London Review of Hezbollah, not.

by Chris Bertram on February 5, 2007

Eugene Goodheart writes in the latest issue of Dissent, in an article entitled The London Review of Hezbollah :

The London Review of Books is an egregious instance of this one-sidedness. Almost every issue contains several articles devoted to attacks on Israel [emphasis added], and the target is not simply the governing party, but the whole spectrum of Israeli political life. Absent from the columns of the Review are the injustices and cruelties of political Islam [emphasis added].

Perhaps accuracy is not Mr Goodheart’s strong point. Maybe he is merely unfortunate that the latest issue of the LRB contains an article by James Meek that begins:

In 1995, in Sudan, Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri put two teenage boys on trial for treason, sodomy and attempted murder, in a Sharia court of his own devising. Of the two boys, one, Ahmed, was only 13. Zawahiri, the partner in terror of Osama bin Laden, had them stripped naked; he showed that they had reached puberty, and therefore counted as adults. The court found the boys guilty. Zawahiri had them shot, filmed their confessions and executions, and put video copies out to warn other potential traitors.

But even allowing the publication of Meek’s article as a mere co-incidence that should not be held against him, Goodheart’s case is not strong. A perusal of the LRB’s online archives reveals a total of five articles about the Middle East in 2006, some of which are, of course, about Iraq. To those should no doubt be added the well-known Mearsheimer and Walt piece. The LRB is published 24 times a year.

UPDATE: it turns out (thanks to Henry and K. Williams in the comments below) that the LRB’s online indexing is crap. The final para above is incorrect, but the basic point stands and the following para would have been better:

But even allowing the publication of Meek’s article as a mere co-incidence that should not be held against him, Goodheart’s case is not strong. A perusal of the LRB’s back issues reveals a total of 17 articles critical of Israel in 2006, but ten of these come from two issues published during the invasion of Lebanon (and the LRB is published 24 times a year). It is certainly false to say, as Goodheart does, that “Almost every issue contains several articles devoted to attacks on Israel.”

{ 88 comments }

1

engels 02.05.07 at 6:50 pm

I noticed that the other day. That title certainly leapt out at me but it seemed so moronic that I couldn’t muster any enthusiasm to actually read Goodheart’s diatribe at the time, I’m sorry to say. Most unfortunate. I’m sure Dissent used to be better than this.

2

Rich B. 02.05.07 at 6:58 pm

You are missing the mathematical maneuver whereby each published right-wing critique of an article counts as referring to an entirely separate “article”. Corrollaries include an additional 0.5 articles if there is both a print and on-line edition of the critique. An additional 0.25 articles is added if you get a Glenn Reynold “Heh.”

The W&M article alone, therefore, constituted 117.75 “articles” which, divided by 48 issues over the past two years, alone gives you the proper distribution.

3

Henry 02.05.07 at 7:11 pm

The Goodheart piece is undoubtedly rotten stuff and flat out fantastic in its claims – but I thought that the Glass piece was a pretty stinky exercise in apologetics for the indefensible.

4

otto 02.05.07 at 7:27 pm

I look forward to Goodheart’s count of the number of articles attacking the palestinians (not to mention arabs and other muslims more generally) in The New Republic, not to mention the Weekly Standard, NRO, Commentary, etc etc.

And there is much to criticise about the whole spectrum of Israeli political life, given that the whole spectrum is committed to colonising the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and to further expulsions of the Palestinian and Israeli arabs.

5

djw 02.05.07 at 7:32 pm

What an embarrassment.

6

K. Williams 02.05.07 at 7:35 pm

Chris, you need to redo your perusal of the LRB’s online archives (or perhaps the LRB needs to redo its archives). A perusal of 19 of the LRB’s issues for 2006 — I’m apparently missing a few –shows a total of 26 articles about the Middle East, as well as a number of articles — like Tony Judt’s lament for the “death of liberal America” and Chalmers Johnson’s article on American nuclear intelligence — that include long discussions of Middle East politics. (The LRB’s letter pages were also occupied with Israel for two full issues.)

I don’t know if this makes Goodheart’s case strong or not, but this post certainly needs to be revised.

7

Brendan 02.05.07 at 7:39 pm

I think it’s worthwhile noting the differences between the way Goodheart chooses to remember things, and how they actually happened. Here’s Goodheart: ‘In a letter to LRB printed in the September 7, 2006, issue, I pointed out that Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, is not simply a resistance fighter, he is also an anti-Semite with genocidal fantasies. I cited the following statements attributed to him: “If they [the Jews] all gather in Israel it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.” “They [the Jews] are a cancer which is liable to spread at any moment.” I also noted that the name “Party of God,” should worry anyone of enlightened, democratic persuasion, but does not seem to bother Glass. (Would he be equally indulgent of the religious fanatics in Israel who assert their divine right to Greater Israel?) Parties of God, wherever they are to be found, mean tyranny should they ever acquire power. In the article, Glass mentions the fact that he had been kidnapped by Hezbollah at a Syrian checkpoint. Wanting to prove that the movement was independent of Syrian control, he writes that when “Syria insisted that I be released to show that Syrian control of Lebanon could not be flouted [,] Hezbollah, unfortunately, ignored the request.” What virtue! In my letter, I wondered whether he had not succumbed to Stockholm syndrome.

His response, printed in the October 5, 2006, issue, focused on the anti-Semitic statements attributed to Nasrallah, which he dismissed as fabrications, “circulated widely on neo-conservative web sites.” Whatever the agenda of the Web sites, the original source of the statements, as Glass’s letter makes clear, is “an article by Badih Chayban in Beirut’s English-language Daily Star in 23 October 2002.” The newspaper sympathizes with Palestinian aspirations and is critical of American neoconservatism. Glass reports that the managing editor of the Star has “faith in neither the accuracy of the translation (from Arabic to English) nor of the agenda of the translator [Chayban].” The editor in chief of the paper refers to Chayban as “a reporter and briefly local desk sub,” who did not interview Nasrallah. Glass does not explain why, given its misgivings about the reporter, the Star would choose to publish Chayban’s article, nor does he say what Chayban’s agenda was, leaving it to the reader to assume that the agenda was somehow linked to neoconservatism, therefore discrediting the attribution of the statements to Nasrallah. The source of one of the quotations was a Web site of the Israeli government and therefore not to be trusted. To clinch the argument, Glass cites a spokeswoman for Hezbollah who denies that such statements were ever made.

