“Decisive conclusion”

by Chris Bertram on November 19, 2012

I last paid attention to the Jerusalem Post when it was running apologetics for Anders Behring Breivik. It seems to have gone one better yesterday, with an article by Gilad Sharon entitled “A Decisive Conclusion is Necessary”, a sample:

We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.

As one person remarked to me, maybe “decisive conclusion” could be one rendering of Endlösung.

Meanwhile, the President of the United States has this to say:

… there’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.

Well then, can we expect Pakistani tanks on the White House lawn imminently?

Perhaps not.

And so the familiar litany of “justifications” goes on, most predictably about Hamas being to blame for any civilian deaths because their “operatives” “hide among the civilian population”. Those of us who have been paying attention during recent wars in Libya and Syria will note that nobody thought Gadaffi and Assad any the less responsible for the babies they killed (and in Syria, continue to kill) from the air because those resisting their tyrannies did so from populated areas such as Misrata and Aleppo. Do different principles apply when it is the IDF doing the killing? It would seem so.

And there seem to be a lot of “surgical strikes”. You know, the ones that magically discriminate between the innocent and the guilty in urban area, except when they don’t.

So it goes.

{ 250 comments }

1

Slaqq 11.19.12 at 8:58 am

Truly disgusting. Obama’s comment, and your response re: Pakistan and drones, reminds me of Miéville’s “Between Equal Rights”. Thank for sharing, even if it did just put me in a bad mood.

2

Walt 11.19.12 at 9:14 am

Wait, the Jerusalem Post ran apologies for Breivik? Really? I… what?

3

Z 11.19.12 at 9:27 am

Dear Chris,
Thanks for sharing this and for your outrage. It is really amazing that the Jerusalem Post would publish an op-ed with such a title (no to mention the content, which is a literal apology for war crimes and human rights violations). As always the question remains of what could be done to alleviate injustice, and as always the answer remains elusive.

4

ajay 11.19.12 at 10:09 am

… there’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.
Well then, can we expect Pakistani tanks on the White House lawn imminently?

But those strikes are happening with the consent and approval of the Pakistani government, and (until at least last year) were being launched by aircraft flying from a Pakistani air force base. So, the situations aren’t really comparable.

5

Chris Bertram 11.19.12 at 10:30 am

As I understand it, ajay, that isn’t the public position of the government of Pakistan. Even if it were, it would render Obama’s statement strictly false.

6

ajay 11.19.12 at 11:57 am

As I understand it, ajay, that isn’t the public position of the government of Pakistan.

The public position of the government of Pakistan is, very obviously indeed, not the true position of the government of Pakistan. At one point recently, in fact, the true position of the government of Pakistan was that the US was not launching enough drone strikes. We know this because the cable in which this sentiment was expressed was one of the ones leaked to Wikileaks.

Even if it were, it would render Obama’s statement strictly false.

No, because those missiles would not be coming from outside Pakistan’s borders, if you want to be strictly accurate about it.

7

ajay 11.19.12 at 11:59 am

It’s also worth noting that the Pakistani government has not exactly been shy about conducting its own airstrikes on its own citizens (in the vague sense in which FATA residents actually count as citizens of Pakistan).

8

Watson Ladd 11.19.12 at 12:56 pm

Let me get this right: Sherman couldn’t march to the sea because he destroyed civilian property being used in the war effort. Bombing factories in Bremen and Dresden would be not OK, because some civilians might get hurt. Attacking the command structures of enemy nations not OK, because those are in populated areas. Embargoing an area not OK either.

If Gaza was a state, the real question would be why Israel hasn’t flattened it yet and imposed a punitive peace the way most nations do when faced with rocket fire across a border. None of the targets Gilad Sharon calls for aiming at are particularly out of line: power plants and gasoline distribution centers have obvious military use.

9

Katherine 11.19.12 at 1:20 pm

If Gaza was a state, the real question would be why Israel hasn’t flattened it yet and imposed a punitive peace the way most nations do when faced with rocket fire across a border.

Although you’ll have noted no doubt that Israel and the US have consistently opposed all efforts to recognise the Palestinian state in the UN. You’d think that if it would give Israel such a carte blanche to get in there and kick Palenstinian butt, their signatures would be first on the list of supporters.

10

Glen Tomkins 11.19.12 at 1:26 pm

Lidice.

That ought to be enough to say in this matter.

11

Chris Bertram 11.19.12 at 1:27 pm

Watson: fuck off, and don’t comment again.

12

Shay Begorrah 11.19.12 at 1:40 pm

@Glen Tomkins

It interests me how thin the line is now in pro-Israeli argument between support for the current regular culls of Palestinians considered likely to be leadership material (a policy that is more than a decade old) and one that is crudely eliminationist.

Perhaps the cognitive dissonance of trying to hold Israel as morally superior while engaging in acts necessary to preserve Israel that are clearly immoral has become too much and we will instead see a Zionist position based on simple racism and manifest destiny.

I think that would be refreshing.

13

Glen Tomkins 11.19.12 at 1:49 pm

@12,

Exactly. They should go around to all those monuments they have with the inscription, “Never Again”, and add the codicil. “at least not to us”.

14

Phil 11.19.12 at 2:07 pm

Shay – elimination is the end, not the means. As John Mearsheimer pointed out recently on the LRB blog, the “decapitation” strategy is one of a number of options for Israel (the others being “invade and occupy” and “bombard at will”). As Mearsheimer also points out, all three are highly unlikely to succeed – in the sense of establishing secure borders – and all three have, in fact, been tried before and (in that sense) failed wretchedly.

The danger at the moment is not tactical but strategic escalation – finding a war aim which makes current tactics more rational than they currently are. Which is where Gilad Sharon comes in. If you assume that Israel ultimately wants to annex the occupied territories but doesn’t want any of the people who currently live there, and doesn’t feel any obligation in the mean time to keep those people housed, fed or alive, the current campaign suddenly makes perfect sense; indeed, why not go in harder and get the whole thing over quicker? As the man said, “they all hate us anyhow”.

15

Omega Centauri 11.19.12 at 2:15 pm

I fully concur, this is Bibi’s war to wipe out the Hamas’ leadership. Those houses suffering surgical strikes must be on a map of leadership targets. The missile barrages were of course a completely predicatable response to the assassination by air of the Hamas defense minister, who was reported to be seeking peace talks. But of course the US and Obama will be fully supportive of the Israeli, Obama learned in 2008 that he can’t fight AIPAC. So the gulf between Israel/US and the rest of the world will only widen further.

16

Katherine 11.19.12 at 2:21 pm

The missile barrages were of course a completely predicatable response to the assassination by air of the Hamas defense minister,

There’s a small tiny, conspiracy-minded voice in my head that thinks it was so completely predicable it could almost have been intended. And then I go back to remembering that, despite what spy novels and TV programmes would have you believe, people generally aren’t capable of predictable eleven-dimensional chess, but they are much more capable of idiocy and shortsightedness.

17

Torquil Macneil 11.19.12 at 2:22 pm

“The missile barrages were of course a completely predicatable response to the assassination by air of the Hamas defense minister, who was reported to be seeking peace talks. “

Although what a man who belongs to party that is foundationally committed to killing Jews might mean by ‘peace’ could keep us occupied for a while.

18

Joshua W. Burton 11.19.12 at 2:24 pm

When Michael Reagan or Billy Carter made public remarks way out on the swampy marshes of the sea of insanity, those remarks were widely noted and were reprinted by American newspapers of record, not because they represented any discernable constituency or advanced any useful dialogue but simply because the speaker was inherently newsworthy, in an embarrassing way.

The Greek island scandal made Sharon’s two sons more notorious than any US presidential scion since Grover Cleveland’s bastard; Gilad’s turning canary on his brother Omri and then Omri’s shameless use of their father’s stroke to demand leniency in prison became a national joke. In what world does a paper in the Jerusalem Post’s position not publish a drooling rant from this clown when it arrives over the transom?

19

Torquil Macneil 11.19.12 at 2:25 pm

” If you assume that Israel ultimately wants to annex the occupied territories but doesn’t want any of the people who currently live there, and doesn’t feel any obligation in the mean time to keep those people housed, fed or alive, the current campaign suddenly makes perfect sense”

Until you suddenly remember that ‘Israel’ doesn’t take a view in this sort of thing at all. You mean the current administration.

20

Joshua W. Burton 11.19.12 at 2:29 pm

For that matter, does anybody think that Sarah Palin remains on the airwaves because she is the most persuasive available mouthpiece for her employers’ views? Hey, daddy, look at the monkey, buy me popcorn!

21

rf 11.19.12 at 2:32 pm

“You mean the current administration.”

Not being flippant, but policy is remarkably consistent regardless of who happens to be in power

22

wilfred 11.19.12 at 2:40 pm

Boycott. Divest. Sanction.

23

Kaveh 11.19.12 at 2:56 pm

The JPost article is appalling. It’s virtually a call for genocide (or something comparable, if not technically genocide), so it should be taken seriously. I hope it motivates more people to get informed and active on this issue. Especially causes like BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions), which is one of the few things that seems to provoke a really panicked reaction from the Israel lobby (they really brought out the big guns re the Olympia and Park Slope Coop’s votes on BDS).

But for all the outrage over the worst Israeli actions, I usually see very little attention to the deeper, long-running roots this has in American politics, which is one of the main arenas where people reading this can act. Case in point, Sheldon Adelson’s funding of Republican candidates and causes, often mentioned in campaign coverage, but almost no attention was given to what his top issues are (Israel is definitely one of them: $140 million to Birthright Israel, top donor to Freedom’s Watch).

It seems like Israeli aggression still fails to make it as a serious progressive cause in the US, and there seems to be at best a belated, slowly-dawning awareness that Israel is THE main factor in whether the US will get into a war with Iran. And the very same people who protest that terms like “Israel lobby” and “apartheid” are divisive are also the first ones to act like the Israel lobby really is all-powerful, and funding for Israel is inevitably a third rail that no US politician will ever be able to talk about, and boycotting or divesting from Israel is going to bring black helicoptersdrone strikes down on our heads.

The die-hard Israel-firsters are already rooting for the Republicans, and they’ve already had their sights set on Iran for a long time. It’s high time Israeli aggression was taken up as a core progressive cause, as essential and central to the anti-war movement.

24

J. Otto Pohl 11.19.12 at 3:06 pm

12

I think the arguments of moral conduct by the Israelis have always been largely aimed at outsiders particularly the gullible masses in the US. Among themselves I do not think there has ever been much disagreement that Jews were racially superior to Arabs and therefore had the right to take all their land by any means. It was only what was the best means to ensure a permanent Jewish majority in the largest part of Palestine possible that was an issue of debate. Some more realistic Israelis argued they would be better off wanting a smaller chunk say 78% of Palestine rather than a larger chunk like 90%. But, almost none of them ever thought that Arabs should have equal rights with Jews on the land of Palestine. People like Ilan Pappe live in exile for a reason.

25

Joshua W. Burton 11.19.12 at 3:10 pm

Phil @14:

If you assume that Israel ultimately wants to annex the occupied territories but doesn’t want any of the people who currently live there, and doesn’t feel any obligation in the mean time to keep those people housed, fed or alive, the current campaign suddenly makes perfect sense; indeed, why not go in harder and get the whole thing over quicker?

A implies C (which doesn’t resemble B). Thus, “if you assume A, then B suddenly makes perfect sense; indeed, why not C?”

By a less sensational but more plausible chain of inference, if I observe “not C” (Israel, since the 2005 withdrawal, has not gone in harder and gotten the whole thing over quicker), but rather B (Israel, like most democracies in crisis, is flailing between various half-measures of dubious efficacy and dubious morality), I can use “A implies C” to infer “not A” (Israel probably didn’t leave Gaza as a deliberate move to annex it). Since democracies have trouble maintaining dark conspiracies out of the open press, we can check our work by reading a random sampling of less rancid Jerusalem Post (or, for even better balance, HaAretz) articles from the last seven years, with the conclusion that “not A” is a highly plausible working hypothesis.

26

Glen Tomkins 11.19.12 at 3:11 pm

@19,

Isn’t there an election coming up? Israel will soon get a chance to tell us whether or not it approves of what the current sdministration is doing. Unless the timing here is purely coincidental, it would seem that the administration is confident that it is as one with the nation on this.

27

J. Otto Pohl 11.19.12 at 3:12 pm

23

Kaveh:

Palestine is not a progressive cause. Self described ‘progressives’ and even ‘Marxists” like Watson Ladd in the US have historically been pro-Israel. All of the “progressive” Democrats in the US Senate and House are just as pro-Likud as Romney or any Republican. The chances of Obama or the Congressional Democrats turning against Israel in any way in the next four years is null. I am the only US citizen with a PhD I know who supports BDS and I am definitely an extreme right winger compared to most US academics.

28

Kaveh 11.19.12 at 3:18 pm

Katherine @16: That’s not 11-dimensional chess at all, it’s not even complicated 2-D chess. Clearly the rocket attacks in response was something the Israelis factored into their decision to assassinate Hamas chiefs at that point. They could have evacuated and relocated Sderot a long, long time ago if saving Israeli lives was as important to them as irredentism. More significant is that the assassinated Hamas military chief, Jabari, was in the process of reviewing a very meaningful ceasefire agreement, which he had just received a copy of the morning he was killed.

Torquil: Although what a man who belongs to party that is foundationally committed to killing Jews might mean by ‘peace’ could keep us occupied for a while.

And Likud’s party platform says that Israel should never recognize a Palestinian state with control over its own military and borders–that is, a Palestinian state with meaningful sovereignty. So what does it mean about Israel that they keep voting in a party that is foundationally committed to killing Palestinians? Or maybe these positions aren’t immutable, essential aspects of Palestinian/Israeli national character, and a long-term ceasefire is meaningful even beyond lives saved in the short term?

29

Glen Tomkins 11.19.12 at 3:20 pm

@17,

Let me pose two questions:

1) Is it possible to believe that a Palestine that doesn’t renounce the destruction of the state of Israel should not be allowed to exist, without believing that that means that all Palestinians need to be eliminated or driven into exile?

2) Is it possible to believe that the state of Israel, a Jewish state, should not be allowed to exist, without believing that this means that the Jews must be killed or driven into exile?

You seem to have decided the second question already, and in the negative. Where do you stand on the first?

30

Kaveh 11.19.12 at 3:24 pm

@27 If Israel & Palestine isn’t a progressive cause, then stopping war with Iran isn’t a progressive cause. Period. Might as well rethink the whole anti-war thing. And c’mon, man, using Watson as *any* kind of example of a Marxist…?

31

MPAVictoria 11.19.12 at 3:32 pm

“And c’mon, man, using Watson as *any* kind of example of a Marxist…?”

The only thing Watson is an example of is crazy. I actually have come to suspect he might be a troll playing a VERY long con.

32

Katherine 11.19.12 at 3:32 pm

That’s not 11-dimensional chess at all, it’s not even complicated 2-D chess. Clearly the rocket attacks in response was something the Israelis factored into their decision to assassinate Hamas chiefs at that point.

I didn’t say “factored into”, I said “intended”.

And if they intended to provoke rocket sttacks, then what? If they’ve thought much further than that, then you’re adding dimensions of potential consequences that most people aren’t capable of conceiving and calculating, except in fiction (a la Ozymandias in The Watchmen). Or you haven’t thought any further. So, hubris or stupidity.

33

LFC 11.19.12 at 3:37 pm

J Otto Pohl @27:
I am the only US citizen with a PhD I know who supports BDS

Look at this A. Gilbert post, J. Otto. Just for starters. Maybe you expand your sample beyond N=1.

34

LFC 11.19.12 at 3:38 pm

correction: “should expand your sample”

35

rf 11.19.12 at 3:38 pm

“Although what a man who belongs to party that is foundationally committed to killing Jews might mean by ‘peace’ could keep us occupied for a while.”

Israel (or more specifically Israeli admins) have had little problem working with Hamas when it’s suited them. Even more specifically they’ve had little trouble working with Jabari himself. (Such as during Gilad Shalits release)

36

Joshua W. Burton 11.19.12 at 3:39 pm

Glen Tomkins @29:

1) Is it possible to believe that a Palestine that doesn’t renounce the destruction of the state of Israel should not be allowed to exist, without believing that that means that all Palestinians need to be eliminated or driven into exile?

2) Is it possible to believe that the state of Israel, a Jewish state, should not be allowed to exist, without believing that this means that the Jews must be killed or driven into exile?

Demonstrably yes, to both. Indeed, anyone who believes either negation is effectively professing a belief that the years 1948-2012 (and counting) in which (1a) and (2a) were respective consensus positions and (1b) and (2b) respective unhinged fantasies, did not happen. To paraphrase O’Brien in Nineteen Eighty-Four: Who misunderstands the present, disbelieves the past. Who disbelieves the past, belies the future.

37

Kaveh 11.19.12 at 3:41 pm

Katherine: I think they’re trying to sustain a situation of constant low-level violent conflict so they can continue colonizing the West Bank without engendering too much expectation that they make progress in negotiations on core issues like the refugees and final status of the W Bank territory. Also domestic theater–starting a small-scale war that will have very few Israeli casualties, that will allow life as usual to continue for the vast majority of Israelis, but make them feel threatened enough to rally around the flag come election time. Provoking Hamas rocket attacks is an integral part of this.

IMO none of this is hard to explain/understand, what’s harder to make sense of is Hamas’ playing into it, but they are actually under siege (to use the term Israelis sometimes use to describe their own situation)–an actual siege, with bombs and food shortages and no freedom of movement and everything. So maybe the ‘people under siege do desperate things’ is really a good explanation in their case.

38

rf 11.19.12 at 3:58 pm

“what’s harder to make sense of is Hamas’ playing into it”

Most rockets tend not to come from Hamas but other factions in Gaza. It’s very difficult to crack down on these factions due to politics in Gaza. Afaik there have been numerous signs that Hamas are serious about some sort ‘peace deal’ and have shown they are able to crack down on rocket attacks when they have to

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-kanwisher/reigniting-violence-how-d_b_155611.html

But there’s no real deal from the Israelis

“I actually have come to suspect he might be a troll playing a VERY long con.”

Surely the most pointless long con in history!

39

JW Mason 11.19.12 at 4:16 pm

Thanks for this post, Chris. I don’t have anything to add to it, but I’m glad it’s here.

40

Katherine 11.19.12 at 4:18 pm

I think they’re trying to

“Trying to” – so you do think they intended to provoke Hamas in order to retaliate? There’s me thinking I was a conspiracy theorist if I entertained the possibility.

And if people think they can accurately predict, let alone control, the outcome of a “small-scale war” in one of the most volatile regions of the world, involving multiple, aggrieved players, entrenched political positions, international attention and involvement, nuclear weapons, possibly-wannabe nuclear powers, and religious and ethnic divides, then – yep, I’m still going with hubris or stupidity.

