from April 15, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Sunday,
This is a
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last five years:
I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch, but
since 2010 in English) and about
the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and
by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I will
continue with it.
moment and since more than two years
problems with the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible 
and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and
I shall continue.
Section 2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from April 15, 2018
1. No, Trump isn’t suddenly concerned with Assad’s war crimes
The items 1 - 5
are today's selections from the 35 sites that I look at every morning.
The indented text under each link is quoted from the link that starts
the item. Unindented text is by me:
2. How 'Russiagate' Produced the Missile Attack on Syria
3. Norman Finkelstein: The End of Israeli Influence in
4. America Doesn’t Have a Holocaust
Problem -- It Has a History Problem
5. Attacking Syria: Thumbing Noses at Constitution and Law
Trump isn’t suddenly concerned with Assad’s war crimes
article is by Sarah Kendzior on The Globe And Mail. It starts as follows (and is a
replacement of a file I had earlier selected but then realized I had
Yes indeed. Here is some
a July 2016 campaign rally in South Carolina, Donald Trump defended
Saddam Hussein’s use of chemical weapons. “Saddam Hussein throws a
little gas, everyone goes crazy, ‘Oh, he’s using gas!’” he said
mockingly. “He was a bad guy, really bad guy, but you know what he did
well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good.”
The compliment was not an
anomaly: Mr. Trump likes dictators. He liked them during the campaign,
when he defended
Gadhafi and quoted
and he liked them after he became President, lavishing praise on
Erdogan, Duterte, and, of course, Putin.
I think this is probably
true as well. And this is a recommended article.
Trump’s troubles now are more of a legal than a public relations
matter, as the Mueller probe bears down on his closest associates,
including his campaign managers Paul Manafort and Rick Gates and his
long-time lawyer Michael Cohen. The tidal wave of revelations about the
President’s shady deeds is so massive and ominous that it cannot be
stopped by a Middle East incursion – unless that incursion transforms
into a full-fledged regional war drawing in Iran, Russia, Israel,
Turkey, and, as a result, the rest of the world.
The appointment of new
national security adviser John Bolton, a Bush-era warmonger who regrets
that the U.S. did not replicate its destructiveness elsewhere, makes
world war a real possibility.
'Russiagate' Produced the Missile Attack on Syria
article is by Norman Solomon on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Politicians, pundits and
activists who’ve routinely denounced President Trump as a tool of
Vladimir Putin can now mull over a major indicator of their cumulative
impacts. The U.S.-led missile attack on Syria before
dawn Saturday is the latest benchmark for gauging the effects
of continually baiting Trump as a puppet of Russia’s president.
Heavyweights of U.S.
media—whether outlets such as CNN and MSNBC or key
newspapers like The New York Times and
The Washington Post—spent most of the last week clamoring for
Trump to order airstrikes on Syria. Powerful news organizations have
led the way in goading Trump to prove that he’s not a Putin lackey
One of the clearest ways
that Trump can offer such proof is to recklessly show he’s willing to
risk a catastrophic military confrontation with Russia.
Possibly so. Here is
On Saturday morning,
the top headline on the New York Times website was “U.S.
Attacks Syria in Retaliatory Strike,” while the subhead declared that
“Western resolve” was at work. The story led off by reporting that
Trump “sought to punish President Bashar al-Assad for a
suspected chemical attack near Damascus last weekend that
killed more than 40 people.”
Try putting the shoe on the
other foot for a moment. Imagine that Russia, with a similar rationale,
fired missiles at U.S. ally Saudi Arabia because the Kremlin “sought to
punish King Salman for his country’s war crimes in Yemen”—with such
reportage appearing under a headline that described the Russian attack
as a “retaliatory strike.
Yes indeed, and I think this
parallel is quite good. The article ends as follows:
What’s really at issue here
is not the merits of the Russian government in 2018, any more than the
issue was the merits of the Soviet government in 1967—when President
Lyndon Johnson hosted an extensive
summit meeting in Glassboro, New Jersey, with Soviet Premier
Alexi Kosygin, reducing the chances of nuclear war in the process.
If you keep heading toward
a destination, you’re likely to get there. In 2018, by any realistic
measure, the escalating conflicts between the United States and
Russia—now ominously reaching new heights in Syria—are moving us closer
to World War III. It’s time to fully recognize the real dangers and
Quite so, and this is a
Finkelstein: The End of Israeli Influence in America?
This article is by Robert Scheer on Truthdig. It starts as
In this week’s
episode of “Scheer
Intelligence,” host and Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer
welcomes controversial author Norman Finkelstein, a longtime critic of
industry” and an outspoken commentator on the Arab-Israeli
conflict. His most recent book, “Gaza:
An Inquest into Its Martyrdom,” delves into the struggles of
Palestinians in the region.
In fact, here is some
information on Norman
Finkelstein. (And I like him without quite agreeing with him. There
is more about him in some Nederlogs from previous years.)
Here is a summary of his latest book, “Gaza:
An Inquest into Its Martyrdom”:
I think that is probably
correct (but I don´t know). And this is about Finkelstein´s own
Jewish background and about the latest generation of American Jews:
The Gaza Strip is among
the most densely populated places in the world. More than two-thirds of
its inhabitants are refugees, and more than half are under eighteen
years of age. Since 2004, Israel has launched eight devastating
“operations” against Gaza’s largely defenseless population. Thousands
have perished, and tens of thousands have been left homeless. In the
meantime, Israel has subjected Gaza to a merciless illegal blockade.
What has befallen Gaza is
a man-made humanitarian disaster.
