Guest Post by Jonathan Guyer: Shipwrecked, Before Reaching Gaza

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free gaza.jpg
Jonathan Guyer is a Program Associate for the New America Foundation/Middle East Task Force.
Last week, the mainstream media only touched on the attempt by the Free Gaza Movement to reach the occupied territory by boat. Israel Defense Forces boarded their vessel, The Spirit of Humanity, which was carrying humanitarian aid. In spite of the incarceration of former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire, along with nineteen other activists who were aboard the ship, the story has gained little traction on our side of the ocean.
Yesterday, Congresswoman McKinney arrived safely back in the US, and in an interview, she emphasized the need for a new approach to Gaza:

What happened to us pales in comparison to what happens to the people of Gaza everyday, to Palestinians everyday, and so we can’t forget that we have a new administration. This new administration promised us hope and change. We expect a change in the policies that are put forward from Washington, DC. We have yet to see that. We need to press further and press harder to achieve that.

Gaza is still a taboo subject for American leadership. Even as President Obama briefly acknowledged Gaza in his Cairo University speech (“And just as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel’s security.”), not enough has been done on the ground to allow the flow of humanitarian and reconstruction aid.
The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinians Territories (OCHA-oPT) recently reported that the weekly inflow of goods remains disturbingly below the needs of Gaza’s people:

This week, a total of 417 truckloads of goods entered Gaza, less than 18% of the weekly average during the first five months of 2007, before the Hamas takeover. The entry of other major essential goods, including materials for reconstruction, spare parts for water and sanitation projects, and industrial and agricultural materials remain barred from entry or restricted to limited quantities.

Until Israelis, Americans, and the international community face up to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the potential for escalation and another outbreak in violence hangs in the air.
— Jonathan Guyer

Comments

288 comments on “Guest Post by Jonathan Guyer: Shipwrecked, Before Reaching Gaza

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  3. nadine says:

    questions, here is a Middle East blog I recommend to you.
    http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/
    It is written by Barry Rubin (bio below), a serious Middle East policy analyst and editor and the author of many books. As you begin to read him, you will find his views so far from your own that you will be tempted to reject everything he says.
    However, I would ask you to do a simple thing. Barry Rubin often makes predictions about what will happen next in the Middle East in the form “Western leaders are counting on outcomes a,b, or c; but none of those outcomes are going to happen. Instead, the real possibilities are x, y or z.” When he makes those predictions, make a mental note; and when the time is up, check to see if he was right or not.
    After a few months or years noticing that Barry Rubin always makes correct predictions while the experts of the State Department never do, he’ll start to make sense to you.
    Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at http://www.gloria-center.org

    Reply

  4. David says:

    “The Israelis want peace”
    Not Likud or any of the other right wing groups, or apparently even the centrists. Peace Now does, Israelis who put basic human decency and justice first do. But the Israeli government places keeping all existing settlements, except maybe for a few throw-aways, and continued expansion of preferred settlements first, and peace somewhere down the list, if at all, and even then only with a subservient Palestine agreeing to peace on Likud’s terms. The Palestinians have no bargaining chips except demographics, and Hamas only strengthens Likud’s position in the popular Israeli mind. It is a lose-lose situation for the Palestinians.
    There simply is no meaningful set of facts to back up the assertion that the Israelis want peace. The last Israeli prime minister who actually wanted justice and peace was assassinated by a hardline young orthoxist. “This land is ours, God gave this land to us,” and by extension the right to dispossess whoever is in the way. It is so Old Testament, so tribalist, so characteristic of the history of humankind. Israel is just another in a long, long line of expansionist tribal enterprises. It is no more or less moral than that litany of conquerors, and in fact is geopolitically amoral, which I guess most practitioners of realpolitik would endorse.
    That is why it is essential that a template for justice not be overlaid on Israel’s behavior in Gaza and the Occupied Territories. Israel’s actions can no more suvive moral scrutiny than can Hamas’s terrorist attacks against civilians. Nothing new – all I ask is that there be no pretense otherwise.
    Liberals like me insist on placing a moral overlay on our contry’s foreign policy, which all too often doesn’t square with justice of pursuing peace. And the shit hits the fan any time an American president actually does attempt this overlay. The majority of Americans assume that our foreign policy is essentially moral, that there are terribly immoral nations out there, and that our president must first and foremost be a warrior king on the world scene. Those two realities conjoin to explain why Bush could get away with invading Iraq and reducing it to a failed state, why Bush I could invade Panama to get Noriega, why Eisenhower could overthrow the democratically elected governments of Iran and Guatemala, LBJ could invade the Dominican Republic, Ronald Reagan could invade Grenada and wage war against Nicaragua, and why four presidents could wage war against the Viet Namese in the name of liberating South Viet Nam from the Communists, which ended only because it finally dawned on Americans that it was a f****d up war that we were not winning and likely could not win, John McCain’s misguided view of the Viet Nam War notwithstanding. Same goes for Iraq. America is about winning its wars, not preventing wars. We just fail at former, post-WWII, unless the adversary doesn’t have a prayer in hell, and unless Obama succeeds in re-directing the ship of state, we aren’t about to pursue the latter.
    And it explains the comparable behavior by any number of nations over the past 100 years, just for starters. Add om $$$, of course, but those people primarily capitalize on the situation as they aid and abet it. But none of it would happen were it not for citizenry who buy into it, whether they want to admit it or not. All politics are local, and they are self-serving, and the majority of human beings are still trapped in their tribal selves, whether they want to be or not, because they are the citizens of tribal enterpri$e$ writ very large in the world of which we are a part. 9/11 just gave an excuse for what Cheney intended and Bush played along with, especially in his deranged fundamentalist Christian worldview.
    War will end only when the major powers find it antithetical to their interests and quit supplying the weapons of war, weapons weapon-making countries are all too happy to profit from.
    Israel is simply acting out its traditional place in the history of wars and warmaking, but in a context that creates great danger for the entire world. It is not harmless, except for those who died, as was the case for Britain’s pathetic chest-thumping war with Argenita over the Falklands, the iron-headed lady’s big pr coup that inspired advisers surrounding Bush II.
    When countries actually want peace, there is peace, espcially powerful countries, and Israel is so much more powerful than Palestine, and so not in danger of “being wiped off the map” as to make the protestations against I’m-a-Dinner-Jacket laughable. The consequences for the Middle East are not, however, laughable. In fact, there is not really anything to smile about in the Middle East at the moment.

    Reply

  5. David says:

    “The Israelis want peace”
    Not Likud or any of the other right wing groups, or apparently even the centrists. Peace Now does, Israelis who put basic human decency and justice first do. But the Israeli government places keeping all existing settlements, except maybe for a few throw-aways, and continued expansion of preferred settlements first, and peace somewhere down the list, if at all, and even then only with a subservient Palestine agreeing to peace on Likud’s terms. The Palestinians have no bargaining chips except demographics, and Hamas only strengthens Likud’s position in the popular Israeli mind. It is a lose-lose situation for the Palestinians.
    There simply is no meaningful set of facts to back up the assertion that the Israelis want peace. The last Israeli prime minister who actually wanted justice and peace was assassinated by a hardline young orthoxist. “This land is ours, God gave this land to us,” and by extension the right to dispossess whoever is in the way. It is so Old Testament, so tribalist, so characteristic of the history of humankind. Israel is just another in a long, long line of expansionist tribal enterprises. It is no more or less moral than that litany of conquerors, and in fact is geopolitically amoral, which I guess most practitioners of realpolitik would endorse.
    That is why it is essential that a template for justice not be overlaid on Israel’s behavior in Gaza and the Occupied Territories. Israel’s actions can no more suvive moral scrutiny than can Hamas’s terrorist attacks against civilians. Nothing new – all I ask is that there be no pretense otherwise.
    Liberals like me insist on placing a moral overlay on our contry’s foreign policy, which all too often doesn’t square with justice of pursuing peace. And the shit hits the fan any time an American president actually does attempt this overlay. The majority of Americans assume that our foreign policy is essentially moral, that there are terribly immoral nations out there, and that our president must first and foremost be a warrior king on the world scene. Those two realities conjoin to explain why Bush could get away with invading Iraq and reducing it to a failed state, why Bush I could invade Panama to get Noriega, why Eisenhower could overthrow the democratically elected governments of Iran and Guatemala, LBJ could invade the Dominican Republic, Ronald Reagan could invade Grenada and wage war against Nicaragua, and why four presidents could wage war against the Viet Namese in the name of liberating South Viet Nam from the Communists, which ended only because it finally dawned on Americans that it was a f****d up war that we were not winning and likely could not win, John McCain’s misguided view of the Viet Nam War notwithstanding. Same goes for Iraq. America is about winning its wars, not preventing wars. We just fail at former, post-WWII, unless the adversary doesn’t have a prayer in hell, and unless Obama succeeds in re-directing the ship of state, we aren’t about to pursue the latter.
    And it explains the comparable behavior by any number of nations over the past 100 years, just for starters. Add om $$$, of course, but those people primarily capitalize on the situation as they aid and abet it. But none of it would happen were it not for citizenry who buy into it, whether they want to admit it or not. All politics are local, and they are self-serving, and the majority of human beings are still trapped in their tribal selves, whether they want to be or not, because they are the citizens of tribal enterpri$e$ writ very large in the world of which we are a part. 9/11 just gave an excuse for what Cheney intended and Bush played along with, especially in his deranged fundamentalist Christian worldview.
    War will end only when the major powers find it antithetical to their interests and quit supplying the weapons of war, weapons weapon-making countries are all too happy to profit from.
    Israel is simply acting out its traditional place in the history of wars and warmaking, but in a context that creates great danger for the entire world. It is not harmless, except for those who died, as was the case for Britain’s pathetic chest-thumping war with Argenita over the Falklands, the iron-headed lady’s big pr coup that inspired advisers surrounding Bush II.
    When countries actually want peace, there is peace, espcially powerful countries, and Israel is so much more powerful than Palestine, and so not in danger of “being wiped off the map” as to make the protestations against I’m-a-Dinner-Jacket laughable. The consequences for the Middle East are not, however, laughable. In fact, there is not really anything to smile about in the Middle East at the moment.

    Reply

  6. nadine says:

    “I do not excuse Israel any more than I excuse anyone else.”
    Actually, you do excuse someone more than someone else. I find it telling that the only other party you accuse is the US. The US is not the party sending in suicide bombers, yet that party is the one you don’t accuse. You excuse by never accusing. Care to say why not? Care to answer my ‘relative racism’ question of the last post?
    I agree checkpoints are counter-productive in terms of aggravating or even humiliating people, yet nobody has found a better answer to suicide bombers than good intelligence and checkpoints. Baghdad is patrolled entirely by Iraqis now, but there are still checkpoints with people waiting at them, and young policemen checking even the ambulances — because the terrorists have a track record of using ambulances as car bombs.
    “I do not deny bad behavior on either side though I tend to think that Israel, as the stronger party, probably really should be taking more steps of some sort.”
    They won’t be the stronger party for long if they take your advice. No democratic government can willfully let hundreds or thousands of its own citizens get killed and be seen to do nothing, and remain in place. That is what you are demanding.
    I perceive in you the strange self-censorship of the Left, whereby Hamas’ objectives, statements, and actions, however clear, can never come into focus or be the subject of judgment. “Bad behavior on both sides” is the skittish closest you can come, as if suicide-bombing restaurants and attempting to stop restaurants from being suicide-bombed was the same sort of behavior. You literally cannot tell the arsonist from the fireman.
    I have not come to my positions because of partisanship, but because of my understanding of the facts on the ground. Get me to understand a different set of facts, and you will see my positions change. I think we both want to see Israel survive and prosper; but I reject your ideas because I think that not only will they not work, they will get a lot of innocent people killed.

    Reply

  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “POA, you’re powers of discernment are amazing!!”
    I know. Thats why I have always maintained that you are an unmittigated jackass.

    Reply

  8. questions says:

    I’ve read a wide variety of first and second hand accounts of “waiting at checkpoints” — the most memorable for me are first a pregnant woman with one or two other kids waiting at a checkpoint, standing in deep water, having to hold up her kid or kids above the water, and a few people needing to get to a hospital and dying at checkpoints.
    The fact is, you put teenagers with military training in charge of people of lower status, and you know exactly what you’ll get. And when you set up border crossings and walls so that people are separated from their farms, kids are separated from their schools, and so on, you know what kind of a mess you’ll get.
    I do not excuse Israel any more than I excuse anyone else. I find the whole situation deeply deeply unfortunate. I think everyone’s thinking has been twisted by the intractable nature of the conflict, and I am convinced that people need a new way to think. I do not deny bad behavior on either side though I tend to think that Israel, as the stronger party, probably really should be taking more steps of some sort.
    I don’t know what’s possible. I do know what’s humane, though. I hope the two come together, and I hope that a whole generation of kids isn’t stunted in body, soul, and imagination.
    Despite the accusations of my being an Israeli spy or whatever, the fact is that I’m not as much of a partisan as you seem to be. I think Israel’s hard line stance is more destructive of Israel than you realize. What you have to become to maintain the fantasy of safety isn’t really “safe.” To avoid the “monster” you become a monster and you haven’t avoided anything. You’ve merely become your own nightmare.
    I think the US faces this same dilemma over our response to the 9/11 attacks. We’ve become a monster. And over our history of racism. We’ve become a monster. So Israel certainly doesn’t have a lock on the position.

    Reply

  9. nadine says:

    “The fear of BIG GOVERNMENT seems often to trump the fear of insurance companies, so people choose one set of interests (smaller government) over another set (a functioning health insurance system)”
    There is also the question of preferring the devil you know. The insurance companies exist, and about 80% of the American people are happy with the coverage they are getting from them. The big government alternative does not exist, and pointing out that its creation is likely make private options go away will trigger those loss avoidance mechanisms you speak of. This has always been one of the key forces preventing a major overhaul of the system.

    “The US public is quite able to shift views over time, and my guess is that the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians will start bothering people pretty deeply. It just is unacceptable, even in the face of existential threats (which may or may not be exaggerated.)”
    What’s unacceptable, questions? Closing the border and making people wait at a checkpoint is unacceptable in the face of an existential threat? One should prefer risking mass murder? Do you really mean this? Would you really apply such a standard to yourself and your family?
    What I want (and am not getting from our pathetic media) is simply fair reports of what both sides are saying, and not just in English to the New York Times, but in Hebrew and Arabic to their own people. The standing habit is to ignore the many, many Palestinian statements and actions that would make a rational man doubt their peaceful intentions, which has the effect of casting the Israelis as the bad guys when they are only reacting to the Palestinian leadership. This is the same “airbrush” technique that Chomsky uses in his histories of the Cold War – just airbrush the USSR out of the picture, and the US is plainly seen to be a very nasty piece of work.
    For example, if it’s only Israel that is “racist and militaristic”, why is it a standing assumption of the negotiations – accepted by both sides – that after the State of Palestine is created, a million Arabs can continue to be citizens of Israel but Palestine must be rendered totally Jew-free? What does this say about the relative “racism” of the sides?

    Reply

  10. questions says:

    Nadine,
    Not quite, in my sense of things. There is a very popular movement in economics right now, behavioral economics, that looks at ways we mess up on decision-making — in fairly patterned ways it turns out. We tend to prefer current pleasure over longterm planning, so we “discount” future benefits for current things.
    We dislike loss way more than we enjoy gain. So, yes we know we should save, but we hate feeling the pay cut, and yes we know we should save, but we hate doing the paperwork to set up a retirement account, and yes we know we should have health insurance for future disasters, but we feel so good right now that it seems positively criminal to pay so much money for something that doesn’t even get used.
    These kinds of barriers can easily make us prefer our own situation on one level, even though at some other level we know better. The goal of policy is to make it a little easier for us to do what’s clearly right — save a reasonable amount, have reasonable health insurance, and still enjoy life.
    I would also guess that many people don’t realize how tenuous their grasp on insurance is. People often feel reasonably well-insured until they make a claim and suddenly, the boss tries to fire them under pressure from the insurance company, or the insurance company looks for a way to drop the policy.
    The fear of BIG GOVERNMENT seems often to trump the fear of insurance companies, so people choose one set of interests (smaller government) over another set (a functioning health insurance system). The more the insurance system fails, the more people’s fear of insurance will outstrip the fear of the government. We are somewhere in the middle of this process, and the national rhetoric is shifting.
    And people really deeply misunderstand how insurance works, how the companies put together lists of providers — there’s no CHOICE, how pharmacy benefit companies put together formularies, how policies are designed with weasel room for denial of service, how the compensation system has so many conflicts — one I just learned is that if company A has a nice prevention program, and then you drop insurance A and switch to B, company A doesn’t get any “benefit” from having prevented your disease. Why would A invest in prevention? The incentive isn’t there. The benefit goes to company B, instead. Incentives we don’t tend to pay attention to matter deeply to insurance companies. Maybe we should have mandatory actuarial training!
    The US public is quite able to shift views over time, and my guess is that the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians will start bothering people pretty deeply. It just is unacceptable, even in the face of existential threats (which may or may not be exaggerated.)
    I am far less partisan than you, Nadine, despite have a fairly large number of relatives scattered across Israel. I would like to see, far more than a shift in the US, a shift in Israel from the clear outbreaks of racism and militarism to something more resembling an abstract game theoretic understanding. It’s probably easier to shift people’s focus when they don’t feel visceral hatred. Absent hatred, interests can be negotiated.
    (Except, of course, POA and arthurdecco, and maybe … as well are all pretty convinced that I work for the government of Israel. So, Nadine, are you one of my cousins?!!!!!)

    Reply

  11. arthurdecco says:

    “and the Israelis don’t want to risk bad PR by accidentally returning fire onto a UN position, so the logic of the situation is inescapable.” nadine
    You mean like they did in Lebanon in 2006 when they purposely bombed the clearly-marked, been-there-for-years UN compound, murdering the 4 UN observers including a Canadian? You mean they don’t want to risk bad PR like that, nadine?
    You’re right nadine – the logic of the situation IS inescapable. You’re a lying blackguard.
    (Look it up.)

    Reply

  12. nadine says:

    “Now you can argue that a policy is really in no one’s interests (as is being done with health care right now), but “real interests” matter less than “felt” interests. People FEEL that their own health care is fine, even if that of their neighbors is not. And people FEEL that Israel is a worthy ally. When these feelings stop, the policy will change. If Israel helps in some amazing way in Iran — say, brokering the ouster of Ahmadinejad or something, Israel will rise in the esteem of the US public. If Israel gets tied to more explosions, likely it will fall in the esteem of the US public.”
    questions, I can agree with this. Except wouldn’t people’s opinions of their own health care qualify as a “real” interest? After all, if it’s their own, they know what it is. For other people they don’t know what it is, so they just “feel”, which as you use it seems to mean “their emotional reaction to a subject which they don’t know that much about, so can be easily swayed”
    AIPAC is one lobby among many. It knows how to tap sympathies among the American public, like the Saudi lobby knows how to tap sympathies in the State Department.
    “The Jews control the world” is a long-standing anti-Semitic trope and I’m hearing much too much of it here and on other places predominantly on the left, usually couched in attacks on AIPAC (cf. Walt and Mearshimer). You want to be careful of going off into these fever swamps like Al Jazeera does
    http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2009/07/jaziras-cartoons-glimpse-at-real.html
    If the American people stops supporting Israel, Congress will follow.

    Reply

  13. nadine says:

    “is a direct response to the fact that the Israelis and Palestinians are completely UNABLE OR UNWILLING to “get along”. Thus Dan suggests that rational players from the outside should force them to agree to a solution.”
    Paul, name one conflict in history that was ended when the parties didn’t want it to end, short of military occupation of both sides and martial law. Please, an example.
    Nobody else has a dog in the fight enough to pay with lives of their soldiers for it. Not even the Arab regimes who make such propaganda out of it. They will fight to the last Palestinian, they are not throwing away their own armies.
    That is why the functional effect of UN peacekeepers is to act as human shields for Hamas and Hizbullah. The peacekeepers don’t want to risk their lives by confronting the terrorists when they fire from next door, and the Israelis don’t want to risk bad PR by accidentally returning fire onto a UN position, so the logic of the situation is inescapable.
    The Israelis want peace, but they want to survive too. What they say – from left to right – is that their serious attempts to negotiate have been met with a receding horizon. Israelis concessions were never greeted with Palestinian concessions, but with new Palestinian demands. This drove Israelis, even doves like Shlomo ben Ami, Barak’s FM, to the conclusion that any deal that left Israel standing at the end of the day was unacceptable to the Palestinians. So it should be no surprise that there is no deal.
    Certainly the Palestinian are in no hurry. When you examine the billions in aid flowing to them – both the humanitarian aid that flows ‘above the table’ and the military aid that flows ‘under the table’, they are being paid very well indeed to stay just where they are.

    Reply

  14. questions says:

    Sand,
    Thanks.

    Reply

  15. Sand says:

    Questions — you are going off into your little world again. Spelling was never one of my strong points and brevity is definitely not yours.
    All I need to do is read the first sentence of your posts and there you go off again in some wild and irrelevant analogy.
    It doesn’t work anymore Questions. You can waffle on all you like, but really its got to the point that no one here believes a word you say.

    Reply

  16. questions says:

    Oh, and arthurdecco,
    No.

    Reply

  17. questions says:

    There’s nothing untypical in the Luntz “playbook” — it’s standard rhetoric packaging a policy. Insurance companies found some PR group to invent Harry and Louise, and because Harry and Louise “spoke” to the situations of some voters, spoke to the situations of some industry people, spoke to the interests of portions of the economy, wasn’t fought deeply and smartly by the left, H and L were effective.
    The playbook could have been commissioned by AIPAC or by some MC or by the Israeli government for all I care. It’s just a typical move by any interest to figure out how to package itself for maximum impact. Every movie, product, event, country and so on uses language this way. Ever catch you kid doing something wrong only to find out that the kid has a winning way of explaining the deed, and so you smile instead of losing it completely? The kid knows. We all know. Nothing nefarious about it. But it’s a good idea to think through EVERYone’s rhetoric, mine and POA’s, too.
    People have anxiety about health care, uncertainties about change, especially when they think they might be on the losing end. Policy moves glacially and we’re either at the breaking point on health care or fairly close. It’s what’s called an open “policy window” when all the stars line up.
    It’s likely that Israeli policy will end up at this point eventually, where citizen activists become engaged in the issue, where enough interests for doing something different line up, where an instigator or two help out, and an event or two help out as well. At that point, US policy will shift.
    “Power” is such an iffy term here, and it might be nice for someone to define it clearly enough that it makes sense. AIPAC wants a particular set of defense and finance policies, BUT SO DO OTHER GROUPS. AIPAC couldn’t do this on its own, no group can. The interests have to align across a broad spectrum of the public and the government, or it doesn’t happen.
    For you Kantians out there, remember that in the Groundwork, Kant distinguishes amongst acts against duty, those in accordance with duty with either mediate or immediate inclinations, and those that accord with duty but with no inclinations at all? Kant notes that it’s only in the last case, when duty itself is isolated from inclination that we can see moral content in actions.
    In the same way, it’s only when a policy is isolated from all other causes that we can say for sure that AIPAC caused it. Everyone else has to be against it except for AIPAC and it has to happen anyway. That’s when AIPAC “content” can be discerned.
    Now you can argue that a policy is really in no one’s interests (as is being done with health care right now), but “real interests” matter less than “felt” interests. People FEEL that their own health care is fine, even if that of their neighbors is not. And people FEEL that Israel is a worthy ally. When these feelings stop, the policy will change. If Israel helps in some amazing way in Iran — say, brokering the ouster of Ahmadinejad or something, Israel will rise in the esteem of the US public. If Israel gets tied to more explosions, likely it will fall in the esteem of the US public.
    As long as there’s still popularity, you cannot legitimately separate US policy from the will of the voters. If Israel falls to 0 or whatever, believe me, the policy will change. AIPAC doesn’t drive this.
    And as for “no significant power”, once again, provide a working definition of power and show that what AIPAC enacts is “power,” rather than some other relation to events.

    Reply

  18. arthurdecco says:

    Re: WigWag, Jul 09 2009, 6:00PM…. Well, well, well…so this is what happens when I (correctly) out you as a blood-drenched sociopath and ardent apologist for Zionism, Wig Wag. You switch from lying about whatever is in your crosshairs this minute to lying about me and those I referred to months ago whose research has led them into avenues of scholarship you are unable or unwilling to explore for yourself?
    It might be time to adjust your medication, poor, poor, incurable you. If only to protect the rest of us from the worst effects of your hostile delusions.
    Once you get your meds sorted out, you might want to read Professor MacDonald’s thoughts unedited by the fifth columnists lurking inside ostensibly progressive groups like the ridiculously named Southern Poverty Law Center. Here’s a link to his blog: http://www.kevinmacdonald.net/Blog.htm
    You can even read what he has to say about the witch hunt perpetrated by the vicious, lying smear-artists behind the SPLC right there. (3rd article down)
    And just for the record, I don’t necessarily agree with all the positions Professor MacDonald takes. I don’t agree with everything my wife thinks either but that doesn’t stop me from thinking of them both as extremely intelligent, sensitive and prescient people.
    It’s only the Borg and other group-think tribes and organizations that demand total agreement on all things from their fellow in-group members. Real people agree to disagree and/or present alternatives backed up by facts to sway the opinions of those they respect but disagree with. It’s only Jerkazoids like you who demand subservience and submission to your horseshit and hate ineptly disguised as reason.
    “If you want an actual exchange of ideas, I am happy to oblige.” Wig Wag
    Yeah, sure thing. This from the creep who called me an anti-Semite for providing links to scholarly papers that supported my opinions instead of forthrightly debating the issues I raised.
    Paul Norheim said: “witnessing a rational and sane person talking to a fanatic bigot AS IF SHE WAS sane and rational. Admirable. Personally, I don`t have the patience.”
    “I don’t have the patience”…
    I believe I said something similar about 200,000 masturbatory words ago, near the top of the thread. As for your “admirable” comment, Paul – what’s with that? It is no such thing. It’s stupid, stupid, stupid. Think of what constructive things could have been accomplished with all that time and effort…
    Oh, and Questions? Do you know how to shut up?

    Reply

  19. Paul Norheim says:

    Questions,
    the readers of TWN know that you have claimed that AIPAC has
    no significant power in US policy and never had so. Fine. I`ll not
    speculate on your motives, but I have to say that quoting
    statements out of context and interpreting them ad libitum in
    ways that comfortably fit your opinions do not enhance your
    reputation as an “interpreter” of texts.

    Reply

  20. Sand says:

    “Luntz playbook” — yeah ok, Luntz is the guy who wrote it, but I’m more interested in who ‘commissioned’ it, who is ‘behind’ and ‘approved’ this type of bs.
    Luntz being one of many players.

    Reply

  21. questions says:

    And to the other point about the FDL piece, it just doesn’t make much sense to me that a vast conspiratorial group such at THELOBBY could so suddenly lose its power and be so desperate and stupid and idiotic and insane… that they would hire a loser to churn out fairly nonsensical rhetorical crap designed to bamboozle the masses.
    To my mind, it is the more Occamesque reading to suggest, as is my wont, that the power and special discernment and cleverness have been exaggerated over time.
    Indeed, the primary mode of operation for all interest groups is to exaggerate claims wildly. Without exaggeration, you don’t get members, motivated actors, press time, time with top staffers. They ALL exaggerate their prowess, they ALL exaggerate the threats they are battling, they ALL exaggerate the differences they make in the world. That’s the pot of gold.
    Why some choose to believe the exaggerations is beyond me. THELOBBY exaggerates its own power, MC’s exaggerate the influence of THELOBBY on their decision-making (otherwise the money would dry up), and clearly posters here have bought into the exaggerations.
    So now the exaggerations become clear and instead of saying, wow, I guess it was always lesser, the narrative arc here is SUDDENLY people are seeing clearly, SUDDENLY revelation has happened, SUDDENLY THELOBBY’S power is evaporating. Just like that! Must be something in the water.
    Or maybe there’s a different narrative arc to follow — the one about how all lobbies exaggerate. It’s a little more standard, fits the scholarship better, is more generalizable.
    Sincerely,
    HASBARA SPECIAL TEAMS
    DISPATCHED WHENEVER THINGS GET DIFFICULT
    STREAMS OF ELECTRONS SENT IN THE NICK OF TIME

    Reply

  22. questions says:

    Outed Again!!!!!!!
    POA, you’re powers of discernment are amazing!!
    Because clearly I cannot be a member of the general public (whatever that is), so I must be a hasbarite. A highly trained, specially schooled, well studied hasbara machine!
    Yep. I follow the Luntz playbook, in fact I WROTE the Luntz playbook. There is no “Luntz” for I am “Luntz.”
    When you insist on points like this, POA, I gotta wonder if you’re actually the hasbarite. Why? You may ask. Well, because by being so ridiculous in your accusations, you call into question the whole hasbarite movement, thereby making it safer for the global hasbarite movement. And clearly, since THE LOBBY is so clever and scheming they could come up with something oh so logical.
    It makes me wonder, indeed.

    Reply

  23. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The Luntz piece is not inconsistent with my longstanding arguments in regards to the obscene power that the Israeli lobbies enjoy in Washington. What IS pointed out in the article I cited is the pure propaganda that is the main body of the Lobby’s narrative, which I have always maintained is the case. The article underscores the fictional and misleading nature of the Israeli propaganda, and questions tries to convert that expose’ into proof of the lobby’s alleged impotence. Once again, questions shows this blog that his strategy of obsfucation and diversion is alive and well, and there is no evidence or argument that he can’t misrepresent or inject straw into.
    Above, we even see questions defending the blatant lies of Nadine by attempting to interject a “point” to one of her lies, as if her deception is an acceptable avenue of debate, as long as the deception arrives at a premise for debate. In effect, questions tries to hide blatant deception behind an assertion of constructive discourse.
    The piece I cited above is just one more indication of the abhorent avenues of deception that AIPAC and its ilk use to try to maintain their grip on Washington DC and the public’s carefully nurtured sympathy for Israel. The fact that these foreign agencies would employ the assistance of some scumball like Luntz to carry their water really underscores the depth of their desperation as they see their influence being threatened by the public’s widening access to information.
    BTW, the more I see of question’s posting, the more I am convinced that he is an active participant in the Hasbara efforts. He is simply too smooth, and too oily, to be commenting from the ranks of the general public. Anyone being so consistently disingenuous and on-script cannot be read without serious contemplation as to motive and incentive.

    Reply

  24. Paul Norheim says:

    “So I’m not convinced that stepping back two sentences really
    knocks down what I’m saying.”
    Stepping back two sentences clarifies what Silverstein actually
    said – which provides no reason whatsoever for POA to attack
    him, because Silverstein referred to the substance of the
    arguments.
    “To the extent that there is/has been influence, the influence is
    more related to the claims of power than to any actual power.”
    This has always been your claim, not Silversteins` in the actual
    article. Silverstein is surprised (or rather shocked) by the lack of
    substance, and refers to a certain “desperation” (related to
    arguments, or power?), but does not conclude that AIPAC is
    powerless. If you read his article, you would see that he
    concentrates on the apparent lack of substance behind the
    propaganda, not on the question whether the lobby is powerful
    or not.
    You have always argued that it`s a myth that AIPAC is & was
    powerful. Carroll claims that AIPAC certainly was extremely
    powerful before, but that there are signs suggesting that their
    power is diminishing right now. POA`s position is, as far as I
    know, that AIPAC was & still is powerful.
    Regardless of who`s right here, POA has of course no problem
    distinguishing between your and Carroll`s position, nor
    between your and Silverstein`s position, for that matter. Don`t
    expect him to let the invectives rain over Carroll or Silverstein
    on this issue 🙂

    Reply

  25. questions says:

    Paul,
    Except that part of the point of the piece is how pathetic a choice Luntz is. There’s just no “there” there. To the extent that there is/has been influence, the influence is more related to the claims of power than to any actual power. There’s no great judgment, no brilliance, no real cleverness. What there is is a strategy of claiming credit for victory in such a way that the claim bolsters an illusion. But illusion it has always been, a convenient illusion for other people’s agendas.
    So I’m not convinced that stepping back two sentences really knocks down what I’m saying. Even as the author notes the power of THE LOBBY, the author does it in a context of noting the pathetic choices of late. I simply push further and suggest that the pathetic nature was there long before and there was a lot more coattail riding than leading. But I’ve said all of this before.
    And, let’s face it, if I had made an argument like this one (which Carroll has done and POA rejected), POA would have been after me as usual. He doesn’t attack Carroll, merely disagrees (they had a brief interchange about this in which Carroll expressed utter glee at the death of THE LOBBY, and POA said something along the lines of, I wish, but I doubt.)
    But he reads it in an “official” place, FDL, and it now has a stamp of official approval on it. The messenger is the message. And I’d guess eventually someone will write up a more official statement that suggests that THE LOBBY has done somewhat less than it’s been accused of, most likely because no entity can do everything THE LOBBY has been accused of.

    Reply

  26. WigWag says:

    Meanwhile, with the cooperation of Egypt, additional Israeli Navy warships cross the Suez Canal. The story is being reported by the Jerusalem Post, Haaretz and the Arab press.
    This continues to be a remarkable development; it’s obvious what message Israel is trying to convey to Iran. What message is Egypt trying to convey to Iran?
    A military alliance between Israel and Egypt; displayed in the light of day for all to see. Interesting isn’t it?
    It does tend to lend credence to jdledell’s point upthread that a once bitter enemy can become an allies in the right circumstances.
    Or maybe it’s just the old adage being proven true once again; “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
    With the recent statement of the G-8 and now this, it’s pretty clear that there is a concerted effort to turn up the heat on Iran.
    While several sources are suggesting Obama’s trip to Russia was a failure on almost every level and while Russia is still refusing to allow the imposition of severe sanctions, the rest of the world seems to have decided that the time has come to make a point.
    Does the Iranian regime have any actual allies left? Well, there’s Russian and China who won’t allow any resolution that harms their commercial interests in Iran (ironic that the two former communist nations are the biggest capitalists of all). And while Iran can always count on getting “high fives” from Hamas and Hezbollah; it looks like the Iranian regime is more isolated than ever.
    Here’s a little bit of the article from the Jerusalem Post for those who might be interested.
    Jul 14, 2009 15:25 | Updated Jul 14, 2009 16:03
    ‘IDF warships cross Suez Canal from Mediterranean to Red Sea’
    By YAAKOV KATZ AND JPOST.COM STAFF
    Two Sa’ar-5 class Navy ships reportedly crossed through the Suez Canal from Mediterranean to the Red Sea Tuesday, to beef up Israel’s naval presence in the Red Sea.
    The passage of the ships comes several weeks after a Dolphin-class Navy submarine passed through the waterway for the first time.
    One of the ships, the Hanit, already crossed the canal both ways in June, in what an Egyptian source said was the first case of a large Israeli warship using the strategic waterway, AFP reported.
    The other ship to cross on Tuesday, the Eilat, was named after a destroyer sunk by Egypt with the loss of 47 lives shortly after the 1967 Six-Day War.
    It is thought that Israeli navy vessels did not previously use the canal for intelligence reasons, as they might be equipped with nuclear warheads that could be visible to the Egyptian authorities.
    The report Tuesday was based on Arab media outlets and was not confirmed by the military.
    The Dolphin submarine’s crossing several weeks ago, escorted by Egyptian navy vessels as first reported by The Jerusalem Post, was intended as a message to arch-foe Iran.
    Previously, Israeli submarines took weeks to round the whole of Africa to get to the Red Sea.
    Israel suspects Iran of trying to build atomic weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear program, a charge Teheran has vehemently denied.
    The Jewish state sees the Islamic republic as its top enemy following repeated assertions by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Israel is doomed to be “wiped off the map.”

    Reply

  27. Paul Norheim says:

    A quote from Luntz:
    “Remind people – again and again – that Israel wants peace.
    Reason One: If Americans see no hope for peace—if they only see
    a continuation of a 2,000-year-long episode of “Family Feud”—
    Americans will not want their government to spend tax dollars or
    their President’s clout on helping Israel.”

    Reply

  28. Paul Norheim says:

    Questions,
    if you`d included the sentences just before the two you quoted, it
    would`ve been obvious from the context that Richard Silverstein
    didn`t refer to the lobby`s INFLUENCE, but to the unsubstantial
    ARGUMENTS of the lobby as a “house of cards”:
    “It goes without saying that the arguments offered are not only
    devoid of truth, they’re devoid of rigor or credibility. There is
    literally no substance to the claims offered on Israel’s behalf. It’s
    an empty exercise in every sense of the word. Reading this makes
    you realize that the entire Israel lobby edifice is a house of
    cards.”

    Reply

  29. questions says:

    POA quotes FDL,
    “It’s an empty exercise in every sense of the word. Reading this makes you realize that the entire Israel lobby edifice is a house of cards.”
    Have I not been saying this for a while here? How come you’re not screaming “LOBBY IS TOO” at FDL’s insistence that “The Lobby” IS NOT??? You’ve been screaming it at me for months, now.
    Admittedly I didn’t have access to Luntz’s magnum opus, but some things are just obvious on the face, and the fact is that the claims of LOBBY omnipotence have always been absurd. I believe the image I have used repeatedly is, “pufferfish.”

    Reply

  30. Paul Norheim says:

    Nadine,
    You may of course disagree with Dan Kervick, but if you´ve
    read any of his posts related to this issue, and understood
    anything of the content, you would have seen that his
    proposals, while building on Clinton etc, is a direct response to
    the fact that the Israelis and Palestinians are completely UNABLE
    OR UNWILLING to “get along”. Thus Dan suggests that rational
    players from the outside should force them to agree to a
    solution.
    That`s actually the main premise behind his suggestions.
    Whether it would work or not, is a different issue. But you have
    to understand the premises.
    But I`m sure you would claim that Israel has been ready for
    peace for decades, while the Palestinians just want to
    exterminate the Israelis. Arabs are Arabs, aren`t they?
    That`s the blind spot from where your irrationality unfolds.

    Reply

  31. nadine says:

    …, nothing easier that to sound reasonable if you base your arguments on a five-year-old’s utopia where everybody can get along, concessions are met with increased goodwill, and earnest peacemaking efforts result in peace. That sounds very reasonable! Dan Kervick’s arguments are all along this line.
    Unfortunately, it is entirely disconnected from the harsh reality of the Middle East, as shown by the actual track record of such efforts. Withdrawing from Gaza did not bring goodwill but rockets. Withdrawing from the West Bank under current circumstances will bring more of the same, which is why nobody in Israel wants to do it now, not even the Left. Believing otherwise without any evidence is a true triumph of hope over experience, which is going to get a lot of people killed.

    Reply

  32. nadine says:

    “Americans and Europeans care about the fate of Palestinians (to the extent that they do) largely for sentimental and humanistic reasons. Frankly in part, these are the same reasons they care about Israel.”
    Some do. Most care because it is so politically useful/fun/guilt-shedding (fill in your adj.) to hate the Israelis. The idea that the Palestinians per se are the object of interest can be easily dispensed with if you just notice that when Arabs kill each other, there is no story. None. I mean, the death toll has to be in the thousands to rate a mention.
    How much coverage did the Algerian war between the government and the Islamists get? It went on for most of the 1990s and killed 100,000. It didn’t get 1% of the ink of the Israeli/Palestinian coverage. How much coverage was there a year or two ago when an Al Qaeda splinter group took over the Nahr al Fahm refugee camp near Tripoli in Lebanon, and the Lebanese army cleared them out with heavy artillery? There were 40,000 civilians in that camp when it started, there had to be heavy casualties. Yet nobody was interested enough to even try to find out the numbers.
    If anybody doubts this, let them cite a big story that was Arab-on-Arab violence without Western actors nearby. Of course, part of the reason is that reporters can report safely from Jerusalem, whatever they report, and that’s not true in quite the same way anywhere else in the Mideast.
    Otherwise we might see some more serious reporting on the plight of the Egyptian Copts, for example. Those people are suffering but I don’t notice much care for their plight. May I remind those of the but-we-give-Israel-money school that we give Egypt $2 billion every year?

    Reply

  33. nadine says:

    “Americans and Europeans care about the fate of Palestinians (to the extent that they do) largely for sentimental and humanistic reasons. Frankly in part, these are the same reasons they care about Israel.”
    Some do. Most care because it is so politically useful/fun/guilt-shedding (fill in your adj.) to hate the Israelis. The idea that the Palestinians per se are the object of interest can be easily dispensed with if you just notice that when Arabs kill each other, there is no story. None. I mean, the death toll has to be in the thousands to rate a mention.
    How much coverage did the Algerian war between the government and the Islamists get? It went on for most of the 1990s and killed 100,000. It didn’t get 1% of the ink of the Israeli/Palestinian coverage. How much coverage was there a year or two ago when an Al Qaeda splinter group took over the Nahr al Fahm refugee camp near Tripoli in Lebanon, and the Lebanese army cleared them out with heavy artillery? There were 40,000 civilians in that camp when it started, there had to be heavy casualties. Yet nobody was interested enough to even try to find out the numbers.
    If anybody doubts this, let them cite a big story that was Arab-on-Arab violence without Western actors nearby. Of course, part of the reason is that reporters can report safely from Jerusalem, whatever they report, and that’s not true in quite the same way anywhere else in the Mideast.
    Otherwise we might see some more serious reporting on the plight of the Egyptian Copts, for example. Those people are suffering but I don’t notice much care for their plight. May I remind those of the but-we-give-Israel-money school that we give Egypt $2 billion every year?

    Reply

  34. ... says:

    paul, i like your last 2 posts here.. i always enjoy dan kervicks posts for the patience he is able to maintain on these threads with those with a very different perspective then his… wigwag is pretty good on this level as well, but falls down due his deep attachment which results in a loss of perspective where he is most attached…

    Reply

  35. Paul Norheim says:

    I notice that Dan Kervick engages in arguments with Nadine. He
    doesn´t address her bigotry directly, but indirectly, by his
    rational arguments and the clarity of his prose. This certainly
    creates a slightly absurd effect: witnessing a rational and sane
    person talking to a fanatic bigot AS IF SHE WAS sane and rational.
    Admirable. Personally, I don`t have the patience.

    Reply

  36. Paul Norheim says:

    Nadine,
    I normally try to avoid talking to (not to mention engaging “the
    argument on the facts” with) people who produce nonstop
    propaganda against populations on a general level.
    “Look, all the Arabs have huge problems with the existence of
    the modern world.(…) Until they unwrap their heads from
    conspiracy theories and deal with their current situation, (…)
    they are going to remain mired in poverty, corruption and
    violence.” (Nadine)
    “All the Arabs…” “The Palestinians…” On and on like this, in
    comment after comment, signed Nadine. Nothing but an ugly
    mirror of those who demonize “The Jews”.
    Why should I make an effort arguing against such absurdities?
    Or – on the other hand: why argue against fanatic anti-semites?
    In my experience, grownups with such convictions don`t
    change opinions or mentality, whatever you say to them; thus I
    simply try to avoid them.
    If I were a teacher in an elementary school, I would certainly be
    more patient, because it would really make sense trying to show
    the kids that such generalizations are morally and intellectually
    wrong.
    But not on a foreign policy blog.

    Reply

  37. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The Israel Project’s Secret Hasbara Handbook Exposed
    By: Richard Silverstein
    Imagine for a moment you’re a general about to embark on a decisive military campaign and your intelligence service secures a copy of your opponent’s entire campaign strategy. You open it and you see his battle plans laid out before you, key forces, weaponry, lines of attack, points of weaknesses, etc. You suddenly understand just how weak his forces are and precisely how to mercilessly attack and eviscerate him. The plan makes you understand that his forces are largely based on artifice and sham. It gives you confidence that you are entirely on the right course and tells you how to stay on that course. Victory is assured, your enemy’s defeat certain.
    Douglas Bloomfield and Newsweek have done pretty close to that against the Israel lobby. Specifically, they’ve exposed a secret hasbara handbook written for The Israel Project by star Republican marketer, Frank Luntz.
    The oddly-named Global Language Dictionary (pdf)…
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/206021
    …. is a veritable goldmine of arguments, strategy, tactics. At 116 pages, it’s not for the faint of heart. But anyone who wants to get inside the head of the Israel lobby must read this document. I know my enthusiasm will mark me as a real I-P wonk, but this is the real deal and worth spending some time parsing and deconstructing.
    The first thing to say is that the entire document is a pathetic piece of propaganda. While it ostensibly is addressed to TIP’s leaders and advises them how to shape a pro-Israel message when they lobby Congress, the media and other critical power brokers, the entire thing reeks of desperation and a lost cause.
    It goes without saying that the arguments offered are not only devoid of truth, they’re devoid of rigor or credibility. There is literally no substance to the claims offered on Israel’s behalf. It’s an empty exercise in every sense of the word. Reading this makes you realize that the entire Israel lobby edifice is a house of cards.
    continues…
    http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/6256

    Reply

  38. M022u2@earthlink.net says:

    I note that the “Americans for Peace Now” website has suddenly had a facelift, far more content, news, with daily newsletters and avenues for activism. I encourage everyone to check them out, and if inclined, give them some support….
    http://www.peacenow.org/

    Reply

  39. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Paul Norheim, I was interested to see if anybody here could engage the argument on the facts instead of just name-calling. Precious few so far”
    What the hell do you know about “facts”?
    Tell us again how no kids in Gaza are hungry, you lying propaganda spewing jackass.