41

GiT 11.19.12 at 4:21 pm

I always hear how Hamas is dedicated to killing all the Jews. Looking at their platform, I can see how one might get the impression, but what actually seems to be going on is a return to a vaguely Ottoman state of affairs. This requires a de facto state of war with Israel until it no longer exists as a political entity, it would seem, because the aim is continuous Islamic control over the Arab world. Of course, Israeli’s probably don’t wish to live under a new pseudo-Caliphate, but, well, Palestinians don’t want to live under the Jewish state of Israel, so there’s a bit of symmetry there.

A quote:

“Under the shadow of Islam it is possible for the members of the three religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism to coexist in safety and security. Safety and security can only prevail under the shadow of Islam, and recent and ancient history is the best witness to that effect. The members of other religions must desist from struggling against Islam over sovereignty in this region. For if they were to gain the upper hand, fighting, torture and uprooting would follow; they would be fed up with each other, to say nothing of members of other religions. The past and the present are full of evidence to that effect.”

In any case, there’s little right with tragedy.

42

Torquil Macneil 11.19.12 at 4:29 pm

“So what does it mean about Israel that they keep voting in a party that is foundationally committed to killing Palestinians? Or maybe these positions aren’t immutable, essential aspects of Palestinian/Israeli national character, and a long-term ceasefire is meaningful even beyond lives saved in the short term?”

I don’t think it has anything to do with ‘national character’ and Likud, whatever you may think of it, does not have a constitution that requires them to murder Palestinians. Hamas is founded on the the intention to murder Jews, that is what Hamas is, primarily for. I know that many people think it is rude of Jews and others to keep mentioning it, another example of that famous Jewish oversenstivity, perhaps, but there it is.

43

Chris Bertram 11.19.12 at 4:41 pm

Whatever is in Hamas’s constitution, Torquil, it doesn’t makes the policy advocated by Gilad Sharon any less repellent, does it? So cut the whatabouttery please.

44

Marc 11.19.12 at 4:50 pm

A better question for me is whether it’s possible to break the grip of the hard right on Israeli politics. The formerly strong Israeli left seems utterly powerless; the deliberate escalation with Hamas is just another step on the long march. Any peace deal will require drastic changes in Israeli domestic politics, in a sense opposite to current trends. Does anyone have any insight into why, and is there any hope for the future?

45

Joshua W. Burton 11.19.12 at 4:58 pm

Or, at the very least, please target the whatabouttery northward, to a country where a thousand people a week are dying while we all pay solemn attention to Gilad freaking Sharon.

46

Phil 11.19.12 at 5:11 pm

To be clear, I don’t think the eliminationism of Gilad Sharon’s article is any more than a “Judeo-Nazi” brainfart (I’m taking that adj. from one of Amos Oz’s interviewees in In the land of Israel). But I do think that successive Israeli governments have locked themselves into a policy of creeping annexation of the Occupied Territories, with occasional backward and sideways steps to accommodate international opinion and occasional forward lunges to look tough for the voters (since, as governments everywhere know, the voters love it when you look tough). While that’s been going on, the taken-for-granted background levels of violence and illegality have crept up to a point where looking tough means taking really extreme measures – and those measures, in turn, simply don’t make sense in rational IR terms.

47

Kaveh 11.19.12 at 5:11 pm

Catherine @40: I don’t see what’s conspiracy-theory about this at all. This is surely not a complicated by the standards of what politicians cook up on a regular basis. Wasn’t it Bush who said “bring it!” to “the terrorists” in Iraq? And the 3 possibilities of hubris, stupidity, and a clear plan to maintain a low-level & manageable conflict, are not mutually exclusive.

Torquil @42: I was of course being facetious about “national character” &c. You don’t have the evidence to fully substantiate your claim that Hamas exists explicitly for the purpose of killing Jews. And yes, you could be oversensitive, people who identify to some extent with a community that is engaged in a major struggle to oppress or displace another people are often oversensitive to violence or threats against the oppressors by the oppressed. They bleed if you cut them &c. &c. and they have been getting cut by Zionism at least since 1947, so what do you expect them to do?

48

El Cid 11.19.12 at 5:30 pm

As long as we bear in mind that when such military operations are over, Israeli civilians will be safer, because that’s what they tell us this is all about, so obviously they must be correct, because otherwise they wouldn’t do anything like this.

49

LFC 11.19.12 at 5:42 pm

Phil @14 mentions Mearsheimer’s LRB post. M’s bottom line there is that Israel should just “give” the Palestinians “a viable state” (he puts it in those terms). As if it’s as simple as: get the two sides together, Abbas presents his demands, Israel accepts them, the two-state solution comes into existence. Even in the best case, it won’t happen that way; each side will have to give up some things. Each side will have to settle for something a bit different than its original negotiating position.

And it could be argued that one problem in the past is that the Palestinian leadership has held out for more than “a viable state” — i.e. they have been unwilling to make some fairly minor territorial adjustments to their original negotiating position. At least this is basically my impression of what happened in 2000, when Arafat rejected what was on offer from Israel at the Camp David mtgs hosted by Clinton. Since that failure, things have pretty much gone downhill. Of course Israel should have taken a different line since 2000, but the failure of that whole effort really hurt the political position of the pro-peace forces in Israel, or such is my impression. Mearsheimer mentions none of this — his history extends back only to the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war.

M. also doesn’t mention the Hamas-Fatah split; he treats the Palestinians basically as united. But if anything, Palestinian opinion is just as divided as Israeli opinion (again, an impression).

I don’t follow all this v. closely and am not an expert on the Middle East, but then neither is Mearsheimer (he is an IR theorist and security-studies scholar, not a Middle East expert; the fact that he co-authored a bk on the Israel lobby doesn’t change that).

50

Turbulence 11.19.12 at 5:49 pm

they have been unwilling to make some fairly minor territorial adjustments to their original negotiating position. At least this is basically my impression of what happened in 2000, when Arafat rejected what was on offer from Israel at the Camp David mtgs hosted by Clinton.

I don’t believe Israel made any serious offers at those meetings. So far as I know, Israeli negotiators never produced a written offer and presented it to Palestinians. Given that you can’t buy a cup of coffee in this country without getting an itemized piece of paper, it seems unlikely that a serious offer was made without any written artefact. Or perhaps Israeli negotiators simply thought their offers had less value than a cup of coffee.

51

Joshua W. Burton 11.19.12 at 5:51 pm

Phil @46:

To be clear, I don’t think the eliminationism of Gilad Sharon’s article is any more than a “Judeo-Nazi” brainfart (I’m taking that adj. from one of Amos Oz’s interviewees in In the land of Israel).

Fair enough. But in this case there’s not much chance of a fruitful discussion about the mess Israeli governments have locked themselves into, nor about the prospects of dealing with it by democratic means, in a thread that starts from the hypothesis that Gilad Sharon’s views are more influential and more revealing of the Israeli dialogue than Amos Oz’s.

On the other hand, fruitless discussions are always fun, and may help us forget about Syria, where real monsters with real power are really, deliberately targeting Arab civilians as a matter of conscious policy even as we pose.

52

Ed 11.19.12 at 6:02 pm

In addition to the brutality, its particularly stupid for Israel to be conducting military operations in Gaza. Gaza and the West Bank tend to get lumped together, but there are significant differences. Gaza doesn’t sit on a watershed. It was never part of the ancient kings of Judah and Samaria (actually it was where the Philistines were based). Only two settlements were constructed there, which I think were dismantled.

Gaza is basically an impoverished Arab city that the Israeli military happened to wind up in control of after defeating Egypt in 1967. Its strategically and historically unimportant to the Israelis. The smart Israeli policy would be to try to off-load Gaza on anyone willing to take it, like the Florida Marlins do periodically with their high-salaried players. Its mind-boggling that they didn’t make it a condition in the 1970s that the Egyptians took it back in exchange for resettling the Sinai. Dealing with an occupied West Bank only is much more manageable from every perspective.

This is really just brutality for the sake of brutality. In order to engage in it, the Israelis are weakening their strategic position.

On J. Otto Pohl’s comments, I’ve noticed that the least pro-Israeli or the most pro-Palestinian corner of the blogosphere is the paleocon part. But its become increasingly difficult to tell who is on which side in particular political disputes.

53

Chris Bertram 11.19.12 at 6:03 pm

Joshua: no-one is forgetting about Syria. But the Syrian government’s actions are not excused by the President of the United States and the British Foreign Secretary, nor are Assad’s murders routinely given a sympathetic gloss by the Western media. Moreover, there is reason to be hopeful that Assad will be overthrown soon, the killing will stop, and normal people will get on with normal lives again. As far as I can see, regular “grass cuttings” in Gaza will continue indefinitely, along with the excuses and the whatabouts.

54

Joshua W. Burton 11.19.12 at 6:10 pm

Turbulence @50:

I don’t believe Israel made any serious offers at those meetings.

Too many loaded words (“believe”, “Israel”, “serious”, “at”) to unconditionally help every conceivable doubter here. But many would so characterize, and have so characterized, the final Taba map.

55

LFC 11.19.12 at 6:16 pm

Turbulence @50
You may be right; I don’t know. I’m sure there are conflicting accounts of exactly what happened.

56

Joshua W. Burton 11.19.12 at 6:21 pm

Chris @53:

As far as I can see, regular “grass cuttings” in Gaza will continue indefinitely, along with the excuses and the whatabouts.

And, at that rate, will match the Jan-Oct 2012 Syrian butcher’s bill in about a century. Just saying; no disagreement about your substantive point — though I do consider the Post article a particularly flimsy and disingenous springboard from which to make it, unless you were genuinely ignorant of the author’s backstory.

(By the way, please donate to B’Tselem; they do a lot more than just keep depressing statistics. Think Amnesty International, but without the blood libels.)

57

Bloix 11.19.12 at 6:24 pm

#15 – “The missile barrages were of course a completely predicatable response to the assassination by air of the Hamas defense minister, who was reported to be seeking peace talks.”

The current round of missile barrages began on Nov 10, four days before Jabari’s assassination. After two days, Hamas declared a willingness to engage in a short-term truce, but rockets continued to be fired.

You can argue that the possibility of a truce was destroyed by the assassination. But unless believe in time travel, you can’t argue that it caused the missile barrages. To the contrary, it seems fairly clear that Netanyahu decided that the missile barrages were an intentional provocation that required a deliberately brutal response, and the assassination of Jabari was it.

To understand what is going on, you have to recognize that Israel is on the eve of an election and Hamas wants Netanyahu to be re-elected. They don’t want an Israeli government that might make peace with Mahmoud Abbas on the West Bank and leave them alone and discredited. They want unrest on the West Bank, and the best way for them to encourage that is to provoke Israel to strike hard at Gaza. Their problem is that they have difficulty modulating the provocation so that they guarantee Netanyahu’s re-election without bringing too much damage to Gaza.

Netanyahu doesn’t mind fighting Hamas either, as it assures his reelection. But he can’t permit missiles to land on Tel Aviv. The outlook of the ordinary Tel Aviv resident is that the government can have a free rein in its relations with the Palestinians as long as Tel Aviv is not affected. Tel Avivans will pay high taxes and live in closet-sized apartments and serve long reserve duty terms, but if they do all this and still missiles hit their homes, they will vote out the government.

So, once Hamas decided to show off its new ability to hit Tel Aviv, Netanyahu had no politically viable option other than to root out Hamas’s missile capability. And because the Hamas military infrastructure and weaponry are much improved since 2008-2009, any serious effort to prevent missile attacks on Tel Aviv will be necessarily be more brutal than the last Gaza crisis. By firing on Tel Aviv, Hamas has provoked a response that is most likely more than they intended.

This is pretty much what could have been predicted – what I predicted, actually – would happen when Palestinians voted for Hamas in the parliamentary elections of 2006 and Hamas then defeated Fatah militarily and pushed it out of Gaza in 2007. The Gazans democratically chose a state of war with Israel. That’s what they now have. They may actually be winning it, in fact. They understood perfectly well that a lot of them would die in the process, and that’s what they voted for.

The ferociously angry Israeli rhetoric you are reading in the Jerusalem Post and elsewhere is the result of a recognition that Hamas is pulling Israel’s strings, just as in 2008-2009. Israel is being manipulated into a costly invasion of Gaza which will do nothing but kill a lot of people, damage Israel’s international standing, and lead to a temporary truce to be followed by another unsatisfactory war at a time of Hamas’s choosing. They understand perfectly well that their superb military can’t protect them against a ragtag militia armed with bottle rockets, and it’s driving them nuts.

58

Turbulence 11.19.12 at 6:31 pm

Joshua W. Burton @54
Too many loaded words (“believe”, “Israel”, “serious”, “at”) to unconditionally help every conceivable doubter here. But many would so characterize, and have so characterized, the final Taba map.

LFC was explicitly talking about Camp David not Taba, so Taba is irrelevant to our comments. Moreover, no one believed that the outgoing Israeli government could find enough support to accept whatever came out of Taba, so Taba was a joke. What do you call negotiating that you know for certain the Knesset will reject?

LFC@55
You may be right; I don’t know. I’m sure there are conflicting accounts of exactly what happened.

That’s the point of looking at evidence though. Of course accounts differ, but as far as I know, no one can point to a written offer that the Palestinians rejected. If even the most rabid Israeli partisans can’t point to such a thing, there’s no reason to believe that it existed.

59

Brett 11.19.12 at 6:39 pm

@Chris Bertram

And there seem to be a lot of “surgical strikes”. You know, the ones that magically discriminate between the innocent and the guilty in urban area, except when they don’t.

Precision warfare has always been over-sold. To be sure, it is a major improvement over the previous way of aerial bombing, which was horribly inaccurate (hence why you’d end up devastating entire cities to wipe out military and industrial facilities). But an accuracy of, say, 83%, means that 17% of the time your bomb is going to hit something else.

@Chris Bertram

As far as I can see, regular “grass cuttings” in Gaza will continue indefinitely, along with the excuses and the whatabouts.

That’s because they are these “little”, piddling conflicts that kills a few hundred or thousand people and cause a ton of property damage each time. It doesn’t lend itself to any type of resolution – it just generates a shit-ton of aggression and ill-will that ultimately fuels the next round of conflicts. You either need genuine negotiations leading to peace, or you need a far harsher conflict until one or both sides is so exhausted that the will to fight is gone, and they’re genuinely willing to make peace.

60

Daryl McCullough 11.19.12 at 6:47 pm

I think what Obama says is right, with an amendment: No country on Earth would tolerate missiles raining on their citizens if it is politically and militarily feasible to do something about it.

61

Joshua W. Burton 11.19.12 at 6:54 pm

LFC was explicitly talking about Camp David not Taba, so Taba is irrelevant to our comments.

So much the worse for your comments. Peace isn’t a game; you follow the negotiations wherever they lead, even into extended overtime.

Moreover, no one believed that the outgoing Israeli government could find enough support to accept whatever came out of Taba, so Taba was a joke. What do you call negotiating that you know for certain the Knesset will reject?

Seizing history. Had Arafat publicly accepted, the Knesset would have been overtaken by events; any parliamentary assembly knows, better than a strong leader, that when people want peace you get out of the way.

Are we really still rehashing this, twelve years later? Can’t we find someone in the Israeli peace camp to peel off the center and indict for war crimes or something, instead? That’s sure to work.

62

Joshua W. Burton 11.19.12 at 7:05 pm

Also, if Taba was a joke and a Likudnik Knesset could never support it, why does the Likud security fence (apartheid wall, separation barrier, big gray mural of hope — suit yourself) unilaterally follow the Taba line? And why did the Israeli Supreme Court strike down an attempt to push it past that line and grab highway 443?

63

Joshua W. Burton 11.19.12 at 7:14 pm

Chris @53:

Moreover, there is reason to be hopeful that Assad will be overthrown soon, the killing will stop, and normal people will get on with normal lives again.

Sorry, don’t mean to wallow, but I want this particular remark highlighted with a durable URL, so I can point back grimly to it at some particularly bleak moment in the coming genocide of the Syrian Alawite minority. Not that it will bring me any solace to do so; please let me be wrong.

64

J. Otto Pohl 11.19.12 at 7:36 pm

30

Kaveh most self described progressives in the US have been pro-Israel and many still are especially those elected to office as Democrats. The only US presidents to stand up to Israel were Eisenhower and the first Bush. The liberal LBJ and Obama have given unconditional support to Israel. Watson’s position on Palestine is not much different than what every self described leftist I met in college (1988-1992) thought. They were all to a man anti-South African, pro-Sandinista, anti-Reagan, and extremely pro-Israel. Today the AAUP officially opposes BDS because they claim it violates “academic freedom.” “Progressives” like Claire Potter “The Tenured Radical” even actively spread lies about BDS. So yes Palestine is not a progressive cause. If you think it is let me know when the liberal democratic “progressive” congressional delegations from California and NY support sanctions against Israel. I won’t hold my breath.

65

Omega Centauri 11.19.12 at 7:47 pm

Bliox @57. Interesting. I have to admit I wasn’t paying attention pre-Jabari assassination. So who is pushing whose buttons here. Of course it leaves the US taking a position that is increasingly unacceptable to most of the rest of the world. It wouldn’t be unprecedented for a beleagured people with no real hope, to opt to sacrifice some of their lives for a chance to change the situation.

66

Z 11.19.12 at 8:10 pm

That’s the point of looking at evidence though. Of course accounts differ, but as far as I know, no one can point to a written offer that the Palestinians rejected

This is correct as far as I know.

67

Joshua W. Burton 11.19.12 at 8:16 pm

J. Otto Pohl @64:

So yes Palestine is not a progressive cause.

More precisely, sanctions against Israel are not a mainstream progressive cause. However, there are many forms of humane progress to seek in Palestine. Substantial pressure toward finally criminalizing honor killings (up to two thirds of violent death in WB and Gaza, according to UNICEF) is being applied right now by progressive NGOs in the Middle East and abroad. Again, B’Tselem is an organization doing good work that transcends entrenched political lines.

68

Donald Johnson 11.19.12 at 8:22 pm

“Think Amnesty International, but without the blood libels.”

Oh brother.

69

Donald Johnson 11.19.12 at 8:34 pm

On Camp David and Taba, Shlomo Ben Ami and Norman Finkelstein had an interesting discussion on “Democracy Now” several years ago–

link

The people in Israel chose that lovable fellow Sharon to guide them.

As for the security fence following the Taba line, first time I ever heard that. If true, maybe Taba was overrated. On honor killing comparison, that’s like asking why people made such a big deal of 9/11, given that so many more Americans were killed by fellow Americans that year. The last time Israel cut loose in Gaza they killed 1400 in three weeks, which if extended for a year would give one Syrian-level killing (not that I know where the Syrian numbers come from–nobody seems to care about exact figures when the enemy is responsible.) They killed 20,000 in three months in Lebanon in 1982. But I don’t expect the death toll in the I/P conflict to match that sort of thing again, because Israel can achieve its objectives with smaller levels of mayhem. If the Palestinians actually had a chance of overthrowing the government of Israel then things would get really bloody.

70

Joshua W. Burton 11.19.12 at 8:39 pm

Of course accounts differ, but as far as I know, no one can point to a written offer that the Palestinians rejected.

Funny that. Almost as if negotiation were a delicate dance where public written proposals tell us more about the bluster than about the deal on the table.