I wrote back to the LRB, first noting that in invoking the nefarious neocons as the vehicles of fabrication, Glass reminded me of the apologists for the Soviet Union who denied the existence of anti-Semitism in their beloved country, because the reports of its existence came from the bourgeois press. I challenged the LRB to make a disinterested effort to determine whether these statements were fabrications. Its animus against Israel was clear and bad enough; a willingness to indulge anti-Semitism, a much more serious matter. If they are not fabrications, the journal has a moral obligation to say so and to repudiate the kind of article that Glass has written.

While waiting for a reply, I decided to look into the literature on Hezbollah, and what I found left no doubt about its view of the Jews. Here is Nasrallah in one of his diatribes against Israel: “If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice I do not say the Israeli.”’

Here’s what Glass said: ‘Eugene Goodheart asks whether I am familiar with two statements he attributes to Hizbullah’s secretary-general, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah (Letters, 7 September [1]). Goodheart uses the inflammatory quotations to accuse Nasrallah of being ‘an anti-semite with fantasies of genocide’. If I am unfamiliar with the statements, it is because they are in all likelihood fabrications.

The first (‘If they [the Jews] all gather in Israel it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide’) was circulated widely on neo-con websites, which give as its original source an article by Badih Chayban in Beirut’s English-language Daily Star on 23 October 2002. It seems that Chayban left the Star three years ago and moved to Washington. The Star’s managing editor writes of Chayban’s article on Nasrallah, that ‘I have faith in neither the accuracy of the translation [from Arabic to English] nor the agenda of the translator [Chayban].’ The editor-in-chief and publisher of the Star, Jamil Mrowe, adds that Chayban was ‘a reporter and briefly local desk sub and certainly did not interview Nasrallah or anyone else.’ The account of Nasrallah’s speech in the Lebanese daily As Safir for the same day makes no reference to any anti-semitic comments. Goodheart’s second quotation — ‘They [the Jews] are a cancer which is liable to spread at any moment’ — comes from the Israeli government’s website at http://tinyurl.com/99hyz.%5B2%5D For the record, a Hizbullah spokeswoman, Wafa Hoteit, denies that Nasrallah made either statement.’

He also wrote: ‘Anthony Julius (Letters, 19 October) has added a new quotation to the two apparent fabrications sent to these pages previously by Eugene Goodheart to demonstrate the anti-semitism of the Hizbullah secretary-general, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. Citing a passage in Amal Saad-Ghorayeb’s Hizbullah: Politics and Religion (2002), he attributes this statement to Nasrallah: ‘If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice, we do not say the Israeli.’ The source of the quotation is cited in footnote 20 of Chapter 8 of Saad-Ghorayeb’s book: an interview, not with Nasrallah, but with a Hizbullah member of the Lebanese Parliament, Mohammed Fnaysh, conducted by the author on 15 August 1997.

Saad-Ghorayeb informs me that the footnote is a mistake, although she is certain there is a valid source for the statement. However, when at my request she examined her PhD dissertation, from which the book originated, she discovered the same mistaken citation. Footnotes in a long work can easily go astray, but it is unfortunate that neither her dissertation adviser nor her publishers spotted the error. Therefore, until someone discovers where and when Nasrallah uttered the words above, the case is unproved.

Julius writes that my letter pointing out that Goodheart’s quotes are probably fictitious somehow implies ‘that Goodheart is wrong to describe Nasrallah, and by extension Hizbullah, as anti-semitic’. I am agnostic on Nasrallah’s alleged anti-semitism, and indeed anti-semitism was irrelevant to my original article, which concerned Hizbullah’s role in Lebanese political life.’

Goodheart then goes on to describe anti semitic comments made by a ‘sympathiser’ of Hezbollah, which may be true or false or whatever, but is in any case irrelevant.

8

K. Williams 02.05.07 at 7:53 pm

Found another couple issues from the summer of 2006. These two alone included five pieces on the Middle East (the total that Chris says ran during the entire year).

9

K. Williams 02.05.07 at 8:00 pm

Tracked down one more, which includes another four articles on the Middle East (including Glass’ egregious piece on Hizbullah). Total for the year is 35 or more. And just from a quick perusal, there are a lot more articles on that list that deal with Israel’s various and multitudinous sins than with the vices of Salafism. Which isn’t surprising, but suggests that Goodheart’s description of the situation isn’t all that inaccurate.

10

Chris Baldwin 02.05.07 at 8:11 pm

Whatever the LRB’s line on Israel/Palestine (and I couldn’t care less what it is), the title London Review of Hezbollah is just shameful Stalinist bollocks. Could Dissent be joining Monthly Review in the hilariously wrong corner? Oh well, at least there’s still New Politics.

11

Henry 02.05.07 at 8:48 pm

The LRB’s archive search tool isn’t very good – it seems to top out at 30 hits, no matter how many there are in a given period. A manual trawl through the archives for 2006 suggests that there are seventeen articles out of 24 issues which could be taken as critical of Israel in one way or another. I include the URLs below so that people can check for themselves – it’s possible that I’ve missed something but I think I’ve done a fairly thorough search. However, of those seventeen articles, ten come from two issues published at the time of Israel’s bombing of Lebanon. So as K. Williams says, Chris is wrong when he says that only five pieces were published on Middle East politics in 2006. But he’s absolutely right when he says that Eugene Goodheart’s claim that “Almost every issue contains several articles devoted to attacks on Israel” is false. More precisely, there were two issues, published at a time when Israel was in the middle of invading a neighbouring country, each of which had several articles each criticizing Israel. But those two issues (which on their own account for a substantial majority of articles published on Israel in 2006 by my count) are very clearly the exception rather than the rule.

in search of Khoury – http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n22/hard01_.html

Gabriel Piterberg travelogue – http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n18/pite01_.html

Michael Byers on war crimes – http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n16/byer01_.html

Sameer Rahim on Israel’s bombing – http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n16/laor01_.html

August Kleinzahler’s diary – http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n16/klei01_.html

Yitzhak Laor on the IDF – http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n16/laor01_.html

The Charles Glass article – http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n16/glas01_.html

Karim Makdisi on how the war will end – http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n15/makd02_.html

Rasha Salti – field notes http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n15/salt01_.html

Khoury on Israel’s invasion of Lebanon – http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n15/khou01_.html

Adam Shatz on the Israeli Left – http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n15/shat01_.html

Ilan Pappe on Israel’s legal system -http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n15/shat01_.html

Rashid Khalidi on what Hamas must do – http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n15/shat01_.html

Ian Pappe on Israel and the ‘demographic problem’ – http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n08/papp01_.html

Mearsheimer and Walt – http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/mear01_.html

Charles Glass on Bin Laden (with sideswipes against Israel) -http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n05/glas01_.html

Tony Judt on the American left (with discussion of US and Israel policy – http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n18/judt01_.html

12

Henry 02.05.07 at 9:00 pm

“the majority of the articles published on Israel” in the above should be “the majority of the articles critical of Israel – I haven’t included reviews of books on the history of Yiddish etc, which I think can reasonably be taken to be unexceptionable.

