Bullshitting about Gaza

by Chris Bertram on July 13, 2014

I wonder if Israel’s cheerleaders realize the damage they do their own cause when they write things like “Israel, unlike Hamas, isn’t trying to kill civilians. It’s taking pains to spare them” and “But in the Gaza war, it’s clear that Israel has gone to great lengths to minimize civilian deaths. The same can’t be said of Hamas.” Both sentences are taken from William Saletan’s extraordinary “The Gaza Rules”. At the time of writing this blogpost, the current death score is 159-0. If I may mix vernaculars, Saletan is plainly an asshole, but here he is just taking the piss. Anybody who is not parti pris can see that the Netanyahu government has partially contrived and partially been trapped by a domestic political climate that requires them to kill numbers of Palestinians in order to satisfy the Israeli electorate. Of course there’s the usual blather about “operatives” and “terrorist infrastructure”, but it is hard to take seriously the idea that anyone believes this as a description of Israeli aims. In fact nobody does, but lots of people in political power in the West think they have to go along with the story and pay lip service to Israel’s “right to defend itself”, even though concretely this takes the form of airstrikes against densely populated urban areas with predictable civilian deaths. Meanwhile, those who speak for the Israeli government go around claiming that no state could tolerate missiles being fired into its territory and that any state would have to retaliate. This is false, indeed absurd: much of British policy in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and 80s was deplorable, but though the IRA fired plenty of mortar rounds across the border, nobody seriously contemplated taking out “terror operatives” by aerial bombardment of civilian housing in the Irish Republic.

There’s an excellent piece on the background to the latest events in the Jewish Daily Forward , by J.J. Goldberg. Goldberg demonstrates that the Israeli government knew that the three murdered teenagers were dead from the start, and so that the search for them (which resulted in further deaths) was just politics and public relations. Goldberg argues that the claim that Hamas was responsible for the kidnap and murders was weak. The pretext for the current attack on Gaza — rocket attacks — is likewise bogus. Hamas hadn’t fired any rockets since November 2012 and had been actively trying to stop other jihadi groups from doing so, but the Israeli demand for vengeance forced them underground and meant they could no longer do this. In other words, Israeli demands for action against Hamas were the proximate cause of the very rocket attacks that now serve as a pretext for action.

I can’t help thinking that Israelis have a better friend in Goldberg who exposes the bullshit than in Saletan who manufactures it.

{ 323 comments }

1

Rakesh 07.13.14 at 10:10 am

The same Wm Saletan who drew from Rushton? http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/the_dilettante/2007/12/dissecting_the_iq_debate.html
Not that I am going to re-read this by interrupting my listening to Oistrakh and Menuhin’s Double Violin Concerto, recommended by my older daughter’s orchestra teacher.

2

Vladimir 07.13.14 at 11:11 am

An important part of the Israeli communications strategy is the much heralded missile defence system “Iron Dome”. One could argue that its primary utility is propaganda , aimed at both a domestic and foreign audience and not military. The Israelis go to great pains to provide the media statistics on its success and video footage to include in broadcasts and on web sites. Iron Dome is used then to explain the asymmetry in casualties, otherwise a bystander might wonder how threatening are these rockets – remember they are being fired in the hundreds -if no one in Israel is killed or injured. Of course ABC News can just pretend that the dead or injured Palestinians are in fact Israelis.

3

Abigail 07.13.14 at 11:26 am

Anybody who is not parti pris can see that the Netanyahu government has partially contrived and partially been trapped by a domestic political climate that requires them to kill numbers of Palestinians in order to satisfy the Israeli electorate.

Um, as a member of the Israeli electorate, who lives and works and frequently converses with many other members of the Israeli electorate, I’m not sure that I can see this. What the Israeli electorate wants is peace and quiet, which is to say a cessation (or, more realistically, a meaningful diminution) of rocket fire toward the south. I’m sure there are such people, because there are bloodthirsty people everywhere, but I’ve never met an Israeli who thought of killing Palestinians as an end in itself, nor do I think it’s fair to describe this as a consensus attitude. I’m in the minority in thinking that my government is going about this the right way, but most people I know, or have spoken to, or have seen interviewed on the news, view the operation as a means of stopping the missile fire.

Vladimir:

An important part of the Israeli communications strategy is the much heralded missile defence system “Iron Dome”. One could argue that its primary utility is propaganda

On Thursday morning I was caught by an air raid siren on my way to work. Looking out of the window of my car, I could see the contrails of the Iron Dome interceptor missiles arcing in the sky, finally stopping right over my head to detonate the Hamas missile. It really didn’t feel like propaganda.

4

Abigail 07.13.14 at 11:27 am

I’m in the minority in thinking that my government is going about this the right way

The wrong way, I meant.

5

Brett Bellmore 07.13.14 at 11:41 am

One side uses an Iron Dome defense, the other side uses an Innocent Shield defense. You’ve got to expect some disproportion.

However, shouldn’t you be counting all the deaths as victims of the Palestinians? You don’t get return fire if you don’t launch missiles into Israel in the first place. Would any nation on Earth be expected to just sit there and absorb missile fire, without response? If Mexico started launching missiles across the border, we’d obliterate them. Israel is showing tremendous restraint, IMO: Gaza still exists.

6

godoggo 07.13.14 at 11:47 am

And it starts…

7

Ronan(rf) 07.13.14 at 12:21 pm

“Would any nation on Earth be expected to just sit there and absorb missile fire, without response? “

Well sure, if you want to end rocket fire then you deal with it in a way that has been proven to work (ie not military action) For example the Egyptian led ceasefire *did work* (largely) , as has strenghtening the more moderate factions within Hamas by allowing some form of economic normality to return to Gaza (which lessens domestic pressures and incentivises them to crack down on rocket firing) Of course I doubt you *actually* want to stop rocket fire rather than bluster.

I wouldn’t personally agree with all of this

http://mideasti.blogspot.ie/2014/07/guest-post-william-r-polk-offers-grim.html

but I think there’s a lot of truth to it, and it’s a pretty grim outlook for an insider with longstanding expertise and experience to hold. It’s a shame really, as Israelis (rather than their supporters in the West) deserve better. (As obviously do the Palestinians)

8

Igor Belanov 07.13.14 at 12:26 pm

‘Brett Bellmore’ sounds like the bloke at my office who I argued with about exactly the same thing when this type of crisis occurred 5 or 6 years ago.
I suppose it’s one up on the US government’s ultimate response to the 9/11 attacks, when they invaded the country that bordered on the territory where most of the 9/11 attackers came from.

9

jonnybutter 07.13.14 at 12:31 pm

Um, as a member of the Israeli electorate, who lives and works and frequently converses with many other members of the Israeli electorate, I’m not sure that I can see this

There are more and more Americans like me who seriously object to $3 billion per year of our tax money going to Israel. It is going to take time to cut you off, but it is just a matter of time. Beginning of the end.

Israel’s behaviour is so repellent that all the hasbara in the world won’t make a difference in the end. Get ready.

10

Abigail 07.13.14 at 12:58 pm

Thinking about my comment some more, I feel that I should clarify: I don’t for a second believe that the timing of this operation isn’t political. That doesn’t mean, however, that its stated causes and objectives are false, but rather that they have always been true, and the only real question is “why now?” There has not been a time in the last five-plus years that rocket fire from Gaza hasn’t been a very real possibility, and frequently a fact, of southern Israeli life. The only real issue was one of frequency – were the rocket barrages spaced out by weeks and months, or hours?

Periodically, the Israeli air force’s response to one of these attacks elicits its own response, and we enter a cycle of “escalation.” Usually, these cycles are allowed to simmer down under the realization that neither Hamas nor the Israeli public want a military operation. Every now and then they boil over into what we’re seeing now. The timing of that is what’s political about this situation – though, as is usually the case when outsiders discuss Israel, the fact that those politics are internal is being largely ignored. Netanyahu’s coalition and standing within his own party are extremely weak. His neoliberal, tycoon-pleasing policies are no longer in line with the increasingly hard-right-but-economically-almost-progressive Likud, and his coalition partners – especially Avigdor Liberman, whose Israel Beiteinu party propped Likud up in the last elections – are looking for the way out. Before June, I’d have bet good money on the current government falling by early 2015 at the latest. Now, Netanyahu has likely bought himself another year.

As pretty much everyone – on both sides – acknowledges, the outcome of one of these operations (aside from the loss of life, property, and well-being) is inevitably for both sides to declare victory and slink off until the next round of missile fire. That’s proving problematic this time around, first because everyone in the region is sick of Hamas and not willing to act as brokers for a ceasefire, and second because Hamas hasn’t got anything to claim victory over. Meanwhile on the Israeli side, there’s a growing awareness that a ceasefire is little more than a guarantee that we’ll be doing all this again in a year or so.

11

Abigail 07.13.14 at 1:00 pm

jonnybutter:

Not sure how your comment is a response to anything I said. Maybe you just enjoy finding random Israelis on the internet and wagging your finger at them? Whatever floats your boat, I guess.

12

Brett Bellmore 07.13.14 at 1:22 pm

“As pretty much everyone – on both sides – acknowledges, the outcome of one of these operations (aside from the loss of life, property, and well-being) is inevitably for both sides to declare victory and slink off until the next round of missile fire.”

And the reason there’s a next round of missile fire, is that the Palestinians won’t stop attacking Israel. If at any time they just stopped attacking, there would be no more return volleys.

Let’s not elide that. If, at any time, the Palestinians simply stopped attacking Israel, there would be peace. That is the central, crucial, fact of the situation. The Palestinians are the aggressors.

13

William Timberman 07.13.14 at 1:25 pm

Abigail @ 4

What the Israeli electorate wants is peace and quiet…

If that is so, there are, as far as this *outsider can see, only three ways to get it:

1. End the blockade of Gaza. Withdraw the settlements and the military bases supporting them from the West Bank and Jerusalem. Allow free travel and commerce between all areas settled by Arab Palestinians. Negotiate the creation of a real Palestinian state with representatives the Palestinians themselves have chosen. Do so in good faith, without attempting to assassinate the leaders of the parties they have chosen as those representatives.

2. Stop defining Israel as a Jewish State. As we have seen, such an entity can’t govern all of Palestine without institutionalizing injustice.

3. Kill a lot more Palestinian Arabs — maybe as many as all of them.

If Israelis believe, as many seem to, that none of these solutions, except perhaps the last, can ever be practical, then it seems to me that peace and quiet is not in their future no matter what else they do.

*An outsider, yes, but as a citizen of the U.S., an outsider with certain rights to meddle in the business of Israelis, at least so long as they continue to meddle so significantly in mine.

14

Nell 07.13.14 at 1:30 pm

Goldberg’s piece adds important details about internal Israeli government decision-making, but its account of the govt’s deception of the Israeli public is based on two earlier reports: Noam Sheizaf’s July 2 How the public was manipulated into believing the teens were alive” and Max Blumenthal on July 8, Netanyahu government knew teens were dead as it whipped up a racist frenzy.

…the Israeli government knew that the three murdered teenagers were dead from the start, and so that the search for them (which resulted in further deaths) was just politics and public relations

To clarify: the ‘further deaths’ were those of Palestinians. During its “search” for the settler teenagers, the Israeli army and police killed five Palestinians. Additionally, two elderly women died of heart attacks while their homes were being ransacked.

Unmentioned in this post or Goldberg’s article are two teenagers who were momentarily in the news as immediate victims of the racist frenzy whipped up by the Israeli government’s cynical ‘#Bring Back Our Boys’ campaign: Mohamed AbuKhdeir, kidnaped while sitting by a mosque in East Jerusalem and burned alive, or his cousin, Tarek AbuKhdeir, visiting from the U.S., who was viciously beaten by Israeli police while handcuffed.

Abigail, there is no doubt a substantial segment of the Israeli public who just want quiet and don’t actively wish Palestinians dead, but the numbers of Jewish citizens of Israel who do is larger and growing. You’re very fortunate not to know any personally, but you must live quite a sheltered life. (Outside Israel, perhaps?) Only last night a rightist mob chanting “Death to Arabs, death to leftists” attacked a peace demo in Tel Aviv. Numerous Israeli government officials have been making genocidal and bloodthirsty statements in public for two weeks straight. The incitement starts at the top with Netanyahu’s infamous tweet after the settler teens’ bodies were found.

I’m not eager to quote that or any of the other racist trash coming from members of the Knesset, high military officers (pace J.J. Goldberg), and cabinet officials, but it seems that it might be necessary. It’s understandable for a citizen of Israel to avert her eyes from it, but anyone who tries to pretend this isn’t the dominant political tendency in Israel now is in denial.

15

J Thomas 07.13.14 at 1:36 pm

And the reason there’s a next round of missile fire, is that the Palestinians won’t stop attacking Israel. If at any time they just stopped attacking, there would be no more return volleys.

Did you not read Abigail’s comments?

Whoever is in power in Israel at the moment, can gain political support whenever they need it by beating up on Palestinians.

Do you seriously imagine they couldn’t manufacture an incident to retaliate against if every Palestinian tried not to give them one?

Sheesh.

16

Brett Bellmore 07.13.14 at 1:39 pm

I can’t see how “solution” #1 really constitutes a solution, in as much as it would simply result in the attackers having a better supply line. That’s the sort of thing you might see after peace was established.

17

Brett Bellmore 07.13.14 at 1:42 pm

“Do you seriously imagine they couldn’t manufacture an incident to retaliate against if every Palestinian tried not to give them one?”

Do you seriously think that the bare possibility that they could manufacture incidents has any relevance at all, so long as the supply of real incidents appears unending? It’s just a hypothetical you’re inventing to ‘prove’ it would be futile for the Palestinians to stop attacking.

Let them stop, and if the Israelis start manufacturing pretexts to ‘respond’, you’ll have a case. Until that, you’ve got nothing but an imagination.

18

Ronan(rf) 07.13.14 at 1:50 pm

brett bellmore, don’t be foolish. Think this through logically rather than emotionally for a second. What role do you think the context people live under in Gaza plays in the firing of rockets ? Why do rocket firing spike (and become more accurate) at times of conflict with Israel (even short of large scale military action, say border incursions) than at times of relative peace (when they land relatively harmlessly in the Southern desert) ? What do you think are the politics behind firing rockets, who fires them,why and when ? Do you not think military occupation, isolation and sanction is a form of violence on the people of Gaza (not to mention *the actual acts of violence* that occur just as regularly from Israeli military and security services) ? How excatly is military action going to resolve this issue (it’s not, no one pretends otherwise).
I think if you want to become an online spokeman for the Israeli cause you need to educate yourself sufficiently, intellectually. Know your enemy brother, or people will just dismiss you as a caricature.

19

J Thomas 07.13.14 at 1:53 pm

Not sure how your comment is a response to anything I said. Maybe you just enjoy finding random Israelis on the internet and wagging your finger at them?

Yes, increasingly Americans are disgusted by the whole thing, and lack outlets to express their feelings.

Israel is an unsinkable aircraft carrier that the USA is utterly unable to steer. It is less than worthless to us. And yet….

Israelis are in deadly danger. At any time Israelis could be killed, they are in almost as much danger as Palestinians. Israel is the only nuclear power in the middle east, but that is not enough. While they do not have large stocks of chemical weapons, they have factories which could be converted to produce large stocks of SOTA chemical weapons in a few months. It is not enough. They have great expertise at biological weapons, but it is not enough. They have by far the strongest military in the middle east — not enough. Mossad assassination teams are widely considered the best in the world — but Israel is still in danger. They will need US support forever.

The middle east is an insanely dangerous place for Israelis to live, but they want to live there so we must give our unconditional support. Except we’re getting increasingly tired of it.

20

Collin Street 07.13.14 at 1:53 pm

It really didn’t feel like propaganda.

Well, yes. Propaganda isn’t supposed to be recognisable as such, that’s kind of the point.

21

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© 07.13.14 at 1:53 pm

I’m with johnnybutter.

The missing, ugly reality is that over the last 13 years, on average, one Palestinian child has been killed by Israel every 3 days.

These are the images from Gaza that are too graphic for many US news outlets to publish

Enough of this, on our dime.
~

22

Brett Bellmore 07.13.14 at 1:59 pm

What I think is that there is no chance for peace so long as the Palestinians continue attacking. They ARE the aggressors here, that is an inescapable fact. They are launching missiles into inhabited areas.

Were they to actually stop this, cut out the missiles, and the suicide bombers, the basis for all the sanctions would evaporate. It would take a little while, long enough to confirm it wasn’t just the traditional “pause to reload”, but it would happen.

But, so long as they continue attacking, we must expect the sanctions to continue. Nobody releases their restraint hold on somebody who’s actively trying to kill them.

23

Nell 07.13.14 at 1:59 pm

Abigail, I believe jonnybutter’s response was to your little jab at “outsiders”.

Like jb, many U.S. citizens are considerably less “outside” this situation than we would wish to be, thanks to the massive support from our government (military, economic, and political) that makes possible Israel’s land theft, periodic mass murder sprees, and intransigence.

There’s a minority but growing segment of the U.S. public who support ending this unconditional support, but (as the recent unanimous vote in the House shows) there is a huge gulf between our views and current official policy.

24

J Thomas 07.13.14 at 2:03 pm

#17

Do you seriously think that the bare possibility that they could manufacture incidents has any relevance at all, so long as the supply of real incidents appears unending?

You are being disingenuous. The Israeli government wants incidents and knows how to get them, and does get them whenever it wants.

Blaming the situation on disorganized palestinians is silly.

Here, I’ll make an analogous argument. We need to have gun control in the USA because people with guns keep shooting people. A lot of people with guns say that they aren’t violent and they haven’t shot anybody, so OK, here’s the offer. Just stop shooting people. If we can go ten years in the USA with nobody getting shot, then we’ll consider postponing efforts at gun control.

Ha! Look at that, somebody got shot and the NRA didn’t stop them! That proves the NRA is not serious about preventing gun deaths! We can’t negotiate with them, we have to take their guns away!

25

Abigail 07.13.14 at 2:09 pm

William @ 13:

Your option 1 is somewhat tautological. Yes, if there were peace in the region, there would be peace and quiet for Israelis as well. Not that I disagree that this is the only real way forward, but that’s obviously not how my government feels. Which is to say that a prerequisite to even beginning the process you describe is getting rid of the Netanyahu government, which makes the stability that it’s gained from this operation doubly unfortunate.

Nell @ 14:

You’re very fortunate not to know any personally, but you must live quite a sheltered life. (Outside Israel, perhaps?)

Yes, that’s right. I got caught in an air raid and watched Iron Dome explode Hamas missiles over my head outside of Israel.

I’m perfectly well aware of the growing power of the hard right in Israeli discourse and politics, but as someone who actually lives here, I can tell you that they don’t represent the consensus. To suggest otherwise is not unlike arguing that the Tea Party represents the consensus of American public opinion. In both cases you have an extremist group grabbing hold of political power and using it to wield a disproportionate effect on public policy. I don’t discount the seriousness and danger of this phenomenon in my country, but to suggest that Israelis are uniformly bloodthirsty is untrue, unhelpful, and insulting.

J Thomas @ 15:

Do you seriously imagine they couldn’t manufacture an incident to retaliate against if every Palestinian tried not to give them one?

I wish you wouldn’t use my words as a prop for this sort of conspiracy theory. It really isn’t necessary to manufacture incidents one of the most tense and volatile borders in the world.

26

Joshua W. Burton 07.13.14 at 2:15 pm

One side uses an Iron Dome defense, the other side uses an Innocent Shield defense. You’ve got to expect some disproportion.

Imagine how many lives could have been saved in the Blitz, if the British had only known to put children on the rooftops.

27

Lee A. Arnold 07.13.14 at 2:16 pm

Abigail, if you would, what do you make of the comments of Yuval Diskin, translated in English here:
http://blogs.forward.com/jj-goldberg/201468/ex-shin-bet-chief-israeli-illusions-fueled-blowup/?#ixzz36mnD0XtP

28

DrDick 07.13.14 at 2:26 pm

Abigail -

If you want peace, you will have to eliminate the causes of the conflict. This means running Likud and the rest of the neofascists out of office and completely dismantling their policies. It means destroying the illegal settlements, imprisoning the leaders of the Settler Movement, and returning the stolen lands to their owners. It means an end to the brutal and dehumanizing treatment of the Palestinians and it means negotiating a peaceful resolution in good faith with a return to the 1968 borders. Unless you are willing to do that, you do not really want peace.

29

Nell 07.13.14 at 2:45 pm

an extremist group grabbing hold of political power and using it to wield a disproportionate effect on public policy. I don’t discount the seriousness and danger of this phenomenon in my country, but to suggest that Israelis are uniformly bloodthirsty is untrue, unhelpful, and insulting.

Your first comment very much discounted the seriousness and danger of the rightist phenomenon in your country, and your latest simply lies about what I said, which was very far from suggesting that Israelis are uniformly bloodthirsty:

there is no doubt a substantial segment of the Israeli public who just want quiet and don’t actively wish Palestinians dead, but the numbers of Jewish citizens of Israel who do is larger and growing. … anyone who tries to pretend this isn’t the dominant political tendency in Israel now is in denial.

Netanyahu and his government “grabbed political power” by way of elections. You acknowledge that the latest (still continuing) assault on Gaza, which has killed 166 people, among them 54 women and children, has gained political stability for this government. Since the rockets haven’t stopped, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that it’s the killing that has satisfied the public (a large enough segment of it to reduce the chances of new elections).

30

William Timberman 07.13.14 at 2:46 pm

Abigail @ 25

Your option 1 is somewhat tautological.

Yes, of course it is, as you and Brett Bellmore have duly noted. (I would have expected no less.) But if one is serious about building trust in a situation like the one you, as an Israeli, find yourself in, one can never be certain which element of any so-called peace process is the cart and which the horse.

Nevertheless, honesty and good will have to be demonstrated somehow, perhaps most especially when, as in the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there are deep cultural divides between adversaries, not to mention a long history of bloody-shirt waving on both sides. If my option 1 were taken seriously as a goal by Israelis, there are steps, perhaps small ones at the start, which could be taken to demonstrate the sincerity of that goal. The Israeli government, despite all the anguished hand-waving for public consumption in the U.S., has never even considered such steps, not even for a moment, not even after 1967, when such steps might have had a real chance of success. What the world got instead was Israeli triumphalism, and little else.

After 1973, that triumphalism began to look a little tarnished, and Israelis reacted, sadly, with a steadily increasing paranoia. The moment was buried, and what has happened since has piled so much rubble on top of it that no one — certainly no Israeli or Palestinian — takes seriously the idea that it could be dug up again.

A pity, this — the kind of pity I’m sure the survivors of our two world wars were finally able to feel once the rage had run its course. If I were in your position, I really have no idea what I would do, but I do have some idea what I would think, which is that Israel’s current policies lead into darkness, the very darkness which, since 1945, the Jewish people have been so desperate to escape.

31

Bloix 07.13.14 at 2:50 pm

On his blog, Goldberg disavows his accusation that the purpose of the suppression of the knowledge of the deaths was “politics and public relations:”

“Second, the Israeli government suppressed the fact that the boys were dead, as it knew on Day 2, with the apparent motive of dismantling the Hamas infrastructure in the West Bank. The prolonged, fabricated uncertainty had the collateral effect of inflaming Jewish emotions in Israel and the Diaspora, and the tension may well have intensified the resulting anger after the bodies were found. On the other hand, it also provided cover for Israel to round up and dismantle, with barely a shot fired, a network operating in territory it controls that openly preaches destroying Israel and murdering its citizens. I don’t know that such a roundup is a bad thing.”

