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Just want to briefly mention this story because it doesn't seem to be generating much attention today. Earlier this week, it was revealed that the great Stephen Hawking had decided to pull out of an academic conference in Israel and lend his support to the growing academic boycott of that country for its unconscionable treatment of the Palestinians. Hawking's decision predictably caused a firestorm and brought Israel's actions into the spotlight again. One might assume that Israel would want to show the world how wrong Hawking and other academics are by acting constructively or proving, in some way, that it is not the violent, rejectionist state that it's portrayed to be. One might assume that, right?

This, ladies and gentlemen, is why Norman Finkelstein refers to Israel as a "lunatic state":
Israel has given the green light to build almost 300 homes in the West Bank amid US pledges to restart peace talks with Palestine. The move comes two days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to halt the settlement program.
This is really Netanyahu at his trolling finest: pledge to halt settlements, give people a scintilla of hope that his government will at least temporarily cease its lawlessness in order to resuscitate the quixotic drive for peace, and then make everyone look stupid by contemptuously marching forward with more criminal activity.  

The U.S. has, of course, released a laughably tepid statement calling the announcement of new settlements "counterproductive," which is an unusual term to describe flagrant illegality. It's the same process every time: Israel demolishes any prospects for peace by stealing more land from the very people with whom they allegedly want peace, the U.S. releases a perfunctory statement of condemnation but refuses to take, or even threaten, any concrete action, like cutting off aid or ending our unilateral protection of Israel at the Security Council. Rinse, repeat. Nothing ever changes.

(Originally posted at

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