Neal Conan’s “Talk of the Nation”: Netanyahu, Israel’s Elections, Hamas and the Obama Team

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I spent about 20 minutes with Neal Conan on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” today discussing Israel’s elections and why I’m ready for Netanyahu to lead Israel’s government — either because he’ll find his mature, Nixonian, do-a-deal, makeover side — or because he’ll be so flamboyantly destructive of Israel’s and America’s interests that he’ll finally get the kind of attention from the US public that will change the course of things in Israel Palestine negotiations.
Am I naive? Perhaps? But with my typical flood of email telling me that I’m nuts – I’ve had suprising support from leading Americans who think that there is something to what I’ve proposed.
Here is the clip which you can listen to at your leisure.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

179 comments on “Neal Conan’s “Talk of the Nation”: Netanyahu, Israel’s Elections, Hamas and the Obama Team

  1. questions says:

    Understanding how we got here is the first step for getting out of here. Screaming and cursing don’t really help the project, do they. So go ahead and condemn as you wish. I don’t really think that condemnation has ever solved anything. But that’s just me.

    Reply

  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Rationalization” and “justification” are not what I’m after”
    A pity, because you thats all you offer. YUou must be extremely frustrated, or extremely confused. Or, uh, both.

    Reply

  3. questions says:

    And one more thing…
    POA writes,
    “Rationalization and justification, such as this jackass Wig-wag, yourself, and the worm varanasi offer, IS a form of denial. So is obsfucating that facts and the discourse with a bunch of dissembling crap.”
    questions responds:
    “Rationalization” and “justification” are not what I’m after. Explaining and understanding and redoing and avoiding are more my concern. WHY does the international system lead to messes like the ME? How do we rewrite the system so that there is international trust, respect for others and the like? What domestic structures cause people to turn left or right in their voting patterns and how can we encourage left-ish turns? Can nations be made to feel secure enough that they become generous? Can decision-makers be made to be Kantian enough that the no longer look to selfish interests and would that indeed make for a stable international system….
    Lots of questions, no answers, and really really, no love violence even as I acknowledge the existence of violence.

    Reply

  4. questions says:

    And as an afterthought…
    US sanctions against Iraq under Clinton were said to have resulted in the deaths of some half a million Iraqi children (though that’s a number I saw for years, so it’s hard to evaluate). The USA Americans who think sanctions are the way to go are right up there in the pro-Gaza blockade realm if you ask me. Again, Israeli policy is not especially wicked, it’s normally wicked. The real goal has to be to set and reset the equilibrium endlessly and infinitely so that wickedness does not create a comfortable situation. Sadly, wickedness is most everyone’s favorite tool for getting and keeping resources, access, territory, sympathetic-to-one’s-cause regimes and the like.
    And, as another dimension to all of this, let’s say Israel is a nuclear power. Are we avoiding a new cold war with this alliance? Might we be more stable as is rather than less? On this, I couldn’t answer, but I do wonder….

    Reply

  5. varanasi says:

    btw, i’m sure that you dropped out of primary school long before the lessons on syntax, but you should use commas when dishing out multi-word epithets.

    Reply

  6. varanasi says:

    you can only ask questions, but you can’t answer them huh? interesting, but hardly surprising.
    have a nice day, handyman.

    Reply

  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Go fuck yourself, varanasi. Its too late for you to engage me in any relevant discourse. You have shown yourself to be a total asshole, and I have zero interest in you answering any question I level at others, nor in answering any you may level at me.
    But thanks for your “contributions” on this thread, because I think you have thoroughly convinced all the participants that you are the exact shallow little irritating prick that I originally pegged you as being. Just call this thread a “coming out” event for you and Wig-Wag. You both stand fully exposed, and, quite honestly, there ain’t much to see.

    Reply

  8. varanasi says:

    btw, you make a foolish analogy, poa. clearly, “drug cartels” are non-state actors and the damage they inflict upon a society is in no way similar to missiles launched by a neighboring political entity. further, the response by the targeted nation will be entirely different.
    how about this question for you:
    if missles were being fired – even intermittently and with little collateral damage, but regularly forcing the population into bomb shelters – by elected, leaders in Tijuana at San Diego what would the response of the U.S. govt. be???

    Reply

  9. varanasi says:

    don’t worry, UMN, you’re in good company. POA is an equal opportunity hater. i’m sure he even had choice words for his momma as he was sucking at her teet. probably called her sniveling or dissembling.

    Reply

  10. questions says:

    I could imagine a situation in which drug barons freak out enough Americans that at least SOME people here would indeed support that. Because the US doesn’t feel particularly threatened by Mexicans at this level, it doesn’t respond with phosphorous fantasies. BUT, many many many USA Americans feel deeply threatened by Mexican laborers and do indeed support HORRIBLE treatment of Mexicans. We let them die in the deserts, we lock them up, beat them up, arrest them, separate families, rape them, and so on. We are not kind people when we are threatened. We have our own version of threats, and under those, we are unkind, unkind, unkind.

    Reply

  11. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “None of us denies the dastardliness of the deeds”
    Bullshit. Rationalization and justification, such as this jackass Wig-wag, yourself, and the worm varanasi offer, IS a form of denial. So is obsfucating that facts and the discourse with a bunch of dissembling crap.

    Reply

  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I asked….”Do you think that the citizens of the United States would support bombing Mexico city, dropping white phosphorous on Mexican women and children, or blocking all goods and humanitarian services into Mexico because of the actions of the Mexican drug cartels?”
    “Yes or no?”
    Questions answered, “I don’t know.”
    And we aren’t to believe he is dissembling?
    Questions, you’re full of it.

    Reply

  13. PissedOffAmerican says:

    UMN………
    If someone feels the need for a cover story that establishes some sort of credibility or patriotic fervor, my over-half-century of existence tells me they’re usually full of shit. If you are old enough to have served in Korea, it suprises me you haven’t learned the same lesson.
    And it is none of your business if I served, which branch, and where, if at all. I know real assholes that have served, I know real heroes that have served. And everything in between. My service history is irrelevant, and you can draw whatever conclusions about my patriotism, my intelligence, and my sense of perception, by reading my written commentary. Just as I will judge yours. And judging by the way you’ve chosen to present my monicker, I’d say you are too young to have served in Korea, and are just another irritating online jackass.

    Reply

  14. questions says:

    Considering that I answered POA’s questions with an honest “I don’t know” or “I have no idea”, I’m not sure how I could be dissembling (which I believe means “lying”.) Please tell me how an honest claim to ignorance is the same as lying.
    And as for the tone of the thread, what I think is happening here, and has happened before, is that a few of us (Sweetness, WigWag and I, at least) seem to see a nearly gleeful condemnation of Israel that seems to hold this nation up to a different standard of behavior from what other nations seem to be held up to. OR, that Israel gets singled out a bit more for its dastardly deeds. OR that Israel is more a focus than perhaps is proportionate. None of us denies the dastardliness of the deeds. None of us says Israel’s policies are angelic or what we’d choose. BUT we all sense that there’s something amiss to one extent or another in the tone of criticism leveled at Israel. We tend to see that Israel is responding as other nations have, that Israel is behaving rationally given its structures of government and region. And we see that the US may well be responding rationally as well. No one thinks the killing is a wonderful thing, near as I can tell. And no one is lying about their views, near as I can tell.
    So the question seems to come down to whether or not Israel is especially awful or regularly awful. Dan Kervick seems to think especially so, POA seems to think extraordinarily so. I tend to think it more regularly so since I see similar behavior in many many nations dealing with territorial expansion or resource protection. Doesn’t mean I love the behavior. Doesn’t mean I want the world to be this way. Doesn’t mean I excuse it. But the endless condemnation does nothing to help us find the structures that push Israel rightward and make it a worse nation.
    And POA, I can’t see a single word I’ve written that’s a lie. I am interpreting other people’s posts, summarizing my sense of things, and suggesting a way to proceed. I might be wrong or ignorant, but I’m not lying.

    Reply

  15. ... says:

    American Jewish Leaders Asked to Speak Out Against Growing Terrorism in Israel
    http://www.wrmea.com/archives/Jan_Feb_2009/0901048.html

    Reply

  16. ... says:

    UMN – people can say anything they want to say on a blog where passwords aren’t required.. no one knows who is doing the talking, especially with a ‘first time’ poster who we may never see again… you could be someone else as could anyone else for that matter.. the fact you have decided to introduce yourself at this particular moment in time is interesting… when you have a thought of your own on the israel palestine issue, i look forward to reading it… coming in and cheering someone who has shown neither the courage or ability to answer direct questions put to them is an interesting choice given what you say about yourself…

    Reply

  17. UMN says:

    Are you a veteran PissedOA? I am curious if any of the others here have served in the military? It may not be important to you but I do believe that talking about war is different than fighting it. May you and others never have to suffer the experience.

    Reply

  18. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “And for the record, I am an America-first patriot and a disabled Korean war veteran”
    Thank you for your service.
    But I’m a bit curious, do you think your service history is relevant to this discussion? Do you think, somehow, it makes you more qualified to judge the merit of Wig-wag’s dissembling crap?
    Or perhaps you think that you are the only commentor here with a service history?
    Interesting that no one else has felt the need to declare their service history, or proclaim their patriotism, isn’t it?
    The “message force multipliers” were military men as well. How honest, or astute, did that make them?

    Reply

  19. UMN says:

    And for the record, I am an America-first patriot and a disabled Korean war veteran.

    Reply

  20. UMN says:

    Posted by PissedOffAmerican Feb 12, 8:28PM – Link
    I lost respect for this jackass Wig-Wag long before this thread wasa hatched. And he has only enhanced the strong detestation I feel for his every utterance. This thread has revealed the tactics of a despicably dishonest human being.
    Anyone reading Dan’s original post, and Wig-wag’s subsequent comments, if honest, much surely reach the same conclusion.
    Long time lurker here, but I read this entire thread and I respectfully disagree with you PissedOA

    Reply

  21. giovanni says:

    ” . . . and underscored the points made by Dan, myself, Norhiem and Don. ”
    And …/James.

    Reply

  22. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I lost respect for this jackass Wig-Wag long before this thread wasa hatched. And he has only enhanced the strong detestation I feel for his every utterance. This thread has revealed the tactics of a despicably dishonest human being.
    Anyone reading Dan’s original post, and Wig-wag’s subsequent comments, if honest, much surely reach the same conclusion.

    Reply

  23. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Please let me know if this is a direct enough set of answers”
    No, you fed me a bunch of dissembling horseshit, in an attempt to avoid underscoring the very real, tangible, and demonstrable differences between how Israel treats immigration, (both legal and illegal), how it deals with threats from its immediate nieghbors, and the degree of humane treatment with which civilian non-combatants can expect to be treated, and how the USA deals with these issues.
    You equivicated and dissembled. And then, you dishonestly queried me as to my satisfaction with your dissembling and intellectually tepid response.
    And no, don’t bother to “try again”. Your equivication served as a clear answer, and underscored the points made by Dan, myself, Norhiem and Don.
    Truth is, this whole thread has been comprised of a steady diet of misrepresentation of Dan’s original post through Wig-Wag offering a bunch of dishonest crap, varanasi proving himself to be a spineless and shallow little prick, and you trying to put perfume on this contemptable and reeking sack of shit they brought to this debate.

    Reply

  24. Dan Kervick says:

    Well, I have to move on too. I’m sure this conversation will continue in one form or other on other threads.
    I just wanted to make one comment that is not related to the specific topics we have been discussing. Many people have written comments that responded to some of the things I have written. Some are complimentary and some not so complimentary. When I don’t write anything in response to those comments, it is generally not a judgment on the intrinsic value of what they have written. My failure to respond is usually just due to the fact that I literally do not have the time to respond. I am very sorry that when people have put in so much effort to say something about what I have written, I am not always able to return the favor. But I have a nine to five job, and probably spend too much time on blogs as it is. I’m guessing several of you – those fortunate enough not to have been laid off yet in this recession – know the feeling.

    Reply

  25. Paul Norheim says:

    And since WigWag has screwed up this thread by unfounded
    claims, distorted quotes, and a stubborn insistence that Dan is
    an anti-semite who promote the same message as the
    protocols, I may divert you as well.
    Some weeks ago, Sweetness claimed that Cee had posted an
    anti-semitic comment that Cee de facto did not post. Why did
    Sweetness lie about that? Because Sweetness felt that Cee is an
    anti-semite in a deeper sense – and never mind with the facts.
    I mentioned this somewhere above on this thread, and
    Sweetness responded. Since I at that time still had a hope that
    this thread might become interesting, I did not want to disturb
    it with a discussion about Sweetness`s lies. So I suggested that
    we moved that discussion to another thread – the Tom Toles
    cartoon thread.
    Now I somehow regret it, because this thread and that thread
    has ended with precisely the same off topic topic: a frivolous
    use of libels like “bigot”, “racist” and “anti-semite”.
    Sweetness still insist that his disrespect for banal facts is a
    matter of “opinions” and “point of view”, while I see it as a
    simple lie on the factual level with consequences for the one
    lied about. It`s an example of the methodical and systematical
    distortion of facts, seen here, and seen many times before.
    If you are interested in more nonsense of the same kind as
    you`ve seen from WigWag, you may entertain yourself with my
    exchange with Sweetness on the subject here (or go to the
    cartoon thread just a few threads below this):
    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2009/02/tom_tol
    es_and_a/#comments
    But I warn you: it is extremely boring…

    Reply

  26. DonS says:

    I agree, at least, I can go no further.
    Just to put my own frustration with this “he is; he isn’t” a bigot BS:
    1) I am well familiar with the insinuated bigotry and stereotyping of Jews Wigwag alludes to, and the reason to be sensitive to it. No one, Dan K in particular since he’s been the main interlocutor, is that in my view. Of course, there is always the danger of using that history to cry wolf, cut off real discussion, etc., and we’ve all made that point and hope WW hears it.
    2) I’ve spent the last 28 years as a therapist, focusing on group work, in a rural area with few blacks and minorities, and with a population of low income, poorly educated folks who have been fed a diet of calling others “niggers”, “sand niggers”, “towelheads”, “wetbacks” since birth, and SEE NOTHING WRONG OR BIGOTED IN SAYING THOSE PHRASES” — haven’t a clue as to why they may be offensive, even WHEN a minority is sitting in the same group. It has been my job — or I have taken it as my job, to never let one of those prejudiced displays go by. First, to confront it, and it has taken growing as therapist over these years to be able to appropriately confront the behavior without emotional reaction to the speaker. Second, to use the behavior and situation as a teaching moment to educate about stereotyping and its inevitable result of demeaning the speaker. In the case of most of my groups this latter effort is quite straightforward, since I have mostly dealt with all sorts of ‘addicts’ who are among the most stereotyped of individuals and groups (and consequently these individuals, are understandably, almost reflexively looking for someone to be “below” them as a normal and understandable response to being denigrated.
    I know a bit about stereotyping, and recognize that each of us has rather deep patterns we have inherited, but can confront. Its hard work but important.

    Reply

  27. Paul Norheim says:

    I think this has become a waste of energy.
    WigWag claimed that Dan reserved his special vitrol for Israelis.
    Dan linked to a post about “The common man”, where he shows
    that his vitrol is a bit more broadly distributed. I quoted an
    excerpt. WigWag`s comment?
    “Entertaining yes; remotely similar no.”
    I guess it depends on the eyes. To a right wing American
    patriot, Dan`s “Common man” comment may seem much more
    crass than his characterization of Israel.
    WIgWag insists that Dan is a bigot, racist and anti-semite. He
    isn`t. But WigWag just continues to insist.
    So what? Aren`t every critic of Israel at TWN a bigot, racist or
    anti-semite? POA certainly is. DonS as well. And Cee, who once
    linked to a site where a commenter wrote an anti-semitic post. I
    wouldn`t mind if some of you said that I was a bigot, racist, or
    anti-semite as well. These words have ceased to signify
    anything at TWN. A racist is a racist is a racist.
    But it`s a bit sad. Because Dan`s initial comment could have
    triggered an interesting discussion. Instead we get these stupid
    back and forth arguments about whether he secretly believes in
    the Protocols.

    Reply

  28. Dan Kervick says:

    I gave up several comments ago attempting to correct WigWag’s systematic and ugly mischaracterizations of my words.
    I would just ask that as people re-read these comments, they keep track of the differences between the words I have actually used and the statements I have actually made, and WigWag’s hateful and imaginative recastings of my statements into statements I didn’t make, but are much more easily criticized.
    Wigwag has introduced the most vile classic antisemitic language into this thread at every turn, and has tried to inserted that language through a process of rhetorical osmosis into my mouth. This kind of defamation is both destructive and dishonest. Someone picking up this thread at the bottom might be mislead into thinking that somewhere in this thread I said “Jews are greedy”, or something equivalent to that. But I did not.

    Reply

  29. DonS says:

    … “avoidance and diversion – traits that wigwag displays constantly.. it’s impossible to get blood out of a stone, or an honest response from wigwag when asked a direct question . . .defending israel at any cost”
    The essence of a good propagandist
    ww, “The idea that Israelis are particularly bloodthirsty, unusually violent, excessively
    conniving or have unusual values is self-evidently false”
    I would introduce the notion that one can distinguish between behavior, individual or group, without personalizing the actor, but I have a feeling I know how that would go.
    In any event, in a certain sense one of the significant variables that makes any [possible] discussion of this topic loaded is that much of what the actors, I’ll call ‘them’, engage in is psychological in nature. Can’t verify it; can always deny it; and it cuts mightly close to personal attack, even sterotyping. But, that cannot be a defrense against real discussion simply because one party asserts it.

    Reply

  30. WigWag says:

    “Again, my characterizations of Israel and Israelis are only bigoted if they are false, WigWag. But you have not dedicated a single word in this thread to showing that they are false.”
    The idea that Israelis are particularly bloodthirsty, unusually violent, excessively
    conniving or have unusual values is self-evidently false. To debate whether they are true would engage me in the same bigoted commentary that you have engaged in.
    Nor would I debate the idea that Arabs or Russians or Turks or Iranians are bloodthirsty unusually violent, excessively conniving or have unusual values. Dignifying stereotypes like that gives credence to them and is itself demeaning.
    I wouldn’t engage in a debate about whether it’s really true that Jews are greedy, Poles are stupid or Mexicans are lazy either.
    Bigots always think they’re right, Dan. They always say precisely what you have said; it can’t be bigoted if it’s true. And they always want to engage others in a debate about the bigoted claims they make because the very existence of a debate legitimizes their bigotry.
    How many white southerners when confronted with outrage over their views that blacks were inferior responded with your refrain “it can’t be racism if it’s true?” Would you engage in a debate about whether Mexicans are lazy? Would you engage racists like Kevin McDonald or others who claim that African Americans have lower IQs than Caucasians?
    Of course, you wouldn’t.
    What I am confident you would do, is call it what it is.
    That’s what I’m doing.

    Reply

  31. ... says:

    avoidance and diversion – traits that wigwag displays constantly.. it’s impossible to get blood out of a stone, or an honest response from wigwag when asked a direct question.. it may not always be that way, but it has been on this thread and most others where wigwag shows up… it appears fruitless to continue to hold out hope that wigwag will display any other traits as strongly with the exception of defending israel at any cost, with the cost to the usas support to israel never too big to swallow…

    Reply

  32. WigWag says:

    “I think, Wig, there is an assumption that America’s Middle East mess, including 9/11, is a function of our support of Israel.”
    Got it,they assume our Middle East mess is a function of our support for Israel not a function of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which resulted in the deaths of (by some estimates) 300 times as many civilians as were killed in Gaza.
    “How about my angry, anti-patriotic, “screw the common man” screed from before the inauguration?”
    Entertaining yes; remotely similar no.

    Reply

  33. Paul Norheim says:

    Allow me to quote a little part of that comment Dan referred to
    above, just to show what I thought every regular reader of the
    threads at TWN knew: that Dan has never “reserved his special
    vitriol for Israelis”, as WigWag claims.
    Now listen to what Dan Kervick said two or three weeks ago
    about America and Americans, and then you may judge if
    WigWag is correct when he claims that Dan is mild when he
    talks about his own country:
    “This country doesn’t need a party; it needs a funeral.
    And it doesn’t need more myth-making and legend-spinning. It
    needs to have its stupid, drunken, violence-loving head dunked
    in a tub of ice water, and held under until it wakes up from the
    manufactured reality and tawdry dreamwork of patriotism and
    crusading aggression.
    I don’t want any more fanfare for the Common Man. The
    Common Man just spent several years cheering on the murder
    of millions of other common men. Screw the Common Man. And
    Gaza has further hardened my heart against states and empires,
    and their extravagantly destructive and ingeniously sadistic
    machines for the destruction of human beings.
    I’m not looking for a government to restore the “American
    Dream”, or to try to make us into a “Shining City on a Hill”. I
    only hope for a government that is slightly more competent,
    and slightly less murderous. I hope our DC chiefs manage to get
    through the next four or eight years without exterminating
    large proportions of the human race. This could be a tall order
    since Washington appears to attract fanatics.” (Dan Kervick)
    Do you think the Americans who frequently criticize Israel at
    TWN were angry at Dan? That they thought he should direct this
    kind of criticism at Israel, and not at the USA? No, they
    applauded. Because neither do they “reserve their special vitriol
    for Israelis”.
    So much for “exceptionalism” and “uniqueness”.

    Reply

  34. Dan Kervick says:

    Again, my characterizations of Israel and Israelis are only bigoted if they are false, WigWag. But you have not dedicated a single word in this thread to showing that they are false.
    Oh, and you know one thing that’s been bothering me is how it is that saying Israelis think about current affairs in the context of very long historical time frames, and plan farther ahead than other countries, amounts to an *insult* to Israelis. This is especially puzzling since that comment was made in the context of a criticism of Americans and American commentators for their short attention spans, and consequent inability to interpret current events effectively.
    If I had said that the French display an especially heightened appreciation for the culinary arts, would you have said that is a case of bigotry against the French for attributing to them “uniquely refined palates”?
    I would take it that the critical part of my comment is not that Israelis have a national strategy that takes a long view, but that the *aims* of that strategy are dubious. For example, would it have been an insult if I had said that Israelis have a long-term strategy for bringing about global peace over the next few centuries, and that they make their policy plans with more disciplined attention to the long view.
    Why don’t you focus on what Israel’s national strategy aims at?