Read more: http://blogs.forward.com/jj-goldberg/#ixzz37MNeqjE8

32

J Thomas 07.13.14 at 2:57 pm

#25

“Do you seriously imagine they couldn’t manufacture an incident to retaliate against if every Palestinian tried not to give them one?”

I wish you wouldn’t use my words as a prop for this sort of conspiracy theory.

Sorry, I was continuing to the worst case.

In general, in a feedback loop, everybody is responding and nobody is initiating. If you have a furnace with a thermostat, reduced temperature turns the thermostat circuit on, the thermostat turns the furnace on, the furnace heats the air, the hot air turns the thermostat off, the thermostat turns the furnace off, etc. We think of the thermostat as controlling the furnace.

But logically it makes as much sense to say the furnace controls the thermostat. It heats the air to turn the thermostat off, then it waits for the air to cool and turn the thermostat back on. We think of the thermostat as controlling because it’s small and uses less power and we can adjust it. If there was reason to think of it the other way you could do that. You could adjust the furnace to produce heat slower if you wanted the thermostat to stay on longer, etc.

If you want the feedback cycle to be different, you can change it at any point and get a change. You can turn off the thermostat. You can turn off the furnace. Etc.

Brett is basicly saying that the Israeli government actions are morally right while Palestinian actions are wrong, so it’s up to palestinians to make any change. “Hey, if the furnace wants the thermostat to stop turning it on, then it can damn well stop turning on when the thermostat tells it to!”

So, if some palestinian wants to provoke the Israeli government, there are a few things he can do. He can say something and see if the Israeli media and the Israeli government notice. “The chairman of the Palestinian Youth Soccer League said Death To Israel! Oh, the horror!”

Or he can try to sneak into Israel and try to be a suicide bomber. Even if he fails (as is overwhelmingly likely) the Israeli government might respond.

Or he can build a little poorly-guided rocket and try to send it over the border. If it gets into Israel it will almost certainly land harmlessly in the desert or get shot down, but the Israeli government might respond.

Meanwhile, if the Israeli government wants to ramp things up it can “execute” a suspected former terrorist, or stage a border incursion, or do a little more-or-less-random shelling across the border, perhaps at palestinians who have gotten too close to the part of Gaza near the border that Israel doesn’t allow them to walk into, it can do airstrikes on suspected rocket storage areas, it can tighten the economic blockade, it can kidnap random palestinians that it says are terrorists, it can send teams of assassins into Gaza disguised as palestinians who are supposed to kill a particular person but who if discovered will kill whoever it takes so they can escape. They have almost endless possibilities to get palestinians riled up so they might make some response like more little rockets that will serve as the excuse for more violence.

As you pointed out, this happens on Israeli government timing. It happens when they need it, because they make it happen when they need it. In the extreme case, if they were to send in a team of assassins posing as palestinians who set up a rocket and fire it into Israel, on a path where it will be shot down, would that be such a big jump from what you know they already do?

For the bigger picture, it looks to me like the way the Israel government does elections etc allows a radical minority to get disproportionate power, so it regularly does things that the partly-disenfranchised majority hates.

People who are looking at how to design governments, should look at this as a bad example and look for ways to avoid the particular flaws which cause this. (Unless they think it’s a desirable outcome.)

33

Ronan(rf) 07.13.14 at 2:58 pm

“I’m perfectly well aware of the growing power of the hard right in Israeli discourse and politics, but as someone who actually lives here, I can tell you that they don’t represent the consensus.”

I think that’s fair, and I don’t believe the Israeli electorate is particularly ‘bloodthirsty.’ (which is also, of course, true of the majority of Palestinians, whether in Gaza or the West Bank) I also think you’re right @10 (fwiw) that it makes more sense to think of the Netanyahu government responding to political coalitions and pressure from domestic interest groups/voting blocks. But (afaict) these military actions *do* have relatively solid support in Israel (I’m not sure about this time, but in the past) thereby not making them politically harmful, perhaps even useful – and a lot of that is because of the rhetoric and propaganda that has built up around the rocket attacks. (which cause very little actual damage relative to the response from Israel, whether in times of direct military conflict or just ‘the usual occupation’)
So there’s a problem around how disproportionate the response *always* is, and how disingenuous the conversation about the rocket attacks is. (Not on your part, though in general)

34

Layman 07.13.14 at 3:09 pm

‘I can’t see how “solution” #1 really constitutes a solution, in as much as it would simply result in the attackers having a better supply line. ‘

This is a pretty odd formulation, given that blockading another country is generally considered an attack; as is the forced resettlement of indigenous residents in neighboring countries in order to replace them with your own citizens, or the accompanying military occupation necessary to prevent the indigenes from objecting to that process. Are you quite sure you know who is attacking whom?

35

Ronan(rf) 07.13.14 at 3:11 pm

“On his blog, Goldberg disavows his accusation that the purpose of the suppression of the knowledge of the deaths was “politics and public relations:” “

How does he disavow it was political ? Your quoted part contradicts as much:

“Second, the Israeli government suppressed the fact that the boys were dead, as it knew on Day 2, with the apparent motive of dismantling the Hamas infrastructure in the West Bank.”

36

Layman 07.13.14 at 3:13 pm

“Were they to actually stop this, cut out the missiles, and the suicide bombers, the basis for all the sanctions would evaporate.”

Yes, if those pesky Palestinians would just accede to Israel’s permanent occupation of the West Bank, and stay quietly in their concentration camps, all would be well.

37

Nell 07.13.14 at 3:20 pm

Yes, I thought J.J. Goldberg would “clarify” his article soon. Hamas members were rounded up “with barely a shot fired”? As I noted above in #14, during its fake “search for the missing teens” the IDF and police killed five Palestinians in the West Bank directly, and ransacked hundreds of households. They destroyed enormous amounts of property in the process. The thousand or so men taken are still in Israeli prisons; their crime is political support of Hamas.

Meanwhile, the suspects in the lynching of Mohamed AbuKhdeir are in their own (non-demolished) homes under house arrest; their network of rightist agitators is not being sought out and locked up. Far from it: their demands are being carried out by the government, which is dealing death to the Arabs.

38

Anarcissie 07.13.14 at 3:54 pm

War, subjugation, expulsion, slavery, genocide — that’s how you create a nation-state, a state based on ancestry, religion, and language. The old-time multi-multi empires were benign by comparison; they just wanted to steal.

I believe the current situation is driven by the slow, partial withdrawal of the American imperium from the Middle East. The failure to get a war started in Syria, for instance, was quite unusual, signaling a lack of imperial will. It seems the U.S. ruling class finds the people tired of new wars, at least for a while. (The U.S. ruling class may believe in fracking and tar sands and all that.) Thus, the Israeli leadership must grab all it can while the grabbing is good, because conditions may be changing for the worse. Hence the accelerated nation-building.

39

Ben Alpers 07.13.14 at 4:04 pm

Brett @5:

“However, shouldn’t you be counting all the deaths as victims of the Palestinians? You don’t get return fire if you don’t launch missiles into Israel in the first place. “

And you wouldn’t get these missiles if Israel weren’t engaging in an illegal occupation of Gaza and the West Bank for nearly half a century.

Both sides in this conflict can point fingers at the other side; everyone is convinced that they are the victim and are only retaliating. But one side is a heavily armed state that enjoys the protection and lavish funding of the world’s only superpower, while the other is an impoverished, occupied population with virtually no political power and access to much less effective weaponry. Not surprisingly, when both sides attack each other, this vast disparity in power expresses itself, among other ways, in a similarly vast disproportion of casualties.

I understand that the Israeli public only wants “peace and quiet.” But Israel’s methods of achieving peace and quiet over that forty-plus years of occupation are illegal, immoral, and unsustainable.

Resolving the conflict (and thus achieving actually just and stable peace and quiet) is clearly far from easy (and the possible solutions are not limited to those noted by William Timberman above: a two-state solution is also possible). But any solution needs to begin with all parties recognizing their mutual human and civil rights. And that entails, among other things, an end to the occupation.

40

Earl of Sandwich 07.13.14 at 4:12 pm

> This is false, indeed absurd: much of British policy in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and 80s was deplorable, but though the IRA fired plenty of mortar rounds across the border, nobody seriously contemplated taking out “terror operatives” by aerial bombardment of civilian housing in the Irish Republic.

The IRA fired from territory controlled by security forces actively trying to stop and arrest them. As a result the fire was intermittent and there were other options available to stop the fire.
In contrast, Gaza is controlled by the very organization firing the rockets, so police actions a la the British isn’t realistic.

41

William Timberman 07.13.14 at 4:18 pm

Ben Alpers @ 39

(and the possible solutions are not limited to those noted by William Timberman above: a two-state solution is also possible).

Although stated in terms of what I see as as its essential constituent elements, the two-state solution was my solution number 1. Frankly, I think the expansion of Israeli settlements, and the effective bantu-ization of the West Bank since the Seventies has put the two-state solution effectively out of reach. The facts on the ground which Israeli intransigence has created seem to me to mean the effective end of the Zionist dream of a Jewish state. Time will tell….

42

Nell 07.13.14 at 4:23 pm

An end to the occupation will not happen because it’s not really a military occupation; it’s steady colonization with an end goal of annexation. You can see the mindset in J.J. Goldberg’s justification of the roundup of 1000+ men during June: On the other hand, [the fabricated uncertatinty] also provided cover for Israel to round up and dismantle, with barely a shot fired, a network operating in territory it controls

“Territory it controls” because it took the land by force and keeps it by force, and maintains the right to seize and imprison indefinitely without charge any of the inhabitants (‘administrative detention’). It’s functionally part of the national territory.

That two-state solution is as dead as the parrot in the parrot sketch. It is an ex-solution.

43

Layman 07.13.14 at 4:27 pm

“That two-state solution is as dead as the parrot in the parrot sketch. It is an ex-solution.”

I fear you may be right. If so, Israelis will eventually learn the demographic lesson white South Africans had to learn; but there will be tremendous suffering all around while they learn it.

44

Heliopause 07.13.14 at 4:38 pm

The simplest way to stop the rockets from Gaza would be to cease brutalizing the 1.8 million prisoners there.

45

Jim Harrison 07.13.14 at 4:42 pm

From the Palestinian point of view, the Israelis are simply thieves and whatever bad consequences occur in the gradual process of occupying the West Bank are their responsibility. In law, after all, the original perpetrator is guilty of the deaths that occur in the commission of a felony. Obviously the Israelis believe (or claim to believe) that they have the right as well as the power to continue to take land from the Palestinians, but the fact that the two sides don’t agree about that isn’t the most infuriating thing from the Arab point of view. It’s the presumption of the Israelis that they alone get to decide the issue. Hence the bit about how the Palestinians could end the troubles at any time by simply giving up, though perhaps they would also be required to tell the thieves where they keep their silverware.

46

Ronan(rf) 07.13.14 at 4:43 pm

I think there would be the potential for a two state solution if (by an act of God, as it isn’t close to being politically feasible at the minute) the ‘international community’ began to (threaten to/or) treat Israel as states who abuse international law and humanitarian norms are (theoretically) meant to be treated; removal of aid and diplomatic support, isolation from international markets, extensive economic sanctions, implicit threats to start prosecuting political elites as war criminals, demilitarisation of Jerusalem and the occupied territories with the replacement of the Israeli military with peacekeepers and political control transfered to the UN(initially).

I think the Levant is drifting too close to genuine political chaos to continue to put up with the nonsense that has informed US policy regionally (with exceptions) for the past number of decades. Obviously this isn’t (1) a panacea (2) politically feasible at the moment, but to take of the kiddy gloves and start making demands on Israeli behaviour(and making it known that, like most small states, their sovereignty is contingent on playing by the rules) is a beginning.

47

Joshua W. Burton 07.13.14 at 5:02 pm

But any solution needs to begin with all parties recognizing their mutual human and civil rights. And that entails, among other things, an end to the occupation.

We all occupy, at least in the geometrical sense. The verb is much less easily misinterpreted when used transitively.

If the conflict admits of no solution while Israelis occupy (1949) Israel, then there is no real question of “all parties” recognizing anything; when it is time to “begin,” the story will be over.

If the conflict admits of no solution while Israelis literally occupy Gaza, then the starting condition was met when the last Israeli occupier (Gilad Shalit) left Gaza in October 2011, or possibly when the last voluntary Israeli occupier left in September 2005.

If the conflict admits of no solution while Israelis occupy Gaza in absentia, then someone else has to stop the missiles, and undertake to do so more successfully yet less bloodily than Israel has done. Israelis have no human or civil rights that are recognized at present by Hamas, so unsupervised home rule by Hamas in Gaza is incompatible with the starting condition.

If the conflict admits of no solution while Israelis occupy, e.g., Gilo and East Talpiot across the 1949 line but inside the borders proposed at the end of Clinton’s multiyear negotiating push, then very difficult decisions must be reached before we “begin,” and so perhaps the formulation of a minimum starting condition is unhelpful.

48

Plume 07.13.14 at 5:17 pm

Ben @39,

Very well said. Concise, to the point, direct.

Far too often, the essential dynamic of relative power is left completely out of the discussion, especially in America, be it with lopsided power arrangements between nations, business ownership and workers, men and women, whites and racial and ethnic minorities, etc. etc.

It’s strange that the case for continued inequalities of wealth and power are made by people who try to pretend they don’t exist, as if relative “equality” is self-evident, while they defend the existence of obscene inequalities.

A paradox, to be sure.

I think our invasion of Iraq was a supreme example of this. We, the lone superpower in the world, supposedly had to fear a smashed-up, broken down, bottled up petty dictator who at the height of his power was never a threat to us. So, in the case of Israel, a nation likely in possession of hundreds of nukes, with a powerful army and the backing of the US, faces a smashed up, occupied, impoverished “foe.”

Sharks versus minnows. And the sharks are whining that the minnows are picking on them.

49

Bloix 07.13.14 at 5:19 pm

#35 – Goldberg’s original article implied, perhaps unintentionally, that Netanyahu suppressed the knowledge that the three boys were dead in order to inflame Israeli public opinion. He now says that the knowledge was suppressed in order to provide cover for an operation rolling up Hamas infrastructure in the West Bank, and the incitement of passions in Israel was a “collateral” and unintended effect. He supports (as “not a bad thing”) the suppression of Hamas in the West Bank, which he describes as “a network that … openly preaches the destruction of Israel and the murder of its citizens,” while deploring the effect on Israeli public opinion.

J.J. is a pretty good marker of the leftward edge of informed opinion that can be called Zionist.

50

bianca steele 07.13.14 at 5:22 pm

much of British policy in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and 80s was deplorable, but though the IRA fired plenty of mortar rounds across the border, nobody seriously contemplated taking out “terror operatives” by aerial bombardment of civilian housing in the Irish Republic., and so was British policy in the Middle East.

Seriously? Anyway, ftfy.

51

Joshua W. Burton 07.13.14 at 5:31 pm

Sharks versus minnows. And the sharks are whining that the minnows are picking on them.

Er, but the minnows are, in fact, picking on them. More to the point, individual Israelis are about the same size as individual Palestinians — this metonymy of sharks and minnows is blandly obscuring some human realities.

52

Joshua W. Burton 07.13.14 at 5:56 pm

and so was British policy in the Middle East.

I truly don’t think that Churchill gassing the Kurds, or Bevin’s murderous excesses in Mandatory Palestine, are the thorn here; as with India, most Britons seem to have made peace with the wide late Empire by, in Orwell’s words, not knowing it existed. No, the key clue is an obsession with ethnic demography: when an Englishman or Scot talks about the future of Palestine, it’s almost always about Ulster and you’ll know it the moment he says “birthrate.” Pure projection of not-very-nice internal demons, is my read; it crops up here on CT with the persistence of Saxifraga x urbium.

53

LFC 07.13.14 at 6:34 pm

I sometimes wonder, admittedly from a distance and w/o following the issues w minute daily attention, why relatively few people in the Israeli policymaking elite seem to have realized that one way to deal w Hamas might be to reach an agreement to let the PA have something at least resembling a minimally functional state, with a security force (no need to call it an “army” if that’s a stumbling block). Find some way to postpone the most intractable, contentious issues (e.g. the status of particular settlements) if necessary, but let the PA have a state that can be recognized by all major powers and seated w/o controversy in the UN. Israel to withdraw from the bulk of the W Bank and the only non-negotiable condition wd be that the PA formally recognize Israel’s right to exist (which, iirc, it has already done). Then Hamas, if it or factions w/in it continue in rejectionist vein, wd become not only Israel’s problem but also the new Palestinian state’s problem. Surely that wd be better than the situation now. (I know there is (supposedly) a unity govt betw Hamas and the PA/Fatah now. I suspect however it is prob just papering over continuing real differences.)

54

Plume 07.13.14 at 6:42 pm

Joshua @50,

I’m guessing you’re “blandly obscuring” the massive difference in firepower and wealth between the sharks and the minnows. And in the modern age, it’s all about technological superiority, not the relative size of the participants on any individual level, nor their relative strength and skill sets as individuals. This isn’t Achilles fighting Hector, hand to hand — though even there, one was a demi-god, while the other was simply mortal. This is about the possession of massive war machines, with massive funds to back that up, versus scattered guerrilla fighters, with far older and less effective weaponry, and a fraction as much financial support.

Again, the people proclaiming victimhood here are the folks with colossal advantages in firepower, organization and financing. It’s not at all close.

55

LFC 07.13.14 at 6:43 pm

Re postponing the intractable issues: there are quite a few creative lawyers out there and I’m sure some of them cd gin up some way of doing this. Set up a special ad hoc intl arbitration tribunal, w reps from both sides. Anything. Basically just kick the can down the road so it’s no longer a roadblock to a “final status” agreement. Of course it wdn’t be technically *final* w issues outstanding but that’s not the pt. The pt is to create the new state. That wd change the equation.

56

Layman 07.13.14 at 6:49 pm

“then very difficult decisions must be reached before we “begin,” and so perhaps the formulation of a minimum starting condition is unhelpful.”

Perhaps, then, the minimum starting position is the end of all US assistance to Israel of any kind, and the imposition of international sanctions along the anti-apartheid model? Would that spur the Israeli leadership to some clearer thinking about desirable end states?

57

Plume 07.13.14 at 7:04 pm

Layman,

I think we should have done that long ago. And we would have, if not for the massive power of AIPAC in the US, and because sending taxpayer dollars to Israel so it can buy American military hardware makes more than a few corporations here very happy.

It’s similar to the NRA for having outsized influence, and no rationale for us to follow their company lines. Both organizations go against America’s best interests, often in profound and deadly ways. IMO, there are no exceptions when it comes to the NRA, as to its odious influence and agenda. It is easily one of the most despicable pressure groups in DC. . . .

I’m struggling to find anything that isn’t incredibly negative about AIPAC, as well, but suspect it’s not quite as clear cut as the NRA.

Bottom line for me: I think the decisions leading up to and including the establishment of the Jewish State in 1948 were tragically wrong, ill-considered to the nth degree, and a world-historical mistake. It never should have happened. Subsequent history proves that to be the case. The world should have taken in Jewish refugees with open arms, but there was no additional sense in establishing a homeland beyond that, especially not on land already claimed by others for two thousand years.

58

Joshua W. Burton 07.13.14 at 7:08 pm

Then Hamas, if it or factions w/in it continue in rejectionist vein, wd become not only Israel’s problem but also the new Palestinian state’s problem.

Why?

More specifically, if the PA rump state likes the ongoing rejectionism-by-proxy, what credible pressure (that is not right now being used on the PA rump less-than-state) will avail? And, should the government of this state hold elections and survive and continue to “own” the problem in good faith, what’s their move?

59

J Thomas 07.13.14 at 8:26 pm

#54

Basically just kick the can down the road so it’s no longer a roadblock to a “final status” agreement. Of course it wdn’t be technically *final* w issues outstanding but that’s not the pt. The pt is to create the new state. That wd change the equation.

It seems to me we have tried that more than once.

The most successful attempt, Israel abandoned 3% of the west bank and accepted dual control of another 23%. Palestinians started building an economy. But Rabin was killed by a lone gunman who had no help from anybody, and Perez didn’t particularly stand for anything and promptly lost the next election to Netanyahu. Netanyahu did not allow resolution of any unresolved issues, and in 2002 he staged an invasion taking back everything Israel had shared. The goals of the invasion are disputable but judging by results a primary goal was to confiscate every hard disk and put a bullet through every computer monitor in the west bank.

And that was that.

I see no reason to hope that the next success at a two-state solution would turn out better.

If there’s going to be a Palestinian state it will have to be defended by some foreign military that’s strong enough to deter invasion by Israel.

60

MPAVictoria 07.13.14 at 8:45 pm

“If there’s going to be a Palestinian state it will have to be defended by some foreign military that’s strong enough to deter invasion by Israel.”

Well that doesn’t leave many options.

61

Brett Bellmore 07.13.14 at 8:59 pm

“I sometimes wonder, admittedly from a distance and w/o following the issues w minute daily attention, why relatively few people in the Israeli policymaking elite seem to have realized that one way to deal w Hamas might be to reach an agreement to let the PA have something at least resembling a minimally functional state, with a security force “

Because, you know, when somebody’s trying to kill you, the most obvious way to make peace is give them more guns.

62

roy belmont 07.13.14 at 8:59 pm

the current death score is 159-0
Personally I’m stewing over why I’m more consciously outraged by the violence being visited on Palestinians than what’s accumulated in the larger area around Israel.
Syria especially, with a “death score” of nearly 30K human lives lost, and Iraq especially, with an ungodly number at or near a million equally human, equally lost lives. All those numbers rising.
It’s pretty obvious Egypt’s burgeoning freedom movement was hammered into grisly pulp in the interests of something operating through the nexus of US/Israel.
Palestine has an immediacy, somehow – it’s emotional more than pragmatic, but then I’m an emotional guy.

Some parts of the progressive view that are pretty weak and I believe ultimately dysfunctional are the befuddlement at the way the financing of Israel’s bloody doings are just unquestioned at the top of American political life. Just completely unquestioned. Mysterious. The way the big-box media parrots Israeli/Zionist dishonesty and propaganda, even when it’s surreal and absurdly easy to disprove.
Mysterious.
Like it’s an oversight, an incompetence, a condition of irrationality. Probably it isn’t. There’s power there, and it isn’t reaching out of the Mediterranean and crossing the Atlantic. It’s here, in the US, and it’s literally unspeakable.

All hail the awakened margins who find repugnant the fact that 3 billion dollars of their tax money that could be resurrecting Detroit or something instead going to arm people whose idea of honor and integrity is calling people up, on the phone, and telling them they have one literal minute to get outside their houses before the missiles of God’s chosen land, and explode, and destroy.
That elides the psychological terrorism of calling people and warning them and then not firing missiles on their houses. Ha ha, gotcha!
And it elides as well the fact that Gaza is the most crowded human place on earth surrounded by impassable barriers with every outlet in the hands of the killers, and where would you go if you did get out?
Egypt? Jordan? Iraq? Syria? The Mediterranean Sea?

Sadistic horror lacquered with self-pitying tears of victimhood and layers of saccharine delusion.
Bending that horror into an easier to deal with set of political incompetencies is understandable but it isn’t going to help.
Tiresome as it is, we’re still confronting the reality-makers with criticisms of what they’re already doing.
There is no way that the ponderously slow move toward cutting off the money will not be outflanked. If it could even be gotten to the active attention of a fully-compromised and complicit Congress.
And let’s not even mention the massive support for Israeli bloodshed from the millions of fundamentalist American Christians, who see Armegeddon as their only ticket to heaven. Even though that’s probably the single greatest obstacle to a unified American people’s humane response to this nightmare.