13

otto 02.05.07 at 9:18 pm

On a similar note, I haven’t read Markovits book “Uncouth Nation: Why Europe dislikes America” (first chapter: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i8238.html), but hope to get round to it. A CT seminar?

14

K. Williams 02.05.07 at 9:20 pm

That’s almost everything. I would also add Jenny Diski’s review of David Grossman’s book on Samson, which is mostly concerned with Israel; Chalmer Johnson’s piece on nuclear intelligence, which suggests that Israel helped South Africa build a more powerful nuclear bomb in the 1970s; and Yitzhak Laor’s review of “Israel’s Holocaust and the Politics of Nationhood.” One might also include Brian Jones’ curious piece defending nuclear proliferation, arguing that we’d all be safer if Iran actually did get the bomb.

15

Delicious Pundit 02.05.07 at 9:21 pm

Does the London Review of Hezbollah have Hezbollah’s take on the new Walt Disney bio? Because I can’t decide whether to buy it or not.

16

otto 02.05.07 at 9:27 pm

Surely it should be the Hezbollah Review of Books?

17

roger 02.05.07 at 9:30 pm

I think Glass is underplaying Hezbollah’s anti-semitism, but only in the context of the controversy with Goodheart. In his article, he was, as he rightly points out, reporting on Hezbollah’s history in Lebanon. The question is: is anti-semitism intrinsic to that account? One could ask the same of, say, the history of Saudi Arabia – and we know the ruling House of Saud has been very vocal, internally, about its anti-semitism – or of the politics of Nasserism in Egypt. Goodheart, I think, wants to say that Glass’ project is ill formed – that you can’t bracket Hezbollah’s anti-semitism out. This might be true, but it is far from saying that Glass is being an apologist for Hezbollah. That Hezbollah didn’t retaliate against the Christians in 2001, for instance, isn’t an apologia, for instance, but explains, partly, why the recent alliance between a segment of the Christians and Hezbollah could occur at all. Glass’ most important point is a good one – Hezbollah is a proxy of Syria only up to a point. And, after all, proxies do try to exert influence on their controllers – and a good way to do that is to start a fight.

18

abb1 02.05.07 at 9:33 pm

So, is the idea that Hezbollah is not a garden variety national liberation movement but rather some evil semitic-anti-semitic conspiracy is hanging on authenticity of a couple of (most likely fake) quotes attributed to Nasrallah, is this correct?

19

Bob B 02.05.07 at 9:37 pm

Israel surely has a unique international standing for many reasons.

There can’t be many countries, after all, where the son of the previous prime minister was convicted on corruption charges, the current president has taken leave of absence from his post on a proposal by the ministry of justice to bring charges for rape and abuse of power and where the immediate previous minister of justice has recently been convicted on a charge of sexual molestation.

Citations:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4712698.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6291345.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6320359.stm

20

otto 02.05.07 at 9:45 pm

Well, that lot doesn’t sound wildly different from US or UK politics.

21

Bernard Yomtov 02.05.07 at 9:59 pm

a couple of (most likely fake) quotes attributed to Nasrallah,

The evidence in #7 supporting the idea that the quotes are fake is less than overwhelming.

Let’s see. An editor says he is dubious of the translation and of Chayban’s motives. So the quote did appear, it seems, in the newspaper. And of course some might think that the editor of a paper in Beirut has his own motives for trying to minimize anything that casts discredit on Hezbollah.

Then there is some mysterious story about a footnote.

Not exactly DNA lab results, is it?

22

lemuel pitkin 02.05.07 at 9:59 pm

Henry, I’d be very curious why you object to the Glass piece. I found it very illuminating.

23

Brendan 02.05.07 at 10:12 pm

‘Not exactly DNA lab results, is it?’

Read again: ‘Citing a passage in Amal Saad-Ghorayeb’s Hizbullah: Politics and Religion (2002), he attributes this statement to Nasrallah: ‘If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice, we do not say the Israeli.’ The source of the quotation is cited in footnote 20 of Chapter 8 of Saad-Ghorayeb’s book: an interview, not with Nasrallah, but with a Hizbullah member of the Lebanese Parliament, Mohammed Fnaysh, conducted by the author on 15 August 1997.

Even disregarding the other mistakes, that strikes me as a fairly major error.

24

jj 02.05.07 at 10:19 pm

There are certain publications one doesn’t read for balanced opinion – eg the Wall Street Journal on global warming or the Daily Mail on immigration. Similarly, I’ve long since given up on the LRB for equanimity on Israel. Its non-political book reviews, however, are often better (and more thorough) than those in the TLS.

25

Jacob T. Levy 02.05.07 at 10:43 pm

There can’t be many countries, after all, where the son of the previous prime minister was convicted on corruption charges, the current president has taken leave of absence from his post on a proposal by the ministry of justice to bring charges for rape and abuse of power and where the immediate previous minister of justice has recently been convicted on a charge of sexual molestation.

As much as I hate to engage in the inevitable gotcha-ism of a CT thread on Israel: that’s right, there can’t be many such countries, because in a very large number of countries the judiciary and prosecutors could not have had the political and institutional independence necessary to bring such charges.

Good lord, what’s the alternative meaning of this? Israel’s internationally unique pariah status is explained by the fact that powerful Israeli men, uniquely of all powerful men in the world, are corrupt and/or commit rape? Are you kidding?

26

Steve LaBonne 02.05.07 at 10:55 pm

I don’t take criticism of George W. Bush to be “criticism of America”, I consider much of it to be quite helpful to the real interests of America. I would make an analogy to criticism of the Israeli right-wing hawks. Some of that undoubtedly is anti-Israel per se, but certainly not all of it, by a long shot.

27

otto 02.05.07 at 11:51 pm

Of course in both US and Israel, right-wing hawkery is quite strongly embedded in the left/liberal parties too.

28

Cian 02.06.07 at 12:01 am

Roger, if you think Glass is underplaying Hezbollah’s anti-semitism presumably you can point to some examples of this alleged anti-semitism. I mean you must have some, right?

#21 Its the editor of the Daily Star. They’re hardly pro-Hezbollah.

29

anonymous 02.06.07 at 12:51 am

Has the LRB (or LRH) reviewed the recent struggles
against occupation going on in Gaza? Wait a sec …
it’s Palestinian on Palestinian violence, not anything against the Jews.

