Watching Death Day and Night So Close By. . .

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the_funeral_of_three_children_from_al_astal_family_killed_by_the_israeli_shelling_on_their_home_on_friday__photo_by_wafa.jpgI have just been communicating in the last few minutes with two friends over Facebook — one a prominent Jewish American blogger now visiting family in an Orthodox community in Israel — and the other a prominent Arab Muslim blogger living in the Middle East.
I don’t want to disclose the identities of either.
But my friend in Israel asked me for some help on shaping questions that he might pose to various Israel pols.
I shared with him some of my thoughts on what he could ask. . .particularly the question of how Israel views long term US support.
I told him that in my view America’s increasingly consequential failures to generate stability in the Middle East is like an eroding levee in New Orleans — and those levees at some point are going to fail leaving Israel quite vulnerable unless Israel and other stakeholding neighbors achieve a different equilibrium in the region. . .and soon. There is great doubt around the world in the ability of America to pursue and achieve its objectives — and this doubt has consequences for Israel’s national security calculus, whether it is acknowledging it or not.
This friend is not far from the action in Gaza, and he has serious doubts about Israel’s course.
I give him a lot of credit for trying to think this through, particularly given the hawkishness of many around whom he is living right now.
And from my Arabic blogging friend, I received this note — and I should add that this guy is about as positive about “modernity” as one can find in Middle East blogging circles:

Happy new year Steve .. 🙂
though GAZA is making this new year very sad for us here .. but i’ll try to smile whenever i can ..
i might stop blogging until the war finishes .. it is really hard watching death day and night so close by ..
any way ..
how are the 1st world countries doing ? 🙂

I agree with Zbigniew Brzezinski that the worsening tragedy in Gaza is part of the blur we have been seeing for some time. I put a lot of the blame on Labor Party Leader and Defense Minister Ehud Barak who has been itching to manage a war.
But as Brzezinski said, the Israelis and Palestinians have proven unable to rise to a level of strategic, forward-looking maturity to solve this problem and others now need to stabilize the situation, engage in a credible peace negotiation process that involves the other major Arab stakeholders, the US and Europe.
Having the Saudis, Jordanians, Egyptians, Americans, and Europeans impose a solution can’t be worse than what we are seeing today.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

334 comments on “Watching Death Day and Night So Close By. . .

  1. ... says:

    rich, thanks for bringing those points to varanasi’s attention…i don’t think he’s interested in putting the shoe on his own in this case… he would like us to wear it, but is unable to put it on himself… that is indeed called hypocrisy..

    Reply

  2. rich says:

    varanasi @ 10:15PM – [to “…”] –
    ” . . . you say nary a word about the culpability of Hamas – a terrorist organization whose main charter calls for destroying israel”
    It’s called “balance.” Look it up.
    Israel fed and nurtured Hamas, while shutting down their rivals. Since Hamas was elected, why are you calling them ‘terrorists’ when obviously they’re by definition now the legitimate military in Gaza? By ISRael’s own definition and official history, a blockade is a casus belli — and Hamas’ rockets sought to break the very blockade. George Orwell would admire Israel tremendously–so skilled at using the tools they once condemned as a heinous act of war.
    The hypocrisy here is rank, varanasi–we’re writing because YOU say nary a word about the culpability of Israel. The onus is on you.
    Of course we’re focusing on one side–to record and balance out the PR spin. Yigal Palmor admitted there was no mortars fired from the UN school. The NewsHour reported Israel had broken cease-fire 153 times, killing 36 Palestinians. Yet we’re supposed to believe Hamas committed the provocation for this? Or get outraged over a few puny rockets, when their people are starving? You should be ashamed. Israel lied about ramming the relief boat Dignity–yet you try to shift the issue to OUR unbalanced discussion? Take the timber out of your own eye before you presume to help us out with the speck in ours.
    Israel’s been herding Gazans into shelters–and then bombing them (link). They’ve shot UN driver and refused relief / aid workers in.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/10/world/middleeast/10gaza.html?_r=1&hp
    These are war crimes, varanasi. And there has been no provocation for this.
    They are bombing people in a cage, varanasi. Israel put a blockade in that throttled Gaza and denied 1.5 million people food, water, medicine and liberty. Of course they’ll do what it takes to get supplies out–that’s called self-defense in pursuit of liberty–and survival.

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  3. rich says:

    varanasi @ 10:15PM – [to “…”] –
    “further, i think it’s telling that you justify the horrific 9-11 attacks . . . but at least you admit that atta and his monster jihadi accomplises committed the deed . . . ”
    Muhammad Atta? Funny you should mention him. Atta was motivated by Israeli bombing of a UN building that killed 102 civilians.
    Read the whole thing at the link. Israeli leaders know their offensive wars result in terrorist actions–and that their right-wing factions thrive off it. Read the link for more:
    “In 1996, Israeli jets bombed a UN building where civilians had taken refuge at Cana/ Qana in south Lebanon, killing 102 persons; in the place where Jesus is said to have made water into wine, Israeli bombs wrought a different sort of transformation. In the distant, picturesque port of Hamburg, a young graduate student studying traditional architecture of Aleppo saw footage like this on the news [graphic]. He was consumed with anguish and the desire for revenge. As soon as operation Grapes of Wrath had begun the week before, he had written out a martyrdom will, indicating his willingness to die avenging the victims, killed in that operation–with airplanes and bombs that were a free gift from the United States. His name was Muhammad Atta. Five years later he piloted American Airlines 11 into the World Trade Center.”
    (Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower, p. 307: “On April 11, 1996, when Atta was twenty-seven years old, he signed a standardized will he got from the al-Quds mosque.l It was the day Israel attacked Lebanon in Operation grapes of Wrath. According to one of his friends, Atta was enraged,and by filling out his last testamentd during the attack he was offering his life in response.” ).”
    http://www.juancole.com/2009/01/al-fakhoura-school-bombed-42-killed.html

    Reply

  4. ... says:

    varanasi – i realize not everyone will agree with one another.. that is not what i am saying.. i suppose certain things are more obvious to some then others… that is what i am saying..
    as for me not pilling on hamas in the same way that you or tony do, it has to do with not feeling the need to mouth what the mainstream media and every aipac bowing american politician is primarily saying.. why bother when one can cut the propaganda around this with a 2 by 4??? i have said hamas was started by israel and of course those who are eager to paint hamas as the culprit have nothing to say on that matter.. people selectively choose to acknowledge or negate what others say and i am no different, but you are right to be curious as am i in recognizing how certain comments solicit a response and others don’t…

    Reply

  5. varanasi says:

    “it is unfortunate that this isn’t as plain as day to any thinking person.. ”
    so basically “…” you’re saying that it’s a shame that everyone doesn’t agree with you?!
    i say it would be a heck of lot more unfortunate if their was no divergence of opinion on this and other matters.
    but i will say, that a someone who has criticized by not taking the israelis to task (which is untrue and on occassion warranted) you nary say a word about the culpability of Hamas – a terrorist organization whose main charter calls for destroying israel – and its interlocutory jihadist allies.
    further, i think it’s telling that you justify the horrific 9-11 attacks with a moral equivalency. but at least you admit that atta and his monster jihadi accomplises committed the deed and not the mossad, which a popularly disseminated version of blood liable promulgated on this blog by POA, Carrol, Pauline and others.

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  6. TonyForesta says:

    Thanks for the link TokyoTom. I had not seen it, but read the article in full, and though it is a damning indictment of Israels conduct in the Gaza, and against the Palestinian people, I read nothing I did not already know.
    Many days ago on this soon to disappear thread I suggested that – {Hamas, though a pest, is not Hesbollah. The former is incapable of conducting more than harrassment on Israel, while the later is capable of inflicting real damage as 2006 proved. The longer this spectacle continues, the fewer options are left for Israel, and the more likely will be other involvements and complications.
    It may be controvesial, or even impossible considering all the intertwining politics involved, – but Israel might benefit from recognizing Hamas as the legitimate government of Palestine, and working with the more moderate elements of Hamas to achieve some kind of sustainable peace.
    It is unimaginable that the majority of the people in Gaza and the West Bank do not want some kind of sustainable peace, and real progress in establishing a legitimate Palestinian state with Israel as a legitmate neighbor.
    Israel will be forced to compromise; take down settlements, negotiate reasonable water, electricity, ingress and egress rights, and the Palestinian people will also be forced to renounce, reject, and repudiate terrorist acts as the primary means of political advancement.”
    The most intelligent response was swift from Joe who ended his commentary suggesting that Israel does not have the right to exist with the following (“ZIONISM HAS FAILED. THIS MUST BE RECOGNIZED. END ISRAEL. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS “JEWISH DEMOCRACY”. THIS IS RACISM. THERE IS ONLY ONE KIND OF DEMOCRACY, EQUAL DEMOCRACY FOR ALL.”)
    There were mostly a rain of silly insults on me personally.
    Herein lies the problem and evidence of why this horrorshow will continue. After this crisis subsides, the same fiends, zionist massmurderers in Israel, and jihadi massmurderers in Hamas will return again to the same wanton slaughter. This has been my basic point through out this thread. I make no apologies for condemnin jihadis. I also condenm zionist, evangelical christains and all fundamentalists with equal fury.
    Until moderate gain power and influence and positions of leadership in these conflicting groups, and repudiated, renounce, and reject the fundamentalist, the extremists, – there will be no peace, and innocents will continue to be slaughter because this or that god sanctions this or that freak and freak ideology to slaughter everyone who does not abide or bow to that freak group, and that freak god.
    Amen, allah be praised.

    Reply

  7. ... says:

    varanasi – we will have to agree to disagree on this.. the “cultural forces” are utilized by these same powerfully corrupted forces…it appears to be working!
    bush gov’t is a repressive gov’t, and you do have a point their.. having a repressive gov’t in power isn’t helpful..
    as someone mentioned on one of these threads, atta signed up in direct response to israels 1996 bombing of a un station where over a 100 palestinians were murdered.. it gives some light as to why militant jihadism continues to gain a foothold.. of course the IDF mass murdering palestinians is a much more recent event as well.. the IDF have been successful in doing 2 things – mass murdering palestianians and (indirectly) getting new recruits for the militant jihad movement.. it is unfortunate that this isn’t as plain as day to any thinking person.. talking with some folks like yourself and tony foresta here at twn it appears to be the case..

    Reply

  8. varanasi says:

    “varanasi – the bankers are looking for a place to make money and their is no better place then in war…”
    i disagree wholeheartedly with your premise. bankers wealth rests in the leveraging of the complex mechanics of a stable world economy and certainly not with a destabilized ME.
    clearly, the MIC is a threat and eisenhower’s last speech was prescient. BUT, as i said earlier, i believe that the current unrest in the ME – and NOT just between israel and the palestinians, but throughout the region – has more to do with historic, cultural forces, repressive governments and a growing movement of militant jihadism.
    i guess we’ll agree to disagree.

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  9. ... says:

    varanasi – the bankers are looking for a place to make money and their is no better place then in war… the justifications for war are almost always subjective in nature, but they are promoted to suggest someone is bad/evil and needs to be stopped… how does you feed a military industrial complex??? answer: make war… i see this as a very important aspect of why the globe under seige at present… war is not the answer my friend..

    Reply

  10. varanasi says:


    i’d be happy to comment, but i’m not sure what you’re saying.
    but, i don’t believe that it’s primarily the military industrial complex that is the cause of war in the ME.
    there are cultural forces at play (largely in the arab world, but also in israel) that, imo, are largely to blame.

    Reply

  11. ... says:

    bankers profit off war and need an enemy to further their goals… ever think who the latest scape goat is??? it leads right back to what i perceive as your pet peeves tony and varanasi.. i see both of your viewpoints supporting a system that thrives and profits off war.. do you ever think about that?
    tokyo tom.. thanks for the article.. i would be curious to hear tony foresta’s comments on it.. i doubt he reads it..

    Reply

  12. varanasi says:

    btw, the indian govt. just released transcripts from the cell phone calls of muslim jihadis that murdered over a hundred innocent people in mumbia.
    read “evidence 2”
    http://www.hindu.com/nic/dossier.htm
    this world-wide, armed jihadist movement must be crushed!

    Reply

  13. varanasi says:

    POA:
    but was i also right about the methamphetamine??

    Reply

  14. varanasi says:

    “there are moderates in palestine too, but i doubt i will hear you or tony foresta discussing that..”
    c’mon … of COURSE there are moderate palestinians! do we have to state the obvious?! the only reason i mentioned israeli moderates is because your post seemed to imply that there weren’t any.
    tokyotom: good piece by schlaim. thanks for posting the link. kind of proves my about about israeli moderates and dissent, huh? wish i could see the same contrary commentary and scholarship on the muslim side of the fence, but the fact of the matter is that you can’t.
    and you’re right rich and POA, I’m really not varanasi and my opinions are not my own! HAHA i’m really an jihadi and hamas apologist!
    chalk my “poor” english up the fact that i rushed a few posts and i’m very distracted by other work.

    Reply

  15. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Rich…..
    The telling aspect is when this jackass launches into his “POA, old man posting in his underwear/bathrobe” attacks. Every time he gets miffed, he goes into that venomous tirade, and the wording is almost verbatim from the last “identity” that did so. Funny how “they” always spend the majority of their rant time dismembering the Palestinians and eating them for lunch, then suddenly invoke the names of these groups such as “Peace Now”. You’d think the jackass would have the brains to change his pattern.
    Its comical, actually. The real irony to it is that I am getting on in years, and sometimes, when posting early before my shower, I am in my bathrobe. But hey, its just the mid fifties, so I ain’t decrepit yet. And I never post in my underwear. Too chilly in the morning. One of these days I’ll get around to posting naked, I suppose, but it’ll hafta be in the summer. When I do, I’ll be sure to let Varanazi know. He seems to place great importance on my posting attire, or lack, thereof.

    Reply

  16. rich says:

    “and btw, israel is a country FULL of moderates and that fact is reflected in the country’s political debate and culture. . . .
    Israeli society is also full of many organizations and citizens opposed to occupation and even the settler movement (peace now, new israel fund, etc).”
    Everybody knows this. Don’t act like Prometheus bringing us all fire.
    The democracy excuse has always been the most cowardly canard: it doesn’t work. Democracies don’t institute discriminatory and viciously oppressive policies that border on ethnic cleansing. They don’t excuse it by saying ‘hey, we’ve got a vigorous debate here! Those other guys are worse!’ It’s absurd. So there are differing political opinions. So what? That doesn’t lessen the culpability; that doesn’t excuse the inaction or the unjustifiable laws–and it doesn’t make you special.
    Frankly, the ‘multitude of dissenting voices’ and all ‘the nice people’ make Israel’s overall policies/actions even worse! It’s a further indictment–the former totally ineffectual; the latter don’t even get it, the obscenity doesn’t even register in their noggins. But let me adjust the point to clarify–I’ve always been impressed by the courage of sane Israeli dissenters, but those using that excuse to defend or mask Israel’s policies have no courage and less integrity.
    It’s easier to assign themselves moral purity and label their enemies as lesser, black-hearted regimes–repeating the same dichotomy (us/them, black/white, democracy/tyranny) that’s responsible for the entire problem. But the tactic evades the responsibility of engaging on-point to addressing the specific event/policy, or offer a constructive solution. Or build bridges to you American allies — meaning US — to apply broader political pressure at the global level. So, no points for you there, varanasi.
    It’s almost worse (as it was for us): playing politics endlessly and ad nauseum does not translate into good-faith democracy. And obviously not everybody’s on board.
    POA, did you notice varansi’s accent has changed in the last 3 or 4 posts? Other cases were never obvious to me—but the change is so sudden and obvious—the English just isnt’ as fluent. Even my good friend Golda Meier, with whom I was speaking just yesteday, noticed it.
    golda meier
    accent

    Reply

  17. TokyoTom says:

    Tony, I wonder if you and others here have considered this recent essay by Oxford professor of international relations Avi Shlaim (an Isareali who served in the IDF):
    “How Israel brought Gaza to the brink of humanitarian catastrophe”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/07/gaza-israel-palestine
    It seems a fairly balanced perspective to me; too good to miss and too long to excerpt here.

    Reply

  18. TonyForesta says:

    I had to close that post early for a family issue, but the point you continually dance away from (and you still avoid answering the simple questions, or retorting the very clear statements of positions) is that islam – all islam – must make a choice – appease and tolerate jihadist islam which is malignant, depraved, primitive, perverted, retarded, vampiric, and deserving of the merciless slaughter of every single jihadi and all those who aid and abet them on earth – or join the 21st century. This is the critical choice facing all muslims and all islam. Join the 21st century or accept your certain demise and a swift visit to your land of the prophets and 72browneyedvirgins. Freaks!!! (Freaks as in abnormal)
    If there is a peacefull or moderate islam, then those elements had better get to work condemning, rejecting, renouncing, and repudiating jihadist islam – or all your futures will be fiery death and destrucion. The ball is in the islamic court. Joint the 21st century or burn. And all your crying about innocents, and blaming every one else for you diseased and malignant teachings will be ignored and unheard.
    All jihadis’must die, and the sooner the better for civilized humanity, Palestine and all your muslim sisters and brothers. Your future is doomed to a fiery death if you align with jihadist islam.

    Reply

  19. TonyForesta says:

    The abhorant crimes of one nation do not cancel out justify the abhorant crimes of any other.
    Native American have been and are abused by America. But we do not relish in this horror, unlike the jihadis’ and progressives and moderates in our societies work very hard to right these unholy wrongs. What to progressives or moderate in islamic societies do to right the unholy wrongs of jihadist islam. NOTHING!
    The otherguydiditsoIcandoito argument is hollow and moot. Civilized people evolve. The native American populations in America though still abused are enjoying thier revenge on the Shamanazi not by rocketing innocent people or sending thier young daughters and sons strapped with explosives to kill other innocents, – but by profiting from the pathological addiction to gambling that plagues many Americans.
    I have no fear and no hatred, and you cannot impose these wild emotions upon me by falsely accusing me of feelings I do not hold and repudiate. I am only pointing out the simple math, the facts, and reality in the field. I do not wish to change other cultures. You may disturbed by the language I use, but you obviously ignore the message. The truth will set you free brother, – you might want to look into it.
    If islam wants to treat it’s women like pets, and behead young girls for showing thier elbows, and ban music and dancing, and impose sharia on your own societies, and allow young girls to burn in their schools because an elder MALE family member is not present to escort them out of the burning school – have at it. Keep your freakish religion to yourselves, but we here in America will never tolerate such freakishness and depravity. Americans even allow you to practice your freakish religion as long as you do not break our laws, (which would be all of the above). You keep dancing around this basic truth that jihadist islam is a malignant teaching. The sooner every jihadi, and all those who aid and abet them or mercilessly sent to their pipedreams of martydom and 72browneyedvirgins – the better for the rest of civilized humanty. Keep your freakish religion in you own tents, in your tribes, and out of our societies. Massmurder is illegal in civilized societies. Mysogony is not tolerated in civilized societies.

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  20. ... says:

    varanasi, i believe there are moderates in israel and i appreciate that..there are moderates in palestine too, but i doubt i will hear you or tony foresta discussing that..their is nothing moderate about the IDF murdering innocent children..the moderates are not the ones calling the shots.. that must be obvious to many including you… the rule of law in israel appears to be ‘an eye for an eye’ but in some twisted logic way whereby rockets that rarely kill israelis are responded via mass murdering of palestinians.. clearly the moderates in israel don’t have much of any a say in the mass murders the IDF is involved in..israel in spite of their control of the news channels have another black eye over their actions at present among those who know how to think for themselves without the aid of a television set…
    charles krauthammer has long ago been completely discredited.. anyone who reads him is wasting their time, or open to having their brain massaged by bs.. this was on of the armchair warrior architects for the iraq war.. he probably still is!
    tony… recall the indigenous people of north america that had to be converted to christianity? some folks like yourself it seems would like to do the same with muslims in other parts of the world that you feel are backward… in fact it’s the shadow of your own backwardness that scares you and motivates your deep sense of fear and hatred.. anyone who feels they need to change other cultures would fall into this category and in particular to you tony based on the comments in your posts…
    hold an inquisition on yourself and let me know how it goes!!!

    Reply

  21. TonyForesta says:

    Moderates in Irsael in America and all over the world including the Red Cross, and UN Security Counsel are stepping and condemning the slaughter of innocent Palestinians. Each one of these groups also condemns the Hamas rocket attacks. All these moderates in Irsael, America, and beyond are all calling for an immediate ceasefire and new negotiations.
    The difference, and it is the CRITICAL difference you refuse to address – and none of you slime flingers have bothered to answer any of the simple questions or respond to any of the statemenst or claims with more than Israelisevil jibberish – is that Israel being a civilized nation with civilized human beings will eventually curb the IDF, end the siege, and quit the bombing in the Gaza. There will also be investigations into the unlawful killing of innocents. Hamas massmurderers on the otherhand will never quit thier futile attacks and pathological lust for innocent blood, be it Israeli or Palestinian, and will glorify the innocents slaughtered and Hamas massmurderers as martyrs doing allahs will. Freaks!!!
    You can’t see the difference because you don’t want to acknowledge the simple truth that if Hamas quits the rocket attacks, the IDF will stop the bombing.
    From there, a long and arduous process of negotiation must work in concert with all relavtive parties to resolve this conflict. But as long as Hamas continues it’s futile ineffective, impotent and cowardly jihadi massmurder operations, – this horrorshow will reanimate after this bloody spectacle subsides in another year or two when Israel moderates tire of being terrorized and/or rocketed.
    Freaks!

    Reply

  22. varanasi says:

    check this out , POA, charles krauthammer is a zionist pig with dual loyalties.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/08/AR2009010802993.html?sub=AR
    every word he writes is a lie

    Reply

  23. varanasi says:

    “Yet this jackass Varanasi thinks that his long litany of anti-palestinian spew and hatred, as exibited on this thread, is superceded by one token reference to “Peace Now”, and that somehow we will view him as “moderate” now.”
    you are so over-the-top insane. you really do live up to your name, but why don’t you add the word “stupid” in there as well 🙂

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  24. varanasi says:

    i love it!
    and so now i should be forced to defend that i am real! haha!
    beautiful!
    BOO 🙂

    Reply

  25. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The jackass treats us to a hundred or so far right Israeli bullshit posts in regards to the Isr/Pal conflict, then, after the thread is 300 some odd, he puts in one small reference to “Peace Now”. Then, claims to have “worked with them”.
    Anyone remember this EXACT SAME PATTERN from two or three prior posters here?
    Varanasi is as fake as a three dollar bill. If he subscribed to the ideologies of the Peace Now crowd, we would have known it within three posts, and his whole approach to this issue would have been completely different.
    Then the blathering ass says “but, i’m sure the haters on this blog will deny this reality as well”
    Well, I can’t think of any other poster on this blog that has been more vocal about, (and linked to more often) “Peace Now”, and “Americans for Peace Now”, than I have. There has been nary a week that has gone by when I have not found an excuse to link to the “Peace Now” website. Yet this jackass Varanasi thinks that his long litany of anti-palestinian spew and hatred, as exibited on this thread, is superceded by one token reference to “Peace Now”, and that somehow we will view him as “moderate” now.

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  26. varanasi says:

    ok, so i guess you don’t think there any moderate israelis or a multitude of progressive israeli non-govt. orgs??
    the facts don’t at all support your argument, but you are entitled to your opinion.
    be well.

    Reply

  27. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “that people would be less certain of themselves and their opinions and more open to and respectful of different perspectives”
    What a pile of supercilious bullshit that is coming from you.

    Reply

  28. varanasi says:

    thanks, …
    my other new years wish is that you adopt a new handle! 😉
    and btw, israel is a country FULL of moderates and that fact is reflected in the country’s political debate and culture. although sizable protests haven’t occurred yet with this latest gaza war, they certainly have in the past.
    Israeli society is also full of many organizations and citizens opposed to occupation and even the settler movement (peace now, new israel fund, etc). i know because i have worked with many of them.
    i was speaking today with my close friend, rashid khalidi (who also wrote a good op-ed in today’s NYT) and he told me i must see the new israeli film “walts with bashar” which is a critical look at israel’s ill conceive 1982 invasion of lebanon. think you’ll find any popular film in iran, which damns the mullahs and jihadists? answer: you won’t because the director and actors would be killed. hell, these damn jihadists kill over cartoons!!!!
    dare i say that this israeli freedom of speech, assembly and protest along with the established and effective non profit, social welfare system which is fighting for palestinian rights and against many israeli govt. policies is not matched ANYWHERE in the arab world.
    but, i’m sure the haters on this blog will deny this reality as well. oh well. israel and jews are evil incarnate to many. always have been and always will be. it’s too bad that while many arabs are busy criticizing israelis in every respect their own countries and economies are crumbling at their feet.

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  29. ... says:

    varanasi – i like your new years wish!
    tony foresta- if there are moderates in the country presently called israel they need to step up and be heard as the IDF’s actions are speaking quite loudly over just who the mass murderers are and it ain’t hamas.. and as i have pointed out repeatedly israel was responsible for creating hamas… don’t let some dirty facts get in your way though, as you haven’t yet…

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  30. TonyForesta says:

    Excellent commentary pauline.
    Obviously none of the detractors here bothered to read the Hamas charter. Nor did anyone bother to answer the simple question relating to what contribution has any islamic society offered to the community of nations other than teaching their children to strap on explosives to blow up innocent people, or attack innocent people in markets, train stations, restraunts, and hotels with AK-47’s and hand grenades. Please name one single decent or usable product or service any islamic nation has offered to the community of nations in one hundred years?
    I am tragically correct about the fascists in the bushgov as any cursory examination of history and the catastrophic facts and realities of events in the field glaringly prove.
    I am also right about Hamas and islam in general. Though you and others may take offense Paul Norheim to my language and the message, – neither you, nor anyone else answers any of the simple questions or offers any counter or meaningful retort other than sliming me personally and flinging a bunch of silly insults.
    Hamas charter proves they are jihadi freaks and will never work for peace in Palestine with Israel. What choice then does Israel have to protect its citizens and the state of Israel.
    Now all the world is calling for a truce, and as I said very early on, after much wailing and gnashing of teeth, both sides will eventually shoulder their weapons for another day, but nothing will really change in the Gaza.
    By the way, look up the word freak, compare with the insane bloodthirsty teachings of jihadi’s and all the jihadi massmurder gangs, – and get back to me. I choose the word with specific intent to best describe thier malignant ideologies and behavior. It may disturb your morning coffee, but the term is accurate and correct, and until anyone here provides some counter or specific response other than flinging silly insults at me, the statements and descriptions remain uncontested.
    Of course none of can answer the question, or respond to the statement, and none of you even dare to enter into a discussion, – not because I am stupid, or simple, or biggoted, or racist or any other silly meaningless insult flung at me, – but because, I am right and you know it, and refuse to admit it.
    I never said Israel is sinless in this horrible conflict, and have repeatedly made the point that blood is on all our hands. But in order for their to be any progress, something must change.
    The crippling flaw in the anti-Israel approaches, is they hold the delusion that Israel will someday NOT exist. This insanity prevents any progress, and continually buttresses support for a massmurdering jihadi gang that is perfectly willing to see it’s own people slaughtered in a fruitless impotent and religiously rooted pipedream of eliminating Israel. It’s insane, and the real stupidity on this thread, and in this conflict.
    If there is a moderate Hamas, or moderate islame, – they need to step up and be heard, and reject the massmurderers in their midst, and find the courage to seek means of effecting their political objectives that do not involve sending thier own children strapped with explosives to kill other children or the relatively ineffective firing of rockets into Israel.
    If not, then two years from now or sooner, this same horrible nightmare will be repeated, and we will all gather together again to hash out these same positions.

