The Coke-Lite of International Law: Goldstone Speaks at Yale

Judge Richard Goldstone spoke yesterday at Yale in the framework of the George Herbert Walker Bush Jr. Lecture in International Relations. Obviously a most prestigious platform for someone of stature, but inappropriate for a figure who is not only highly controversial, but has done much to marginalize himself, as Noah Pollak and Adam Yoffie pointed out the previous day in the Yale Daily.

The talk did not directly address the “Gaza Fact-finding Mission Report” as Goldstone referred to it, but it did tackle the subject of “Accountability for War Crimes,” and Goldstone brought in Israel on occasion as an example of the issues he raised.

Perhaps the single most striking feature of the talk was its staggering superficiality. Goldstone might have a reputation (at least among those familiar with his report) for being biased, but not for being a lightweight. And yet in the less than forty minutes of his formal lecture, at no point did one get the impression that one was listening to a trained legal mind, much less a brilliant one. Most of the lecture could have been written by an undergraduate who combined entries at Wikipedia on International Law, Nuremberg Trials, Geneva Convention, and Rome Treaty, with a warmed over version of “war is not the answer,” and “why can’t we all just get along and follow the law?”

In the world of academia, where presumably we have high standards, such a mediocre performance – especially when widely praised – attests to a distinct deterioration in academic discourse. That people, like Phillip Weiss (below), can find Goldstone’s presentation “brilliant” and “wise” suggests that we are (once again) in an age of misapplied superlatives, grade inflation, and partisan judgments.

Goldstone’s initial discussion sounded quite reasonable: in order for “universal jurisdiction” to work in a court like the ICC, they have to deal specifically with “grave breaches.” The court has to have credibility, it must be trusted for its fairness, in order for it to work. And in order to gain that kind of credibility, it needs to focus on deeds that are “so shocking to the minds of people that they constitute crimes against humanity.” Proportionality is a matter of judgment, and in such cases, great leeway is given to commanders in the “fog of war” in making such judgments.

So far so good, although I confess I couldn’t figure out from these remarks why he ever took on the Gaza Mission. Could that letter to the Times from Amnesty International signed by three of the four future members of the Gaza Mission, including Goldstone, be a clue? After all, the signatories had expressed how the recent events (not the previous eight years of suicide bombings and rockets aimed at civilians), “have shocked us to the core.” Nothing similar appeared from these signatories at the death of some 20,000 civilians in Sri Lanka only months later, nothing about the millions in Congo. But the Israeli attacks on Gaza, in which, even by the most hostile Palestinian counts, fewer than a thousand civilians were killed, that “shocks to the core.”

I kept thinking to myself, “how could he, with these principles and concerns in mind, have accused Israel of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity”?

That impression was further confirmed when he began his most “interesting” discussion, of the principle of “equality.” Initially, the discussion seemed to reinforce my puzzlement. Equality relates intimately to human dignity: [below is a paraphrase taken from notes, the lecture will be available online in about a week]

…if some are given greater rights, the greater the inequality the greater the indignity… Most if all human rights violations are the product of such indignities… Without dehumanization people don’t commit crimes against humanity; the people who engage in genocide have already dehumanized their targets.

Isn’t this precisely what Elihu Richter and Maurice Ostroff had warned Goldstone about in their memos about the way Hamas operates. How could the man who says this have gone to Gaza and come out without a word about the industry of hatred and dehumanization that rules the public sphere there? Worse yet, how could this man say these things when his own report had allowed and highlighted a Palestinian “witness” accusing Israel of this execrable practice.

Then he took a strange turn (paraphrase):

Equality means that there should not be a different law for powerful and for weak nations: powerful nations like the USA, by refusing to be judged on the same basis as the lesser countries, undermine the credibility of the court… In international relations there should be equal votes, equal vetoes, equal treatment of nations.

Now how he got shifted from a discussion of applying egalitarian rules in the International Criminal Court to challenging the notion that Security Council members have veto rights, and that every country in the UN, dictatorship or not, is to be treated as the equal of countries that actually uphold democratic principles, I’m not quite sure, but it’s quite a segue. I suspect it’s irritation at the way the US can block his report from implementation, but maybe it’s even more “principled” – and therefore even more incomprehensibly foolish.

Indeed, in the midst of this discussion of equality, he made the point that “I have no doubt that the world would be better and more peaceful if everyone did what the UN charter calls for…” In this context he also urged the US to submit to the court “as an example” for the rest of the world. This sophomoric naïveté from someone who has investigated the kind of staggering war crimes that occurred in Rwanda and Bosnia, calls into question either the man’s sanity or his intelligence. In any case, in the framework of the GHWB Jr. Lecture in International Relations, it struck me as an insult to our intelligence.

But once he had the bit in his mouth, he went after the “big and powerful” countries (Israel is among them) who have the nerve to want immunity from international justice. Bush was the worst offender with Boulton as his henchman, undermining the authority of the UN and the ICC. Instead of leading by example, and submitting themselves to international justice, the US acted like a rogue agent. More recently, the Israeli government, claimed Goldstone in a characteristic misrepresentation of his opponents, have claimed that the laws of war should be rewritten so that they can engage in disproportionate responses.

He concluded with some astonishing remarks about what he called “complementarity.” If a nation that subscribes to the jurisdiction of the ICC does its own credible investigation into possible war crimes, then the ICC has no jurisdiction over them. This, he suggested, is the solution to the problem of nations that don’t trust the ICC: they can, by accepting the ICC’s jurisdiction, but doing their own investigation, avoid being called before the ICC. (When asked, in the Q&A session, who decides whether an internal investigation is credible, he responded, “the ICC.”)

He then proceeded to discuss how important it was for the sake of its value to the world community, that the ICC both be, and be seen to be, fair, “objective” (he really used the word), and unbiased… “unlike the people to my right.” (Here he referred to a banner that had been unfurled comparing his Gaza report to the Dreyfus Affair and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion), and refused to continue until it was taken down.

And then it was over. Not one genuine insight, just a long list of platitudes in which he introduced notions that, admittedly, have high levels of “judgment” involved — complementarity and what a “credible investigation” entails, proportionality and what was the justifiable ratio between civilian casualties and legitimate military targets, “objectivity” — and treated them as if they were clear cut principles that could be applied like mathematical principles.

It’s all quite clear he seemed to argue: everyone signs on, everyone plays by the rules, starting with the democracies, and the world is a much better place.

The Q&A was largely critical of him and his treatment of Israel. Phillip Weiss of Mondoweiss was there and has blogged on this in his own inimitable fashion. I append my comments to his:

At Yale, Judge Goldstone faces down his accusers

Judge Richard Goldstone gave a speech at Yale last night and though he said he would not be talking about Gaza, his report came up again and again, and in fact the anti-Goldstoners tried to turn the event into a circus. They waved Israeli flags, and two of them held up a banner comparing the judge’s report to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the accusers of Dreyfus. A group followed the judge afterward into the wine-and-cheese on the second floor, and surrounded him and some barked at him, and though now and then the judge held up his hand and turned away at a loud voice, he seemed ready for anything, and more than held his own, and left the crowd with an education in what it means to try and advance the regime of international law.

That’s an interesting read of the situation. I was one of those who talked to him, found him fairly reluctant to do more than a single answer to any question, and, for someone used to courtrooms and (presumably) someone capable of taking what he dishes out, surprisingly fragile. In an exchange with me (below) he actually gave a lesson in just how not to advance the regime of international law, but since Phillip shares the good judges blind spots, I don’t suppose he would have picked up on that.

Indeed, Weiss shows himself here to be utterly innocent of some basic (and sound) post-modern principles: in such instances there are no “grand narratives” but multiple ones, and one must consider them all. He shows no understanding of the “other” side, of how people like me might walk away thinking “fool or knave” but not “wise and convincing.” (Or, conversely, someone walking away and thinking, “Well, we sure showed him.”) I for one find Goldstone’s approach a formula for degrading the regime of international law. But Weiss and Goldstone seem to be of the “damn the icebergs, full speed ahead” school.

Goldstone’s references to the report in the actual speech were pointed. It is fine if Israel wishes to evade international investigation and prosecution by doing an investigation of its own. That is a core principle of international law– complementarity– the idea that it is preferable that localities apply international standards law themselves. But that investigation must not be behind closed doors, by the military, it must be open and credible. I will get the actual quotes in a day or two.

He said that equality meant dignity; and when we deny the dignity of other human beings, we dehumanize them, and pave the way to human rights violations. The persecution of Gaza was all through that statement.

Yes, precisely, the “persecution” [sic] of Gaza was all through that statement, although not in the sense that Weiss imagines. (Does he mean Goldstone’s prosecution of the Israelis, the Israelis persecution of Gaza? or Hamas’ largely frustrated persecution of Israel and extensive persecution of Palestinian opponents [not]?) The dehumanization of the “other” in the Arab-Israeli conflict is entirely one way, and comes from the very people Goldstone found so cooperative – Hamas – and constitutes an item that, despite multiple urgings, he failed to investigate.

If militants are attacking you from the roof of a hospital, it does not mean that you can bomb the [whole] hospital; it means that you must take care; and yes maybe some civilians will die when you are going after the militants there, but it violates the principle of proportionality to fire missiles at the hospital. The judge spoke of a hypothetical; but it was a clear reference to the missile attacks on Al Quds Hospital in Gaza City that the Goldstone Report details–though the report never states that there were militants on the roof.

And, typically, the wrong example. (Weiss refers here to ¶466, where the Report accuses the Israelis of deliberately attacking al Quds hospital with white phosphorous, one of the typically misguided passages in the Report, both for its assumption that the phosphorous was used as a weapon rather than an obscurant, and for its belief that the testimony of the hospital staff that Hamas was nowhere to be found is credible.) But if we follow Goldstone’s guidance here, doesn’t that mean that Hamas can therefore set up on hospital roofs and fire unopposed? What are the consequences of this “mercy to the cruel”?

But the real question Goldstone should have raised is: if the enemy leadership has set up its HQ underneath a hospital (al-Shifa) can you wipe them out by bombing the hospital, is that a valuable enough military target to make it worth acquiring despite the deaths of patients and doctors (it would put an end to the war, and possibly save many more future civilian casualties)? I’ll grant you that it’s a judgment call, and I wouldn’t want to be the person deciding either side of the argument, but this dilemma is the issue. And it gets to the heart of Hamas cannibalistic strategy. In any case, clearly this question never occurred to Goldstone since, despite being warned that it happened, it’s a situation he admittedly failed to investigate (¶467).

The Q-and-A was all Gaza. A white-haired professor with an accent said, why should any country, Israel, Serbia, yield power to an international court, when we all know how political such courts can be. Goldstone said it was a great question, then pointed out that such courts can only establish confidence through the steady application of legal processes and the cooperation of the powerful nations. Why, he said, in ‘96 Bill Clinton had specifically asked Nelson Mandela to allow Goldstone to extend his tenure as prosecutor in the international tribunal of the former Yugoslavia, even as American troops were going in there, because Clinton regarded him as a fair judge. (So much for the US congressional resolutions condemning Goldstone, and Obama’s dismissal of the judge; no, it’s Palestine, Jake).

What Goldstone did in Bosnia (and it’s controversial) does not guarantee the work he did in Gaza. The idea that the US Congress has to welcome the latter work because Goldstone had a good reputation from earlier work is a good case of “credibility” by association. Each work deserves its own examination.

A frenetic man at the back got applause when he said that Goldstone’s standards were unequal. What Israel did in Gaza doesn’t come anywhere near what happened in Rwanda, or in other countries that routinely violate the rule of law. Look at Sri Lanka. 20,000 Tamils were killed last year during the sectarian violence. Where is the investigation of that?

That would be me. I think the “frenetic” is because I twice followed up on his answer and continued to challenge him, much to the annoyance of Goldstone’s supporters around me. But I think it’s a telling characterization, because speaking with Goldstone supporters at the reception, I was struck by the constant refrain: “he’s calm and reasoned; his opponents are emotional.”

The question I asked was:

    You made a surprising turn in your discussion of equality. From discussing the importance of treating everyone equally to the idea that the big and powerful should not receive special treatment. But you yourself, in an interview with Fareed Zakaria, admitted that what Israel did in Gaza cannot be compared to what went on in Rwanda and Bosnia. So the idea that the “powerful” should be treated “equally” when their crimes are not equal, seems like a strange move, as if you’re overlaying a post-colonial paradigm of the powerful and the weak over a legal paradigm of the vicious criminals and the nations that try and wage war by the rules of the international community. Do you see the distinction? And do you consider the possibility that, in proceeding in this manner, you are undermining the very credibility of the very court whose reputation for fairness you claim is so important to its effectiveness?”

Now I was actually prepared for this topic because Goldstone made the same shift in his interview with Christiane Amanpour, which is the subject of my latest “Dialogue with the Media.” Weiss’ appraisal of Goldstone’s answer is unpredictable only in the sycophantic rhetorical excess.

A good question, and the judge was brilliant. “I recognize the distinction you seem to be making. Similar crimes should be treated similarly” without exception. But that’s in a perfect world. “It’s not going to happen.” If ten murders are committed in New Haven, and only one is prosecuted, the murderer who’s prosecuted can say, I’m treated unequally, nine peole are getting away with it. And “morally and philosophically no one can disagree.” But it’s an “unfair” world. Just because you can’t go after them all doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go after any. The thrust of his remarks was, We will never have a regime of international law until we begin to apply that law, to develop it, and if that means singling out the accessible, well we must do so. And the reference to New Haven reminded us that all law is applied unequally.

Now if Weiss thinks that’s a brilliant answer, it tells us something about his judgment. The analogy is actually silly, in Goldstone’s own terms. It’s not that Israel is one of the murderers and mass rapists along with Sudan, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Serbia, etc. (Note that Sri Lankans did not hesitate to bomb the whole hospital when they even suspected that Tamil Tigers were hiding there; Israel did not bomb Shifa.)

Morever, as my father points out to me, if the cops knew who the other murderers were and didn’t go after them but instead expended all their energies going after someone guilty of, at worst, involuntary manslaughter, then indeed the victim of this treatment could complain of unfairness, and any impartial observer would find the New Haven police’s procedure dubious at best. And as my daughter pointed out, if the New Haven PD were to consistently go after African-Americans guilty of manslaughter and ignore serial murderers, Phillip Weiss would be the first to accuse them of racism.

So I followed up on this comment at the reception afterwards. “It’s not ten murderers and you only got one. It’s ten murderers and at best someone guilty of involuntary manslaughter, using your own yardstick of comparison between what Israel did in Gaza and these other countries have done.”

Goldstone’s response was quite revealing: “I think democracies should be held to a higher standard.”

“But that violates the principles of equality. You end up pursuing people for far less and letting the real criminals off.”

“I think it’s far more shocking when a rabbi or a priest rapes someone than an ordinary citizen.”

This remark is particularly revealing on several different levels:

1) It’s shot through with what Charles Jacobs calls the “Human Rights Complex” – if you want to know what gets the Western “human rights community” exercised, don’t look at the victim or how badly the victim suffers, look at the perpetrators. If they’re white… high dudgeon; if they’re of color… embarrassed silence.” And if the “white guy” is a Jew, then even greater indignation.

2) In this particular case (Goldstone and Israel), I think we’re dealing with a phenomenon of
a kind of disappointed messianic hope. In a sense, he’s saying, “Israel should be a light onto nations, and if it isn’t — more precisely, if the nations don’t see it that way — then they deserve all the opprobrium they get (including mine).”

3) Like his homocides-in-New Haven analogy, it’s fundamentally flawed. If we’re comparing Israel’s behavior in Gaza to Serbian mass rapes as policy in the Balkans, then the proper analogy is “It’s more shocking when a rabbi or a priest makes an advance to one of his congregants, than when an ordinary citizen rapes and murders a woman.” Of course, that would be a ludicrous statement to make. And it illustrates just how far off track the “human rights community” have been taken with their moral equivalence. But Goldstone doesn’t see it.

The question was framed again, sharper this time. A woman with an accent said– and I think there were a ton of Israelis in the hall– Why the double standard? A few million people are killed in Africa, and nothing happens.

The judge was wise and frank. “You know it’s a complex issue… It’s a matter of politics, not of morality. The United Nations has a dominant group of the non-aligned movement, and the issue of the Palestinians has assumed a tremendous importance to them, and they’re using it.”

I like that “wise and frank” comment. In fact, some of us might find these remarks, coming from someone who had just droned on for 40 minutes about high legal and moral principles, frankly hypocritical. It’s politics that Israel gets picked on by a clearly biased UN body that is dominated by a majority of cruel authoritarian regimes who do far worse than she, but, hey, we got to hit somebody… why not Israel?” But if, like Weiss, you share the judge’s animus, no matter how it violates his own principles of equality, why not call it wisdom?

It used to be the South Africans, he said with equanimity. There were many more UN resolutions passed against South Africa than against Israel.

Is he just shooting from the lip? Has he looked at the UN record of resolutions against Israel (including the infamous “Zionism is Racism” resolution of 1974)?

“Humbly may I ask you, why you allow yourself to be used?” the woman said.

“I don’t see it that way at all. I accepted what I regarded to be an evenhanded mandate. I didn’t see myself as being used. I heard exactly the same from the Serb leaders. Why was I allowing myself to be used by an organization set up against Serbia by the United States. You know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Applause from the silent majority.

Upstairs the circle of accusers formed around him near the door. They angrily quoted his own words to him from clippings, or said he was afraid to debate Dershowitz, or said he was publicizing “untruths.” Goldstone’s a man of medium height with a round face and narrow owlish eyes and a calm slightly dour expression. My friend said it’s a face out of a 19th century oil portrait; and the judge did not ever crack– a smile, a wince.

The Orthodox man who had held the banner about Protocols said he would convey the judge’s words to the people of Auschwitz, and the judge turned away. A woman said he was holding Israel to a higher standard, and the judge said that he was, you do that to countries that say they are democracies. When someone said he should call it apartheid, he said that was an emotionally-laden term, so he avoided it–but in fact they did not have separate roadways in South Africa, as Israel does in the West Bank.

Weiss left out the most significant part of this exchange. The rabbi said to Goldstone, “you realize that when these matters are sorted out, the vast majority of your accusations will prove false. What will you do then?” To which Goldstone responded, “I’ll rejoice.”

What? After you’ve done your damage? After you’ve put your imprimatur on a report that proves wrong repeatedly? Figuring out the multiple layers of psychological dysfunction in this response is a job for Shrinkwrapped. The rabbi’s comment: “I feel sorry for you.”

What’s wrong with Phillip Weiss and his hero Richard Goldstone? They have confused their inchoate messianic hopes for a world free of war crimes (and, given how they define the issues, a world free of war) with their commitment to fairness. They forge ahead in pursuit of their fallen heroes (democracies) rather than face the much more daunting prospect of challenging the really nasty players in the drama of crimes against humanity.

Why didn’t Goldstone investigate whether Hamas used Shifa as a HQ? Why didn’t he plan a surprise visit to the hospital and walk the lower floors looking for locked doors? Was he more afraid that he might get kidnapped, than he was that he might be used?

Cowards masquerading as human rights champions… legends in their own minds. The responsibility now falls on us, the silent majority, to wake up.

284 Responses to The Coke-Lite of International Law: Goldstone Speaks at Yale

  1. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Democracies being held to a higher standard than tyrannic regimes : I heard that already at the beginning of 2003, when Université Pierre et Marie Curie, in Paris, passed a resolution demanding that the EU sever its ties with Israel, and that the University boycott Israel. I had a debate with one of the people who had voted this infamous resolution, where I quoted him the long list of non democratic countries with which the University had relationships – including Myanmar, China, most Arab countries, Iran, Russia and so on. Well, said the man, Israel is a democracy and should be held to higher standard. Then, I asked him, should Israel cease to be a democracy, would your opinion change?

    I never got an answer… Surprise, surprise!

  2. JD says:

    More recently, the Israeli government, claimed Goldstone in a characteristic misrepresentation of his opponents, have claimed that the laws of war should be rewritten so that they can engage in disproportionate responses.

    Sort of.

    When the ICC rules were being concocted in the 1990’s, they included as “crimes” “overwhelming force,” or similar. This was a direct attempt to criminalize American military doctrine which used such terminology. Implicitly, it was part of the leftist discourse of apologizing for Marxist murders by the “you too” strategy.

    Overwhelming force is the oldest battle tactic, as a strategy it can be viewed as finishing wars fast with fewer casualties all around. I believe the idea morphed into “disproportionateness”, a subjective determination to be made by Western European Marxist fellow traveler holdouts or whomever man the star chamber made for Americans, now Israelis. I would not be surprised

    One should look at the legal history of the terminology at the ICC, to see if it did or not evolve–and maybe not on paper.

    Also, I hope the Israeli response ridicules the messengers. A Nazi medallion collector, for one??

    Next time you talk to Goldstone, ask him if the USA was “disproportionate” to Iraq.

    As for Goldstone, take it as this: This offense was originated by Hamas, not the Arab states nor Fatah. Hamas is now an Iranian tool. Iran is in tight with South African government. Think no money changes hands there? Goldstone is a South African and may well be serving its government agenda and alliances as a dutiful agent.

    Also, aside, it is tiresome to hear about some Jews showing shock! that another Jew would act so about Israel. This is nothing new, there were many, many more who served this purpose following the Moscow line, and those within Western leftist discourse influenced by the Moscow line.

  3. JD says:

    “The judge was wise and frank. “You know it’s a complex issue… It’s a matter of politics, not of morality. The United Nations has a dominant group of the non-aligned movement, and the issue of the Palestinians has assumed a tremendous importance to them, and they’re using it.””

    This is a veryyyy interesting comment. It is old, 1970’s-ish. There is no “non-aligned” push for this commission, and neither did the majority of the Arab states: the anti-Iranian sphere. But there is one country that sees itself as “non-aligned”,

    Iran’s pal South Africa.

  4. Solomonia says:

    Goldstone Gets More Than He Expected at Yale…

    Well, Judge Goldstone made his appearance at Yale yesterday (previous: Welcoming Goldstone to Yale), and it sounds like he got a reception far different than he expected (or you or I would expect, much to our pleasant, and his unpleasant,……

  5. Colin says:

    What an enlightening article! “A woman said he was holding Israel to a higher standard, and the judge said that he was, you do that to countries that say they are democracies.” His mandate was from the UN, and they do not differentiate between democracies and others – otherwise, Libya would never get a seat on its Human Rights commission! The UN does not hold democracies to a higher standard. If that is his reasoning, then he has not properly carried out his mandate. Equally, he would have to make such a judgement clear in his report, otherwise it would be misleading.
    Further more, the comment itself is misleading. It is not only wars in Africa the UN does not investigate. Did the UN do the same for the US and Nato invasion of Afghanistan, the US and coalition invasion of Iraq? No. Israel is being held to a standard higher than western democracies.
    Perhaps of more interest was another comment; “If militants are attacking you from the roof of a hospital, it does not mean that you can bomb the hospital; it means that you must take care; and yes maybe some civilians will die when you are going after the militants there, but it violates the principle of proportionality to fire missiles at the hospital.”
    Firstly, the term “militants” here is misleading, as it suggests rag tags who cannot be controlled. The Hamas “militants” in Gaza are the official military force of the elected government there. If it deliberately places them on a hospital, it is Hamas who are committing the war crime. Notice that the judge makes no comment at all on the original war crime of placing “militants” on the roof! This is unbelievable. Follow the logic – if Richard says you cant bomb them, the safest alternative for the Israelis, but should maybe send in ground forces several kms into enemy controlled territory to get them, and an option far more likely to result in Israeli fatalities, he is saying that if Hamas committ a war crime, Israel should pay for it with their own lives. That is insane. Your own comment on this horrific senario was excellent! “I’ll grant you that it’s a judgment call, and I wouldn’t want to be the person deciding either side of the argument, but this dilemma is the issue”. It is also why his commission would have benifited from a military advisor. Richard Kemp offered, but was not taken up in it. Probably because his views were already know, that from his “knowledge of the IDF and from the extent to which I have been following the current operation, I don’t think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF is doing today in Gaza”. Again, knowledge of prior biases did not stop the judge admitting other members onto the panel.
    Clearly, he was correct when he stated that “the basis for the report is politics and not morality.”

  6. Sophia says:

    Actually I think the observation about the non-aligned nations in the UN is an important one.

    People should look into this issue – there are several nations – many nations – in this group which have been victims of colonialism/imperialism and I think they see Israel as an example of that.

    This is despite the fact that the Israelis fought the British Empire and in fact have been victims of The Empire and other great powers including various Cold War proxy fights.

    Obviously Jews per se have been victims of empires since the days of Babylon and Egypt. So, I don’t know why Israel is seen as an “empire” or an exemplar of imperial power, it’s ridiculous; but there it is.

    I think Gandhi had something to do with this – and the well-deserved respect people have for Gandhi overlooks his awful advice to European Jews; plus, he was unable to separate the struggle of India from the Arab/Jewish situation apparently, perhaps because both were involved with the British Empire? But otherwise there really was no similarity and in fact the Jews were in just as much, in fact more trouble than India.

    In any case I think it’s impossible to understand the mindset of many UN member states without taking into consideration this history and mindset. This would also include the institution of slavery but also the exploitation of poor nations by rich ones.

    Haiti is a prime example of several such disasters – notably though Israel doesn’t fit that pattern at all, especially in the sense of exploiting the resources of a land in order to send its riches home – Israel’s only riches are its people and most were unwanted in the first place. Nor have the indogenes been exterminated – the accusation of “ethnic cleansing” doesn’t hold up either – and when one considers Jewish history and the fact that Jews were originally indigenous to the area the whole argument against Israel falls apart.

    Thus I think it’s wrong and even ridiculous that Israel and the Palestinians have become the poster children for all these frustrations – with the Israelis as “bad” and the Palestinians as “good,” but in fact this has occurred so the problem in the UN must be acknowledged and understood.

    Finally I’m not sure why any group of people should be held to “higher standards” than any other but they are, similarly other groups are permitted the right to commit atrocities in the name of “resistance”.

    At some point, maybe we’d better look at the Arab/Israeli conflict as a matter of life vs land.

    Is the scrap of land that Israel has supposedly “stolen” worth all this grief considering the vast regions surrounding it?