Fortunately, we have a retrospective account, with maps, from someone who was at the table. Of course, it’s possible that Dennis Ross is lying, but that pretty much necessarily implies that what happened at Camp David weren’t honestly brokered final status talks at all, in which case the maps hardly matter.

71

poco 11.19.12 at 8:51 pm

I am with Z @3. Thank you for posting this. Beyond tired of silence or worse at a number of progressive sites.

72

Joshua W. Burton 11.19.12 at 8:54 pm

Oh brother.

Amnesty member, since 1979. Since Durban, they get hai (US$18) from us every year, and a lecture each time they call to ask for more. I keep a textfile of new incidents handy, so the lecture doesn’t get repetitive. Would be happy to share, but the obvious Google searches will get you there. Not really on topic anyway; I apologize for the rimshot.

73

Donald Johnson 11.19.12 at 9:06 pm

I did some googling and the first few links were uninteresting. A Finnish Amnesty International called Israel a “scum state”. Stupid, but not worse. I’ve seen that term “blood libel” and accusations of anti-semitism used so much about human rights organizations (including a stupid and dishonest piece by David Bernstein attacking Human Rights Watch, which he helped found) that when I see the term used about human rights organizations without evidence I usually assume it’s more of the same.

On Dennis Ross, he’s not exactly an unbiased source–the very fact that there are multiple maps (indicated at your own link) floating around means that it’s one person’s word against another’s. I could link to other sources giving maps of what was offered at Camp David, but won’t bother.

74

Donald Johnson 11.19.12 at 9:12 pm

“Stupid, but not worse.”

I’ll take that back. If he would only use it about Israel, it was anti-semitic. If he uses similarly strong language about other violators, then it’s just stupid.

I tend to use words like “scum” myself in talking about governments, but would try to control my tongue if I were some sort of human rights official.

75

DRR7 11.19.12 at 9:29 pm

So what is the appropriate response when missiles are being fired at your country?

76

Malaclypse 11.19.12 at 9:41 pm

So what is the appropriate response when missiles are being fired at your country?

Repeating the same solution that has failed to work dozens of times in the past, obviously.

77

Jim Demintia 11.19.12 at 9:41 pm

Those missiles aren’t being fired in a vacuum. Israel has been keeping Gaza under siege since 2006. The blockade prevents badly needed medical supplies from being imported, as well as making it impossible for Gazans to have a normally developing economy. As many as 10 percent of children there under five are malnourished and many have access only to contaminated drinking water as a result of the blockade and operation cast lead. ( http://www.ibtimes.com/israels-blockade-gaza-puts-palestinian-childrens-health-risk-report-702821 ). Lest you think that this is simply an unfortunate consequence of Hamas intransigence, Olmert himself described this policy as “putting Gaza on a diet.” In this unfolding context, Israel assassinates the leader trying to negotiate a cease fire. Does this really sound like Israel is just responding to unprovoked attacks to you?

78

Tom Hurka 11.19.12 at 9:49 pm

Chris:

About the charge of inconsistency against Obama in the OP:

The missiles from Gaza are aimed at civilians, the drone attacks in Pakistan are not: they’re aimed at militants and kill civilians, when they do, collaterally.

You may not think that’s an important distinction, but international law does. The drone attacks may cause disproportionate harm to civilians and be immoral and illegal on that ground, and the main charge against IDF activities in Gaza and elsewhere is likewise that they’ve been disproportionate. But the missile attacks violate the different and on most views more stringent condition of discrimination, i.e. the condition forbidding attacks aimed at civilians.

Does a morally worse violation license a more violent or more harmful response? That’s not clear if the numbers killed by the two violations are the same. But I think you’re wrong to say there’s no difference between the Gaza and Pakistan cases: there is, in the kind of wrong the missile/drone attacks are committing.

79

nemerinys 11.19.12 at 9:58 pm

I believe
this
to be one of the best blog posts on the subject of Israel, appropriate as always when it pursues its typical pre-election excursions.

80

Sharif 11.19.12 at 10:09 pm

Bloix’s analysis @57, whereby the current situation Gaza is (more or less) as Hamas planned it, is frankly bizarre.

For one thing, he admits that Jabari, on behalf of Hamas, was attempting to get a truce agreement signed with Israel, the day before he was killed. Or at least, Bloix doesn’t question that fact . But then he goes on to say that Hamas wanted Israel to “strike hard”. Those two facts won’t fit without adding more complexity to an already convoluted case.

A lot more is wrong-headed about Bloix’s post but I don’t have the time. Suffice it to say that his starting point – that Hamas attempted to provoke Israel’s bombing response, by firing rockets first – isn’t supported by the facts:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/11/who-started-the-israel-gaza-conflict/265374/

81

Shay Begorrah 11.19.12 at 10:09 pm

@Joshua W Burton

Israel, like most democracies in crisis, is flailing between various
half-measures of dubious efficacy and dubious morality

That is remarkably self absorbed (though “half measures” is an interesting turn of phrase).

When the BDM movement is as mainstream a progressive cause as you can get, comprised unsurprisingly out of the exact same set of people with the same set of motivations as those who advocated the same policies against apartheid South Africa. It is in no way a radical cause, and the lack of movement on sanctions is because sanctions are hard and in the US Israel has an extraordinary capable agent. Back in the day South Africa was against the communists you know (the Muslims of yesteryear), so sanctions would not have been fair.

A digression:

I had the unpleasant experience of visiting the West Bank several years ago on a peace tour and the banality of evil was on full show in every torturous route Palestinians had to take to a neighbouring village, the swaggering heavily armed settlers intimidating locals and in the visibly scrawnier younger generation of Palestinian children. Avoid the issues by looking at Syria, or honour killing, or whatever other non Muslim on Muslim violence you can find but do not imagine for a second that the contempt that progressives feel for modern Israel is anything but well informed.

82

Shay Begorrah 11.19.12 at 10:15 pm

I failed to close a tag in my last post which hid a paragraph. Apologies.

@Joshua W Burton

Israel, like most democracies in crisis, is flailing between various
half-measures of dubious efficacy and dubious morality

That is remarkably self absorbed (though “half measures” is an interesting turn of phrase).

When the Remember These Children web site is updated for November 2012 it will show figures something like the following for attacks leading to the deaths of children since 2000.

http://www.rememberthesechildren.org/remember2012.html

Israeli children killed in attacks by Palestinians: 131
Palestinian children killed in attacks by Israel: 1500+

Of course factor of 11 belies the actual disproportion in suffering as far more Palestinians have been wounded and crippled over the years and the calorific intake of Israeli children has not been intentionally reduced to emaciate and stunt them. In Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s last large foray into national self-actualization through punishment bombing, around half the 1400 casualties were women and children, never mind the proportion that were civilians.

Most people would suggest that these figures requires something more than merely “morally dubious” to describe them.

More precisely, sanctions against Israel are not a mainstream progressive cause.

Outside of America the BDM movement is as mainstream a progressive cause as you can get, comprised unsurprisingly out of the exact same set of people with the same set of motivations as those who advocated the same policies against apartheid South Africa. It is in no way a radical cause, and the lack of movement on sanctions is because sanctions are hard and in the US Israel has an extraordinary capable agent. Back in the day South Africa was against the communists you know (the Muslims of yesteryear), so sanctions would not have been fair.

A digression:

I had the unpleasant experience of visiting the West Bank several years ago on a peace tour and the banality of evil was on full show in every torturous route Palestinians had to take to a neighbouring village, the swaggering heavily armed settlers intimidating locals and in the visibly scrawnier younger generation of Palestinian children. Avoid the issues by looking at Syria, or honour killing, or whatever other non Muslim on Muslim violence you can find but do not imagine for a second that the contempt that progressives feel for modern Israel is anything but well informed.

83

Chris Bertram 11.19.12 at 10:17 pm

Tom Hurka: “I think you’re wrong to say there’s no difference between the Gaza and Pakistan cases”

Since I didn’t assert there was no difference, but merely pointed to the irony of Obama’s remarks, you’re way off-base there Tom. Incidentally, the Obama-administration’s decision to categorise retrospectively any male casualty of the drone strikes as a combatant makes rather problematic some of your claims about aims. But trust away if you like Tom, others will make different judgements.

84

Kaveh 11.19.12 at 10:24 pm

I’m glad to see the subject of Gaza brought up now and again because it’s such a great way to get certain people to talk about Syria. Such heartfelt concern!

Bloix @57: If we do take your analysis as basically accurate, the obvious next question* is, what on earth is the situation of these Gazans in that they basically voted to be killed in large numbers? Why would do they place such little value on their own lives? I’m assuming it’s safe to rule out “Because they’re Arabs” and “Because they’re Muslims”, and move on to questions of what Hamas offered to Gazan voters over Fatah at the time, and then WRT the post-election rocket attacks, what it’s like living for years under total embargo…

* …or would be if we were talking about pretty much anyone other than Palestinians.

85

rf 11.19.12 at 10:31 pm

“The missiles from Gaza are aimed at civilians,”

Zero people (as far as I’ve been able to find out) have been killed by Gaza rockets in 2012, until this conflict began. That’s out of over 700 rockets (According to Shin Bet) So that statement seems debatable (At least without qualification)

86

Chaz 11.19.12 at 10:32 pm

If Barak’s Camp David proposal was so generous and so genuine, why has Israel never repeated it? If the only reason it failed was due to Arafat’s intransigence, why have they not tried with Abbas? Abbas is plainly extremely cooperative, to the extent that half his people consider him a collaborator.

Why it’s almost enough to make you think that Israel’s leaders don’t want peace after all! That Barak was just putting on a show for Bill Clinton. And that Bibi and Livni don’t even care enough to pretend.

87

Donald Johnson 11.19.12 at 10:40 pm

“So what is the appropriate response when missiles are being fired at your country?”

Apart from what Jim Demintia said in response, I’d also ask what is the appropriate response when shots are fired at your fishermen ? Even Ethan Bronner at the NYT mentioned how Israeli gunboats”strafe their waters” in a report on Saturday.

Palestinian center for human rights on israeli attacks on Palestinian fisherman

88

Joshua W. Burton 11.19.12 at 10:51 pm

If Barak’s Camp David proposal was so generous and so genuine, why has Israel never repeated it? If the only reason it failed was due to Arafat’s intransigence, why have they not tried with Abbas?

Done, and by a Likud prince, scion of the Irgun. But, obviously, the sticking point isn’t about where the lines are on the maps; it’s about what the lines mean. The line around Gaza is already in the right place, and yet here we are.

89

Sharif 11.19.12 at 10:52 pm

rf @ 85. Some precise numbers here. The relatively few civilian deaths don’t mean that deaths weren’t intended, of course.

http://mondoweiss.net/2012/11/dissecting-idf-propaganda-the-numbers-behind-the-rocket-attacks.html

90

Shay Begorrah 11.19.12 at 11:13 pm

@rf

Zero people (as far as I’ve been able to find out) have been killed by Gaza rockets in 2012, until this conflict began. That’s out of over 700 rockets (According to Shin Bet) So that statement seems debatable (At least without qualification)

As an idea of the level of threat Israelis live under Max Blumenthal tweeted that:

The Jerusalem Post planning to run a feature on pets frightened by Gaza escalation: pic.twitter.com/ObUTl2Mv #thehorror

On a related note Israel is a country operating under military censorship and that means that attacks that hit military targets will not be reported (understandably) so coverage of attacks from Gaza is restricted to those that are aimed at or hit civilian targets or those that cause injuries to military personnel while on patrol. Were Islamic Jihad to land a few rockets on an airbase there would be no coverage.

91

retief 11.19.12 at 11:15 pm

#finalsolution

92

nick s 11.19.12 at 11:44 pm

I predict a victory for the Hamas-Likud coalition in the forthcoming elections.

93

Bloix 11.19.12 at 11:44 pm

Whatever your views, the equation in the original post of Israelis and Nazis, which is seconded by the comment mentioning Lidice and apparently by retief as well, is to say the least not constructive.

The comparison of Israelis with Nazis has for decades been a staple of anti-Semitic propaganda, used to justify eliminationist rhetoric, typically from Arab countries but also from far left terrorist organizations (e.g. Baader Meinhoff) as well. Everyone knows what it means – it means that killing Israelis is morally justified, just as killing Nazis was justified. If you are trying to cut off open discussion, it’s a a great way to to do it.

And of course, it’s not merely grotesquely offensive. It’s ridiculous.

In 1939 Poland, there were 3.3 million Jews. In 1945 Poland, there were 45,000. Over three million people in half a decade. That is what Endlösung means.

When Israel conquered Gaza from Egypt in 1967, there were 289,000 Palestinians living there. Today there are 1.7 million, with an average life expectancy of 74 years and a population growth rate of 3.4%. If the Israelis are trying for a Final Solution, they are the most incompetent mass murderers in the history of the world.

Whatever you may think of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians, the notion that they are genocidaires is a rejection of reality. Anyone who implies an equivalence of Israelis and Nazis is not arguing in good faith.

94

Shay Begorrah 11.20.12 at 12:03 am

@Bloix

Whatever your views, the equation in the original post of Israelis and Nazis, which is seconded by the comment mentioning Lidice and apparently by retief as well, is to say the least not constructive.

Israel is entirely happy to cast its neo-colonial behaviour as some sort of time-shifted defence against the rise of Hitler (particularly clear when it comes to Iran) and its a useful satirical weapon to highlight the unsettling similarities between the two historically linked theories of ethnic destiny.

I do not find it so far fetched either, Israel has around 200 nuclear weapons and an extreme history of aggression. A cluster of nukes on Tehran would be a Holocaust worth of death, though of course far more humane.

95

Chaz 11.20.12 at 12:12 am

Bloix, just shut up. The dude said they should flatten Gaza. Living Palestinians are not flat. He is just like a Nazi.

Nazi Nazi Nazi, neener neener neener. Just shut up.

96

Bloix 11.20.12 at 12:14 am

#84 – Kaveh, what induced them to vote for Hamas was that they want a Palestinian state in all of mandatory Palestine and they see war as the best way to get it. I’m not condemning them for that. It’s a reasonable goal. It’s just that if you choose war, you are likely to get killed. That doesn’t mean that the people who are killing you are justified in doing so.

The problem for Gaza, unlike the West Bank, is that it’s entirely unworkable as an independent entity or even as part of a two-state solution. It’s tiny – only 16 square miles of sand, with no resources,, no hinterland, little water, and meager agricultural land. With 280,000 people, Gaza could perhaps have developed. With 1.7 million, it’s hopeless except as part of a larger entity.

If there is ever a two-state solution, the result will likely be a cold peace. In that sort of situation, Gaza will be an impoverished rump. It’s only realistic hope for economic development and genuine autonomy is a Palestinian state in all of mandatory Palestine, where it could thrive as a major port. It can’t thrive as an adjunct to Israel, with the main part of a Palestinian state on the other side.

So it needs to make sure that no two-state solution is reached. If Israel can be defeated and a Palestinian state in all of mandatory Palestine established (including expulsion of the Jews, which presumably people who call them Nazis would not object to), Gaza will have an economic role to play and its peopel will be able to move freely about all of mandatory Palestine. That’s the long range goal, and it’s not an absurd one by any means.

97

Sebastian H 11.20.12 at 12:20 am

If the Israelis really were comparable to the Nazis, the Palestinians would all be dead already.

I find it deeply weird that anyone can look at the situation with anything other than unmitigated despair and then feel they can strongly support any of the various sides. I don’t know how we ever get to anything remotely like a just outcome. Or even one that we can expect people to live with. You really can’t expect people to live under the threat of continual danger, with their lives seemingly detested by people who want to kill them without expecting them to fight back. And you can’t expect people to stand by and let people who want to kill them grow more powerful if such people have any chance whatsoever to stop it.

Unfortunately, therefore, we can’t really expect either side to back down very far. I don’t know what the hell you do about that. Both sides are just armed enough for this to go on forever.

98

Bloix 11.20.12 at 12:25 am

Neener, neener, neener? I’m supposed to respond to that? Come on, Chaz. Try.

Yes, the guy said that they should flatten Gaza. He’s sleeping in a bomb shelter and he’s frothing at the mouth angry. But they’re not going to flatten Gaza. You want to see a city that got flattened, look at Fallujah. Are the UK and the US countries of Nazis? You hear anyone saying that the US-UK policy in Iraq was the pursuit of a Final Solution?

Israel can’t flatten Gaza – not because they’re good people, but because they understand that flattening Gaza would tear Israeli society apart and discredit it in foreign capitals.

They conquered Gaza fifty years ago and during that time, life expectancy, annual income, and population have all gone up. Life under Israeli occupation, whatever you think of it, is nothing like life in eastern Europe under the Nazis and making the comparison is intended to cut off debate. Kind of like, shut up, neener neener neener. What is that, anyway?

99

faustusnotes 11.20.12 at 12:28 am

Bloix, the linked article is recommending the equivalent of a nuclear attack on Gaza.

In case you didn’t read the OP, or the linked article, an Israeli newspaper is advocating that “we” (i.e. Israel) should “flatten all of Gaza”, and says

There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing.

a perfect mirror of Churchill’s demands about Japan (“reduce the entire country to ashes”). The newspaper says that the scenes from Gaza “won’t be pretty” and then says “The residents of Gaza are not innocent.”

It may be ridiculous, but it’s the Jerusalem Post that is doing the comparison with Nazis, not Chris. And even if you don’t want to go the Godwin line, the article is using bog-standard exterminationist propaganda. People who want to rant on about Hamas being founded on the destruction of the state of Israel need to recognize that there is a current of Israeli thought, strong enough to be representable in one of its major newspapers, that is equally exterminationist. Children are being killed in Gaza, and this newspaper is arguing that they should all be killed because “the residents of Gaza are not innocent.”

Every time one of these threads comes up, Bloix makes the claim that Hamas initiated the current round of trouble. Bloix is then shown facts that contradict this claim. Bloix never responds to those facts. Just once, Bloix, would you bother to engage with a rebuttal to your perennial “hamas started it” claim?

100

LFC 11.20.12 at 12:33 am

This thread is deteriorating. I suggest people read the entire Gilad Sharon column, as I finally got around to doing. It is very short and quite appalling. The notion that it represents more than a segment of Israeli opinion is implausible on its face.

I’m opposed to the Israeli government’s policies toward the Palestinians, which are on the whole inhumane, stupid, and I think criminal. That does not mean that the Nazi analogy is justified or even defensible as “a useful satirical weapon”. It isn’t, for the reasons Bloix outlined.

P.s. Many years ago I was standing in a store waiting to buy something and I made a casual reference, in the course of conversing with someone, to “nuclear holocaust.” An older woman, whom I did not know, overheard me and said to me, rather sharply: “I lived through the real Holocaust” (or words to that effect). I don’t think I’ve ever made a reference to ‘nuclear holocaust’ again, at least not in public speech.

101

js. 11.20.12 at 12:37 am

I guess I see now why Israel/Palestine isn’t much talked about here…

I’m having a really hard time imagining that the writer/sub-editor or whoever didn’t immediately see the similarity between “Decisive Conclusion” and Endloesung. But whether they did or didn’t, it’s unbelievably chilling either way.