    Reply

  31. varanasi says:

    my new years wish:
    that people would be less certain of themselves and their opinions and more open to and respectful of different perspectives.

    Reply

  32. ... says:

    paul – my sentiments as well regarding tony f..
    varanasi – i think it’s the longest thread as it is something happening in this very moment.. innocent people are being mass murdered by the IDF while a much smaller number have been murdered by the hamas.. that fact is lost on propagandists like tony foresta who mistakenly believe they are able to see the bigger picture when in fact they are unable to see the present picture, let alone the bigger picture..
    tony, your questions are loaded with so many built in assumptions that they don’t allow for a direct answer.. but then i guess that is why you state when asked directly if you are being paid for your propaganda you state “Tragically no, whoeveryouare, I don’t get paid.”
    it’s tragic that you can’t find someone in the israel propaganda bureau that can’t support your knee jerk habit of trying to sway intelligent thinking people to believe any of the bs… however they probably recognize how your posts achieve the exact opposite of their intended goals.. anyone who reads your posts recognize a complete lack of detachment on these issues under discussion here by you specifically… and for the record, the tragedy is in your failure to recognize anything in all of the comments here that would open you up to what is going on at present… either you can’t, or an unable to see any of it for what it is… the IDF are mass murdering people and you want to talk about how it is all the muslim worlds fault..
    i am sure you have justified the mass murdering in iraq in a similar manner..

    Reply

  33. varanasi says:

    i wonder if this has become the longest thread in TWN history?
    i haven’t been a regular here, but i don’t think i’ve seen any longer.

    Reply

  34. rich says:

    Nick Kristof nails it:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/08/opinion/08kristof.html?hp
    The Gaza Boomerang
    By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
    At a time when Israel is bombing Gaza to try to smash Hamas, it’s worth remembering that Israel itself helped nurture Hamas.
    When Hamas was founded in 1987, Israel was mostly concerned with Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement and figured that a religious Palestinian organization would help undermine Fatah. Israel calculated that all those Muslim fundamentalists would spend their time praying in the mosques, so it cracked down on Fatah and allowed Hamas to rise as a counterforce.
    What we’re seeing in the Middle East is the Boomerang Syndrome. Arab terrorism built support for right-wing Israeli politicians, who took harsh actions against Palestinians, who responded with more terrorism, and so on. Extremists o.n each side sustain the other, and the excessive Israeli ground assault in Gaza is likely to create more terrorists in the long run.
    . . .
    This policy is not strengthening Israel,” notes Sari Bashi, the executive director of Gisha, an Israeli human rights group that works on Gaza issues. “The trauma that 1.5 million people have been undergoing in Gaza is going to have long-term effects for our ability to live together.
    . . .
    Israel’s strategy has been to make ordinary Palestinians suffer in hopes of creating ill will toward Hamas. That’s why, beginning in 2007, Israel cut back fuel shipments for Gaza utilities — and why today, in the aftermath of the bombings, 800,000 Gaza residents lack running water, Ms. Bashi said.
    “The Israeli policy on Gaza has been marketed as a policy against Hamas, but in reality it’s a policy against a million-and-a-half people in Gaza,” she said.
    . . .
    Instead, initial reports are that the assault on Gaza is focusing Arab anger on Mr. Abbas and moderate neighbors like Jordan, undermining the peacemakers.
    My courageous Times colleague in Gaza, Taghreed el-Khodary, quoted a 37-year-old father weeping over the corpse of his 11-year-old daughter: “From now on, I am Hamas. I choose resistance.”
    –end quote–

    Reply

  35. pauline says:

    Someone sent me this with no sourcing, but I thought the comments relevant to this topic.
    “Making Hamas into a unique demon is pure propaganda. They owe their slim power to two things: the untold misery of life in the Palestinian territories, which fans rebellion at its most extreme, and the sufferance of Israel and the Arab world, together who could bypass Hamas and reach meaningful accords without them. If both parties, with the help of the U.S., went on with the business of peace, Hamas would prove manageable in the short run and would disappear in the long run.
    But no form of Islamic extremism will end until moderate Muslims stand up for their religion. The rich Arab countries feel that they can afford to bribe the terrorists to leave them alone, or to suppress them with secret police and the army should they get out of hand. Poor Muslim countries have little ability to cure the endemic poverty and ignorance that is the seedbed of terrorism. The only solution is long-term and self-generated. No one can extirpate extremism from without. The U.S. and its global allies can only police the problem for the foreseeable future.
    It’s a sobering development in our own society that the religious right was able for almost thirty years to leverage its intolerance into power — and a deep shame that so-called moderate Republicans enabled them. So we cannot afford to be self-righteous in this matter. The burden of a civilized society is to tolerate the intolerant. There are limits, of course, and Hamas pushes against those limits outrageously. The undeniable fact is that Israel is seen by the entire Arab world as an extension of European imperialism. The West created Israel by fiat in 1948 without consulting the Arabs. That insult fuels long-held resentments about their own colonial past in many countries. For this there is no outside cure, either. Islam is being used to justify eternal grudges, and not just by the extremists.
    In the end, every religion must tend to its own beliefs. Thirty years ago the West was caught off guard when the Shah of Iran, a symbol of modernized, Western-facing progress, was overwhelmed by the tide of anti-modernist, Western-hating reactionaries. We have never recovered from that shock, nor have we remotely solved the problem. The West marches on. India and China join in. But Islam massively holds out for an anti-future, and it can back up its medieval delusions with oil riches and suicide martyrs. This is the prevailing situation that’s being handled globally while we wait for Muslims to find their own tipping point in favor of a realistic tomorrow instead of fatal nostalgia for the past.”

    Reply

  36. Paul Norheim says:

    The context of the first quote made abundantly clear what was
    perhaps not so clear in the isolated quote: While Israel is
    systematically destroying the Gaza strip after starving the
    population and denying them access to medicines, employment,
    electricity, etc. etc. etc. for months, TonyF finds it appropriate to
    air his opinion that the Palestinian people has not been a viable
    contributor and peaceful contributor in the community of nations.
    I have no idea who said it first, nor the exact words, but it`s
    something about being right but not having the right to say it… If
    you ask me, TonyForesta may well be right in his rants against
    the “fascists in the Bushgov” etc. etc., but he`s certainly lost his
    right to say it.

    Reply

  37. Paul Norheim says:

    Well, you may all argue that I don`t HAVE TO read things that
    irritate or provoke me, I could just skip it and see if the next
    commenter is reasonable, instead of complaining and ranting
    against stupidity.
    Tony Foresta`s homespun worldview and “theory” that evil
    stems from “the mass murders” (solution: kill them) are among
    those things that definitely should not be allowed to spoil my
    morning coffee, if not for the fact that his emotionally charged
    prose is all over the place and hard to ignore.
    After waking up with the worrying news of rockets fired back
    and forth between Lebanon and Israel, threatening to escalate
    the war, the smell of this garbage from TonyF (the post above)
    was what annoyed me when I scanned TWN for the latest
    comments on the issue:
    “The difference in this conflict is whose nation, or people are a
    viable contributor and peaceful participant in the community of
    nations and whose nation, or people is not.
    The truth and the facts of that question are glaringly clear and
    obvious. Israel contributes to the community of nations (…)”
    “…what contribution has any muslim country offered to the rest
    of humanity in 100 years outside of sending their own children
    strapped with explosives to slaughter other peoples children
    and oil which the west is responsible for discovering, refining,
    innovating, and distributing.”
    Anyone bigoted, tasteless and stupid enough to beat that on
    this monster tread so full of bigoted, tasteless and stupid
    statements?

    Reply

  38. TonyForesta says:

    Tragically no, whoeveryouare, I don’t get paid. “I am (merely)the voice of one crying in the wilderness.” Any purposefull attack on civilians and particularly children is abhorant, inhuman and should be condemned and any civilized society, nation, or human being.
    The global community of civilized nations, including Israel will rigthfully condemn IDF actions if there is found to be any intentional targeting of civilians. But war is war. Bad things happen in the chaos of war. And before you propagandists for jihad, or anyone else starts flinging meaningless insulst at me, and calling me a warmonger or simple or racists, – which I am not – recognize that the IDF’s mission is to take down Hamas – all of them – allah be praised. Citizen soldiers of the IDF are tasked with missions to take out hamas. Hamas soldiers have their assignments and missions. The difference in this conflict is whose nation, or people are a viable contributor and peaceful participant in the community of nations and whose nation, or people is not.
    The truth and the facts of that question are glaringly clear and obvious. Israel contributes sto the community of nations, jihadis offer nothing but hatred and bloodlust.
    If the cowards in Hamas choose to launch morters or rockets in the vicinity of their own civilian populations with the full knowledge that Israel is at war with them, then who is really to blame when the IDF strikes at threats. Just as the US is rightfully condemned by civilized people everywhere including here in the land of Oz when our brilliant weapons slaughter a wedding party in Afghanistan, or when our troops kill innocents in Iraq, – so the IDF is held to the same standard in Palestine.
    The difference you are seemingly incapable of recognizing is the people in America, and the people is Israel do not want, and will not accept our militaries intentionally targeting civilians. You and your jihadi freaks glorify in the slaughter of innocents, even your own muslim brothers and sisters in the name of mohamed or allah.
    Therein lies the critical difference between your freakish religion and the rest of civilized humanity. The rest of civilized humanity recognizes that killing innocent and especially children is wrong, abhorant, depraved and the sign of truly ill and malignant minds – your side glorifies in the slaughter of even your own people and your own children as allahs will.
    All Hamas threats will be hit by the IDF, and I personally fully support that action. All Hamas strongholds, caches, networks, assets, operators, tunnels, systems and individuals are clearly and in my personal opinion justified targets in the IDF’s effort to force Hamas to quit rocketing Israel. The entire civilized world should and evenutally will, as your massmurdering hordes continue pursuing the insane malignant delusions of jihadists islam work in concert to eliminate every single jihadi massmurderer and all those who aid and abet them on the planet.
    As many sources on this thread point out and the facts and reality prove, even other Arab nations lay the blame for this crisis on the massmurderers and cowards of Hamas. If Hamas wants peace, or any progress for the Palestinian people – Hamas must quit raining rockets (however ineffective they may be) on Israel. It’s that simple. If the rockets stop, the IDF will stop. Now the future then for Palestine is to reject the massmurdering leadership of hamas, join the 21st century, and begin the much more difficult intellectual work of establishing an indepedent Palestine and actually governing.
    Succumbing to the insanity and futility of victimhood, and massmurder will prevent the Palestinian people from ever enjoying either peace or autonomy, let alone prosperity. First, the jihadi freaks must be universally rejected, renounced, repudiated, and preferrable killed. Then Palestinians must begin the much more difficult work of establishing a viable nation. Israel who you hate pathologically accomplished this very work. The people of Israel worked to build a nation, a society that participates peacefully and productively in the community of nations. Answer the simple question whoever you are, – what have jihadis contributed to humanity but the depraved lust for blood and massmurder.
    I double dare you.
    Riddle me this whoeveryouare – what contribution has any muslim country offered to the rest of humanity in 100 years outside of sending their own children strapped with explosives to slaughter other peoples children and oil which is the west is responsible for discovering, refining, innovating, and distributing.
    You and all of your jihadi freaks dodge this simple question, because the answer is clearly -nothing. ZERO. All you want is blood and war. If you truly desire a place for islam in the community of nations, then contribute something beyond massmurder, racism, and hatred as religious decree.

    Reply

  39. TokyoTom says:

    Steve, I’m not sure ANYONE can “impose” a solution on Israel or Hamas. I for one am ready to stop subsidizing this nonsense, not only for the purpose of disclaiming American responsibility and complicity for ramping up ethnic and religious tensions, but also to make Israeli politicians (and Egyptian and Palestinian leaders) bear a little more of the responsibility for their own actions.
    Of course politicans will continue to love to fight and to sell conflict to their citizens, as POA points out, but they’ll have to tax their own people to fund their conflicts.

    Reply

  40. ... says:

    tony foresta offering excuses for the IDF’s mass murdering… >>Though the IDF is far from sinless, – they are forced into this never ending conflict by a malignant and freakish religion that is sworn to destroy the state of Israel.<< i wouldn’t want to be an apologist for either side, but tony appears ready to be a propagandist for the IDF… tell me tony, are you getting paid to post your one sided bs??

    Reply

  41. rich says:

    Yigal Palmor admits Hamas did not fire mortars from within the school, saying they were fired “from the vicinity.” There goes your theory, varanasi. Even Palmor can’t bring himself to assert Hamas was within the school, fudging as fast as he can with weasel-words “from within the vicinity” to mislead and confuse the issue. He just doesn’t know.
    Chris Gunness from the UN stated unequivocally there were no militants and no mortars launched from the school. The UN investigation interviewed eyewitnesses and UNRA is 99.9% sure NO Hamas militants were in the school. Palmor admitted any militants were ‘in the vicinity’, refusing to say there were in the school compound. The IDF is showing old photos from another incident.
    http://video.aol.com/partner/cnn/gaza-school-strike-disputed/world:2009:01:07:sweeney:gaza:school:debate/?icid=VIDURVNWS10

    Reply

  42. rich says:

    varanasi @ 3:42PM —
    I should really offer you some background information, as it looks like I have you at a disadvantage of sorts.
    I have happily and persistently defended Israel on this forum, as anyone can attest. I’ve adamantly defended their right to defend themselves, and insisted on their right to exist. Israel hardly needs my approval, which is a good thing and obviously necessary, considering.
    So let me acknowledge something, here if I may. Perhaps I hopped on you too quickly. Perhaps I read too much into an awkwardly composed sentence. Maybe I made explicit certain implications that you hadn’t thought a lot about. Obviously I’ve gotten under your skin–which I regret.
    It’s possible I’ve gotten it all wrong. Perhaps you’re a really even-keeled guy, who applies an even-handed logic by weighing the evidence from all sides and walking a mile in the other guy’s moccasins.
    But when challenged, what did you do in response? Instead of pondering the point, you upped the ante. You could’ve rephrased, or explained where you stood, but instead you embraced even more outrageous positions using still more visceral language. And you haven’t backed away from any of it. Rather than renounce the tactic or even consider a little self-examination, you attacked me personally.
    Instead of weighing the impact of your language and the purposes to which it’s been put, historically and today–literally, today–we got more fingerpointing. No one said Hamas is without sin. That wasn’t at issue.
    You should know I’ve always been obligated to challenge those anti-Israel ideologues stoke the fire of anti-Israel bigotry, and who ignore the arc of history that’s led to current circumstances. Longtime readers know I have never joined in the frequent Israel-bashing here–or even plunged into that particular discussion.
    Though I identified the behavior, varanasi, I certainly never called you names. Even though you’ve been quite open about excusing, labeling and dehumanizing, we all know more coded language enables the same abuses. Egg on the cycle of violence if you wish, barely-concealed or not, but be aware that calling you on it does not cross the line. Crying victim does not make it so.

    Reply

  43. H. Agonistes says:

    A pro-Hizbullah newspaper said, “Israel would be satisfied with a compromise, but the Arab regimes want to finish Hamas completely.” It’s probably right. Israeli leaders define victory as a weakened and humbled Hamas that will halt all the attacks, honor a cease-fire and accept international supervision. Hamas, on the other hand, will declare a great victory simply if its leadership is still breathing.
    Egyptian, Jordanian, Saudi and Palestinian Authority leaders know this is a proxy war with Iran, and Israel is on their side. Some day they may even find the courage to say so publicly.
    They hate Iran more than they hate Israel.

    Reply

  44. TonyForesta says:

    Read this unmitigated pile of religious ignorance and biggotry, racism, blind hatred, and bloodlust and insanity http://www.palestinecenter.org/cpap/documents/charter.html whoeveryouare and weep.
    There is no hope of peace with the Hamas massmurderers.
    There is culpability and responsibility on all sides as I have stated countless, but NOT equal. Hamas, and all the jihadist freaks are pathological massmurderers who proselytize are malignant religion that glorifies blood, and calls on all its followers to war against everyone who does not succumb to their insane and malignant delusions and freakish perverted religious beliefs.
    Though the IDF is far from sinless, – they are forced into this neverending conflict by a malignant and freakish religion that is sworn to destroy the state of Israel.
    Israel exists, and will continue to exists, and contributes to global community in many productive and innovative ways, (particularly high tech products and services). Outside of massmurder as religious mandate and oil, (which the west, and America in particular are responsible for discovering, refining, innovating and distributing), – what contribution has islam made to the global communty in the last hundred years.
    Your freakish ideologies of a global islamic caliphate, perverted mysgonistic society, the insantiy of sharia, the preeminance of mohamed, are wild delusions, – the putrid malignancy of sick and primitive minds thirsting for blood and war – and doomed to a fiery end.
    Keep your freakish religion to yourselves and stay out of our societies. If you truly want peace, learn to accept the certain fact that your freakish religion will never be accepted or tolerated in civilized societies, or anywhere in the west and certainly nowhere America, because you teach and glorify massmurder as religious dictate. Practice your flagelation mysgony, and other primitive freakish nonesense in your own lands and forget ever hoping for a global islamic caliphate.
    Since you will starve by refusing to join the 21st century and civilized humanity, you will be forced to deal with various elements of the west. We have the right to live in peace, and if killing all the massmurderers of jihadist islam necesary to achieve that peace – then so be it.
    The choice is yours. Join the 21st century and civilized humanity or suffer the certain and fiery consequences.
    Calling me a warmonger is idiotic and ignorant. Can’t you fools read? I reject war and am only point out and stating the obvious though quite hideous and monstrous truth.
    The, west and I particularly do not seek war with islam. It is islam that seeks and is prosecuting war on the west and by proxy on me. In this war, many already have and more will suffer but by far the greater numbers of dead and mangled, allah be praised will be muslim.

    Reply

  45. ... says:

    mass murderers like the leadership of the IDF and israeli politicians…yes, but you neglected to mention that.. tony, until you acknowledge both sides equal culpability and responsibility in the mass murdering, i will have to continue to point it out to you…

    Reply

  46. TonyForesta says:

    I said the leadership of Hamas should be mercilessly killed. I doubt all the innocent people of Palestine are happy with Hamas tactics now.
    I also said and I agree with you that evangelical christians are born of the same depraved cloth as the jihaidists, and that all the fundamentalists regardly of the flavor book prophet or flag are the bane of humanity and malignant.
    The huge difference is that evangelical christains and zionests(freaks though they are) do not teach their five year olds that it is thebabyjesus’ will to kill all nonjews, muslims, and nonevangelicals. And evangelical christian and zionist parents to not stoop the the lowest level of depravity by glorifying the martyrdom of their own children and actually encouragin their own children to strap on bombs to go kill other children. It is the jihadist parents alone, and the jihadist imams that stoop to this depraved malignant insanity. While the evangelic and zionist freaks are indeed retarded, and malignant – the jihadist are even more nefarious glorifying in the slaughter of their own children.
    Another huge difference is that outside of the gop, the majority of America, and most Israeli’s renounce and reject the evangelical and zionist klans and thier malignant teaching. Moderate or peaceful islam (if such a thing exists) and I mean it’s leaders, its clerics ayathollahs, and imams are numbingly silent to the depravitiy and malignancy of the jihadist massmurderers, because of rank fear, or stealthy complicity, – and so culpable.
    The problem with this horrible conflict, and why it will never change, and why there will never be any peace, is that massmurderers are in positions of leadership, and massmurderers do not care about their own people or any people. Massmurderers seek and bath in blood. Blood is all massmurderers relish and worship. All these fiends must be mercilessly hunted and killed, excoriated from the body human as would be any putrid malignant cancer.

    Reply

  47. varanasi says:

    save your keystrokes, rich. you’re a bad actor with a bias every bit as big as your bogeyman israel. i see no point in debating you, especially since you’ve already labeled me a nazi and a bigot.
    but, i am still curious about what your direct experience is with the ME, hamas and militant jihadsim. you seem to present yourself as an expert on these matters.
    or like many americans is your self-perceived expertise based upon the “knowledge” you’ve gained sitting in front of your television and PC?

    Reply

  48. rich says:

    varanasi @ 2:54PM
    “have you ever been to asia? where? do you speak any language other than english?”
    I’m not the issue here, varanasi. Where is your response to the issues raised?
    You repeat a well-worn pattern. Attacking us rather than grappling with the hard facts says a lot about how you handle difficult issues and life in the real world.
    Try to keep on-topic. A sincere response would be appreciated. Again, you protesteth too much–and that’s telling. I’ll grant that the internet is an imperfect medium. It’s easy to write carelessly or too bluntly or without nuance–and just as easy to over-interpret and jump to conclusions. That doesn’t explain your unwillingness to clarify, expand your thoughts, re-phrase your prior statements–or acknowledge when you’ve been bested and your interlocutors have a reasonable point.

    Reply

  49. rich says:

    Methinks you protest too much, varanasi. It’s very telling.
    I’ve asked for some even-handedness and human decency, and haven’t, unlike yourself, stooped to name-calling.
    re “you seem to be imlplying that jihadist palestinians and others muslim militants haven’t used schools and hospitals as staging grounds for war?” — that’s incorrect. Let me remind you: I stated there is NO proof Hamas had staged mortars from that school; the evidence before us indicates Israeli spokesmen lie hour-in and hour-out about every event; and that under the defensive circumstances it hardly justifies indiscriminate bombing of a civilian population.
    Again, you revert to fingerpointing rather than calling Israel on bombing a school full of civilians, rather than admitting the bombing is wrong–and that it is a war crime.
    I’ve proven on this thread Israeli PR is a stream of continual lies: see the CNN report on Israel’s ramming the relief boat. Israel broke the cease-fire 153 times, killing 36 Palestinians. That’s the provocation. As long as Hamas is trying to break the blockade, they have a casus belli for war, and for the rockets. As long as you point fingers, they have every right to self-defense.
    Now you want to pretend it’s possible to overlook 111 dead Palestinian children and counting, and Israel’s continuing war crimes against a population of very limited military means. What you seem to be saying is ‘all’s fair in war’. But doesn’t that go double for the nation faced with extinction here?? Palestine is starving, blockaded, denied God-given liberty and their right to self-determination–of course they’ll fight with every means at their disposal. Even if they had launched a few pathetic mortars from the school, so what? They were defending their families. Nothing justifies Israel’s response. NOthing.
    Given what we know, you’ll have to prove it. Further, prior actions — that, in your words — at some points OTHER “jihadist palestinians and others muslim militants” HAD “used schools and hospitals and staging grounds” hardly justifies bombing a school IN THIS instance. UN or otherwise. If true, it’s their only option. Israel has choices, and the power to exercise them–and that makes all the difference.
    ***
    varnasi, rather than attacking us personally, why don’t you offer up a solution? What do YOU think Israel can do to open up the way to peace?
    What can Israel do to stop the scene below from playing out again? Don’t you have a drop of empathy?

    “He talks of a boy he treated five years ago. Grappling in the dark after his house was hit in an air strike on a Hamas militant next door, he felt something wet.
    “He realised it was the flesh of his sister who was blown into pieces. He was in such a state. He couldn’t eat or smell meat for three years after that. I am sure he will suffer some kind of long-term psychological impact.”

    varanasi, we have yet to hear your response tgo this.
    Can’t you spare a single word to humanize the ‘collateral damage’, to admit the trauma? What DO you think of the impact on the under-15 crowd? On the souls of those allied with the forces of Hamas? We know Hezbollah won strong citizen support because they defended families, educated people, built things. Hamas is simply defending their families, breaking the blockade, fighting for their very survival. As long as that’s true, they have the upper hand. All Israel’s bombs will fall to earth and kill to no effect, their planes will have the power of houseflies, and their tanks will be as nothing.
    It’s just not the way.

    Reply

  50. ... says:

    varanasi.. fair enough.. poa goes over the line and is harsh in his communication style but i find he always has a point and i tend to ignore his manner of delivery and concentrate on the main message he is trying to convey.. i don’t know if he gets a free pass, but many tend to ignore his delivery and concentrate on the content or thrust of his comments.. often times i find myself agreeing with him, even though he gets poor marks for being diplomatic. in the end if being civilized is just a mask for screwing others, which i have found to sometimes be the case, then why concentrate on the style of delivery, but why not get to the meat of what someone is trying to suggest?? well… that is what i try to do..
    oero and milk.. thanks for your additional comments and i appreciate your unique perspective.. it is valuable and refreshing to have a different view then the westernized one we are always exposed to… keep posting as i am curious to hear more of your thoughts/insights..
    busy and am signing off for the day.. all the best to everyone –

    Reply

  51. varanasi says:

    hmm… rich must be composing another 500 word diatribe.
    here’s another few questions for you, rich:
    have you ever been to asia? where? do you speak any language other than english?

    Reply

  52. varanasi says:

    rich wrote:
    “It should be no problem to clarify, to say what you really feel. ”
    you’re an insincere imbecile, rich, with as much if not more bias than anyone.
    you seem to be imlplying that jihadist palestinians and others muslim militants haven’t used schools and hospitals as staging grounds for war? is this what you really believe?
    if so, you’re a fool.

    Reply

  53. Oreo_and_Milk says:

    Reply to the poster “…”,
    “oreo and milk- you have offered nothing positive since coming to this thread, but have offered mostly hate for your fellow arabs.. that would seem counter productive as well.. clearly the arabs aren’t saints, but then neither are any the others in this world… ”
    For what it’s worth I’m Persian, not Arab.
    Anyway, HATE? If an American liberal lived in a deeply conservative and religous town in the south and hated their intolerance and ignorance, would you call what he says HATE? I’m guessing no, but self-criticism seems to be something reserved for westerners – only they can do it.
    Other cultures are only caricatures examined relative to the liberal/conservative war and any reality is adjusted to reflect your agenda. To liberals, there can be nothing wrong with them and it’s all the fault of history, and the other way for conservatives.