    Is there no space in all of that for Israelis and Palestinians to each have a home?

    If one separates this simple issue from all the others involving the unaligned states and their issues, the whole problem becomes much simpler.

    But if the issue is framed as some universal battle of good vs evil, with all the historical freight of centuries of grievance, it will never be solved.

  7. […] This article by Richard Landes is cross-posted from Augean Stables. […]

  8. Goldstone is full of sh*t. Imagine what the NGOs, HRWs etc would say if Israel suddenly announced it wasn’t a democracy but a religious theocracy based on Jewish Law. Would the criticisms of Israel be any worse? NO!

    On the one hand he’s calling for equality and on the other admitting he’s holding Israel to a higher standard than other countries. Pure hypocricy. Goldstone also admits openly that much of his report isn’t true (wouldn’t hold up in a court of law) and worst of all he takes no responsibility for his actions demonising Israel and ultimately the Jewish people. He belongs with the list of Jewish traitors; Soros, Chomsky etc. Someone needs to sue him for slander/libel!

  9. Also, Goldstone’s comment is also flawed considering Sri lanka is a Democracy too and he didn’t sign any Amnesty International letters about that conflict which was at the exact time as the Gaza conflict and cost 20 times more lives.

  10. Barry Meislin says:

    Goldstone believes liars whose goal is Israel’s destruction, repeats their lies, gives those lies authority, and goes out of his way to justify his actions in the international arena.

    And we’re not talking about any old lies here. This self-described friend of Israel is doing his best to help bring about its destruction.

    Anyway, here’s something that relates to his achievements.

  11. Eliyahu says:

    JD and Steve, as you know goldstone is a man of elastic principles. Let us not cruelly call him a hypocrite. It may simply be that he knows which side his bread is buttered on. He did not oppose the US use of force against Serbia in the Kosovo War. He supported the finding of a special commission of the ICTY [Yugoslav war crimes tribunal] that NATO [that is, USA, UK, etc] had not committed war crimes against Serbia although they had without a doubt attacked civilian sites and killed civilians at those sites.

    Goldstone was in a debate over the Kossovo war against Serbia some time after the war and he defended the failure to prosecute NATO officials. He said that:

    “there was not sufficient evidence against individuals to warrant further investigation”

    I hope that nobody here will be surprised to learn that the special investigating commission of the ICTY came to the same conclusion. Hence, if you’re NATO or the USA or UK, then you’re not investigated or prosecuted. Not even Russia is investigated for surely killing civilians in Chechenya, nor China for killing Uighurs. Not even Muslim states call for an investigation of China or Russia for killing Muslim civilians in Chechenya or Sinkiang. In fact, democracies are NOT held to a higher standard if they are big powerful empires. Indeed, big, powerful states are not investigated or prosecuted in any case, whether democracies or not.

    But goldstone was cute. He started his speech with platitudes worthy of an intelligent and idealistic young maiden, a girl perhaps studying in a convent school of about 15 years of age at most. Then he becomes a cynical realist: What counts at the UN is politics not morality [he is not so stupid and naive as to believe otherwise].

    And JD, when was the US called in to the ICC [to which it does not belong] for using overwhelming force against poor Saddam in 2003?

    Actually, those who preach international law to Israel, when they know that it is honored more in the breach than the observance by everybody else, are enemies and/or fools and/or hypocrites. That certainly includes Menahem Mazuz, the outgoing attorney general יועץ משפטי who just made some such proposal. Mazuz in fact may have been Israel’s most corrupt attorney general since the rise of the State in 1948. His persecution of Pres. Katsav and his failure to indict olmert were two very corrupt deeds of his, one by commission, one by omission. In both cases, he was working by a political agenda, not legal or moral.

  12. Eliyahu says:

    Sophia, yes, it’s true that Israel fought the British Empire. But the standard, Government Issue “leftist” historian nowadays claims that the British worked to establish Israel and that the USA did too. This seems especially true of British writers. But maybe I’m wrong on the last point.

    The American clown historian, Marc LeVine, rewrites history that way.

  13. Stan says:

    This man is TOXIC.
    Why did no-one ask him how he concluded that Hamas did not use Human Shields ?
    No civilised country should ever consider joining the ICC while it runs as a “political court”.

  14. Eliyahu, I’ll never get why Nato went to war with Serbia to ethnically cleanse Kosovo of Serbs and support Islamofascism.I think Israel and Serbia should form an alliance personally.

  15. Soccer Dad says:

    Legal lightweight…

    Judge Richard Goldstone was greeted at Yale University with an article in the Yale Daily News written by Noah Pollak and Adam Yoffie that made short work of his commission’s report: Goldstone accepted a mandate from this council to investigate Israel,…

  16. E.G. says:

    • noun 1 a special right, advantage, or immunity for a particular person or group. 2 an opportunity to do something regarded as a special honour: she had the privilege of giving the opening lecture. 3 the right to say or write something without the risk of punishment, especially in parliament.

    — DERIVATIVES privileged adjective.

    — ORIGIN Latin privilegium ‘bill or law affecting an individual’, from privus ‘private’ + lex ‘law’.
    Compact Oxford English Dictionary of Current English
    priv·i·lege (prĭv’ə-lĭj, prĭv’lĭj)
    A special advantage, immunity, permission, right, or benefit granted to or enjoyed by an individual, class, or caste. See Synonyms at right.

    Such an advantage, immunity, or right held as a prerogative of status or rank, and exercised to the exclusion or detriment of others.

    Protection from being forced to disclose confidential communications in certain relationships, as between attorney and client, physician and patient, or priest and confessor.

    Protection from being sued for libel or slander for making otherwise actionable statements in a context or forum where open and candid expression is deemed desirable for reasons of public policy.

    The principle of granting and maintaining a special right or immunity: a society based on privilege.

    Protection from being forced to disclose confidential communications in certain relationships, as between attorney and client, physician and patient, or priest and confessor.

    Protection from being sued for libel or slander for making otherwise actionable statements in a context or forum where open and candid expression is deemed desirable for reasons of public policy.

    An option to buy or sell a stock, including put, call, spread, and straddle.

    tr.v. priv·i·leged, priv·i·leg·ing, priv·i·leg·es
    To grant a privilege to.

    To free or exempt.

    [Middle English, from Old French, from Latin prīvilēgium, a law affecting one person : prīvus, single, alone; see per1 in Indo-European roots + lēx, lēg-, law; see leg- in Indo-European roots.]
    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
    Legal Dictionary

    Main Entry: priv·i·lege
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Latin privilegium law affecting a specific person, special right, from privus private + leg- lex law
    1 : a right, license, or exemption from duty or liability granted as a special benefit, advantage, or favor: as a : an exemption from liability where an action is deemed to be justifiable (as in the case of self-defense) or because of the requirements of a position or office; also : the affirmative defense that an action is privileged.

  17. […] posted here: Augean Stables » The Coke-Lite of International Law: Goldstone … tags: geneva-convention, islamic, nuremberg-trials, science, the-basis, the-lecture, […]

  18. Cynic says:


    Do some research into the Muslims active in the South African government.
    The latest is not permit El Al to conduct its screening of passengers at Johannesburg airport because it profiles, so what may very well come about, and what interested parties are after, is to stop El Al from flying to SA (because of lax security).

    I have posted info in other threads relating to a book published relating how Goldstone performed in his 1994 commission in SA. It was similarly corrupt.

  19. JD says:


    Actually I think the observation about the non-aligned nations in the UN is an important one.

    People should look into this issue – there are several nations – many nations – in this group which have been victims of colonialism/imperialism and I think they see Israel as an example of that.

    Thank you. But you are looking for a cause in a moral place. The Non-Aligned movement was anti-Israel because of Oil money and alliance to Soviet money or ideology, mostly.

    It is worth looking into. Because I think Goldstone is lying. Is there any Non-Aligned Org anymore? I never hear of it. Who petitioned for this commission? I never heard “India” or such. I think most Arab states were cold to it.

    Really, historically, who were the forces that pushed this particular? UN bureaucrats? Iran and Hamas plus Syria and maybe the deathly afraid of Shi’as Qatar? Was Britain and such tricked into it playing upon leftist hangups the Arabs are masters at provoking? Goldstone’s “Non-Aligned” comment has a Cold War stink. He is invoking an image of broad authority and consensus. There is something there.


    “Do some research into the Muslims active in the South African government.”

    I don’t need to and it is not about an airline. It is much about oil routes, oil storage in South Africa, and who knows, just plain bribery.

    “And JD, when was the US called in to the ICC [to which it does not belong] for using overwhelming force against poor Saddam in 2003?”

    It wasn’t. Which does not mean the ICC rules were not constructed in part to criminalize extant American military policy. And there was a push to get the USA to join. The ICC even made the absurd suggestion, which of course they thought was a sacrifice on their part, that the US would be “allowed” to charge and convict its so-called criminals first, and only then, if no conviction came, would the ICC gain complete jurisdiction to retry the matter.

    Besides reflexive Western European anti-Americanism, which I believe is dying out, the ICC is permanently crippled by its permanent nature. It will always seek to prosecute anything to keep the money coming and jobs funded. In that, it is no different than any bureaucracy not unlike some useless defense project boondoggle or global warming bureau.

  20. RickD says:

    I think that Israel would say that it holds itself to higher standards than its enemies. It is a democracy and its standards are obviously higher than the tyrannies that it faces.

    Regarding Goldstone it’s not a question of higher standards. It’s a question of lies. Goldstone’s report is full of lies. Simple and blatant statements that Israel deliberately attacked civilians; that it shot civilians carrying white flags as part of a master plan. These claims are made without a shred of reliable evidence.

    It’s not a matter of higher standards. Israel can meet those standards. It’s a matter that the report believes the statements of Hamas partisans uncritically and that it simply lies.

    I can only assume that Goldstone is a dim bulb. How could he possibly believe this tripe? How could he sign his name to these lies? How can he go to places like Yale and expect not to be found out? He’s a dumb*ss.

    With reports out like Dershowitz’s and the upcoming Israli report I think that in the places where people can read and care about this sort of thing Goldstone and his report will be seen for what they are. In the tyrannies they didn’t need Goldstone’s report to decide what side they were on anyway.

  21. Daniel Bielak says:

    When most people look at historical events it is easy for most people to see the obvious simple factors of those events.

    During events most people do not see the obvious simple factors of those events.

    The most important fact of history that is relevant to today, and that has been completely “forgotten” by most people, is that during the 1930’s, politically “Liberal” self-described “pacifists” in Europe believed and propagated a narrative, which was a narrative that had been seeded by, and then which continued to be propagated by, the propaganda ministers of the National Socialist regime of Germany, of there being “The warmongering exaggerating Jews” and “The maligned victimized Germans”.

    The root cause of what happened in the 1930’s in Europe (and of what has happened many times throughout the last two thousand years), and of what is happening now in the world, is the following.

    Very many European people hold the following wrong view, which is a narrative that is involved with the self-identity view that they hold.

    “‘The Jews’ are evil; We are (I am) good; Our suffering (my suffering) is ‘The Jews” fault.”

    Jewish people who propagate lies that vilify Jewish people hold the following wrong view, which is a narrative that is involved with the self-indentity view that they hold.

    “I am good; It is *those* Jewish people’s fault that the non-Jewish people hate us (hate me); Our suffering (my suffering) is *those* Jewish people’s fault.”

  22. […] Goldstone was recently invited to speak at Yale University. Apparently, he did not say much.  But judging by this video of a protest against him and his report, he took […]

  23. Joanne says:

    I hope that anyone reading Mondoweiss would eventually realize what an ideological one-note-charlie he really is.

    I’ve read many sources on the right and left (magazines and websites), but when it became apparent that their stances on every issue were knee-jerk predictable, and that they really bent the facts to fit their views, I would cease to read them.

    I can understand people wanting to read sites that echo their point of view. It’s nice to hear your own thoughts validated by those who can articulate them so well. But, after awhile, a steady diet of that should get kind of boring. Especially when you see what they’re doing.

    That’s why the best sites aren’t those that are predictably of the left or the right, or sites that are “progressive” in their worldview but don’t accept the inanities of the left (i.e., like this one). In other words, sites or magazines for which you can’t always predict what they’ll say about everything.

  24. Joanne says:

    “That’s why the best sites aren’t those that are predictably of the left or the right, or sites that are “progressive” in their worldview but don’t accept the inanities of the left (i.e., like this one). In other words, sites or magazines for which you can’t always predict what they’ll say about everything.”

    Oops, I screwed up that one pretty well. Please read the correction:

    I meant to say:

    “That’s why the best sites ARE those that AREN’T predictably of the left or the right, OR THEY’RE THE SITES THAT are “progressive” in their worldview but don’t accept the inanities of the left (i.e., like this one). In other words, THE BEST sites or magazines ARE THOSE for which you can’t always predict what they’ll say about everything.”

  25. Cynic says:


    but don’t accept the inanities of the left (i.e., like this one). Does or doesn’t? :-))

  26. Cynic says:


    They’re starting by forcing Israel to cancel flights for security reasons and then they’ll concoct other reasons which will end in a break in relations.
    It’s the first step, and they are forcing the action to be taken by the other. They are too careful to appear as the “aggressor”.
    There is a strong relationship between a Wahabbi clique in the north of Israel and the Muslim community in Cape Town and they are not working in Israel’s interests.

  27. Joanne says:

    OK, Cynic, LOL. :-)

  28. E.G. says:

    For lack of a more appropriate place – breaking news:

    Steven Plaut‘s blog

    Speaking of atypical journalistic integrity in Israel, Maariv runs a MAJOR expose of the New Israel Fun in today’s weekend paper, and even touts the story on the paper’s front page. Ben Kaspit, a senior Maariv columnist who leans left of center, bashed the New Israel Fund for its financing of anti-Israel propaganda groups inside Israel. His piece cites at length a study by the Zionist student group “Im Tirtzu,” which discovered that 92% of the anti-Israel materials and propaganda picked up and used in the Goldstone Report, the report by the UN commission headed up by Jewish anti-Semitic judge Richard Goldtone, were taken from groups financed by the New Israel Fund. The New Israel Fund is currently chaired by Naomi Hazan, who used to be a Kneseet Member from the semi-Marxist Meretz party. She is extremely proud of the fact that the anti-Israel propaganda was produced with funds from NIF!!

    In the US there are laws that restrict even what domestic corporate bodies can spend on local politicking (or at least there were until this past week’s Supreme Court ruling). In Israel there are no laws at all against Israeli treasonous Fifth Column organizations that enjoy no support at all inside Israel operating with large amounts of funds donated by foreign anti-Israel and anti-Semitic organizations.

    Ben Caspit’s (Hebrew) Maariv article.

  29. E.G. says:

    Im Tirtzu English site (poor):

    Their report can be downloaded in the Hebrew version of the site.

  30. Eliyahu says:

    JD, I agree with you about the ICC. I thought that my sarcasm was rather obvious.

    Anyhow, the ICC is another morally corrupt international body set up to protect the guilty. The ICC did indict Al-Bashir of Sudan for war crimes but the indictment did not go far enough. In any event, what happened was that the UNhuman rights council did not endorse the indictment. The Arab League rejected the indictment. And Ban ki Moon, who is supposed to be loyal to international law and morality, showed up at the meeing of the Arab League where the indictment was rejected and said not a word about it, as far as I know. He sat there in the presence of Bashir too. So he too knows which side his bread is buttered on. Then we read that Ocampo of the ICC collaborated with the Arab League and, indirectly, with the UNHRC:

    On December 4, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, went a step further in revealing the origins of the Goldstone Report:

    The Prosecutor also fielded questions about allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity by Israel. When asked, he offered no confirmation of reports that he had been invited by Hamas to advise on the legality of a Hamas-led investigation into attacks in Gaza this January. But, he admitted to working closely with the Arab League on the matter, which had helped finance the fact-finding Goldstone mission.
    See at link below:

  31. Cynic says:


    can spend on local politicking (or at least there were until this past week’s Supreme Court ruling).

    As far as I know foreign funds are still prohibited from entering the political discourse. (Not that Mandarins paid much attention).

  32. E.G. says:


    I think Plautrefers to the O’s misinterpretation.
    Anyway, his is the only reference in English I found regarding the Maariv/Im Tirtzu report.

  33. Daniel Bielak says:

    I regret having posted the last part of my previous comment.

    I hope that European people become aware of the situation.

    Intendedly genocidal hatred against Israel is being cynically, deceitfully, and maliciously promoted and propagated, as a politically strategic ideology, in Europe, as it has always been done in Europe, mainly by a relatively small number of European people, the political leaders of Europe.

    Bat Yeor: The New Euro-Arab Judeophobia Bears the Destruction of the West within it
    Part 1 of 3:
    Part 2 of 3:
    Part 3 of 3:

    The previous video is part of the following video.

    Antisemitism Multiculturalism Convention – Session IX

  34. Daniel Bielak says:

    Former Soviet Dissident Warns For EU Dictatorship

  35. Don Cox says:

    “But the standard, Government Issue “leftist” historian nowadays claims that the British worked to establish Israel and that the USA did too. This seems especially true of British writers.”

    The British establishment has two wings: pro-Jewish and pro-Arab. Some in Britain have strongly supported Zionism and Israel, others have strongly opposed.

    One of the commonest errors is to think that nations, or governments, speak with a single voice.

  36. Daniel Bielak says:

    “…as it has always been done in Europe…”

    …as intendedly genocidal hatred against Jewish people has always been done in Europe…

    Perhaps it is not beneficial to put in this part of that sentence.

  37. Daniel Bielak says:

    In order to make the situation better, all of us in the world who are aware of the situation, those of us who are Jewish and understand the situation, those of us who are Arab and understand the situation, those of us who are Iranian and understand the situation, those of us who are European and understand the situation, those of us who are Indian and understand the situation, and those of us who are American and understand the situation, and all of us who understand the situation, need to come together to support each other and need to work together to communicate the factual history of the situation and the current reality of the situation to the majority of people in the world.

  38. Daniel Bielak says:

    “More on the Goldstone-NIF case”

    It is truly beyond belief. There is truly something seriously lethaly wrong with Jewish society. It is a societal auto-immune disorder within Jewish culture.

    Every single serious attack against the Jewish people throughout history, for millenia, has always, without exception, been caused by and led by Jewish people who have internalized hatred against Jewish people and have propagated lies vilifying Jewish people.

    It is really hard for me to cope with the situation right now.

    I’m saying it again. Please listen to me. We who are Jewish who understand the situation MUST PROACTIVELY SEEK OUT NON-JEWISH PEOPLE who understand the situation and organize together with them.

    Arab people, Iranian people, European people, European-American people, Indian people.

  39. Daniel Bielak says:


  40. Daniel Bielak says:

    Don’t personally attack the Jewish vilifiers of Jewish people. That just creates more strife which WILL destroy the Jewish society. Personally Ignore the Jewish vilifiers of Jewish people.


  41. Daniel Bielak says:

    Refute the lies without addressing the liar. Do not try to defensively refute the lies. Refute the lies offensively with facts about the enemy. Refute the lies by telling the factual WHOLE NARRATIVE. Refute the lies by telling the facts about the goodness of Israelis and Israeli society.

  42. Daniel Bielak says:

    The truly actually Nazi “Palestinian” leadership and the Brown Shirt Neo-Left tell simple huge stupid absurd lies. Jewish people try to refute two sentences of simple emotionally evocative lies with 2 paragraphs of complex rational counter-argument.

    The people who would be capable of understanding those complex arguments already are people who are completely invested ammorally politically strategically, or profoundly psychologically, in destroying Israel or are people who already know what is happening and they are your side.

  43. Daniel Bielak says:

    “…or are people who already know what is happening and they are your side…”

    …or are people who already know what is happening and are already on your side…

  44. Daniel Bielak says:


    “Refute the lies without addressing the liar.”

    Refute the lies without engaging with the Jewish propagator of lies vilifying Israel.

    Discredit the liar simply and without engaging with the liar.

    View the Jewish liar who is telling lies that are vilifying Jewish people as the liar being an insignificant object that is to be easily discredited.

  45. Daniel Bielak says:

    Do not psychoanalyse the Jewish propagator of lies that vilify Jewish people. Yes we know, it is a profound pathological psychological condition. Forget about it. It’s Irrelevant. Ignore.

    The Buddha told an allagory. I’ll retell it in my words from what I remember of it.

    Suppose someone was shot by an arrow. Now imagine if that person before he tried to take the arrow out, started to question and demanded to know the answers, who shot the arrow? Who made the arrow? what materials was the arrow made out of?

    That person would die.

    Take out the arrow.

  46. Daniel Bielak says:

    Important addition.

    In the parable the Buddha told the arrow was an “arrow thickly smeared with poison.”

  47. Daniel Bielak says:

    Take out the arrow.

  48. Daniel Bielak says:

    I’ll retell my comment more correctly.

    The Buddha told an allagory. I’ll retell it in my words from what I remember of it.

    Suppose someone was shot by a poisoned arrow. Now imagine if that person before he tried to take the arrow out, started to question and demanded to know the answers, who shot the arrow? Who made the arrow? what materials was the arrow made out of?

    That person would die.

    Take out the arrow.

  49. rl says:

    but how do you take the arrow out? if it’s the poison that’s killing, it may be one way, if it’s the wound it’s caused, it may be another. let me press you DB on what you mean by “take it out” — rip it out? (which translates as…?), push it out? gently do surgery?
    part of the problem with jews like goldstone is that their damage is largely done because they have credibility. as an early commenter at this site pointed out, most people don’t admit to anything unless they have to, so whatever they hear people admit to, they assume it’s the tip of the iceberg.
    jews, on the other hand, engage in levels of “self-criticism” far in excess of most other cultures. so someone like goldstone (or even worse cases like chomsky or finklestein), have enormous credibility for “spilling the [presumedly true] beans.
    so how you deal with this particular poisoned arrow (a self-inflicted wound), may not be so simple (with all my respects to the buddha).

  50. Daniel Bielak says:

    “but how do you take the arrow out? if it’s the poison that’s killing, it may be one way, if it’s the wound it’s caused, it may be another. ”

    Yes, rl, I think that that is right.

    I understand what you are saying and I understand what you are asking.

    I think that one has to observe the wound and the poison, and understand the wound and the poison, in a general way; It is hard for me to articulate it right now, (at this particular moment) but I think that what has to be addressed is a more general thing than is being addressed by people who are trying to deal with us Jewish people being shot by a poisoned arrow, and has to be addressed in, what it is hard for me to articulate right now, but I think what I mean is, has to be addressed in a more general way.

    I realize that my explanation is, itself, general and that it is vague.

    Right now, at this moment, my mind is not at it’s best, and I think that I will be able to explain more about this, what I am saying, later, and I’ll try to do so later.

  51. Daniel Bielak says:

    “I realize that my explanation is, itself, general…”

    …and that it is so not in good way that conveys well the solution

    But, I’ll try to talk more helpfully about this thing that I am trying to talk about, that I am trying to communicate about, that I am trying to explain well, that I am trying to helpfully explain, that I am trying to helpfully advise about, later.

    “…so how you deal with this particular poisoned arrow (a self-inflicted wound), may not be so simple (with all my respects to the buddha).”

    It’s not what the Buddha said that is what is imperfect, it’s what I am saying that is what is imperfect; It is my paraphrasing of, and use of, and explanation about, what the Buddha said that is what is imperfect; It is how I am saying things that is what is imperfect. :-)

  52. Daniel Bielak says:

    And, yes, just to clarify,

    I understand about the “self-inflicted” nature of the wound; about how that involves how non-Jewish people see the false “confessions”; what I am saying about what is the wound takes that into account.

  53. Daniel Bielak says:

    I’ll try to communicate better later.

  54. Daniel Bielak says:


    …I understand about the “self-inflicted” nature of the wound/poison; about how that involves how non-Jewish people see the false “confessions”; what I am saying about what is the wound/poison takes that into account…

  55. Daniel Bielak says:

    I’ll try to communicate better later.

  56. Daniel Bielak says:

    I’ll try to communicate better later but I’ll just add,

    about what is perceived by non-Jewish people as being the “credibility” of Jewish people who falsely “confess”, who are Jewish people who are wrongly perceived by non-Jewish people as being Jewish people who are “spilling the beans”,

    That is very much part of why Jewish people who understand the situation must now organize with Non-Jewish people who understand the situation; we must seek out Non-Jewish people who understand the situation in general, and work with them, and organize with them, and communicate to the world with them about the situation; and when we come together with them we have to explain to them about all of the aspects of the situation, including the aspect of the false “confessing” by Jewish people.

    This aspect is very much unknown to most non-Jewish people. Jewish people are, who Jewish people are is, very much unknown to most non-Jewish people. There are many non-Jewish people, I think especially many Indian people, and Arab people, and Asian people, who would be open to understand, and who would understand, if we explained our situation to them.

    It is very important. Jewish people have been so truly culturally isolated for thousands of years, that most Jewish people don’t realize that there are people in the world who are not Jewish who could understand what we are saying and who could understand what our situation is if we talked to them about it, and explained about our situation, and about ourselves to them.

    And especially now, ex-Muslim intellectuals.

  57. Daniel Bielak says:

    Jewish people who understand the situation need to contact and work with non-Jewish people, and especially Arab-Israeli people, Arab people, Iranian people, Indian people, formerly Muslim people, and truly reform-Muslim people, who understand the situation to communicate the truth about the situation to the world.

    There are such people. And there are many more who would understand the situation if Jewish people joined with these people.

    Jewish people are truly not alone.

    There are such people in the world who are not Jewish who are aware, to varying degrees, of what is happening and who are alarmed and who are trying to make what is happening known but they are not empowered.

    Jewish people need to contact them and work with them.

    We need to work together.

    Together we can communicate the situation to the world.

    I think that Jewish people have the resources to communicate and non-Jewish Arab, Indian, Iranian, ex-Muslim, and truly reform-Muslim people can contribute the effort, many things that Jewish people cannot do.

    And together we can psychologically support each other.

    Working together will be very psychologically supportive to all of us.

    Communicating together will be effective.

  58. Daniel Bielak says:


    I think that Jewish people have the resources to communicate and Arab, Indian, Iranian, ex-Muslim, and truly reform-Muslim people can contribute to the effort many things that Jewish people cannot do.

