Ethics Quiz: CNN And Marc Lamont Hill

I nearly mentioned Marc Lamont Hill’s anti-Israel speech at the U.N. yesterday into this afternoon’s pot pouri, but ran out of space. It’s a good thing, because the story wasn’t over. CNN reacted to the speech late today by firing him as a regular contributor.

While condemning Israel and calling for strong international support of Palestinians and a new Palestine, he said in part,

“Contrary to western mythology, black resistance to American apartheid did not come purely through Ghandi and nonviolence. Rather, slave revolts and self-defense and tactics otherwise divergent from Dr. King or Mahatma Gandhi were equally important to preserving safety and attaining freedom. If we are to operate in true solidarity with the Palestinian people, we must allow the Palestinian people the same range of opportunity and political possibility. If we are standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people, we must recognize the right of an occupied people to defend itself. We must prioritize peace, but we must not romanticize or fetishize it. We must advocate and promote nonviolence at every opportunity, but we cannot endorse a narrow politics of respectability that shames Palestinians for resisting, for refusing to do nothing in the face of state violence and ethnic cleansing….We have an opportunity to not just offer solidarity in words but to commit to political action, grass-roots action, local action and international action that will give us what justice requires and that is a free Palestine from the river to the sea.

The last part was the tipping point, it seems: the phrase “from the river to the sea” has long been used by those who advocate wiping  Israel off the map. The Anti-Defamation League and the Simon Wiesenthal Center responded to Hill’s comments by calling them open support for the elimination of Israel. From Jewish Journal:

Sharon Nazarian, the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) senior vice president for international affairs, told the Journal in an email, “Those calling for ‘from the river to the sea’ are calling for an end to the State of Israel.”

“It is a shame that once again, this annual event at the United Nations does not promote constructive pathways to ‘Palestinian solidarity’ and a future of peace, but instead divisive and destructive action against Israel,” Nazarian said.

Similarly, Simon Wiesenthal Center Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper told the Journal in an email, “Justice requires a ‘Free Palestine from the River to the Sea’? Marc Lamont Hill is a confirmed anti-Zionist ideologue. His extremist, anti-peace views merit coverage on CNN, not as a paid pundit but as a supreme propagandist unfettered by facts.”

Hill furiously argued on Twitter that he was being misinterpreted, but to no avail.  He is a Professor of Media Studies and Urban Education at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Hill would have had a stronger defense if he was not an open admirer of anti-Semite and routine Jew-hater Louis Farrakhan. I would have fired him years ago for being an outrageous race-baiter who sells anti-white bigotry and racial division on CNN using his  academic credentials as false authority. A typical moment: when a Baltimore Court correctly threw out the politically and racially motivated indictment against one of the officers involved in the Freddie Gray death, Hill tweeted, in defiance of the evidence and law, “The acquittal of the Baltimore Officer is yet another reminder that Black life isn’t worth much in this nation.”

Let’s ignore all of the many other good and long-standing reasons to fire Hill however, and pretend he had previously been responsible, fair, and professional. Or we could pretend he was a mongoose. No, let’s just stick with responsible, fair, and professional to keep it simple…

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:

Should Marc Lamont Hill have been fired for his speech at the United Nations?

Just for fun, I’m now going to see what Jonathan Turley says about this, as he is a reliable defender of free expression when tenured professors engage in outright racist speech on social media and elsewhere…

Nope, so far no guidance from the professor.

Once again I should note that habitually confuse Hill with Neil Degrasse Tyson, another academic who abuses his credentials to engage in race-baiting. I think it’s because they both use their middle names, which has always seemed pompous to me. Tyson is also in trouble: From Patheos:

“Two more women, including a fellow astronomer, say Neil deGrasse Tyson is guilty of inappropriate sexual conduct. Dr. Katelyn N. Allers, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Bucknell University, told me that she was “felt up” by Tyson at an after-party following a meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in 2009. AAS didn’t have a mechanism for reporting sexual harassment at the time, but Dr. Allers says she probably would report the incident if it had happened today…Ashley Watson, a former assistant to Tyson …says she was forced to quit her job due to his inappropriate sexual advances. Watson worked directly with Tyson for several months. She says that, during that time, he put her in an uncomfortable situation by attempting to persuade her into sex, and demonstrated his “predatory tendencies.”

It looks like Tyson may soon join Hill in academic celebrity purgatory. I sure hope they don’t team up; then I’d never be able to keep them straight.


98 thoughts on “Ethics Quiz: CNN And Marc Lamont Hill

  1. I’m going to go out on a limb here… I say no. If the news networks fired everybody who said outrageous, foolish, ill-informed, stupid and hateful things, who would be left? Besides, it might be best to keep MLH right where we know we can find him to hear what he really thinks. Because… there are people like him out there and it is probably not too wise to pretend that they don’t exist. They do exist… plenty of them… and they hold positions of influence. Never forget.

  2. Without ‘river to the sea’ there is nothing objectionable for me here. And anyway this is an ‘opinion’, not a news report. And I understand this was addressed to the UN in a personal capacity ( presumably invited by the UN?) not a paid slot for CNN or representing them in any way. I didn’t recognise ‘river to the sea’ as a coded call for the ‘wiping out of Israel’: should I have? I certainly don’t support that. The call for a ‘free Palestine’ is aspirational. And however hard, however unlikely, this is a call I support. I also support CNN’s right to ‘hire / fire’ anybody they want, as a free press. As I will uphold my right to turn CNN (or ethics alarms) ‘on’ or ‘off’ as I chose.

    • You should have recognized it immediately. Look at a map. What’s between the Jordan River and The Mediterranean Sea? Israel! So if the Palestinians get the territory ‘from the river to the sea’, they get Israel. Pretty obvious to almost anybody.

    • “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” is Hamas’ 1488. That you might not recognise it doesn’t really surprise me, I don’t think the average person would… But Hill has spent too much time in the region not to understand both what he was saying, the history behind it, and the implications of it.

      I wouldn’t call for him to be fired, but I won’t shed a single tear over it.

  3. His position is not uncommon, but it is still completely insane. Palestine is not occupied. Israel is not an apartheid state. The PLO are not freedom fighters. They are not even oppressed. If their leaders ever gave up their dominionist bloodlust for eradicating and controlling Israel, they would have a home there, or in any number of Arab countries with whom they actually share ancestry.

    He’s also wrong about uprisings and violent tactics being “equally important” to African freedom and equal rights in America. Not even close to true. If anything such tactics, while understandable, hindered the hard uphill battle being fought by the likes of Douglass and King. You can trace virtually every single concrete step forward in both the abolition and civil rights movements to peaceful activists, non-violent advocacy, and people working within the American systems to change them. Not sexy, but true.

    CNN should not have an employee so Alex Jones-y as to call fact-based history “western mythology.” They didn’t need to fire him, but should have quietly “let him go” at some point either way. Not necessarily because of that particular statement, but because of being dumb generally.