    Reply

  54. rich says:

    See, Paul, this is why I was spot-on to nail the rhetoric and the import of varanasi’s language:
    varanasi,
    “nizar rayan and other armed jihadists of his ilk are WORSE than rabid dogs.”
    Rather than own up and ante up, varanasi extends his extremism and doubles down on the bigotry.
    Note well. varanasi has not distanced himself from the language he’s used. varanasi has not dis-associated himself from more visceral language others use to justify the same positions. Nor has varanasi retracted his statements or even adjusted his positions. Instead, he’s embraced the very dogma he claims to protest.
    Thing is, If I were wrong, varnasi would simply say what he really meant, and where he really stood. varnasi could clarify his position and adjust his words at any time. He’s never made a move to retract a statement or say he went too far. If I were wrong, he would’ve conceded that he didn’t want to go there after all, and assert a different position that suited his true beliefs.
    But he didn’t. Instead, varanasi accused hamas of firing mortars from the UN school. He reverted to form, fingerpointing instead of taking responsiblity by holding Israeli actions to account. Instead of conceding the war crime underway, he claimed civilians would die more humanely under a bombing–and then ran away when presented with the real evidence. He’s never made an attempt to hold Israeli extremists to the same standard.
    Where is varanasi’s courage? At long last, is there no decency?
    We see varanasi’s reaction to my honest assessment: “nizar rayan and other armed jihadists of his ilk are WORSE than rabid dogs.” Yet varanasi STILL says nothing about the 111 dead Palestinian children bombed by the Almighty Israeli Air Force; varanasi STILL says nothing to distinguish ‘hamas forces’ from those ‘less-innocent’ souls; varanasi still has but glib regrets and no shame at all about killing the children of men who sought to defend their homes and families. ‘But, hey, it must be all right! Hamas fired mortars from that school.’ Though everything we know says that’s a lie — it’s still clearly a defensive action by those attempting to break a siege — which is a casus belli by Israel’s own definition. So the mortars cannot justify bombing a school and killing 40 civilians. varanasi! No fact or event will help you out of the hole you’ve dug yourself into. Yet you keep digging.
    I’ve been very accurate about varanasi’s language, and its implications–and have merely spelled out the meaning and import of his thought process. No need, Paul, to dress things up or hijack anything: varanasi’s been quite explicit about where he stands. It’s a pity you don’t have the courage to be even-handed.
    If I’m wrong, varanasi, it should be no trouble to restate your assertions. It should be no problem to clarify, to say what you really feel.

    Reply

  55. varanasi says:

    (…):
    “”if you don’t have something positive to offer..”” that is how the saying goes and i know i can use it as a reminder as much as anyone else..”
    what about POAsshole? he seems to be some kind of hero around here and i NEVER see anyone call him on his bile.
    as for rich, as paul says, why should i respond to his outright lies and misrepresentations of what i’ve said?? why should i defend opinions which are clearly not mine?? i’ve tried to set the record straight several times and rich isn’t listening. he’s spinning out of control in some sort of echo chamber.
    finally, i’m not sure who you are or what you think, but imo, being labeled a nazi is a far worse than being called an asshole.

    Reply

  56. varanasi says:

    thanks again, paul.
    i’m in the business of engaging and debating divergent opinions. i am the product a brahmin/muslim marriage. i am no stranger to conflict, idological, cultural or otherwise.
    but, i have never been assaulted and had my character assassinated by others the way i have in this thread.
    thanks for pointing out the obvious and calling rich out on his lies and BS insinuations and innuendos.

    Reply

  57. ... says:

    tony foresta.. the blind spot in your rationalizations is according to israel if you belong to hamas that makes you guilty and worthy of being murdered! no mention that israel were responsible for starting hamas, or that hamas is a democratically elected gov’t… it sheds new light on just who the terrorists are! now, don’t think about that too much as it would require a different reflex then you appear capable of…keep on swallowing what the huge propaganda machine set in motion by israel keeps on telling you.. for that, no thinking is required…
    varanasi, i think it would be rewarding to stay positive and skip responding to others if that is your inclination.. however varanasi i have to say i am disappointed in the fact you seem intent on highlighting the negative, but not accentuating the positive… rich has communicated in a thoughtful direct manner asking for clarification on some of your talking points.. you have chosen to ignore this and go on a very unfriendly attack of rich.. that is disappointing and i know you can do better.. “”if you don’t have something positive to offer..”” that is how the saying goes and i know i can use it as a reminder as much as anyone else..

    Reply

  58. Paul Norheim says:

    I doubt it too, varanasi, but I felt someone besides you had to
    say it – someone rich could not just dismiss by saying that I
    approve deliberate massacres of innocent children.
    As you know, varanasi, I agree more with rich than you on the
    issue (the attack on Gaza), but I found it more and more
    intolerable to watch how some people obsess in
    misrepresenting the opinions and motives of their opponents.
    I think you transfer the (much more serious) India-Pakistan
    conflict on the Israel-Palestine conflict in a too generalized
    manner. However, this is a discussion that is impossible to start
    in the current climate of moral witch hunting.
    As a matter of fact I`ve really enjoyed reading a lot of rich`s
    comments here for a long time, (I regard him as one of the best
    commenters at TWN on particular issues), so I find it the more
    sad that things degenerate into this kind of moral inquisitions.
    Cheers.

    Reply

  59. varanasi says:

    but, how about this, rich:
    nizar rayan and other armed jihadists of his ilk are WORSE than rabid dogs.
    rabies is a disease which animals contract through no fault of their own. rabid dogs don’t kill thousands of innocent people (another 100 in iraq this week alone). Rabid dogs don’t preach hate and encourage their children to blow themselves to bits along with innocent civilians. rabid dogs don’t desecrate entire religions and drag their neighbors into bloody and protracted wars. rabid dogs don’t purposely shield themselves and deliberately put their young into harms way.
    should i could go on?

    Reply

  60. varanasi says:

    Thank you, Paul, but I doubt that your appeal will have any effect.
    Rich is clearly a liar and he insistent on misrepresenting what i’ve said and, along with the POAsshole, he has started a cottage industry in calling and labeling me a nazi.
    brilliant. the internet at its best. TWN sure is a hotbed for open and intellectual debate.

    Reply

  61. Paul Norheim says:

    You seem angry that anyone should care, because, after all
    they’re just ‘rabid dogs’–commonly-used language you’ve never
    denounced–happy to repeat the pattern in which Germans
    degraded Jews as ‘vermin’. (rich to varanasi)
    Rich, this is not only unfair, but stupid. You act like a moral
    hijacker, demanding of your opponent to explicitly denounce
    every racist comment made from some asshole on this issue.
    Why the hell should he do that?

    Reply

  62. rich says:

    The internet is an imperfect medium, varanasi.
    If you said something you don’t believe, or expressed yourself carelessly, just say it.
    If you stand for something other than what we’ve read, by all means explain what you do stand for.
    But dont’ expect us to miss the meaning what has been said. Or what’s not been said.
    I think it’s important for you to respond directly to the many key points raised here. That willingness to engage does matter.
    And if you don’t hold all parties to the same standards, then the cycle of violence will just continue. And if we don’t call you out on your unwillingness to do that, then not only will the cycle of violence continue, but Israel will work itself from the current untenable position into a real corner, and we’ll all pay a tremendous cost, perhaps the cost we’ve all been fearing but leaving unsaid. It’s called coming to terms. Sure, it takes some responsibility and a little bit of sanity, but in the end, you get [one gets] to live.

    Reply

  63. Paul Norheim says:

    “varanasi said how humane it was to bomb children because at
    least they did quickly and painlessly.” (rich)
    No, rich. Varanasi did not say that. And you know it.
    I understand that the debate is polarized (I participate on the
    opposite side of varanasi myself), but I can`t understand why
    you continue to misrepresent varanasi`s opinions and interpret
    him in such a deliberately outlandish manner. You seem to
    quote him or paraphrase him, and I go back to check it, and
    find out that nope, Varanasi actually did not say what rich
    claims that he`s saying.
    Why this hang-up on ONE commenter? Why this non-stop
    harassment of varanasi?
    And no, I`m not very interesting in reading series of long
    justifications of why it`s so damned important to harass
    varanasi all the time (I´ve read the equivalent of half a novel
    from you recently re the horrible varanasi).
    I think you should use your energy, knowledge and intellect on
    something better now than harassing one guy for things he
    never said. And your frequent allusions to the horrible suffering
    of the Gaza Palestinians. Holocaust victims and other victims,
    juxtaposed with what you claim to be Varanasi`s statements,
    displays a moral bad taste that I find pathetic and a bit
    disgusting.
    Rich, you have written plenty of excellent comments regarding
    Gaza before you got this obsessed hang-up on Varanasi, and I
    hope you`ll soon go back to that, instead of this useless,
    meaningless, insisting and boring polemics against one single
    individual.

    Reply

  64. rich says:

    varanasi,
    I never defended rayan, and never used foul language with you. But I damn well expect that debate be reasonable and not veer into rhetoric that presumes to justify eliminationist tendencies or policies.
    You DID indeed say ‘though civilian deaths were regrettable’ ‘at least those deaths were quick and painless’. This what that means:

    “He talks of a boy he treated five years ago. Grappling in the dark after his house was hit in an air strike on a Hamas militant next door, he felt something wet.
    “He realised it was the flesh of his sister who was blown into pieces. He was in such a state. He couldn’t eat or smell meat for three years after that. I am sure he will suffer some kind of long-term psychological impact.”

    Now, care to address the issue?
    Because you said ‘they had die’, and your regret was glib. AND you veered very closely to eliminationist rhetoric in saying ‘the tragedy was that rayan could breed at all.’
    NOW, you actually beleive hamas was firing mortars from schoolyards?? And that hey, a UN school and 40 deaths was a small price to pay?? I’ve proven Israeli spokesmen lie and lie–yet you actually think anyone still believes that hamas fired mortars from the school?
    And you’re STILL saying that that makes it ok! Duh, break the cycle of violence—it does NOT involve fingerpointing. Saying ‘it’s the other guy!’ just keeps you in the wrong.
    (And if they did, it’s obviously what’s called self-defense–and harldy justfies Israel targeting a UN school!)
    You seem angry that anyone should care, because, after all they’re just ‘rabid dogs’–commonly-used language you’ve never denounced–happy to repeat the pattern in which Germans degraded Jews as ‘vermin’. Still no retraction; still no backing away or apology; still no willingness to hold Israeli bigots to account or demand they toe the line. TWN won’t become a platform for bigotry.
    You’re only angry because you’re asked to uphold the same standard as anyone else–and that someone pointed out the damage of your words and the reality of your attitude. You’ve got an armchair you sit in too–and you take refuge in the luxury of bigotry.

    Reply

  65. varanasi says:

    rich,
    in the condoned parlance of this blog, shut the fuck up and quit misrepresenting what i’ve said.
    want to keep defending nizar rayan and the children he raised to be and employed as suicide bombers?
    go for it, asshole. it’s a valiant endeavor. you’re a hero. an arm chair intellectual and freedom fighter in the shadow of a suburban walmart.
    maybe you should go check out the new che movie at the multiplex.
    oh, and i guess you think it’s acceptable for hamas to be firing mortars from schoolyards, right?
    you’re a typical american know-it-all and you wouldn’t last a second in the ME.

    Reply

  66. rich says:

    varanasi said how humane it was to bomb children because at least they did quickly and painlessly.
    Yet even the broadcast media has noted the lasting trauma that inflicts on children who aren’t hit. It isn’t clean–and here’s living proof:
    “He talks of a boy he treated five years ago. Grappling in the dark after his house was hit in an air strike on a Hamas militant next door, he felt something wet.
    “He realised it was the flesh of his sister who was blown into pieces. He was in such a state. He couldn’t eat or smell meat for three years after that. I am sure he will suffer some kind of long-term psychological impact.”
    “This sort of thing must be happening right now as we speak,” he says.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7814490.stm
    A good look at the facts really clarifies the insistence on minimizing the reality by varanasi and others. It’s a very deep-seated need.

    Reply

  67. Villain says:

    Will somebody shut this ignorant, war-mongering”TonyForesta” guy up?
    All this “join the modern world or burn” stuff is disgusting. You could say the same thing about Evangelical Christians. Yeah fundamentalists suck. Duh. You waste a lot of words and anger telling us that tony.
    Idiot.

    Reply

  68. varanasi says:

    thomas friedman hits the nail on the head. but add to his list of concerns the burgeoning and brazen jihadsim in south asia as well.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/opinion/07friedman.html?_r=1

    Reply

  69. rich says:

    Vaudville Villain @ 9:05PM — Great post — catch some responses below.
    “Some of the knee-jerk, quasi lefist, anti-Israel rhetoric on here is simply shambolic and boring. Your arguments are devoid of historical context . . . ”
    Historical context is very much in my mind, and I/we do NOT espouse knee-jerk or leftist ideology. It has become necessary, though, to counter a widely-accepted status quo PR line that openly mischaracterizes available facts. No one needs Chomsky to understand that.
    “What makes you think anyone in the Arab world is going to accept any kind of agreement? Remember the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine in 1948? Categorically REJECTED. What now?”
    That was 60 years ago. There’s nothing pragmatic about using ancient history to say “We can’t.” Times have changed, and if pragmatism is your game you’ll have to update your atlas and your historical context.
    “Read your history people. Do we need a refresher course on the Arab-Israeli War?”
    Of course not. Do we need to be reminded that Israel’s founding required that Palestinian landowners had to be driven from their homes and villages? That historical fact stretches back to ’48, continued through the years–and is ongoing today.
    “The quote from Orwell is practically the only sensible thing said here.”
    Thanks.
    “Extremists on all sides should be dealt with. Don’t care if it’s Hamas or Lehi.”
    Wholly agree. Let’s be evenhanded and hold the line on the Israeli side–and just as important, on the media’s inability to report plain facts.
    “Somebody say something pragmatic.”
    I totally agree with your sentiments. Historical context matters. The only pragmatic path forward has to a) hold the line on ALL extremist hardliners –including the American media’s status quo — and push hard for a solution based on the common interest of all parties. Moderate political groups have to lead the way forward, and establish some common ground that addresses political concerns and grievances of all sides.
    1948 matters–to all sides. The rockets matter–as does the fact that Israel broke the 6-month Gazan cease-fire 153 times.
    Agree

    Reply

  70. TonyForesta says:

    Forgive the double post but I meant to say – {The sooner every jihadist massmurder is dead and rotting, – the better for all humanity. You want war. You want jihad and then you cry and whine like little girls when you get your stupid (asses)kicked. The future you will bring upon your dim followers is fire and death. Join the 21st century or burn freaks.}

    Reply

  71. TonyForesta says:

    “There’s no one to talk to in the Gaza Strip.”
    True that! And there never was anyone to talk to the Gaza Strip, because the socalled leadership of Hamas are psychotic pathological massmurders. They cannot be reasoned with, or negotiated with,
    and there will never be any settlement, or peace, because these beasts want blood. They do not care if it is the blood of their own people, though they claim their only thirst is for Israeli blood, these shaitans are evidently incapable of simple math. A few Israeli’s have died and 650 and counting of their fellow Palestinians have been slaughtered. The only way to deal with these monsters is to mercilessly hunt down and kill every single one of them. The same for all you jihadist freaks. You want the sword, – the sword is what you will get.
    It is delusional to imagine that Hamas wants peace. Have you read their charter? They are insane vampires. All they want is blood, and allah be praised, – that is exactly they all will rightfully get. The same sad and ruthless truth holds for all the sexually repressed, primitive malignant massmurderers in all the jihadist massmurder gangs. If these freaks imagine that the rest of the world and certainly the well armed and very angry and totally islam-insensitve western democracies will ever tolerate sharia or any perveted freakish mysoginist malignant pipedreams of a global islamic caliphate – they are wildly mistaken.
    The war is not the west against islam, but islam against the west. In this war, if that is what these freaks truly want, – they will burn. Every islamic nation and people will burn and suffer horribly, because the rest of humanity has evolved into the 21st century, and we will never return to the primitive barbarian freakishness, perversion, and malignancy that jihadist islam proselytizes. The sooner every single one of these shaitan is sent to their 72browneyedvirins – the better for the rest of civilized humanity.
    This is the choice all islam must make. Join the 21st century or burn.
    I greive for the innocents lost, but this horrorshow is the work of the shaitans in Hamas who are willing to see their own children slaughtered in a fruitless, impotent, futile and impossible pursuit of the insane delusions of jihadist islam. It is never going to happen freaks. Get that straight massmurdering freaks. You will find to little support and very great animosity at every turn and in every quarter.
    The sooner every jihadist massmurder is dead and rotting, – the better for all humanity. You want war. You want jihad and then you cry and whine like little girls when you get your stupid kicked. The future you will bring upon your dim followers is fire and death. Join the 21st century or burn freaks.
    I have said before and repeat here that NO ONE HERE IS WITHOUT SIN. We all have blood on our hands. But it is the shaitans and freaks in jihadist islam and the islamic massmurderers who strap explosives onto their children to slaughter other innocent children, who behead young girls for exposing thier shoulders, who condemn music, who throw acid on young muslim girls going to school, and who have declare war on all people who do not abide by their freakish socalled religion. Mohamed is a monster if that is your way. Islam is a slithering worm in the bowels of humanity if that is your teaching, and it is islam and the followers of islam are the greater evil in this world of evil. Your militaries are week and inferior like your malignant religion. The end for you freaks should you continue this insane trek is fire, and blood, and your total destruction.
    allah be praised biiiaatches! You get what you deserve.

    Reply

  72. Hamas Agonistes says:

    Jan 6, 2009 0:52 | Updated Jan 6, 2009 11:41
    Analysis: Hamas desperate for lull
    By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
    As the IDF operation in the Gaza Strip entered its 10th day, Hamas has begun sending conflicting messages regarding its intentions.
    While some Hamas leaders have been openly signaling their readiness to accept a new cease-fire, others are still calling for pursuing the fight against Israel “until victory.”
    What is clear is that Hamas is now desperate for a lull in the fighting. But it is also eager to score some kind of a “military victory” before a cease-fire is reached.
    Hamas is fighting for its survival and its leaders know that their collapse would constitute a severe blow not only to the movement, but also to its patrons in Teheran and Damascus.
    “It’s hard to tell who’s in charge in the Gaza Strip these days,” said a Ramallah-based analyst. “Hamas’s political leaders have disappeared after throwing away their mobile phones. No one knows exactly what Hamas wants.”
    The analyst said that according to his sources, the embattled Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip were no longer in direct contact with their colleagues in Syria.
    “The political leaderships of Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Damascus have been disconnected from each other,” he added. “I doubt if there’s any coordination between them.”
    He pointed out that the decision to dispatch two senior Hamas envoys to Cairo for talks about a cease-fire came as a surprise to the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip. The two envoys are based in Damascus and report directly to Khaled Mashaal, he said.
    Another Ramallah-based political analyst said that the political leadership of Hamas has given the movement’s armed wing, Izaddin al-Kassam, full freedom to take any measures it deems necessary to prevent the collapse of the Hamas regime.
    “The gunmen on the streets are now in charge,” he noted. “This is a dangerous situation, because they don’t report to anyone at the top. This has created a state of anarchy and confusion.”
    Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip said on Monday that the general feeling was that Hamas does not exist any longer as a governing body. “All their government institutions have been destroyed,” said a Gaza City reporter. “The Hamas leaders are now behaving like al-Qaida’s Osama bin Laden and [his deputy] Ayman Zawahiri. Their only public appearances are through recorded messages aired on Arab TV stations.”
    On Monday, senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar made his first public appearance in a previously recorded message broadcast on a Hamas TV station. Zahar’s appearance was reminiscent of similar appearances made by al-Qaida terror leaders.
    Until two weeks ago, Zahar, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and Interior Minister Said Siam – the three top Hamas leaders – were still sleeping in their homes and moving around freely and fearlessly. Until then, they were also frequent guests on various talk shows in the Arab media – especially Al-Jazeera, which is being accused by some Palestinians as serving as a mouthpiece for Hamas.
    Sources close to Hamas said that in light of the new reality, where the Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip have virtually vanished, the armed wing was receiving its instructions from the movement’s leadership in Syria.
    The sources said that Mashaal, the Damascus-based leader of Hamas, was in direct contact with commanders of Izzadin Kassam in different parts of the Gaza Strip. “There’s a vacuum in the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip,” they said. “The Hamas leaders in Damascus are now in charge. There’s no one to talk to in the Gaza Strip

    Reply

  73. Vaudville Villain says:

    Some of the knee-jerk, quasi lefist, anti-Israel rhetoric on here is simply shambolic and boring. Your arguments are devoid of historical context and lack any substantive insight.
    What makes you think anyone in the Arab world is going to accept any kind of agreement? Remember the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine in 1948? Categorically REJECTED. What now?
    I’m not a fan of Israeli politics. And I think their military should be kept on a short leash.
    But the way that Palestine has become the cause célèbre for all you Keffiyeh-wearing, Chomsky spouting psuedo-intellectuals is just tired. Read your history people. Do we need a refresher course on the Arab-Israeli War? The Jaffa riots? Israel defended itself (we can debate how and why) rather successfully. I mean peeople, this is an emormously complicated issue. And to see it through the typical dime store “occupier” vs. “victim” lense is just plain silly and insulting to everyone involved.
    The quote from Orwell is practically the only sensible thing said here.
    Extremists on all sides should be dealt with. Don’t care if it’s Hamas or Lehi. They’re all nutjob whacko fundamentalist tw@ts.
    Palestinians have too long been the pawns of the Middle East. In that, they have my undying sympathy. Nations like Iran, even Egypt, do not.
    I’m tired of the wishy-washy discourse on this.
    Somebody say something pragmatic.

    Reply

  74. ... says:

    kuwaits relationship with the usa is quite pathetic… do they always carry water for the yanks?? they certainly show no affinity for their fellow arabs and you appear to articulate this quite well… maybe they could make kuwait a state of the usa??

    Reply

  75. ... says:

    paul – indeed.. thanks for sharing that
    varanasi – i appreciate your available time to post here is limited, as is mine.. however i am disappointed in what you have offered in response to rich and poa… i held a higher view of you and your actions are not shining the best light on you at the tail end of this thread..that’s too bad!
    oreo and milk- you have offered nothing positive since coming to this thread, but have offered mostly hate for your fellow arabs.. that would seem counter productive as well.. clearly the arabs aren’t saints, but then neither are any the others in this world…
    as for 9-11 that is another conversation in itself and since we have no openness or accountability on any of it, it is difficult to determine just how much it was an opportunity for the us military machine to take a trip over to the mideast.. unfortunately their were a few thousand who died in 9-11, but it pales in comparison to what has happened in iraq which bush attributed out of 9-11.. the reality is that those hijackers were primarily from saudi arabia – the usa’s so called friend in the me…
    one wonders given how opaque so much of 9-11 is/was and were it led to, why so much it was more of a hardship on the middle east, specifically iraq, then it was on the usa?? the results suggest the usa came out ahead in many ways, not the least that it was given a golden opportunity to feed its military industrial complex and keep the financiers happy..

    Reply

  76. Paul Norheim says:

    I was glad to see that not only a Norwegian bishop, but also our
    former Prime Minister, the conservative KÃ¥re Willoch,
    characterized the latest disgusting attacks on the UN-run schools
    as “crimes against humanity”.
    A spokesman for the Norwegian government characterized the
    Israelis`claim that they targeted the terrorists, and not the
    civilians, in Gaza, as “pure bullshit”.

    Reply

  77. Ajaz says:

    IS OBAMA FAILING ALREADY?
    HIS SILENCE ON GAZA IS DEAFENING
    Barack Obama says that there is only one President at a time and he will not comment on policy issues until he takes office on January 20, 2009.
    However, he can’t stop talking about the economy and he was even on Capitol Hill yesterday pushing his economic package. But he has not said a word about the Gaza tragedy. People are dying by the hour and he refuses to comment. At least the economy is not killing people, Gaza war is and he should stand up and make his views known.
    He says he talks to Condi Rice on Gaza situation every day and that is not a good thing. Rice is a straight faced liar probably telling Obama how hard she is working to bring peace, while at the same time encouraging Israel not to stop despite World pressure.
    I hope the reason for Obama’s silence is that he is trying not to be confrontational because he is diametrically opposed to Bush Administration’s Middle East policy and intends to change course of events immediately upon taking office. If this is not the case, his silence on Gaza is immoral.
    Let us hope this is the case.

    Reply

  78. rich says:

    re the Orwellian language and happily adopted tactics of totalitarian regimes (be they nazi, stalinist, or just plain brutal) — here’s M.J. Rosenberg @ TPM:
    George Orwell Tells Us Everything We Need To Know About Liberals and Gaza
    http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/01/05/george_orwell_tells_us_everything_we_need_to_know/
    By M.J. Rosenberg – January 5, 2009, 2:38PM
    “All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts.
    A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side … The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them” — George Orwell

    Reply

  79. Oreo_and_Milk says:

    Joe M:
    “Who do you think have taught the Arabs that life is cheep? Who’s war machines have massacred the Arabs for decades?”
    These sort of quotes are those rare ones that show why Arabs are in the state they are.
    Unbelievable. Just unbelievable.
    You’re blaming the lack of respect and value of life in the Arab world on others too? Hey buddy, I grew up in Kuwait, and I have a pretty good idea on how you value life: I could post what my public school’s islamic class or the TV or newspapers say about jews or non-muslims sometimes and it would like straight out of Nazi Germany. In a recent Gallup poll the majority of muslims thought the 9/11 attack were ‘partially’ justified, even though the Gallup tried to hide that by calling those animals that voted that way ‘moderate’ and only those who said ‘completely justified’ (number 5 on a scale of 1 to 5) were called extreme.
    And what is this decades of massacre? Gross exaggerations aside, not only would none of it happen if you didn’t produce the likes of Saddam and palesteninas wanted peace instead of israeli blood.
    And let’s not bring up what the uber-nationalists and religious fanatics have done to your arab world, but I suppose those guys get a free pass.
    I don’t want to go as far as to say that you deserve what’s happening, but the biggest part of the blame by far lies on the arab world on everything that’s wrong with it.

    Reply

  80. PissedOffAmerican says:

    LOL. I knew I could get a rise out of ‘im.
    A shame he can’t respond to the meatier aspects of my post. But hey, whats a bully to do?

    Reply

  81. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “YOU ARE SO FRUSTRATING! clearly, my comments about nizar rayan’s children do NOT apply to the children of gaza as a whole!”
    So, its just Rayan’s kids that needed to be exterminated, eh?
    Don’t have much to say about starving those that don’t have Rayan’s defective genes, do you?