    Reply

  35. Dan Kervick says:

    “You never posted a comment lambasting America and Americans for being unusually war like, detestable, extraordinarily violent or unlike other states in its state craft.”
    How about my angry, anti-patriotic, “screw the common man” screed from before the inauguration?
    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2009/01/born_again_amer/#comment-123689

    Reply

  36. Sweetness says:

    I think, Wig, there is an assumption that America’s Middle East
    mess, including 9/11, is a function of our support of Israel. Minus
    that, we’d be helping the Arab states all get along and keeping the
    oil flowing, as Dan says.
    Since Israel is a prominent symbol for everyone, on all sides of this
    debate, it’s understandable that Americans, worried about blow-
    back 9/11-style, would fixate on Israel. Of course, Israel does a lot
    to “help out” her opponents…

    Reply

  37. WigWag says:

    “Ok, I’ll say Americans are assholes too.”
    If you had merely said Israelis are “assholes” that would have been par for the course for much of the commentary at the Washington Note. It would have been a flip comment and a silly comment but it wouldn’t have been a bigoted comment.
    But that’s not what you said. You said Israelis were bloodthirsty and unusually war-like and you implied that they were unusually conniving (with your comment about their preternaturally long planning horizon).
    It’s quite stunning really; despite the magnitude of the civilian casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq, your comments about these civilian deaths have been largely limited to informing us of what you think the new Obama Administration should do or regaling us with how miserable you think Bush and his neoconservative cronies are.
    You never posted a comment lambasting America and Americans for being unusually war like, detestable, extraordinarily violent or unlike other states in its state craft.
    Either you feel the dead civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq are less important than the dead civilians in Gaza, or you feel the United States was more justified in killing them or you think that despite the greater number of civilians killed by America that there’s still something about the Israelis that make them especially bad.
    I won’t speculate about why you have decided to reserve your special vitriol for Israelis when it is obvious that American behavior has been similar and certainly far more deadly.
    But I can’t help but wonder whether you find it far easier to criticize Israel than to face up to your own complicity. After all, if Israelis are complicit in the behavior of their government that you find objectionable, surely you are equally complicit in the virtually identical behavior of your own government.
    After all, if Israel is a brutal nation then your country (and mine) is far more brutal. If Israel used millions or even hundreds of millions of American tax dollars to subsidize its war in Gaza, the United States government used hundreds of billions of American dollars to attack Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Yet we never saw a Dan Kervick post denigrating American or Americans in the odious manner in which you attacked Israel. And we certainly never saw you describe America or Americans in a stereotypic and bigoted fashion.
    It’s not just that you think Israeli behavior is uniquely bad, it’s that you think that Israeli behavior equivalent to the behavior of so many other countries including your own, is particularly worthy of criticism.
    But then when it comes to double standards about Israel, nothing’s new.
    What’s new is calling it what it is.

    Reply

  38. questions says:

    POA quotes me and then writes,
    “I’m sure you won’t let a single misbehaving Jewish person story escape”
    BTW, that sure is an interesting comment from someone defending a society that sees an anti-semite under every bush.
    You don’t quite state my position the way I would. I don’t DEFEND Israeli society. I actually don’t live in Israel though I have relatives there and I tend to disagree with many of them near as I can tell.
    What I want is a really careful honest critique of what’s wrong without a lot of overly broad generalizations, with a deep understanding of historical patterns, with a sense of what can be done by whom to shift cultural preferences.
    There are things that drive peoples to the right. Economic calamity, warring, insecurity — these all tend to make people prefer right wing solutions. Generosity, recognition of common humanity, certain kinds of natural disasters can make people come together or at least recognize each other as fully human.
    What I would call for, then, is Hamas to be brave and take a step to the left and thereby push Israel to the left. Or I would call for Israel to be brave and move to the left and thereby push Hamas that way. This leftward move will come when human suffering penetrates the walls of fear and racism that seem to pervade the region.
    So POA, I’m not an Israel booster, but nor am I a critic entirely. What I’d rather be is someone who advocates for understanding the structures that drive Israelis to Lieberman or Shas or Likud. And what might turn them elsewhere.
    What act of generosity of spirit, what act of profound humanity, what act of decency might convince more Israelis that the future is inclusive, not exclusive?

    Reply

  39. DonS says:

    I’m truly sorry about your friend Varanasi, but playing the ‘my Jihadist tragedy is worse than yours’ is a lose-lose propostion. I work with a doctor who is Indian (actually 3 of our five doctors are Indian) and we have shared discussion of some of the dimensions of that attack, and the recognition of the futility of terror. And you also remember that 911 happened and stirred up another pot of hatred and fear including the insanity of Cheny/Bush projecting anger toward theIraq, and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents.
    But since you insist on taking offense at the idea of there being a strong current of anti-Isamic feeling among many Indians, I wonder how you account for the ongoing Hindu-Muslim carnage that boils over on occasion? I really have no wish for you to attenpt to prove that in fact you are not biased against Muslims, only Jihadists. Perhaps there is some other more salient reason you feel so compelled to identify with Israel as justified in its actions.
    As you will recall, I lost as lot of family in the holocaust. That is a reason to detest all forms of terrorism, not just non-state sponsored terrorism or its equivalence. It’s certainly no reason to exonerate Israel from brutal actions.

    Reply

  40. questions says:

    Sorry for seeming to evade your direct questions POA. I was in a rush and didn’t read as carefully as I should have. This will happen occasionally. My bad….
    Perhaps you will answer a direct and simple question…..
    Do you consider Israeli society as tolerant and welcoming of non-jewish immigrants as American society is of non-anglo-saxon immigrants?
    Yes or no?
    Questions says, “I don’t know.” Questions thinks that the US is sometimes welcoming and sometimes not. But the USA was designed as a non-denominational country, not a Christian one (though there seem to be some who don’t like this designation.) We have been deeply wicked to African immigrants, to Chinese immigrants, to Japanese immigrants, Hatian immigrants, Mexican immigrants. We do seem to like the English. Not so much the Irish and Italians and Poles and and and…. Are we a decent society? In places and in times yes, in places and in times, no. Israel is most decidely working on being a Jewish nation. I’m not sure I think this is a great thing to be, but it is what it is.
    Here is another one…
    Do you think Israel has lost as many citizens to Hamas rockets as the United States has lost to the Mexican drug cartels?
    Yes or no???
    questions says, “I have no idea.” Questions also says that US/Latin American relations are violent and questions doesn’t think that Mexican drug cartels are the only hemispheric violence issue, even if they are a border issue. I would guess that a large number of Mexicans have been killed by US border goons and that not very many Israelis have been killed by Hamas rockets. But then, why launch the rockets if they are so ineffective? My point underlying some of this is that Hamas should change its strategy and work on being sympathetic to a wider audience.
    Yet one more…
    Do you think that the citizens of the United States would support bombing Mexico city, dropping white phosphorous on Mexican women and children, or blocking all goods and humanitarian services into Mexico because of the actions of the Mexican drug cartels?
    Yes or no?
    Questions says, “I don’t know.” But I do think that USA Americans support maquilodoro factories which are WICKED in effect and intent. And I think that many USA Americans support immigration raids that destroy families and I think the USA Americans support lots of nasty wicked policies. White phosphorous? Who knows. Agent Orange? Been there, done that. Depleted uranium? been there, done that. Toxic crap from industry? Been there done that. Lots of death dealing….
    Please let me know if this is a direct enough set of answers. I can try again as needed.

    Reply

  41. ... says:

    varanasi – after 9-11 happened there appeared to be many americans who held anti-islamic views… i have read some comments from you on the muslims that weren’t all that flattering, without quoting you specifically… i appreciate your pain in the loss of your friend.. however trying to paint dons as a racist, or his generalization which could include you isn’t working for me….

    Reply

  42. Dan Kervick says:

    varnassi, you are certainly right about the dangers posed by the situation in Pakistan.

    Reply

  43. varanasi says:

    in light of today’s disclosure from pakistan, perhaps DonS would like to regale us some more about his quip:
    “you have certainly earned your creds as a typical Indian with strongly anti Islamic views.”
    i’d also like to remind you that a dear – and innocent – friend of mine died in that barbaric jihadist attack on mumbai

    Reply

  44. Dan Kervick says:

    Thank you Paul for your comment, which seems very accurate to me.
    My initial comment was a reaction to Steve’s NPR conversation. I think my central points were these:
    1. Israel is a much more radical and extreme state than many American commentators are willing to recognize, even those who are frequently critical of Israel.
    2. Israel’s aims and national strategy put it on a path that diverges more sharply from US interests than these commentators are willing to recognize.
    3. The values of Israelis differ more substantially from the values of Americans than these commentators are willing to recognize
    I just did a search, and cannot find the words “unique” or “uniquely” in the entire original comment. However, I did say several things that imply that Israel and Israeli attitudes and policies are in many ways exceptional in the modern world. In a follow-up, I did say that I thought Israel viewed the context of current events through a uniquely long time frame. And I have not backed away from those statetments.
    These claims about ways in which Israel and Israeli society are exceptional are what seem to have touched a nerve with WigWag. But nothing WigWag has said has given me any reason to revise my opinion that Israel is on the whole a more extreme, fanatical, violent than most states in the modern world. This position is only bigoted if it is *not true*.

    Reply

  45. ... says:

    good summary paul and donS commentary…one point i would like to add paul, is the unwillingness of wigwag to address critical comments on the nature of zionism which is driving israel into a ditch of its own making and which dan regularly mentions… dan is very clear in articulating this but we hear not a peep out of wigwag challenging any of it successfully… wigwag spends most of his/her time consumed in diversionary tactics, but when never addresses the ugly facts of zionism directly.. far easier to work at labeling someone a racist then to acknowledge the primary truths of their commentary… wigwag takes the low road.. while dan isn’t perfect, his intentions are honourable unlike wigwags… that is a big dif to me…
    varanasi – pakistans role has been ignored since 9-11 when they also appear to have been involved.. rational explanations for that have never been articulated successfully to me personally….

    Reply

  46. varanasi says:

    nor will WWIII most likely be triggered in israel/palestine.
    most likely, it could be triggered here:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/13/world/asia/13pstan.html?hp

    Reply

  47. DonS says:

    Just an observation; I think the use of quotes around the comments Wigwag fictionally attributes to Dan are confusing and have the possibility of creating greater confusion when folks try to decode the thread. Totally inadvertaint I’m sure.
    All this talk about exceptionalism, and seeking equivalences of evil between Israel and the US blurs the central issue. Israel get’s so much negative attention here (though hardly ever elucidated officially or in the MSM) because of it’s disproportionate involvement in effective foreign policy planning that addresses US interests in the region. Now if US diplomats really tackle the thorny issue many have suggested that would be an integral part of the larger picture of US foreign relations with Arab and Muslim countries.
    Most other comment about why so much attention is paid to the Isr/Pal question on this blog misses this point, intentionally or not. E.g., Darfur is a tragedy (as was Ruwanda); but WWIII is not going to be triggered by ignoring it.

    Reply

  48. Paul Norheim says:

    Aside from WigWag`s approval and Dan Kervick`s anger at
    Israel, I honestly fail to see the big, substantial differences in
    how they interpret the intentions of Israel.
    Dan says that Israel acts just like several states acted during the
    peak of 19th century nationalism, in ways that few or none act
    today. WigWag seems to claim that the way Israel acts today
    have plenty of parallels in the contemporary world. These are
    diverging positions, but if both agreed that Israel acts today in
    ways that were much more common before, but that some
    states today admittedly behave in ways that are comparable on
    some levels, these differences may not be so huge.
    Dan says that the Israeli state has no intention of making peace
    with the Palestinians or in making a serious effort towards a
    Palestinian state. And WigWag? Hasn`t he repeatedly, during the
    last month or so, made the point that neither Israel nor
    Palestine is interested in a peace agreement? That Israel is in no
    rush to make peace with the Palestinians or to do their part in
    creating a Palestinian state? Just like WigWag expresses delight
    in claiming that Israel`s neighbors (Egypt, Jordan etc) are
    becoming allies of israel due to the strengthening of Iran after
    the invasion of Iraq, he is not worried about the possible
    demise of Israels closest ally and financial supporter, USA. Look
    at the emerging powers, the superpowers of this century,
    WigWag says; look at China and India. Do they care about the
    Palestinians? Does Japan and the rest of Asia care about the
    Palestinian cause?
    WigWag`s position seems to be that the Israelis may claim that
    they want a peace deal, that they are serious about a peace
    process and so on, but in reality, it is in Israel`s interest to wait,
    because in 20, in 50 or 100 years, the Palestinians will be
    weakened, if they have not already vanished as a people.
    Dan and WigWag may disagree on how many Palestinian
    civilians Israel may kill while they are waiting for them to vanish
    as a people, or how many wars they may fight in the meanwhile,
    but basically they seem to agree: Israel has not interest, and will
    not work seriously towards a peace deal. And they both seem to
    agree that Hamas is playing their cards badly.
    WigWag has repeatedly claimed that he is disgusted by the
    settler movement. Dan says that Israel has one principal goal: to
    establish a Greater Israel. I suppose that if WigWag see it as in
    Israel`s interest that the Palestinians are severely weakened or
    “vanish as a people” (WigWag`s own words, if I remember
    correctly, from another thread), then I would guess that WigWag
    more or less agree that Israel aims at creating a Greater Israel.
    Perhaps with some minor concessions, “land for peace”
    agreements with the few remaining Palestinians – if the outside
    world (read China, India, Japan, an impotent America and an
    impotent Europe) even care about those remaining Palestinians
    in the distant future when this may become a reality.
    Dan Kervick said that Israel (and many Jews) tend to think in
    centuries and thousands of years. I think this is not far off the
    mark. During a couple of thousand years, Jews had no
    homeland, they had their holy and secular texts, their ancient
    history, and related strongly to that history. After a long and
    bitter exchange, WigWag argued that the Persians, a lot of Arab
    countries, China etc. also tend to think in centuries or longer. I
    wouldn`t be surprised if Dan accepted this argument.
    WigWag should have said that before, because it`s a valid
    argument. At one point, Dan said:
    “I didn’t mean to suggest Israelis plan millennia ahead. What I
    meant is that many Israelis, and non-Israeli Jews, seem to
    address current affairs in the Middle East through a time frame
    that is uniquely long.”
    WigWag`s reply:
    Dan is blind to the fact that his modifying remark makes his
    comment more troubling not less troubling. It’s not the time
    frame, Dan, it’s your suggestion of “uniqueness” that is
    revealing. According to you, Israelis are uniquely violent,
    uniquely war-like, uniquely uninterested in prosperity, uniquely
    unfriendly. You even think they have a unique planning
    perspective.”
    “Even…” But that was the only thing Dan actually had said! A
    uniquely long time frame.
    Dan did never say that “Israelis are uniquely violent, uniquely
    war-like, uniquely uninterested in prosperity, uniquely
    unfriendly.” It was just WigWag`s distorted version of what Dan
    said, a fictional version that WigWag had to create to be able to
    label Dan as a good old racist, bigot and anti-semite of the
    most vulgar, conspiratorial type, draped in elegant and
    cultivated prose.
    I am not saying all the above in an attempt to build bridges
    between WigWag and Dan. My main point is that there is no
    huge gap between WigWag`s and Dan Kervicks
    INTERPRETATION of Israel`s intentions, policy, strategy, way of
    thinking. The difference is that WigWag probably has been very
    sympathetic towards Israel and its policies, while Dan probably
    has been increasingly worried (and perhaps especially worried
    with regards to US support). If I should guess, WigWag has been
    a bit worried as well, contemplating some of the tendencies and
    the recent development. But basically: an approval.
    And then Dan wrote this comment, trying to create a portrait of
    Israel`s real face, real strategic intentions behind the confusing
    tactics, delays, excuses, etc. And, given my referring above to
    how WigWag has tried to interpret Israel`s interests and
    strategies at TWN recently, I am convinced that WigWag
    recognized Dan`s portrait as something very familiar, but also
    very ugly, since his portrait was colored by moral outrage and
    disgust.
    Nobody can earnestly believe that Dan is a racist. He
    distinguishes clearly between the levels of generalizations, and
    how these kinds of generalizations commonly are understood in
    given contexts, and is very far from claiming that there are any
    genetic or cultural traits particular or “unique” for Jews or
    Israelis, or that every Israeli is like this or that.
    But I believe that WigWag was very upset when he read Dan`s
    original post, because a commenter he often disagree with, but
    highly respects, created a portrait that was instantly
    recognizable, but WigWag did not want to look at that picture.
    So he set out creating a portrait of Dan, transforming him into
    the classic, timeless, vulgar anti-semite, that ugly, hateful soul
    so typical for Europe and parts of America until Hitler fulfilled
    the wishes of that type in ways even they could not have
    imagined.

    Reply

  49. Dan Kervick says:

    Make no mistake about it, Dan has criticized American foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan very strongly on numerous occasions. But he never used the same bigoted language about Americans that he used about Israelis.
    Ok, I’ll say Americans are assholes too.

    Reply

  50. WigWag says:

    The number of civilians killed in America’s war with Iraq and Afghanistan dwarfs the number of civilians killed by Israel in Gaza. And the carnage has been as violent and shocking if not more so.
    But we haven’t seen a Dan Kervick post saying this,
    “Americans don’t care about broad regional prosperity, friendly relations or any of the other things other people care about. At least America doesn’t care about these things in the same way or to the same degree as everyone else. Americans don’t practice a conventional form of statecraft.”
    Because civilian casualties have been far more numerous in Afghanistan and Iraq than Gaza, it’s mysterious why Dan hasn’t written this,
    “If the United States could get away with obliterating those states and reducing them to a bunch of Stone Age city-states, it would do so, even if that damaged its own economy.”
    I’m also waiting for Dan to write this,
    “And America’s long-term plan involves war, and lots of it. The United States is a society built for war, and built on war. It has been at war almost perpetually since its foundation. Its defense budget is the size of the defense budget of all other nations combined. The United States anticipates war constantly; they prepare for war constantly. They regard war as an inevitable part of the life of their state, at least until final and total victory is delivered and all of their enemies are vanquished. And if their enemies are never defeated entirely, America will never stop fighting them entirely.”
    Considering the civilian casualties in Afghanistan you would think that Dan might have this to say,
    “At its core, the American dream is a form of fanaticism. The Americans may not relish the idea of war, but they are fatalistically resigned to it, and believe it will be necessary to achieve the “clarity” they seek in the region, the clarity of decisive and total American victory in the long war. That’s when they will crush their remaining regional opponents.”
    Dan could end his essay on America’s role in Afghanistan and Iraq with a sentence like this,
    “Americans also care much less than most states about their reputation abroad. Ingratiating themselves with the rest of the world is just not that important to them.”
    Make no mistake about it, Dan has criticized American foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan very strongly on numerous occasions. But he never used the same bigoted language about Americans that he used about Israelis.
    Why?
    Because Dan thinks Israel is unique.

    Reply

  51. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I’m sure you won’t let a single misbehaving Jewish person story escape”
    BTW, that sure is an interesting comment from someone defending a society that sees an anti-semite under every bush.

    Reply

  52. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Perhaps the Three Schmuckateers will describe to us how Israel treats people who are caught trying to sneak over its borders?

    Reply

  53. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Yes, just as I thought, Questions cannot even answer simple direct queries without equivicating and dodging.
    And his comment to varanasi about “sinking to the levels of others” is laughable. Perhaps Questions can guide us to any commentary of varanasi’s that should be described as having any elevated level above that of an irritating online gnat.

    Reply

  54. ... says:

    Posted by Paul Norheim Feb 12, 10:55AM – Link
    “If we should do away with American exceptionalism, so should
    we also do away with Israeli exceptionalism.”
    But that is the position of most of the Israel critic commenters
    here, isn`t it?
    yes that is correct paul, but questions would like to create a wedge which is used to to negate the factual comments on israels ugly position in 2009…. it isn’t working on me, dons and a number of other posters here…
    same goes for wigwags constant evasions when he is presented with many comments he is unable to challenge… it isn’t working at convincing me of the superiority of his logic or thinking, but is doing the opposite..
    varanasi quote “just what type of response should his attacks elicit?” try ignore and instead offer some commentary on topic.. that would be helpful.. if you see a traffic jam in the distance, do you 1) head into it anyway, or 2) think of an alternative route? you appear to always go for answer 1).. try 2) and see what happens – in this example offering some commentary that is on topic as opposed to getting bogged down in personal slights…

    Reply

  55. questions says:

    In the few minutes I have for now…I think that the US is nastier to Central and South America than it is to Mexico. We have arranged disappearances, coups, and training for guerrillas. Not so good. Even without white phosphorous, we’ve been plenty wicked.
    Where I see Israeli exceptionalism, Paul, is in finding Israel to be exceptionally wicked rather than regularly wicked. By this point you should know that I don’t like Israel’s policies on numerous fronts and I would make the world different if I could. But I don’t demonize because I think that demonization is a failed strategy and we need success. Remember when Bush II came out with that line about how “liberals (sneer) just want to understand and coddle the terrorists…”? I think that it’s precisely this kind of understanding that needs to happen in Israel. So instead of citing endless articles about unsavory Jewish people in Israel as proof positive that they are unusually wicked/timeframed or whatever, it would be better to study their domestic political and cultural systems, come to understand what makes Shlomo-in-the-street vote the way he does and try to reshape that thinking via soft power (see my tv series suggestion elsewhere that was TOtally ignored!).
    Political structures change slowly. Social habits die hard. I would it were other. It isn’t.
    And Varanasi, sinking to the level of others probably isn’t a great idea (even though I will admit I give in to the snark urge occasionally…)
    Don S, W and M are both international relations people. Congress study is its own field in poli sci, really. And it has its own scholars who have developed some nice, if incomprehensible to me, mathematical analyses of voting patterns. This stuff needs to be gone through to get a real handle on Congress and THELOBBY. It’s endless work to analyze voting patterns and well beyond my field to do so. I have an instinctive distrust of W and M and have read reasonable critiques of their work. They may not be utterly without insight, but they may well be less insightful than many here assume.
    Gotta run. I’ll be baaaack….