And thanks for posting. It very much needed saying.

102

Chaz 11.20.12 at 12:53 am

No, Bloix, you are not supposed to respond to it. I am asking you to please be quiet. Sebastian H, you can shut up too.

I will clarify for other readers and for my own ego (Sebastian and Bloix, I am talking about you, but I am not talking to you, and I encourage you not to reply). The dude quoted in the OP is like a Nazi for obvious reasons. We all get that. Some people here will try to change the subject and say Israel is not like Nazis for x y and z reasons. That is a straw man and a change of subject; no one said Israel is all Nazis, we said Gilad Sharon and the Jerusalem Post are.

Oh and also there are many confirmed cases of Palestinians being forcibly expelled from their villages en masse in 1948, just by the way! And again I’m saying that for casual readers because I know Sebastian and Bloix already know it. We have been through this a thousand times and they always just throw up straw men.

I hope that I have adequately refuted the above points to everyone’s satisfaction. If so, we can avoid filling up the thread with further refutations and just tell people to shut up instead. It’s much more concise.

103

heckblazer 11.20.12 at 1:13 am

Kaveh @ 28:

You beat me to bringing that up, so I’ll just include some sourcing:

“I was able to learn firsthand that Mr. Jabari wasn’t just interested in a long-term cease-fire; he was also the person responsible for enforcing previous cease-fire understandings brokered by the Egyptian intelligence agency. Mr. Jabari enforced those cease-fires only after confirming that Israel was prepared to stop its attacks on Gaza. On the morning that he was killed, Mr. Jabari received a draft proposal for an extended cease-fire with Israel, including mechanisms that would verify intentions and ensure compliance. This draft was agreed upon by me and Hamas’s deputy foreign minister, Mr. Hamad, when we met last week in Egypt.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/17/opinion/israels-shortsighted-assassination.html

Your mention of Adelson is a good point about the dynamics of American policy. Israel has a well-organized and well-funded constituency, one that doesn’t just include folks like AIPAC but also Evangelical Christians who consider Israel important because of their End Times prophecies. Palestinians don’t have a wealthy and organized lobby, so the government doesn’t hear much about their concerns.

Jim Demintia @ 77:

A blockade of supplies that can be used to make rockets to attack Israel on it’s face sounds reasonable, which is probably why it has as much support as it does. That the forbidden materials include (or at least have in the past, I’m not current) pipes (can be used to make the body), concrete (ballast to properly balance the rocket) fertilizer and sugar (can be made into explosives) makes the blockade far, far more punitive in effect.

Chris Bertram:
As for the irony of Obama’s remarks as regards to Pakistan, I’m sure from his perspective there isn’t any. Militants in Pakistan cross the border into Afghanistan, blow stuff up, and then cross back into Pakistan. The drone attacks therefore are intended to stop crossborder attacks in a way similar to the strikes in Gaza are intended to to stop missile launches.

104

Joshua W. Burton 11.20.12 at 1:38 am

Bloix @93:

Whatever your views, the equation in the original post of Israelis and Nazis . . . is to say the least not constructive.

Or even, for that matter, of Israelis and Israelis. Ethnic cleansing just isn’t what it used to be.

105

ezra abrams 11.20.12 at 2:11 am

lets have a few missles strike Cambridge MA, or Berkeley CA or the equivalent in LA CHI etc
see how long people think its ok to have missles falling on their kids

But seriously, step back, and see
1) if you get into recrimminations (Israel is retailiating for missles which are for blockade which are for…..) you wind up with the horrors of the Balkans, where we had concentration camps predicated on what happened in 1371 (field of blackbirds)

2) If you re read T Friedmanns great book (1) (before he became a rotund pundit, he was a great reporter) it is pretty clear what is happening here:
Hamas, as a military force, is as a matter of afact, nothing; everyone knows this. So why are Iran Syria etc arming Hamas ?
The obvious conclusion is either domestic politics, or, they wish to make a sacrificial lamb of Hamas (2); Iran knows that Hamas, or others in Gaza will use missles, but will get crushed by israel, so they give hamas the missles, Israel marches in , and the world see the (horrific) picture of dying palestinian kids
Peace will come when they love their kids more then they hate their enemies

1) In the battle between maronites and moslems, a leader of one side (say maronite) rushes into the UN HQ: you have to come see this atrocity – the moslems have massacered a whole bunch of soldiers in cold blood !!
The UN commander goes, and sure enough, a room full of maronite soldiers all shot in the back of the head. Outraged, he storms off to the moslem general.
Who laughs (a la Vizzini) – saying to the UN guy, you fell for one of the oldest tricks in the book – those are moslem soldiers the maronites killed and dressed in maronite uniforms !!!

2)iirc, the kurds were stupid enough to fall twice for us assurances that if they rose up against saddam, the US would support them

106

Tom Hurka 11.20.12 at 2:21 am

Chris:

Y0u didn’t say the Gaza and Pakistan cases are similar but you assumed it. There’s no “irony” about Obama’s statement unless the two are in important respects parallel.

And why do you get so tetchy when someone disagrees even mildly with you? Sometimes I think you CT guys like to dish it out but can’t take it.

107

faustusnotes 11.20.12 at 2:38 am

Ezra, this kind of shit:

Peace will come when they love their kids more then they hate their enemies

is disgusting. You wouldn’t say this about the US in Afghanistan or Iraq. You should take your own advice about missiles falling on Cambridge before you blather out nasties like this. Or perhaps you believe the Jerusalem Post line that nobody in Gaza is innocent?

108

ezra abrams 11.20.12 at 2:42 am

@12 13
my dad pointed out, now I think about 15 years ago, that there was a dreyfus case in the IDF – almost an exact copy, with an Arab-Israeli IDF officer standing in for dreyfus.

I think a lot of American Jews have felt, for a long time, that the STATE of Israel was a no win proposal; we would as a nation survive as monsters, or as stateless be exterminated .
As I like to joke with my coworkers, if there is a ZOG or a Jewish conspiracy for world domination, it sure is concealed pretty well; we have a 2,000 year history of loosing.

I don’t know how many people on this board are jewish (I’m guessing bertam ain’t) but we havn’t forgotten the Nazis
And I don’t care what happens: it aint gonna happen to my kids, till they pry my gun (empty of ammo) out of my cold dead fingers.
As it says in Saint Petersburg, on the monument to the Great Patriotic War, NO ONE and NOTHING is FORGIVEN or FORGOTTEN

Chris @ 11
wtf ?? I thought the guy was pretty reasoanble..
you do know that Hamas has a policy of putting military force in the civilian pop – iirc, last warlet, they had their command structure under the Gaza main hospital…

109

Kaveh 11.20.12 at 2:48 am

Bloix, do you have evidence for that explanation other than that the scenario sounds plausible to you? This explanation tortuously avoids dealing with any of the other reasons to vote in Hamas–Fatah being coopted by the US+Israel, Fatah being extremely corrupt–and attributes to the Gazans an impressive indifference to short-term needs when the latter conflict with long-term goals. Also, Gaza does have resources–it has natural gas reserves off the coast, which is apparently why the Israeli navy has been strafing fishing boats–they want to claim the water off the coast for themselves. Besides which, a West Bank-Gaza corridor is certainly possible, Israel has opened one in the past and while Gaza would be vulnerable to the corridor’s being shut down, they would not be cut off from the West Bank, and with normalized relations their situation would be fine.

I’m sure the Gazans have long-term goals in mind too, but reading the election of Hamas as mainly a cold-blooded policy choice has a very familiar lack of empathy to it–as if Palestinians don’t feel anything, they just calculate, and this when they’re under siege in a much more literal way than the Israeli public whose electoral choices and attitudes are so often attributed to a ‘siege mentality’. All of which has the added implication/subtext (like the recent IDF ads that picture missiles raining on London and NYC with a caption smthg like ‘what if it happened here?’) that Israelis (like Americans, Europeans, &c.) are soft and civilized and react to physical danger in a wholly different way from the barbarous Palestinians.

re comparing Israelis to Nazis, the OP clearly highlighted JPost as especially egregious, and clearly did not attribute these sentiments to anything more than a segment of the Israeli public. Nor did it characterize Israelis in general as Nazi-like–it explicitly compared the IDF’s actions to those of Qaddafi and Assad, which is, clearly, a whole other (lower, obviously) level of horror. Accusing the OP of comparing Israel to Nazi Germany is disingenuous.

110

Omega Centauri 11.20.12 at 2:48 am

One thing that strikes me, is how debilitating a little bit of random rocket fire (I’m assuming these rockets are nearly impossible to aim in any meaningful way) can be. If we think back to say world war two, a lot of populations, civilian and otherwise had to conduct their business during far more intense, and dangerous shelling. I think modern societies have become rather soft, compared to what was common just seventy years prior.

And, things really are very disproportionate. The fatalities are disproportionate by a factor of greater than thirty. And that square with the TV imagines. Those explosion we are seeing in Gaza, are not small.

111

ezra abrams 11.20.12 at 2:51 am

@ 107
I appreciate the thoughtful tone of you comment.
When the people who hate each other want peace, then we will have peace; not before
When Yasir Arafat, who cheered bombs in schoolbuses, and the israelis who let the falange into the camp in lebanon are ready for peace, we will have peace – not before.

As I said, recrimminations lead nowheres: the Israelis are bombing Gaza cause of missiles which are for a blockade which is for missles which are for..and so it goes, back into the dawn of history, as far back as you have time; the truly obsessed will go back to atrocities from the 1920s, or even earlier; certainly Joan Peters tried to rewrite the history of the late 1800s; perhaps some enterprising acolyte of hers will use modern DNA testing to show that the jews/arabs are not the True Descendants of the People of Israel/Palestine, yea, unto the 100th generation of ancestors we will look for slights and wrongs.

There is no one any more who is innocent; you can call me a self hating jew, an apologist, whatever you want: Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

112

Substance McGravitas 11.20.12 at 3:04 am

When Yasir Arafat, who cheered bombs in schoolbuses, and the israelis who let the falange into the camp in lebanon are ready for peace, we will have peace – not before.

Isn’t Arafat dead?

113

Chaz 11.20.12 at 3:06 am

@ezra abrams

Even though you choose to live in the United States, you don’t feel safe here, and it is very important to you to have a highly militarized, Jewish-dominated backup country that you can flee to. Fair enough. Now, let me ask: as part of your contingency plan, is it necessary that small groups of Jewish settlers be established in fortified homes in the center of Arab cities of no strategic significance (Hebron)? Or will you renounce that particular bit of longstanding Israeli policy?

114

Peter T 11.20.12 at 3:07 am

I think Nazi comparisons ought to be used very sparingly, because the Nazis were pretty much an isolated case. The ideology was one one of racial social darwinism – in the long run they explicitly thought everyone other than Germans would be exterminated, as in the long run only one race could survive. This particular derangement is unlikely to be repeated, even if some wingnuts ape the manners, and if many of the methods are indistinguishable from those of any other nasty regime.

Comparisons with Andrew Jackson vis-a-vis American Indians, Palmerston and co vis-a-vis Irish, Germans vis-a-vis Hereros and many others are, sadly, more apt.

115

chris 11.20.12 at 3:09 am

Is it possible to believe that the state of Israel, a Jewish state, should not be allowed to exist, without believing that this means that the Jews must be killed or driven into exile?

Well, I sure hope so. Because when I hear “Jewish state” I mentally analogize it to declaring the U.S. either a White state or a Christian state (with appropriate renaming and iconography, of course). You can argue which is a more precisely appropriate analogy but since they’re *both* obviously horribly repellent (to a liberal, anyway), it doesn’t make the Jewish state concept look very good.

Isn’t it a foundational principle of democracy as it is currently understood and practiced that a democracy shall not favor one segment of its population over another? And doesn’t the concept of a Jewish state, by its very existence, defy that principle of equality? What is a Jewish state if it doesn’t favor Jewish people, practices, institutions, and cultural events over non-Jewish ones?

Yet I certainly don’t want to kill any Jews or drive them into exile; I just want them to grant really, truly equal rights to non-Jews, which might involve reconsidering the Magen David on the flag and even the name of the country. Is that “advocating for the destruction of Israel”? Well, sort of, maybe, in a certain way of looking at it, for a very loose definition of “destruction” that includes no actual destruction. Which is why I’m a little skeptical of lines of reasoning that jump from “X wants Israel to be abolished/radically changed as a political entity” to “X really just wants to kill some Jews” — regardless of whether X stands for a person, an organization, or (especially) a nation. (Nations hardly ever intend anything wholeheartedly.)

P.S. Many Muslim countries are, of course, equally problematic in a similar sort of way. But few people hold those Muslim states up as shining examples of democracy in the region (even the ones that aren’t monarchies or dictatorships), let alone advocate for giving them billions of dollars of financial and military aid. The U.S. is an accessory to Israel’s crimes in a way that we’re not, or not nearly as much, to other countries that may otherwise be equal offenders.

116

Bloix 11.20.12 at 3:46 am

#115- Try an Irish state or a Czech state or a Polish state.

The whole point of a nation-state is that it unites a single or dominant ethnic group in a single territory under a single government. That’s what nations are all about. The Jews tried very hard to be loyal citizens of other countries for quite a long time, and see what it got them. So they decided to accept the logic of European nationalism, and now people like Chris say that they should have stayed in Poland and Yemen.

If you don’t go around advocating for the Germans to stop calling their country Deutschland or the Turks to stop calling their country Turkey, I don’t see what your problem with the name Israel is. And after you’ve finished removing all the crosses from the flags of Europe, you can take on the star of David.

As for the US being “an accessory to Israel’s crimes,” let’s try it this way: the US is a criminal state in a way that Israel never was and never could be. Israel has never laid waste to cities and countrysides in the way that the US has done. If you think that Israel has committed crimes, first let’s see you get Bush and Rumsfeld put in prison. Then we can talk about Netanyahu.

The priggish, ignorant sanctimony that pours out of people when Israel is the subject is just extraordinary. Your great-grandparents preached that we killed your God, your grandparents let us die like animals, and now you lecture us on our intolerant lack of multi-culturalism. Have a little humility, would you please?

117

Kaveh 11.20.12 at 4:16 am

I think Barthes’ conclusion (in Mythologies) that politics fashioned in the image of art tends toward fascism has an analog here: politics refashioned in the image of narrative, and of poetic justice, tends towards a sub-fascist type of brutality. Bloix, I take your point that Israel isn’t itself the worst offender here, but that ignores its (and it’s lobby’s) tremendous influence over US policy, including some degree of responsibility for the invasion of Iraq, and a ton of lobbying for war with Iran. It’s not just about the couple million Palestinians themselves, combined with massive US support and involvement in this–it’s the possible horror of the US war machine being turned on even more nations.

Or maybe I should just be quiet, and a few or a dozen years from now when bombs are falling on Tehran, or “population transfer” finally becomes a reality, I’ll be able to sleep at night because I didn’t hold Israel to a higher standard than any other nation.

118

Meredith 11.20.12 at 4:44 am

“…highly militarized, Jewish-dominated backup country,” Chaz@113. I didn’t know that living in the US meant I live in a Jewish-dominated country. You learn something every day. And anybody wonders where Bloix’s over-the-top responses come from?

People just don’t seem to be able to talk about this. But we need to find a way. The left, others in Israel and Palestine with an actual and sincere desire to work something out, need people outside of Israel and Palestine to help them. The kind of conversation going on here is not helpful.

119

Kaveh 11.20.12 at 4:54 am

@118 Reread that comment, Chaz was unambiguously referring to Israel as Jewish-dominated, not the US. You’re right that over-the-top denunciations of Israel aren’t helpful though. But, that isn’t most of the comments here, and it isn’t helpful to trot out “isn’t helpful” every time criticism of Israel offends somebody. What really isn’t helpful is putting people’s feelings about the discourse above the real, physical tragedy that is happening or will happen.

120

Meredith 11.20.12 at 5:09 am

Kaveh, maybe you’re right, but that still isn’t clear to me. Still, I apologize to Chaz if I misinterpreted him. Anyway, I certainly don’t mean to elevate my feelings about the discourse above the very real tragedy happening, not at all, and I’m sorry if that’s how I came across. When you’ve been alive as long as I have and seen so many of these exchanges, you just get frustrated, precisely because this type of conversation seems to lead nowhere but to more physical and other tragedy.

121

Beryl 11.20.12 at 5:39 am

@Bloix (116) The priggish, ignorant sanctimony that pours out of people when Israel is the subject is just extraordinary.

My favourite (a version of which, I’m enbarrassed to say, was just uttered by my uncle): “You would think that they would have learned from the Holocaust.”

Ungrateful students.

122

Nathanael 11.20.12 at 5:57 am

“Boycott. Divest. Sanction.”

It worked for South Africa, and the parallels are very close.

To be fair, the US was a really bad actor when it came to South Africa, too. I expect that other countries will take the lead on isolating the apartheid regime in Israel. It would be best for the US to detach itself from the deranged, ever-more-racist Likud governments of Israel, but there seem to be stupid internal-to-the-US political reasons why the US hasn’t done so yet. In fact, it would be best for the world if the US went completely isolationist, given that the US has been almost uniformly a bad actor on the world stage since the end of the Korean War, at least. (OK, there are a few arguable exceptions, like Kosovo; thank you Wesley Clark. But there are so few compared to the cases where the US made things worse.)

123

Nathanael 11.20.12 at 6:00 am

“P.s. Many years ago I was standing in a store waiting to buy something and I made a casual reference, in the course of conversing with someone, to “nuclear holocaust.” An older woman, whom I did not know, overheard me and said to me, rather sharply: “I lived through the real Holocaust” (or words to that effect). I don’t think I’ve ever made a reference to ‘nuclear holocaust’ again, at least not in public speech.”

What-effing-ever! “Holocaust” in the sense of “nuclear holocaust” is ACCURATE — look up the roots of the word — and the use of ‘Holocaust’ for the Nazi mass murders and genocide is merely an ANALOGY. An exaggerated analogy, in fact! As the people who were at ground zero in Nagasaki would have told her, if any of them had been more than dust particles!

124

Nathanael 11.20.12 at 6:09 am

“So what does it mean about Israel that they keep voting in a party that is foundationally committed to killing Palestinians?”

What it means is, several decades ago, liberal Jews in Israel started to despair of their country actually engaging in peace policy and started emigrating. Perhaps around the time Rabin was assassinated. This continues. The result is that the country has voting population which is becoming worse and worse. Whatcha gonna do? It is only rational to get out of a country which is determined to go down the tubes, but by getting out you make it more likely that it will go down the tubes.

125

Salient 11.20.12 at 6:16 am

That bit CB extracted wasn’t even the worst part (insofar as some shit smells worse than other shit). This was the rankest:

If it isn’t clear whether the ball crossed the goal-line or not, the goal isn’t decisive.

Anyone who advocates mass death deserves every condemnation they incite and every (ahem) Tumblr photoshop-hackjob created to facilitate mocking the hell out of them. Anyone who advocates mass death literally for the purpose of scoring points is a … … what words? There should be a blanket and permanent and emphatic shunning of anybody who describes their war of choice so playfully, and he knows that. He wrote this to be a shit.