    Reply

  82. rich says:

    varanasi– I disagree. You said ‘the souls of the forces Israel is fighting–hamas–are not as innocent as the souls killed by the third reich’
    The connections is that Israel is fighting the WHOLE populace–and you said that dead Palestinian children were a price that had to be paid–so long as their deaths were ‘human’–an indispensably Orwellian statement–that’s just fine by you. Note both sets of souls were on defense. The blockade bears that out, and is sufficient casus belli.
    I’m good at nuance, varanasi–and am perfectly open to anyone willing to engage in good faith and take responsiblity for your words. Your discomfort at those minimal expectations is telling.
    Your belated gesture toward evenhandedness, I note, doesn’t actually retract or apologize for your original statements. Sure, no one is without sin–but you still feel quite justified in singling out one side for death, in visceral and callous terms, regardless of who gets in the way. Even though Israel’s justifications have been shown up as provocations, double-standards and PR lies. You’ve yet to hold other actors to that same venom: did the Israeli children ‘deserve it’ also? Didn’t think so.
    You basically admit I’m right: “I do, however, wish that a hateful, murderous idealogue like rayan had not procreated. he was an unfit father and encouraged the senseless death of many innocent souls.” Not unlike many Israelis who’re perfectly comfortable “encouraging the deaths of many innocent souls” — saying it ‘had to be done’ as though it were the most normal thing in the world. The only reason you’re willing to differentiate between rayan’s children and a “falafel seller” is that it looks really, really bad when you don’t. Israel is fighting a whole populace– and you don’t really mind that they can’t see the difference. You basically said Palestinian souls were less innocent–and hamas or not, you accept the notion Israel is fighting only hamas. Your meaning and humanity rides–and falls on that acceptance.
    Meanwhile:
    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/homepage/story/59041.html
    Airstrike kills 3 at Gaza school U.N. using as refugee center
    By Shashank Bengali | McClatchy Newspapers
    JERUSALEM — An Israeli military strike killed three people at a United Nations-run school in Gaza City where they had sought shelter from an intensifying ground war inside the Gaza Strip, officials said Tuesday.
    U.N. officials said an Israeli strike directly hit an elementary school compound where more than 400 Palestinians had come to escape fighting in northern Gaza, and which was clearly marked as a U.N. installation. The U.N. said it was “strongly protesting” the incident and called on Israel to immediately investigate it.
    http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2009/01/up_to_40_killed_in_israeli_strike_on_gaza_school-m.php
    Daniel Levy @ TPM
    There is a dire humanitarian situation unfolding here – irrespective of one’s views on Israel or Hamas, this needs to be addressed. Not even the bare minimum of supplies are able to enter Gaza. In addition to the over 500 deaths, one quarter of whom were women and children and many more civilians including police, hospitals are running on emergency power, water and sewage systems are collapsing and basic necessities are unavailable (see the UN OCHA report and ICRC for more information).
    And in this respect Gaza is not Southern Lebanon, there is no hinterland for the civilian population to escape to as there was with Lebanon. Gazan borders with Egypt and Israel are totally blocked and that only leaves the sea – where there is an Israeli naval blockade.
    The blockade on Gaza is nothing new and this is crucial in also understanding the political situation. Since Israel’s departure in 2005 and even during the 6 month ceasefire a closure was also imposed on Gaza (sometimes more harsh, sometimes less so). Collective punishment is never good from a moral perspective but it also makes no political sense – it meant that no incentives were created among the Palestinian public to support a continued ceasefire and to act as a pressure against those firing rockets. Hamas is attentive to public pressure and this basic equation was ignored.

    Reply

  83. varanasi says:

    i said i wouldn’t do this, but i can’t resist.
    YOU are the nazi, poa!
    you are filled with hatred and malice and you regularly dehumanize people who disagree with you on this blog. you project destructiveness and division. you outdo your perceived enemies when it comes to intolerance and bias. you carry yourself like a thug on these threads and i’ve never seen you engage ANY opponent in constructive dialogue. you murder people with words and tone. you destroy the world with your anger. you contribute nothing in these threads but blustery bile, the epitome of a bully.
    clearly you are a disenfranchised, impotent and angry old man with nothing better to do than post on steve’s blog all day, every day.
    have fun, fuhrer.

    Reply

  84. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Varanazi, unable to provide us with links, sourcing, or collaboration for his claims, seems to think we should just take his assertions as gospel.
    He’s already identified and convicted the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks, despite the fact the international police and intelligence agencies have been unable to do so.
    And he has outlined the sordid history of Rayan for us, so we can reach the conclusion that Rayan’s children can simply be classified as “collateral damage”. Of course, we should ignore the fact that the Israelis are constantly engaged in propaganda, exageration, fabrication, and blatant lying when they describe Palestinian transgressions. Yep, we should believe Rayan is everything the Israelis say he is, has done everything the Israelis said he has done. Why? Because the Israelis said so, thats why. And everyone knows, the Israelis wouldn’t lie to us, right?
    Interesting, seeing as how Rayan lived openly in his residence, did not hide, or conceal his identity, or his station within the Hamas hierarchy. How many opportunities did Israel have to take Rayan out while the children were at school? After all, Israel knew what a “rabid dog” Rayan was prior to this latest military action, didn’t they? They couldn’t have taken Rayan out while he was commuting from point A to point B? After all, they do it all the time, don’t they? Isn’t it an Israeli incursion and asassination of six Hamas operatives on November fourth that was the violation of the cease fire?
    Or could it be a message? Could it be that ASASSINATING CHILDREN is the way Israel sends a message to its enemies? When starving the kids doesn’t get the message through, when depriving them of medical care doesn’t get the message through, then what the fuck, why not blow up a few of them up, eh?
    Right, varanazi?
    You’re a real humanitarian, arncha?
    By the way, to you jackasses that don’t care for my attitude towards Ken or Varanazi. I note your selective disdain for rude behaviour. It appears that “Outraged American’s” literary attack on me did not offend your sensitivities. Perhaps this Ruchi asshole can use OA’s post for a lesson to her second grade class. The little rugrats might as well learn about hypocricy sooner or later, and who better to teach them than Ruchi?

    Reply

  85. varanasi says:

    rich:
    YOU ARE SO FRUSTRATING! clearly, my comments about nizar rayan’s children do NOT apply to the children of gaza as a whole! while i do feel sympathy for the rayan family i do not believe they were innocent bystanders to this conflict in the same way that the falafel salesman on the corner who dies in an air raid is.
    i do, however, wish that a hateful, murderous idealogue like rayan had not procreated. he was an unfit father and encouraged the senseless death of many innocent souls, including at least one of his own children.
    there is nothing constructive to be gained by further “dialogue” with you. your mind is closed and your reasoning simplistic. any thoughtful individual can grasp the nuance of the reality in israel and gaza: nobody is without sin, including, obviously, israel.
    now, once and for all, i need to get back to constructive endeavor.
    regards.

    Reply

  86. rich says:

    varanasi,
    I based my comments on your statements–none of which you’ve retracted. You’re qualifying them and pretending they’re ok–but you’re really standing by some absolutely outrageous statements. You went far over the line and aren’t willing to man up to their gravity. You’ve hardly been wronged just because we’ve pointed that out.
    You’ve misstated your original comments. If you really believed that innocent children should not die in a dubiously-justified bombing — then you’d say so. You didn’t.
    Instead, you said ‘better that they die painlessly and quickly’–the idea there is no pain is most assuredly an Orwellian self-indulgence on your part. To say that is ‘humane’ is wholly dishonest.
    Originally you said ‘they deserved to die because of what their father said’ and that ‘the tragedy was that he was able to breed at all’. Now, you’re trying to pretend you didn’t say that, and are attempting to laud your own ‘reasonableness’.
    There is nothing reasonable about your stance or your words: I stand by everything I observed. Further, the points made about Israeli actions and PR are entirely relevant because they shred the ‘justifications’ you rely on to pretend one side is evil and the other without sin. If you embrace such untenable positions or hateful language, the onus is on you to take responsibility, not on those who point it out. It’s no surprise you don’t have enough courage for a little self-examination, or the fortitude to be honest about the damage of your rhetoric. The easy way out may feel convenient, but it just helps accelerate the cycle of violence. Give it a go, and think: since Israel violated the cease-fire 153 times, how is a blockaded Gaza responsible for the deaths of their own children? Even Israel says a blockade is a casus belli for a nation seeking to ensure their own survival. Until you come to grips with the uneven, bigoted fault-finding, you’ll continue to come out with the short end of the stick here.

    Reply

  87. varanasi says:

    these will be my last words on the subject and on this thread. please don’t take my silence for a lack of resolve or an inability to respond to every ridiculous point my critics on this list are making.
    unlike some here, it seems, i have a full time job that takes up the majority of my waking hours. i simply have no time to read massive posts on the comment thread of a blog, let alone respond to them point by point, nor do i have any desire to engage with individuals who call me names or insinuate the worst about my character.
    in short, rich (as i said i will no longer acknowledge POA) your assertions about what i’ve written on this blog and the conclusions you jump to based upon those comments are ENTIRELY incorrect. to make a horrible blanket statement saying that i don’t “value the souls of palestinian children” or see them as “innocent” is simply beyond the pale!
    i was taught to assume the best intentions in others, apparently you were taught the opposite.
    what i did say is that nizar rayan’s children were born into an untenable situation and a horrible home. that is if you agree that children should not be raised by hateful terrorist masterminds nor encouraged by their parents to strap explosives to their little bodies and blow themselves to bits along with other innocent civilians. nizar rayan’s children were clearly victims of the worst sort, but i have no illusion about the destructive ideology of their family, nor about the end results of this ideology. these children were raised to be jihadis – martyrs.
    in perhaps my most inflammatory statement, which you have also taken entirely out of context, i said that perhaps these children were lucky to have died quickly, unaware, and (presumably) painlessly in an airstrike before being encouraged (like their 22 year-old brother) to go on a suicide mission and detonate explosives strapped to their bodies. if given the horrible choice between the two, i certainly know which death i would choose. the former is certainly more humane.
    further, it is a lie to misconstrue my comments to imply that i disparaged the souls of other palestinians, especially children! my first comment on this thread said “God bless the innocents on all sides.” obviously, the vast majority of palestinian casualties have been to innocent bystanders – palestinians caught in the crossfire and trapped by unfortunate circumstance and obviously i regret their deaths. to say otherwise is disengenous and nasty.
    hopefully, we all know that the vast majority of all people on this planet, including in gaza and the tela aviv, want nothing more than to live in peace, work to support their families and educate their children. but nizar rayan, was not such a person, nor were the jihadis that killed over 100 of my countrymen and a dear friend of mine in mumbai last month.
    lastly, you dare me to defend all the actions of israel. unfortunately, i won’t and i can’t. i have never taken the position that israel is a perfect actor. many mistakes, misjudgements and infractions have taken place and been committed by both the palestinians and israelis. i assumed that fact was so obvious that i didn’t need to spell it out, but i also never imagined that i would be tagged a nazi and worse in this thread.
    that’s it for now. if you choose to submit another diatribe directed towards me and expect me to answer, please understand that my silence does not represent an inability to do so, but rather a tight deadline and large degree of boredom with this silly thread.
    नमस्ते

    Reply

  88. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Well, I’ve emailed Steve about the inexplicable experience I have had on this thread. Strange.
    But anyway, don’t you just love it when I coax these so called “lurkers” out of the shadows with my occassionally and admittedly obnoxious disdain for stupidity?
    I’m certainly relieved that Ruchi is teaching his second grade classes good manners and adult behaviour. Theres nothing worse than watching someone’s lttle Timmy calling a classmate a poopoo head. If not nipped in the bud, little Timmy might even grow up and start calling hopeless bigots “nazis”.
    Now, lets examine the contention that “Israel has never been expansionist…”;
    buf·foon (bə-fōōn’) Pronunciation Key
    n.
    A clown; a jester: a court buffoon.
    A person given to clowning and joking.
    A ludicrous or bumbling person; a fool.
    (Gads, this almost backfired. I had to get quite selective with which definition I went with. Upon examining the options, I found the following;
    buf⋅foon   /bəˈfun/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [buh-foon]
    –noun 1. a person who amuses others by tricks, jokes, odd gestures and postures, etc.
    2. a person given to coarse or undignified joking.
    Shit. See what I mean? Uhm, just ignore number two, willya?)

    Reply

  89. rich says:

    Paul Norheim,
    I characterized his words and his stance — I did not attack him personally, nor label varanasi with a pejorative, nor did I call him names.
    At issue is varanasi’s willingness to engage in such tactics and use such language–not my willingness to call him on it. Varanasi has EVERY opportunity to engage with us in good-faith dialog, and to speak of Palestinians as human beings, not less innocent souls. Don’t you presume to scold me when varanasi has crossed the line and I have not. Note varanasi has not backed down one iota from approving, if not advocating, the killing of Palestinian children merely because of something their father said. Varanasi: “the tragedy was that they were allowed to breed at all.” [paraph] Nothing complex about an attempt to use TWN as a platform for the bigotry that rationalizes killing. “Never again” doesn’t mean ‘this time it’s our turn to kill’.
    varanasi has not retracted his statements or offered any regret of the killing or acknowledged that children are children–and innocent regardless of ethnicity. That says it all, Paul.
    Further, neither varanasi nor his/her apologists have bothered to reply to other points made here.
    Israel violated the 6-month cease-fire 153 times, killing 36 Palestinians–provoking Hamas, which waited until the cease-fire ended to send rockets in an attempt to break the siege.
    So the whole excuse for the bombing of Gaza turns out to be an empty lie, and the ‘self-defense’ excuse falls to pieces. Yet varanasi says nothing.
    By Knesset’s official history and Israel’s continued insistence, a blockade is a casus belli–which wholly justifies Hamas’ military attempts to break Israel’s blockade. 1967=2008, and nothing can deny that the tables are turned, or defy the hypocrisy.
    Ramming the relief boat ‘Dignity’ and then lying about it–see my link to CNN’s eyewitness report and the AJC–again shows we’re not getting an honest characterization of events or political dynamics from official sources. That takes a lot of gall, Paul. So until we can some responses on these facts, Paul, that have a little integrity, kindly scold those who’ve crossed a line, rather than those pointing out that the line has been crossed.

    Reply

  90. Paul Norheim says:

    “And you really shouldn’t mischaracterize my words, Paul, nor
    confuse them with POAs.”
    Perhaps I did so, rich – but you were just an inch before arguing
    that he was a nazi:
    “Posted by rich Jan 05, 2:52PM – Link
    POA,
    Your words. Not mine.
    I didn’t catch your name thing. But if varanasi espouses the
    positions, exhibits the traits, and advocates the tactics made
    famous by the third reich, who am I to apologize for his lack of
    judgement? I’ll call it what it is, POA–and you can say what you
    will.
    If there’s anything shocking here, it’s that varanasi thinks his
    sentiments are widely shared or publicly acceptable. Or
    somehow justified. But they don’t border on the tactics and
    bigotry that enabled german ethnic cleansing during wwii, they
    embrace them, eagerly and proudly. This is what it has come to.
    It shames the memory of six million (+) souls lost to us 63
    years ago”
    —————
    As close as you can get, if you ask me.
    Though I disagree strongly with varanasi`s positions on the
    subject, I am in favor of avoiding such insinuations while
    arguing with him – even if he gets fed up answering you (or are
    unable to do so). And I disagree that the insinuation or name
    calling was justified. If you see a spade, fine, call it a spade.
    This case was more complicated. TWN should not be
    transformed into a blog version of the Spanish inquisition.

    Reply

  91. rich says:

    Paul Norheim,
    I argued no such thing, but merely noted varanasi pushes things too far by using the very same thinking, tactics and justifications that’s traditionally enabled ethnic cleansing. And I only did that after varanasi pointedly refused to retract some rather outrageous comments, but chose to explicitly push into that territory. Slept like a baby Paul, which is more than I can say for many.
    So, Paul —
    Consider the premise of this bombing campaign: those awful people in Hamas have shot rockets into Israel. A violation, right? Turns out it’s an Orwellian inversion of who is provoking and who is acting in self-defense.
    Israel violated the cease-fire 156 times, killing 36 Gazan Palestinians. Hamas had obeyed the cease-fire, and ony used rockets at its conclusion–to try to break the siege/blockade. Israel itself considers blockades to be a casus belli, so what’s their excuse for being outraged
    The whole justification for this bombing campaign just fell apart. It’s been shredded. Israel’s tactic has been to provoke; varanasi’s rhetoric exposes the motivation at work. Same process at work, Paul, regardless of what you call it. And you really shouldn’t mischaracterize my words, Paul, nor confuse them with POAs.
    The exchange on Last night’s Newshour:
    “MARGARET WARNER: Staying with you, you know the Hamas leadership, or certainly some Hamas officials, I think better than anyone we’ve had on our program so far.
    “Explain their thinking in — did they intend to provoke this conflict in the first place in mid-December, when they intensified the rocket attacks on southern Israel? That has been one popular conception, certainly in many Israeli and foreign circles.
    “MARK PERRY: That is a popular notion, but it doesn’t accord with the facts. During the six months of the cease-fire, there were 153 violations of the cease-fire by Israel, and 36 Palestinians in Gaza were killed by Israeli forces. Most important of all, the economic siege of Gaza continued.
    “Hamas officials went to Egypt, asked them to intervene to stop the siege, or they would have to take action. No one listened, so they did increase their rocket fire.
    “But if we want to assess blame here, this is not all on Hamas. They’ve suffered enormous casualties. The people in Gaza are suffering. That’s not in their interest. What they wanted to do was lift the siege and allow the Palestinian people to breathe, and they’re hoping that this will be the result.”

    Reply

  92. Paul Norheim says:

    POA was teasing Varanasi, but rich, I really think you`re
    pushing things to far by arguing seriously that Varanasi is a
    nazi, based on what he said. I hope you all are getting a good
    night`s sleep right now (It`s morning in Norway).
    If you`re looking for a true fascist, who doesn`t give a rats ass
    whether we are talking about soldiers or civilians, grownups or
    children, Martin Pertz of the New Republic is a much more
    obvious candidate:
    In the article above he claims that Israel “now has the
    momentum of armed triumph behind it, and it is scarcely
    motivated to soothe the habitual hand-wringing anguish of, say,
    UNRWA and the Archbishop of Canterbury, for the Gaza
    Palestinians who, in any case, routinely shift in their own heads
    from armed killers to innocent victims.”
    There you have a true monster.

    Reply

  93. Steve Clemons says:

    Nina and POA – zap me an email. I haven’t blocked you so if there is an ongoing problem, we should have my tech guy see what is up. But to my knowledge, none of my TWN team have blocked anyone – and I’ve been on the road npt paying attention. But try and post again and let me know what happens by email.
    best from Geneva,
    steve

    Reply

  94. Paul Norheim says:

    I thought POA had be banned because he said
    “Uhm, uh,……uh…ahem….” and “eenie, meanie, miney moe….” on
    a serious foreign policy thread.

    Reply

  95. Steve Clemons says:

    Dear Nina and POA – Just FYI, I saw the note about POA being banned from the thread. I know you guys don’t believe it — but I don’t have the foggiest idea how to ban someone from a thread, which means the system is acting up. But big point is that I have not banned anyone. I’ll try and check into it. Could be profanity build up? 😉
    In any case, I’m checking in the buffer file….but he should not be banned here.

    Reply

  96. arthurdecco says:

    “Europe (by which I mean Great Britain, France, Germany, Holland, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Poland, Canada, Australia, and a few others) holds the fate of Palestine in its hands.”
    Martin Peretz is lying.
    In fact, it is Israel, in collusion with AIPAC’s stranglehold on the United States’ political will, who “holds the fate of Palestine in its hands.”
    What a squirmy, slithering piece of work you are, Mr. Peretz!
    Thank you for re-posting this article, Hamas Agonistes.

    Reply

  97. Hamas Agonistes says:

    The New Republic
    How to End the Gaza War
    by Martin Peretz
    Europe needs to guarantee the peace between the Israelis and the Gaza Palestinians.
    Post Date Monday, January 05, 2009
    The only real way to end the Gaza War is not an unpoliced cease-fire.
    Or a cease-fire policed by Egypt and other Arab countries as proposed by Martin Indyk, who clings to his old ideas as a little girl clings to her favorite doll.
    Or a version of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, which has been interim and useless for more than three decades.
    The bitter fact is that, while the Jews prepared for a homeland state from the early 1920s until 1948, when Israel was proclaimed in accordance with the 1947 Partition Plan of the General Assembly, the Palestinians did almost nothing except resent and resist the future. The British Mandatory Force ran Palestine for more than a quarter of a century, and during that time the Zionists prepared their state institutions. And let’s face the facts: The Palestinians still don’t have state institutions, certainly not in Gaza and virtually not in the West Bank either, though there one can detect certain primitive beginnings. As it happens, for example, the Palestinian Authority has perhaps 1,000 military men under training by Lieutenant General Keith Dayton, the security coordinator for the region, and other American officers. This thousand is actually performing responsibly, and that gives reason for measured hope even among Israeli defense brass.
    There is no such optimism from Gaza except that Israel is gradually crippling Hamas by killing its armed men, trisecting the Strip’s territory, demolishing its arms caches and tunnels, and neutralizing its capacity to communicate from top to bottom and bottom to top. The humiliation of Hamas continues at an accelerating rate. Still, the job is not yet done and the I.D.F. can ill afford to stop the fighting when a reprieve would permit Hamas to start with its missilery again. One salient fact about the tunnels: Those–roughly 50–that can be destroyed from the air are already nothing. But there are others–some say several hundred–more deeply laid in the earth that would need bunker-busters, which are not cost-effective, or on the site smash-up, which seems to be the army’s present preference. Do not look for too quick an acceptance by Jerusalem of a pre-mature lull. Viz., Tsippi Livni’s curt no thank-you to tovarish Medvedev’s kind offer to broker a truce with Hamas.
    Since, at least as of now, Ehud Barak has not made a single mistake in the fighting, he is not likely to allow the sworn-to-the-death enemy of Israel the maneuverability it possessed ten days ago. During the battle with Hezbollah in August 2006, Israel was in demoralizing disarray. It now has the momentum of armed triumph behind it, and it is scarcely motivated to soothe the habitual hand-wringing anguish of, say, UNRWA and the Archbishop of Canterbury, for the Gaza Palestinians who, in any case, routinely shift in their own heads from armed killers to innocent victims.
    As it happens, world opinion is also not as it was in 2006. Yes, respectably numbered Muslim crowds have gathered in the world of Islam to vent their rage. Elsewhere, elements in the immigrant population of the West also released their spleen. And, of course, the Republic of South Africa denounced Israel. I myself would have thought that it had matters more urgent about which to chafe: For example, the increasing tribal violence in its own country and brutalities against refugees. And what about Mugabe in Zimbabwe, the tyrant whom the republic has propped up for a decade? (Now, cholera, like AIDS, may engulf both nations.) Pretoria is morally not entitled to say a word about Israel, given its dazzling cool about Darfur and the Congo.
    Europe has made its peace with Israel’s war against Hamas. Nearly everybody of any real significance on the continent understands–more than understands–Israel predicament, including President Sarkozy, Prime Minister Merkel, President Berluschoni, even Prime Minister Brown. Indeed, the Czech Republic now holds the chair of the European Union and its foreign minister is virtually a Zionist. Had not European history turned awry in the 19th century, Prince Karl von Scwarzenburg would now be the King of Bohemia. Exiled by the Soviets to Vienna (where he lived in a small apartment in his hotel, the Palais Schwarzenburg), he spent much of the time in Austria presiding over Helsinki Watch. He is a truly noble person. Schwarzenburg is right now in Israel, and he is not hectoring or harassing its government.
    Many of the Arabs states have also turned their backs on Hamas: Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, especially. Not for Israel, particularly–but inferentially for sure. The reason is mostly that Iran is the grand patron of the Gaza terrorists, and any group bankrolled and arms-supplied by Tehran is anathema to the mainstream Arab governments. Hezbollah has demonstrated against its neighbor to the south. But, for all its rancid rhetoric and documented capacity, it has not fired a single missile against the Jewish state. Viewing the wreckage that Israel has wrought on Hezbollah’s Gaza ally, it may surmise that the air force now has intelligence on its missiles just as it had on those of Hamas. And, then, yesterday, it was as if Umm Kulthum, the voice of Egypt, had exonerated Israel of guilt for the Gaza war. Alas, Umm Kulthum is dead already many years. But Adel Imam, a national institution of Egypt, its legendary comic star, laid the blame for Hamas’ disaster directly on Hamas itself. This is actually big news, and he is a brave man.
    I go back to my earlier point that the Palestinians are unprepared for statehood, as many of the countries in Africa have been unprepared for statehood. It is true that most Palestinians aspire to statehood, and Israel as a whole longs for the Palestinians statehood, too. But the fact is that, fragmented as the Palestinian will is, prone to violence as its political culture is, peace will not be an axiomatic consequence of independence. Maybe it can be devolved on the West Bank in short order rather than long, given especially an exchange of territory between Israel and the new Palestine, and arrangements for security in the Jordan valley. Some Israeli land with Palestinian inhabitants might be transferred to the freshly independent entity, with the accumulated social benefits of the population transferred with them, as well. The basic requirement here is that Israel will be assured that no weapons will land on its turf from the West Bank ever. Q.E.D.
    But how does one get that more hazardous assurance in Gaza? The Arab states are, frankly, models for nothing. None of them covets a caretaker role in Gaza anyway. Not to guarantee Israel’s safety and not to assure a reasonably civilized government there either. However broken by the I.D.F., Hamas will still be around. Who will cage it if it cannot be tamed? Certainly not the U.N. We have already had noble experiments with soldiers of Fiji and of Ghana wearing their nifty blue helmets.
    It is Europe, hitherto feckless Europe, that needs to guarantee the peace between the Israelis and the Gaza Palestinians. Europe has been Palestine’s rhetorical patron. Now let it be Palestine’s actual guarantor. That means ensuring that the governors of Gaza not rule by the armed doctrine of fanatic and bloodthirsty Islam. This is not only for Israel’s sake, but also for the sake of the indigenous population. It requires a resolute confidence in the face of an unruly, almost insuppressible politics. With the Palestinian Authority or not, and preferably with it, Europe (by which I mean Great Britain, France, Germany, Holland, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Poland, Canada, Australia, and a few others) holds the fate of Palestine in its hands.
    Martin Peretz is the editor-in-chief of The New Republic.
    © The New Republic 2009

    Reply

  98. arthurdecco says:

    POA, After carefully reading JoeM’s posts on this thread, I’m having trouble recognizing either the rhetoric or ideology you claim it contains. As a matter of fact, I’d say you’ve made a complete hash of describing his written opinions – (opinions, I for the most part, share.)
    He appears to be a serious, thoughtful, informed and passionate advocate for Palestine from where I’m sitting way over here.
    I’m hugely surprised by the position you’ve taken with him. Did I miss something somewhere?

    Reply

  99. arthurdecco says:

    “Whatever Israel might have been once upon a time, it is now a brutal, racist and ugly colonial power. I am sick of its slick-talking, lawyerly spokesmen on CNN, with their perfect command of English, and their skill in pushing American buttons. I am tired of their endless armies of American apologists. I am tired of the Israel-tilting pundits, operatives and advisors who have been telling us why Barack Obama must stay out of this crisis, or why the White House should stay out of this crisis, or why the UN should stay out of this crisis. These characters are just running interference for Israel, accompanied by a lot of phony hand-wringing, and are keen to talk Americans into giving Israel the time and space it needs to finish its bloody and criminal business.” Posted by Dan Kervick Jan 04, 3:10AM
    In my opinion, this is one of the finest things you’ve ever written, Mr. Kervick – truth stripped to its essence.