So nothing special there, just another example of goyim murdering goyim.

3 … 2 … 1 …

When will someone blame Israel for the Gaza violence?

30

roger 02.06.07 at 1:12 am

Cian, Well, I’d point to the blowing up of the Buenos Aires synogogue, rather than searching around for some magic gotcha interview. I have not read the book by the real expert on the subject, amal saad-ghorayeb, however. Her interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, in the New Yorker, does seem to point to anti-semitism – especially the comment that there would be no prejudice if Jews convert to Islam.

So, those are the two things that make me think there is a strong current of anti-semitism in Hezbullah.

31

Bernard Yomtov 02.06.07 at 1:38 am

#21 Its the editor of the Daily Star. They’re hardly pro-Hezbollah.

Regardless, they are now scrambling away from a quote they printed. The statements of the editor seem dubious, at least, pro-Hezbollah or not. Surely there are some pressures there.

#23. So maybe, perhaps, possibly, who knows, the blatant anti-Semitism should be attributed to a Hezbollah memeber sufficiently prominent to be inthe Lebanese parliament. Or maybe it was Nasrallah – if the footnote is a mistake.

I repeat, not exactly DNA lab results.

32

Cian 02.06.07 at 1:49 am

No serious proof has ever been offered for Hezbollah’s involvement in the Argentinian bombings. The original investigations were a joke, the subsequent investigations have been extremely odd. There has however been lots of politically motivated grandstanding by Argentinian politicians, this hasn’t really changed. If Hezbollah were involved, its curious that these are the only bombings that they never claimed responsibility for. Innocent until proven otherwise, no?

“I have not read the book by the real expert on the subject, amal saad-ghorayeb, however.”

There are other experts and other view points. Just because she advances a thesis you happen to like, doesn’t mean she’s infallible. I haven’t read her book either, so I have no idea whether she makes a strong case, or not. However, I glanced at the New Yorker interview and the only evidence she offers is the same discredited quote.

Perhaps you should search for a gotcha interview after all?

33

Cian 02.06.07 at 2:01 am

“Regardless, they are now scrambling away from a quote they printed.”

Which would be a perfectly reasonable thing to do, indeed the right and moral thing, if there were questions about the reliability of the quote.

“The statements of the editor seem dubious, at least, pro-Hezbollah or not. Surely there are some pressures there.”

Really, the fact that the Arabic transcipt of the speech has no mention of this phrase is irrelivent? That could be a good reason for being suspicious also, no?

“23. So maybe, perhaps, possibly, who knows, the blatant anti-Semitism should be attributed to a Hezbollah memeber sufficiently prominent to be inthe Lebanese parliament. Or maybe it was Nasrallah – if the footnote is a mistake.”

Or perhaps the statement was never made.

34

marcel 02.06.07 at 2:10 am

Otto (#27) wrote Of course in both US and Israel, right-wing hawkery is quite strongly embedded in the left/liberal parties too.

This is an outrageous statement, cannot possibly be correct – there are no left/liberal parties worthy of the name in the US.

35

Anderson 02.06.07 at 2:21 am

A perusal of the LRB’s online archives reveals a total of five articles about the Middle East in 2006, some of which are, of course, about Iraq. To those should no doubt be added the well-known Mearsheimer and Walt piece. The LRB is published 24 times a year.

“The factsss! They burnsss us, Preciousss!”

36

Roy Belmont 02.06.07 at 2:35 am

#25-
“Israel’s internationally unique pariah status…”

This is inaccurate, but close to something that’s important. Internationally unique, yes, but “pariah”?
Surely being invaded and occupied, having your national government removed and the former leader of your country hunted down, imprisoned, and publicly executed counts as evidence of “pariah status”?
Being informed you won’t be allowed to manufacture nuclear weapons by countries that already have them and who have in turn granted the right to make and possess them to other nations no more pacific than you, that would indicate something like “pariah status” wouldn’t it?
Israel’s bizarre and unique immunity from penalties or sanctions, after having defied a fair number of UN resolutions would also seem to refute that “pariah” claim. As does the presence of millions of cluster bombs in Lebanon, scattered with impunity by the Israeli military. No “pariah” nation could get away with having done that.

37

David Sucher 02.06.07 at 2:42 am

Chris,
I want to praise you for fact-checking but chide you (as others have done) for not doing it very well.

38

Bernard Yomtov 02.06.07 at 2:53 am

Which would be a perfectly reasonable thing to do, indeed the right and moral thing, if there were questions about the reliability of the quote.

It would also be the prudent thing to do under other circumstances. I am moved to wonder how and when these “questions” arose.

Really, the fact that the Arabic transcipt of the speech has no mention of this phrase is irrelivent? That could be a good reason for being suspicious also, no?

On what basis do you claim the Arabic transcript does not include the phrase? Comment #7 merely says it was not reported in another newspaper that covered the speech. That hardly qualifies as a transcript.

39

roger 02.06.07 at 3:22 am

Cian, if I was on a jury, yeah, the proofs would have to be much higher about the Buenos Aires bombing. But I’m not, nor are you.

As for both of us discussing the merits of amal saad-ghorayeb’s book on the basis of neither one of us having read it – that might be too much hearsay, as they say in the courtroom, to admit. However, far from having come to a conclusion I like, she is the only person I have seen mentioned who has investigated Hezbullah attitudes towards Jews. Do you know anybody else who has? And she is sympathetic enough to Hezbullah as a movement – as, actually, am I, insofar as Hezbullah operated to help drive Israel from Lebanon, although I don’t have firm commitments to any of Lebanon’s political parties, or even know fuckall about the local politics – who takes bribes, who fixes potholes, who is sexist, etc. I take it that Hezbullah is amorphous enough to change its mind about things – which they did about the Christian militias, obviously. So I would hope eventually Hezbullah finds its place as a regular party in Lebanon – which isn’t going to happen as long as Israel keeps invading the place.

40

Jacob T. Levy 02.06.07 at 3:25 am

#36:

And now we know all the moves, right? I run through the unique intensity of criticism leveled at Israel, especially by the UN General Assembly and UN human rights bodies; its unique status at the UN where it can’t permanently belong to any regional group and is thus the only state that can’t serve on the security council along with a number of other major bodies; the huge proportion of all UN resolutions aimed at Israel; the unique permanent status of the Palestinian expulsions of 1948 compared with the much larger and more violent 1940s expulsions across Europe and South Asia, and its unique peril as a state with powerful neighbors that deny its right to exist and have been in a state of permanent war with it for decades and some of which host guerilla and terrorist movements that make cross-border attacks. You point to those same UN resolutions as evidence that Israel has acted uniquely awfully (no other state has *violated* so many UN resolutions!), the unique permanent character of the occupation, the Israeli nuclear force, the Israeli invasions of those neighboring states, etc., etc. Can we take that exchange as read (and as read many, many times)?