    • I would disagree with you on your points about violent tactics. Violent self-defense was an integral part in the Civil Rights movement in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The Deacons for Defense and other armed groups of black men provided armed guards for civil rights leaders. Without groups of armed black men like the Deacons for Defense, CORE would have been wiped out. The KKK would have won and the civil rights movement would have collapsed.
      •The KKK attacked CORE and the Deacons fired back. One KKK member was killed. Another one drove to the next state for medical attention to hide the fact that he was in the KKK and a police officer.
      •Bogolusa, LA hired its first black deputy and the KKK murdered him a few days later. CORE President James Farmer was to preach at the funeral, but was warned by the government that the KKK was going to assassinate him. Armed Deacons escorted him from the airport. Fifty armed Deacons guarded the funeral. The KKK was held at bay.
      • In 1965 in Jonesboro, LA, the police along with the KKK were about to use fire hoses on black students protesting the segregated high school. A carload of armed Deacons showed up and began loading their weapons. The police and the KKK withdrew.
      •When King and Meredith had their March Against Fear in Jackson, MS, the Deacons provided armed escort.
      •During the 1967 march from Bogolusa to Baton Rouge, the marchers were surrounded by armed Deacons or they would have been killed by the KKK.
      •25 Cars full of KKK drove through Bogolusa one night shooting into the homes of black families. The black fired back with superior firepower.
      •In 1966 Bogolusa Jr. High School integrated. The black students were being beaten up regularly. They fought back. The KKK showed up with guns to remove the black students from the school. The Deacons showed up with M1 carbines. The KKK left.

      The events in Bogolusa were repeated all over the South. Woodrow Wilson reinvented the KKK as a nationwide organization that worked with local officials to maintain Democratic control. To do this, they needed absolute control of the black community. Any hint that blacks might shake off this noose of control (and maybe vote Republican) would be met with aggressive and possibly violent action. Civil Rights activists, both black and white, were high-value targets of the KKK. Peace and love wasn’t going to cut it.

      •Martin Luther King, Jr. often used the Chicago chapter of the Deacons for Defense for security. Martin Luther King, Jr. was surrounded by armed men at almost all times. He applied for a concealed carry permit, but was denied because he couldn’t ‘show need’ to the chief LEO. Requiring people to demonstrate ‘need’ is a consistent policy of the Democratic Party used to arbitrarily deny people their rights. So much for your assertion of nonviolence.

      This escalation of violence is what really won the Civil Rights Movement. The fact that blacks proved that they would not back down and would defend THEMSELVES eventually led to the FBI cracking down on the KKK and their ties to law enforcement in the South. Without that, there was no hope that the Cvil Rights Movement could succeed. Without the protection from the KKK and local law enforcement that the Deacons and (later) the FBI provided, any Civil Rights group would have been destroyed. Once the crackdown happened, Civil Rights groups were free to operate without much opposition.

      The Deacons were supported by the US’s oldest civil rights organization, the NRA. As part of the CMP, the NRA sold at a discount (and gave) surplus government ammunition. This actually really infuriated the federal government. A lot of that ammo had just been given to the NRA and they in turn gave it to a bunch of black men in the South to shoot at the KKK.
      The NRA has always been open to members of all races. During the early 20th century, the NRA range was one of the few facilities in Washington D.C. that wasn’t segregated.

  4. Yes, but not for the rhetoric used. I will admit that I did not know that those particular comments have been used to call for Israel’s destruction. While I considered my bias might push me in that direction (as an Israel supporter, and not a fan of CNN or Mr. Hill), I am going to try to look at this from another perspective.

    This doesn’t seem to be a free speech issue. This is an issue of whether or not the journalist should get to say what he wants on his own time and not have to worry about losing his job. If that is the case, I think he should be fired. I don’t think Mr. Hill gets to turn off being a journalist. It is too public of a profession, and, like it or not, his actions off the clock do have a direct impact on his company. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was something along those lines in his contract. Frankly, no one wants a journalist who makes the news and doesn’t report it (I think CNN already has Acosta for that) an ethicist, who doesn’t practice ethics when he’s off the clock, or a minister who gets drunk Friday, but goes on to Sunday like nothing ever happened.

    Furthermore, it seems the line between reporting the news and making the news is becoming even more blurred. And though I have a feeling that if Trump was not currently doing battle with CNN this would have played out differently, if they have any hope at winning that battle, it is in their best interest to drop him. I’m willing to bet it had more to do with Trump then it had to do with his comments (which really weren’t anything new from him based on what I understand).

    The sad thing about all of this is it likely won’t make that much of a difference what happens. Sure, Mr. Hill will be off the air and in my opinion (for whatever it is worth) that is a good thing. But to others, this will just be proof to the CNN haters that CNN is already like this (given his track record and the track record of other CNN reporters), the people who support it, will find some way to blame conservatives/Trump, and the ones who don’t like the comments but support CNN will believe it is proof that CNN isn’t biased.

    • I assume the UN asked for Hill’s opinion as some form of subject expert. I assume his honest opinion is what they got. You disagree with it, as we all might in various ways. If you feel strongly you could put your countervailing opinion in writing. That is how healthy debate is supposed to work. I understand CNN has previously asked for Hill’s opinion but have decided they won’t in future. That is all fine. What is there to complain about?

      It would in my view been quite wrong for CNN or anyone else to have sought to influence Hill’s submission to the UN. If the UN want CNN’s opinion, they can ask for it.

      And if you think the UN should have invited someone else to speak instead of Hill, you could tell them that too.

    • Hill provides race commentary on CNN. He has also been a regular on Fox some years ago. To classify him as a journalist is incorrect. He is much a journalist as Karl Rove.

      He is better classified as a polemicist.

  5. On the one hand, I disdain coded words that those not in the know are supposed to automatically equate with bigotry or hate.

    With that perspective, no, there wasn’t anything wrong with his speech.

    On the other hand, someone who is allegedly knowledgeable about the Palestinian issue as he is should be aware of their controversial phrases. How is Hill saying that he was misinterpreted? Is he saying he didn’t know that the “river to the sea” is Palestinian code for their own version of ethnic cleansing? Is he saying that he did know it but that he didn’t mean that when he himself used it? If so, he’s incompetent and we can’t trust the messenger.

    If someone today were to argue that the Germans had a right to dispute the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, one of which the loss of her colonies and the stripping of some of Germany itself to reconstitute Poland and decided to use the word “lebensraum” (a term inextricably linked to the Nazis’ expansionist and, ultimately, genocidal policies) to describe Germany’s position, would that not sully the argument in the eyes of many?

    • OK, how is this coded? Look on a map. If Palestinians are give the area “From the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea”, how much of Israel is left? It has been a widespread slogan among Palestinian supporters to say they wish to drive the Jews “into the sea”.

    • Even if you want to pretend Hamas’ hasn’t chanted the slogan at rallies… Which river to which sea? Even if the slogan was made up from thin air for that speech, if Palestine reaches from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, then where is Israel? The saying is inflammatory without the history, the history makes the context obvious.

  6. We must advocate and promote nonviolence at every opportunity, but we cannot endorse a narrow politics of respectability that shames Palestinians for resisting, for refusing to do nothing in the face of state violence and ethnic cleansing….We have an opportunity to not just offer solidarity in words but to commit to political action, grass-roots action, local action and international action that will give us what justice requires and that is a free Palestine from the river to the sea. [my emphasis]

    Okay, what the hell do the parts I indicated in bold mean, anyway? First of all, there is no “ethnic cleansing” going on in Israel. This is clearly an inflammatory, unjust, and meritless accusation. It can be rationally seen as anti-Semitism on it’s own, but that is certainly not beyond debate.