    Reply

  40. WigWag says:

    To jdledell:
    You state any nation who wants to drop a nuclear weapon on Israel can be deterred by Israel’s second strike capability. I assume you believe this is true of Iran also. Given that Iran and Gaza are run by religious fanatics why the difference in deterability.”
    That’s right. I think if Iran ever does develop a nuclear weapon that it can be deterred from attacking Israel with it by Israel’s second strike capability. I do not think Iran’s Mullahs are suicidal nor do I think that despite their brutality and obvious disdain for ordinary Iranians that they want to see the Iranian nation obliterated.
    It is a far cry however to compare nuclear deterrence with conventional deterrence. It goes without saying that neither Israel’s nuclear arsenal nor its robust military capabilities has deterred Iran from supplying money and weapons to Hamas or Hezbollah and Israel’s conventional superiority did not deter suicide attacks by Hamas (which stopped only because of the separation fence and targeted killing of Hamas leaders) nor did it deter Hamas from shooting rockets into Israel.
    I would be far more convinced that Israel could safely entertain a two state solution if Iran’s ability to send rockets and other dangerous weapons to Hamas was eliminated.
    “You avoided my point about Begin and Sadat becoming peacemakers.”
    Begin (Irgun) and Shamir (Stern Gang) were both violent young men, but neither of them had religion as a primary motivation. They were both primarily secular. Just like Sadat who grew up in the shadow of Nasser’s secular Arab nationalism movement.
    My point is that it is comparing apples and oranges to equate religious extremists with secular extremists. Secular extremists are far more likely to change as they get older.
    Religious extremists are more dangerous and less likely to change. They also have far less self-doubt; having the deity on their side and all.
    Haniyeh and Mashaal are certainly no Begin or Sadat. As for Barghouti, I will reserve judgement.

    Reply

  41. nadine says:

    “Nadine – If Israel gives up the West bank, maybe Hamas takes over and maybe they don’t. Maybe Fatah signs the peace agreement and earns the approval of the West Bank Palestinians and thus builds strong governing power there. But maybe not.”
    Fatah? Build a strong governing power? Where have they done that anywhere? The build a corrupt patronage / terrorist apparatus. Just because there are no guarantees doesn’t mean you can’t make educated guesses of future behavior based on past performance and current ideology.
    “See I am old enough and was involved with Israel when the great boogyman was Egypt…I remember all the wailing and gnashing of teeth in Israel about signing the Peace treaty in 1978 raising EXACTLY the same arguments you state. If Begin wasn’t the PM, the treaty would never have been approved.”
    Me too. I remember 67 and 73, so it was hardly just rhetoric, was it? But the difference is that Egypt is a state with a return address. The world does not allow them to attack AND claim innocent victimhood at the same time, as they do the “poor” Palestinians. This has had a deterrent effect.
    “Someday, Israel will have to take a risk for peace.”
    What do you mean “someday”? Don’t you think Oslo was BIG risk for peace? How’d that work out? Is the PA peaceful enough for you?
    “It might as well be today when it is strong.”
    Strong? Israel is in a much WEAKER position than it was in 1993. Hamas holds Gaza and shoots rockets; corrupt Fatah holds the West Bank and hardly pretends that they are interested in peace anymore.
    Mahmoud Dahlan said recently in a TV interview that Fatah is against peace, only the fictive Palestinian Authority is “for” peace to talk to the West. Hey, the international community doesn’t care, so why not? The Palestians are setting and waiting for the internation community to give them everything for nothing. They make it plain that they will reward land with war.
    If this result had been forseen, do you think the Oslo Accords would have gotten even one vote in the Knesset?
    “People can change. How do you think Begin and Shamir who were stone cold killers (my grandfather knew both of them well from his Irgun days) yet both became PM’s of Israel. Anwar Sadat, the architect of the 1973 war that killed more Israelis than Hamas could even in their dreams, became a peacemaker.”
    And Sadat was a Nazi, don’t forget that also. The short answer is that people don’t change until what they’ve been doing stops working, as it had for Sadat. What is rewarded gets repeated. Expecting the Palestinians to stop terrorism after you have repeatedly rewarded them for it is just plain nuts.
    “Would you please knock off the genocide comments. Talk to any Israeli General and they will tell you that if all the arab countries got together to make war on Israel they would have zero chance of genocide except to their own populations.”
    You are fool if you think genocidal propaganda doesn’t matter. They lay the groundwork for action. Hitler could not have implemented the Final Solution in 1933, but after 10 years of Nazi propaganda, the Germans willingly helped him.
    As for Hizbullah, it is no longer an Arab force but acts as the Iranian foreign legion. Ahmedinejad has made it quite plain that he can contemplate genocide as good idea. He is also a fervent Twelver who thinks the Mahdi will return soon, and he is racing to get a bomb. Can he be deterred? I don’t know, do you? But you ask the Israelis to play bet-your-life on the answer.

    Reply

  42. jdledell says:

    wigwag – secular nationalists or religious extremeists both can be deterred. My relatives and their fellow fanatics don’t pull a “goldstein” because they know they can’t get away with it. Why do you think the rockets have stopped from Hamas and Hezballah? Not because they suddenly fell in love with Jews but because of military deterrence.
    You state any nation who wants to drop a nuclear weapon on Israel can be deterred by Israel’s second strike capability. I assume you believe this is true of Iran also. Given that Iran and Gaza are run by religious fanatics why the difference in deterability?
    You avoided my point about Begin and Sadat becoming peacemakers. The Deir Yassin massacre is the direct cause of my grandfather leaving Israel for the US and giving up his dream of living in the Jewish homeland he fought for. He could no longer live in the same country as Begin.
    Is Haniyeh or Barghouti another Begin or Sadat? I don’t know and no one else does either.

    Reply

  43. WigWag says:

    jdledell says,
    “See I am old enough and was involved with Israel when the great boogyman was Egypt. The rhetoric and hatred coming out of Egypt in the 1950’s and 60’s puts Hamas to shame. Comparatively speaking Hamas would be the equivilent of the March 14th governing coalition in Lebanon. Yet Egypt has signed and kept a peace with Israel for more than 30 years.”
    The rhetoric and hatred coming out of Egypt in the 1950s was spewed by secular nationalists when Egypt had pretensions of being the UAR (United Arab Republic). The rhetoric and hatred coming out of Hamas is being spewed by religious fanatics who believe that not only should Israel not exist but that Jews shouldn’t exist.
    The idea that Egypt provides a precedent to what might happen with Hamas may sound attractive on the surface, but upon even moderate inspection it falls apart.
    jdledell knows this; all he has to do is speak to his relatives to see what I mean.
    Religious fanatics (of any religion)any secular fanatics are not the same.
    As for genocide, only a nation with a nuclear weapon could commit genocide against the Jews. Sor far no nation that might be inclined to do that has one. Any nation that gets nuclear weapons that might want to exterminate Israelis can likely be deterred with Israel’s own nuclear arsenal.

    Reply

  44. jdledell says:

    Nadine – If Israel gives up the West bank, maybe Hamas takes over and maybe they don’t. Maybe Fatah signs the peace agreement and earns the approval of the West Bank Palestinians and thus builds strong governing power there. But maybe not.
    See I am old enough and was involved with Israel when the great boogyman was Egypt. The rhetoric and hatred coming out of Egypt in the 1950’s and 60’s puts Hamas to shame. Comparatively speaking Hamas would be the equivilent of the March 14th governing coalition in Lebanon. Yet Egypt has signed and kept a peace with Israel for more than 30 years. I remember all the wailing and gnashing of teeth in Israel about signing the Peace treaty in 1978 raising EXACTLY the same arguments you state. If Begin wasn’t the PM, the treaty would never have been approved.
    As I stated to wigwag – there are no guarantees. Someday, Israel will have to take a risk for peace. It might as well be today when it is strong. People can change. How do you think Begin and Shamir who were stone cold killers (my grandfather knew both of them well from his Irgun days) yet both became PM’s of Israel. Anwar Sadat, the architect of the 1973 war that killed more Israelis than Hamas could even in their dreams, became a peacemaker.
    Would you please knock off the genocide comments. Talk to any Israeli General and they will tell you that if all the arab countries got together to make war on Israel they would have zero chance of genocide except to their own populations. Comparitvely speaking they are all much weaker than in 67 and 73. When some TV commentator in Lebanon, Egypt, Syria or Gaza makes a stupid comment about Jews, I take it with the same grain of salt as when I hear west bank rabbis talk about exterminating the vermin.

    Reply

  45. WigWag says:

    Nadine, I agree with you in part and disagree with you in part.
    I have no doubt that Hezbollah, like their patron, Iran would be happy to see Israel destroyed. However, as Lebanese, Israel is not Hezbollah’s prime preoccupation; at least Israel is not its only preoccupation. Finding their way in the morass of Lebanese politics is what Hezbollah is mostly focused on. Hezbollah is also deterable. We know that because they meekly watched their allies in Hamas get pounded in Gaza without lifting a finger to help. They surely wanted to; but the beating they took in 2006 was still too fresh in their memory.
    And whatever Hezbollah thinks or doesn’t think, there is one thing we know; the majority of Lebanese don’t subscribe to Hezbollah’s point of view. When given the choice in a fair election, every segment of Lebanese society except the Shia voted against the Hezbollah led faction. The idea that Nasrallah was the most popular figure in the Arab world was put to the test; it’s a test he flunked miserably.
    The bottom line is that the majority of Lebanese, like the majority of Iranians, rejected political leaders who define resistance to Israel as the most important foreign policy priority of their nation. Like the Iranians, the Lebanese voted for political leaders who want to align with the West in general and the United States in particular.
    Unlike the Lebanese, when the Palestinians were given a choice, they voted for the party of suicide bombers and rocket launchers. It’s pretty clear to me that the situations confronting Israel with Hamas and Hezbollah are quite different.
    Where I agree with you is when you point out that Dan Kervick is wrong about how critical Israeli-Palestinian peace is to the larger Middle East and to peace in the world.
    The idea that peace between Israel and Palestine will cause positive change in the Middle East is a canard. It’s little more than a myth dreamed up by supporters of Palestinian aspirations as a way to induce people to think that this is an issue of strategic importance. Try as they might (and they do try) they are never able to offer compelling evidence that peace between Israel and Palestine will “prevent the train from heading off the cliff.” Peace between Israel and Palestine will have precious little effect on peace and stability in the world which is why the Chinese, Indians and Russians don’t care about it. Americans and Europeans care about the fate of Palestinians (to the extent that they do) largely for sentimental and humanistic reasons. Frankly in part, these are the same reasons they care about Israel.
    It is an interesting question to contemplate whether American and European sentimentality is making the lives of the Palestinians better or worse.
    Regardless of how you feel about that, if peace between Israel and Palestine is ever achieved very little will change outside of Israel and Palestine. Secular and hyper-religious Muslims will still be engaged in their civil war; Economic prosperity in the Muslim world will still be largely absent except in the oil rich states; democracy, the rule of law and protection of minority rights will still be hard to find in any Muslim majority nation. And Palestine will likely join practically all of the other Muslim nations in the world as unstable; undemocratic and internally chaotic.
    Israelis and Palestinians may or may not be happy with any accommodation they reach (or any settlement imposed upon them) but the consequences for the larger world will be almost impossible to find.

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  46. nadine says:

    “By the way; your analogy with Hezbollah goes only so far. From Hezbollah’s perspective Israel occupies a small sliver of land they consider part of Lebanaon (Sheba Farms). From the perspective of Hamas, all of Israel is an abomination that should be destroyed.”
    wigwag, that’s Hizbullah’s view too. Shebaa Farms is merely the excuse they seized on after Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000. Al Manar, Hizbullah’s TV station, openly advocates genocide of the Jews.

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  47. nadine says:

    “I am pretty sure not doing anything, muddling along and hoping for the best is not an option, because that particular train is headed for a cliff, with all of us on it. Given the entangled alliances and vital interests in the Middle East, and the extreme passions generated in many quarters by the conflict, the conflict in Israel and Palestine is an extreme security hazard for the whole world.”
    Dan, you keep saying this but you offer no evidence. For example, when the Gaza conflict blew up last January, who was destabilized by it? Whose security was put in danger (besides the locals)? Was Egypt destabilized? Saudi Arabia? Jordan? Who?
    My argument is that you have the situation exactly backwards. As far as the leadership of the Arab world is concerned, the conflict is a source of STABILITY, not instability.
    Whenever their own people begin demanding reforms, they can be safely pointed to The Great Cause of Palestine and distracted from local conditions. That’s why you never see the Arab leaders lift a finger to try to find a solution. They are happy to have the situation fester, which is why the “muddle along” scenario is what’s actually going to occur. Maybe if it blew up into a full scale war, they would get concerned about refugee flows. But low level conflict is just fine as far as they are concerned. They will happily fight to the last Palestinian.

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  48. Dan Kervick says:

    “What makes you so sure, Dan, that the settlement imposed by the international community won’t preserve Israeli control of the area along the Jordan? In fact, what makes you so sure that the new Palestine will be provided with a border with any other nation other than Israel?”
    I’m not sure, WigWag. Just as I am not sure what other components will be included in the plan Obama and his international partners bring forward. I’m not sure which components will or should be introduced at the outset as basic principles, and which should be left as details to the negotiation rounds. I’m not sure Israelis will accept a plan; I’m not sure Palestinians will accept a plan. I’m not sure Hamas members will not launch rockets at Israel or send suicide bombers to Tel Aviv and Haifa. I’m not sure Avigdor Lieberman won’t be elected prime minister and launch a nuclear weapon at someone. There are countless “what ifs” to be considered, but in the sphere of practical action you can never answer all the “what ifs” before doing something.
    I am pretty sure not doing anything, muddling along and hoping for the best is not an option, because that particular train is headed for a cliff, with all of us on it. Given the entangled alliances and vital interests in the Middle East, and the extreme passions generated in many quarters by the conflict, the conflict in Israel and Palestine is an extreme security hazard for the whole world. And apart from the most dangerous hazards, there is also just the fact that the conflict has been an anchor holding back almost every kind of material and diplomatic progress in the region for decades. Almost nothing important can get done there so long as this tedious conflict drags on.
    I would be happy to contribute to the effort to work on the details that would put more meat on the bones of my procedural sketch and broad allusion to the Clinton parameters. But I’m at work right now, and they don’t pay me to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So unless someone is willing to pay me full time to do this kind of thing, I’ll have to take a break for today. I will have to leave it to the pros in the State Department, UN and various foreign ministries to hammer out the details and settle on a plan which they think has the most optimal combination of long-term workability, international community sustainability and short-term saleability.
    But details aside, my central contentions are that:
    1. The international community must take a firmer and more prescriptive attitude than it has in the past, rather than setting up what is purely a negotiating process, and leaving everything on the table to be negotiated among Israelis and Palestinians.
    2. The prescriptions must include decisions about certain important contours of the final status agreement, not just decisions about negotiating processes and interim confidence-building steps like settlement freezes etc.
    3. Implementing a plan will require a much higher degree of international resolve and coordination than we have seen before, and more tangible prior commitments to carrots and sticks.
    It will be hard to secure US commitments to getting tough with Israel should the necessity arise. Similarly, it will be hard to secure Saudi and Egyptian commitments to getting tough with Palestinians should the need arise. But it will be somewhat easier to secure these commitments if the issues that require getting tough come up for both countries in the context of a solemnized international compact whose *principles* these outside countries have staked their national reputations on; and if this compact is launched in such a way as to inspire global confidence, including in the US, that it will work if we all see it through.

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  49. ... says:

    an extreme focus on safety breeds paranoia… israel is a perfect example, but the usa under bush tried hard to catch up…the byproducts of paranoia are much worse…

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  50. nadine says:

    Paul Norheim, I was interested to see if anybody here could engage the argument on the facts instead of just name-calling. Precious few so far. In my opinion I am describing the Arab leadership according to their actual behavior. If you wish to show any examples that prove me wrong, please feel free.
    Dan K, saying that “Sharon was waiting in the wings” is viewing with 20/20 hindsight. A peace deal signed by Barak and Arafat with the full weight of US prestige and money behind it would have changed the electoral picture considerably. It was Barak’s only hope for victory.
    jdledell, All I am asking for is some real reason to believe that an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank wouldn’t be a repeat of the Gaza experience. You know how small Israel is, where rockets based in Qalqilya and Jenin could reach, yet you blithely proscribe that Israel give up the territory, stop checking people and shipments for explosives, and yield control of the Jordan Valley as well.
    That sounds like a great recipe for a Hamas-controlled West Bank armed with long-range Iranian missiles just like Hizbullah, sending rockets, car bombs and suicide bombers into Israel daily. Sound to me like you are more worried about Palestinian produce than Jewish lives, frankly.
    If you’ve got any real reason to believe that the picture I’m painting would not come true, you haven’t said it. All I’m hearing is that the Palestinians don’t deserve to wait at checkpoints. Well the Israelis don’t deserve to be blown up, which in my book is rather more serious than waiting at a checkpoint.

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  51. Kathleen says:

    Not much MSM coverage of George Galloway and team’s convoy into the Gaza
    http://www.counterpunch.org/galloway06052009.html
    http://aljazeera.com/news/articles/39/Our_convoy_to_Gaza.html

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  52. WigWag says:

    You’re right; no nation is perfectly safe. I’d like Israel to be as safe as the United States or most European nations but I realize that given the neighborhood they’re in; that’s unlkely.
    However there is no reason for Israel to agree to a settlement (or agree to have one imposed) that doesn’t leave them at least as safe or preferably safer than they are now.
    A settlement that leaves Israel less safe is pretty useless to them; isn’t it.
    As for your statement about rockets, rocket technology is improving all the time. It will be at most a few months or a few years before Hamas could aquire rockets with enough range to hit Jerusalem or Tel Aviv if launched from the West Bank. In fact, Haifa will be in range of rockets that Hamas could aquire from Iran quite easily.
    This would leave Israel’s four largest cities in range of rockets and all the IDF’s military prowess would be unable to stop them before hundreds if not thousands of Israelis were killed.
    The reason Hamas can’t accomplsh hitting those cities yet is because Israel controls the West Bank from a militar perspective. Would U.S. or NATO peacekeepers do as good a job?
    By the way; your analogy with Hezbollah goes only so far. From Hezbollah’s perspective Israel occupies a small sliver of land they consider part of Lebanaon (Sheba Farms). From the perspective of Hamas, all of Israel is an abomination that should be destroyed. I have no doubt that their desire to destroy Israel will not abate, that they will use every weapon in their possession to achieve that goal and that a peace deal with the Palestinians that doesn’t account for this is a bad deal for Israel.
    One more thing jdledell, there is something that could be done to enhance the prospects for peace. The rockets could be stopped at their source before they reached Hamas or Hezbollah. In fact, there is only one source for those rockets. If that source were neutered, a peace agreement would be far easier to contemplate.
    Any idea what that source is?

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  53. jdledell says:

    wigwag – Since homemade Katyusha rockets like Hezballah use have a range of about 40 kilometers there is no practical way to draw the borders of Israel that keeps Tel Aviv, much less Ben Gurion airport, completely safe and still leave a viable Palestinian state. If Israel wants complete perfect safety, something no other nation has, no borders are big enough.
    Tell me how is Israel safe from Hezballah rockets? They never will be except through peace and/or military deterence. The same is true of Palestinians.

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  54. WigWag says:

    easy e shared with us the interesting speech of King Abdullah (grandfather of King Hussein and great grandfather and namesake of the current reigning monarch of Jordan) but he neglected to inform us of how King Abdullah died.
    Did he die peacefully in his sleep or brandishing arms as befits the founder of the Hashemite kingdom and a descendent of the Prophet?
    Not exactly.
    On July 20, 1951, while visiting the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, King Abdullah was assassinated by a Palestinian extremist afraid that the old king would make a separate peace with Israel. The gunman fired three fatal bullets into the King’s head and chest. Abdullah’s grandson, Hussein Ibn Talal (King of Jordan from 1953 to 1999) was at his side and grappled with the assailant until he was shot himself. A medal that had been pinned to Hussein’s chest at his grandfather’s insistence deflected the bullet and saved his life. (After the assassination Abudallah was replaced by his grandson not his son because his son was severely mentally ill from schizophrenia)
    King Abdullah was one of three relatively moderate Arab leaders who had been targeted for assassination because of their views. Then, like today, Arab Middle East politics was dominated by extremists willing to kill their own leaders. This assassination was a political act, not the act of a lone madman. It was somewhat reminiscent of the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin by an Israeli extremist infuriated at Rabin’s decision to pursue a peace deal.
    King Abdullah’s assassin was Mustapha Shukri Usho, a Jerusalem tailor, and a member of the “Arab Dynamite Squad” involved in Arab-Jewish fighting. Ten conspirators were accused of plotting the assassination and were brought to trial in Amman. The prosecution named Colonel Abdullah Tell, ex-Military Governor of Jerusalem, and Dr. Musa Abdullah Husseini as the chief plotters of “the most dastardly crime Jordan ever witnessed”. Jerusalem sources added that Col. Tell had been in close contact with the Ex-Mufti of Jerusalem, (who had been an ally of Aldoph Hitler) Haj Amin el Husseini, and his adherents in Arab Palestine.
    20 years later, King Hussein himself had major difficulties with Palestinian extremists culminating in the events surrounding “Black September” where his forces routed and expelled the Palestinians.
    Are the Jordanians anxious to share a border with a new nation of Palestine? Do they fear Israel or Palestine more?
    Isn’t it possible that Hamas reminds King Abdullah, II of the plotters who murdered his grandfather and Palestinian radicals who tried to topple his father?

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  55. WigWag says:

    jdledell says,
    “Wigwag – All of your hypotheticals are certainly possible but so what. How is it any different than today? Hamas can certainly start rocketing again whether or not they have a state. The West Bank can certainly erupt again in Infitada III at any time.”
    I agree with you. I support a two state solution and I would be happy with any territorial compromise the parties can mutually arrive at. I also expect I’d be happy with any territorial compromise the quartet might impose (assuming it can impose anything).
    I don’t give a shit about the settlers and I think the religious settlers are a cancer in Israel who are bound to cause more problems for Israel in the future whether they live in the territories or whether they’re resettled in Israel proper.
    I have no sympathy whatsoever for these religious fanatics and I find their religious views only marginally less repulsive than the religious views espoused by Hamas. I would be happy to see them forcibly removed frome their homes or left to remain as a small minority in a future Palestinian State. Even better, I’d be happy to see them shipped back to Brooklyn where most of them came from in the first place. Make them Mayor Bloomberg’s problem.
    What I am not prepared to accept (not that my opinion is consequential to anyone but me)is a resolution that leaves Israel physically more vulnerable. As you know, Israel’s overwhelming military advantage provides only minimal protection from crude scud-like rockets. From Gaza those rockets can now reach Ber Sheva. From the West Bank they could hit Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. I don’t find that to be an acceptable threat. And I think Israel is entitled to defensible borders. If borders are set in a way that they can be defended I’ll be happy; if they’re not, I will be unhappy.
    The settlers; I don’t care about. Israel’s physical security I do care about. I don’t think Israel should take any chances for peace. No nation in the world would do that.
    If peace with the Palestinians leaves Israel as safe or safer than it is now and as prosperous or more prosperous than it is now, I’m for it.
    If not, I’m against it.

    Reply

  56. WigWag says:

    One more point on Dan Kervick’s comment.
    Dan said to Nadine,
    “Nadine, Barak did not offer the sort of deal I am talking about at Camp David. For one thing he insisted on preserving Israeli control of the area along the Jordan.”
    What makes you so sure, Dan, that the settlement imposed by the international community won’t preserve Israeli control of the area along the Jordan? In fact, what makes you so sure that the new Palestine will be provided with a border with any other nation other than Israel?
    I wouldn’t be so sure if I were you that the quartet wouldn’t provide for borders that denied the Palestinians territorial contiguity with any nation other than Israel.
    Are you so sure that Jordan (which would certainly be consulted)wants a border with Palestine? Or would Jordan prefer that Palestinian borders be drawn in such a way that Palestine is completely surrounded by Israel?
    Who do you think Jordan feels more threatened by, Israel or the Palestinians?

    Reply

  57. jdledell says:

    Wigwag – All of your hypotheticals are certainly possible but so what. How is it any different than today? Hamas can certainly start rocketing again whether or not they have a state. The West Bank can certainly erupt again in Infitada III at any time.
    Israel will maintain it’s overwhelming military superiority whether or not the Palestinians have a state. What the Hell does Israel have to lose by trying the peace route. Do they plan on keeping the occupation going for the next 1000 years? Someday they have to make a viable 2 state peace agreement or a bi-national state and they will face exactly the same risks then as they do today. Do they think the Palestinians are going to roll over and play dead? That they will slink away in the night? If that is Israel’s hope, they do not know arabs.

    Reply

  58. jdledell says:

    Nadine – Following up on Dan K.’s remark, Barak’s offer at Camp David left the entire Jordan Valley under Israeli control. The actual percentage of the west bank under Palestinian control was a little over 70%. The 90+% usually cited was the result of Barak’s statement that in 20-25 years maybe the Jordan Valley would revert to Palestinian control. The huge boulder against an agreement was Israel’s insistence on controlling all the borders for the West Bank and Gaza. This meant everyone and everything entering or exiting Palestinian territory would be subject to Israel’s approval. Lentils anyone?
    This aspect of total control of the borders was still a major factor in the Annapolis Olmert/Livni negotiations. During the February election campaign I was in Israel and heard Livni herself explain at a campaign rally how “leasing” the land east of route 90 (cuts north and south along the entire Jordan Valley)will mean Israel still controls the borders.
    Border control is critical to the Palestinian economy. In all my years in Israel do you know how many thousands of truckloads(and donkey loads) of fruits and vegtables I’ve seen sitting in the sun rotting away while waiting for Israeli inspections. Meanwhile produce from the settlements wisks it’s way thru without a glance. Produce in particular is in competition for the same markets and Israel is in no hurry to allow the Palestinians any advantage.
    Nadine – I must say you have no idea about the real life in Israel. Reading Powerline or Daniel Pipes won’t give you a true picture.

    Reply

  59. WigWag says:

    Dan, your interesting post deals with process; not substance. The process you recommend may or may not be the right one (I haven’t thought about it long enough to form an opinion of my own). But if the process you recommend was ever implemented the general parameters of the imposed peace plan it would produce are pretty clear. Nadine is correct; it would be a modified version of the plan offered by Bill Clinton, Ehud Barak and reportedly by Ehud Olmert.
    The plan would include territorial compromises which would require Israel to remove most West Bank settlements with the major settlement blocks staying put and Israel compensating Palestine by trading land from Israel proper. It would include a deal on water rights that required the parties to share this scarce resource. It would require the parties to share greater Jerusalem with sovereignty in the Old City either being divided between the parties or internationalized.
    How the question of Gaza would be settled is unclear. Extrapolating from the current views expressed by the quartet members, they would probably take a West Bank first approach; leaving the problem of Gaza unsettled for the foreseeable future. The other possibility is that Gaza will be included in an enforced settlement with a small corridor traversing Israel to connect the West Bank and Gaza with the corridor being included as part of the land swap.
    It is pretty clear that the refugee issue would be settled by permitting the vast majority of refugees to be resettled in the new Palestine with few if any being permitted to settle in Israel.
    For Israel, whether a settlement like this is negotiated with the Palestinians or imposed by the world, it will be gut wrenching. Sharing sovereignty in Jerusalem and removing tens or even hundreds of thousands of settlers will be immensely difficult. Secular Palestinians won’t like it either; it would require them to give up for all time their ambition to recover land in Israel and it will leave them with a small, mostly demilitarized nation (that’s likely to be another component of the imposed settlement that even Jimmy Carter recommends as necessary) that faces bleak prospects and the threat of civil war for the foreseeable future.
    To Hamas (and to a lesser extent Fatah) the refugee issue is likely to be a deal breaker; it’s one of the main reasons Arafat wouldn’t make the deal a decade ago. If a deal is imposed requiring refugees to stay put (with compensation probably coming from the Saudis) or return only to the new Palestine, it will likely lead to a new Palestinian insurgency and more terrorism emanating from the new Palestinian State. The idea that the international community will be able to impose sanctions likely to have any effect on modulating the behavior of Hamas (or perhaps in the future Al-Qaeda) is laughable. The likelihood that UN, US or NATO peacekeepers will be more successful in preventing attacks on Israel emanating from Palestine than they have been in preventing terrorism in Iraq or Afghanistan seems unlikely. For all of these reasons an imposed settlement is almost destined to fail.
    To repeat; in the unlikely event that the imposed settlement requires Israel to commit national suicide by accepting hundreds of thousands or even millions of returning Palestinians; the Israelis will reject the deal, refuse to accept the refugees and deal with the unpleasant ramifications of their decision. In the likely event that all or most of the refugees are only permitted into the new Palestine, a new insurgency will almost certainly result (or the old one will continue) and it will be an insurgency immune from international sanctions.
    The process you recommend Dan, doesn’t address many of the fundamental issues at hand either:
    1) Will peacekeeping troops separating the parties be effective in preventing armed conflict or terrorist attacks? They’ve been notably ineffective in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    2) Will peacekeeping troops be accepted on Palestinian territory for an extended period of time? Will Palestinians come to see them as occupiers? Will they cut and run at the first sign of trouble like American troops did in Beirut and Mogadishu? Will they be more effective in monitoring that Palestine remains a demilitarized state than the French troops in Lebanon have been at preventing Hezbollah from rearming?
    3) Who is going to pay the tens of billions of dollars to maintain the peacekeepers and how long will it be before that party or parties grow tired of footing the bill.
    4) Will the civil war between Hamas and Fatah that is so reminiscent of what’s happening throughout the Muslim world, get better when the Palestinians get a state of their own or will it get worse as the stakes get higher?
    5) Is a bifurcated State feasible even if it is connected by an access road traversing Israel? What is the history of success for bifurcated nations? The population of the West Bank is four times larger than the population of Gaza; how long will it be before Gazans feel aggrieved in their new State?
    6) How is the peace to be kept between a modern and wealthy nation like Israel and a preindustrial nation likely to remain an economic backwater for generations? What percentage of the employment in Palestine will depend on jobs provided in Israel or by Israelis? How long will it be before Palestinians viewing their own poverty are enraged by the dramatically higher living standards in Israel? Will this convince them that the settlement imposed by the international community was unfair and a failure? If they do reach that conclusion, what will the consequences be?
    7) Will the new Palestine be the unique exception in the Muslim world (excluding Indonesia) a peaceful, prosperous, democratic and stable state or will it resemble all the other states in the Muslim world many of which have failed or are failing and all of which are undemocratic and unstable?
    8) What is the history of imposed settlements? Do they work? How long do they work? Do the states that result from them remain peaceful? Do they thrive? Or do imposed settlements merely provide a temporary band aid that covers a festering wound that reemerges worse than it was in the first place?
    Unless these questions can be answered with reasonable certainty; the discussions about process, while interesting are just a diversion from the things that matter.
    Another interesting question is this: If an imposed settlement is likely to be unacceptable to many readers of the Washington Note, how likely is it to be acceptable to Hamas?
    And how likely is Hamas to acquiesce to an imposed settlement that it finds objectionable? And if they acquiesce in the short run how long will it last? And when they start up the suicide bombing and rocket launching again does anyone think international sanctions are going to deter them?
    If this happens, does anyone think Israel will have any choice but to attack them with overwhelming force?
    Will Palestinians end up better off or worse off than they are now?
    Won’t we end up right back where we started from?

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  60. Dan K says:

    Nadine, Barak did not offer the sort of deal I am talking about at Camp David. For one thing he insisted on preserving Israeli control of the area along the Jordan. Palestinians also knew that Sharon was waiting in the wings preparing to scuttle everything, so Barak’s talk didn’t matter.
    I don’t know exactly what deal Olmert offered to Abu Mazen. But Olmert was a weak, outgoing Prime Minister, and neither he nor Abu Mazen possessed to power to make and deliver their people to any kind of deal. What they accepted or rejected in private conversations has about as little weight as what you and I might negotiate.
    So long as the process is based mainly on face-to-face negotiation between Israelis and Palestinians, with international sponsors just passively observing, then no matter who does the negotiating, both sides will continue to think they can get more by holding out and rejecting what is presently on the table.
    Israelis are acclimated to permanent war and don’t care much about the rest of the world, so maybe they can afford to think there is no solution and that there is no option but to keep pressing forward with the colonization of the West Bank. But the rest of the world can’t afford to accept the short and long-term risks inherent in a prolonged conflict, and it has to try something.

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  61. Paul Norheim says:

    Excuse me nadine,
    but I think those of us who´ve read some of your frequent
    comments at TWN recently have got your point:
    The Arabs are untrustworthy fanatics full of hate, just like Adolf
    Hitler. In stark contrast to the Israelis, the Arabs are ardent
    followers of the nazi ideology of blood and soil and race.
    Anything else you would like to share with us?

    Reply

  62. nadine says:

    While we are strolling down memory lane, here is an interview Mike Wallace did with Israel’s ambassador to the UN and the US in 1958, Abba Eban
    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2009/07/024024.php
    An Israeli blogger comments:
    “What’s amazing in watching this video is how much things are still the same (except for the cigarette ads). In particular, I want to point out to you that the Arabs were complaining about land Israel had liberated in 1948 that went beyond the original lines that the UN had fixed in the 1947 partition plan. What they never mentioned was that they had rejected the partition plan and had lost that additional land in a war that they started. Does that sound familiar? It should. It’s essentially the same thing that happened in 1967, and the Arabs have been crying about it ever since.”
    Hm, this could make you suspect that “occupation” is not the heart of the matter after all, for of course, in 1958 the West Bank was occupied by Jordan. And you never heard a single solitary word about “Palestine”.

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  63. nadine says:

    “Our case is quite simple: For nearly 2,000 years Palestine has been almost 100 per cent Arab”
    If you know even the slightest thing about the history of the Middle East, you know that this statement is perfectly ludicrous. Back in 1948, most of hearers did at least have a passing knowledge of the Bible and ancient history (more so than today) so they knew it was ludicrous. The Arabs didn’t even show up until the Conquest in the 7th century CE, just for starters (it was mostly Jews and Greeks before that) and Palestine has been the mixture of many races for the whole period in question. One can reasonably ask what made a rational man make such a ludicrous argument. Most historian say that the Arabs hadn’t yet figured out how badly Westerners react to maximal claims divorced from reality. In Arab politics they are an accepted feature of life.
    BTW during the period the King was saying this in public he was trying to get Ben Gurion to accept union with Transjordan in private. Ben Gurion said no thanks. Just as well; King Abdullah was shot the year after by an Islamist.

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  64. easy e says:

    “As the Arabs see the Jews”
    His Majesty King Abdullah,
    The American Magazine
    November, 1947
    http://www.kinghussein.gov.jo/kabd_eng.html
    Summary
    This fascinating essay, written by King Hussein’s grandfather King Abdullah, appeared in the United States six months before the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. In the article, King Abdullah disputes the mistaken view that Arab opposition to Zionism (and later the state of Israel) is because of longstanding religious or ethnic hatred. He notes that Jews and Muslims enjoyed a long history of peaceful coexistence in the Middle East, and that Jews have historically suffered far more at the hands of Christian Europe. Pointing to the tragedy of the holocaust that Jews suffered during World War II, the monarch asks why America and Europe are refusing to accept more than a token handful of Jewish immigrants and refugees. It is unfair, he argues, to make Palestine, which is innocent of anti-Semitism, pay for the crimes of Europe. King Abdullah also asks how Jews can claim a historic right to Palestine, when Arabs have been the overwhelming majority there for nearly 1300 uninterrupted years? The essay ends on an ominous note, warning of dire consequences if a peaceful solution cannot be found to protect the rights of the indigenous Arabs of Palestine.
    “As the Arabs see the Jews”
    His Majesty King Abdullah,
    The American Magazine
    November, 1947
    I am especially delighted to address an American audience, for the tragic problem of Palestine will never be solved without American understanding, American sympathy, American support.
    So many billions of words have been written about Palestine—perhaps more than on any other subject in history—that I hesitate to add to them. Yet I am compelled to do so, for I am reluctantly convinced that the world in general, and America in particular, knows almost nothing of the true case for the Arabs.
    We Arabs follow, perhaps far more than you think, the press of America. We are frankly disturbed to find that for every word printed on the Arab side, a thousand are printed on the Zionist side.
    There are many reasons for this. You have many millions of Jewish citizens interested in this question. They are highly vocal and wise in the ways of publicity. There are few Arab citizens in America, and we are as yet unskilled in the technique of modern propaganda.
    The results have been alarming for us. In your press we see a horrible caricature and are told it is our true portrait. In all justice, we cannot let this pass by default.
    Our case is quite simple: For nearly 2,000 years Palestine has been almost 100 per cent Arab. It is still preponderantly Arab today, in spite of enormous Jewish immigration. But if this immigration continues we shall soon be outnumbered—a minority in our home.
    Palestine is a small and very poor country, about the size of your state of Vermont. Its Arab population is only about 1,200,000. Already we have had forced on us, against our will, some 600,000 Zionist Jews. We are threatened with many hundreds of thousands more.
    Our position is so simple and natural that we are amazed it should even be questioned. It is exactly the same position you in America take in regard to the unhappy European Jews. You are sorry for them, but you do not want them in your country.
    We do not want them in ours, either. Not because they are Jews, but because they are foreigners. We would not want hundreds of thousands of foreigners in our country, be they Englishmen or Norwegians or Brazilians or whatever.
    Think for a moment: In the last 25 years we have had one third of our entire population forced upon us. In America that would be the equivalent of 45,000,000 complete strangers admitted to your country, over your violent protest, since 1921. How would you have reacted to that?
    Because of our perfectly natural dislike of being overwhelmed in our own homeland, we are called blind nationalists and heartless anti-Semites. This charge would be ludicrous were it not so dangerous.
    No people on earth have been less “anti-Semitic” than the Arabs. The persecution of the Jews has been confined almost entirely to the Christian nations of the West. Jews, themselves, will admit that never since the Great Dispersion did Jews develop so freely and reach such importance as in Spain when it was an Arab possession. With very minor exceptions, Jews have lived for many centuries in the Middle East, in complete peace and friendliness with their Arab neighbours.
    Damascus, Baghdad, Beirut and other Arab centres have always contained large and prosperous Jewish colonies. Until the Zionist invasion of Palestine began, these Jews received the most generous treatment—far, far better than in Christian Europe. Now, unhappily, for the first time in history, these Jews are beginning to feel the effects of Arab resistance to the Zionist assault. Most of them are as anxious as Arabs to stop it. Most of these Jews who have found happy homes among us resent, as we do, the coming of these strangers.
    I was puzzled for a long time about the odd belief which apparently persists in America that Palestine has somehow “always been a Jewish land.” Recently an American I talked to cleared up this mystery. He pointed out that the only things most Americans know about Palestine are what they read in the Bible. It was a Jewish land in those days, they reason, and they assume it has always remained so.
    Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is absurd to reach so far back into the mists of history to argue about who should have Palestine today, and I apologise for it. Yet the Jews do this, and I must reply to their “historic claim.” I wonder if the world has ever seen a stranger sight than a group of people seriously pretending to claim a land because their ancestors lived there some 2,000 years ago!
    If you suggest that I am biased, I invite you to read any sound history of the period and verify the facts.
    Such fragmentary records as we have indicate that the Jews were wandering nomads from Iraq who moved to southern Turkey, came south to Palestine, stayed there a short time, and then passed to Egypt, where they remained about 400 years. About 1300 BC (according to your calendar) they left Egypt and gradually conquered most—but not all—of the inhabitants of Palestine.
    It is significant that the Philistines—not the Jews—gave their name to the country: “Palestine” is merely the Greek form of “Philistia.”
    Only once, during the empire of David and Solomon, did the Jews ever control nearly—but not all—the land which is today Palestine. This empire lasted only 70 years, ending in 926 BC. Only 250 years later the Kingdom of Judah had shrunk to a small province around Jerusalem, barely a quarter of modern Palestine.
    In 63 BC the Jews were conquered by Roman Pompey, and never again had even the vestige of independence. The Roman Emperor Hadrian finally wiped them out about 135 AD. He utterly destroyed Jerusalem, rebuilt under another name, and for hundreds of years no Jew was permitted to enter it. A handful of Jews remained in Palestine but the vast majority were killed or scattered to other countries, in the Diaspora, or the Great Dispersion. From that time Palestine ceased to be a Jewish country, in any conceivable sense.
    This was 1,815 years ago, and yet the Jews solemnly pretend they still own Palestine! If such fantasy were allowed, how the map of the world would dance about!
    Italians might claim England, which the Romans held so long. England might claim France, “homeland” of the conquering Normans. And the French Normans might claim Norway, where their ancestors originated. And incidentally, we Arabs might claim Spain, which we held for 700 years.
    Many Mexicans might claim Spain, “homeland” of their forefathers. They might even claim Texas, which was Mexican until 100 years ago. And suppose the American Indians claimed the “homeland” of which they were the sole, native, and ancient occupants until only some 450 years ago!
    I am not being facetious. All these claims are just as valid—or just as fantastic—as the Jewish “historic connection” with Palestine. Most are more valid.
    In any event, the great Moslem expansion about 650 AD finally settled things. It dominated Palestine completely. From that day on, Palestine was solidly Arabic in population, language, and religion. When British armies entered the country during the last war, they found 500,000 Arabs and only 65,000 Jews.
    If solid, uninterrupted Arab occupation for nearly 1,300 years does not make a country “Arab”, what does?
    The Jews say, and rightly, that Palestine is the home of their religion. It is likewise the birthplace of Christianity, but would any Christian nation claim it on that account? In passing, let me say that the Christian Arabs—and there are many hundreds of thousands of them in the Arab World—are in absolute agreement with all other Arabs in opposing the Zionist invasion of Palestine.
    May I also point out that Jerusalem is, after Mecca and Medina, the holiest place in Islam. In fact, in the early days of our religion, Moslems prayed toward Jerusalem instead of Mecca.
    The Jewish “religious claim” to Palestine is as absurd as the “historic claim.” The Holy Places, sacred to three great religions, must be open to all, the monopoly of none. Let us not confuse religion and politics.
    We are told that we are inhumane and heartless because do not accept with open arms the perhaps 200,000 Jews in Europe who suffered so frightfully under Nazi cruelty, and who even now—almost three years after war’s end—still languish in cold, depressing camps.
    Let me underline several facts. The unimaginable persecution of the Jews was not done by the Arabs: it was done by a Christian nation in the West. The war which ruined Europe and made it almost impossible for these Jews to rehabilitate themselves was fought by the Christian nations of the West. The rich and empty portions of the earth belong, not to the Arabs, but to the Christian nations of the West.
    And yet, to ease their consciences, these Christian nations of the West are asking Palestine—a poor and tiny Moslem country of the East—to accept the entire burden. “We have hurt these people terribly,” cries the West to the East. “Won’t you please take care of them for us?”
    We find neither logic nor justice in this. Are we therefore “cruel and heartless nationalists”?
    We are a generous people: we are proud that “Arab hospitality” is a phrase famous throughout the world. We are a humane people: no one was shocked more than we by the Hitlerite terror. No one pities the present plight of the desperate European Jews more than we.
    But we say that Palestine has already sheltered 600,000 refugees. We believe that is enough to expect of us—even too much. We believe it is now the turn of the rest of the world to accept some of them.
    I will be entirely frank with you. There is one thing the Arab world simply cannot understand. Of all the nations of the earth, America is most insistent that something be done for these suffering Jews of Europe. This feeling does credit to the humanity for which America is famous, and to that glorious inscription on your Statue of Liberty.
    And yet this same America—the richest, greatest, most powerful nation the world has ever known—refuses to accept more than a token handful of these same Jews herself!
    I hope you will not think I am being bitter about this. I have tried hard to understand that mysterious paradox, and I confess I cannot. Nor can any other Arab.
    Perhaps you have been informed that “the Jews in Europe want to go to no other place except Palestine.”
    This myth is one of the greatest propaganda triumphs of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, the organisation which promotes with fanatic zeal the emigration to Palestine. It is a subtle half-truth, thus doubly dangerous.
    The astounding truth is that nobody on earth really knows where these unfortunate Jews really want to go!
    You would think that in so grave a problem, the American, British, and other authorities responsible for the European Jews would have made a very careful survey, probably by vote, to find out where each Jew actually wants to go. Amazingly enough this has never been done! The Jewish Agency has prevented it.
    Some time ago the American Military Governor in Germany was asked at a press conference how he was so certain that all Jews there wanted to go to Palestine. His answer was simple: “My Jewish advisors tell me so.” He admitted no poll had ever been made. Preparations were indeed begun for one, but the Jewish Agency stepped in to stop it.
    The truth is that the Jews in German camps are now subjected to a Zionist pressure campaign which learned much from the Nazi terror. It is dangerous for a Jew to say that he would rather go to some other country, not Palestine. Such dissenters have been severely beaten, and worse.
    Not long ago, in Palestine, nearly 1,000 Austrian Jews informed the international refugee organisation that they would like to go back to Austria, and plans were made to repatriate them.
    The Jewish Agency heard of this, and exerted enough political pressure to stop it. It would be bad propaganda for Zionism if Jews began leaving Palestine. The nearly 1,000 Austrian are still there, against their will.
    The fact is that most of the European Jews are Western in culture and outlook, entirely urban in experience and habits. They cannot really have their hearts set on becoming pioneers in the barren, arid, cramped land which is Palestine.
    One thing, however, is undoubtedly true. As matters stand now, most refugee Jews in Europe would, indeed, vote for Palestine, simply because they know no other country will have them.
    If you or I were given a choice between a near-prison camp for the rest of our lives—or Palestine—we would both choose Palestine, too.
    But open up any other alternative to them—give them any other choice, and see what happens!
    No poll, however, will be worth anything unless the nations of the earth are willing to open their doors—just a little—to the Jews. In other words, if in such a poll a Jew says he wants to go to Sweden, Sweden must be willing to accept him. If he votes for America, you must let him come in.
    Any other kind of poll would be a farce. For the desperate Jew, this is no idle testing of opinion: this is a grave matter of life or death. Unless he is absolutely sure that his vote means something, he will always vote for Palestine, so as not to risk his bird in the hand for one in the bush.
    In any event, Palestine can accept no more. The 65,000 Jews in Palestine in 1918 have jumped to 600,000 today. We Arabs have increased, too, but not by immigration. The Jews were then a mere 11 per cent of our population. Today they are one third of it.
    The rate of increase has been terrifying. In a few more years—unless stopped now—it will overwhelm us, and we shall be an important minority in our own home.
    Surely the rest of the wide world is rich enough and generous enough to find a place for 200,000 Jews—about one third the number that tiny, poor Palestine has already sheltered. For the rest of the world, it is hardly a drop in the bucket. For us it means national suicide.
    We are sometimes told that since the Jews came to Palestine, the Arab standard of living has improved. This is a most complicated question. But let us even assume, for the argument, that it is true. We would rather be a bit poorer, and masters of our own home. Is this unnatural?
    The sorry story of the so-called “Balfour Declaration,” which started Zionist immigration into Palestine, is too complicated to repeat here in detail. It is grounded in broken promises to the Arabs—promises made in cold print which admit no denying.
    We utterly deny its validity. We utterly deny the right of Great Britain to give away Arab land for a “national home” for an entirely foreign people.
    Even the League of Nations sanction does not alter this. At the time, not a single Arab state was a member of the League. We were not allowed to say a word in our own defense.
    I must point out, again in friendly frankness, that America was nearly as responsible as Britain for this Balfour Declaration. President Wilson approved it before it was issued, and the American Congress adopted it word for word in a joint resolution on 30th June, 1922.
    In the 1920s, Arabs were annoyed and insulted by Zionist immigration, but not alarmed by it. It was steady, but fairly small, as even the Zionist founders thought it would remain. Indeed for some years, more Jews left Palestine than entered it—in 1927 almost twice as many.
    But two new factors, entirely unforeseen by Britain or the League or America or the most fervent Zionist, arose in the early thirties to raise the immigration to undreamed heights. One was the World Depression; the second the rise of Hitler.
    In 1932, the year before Hitler came to power, only 9,500 Jews came to Palestine. We did not welcome them, but we were not afraid that, at that rate, our solid Arab majority would ever be in danger.
    But the next year—the year of Hitler—it jumped to 30,000! In 1934 it was 42,000! In 1935 it reached 61,000!
    It was no longer the orderly arrival of idealist Zionists. Rather, all Europe was pouring its frightened Jews upon us. Then, at last, we, too, became frightened. We knew that unless this enormous influx stopped, we were, as Arabs, doomed in our Palestine homeland. And we have not changed our minds.
    I have the impression that many Americans believe the trouble in Palestine is very remote from them, that America had little to do with it, and that your only interest now is that of a humane bystander.
    I believe that you do not realise how directly you are, as a nation, responsible in general for the whole Zionist move and specifically for the present terrorism. I call this to your attention because I am certain that if you realise your responsibility you will act fairly to admit it and assume it.
    Quite aside from official American support for the “National Home” of the Balfour Declaration, the Zionist settlements in Palestine would have been almost impossible, on anything like the current scale, without American money. This was contributed by American Jewry in an idealistic effort to help their fellows.
    The motive was worthy: the result were disastrous. The contributions were by private individuals, but they were almost entirely Americans, and, as a nation, only America can answer for it.
    The present catastrophe may be laid almost entirely at your door. Your government, almost alone in the world, is insisting on the immediate admission of 100,000 more Jews into Palestine—to be followed by countless additional ones. This will have the most frightful consequences in bloody chaos beyond anything ever hinted at in Palestine before.
    It is your press and political leadership, almost alone in the world, who press this demand. It is almost entirely American money which hires or buys the “refugee ships” that steam illegally toward Palestine: American money which pays their crews. The illegal immigration from Europe is arranged by the Jewish Agency, supported almost entirely by American funds. It is American dollars which support the terrorists, which buy the bullets and pistols that kill British soldiers—your allies—and Arab citizens—your friends.
    We in the Arab world were stunned to hear that you permit open advertisements in newspapers asking for money to finance these terrorists, to arm them openly and deliberately for murder. We could not believe this could really happen in the modern world. Now we must believe it: we have seen the advertisements with our own eyes.
    I point out these things because nothing less than complete frankness will be of use. The crisis is too stark for mere polite vagueness which means nothing.
    I have the most complete confidence in the fair-mindedness and generosity of the American public. We Arabs ask no favours. We ask only that you know the full truth, not half of it. We ask only that when you judge the Palestine question, you put yourselves in our place.
    What would your answer be if some outside agency told you that you must accept in America many millions of utter strangers in your midst—enough to dominate your country—merely because they insisted on going to America, and because their forefathers had once lived there some 2,000 years ago?
    Our answer is the same.
    And what would be your action if, in spite of your refusal, this outside agency began forcing them on you?
    Ours will be the same.