126

Bogdanov 11.20.12 at 6:39 am

@116 “The priggish, ignorant sanctimony that pours out of people when Israel is the subject is just extraordinary. Your great-grandparents preached that we killed your God, your grandparents let us die like animals, and now you lecture us on our intolerant lack of multi-culturalism. Have a little humility, would you please?”

Thankfully a literal collective consciousness between generations does not exist, meaning you are not a world-weary Holocaust survivor but instead just a petulant Internet commenter. Interesting approach though; I guess we should all be much more forgiving of President Obama’s drone program since, given his African heritage, he apparently has a free pass to oppress and maim others with self-righteous moral impunity.

In fact, might as well extend that to every atrocity committed on the African subcontinent. Idi Amin surely descended from far worse structural oppression than the Jewish people have ever experienced, so how dare we question anything he did?! Wouldn’t want to lecture him.

127

shah8 11.20.12 at 7:32 am

My impression about all this is to be concerned about the possibility of regional war, and the context of all this intense and vicious cynicism.

128

ponce 11.20.12 at 7:52 am

Gilad Sharon’s comments on Gaza are similar to comments being made by right-wing American pundits…which sound a lot like the comments they made about the bombing of Iraqi cities like Fallujah.

129

puss wallgreen 11.20.12 at 7:58 am

“Your great-grandparents preached that we killed your God, your grandparents let us die like animals, and now you lecture us on our intolerant lack of multi-culturalism. Have a little humility, would you please?”
I imagine it would be quite easy for any Palestinian to come up with a similar generational declension to request a little humility from Israelis who lecture them on the need for tolerance and non-violence.

130

christian_h 11.20.12 at 8:09 am

I will second JW and simply thank Chris for posting this.

131

Mao Cheng Ji 11.20.12 at 8:37 am

ezra abrams,
your
“As it says in Saint Petersburg, on the monument to the Great Patriotic War, NO ONE and NOTHING is FORGIVEN or FORGOTTEN”

is clearly in contradiction with your

“When the people who hate each other want peace, then we will have peace; not before
When Yasir Arafat, who cheered bombs in schoolbuses, and the israelis who let the falange into the camp in lebanon are ready for peace, we will have peace – not before.”

800000 people were expelled, violently, from their country in 1948. Based on their ethnicity/religion. There are 4-5 million of them now, living in refugee camps in surrounding countries and the occupied territories. And they, or at least some of them, won’t forgive or forget. That’s the crux of the story. The rest is details.

132

Chris Bertram 11.20.12 at 9:09 am

Tom Hurka: “There’s no “irony” about Obama’s statement unless the two are in important respects parallel.”

Yes, parallel in the alien-missiles-raining-down-on-citizens-from-the-skies respect.

Sorry that you don’t find that important.

“why do you get so tetchy when someone disagrees even mildly with you? Sometimes I think you CT guys like to dish it out but can’t take it.”

Nice passive-aggressive move there: 10/10

133

Emma in Sydney 11.20.12 at 9:14 am

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East representative in Gaza was interviewed on ABC Radio this morning in Sydney. He pointed out that they feed 1.7 million people in Palestine on a regular basis, because the blockade means there is no work, and without money or skills there’s no possibility of emigration.

I thought about myself, a woman with 5 children, taking safety and food for granted. What on earth could a woman do in Gaza to protect her children and keep them safe? She can’t leave, she can’t singlehandedly get rid of Hamas, she can’t tell the nutters down the street to stop with the rockets already. All she can do is hope that the bombardment misses her house.

An Israeli can move. A Gazan can’t. It’s a big difference.

134

Phil 11.20.12 at 9:40 am

Emma: She can’t leave, she can’t singlehandedly get rid of Hamas, she can’t tell the nutters down the street to stop with the rockets already.

heckblazer: A blockade of supplies that can be used to make rockets to attack Israel on it’s face sounds reasonable, which is probably why it has as much support as it does.

In practice the blockade clearly exceeds that remit, and there are signs (e.g. Olmert’s comments) that it was meant to. But even if it was being targeted & enforced with surgical accuracy against weapons & weapon-making equipment, so that the people of Gaza could live a relatively normal life sans rocketry, wouldn’t that in itself amount to collective punishment? The (seeming) legality of this BTHOM.

135

ajay 11.20.12 at 9:45 am

parallel in the alien-missiles-raining-down-on-citizens-from-the-skies respect.

But those strikes are happening with the consent and approval of the Pakistani government, and (until at least last year) were being launched by aircraft flying from a Pakistani air force base. So, the situations aren’t really comparable.

At one point recently, in fact, the true position of the government of Pakistan was that the US was not launching enough drone strikes. We know this because the cable in which this sentiment was expressed was one of the ones leaked to Wikileaks.

136

ajay 11.20.12 at 9:49 am

But even if it was being targeted & enforced with surgical accuracy against weapons & weapon-making equipment, so that the people of Gaza could live a relatively normal life sans rocketry, wouldn’t that in itself amount to collective punishment?

No, pretty sure it wouldn’t. You aren’t punishing the Gazans by depriving their military of the ability to kill Israeli civilians, even if killing Israeli civilians is something they really, really want their military to do.

137

Chris Bertram 11.20.12 at 9:55 am

ajay: you said that already. Do you suppose others find your claims more plausible when you repeat them?

138

Bogdanov 11.20.12 at 10:15 am

@135 – Since when do the corrupt back-room dealings of the Pakistani government have some overbearing relevance? As you yourself admit, the Pakistani government’s public stance is very much against the drone campaigns; reflecting the obvious fact that the Pakistani populace (you know, the people being killed by robots) does not and would not consent to such an agreement. The realpolitik dealings of some politician in Islamabad isn’t really the relevant focal point.

Both the rockets into Israel and the drone strikes in Pakistan are done very much against the will of the peoples of those nations.

Not to mention the fact that the United States is raining missiles down via drones in other countries as well, including Somalia, which doesn’t really even have a government to “consent” on behalf of its citizenry.

139

ajay 11.20.12 at 10:58 am

Yes, parallel in the alien-missiles-raining-down-on-citizens-from-the-skies respect.

CB: you said that already. Do you suppose others find your claims more plausible when you repeat them?

Even after it’s been pointed out to you that there is a fairly big difference between the cases of Pakistan and Gaza – that the strikes in Pakistan are happening with the consent and approval of the Pakistani government?

140

ajay 11.20.12 at 11:08 am

the obvious fact that the Pakistani populace (you know, the people being killed by robots) does not and would not consent to such an agreement.

Or, you know, not.

“There is a deep abyss between the perceptions of the people of Waziristan, the most drone-hit area and the wider Pakistani society on the other side of the River Indus. For the latter, the US drone attacks on Waziristan are a violation of Pakistani’s sovereignty. Politicians, religious leaders, media analysts and anchorpersons express sensational clamour over the supposed ‘civilian casualties’ in the drone attacks. I have been discussing the issue of drone attacks with hundreds of people of Waziristan. They see the US drone attacks as their liberators from the clutches of the terrorists into which, they say, their state has wilfully thrown them. The purpose of today’s column is, one, to challenge the Pakistani and US media reports about the civilian casualties in the drone attacks and, two, to express the view of the people of Waziristan, who are equally terrified by the Taliban and the intelligence agencies of Pakistan. I personally met these people in the Pakhtunkhwa province, where they live as internally displaced persons (IDPs), and in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)…

“The writer is a research fellow at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Research, University of Oslo and a member of Aryana Institute for Regional Research and Advocacy. She can be reached at bergen34@yahoo.com“.
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=201012\story_2-1-2010_pg3_5

141

Mao Cheng Ji 11.20.12 at 11:37 am

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/07/20117145247361110.html

…Hoodbhoy claims that he has to base his argument on evidence whose credibility he himself cannot vouch for because a ‘scientific survey of attitudes in FATA in today’s dangerous circumstances is impossible’. This bespeaks laziness or dishonesty because a scientific survey of attitudes had indeed been conducted and widely reported. Pakistan’s liberal hawks chose to ignore it because its findings did not accord with the worldview they had been projecting on the citizens of FATA. The poll conducted by the New America Foundation (itself a booster of the drone war) and Terror Free Tomorrow found 76 percent of the respondents opposed to drone attacks (only 16 percent deemed them accurate), 87 percent opposed to US military action against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and that 59 percent consider suicide bombings against the US military justified.

So does that make them ‘cheerleaders for these terrorists’ as the hawks would have it? Not quite. The same poll also found 77 percent opposed to the presence of Al Qaeda in the region, 69 percent opposed to the Pakistani Taliban, and 61 percent to the Afghan Taliban. However, at the same time four times as many identified the US as most responsible for the violence compared to the Pakistani Taliban. It also found 83 percent opposition to suicide bombings against the Pakistani military and police.

But perhaps most disturbingly for the liberal hawks, the poll also revealed that the most popular political party in the region was the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the one party that has taken the most uncompromising line against the drone attacks. Its leader, the former cricketing legend Imran Khan, is a hate figure among Pakistani liberal hawks and was declared ‘one of the forces of darkness’ by their tribune Fahat Taj. Darkness has evidently claimed wider territory since, according to a June 2011 Pew survey, at 68 percent the antiwar Khan has the highest approval rating of any public figure in Pakistan.

142

Phil 11.20.12 at 11:45 am

You aren’t punishing the Gazans by depriving their military of the ability to kill Israeli civilians

We’ve now narrowed the non-collective-punishment alt-blockade down to weapons designed to kill indiscriminately. Cruise missiles would be fine.

143

ajay 11.20.12 at 11:55 am

Since when do the corrupt back-room dealings of the Pakistani government have some overbearing relevance?

This argument is, in any case, very dangerous, because it implies that it would be OK to launch military operations against the will of the host government as long as we had opinion poll data suggesting that the population, or some of the population, or maybe just some of the population in a certain area, were in favour.

144

ajay 11.20.12 at 11:57 am

We’ve now narrowed the non-collective-punishment alt-blockade down to weapons designed to kill indiscriminately. Cruise missiles would be fine.

Hamas would use cruise missiles to kill civilians too. You seem to think that they’re killing Israeli civilians by accident. Dead kids in Sderot aren’t a bug, they’re a feature.

145

Shay Begorrah 11.20.12 at 12:10 pm

@ajay

Hamas would use cruise missiles to kill civilians too. You seem to think that they’re killing Israeli civilians by accident. Dead kids in Sderot aren’t a bug, they’re a feature.

Do you think that children in Gaza killed by precision munitions are a “bug”?

The whole logic of Israel’s occupation of the west bank and the siege of Gaza has been one of collective punishment and cultural demolition. It would be laudable if the battered, radicalised and impoverished population of Gaza could somehow target their almost impotent rage at the Israeli military but then, as the regions only democracy, its pretty hard to avoid blaming the Israeli voter for the actions of the Israeli state.

146

LFC 11.20.12 at 1:11 pm

Nathanael @123

What-effing-ever! “Holocaust” in the sense of “nuclear holocaust” is ACCURATE — look up the roots of the word — and the use of ‘Holocaust’ for the Nazi mass murders and genocide is merely an ANALOGY. An exaggerated analogy, in fact! As the people who were at ground zero in Nagasaki would have told her, if any of them had been more than dust particles!

Actually I think I should not have related that little story, but I was trying to make more of a psychological point about the resonances of the word; I was not making a point about the etymology of the word ‘holocaust’ or in any way intending to minimize the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (nor, for that matter, the fire bombings of Japanese cities which preceded the atomic bombings and caused huge numbers of civilian deaths). My dictionary has, as one definition, “great or total destruction of life, esp by fire [nuclear holocaust]” and notes the etymology, so obviously that usage is a correct use of the word; the dictionary then has with capital H and definite article (the Holocaust) for the specific use w/r/t the Nazi genocide. I’ve remembered the encounter in question b.c it made an impression on me, for reasons that I think are fairly obvious, but as I say, I probably should have kept it to myself.

147

rootless (@root_e) 11.20.12 at 1:11 pm

then, as the regions only democracy, its pretty hard to avoid blaming the Israeli voter for the actions of the Israeli state

Considering that Netanyahu is a card carrying member of the Neo-Con wing of the US Republican party and his coalition is nearly 100% funded by an unsavory collection of American wingnuts ranging from Sheldon Adelson to Evangelicals, it’s pretty hard to avoid blaming the US right for the actions of the Israeli voters.

The sooner China jails Adelson, the better for all 4 countries; China, US, Israel, Palestine.

148

J. Otto Pohl 11.20.12 at 1:21 pm

145

What is this claim of Israel being the _only_ democratic government in the region? Has there been a military coup in Turkey very recently? Because I quite sure that the Turkish Republic also has a democratic government.

149

J. Otto Pohl 11.20.12 at 1:24 pm

Oops that should be “Because I am quite sure that the Turkish Republic also has a democratic government.”

150

Shay Begorrah 11.20.12 at 1:45 pm

@148

What is this claim of Israel being the _only_ democratic government in the region?

It was a joke that was a little old. A constant cry used to be was that as the only western style democracy in the Middle East Israel deserved our undying support. This was obviously before Turkey’s move from a military mediated democracy and when our understanding of the Iranian and Israeli states was a little less nuanced.

Israel is fascinating in a car crash kind of way, I wish I could have spent some time there before I knew what it was.

It is a young country with a well educated, attractive population (I just fell in love with the Israeli on their emigration desk) and a charming earnestness. You want, almost need, to like them – and then they unselfconsciously reveal that they are advocates of armed national expansionism, theories of ethnic superiority and a creepy biblical form of manifest destiny.

Did I mention they have nukes? It is a dirty Strangelovian thrill of mine to hear Zionists complaining that Iran represents the danger of an irrational, undemocratic, eliminationist nuclear armed state emerging in the Middle East.

Imagine how frightening that would be, eh?

151

Donald Johnson 11.20.12 at 2:03 pm

“As for the US being “an accessory to Israel’s crimes,” let’s try it this way: the US is a criminal state in a way that Israel never was and never could be. Israel has never laid waste to cities and countrysides in the way that the US has done. If you think that Israel has committed crimes, first let’s see you get Bush and Rumsfeld put in prison. Then we can talk about Netanyahu.”

I’ve never gotten used to this. “This” refers to how defenders of Israel now sound like Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein, except with a twist. Chomsky and Finkelstein have often compared Israeli crimes to American crimes and Finkelstein in particular pointed out the analogy to the treatment of the Native Americans. It was meant to be a condemnation of both. Then Benny Morris in 2004 took that comparison and used our past as a justification for the Nakba, and nowadays you see people go further, claiming that the US is far worse than Israel as a defense of Israel. But most of us who criticize Israel also criticize the US. I think the US government opposes talk of trying Israeli officials for war crimes precisely because it would set a precedent where Western officials in general were fair game.

152

El Cid 11.20.12 at 2:05 pm

Are Israeli civilians safe yet? If not, how long should this keep going until safety is achieved? Do we have a safeness rating?

153

Daryl McCullough 11.20.12 at 2:13 pm

I believe that the writers and commenters on this website are among the smartest, most thoughtful people in the world. And that fills me with despair.

154

Torquil Macneil 11.20.12 at 2:15 pm

“You aren’t punishing the Gazans by depriving their military of the ability to kill Israeli civilians, even if killing Israeli civilians is something they really, really want their military to do.”

Very true, although Hamas is really seeking to kill Jews, not Israeli citizens as such. We know that because that is what they do, kill Jews, and because it says that that is their intention in their founding Charter. I know it is very boring to hear this reiterated. And I know that sophisticated opinion holds that Hamas cannot really have as a principal political aim the intention to kill Jews, just because they say so, and because they do it whenever they can. It’s too insane. It must be a cover, or rhetoric. And if we bring up the European history of the day before yesterday in this regard, fingers get jammed in ears and ‘Godwin’ is repeated over and over again until the argument stops. But surely we can all at least understand why some of those touchy, self-obsessed, neurotic Jews might think this stuff is relevant?

155

ezra abrams 11.20.12 at 2:19 pm

@131
Consistency is the hobgoblin of little men’s minds

But facts are not
You say, quote:
800000 people were expelled, violently, from their country in 1948. Based on their ethnicity/religion. There are 4-5 million of them now, living in refugee camps in surrounding countries and the occupied territories. And they, or at least some of them, won’t forgive or forget. That’s the crux of the story. The rest is details.
Close quote
who expelled who ?
why are there now camps – is it not because the Arab gov’ts have forcibly prevented the palestinians from integrating ?
Is it not true that the palestinians have been forcibly, nearly civil war level, expelled from every country their leaders have moved to: Jordan and Tunisa and Lebanon (admittedly, the last was part of the complex multiway civil war)
Is it not true that the border crossing with Egypt into Gaza is kept closed by the egyptians, and that therefore all the blockade suffereing of the gazans could be lifted by a simple decree by the egyptian govt ?
Is it or is it not true that the refugees of 1948 were egged on by the advancing arab armies ?

but you are right, that there are people on both sides who will never forgive or forget is the crux; all the facts I adduce to support my thoughts are more or less irrelevant.

156

ezra abrams 11.20.12 at 2:21 pm

@154
If liberal Americans heard Southerners say about blacks or liberals or gays 1/10 the things that are repeated by Arabs – often in Gov’t sponsered texts – there would be a national outcry.
I think part of the problem is the ineptness of the Israeli/IDF PR campaign; you would think that they would monitor the blogosphere and have someone here quoting the language of the schoolbooks in the region, which refer to jews as pigs and a cancer on humanity.

157

Torquil Macneil 11.20.12 at 2:22 pm

“and then they unselfconsciously reveal that they are advocates of armed national expansionism, theories of ethnic superiority and a creepy biblical form of manifest destiny.”

The ‘they’ here refers to Israelis, right? Or is it just zionists? Or some other subset? After all, there are many ethnicities contained in that little country, they can’t all hold theories of ethnic superiority and manifest biblical destiny, can they (what does the bible have to say about Muslim destiny anyway)? Or is there a degree of mind control clandestine organisation at work that us naive non-‘zionists’ just cannot fathom?

158

Mao Cheng Ji 11.20.12 at 2:40 pm

ezra abrams: “why are there now camps”

There are now camps because back in 1948 800000 peasants were driven, for no fault of their own, from their villages. And since that time they, and now their children and grandchildren, have not been able to come back, rebuild their villages and keep living there. Which is what they are planning to do, eventually. If not this year, then the next. Which is what the whole story is about. If we start from 1948. As they do. Because that’s when it started for them.

159

Jim Demintia 11.20.12 at 2:48 pm

So Ezra you’re saying this is all the fault of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, because they ruined were perfidious enough not to accept the run off from an ethnic cleansing campaign? Wow.

160

Phil 11.20.12 at 2:51 pm

You seem to think that they’re killing Israeli civilians by accident.

No, I’m just thinking about this alternative blockade which would be justifiable as self-defence. Systematically denying Gaza the means of military self-defence is, precisely, collective punishment. (That’s before we get into systematically denying Gaza building materials, food, water etc, but I’m assuming the alt-blockade doesn’t do those things.)