    Combining that with “free Palestine from the river to the sea” makes it much more problematic for him. Leaving aside whatever Hamas has said, that phrase necessarily means that Israel cannot exist in the same place as “Palestine.” His Twitter comment:

    I concluded my remarks with a call to free Palestine from river to sea. This means that all areas of historic Palestine —e.g., West Bank, Gaza, Israel— must be spaces of freedom, safety, and peace for Palestinians.

    This does not clarify his remarks, as it is a nonsequitur. He called for a free Palestine, not free Palestinians, and surely even he can differentiate between the two concepts. One is compatible with an Israeli state, and the other clearly is not. Israel is not going to surrender the area between the West Bank and the Jordan to a theoretical Palestinian state. It is a non-starter, which means the entire context of these remarks are either:

    a. a fantasy, or;
    b. a call for the majority, if not totality of Israel to be replaced by Palestine.

    This is certainly anti-Israel, and suggests a total disregard for the validity of their claims to the land they possess. It suggests that he would support any means, including “self defense,” which in this context must mean violence, since Israel is not attacking Palestinians except in retaliation for attacks against them.

    Finally, he says nothing about the violence directed at Israeli citizens from the Palestinians except to say that resistance is permissible and peaceful resistance shouldn’t be a requirement. Taken together, it looks at minimum anti-Israeli, and taken together with his support of the flagrant anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, suggests a rather more sinister intent. Sorry, but I just can’t ignore that.

    I will say that without said support, it’s a much closer call. Saying peace shouldn’t be “fetishized” seems like a plea to accept Palestinian on Israeli violence as “self defense” and reject any response as “ethnic cleansing,” and I don’t know how else to read the totality of it except as a call to expel Israelis from their lands by any means, and replace Israel with Palestine.

    This paints “free Palestine from the river to the sea” in a more sinister light, and on that basis, I reject his benign explanation.

    Judgement: Fire him; not to do so requires giving him more benefit of the doubt than he deserves.

  7. 1) If they can reasonably argue that MLH’s association with CNN is so well established and strong that seeing MLH speak, reasonably evokes CNN’s authority, then of course CNN can ethically fire MLH to protect it’s business. Of course, as a side bar, we all know CNN doesn’t seem to care about it’s journalistic reputation, but within the realm of pretending that they do, then yes, they can justify this firing.

    2) If they cannot reasonably argue that MLH’s associate with CNN is well established and strong, that seeing MLH speak doesn’t cause most viewers to think “oh, he’s with CNN”, then CNN can’t ethically “fire” him.

    But then again, what’s the relationship here? How can CNN “fire” someone that they don’t have strong business relationship with? If they don’t have a strong business relationship with MLH, then CNN isn’t “firing” him…merely choosing to use him as a contributor less often (in this case no longer at all).

    I’m not sure this is even an ethics question… either their relationship is so strong that they can be reasonably said to be “firing” him, in which case, the relationship IS strong enough that people reasonably associate his words with CNN’s own authority. Or the relationship isn’t strong, and so they aren’t really “firing” him, only consulting him less…which is the name of the game in loose, informal business relationships….

  8. Hill’s comments in a speech is none of CNN’s concern given that he was hired to provide that sort of perspective. CNN uses him as a race baiter. We know that.

    Enough of this “he must be fired” for expressing his opinion in a public venue. I can reject his opinion and ridicule it. Let him and others with radical points of view to speak. It is enlightening. We cannot lament the lack of critical thinking among the electorate if we dont give them opportunities to evaluate what people have to say.

  9. CNN isn’t a government entity, it can fire its employees for any reason, unless that reason is illegal. Since Hill has no right to free speech with a private employer, of course he can be fired. Should he have been fired? I have no opinion because it was a business decision. CNN doesn’t care if Hill was on the right or wrong side of this issue, the only analysis was the PR and advertiser fallout. CNN concluded that firing Hill was the right business move.

    • Absolutely correct from a legal perspective, but the question was relating to ethical decision making not simply boiling it down to a business decision.

      Theoretically, what if all employees were barred from expressing pro labor sentiments that could cause harm to the bottom line? Or what if an employee was fired for having a Trump or Clinton bumpersticker on their car? I abhor organized economicboycotts as much as I abhor abridgements of free expression.

      In my mind, a well publicised firing of someone expressing a particular point of view based on economics is in the long run harmful to organizations that claim to be objective reporters of issues.

      • Except, as we’ve already discussed many times with the various iterations of the “Naked Teacher Principle” and various iterations of “Employee Speech Outside the Workplace” principles, that this particular type of business decision does count as an ethics decision.

        • I believe the Naked Teacher principle is incorrectly applied here. That deals with adults behaving in a manner inconsistent with the values that are assumed integral to the mission of the organization.
          Here we are dealing with political speech, albeit inflammatory. We have seen people forced to resign positions for making contributions to candidates who espouse views that this group or that group find objectionable.

          Using ecomomic sanctions on the internal population is still chilling of free speech irrespective of government coercion not directly ordered.

          I find MLH’s opinions lacking in most ways but the minute I demand his voice be silenced I risk my ability to voice an opinion.

          We need to see these people for who they are to assess their credibility on other issues.

          Imagine finding out one day that your employer wants to know who you voted for because your choice could impact the bottom line.

          • I’m not applying naked teacher principle. Merely demonstrating that you can’t inherently claim that because this is a business decision it isn’t also an ethics decision. Some business decisions do touch on ethics, as Naked Teacher demonstrates.

    • Right, SS. This is where I come down. True, CNN is exercising this right incoherently, as there are too many similarly negative presences on the network, but this was so high profile, and such a divisive, provocative position to take, that combined with his Farrakhan flirtations, I don’t think CNN had much choice. I’m amazed that Hill didn’t expect it.

    • Yeah… I don’t think Hill was fired for his views, there are too many CNN contributors that regularly spout similar rhetoric… I think “firing” Hill was easy for him because his relationship was so casual, and the noise had broken their action inertia.

    • CNN isn’t a government entity, it can fire its employees for any reason, unless that reason is illegal. Since Hill has no right to free speech with a private employer, of course he can be fired. Should he have been fired? I have no opinion because it was a business decision. CNN doesn’t care if Hill was on the right or wrong side of this issue, the only analysis was the PR and advertiser fallout. CNN concluded that firing Hill was the right business move.

      It is amazing to me how, in America and within the spirit of Constitutional principle, a citizen openly sides with a corporation and agrees to limit her right to say what she thinks about what is going on. There was a time, and there still are times, when people put their lives at risk to gain, or recover, their sovereignty. Ah, except not with some! They rather show the degree that they have given over their sovereign right to think freely and to say what they think. If CNN can do this, and if citizens assent to it, it shows that they have sacrificed an important principle. They’ve done it voluntarily! and they resort to a flimsy legal argument that gives power to a corporation to influence *the flow of ideas*.

      This shows the degree to which corporations, through whatever *legal* mechanisms, have worked to control what people can think and what people can say.

      If it is true — I reckon it is true — that a business or corporation can fire the man in question for having spoken a truth, his truth, his perception, or what have you, then a citizen who really does believe in Constitutional values must immediately oppose the right of that business or corporation to do so. At least she or he must see what is at stake and where it leads.

      • See, you misunderstand the Constitution here. It is not a list of rights bestowed upon the people, it is a recognition of rights already belonging to the people.

