Israelis March Through Jerusalem, Raising Tensions in a Divided City – The New York Times

Patrick Kingsley and 

Reporting from Jerusalem

“Thousands of Israelis marched through Jerusalem on Thursday to celebrate Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem in 1967, a contentious annual event, known as Jerusalem Day, that regularly stirs tensions with Palestinians, who see it as a provocation.

Large crowds of Israelis, many of them from ultranationalist groups, walked through the Old City, toward the Western Wall — a remnant of an ancient retaining structure that once surrounded the holiest site in Judaism, the Temple Mount. The parade prompted many Palestinians, who form the overwhelming majority of Old City residents, to shut their shops, in expectation of vandalism and abuse from the marchers.”

David Lindsay emailed the NYT Managing Editor department:

Where now is the office of complaints, or of the ombudsman for subscribers?

Two articles I enjoyed recently didn’t allow comments, and I would like to know why.
The first, was Peter Coy on China this Saturday, about a book by a Chinese scholar describing common Chinese views.
Today, there were no comments allowed for

“Israelis March Through Jerusalem, Raising Tensions in a Divided City

The annual parade marks the unification of the city after Israel captured East Jerusalem in 1967. Israelis see it as a celebration, but Palestinians consider it an insult, and it was marred by incitement against Arabs.”  May 18, 2023

I can guess why you shut off discussion in this later piece. Is it really your job to protect the right wing of Israel from hearing how many of your active readers disagree with them, — and many of us despise them.

But why not allow comments for Peter Coy’s challenging opinion essay.  Is this just penny wise and pound foolish?

It would be an improvement if you publicised your policy on when to remove comments or add them, and put at the end an explanation for their removal.  It appears you do not realize how valuable good comments are to an already good piece, and sometimes invaluable to a really bad one.


David Lindsay

In Erdogan’s Turkey, a Building System Fatally Weakened by Corruption – The New York Times

By Ceylan Yeginsu, Rebecca R. Ruiz and Nimet KiracCeylan Yeginsu reported this article from Istanbul, and Rebecca R. Ruiz and Nimet Kirac from Antakya, the heart of Turkey’s earthquake-ravaged region.May 4, 2023Updated 9:58 a.m. ETThe building began convulsing at 4:17 a.m. Firat Yayla was awake in bed, scrolling through videos on his phone. His mother was asleep down the hall.The region along Turkey’s border with Syria was known for earthquakes, but this apartment complex was new, built to withstand disaster. It was called Guclu Bahce, or Mighty Garden. Mr. Yayla’s own cousin had helped build it. He and his business partner had boasted that the complex could withstand even the most powerful tremor.So, as the earth heaved for more than a minute, Mr. Yayla, 21, and his 62-year-old mother, Sohret Guclu, a retired schoolteacher, remained inside.

Thomas L. Friedman | American Jews, You Have to Choose Sides on Israel – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“Ever since Israel’s founding in 1948, supporting the country’s security and its economic development and cementing its diplomatic ties to the U.S. have been the “religion” of many nonobservant American Jews — rather than studying Torah or keeping kosher. That mission drove fund-raising and forged solidarity among Jewish communities across America.

Now, a lot of American Jews are going to need to find a new focus for their passion.

Because if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu succeeds with his judicial putsch to crush the independence of the country’s judiciary, the subject of Israel could fracture every synagogue and Jewish communal organization in America. To put it simply: Israel is facing its biggest internal clash since its founding, and for every rabbi and every Jewish leader in America, to stay silent about this fight is to become irrelevant.”

Opinion | Michael Bloomberg: Israel Is Courting Disaster – The New York Times

Mr. Bloomberg is the founder of Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies and served as mayor of New York from 2002 to 2013.

“In more than 20 years of public life, I have steadfastly supported Israel and its people in both word and deed, including by building medical facilities there, co-founding a leadership center, supporting its innovative local programs and funding other good causes. I have never gotten involved in its domestic politics or criticized its government initiatives. But my love for Israel, my respect for its people and my concern about its future are now leading me to speak out against the current government’s attempt to effectively abolish the nation’s independent judiciary.

Under the new coalition’s proposal, a simple majority of the Knesset could overrule the nation’s Supreme Court and run roughshod over individual rights, including on matters such as speech and press freedoms, equal rights for minorities and voting rights. The Knesset could even go as far as to declare that the laws it passes are unreviewable by the judiciary, a move that calls to mind Richard Nixon’s infamous phrase “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is courting disaster by trying to claim that same power, imperiling Israel’s alliances around the world, its security in the region, its economy at home and the very democracy upon which the country was built.”

Thomas L. Friedman | Netanyahu Is Shattering Israeli Society – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“Israel today is a boiler with way, way too much steam building up inside, and the bolts are about to fly off in all directions.

Lethal attacks by Palestinian youths against Israelis are coinciding with an expansion of Israeli settlements and the torching of Palestinian villages by settlers, as well as with a popular uprising against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial power grab. Together they are threatening a breakdown in governance the likes of which we’ve never seen before in Israel.

It is a measure of how serious the situation has become that several former chiefs of the Mossad — some of the most respected public servants in the country — have denounced Netanyahu’s judicial putsch, most recently Danny Yatom. He told Israel Channel 13 News on Saturday night, according to Haaretz, that if Netanyahu continues with his plans to effectively eliminate the independence of Israel’s high court, fighter pilots and special forces operatives will be able to legitimately disobey the orders that come from the government.