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  65. nadine says:

    “. I expect a rather detailed proposal, along the basic lines of the Clinton parameters, with prescribed general solutions to the key issues of borders, Jerusalem and refugees. A broad formula will also have to be established for providing security to the new Palestinian state, and security for both countries along the new border, with a long-term plan for transferring responsibility to the Palestinians for their own security, in stages and over time.”
    Just as a small matter of fact, a solution along these lines has been offered twice: once by Ehud Barak to Yasser Araft in 2000, and once by Ehud Olmert to Abu Mazen in 2008. Both times it was refused. Therefore, you are proposing to impose a deal that is completely unacceptable to the Palestinians. We know that because they already refused it twice. How do you intend to enforce it on them? What Hamas sets up its rocket launchers next to the peacekeeper’s stations, like they do in Gaza, do you seriously expect the peacekeepers to do anything about it?
    In short, what advance for peace do you expect by replicating the Gaza situation in the West Bank? It will just lead to more rockets (with much higher casualties; as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem will now be in range) and more Israeli invasions to stop them.
    I think you have a bad case of Solutionitis – the American idea that there must be a solution for every problem.

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  66. Dan Kervick says:

    WigWag I just commented on this at TPM Cafe, where jdledell cross-posted his ideas:
    http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/talk/blogs/jdledell/2009/07/balanced-ip-analysis.php?ref=reccafe
    But what I said there only touches on the details. Here’s a bit more detail about what I would like to see:
    1. The necessary parties are the Russians, the US, the Europeans, the UN, the Saudis and the Egyptians. The Indians, Australians, Pakistanis and Nigerians don’t matter much, although they will go along with a credible plan that has the unified backing of the key players, including the UN leadership. If the US, Europe and Russians are in agreement, then I assume the Chinese will play their usual passive role of cooperating with the consensus and adhering to the measures that need to be taken, but taking no leadership position.
    2. I expect a rather detailed proposal, along the basic lines of the Clinton parameters, with prescribed general solutions to the key issues of borders, Jerusalem and refugees. A broad formula will also have to be established for providing security to the new Palestinian state, and security for both countries along the new border, with a long-term plan for transferring responsibility to the Palestinians for their own security, in stages and over time.
    3. While I am sure some warm and inspiring language can be found in getting the ball rolling, the bottom line is that this plan must be presented to the parties to the conflict as a firm resolution of the most powerful members of the global community, and effectively an offer they can’t refuse.
    4. Implementation will require a structured series of supervised negotiating rounds to hash out details, along with timetables and benchmarks outlining the responsibilities of the Israeli and Palestinian sides. The benchmarks are to be enforced with offers of rewards in aid and diplomatic benefits for good behavior and threats of sanctions for bad behavior.
    5. A Quartet/UN Commission or advisory body should be set up to author proposed UN resolutions that implement stages of the final status resolution, assess progress on the meeting of benchmarks, and to propose sanctions resolutions in the event these benchmarks are not met. This body should have a permanent office in the region: perhaps Sharm al Sheikh or some such place. It should be given a fancy name.
    6. The Israelis and the Palestinians should be asked to designate issue-specific negotiation teams to deal with the details of the four main components of the final status agreement. These teams should hold separate meetings, conducted and facilitated by advisory body specialist teams, in geographically separated sub-offices of the Quartet/UN commission. Separating the negotiations on issues in this way might help to divide and diffuse political resistance from either of the two parties, and prevent some star-filled prima donna team from hogging the limelight and sabotaging the negotiations. Whether meetings are public or private should be at the discretion of the local advisory teams.
    7. The Quartet/UN commission will have responsibility for harmonizing the work of the separate sub-offices. No Israelis or Palestinians will be on that central commission. As agreements are made, they can be accepted or rejected by the advisory commission, and if accepted turned into proposals for Security Council resolutions that will codify them into international law. If the work of one of the sub-offices is found to conflict with the work of one of the other sub-offices, recommendations for harmonization and resolution will be made by the central body and sent back for further negotiation.
    8. Economic incentives will have to be offered to get Israeli settlers to resettle inside the new Israeli border. My understanding is that many American Jews have already been involved in raising funds for this contingency. But the international community will have to come forward with a substantial commitment of its own. At the same time, substantial sums for economic reconstruction, development and state-building for the State of Palestine, and for settling Palestinian refugees, will also have to be set aside. All of these funds will be disbursed in stages, in response to successfully meeting benchmarks. It is vital to that the international group of nations implementing this plan have a unified commitment, and is large enough to put enough serious cash on the table, and on the other hand to impose credible and effective sanctions if the necessity arises.
    9. The leadership of both sides in this conflict has to be able to tell their people that they really have no choice other than to accept implementation of the plan, and that they are being coerced into it. There will be much grumbling and worse. But the opportunity to grumble and complain is really a political gift to the two governments. If the international community takes charge, that gives the Israelis and Palestinians the political space to make peace in a face-saving way, without being seen as directly caving into their adversary. I think this is the key point that makes a coercive international approach superior to yet another peace process that is based on wishful thinking about the prospects of face-to-face negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis.
    People around the world *do* care about this conflict. It is a persistent and extremely dangerous security risk, even for countries that are not directly involved, and a perpetual source of instability. There is an overwhelmingly powerful global interest in preventing an expanded conflict in the Middle East. Nobody’s interests are served by a regional or world war in oil country. That is one thing Medvedev, Putin, Obama, Sarkozy, Abdullah, Merkel, Mubarak and can all agree on in 2009. It’s time for the international community to reestablish its crumbling credibility by accomplishing something worthwhile. Success in this venture can be built upon, and leveraged into future cooperative security projects in the global interest.

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  67. PissedOffAmerican says:

    WATCH NOW
    Channel Two Israeli news recently did a great report on the Bluff of Natural Growth – now it is available with English Subtitles and we thought it might interest you –
    Take a look here:
    http://www.peacenow.org.il/site/en/peace.asp?pi=194&docid=3700

    Reply

  68. WigWag says:

    Jdledell and Dan Kervick make some good points but unfortunately neither of them is being realistic. Jdledell recommends that the most recalcitrant elements of Israeli and Palestinian societies reach an accommodation by accepting each other’s “narratives.” Are there some Israelis and Palestinians prepared to do this? Maybe. Is there any evidence that Likud or Hamas will ever adopt jdledell’s suggestion? None whatsoever.
    Specifically jdledell says,
    “The basic problem with the whole Israeli/Palestinian conflict is the inability of each side to accept the other’s narrative. You can see the same thing on this blog by partisans on each side. Both want to claim the honor of being the biggest aggrieved party or victim.”
    Jdledell would like the Israelis and Palestinians to adopt the philosophy expressed by Rabbi Hillel “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah; the rest is commentary. Now go and study” or Jesus at the Sermon on the Mount., (from the Gospel of Mathew) “Turn the Other Cheek” Jdledell is right, if the bitter enemies in Israel and Palestine were prepared to do that; it would truly be a cause for rejoicing.
    But can jdledell cite any precedent in recorded history where a conflict as intractable as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been solved in the manner he suggests? What war or ethnic/religious dispute has ever been settled by the mutual and concurrent acceptance of the enemy’s narrative?
    Like Dan Kervick, and most of the rest of us, jdledell was acculturated and educated in a society based on secular humanism, tolerance, freedom of religion and all the other trappings inherent to the liberal ideology. The society that shapes his outlook is based on the philosophy of Locke, Rousseau, John Stuart Mill and the like. The belligerent parties in the Middle East and especially the political parties on both sides that control the weapons were not brought up in a society based on the precepts articulated by these philosophers; In the Middle East, each of the belligerents answers to a higher authority than the one jdledell answers to; they answer to their conception of the desires of the Almighty.
    Hamas is not about to give up their hatred of Jews that transcends their anger that Jews dominate land that they believe Allah ordained belongs to them. And they’re not likely to give up their hatred for secular Palestinians either.
    Neither are the religious Israeli settlers. Those who settled beyond the Green Line (or more accurately beyond the areas likely to be incorporated into Israel after a mutually acceptable land swap) are of two types. Many, especially the Russians who emigrated from the Soviet Union, moved to the territories because it was economically advantageous to do so. They can be induced to leave. But the religious settlers (which I presume include jdledell’s relatives) are not interested in jdledell’s “Liberal” approach to a solution. They don’t share his conception of justice or tolerance and like the partisans of Hamas, they are motivated by their conceptions of their duty to the diety.
    So I repeat the question; can jdledell or anyone else cite any example where a bitter territorial, religious and cultural dispute between two people occupying the same land was solved by mutual acceptance of their opponent’s narratives?
    We might hold out hope that the most recalcitrant political parties in Israel and Palestine won’t always be the people in control of the guns or the government. But as Dan Kervick has correctly pointed out, the other viable political parties in Israel aren’t rushing to accept the Palestinian narrative either. And as Nadine has correctly pointed out, Fatah isn’t particularly interested in the Israeli narrative either.
    All of this suggests that Dan Kervick’s recommendation for an imposed settlement may be the only way to go. Dan says,
    “I now think the time for debate, rational persuasion and entreaties is over. Its time for that vast majority portion of humanity who are “not” Israelis, Palestinians, or members of their most devoted fan clubs abroad just to ”do” something about the problem by settling independently on a solution and compelling the parties to accept it.”
    Unfortunately, Dan’s approach of forcing a solution on the parties is as unrealistic as jdledell’s notion that a Palestinian Government controlled by Hamas and a Likud Government looking out for the interests of the settlers can be induced to compromise.
    Can a solution be forced on the parties? Theoretically yes; realistically no.
    The “vast portion of humanity” who are not Jews or Palestinians that Dan refers to, don’t care enough to enforce a settlement. Who exactly is Dan referring to? Are the Chinese, Russians, Indians, Pakistanis, Australians or Nigerians going to impose a settlement? Do they have anything but a passing concern about what happens between Jews and Palestinians? While they might acquiesce out of indifference to an arrangement that the Israelis or Palestinians reached themselves, and while they might not get in the way of a settlement imposed by the United States or Europe, the idea that some vast portion of humanity will invest any resources whatsoever in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is highly dubious. As the Cold War recedes, the conflict between Israel and Palestine is becoming far less interesting to the “vast portion of humanity” not more interesting.
    Can the United States or Europe impose a settlement? To be fair to Dan, he’s not the only person who thinks its worth a try. Javier Solana called just yesterday for the same thing; a deadline for the parties to reach an agreement or a settlement imposed by the UN Security Council.
    But is this any thing other than wishful thinking?
    To impose a settlement the first thing that will need to be addressed is the security concerns of the two sides. It is obvious to everyone that to prevent renewed armed conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians an outside force will need to be interposed between them. The outside force will obviously have to be comprised of U.S. and or NATO forces.
    How long will the Palestinians be satisfied with foreign soldiers stationed on their sovereign territory? How long before these forces are viewed as foreign occupiers?
    How long will the Israelis be happy with outsourcing their security to a foreign force that is likely to be ineffective in deterring terrorist attacks? Don’t believe that either NATO or the U.S. will fail in preventing terrorist attacks emanating from Palestinian territory? How effective has the U.S. or NATO been in preventing terrorist attacks and infiltration in Iraq or Afghanistan? How long will it be before terrorist groups in the new nation of Palestine begin to horde rockets with the intention of using them against Israel despite the presence of peacekeepers? Don’t think that’s possible? How difficult was it for Hezbollah to restock its rockets in Lebanon under the noses of French peacekeepers?
    Will a U.S. or NATO force have staying power in the face of dissatisfaction by radical Jews or Palestinians or will they run at the first sign of trouble? How much staying power did the U.S. have in Beirut during the Reagan Administration or Mogadishu during the Clinton Administration? How long will it be before citizens of the United States or the European Union grow sick and tired of footing the bill for a peacekeeping force that will cost tens of billions of dollars? And if peace keepers are removed how long will it take before radical Islamists launch suicide bombers and rockets at Israel engendering a massive Israeli military response?
    And what makes advocates of the two state solution so absolutely sure that a viable Palestinian state can be created? Have they noticed the civil war between Fatah and Hamas? Have they noticed that the Palestinian civil war mirrors the violent clashes taking place between Islamist and secular Muslims all over the Arab and larger Muslim world? Will the civil war between secular and religious Palestinians be solved by the creation of a Palestinian State or will it grow more intense as the stakes of control become greater?
    And have supporters of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza really thought about how realistic a notion that really is? If a single Palestinian nation is created in Gaza and the West Bank will relations between the two geographically separate areas be more like the relationship between Alaska, Hawaii and the lower forty eight states or will it be more like the relationship that once existed between East and West Pakistan? Even if a small corridor through Israel (as part of the anticipated land swap) is created between the two parts of a future Palestine nation how long will it be before Gazans feel oppressed by their far larger neighbor to the West; the West Bank Palestinians? How many precedents are there for successful single states made up of two large non-contiguous areas?
    And exactly how realistic is to expect that Israel, a modern, western nation with a sophisticated technology base, a highly educated population and a GDP approaching that of several European nations, can live in peace and security next to an Arab nation that is in many ways a preindustrial society? Exactly how many successful Arab nations are there? Are there any successful, stable and democratic Arab nations that don’t have oil? What about the larger world of Muslim nations. How many prosperous, stable and democratic majority Muslim nations are there in the world today?
    In certain ways the relationship between a modern Israel and a preindustrial Palestinian state might resemble the relationship between the United States and Mexico. But there is one major difference; the last war between Mexicans and the Americans was 161 years ago the last war between Israelis and Palestinians was seven months ago. If the best we can hope for is a relationship between Israel and Palestine that is as “good” as the United States relationship with Mexico, what’s the worst we should expect? How are things working out between a rapidly developing India and an unstable and economically backward Pakistan?
    And here’s the most important question of all. Can anyone cite even one example of a dispute as intractable as the Israel-Palestinian dispute being resolved by anything other than war and violence at any time in human history?
    And what exactly are the precedents for an imposed settlement like the one that Dan recommends? I can actually think of a few; rarely do they last long or have a happy ending.
    It is the sad reality than human-kind has invented only one effective tool to solve intractable disputes like the one that confronts Israel and Palestine; unfortunately that tool is raw power exercised through war.
    It brings me no pleasure to say it.
    But all the modern institutions invented since the end of World War II to assure peaceful conflict resolution have failed the vast majority of times they have been tried. Where they provide a solution, the solution has proven to be very temporary with the longer term result frequently being greater hatred and violence.
    Ignore this realty in the Middle East at your own risk.
    By the way, I would be happy to be proven wrong.

    Reply

  69. ... says:

    questions, i can always count on you for a compliment!

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  70. questions says:

    …,
    Your powers of math are profound!

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  71. DonS says:

    So Nadine, because the principal ‘leaders’ in Israel and Palestine insist on keeping up their foolish war of words, we have to buy into it like a bunch of sheep? May be fine for you, but I don’t have a dog in this fight. I’m rooting for the US to get it’s policy straight, and I’m not impressed by the posturing of either side.
    As to the NYT being ‘propaganda’, tell me something I don’t know.

    Reply

  72. ... says:

    saying israel is a jewish state is saying israel is a racist state.. is that what the jewish people want, or is israel and being jewish supposed to be one and the same?? i don’t know of any country where your religion defines whether you can be a member or not…is that what these folks want?

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  73. nadine says:

    From the New York Times (also a source of “propaganda”?):
    Abbas Rejects Calling Israel a Jewish State
    By ISABEL KERSHNER
    Published: April 27, 2009
    JERUSALEM — The Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, on Monday dismissed a demand by Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, underscoring the considerable gaps between the sides.
    “I do not accept it,” Mr. Abbas said in a speech in Ramallah, in the West Bank. “It is not my job to give a description of the state. Name yourself the Hebrew Socialist Republic — it is none of my business,” he added, according to Reuters.

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  74. ... says:

    wigwag and questions without the pretense of respectability = nadine… nice to have nadine here to highlight how messed up those advocating for israel really are…

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  75. Carroll says:

    O.K. I’m bored. Let’s play with wigzig..althugh why wiggy makes it so easy to get caught in lies I will never understand..But here we go!
    Wiggy says……
    “Actually, Jews were in the majority in Palestine in 1948 not Arabs. And the land wasn’t grabbed; it was abandoned by fleeing Arabs. Were many Arabs fleeing the advancing Israeli army? It depends which historians you believe. But I believe many were. I also believe that many left without being forced out militarily at the urging of the Egyptians and Jordanians. And of course most of the land you are referring to that was incorporated into Israel was unoccupied by either Jews or Arabs; alot of it was desert. As you know, every nation in the world including all of the Arab nations (with the possible exception of Syria) recognize that Israel’s borders as of June 4, 1967 are Israel’s legitimate borders. So it’s hard to find anyone who agrees with your point of view about this; or at least its hard to find anyone of consequence”
    Well, first wig let’s look at official records trails…
    http://www.fact-archive.com/encyclopedia/British_Mandate_
    of_Palestine
    1922 British Census of Palestine
    The population of this area was approx. 750,000 (11% Jewish). It was multi-ethnic but spoke mainly Arabic and was largely Muslim in faith. Because of their European origin most Jews spoke Yiddish rather than Hebrew. It contained a significant Bedouin population (approx. 270,000),
    Also from Notre Dame’s Historical Achieves..same thing.
    http://tinyurl.com/muhyrg
    Turkish census in 1882…24,000 jews in Palestine.
    First British census in 1922 of Palestine reports a population of 757,182 (11% Jewish).
    Second British census in 1931 of Palestine reports a total population of 1,035,154 (16.9% Jewish).
    No census was ever taken again, which makes all numbers after 1931 suspect, but the British Office of Statistics of Palestine continued, up to 1947, to publish its “best estimates” of the population in Palestine.
    The data series ends with March 1948. At that time, the Statistical Office estimated the Jewish population to be 589,341 (a footnote indicated that this figure had been revised upwards, evidently due to “corrections” suggested by the Jewish Agency demographers). Thus, between the end of 1931 and early 1947, about 320,000 Jews must have arrived in Palestine—either as legal immigrants, illegal immigrants or the offspring of such immigrants.
    Such migration was sufficient to raise their proportion in the population to some 30 percent, despite substantial natural increase in the Palestinian Arab community.
    During the same period, the Arab population increased to about 1,320,000 almost exclusively through natural increase..
    So…..the Jews were still a minority in Palestine in 1948 ..1.320,000 Arabs to 589,000 jews.
    Now we can only guess at the number of Palestines who fled even before 1948 when the jews were already engaging in running Arabs off their land in the 1920’s thru 1940 when they started seizing land for real.
    **The UN General Assembly Res. 194 supports the right of Palestinian refugees to return. During the Jewish invasion of Palestine, 737,166 Palestinians were forcibly evicted from their homes and land. Under this resolution the refugees and their descendants have a right to compensation and repatriation to their original homes and land, because they have suffered “loss of or damage to property, which, under principles of international law or in equity should be made good by the government or authorities responsible.”
    Then of course we have your claim that every Arab state recongizes Israel’s 1967 lines. LOL…don’t you read anything but zionist news? Saudi and everyone elses’ recongization of Israel’s 1967 lines has some very heavy conditions on it…one little catch being the condition of the Palestine Right of Return being accepted by Israel. So there’s your catch 22. What you think the Arabs are stupid?
    And Syria’s condition on recongizing Israel is the return of the Golan heights.
    And actually the Hamas group you hate did offer to recongize Israel’s 1967 lines… but again with conditions..right of return etc..
    Now, your remark about POA…”But no man is going to use me as a punching bag to sublimate his frustration with his own impotence”
    Why not using you as a punching bag? It’s exactly what you do with Palestines,Arabs gentiles, thoses horrible anti semitic Europeans, everyone..
    Now we know you do this because of your own impotence. The impotence that has been bred in you by generations of handing down the jewish history of being the worlds weak, powerless, unmanly victims. That’s why you whistle thru the grave yard by pretending some ultimate awsome power to Israel that they don’t really have in relation to the really big bad boys in the world like the USA and Russia. Israel is actually the penis extension for those like yourself who are crippled by those personally adopted feelings of inferority and powerlessness. We see it all the time. When Jews brag about their superiority or contributions to the world but are never able to name any exact ones…it’s whistling thru the graveyard. When I read the Israeli papers and see the comments section it’s back and forth between “well we can whip the US’s ass!” and next ..” well maybe we can Russia to sponsor us if the US deserts us?”…bravado and insecurty, bravado and insecurity…whistling thru grave yard and then running scared looking for your next protector.
    Maybe we would sympathize with you if you wern’t so seriously f***ed up mentally and emotionally thatvyou are driven by revenge and the need to dominate,inflict humilation on powerless people, or to be ‘somebody respected thur instilling fear” to make up for your tribes past inability to get any respect or protect themselves. But it’s hard to feel sorry for someone with such a sick view of other humans…no matter what the cause.

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  76. nadine says:

    “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has generated a lot of emotional heat and vicarious partisan and sectarian entertainment over the years. It has been useful to political leaders and agitators in various countries. But it has run its course of the patience of a rising global generation who are eager to get on with the 21st century.”
    The leaders of the Arab world are definitely NOT part of any rising global generation, thank you very much, and they still find the conflict highly useful. If they didn’t, we would see them pressuring the Palestinians to make some concessions, for example on the “right of return” (of 5 million Pal refugees to the State of Israel). They could easily help solve the refugee crisis which after all is partly on their own territories. But they don’t.
    On the day the Arab countries want the conflict settled, there is a real chance for peace. That’s what brought an end to The Troubles; both England and Ireland wanted it stopped. But imagine an Ireland mired in poverty, concentrating its peoples mind on vengeance for the lost of the Six Counties to prevent them demanding reforms at home, would there be an opportunity for peace in that case? I think not. The second case is, unfortunately, much closer to that Arab Israeli conflict than the first.

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  77. nadine says:

    jjdledell, I am sure you can find hatred of Arabs in Kiryat Arba. But the die hard settlers don’t rule Israel. Hamas does rule Gaza, and would rule the West Bank too if Israel pulled out. Can you deny it? Can you deny it makes a difference who rules, and whether they rule by the bullet or the ballot? Yet you ignore the difference as if it didn’t matter.
    “The Jews never had any connection with Palestine” is the official propaganda line and is easy to find, starting with Arafat, who repeated it often, and Abu Mazen, whose PhD thesis denies the Holocaust. Go to any site that covers Pal media sources. Of course I’m sure most ordinary Palestinians know it’s not true. Most ordinary Russians knew they weren’t living in a worker’s paradise under Communism either. But while the Soviet system held that was the line.
    Sari Nusseibeh is a great guy. Can you deny that he has no politcal following and can only survive saying the peaceful things he does because of his lineage and Jerusalem connections? Many other Palestinians moderates have been declared traitors and killed. You must know that.
    It matters who rules and how they rule and whether they are accountable to the people.
    There is not going to be any tide to impose a solution on the conflict. Did all the Arab states just jump in to help at Obama’s urging? He really thought they would help, the naif. They don’t want the conflict solved; they get enormous propaganda mileage out of its continuance. If they wanted it solved, we would see them willing to pay something to solve it. Well do we? Not a bit of it. Not even a word, a gesture.
    And frankly, even if a unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank in exchange for nothing whatsoever from the Palestinians was done or imposed, Abu Mazen would still refuse it, I believe, because it would be his death sentence. And nobody is going to force him to declare a Palestinian state in the West Bank. The ultimate booby prize, as far as the Palestinians are concerned. Didn’t he just tell us conditions are good in Ramallah? Which they are from all reports.

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  78. DonS says:

    Nadine, writing “the current “moderate” president of the PA won’t even admit that Israel is a Jewish state, much less that it has any right to be a Jewish state. And that’s the supposed moderate!”
    and
    “Look, all the Arabs have huge problems with the existence of the modern world. We were great 1000 years ago. Allah promised we’d always be great. ”
    It is this kind of irrelevant propaganda tripe that you may get away with writing in some venues, but here it just brands you as unserious. Clearly you are emotionally committed to advancing the RW zionist cause in what ever way you can. Fine. But I’m afraid, no, hopeful, that you will tire of writing it here.

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  79. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I think Nadine’s point is that there is a possibility of turning regular old-fashioned nuclear power capacity into weapons capacity blahblahbah….”?
    Actually, Nadine’s “point” was a blatant lie, claiming that El Baradei and the IAEA has declared that Iran is in violation odf the terms of the NPT.
    You’ll even obsfucate obvious lies, won’t you, questions?

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  80. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Nadine’s horseshit isn’t even entertaining, like Wiggie’s and questions’ is. With every utterance, Nadine makes an ass of herself, onme ignorant falsehood after another. Even coming in, she made a point of blathering about “the lefties”, and how anti-israel pro Palestinian they are. Has this ignorant wretch had a look at Congress lately? Or the who’s who in Washington Israel-firsters list AIPAC proudly flaunts on their website, ad nauseum?
    Apparently Nadine is only able to coax two kinds of commentaries out of her keyboard; utter stupidity, or blatant dishonesty.

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  81. Dan Kervick says:

    Nadine, if the Hamas-Hizbollah-Iran axis is so powerful, why is it that Israel is still right where it has been since 1948, and is even expanding? My view isn’t unrealistic. But yours, I’m afraid, is paranoid and hysterical.
    In the grand, global scheme of things, Israel, Palestine and Hizbollah just aren’t that big, and aren’t that big a deal. The US, Iran, Europe and Russia have about 1.3 billion people among them, and those people need things from each other and have a common interest in a prosperous future, a future free of the risk of throwing their security and prosperity away on anachronistic entanglements with a conflict sparked by a bunch of fanatics in Palisraelstine. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has generated a lot of emotional heat and vicarious partisan and sectarian entertainment over the years. It has been useful to political leaders and agitators in various countries. But it has run its course of the patience of a rising global generation who are eager to get on with the 21st century.
    For most of this rising generation the Holocaust, the Nakhba, the 1948 war, the 1967 war and the 1973 war are all ancient history, not lived realities. The new breed who live in this century are about to get their act together to impose a solution on the combatants, and back it up with positive and negative sanctions.
    Of course, when that happens the Palestinians and Israelis might finally get together, as they unify against the outside world to defend their eternal right to fight to the death instead of making a deal.

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  82. jjdledell says:

    Nadine – Have you spent any time in Israel? The West Bank? Do you know any Palestinians? Have you talked with any? I have. I lived there in 82-83 and have visited more than 70 times. You make these stupid blanket statements ” they say the Jews have no connection to Palestine” How many Palestinians have uttered such nonsense. You have to stop making these generalizations about Palestinians.
    I dare you to go to shul in Kiryat Arba or Bat Ayin and tell me the hatred and nonsense doesn’t also come from Jewish mouths. Yet not all Israelis are like these settlers and not all Palestinians are die hard Hamas members. I’ve spent time with Sari Nusseibeh and students at Al-Quds University and I’ve actually met Hamas members there. While some of them are off the wall, some are actually more moderate than some of the Fatah members I’ve met.
    Just as Jews don’t like generalizations made about them that don’t carry universal truth, the same is true of Palestinians.To take some stupid arab TV programs and make sweeping analysis is no more accurate than depicting America like some of the garbage shown on our TV programs. I don’t know where you get information about the arab world stewing in Nazi like anti-semitism. I have a US and Israeli passport so I have spent time in Beirut and Cairo and while one can see some examples of such crap, it is not ordinary any more than the signs “Death to the Arabs” one see in the west bank are true Israel.
    So please stop with the Hasbera. If you are really interested in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict immerse yourself in not only the history books but also with some first hand knowledge.

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  83. nadine says:

    “If Israel were actually to end the settlements, withdraw from the Occupied Territories, and provide humane assistance to the Palestinians, how long does anyone think it would take for this horror show to end?”
    David, wasn’t this tried in Gaza in 2005? Do you find the results encouraging? Has peace broken out in Gaza? It’s been said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Why in God’s name would you expect a different result from a withdrawal from the West Bank than there already has been from Gaza?

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  84. nadine says:

    “Progress on the Peace front will not progress until there is loud public acknowledgement on both sides of the other’s grievances and narrative. The Palestinians and arabs need to say explicitly that Jews have been descriminated against and slaughtered for thousands of years and need the security of a Jewish state to live peacefully.”
    jdledell, the current “moderate” president of the PA won’t even admit that Israel is a Jewish state, much less that it has any right to be a Jewish state. And that’s the supposed moderate!
    Look, all the Arabs have huge problems with the existence of the modern world. We were great 1000 years ago. Allah promised we’d always be great. etc. Until they unwrap their heads from conspiracy theories and deal with their current situation, as the countries of Asia have had to do, they are going to remain mired in poverty, corruption and violence.
    Think of it this way: if all of Israel and Palestine dropped into the ocean today, which of the problems of the Arab world would be solved?

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  85. nadine says:

    jdledell, the Israelis have moved in recent years towards understanding the Palestinian narrative, or that part of it that is based on facts, not sheer invention; but the Palestinian have responded by moving farther away from Jewish narrative.
    Now they say the Jews have no connection to Palestine, ever. If you have been taught to believe that the Jews are thieves who invented the Holocaust, who stole Arab land they have no connection to, who control the world, who drink the blood of little Muslim children (both Syria and Egypt have shown Ramadan mini-series on TV based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion showing this), who want to destroy the Arabs, etc etc, small concessions from the other side are NOT going to molify you.
    Good will has to come from both sides. The Arab world is stewing in Nazi-level anti-Semitic propaganda right now. You don’t show TV programs with Jews drinking the blood of children as a criticism of Israeli policy! Concessions in this climate will only weaken Israel. They make as much sense as concession to the Nazis, who btw certainly had a “narrative” of their own – blood and soil and race. Not every narrative is equally valid.

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  86. nadine says:

    “Nadine, Hizbollah is not in the quartet. Neither is Hamas. Neither are the Likud or Yisrael Beiteinu. The position of the Iranian government, even under Ahmadinejad, is that Iran will accept any deal that the Palestinians themselves make.”
    dan, this view of things is so unrealistic it would be comical if it were not tragic. Iran is sending hundreds of millions of dollars of arms to Hizbullah and Hamas annually. Their job is to veto peace agreements in both Lebanon and Israel. Any progress towards peace will be blown up. Literally. Not that any is in the offing. Your recipe is about as realistic as telling us to ignore 9/11 because Al Qaeda was not a state, so it couldn’t have mattered.

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  87. Sand says:

    Oh and the AID for GAZA:
    via Siun @ Firedoglake:
    ———————–
    “…And all that money pledged months ago with so much fanfair by our new administration to help the people of Gaza? Gideon Levy gives us the update in Haaretz:
    — “…The $2 billion promised with much ceremony at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit about six months ago – of it $900 million from the new America under President Barack Obama – is lying in vaults at the international banks.
    A senior American diplomat explained a few days ago that his country is not transferring the money “because Israel is objecting,” and an American law prohibits trading with Hamas.
    He said this in utter seriousness, as if there were no American commitment to transfer the money, and AS IF THE GREAT AMERICA WERE DEPENDENT ON ISRAEL [emphasis mine]…”
    ———————–
    http://firedoglake.com/2009/07/05/gaza-some-things-never-change/
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1097243.html

    Reply

  88. Sand says:

    It’s a shame this particular piece by Jonathan Cook didn’t get approved for publication the Guardian.
    –The Two-state Solution, Israeli-style
    Charity, checkpoints and client rulers
    By Jonathan Cook in Ramallah
    http://informationclearinghouse.info/article23012.htm
    “…creating a culture of absolute Israeli control and absolute Palestinian dependency, enforced by proxy Palestinian rulers acting as mini-dictatorships.
    For a growing number of Palestinians, the conditions of bare subsistence and even survival are Israeli gifts that few can afford to spurn through political activity, let alone civil disobedience or armed resistance. The Palestinian will to organise and resist as their land is seized for settlements is being inexorably sapped…”
    ———-
    ht: http://antonyloewenstein.com/
    ———-
    So, is this going to be Obama’s plan too?
    Apparently according to Ben Smith over at Politico Obama is going to be meeting with “a delegation of American Jewish community leaders Monday afternoon”. One wonders with the aid package sailing through helped by AIPAC’s congress members they are not going along to rub Obama’s face in it.

    Reply

  89. questions says:

    jdledell,
    The “thousands of years” issue is an interesting one, and one that the Laitin book spends some time on. Of course, the “thousands of years” is never actually experienced by any one person, and isn’t really what is ever at issue in one person’s decision to behave or identify in a particular way. Rather, there has to be a current bet that one’s neighbors or co-identifiers will support one’s decision to identify in a particular way, and further, because of the widespread support for identifying in a particular way, there is a steep cost to changing that identification. This is what Laitin calls a coordination game.
    That is, an Israeli citizen benefits from developing antipathy towards Palestinians not because of a thousand years of hatred, but because expressing love will lead to ostracism, and expressing hatred will lead to love. Changes in culture are possible — Laitin identifies some cases — but these changes come when it’s more costly to identify one way than another.
    The goal for the ME/IP situation, then, has to be to raise the cost of hatred and lower the cost of tolerance. One doesn’t do this through outside force, through the withholding of support, through more nastiness. One does it softly through the cultivation of instigators.

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  90. David says:

    I think Netanyahu said the other day that he doubts that peace is possible. Thus not only is a Hamas government in Gaza a bad idea, a Likud government is an equally bad idea in Israel. Both sides see their narrow interests served by the ongoing struggle. The reason I put the greater burden on Israel to end it is that Israel is so much more powerful than the Palestinians in Gaza or anywhere else in Palestine. And no one in the Middle East, not even Iran, constitutes an actual military threat to Israel’s existence, period.
    If Israel were actually to end the settlements, withdraw from the Occupied Territories, and provide humane assistance to the Palestinians, how long does anyone think it would take for this horror show to end? Hamas would try to sabotage it, of course, but Palestinians collectively would not. Israel can and must stop being the evil monster in the eyes of the Palestinians. That is where this process must start. Israel and the United States are the power centers, so Israel and the United States will determine whether or not there is justice and peace. Palestine is a politically emaciated object of Israeli policies. Hamas is an opportunistic counterforce which can exist only because of Israeli policies. If I remember correctly, Israel had a hand in the creation of Hamas, for some reason I can no longer remember.
    And the other part of all this idiocy, besides the US invasion of Iraq: the Reagan administration’s decision to aid and abet both Iran and Iraq as the Iran-Iraq War raged on, for perceived reasons of “national interest.” Stupid, immoral, homicidal. We can be utterly pathetic, and devoid of anything resembling a moral center. We can also be the opposite.

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  91. jdledell says:

    The basic problem with the whole Israeli/Palestinian conflict is the inability of each side to accept the other’s narrative. You can see the same thing on this blog by partisans on each side. Both want to claim the honor of being the biggest aggrieved party or victim.
    As a Jews I understand the victim role – we have used it and nutured it for thousands of years. We still want acknowledgement by the world of the thousands of years of descrimination and pain we have suffered. In the grand scales of justice, it’s a debt the world will never be able to repay to our satisfaction. Yet we never acknowledge what a gift it is from G-d to be born Jewish. Thru a combination of genes, culture, economics and a supportive family and tribal structure we are blessed and the results worldwide are illustrative.
    When my relatives living in the settlements and outposts complain about how hard and dangerous their lives are I ask them whether they would rather have been born as an African, or Hondurean or G-d forbid an arab, they grudgingly acknowledge maybe things are not so bad.
    Through the auspices of the arab family in Haifa my sisiter hired as nanny/gardener/handyman when she made aliyah in 1966, I have come to know many Palestinians on both sides of the green line. The arab grievence stems from the demise of the great Islamic wave that swept over much of the civilized world more than a 1000 years ago. Islamic scholars were the epitamy of knowledge and Islam was the religion growing geometrically. The Ottoman Empire was the decaying end of the age of Islam. The honor and dignity of arabs disappeared with the empire. This is the reason Israeli attempts to deliberately humiliate Palestinians is so counterproductive.
    Progress on the Peace front will not progress until there is loud public acknowledgement on both sides of the other’s grievances and narrative. The Palestinians and arabs need to say explicitly that Jews have been descriminated against and slaughtered for thousands of years and need the security of a Jewish state to live peacefully. They also need to acknowledge that the 1948, 1967, and 1973 wars against Israel were wrong and apologize. They also need to apologize for suicide bombings and driving out Jews from arab lands. To that end, arab countries are prepared to pay $50 billion to Israel in compensation.
    Israel needs to state loudly and explicitly that the origin of their own state by UN mandate never considered the rights and wishes of the native arab population. That what happened during the Nabka was wrong. The 1948 war was fought primarily by armies of Jordan, Egypt and Syria and the vast, vast, vast majority of Palestinians driven out of Israel were non combatant civilians. They also need to acknowledge and apologize for the decades of occupation and excessive counter-terrorism tactics. To that end, Israel is prepared to pay $50 billion in compensation to the Palestinians. In addition Israel has to acknowledge the Palestinians right of return – then negotiate a face saving limitations to it’s actual implementation.
    Once these emotional issues are dealt with, I believe the issues of borders, East Jerusalem, how to allow Jews to continue to live in Palestine will all become fairly easily and quickly solved. But nothing will happen until the emotional baggage on both sides is dealt with. This will not be easy for anyone on either side to do. Pride is an obomination befor G-d and it needs to be jettisoned before peace will emerge.

    Reply

  92. Dan Kervick says:

    Nadine, Hizbollah is not in the quartet. Neither is Hamas. Neither are the Likud or Yisrael Beiteinu. The position of the Iranian government, even under Ahmadinejad, is that Iran will accept any deal that the Palestinians themselves make.
    The US, Russians, Europeans and UN, working with the Saudis and other powers in the region, have the power to establish a framework for a final status settlement and to make it stick on the two parties through a combination of cajoling, promises of aid and threats of coercive sanctions. This power can be actualized so long as the parties are not divided by the machinations of Israeli rejectionists or Palestinian rejectionists, or both.
    I understand Israel is currently worried about existential threats. They are always worried about existential threats, and given their national history and cultural makeup I don’t expect those worries to go away any time soon. Now it’s those supposed Iranian nukes are the existential threat. If the Iranian nuclear issue is dealt with successfully, the new existential threat will be Chinese submarines, or killer asteroids and radiation from outer space.
    But the fact is, while Israel has withdrawn from some of the non-Israeli territories in occupied in the 1967 war and the 1973 war, it has not been forced to yield one inch of the territory it established as the state of Israel in 1948. Not one inch. And how much territory would it have been forced to yield if it were *not* attempting to colonize the West Bank? Not one inch. Israel’s capacity to defend itself is secure.
    In the United States, the chief task now is to prevent the US Congress from taking steps that undermine President Obama’s diplomatic position, international credibility and authority. Many in this country will be working to do just that. If others around the world perceive that Obama cannot deliver the US Congress and the more extreme and intractable US supporters of Israel that many of these members of Congress serve, Obama’s window of opportunity to shepherd a deal may collapse. Given the of US interests in the region, these people are playing a dangerous game with the security of the United States and its people.
    During this period, there will be many rejectionist Israelis and supporters of Israel agitating about existential threats, the ineradicable evil of Arabs and need for Israelis to lay hold to all of what they regard as their ancestral homeland. Some rejectionist Palestinians will be agitating for a return of everything they have lost to the Zionist movement. Obama and other leaders are going to have to preserve a thick skin and ignore them.

    Reply

  93. questions says:

    And Nadine,
    I’m not so sure about the shame thing. “Size” (of GDP) is not likely the biggest (ha!) issue in the I/P, ME mess.
    There’s a lot more stuff going on that makes a lot more sense than basic guy/dick/size/humiliation issues.

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  94. questions says:

    @POA, 2)$ a.m.:
    POA writes to Nadine,
    “‘weaponizing nuclear power’
    What a stupid comment. Do you have a clue, you blithering idiot?
    Show us where the IAEA claims that Iran has violated the terms of the NPT.”
    questions replies:
    I think Nadine’s point is that there is a possibility of turning regular old-fashioned nuclear power capacity into weapons capacity. There is a significant distrust of Iranian intention. This distrust is not based on a current violation of proliferation, it’s based on a fear of a future violation. IR has to deal with future fears, generalized anxiety, as well as present events. Whether or not you like it, the fact is that the analysts have to think through intention and future possibility.
    Note that on the left wants this kind of small future possible harm taken into account with pollution issues, and the right wants it taken into account with defense issues. The real underlying issue is that we simply can’t know the future based on the past, and so we are quite prone to anxiety based on small possibilities of harm.
    (Oh, and thanks for the kind words WigWag.)