63

Joshua W. Burton 07.13.14 at 9:13 pm

Perhaps, then, the minimum starting position is the end of all US assistance to Israel of any kind, and the imposition of international sanctions along the anti-apartheid model?

As a starting point, there were four votes to let the missiles fall: John Conyers (D-MI), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Pete Stark (D-CA) and Ron Paul (D-TX). But Stark and Paul have since retired.

64

Joshua W. Burton 07.13.14 at 9:14 pm

Sorry, Paul (R-TX) of course.

65

LFC 07.13.14 at 9:15 pm

J W Burton @57
More specifically, if the PA rump state likes the ongoing rejectionism-by-proxy, what credible pressure (that is not right now being used on the PA rump less-than-state) will avail? And, should the government of this state hold elections and survive and continue to “own” the problem in good faith, what’s their move?

One source of credible pressure wd be to hold out the prospect of throwing the new state out of, or downgrading its status in, all the myriad intl institutions and orgs — World Bank, IMF, ICC, ICAO, FAO, etc etc etc — it wd have just joined. But the new state will not like the rejectionism-by-proxy, I think, so the question’s premise is wrong. (Their “move” wd be to use their security force vs the rejectionists.)

66

LFC 07.13.14 at 9:27 pm

J Thomas @58
I am talking about an agreement that wd create a Palestinian state recognized by the major powers and Israel; it wd be seated in the UN and other intl orgs, wd get infusions of intl aid (more than the PA is now), and consequently wd have a stake, I wd think, in opposing those groups that continue to reject Israel’s existence.

One of the stumbling blocks to a 2-state agreement is the notion that all outstanding issues have to be resolved before it can be inked. I’m suggesting some people who know more about these matters than I give serious thought to ways in which the most intractable issues might be postponed while nonetheless allowing the basic agreement to be signed.

Countries do not have to agree about every jot and tittle (if I can appropriate a British-ism) of their boundaries. China and India have been disputing certain aspects of their boundary for decades. They also recognize each other as sovereign states, have diplomatic and trade relations, etc. The boundary issues in the case of Israel and Palestine are more difficult, but there seems no a-priori reason why a couple of the most contentious areas could not be put on hold. Whether this wd actually work I don’t know. But worth considering, imo.

67

LFC 07.13.14 at 9:35 pm

Another example: India and Bangladesh have a pending Land Boundary Agreement, which the new Modi govt in India is promising to get ratified by the parliament, that resolves a number of outstanding disputes and open questions involving enclaves and so on. As I said, countries don’t have to agree on every square inch of their boundaries before recognizing each other. Of course the issues in Israel-Palestine are more difficult. But that doesn’t nec. mean impossible.

68

LFC 07.13.14 at 9:40 pm

R Belmont
Syria especially, with a “death score” of nearly 30K human lives lost

Much higher than that, I think.

69

roy belmont 07.13.14 at 10:16 pm

LFC:
Agh, yes. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights it’s 160,000+.
-
In a further attempt to get my facts straight:
Mr. Joshua Burton, I’m under the impression that Dennis Kucinich is no longer serving in the US House of Representatives, either. Sadly.
Also I’m thinking that he never once voted “to let the missiles fall”. Being a serious and committed humanitarian.
Though the circuitous and duplicitous bending of language that is seemingly your forte makes it very difficult to get to that with anything like a clear construction of refutation.
Lies and deceit inside a fog of artificial confusion.
Desperate amoral rationalizing as a way of life.
They hate us, so we’re killing them.
Which is true, if you’re traveling backward through time.
Then it makes perfect sense.
For the rest of us it’s just more snarling horseshit, from a seemingly endless supply.

70

Joshua W. Burton 07.13.14 at 10:18 pm

I am talking about an agreement that wd create a Palestinian state recognized by the major powers and Israel; it wd be seated in the UN and other intl orgs, wd get infusions of intl aid (more than the PA is now), and consequently wd have a stake, I wd think, in opposing those groups that continue to reject Israel’s existence.

This reminds me of my modest proposal to end the 2006 Hizb’allah war. Allow Lebanon to become an independent country, with its own flag (maybe something friendly like Canada’s, only with a cedar?), a seat at the United Nations, and full formal recognition by the Great Powers. Let Beirut hold democratic elections, to create an accountable legitimate government that can coopt and rein in the extremists. Carefully delineate the international boundary, and then put UN observers at the fence, to make sure any border incidents are sharply deterred and promptly contained. Above all, pull the Israeli right-wing settlers out of Lebanon permanently, ending the territorial dispute. (Heck, evacuate the Israeli-tainted Druse and Christian partisans of the South Lebanon Army, with their families, to new homes in northern Israel, too.)

Once the benefits of lasting and secure peace are obvious to all the involved parties, apply some of the same ideas, as appropriate, to the other theaters in the conflict.

71

ajay 07.13.14 at 10:18 pm

though the IRA fired plenty of mortar rounds across the border

When?

72

Joshua W. Burton 07.13.14 at 10:41 pm

Also I’m thinking that [the Hon. Dennis Kucinich] never once voted “to let the missiles fall”. Being a serious and committed humanitarian.

Read the bill. It’s short and admirably clear, and solely authorizes Iron Dome funding “for purposes of intercepting short-range rockets, missiles, and mortars launched against Israel.” Perhaps I could have said “to let the missiles fall, in the event that any more are launched”? Other than that (and the assumed continuing operation of Newtonian law), I don’t see much of a rhetorical gap. Missiles, when not intercepted, do fall; I’ve seen it from much closer than I’d like and I can promise it’s true.

73

Ronan(rf) 07.13.14 at 11:02 pm

@69 – your comment is very cryptic, but it seems to imply that because Lebanon has a specific sectarian structure, and so problems with constraining militant groups that have de facto control over certain regions, that the same is true of Palestine ? But the PA security services do collaborate extensively with Israel and reign in militant groups on the West Bank (as do Hamas in Gaza when it’s in their interests)

74

Ronan(rf) 07.13.14 at 11:03 pm

(Hamas reign in ultra rejectionist groups, rather than collaborate with Israel)

75

MPAVictoria 07.13.14 at 11:09 pm

LFC your plan makes a lot of sense.

76

roy belmont 07.14.14 at 12:06 am

Joshua W. Burton 07.13.14 at 10:41 pm:

Feel like I should point out here that I’m responding directly to the specific and literal content of your response.
Which responding, to me, has become a kind of complicity in a larger much less easily limned discourse that’s entirely dominated by one side, yours. The side that has massacred whole families in Gaza while the world watched the World Cup finals.

Perhaps if the people of Gaza just launched their children at Israel directly, instead of rockets, we could move the discussion into a more reality-centered area.
Brother can you spare a DIME?

Nonetheless, it is a specious thing to imply that Kucinich did anything of the sort you’re saying he did, for the reason you’re imputing.
I believe you know this, but that you see a need to skew the discourse in a way that makes any further logical trading work for you and your position, as opposed to working toward a common truth.
It’s the “Hey, stop beating your wife yet?” school of international truth-seeking.

The dishonesty that hides itself behind what I called above a “fog of confusion” is no longer as effective as it once was. And it will be increasingly hard to pull off now.

You say something deeply insulting about someone I have a certain amount of respect for, that he’s voted to hurt your people, your “innocent” people, and you imply, without saying it, because it is impossible for you to say overtly with any credibility, that he’s okay with how you framed his action, “letting the rockets fall”.
This is deceit without the forensic accountability of an outright lie.

My larger point, not directed at you, is that that awakening to deception and intrigue is happening so slowly, inexorably as it may, but so slowly that the originating spirit behind the bloodshed, the thing that creates and inflames the hatred Palestinians are deceptively condemned for, will be able to accommodate and nullify more reasonable, decent efforts at “solving the problems in the Middle East” without at all backing down from what is an actively unjust and immoral position.

77

Micheal Lunny 07.14.14 at 12:08 am

I think a useful shorthand for the disparity in suffering of Palestinians and Israelis, and the threat each poses to the other, is that the explosive weight of bombs alone dropped by Israel in the last few days was equivalent to the payload of more than 10000 Qassam rockets, of which around 300 had been fired at Israel in the same period.

This excludes shelling by the Israeli navy and the use of guided missiles and multiple rocket launchers and also ignores the comparatively poor quality of the Palestinians home made explosive versus that in modern Israeli munitions. This is not an “exchange of fire” between Hamas and Israel, it is a pitifully ill equipped and desperate population being punished mercilessly for what are almost cosmetic acts of resistance.

However even before the current police action it was absurd to compare the relative hardships of those living in Israel and those living in Gaza. If you visit the comparatively “comfortable” West Bank you’ll hear that the daily humiliations and suffering inflicted on Palestinians include random multi-hour long waits at checkpoints to get between villages, regular brutal raids by plain clothes Israeli special forces, beatings and punishment shootings by border guards and settlers, land confiscation, the destruction of crops, random arrests and indefinite detention and of course the summary execution of children and adults.

There is a constant fear among adults that demoralized, hopeless, unarmed and bored teenagers will get shot for minor acts of civil disobedience (and acting up for cameras).

The Gaza strip lives under a different kind of occupation with a different set of miseries but is quite certainly a worse place to live than the West Bank with higher levels of unemployment and physical and mental suffering.

This is not a debate that we should be having. It is a settled argument,

78

Helen 07.14.14 at 12:18 am

What I think is that there is no chance for peace so long as the Palestinians continue attacking. They ARE the aggressors here, that is an inescapable fact.

You have not noticed the “settlers” taking land by force? We now know that the British used a spurious concept of “terra nullius” when taking over the Australian continent. I don’t think the “settlers” can possibly use that excuse, even with an intellectual backflip and half pike. What would you call it if people from another state came and physically bulldozed your house, Brett?

79

Thornton Hall 07.14.14 at 12:28 am

@18 Ronan
brett bellmore, don’t be foolish.
Oh, come on! It wouldn’t be the same without the villain twisting his mustache. The show must go on.

In the meantime, the political realignment in the United States continues apace. Unless brett got his last name the way Jon Stewart did, he represents the shifting demographic nature of the blank check support of Israel. Before long Jeffrey Goldberg, Bill Kristol, and the Kraut Hammer will be leading an exclusively goyim army. The thing about American Jews, they are all related to someone who has first hand knowledge that war is a nightmare. But they are also American, which means they have a rock solid faith that every nightmare must end. From AIPACs perspective, that’s ok, because one American demographic is pretty much always in favor of killing brown people. Conveniently, this means donating to only one party.

Increasingly, Israel itself seems to be playing a run out the clock strategy, which is odd, because the shrinking supply of oil combined with the growing supply of Palestinians means that they are losing 2 to zero. Time is not on their side. But are you going to reason with a religious zealot?

Hopefully we will continue and enlarge the Obama doctrine, “Don’t do stupid shit.” That means it won’t be our dead kids. I feel for the Palestinians, but it seems like instead of “You broke it, you bought it,” it might be a matter of just getting all the bulls out of the china shop and hoping for the best.

If that’s not enough mixed metaphors, a got a few more here in my bag.

80

Alex DeLange 07.14.14 at 12:34 am

“They ARE the aggressors here, that is an inescapable fact. “

No, it isn’t. Why do you expect other to share that as the common ground is beyond me.

81

LFC 07.14.14 at 1:35 am

@MPAV
LFC your plan makes a lot of sense.
More just thinking aloud than a full-fledged plan, but thanks for the kind words.

82

LFC 07.14.14 at 1:46 am

Joshua W. Burton @69
Not able right now to reply at length, but I don’t follow some of this re Lebanon. For ex., UN observers have been in S. Lebanon for ages. They’ve had, I believe, a fairly limited mandate (more restricted ROE than some other UN missions). Consequently prob largely irrelevant. So what? This has no direct bearing on what I wrote.

I don’t know a great deal about Lebanon (less than I should), but I would respectfully float the suggestion that if the Israel/Palestinian situation came to resemble the Israel/Hizbollah situation, which seems to have been largely under control for the last several yrs (unless I’ve missed something, wh/ is quite possible), that might actually represent some progress. And w that, I have to sign off for a while.

83

J Thomas 07.14.14 at 1:51 am

#65

I am talking about an agreement that wd create a Palestinian state recognized by the major powers and Israel; it wd be seated in the UN and other intl orgs, wd get infusions of intl aid (more than the PA is now), and consequently wd have a stake, I wd think, in opposing those groups that continue to reject Israel’s existence.

In 1995 we were heading toward just that. We were getting the Israelis to allow a Palestinian state to be created without working out all the details first.

The Israelis said they were taking a giant risk and they wanted some compensation. They wanted favorable trade deals with europe. They wanted better weapons from the USA. (We said if they got peace they wouldn’t need the weapons. They pointed out in that case it would do no harm.) Etc. Meanwhile there were efforts to bribe the palestinians too. They got something like a billion dollars in investments. Computers for schools, Lensgrinders and optometrists, a chance to get into the 20th century.

But then in 2000 Barak said he was throwing away the agreement. He offered Arafat a brand new agreement that was going to settle everything in one go. He told Arafat to agree to the new agreement, and then Barak would tell him what would be in it. Arafat refused. He said they had a perfectly good agreement already. Barak said that agreement was null and void because Barak said it was, but if Arafat would just sign the new agreement then Barak would work out the details and Israel would never break that one. Arafat refused, but for a year or so afterward Israelis and Palestinians worked out a lot of details of what the agreement would have said if they had made it.

Meanwhile Israelis said that Palestinians had broken the old agreement. They said Palestinians had tried to smuggle in weapons. Those weapons would make it harder for Israel to invade Palestine, and they said that was strictly forbidden. So Israel did invade Palestine and took away or destroyed all the goodies the Palestinians had been given for peace, but they kept all the bribes they had themselves been given for peace.

Is there some reason you would expect it might work out different next time?

84

LFC 07.14.14 at 1:58 am

P.s. I also think the Lebanon analogy is somewhat misleading (for reasons partly suggested by Ronan above @72).

85

Collin Street 07.14.14 at 1:59 am

Essentially the sticking point is that the israeli-jewish population doesn’t realise that the essence of a peaceful solution is that military force doesn’t come into it, so their military strength has given them a vastly unrealistic expectation of the strength of their negotiating position.

[I'm kinda reminded here of pre-WWII japan, where the tactical successes blinded the lower-middle-class officer corps to the essential fuckedness of their strategic situation.]

86

Collin Street 07.14.14 at 2:01 am

Insert an “it appears to me” in the above, of course.

87

LFC 07.14.14 at 2:06 am

J Thomas
So Israel did invade Palestine and took away or destroyed all the goodies the Palestinians had been given for peace

As I recall, there was something called the 2nd intifada, precipitated partly by Sharon’s provocative stroll along some sensitive pc of ground or other, and that was at least part of the reason or pretext for what you refer to as the Israeli “invasion.”

The Oslo process was supposed to end with an agreement resolving all outstanding issues, was it not? And it didn’t. I don’t know/remember all the details of who said what to whom in 2000/2001.

But the point is that there was never a signed agreement creating a Palestinian state. There was a signed agreement, the Oslo accords, creating a process that was intended eventually to lead to a signed agreement creating a state, but that never did. So we are talking about two different things. And now I really am out of here.

88

Tabasco 07.14.14 at 2:29 am

Abigail 3

“I’ve never met an Israeli who thought of killing Palestinians as an end in itself”

Check out the comments at the Jerusalem Post blogs. You’ll meet enough there to last you a lifetime.

89

Tjerk Muller 07.14.14 at 2:36 am

“Hamas hadn’t fired any rockets since November 2012 and had been actively trying to stop other jihadi groups from doing so”

This argument is a double edged sword. What J.J. Goldberg makes explicit but Bertram doesn’t, is that November 2012 was when Israel attacked Gaza before, in Operation Pillar of Cloud/Defense.

So, if we accept that Hamas has kept the missile rains down for the last year-and-a-half since Israels latest incursion in Gaza (to use it as an argument that the missiles from a Hamas are simply a pretext for Israel to go on a punitive raid), then we also accept that such punitive raids apparantly work. Hey, they did the last time….

90

Joshua W. Burton 07.14.14 at 3:12 am

Thread convergence: I liked this very much, especially Barry Freed’s comment @4 which I think just nailed it.

In exactly the same spirit, I found Roy Belmont, this thread @61, confusing. If we were to collectively waive decency and allow the “literally unspeakable” unmoderated free voice here, what exactly would paragraph 2 be trying to say? By all means use the J-word freely, if that will help.

91

4jkb4ia 07.14.14 at 3:28 am

It is in fact alarming that Hamas has rockets that can reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, although they have not hurt anyone AFAIK. There may be a genuine self-defense war in future in which these rockets are used.

92

4jkb4ia 07.14.14 at 3:29 am

This may be a character flaw, but I have not been able to work up any alarm for Israel in this operation as compared with 2006. The sane thing is to pray for it all to be over.

93

Ralfff 07.14.14 at 4:16 am

#69: Lebanon has a legitimate military deterrent in the form of Hezbollah which is powerful enough to deter outright invasion by Israel. Hamas is a boogeyman which poses absolutely no threat to Israel and statistically hardly any to individual Israelis today. Both situations are bad, but I’d much rather live close to the Israel-Lebanon border on either side than the Israel-Gaza border on either side. You undermine your own point.

94

J Thomas 07.14.14 at 4:20 am

#88

4jkb4ia, unfortunately rockets that can reach Tel Aviv do very little to assist Palestinian self-defense.

The most they can help with is as a deterrent. But Palestinians can’t possibly get enough advanced rockets to do much good for that, and as a result Israel can encourage Palestinian rocket strikes and use them to drum up public support instead of the reverse.

So they’re mostly useless except to improve Palestinian morale.

Israel’s military is so overwhelming that Palestinians have essentially no chance for self-defense.

95

Joshua W. Burton 07.14.14 at 4:23 am

LFC and Ronan(rf), well spotted. The elements of my “modest proposal” for Lebanon are, of course, precisely the pre-existing facts of 2006, and Hizb’allah nonetheless initiated hostilities, doing more damage to life, limb and property in 34 days than Hamas has managed in aggregate down south in the eight years since. As Hizb’allah’s declared aims remain maximalist and unchanged, there is nothing about the northern border situation that would represent “progress” if duplicated in Gaza. (No, not even blue helmets, if they behave as badly as up north. If we could get MFO instead of UNIFIL, that would be great, but while we’re dreaming let’s ask for UNHCR to replace UNRWA, and resolve the refugee problem.)

I recommend watching The Gatekeepers, and even more so the five-disk unabridged version (which unfortunately lacks subtitles). All six former heads of Shin Bet say “sure, where do we sign?” to LFC’s proposal; Abu Mazen would probably also accept an interim full statehood without Jerusalem, if he could somehow survive it. The interim map looked like this when Clinton left office, and like this now: no surprises, no drama, very low remaining stakes. I have no idea when, but this is what.

I should add that all the Shin Bet commanders are, broadly, impressed with PA security cooperation: the Ramallah police have come a very long way. To me, the obvious next trust-building step would be turning Muhammad Abu Khdeir’s murderers over to the PA — a traumatic cleansing that I would strongly support, if only to save them from the Hague.

96

roy belmont 07.14.14 at 4:53 am

If we were to collectively waive decency and allow the “literally unspeakable” unmoderated free voice here, what exactly would paragraph 2 be trying to say? By all means…
Me @75:
Which responding, to me, has become a kind of complicity in a larger much less easily limned discourse that’s entirely dominated by one side, yours. The side that has massacred whole families in Gaza while the world watched the World Cup finals.
[...]
I believe you know this, but that you see a need to skew the discourse in a way that makes any further logical trading work for you and your position, as opposed to working toward a common truth.
It’s the “Hey, stop beating your wife yet?” school of international truth-seeking.
-
Since you seemed to have not read that yet. To explain why, beyond this, I won’t respond to you any further.
Enough fatuous pretence. While the heroes of Gaza pull the body parts of their families out of the rubble your clot of lying shitheads have made of their already imprisoned homes.
Enough complicity, enough legitimizing the apologetics of inhuman cruelty by pseudo-reasoned discourse.
The phrase ” waive decency” is the semantic equivalent of a pedophile priest’s patronizing leer. It contains, and hides, the same self-gratifying confidence, the same moral perversion, and the same sense of untouchable amoral security, and it remains, smugly, regardless the core depravity behind it.
Because you know, now, what’s ahead is either your ascendance over the broken lives of those better than you, or we all go down to your vengeance and Satanic spite.
It is a countenance filled to the teeth with contempt.
It is disgusting to me beyond measure.
You have experience with rockets falling?
I have experience, direct and personal, with Mossad sadists intent on removing a threat to the power of the thing they serve. And their packs of street-level yapping dogs.
I’ll see you in hell.

97

godoggo 07.14.14 at 5:02 am

I’m sure I’ll regret asking this, but curiosity is getting the better of me. What specifically do you mean by “I have experience, direct and personal, with Mossad sadists intent on removing a threat to the power of the thing they serve. And their packs of street-level yapping dogs.”

98

godoggo 07.14.14 at 5:20 am

I actually do have a bit of a neckbeard.

99

roy belmont 07.14.14 at 5:27 am

godoggo 07.14.14 at 5:02 am;

It says exactly what it means. If you want specifics you’ll have to do something more than just ask for them nonchalantly on an internet comments thread.
What that something more would be I’m not interested at the moment in figuring out for you.

100

godoggo 07.14.14 at 5:40 am

Whatevs. Feel free to continue ranting and raving.

101

godoggo 07.14.14 at 5:42 am

lol

102

m26-7 07.14.14 at 6:05 am

Both sides are politically very immature. There will never be peace with cultures that are incapable of moving beyond a retaliatory response.

103

novakant 07.14.14 at 11:06 am

Check out the comments at the Jerusalem Post blogs. You’ll meet enough there to last you a lifetime.

Comments sections are not real life, people will say anything on the internet and it attracts the nutters like flypaper. I find Abigail’s claim completely plausible, most people just want to go about their business in peace. The insinuation that a large part of the Israeli electorate are bloodthirsty sociopaths is pretty outrageous.

104

Ronan(rf) 07.14.14 at 11:36 am

@95 – well there are a few things here I think (although I’m not 100% sure what your position above is).
(1) Israel will *have* to live with uncertainty on its Southern and Northen border for the forseeable future. I think most people in the political and security elite accept that. Rocket firing *is* going to continue from Gaza on some level, there are worse things in the world. (Going back to the OP this is similar to British policy in NI, who were willing to live with some level of violence, and so worked to contain(rather than fully stop) it until a negotiated resolution could be found)
(2) There has been progress with Hizballah, and there has been limited(to virtually no) violence since 2006.(and since Israel withdrew from Southern Lebanon) Again, the potential of violence is something Israel has to live with, just as Israel’s neighbours have to live with the potential of Israeli violence. There are no existential threats to Israel either in Lebanon or Gaza. At the moment (generally) both threats are probably at the level of nuisance.
(3) Israel has two options with Hamas (1) negotiate with them (as you mention re the doc The Gatekeepers even a lot of elites in the security services support that) (2) or destroy them. I doubt they will be able to destroy them, and even if they weaken them fatally it will probably just strengthen more extreme groups. Hamas have shown themselves to be organisationally rational and willing to change their behaviour for political considerations (particularly since they were given(or took) a stake in running Gaza, which was all very predictable) and there are signs they would be willing to enter into serious negotiations.
(4) There are no perfect solutions vis a vis Israeli security and a new Palestinian state. As it stands at the moment things look pretty good for Israel. Palestinian elites have made a lot of compromises on Israeli security, Israel has made much less for the Palestinians.