    Wroking together we will provide to each other,

    Psychological support.

    We will harness each others potential and our effort will be effective and successful.

  59. Daniel Bielak says:

    …Working together…

  60. E.G. says:

    Ben-Dror Yemini on the NIF (in Hebrew)

    Translated penultimate paragraph:

    How come there are many, especially Jews, who support this fund? How come they permit this systematic campaign that pretends to be Humane but that is, in fact, demonic? They’re people with good intentions. Why, the rhetoric deals with Human Rights and minorities. Jews are sensible to these. And rightly so. The majority simply does not know. Most of them really want Israel to be more enlightened and progressive, and maintain a more strict guard on human life and human rights. But they don’t know the money goes for other purposes.

    So too, Prof. Naomi Hazan, heading the fund, is not an Israel hater. But what happened to the fund’s supporters is exactly what happened to numerous bodies that deal with the “human Rights” discourse. They serve, in fine, Iran’s and Hamas’s agenda.

  61. JD says:

    The New Israel Fund is currently chaired by Naomi Hazan, who used to be a Kneseet Member from the semi-Marxist Meretz party. She is extremely proud of the fact that the anti-Israel propaganda was produced with funds from NIF!!

    This is a good opportunity to illustrate “leftist” anti-Zionism. As a Marxist she may be still under the sway of the Soviet anti-Zionism propaganda campaign. It is hard to express enough to those too young how powerful the “Moscow line” was. It was not just opinion to consider, but belief to embrace. The Russians themselves mock it as “Zionology.”

    In the penumbra of Marxist agendas is liberal/left fashion who adopted the Marxist discourses as fashionable and the dominant world view. Leftist Israelis are especially victims because they cannot detect the anti-semitic strains in the discourse. They do not have a feel for it. Rather, they accept it as sounding “smart” much the way some Americans think anything “European” is smart. That is why Haaretz’ is the anti-Semites favorite newspaper, what passes as intellect in it is merely mimicking Western strains of left anti-Semitism.

    about what is perceived by non-Jewish people as being the “credibility” of Jewish people who falsely “confess”, who are Jewish people who are wrongly perceived by non-Jewish people as being Jewish people who are “spilling the beans”,

    I’ll go farther than the “beans.” Collective guilt is a fundamental of European anti-Semitism. Collective guilt has a religious basis, Christ, and Christological reasoning. Certain strains of christological thought look to what any Jew says, in the Holy Books or elsewhere, as proof of the correctness of Christ’s Messiahship. It is hardwired into European culture, the power of one Jew’s voice, to either prove a point, or convict all Jews of a wrong. Name me one other group where an argument would pass mockery if so. Since one Frenchman says X, it must be true about France. That is why “a Jew said it” is so powerful. Yet, ironically, it is not the religious anti-Semite who uses such reasoning, it bled through to leftist identity thought. Chomsky is a master of collective guilt, for example, his smooth rants are full of quotations of what some Israeli said which he portrays as a sort of gnostic revelation. He used such against Dershowitz once in a debate. He paralyzed Dersh with a comment about a supposed peace offer by Egypt in 1972 or so, and thus no peace is Israel’s fault. That Dersh had to defend this inanity is an example how we live in a collective guilt culture, that any event at any time can be used against Jews always.

  62. Cynic says:


    Solomonia has this about the NIF
    New Israel Fund Comes Out Whining

    When a right-wing group with a destructive agenda and a lot of money taps into the Israeli public’s anger, the results are usually not pretty.
    It comes as no surprise to discover that this new group is funded by the same abundant money that flows to extremist settlers’ organizations, including a sizable contribution from John Hagee’s “Christians United for Israel” …..

    Oooooh! How shocking that those who fund Im Tirzu are Nancy Pelosi’s Right Wing Extremists allied with those, eeeeeuw, settlers.
    The more I see the more I think that there is more to this behaviour than just belief and emotion; there is a certain selfishness and lack of a sense of humour to put up with life as dished out in a society on this planet.

    And some “extremism” dished out by NIF as they sent a letter to Bibi referring to NGO Monitor as an Extreme group using verbal fire in its attacks on them.
    And see the puerile graphics NIF employees resort to as salve for their wounded pride.
    eNIF of that.

    By the way, slightly OT but something for Oxfordians to smirk at ;-)
    Cambridge University Israel Society Caves to Pressure, Cancels Benny Morris

    We will be screening “Promises” (below) this Thursday instead of Professor Benny Morris’ presentation on “1948 Revisited.”
    We understand that whilst Professor Benny Morris’ contribution to history is highly respectable and significant, his personal views are, regrettably, deeply offensive to many.
    We want to clarify that the intention of the Israel Society was never to give racism a platform. We had hoped to listen to a historical presentation on “1948” followed by a Q&A – a space for anyone, including those with grievances,to challenge Morris.

  63. E.G. says:


    See esp. the discussion

    WRT the NIF, of course they’d whine and blame the non-deserving “Other” who exposes their subversive acts.
    To tell the truth, I’m much more worried by the funded activities – especially in Israel – than by the whining. Swindle so many people! Especially the young!

  64. Michelle Schatzman says:

    The cancellation of Morris’ talk in Cambridge is an impressive testimony of the power of speech… Morris is so frightening that he should be prevented from speaking. My! Is he performing miracles, or is he just saying what he thinks? Just read that the will be invited by the Cambridge University to give a lecture on Friday morning at the Centre for International Studies.

  65. Eliyahu says:

    JD points out the collective guilt principle inherent in traditional Christian Judeophobia. Indeed. Now, it is no wonder that such thinking came into the Left. Marxism was well imbued with the Judeophobia of Kant and Hegel [see Robert Misrahi, Marx et la Question juive]. Marx’s own Judeophobia derives from K and H according to my study of Misrahi’s book and other authorities. The Judeophobia of K&H goes back to Luther and from him to Marcion, as well as to the medieval Christian rationalist belief that Jews were incapable of reason, progress, and science. That was because the Christian dogmas had been proven by reason, by philosophy. Therefore, whoever continued to reject them was unreasonable, incapable of reasoning. That is, the Jews were unreasonable.

    Further, it is interesting that so many Europeans, including or especially “Leftists”, see the “palestinian” Arabs as a collective Jesus. Like Jesus who “turned the other cheek”, they are essentially innocuous and innocent. Each one of them individually bears the traits of the innocent, peaceful Jesus. Hence, not even one individual of them can be guilty of a crime, as has been metaphysically established [especially a crime against the Christkillers, which is of course a metaphysically established oxymoron]. Have the Euros, especially the Left, forgotten the Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount: I come not to bring peace but the sword?? Maybe the Arab terrorists become the Jesus of the Sword when necessary, in “leftist” eyes. Anyhow, one of the reasons for inventing the “palestinian people” notion may have been to enable Euros to view this sub-set of Arabs as a collective Jesus which could never have been done if they were seen as merely a geographic sub-set of the Arab nation, which is how the PLO’s own charter defines them [article I: “The palestinian Arab people is part of the Arab nation and palestine is an integral part of the great Arab fatherland (= watan)”].

    Now, what is contemptible and laughable today is that those who cry out so much about Israel harming “innocent civilians” in Gaza –international law only talks about non-combatants and “protected persons”, not “innocents”– are only all too ready to attack Jewish civilians on the streets of European cities or to condone such attacks by local Arabs and other Muslims [for instance, Ilan Halimi, Freddy Selam, and others]. I would say that the Euro supporters of the Arab anti-Israel cause, plus the Arab terrorist groups themselves, are responsible for destroying the whole notion of “innocent civilians.”

  66. Cynic says:


    What is noticeable is that in the US the “collective guilt” bludgeon is being applied to practicing Christians as well.

  67. Cynic says:


    Here’s something interesting about the cancellation of the invitation to Benny Morris:
    Here’s what Sky’s Foreign Editor Tim Marshall has to say about it all:

    They’re at it again. Our future parliamentarians, jurists, and all round bankers are busy stifling free speech at one of our top Universities. Voltaire’s maxim is all but forgotten.

  68. Michelle Schatzman says:


    the interesting fact is that Benny Morris has been accused of “islamophobia” and “racism”. If “islamophobia” is criticizing muslim practices and doctrines, it is a privilege of free speech to be able to criticize any religion. And since being muslim has nothing to do with the race or supposed race of someone, I simply do not understand why the Israel Society in Cambridge did not fight harder.

    OK, Benny Morris has realized that the Palestinians are enemies of Israel, and he dreams of appropriate measures to protect Israel from the Palestinians. Maybe the measures he proposes are silly, but he is not guilty of any crime.

    I just don’t get the real reason for this attitude of Cambridge students. I thought that debating was a highly praised activity there…

  69. E.G. says:


    PC is all about preventing debate.
    Ad hominem attacks are merely one means of diverting attention from the real subject.

    Unfortunately, Maariv does not have an English mirror-site, so I can only let you know that a Meretz MK (Haïm Oron) published an Op-ed there today, attacking Im-Tirzu in the bad old custom of fascist, marginal anti-democratic movement terminology – and nothing else (e.g., refuting their report about NIF-subsidised ONG’s contributing more than 90% of the damning Israel “evidence” to the Goldstone report).

    Ronen Shoval, chairman of Im Tirzu, begins his answer (in the same Maariv)

    How amazing that the body that chooses to libel IDF officers in the name of “free speech” and who further argues that pluralism is important for a democracy, asks to silence those who criticize it.

  70. E.G. says:

    Et tu, Cambridge?

    All I can think of is David’s well-known lament: How have heroes fallen.

  71. E.G. says:


    Voltaire’s “maxim” is only attributed to that philosopher. Never found in his own writings.

  72. Eliyahu says:

    Cynic, the predilection of the Bolshevik “left” for smearing whole groups and classes goes back to the beginnings of Bolshevism at least. Remember “eliminating the Kulaks as a class” and “class enemies”? So the technique and compulsive practice of labeling whole groups as enemies has long roots going back to the Bolsheviks, if not before. Indeed, Engels once wrote:

    The next world war will cause not only reactionary classes and dynasties but also entire reactionary peoples to disappear from the earth. And that too would be progress.
    Cologne, January 1849, “Hungary & Panslavism,” Neue Rheinische Zeitung, January 1849; p 67 — written by Engels according to Franz Mehring, Gustav Meyer, & Fernando Orlandi. English translations in Karl Marx and Friederich Engels, The Russian Menace to Europe (Glencoe, Illinois: Free Press 1952 [editors: Paul Blackstock and Bert Hoselitz], page nos. from this edition).

    See link above for more choice quotes from Engels. Maybe I shouldn’t have blamed the Bolsheviks. The practice of scapegoating and targeting whole groups, whole peoples and classes, goes back to Engels and I suppose Comrade Karl as well. So it’s no surprise that the evangelical, southern Baptist type Christian is stigmatized and reviled as a group, since they may be perceived as standing in the way of Progress by the “Left.’ On the other hand, most of the main line Protestant churches in America seem to be pretty well in the Progressive camp [that is, their national organizations and staffs tend to be Politically Correct], so they seem to be protected and immune to Politically Correct attacks.

    איך נפלו גבורים
    EG, the English translation is usually,
    How the mighty are fallen.

    I think you’re right about Voltaire. Supposedly that quote “I hate what you say but I will fight to the death for your right to say it” [or some such] was invented by an American or British admirer of Voltaire. He was not actually all that tolerant, although some of his writings may allow the inference made by that admirer.

  73. JD says:

    Unfortunately, Maariv does not have an English mirror-site, so I can only let you know that a Meretz MK (Haïm Oron) published an Op-ed there today, attacking Im-Tirzu in the bad old custom of fascist, marginal anti-democratic movement terminology – and nothing else

    For the Soviet line Marxist, the party line is not something debatable, or embraceable in part. It is truth. Israel is the enemy because the Soviet Union said so. Unlike in the East, the Western Marxist did not evolve in a culture where the party line is immediately suspected as being false by all. “Party line” is not a party platform but the pravda, the truth. All other ideas are bourgeois, fascist, etc. They are “False Consciousness.” They believe this. Treating Marxists as if they are just a slice of the rainbow of rational thought privileges their voices with something they should not be given. At all times they should be treated akin to religious fundamentalists.

    JD points out the collective guilt principle inherent in traditional Christian Judeophobia. Indeed. Now, it is no wonder that such thinking came into the Left. Marxism was well imbued with the Judeophobia of Kant and Hegel [see Robert Misrahi, Marx et la Question juive].

    Collective guilt is an overlay in thinking about things Jewish, not essential to Christianity, but despite Jesus’ asking for followers to forgive.
    I do not think Western Leftist obsession has to do with Kant or Hegel or even Marx’s writing about Jews which is almost wholly ignored by Marxists. It is not some History of Philosophy matter. It is the matter of the Soviet Anti-Zionism campaign (zionology). All the memes of the present debate you hear, apartheid, nationalism, etc. came out of Moscow in the middle to late 1960 and early 1970’s. (the only thing new is the “it’s all about the settlements” garbage). The campaign hit all the Marxists’ favorite talking points, and all the particularly Soviet insecurities, such as nationalism, and traditional Russian anti-semitism. If you want to understand the leftists, you need to study what influenced them, via direct propaganda and how in imbued itself into the discourse.

    Don’t discount arrogance too. Because of the big thinking that comes from countries with imperial traditions, Western leftists value themselves highly as experts on the world. They know what the world “thinks.”

  74. E.G. says:

    JD and Eliyahu,

    Don’t underestimate the real fascist influence.

  75. E.G. says:


    Do you know anything about the site publishing this?
    (This is NOT the Alliance Francaise)

  76. Michelle Schatzman says:


    yes, Alliance keeps spamming me with lots of invitations for things I’m not interested in, but this is a recent move. I knew the page you referred to, since it is one of the most complete webpages in french about the grand Mufti and it contains pictures that I did not find elsewhere. Guess somebody knowledgeable did the job several years ago.

  77. Michelle Schatzman says:


    I am wary of using the word “fascist” in place of “nazi”. This is in fact a trace of KGB propaganda, which made “antifascist struggle” into a banner for gathering democratic-minded people under the umbrella of communist-led organizations.

    The trick then became : “let us label such and such regime as fascist, and let us label such and such individual’s opinions as fascist”, which is exactly the same as seeing the influence of the devil.

    I believe that the word fascism should be reserved to the italian regime of Mussolini, as a way to avoid anachronism. There are other words for describing dictatures. For regimes which tried to copy the ways of Mussolini, there are also words.

    I do not believe in the devil, but I can observe that evil exists, and quite often it is mixed with good intentions – the NIF being an obvious case of a hell paved with them.

  78. Eliyahu says:

    The photos on that article on the Mufti are good. Here are more photos and documents and text [also with audio] at the site, Bibliotheque Proche-Orientale [English & French]:

    I didn’t read the whole article about the Mufti. It seems basically sound, although it repeats some common errors about yasser arafat and Faisal Husseini. Arafat’s real family name was al-Qidwa or al-Qudwa. He is supposed to have been a sixth cousin to the Husseinis of Jerusalem [according to Ehud Yaari in Strike Terror], but not closer. His relative, Nasser al-Qudwa, was or is PLO delegate to the UN. Leila Shahid seems to be the Mufti’s granddaughter.

    Faisal Husseini’s father was Abdel-Qader Husseini, who was a nephew of the Mufti. Abdel-Qader’s father was Musa Kazem el-Husseini, who attended the Ottoman School of Administration in Constantinople and served as governor in several Ottoman districts, including in Anatolia. One would like to know how he treated the Armenians in his district, if any were there. The Armenians were concentrated mostly in eastern and northeastern Anatolia, historic Armenia.

    Anyhow, there is a great deal of info on the Mufti, Haj Amin el-Husseini, appointed by the British governor in the Land of Israel to be the Mufti of Jerusalem and the head of the British-created Supreme Muslim Council. Yet so often today the manic hordes of Arab terrorist lovers in the West refuse to accept such info.

  79. E.G. says:

    Thanks Michelle and Eliyahu,

    Yes, I came across Eliyahu’s link as well.
    Why don’t these guys identify clearly?

    Michelle, there were non-German regimes (except Italy) that were fascist. And I know the Commie use and abuse. I rarely use it.

  80. Daniel Bielak says:

    The following is some information about Hassan Al Banna, The Muslim Brotherhood, and Amin Al Husseini.

    Hitler’s Legacy: Islamic antisemitism and the impact of the Muslim Brotherhood, by Dr. Mattthias Kuentzel

  81. E.G. says:

    Jonathan Dahohah Halevi analyzes Hamas’ response to Goldstone’s charges,7340,L-3843594,00.html

  82. E.G. says:

    Thanks Daniel,

    I know and recommend Küntzel’s site, and intend to read his book asap.

  83. Daniel Bielak says:

    The following is some information about the collaborative involvement of some senior U.S. and British officials with the modern Nazi Islamic-Supremacist political movement that was begun and led by the founder and members of the ideologically authentically Nazi Islamic-Supremacist organization the Muslim Brotherhood.

    The Secret War Against the Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed the Jewish People, (Book, that, at this web address, is readable online for free) By John Loftus and Mark Aarons; The authors of this book, which they wrote in 1994, correctly describe, in this book, the origin of, and the nature of, the modern Islamic-Supremacist ideology and political movement, but I think that they are misinformed about, and that they wrongly describe, in this book, the nature of the original version of the religious and political ideology, and political, system Islam, as being peaceful, tolerant, and benign.); John Loftus, as a young lawyer, worked for the Attorney General of the United States government during the Carter and Reagan administrations, and, during his time in that position, had above-top-secret clearance in the United States government, and he discovered and researched classified United States government documents

    FTR (For the Record; radio program) #514 Interview with John Loftus about the Muslim Brotherhood, Recorded June 12, 2005, (Audio (realaudio))

  84. Daniel Bielak says:

    From what I understand, the following are facts.

    Amin Al Husseini created Fatah in 1958 with two of his young followers Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, and he later appointed Yasser Arafat as his successor as the leader of what Arab leaders, at, I presume, the suggestion of members of the Soviet KGB agency, began, in the 1960’s to call the “Palestinian” movement.

    The following are facts.

    The PLO was created in 1964 by members of the KGB and by Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser.

    Yasser Arafat, as the leader of Fatah, took over the PLO in the 1970’s.

    Hamas was created in 1988 and is an official arm of the Muslim Brotherhood

    The goal of the “Palestinian” Arab leadership is the destruction of the country of the Jewish people.

    Deceit is one of the main strategic tactics that the “Palestinian” Arab leadership use in their effort to attain their goal.

  85. Daniel Bielak says:


    From what I understand, the following is a fact.

    Yasser Arafat, as the leader of Fatah, took over the PLO in the 1970’s.

  86. Daniel Bielak says:


    Deceit is the main strategic tactic that the “Palestinian” Arab leadership use in their effort to attain their goal.

  87. Daniel Bielak says:

    I tried to post a comment with this, and more, information just previously but the comment has not been posted by the blog server.

    The Secret War Against the Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed the Jewish People, (Book, that, at this web address, is readable online for free) By John Loftus and Mark Aarons; John Loftus, as a young lawyer, worked for the Attorney General of the United States government during the Carter and Reagan administrations, and, during his time in that position, had above-top-secret clearance in the United States government, and discovered and researched classified United States government

  88. Daniel Bielak says:


    …and discovered and researched classified United States government documents…

  89. Daniel Bielak says:

    …and discovered and researched classified United States government documents…

  90. Daniel BIelak says:

    FTR (For the Record; radio program) #514 Interview with John Loftus about the Muslim Brotherhood, Recorded June 12, 2005, (Audio (RealAudio))

  91. Daniel BIelak says:

    FTR (For the Record; radio program) #514 Interview with John Loftus about the Muslim Brotherhood, (Audio (RealAudio)) Recorded June 12, 2005

    Soviet Subversion of the Free World Press (1984); (Video (in 9 parts) G.Edward Griffin interviews soviet KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov; the interview was conducted in 1984; Yuri Bzmenov was a member of the Novosti “Press” propaganda division of the KGB agency of the Soviet regime of Russia and was stationed in India in the 1960’s; in the 1960’s the members of the KGB agency created and hosted so-called “intellectual exchange” programs which targeted, and propagated so-called “anti-Imperialism” and “anti-Zionism” anti-United-States and anti-Israel propaganda towards imperceptive egocentric academics, intellectuals, and journalists in democratic countries; propaganda that was made by members of the KGB agency hugely influenced the ideology of the political Far-Left in Western countries, and, now, 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet regime, and with the huge increase and intensification of the modern Islamic-Supremacist political movement, the legacy of the propaganda that was made by the KGB agency, and which has become propagated and disseminated by several generations of politically Left indoctrinated academics, intellectuals, and journalists, has become dominant in Western societies, and has become detrimental to democratic civilization and to the well-being of the whole world.

    Bat Yeor: The New Euro-Arab Judeophobia Bears the Destruction of the West within it, (Video (in 3 Parts)) talk by Bat Yeor given in June 15, 2006; about intendedly genocidal hatred against Israel that is being cynically, deceitfully, and maliciously promoted and propagated, as part of a political strategy, by European political leaders; the talk was part of a conference that was titled “Antisemitism Multiculturalism Convention – Session IX”, and that was held on June 15, 2009 at Hebrew University of Jerusalem

    Antisemitism Multiculturalism Convention – Session IX, (Video) a conference that was held on June 15, 2009 at Hebrew University of Jerusalem

    Former Soviet Dissident Warns For EU Dictatorship; (Audio) An interview with Vladimir Bukovsky; the interview was conducted in 2006

  92. Daniel BIelak says:


    You’re very welcome.

    Yes Matthias Kuentzel’s site is very good.

  93. Daniel Bielak says:


    O The link that I posted to the book by John Loftus is a link to preview versions of the book which allow only a limited number of total pages of the book to be read free online.

    O I think that John Loftus may not have written about Hassan Al Banna and the Nazi-influenced-Wahabi-Sunni-Muslim Islamic-Supremacist political organization the Muslim Brotherhood that Hassan al Banna created in 1928 in the book to which I linked to. John Loftus talks about that in the interview to which I linked on comment #86.

  94. Daniel Bielak says:


    …is a link to a preview version…

  95. Daniel Bielak says:

    “…to which I linked to…”

    …to which I linked…

  96. Eliyahu says:

    JD, Cynic, Michelle, et al.

    I’d like to call your attention to my comment #75 that was posted with a delay of a day. It deals with Marxists and collective guilt.

  97. Michelle Schatzman says:


    there were indeed copycat regimes, which reproduced or tried to reproduce the organization of fascist Italy. But most of them were in power only at the time that Europe was dominated by nazi Germany : the Iron Guard of Codreanu, the Ustachis who ruled a puppet state in Yugoslavia, the regime of Mgr Tiso in Slovakia. I am not quite sure that Horthy’s Hungary could be considered as fascist. I am definite that the awful regimes of Franco and of Salazar must not be cosidered fascist – they lack many of the characteristics of fascist Italy.

    In any case, these are not very important questions. What remains is the idea that Benny Morris is such a terrible person that he cannot be debated.

  98. Cynic says:


    Have you read Jonah Goldberg’s book “Liberal Fascism”?
    I’d like to read it as it apparently has quite a few facts relating to the ideology.

  99. E.G. says:


    Morris debated? As far as I understood he may not even be heard!
    I wonder whether his books are going to be burnt, and his articles torn out of reviews and journals.

  100. Daniel Bielak says:

    Fascism, Communism, National Socialism; Socialism.

    Differentiation between them is semantics.

    More accurately said,

    Each of the ideologies, and political movements, and regimes, of each of those things are, and have been, similar to each other. The nature of each of those things are, and have been, similar to each other.

    Each of those ideologies are based on the ideology of Karl Marx, who was the son of an ethnically Jewish man who was a convert to the Christian religion.

    The ideology of Karl Marx is a narrative which, simply expressed, is the following.

    “The suffering of the majority of people in the world, who together constitute a particular group, is caused by the malevolent actions of a particular small group of inherently malevolent people in the world, who are the evil ignoble people in the world, and by the ignorance of the majority of the majority of the people in the world about the malevolent actions of the particular small group of people in the world who are the evil ignoble people in the world. In order to to alleviate the suffering of the majority of the people in the world, the good noble people in the world, who, together, are a particular group of people, and who are the people among the majority of people in the world who are not ignorant about the malevolent nature of, and about the malevolent actions of, the particular small group of evil ignoble people in the world, must destroy the small group of people in the world who are the evil ignoble people in the world, and, if necessary, must destroy any of the members of the particular majority of people in the world whose existence or actions prevent the good noble people from destroying the evil ignoble people.”

    The structure of Karl Marx’s ideology is similar to the structure of traditional European anti-Jewish bigotry.

    The ideology of Karl Marx is a perverse harmful form of the beneficial egalitarianism and beneficial aversion to injustice that are the main, and most beneficial aspects of, traditional Jewish culture.

    The ideology of Karl Marx is also an explcitely bigoted anti-Jewish ideology. Karl Marx explicitely stated in his presentation of his ideology that Jewish people, in particular, are inherently malevolent and that Jewish people are the people who are in most opposition to the benefit of the majority of people in the world, and that Jewish culture, in particular, is inherently malevolent and that Jewish culture is the culture which is in most opporsition to the benefit of the majority of people in the world.

    The ideology of Karl Marx is a recent formalized version of anti-Jewish bigotry.

    Anti-Jewish bigotry is an ideology. It is an ancient ideology.

    All formal ideologies that are explicitely bigoted anti-Jewish ideologies that have arisen in societies where Jewish people have mainly lived throughout history, which have been European and Middle-Eastern societies, are based on perverted versions of beneficial principals that are inherent aspects of Jewish culture.

    Adolf Hitler was influenced by, and adhered to, the ideology of Karl Marx, but he was so, and he did so, grudgingly because he hated Karl Marx because Adolf Hitler held a “racist” (ethinicity-based) anti-Jewish ideology, and Karl Marx was ethnically Jewish.

    Adolf Hitler, unlike Vladimir Lenin, believed that Jewish people, by nature, were inherently evil, and that Jewish people couldn’t “convert” to Marxism (Socialism).

    I think that the following is the case.