    Reply

  95. questions says:

    OT, but really worth following up every link!
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/7/11/752431/-The-House-healthcare-markup-is-going-to-be-hand-to-hand-combat-
    Health care, lobbying, mark up sessions, paid line-standers, and a bonus Matt Taibbi link which is also quite interesting.
    Much of this is first hand accounts rather than the stand back and look for statistical patterns take that also needs to be done, but it is all interesting nonetheless. You can follow Bernie Sanders’s attempts to offer amendments! (From the Taibbi piece.)
    It shows some of the pressure points, some of the ways that outfits like ActBlue and Kos can get in on the action as well. Really worth the time of day! And this Wendell Potter guy is a gem! The revolving door takes a hit, as it should. In my mind, this problem far outstrips any kind of money transfer.
    Now back to our regularly scheduled invective….
    …, it’s my understanding in my limited way that a fair amount of the founding of Israel had to do not with moral concern for European Jewish people, but for solving the “problem” of said people — that is, getting them out of Europe. So, far less deep concern, and more a new kind of ghettoizing.
    As for Nadine, the problem with allowing the Palestinian rhetoric to dominate Israel’s actions is that Israel becomes more and more militant, violent, destructive and less what it should be over time. There is a huge risk in backing off, giving land back, losing water rights and the like. A huge risk. There are internal political dynamics that won’t allow re-election AND negotiation to go hand-in-hand, there are legitimate fears. And at the same time, there really is a moral demand to be humane instead of doing the whole smiting thing. Israel is in “smite mode” and it’s deeply troubling, sad, and brutal.
    A whole generation of Palestinian children lost to malnutrition. A whole generation of Israeli children raised to hate. I would never want that level of hatred in the souls of my children, and I would never want that level of malnutrition in the bodies of the children of my “enemies” and so I would, personally, wish for a deep rethinking of “my enemies.”
    One of many problems I see in the I/P situation is that it is in the interests of BOTH sides to exaggerate the rhetoric, and the violence. The payoffs are huge. So, yes the Palestinians SAY they want…. And yes, the Israels SAY they want… but if someone just for a short time decides not to bite on the fishing hook of intensified rhetoric (sorry for the ridiculous image!), maybe the whole script could be interrupted and maybe something different could happen.
    The US has a long and deeply unpleasant history of racism, exaggeration of racial categories, science to PROVE racial inferiority, court cases to PROVE that whites have been racially wounded and so on. When people break out of the race script, they discover that IQ has no race, that honesty, hard work, respect, decency, humanity all have no race. But someone’s got to take that step.
    The Laitin book I’m in the middle of talks about “coordination games” as the underlying structure of culture choice. That is, we all, without communicating directly with one another, need to coordinate our behavior. Culture gives us a set of rules that enable this coordination. We all know how most of us will respond, and so we all know how to behave, even without explicit instruction. Laitin notes the ways that culture shifts, the ways that costs and benefits of these changes alter so that people will alter their behavior. (Laitin also notes that all-crucial direction of causality problem!)
    Somehow, the message has to get out that the status quo in Israel is unacceptable. Thus far in the book, Laitin hasn’t discussed the role of the “instigator” — the one who gets the ball rolling. Israel needs instigators to start a cascade of attitudinal change. It is for this reason that I have advocated tv shows or other soft power pushes.
    Take McKinney’s boat and multiply it by thousands. Make them all row boats. Each boat has a single box of crayons. Each boater risks tangling with the Israeli Navy. Each boat is an instigator. The show is more for the Israelis who need to see the world differently. I would hope that seeing thousands of individual boaters on the water, each bringing a single box of crayons, might actually reach some souls.
    It’s a risk. I don’t downplay the risk at all. The waiting/burnout game is a risk too. Look what Israel is losing right now. The souls of its children. Who would want all of that hatred in the souls of his or her children?

    Reply

  96. ... says:

    wigwag lying and misrepresenting the truth again… i guess that is the thin veneer of the ‘gentlemen’ showing thru… “It’s strange that given the number of refugees created during the 20th century, there seems to be a unique concern about Palestinian refugees resulting from Israel’s creation in 1948. I can’t really understand why Washington Note readers are so much more obsessed about the fate of Palestinians than with all the other downtrodden groups in the world. I’ve asked for a reasonable explanation; so far no one has offered one.”
    there was a unique concern for jewish refugees as well which resulted in the creation of israel.. perhaps that doesn’t count when you need act stupid… presently the jewish people have decided to live out collective punishment towards palestinians with some of us here are pointing it out to you.. it must really bother you to such an extent that you come up with the same lying characterizations so regularly…
    be my guest.. cherry pick my words while openly ignoring the reality so many plainly see regarding the racist and hostile nation israel has become…

    Reply

  97. Paul Norheim says:

    WigWag,
    I`m sure we all cherry pick information, whether we like to
    admit it or not; whether we even realize it or not. That`s part of
    the human condition, and I have no problem admitting it.
    To give you a hypothetical, but relevant example: If I had
    studied Benny Morris`books (I`ve only read reviews and
    interviews with him), I would not be surprised if I had referred
    to his older historical work approvingly in discussions, and
    disagreed with his later polemical statements – the opposite of
    what you`ve done. (BTW: approving the first does not
    necessarily require swallowing the latter, as you seemed to say
    to Dan above, but that`s a digression here). Yes, we all cherry
    pick more or less, and as you pointed out in another thread:
    first class scientists are no exception.
    “I also think that it is hypocritical and self delusional for people
    I respect like you and Dan Kervick to think that you are
    somehow more objective about the situation in he Middle East
    than I am. Everything that you write (and that Dan writes)
    suggests that you are as convinced of the correctness of your
    position as I am of mine.”
    Sure, I guess I`m as convinced of the correctness of my position
    as you are of yours, but I don`t believe for a moment that I am
    “objective”. I`m not even sure what “objective” means with
    respect to evaluating a political conflict like the one referred to.
    I sincerely doubt that “objectivity” is possible in these matters;
    our views would always be colored one way or another, even if
    they were more complex, or ambivalent, and we all have our
    blind spots.
    But I certainly believe that you, who identify yourself with the
    Zionist project, are partisan in a different way than me. It`s
    difficult for me to identify with the nationalistic aspect on either
    side: I`ve lived in at least four very different places for longer
    periods of my life, and feel much more at home when I`m
    “abroad” than when I`m “at home”, if that makes any sense.
    With respect to POA, I am among those who on several
    occasions have criticized him for being too rude, also against
    others, and I`m sure he knows my position on this.
    You said to him above that his commenting at the Washington
    Note is “not an opportunity to share your ideas; it’s an excuse
    to work out the complex inner issues…”
    Personally, I believe that we all are burdened with some
    complex inner issues, and I notice that both your and his way of
    “working them out” are remarkably productive at TWN.
    But I realize that it`s not pleasant to be on the receiving side of
    his invectives, and that`s why also I complain once in a while.
    However, I also think that your accusations of sexism and
    racism are off the mark: I regard them merely as quid pro quo.

    Reply

  98. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “weaponizing nuclear power”
    What a stupid comment. Do you have a clue, you blithering idiot?
    Show us where the IAEA claims that Iran has violated the terms of the NPT.

    Reply

  99. nadine says:

    For those who don’t know: weaponizing nuclear power and non-cooperation with UN inspections are against the NPT. This is from last month:
    VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran wants the ability to build nuclear weapons to gain the reputation of a major power in the Middle East, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said in a BBC interview broadcast on Wednesday.
    Tehran denied the assertion. But International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei told Iran at an IAEA meeting that it would not be trusted unless “you go the extra mile” and lift restrictions on U.N. inspections.

    ElBaradei said the Islamic Republic sees a nuclear breakout ability as an “insurance policy” against perceived threats from neighboring countries or the United States.
    “My gut feeling is that Iran definitely would like to have the technology … that would enable it to have nuclear weapons if they decided to do so,” he told the BBC.
    The enrichment process can be configured to produce fuel either for nuclear power plants or weapons.
    “(Iran) wants to send a message to its neighbors, it wants to send a message to the rest of the world: yes, don’t mess with us, we can have nuclear weapons if we want it,” said ElBaradei.
    “But the ultimate aim of Iran, as I understand it, is that they want to be recognized as a major power in the Middle East and they are. “This is to them the road to get that recognition to power and prestige and … an insurance policy against what they heard in the past about regime change, axis of evil.”
    http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE55G21V20090617

    Reply

  100. nadine says:

    “I agree with Dan Kervick’s post that the land claims have got to go, that people need professional assistance in dealing with the conflict. Sadly, I don’t think conflict resolution works unless people want the conflict resolved. And it’s been my observation that it takes unbelievable burnout before people are ready to alter their thinking. I don’t see that burnout on either side. But I do think that what Israel is hoping to inflict is burnout.”
    questions, it isn’t a border dispute. If it were, it could be solved. It’s an existential dispute.
    The nature of the dispute matters intensely. If it’s a border dispute, you can improve matters by yielding territory. If it’s an existential dispute, you only whet the other side’s appetite for your destruction by yielding land.
    Israel is a strong and vibrant country, and its very success humiliates the Arabs. Israel has a $160 Billion GDP, the size of many European countries. The combined GDP of the whole Arab world is less than that of Spain (about $600 billion), and that’s with the oil. Without it, it would less than tiny Israel’s. The Arabs are ashamed of their weak position – but of course, their pride won’t let them say that. So they blame others instead.
    I agree with you that Israel is trying to inflict burnout. There is an Arab – Israeli subtext:
    Arabs: We hate you, you are despicable Jews and you have no right to rule a single inch of Arab land. We will destroy you if it takes 100 years. We can wait.
    Israelis: So, you can wait? We can wait too. And while you are stewing in hatred, we will continue to build, to invent, to progress, to live! This is our home, our ancestral land, and we are going nowhere.

    Reply

  101. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “If you never ever pay attention to anything the Muslim world says or does, I can understand your arguments better know. It must be nice to be inside your head with Peter Pan and the tooth fairy”
    ROFLMAO!!!!!
    That was brought to you by the same person that said the IAEA has declared that Iran has violated the terms of the NPT, and that no child is going hungry in Gaza.

    Reply

  102. WigWag says:

    Posted by WigWag, Jul 09 2009, 1:28PM –
    “The fact that you can’t make your point without demeaning others suggests that you don’t even really believe in the intellectual arguments you are making. For you, commenting at the Washington Note is not an opportunity to share your ideas; it’s an excuse to work out the complex inner issues that spur you to be a bully in the first place.”
    Posted by PissedOffAmerican, Jul 12 2009, 12:29AM
    When I figure out how to politely call you a propaganda spewing jackass I’ll get back to you.

    Reply

  103. nadine says:

    “But getting back in the present, nobody serious is trying to push the Israelis back into the sea – just back behind the Green Line.”
    Dan, in answer I have just one question: What color is the sky on your planet? Because you are nowhere on planet Earth.
    Hamas isn’t serious? Hizbullah isn’t serious? Fatah isn’t serious? Syria, the patron of all the above, isn’t serious? Iran, the super patron of all the above, isn’t serious?
    Or maybe you just don’t listen to any of them. Because they all OPENLY proclaim their intention to drive the Jews into the sea and destroy Israel. It’s in the Hamas charter. It’s in the PLO charter. Hamas says it openly. Fatah says in in Arabic (in English they lie). Ahmedinijad proclaims his intentions to remove the “cancer”, the “rotten corpse of Israel” and is racing to get the bomb.
    Daily the Palestinians preach it to their people:
    The Jews are thieves who came from Europe after the Holocaust, which didn’t happen or was vastly exaggerated, to steal the country of Palestine which has been Arab since the dawn of time. The Jews have no connection with it; there was never a Jewish Temple in Palestine, Judea never existed, the events of the Bible happened somewhere else. The Jews have NO right to a single inch of Palestine, and look! they are withdrawing from places, which proves they have no right!
    It’s all crap but it’s what they say from high to low. Yasser Arafat even told President Clinton that there had never been a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. (Clinton told him not to insult his intelligence.)
    If you never ever pay attention to anything the Muslim world says or does, I can understand your arguments better know. It must be nice to be inside your head with Peter Pan and the tooth fairy.

    Reply

  104. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “See my comment at 12:06 AM”
    When I figure out how to politely call you a propaganda spewing jackass I’ll get back to you.

    Reply

  105. WigWag says:

    Posted by WigWag, Jul 09 2009, 1:28PM –
    “Of course, by engaging with you at all, I am probably just feeding your narcissistic desire to be noticed.”
    Posted by PissedOffAmerican, Jul 12 2009
    “You disgust me.”

    Reply

  106. WigWag says:

    “Ya think?”
    See my comment at 12:06 AM

    Reply

  107. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “If you want an actual exchange of ideas, I am happy to oblige. Before I do, you need to demonstrate that you can interact like a normal human being”
    Normal human beings don’t condone genocide or ethnic cleansing.
    If I want to interact “normally”, you’re the last person I’d turn to. You disgust me.

    Reply

  108. PissedOffAmerican says:

    My comments here are not just read by you, Wig Wag. If anyone here can find a comment by me that is racist, I’d like to see it.
    But I would assume, that the long time posters here, who have read my posting over the years, know what I know.
    That you’re a liar.
    I have NEVER displayed, written, or insinuated a prejudice or bigotry towards Mexicans.
    Perhaps if our government was dumping white phosphorous on them, and blaming it on the drug cartels, and I defended and condoned such an action, you could accuse me of being racist.
    Ya think?

    Reply

  109. WigWag says:

    “Still ignoring millions of clusterbomblets used in rural areas, eh Wiggie?”
    Are you asking this question rhetorically or do you really want to engage me on the issue?
    If you want an actual exchange of ideas, I am happy to oblige. Before I do, you need to demonstrate that you can interact like a normal human being. That means, no cursing; no demeaning my or anyone else’s point of view; no verbally charged language and no hyperventilating. It means you have to behave here with more or less the same demeanor you use when meeting one of your clients or when you go out to dinner with people who are your acquaintances as opposed to your friends. Put simply, it means you need to be polite. If you want to debate with me you need to treat me with the same respect you would use if you were interacting with your friend Nina or your mother-in-law.
    If you’re unsure what I mean and need some role models, go back and re-read some posts from Paul Norheim, Dan Kervick, JohnH, Zathras, Questions or Franklin. They’re forthright, direct, articulate and not insulting. Try emulating them.
    Prove you can do it for a couple of days and then I will be happy to discuss with you any topic you’re interested in, including cluster bombs.
    I interact with many of the gentlemen on this site because they are gentlemen.
    Behave like one and I’ll be happy to chat with you.

    Reply

  110. PissedOffAmerican says:

    So anti-semite doesn’t work, limp dick doesn’t cut it, so now that dolt has me being “sexist”. Did I forget bigoted against Mexicans?
    No, you propaganda spewing maggot, I’m not sexist, I don’t have a limp dick, and I’m not prejudiced aghainst Mexicans.
    I just can’t stand a person that is so bigoted, so hateful, that they will stare evil in the face, and embrace it. There is no venom that can clearly underscore the abhorance that I feel for your willingness to sanction Israel’s actions.
    I don’t give a shit what sex you are, Wig-wag. Male, female, doesn’t matter.
    If theres one good thing illustrated by this thread, its that your propaganda, and the blatant LYING of Nadine, and the obsfucations of questions are no longer breeding agreement or sympathy. More and more I see the public, and even the posters here on TWN, wising up to your scripted line of bullshit. You propaganda slinging mouthpieces are no longer the sole source of information about I/P. Your spin is wearing thin. Your covers have been pulled, Wig-wag, and whats underneath is pretty ugly. And whats more, you are no longer believed. I sense theres not a soul on this blog that buys into your bullshit. And that includes the very few people that are characterless enough to help you spread it.

    Reply

  111. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Innocent Palestinians hurt or killed in the process are the victims of Hamas not Israel
    Still ignoring millions of clusterbomblets used in rural areas, eh Wiggie? Still not addressing uprooted and razed orchards. Still ignoring peaceful protestors being shot with live ammo. Still ignoring fishermen being targeted by Israeli gunboats. Still ignoring IDF troops shitting in Palestinian appliances and writing racist graffiti on the walls.
    Yep, its all, Hamas fault if Israel poisons wells and forces Palestinian women to give birth in backseats at border checkpoints.
    Yeah, in Wig-wag’s perverse little world of racist justification, the Palestinians deserve it. Just like Hitler thought the Jews did.

    Reply

  112. WigWag says:

    “WigWag is a political progressive who’s ended up defending positions that are paradoxical, to say the least (supporting the strong and attacking the weak in a particular conflict).”
    That is just inaccurate. While I am a political progressive, what I believe is that Israel should attack Hamas and destroy it if possible or degrade it if can’t be destroyed.
    Innocent Palestinians hurt or killed in the process are the victims of Hamas not Israel.
    I am sure that Israel doesn’t always do everything it can protect civilians. I regret that, but I understand that like all governments waging war, mistakes of omission and commission are inevitable as are moral lapses. I don’t defend those lapses but I do understand them. Most of these lapses occur because Israel is more concerned about protecting its civilians and soldiers than in going the extra mile to protect Palestinian civilians. Every nation waging war now and throughout history faces the same dilemmas.
    Unlike many readers of the Washington Note, I am not willing to hold Israel to a higher standard than other nations waging war against their enemies (and Hamas is most certainly Israel’s enemy). Israel’s efforts to protect civilians compare favorably to American efforts to protect civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan; with Russian attempts to protect civilians in its war in Chechnya and with Chinese efforts to protect civilians in its war with Tibet.
    Although people who comment here mention those other situations occasionally; the expression of their outrage is largely limited to the way Israel treats Palestinians. I find that perplexing but not completely surprising.
    I get it Paul; you think some moral outrage is called for. I do to, but I don’t think any more moral outrage is called for about Palestinian suffering than the suffering of any of the multitude of other ethnic, national, religious and linguistic groups that feel oppressed. You find my unwillingness to wail over the fate of the Palestinians a moral failing. I find the disproportionate outrage you express about Palestinian suffering compared to so many other groups a moral failure on your part. Your hyper concern about Palestinian suffering is as irritating to me as your perception of my lack of concern about Palestinians is to you. I also think that it is hypocritical and self delusional for people I respect like you and Dan Kervick to think that you are somehow more objective about the situation in he Middle East than I am. Everything that you write (and that Dan writes) suggests that you are as convinced of the correctness of your position as I am of mine. And it is self evident to me that you are perfectly happy to advance theories, newspaper articles, stuff you come across on the internet, etc that support your position while ignoring information that detracts from your position. I plead guilty of doing this myself. It seems to me that the only person around here prepared to look at things dispassionately is Questions who seems to have the unique ability to look at things from all perspectives.
    And Paul, my demeanor is no better or worse than yours. Your posts suggest that you are every bit as much a partisan in this matter as I am. The only difference is that I’m willing to admit my prejudices; you don’t seem willing to admit yours. At least you haven’t so far.
    Somewhere up thread you alluded to some of the comments I’ve made about POA. Here’s the bottom line; I don’t put up with abusive, sexist men. And I won’t have them verbally abuse me without responding in kind. After watching POA for many months at the Washington Note, I’ve concluded that his modus operendi is to attempt to verbally intimidate people who don’t agree with him. Well Limpy isn’t going to verbally intimidate me. He’s a sexist bigot masquerading as a person concerned with oppressed groups like Palestinians. His testosterone laden remarks aren’t directed at fostering debate; they directed as limiting debate. He’s a bully; he’s obviously got problems with women and on more than one occasion he’s made comments about Mexicans that should at least give a fair minded person pause.
    If Steve Clemons wants to allow POA to perch at his site cursing at, abusing and attempting to intimidate everyone he disagrees with, that’s his business. The site belongs to him; and all of us, including me are here at his sufferance.
    But no man is going to use me as a punching bag to sublimate his frustration with his own impotence.
    I’m sorry if this is an issue that you’re unable to fathom.

    Reply

  113. Dan Kervick says:

    Yes, WigWag, I do have my mind made up. I’ve been reading and thinking about this issue for years, and I now think the time for debate, rational persuasion and entreaties is over. Its time for that vast majority portion of humanity who are *not* Israelis, Palestinians, or members of their most devoted fan clubs abroad just to *do* something about the problem by settling independently on an solution and compelling the parties to accept it.
    Some Israeli and Palestinian hardliners will fuss and lash out; but I suspect a larger portion are eager to escape from the addictive clutches of their own stupid, addictive melodramas.

    Reply

  114. Sand says:

    Steve… I KNOW you are checking in!! Can’t you send some pictures of Rome — I’m trying to convince my other half to take some time off to go. Last time I went was in early 90’s with my Nana — I’m due for a bit of ‘culture.’
    Also, some dog pictures would go down well…
    Off for some Pinot Gris now — so I better stop posting for the night.

    Reply

  115. questions says:

    Well, POA, remember I get paid by the word (or the byte, I guess) by Israel for talking about how much I disagree with Israeli policies but think that the arguments made against the policies should be good, consistent, logical. That the goal of conversation isn’t finding the nastiest insults possible and hurling them at anyone who isn’t in agreement with me.
    I agree with Dan Kervick’s post that the land claims have got to go, that people need professional assistance in dealing with the conflict. Sadly, I don’t think conflict resolution works unless people want the conflict resolved. And it’s been my observation that it takes unbelievable burnout before people are ready to alter their thinking. I don’t see that burnout on either side. But I do think that what Israel is hoping to inflict is burnout.
    Some more straw for your crap, POA!

    Reply

  116. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “And the idea that the treatment of the Palestinians could be dropped by readers and posters at TWN IF ONLY the US stopped sending money — what does that say about morality?”
    Straw.
    He’s like a machine. You could chain him up for a day in a stud barn, and he’d keep the horses in bedding for a year.

    Reply

  117. Sand says:

    “…Oh, and Sand, your tax dollars go to HUGE amounts of injustice all around the world…”
    Yes, I’m sure except Israel gets the bulk of it with NO conditions.

    Reply

  118. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “That’s fine, Sand, convince your fellow Americans to vote for a President and for congressman and senators who won’t send your tax dollars to Israel”
    “If you can”
    Well, we don’t have to. Apparently, the computer age is instilling enough actual knowledge into the general population that the racist and inhumane policies of Israel will do the “convincing” for us. We ain’t there yet, but we are getting there. Just keep doing what you’re doing, Wig-wag, and Israel will find itself sharing a chapter with Nazi Germany in tomorrow’s history books.

    Reply

  119. Sand says:

    “…That’s fine, Sand, convince your fellow Americans to vote for a President and for congressman and senators who won’t send your tax dollars to Israel. If you can…”
    In addition, to show people out there — that there are Americans who are vile, twisted, and manipulating enough to actually support a policy of exterminating a people.
    + Who are members of AIPAC.

    Reply

  120. questions says:

    POA,
    I am NOT anti-ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT. I am supportive of an attempt at open borders, justice in pay, and better conditions for cross border migration. I think, following Saskia Sassen’s work, that if capital can flow around the globe at the blink of an eye, labor ought to have its freedom as well.
    So sorry for the imprecision on my part. Even ILLEGAL immigrants should be well treated and welcomed. In my book at any rate.
    Nadine did come back. I don’t address every post here whether I agree or not. I’ve said so many times that I don’t agree with the treatment of the Palestinians and that the suffering is a problem that I’m not sure why it should be required of me to say it yet again. But here goes: Nadine, the Red Cross, I believe, just came out with a report on malnutrition in Gaza children. There is malnutrition. Malnutrition affects growth and intellectual development. A whole generation of kids will be lost if it continues. It’s horrific and unjustified.
    Hope you can relax now POA!
    Oh, and Sand, your tax dollars go to HUGE amounts of injustice all around the world. Nation states are almost by definition purveyors of injustice. The prefer their citizens over others. They fail to share resources. They defend their own corruption and exploit others.
    And the idea that the treatment of the Palestinians could be dropped by readers and posters at TWN IF ONLY the US stopped sending money — what does that say about morality?

    Reply

  121. Dan Kervick says:

    Yeah, I know Nadine. It turned out that a lot of the people in Palestine wanted to stay where they were instead of going to live with their “brother Arabs.” Go figure. Tough luck for the early dreams of the political Zionists.
    But getting back in the present, nobody serious is trying to push the Israelis back into the sea – just back behind the Green Line. Once they are there, they can build a separation wall 500 feet high for all I care. And if the Palestinians manage to lob a some rockets over it, I would support international or US troops going in, finding the perpetrators and kicking their asses.
    But enough is enough with this melodrama. Except for the innocent children, my empathy deficit has bottomed out. Anyway, I guess I’m too “deracinated”, so none of these sob stories about national aspirations, national narratives and national suffering got to me in the first place. I know the people in Palisraelstine in 2009 have ancestors who were murdered. But one thing that they all have in common is that they are all personally alive. Some have direct personal memories of personal suffering or of close loved ones experiencing dreadful suffering, but that generation of dying out. They should stop clutching and huddling around the idols of past pain, turn around and face the future.
    Crips, bloods; Hatfields; McCoys; Israelis, Palestinians. Who gives a damn what the original beef is? This is just an international policing matter now, requiring the a practical, unsentimental achievable solution. There are specialists in post-conflict resolution and reconciliation who can go in to get everybody to feel each other’s pain and love and kiss each other after the international community has gotten their arms around the problem.

    Reply

  122. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I can’t really understand why Washington Note readers are so much more obsessed about the fate of Palestinians than with all the other downtrodden groups in the world. I’ve asked for a reasonable explanation; so far no one has offered one”
    Because we not only subsidize Israel’s atrocities with billions in aid and loan guarantees, we also supply much of the weaponry and munitions with which you murderous racists are exterminating Palestinians. There is no single issue that so poignantly underscores our hypocricy, our flight from sound values and concern for human rights, and our soveriegnity than this perverse and corrosive relationship we have with Israel. The tentacles of Israeli influence into our government has allowed us to become a detestable co-conspirator in actions that rival that of Nazi Germany.
    Thats why. In a shorter version, because you people are using MY DIME to act like nazis.

    Reply

  123. WigWag says:

    “…I can’t really understand why Washington Note readers are so much more obsessed about the fate of Palestinians…”
    Because our Congress members seemed obsessed in sending our tax dollars to Israel to specifically ‘exterminate’ them [the Palestinians.
    That’s fine, Sand, convince your fellow Americans to vote for a President and for congressman and senators who won’t send your tax dollars to Israel.
    If you can.

    Reply

  124. Paul Norheim says:

    Questions, POA`s or others` position on US/Mexican border
    issues does not play any role in my thoughts about WigWag`s
    Middle East positions, and I don´t intend to comment on that.
    Further, POA`s presence at The Washington Note does in no
    significant way explain or excuse WigWag`s positions – those I
    tried to make a brief summary of above.
    WigWag is a political progressive who`s ended up defending
    positions that are paradoxical, to say the least (supporting the
    strong and attacking the weak in a particular conflict).
    This is due to Zionist loyalties and conflicts in a particular region
    of the world, and has originally nothing to do with the demeanor
    of other commenters at TWN.

    Reply

  125. PissedOffAmerican says:

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3744516,00.html
    Thought-police is here
    Rona Kuperboim
    Published: 07.10.09, 13:11 / Israel Opinion
    Rona Kuperboim slams Foreign Ministry’s plan to hire pro-Israel talkbackers
    The Foreign Ministry unveiled a new plan this week: Paying talkbackers to post pro-Israel responses on websites worldwide. A total of NIS 600,000 (roughly $150,000) will be earmarked to the establishment of an “Internet warfare” squad.
    The Foreign Ministry intends to hire young people who speak at least one language and who study communication, political science, or law – or alternately, Israelis with military experience gained at units dealing with information analysis.
    Beyond the fact that these job requirements reveal a basic lack of understanding in respect to the dynamics of the online discourse – the project’s manager argued that “adults don’t know how to blog” – they are not too relevant either. An effective talkbacker does not need a law degree or military experience. He merely needs to care about the subject he writes about.
    The sad truth is that had Israeli citizens believed that their State is doing the right thing, they would have made sure to explain it out of their own accord. Without being paid.
    Foreign Ministry officials are fighting what they see as a terrible and scary monster: the Palestinian public relations monster. Yet nothing can be done to defeat it, regardless of how many foolish inventions will be introduced and how many bright communication students will be hired.
    The reason is that good PR cannot make the reality in the occupied territories prettier. Children are being killed, homes are being bombed, and families are starved. Yet nonetheless, the Foreign Ministry wants to try to change the situation. And they have willing partners. “Where do I submit a CV?” wrote one respondent. “I’m fluent in several languages and I’m able to spew forth bullshit for hours on end.”
    continues….
    Sounds like that respondent has the same skills that questions does.

    Reply

  126. Sand says:

    “…I can’t really understand why Washington Note readers are so much more obsessed about the fate of Palestinians…”
    Because our Congress members seemed obsessed in sending our tax dollars to Israel to specifically ‘exterminate’ them [the Palestinians].

    Reply

  127. WigWag says:

    Nadine, you make an excellent point when you say,
    “And the 400,000 Jews who survived the Holocaust and the 800,000 Jews who were expelled from their homes in the Mideast, what about their right to repatriated?”
    While Jews were treated quite benignly in lands controlled by the Ottoman Turks after the fall of the Ottoman Empire they were treated extremely poorly by virtually every Arab regime. And yes, somewhere around 800 thousand were either expelled from Arab lands including Egypt, Syria, Transjordan and Iraq or they were subject to such intense discrimination that they had little choice but to leave.
    And let’s not forget the alliance between large segments of the Arab population and Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany. As I am sure you know, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem (the highest Muslim religious authority in Jerusalem) was an unabashed supporter and ally of Hitler. During the war he made numerous fiery ant-Semitic sermons that Hitler reportedly thought very highly of. In a certain sense you might say that the views about Jews that he expressed foreshadowed the things Hamas says about Jews today.
    In fairness, there were a few exceptions. The Kurds were extremely friendly and generous to their Jewish neighbors. Talk to Israelis who immigrated to Israel from Kurdish areas and they rarely have anything but superlative things to say about their former Kurdish neighbors. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the Israel and the IDF return the favor by helping the Kurds in their coming war with the Sunnis and Shia in Iraq.
    “The 20th century saw the creation of 100 million refugees. Most never got to go home. That’s just the fact. At the same time that the Israeli War of Independence/Nakhba was going on in 1948, the partition of India created 14 million refugees. They didn’t go home either. There was an exchange of populations – Muslims to Pakistan, Hindus to India.”
    That is also a very good point. I’ve made it before myself at the Washington Note. It’s strange that given the number of refugees created during the 20th century, there seems to be a unique concern about Palestinian refugees resulting from Israel’s creation in 1948. I can’t really understand why Washington Note readers are so much more obsessed about the fate of Palestinians than with all the other downtrodden groups in the world. I’ve asked for a reasonable explanation; so far no one has offered one.

    Reply

  128. PissedOffAmerican says:

    By the way; I would like you to supply this forum with one single “anti mexican immigrant” comment from me.
    Your true character is showing, questions. You better shove it back in where it belongs.

    Reply

  129. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “WigWag has brought up POA’s anti-Mexican immigrant comments repeatedly, and in my book, quite rightly”
    I was wondering when you scumbags would dredge up that bullshit. I am anti ILLEGAL immigration, questions. But you knew that, didn’t you?
    So go for it, you dissingenous jackass, turn that into me being a racist against Mexicans.
    Perhaps Wig-wag will supply us with a photograph of me dumping white phosphorous on Mexican children, just to underscore your point.

    Reply

  130. PissedOffAmerican says:

    ROFLMAO!!!!
    Damn, and here I thought my limp dick was finally getting the attention it deserves.
    Reading Questions commentary on this Hasbarcyst Wig-wag is comical indeed. We’ve gone from it’s Hamas’ fault that Israel is sauteing Palestinians in white phosphorous, to its my fault that Wig-wag would rather talk about limp dicks than specific instances of Israeli atrocities committed against a downtrodden oppressed people who’s treatment resembles that of the Jews consigned to the Warsaw ghetto.
    And questions is wrong, this ignorant racist wretch “Nadine” will not be back, because she cannot defend her two key arguments, that the IAEA has declared Iran in violation of the NPT, and that no child is going hungry in Gaza. Oh, she might do a swan song or two, but I can guarantee she won’t address those two asssertions she made, because she knows they’re pure unadulterated crap. Of course, so do questions and wig-wag, but who are they do challenge a fellow bigot? Never happen. No, if Nadine comes back, it will be in a new personna, perhaps once again claiming to be from India, or even going way back and claiming to be Incan. Remember that one?
    The real temptation here is for me to get REALLY rectal, and tell questions to go screw himself. God knows I am truly sick of his longwinded bullshit that is designed to imply an intellect that he assumes will camoflage his obvious lack of character or honesty. He is quite simply the king of obsfucation, and whats worse, he seems to work quite hard at maintaining his seat in such an odious throne.
    I can’t decide whats worse; Wig-wag’s scripted garbage, or questions intellectual ad libbing, offering arguments that are designed to take you to a conclusion that cannot be drawn by the evidence of actual events. Such a foundation for argument cannot possibly be born from conviction.
    HA! I see right on cue, Nadine is back. Hi sweetheart, care to provide us with the direct quotes from El Baradei or the IAEA claiming that Iran is in violation of the NPT?

    Reply

  131. WigWag says:

    “My understanding of the origins of the Palestinian refugee problem and of the State of Israel are based mostly on Benny Morris’s books. Morris, despite the fact that he is a somewhat obnoxiously ardent Zionist, doesn’t sugarcoat the processes that lead to the Palestinians being forced out of their homes and villages.”
    As you know, Dan, the view Benny Morris expressed in the book you are referring to is only one amongst many opinions. You site it because the story it tells comports with your preexisting predilections about the Israel-Palestine conflict. Had I sited historians who agree with my point of view, you would be making precisely the same point about me. There are many views on all of this and the view Morris used to express is no more dispositive than the views of other historians who disagree with him.
    And of course you forgot to mention that Morris himself has recanted several components of his original argument.
    You’ve also made the point that you think Morris is an “obnoxious Zionist”. Fair enough. But if you think he’s credible enough to listen to on issues pertinent to Israel’s founding; you should be willing to consider views he’s expressed more recently as well. To quote from a review of his most recent book, “One State, Two States,”
    “Morris, a professor of history at Ben-­Gurion University in Israel, argues that Arab rejectionism is so profound a force that only the terminally obtuse could believe that Palestinians will ever acquiesce to a state comprised solely of the West Bank and Gaza. Morris is equally dismissive of those who believe that a so-called one-state solution might work in place of a two-state solution. Muslim anti-Semitism and the deep cultural divide that separates Arab from Jew, among other realities, make this notion a fantasy. In this short book Morris asserts there is no one-state solution to the Middle East crisis, and no two-state solution. Morris does promote the possibility of a Palestinian confederation with Jordan, but he makes the case anemically and cursorily.”
    I don’t blame you for selectively citing Morris. Your not the only one to promote statements made by experts that support your point of view while ignoring statements those same experts make that refute your point of view. We all do that. I confess to doing it myself.
    But in fairness, I think you have to admit that it makes this statement you made
    “I’m not that interested anymore in trying to convince Israel’s devoted supporters why they are wrong. It’s not going to happen.”
    quite hypocritical. After all, you seem to have your mind made up every bit as much as those devoted Israel supporters that you implicitly criticize. With all due respect; you seem just as prepared as they are to cherry pick the facts that support your argument. You’re as devoted a supporter of the anti-Israel/pro-Palestinian narrative as they are of the narrative that they prefer.
    But as long as you think Morris is such an authority, here’s some more of what Morris has to say. This is from an op ed Morris wrote for the British newspaper, The Guardian (14, May 2009).
    “The simple truth is that since before its inception, the Arab world has laid siege to the Zionist enterprise and tried to destroy or badly weaken it, in war after war and terrorist campaign after terrorist campaign, by continuous political delegitimisation, assault and boycott. And that much that is bad about Israel today – insensitivity toward Palestinian suffering, declining school standards, even the growing power of religious parties – is, directly and indirectly a result of this Arab belligerence.”
    And then there’s this,
    “Even today, after two Arab states (Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994) have formally signed peace agreements with the Jewish state, the Arab League – which includes those two countries – is offering Israel a “peace” settlement that must include Israel’s acceptance of a mass refugee return (“a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with UN general assembly resolution 194”).
    That resolution, of 11 December 1948, which the Arabs universally regard as endorsing the 5 million-odd refugees’ right of return, states that “the refugees willing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practical date”. Flooding Israel, with its 5.7 million Jews and 1.4 million Arabs, with the refugees would instantly turn it into just another Arab-majority state (the world already benefits from 23 such states). And that is the goal of the “moderate” PLO and Palestine Authority: Why else do President Mahmoud Abbas and his aides refuse to recognize Israel as a “Jewish State”? Why else do they endorse a “two-state settlement” – but not “two states for two peoples”?
    Hamas, which won Palestinian elections in 2006 and took over the Gaza Strip in 2007, is more candid. If its charter of 1988 is to be believed, it simply wants to destroy Israel.”
    It just seems only sporting to me that as long as you mention Morris as the person to trust on all of this, that we ought to set the record straight by making clear what Morris really thinks.
    Do you really think supporters of Israel are any more wedded to their position than you are to yours? Do you really think that your positions is more objective or fact based than theirs?

    Reply

  132. nadine says:

    “WigWag, it doesn’t matter whether Palestinians fled their homes and villages to escape advancing Israeli forces or Arabs forces, or both. Either way, they were refugees of war and had a right to be repatriated to their homes.”
    And the 400,000 Jews who survived the Holocaust and the 800,000 Jews who were expelled from their homes in the Mideast, what about their right to repatriated?
    The 20th century saw the creation of 100 million refugees. Most never got to go home. That’s just the fact. At the same time that the Israeli War of Independence/Nakhba was going on in 1948, the partition of India created 14 million refugees. They didn’t go home either. There was an exchange of populations – Muslims to Pakistan, Hindus to India.
    The British negotiated the same deal for Palestine in 1949, did you know that? Jews to Israel, Arabs to the Arab countries. The Arabs kicked their own Jews out then reneged on the deal. They stuck the Arabs refugees from Palestine (they weren’t called “Palestinians” yet) into refugee camps, refused to give them work papers or passports (except for Jordan) and got the UN to feed them on the dime of the Europeans and Americans via their own special agency, UNWRA. In perpetuity, generation unto generation. The only such “permanent refugee” population in the world.
    The Jewish refugees became citizens of Israel, which is why nobody talks about them. But while you are commiserating over the fate of refugees, spare a thought for them. The Jewish communities of Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia and Persia had been there for millenia. Gone almost entirely overnight. They never got any compensation for their lost property either. Most Israelis today descend from these refugee populations.
    The miserable situation of the Palestinians has been very carefully arranged by their Arab “brethren”.
    A note about land statistics in Palestine: They are always screwy because since Ottoman times, 80% of the land has been government-owned, though somebody else might be sitting on it. That 80% has passed from Ottoman to British to Israeli/Jordanian/Egyptian/PA ownership. Statistics of ‘so-and-so only owned x% of whatever’ should be approached with caution.

    Reply

  133. questions says:

    And by the way, I’m not “defending” WigWag, inefficiently or not. I’m concerned with the kinds of arguments that get used for and against positions. I have a preference for arguments that generalize well and that have some sticking power. I don’t think that attacking WW’s defense of Israel on humanitarian grounds while simultaneously preferring a closed US/Mexican border on economic grounds (for US workers) is the most consistent position. And I think that the inconsistency is problematic. (This comment NOT directed at Paul.)
    Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians fails the Categorical Imperative. The Palestinians’ retaliations fail the Categorical Imperative. US treatment of Mexicans fails the hospitality concern (which the leads to the Categorical Imperative).
    The policy concern is that if we take what seems to be the shortest trip to the Categorical Imperative, we may be imperiling more people, doing more damage, and sacrificing the Categorical Imperative on the altar of the Categorical Imperative. A little ironic. Hence my feeling that the thing to work towards is social and cultural transformation rather than a sudden pullback.
    Putting policy and Kant together, then, puts me betwixt and between on this blog. I don’t quite agree with anyone, and I am quite capable of pissing off everyone here. Oh well.

    Reply

  134. questions says:

    No reason at all, actually. So don’t. And as for “lecturing,” sorry if the tone was off. I will try for greater neutrality.
    As far as “upset by this short version of WigWag’s opinions” I am not sure that the characterization is a)quite correct in getting at WigWag’s real concerns, b)not sure that the best way to argue against what I am uncomfortable about in WigWag is to push merely on those points without broadening to places where moral inconsistency makes it easy to harp on WigWag and ignore the moral blindspots of WigWag’s accusers.
    WigWag has brought up POA’s anti-Mexican immigrant comments repeatedly, and in my book, quite rightly. I think there’s really a blindspot on this issue, and it makes all of the moral posturing look off key.
    I consider myself somewhere in between positions here. More disgusted by Israel than WigWag, but way more understanding of Israel than, say, POA and Carroll. Thus, while I do not like WW’s gloating, I can easily see its being caused more by POA’s tone and nastiness than by actual joy at the sight of wounded, dead, and suffering Palestinians. My guess is that WW’s position would be more nuanced in other conversational milieus. But maybe that’s just my own overly charitable reading, or my own projecting.
    And on the “intellectual honesty” issue, I believe that in the prior post I put in a qualification about Norway. This point is much more related to US citizens’ benefiting from a lot of nastiness and simultaneously attacking another nation’s nastiness. There does seem to be something off in holding these two positions simultaneously.
    One of the challenges of posting here is that I feel I am responding to everyone simultaneously, even as I address only one person. So, as I address you, I generally have the sense that POA will drop by as well as others. The undetermined audience issue has caught me up before, and it will likely be an issue again unless I figure out some way to separate postings and imagining who’s out there reading what I write.
    I have enough respect for your thoughts that I would not accuse you of intellectual dishonesty. I don’t think you’re capable of it; you’re too introspective for that to be an issue.
    And …, once again, impressive!

    Reply

  135. ... says:

    questions
    Your powers of analysis are stinking!

    Reply

  136. Paul Norheim says:

    Questions,
    why should I listen to your advice on how to attack WigWag
    efficiently, when you defend him in such an inefficient manner?
    I am not “attacking”; I`m paraphrasing, summing up, condensing
    WigWag`s statements during the recent months. All your talk
    shows that you`re upset by this short version of WigWag`s
    opinions. But I`m not inventing any of this.
    And questions, please don`t lecture me on “intellectual honesty”.

    Reply

  137. questions says:

    The point of bringing up the “realism” issue is that “realism” is a standard way of interpreting international relations, is supposed to be the theme of this blog even (despite dressing it up as a more humane or kinder and gentler version of realism) and so to underline the fairly standard read of I/P that WigWag presents. It’s just not so pathologically outlier-ish as it’s presented by some readers here.
    A consistent and intellectually honest trashing of WigWag’s views likely needs to engage with: partiality and impartiality issues, nationalism, rational choice and identification issues, national myths and foundations and the legitimacy of any claim at all to any land whatsoever, the extent to which nations may or may not use deterrence issues within the laws of war — all of this to start with.
    (Disproportionate responses to aggression raise the cost of future aggression significantly, and this cost increase is the point of the response. Self-defense for sure. Kind? Nope. Humane? Nope, not for the aggressors.)
    Screaming “beast” or monster at WigWag doesn’t deal with the issues at hand. Not paying money doesn’t deal with the issues at hand. Getting rectal doesn’t help either.
    Far better to define concepts and apply them as you can, accept critique that is offered in a spirit of concern for the truth, lather, rinse, repeat.
    You might find that WigWag is capable of rethinking, of humane concern if the critique is offered in a spirit of dialogue, and not in the spirit of Thrasymachus (whom I’d never want to meet in a dark alley or a low-lit bar or in a clean well-lighted place to read.)

    Reply

  138. questions says:

    But if the “beast” is merely advocating more directly what everyone already advocates, what then? So the US doesn’t dump white phosphorous on Mexico, but it certainly does act in other deeply unjust and fatal ways in the name of nationalism. My personal GUESS is that more Mexicans have died from US policy than Palestinians have died from Israeli policy, (but I could be off on this one). We, in the US, benefit from the cheap labor, the general exploitation, and we in the US have a pretty clear preference for Mexican suffering over American suffering.
    Israel has a stated preference for Palestinian suffering over Israeli suffering.
    Palestinians have a preference for Israeli suffering over Palestinian suffering, and so on.
    That’s what nations do, prefer and preserve themselves over others. Not always with cluster bombs, but often enough so. Not always with white phosphorous, but often enough so.
    So if you want to attack WigWag in a more effective way, then you really have to attack nationalism, because nationalism is only sustainable through preference for one’s own over that of another. And again, you fall right in to partiality and impartiality.
    POA and Carroll seem fairly nationalist to me, and hence well within the system of benefit that encompasses what Israel does. They may feel more virtuous at some level for being American, for not wanting to PAY MONEY for Israel’s deeds, but they benefit from exploitation of labor and the price controls it brings. They have in all likelihood chosen themselves and theirs over others and that of others.
    How much distance is there really between the death that comes from enforcing borders for labor and not for capital, and what Israel does?
    For me, at least, it’s all of a piece, and the damning of Israel while benefiting from all too similar deeds is a little bit overmuch for me.
    I’m happy to disagree with much of WigWag’s advocacy even though my identifications help me understand the glee (which certainly is there, but may have significantly more to do with POA’s rhetoric than with deeply held beliefs — POA has that effect on people). But the disagreement needs to be grounded on something more than outrage at what THEY do given that what THEY do isn’t so far from what WE do. (I don’t think Norway is implicated in US/Mexican labor problems.)
    And I think it’s worth emphasizing the point above — the circumstance of conversation has much to do with the content of conversation. That is, POA’s belligerence can bring out belligerence in others that is not normally there, even as Kervick’s general calm and eloquence can elevate the dialogue. OA and Decco and … have effects as well that will change what people say.

