from both sides. The fact that you don't see how a Hamas victory would not mean the end of the war, but just the beginning of another pogrom, is astonishing.

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Nobody has a legitimate claim to land that changed hands dozens of times in the past. The Palestinians lived in Palestine for centuries before the Nakba.

Read about Israeli laws about race, interreligious marriage, and attitudes toward non-Jews. It's utterly appalling.

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I equivocated over typing that, I certainly don't mind the label. Steve is tired of my corrections, but I can't help that "media is" drives me fuckings nuts.

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