    Reply

  56. varanasi says:

    so, i’m going to try a new tack here, since everyone on this blog seems to condone this type of rhetoric:
    go fuck yourself, paul, you lying asshole! and fuck you too DonS, you blathering, snivelling, racist jackass! and poa, why don’t you shove your angry, little, pea-brain up DonS aged, withering sphincter. perhaps then you’ll have a real meeting of the minds!
    wow. that feels good.

    Reply

  57. varanasi says:

    thanks again for the kind words, poa. we can always count on you for constructivism.
    btw, if i need a new footstool i’ll be sure to seek your counsel, otherwise i’ll be sure to dismiss everything you have to say.

    Reply

  58. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I’m sure you won’t let a single misbehaving Jewish person story escape”
    Perhaps you will answer a direct and simple question…..
    Do you consider Israeli society as tolerant and welcoming of non-jewish immigrants as American society is of non-anglo-saxon immigrants?
    Yes or no?
    Here is another one…
    Do you think Israel has lost as many citizens to Hamas rockets as the United States has lost to the Mexican drug cartels?
    Yes or no???
    Yet one more…
    Do you think that the citizens of the United States would support bombing Mexico city, dropping white phosphorous on Mexican women and children, or blocking all goods and humanitarian services into Mexico because of the actions of the Mexican drug cartels?
    Yes or no?

    Reply

  59. Paul Norheim says:

    Varanasi,
    I may have said “go fuck yourself” as well, if some commenter
    had asked me to shut up on Israel/Palestine because I was
    opposed to illegal immigration. Except for a handful of on topic
    sentences (and friendly exchanges with me on Ethiopia), all of
    your posting on this thread has been aimed at provoking POA. 7
    or 8 posts taunting him or suggesting that he should be banned.
    It`s silly, and it`s disturbing.

    Reply

  60. DonS says:

    Questions, some coments on your long post:
    “As for the US’s being forced by Israel because of THELOBBY, just slow down and think about our system of pressures and counter pressures on Congress. Congress members seem to be able to stand up for things when they really feel like it (all the Repubs in the house opposed a super popular president on the stimulus). They are quite capable of making up they’re own minds when they see fit. They are quite capable of bowing to pressure if it seems worthwhile.”
    — This general statement is rather one of belief than evidence. A more interesting general observation would be to question when, if ever, the Congress has mustered opposition to aid for Israel, or indeed some pandering resolution, by less than an overwhelming majority. No countervailing pressure group to “the lobby” is one obvious possibility. Therefore no pressure to even examine whether support is “worthwhile”.
    “What I see on this and many similar threads over and over again is a reading of the world situation through a particular and pretty narrow lens. I’ve posted many times about complexity as a necessary component to understanding what’s going on and the responses are typically something along the lines of “There questions goes again…. It’s not complex, it’s THELOBBY.” It’s as if many have read only one book in the last decade or so — W and M — and they can’t get over the thought that THELOBBY, like a bunch of secret commies, is running the universe. I had written up a post on the McCarthy issue about how THELOBBY gets the treatment McCarthy handed out to the commies, but I didn’t bother posting it. Now I’m beginning to think it would be worth looking for parallels in the paranoid thinking. We have an open political system and it’s even open to pro-Israeli partisans. Do you really want the system closed?”
    — It seems to me that Mersheimer and Walt summed up the situation nicely; they did not invent a new analysis. That’s why they are so useful. As for you assertion that “the lobby” . . . “THELOBBY gets the treatment McCarthy handed out to the commies”, don’t you think you have this backward? Probably not, but the issues discussed here, for instance with regard to the Jamestown situation, indicates the use of [in this case private power’ to stifle free expression. If you are saying that some are attempting to put pressure on “the lobby” to counter the virtually unprecedented success in controlling and shaping the US policy in the ME, that is no doubt true. You attribute the lack of success in this to a Congress adequately considering its prerogatives and continually and unanimously coming to the same conclusion over and over again, decade after decade. I think that’s naïve. The pernicious influence of pressure groups on skewing the American political process has be the subject of hand wring for a long time. Surly you don’t thin AIPAC, etc., doesn’t fall within that concern.
    “The US is an adventurous nation. We make use of war for domestic political positioning, for resource control, for economic imperialism, for a place to waste weapons so that we can build more, for a way to justify an insanely huge military and the industries that support it, for a jobs program, for a place to dump warrior-like people who can’t make it on Wall Street, and for lots of other issues as well. Military adventurism uses up a kind of human energy that has to be expended somewhere. The middle east adventurism is only a facet of a more general possibly species-related issue. That is, we’d invent Israel and Gaza and Iraq and Iran… if we didn’t have them already.”
    “I’ve posted before about how it’s very difficult to determine US interests, and that thought has been brushed off as nonsense. But, in fact, if you think about all of the economic and social and political structures that the War Machine deals with, you can argue that US interests are SERVED by the ME mess.”
    –This cynical interpretation has a lot of truth in it. However, IMO, the powder keg of Isr/Pal seem an unnecessarily risky “project” if the intention is simply to promote the greater glories of imperialism, colonialism, and corporatism.
    “Think past your own sense of humiliation and your own fears for your own family to a more general social level. What would we do without war and how could we make the switch and what do you do with all that testosterone? These questions must be thought through with any strategic work. Really.”
    — I choose not to associate myself, on a personal level, with this kind of thinking. If transformation doesn’t begin with individual commitment and effort, it begins nowhere.

    Reply

  61. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Wig-wag fails to note that no one is dumping white phosphorous on “lazy blacks” and “shifty mexicans”.
    And varanasi fails to note anything. If anyone can show me one informative, substantive, constructive, or relevent post from the blithering asshole, I’d be interested in seeing it.
    Wig-wag’s claims are preposterous. He resents Dan’s citation of Israeli society as being “different”, yet will undoubtedly refuse to address the imaginary scenario of an american Presidential candidate demanding that all Mexicans take a “loyalty oath”, or immediately be deported back to Mexico. This, of course, would include, and specifically target, Mexican’s WHO ARE LEGAL CITIZENS, such as Lieberman has proposed should be demanded of Israeli Arabs. Can we imagine that any American Presidential candidate proposing such an oath would stand a chance in hell of being elected? Of course, he would immediately be branded as racist, as this asshole wig-wag has branded me, merely because I oppose illegal imigration, and the Mexican trucker provisions in NAFTA. Never mind that Lieberman has a huge amount of support in Israel, and his undeniably racist policy advocations also enjoy widespread support.
    Can you imagine, if, due to the violence in our southern border regions, and the drug cartel terrorism that is spilling into our southern border towns and cities, we decided to bomb, raze, and annihilate Mexican urban centers, using White Phosphorous on Mexican women and children, the public outcry that would arise within the United States, and the world community? Never mind the fact that the Israeli citizenry has actually decried the “limited scope” of the carnage that was just inflicted on the citizenry of Gaza.
    But, in this asshole Wig-wags’s bigoted tunnel of Israeli supremacy, Israeli society is no different than our own.
    God knows, far more american citizens have died at the hands of Mexican drug cartels than have died due to Hamas rockets. Does this idiot Wig-wag think this justifies an American attack on Mexico City? Perhaps the anti-arab bigot thinks we are justified in clusterbombing Mexicali? Does he really think American society would stand still for such an act of monstrous inhumanity? Well, the Israelis not only condone such atrocities, they relish them, and demand them from thier leaders.
    And they aren’t different from us?
    (Hey varanasi. Go fuck yourself. And no, you and Wig-Wag are the only two I’ve advised to engage in self intercourse. I fail to see the harm, as you seem to enjoy having your head firmly inserted in your ass. If you don’t care for my coaching, I don’t understand why you so faithfully follow it to the letter)

    Reply

  62. varanasi says:

    i really do find it curious that nobody has *any* criticism for poa and his profane ad hominem “commentary.
    who’s “taunting” who? this idiot was telling people to “go fuck themselves” before i ever posted here. just what type of response should his attacks elicit?

    Reply

  63. Paul Norheim says:

    “If we should do away with American exceptionalism, so should
    we also do away with Israeli exceptionalism.”
    But that is the position of most of the Israel critic commenters
    here, isn`t it?
    You are familiar with the commenters here, questions, and they –
    including Dan Kervick – are usually not less harsh when it comes
    to criticizing US politics, the Iraqi adventure and the operations in
    Afghanistan included. And many seem to agree that
    exceptionalism is the main problem.

    Reply

  64. questions says:

    POA,
    I’m sure you won’t let a single misbehaving Jewish person story escape…. File it under “kids these days” and remember that people who aren’t Jewish also spit on people….
    Anti-social behavior knows no bounds, and yes there are some seriously f-d up people in Israel and some of them are religious and even students and even Yeshiva students. Mercifully, American religious people don’t have this quality????? No priest has ever….

    Reply

  65. questions says:

    Dan Kervick,
    Varanasi (who really should just cut out the silly taunts aimed at POA) is right on this one. The US has just been through a spasm of nationalist warmongering that could come back in a heartbeat and be made significantly worse by the economy. Anit-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-non-Christian, anti-intellectual, anti… sentiment ruled us at some level for 8 years and has been just under the surface for quite some time.
    If we should do away with American exceptionalism, so should we also do away with Israeli exceptionalism. Israeli politics is a system with a logic. Work within that logic and you’ll make a lot more sense and you’ll avoid some of the underlying exceptionalism.

    Reply

  66. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Christians in Jerusalem want Jews to stop spitting on them
    By Amiram Barkat
    A few weeks ago, a senior Greek Orthodox clergyman in Israel attended a meeting at a government office in Jerusalem’s Givat Shaul quarter. When he returned to his car, an elderly man wearing a skullcap came and knocked on the window. When the clergyman let the window down, the passerby spat in his face. Advertisement
    The clergyman prefered not to lodge a complaint with the police and told an acquaintance that he was used to being spat at by Jews. Many Jerusalem clergy have been subjected to abuse of this kind. For the most part, they ignore it but sometimes they cannot.
    On Sunday, a fracas developed when a yeshiva student spat at the cross being carried by the Armenian Archbishop during a procession near the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City. The archbishop’s 17th-century cross was broken during the brawl and he slapped the yeshiva student.
    Both were questioned by police and the yeshiva student will be brought to trial. The Jerusalem District Court has meanwhile banned the student from approaching the Old City for 75 days.
    But the Armenians are far from satisfied by the police action and say this sort of thing has been going on for years. Archbishop Nourhan Manougian says he expects the education minister to say something.
    “When there is an attack against Jews anywhere in the world, the Israeli government is incensed, so why when our religion and pride are hurt, don’t they take harsher measures?” he asks.
    According to Daniel Rossing, former adviser to the Religious Affairs Ministry on Christian affairs and director of a Jerusalem center for Christian-Jewish dialogue, there has been an increase in the number of such incidents recently, “as part of a general atmosphere of lack of tolerance in the country.”
    Rossing says there are certain common characeristics from the point of view of time and location to the incidents. He points to the fact that there are more incidents in areas where Jews and Christians mingle, such as the Jewish and Armenian quarters of the Old City and the Jaffa Gate.
    There are an increased number at certain times of year, such as during the Purim holiday.”I know Christians who lock themselves indoors during the entire Purim holiday,” he says.
    Former adviser to the mayor on Christian affairs, Shmuel Evyatar, describes the situation as “a huge disgrace.” He says most of the instigators are yeshiva students studying in the Old City who view the Christian religion with disdain.
    “I’m sure the phenomenon would end as soon as rabbis and well-known educators denounce it. In practice, rabbis of yeshivas ignore or even encourage it,” he says.
    Evyatar says he himself was spat at while walking with a Serbian bishop in the Jewish quarter, near his home. “A group of yeshiva students spat at us and their teacher just stood by and watched.”
    Jerusalem municipal officials said they are aware of the problem but it has to be dealt with by the police. Shmuel Ben-Ruby, the police spokesman, said they had only two complaints from Christians in the past two years. He said that, in both cases, the culprits were caught and punished.
    He said the police deploy an inordinately high number of patrols and special technology in the Old City and its surroundings in an attempt to keep order.
    http://tinyurl.com/2m6w3o

    Reply

  67. varanasi says:

    “Israel in 2009 is unfortunately not just like everyone else.”
    so, dan, are you saying that no other countries have a recent track record of “killing and conquering”?
    have fun trying to win this argument. you are an american, right?
    myopia rules at TWN

    Reply

  68. Dan Kervick says:

    Sorry WigWag. I don’t see it that way. If I call Israelis killers and fanatics, I think it’s because Israelis have a recent track record of doing a lot of fanatical killing and conquering. It looks to me like the ultranationalist Betar ideology has now consumed almost all of Israel. This is a remnant of the romantic cults of 19th century nationalism that did so much damage in the last century. Israel in 2009 is unfortunately not just like everyone else.

    Reply

  69. WigWag says:

    Wrong, Dan, if you were obsessed for legitimate reasons you would make legitimate criticisms. There are many legitimate criticisms you could make. Steve Clemons in his posts makes them all the time. You and lots of other commenters at the Washington Note have frequently harshly criticized Israeli policy in a manner that’s intelligent, thoughtful and within the bounds of fair debate.
    What’s not legitimate is asserting that Israelis (or in one case you referred to “Non-Israeli Jews) are fundamentally different than anyone else in the world; that they are more violent, blood thirsty, conniving, etc.
    It’s simply not legitimate to be a bigot, Dan, no matter how many rationalizations you can come up with to justify your prejudice.
    While your sentence structure may be more elegant, your words are no different than the racist spewing hate about lazy blacks living on the government dole or shifty Mexicans who won’t speak English stealing American jobs.
    You’ve turned yourself into Archie Bunker; like Archie you may be affable but your language is full of hate and bigotry.

    Reply

  70. varanasi says:

    bravo, questions.
    in my training and career in foreign service i’ve repeatedly learned the lesson that we live in a world of nuance and ambiguity.
    but, as far as these threads demonstrate, and more than a few of the regular contributors prove, this reality is out the window when it comes to israel and the ME.
    wigwag raises a salient, if not uncomfortable point when he asks why.

    Reply

  71. questions says:

    WigWag’s point seems to me to be something along the following — Israel’s pursuit of security and territory is pretty standard stuff so far as nations go. Most nations over time have done exactly the same stuff, the US included. So our judging Israel by suddenly enlightened standards is more than disingenuous. And I would add that US violence for territorial expansion isn’t really over anyway. We’ve killed huge numbers of people and immiserated even more for economic imperialism’s sake. Israel isn’t an exception, it’s typical.
    Dan Kervick, in an eloquent, if somewhat flawed, retort seems to worry about his own humiliation and his son’s death in the next or next next war. The second concern is valid, but the first is merely silly in my view at any rate. That you could feel humiliation over international politics suggests to me, at any rate, too much time spent as a 98 pound weakling on the playground or something. Who cares about power politics at that level? Who cares if some country can seemingly push another country to do something? Isn’t that what the US nearly always does anyway? Do you feel the humiliation of people all around the world as they are force to restructure because of the IMF or are force to adopt US standards for anything? I just can’t see making humiliation the standard for anything. (And please note that the calling the pres. off the podium thing was debunked. Don’t keep spreading it. It never happened.)
    As for the US’s being forced by Israel because of THELOBBY, just slow down and think about our system of pressures and counter pressures on Congress. Congress members seem to be able to stand up for things when they really feel like it (all the Repubs in the house opposed a super popular president on the stimulus). They are quite capable of making up they’re own minds when they see fit. They are quite capable of bowing to pressure if it seems worthwhile.
    US interests in the ME are complicated by resources (oil), by alliances and territorial concerns, by religious concerns (Judaism possibly feels more familiar to some than does Islam), by habit, by an inablity to think through complex international issues, by a fear of unleashing real anti-Semitism, and yes, by pressure from Israeli-supporting constituents in some parts of the country. You can’t pull out any one pressure and say it’s THE pressure.
    As the world shifts ground slowly on a variety of issues, so too will Congress’s view of Israel shift IF members see something else they like better. If the world wants the US to behave differently and to recalculate its advantage, the world has to offer something that will make US policy shift. The West Bank seems to have moved that way, but Hamas hasn’t yet gotten control of its people and rhetoric and actions such that images on the TV screen will compel this shift yet. It could happen, and the THELOBBY has limits on what it can do.
    What I see on this and many similar threads over and over again is a reading of the world situation through a particular and pretty narrow lens. I’ve posted many times about complexity as a necessary component to understanding what’s going on and the responses are typically something along the lines of “There questions goes again…. It’s not complex, it’s THELOBBY.” It’s as if many have read only one book in the last decade or so — W and M — and they can’t get over the thought that THELOBBY, like a bunch of secret commies, is running the universe. I had written up a post on the McCarthy issue about how THELOBBY gets the treatment McCarthy handed out to the commies, but I didn’t bother posting it. Now I’m beginning to think it would be worth looking for parallels in the paranoid thinking. We have an open political system and it’s even open to pro-Israeli partisans. Do you really want the system closed?
    The US is an adventurous nation. We make use of war for domestic political positioning, for resource control, for economic imperialism, for a place to waste weapons so that we can build more, for a way to justify an insanely huge military and the industries that support it, for a jobs program, for a place to dump warrior-like people who can’t make it on Wall Street, and for lots of other issues as well. Military adventurism uses up a kind of human energy that has to be expended somewhere. The middle east adventurism is only a facet of a more general possibly species-related issue. That is, we’d invent Israel and Gaza and Iraq and Iran… if we didn’t have them already.
    I’ve posted before about how it’s very difficult to determine US interests, and that thought has been brushed off as nonsense. But, in fact, if you think about all of the economic and social and political structures that the War Machine deals with, you can argue that US interests are SERVED by the ME mess.
    Think past your own sense of humiliation and your own fears for your own family to a more general social level. What would we do without war and how could we make the switch and what do you do with all that testosterone? These questions must be thought through with any strategic work. Really.
    Do I like any of this? Not really. Would I wish it were other? Absolutely. But it’s not other, near as I can tell at any rate. Maybe it’s too much Machiavelli this week and I’ll feel better getting to Kant’s Perpetual Peace…..

    Reply

  72. Paul Norheim says:

    “Kadima is untroubled by the loyalty oath scheme; Bibi says he
    agrees with it.”
    You may wonder what WigWag, Sweetness and Varanasi would
    have said with regards to the degree of racism among the
    population and political elite of any other country than Israel, if
    the support for, or acceptance of such suggestions had been as
    strong as the case is here. A country where those behind the
    “Operation Cast Lead” represent the center/left, whom the
    majority of voters punished for their unwillingness to strike
    harder, by voting for the right/extreme right.
    Kadima`s Livni is certainly not totally opposed to the idea of
    creating a coalition with the Israel Beytenu party, and Netanyahu
    agrees with the loyalty oath scheme….
    If those Jews in the Diaspora who express an unconditional
    support for Israel, regardless of its actions and intentions, did
    not themselves live in a mental bunker, they would immediately
    have realized that these recent developments in Israel represent
    a moral and political catastrophe.
    Since they live inside the same bubble as those inside Israel
    who put all the blame on the Palestinians and other countries, it
    is not surprising that they brand everyone who are outraged by
    these tendencies as anti-semites. The absurdity and the
    contradictions within this position are especially evident when it
    is represented by people who in every other context promote
    tolerance, and fight bigotry, racism, and anti-democratic
    tendencies.
    These intellectual and moral contradictions must be difficult to
    live with for those pro-Israeli progressives who live in the
    United States; who appreciate and celebrate the fact that
    America is a nation founded on the very opposite of the concept
    of an ethnically pure or dominant population.

    Reply

  73. Paul Norheim says:

    Johnathan Friedland in the Guardian, commenting on the Israeli
    election and Avigdor Lieberman:
    “He would insist that every Israeli swear an oath of loyalty to
    Israel as a Jewish state: anyone who loses will lose his
    citizenship.
    Israel Beytenu denies this is racist, insisting that every Israeli
    will have to swear the oath, Jewish or Arab. It is true that plenty
    of ultra-orthodox Jews who don’t accept the authority of a
    godless secular state may also refuse. But the target is clearly
    Israel’s 1.45 million Arabs. If they will not swear their
    allegiance, explains Lieberman deputy Uzi Landau, “They will
    have residency rights but no right to vote or be in the Knesset.”
    It is a truly shocking idea. I asked several Israel Beytenu
    luminaries if they could name a single democracy anywhere that
    had removed citizenship from those who already had it. I asked
    what they would make of demanding that, say, British Jews,
    swear an oath of loyalty to Britain as a Christian country on pain
    of losing their right to vote. I got no good answers.
    There was a time when such a poisonous idea would have been
    confined to the lunatic extremes of the racist Kach party, led by
    Meir Kahane (of whose youth wing Lieberman was once a
    member). Twenty five years ago Kahane was banned from the
    Knesset. Now his heir is courted by the two main parties,
    desperate for his support. Kadima is untroubled by the loyalty
    oath scheme; Bibi says he agrees with it.
    Who is to blame for this? (…)
    Above all, it is Israeli society that has to take a hard look at
    itself. For so long, it has lived inside a bubble in which it can
    only see its side of the story: they hit us, so we hit back; we are
    under siege from hostile forces, we are the victim. In this
    mental landscape, even a Moldovan-born immigrant stripping
    people born in their own land of their citizenship can come to
    seem acceptable. What’s needed is not just a change in the
    electoral system that would allow “strong government” of the
    kind Lieberman yearns to implement. What’s needed is for
    Israelis to step outside the bubble, to begin to see the causes of
    their current predicament, instead of dealing again and again,
    ever more ineffectively, with the symptoms. Tuesday’s election
    prompts no confidence that that is about to happen.”
    You can read more here:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/feb/11/israeli
    -elections-2009-israelandthepalestinians2

    Reply

  74. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Undoubtedly, this dissembling jackass Wig-Wag is too dishonest with himself to realize that Kervick just effectively neutered him. That, in itself, was an act of immense beauty.
    The fact that Kervick then served him the severed orbs for dinner was just an added delight.
    Makes my “Go fuck yourself, Wig-Wag” seem crass and ineffectual.
    I wonder, Dan, do you offer lessons? If so, sign me up, you have taken insult to a new level. Only the infamous Den Valdron has ever equaled the eloquence with which you have handed Wig-wag his balls.