    Reply

  139. Paul Norheim says:

    Yeah, I`m sure you “read” WigWag a little differently.
    I am just paraphrasing him. Except for the phosphor, the
    clusterbombs and the Dodo bird, I could back up every single
    expression with quotes from the Washington Note if I found the
    threads. I have a pretty good memory on this – especially his
    mocking tone, sometimes mixed with a posture of pity, when he
    refers to the Palestinians. You may call it realism, partisan realism,
    ice cream, or Route 66… I frankly don`t care. It doesn´t change
    the nature of the beast.

    Reply

  140. questions says:

    I think I read WigWag a little differently, Paul, though the Clinton thing brings back memories….
    I think that, as I said at some point, WigWag has a very strong realist component, and that realism is expressed in the legitimacy of Israel’s using overweening power in order to guarantee survival and thriving in a hostile space. Morality comes in second place to survival. I think that’s probably a significant part of realism, and I think that the arbitrary choosing of one person/people over another may well be another part of realism. So when I call WigWag a realist, this is probably what is in the front of my thinking.
    Now one may argue that it is utterly wrong to make the arbitrary decision to place one person or people over another. And certainly Kant would agree on this point. So WigWag isn’t Kantian. But once you agree with realist principles about might and its relationship to the just, you’re free and clear of Kant’s concerns.
    For WigWag, the survival and thriving of Israel is paramount (there’s the partisan part of the realist outlook), and the second that Israel’s neighbors recognize the legitimacy of Israel, Israel will be in a position to talk. But before that recognition, it is logical for Israel to continue its deterrent bombing and harassment campaigns. Yes, innocents get hurt, but WigWag has chosen a side.
    WigWag finds company in the world in that many people are deeply concerned with an empowered Hamas, and would prefer, real politik style, a defeated Hamas.
    If WigWag’s reading is correct on the general lack of support of Hamas for realist reasons, then, again, WigWag is a realist as well as a partisan.
    The argument against WigWag, then, needs to focus on the problems with realism, with putting oneself above others, with refusing self-sacrifice. Further, the argument must consider any and all partisanship and not just limit itself to WIGWAG’S version of partisanship. So when Carroll is all America for USA Americans, that’s no different from WigWag’s partisanship. (The money support stuff goes under a separate heading, and should be considered as well. The point here so far is the legitimacy of partisanship at all.)
    WigWag is hard to argue against though, because partisanship is hard to argue against. There are vast tracts of anti-Kantianism, numerous papers on the importance of partiality over impartiality. People quite legitimately hold the view that preferring one’s own over that of another is pretty natural and acceptable. Note that POA prefers American truckers over Mexican truckers. WigWag uses this point to good effect.
    Getting philosophical and a little more abstract can succeed in clarifying issues sometimes. Talk of partiality and impartiality instead of the Holocaust and white phosphorous might show in less emotionally overwrought fashion what is at stake in this matter. And it’s possible that finding that WigWag’s basic outlook is not in the least unusual, uncommon, unaccepted, immoral, sickening, or whatever, might help too.
    That any nation prefers itself to another, defends itself rather than succumb, fights rather than surrender is taken as a given. Nations are not generally pacifist. WigWag seems to argue that it’s ridiculous to ask Israel to do what no one else is asked to do. (And remember, individuals generally put themselves first, and species put themselves first, and people kill animals in brutal fashion to feed themselves.)
    At this point, you could bring up scale of conflict, but again, under realist terms, disproportionate response is a deterrent and is future oriented and so should be expected and accepted.
    And you can bring up the sense of wish for something different but fact of the world as it is. That is, it’s not that WigWag WISHES for this world, but rather that this world is what there is and WigWag supports a particular kind of action given how the world is (threats to Israel), not how the world should be (Kumbaya). If morality is in the hope for better, well, WigWag hopes for better, too. There isn’t pleasure in brutality, but there is a sense that it’s unavoidable for now.
    In the end, I think that it might be better to move the argument here to a slightly different level where analysis, abstraction, and a long look at consistency take precedence over the underlying anger. How dare you say that… meets with, well, I guess if I’m being consistent, I have moments of…as well.

    Reply

  141. Dan Kervick says:

    WigWag, it doesn’t matter whether Palestinians fled their homes and villages to escape advancing Israeli forces or Arabs forces, or both. Either way, they were refugees of war and had a right to be repatriated to their homes.
    It also doesn’t matter whether Jews or Palestinians were in the majority at the time in Palestine. Cuban-Americans may be in a majority in parts of Florida where you live, but they don’t have a right to take your house if you leave it, especially if you are running away from war.
    You speak of Palestinians “abandoning” their property as if to insinuate Israelis had some sort of common-law right to that abandoned property. You claim that the property wasn’t grabbed, but I think you know very well that the Palestinian refugee camps weren’t filled with people who had just decided they would prefer to live somewhere else.
    My understanding of the origins of the Palestinian refugee problem and of the State of Israel are based mostly on Benny Morris’s books. Morris, despite the fact that he is a somewhat obnoxiously ardent Zionist, doesn’t sugarcoat the processes that lead to the Palestinians being forced out of their homes and villages.
    I know that Palestinians have over the years developed a strong sense of collective conscience as a separate people, in part due to their experiences at the hands of the Zionist movement, European imperialists and other Arabs, a point that has been made by Ilain Pappe and Baruch Kimmerling. My point is that one doesn’t need to appeal to these subsequent cultural developments to understand why it is wrong for conquerors to push people off their land, no matter how the latter think of themselves individually or collectively.
    It seems to be that a person has to be blind not to recognize that the Zionist movement was from the beginning an expansionist movement, that it is still an expansionist movement, and the its expansion has come at great cost to the people into whose territory the expansion has taken place. But this discussion has already gone on longer than I wanted. We’re just engaging in more epicycles of an interminable debate that has been going on for many years.
    I’m not that interested anymore in trying to convince Israel’s devoted supporters why they are wrong. It’s not going to happen. On might as well try to convince the Pope to stop believing in transubstantiation and the resurrection of the dead. I’m only interested in trying to convince other, less emotionally engaged Americans with less devotional baggage that their government’s extreme affection for and security commitments to Israel and the Zionist movement are neither morally defensible nor geostrategically prudent, and that they should support efforts to move away from those commitments, and start to move toward others in the region.

    Reply

  142. Paul Norheim says:

    What`s WigWag been saying for the last six months or so?
    Here`s a summing up, provided to encourage all the
    progressive Israelis and Jews in the diaspora (and to
    demonstrate that loony leftists are losers):
    1) When Hezbollah in 2006 fired some rockets into Israeli
    territory and captured an Israeli soldier, Israel replied, rightfully,
    by clusterbombing the population and severely damaging the
    infrastructure – which three years later inspired voters in
    Lebanon to elect a pro-Western government.
    2) When Israel let the white phosphor rain over Gaza last winter,
    they gave Hamas and the population who elected them a lesson
    by questioning the wisdom of acting like children having a
    temper tantrum, banging their heads against a wall.
    3) Most of the Arab dictators supported Israel during the
    bombing of Gaza, just like they`re impatiently waiting for us to
    bomb Iran, because they fear the unrest among their own
    population, and hate the Persians even more than they hate us.
    The Arab dictators are now our friends and allies!
    4) Admittedly, the unexperienced young sexist and fluffy orator
    Obama seems to be opposed to the settlements, and seduced
    by the idea of creating a viable state for the Palestinians. I`m
    sure this makes him feel good. But if progressives in Israel and
    the diaspora show a bit of patience, there is no reason to worry.
    The United States and Europe is on the way down, and the BRIC
    nations are on the way up. When was the last time you heard
    China, India, or Russia say anything showing that they are aware
    of the existence and suffering of the Palestinian people? We
    may regret or celebrate the inevitable, but I am afraid the
    significant powers of tomorrow will ignore these suicidal and
    violent losers, their miscalculations and their misguided loony
    leftist supporters.
    5) What distinguish us pro-Israeli progressives from the loony
    leftists, is that we know that all nations always have practiced
    ethnic cleansing, colonization and the whole palette of
    atrocities, and thus see no reason why Israel should not
    progress along the same atavistic path. Humanism is hypocricy
    – or even worse: sentimentalism. The world is a brutal place,
    especially the Middle East, where men still are men. Strength
    and aggression is the only valid currency – and every time a
    weak individual or group lose in this struggle, it only highlights
    the ridiculous miscalculations of the loony leftists who
    supported them. Women!
    6) Summing up, we can conclude that we have almost crushed
    our most immediate enemies, Hezbollah and Hamas. With or
    without the help of America, but certainly aided by the dictators
    in the Arab world, we will hopefully also teach Iran a lesson. The
    future is even brighter: When China, Russia, and other emerging
    powers who regard their ethnic minorities as a nuisance,
    dominate the world scene, the Palestinians will soon be listening
    to the songs of the Dodo bird.
    7) No dark clouds in the horizon, then? Well, there is one
    nuisance left. Can you imagine anything more annoying than
    men being rude and impolite on internet blogs?
    As if anger has any place in cultivated discussions about bomb
    attacks, settlements, Israel`s progress, and the ridiculous
    mistakes of the Palestinians and the loony leftists who support
    them?

    Reply

  143. questions says:

    …,
    Your powers of analysis are striking!

    Reply

  144. ... says:

    questions apologizing for wigwag… what next??? is apologizing for israel getting boring, or is it that apologizing for either is essentially one and the same??
    paul norheim 122am- exactly…

    Reply

  145. questions says:

    David,
    What you point to via Rosenberg seems to me to be akin to what business schools churn out — single minded, laser focused stupidity. It’s also what Plato worries about in the Gorgias — rhetoric with no concern for the truth. Gorgias can give not one, but two, answers to EVERY question! A long one, if you have the time, and a short one if you’re in a hurry!
    What are the chance Gorgias knows enough to answer even one question with clarity as opposed to length?
    The willingness to use “ethnic cleansing” as a metaphor is, ummm, overmuch. But it does indeed show the comfort with pleasing the client as opposed to working for the truth. It’s pretty sad. I seriously doubt that the people who wrote that phrase up think it’s true, any more than the thought that the people who write up any ad copy really “believe in the product.”
    Rhetoric without philosophy is bad indeed.

    Reply

  146. questions says:

    POA,
    Your aggression, triumphalism, endless claims of MISSION ACCOMPLISHED as the enemies are too cowardly to reappear (but then they often do reappear), the constancy of the ad hominems and the misunderstanding about why they are problematic (hint, an ad hominem attack is NOT proof of anything, and so an “argument to the man” says nothing at all about the topic, proves nothing at all about the topic, and yet is your favorite tactic), the chest beating, the nastiness, the endless endless concern with unwanted rectal penetration with and without lubricant — all of this as a writing style does indeed suggest something other than inner calm.
    You would seem to have a deep emotional commitment to justice, especially for the Palestinians, and that’s fine. But your path isn’t the only path to justice, and your path may not even lead to justice. History has a funny way of smacking rigidity in the nether regions you’re so concerned about.
    You completely deny even the slightest possibility that there’s anything the slightest bit rational about Israel’s policies. You note that there haven’t been suicide attack in quite some time, but you don’t note that the attacks and the crack down may have some kind of at least correlative connection.
    The fact is that Israel and whatever is or will become Palestine must become their future together. Your desire to shut down Israel is too one-sided, even as WigWag’s desire to shut down Palestine would seem to be one-sided as well.
    Both sides need to be engaged, both sides need to be involved, both sides for now benefit from the status quo and have a rational interest in maintaining it. Hamas and Likud maintain political power through threat. The threat is convenient on both sides and will be maintained until there is a major shift in the political culture of both sides.
    WigWag tends to think that the Palestinians need to capitulate first and you seem to think that the Israelis must be the first. The US voted in Bush twice and we’ll be paying as citizens for his mistakes for years and years. Israel put in the right wing loonies, and Gaza put in Hamas, and they’ll all be paying for damage for quite some time as well. Political recalcitrance is really unhelpful, even if rational, understandable, and seemingly a fab idea at the time.
    Yes, there is horror. WigWag doesn’t in the least bit deny that fact. Would you honestly recommend that Israel simply open all border crossings, tear down the walls, and let the Palestinians travel freely and unchecked? What do you honestly think the consequences of that are? Remember, you don’t want open borders in the US for Mexicans.
    Instead of screaming for another round, insulting for another round, belittling for another round, showing your tail feathers for another round, why not really think forward. What do you want to happen and what are the range of consequences both good and bad from your proposals? You need to be your own strongest critic sometimes–it’s a mark of intellectual honesty, and you seem to be really worried about honest and dishonest souls.
    I think it’s at some level dishonest to scream about a situation, demand a CHANGE of one sort or another, and refuse to think through the consequences of that change. All policy interventions have changes, come with unintended consequences, and are generally mixed bags. You think you’ll get supreme justice, but maybe not.
    Try thinking, try analyzing for a change. What do you PROPOSE? What might happen as a result?
    Nah, it ain’t gonna happen.

    Reply

  147. David says:

    jdledell,
    I remember the anti-semitism of yore from a Southern Anglo perspective. The first Jew to be allowed in as a businessman in Winter Park was the father of an elementary school classmate of mine. He was made president of the bank in Winter Park (it later became Barnett, and was then bought out and bought out until it now is part of Bank of America). The other Jewish kid I remember from school days was the son of a psychiatrist. It was my mother who told me about the exclusion of Jews in Winter Park’s earlier history. And Winter Park was actually quite progressive for Florida. But it was blue blood northeastern progressive overlaid on Deep South.
    Catholics also used to take a pounding among Southern Protestants, especially fundamentalists. The Catholic Church was the great whore on the white horse, or something like that. Luckily, Winter Park was way beyond that when I went to the Winter Park schools, along with a lot of other lucky kids from the surrounding rural communities.
    I don’t happen to know the history of the Gold Coast, so I don’t know when the shift occurred there.
    Latest to catch my eye from Rosenberg (my childhood Jewish friend – tne banker’s son – was Charley Rosenfeld, a good kid through and through).
    M. J. Rosenberg
    Lobby Group: Freezing Settlements Is “Ethnic Cleansing”
    The Israel Project, about as official a part of the lobby as you can find, is advising its members to ignore questions about the settlement issue with the charge that opposing settlements is “ethnic cleansing.”
    Appalling. These people have become the monsters they rightfully condemned when they were the victims. What’s next, people who oppose settlements are out-and-out neo-Nazis? Kind of interesting to imagine J-Street as a bunch of swastika-istas. This kind of big lie would make what’s-his-face proud.

    Reply

  148. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Comical, isn’t it? The ‘ol “anti-semitic” thing long ago ceased to fly here, so now the blithering dolt has move on to penis size and rigidity. Its a “limp dick” for me now, cursed by my disdain for all things Wig-wag. I imagine, should I protest at this description, Wig-wag will produce a photograph to prove his point. Captioned “Limp dick belonging to PissedOffAmerican”, he will swear to its authenticity. After all, we all know how honest he is, don’t we? Cute the way he avoids citings that are specific as to Israel’s atrocities, choosing instead to give us a constant reading of the AIPAC script.
    Speaking of honesty, I note the Nadine racist scurried for the rocks when it was requested she inform this blog about her foundation for claiming the IAEA and El Baradei have declared Iran in violation of the NPT. And her “no one is hungry in Gaza” claim was only matched in absurdity by Wig-wag and questions failure to challenge her on such outrageous claims.
    Oh well, I guess I’d rather be accused of having a limp dick than I would be of being an anti-semite. That would put me in Nadine and Wig-wag’s bigoted and small minded world, where any excuse to cook a human will do, as long as its an israeli excuse.

    Reply

  149. Paul Norheim says:

    Factual accuracy is very important when we discuss serious
    issues, you should know that, Dan. So let`s get the facts
    straight. Here`s a handful of the most important ones:
    1) Grabbing land from Palestinians was not wrong, and did not
    happen, because they did not see themselves as Palestinians
    when the land was taken.
    2) Grabbing land from individual Arabs was not wrong, and did
    not happen, because they currently see themselves as
    Palestinians, not as individual Arabs.
    3) “The Palestinians have never had a state under international
    law; so it is clear that the land the Israelis captured during the
    six day war wasn’t captured from them. If you prefer, you can
    say it was captured from nobody”.
    4) “And the land wasn’t grabbed; it was abandoned by fleeing
    Arabs.”
    5) And these fleeing Arab have mostly themselves and the
    Egyptians and Jordanians to thank for being stupid, abandoning
    their land.
    6) However, they are not complaining, because they do not exist
    qua Arabs any more, but have reinvented themselves as
    something they call “Palestinians”.
    7) These suicidal and pathetic fictional characters have got the
    idé fixe that they don`t want to be ruled by Israel. Can you
    believe it?!

    Reply

  150. WigWag says:

    I think you make a couple of factual errors, Dan. First, when you say this you are being somewhat disingenuous,
    “The small 7% portion of Palestine that was owned by Jewish settlers prior to the outbreak of the 1948 war of conquest and establishment became only a part of the state of Israel. The other 71% of Palestine that became the larger part of Israel was simply seized by the Jewish settler community during the war, and so is territory acquired by force.”
    Actually, Jews were in the majority in Palestine in 1948 not Arabs. And the land wasn’t grabbed; it was abandoned by fleeing Arabs. Were many Arabs fleeing the advancing Israeli army? It depends which historians you believe. But I believe many were. I also believe that many left without being forced out militarily at the urging of the Egyptians and Jordanians. And of course most of the land you are referring to that was incorporated into Israel was unoccupied by either Jews or Arabs; alot of it was desert. As you know, every nation in the world including all of the Arab nations (with the possible exception of Syria) recognize that Israel’s borders as of June 4, 1967 are Israel’s legitimate borders. So it’s hard to find anyone who agrees with your point of view about this; or at least its hard to find anyone of consequence.
    I think I get it now; you think Palestinians weren’t screwed as a nation but as individuals. But if that is what you’re saying, it’s your second factual error. Most Arabs in Palestine weren’t screwed as individuals because the vast majority were not evicted from their land. The majority kept their ancestral land until they sold it, which obviously most have after 60 years. What Palestinians object to is being ruled by Israel. Their grievance is a collective grievance not merely a collection of individual grievances. You may think the Palestinians were screwed as individuals but that’s not the basis of their complaints. They believe they’ve been screwed out of their nation. A nation they think they’re entitled to.
    I don’t think they were and your comment suggests that you don’t think they’re necessarily entitled to a nation either (being viscerally averse to nationalism, patriotism and ethnocentrism and all.)
    I guess where I really think you got it wrong is when you say this,
    “Your position seems to be that because the Palestinians have always been subjects, and have no state or collective organization to protect them, they deserve what they got, or at least cannot be said to have been wronged.”
    That’s not it. I think some Palestinians may have had land confiscated and they were wronged. The majority didn’t have land confiscated so by your definition they have nothing to complain about.
    Most Palestinians disagree with you. In the past 60 years they’ve developed a sense of collective consciousness like so many other ethnic, religious, national and linguistic groups. That’s why they want a state of their own; not because of any personal grievance some of them may have had six decades ago.

    Reply

  151. WigWag says:

    Thanks for the spelling lesson Carroll. I’m glad you were finally able to contribute something factually accurate.

    Reply

  152. Dan Kervick says:

    “The other flaw in your argument is your suggestion that the “Palestinians got screwed.” But of course there was no group that considered itself to be Palestinian; there was no Palestinian consciousness.”
    WigWag, we have had this mutual misunderstanding before, since you habitually seem to think in terms of collective entities like peoples or nations, whereas I tend to think in terms of individuals. When I say that the Palestinians were screwed, I don’t mean that some collective entity – the “Palestinian people” got screwed. Palestine is a place on a map. Palestinians are people who live in that place. To say that most of the Palestinians got screwed is just to say that most of the people who lived in Palestine got individually screwed. One doesn’t have to be part of a people, nation or state to get screwed. It doesn’t matter what sort of collective consciousness they possess.
    Personally, since I tend to be viscerally averse to nationalism, patriotism and ethnocentrism, the more somebody tells me about their sense of collective belonging to a nation, fatherland or people, the less I tend to trust them.
    I can’t agree with what seems to be your implicit assumption that we should only recognize that acts against individuals are wrong insofar as they are grounded in those individuals’ membership in a state or people. Your position seems to be that because the Palestinians have always been subjects, and have no state or collective organization to protect them, they deserve what they got, or at least cannot be said to have been wronged. That’s convenient.
    Yes, perhaps Jewish immigrants had a right to buy up land in Palestine that was not already inhabited. But you exaggerate when you say the land they bought “became the state of Israel”. The small 7% portion of Palestine that was owned by Jewish settlers prior to the outbreak of the 1948 war of conquest and establishment became only a part of the state of Israel. The other 71% of Palestine that became the larger part of Israel was simply seized by the Jewish settler community during the war, and so is territory acquired by force.

    Reply

  153. Carroll says:

    wiggyziggy says…
    “That tolerance and understanding you mention wasn’t volunteered by gentile America it was won by Jews in spite of gentile America”
    I told you guys long ago about wigzig…a bitter jew who hates gentiles, blames all non jews for everything that ever happened to jews and has a burning self destructive desire to try and prove jews have power even when it would mean their own destruction.
    Everything wigzig says except for the cut and past routine oozes with this hatred of gentiles, America, Europe, Arabs and anything not jewish.
    BTW, wigzig…it’s “flee”…not forced to “flea”…..see what happens what you get off script. LOL

    Reply

  154. WigWag says:

    Hey POA, drop your pants and look at your limp dick. Think that could account for your rudeness? You know; trying to compensate for your little problem. But hey, POA that little problem belongs to you, not to me and not to anyone else at the Washington Note.
    Your testosterone poisoning colors everything you say. But I guess that’s what happens when someone threatens your manhood by having the temerity to disagree with you.
    By the way; you never told me; how does Nina feel about your behavior? How about your Jewish mother-in-law? Discuss Israel much with them?
    Does Nina think the way you rant and rave is cute? How about your partner’s mom? Does she like the way you talk? Or maybe you’re the perfect gentleman when they’re around so they don’t get to see the “secret you.” Send Nina over to the Washington Note; I’d like to have a chat with her. Maybe what I’ll do is prepare an album of “POA in action” from the archive section. I bet she’d love it.
    Okay limpy?

    Reply

  155. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “But does it characterize the suicide bomber who boards a bus?”
    When was the last time that happened? Here we see the ‘ol perpetual victim horseshit. Gads, this guy is despicable.
    Why don’t you ship them little Pal kids a few more cluster bomblets, you monster? Oops, forgot, you don’t talk about that do you?
    I truly am sickened by this guy. He turns my stomach.
    Instead of buses, Wig-wag, you wanna discuss ships? The Liberty, maybe? I wonder, how many Americans have been killed in Israeli false flag attacks that haven’t been exposed??

    Reply

  156. WigWag says:

    I don’t disagree with you entirely Dan. I think that when Israelis expropriate property that Palestinian people have lived on for generations that they are behaving poorly. And this has surely happened very often. It continues to happen to this day.
    However, the flaw in your argument is that while Palestinians may have property rights conveyed by a deed or even by oral tradition over an individual parcel of property that they own; in the absence of sovereignty they have no moral or legal right to determine the disposition of property that they do not own within some hypothetical border. That is to say have no ethical or legal right to decide who gets to live on property adjoining theirs.
    The inevitable result is that on property not deeded to anyone, Jews in 1948 and before had as much right to settle as the Palestinians did. Much of the land was barren and deeded to no one and the Jews who settled that land were as entitled to live there as the Arabs were. In addition, vast tracts of land were purchased by wealthy European Jews from its original Arab owners and then given to individual Jews and to what became the State of Israel. In the absence of sovereignty; Palestinians had no reasonable basis to object to this.
    At the time of Israel’s founding significantly more Jews lived in the land the UN gave to Israel than Arabs did. When Egypt and Jordan attacked Israel in 1948 many thousands of Arabs in what became Israel fled; some were forced to flea by the Israelis; others fled because they couldn’t tolerate living in a land governed by Jews. Some fled because they were afraid and they were advised to flea by Egypt and Jordan. When they left; the disposition of their property fell to the sovereign; as it would in any state.
    The other flaw in your argument is your suggestion that the “Palestinians got screwed.” But of course there was no group that considered itself to be Palestinian; there was no Palestinian consciousness; there was no Palestinian polity; there was no Palestinian culture. All of these characteristics of nationhood only evolved later and with the advent of civil war between Hamas and Fatah; the definition of what it means to be Palestinian is evolving yet again. Edward Said made a valiant effort to claim that Palestinian consciousness is ancient but most objective historians, not viewing the situation with a preconceived political objective in mind like Said, conclude that he failed.
    You also suggest that “it used to be that the sympathies of progressives naturally aligned not with states, or empires, or armies or absentee landlords, or overweening royal potentates, but with the miserable individual schmucks whose lot it is in life to have their assess handed to them by the powerful; by the wretches who are blown around the world by the people with money, and guns, and numbers and pieces of official-looking paper.”
    You are certainly right about that. But is that really what Palestinians are? I’m sure your description characterizes some Palestinians. But does it characterize the suicide bomber who boards a bus? What about the suicide bomber who blows up a Bar Mitzvah? What about the suicide bomber in a night club or a pizza place?
    And are progressive supposed to sympathize with Palestinians who launch rockets into nursery schools or hospitals?
    That’s what the group that controls Gaza does. Hamas is not comprised of the “innocent schmucks” you’re describing; it’s comprised of religious zealots who hate Jews and secular Muslims. They hate President Abbas as much as they hate Prime Minister Netanyahu.
    Now you could make the point that not all Palestinians are like Hamas; that most Palestinians just want to get on with their lives. That might be true.
    But the majority of Palestinians voted for the party of suicide bombers and rocketeers. When they did that, they forfeited their innocence and they became complicit in the actions of Hamas.
    You may feel that the Likud government is as bad or almost as bad as the Hamas government and that Israelis who voted Likud are complicit in Israel’s actions in Gaza. If that’s what you think; then you have to acknowledge that the Palestinian public, far from being “innocent schmucks” are more or less just like the Israelis.
    Of course, what’s needed is a compromise. Every Sunni Arab regime knows it; the Palestinian Authority/Fatah knows it; the Europeans and Americans know it; and even the Netanyahu Government knows it. The only group that doesn’t know it is the group being isolated by the rest of the world; Hamas.
    And while some people claim that Hamas is ready for compromise many people, including me, find it very hard to believe. Apparently Obama and the Europeans have the same position I do because they refuse to talk with Hamas unless Hamas first accepts the quartet principles.
    Until they do; the smartest and most ethical thing Israel can do is use every tool in its arsenal to militarily degrade Hamas until they surrender their aspiration of achieving their goals through armed resistance.
    If the Israelis didn’t do that; to use your terminology; they’d be schmucks!

    Reply

  157. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Israelis accused of ‘human shields’ tactic
    By Lucy Williamson
    BBC News, Gaza
    The Israeli army has been accused of using Palestinian civilians as human shields in an operation in northern Gaza.
    According to the Israeli human rights group, B’tselem, six civilians including two minors were subjected to the illegal tactic during an incursion into the town of Beit Hanoun last week.
    continues…….
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5212870.stm
    Note the source for this allegation is an Israeli human rights group.

    Reply

  158. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Houses in a shocking state
    Homes taken over and used as military positions by Israeli soldiers
    ©Amnesty International
    This morning, Thursday, as each morning, Israeli gunboats began firing towards Gaza’s coastline at around 7am. Although there is supposed to be a ceasefire in force, we’ve heard an assortment of weapons being fired on each of the five days since it began. Yesterday, we were informed that nine people had been injured by shelling from an Israeli gunboat.
    Today, we visited several families whose homes were taken over and used as military positions by Israeli soldiers during the three-week military campaign. In most cases, the families had fled or were expelled by the soldiers. In some cases, however, the soldiers prevented the families from leaving, using them as “human shields.”
    In the Zeitoun neighbourhood of Gaza City, members of the Sammouni family told us that 46 of them, mostly children, were held captive in their home for two days in early January.
    According to one member of the family we interviewed:
    “A large number of soldiers came into the house and put all of us in one room on the ground floor. They confiscated our mobile phones, and handcuffed and blindfolded the men and older boys. For two days we could not move; they only allowed us to get a bit of food to the children. We knew that another group of relatives had been killed by Israeli soldiers in the house across the road and we were screaming in fear. Eventually, at the end of the second day, they let us go but kept two of the men and threatened to kill them if the Qassam (Hamas’ armed wing) attacked them.”
    Every single room in the house had been extensively vandalized. In the houses, we saw Israeli army supplies, sleeping bags, medical kits, empty boxes of munitions and spent cartridges of Israeli bullets, providing incontrovertible evidence of the soldiers’ stay in these houses.
    Every one of these houses we visited was in a shocking state. All the rooms had been ransacked, with furniture overturned and/or smashed. The families’ clothing, documents and other personal items were strewn all over the floors and soiled and, in one case, urinated on. In one house in the Sayafa area in north Gaza, several cardboard boxes full of excrement were left in the house – although there was a functioning toilet which the soldiers could have used.
    Walls were defaced with crude threats written in Hebrew, such as “next time it will hurt more” and, in one house, a drawing of a naked woman. As well, in every case, the soldiers had smashed holes in the outer walls of the houses to use as lookout and sniper positions.
    continues…
    http://livewire.amnesty.org/2009/01/23/houses-in-a-shocking-state/
    Of course, in Wig-wag and and Nadine’s world, its Hamas’ fault that these racists leave feces as a calling card.

    Reply

  159. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “If you don’t think Hamas hid in hospitals, Mosques and homes and traveled around Gaza in ambulances it’s because you choose to avert your eyes”
    And the seeding of Olive groves with cluster bomblets, both in Lebanon, and Gaza, counters the tactic you describe?
    And firing on Palestinian fishermen? Is this an effective mode of “defense”?
    Perhaps you could get a UN resolution passed, demanding that Hamas members don day-glo orange jumpsuits, and refrain from hiding in the buildings in one of the most densely packed population centers on the planet earth?
    Besides, what are you bitching about? Isn’t the idea to kill Muslims, Wig-wag? It works to your glee that the so called “terrorists” are right next to the women and children, doesn’t it? Hey, take a clue from the IDF cartoons that suggest shooting the pregnant towelheads, kill two of those nasty sand niggers with one bullet, eh Wig-wag? HAHA, now thats funny, eh? Two in one shot? Then, for good measure, you can traipse into their homes and shit in their ovens, after doing the requisite racist grafiti on the walls, eh? Isn’t that the way the IDF does it, wig-wag?
    After you fry them in white phosphorous, Wig-wag, why don’t you eat them? Its the next logical step, and it certainly is in keeping with your character. Besides, Hamas made you do it. Its all their fault.

    Reply

  160. ... says:

    dan kervick thanks for your posts and commentary.. there are jewish progressives that aren’t beholden to zionism as you seem to suggest in your last paragraph… check mondoweiss http://www.philipweiss.org/
    jdledell thanks for your comments as well..
    wigwag for an 80 year old, one would have thought you’d have gained some insight and detachment with age, but apparently not when it comes to your attachment to zionism…

    Reply

  161. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “And it will be; if Hamas keeps attacking, it will keep getting beaten. Like a child having a temper tantrum by banging his head against a wall, at some point you hope he learns to be less self-destuctive”
    No matter how many times it is mentioned, or directly pointed out to him, this propaqandizing Hasbarcyst Wig-wag chooses to completely ignore THAT IT WAS ISRAEL THAT BROKE THE LAST CEASE FIRE. People like Wig-wag are pathetic in their tenacious effort to use yesterday’s successful propaganda techniques on today’s realistically cynical and informed posters. When these bastard foreign agents in AIPAC and Israel were the sole framers of the debate, Israel was easily able to cast itself as the perpetual victim, the shining Middle Eastern democracy surrounded by anti-semites and hordes of bloodthirsty Palestinian suicide bomber zealots. No more. The computer age has opened us up to the truth. But these jackasses like Wig-wag persist in using tired lies that long ago ceased to be believable in their quest to present us with some sort of acceptable explanation or excuse for Israel’s nazi like oppression of the Palestinian people.

    Reply

  162. Dan Kervick says:

    The Palestinians have never had a state under international law; so it is clear that the land the Israelis captured during the six day war wasn’t captured from them. If you prefer, you can say it was captured from nobody; but that doesn’t really change things; does it?
    WigWag, there are several ways of conceptualizing what happened in 1967 that lie between the two alternatives of capture from a Palestinian state and capture from “nobody”. One way is to say that the Israelis seized the occupied territories from the Palestinians who lived there – not from a Palestinian state and not from nobody, but from the individual stateless Palestinians who lived in Palestine.
    Who says that every spot of land on this earth has to belong to a state in order to belong to someone? Say some Palestinian Arab, Ahmad, has a house and a field and some animals and some crops, circa 1966. Say his property was handed down by his father, and his father’s father before that, and his father’s father’s father, etc. With long enough continued possession, common moral sense tells us it’s *his*. It isn’t the Ottoman Sultan’s, or Great Britain’s, or the Hashemite monarchy’s or Israel’s or the Palestine state’s. It doesn’t even belong to the Palestine “people” or the Jewish “people” or the Arab “people”. It’s his – Ahmad’s. And Israel took it from him. By force.
    No amount of intricate legalism about the tangled prerogatives of sovereignties of collectivities can obscure the record of this clear affront to common decency and clear assault on the defenseless dignity of weak individuals.
    The emerging international consensus in the early 20th century regarding all of these ambiguous territories was that Ahmad himself and his neighbors, the people who actually lived there, should have the right to get together and determine what to do with their land, and whether and in what way they wanted to work together to govern it. The spirit of the mandate system was that existing powers were to exercise custodial care and “tutelage” over these territories, only to assist the people who lived in them in achieving self-determination.
    It should then have been up to Palestinians themselves to decide whether or not they wanted to give over some of their land to the establishment of a Jewish national home. But in the case of Palestine, the spirit of the mandate system was perverted by the bigfooting of the victorious British empire, and by the inclusion in the Mandate for Palestine of the Crown’s and Lord Balfour’s corrupt compact with remote European Zionists. So the Palestinians got screwed – by everybody. They got screwed by the British, and the Americans, and the international community, and the Zionists, and the Hashemite clan – and by a few generations of European racists and antisemites who decided that the forlorn and impoverished region of Palestine was an excellent place to offload their “Jewish problem” among the filthy and insignicant Arab subhumans who lived there.
    That’s why the Palestinians continue to have hardly any friends, except for those “loony leftists” who instinctively side with the weak, the underdogs, the wretched and the “nobodies” of the world. And yet you choose to side with strength, and blame *Palestinians* for being weak, for being foolish, for being erratic, for being ignorant, for being abused and for making a series of bad decisions. Every indication of weakness is a further excuse in your mind for dominating the Palestinians, rather than a moral call to assist them. Their very failure to thwart Zionist domination is your rationale for justifying that domination.
    It used to be that the sympathies of progressives naturally aligned not with states, or empires, or armies or absentee landlords, or overweening royal potentates, but with the miserable individual schmucks whose lot it is in life to have their assess handed to them by the powerful; by the wretches who are blown around the world by the people with money, and guns, and numbers and pieces of official-looking paper.
    Even Jewish progressives used to feel this way. That’s before successive generations of Zionist intellectuals succumbed to various forms of statism, authoritarianism, racism and ultranationalism – and any other political philosophies that might answer opportunistically offer themselves in desperate search for rationales for oppression. That’s before many Jews concluded from the pain and humiliation of their own weakness and near destruction that the only thing that morally counts in this world is the will to power.

    Reply

  163. easy e says:

    jdledell – `Alaykum As-Salaam’ as well, e

    Reply

  164. easy e says:

    Posted by jdledell, Jul 10 2009, 8:35PM – Link
    “…..However, all of this is moot. Israel simply must not only make peace with the Palestinians and their arab neighbors but also the greater Islamic world. There are only 5.5 million Jews in Israel versus 300 million arabs and 1+billion muslims. The continued humiliation of the Palestinians will come back someday to bite the Israelis where it counts. Honor and dignity must be restored or revenge will be gruesome…..”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Right on jdledell! Excellent comment and perspective!
    shalom, e

    Reply

  165. WigWag says:

    Sorry jdledell, the story from your nephew isn’t informative. If you don’t think Hamas hid in hospitals, Mosques and homes and traveled around Gaza in ambulances it’s because you choose to avert your eyes.
    Your comment about 5.5 million Jews and 1 billion Muslims is certainly true. We all know that Israel’s population is probably only a quarter of what it would have been but for the European extermination campaign. Of course, if you take every Muslim majority nation in the world and aggregate their GDP it is far lower than the GDP of the United States. And if you take the per capita GDP of oil wealthy Arab nations like Saudi Arabia and Iran; none of them have the per capita GDP of Israel. As for wealthy Muslim nations that don’t rely on oil; well there are none of those.
    I mention this because I think the time frame you mentioned in your post, 1,000 years, is about the time frame it will take for the Arab regimes to pose a threat to Israel. As a matter of fact, at the current time, most of those Arab regimes are allying themselves with Israel in opposition to their Iranian coreligionists.
    As for your comment about your Israeli settler family members; far be it from me to get in the middle of your family squabble. But has it occurred to you that living in Israel, they might know a little more than you do? Perhaps its you who are the black sheep of the family; not them.
    Your concern about Jews being kicked out of Israel is touching. The surest way for that to happen is for Israel to adopt the strategy that I think you’re recommending; showing weakness to its Arab neighbors. If that’s not what you are recommending, I apologize for misinterpreting your comments.
    I think your right that Jew and Gentiles have come a long way in the United States. I know this first hand because my grandchildren attend universities that Jews of my generation couldn’t attend because of quotas. The reason Jews made the progress they did is the same reason African Americans made progress over the past five decades. They organized; they supported candidates by making political contributions; they petitioned their government; they ran for office; in short they took advantage of every opportunity that democracy availed them of. That tolerance and understanding you mention wasn’t volunteered by gentile America it was won by Jews in spite of gentile America.
    I do think you’re right about one thing. I believe the same thing can happen in the Middle East; but it won’t happen there if Israel allows itself to become weak any more than it would have happened here if Jews had waited for charity from gentiles.
    Of course American Jews had it easier than Israelis. All we had to do is get our fair share out of a society that was secular, modern and believed in the rule of law.
    In case you haven’t noticed; none of those characteristics are in particularly great abundance in Israel’s neighborhood.

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  166. questions says:

    David, thanks for the Forward reference. The letters in response are really something. It does seem like there’s just no communication possible given all of the fear and hate around the issues. And a certain amount of real bad faith faking, like the “Rabbi” who suggests that all of the Jews in Palestine should go back where they came from (including Warsaw, I think it was….) Oh my.
    Edwards looks good, though. And JStreet provided her decent financial support.

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  167. questions says:

    The Wikipedia page on this is surprisingly balanced. The only conclusion one can reach from Wiki is that the USS Liberty was indeed attacked by Israel. The rest would seem to be highly disputed murk. From intention through motivation, all is murk. A. Jay Cristol’s book is available on Google Books, open source, free, if anyone is interested. Cristol comes in for criticism from some quarters because he concludes that the attack was deliberate, but under the mistaken view that it was an Egyptian ship. It’s a fascinating set of events, and the motives for every position-taking run deep.
    Was the flag visible, or were the winds low enough that the pilots didn’t know? Was the change in data log the reason for the mistake, if it was a mistake? Did Israel want to draw the US into the war by pretending Egypt attacked the ship, or did the pilots actually think it was an Egyptian ship? Did Israel worry that the Liberty crew would release information about the Golan? Did Israel know there were no Hebrew translators on board? Fog of war, or biting the hand that feeds? Confused? Amoral? Immoral? Enquiring minds want to know.
    Maybe there’s a great stash of top secret documents that will one day be released, and then we’ll know. I have to say, I can’t make heads or tails out of this one. But I’d guess that there’s dogma on both sides.
    The WaPo piece suggests:
    “Scott clearly has his own suspicions, though he produces no smoking-gun evidence to support the charge of a deliberate attack, perhaps because none exists. In that sense, his book is likely to disappoint the conspiracy theorists as much as it angers proponents of the “fog of war” defense offered by Israel. But Scott is wise to leave the speculating to others. The story is shocking enough as it is.”
    The military.com review seems more dramatic.
    I wouldn’t know what to conclude, and I wouldn’t be surprised by any actual documentary proof that came out, regardless of which way it went.

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  168. jdledell says:

    I’m sorry I have come late to this discussion. First to WigWag – will you cut the crap about human shields. In urban warfare – it’s standard practice. My nephew is a Golani captain and in Cast Lead, his units job was to progress house by house toward Gaza City. Their orders specifically were to take over a home, Lock the family downstairs and station snipers in the upstairs windows. Do you know why the family was kept in the home? Specifically to reduce Hamas counterfire. This is Israeli war doctrine that all their units follow.
    To Nadine – you have the Israeli hasbera down better than most of my Israeli relatives. Even my wingnut settler neice in Kiryat Arba is not as one sided as you.
    However, all of this is moot. Israel simply must not only make peace with the Palestinians and their arab neighbors but also the greater Islamic world. There are only 5.5 million Jews in Israel versus 300 million arabs and 1+billion muslims. The continued humiliation of the Palestinians will come back someday to bite the Israelis where it counts. Honor and dignity must be restored or revenge will be gruesome. It may take 10 years, 100 or 1000 but it will come. Israel is strong now and it’s the best time to make peace. Over the past few thousand years, the Jews have been tossed out of Israel and it can happen again. There is an ebb and flow to power.
    I’m a 64 year old Jew who has grown to appreciate how far we have come in America to an understanding and tolerance between Jews and gentiles. Believe me it wasn’t always that way in the 50’s. The same can happen over a few generations in the mideast but both sides better get moving quick.

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  169. Carroll says:

    Another book out on the USS Liberty by son of survior..good review at the WP. Perfect timing.
    The Untold Story of Israel’s Deadly 1967 Assault on a US Spy Ship
    Washington Post – James Scott – ‎2 hours ago‎
    Few events in modern military history have spawned as many conspiracy theories as Israel’s attack on a US Navy spy ship, the Liberty, …

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  170. WigWag says:

    Better watch out, … (or would you prefer if I used POA’s name for you; pimples?)
    Someone might send a moyle after you.

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  171. ... says:

    shorter wigwag “it’s the palestinians fault”… wonder if this same person will think the same when the shoe is on the other foot? probably not… wigwags thinking is a perfect example of bigotry and racism in real time on twn..

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  172. questions says:

    I’m not talking about “empathy” for a further rightward turn. I’m talking strategy. If the goal is a secure state for the Palestinians so that they can have whatever version of self rule they decide on, then it seems to me that regional issues need to be settled. “Regional” here includes Israeli acceptance to cut down on the likelihood of re-invasion.
    Just on a power-politics reading, it makes some sense to me that Israeli society be able to deal with Palestine. It makes sense to me that the major political shifts that will need to happen domestically actually happen. It makes sense to me that we don’t want more blowback where we impose a solution that serves one party and then discover that the other party is mightily pissed. Blowback goes in multiple directions, even if history only gives one set of results.
    I am a policy incrementalist by nature, and I am a strong believer in the need to institutionalize political structures so that we don’t fall into civil war every time we hate a procedural outcome. I think it’s reasonable to apply this same incrementalism to the I/P situation because the goal really is a dynamically stable equilibrium where the swings are within bounds people can actually live with.
    The lack of stable institutions that people can trust, can turn to for mediation of conflict, that provide reasonable city services and the like, is crucial for a state’s ability to function. Stable borders, a predictable economy, neighbors who don’t threaten and so on must be ready and waiting. Palestine is a project, not a single event. A sudden US pullback does not seem to me to be wise.
    You may well respond with the time issue (as in, we’ve waited long enough for Israel to get its act together), but my sense is that patience, even several decades of patience, is less likely to lead to blowback than is a single hasty decision.
    And Dan, re the idea of a game of Risk — ANY move the US makes in the mideast is like a game of Risk. ANYthing we do will affect real lives, will determine winners and losers. ANY deals we make will lead to fortunes and bankruptcies in the most arbitrary of ways.
    Even being deeply moral about everything will cause a certain amount of suffering. Think Kant and the rapist scenario. You can’t tell a lie to the rapist either. There just are conflicts. Over land, over resources, over wealth, over language. How does anyone decide the winners and losers? Even domestically — you have a fabulous education. The resources you used are unavailable to someone else.
    If we took all the money from grad schools and redistributed it downwards, lots more kids would have a pleasant elementary school experience. If we took all the money spent on moving electrons around and put it into public health issues, fewer people would die from preventable causes. I’m unclear about how one accepts this kind of choice in one arena and rejects it in another. I think that this is WigWag’s point.
    Many seem to have chosen particular cases of injustice to champion, particular cases of injustice to benefit from, and particular cases of injustice to ignore. WigWag has clearly made a choice, but it isn’t the choice others make, and yet those same others have also made sets of choices.
    WigWag is open about the making of this choice on this issue. Maybe there’s room for all of us to think through the more arbitrary “Risk”-like choices we make.