        The document originally was written to limit Government.

        As such, it places few (if any) limits upon private citizens, and corporations are just private businesses writ large.

        I am talking about the Constitution itself: later laws have infringed willy nilly in the 200 plus years since.

        • As such, it places few (if any) limits upon private citizens, and corporations are just private businesses writ large.

          No, they are *writ* in a very different language, and they are fundamentally, and undeniably, entities of a very different order.

          As a counter-point, I would suggest as a possibility that you do not understand the arguments against the excessive and incommensurate (and also the eternal) structure of a fictitious third person (a corporation) against the rights and limitations of a natural person.

          I have examined some of those arguments, and some of the activism against these fictitious third persons who, even when they violate laws in the most outrageous form, never face ‘death’ through revocation of their charter (their right to exist granted by the polity through the people’s power and their legal representatives).

          See Richard Grossman and POCLAD:

          Most of the people who argue in these areas are Lefties. My view is that the Conservative Right needs to also begin to argue from these, shall I say, popular angles. But entirely within a Constitutional frame.

          • PS: If you actually listen to his talk (which is very interesting and thought-provoking) I will send you a case of:

            You can share some with TexAgg (or Michael West, though I suspect they might be the same *natural person*).


        • The document originally was written to limit Government.

          As such, it places few (if any) limits upon private citizens, and corporations are just private businesses writ large.

          I listened to the talk by Richard Grossman again last night (I had listened to another, similar talk some years back) and was again very impressed by the import of the message. I now see that this view of the corporation as an anti-democratic power — a subverter or the ‘natural rights of persons’ (as you alluded to) is central to my understanding of how the Constitution is undermined and business interests and corporate powers have insinuated themselves into levels of control that are obscene.

          The essence of Grossman’s argument is that the American revolutionists rose up against the transferred corporate power bequeathed by the King to rule the Colonial bureaucracy and its various *companies*. To do so, they had to philosophically arrive at new and bold definitions of the rights of natural persons in the colonies, and to describe why it was good, proper and just to oppose the vicarious power of the English king and why it was necessary (in the course of human affairs) to establish a republic on a new philosophical ground, hitherto unknown.

          According to Grossman, beginning in the 1860s the American corporation began to take advantage of laws designed to protect former slaves, and worked to achieve a definition of a corporate body as a ‘person’. With that machination, and in conjunction with the Industrial Revolution and whole new enterprises, a vehicle for the subversion of Constitutional principles was given power and the right to exist *in perpetuity*.

          It is not surprising then that *the people* began to be defined as secondary, or in any case these corporate structures were given *rights* that they never should have been given, and could act in ways vastly out of proportion to the rights of a given man, or men, within the body politic.

          The analysis does more than *suggest* that through these means the Constitution has been undermined, it directly implies that it has, and this is the reason why I often say (what everyone really does know, in fact) that American government has been undermined by its business-class and it is they who rule and determine in a whole array of different domains. They have so far penetrated the body politic and the ‘commons’ that they have rights to influence what we think — what we are allowed to think if I can put it this way — through their inordinate reach through the News Corporations they control. Indeed, the Media are the selfsame Corporations and, often, are part of constellations of corporations whose power competes against ‘natural government’.

          Approximately in 1900 or thereabouts, the collusion between incorporated war industries and subservient factions within the American polity, sought and advocated for wars of conquest and anti-democratic domination (Philippines, Cuba), and acted against the *sovereign will* of the American people (who did not desire war) to embroil the US in those fateful ‘foreign entanglements’.

          The effect of engaging in neo-imperial conquest, and of allowing the penetration of private capital and industry into governmental decision-making, might not have been noticed at first (though these wars were bitterly critiqued at that time), but there is a boomerang effect: What a nation of ideals does in foreign lands, which are in open and direct violation of its stated principles, inevitably rebounds against its own principles and the ‘rights of natural persons’ who are the source, and only control, of governmental power. The history — at least the view of history that sound cogent to me — is fairly plain. The war-making industries gained great power, and the wealth generated further subverted those who benefited, leading to greater desire for more and other *involvements* which led, ominously, to the decision to enter WW1. In order to engineer this, the public relations/propaganda industry came into being. And this represented another level of interpenetration and subversion: a seduction of an unprecedented scale and always in opposition to the rights, the will, and the desires of ‘natural persons’. But as Grossman mentions, the idea fostered by the powerful corporations is “What’s good for us is good for you” and there arose the idea of ‘The Market’ as a deciding and controlling factor within the sovereign polity.

          Nothing has come to operate against these intrusions into the *proper* governance of the Nation. In fact — as should be plain to anyone with two functioning eyes in their head — it is business interests and corporate interests that DEFINE AMERICA. Perversely, tragically so, there is a collusion between government interests and the interests of private capital, and a bizarre melding of ‘the tenets of Americanism’ and ‘the American civil religion’ with the functions of corporate interests, which so dominate the public space that their *noise* is inescapable.

          You know this, I know this, and everyone on this blog knows that this is so. We may differ in what level of apologia we employ to attack it or to condone it, but the essential fact (at least I do not think so) is largely incontestable. If one were really and truly a Constitutionalist — sincerely and intellectually — one would have something to say about this state of affairs. But the American so-called ‘Conservative’ has lost his or her voice. Why?

          I suggest that what I have described here reveals the underpinning issue and question that defines political realities in our present. Everything seems to hinge back to these events and their eventualities in actualities.

          Therefor, to become free in this perverse present, is to manage to escape from conventions of controlled ideation and to jump out of established parameters which corral people — the sovereign body-politic — into seeing through a lens that is a false lens and one that deceives. That is the *noise* I refer to. What horrifies is the degree to which so many, the majority, and certainly of the *talking heads*, cannot, ever, really speak in free and sovereign terms.

          People here on this Blog, most often as Conservatives, complain all the time about the state of affairs in the present. But they do not seem to fully grasp the range of issues at hand. The look but they do not *see*. That is my impression. Seeing and saying have to become radical and poignant about the state of affairs. Really, it is the intellect that has to break free of the constraints that bind it to falsehood and to lies (any lying).

          What does being ethical mean in such a context?

          [Please keep your answer to 5 words or less . . .]

          • Still Spartan wrote: “CNN isn’t a government entity, it can fire its employees for any reason, unless that reason is illegal. Since Hill has no right to free speech with a private employer, of course he can be fired. Should he have been fired? I have no opinion because it was a business decision. CNN doesn’t care if Hill was on the right or wrong side of this issue, the only analysis was the PR and advertiser fallout. CNN concluded that firing Hill was the right business move.”

            Now, here you have a *sovereign natural person* who gives their sovereign power — their responsibility as a sovereign — over to a News Corporation. She recognizes that that News Corporation has more rights than she does! and *agrees* to the arrangement. Obviously (I do not conceal my contempt) this shows the pathetic mind of a subservient cockroach-citizen, and someone who does not serve intellectual truth but rather a kind of legalism that has been achieved agains the sovereign right of natural persons.

            At the very least, while (perhaps) respecting the letter of the law as it stands, a free citizen should be able to see why their subservient attitude — this *agreement* — is perverse and anti-Constitutional.

            One notices this attitude of freely offered subservience all the time among Americans I am afraid to say (in my region, unfortunately, people often do not even have a basis for reasoning of such things at any level given the horribly poor education system for the majority and therefor *stand mute* before the forces and powers that control them).