    Reply

  75. Dan Kervick says:

    I’ll tell you why I’m obsessed with Israel, WigWag.
    I am obsessed because I have watched for years as my country has stupidly and recklessly tied its security to the increasingly extreme and intransigent actions of one small country in the Middle East, as a tidal wave of justified rage has built against both Israel and its foolish protector, the United States. I watched as our cowed, stupid and spineless leaders have tolerated the completely unnecessary growth of an army of furious enemies, culminating in an attack on our country on 9/11.
    I am obsessed because the next time those enemies throw something at us, what they throw might be bigger and more destructive than a couple of planes, and what they throw might land on my wife and son, whose safety is being held hostage by our idiot government to a bunch of racist religious fanatics and national fanatics, convinced of their religious or national right to throw Arabs off their land. And while I know you care more about the Zionist project than you care about my family, I don’t share your priorities.
    I am obsessed because I strongly suspect that this country will before long get dragged into a regional war in the Middle East to defend the “national rights” and cult-like “national aspirations” of a bunch of racist Zionist fanatics. And since we don’t have enough soldiers left to fight in our current engagements, such a war will probably bring a new draft that may suck up my son to go fight your damn war for your friends an Israel, as you sip you daiquiris here in the United States.
    I am obsessed because I have watched in incredulous dismay as a generation of elected American leaders has shamefully neglected their solemn obligations to the security of their own constituents, and engaged in humiliating rituals of enforced stupidity and silence over the Israeli situation. I watched the Israeli Army go on a murderous rampage of indiscriminate wilding through Gaza, and my country and leaders did nothing. Rather, our Senate actually passed a resolution in support of the atrocity, on a *unanimous voice vote*, like we were the fucking Soviet Union.
    I read about a Brigadier General in the Israeli Army, its top religious leader, along with a bunch of other rabbis telling Israelis that God says Arabs don’t count as much as Jews, and that they should kill, kill, kill ruthlessly. And yet we’re supposed to believe Israel is just like anywhere else. This kind of blatant ethnocentric dehumanization and racism exists at the highest levels of the Israeli establishment, and across a population that egged it on. Yet I am soooooo bigoted to point this out.
    You know as well as I that that unanimous vote didn’t happen because our senators are all fired up by the great Zionist cause. Half of them probably believe the same things I do. But they are dominated and unmanned by the threat of being Dershowitzed and Foxmanned and WigWagged. They believe that if they speak up and say, “Hey what the hell is wrong with that batshit crazy country Israel?” they will be marked for slanderous political blackmail. They know that Israel’s US phalanx of propagandists will come forward to suggest that while Senator X says he’s concerned about Israeli extremism, criminality and violence, he really just has a problem with hooked noses, and believes in Elders of Zion conspiracies and blood libels.
    I am sick up seeing American politicians diminished, neutered, trained and humiliated right out in the open, and forced to swallow back every sensible word they have ever said about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and drink the Kool-aid. I am sick of seeing them have to tie themselves to approved Zionist sponsors who vouch for them, and secure audiences with the leaders of Israel-in-America. An Israeli prime minister brags about how he called up Washington and commanded the US president to interrupt a speech, and make his State Department abstain on a resolution they themselves negotiated, and that prime minister is not slapped down in the way any other presumptuous provincial kingpin would be, but is bowed to. The humiliation of US leaders, even the ones I didn’t vote for, humiliates me.
    You think you are a hero for standing up to bigotry? I don’t think you are “standing up” for anything. You’re lying down. You are a moral coward who places some sort of partisan or ethnic loyalty above respect for the rights of all people, the hatred of violence and the defense of the weak. I’m not afraid of your verbal blackmail. I’m nobody, and have nothing to lose. People like me have to speak up because people with more public positions can’t afford to challenge people like you.

    Reply

  76. PissedOffAmerican says:

    What a heaping load of garbage these two assholes varanasi and Wig-Wag have unloaded on this thread.

    Reply

  77. varanasi says:

    i completely disagree …
    i’m not scapegoating an enemy, i’m criticizing DonS’ racist comment.

    Reply

  78. ... says:

    varanasi my comment was in reference to wigwags 10:41pm commentary.. i think your own words are worth considering..
    “it’s much, much easier to scapegoat an “enemy.” always has been, always will be.”
    that is what you appear to be doing..

    Reply

  79. DonS says:

    Varanasi, every culture has a typical bias. Surely you know that. It’s just the way things are. Like many Israelis hate Palestinians, and many Palestinians hate Israelis. I guess you hadn’t noticed that I modified my statement merely to single you out. And you still haven’t answered the question.
    And surely you are much too honest in all things for anyone to ever think you dishonest in anything.
    You are acting the small minded, effete twit. I’ve been posting with reserve for 5 years or so here, making efforts to be thoughtful. I allow, for experiment, a little wigwagishness to creep in and all of a sudden you act as if you’ve discovered the world’s biggest bigot. Time has a longer span than your moment of outrage on this blog. Give it a rest.

    Reply

  80. varanasi says:

    i hope you’re not calling me dishonest …
    if so, please tell me how i have dishonestly characterized this comment by DonS as racist
    “you have certainly earned your creds as a typical Indian with strongly anti Islamic views.”
    in other words, typcal indians are racist, huh? nice.

    Reply

  81. varanasi says:

    but, i should add that i don’t blame them alone. when is the last time you remember steve posting about the ongoing genocide in sudan or the 45,000 killed ever month in the congolese war?
    i guess these aren’t conflicts or tragedies worthy of mention here at TWN

    Reply

  82. ... says:

    you could say this site is obsessed with usa foreign policy.. no area stands out as much as the usas foreign policy towards israel, but don’t let that stop you from being dishonest creating characterizations of others that helps you evade the more central comments from the same poster…

    Reply

  83. varanasi says:

    “Your obsessed with Israel, Dan, just like so many others at the Washington Note. The world is full of conflict and tragedy but that special agitation you experience about this conflict and your animus towards Israelis suggests that you have lost all perspective.
    You should ask yourself why.”
    that’s easy, wigwag, they hate israel more than they care about other conflicts and tragedies.

    Reply

  84. WigWag says:

    “WigWag. I think you’re embarrassed.” Well I’m somewhat embarassed for you, Dan.
    But you and I agree about one thing; I’m irked by illogic and lazy reading too. Unfortunately you have misread your own posts. Revisionist history won’t work when your own comments are immortalized on this thread.
    Now you claim that all you really meant all along is that Zionism is just another ideology. You go on to say,
    “I don’t think there is anything bizarre about the suggestion that ideologues think in terms of long-term plans, or that they work with conceptions of history and historical time that differ from the conceptions of people who don’t share their ideology. Communists, for example, engaged in political action that was an expression of a revolutionary strategy that they expected would take many, many years to unfold.”
    But you can’t sneak out of your original bigoted comment, all you can do is repudiate it. What you said orginally was,
    “Their view is longer, and their planning more consistent and durable than that of short attention span states of the West. They think in centuries and millennia.”
    You then rememphasized the point in a subsequent comment by saying,
    “What I meant is that many Israelis, and non-Israeli Jews, seem to address current affairs in the Middle East through a time frame that is uniquely long.”
    First you said that Israelis view their foreign policy through the prism of a “uniquely long” time frame and then you try to pretend you never said it by claiming there’s nothing unique about it at all; it’s just like communism.
    If this was the only bigoted comment in your post it could be excused; but your comment is chock full of bigotry. Israel is uniquely violent, it uniquely bloodthirsty, etc.
    I don’t think it’s me thats getting emotional, Dan; it’s you. Certainly my life experience has taught me that confronting bigoted remarks is critical, especially when they are packaged with a nice bow.
    Your obsessed with Israel, Dan, just like so many others at the Washington Note. The world is full of conflict and tragedy but that special agitation you experience about this conflict and your animus towards Israelis suggests that you have lost all perspective.
    You should ask yourself why.

    Reply

  85. DonS says:

    This is getting easy, just use the tactics of Wig wag and Varanasi; just accuse one of racisim without a second thought. Wow. No need for justification or rationaization. Res ipsa loquitur!

    Reply

  86. varanasi says:

    DonS,
    you are a racist and i don’t engage racists in debate.

    Reply

  87. varanasi says:

    further, might i suggest that it is this myopic idiocy, typified by DonS’ racism and poa’s inane profanity that has “brought america to its knees.”
    blame your leaders and israel all you want, but the two of *you* represent much that is wrong with america.
    and i got news for you, DonS: us “typical indians” are quite a force to be reckoned with. you better make nice.

    Reply

  88. DonS says:

    Wig wag, now that I have you attention, I’m still waiting for your answer: do you in your heart of hearts believe in ”greater Israel”?
    Varansi, if you can stop hyperventilating for a moment, please accept my revised observation, “you have certainly earned your creds as an Indian with strongly anti Islamic views.” How plead you? You wouldn’t be so bold as to deny it,would you?

    Reply

  89. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Note that Wig-wag and Sweetness have not even remotely addressed McDonald’s commentary, nor rebutted a single one of his statements, premises, or opinions as presented in the essay.
    Unfamiliar with McDonald, I read the essay, and did not find any damning evidence that would brand McDonald as anti-semitic, or racist. Of course, these two jackasses Sweetness and Wig-Wag are certainly welcome to specifically rebut any of the points, premises, or opinions expressed within McDonald’s essay. But I won’t hold my breath.
    It is not my intention to question, or validate, Wig-wag’s contention that McDonald is anti-semitic. Truth is, I couldn’t care less, as it is the grist of McDonald’s essay on the intent and motivation behind the “Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004” that prompted my citation of the essay, and his alleged anti-semitism is irrelevant to my own interpretation of his essay.
    How does this bit of legislation represent the interests of the citizens of the United States? And where is the parallel legislation outlawing the undeniably racist hate mongering of these bigots like Leiberman, or the blatant and commonplace incendiary anti-arab propaganda posted on hate inducing and fear mongering websites such as the one maintained by AIPAC?

    Reply

  90. varanasi says:


    contrary to what you and a few others here think, the views i express on this site are MY OWN. it seems inane to imply that anyone who supports israel is somehow engaging in state-sponsored propoganda. it’s an easy way to dismiss opponents, but it’s foolish.
    as strongly held as your views may be, many others disagree, whatever the issue.

    Reply

  91. varanasi says:

    DonS and POA, you guys are so predictable. thanks for proving the point.
    let me just repeat DonS’ money quote:
    “you have certainly earned your creds as a typical Indian with strongly anti Islamic views.”
    can you spell r a c i s t ??? how do you feel, Don???

    Reply

  92. ... says:

    seeing the good in others is difficult it seems… no doubt our ability to acknowledge our own shortcomings is a start and helps to be more gentle with others.. open discussion on a blog can be challenging.. if we were doing this in person what we did say would be understand more clearly with the subtle non verbal cues that helps shade our understanding of others… we don’t have that benefit here do we?? instead of thinking of others as holding to a completely black and white view why not allow for some grey too? practice tolerance if you’d like to see more of it…
    for example, i acknowledge hamas has responsibility in the broader picture of where the mid east is today.. however it pales in comparison to what i perceive as a very one sided dynamic where israel is the primary aggressor and murderer of innocent people in this same region.. the usa standing up for israel regularly whether thru financial support, indiscriminate support at the un, or in general comments to the american public by it’s politicians only makes sense to me when i dig deeper for an answer to the lopsidedness of its position… i don’t profess to know, but given israels action in the past few months it makes no sense whatsoever unless a bigger picture or ongoing pattern is seen and acknowledged…while it may be speculation, it defies logic given israels actions of the past few years… the pressure on iran is more of the same and it says more about israel and the usa then it does about iran, especially all the dark projections onto iran that are considered acceptable in the mainstream press…
    i read today where “Lieberman says that terrorism inside of Israel is more of a threat than terrorism from the Palestinian territories – essentially calling Israel’s Arab minority a bigger threat to the Jewish state’s existence than is the militant Hamas.” that sounds racist to me, but since the term is being used so regularly on numerous posters here at twn, perhaps some of those who have had that tag given them would like to comment???
    i see israel as a very big problem given the way it handles its numerous crisis in such a poor way, with the latest excursion into gaza being only the latest example… i understand they are working on having a crew of volunteers to express favourable israel views on different websites.. i think they would be better served taking actions that didn’t require propaganda to achieve these same results…. none of it has worked here on twn with me, but maybe no one set out with that intent here at twn…

    Reply

  93. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “You’re embarrassed that Israel just took an ugly turn to the right, and that some of the sheer nastiness of the Israeli state is on display for all to see”
    Yes, and it is a truly despicable display of dishonesty to argue from a position that is not grounded in conviction. Wig-wag consistently concocts arguments that are intellectualy manufactured, to counter truths that he cannot deny in the emotional sense. He lives, and argues, a lie.
    The personna he offers here is a fabrication, a personality grounded in propaganda and denial.

    Reply

  94. DonS says:

    Varanasi, Wigwag, you guys are so predictable. Thanks for proving the point.

    Reply

  95. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Interesting that the two adherents to the policies of Israel, a nation that is committing truly egregious and blatant acts of atrocity against the Palestinian people, have teamed up to point the fingers of accusation. Is it a coincidence that Lieberman’s undeniably racist policy advocations are gaining favor with the Israeli populace? Wouldn’t this FACT tend to validate Dan Kervick’s original post?
    And, varanasi might want to reveiw his own comments of late, and underscore which ones he feels have added any substantive, constructive, or relevant content to the debate. Personally, I find my suggestion that he go screw himself far more constructive than any of the typically shallow horseshit he has to offer. You’d think he’d have the brains to follow good advice, for at least he’d be making an ass of himself in private.
    February 9, 2009
    A Report from Gaza
    Strong Indications of Israeli War Crimes
    By NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD
    Gaza City.
    We are a delegation of 8 American lawyers, members of the National Lawyers Guild in the United States, who have come here to the Gaza Strip to assess the effects of the recent attacks on the people, and to determine what, if any, violations of international law occurred and whether U.S. domestic law has been violated as a consequence. We have spent the last five days interviewing communities particularly impacted by the recent Israeli offensive, including medical personnel, humanitarian aid workers and United Nations representatives. In particular, the delegation examined three issues: 1) targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure; 2) illegal use of weapons and 3) blocking of medical and humanitarian assistance to civilians.
    Targeting of Civilians and Civilian Infrastructure
    Much of the debate surrounding Israel’s aerial and ground offensive against Gaza has centered on whether or not Israel observed principles of proportionality and distinction. The debate suggests that Israel targeted Hamas i.e., its military installations, its leaders, and its militants, and in the process of its discrete military exercise it inadvertently killed Palestinian civilians. While we have found evidence that Palestinian civilians were victims of excessive force and collateral damage, we have also found troubling instances of Palestinian civilians being targets themselves.
    The delegation recorded numerous accounts of Israeli soldiers shooting civilians, including women, children, and the elderly, in the head, chest, and stomach. Another common narrative described Israeli forces rounding civilians into a single location i.e., homes, schools which Israeli tanks or warplanes then shelled. Israeli forces continued to shoot at civilians fleeing the targeted structures.
    We spoke to Khaled Abed Rabbo, who witnessed an Israeli soldier execute his 2-year-old and 7-year-old daughters, and critically injure a third daughter, Samar, 4-years old, on a sunny afternoon outside his home. Two other Israeli soldiers were standing nearby eating chips and chocolates at the time on January 7, 2009. Abed Rabbo recounts standing in front of the Israeli soldiers with his mother, wife and daughters for 5 – 7 minutes before one of the soldiers opened fire on his family.
    We spoke to Ibtisam al-Sammouni, 31, and a resident of Zaytoun neighborhood in Gaza City. On January 4th, the Israeli army forced approximately 110 of Zaytoun’s residents into Ibtisam’s home. At approximately 7 am on January 5th, the Israeli military launched two tank shells at the house without warning killing two of Ibtisam’s children: Rizka, 14 and Faris, 12. When the survivors attempted to flee Israeli forces shot at them. Her son Abdullah, 7, was injured in the shelling and remained in the home among his deceased siblings for four days before Israeli forces permitted medical personnel into Zaytoun to rescue them. After medical personnel removed the injured persons, an Israeli war plane destroyed the house and it crumbled over the lifeless bodies. The dead remained beneath the rubble for 17 days before the Israeli Army permitted medical personnel to remove their bodies for burial.
    We spoke to the family of Rouhiya al-Najjar, 47, who lived in Khoza’a, Khan Younis. Israeli forces ordered her neighborhoods residents to march to the city center. Rouhiya led 20 women out of her home and into the alley. They all carried white scarves. Upon entering the alley, an Israeli sniper shot Rouhiya in her left temple killing her instantly. Israeli forces prevented medical personnel from reaching her body for twelve hours. These are only some of the accounts that we’ve collected.
    Israeli forces also destroyed numerous buildings throughout the Gaza Strip during the recent incursion. Guild delegates viewed the remains of hundreds of demolished homes and businesses – in addition to the remains of the American School in Gaza, damaged medical centers, and the charred innards of UNRWA warehouses. While in situations of armed conflict, collateral damage and mistakes can occur, the circumstances surrounding the cases that the delegation investigated indicate deliberate targeting rather than collateral damage or mistake. Specifically:
    The American School at Gaza, which was hit with two F-16 missiles on January 3, 2009, killing the watch guard on duty. According to Ribhi Salem, the school’s director, the Israelis gave no warnings. Mr. Salem stated that the school had come to an agreement with resistance groups not to use school grounds and there had never been resistance activity on the property.
    United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)
    John Ging, the Director of Gaza Operations for UNRWA reported that Israeli forces fired missiles at UNRWA schools in Gaza City, Jabalyia and Bet Lahiya. The United Nation compound in Gaza city was also hit with white phosphorous shells and missiles. Ging noted that al United Nations buildings and vehicles all fly UN flags, are marked in blue paint from the top, and that during hostilities the UN personnel remained in constant contact with Israeli authorities.
    Misuse of Weapons
    Our delegation has heard allegations of the use of DIME (Dense Inert Metal Explosive) weaponry, white phosphorus and other possible weapons whose use in civilian areas is prohibited. We have also heard of the use of prohibited weapons, such as fleshettes. We have found our own evidence of the use of fleschette shells, which we will combine with evidence collected by Amnesty International to push for further investigation. We have not found any conclusive evidence of the use of DIME, though we believe that this warrants further investigation and disclosure by the Israeli military.
    Our findings overwhelmingly point to the use of conventional weapons in a prohibited manner, specifically, the use of battlefield weaponry in densely populated civilian areas. Customary international law forbids the use of weapons calculated to cause unnecessary suffering. We found evidence that Israel used white phosphorus in extensively throughout its three-week offensive in a manner that led to numerous deaths and injuries. For example, Sabah Abu Halima, 45, lived in Beit Lahiya with her husband, seven boys, and one girl. It was midday and she and her entire family was home. Within minutes she felt her home shaking and missiles fell through the rooftop. She fell to the ground upon impact. When she looked up she saw her children burning.
    Preventing Access to Medical and Humanitarian Aid
    Under customary international humanitarian law, the wounded are protected persons and must receive the medical care and attention required by their conditions, to the fullest extent practicable and with the least possible delay. Parties to a conflict are required to ensure the unhindered movement of medical personnel and ambulances to carry out their duties and of wounded persons to access medical care. Speaking to medical workers and the family of victims, NLG delegates documented serious violations of this provision. Among the stories documented include:
    Zaytoun neighborhood, which came under attack and invasion by ground foces on January 3, 2009. The Palestinian Red Crescent received 145 calls from Zaytoun for help, but were denied entry by Israel. Bashar Ahmed Murad, Director of Emergency Medical Services for the Palestinian Red Crescent Society told us that “a lot of people could have been saved, but hey weren’t given medical care by the Israelis, nor did the Israeli army allow Palestinian medical services in.” When paramedics were finally allowed to enter on January 7, Israeli forces only gave them a 3-hour “lull” to work and prohibited ambulances into the area. Instead they forced paramedics park the ambulances 2 kilometers away and enter the area on foot. Murad told delegation members how they had to pile the wounded on donkey carts and have the medical workers pull the carts in order to help the most people possible in the short time they were given. After the 3 hours were over, the Israeli army started shooting toward the ambulances. The Red Crescent was not able to reach that area again to evacuate the dead until January 17, 2009 when the Israeli army pulled out.
    Al-Shurrab Family
    On January 16th, Israeli forces shot at the jeep of Mohammed Shurrab, 64 years of age, and two of his sons, Kassab and Ibrahim, aged 28 and 18 as they were returning from their fields. Mohammad was shot in the left arm and Ibrahim was shot in the leg. The elder son, Kassab, sustained a fatal bullet wound to the chest, being shot multiple times after being ordered out of the car. Mohammad, bleeding from his wound, contacted the media, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and a number of NGOs via mobile phone in order to acquire medical assistance. Israeli forces denied medical relief agencies clearance to reach them until almost 24 hours after Mohammad, Ibrahim and Kassab had been shot. Earlier that morning, Ibrahim had succumbed to his wound and died. Mohammad Shurrab and his sons were shot during a so-called “lull” in Israeli ground operations, which Israeli forces had agreed to in order to allow humanitarian relief to enter and be distributed in the Gaza Strip. As such NLG delegates fail to see how this denial of medical access to the wounded Shurrab family could have been absolutely necessary and not simply arbitrary.
    International humanitarian law also prohibits attacks on medical personnel, medical units and medical transports exclusively assigned to carry out medical functions. Delegate members saw ambulances seriously damaged and destroyed, some apparently deliberately crushed by Israeli tanks. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society and the Palestinian Ministry of Health informed delegates that 15 Palestinian medics were killed and 21 injured in the course of Israel’s assault.
    Conclusions
    This delegation is seriously concerned by our initial findings. We have found strong indications of violations of the laws of war and possible war crimes committed by Israel in the Gaza Strip. We are particularly concerned that most of the weapons that were found used in the December 27 assault on Gaza are US-made and supplied. We believe that Israel’s use of these weapons may constitute a violation of US law, and particularly the Foreign Assistance Act and the US Arms Export Control Act.
    A report of our initial findings will be compiled and submitted to, among others, members of the United States Congress. We intend to push for an investigation by the United States government into possible violations by Israel of US law. We also hope to contribute our finding and efforts to other efforts by local and international lawyers to push for accountability against those found responsible for the egregious crimes that we have documented.
    MEMBERS OF THE LEGAL DELEGATION
    Huwaida Arraf (New York, Washington DC)
    huwaida.arraf@gmail.com
    Palestine: 0599-130-426
    USA: 1-202-294-8813
    Noura Erekat (Washington DC)
    noo194@yahoo.com
    Palestine:
    USA: 1-510-847-4239
    James Marc Leas (Vermont)
    jolly39@gmail.com
    Palestine:
    USA: 1-802 864-1575 and 1-802 734-8811(cell)
    Linda Mansour (Ohio)
    Lindamansour@aol.com
    Palestine:
    USA: 1-419-535-7100 and 1-419-283-8281 (cell)
    Rose Mishaan (California)
    roseindigo7@gmail.com
    Palestine:
    USA: 1-917-803-2201
    Thomas Nelson (Oregon)
    nelson@thnelson.com
    Palestine:
    USA: 1-503-709-6397
    Radhika Sainath (California)
    radhika.sainath@gmail.com
    Palestine:
    USA: 1-917-669-6903
    Reem Salahi (California)
    reemos@gmail.com
    Palestine:
    USA: 1-510-225-8880