105

Micheal Lunny 07.14.14 at 12:40 pm

novakant@103

I find Abigail’s claim completely plausible, most people just want to go about their business in peace. The insinuation that a large part of the Israeli electorate are bloodthirsty sociopaths is pretty outrageous.

The first thing to say that a significant proportion of the business that an Israeli goes about is not in itself peaceful (benefiting or participating in occupation, land appropriation and so forth) and that the actions of the democratic Israeli state are definitely not peaceful (expansionist, militarist and explicitly racist). When an Israeli says “we just want to live in peace” it is usually not about the idea of living in a just peace but about the citizens of Israel “as is” not being disturbed by (or even reminded about) the consequences of the country’s decades long campaign of aggression and expansion. (Gosh, aren’t the Hamas rocket attacks like a kind of collective punishment then? How wrong is that!)

The second thing to say is that anyone wondering about just much anger and prejudice animates Israeli society should read Max Blumenthal’s “Goliath” or follow his journalism. (Gideon Levy is good too, if a little despairing). There has naturally always been a vein of manifest destiny and Jewish ethnic pride (very, very, like white pride) in Zionism but in the last twenty years, due to demographic and cultural changes, a significant proportion and perhaps even a plurality of the Israeli body politic has become unapologetically racist and gives regular dog whistles to a kind of eliminationism-lite. People vote for MKs who compare Palestinian children to snakes (Ayelet Shaked) and casually announce that they have of course killed “Arabs” and that this is nothing to be ashamed of (can not recall his name).

My meetings with Jewish Israelis outside of the peace camp have been fleeting only and I am no kind of expert but I found the few I have engaged with charming, confident, articulate, easy to identify with and easy to like (and, my god, very good looking) and it is hard not to want them to flourish. However, rather like white Zimbabweans, if you ask the wrong questions you can find yourself in a conversation from the late nineteenth century in a compound in Africa and a little probing finds that their national historical narrative is white washed and their perception of events and the relationships between them disturbingly skewed.

During my only trip to Israel (really the West bank) I wandered down through an Arab market in Jerusalem. A small gang of ultra-orthodox teenagers strutted down the narrow street carrying submachine guns giving threatening stares to the stall owners, presumably in their own minds showing that they would not be threatened in their own land. There you have it.

106

Joshua W. Burton 07.14.14 at 1:48 pm

Ronan(rf) @104: There are no existential threats to Israel either in Lebanon or Gaza. At the moment (generally) both threats are probably at the level of nuisance.

Right. So, if faithfully doing all the things that I enumerated in the Lebanon withdrawal of 2000, with the full cooperation of the world’s alleged peacekeepers, leads to exactly the same outcome (tense standoff, punctuated now and then by brutal kidnappings and a light drizzle of missiles) as unilaterally pulling settlers back, building walls and living by Chicago rules, as in Gaza and on bad days the West Bank . . . where is the case for LFC’s signed interim peace? That is, what aim of a peace-loving but pragmatic Israeli voter would be thereby advanced?

The only answer that makes sense to me is about the West Bank on good days, which is to say the security cooperation with the PA that has reduced Israeli “retail” civilian fatalities from hundreds a year in the early 2000s to zero in Obama’s first term and single digits in recent years. As silent partner, the US has been superb here as well — the Israeli security elites, or “black doves” in the evocative Hebrew phrase, have no part in the Fox/JPost US-partisan bluster of the noisy chickenhawks. But again, none of that is about blue helmets and handshakes on the White House lawn, and it’s certainly not about the folks who post here.

107

Micheal Lunny 07.14.14 at 1:50 pm

One other thing, if you find yourself in doubt about whether Israel’s current assault on Gaza is motivated by a need to defend itself or some other reasons you might find it interesting to keep an eye on the list of targets. Last night they targeted the house of the head of medicine at a Gaza hospital (he got out in time), two days ago they got the Gaza Ark. Remember that these are targets of choice and not collateral damage, each one intended to send a message.

What message do you think that would be?

108

MPAVictoria 07.14.14 at 2:00 pm

godoggo:
It probably happened right after he met his close personal friend Elton John for lunch but before women (and men) started throwing themselves at him because of his raw sexual magnetism.

109

Layman 07.14.14 at 2:05 pm

“The only answer that makes sense to me is about the West Bank on good days, which is to say the security cooperation with the PA that has reduced Israeli “retail” civilian fatalities from hundreds a year in the early 2000s to zero in Obama’s first term and single digits in recent years.”

In order for Israelis to be killed in the West Bank, they must be in the West Bank. Perhaps a solution presents itself.

110

Joshua W. Burton 07.14.14 at 2:12 pm

What message do you think that would be?

Um, don’t operate paramilitary command bunkers under hospitals? Don’t run our naval blockade? I don’t think these are particularly useful messages, but surely they’re unambiguous and consistent with Israel’s public and diplomatic stance.

111

Joshua W. Burton 07.14.14 at 2:18 pm

In order for Israelis to be killed in the West Bank, they must be in the West Bank. Perhaps a solution presents itself.

My TA’s grandmother was killed in 2002 at a bus stop inside the Green Line, but thanks for the advice.

112

Joshua W. Burton 07.14.14 at 2:27 pm

Also, this. Wachsman’s parents were Meimad peaceniks; it’s likely that his first time ever crossing into the West Bank was in his murderers’ car.

113

Layman 07.14.14 at 2:27 pm

“In order for Israelis to be killed in the West Bank, they must be in the West Bank. Perhaps a solution presents itself.”

“My TA’s grandmother was killed in 2002 at a bus stop inside the Green Line, but thanks for the advice.”

I’m sorry to hear it, but that hardly rebuts my point; and I imagine there’s a direct relationship between that death & the presence of Israeli settlers in the West Bank. Maybe you should do something about your elected leaders besides promulgate their propaganda?

114

Layman 07.14.14 at 2:37 pm

“Also, this. Wachsman’s parents were Meimad peaceniks; it’s likely that his first time ever crossing into the West Bank was in his murderers’ car.”

Yes, this is precisely the problem: An underground group which exists to resist the military occupation of their country kills a soldier from the occupying army, and you think that’s a terrorist crime. What side do you think that puts you on in occupied France, or Poland, or Czechoslovakia?

115

Collin Street 07.14.14 at 2:41 pm

Joshua: do you believe that it is wrong to kill people’s grandmothers?

116

Joshua W. Burton 07.14.14 at 2:53 pm

and you think that’s a terrorist crime.

Wachsman was kidnapped on Oct 9, 1994, and killed on Oct 14. Yitzhak Rabin had received the Nobel Peace Prize for the Oslo agreement that summer, and signed the peace treaty with Jordan (which is still in force) on Oct 26, while the nation and Wachsman’s parents were still in mourning. Rabin visited them at home just before that signing, and they expressed support in grief, and thanks. I don’t need lame WW2 analogies to tell me what side of this kidnapping to be on, though if it puts me on the opposite side from you I am grateful for the additional moral clarity.

117

Ronan(rf) 07.14.14 at 2:56 pm

@106 – oh sure, I don’t think there’s a domestic Israeli solution to it. Any solution that allows Israel call the terms is going to lead to the institutionalisation of what there is now. (A tiny, divided up state with no meaningful sovereignty and a Palestinain establishment only commited to Israeli interests)
As I said above, ideally a solution would be pushed(imposed) on Israel, and not with pats on the back and high fives but with the potential for serious consequences for behaving in a consitently recalcitrant and self pitying juvenile manner. The petty problems of small time nationalists and identity politics are personally not my thing, so Ive no problem supporting the imposition of solutions on polities that show themselves unwilling or unable to behave as adults.

“which is to say the security cooperation with the PA that has reduced Israeli “retail” civilian fatalities from hundreds a year in the early 2000s to zero in Obama’s first term”

Well sure, but who argues that a Palestinian state won’t have to work to gaurantee Israeli security ? This is a pretty basic condition of any future solution. Point is that the context Israel is helping create in Gaza doesnt lead to the sorts of institutions and political culture that will lead to security.
A meaningful Palestinian state with international security gaurantees, infusions of foreign investment and a growing economy which Palestinian elites can suckle from would create the incentives to maintain long term security.

118

Joshua W. Burton 07.14.14 at 3:02 pm

A meaningful Palestinian state with international security gaurantees, infusions of foreign investment and a growing economy which Palestinian elites can suckle from would create the incentives to maintain long term security.

Or, Lebanon. But I strongly agree it’s worth a try. And another, and another . . . .

119

actio 07.14.14 at 3:03 pm

Brett Bellmore, Abigail and many other commentators are stuck in baseless and useless “they did it first” reasoning. But in this 100+ year territorial strife there is no intellectually honest way to make claims of causal firsts, to pinpoint some as “the attackers”. Israel reacts to rockets from Gaza. Launchers of rockets from Gaza react to israeli killings, beatings and coercion. Israelis ordering the killings, beating and coercion as a react to… On and on and on. That way of thinking is psychologically very tempting to engage in but it has no argumentative merit here and is also counterproductive.

120

Layman 07.14.14 at 3:11 pm

” I don’t need lame WW2 analogies to tell me what side of this kidnapping to be on”

Oh, I imagine you don’t need that sort of reflection at all.

121

Ronan(rf) 07.14.14 at 3:11 pm

Lebanon’s sectarian make up is completly differnt than Palestines, so there’s no reason a Palestinian state should be as fragile(and in fairness Lebanon has remained pretty – relative to what it was -stable since the Civil war) Jordan might be a better comparison.

122

Ronan(rf) 07.14.14 at 3:13 pm

..and let’s not get into Israel’s role in destabishing Lebanon,but I have to run anyway so will be leaving it there ; )

123

Joshua W. Burton 07.14.14 at 3:29 pm

so there’s no reason a Palestinian state should be as fragile

Or two Palestinian states, or one and a half. But I’m actually in broad agreement with you and LRF about most of this (not with the poets and laymen, obviously), so I won’t hoist you on the petard of arguing for the stability of East Pakistan. Peace!

124

novakant 07.14.14 at 3:49 pm

#105

You can easily replace “Israel” with “US” in your first paragraph.

125

J Thomas 07.14.14 at 5:02 pm

Joshua Burton’s stand is not nearly as insane as it looks.

Consider how the USA reacted after 9/11. We did not accept that terrorist attacks happen against Americans or in the USA.

Now consider US race relations. We get zero publicity about black separatism. I just did Google News on “black separatism” and got four hits. One article printed 3 times in the Star Democrat, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and The Tand D.com, and a second article printed in ThyBlackMan.com. Both of them were about the 1960′s.

Meanwhile in 2012 there were 431 reported murders of whites by blacks, and 193 reported murders of blacks by whites. On a per capita basis US blacks killing whites is rather higher than palestinians killing israelis, but I think most Americans think that it tends to be about property — wallets, cars, drugs etc — and not about attempts to form a new nation out of part of the USA. So Americans are mostly satisfied that justice is done when the perps are captured and sentenced to prison.

Imagine that the US media and US government started publishing a lot of claims about a black separatist movement, and they classed every reported black-on-white murder as a terrorist act by black separatists. Is it all that unlikely that we might quickly develop a whole lot of discrimination against blacks? Or that the bad treatment might quickly create a functional black separatist movement? How long would it take before it was as bad here as it is there?

It’s an easy trap to fall into, and hard to climb out of. When it happened to the Germans we wanted to say that they were special monsters and it couldn’t happen so easily to anybody else. But we were wrong.

126

Layman 07.14.14 at 5:14 pm

“Consider how the USA reacted after 9/11. We did not accept that terrorist attacks happen against Americans or in the USA.”

You should be a bit careful who you’re including in that ‘we’.

That aside, a better comparison would be the US reaction to anti-occupation activity in Iraq. Local citizens engaged in attacks on armed members of a foreign occupation force, and we called them ‘terrorists’, as if we would not claim the moral right to the exact same behavior were the situation reversed. This is Joshua’s blindness (to be charitable) – it is ‘right’ for Israel to bomb homes, inevitably killing children and other innocents in the process, in order to defend Israeli citizens; but not ‘right’ for Palestinians to kill members if Israel’s occupation forces in order to defend their homes & families. It’s absurd, and I wonder why you feel obliged too ‘splain it.

127

Joshua W. Burton 07.14.14 at 5:25 pm

How long would it take before it was as bad here as it is there?

Chicago has had 201 murders in 2014, through the July 4th weekend. Counting all violent crime, terrorism, last month’s police raids and the ongoing Gaza attacks, Israel/Palestine probably pulled briefly ahead sometime last night, but Rahm is a turtle to Bibi’s hare, and I wouldn’t bet against the Windy City for the full calendar year.

The comparison more apt to Israeli thinking is next door in Syria, where this weekend’s Gaza death rate would be considered a lull.

128

Joshua W. Burton 07.14.14 at 5:40 pm

but not ‘right’ for Palestinians to kill members if Israel’s occupation forces in order to defend their homes & families

Nachshon Wachsman was brought into the West Bank and killed to stop the Oslo process and the Jordan treaty; neither result was achieved. One of his captors was exchanged in 2011 to bring Gilad Shalit out of Gaza, where he had been brought on 24 June 2006 when no other Israeli, civilian or uniformed, was on Gaza soil.

It’s war, stuff happens. But no, that doesn’t make all of it right.

129

Layman 07.14.14 at 5:57 pm

“One of his captors was exchanged in 2011 to bring Gilad Shalit out of Gaza, where he had been brought on 24 June 2006 when no other Israeli, civilian or uniformed, was on Gaza soil.”

And West Bank soil?

130

mud man 07.14.14 at 6:07 pm

The comparison more apt to Israeli thinking is next door in Syria, where this weekend’s Gaza death rate would be considered a lull.

Well, we’re not at the end of the day yet are we.

While we wait on ISIL, if you think Gaza casualties are minimal, what do you say about Israeli?

131

Joshua W. Burton 07.14.14 at 6:16 pm

And West Bank soil?

Working on it, in Oct 1994 — me, my family, Rabin, King Hussein, the Wachsman parents. Still working on it, those of us who remain.

132

Joshua W. Burton 07.14.14 at 6:20 pm

While we wait on ISIL, if you think Gaza casualties are minimal, what do you say about Israeli?

Well, my son’s in the Galilee right now, not in Chicago. Casualties come one per customer and they’re all the same size, but you have to play the odds.

133

Joshua W. Burton 07.14.14 at 6:29 pm

More seriously, if you’re looking for racist smut implying that some lives are worth more than others, you’d do better to go ask a Hamasnik. They’re the ones who set the exchange rate at many hundreds to one; I defy you to find an Israeli anywhere who wouldn’t have accepted a trade of Gilad Shalit for one enemy prisoner (or even for five, the Bowe Bergdahl rate). I’m on record with my estimation of the relative value of Muhammad Abu Khdeir’s life and those of his Jewish murderers; see @95 above.

134

Joshua W. Burton 07.14.14 at 6:40 pm

It seems to me that many of the posters above should be arguing with this guy, not with me.

135

Nell 07.14.14 at 6:43 pm

Yuval Dishkin, director of Shin Bet 2005-2011:

the rapid deterioration we’re experiencing in the security situation did not come because of the vile murder of Naftali, Eyal and Gil-Ad, may their memories be blessed. The deterioration is first and foremost a result of the illusion that the government’s inaction on every front can actually freeze the situation in place, the illusion that “price tag” is simply a few slogans on the wall and not pure racism, the illusion that everything can be solved with a little more force, the illusion that the Palestinians will accept everything that’s done in the West Bank and won’t respond despite the rage and frustration and the worsening economic situation, the illusion that the international community won’t impose sanctions on us, that the Arab citizens of Israel won’t take to the streets at the end of the day because of the lack of care for their problems, and that the Israeli public will continue submissively to accept the government’s helplessness in dealing with the social gaps that its policies have created and are worsening, while corruption continues to poison everything good, and so on and so on.

Israeli Illusions Fueled Blowup

136

Joshua W. Burton 07.14.14 at 6:46 pm

Yuval Diskin (with a samekh, not a shin) is entirely correct.

137

Layman 07.14.14 at 7:01 pm

“They’re the ones who set the exchange rate at many hundreds to one”

This is an artifact of the asymmetrical nature of the conflict. Hamas demands many for one because Israel holds many while Hamas holds few.

“I defy you to find an Israeli anywhere who wouldn’t have accepted a trade of Gilad Shalit for one enemy prisoner”

How about finding an Israeli who’ll abandon the illegal and immoral occupation of the West Bank, and the blockade of Gaza? That’s what I’m looking for. I’m sure there must be some, but all I’m getting at the moment is your apologia.

138

Micheal Lunny 07.14.14 at 7:11 pm

#124

There has to be a lot written about feedback loop between the shift to the right in Israeli and US politics (Podhoretz and commentary and how it moved to the right after the Yom Kippur war, the emergence of neoconservatism and how that in turn enabled Israels shift to the right, how Israel’s shift to the right reinforced that trend in US foreign policy and so on). It has not been good for the world but it is too big a topic for here. Call Corey Robin.

#127

This fascinates me, the attempt to put Israeli attacks on Palestinians in a context they do not belong. Far more Arabs are killed in Syria – why doesn’t anyone get worked up about that? Well, because we are focused on a different set of parties here and the disproportionate amount of suffering one inflicts on the other. If you ask about Syria can I ask why Israel does not spend more of its money on road safety since a hundred times more Israelis were killed by car accidents than by Palestinian attacks in Israel last year?

Also, AFAIK, there is a rough equivalence between the number of government and opposition forces killed in Syria and the civilian deaths do not form the majority of casualties. It is a worse humanitarian disaster but its also much harder to apportion blame than Israel/Palestine.

139

stevenjohnson 07.14.14 at 7:35 pm

@3 Abigail writes “I’ve never met an Israeli who thought of killing Palestinians as an end in itself, nor do I think it’s fair to describe this as a consensus attitude…” I’ve never personally met a white person who thinks of killing African Americans as “an end in itself,” but I’ve met lots of people who thought their lives were worth less and didn’t give a rat’s ass about injustice perpetrated against them. The insinuation that raving about openly raving about genocide, just because, is the relevant standard is thoroughly dishonest. Trying to play the victim of slander is despicable.

As for existential threats, it is the Zionists who have a large number of nukes and missiles. And I see no reason to disbelieve that like the US they have every intention of using them when they see fit. I don’t believe anyone who accepts that has any humanitarian interests.

I believe Israel is the last imperialist project against the lower orders of humanity. As such, like other decaying empires (Spain, Portugal) or other would-be empires or new states (Italy, Japan, Germany, Croatia, etc.) it musters support for war by a combination of special rewards for the national group with random violence against the target populations. Zionism doesn’t have a leader principle any more than the Rexists or the Dollfuss regime. All Israel lacks to completely fit the classic mold is a significant political threat from proletarian revolution. But I don’t believe in the necessity of reality to fit old definitions. Zionism is a kind of fascism.

I believe anyone who compromises with fascism shares a commit to imperialism and counterrevolution, however much they fake being left.

140

Joshua W. Burton 07.14.14 at 8:29 pm

Ronan(rf) @121:
so there’s no reason a Palestinian state should be as fragile

This was surprising.

141

Brett Bellmore 07.14.14 at 8:39 pm

“Far more Arabs are killed in Syria – why doesn’t anyone get worked up about that? “

Hard to blame Arabs killing Arabs on Israel. And noticing Arabs killing Arabs is counter-productive, because it suggests that, when Arabs try to kill Israelis, it might be an Arab thing, not an Israeli thing.

142

MPAVictoria 07.14.14 at 8:41 pm

I wonder what the outcome would be if Israel just declared peace and left? Gave the Palestinians a chunk of land and sovereignty over it and then just refused to engage. Something like this:

http://www.fmep.org/maps/redeployment-final-status-options/west-bank-final-status-map-presented-by-israel-jul-2000/west_bank_final_status_map.gif/image_view_fullscreen

/Note I know that the current gov’t of Israel is unlikely to make this deal. This is more of a what if.

143

Brett Bellmore 07.14.14 at 8:49 pm

144

Ronan(rf) 07.14.14 at 9:08 pm

@140 – I’m not trying to completly underplay divisions within Palestine politically or societally, I’m just saying the comparison to Lebanon is over the top. I don’t think a future Palestinian state neccesarily has to succumb to authoritarianism or internal conflict, though it’s of course a possibility. Ideally any new Palestinian state would(on account of the history) have a lot of international engagement, an elite with strong international links, a young (quite well educated) population, a large (relatively) wealthy diaspora, and a set of institutions that *could* be developed to maintain a democratic system and a functioning economy. So it could go one way or the other, depending on choices that are made.
Most Palestinians I have known who are not significantly engaged in partisan politics do(I agree with your context) worry(or are annoyed) about the political divisions and worry about internal security problems (such as militant groups, criminal gangs, family feuds that escalate etc) that arise in these kinds of contexts. Again though I’d argue that the occupation exacerbated all of these things.
(For the record, I would generally disagree with those above arguing about Israeli anti Arab sentiment.Like Palestinian anti semitism I think it’s largely an outgrowth of the conflict, except in some (pretty small) ideologically racist/anti semitic groups)

145

Suzanne 07.14.14 at 9:13 pm

“Consider how the USA reacted after 9/11. We did not accept that terrorist attacks happen against Americans or in the USA.”

@125: The Gaza Strip is an occupied territory, and a weak and tiny one to boot. The repeated punitive expeditions into the territory by Israel, a vastly greater power, to inflict collective punishment in response to militant resistance to that occupation is in no way comparable to what happened in the United States on September 11. Which is not to justify everything the United States did in response to that event, only to note that even to raise the comparison is to play on the turf and by the ground rules chosen by Israel.

146

Joshua W. Burton 07.14.14 at 9:20 pm

Ronan(rf) @144: Basically yes to all of this. “Trust, but verify” . . . also, “if not now, when?”

147

rea 07.14.14 at 10:06 pm

There is a weird symbiotic relationship between the extremists on both sides. The point of shooting missiles from Gaza into Israel is to provoke Israeli air attacks on Gaza, which increases the political power of the Palestinian hardliners. The attacks serve no military purpose. The point of air attacks on Gaza is to provoke Palestinian missile attacks on Israel, which increases the political power of the Israeli hardliners. The attacks serve no military purpose. And so it goes.

148

Brett Bellmore 07.15.14 at 1:02 am

” I don’t think a future Palestinian state necessarily has to succumb to authoritarianism or internal conflict, “

I don’t see how it avoids it, starting out pre-succumbed, as it were.

149

Collin Street 07.15.14 at 1:31 am

But it’s not as if there’s anything israel can do about that, is there? Politics is an internal matter: only way israel can have pull over palestinian internal politics is if palestine is placed under israeli sovereignty.

150

roy belmont 07.15.14 at 1:31 am

Hasbara call-center metastasizing.
Hell has no borders.

151

MPAVictoria 07.15.14 at 1:39 am

Counting syllables
seventeen is not enough
eighteen would be bet

152

Shwell Thanksh 07.15.14 at 1:54 am

The most recently proposed cease-fire precondition, to place Gaza strip munitions under international guardianship in the mold of the agreement to draw down Syrian chemical weapon stockpiles, might be made more balanced by also requiring both sides to surrender on equal terms any nuclear munitions not currently approved by previous UN accord.

153

Joshua W. Burton 07.15.14 at 2:00 am

Hasbara

A small endearing thing about the newborn State of Israel was its decision to use this term. What other country calls its propaganda ministry the Department of Explanations?

154

ZM 07.15.14 at 2:03 am

I used to have a picture book called ‘My Shalom My Peace’ with pictures and poems by children of both Jewish and Arab (Palestinian?) ethnicity. It was published in 1975, I wonder what those children think and hope for now?