161

Torquil Macneil 11.20.12 at 2:51 pm

“And since that time they, and now their children and grandchildren, have not been able to come back, rebuild their villages and keep living there. “

That’s true, but it hardly excuses the astonishing inhumanity of keeping them in camps in Syria and elsewhere, does it?

162

Shay Begorrah 11.20.12 at 3:14 pm

I know this thread might seem to be unproductive but I think it is having a clarifying effect on the various positions and in particular on the change of the Israeli position from “shooting and crying” to “bombing and snarling”. It will be helpful as the outside world tries to force the US to stop bankrolling and covering for Israeli aggression.

Sadly it also seems likely from the leaflet bombing of Gaza http://www.economist.com/blogs/pomegranate/2012/11/israel-and-palestinians?fsrc=scn/tw_ec/gaza_abacus

The “Non-Jewish population under Israeli jurisdiction” is the eye opener.

163

Shay Begorrah 11.20.12 at 3:17 pm

What the hell is it with this site eating the paragraphs after a hyper link?

I know this thread might seem to be unproductive but I think it is having a clarifying effect on the various positions and in particular on the change of the Israeli position from “shooting and crying” to “bombing and snarling”. It will be helpful as the outside world tries to force the US to stop bankrolling and covering for Israeli aggression.

Sadly it also seems likely from the leaflet bombing of Gaza going on now that Israel is considering using up the time before Hilary Clinton arrives in a final spasm of punishment attacks and bombings. If this happens I think we should move on from the question of how we support the remaining liberal parts of Israeli society into a more pragmatic one of how we deter Israeli attacks and stop the blockade of Gaza and balkanization of the West Bank.

“Israel army leaflet warns Gazans to leave homes”: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2012/Nov-20/195685-israel-army-leaflet-warns-gazans-to-leave-homes.ashx#axzz2Cg76vd39

Glenn Greenwald (or Gloom Grimworld if you prefer) has a pointer to a page in The Economist (of all places) that gathers all the numbers required to understand the current episode of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/pomegranate/2012/11/israel-and-palestinians?fsrc=scn/tw_ec/gaza_abacus

The “Non-Jewish population under Israeli jurisdiction” is the eye opener.

164

rootless (@root_e) 11.20.12 at 3:21 pm

“and then they unselfconsciously reveal that they are advocates of armed national expansionism, theories of ethnic superiority and a creepy biblical form of manifest destiny.”

which makes them so very different from all other nations in this peace-loving world.

165

Kaveh 11.20.12 at 3:25 pm

ezra @156, Where do you get this idea that Palestinian textbooks contain hate speech? I’ve heard pro-Israel partisans repeat this ad nauseum, but it seems to be an urban legend that people repeat without bothering to verify. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daoud-kuttab/gingrich-palestinian-textbooks_b_1270016.html Do you know something about the textbooks that Kuttab is not acknowledging, or are you just passing on received wisdom?

166

puss wallgreen 11.20.12 at 3:41 pm

“We know that because that is what they do, kill Jews, and because it says that that is their intention in their founding Charter. I know it is very boring to hear this reiterated”.
Indeed. So why do you keep reiterating it? Why do you have to focus your discussion around a 25 year old document which hardly anybody in Gaza has heard of, which the current Hamas leadership (since those who framed the Charter are now all dead) never refers to, and which in any case dates from a period when the Israelis had no problem in tacitly working with and encouraging Hamas? Do you normally judge political organisations on the basis of positions they held decades ago?
“Hamas cannot really have as a principal political aim the intention to kill Jews, just because they say so, and because they do it whenever they can.”
Really? Did they kill Chomsky when he was in Gaza then? Has any Jewish person who has visited Gaza as part of a mission of solidarity been killed or mistreated? Has Hamas ever killed Jews outside of Israel or the occupied territories? Why not, if they “seek to kill Jews, and not Israeli citizens as such?

167

J. Otto Pohl 11.20.12 at 4:18 pm

151

But, in point of fact there is a difference. For the most part despite existing inequalities US government massacres against Native Americans are a thing of the past. This is not true with regards to Palestine. The Israelis keep engaging in atrocities against the Palestinians and the vast majority of Jewish Israelis are proud of the Nakba and other crimes. I do not know of any US citizens that thinks US past treatment of the Native Americans was a good thing. Justifying crimes in Gaza today by pointing to the Long Walk in 1863 really does not cut it.

168

ajay 11.20.12 at 4:23 pm

160: Systematically denying Gaza the means of military self-defence is, precisely, collective punishment.

I am really not sure that it is. In general, cutting off your enemy’s access to weapons is a perfectly acceptable thing to do in time of war. Collective punishment is generally used to refer to things like, for example, burning the village because you received fire from it, or starving a city in retaliation for a terrorist attack. It’s unacceptable and criminal, because you are punishing the entire city/village/whatever for the actions of a few. But it’s not a punishment to be denied access to weapons of war.

169

Shelley 11.20.12 at 4:25 pm

As a writer, I keep wondering what Mr. Malter in The Chosen would say about all this.

170

rf 11.20.12 at 4:34 pm

“Hamas would use cruise missiles to kill civilians too. You seem to think that they’re killing Israeli civilians by accident. Dead kids in Sderot aren’t a bug, they’re a feature.”

Not really. It depends on the context, some are aimed to kill, others not. I’ve lived in Southern Israel (Ashkelon, working throughout the Negev, Sderot for a bit) and it’s difficult for those who live with it consistently. But let’s not overdo it. It is not as bad as Gaza, by any measure, or even living in certain settlements. Israel’s an endlessly fascinating country (and contrary to Bloik’s claim very diverse), but people who instinctively stand up for (consistent) Israeli policy in the most inane way just for the sake of it (the Hamas charter, rockets from Gaza, endless existential threats) do the country no favours.

“I don’t know how many people on this board are jewish”

Well how many are Palestinian? I mean come on, can we not argue the merits of the case? (ie the Holocaust, Syria, even the peace process not entirely relevant)

171

ponce 11.20.12 at 4:42 pm

“But it’s not a punishment to be denied access to weapons of war.”

Unfortunately for the Gazans, Israel considers things like baby formula, lumber, cement and soccer balls to be “weapons of war.”

172

rootless (@root_e) 11.20.12 at 4:57 pm

“For the most part despite existing inequalities US government massacres against Native Americans are a thing of the past.”

Average life expectancy Gaza: 74. Wind River Indian Reservation: 45.

173

Kaveh 11.20.12 at 4:59 pm

ajay @168, your point about ‘depriving the other side of weapons of war’ may sound like it should be a no-brainer, but it’s not. Governments need weapons to enforce the law and protect citizens from crime, and Hamas in particular needs weapons to enforce any ceasefire on other armed groups, like Islamic Jihad, that are in Gaza. Israel is acting in extremely bad faith by attacking things like police stations under the pretext that ‘they’re part of Hamas’. Otherwise, I’m curious if you are trying to make a more general point with all of these very minor or semantic disagreements with the OP and other commenters: “collective punishment”, comparability of Israel & Gaza & Pakistan WRT rockets/bombs/drones… Your arguments on this subject seem to engage only with details, and say little about the larger picture. What does it matter that drone strikes in Pakistan are strictly comparable to what is happening in Israel & Gaza?

174

J. Otto Pohl 11.20.12 at 5:09 pm

172

What does average life expectancy have to do with massacres? Are you honestly suggesting that the low life expectancy on one particular Indian Reservation has to do with the US military deliberately killing its civilian inhabitants today? Because if not the comparison is irrelevant. Although if the Israelis have their way the life expectancy in Gaza may be zero because the whole population will be dead. At least that appears to be the goal of people like Gilad Sharon writing in the Jerusalem Post.

175

JJ 11.20.12 at 5:41 pm

The average life expectancy of a Native-American, whatever it happens to be, is much, much lower than the average life expectancy of an American, whatever that happens to be. In fact, the average life expectancy of a Native-American is much lower than the average life expectancy of a Afro-American, which is much lower than the average life expectancy of an Anglo-American. If the Israelis have their way, as you say, the average life expectancy of an inmate of the Gaza reservation will be comparable to that of a Native-American inmate of an Indian reservation.

176

ajay 11.20.12 at 6:00 pm

ajay @168, your point about ‘depriving the other side of weapons of war’ may sound like it should be a no-brainer, but it’s not. Governments need weapons to enforce the law and protect citizens from crime, and Hamas in particular needs weapons to enforce any ceasefire on other armed groups, like Islamic Jihad, that are in Gaza.

It doesn’t need rockets to do police work, though. That’s why I said “weapons of war”. Countries at war do not have any obligation to ensure that their enemies are not deprived of the means to attack them.

What does it matter that drone strikes in Pakistan are strictly comparable to what is happening in Israel & Gaza?

It seems to matter a fair bit to CB, because he’s made the same erroneous statement about it twice now.

177

Jim Demintia 11.20.12 at 6:05 pm

@ JJ

This point is so important, because it gets at a dimension of both Israel/Gaza and the U.S. that simply doesn’t often show up as a concern in national media or other forums of public debate, which focus on spectacular moments of conflict at the expense of what Rob Nixon calls “slow violence”–the creeping, often invisible violence on the bodies and lives of Gazans due to Israel’s blockade and on the lives and bodies of Native Americans due to stuff like this:

http://beforeitsnews.com/native-american-news/2012/11/npr-exposes-loophole-that-allows-dumping-of-toxic-oil-residue-on-wind-river-reservation-2445664.html

In regard to Gaza, look at what it takes to get even a slight amount of attention devoted to it: a quadrennial “grass cutting.”

178

rf 11.20.12 at 6:17 pm

“The ‘they’ here refers to Israelis, right? Or is it just zionists? Or some other subset? After all, there are many ethnicities contained in that little country, they can’t all hold theories of ethnic superiority and manifest biblical destiny, can they (what does the bible have to say about Muslim destiny anyway)? Or is there a degree of mind control clandestine organisation at work that us naive non-’zionists’ just cannot fathom?”

Saying there might be a ‘national culture’ doesn’t negate the diversity of the country, or imply that*everyone* thinks the same way. It is a young country though, built on an armed, expansionist entitlement to the land and national myths that stress the Jewish peoples endless insecurity. National institutions came into existence in this context, and were probably reinforced with this ‘culture’ after 1967. (Post 67 religious Zionism is hardly indistinguishable from secular Zionism) Like every other country ‘Israel’ is subject to all of these complex interactions, especially in moments of crisis. Of course it’s more complex than that, but it’s surely a piece of it?

179

ezra abrams 11.20.12 at 6:48 pm

to those of you who may not be up on internal Israeli politics:
roughly (very) the split in Israel is like the Todd Akins GOP vs the B Frank Democrats, except they are thrown together in teh same small state; the original quote provided by our host may or may not be reflective of Israeli opinion, but certainly the many liberal Israelis I know would be horrified at any glorification of Brevig, so I suspect that within Israel the J Post probably occupys the same place as, say, R Limbaugh.

I repeat again, to those of you awed by the suffering of the Gazans: is it true or false that Egypt has sealed the border crossing from Gaza, and that Egypt could, with the stroke of a metaphorical pen, allow medicine etc to enter the gaza strip ???

@158, 159
I am not saying it is all the fault of Jordan etc
I am saying that those 800,000 refugees, of whom surely some left do to the civil war early in teh 1948 conflict, some of whom suffered at the hands of terrorists like Menachim Begin, others of whom thought or were pursuaded to leave by Arab ideas,

Of these people, some surely would have taken citizenship in Jordan or Egypt etc; if that had happened, would not the whole palestinian issue not be so burning; one can’t avoid the impression that the suffering of the refugees has been a useful political tool for the various arab gov’ts.
Which is really my main point: the suffering of the palestinians is useful to Assad, etc in controlling their own populace, just as the terror of Osama is useful to Bush/Obama to control the American populace.
You do know what it means, when I say the Socialist Deputies in the Reichstag voted for the war credits in 1914.

Kaveh @ 165, re antisemitism in Arab Textbooks:
for an historical overview by a noted middle eastern scholar
http://theamericanscholar.org/the-new-anti-semitism/

and some random examples from the web:; I’m willing to concede this whole thing is some huge giant enormous propaganda thing, but you have to do better then the one citation you provided.
In particular, you do know that a few years ago, a popular arab TV show had a skit with the blood libel ?
screw you; you say protocols of the elders of zion or blood libel, I say, to hell with you.

http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=783
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/19/AR2006051901769_2.html

and here
http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/2000_2009/2001/11/SPOTLIGHT-%20Incitement-%20Antisemitism%20and%20Hatred%20of
and here
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/myths3/MFtreatment.html#_ednref7

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/154453

180

Bloix 11.20.12 at 6:53 pm

Khaled Elgindy, a Brookings Institution fellow who was formerly an advisor to the Palestinian Authority, writes, http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/20/opinion/elgindy-gaza/index.html :

“Hamas is likely to emerge from this most recent conflict militarily weakened but politically strengthened, earning the respect and sympathy of both Palestinians and Arabs across the region.

For Abbas, however, the opposite is true. The crisis has highlighted his powerlessness and growing irrelevance, even sparking new anti-Abbas protests in the West Bank…

Hamas has more international legitimacy than ever, while the blockade of Gaza is crumbling bit by bit. While Abbas’ Palestinian Authority teeters on the verge of financial ruin, the emir of Qatar is showering Hamas with hundreds of millions of dollars. The crisis is only intensifying this trend as Gaza plays host to one Arab leader after another.”

This seems right to me. Hamas is on track to win this battle.

181

Mao Cheng Ji 11.20.12 at 7:21 pm

“Countries at war do not have any obligation to ensure that their enemies are not deprived of the means to attack them.”

Applying legalisms out of context is silly (which goes for the ‘right to defend itself’ as well). If you’re so keen on legal obligations, why don’t you address all the UN resolutions violated by Israel in the last 70 years? Had they been fulfilled, chances are there wouldn’t be any enemies in the first place.

182

Kaveh 11.20.12 at 8:13 pm

It’s interesting that people participating in the discussion assume others share their own assumptions about cultural criticism. I don’t believe individual texts or observations about particular sub-groups should be used as a basis for sweeping generalizations about the whole society they come from. And I assume other people won’t take my reference to texts or anecdotes that way (I assume the same for the OP). And yet here are so many comments protesting that a lot of Israelis would find Gilad Sharon’s piece objectionable. Well duh. Comparing JPost to Limbaugh sounds about right: the Fox News tribe won two consecutive elections in the US, and has a wide following, not marginal. Arab publics are similarly divided.

ezra @179: I was asking specifically about the textbooks, not anti-Semitism in general, and it sounds like my guess was right–this is received wisdom that you didn’t question and just kind on took on faith. Lewis’ article doesn’t address the issue substantially, just a brief reference to 40+ years ago. An article I found when I googled ‘arab textbooks still antisemitic’, which takes a pro-Israel stance and clearly isn’t trying to soft-peddle the issue, is this one from 2012, from CNS News. It has a lot of examples of biased content, but it’s simply not the kind of stuff that the term “anti-Semitism” conjures. And the worst of it is comparable to the bias in Israeli textbooks.

But, she says, they are never referred to as Palestinians unless the context is terrorism. They are called Arabs. “The Arab with a camel, in an Ali Baba dress. They describe them as vile and deviant and criminal, people who don’t pay taxes, people who live off the state, people who don’t want to develop,” she says. “The only representation is as refugees, primitive farmers and terrorists. You never see a Palestinian child or doctor or teacher or engineer or modern farmer.”

I didn’t follow the rest of those links because I’m quite aware that there is anti-Semitism in modern Arab culture. But there is also a very visible strain of Arabophobia and Islamophobia in modern Jewish-American and Israeli culture. This ‘anti-Semitic textbooks’ thing (conjuring images of kids reading the Protocols in their history textbooks) is just one example of that. This myth is not blood libel but it’s in very much the same spirit–claiming the Other drinks hate in their mother’s milk. Take anything that’s a basic part of life–children’s education, religious festivals–and paint it as fundamentally sinister. They don’t love their children as much as we love ours. Thy teach them hate (unlike us?). And so on. If you can’t see the racism that inheres in assuming these things so casually, you have no right to accuse others of racism.

Bloix @180 You say ‘Hamas is on track to win this battle’. What are the implications of this, to you?

183

Salient 11.20.12 at 8:25 pm

In general, cutting off your enemy’s access to weapons is a perfectly acceptable thing to do in time of war.

It wasn’t Watson that said this? He’s usually the one to make the general sweeping statement that’s comically inapplicable to the particular topic at hand. This topic makes everybody crazy.

Countries at war do not have any obligation to ensure that their enemies are not deprived of the means to attack them.

I think it would be reasonable to just pass over and ignore any broad positive statements about “war” (painfully ill-defined) as opposed to “aggression” (which at least has some attempt at internationally recognized definition).

So. Countries undertaking acts of aggression absolutely do have an obligation to ensure that their enemies are not deprived of necessities of life — food, shelter, health care for injuries caused by the acts of aggression, etc. Even in cases where there’s no such legal obligation, there is absolutely a moral obligation. That’s the basis for proportionality.

(You could probably restrict this to “noncombatant” enemies, or “civilians that your enemies live in the midst of” or “people who would be collatoral damage” something like that. Getting the definition of who you are attacking precisely correct is probably at least half the work in attempting to wage a morally acceptable act of aggression. I trust that people will read the above paragraph as speaking of all Gazans, not the particular people in a rocket-launcher squad.)

184

nick s 11.20.12 at 8:34 pm

I think part of the problem is the ineptness of the Israeli/IDF PR campaign

Jimminy crimminy. While the IDF’s gamification blog might have backfired, you’re talking about an extensive PR operation that has evolved to operate in symbiosis with American news media, and which deliberately employs native English speakers with Western media backgrounds as its flacks. Perhaps it’s that one needs more than media stylistics when defending collective punishment?

185

Harry 11.20.12 at 8:48 pm

Hey guys, war is hell? Ever been in one? I have and I didn’t like it.

186

ezra abrams 11.20.12 at 9:16 pm

kaveh at 182

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/nov/24/saudi-arabia-antisemitic-textbooks
or
n the book Readings and Texts, Grade 8, Part 2, 2003, p. 16, it says, “Your enemies killed your children, split open your women’s bellies, took your revered elderly people by the beard and led them to the death pits ….”

What part of that doesn’t meet the def of antisemitic textbook ?
from the last part of your post, it seems that you agree with me, that there are antisemitic texts, but its ok to have antisemitc arab texts cause the israelis have anti arab jewish textbooks ? (to mix some racial metaphors)

I repeat my earlier challenge:
to those of you awed by the suffering of the Gazans: is it true or false that Egypt has sealed the border crossing from Gaza, and that Egypt could, with the stroke of a metaphorical pen, allow medicine etc to enter the gaza strip ???

And, now that I look into this, the suffering of the Gazan people is due to Gazan fighters who attacked in egypt…what goes around come around

http://dailynewsegypt.com/2012/08/07/rafah-crossing-closed-following-sinai-attack/

187

LFC 11.20.12 at 9:26 pm

This thread sent me in search of a particular book that I had seen a fair while ago but whose author and title I couldn’t remember (annoying — a more thorough search will prob. uncover it); anyway, in the course of my brief unsuccessful search for it I turned up some other recent titles, one of which I thought I’d link, fwiw (w/ the caveat that I haven’t read it and therefore can’t actually recommend, just saying it looked interesting): here.