I was responding to the more… idiosyncratic claim that Israel had a uniquely bad character as evidenced by the domestic prosecutions of some Israeli officials.

41

abb1 02.06.07 at 6:44 am

So, Hezbollah is pretty much the Muslim population of Southern Lebanon, mostly a bunch of rednecks.

So, the current generation of these rednecks grew up under Israeli occupation, that involved (undeniably) massive oppression, murder, torture, and plunder – including documented by the UN observers episode of scraping Lebanese fertile topsoil and moving it accross the border to Israel.

So, these things were perpetrated by a powerful state, the state that defines itself as “Jewish state”; for the Jews, of the Jews and by the Jews.

So, now some people suspect that if you ask an average Hezbollah person: “do you hate the Jews?”, the answer will be “yes”, and it does sound like a reasonable guess to me.

So, now the next step is to call this hatred “anti-Semitism” and imply (and even to state directly and unequivocally) that this hatred is exactly the same phenomenon as European anti-Semitism – irrational racist hatred of ‘semitic’ minority living among white Europeans.

Fine, I suppose there are enough stupid people in the world to buy this sophistry, yet I feel this is a very risky strategy. Its goal, of course, is to stir anti-Arab and/or anti-Muslim feelings among the gullible, but the opposite might transpire: wide-spread sentiment that true European racist anti-Semitism was, after all, justified.

42

jj 02.06.07 at 6:51 am

Is ‘abb1’ a troll?

43

nobody_you_know 02.06.07 at 6:57 am

Is ‘jj’ capable of a debate tactic other than the ad hominem?

44

Chris Bertram 02.06.07 at 7:08 am

Well it does seem that the LRB’s indexing of its own articles isn’t very good, and that the listing of only five articles as being on ME politics is wrong. In the light of Henry’s and K.Williams’s researches (and many thanks to them), my final three sentences should be replaced with the following:

A perusal of the LRB’s back issues reveals a total of 17 articles critical of Israel in 2006, but ten of these come from two issues published during the invasion of Lebanon (and the LRB is published 24 times a year). It is certainly false to say, as Goodheart does that “Almost every issue contains several articles devoted to attacks on Israel.”

Predictably, this thread has started to degenerate into the usual pro- and anti-Israel mudslinging. Let me just point out that the purpose of my post was to point out the absurdity of Goodheart’s article and that doing that does not amount to an endorsement of Glass, Pappe, or any of the others who have written for the LRB.

45

jj 02.06.07 at 7:10 am

Sorry, it wasn’t meant as a ‘debate tactic’, just a point of information. I am unfamiliar with the regulars here and was wondering how seriously to ‘take’ the comment.

46

Laleh 02.06.07 at 9:26 am

Any attribution of anti-semitism to Hizbullah cannot be evaluated apart from the well-worn tactic of “calling someone an anti-semite” whenever and wherever they attack Israel.

I find it extraordinary, for example, that discredited quotes and fabricated passages have to be cited in order to discredit Hizbullah, when Israel’s once (and future?) allies in Lebanon, the Phlanage party, was not only modelled after the Nazis, but also some of its members continue to spout off some of the vilest anti-semitic nonsense possible(including blood libel stuff).

Ultimately, in that equation, geopolitical considerations trump consideration of the Phalange’s anti-semitism. The same goes for so many of the Protestant Zionists.

Indeed, Israeli nationalism (Zionism) itself is predicated on some profoundly anti-semitic canards: Zionism is seen as a negation of the effeminate, weak, unmanly, polluted urban Jew (and anti-semitic stereotype if there ever was one). The Sabra (the early settlers) are serenaded as blonde gods mimicking their European ancestor/tormentors. In the early years of the state of Israel, Shoah survivors are thought to brought the catatstrophe on themselves (and are called “soap” by those golden-boy pioneers!!!). The basis of the laws which determine(d) Jewishness as the basis of Israeli citizenship were entirely based on “blood” belonging. And on and on… (see Idith Zertal’s Israel’s Holocaust and the Politics of Nationhood or Oz Almog’s The Sabra or Daniel Boyarin’s writings on gender and Zionism).

In all the above instances, the necessities of forging a nation have meant perpetuation of anti-semitic tactics, ideas, discourses, and practices. And all this is forgotten in deference to Israel unique ability to do whatever the hell it wants to do in the neighbourhood and its impunity from any outside pressure.

So please, when you hear “anti-semite!” whenever Israel is brought up, take a deep breath and consider who is making the accusation and why.

47

otto 02.06.07 at 12:06 pm

There was of course another country which suffered ‘uniquely intense criticism’ at the United Nations, which was South Africa. The reason that Israel suffers that uniquely intense criticism is that it is a racist settler state, like South Africa, based permanently on the colonisation and ethnic cleansing , past and present, of the native population. That is why South Africa attracted more criticism than the post-war WW2 expulsions, why it became entirely isolated at the UN etc. Israel is in the same position for the same reasons.

48

Brendan 02.06.07 at 12:36 pm

Yes following from Chris Bertram’s comment, I should point out that the real point of my post was not whether or not Hizbollah is an anti-semitic organisation: my point was that pieces written by the ironically named Goodheart sometimes seem to have an ambiguous (or at least, hard to spot) relationship to the truth.

Therefore, perhaps, other things he writes (about the LRB for example) should also be taken with a pinch of salt.

49

SG 02.06.07 at 12:51 pm

God is there anything more boring than the accusation of anti-semitism simply for criticising the obviously bad practices of a state behaving badly? If this logic were applied across the board most people posting here would also be anti-Asian, anti-black,anti-Islamic, anti-antipodean and probably, mostly self-hating. Just like all those Jews who criticise Israel must presumably be. How terribly tedious. And how impossible to have any kind of discussion as soon as someone sails in with these accusations.

but then, that would be the point, wouldn’t it?

50

aaron 02.06.07 at 1:23 pm

So is the tally 17v5? That would be quite a stong case. Goodhearts assertion (though exaggerated) seems valid.

51

Chris Bertram 02.06.07 at 1:31 pm

Goodhearts assertion (though exaggerated) seems valid.

Nice to see non-standard logic getting an airing here.

52

Rich B. 02.06.07 at 2:48 pm

Sorry, it wasn’t meant as a ‘debate tactic’, just a point of information. I am unfamiliar with the regulars here and was wondering how seriously to ‘take’ the comment.