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  173. WigWag says:

    “But the people who actually live there never consented to their “capture” by either country, and have never been allowed to exercise the self-determination they were promised in the aftermath of the First World War. The only country that ever recognized the Jordanian claim to have annexed the West Bank was the UK. Since Jordan never had recognized title to that land, Israel can’t really have “captured” it from Jordan. So all these fantasies of capture and re-capture exist only in the minds of would-be conquerors.”
    The Palestinians have never had a state under international law; so it is clear that the land the Israelis captured during the six day war wasn’t captured from them. If you prefer, you can say it was captured from nobody; but that doesn’t really change things; does it?
    If the Israelis withdrew tomorrow from every inch of territory it captured in the six day war, the Palestinians still wouldn’t have a state; unless they were granted one or established one by force.
    The Palestinians aren’t any more ethically entitled to a state than the Kurds are; the Tibetans are; the Kosovars are, the Bosnian Serbs are or the Tamils are. They aren’t ethically any less entitled to one either. That’s because when it comes to getting a state, concepts of right or wrong have nothing to do with it.
    The Palestinians aren’t legally entitled to a State either. The United Nations can grant them one; but to date it never has. Will it in the future? Time will tell. Another possibility is that the Palestinians could achieve a form of statehood if enough nations recognize their state. That’s what happened with Kosovo. There’s no UN resolution granting statehood, but many, but certainly not all, large, powerful nations, recognize Kosovo’s nationhood. Is it a legal state? It depends who you ask. But Palestinians haven’t yet achieved statehood by this benchmark either.
    Another possibility is that the Palestinians could attempt to achieve statehood by force of arms. Perhaps this is what Hamas aspires to. One thing is clear; the Palestinians are far too weak to achieve statehood without having it granted by international authority; they can’t even successfully defend a tiny area like Gaza.
    The net result of all of this is that even if the Israeli settlements are illegal under international law; no sovereignty was taken from the Palestinians because they never had any in the first place. Will they achieve sovereignty in the future? Maybe, maybe not, depending on their strategy, their behavior and how lucky or unlucky they are.
    Of course, all of this history is largely irrelevant. The only way the Palestinians will acquire a sovereign nation of their own is if they defeat Israel militarily or negotiate a settlement acceptable to Israel and the international community.
    Hamas has decided that the military route is the one they want to take.
    Israel is responding in kind as it should. And they are not responding proportionately; they are responding in a manner designed to degrade Hamas militarily and deter their aggressive behavior in the future. Israel’s strategy is the right one; and it’s effective.
    Hamas, on the other hand is making Palestinians sitting ducks by hiding ordinance and commandos amongst them.
    Not only are the Islamic extremists behaving poorly; they’re dumb. Their strategy pushes Palestinians ambitions further and further into an increasingly uncertain future.
    Of course, whether Palestinians in general and Hamas share the same ambitions for the future is an open question.
    There is some debate about whether Hamas is popular amongst Palestinians. If elections are now held (which Abbas says he wants in 2010 and Mashaal says he doesn’t) we will find out how popular Hamas is.
    One thing is clear, if Palestinians elect Hamas, their days as a people without a state will be prolonged; perhaps indefinitely. And if they continue to support armed resistance; they will continue to bear the fruit of their decision.
    Which is as it should be.

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  174. Sand says:

    “…Interesting that over the past,say, five years things have changed from where one criticized Israeli behavior on the net only at the risk of virtually certainly being called an anti-Semite, self-hating Jew and worse. Not nearly so much now, despite the best efforts of the ‘hasbara’ to dominate the field…”
    Yes, things have definitely changed… gosh the times I was banned on blogs who had ‘hasbara’ moderators.
    I think that the Walt & Mearsheimer book helped. It certainly opened my eyes. But I think a lot of credit needs to go to those American Jews who spoke out and were courageous enough to rebel against their own family and friends — must have taken a lot of guts.
    Also, Israel ethically cleansing their penned prisoners may have had something to do with it aswell.

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  175. Sand says:

    “…Sand, fyi, it’s “Chalmers Johnson” — Blowback is a beautiful book!…”
    Thanks for the spell-check Questions — it was disrespectful of me not to check the spelling of his name. I also thought his book “Nemesis” was really good too.
    “…We force Israel, we drive them rightward. Not good…”
    Er… Too late, they’ve already lurched way way to the right.
    “…Remember, the US forced on Iran the Shah, and the Shah forced on Iran a fair amount of not-quite-wanted westernization coupled with significant brutality. And then a 30 year detour. Maybe longer…”
    ? Part of the ‘myth’ of Israel, and the reason we are told to support the brutality of Israel is that Israel is our shining example of ‘westernization’ in the Middle East?
    Maybe the lurch to the right was ‘destined’ so that those in the US that have enabled Israel to basically do anything they wanted to do — can’t hide behind that ‘myth’ anymore and will be forced to take action that will push for action on behalf of the United States ‘instead’ of Israel.
    I’m not going to have much empathy for an ‘Israel festering with resentment’, or jealousy because they’re not the focus of attention all the time, or being treated as the spoilt and vulnerable kid, especially when you look back and see what the US and Europe have [in our generation] tried to do for them. Change is inevitable. We can’t be expected to hold back the dam forever…

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  176. Dan Kervick says:

    WigWag, what is this, a game of Risk? Are we still thinking like czars and emperors? The West Bank was “captured” by Jordan during the 1948 war and then “captured” by Israeli in 1967. But the people who actually live there never consented to their “capture” by either country, and have never been allowed to exercise the self-determination they were promised in the aftermath of the First World War. The only country that ever recognized the Jordanian claim to have annexed the West Bank was the UK. Since Jordan never had recognized title to that land, Israel can’t really have “captured” it from Jordan. So all these fantasies of capture and re-capture exist only in the minds of would-be conquerors. You may fall back on the lazy and convenient idea that international law is meaningless, even though a vast body of international treaties, conventions and compacts successfully regulate untold numbers of complex international affairs on a daily basis. But if Israelis weren’t involved in this particular case, I can’t imagine you would be defending such backward, regressive and blatantly imperialist principles and manners of thinking as you seem comfortable in applying to the special case of Palestine.

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  177. WigWag says:

    I should have said, it will be “their” fault.
    And it will be; if Hamas keeps attacking, it will keep getting beaten. Like a child having a temper tantrum by banging his head against a wall, at some point you hope he learns to be less self-destuctive.
    Will Hamas learn? Maybe, but I’m skeptical.

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  178. WigWag says:

    “WigWag, I think you missed my point on this one. It’s not just that Israelis voted for a government that was willing to respond to violence with violence. Rather, they have consistently voted for governments that have been carrying out a militarily assisted campaign of conquest and dispossession in the West Bank.”
    Well, Dan, we just disagree on the premise of all of this. Israel captured the West Bank from the Jordanians in 1967 during the six day war and Gaza from the Egyptians during the same war. They captured nothing from the Palestinians who had been subjects of the Ottomans for a millennium; than the British and then Jordan/Egypt. The Israelis never invaded territory belonging to the Palestinians because the Palestinians haven’t controlled any territory. Israel doesn’t build settlements on land taken from the Palestinians; it builds settlements on land taken from Jordan.
    The Palestinians are now petitioning the world to create a state; their behavior will determine whether or not they get one.
    None of this suggests that the Israeli settlements in land they captured from Jordan is legal under international law, it may or may not be but probably isn’t. (Israel no longer occupies territory it won from the defeated Egyptians).
    But of course, international law itself is relatively meaningless; China occupies territory taken from the Tibetans; no one cares, Russians now occupy land taken from the Georgians; no one cares.
    The bottom line is that the tactics adopted by Hamas (and approved by the Palestinian people through an electoral process where the voted for Hamas fair and square) are not only unpleasant, they’re also unproductive. The Palestinians have almost no allies left. Since the end of the Cold War, fewer and fewer nations care about the Palestinians and their aspirations. The Chinese don’t; the Indians’ don’t; the Russians don’t.
    The Europeans still do, but they are largely powerless to effect any change and every day, the European population is growing less interested in Palestinian aspirations and more hostile to Muslims (especially religiously oriented Muslims like the leaders of Hamas)
    The Palestinians have exactly one ally of significance left; Barak Obama. He seems to genuinely favor a two state solution. He is at the height of his popularity and he’s three and a half years away from having to run again. He will never be in a better position to advance the Palestinian position and he will never be in better position to push for a two state solution than he is now.
    The Palestinians may literally not have this chance again for decades. By the time Obama leaves office or by the time he has to start running for his second term or by the time his influence wanes in his second term (if he gets one), the Palestinian’s chances for a state may be receding.
    And how are the Palestinians reacting to this opportunity? In two different ways. Fatah and their Sunni Arab allies seem like they want to grab the chance to make progress while it still exists. Hamas on the other hand still thinks that bombs, suicide bombers, rhetoric of incitement and resistance is the way to go.
    The Israelis already have their state; they don’t need a two state solution that may bring them a few benefits but will certainly bring them increased threats. It’s the Palestinians who have to make progress before the chance dissipates.
    Someday it is inevitable that the Palestinians will have a state of their own; but the longer they wait, the smaller and less contiguous it will be.
    The Hamas strategy is not only immoral; it is ineffective. If no two state solution is arrived at during Obama’s term, Gaza and the West Bank will likely be separated forever.
    You may think the Israelis are bigger butchers; I may think the Palestinians are bigger butchers. You may think the Israelis are colonialists of the worst sort; I may think a Palestinian State is likely to be like most other Muslim nations, a failure. You may think many Israelis are stubborn hard hearted thugs; I may think that many Palestinians (especially the ones who support Hamas) are religious Zealots and Jew hating bastards. None of this matters; the reality is that the Palestinians are losing and losing badly.
    Their decision to support violent resistance has brought them nothing but violence and destruction in return; Gaza is undergoing its current humanitarian problems because Hamas refused to surrender its culture of resistance. If they don’t surrender to reality soon, things for the Palestinians will only get worse.
    And it will be there fault.

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  179. DonS says:

    Dan says “what just complaint have they if they turn out to be the targets of counterattack?” You lay out the logic well. However that has never been sufficient for the western media, which insists on always viewing the Israelis as the victims, and their military actions as a response to terror attacks. Maybe that is changing some. But still there is the usual characterization of Hamas as terrorists, not as combatants in assymetrical warfare. The failure of the media to note the relative equivalence on both sides when it comes down to the nasty business of making efforts to kill other human beings is longstanding and ongoing. Israel’s attempt to punish the Palestinians into submission has met with general understanding, if not approval, in the media, while Palestinian militancy falls all to easily into the category of mindless terrorism. The media and the public lack the interest, attention, or motivation, to relate context beyond the most recent news cycle, except for the occasional allusion to intractable long term hatreds.
    So deeply ingrained is this story line that even the democratic election of Hamas was just shoved under the rug in the West, never mind that just such elections were encouraged in the West as the cornerstone of legitimacy of governments.
    Conversely, the press has been blind to the underlying land grab of the Israelis for which the ongoing conflict environment has provided cover. What substantive issues could the Israelis really need to be holding out for in negotiations, they of all the cards? That the Palestinians would say the magic words “OK, we recognize your right to exist”. Give me a break.

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  180. questions says:

    easy e,
    Before you jump wholesale into insisting there’s no such thing as a Biblical Jewish person, or whatever, make sure to contextualize all of your claims by reading a whole lot more on what ever it is that constitutes ethnic identity and claims to land, resources, language, belonging, excluding and the like. There’s far more to this ambiguous mess that makes us what we think we are, far more mythology, far more fudging and individual choice-making than your off-hand post would suggest.
    How is it that you come to OWN your house (or your landlord comes to OWN the house or apartment you rent? You realize that Marx did a nice analysis of ownership and finds a lot of problems with ownership. MYTH IS MYTH, even the myth of “ownership” which is also traced to history, deservingness, the grace of the local deity, beating the crap out of the previous tenant.
    Think about the westward movement in the US, the move to the new world by the Europeans, the European sense that it is superior to other parts of the world, the western European sense that it is superior to Eastern Europe……….
    National myth is myth.
    Current reality is current reality. I don’t go back to the Bible to justify anything. Not anything at all.
    And it’s often a good idea to wait on a text like this until there’s been a lot more reading of it, study of it, corroboration or debunking of it, before you get too happy about having your views confirmed.

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  181. questions says:

    Sand, fyi, it’s “Chalmers Johnson” — Blowback is a beautiful book!
    I remain unconvinced for now, but I appreciate the tone in your response. It’s rather pleasant not to be called an insect occasionally.
    Maybe I can be done with bamboo for the week? (It is Friday, after all!)
    I think part of the underlying issue here is that we take Israeli interests and Palestinian interests to be mutually exclusive. The goal of diplomacy is really to create some new “metanarrative” in which the parties involved recast their sense of necessity such that they are tied together.
    Here is where storytelling really matters. How, in a non-propaganda way, can the sides see that they may be more tied together than weighted down by each other? Could Israelis start giving, say, roses, to each of the border guards? Could Palestinians plant flowers over and over again even as they are dug up? Could there be a surprise in the responses such that people see something different?
    Note that the Iranians have shown a side that has transfixed the world and removed a huge sense of the alien or scary. I don’t know what would work, but I’m guessing that transformation from the bottom up, “authentic” alterations in perception go a lot further than force.
    We force Israel, we drive them rightward. Not good. Change that doesn’t bring out reactionary elements will last longer than change that is forced down people’s throats. Remember, the US forced on Iran the Shah, and the Shah forced on Iran a fair amount of not-quite-wanted westernization coupled with significant brutality. And then a 30 year detour. Maybe longer.
    I think we’d be better off looking for creative non-violent responses that support Palestinian humanity, that show the nutwing element in Israel their own nuttiness. People have to deal with the psyches they have, and transformation has to be WORTH the cost, safe to adopt, supported by others. It needs to be okay. We need to help create the conditions under which it can be okay.
    Using Iran as the example again, let’s say we force Israel to go a direction that the Israelis don’t really want, but they do for now to keep the aid money. The Palestinians will seem to be in better shape, but festering resentment in Israel boils over in some number of years (how long was the Shah in power?). Suddenly, the Palestinians are far worse off under a far nastier Israeli regime than we’ve seen.
    Is this plausible? I don’t know, since I’m out of my field. But I’d guess than policy analysts need to entertain these kinds of readings. What happens in the out years when we in the US feel that we’ve done our virtuous best and we’ve “saved” the Palestinians? Sometimes the best way forward is in circles. I don’t know if this is one of those times, but I have my suspicions.
    ******
    I’m reading David Laitin’s book on ethnicity and violence in nation states. Really nice book, general reader level, rational choice look at ethnic violence with some data analysis that challenges a number of preconceptions. Of course, challenging preconceptions through the use of social science date isn’t really welcome here, but whatever. It’s really worth reading.
    Read up, by the way, on the “selection bias” — Nassim Nicholas Taleb spends a huge chunk of Black Swan on it, and it figures prominently in Laitin’s book as well. Worth thinking through.
    And OA, just don’t bother with me if you can’t figure out why anyone would bother with me. Simple solution to your problem. And then you won’t have a problem anymore!!!!!!
    Oh, and by the way, I don’t know what state you’re in, but I’m guessing that if it’s in the US it’s not “your land” anymore than Israel is Israel’s land. There were some other owners not that long ago.
    I suppose we could just return all the people to the land they owned in — pick a date. I would guess you’d pick a date that would keep you safe in your house, but would kick Israel out of Palestine. But I don’t know for sure, and I certainly don’t want to claim anything about your mental state.

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  182. easy e says:

    Posted by Outraged American, Jul 10 2009, 11:55AM – Link
    David, I think that your comments and Sands’ are very
    constructive, but the bottom line is this: it’s not the Israelis’
    land. Unless you consider the Bible a legal document, but even
    then the European Jews who basically control Israel aren’t
    genetically tied to the Middle East.
    > > > > > > > > > > > > >
    SHLOMO SAND AND SHATTERING A NATIONAL MYTHOLOGY
    by Tony Logan
    “Shattering a ‘national mythology’ Shlomo Sand’s book is titled “When and How the Jewish People Was Invented?” and you probably will not find it stacked up on tables for sale in Barnes and Noble or Borders. I don’t expect it to be readily available for Colorado Springs librarian patrons either. Ask for it though.
    The Haaretz interview:
    Actually, most of your book does not deal with the invention of the Jewish people by modern Jewish nationalism, but rather with the question of where the Jews come from.
    Sand: My initial intention was to take certain kinds of modern historiographic materials and examine how they invented the ‘figment’ of the Jewish people. But when I began to confront the historiographic sources, I suddenly found contradictions. And then that urged me on: I started to work, without knowing where I would end up. I took primary sources and I tried to examine authors’ references in the ancient period – what they wrote about conversion”…..
    continued here http://www.notmytribe.com/2008/sholomo-sand-and-shattering-a-national-mythology-85063.html

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  183. Dan Kervick says:

    WigWag says:
    “It is certainly true that both the Israelis and Palestinians voted for political parties that were prepared for war. Palestinians voted for a party that chose violent resistance; Israelis voted for a party (Kadima at that time) willing to respond to rocket attacks with force.”
    WigWag, I think you missed my point on this one. It’s not just that Israelis voted for a government that was willing to respond to violence with violence. Rather, they have consistently voted for governments that have been carrying out a militarily assisted campaign of conquest and dispossession in the West Bank. And whereas Israelis formerly seemed inclined to shield this reality from themselves with double-thinking protestations that it was only a few “crazy settler extremists” who were behind the colonization project, it appears to me that they are increasingly willing to accept that their own government, their own armed forces and their own mainstream Israeli agencies have been supporting this project all along.
    This multi-partisan, broad-based Israeli government program has really been right out in the open for decades, during governments of both the left and the right. But many Israelis have pretended not to see it, so that they could pretend to others, and to themselves in some cases, that they did not grasp or understand what their government was doing. But Israelis and their supporters are increasingly dropping these pretenses, and are forthrightly embracing this aggressive program in full, clear consciousness. They are dropping the self-deceptive and obfuscatory ruse that the colonization and aggression are somehow covert or obscure or ambiguous. Simply by directly speaking about the “settlement” project and demanding that the Israelis stop doing it, Obama has apparently forced from a majority of Israelis the frank admission that they *don’t want* to stop it.
    So no more pretenses. Israelis and Israel have revealed to the world that they been Begin’s (and Shamir’s and Peres’s and Netanyahu’s and Rabin’s and Barak’s and Sharon’s and Olmert’s) willing colonizers all along. They, themselves, are the aggressors; it’s not just some “others” or “extremists”.
    And if that is the case, what just complaint have they if they turn out to be the targets of counterattack?
    Many will be inclined to argue that whatever beef ethnically cleaned Palestinians might have with their willing conquerors, it is still wrong for those Palestinians to inflict harm on the many innocent people and children who are not themselves aggressors. But as Israelis have taught us to think, if innocent Palestinian children and non-combatants are killed in Israeli assaults on Palestinian militants and terrorists, that is the fault of the militants and terrorists for choosing to hide themselves among the civilian population. So by the same reasoning, if an adult Israeli man and an adult Israeli woman both vote, with eyes wide open, for a government that is engaged in an open campaign of aggression and dispossession, and thereby turn themselves into combatants in an aggressive war of conquest, and yet continue to make their homes among innocent children and neighbors, whose fault is it when the innocents are victimized by counterattacks directed against the aggressors?

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  184. Sand says:

    “…None of this means I expect the US government to break the stranglehold AIPAC and it’s ilk has. But one can hope…”
    Yes one can hope… unfortunately there are quite a few powerful members of congress who ARE AIPAC and ain’t doing it for the $$$*
    *In some case don’t even need it.
    And wouldn’t we all have liked to find out more about what Jane Harman was up to.

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  185. Outraged American says:

    David, I think that your comments and Sands’ are very
    constructive, but the bottom line is this: it’s not the Israelis’
    land. Unless you consider the Bible a legal document, but even
    then the European Jews who basically control Israel aren’t
    genetically tied to the Middle East.
    Why is this conflict and our involvement different than the
    tragedy in the Congo for instance? Because we fund the Israelis,
    supply them weapons, allow them to control our Middle East
    policy, and have launched at least one disasterous war (Iraq) for
    Eretz, “greater,” Israel.
    Again, I know that there were other factors, but really it was our
    blind allegiance to Israel that lied us into Iraq. Douglas Feith
    and the Office of Special Plans.
    Israel has made her numerous enemies ours. That’s why it’s
    different. Israel has made her war on Islam ours, which is why
    we have the F-ing “Patriot” Act.
    My state and the one I used to live in are collapsing, yet we can
    still fork over our paper dollars to Israel each year. We pay Egypt
    a fortune to keep the peace with Israel.
    Israel is a problem, and we’re not just the funders and enablers
    of a horrible child, we are risking WW III for her.
    I still don’t get why any of you bother with Wig Wag and
    Questions. But then, why do any of us post anyway…?

    Reply

  186. Sand says:

    You’ve reminded me — I need to find time and read Chambers Johnson work again.

    Reply

  187. DonS says:

    I don’t think it’s a matter of Israel having gone ‘too far’ this time. More that the same old song and dance is wearing out. Interesting that over the past,say, five years things have changed from where one criticized Israeli behavior on the net only at the risk of virtually certainly being called an anti-Semite, self-hating Jew and worse. Not nearly so much now, despite the best efforts of the ‘hasbara’ to dominate the field.
    None of this means I expect the US government to break the stranglehold AIPAC and it’s ilk has. But one can hope.
    BTW, I’ve yet to see convincing evidence of the supposed important strategic assistance Israel renders the US. Above my pay grade, right. I do remember Iran-contra, the Liberty, Jonathan Pollard, and other not so inspiring examples. And Israeli politicians thumbing their collective noses at the US whenever it suits. Probably those Senators and Reps who shill for Israel have access to the really juicy stuff that us plebians are told just to believe, as in fairy tales.

    Reply

  188. Sand says:

    “…The break up with Israel should be approached with deep caution and way more analysis that I suspect people here have done…”
    From my reading I would say it’s been a long time coming. You don’t have to be a scholar to notice problems have been brewing for decades. It’s only now ‘the public’ are finding out about it.
    Israel isn’t exactly flavor of the month in Europe either.
    Whether the apron strings will be cut off quickly or slowly or in fits and starts remains to be seen — but something needs to be done — to nip in the bud the conceit and threats coming that unstable nut hole [Israel].

    Reply

  189. ... says:

    wigwag quote “Obsession with penis size, fear of castration, unresolved oedipal issues; all of these things can be responsible for motivating abusive men like you.” this apparently displays the elevated intellectual level of argument among today’s right…. impressive!

    Reply

  190. David says:

    “They are not “misguided” or “stupid”. They know what they want. They want the end to Israel, even if it takes 100 years of jihad. They are religious ideologues.”
    That is precisely why I called them misguided and stupid. It’s a dead-end strategy and dead-end tactics in a religious ideologues vs. religious ideologues war that is really political power vs. political power, since neither side practices those essentially humane precepts of its religious tenets, just as our European-American forebears did not practice those essentially humane precepts of Christian theology, only the ones amenable to tribal self-interest of the narrowest, most destructive kind. They become more and more mirror images of each other’s worst selves. From my perspective, Likud is just as misguided and stupid as Hamas.
    There is an excellent article in The Forward by Nathan Guttman, “J-Street Flexes Its Muscle as New Congresswoman Steps into the Fray.” J-Street and Donna Edwards (D-MD), two of the brighter lights in this Middle East nightmare.
    Thanks, easy e, for an excellent contribution to the discussion.
    WigWag,
    My father, who lived to be 98, and who was an artist, gradually developed advanced dry-type macular degeneration, probably as a result of having worked out in the sun in Florida as a rafter cutter for 15 years back when it was thought to be ok to be exposed to intense sunlight all day. He could still see ok until about 91, but had advancing problems reading book print, but he could make out outlines until he died. In fact, he was still taking his own showers a week before his body simply said, “Enough.” May your macular degeneration advance as slowly as possible.

    Reply

  191. questions says:

    I’m not convinced by a range of metaphors that show up here — the unwanted penetration/demasculinization concern, the ingratitude concern, the powerlessness concern. What I am more concerned about, and again, ME analysis is NOT my field, is that even outside the Cold War stupidity, alliances are likely pretty necessary for resource distribution, for territorial integrity support, and for global movement.
    Altering the alliances needs to be done in baby steps, and is better done through broadening than through shifts away. Keeping Israel as a kind of client, while broadening US ties in the ME makes sense to me. Dumping Israel doesn’t make sense to me. Russia is less my concern than China, but there are a lot of ex pat Russians in Israel for whom closer ties might be more or less welcome. Hard to know. Russia has a long history of wicked anti-Semitism and that probably plays in.
    In dealing with alliances, I think it’s necessary to think many years in the future, and so snap judgments about how Israel has just gone too far this time or whatever may not be the best way to think. There is deep moral concern, but there are strategic issues, too. I personally don’t know how to untangle all of this.
    I do know how I’d like the world to look, but I don’t think the world is going to cooperate with me. And all those cautionary tales about getting what you wish for make me careful in what it is I really wish for. The break up with Israel should be approached with deep caution and way more analysis that I suspect people here have done.
    Ahh, bamboo! Next finger please!

    Reply

  192. questions says:

    I’m not yet convinced of this one. I still have hopes of there being US influence because of the funding, and I fear the kind of destabilization that may occur in the absence of US funding. I’m not an ME analyst nor any kind of IR analyst as I have stated numerous times (but then, analysts get things wrong too), so I won’t swear to the rightness of my position on this issue. Others clearly know more than I do, and others THINK they know everything.
    And as for political possibility, defense contractors are very very good at setting up facilities in the maximum number of districts possible. This structure is far more the cause of the support for funding than is anything AIPAC could ever do. JOBS JOBS JOBS, voters voters voters. A direct tie between the district and the MC’s position, much more the issue than indirect AIPACness. AIPAC rides coattails, it doesn’t lead. A consitent position of mine, and clearly the Frank Luntz world view. Clearly immoral, foggy, insectival, denial of the REALITY of things, and the like.
    And please don’t be shocked by the Luntz piece anyway. On the left there’s Drew Weston and the linguistics guy whose name I can’t remember — wrote Don’t Think of An Elephant…. There are lots of guides to persuasive speaking, to lobbying, to self-presentation, to rhetoric. Good heavens, even Aristotle wrote a rhetoric in which he suggests that it’s a great idea go go all ad hominem if necessary. (Even Plato has an ad hominem awareness moment in the Euthyphro. And of course, numerous Socratic interlocutors use many of Luntz’s stunts.) This stuff is OLD. Plato tries to tie the use of rhetoric to the knowledge of the good in The Gorgias — a better position than what Luntz is doing.
    http://humanities.byu.edu/rhetoric/silva.htm
    If you want to see rhetoric, here’s rhetoric. A week’s amusement at least! Every word arrangement has a name, and there’s a name for every word arrangement. Luntz is in a tradition, not some outlier.
    Love me some more bamboo.

    Reply

  193. Sand says:

    “…. That is, “realist” concerns…”
    Yeah the Israeli’s have played that angle for decades. But the Cold War has finished now, and we need more allies in the Middles East — not LESS. And, of course that’s why we are getting Lieberman flaunting that Russia could be Israel’s next ‘special’ friend? But Putin knows damn well not to trust one hair on the head of that guy, and nor should we.
    However, on the other hand, you’re right — Israel with AIPAC ears and eyes planted throughout our government and them being pretty proficient at Blackmail — with all our so called ‘co-operation’ we’ve given them [authorized and unauthorized] — they could sell that information for a high price with whoever will be their next sugar daddy. They would sell us out in a second.
    Yeah that’s how low Israel is — for it’s own preservation reasons of course — but noting ‘Not Ours’

    Reply

  194. Sand says:

    “…I don’t yet advocate defunding…”
    It’s gonna be the only way to attract the attention of the Israeli’s — they’ve had that ‘Sense of Entitlement’ for far too long. Talking and playing nice has got us no where — and all the while they keep building. And they wonder why they have enemies — and we have to pay off their neighbors.
    And now they have the nerve to spit in ‘our’ face — still expecting us to cover up their crimes in front of the Arab world — too right we’re hypocrites.
    The stakes are too high now — this ‘rogue ‘little’ fanatical country needs to stop twisting arms and whine victim and grow the fuck up — It needs its pocket money taken away and fast — and also for its hidden nukes to be taken out from under its bed.
    Good luck with the Bamboo.

    Reply

  195. Sand says:

    Links I couldn’t insert in my post above…
    –Blair bodyguard in security scare
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/7722522.stm
    –Scare as Sarkozy departs Israel
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7471735.stm

    Reply

  196. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Sorry, POA. Your reading comprehension needs to improve. The claim was that something must motivate the abusive behavior you display at the Washington Note”
    Yes, I am motivated by a loathing of bigotry, human suffering, and hypocricy. Which means I loath people like yourself and Nadine. To me, you are the scum of the earth. Mankind has suffered the existence of your brand of dishonesty, bigotry, and hatred for far too long.

    Reply

  197. Sand says:

    DK: “…I increasingly view the whole area as something close to a lunatic asylum…”
    I agree, so why in the world are we getting posts from pro-Israeli bloggers such as Strummerson [MYDD] and Jo-Ann Mort [TPM] expecting Obama to go and insert himself into Israel’s self-inflicted chaos? Especially at a time when it appears that Netanyahu is on the verge of having a psychotic meltdown, partly brought on by Obama’s demands for some payback for all the billions we give them, *AND* where you have Wormtongue [Arad] whispering his Netanyahu that ‘we’re gonna need MORE NUKES sire’!
    –Netanyahu adviser raises “MAD” nuclear scenario
    Thu Jul 9, 2009 8:58am EDT
    http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL962380020090709
    And the we’re supposed to have a problem with Iran — god knows what the Iranians must be thinking.
    A visit from Obama, or Obama appearing on ‘Israeli Teevee’ as Lally over @ TPM puts it — would go down like a bloody lead balloon. We know that because we’re all read the level of venom coming out from the Jewish Right-wing blogs both here and over there — portraying Obama as the MUSLIM Satan wanting to destroy the Jews. A Jewish fanatic has already assassinated one politican [Rabin], who dared to dip his toe in trying to make peace with the Palestinians, and on at least two occasions [that I’m aware of] two important dignitaries [Blair & Sarkozy] have experienced some frightening lapses when relying on Israeli security.
    NO WAY, if I was Obama would I go within 300 hundred miles of that place — it’s full of nutters. And to top it off these guys have UNDECLARED Nukes?

    Reply

  198. Sand says:

    DK: “…I increasingly view the whole area as something close to a lunatic asylum…”
    I agree, so why in the world are we getting posts from pro-Israeli bloggers such as Strummerson [MYDD] and Jo-Ann Mort [TPM] expecting Obama to go and insert himself into Israel’s self-inflicted chaos? Especially at a time when it appears that Netanyahu is on the verge of having a psychotic meltdown, partly brought on by Obama’s demands for some payback for all the billions we give them, *AND* where you have Wormtongue [Arad] whispering his Netanyahu that ‘we’re gonna need MORE NUKES sire’!
    –Netanyahu adviser raises “MAD” nuclear scenario
    Thu Jul 9, 2009 8:58am EDT
    http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL962380020090709
    And the we’re supposed to have a problem with Iran — god knows what the Iranians must be thinking.
    A visit from Obama, or Obama appearing on ‘Israeli Teevee’ as Lally over @ TPM puts it — would go down like a bloody lead balloon. We know that because we’re all read the level of venom coming out from the Jewish Right-wing blogs both here and over there — portraying Obama as the MUSLIM Satan wanting to destroy the Jews. A Jewish fanatic has already assassinated one politican [Rabin], who dared to dip his toe in trying to make peace with the Palestinians, and on at least two occasions [that I’m aware of] two important dignitaries [Blair & Sarkozy] have experienced some frightening lapses when relying on Israeli security.
    –Blair bodyguard in security scare
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/7722522.stm
    –Scare as Sarkozy departs Israel
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7471735.stm
    NO WAY, if I was Obama would I go within 300 hundred miles of that place — it’s full of nutters. And to top it off these guys have UNDECLARED Nukes?

    Reply

  199. questions says:

    Hey Sand, I was going to take the day off from posting and do something more pleasant with bamboo shoots and my nail beds….
    But I looked over the Luntz piece for a minute or so. I think he forgot to include some of the things that I’ve posted over time here — I’ll repeat that for effect — some of the things I’ve posted over time here — so I’ll give a Luntzian addenda:
    *Israel is a racist society.
    *Many of the Israeli settlers are nutwings, others are caught up in Israel’s insane funding of settlements. The settlements need to go, the funding of settlements needs to go.
    *The overmilitarization of Israel is frightening and deeply unfortunate.
    *Israel needs to lose itself in order to gain itself.
    *McKinney humiliated the Israeli navy.
    *It would be nice to see a thousand small boats lined up, each with a box of crayons or the like, being turned away, bumped or harassed by the blockade. Maybe Israel would have to give in a bit on aid ships.
    *19 year old border guards are horrors.
    *Forcing a pregnant woman to stand in knee-high puddles, holding another kid or two above the water, at a border crossing is vile.
    *The border crossings are vile.
    *The cutting up of land, olive groves, separating farmers from their land — all vile.
    *The treatment of the Palestinians needs to change. Sadly the two sides are stuck in a game theoretic situation where making the first move is deemed impossible. Something needs to change the rules of the game. Unlike you, Sand, I don’t know what will work. But I think the handwashing response is more immoral than is the engagement response. That’s just my inner Luntz, I guess.
    *Hamas’s being voted in was a rational move on the part of Gaza. Hamas has provided social services that made them popular. Israel has allowed Hamas to corner the market on kindness.
    *Israel is both wicked and stupid.
    *Game theory insights help. And what needs to happen is enough of a social shift that Israelis being to see the basic humanity of the Palestinians. I already proposed a tv show plot to help this process along.
    ….
    I think that Luntz left a few things out. I am deeply unhappy with Israel’s internal political dynamics — to the extent that I understand what’s going on there but since I’m not Israeli, I have a limited understanding.
    I do not thus far advocate cutting off aid NOT OUT OF SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL’S POLICIES but out of my limited understanding of the global alliance system. That is, “realist” concerns may make support of Israel more reasonable than not.
    But nothing I’ve said here is new. Read it how you must. It’s a nuanced set of steps from where others here are, and it seems that the nuance is too much for you all to cope with. I dislike Israel’s policies and think them to be inhumane and unacceptable, but I don’t yet advocate defunding.
    The rigidity of worldview that POA et al. hold is not my problem.
    Gee, I must be Frank Luntz. A fog machine. An insect. Full of bad faith. Dishonest….
    Now for the bamboo shoots! AHHHHH!!!!!!!!

    Reply

  200. PissedOffAmerican says:

    And the UN and the Red Cross? They are just propaganda arms of Hamas? You’re a liar, Nadine. A racist lying abomination.
    Do you really think people are going to believe you when you claim no one is going hungry in Gaza?
    You should be less blatant when exhibiting your lack of character.
    “They shot the rockets into Israel until the inevitable reaction occurred”
    It is Israel that broke the cease fire, resulting in the blood bath known as “Cast Lead”. Why do you continue to ignore that fact, bigot?

    Reply

  201. Sand says:

    Pssst…
    Before it gets taken down — you can go over to Newsweek and get a copy of WigWags and Questions *IP PROPAGANDA BIBLE*
    –The Israel Project’s 2009 Global Language Dictionary
    Newsweek Web Exclusive
    Jul 9, 2009 | Updated: 8:37 p.m. ET Jul 9, 2009
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/206021
    Unfortunately, you won’t be able to get a signed copy with all their Board of Advisors like WigWag and Questions has — but heyho it’s an interesting read — especially when you think who put the time and effort into ‘Advising’ and creating this shit.
    –THE ISRAEL PROJECT’S BOARD OF ADVISORS.
    http://www.theisraelproject.org/site/c.hsJPK0PIJpH/b.672631/apps/s/content.asp?ct=1184961
    Sen. Evan Bayh D-IN
    Sen. Ben Cardin, D-MD
    Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-GA
    Sen. Tom Coburn R-OK
    Sen. Norm Coleman, R-MN
    Sen. Susan Collins, R-ME
    Sen. Judd Gregg, R NH
    Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-CT
    Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL
    Sen. Gordon Smith, R-OR
    Sen. Arlen Specter, R-PA
    Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR
    Rep. Rob Andrews, D-NJ
    Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-NV
    Rep. Tom Davis, R-VA
    Rep. Eliot Engel, D-NY
    Rep. Frank Pallone, D-NJ
    Rep. Jon Porter, R-NV
    Rep. John Sarbanes, D-MD
    Rep. Jim Saxton, R-NJ
    Rep. Brad Sherman, D-CA
    Rep. Joe Wilson, R-SC
    h/t: bloggers over @ Mondoweiss

    Reply

  202. WigWag says:

    Dan Kervick makes an interesting point when he says,
    “The argument has been floated that the Palestinians in Gaza, though unfortunate, are responsible for their own misfortune because they voted to be headed and represented by an organization that has been known to practice and encourage terrorism against non-combatant Israelis. But by the same logic, one could argue that Israeli civilians deserve to get rockets, car-bombs and people-bombs thrown at them for electing a series of governments that have supported, funded and militarily organized a long campaign to push the Palestinian Arabs off their land.”
    It is certainly true that both the Israelis and Palestinians voted for political parties that were prepared for war. Palestinians voted for a party that chose violent resistance; Israelis voted for a party (Kadima at that time) willing to respond to rocket attacks with force.
    They had their little war; as usual the Palestinians were defeated. The suffering in Gaza is the result of the inevitable consequences of armed resistance that Hamas choose. Sending suicide bombers (and when that failed) rockets against the Israelis proved to not only be a poor political strategy; it turned out to be a poor military strategy. But it was not a strategy dictated to Hamas; in fact, Fatah had chosen a different path.
    Hamas and the people who voted for them are responsible for the results of an approach that has brought them so much misery.
    The Israelis, on the other hand who voted for a party that promised a violent attack in response to military provocation obviously choose wisely. Their strategy worked; the attacks have stopped and the capability of Hamas continues to decline.
    The Palestinian plight is awful; but to a large extent it is self-imposed.
    The lot of the Palestinians will improve when they surrender the notion that violent resistance is a viable approach to achieving their aspirations.
    If they don’t surrender that notion, their lives will continue to be miserable.

    Reply

  203. WigWag says:

    “On Nadine’s insinuation as to penis size; Big dick, little dick, doesn’t matter. Its not cock that dictates common sense to know a bigot when he sees one. And you’re a racist monster, Nadine. Sorry, but thats just the way it is, you’ve made it obvious.”
    Sorry, POA. Your reading comprehension needs to improve. The claim was that something must motivate the abusive behavior you display at the Washington Note. Your tendency to abuse those you interact with; your penchant for intimidation; your extraordinarily bad manners; the rudeness of your language; your testosterone ladden rants.
    Obsession with penis size, fear of castration, unresolved oedipal issues; all of these things can be responsible for motivating abusive men like you.
    Which is it? Or is there something else that motivates your abusive behavior?

    Reply

  204. easy e says:

    Could it be that Nadine’s Gaza/Hamas perspective (not to mention WigWag’s & questions’s) have been shaped by propaganda machines MEMRI and PALISTINIAN MEDIA WATCH that are feeding the mainstream corporate media with distorted garbage…..and great sources for “fog”.
    http://www.prospectsforpeace.com/2008/04/hamas_and_incitement_in_the_ne.html

    Reply

  205. easy e says:

    T-E-R-R-O-R-I-S-M:
    Think C-A-U-S-E & E-F-F-E-C-T
    * * * * * * * * * *
    ISRAELI TERRORISM – CAUSE & EFFECT
    A Radical Jewish Perspective
    by Marvin Ratner
    “…The Israeli government claims that it fights for the survival of the State of Israel, but their over-reaction and the magnitude of the violence against innocent life is in fact a root cause of the hatred being directed against them. These acts are only the latest in a barbaric tradition of escalating reciprocity. They are only matched in craziness by Israel’s claim that to be a good Jew requires supporting the acts of Israel, right or wrong. I reject this linkage because these actions are both wrong and abhorrent. In the sixties, I spoke out against our country’s involvement in Vietnam because we were waging an immoral war. I now urge all Jews and people of conscience to speak out on this subject.
    …Hatred begets hatred. War, death and destruction are the inevitable result of distrust, prejudice and the self-righteous attitude that “we” are superior to “them”, that “our” needs must be met, while “their” needs are irrelevant. For this era of war to end, there must emerge a call for justice leading to attitudes of forgiveness, mutual respect and compromise, for both the Israeli and the Palestinian peoples. There will never be Victory, unless it be a Victory through Peace and Understanding.
    Trust in God, but tether your camels. Namaste.”
    http://www.alternativesmagazine.com/39/ratner.html
    TO ELIMINATE TERRORISM, EXAMINE THE CAUSES, NOT JUST THE EFFECTS
    by Jerry Levin, CNN
    “…Despite those setbacks, there is still a tendency among some Americans (along with their Israeli counterparts) to define our principal problem in the Middle East as terrorism, instead of the unresolved political disputes of which terrorism is an explosive symptom. The most important lesson is that terrorism in the Middle East will probably never be entirely eliminated so long as there are groups of people who harbor bitter and longstanding antagonisms fueled by such political, sociological, and economic grievances as denial, exclusivity and greed. The aim of those who say that the root of terrorism is to be found solely in “personality defects,” and who deny the existence of its political, social and economic causes, would seem to be to avoid coming to grips with those causes constructively.
    As long as that false and dangerous mindset exists, the lives of innocent men, women and children-American, Lebanese, Palestinian, Israeli and others-will remain in jeopardy, and the always fragile peace process will continue to be easily sidetracked.”
    http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/0989/8909005.html

    Reply

  206. nadine says:

    Paul, whatever Gaza is, Hamas rules it. You persist in treating Hamas as if they were little children not responsible for anything, neither themselves nor the rest of the Gazans.
    Had they simply offered Israel a deal of ‘quiet for quiet’, it would have been accepted. Trade would have continued, there would have been no blockade, the economy could have flourished. They could have used those state of the art greenhouses that they were left. But no. They wanted jihad, they wanted ‘armed resistance’, they wanted thousands of Iranians rockets, they got them. They smashed the hated Jewish greenhouses. They shot the rockets into Israel until the inevitable reaction occurred.
    Oh, you say, they can’t help themselves while their brother Palestinians are occupied in the West Bank. Well that’s odd, because they aren’t on speaking terms with the rulers in the West Bank, and they would dearly love to get their hands on Fatah in the West bank and kill several thousand of them and take over. They probably could too, if the IDF withdrew. That’s the irony of the situation – the IDF is protecting Abu Mazen and Fatah.
    And if Israel did withdraw from the West Bank, there would be another cause for which Hamas just couldn’t be expected to help themselves. Just like Hizbullah can’t help themselves over tiny Syrian plot of land called “Shabaa Farms”. Whatever the excuse, I’m sure it would be good enough for you.
    They are grownups, Paul. Their choices are their own. What the hell is it about the left that claims to be such champions for the oppressed but refuse to treat them as actors on the stage in their own right? To listen to you, nobody but Israel can every make a choice in the region; the Palestinians can only react like automatons.

    Reply

  207. nadine says:

    POA, the Palestine Central Bureau of Statistic will say whatever is politically ordered for them to say, like every other organ of the Palestinian Authority. The concept of separate statistical or accounting agencies with integrity does not exist in the PA. Like I said, if there were any visibly malnourished kids around Hamas would be lining them up for the cameras.

    Reply

  208. nadine says:

    “if you compare the percentage of civilian casualties in Gaza compare to Hamas fighters, you immediately see this tendency to blur the distinction between fighters and civilians. ”
    The blurring is by Hamas’ design. It is Israel that is trying to preserve the distinction. It is hard to pick out how many of the dead there actually were (there is no free press inside Gaza) and how many were actually civilians.
    Hamas fighters normally wear uniforms, but as soon as the Israeli operation Cast Lead began, they were all ordered to don civilian clothing. So tell me, which side wanted the lines blurred? The minute a Hamas fighter was killed, he became a dead civilian. Also, any natural deaths that occurred (usually several hundred in such a large population) were counted as civilian casualties.
    What is so hard to understand about Hamas’ desire to maximize civilian casualties? Their very use of human shields shows that Israel desired to avoid civilian casualties; for if Israel didn’t care, the tactic would have been useless. If Israeli soldiers tried to protect themselves with human shields, it would only make Hamas like the target better. As it was, the Hamas top command survived the war because they were headquartered in the basement of Shifa Hospital.
    POA can now call me a racist again and display the elevated intellectual level of argument among today’s Left.

    Reply

  209. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Israel tries very hard to minimize civilian casualties. It is just very very difficult to avoid killing civilians in crowded urban warfare where the other side wants to maximize civilian casualties”
    Note how this racist, Nadine, avoids the FACT of millions of cluster bomblets that were rained ALL over Lebanon, INCLUDING rural farmlands.