188

teraz kurwa my 11.20.12 at 9:30 pm

Chris and his supporters here are a reminder of why I want nothing to do with the movement to support Palestinian rights. This in spite of how much I despise the policies of the Israeli government, the views of the majority of Israelis on the conflict, and my view that it is the Israelis that have been primarily responsible for preventing a resolution of the conflict over the past dozen years since Barak pulled the plug on Taba. The use of the term Nazi (like responding to an ugly statement by a Muslim with an obscene Mohammed cartoon) and the silly stuff on refugees (what about the Turkish refugees from Crete and all over the Balkans during the Balkan wars, the pieds noirs refugees, the Polish refugees from the kresy and the German ones from western and northern Poland – the list can be expanded quite a bit even with we just limit ourselves to the twentieth century) are the first two problems that come to mind, and there are others. It’s a mirror image of Likud and their US cheerleaders.

189

gastro george 11.20.12 at 10:01 pm

Ezra – you reiterate the possibility of Egypt opening the Rafah crossing, without consideration of any complexity about this, not least any leverage that the US government (or should we say the Israeli government) has on the Egyptian government.

190

Tangurena 11.20.12 at 10:20 pm

The conclusion will only be “decisive” once the offshore gas fields are signed over to Israel.

191

Phil 11.20.12 at 10:22 pm

Countries at war do not have any obligation to ensure that their enemies are not deprived of the means to attack them

Rewinding a bit, the original question was whether there was any way of justifying the Israeli blockade of Gaza in purely self-defensive terms, or whether it could only be viewed as collective punishment of the people of Gaza by the government of Israel. I argued the latter, and tested it by taking on the argument for the blockade at its strongest point, by imagining a purely hypothetical blockade which stopped nothing getting into Gaza except actual weapons.

Now, it seems to me that any government that’s going to stay a government needs a decent chance of defending its borders and an effective monopoly of force within those borders. If Gaza isn’t going to turn into Somalia, whoever is in power needs to have enough firepower to deter the largest gang of local warlords which aren’t in power. To assure a basic level of security for the people, whoever is in power also needs to have some chance of deterring the IDF from rolling in at the drop of a hat. To the extent that Gaza is being denied those things, Gaza is not being permitted to function as a political community. Which means that the people of Gaza are being condemned to anarchy and insecurity as a matter of policy – which is collective punishment. Obviously, in reality Gaza and the people of Gaza are being denied much more than that, and have much more to worry about than the police running out of bullets. That said, when the criminals are carrying AK47s, the police running out of bullets isn’t a trivial problem.

As for “countries at war”, Israel is not at war with Gaza. For Israel to be at war with Gaza, Gaza would have to be a state – or part of a state – which was recognised by Israel. And that’s what successive Israeli governments have worked to avoid, because that state would take up more land than they care to give up.

192

retief 11.20.12 at 10:46 pm

@Bloix in 93. A mirror is always helpful. If one sees nazis in it, that is not the fault of the mirror.

Also if one must take pains to describe the differences between one’s preferred ethnic cleansing and Nazi ethnic cleansing, one is already in trouble. Especially when one is calling for a “decisive conclusion,” seeking lebensraum in annexing territory, and talking about denying minority ethnicity citizens their rights.

193

rootless (@root_e) 11.20.12 at 11:05 pm

Also if one must take pains to describe the differences between one’s preferred ethnic cleansing and Nazi ethnic cleansing, one is already in trouble. Especially when one is calling for a “decisive conclusion,” seeking lebensraum in annexing territory, and talking about denying minority ethnicity citizens their rights.

Actually there is a significant difference between a nation that engages in genocide and one where a jackass advocates mass murder on the pages of a newspaper. For example, although the US did engage in “flattening” large parts of Iraqi cities during Gulf War II, and although there were many op-eds in US papers advocating mass murder, the US did not put into a plan to wipe out the people of Iraq. Thus, deplorable though they were, US actions in Iraq are easily distinguishable from e.g. Nazi extermination or the Turkish genocide of Armenians. Things that happen, that take place in the real world, are different from things that are advocated in newspapers – especially in nations were there is some semblance of free speech.

194

retief 11.20.12 at 11:40 pm

Actually there is a significant difference between a nation that engages in genocide and one where a jackass advocates mass murder on the pages of a newspaper.

I’m happy to agree with you there. Far be it from me to suggest that Israel is all nazis. There is, however, an “exterminate the brutes” faction among Israelis, and especially among “friends” of Israel, that has a pretty good resemblance to fascists.

Israel has had 45 years to figure out what to do with all the arabs they decided to annex. During all that time there have been voices for the “kill them all, drive them into the sea” answer. To Israel’s great credit that answer has never been pursued. On the other hand neither has Israel been willing to let those arabs and their territories go. So Israel chooses to embrace a wound that will never heal. When Israel took the West Bank I believe the King of Jordan was heard to say “No, please not the briar patch. Anything but the briar patch.”

195

Kaveh 11.20.12 at 11:43 pm

Ezra: What part of that doesn’t meet the def of antisemitic textbook ?

It sounds like any other sensationalized depiction of violence, which may or may not be bigoted, depending on the context. It fits in with what seems to be the case for both Arab and Israeli textbooks, that there’s a considerable degree of militarism and flag-waving, but that’s not the same as hating the Other just because of who they are, irrespective of history of violent conflict. There’s no hint of blood libel or Protocols myth in this.

As for the Saudi anti-Semitic literature, it’s interesting that S. Arabia would be the main source of this–suggesting there’s a market for this elsewhere in the Arab world, bu not much interest in it among the more educated, writers, &c.. It’s one very bad instance but it doesn’t justify the accusation that anti-Semitism is prevalent in Arab textbooks, let alone in Palestinian textbooks.

from the last part of your post, it seems that you agree with me, that there are antisemitic texts, but its ok to have antisemitc arab texts cause the israelis have anti arab jewish textbooks ? (to mix some racial metaphors)

1) Sort of, my answer was more specific than yes or no
2) Where in the nine hells would you get the idea that I think this is okay? I’m frankly a little disturbed that you would get that out of my comment.

Like with Meredith @120’s response to Chaz’s comment above, “Kaveh, maybe you’re right, but that still isn’t clear to me.” I don’t mean to be rude, but it damn well is clear if you read the original comment. There simply is. no. way. that the comment said that the US is dominated by Jews (the country intended was CLEARLY Israel). Unless you’re very OVER-eagerly looking for something to be offended by, or just have very uncharitable assumptions about the commenter, or…

Anyway, enough with petty semantic controversies meant to derail the discussion. It seems like all the “but THEY…” comments and pedantry are just a way to paralyze the discussion.

196

novakant 11.20.12 at 11:54 pm

So what does it mean about Israel that they keep voting in a party that is foundationally committed to killing Palestinians?

What does it mean about the US and UK that they keep voting in parties (Dem and Rep, Labour and Tory alike) that are foundationally committed to killing brown people and exporting arms to the Middle East and Africa. Not defending the Israeli government in the least, but rather hoping the vitriol that comes up in these discussions would hit closer to home as well, otherwise it looks a bit ersatz to me, given that our crimes are much graver.

197

Kaveh 11.21.12 at 12:08 am

@196 That’s why I keep bringing up the US political dimension–because these things are very closely tied in several ways. Israel and Iran would have much, MUCH less reason to threaten each other like a couple of maniacs if the Palestinian question were resolved. A very significant cause of US policy is pressure from the Israel lobby–look at what orgs like Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations do–half their press releases are yellow journalism related to Iran. Plus Sheldon Adelson, all the neocon outfits, massive influence in Congress. So it’s not about comparing two different things, US and Israeli violence: they are integrally connected.

198

Sebastian H 11.21.12 at 12:55 am

“Israel and Iran would have much, MUCH less reason to threaten each other like a couple of maniacs if the Palestinian question were resolved.”

That is exactly backward. Iran makes war against Israel THROUGH Palestinian proxies. One of the major reasons the Palestinian question cannot be resolved is because Palestinians get just enough support from other Arab governments to continue a long bleeding war and have hope that a long bleeding war can be successful against Israel. Iran doesn’t threaten Israel because of the Palestinian question. They make war against Israel through the Palestinian question.

199

rf 11.21.12 at 1:06 am

And Israel doesn’t use proxies to target regional enemies?

200

Sebastian H 11.21.12 at 2:02 am

Maybe they do. Though it isn’t obvious who you have in mind. I’m not sure the significance in any case. I’m not excusing Israel. I’m at most describing one of the reasons why the problem is so intractable.

201

LFC 11.21.12 at 2:14 am

Kaveh @117
I think Barthes’ conclusion (in Mythologies) that politics fashioned in the image of art tends toward fascism has an analog here: politics refashioned in the image of narrative, and of poetic justice, tends towards a sub-fascist type of brutality.

As the astronaut said to Mission Control: Houston, we have a problem. Because a fair amount of politics is fashioned “in the image of narrative,” or so one could argue.

202

Jim Demintia 11.21.12 at 2:21 am

Maybe rather than narrative in general, it’s the genre, and particularly the genre of romance, that’s at issue.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0822334445

203

Kaveh 11.21.12 at 2:34 am

@198 Iran wouldn’t have proxies to wage war with if the Palestinian question were resolved. Hezbollah has already transitioned to acting like a regular political party in Lebanon, Hamas would do the same–would already have done so, I think, if Israel were serious about making a deal with them. Unless you take an exceptionalist position and insist that Palestinian militant groups would not respond to the same sorts of incentives other people respond to.

LFC, Yes you could argue that narrative and aesthetics are involved in politics in all sorts of ways, what I had in mind as taking a narrative too seriously and trying to make policy conform to it directly and absolutely, refusing to consider anything outside the narrative.

204

skeptic 11.21.12 at 3:24 am

Seeing the executed “spies” dragged through the streets gave me a real frisson. Rooting for the Palis is fun!

205

El Cid 11.21.12 at 4:32 am

It’s a shame how so many conquering nations are saddled with such low quality conquered peoples. The underhandedess, the lack of civility, the savageness — it almost makes the whole game of taking territory and resources and maintaining control of all those people in the way feel somewhat sordid.

206

christian_h 11.21.12 at 6:55 am

204 is blatant racism. Not just the couched in liberal politeness racism displayed by many commenters in this thread (pretty much the same crowd by the way, novakant, who also defend the US’ racist policies simply because they are implemented by a democratic administration) but straight-up, blatant racism.

207

Chaz 11.21.12 at 8:42 am

In the American southwest there is a Mexican-American organization called MEChA. It has school-sponsored chapters at many middle and high schools, kind of like the black student union but for Mexican kids. They are typical school clubs. My middle school had a MEChA club. Also, the MEChA founding charter says that the American southwest belongs to the Aztlan people and should reconquered. Most members do not know this.

One of the founding figures of the American Democratic Party was Andrew Jackson. The Democratic Party celebrates his legacy at an annual party and he is on the twenty dollar bill. Also, Andrew Jackson was a murderer who persecuted Native Americans.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s dad was a member of the Nazi party. Arnold once said the person he most admired was Adolph Hitler. Nevertheless Arnold Schwarzenegger served as governor for 7 years without committing a single war crime.

Forgive me if I don’t pay much attention to Hamas’ founding charter.

208

Cian 11.21.12 at 11:56 am

I ran an unpopular settler state partially dependent upon a fading superpower, with a water problem, I would devote my time to normalizing my relations with my neighbors. I certainly wouldn’t antagonize the rising local power (Turkey), or publicly support unpopular and failing local dictatorships. And any internal discussion of ethnic cleansing by own people would make me really nervous – what goes around, comes around, after all.

I really struggle to see how Israel can, following it’s current logic, survive another 60 years. Which will be unfortunate for any Jewish person unfortunate enough to be there when the whole thing comes tumbling down.

209

Phil 11.21.12 at 12:09 pm

Which is why the tone of some of Israel’s defenders is so unfortunate, to put it mildly. A return to the 1967 borders, and the establishment of peaceful coexistence with the Palestinian Authority, may be the minimum condition for preventing the ultimate collapse of Israel. Longer term, the establishment of a bi-national secular state may be the most viable solution for the Jews of Israel and Palestine, as well as for the majority population. Right now I’m more concerned for the present-day victims, but I really don’t want the state of Israel to adopt any strategy which is likely to result in the Jews being driven into the sea.

210

rf 11.21.12 at 12:21 pm

‘I’m not sure the significance in any case’

I think if you decontextualize Irans support for Hamas, (without acknowledging that every state in the region exploits their ‘enemies’ internal divisions and tries to use the various transnational identities to their benefit), it gives a skewed perspective, and leaves out the fact that Israel and the US do the same to Iran, for starters.
I’m with Kaveh though, and think it more a symptom of the conflict than the cause.

211

puss wallgreen 11.21.12 at 12:22 pm

“I ran an unpopular settler state partially dependent upon a fading superpower, with a water problem, I would devote my time to normalizing my relations with my neighbors”
Even more so, of course, if I affected to believe I was threatened with an imminent nuclear attack.

212

Daryl McCullough 11.21.12 at 1:13 pm

Chaz,

I’ve been leading a “Get Jackson off the twenty” movement for years, to no success. Alternatively, perhaps I can get people to draw a Hitler mustache on his likeness, a tiny form of civil disobedience.

213

Shay Begorrah 11.21.12 at 1:51 pm

@cian

I really struggle to see how Israel can, following it’s current logic, survive another 60 years. Which will be unfortunate for any Jewish person unfortunate enough to be there when the whole thing comes tumbling down.

It will be unfortunate for everyone downwind. Israel has a large nuclear arsenal and that is the ultimate fall back plan. The utter destruction of regional rivals with the accompanying megadeaths it would require can always be achieved as long as Israel has a monopoly on nuclear weapons in the region. Though the fuss about the Iranian nuclear program is mainly distraction the long term worry for Israel of having a regional competitor capable of retaliating in kind against a nuclear attack is very real.

As @13 mentioned above “Never again” is really quite specific.

As for water, I imagine that Israeli strategic planners have not given up on the Litani river, a large water resource a mere 30km from Israel’s current northernmost extent – it would make a terrific new border.

All this is to say Israel’s plans are to use force of arms to keep its locale permanently dominated so that strategic resources can be annexed if required. There is no other course of action compatible with Israel’s continued existence as the kind of state it is now.

214

Chaz 11.21.12 at 8:59 pm

Anon, you should go read that Economist page someone linked to above. Iron Dome has a success rate of 80%. So one in five missiles gets through. Last I checked Russia and China had a lot more than five missiles.

Also, the fact that you are talking about a nuclear war with China and Russia in a thread about Gaza makes me think that you are stupid.

215

Cian 11.21.12 at 9:27 pm

80% success rate against the missiles launched by Hamas. Which suggests the success rate against sophisticated missiles would be significantly lower.

Meanwhile, in the real world … Israel keeps growing, and it becomes more skillful
in defeating its enemies.

Yes who can forget the victory against Hezbollah, the skillful way in which Turkey was antagonized, or the ways in which Israel made it extremely difficult for Egypt’s government to tacitly support her. And the Iraq war was a huge success for Israel’s long term interests in the region. When the US’s influence in the region fades and Israel has to stand on its own two feet, things could be very difficult.

216

nick s 11.21.12 at 9:29 pm

Iron Dome has a success rate of 80%. So one in five missiles gets through. Last I checked Russia and China had a lot more than five missiles.

And the US has a lot more than 8,000 square miles. anon isn’t even a very good troll.

Israel may still exist in 60 years, but as a democracy? We’ve seen the impact of 20 years of ex-Soviet immigration, settler militancy and growing ultra-Orthodox political heft; I don’t see any reason to doubt that Israel’s political future continues along that path.

217

LFC 11.21.12 at 11:13 pm

I linked to something about Iron Dome earlier but apparently it went into moderation.

218

Shay Begorrah 11.22.12 at 11:10 am

It may be the case that some of us (me) were almost completely wrong about how the latest round of Israeli punishment attacks on Gaza were going to end and about how Obama’s second term foreign policy agenda was going to be indistinguishable from his first term’s.

The ceasefire agreement, if it holds, is a significant improvement for almost everyone:

M J Rosenberg has a short blog post which covers it.

http://mjayrosenberg.com/2012/11/21/ceasefire-agreement-what-it-means/

Of course there were multiple protests in Israel against the nascent ceasefire, because it was never about the rockets. Peace is hell apparently. Someone else can quote 1984.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/162329#.UK4GwWf3TAw

219

LFC 11.22.12 at 3:39 pm

further to 218: the link to the Iron Dome/SDI post is not being accepted (for whatever reason), but the post is mentioned here:
http://www.whiteoliphaunt.com/duckofminerva/2012/11/wednesday-morning-linkage-5.html
(scroll down a bit)

220

Barry 11.22.12 at 5:29 pm

Another: ” Iron Dome has a success rate of 80%. So one in five missiles gets through. Last I checked Russia and China had a lot more than five missiles.”

nick s: “And the US has a lot more than 8,000 square miles. anon isn’t even a very good troll.”

Those missiles are called ‘missiles, rather than ‘rockets’ for a reason.

221

Chaz 11.22.12 at 5:52 pm

Yes, Clinton and Morsi seem to have achieved almost the best possible outcome. When you look at it the way Rosenberg puts it it’s amazing that it didn’t happen a lot sooner. Hamas has been offering for years to stop the rocket attacks if Israel stopped its own attacks and the blockade. That is a perfectly good deal for Israel and should have been agreed years ago.

In that light it seems to me that Israel actually did very well out of this deal. The articles I’ve read say they got Egypt to guarantee the Palestinian side of the agreement, and therefore assume the role of Gaza’s policeman. Does that mean there will be Egyptian police/soldiers in Gaza? If so that is a huge gain for Israel. It is step 1 on the road to making Gaza Someone Else’s Problem.

They do lose the ability to have their invasion and annihilate Hamas, but they wouldn’t have been successful at that anyway. This is a win for rational right wing Israelis (Ariel Sharon style I guess) and a loss for kill-‘em-all right wing Israelis. Looks like it may cost Netanyahu votes which is scary.

I do not think this will lead to any progress in general peace negotiations. Those are thoroughly blocked by Israeli attachment to the West Bank settlements.

222

ezra abrams 11.22.12 at 8:29 pm

Shay at 220
You say, quote
>>Of course there were multiple protests in Israel against the nascent ceasefire, because it was never about the rockets. Peace is hell apparently. Someone else can quote 1984.
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/162329#.UK4GwWf3TAw<&lt;
<<<
If you bother to read the linked post, it talks of 2 (two) protests; one had "dozens" of people
Both were in towns were rockets from Gaza hit apt buildings

I'm sure you can find a couple dozen protestors on any thing anytime; that you implicitly extrapolate from this small group says a lot

223

ezra abrams 11.22.12 at 8:34 pm

If you measure the outrage per death for palestinian children,that number is way, way higher then the outrage per death of children in N Korea, Congo, Syria etc etc

Can one of you thoughtful, logical, philosphically trained academics explain to me the disparity ?
That is, why is the death of a palestinian child the cause of worldwide vituperation against jews, while the deaths of 1,000s is passed un noticed.