    During the 1930’s Socialists in Germany supported, and almost all Socialists and politically Liberal self-described “Pacifists” in Western countries were sympathetic to, Adolf Hitler and to his National Socialist regime in Germany. Only when Nationalist Socialist Germany and Communist Russia broke their alliance did many Socialists in Western countries side agaisnt National Socialist Russia. When those Socilaists in Western countries eventually did side against National Socialist Germany they sided with Communist Russia and they did so against also the United States and Britain which Socialists viewed as being evil and as being equivalent in nature to National Socialist Germany. The so-called “anti-Fascist” movement that arose during the 1930’s and 1940’s, was a movement that arose among Socialist and was created by some relatively decent Socialists in Western countries in order to develop opposition to the National Socialist regime of Germany among Socialist in Western countries.

  101. Daniel Bielak says:


    The arrow, poison, and wound, together constitute one thing. The arrow, poison, and wound, are one thing.

    Take out the arrow by clearly and comprehensively communicating the factual history of the situation and the facts of the current reality of the situation to the world with simple, clear, honest, accurate communication that includes speech, video, images, and writing.

  102. Eliyahu says:

    it is hard to define any political phenomenon exactly, especially when it’s still a partisan matter. But Franco Spain had a single party, the Falange, that considered itself fascist. Franco had imposed a corporatist social-economic system [or system of labor-capital relations] on Spain. He sent troops, the Blue Division, to the Eastern Front. He helped the Axis in military ways to attack Allied shipping in the Mediterranean. So all that makes him fascist.

    On the other hand, he seems to have relaxed his grip after the Axis defeat in WW2. I think that most of all he was interested in preserving his regime. I visited Barcelona and Madrid in 1972. They seemed clean but poor places. The police were nervous. Going out to the Madrid airport when Paraguay’s dictator Stroessner was coming or going, there was a gendarme, that is, civil guard [guardia civil] standing every five or six feet along the road going out of the city. Once outside the city, we saw a soldier standing every ten or fifteen feet [4 meters approx.]. So I did get the impression of a police state.

    One thing that ought to be known or recalled about Franco is that he was working with Arabs and Muslims from the start of his insurrection in 1936. His Moorish troops are recognized as the most effective part of his army [Lucharon contra los moros, Ay Manuela]. He had a mounted guard of Moorish horsemen [forget what they were called]. He arrested Jews in Spanish-occupied Tangier and Spanish Morocco on suspicion of trying to help the Allies during WW2. Most significantly, he had a close relationship to the Arab League, sending a delegation to sit in on the League’s meeting in 1945 or 46. He was close to the Syrian and Egyptian regimes during the Nasser period. Nasser once visited Spain.

    The Spanish leadership today grew up in schools with a curriculum drawn up by Franco and by the Church. Maybe it is no wonder that Spain today under “democratic” rule continues Franco’s pro-Arab policy and that anti-Israel sentiment is strong among the population.

    Again, what do ideological labels mean? By the 1960s, the USSR had good relations with Franco Spain and the two countries [and other Communist states] were trading, including in strategic raw materials.

  103. Michelle Schatzman says:


    I visited Spain in 1961, and it was indeed very poor. The police were interested in very political questions, such as preventing women on the beaches from wearing bikinis. It was known, so they stuck to one piece bathing suits.

    Many cops when a foreign head of state arrives for a state visit is no proof of anything. It was always the case under de Gaulle in France. I am used to the following obervations : in real police states, you have much more invisible cops and much fewer visible cops than in a democracy.

    Sapin being poor, many Spaniards found work in the neighboring countries, in particular France, and they did not hide their hate for Franco, their total lack of attachment to catholic beliefs, and to anything franquist. So, ideas travelled, and when Franco died in 1975, franquism had been dead for a long time.

    During WWII, one of the escape ways from nazi-occupied Europe was through Spain. Not everybody succeeded, as the suicide of Walter Benjamin showed, but many did. They were jailed for some time, and then freed and they could go to more peaceful places – essentially in the Americas. Sometimes, they fled through Portugal. Some french also joined the fight from the UK, after going through Spain.

    Franco did give protection to Jews who could claim spanish ancestry, and this seems to have saved some lives.

    There was indeed only one party, but the youth was *not* massively enrolled in political activities. The power over the youth was delegated to the Church, which was quite political and pro-Franco during and after Franquist times.

    Franco was more interested in keeping his power than anything else, and this is the reason why he remained neutral during WWII, and relented somewhat in his political persecution of opponents after WWII. He was a criminal dictator in many ways, and he kept Spain illiterate, isolated and underdevelopped.

    I guess that the reason for the proarab policy of present-day Spain has little to do with the moorish guards of Franco, and much with the anticatholic, antifranquist spirit of the majority in present-day Spain. The church and Franco said that Islam was horrible, so Islam has to be good. The church and Franco said that everything on the left that reeked even slightly of communism was going to destroy Spain, therefore, anything that is on the left and reeks slightly of communism must be nice, or at least somewhat nice. Hence, if the KGB propaganda says that the left has to ally itself with the antiimperialist arab or muslim states, there must be some truth in that, since memes do stay a long time. There were lots of US military bases in Spain under Franco, so the US have to be hated whatever they do.

    And so on and so forth.

    And never forget something really important : the communist or anarchis militants who entered Spain in order to plot against the regime died very heroic deaths. They were often condemned to the death penalty including the “garrote vil” : the person is seated on a chair, with neck held in a collar, and the diameter of the collar is decreased by turning a screw until death.

    Execution by “garrote vil” made more propaganda for extreme left ideas than any amount of activism. The last two people to be executed by this method in Spain were a Catalan anarchist, Salvador Puig Antich and an ordinary criminal, Heinz Ches, on March 2, 1974.

  104. Michelle Schatzman says:


    it’s not that I don’t want to debate Gideon Levy, I’m just afraid that it is useless. Since you made the effort of reading GL’s coke, can you pledge that I won’t lose my time reading him too?

  105. E.G. says:


    It is very instructive to read that Levy diatribe if one wants to understand how Alter-Jews (and alter-whatever in general) pretend to defend and promote democracy.

    The NIF “controversy” and the Morris/Cambridge case are illustrations of the phenomenon RL calls demopathy.

  106. Michelle Schatzman says:

    כן המפקד

    I read Gideon Levy’s piece, and I am impressed by the total lack of arguments : ad hominems, innuendos, guilt by association, holier than thou, all the rhetorical tricks are there. But arguments?

  107. Eliyahu says:

    Michelle, I agree with most of your words quoted below:

    Franco was more interested in keeping his power than anything else, and this is the reason why he remained neutral during WWII, and relented somewhat in his political persecution of opponents after WWII. He was a criminal dictator in many ways, and he kept Spain illiterate, isolated and underdevelopped.

    However, it is not at all certain that Franco wanted to stay neutral in WW2. Indeed, he sent troops to the Russian front and allowed Germany and Italy to use Spanish ports for spying and attacks on Allied shipping in the Med. Further, according to Spanish sources, when Franco met Hitler at Hendaye shortly after the Fall of France, he made demands that Hitler did not agree to. To wit, Franco demanded that Spain be allowed to take over all of Morocco [in addition to the Spanish zone in the north] as well as the Oran region of Algeria. These claims were attested by Francisco de Castiella y Jose Maria de Areilza in Reivindicaciones de Espana [1941] and by Ramon Serrano Suner, Entre Hendaya y Gibraltar [1949]. Hitler could not accede to these claims without clashing with the Vichy French. So maybe Franco made these uncomprising demands knowing that Hitler could not or would not meet them. Hence, maybe he didn’t want to get into the war in any big way but he still collaborated militarily with the Germans. See link:

    As for helping Jews get out of the Nazi-occupied zone of France, it wasn’t so easy for Jewish refugees or fugitives to get through Spain to Portugal or North Africa early in the war, as W Benjamin’s case shows, inter alia. Franco started a policy of helping Sefardic Jews only after he thought that the Germans were losing the war, that is, in 1943.

    Now, as to why Spain is so hostile to Israel today. I don’t agree at all with the logic that says that because Franco was very overtly anti-Communist, that the opposition embraced Communism or socialism. In any case, Franco’s regime did not attack Islam and in fact was pro-Arab and pro-Muslim. By your logic, the opposition should have been pro-Israel as a reaction to Franco’s very open pro-Arab policy. But what happened was that the new “democratic” post-Franco Spain continued Franco’s pro-Arab policy. If you want more details about Franco’s pro-Arab policy, just let me know.

  108. Cynic says:


    On your comment about a police state, Michelle made the point which I experienced that one did not see the police very often but maybe once or twice a day as they made their round in the “Black Maria” as the English called their “paddywagon” or police van but the state was everywhere in mufti/plain clothes spying on one.
    The frightening part was that even though what one did was not illegal if it offended “dear leader” then one was marked.

    Haaretz has been giving away English editions under cover of the IHT to try and attract readers but the papers are unread by the predominantly English speaking residents.
    I noticed the mess the wind was making of the pile outside a block of apartments and as usual passed a snarky remark, this time about environmentalism, pollution etc. One of the residents overheard and protested: “I can’t read this stuff without choking!”
    I wanted to ask if there were not enough windows to be cleaned (to use up the paper) but management was present. :-)
    October 2000 was an eye opener for many people and they want much more from journalists than straw clutching attempts at warding off reality from the belief/emotion paradigm they hold so dear.

  109. E.G. says:


    Progrès noté! You’ll end-up Ramatkal! Like her

    Yes, it’s all about delegitimizing the non-authorised “other”. That “bad other” (not to be confused with the sacro-saint Other) has no rights. No freedom of speech, no right to even exist.
    Did you too note the interesting use of “Zionism” in that Levy piece?

  110. Eliyahu says:

    Cynic, what country are you referring to as a police state, South Africa, Brazil or both?

    As to HaArets, the English edition seems to be read by foreign representatives/journalists here, not so much by English-speaking Israelis. I think you meant to write: HaArets is not read by most English-speaking Israelis; I don’t think you meant those Israelis who are “predominantly English-speaking”. Maybe I didn’t understand.

    EG, you make a good point about the Good Other and the Bad Other. I am proud to say that I am one of the Bad Others. There are at least two separate classes of Others. In any case, Jews are the ultimate Others, not only for the Old Right but for the New Left, the Toid Woild movement, the not-so-multicultural multiculturalists, the demonstrative lovers of Others, the not so tolerant exponents of tolerance, and so on. Some cultures deserve to be included under “multiculturalism” whereas others do not. Some minorities are certified and designated minorities, deserving special consideration, whereas other minorities are simply de trop.

  111. Eliyahu says:

    Cynic, as you know, the promoters of HaArets subscriptions like to give out the paper at high-brow and upper middle-brow cultural events in Israel, such as at the Jerusalem Cinematheque, the Jerusalem Theater, Hebrew Book Week, etc.

    I am proud that I take the paper for free on these occasions, despite my disgust with it. The economics/business section [inc. the Marker] is pretty good. I get the enemy to spend money on me that is not returned to them. But, I am proud to say, I never buy it. I do buy the JPOst once in a while.

  112. Cynic says:


    To your first question, both.
    Brazil was particularly wild being a military dictatorship while SA was more subtle having been colonised by the British.
    What was funny particularly years ago was that in Israel one was free, and even today, to say anything be it on the bus, the sidewalk or in a “crowded cinema”, while in Britain “outlandish” political thoughts could only be expressed at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park.
    The British press kowtowed to the Foreign Office and other organs in keeping certain information off the streets while screaming murder because Israel censored their reporting on the military front.

    The English speakers I refer to are citizens and not
    “foreign workers” :-)
    Haaretz doesn’t include the Marker with what they’ve been dumping and what they include in the business section is maybe just to impress the children at the breakfast table.

    Basically there is very little to read in either Haaretz or IHT and what there is not informative.

  113. Cynic says:


    IHT/NYT seems to be for the Marie Antoinette crowd who only eat cake.
    The ideological heights it has removed itself to have damaged the perspective.
    Does that make sense to you?

  114. Cynic says:

    Daniel Bielak,

    Take out the arrow by clearly and comprehensively communicating the factual history of the situation and the facts of the current reality of the situation to the world with simple, clear, honest, accurate communication that includes speech, video, images, and writing.

    Have a look at this piece by Robin Shepherd
    A Strategy for reversing the tide of anti-Israeli bigotry

    Today’s Jerusalem Post runs a commentary by Professor Gil Troy which should be read by anyone who is fed up with the kind of reactive, take-action-only-after-the-roof-has-fallen-in approach that has been a characteristic of pro-Israeli advocacy for far too long.
    He offers for consideration a three-pronged strategy which he characterises as the “Three P’s”:
    First, “Push-back”:
    “We will rarely sway with mere facts someone who has swallowed the apartheid libel and drunk the anti-Israel Kool-Aid. Our target ……

  115. Michelle Schatzman says:

    OK, Eliyahu, you do not agree with me, which is fine.

    So, let me be somewhat less theoretical.

    In the place where I started as a (very) young mathematician, in 1970, there were young mathematicians from Portugal and Spain, so I learnt a lot from them. I also happen to have travelled a number of times professionnally to Spain and just once to Portugal. Finally, my son spent year 2001-2002 in Barcelona and remained in contact.

    The level of leftism in Catalunya, for instance, is enormously higher than in France, in any place I know of.

    For instance, there are houses in Barcelona, which squatted by extreme-left groups and these make for themselves a place in society by organizing day-care services. Instead of being totally illegal, they are semi-legal, and it seems that the health services do not disapprove and give some kind of certification.

    One of the first measures taken by the Zapatero govenrment in 2004 was to abandon their participation in the Irak war – and it was an immensely popular move. The Spaniards are more antiamerican than the French (even if you can’t believe it) because they remember that the US were good friends with Franco.

    That Spain continued the pro-Arab policy of Franco is due a very simple geopolitical fact : Morocco is close, and there are two places called Ceuta and Melilla, which belong to Spain, though they are pieces of African land.

    The replacement of Franco by a democracy did not move Spain further off Africa.

    You would be right to agree that there is a bit of inconsistency in my explanations : why did the Spaniards choose to hate more the US than the Arabs, while Franco was as much a friend with the further than with the latter?

    Most of Europe is antiamerican, so democracy reinforced antiamericanism, since Spain was integrated in ’86 to the EU. Beyond the geopolitical reality of Spanish interest on the coast of Morocco, it seems to me that there is a long history of antisemitism in Spain. My son came back with an interesting book on the Xuetes, the former jewish families in Mallorca – they have been catholic for centuries, but their family names show that they are descendced from Jews, and they have been subject to discriminations.

    The enemies of my enemies are my friends – nothing new under the sun.

  116. E.G. says:

    I wouldn’t use (freely received) Al-Ard to clean windows or wrap fish, fearing intoxicating leftovers.

    Its dwindling readership among Israelis (I got reports from quite a few friends who used to be subscribers – some still are, mainly for the literary supplement) may be problematic financially for the editors, and don’t count on me spending a sleepless moment about it.

    It is the foreign readership that is worrying. This voice is disproportionately weighed relative to Israeli Zeitgeist. It reflects a shrinking minority, but counts as mainstream, if not opinion-shaper. And, of course, since it is published in Israel, the venomous or vacuous articles are sealed Kosher and are gladly reproduced by “anti-Zionist” of all colours.

    Besides, many Al-Ard (like other titles’) journalists also appear on TV and Radio talk shows, and not only in Israel. Of course, their more radical stands are more attractive for audience-seeking media. So again, their presence is disproportionate.

  117. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Gideon Levy gave a talk in my town a few days ago. Hee was invited by the “Union juive française pour la paix”. I skipped. UJFP are extreme propalestinians, who don’t really mind demonstrating in the company of good friends holding nice Hizbullah or Hamas flags.

    One always needs traitors, as I said before.

  118. Cynic says:

    How many people think of the FT (Financial Times) when we discuss media bias etc., here?

    Major new study shows blatant anti-Israel agenda at the Financial Times

    If you thought that the Financial Times was the kind of news outlet that remained above the fray in its coverage and commentary on Israel’s predicament in the Middle East, you’d be wrong. A new, in-depth study by the respected media monitoring group Just Journalism shows that this quintessentially establishment newspaper yields to nobody in its anti-Israeli bias and its wilful distortion of Middle Eastern realities.

  119. Cynic says:


    I wouldn’t use (freely received) Al-Ard to clean windows or wrap fish, fearing intoxicating leftovers.

    Kitty litter?

  120. E.G. says:


    Litter @home?! Feh!
    (though I don’t disinfect my screen after each display of the “Paper for the unthinking”)

    Your link in #119 is very good and the strategy is actually quite simple and commonsensical.

  121. Eliyahu says:

    The fact that the FT is just as anti-Israel –or almost– as the guardian shows that it is wrong to think of this hatred as “left” or “right.” After all, the FT favors free market capitalism, favors the rich, etc. The FT also favors the super-rich Arab oil monarchs of Arabia and the Persian Gulf. In essence, most of the so-called “left” does too because just about no organized political body anywhere has anything mean to say about how the working class or semi-slave workers in Arabia and the Persian Guld is treated. Apparently, the horrible working conditions in those places, alongside the extremely great wealth, do not bother anybody of conscience in the world of do-goodism.

  122. E.G. says:


    I once saw Avirama Golan on a French TV talk-show. She was ridiculous, not realising that her numerous facial expressions, intended to signal her disproval, discounting, disdain, mocking etc. of her interlocutor, were (a) hardly understood by both her interlocutors and the viewers (different culture codes) and (b) made her seem rather clownish.
    Her far from perfect French didn’t contribute to improve the image…
    She badly needs training from the Mufti’s grand-daughter.

  123. Eliyahu says:

    Michelle, I know very well that the southern tip of Spain is close to the north of Morocco. I know about Ceuta and Melilla and three other Spanish enclaves too, on the coast of Morocco. One of the two main enclaves was taken by Portugal in 1415 and then transferred to Spain during the united monarchy. The other main enclave was taken by Spain in 1490, two years before Spain took Granada, that is, while Arab-Muslims still ruled over part of Spain. Hence, Spanish colonialism in North Africa overlaps with Arab-Muslim colonialism in Spain.

    The mere fact that Spain is close to Morocco does not cause or explain the extreme Israelophobia of Spain. They could have chosen to be much less pro-Arab than they are. For whatever reason, post-Franco Spain chose to continue his pro-Arab policy. By the way, Spain allowed military supplies for the Algerian FLN to pass through Spanish Morocco, with US approval.

    Michelle, try to recall all the Nazi war criminals who got refuge in Franco Spain. One of them was Otto Skorzeny –much admired by Hitler– who sold Spanish weapons to the Arabs.

  124. Eliyahu says:

    It seems that Leila Shahid is the granddaughter of Haj Amin el-Husseini, an advocate of mass murder. Tell me, EG, doesn’t anybody in France bring her mass murderous family heritage up to her??

    by the way, Leila and/or her mother was/were pupil/s/ at the Ramallah Friends School, run by the American Quaker Church [Society of Friends]. What did Leila learn about peace and the “perfidious Jews” at the school, founded by a sect that ostensibly believes in pacifism and “turn the other cheek”? For pacifists, some of the Quakers involved in world affairs and diplomacy [such as the American Friends Service Committee] have some very bloodthirsty friends. The Ramallah school building/s/ serve after school hours as a meeting place for PLO terrorists, irredentists, chauvinists, etc.

    Michelle, Voltaire was a great admirer of the English Quakers, la Societe des Amis[?]. Voltaire was also a great hater of Jews, but I don’t know if we can make any logical connection there.

  125. Michelle Schatzman says:


    Voltaire hated Jews and argued *for* slavery. Not only that : he also hated atheism, and harshly defended a deist position. But I still love Voltaire : he was full of hate, he had dark spots, but cannot be reduced to his dark spots.

    I also hate Rousseau, who was ready to sacrifice the individual to the greater good of humanity, and whose loving and tender ways have been the matrix of much secular messianism – including the violence of the worst times of the French revolution of 1789.

    The world is not black and white, there are shades of grey. It is not only Spain, which was an asylum for Jews and then for nazis : it is also true for Mexico and Argentina, and probably a few other nations in Hispanic America.

    So what? Can we afford to understand only the world in black and white? Probably not. The difference between Franco and Mussolini was that some people could flee Hitler through Spain, and not through Italy.

  126. Cynic says:


    Here with respect to “Climate Change” is the way journalists carry out their policy
    The global warming guerrillas

    By contrast, it has so far attracted little attention that the leaked emails of Climategate include messages from reporters obsequiously seeking ammunition against the sceptics. Other emails have shown reporters meekly changing headlines to suit green activists, or being threatened with ostracism for even reporting the existence of a sceptical angle: ‘Your reportage is very worrisome to most climate scientists,’ one normally alarmist reporter was told last year when he slipped briefly off message. ‘I sense that you are about to experience the “Big Cutoff” from those of us who believe we can no longer trust you, me included.’

    So analogous to political reporters on the job, no.

    They are neither naive nor ignorant but the Aquilifer of the agenda.

  127. Eliyahu says:

    So, Cynic, the Big Bad Tough Climate Scientist intimidates the silly, little journalist with a Big Cutoff from Inside Info.

    Now contrast Tough Climatologist with PLO journalist minder who might gently threaten to have Little Bo Peep Journalist [male or female] tossed in the Med or off a cliff into a canyon or into wet concrete. One might conclude that Little Bo Peep Journos can be intimidated, if even Tough Climatologist can command obedience.

  128. Cynic says:


    Serve him right for reserving a room at that particular hotel.

    A lot of them don’t have to be threatened but willingly comply.

  129. sshender says:

    Cynic, things are not so black and white in the AGW debate. The science remains solid and mostly unchallenged. These emails have uncovered nothing spectacular. The whole affair has been hijacked by right wing interest groups, media (Fox news, Limbaugh, Beck, Jones and others) and the blogosphere.

    See here for a serious no-hype look at the affair:

    And while you’re at it, have a look at the whole GW series by this guy – highly enlightening and objective.

    AGW denial is similar to creationism, and just like the latter is also driven by the same two things: an agenda (religious, financial, personal) and
    utter ignorance of the science involved.

  130. sshender says:

    The second objection I want to make has to do with blaming religious elements for European Anti-Zionism. This argument seems odd to me because Europe is no longer Christian or governed by Christian doctrine. On the contrary, it has become the bastion of secularism and fallen victim to some of the secular dogmas such as Communism, Marxism or National Socialism. There is no denying that many antisemitic elements were inherited from classical Christian thought, but opposition to Israel in the context of anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism and class struggle has little to do with traditional Christian Judeophobia.

  131. Daniel BIelak says:


    “There is no denying that many antisemitic elements were inherited from classical Christian thought, but opposition to Israel in the context of anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism and class struggle has little to do with traditional Christian Judeophobia.”


    Psychology is psychology.

    The mindset is the mindset.

    The anti-Jewish ideology, the pathological mindset, that is defined by, and that is influenced by the legacy of, tenets of Christianity do not disappear within the mind of one who profoundly, deeply, holds such views just as a result of one no longer believing in the religion Christianity as a religious belief.

    Christianity was a manifestation of, is a formal form of, anti-Jewish bigotry. Marxism is a more recent manifestation of, is a more recent formal form of, anti-Jewish bigotry, and formalized explicit anti-Israeli bigotry, so-called “anti-Zionism”, is the most recent formal form of anti-Jewish bigotry.

    Anti-Jewish bigotry is an ideology.

  132. Daniel BIelak says:

    The principals that have been pronounced by the developers and adherents of every formal form of anti-Jewish bigotry, without exception, have been wrong views that are perverse versions of right views that are principals of egalitarianism and aversion to injustice that are the main, and the most beneficial, aspects of Jewish culture.

    Every formal form of anti-Jewish bigotry, without exception, has been expressed by its developers and adherents as being an ideology of egalitarianism and altruism and aversion to injustice.

    Simply stated, anti-Jewish bigotry is resentful malice (meanness) that is caused by ignorance, and, caused by a profound aspect of that ignorance, egocentrism.

  133. E.G. says:


    Leila’s “pedigree” is well known, at least since she published her mother’s book in French (Souvenirs de Jérusalem, by Sirine Husseini Shahid, preface by Edward Said). What is far less known is her great-uncle’s role and achievements.
    Of course Leila does everything to emphasize Arab victimhood and conceal the “great Husseini family” activities other than having “legitimate national aspirations” and playing key-roles in “the struggle” to accomplish them. She actually takes pride in belonging to a noble clan. And doesn’t bother too much to rectify the misinfo about her being Arafat’s cousin…

    Her eloquence matches her networking capacities, though for the last, much has been done by her very talented predecessor, who also married Raymonda Tawil’s daughter…

  134. E.G. says:

    Cynic #131

    “You’ve got blackmail”.
    (Or “a little hotel around the corner”?)

    Aquilifer? Aquifer+life?

  135. Daniel Bielak says:

    The form of anti-Jewish bigotry that those who are Jewish who adopt and adhere to anti-Jewish bigotry, and who have been, and who continue to be, the most influential propagators of, anti-Jewish bigotry, is resentful malice that is caused by fear, ignorance, and, caused by a profound aspect of that ignorance, egocentrism.

    O resentful malice towards the Jewish people who are hated by the non-Jewish people who hold bigoted wrong views about, and who feel antipathy towards, particular Jewish people who are defined as a particular group
    O fear of being hated by those who are not Jewish
    O ignorance about circumstances and events in the world, and ignorance about one’s own mind

    “I’m good. It’s *those* Jewish people’s fault that the non-Jewish people hate us(me). *Those* Jewish people are causing our(my) suffering.”

  136. Eliyahu says:

    sshender, I am not a natural scientist although I did study geology [which may have some relevance to the GW issue]. Nevertheless, I –and I’m sure many others– would like to know how the colder than usual weather in North America and Western Europe, even in normally cold-hearted Washington, DC, can be explained if global warming is taking place. Washington, Philadelphia, and Baltimore suffered/enjoyed [it’s a matter of taste] their deepest snows in many years. How can that be? How does that jibe with GW?

  137. Eliyahu says:

    sshender, you say that “right wing interest groups” have seized the GW issue. Yes, the subject that we both might want to see as a strictly scientific matter has become an Issue. A big Issue. But if we want to be scientific, then we have to stop using that “right-left” nomenclature. In other words, by rejecting the skeptics on GW by smearing them with the “right-wing” label then you’re using an ad hominem argument. As you may know, I reject the whole notion of a “right-left” political spectrum. But if we do accept that notion, then we could say that there has developed a whole “left-wing” cult around GW and the natural environment and ecology.