    Reply

  96. Dan Kervick says:

    You know, one thing that really irks me is illogic and lazy reading.
    The state of Israel is the geopolitical expression of political Zionism, and Zionism is an ideology. Zionism is not “the Jewish people.” And it is not a genetic phenomenon. It’s an ideology. I don’t think there is anything bizarre about the suggestion that ideologues think in terms of long-term plans, or that they work with conceptions of history and historical time that differ from the conceptions of people who don’t share their ideology. Communists, for example, engaged in political action that was an expression of a revolutionary strategy that they expected would take many, many years to unfold.
    The communist states weren’t “just like everyone else.” Some of those communist states engaged in mass slaughters, executions, purges and population transfers, out of a fanatical commitment to an ideology. That’s not because the Russian people or the Chinese people, for example, are genetically defective or inherently culturally monstrous. It’s because people in the grip of an ideology do monstrous things.
    You didn’t say anything about the links I provided. I don’t think you want to look. Do you really thing the top chaplains of military forces in other civilized countries routinely fill their soldiers’ heads with that kind of vileness? Israel is in the grip of fanatical thinking, but you are afraid to look at that fact.
    You’re pretty emotional about this WigWag. I think you’re embarrassed. You’re embarrassed that Israel just took an ugly turn to the right, and that some of the sheer nastiness of the Israeli state is on display for all to see.

    Reply

  97. WigWag says:

    Typical Indians have strongly anti-Islamic views; what a profoundly racist and disgusting thing to say. Your comment is as bigoted as Dan Kervick’s.
    Actually it’s my understanding that 150 million Muslims are typical Indians.
    The good news, DonS, is that you don’t get to be the arbiter of who is trust worthy and who isn’t. You’re so sure you know what typical Indians are like, Kervick is so sure he knows what typical Israelis are like; what you’ve really revealed is what typical bigots are like.

    Reply

  98. varanasi says:

    DonS wrote:
    “you have certainly earned your creds as a typical Indian with strongly anti Islamic views.”
    what an absolutely foolish and racist thing to say. but, it certainly is in keeping with the ignorance and bias of this thread.
    transparently stupid.

    Reply

  99. DonS says:

    Varanasi, if you are as you say, an Indian national, you have certainly earned your creds as a typical Indian with strongly anti Islamic views. You are no more trust worthy than Wigwag on matters of Israel. Transparent.

    Reply

  100. RWH says:

    I’m just a lurker here and have been fascinated to read through this entire thread. I just have to say I agree 100% with the views of Dan Kervick and POA. The tragedy here is that Israel’s actions directly threaten my own country, the USA! In this my country has already paid a horrendous price for our blind support for the actions of Israel. And this has only been possible because our media prevent the American public from getting a balanced view of what is really happening over there. IMO there is no reason our country should present the Israeli government with $3B in strings free aid every year in perpetuity (to say nothing of much other largesse, interest free loans, and other unacknowledged military aid).
    I don’t think saying this makes someone anti-Semitic.

    Reply

  101. varanasi says:

    so let me get this straight, Hamas and the palestinians are completely innocent actors and the israelis are evil incarnate, right?
    so how should we make sense of the following?
    “Three Fatah men had their eyes put out during “interrogation” by Hamas thugs and as many as 80 Fatah members were either shot in the legs or had their hands broken for defying Hamas’ house-arrest orders.
    “What’s happening in the Gaza Strip is a new massacre that is being carried out by Hamas against Fatah,” said a Fatah activist in Gaza City. “Where were these cowards when the Israeli Army was here?”
    Gaza residents said Hamas had commandeered schools and other public buildings as temporary detention centers, where prisoners were being systematically tortured.
    At the start of the Israeli bombing campaign, several Fatah prisoners taken to the Shifa Hospital in Gaza were executed as they lay in their beds.
    “Relatives of Abed al-Gharabli, a Fatah security officer who spent 12 years in an Israeli prison, said he was kidnapped by a group of Hamas militiamen who shot him in both legs after severely torturing him.”
    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2168362/posts

    Reply

  102. varanasi says:

    allow me this one moment of pique, poa, to tell you that you are a complete and utter fool. i should follow the lead of others in this thread and just ignore your posts. you have nothing of value to say. period.
    sweetness and wigwag have *very* valid points, but they mean nothing in the anti-israel echo chamber that is TWN. i don’t think that most contributors here are able to see through their bias and they certainly are unable to deal with the moral ambiguity of this world.
    it’s much, much easier to scapegoat an “enemy.” always has been, always will be.

    Reply

  103. WigWag says:

    “Well, what if Israelis aren’t like everyone else? Isn’t that possible?”
    Actually no Dan, it isn’t possible. These terrible attributes you ascribe to Israelis; do you think they are in-born genetic traits or do you think Jewish history is so perverse and so warped that it has turned Israelis into the pathological monsters that they would have to be to be imbued with all of the awful traits that you insist they possess?
    Either way your proposition is racist. The idea that Israelis are uniquely violent or unusually scheming (the natural extension of your claim that they have a thousand year planning horizon)is no more worthy of debate than the idea that black people are lazy or Polish people are stupid.

    Reply

  104. Sweetness says:

    Dan writes: “WigWag, your view seems to be that I am entitled to
    my opinion so long as my opinion starts from the position that,
    as you put it the other day, “Israelis are just like everyone else.”
    Well, what if Israelis aren’t like everyone else? Isn’t that possible?
    Isn’t that possible in the case of other nation-states as well that
    there are important ways in which they aren’t like everyone else?
    You seem to think it is enough just to *declare* my positions
    bigotry without showing they are bigotry.”
    Perhaps. But in this case, I think you have to show that Israel is
    essentially different, as that is your assertion. The problem is, of
    course, who is “everyone else?” America? The Arab world?
    Europe? China? For example, it’s pretty easy to look at
    American history up to the present and call it an essentially
    violent country. Look at our willingness to use overwhelming
    force and inflict overwhelming death and destruction. How
    many millions did we kill in Viet Nam, a country that NEVER did
    anything to us and was thousands of miles away? Look at the
    Gulf War. Look at the Iraq War. Look at the Afghanistan War.
    Look at all the shit we’ve stirred up south of the border where
    the dominoes roam.
    What about Syria…killing 7K to 25K of its own people in one
    outing at Hama? What about the Lebanon civil war that lasted,
    what?, ten years or so? The fact that these were internal
    struggles shouldn’t alter one’s judgement about whether these
    countries are “unusually violent.”

    Reply

  105. Dan Kervick says:

    WigWag, your view seems to be that I am entitled to my opinion so long as my opinion starts from the position that, as you put it the other day, “Israelis are just like everyone else.” Well, what if Israelis aren’t like everyone else? Isn’t that possible? Isn’t that possible in the case of other nation-states as well that there are important ways in which they aren’t like everyone else? You seem to think it is enough just to *declare* my positions bigotry without showing they are bigotry.
    You’ve wasted an awful lot of time challenging my entitlement to make my statements without providing evidence against the substance of the statements themselves.
    As for contempt for the opinions of the international community, dehumanizing of Arabs and outsiders, and a fanatical commitment not to give up “one inch” of the Land of Israel, how about the characters below? And before you say these people are fringe, know that Rabbi Ronski is a Brigadier General and the IDF’s head rabbi:
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1180527966693&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1058758.html

    Reply

  106. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “You consider Israeli leaders war criminals? I disagree blablablah….”
    Yeah, like dumping White Phosphorous on civilians is humane. Just like raining millions of cluster bomblets on civilian poulations is.
    You don’t “disagree”. You refuse to admit the truth. Which makes you a racist liar. What else could motivate someone to refuse to admit incinerating civilians in white phosphorous is a war crime?
    You’re a bigot through and through, Wig-Wag. There is not one single poster on this blog that exemplifies the example of bigotry the way you do. Tell us why using white phosphorous on civilian populations is not a war crime, WigWag. Because its only Palestinians that are targeted?
    You know what, wig-wag? You are a prime example of why the Israeli’s are becoming loathed and detested. And why Israel REALLY IS in danger if some fanatic gets his hands on a nuke that can reach Israel. You fry one of my kids, and I’m not so sure I’d be reluctant to nuke you and yours into silica dust. And you blodthirsty monsters are incinerating hundreds of kids at a time. Keep it up, and your monstrous leaders and policies will sound the death knell for Israel.
    As both you and Varanasi demonstrate on this thread, you are your own worst enemy.

    Reply

  107. PissedOffAmerican says:

    This is comical. This pathetic asshole varanasi whining about hypocricy. Does he think the rest of the commenters here missed our last exchange, where my proffession was the grist of his derision?
    Shove it where the sun doesn’t shine, varanasi. The people here aren’t idiots. Your high handed indignation brands you as the mewling little prick I’ve always maintained you are.
    How fitting that both you and Wig-wag have both exposed yourself so completely on this thread. Keep it up. I see you two have have figured out the correct posture for mutual insertion. Did you take a flashlight in there with you, or does Wig-wag supply the hardware?

    Reply

  108. WigWag says:

    “You seem to have built a self-protective intellectual wall around Israeli crimes”
    No, you’ve built a self protective intellectual wall which allows you to refuse to confront the bigotry of your own remarks.
    You want to criticize Israel? I’ve got no problem with that. You consider Israeli leaders war criminals? I disagree, but you’re entitled to your opinion. You think Israel’s policy towards the West Bank and Gaza is imperialistic; that’s a reasonable outlook. You think Israel’s attack on Gaza was disproportionate, unwise and brutal; that’s one of many reasonable points of view.
    What you’re not entitled to do (at least if you want to maintain any intellectual integrity) is stereotype Israel or Israelis with broad and odious generalizations based on nothing but your own prejudice.
    -The Israelis don’t conduct foreign policy like anyone else does today, but their approach to foreign policy is unique; a throw back to the past. Unlike the rest of the modern world, Israelis practice statecraft as it was practiced centuries ago.
    -The Israelis view their foreign policy agenda through the prism of a different time horizon than any other nation. Unlike the Persians who have a tremendous sense of their own history or Arabs who have a tremendous sense of their own history, or even Americans who have developed vital myths about their own history; Israel alone views the achievement of its foreign policy goals not in years or decades but in millennia.
    -Israelis are resigned to being “detested” by the rest of the world so they are not even interested in “ingratiating” themselves to gentiles.
    -the Israelis are so bloodthirsty that they would gladly obliterate all of their neighbors even at the risk of damaging themselves.
    These are your comments, Dan. They are not intelligent remarks or sophisticated remarks; they are bigoted remarks. They may be different in tone from the remarks one might expect to hear from a lowly bigot but they are not different in kind.
    You frequently make substantive comments on the Middle East and other subjects that I respond to, but your remarks here are not substantive, they are bigoted.
    They bring you nothing but opprobrium.

    Reply

  109. Dan Kervick says:

    “Each and every one of these claims was made by you in unambiguous language in your post or in subsequent comments. The only thing you left out of your screed are the “hook-noses” the love of gold and the blood in the Passover Matzah.”
    OK, this is just too fucking far, WigWag. When Israel stops slaughtering people, I’ll stop saying they are unusually violent. When they stop ripping the Palestinian community to shreds and gobbling up Arab land, and foregoing opportunities for peace with their neighbors, I’ll stop saying they are unusually disdainful of their neighbors. This has nothing to do with the shapes of noses, or crazy old hysterical legends about gold and cannibalism. This has to do with crimes that are happening right now, which you lack the courage and integrity to confront.
    You seem to have built a self-protective intellectual wall around Israeli crimes. This wall enables you, conveniently, to dismiss all charges without even bothering to refute them. Next thing you know, you’ll be saying that criticisms of Sabra and Shatilla were just gripes about the shape of Ariel Sharon’s nose. Antisemitic libels of the pass don’t entitle Israelis to an eternal Get Out of Jail free card.

    Reply

  110. WigWag says:

    “The remainder of WigWag’s comments are beneath contempt.”
    No, what’s beneath contempt is claiming that an entire nation is unusually violent and war-like, disinterested in friendship, uninterested in prosperity, dissimilar than America in its values, so brutal that they would annihilate their neighbors even if they were themselves hurt in the process, exceptional in the way they interface with the world, fanatical and of such a conspiratorial mindset that their planning horizon is different from just about everyone in the world now alive.
    Each and every one of these claims was made by you in unambiguous language in your post or in subsequent comments. The only thing you left out of your screed are the “hook-noses” the love of gold and the blood in the Passover Matzah.
    Your post was shameful. Your insistence that you believe all of these comments to be true is, itself, revealing.

    Reply

  111. varanasi says:


    let the record reflect that poa is the *only* person who has injected profanity into this thread. “go fuck yourself” is the rhetoric of ignorant bullies, not serious thinkers.
    and thanks for the good wishes. i haven’t had a flu like this in years!

    Reply

  112. ... says:

    varanasi – i don’t condone poa’s response and words.. vulgar language is unnecessary no matter the ‘apparent’ justification, yours included.. i hope you get well soon!

    Reply

  113. varanasi says:


    i read wigwag’s comments differently than you do. further, i don’t think there is any way to justify poa’s profanity. i find it rather curious, and more than a bit disingenuous, that you and paul continue to do so.
    i don’t understand your last two sentences, but then again, i have a fever.

    Reply

  114. ... says:

    varanasi – when someone tells you in an indirect way to ‘go fuck yourself’ as wigwag essentially did with poa, it’s okay??? i like the idea of being civil… using it as a cover to do the same in a less open way strikes me in a similar manner though…
    feeling justified is a dangerous position to be in where all manner of actions are deemed acceptable… indeed appears to be poa’s position( justification) which you appear to have adopted yourself…

    Reply

  115. varanasi says:

    dan wrote:
    “Israelis on average just don’t care that much about the life or death of non-Israelis.”
    you deem wigwag’s comments “beneath contempt” and i say to you, touche.

    Reply

  116. varanasi says:

    oh, c’mon paul. spare me the lecture about “teasing” poa.
    i find it inconceivable that a person as smart as you can defend his hateful scree. he tells people he disagrees with to “go fuck themselves”
    there is absolutely *zero* justification for this type of rhetoric and you should know better than to condone it.
    as i’ve said before, it really strikes me as hypocritical that someone who decries intolerance and aggression speaks to others this way. period.
    do yourself a favor, paul, and quit defending this ugly man and his unconscionable behavior.
    and btw, paul, when someone tells me to “go fuck” myself, an angry response is completely justified.

    Reply

  117. Dan Kervick says:

    WigWag says that I wrote:
    “Israel doesn’t care about oil flow in the Middle East, broad regional prosperity, friendly relations or any of the other things Americans care about.”
    That is literally and strictly speaking true. But that single sentence was part of this couplet:
    “Israel doesn’t care about oil flow in the Middle East, broad regional prosperity, friendly relations or any of the other things Americans care about. At least Israel doesn’t care about these things in the same way or to the same degree as Americans.”
    WigWag has ignored the full statement three times now, in an intellectually dishonest display of feigned autism, so as to foist an extremist interpretation onto a single fragment of a compound statement.
    I do think it makes just as much sense to describe a state’s values as to describe a state’s interests and aims. And I do think it is true to say that Israel’s values and America’s values diverge. That doesn’t mean those values are radically different, just that they diverge. For that matter, I think the same can be true of many other pairs of countries one could select. We’re not all the same.
    The criticism of “they don’t practice a conventional form of statecraft” has some merit. What would have been more accurate is to say that Israel practices a form of statecraft that was much more common in past centuries, when states routinely conquered neighbors and ethnically cleansed the conquered populations.
    I stand by my claims. Reading in recent weeks Israeli comments about the people of Gaza, and their massive popular support for a fanatical and murderous rampage, and watching over the years the Israeli practice of dividing and weakening its neighbors, my unfortunate conclusion is that fanaticism runs deep in Israel, and Israelis on average just don’t care that much about the life or death of non-Israelis.
    I don’t know at all whether the Zionist dream, as I described it, represents the “national aspiration of the Jewish people.” That’s WigWag’s interpretation. I have known quite a few Jews who seem to be able to take or leave Zionism, and whose makeup seems decidedly non-fanatical. I have also known quite a few Jews who sincerely reject the aim of conquering the whole of “the historic Land of Israel”. Maybe those Jews aren’t Jewish enough for WigWag.
    But I have no desire at all to back away from the idea that history has revealed the Zionist dream, as I’ve described it, to be a fanatical ideology. Some ideologies are indeed fanatical, whether lots of people dream them or not. I do think that the dream of removing people by force from the land they and their ancestors have occupied continuously for hundreds of years, to satisfy religious, quasi-religious or nationalistic aspirations, is fanatical. Now maybe Zionism can be reinvented into a kind of “reformed Zionism” that is not so fanatical. But contemporary Zionism, as it exists and is practiced in Israel by what appears to be a majority of Israel’s inhabitants, is fanatical.
    The remainder of WigWag’s comments are beneath contempt. They are a cowardly attempt to avoid confronting criticisms of present realities by associating them with the most outrageous conspiracy theories of past centuries.

    Reply

  118. Paul Norheim says:

    Varanasi,
    I love injera; actually I´ve been eating it all my life, since my
    parents first brought me to Ethiopia in the early 1960s (we lived
    there for 9 years, and I spent 8 months there as a grown up ten
    years ago). I am going to show my three brothers and sister
    Lalibela and Lake Tana in Bahir Dar. We`ll also visit the south.
    Then I`ll spend some time in the country alone – all vacation…
    Varanasi, to be honest, it looks like you have a strong desire to
    tease POA. You came back her just at a time when he was upset
    in some comments (and actually with some reason). But
    actually, he`s written a lot of interesting posts while you`ve
    been absent, polite, reflective etc. We`ve actually had several
    brilliant threads about sensitive issues (like the Middle East)
    where all have been on topic, and not diverting into silly ad
    hominem attacks.
    But you seem to ignore such posts, and look for the invectives.
    I`m not a policeman here, but your behavior towards POA is
    getting predictive and a bit boring. Before you left, you spent
    most of your last couple of weeks teasing and attacking POA. It
    looks like your comeback will be more of the same. In any case,
    I`ll be gone for a while, so it will not bother me. But your claims
    against him are not very credible – as long as you yourself
    rarely write posts that are on topic.

    Reply

  119. WigWag says:

    Paul,
    No one is distorting Dan’s comments. In fact I have extensively quoted Dan’s comments in context. You may not want to acknowledge the nature of Dan’s comments. But he is being hoisted on his own petard.
    Some of his comments are suspicious; some are indefensible; some are just dumb.
    If you can’t see it (or won’t) you have only yourself to blame.

    Reply

  120. varanasi says:

    shame on you, poa. you really do demean this entire endeavor.
    once again, poa = hypocrite
    he embodies the aggression and intolerance he decries.

    Reply

  121. varanasi says:

    dan’s comment doesn’t need distorting. he is clearly biased in his views.

    Reply

  122. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Go fuck yourself, varanasi.

    Reply

  123. Paul Norheim says:

    WigWag,
    I notice from your last post that Dan obviously struck a nerve.
    And you reply by comparing him to a good old anti-semite,
    European type, 16th century, combined with early 20th century.
    But we are not a bunch of illiterates. We can follow, step by step,
    how you are distorting Dan`s statements. It`s almost fascinating.