    Reply

  100. nina says:

    Sorry! having trouble with the C key, thus “.om”
    Below is the correct URL for Deep Into Artlife West.
    http://deepintoartlifewest.blogspot.com/
    Thanks.
    Remember, Hell for Bad Cows belongs to Steve.

    Reply

  101. arthurdecco says:

    “oh, and about that horribly disturbing picture of those dead little children?”
    “…in a way, maybe these children are lucky.”
    …”as for me, i find a quick death in aerial bombardment an easier way to die.”
    Posted by varanasi Jan 04, 12:02AM
    Varanasi,
    Behind your thin skin of civility beats the heart of monster.

    Reply

  102. nina says:

    Apparently, POA has been banned from further posting on this thread. He is unable to access the thread on his computer, but I was able to access the thread on my computer. He is able to access all the other threads on TWN. This is an unprecedented occurence at TWN. It is interesting that commenters heretofor unknown arrive on the thread directly on the heels of his commentary and revelations regarding the Phalanx weapons system, and Israel’s failure to deploy this system.

    Reply

  103. rich says:

    Ken @ 6:57PM:
    “I’ve reread Varanasi’s comments and there is nothing to suggest your characterization is true.”
    Obviously you did not read” varanasi @ 9:06AM:
    “are the forces that israel is waging war against – hamas – as innocent as those souls murdered by the third reich?”
    I asked varanasi if “this include[d] the 111 children killed by the Israeli onslaught? Are they not innocent?” — and varanasi could not answer, but ran away from the question.
    And when I called varanasi on that, he did not admit that the souls of Palestinian children could be equally innocent as the souls of Jewish children. Instead, he fingerpointed at the imam’s alleged crimes–and basically said his children deserved to die. And that the tragedy was that he had been able to procreate at all.
    Ken, you wrote “there is nothing to suggest your characterization is true,” which I’ve just disproven. Ken, you wrote “that [I] engaged in character assassination”–yet as we’ve all seen, varanasi has no character to assassinate. His eagerness to exterminate families based on what their fathers say, and a nation’s offspring because of who they are and that they defend themselves. Varanasi refused to admit the souls of those 1111 dead Palestinian children are not as innocent the souls of dead Jewish children because he’d have to admit they are human beings. Instead of diving deeper into the eliminatiolnist language, he’d have to give that ‘rationale’ up.
    Ken, let’s stick to the facts. You’re lookin’ shrill: “This guy Rayan was a mass murdering maniac who deserved what he got!”
    Now, think, Ken. The bombing of Gaza has been justified because the rockets, we’re told, were a breach of the peace. Even though the ceasefire–which Gaza had obeyed–ended some months ago. On the NewsHour tonight, a guest noted that Israel had broken that ceasefire 153 times, killing 36 Palestinians.
    Israel broke the ceasefire 153 times, Ken. Didn’t you ever stop and ask what else you’re not being told? Ever wonder what it would take for a normal person to strap explosives to their back and blow themselves to smithereens? There has to be a reason. Conditions have to be beyond hopeless, and the abuse and oppression must be be just beyond intolerable. How bad would things have to get, Ken, for you to do something like that? NO one likes it, but frankly Ken, that’s on Israel.

    Reply

  104. ... says:

    lets all feel sorry for varanasi, lol… he was selective in who/what he choose to respond to and he wasn’t above making subjective comments that in retrospect he probably be the first to admit were unfair…
    what is with this piling on poa that often happens when a thread is basically over?? it is always a few posters who claim to be regular posters but never comment until they all collectively decide to gang up on him or something, not that he needs my help, but it is weird to see this happen more then once..
    if you don’t like what poa has to say, do what varanasi does and go to bed to come back another day! on a different thread of course!!!

    Reply

  105. Ruchi says:

    I’m a long time lurker on this website and i’m just writing to say that I’m disappointed that this thread was destroyed by Pissed Off American.
    There is absolutely no reason to swear and call contributors names regardless of their opinions. And in my opinion you were way off the mark in calling Varanasi a nazi. I’m a second grade teacher and I instruct my students to never behave this way. It is rude and undignified and worse.
    I hope that Varanasi continues to contribute. I found his or her commentary interesting and thought provoking even if I disagreed with some of what they said.
    As an Indian American, I found Varanasi’s Asian viewpoint to be valuable in this discussion. Certainly more than Pissed Off American who screams and yells at everyone he disagrees with and acts like a child.

    Reply

  106. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “True to form POA. Calling other people jackasses and bufoons? take a look in the mirror asshole”
    Hmmmm, no comment on the issue of Israel failing to deploy Phalanx, eh?
    Care to comment on the Israeli incursion on November 5th, that was a direct violation of the ceasefire?
    In your brilliant opinion, was the blockade of essential goods into Gaza a “defensive” posture?
    And, lastly, are you dishonest, or stupid? To claim that Israel has not been expansionist is a flight from reality. If you don’t want to be called a buffoon, then try not to be one.

    Reply

  107. ... says:

    tony – it is refreshing to see you say that the responsibility for the mass murders rests with everyone.. that is a big shift from what i perceived as your original position of it only being suicide bombers responsible for mass murder.. perhaps some of the comments here have indeed been having an effect.. more palestinians dead and the palestinians are the mass murderers never did jive and i thank you for finally stating what you may have meant to originally articulate..

    Reply

  108. TonyForesta says:

    I left this thread a while ago because it grew fruitless and boring.
    But racists anti-western fyi and others flinging substantless accusations of racism warrant a response.
    My focus is on eliminating massmurderers – all of them on earth, and eliminating the condining and proselytizing of massmurder by any horde, klan, tribe, nation, religion, cult, clique, cartel, or group.
    Evidently many people here are incapable of reading, or have selective vision because continually the message is distorted mangled and taken wildly out of context.
    My position has been clearly articulated time and time again, but for clarity –
    All religious instititions are miserable failures as purveyors of religion, and I personally spurn all them with equal disdain. All the worlds major religious orders are drenched in oceans of innocent blood, and brute some variation of the ridiculous fiction that god is on their side, and god sanctions each respective blood drenched religious order to slaughter it’s enemies – amen.
    All the fundamentalist hordes within those repective religions, jihadist islam, evangelical christain, and zionest jew are the bane of humanity and malignant. They all seek the armegeddon and some stupid ridiculous version of paradise where their specific followers alone will live happily everafter.
    The conflict between Israel and Palestine will never be resolved because each party is locked in the oldworld ways and an unending cycle of vengeance, bloodlust, and pipedreams of domination, more vengeance, more bloodlust and more pipedreams domination ad infinitum.
    Any decent human being (and I am certain varanasi falls into this catagory) mourns and grieves for the lost of any innocent life and particularly children. How can any sentient human being not cringe at the now 150? palestinian children slaughtered. But who is responsible for this despicable carnage – everyone!!! Israel, Hamas, the Palestinian people, America, Europe, the Arab states and freaks, perverts, and pathological massmurderers of jihadist islam. All our hands are bloody, and all of us are responsible and culpable because none us have the courage to seek real change.
    Carry on fools, vampires, haters – NOTHING is going to change in the GAZA because of none of you want change. You want blood! Enjoy the carnage.

    Reply

  109. Ken says:

    True to form POA. Calling other people jackasses and bufoons? take a look in the mirror asshole.

    Reply

  110. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Shame on POA for driving away a thoughtful contributor with his reprehensible drivel”
    If I hang my head in shame it won’t be because some jackass with a shortage of facts is offended by my commentary.
    Aren’t you the buffoon that claimed that Israel has never been expansionist, and wouldn’t have gone into Gaza if it wasn’t for the Hamas rockets? And you want to point fingers and natter about “drivel”?
    How ’bout you give us your clever take on why Israel hasn’t deployed the Phalanx system?
    I can’t wait. This oughta be good.

    Reply

  111. Ken says:

    Here is a link to read more about poor Mr Rayan. Good riddance!
    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-gaza2-2009jan02,0,2260601.story

    Reply

  112. Ken says:

    Shame on POA for driving away a thoughtful contributor with his reprehensible drivel.
    Rich, I think you are way offbase with your characterization of Varanasi’s comments. you wrote,
    “To you the souls of dead children are not ‘innocent’ if they’re Palestinian”
    I’ve reread Varanasi’s comments and there is nothing to suggest your characterization is true. I’d say that you engaged in character assassination. This guy Rayan was a mass murdering maniac who deserved what he got! you speak about him like he was an innocent preacher. Give us a break! He sent his kid on a suicide mission with innocent civilians as his targets! Get off your high horse Rich!
    I don’t understand why the regulars in this blog are content to create an echo chamber in here.

    Reply

  113. ColinLaney says:

    pissedoffamerican wrote “If anyone saw Zogby and Dershowitz . . . experts. . . facts . . . ”
    POA: Whose interests does Dershowitz care about? Is he for the US or for Israel?
    Is Dershowitz there to give you the “facts” or is he there to tell you whatever he thinks will advance the interests of Israel?

    Reply

  114. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Here is a Haaretz article that would seem to buttress “Humane’s” claims, which can be found at the following link…..
    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2008/12/view_from_a_pal/#comment-122206
    One surely must ponder the reasoning behind failing to deploy the Phalanx system. Even if the system had a sucess ratio that was far less than 100%, which is probable, wouldn’t the percentage of Hamas’ rockets that were successfully destroyed justify the cost of the system? (Particularly since these “deadly” rockets are “raining down” on innocent Israeli citizens)
    Apparently, the excuse “self defense” doesn’t actually mean anything if the Israelis are ignoring proven defense systems, does it? Its interesting, but not suprising, that the media here is fond of parroting the Israeli buzz lines, like citing the “rain” of “deadly” Hamas rockets, yet do not examine why Israel isn’t taking known and proven defensive measures to counter this “rain” of rockets.
    Have we really gotten to the point that we have to wade through the internet to find the truth while these lousy fuckin’ propagandists in the main stream media vomit up a steady litany of bullshit, talking points, and tittilating tabloid diversions?
    Wouldn’t it be nice of Steve if he was to forward this information to Olberman and Maddow?
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/954317.html
    Ballistic expert: Israel ignoring option of U.S. anti-rocket system
    By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent
    Tags: Iron Dome, Israel, Qassam
    Dr. Nathan Farber is a ballistic expert who has been persistently trying, to no avail, to present to the Defense Ministry what he sees as a possibly imminent solution to Qassam fire from Gaza.
    Farber’s suggestion is to deploy American artillery batteries called Phalanx around the Qassam-battered town of Sderot, to intercept the rockets fired by Palestinians.
    The U.S. army has been successfully operating the system in Iraq, where it provides its bases with protection from rockets and mortar shells. Canada is also considering deploying it in Afghanistan.
    Farber told Haaretz his suggestion should not be rejected out of hand. He said that the system could be tested with a budget of no more than $1 million, even in the “battlefield” itself, by deploying one or two Phalanx batteries near Sderot.
    But for some reason the Defense Ministry maintains his suggestion is impracticable, although it has never been tested.
    Farber is not an eccentric – his credentials include vast knowledge of and experience in shells and ballistics. He is an accredited aeronautical engineer, a lecturer at the Technion, Israel’s Institute of Technology, and a veteran of the Israel Military Industries (IMI).
    When his tenure as the IMI missile department’s chief scientist ended, he worked as an advisor to the Israel Air Force and the American Missile Defense Administration. Previously, he had been an IAF anti-aircraft officer and later senior intelligence officer.
    The Phalanx anti-aircraft artillery system, manufactured by the American Reytheon company, was initially developed for battleships.
    A Phalanx battery includes four 20mm-wide shells and radar that tracks the missile, assesses its trajectory and intercepts it from a range of up to a 1.5 km.
    Unlike any other system, Phalanx is capable of firing up to 6,000 shells per minute, which are twice as fast as a Qassam rocket (with a speed of more than a kilometer per second). As of today, the system is installed in some IDF battleships.
    Farber claims that five batteries will adequately cover the western Negev, and will not cause environmental damage. “Because of their exceptionally high speed, the shells that don’t hit Qassams will land in the sea,” he said, “although the chances of a direct hit are high.”
    For years the security establishment has stymied any initiative to develop short- and medium-range missile interception systems, claiming they were wasteful and of questionable efficiency.
    Even after the Second Lebanon War, during which the missile threat on Israel’s home front materialized, the Defense Ministry remained resolute. An expert panel, headed by then Defense Ministry director general Gaby Ashkenazi (the incumbent Chief of Staff), was eventually set up, following pressure exerted by then defense minister Amir Peretz.
    The panel decided to commission Rafael Arms Development Authority to develop two interception systems: Iron Dome, for short-range rockets (like Qassams and Katyushas) and Magic Wand for long-range missiles (up to 200 km), to be developed in conjunction with Reytheon.
    A shadow of malpractice was cast on the decision to allocate a development budget of over NIS 1 billion to Rafael, as one of the panel members, Yedidya Yaari, was the former managing director of the authority.
    The problem remains that Iron Dome will be operative within three years at the earliest.
    “Why not deploy Phalanx batteries in the meanwhile, and protect the residents of Sderot?” asks Farber.
    “It will be cheaper, no less efficient, and above all provide immediate protection. If it’s good enough for the Americans in Iraq, why can’t it be good for us?”
    The Defense Ministry provided no definite answer as to why Farber’s suggestion hasn’t been considered.
    A spokesman said that “while the development of Iron Dome is underway, the security establishment continues to consider other options, including the American LUWD system. So far, we haven’t found a system that meets our demands, but we continue to look into newly developed as well as existing systems.”
    Former deputy defense minister Ephraim Sneh said that the Ashkenazi Commission considered every available option and made its decision on a “purely professional basis. The allegations that financial motives were at issue are malicious.”

    Reply

  115. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Here is an Israeli site that pretty well describes available and developing anti-missile technology. However, it does not get into the political history that would repudiate or substantiate “Humane’s” claims. On doing an internet search on “Humane’s” comments, I found numerous examples of his post appearing, as quoted above, verbatim, on a number of forums…
    http://israelmilitary.net/showthread.php?t=5138
    However, apparently the “Phalynx” system is an operational system, that could be deployed on Israel’s border with Gaza and the West Bank. Why it hasn’t been is still a mystery to me.

    Reply

  116. Ajaz says:

    BUSH’S PARTING GIFT TO OBAMA – SCORCHED EARTH POLICY IN THE MIDDLE EAST
    President Bush is the first American President to openly talk about a two state solution in the Middle East. But beyond that him and his Secretary of State Condi Rice have done everything to destroy the Middle East peace process.
    Bill Clinton left him a fairly advanced peace process, but GWB took an axe and crushed it. First, by declaring the Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat a terrorist and then unleashing Ariel Sharon on the Palestinians. The same Ariel Sharon who was wanted in a European court on terrorism charge for instigating and killing of over one thousand innocent men, women and children in Sabira and Shatilla camps in Lebanon.
    It seems that Bush and Sharon’s policy was to weaken Palestinians to such an extent that a planted Palestinian leader, Mahmood Abbas would accept whatever peace agreement was offered to him. But that was doomed to failure. Israel continues to fight and has not only suffered humiliation but also lost invincibility at the hands of a rag tag Hizbollah.
    And now, when it seemed that Israelis had started talking peace and King Abdullah’s peace plan and when a new U.S. President was about to be sworn in with much hope for Middle East peace, President Bush & Condi Rice have encouraged Israel to attack Gaza and possibly destroy all chances of peace.
    A majority of American public and many Jews around the world (who otherwise support Israel) have shown anger and disgust at Gaza attacks and are refusing to buy Bush Administration’s rhetoric. It seems that the World and Americans cannot be rid of George W. Bush soon enough. Even in the dying days of his Presidency he is hell bent on causing death and destruction and leaving behind a scorched Middle East.

    Reply

  117. ... says:

    varanasi, there are a few of us here who have commented on, and questioned your comments.. to take one big sweep and throw in the towel on this thread reflects a certain attitude on your part that is not all that friendly to those of us who have been sincere in our attempt to understand your ideological position…
    i think it is helpful to lighten up and be more humourous, not that i am a perfect example, but when faced with some of your earlier comments in responded in a friendly and lighthearted manner… perhaps cutting others some slack and working towards answering questions that have been put to you directly would be a more responsible response, but it’s your call and these are just my thoughts on it.. i am disappointed that you haven’t answered rich directly..

    Reply

  118. rich says:

    POA,
    Your words. Not mine.
    I didn’t catch your name thing. But if varanasi espouses the positions, exhibits the traits, and advocates the tactics made famous by the third reich, who am I to apologize for his lack of judgement? I’ll call it what it is, POA–and you can say what you will.
    If there’s anything shocking here, it’s that varanasi thinks his sentiments are widely shared or publicly acceptable. Or somehow justified. But they don’t border on the tactics and bigotry that enabled german ethnic cleansing during wwii, they embrace them, eagerly and proudly. This is what it has come to. It shames the memory of six million (+) souls lost to us 63 years ago, and there has to be a better way. We’ve long transitioned from ‘we’re doing this because we have to’ and on into ‘we’re doing this because we can, because it’s a habit and a reflex and an ideology, and because we don’t know any other way’. It’s a bad sign.

    Reply

  119. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Did anyone call you that? It seems to me you leap to draw unwarranted conclusions”
    “No one called you that”
    Uhm, uh, Rich……uh…ahem….

    Reply

  120. rich says:

    Did anyone call you that? It seems to me you leap to draw unwarranted conclusions.
    No one called you that.
    But let’s look at your own track record. You seem quite comfortable justifying the snuffing out of one man’s family because of something he said. You feel justified in killing off a nation’s children by the hundreds — just because Israel has bigger bombs — and just because their land has been taken and they have the nerve to protest. By definition, this is ethnic cleansing. Gazans are already ghettoized and blockaded–yet that’s not enough.
    You’ve been reasonable, thoughtful and articulate–as long you’re allowed to verge on and then openly engage in bigoted comments. The only thing you’re unhappy about is that you’ve been called on it. To you the souls of dead children are not ‘innocent’ if they’re Palestinian, and the tragedy as far as you’re concerned is that the imam you hate was able to have any offspring at all. What’s that if not an eliminationist viewpoint? Didn’t the Third Reich complain about the reproductive capacity of the [so-called] ‘vermin’ they sought to exterminate? They thought it was ok too. Haven’t you learned the lesson of Never Again? At least 111 Palestinian children dead–so far–and the only thing bothering you is you’ve been called on your callousness, the ‘philosophy’ and fingerpointing you used to justify it, and on your ‘interpretation’ of events. Even CNN has proven that Orwellian PR to be wholly false.

    Reply

  121. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Hmm, I could plead the fifth. Or, I could take the Israeli way out, lie, and say it was a typo.
    Lets see…eenie, meanie, miney moe….

    Reply

  122. varanasi says:

    wow! one last check before bed and i see that someone is now calling me a nazi!
    well, i guess that’s it for me in this thread. it was nice while it lasted.
    great work on the blog, steve!
    however, it’s unfortunate that these comment threads all too often degenerate to name calling. quite paradoxical behavior, since the perpetrators criticize others for their lack of compassion and humanity! oh, hypocrisy…
    namaste.

    Reply

  123. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Varanazi….
    You seem to have a habit of citing examples as fact, yet being totally unable to cite specific sourcing for your examples. It hardly lends credibility to your arguments.
    “nizar rayan lived by the sword and then he died by it. it is tragic that his biology was such that he was able to have children”
    You recently told me if I was to call you a bigot, you would no longer respond to my comments. I look forward to your disengagement.

    Reply

  124. rich says:

    Posted by varanasi Jan 05, 1:04PM – Link
    “i detect more than a bit of negativity and anger in your post directed towards me personally.”
    Your interpret in error. It’s perfectly reasonable to take issue with your implication that some souls–Palestinian souls–are not innocent. Your statement was outrageous, and you have yet to qualify or retract it.
    It’s telling, varanasi, that when you say “israel is clearly engaged in an unfortunate war with Hamas and, as in every war, there is regretable and tragic civilian suffering and death”–you STILL are not willing to admit that the souls of the 111 dead Palestinian children are not just as innocent as the souls of dead Jewish children. How many does it take to reach a threshhold that will satisfy you? Will it take 100,000 dead Palestinian children to make their souls innocent? One million? Answer the question: “Are their souls not innocent?” Just as innocent as dead Jewish children?
    varanasi, you say: “you know as well as i do that these children are not intended targets.”
    I don’t think we know that. YOU do not know that. Not anymore. Israel KNEW those children would die: it chose the methods; it selected the bombs; it rained down bombs on civilian neighborhoods where it knew families and children lived.
    It’s quite clear that Israel is more than willing–through broad policies and via bombs–to heavily impact whole populations and incur a high civilian death toll.
    Israel chose the path of war rather than reconciliation. Israel chose to make war on a population rather than an army–rather than address the sustenance requirements, the economic needs, or the political concerns of Gazan Palestinians. And Israel pretended its bombs were equivalent to the ‘provocation’ of the ridiculously ineffectual rockets.
    “varanasi: you haven’t had the guts to address the 111 children slaughtered by Israel’s bombing.
    varanasi,
    “the dead children who were paraded around the streets . . were the kids of an immam who preached just last week that ‘the only language with which we will communicate with the jew is the gun.’ ”
    Wait–you’re happy to kill children because, harsh as it seems (and his words were racist), Israel won’t negotiate in good faith? You’re kidding–you think it’s ok to kill children because of something their father said? Did you ever stop to think that if Israel were to offer a political/non-violent path out of the conflict, people would stop saying that? In short, prove he wasn’t right! Did you every stop to think that any human being will turn to violence when they are met ONLY with violence?? Going by Israel’s documented record, that’s the only option available. Supported Hamas; took out Arafat, which radicalized the population; then denied the democratic election when they didn’t like the results! You can’t have it both ways–given that backdrop, you’re basically saying it’s ok to kill children when their father speaks the truth.
    You’re refusing to engage because your position is fundamentally untenable. And wholly amoral.
    varanasi, NOTE WELL the CNN reporting vs. Israeli PR version of the ramming of the relief boat ‘Dignity’. When Israel continually lies about each and every event, you are not entitled to ‘interpret’ the Israel-Palestine conflict however you choose. You are not entitled to your own facts. Obviously you have your own opinion; fine.
    But don’t claim some souls are innocent; but not the souls of Palestinians. Or Palestinian children. That’s as racist as it gets–and for you to point fingers at the imam for what he said, as though he is the transgressor, rather than just like those who agree with you–is wholly bereft of any moral standing or good faith grappling with these events.
    You only disengage because it would lead to a solution–and that would mean starting to view others as human beings.
    I think you owe all of us an answer, as well as good-faith participation here, not only a response to me. You certainly concede my points if you go silent. And it’s a minimal standard: ante up like the rest of us, and keep contributing. But to lay such outrageous comments out there, and then hide behind fingerpointing at a Palestinian imam who lost all his children, is just beyond the pale–it is unbelievably cowardly and racist; it is a crime against your own family past and future.
    Asking for a little responsibility is hardly a burden. So you’re unable to mount a substantive response. It’s your admission to make.

    Reply

  125. varanasi says:

    no sourcing or links, but the info is all over the internets. the bodies of rayan’s kids were uncovered and marched through the streets in front of thousands.
    …and the sins of the father are visted upon his children. this is unfortunate, but seems to be true.
    nizar rayan lived by the sword and then he died by it. it is tragic that his biology was such that he was able to have children – surely they deserved better.
    and before i get flamed for it, OF COURSE they also deserved to not live in a ghetto. unfortunately, as you’ve already said, POA, people like their dad make it all but impossible to improve their predicament.
    btw, i’ll be offline now until tomorrow.
    cheers.

    Reply

  126. varanasi says:

    Posted by Outraged American Jan 05, 1:19PM
    “But now the entire world is held hostage by
    this nebulous and ever expanding “War on Terror”, which is Israel and its massive propaganda/ bribes/ threats sucking us into its war on Islam.”
    i simply disagree with your characterization of the causes and nature of the armed islamic jihadism that is sweeping through many parts of the world.
    you seem content to blame israel and the u.s. alone for this trend, and surely that is your perogotaive, but i disagree.
    my country is also facing an onslaught of islamic radicalism and israel has little or nothing to do with it.

    Reply

  127. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “but, as i noted earlier in this thread, the dead children who were paraded around the streets and are pictured in this post were the kids of an immam who preached just last week that “the only language with which we will communicate with the jew is the gun.””
    Varanazi….
    Is this another MEMRI translation?
    In order to be credible, really, claims such as you are making should be sourced and linked to, or, if not, presented as allegation rather than fact.
    And is it your contention that the children should die for the “crimes” of the father? You refuse to admit that Israel is engaging in collective punishment, then, in turn, you rationalize the deaths of the children by citing the words of the father.
    But if one supposes that this bombing campaign and ground invasion was completely and utterly unneccesary, counterproductive, and illegal, that pretty well nixes your justification for the deaths of these children, doesn’t it?

    Reply

  128. ... says:

    varanasi quote…”you know as well as i do that these children are not intended targets.”
    varanasi and tony foresta have a lot in common..
    as i understand it, because israel has all the ‘sophisticated’ weaponry, they can claim they are being ‘civilized’ in their murdering by only targeting ‘suspected terrorists’.. at no such time do either varanasi or tony foresta appear to be able to consider the idea of state terrorism as expressed presently on those in gaza, or recently on those innocent folks in iraq or afganastan due these same ‘civilized’ war machines..
    personally i find this rationalization a very poor one that is essentially an excuse for mass murder, something that is indeed going on at present..
    too bad some folks are unable or unwilling to recognize the ugliness of ‘civilized’ countries with state of the art weapony engaged in mass murder… i guess that is why someone from this same ideology came up with the polite term ‘collateral’ damage.. it sounds a lot nicer then ‘mass murder’ although the results and intent are the same…

    Reply

  129. Outraged American says:

    I don’t support Israel’s “right to exist” and I can’t see why if it did
    it wasn’t made out of a part of Germany. Also why can’t Israel
    “exist” (i.e., conduct seemingly endless wars of aggression) on its
    own dime rather than mine?
    My parents and grandparents, along with tens of millions of their
    fellow countrypeople went through their own “Holocaust” right
    after WW II. Varanasi — your parents might remember that one
    — it was called the partition of India and Pakistan.
    There have been dozens of Holocausts since the Jewish
    Holocaust. Rwanda springs immediately to mind. Congo for a
    more current one. But now the entire world is held hostage by
    this nebulous and ever expanding “War on Terror”, which is
    Israel and its massive propaganda/ bribes/ threats sucking us
    into its war on Islam.
    If the Palestinians were Catholic, the world would be engaged in
    a “War on Catholicism.”
    Forgive me for being crabby about this, I lost a friend in the
    WTC — if you believe the official narrative that was blowback
    for our carte blanche support of Israel’s aggression.
    Plus, I spoke with an ISM activist at a hospital in Gaza yesterday,
    who was describing the ongoing horror. Yesterday, Israel was
    targeting ambulances.
    “Never again” except if you’re Muslim, which I am not.
    Anyone who bothered to read the Feith/ Perle/ Wurmsers
    (recognize those names?) manifesto “A Clean Break: A New
    Strategy for Securing the Realm” written for Benjamin Netanyahu
    in 1996, would know that the Iraq war was for Israel. As will be
    Iran.
    Israel is a cancer. Our support of Israel, again if one believes the
    official narrative of the Sept. 11 attacks — that they were
    blowback for that support, has destroyed our Bill of Rights via
    the “Patriot” Act and launched us into an endless war against
    Israel’s enemies.
    I just missed an old friend’s wedding because I am on a special
    watch list when I fly — my “crime”?? Being a journalist? Being
    an outspoken critic of war? Being an outspoken critic of Israel’s
    wars?
    I don’t know — thanks to the good ol’ “War on Terror/ Islam”
    the 4th Amendment is gone and I will never know why I am
    treated by a criminal by the TSA when in fact I have never been
    accused of a crime, much less convicted of one.
    Papers please — the Israelis learned well from the Nazis, but
    now they’re destroying my country as they slaughter innocent
    people using my tax dollars.