    Note however that 100 years ago, there was a movement with somewhat similar concerns. In America this movement was called “conservation” and was led by Republicans like Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot. This movement could have been called “right-wing.” Now we have a “left-wing” cult around some of the same concerns that TR and Pinchot and others talked about. The cult’s enthusiasts riot in Copenhagen and speak in terms of ideals like saving the planet. Does rioting in Copenhagen make them Leftist? Bear in mind that their concerns were not traditional “left-wing” concerns. The eco & environmental movement has little to say about a socialist revolution or the rights of the working class or 3rd world liberation bringing down imperialism, blah blah blah. Yet, you and many others would likely call this a “leftist” movement.

    To conclude, I believe that many serious scientists reject the AGW notion. In fact, I heard a French scientist speak on France24 about his skepticism. He said that, yes, there was GW but it was very minimal and most likely not caused by man, that is, it was not AGW. He identified himself as a socialist. So why not get away from labeling the skeptics “right-wing” which is just an ad hominem rejection of their theories?

  138. E.G. says:


    The current weather vs. GW not a geo-… issue, but a statistical one: sampling. An individual in a sample, or a specific (sub-)sample’s performance may (and often does) not represent the event or the phenomenon studied. See: Law of large numbers.

  139. Michelle Schatzman says:


    (1) global warming can only be observed over long period of times – say 30 years. A fluctuation such as winter 2009, which was very cold in North America does not say anything about global warming.

    (2) in order to observe what is going on over long periods of time, one can use several types of obervations:
    (2a) temperatures
    (2b) evolution of fauna and flora
    (2c) temperature of the oceans
    (2d) thawing of glaciers

    All these observations do have problems – science is about understanding what the problems are and how to correct their impact on observations. For instance, temperature observations have been marred in China, because they were taken in urban areas, and urban areas are warmer than the nearby countryside. The correction has been made, and it does not change significantly the global result.

    Flora and fauna : my sister-in-law owns a chalet in the French Alps, which was bought when she was ten years old. She is able to say “here, 50 years ago, there were no alders, and now, there are”. This observation passes the long time test, because of the underlying simple process: seeds are spread every year by alders. Small plants can grow in the spring higher on the mountain, but if the climate is too harsh, they will die. Another indication : if I go buy my fish at the fishmonger and already the fish have eggs at the end of January or the beginning of February, something wrong is going on, because this species of fish had eggs only in march some time ago. It takes a lot of time to warm up sea or ocean water. If the fish spawn earlier, it means that winters are milder and summers are warmer.

    Regarding glaciers, the situation is totally obvious in all the Alps : there are old photographs, and one simply sees the difference on the photographs. I went on vacation in the Alps as a little girl, and 50 years ago, the glaciers were thicker and longer in the Chamonix valley. Pictures say even more than my memory.

    Now, I agree with you that these are local observations, concerning say a special area of the Alps in France or a particular species of fish in the Atlantic.

    This is why we need the generalized observations that can be obtained only through international cooperation.

    There is even a theory that can explain local significant cooling as a consequence of global warming. Here is how it goes for northern Europe : the Greenland ice thaws every summer, and delivers lots of cold fresh water to the North Atlantic.

    The density of see water depends on two factors : salinity (more salt implies denser) and temperature (colder implies denser). The sweet cold water starts by sitting atop the warmer salt water, but then it mixes (in fact very slowly) with the salt water, and when its density becomes higher than that of the underlying water, it dives to oceanic depth. This phenomenon is a part of the thermohaline circulation. Another phenomenon is upwelling, whereby deep warmer water surfaces into colder water. The deep warmer water is also full of nutrients, and oceanic life gets a kick from upwelling. There are seasonal changes in the currents and the intensity of upwelling, and the “El Niño” and “La Niña” phenomena correspond to large changes in the localization and intensity of upwelling.

    Now, suppose that Greenland ice thaws more than usual. Then the Greenland icecap will deliver much more cold fresh water, and this cold fresh water will take a much longer time to mix with salt water and then to dive to the depth. This could imply that winds over this cold water will also be colder and then climate will be colder in the regions affected by these winds.

    Now, we do have geological evidence that the end of the last ice-age saw (at elast local) oscillations in the temperature, over periods of about 30 years. This has been observed for instance in the sediments of some lakes in the Jura mountains in France, and the explanation is the following : as the local icecap broke into large pieces of ice, which took lots of time to melt (think of how long it takes for ice to melt on the sides of a road after most of the snow has gone away), the local climate cooled down, until the global warming took over and the process repeated itself.

    Eliyahu, I am definitely not an ideologist, as you may have observed in my posts. The science I enjoy is a science that knows it can make errors. It is not a belief or an ideology. Global warming is basically an observation.Its anthropic origin is, for me, an observation also, since there have been mesaurements assessing that the incerase in CO2 in the atmosphere can be traced to the burning of fossile fuels. These measurements take into account the different isotopic compositions of CO2 from fossile fuels and CO2 metabolized by living organisms.

    The jury is still out about the rôle of water vapor, since a recent article in “Science” shows that the quantity of water vapor in the upper atmosphere has significantly varied in the 90’s. We don’t know yet everything about the climate and far from it. The interaction between atmosphere and oceans is not well understood, phenomena in higher atmosphere are not well understood either.

    Being professionnally involved in numerical analysis and scientific computation, I have taught often that one should always be critical about a computational result, because it is easy to tell stories and be so proud that the computation eventually worked, that one forgets to be critical about it.

    I definitely do not agree with the political ecology view, which tends to try to make man (and woman :-) ) better by changing our way of life, because it reeks of social engineering, and I knwo where social engineering leads.

    But simple good sense already says a lot : if we use a commodity that is getting rarer and rares, we’ll have to pay more for it. This commodity is fossile energy. If we don’t want to be prisoners of the people who sell this commodity, we have to imagine effective solutions to get out of jail.

    If we maintain a healthy measure of skpeticism about the promises of science, we have to manage sensibly the environment. To give you an idea of what healthy skepticism means, for instance, I don’t believe that my grandchildren will see controlled fusion happen. However, they might be able to see hydrogen energy if biological ways can be found for making the technology work.

    If our understanding of the living organisms tells us that biodiversity is a guarantee of adaptability, we have to protect biodiversity.

    If water conservation demands less inveestment than desalination, apply conservation.

    I could go on and on and on…

    There is no need for ideology here, just a need for rational thought and reasonable anticipation of the problems confronting mankind.

  140. Eliyahu says:

    but in the past global warming and cooling have taken place without any necessary man-made causes. There are trends. There was an ice age and the ice melted. Maybe we should think in terms of cycles.

    as far as the research “proving” AGW is concerned, Charges have been made that a team studying tree rings in regard to the GW claim, recorded the trees that fit their theory but did not report the trees that did not fit.

    So maybe more skepticism about the research is called for, especially since it is a political issue.

  141. E.G. says:


    Could you please post a short summary description of the Law of Large Numbers?

    I’m afraid that quite a few scientists – working in different areas – are not very familiar with this Law (or prefer to ignore it), which leads to specious conclusions.

  142. Cynic says:

    E.G., #139

    “You’ve got blackmail”.
    (Or “a little hotel around the corner”?)

    You know, that “little” Hotel in Jerusalem where foreign journalists meet to find their guides, taxi drivers and the truth.

    An aquilifer was a senior signifer bearing the eagle standard of a Roman legion.
    A signifer was a standard bearer of the Roman legions.


  143. E.G. says:


    Aaach! Zat lack of Kultur!

    But, regarding that little hotel, it’s rather a foreign legion…
    (and I was referring to the play/film ;-) )

    Can one qualify the local ones as aqvilifiers?

  144. Cynic says:


    The whole affair has been hijacked by right wing interest groups, media (Fox news, Limbaugh, Beck, Jones and others) and the blogosphere.

    Oh good grief, surely you mean right wing extremist groups bearing nazi symbols (nancy pelosi about the tea parties)?

    Global warming caused by CO2 which makes up about 3% of greenhouse gases, of which water vapour is the most abundant of the gases at some 95%, and the Anthropogenic CO2 contribution is about only about 3% of the total CO2?
    So the Canadian Stephen McIntyre whose statistical work exposed the hockey stick fiasco, Lord Monckton and other skeptics are extreme right wingers?

    Here’s the letter Lord Monckton sent to Australia’s ruling class. It is worth reading as it calculates the rise in temp., that governments are willing to spend trillions on.
    Climate change: proposed personal briefing

    The IPCC’s bureaucrats are careful not to derive a function that will convert changes in CO2 concentration directly to equilibrium changes in temperature. I shall do it for them.

    We derive the necessary implicit function from the IPCC’s statement to the effect that equilibrium surface warming ΔT at CO2 doubling will be (3.26 ± ln 2) C°. Since the IPCC, in compliance with Beer’s Law, defines the radiative forcing effect of CO2 as logarithmic rather than linear, our implicit function ……….
    ………after long read ….
    My list of the Copenhagen junketers from Australia’s governing class is attached. All those taxpayer dollars squandered, just to forestall 0.02 C° of “global warming” in ten years. Yet, in the past decade and a half, there has been no “global warming” at all. Can you not see that it would be kinder to your working people to wait another decade and see whether global temperatures even begin to respond as the IPCC has predicted? What is the worst that can happen if you wait? Just 0.02 C° of global warming that would not otherwise have occurred. It’s a no-brainer.

    Yours faithfully,

  145. Cynic says:


    Hold on now. Which hotel from play/film and foreign legions? The one in Casablanca?
    Or was there a little hotel on the prairie?

    Can one qualify the local ones as aqvilifiers?

    The hotels :-) or the legionnaires?

  146. Cynic says:


    The law of large numbers is from probability theory and basically says that performing an experiment a large number of times will produce an average closer to the expected value
    (and here “expected” does not mean what you expect it to mean – better leave it for Michelle to explain)
    and that dafka plays no part in it.

    If you are wondering what’s going on today it is that the sun is warmening up the room.

  147. E.G. says:


    -You’ve got mail/A little shop around the corner.

    – The legionnaires.

    Davka yes it does!

  148. Ray in Seattle says:

    I am pleased to see Michelle and sshender provide some perspective to the AGW debate. I would only add a few minor observations about human nature that I think this debate (like all ideological conflict) makes very clear.

    Science (objectivity sans ideology with built-in error checking) is not the normal mode for human cognition. Our brains our designed to do one thing very well – make behavior choices that result in our improved personal emotional landscape – over any alternatives. That says nothing about science objectivity which can only be appreciated as a secondary – not immediate – effect of behavior choice.

    Scientists study, learn and practice their difficult and peculiarly abnormal mode of cognition against this underlying psychological need to “feel good”. Most have no understanding of nor any appreciation for it and because of cognitive egocentrism assume that scientists reach conclusions just like they do – to feel as good as possible as a result.

    And yet, we all depend on scientists doing their strange thing. All our lives would be brutally shorter and less enjoyable were it not for scientific discoveries of the last 100 years or so.

    All scientific disciplines have built-in means for winnowing out the inevitable errors. When scientists make a prediction they include estimates of the probability that they are right or wrong. That’s part of the methodology.

    When ideologues (who have no idea how science works) attack scientists as being biased because they don’t like their carefully qualified conclusions (they make the ideologues feel bad) they pervert the process – which is the intent of the AGW deniers in this case – at least the institutional deniers.

    By politicizing the issue they also enlist the rage of the masses of ideologues on one side or the other – sometimes left, sometimes right. It makes no difference which one as long as a lot of heat and animosity is created. That heat prevents rational democratic deliberation and leaves the outcome up to whoever can exert the most control of the political process.

    And all the explanation about how this works will make no difference at all to those who have already become ideologically committed because the ideological mind is only concerned with winning – not with being right.

    That said, ideology not only has its place, it is absolutely necessary at times because some things can not be done without ideological motivation. The trick is to be absolutely certain (logically) that your cause deserves your ideological commitment. Armies defending democracies must operate on that principle.

    Ideology is properly enlisted in a democracy to face ones external demopathic enemies IMHO. Ideological (non-rational) factional battles that rage internally and out of control inside a democracy will eventually weaken and destroy it. Right now the US is close to being ungovernable for that reason. This latest surge in irrationality began with Newt Gingrich’s demonization of Democrats during Clinton’s first term.

    The left and right both have to respect those on the other side as honorable opponents and should marginalize those on their side who cross the line. Ideological attacks radicalize the opponents on each side and escalate. Soon there is no room for democratic deliberation. There are only winners and losers – zero sum.

    Ideological attacks by the RW against the Clintons, Al Gore, Obama, health care reform and scientists studying AGW are results of the exact same psychology as Hamas firing Qassams at innocent civilians in Sderot. They all believe they are absolutely right and that their enemies deserve to be attacked and destroyed by any means available because they are vile deceitful people out to destroy all that is good in the world.

    And they both believe in their deepest hearts that their view of their enemy and their own role in the struggle to achieve their version of “justice” is based on the soundest logic possible – and contains not a drop of non-rational ideology. It is completely clear to them and it is not possible to them that their view could be mistaken.

    That’s how the human mind works in ideological conflict.

  149. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Law of large numbers.

    Let me take an example : suppose I play head and tails with a fair coin, i.e. quite symmetric, with constant density (or if it is bimetallic, as the 1 and 2 euros coins, the exterior metal should be in the shape of a cylindrical corona ; it would probably also work with a polygonally shaped coin ; what do you think E.G., there is a heptagonal coin where you live).

    If I observe the results, I’ll find out that the number of tails and the number of heads is approximately the same, when I throw many times. I tend also to believe that the outcome of one throw has no influence on the others.

    So, let me make a model of what is happening: I’ll make two assumptions : heads and tails are equally likely, and if I throw several times, there is no influence of the result of one throw on any other.

    Then I can infer many consequences on the behavior of any game with a large number of throws. In order to do that, I need to think of all the possible outcomes. In a situation with 2 successive throws, the list of possibilities is

    HH, HT, TH, TT.

    If I think of 3 successive throws, the list is


    and in general, if I throw n times, I will have 2 to the power n possibilities, i.e. the product of n factors of 2.

    Now, let me score 1 for head and 0 for tails. In the case of 3 successive throws, I get


    Now, this is an unfair way of counting things, if I want to compare throwing 3 times with throwing 100 times. So, if I want to compare results between games of different length, I have to divide by the number of throws. Then, all my possible scores will be

    1, 2/3, 2/3, 2/3, 1/3, 1/3, 1/3, 0

    and simple arithmetic tells me that, if I take the average of my scores, what I get is 1/2.

    In general, if I throw n times, score 1/n for heads and 0 for tails, and if I take the average of the scores over all possible games, what I get is 1/2.

    But, I can also observe that most of the scores are close to 1/2. If I throw 3 times, 6 out of 8 possible scores are within 1/6 of the average.

    If I throw 4 times, 14 out of 16 possible scores are within 1/4 of the average.

    In general, the proportion of scores lying within a small distance d of 1/2 gets closer and closer to 1 as the number of throws gets larger. Of course, this does not mean that extreme events don’t happen : they are just rare. Everybody knows that if one throws 10 times with a fair coin, obtaining 8 heads out of 10 is quite unusual.

    This was the statement of the law of large numbers.

    On top of it, there is a theorem, called the central limit theorem, which says very precisely what the proportion of scores lying within a distance d from of 1/2 is.

    The law of large numbers can be generalized to all sorts of situations. What is needed is (1) experiments which can be modelled as probabilistic, i.e. one does not know the outcome of each individual experience, but one knows the proportion of all possible outcomes when many experience are performed (2) independent experiments ; there is no influence of the outcome of one experiment on the others (3) a score for each outcome (4) the experience is repeated many times in a row. Then, the average score after many repetitions lies very close to what mathematicians call the mathematical expectation.

    I don’t want to write a formula, but simply generalize what I did in the heads and tails case : suppose that there are k different outcomes and they all happen in the same proportion, i.e. 1/k. Then, if I attribute a score to each of the outcomes, the mathematical expectation is the sume of the k possible scores, divided by k. If you followed me up to this paragraph, you can imagine easily how to do things if outcomes happen in unequal proportions, and if you are knowledgeable in calculus, you would also know how to extend this to continuous outcomes.

    After this technical description, there is something I would like to emphasize : whether the model can be trusted in a good question – always. The part of science, which estimates whether a probabilistic description fits well a phenomenon, is called statistics.

    I am no statistician, so I’m not going to say anything deep about that subject. But being used to deterministic modelling, I can say with confidence that the results obtained with any model whatsoever cannot be better than the model.

    Regarding models of climate, one of the tests consists of plugging in what was observed some time ago, and try to repeat the evolution of the climate since that time, by using numerical simulation of the model. If the computed evolution reproduces the observation, the model is thought to be reasonable.

    It is fairly obvious that this test is somewhat limited, since it is possible to obtain good results with a defective model. Of course, there are methodologies to repeat the comparison of the simulated model with the observations – I am not competent in this field.

    Cynic, I have to think of an answer regarding your argument about water vapor in the atmosphere. So i’ll do a bit of reading and let you know what I understand.

    I did not write the same answer as E.G. regarding extreme meteorological events, because usually, one does not consider all the possible outcomes of the global experiment called weather. In fact, it would be fair to consider that the climate is the average of the weather over long periods. For instance, if I take a 30 years window, I’d be interested on average temperatures from 1970 to 2000, then 1971 to 2001, and so on. ײַI’d have to consider other inbteresting physical quantities: humidity, wind and so on.

    Regarding time averages, and their relation to averages on all possible outcomes, there is another idea, which is called ergodicity.

    Suppose that I pour one part of vodka and three parts of tomato juice in a glass. Now, I’m going to mix them probabilistically : I divide my cubic glass into cubic volumes of 1 cubic centimeter, and I displace randomly these cubes. Then, I do the same with volumes of 1 cubic milliliter, and again with a 1000 times smaller volume and so on. This would be my mathematical mixing, and the law of random numbers tells me that in a large proportion of the cases, I will get in every small volume 1/4 vodka and 3/4 tomato juice. This is the average over all outcomes. But I can do other averages : I just pick a point somewhere, I draw a small volume around this point and I record the proportions of tomato juice and vodka over time, say after every mixing step. If I average over time, I should get 3/4 tomato juice and 1/4 vodka – this is what ergodicity means : averaging over time at some point gives the same result as averaging over all possible outcomes.

    Le chaim !
    ! להיים

  150. E.G. says:

    An oldie:


    The point is not about climate variations or changes, or pro-/anti-Zionist Zeitgeist. It is about how people form their (more or less learned) impression about a phenomenon, and the validity of such opinions.

  151. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG, Thanks for the link. I ran into it before (maybe you posted it before) but it was fun reading it again. Just to extend the discussion on this interesting topic I’d add that the human brain is not designed to be an accurate predictor of objective reality. It is instead designed to allow us to survive the environmental challenges we encounter in life. At first glance it would seem that those goals should be synonymous.

    However, nature has designed us to be more conservative than the strict probabilities would dictate. One way this occurs is that it biases our minds in certain ways. For example, thanks to our amygdala which is the brain circuit most concerned with threats to our survival, we typically overgeneralize.

    The brain circuits that cause us to predict the character of a small sample of a large homogeneous group based on the known makeup of that group are the same circuits that make us fear all snakes in the grass – even though only a small proportion of them are poisonous, and all spiders even though only a small proportion bite, etc.

    i.e. there is little to lose by not befriending any snakes or spiders that we come upon on the path – but much to lose if we even once befriend the rare black widow or pit viper.

    And that’s one reason why scientific methodology is necessary to tease out the true nature of nature. It often runs against our built-in circuits for self-preservation (biases).

  152. E.G. says:


    Our “built in circuits” are heuristics. Using heuristics (instead of the Bayesian algorithm) sometimes leads to biased judgements. IOW, don’t confuse causes and effects.

    Scientific thinking is supposed to be Bayesian (rather than laypersons’ intuition). So when one “catches” scientists proceeding unscientifically, one can (and should, IMO) legitimately question their competence and/or their integrity.

    p.s. The bias goes both ways: sometimes too conservative and at other times too radical. Intuitive thinking is not very good at computing Bayes’ formula.

  153. Michelle Schatzman says:

    A well-known bias is aversion to risk : most people are more afraid of losing money than they desire gaining it. Kahanemann got a Nobel prize in Economics, for devising experiments, which display very clearly this phenomenon. Ergo, the model of rational decision employed in economics is not founded in reality. Food for thought… I do not know whether this is cabled (meaning neuronal and synaptic organization in the brain), but it is nevertheless objective and well-studied.

    OK, I’m being too scientific today! Unfortunately I have at home neither vodka nor tomato juice, and I just warmed my dinner, so I’ll have to non scientifically eat it and be satisfied.

  154. Cynic says:


    With regard to climate there are numerous faults being exposed regarding the data used and of course the attempts at getting the original data to compare in an honest peer process even trying through the Freedom of Information law.
    Here’s a link to a PDF doc on surface stations in the US pointing out all the faults encountered in the physical positioning of the instruments.

    In fact, we found that 89 percent of the stations – nearly 9 of every 10 – fail to meet the National Weather Service’s own siting requirements that stations must be 30 meters (about 100 feet) or more away from an artificial heating or radiating reflecting heat source.

    As for China , its huge landmass and paucity of surface stations it is no wonder that
    Even the Grauniad has a go.

    What was absolutely galling was the insistence that the Science was Settled and skeptics were deniers; a nice transcendence into religiosity hence the coming of the Rev Al and his Goracle.
    Climategate exploded the Settledness once and for all but still for some it’s “right wing partisans” causing the uproar.

  155. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG says, “So when one “catches” scientists proceeding unscientifically, one can (and should, IMO) legitimately question their competence and/or their integrity.

    Of course. But, the question at hand is whether the doubts about the scientific integrity of the IPCC are scientifically based or if the doubts are politically / ideologically driven – but dressed up to appear scientific to unscientific (and often ideologically biased) observers.

    Much can be inferred from reading the few and minor actual peer reviewed scientific criticisms of the IPCC report and the studies that went into it vs the hot rhetoric and claims of purposeful deception in the IPCC report by the ideological right. There are few scientists among them and those very few who show up tend not to have expertise in climatology and/or reveal various RW ideological associations and biases.

    I believe sshender makes a valid point when he points out the great similarity in the RW religiously-based attacks against evolutionary theory. Even many of the same ideologically-driven non-scientists are at the forefront of the anti-AGW movement like Sara Palin, James Inhoffe and Ben Stein for example.

    I make the same argument to you as I have to many of the Israel-haters I have run into on the Internet. So far your case is not even close to convincing – except perhaps to those who already believe that AGW could not possibly be true because it’s all a liberal conspiracy. If you really believe you are being objective about it you (or the highly motivated AGW movement) should have no trouble providing some clear incontrovertible evidence. Personally, I have yet to see it, even though I am trying to hold open the possibility that Cynic might be correct.

    As I stated before, the question of what we should or should not do as a society, is separate from whether AGW is real and what effects it may have on mankind in the next 100 years. I don’t know the answer to the first question. But the more I read about this dispute the more convinced I am that AGW is based on sound science.

  156. E.G. says:


    Bon appétit!
    I hope you don’t make the same shortcuts with your cooking – that’s taking risks! ;-)

    ! לחיים

  157. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Hey, I wrote my last post without reading “The law of small numbers” and lo and behold, one of the authors is the same Daniel Kahneman whose name I spelled erroneously.

  158. Michelle Schatzman says:


    did I tske too many shorcuts in my explanation of the large numbers theorem?

    Anyway, do not worry about the quality of my dinner. According to the number of my guests, I eat shabbat meals for one to four days – still unable to realize that there is only one eater on ordinary days at home. Talk of bias! For so many years, my grocery bags had to be *this* heavy, and I can’t adjust to the new *this*.

  159. E.G. says:


    Climate change is not the topic here, despite the O/T flow.
    I have read very little about it, no scientific literature (out of my field, out of my time/attention span). All I’m aware of is a Tsunami of alarmist MSM articles, and a controversy both within the scientific community and a societal one. Especially regarding the “man made” claim.

    The last claim, and the “scientific consensus” made “blips” on my “mental monitoring screen”. They signal some atavistic trends.

    About as atavistic as “blame the Jew” and “Church indisputable dogma”.

  160. E.G. says:


    That’s a good girl.
    (Your bias is largely shared by Jewish mothers whom, as we well know, need not be either Jewish or mothers to suffer from the syndrome).

    The shortcuts were on the risky stuff.

    You earned another paper!

    If you promise to behave, you’ll be entitled to request an update ;-)

  161. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG says, “All I’m aware of is . . a controversy both within the scientific community and a societal one.”

    Is that like the “controversy” both within the scientific community and a societal one over the “theory” of evolution?

    Apparently you don’t think the AGW controversy is similar. But why not? All the same political forces seem to be lined up against it and are using the same tactics. When will we see RW school boards calling for the “teaching of the controversy” about AGW in public schools.

    If you wish to say that your interest is great enough to notice the kerfuffle and take sides against AGW (you compare it to antisemitism and religious dogma) but not enough to cause you to learn enough to justify your conclusions ;-) then I would say that’s good evidence for how committed ideological movements invent such “all heat and no light” controversies to sway public opinion in their favor and against the scientific evidence.

  162. Michelle Schatzman says:

    The Tversky-Kahneman paper deserves at least five stars! Wow! Thanks for the reference. I’d bet that even mathematicians trained in statistics and probability would fail miserably in all the word problems – not on the number problems.

    So, what are my biases, E.G., besides being a jewish mother and grandmother?

  163. E.G. says:


    No, I mean controversy in the (non PC?) sense: disagreement.
    And I’m not aware (and not versed at all) of any scientific creationist “side”.

    I don’t think I stated having a position for or against the climate change phenomenon. I do have unlearned doubts about its amplitude and catastrophic nature, and am very little preoccupied by it (IOW, I don’t feel concerned enough). It’s the alarmist tones in the MSM, mostly those regarding the man-made damage cause, that evoke the atavistic associations in my mind.

