That's the funny thing...since you changed the email notification check off, I haven't got confirmation emails - I thought you dispensed with them (personally I find them entirely dispensible), but I guess not. So I thought going with the default setting of "yes, replies to my comment" would get me emails.

Yes clearly, O, the article and general usage is to present "tribal" as opposed to "rational". That turn is what I'm seeking to illuminate - that the common connotations of "tribal" as pejorative is a node in the matrix of "the cover story" as you put it. While we all kinda know the point generally being made by using "tribal" it has an effect of denigrating all aspects of actual tribal organization as irrational, as a cover as it were, for opposing the tribal's incompatibility with nation states.

This may be one of those points that makes sense only to the individual trying, but not succeeding particularly, to find a framework for expressing it. So please read this as a idea of speculative political philosophy.

BTW I'm not getting email alerts on comments here

I'm not sure what the relevance of the Boot article is. It makes it sound like O was saying how he grew up gave him an understanding of the facts of the mideast. The Goldberg article seems to indicate O's reference was to the shared experience of dangerousness that growing up black with single mom etc and living in the ME gives one rather than specifics of history.

Which is not to say O doesn't have peculiar blindspots on the ME or anything else, just as Bibi, and each of us does. Then again what I regard as Netanyahu's blindspots, he might easily see as features not bugs.

On the "tribal" point, O specifies the "tribal impulse" which I take to be something different than actual tribalism, which might be taken not to be an ideology as we now use the term. On its own terms, the tribal organization of societies has exhibited a range of hierarchy and equality both, perhaps comparable to the range of actual practices of post-Enlightenment societies.

I think sometime longago here I made some other comment similar to this: The history of the colonies/independent US can be read as partially, but significantly as a continuing war against tribalism - a tribalism that is not metamorphic but literal, as the literal and explicit structure of governance.