            CNN in fact and in truth has subsumed powers of government. In a sense such corporations, in some contexts (and in relation to foreign governments) have more power than government. But where did that power come from? Who gave it to them? I think we have to at least put on the table that it is the sovereign people who gave a corporation the right to exist, but under specified conditions.

            But who can say that the right of a free sovereign person to say what they think can or should be trumped — be limited and stifled — by an entity whose corporate existence has been provided by that free citizen? If this is so, and if such is allowed, and if a citizen agrees to it, that citizen is a slave, not a free natural person.

            What does this mean, what does this portend, when citizens, perhaps in a majority, agree to surrender their rights and responsibilities to a corporate body that should have no involvement in governance? The implications are obvious, or in any case should be . . .

            The right of this man Marc Lamont Hill to speak as he spoke should be defended tooth claw and bullet. And if it is lawful for a corporation to fire him for what he says and thinks, the laws need to be revisited right away.

            • You are deep into conspiracies, here. Many things you say are factual, in that ‘they happened.’

              Your conclusions are… out there. Your ultimate call for revolution (for that is what you are saying) is hyperbolic. This issue is not as complicated as you seem to want it to be:

              1. Rights protect you from the government (CNN is not government)
              2. Using those rights may have consequences (Marc was fired)
              3. Wanting government (for who else could do so?) to step in to enforce Constitutional Rights (Marc’s speech, opinions) upon a private entity (however that came to be so) is totalitarianism.

              This is a conservative answer. All the other is irrelevant to the issue at hand.

              • You are failing to understand that CNN is a corporation and a specific sort of entity whose right to exist was granted by government. It does not — or should not — have rights that exceed that of a natural person. That is the main point I am making here, though the issue branches out into other aspects of history and current culture.

                If you cannot see the implications here, I cannot be of service to you.

                You do not wish to consider that a corporation is not the same as a sovereign person. And you also do not wish to consider the ramifications that follow when a corporation is granted rights that exceed those given to an individual. And you seem not to desire to see what the implications are when the powers of corporations exceed that of natural persons. You are free to organize your perceptions as you see fit.

                You fail to take into account — it is a failure of vision and the will and desire to see — the degree that private corporations have interpenetrated the body politic. Influence how people see think and behave. Insinuate themselves into government and policy-making. That is your right and you are free to see things that way. I think there is a great deal to be gained from seeing, shall I say, better and more realistically. I also see it as a primary responsibility. But if you don’t, I can respect your choice, though I think it irresponsible.

                You assert that your answer is a ‘conservative’. But that is merely an assertion and not a fact. You are free to see it that way though. And I respect that choice. But it is incorrect, in my opinion.

                This is not *conspiracy theory* it is dealing on historical issues from a certain angle. I would wish that that angle would be one more in accord with constitutional principles, understood in the abstract. To call these concerns *conspiracy theories* false. Many of these issues and problems were spoken of, in depth and eloquently, in the last decades of the 19th century by important personages. One can research those opinions and read them.

                Government is supposed to be ‘the representative of the people’, is it not? Government is the agency to which people have given a ‘chip’ of their authority, is it not? If government, then, does not *step in* then I will ask you: who would? Who could?

                But the more important issue here is to trace how it happened, beginning on the 1860s, that private corporations usurped a great deal of power in appropriately, and anti-constitutionally. It is a historical issue in which effects are examined by considering causes.

                By saying “Wanting government (for who else could do so?) to step in to enforce Constitutional Rights” you seem to reveal that you do not trust government. Or, in the worst case, that you do not trust government as the chosen representative of the people. But that alone indicates that government is likely corrupt. Why then would you distrust it? Yet you have more trust in the private corporate entity who has to all appearances usurped the limits of its authority? (My view is that this is the case, that it is obvious and hardly needs explanation or defense. I understand that you do not see it that way. I respect your view but think it (very) wrong-headed).

                I think this is where a significant contradiction is located. While I understand that government is best when it is limited, there is no other mechanism to control the usurpation of the rights of natural persons but the government that they have created, granted power to, and place their trust in.

                • I think I will rely on my decades of experience living IN America over your opinions of what ‘conservative’ is.

                  You overstep your boundaries, and your methods drive away those you state you would like to covert.

                  Good day, miss.

                  • You make something that is better kept impersonal into something personal.

                    I am only interested in the impersonal aspect of all the things that we talk about here.

                    I am not trying to convert anyone. I am trying to arrive at the right and proper perspective and to be capable of explaining it. The subject is myself, not you or anyone else.

                  • From a website dealing on ‘A short history of the corporation’ (my italics):

                    What is a corporation? […] It is a legal construct, a charter granted by the state to a group of investors to gather private funds for a specific purpose. Originally, charters were granted in the service of a public purpose, and could be revoked if this were not fulfilled. The relationship between state and corporation is a complex one. Over the past 400 years corporations have conquered territory and brought in resources for the state, breaking laws put in place to constrain them and gaining in power and privilege. History shows a repetitive cycle of corporations over-reaching, causing such social turmoil that the state is forced to reign them back in through regulation.


                    The American revolution

                    In America, resentment was brewing against British rule, including corporations that ran American colonies with ruthless monopoly powers. Royal charters decreed that raw material was shipped from the colonies to Britain for manufacture, with the colonies forced to purchase the finished goods. The American Revolutionary War began in 1776 with a determination to rout the British. Adam Smith, the father of free-trade theories, who published Wealth of Nations in the same year as the Declaration of Independence (1776), argued that large business associations limit competition: ‘The pretense that corporations are necessary to the better government of the trade is without foundation.’

                    Ending colonial monopoly

                    After Independence, American corporations, like the British companies before them, were chartered to perform specific public functions – digging canals, building bridges. Their charters lasted between 10 and 40 years, often requiring the termination of the corporation on completion of a specific task, setting limits on commercial interests and prohibiting any corporate participation in the political process.

                    If a charter is not granted by the State, and thus ‘the government’, I await your explanation as to who grants it. In this sense its ‘right to exist’ is given or bequeathed, ultimately by the people, and thus by the government. Though perhaps though you mean to quibble over the phrase ‘right to exist’?

                    In Grossman’s view — I share it — a corporation when it commits a felonious act should suffer a consequence. A natural person certainly does. But felonious corporations get a fine and then simply carry on as before. This is one instance where a corporation has managed to achieve for itself a special status.

                    The argument that I presented to Slick, and which Grossman goes into at length, delves into these matters. These issues, simply on their face and to an intelligent person, can only be seen as having 1) validity as important considerations, and 2) importance within the context of the American present.

                  • Charter

                    A grant from the government of ownership rights in land to a person, a group of people, or an organization such as a corporation.

                    A basic document of law of a Municipal Corporation granted by the state, defining its rights, liabilities, and responsibilities of self-government.

                    A document embodying a grant of authority from the legislature or the authority itself, such as a corporate charter. The leasing of a mode of transportation, such as a bus, ship, or plane. A charter-party is a contract formed to lease a ship to a merchant in order to facilitate the conveyance of goods.

  10. I’m inclined to say that they can and should, but not without being accused of selective enforcement. Believing that Israel is an apartheid state based on treating all of Israel, Gaza, and the West bank as a single entity. It effectively is taking the one state solution, which is inherently anti-Israel. Making his statements and then claiming he didn’t mean to suggest the destruction of Israel is proof of stupidity. No news network should be presented by idiots. Unfortunately, they all seem to be in one way or another.