    And I wouldn’t be ashamed at all to confess that given sufficient, valid and reliable evidence, I was wrong and should have been much more concerned, and that from that moment on I have very few reasons to doubt that Man is responsible for the Planet’s dire state.

    For the time being, however, I’m much more concerned with MSM “treatment” of Israel and Israelis.

  164. Ray in Seattle says:

    Kahneman’s papers are a delight to read. Biases and their effects on cognition are interesting but behavior choice does not depend on cognition – especially for non-scientists like me deciding to accept propositions like evolution or AGW – or not. For most of us the details of the science is way over our heads. So we use our intuition and call on our cognition to justify the belief afterward – rather than use cognition to help us arrive at our beliefs in the first place, which a scientist educated in climatology might do. For non-scientists and even scientists not doing science at the moment – that’s how we make most important decisions in life anyway (intuitively).

    For insight into the human decision-making process, and the importance of intuition, Damasio’s classic Somatic Marker Hypothesis is crucial reading:

    Here Damasio uses the “Iowa Gambling Task” to show that our intuitive minds operate on spurts of emotion to guide us toward decisions that will make us feel better – and long before our logical brain has any idea what’s going on.

    My take: It’s why when some people notice a controversy, just by seeing who is on which side, they know which side they want to be on. It will be the side that will make them feel the best because it shares their important identity beliefs.

    Admittedly, I feel best supporting science and opposing its ideologically driven detractors. It’s part of my identity. Even though I realize that science can be wrong at times I also know it has a built-in (and sometimes tortuous) ability to correct its mistakes and learn from them.

    But I still accept the possibility that the scientists could be wrong on AGW. It’s just that after reading quite a bit about it in the last three weeks I see a huge amount of evidence that’s been analyzed and worried over for several years now that has withstood the test. And I see very little evidence (some, but equivocal) that it’s wrong, much less a fraud as many on the right claim. We’ll see what happens.

  165. E.G. says:


    Don’t bet, you risk losing…
    Your biases are probably the same as mine, Kahneman’s and our co-humans. Knowing them doesn’t immunize from making them (lots of anecdotes running about the authors and their circles contributing specific cases from their day-to-day experience to the general descriptions).

  166. Eliyahu says:

    I think that some comments above alluded to the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem. This is the favorite haunt for all the foreign intriguers in Jerusalem. Diplomats, suave manipulators of and spokesmen [& spokeswomen] for Arab terrorism, “human rights” operatives, and journalists all meet and mingle there. The hotel’s name does not indicate any Yankee imperialist proclivities of the founders or owners. There was a group of Americans and Swedes who decided to go live in Jerusalem in the mid-19th century. The cluster of their homes was called the American Colony. The older building of the hotel, with its inner courtyard [where some sorts of folks go to see and be seen — and even intrigue] was originally the mansion of a rich Arab, a Husseini, who sold the building to the American-Swedish group. I believe that the Scandinavian novelist, Selma Lagerlof, wrote her novel Jerusalem about the American Colony group.

    I have been inside a few times but I don’t think that I was ever in the basement. Some well-informed fellow told me that there is a bar in the basement frequented by progressive foreign jounalists who are supplied with really super maryjane by the good offices of the PLO. But that was years ago and I can’t personally attest to such goings on.

    As to GW, it is my impression that the last few years have been colder than usual, what with heavy storms in March of 2007, a month that usually does not have heavy storms in the Mid-Atlantic region of the USA. Now if several years in a row have been colder than usual, can we call that a trend, not an aberration? I don’t know anything about Lord Monckton, but could he be right? Yes, Ray et al., GW is a political issue. And I note that the BBC pushes it. The British govt, which manages the BBC also pushes the GW notion. I think that British govt and BBC support for this notion should indicate that skepticism is in order.

  167. Ray in Seattle says:

    Eliyahu, I guess my point is that one should avoid allowing ideological political beliefs to get too strong in their minds. There is nothing wrong with being a conservative or a liberal – as long as that just describes one’s preferred way to look at the world. But one can still realize that sometimes your preferred way will align with reality better and sometimes the other side’s view will align better.

    Looking at the world through one lens all the time is guaranteed to make you wrong in many cases because nature doesn’t send us survival problems that are better solved by one particular ideology vs another. I realize that many on the far right and far left would take issue with that. But actually, most of them practice that in their own lives.

    Sometimes it’s best to be reasonable, negotiate and compromise with your enemies (the classic liberal approach) – as in government in order to make life better for the citizens and have a stronger nation.

    Sometimes it’s best to be firm and unyielding and possibly even kick the s**t out of your enemies (the more conservative approach) – as when another country attacks your citizens with violence.

    Whether or not the BBC supports or denies AGW would have no effect on my evaluation of its merits. What they say about – the quality of their argument – would.

  168. Ray in Seattle says:

    My apologies for getting into belief again, but by now most must realize that I see the beliefs that the pro-Israel and pro-Pal sides hold as the key to understanding the conflict and why it has gone on so long.

    Getting back to Richard’s excellent paper, he says on page 35,

    It may make many in the West feel good to “believe” the Arab Muslim narrative of suffering at the hands of the Israeli oppressor.

    Indeed. I’d add that many of them don’t just believe it. It is a core part of their identity sitting right up near the top of their belief hierarchy – so that any new beliefs (or facts) they are exposed to will not even be considered unless they support that high-level one. They will defend it at all costs – like by writing books about it as M&M and Carter have done. Or by heading up a UN commission stacked to condemn Israel and attack Israel’s ability to defend itself, as Goldstone has done. And they will see anyone who holds antagonistic beliefs to theirs as the embodiment of evil, as mortal enemies to be discredited and destroyed if there’s any way they can possibly do it.

    I suspect that Richard’s paper is a very accurate description of the reality of this conflict. But it will not sway even one of those on the far left who I am talking about. No amount of reason can penetrate an adversary’s beliefs when those beliefs are part of their identity. You are demanding that they become a different person. People just don’t do that. In most cases they would rather risk their own death – while hoping for yours.

  169. E.G. says:

    Indeed Ray,

    People often form beliefs based on conjectures and misunderstandings (see e.g., the flight instructors case p. 1126 in the link I posted in #165).

    Can you link it to the NIF “paradox”?

    Furthermore, I posted not too long ago a link to an article that argued that Human Rights NGO’s critique of the 2002 operation (Jenin) lead to a change in IDF practice in 2006 (Lebanon) and even more in the “Cast Lead” one, with regard to IDF willingness to endanger Israeli lives in order to save/spare a priori innocent “Palestinian” civilian lives.

    Gives yet another meaning to “incitement”, doesn’t it?

  170. Michelle Schatzman says:

    E.G. and Ray,

    I think that the problem with AGW is mainly the identity of people who make it into an ideology where the interests of humanity are subject to the interests of a larger entity, such as Gaia or whatever. This is the part of the debate that has totalitarian leanings. One has to remember that the nazis loved nature so much more than the Jews, that they made laws for protecting animals, beautiful and wild animals.

    The political ecology point of view has actually religious sides: the religion of Mother Earth. And you are not supposed to say or do things against your Great Mother, mind you!

    From what I know at the present time, anthropic global warming is fact on the ground, but the previsions about the consequences of the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere may have to be corrected, as our knowledge increases.

    My personal claim is that one does not need to believe in AGW to take intelligent decisions about the use of energy. We need new energy sources, and possibly cleaner than burning fossile fuels. I believe that using oil for burning it is plain stupid, since oil is a fantastic raw material for chemistry. Does one use ebony, rosewood or mahogany to burn in the stove?

    As E.G., I do not like the alarmist tone in the MSM, but their tone is not a sufficient reason for believing the ideological opponents who are attacking the ICC. The ICC is not perfect, but as long as it recognizes its errors, I essentially trust it.

    By the way, the link about weather stations in #159 is quite interesting, and it asks a pretty good question: if weather stations are not placed according to the NOAA specifications (away from buildings and heat sources), what do the temperature measurements mean? If we were relying only on temperature measurements, I’d say this is serious. Since there are many other sources of evidence, including the observable glacier melting and the observable raising of the tree limit in the Alps, I’d say that the issue needs to be answered and corrections made.

    I welcome every instance of serious observation by citizens, and there are many aspects of science which depend on citizens participation – in particular field observations of fauna and flora.

  171. Michelle Schatzman says:

    E.G., This one is more specialized and speaks less to my soul… I am used to modelling in science and engineering and am definitely not knowledgeable in human sciences. I am not well-tuned to the controversy between frequentialists and subjectivists. In fact, when I was a math student, every book in probability started with an introduction describing this controversy and I used to find this rather off-putting, probably because the authors did not present any original thought on the question, being mathematicians and not really interested in modelling.

    My own understanding of probability is that it is a model of nature, and statistics make sense only if you say “let us estimate whether such and such model is coherent with such and such observations (and if necessary adjust the parameters of the model to make it fit best)”. Being bayesian means making assumptions on the model at hand *and* its parameters.

    To me, producing quantitative models in human sciences looks like an extremely difficult endeavor, and I am full admiration for people who attempt it, since they tread on dangerous ground. I just feel incompetent.

  172. E.G. says:


    The papers goes beyond the subjectivist-frequentist interpretations.
    Savage’s elaboration on Bayes’ theorem was at the core of mid-20th century standard economic theory. This is the root of the rationality axiom of that theory. Thus, it was supposed to be a valid description of how beliefs are formed and evolve, as well as a prescription of how to make one’s mind “correctly” (rationally).

    What this rather technical article shows is how people go astray from the correct application of Bayes’ procedure* – despite its appeal. It analyses each stage of the reasoning procedure, de jure and de facto. One thing that I think is most relevant to the discussion topic, is the issue of taking into account (at least) two competing, mutually exclusive, hypotheses about the state of the phenomenon studied.

    But was that how the Goldstone commission proceeded? Did they actually test H0: Israel guilty vs. H1: Israel not guilty? H0: Hamas guilty vs.H1: Hamas not guilty? Did they gather data both confirming and refuting each one of the concurrent hypotheses? How were the data weighed (Bayesian-wise)?

    *whether according to the subjectivist or the frequentist interpretation. The latter is more prevalent in the “Availability heuristic” part.

  173. Eliyahu says:

    I thank Ray for his insight about belief systems as part of identity, of the personality. I thank Michelle for her insight about the religious nature of the eco movement. I believe that British psywar/cogwar experts have done much to produce a mystique about the environment and the rather apocalyptic sense that Something Must Be Done Now before it is too late. We now witness a mass movement of youth and not so young folks who passionately believe in the need to Save the Planet. The eco movement as a whole has succeeded in becoming a prime diplomatic issue. Treaties and Accords are proposed and negotiated. Statesmen meet and discuss the urgency, etc. It is charged by some opponents of the eco movement that the diplomatic accords under discussion would increase centralized control of the world. I have not read these treaties so I cannot insist on that interpretation. But knowing [or believing?] that the UK has been a prime mover in promoting the eco movement, I would not discard that interpretation out of hand.

    None of this should mean that I am blind to real problems of sewage treatment and air pollution here in Israel, which Mr Yosef Sarid, of the “leftist” Meretz party did naught or little to solve when he was minister of the environment. Our situation here is complicated by the use of sewage by the Palestinian Authority as a weapon against Israel. That is, the PA does not always treat sewage but sometimes gets it to flow towards Israeli towns and settlements through dry creek beds. Likewise, the PA in arafat’s day deliberately set forest fires in various parts of the country. Maybe Cynic remembers the fires on the Carmel south of Haifa.

    Like in the case of the eco movement, regarding the Israel-Arab conflict, psywar/cogwar experts [mainly British, I believe] have succeeded in creating a “palestinian mystique” that, like anti-matter destroying matter, is meant to destroy and succeeds –at least partially– in destroying any Jewish or Israeli or Zionist mystique. This “palestinian” mystique is much more effective in the West in fact –to which the psywar/cogwar agitprop is directed– than in the Arab world where it is not needed in order to move masses to hate Israel.

    In 1948 there was no “palestinian” mystique and nobody, least of all the Arabs, spoke of a “palestinian people.” Even in 1946 and 1947 the Arab League was talking and planning war against a potential Jewish state and against Jews in the Arab countries. So the actual war was not fought in the name of a “palestinian people”, the existence of which was denied at the time by the Arab side. Likewise, in 1956, 1967, and 1973, the war was fought against Arab states, not against Palestinian Arabs. Yet, today the claim is made that Israel’s enemy is the “palestinians” and that Israel must make peace with them, however unreasonable they may be. The creation of a distinct “palestinian people” –at least in the mass mind of the lower middle brow masses in the West, as well as of the middle middle brow intellectuals of Academe– was a stroke of genius on the part of the psywar/cogwar experts, British I believe. The invention of the “palestinian people” notion may be and probably is the most successful propaganda/psywar/cogwar invention of the 20th century.

  174. Michelle Schatzman says:

    E.G., are you my second grandson? That’s how the first one calls me!


    The Fischhoff and Beyt-Marom is simply too technical for me… I’ll give it another try if I have courage. I must acknowledge that I am professionnally deformed and I have trouble to read mathematical statements which are given only in words – I also need the formulas. Being used to 2D reading for more than 40 years…

    Besides that, one does not need mathematics to state the hypotheses you make in the end.

    One just needs the idea of a fair trial.

    What would be the validity of weighing in a Bayesian fashion evidence collected for a trial? I’m out of my depth here, feeling that the quantitative side of human decision is always fraught with many pitfalls, unless one is in a very well framed situation, i.e. possibly artificial.

    I have worked too much with error and approximation to trust numbers…

  175. E.G. says:

    Yes, there are some redundant “Mi” in Mamie Michelle.
    But I’m sure your not-yet one year old grandson’s Diploma is in another field (since his brother is the lawyer, I suppose he’s into Medicine, right?)

    Take your time, it ain’t math. It’s logic.

    The validity of Bayes’ theorem is theoretical. This is the yardstick against which any performance is assessed: it’s considered the one and only way to compute a valid and reliable (flawless, rational) judgement. Nothing better invented since the Reverend came up with it – even PoMo doesn’t claim to be held to rationality criteria!

    Don’t forget that judges are society’s agents who are supposed to weigh and (counter)balance evidence…

  176. Michelle Schatzman says:

    My grandson in 2 years and three months old! Feh! My granddaughter is not calling me yet.. she is almost six months old. Anyway, being called Mamichelle is my decision. I just don’t like “mamie”.

    The judges are society’s agents who are supposed to weigh and (counter)balance evidence. But I doubt that they are up to decision based on quantitative assessments.

  177. E.G. says:

    Mes plus plates excuses, Mamichelle!

    I forgot the young medic is she ;-)

    Some assessments are quantitative, others are not.

  178. Ray in Seattle says:

    More interesting psychology. This from one of the blogs I check each day. This article references the papers of Kahneman and Tversky. It’s about the amygdala and loss aversion for anyone interested.

    The blogger, Jonah Lehrer, just had a new book published which I might have mentioned before. Just in case, it’s “How We Decide” and is a good summary of the latest work in this area that’s easily readable by non-experts.

  179. sshender says:

    Here is a link to a video presentation by Jonah:

    Also, if you follow this link, you can download the Audio and pdf book:

    It’s currently at the top of my reading list.

    On the issue of GW.

    1) It is true that GW is sometimes being exaggerated and used for political ends by many radicals (predominantly on the left) but that does not invalidate any of the scientific evidence in favor of it. In fact, these environmentalists are actualy doing us a disservice by making reasonable people like Cynic suspicious.

    2)Global warming is a complex subject. As with any complex system it is dangerous to reach conclusions based on isolating one effect from all others. Thus occasional cold winters are in no way evidence for or against it. Also note that record highs are far outpacing record lows which drives the overall temperature average upwards. Weather is not climate.

    In more detail see here:

    3. The reason I’m so skeptical of the skeptics is that I’ve been following the debate for a while now, and have rarely heard any valid scientific critisim or alternative explanations. The bulk of the so-called skeptics (as opposed to real skeptics like Randy, Shermer and the CSI) have so far done little but to indulge in a range of dishonest and disingenuous practices such as misrepresenting or distorting data, using logical fallacies, etc. The Great Global Warming Swindle movie is a superb case in point.

  180. Eliyahu says:

    everything can be explained indeed, rightly or wrongly. But when I see the deliberate manipulation and organization of masses of enthusiasts to Save the Planet, which is done through the instrumentality of the MSM, small group organizing, etc., then I have to be skeptical.

    I have also heard a French specialist who called himself a socialist, argue that there was global warming but it was minimal and was not manmade. Consider, in view of your knowledge of how the MSM work, the possibility that the most articulate expert skeptics about GW & AGW may be deliberately kept off the media so that they cannot persuade the public to think against the Authorized Version.

  181. Cynic says:


    Heh! For a moment I thought it was a mix of Jonah Somebody and Tom Lehrer, :-)

    By the way I cannot get the video to function here.
    What’s it about?

    With regard to AGW, what started the skepticism cynicism and sarcasm was the fact that when for example Mann produced his hockey stick there were those who wished to test it and were refused access for some time to the algorithm and the data. McIntyre and another Canadian discovered that they could input any data and come up with the same result which brought into question the use of it in the IPCC’s school for scandal paper and Gore’s Oscar winning Power Point Presentation which a British High Court judgment found to be a document more for partisan political use than for teaching kids in school, with some 9 major errors.
    Then of course there were the ad hominem attacks on skeptics like Richard Lindzen and Fred Singer which created a serious questioning of the purpose of those pushing the postulation.

    Singer has a good overall read
    What’s up with the weather?

    Gore with his excesses regarding the use of energy and his money making business of selling indulgences which help not a whit in reducing the amount of anthropogenic CO2.
    The head of the IPCC, Rajendra Kumar Pachauri with his interests in the Indian steel company Tata and its sleight of hand dealings to get billions in reducing CO2 production in Britain, but moving it to India. It was a case of ta ta to jobs in Britain while Tata created more in India while maintaining the overall CO2 emissions.
    And of course the CRU scandal and the obfuscation of attempts to peer process the system until the Freedom of Information law was enforced by which time the original temperature data was trashed so nobody could get to it, etc.
    The cherry picking of tree ring data providing such a peach of a result.

    At times like this it’s not belief and emotion that drive skeptics but gut feelings and as they play out so the emotions are engaged and whether or not cognitive dissonance comes to a head.

  182. Eliyahu says:

    RL, I wandered into Philip Weiss’ Mondoweiss blog site the other day. I found that he denies the genocide in DarFur, western Sudan. It seems that some Arab or Muslim professor in the US wrote a book denying or minimizing the Darfur genocide, saying that peace was ready to break out only… etc.

    And Weiss believed him.
    But Israelis he doesn’t want to believe.

  183. E.G. says:


    Thanks for the ref.


    What video? I posted a link to a Time article via Yahoo.

  184. Cynic says:


    My apologies. I mistook sshender’s post with the link, for yours.

  185. E.G. says:


    And for such a lèse majesté coup you merely apologize?
    No bedtime video for you!

  186. Eliyahu says:

    Cynic, it has to be more heavily stressed that the eco movement can be most likely better explained by Gustave LeBon’s The Behavior of Crowds, than by assuming a rational, intelligent concern over our natural environment, whether or not there is GW or AGW, and so on. The eco movement was stimulated by gestures from above, by agitprop –more seemingly innocuous than in the case of support for Hamas, to be sure– by the organizers, spokesmen, groups, and advocates of the Save the Planet hysteria, all generously and liberally supplied with funds for the agitprop work.

    Cynic, you have a bad air pollution problem around Haifa in the Kishon creek area. That is a real problem. However, do you recall that when Yossi Sarid –a “leftist” of Meretz– became minister of the environment, he did little to nothing to improve the situation in his area of ministerial responsibility?? He did one thing that I recall. He organized people, mainly kids, to clean up beaches and so on. Do you see? The benefit to the Environment was not so great. But he organized young people for the Cause.

  187. E.G. says:


    Count on Sarid to explain that he didn’t have enough funds and the industrial lobby… Bla-Bla-Bla. Besides, what is a tiny local problem vis-à-vis the Planetary Doomsday?

    Fortunately (?) only few countries face the choice of disintegration either by an Iranian nuke, or by Islamist (Iranian sponsored) terrorism, or by Global Climate Change. Lucky Israel!

  188. Cynic says:


    There are extenuating circumstances but being a person of fortitude I will not grovel for forgiveness.
    Now which was it that perturbed you so much to express as lèse majesté coup,the mistaken identity or the admission of error ?
    An attempted coup? I don’t think I was trying to replace the august E.G. with a non-Oxfordian.
    An insult? OoooH! Careful what is written for tis on the internet for posterity and no claim of “quoted out of context” can suffice.
    Would you curtail my freedom of speech to demonstrate my courage and Honour in admitting an error and expect me to wallow in the shame of a bedtime video?

  189. E.G. says:


    It may be a short while since you’ve joined the people in the Holy Land, but you definitely assimilated some local attitudes.

    Thy freedom of speech (and writing too) is sacred. If shame there is (as should be) ’tis for the substitution of identity. Being deprived of a bedtime video is the simple sanction for an offhand apology. Honour thy interlocutor, and you’ll see the carrot! Better stick to this principle :-)

  190. Cynic says:


    What really annoys me is when I question something and the group reacts as if I have just made a seditious move.
    Of course to question the logic and rationality of a proposal by a guru, I suppose, is seditious.
    It is amazing that with all the past incidents providing hindsight people in general cannot identify the hysterics of the media or the sleight of hand of politicians in rallying people to the cause.

    Just observing the so called environmentalists one cannot determine the rational, intelligent concern over our natural environment when they for example advocate setting up wind farms, with all the natural impediments to cost effective production of this energy, and then go cuckoo because of the environmental damage caused by the powerlines needed etc. For them it seems that returning to cooking over wood fires is the goal.
    One could write a whole book how irrational and unintelligent that is.
    About wind power and Spain/Don Quixote
    Spain’s New Wind-Power Record

    However, Spain’s record also shows exactly why wind power still thrives at the edges—not the center—of the energy debate.

    The record was set in pre-dawn hours, a time the electricity grid operator describes as “minimum demand.” For the whole day, wind power’s contribution slipped to a (still-impressive) 39%. For the whole year, wind power provides just over 12% of Spain’s electricity.

    In any event, Spain’s big push in wind power hasn’t enabled it to clean up its economy and meet all of its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol; the country has one of the worst compliance records in Europe. On Monday, Spain agreed to buy Poland’s excess greenhouse-gas emissions permits for $37 million.

    Sarid was out to demonstrate what a good boy he was but the media which in the case of pollution and environmental concerns should be the mouthpiece of the people turned a blind eye because all these slogans are just clichés.
    They did not follow up because after the “photo-op/fauxto-op” they had something else to engage their hypocrisy in.

  191. Michelle Schatzman says:


    I believe that the GW (or AGW) question is like a mille-feuilles, which is a french pastry made out of a paste which splits into thin sheets – it can be delicious or atrocious, depending on the quality of the ingredients and the skill of the pastry chef.

    In any case, and since I don’t have nough fortitude at this late time of the day to describe one thousand sheets of delicious and/or atrocious questions, I’ll just list some :

    – scientific reality of global warming – with appropriate criticism (science is made to be criticized). In any case, it is an average in time and space, so that one has to think a bit in order to imagine that global warming does not contradict extreme events on the cold side.

    – nostalgy of the ecologically minded for an imaginary simpler and better time, where one could use natural resources without depleting them and challenging the future generations’ well being.

    – guru-led cult of the Great Mother Earth, that one should save now immediately by doing something – yes, you, there, you are concerned.

    – oil-addiction of industrial countries, which has significant consequences on the world balance of power, since it gives lots of power to a number of muslim regimes and Russia.

    – anti-scientific leanings of a number of citizens, who trust science and technology but do not trust the scientists, since they are not experts in politics.

    – campaign against any change in the way of life of inhabitants of industrialized countries, even if it is very short-sighted.

    – industrial and financial interests playing the previous feeling to motivate hiding information about the limited character of energy resources.

    – campaing for extremely radical changes in the way of life of inhabitants of industrialized countries, proposing the “decrease” option, which is obviously impossible to impose without an ecological dictature and a police state.

    I could list many more, but then I would probably exhaust you.

    When you eat a cake containing ucky ingredients, you conclude that the cake is bad. Right. But the question of GW or AGW is *not* a cake, and you may rely on more intellectual functions than your sense of taste. I do not want to lower the reputation of the sense of taste, but I’d like to appeal to your capacity for sorting things.

    I agree with you that anything, which turns out to be guru led must be isolated and examined before being integrated into a rational basis of knowledge. If the guru says that 2+2=4, I certainly need another source for checking this claim. The other source is myself, and my knowledge of arithmetic. The guru says 2+2=4, I say 2+2=4, and common use of elementary logic does not imply that the guru and me agree on all subjects.

    Gore acted like a guru and his movie contains substantial errors. Put aside movie and criticize it. It contained also maybe a few truths. Find alternative sources for these truths, with their limitation (for instance read the last instance of the IPCC report). Trash Gore’s movie as an inacceptable source of knowledge on climate change (and don’t tell me that I disagree with the peace Nobel prize: I know and it’s not the first or the last time).

    If you want your mille-feuilles to taste OK, use ingredients of quality, remove all poisons, molds and rot – and there you get it, provided the pastry chef has the skill (or the machinery) which enable him to produce the cake.

    I was trying in a previous post to give perfectly sensible reasons to reduce our dependency on fossile fuels, even if one does not “believe” in AGW. Nobody reacted to that – though my argument was very simple. Hence I repeat it: dependency on fossile fuels makes us dependent on a bunch of dictators and monarchs who run some of the ugliest regimes on earth. This is not good for us, period.

    What do you think of this argument?

  192. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Correction : yucky ingredients, not ucky ingredients.

  193. E.G. says:

    Michelle and Cynic,

    Mille-feuilles is called “Napoleon” or “Cremschnitt” in Israel.

  194. E.G. says:


    The problem with GCC as it is presented to the large public is that it attained the status of an unfalsifiable theory, perhaps even a law of nature.

    In the link I posted in #186 the little Newtons have a GCC explanation for everything. They may be right but silencing the dissent scientists ((p=0 that H1 is false? p =1 that H0 is true?) and the “negating” hoi polloi does not add much credibility.