Definition of “troll” vary, of course. He has cited for “trolling”, though, in the linked thread, and banned for a week as a result.

Hate the action, not the actor, I guess. Can one be “trollING” without actual BEING a troll? Where trolling intersects extreme politics and/or Israeli/Jewish issues, it is far easier to see trolling in those extremist who disagree with you, broadly, than those extremists on your side. I tend to think that — speaking generally, of course — when a generally left-center or leftist website bans a far left poster for any reason, you have pretty clearly obtained trolldom. (Same for the far rightist banned on rightwing websites, of course).

abb1 is being slightly more subtle now. Instead of denying the existence of anti-Semitism, he is merely using phrases like “some evil semitic-anti-semitic conspiracy”, using the same word twice with two different definitions in the same hyphenated word to imply its meaninglessness without actually saying so.

I’ve never been terribly offended by trolls, so I just ignore him. If you’re honestly asking, though . . . there’s your answer.

this thread

53

Cian 02.06.07 at 3:02 pm

Bernard, you’re right. I should have checked more thoroughly.
However when the only other article (which was in Arabic, so one doesn’t have the problem of translation to content with) makes no reference to the comment, it is reasonable to be a little suspicious. Add to this that there appears to be no other record of any anti-semitic comment made by Nasrallah, and it becomes even more strange. After all, there are transcripts, recordings and videos of hundreds of his speeches. If anti-semitism is really so endemic, you’d think there’d be a few other phrases.

Roger, there wasn’t any proof of Hezbollah’s involvement. The evidence seemed to consist of they had a motive and that Shi’ites were involved in the bombing (there might have been some very sketchy circumstantial stuff that I’m forgetting, but I don’t think there was). No connection was proven, and it would have been perfectly possible for the actual perpetrators to have carried out the bombing entirely independently. Its not even as if Hezbollah have a history of carrying out terrorist operations outside Lebanon. There’s nothing to link them except prejudice.

I haven’t read Alam Saad-Ghorayeb’s book. I have no idea whether anybody else has investigated Hezbollah attitudes to Jews. I prefer not to comment on things of which I am entirely ignorant.

54

engels 02.06.07 at 3:04 pm

Goodhearts assertion (though exaggerated) seems valid.

Much like the assertion that Aaron has three legs.

55

Bernard Yomtov 02.06.07 at 3:54 pm

cian,

I have no idea what other statements of Nasrallah’s have been recorded. Is a mistake possible? Maybe, but it looks like a thin argument to me, certainly insufficient to justify the easy acceptance by some commenters of the idea that the quotes were obvious fabrications

Anyway, I note with interest that for some the discussion has now moved from the issue of whether Hezbollah is anti-Semitic to claiming that they do hate Jews, but that’s not anti-Semitism, or it is but it’s OK, or some other nonsensical rationalization.

56

abb1 02.06.07 at 4:19 pm

Rich, it’s not a different definition, it’s the same thing. Jews in Europe used to be loathed (by some) for being middle-Easterners, Semites – canning, scheming, untrustworthy, unclean. That’s called anti-Semitism. These days the Jews are pretty much accepted as whites by all Americans and Europeans, while Arabs still remain Semites with all the same racist attitudes directed at them. That’s how I see it, anyway. In fact, you really need to travel to Israel and ask a (pretty much random) Jewish Israeli’s opinion of the Arabs to be reminded what a real anti-Semitism sounds like. Of course you’ll find it in France too (and pretty much everywhere in Europe), but not to the same extent, much lighter.

57

Rich B. 02.06.07 at 4:39 pm

I assume that provides everyone enough information to make up their own minds.

58

K. Williams 02.06.07 at 5:12 pm

I’m confused by the assertion that there are no other records of Nasrallah making anti-Semitic comments. Are all the quotes from his appearances on al-Manar:

2001: “Jews, from the dawn of history, are the most cowardly and greedy among Allah’s creatures”

1998: “the state of the descendants of apes and pigs”

2006: “a great French philosopher, Roger Garaudy, wrote a scientific book . . . He proved that this Holocaust is a myth” (actually, this was supposedly on Al-Jazeera)

made up? I don’t speak Arabic, so I’m relying on (potentially unreliable) places like MEMRI to translate, but it should be easy enough to check for someone who speaks Arabic.

59

Natalie Solent 02.06.07 at 5:57 pm

Starting at 05:11 into the following video clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0qTIa1RQH8

…you can hear Nasrallah talk about Roger Garaudy. I don’t speak Arabic but I can distinguish the word “Roger” said the French way, and “Garaudy”, at any rate.

60

Bernard Yomtov 02.06.07 at 6:06 pm

I’m confused by the assertion that there are no other records of Nasrallah making anti-Semitic comments. Are all the quotes from his appearances on al-Manar:

I don’t find it confusing at all.

61

abb1 02.06.07 at 6:26 pm

So, what’s the point of all this? Suppose Nasrallah said the word “Roger” the French way and “Garaudy” at any rate and called the Jews pigs – why does it seem important to you, why should anyone care?

Suppose I invaded and occupied your house and kept you locked-up in the basement for 18 years and then you called me a pig – now what? What’s the moral of the story?

62

Brendan 02.06.07 at 6:34 pm

Oh Christ. I am REALLY sorry I mentioned this now, but I suppose I started the ‘Nasrallah’ theme that has dogged this thread ever since I first posted.

Anyway to repeat: Christ Bertram posted a piece, the point of which was (rather obviously) Eugene Goodheart’s claim that ‘almost every issue (of the LRB) contains several articles devoted to attacks on Israel’, given that this claim is, in fact, false. I posted the bit about Nasrallah’s alleged anti-semitism (a subject on which I have no opinions) NOT to bring in the usual suspects with their pro or anti-Israeli opinions, or to make a point about Hezbollah, but to point out that Goodheart seems, rather credulously, to have accepted as true various quotes which do not seem to be true.

My point, to repeat is that Goodheart seems to be rather credulous, and that what he says should be taken with a pinch of salt. Given this, the other point of Chris Bertram’s article is: why is Dissent publishing his rather wild eyed claims about this that and the other?

63

Brendan 02.06.07 at 6:35 pm

And I do apologise for anointing Chris Bertram as the Messiah. Although let’s face it, he has a good a claim as anybody.

64

K. Williams 02.06.07 at 6:38 pm

We should care because we want to know if people are actually fighting for national liberation or if they’re racialist ideologues who should be taken at their word when they talk about their desire to destroy Israel, particularly when they’re allied with a country that will, within a decade, in all likelihood have a nuclear bomb.