‘When the echoes of bursting shells will die,
When once again peace will reign
in every home and field -
White and pure, a dove will hover in the sky
And in its beak, an olive branch like a shield.’
- Miky Maltc, age 10, Kiryat Motzkin, ‘The Hovering Dove’.

155

Joshua W. Burton 07.15.14 at 4:13 am

It was published in 1975, I wonder what those children think and hope for now?

Well, for example, I just checked and this program is still running as scheduled this week.

156

mittelwerk 07.15.14 at 8:05 am

the terrible pathos of the 3rd-tier neckbearded liberal history professors with castration complexes revolving around theocratic terrorism

http://stevenarch.tymoon.eu/fab/src/136606550886.gif

157

Micheal Lunny 07.15.14 at 12:00 pm

@153

A small endearing thing about the newborn State of Israel was its decision to use this term. What other country calls its propaganda ministry the Department of Explanations?

If there was a German compound word for “A person who has said something unintentionally funny at a dinner party but is totally unaware of it” it would be appropriate to use it here.

Many of you will awake to news that Hamas is refusing to sign up to a ceasefire deal brokered by the Egyptians. This is again more Bullshit about Gaza.

The ceasefire deal was a result of discussions between a military dictator who despises Hamas (General Sisi), a war criminal who despises Islamicists (Tony Blair), the US Secretary of State (Kerry) and the prime minister of Israel (Netanyahu). It had no, as far as anyone knows, Palestinian involvement though the PA are probably on side. It is not so much as a ceasefire as an offer of terms to surrender until the next military display of Israeli will (Egypt and Israel both reneged on many of the terms of the last ceasefire).

I hope the thread closes soon, it reminds me of why I stopped being involved in efforts to help Palestinians. Their situation is absolutely hopeless, they have no public support from any government (save perhaps Iran) and they can be killed with absolute impunity. Meanwhile Israel is well on the road to being a functionally fascist state with 200 nuclear weapons and a fleet of German provided stealthy submarines with which to launch them.

As Andrew Sullivan (yes, I know) hints, an intentionally targeted mosque with twenty dead Palestinian worshipers is par for the course, a random hit on a synagogue with two dead Israelis would be a war crime. Palestinians are actually existing untermenschen.

Understanding the Permanence of Greater Israel

158

Micheal Lunny 07.15.14 at 1:08 pm

@novokant

The MK I mentioned who apparently said that he had killed lots of Arabs and that there was no problem with that is Naftali Bennett, the minister for Economy and Trade. It is really just perfectly normal stuff about the summary execution of racially profiled suspects being A-OK that you might hear in any modern democracy.

Read about it here in well known organ of Hamas The Jerusalem Post.

http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Bennett-under-fire-for-comments-about-killing-Arabs-321467

159

Brad DeLong 07.15.14 at 4:12 pm

@157

**Zack Beauchamp:** Why Hamas’ military wing scuttled a ceasefire with Israel: “Just hours after Israel accepted an Egyptian-brokered cease fire agreement on Tuesday morning, the calm collapsed. Hamas continued to fire rockets into Israel, and its militant wing announced ‘We will continue to bombard until out conditions are met’…. After six hours of holding its fire, Israel resumed bombing the Gaza Strip–and it’s not clear, now, when the fighting is going to stop…. No one’s quite sure what Hamas thinks about the cease fire agreement. That may sound bizarre, given that they’ve clearly violated its terms and never accepted it, but the group has not yet issued any official statement on the deal. The New York Times, CNN, and leading Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz all reported that Hamas’ cabinet was still considering the proposal as rockets were falling. What this suggests is that there may be a real division between Hamas’ military wing, the Izz ad-Dim al-Qassam Brigades, and its political leadership. Nominally, the military wing reports to the political wing, but it’s not clear that the political wing has total control over rocket fire. Notably, an al-Qassam statement, not a Hamas political spokesman, claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks that continues after the ceasefire. And just after the proposal was announced, a military wing statement said the ceasefire agreement ‘is not worth the ink that wrote it’…”

Michael–

Do you have any insight into what Hamas’s military wing thinks that it is doing in rejecting the ceasefire? It’s not killing Israeli civilians. It’s using up rockets that might be useful later. It’s pissing off Sisi even more than it has already pissed off Sisi. And it’s losing its own cadres–albeit at what looks to be a price of three dead Gaza civilians for each dead Hamas cadre.

Moreover, it’s strengthening Netanyahu and people to his right. The narrative goes like this: A decade ago Ariel Sharon was saying that Israel could not withdraw from the West Bank because then it would be taken over by nuts who wanted to wage war with Israel and would do so as best and as destructively as they could. the Israeli left said that that would not happen–that Israel could withdraw from the West Bank and there would be peace. So Sharon said: let’s see. And he withdrew from Gaza. And it was taken over by nuts who want to wage war with Israel. Why does Hamas’s military wing want to strengthen that narrative?

160

Brett Bellmore 07.15.14 at 4:22 pm

Perhaps Hamas’ military wing doesn’t work for the welfare of Palestinians, but is instead being paid to wage a proxy war on Israel on behalf of all those Arab countries that would *like* to attack Israel, but don’t want to face the inevitable military response?

161

novakant 07.15.14 at 4:33 pm

Micheal:

Your examples are both members of the “Jewish Home” party which got 10% of the vote and I have no problem acknowledging that there is a similar amount of angry, genocidal fascists in Israel. But then I don’t think you would have much of a problem finding a similar amount of people with similar views in many other countries.

What I do have a problem with is the whole collective guilt rhetoric, especially coming from US/UK citizens, since their governments have much more blood on their hands.

162

Layman 07.15.14 at 4:41 pm

“A decade ago Ariel Sharon was saying that Israel could not withdraw from the West Bank because then it would be taken over by nuts who wanted to wage war with Israel and would do so as best and as destructively as they could. the Israeli left said that that would not happen–that Israel could withdraw from the West Bank and there would be peace. So Sharon said: let’s see. And he withdrew from Gaza. And it was taken over by nuts who want to wage war with Israel.”

So Sharon tested the theory that withdrawing from the West Bank would lead to peace by NOT withdrawing from the West Bank?

Someone steals your wallet and all its contents – ID, cash, credit cards. You pick them out of a lineup and press charges. Their lawyer says to them “look, maybe if you return everything, they’ll drop the charges.” The thief tests that theory by only returning your empty wallet. What do you do?

The occupation and permanent settlement of the West Bank IS the heart of the matter. Nothing improves without Israel dismantling the settlements and leaving.

163

Realist 07.15.14 at 4:44 pm

I’m an ethnic Catholic and I recognize little common humanity with the Palestinians and plenty with the Israelis. Get out the marshmallows!

164

Ronan(rf) 07.15.14 at 4:52 pm

Meh. I don’t think looking at Hamas as ‘nuts’ (or Israel facists) is particularly sensible. Although, of course, no one knows * Beauchamp (surprisingly) does appear to have hit on something approaching an answer (in my unexpert opinion) (1) Hamas does not have full control over rocket firing (or at least the inability to reign it in in the timeframe expected from Israel/Egypt) (2) Internal divisons within Hamas (and hostility to Sisi) make accepting such a deal in that timeframe also difficult. (which might lead one to think the offer wasn’t exactely made in good faith)
There are, of course, deeper reasons specifically built in to the context that Hamas operates in and the failure of Israeli(and international) actors to engage with them seriously, that might explain the situation (and the idea that Sharon just pulled out of Gaza, and that was that, is ignoring quite a bit of the context.)

* Although, since this is an academic site someone like Wendy Pearlman – who has written extensively on the organisational structure of Palestinian resistance movements and how that affects what tactics, even self deafeating ones, are choosen – might be of help in explaining it all.

165

Ronan(rf) 07.15.14 at 4:54 pm

..ie rather than Zack Beauchamp, who is a journalist and generalist.

166

Joshua W. Burton 07.15.14 at 5:16 pm

Someone steals your wallet and all its contents – ID, cash, credit cards. You pick them out of a lineup and press charges. Their lawyer says to them “look, maybe if you return everything, they’ll drop the charges.” The thief tests that theory by only returning your empty wallet. What do you do?

Stab him repeatedly with the empty wallet, while waiting for helpful bystanders to subdue him and persuade him to return my ID, cash, credit cards, and gun.

167

Ronan(rf) 07.15.14 at 5:25 pm

@163 – an ethical Catholic ?

168

J Thomas 07.15.14 at 5:26 pm

#159

Do you have any insight into what Hamas’s military wing thinks that it is doing in rejecting the ceasefire?

They are probably following the strategy they prepared for this sort of thing, before this particular attack started.

They haven’t shared their plans with me, but my guess is that they want to be taken seriously. If every time Israel attacks, Hamas immediately agrees to a cease-fire under terms that give them nothing and gives Israel new advantages, nobody will take them seriously at all. Showing that they can hold out for awhile would be a minimum goal for them.

Moreover, it’s strengthening Netanyahu and people to his right. …. Why does Hamas’s military wing want to strengthen that narrative?

Probably, from most Palestinian points of view, it is not clear that there is any big difference of opinion within the Israeli government about Palestine or Palestinians. They would see that there was once a movement in Israel to create a Palestinian nation in part of the West Bank, and it had considerable support from foreign nations including the USA. But immediately Rabin was killed and the US leaders were out of power, and there has never been anything like it since. There has occasionally been window-dressing attempts to pretend that there were negotiations going on, and those attempts never led to any meaningful concessions on Israel’s part, none at all.

So it could make a kind of sense that the best thing the Hamas military wing could do would be to try to create a peace movement in Israel. But far more likely they will instead follow whatever military strategy they have.

Imagine that some foreigner looked at the Fed and QE and interpreted it in terms of Chinese politics! “There are two big factions in China today, one of them wants to squeeze the US economy, to buy raw materials cheap while they otherwise do what they can to keep us in economic trouble, and the other wants to cut us considerable slack. Why didn’t the Fed make its main priority to strengthen the second Chinese faction at the expense of the first? Surely any knowledgeable person can see that this is the most important goal the Fed could have!” But the Fed in practice probably pays attention mostly to domestic concerns.

Imagine a critic who suggested that the US military in Iraq was doing wrong because we mostly supported Shias against Sunnis, and that hurt our relations with all the Sunni governments particularly Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the Gulf states. But our strategy on the ground in Iraq probably had a lot more to do with the military facts on the ground in Iraq, and not so much our diplomatic goals with the Saudis etc. Maybe it’s true that those ought to take priority, and maybe there were people in the State department who told senior military officials that….

169

The Temporary Name 07.15.14 at 5:29 pm

I’m an ethnic Catholic and I recognize little common humanity with the Palestinians and plenty with the Israelis. Get out the marshmallows!

I hear the Palestinians poisoned the wells.

170

P O'Neill 07.15.14 at 5:32 pm

It’s almost certainly a waste of time pointing it out, but why does Tony Blair get to be a key intermediary on whatever truce deal eventually emerges from Cairo while chasing consulting work from — or indeed sounding like the guy who reports back to Abu Dhabi with a letter grade on — the Egyptian government?

171

Chatham 07.15.14 at 5:59 pm

The thief tests that theory by only returning your empty wallet. What do you do?

And taking money from your other pocket at the same time, considering Israel withheld PA tax revenues after the election of Hamas.

I suppose if you ignore the blockade, control of operations (tax revenue, stamps), settlers taking the land, massively lopsided casualty figures, etc., it’s easy to say that the only problem is Palestinian aggression. It’d also be easier to ignore the fact that in an area with a ravaged economy, ravaged infrastructure, and ravaged political climate, it’s a bit difficult to control every militant. Or perhaps the US should start bombing Iraq until the government is able to put down every extremist militant in the country.

172

Joshua W. Burton 07.15.14 at 6:05 pm

I hear the Palestinians poisoned the wells.

Accounts differ.

173

The Temporary Name 07.15.14 at 6:08 pm

I’m guessing you understood that I was being bitter. Thanks for the depressing link.

174

Joshua W. Burton 07.15.14 at 6:20 pm

I’m guessing you understood that I was being ironic, but perhaps not why. PressTV has a lot more where that came from.

175

The Temporary Name 07.15.14 at 6:34 pm

I’ve been to the PressTV site before for non-propaganda reasons and, well, yeah.

If Israel were to magically vanish I suspect a lot of governments in the area would lament the loss of a perpetually reliable distraction.

176

Joshua W. Burton 07.15.14 at 6:50 pm

To clear the fog a bit, TTN was calling out Realist’s marshmallow comment as heartless and inappropriate, which it probably was. He chose to do so by alluding to the medieval blood libel of well-poisoning, with the subtext that the Palestinians are the new Jews, hee hee. Only, it turns out that Jews are factually, today, still being accused of well-poisoning, which if true adds an exquisitely black twist to TTN’s bitterness, and if false is a modern blood libel and suggests that TTN’s subtext might itself be inappropriate humor.

I’ll say explicitly that I think the story would have been picked up by a non-Iranian reporter if it were true, and that no Palestinian with such a story would have difficulty quickly reaching Western reporters. This, in turn, implies that I believe the calm, plausible local eyewitnesses are lying straight into the camera, a harsh and very unfunny judgment that undoubtedly partakes of my own past experiences and learned prejudices.

I would be seriously grateful to be proven wrong, at which point I would deplore the PressTV well-poisoning allegations with a more personal and shameful bitterness than TTN’s. My Google efforts turn up nothing about this alleged incident from any credible source; if you can find anything, you earn a permanent name and the right to joke about Jewish blood libels in my presence without being further deconstructed.

177

roy belmont 07.15.14 at 7:11 pm

Contemporary source citations for the origin of the “gasoline libel” are easily deconstructed.
And reconstructed.
Then blown to radioactive dust by vengeful cowards with no escape, save the unthinkable path of humility and remorse, from the backwash of their own delusional iniquity.
And who just happen to have a nuclear fallback for when their myopic dreams of empire fall to ruin.
“Revenge is mine,” saith the Lord.

Ruthless cunning is no substitute for honor.

178

The Temporary Name 07.15.14 at 7:12 pm

Happy to apologize now and in future if you require it: I can’t find anything either.

179

Jim Harrison 07.15.14 at 7:24 pm

In the 18th Century, people used to talk about the arcana of states, the secret political ambitions of particular princes especially in regards to which pieces of other polities they wanted to seize and keep (Silesia for the Prussians, for example). Some of these arcana weren’t particularly arcane. They were often secrets only to the extent that kings and ministers wouldn’t admit to them in public. It seems to me in the present situation, the basic Israeli arcana is a determination to absorb the West bank once and for all and somehow drive off the Arabs for good. We’re not supposed to notice the total hypocrisy perpetrated by Israelis whenever they pay lip service to two-state solutions or claim that the recognize that the Palestinians have legitimate interests. After all Israel doesn’t have 200 nukes either. Any bullshitting Israel does about Gaza is merely a supplement to their master bullshitting about territory.

180

Brett Bellmore 07.15.14 at 8:01 pm

Can’t say the opposing Palestinian arcana is all that obscure, either. You can see it in all those maps that Israel doesn’t exist on.

181

Brad DeLong 07.15.14 at 8:15 pm

@162: “So Sharon tested the theory that withdrawing from the West Bank would lead to peace by NOT withdrawing from the West Bank?”

Correct. Sharon was a slimy SOB. His “let’s withdraw from Gaza and then use what happens next to infer what would happen were we to withdraw from the West Bank” stacked the deck in many ways…

182

Jim Harrison 07.15.14 at 8:33 pm

For some of the Palestinian groups, the goal of eliminating Israel is hardly arcana. They talk about it publicly, though I do wonder if very many of their political leaders think of it as a realistic possibility. I certainly don’t know. On the other hand, Israel’s political class seems to be grimly determined to annex the West Bank. Whatever you think of the rights and wrongs of the situation, the Israeli program for the total domination of Palestine is simply a fact and needs to be taken into account.

183

Ronan(rf) 07.15.14 at 8:46 pm

Na, none of the main Palestinian leadership think ‘the destruction of Israel’ is a realistic possibility. (and the Hamas Charter needs to be seen in it’s proper historical context)
The Irish Republic’s constitution laid claim to Northern Ireland until the peace process, it didn’t really mean anything. (Except symbolic,not in the Republic but in the North)

184

Chatham 07.15.14 at 8:55 pm

Eh…

“A leader of Hamas, the militant group that last week became the controlling force in Palestinian politics, laid out a series of conditions Sunday that he said could lead to years of co-existence alongside Israel.”
http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/01/29/hamas.interview/

“Hamas has dropped its call for the destruction of Israel from its manifesto for the Palestinian parliamentary election in a fortnight, a move that brings the group closer to the mainstream Palestinian position of building a state within the boundaries of the occupied territories.”
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2006/jan/12/israel

185

ZM 07.15.14 at 10:24 pm

Joshua W Burton

“Well, for example, I just checked and this program is still running as scheduled this week.”

Thanks, that program looked interesting. I also found an intentional community of Jewish and Palestinian Arabs Wahat al-Salam – Neve Shalom, which organised a peace rally against the violence with the theme “Jews and Arabs Refuse to be Enemies”

http://sfpeace.org/jews-and-arabs-refuse-to-be-enemies-neve-shalom-wahat-al-salam-organizing-for-the-future/

186

Joshua W. Burton 07.15.14 at 10:42 pm

Neve Shalom is great; everyone visiting the Latrun monastery or the mini-Israel thing (scale models, like Madurodam in the Netherlands) should add a stop. On a more personal note, I’d like to brag on friends of ours whose daughter was in the founding class of this school.

187

Micheal Lunny 07.15.14 at 11:57 pm

#157

I have to be careful here or my Dunning–Kruger collar will deliver a powerful electric shock to me, so forgive me if this comes over all vox.com. The situation is hellishly complex and I can only give a flavor of the parts I am familiar with from following the region.

President Sisi (along with the Saudis and most of the Western friendly Arab states) are strongly opposed to political Islam because it represents a less authoritarian option to their governments with broad popular appeal and an economic agendas that existing elites in these countries would find troublesome. In the case of Egypt this resulted in the military coup that removed the Muslim Brotherhood for power. Hamas have very strong political and historical links with the Muslim brotherhood and for that reason Sisi would be quite happy to see the entire leadership in Israeli prisons or dead (much like the 182 members of the former Muslim Brotherhood government now imprisoned and sentenced to death in Egypt). Additionally Sisi and the political and judicial elite of Egypt are utterly corrupt and strongly anti-democratic and would much prefer a military strongman in charge of the West Bank and Gaza.

I know its hard to believe that Hamas has democratic chops but this is true. Hamas won freeish and fairish elections in Gaza which upset both the PA and Israel and so a charmer called Muhammad Dahlan tried to stage a coup on their behalf. It is worth reading about the man, he was certainly being groomed as a “strong leader who could bring stability” and “man we could do business with” by the usual suspects and you might hear of him again.)

All this is to say that the only thing that Hamas could do to please Sisi is disappear and the initial “ceasefire” offer and Hamas’s suspicion of it should be seen in that context.

I think other people have covered the rationale for continuing the rocket fire, the situation is Gaza was always verging on the intolerable and now that the shooting has started Hamas has very little choice but to keep it up until the blockade of Gaza is eased or Israel causes so much destruction that the loss of international political capital forces it to stop. It is possible death now or definite death later for Hamas.

One interesting thing about Hamas you might not now, Israel was initially supportive of them as they represented a way to undermine the PLO and fragment resistance to the occupation. Be careful what you wish for.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB123275572295011847

188

Ronan(rf) 07.16.14 at 12:41 am

eh, my apologees for my comment @164 above, which was overly snarky b/c I misread the comments before it.

189

Micheal Lunny 07.16.14 at 12:53 am

My last post was a response to Brad de Long at #159.

#164

There were two recent incidents that made me think the F word (loaded and nebulous as it is) might be appropriate to describe the trajectory Israel is on, if not the place it yet is:

The Nation: After Latest Incident, Israel’s Future in FIFA Is Uncertain

The Guardian: Israeli troops shoot dead a Palestinian-Jordanian judge at border crossing

As a thought experiment why not list the changes that would need to come about in the lived experience of Palestinians or even the Arab citizens of Israel for it to be truly that of an oppressed minority in a fascist state. Alternately ask yourself what about the life of a Palestinian in Hebron could never happen in a fascist state.

190

Micheal Lunny 07.16.14 at 12:57 am

My typing, punctuation and html have gone to hell. Apologies.

The Nation: After Latest Incident, Israel’s Future in FIFA Is Uncertain

191

Micheal Lunny 07.16.14 at 1:01 am

One last try.

The Nation: After Latest Incident, Israel’s Future in FIFA Is Uncertain.

http://www.thenation.com/blog/178642/after-latest-incident-israels-future-fifa-uncertain/

192

Ronan(rf) 07.16.14 at 1:30 am

My main problem with the fascist label is that it’s too loaded and not technically accurate (although I haven’t read the book yet I think this is a convincing analysis of Blumenthal’s rhetoric)

http://www.jeromeslater.com/2013/11/preaching-to-choir-reflections-on-max.html

I also don’t think this is how most Israeli’s see their country (and I think they’re right not too)
I agree there are certainly parallels in how Israel behaves in the occupied territories, but as Slater says:

“Further, even on the merits, and even given some basis in actual Israeli behavior, a fair treatment would have to call attention to what are still vast differences—to put it mildly!–between that behavior and that of Nazi Germany. Better, then, to just set out the facts, and let the readers think of the implications on their own. Or, alternatively, follow the strategy that I have sometimes employed: note the comparisons with the Israeli responses to Palestinian uprisings and, say, the Soviet crushing of the Hungarian and Czech revolutions –anything, that is, but Nazi Germany.”

(I know the comparison isn’t explicitly to Nazi Germany, but that tends to be the implication when the term is used)

193

ZM 07.16.14 at 1:54 am

Joshua W Burton,

Hand in Hand looks really positive – how have your friends found the experience of being involved?

The Wahat al-Salam – Neve Shalom site has a short publications page with a link to a really interesting article in Peace and Conflict Studies : “Who is More Humane? An Ethnographic Account of Power Struggles in Jewish-Palestinian Dialogue Encounters”

“Adnan (P) talked about the Bereaved Parents Circle, whose Israeli and Palestinian members demonstrate together against the occupation – something Adnan saw as a humane act.
Ronen(J)): Adnan, do you see this as something good, or bad?
Adnan (P): No, of course as something good.
Sigal (J): But it’s hard for you to imagine this. So what does it make you feel? Adnan (P): It was hard for me actually to imagine that someone might get this idea and especially in this period that they initiated this. Those 300 images that they put in Rabin Square, I just see people Palestinians and Jews, who are trying despite everything to live together and to do something, and they’re simply creating a grounded place with ideas like these, which are very original in my opinion, and very moving, and I don’t know what this is doing to me, Sigi [sic].”

http://sfpeace.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/who-is-more-humane.pdf

194

Joshua W. Burton 07.16.14 at 2:14 am

Hand in Hand looks really positive – how have your friends found the experience of being involved?

It was a really good elementary school, and they made friendships with Arab parents that have persisted. Getting through spring 2002 was a challenge — the buses and cafés were a shared experience, of course, but the dad’s reserve unit went into the casbah in Nablus in April, which was pretty rough for daddy show-and-tell afterwards. They moved to Bet ha-Kerem a few years later, which is too far.

Listen, we’re both going to be accused of hasbara if we keep talking about real people. Let’s back away gracefully, and let the experts do their thing.