    Have a few profiteroles for thought.
    Shabbat Shalom!

  195. Ray in Seattle says:

    Cynic, you said, “At times like this it’s not belief and emotion that drive skeptics but gut feelings and as they play out so the emotions are engaged and whether or not cognitive dissonance comes to a head.”

    I think I mostly agree with you but I’d still like to clarify my view of this. I see,

    * A belief as an emotional marker associated with a situation and a behavior. Beliefs operate non-consciously to guide behavior. A dog feels good when he barks at the mailman. He has no idea why of course.

    * The words people use to sometimes describe their beliefs are not the same thing and are often provided to serve other purposes – like social acceptance or defending other agendas.

    * Most of what goes on in forums like this are battles of words and narratives – which are only proxies for the actual emotional forces guiding our behavior. They are like the dog’s bark.

    * We’ve selected these words and narratives for their ability to make us feel good when we use them in an online conflict / discussion. The make us feel like we have vindicated our real beliefs. Just like the dog feels he has vindicated his sense of territory.

    This battle of the proxies has almost nothing to do with the question of whether the emotions that arise in us over things like the Goldstone Report, AGW, Obama’s economics, health care reform, etc. – emotions that determine our behavior and reinforce our beliefs on these topics – are appropriate and useful for solving those problems – in the sense of being grounded in the most accurate possible rational facts. But we can all sure get an emotional kick out of it ;-)

    Hmmm. If the dog only understood that the mailman is not challenging his territory but is bringing the social security check that his master uses to pay the rent on his territory and buy his food.

    Occasionally, someone will try to pursue reality for its own sake in a forum like this (not to support an agenda) but usually no one is interested. It’s not nearly as much fun. Besides, if carried too far it carries the risk that we might have to change our mind about something and no-one wants to do expose themselves to that possibility.

    The dog is much happier barking at the mailman and would be depressed to have to face the truth (if he was even capable of it).

    For example, I think it would be very interesting if Richard L in the Lawson thread, would try to do that for any of the beliefs that underlie his many assumptions on just war theory. I’d engage him in a heartbeat. But, like most ideologues, he’s very far from doing that or even recognizing that it would be interesting, much less useful.

    He’s much happier barking I think.

  196. Ray in Seattle says:

    Darn, I did it again. I failed to say what I really wanted to say – that emotion, belief and gut feelings are very much the same thing in my view – or at least they are the elements that form the parts of our brains that guide our behavior.

    About cognitive dissonance. I think that cognitive dissonance is what happens when we realize that our favorite narrative has been debunked. It’s a feeling of embarrassment or potential embarrassment realizing that we might get publicly called on it.

    But the average human mind is chock full of contradictory beliefs – emotions that drive us to do things that defy objective reality. As long as we can wield tested narratives (that are generally accepted in our culture) that serve to protect those beliefs from nature then we are usually quite happy to have them churning about in our brains and directing our (often irrational) behavior.

  197. Cynic says:


    A dog feels good when he barks at the mailman. He has no idea why of course.

    I have to respond to this. Dogs have always formed part of a pack and barking is a warning to the rest of an intruder.
    Only in recent evolutionary times has the pack been substituted for a human, his family and accoutrements.
    The mailman if he is friendly won’t be barked at, and while the dog may recognize him as someone familiar may still consider him an intruder, especially if he always brings those nasty bills. :-)
    The dog knows very well why.

  198. Ray in Seattle says:

    Cynic, Sorry you missed my point. There are two kinds of “knowing” in the universe; intuitive and cognitive. The intuitive kind operates on emotion signals in the brain. All complex animals, dogs and humans, use intuition to guide our behavior.

    Humans can use cognition to provide additional data for behavior decisions, but the information must still be acceptable to our intuitive brain before we will use it to guide our behavior.

    We use cognition mostly to help guide technical behavior like figuring out how to set the clock on the dvd player.

    We use our intuition for our important behavior where social approval is at stake. We use cognition then to justify that behavior by subscribing to “narratives” that give us an acceptable and recognized “identity” in our society. It make us feel good about what we have done or are about to do because our society approves of it. (Think Shahids)

    The dog only has intuition, no cognition is possible. He is not beset by needs to cognitively justify his actions. The dog has no cognitive sense of territory, only intuition. He only knows that it feels good to bark and warn and act aggressively toward an intruder. It feels bad for him not to bark at the mailman.

    Richard L is intuitively barking at Israel and the words he writes – the cognitive justifications for his barking – are chosen to earn him praise from others who hold a similar intuitive hatred of Israel. But also to answer those who reasonably ask if the Palestinians have not brought their misery upon themselves by attacking Israel. For them (and for himself) he says he’s barking out of “a concern for innocent Palestinian children who’s bodies should not be burnt”. It’s a cognitively crafted appeal to emotion – so that he and others will intuitively feel he is justified. But still, the barking makes him feel very good and that’s the reason he does it. It just feels so right.

    If the dog had cognition and it was pointed out to him that mailmen are providing a needed service and are not territorial he might tell us that we are wrong. That his barking is justified because mailmen are a particularly vicious and deceptive lot who have plotted for centuries to take our land and rule the world. He might tell us about houses that were consumed by fire shortly after the mail was delivered. He might show us an ancient book, “The Protocols of the Elders of Mailmen” where they are instructed to set fire to our homes and kill our children while posing as public servants.

    Arf, arf, arf.

  199. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG @ 206, Good one. Need to digest it.

  200. Eliyahu says:

    Let’s not forget how Western powers, particularly the UK, encouraged Arab nationalism against Israel. The UK was doing that in 1947-1948 [or even as early as 1920. The US in the Eisenhower-Dulles-Dulles [Allen & John Foster] era was doing that in the 50s and 60s. Nixon-Kissinger in the 60s and 70s, Jimmy carter in the 70s, etc.

    Now, the EU, dominated by the UK, Germany and France, especially by the UK, is active in a big way inciting the Arabs, objectively speaking, with funds and propaganda support, etc. It is naive to think that a subgroup of Arabs, “palestinians,” are Israel’s main enemies, or that the Arabs as a whole are Israel’s main enemies. Certain Western powers, the UK first and foremost, are essentially hostile to Israel, despite the friendly words from time to time.

  201. E.G. says:


    It’s a bit less simple. Our cognitive processes are constantly “hacked” by our intuition. Mr. Spock is an E.T.


    The Palestinian (© Amin al Husseini) snake poison (a) finds receptive ground anyplace where there is a suspicious attitude towards Jews, and (b) sells well where it soothes real or induced culpability.

  202. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG, you say, “Our cognitive processes are constantly hacked by our intuition.” I thought my last paragraph made that clear.

    If the dog had cognition and it was pointed out to him that mailmen are providing a needed service and are not territorial he might tell us that we are wrong. That his barking is justified because mailmen are a particularly vicious and deceptive lot who have plotted for centuries to take our land and rule the world. He might tell us about houses that were consumed by fire shortly after the mail was delivered. He might show us an ancient book, “The Protocols of the Elders of Mailmen” where they are instructed to set fire to our homes and kill our children while posing as public servants.

    Each sentence in that paragraph was to illustrate that effect.

    It is difficult to use a cognitive brain to describe the workings of the emotional brain.

  203. E.G. says:


    Sometimes a straightforward expression does a better job than a complicated analogy.

  204. Ray in Seattle says:

    @212, Not when discussing the brain. Most people have a strong emotional belief that their own behavior and the beliefs that drive it are the sole result of their superior intelligence (cognition). Anything that suggests an emotional source will be met with insults of one type or another. And they can become terribly offended when you bring their attention to it.

  205. E.G. says:


    Not in my experience.
    But I do use a vocabulary and a conceptual framework (and perhaps an argumentation scheme that is not an “advocacy” technique) that makes it acceptable.
    Don’t take it personally – we’re all bugged. But not always similarly.

  206. Cynic says:


    I talk of a dog that belonged to an aunt and uncle which was trained to only take food from them. Now Tessa loved the chocolate cake my Mom made and would take when we visited. With my uncle and aunt present Tessa would turn her head away, drooling, when the children present offered her some cake.
    My uncle smiling at how good his training was.
    One time. the start, she went to the kitchen and started barking. My aunt said to go and see what the fuss was about so I and my cousins went and were engulfed in a slobbering snout sniffing and licking our hands.
    We cottoned on after some moments and that’s when with each visit we would smuggle bits of cake to Tessa who without the prying eyes would eat contrary to the “rules of engagement”. :-)
    Would you say that there was no cognition involved there?

    By the way have a look at this video of a crow fishing:
    The Bait-Fishing Crow

  207. Ray in Seattle says:

    Cynic, The question of canine cognition is an interesting one. There may be some small amount and it may not be general intelligence but available for specific survival problems that canines have evolved to encounter. But most non-cognitive animals have a response where if they are puzzled they intuitively try various behaviors at random. If one works they remember it. That’s not cognition IMO.

    But that doesn’t affect my premise – which is that neither humans nor dogs use direct cognition to decide what to do. We use (emotionally driven) intuition for that. We choose to do what our intuition predicts will makes us feel the best of all alternatives.

    We use cognition for support – to figure out how to do what our intuition tells is we should do and how to justify our intuitive behavior to our self and others afterward.

    This is especially true in conflict. Sometimes we use cognition to come up with novel behavior candidates but that is very hard to do in conflict. The brain does not trust its cognition for high risk activity and will stick with intuition. That’s why soldiers are trained to react intuitively to an ambush and attack it directly – which their thinking brain will tell them is absolutely crazy.

  208. E.G. says:

    Ray (in petto),

    Cognition is not synonymous to rationality.
    And soldiers are trained to react more or less automatically (not intuitively).
    If you go PoMo/loose on definitions and terminology, you’re in trouble.

  209. Michelle Schatzman says:


    in my job (mathematics), I *use systematically* intuition, guess work and lots of imagination and day dreaming. Of course, these don’t give me proofs, but they lead me to ideas of proof, that I have then to construct and clean according to logical rules.

    The difficult part in being a creative scientist, is to be able to dream reasonable enough and original enough ideas, and then to implement them. But nobody in my field would think, even a nanosecond, that mathematics is subsumed by rationality. Rationality makes for solid structures, it does not tell us how to build them.

  210. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG, I don’t know where you get the idea that any of the terms I use have specific definitions that all psychologists, much less all non-psychologist, agree with when discussing these things. They do not. That is why I take care to specify what I mean when I use them. Of course such care often results in suggestions to be more succinct. If you think the terms I use, like cognition, intuition, etc. deserve better definitions than I use by all means offer your suggestions and your reasons.

    The problem may be that discussions of the brain are difficult by nature because no-one knows exactly what these terms should mean. They depend on the brain / behavior paradigm one adopts.

    In the meantime, those who find the topic interesting, need to put the effort into understanding how each person uses the particular terms. Within those differences lie the differences in opinion that are the meat of the discussion. Otherwise, it becomes just a way to appear smarter than someone else by saying that your definition of a term like cognition is the “right” one – and any one who doesn’t agree with it must be “dumb”. I find such suggestions tedious.

    One way to contribute to a clear understanding in a discussion – if that’s what you’re after – is to use words from the language that the other person is most familiar with if you can. Saying something in a language that you know they don’t understand well is a form of posturing.

    What possible definitions for automatic and intuitive could you possibly be using so that they are not synonymous in the context I used them? I think any grade school student who read my comment would understand what I meant. I did not use the term rationality in my comment. In short, if you disagree with say so and why. Don’t pretend it has something to do with “incorrect” terminology.

  211. E.G. says:


    There are several notions that are well defined, each with a specific acceptance, and a clearly distinctive sense, in multi-disciplined academic circles such as Cog. Sci. And a multi- or inter- discipline study still has the discipline feature.
    It’s just as a Qassam is not an F-16 (but they’re weapons).

    I can’t agree or disagree with what you write when you confuse one notion with another, and the claim makes no sense to me. I’ve already confessed my “old school” handicap – if you talk about A, I refer to A, not to a possible A” or D that is a more or less related concept. (I do realise from the context that you’re probably alluding to something, but misnaming it obscures more than clarifies)

    Going ad hominem is pointless. So is inferring attitudes and attributing intentions to your interlocutor. You surely see the difference between blaming, discrediting, and suggesting improvement.

    And just as I’m sure you expect feedback, I’m sure you don’t expect it to be laudatory only. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  212. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG, I try hard to have reasonable discussions with you. Invariably though, when I say something that irritates you, such as using a term in a different way than you are used to using it, you start inserting small insults – such as accusing me of “going po-mo/loose on definitions and terminology” or of confusing Qassams with F-16’s. Perhaps this is just an intuitive reaction and you are not cognitively aware of it. To you it may seem like you’re just offering friendly advice about how smart people should think ;-)

    You refer to cog-sci. This is a complete field of inquiry where thousands of scientists throughout the world have spent the last several decades trying to nail down the actual definition of the term cognition. The truth is, they haven’t got there yet and they won’t get there until they can accurately describe how neurons “think”. They’re still a long way off. In the meantime, the many alternate technical definitions of the term they propose is what they spend their time and research budgets exploring. In fact, the whole field of psychology can be seen a quest to more accurately define the terms that are used to describe the functions of brains.

    Part of our problem is that we indeed have different styles of communication, interests and reasons for commenting in this forum. Some commenters here are more interested in engaging in conflict than in understanding how the brain operates in such a state. That’s fine. But RL’s interest seems to be broader than that. I infer that based on the types of articles he writes and his extensive glossary for terms with psychological meanings such as cognitive-egocentrism, moral schadenfreude, honor-shame, etc. that he offers as a basis for his observations and conclusions about the ME conflict.

    The chance to discuss such meanings and definitions and how those can help illuminate the nature of human conflict, especially the ME conflict, with others who are interested in that are what draw me here. But, discussing those things requires a certain openness and consideration for alternate definitions of terms. These in turn, allow for different perspectives other than the usual – we’re right, they’re wrong – that most Internet forums provide. I’m sorry this makes you uncomfortable.

  213. E.G. says:


    I’m afraid that when you go on your quarrel mode you get into cognitive problems (not to speak of social ones).
    If you go PoMo/loose is an accusation? Gee! About as insulting as telling one s/he’s confusing apples and oranges (or Qassams and F-16). Ah, the loss of face!
    Next I’m going to put you in front of a popular tribunal – only to have the perverse pleasure of ridiculing you. It’s really obvious that my sole purpose in life is to hunt autodidact retired guys and establish a (SM?) conflictual relationship with them. I knew it all along but was unconscious of that.

    RL created a novel psycho-social tentative (and incomplete) framework. His definitions are creative and I’m sure he’s aware of their heuristic value and theoretical weaknesses, as well as willing to re-discuss the notions’ definitions, boundaries, shortcomings and strengths, and try sharpening them.

    This is hardly the case with Cog. Sci. The definitional latitude for terminology is much narrower (except for neologisms). When you get your hands on a few papers or a book and ack. e.g., what automatic processing means, you’ll realise the distinction vis-à-vis the “intuitive” label.

    Rigorous thinking and processing is a means to advance, not to oppress. This is the same approach as the IDF takes applying the rule of law.

  214. Michelle Schatzman says:


    why don’t yoou give the definitions of “automatic” and “intuitive”?

    As I understand them, “automatic” does not go through any conscious process of cognition, and “intuitive” goes through a fast and mainly irrational process based on affective reactions. But I may be quite wrong ;-). Therefore, for me, changing my step and balance when walking on snow instead of dry ground is automatic, and keeping away from Gideon Levy’s articles in Haaretz is intuitive (can’t stand the guy’s opinions, but you convinced me it would be good for my personaql development to read him).

    So, please humor me: I wrote a long explanation of what the law of large numbers is, you owe me an explanation of “intuitive” versus “automatic”.

  215. Cynic says:


    For me, the layman in this “discussion” instinct seems to beget intuitive from which that “gut feeling” arises whereas automatic, which in some cases I declare to be automagic, is that solitary concept devoid of any feeling, physical or spiritual.
    I would not classify your changing step on snow to be automatic, although it may appear that way, but instinctual, based on your feet’s perception of the ground and your minds reaction to the uncertainty below.
    As for PoMo which E.G. used which I presume to mean “post modern” how does one reconcile the meaning of “modern”, being now, with some “futuristic modern” regarding the topic under discussion and still come out from under this surrealistic psychedelic fog?

  216. E.G. says:

    Michelle and Cynic,

    I’m very reluctant to post the 4 paragraphs concerning the notions. I can’t figure out why you’re breaking your heads over them, their relevance to the general topic of this blog and to this thread eludes me.

    Basically, automatic processing is the activation of a learned sequence of elements stored in long-term memory that is initiated by appropriate inputs and then proceeds automatically — without the person’s control, without stressing the capacity limitations of the cognitive system, and usually demanding little or no attention.
    It is complemented by controlled processing, which is a temporary activation (in one’s mind) of a sequence of elements that can be set up quickly and easily but requires attention, is capacity-limited (usually serial in nature), and is controlled (voluntary, conscious) by the individual.

    Riding a bicycle, driving, answering a simple multiplication problem are examples of automatic processing. Grosso modo, it’s a result of a previous controlled “mode” + rehearsal.
    Writing a (court) judgment is a controlled process.

    This dual processing model is akin to the Rationality/Reason-Intuition one, but not overlapping. Driving becomes intuitive only after it’s been automatised, and the multiplication table can hardly be considered as something intuitive (which is the reason we need to memorise it). Not that there are no intuitive processes based on “natural assessments” or lack of deliberation… Quite the contrary (e.g., approach/avoid according to attraction/aversion – but don’t confuse this with your learned Levy-aversion).

    I hope you’re happier or at least that your curiosity is satisfied. I’m far from sure my explanation contributed anything to the discussion (broadly defined). It’s common knowledge that we operate in multiple modes (or via numerous operating systems), and that we sometimes choose a mode and sometimes act on “uneducated” bets. What this has to do with reporting on a specific conflict is beyond my understanding.

  217. Ray in Seattle says:

    Anybody, I hope you realize that my irritation is not with EG using a slightly different definition of “automatic” and “intuitive” than I did – although from #226 I hardly see any difference at all, much less one that would cause confusion when I applied the term to a soldier’s trained reaction under ambush. I was only pointing out that if soldiers in that situation stop and try to cognitively figure out what to do, they will very likely die.

    When I comment on these topics (which I obviously like to do) I figure if I can’t explain myself in layman’s language then I don’t understand what I’m trying to say well enough to say it. I thought “intuitive” would make that point best.

    My irritation is that EG can’t seem to tolerate any but the specific definition that he prefers and seems to think that any perceived “differences” justify disrupting a reasonable discussion with accusations of post-modern inexactitude about “terribly important things”.

    I don’t have any desire to argue about these things. Especially when such definitional nuance has no bearing on the point of my comment. After reflecting on this dust up it seems to me what we are possibly experiencing is the discomfort of the conservative mind with a realty that can’t be pinned down in its particulars. But that is the reality of brain science.

    Papers written in this field typically contain qualifiers for common terms (in parenths) so that the reader can follow the reasoning. In some cases other papers are cited that refer to another scientist’s attempt to pin down a definition being used. My Bio-psychology text lists 9 named definitions for “emotion”. I lean toward the James-Lange “Theory of Emotion” as does Antonio Damasio, whose ideas about behavior and emotion have pretty much put cog-sci out of the action over the last 15 years.

    But, this difficulty of knowing exactly what the main terms and definitions mean in the whole field of psychology is one reason you don’t find many conservative neuroscientists – or social scientists for that matter.

    Working in a scientific discipline where there are no real theories that can be fully depended upon, the opposite of physics or geology for example, creates an uncomfortable environment for minds that need closure. In fact, in psychology they tend to call hypotheses, theories, just out of convenience – but everyone knows what they mean.

    There are some conservatives in these fields though my sense is they tend to be pains-in-the-*** for their colleagues. I think it’s good they are there myself as it creates constant pressure to move toward more dependable unifying concepts – and to home in on unified definitions for terms like “emotion” when there are so many versions out there.

    I think liberal minds tend to be too comfortable with that and fall into paradigms that become ends in themselves. Look how long it took to rid the world of the woo of Freud.

    BTW – Science should not be something left to the experts in my opinion. Anybody can learn about these fascinating ideas and engage in interesting discussions. It just takes an open mind, a bit of reading and in this field an understanding that we are all learning – even more-so the scientists.

    I have no desire to fight with anyone here although the other evening I made the mistake of writing a comment after sharing a glass of wine with my wife. My anger with David (I think that was his name) was probably evident.

    EG, I suspect that my “imprecise use of terms” as you see it, is as irritating to you – as your insistence that these terms only have one real definition, yours, irritates me. I suggest we both accept this as the price we pay for the privilege of having discussions about interesting things like this across the liberal / conservative divide.

  218. Cynic says:


    I can’t figure out why you’re breaking your heads over them, their relevance to the general topic of this blog and to this thread ..

    Maybe it’s that time of the year, the temp here is some 12 degrees higher than the average for this month, only 30% humidity with no beer on tap and I’m fighting a second bout of flu this winter;
    and anyway it was a nice diversion from swine, avians and avatars.

    What this has to do with reporting on a specific conflict is beyond my understanding.

    Getting to the bottom of what the reporter means with the words he uses, the innuendo and the implied nuance.

  219. Cynic says:


    Here’s a link related to CIF which should interest you:
    Currents of denial run deep among the Left

    Is denial of Arab and Muslim antisemitism fast becoming a pathology of the left? Read my guest post on CiFwatch.

  220. E.G. says:

    To a Gentile who, before converting to Judaism wanted to know what the whole Judaic Shtick was about in brief (“for the while one can stand on one foot”) Shammai, great scholar in 1st century Jerusalem and known for his rigour, replied by a dismissal. His contemporary, Hillel the Elder, told the Gentile: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Torah*; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.”
    (Talmud, Shabbbat 31a treatise)

    * In Hebrew and Aramaic (in which the above story is written), Torah is Science, Theory, and of course the Bible.

  221. Michelle Schatzman says:

    E.G., thank you for your paragraphs on “intuitive” and “automatic”.

  222. E.G. says:


    This has not much to do with either intuition or automatic processing.

    A journalist automatically using a few standardised key-words – without thinking or being attentive/conscious about it – well, sort of. But that’s actually conditioning. Just as the reader who associates the key-words as s/he’s been conditioned: on the good/bad dimension. Automatising (just like some industrial process) concerns more complex behaviours, a sequence and sometimes contingencies are integrated.

    One feature of controlled processing is that it’s quite easily disrupted by a competing task (e.g., proof-reading paper and listening to an interesting interview), whereas automatic processing is much less vulnerable to such interference (e.g., driving and listening to your dearest/radio).

  223. E.G. says:

    Merci Madame.

    J’avais un peu l’impression de donner des perles au cochon – et ce n’est pas la seule raison de ma réticence.
    Je ne suis pas ici pour dispenser des leçons (on m’en rémunère ailleurs), mais il y a des moments où je ne puis laisser dire n’importe quoi qui obscurcisse plutôt qu’éclaircisse les idées. Et, en plus, le mec choisit la formation militaire, non mais!

  224. Eliyahu says:

    אי. ג’י. היקר
    אני חושב ש אפשר ללמוד ממנו
    בא לנהל את שיחותינו בכבוד לכולם שהוא בצדנו

  225. E.G. says:

    אליהו היקר

    ומדוע אמינותו של ידידנו עולה על שלי?
    ובמה כבודו יתר על שלי?

    ממתי בור ועם הארץ יכול להרשות לעצמו להטיף לאחר בשם בורותו ועמדתו חסרת הנאורות, ולזכות בתמיכה רק ואך בזכות היותו ”אחר“?

    כאן אין חילוקי דיעות. יש חוסר ידע ויכולת אבחנה.
    והאשמות טפשיות החושפות חובבנות יתרה מצד ידיד חסר אסמכתא

    הדבר היחיד שאפשר ללמוד ממנו הוא אמנות ההתחזות.
    ועלי זה לא מקובל. הברנש לא אמין ולא מהימן

  226. E.G. says:


    I forgot to add that it’s my intuition that got the gist and my learned brain that did the rest.

  227. sshender says:

    אי. גי.

    מדוע אתה מרגיש את הצורך לעבור לשפה אחרת ולדבר מאחורי גבו של ריי? (הגם שלא קשה להבין את הכוונה גם ללא ידיעת השפה בגלל ריבוי המלים הדומות לאנגלית או בזכות תוכנות תרגום למכביר). מדוע קריאת התיגר המינימלית עליך גוררת שבירת כלים שכזאת? האם אתה רוצה להיכנס לנעליו של
    בתפקיד שוטר המחשבות של הבלוג? ניחא, אפשר להבין תגובה מזלזלת כזאת כלפי מישהו הזוי וחסר קשר כמו ריצ’ארד אל בשרשור הזה, אבל כלפי ריי, שהוא אחד התורמים העיקריים והמוערכים של הבלוג הזה? ועוד על זוטות שכאלו?

  228. sshender says:

    I feel like this thread has taken a turn for the worse and it’s largely EG’s fault for being hyper sensitive.

    Reminded me of a thread from the old days when oao was still the most active member and Ray the newbiest. Ray made some very valid observations about group dynamics about alpha males and followers in this blog. It was rather amusing seeing people denying it and then acting it out a moment later…

    Ahhhmmmm.. The good ol’ days… BTW, anyone know what oao is up to these days? It seems that this place took much of his time, so why the sudden disapearance?

  229. Ray in Seattle says:

    [email protected], Sorry I missed this comment from earlier. I appreciate your description of the types of cognition you engage in for mathematics. It sounds like the kind of math (not applied) that you do really captures the essence of conceptualization – as reasoning about purely abstract images that have no intrinsic emotional content. That would be opposed to reasoning about quantities of “things” that arouse emotions, such as “profits” or “megatons” of nuclear destructive power, for example.

    All my math in school was for the latter kind applied in classes such as physics and engineering but I think I caught glimpses of the pure stuff at times – and was suitably awed.

    This relates to the “intuition” vs “automatic” discussion. I have been studying some papers the last few weeks where the dichotomy between behavior choice that uses cognition and choice that does not is the topic. This author uses “intuition” to generally describe the non-cognitive type. It is a feeling that comes upon a person that they can not explain cognitively but they somehow “know” what they have to do and they do it. And so I’ve been thinking about “intuition” as a class of “behavior” lately.