65

novakant 02.06.07 at 6:49 pm

ok, Goodheart is to be taken with a grain of salt, but is anybody here seriously deying that the LRB is a tad biased when it comes to Israel or that large parts of the population in middle eastern countries are blatantly anti-semitic?

66

Brendan 02.06.07 at 8:06 pm

I’ll make one last attempt to get this thread back on topic…Novakent I won’t begin to get into an argument about whether the LRB is ‘a tad’ biased, or whether ‘large parts’ of the middle eastern population are anti-semitic, because the addition of the quotes above make these sentences far too vague to be proved or disproved.

But this thread isn’t about whether things are ‘a tad’ this or whether ‘large parts’ of something are this that and the other. It’s about whether, and I quote: ‘Almost every issue (of the LRB) contains several articles devoted to attacks on Israel [emphasis added], and the target is not simply the governing party, but the whole spectrum of Israeli political life. Absent from the columns of the Review are the injustices and cruelties of political Islam [emphasis added].

These are strong claims:

1: That every issue of the LRB (or nearly every issue) contains negative articles about Israel and

2: That the LRB never discusses the evils of Islamism, political Islam, call it what you will.

As I say, both these claims are strong, and they are both false. If you think differently, feel free to put your case.

67

rilkefan 02.06.07 at 8:17 pm

Really one ought to look beyond last year to evaluate the every-issue claim.

68

Tom Scudder 02.06.07 at 8:32 pm

21, 23, 31, 33: Anyone who finds it hard to believe that the Daily Star might have had quality-control issues is certainly wholly unfamiliar with the paper in question, and also unfamiliar with the class of small-circulation English-language dailies in third-world countries in general.

69

abb1 02.06.07 at 9:45 pm

C’mon, K. Williams. There’s a state there that’s masquerading itself as an ethnic group. Yes, its neighbors do hate it and they hate it for a good reason. And if you don’t want them to be racists about it, let’s just drop the ethnic charade thus allowing this state to be hated just for its politics. Let’s call it ‘the 51st state of the US of A’, for example. Yeah, that’s it, and it makes everything clear and simple. Or else don’t complain. That’s all there is to it.

70

novakant 02.06.07 at 10:13 pm

could someone take the garbage out please?

71

aaron 02.06.07 at 11:05 pm

Chris Bertram is completely incapable of recognizing hyperbole.

72

aaron 02.06.07 at 11:07 pm

Hehe. Engles, would you like to wrestle my third leg?;)

73

aaron 02.06.07 at 11:10 pm

/antagonism

74

engels 02.07.07 at 1:59 am

Gosh, Aaron, that’s a clever retort.

75

SG 02.07.07 at 2:22 am

if they’re racialist ideologues who should be taken at their word when they talk about their desire to destroy Israel

Is there meant to be some kind of implication in the paragraph from which I drew this? Some kind of genocide-holocaust implication? Because if so it seems pretty rich. So far we have found 4 quotes, 1 dodgy, and a mosque bombing to support the contention that hezbollah are anti-semitic, but this is a far cry from the implications to be drawn from associating hezbollah with Iran`s bomb. I see very little evidence of eliminationist rhetoric (except as referring to a state, not its people); compared to the obvious eliminationist party of the past, the quotes are pretty thin on the ground.

Further, within this one paragraph we are expected to believe that hezbollah is anti-semitic on the basis of what its own people says, ignoring any nuances or their own historical experience of occupation; but on the other hand, we can assume that Iran is trying to build a bomb even though they have consistently denied that they are trying to do this.

I don`t think we should be able to pick and choose whose word is to be taken at face value. My preference would be to judge the Middle-East actors by a combination of their words, their intentions, their actions and their histories. But when abb1 does that some call it trolling.

76

SG 02.07.07 at 2:30 am

is anybody here seriously deying that the LRB is a tad biased when it comes to Israel

Tell me Novakent, in the 80s when every newspaper was regularly pointing out how cruel and evil the South African government was, did you accuse them of bias or of speaking the truth? When newspapers criticise North Korea for its repression and starvation, do you accuse them of bias?

Criticising the wall, the use of cluster bombs, the “accidental” bombings of bomb shelters with big red crosses on their roofs, the assassinations, the Jewish settlers who shoot holes in Palestinians` water tanks, the forced separation of families and the expulsion of hundreds of thousands – this isn`t biassed. This is called “reporting”. Sure its biassed if they don`t report similar atrocities by Islamic states, but I think you`d find that its been a long time since the Iranians bombed a civilian shelter and killed a couple of hundred people; blew up a 66 year old in a wheelchair; laid siege to a church; or passed a law in the supreme court explicitly allowing their security forces to shake prisoners to death. And this despite having a bunch of anti-Iranian kurdish terrorists being funded by the US sitting just over their borders.

And this is without considering the general point that western newspapers tend to hold so-called western societies (which Israel claims to be) to higher standards.

77

Henry 02.07.07 at 2:40 am

k. williams – the Diski and Laor pieces seem to count to me – but not the Chalmers Johnson piece (he doesn’t seem to me to be criticizing Israel, and the question of whether or not Israel cooperated with South Africa in nuclear weapons is a live one in the non-proliferation debates, as best I understand it), and certainly not the piece on whether Iran should have the bomb (that this would be uncongenial to Israel doesn’t make the piece a criticism of Israel).

Lemuel – the Glass piece seemed to me to imply without quite saying so that Hezbollah was laudable, to minimize the influence of Syria etc. From what I know of the region – I hasten to add that I’m not a region expert – it seemed to me to be untrustworthy at best, and going to some rather spectacular lengths to make a nasty bunch of people sound rather nicer than they are. It left me feeling pretty uncomfortable when I first read it, and it hasn’t improved on the re-reading.

rilkefan – it’s a basic precept of social science and the scientific method more generally that a single disconfirming instance is sufficient to prove a non-probabilistic causal claim to be false. If there’s an entire bloody year where there are only two issues out of twenty-four that have ‘several’ pieces criticizing Israel, then the “almost every issue” claim is pretty surely false (unless you want to assert that this was a bizarrely unrepresentative year, which as a longtime LRB reader I can tell you that it wasn’t).

78

aaron 02.07.07 at 3:37 am

17+ articles in 24 issues seem like very disproportionate coverage, that’s more than one every other issue. What did they write about Hezbollah?

Of course it’s probably not intentional, but it does indicate a bias in editing, submissions, or of readership.

79

fuzz 02.07.07 at 3:54 am

I think you`d find that its been a long time since the Iranians bombed a civilian shelter and killed a couple of hundred people; blew up a 66 year old in a wheelchair; laid siege to a church; or passed a law in the supreme court explicitly allowing their security forces to shake prisoners to death.