195

Joshua W. Burton 07.16.14 at 2:30 am

Micheal Lunny @189: Alternat[iv]ely ask yourself what about the life of a Palestinian in Hebron could never happen in a fascist state.

Well, for starters, pretty much everything on this page, including the bylines.

196

The Temporary Name 07.16.14 at 2:45 am

Listen, we’re both going to be accused of hasbara if we keep talking about real people. Let’s back away gracefully, and let the experts do their thing.

No, those are good. I’d have a very hard time remaining as open as the people you describe.

197

js. 07.16.14 at 3:05 am

Thanks to Chris for posting this. The thread is predictably depressing, but cheers to those responding to Brett Bellmore (jesus!), Joshua W. Burton, et al. You’re all made of stronger stuff than me.

198

roy belmont 07.16.14 at 4:28 am

Ariel Castro, havin’ a beer with the guys, after work.
Just sittin’ around, shootin’ the shit, and the topic shifts from the waitress’s ass to feminism.

199

Brett Bellmore 07.16.14 at 10:50 am

Ok, this is hilarious. On the one hand, you’ve got the group with the historical and ideological connection to Nazism, literally goose-stepping around, and on the OTHER hand you’ve got the group they aspire to genocide, being called “facists”, with no irony whatsoever.

Geeze, do you even know what fascism means, beyond being a swear word?

200

Ronan(rf) 07.16.14 at 10:59 am

Im not sure you know what ‘literally’ means, Brett.

201

Hal 07.16.14 at 12:22 pm

202

Nell 07.16.14 at 12:29 pm

A poll by Israel’s Channel 2 finds 35% support a cease fire now, 53% do not, and 92% do not believe that the bombing of Gaza will stop the rockets.

It’s reasonable to believe that the 8% who do believe the bombing will stop the rockets are part of the 53% who oppose a cease fire. So what about the 45% who want the bombing to continue, but believe it will not stop the rockets? What other explanation is there but that they want to kill and injure Palestinians, as well as destroy their homes and buildings? They want “revenge” for the deaths of the three settler teens, but apparently 205 killed and 1200 injured is not enough revenge?

203

Nell 07.16.14 at 12:37 pm

One Israeli civilian has been killed during the current Israeli operation. He was a West Bank settler who was giving out candy to soldiers near the Erez crossing between Israel and Gaza when he was hit by a mortar shell.

Last night an entire family was killed in Gaza; a bomb hit their car as they were driving away from their house after receiving a warning from the IDF to evacuate.

If your government is arming Israel, ask it to stop doing so.

204

Christ, Uhren, und Schmuck 07.16.14 at 12:38 pm

“the group they aspire to genocide”

I’m confused: who do you think has been committing slow genocide there, for the last 65 years or so?

As for fascism, try this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWyGlTDkT5A

205

Nell 07.16.14 at 12:48 pm

206

Brad DeLong 07.16.14 at 1:45 pm

#189 Michael Lunny: “the only thing that Hamas could do to please Sisi is disappear and the initial “ceasefire” offer and Hamas’s suspicion of it should be seen in that context. I think other people have covered the rationale for continuing the rocket fire, the situation is Gaza was always verging on the intolerable and now that the shooting has started Hamas has very little choice but to keep it up until the blockade of Gaza is eased or Israel causes so much destruction that the loss of international political capital forces it to stop. It is possible death now or definite death later for Hamas.”

Hamas really wants Gaza to trade with Egypt, no? Since Sisi controls the crossings, a rational Hamas would be interested in appeasing Sisi, no?

Egypt proposed a ceasefire. Hamas rejected it. Now we will have another week of rockets and bombing, at the end of which Hamas will have used up yet more of its rockets without killing many Israelis, and Israel will have destroyed 400 buildings in Gaza and killed 80 more Hamas cadre and 120 more civilians all the while protesting that it wanted a ceasefire–that it is Hamas that insists that this continue. After another week Egypt will propose another ceasefire. How will Hamas’s position be stronger in a week than it was yesterday. How–given that Israel accepted the ceasefire and will loudly trumpet that it did so throughout next week–is Israel’s position worse in a week than it is now?

Even if you believe that the strategy of Hamas’s leadership is “if we kill enough Israeli civilians, God will help us and a miracle will occur”, how are its actions helping it?

207

Joshua W. Burton 07.16.14 at 1:55 pm

Even if you believe that the strategy of Hamas’s leadership is “if we kill enough Israeli civilians, God will help us and a miracle will occur”, how are its actions helping it?

There’s an extensive literature and a lot of active research. I think it’s generally understood to be a hard problem.

208

J Thomas 07.16.14 at 2:03 pm

On the one hand, you’ve got the group with the historical and ideological connection to Nazism, literally goose-stepping around

I’ve seen issues where you were better than this, Brett. You’re literally trying to derail serious discussion by pointing to hasbarah that says arabs do goose-steps. Like people will get distracted and discuss whether it’s true or not, whether there’s evidence, etc. Sad.

Israel is killing more people, and you bring up this sort of distraction.

209

Ronan(rf) 07.16.14 at 2:10 pm

I think it should also be acknowledged that Hamas were not included in the ceasefire talks

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.605363

So if Hamas are viewed as a political organisation with factional splits, power struggles and domestic constituents (rather than an institution that colectively wants resolution X) it helps explain why a declaration ex cathedra from Egypt couldn’t be easily accepted. (Interestingly, Islamic Jihad, according to the link, *did* call a ceasefire which might be a result of the (afaik) relationship they have developed with the Sisi regime.)

210

Steve Williams 07.16.14 at 2:25 pm

Brad DeLong@206:

‘Hamas really wants Gaza to trade with Egypt, no? Since Sisi controls the crossings, a rational Hamas would be interested in appeasing Sisi, no?’

Well, no, surely not? I mean, the two parties are implacably opposed about literally everything. Above and beyond the total lack of interest on behalf of either party in helping the other, what on earth does Hamas have to offer to make some kind of deal?

211

Joshua W. Burton 07.16.14 at 2:27 pm

goose-steps

And blood in the Passover matzah, just to distract you further. (3rd to last paragraph; Google translation is pretty feeble, but try your luck.)

212

Steve Williams 07.16.14 at 2:30 pm

Brett Bellmore@141, on why TV news is focusing on Palestine and not Syria:

‘Hard to blame Arabs killing Arabs on Israel. And noticing Arabs killing Arabs is counter-productive, because it suggests that, when Arabs try to kill Israelis, it might be an Arab thing, not an Israeli thing.’

Hmm, sure, the reason might be blatant anti-semitism. Perhaps, though, it might have something to do with the fact that we’re well into the 4th year of that conflict with no end in sight, whereas this new conflict is only a week old? I mean, I’m sure I remember some news outlets covering the Syrian Civil War at some point.

213

Joshua W. Burton 07.16.14 at 2:41 pm

I think it should also be acknowledged that Hamas were not included in the ceasefire talks

In other news, the Irgun and the Stern Gang were excluded from the 1949 ceasefire talks that set the Gaza border in the first place. The diplomatically correct approach would be to negotiate this ceasefire with Ramallah, then let the PA call for outside help enforcing it as necessary. But that might take a while, so (in humanitarian urgency) other channels are being offered.

214

LFC 07.16.14 at 2:50 pm

@js 197
Based on my perusal (not having read every single word) of this thread, I’d say you shouldn’t lump Bellmore and Burton together. Bellmore is just spouting predictable slogans; Burton obvs knows a lot about the region, and though his remarks are sometimes a bit too allusive (for me at any rate) or not unambiguous, I do not think he shares Bellmore’s position (if it can be dignified w that word), which is basically: “One side is guilty and the aggressor; the other side is innocent. Period.”

215

Joshua W. Burton 07.16.14 at 2:55 pm

Bellmore is just spouting predictable slogans; Burton obvs knows a lot about the region

Ah, but which is worse, here? Show of hands, please; I’ll abide by the verdict.

216

Ronan(rf) 07.16.14 at 3:00 pm

@213 – well if you want a ceasefire with group A then it makes sense to put a request in to group A HQ (which has happened with Hamas in the past, and will happen again this time) I’m not saying they should open direct negotiations with them over a l/t settlement to the Israel/Palestine dispute here (though they should, imo)
On Irgun and Stern Gang – I don’t know enough about Israeli history to say how they were dealt with in 49, but I’d be very surprised if they were just ignored.

217

Chatham 07.16.14 at 3:01 pm

One of the things I always find interesting about Haaretz is that you find articles that are much more critical of the Israeli government and military operations than anything you’d find in a mainstream US newspaper. There’s been a lot of talk about how AIPAC influences US foreign policy, but not as much about the effect of vast amounts of money from right-wingers in the US going to Israeli politicians.

Hell, one has to wonder about the impact a right-wing American group like AIPAC has on Israeli politics. What would our foreign policy look like if after the Iraq and Vietnam debacles a much larger country rushed in and tried to help us avoid any of the fallout?

218

LFC 07.16.14 at 3:02 pm

@Joshua Burton 215
You aren’t taking the compliment very well. (Unless this is an attempt at sardonic humor, which I guess it could be.)

219

Layman 07.16.14 at 3:05 pm

“Bellmore is just spouting predictable slogans; Burton obvs knows a lot about the region”

“Ah, but which is worse, here? Show of hands, please; I’ll abide by the verdict.”

I’d say Burton, since Burton ought to know better…

220

Joshua W. Burton 07.16.14 at 3:13 pm

@213 – I don’t know enough about Israeli history to say how they were dealt with in 49, but I’d be very surprised if they were just ignored.

Link.

@218, 219 – Link.

221

Ronan(rf) 07.16.14 at 3:19 pm

as in :

“Begin agreed the Irgun soldiers would be fully integrated with the IDF and not kept in separate units.”

222

Joshua W. Burton 07.16.14 at 3:21 pm

Ronan(rf) @221: Sold!

223

Joshua W. Burton 07.16.14 at 3:39 pm

@216 – well if you want a ceasefire with group A then it makes sense to put a request in to group A HQ

It’s a delicate dance. The US probably has some direct line of communication with the Juárez cartel, for example, but not through the State Department. (For that matter, William Seward and Judah Benjamin didn’t sign anything at Appomattox.)

224

Lee A. Arnold 07.16.14 at 3:58 pm

Joshua W. Burton #207: “I think it’s generally understood to be a hard problem.”

I think that is generally understood to be a fatuous response. Hamas’ strategy is not difficult to discern. The answer is in any handbook on basic guerrilla warfare; you can start with Mao.

The harder problem is why Netanyahu thinks that his actions will increase Israel’s security in the long term. He is going to have to kill everybody to do that. Bibi is the one who doesn’t seem to understand the psychology under military tactics and strategy. All of those little kids won’t be holding hands, after their friends and uncles and aunts and parents are killed.

The most fascinating thing in all of this is that top Israeli ex-officials in security and military have been coming out — Yuval Diskin most recently on his Facebook page! — to criticize Netanyahu’s diplomatic approaches, even before this. Already the American military rank and file had started to turn against Israel. They had heard enough when the Iraqi Sunnis they were trying to befriend in the Anbar Awakening started criticizing the US’s alliance with Israel, and the GI’s didn’t have good responses. This is one of the things that guerrillas seek to do: drive wedges into their opposition.

225

Chatham 07.16.14 at 4:00 pm

On Irgun and Stern Gang – I don’t know enough about Israeli history to say how they were dealt with in 49, but I’d be very surprised if they were just ignored.

Irgun became Herut, merged with other right-wing parties to form Likud, and took over the government.

226

Joshua W. Burton 07.16.14 at 4:14 pm

top Israeli ex-officials

Has there ever once been a time, since independence, when Herut/Likud has been dominant (or even widely respected) in Israel’s security or military command structure? (Sharon is the exception that proves the rule: a rogue officer and a Labour renegade..) Americans seem to have this persistent idea that, because the US cadre not only obeys draft-dodging chickenhawks but seems to enjoy it, the Israeli cadre must feel the same way. Again, The Gatekeepers is worth a watch.

227

Lee A. Arnold 07.16.14 at 4:19 pm

Joshua W. Barton #226: “because the US cadre not only obeys draft-dodging chickenhawks but seems to enjoy it…”

What is the “US cadre”? The US military? Are you out of your mind?

228

Lee A. Arnold 07.16.14 at 4:26 pm

Joshua W. Burton #226: “(Sharon is the exception that proves the rule: a rogue officer and a Labour renegade..)”

What kind of mealy-mouthed locution is this? “exception that proves the rule”? And now he’s a “rogue” officer? Is that to explain his participation in the Reprisal operations?

229

Joshua W. Burton 07.16.14 at 4:29 pm

There is a natural quadrant chart here that I think is worth drawing, with something like “aggressiveness of aims” and “estimation of opponents” on perpendicular axes. The terms “dove” and “hawk” for -/- and +/+ are universally understood, and “chickenhawk” is a lovely coinage for +/-. I don’t know if there is a good English word for -/+, which is the defining philosophy of Dayan, Rabin, Ami Ayalon, Carmi Gillon, Yuval Diskin and most of the Kirya and Shabak. The Hebrew yonot sh’horot, “black doves,” is pretty good, but I don’t think it would be understood in the US/UK (or most anywhere politicians and pundits have safe kids).

230

Joshua W. Burton 07.16.14 at 4:43 pm

Link. And yes, from atrocities in Qibya to beat-up MPs in the Tiberias police station to defying orders in the Sinai, Sharon was a rogue and a thorn in Dayan’s side from the day he was sworn in. A left bastard by birth and nurture, he became a right bastard by extended effort and the contempt of his peers.

231

Lee A. Arnold 07.16.14 at 4:45 pm

Joshua W. Burton #229: “aggressiveness of aims” and “estimation of opponents”

That is ridiculous nonsense. But before we get into that again, what is the “US cadre”? Is that the US military?

232

Ronan(rf) 07.16.14 at 4:45 pm

Yeah, but the thread running through ‘The Gatekeepers’ (unless the Hebrew version is substantially different) is that Diskin et al were pretty strongly oppossed to Israeli policy and supported negotiation with Hamas. (Like pretty much all security chiefs ever)

233

Layman 07.16.14 at 4:46 pm

“Americans seem to have this persistent idea that, because the US cadre not only obeys draft-dodging chickenhawks but seems to enjoy it, the Israeli cadre must feel the same way. “

It’s really quite hard to understand what this is supposed to mean. Does it claim that the Israeli military simply ignores its elected leaders, in the patented ‘only democracy in the Middle East’; and does it approve of that? Or does it mean they obey while holding their noses? Is it a criticism of the American military leadership for upholding their oaths to civilian authority, or a suggestion they should do otherwise? Does it mean anything at all, or is it just more of Joshua W. Burton’s sophistry?

234

J Thomas 07.16.14 at 4:51 pm

At this point it looks mostly hopeless. Israelis argue that Palestinians will never agree to peace so there’s no point trying. Meanwhile Palestinians look at Israel’s behavior and believe there will never be peace.

But this sort of thing can change quickly. Something that looks like a giant sheet of ice, ice in all directions as far as you can see, can suddenly just fall into the ocean.

It looks like nothing good can happen. Israelis believe that Palestinians want Israel to go away, so anything good that happens for any Palestinian benefits the bad guys. Palestinians see Israelis working hard to keep them from having education or internet or sanitation, and they don’t know how to be friendly under the circumstances. It looks inevitable. But it isn’t inevitable.

It could change around in a year. Odds are it won’t be this year or next year or any year in particular. But it could happen.

Usually, the violent guys get to trump everybody else. “As long as there’s anybody in Israel/Palestine ready to attack people who represent the other side to them, and anybody who’s ready to retaliate, the people who want peace can’t be nice to each other.” Anybody who’s ready to commit violence can stop everybody else. But it doesn’t have to be that way. At any time, the people who want peace can go ahead and work for peace even while there is some violence.

It can happen. Probably not this year or next year. Probably never. But it is possible. The horrors are not inevitable.

235

Lee A. Arnold 07.16.14 at 4:52 pm

Joshua W. Burton #230 — Sorry you’ll have to keep the argument here because I am not interested in pursuing endless links to buttress stupid contentions. Otherwise I will send you the link to the list under the Wikipedia entry “Reprisal operations”, which I now must assume YOU will say were all “rogue”. Did you convince Benny Morris of this, as well?

236

Joshua W. Burton 07.16.14 at 4:54 pm

@227: What is the “US cadre”? The US military?

Professional officers, as a class. And this roll-call will do as a précis of what I see them supinely supporting, with Colin Powell as perhaps a halfhearted exception. I don’t know these people personally; I suppose they may sound like sabra generals in private, and the difference may be that Israelis are less circumspect, or their oath of subordination to the political authority less ingrained, or the Haganah/Revisionist divide more historically traumatic. Anyway, I’ve never seen six consecutive command-level officers in the US get together for something like The Gatekeepers, for whatever reason, and I don’t expect to.

237

Joshua W. Burton 07.16.14 at 5:00 pm

Ronin @232: yes, yes, yes — my point. Could six US chiefs of staff making a documentary together have slowed the rush to war in Iraq? I don’t know, but I would have very much liked to see it tried.

In the end, you go to war with the voters you have, not the voters you’d like to have. But thought leadership, or perhaps I should say thoughtful leadership, still matters even in a democracy — perhaps nowhere more so, in the long run.

238

stevenjohnson 07.16.14 at 5:19 pm

“Brett Bellmore 07.16.14 at 10:50 am
Ok, this is hilarious. On the one hand, you’ve got the group with the historical and ideological connection to Nazism, literally goose-stepping around, and on the OTHER hand you’ve got the group they aspire to genocide, being called “facists”, with no irony whatsoever.

Geeze, do you even know what fascism means, beyond being a swear word?”

The CT commentariat does not accept that Zionism is a form of fascism. They apparently believe Israel is a democracy with a fortunately small number of seriously violent people (“settlers” primarily) who have inexplicably hijacked policy from the good people of Israel, with total US support for similarly inexplicable reasons. I may be overly generous? One guest, not even an academic, saying Zionism is a form of fascism does not make a nuclear power into a downtrodden victim. Pretending this is detestable.

The core of the state is its instruments of force, threat and violence. The settler movement is armed and regularly engages in military/police actions against Palestinians. It is not democratic in any sense. Most importantly, the relatively small numbers mean that its political power lies in its role as agents of force, threat and violence, not in any hypothetical democracy. (Similar to the way the fascists in Ukraine don’t get popular votes but still for some unexplained reason compose a large, even dominant, fraction of the state “security” organs.) Hitler dreamed of settler colonies in Russia. His never came to pass but the Zionist outposts act very much as we might expect Hitler’s settlers to do. Day in and day out Zionists (not just the official “settlers” aka paramilitary outposts) do indeed conduct themselves in a manner well befitting the SA on Kristallnacht.

239

Lee A. Arnold 07.16.14 at 5:39 pm

Joshua W. Barton #236: “Professional officers, as a class…. what I see them supinely supporting…”

You think there is a significant difference between Israel and the US on the issue of the advisability of military operations? The Gatekeepers are all ex-head of operations, and their demonization by war-mongers even in the US has been notable. You seem to have missed the indication of opposition in the US military both to the neocons and to invading Iraq, but, because serving officers took an oath and follow orders, this did as little good as the Gatekeepers. More recently and quite amazingly, high-ranking officers still serving in the US military objected publicly to the idea of bombing Iran (we saw a few statements by one or two sitting US Admirals). So it happens.

But the original question, which you have so far avoided, is why you think Hamas’ strategy is difficult to understand.

240

Barry 07.16.14 at 5:53 pm

Lee A. Arnold: “The harder problem is why Netanyahu thinks that his actions will increase Israel’s security in the long term. He is going to have to kill everybody to do that. Bibi is the one who doesn’t seem to understand the psychology under military tactics and strategy. All of those little kids won’t be holding hands, after their friends and uncles and aunts and parents are killed. “

Let’s assume that the goal of Netanyahu (and Likud, and of ther controlling factions in Israel) is not peace. After all, if things had gone peacefully over the past 20 years, all of them would have far less power. In addition, it’d be hard to get away with their land grabs on the West Bank if things were quieter.

Assume that they want war – as much as possible, on their own terms, of course, like everybody else. Their actions make much more sense in that view.

241

Joshua W. Burton 07.16.14 at 5:54 pm

a fortunately small number of seriously violent people (“settlers” primarily)

The numbers don’t work here. The IDF, acting under orders, has killed about 3500 Palestinian noncombatants this century, against 750 Israeli noncombatants killed (480 of them inside the Green Line) and 700 P-on-P collaborator killings by Palestinians in the same 14 years. Leaving aside all question of justification, this is a serious prima facie case that the IDF is an agent of force wielded against Palestinian civil society.

But Israeli civilians, including “seriously violent” settlers, have killed a total of 57 Palestinians in this period: in other words, 12 times as many P civilians have been killed by P forces as by I civilians. If the settlers are a state instrument of force, their low-impact effectiveness should be a case study for uniformed services everywhere.

242

J Thomas 07.16.14 at 5:57 pm

“Americans seem to have this persistent idea that, because the US cadre not only obeys draft-dodging chickenhawks but seems to enjoy it, the Israeli cadre must feel the same way. “

It’s really quite hard to understand what this is supposed to mean.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Presidents_by_military_rank

I’m not sure what he means, but one possible interpretation is that US Presidents often have little military experience.

Twelve presidents never served in the military at all.

Two more did not become officers, and another two (the Bushes) were only lieutenants.

Four were only navy lieutentants or captains, four were only majors, two navy commanders, and five colonels. Leavging only twelve generals.

But of Israeli Prime Ministers, there was one who had no military connection — Golda Meir. All the others were officers, most of them were senior officers, and mostly the ones that did not see combat experience were officers with too high rank in Palmach in 1948 to get the chance to fight.

Often US presidents have no combat experience, some have had no military training at all. But the large majority of Israeli prime ministers have shot at arabs with their own hands.

Every Israeli PM knows that negotiation is what you do when you find out you can’t win. When you negotiate peace you hope for a substitute for victory.

Because you have admitted you have a no-win situation.

However, it often turns out that a no-peace quasi-war status quo is better than a no-win negotiated settlement.

243

Lee A. Arnold 07.16.14 at 5:58 pm

Barry #240: :Assume that they want war – as much as possible, on their own terms, of course, like everybody else. Their actions make much more sense in that view.”

Then you will also not object to assuming that Hamas and most Arabs want Israel destroyed. Their actions make much more sense in that view. So then we are back to my question, which is about security in the long term.

244

Joshua W. Burton 07.16.14 at 6:05 pm

But the original question, which you have so far avoided, is why you think Hamas’ strategy is difficult to understand.

I don’t; I think signaling cost nicely covers it. The game-theoretic question of why a peacock grows a cumbersome tail, a healthy springbok pronks for lions, a reckless driver gets dates, or a militia leader decides not to back down, is the part that is difficult: there is lots of empirical evidence that it’s a winning strategy, but it’s hard to model. In other words, I don’t think Hamas’s strategy is good for civilians in Gaza, and I don’t think it’s good for Hamas. But I do think it’s good for Hamas leaders, and that’s a sufficient explanation, modulo some underlying ev-bio theory which is not at present deeply understood.

245

Ronan(rf) 07.16.14 at 6:41 pm

“Then you will also not object to assuming that Hamas and most Arabs want Israel destroyed. Their actions make much more sense in that view.”

No they don’t Lee, and you keep pushing this nonsense as fact even though it’s *completly* counter to all mainstream opinion ans empirical research.

246

Ronan(rf) 07.16.14 at 6:44 pm

..unless you’re just adopting an extremely simplisitic position in opposition to Barry’s ‘they (Likud) just want war’, in which case my apologees.