    • I agree with the sentiment of your first sentence…which is why it’s a mess that this is CNN making this decision, but in the abstract, pretending CNN is an objective journalism organization and a clean one to boot, the principle stands.

  11. I would fire such a person, but I don’t understand why CNN would. CNN has a host of racist people who are properly racist liberals. You have Don Lemon who is an avowed anti-white racist. Being anti-Jew is also solidly liberal orthodoxy. Look at Linda Sarsour and the women’s march, completely anti-Jew. Look at Rev. Louis Farrakhan, a staple of the Congressional Black Caucus, vehemently anti-Jew. Look at Leslie Cockburn, the Democratic Candidate for Congress. A review of her book reads like this”
    From Commentary Magazine: “This book is no less than a history of the world since 1948, with the United States of America cast as the chief evildoer, and Israel as the evil genie. As the Cockburns see it, Israel, playing Iago to America’s Othello, has brought out the worst in this stupid, great power. Israel’s leaders, unprincipled, cynical addicts to military force and dirty tricks, manipulate America through American Jews—“women with blue hair and pseudo-athletic men.” These Jews have so corrupted America’s politics with their money that U.S. Presidents, too, have been led to betray our national interests by joining in massive coverups of Israeli misdeeds, including the illegal transfer of U.S. military technology on a scale “much bigger than Pollard.”” Again, orthodox liberalism, circa 2018.

    If I was a running a news agency or an educational institution, retaining him as an employee would cast into doubt my impartiality and my ability to treat people (employees, students) fairly. So in that case, yes, I would say fire him. Since CNN is a propaganda arm of the Democratic Party, I don’t see why they would fire him.

  12. Should Marc Lamont Hill have been fired for his speech at the United Nations?

    Definitely not. He was likely fired because in the US a sound, critical position of Israel, of Israel and Israel’s Jewish supporters of Israel’s excessive influence on American policy, and a clear and honest view of how Israel was established, is off-limits. As such it represents a form of thoughtcrime and if you mention such a thing you will be implicated in thoughtcrime.

    We are supposed to live in a polity that allows for free thought and free speech, yet right now the System itself is trying to come up with the ways and means to control both thought and speech. Shall Europe’s hate-speech laws be adopted here? Shall one be fired for saying something *wrong* and *incorrect*? Well, if you can be fired you may soon be jailed as often happens in Europe.

    Be careful what you choose!

    I would also say that though CNN and any other private business is legally justified to fire who it wants to fire, and Twitter and YouTube and PayPal and many other platforms can eject and ban and demonetize people and opinions they do not like, the entire issue needs to be examined and it must be corrected as it is not right or justifiable on the face. This should be obvious.

    If a person can get fired for voicing a political (or other opinion) outside of their work, and there is no protections for them, then it is obvious that this is problematic, troubling and *chilling*. We don’t serve the corporations, they serve us. New rules and guidelines need to be established that protect one’s speech from the consequence of being fired for voicing those opinions.

    The history of the establishment of Israel is a story that has not, as yet, been told — not to the American public in any case. The story could be told, both in its (shall I say) glorious aspect and in its cruel and illegal aspect. It is a very mixed history. However, and this is evidenced especially by many who have written here in this thread, no one has an interest in *telling the truth* nor in seeing it. They resort to the pre-fabricated semi- and partial-truths that are common.

    It makes perfect sense (that is to an honest soul) why the surrounding Arab countries would legitimately desire to see Israel ‘wiped off the map’ give the harm that Israel’s presence in the region has done since the re-founding. Any sane, fair and again *honest* person would see this. But it cannot be seen and it will not be seen. But that is how (most) Americans have been trained to see the issue. And like a Pavlov dog they salivate according to the established script. When it comes to American foreign policies, this is so often the case. They say they follow the Constitution, and yet they support the sheer antithesis when considering foreign policy. It is a standard and a known thing and is, IMO, the bane of the Conservative Establishment.

    This is not to say that I recommend or *believe* that Israel should be destroyed, but rather that it is not hard to understand Israel for what it is: an aggressive, heavily militarized intrusion into the region that has been doing and continues to do what it can to influence and steer events in the region. Indeed, getting its Big Brother helped the US to engage in vastly destructive wars is part of that process.

    But the *free thinkers* cannot think that thought: its unthinkable. It is off-limits. So, the game of illusions and the game of lies goes forward. The fact that people agree to limit their thinking shows not strength of character but how willing they are to give up that duty.

    Historical situations that become extremely problematic begin when decisions are made and actions taken that cannot be justified and yet are supported by lies. The lies enable to situation to go forward, and then it gets worse and worse, finally becoming totally untenable. A ‘train wreck’ that can only be solved by some catastrophe. Unfortunately, there seem to be a group of such situations that American policies have supported and encouraged, and the fine upstanding American often fails in his and her obligation to be truthful and consistent.

    It is called *being sold out*.

      • And don’t waste my time with an asinine response about reevaluating the Progressive/Cuckservative Metanarrative about what it means to be America in Johannine sense as modern man is disconnected from the metaphysical interpretative apparatus that used to tie us to nature that’s caused us to be blind to what the Founding Fathers even meant when they say “Men” and “Created” and “Equal” and all the usual blather you like to cloud discussions with.

        • You left out the American post-war PR machine, the 19th century eugenicists, and the ad hominems that are hyphenated so they look-legit.

          • Miko Peled: ‘when you have no argument, that’s when you start calling people names’.

            Another tactic is ridicule. These actually work quite well in the attempt to shut down conversation. Both of these work rather well, and that’s why they are always used.

              • You are entitled to that emotion.

                My post above was snarky and added little to the discussion at hand. I apologize. I also apologize for saying a while back that you might be a troll. It was unfair for me to question the honesty of your motives. I am unlikely to engage with after this, but I ask the same respect for *my* motives, and others on the board.

                • It is not an emotion. It is a result of an intellectual position. I think we live within a *system of lies* and it is very hard to get to the truth. We get entangled in lies because, somehow, our ‘self’ (our person) gets interwoven in them. Disentangling ourselves from these larger lies seems important to me, but is also painful and difficult. I say this (in respect to the present issue) as one growing up in a very pro-Zionist home.

                  My issue with you, insofar as I have an issue, and I really don’t, is that you never say anything nor argue anything at all.

                  You never have engaged with me in any substantial way, and you have worked it out that you will not have to! Bravo! How proud you must feel . . .

                  [Also, I do not think that pumpkin bread combines with chicken soup. I cannot work that one out!]

            • Calling you an Anti-Semite isn’t ridicule, it’s an observation.

              If it shames you, good. If it doesn’t, not my problem.

              And no, I’m not going to have a conversation with a holocaust apologist.

              • I am anti-Zionist. But so are many Jews. I am not an antisemite, in fact I am pro-semite, when Jews live as Jews.

                I am Jewish-critical in the liminal area between authentic Judaism and emancipated Jewry. To be a critic (of anything) is not necessarily to be *anti*.

                There is more nuance here than you are aware, and more than your smallish mind can grasp. More than you will ever be aware of if things go on as they are.