    Reply

  130. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Plus, in regards to the rockets that are “raining down” on Israel, note this post, from “humane”, on a prior thread.
    ********
    Posted by Humane Jan 04, 3:24PM – Link
    A fact often missed is that the Israeli Defense Ministry stubbornly refused to employ or even test technological means to intercept the Kassam rockets fired from Gaza.
    To make a long story short, Israel refused to protect its attacked citizens with a C-RAM system based on the Phalanx canon or a laser canon. Both said to be tested successfully in Iraq for similar aims.
    There were serious public objections to this policy, even a semi-campaign led by the Haaretz newspaper to at least try one of these weapon systems but the MoD stood firm.
    Why? Some says the MoD is afraid that using these systems will harm future export of a currently developed anti-missile missile system called Kipat Barzel. This system has already proved unsuitable for intercepting Kassams due to its very long response time.
    Another theory is that the Kassams provide an excuse for the Gaza siege and a campaign of “targeted assassinations” against the Hamas. This campaign already took about 1000 lives before the current war started. Hiding political interest behind humanitarian concern seems to be a trait of both Israel and the US.
    ********
    I have not yet researched “Humane’s” claim, but I have in the past posted as to my wonderment at the fact that one of the most modern militaries on the planet cannot defend itself against crude and ineffective short range projectiles. There is definitely something wrong with that picture. An “Humane’s” claim seems completely in keeping with Israeli duplicity, cunning, and immoral conduct. With the sacrifice of just a few Israeli lives, by allowing these rockets to get through the defenses, look at the carnage they can wreak in reward.

    Reply

  131. Paul Norheim says:

    Don: how COULD you call me an optimist 🙂
    Did you read yesterday`s tragical news about the retired hat
    factory worker, Donald Peters, who won 10 million $ in the
    lottery?
    “Peters bought two Connecticut Lottery tickets at a local 7-
    Eleven store on Nov. 1 as part of a 20-year tradition he shared
    with his wife Charlotte. Later that day, the 79-year-old retired
    hat factory worker suffered a fatal heart attack while working in
    his yard in Danbury.”
    Yeah, the papers constructed it as a happy-end story: “On the
    day that Donald Peters died, he unknowingly provided financial
    security for his wife of 59 years and their family.”
    And the widow, what does she say?
    “I’m numb,” Charlotte Peters, 78, said at Connecticut Lottery
    headquarters in Rocky Hill.
    She does not yet know what she will do with the money.
    “I’ve always wanted a Corvette, but I don’t think I’ll buy one. I
    might go to Mohegan Sun,” she said, referring to the casino in
    Connecticut.”
    She just got 10 million dollars, and all she can think of is going
    to the casino in Connecticut? Imagine all the friends and
    relatives begging the poor widow for money every time she
    leaves her house to drive (not in a Corvette) to Mohegan Sun.
    Isn`t that sad, Don?
    How can I possibly be an optimist, confronted with such stories
    in the papers?
    🙂

    Reply

  132. fyi says:

    varanasi:
    Muslims do not have a monopoly of intolerance. One only needs to look at the recreational lynching of African-Americans in the United States. Or the Hindus massacaring Muslims in Gujarat or Sikhs in Delhi.

    Reply

  133. varanasi says:

    Posted by rich Jan 05, 11:57AM
    “varanasi: you haven’t had the guts to address the 111 children slaughtered by Israel’s bombing. Are their souls not innocent?”
    you know as well as i do that these children are not intended targets. israel is clearly engaged in an unfortunate war with Hamas and, as in every war, there is regretable and tragic civilian suffering and death.
    but, as i noted earlier in this thread, the dead children who were paraded around the streets and are pictured in this post were the kids of an immam who preached just last week that “the only language with which we will communicate with the jew is the gun.” i also understand that he sent another child off to israel with explosives strapped to his chest where he blew himself up with 2 israeli civilians. i would argue that nizar rayan visited this catastrophe upon his children himself.
    sorry to say that i detect more than a bit of negativity and anger in your post directed towards me personally. as a result, this will be my last response to you.
    cheers.

    Reply

  134. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “POA posted links to two photos and IF the rocket photo is representative……”
    Of course it is representative. Hence the extremely low numbers of fatalities due to this “rain” of missile attacks. I also mentioned photograph I saw in the LA Times that showed a room that was hit by one of these missiles, and the furniture in the roiom was still intact. A clip I saw on CNN showed a room hit by one of these “deadly” missiles, and a table in the room has an intact glass vase on it, still displaying its lovely bouquet of fresh flowers.
    Figure it out. Despite the recent “barrage” of rockets that Israel claims Hamas is “raining down” on “over a million” Israelis in southern Israel, there have been FOUR fatalities? It doesn’t take a genius to figure the odds of actually being killed by one of these “deadly” projectiles, does it?

    Reply

  135. varanasi says:

    Posted by fyi Jan 05, 11:37AM
    “Muslim polities, in my opinion, cannot be secular in the Western European sense. The reason is because of the nature of Islam which does not recognize the separation of Religion and Politics.”
    my point exactly. and when you couple this reality with intolerance for people from different backgrounds you have a problem. the notion of the inherent threat of the “infidel” is hurtful and counter-productive.

    Reply

  136. Oreo_and_Milk says:

    Ty Lookwell:
    “and your comment: “and I should add that this guy is about as positive about “modernity” as one can find in Middle East blogging circles:” … what does this mean? Do you know how offensive it sounds?”
    Can you explain what’s offensive?

    Reply

  137. PissedOffAmerican says:

    This entire threat can be summarized by repeating a single word….
    “But…blahblahblah….”
    “But…blahblahblah….but…blahblahblah….”
    “But…blahblahblah….but…blahblahblah….but…blahblahblah….”
    “But…blahblahblah….but…blahblahblah….but…blahblahblah….but…blahblahblah….but…blahblahblah….”
    I rest my case. There is no solution.

    Reply

  138. rich says:

    I did turn up one article covering Israel’s ramming of the relief ship headed to Gaza, in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
    http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/dekalb/stories/2008/12/29/cynthia_mckinney_gaza.html
    The AJC quotes Jonathan Peled, spokesman for the Israeli embassy. Yet compare his statement to the CNN eyewitness:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_TwTSWzC7M
    Peled: “The ship wasn’t rammed.” “The boat came very close, we called the ship to basically to turn around, we informed the ship that they wouldn’t be allowed to enter Gaza.”
    CNN eyewitness Karl Penhaul: The ship was rammed. No warning was given.
    Peled: “They said that the didn’t need any assistance,” he said. “It passed peacefully, apparently no damage, no wounded, no nothing, but a slight collision.”
    CNN video: the ship shows a gaping hole to its hull and top, characteristic of damage that could only be inflicted intentionally by a much larger vessel.
    Israeli authorities: “it was an accident,” that the ship “was attempting to outmaneuver the patrol boats.”
    CNN Karl Penhaus: “that just did not happen on the boat where I was.” Penhaus then apologizes for reporting the truth: “I’m sorry to say it in such emphatic terms, but this is what I saw.”
    Peled: “We see all these ships as pure propaganda, they have journalists on them and all kinds of other people who are coming basically to provoke.”
    CNN: Witnessed and reported the truth.
    Suddenly journalism is propaganda, and journalists and delivery of food and medicine is “a provocation.”
    Let’s review:
    Israel intentionally rammed the relief boat. View video in which Karl Penhaus recounts the event.
    Israeli naval & embassy spokesmen then:
    –lied about the ramming, claiming it was an “accident” and a “collision.” The ramming was clearly intentional.
    –lied about the damage. Peled said it “passed peacefully, apparently no damage, no nothing.” It had a freakin’ gaping hole.
    –lied about the boat ‘attempting to outmaneuver’ the patrol boats.
    –lied about giving a warning, when none was given.
    –lied about the relief boats purpose, saying it was a “terrorist activities” and doctors and relief workers “come to provoke.”
    Note well:
    The pattern merely exposes the greater raft of PR lies Israel floats about the situation, as standard practice.
    They say they let humanitarian aid into Gaza. Yet everyone knows it’s a drop in the bucket–and a fig leaf designed to hide the fact that Gazan Palestinians are starving due to Israel’s blockade.
    Who struck first, which side has provoked the other, and who is acting in self-defense is also openly misrepresented by Israel’s PR machine.
    Israel has given Gazan Palestine legitimate casus belli, many times over. You just can’t take someone’s land, ghetto-ize an entire people –and than claim the other guy has started it or has ignited hostilities just because the victims want their land back. It’s absurd.
    You can’t eliminate Arafat and support Hamas–and then complain when a radicalized Gazan electorate votes Hamas. You can’t complain when the violent groups you denounce take your advice and go the peaceful route by entering the political process. The Israeli position is fundamentally absurd.
    And really, the whole pathetic charade calls into question whether the rockets — supposedly the provocation — are any danger at all. Has Israel presented any actual evidence whatsoever that these are any real threat? Seriously. Of course there is damage and certainly they sow fear. They also target villages from which Gazan Palestinian landowning families have been removed. They’re aimed at the former homes of Gazan Palestinians.
    But if these rockets can’t even punch a hole in the pavement, are they really a threat? Or just a cheap excuse? POA posted links to two photos and IF the rocket photo is representative–and I’m not saying it is–then Israel, as it clearly has all along, is manufacturing excuses to finish an extermination. Blunt talk? America and Israel doesn’t seem to understand anything else. And unsubtle inversions of reality is all America and Israel is willing to use. So, no sympathy, without some active acknowledgement on our part, and on Israel’s part.

    Reply

  139. rich says:

    varanasi,
    Never said you didn’t. So come off it.
    YOU assumed we held no common ground–and that’s far more disrespectful than your demeanor suggests. My point is that you are not entitled to your own facts. Obviously everyone loves to interpret, often to serve a given agenda. The project of history works to bring facts and interpretation into close alignment.
    But where that ‘interpretation’ is conducted in bad faith, it’s critical to call that out in the cold light of day, and identify the perpetrators.
    varanasi: you haven’t had the guts to address the 111 children slaughtered by Israel’s bombing. Are their souls not innocent? You have yet to retract your contention that “israel is waging war [solely] against – hamas” — and that the souls of those 111 dead Palestinian children are not innocent — even “as innocent as those souls murdered by the third reich.”
    Why isn’t difficult to understand: Israel had to take land in order to be born. Fine, we can all accept that–and we support it. Yet understanding that necessity doesn’t erase that historical fact, which isn’t open to ‘interpretation’. And until Israel comes to terms with that in the political arena, we can expect continued conflict. You can’t pretend it didn’t happen. Expropriation of land obviously incurs anger and resistance from prior landowners, and from those resisting that overarching offensive military action. Palestinians who’re motivated by that original loss of their ancestral lands are obviously in a defensive posture, and seeking to redress a wrong–holocaust or not. It will take real work to address and relieve the damage to Israel’s security caused by Israel’s policy of ethnic cleansing. So interpret all you want, it doesn’t mean Israel is acting–at this point–in self-defense.
    varanasi, it’s obvious you can do better. But your comment on the varying ‘innocence of souls’ is really beyond the pale. You may not like it, but it’s an execrable, shameful assertion to make. There are 111 dead children–dead because Israel will not face up to root causes. And you, varanasi, can’t bring yourself to concede that one hundred eleven dead children were innocent enough for you. Not emaciated enough. Not submissive enough. Didn’t know the right people. Not the right religion. What’s your excuse? Targeting civilians when you just don’t care is still targeting civilians.

    Reply

  140. DonS says:

    Paul, sorry, didn’t mean to accuse you of being and optimist ;), although I think you tend that way, which is good.
    Regarding Israel playing by the rules of civilized nations, and not continually excepting itself, I note Peres again uses the phrase “we do not need to be preached at”. Guess what that evokes.
    Anyway, I am continually saddened that a nation that touts itself, its “people” and its origins as paragons of civilization and humanism honors its rhetoric mainly in the breech. I am equally saddened, and righteously angry, that the US political appratchiks choose to tie themselves to that hypocrisy.

    Reply

  141. Oreo_and_Milk says:

    Joe M,
    I’m so unbelievably sick of muslims blaming everything on everyone (the west in particular) but themselves. You’re only reaction to anything is to scream and cry and blame others and wallow in your misery.
    Egypt’s Mubarak for example can buy weapons from Russia if he wants to, the US has nothing to do with the society you created.
    There are many instances in history where the US is to blame in the middle east, though most of it is not even in Arab countries but Iran, but even in those cases the reactions made them worse and they pale in comparison to what you did.
    This is beyond pathetic. The worse things get, the more backwards you go. 20 years from now most of the middle east will probably be what it deserves to – in a taliban-like state.
    By the way, I’m Persian and I was born and raised in Kuwait, so I have a pretty good idea on what’s going on here, just in case you think I’m a westerner or something.

    Reply

  142. fyi says:

    varanasi:
    1. Secularism is not an inherently superior attribute of a political order. It is a characteristic that may or may not be useful to an specific polity. Some Western European polities, due to their historical experience, highly value it. Which may not obtain for other polities.
    2. On paper, many Muslim states are secular, have independent judiciary, and protected civil liberties; Egypt, Syria, Turkey, and others. In reality and in my opinion, the secular Muslim polities are garrison Secular Republics; that is – secularism is enforced via bayonets.
    3. Muslim polities, in my opinion, cannot be secular in the Western European sense. The reason is because of the nature of Islam which does not recognize the separation of Religion and Politics. In fact and in my opinion, the evolution of Muslim polities since the end of WWII has been towards Islamic Republican model and away from Western European secular model.
    4. There is no protection of the Law in Turkey; i.e. no Rule of law there. In that she is similar to all other Muslim polities and also to India.
    5. The genesis of the Iranian political system may be found in the ideas expressed in the book called “The Republic” by Plato. That people use the word “theocracy” only indicates the depths of their ignorance of the common (both to Europe and to the world of Islam) heritage of Greek Philosophy. It does not advance understanding to use that word and pretend it explains anything (or everything).
    5. I am not an apologetic for the Iranian system of government; it is one among many and future will show how durable a political order it is. My point simply was that the status of Muslim women has made significant improvements in Iran and Turkey compared to all other Muslim polities.

    Reply

  143. varanasi says:

    POA:
    isn’t the u.s.a. engaged in that war now?

    Reply

  144. varanasi says:

    rich,
    with all due respect, i have the absolute right to any opinion that i hold, just as you and others do.
    i strongly disagree that individuals cannot interpret history differently. in fact, this interpretation and disagreement constitutes the basis for the field of “history” itself.
    further, the actions of any state actors are always open to interpretation. your views are firmly held, but they do not reflect mine, nor are they absolute.
    lastly, your post reads more like a cross-examination. unfortunately, i’m not here to play defense and argue with someone who doesn’t respect my right to form independent and contrary opinions in the first place.
    cheers.

    Reply

  145. ... says:

    thanks rich for articulating comments that i am not as able or inclined to do…
    i would like to share with you a comment from a reader of Avraham Burgs book ‘The Holocaust Is Over; We Must Rise From its Ashes’.. it looks like an excellent book..
    During the 2008 US presidential campaign, candidates loudly professed that they would not allow Israelis to undergo “another Holocaust.” This is the hysterical preoccupation of American politicians, first and foremost with the contretemps of the chosen seed and the possibility of their imminent annihilation; all other peoples, especially the Palestinians, are secondary in terms of a possible apocalyptic destiny. No matter how egregious the war crime Israelis perpetrate against Arab civilians (for example in Qana and Jenin), all is forgiven if the atrocity can be explained as a prophylactic against “another Holocaust.” The famous Israeli Yad Vashem “Holocaust” Museum is within sight of the remains of the village of Deir Yassin, where Palestinian civilians were massacred by Judaic Irgun terrorists in April, 1948, for whom Elie Wiesel labored as a publicist. There is no marker commemorating the Israeli atrocity at Deir Yassin despite the fact that it is in the shadow of Yad Vashem. Wiesel, the “Holocaust” conscience-of-the world, is utterly silent about Deir Yassin. The Israelis have used the suffering of Judaic people during World War II (categorized under the recently minted “Holocaust” Newspeak) as a means of immunizing themselves against the slow-motion genocide they have perpetrated against the Palestinians. This book, “The Holocaust is Over” is a long overdue corrective by an unimpeachable source. Unfortunately, publicity for it is minimal, relative to the latest deluge of often risible and wildly exaggerated “Holocaust” movies.
    –Michael Hoffman, author of “Judaism Discovered” and co-author of “The Israeli Holocaust Against the Palestinians.”

    Reply

  146. fyi says:

    PissedOffAmerican:
    I agree with Col. Patrick Lang’s comments.
    The way things are going, there is a medium probability that US will be in a generalized war with Muslim world within 20 years.

    Reply

  147. varanasi says:

    fyi,
    perhaps you are correct and i do not know much, but perhaps i could say the same thing about you, right?
    i’m not sure how you are defining “modern”, but turkey struck me as such when i spent a week there for a conference several years ago. it has a secular government with an independent court system and protected civil liberties.
    i would love to visit iran, unfortunately i have been repeatedly denied a visa because of a short scholarly trip to israel i took in 1998.
    i swoon over the richness of persian culture and i am in close contact with many iranian friends colleagues. i spent 10 days traveling for pleasure this summer with an iranian diplomat in kashmir. you should have heard his criticism of the current political system and policies of his country.
    as far as referring to the iranian political system as a theocracy, unfortunately there is no other word for it.
    cheers.

    Reply

  148. PissedOffAmerican says:

    This wishful thinking about Obama baffles me. In so many ways, he has already told us all we need to know.
    Whats the mystery?
    First, and perhaps the most telling, was his comment that impeachment is reserved for grave abuses of executive power, and that he did not support the impeachment of George Bush.
    Second, was his comments about the “plight of the Palestinians”, and his flight from those comments as soon as the zionists took exception to them. Shortly after, cow-towing to the AIPAC crowd, he demonstrated his fealty, and subserviently offered his loyalty.
    What else do you need to know? He’s already made his positions known. “Change” was a campaign slogan, not an intention.

    Reply

  149. rich says:

    varanasi,
    I disagree that we read history ‘differently’–or that recent events are open to ‘interpretation’–IF all parties are honest about their actions.
    I respect Israel’s need to defend itself and I adamantly insist on the necessity of a Jewish homeland and Israel’s right to exist.
    But that hardly precludes the requirement that Israel be held to the same standard as every other nation. Nor does it give you the right, nor Israel the right, to be less than honest about their actions, the rationale for those actions, and the obvious costs.
    Just ONE example: 111 Palestinian children dead due to Israeli bombing — and you can’t be bothered to admit they were innocent. You haven’t renounced your conflation of the souls of those 111 children with the “forces that israel is [supposedly] waging war against – hamas” — though they are obviously just as innocent “as those souls murdered by the third reich.”
    You have yet to renounce the racist terms –“rabid dogs” many Israelis use to degrade Palestinians — even though it parallels with great precision the German labeling of Jews as ‘vermin’ that aided in carrying out the final solution. Do you believe this is acceptable? Even though you know what it leads to?
    You cannot possibly confuse defense against Germany in 1945 and against Arab states in 1967 with Israel’s overwhelmingly offensive miltary operations in 2006 and 2008. I cheered the establishment of Israel as an independent nation– but that doesn’t erase the historical fact that it originally took aggressive unofficial and offensive military actions to do that. It was necessary. The historical backdrop required Jews and supporters to take action–but can’t erase the cost; the Third Reich’s insanity justified the establishment of Israel — but not the subsequent crime of taking Palestine from its owners. IF security is what Israel really wants, it will have to face up to that contradiction and address the issue with integrity–politically. That’s not happening. The analogy holds very well: the over-arching aggressors were Germany then, and Israel now. Yes, the conflict is open to interpretation–by those eager to let their agenda confuse fellow villagers by denying reality. It’s not so difficult to read recent events accurately. As long as you’re actually willing. It’s just easy to lie and convenient to push one’s agenda, when the obvious is hard to admit.

    Reply

  150. Paul Norheim says:

    Sorry …/James. I didn`t know that.
    Don: did you notice what I actually said?
    Quote: “I`m not an optimist, but if I were, I would say that the
    President Elect is silent because he disagrees with the Lame
    Duck…”
    You never know for sure… However, I happen to share your
    pessimism: we know what he`ve said about Israel/Palestine and
    Hamas in the past, and I don`t think it would be wise to cherry
    pick among those things he HAVE NOT YET said.

    Reply

  151. PissedOffAmerican says:

    So, “fyi”, I’m curious…
    What do you think of Scheuer’s recent essays? Most specifically, the four parter he recently did for ATO, and the one today on “antiwar.com”, about his perceptions of our interventionism in the Isr/Pal conflict?

    Reply

  152. DonS says:

    I’m really having a hard time swallowing Obama’s silence, despite Paul N’s hope that its because PEBO has so much different to say than Bush.
    I think the only comment has been the quote about “if my daughters were under rocket attacket, I would do whatever need to defend them” or some such. Well, as he awakes in his luxury suite this morning and prepares to go forth and be political, I wonder if he thinks about the hundreds of thouands of Palestinian children around whom bombs are raining down, not to mention the scores of individuals already dead.
    Folks seem hung up on the idea of proportionality as if, because of the circumstances, proportinality doesn’t matter. It does. The sooner an international peacekeeping force can get in place, the better.

    Reply

  153. fyi says:

    varanasi:
    Turkey is not “modern” in any sense of the word.
    I expect more from you than mouthing the banalities of the Westerners – “theocracy”.
    I think you do not know much about Iran, I suggest you study the post-revolutionary Iran; perhaps you might be mistaken.

    Reply

  154. Paul Norheim says:

    “imo, it’s a family squabble that dates back to the day abraham
    cast off hagar and ishmael.”
    I`ll accept that analysis if you include Christian Europe and
    America, the Muslim countries, and the Jews inside Israel and in
    the Diaspora as members of that family.

    Reply

  155. ... says:

    varanasi, i am disgusted with canadas behaviour with regard to afganistan.. we don’t belong their.. back to the israel is hitler quote.. perhaps a better analogy would be that israel has become much like the nazis in germany which hitler was a figurehead for.. if you didn’t see it, a link was left sometime last week that got me to thinking about it..
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/868385.html
    paul.. i have posted as … for the past few years here… there was someone else trying it for a while but that was quite some time ago… my name is james fwiw, but i have used the … since being here..
    you can say this conflict dates back and is intractable.. the anti has been upped considerably with usa military support and israels military clout – nuclear weapons and such.. an answer has to be found that requires the removal of the weapons, not such imposing sanctions on iran in case they get them, but towards israel who already has them..

    Reply

  156. varanasi says:

    poa is right; this conflict is intractable.
    imo, it’s a family squabble that dates back to the day abraham cast off hagar and ishmael.

    Reply

  157. PissedOffAmerican says:

    If anyone saw Zogby and Dershowitz go at it last night on CNN King’s show, it was a prime example of why I see no solution to this morass.
    Both sides, even from the so-called experts, can’t even reach an agreement about what the current reality is, much less what to do about it. How do two parties solve a problem if neither side can even agree to what the problem is?
    Neither side can even agree on the history that got them to this point.
    And as this latest carnage unfolds, neither side will even agree as to why it occurred, what is occurring, and when it is finished, undoubtedly, neither side will agree on what the reality of the outcome is.
    Its an impossible situation, with no concievable solution. The world community cannot solve it, and if we desire to prevent the eventual complete extermination of the Palestinian people, we will have to move in and separate the two sides by military intervention, and permanent enforced separation.
    Instead, these pieces of shit in Washington will continue shoveling money to Israel, while blaming the Palestinians for their own extermination. Livni’s words perfectly illustrate this, when she said the humanitarian situation in Gaza “is as it should be”.
    Obama’s willingness to publically comment on everything EXCEPT the carnage in Gaza telegraphs his intentions as it applies to the Isr/Pal conflict. Apparently, his promises of “change” do not apply to our relationship with Israel. Like those before him, Obama is a fuckin’ coward, terrified of the Israelis, and the power they hold over Washington.

    Reply

  158. varanasi says:

    i agree that turkey is a modern society and the treatment of women is comparable to to that of other western democracies. but, turkey is also a secular state.
    iran is a militant theocracy and i do not see it as progressive. to offer it as an example of progressive egalitarianism proves my point about the lack of such reforms in the muslim world.

    Reply

  159. fyi says:

    varanasi:
    Muslim world is not a cultural or political unity. The status of women has changed dramatically all over the Muslim world but not evenly.
    I think that the most progressive polities are Iran & Turkey.
    The most regressive one Afghanistan and parts of Nigeria.
    And yes I have dealt with women in burqah; you must admit that Islamic burqah is a great friend for ugly women.

    Reply

  160. varanasi says:

    rich,
    i read history and interpret the ongoing arab/israeli conflict differently than you, but i respect your opinion.
    cheers.

    Reply

  161. varanasi says:

    thanks for clarifying, fyi.
    a brief side note to our discussion: the chief minister of the largest state in india (Uttar Pradesh – my home) is a woman. she is a dalit and she is one of the most powerful people in the country.
    contrast this with life for a woman in the tribal areas of pakistan, or throughout the muslim world. i’m not sure if you and other readers have ever spent time in the presence of women in a full burka – some don’t even have eye openings – but it makes me very uncomfortable. it feels like violence to me.
    as i wrote earlier, the cultural residue of thousands of years of the caste system are still felt in south asia, but things have changed incredibly for the better in india in the last 60 years. unfortunately, i don’t believe that you can say the same thing about the muslim world.