    Reply

  124. varanasi says:

    learn how to spell profession, poa. but aren’t you a tradesman rather than a professional?
    and talk about indefensible, your comment above is the very definition of it:
    Posted by PissedOffAmerican Feb 10, 11:46PM – Link
    Go fuck yourself, Wig-Wag.
    apologize, poa

    Reply

  125. PissedOffAmerican says:

    So, this jackass Wig-Wag quotes Kervick….
    “Their view is longer, and their planning more consistent and durable than that of short attention span states of the West. They think in centuries and millennia.”
    and compares it to…
    “Jews use the blood of Christian boys to make their Passover Matzah.”
    Is anyone buying it? Is there anyone reading this blog that really buys into Wig-Wag’s horseshit anymore?
    I disagree with Bush’s decision to allow the Mexican trucks in. I disagree with Obama removing the e-verify stipulation from the stimulus package. I’m fed up with illegal immigration. So Wig-Wag, to deflect the argument, uses these examples as an excuse to accuse me of racism against Mexicans.
    Anyone buying it? Does anyone honestly see a comparison between Kervick’s opening post, and anti-semitism? Does anyone here see an anti illegal immigration stance as an indicator of racism?
    Yet Wigwag supports a movement that celebrates frying Palestinian children in White Phosphorous. Who’s the fuckin’ bigot? What else but racism motivates turning a blind eye to what is being done to the Palestinian people? WigWag’s feigned moderation bears no resemblance to the rabid zionist jackass that first arrived here. Once again, we are seeing Wigwag unmasked, slobbering accusations of racism at anyone that dares question the murderous policies of Israel.
    And Varanasi??? How soon before the buffoon launches into an insult on my proffession?
    It amazes me what these jackasses will resort to, all to defend the indefensible.

    Reply

  126. varanasi says:

    paul,
    i would never think it’s a good thing that bibi becomes PM in israel. i’ve never been a fan of his or his party. then again, livni hasn’t impressed me either. in any event, it’s a good thing that ohlmert will be gone. imo, he was probable the worst israeli PM ever.
    i’m sure it won’t surprise you that i don’t agree with much of what dan writes. i guess i see the world, israel and the ME very differently than he and most others here do. i categorically disagree with him that israelis do not desire peace and that their underlying interests are any different from mine or yours.
    maybe you think poa’s comment above is ok, but i sure don’t. could you get away with telling a co-worker or interlocutor to “go fuck himself”? is this constructive? informative? does it add anything? as i’ve said before, poa is a hypocrite; he is the ugliness he claims to despise.
    as far indian restaurants in addis abiba, i don’t know of any. but why eat indian in ethiopia? try the injara and local cuisine. it’s fantastic as is the fresh roasted coffee. i have been to ethiopia and i thoroughly enjoyed it. it’s a beautiful topography and the people are very warm. i was addis and traveled up to gondar. next time i hope to make it down south – it is supposed to be spectacular.
    sorry for any typos, but i’m pecking this out with one hand from bed where i’m fightng off a vicious stomach flu

    Reply

  127. Paul Norheim says:

    Varanasi,
    I hope you`ve had a nice trip and that you didn`t lose your
    passport. Perhaps you would like to share your thoughts on
    Steve`s original post or Dan Kervick`s first comment on this
    thread?
    Trust me, POA has written plenty of good posts here while
    you`ve been traveling, and there is absolutely no reason to
    condemn him “once and for all”.
    Do you agree with Steve that it somehow is a good thing if
    Benjamin Netanyahu becomes the new PM in Israel?
    BTW, I`ll be off on Sunday for a two months trip to Africa,
    mostly offline. Do you happen to know a good Indian restaurant
    in Addis Abeba?

    Reply

  128. WigWag says:

    “In several cases, you have willfully misconstrued my own statements by rephrasing them in more extreme terms of your own choosing. Where I said Israelis don’t care about certain things in the same way or to the same degree as Americans, you have said that I implied they don’t value any of those things at all. Where I have said Americans underestimate how divergent are American and Israeli interests, you have implied that I said Israel and America have nothing in common.”
    No, I have merely quoted verbatim what you wrote; here it is again,
    “Israel doesn’t care about oil flow in the Middle East, broad regional prosperity, friendly relations or any of the other things Americans care about.”
    You said quite explicitly that Israel doesn’t care about “any” of the other things Americans care about. The most generous interpretation of this remark is troubling.
    You’ve also said this,
    “This is an important point, because if Americans continue to misperceive Israeli values, aims and interests, they will continue to fail to perceive how divergent are those values, aims and interests from the interests of the United States.”
    Sure Israel’s aims and interests might diverge from the aims and interests of the United States, but Israel’s “values?” A nation can have aims and interests but only individuals can have “values.” Your suggestion that people in Israel have different “values” than the people in the United States or Europe or the Arab world for that matter, is a demeaning remark based on nothing but nationality (unless you were referring only to Jewish Israelis in which case it was a demeaning remark based on religion or ethnicity).
    But your strange obsession with Israeli exceptionalism doesn’t stop there. Speaking of the Israelis you also say,
    “They don’t practice a conventional form of statecraft.”
    So unlike the rest of the nations in the world (or at least most of the rest of the nations), you think Israel practices some arcane, highly idiosyncratic form of state craft presumably in pursuit of those arcane, highly idiosyncratic values that are unique to Israelis.
    And certainly we know that you think the Israelis are violent and war-like to an extent seen almost no where in the rest of the world. After all, you said this,
    “If Israel could get away with obliterating those states and reducing them to a bunch of Stone Age city-states, it would do so, even if that damaged its own economy.”
    Yes, like Shylock in the Merchant of Venice, those Israelis are so bloodthirsty that they would happily obliterate all their neighbors even if they themselves were damaged as a result (I guess you never noticed that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and even the Palestinian Authority were Israel’s allies in its war against Hamas).
    You remind us that “Israel is a society built for war,” but neglect to mention that since its founding, Israel has been a nation surrounded by implacable foes who were, for many years, dedicated to its destruction. Perhaps you would prefer it if the Israelis today were like many of their forebears who migrated from European and Arab lands; weak and defenseless. It must be quite a shock for you to see Israelis committed to defending themselves.
    But your rant becomes even more suspicious when you say,
    “At its core, the Zionist dream is a form of fanaticism.”
    So in your view, the national aspiration of the Jewish people is fanatic while the national aspiration of the Palestinian people, the Iranian people, the Pakistani people, the Russian people, the American people and the Norwegian people is just fine.
    It’s hard to know what to call someone who thinks the national aspirations of most of the people in the world are normal but the national aspirations of the Jewish people are abnormal at best or fanatic at worst.
    Oh, and Dan, is your comment,
    “And that long-term plan involves war, and lots of it. Israel is a society built for war, and built on war.”
    More akin to this,
    “The Russians seek to control the supply of energy from Central Asia,”
    Or more akin to this?
    “Money hungry Jews, seek world domination through control over the international banking system.”
    Is your comment,
    “Their view is longer, and their planning more consistent and durable than that of short attention span states of the West. They think in centuries and millennia.”
    More akin to this,
    “The Swiss care more about the preservation of neutrality than other nations,”
    Or more akin to this?
    “Jews use the blood of Christian boys to make their Passover Matzah.”
    The bottom line Dan, is that your screed speaks for itself; and for you.
    You should apologize.

    Reply

  129. jhm says:

    Steve, I might normally agree with this bit of realpolitik, but it is
    scarily near to what I was thinking about GWB in 2000.

    Reply

  130. varanasi says:

    Posted by PissedOffAmerican Feb 10, 11:46PM – Link
    Go fuck yourself, Wig-Wag.
    can we once and for all condemn this ignoramous poa? i’m shocked that steve lets him use his blog for a latrine.

    Reply

  131. Paul Norheim says:

    In my first exchange with WigWag at TWN (as far as I remember)
    he dismissed my remark since I was a European (belonging to
    the continent of colonizers). When I informed him that I came
    from a country that got its independence after being colonized
    by Denmark, I got a license to speak.
    But I`m sure I would be reminded of “my” colonial past every
    time if I had happened to come from one the European
    countries with a colonial past and wanted to make some critical
    remarks regarding Israel. The same goes for Americans in
    general, and especially Americans who happen to live on soil
    once belonging to Mexico.
    I would be the last person to claim that the past has no weight
    or influence on the present. But the idea that someone born,
    say in the last half of the 20th century, with a very different
    moral compass than their parents or grand grand grand (etc..)
    parents living fifty or perhaps hundreds of years ago; and who
    happens to live in a country where someone did something
    horrible in the name of their nation in 1845, 1904, 1917 or
    1943; and who in 2009 has strong objections against those
    actions – the notion that such a person has no right to express
    their objections to actions or crimes committed in a different
    country than their own, is utterly absurd in my view.
    And it`s getting ridiculous if I have the right to utter my
    criticism when the IDF use phosphor in Gaza (because my
    ancestors were ruled from Kopenhagen), but if you come from
    Texas, you better shut up!
    In Norway there were 2200 Jews before WWII. 767 Jews were
    deported to the concentration camps in Germany during
    Quislings regime. 27 of them survived. A small fragment of the
    biggest crime during the 20th century. And then there was the
    harassment of Jews before the deportation. I happen to know
    the son of one of the Jews who managed to escape. I also
    happen to have known the daughters and wife of one minister
    in Quislings government who were directly involved in one of
    the deportations. One of the daughters became a close friend of
    mine, and until she was fifty, she had not visited the grave of
    her father. I followed her to her fathers grave for the first time
    several years ago. When she arrived, she broke down and cried.
    All this have given me opportunities to reflect upon the
    genocide and Norway`s role in it.
    Does this forbid me, or allow me to criticize Israel when they
    harass Palestinians, steal their land, deny them access to
    medicine, food, water, electricity, work? When they target
    civilians in invasions?
    And if I am “allowed” to do so, someone from Poland, Germany,
    Spain, or Texas do not have the right to express their outrage?
    WigWag said in a former thread that every country is based on
    colonization. The implicit message is that no one has the right
    to criticize Israel, except those Jews who don`t use that right.
    (And if they do use that right extensively, they are branded “self
    haters”)
    Come on, WigWag, your cause is wrong, and you can`t get away
    with such absurdities.

    Reply

  132. ... says:

    wigwag you’re on shaky ground.. keep on digging a hole for yourself, while dan kervick, donS and paul offer a hand to pull you out…
    if one can gleam anything from the previous month of slaughter in gaza it is that the country called israel responds in a very disproportionate way to the threat that gaza represents, and it is indeed very warlike… perhaps this generalization isn’t something you’re fond of wigwag, or that you think dan k is entitled to use, but it’s applicable to present day israel in spades, so much so that any neutral observer would agree israel isn’t interested in peace, but only war and the complete negation of their neighbours in palestine…
    to justify the israel settlements in this way – by referencing usa history, trying to blame those of the present for crimes of the past is not honest… it ignores the fact israelis are committing a crime in the present… you appear content to justify it any way you can however wrong it is….”The only small difference is that the Israeli settlers know what they’re doing and don’t care.” (your words).. your arguments are dishonest, which is why some here find them so repulsive..

    Reply

  133. Dan Kervick says:

    I thought I had already explained this WigWag. I have made statements that incorporate generalities, but some statements of this kind are accurate. If I had said such things as:
    “The Russians seek to control the supply of energy from Central Asia,”
    “The Swiss care more about the preservation of neutrality than other nations,”
    “The Iranians seek a nuclear weapon,”
    “The Scandinavians are more prone than Americans to adopt socialistic solutions to economic challenges,”
    I assume you wouldn’t find a huge problem with the general nature of such statements. You might agree with them or disagree with them, or say you’re not sure. But I don’t think the fact that each of those societies is complex and contains millions of people is a way out. Yes, I suppose it is a stereotype that Scandinavians lean more than Americans and other western Europeans toward socialistic policies. But isn’t it a fairly accurate stereotype? We can discern clearly dominant national policies and tendencies, despite the existence of complexity within a society.
    About Israel, I have said or implied such things as:
    “The Israelis don’t care as much as other nations about establishing friendly relations with their neighbors, or about their reputation abroad.”
    “Israel seeks to dominate and absorb the West Bank.”
    “Israel is a society strongly geared toward the waging of war.”
    “Israelis have a concern with millennia-long time frames that is unique.”
    My interpretation of Israeli aims is based on observations of decades of Israeli behavior, and discussion with many Israelis and both friends and critics of Israel. Now maybe my interpretation is right, and maybe it is wrong. But you don’t get to avoid dealing with these claims simply because they invoke generalizations. Of course they do. But would you really reject, for example, my above claim about the Swiss simply because it involves a generalization?
    That the Israelis seek to dominate and absorb the West Bank now seems to me blindingly obvious. You haven’t addressed that claim. To defend my claim of a unique Israeli concern with millennia-long time frames, I gave examples suggesting that the belief in national rights based on circumstances and events that occurred 1500-2000 years ago is widespread in Israel, and asked if there are any similar claims made by other nation-states. You seem outraged by this suggestion, but don’t rebut it. That Israelis are a more war-like society than most is based on the observation that their entire citizenry belongs to the armed forces, and their wars have been frequent and brutal. That they don’t care about relations with others is based on my assessment that they have persistently passed up opportunities for better relations with others in the region because they appear unable to let go of their dream of incorporating their territorial seizures, in what they describe as the historic Land of Israel, into the modern state of Israel.
    In several cases, you have willfully misconstrued my own statements by rephrasing them in more extreme terms of your own choosing. Where I said Israelis don’t care about certain things in the same way or to the same degree as Americans, you have said that I implied they don’t value any of those things at all. Where I have said Americans underestimate how divergent are American and Israeli interests, you have implied that I said Israel and America have nothing in common.

    Reply

  134. WigWag says:

    “Since WigWag doesn’t offer any actual arguments about anything I said, but is content to throw a blanket of scorn over the whole post, after distorting several of the comments, I don’t really see the need to defend my assertions. If I get some arguments, I will respond.”
    Sorry Dan, I didn’t offer blanket statements; it was you who did that.
    You’re the one who wrote this sentence,
    “And that long-term plan involves war, and lots of it. Israel is a society built for war, and built on war.”
    Sounds like a “blanket statement” to me.
    Your explicit claim is that Israel is a violent country that is Spartan-like in it’s pursuit of War. My response to you was rather direct; it’s an absurd over generalization that is so over the top that it’s irrational.
    You’re also the one who wrote this sentence,
    “Israel doesn’t care about oil flow in the Middle East, broad regional prosperity, friendly relations or any of the other things Americans care about. At least Israel doesn’t care about these things in the same way or to the same degree as Americans.”
    Israel doesn’t care about friendship or regional prosperity? There’s another one of your “blanket statements.” And I’m not distorting what you said, Dan. I provided an exact quote from your post. And I’m not throwing a “blanket of scorn” over your post; I’m accusing you of writing an ignorant sentence that is laughable in its idiocy.
    I will ask you once again, who in Israel doesn’t care about prosperity or friendly relations? All Israelis? Jewish Israelis? Arab Israelis? 50 percent of Israelis? 25 percent of Israelis?
    Did you really mean to say that Israel doesn’t care about “any of the other things Americans care about?” Did you really mean “any?” If you tried really hard, do you think you could think of maybe one?
    Let me give it a try, Dan. Do you think Israel cares about security for its citizens like Americans do? What about a healthy environment for their children; do you think that like Americans, Israelis care about that? How about global warming; do you think that like many Americans, there might just be a few Israelis who care about global warming?
    In your response to me you say,
    “As far as my general statements about what “Israel” wants and seeks, I recognize that there is an element of abstraction or generalization in these statements.”
    You are mistaking abstraction and generalization for the grossest stereotypes.
    So in case you haven’t gotten it, Dan; here’s my “actual argument.” Your post is full of stereotypes and absolutist statements that you make no attempt to back up.
    It is intellectual hogwash not intelligent debate. And the fact that some of the gang at the Washington Note is too obtuse to see it is not entirely surprising.

    Reply

  135. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Go fuck yourself, Wig-Wag.

    Reply

  136. Dan Kervick says:

    Since WigWag doesn’t offer any actual arguments anything I said, but is content to throw a blanket of scorn over the whole post, after distorting several of the comments, I don’t really see the need to defend my assertions. If I get some arguments, I will respond.
    I suppose the one concrete issue that is raised is how unique are Zionist claims to the West Bank. Well, where else in the world is a nation-state laying claim to territory based on the supposed national rights of a nation that was stateless for two millenia, and one that had not inhabited that territory in significant numbers for many centuries? Perhaps something like these claims can be found elsewhere, but I don’t know where.
    As far as my general statements about what “Israel” wants and seeks, I recognize that there is an element of abstraction or generalization in these statements. But I suppose we can sensibly ask questions like, “What is US policy in Afghnaistan?” or “What is Russian policy in the Ukraine?”, even though it is obvious from the start that there are many different kinds of Americans and Russians, with many different ideas about Afghanistan and the Ukraine. In addressing these questions we can talk about the dominant practices of the US and the Russian state, and the dominant tendencies of thought among their people.
    In the Likud platform, we had these statements:
    {{Settlements}}
    {{The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.}}
    {{Self-Rule}}
    ((The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.))
    ((The Palestinians can run their lives freely in the framework of self-rule, but not as an independent and sovereign state. Thus, for example, in matters of foreign affairs, security, immigration and ecology, their activity shall be limited in accordance with imperatives of Israel’s existence, security and national needs.))
    The Likud candidate will probably be the head of the next Israeli government The “centrist” party Kadima’s platform is better, but makes the same broad claim to Israeli national rights over the West Bank:
    “The Israeli nation has a national and historic right to the whole of Israel. However, in order to maintain a Jewish majority, part of the Land of Israel must be given up to maintain a Jewish and democratic state.”
    In other words, the West Bank bheyelongs to Israel, but since it belongs to them, t have the right to trade it away.
    These are extremist views. But they are a form of extremism that is apparently embraced by the majority of Israelis.

    Reply

  137. WigWag says:

    “You bring up Dan K’s supposed sin of calling Israel unique”
    No I also brought up this statement, Israel doesn’t care about “any of the other things Americans care about.”
    Violent, unfriendly, uninterested in prosperity for anyone in the region; so unlike America that we don’t share “any” values, these are the traits that Dan Kervick is happy to attribute to millions of people.
    I’m not insinuating it’s anti-Semitic but I am stating that these incredible generalizations (stereotypes) applied to millions of people based on their nationality are bigoted comments that do not advance intelligent debate but stifle intelligent debate.
    And as for your concern about my “old gray head” no need to worry yourself DonS. When it comes to elocution, I am still perfectly able to take care of myself.
    As for your comment, “why not come over to the rational side and stop stretching the truth and implicitly accusing the rest of us of being rubes and bigots. Or do you in your heart of hearts believe in greater Israel?”
    I just call it the way I see it. Isn’t that what you do?

    Reply

  138. DonS says:

    This tendency, Wigwag, to defend the indefensible and blind side folks who are concerned primarily about the disaster Israel poses for the US, is what I have called your ‘artifice’ in promoting the Zionist cause. You soften up our host with a few nice attaboys and he is solicitous lest we beat you about your old gray head. Well too damn bad Wigwag. My few remaining hairs are gray too, an I’m not impressed.
    Disproportionate to it’s size, Israel has created great havoc in the international community, with the idiotic complicity of the United States. It’s intransigence to sabotage a sensible road to peace — because of it’s technological superiority to its neighbors and its big bully Uncle Sam in the background has allowed it pursue or retain expansionist outcomes in the face of sanity.
    You bring up Dan K’s supposed sin of calling Israel “unique”, but just tell me it is not Israel itself, and particularly it lunatic radicals that drive the ship of state by a several thousand year old myth of terminal uniqueness that they insist on actualizing in the 21st century.
    You can insinuate that is anti-Semitism on my part. I say it is fact only.
    I appreciate that you articulate lots of nuances around the edges, admitting some Israeli foibles, but when it comes down to it, your nuances are like traps. Your objective seems to be to build up a resume of expertise for the sole purpose of defending Israel, when you readily admit there is much about Israeli behavior that is indefensible.
    Why not come over to the rational side and stop stretching the truth and implicitly accusing the rest of us of being rubes and bigots. Or do you in your heart of hearts believe in ”greater Israel”?
    Could we sit down for a cup of coffee and agree that that outcome is what underlies much of the intransigence from the Israeli side?

    Reply

  139. WigWag says:

    Sorry, Paul, you are incorrect. My comments quoted what Dan Kervick said precisely and in context. He made several blanket statements that applied to millions of people. I didn’t say that it was a racist argument, but it is clearly an argument that is based on stereotyped assumptions. Israelis are war-like; I didn’t say that; Dan did. Israelis don’t care about regional prosperity; I didn’t say that; Dan did. Israelis (and other some other Jews) see things in a unique time-frame; I didn’t say that; Dan did. Saying that Israelis don’t care about “friendly relations” with other countries is no different than saying that the Irish are drunks, Scandinavians are cold, Mexicans are lazy or Jews are greedy.
    These comments are not meant to provide context or information; they are merely a set of unsubstantiated assertions supposed to explain what motivates millions of people. Assigning stereotyped behavior or motivation to individuals merely because they are member of a national, ethnic or religious group is in all cases odious. Dan’s post is odious.
    It was Dan Kervick who said that Israelis don’t share American values. According to Dan, Israel values aggression and violence and does not care about friendship in the region. Those are his words and they are disingenuous.
    As for my comments about Europeans and Iranians; my remarks about Europeans that you are referring to provided an extensive review of European history of anti-Semitism that you yourself acknowledged to be accurate. It was entirely appropriate for me to question whether that bigotry could be overcome in a generation. As to my one sentence remark about Iran that you are referring to, I acknowledged that it was careless, but it was nowhere near as careless as Dan’s remarks.
    POA, you need to learn to read. Nothing in Dan’s post suggests he is referring exclusively or even primarily to the Israeli government. His post mentions that Israeli “society” is war-like and he refers to his impression about “virtually everyone in Israel.” Elsewhere he refers to “many Israelis” or “some Israelis.”
    The smart thing for you to do would be to reflect on the bigotry of your own support for programs like “e-verify” or your hostility towards Mexican truckers. First you live on land stolen from the Mexicans and then you want to make it impossible for undocumented Mexicans to earn a living in the country that was stolen from them.
    You are precisely like the Israeli settlers you find so objectionable. The only small difference is that the Israeli settlers know what they’re doing and don’t care. You are so unreflective that you don’t even know what you are.
    You can expect to be taken more seriously when you stop sharing the philosophy and hypocrisy of those you criticize.