    It would have made more sense if I had used as an example how an experienced platoon leader might sense the presence of an imminent ambush but not be able to say why. But that would describe a way of “knowing” more than a way of “behaving” – for which I agree “automatic” was a better choice. Sorry for any confusion.

    This was a learning experience. I was reminded again to edit my comments with a view to how readers will interpret them.

  230. Cynic says:


    as reasoning about purely abstract images that have no intrinsic emotional content.

    What made me dislike an abstract algebra course was the prescribed text book (Sokolnikoff if I remember correctly) which provided no emotional satisfaction in its proofs of the many theorems we were required to know.
    It ended up with the entire class memorizing everything down to the last dot and comma for exam purposes as the abstraction of the logic I suppose could be represented by a piece of Dada art by Hannah Hoch.

  231. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Ray and Cynic,

    learning mathematics and doing mathematics have enormous emotional content for me! I tried to convey this idea in my post #219, and probably failed.

    The idea is as follows : I have representations in my mind, which are mainly visual and kinesthesic (or should one say proprioceptive ?). When the problem is clear enough for my logical mind, it is displaced into this wordless part of my mind where mathematical representations play with one another. Since my representations are located close to the visual and neuromotor cortex (this is the result of introspection; it would be interesting to perform a functional IRM of mathematicians, in order to see what is activated when one is not in the language mode), I am pretty sure that *all* my visual and neuromotor emotions enter the game.

    I like very much the theory developed by the French neuropsycologist Stanislas Dehaene, who is now a professor in the Collège de France: he explains that reading and writing skills being so recent in human evolution, they must use areas in the cortex, which were previously devoted to other skills.

    From my own introspection, and from mentoring a large number of grad students, I can say that mathematics are represented in variable parts of the brain, and I am definite that people use a part of their cortex for mathematics, that is highly dependent on their personal history.

    I know that this is not real science, because it is based on personal observations outside of any serious experimental protocol. But one has to start somewhere…

    Now emotions are not necessarily conscious. But I know the feeling when I take my pen and start on some argument or some calculation, I know the pleasure of the hand and the eye, when tracing fluidly the symbols onto paper (and I like good smooth paper and a good smooth fountain pen – old woman!!!). I know that I cannot perform complicated calculations in my mind, and I also know that, when the problem I have in mind is stripped down to its skeleton, then I can look at it in a different way (as one would rotate an object in one’s mind) and get the “aha”, which leads me to other arguments and calculations.

    I know that at times I smell that something is wrong either in my work or insomeone else’s work, even before I can point out to what is wrong. I think of myself moving in a forest on a mountain slope, with or without snow. I am the dwarfish woman who will find a better path than the giants, and I will conquer thaaway t mountain. And if I fall, I just stand up and brush the dust, and start again.

    There is nothing more emotional than the mathematical experience. But these emotions are not easy to describe in words…

    Nevertheless, I agree that mathematics can be tought in an incredibly boring fashionl, and I am terribly sorry when this happens, even through no fault of mine.

  232. E.G. says:


    There is nothing more emotional than the mathematical experience.

    How about “Few things are more exciting than one’s concerns within and about his/her domain of expertise and/or predilection”?

  233. E.G. says:


    Can you work at all times while listening to music?

  234. E.G. says:


    The king’s new clothes story is often referred to here. So let me clarify, using the same story.

    One point is that suggesting that the newly tailored set of clothes is a bit too transparent to be considered as apparel is far from (under)stating that clothes or their absence make the man.

    The other point is the tailors stating straight-faced that transparency and solidity are quite the same.

    If I advance that in Hebrew, the king is naked means that the king is sly, will you draw my attention to the fact that I’m drawing a fallacious conclusion, because ערום means both naked and sly, but the story is about the king’s credulity, not his deceitfulness?

    And, can you explain why you’d make (or not) such a comment?

  235. Ray in Seattle says:

    Michelle @241, I just awoke and turned on my computer to find in your words what I worried about last nite after I sent you my last comment ;-) Here’s what I thought I should add at the time but thought no, I’m just going on about this way too much. But I contemplated adding something like . .

    While your mathematics seems to permit exquisite conceptual purity compared to the math I know, I am struck by the emotional passion that you hold for it and the deep respect for the practice that comes through in your words. What a delightful contrast; a deep passion in purpose that can apply itself so devotedly to the manipulation of such pure concepts. The human mind never ceases to amaze me.

    . . or something like that.

    Also, I was getting tired and couldn’t quite figure out how to say it. I’ll never be able to do with mathematical concepts what you do. Not even close. But I really enjoy listening to your accounts of it. Thanks for exposing us to a small part of your world.

  236. Ray in Seattle says:

    Cynic @240, Too bad you didn’t have Michelle for a teacher. Too bad for me too I think ;-)

  237. Michelle Schatzman says:


    I am a very applied mathematician, who uses very pure mathematics to produce impure applications, such as algorithms for scientific computation. I am not excited by purity, I am excited by the power of mathematics and its applicability to a whole range of wordly problems. But not all: far from me to claim that mathematics has a place everywhere. It’s not true.


    music prevents me from working. I can work in (not too) noisy environments, provided that the noise is basically meaningless. If the noise has a meaning (and that is the case of the music I like, or an interesting conversation), I cannot work. It seems that audition takes precedence! Anyway, I agree with your #242 – of course. But then, at some point, I learnt to make mathematics into my subject of predilection, so I guess that, at that time, it appeared to have a strong emotional appeal, and I suspect that the subject keeps being appealing. I had lots of opportunities to do other stuff, and I passed, so I guess that the appeal of maths is still very strong for me.

  238. E.G. says:


    I too prefer my 242 to the UN one ;-)

    I wouldn’t discount the intellectual appeal. Did you know, before/at the time you chose your speciality, that it includes a non-negligible amount of creative thinking?

    I did suspect a musical interference. Same or neighbouring brain regions concerned, and your professional activity is in great part a controlled process (even when you let your imagination go wild). I bet you can have a nice conversation or even read a book without the “meaningful” music disturbing you too often.

    You’re probably familiar with this:
    (Try the interactive test, once using English and once using French)

  239. Michelle Schatzman says:


    I knew about the Stroop effect – probably read about it in some popular science magazine. Never tested myself before this evening. I named the colors of the color words in french and was about twice slower in test 2 than in test 1 (30 s vs 15 s). Fun! I also did the three other tests on the page. More fun! And observing that the original Stroop test is quite disturbing, much more than the variants.

    Besides that, I fell in love with mathematics at the age of 14. I sure did hope that it would require creative thinking, but I had probably no idea of what mathematically creatinve thinking in math really was. But I had the example of my father who was a scientist. I made sure not to work in the same field as him.

    @ Everyone

    I know about the effect that disturbed so much our friend E.G.: it occurs when two people use the same word for different concepts.

    Once upon a time, I worked with a friend about some models of the visual cortex. My friend used always the term “topology” to mean the graph properties of the neural network, i.e. the way the network made out of neurons is organized, with such and such synapse touching such and such other neuron. I was always terribly distressed by this use of the word “topology”, since it has an important, precise and technical meaning in mathematics. This made communication really difficult between us. Maybe now, more than 25 years later, it would be easier…

    From this point of view, mathematicians are horrible people, because some words from ordinary language have a technical mathematical meaning. Group, ring, space, field, complex, simple, rational, real, matrix, set, map, chart, apartment, building, reflection, connection and many more. Usually, this is not a problem, since there is a considerable difference between the common use of these words and the technical use.

    But it becomes really unsettling when the two different meanings are in neigboring fields of knowledge. Hence my and my friend’s topology, and similarly E.G.’s and Ray’s intuitive and automatic.

    I’d call that professional deformation. It is obviously very very close to the Stroop effect: when an individual hears or sees deformed concepts, which are very close to but different from what he/she thinks are the actual concepts, he/she suffers: it’s very much like listning to someone who is constantly out of tune, but nevertheless, enough is left of the original melody so that it is not deformed beyond recognition.

  240. E.G. says:


    Advise your daughter to teach the Lawyer and the Physician colours and numbers and the multiplication table in both her native and acquired languages.
    I was (still am) grateful to my grandma for the simultaneously acquired automatisms that make language transitions fast and smooth, even in dreams and mathematical calculations.

    I got fully aware of the richness I was endowed with (unintentionally, Grandma just did what she thought was her Grandma’s task, in her native language, with her first grandchild) when I experienced the Stroop effect for the first time, and “naturally” – or intuitively – immediately tried it in a different language than the one in which the words were written. A teachable moment!

    I find it difficult to attribute my later M.A. work on an auditive variant of the Stroop task to this insight, though.

    Professional deformation regarding terminology is not at all like or close to the Stroop effect (which is the interference between reading and denominating – two verbal tasks/activities in an inconsistent configuration, competing for the same cognitive resources; maths/music compete for other resources, while musical-verbal tasks have few resources to share). In the first place, this deformation (rather, shaping) endows one with disciplinary norms and boundaries. Part of these consists in assigning specific and precise, as unequivocal as possible, meanings to terms.

    What would your reaction be if one mish-mashed modus tollens and modus ponens? It’s inference, deductive logic and hardly differentiated from the inductive one anyway, mere subtleties not worth paying too much attention to, no?

    In a different domain, naming settlers colons and administrating occupation etc., is a similar slide.

    It’s a matter of ethics. And it’s professionally transversal.

  241. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Hey, E.G., I love to be taught by you!

    In any case, I wanted to point out that misnaming “things” deeply disturbs someone who learnt to heandle precisely these “things”.

    The Lawyer and the Physician are spoken to both in hebrew (by Dad) and in french (by Mom), so the Lawyer already knows his colors in two languages. Their social environment is such that the Lawyer may well become a Linguist and the Physician an Engineer… or a balabuste zissinke, as Dr Mom is presently doing.

  242. E.G. says:


    Glad to ack that the Zissalach do well without my Eitses-gibbering.

    The disturbing effect of the Stroop task is due to the irrepressible nature of the reading activity. You’re clearly asked to do something else, you do want to, but you have to invest extra-effort to come up with a simple and correct answer.

    Another somewhat puzzling “thing” is the inconsistency between relying on “scientific consensus” in one, rather novel multi-disciplinary domain, and discounting or denying a scientific consensus in another multi-disciplinary one.

  243. Cynic says:


    How you’re # 249 @ Everyone hit a nerve.

    I was always terribly distressed by this use of the word “topology”, since it has an important, precise and technical meaning in mathematics.

    That drove me nuts having to ascribe to a different understanding of the term in software and cartography which were not so mind bending in terms of visualisation.
    In a manner of speaking it is coming face to face with one’s “beliefs” being questioned; that Ray was discussing.

    Then again having studied data bases from the mathematical point of view and having grown up with “Domains” and “Range”, and suddenly having to deal with other terminology in the commercial world that provided no insight, at least not to me ……

    The terminology if not possible to be intuitively understood should be created and taught to be at least automatically understood across several disciplines. oops, here we go again :-) faux pas with reference to some comments above or object oriented programming system?

  244. E.G. says:


    Your comments above made me experience great emotional satisfaction. They are in line with my identity emotional automatic reactions to most emotional conceptions of human identity intuitions embedded in my emotional understanding of identity resulting from the intuitive conceptions of identity.

    I further believe that your intuitive choice of differential linguistic formulas definitely illuminates the unconscious part of my deep-seated behavioural beliefs regarding the preferential nature of affect-laden notions over being affiliated with charged feelings towards the politically tainted bias that is affecting this forum and its lambda females. This is understandable mostly as the dynamic mechanisms of intuitive memory recollection in prospective military debriefing sessions, mainly due to the differential interpretation of the epistemology of thought. And the inherent incrimination of faith in the self-belief automatism, of course.

  245. Michelle Schatzman says:


    I bestow upon you the olympic gold medal in wooden language for your #254 – obviously not directed to me, but nevertheless totally enjoyable.

    By the way, are you male or female? Is lambd (or lambdo) the masculine of lambda?

  246. Cynic says:

    I don’t know if I should feel hurt or unfazed.
    That was totally beyond me.
    It’s all Greek to me this recursive linguistic innuendo.
    Abstruse abstractions.

  247. E.G. says:


    In Oxfordian, as Cynic will confirm, it’s “Master of the Jargon”.

    Neither Lambda/do nor Lamed-vavnik!

  248. E.G. says:


    You’re not Liberal sophisticated enough to automatically go between the lines and come up with your projection of what someone you believe to be a Conservative means.

  249. Ray in Seattle says:

    Internet Ideology, Part I

    Forums like this can be psych labs where theories can be informally tested. A theory I am fond of is the one that attributes the role of human reasoning more to the justification of, than to the selection of behavior, when that behavior is driven by strong emotions. Conflict elicits some of the strongest human emotions because the brain associates it with survival. Behavior in those situations seems to follow that theory pretty well, as does this thread.

    Forum comment sections are particularly attractive to “blog warriors” who are always on the lookout for ideological conflict. It gives them a place to do personal battle at no risk. For them it’s all about honor for their ideology and shaming their opponents.

    Much of the ideological conflict in this arena focuses on terminology. Probably because of my distaste for ideologues I’ve found myself stuck in many of these “word wars” over the years. Instead of exchanging views about how two people might use a term differently and how that could illuminate the underlying ideas, the blog warrior will feign terrible offense at any variant use of a term by someone who he has identified as an ideological enemy.

    There are several advantages to this. It allows a diversion of the discussion away from the topic which the warrior may wish to avoid and onto the “terminology” being used. It also gives the warrior free reign to criticize the intelligence or background of his opponent and to reference his “superior education” and “intelligence” which serves the typical narcissism of the type. This is all justified as a laudable desire to “use correct definitions” – never of course to wage ideological war.

  250. Ray in Seattle says:

    Internet Ideology, Part II

    This posturing takes similar forms across the spectrum of forums on the right and the left. My views on the emotional basis of behavior are particularly offensive to ideologues because it diminishes the primacy of their beliefs – which they see as based on some “essential truth” of nature – hardly as an emotional reaction.

    But, it is really just that. Some brains are born or trained to form their identity around some strong ideology – some “ultimate truth”. It makes little difference which ideology it is. It could be multiculturalism as easily as antisemitism. If they ever abandon one they’ll find another to take its place, sometimes its opposite. Such minds become addicted to the adrenalin of combat and the dopamine of hoped-for victory.

    Fortunately, I’m long past taking offense at any of this. Especially when there’s so much to learn from it. The Palestinians seem to be a whole society where their ideological narcissism fills their minds and directs their behavior in the most abhorrent ways. Thanks to the Internet we can safely observe how such minds operate right here.

    I’d say the principle is that encouraging or allowing ideology to take over one’s mind leads inevitably to war of one type or another. The ideological mind will always go to battle against non-believers wherever they can be found. It’s who they are. Palestinians accustom their children’s minds to the strongest ideological emotions from an early age and thereby secure their war-seeking culture for succeeding generations.

  251. E.G. says:


    I hope you feel better now that you’ve posted another amateurish babble tirade.

    In this particular forum I’ve had at times a different stand or a misunderstanding on an issue with practically everyone, oao included. All the differences were quickly sorted out (except for Cynic who keeps teasing me with the greatest insult of them all, for which he’s getting less than his rightful due), or at least ended with an agreement to disagree.

    Neither have I nor has anyone else come up with some imaginary attributes regarding the other interlocutor, no matter how much we differed.

    You have no knowledge of who or what I am, what and how I think, my motivation, my tastes etc., and too few cues that can reliably lead you to construct a valid representation of my person. If you feel like wasting your time over baseless fantasies hinging on conspiracy schemes and lay theories around me – go ahead, I can take more than one ego-trip (as if I didn’t know that compared to me, Machiavelli was a naïve child).

    I’d suggest you’d better devote your resources to more interesting and constructive tasks such as getting a better understanding of as many basic notions as possible in your fields of interest. Perhaps even try modifying your attitude towards criticism. It’ll help you build something positive instead of the degrading, ridiculous image you give of your self.

    Michelle above referred to professional deformation. It’s a translation from French, denoting a somewhat derisive sense of awareness to one’s training and specialisation. The symmetric, less negative formulation describing the phenomenon is shaping a perspective (in the sense of a world view) from the vantage point of one’s main domain of occupation. I’ve already raised the question of a hypothetical pattern of argumentation acquired on what you described as “liberal fora”. Going ad hominem early on and frequently is a salient feature in these places. How sure are you I’m after you and the way you think a discussion should be lead? What if I’m only contesting some specific points? Has it ever crossed your mind?

  252. E.G. says:

    My pet theory is a strychnine-serotonin ideological conspiracy.
    And I have strong, incriminating evidence to substantiate it.

    Machiavelli de Medici’s cousin (on the Torquemada side)

  253. Michelle Schatzman says:


    did *you* poison the wells? How much serotonin do you need for poisoning all of Cambridge?

  254. E.G. says:


    Hush-hush. That was the Trotsko-Dracula branch’s assignment.

  255. Michelle Schatzman says:


    the religion of the Great Mother Earth:

    with a bit of funny debunking.

  256. Michelle Schatzman says:


    I knew it! I knew it! It all goes back to the Cambridge five! You must, you absolutely must burn Anthony Blunt at the stake. If he happens to be unfortunately dead, just pick up somebody, anybody, in order to satisfy the large masses and the victorious proletariate, allied with the religion of the poor and the damned of the earth.

    And what will you have for dinner? No blunt words, I hope.

    By the way, Anthony Blunt started with mathematics in Cambridge, so I am fully complicit. I’m waiting for my indictment, I can’t flee to Soviet Union any more.

  257. E.G. says:


    You’re indeed in great trouble.
    Big complicity in the ideological wording plot.

    Much of the ideological conflict in this arena focuses on terminology

    I went over the whole thread.

    Some participants really seem obsessed by the appropriateness, exactness, full/partial meaning, of terms:

    # 70 Michelle discusses the meanings of “Islamophobia” and “racism” in current use.

    #74 Eliyahu corrects my Biblical citation’s translation. (I forgot to thank him).

    #79 Michelle criticises my use of “fascist” suggesting “nazi” instead.
    #81 I reply to Michelle that she’s partly right.
    #100 Michelle argues that the fascist denomination is correct for some regimes and incorrect for others.
    #105 Eliyahu challenges Michelle’s exclusion of Franco’s Spain from the fascist label.
    #106 Michelle holds her position.

    #115 Eliyahu agrees and elaborates on my distinction of the good-bad Other (in moral hypocrites’ views).

    #135 sshender asserts “There is no denying that many antisemitic elements were inherited from classical Christian thought, but opposition to Israel in the context of anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism and class struggle has little to do with traditional Christian Judeophobia.”

    #136 Daniel BIelak challenges sshender’s assertion. Claims that “Anti-Jewish bigotry is an ideology.”

    #139 I ask Cynic: “Aquilifer?”
    #147 Cynic defines/describes.

    #166 Ray questions my use of “controversy”, whether it’s linked to creationism.
    #168 I clarify that my use of controversy is in the sense of disagreement (not politically connoted).

    #202 Ray discusses beliefs. And word choices.
    “We’ve selected these words and narratives for their ability to make us feel good when we use them in an online conflict / discussion. The make us feel like we have vindicated our real beliefs. Just like the dog feels he has vindicated his sense of territory.

    (I wonder on what evidence this assertion is based but I remain silent)
    Lots of conflicts going on(this is not an exhaustive list). And they’re obviously all ideological. Because

    It also gives the warrior free reign to criticize the intelligence or background of his opponent and to reference his “superior education” and “intelligence” which serves the typical narcissism of the type. This is all justified as a laudable desire to “use correct definitions” – never of course to wage ideological war.

    as it’s clearly observable in most if not all of these occurrences.

  258. E.G. says:

    There are several advantages to this. It allows a diversion of the discussion away from the topic which the warrior may wish to avoid and onto the “terminology” being used.

    What exactly is the topic of this thread?

    After 27 comments on Goldstone’s Yale performance, I’m guilty of posting a slightly O/T one – about the NIF funding most of the Israeli NGOs that provided more than 90% of his Judgeship’s Israel-damning materials.
    I later posted a few more updates on the NIF revelations.

    #63 Cynic adds a link on the NIF, and inserts the story of Cambridge cancelling Benny Morris’ talk.

    #83 I post Halevi’s analysis of Hamas’ response to Goldstone’s charges.

    #110 I argue “The NIF “controversy” and the Morris/Cambridge case are illustrations of the phenomenon RL calls demopathy.”

    #123 Cynic posts a link about FT having found to have a blatant anti-Israel agenda.
    #131 Cynic posts a link about journalistic malpractices in the Climate Change domain, that are similar to the ones discovered about their ME reporting.

    #134 sshender posts about AGW.
    #141 Eliyahu questions GW’s reality with respect to the cold wave.
    #143 I provide Eliyahu with an explanation of the current deviation (cold weather).
    #145 I insist on the importance of statistical thinking in science.

    #153 Ray professes his assertions about how scientists’ (brains?) work and how ideologues’ (brains?) work, how conflict is created and how it works and why it’s bad for democracy.
    Links attacks by RW against all Dems policies to Hamas firing Qassams on Sderot by the common denominator: the psychological need to conserve one “something” (not sure I understand what, maybe the sense of being absolutely right?).
    Ends claiming without any substantiation or even a caveat “That’s how the human mind works in ideological conflict.”

    #164 I state
    “Climate change is not the topic here, despite the O/T flow.”

    #173 Ray “My apologies for getting into belief again, but by now most must realize that I see the beliefs that the pro-Israel and pro-Pal sides hold as the key to understanding the conflict and why it has gone on so long.” Followed by asserting the central part belief takes in identity.

    #174 I agree. Link belief formation to the NIF findings.

    #178 I reply to Michelle’s hardly enthusiastic reaction to a paper I linked to by explaining its relevance to the entry’s subject: how the Goldstone commission proceeded.
    #181 I remind Michelle “that judges are society’s agents who are supposed to weigh and (counter)balance evidence…”

    Some commentators are clearly trying to divert the discussion from the topic. It is beyond any doubt that they desperately wish to avoid considering Goldstone’s take on Intl. Law, and it’s an established fact that this avoidance is due to their being ideological warriors which, in turn, is proven to be the result of their brains formed around an identity belief emotion… etc., etc..
    Makes a lot of sense.

  259. Cynic says:


    You’re not Liberal sophisticated enough
    Phew! That’s a relief thank goodness.
    Wouldn’t want to be considered one of the elites.
    Merriam-Webster: having a refined knowledge of the ways of the world cultivated especially through wide experience (a sophisticated lady)

    to automatically go between the lines and come up with your projection of what someone you believe to be a Conservative means.

    If I was a sophisticate I would have no need to go where no man has gone before between the lines and project. Genuflect, genuflect, genuflect.
    I would merely apply my ad hominum beliefs.

    Somewhere I have missed out on the greater scheme of things within this thread of conspiracy to understand why Cambridge should be awash in serotonin.
    Does it suffer a lack in neurotransmitters and in vasoconstriction, stimulation of the smooth muscles, and regulation of cyclic body processes?

  260. Michelle Schatzman says:

    I’m pleading guilty, your Honor.

    It’s not Cambridge, which is lacking serotonin, but the good judge, who could enjoy a dash of this chemical – God forbid that he should receive any strychnine, because poor old Mossad would again be accused of the deed.

    Indeed, in our world of Justice and Legitimate Claims, having motive is enough to be found guilty before the trial. I am all for Justice and Legitimate Claims, provided that I’ll be the party who decides what is just, what is a Claim and what is Legitimate.

  261. E.G. says:


    What, your not ashamed?!?

    Forum comment sections are particularly attractive to “blog warriors” who are always on the lookout for ideological conflict. It gives them a place to do personal battle at no risk. For them it’s all about honor for their ideology and shaming their opponents.

    How many more demonstrations of your personal responsibility in carrying out ideologically subversive covert activities do I have to make for you realise the ultimate goal of the game?

    Guilty Schmilty!
    In the honour/shame game there’s no trial. You’re sentenced. By word or by sword.

  262. Cynic says:

    Egads, E.G.
    You sound like Black Adder.

  263. Cynic says:


    Only today did I argue with one youth whose words as spoken were “guilty” without one word of truth presented.

    Amazingly difficult for him to couch his terms in a more balanced fashion. Then again I suppose he is influenced by the media and the nonsense published by Amir Oren of Haaretz where
    Following alleged Dubai mess, the Mossad chief must go

    So based on an alleged mess in Dubai the chief must go.
    Actually if one looks at the stuff Dubai presented it was less incriminating than a South Park episode.

    Now considering that Jordan arrested two Palestinians for “allegedly” being complicit and Hamas is screaming that that Dahlan is involved
    Hamas: Palestinians linked to Dubai hit employed by Fatah strongman Dahlan

    But of course the judge and his henchmen have spoken.

  264. Cynic says:


    Forget about the Deltas and Epsilons. What about the poor Alphas and Omegas?
    Diversity is the name and Lambda is perfectly entitled to be both plus and minus.

  265. Cynic says:


    Your #275 link seems to have a kink and points to the Abbas fatah tale.

  266. E.G. says:


    Genuflect, genuflect, genuflect. ;-)
    So now it’s not all Greek to you any more?
    Hmmm… You do seem to have more affinities with the Latin conspiracy.

  267. Cynic says:


    Reading the link above in #280 I came away that the writer was also trying to get in on the “competition” (for what I don’t know because the overall logic was mind numbing) by firstly, basically denying proof that the Mossad did it, commenting how “some” intelligence agency penetrated Hamas to gain intel and then informing that for rejecting the Prisoner/Shalit deal Hamas big heads are risking their shots (intended) and then criticizing the Mossad SIA (some intelligence agency) for The real snafu was the use of forged European passports bearing the names of real Israeli dual citizens.

    This is almost as Marxian as the CCTV video put out.

    The audio in the video even discloses when the secret agent is observing the Hamas aparatchik arriving.
    They should have got Woody Allen to direct.

  268. E.G. says:


    The most intelligent thing I read:

  269. […] we slide into interesting terrain. When you spoke at Yale, you argued that the same standards should apply to everyone, which a number of questioners pointed […]

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