    Reply

  210. PissedOffAmerican says:

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/847548.html
    Poll: 10% of Palestinian children have lasting malnutrition effects
    By The Associated Press
    About 10 percent of Palestinian children suffer permanent effects from malnutrition, according to a survey published Wednesday, a result of widespread poverty in the West Bank and Gaza.
    The root cause is poverty, according to Khaled Abu Khaled, who directed the study for the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. He said the numbers are up slightly over the past two years.
    “One obvious effect of malnutrition is stunted growth among children, which has increased about three percent in the last two years,” he said.
    Advertisement
    “This is a chronic chronic. Even with interventions, the rates don’t go down fast,” he said.
    Other surveys have shown that about half of the Palestinians are living in poverty.
    Six years of violence between Palestinians and Israelis have crippled economic growth in the West Bank and Gaza. A year of international aid sanctions following an election victory by the Islamic Hamas and its takeover of the Palestinian government has intensified the hardships.
    The findings were based on a survey conducted in November and December covering 13,238 residents of the West Bank and Gaza, according to a statement. It found that 13.2 percent of the children of Gaza suffer stunted growth, compared to 7.9 percent in the West Bank.
    While incidents of stunted growth were up slightly, Abu Khaled noted a decrease in cases of extremely low body weight – another common symptom of acute malnutrition. He said the children of northern Gaza were most likely to suffer stunted growth as well as low birth weight.
    The survey showed that 17 percent of the Palestinian population is made up of children under the age of five, and 46 percent are under 15.

    Reply

  211. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I understand and even admire your concern for the difficult civilian conditions in Gaza (“horrible” is too strong a word, there are many, many other groups in the world that have it far, far worse. The Pals are well supported by foreign aid. Nobody goes hungry. If there was even one big-bellied starving child in Gaza, the whole world would have seen his picture)”
    http://www.tomjoad.org/Hunger.htm
    “On the Verge of a Humanitarian Catastrophe”
    Malnourished Children in Palestine
    Israeli Military Policies to blame, say United Nations and the International Red Cross
    A humanitarian crisis is growing in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza. A full 22% of Palestinian children under the age of 5 have been found to be suffering from malnutrition. Nearly 16% are suffering from anemia, many of whom will suffer from permanent negative effects on their physical and mental development as a result. This is the findings of a study sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and John Hopkins University, cited in a report put out by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
    http://www.tomjoad.org/Hunger.htm

    Reply

  212. Dan Kervick says:

    I’ve been very reluctant to jump into this discussion. But one thing that strikes me as odd about the framework of the whole discussion so far is the extent to which Gaza is being discussed, on both sides, as though it were an independent country. If that were the case, it might make some sense for Israelis and their supporters to emphasize that Gaza has been unoccupied for a few years now, and look at the Gaza war and the current post-war Israeli blockade as an extreme and brutal, but otherwise understandable and not historically atypical sequence of security measures taken against rocket attacks and other violent Hamas acts against Israeli civilians.
    But Gaza is not an independent country or homeland. At the same time that these events are occuring in Gaza, Israel is continuing to occupy and colonize the West Bank, and continuing to attempt to expand that colonization effort in the face of now almost universal opposition. And the West Bank and Gaza are the combined home to one people: the Palestinian Arab people who are united by a collective experience of forced displacement and dispossession. So it requires an incredible acrobatic feat of cognitive dissonance to maintain the position that what is happening to Gaza is simply a defensive operation against attacks from an unoccupied country. Palestine is only unoccupied if you ignore the largest chunk of it.
    In fact, it is notable lately how Israelis and their US supporters have largely dropped a lot of the old pretenses and obfuscations about what has been going on in the West Bank for decades. Israelis now seem emotionally prepared to accept and admit that what is going on now, and has been going on since 1967, is an effort of colonization and forced dispossession. But as a result of this admission, a lot of Israelis and pro-Israelis have become more stunningly brazen about the colonization, and now shamelessly advance “might makes right” arguments about the right of the strong to dominate and take from the weak, or rely on superstitious religious or quasi-religious arguments about mystical “national rights” to the land. And Israel’s government is now in open conniptions over the fact that other countries, including the United States, are of the opinion that they should actually stop colonizing more of Palestine and should stop dispossessing more Palestinians.
    The argument has been floated that the Palestinians in Gaza, though unfortunate, are responsible for their own misfortune because they voted to be headed and represented by an organization that has been known to practice and encourage terrorism against non-combatant Israelis. But by the same logic, one could argue that Israeli civilians deserve to get rockets, car-bombs and people-bombs thrown at them for electing a series of governments that have supported, funded and militarily organized a long campaign to push the Palestinian Arabs off their land.
    I suggest that if Israelis are determined to keep conquering and ethnically cleansing all of Palestine, they should just go ahead and do it without whining about how no one understands their security plight and how unfair and irrational are all their critics. While they are shoving, herding and bulldozing more Palestinians off the land, they might want to refrain from insulting everyone’s intelligence by claiming that it is the loony left that is out of step with the moral conscience of 21st century humanity, and might want to accept that Israelis and their pro-colonization “decent left” allies are the ones living according to pre-modern notions of the rights of conquest.
    I increasingly view the whole area as something close to a lunatic asylum. Solving the problem would be good, and is probably even essential in the long run. But the first need for everyone who does not live in that immediate region is to quarantine the problem diplomatically so that it doesn’t infect all of us even worse than it already has. We need to prevent the plague of violent, obsessed and fanatical thinking that afflicts Pale-Israel-stine from dragging the rest of the world down into their interminable conflict.

    Reply

  213. ... says:

    wigwag, further to that i would say it takes one to know one… quote from you “And I try to do it in a polite way that recognizes that people who have a different opinion than I do aren’t bad people; they’re just people with a different point of view.” oh, if that were all there was to it! keep on maintaining your squeaky clean persona and people will continue to say bullshit to you…

    Reply

  214. easy e says:

    Posted by Carroll, Jul 09 2009, 10:32PM – Link
    Posted by easy e, Jul 09 2009, 7:48PM – Link
    Based on article below, it appears that the EU version of AIPAC is succeeding -:)
    * * * * *
    Not really. Misleading headline. Here’s the body of the article. And here’s the correct link.
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1098983.html
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Thanks, Carroll, I stand corrected. I applaud the EU clarification which I hadn’t caught on prior link. Walt and Mearsheimer needn’t pen another book……….yet.
    Best, e

    Reply

  215. ... says:

    wigwag – you were the first to bring up castration, at which point in mentioned circumcision… now you refer to me as a bigot… from anyone else and i would be concerned… from you however, it suggests an aspect of your character i am already familiar with and it is all that pretty…

    Reply

  216. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Damn, what a bunch of bullshit.
    On suicide bombings. When was the last suicide bombing in Israel?
    On rocket attacks. Who broke the cease fire on November fourth?
    On Nadine’s insinuation as to penis size; Big dick, little dick, doesn’t matter. Its not cock that dictates common sense to know a bigot when he sees one. And you’re a racist monster, Nadine. Sorry, but thats just the way it is, you’ve made it obvious.
    Your callous refusal to admit to any Israeli fault in the way the Palestinians are treated is a glaring picture of bigotry. I note too you speak in generalities. When specific examples of documented Israeli atrocities are cited, you ignore them, as if they don’t exist.
    And its quite comical seeing Wig-wag respond to me, after his pathetic little bit of crap about not reading my posts. And seeing this long diatribe of justifications for Israel’s actions, by three active propagandists, is somewhat humorous in its predictability.
    I don’t mind admitting I think they’re scum. Their arguments prove that to me on a daily basis. The statement “wailing about civilian deaths”, sans any other comment from this racist Nadine, would tell me all I need to know about her. Muslim life means nothing to her. She sees herself as a superior being. Just like the nazis, whose atrocities people like her have rode to a bizzarre and perverse state of perpetual victimhood. Its getting old.
    Cooked in an oven at Auschwitz, or fryed in white phosphorous on the streets of Gaza, one atrocity doesn’t excuse the other.
    The racist Nadine claims no one is going hungry in Gaza. You all KNOW this to be untrue. Even questions and wig-wag know it to be a lie. Nadine’s statement defines her, and the silence of wig-wag and questions in the face of such prefarication define them.
    This thread has told any discerning individual all they need to know about these three. And it ain’t pretty.

    Reply

  217. WigWag says:

    “Macula degeneration is not fun. Have watched as others have dealt with it. Very sorry.”
    No not fun. Fortunately for me I have the “dry” type, not the “wet” type. The dry type isn’t quite as bad. Believe it or not, the hardest thing for me to do is read the letters and numbers in the captcha at the Washington Note. They look very blurry to me. Sometimes when my eyes are bad I e-mail my comments to my son and ask him to post them for me.
    As you can imagine, he finds this irritating so I try not to do it too often. More often than not I can sruggle through with it.
    Sometimes I do think using a captcha that’s so hard to read is a little discriminatory against visually impaired people.
    Do you think its a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act?
    I wouldn’t make a complaint; I think Steve is much too charming.

    Reply

  218. WigWag says:

    The same goes for collective punishment of relatives of “terrorists”, by killing them or bombarding their houses, a practice that started at least under Sharon…”
    I don’t support that; I think its wrong and I think it’s immoral.
    “If you compare the actual provocations from Hamas (the rockets) with the unproportional Israeli response (the same was the case with respect to Hezbollah and the capture of a soldier that lead to the war against Lebanon in 2006), and if you
    compare the percentage of civilian casualties in Gaza compared to Hamas fighters, you immediately see this tendency to blur the distinction between fighters and civilians.”
    The idea that morality requires an attack to be met with a “proportional response” is fatuous. The only reason to respond to an entity that attacks you is to halt their attack and deter them from attacking in the future. The idea that a military response should be proportional to the attack that induced it just makes no sense.
    By the way, there are few if any nations in the world other than Israel who are asked to insure the “proportionality” of their response. The Europeans never adhered to this rule during their barbaric history; the Americans never did and don’t now. Certainly the Russians, Chinese, Indians and Pakistanis don’t. Of course, unlike with Israel, no one even bothers to ask these nations to respond in a “proportional” way to their perceived provocations.
    As for your citation of the rocket attacks from Hezbollah and Hamas, in both cases Israel’s response halted the rocket attacks from its enemies. Hamas launches a rocket every now and then and a few mortars every day; but for the most part by defeating Hamas militarily (at least for the time being) Israel has solved the problem of incoming rockets in the Negev.
    As for Hezbollah, not only have the rocket attacks stopped in Northern Israel, when Israel fought Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah was too frightened by the pounding it took in 2006 to do anything to help their partner in resistance. Moreover, a good case can be made that one of many factors in Hezbollah’s political defeat last month was the beating they took in 2006. Interestingly the debate in Lebanon after the election is not about how to resist Israel; instead it’s about how to disarm Hezbollah.
    Had Israel responded “proportionately” to either Hezbollah or Hamas it would have achieved neither of these perfectly legitimate goals. Would there be fewer dead Lebanese or Palestinians if Israel had responded “proportionately”? Maybe, maybe not.
    But there certainly would have been alot more dead and injured Israelis.

    Reply

  219. Carroll says:

    Posted by Paul Norheim, Jul 09 2009, 3:40PM – Link
    I have to say, WigWag, that your last reply regrettably will cast a
    darker shade on possible future exchanges about more pleasant
    subjects.>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Listen you and wig wag, who is actually the old troll zigzag who we used to call ziggy, are going to have to get a room if you keep this up. I would have thought you would have caught on by now by comparing ziggy’s paraphased comments from pro-Israel think tanks papers to his outbursts on anti semites POA and Authur and et al.
    The regulars here have long ago debunked the nadine and wiggieziggy spin a hundred times,it’s boring. The appropiate reply to such, unless you just enjoy typing, is no reply.
    They are hard core lukid zionist you aren’t going to change their minds or get them to talk facts.

    Reply

  220. questions says:

    Macular degeneration is not fun. Have watched as others have dealt with it. Very sorry.
    And sorry over mis”speaking” the pro-Israeli thing. I should try to reconstruct what was going through my head at the time. I have some vague recollection of thinking about the “firster” charges, and wondering what “pro” means anyway. But Paul caught it and I recanted pretty quickly. But I guess this one has stuck in his craw.
    AIPAC wants to know everything, even at your condo! And especially if you have a book and a hundred aces!

    Reply

  221. Paul Norheim says:

    If you compare the actual provocations from Hamas (the
    rockets) with the unproportional Israeli response (the same was
    the case with respect to Hezbollah and the capture of a soldier
    that lead to the war against Lebanon in 2006), and if you
    compare the percentage of civilian casualties in Gaza compared
    to Hamas fighters, you immediately see this tendency to blur
    the distinction between fighters and civilians. The same goes
    for collective punishment of relatives of “terrorists”, by killing
    them or bombarding their houses, a practice that started at
    least under Sharon, if not before that. Those are just two
    examples. And the same goes for you and Nadine blaming the
    Palestinian people for choosing Hamas. Also bin Laden blamed
    “the American people” for electing Bush, legalizing attacks on
    the civilians – remember?
    This is why Nadine instinctively, and correctly, within her own
    logic, identifies those who talk about the humanitarian situation
    in Gaza as “partisans” supporting Hamas. It`s a world of total
    mobilization (see Ernst Jünger`s essay with that title) – and
    within that world, everybody becomes a soldier. Nobody is
    innocent.

    Reply

  222. WigWag says:

    “I posted after that that indeed WW is “pro-Israel” and I mistyped. But I will still venture to say that I don’t really know what “pro-Israel” means. (I’m a theorist long before I’m a polemicist.) Would WW be willing to serve in the IDF? I don’t know. Would WW spy for Israel? I don’t know. Does WW want Israel to continue to exist as a nation? It seems so. Would WW like for Israel to be more moral? I tend to think so, but it’s not so easy getting there. And WW doesn’t seem to think Israel is in the position of being required to risk everything for some chance at peace that seems fairly remote given the very different worldviews of the people involved.
    Okay, here are the answers.
    1)Would WigWag be willing to serve in the IDF?
    At one time I might have been willing, but I don’t think they take 80 year olds suffering from macula degeneration and walking with a cain. I would be no good in a battle anyway (I don’t always have the bladder control for it).
    2) Would WigWag spy for Israel?
    Yes, but only if they needed a secret agent in my condo community. I wouldn’t give up any military secrets and I don’t do industrial espionage. But if the Mossad wants to know who’se saying what about whom down at the pool or in the Pinochle games at the condo club house, I’m their spy.
    3)Does WW want Israeli to continue to exist as a nation?
    The answer to that one is probably pretty obvious.
    4)Would Israel like Israel to be more moral?
    Yes, I would like Israel to be more moral. I would like the Palestinians to be more moral. I would like the Americans, Russians and Chinese to be more moral. I would even like the Norwegians to be more moral (if that’s possible). But I don’t want Israel held to a different standard of morality than any other nation; and I don’t want Israel to take “chances for peace” more than any other nation would.

    Reply

  223. Carroll says:

    Huummm….things are changing.
    http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0708/p02s04-usgn.html
    Reporter Patrik Jonsson talks with CSMonitor.com’s Pat Murphy about the US State Department giving asylum to Palestinians living in an Iraqi refugee camp.
    By Patrik Jonsson | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
    from the July 7, 2009 edition
    Atlanta – The State Department confirmed today that as many as 1,350 Iraqi Palestinians – once the well-treated guests of Saddam Hussein and now at outs with much of Iraqi society – will be resettled in the US, mostly in southern California, starting this fall.
    It will be the largest-ever resettlement of Palestinian refugees into the US – and welcome news to the Palestinians who fled to Iraq after 1948 but who have had a tough time since Mr. Hussein was deposed in 2003. Targeted by Iraqi Shiites, the mostly-Sunni Palestinians have spent recent years in one of the region’s roughest refugee camps, Al Waleed, near Iraq’s border with Syria.
    “Really for the first time, the United States is recognizing a Palestinian refugee population that could be admitted to the US as part of a resettlement program,” says Bill Frelick, refugee policy director at Human Rights Watch in Washington.
    Given the US’s past reluctance to resettle Palestinians – it accepted just seven Palestinians in 2007 and nine in 2008 – the effort could ruffle some diplomatic feathers.
    For many in the State Department and international community, the resettlement is part of a moral imperative the US has to clean up the refugee crisis created by invading Iraq. The US has already stepped up resettlement of Iraqis, some who have struggled to adjust to life in America.
    The resettlement of Iraqi Palestinians is “an important gesture for the United States to demonstrate that we’re not heartless,” says Alon Ben-Meir, a professor of international relations and Middle Eastern studies at New York University. ”

    Reply

  224. Carroll says:

    Posted by easy e, Jul 09 2009, 7:48PM – Link
    Based on article below, it appears that the EU version of AIPAC is succeeding -:)
    * * * * *
    Not really. Misleading headline. Here’s the body of the article. And here’s the correct link.
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1098983.html
    “Meanwhile, a senior European Union official has ruled out any compromise with Israel over the issue of settlements, unless reached in the framework of a final-status agreement with the Palestinians.
    Robert Rydberg, head of the Middle East desk in the Swedish Foreign Ministry, stressed on Monday it was inconceivable for the international community to legitimize natural growth of the settler population, since all settlements beyond the Green Line were illegal.
    Rydberg, whose country holds the EU presidency, said the only conceivable compromise would come with Israeli and Palestinian agreement on borders in an all-encompassing final-status agreement between the two parties.
    Speaking at a conference in Munich, Rydberg slammed the settlements as creating a new reality on the ground in the occupied territories and spawning obstacles, and he said that roadblocks were intended mainly to protect the settlements rather than Israel proper within the Green Line.
    Rydberg said Israel’s settlement policy did not build credibility among the Palestinian leadership and that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas wanted to reach an agreement with Israel. He said the ideology that guides most settlers is based on utter denial of the rights of Palestinians in the occupied territories.
    Rydberg, who also serves as deputy director general of the Swedish Foreign Ministry and is a former ambassador to Israel, noted that the United States was interested in the EU’s playing an active role in the peace process, and that the U.S. meticulously coordinates its positions with the EU and other members of the Quartet.
    He noted with satisfaction the latest statements by Hamas on Israel. He said that although Hamas was approaching the Quartet’s demands, it still must live up to all of the Quartet’s conditions before the latter would engage with the Islamic group.
    He also said the EU was trying to “close gaps” with Arab countries like Syria and Libya, in a bid to engage them in the efforts to make progress in resolving the Middle East conflict.
    Rydberg said the situation in Iran was likely to influence the Israeli-Arab conflict, but also that progress in the peace process was as likely to influence players affiliated with Iran in the region, such as Syria, as well as the positions of organization like Hamas and Hezbollah.
    He said the Middle East will be given much attention during the Swedish presidency of the EU, as his government, like others in Europe, has political, security and economic interests in the region. “”
    Related articles:
    Israel: EU report on settlements ignores our security concerns
    EU official: No chance of settlements deal with Israel

    Reply

  225. WigWag says:

    “I also notice that you, like many Israelis, by the way, seem to share an essential trait with the typical terrorist. An incapability to make the elementary distinction between civilians on one hand, and soldiers or partisans who fight an enemy with violent means on the other hand.”
    Really? That’s what you think?
    Okay but I don’t see anything I’ve written which can logically allow you to reach that conclusion.
    They Palestinians voted for a party they knew supported armed resistance. That party carried out armed resistance first through suicide bombing, and when that was stymied, through rocket attacks.
    When Hamas was attacked in Gaza its commandos hid out in homes, Mosques, schools and hospitals. They knew the inevitable result would be civilian casualties but it was them (not me and not the IDF) who decided that there are no civilians or combatants just freedom fighters.
    The accusation you make about me is far more reasonably applied to Hamas itself. They could have chosen to separate their fighting force from the civilian population in Gaza; they didn’t.
    That’s why the severe damage to life and limb in Gaza is primarily their fault. It’s also why I think your claim that the Israelis and I don’t distinguish between civilians and combatants is exactly backward.
    Israel attempted to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza with at least as much effort as the Americans seek to minimize civilian casualties in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Their record compared to the Russians in Chechnya looks pretty good.
    I just disagree with you about this.

    Reply

  226. Paul Norheim says:

    I don`t think you got it quite right either, WigWag, on your long
    version of this story. Wasn`t it something about freezing the
    money for salaries, and, with the support of America and EU,
    suddenly freezing all aid, making it practically impossible to
    administrate the territory after the undesired result of the
    election?
    I also notice that you, like many Israelis, by the way, seem to
    share an essential trait with the typical terrorist: An incapability to
    make the elementary distinction between civilians on one hand,
    and soldiers or partisans who fight an enemy with violent means
    on the other hand. Given this incapability, I can understand how
    you can reconcile yourself with the suffering of a people you
    regard as mobilized as partisans from they were born.

    Reply

  227. DonS says:

    Nadine, “You may say you hold no brief for Hamas. It doesn’t matter. Objectively, your words support them.”
    If you got that moat out of your own eye you might recognize that supporting Hamas isn’t at issue. For you its supporting Israel. My world is bigger than that. Your language upthread that “if you hinder one side in a war, you are aiding the other side; and therefore, pacifism in the face of Hitler was objectively pro-fascist.” speaks volumns. You see no right outcome or stance that doesn’t favor Israel. Anything that does not support Israel supports the fascists, the ‘terrorists’, the ‘Pals’. My God, why didn’t I see it before. Why haven’t I been worshiping at the alter of Bibi and Liberman. Indeed, Nadine, you have opened my eyes.

    Reply

  228. questions says:

    “Communication-wise it`s certainly fog. You invest your time
    and analytical skills denying that WigWag is pro-Israel;”
    ****I posted after that that indeed WW is “pro-Israel” and I mistyped. But I will still venture to say that I don’t really know what “pro-Israel” means. (I’m a theorist long before I’m a polemicist.) Would WW be willing to serve in the IDF? I don’t know. Would WW spy for Israel? I don’t know. Does WW want Israel to continue to exist as a nation? It seems so. Would WW like for Israel to be more moral? I tend to think so, but it’s not so easy getting there. And WW doesn’t seem to think Israel is in the position of being required to risk everything for some chance at peace that seems fairly remote given the very different worldviews of the people involved.
    “denying
    that AIPAC plays a significant role in US policies;”
    **I’ve made my position so clear on lobbying as an issue. I don’t think AIPAC controls all communication/press/media in the US. I do think that people think past the AIPAC point of view. And if people are incapable of thinking past the AIPAC point of view, then I would guess that the posters here must also have a hard time seeing past AIPAC.
    I know enough about social science stats to see where scholarship lacks the PROOF that is simply assumed here. And I have cited some of that scholarship. My position is standard order poli sci, not some loony tunes idiocy or fog. It’s academic rather than polemical. This blog is largely polemical rather than academic. The real fog, if there is any, is the positing of advocating seeming truths whose only “proof” is something like “JUST LOOK” or “OF COURSE” or “I read it in Mondo Weiss.” And that kind of proof is insufficient for me.
    “denying that
    the Free Gaza Movement boat was related to humanitarian issues.”
    ***First, “was related to” is something of what might be considered weasel words. Of COURSE it’s REALATED to humanitarian concerns. But I really don’t think they intended to deliver the cargo.
    If the Free Gaza people really wanted more than anything else to get crayons to children, medication to hospitals, building supplies to contractors, then they’d use the main channel into Gaza — smugglers’ tunnels. They’d QUIETLY pay someone off and lo and behold, goods would be delivered. No one would be the wiser. There’d be no credit claiming, and no room for political pressure.
    Instead, they got the Nobel Laureate who helped broker the Irish situation, they got McKinney, they publicized like crazy, and they had a face off with the Israeli Navy. What do you HONESTLY think they were doing? Delivering supplies, or making a political point? Honestly. Do you really honestly think that they really honestly thought they’d get through?
    “This is fog.”
    ***If you can’t understand what I’m writing, then… but you’ve already told me you know how to read, so I really don’t know what to say in response. You amy disagree with me, even violently the way POA does. Maybe I sicken you with my degenerate morals the way I sicken POA. I don’t know. You may dislike the way I draw concepts, or the way I find complications where you see simple truths. You have a decent enough sense of the texts that are foundational to my way of looking at the world, so I doubt the complexity is really that odd for you to see. I would guess that working through the Parmenides is a little tougher than working though one of my posts.
    I can see all sorts of things, but I cannot see where my writing is foggy.

    Reply

  229. WigWag says:

    “We colonize you; then we bomb you for opposing this and your population suffers. All that is required to stop the suffering, is for you to stop military resistance.. Unless you do so, blame yourself for your suffering.”
    I don’t think you have it right, Paul. The Israelis removed their settlements from Gaza. They certainly didn’t do it in an ideal way; in fact, not negotiating their departure with the Palestinian Authority was a big mistake. Even after Israel left, Gaza was not perfectly free; its airport for example wasn’t open.
    But all of this could have been negotiated. And both the Rafah crossing and the crossings into Israel were open with civilian goods passing back and forth freely. A group of American philanthropists even funded the creation of a large set of greenhouses and hydroponic systems that they hoped would foster agricultural trade between Gaza and Israel.
    In free and fair elections, Hamas was victorious. The Palestinian people knew that a central feature of the Hamas platform was armed resistance to Israel. They may have voted for Hamas because they were fed up with Fatah’s corruption but it was no mystery to anyone that Hamas wanted to confront Israel militarily. Within months of its election, Hamas began to attack, jail, maim and kill its political opponents in Fatah (so remarkably reminiscent of what happens almost everywhere in the Muslim world.) Prevented from continuing the numerous suicide attacks that it organized as a result of targeted killings of its leaders and by Israel’s separation barrier (that Israeli critics said would never work), Hamas turned to Iran for the know how and equipment to build rockets. Shortly thereafter the rocket attacks began.
    Although Israel’s behavior was far from perfect, the withdrawal from Gaza represented a golden opportunity to build on the settlers’ removal as a bridge towards a better future.
    Hamas and the Palestinian people who voted for them chose armed resistance instead. As anyone could have predicted, the natural consequence of their choice to fight was another in a long line of military defeats. The suffering in Gaza today is the result of that completely predictable defeat.
    When Hamas (and also, to be fair, the entire Palestinian people) come to grips with the fact that they will never achieve a military victory then perhaps progress can be made. It seems like Fatah understands this as does a large number of Sunni Arab nations. Hezbollah, which like Hamas has dreams of military success was defeated militarily by Israel in 2006 and was defeated electorally by a political coalition that wishes to align with the West. In Iran, the Mullahs support resistance to Israel and oppose the United States, but recent events have proven that the Iranian people define their aspirations in a different way than the Mullahs.
    Conditions in Gaza will improve when Hamas surrenders its aspirations of a successful armed resistance or when the Palestinian people in Gaza rise up and throw out the leaders of Hamas who have brought them so much pain and suffering.
    So no, Paul, it’s not about blaming the victim. The Palestinians are victims of their own political choices; they’re victims of Sunni and Shia Muslim nations that use them for their own nefarious purposes and they’re victims of a failed resistance movement that they voted for themselves.

    Reply

  230. Paul Norheim says:

    “Gaza could be rebuilt tomorrow. All Hamas has to do is
    surrender its aspirations to be a movement committed to military
    resistance. Unless their willing to do that, the blame for the
    humanitarian situation in Gaza is largely at their feet.” (WigWag)
    That`s the heart of the matter. Gaza could be rebuilt tomorrow.
    We colonize you; then we bomb you for opposing this and your
    population suffers. All that is required to stop the suffering, is for
    you to stop military resistance.. Unless you do so, blame yourself
    for your suffering.

    Reply

  231. WigWag says:

    I wonder when Cynthia McKinney will be headed to Egypt to try and break through Rafah into Gaza?
    Maybe she and her colleagues tried to run the blockade in a ship because they knew they’d end up in Israel where they expected to be treated lawfully instead of Egypt where they knew that as likely as not, they’d have the shit kicked out of them.

    Reply

  232. Paul Norheim says:

    “So this is fog?” (Questions)
    Communication-wise it`s certainly fog. You invest your time
    and analytical skills denying that WigWag is pro-Israel; denying
    that AIPAC plays a significant role in US policies; denying that
    the Free Gaza Movement boat was related to humanitarian
    issues. This is fog.
    Everybody who can read, recognize that your position is
    somehow different from WigWag`s. Sometimes you suggest
    bold ideas with regards to the Israel/Palestine conflict.
    So why don´t you concentrate your efforts on that, on things
    you believe in, on investigations worth exploring, instead of
    spreading fog, wasting the time of everybody here, by loyally
    defending positions you yourself don`t seem to believe in?

    Reply

  233. nadine says:

    I don’t think the Egyptians will be opening the border at Rafah anytime soon. The broke up a large Hizbullah ring in Egypt about a month ago that was planning to sink ships inside the Suez Canal. Today the Jerusalem Post reports that they broke up another ring, this one linked to Al Qaeda and based in Gaza.
    The Egyptian police had no problem turning a blind eye to arms smuggling as long as the arms were to be used against Israel. But now that Hamas is controlled by Iran and is aiming at Egypt as well, they are starting to crack down.

    Reply

  234. easy e says:

    Based on article below, it appears that the EU version of AIPAC is succeeding -:)
    * * * * *
    HAARETZ: EU retracts criticism of Israeli settlements
    The European Commission on Thursday backtracked on its unusually harsh criticism of Israeli settlements, declaring that a statement released earlier this week did not reflect the commission’s position.
    The contentious statement accused Israel’s settlement policy of strangling the Palestinian economy and making the Palestinian government more dependent on foreign aid…..
    http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1098853.html

    Reply

  235. easy e says:

    Oy-vey…………
    HAARETZ: Netanyahu’s paranoia extends to ‘self-hating Jews’ Emanuel and Axelrod
    At about 3:15 P.M. yesterday, the government’s 100th day in office, political correspondents’ beepers went off. In an unprecedented move, the Prime Minister’s Bureau was inviting the correspondents to a press conference at the Knesset that was slated to begin in 15 minutes. This was the start of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s panicked, disproportionate response to the criticism senior Kadima politicians had leveled at him three hours earlier…
    http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1098853.html

    Reply

  236. Paul Norheim says:

    Questions,
    the trouble is that you denied (when someone said that WigWag
    was pro-Israel) that he was pro-Israel.
    As you may see above, WigWag admits it. He is pro-Israel. It
    was not a question of the possible combinations of pro-Israel
    positions with realism before you turned on your fog machine.
    Yes: realism may be combined with pro-Norway, pro-Turkey,
    pro-anything. But my point was that you simply said that W was
    not pro-Israel, but a realist, and now you are clouding this issue
    by suggesting that realism may be connected to being partisan.
    Of course it can, and usually is. After all, Kissinger and
    Morgenthau and other “realists” were also pro-America.
    So why all this fog?

    Reply

  237. nadine says:

    Paul, if the criticism of POA et al is heeded, then everything Israel does to defend itself is wrong, and it will be prevented from defending itself.
    If as a result Hamas emerges as a “legitimate” internationally recognized militia armed to the teeth with Iranian missiles, then is it not fair to say that objectively speaking, the critics have supported Hamas?
    Remember George Orwell’s observation that it is common sense to note that if you hinder one side in a war, you are aiding the other side; and therefore, pacifism in the face of Hitler was objectively pro-fascist.

    Reply

  238. WigWag says:

    “Israel has absolutely no control over what the Egyptians allow in and out of Gaza.” (WigWag)
    In a strictly physical sense this is correct. It’s however highly questionable in a political sense. And this is what matters here, as you well know.”
    I don’t know what you’re referring to Paul. Egypt could break the Israeli blockade if they wanted to; they don’t want to. The Israelis don’t like Hamas; neither does Egypt. Israel wants Hamas destroyed or cut down to size, so does Egypt (so does every other Sunni Arab government). It doesn’t seem all that complicated to me.
    “Funny don’t you think that the discussion at the Washington Note and elsewhere focuses so much more on goods that Israel allows or doesn’t allow into Gaza, not what the Egyptians permit in and out.” (WigWag)
    I don’t think that’s “funny” at all: The main reason is obvious: Israel bombed Gaza, and thus has a larger responsibility.”
    Israel attacked Gaza because of provocation that would have inspired every other government in the world to attack under the same circumstances. Many would have attacked in a far more brutal fashion. Unfortunately largely as a result of pressure from the United States and Europe, Israel stopped its attack before Hamas was dismantled. When Hamas surrenders or has been sufficiently degraded so as not to pose any threat, conditions in Gaza will improve. As for your statement that Israel bears greater responsibility because it carried out the attack; I think you are partially correct. But it is also true that when Israel attacked, it pursued its military aims not only on its own behalf but also with the active encouragement of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Morocco and a few other Muslim nations. And the Palestinians voted for a government that they knew advocated armed resistance to Israel. The people in Gaza paid the price for their choice of confronting Israel by force of arms.
    “I’m curious, Paul, why you think there is so much more focus on what happens to the Palestinians than what happens to so many other groups in equally bad predicaments?” (WigWag)
    That’s of course an interesting issue, despite the polemical context of your question. I have complained about the same phenomenon, also at the Washington Note.”
    I am sure there many different reasons that the bloggers who post and the people who comment focus on the plight of the Palestinians more than similarly afflicted people. Some of those reasons probably make an awful lot of sense; some of those reasons are probably less honorable.
    “I also think that you, WigWag, as an ardent supporter of the bombardment of Gaza, should be considerably more concerned about the human consequences of that war, than with the fate of oppressed Uighurs, Tibetans, Kurds and others on this planet whom you may have sympathized with for a long time.”
    I am saddened by all of it.
    “What I think, WigWag, is that you as well are basically a partisan, despite all your interesting reflections on geo-political issues. And that you can’t solely put the blame on your opponents at TWN as to why the debate here is so polarized.”
    I make no claims of objectivity Paul. I just say what I think and I try to explain why I think what I think.
    And I try to do it in a polite way that recognizes that people who have a different opinion than I do aren’t bad people; they’re just people with a different point of view.

    Reply

  239. Paul Norheim says:

    Questions (6 Nadine and others),
    POA`s verbal aggressiveness does not equate support for Hamas:
    some months ago he was very aggressive (verbally!) against
    someone who claimed that he was a Palestinian who supported
    Hamas. I assume that POA understands, but do not approve their
    suicide bomb tactics. POA may correct me if I`m wrong,
    Honestly, I doubt that there are more than a couple of regular
    commenters here who perhaps support Hamas.

    Reply

  240. Paul Norheim says:

    “Israel has absolutely no control over what the Egyptians allow
    in and out of Gaza.” (WigWag)
    In a strictly physical sense this is correct. It`s however highly
    questionable in a political sense. And this is what matters here,
    as you well know.
    “Funny don’t you think, that the discussion at the Washington
    Note and elsewhere focuses so much more on goods that Israel
    allows or doesn’t allow into Gaza, not what the Egyptians permit
    in and out.” (WigWag)
    I don`t think that`s “funny” at all: The main reason is obvious:
    Israel bombed Gaza, and thus has a larger responsibility.
    “I’m curious, Paul, why you think there is so much more focus
    on what happens to the Palestinians than what happens to so
    many other groups in equally bad predicaments?” (WigWag)
    That`s of course an interesting issue, despite the polemical
    context of your question. I have complained about the same
    phenomenon, also at the Washington Note. Particularly in one
    thread some months ago. I can´t find the comment right now,
    but I tried to highlight the Sri Lankese` government
    forces`bombardment of the Tamil Tigers` last held areas, just
    before the Israeli attack on Gaza ended, as far as I remember. It
    was almost like a mirror of the Israel-Gaza scenario, with a
    large civilian population caught in the middle etc. No one at
    TWN was concerned about this at the time, including the host.
    I remember that my interpretation was that it`s not the amount
    of suffering and death that counts. If so, the suffering and death
    in the war and conflict in Congo (which I have also commented
    on) would indeed be all over the place during the last decade.
    It`s not even necessarily related to the possible geopolitical
    consequences. If so, the war between Soviet and Afghanistan in
    the 1980`s would be all over the place, just like Vietnam.
    I think it`s all about about a clear narrative with symbolic
    qualities. The additional factor in the Israel/Palestine conflict is
    the political and financial support from the United States, and to
    a certain degree from other countries as well.
    I would assume that these are among the main reasons
    (narrative/ symbolism/ financial, political and moral support)
    why so many people at the Washington Note are more
    concerned with the sufferings of the Palestinians, than with the
    “downtrodden and oppressed Uighurs, Tibetans, Kurds, Bosnian
    Muslims, Serbian Kosovars, Balochs, Tamilese, B’hai, etc”, which
    you mentioned in your reply to Nadine.
    I also think that you, WigWag, as an ardent supporter of the
    bombardment of Gaza, should be considerably more concerned
    about the human consequences of that war, than with the fate
    of oppressed Uighurs, Tibetans, Kurds and others on this
    planet whom you may have sympathized with for a long time.
    —————
    “So yes, Paul, I think there’s plenty of blame to go around. It’s
    not me who doesn’t admit that; it’s the partisans of the
    Palestinians in general and the Gazans in particular who have
    trouble admitting the realities of this unfortunate and sad
    situation.”
    What I think, WigWag, is that you as well are basically a
    partisan, despite all your interesting reflections on geo-political
    issues. And that you can´t solely put the blame on your
    opponents at TWN as to why the debate here is so polarized.

    Reply

  241. WigWag says:

    Your right, Nadine, Israel is far more restrained than the Russians were in Chechnya, the Sri Lankans were in the Tamil areas, the Chinese are in Tibet, the Chinese are in Xinjiang, the Burmese Government was in Myanmar, the Syrians were in Hama, the Americans were in Viet Nam, the Pakistani Government was at the Red Mosque, etc., etc., etc.
    It makes you wonder what all the selective hand wringing is all about.

    Reply

  242. WigWag says:

    Questions, Paul,
    Why all the debate about whether I’m pro-Israel? Of course I’m pro Israel. Like most American Jews and like tens of millions of American Christians, I’m a Zionist and an ardent one at that. Not all Jews are Zionists but I think it’s a pretty safe assumption that most Jews are. Zionism is the national liberation movement of my people and I’m intensely proud of it.
    Does that mean I agree with everything Israel does? Of course not. I’m an American and I’m not proud of everything the United States does either. I’m a Floridian; I’m not proud of every decision the State of Florida makes either.
    Do I think Israel treats the Palestinians fairly? I think Israel treats the Palestinians in a very unfair manner far too often. Do I think the Palestinians are mostly to blame for their own predicament? Yes I believe that and I believe that the rest of the Muslim world both Shia and Sunni have contributed immeasurably to Palestinian suffering.
    Gaza could be rebuilt tomorrow. All Hamas has to do is surrender its aspirations to be a movement committed to military resistance. Unless their willing to do that, the blame for the humanitarian situation in Gaza is largely at their feet.
    Israel’s blockade of Gaza is designed to prevent Hamas from regaining its military strength and to degrade its political viability. The blockade is accomplishing both goals.
    Of course, if Egypt or any of its Sunni Arab allies wanted Israel’s blockade to fail all they would have to do is donate material to be shipped into Gaza through Egypt.
    The fact that they haven’t done that speaks volumes. It suggests to me that if the Sunni Arab governments don’t think allowing material into Gaza is a good idea, the Israelis are pretty smart to come to the same conclusion.
    There are no heroes in any of this, but ultimately until Hamas relents (which there is some evidence they are beginning to do) the blame for the situation is primarily theirs.
    And I have a sneaking suspicion that in his heart of hearts, Jonathan Guyer, the author of this post, knows it.

    Reply

  243. nadine says:

    questions,
    Israel tries very hard to minimize civilian casualties. It is just very very difficult to avoid killing civilians in crowded urban warfare where the other side wants to maximize civilian casualties.
    But what Israel does cannot be called “standard practice”. Standard practice, if you mean by that the practices of the Sri Lankan army or the Russian army or any other army, would have resulted in 10s of thousands of civilian dead. Read Col Kemp:
    http://www.mesi.org.uk/ViewBlog.aspx?ArticleId=65
    Nowhere else has an army phoned every apartment in an apartment house to tell the residents to get out because it was going to be bombed in 10 minutes due to the fact it had an arsenal in the basement.
    Sometimes the residents would get out, sometimes Hamas would send women and children to stand on the roof of the building (willing or unwilling). If that was the case, the Israelis would strike the corner of the roof with a dud bomb. This was called “knocking on the roof”. That would make the human shields run away and then the Israelis would bomb. No other army has ever done this. Many strikes were aborted because of too many civilians close by.
    If you demand that Israel never attack, never kill even a single human shield, consider the magnitude of the victory you are demanding for Hamas.

    Reply

  244. nadine says:

    DonS,
    You may say you hold no brief for Hamas. It doesn’t matter. Objectively, your words support them.

    Reply

  245. nadine says:

    >>”Hamas LIKES the difficult civilian conditions. The difficult civilian
    conditions keeps Hamas in power, get it?” (Nadine)
    “Well, Nadine, then it looks like Israel as well, with the blockade,
    LIKES to keep Hamas in power, get it?”
    You have a point there — except — giving them recognition and support when they have reneged on all the PA signed agreements would be even better for them. That is the outright victory of legitimization that they are striving for. Then they would just wage enough war to close the border again. And make an all-out push for control of the West Bank.
    That is what makes terrorist/counter-terrorist wars so slow. The use of human shields can be effective. It’s the first time in history that strategy is bases on your enemy caring more about the lives of your women and children than you do.

    Reply

  246. questions says:

    Paul, I reread your post a few times and what stands out after the re-re-reading is that first, when the whole “Is WigWag pro-Israel” issue came up, I replied that, “Of course WigWag is pro-Israel.” But now what is occurring to me is, “So what?” How could it really matter? Carroll is pro-US. POA seems to be pro-US. I’m not sure how fandom on these issues is material to anything.
    I’m “pro-Israel” at some level, and quite possibly in a different way from how WigWag feels. So what?
    Being “for” something doesn’t render one incapable of thinking. I could be Dodgers fan (baseball) but think the manager and half the players are horrible and should be replaced, along with 3 coaches and a few trainers and the stadium. So I don’t see how “for” matters here.
    The fundamental question on these threads seems to be something along the lines of: Is Israel’s behavior so out of synch with a)morality b)US interests c)Israeli welfare d)what the rest of the world wants that the US should cut off aid to Israel. And a second line of questioning seems to be: Does Israel overly influence US policy to the detriment of US interests?
    There are a range of answers to these questions running from acceptance of what Israel does as fairly standard practice all the way through what seems to suggest that Israel is quite possibly just about the worst regime on the planet, and is completely contrary to the US’s interests.
    My position is mixed on this. I think the influence issue misreads congressional process, and I wish that Israel would do a lot of things differently regarding the Palestinians. But I don’t think that so far, support of Israel is contrary to US interests, and I have a hard time theoretically with murky concepts like “national interests.”
    I want very much to see shifts in Israeli perceptions of the world and I have suggested soft power pushes. HuffPo has a piece up about some Palestinian kid who was shot by Israeli soldiers and killed. His family donated organs to Israelis and saved lives. Now THAT’S a symbol that could sway a nation. Who knows, maybe it will.
    So this is fog?

    Reply

  247. WigWag says:

    And, POA, as long as you’ve chosen to run your mouth on thread after thread in an insulting and rude manner:
    About two weeks ago, in response to a comment by the person who uses the moniker … you referred to him as “pimples” and called him an anti-Semite. You regaled us with the fact that your mother-in-law and your friend Nina are Jewish and that you didn’t appreciate “pimples” attitude towards Jews.
    So I wonder, POA how you feel about the fact that your internet buddy, Arthur Decco is an anti-Semite of a far more venal sort than “pimples” who is probably just too ignorant to even know what he’s saying?
    After all, Art is an acolyte of California State University Professor Kevin MacDonald. I know because he’s recommended that I read him. It’s kind of like saying you can’t think Hitler was an anti Semite until you’ve read Mein Kampf. MacDonald believes that Jews are genetically programmed to behave in a nefarious manner and he believes that African Americans are genetically inferior. MacDonald has been condemned as a racist and a white supremacist by everyone from the Southern Poverty Law Center to the Academic Senate at his own university. Don’t believe it; Do your own research. It will take about five minutes to confirm what I’m saying. So your little internet buddy admires someone who thinks your mother in law and your friend Nina are genetically programmed to undermine society. Isn’t that special!
    And I wonder, POA, do Nina or your mother-in-law read the Washington Note often? I wonder how they feel about your insulting, rude, hyperbolic and testosterone tainted behavior. Do you behave with Nina or your mother-in-law the way you behave in the comment section of the Washington Note? Would these two women be proud to watch you in action, POA?
    Do they have any idea what you’re like?