They “signed an agreement with a democratic country,” said Yatom. “But the moment that, God forbid, the country becomes a dictatorship,” and they receive “an order from an illegitimate government, then I believe it would be legitimate to disobey it.” “

Lydia Polgreen | I Went to Syria, the Country That Remade Our World, and This Is What I Saw – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist


JINDIRES, Syria — She has no memory of the earthquake that broke her back and swallowed her daughters. Khaira Al Halbouni only knows what her husband told her afterward. In the middle of the night the building shook. He grabbed one daughter, Bisan, and their son, Ali. Take Mayas, their younger daughter, and run, he shouted.

Instinctively, she reached for her head scarf. Then, nothing.

The first thing Khaira remembers is waking up in a pile of rubble. She saw a small ray of light, then a pair of boots. She screamed. She looked for her daughter. Almost 30 hours had elapsed.”

David Lindsay: Excellent article. Here is a coment I recommended:

Rusty D
Annapolis6h ago

I admire Obama, but he made a huge error not taking out the Syrian military air bases like he threatened to do if they started poisoning civilians again. Yeah, the British conservatives in Parliament surprised him, with their successful bid to take over, but going to Mitch McConnell for Senate approval was weak. Worst, of course, was falling for the Russian intervention to “remove the chemical weapons” which brought them in where they would dominate. And as the article notes, it led to the mass exodus of civilians that brought the extreme right wing into power throughout the Western world, Brexit and Trump.

2 Replies42 Recommended

Thomas L. Friedman | In 46 Words, Biden Sends a Clear Message to Israel – The New York Times

“I woke up on Saturday morning, read the news from Israel that at least 50,000 Israelis had just demonstrated once more against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to strip the Israeli Supreme Court of its independence and put it instead under Netanyahu’s thumb — at a time when Netanyahu himself is facing corruption charges — and I asked myself a simple question: “What does President Biden think of this?”

Biden is as pro-Israel in his gut as any president I have ever covered. He has also had a long and mutually respectful relationship with Netanyahu. So I can tell you that whatever Biden has to say about Israel comes from a place of real concern. It’s a concern that the radical transformation of Israel’s judicial system that Netanyahu’s ultranationalist, ultrareligious coalition is trying to slam through the Knesset could seriously damage Israel’s democracy and therefore its close ties to America and democracies everywhere.

Here is the statement that Biden sent me on Saturday afternoon when I asked for comment: “The genius of American democracy and Israeli democracy is that they are both built on strong institutions, on checks and balances, on an independent judiciary. Building consensus for fundamental changes is really important to ensure that the people buy into them so they can be sustained.” “

Thousands Protest in Israel Over Netanyahu’s Judicial Overhaul – The New York Times

Patrick Kingsley and 

Reporting from Jerusalem


“A battle over the future of Israel’s judiciary — perceived by many as a fight for the soul of Israel’s democracy — grew more fraught and fractious on Monday as roughly 100,000 protesters from across the country filled the streets outside Parliament in Jerusalem in one of the biggest-ever demonstrations in the city.

Protesters came by bus from Haifa, train from Tel Aviv and car from the occupied Golan Heights. They carried Israeli flags, megaphones and homemade banners. And they were chanting for democracy, freedom and judicial independence.

The demonstrators gathered to oppose a sweeping judicial overhaul proposed by Israel’s new government — the most right-wing and religiously conservative in the country’s history — that has bitterly divided Israelis, and has even led to fears of civil war. The changes would reduce the Supreme Court’s ability to revoke laws passed in Parliament and give the government greater influence over who gets to be a judge.”

David Lindsay Jr.
NYT comment:

It is time to cut the $4 billion subsidy to the Israeli government to zero.

Thomas L. Friedman | Can Joe Biden Save Israel? – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“If I could get a memo onto President Biden’s desk about the new Israeli government, I know exactly how it would start:

Dear Mr. President, I don’t know if you are interested in Jewish history, but Jewish history is certainly interested in you today. Israel is on the verge of a historic transformation — from a full-fledged democracy to something less, and from a stabilizing force in the region to a destabilizing one. You may be the only one able to stop Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his extremist coalition from turning Israel into an illiberal bastion of zealotry.

I’d also tell Biden that I fear that Israel is approaching some serious internal civil strife. Civil conflicts are rarely about one policy. They tend to be about power. For years, the fierce debates in Israel about the Oslo Accords were about policy. But today, this simmering clash is about power — who can tell whom how to live in a highly diverse society.

The short story: An ultranationalist, ultra-Orthodox government, formed after the Netanyahu camp won election by the tiniest sliver of votes (roughly 30,000 out of some 4.7 million), is driving a power grab that the other half of voters view not only as corrupt but also as threatening their own civil rights. That’s why a 5,000-person anti-government demonstration grew to 80,000 over the weekend.”

Inside the Saudi Strategy to Keep the World Hooked on Oil – The New York Times

Tabuchi reported from the Saudi capital, Riyadh, to examine the kingdom’s vision for an oil-rich future.


“Shimmering in the desert is a futuristic research center with an urgent mission: Make Saudi Arabia’s oil-based economy greener, and quickly. The goal is to rapidly build more solar panels and expand electric-car use so the kingdom eventually burns far less oil.

But Saudi Arabia has a far different vision for the rest of the world. A major reason it wants to burn less oil at home is to free up even more to sell abroad. It’s just one aspect of the kingdom’s aggressive long-term strategy to keep the world hooked on oil for decades to come and remain the biggest supplier as rivals slip away.

In recent days, Saudi representatives pushed at the United Nations global climate summit in Egypt to block a call for the world to burn less oil, according to two people present at the meeting, saying that the summit’s final statement “should not mention fossil fuels.” The effort prevailed: After objections from Saudi Arabia and a few other oil producers, the statement failed to include a call for nations to phase out fossil fuels.”