247

Joshua W. Burton 07.16.14 at 7:51 pm

You think there is a significant difference between Israel and the US on the issue of the advisability of military operations?

I think American career officers vote Republican about 4-1, and I suspect this is true all the way up to flag rank. I think Israeli career officers have voted Mapai, then Labour, then Kadima by similarly lopsided margins, and that, while all mainstream-party Israeli politicians are necessarily veterans, the Likud has time-servers and the occasional commando hero, but seldom or never two generals to rub together. As I think both (US) Dems and (IL) Labour have policies more congenial to intelligent military minds than their respective opponents, I suspect the US officers of unprofessional motivation.

248

J Thomas 07.16.14 at 8:22 pm

#244

In other words, I don’t think Hamas’s strategy is good for civilians in Gaza, and I don’t think it’s good for Hamas. But I do think it’s good for Hamas leaders, and that’s a sufficient explanation, modulo some underlying ev-bio theory which is not at present deeply understood.

It isn’t good for Hamas leaders. A significant fraction of Hamas leaders get killed off and have to be replaced.

If they assume that Israel will win, the best thing they can do is arrange to move their people someplace better. They could maybe get citizenship for all Palestinians in Chad, and get donations to help them get there, and once they get to Chad they’ll all be better off. Chad is already overpopulated with 10 million people and a per-capita GDP under $1500/year, but they’d do far better there than if they just wait for the Israelis to kill them or transport them. Better to make some sort of arrangement than for the survivors to be penniless refugees.

But they believe they can do better than that. The world does nothing about minor continual Israeli atrocities, but Israel could not get away with genocide. And if they resist effectively, transfer would be quite similar to genocide. It would be very hard for Israel to transfer them without killing a whole lot of them, if they resisted.

So long as Israel only kills a thousand of them here or ten thousand there, the Palestinian birthrate will more than make up for it.

Hamas has the view that they can survive losing longer than Israel can survive winning. They may be right.

If they are wrong about that then they would be better off to surrender. If they surrendered then Israel might let them have sewage treatment plants so their streets wouldn’t be full of sewage. They might be allowed effective educational institutions, at least for knowledge which was not dual-use. They could get concrete to build homes with provided they built them in places the Israelis told them were OK. Better medical care. They might easily be treated better than native americans on US indian reservations.

That’s what people are saying when they talk about Hamas doing better for their people. If they surrender than Israel won’t hurt them so bad, so why haven’t they surrendered yet?

You could say the same about various other people who fought on when by all reasonableness they should have surrendered. The Warsaw Ghetto. Many others.

249

LFC 07.16.14 at 8:24 pm

Just read this post from last wk at Duck of Minerva. Relevant and worth reading:
http://www.whiteoliphaunt.com/duckofminerva/2014/07/the-collapse-of-the-status-quo-in-israel.html

250

MPAVictoria 07.16.14 at 8:27 pm

“I think American career officers vote Republican about 4-1, and I suspect this is true all the way up to flag rank. I think Israeli career officers have voted Mapai, then Labour, then Kadima by similarly lopsided margins, and that, while all mainstream-party Israeli politicians are necessarily veterans, the Likud has time-servers and the occasional commando hero, but seldom or never two generals to rub together. As I think both (US) Dems and (IL) Labour have policies more congenial to intelligent military minds than their respective opponents, I suspect the US officers of unprofessional motivation.”

I don’t know enough about Israeli internal politics to comment on that but I think your description of high ranking US military personnel is spot on.

251

MPAVictoria 07.16.14 at 8:30 pm

“The Warsaw Ghetto”

The Warsaw Ghetto would have gotten better treatment if they surrendered? You can’t really think this.

252

Joshua W. Burton 07.16.14 at 8:45 pm

It isn’t good for Hamas leaders. A significant fraction of Hamas leaders get killed off and have to be replaced.

Captains on the British Navy list used to have a toast, “To bloody battles and sickly seasons!”

I wasn’t suggesting that Hamas’s strategy is good for Hamas leaders as a class. Like the pronking antelope, it is because it gets them killed off that it is good for the ones who chance to survive. The question of whether this bet makes game-theoretic sense is interesting to biologists, economists, and probably many others; a firm mathematical result is elusive, but there is no lack of real-world examples so it must work at some level.

Real organizations have internal mechanisms to check (or at least channel) this sort of self-dealing; this is almost a defining characteristic of a corps vs. a gang. It’s very dangerous to put a gang in control over your life.

253

the other dsch 07.16.14 at 8:51 pm

@213
In 1949, Lehi and Irgun had both been absorbed into the IDF. They weren’t consulted because they didn’t exist.

254

Thornton Hall 07.16.14 at 8:56 pm

Isn’t it the case that one of these endless skirmishes was a turning point that demolished political support for peace in Isreali domestic politics? IIRC it was the most recent invasion of Lebanon maybe the missiles that precipitated it than marked a crucial turning point among Israelis?

It seems likely to me that Israel’s policy, which is clearly self-destructive in the long term–is simply the result of it being impossible to form a government coalition that has a coherent end game. It’s like trying to get enough votes in the GOP to have a plan to help American business. To many irreconcilable goals w/I the coalition.

255

Joshua W. Burton 07.16.14 at 8:57 pm

LFC @249: Yes, this is about right.

256

stevenjohnson 07.16.14 at 8:59 pm

If it had been the IDF instead of Baruch Goldstein, it would have 125 dead Arabs and 29 wounded ones, rather than the other way round? In any event, after the Hebron massacre, Israel locked down the Palestinian population to make sure they got the point, when rationally it should have been the settlers on lock down. The IDF being more effective at total killings doesn’t make the “settlers” any less paramilitaries. (Any figures on per capita kill rates?) In the daily life of the occupied terrritories, the paramilitary forces are the cutting edge for force, threat and violence. Armed settler patrols harass and intimidate daily.

But I accept your real point, which is that the settlers are not the formal masters and are only a small proportion of the Israeli population, and thus Israel is democratic and as such US are on the same basic political ground. Yes, the CT commentariat rejects the proposition that Zionism is a form of fascism.

257

Joshua W. Burton 07.16.14 at 9:03 pm

@253: In 1949, Lehi and Irgun had both been absorbed into the IDF. They weren’t consulted because they didn’t exist.

Yes, exactly. And their former supporters remained in the political wilderness for 28 more years. Where is Abu Mazen’s Altalena? (Answer: he’d never survive it. Well, then.)

258

roy belmont 07.16.14 at 10:04 pm

Ariel Castro: “Well, to me, as a man, I mean, I can see, you know, feminists, I mean they may have something legit to complain about. No seriously.
Like in Switzerland, they didn’t get to vote til like 1971 or somethin’.
But jeez, it’s, you know, it’s a complicated issue. I mean there’s, you know, biology, stuff like that, history. Men have got some natural superiorities, can’t run away from it.
You know, it’s like G-d gave us this ability to run things, for one. And we’re stronger, right? Better at a lot of things.
Still, it’s not like you’re gonna turn the clock back, and, you know, keep ‘em from voting or something. It’s the modern times, we got to roll with how it is.”

Other guys at the table: “He’s got a point there.” “Makes sense to me.” “Yeah, I guess.” “Hey, we ready for another pitcher?”
Ariel Castro: “Yeah, okay, one more. Then I really gotta get home. It’s my night to cook dinner.”

259

Lee A. Arnold 07.16.14 at 11:58 pm

JOshua W. Burton #244: “But I do think it’s good for Hamas leaders”

Please give a short precis of how, in terms of signaling theory, it is good for Hamas leaders.

260

Lee A. Arnold 07.17.14 at 12:04 am

Joshua W. Burton #247: ” American career officers vote Republican about 4-1, and I suspect this is true all the way up to flag rank.”

And then please explain how and why US military voting patterns would have anything at all to do with how the US military analyzes strategic and tactical military considerations, and thus why you think those analyses would in ANY way be different from how their Israeli counterparts would do it.

261

Lee A. Arnold 07.17.14 at 12:10 am

Ronan(rf) #246: “…unless you’re just adopting an extremely simplisitic position…”

Exactly. What’s sauce for the goose etc.

262

Micheal Lunny 07.17.14 at 1:30 am

#192

The main criticism that Slater has of Blumenthal’s book (and you seem to agree with him) is that though it is good journalism it is too strident and unlikely to persuade liberal but reflexively pro-Israel Jewish audiences in the Unites States as it is too incompatible with their understanding of the situation and their self identity. Bringing up the “I can’t believe its not fascist” aspects of Israels relationship with the occupied territories, Gaza and its own Arab citizens turns potentially persuadable people off because they immediately think Nazis and then think Holocaust and that is just absurd.

I understand this in a way. The Holocaust is too big and unrepeatable (at least in that form). It is an and emotional and moral black hole and when I approach it the structures of feeling and comprehension collapse under the size of the crime. It makes no sense to me that it happened, even knowing the history of antisemitism in Europe. In fact I am one of those people who can not visit a Holocaust museum because I find it too upsetting, I know the facts but do not want to experience, even at a distance, the realities. I do not want to see the piles of shoes, the photos of brimming graves, the maps of obliterated villages, the ledgers.

I do wonder about is what the essence of my nausea is, why I can not take it in as a educational historical experience. It is not simply the number killed, six million is probably a tenth of the overall casualties from WWII. In the eighties we imagined nuclear wars which would have killed more but this somehow seemed less culpably awful – it was us or everybody. Perhaps the moral terror that grips me is appreciating the clinical and deliberate murder of unarmed and helpless innocents by ordinary, well educated people, people who still ended up sharing the grotesque ambition to erase a people and end their journey through history.

Unconnectedly earlier today a ship in the Israeli navy killed four children on a pier, some children (perhaps the same ones) had been playing football on the beach with journalists earlier. The gunner then methodically got the range of some survivors of the initial salvo who were running away (an adult and three children) and zeroed in on them too.

http://m.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/07/16/dispatch-israeli-strike-kills-four-children-at-a-gaza-beach/

Peter Beaumont of the Guardian was there.

https://twitter.com/petersbeaumont/status/489422197543665664

Almost immediately the Hasbara Internet Kommandos were queuing up to explain how unlikely it was that Beaumont had seen what he had and even if he had Hamas were everywhere. Fog of war, except in daytime in perfect visibility.

Who knows what the gunner was thinking. He was certainly no fascist and the odds are good he went on a tour of one of the death camps in Poland – quite possibly he even thinks he was fighting the heirs of the Nazis. Given that being a Nazi or even a fascist is utterly incompatible with his self identity I do not know why I brought it up. It’s absurd.

The US state department has already blamed Hamas for the “tragedy” and there will be an investigation by the Israeli army. I predict a medal for the traumatized gunner in the end.

263

Micheal Lunny 07.17.14 at 1:33 am

“self identity” = “self image”. Too late to be posting.

264

Anarcissie 07.17.14 at 1:41 am

LFC 07.16.14 at 8:24 pm @ 249:
‘Just read this post from last wk at Duck of Minerva. Relevant and worth reading….’

An Arab is presented with the idea of nonviolent resistance and a demand for equal rights and status within Israel-Palestine as a single state, has trouble understanding it at all, and then says it wouldn’t work. However, since there is already a single state and it is obvious that there is not going to be any two-state solution, this seems like as good a bet as any. Israel as presently constituted depends strongly on its relationships with the West, and the West has to at least pretend to be committed to political and legal equality.

Alternatively, there are always the gratifications of self-annihilation.

265

J Thomas 07.17.14 at 1:43 am

The Warsaw Ghetto would have gotten better treatment if they surrendered? You can’t really think this.

No, not really. I can make the logical argument but I don’t believe it.

The argument goes, that there were maybe 70,000 people left in the ghetto, and with cooperation the germans would have transported about 7000/day to Treblinka. They would have had relatively good treatment — water, some food, some shelter from the elements, etc — before they were euthanized with carbon monoxide which is relatively painless.

Instead they had the dubious privilege of getting shot, blown up, burned alive in their basements etc while surviving on dead rats and whatever they could find for up to two months before the survivors were transported to Treblinka anyway. So far as I know, every single person who survived the uprising did it by crawling through the sewers and escaping the ghetto.

They knew they had no possibility for victory. None whatsoever. Why didn’t they peacefully accept the surrender terms the germans offered them? They killed more jewish collaborators than they did germans, fighting among themselves….

It could be argued that since the fighting did no good for the civilians and no good for the fighters, still it was good for their leaders. A leader who said not to fight would have lost his followers immediately. But what good did it do them to be leaders of the ghetto resistance? Every single one of the leaders was killed.

They tied up 2000 german troops for 2 months, which was a small accomplishment, and they killed maybe 20 and wounded maybe another 100. It didn’t amount to much but it was something, and if they had cooperated they would have hurt the germans even less.

I want to think that if I’d been there I would have fought, and I’d like to imagine that before the end I’d escape to fight on, though there was no food in the forests and the more people that tried to fight there, the more starved.

The situation is not nearly so bleak for Gaza and Hamas. They have quantitatively less to lose if they fight, and quantitatively less to lose if they surrender. So doesn’t it make sense that they should just surrender, and let the Israelis kill all the Hamas members that Israel claims have committed terrorist acts, and then let the civilians of Gaza live entirely by Israel’s mercy? Wouldn’t that be the best thing they could do?

I can understand that they don’t think so.

266

J Thomas 07.17.14 at 4:35 am

#262
It is not simply the number killed, six million is probably a tenth of the overall casualties from WWII.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties#Human_losses_by_country

The figures from the USSR may be bogus. The estimate of 9-14 million soldiers is probably pretty good, the soviets kept careful records. The estimate of 13-18 million civilian deaths is likely low. It may easily have been 25 million civilian deaths, and the USSR minimized the numbers because they didn’t want to look weak after the war.

The estimates of 12-16 million chinese civilian casualties are probably low. It could have been 20 million or even 30 million, probably not 50 million. The record-keeping by the corrupt Nationalists before the war was not very good at all. We don’t know how many chinese were available to die. After the war there was never an adequate census, and by the time the communists were doing a reasonable census there was no way to estimate how many of the deaths came during WWII and how many during the revolution or the troubles after.

Similar things are true to some extent across eastern europe. Get an occupation army with minimal supervision chasing guerrillas, and your best chance at estimating civilian casualties is by comparing before-and-after figures once things have settled down.

There were something like 2 million fewer germans in East Germany when the USSR started maintaining detailed records, than before the occupation. Something less than 300,000 of them were admitted to be deported to the USSR for forced labor, about a quarter of those died there. It’s possible that many of the missing east germans were misplaced in the USSR and did not die from the war.

The details are messy, I claim that the number of extra deaths caused by WWII could have been 100 million or higher. The war affected a lot of poor people in poor countries, who are hard to count. My claim is based on the inadequacy of the data, so it’s naturally hard for me to document its own accuracy.

I do wonder about is what the essence of my nausea is, why I can not take it in as a educational historical experience.

There was an extensive campaign to create that response. I remember being around 6 years old and I looked at a magazine — Life</iL or Look that had vivid pictures of the concentration camps. Lots of beautiful naked women getting shot or gassed. I asked my mother what it was about and she told me and took the magazine away. It was a weird sort of pornography.

I had nightmares about it, but something about my mother’s matter-of-fact tone — yes, this sort of thing has happened and we want to stop it from happening again — got me to treat it as a learning experience.

This sort of thing has happened and we want to stop it.

267

Realist 07.17.14 at 8:08 am

Dunno why supposed “left” gets all totalitarian in Mid-East–what is so wrong with small countries for minorities, like Israel for Jews and Lebanon for Christians? Not as if Arab Muslim land-claims are strong outside of Arabia (to say nothing of dubious Turkish claims in Anatolia). I guess it’s the Phoenician in me . . .

268

Ronan(rf) 07.17.14 at 1:44 pm

Micheal Lunny – that’s fair enough, I wouldn’t (shouldnt) have said anything really, I just (mis)read your (and BDL’s) comments(which was more than reasonable) too quickly initially.
I havent actually read Blumenthal’s book yet, but hope to get round to it at some stage.

Relatedly to some of the above, this

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/04/islamic-jihad-support-gaza-expense-hamas.html

is a quite good example (from a few months ago) of the sorts of political pressures Hamas seem to be reacting to in Gaza.

269

Micheal Lunny 07.17.14 at 1:46 pm

A post below gives a detailed analysis of previous ceasefires between Israel and Gaza over the last few years.

http://blog.thejerusalemfund.org/2014/07/gaza-cease-fire-dynamics-explained-what.html

It is essential reading for anyone who wonders why Gazans might “provoke” Israeli attacks with rocket fire and why Hamas might be suspicious of any ceasefire offer.

270

The Temporary Name 07.17.14 at 2:49 pm

Israel as presently constituted depends strongly on its relationships with the West, and the West has to at least pretend to be committed to political and legal equality.

That’s status quo right?

271

Anarcissie 07.17.14 at 3:11 pm

No, the status quo includes various intermittent attempts to change the situation through various kinds of force, such as the recent rocket attacks, which make violent repression by the Israeli government excusable among those who want to excuse it, as even in the present discussion. Force has not done much for the Palestinian Arabs in the last 66 years, so, practically speaking, it would be reasonable to try something else. I realize that human beings are seldom reasonable; it is a last resort, attempted only when all else has failed. In this case all else has failed over a considerable period of time.

272

Layman 07.17.14 at 3:32 pm

“Force has not done much for the Palestinian Arabs in the last 66 years, so, practically speaking, it would be reasonable to try something else.”

Like what? Any advice which doesn’t recognize the reality – that, despite history, Israel is now the aggressor and the holder of all the power in the situation – is pure nonsense. The Palestinians live in a reality created and totally controlled by Israel, and can do nothing to change it. Hence the rage.

273

J Thomas 07.17.14 at 3:59 pm

Force has not done much for the Palestinian Arabs in the last 66 years, so, practically speaking, it would be reasonable to try something else.

Palestinians tried not-force for decades, and what they got was that Israel said there was no such thing as Palestinians, there were only arab refugees and displaced persons who were entirely the arab communities’ responsibility.

When they did intifada Israel killed a bunch of them and then agreed that there was such a thing as a palestinian.

When palestinians are peaceful they get abused and ignored. When they retaliate they get abused more but not ignored.

The obvious approach for the Israeli government is to abuse palestinians less when they are completely passive, and then hit them very hard whenever they do retaliate — but do not speak of it. Don’t tell the media anything, order the domestic media not to report anything about palestinians, and imprison or kill foreign journalists who report about palestinians. If they got nothing at all except death for any attempt to fight back, they might learn not to try.

But Israeli governments don’t think that way. Each of them — of any ideology — gets a big temporary support boost when they publicly beat up on arabs. Keeping quiet about it defeats the purpose. They get a boost from beating up on arabs and they get another boost if international opinion is against them and they defy it.

And they have learned that it isn’t safe to beat up on Hesbollah, so Hamas is the obvious target. Palestinians aren’t very important in the process, the main thing is the domestic media and voter opinion and the international reaction.

It’s like in school. “Why are you attacking me? You know it never gets you anything.” Thwack. “See, you hit yourself. Why did you do that? Don’t you know better than to hit yourself?” Thwack. “You’re so stupid. You keep hitting yourself for no reason.” Thwack thwack thwack. “You should learn to be more peaceful.” Thwack.

274

Anarcissie 07.17.14 at 4:05 pm

If the Palestinians have no power, then they have to practice a kind of political judo and use the power of their oppressors against them. Hence, strictly nonviolent public demands for full legal and political equality in a single state, which might have interesting resonances in the United States and other patrons of the Israeli government.

275

J Thomas 07.17.14 at 4:17 pm

Hence, strictly nonviolent public demands for full legal and political equality in a single state, which might have interesting resonances in the United States and other patrons of the Israeli government.

https://duckduckgo.com/l/?kh=-1&uddg=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ifamericansknew.org%2Fmedia%2Fnonviolent.html

Google “nonviolent resistance in Palestine”. The above is the first hit.

It’s happening, and when it happens the Israeli military treats it as violent resistance, and it goes almost entirely unreported in the Israeli and US media.

We’ll see. Israel has had a long time to plan how to neutralize nonviolent resistance.

276

godoggo 07.17.14 at 4:21 pm

I think there’s something wrong with that link.

277

godoggo 07.17.14 at 4:23 pm

278

godoggo 07.17.14 at 4:27 pm

Anyway, I fixed your link. Here it is: http://www.ifamericansknew.org/media/nonviolent.html

279

dkjd 07.17.14 at 4:59 pm

Likewise, this approach re: death tolls of fallen Palestinian victims to weigh morality, is pretty sick and reads as blood thirsty.

If more Israelis died would it sway your support away from Palestinians?
Then why exploit deaths tolls like a sporting event?
Has this blog made mention of the tens of thousands that make up the death tolls in Syrian or was that have no political use for you?

Are we really to believe Israel’s Army wouldn’t be capable of more causing much more deaths during indiscriminate attacks?

And what’s this about “No rockets since November 2012″?
Are you endorsing the effectiveness of the IDF’s “Pillar and Truth operation” of November, 2012 then?
Is there a reason you’re erasing the rockets fired during March 2013 during Obama’s visit, and every month since?

280

Layman 07.17.14 at 5:18 pm

Anarcissie @ 274

I think you’ll find that’s been tried. Israel responds to nonviolent forms of opposition (e.g. Strikes, protests, civil disobedience) in the same way they respond to violence, by killing Palestinians. Efforts to secure international recognition are effectively blocked by the US. Next?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Intifada

281

godoggo 07.17.14 at 5:24 pm

One thing I recall about the 1st Intifada is that it resulted in a lot of of sympathy among Americans for a while. I think I saw a poll indicating that that’s happening again. That can’t be a bad thing.

282

Layman 07.17.14 at 5:47 pm

I may be missing it, but it can’t see much evident growth in popular sympathy for the Palestinians in recent years.

http://www.pollingreport.com/israel.htm

283

Micheal Lunny 07.17.14 at 5:50 pm

#271

Anarcissie, the Israeli state is not the most evil one in the world but they have spent a very long time, decades in fact, devising physical, security and media strategies to prevent Palestinians from organizing and mobilizing mass protests and to manage international responses to violent suppression of peaceful protests (most notably in the US). They have studied the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa carefully and have processes in place to stymie its methods (BDS is difficult to manage in this way and it is their major headache).

There has also been a policy of assassination and imprisonment without trial intended to cull any promising leadership figures (see the very long list of assassinations here). Abu Ali Mustafa, killed in 2001, was a clear example of a political assassination of a “potential Mandela” (which I remember well). The Israelis take the danger of a good example very seriously indeed.

Physical barriers are important too. Checkpoints prevent protesters assembling, clever construction means that many East Jerusalem settlements are hidden by large embankments from the eyes and noises of protesters, watch towers and drones mean that any serious acts of civil disobedience can be nipped in the bud. The Apartheid Wall is eight meters high (twice the height of the Berlin wall) and even if there was a mass attempt to climb it naked wearing only lilly underwear the protesters would be beaten and shot before they made it over.

Any large gatherings of Palestinians is a riot, every riot can be met with force and if someone is executed by an army sniper you can be sure that will be out of the news cycle in hours in the US, even in”liberal” media.

It might be useful to think about the killing of Rachel Corrie here. If Israel can, with malice aforethought, crush a peaceful American protester to death underneath an armoured caterpillar digger without any consequences how could anyone imagine that peaceful protest by Palestinians could work?

284

Joshua W. Burton 07.17.14 at 7:24 pm

If Israel can, with malice aforethought, crush a peaceful American protester to death underneath an armoured caterpillar digger . . . .