    Reply

  140. Paul Norheim says:

    You are not arguing against Dan`s points, WigWag, you`re only
    distorting them.
    You said:
    “I found it particularly funny when Dan tried to modify his
    statement about the way Israelis think in “centuries and
    millennia” by saying this,
    “I didn’t mean to suggest Israelis plan millennia ahead. What I
    meant is that many Israelis, and non-Israeli Jews, seem to
    address current affairs in the Middle East through a time frame
    that is uniquely long.”
    Dan is blind to the fact that his modifying remark makes his
    comment more troubling not less troubling.
    It’s not the time frame, Dan, it’s your suggestion of
    “uniqueness” that is revealing. According to you, Israelis are
    uniquely violent, uniquely war-like, uniquely uninterested in
    prosperity, uniquely unfriendly. You even think they have a
    unique planning perspective.””
    No, WigWag, Dan didn`t say uniquely uninterested in prosperity,
    uniquely violent etc, as you claim. He said that they “SEEM TO
    address current affairs in the Middle East through a time frame
    that is uniquely long.”
    But by distorting his points, you can frame him as a racist and a
    bigot: “Dan apparently has no problems attributing traits like
    unfriendliness, violence, bigotry, stoicism to 7.3 million people.
    The message that’s it’s unwise to attribute any particular trait,
    positive or negative, to religious, ethnic or national groups
    never seems to have occurred to Dan.”
    Dan`s main point is contained in the following sentence: “What
    Israel cares about more than anything else is the survival of
    Israel and the fulfillment of the Zionist dream it has fought to
    realize for 100 years. That dream involves the conquest of the
    entire Land of Israel.” He argues that America, Europe etc.
    should realize this, and act accordingly, instead of acting
    according to what the Israeli leadership says.
    You are not willing to argue against this, and instead try to
    distort his views. Nice try.
    Given your recent generalizations, your methods and tendencies
    to attribute certain negative traits to Europeans and Iranians, I
    can`t see these distortions and accusations as anything more
    than dirty tricks.

    Reply

  141. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Its quite obvious that Dan is referring to the Israeli leadership, and the leaders of the Zionist movement. And I’m sure he will correct me if I am wrong.
    Once again, Wig-Wag tries to squeeze a huge pile of crap through the eye of a needle. Instead of the direct accusations of anti-semitism that he once soiled the discourse with, he is now smitten with the idea that he can simply vaguely insinuate. Either way, directly, or in a cowardly and indirect manner, the accusation rings as hollow as it always has.

    Reply

  142. WigWag says:

    The most generous thing that can be said about Dan Kervick’s initial comment on this thread is that it’s peculiar.
    We have this,
    “Israel doesn’t care about oil flow in the Middle East, broad regional prosperity, friendly relations or any of the other things Americans care about.”
    We have this,
    “And that long-term plan involves war, and lots of it. Israel is a society built for war, and built on war. It is a society of permanent Zionist revolution and struggle against enemies. It has been at war almost perpetually since its foundation.”
    But the pies de resistance is this remark,
    “Their view is longer, and their planning more consistent and durable than that of short attention span states of the West. They think in centuries and millennia.”
    So what has Dan taught us? According to him, Israelis aren’t interested in friendly relations with the rest of the world and they’re not even interested in prosperity; they’re Sparta, a violent nation fixated on permanent war. Apparently Dan thinks Israeli mothers and fathers gladly send their children to war for no purpose other than maximizing Israel’s territorial expansion. Unlike let’s say Hamas or Hezbollah who only lob missiles for the most justifiable of reasons, violence is either rooted in the genes of Israelis or history has so blemished their sense of decency that this violent sect has lost all traces of civilized behavior.
    And all those wars; Dan’s post assures us that Israel’s war-like tendencies can explain all of them; of course the Arab States were just innocent victims. From the establishment of Israel down to the present day, Dan is convinced that 100 percent of the blame for those wars can be apportioned to Israel.
    I found it particularly funny when Dan tried to modify his statement about the way Israelis think in “centuries and millennia” by saying this,
    “I didn’t mean to suggest Israelis plan millennia ahead. What I meant is that many Israelis, and non-Israeli Jews, seem to address current affairs in the Middle East through a time frame that is uniquely long.”
    Dan is blind to the fact that his modifying remark makes his comment more troubling not less troubling.
    It’s not the time frame, Dan, it’s your suggestion of “uniqueness” that is revealing. According to you, Israelis are uniquely violent, uniquely war-like, uniquely uninterested in prosperity, uniquely unfriendly. You even think they have a unique planning perspective.
    According to Dan, “Americans continue to misperceive Israeli values.” After all, Israelis don’t value the same things Americans do and I guess he’s concluded that Israelis don’t value the same things Europeans or Arabs value either. In fact he’s said specifically that Israelis “don’t value any of the other things Americans care about.” It bears repeating, Israelis don’t value “any” of the other things Americans care about.
    Dan apparently has no problems attributing traits like unfriendliness, violence, bigotry, stoicism to 7.3 million people. The message that’s it’s unwise to attribute any particular trait, positive or negative, to religious, ethnic or national groups never seems to have occurred to Dan.
    Maybe Dan can enlighten us; when he says that Israelis don’t “care about friendly relations” or that they “address current affairs in the Middle East through a time frame that is uniquely long” does he mean all Israelis or just Jewish Israelis? Are Bedouin Israelis or Druze Israelis uninterested in friendship or just Jewish Israelis? And if he’s just talking about Jewish Israelis is he referring to every single one of them; 85 percent? 55 percent?
    Now that Dan has uncovered the unique qualities of the Israelis perhaps he can regale us with his understanding of the unique characteristics of the Japanese, the Chinese, the South Africans or the Sudanese. Do they care about the same things Americans care about or do we misperceive their values too?

    Reply

  143. Paul Norheim says:

    Sweetness,
    this is a very interesting thread, and I don`t want to destroy it by
    bringing in this kind of stuff. I have sent you a reply on a thread
    below – under the Tom Toles cartoon post.

    Reply

  144. Dan Kervick says:

    I garbled a sentence above. I wrote:
    “When I said that Israelis “think in terms of millenia”, I didn’t mean towhat I meant to suggest Israelis plan millenia ahead.”
    I should have written:
    “When I said that Israelis “think in terms of millenia”, I didn’t mean to suggest Israelis plan millenia ahead.”

    Reply

  145. Dan Kervick says:

    But, Ben, moving away from millenia to centuries, I do think Israel is in effect executing a strategy that does think in terms of a century-long or centuries-long project. That just means the project has a long-term goal, and the strategists are patient in the execution of that goal. I don’t think that project is particularly secret, although attention to it is sometimes deflected by a lot of dissembling, changing the subject and hemming and hawing.
    It’s not much different than the early goal of the United States and many of its leaders to extend dominion over most of the North American continent, from coast to coast. It took a very long time to execute this agenda, but it wasn’t *that* mysterious to non-naive observers, even while it was going on, that this is what was happening. Manifest Destiny and the Zionist dream are similar in that much of the support for the conquest of the American continent was right out in the open, while those who concealed their support for it through diplomatic language didn’t do a very effective job of it.
    I believe that in interpreting intentions one should look at actions and the outcomes toward which those actions appear structured and directed, rather than pay attention to words. Looking at what Israel has done, and continues to do, in the West Bank and elsewhere makes it hard for a rational observer to conclude that Israel doesn’t really want to conquer the entire West Bank, but is just colonizing the place by *accident*.
    But the words and platforms are useful. And it is equally hard to look at the platforms of the parties that now represent about 2/3rds of Israelis and descry within them anything that looks like a plan for the West Bank that does *not* involve total Israeli domination of that territory.

    Reply

  146. Sweetness says:

    aul writes: “And while we`re talking about it, I wonder about
    “Sweetness”, a regular here, who was absent for a while, and
    then twice during the Gaza invasion attributed certain anti-
    semitic views to a person who didn´t express those views, but
    linked to a blog where one of the commenters happened to
    express those views. When I confronted “Sweetness” with this,
    he mysteriously
    disappeared…”
    Hey Paul,
    I am, I guess, a “regular,” but I don’t post constantly here or
    anywhere. Nor do I read this blog every day. Nor am I a troll, a
    hasbara worker, or “Questions,” or “Karen” or any of the people
    POA has accused me of being.
    If I missed one of your responses to one of my posts, I’m sorry.
    Sometimes, I don’t “wait” for a response because none appears
    to be forthcoming, and then the topic falls off the front page of
    TWN. In some cases, I bring up a point for anyone to chew as
    they wish, but don’t require a discussion of it. And sometimes, I
    just get tired of resending again and again to get past the
    captcha.
    So, I don’t “mysteriously disappear” any more than anyone else
    who doesn’t comment every day or even every week. As I recall,
    there was at least one period when you were gone for some
    period of time.
    If you wish to bring back the point you addressed, I’ll try to
    respond.

    Reply

  147. Dan Kervick says:

    Ben,
    My wording was unclear. When I said that Israelis “think in terms of millenia”, I didn’t mean towhat I meant to suggest Israelis plan millenia ahead. What I meant is that many Israelis, and non-Israeli Jews, seem to address current affairs in the Middle East through a time frame that is uniquely long. In my discussions about Israel with Israelis and their Jewish supporters, I often get the impression that their temporal framework for thinking about events such as the Jewish Revolt and the destruction of the second temple treats these events as though they just happened a couple of years ago. Some Israelis seem comfortable describing people whose families have have lived in a place for many hundreds of years, in the towns built by their ancestors beyond memory, as “squatters” and asserting enduring national property rights that extend well beyond what any rational and common-sense system of law could allow. If the world conducted its affairs on the basis of the principles that Jews want to apply to Palestine, all would be plunged into chaos.

    Reply

  148. Ben Rosengart says:

    I don’t like Dan’s contention that Israelis plan on the scale of
    “millenia”. Come on, let’s be real: Israelis are people too, and
    they think on a human scale just like any other polity. This idea
    that a nation of millions is carrying out a secret long-term
    strategy smacks of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to me.

    Reply

  149. varanasi says:

    POA wrote:
    “Paul, interesting, your comments on “Sweetness”. Have you reconsidered the flack you threw my way for my read on Varanasi? I certainly hope so. Perhaps the naivete you have exhibited about trolls, Hasbara, and the long reach of the Israeli propaganda machine is being replaced by a mindset that accepts the obvious.”
    what a coincidence. i check out TWN’s comments for the first time in many weeks and i see POA indulging his conspiracy theories about me being a troll/hasbara agent. priceless.
    btw, i agree with steve and i don’t think that a a majority of israelis support the “greater zionist vision.”

    Reply

  150. dwg says:

    Hurrah for you Dan. Spot ON!
    As to the election results, there appears to be some weird anomoly that even if Kadima wins, President Shimon Peres may – under unclear circumstances- override the vote and select some OTHER party leader to try to form the government.
    See:
    Sorry, Jerusalem Post website is now getting crushed, the story is headlined “Livni May Not Be Able to Form Gov’t…” the URL is:
    http://127.0.0.1:4664/search?q=jerusalem+post&flags=1048576&s=1sGoFT3thoLav9tFVOhuFFlFYCs
    The bit about Peres power to essentially override the election results is buried near the end.

    Reply

  151. Dan Kervick says:

    Paul, Kadima might be the leader among the many parties in Israels divided electorate, but Kadima is only projected to get about 30 seats out of the 120 elected seats in the Knesset. That’s more than any other single party. But Likud leaders are saying their party will not form a government with Kadima, and will organize a right wing bloc with Netanyahu at the head. Ynet.com says the rightest bloc has 65 seats. I believe Livni can only form a government if she gets both Labor and Yisrael Beiteinu to join. But Labor says it won’t join a government with Lieberman.
    So while no single right wing party won, right now it looks fairly clear that the right as a bloc has won.

    Reply

  152. Paul Norheim says:

    Well, perhaps there will be no “clarity” in Israel:
    “Exit polls: Livni’s Kadima leads in 2009 elections
    By Haaretz Service
    Exit polls by Israel’s three main television stations on Tuesday
    night showed Kadima as the leader in the 2009 general elections,
    with Likud coming a narrow second.”

    Reply

  153. ... says:

    thanks dan.. i don’t necessarily believe in fate either.. seeing something a ways off doesn’t mean the path can’t be altered.. there is the space of time in between… hopefully it will be with regard to the slow movement and general direction in israel/palestine affairs..

    Reply

  154. Linda says:

    Dan, I join others with kudos on how your first comments above really said it all and so well!
    I hit the same wall of total blindness with relatives and friends who are “pro-Israel” to the extent that anybody else is “anti-Israel” I have
    several cousins who can’t even discuss this issue with their siblings whom they love dearly and with whom they generally agree on almost any other issue.
    First, a question to those for anyone with more knowledge, i.e., what other countries in the world, in addition to Israel, have universal required military service?
    I noticed last night toward the end of Obama’s press conference that he didn’t answer Helen Thomas’ question about which ME countries have nuclear weapons. Of course, no U.S. President ever answers that question. See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mj-rosenberg/why-did-obama-diss-helen_b_165544.html
    I also think that the answer and way to put pressure on Israel is regarding nuclear weapons. One can’t expect Iran, Iraq or any ME nation to not want them if Israel has them. Israel can’t be allowed in the community of nations to get a pass just because it never signed a treaty.
    So while I have no background or knowledge to know what the pros and cons really would be, I believe that the treaties should be rewritten with strick inspections, etc. and all nations have to sign on as a condition of U.S. support and assistance.

    Reply

  155. rich says:

    Steve,
    Perhaps Netanyahu’s “clarifying” influence win out over the strong potential for accelerated scorched earth policies.
    If it can wipe away a lot of wasted effort and define the actual contours of Israel’s position and lead to some solutions, great.
    If the price of a stable state actors in the region will be the total demise of the Palestinian nation, then it’s not worth it. Ruthlessness doesn’t always receive its due in blowback, but that’s not the point.

    Reply

  156. Dan K says:

    I don’t believe in fate, and I don’t believe in the inevitability of train wrecks. My point in laying out the depth of the Israeli-Palestinian problem – at least as I see that problem – is not to prophesy doom and cause depression and despair, but to try to move our political discussion in the United States away from shallow and deluded conceptions of the issues, so that people who really care about the well-being of the people of the United States and the well being of people in the Middle East, especially the next generation, might find the courage and ingenuity to devise an approach to the problem that will really work. An approach based on denial, and a shallow, unreal conception of the problem, is bound to fail. But we *can* do better.
    I’m at work now, so I have no time to say more. But I am writing up notes on how to move forward that I hope to be able to post here soon.

    Reply

  157. Dan Kervick says:

    And Dan, although I realize that my comments are too “course” and uneducated for you to engage, I too appreciate 75% of your writings.
    I thing you mean ‘coarse’ POA. How uneducated of you! 🙂
    Seriously, I agree with most of what you say. It looks like our main disagreement is whether or not time is on the Israeli’s side in what you call the “slow genocide” of the Palestinians. I guess I would put it this way: *If* there is no change in the coming years in the policies of the US government, and some of the European governments that have drifted in Israel’s direction in recent years, then Israel will have the cover it needs to continue and complete its long campaign. American citizens will probably pay a price for this.
    It might be true that world sentiment is tiring of the long Israeli campaign. But so far, being tired hasn’t been enough to make the world stop them.

    Reply

  158. Steve Clemons says:

    POA – I had not read Gideon Levy’s piece, but I generally like it. The comment that he makes about Netanyahu being the “clarifying choice” rings true for me on many levels.
    I really appreciate Dan Kervick’s thoughtful piece, but I guess my nuanced difference with him is that I don’t believe a majority of Israelis support the Greater Zionist vision. I had a very unpleasant exchange once with the President of ZOA and see that he and his supporters very much fit the bill that Dan Kervick has described. I perhaps naively think that we can still keep them from being the defining answer from Israel on these issues.
    But yes, Dan’s commentary was compelling – but I’ll keep my powder dry for a bit on calling this enterprise off. I don’t believe that the door is closed on potential progress.
    All best, steve

    Reply

  159. DonS says:

    JoohnH “but I suspect that some weasel words have crept into the understandings”
    Yes, but in actuality, the simple notion of cross subsidization means that every dollar — whether for military or civilian use, whether in grant or loan or “loan guarantees” — Israel receives in any way from the US stokes the Israeli expansionsit reality back with its militaristic stance.

    Reply

  160. ... says:

    after reading dan kervicks post yesterday i felt their was nothing i or anyone could say to add anything… no amount of talk is going to change an approaching train wreck that people like dan kervick appear to be able to clearly see coming…
    thanks everyone for posting as i enjoy the comments regardless of the centrality to this ongoing issue centered around israel/palestine…

    Reply

  161. JohnH says:

    Excellent commentary today. One effect of Israel as military state is that they have to further and further afield to find “existential threats” to justify their behavior. It used to be Egypt, Syria and Jordan. Having cowed two of those and Syria not posing any credible threat, Israel has moved on to another bigger, more threatening bogeyman–Iran. Were Iran to fall into chaos, you have to believe that Pakistan would become the next “existential threat.”
    Re housing construction: let’s not forget the $9 billion of loan guarantees granted to Israel by the US government. Theese loans can be used for any government purpose, including housing, and reduce interests rates significantly. Some loans in the past went to construct housing for Russian immigrants. Loan guarantees are supposedly reduced by the amount of any expenditures on housing in the territories, but I suspect that some weasel words have crept into the understandings, such that “natural growth” of existing settlements is not considered as settlement in the territories. It’s the only reason I can think of that Israel would feel compelled to consistent report that new housing in the territories is built within existing settlements, though we know that some settlements have vast borders.

    Reply

  162. DonS says:

    And slightly OT, but not much, if one takes into account the direction and struggle for control of the US foreign policy machine. This story recapitualtes behind the scene manouevering of the Petraus, Odierno, etc., cabal in their effort to keep constant war in the ME and to undercut whatever efforts Obama may be serious about to draw down troops.
    The anonymous source is attempting to alert the author of Petraus’ chicanery with the revelation that Petraus fabricated a supposed request from the admin to provide alternatives toa 16 month draw down:
    “The military source provided the following carefully worded statement: “We were specifically asked to provide projections, assumptions and risks for the accomplishment of objectives associated with 16-, 19- and 23-month drawdown options.” That was exactly the sentence published by McClatchy the following day, except that “specifically” was left out. ”
    The admin denied they had made the request. I can see Petraus built-in deniabilty, if questioned: I never said WHO made the request?
    http://firedoglake.com/2009/02/10/general-petraeus-springs-a-leak/

    Reply

  163. DonS says:

    Paul N. “Mr. Ahmadinejad’s choice of the 30th anniversary of the Islamic
    revolution seemed particularly significant.”
    “Bad news for the new Israeli Prime Minister.”
    Not necessarily bad news for New Israeli PM, but possibly likely to make Israel a more dangerous actor in the short term. If Dan K’s explanation of Zionist expansionism is at all on the mark, and its pretty much the way I read the situation and the history (as much as I know of it), Israel will always remain one step ahead of other’s strategic plans because their’s is longer term and always an action plan. Other “events” merely enter their feedback loop. AND, it is always disguised as “defensive”. Will Obama (and others including ther UN) continue to buy this charade, or pull the curtain aside more forcefully, as Steve has suggested may be the result? I, as usual, am not holding my breath.
    BTW, the WAPO also had this story up (and I had the link but lost it). However they seem to have scrubbed it from thier front paged links pretty quickly. But here’s another one on topic from CNN:
    http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/02/09/iran.larijani/index.html

    Reply

  164. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Steve, did Levy’s piece contribute to your thoughts on Netanyahu?
    Paul, interesting, your comments on “Sweetness”. Have you reconsidered the flack you threw my way for my read on Varanasi? I certainly hope so. Perhaps the naivete you have exhibited about trolls, Hasbara, and the long reach of the Israeli propaganda machine is being replaced by a mindset that accepts the obvious.
    And Dan, although I realize that my comments are too “course” and uneducated for you to engage, I too appreciate 75% of your writings. And your statement……
    “What Israel cares about more than anything else is the survival of Israel and the fulfillment of the Zionist dream it has fought to realize for 100 years. That dream involves the conquest of the entire Land of Israel. Everything else is just a stalling tactic. Israel has a long-term strategy. Their view is longer, and their planning more consistent and durable than that of short attention span states of the West. They think in centuries and millennia.”
    …perfectly underscore why this charade of a debate about the viability of political solutions or a two state scenario is utter horseshit. This “conflict” is driven by religious and racial fanaticism on both sides, and you cannot erase bigotry and centuries old hatreds with treaties, ceasefires, or peace conferences. But I disagree with you about Israels “patience”, particularly as it applies to the Palestinians. Time IS NOT on Israel’s side, and although they may think and plan with future centuries in mind, they are shrewd enough to realize that the “palestinian problem” needs immediate closure, as it is only growing as world sentiment tires of this seemingly endless form of slow genocide. Israel requires a pivotal event that justifies, to the world community, a “final solution” to the conflict with the Palestinian people, and I believe they are very close to manufacturing just such an event. Tying Iran to the effort is part of the plot.
    Call me a “conspiracy theorist”. But when you do, understand you are branding the families of the Liberty as well, and discounting the long saga of espionage incidents committed against the United States by Israel.
    And this idea that Israel is somehow held in check by the United States is sheer idiocy. Israel simply invents justification for action, and has done so for decades with no substantive objection or dissent from either the people not the government of the United States. As I pointed out a week or so ago, even the scripting, the actual wording, as mouthed by both the premier Israeli lobby, AIPAC, and by our President, is nearly identical.
    If I was a Palestinian, I’d be looking for a way out, because Israel is about to get nastier. And we will do nothing to stop her.
    Last update – 01:52 05/02/2009
    Let Netanyahu win
    By Gideon Levy
    Benjamin Netanyahu will apparently be Israel’s next prime minister. There is, however, something encouraging about that fact. Netanyahu’s election will free Israel from the burden of deception: If he can establish a right-wing government, the veil will be lifted and the nation’s true face revealed to its citizens and the rest of the world, including Arab countries. Together with the world, we will see which direction we are facing and who we really are. The masquerade that has gone on for several years will finally come to an end.
    Netanyahu’s election is likely to bring the curtain down on the great fraud – the best show in town – the lie of “negotiations” and the injustice of the “peace process.” Israel consistently claimed these acts proved the nation was focused on peace and the end of the occupation. All the while, it did everything it could to further entrench the occupation and distance any chance of a potential agreement.
    continues…
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1061736.html

    Reply

  165. rich says:

    Paul,
    “If you´re specifically saying that there are plenty of investors and banks in Israel with lots of money, and lots of demand from
    homebuilders/buyers, and no credit crunch or bubble burst in Israel – well then that answers my question.”
    Why would I specifically need to say that to make the point? Whether or not the global credit crunch has impinged on investment within Israel is irrelevant. My bet is that plenty of folks did not lose everything in the market, preferring a more conservative approach and other investment avenues. Betting the farm on the global bubble, which was obviously a fool’s game, never made much sense. Further, Paul, not all institutions here went into the tank — credit unions being just one example.
    Bottom line, Paul, is that current levels of available credit is a completely separate question from the structural forces driving settlement expansion in Israel. Settlers are highly likely to substitute sweat equity and non-monetary inputs for loan funding. Building materials and labor are still available; barter is always possible. And credit will eventually come back. But the structural force I identified are still in place.