    Reply

  248. questions says:

    A “fog machine” would be that which deliberately makes it hard to think. I am certainly not trying to do that. But make up your own mind.
    I honestly don’t know what the difference between a “realist” and a, say, “pro-Israeli partisan who is also realist” is. And I am asking honestly for clarification. It may be quite “realist” to be pro-Israel. The last time you brought this point up, I said, of course “pro-Israel” in a response (dig it up for sure), but I think there’s room for realism in WigWag’s position as well. And this time around, I have asked for work towards a definition of “realism” that either allow in or excludes partisanism. But since you closed with a refusal to go this direction, so be it.
    The idea that I’m diminishing McKinney is really incorrect. Her words both spoken and written emphasize the crayon thing to support a particular kind of image — that of young children who just want to color and paint, young, innocent children. AFAIK she doesn’t talk about medicine. And I already noted the “crayon boat” remark was overly facile. I believe I said, “Sometimes I get testy.” Again, “crayon” is her word and she uses it repeatedly in both the video of her arrival and her letter from prison. So if anyone is “diminishing” the content of the boat or mission, it is McKinney herself. I merely repeat her words.
    Civil disobedience and humiliating the navy are pretty important goals. I have no idea how these could be questioned. I am not sure that “humanitarian” quite fits the action in that there did not seem to me to be an anonymous attempt to get supplies to people in the most effective way possible. (I have said repeatedly that I think that the UN would have an easier time of getting medicine and other supplies in than would a politically charged rescue boat from a partisan institution.)
    In fact, the mission was ineffective on humanitarian grounds and highly effective on civil disobedience grounds. Again, I can’t begin to see why a civil disobedience mission is such a terrible reading of what happened.
    Think me fog if you like. It’s right up there with all of the bad faith readings that are so common here. And it surely fits in with my Kantianism. And the name calling continues…. I don’t believe I called you “idiots.”

    Reply

  249. Paul Norheim says:

    “Hamas LIKES the difficult civilian conditions. The difficult civilian
    conditions keeps Hamas in power, get it?” (Nadine)
    Well, Nadine, then it looks like Israel as well, with the blockade,
    LIKES to keep Hamas in power, get it?

    Reply

  250. Paul Norheim says:

    Correction to my comment to “Questions”:
    Your reputation is now as questionable as your “questions”.

    Reply

  251. WigWag says:

    Paul Norheim says,
    “Of course your current defense of the Israeli position with regards to the humanitarian situation in Gaza should not come as a surprise. It`s a mere consequence of your support of the war.”
    I do feel bad for the people in Gaza and I do think they are facing serious humanitarian problems. And I do think Israel is not blameless in all of this. But I think the fault lies ultimately (although not completely) with Hamas.
    And I don’t feel any better or any worse for the residents of Gaza than I feel for residents of many other trouble spots around the world. In some of those trouble spots people have it worse than the Gazans; in others they have it better than the Gazans. The Gazans are entitled to about as much sympathy as any of these other groups. I’m curious, Paul, why you think there is so much more focus on what happens to the Palestinians than what happens to so many other groups in equally bad predicaments?
    I would also point out that Gaza shares a border with two nations; Israel and Egypt. Israel has absolutely no control over what the Egyptians allow in and out of Gaza. Funny don’t you think, that the discussion at the Washington Note and elsewhere focuses so much more on goods that Israel allows or doesn’t allow into Gaza, not what the Egyptians permit in and out.
    All of those humanitarian goods on the ship could have entered Gaza through the border with Egypt. Why didn’t they? Because the Egyptians care even less about their co-religionists than the Israelis do. You wouldn’t know it though by reading either the comment section or JG’s posts at the Washington Note.
    Finally, the Palestinians themselves are not blameless in all of this. As many people have pointed out, Hamas won the last Palestinian election fair and square. The Palestinians knowingly voted for a political party whose platform was based on armed resistance to Israel.
    They are now reaping the results of that choice.
    So yes, Paul, I think there’s plenty of blame to go around. It’s not me who doesn’t admit that; it’s the partisans of the Palestinians in general and the Gazans in particular who have trouble admitting the realities of this unfortunate and sad situation.

    Reply

  252. DonS says:

    Nadine, I have no brief for Hamas. I don’t need to in order make my own evaluation having observed this corner of the mideast for 50 years.
    You response to me is presumptuous. Your original comment fraught with tendentious slanted generalities.
    Not meaning this as an insult, but I don’t think we have much in common on this subject.

    Reply

  253. Paul Norheim says:

    QUESTIONS: “If you watch the McKinney video from her arrival
    moment at the airport in the US, and you read HER letter from
    jail, what you find is a repeated emphasis on crayons.”
    PAUL: Her emphasis on crayon in letters and a video is not
    identical with the actual content of the cargo: “medical and
    reconstruction supplies and children’s toys”, as reported in NYT
    and many other places. You diminish this to a “crayon boat” to
    make a point.
    QUESTIONS: “And Paul I think you don’t have my position quite
    right. What I am “denying” (a strong term) is that McKinney et al.
    really thought they were going to get through and actually
    deliver anything.”
    PAUL: What I referred to was obviously not that, but your
    statement: “DonS, I have to say that “humanitarian effort” is not
    the phrase I’d use to describe the crayon boat.”
    QUESTIONS: “It’s a “humanitarian effort” only in the sense that
    calling attention to Israeli brutality and humiliating the navy is
    “humanitarian.”
    PAUL: What about: Calling attention to the blockade is
    humanitarian? You make it suspicious (by repeating “crayons”,
    humiliating the navy, disobedience etc), while at the same time
    denying that you make it suspicious. I actually prefer WigWag`s
    often unpleasant, but straight forward honesty.
    Here is what I think: You simply felt provoked by McKinney`s
    calculated strategy, that not only was intended to highlight the
    effects of the blockade, but possibly also to put Israel and it`s
    navy in a questionable light, and likely has a political dimension
    in addition to the humanitarian aspect. So why don`t you just
    say that – straight forward?
    —————————–
    And then to your denial that WigWag is a a pro-Israel
    commenter, claiming that he is simply a “realist”.
    I have never had any problems seeing that WigWag in addition
    to being an un-questionable Israel-defender, also has an ability
    to think in “realistic” terms. My issue with you was that you have
    explicitly denied the obvious fact – even admitted by WigWag
    himself – that WigWag supports Israel. You claimed that he “is
    not pro-Israel; he is just a realist”. (I can dig up the exact
    quote, paraphrased by memory here, if you want me to).
    In your reply, you speculate: “Does “realism” leave behind
    ideology? Does it leave behind any and all attachments?”
    But if you read my comment above, my point was that you in
    another thread explicitly denied what you now with an
    euphemism call the “attachment” – i.e. his pro-Israel stance!
    Questions, I know that you`re not a fool, and please don`t treat
    me as one. I can read, and I`m absolutely sure you can read.
    It`s annoying to watch you investing your analytical skills
    “questioning” the obvious – i.e. when the topic is related to
    Israel.
    I enjoy discussing literature and philosophy with you. But I think
    no one is taking your “questions” on Israel-related topics
    seriously anymore. You are delivering sophisms from A-Z. Your
    reputation is more questionable than your “questions”.
    And I have to admit that I am partly to blame for this: I have
    tried to discuss some of these issues with you in a serious and
    straight forward way – only getting sophisms in return.
    You may once again “question” that WigWag is pro-Israel, or
    make attempts to “define” pro-Israel or realism and so forth.
    Don´t expect a reply. Sorry to say, Questions, but on these
    issues the often too rude, noisy and insulting POA nailed it long
    ago:
    You really are a fog machine, and hey, we`re not idiots!

    Reply

  254. nadine says:

    questions,
    Remember, whatever number of suicide bombers succeeding in exploding themselves, 9 out of 10 attacks were stopped before they succeeded. The Israelis have been quite successful at penetrating the terrorist networks.

    Reply

  255. nadine says:

    DonS, I understand and even admire your concern for the difficult civilian conditions in Gaza (“horrible” is too strong a word, there are many, many other groups in the world that have it far, far worse. The Pals are well supported by foreign aid. Nobody goes hungry. If there was even one big-bellied starving child in Gaza, the whole world would have seen his picture).
    However, I do ask you to wake up and stop being played for a chump by Hamas. The conditions in Gaza are under Hamas’ control. Hamas LIKES the difficult civilian conditions. The difficult civilian conditions keeps Hamas in power, get it?
    Hamas doesn’t WANT a private sector or anyone working in Israel and has secured an end to it in past years by bombing the crossings and launching rockets. Hamas is happy when the Gazans suffer, and happier still when the innocent die, and they do their best to arrange it. That’s why their whole strategy depends on human shields. It is not helping their overall popularity in Gaza but no worries, they don’t intend to hold another election.
    Look, Hamas are not children. They are not “misguided” or “stupid”. They know what they want. They want the end to Israel, even if it takes 100 years of jihad. They are religious ideologues. Wake up and understand them!
    They are getting billions in aid which allows them to pursue their jihad without bothering to run an economy. Iran has become their patron and is supplying them arms via the smuggling tunnels. From their viewpoint, this is success. They take the long view. Allah will give them the victory in the end, they say. They will win because the love death even as the Jews love life. They say this all the time.
    Then they go wailing to the West about the sufferings of their poor civilians. Stop playing the fool! Put the responsibility where it really belongs.

    Reply

  256. questions says:

    And finally DonS, on the “high seas” point, my further questions would be, how close was the boat to protected waters? I’m not at all an expert on law of the sea issues, but if a boat is within a short distance of a blockade, AND the boat has been publicly announced as being determined to violate the blockade, does the blockade have to wait until the boat crosses the line? If you pull a gun and aim it, does a cop have to wait til you pull the trigger?
    Please, again, read this not as a defense of Israel, but as a caution about the rhetoric surrounding the attack on Israel. It’s far better to be careful rhetorically. If one pushes the “high seas” thing and it’s plausible that Israel was acting within reasonable limits, then the defense of the venture fails.
    Stick to the crayons for children. It’s far more effective. Get people to mail crayons by the ton. Send animal-shaped crayons, multi-color crayons, glittery crayons…. A crayon revolution could be something. Maybe McKinney is on to something. And if I were a Fatah strategist, I would bring in a bunch of crayons right about now. Get Israel’s permission, which might be easy to come by on this….

    Reply

  257. questions says:

    David, without putting words in WigWag’s mouth (electrons in WW’s name?), I think the reference to the “loony left” was meant for a small segment of people for whom Hamas is at some level heroic. I tend to think that it’s possible that POA thinks this (note qualifications, I might be WRONG ON HTIS POINT), but POA is a libertarian I think, not a leftist. But it’s likely WigWag wasn’t singling you out.
    (all these postings, count ’em!)

    Reply

  258. questions says:

    55 bombings in 2002, according to your link, by the way. The number of casualties is less the issue than the sense of possibly being a casualty.

    Reply

  259. questions says:

    DonS,
    The US would be unhappy with a mere few suicide bombings in a year. Israel has had more than that. The east coast was completely flipped out by the two guys who shot people at shopping centers, S.Carolina just had a serial killer who hit 5 times and there was panic, 9/11 altered vast stretches of US policy and behavior, and though there were numerous casualties, it really was only 4 attacks. One failed “shoe bomber” on a plane and look what we do.
    Suicide bombings are different from other acts of violence because they show a willingness to die, and those whose lives don’t matter to themselves cannot be bargained with. They are after something beyond this world, and so nothing this world can do will be sufficient to stop it.
    Is Israel disproportionate in its response? I think that it may well be. But when I go to cafes and when I ride buses, and when I go to stores, I worry more about being overcharged than I do about being exploded. If I were worried about being exploded, I’d likely think differently.
    What do you think would happen in the US if, say, in an area the size of Israel there end up being 55 suicide bombings carried out by Mexican immigrants protesting the drug war? How do you think, say, southern California or Texas or Manhattan would respond? What kind of wall might get through Congress? Would we be disproportionate in our response? Quite possibly. My guess is that we’d take 55 bombings pretty seriously.

    Reply

  260. Paul Norheim says:

    I have to say, WigWag, that your last reply regrettably will cast a
    darker shade on possible future exchanges about more pleasant
    subjects.
    Of course your current defense of the Israeli position with
    regards to the humanitarian situation in Gaza should not come
    as a surprise. It`s a mere consequence of your support of the
    war.
    Your position is only superficially connected to what you call the
    “loony left”, whom you accuse of cherry picking among
    humanitarian causes. This only provides you with a polemical
    excuse to defend the undefendable.
    “Since my opponents are cherry picking, why should I have any
    obligation to worry about the civilian population in Gaza”?
    You can´t pay any attention to them, simply because you
    supported the war. You should pay attention to them for the
    very same reason. Instead, you chose to give “Nadine”`s point
    of view credibility.
    Do you sincerely regard Israel`s position and their blockade as
    the only correct way to deal with the situation? I guess we`ll
    never know, because – as you said in an exchange with me on
    another thread, as a reply to a direct question about the
    conditions in Gaza:
    “As for my comments at the Washington Note; I don’t feel any
    inclination to criticize the Israelis here; there’s plenty of that
    that takes place here on this blog on a regular basis.”

    Reply

  261. Daivid says:

    “the Left has really fallen in love with Hamas”
    Sorry, Nadine, but I have no love for Hamas. I think they are inept, misguided, lousy strategists, and in their own less well-equipped way, just as ruthless as Likud. The stupidest thing they could have done was launch terrorist attacks against women and children in buses. In this regard, they are no better than Likudniks who shoot women and children, rocket cars, bomb refugee camps, and on and on.
    I simply loathe all forms of slaughter of innocent civilians, whoever is doing the slaughtering, and I loathe inhumane treatment of people. I also loathe the insanity of war.
    Please at least make your charges somewhat plausible, not wild-eyed nonsense like your statement I quoted. I imagine a lot of Gazans support Hamas regardless, just as a lot of Israelis support the IDF regardless. I do not like the homicidal behavior of either group. I happen to think MLK, Jr. was a far wiser strategist who offered the only smart way for an oppressed people to overcome that oppression and point toward a better future.
    Gaza is not occupied? Oh, I get it. Just surround them, blockade them, make them suffer unmercifully, and then say, “Oh, we’re not occupying them,” as if that puts makes what being done to Gaza more acceptable.
    Israel intends to impose its will on Palestine, continue to expand the settlements in the Occupied Territories, effectively totally subjugate the Palestinians, and feel good about itself. It’s an old, old story, an ugly story, and one more instance of one slice of humankind reducing itself to a barbaric relationship with another slice of humankind because the other slice has something it wants. And a key group on the other side, Hamas, is too full of itself to recognize the fact that it is making it easier for this to happen.
    In love with Hamas? Yeah, right.

    Reply

  262. questions says:

    Paul, I don’t read it as triumphalist. And WigWag has made these basic points 2 or 3 times already. It’s not news. In fact it sounds pretty real politik-ish to me. Against force, Israel used force repeatedly and the force worked. Hamas, put in a corner, could put humanitarian concerns first and resign control to the PA which is more willing to “work with” Israel. But Hamas puts its own political power issues ahead of humanitarian issues in fairly standard nation-state fashion.
    I have a different sense of the situation from WigWag’s. I read the land grabs and the locations of the wall, and the check points, and the 19 year old border guards, and the denial of health care, and the settlements, and the spitting, and the nut wings, and the domestic politics, and the racism…all very differently. (Note that I don’t insult WigWag over the differences, however. We just have different points of salience.)
    I suppose that “realism” needs a better definition so that it makes sense. Does “realism” leave behind ideology? Does it leave behind any and all attachments? Does it include any actual reason for the use of power? Is it focused solely on the use of power? What kinds of perceptions are included within its understanding of the world? What interests are allowed to be counted as “realist concerns” and what must be excluded for “realism” to have meaning?
    Maybe if you have better answers to these questions than I do, we can, together with WigWag, figure out if WigWag is a realist or a partisan, and if there’s any difference. I’m so unclear on this point that I don’t want to hazard a guess. (But maybe, realism is a method, and the cause is always partisan. I don’t really know.)
    (Beware what you wish for POA. We’re posting now!)

    Reply

  263. questions says:

    Paul,
    If you watch the McKinney video from her arrival moment at the airport in the US, and you read HER letter from jail, what you find is a repeated emphasis on crayons. I am not making this up. “Crayon boat” is facile, I will admit, but I do get testy occasionally….
    IF there had been a real intent to deliver humanitarian assistance, I’m guessing there are other, more effective and officially acceptable venues than a fishing boat’s attempt to cross the blockade.
    And DonS, maybe you didn’t follow a previous set of exchanges I had with POA. It was POA who denied repeatedly that this was an act of civil disobedience. He also accused me of being somehow disrespectful to McKinney by suggesting the same. I merely pointed out above that she, herself, linked her actions to King, and hence to the long and storied tradition of civil disobedience. (A further suggestion that this was all a lot less about actually DELIVERING supplies than it was working to FAIL to deliver supplies in order to turn the failure into a humiliation for Israel.)
    I think McKinney’s basic idea is a good one. It might be nice to have, say, a thousand ships lined up all together, each loaded with crayons and each arrested in turn by the Israeli navy. Just as Iranians have given up their bodies for what they believe is a just cause, so perhaps willing volunteers for Palestinians will have to do the same. Nonviolent resistance, passivity in the face of wicked aggression, rightness in the face of wrong — very effective and far more so than suicide bombings and rocket launchings.
    And Paul I think you don’t have my position quite right. What I am “denying” (a strong term) is that McKinney et al. really thought they were going to get through and actually deliver anything. It’s a “humanitarian effort” only in the sense that calling attention to Israeli brutality and humiliating the navy is “humanitarian.” It wasn’t humanitarian in the sense that ALL THEY WANTED was to give crayons to kids. As I’ve said, I would guess that the UN would have an easier time getting crayons in. And note that I am leaving this point mildly qualified since I haven’t spent large amounts of time inside McKinney’s psyche in order to gauge her intentions.
    And by the way, Rosa Parks wasn’t a tired old woman who just wanted to sit down. She was an experience and well-trained civil rights advocate. It wasn’t about getting a seat, it was about getting justice. The boat wasn’t about delivering crayons. It was about delivering justice. Not sure why I’m taken to task on this point….

    Reply

  264. Paul Norheim says:

    I am a bit curious, Questions:
    after reading this triumphant and gleeful piece of prose from
    WigWag, explaining why the humanitarian situation in Gaza is so
    horrible (putting the responsibility exclusively on Hamas, echoing
    the Israeli standpoint) – are you still prepared to defend your
    former claim that WigWag is “not pro-Israel”, but just a “realist”?

    Reply

  265. WigWag says:

    “Sheesh, the Left has really fallen in love with Hamas and anybody who supports them. What is it you love so much about them? Is it their Islamist fundamentalism (they are an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, just like Al Qaeda), or their love of terrorism, or their Iranian patronage?”
    Nadine, it’s not really the left, it’s a segment of the left that should best be referred to as the “loony left.” They’re wrong about the Middle East so often that it’s getting hard to keep track of. Here are just a few examples:
    At the end of the Clinton Administration and well into the Dubya’s first term, the second intafada produced scores of suicide bombers who attacked bus depots, religious ceremonies and cafes. The critics of Israel assured us that the separation fence Israel was building was not only immoral, but that it would be ineffective in stopping suicide bombers; they assured us that Palestinian rage could not be deterred by a fence.
    Of course they were wrong. Since the barrier was completed, suicide bombings dropped from several a month to at most one or two a year (if that).
    In 2006 in response to the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers in the Sheba Farms region and a constant barrage of rockets launched from Lebanon into Northern Israel, Israel launched a massive bombing campaign and ground assault into Lebanon. Israel’s critics in the loony left insisted the operation was a failure that would do nothing to enhance Israel’s security. They mistook an Israeli inquiry into why the ground invasion didn’t go as planned for evidence that the military action had been a huge mistake.
    They were wrong again. As a result of the Lebanon war, the rocket attacks against Northern Israel completely stopped. Israelis who needed to run to bomb shelters several times a day now head to bomb shelters only for the monthly drills. During the Israeli attack on Gaza, Hezbollah meekly sat on the sidelines and didn’t approve the launch of a single rocket (two were actually launched by rogue elements from Hezbollah without authorization). The source of Hezbollah’s trepidation to support their Palestinian allies was clear; they were cowed into submission by the fear of a repeat of Israel’s 2006 campaign. Israel’s victory in the 2006 Lebanon War prevented new attacks against Northern Israel during the attack on Gaza in 2008.
    Israel’s critics assured us that the ground invasion and air attacks in Gaza in January, 2009 would backfire and make Hamas more recalcitrant and more insistent on launching rockets into the Negev and other areas adjoining Gaza. They insisted that attacking Gaza would only make Hamas more popular and result in an increased barrage of rockets fired Israel’s way. They also advocated talking with Hamas and acquiescing to their demand for a free-flow of goods into Gaza from open borders in Israel and Egypt.
    Obviously, once again, the critics were mistaken. As a result of the three week campaign, the scores of rockets launched at Israel everyday have now dwindled to just a few a month (actually its mostly mortar fire not rocket fire). Hamas’s weaponry has been depleted and if they become too aggressive again they can be neutered again. Hamas once said it would only stop firing rockets if the borders were opened to the free-flow of goods; well the rockets have stopped and the borders are locked tighter than ever. Israel will decide when to open its border according to its assessment of its own interests. When will the border with Egypt be opened? Nobody knows, but the best guess is when Hamas accedes to the humiliating terms being demanded by Egypt for Hamas to join a unity government with Fatah. If Tom Friedman is to be believed, the popularity of Hamas is plummeting in Gaza and the popularity of Fatah is rising in the West Bank and Gaza. Whether or not this is true, two things are clear; Fatah is dismantling the Hamas infrastructure in the West Bank and arresting Hamas activists at will and the main patron of Hamas, Iran is deeply preoccupied with other issues. From a military point of view, it’s hard to imagine the attack on Gaza being more successful.
    Israel’s critics on the left suggested that Israel’s behavior was empowering the most radical elements in the Middle East. They assured us that the rise of Hamas and Hezbollah was a reasonable and entirely foreseeable response to Israeli aggression and they insisted that the most recalcitrant elements of Arab Society were also the most popular. We were reminded again and again that Hassan Nasrallah was the most popular leader in the Arab world.
    The only problem is that the critics were wrong again. During the Lebanese elections held last month the Hezbollah/Amal/Aoun coalition was repudiated by the majority of Lebanese. Yes, the coalition got the majority of the Shia vote, but they received virtually no votes from the Sunnis, no votes from the Christians and no votes from the Druze. Despite the widespread expectation that the Hezbollah coalition would be victorious, it won no more seats in the current Parliament than it had in the last Parliament. Apparently the majority of Lebanese don’t want to resist the Israelis; they want peaceful coexistence with the Israelis. And perhaps most galling to Israel’s critics is the fact that it’s the United States most Lebanese want to align with; not Iran.
    And speaking of Iran, when it comes to failure of vision by the Israel critics, here’s the pies de resistance. Many of these critics assured us that Iran was the best model for the Arab world; that if not a full democracy it was an incipient democracy where the “will of the people” played a role in shaping government policies. Certainly, the assured us, it wasn’t like those autocratic Sunni Arab nations that were contemplating some type of compromise with Israel. Of course the implication was that the Khameni/Ahmadinejad policy of resistance to Israel and to the United States had popular support.
    But this was just another failure of intellect and imagination by the critics. As recent events have demonstrated, Iranians don’t want to define their nation’s aspirations as leader of the resistance to Israel. The nation they most want to align themselves with is the United States. The only way the conservative Mullah’s could maintain power is by using brute force against their own people in such a violent fashion that had any Sunni Arab government behaved this way; these same critics of Israel would have been up in arms.
    Oh, and Nadine; the loony left has forgotten one other thing. There is something Hamas could do to expedite the reconstruction of Gaza.
    They could surrender. If they won’t do that; they really have themselves mostly to blame for the situation on Gaza.
    And if it were really the humanitarian crisis that motivated the “loony left” you would think that they’d be at least somewhat concerned about the rights of the downtrodden and oppressed Uighurs, Tibetans, Kurds, Bosnian Muslims, Sebian Kosovars, Balochs, Tamilese, B’hai, etc. Of course I could go on and on.
    Of course, some of those who are just devastated about the status of the Gazans couldn’t be more indifferent to the state of those other groups.
    Any idea why that might be, Nadine?

    Reply

  266. Paul Norheim says:

    Questions:
    when did a cargo of medical and reconstruction supplies and
    children’s toys become a “crayon boat”?
    Answer: When you wanted to deny the fact that this was a
    humanitarian effort, an effort to highlight the effects of the
    blockade on the civilian population of Gaza.

    Reply

  267. DonS says:

    Questions: “This is civil disobedience territory”. It is also my understanding that the Israeli harassment and interception took place on the high seas. (Hence a violation of international law regardless of the media characterization. http://www.unmultimedia.org/radio/english/detail/77579.html — UN reference) But to your point about civil disobedience, in addition to the humanitarian intent, on the model of MLK. So what? Actually, good idea. And much better than suicide bombings.
    On the ‘suicide bombings’ Questions alludes to; This is a dated reference, and in inapposite except polemically, See:
    http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Palestinian+terror+since+2000/Suicide+and+Other+Bombing+Attacks+in+Israel+Since.htm
    But I’m not going to argue that pathetically inadequate rockets fired into Israel are meaningless. Are you going to argue that Israel’s disproportionate military blitzkrieg was even in the same realm?

    Reply

  268. WigWag says:

    “Note that the likes of Wig-wag or questions avoid threads like this, recognizing the futility of defending the indefensible.”
    No that’s not it, POA. I do sometimes avoid commenting on threads where you’re to be found because whenever you appear it’s a safe bet that you’re hyperventilating and behaving an abusive manner. I do understand than men like you usually can’t help themselves; that your abusive and rude nature results from some type of neurosis; obsession with small penis size, fear of castration, unresolved oedipal impulses, hatred of women or maybe you were just beaten as a child.
    Whatever it is, POA, your attempt to verbally intimidate me and others and your abusive nature are a reflection on you and not anyone else.
    The fact that you can’t make your point without demeaning others suggests that you don’t even really believe in the intellectual arguments you are making. For you, commenting at the Washington Note is not an opportunity to share your ideas; it’s an excuse to work out the complex inner issues that spur you to be a bully in the first place.
    There’s a reason Taylor Marsh banned you from her site; she realized that you’re not a serious person but you are just a clown.
    Steve Clemons has warned you on more than one occasion that your tendency to go over the top detracts from the quality of his blog. As far as I know these are not warnings he has to hand out very often. But of course, you require special attention.
    I am happy to engage in discussions here with people who disagree with me; in fact, I do it all the time. But you believe that anyone who doesn’t adhere to your sense of ideological purity is somehow less entitled to their views than you are to yours. That’s not the sign of a serious person; it’s the sign of a person struggling to emerge from intellectual infancy.
    I don’t even know why you bother to comment at the Washington Note. I’m sure you would derive much greater satisfaction from doing what you really want to do; beat on illegal Mexican immigrants trying to earn a living. Or maybe you’re just sublimating your desire to do that by beating on all of us at the Washington Note who are just trying to engage in civil debate.
    I can’t help but wonder whether you engage with those you disagree with in person, the way you in engage with people you disagree with at the Washington Note. Or are you so full of demented anger that your behavior here is some form of acting out?
    Of course, by engaging with you at all, I am probably just feeding your narcissistic desire to be noticed. After all, that’s what people who shout and scream obscenities really want isn’t it?
    Reply if you want to POA; but don’t expect a response. I’m going back to saying what I think about substantive matters and engaging with anyone who is interested in engaging with me in a substantive and polite way. If you or your Jew hating friend Arthur Decco have anything to say, say it to yourself or expect to be ignored.
    And as for you, … you’ve made two bigoted remarks in the comment section in the past few weeks; the comment you made about Jews and circumcision on the thread about burquas was particularly disgusting. There are many reasons to be critical of Israel and its policies on Gaza; several comments posted on this thread make the case very effectively. But you are virtually never substantive. Although POA called you a pimple faced bigot a few days ago; in reality, you’re just like him; for you, the Washington Note is merely an excuse to be nasty.

    Reply

  269. questions says:

    DonS,
    I have to say that “humanitarian effort” is not the phrase I’d use to describe the crayon boat. (Note how McKinney refers over and over again to “crayons for children” and “Crayola crayons and paints for children.”) Crayons are not what people need. They need a completely different political system, and that was much more the goal. Regime change with a different methodology, civil disobedience.
    Note that McKinney, in the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate’s name, likens herself to ML King, Jr. This is civil disobedience territory, and everything went according to the script. Even McKinney’s hair was fastened and neat in the YouTube video (and if you don’t get that reference, you didn’t pay attention to the kind of nasty press McKinney has gotten over time. You can google “cynthia mckinney’s hair” if you don’t believe me.)
    This was a scripted and really nice piece of civil disobedience masked as an act of humanitarian relief. My guess is that a donation to the UN would have gotten further in terms of actually reaching suffering Palestinians, but would have gone even more under the radar than this action did.
    And POA, don’t get with the nonsense about how I’m demeaning McKinney. It doesn’t wash. Since when is civil disobedience demeaning?
    As for why the press in the US played this down, you all have your theories (I can hear all now) and I have mine. I think McKinney, sadly, doesn’t play well, and the comments by her dad after she lost re-election may make her one of the poorer spokespeople for the Palestinian cause. (You can google that, too.)
    The Palestinians deserve far better than they get, but intervening in the cycle of mutual insanity and making a difference will require some major reconstitution of conceptual thinking on the part of both the Palestinians and the Israelis. Really major reconstitution. What they now think, they can no longer think. On both sides.

    Reply

  270. questions says:

    Once again, I’m not avoiding you or the topic, POA. I’ve already replied to the previous thread where you made the same charge. HERE I AM!
    I read Nadine’s post earlier this morning and I’ve been thinking about it. (Proof, I suppose, that I’m a coward.)
    What Nadine’s post suggests to me is how far apart the perceptions of the situation in Gaza are. One tolerates pretty intense brutality in the name of self-defense — look what meat eaters do to keep food in their guts — and so the brutality seems to be completely justified. Look at what US border guards do routinely to Mexicans who really just want a chance to work, send some money home, and travel home to see their families without having to suffer. There’s brutality everywhere that there are perceptions of threat.
    At the same time that some Israelis feel justified in using blockades, sanctions, land grabs, spitting, border guards, denial of medical care, humiliation, a Kafkaesque legal system, and the like, Palestinian suicide bombers feel completely justified in blowing up the occasional cafe or bus. And some people identify strongly with such “liberation” gestures. The whole thing is beyond sad.
    Clearly, the fashion, as it were, needs to change. Nadine needs to see things differently, and so do the suicide bombers and rocket launchers. Each side charges the other with making the first move, and the partisans on each side blame the other. Nadine is as intransigent as POA, and neither is likely to help with the first steps towards seeing the other side in a different light. And of course, a change in lighting and vision is what is most needed.
    Ok, POA, this was my official response. See, I’m not quaking in my boots. (And of course, here comes the simplistic “how dare you equate…” — but that’s not really what I’m saying. Read with nuance and thought instead of brute simplicity.)

    Reply

  271. ... says:

    nadine – the non diplomatic face of wigwag and questions… it still translates the same…

    Reply

  272. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Amazing. How do people like Nadine live with themselves? We decry suffering, so therefore we must be on the sides of the terrorists?
    “Inevitable wailing about civilian deaths”.
    Who else but a hopeless bigot could make a statement such as that?
    “Israel tried to avoid civilian casualties with a care unmatched by any other army in the world”
    Millions of cluster bomblets, peppered all over the Lebanese countryside. White phosphorous, dumped on highly populated civilian areas. People engaged in peaceful protest targeted with live amunition.
    Nadine accuses us of hatred?
    Note that the likes of Wig-wag or questions avoid threads like this, recognizing the futility of defending the indefensible. Unlike Nadine, they save their enabling escuses, justifications, and obsfucations for discussions that are far less direct, allowing then to camoflauge their Nadine-like sympathies for Israel’s brutality in tepid condemnations of Israel’s actions. But you will never see them directly confronting the bigotry and hatred of a poster such as Nadine, for they are simply shined and polished versions of the same animal.
    Nadine won’t reappear, for she is just a pinch-hitter. Her kind don’t dare engage in debate, for in so doing they must remove their masks, and be seen for the racist haters they truly are.

    Reply

  273. arthurdecco says:

    Don S, You are a lovely man for taking the trouble to respond so respectfully to Nadine, who is, after all, only the latest Blood-soaked Barbarian assigned the job of non-stop Lying in defense of the sadistic child killers, woman beaters, racists and bigots-extremus who continue to insist that a mythical apparition her forefathers’ delusions invented(!) “gave” them the land of Palestine thousands of years ago!
    Me, I’m going to tell this intellectual gnat and Lying Colossus to “Go Jump In The Lake” with her Israeli-Fascist talking points. I’ve heard enough of the stinking bilge she wades around in to last me a lifetime. I have no need for further examples of the screeches, moans and nails-across-the-blackboard antics bitchy-tricksters like her so love to use as a replacement for respectful reason and Facts.

    Reply

  274. Michael Leon says:

    Consider me a wailer “about civilian deaths.”
    I hope I never lose that humanity.
    I would ask of Nadine above: Are Palestinians a lesser sub-species of human being? If so, certain actions in policy do follow.
    If Palestinians are fully fledged human beings, we ought to treat them as such.
    Thank you Cynthia McKinney and the many 100,000s of people who challenge Israeli atrocities.

    Reply

  275. DonS says:

    Nadine, everyone has a point of view. One does not have to love the politicians to recognize the horrible civilian conditions. This post is about lack of news coverage of Gaza in the US. And about a humanitarian effort and the way in which it was attacked. That was within the control of Israel. Hamas didn’t do it. The fact that Hamas ‘controls’ the territory of Gaza does not reduce the dimension of humanitarian crisis. It does not negate Israel’s illegal seizure of a humanitarian effort.
    With regard to your defense of Israeli tactics during the recent invasion, you are reaching for comparisons that do not enhance Israel’s image as a civilized nation. Only supreme revisionism could call use of white phosphorous “unmatched . . . care for civilian casualties”. It must be just loose rhetoric that compels you to compare the Israeli behavior with “any other country in the world”. How would you know? Actually, to me, it reeks of collective punishment.
    Your point of view assumes the ‘left’ loves Hamas. You falsely conclude that a humanitarian response to conditions in Gaza that Israel de facto controls far more than Hamas, despite your assertion, indicates there is a problem with those who would seeks to alleviate the suffering. Seems like you are in love with the neo-Likudist spin.

    Reply

  276. nadine says:

    Sheesh, the Left has really fallen in love with Hamas and anybody who supports them. What is it you love so much about them? Is it their Islamist fundamentalism (they are an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, just like Al Qaeda), or their love of terrorism, or their Iranian patronage? No I get it, they hate Israel, and so do you!
    May I interrupt the good Two Minute Hate with a few facts.
    1. Gaza is not occupied. Israel left the territory in 2005. A chance to see how the Palestinians run their own affairs, we were told. I know this is an inconvenient truth but there it is.
    2. Hamas won the elections in 2006 and consolidated power by throwing their Fatah rivals off of tall buildings in 2007. Hamas runs Gaza today.
    3. Hamas reneged on all the agreements signed by the PA. They don’t recognize Israel and call for its extermination and the slaughter of all Israeli Jews.
    4. In return, Israel declared a blockade of Gaza.
    5. Hamas has armed Gaza to the teeth, built thousands of bunkers and tunnels (but not one civilian shelter), and has launched thousands of rockets at Sderot and other Israeli civilian areas. In response to years of rockets, Israel invaded Gaza this January and blew up enough arsenals to get some relative quiet, despite Hamas’ extensive use of the civilian population as deliberate human shields.
    Before you start the inevitable wailing about civilian deaths, remember a) every dead Hamas fighter becomes an instant civilian and b) any other country would have simply shelled Gaza and created 10s of thousands of real civilian casualties. If you doubt me, read up how King Hussein handled Black September in 1970. Israel tried to avoid civilian casualties with a care unmatched by any other army in the world. You can read this description of their methods by a British Colonel: http://www.mesi.org.uk/ViewBlog.aspx?ArticleId=65
    6. The situation in Gaza right now is under Hamas’ control. They like it just fine as it is. If they didn’t, they have the power to change it. Private sectors are hard to control, but billions in aid money and Iranian arms must all flow through them. They are under pressure to moderate slightly and form a unity government with Fatah for the sake of the “peace process”. They refuse.

    Reply

  277. ... says:

    from someone else…
    “compare the media response in these two situations.
    iran hijacking british boat in international waters
    israel hijacking boat in international waters”
    anyone who suggests the media is in some respects neutral is a complete fool..

    Reply

  278. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Our IDF
    By Gideon Levy
    Combat is the best, my brother, as the famous bumper sticker reads. It’s a good thing we have Shayetet 13. Operating at the crack of dawn – or was it before nightfall? – the daring naval commandos fearlessly took control of a rusty, rickety, unarmed boat bobbing in the middle of the sea. That’s exactly why we have a naval commando force – to take control of ships offering humanitarian aid. Behold, the guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. The military correspondents reported on the incident with an amazement that only they can muster. But even they could not provide a fig leaf for the operation: The Israel Defense Forces has once again used its power to overcome the weak; the navy has once again acted like pirates. The Arion was abducted in the framework of protecting Israel’s security for all eternity, blah, blah, blah.
    Soldiers, journalists and news consumers automatically refrain from asking questions. The navy captured another ship carrying symbolic aid, as if its passengers were Somali pirates. These were people of conscience from various countries carrying toys and medicine.
    This was not the navy’s first daring operation of this kind, nor will it be the last. When there are no hostile aid ships on the horizon, the navy takes control of wretched Gazan boats, using water hoses or firing at its passengers – poor fishermen who only want to make a living at sea. This is the main activity unfolding off Gaza’s shores. A navy outfitted with the best arsenal in the world is hunting surfboards. One of the best-armed forces in the world is chasing children, examining old people’s documents and entering bedrooms to make arrests.
    Advertisement
    We ought to pay close attention to what preoccupies our military. While defense officials hold discussions on buying the F-35 combat jet at $200 million per plane, the IDF is mostly busy with miserable, pointless police work that befits an occupation army. It is engaged in ludicrous and useless policing in a “war” against people equipped with some of the most primitive weapons in the world.
    In the dead of night, soldiers in elite and not-so-elite units break into the homes of Palestinians, some of whom are guilty of no crime, and needlessly awaken and frighten women and children. Their comrades spend their service standing at checkpoints, occasionally shooting and killing needlessly. Other soldiers chase after children throwing stones or Molotov cocktails and shoot at them. “A huge terrorist attack” that was thwarted near the security fence in Gaza a month ago was to be carried out by “a force” that numbered eight Palestinians, some of them mounted on mules. The mule-rider’s brigade – these are the forces against us.
    continues……
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1098053.html
    Gee, how nice. Lets send them a few more billion.

    Reply

  279. David says:

    “Israeli atrocities”
    This, I am afraid, is the cold, hard reality, and in Gaza it is utterly indefensible, unless you view Gazans the same way farmers view pests or weeds. I’m sorry, but the Israeli government is not treating Gazans as worthy fellow human beings, and they are arrogantly and in far too many cases homicidally ruthless about it.
    Israel prides itself on being the most advanced culture in the Middle East. Wish that pride were justified. Peace Now they can be proud of, but aren’t.

    Reply

  280. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Dems Tell Obama to Back Off Israel Criticism
    Congressmen Say Obama Should Stop Pressing Israel, Spend More Time Pressuring Iran
    by Jason Ditz, June 02, 2009
    Congressional Democrats are reportedly irked by the Obama Administration’s persistent criticism of Israel’s settlement growth. The Congressmen said it was inappropriate to pressure an ally about “domestic policies” and that instead the administration should spend more time “pressuring the Iranians to eliminate the potential of a nuclear threat from Iran.”
    President Obama has called on the Israeli government to stop expanding its settlements in the West Bank, which the Israelis have refused to do. Though it has served as one of the few occasions when a US president has publicly criticized the Israeli government, officials have made it clear that continued Israeli defiance would have no negative consequences.
    continues…….
    http://news.antiwar.com/2009/06/02/dems-tell-obama-to-back-off-israel-criticism/
    Truth be told, I will never vote a Democratic ticket again. Unless someone like Ron Paul steps up to the plate, I’m through with these pieces of shit, on BOTH sides of the aisle. Why vote for these bastards?
    Bottom line, without the support of Congress, Obama is neutered in his efforts to change the dynamics of our subservience to the Israeli agenda. Reid has shown himself to be a complete and utter coward. Pelosi? No better. Hoyer? Kerry? Clinton? The list goes on and on. Anyone with even a small mote of observation talent and common sense can see that Washington is owned lock stock and barrel by the Israelis.
    The Israelis will keep stealing land, killing Palestinians, and draining our coffers, because no one in Washington has the balls, or the integrity, to put an end to it.
    This business about halting the settlements is absolute bullshit. What are we going to do if Israel refuses? Impeach Congress? Send their annual stippend a month late? Stop calling criticism of Israel “ant-semitic”? Actually convict one of their spies of espionage? Ask them to say they’re sorry for attacking the Liberty? Ration their supply of cluster bombs and white phosphorous? Ask AIPAC to do one hundred Hail Marys?
    If you think Obama can sustain a “hard line” with Israel, you’re out of your ever lovin’ mind. Reid is already OPENLY undermining him, and you can bet your bottom dollar Clinton is doing the same behind the scenes.
    The settlements WILL NOT BE STOPPED.

    Reply

  281. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Kudos to Guyer for this blog post, belated as it may be. The upside of McKinney’s experience is that she came home whole. Tristan Anderson will enjoy no such fortune.
    When one digs deep, and puts an interest in what the Palestinians are experiencing, the scale of the Israeli atrocities become apparent. Every source of livelyhood to the Palestinians is being attacked, from olive orchards being uprooted and razed, to fishing grounds being put off limits, the Palestinian fishermen regularly fired upon, the boats being confinscated, and some fishermen simply disappearing into Israeli gulags.
    All done on our dime, with the willing participation of our government, from the White House on down. With each Israeli human rights violation, with each new settlement, with each new barrage of deadly munitions dumped on an impoverished and down trodden population, we respond with more money. Theres nothing wrong with that picture?
    You can rest assured, somewhere in Gaza, or the West Bank today, Palestinians died, as a direct result of Israeli jackboot violence, settler violence, or the blockade. Shot in the head with a tear gas canister, beaten with a shovel, or unable to get needed medication or medical care, dead is dead. And murder is murder. How long will we continue to pay Israel to dispense human misery?
    When we cut through all the political horseshit, the AIPAC propaganda, the Wig-wag cheerleading, and the “questions” obsfucations and equivications, we find that we have no right to hold our heads high, or to champion civil rights. We are subsidizing ethnic cleansing, with our politicians prostrating themselves to a brutal murderous racist regime. We should all hang our heads in shame.

    Reply

  282. arthurdecco says:

    “For how long will Israel continue to blame Hamas for this? And for how long will the world continue to accept this excuse?” Paul Norheim
    The “World” does NOT accept this excuse, Paul. NOR ANY OTHER EXCUSE offered up by the Israelis or the fifth columnists strategically placed in government departments around the world, or from their volunteer armies of kool-aid-drinking propagandists flailing away on their home computer keyboards OR from the media organizations some of their extremely wealthy supporters control either through direct ownership or hard-assed coercion.
    As a matter of fact, the “World” knows full well who is ultimately responsible for the escalating violence in Palestine even now after 60 years of non-stop lying about it by the bottomless-pit-funded army of perps named above, and the World still does NOT accept their excuses.
    So who does accept their excuses?
    Their excuses are accepted by those who are being rewarded for their support in one way or another.
    Full Stop.

    Reply

  283. DonS says:

    Israel blocks doctors on humanitarian mission from entering Gaza, hat tip Jonathan Turley Blog.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jul/07/israel-palestinian-territories-doctors-humanitarian
    Good on J. Guyer for highlighting this episode involving “Spirit of Humanity”. Cynthia McKinney has been getting nothing but sniggers and trash talk ever since she was defeated for reelection thanks to AIPAC. Maybe she’s a real progressive. Who knows? She been relegated to the outer darkness by the media, and the Obama administration isn’t falling over itself to be forceful on the tragedy in Gaza.

    Reply

  284. ... says:

    and in other news….
    ‘Our numbers are up!’ American immigrants flood Israeli settlements, backed by U.S. nonprofit..
    Yesterday morning, Nefesh B’Nefesh had the first in a series of summer 2009 celebrations greeting its charter flights packed with new immigrants from North America. Nefesh B’Nefesh is a non-profit organization that encourages and facilitates Jewish immigration to Israel from North America and the United Kingdom. They expect to bring over 3,000 immigrants to Israel over the course of the summer, in addition to the 20,000 they have brought since 2002. Attending the ceremony were the Israeli Minister of Transportation, Israeli Minister of Immigrant Absorption, the Chairman of the Jewish Agency, the CEO of EL Al Israel Airlines and the two American Jewish founders of Nefesh B’Nefesh.
    see article for more..
    http://www.philipweiss.org/mondoweiss/2009/07/is-this-natural-growth-non-profits-help-american-jews-move-to-the-settlements.html

    Reply

  285. Paul Norheim says:

    A couple of days ago, my sister got a new job in the Norwegian
    Refugee Council, which cooperates closely with the UN in 20
    trouble spots in the world. Curious about the organization, I had
    a look today at their work. Here is an excerpt from their website
    about their activities in Gaza:
    “As a consequence of the blockade, private enterprise is
    practically at a standstill in Gaza. 98 per cent of industrial
    operations have been shut down, and the construction sector,
    which prior to September 2000 provided 15% of all jobs, had
    effectively ground to a halt.”
    “NRC is currently initiating a project which will support
    emergency repair and reconstruction of destroyed houses and
    social infrastructure. (…) Due to the blockade of Gaza, no
    building materials can enter and the project currently focuses on
    job creation activities such as rubble removal related to social
    infrastructure and water utility companies.”
    Job creation activities “such as rubble removal” due to the
    blockade? Six months after the war?
    For how long will Israel continue to blame Hamas for this? And
    for how long will the world continue to accept this excuse?

    Reply

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