    Reply

  162. rich says:

    varanasi @ 9:06AM
    “are the forces that israel is waging war against – hamas – as innocent as those souls murdered by the third reich?”
    Does this include the 111 children killed by the Israeli onslaught? Are they not innocent?
    Are Palestinians–civilian or armed–guilty simply because Israel has taken their land and they have the temerity to complain about it?
    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/251/story/58981.html
    Are Palestians–civilian or armed–guilty simply because they resist the blockade and ghettoization that would exterminate them?
    You err in assigning moral motivation to Israel–where they’ve taken land and provoked violence, there is no ‘self-defense’ explanation available.
    You forget, varanasi, that Jews resisted the Nazis whenever and wherever they could. Of course Palestians will resist–and that’s no crime. The Gaza Strip is Israel’s Warsaw Ghetto–and until Israel can correct its own behavior, it will remain so. When Rahm Emanuel’s father feels free to spout racist comments to Israel’s leadership, accepted behavior and sentiment has gone far, far over the line. Israel is in trouble, and it’s their own doing.
    Civilian casualties rise as Israel presses in on Gaza City
    By Dion Nissenbaum
    JERUSALEM — Israeli forces began to close in on Gaza City Monday, ordering families in outlying owns and neighborhoods to flee, as world leaders launched a renewed push to bring the 10-day-old conflict to a swift end.
    So far, Israeli units have faced lighter-than-expected resistance from Palestinian militants in the second full day of a ground invasion that followed eight days of aerial bombardment intended to undermine the Gaza’s control by the militant Islamic group Hamas. But civilian casualties are rising.
    Medical officials in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip said Monday that 523 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli attacks, including 111 children. That marks a dramatic spike from the early days of Israeli air strikes that primarily targeted Hamas-dominated police stations, government buildings, mosques the Israeli military said were being used to store weapons, and the homes of Hamas leaders.
    Early Monday morning, medical officials said, 11 members of one family, including five children, were killed in a northern Gaza City neighborhood after Israeli forces ordered them to leave their home.
    Family members said they sought safety in another apartment that was then hit by an Israeli strike.
    “Usually you have people trying to flee the area of conflict,” said John Ging, the head of the United Nations refugee agency in the Gaza Strip. “But they don’t have this choice in Gaza because they are trapped in a very, very densely-populated area.”

    Reply

  163. fyi says:

    varanasi:
    I was trying to establish several points.
    One was the Western people have an obsession with the status of women in alien cultures. I think the basic argument is that the status of women in the culture/country XYZ is not the same as that which obtains in the 22 Christian states of the Western Europe and North America – therefore we (the Western people) are entitled to walk all over you and if we so choose, to bomb you. This is the gist of their (Western) thinking.
    I brought up the issue of Dalit women in India (and the temple prostitution which has not existed in Western Eurasia for more than 1800 years) in order to demonstrate the selective & prejudiced attention given to Islamic people by Tony Foresta and his ilk (millions of people in the Western world).
    I did not mean to use the example of the Dalits as an instrument to beat Hindus on the head thus showing my contempt for Hinds and Hinduism. I respect Hindu Thought although I disagree with many of its tenets and its practices. I am not out there like these narcissist Western people denigrating others so that they may feel good about themselves(in fact as sin in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.). My point was that there are women who are treated systematically poorly all over the world and some of them in much worse way than in any Islamic state.
    And bringing up the treatment of Dalits in God-forsaken parts of India and using it to embarrass or silence one’s interlocutors in discussions with Hindus is not conducive to dialogue and mutual agreement on common issues.
    Tony Foresta is all too typical Western attitude; we – the non-Western people – are just poor dumb benighted souls that need to be beaten into line and occasionally bombed into submission until we see the falsehood of our ways and submit to the Western people’s neo-pagan civilization.

    Reply

  164. Paul Norheim says:

    Is there only one … or several …`s writing here?
    It would be nice to be able to distinguish between you a little bit.
    What about ((()))
    and %%%
    and ###
    or ==()==
    instead of … and … and…?
    Or øøøøø
    and æææ
    and åååååå
    Just suggestions…

    Reply

  165. varanasi says:

    Posted by … Jan 05, 1:46AM – Link
    mass murderers…. israel has become hitler..
    kind of hard for a nation to become a man. but tell me, i’m sure that canadian forces have killed far more than 500 people in afghanistan. is canada hitler also? what about your neighbors in the u.s. are they hitler also? or perhaps given the thousands and thousands of innocents they have killed they are hitler, stalin and pol pot.
    also, are the forces that israel is waging war against – hamas – as innocent as those souls murdered by the third reich?

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  166. Paul Norheim says:

    Sorry, bad translation of Jüngers German sentence, quoted from
    memory…

    Reply

  167. Paul Norheim says:

    “The dead present themselves in the present, not as ghosts, but
    as political realities.” (Ernst Jünger in “Eumeswil”, a novel situated
    in the Middle East)
    Questions, I hope you`ll continue to work on that essay…
    (And I`m sure you`re familiar with Walter Benjamin as well)

    Reply

  168. questions says:

    Paul,
    Thanks for the kind words.
    David, thanks as well.
    In the back of my brain I’m working on some prose related to trust issues. Reagan’s “Govorai, no poverai” (my Russian is gone, not that it ever was in reasonable shape) — “trust, but verify” is a false reading of “trust”. But it gets to the heart of the tension between Israel and its neighbors. No real basis for trust meets a deep need to trust. Structures encourage periodic warfare (money, the Knesset, keeping the immiserated population in line), and given that everyone understands these structures, how could a truce last for a long time? Any trust then must be built on something other than “trust”, other than “verification.” But it doesn’t make much sense to trust the untrustworthy, and so we’re back in insanity territory. There can be no guarantee that the act of trusting will be rewarded with any more than more rocket-induced death. Trust anyway. There is no guarantee that your deeply felt identity will be preserved. Trust anyway.
    I’m reading Shakespeare’s obscure Timon of Athens (there’s a BBC video version available at your local public library). It’s all about gifts, generosity, the expectation of return. It seems fitting to read this play with the ME in the background. Timon gives to all out of love of humanity (is it love, is it generosity, is it a gift), but then he needs help and he EXPECTS the help. His giving was never really “giving”. He loses everything. He hates all of humanity. He gets a new fortune in a surprising way. He gives all over again, this time in sheer hatred of humanity. Same act, different meaning entirely.
    There are warnings about how to “give” land, how to “give” peace, what to expect in return. How to love others, hate others, give through love, give through hate. How responsibility for one’s own actions can be taken or refused. And, in the end, it shows which way madness lies. It’s worth a longer essay and a few hours’ thinking.
    (Even the issue of how to treat the dead when your promises are no longer enforced by the dead, but only by the promise itself arises…. Why is a one-state solution so fearsome? Because promises over the dead might not be honored, and treatment of the dead is a huge part of what makes a political entity singular. Treatment of the dead is THE issue of trust, the issue of identity.)

    Reply

  169. ... says:

    mass murderers…. israel has become hitler..

    Reply

  170. ... says:

    Israel is believed to be using controversial white phosphorus shells to screen its assault on the heavily populated Gaza Strip yesterday. The weapon, used by British and US forces in Iraq, can cause horrific burns but is not illegal if used as a smokescreen.
    As the Israeli army stormed to the edges of Gaza City and the Palestinian death toll topped 500, the tell-tale shells could be seen spreading tentacles of thick white smoke to cover the troops’ advance. “These explosions are fantastic looking, and produce a great deal of smoke that blinds the enemy so that our forces can move in,” said one Israeli security expert. Burning blobs of phosphorus would cause severe injuries to anyone caught beneath them and force would-be snipers or operators of remote-controlled booby traps to take cover. Israel admitted using white phosphorus during its 2006 war with Lebanon.
    The use of the weapon in the Gaza Strip, one of the world’s mostly densely population areas, is likely to ignite yet more controversy over Israel’s offensive, in which more than 2,300 Palestinians have been wounded.

    Reply

  171. Paul Norheim says:

    Correction:
    Israel wants to UNDO lebanon 2006

    Reply

  172. Paul Norheim says:

    “Are you actually suggesting that Hamas is willing to sacrifice
    innocent Palestinians in an effort the combat the IDF mano e
    mano?”
    For Hamas, no scenario is more promising than a repeat of
    Lebanon 2006. And israel want a revenge for Lebanon 2006. But
    every war has its own singular features and events, and of course
    both sides may become surprised.
    Hamas, Fatah, Israel, The Arab world and the Bush government –
    none of them are hesitating to sacrifice innocent Palestinians in
    the hope of achieving their goals. And the tragic irony is that I
    can`t see that ANY of these players will achieve ANYTHING in
    return for the loss of civilian lives – except for Hamas.

    Reply

  173. Carroll says:

    We interrupt the mumbo jumbo to remind some of you of the facts once again.
    January 4, 2:27 PM
    From Augustus Richard Norton and Sara Roy:
    Hamas’ strategic miscalculation in rejecting an extension to a six-month truce with Israel was a gift on a “golden platter” to Israel, as Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit wryly noted. The Israeli security establishment has been intent since its flawed 2006 war in Lebanon to reassert Israel’s hegemony and its deterrent power.
    But the attack on Gaza may also have deeper causes. Lost in most of the coverage is the fact that the Israel-Hamas truce was working—a fact fully acknowledged in a recent intelligence report released by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to that report, “Hamas was careful to maintain the ceasefire.”
    Furthermore, “the lull was sporadically violated by rocket and mortar shell fire carried out by rogue terrorist organizations in some instances in defiance of Hamas.”
    Why would Israel want to end the truce? The success of the Israel-Hamas truce tacitly legitimized political dialogue with the Islamists, something that Israel (as well as the U.S. and Egypt) vehemently rejects.
    Equally important, while the truce was holding there was greater talk internationally about possible negotiations and freezing illegal Israeli settlement expansion and moves to boycott products made in those settlements.
    There were also growing calls for compromises that successive Israeli governments have been unwilling to make. Despite recent comments from outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert linking Israel’s survival to withdrawal from the occupied West Bank, Israel has consistently rejected a viable two-state solution because it insists on maintaining control of the West Bank.
    The periodic rain of rockets from Gaza into Israel since November 4 provoked broad public support for military action against Hamas. With President Bush soon packing his bags for Texas, there was also a strong incentive on Israel’s part to capitalize on support from a predictably pliant White House.

    Reply

  174. TonyForesta says:

    Exactly whoeveryouare. Israel must immediately end all hostilities and any attacks on any Palestinians including Hamas operators to give the peace process a chance. We agree.
    I always enjoy your commentaries Paul Norheim, especially when you label me a simplistic barbarian, but the post above is truly stunning. Are you actually suggesting that Hamas is willing to sacrifice innocent Palestinians in an effort the combat the IDF mano e mano?
    Wild.

    Reply

  175. Paul Norheim says:

    Unfortunately we have no chance to edit our comments at TWN
    after posting them. Here is a better version of the last
    paragraphs in my post above:
    The Palestinian civilians will pay the heaviest price, due to – on
    one side: Hamas`desire to fight the Israeli army directly, among
    the civilians, and on the other side: Ehud Barak`s desire to
    weaken Hamas and win the elections.
    For Hamas, the loss of innocent Palestinian lives due to the
    fighting, will undoubtedly be seen as a huge tactical advantage
    in the symbolic warfare, that is an important part of the
    strategies on both sides. When Joe M says that he doesn`t care
    what “the West” says about the Palestinians, this is partly wrong.
    The opinion in the West is of crucial importance in this warfare,
    for both sides. Especially for the Palestinians, winning the public
    opinion of the West on their side, is one of the only
    opportunities left for survival as a people.
    Does that give the Israelis the moral upper hand? Quite the
    opposite. As Dan Kervick noted above: “Killing Palestinians is
    apparently a cheaper and more effective appeal to the Israeli
    voter than paid TV ads.”

    Reply

  176. Paul Norheim says:

    Why did Hamas fire those rockets into Israeli towns? To kill and
    terrorize innocent people?
    Well, I can think of more efficient ways to kill innocent civilians
    than randomly shooting up primitive rockets.
    No. Hamas fired those rockets to fight the Israeli Army face to
    face. It`s actually their only chance NOT to use terrorism as a
    tactic, but to fight, soldiers against soldiers.
    Now Bush and Cheney – even Sarkozy – still blame Hamas for
    the attack on Gaza. This means that Israel probably has two
    weeks to “change the facts on the ground”, before the
    inauguration of Barack Obama.
    During these two weeks, it`s very likely that the IDF will meet
    some heavy resistance on the ground. The risk – seen from the
    Israelis – that this is the phase when Hamas will show it`s
    strength (since it knows the ins and outs of Gaza better than the
    IDF, and is well prepared for this kind of urban warfare) is very
    high.
    Just before the inauguration of Obama, it is likely that the
    situation will be similar to the situation in Lebanon against
    Hizbullah in 2006.
    What does this mean? That Ehud Barak and Livni may face
    something akin to a defeat, a repetition of Lebanon 2006, if it
    withdraws just before the 20th of January. This will be read as a
    second defeat in just more than two years, and the likely defeat
    of Ehud Barak in the coming elections. And they will not allow
    that. No one will win this war anyhow, but after just two weeks,
    the results may seem more indecisive than, let´s say after four
    or five weeks. So indecisive that Hamas may proclaim victory,
    because they were not clearly defeated.
    Thus my guess is that the fighting will last much longer than till
    the 20th of January, regardless of the inauguration of a new
    American president, and regardless of Obama`s opinion on
    what is happening in Gaza.
    The Palestinian civilians will pay the heaviest price, due to – on
    one side: Hamas`desire to fight the Israeli army directly, and on
    the other side: Israel`s desire to weaken Hamas and win the
    elections.
    The loss of innocent Palestinian lives due to the fighting, will for
    Hamas be seen as a tactical advantage in the larger context.
    Does that give the Israelis the moral upper hand? Quite the
    opposite. As Dan Kervick noted above: “Killing Palestinians is
    apparently a cheaper and more effective appeal to the Israeli
    voter than paid TV ads.”

    Reply

  177. ... says:

    tony quote >>I urge you and your Palestinian sisters and brothers to at least entertain a swift end to all (ALL) the massmurder operations<<
    tony i urge you to urge the country of israel, it’s supporters aipac and etc to as you put it “entertain a swift end to all (ALL) the massmurder operations” as well…

    Reply

  178. TonyForesta says:

    Again, whoeveryouare, you cannot misrepresent my statements and put words into my mouth that I did not issue. Hold onto whatever beliefs or opinions you have about me, but I have attempted to clarify to the best of my ability my positions, and you choose the interpret them by mangling and distorting the message in an entirely different context that in no way represents or reflects my positions.
    I feel your pain Joe M. Whether you believe it or not I wholeheartedly share your opinions and positions regarding zionists. I hold the same total disdain and abhoration for the evangelical christians. All the fundamentalists regardless of the book prophet flag or flavor are the bane of humanity and malignant.
    Where we divide, and again I respect and honor your positions and hold no animosity toward you – is that Israel does in fact exist. You make a compelling argument regarding the legitimacy of Israel borning, and expansion. The sad point I am hoping you finally accept is that you cannot undo, or univent, and rewind history. What is done is done. Now the zionist do not define Israel. Most Israeli’s will happily accept a return to the pre 67 borders and favor an autonomous Palestinian state with the two caveat being that the Palestinians recognize Israels right to exist, and that the mass murder operations and rocket attacks from Palestine end.
    I know you feel an injustice has been served upon you and your Palestinian brothers and sisters by the formation of Israel after WWII. But again, that is the reality. You have the play the hand that is dealt you.
    The sad reality you and your sisters and brothers must come to accept is that Israel does exist, and will continue to exist into the future. I support you wholeheartedly in denouncing and working to defang the zionist hordes as a political force through peaceful means, and demanding that Israel quit and renounce it’s aparthied policies in the Gaza and West Bank, again through peaceful means.
    I also realize that as an oppressed people you may percieve the situation as hopeless and that you have no viable options for prosecuting change. I urge you and your Palestinian sisters and brothers to at least entertain a swift end to all (ALL) the massmurder operations, and ineffective rocket attacks and pursue peaceful means to achieve your just objective. If you and Palestinians sisters and brother do this, – the entire world will support you. The problem now is that while the massmurder operations and rocket attacks continue – all support for the legitimate and just causes of the Palestinian people are undermined, nuetered, and rendered useless.
    Stop the violence. Reject massmurder as legitimate means of achieving political objectives and we will all (including the majority of Israeli’s) support you and your Palestinian sisters and brothers.

    Reply

  179. David says:

    Really enjoyed reading, and thinking about, your post, questions. I was particularly struck by this comment, because ultimately I think it is both true and Israel’s only answer if it is to be anything but a cold-blooded conqueror of the Occupied Territories: “It’s crazy in that the entire history of Israel has been pinned to its own legitimacy and so it would lose its history. But in losing itself, it might actually gain itself.”

    Reply

  180. ... says:

    tony foresta, it is what i get from your posts.. your last post while trying for balance uses certain language which is loaded and unfairly characterizes the participants.. as a matter of fact i articulated a very clear summation of the characterization of the palestinians as mass murders but you felt no need to respond.. here it is again… perhaps you would like to comment this time…
    Posted by … Jan 04, 5:44PM – Link
    tony foresta quote.. >>The unfortunate fact is and remains that there will always be more Palestinian blood shed, than Israeli. I’m not saying it is right or just, – I’m “simply” stating a fact.<<
    thank you for framing your opinions in a way which shows you to be very dishonest.. suggesting on the one hand that the palestinians are the ones guilty of mass murder while openly acknowledging on the other hand that many more palestinians are having their blood shed them israelis shows the lie to your attempt to portray yourself as a realist.. indeed it is the state of israel that is guilty of mass murder and your quote above acknowledges this.. too bad you appear too dense to come to terms with your own open acknowledgment of the lopsidedness of israel/palestine affairs and your willingness to do the usual talking points of only one side – the zionists…
    the use of the words ‘mass murders’ can be applied a few different ways and it does not only apply to one side in this ugly mess…

    Reply

  181. TonyForesta says:

    Again whoeveryouare you misrepresent my comments and distort the message for your own partisan reasons blaming Israel for all the horrors. Get this clear please – there is no one here without sin. Israel’s Palestinian policies are as Joe M. and president Carter state aparthied. Israel is responsible for perpetuating the conflict, and preventing any solution. Now get this straight as well. The Palestinians are also responsible for the unending horroible conflict by supporting, condoning, and prosecuting massmurder operations and raining rockets (however ineffective they may be) on Israeli’s. America has a dirty hand is the bloody horrible business as well by denying the legitimate voice of the Palestinian people choice for leadership (Hamas) and erecting a puppet government in it’s place (Fatah). America is also culpable for unconditional backing of Israel in the face of Israels aparthied practices.
    You have no ears whomeveryouare, and selectively choose to pick and choose the words and sentences out of context and distorting the message.
    My point has been from the beginning that all parties must enertain new paradigms and real radical change to address this conflict. All the oldworld ways by all parties, Israeli, Palestinian, American, all Arab states, muslim jewish, christian – all of them – have FAILED miserably time and time again and the horrible result is an unabated perpetuation of the exact same insane FAILED policies by all parties, ALL PARTIES. The main culprits in this horrorshow are the fools on all sides who imagine that maintaining or perpetuating the status quo and the same exact insane policies will ever change or alter anything in this bloody conflict.
    You mistakenly deem both Ken and my description of obvious facts (Israel exists, Israel will dominate every military confrontation, Palestinians undermine their causes by supporting and condoning massmurder) as favoring Israel. At least from my perspective you are wildly mistaken and are selectively blind to the points I am making. I do not favor Israel, nor do I, or will I ever tolerate any society that condones or prosecutes massmurder operations. If any of these parties truly want peace, – everything must change. The violence on all sides must be replaced with the much harder and more challenging intellectual work of constructing lasting peaceful solutions to this horrible conflict.
    Again – no one here is without sin and all parties involved are drenched in oceans innocent blood. Change requires rejecting the failed policies of the past, and working toward new paradigm and peaceful solutions to this ongoing, unending, horrible bloody conflict.

    Reply

  182. Joe M. says:


    it’s amazing that they don’t understand those simple points. They act like the problem is that the Palestinians don’t accept Israel! Just look at the facts. The partition plans was roughly 50/50 (which, itself is unfair, because the UN has no right to steal our land and give it to other people), but the Zionists stole an additionally 25% in 1948 and never applied even the partition plan. Then, in 1967 they formally stole the West Bank and Gaza, as well as Jerusalem, Golan and Sinai and yet claim we are again at fault. They ignore international law again, and claim they formally own all these territories. They claim that we Palestinians don’t even deserve 22% of our original land. For decades Palestinians have been trying to get anything from the Zionists, but to no avail. Further, through tons of useless negotiation, Arafat conceded far too much in Oslo, and yet this was still rejected by the Zionists. It is so clear that the zionists do not want peace that even though Abu Mazin has been practically begging for any concession, and has gotten nothing at all. So, what do you expect? The zionists have discredited negotiations, not the Arabs. What they offer us is perpetual occupation and dispossession. Though we have the internationally recognized right of return (as do all refugees), they will never allow this. So what is left? We can’t negotiate with them, their concept of ISrael is incompatible with Palestinians. Yet we are the indigenous people, this is our land. Our peopel are still in refugee camps, and are still under attack. They chose to come to Palestine. We did not invite them (though, had they come in peace, we probably would have invited them). And they act like we are the problem. If that is how they feel, tell them to go back to Europe!
    Point being, we are not to blame for this conflict. No people in the world would accept the suffering we have been subjected to. No people in the world would allow the colonizers to control everything in peace. It is our land, not theirs. Yet, they steal it, oppress us, kill us, and are still surprised that we hate them for it.

    Reply

  183. ... says:

    pt 2
    same for ken… to the meat of his post >>. This invasion of Gaza would not have happened if Hamas did not insist on being violent as a means of statesmanship..<< no mention of how israels actions have turned gaza into a prison camp and that people who are treated like prisoners will find a way to alter that treatment, in spite of the “proper and civilized” way people are “supposed” to act…it isn’t proper or civilized what israel is doing and that stands out as much and more… i have a big problem with both your posts for these reasons… you unfairly characterize who the “””main culprit””” is….
    pt 3 is still in the original post..

    Reply

  184. ... says:

    once again my post was broken up so i am going to share it in 3 posts…
    pt 1
    tony, let me quote you and ken in the way i perceive your comments and why i perceive them as wrong in characterizing the palestinians as in the wrong more so then the israelis… tony quote >>The problem is that Hamas is bent on the destruction of Israel…<< no mention of the fact israel has been taking their land and have created a prison in the form of gaza, only the problem is hamas….. this is why you are challenged.. i know it is a simplification on my part to refine your posts this way, but you are nothing if not consistent in your slant towards favouring israels position…

    Reply

  185. ... says:

    tony, let me quote you and ken in the way i perceive your comments and why i perceive them as wrong in characterizing the palestinians as in the wrong more so then the israelis… tony quote >>The problem is that Hamas is bent on the destruction of Israel…>. This invasion of Gaza would not have happened if Hamas did not insist on being violent as a means of statesmanship..<< no mention of how israels actions have turned gaza into a prison camp and that people who are treated like prisoners will find a way to alter that treatment, in spite of the “proper and civilized” way people are “supposed” to act…it isn’t proper or civilized what israel is doing and that stands out as much and more… i have a big problem with both your posts for these reasons… you unfairly characterize who the “””main culprit””” is….
    i understand how this can happen with exposure to a mainstream media that acts as a consistently favourable propaganda outlet for everything israel does, but i think until one challenges the info they are getting the tendency is to adopt this same dishonest viewpoint.. that is how i see it.. i don’t profess to know the answers, but can comment on how i view others attitudes as expressed here and this is how i find your characterizations of the ME situation..

    Reply

  186. Ken says:

    BTW, Tony, good points all. But I think a one-state solution without religious construct doesn’t recognize what JoeM feels very strongly about, and is a point on which he is correct: Israel was created by the British Mandate because the creation of a Jewish state was the goal: Zionism. Here, today, this is a moot academic arguement regarding Israel’s right to exist, and I agree not germane to the discussion as most of us (outside Arabs) agree: Isreal exists and it won’t cease to exist. That Arabs cannot get past this is why the conflict remains, for as JoeM strongly argues, for them it is all about Zionism (but not about freedom of religion). That the rest of us have moved beyond that is not helpful to the Arabs… and so they feel that no one is listening. And they are right, because we have moved beyond Zionism into accepting Israel exists immovably. Hamas is anti-Zionist, pure and simple. Problem is they have no friends who care anyore about Zionism.

    Reply

  187. TonyForesta says:

    Well spoken Ken.

    Reply

  188. Ken says:

    Though we may disagree, I think that JoeM makes thoughtful and informed comments, but agree his partisanship make his understanding the positions of others difficult. It seems the JoeM is closer to this in a personal way, and I give that respect, and have gained insight from his posts. But I still think you’re mistaken (notice I did not say “wrong”).
    DonS, thanks for the map. I should write more precisely: In 1967 Israel was moved into a position that forced pre-emptive offensive action and it did occupy more Palestinian land in one fell swoop, I think, than since its creation. More recent exapnsion through kibbutz spread I thought was discouraged and actually mitigated by the Israeli gov’t, but I am not well informed on this recently.
    Is there an argument that Israel’s occupation of the the West Bank was a direct response to continued violence against it? Or was it an “Zionist Manifest Destiny”, as I think JoeM might argue? I agree the 67 war was pre-emptive, but wonder if it’s primary goal was expansion: they never annexed it, did they? If most of the residents there are Palestinian, does occupation equate with expnsionism?
    Rather than argue, teach. When the facts are lacking, an emotional argument ensues. Many of the posts here are well informed, but polar opposites. In discussion there is enlightment. I think sometimes there are facts, but they get lost in an emotional argument, and can be mistaken for a diatribe, the focus changes, and we are right back where we started. I am neither Jew nor Arab, and my opinion is not always well informed. But its hard to hear through all the killing. I can understand how angry Palestinians are (arguably they got screwed). But they are not helping themselves. This invasion of Gaza would not have happened if Hamas did not insist on being violent as a means of statesmanship. I think recent Palestinian response to Hamas action speaks loudly: fighting is not how they, the Palestinian people, want to continue to go about this. They seem ready for a change that accepts compromise and peace, not necessarily on their full terms (do they lament electing Hamas into power?). Therein lies the rub: if the extremists rule, then extremists strategies follow. The question is no longer Israel’s right to exist, but that it does, and that the Palestinians equally deserve to exist. How to bring compromise to the table and make it stick? By throwing “rocks” at one of the most powerful military forces in the world? I think not… Is Israel “violating” UN agreements? Really? Once again, you throw proverbial rocks at the guy with a gun with the intent to kill him, do you really expect him to throw rocks back, then cry that he’s violating agreements?
    I also agree that any argument that this is Isalm versus Judaism is mistaken. No… wrong. For Israel this is about security. For Palestinian’s this is about land and identity. Bringing these together with compromise on both sides is key. History suggests that Israel can, the Palestinian leadership won’t. So, Palestinian authorities need to show good faith, stop harassing Israel, and give Israel reason to believe they will keep their zealots under control. Otherwise its just more rock throwing… Why do the Palestinians have to show good faith? Because the guys with guns win over the guys with rocks, whether or not its fair, just or palatable.
    Bottom line: Like it or not a two-state solution is the only soluton. Stop harassing Israel, earn trust, create compromise, and create opportunity for Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza and create a Palestinian state that does not threaten the security of Israel.