Based on scores of human
rights reports, Norman G. Finkelstein’s new book presents a
meticulously researched inquest into Gaza’s martyrdom. He shows that
although Israel has justified its assaults in the name of self-defense,
in fact these actions constituted flagrant violations of international
But Finkelstein also
documents that the guardians of international law—from Amnesty
International and Human Rights Watch to the UN Human Rights
Council—ultimately failed Gaza. One of his most disturbing conclusions
is that, after Judge Richard Goldstone’s humiliating retraction of his
UN report, human rights organizations succumbed to the Israeli
Finkelstein’s magnum opus
is both a monument to Gaza’s martyrs and an act of resistance against
the forgetfulness of history.
Finkelstein, whose parents
were Holocaust survivors, tells Scheer during their
conversation that he purposely used “martyrdom” in his new book’s
title, as his parents invoked the same term when discussing their own
suffering during the Holocaust.
Finkelstein believes the
younger generation of American Jews is growing estranged from Israel
because of its treatment of Palestinians and will move toward
dissociating itself from Israel’s policies.
And he says the human
rights community has largely abandoned Gaza, where living conditions
are extremely poor for its residents, half of whom are children.
I think I don´t
agree with Finkelstein about ¨the younger generation of American Jews¨, but again I don´t know.
My reasons not to
know are that I am neither an American nor a Jew (though my communist
family - father, mother, grandfather - were all much involved in the
resistance against the Nazis in World War II, and though in one sense
my father probably was Jewish in Goebbel´s sense, because his mother
had a Jewish background, although she was in fact a Protestant).
My - non-conclusive -
reasons to disagree about ¨the younger generation of American Jews¨
(though Finkelstein has some reasons) is mostly that most Jews, like
most other people, are conformists.
And I did not select anything
from Scheer´s interview that follows the above extracts from its
introduction, but it is recommended.
Doesn’t Have a Holocaust Problem -- It Has a History Problem
article is by Matthew Rozsa on AlterNet and originally on Salon. It
starts as follows:
A survey released Thursday,
commissioned by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against
Germany, revealed a startling lack of Holocaust awareness by a large
percentage of Americans — and experts are troubled by its implications.
The study discovered that,
although 93 percent of Americans believe that students should learn
about the Holocaust at their schools, 31 percent (as well as 41 percent
of millennials) wound up severely undercounting the death toll,
believing that 2 million or fewer Jews were killed during the
genocide, according to The New York Times. The actual number
of Jews killed during the Holocaust is roughly 6 million, more
than three times what the average American believes it to be.
The survey also revealed
that 41 percent of Americans (as well as 66 percent of millennials)
have never heard of the Auschwitz concentration camp, while 52 percent
incorrectly believe that Adolf Hitler came to power through force
rather than through an election. One of the few silver
linings of the survey was the observation that Holocaust denialism was
very rare: 96 percent of Americans agreed that the atrocity was
I say, for I did not
know this, and I am both somewhat amazed and also not amazed. Here are
my reasons for both facts:
First for my being somewhat
amazed: In fact, I do not have adequate ideas about
what ¨Americans¨ ¨on average¨ believe about WW II or the Holocaust.
Then again, if around 1/3rd
(falsely) think that in the Holocaust ¨2 million or fewer Jews were killed¨ while 4/10th of Americans (and 2/3rd of
Millenials) ¨never heard of the
Auschwitz concentration camp¨
this means that (after a little calculation) that 22 out of 30
Americans - that is: 73% - know
hardly anything about either the Holocaust or WW II.
And next my main reason not to be amazed: In my time -
which was between 1962 and 1968 - everybody got history at school.
It was not a very important subject (like mathematics, English or
Dutch), but everybody had to take it, which also meant that the
Dutchmen of my age (late 60ies) almost all know about WW II, the
Holocaust, and also something about the resistance against the Nazis,
simply because they had to learn about these things.
Since the late 1960ies and
early 1970ies in Holland (and also in all of Europe, and it seems in
the USA) much of the education people got was simply done away with:
Whereas I had examinations in
14 subjects, of which around 3/4s were examined in
writing, by 1980 the schools had all very much changed, and
examined 6 subjects, of which 4 were examined in writing,
and in general provided between 1/2 and 2/3rd of the education that
I had received.
no one cared, and in fact the vast majority (with
IQs below 130) was quite pleased that they were required to
know considerably less and still got ¨the same¨ diplomas.
And one of the many
subjects that were made ¨voluntary¨ was history. Since I
neither have children nor grandchildren (because I have ¨a serious
chronic disease¨ since a mere forty years now, that was denied
to be a disease, let alone ¨serious¨ and ¨chronic¨, until March 19,
I do not know how much history younger Dutchmen know, but I
would not be much amazed if
they are hardly better than the average Americans.
Also, it is my guess that
history also is a voluntary subject in the USA (but I do not know).
Here is some more on ¨the
teaching of history¨ in American schools:
I do not know to what
extent professor Diner is correct, but I fear she may be quite right. And this is a recommended
So how can we explain the
disconnect between Americans' seeming good intentions when it comes to
the Holocaust and their lack of understanding about its most basic
"I think one has to keep in
mind that Americans are people, as a whole (obviously it's just unfair
or injudicious to talk about 'Americans'), but they just don't know
history of any kind," Professor Hasia Diner, who researches American
Jewish History as well as Hebrew and Judaic studies at New York
University, told Salon. "I mean, my guess is that if you polled those
same Americans and asked them 'Who was Franklin Roosevelt?' 'What was
the New Deal?' 'Who did America fight during World War
II?' 'When was the Vietnam War?' et cetera[,] I think you'd get
the same response."
She added, "I find with my
students — these are select students who have done well in high school,
gotten great SAT scores — and except for those who are history majors,
who are interested in history, their knowledge of history is like,
'What happened yesterday?' And even that's a little fuzzy.