As CT pretends to a place where logic and knowledge are important, I await your response

And I repeat, for the 3rd time a challenge: the blockade that causes so much suffering in Gaza – this is an EGYPTIAN blockade, which was instituted cause crimminals in GAZA attacked people in Egypt
yet Israel is responsible for the lack of medical supplies.
The more I follow the “left” – CT, counterpunch, etc, themore antisemitic you people seem, which of course, if you know anything about psychology, will make you, if not already, more antisemitic (you can’t admit the charge is right, therefore yhou need to attack the messenger; the easiest way to do that is charge the jews like me with some crime or genetic defect…know thyself, academician)

224

Mao Cheng Ji 11.22.12 at 9:02 pm

But no one here would defend the Syrian government, and advocate for The Alawite State and its right to defend itself. Otherwise you’d probably find Alawi-haters all over the place.

225

LFC 11.22.12 at 9:05 pm

@224
Many Jews, including some in Israel, are very critical of and opposed to Israeli govt policy, as I’m sure you must know.

226

Walt 11.22.12 at 9:08 pm

ezra: Bullshit. The truth is that people think of Israelis as modern social democrats, and expect them to conform to modern social democratic standards of behavior. I’m sorry the Israeli government finds it so hard to meet this expectation. I hear approximately 1000% as much about Pakistani wedding parties killed by drones than I do about Syria, because people have the same expectation out of the US.

Mao, I’m sure that if you spent a few more minutes at it, you could find an even more self-flattering reason.

227

rf 11.22.12 at 9:22 pm

“Can one of you thoughtful, logical, philosphically trained academics explain to me the disparity ?”

Well I’m not a ‘thoughtful, logical, philosphically trained academic’ but this argument is a complete strawman. The Syrian and North Korean regimes get much worse press than the Israelis. They have virtually no public supporters. No newspaper lobbies for arming Hamas the way they have been for arming the FSA. Why the Western Media don’t pay attention to the Congo is a good question but irrelevant to leftist ‘anti-semitism’, more probably due to racism and a general indifference towards Africa.

What are you asking here Ezra? Why do the left pay so much attention to Israel? Why does that matter? I mean the answer should be clear. Israel and the Middle East in general have been at the centre of US foreign policy for a generation. The conflict fits quite comfortably into a leftist opposition to ‘anti-imperialism.’ The conflict is easier (geographically, culturally etc) for western leftist to get access to. But once again, this is largely irrelevant to the merits of the case.

Do we really have to clear our throats every time we oppose an Israeli policy by listing a series of objections to Hamas and every other Arab regime? That’s politically juvenile.

228

Phil 11.22.12 at 9:54 pm

the blockade that causes so much suffering in Gaza – this is an EGYPTIAN blockade

I think you’re confused. We were talking about this blockade.

229

rootless (@root_e) 11.23.12 at 12:13 am

” The truth is that people think of Israelis as modern social democrats, and expect them to conform to modern social democratic standards of behavior. “

Indeed they do. However, the behavior of modern social democratic states smells a lot worse than advertised.

230

Cian 11.23.12 at 1:24 pm

The more I follow the “left” – CT, counterpunch, etc, themore antisemitic you people seem, which of course, if you know anything about psychology

You know twenty years of this kind of crap in the UK has had the result that the term anti-semitism has become pretty meaningless. When even mild criticisms of Israeli behavior result in charges of anti-semitism the word loses any power.

You might want to reflect on that point as you throw your ridiculous and baseless criticisms around.

231

Kaveh 11.23.12 at 4:41 pm

I answered ezra’s question ‘why so much attention to Israel?’ in my last two comments, but I’m sure he ignored it because his purpose was to come here and accuse people, not to get an actual answer. However I was actually hoping for a response from Bloix to my question @182 about his comment @180. Maybe I shouldn’t have put it all the way at the bottom.

232

Donald Johnson 11.24.12 at 10:09 pm

“. One of the major reasons the Palestinian question cannot be resolved is because Palestinians get just enough support from other Arab governments to continue a long bleeding war and have hope that a long bleeding war can be successful against Israel. Iran doesn’t threaten Israel because of the Palestinian question. They make war against Israel through the Palestinian question.”

This seems almost completely wrong. The first sentence about why the Palestinian question cannot be resolved has an ugly sound to it–the implication seems to be that if only the Arab countries would abandon the Palestinians altogether the Israelis could do what they wanted and the Palestinians would have no choice but comply. Actually, it’s the Palestinian refusal to accept their dispossession that is “responsible”, if one wants to put it that way. As for Iran, their involvement isn’t helpful (the same thing I would say about US involvement) , but there’s no reason to assume some metaphysical hatred of Israel independent of what Israel actually did to the Palestinians. Again, that’s not to say that supplying weapons to Hezbollah or Hamas is a good thing (any more than the US supply of weapons to Israel has been a good thing) or that the Iranian hatred of Israel isn’t also tied in with anti-semitism, but then the support for Israel given by the US seems tied with anti-Arab hatred and/or Islamophobia. But we outsiders are not the main cause of the conflict on either side–we just make it worse.

233

ezra abrams 11.25.12 at 6:10 am

phil at 229 – after looking at your source, all i can say is, I don’t get it; what does this have to do with the egyptian crossing, closed because gaza gunmen performed terror on egyptian soil ?

In regard to the diff std
226 – irrelevant
227, 228
you either concede my point, and offer a defense as follows below, or offer comparisions that tacitly concede my point
Defense:
a) Israel pretends to be a mod democracy, and therefore are held to a higher std
good to know – does that mean if israel becomes an explicit totalitarian theocratic state, sort of like syria or iran, its offenses will be discussed less ?
b) here in the us, we have a longstanding and direct involvement with israel, and therefore share a more direct culpability then for ,say, biafra. true enough; However, you seem to frame the argument in terms of a ssort of crude national interest ; I don’t understand the ethical thing here, a death is more important if we cause it directly ?please note that more important is different from ability to do something

Tacitly concede
c) ok, N Korea is worse. Wow; a state that allows mass starvation of its citizens is worse then Israel – I think that sort of tacitly concedes the point, although I would like to see how many inchs of newsprint, or hours of academic blogging, go to N Korea vs israel.
Or how many hours of UN discussion.
Or how many Textbooks portray the N Koreans in a manner similar to what we see in the anti jewish filth that comes from , say, the Saudis. I argued this point previously with Kaveh; if you look at the exchange between me and him (?her) you see that while i may have erred in saying that *palestinian* textbooks use the worst sort of antisemitic stereotypes, other texts promoted by the Saudis do,, and that the worst sort of Nazi antisemeitc protocols of elders of zion stereotyping is , if not common, certainly often found
score: ezra 1, Kaveh .5

Even if you say that the enslavement of the Palestinians is a long standing problme that deserves special condemnation because it is a problem that is ongoing – not the result of an active war, I wonder why I don’t hear any condemnation of the hundreds of rockets launched, which, I think , have killed few people due to the amazing civil defense that Israel has..
let me be clear: I’m not saying what the Israelis are doing is good. And to be, tangentially, part of a nation or people who elected A Sharon, the butcher of the refugee camp, as PM is sickening.

On the other hand, Palestinians have matched the Israelis, outrage for outrage
and I say unto you, verily unto the 100th generation of our ANCESTORS, we shall search for the smallest slight, that our children may live in hatred.

IN the future, the present can continue; a disaster for the palestinians; or we could have a final solution to the palestinian problem; a final solution to the jewish problem, or the two state solution.
I don’t know why the two state solution hasn’t happened – some will say the Arabs consistently turned it down; others that the Israelis never made an honest offer.

what you should be reading here, if you can read, is that most American jews are highly conflicted; they know that the suffering of the palestinians is not right, but what do you do when someone unambiguously calls for your destruction , and lobs rockets at your schools ?
And what do you do as Israel becomes not S Africa, but almost worse.

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Mao Cheng Ji 11.25.12 at 9:00 am

“or we could have a final solution to the palestinian problem; a final solution to the jewish problem, or the two state solution.”

The ‘palestinian problem’ is the problem that exists in Palestine, the problem perceived by most in the international community as the last, antiquated incident of European settler colonialism. What the heck is “the jewish problem” you speak of?

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Walt 11.25.12 at 10:06 am

ezra, your actual argument, that you are actually making, is that people should hold Israel to the low standards that they hold Syria to? For real? I’m sorry the standards of civilized behavior are so burdensome.

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christian_h 11.25.12 at 10:49 am

My government does not support North Korea, my taxes are not paying for North Korean bombs, any public protest I have over North Korea will not impress the regime one bit (it might however encourage our regime towards more belligerence). North Korea is also not a racist colonial settler state set up by Western powers in order to (a) exert imperial control in the Middle East and (b) (let’s not forget this) to satisfy European antisemites. This what aboutery is desperate flailing stuff. In contrast, the attempt to proclaim some kind of equivalence between the ethnic cleanser and those being ethnically cleansed, the occupier and the occupied, the oppressor and the oppressed is quite simply racist.

To be clear – in case it needs to be made explicit – there is nothing new or unique about this kind of racist justification of colonial settlement. There sure as heck is not anything “Jewish” about it, but then nobody here has ever claimed such – with the possible exception of Ezra himself who seems to claim that there is something specifically “Jewish American” about this kind of argument – brought about, if I understand him correctly by a fear of the Eternal Antisemite that is always present if temporarily hidden. In reality, in a country founded on the successful implementation of a program of eradication of the natives, a country with Andrew Jackson on the twenty dollar bill, and a country that has not dealt with this history at all (indeed, in many ways it is not history at all but ongoing) no such mythical construct is needed to make the argument that the brutes are responsible for their own extermination.

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Neil 11.25.12 at 12:03 pm

Interesting discussion by Michael Walzer on the Dissent blog -
http://www.dissentmagazine.org/blog/the-paradox-and-tragedy-of-israeli-palestinian-politics.

Walzer argues that Hamas is an evil organization, which is sustained and maintained in power by the Israeli right because it enables them to keep a hold on power and avoid genuine progress toward peace. The analysis is hardly earth-shattering. It is more interesting that it comes from such a committed Zionist. When you have someone like Walzer saying, effectively, that the fault is equally on both sides you have a clear sign that US Jews can no longer be relied upon in the way they once could.

I don’t really begin to understand Ezra’s point. He is of course right that Israel commands a place in political discourse that it is out of proportion to its crimes. He sees in this evidence of anti-semitism, which is unlikely to be anything like a full explanation (Zimbabwe also receives a disproportionate amount of attention in the UK, and for the same reason as Israel: a history of involvement in the region plus sheer inertia: media cover things that they and their readers are familiar with). In any case, what is supposed to follow from the fact? Israel is not the worst place in the world, by a long chalk. So? Does that mean that its many and egregious faults are okay? That we’re not allowed to discuss them? Or only allowed to discuss them after discussing worse places? What possible justification could there be for that?

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gastro george 11.25.12 at 2:24 pm

“what does this have to do with the egyptian crossing, closed because gaza gunmen performed terror on egyptian soil ?”

Ezra, you continue to parrot this transparent untruth. The Rafah crossing is subject to the Israeli/Egypt “peace” accords, and Egyptian policing of the crossing has been required to be on a par with the Israeli crossings, not the least by the leverage that the US exerts through it’s kind “donations” to the Egyptian military and the Mubarak regime. While the new Egyptian government would probably prefer to relax policing at the crossing, it too is subject to the same pressures, and the military and economic consequences of disagreement.

The lawless situation in the Sinai is also somewhat affected by the demilitarisation of the area by the same accords.

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Bloix 11.25.12 at 6:32 pm

Kaveh #232- Against my better judgment I checked this thread after being away for Thanksgiving, and my goodness, it’s still active. So in the event you’re still around, Kaveh:

First of all, it’s now clear that Hamas did win this round.

Second, something I should have pointed out earlier: Hamas’s primary enemy at this stage of the conflict is not Israel. It’s the PA. Hamas can’t begin its project of eliminating Israel until it displaces the PA as the representative of the Palestinian people.

Israel, as a result of its inability to resolve the contradictions within its own society, is unwilling or unable to constrain the settler movement and to move toward acceptance of a Palestinian state. So the PA, at this point, is able to accomplish nothing for Palestinians except to provide a degree of stability. But Hamas can disturb that stability with very little effort and by doing so, it can demonstrate that the PA is making no progress at all toward an end to the occupation. In doing so, it deligitimizes the PA and advances its own claim to be the true embodiment of Palestinian aspirations.

Hamas took a giant step forward in accomplishing its goals with Israel’s failure in the ridiculously named Cast Lead. Israel’s current failure in the equally absurdly named Pillar of Defense is another step toward Hamas’s victory over the PA. Just about everything that Israel has done since Sharon left the scene has strengthened Hamas, weakened the PA, and reduced Israel’s odds of existence in the long term.

Today, the West Bank is reasonably quiet due to the willingness of Palestinians there to accept the leadership of the PA, which tacitly agreed to end the Second Intifada in 2005. Once they turn to Hamas instead, we will have a Third Intifada, with who knows what outcome.

Another point: one of the most damaging side effects of the Gaza crisis is that it has provided cover for the suppression of secular democracy in Egypt, which might have happened in any event but which was clearly advanced by Hamas’s success. If fundamentalist theocrats prevail in Egypt and in Syria, which is beginning to seem likely, I really don’t see a good result for anyone living in the area between them.

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ezra abrams 11.25.12 at 6:33 pm

@239
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blockade_of_the_Gaza_Strip#cite_note-30
is a source, perhaps not very reliable (as i’m sure you know, wikipeia varies alot), that, I think, largely supports my view, although it offers some support for your view.

You offer no evidence that American aid exerts pressure on Egypt’s policy in this regard, although it wouldn’t suprise me if this were true (and, it might be hard to obtain documents or statements to that effect; certainly, the activities of the Pakistani authorities might be cited as a similar example)

But, I’m willing to read thru some authoritative sources (sadly, my only language is english) if you provide them, that support your point of view.

walt at 236 – go back and read the posts.
It wasn’t I who said that Israel should be held to a high std cause it was a westernized democracy – that is someone else. That can only mean that totalitarian nondemocratic nonwestern regimes can be held ot a lower std; hence my irony

@235 – politely, get up to speed or go somewhere else. You should, with only a most minimal amount of googling, be able to understand that “jewish problem” is areference to Nazi views which culminated in teh final solution, and that one can find, again with minimal effort, such sentiments expressed widely in the arab world (contrast with the attitude of israel toward the tomb of the patriarchs massacare, widely condemmed as crimminal – when have palestinians shown any concern ?)

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Walt 11.25.12 at 7:07 pm

No, you’re saying it should be held to a lower standard. You are complaining that people expect more out of a modern democracy like Israel than they do out of a fucked-up place like North Korea. From this, I can only conclude that you think outdoing North Korea is too hard.

People expect more out of the United States than they do out of North Korea. Somehow it has never occurred to anyone to complain about this fact. (Though now probably someone will uncover the National Review blog post that does exactly that.)

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engels 11.25.12 at 7:35 pm

‘Does that mean… that we’re… only allowed to discuss [Israel's faults] after discussing those of worse places? What possible justification could there be for that?’

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filibuster

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rf 11.25.12 at 7:56 pm

“But, I’m willing to read thru some authoritative sources (sadly, my only language is english) if you provide them, that support your point of view.”

On this conflict specifically, rather than the history, there’s a decent report at the International Crisis Group which touches on this (I’m not going to link as don’t know how to do it in a tidy manner, if you know what I mean – But it’s right there, under the heading ‘Israel and Hamas:’…..on their main page)

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Jesse 11.25.12 at 8:09 pm

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/04/gaza200804

http://justworldnews.org/archives/002819.html
” Well, they started squeezing Hamas almost immediately. Originally, in the weeks right after the late-January election, Hamas wanted to form a relatively moderate government that would include a large number of political “independents” under the leadership of Hamas’s Ismail Haniyeh as Prime Minister. But as I know– because I was the conduit of one of these threats– threats of lethal violence were sent by the Israelis to any Palestinian “independents” who might be even considering joining a Haniyeh-led government. As a result, none of them did; and the government that Haniyeh ended up forming was 100% Hamas.

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Mao Cheng Ji 11.25.12 at 9:52 pm

“You should, with only a most minimal amount of googling, be able to understand that “jewish problem” is areference to Nazi views which culminated in teh final solution, and that one can find, again with minimal effort, such sentiments expressed widely in the arab world (contrast with the attitude of israel toward the tomb of the patriarchs massacare, widely condemmed as crimminal – when have palestinians shown any concern ?)”

So then we agree that the things like “Jewish problem” or “Negro problem” can only exist in a bigoted mind, while the Palestinian problem (in reference to Palestine) is a very real one. I’ll add that your approach of assigning blame to “the Arab world” and “Palestinians” is very much unenlightened. Those are not ideologies, but large groups of people of all walks of life, sentiments, and convictions.

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gastro george 11.25.12 at 11:18 pm

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rf 11.26.12 at 12:09 am

I don’t know, Ezra has a point here I think. (Although I know nothing about Egypt so take this with a pinch of salt) Arab regimes have a history of using the Palestinian situation for their own benefit and Mubarak wasn’t exactly sympathetic to Islamist movements. How much of his regimes policy towards Gaza was due to US/Israeli influence I don’t know, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume his instincts would have led him to be hostile to Hamas regardless of US ‘interests’.
It would be interesting to know to what extent US aid helped him stay in power, but I don’t think policy would have been particularly different without it. (Afaik a lot of the early enthusiasm for the US/Egyptian alliance came from Sadat, rather than being the end product of US/Zionist pressure)
This is all irrelevant to the larger point of course, and a diversion US Zionists tend to use to avoid actually dealing with the facts of the situation at hand.

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gastro george 11.26.12 at 8:56 am

“It would be interesting to know to what extent US aid helped him stay in power …”

“a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_military_aid#Notable_Military_Aid”>For each year of 1976-2002, Israel was the largest recipient of U.S. military aid. Egypt was second-largest 1981-2002. Since 2002, Israel and Egypt have remained among the top four annual recipients of U.S. military aid.

“… but I don’t think policy would have been particularly different without it. “

Well it’s quite like that neither Sadat nor Mubarak, nor any other US “puppet”, would have been in power.

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gastro george 11.26.12 at 8:58 am

Damn typo in link.

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rf 11.26.12 at 10:39 am

Sadat was more than capable of remaining in power without US support, I would have thought. Neither of them were US ‘puppets’ either. I don’t deny the US tries to influence Egytian policy, especially towards Israel, with aid, I would just imagine Egyptian policy in the mid to late seventies on was going that way anyway. (Sadat was tired of leading the Arab world in futile wars with Israel. It was Sadat who wanted to move from non aligned movement to US camp in Cold War – I think) Or in other words, Sadat/Mubarak were just as able to use US strategic interests to line their own pockets.

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