Trump’s Itinerary

Why hasn’t POTUS Trump not visited Jerusalem first before heading to Riyadh to give his DRIVE THEM OUT speech? Well, Trump would have risked entry into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia if he had a visa stamp from Israel.

23 May 2017 @ 7:41 am.

Last modified May 23, 2017.

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Edel Rodriguez Plagiarizes NY Daily News …

… and nobody seems to condemn but most applaud. The new Der Spiegel cover pictures a faceless, ranting POTUS having severed Lady Liberty’s head and proclaiming AMERICA FIRST. In December 2015, after having called for a Muslim ban to the United States, The New York Daily News had already pictured Trump in a cartoon, beheading the Statue of Liberty and quoting from anti-Nazi theologian Martin Niemöller’s poem Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten (“First they came”).


The NY Daily News.jpg

Americans need to take Trump by his words. The first two weeks do not represent actions of a naughty child with ADHS. All what happened had been openly announced during an excruciating election campaign when he lost the popular vote to an extremely unpopular competitor. Dark forces pull the strings. Who’s not alerted?

5 February 2017 @ 5:32 pm.

Last modified February 5, 2017.

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Alan Dershowitz’ Long Reach

When Halle’s (Germany) Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Social Anthropology had invited Norman Finkelstein for a public lecture on freedom of expression in academia (see description below) and hosting a closed workshop on his new book project, Gaza – an Inquest Into its Martyrdom, they had certainly not expected an uproar. After all, the controversial, averted scholar on the Israel-Palestinian conflict had calmed down in recent years albeit never silenced. Quite the opposite. Finkelstein is a prolific writer, in his own words a “forensic author”, who constantly corrects much of the powerful propaganda about the 70 years’ ordeal of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank which is created and spread by many Zionists. For that he is still attacked, and Israel has banned the Jewish son of survivors of the Warsaw ghetto, Auschwitz and Majdanek extermination camps, i.e. the holocaust, from entering the country. Now, the workshop is over. As Finkelstein reported,

The workshop lasted five hours. It was normal, just as if I were anywhere else in the world. Hopefully, it will herald the new normal in Germany, which would be good for Truth, good for Justice, and good for Palestine.

The MPI had early on posted a statement on its webpage  with a later addendum, explaining why the workshop was internal. Halle’s obscure Antifa movement and the small Jewish community in the tiny university city in former Eastern Germany had organized a couple of demonstrations outside the complex. But what is important to note is that the event sparked international furor, in particular in Jewish news outlets. In particular remarkable is an article in The Jerusalem Post where retired Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz had been asked for statements. Dershowitz claims that,

“Finkelstein is not a scholar. He is a polemicist who misuses  sources and violates accepted standards of academic integrity.

“That is why he was fired (or not renewed) at universities at which he taught. It would be scandalous for the [Max] Planck Institute to lend its academic imprimatur to so non-academic a person.

“Let me add that the Planck would never seriously consider inviting and anti-Palestinian polemicist with a comparable lack of academic standing. He is invited because of his anti-Israel and borderline antisemitic polemics, not despite them.”

Thus smearing not only Finkelstein but also the MPI in Halle.

Despite accusations of denial of terroristic attacks of Hamas and Hizbullah while demonizing Israel’s defense measures (three “operations” in the past ten years, i.e. 2008/2009 Operation Cast Lead, after President Obama had been elected but not sworn in, 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense, and 2014 Operation Protective Edge which was quickly ended only when Obama took sides after UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon had called an attack on a school as “criminal act”), much of the criticism about Finkelstein’s invitation is about his 2000 book, The Holocaust Industry, which, as some of his critics claim, would call remembrance of the holocaust an industry. The Doyen of Holocaust studies, late Raul Hilberg (d. 2007) had once explained,

When I read Finkelstein’s book, The Holocaust Industry, at the time of its appearance, I was in the middle of my own investigations of these matters, and I came to the conclusion that he was on the right track. I refer now to the part of the book that deals with the claims against Swiss banks, and the other claims pertaining to forced labor. I would now say in retrospect that he was actually conservative, moderate [sic] and that his conclusions are trustworthy. He is a well-trained political scientists, has the ability to do the research, did it carefully, and has come up with the right results. I am by no means the only one who, in the coming months and years, will totally agree with Finkelstein’s breakthrough. (More about the debate in Germany upon appearance of the book here.)