                As to real antisemitism I have studied it in some depth. Likely more than anyone on this blog at present. You have not. You have very surface opinions that simply cannot stand up to close scrutiny.

                Your lashing out at me is a sham. You have no right to. And no ground to stand on.

                • Oooh, I think I’ve studied the history of that territory since WWI as much as anyone, and lived through a great deal of it. I have no dog in that hunt, but the equities are pretty clear now.

                  • Your position, I think, was expressed here:

                    I’ll color you ignorant then: the only way one can hold that position is in deliberate rejection of history, law, common sense and ethics. It’s the purest fantasy, built on historical revisionism and amnesia, with a healthy dose of anti-Semitism, and the essential ingredient of tolerance for terrorism.

                    You have very strong and defined opinions. To present your opinions, gleaned from study done I assume in good faith, as ‘absolute’. Then, you present your opinion as ‘absolute opinion’ and, with it, can tell someone else they are *ignorant*. And you really believe this.

                    But the history of the issue is debated. It is not settled. And many lies and partial truths (and interests) vie for supremacy. And people that you’d not expect to have a contrary opinion, do.

                    Those who have a different set of opinions (IMO) do not ‘reject history, law, common sense and ethics’. In fact, they could have a better sense of the history, the law, and common sense, and also of the ethical dimension than you do.

                    In any case, I am not convinced that your view is necessarily ethical. Though I respect the opinion that you do have.

                    [As to *terrorism*, I suggest once again that the most illegal and devastating anti-moral and unethical (literally criminal) terrorist action by any state player was the US invasion of Iraq.

                    So americans have no right to lecture anyone, ever. ]

                • K.

                  Convince yourself of your self-bestowed intellectualism.

                  Pro-tip: reading *more* books, doesn’t inherently mean you’ve studied *better*.

                  Pro-tip: we’ve already seen your holocaust apologia. You aren’t convincing in your empty denials of anti-semitism now.

                  • Phffffft!

                    The use of the ‘forum we’ is an underhanded tactic. Do you speak for the whole forum?

                    That is your word, Michael: holocaust apologia. You are attempting a derivative of the ‘reductio ad Hitlerum’ or ‘reductio ad Hitlerum’ fallacy.

                    In this case (I gather) because I referred to Raul Hilberg’s extensive documentation of the 1930s Jewish expulsion?

                    Who knows . . .

                    It really doesn’t matter. Name calling results when argument fails . . .

  13. What I wrote is sound and also fair:

    “This is not to say that I recommend or *believe* that Israel should be destroyed, but rather that it is not hard to understand Israel for what it is: an aggressive, heavily militarized intrusion into the region that has been doing and continues to do what it can to influence and steer events in the region. Indeed, getting its Big Brother helper the US to engage in vastly destructive wars is part of that process.”

    These are simply facts.

    • The main ‘harm’ that Israel has done to the region is to introduce a fairly Democratic state with moderate human rights standards…oh and they are Jewish. It is laughable to complain about Israel being a ‘militarized’ society in a region that has Iran and Iraq. Look at the behavior of ISIS. Maybe if Israel behaved more like that they would be accepted in the region. Oh, who are we kidding, they are Jewish.

      • Then you are totally and willfully disregarding the actual history. Your choice of course. It is an option however to access the views of dissident Israelis who challenge the myth you present.

        Miko Peled Beyond Zionism.

        What do you think of Peled, and what do you think of his argument?

    • Not facts, spin. Israel did not take the land, it was given to Israel by international authority. The nation is heavily armed because it is surrounded by hostile nations that attached in en masse 50 years ago. Multiple opportunities have been offered that would give the Palestinians their own state…all failed because the Palestinian remains committed to obliterating Israel. As the only democracy in the region, Israel should be supported by the preeminent democracy in the world.

      Israel is unsparing when it is attacked, or when citizens are hurt. They cannot afford not to be, and if the nation is distrustful, no people on earth have more reason to be.

      • Israel did not take the land, it was given to Israel by international authority.

        Your entire argument, I assume, begins and ends here. One line of response: it was made by a European power . . . about a non-European territory . . . in a flat disregard of both the presence and wishes of the native majority resident in that territory.

        And there you have the beginning of the problem. It begins in this, and extends from this.

        The nation is heavily armed because it is surrounded by hostile nations that attached in en masse 50 years ago.

        This is true, but incomplete as a truth. Thus it is misleading. Because the nation of Israel was founded on a questionable edict (see above), and led immediately to an ethnic cleaning process, it led to a situation that could not be maintained except by escalations of military force. Stating the real truth, though it is not hard, leads to further analyses that place in jeopardy the simple, binary narrative that you always refer to. The situation is far more complex. Thus, it is far harder to decide right and wrong. But to approach the matter *ethically* (if I may be so bold) requires a fuller initial narrative.

        To get that, I suggest turning to Israelis who are critical of the present regime in Israel. (Miko Peled is a good one). You don’t have to turn to non-Jews or non-Israelis, nor to antisemites. But explore these views you-plural won’t do. It would tend to undermine the simple, binary narrative which is needed and cherished if the *false-position* is to stand.

        It is really as simply as this.

        Multiple opportunities have been offered that would give the Palestinians their own state…all failed because the Palestinian remains committed to obliterating Israel.

        Sure, and this partial truth and distortion results directly from the former ones. They seem fair and even rational, except when one pokes just a wee bit under the surface. Then, a far more troubling situation is revealed.

        I do not expect to convince you. Simple put you will not be influenced. But the good and fair and nuanced arguments are there, and they can be explored and understood. That is all I intended to do with my comment: show that at least someone can (better) see the truth and has the courage to say it.

        And that is my desired approach in all things, in all matters.

        • The fact that it was “questionable” is irrelevant. Sure it was questionable. Look at the trouble it has caused. It was still decided by international law, and is binding. You said Israel seized the territory. It did not. It could not—there was no entity until the land was placed in Jewish hands. Your response is all tapdancing and fog. The fact that Israel is militarized because it is surrounded by blood enemies is not incomplete. If Israel was not militaristic and obsessed with self-defense, it would have vanished long ago.

          “Sure, and this partial truth and distortion results directly from the former ones. They seem fair and even rational, except when one pokes just a wee bit under the surface. Then, a far more troubling situation is revealed” isn’t an argument, and is content free. I look at the history and see at least three times where the Palestinians only had to say “yes” and “we admit Israel’s right to exist,” and they would have had their sovereign nation.

          • Because this is not a platform nor the platform where these issues can be decided. I can suggest ways to go about gaining alternative views to the established narratives, and this is all I wish to do. There is not a way to argue this matter out. When I use the term *argument* I refer to the larger and developed arguments that are there and can be accessed.

            My statement *Sure, and this partial truth and distortion results directly from the former ones. They seem fair and even rational, except when one pokes just a wee bit under the surface. Then, a far more troubling situation is revealed* is a suggestion, essentially, to keep an open mind. I don’t mean you. Your mind is not open in this instance. But to someone reading.

            To say it is ‘content free’ is not fair and not accurate. I make reference to a whole group of Israeli activists who present positions that challenge, and in my view, topple your opinions. That is the best I can do. And it is all anyone could do here. There is no ‘zinger’, no one-line statement, that is going to convince you, and all those millions who are influenced by your (IMO) false and misleading arguments.

            I look at the history and see at least three times where the Palestinians only had to say “yes” and “we admit Israel’s right to exist,” and they would have had their sovereign nation.