    Reply

  166. Robert M says:

    The only question I have is the time frame. The economy is the paramount issue in the US. Any money to make this deal is dependent on the health of the economy. So the longer it takes to get there the better off the US economy may be to pay for it.

    Reply

  167. Paul Norheim says:

    “Of course, as long as you’ve got investors with lots of money to
    loan, and lots of demand from homebuilders and homebuyers
    likely to pay off those loans, there won’t be a problem. I guess
    that answers your question. Not everybody stops building in
    depressions.”
    If you´re specifically saying that there are plenty of investors
    and banks in Israel with lots of money, and lots of demand from
    homebuilders/buyers, and no credit crunch or bubble burst in
    Israel – well then that answers my question. But even Norway,
    with its oil fortune, is hit by the credit crunch and the burst of
    the housing bubble. But then, my country doesn`t have
    anything like the demand from homebuilders and buyers that
    Israel certainly has. But building new houses and apartments
    has stopped here.
    I`m just curious. And if you`re just speculating, I may find out
    myself. Or perhaps ask WigWag? I would guess that Israeli
    settlements during the global housing bubble created similar
    fatal conditions there, with greedy banks, optimism, inflation,
    consume based on the increased value of your house, the
    bubble suddenly bursting, depression, etc. etc. But then again,
    this is just speculations.
    WigWag?

    Reply

  168. Paul Norheim says:

    samuelburke,
    this may or may not be correct, but if you watched or participated
    on TWN during the Gaza massacre, you would have noticed that
    “active-duty military personnel” from Israel neither were in
    majority, nor dominating the blog in terms of the significance of
    their posts.
    And while we`re talking about it, I wonder about “Sweetness”, a
    regular here, who was absent for a while, and then twice during
    the Gaza invasion attributed certain anti-semitic views to a
    person who didn´t express those views, but linked to a blog
    where one of the commenters happened to express those views.
    When I confronted “Sweetness” with this, he mysteriously
    disappeared…

    Reply

  169. rich says:

    Paul, the current economic depression is irrelevant to the mechanisms that drive the settlements.
    Roadbuilding in America is driven by politically influential contractors who make loads of money off government contractors–and systemic ties to DOTs whose reason for being is .. roadbuilding.
    It’s the same with urban sprawl. But in this case, the desire to expand settlements is compounded by banks eager to make money and government agencies determined to finance projects on terms that make them doable. The local Home Depot makes money every time a project goes forward. Housing is a major economic driver no matter where you live.
    So aside from the ideology of taketaketake, the structural setup itself accelerates expansionism to its furthest logical conclusion. But the mentality is not beside the point: it combines a frontier psychology with the all-too-familiar credit bubble.
    Of course, as long as you’ve got investors with lots of money to loan, and lots of demand from homebuilders and homebuyers likely to pay off those loans, there won’t be a problem. I guess that answers your question. Not everybody stops building in depressions.
    Where the rubber hits the road is in the administration of zoning ordinances–or their Israeli equivalent. And we all know how that works: illegal Israeli settlements are not torn down, even though they violate the law. In stark constrast, Palestinian homes in Jerusalem are torn down for not crossing a T on a permit, or for building a quarter-inch to the left—even though they’re only rebuilding the homes, torn down by the Israeli military, that stood on that spot for centuries.
    Moloch! The machinery of state is inexorable. It eats everything in its path. The double standard is just for extra flavor.

    Reply

  170. samuelburke says:

    on this article written by ex-cia philip giraldi, the washingtonnote gets an honorable mention as being the tool of the israeli and jewish zionist who used the blog to help justify the recent masacre against palestine…
    http://www.antiwar.com/orig/giraldi.php?articleid=14220
    the sharp exchange between israeli president shimon peres and turkish prime minister recep tayyip erdogan at davos on jan. 29 exemplifies israel’s public relations problem and also casts light upon what steps the israeli government and its friends in the united states are taking to counteract the negative press. media reports suggest that israel preceded its attack on gaza by alerting a network of supporters to post comments on blogs, saturating the web with the israeli government’s justification for its action. this was evident on a number of blogs, including huffington post and the washington note. many of the posters were israelis, and it is believed that a number of them were active-duty military personnel selected for their fluency in english and other european languages as well as their familiarity with the internet.

    Reply

  171. Spunkmeyer says:

    Only a mushroom cloud in the Middle East will change the
    dynamic or even get a majority of Americans to wake from their
    stupor enough to form an opinion regarding our relations with
    Israel.
    The only thing Netanyahu in power may do is hasten the
    appearance of said mushroom cloud.

    Reply

  172. Paul Norheim says:

    “Being in the settlement business (…) is profit-driven. There are
    mortages and financing instruments and road-building contracts-
    -the machinery of state is organized to continue the settlement
    process.”
    Rich, could you elaborate a bit on this? Mortgages, financial
    instruments, all this stuff going to hell elsewhere right now…
    Do you happen to know anything about how the Israelis deal with
    the global depression and financial meltdown, with regards to
    settlements?

    Reply

  173. rich says:

    “I’m ready for Netanyahu to . . or because he’ll be so flamboyantly destructive of Israel’s and America’s interests that he’ll finally get the kind of attention from the US public that will change the course of things.”
    This is the much-reviled Ralph Nader strategy or Nader-voter rationalization. As in ‘I’m-voting-Nader-because-it’ll-force-the-pendulum-so-far-to-the-right-that-the-resulting-Bush-driven-catastrophes-will-force-everyone-to-admit-I-was-right-about-NAFTA,-deregulation,-the-environment,-labor,-etc.’ The contention that ‘Gore is the same as Bush’ was never true, though they were in lockstep on the points that brought us to this sorry pass. However, there’s near-total agreement within Israel about how to proceed–and no margin for error at all.
    Unless you consider President Obama the Messiah hell-bent on implementing Naderite policies, the strategy Steve’s recommending in Israel didn’t work out so well for us.
    There’s too much to lose to indulge in ‘make my day’-the-worst-case-scenario-will-show-them-how-wrong-they-were’ thinking. I don’t think the Second Coming of Netanyahu will save anybody—rather, it’ll carry out what the ‘earnest’ players want to happen anyway.
    If there are nothing left but ashes, no one will have to stick around to pick the pieces–because there won’t be any.
    If there was anything to indicate Netanyahu had moderated, it’d be worth a look. But Israeli society has radicalized–according to Avraham Burg and others—in a fascist direction.
    Encouraging that will destablize Israel and the state framework Steve seeks to reinforce and strengthen.
    If being in the ‘peace business’ is problematic, it is not the problem. Being in the settlement business, though, is the problem: and make no mistake, it is profit-driven. There are mortages and financing instruments and road-building contracts–the machinery of state is organized to continue the settlement process. It’s institutionalized.
    Netanyahu is not going to bring that business to an end. And whatever excesses he instigates will not pierce the consciousness of Washington, D.C.’s ‘elite’–no matter how outraged Americans get, or how radically public opinion turns against Israel. The broadcast networks and political structures have consciously insulated themselves from acknowledging those realities.

    Reply

  174. Paul Norheim says:

    Off topic, but also on topic – just published at the New York
    Times:
    Iran Offers ‘Dialogue With Respect’ With U.S.
    By NAZILA FATHI
    Published: February 10, 2009
    TEHRAN — In what seemed a potentially dramatic shift after the
    icy mutual hostility of the Bush era, President Mahmoud
    Ahmadinejad of Iran on Tuesday made a conditional offer of
    dialogue to the Obama administration. (…)
    “The new U.S. administration has said that it wants change and
    it wants to hold talks with Iran,” President Ahmadinejad said.
    “It is clear that change should be fundamental, not tactical, and
    our people welcome real changes,” he said. “Our nation is ready
    to hold talks based on mutual respect and in a fair atmosphere.”
    Mr. Ahmadinejad’s remarks came in a televised address to a
    rally marking the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution in
    1979 (…)
    Mr. Ahmadinejad’s choice of the 30th anniversary of the Islamic
    revolution seemed particularly significant.”
    Bad news for the new Israeli Prime Minister.

    Reply

  175. Paul Norheim says:

    I agree with Anonymous: clarity is the hallmark of Dan Kevick`s
    posts at TWN.
    I would like to add a few comments. First a couple of quotes
    from Dan`s excellent post above:
    “The United States has a long term interest in stability in the
    Middle East, and the long-term success and prosperity of Arab
    and Muslim states. But to the extent that Israel has such
    concerns at all, they are distinctly subordinate to its victory
    agenda.”
    “Israel is a society built for war, and built on war. It is a society
    of permanent Zionist revolution and struggle against enemies.”
    As most of us remember (it happened yesterday), the
    neoconservative movement (driven by mostly ex-trotskists) that
    had such a fatal influence on US foreign policy during most of
    this decade, was certainly not interested in stability in the
    Middle East – at least not in the foreseeable future. They
    promoted a permanent “democratic” revolution from above, with
    the US military as it`s preferred instrument for change.
    And there are several links between that movement and the
    former Prime Minister Netanyahu, who probably will get
    reelected today – the most obvious one being the so called
    “Clean Break” paper from 1996. In the words of Daniel Levy, a
    couple of years ago:
    “In 1996 a group of then opposition U.S. policy agitators,
    including Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, presented a paper
    entitled ‘A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm’
    to incoming Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The
    ‘clean break’ was from the prevailing peace process, advocating
    that Israel pursue a combination of roll-back, destabilization
    and containment in the region, including striking at Syria and
    removing Saddam Hussein from power in favor of ‘Hashemite
    control in Iraq.’ The Israeli horse they backed then was not up
    to the task.
    Ten years later, as Netanyahu languishes in the opposition, as
    head of a small Likud faction, Perle, Feith and their
    neoconservative friends have justifiably earned a reputation as
    awesome wielders of foreign-policy influence under George W.
    Bush.”
    It is well known that Netanyahu was also active behind the
    scenes in Washington, arguing that The White House should
    implement the strategy from the Clean Break paper, since Israel
    was not able to do so at the moment.
    One of the important questions is: Which conclusions does
    Netanyahu draw after the principal implementer of the neocon
    adventure has left the White House?
    The most obvious lesson for him must be that the invasion of
    Iraq strengthened Iran.
    In a 8 March 2007 interview with CNN, Netanyahu asserted
    that there is only one difference between Nazi Germany and the
    Islamic Republic of Iran, namely that the first entered a
    worldwide conflict and then sought atomic weapons, while the
    latter is first seeking atomic weapons and, once it has them, will
    then start a world war.
    He repeated these remarks at a news conference in April,
    2008, stating that “where the Nazi regime embarked on a global
    conflict before it developed nuclear weapons, this regime [Iran]
    is developing nuclear weapons before it embarks on a global
    conflict.”
    Another lesson might be that the adventure resulted in the first
    steps towards a Kurdish state.
    WigWag commented on this in a post below: “As Seymour Hersh
    first reported in the New Yorker five years ago, Israel has strong
    and increasing ties with the Kurds in the North of Iraq. There is
    a long history between Israel and the Kurds.
    (…)
    Massoud Barzani shocked the world with his comment in 2006
    in Kuwait when he said “It is not a crime to have relations with
    Israel…We are considering opening an Israeli consulate in
    Hewlêr (southern Kurdistan)
    Since the US invasion of Iraq, the IDF and the Mossad have been
    actively training and funding the Kurdish Peshmerga and the
    relationship between Iraqi Kurdistan and Israel has gotten
    progressively stronger. The Kurds are getting ready for the civil
    war sure to happen when the Americans finally leave and they
    plan to fight for dominance in Kirkuk and Mosul. The Kurds will
    turn to Israel for intelligence and logistical support. Of course,
    Israel benefits from the fact that Iraqi Kurdistan borders Iran
    and like the Israelis, the Kurds also view Syria as an enemy
    (thousands of Kurds were butchered by Hafez al Assad.”
    I would assume that the Palestinian question is of less concern
    for Netanyahu right now than the fact that Iran is strengthened.
    And given the fact that the Kurds also live in Northern Iran,
    these two factors are connected. If he could help the Kurds in
    Northern Iran to create trouble for Teheran, it would be helpful
    as preparations before an attack on the nuclear sites in the
    country. Whether Obama agrees or not, Netanyahu knows that
    there will be other US Presidents after Obama, and that there
    are plenty of powerful players in America who secretly or openly
    would approve his actions. Even in Obama`s own
    administration.
    I am quite convinced that striking Iran is Netanyahu`s priority
    number 1. If I were in his shoes, I would not act as crazily as
    Steve Clemons assumes he may do. In the months ahead, I
    would try to give the impression that I have become a more
    mature statesman. Perhaps even offering some unexpected
    concessions to the Palestinians (with a couple of footnotes
    attached).
    Then I would strike the nuclear sites in Iran.

    Reply

  176. Anonymous says:

    A clearer and more profound statement of the current situation
    than Kervick’s 10:56 PM comment has not been written.
    Anyone having any connection to a congressional or senate office
    should see that it gets read by someone of influence. Several times.
    It should go to every newspaper in the country, and every NPR
    program producer who has anything to do with foreign policy.
    If those people need help understanding it, then they should get it.
    These are very dangerous times.

    Reply

  177. Dan Kervick says:

    Earlier, I asked about the implications of the possibility that Lieberman would be named defense minister. But I just read this in Ha’aretz:
    “If Benjamin Netanyahu is tapped to form Israel’s next governing coalition, he will not appoint Yisrael Beiteinu chief Avigdor Lieberman as his defense minister, the Likud chairman told Channel 1 on Monday, just hours before Israelis go to the polls.”

    Reply

  178. Dan Kervick says:

    Steve,
    I listened to your appearance on Talk of the Nation. I thought the strongest part of your presentation was your point that the spectacle of a United States that consistently fails to achieve its aims in the Middle East contributes to the weakening of the United States. And I believe you are right about the need to get “out of the weeds” and rise above the efforts to build a peace-making process with moderates. The United States needs to pursue its interests in a more hard-headed way, and work with other great powers, and the UN, to devise a solution that can be impressed upon the people in Israel and Palestine, negotiations or no negotiations.
    But I think you are wrong about the benefits of Netanyahu. You suggest that by electing someone who is away from the moderate center, Americans will finally grasp the irresponsibility or radicalism of Israel. I don’t think that is likely. I think Netanyahu will just come to define the new center for Americans. Kadima will become the new left and Yisrael Beiteinu the new right.
    I think you also err in your recent tendency to describe Israel and Israeli policy as “irresponsible” or “immature”, and imply Israel is therefore incapable of acting as a rational steward of its own interests. I understand this is rhetorically useful as a way to get people to take a more forceful and demanding posture toward Israel. But I wonder if you really understand what those Israeli interests are, at least in the way Israelis perceive them. I believe that if we correctly understand what Israel is after, what Israel cares about and what they don’t care about, and the degrees to which they do and do not care, we will see their actions as more or less rational means of pursuing their interests. That’s what we should be scared about, in fact: not that Israel is irresponsible and immature in the pursuit of moderate interests; but that they are quite rational in the pursuit of extremist interests. This is an important point, because if Americans continue to misperceive Israeli values, aims and interests, they will continue to fail to perceive how divergent are those values, aims and interests from the interests of the United States.
    I discuss and debate these issues a lot online, sometimes with Israelis. Those Israelis I talk with tend to be English-speakers from the liberal, old labor portion of the political spectrum, a portion that appears to be shrinking rapidly. When we talk about the West Bank, even these liberals start hemming and hawing about the status of the territories. They might say the territories are “disputed” territories. Or they might talk about land for peace in terms that suggest they believe giving up the West Bank constitutes a magnanimous gesture of giving away something that is rightfully theirs. Sometimes they seem to accept the idea of giving up the West Bank, but talk about deferring that action until some much later time in the future, after the Palestinians have done X, Y and Z. Since what they propose is so unrealistic as an actual framework for peace, I often suspect that they are being dishonest, and are just saying something they think will please me. I often suspect they have no real intention of ever giving up the West Bank. And these are the liberals I’m talking about.
    It is my distinct impression that virtually everyone else in Israel – all of the non-liberals – thinks that *of course* the territories are part of Israel. *Of course* those are territories Israel possesses by divine right, or some other ancient and ancestral national right. The liberals tend to avoid using terms like “Land of Israel” when speaking with non-Israelis, at least when the West Bank is in question. But using “Land of Israel” in the expansive way isn’t even seen as controversial term among other Israelis. I believe the majority of Israelis simply have no intention of giving that territory back – ever. They believe it is rightfully theirs.
    What, then, are Israeli interests? Israel doesn’t care about oil flow in the Middle East, broad regional prosperity, friendly relations or any of the other things Americans care about. At least Israel doesn’t care about these things in the same way or to the same degree as Americans. They don’t practice a conventional form of statecraft. The United States has a long term interest in stability in the Middle East, and the long-term success and prosperity of Arab and Muslim states. But to the extent that Israel has such concerns at all, they are distinctly subordinate to its victory agenda. If Israel could get away with obliterating those states and reducing them to a bunch of stone age city-states, it would do so, even if that damaged its own economy.
    What Israel cares about more than anything else is the survival of Israel and the fulfillment of the Zionist dream it has fought to realize for 100 years. That dream involves the conquest of the entire Land of Israel. Everything else is just a stalling tactic. Israel has a long-term strategy. Their view is longer, and their planning more consistent and durable than that of short attention span states of the West. They think in centuries and millennia.
    And that long-term plan involves war, and lots of it. Israel is a society built for war, and built on war. It is a society of permanent Zionist revolution and struggle against enemies. It has been at war almost perpetually since its foundation. Its army and its citizenry are virtually interchangeable. Israel anticipates war constantly; they prepare for war constantly. They regard war as an inevitable part of the life of their state, at least until final and total victory is at delivered and all of their enemies are vanquished. And if their enemies are never defeated entirely, Israel will never stop fighting them entirely.
    As an example of the way Israel executes its long term strategy one move at a time, consider the new Lieberman exchange plan of Yisrael Beiteinu. Do you think that Yisrael Beiteinu thinks that after Lieberman’s exchange plan implemented, everything will be settled? That will be the end of it? Of course not. What Israel is supposed to get in the exchange is all of the settlements on the West Bank. Those settlements are spread out on the West bank like craters on the moon. Obviously, no one thinks the final border is going to look like that. From the moment that plan is implemented, if they can ever succeed in implementing it, Israel will move on to the next stage of further conquest. That’s how the Zionist movement has done things for 100 years. They take, and establish facts on the ground. Those new facts are then ultimately ratified as the new equilibrium position, and they move on to take more.
    Most importantly, from the standpoint of Israel’s relationship with US interests, while most Americans regard the prospect of a broad regional war, possibly leading even to a world war, as a dreadful prospect that we must work tirelessly to prevent, Israelis regard such a war as an inevitable event, one that will finally deliver the total victory they crave. At its core, the Zionist dream is a form of fanaticism. The Israelis may not relish the idea of a regional war, but they are fatalistically resigned to it, and believe it will be necessary to achieve the “clarity” they seek in the region, the clarity of decisive and total Israeli victory in the long war. That’s when they will crush their remaining regional opponents. That’s when they will move the Palestinians out for good. For the Israelis, the questions are only about timing.
    Israel is also a nuclear power. That is, for now, its trump card. That’s why it is not afraid of an attack on Iran, so long as Iran can’t retaliate in kind. That’s also why Israel is determined to fight Iran before Iran has a nuclear weapon, and would like to drag us into that fight. Nuclear weapons are also why Israel is not worried about the need to please the US. While US support makes life easier for Israel, they believe they can defend themselves and go it alone if need be. In fact, one of the most stunning sentiments that comes up in my conversations with Israelis and Jewish supporters of Israel is the feeling that Israel successfully guarantees the safety of Jews all over the world, and that the Israelis are a self-sufficient people who need nobody.
    Israelis also care much less than most states about their reputation abroad. Israelis believe it is the fate of Jews to face eternal anti-semitic hatred. They are resigned to being detested, so ingratiating themselves with the gentiles is just not that important to them.

    Reply

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