The defamation and demonization of Finkelstein is, to a large extent, in fact due to his nemesis, Professor Alan Dershowitz, who after years of relative calmness, revived the feud on the occasion of the workshop in Halle. Finkelstein had provided evidence that Dershowitz had concocted widespread plagiarism and fraud in his 2003 book on The Case for Israel, an apologetic propaganda piece of Israeli politics in the past 55 years. Since then, Dershowitz is eager to distract from Finkelstein’s serious accusations by denying the significance of his forensic studies. Since their remarkable appearance in Amy Goodman’s, then radio, show DemocracyNow! in 2003, Dershowitz had willfully destroyed Finkelstein’s academic career.

Given Norman Finkelstein’s family background and history, continuous allegation, by his critics, of anti-Semitism is in fact unsavory.

Description of public lecture on The Right to Outrage: academic freedom and the Bertrand Russell case, by Norman Finkelstein on 16 January 17 at MPI Halle:

The notion of academic freedom captures a trio of distinct claims. First, it asserts, that academic peers are best placed to judge scholarly competence and, accordingly, on all such determinations the faculty should be granted professional autonomy. This component of academic freedom is designed to preempt extra-scholarly agendas—whether they be religious, economic, or political—from tainting employment decisions. Second, academic freedom asserts that pursuit of Truth, the avowed end of a life in the ivory tower, presupposes, as its necessary means, liberty of speech. Truth, in its wholeness and its parts, on its surface and in its depth, cannot be attained, as every reader of John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty will know, if either law or public opinion impedes the minds of those perambulating down paths of inquiry less traveled. Third, academic freedom denotes that outside the professional setting a scholar should enjoy the ordinary rights of a democratic citizen to speak his mind and (ensuing from this right) that extramural utterances, except in the rarest of instances, should not bear on the assessment of a faculty member’s professional competence.

Norman Finkelstein’s presentation will focus on the third component of academic freedom. It will examine the extramural rights of a professor through the lens of a little-known chapter in the life of Bertrand Russell. Russell was hired in 1940 by City College of New York to teach logic, mathematics and philosophy of science. But after a campaign led by the Catholic Church that targeted Russell’s heterodox opinions on religion and sexuality, his appointment was rescinded. Defending the right to teach in his areas of professional expertise despite his unconventional personal opinions, Russell asserted: “In a democracy it is necessary that people should learn to endure having their sentiments outraged.” Finkelstein will argue that the issues posed by Russell’s case are more complex that his defense suggested.

28 January 2017 @ 8:01 am.

Last modified January 28.

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It’s not over yet

As hardly anybody knows how she presently looks, incarcerated whistleblower Chelsea Manning had been portrayed by Katie Miranda at Mondoweiss in a more than humane way. A young and bright, beautiful woman with a future. When immediate past president Barack Obama, on his second last day in the White House, commuted her 35-yr sentence to end May 17, after 7 years of imprisonment, he finally infused sort of Hope he had promised long time ago for the brave American people and those around the world.

But is Manning’s ordeal reallyending soon? Not on his first day in office but couple of days later, in response to an article published yesterday in The Guardian, where she had analyzed Obama’s presidency and legacy, the notorious incumbent president Donald Trump used his unofficial Twitter account @realDonaldTrump to smear Chelsea Manning.

Manning did not mention Obama’s weakness. As she formulates it, she wants to draw a one simple lesson from President Obama’s legacy,

[D]o not start off with a compromise. They won’t meet you in the middle. Instead, what we need is an unapologetic progressive leader.

Ironically, self-proclaimed strongman Trump may even have been meant by Manning when demanding an “unapologetic progressive leader.”

Is it possible that president Trump revokes Obama’s sentence commutation? Well, it seems (according to a bizarre case which happened in the final days of George W. Bush’s presidency in late 2009) that, once issued, a pardon is a pardon, period. (Hat tip to @Londo Mollari who had responded to my concerns on Juan Cole’s blog).

I am still not convinced, though. The incumbent president of the United States proves on a daily basis his determination to do whatever comes to his mind. As entertaining this constant streams of ideas twittered to the World may be at the moment, one needs to take them serious, indeed.

27 January 2017 @ 7:35 am.

Last modified January 27, 2017.

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Faking the Facts

A yelling press secretary, Sean Spicer, a former public affairs officer of the US Navy reserve, bawled the press at the White House yesterday and forcefully tried to set the record straight: his boss’ inauguration was attended by more people than ever. No questions allowed.

The New York Times and the The Washington Post fact-checked his claims of size of the audience on the National Mall and subway ridership and proved incorrect figures.

22 January 2017 @ 6:36 pm

Last modified January 22, 2017.


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