I’m not sure what’s more remarkable about this sentence: the fact that the Israeli Supreme Court’s ruling in the GSS case was precisely the opposite of what you describe, or your implied assertion that the Iranian government has never engaged in torture or arbitrary killing.

80

SG 02.07.07 at 5:46 am

Well 79, perhaps I confused Supreme and High Courts – but many years ago now I remember outrage about this ruling.

I did not make the assertion you imply regarding Iran. I simply observed that its actions aren`t equivalent to Israel`s in general, and therefore it is hard to be “unbiassed” in giving equal weight to both countries. In order for you to suggest otherwise, you need to provide some kind of balance sheet. You can`t, which is why you have singled out the torture and arbitrary killing and ignored the other issues mentioned.

The reason for western magazines` occasional “bias” on Israel is quite simple – it is an issue which demands attention, especially when western governments are complicit in protecting the state causing the trouble. One could argue that there are a lot of science journals which have a “bias” towards global warming, as well, but that would be because the topic is kind of important and the problem is caused by western governments.

81

Luc 02.07.07 at 7:20 am

Sg probably refers to a 1996 ruling that allowed torture, specifically “shaking”, of a prisoner. See here.

82

SG 02.07.07 at 7:55 am

So fuzz, when you said

the Israeli Supreme Court’s ruling in the GSS case was precisely the opposite of what you describe

were you aware that the High Court`s ruling was exactly that which I described? Presumably the supreme court`s ruling was reversing the earlier ruling (luc`s link even refers to the GSS).

I suspect if you knew about the Supreme Court ruling, you also knew about the High Court ruling it was reversing. So posting a comment suggesting that my report was precisely the opposite of the “truth” when in fact its only error was the word “Supreme” seems a tiny, tiny bit disingenuous to me. Am I correct?

83

rilkefan 02.07.07 at 8:17 am

henry: “rilkefan – it’s a basic precept of social science and the scientific method more generally that a single disconfirming instance is sufficient to prove a non-probabilistic causal claim to be false.”

Well, I’m not sure I recognize “social science” as real science, but I’m pretty sure you don’t know we’re talking about a “non-probabilistic causal claim”.

“If there’s an entire bloody year where there are only two issues out of twenty-four that have ‘several’ pieces criticizing Israel, then the “almost every issue” claim is pretty surely false”

or just a sneer. If you want to make this claim, then Chris and k. williams were wasting their time after identifying multiple issues without anti-Israel articles. But that’s anyway irrelevant, as I think it’s of interest to people discussing the matter how many such articles appear in the LRB full stop.

“(unless you want to assert that this was a bizarrely unrepresentative year, which as a longtime LRB reader I can tell you that it wasn’t).”

I wasn’t interested in asserting anything, I was just interested in knowing what the LRB has been like. For all I knew last year was a good year and Goodheart stopped reading it carefully in ’05 because of its monomania. If it averages one/issue, or one/two issues, that’s interesting.

84

Ray 02.07.07 at 8:37 am

Quite the opposite. In ’06, the LRB had a lot of articles about Israel, because ’06 is the year that Israel invaded Lebanon (again).
In ’05, I count 9 articles that, from the contents page description, relate to Israel. Not necessarily critical of Israel – I haven’t gone into the articles to check – but potentially so. That’s 9 in 24 issues, and only one of those issues had more than one Israel-related article. Goodheart’s claim is not just overstated, it’s completely false.

The contents pages are online here
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v27/n01/contents.html
if anyone else wants to check.

85

novakant 02.07.07 at 11:04 am

Let’s cut to the chase sg:

If you think that it’s solely Israel “causing the trouble”, that the Israeli leadership can be likened to the South African apartheid regime and that Israel as a whole can be compared to an impending natural disaster which threatens the survival of mankind on this planet, that the Arab states and organizations involved in this conflict are only interested in a peaceful coexistence and justice for the Palestinian people – yes, then you might find the LRB’s coverage of the situation unbiased.

86

fuzz 02.07.07 at 1:19 pm

So fuzz, when you said “the Israeli Supreme Court’s ruling in the GSS case was precisely the opposite of what you describe” were you aware that the High Court`s ruling was exactly that which I described?

The Israeli High Court of Justice and the Supreme Court are the same thing (the Supreme Court has three types of jurisdiction, one of which is known as “High Court” jurisdiction). I believe that the 1996 ruling to which Luc refers was not a final decision but instead involved the denial of a preliminary injunction sought by the petitioners. The final judgment in 1999 banned torture, including the practices you cite, in no uncertain terms. I didn’t follow the case prior to 1999 and was not in fact aware of the interim orders. So point to you, but your information is still out of date.

In any event, if I had time, which I don’t, I could provide a “balance sheet” to your other examples (or, for that matter, cite a few matters you left out such as exactly who that “66 year old man in a wheelchair” was and that the single instance in which Israel besieged a church came after it was occupied – yes, that word – by gunmen). I think you’ll find that when Iran was last at war during 1980-88, it used methods that are as brutal as the ones Israel has used in its wars. You might also find that Iran is also using similar counterinsurgent tactics against the Ahwazis right now. That has nothing to do with the nature of Israel or Iran, and everything to do with the nature of war.

87

fuzz 02.07.07 at 1:31 pm

I should add that, contrary to the linked B’Tselem article that describes the 1999 judgment, Israel is not unique in its pre-1999 attempts to regulate the use of torture. The British government during the Troubles tried to regulate interrogation methods (the “five techniques” of torture) through similar mechanisms, with equally criminal results.

For the record, BTW, I don’t normally like to get involved in tu quoque arguments about the practices of particular countries, but in a thread about whether country X is disproportionately criticized, such arguments are inevitable.

88

Dan Simon 02.07.07 at 3:24 pm

[Here was a comment from Dan Simon, who, as he well knows is banned from commenting on any of my threads. In it he inaccurately claimed that I deleted earlier comments of his in this thread (it wasn’t me, another CT member got here first), and accused me of tolerating the open defence of anti-semitism on this thread. Having been extremely busy and at meetings all day, I had a quick read through the comments. I guess he’s referring to abb1’s remarks, which I don’t read as being a defence of antisemitism at all, however misguided they may otherwise be. Anyway, Dan, you were banned, your are still banned, and you will be deleted in future however inoffensive the content of your comments. CB]

[Additionally, I’m going to close the thread which has strayed way beyond the accuracy of Goodheart’s piece, which was the point of my original post, and since I don’t have the time to monitor people slinging mud at one another CB]

Comments on this entry are closed.