If, indeed. I count four words in that sentence (“malice”, “aforethought”, “peaceful” and “underneath”) that are disputed as between ISM and IDF witnesses, and by the Israeli army report. A good argument for dismissing the army investigation (and appellate review) as whitewash — rather than admitting the dispute, as Wikipedia, the US State Department and reputable press sources do — would need to address why, in the shooting of UK activist Tom Hurndall three weeks later, similarly conflicting accounts did not save the IDF sergeant from a conviction for manslaughter, obstruction of justice, perjury, suborning false testimony, and behavior unbecoming. (He served five years of a six-year sentence, I think, in a notoriously tough Negev prison.)

285

J Thomas 07.17.14 at 7:52 pm

#284 Joshua Burton

would need to address why, in the shooting of UK activist Tom Hurndall three weeks later, similarly conflicting accounts did not save the IDF sergeant from a conviction for manslaughter, obstruction of justice, perjury, suborning false testimony, and behavior unbecoming.

Are you perhaps a lawyer? This smells like lawyer-logic to me.

George Zimmerman was declared innocent of murdering Trayvon Martin. Michael Dunn killed Jordan Davis six months later and has been convicted of three counts of attempted murder and now is on trial a second time for actual murder. If the Florida justice system was biased in favor of whites, surely both of them would have gotten off quickly. Therefore George Zimmerman really is innocent of any wrongdoing.

Something about this reasoning leaves me with a lot of doubt. At a minimum we would have to assume that the legal system is consistent.

286

Joshua W. Burton 07.17.14 at 8:28 pm

A lot of doubt is just precisely what I’m arguing for. Reread @283, last para, and concede that it’s not a neutral account of the facts on view. Then, put yourself just for a moment in the shoes of someone smelling of lawyer (or hey, stinking of Talmud — come on, take the free shot!) enough to want to turn I do not know into a principled stand. Merely referencing a neutral source (Wikipedia, for example) should suffice for this weak claim . . . unless the IDF investigation and US and Israeli civil cases are a priori utterly discredited as not just biased but invincibly corrupt. I think it would be hard to prove that, but with a sympathetic audience it’s pretty easy to sneer it. So, I thought a sneer inhibitor was called for.

In the Florida analogy, the hypothetical Talmudist is arguing, not that the Zimmerman court couldn’t have been biased, but something more like, “Before you nod/wink to your friends that anyone who remembers the 1934 Claude Neal lynching or the 1979 Arthur McDuffie slaying knows that no Florida court would ever convict a white man for killing a black man, consider the Davis case six months later.”

287

Brad DeLong 07.17.14 at 9:09 pm

@285: J Thomas: “George Zimmerman was declared innocent of murdering Trayvon Martin…”

Don’t be a total dork.

George Zimmerman was found not ‘guilty beyond a reasonable doubt’ of murdering Trayvon Martin. “Innocent” is a much stronger claim than “not ‘guilty beyond a reasonable doubt’”. It is a stronger claim than “not ‘guilty by clear and convincing evidence’”. It is even a stronger claim than “not ‘guilty by the preponderance of the evidence’”.

288

roy belmont 07.17.14 at 9:12 pm

Ariel Castro, from his cell: “They wanted me. They asked for it, they submitted willingly to my manly strength and superior nature.”

*looks around Protective Isolation Wing*

“Right?
Hey!
Bitches had it coming! They ASKED for it!
Right?”

*no audible response detected on security video*
-
One would expect sociopaths with superior intelligence to be masters at disinformation.
And so they prove consistently to be.

289

godoggo 07.17.14 at 9:34 pm

Well, I’ll say it: sieg fucking heil.

290

Layman 07.17.14 at 9:47 pm

“A good argument for dismissing the army investigation (and appellate review) as whitewash — rather than admitting the dispute, as Wikipedia, the US State Department and reputable press sources do — would need to address why, in the shooting of UK activist Tom Hurndall three weeks later, similarly conflicting accounts did not save the IDF sergeant from a conviction for manslaughter, obstruction of justice, perjury, suborning false testimony, and behavior unbecoming.”

It’s a good rule of thumb to suspect all self-investigations by the military. That aside, the differences are obvious, given that Sergeant Hayd changed his story, first claiming he intentionally shot an armed & uniformed Palestinian militia member, and later claiming instead that he fired a warning shot near an obvious civilian and accidentally hit him. Not even the IDF could find a way to square the second account with the first.

It seems to me you’re simply playing a rhetorical game here. Do you believe Israel should settle and annex the West Bank, or not? Do you believe Israel has some right to demolish the homes of Palestinians in the West Bank? Why do you believe it proper that Israel use weapons & tactics which virtually guarantee civilian casualties, while at the same time believe Palestinians are wrong to use weapons and tactics which only occasionally cause civilian casualties? You seem to want to explain, so get on with it.

291

Joshua W. Burton 07.17.14 at 9:55 pm

@290: Not, yes, intent, and not really.

292

J Thomas 07.17.14 at 9:56 pm

#286 Joshua Burton

I see! Yes, I can imagine some doubt about the Rachel Corrie case.

It was claimed that the bulldozer operator could not see what he was bulldozing, that he could never see what he was bulldozing, that the bulldozer was designed so the operator could not see what he was doing. That sounds utterly implausible to me, but for all I know the Israeli military would buy bulldozers like that.

It makes sense for Israel to do that. By killing a very few foreign protesters and aggressively denying entry to others, they save themselves a lot of trouble. It’s just the sort of policy I’d expect from a nation that has been at war for 55+ years. It fits right in with other policies of theirs.

But you’re right, it isn’t proven. There’s a possibility that it was just an accident with no ill will on anybody’s part. Accidents do happen sometimes. I’d give this one a bayesian likelihood as big as 10%.

293

Layman 07.17.14 at 10:10 pm

“Not, yes, intent, and not really.”

Taking these one at a time:

What should be done, by whom, to eject Israeli settlements from the West Bank?

What international law permits Israeli military forces to destroy homes in another country?

How are you judging intent?

If not, then why do you correspond?

294

Joshua W. Burton 07.17.14 at 10:19 pm

@293: I don’t know. What country? Long and wide personal acquaintance. And not everyone who picks up litter in front of him is waiting to show off urban renewal plans.

295

Layman 07.17.14 at 10:30 pm

ISTM that if Palestinians who perhaps knowingly live beside, above, or below militants are complicit and therefore deserve targeting, litter-collectors like you (can we say water-carriers instead?) are also complicit. Note that the former premise isn’t my contention, but what I take to be yours from the evasive nonsense you post.

296

J Thomas 07.17.14 at 10:32 pm

#287 Brad Delong

George Zimmerman was found not ‘guilty beyond a reasonable doubt’ of murdering Trayvon Martin. “Innocent” is a much stronger claim than “not ‘guilty beyond a reasonable doubt’”. ….

It appears I have stomped on one of your hot buttons.

Zimmerman walked free, and Dunn is still getting trialed before serving time.

The guy who crushed Rachel Correy like a cockroach went free, while this other Israeli guy who shot a foreign protester served time.

Joshua Burton argues that the other guy who did not go free is good reason to say the investigation of Rachel Correy’s death was not a whitewash.

I don’t see his reasoning. Do you?

I am not interested in the subtleties of what we call the decision to let Zimmerman go free and unpunished, and I do not disagree with you about what it ought to be called.

297

Collin Street 07.17.14 at 10:35 pm

> What should be done, by whom, to eject Israeli settlements from the West Bank?

Bluntly, the whole “hasbara” thing is deliberately engineered as a tarpit. You take fucked-in-the-head true-believers and you point them at the people who are asking difficult questions, so that they ask the true-believers the questions rather than anyone who might matter or who might ponder what’s said. Debate by zerg rush.

[only real solution is aggressive moderation of the aggressively-not-getting-it, which runs into other costs.]

[same as the IDF, or any oppression force anywhere: you take ignorant lower-class kids, tell them they're awesome, and you point them at your enemies. Plausible-deniability crumple-zone. Terrorists do much the same thing, but they have slightly different personnel requirements [they need to be more autonomous and they don't need as many] so they draw from different sectors of the population]

298

Thornton Hall 07.17.14 at 10:40 pm

This thread is a performance art version of the conflict. Comment 13 was the last serious consideration of Israeli domestic politics. Nearly 300 posts later it abstract theories and who ran over who with a tank.

It’s like Europeans interpreting the nomination of Mitt Romney as a unified statement of American belief that the second coming of Jesus Christ will happen in Missouri.

299

The Temporary Name 07.17.14 at 10:44 pm

Comment 13 was the last serious consideration

No.

300

Joshua W. Burton 07.17.14 at 10:49 pm

These are water-carriers. They take their obligations in Gaza pretty seriously, and so do I.

Oh, was I evasive again? Or is it possible you’re just firing in my general direction, unaimed?

301

Joshua W. Burton 07.17.14 at 10:58 pm

@297: aggressive moderation

If that were a political party, I’d vote for it.

302

LFC 07.17.14 at 11:03 pm

Anarcissie @264
An Arab is presented with the idea of nonviolent resistance and a demand for equal rights and status within Israel-Palestine as a single state, has trouble understanding it at all, and then says it wouldn’t work. However, since there is already a single state and it is obvious that there is not going to be any two-state solution, this seems like as good a bet as any.

What really struck me in Jon Western’s post, and the main reason I linked to it, was not the story at the end about the Palestinian young man rejecting the notion of non-violent resistance — this was just one little story in a post that was self-consciously impressionistic and anecdotal. Rather, what struck me was the part about Netanyahu et al having given up on the two-state solution, though they don’t say so. I don’t agree with you that it is “obvious” there is not going to be a two-state solution, though the prospects do appear to be receding. As for “this seems as good a bet as any,” I’m not entirely clear what “this” refers to.

303

LFC 07.17.14 at 11:05 pm

P.s. Also, I thought Western’s brief analysis of what Fayyad did on the WB, and how it has actually reduced the costs of the occupation for Israel, was interesting. This deserves further elaboration but I have to run just now.

304

roy belmont 07.17.14 at 11:13 pm

Ariel Castro leaves a note, explaining his suicide, and by extension his rage against life:

“You hate me because I’m Hispanic.”

No, Ariel. No, that’s not it.

305

Joshua W. Burton 07.17.14 at 11:15 pm

IDF . . . you take ignorant lower-class kids

So, by elimination, the black-hats, Orthodox women, poor kids from the Negev who fail the bagrut, and the Israeli Arabs (ex Druse & Bedouin) make up almost the whole of the Israeli middle and upper class — wow. If, per @298, serious consideration of Israeli domestic politics is of interest, a top issue is the serious and intergenerational class barriers created by army deferral and rejection. Evidence so far released suggests that Muhammad Abu-Khdeir’s torturer/murderers were haredi deferral street bums.

306

Anarcissie 07.17.14 at 11:22 pm

‘…. It might be useful to think about the killing of Rachel Corrie here. If Israel can, with malice aforethought, crush a peaceful American protester to death underneath an armoured caterpillar digger without any consequences how could anyone imagine that peaceful protest by Palestinians could work?’

Media have changed and are continuing to change. Atrocities are harder to bottle up these days.

Another part of my suggestion was, instead of carrying on about a state of their own, which can be fiddled by the opposition indefinitely, Palestinians would accept the facts on the ground — that is, a singe state — and demand equal legal and political rights within that state. That is a very simple, very basic, very nonviolent idea which resonates very strongly with a lot of Americans.

In the US, the Civil Rights movement succeeded because, among other things, it drove a wedge in between Southern White racists and Northern White racists, thus depriving the former of a good part of their support system. Part of the way it did that was to persistently contrast its nonviolence with the Southern White racist violence. The dependence of the Israeli established order on the American connection is a point of considerable vulnerability.

307

Donald Johnson 07.17.14 at 11:35 pm

“There has not been a time in the last five-plus years that rocket fire from Gaza hasn’t been a very real possibility, and frequently a fact, of southern Israeli life.”

I didn’t wade through this whole thread–I was out of town for most of it–but I never get used to this moral obtuseness. Israeli troops fire at Gazan civilians inside Gaza on a fairly regular basis. They shoot at fishermen. Sometimes innocent Gazans die. All of Gaza is an open air prison camp. And all this nice Israeli woman and Brett Bellmore deign to notice is the rocket fire.

Sorry, but if the US or Israel were placed in the exact same circumstances as the Gazans, the very same people who are too clueless to notice the suffering of Gazans would be the first ones cheering the firing of rockets at their tormentors.

308

Joshua W. Burton 07.17.14 at 11:40 pm

LFC @303: Also, I thought Western’s brief analysis of what Fayyad did on the WB, and how it has actually reduced the costs of the occupation for Israel, was interesting.

Lowering the cost of the occupation, ultimately to zero, by ending it is one trajectory; dreamers have died, but there are still candles burning in Rabin Square. Raising the cost of the occupation, ultimately to infinity, by defeating it is another trajectory, with martyrs of its own. It amounts almost to a topological theorem that no trajectory leads anyone closer to both places.

309

Thornton Hall 07.17.14 at 11:48 pm

@305 Now that is interesting! The idea that Americans could intuit how Likud voters think without some consideration of who serves in the Israeli military does seem strange, no? We haven’t really faced similar issues here for 40 years.

310

Joshua W. Burton 07.17.14 at 11:53 pm

The idea that Americans could intuit how Likud voters think without some consideration of who serves in the Israeli military does seem strange, no?

No, Americans can intuit everything. And just in case, this.

311

Layman 07.18.14 at 12:21 am

“Oh, was I evasive again? “

Yes, of course, but you’ve satisfied my curiosity.

312

J Thomas 07.18.14 at 1:19 am

#306

Media have changed and are continuing to change. Atrocities are harder to bottle up these days.

The Israelis do pretty well at it, but still things leak out and mostly get ignored. So yes, you have a point.

Another part of my suggestion was, instead of carrying on about a state of their own, which can be fiddled by the opposition indefinitely, Palestinians would accept the facts on the ground — that is, a singe state — and demand equal legal and political rights within that state. That is a very simple, very basic, very nonviolent idea which resonates very strongly with a lot of Americans.

Palestinians are seriously discussing this. The immediate problem is that the USA and Israel reject the idea out of hand and insist that negotiation must be for a two-state solution — which can be fiddled indefinitely.

I can certainly understand Israel not wanting that solution. Imagine if Haiti wanted to become part of the Dominican Republic, the DR would probably resist pretty strenuously.

After all, Palestinians are poor and uneducated and not-Jewish. Not at all the sort of citizens Israel wants. Easier if they can be Somebody Else’s Problem.

313

Collin Street 07.18.14 at 2:07 am

Sorry, but if the US or Israel were placed in the exact same circumstances as the Gazans, the very same people who are too clueless to notice the suffering of Gazans would be the first ones cheering the firing of rockets at their tormentors.

And equally if the palestinian arabs were in the position the israeli jews were in now you’d get a certain percentage condemning the דְרוֹר missiles[1] and saying all sorts of terrible horrible racist things, too.

There’s nothing special about jews any more than there’s anything special about arabs, after all. People are the same everywhere. Some are decent, some are less so: whether a polity collectively does good or ill is all tied up in messy path-dependency and shit. There’s significant… hysterisis, feedback, I-don’t-know between the policies a polity’s elites support and the policies the elites can get support for: some people just think what they’re told. In any population.

[1] Yay google translate. How do I read that, btw?

314

roy belmont 07.18.14 at 2:34 am

Bill Maher meets Ariel Castro in the Dreamtime, the shadowland between and beyond life and death.
Both stop, completely still in the featureless, colorless landscape, eyes locked on the other.
Maher speaks, but it’s unintelligible from here.
Slowly, with an almost sombre gravity, Ariel Castro nods his head.
Once, twice.

315

Joshua W. Burton 07.18.14 at 2:45 am

How do I read that, btw?

Dror is “freedom” (like in the quote on the Liberty Bell) or “sparrow” — as a missile, it would be the AIM-7, which is air-to-air as far as I know.

This guy is pretty close to the action. Anyone who wants to meet Tommy should take a break from CT and give “Eylo” a few minutes of your time. (Still laughing at “Apples in shakshuka? What sort of monster are you??” — same apples/potatoes problem as in French or Dutch.)

316

Collin Street 07.18.14 at 2:58 am

> Dror is “freedom” (like in the quote on the Liberty Bell) or “sparrow”

So it is a homophone. [I wasn't sure, I thought the vowels could have been different or something.] Perfect name for a jewish qassam, no?

Thanks for that link, btw.

317

Anarcissie 07.18.14 at 3:10 am

J Thomas 07.18.14 at 1:19 am @ 312:
‘Another part of my suggestion was, instead of carrying on about a state of their own, which can be fiddled by the opposition indefinitely, Palestinians would accept the facts on the ground — that is, a singe state — and demand equal legal and political rights within that state. That is a very simple, very basic, very nonviolent idea which resonates very strongly with a lot of Americans.’
‘Palestinians are seriously discussing this. The immediate problem is that the USA and Israel reject the idea out of hand and insist that negotiation must be for a two-state solution — which can be fiddled indefinitely.’

Well, of course. What do you expect? They are the opposition, the oppressor. They’re not going to hand the Palestinians the game.

If the demand is for full legal and political rights, there is nothing to negotiate anyway.

No doubt the Israelis will continue to shoot Palestinians, but now they will be publicly murdering unarmed, nonviolent people asking no more than equal rights, equal protection of the laws. It will not go down well abroad. In fact, it will not go down well at home.

318

J Thomas 07.18.14 at 3:20 am

And equally if the palestinian arabs were in the position the israeli jews were in now you’d get a certain percentage condemning the דְרוֹר missiles[1] and saying all sorts of terrible horrible racist things, too.

Yes. A lot of germans felt terribly oppressed after WWI. World opinion was against them, they were treated bad economicly and socially, and they found that treaties were worth no more than the paper they were written on. So they decided their only hope was to be strong enough to beat their enemies.

They treated Jews bad economicly and socially etc — it doesn’t get much worse than kill on capture — and the survivors felt terribly oppressed. Many of them felt they needed their own nation where they would be the majority, where they could be strong enough to beat their enemies.

Now it’s the Palestinians’ turn in the barrel, and there’s no particularly reason to expect they’ll be so much better than the others if it’s ever their turn on top.

Better to find a way to break the cycle.

319

J Thomas 07.18.14 at 3:37 am

#317

If the demand is for full legal and political rights, there is nothing to negotiate anyway.

Citizenship is something that most nations don’t give away lightly.

Genesis 34:

8 But Hamor said to them, “My son Shechem has his heart set on your daughter. Please give her to him as his wife. 9 Intermarry with us; give us your daughters and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 You can settle among us; the land is open to you. Live in it, trade[b] in it, and acquire property in it.”

11 Then Shechem said to Dinah’s father and brothers, “Let me find favor in your eyes, and I will give you whatever you ask. 12 Make the price for the bride and the gift I am to bring as great as you like, and I’ll pay whatever you ask me. Only give me the young woman as my wife.”

13 Because their sister Dinah had been defiled, Jacob’s sons replied deceitfully as they spoke to Shechem and his father Hamor. 14 They said to them, “We can’t do such a thing; we can’t give our sister to a man who is not circumcised. That would be a disgrace to us. 15 We will enter into an agreement with you on one condition only: that you become like us by circumcising all your males. 16 Then we will give you our daughters and take your daughters for ourselves. We’ll settle among you and become one people with you. 17 But if you will not agree to be circumcised, we’ll take our sister and go.”

18 Their proposal seemed good to Hamor and his son Shechem. 19 The young man, who was the most honored of all his father’s family, lost no time in doing what they said, because he was delighted with Jacob’s daughter. 20 So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate of their city to speak to the men of their city. 21 “These men are friendly toward us,” they said. “Let them live in our land and trade in it; the land has plenty of room for them. We can marry their daughters and they can marry ours. 22 But the men will agree to live with us as one people only on the condition that our males be circumcised, as they themselves are. 23 Won’t their livestock, their property and all their other animals become ours? So let us agree to their terms, and they will settle among us.”

24 All the men who went out of the city gate agreed with Hamor and his son Shechem, and every male in the city was circumcised.

25 Three days later, while all of them were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male. 26 They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword and took Dinah from Shechem’s house and left. 27 The sons of Jacob came upon the dead bodies and looted the city where[c] their sister had been defiled. 28 They seized their flocks and herds and donkeys and everything else of theirs in the city and out in the fields. 29 They carried off all their wealth and all their women and children, taking as plunder everything in the houses.

30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me obnoxious to the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people living in this land. We are few in number, and if they join forces against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed.”

No doubt the Israelis will continue to shoot Palestinians, but now they will be publicly murdering unarmed, nonviolent people asking no more than equal rights, equal protection of the laws. It will not go down well abroad. In fact, it will not go down well at home.

It’s hard to get people to be unanimously nonviolent, when they’re getting killed.

Imagine that in the USA Martin Luther King had been assassinated very early, and the media did not report any nonviolence but only reported Stokely Carmichael and Black Panthers and reported every violent crime committed by any black person as a terrorist act.

We might be a lot more like Israel today, if it had gone like that.

320

Anarcissie 07.18.14 at 5:07 am

J Thomas 07.18.14 at 3:37 am @ 319 — I have to concede that my scenario is most improbable — because people just don’t do things that way, usually. The American Civil Rights movement’s rigorous adherence to nonviolence was truly astonishing.

321

Joshua W. Burton 07.18.14 at 6:17 am

Genesis 34:

Rashi, on Simeon, Genesis 42 (“and [Joseph] took Simeon from among them and imprisioned him before their eyes”): Simeon: He [was the one who] had cast him into the pit. It was he who said to Levi,“Behold, that dreamer is coming” (Gen. 37:19). Another explanation: Joseph intended to separate him from Levi, lest the two of them take counsel to assassinate him.

Genesis 49: And Jacob called unto his sons, and said . . . Simeon and Levi are brethren; weapons of violence their kinship. Let my soul not come into their council; unto their assembly let my glory not be united; for in their anger they slew men, and in their self-will they houghed oxen. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce, and their wrath, for it was cruel; I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.

True to their father’s word, Simeon and Levi wind up on opposite ends of a spear in Numbers 25; Simeon is the only tribe that diminishes (by half) between the two censuses, while Levi turns his zeal to haShem and is “scattered in Israel” as priests instead of pariahs. Anyway, you’ll have to look pretty hard to find these two in midrash or Talmud without the Dinah story hanging around their necks as a curse and a warning. It’s very human, but it’s also very very not Jewish.

322

godoggo 07.18.14 at 6:57 am

There’s a book called Peace and Violence in Judaism that tried to suss out the various contradictory statements about ethics in the Talmud. Christ knows I’m no expert, however I thought this review by an anti-Zionist ultra-orthodox group was interesting:
http://www.truetorahjews.org/eisen

On the other hand, from the “Jewish Agency for Israel” http://jafi.org/JewishAgency/English/Jewish+Education/Compelling+Content/Jewish+History/Cultural+History/week+8.htm
I’ve linked to it before. There’s a paragraph in there that I don’t want to just pull out of the context of the article because it would seem pretty inflammatory, but you can probably figure out what I’m referring to…

As others have pointed out, the religious right is a problem there, and new immigrants tend to be a part of it, if I’m not mistaken.

Of course there have been secular Israelis cheering for the bombings, not to mention non-Jews in America. For whatever reason evangelicals tend to be particularly loyal supporters of Israel.

323

godoggo 07.18.14 at 6:59 am

Sorry, The Peace and Violence of Judaism. There’s a preview in Google Books, I believe.

Comments on this entry are closed.