            Fair enough. I understand your position. I feel that I have gone beyond it (though I once held a similar view) when I studied the positions of the Israeli dissidents. I am unmoved by your view.

          • Jack. As a proud exponent of logic and rationality you surely can’t be comfortable resting on ‘international law’ when it supports your point of view and rejecting it when it doesn’t (?)

            • To clarify: The claim was that Israel took the land. It didn’t. There was no sovereign government of Palestine to object to or stop the world from taling the land, holding it, and giving it to the Jews in part as reparations for genocide. Yes, international law is crap, but it trumps a vacuum in the absence of anything else. In the wake of wars, chaos, and anarchy, international law can be better than nothing. That’s all.

                • Yet again Slickwilly you and I are divided by a ‘common language’ : we use the same same words but apparently with different meanings. I was simply surprised that Jack brings ‘international law’ into the issue at all, given his general rejection of its legitimacy – which I share. So I don’t understand your ‘Nice gotcha’, with or without the added ‘disgusting’. (But thanks for the apology.)

                  The issue for me, on which I continue to ponder is Jack’s comment :

                  “The claim was that Israel took the land. It didn’t. There was no sovereign government of Palestine to object to or stop the world from taking the land, holding it, and giving it to the Jews in part as reparations for genocide.”

                  That sounds to me like a massive reminder to keep your ‘sovereign government’ working! Because if you don’t, ‘the world’ (however constituted) might take your land and give it to whoever for whatever reason, eg. ‘reparations for a genocide’, in which ‘you’ had little involvement.

                  Of course for a ‘realist’ this is a statement of the bleeding obvious. ‘Might is right’. Or at least: “Might works” and “Winners are grinners” and so on.

                  My ‘ethics alarm’ however sounds a warning of hypocrisy in those who having enjoyed the benefits of their ‘Might’ in past struggles, seek to claim higher moral / ethical ground in their own struggles against those who seek now to challenge them. I’d prefer they simply built their walls and stocked up on ammunition.

  14. Well, I read them all. And I have encountered most of those views, opinions and arguments time and again. I stick with the view of the Israeli dissidents I respect. In the end their arguments are more convincing because more closer to the real truth.

  15. The last part was the tipping point, it seems: the phrase “from the river to the sea” has long been used by those who advocate wiping Israel off the map.

    This appears to be a variant of the “niggardly principle”. The phrase “bi al nahr il’al bahr” (“from the river to the sea”) has actually long been used generically, in all usages where a metaphorical turn of phrase is being used to describe “Palestine” (like the French saying “the hexagon” to mean France). Semitic languages tend to lend themselves to that rather than to precision, and part of using them is to find ways to express multiple meanings. So, “yes”, that phrase has indeed long been used by those who advocate wiping Israel off the map – but also by others in other contexts, and it is a misreading like that for “niggardly” to force it to fit just that one (just as “wiping Israel off the map” has also been used by the rare few who wish for a two state solution of a somewhat federal nature, i.e. a destruction of concrete Zionism rather than of Israelis). Some commenters hereabouts – conspicuously, not Alizia Tyler – do appear to have bought into this, um, specialised construction. However, in this article’s writer’s context, it seems plain that “from the river to the sea” is not being used as a narrow term that endorses destruction.

    Now, had he instead written “s’adiragh bi jasmu” …

    By the way, I fail to see how anyone can reconcile objecting to today’s illegal immigration in western countries with endorsing the outcome that flowed from it in Palestine. That goes for endorsing the international law that then locked in that outcome, too, because one might as well argue that Finland, Poland, Greece, Ireland, and yea, even the very U.S.A. itself had no standing to seek national identity when they did because they didn’t already have it at the point when they tried to get it: Catch-22.

  16. The claim was that Israel took the land. It didn’t. There was no sovereign government of Palestine to object to or stop the world from taking the land, holding it, and giving it to the Jews in part as reparations for genocide.

    Seems a rather weak argument. Or to put it more directly a mischievous argument. One of the tactics used in Brasil and other places to rob Indians of their land is to declare that since they have no *title*, and do not even understand what a paper title is, that they are not in fact the owners of their land. It develops into an unethical scam quite quickly. I bet that one could find a dozen different examples of this sort of bogus reference to a legal argument.

    Creating the Jewish state in Palestine, through the various mechanisms involved, was a deliberate, strategized, drawn-out and violent process. Palestinians were dispossessed of huge blocks of land through deliberate machinations. It has been recorded that more than 80 percent of Palestinians in what became Israel in 1948 were made into refugees overnight.

    The process may have culminated in 1948, but it had begun in the early 20th century – and it still continues today.

    To create the State of Israel, Zionist forces attacked major Palestinian cities and destroyed over 500 villages and this has all been documented. Around 13,000 Palestinians were killed in 1948, with more than 750,000 expelled from their homes and becoming refugees – the climax of the Zionist movement’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine. These are simply facts, and they show the raw use of force and power, nothing more. Today, the refugees and their descendants number more than seven million.

    What intrigues me, it is fascinating to me in a sort of dark way, is now The Lie gets constructed and how souls who really have no ‘pony in the race’ ally their own personalities with the lie. It gets interwoven with their own vision of their self. As I have said (and will continue to say because it is true) American Conservatives have a terrible problem to come to terms with: the contrast between a supposed pro-Constitution position which they espouse and glorify, and the terrifying disconnect between that pseudo-idealism and what they then *support* and apologize for when defending America’s foreign policies. There is a blinder that they set up — they impose it themselves — which keeps them from seeing the hypocrisy into which they place themselves. Then, they use all these Machiavellian-style arguments — nearly chemically pure sophistries — to further dig themselves into a ditch. When called on this (hello Michael) they often lash out in the most personal way since, as it happens, they really do not have a sound argument.

    In my own case, to come to grips with the truth about how Zionism managed to get hold of Palestine became an excellent study-area in the machinations of power and the need for rhetorical distortions that obscure *what power does* and *why it does it*. It is one thing if Power would, or could, simply state that I want this, or I need this, and I am taking it, but since that is rather untenable today, it becomes imperative to develop The Lie. This involves sophisticated use of psychology, public relations machines and propaganda offices, and a deliberate effort to deceive people. It is, after all, necessary to deceive people (the population, the masses), and these mechanisms of lies and distortions all on the sudden become primary engines, not merely secondary or tertiary functions.

    Once one has seen, and exposed, and defeated, one particular Lie (as in the case of the Zionist take-over of Palestine), one sees that the same effort of dismantling can be applied in other situations. If one is genuinely interested in *truth* (and one might not be!) the network of lies and deceptions and distortions can be undone, to one degree or another. I am not sure if one winds up in a very comfortable place however. On the other hand, it is safer and easier to resort to binary tales and myths to support the convention view of things and, thus, to not have to grapple with the deeper and more troubling ethical dimensions of the dismaying problems in our present.

    On this Blog, if I may be frank, and more times than I am comfortable, those that I recognize as my *elders* and those who declare that they have a special authority, demonstrate how they fail to deconstruct the lies and how to get self-tricked into believing, and getting invested in, deceptions. This cannot result well. They have no good reason that I can see to ‘invest’ in deceptions and mistruths, and yet they do. It is this mechanism that interests me from a moral and ethical perspective.

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