    Reply

  189. ErvinD says:

    so far, Hamas has successfully fought against Al-Qaida and salafi influence in occupied territories.
    if Hamas falls, maybe it will be replaced by Dahlanist collaborators as a “moderate/pro-western” administration.
    however, bellow the surface, it is highly probable that Al-Qaida will gain a foothold. and if they do, may God help us.

    Reply

  190. TonyForesta says:

    Have it your way whomoeveryou. I respond to every comment directed at me. What specifically do you want me to address?
    With regard to change – change from what? No one offers anything but the exact same fruitless impotent blame-it-all-on-the-otherside arguments and deeply rooted blooddrenched hatreds. Statements are repeatedly misinterpreted, distorted and taken out of context. I want and have been calling for real change. I am open to hearing any idea that does not involve the same tired illogical jibberish that perpetuates the status quo, and results in nothchange.
    I suggested the change of allowing Hamas the right to govern, and affording Hamas the legitimate voice the Palestinain people voted chose to lead thier society. Part of that sugggestion is that Hamas reject massmurder operations and rocket attacks and look to more peaceful means of achieving their objective. No one ever addressed this issue.
    Joe M’s suggestion of a single state solution sans the religious tags (no zionist state, no islamic state, no christian state) has merit. If only it were possible to remove the religious aspects and tentacles from this conflict – there may be some hope. I personally do not see that as a reality. But if we could enter into that discussion and remove the religious elements from the calculus, there possibly could be some progress in this conflict
    While I do not imagine Israel which (right or wrong, justified or not, legitimate or not) does actually exist, and does represent a productive and prosperous society willingly accepting this option, – there might be some hope. The problem is that Hamas is bent on the destruction of Israel and there is no matter how much lipstick you paint on this pig a muslim against jew, jew against muslim and a muslim against christian christian against muslim element to mix. Again, it may not be pretty or pleasant, and slime me all you want for stating the obvious fact, – but the fact and truth remains no matter what.
    Outside of these two suggestions which were quickly passed over by all the heated chari – vari and blametheotherside, hate speak – I have not read one single suggestion that offers one single hope of change.
    Please correct me if I missed something.

    Reply

  191. ... says:

    tony foresta.. you are not being honest and indeed you are unwilling to change in the face of the direct response of others to your comments… neither are you willing to directly address the comments directed towards you, something you accuse others of.. all of which is why i accuse you of being dishonest.. it ain’t burnt in stone, but until such time as you address what has been put to you, i will continue to view you as such..

    Reply

  192. Paul Norheim says:

    Tony,
    the bombs are raining over the Palestinians in Gaza from the air,
    sea and land. I urge you to get real. This is not the appropriate
    time to air your hostile opinions on Islam in general.

    Reply

  193. TonyForesta says:

    In my humble (illogical, simple, dense and many other insults to numerous to mention) opinion – this thread reveals exactly why the horrorshow in the Gaza continues unabated. Most participants fail to listen to, or bother to understand anyone else. All sides blame the other side for all the problems. Most participants repeatedly mangle statements, distort positions wildly out of context, misquote, and misrepresent everyone else.
    Most of the participants are to heavily invested and entrenched in the lust for blood, vengeance, and hatred to imagine anything but the status quo, and unending blood, vengeance and hatred ad infinitum.
    Partisans on both sides want to imagine realities that do not exist, and woefully ignore realities that do exist. Partisans on both sides hold to fictional fairytales and attempt rewrite or univent history that is hard and unpleasant fact and firm reality.
    Countless meaningless insults and aspersions are hurled willy nilly in all directions, and no consensus or even the most basic common ground is ever reached, or even considered.
    In the end, – like the Israeli/Palestinian conflict itself – there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth, pools of slime spewed, unending rivers of hatred and ignorance unleashed, wild cries for more blood and vengeance and NOTHING CHANGES!!
    NOTHING CHANGES!!! No one is moved one way or the other. All sides return to their deeply rooted convictions without ever considering or recognizing or daring to imagine alternative approaches or opinions, and NOTHING CHANGES!!!
    Oceans of innocent blood expand ad infinitum because NOTHING CHANGES.
    I hazard to predict is that once this current horrorshow subsides, we will all return to a similar nondebate in the nottodistant future, after more massmurder leads to more aparthied or more aparthied leads to more massmurder ad infinitum.
    Nothing will have changed, but the amount of innocent blood shed, and lives lost.
    This thread, like the conflict itself is futile senseless and simply – Sad!

    Reply

  194. ... says:

    varanasi – thanks! we had a wonderful time in india and really loved the many beautiful people and experiences we had when we were their.. i would like to spend more time their, but it will have to wait til we are less busy then at present..

    Reply

  195. Joe M. says:

    Ken,
    Israel has been very expansionist ever since its creation. Settlements, forget its colonization of the Golan or south Lebanon, are an obvious example. The “security wall” has mysteriously been built entirely on Palestinian land as well. I have no doubt that Israel will build a “security zone” on Palestinian land around or in Gaza as a result of this current attack. Make no mistake, land is still at issue, and Israel is still expanding.
    Additionally, be very clear, this is not about Israel immediate security. This is about the concept of resistance. Israel is not fighting Hamas because they shoot rockets, but because they do not recognize Israel and Israel considers that an “existential threat”. During the recent 6 month “cease fire” Israel made many violations and killed many Palestinians. The Palestinians made some violations, but much much fewer, and always following zionist violations. The same si true of south Lebanon. Hizbullah has not violated the cease fire after the 2006 war, but the zionists violate it every day with soldiers and jets and every violation. They do this because they are intimidated by Hizbullah, since it strongly opposes zionism (regardless of whether Hizbullah does any acts against Israel).
    So don’t be so foolish to believe this is about Islam or any particular violation or any particular act of violence. This is a fight about resistance itself.
    TonyForesta,
    You write too much and it is hard to respond. But here are some basic points:
    1) We Palestinians know we are also being bled. But we have nothing left to lose, as we are already occupied and our society has been destroyed. The occupation bleeds us on a daily basis, even excluding the massive attacks the zionists do. But after 60 years of blood we are still fighting, but finally the tide is starting to turn in our favor. You may disagree with that from where you stand, but we see that Israel is coming apart and becoming more violent and more out of control. This is evidence of our advantage strategic. 20 years ago they would have laughed at the concept of the apartheid wall. Now they hide behind it as if it is a sign of their victory. Our advantage is clear.
    As for your views about Islam, your problem is that in one sentence you refer to “certain elements” and then in the next sentence you say that “islam is the religion…”
    It is strange that you don’t seem to recognize this difference, and that you just flip back and forth from each. Additionally, there are violent trends in every religion. Zionists are clearly a violent trend in Judaism, the American evangelists are often violent in the USA. other religions have violent trends as well.
    I think the reason is that the USA has a disproportionate influence over the global dialogue. Where American violence against the world is not considered violence, violence against the USA is framed as the epitome of evil. this framework colors the discussion, and I think you have accepted it more than you believe.

    Reply

  196. Paul Norheim says:

    Questions,
    I am sorry for your loss.
    Nice post.

    Reply

  197. varanasi says:

    thanks …Jan.
    it might surprise you to know that i also consider canada to be a civilized nation!
    i adore your beautiful country, although the month i spent in manitoba was FAR beyond my tolerance for cold!

    Reply

  198. ... says:

    tony foresta quote.. >>The unfortunate fact is and remains that there will always be more Palestinian blood shed, than Israeli. I’m not saying it is right or just, – I’m “simply” stating a fact.<<
    thank you for framing your opinions in a way which shows you to be very dishonest.. suggesting on the one hand that the palestinians are the ones guilty of mass murder while openly acknowledging on the other hand that many more palestinians are having their blood shed them israelis shows the lie to your attempt to portray yourself as a realist.. indeed it is the state of israel that is guilty of mass murder and your quote above openly acknowledges this.. too bad you appear too dense to come to terms with your own open acknowledgement of the lopsidedness of israel/palestine affairs and your willingness to do the usual talking points of only one side – the zionists…

    Reply

  199. DonS says:

    “As I understand it, Israel has never mounted an offensive that was not a defensive response. ” Aw c’mon Ken. You are putting us on, right? Surely, you’ve noticed very few here have bought the Israel “self defense” doublespeak for years. Not even the apologists. If you’re shilling for AIPAC, they need to train you better.

    Reply

  200. DonS says:

    Ken: “To my knowledge, Israel has not been expansionist once it was established.”
    Look at this map:
    http://lawrenceofcyberia.blogs.com/photos/maps/landloss.html
    Actually, though, taking a little slice of time called now, and looking at the curent Israeli invasion/massacre as logical and justified, doesn’t even begin to address the point. Assuming de facto existence of Israel, which some in the discussion are not able to even acknowledge, solution of Isr/Pal based on decades old UN resolutions is the only context that makes sense, and the de jure framework that exists. But you’d be a fool to believe the Israelis have any intention whatsoever of honoring the literal meaning, or reasonable interpretation of res. 242, etc.

    Reply

  201. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I don’t think anyone of intelligence would think Israel would stike in other than self defense”
    Gads, if you’re going to cite intelligence, could you at least do it by offering something other than a stupid argument?

    Reply

  202. Ken says:

    Honestly… does anyone beleive that had Hamas not heaved rockets into Israel that the Israelis would be marching into Gaza? To my knowledge, Israel has not been expansionist once it was established. As many of you have noted, Israel hasn’t wanted anymore than what it has, and what it fights for now is security. Palestinians are right to be angry about being dispossessed, and I think the world would be more understanding about that if they didn’t keep changing the focus with violence. I think most non-Zionists (the non-PC folks) would offer that the creation of the state of Israel was questionable, but this is a moot point, a concept that the Palestinians and Arabs just can’t seem to wrap their minds around.
    Did Hamas think it could keep throwing “rocks” and not eventually piss off the Israelis? I don’t think anyone of intelligence would think Israel would stike in other than self defense. As I understand it, Israel has never mounted an offensive that was not a defensive response. That the Gaza has not simply been wiped out shows amazing restraint…

    Reply

  203. TonyForesta says:

    I am a student of all religions fyi and have read the Koran and studied islam, which is why I ask these questions that you woefully ignore.
    The dodge that mysoginist hindu practices somehow excuse mysoginist muslim practices is silly.
    Riddle me this Joe M and fyi – is it not true and factual that certain elements of {islam are at war (a declared war) with the US and all infidels including your moderate islamic sisters and brothers?
    Is it not true and factual that islam is the religion by some interpretations that teaches five year olds it is allah’s will to kill all jews, American’s and infidels, including your fellow moderate islamic sisters and brothers, – that treats women like pets, – that sanctions the stoning or beheading of teenage girls for exposing their elbows, that that sends it’s followers to kill artists and authors that supposedly insult islam, or throw acid in the faces of young girls walking to school?
    Answer the simple questions.
    Where is the condemnation or even questioning from the 1.5 billion you speak of for these kinds of malignant perverted and despicable acts of depravity and insanity in the name of islam?
    I am only stating the ugly truth, and shining lights on the unholy facts. You both may not like these horrible facts and monstrous truths about certain elements of islam, and you can both slime me with silly insults and wildly false accusations of racism and bigotry that only matter TO YOU, – but neither of you can, and do not even attempt to repudiate, counter, or even address the claims I make.
    You simply dodge the horrible truth and hideous facts by sliming the messenger, and dismissing the message.
    Please answer the questions.
    With regard to the ongoing, neverending horrorshow in the Gaza, – your logic Joe M is wildly mistaken if you believe you will ever bleed Israel to death. Any cursory examination of history and simple math will prove that it is, – tragically – the Palestinian people that are being bled.
    So we are clear brother. I am NOT anti-Israeli, but I believe the Israeli policies against the Palestinian people constitute apartheid and must be changed for there to be any hope for peace.
    I honor and respect you and the Palestinian people and your just rights to defend against zionism. Where we divide, (and there is no animosity in me toward you) is on the tactics and strategies employed. Massmurder operations only alienate and countermine support for the Palestinian causes. Apartheid policies only alienate and countermine support for Israels right to exist. Nothing changes, all actors are drenched in the blood of innocents, and the horrors continue unabated.
    The unfortunate fact is and remains that there will always be more Palestinian blood shed, than Israeli. I’m not saying it is right or just, – I’m “simply” stating a fact.
    Continuing the same fruitless, impotent, bloody policies is doomed to fail. All parties must entertain alternative (nonmassmurdering) options for resolving this horrible conflict.
    All the oldworld ways by all parties are proven bloody costly miserable failures, and must be repudiated and rejected by all parties, or this horrorshow in the Gaza will continue, and more innocent blood with be shed and nothing will change.

    Reply

  204. ... says:

    varanasi… you will get a kick out of this.. it has nothing to do with my nationally and you would be better served responding honestly to what i put forth… for the record i am a canuck, have been to india – bombay and appreciate you are bringing a certain perspective that has nothing to do with your nationality either… try conversing as opposed to labeling..

    Reply

  205. varanasi says:

    Posted by … Jan 04, 4:05PM
    unlike you and most of the others here, my concern is NOT the u.s.a or israel!
    wow. american narcissism astounds me! there’s a whole world out here, guys, with opinions, attitudes and issues that exist independently of your own.

    Reply

  206. questions says:

    Somehow it’s nice to know that all of this posting has been going on during the mourning period…. And somehow it’s comforting that my mother finally came around to a very different view of the Palestinians (thanks to LinkTV).
    I think it might be fruitful for everyone to realize the fact that every perspective is, from its own point of view, totally justified. Someone above noted that Israelis rightfully would fear for their lives from increasingly sophisticated rockets, and Palestinians would rightfully fear Israelis, and both need the annihilation of the other, and neither can actually recognize the other. It’s close enough to what Jean-Francois Lyotard calls a “differend” — a difference that cannot acknowledge the other without self-annhilation.
    So we’re in a situation where we have to escape from a logical trap that is absolute, and to my mind, the only way to do this is to act illogically. What that might mean is suicide (surely illogical), inhumane bombing of the other (you win the war but lose yourself–not really rational), or maybe a crazy recognition of the validity of the other, a risk beyond risk that you are wrong and they are right. It’s crazy in that the entire history of Israel has been pinned to its own legitimacy and so it would lose its history. But in losing itself, it might actually gain itself. (Sorry for the paradoxical writing style, but I have bits and pieces of Derridean influence in me and it comes out sometimes, though nowhere near so beautifully as with Derrida himself).
    More concretely, if Israel, or Israelis, were simply to stop and realize that their worldview is impoverished, were Palestinians to do the same, were each to see the other as MORE worthy than themselves, then maybe, just maybe, all of their insane self-justifications would cease.
    But is it ever possible for someone to say, “All my life, I’ve lived wrong. All I’ve done has been wrong-headed, immoral, and unkind. My enemy is more right than I am?” Could we ever imagine, say, Dick Cheney, deciding that he’s been wrong about markets, presidential power, energy use, pollution, the inhumanity of allowing the “market” to determine all value…. Could we imagine Israel’s right wing religious parties’ doing this same kind of thinking? Can we get everyone involved to see that a radical rethinking of their positions is crucial? Can TonyForesta post w/o the phrase “bushgov fascists”? POA is doing a marvelous job w/o swearing lately. Maybe there’s a little hope that (here it comes) the dialogues in Plato’s Republic could be transformative. Most characters don’t want to converse in a real way, they have too much at stake in what they already think, but maybe there are some who could try all over again.
    But until there is real transformation in thinking, in fantasy (see Bromwich on HuffPo for more), in valuations, we will continue with low to medium level bombings and loss of life, tit-for-tat attacks and much that will seem rational to many, but will in fact be deeply inhumane. The humane is crazy. Let’s get crazy.

    Reply

  207. ... says:

    poa 3:40pm… exactly..
    varanasi quote >>they support the aims of al quaeda and lashkar e taiba and if given a chance they would surely join their struggle against the “”””civilized world””””…
    varanasi i believe the error in your judgment lies in your belief that israel or the usa are civilized… that is a huge judgmental error on your part and it is the basis for much of your belief system with regards to this ongoing conversation..

    Reply

  208. varanasi says:

    Joe M,
    i guess we will agree to disagree. but i appreciate your conciliatory tone. perhaps we can teach some others on this blog that we don’t have to demonize those whose opinions diverge from our own.
    السلام عليكم

    Reply

  209. Joe M. says:

    varanasi,
    You just don’t know much about Hamas, and I encourage you to read more before you discuss them. They are very different than the Islamist movement you speak of. That’s a fact. I suggest you learn more before you start lumping all the Islamists together.
    Unfortunately I can’t sustain this much writing, and I don’t have the time to give you a complete lesson about the akhwan, hamas, hizbullah and other islamist movements…. from the sounds of it, it would be very helpful to you. at least so you understand that there are fundamental distinctions and differences.
    I simply hope you withhold your judgment enough to let yourself learn more.
    Again, I don’t know anything about south-east asia and the islamists there. But the Arab ones, on the whole, do not conform to the views you have expressed

    Reply

  210. varanasi says:

    fyi:
    you are correct. hindu history is ripe with abuses directed towards women and the dalit underclass. imo, the caste system was an affront towards God and that is why it was officially ABOLISHED in 1949 by the indian parliament at the behest of Gandhiji when the modern indian constitution was written.
    please don’t equate the cultural remnants of this disgraced system with the current theocracies in the muslim world and the intolerance that they espouse.

    Reply

  211. PissedOffAmerican says:

    sdemetri….
    I don’t believe there is a solution. Thats why you can’t find one in my comments.
    But, if there is a solution, Joe, and his rhetoric, isn’t it, any more than Wigwag’s horseshit is.

    Reply

  212. varanasi says:

    poa:
    with all due respect, your last comment is dripping with a sense of american superiority.
    india is a country of over 1 billion people and our civilization is one of the oldest in world – over 5,000 years.
    we have our own massive media footprint in the world and in no way does the U.S. media or zionist protagonists influence the way in which the overwhelming majority of my country views armed islamic jihadism.
    and PLEASE resist from calling me or anyone a bigot in these threads. if you continue to do so, i will not respond to your posts

    Reply

  213. fyi says:

    Tony Foresta:
    No one speaks for Islam; there is no such centeral spiritual authority.
    Therefore, your statement that Islam has declared war against US is not true.
    You mention, like many Western people, the status of women in Islamic states.
    But why do you care?
    Here are 2 examples of status of women in India which are much much worse:
    http://www.ambedkar.org/News/hl/Becoming%20A.htm
    and
    http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2291/52/
    I sense a deep sense of fear and prejudice in you.
    I urge you to please study Islam before speaking of either its ideals or realities.

    Reply

  214. Joe M. says:

    POA,
    This is the same argument that was used against Malcolm X in his time. That he was radical and therefore feeding racism. But it was wrong then and is wrong now. Because we Palestinians have our own narrative that is correct regardless of what the white man thinks. I feel no need to conform to your standards of debate. Our views have been ignored for too long because we have conformed to your debate.
    To quote MLK’s letter from a birmingham jail:
    “I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another mans freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro the wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating that absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

    Reply

  215. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “i’m sorry, but as a non-american and as a non-jew, i DO believe that israel and the u.s.a ARE on a higher moral ground than armed islamic jihadis”
    1,250,000 dead Iraqi combatants, Muslims sodomized, waterboarded, and stacked naked in the corridors of American torture chambers.
    The Palestinians imprisoned, starved, deprived of dignity, rights, livelyhoods…..
    And you make a statement like that? Well, I suppose that makes sense, if you simply see the Muslims as an inferior block of people.
    But, uhm, that’d make you a bigot, wouldn’t it?

    Reply

  216. varanasi says:

    Joe M,
    I’m not interested in whether you think i am right or wrong. my opinion is mine alone and i’m not asking for your endoresement.
    and your link is more than 2 years old and has nothing to do with the latest attack on mumbai.
    like it or not, hamas is an armed jihadist movement which has aligned itself with others in the muslim world. they support the aims of al quaeda and lashkar e taiba and if given a chance they would surely join their struggle against the civilized world.

    Reply

  217. Joe M. says:

    TonyForesta,
    “Tragically, the few who are massmurderers and perverted psychotic sexually repressed madmen, have come to represent islam…”
    I have not spent too much time combating your wild attacks because they are mostly nonsensical. And this statement above makes it perfectly clear why. Ignoring all the other problems with that statement, what makes your position absolutely absurd is that you fail to realize that the logic you expressed in that quote only represents Islam TO YOU. It does not represent Islam to me, or to the billion Muslims around the world. This logic is why you are racist, just as the worst stereo-types of black people were used by racists to “represent” them by those who hated them. If you can’t see that what you said absolutely clearly does not represent Islam, you are not in touch with reality. And you simply have to adjust your views.

    Reply

  218. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I don’t reject your ideology, Joe. I reject your delivery. It is counterproductive, therefore illogical. It is the same delivery that has provided fodder for folly for too many years now. And it failed you then, its failing you now, and it will fail you tomorrow.
    There is a window, heretofore unopened, that is now slightly ajar for the Palestinians. Sentiment is shifting in their favor, and the American taxpayer is finally taking a hard look at Israel, and not liking what they see.
    But if you don’t frame an argument designed to nurture this growing dissatisfaction with Israel’s actions, you may yet reverse this trend. You are being cast as “rabid dogs” and “terrorists”. You are being cast as a people that will only accept Israel’s erasure, and therefore a people incapable of moderation, compromise, diplomacy, or rational search for realistic solutions. It does not behoove you to play the role you’ve been cast in. If thats the course you pursue, sooner or the Israelis will do as they have always done, and say “See, we warned you, there is no talking to these people”. And because the zionists, in both Israel AND the United States have a far more effective media and propaganda machine than you do, the American people, and the world community, will , once more, shift their sentiments and sympathies to the Israelis.
    If I was Palestinian, I don’t think I’d want you speaking for me, even if I shared your strong beliefs and emotional investment. The Zionists are well served by your inflammatory delivery and intransigent self-admitted zealotry. You are playing your role perfectly, just as the Israelis wrote it.

    Reply

  219. DonS says:

    should read, “Zionist dead enders AND HAMAS suiciders”.

    Reply

  220. DonS says:

    ‘…’ says “varanasi.. your tacit support of israel and the usa in their butchery is apparent… nothing about war is anything other then butchery.. to claim something else is dishonest… your suggestion is that israel or the usa are on some higher moral ground.. they aren’t and it is dishonest to suggest such…”
    Varanasi, there is a danger in mixing apples and oranges; jihadists and bushists; Zionist dead enders HAMAS suiciders. Too easy to make the argument even though the factors are not comparable. But, say they were comparable. Violence as an instrument of power is still “butchery”. And even if one could determine a moral high ground, I say, “the moral high ground is a pretty puny place in a nuclear wasteland “.

    Reply

  221. Joe M. says:

    varanasi,
    Just to give you an example that you are wrong (I know this is a different attack, but just making a point):
    http://ikhwanweb.com/Article.asp?ID=3998&SectionID=100
    But the logic you use is crazy. Why does Hamas have anything to do with an attack in India? And additionally, I have yet to hear all Indian groups condemning the attacks against Gaza. Maybe I am not listening, hard enough, but the link above shows that you are probably not listening either….

    Reply

  222. sdemetri says:

    POA, I usually share your views but I am not finding anything in
    your criticism today of Joe’s comments that resembles a “solution.”
    Not a one state or a two state. Your advice seems to be, lay down
    and let the steamroller have its way.
    Joe’s solution, with a less indifferent Israeli public and a progressive
    government, two big hurdles agreed, is not so utopian.
    You can’t be saying sit back and let the massacre take its course.

    Reply

  223. TonyForesta says:

    As usual in these kinds of incendiary threads, most of the points are lost or missed as partisans leap onto one word or sentence, take it out of context, and begin sliming and hurling personal insults.
    If anyone bothered to read any of my posts, it is clear that I do not support Israels conduct in the Gaza now or before. I agree with Joe M, and President Carter that Israel’s policies against the Palestinian people constitute aparthied.
    Now where all the anti-Israel commenters go bezerk and start wildy taking issues out of context, putting words in my mouth that I never said, and flinging silly insults – is when I stated that the Palestinain people will never achieve any peace by supporting the massmurder operations of Hamas or any other Gaza mass murdergangs.
    I have stated that the problem is rooted in all sides refusing to change and continually resorting to the same oldworld fruitless impotent and futile policies.
    I have stated that Israel can never achieve it’s objectives militarily, and neither can Palestinians achieve thier objectives by condoning massmurder operation and constant rocket attacks (regardless of ineffective those attacks maybe)
    I have also suggested that Hamas should be recognized by Israel and America as the legitimate government of the Palestinian people
    and afforded the opportunity to govern. It is my hope that the sane moderate (nonmassmurdering) elements of Hamas and the Palestinian people would pursue alternative (nonmassmurdering) means to achieve their objectives.
    No one here is without sin. There are oceans of innocent blood dripping from every actor in this horrorshow. It is fruitless to continue with this ridiculous debate wherein one side places all blame on the other, and the otherside places all the blame on the first. The blame is everywhere and the foul stench of it is reaking from all sides. It is time for new paradigms, and a total rejection of all the oldworld ways.
    The US and Israel do not intentionally drop bombs on innocent people. Nor do the US or Israel intentionally target civilians. War is hell. There are all to often mistakes made in the chaos of war, and there are other instances of collateral damage.
    Collateral damage occurs when the US or IDF strikes a legitimate military target and threat and innocent civilians are killed. Both instances are tragic, but niether Israel’s, nor America’s militaries intentionally target civilians.
    The truly simpleminded here are those who are incapable of differentiating between sending their young daughter or son wrapped in explosives on a mass murder mission targeting a buss full of civilians, a school full of children, a wedding party, or a disco – and the entirely different actions of soldiers in combat that may result in collateral damage. I pity your denseness and inhumanity.
    Look up the word fascist, compare with the bushgov policies, ideologies, and machinations and get back to me.
    You also misread my statements fyi. The US is not at war with islam, – islam is at war (a declared war) with the US and all iinfidels including your moderate islamic sisters and brothers. Islam is the religion by some interpretations that teaches five year olds it is allah’s will to kill all jews, American’s and infidels, including your fellow moderate islamic sisters and brothers, – that treats women like pets, – that sanctions the stoning or beheading of teanage girls for exposing their elbows, that that sends it’s followers to kill artists and authors that supposedly insult islam, or throw acid in the faces of young girls walking to school. Where is the condemnation or even questioninig from the 1.5 billion you speak of for these kinds of malignant perverted and despicable acts of depravity and insanity in the name of islam?
    Islam is at war with everyone on earth including itself.
    Most of the 1.5 billion people you speak of, I would imagine – are not massmurderers. Tragically, the few who are massmurderers and perverted psychotic sexually repressed madmen, have come to represent islam, – and since the many who are not either apparently condone this kind of conduct, or are too frightened to openly repudiate and reject this kind of depraved, psychotic conduct – the result – like it or not – right or wrong – is a bad name for islam, and mistrust by the other 4.5 billion who are not islamic.
    I do not wish war on anyone, but I see nothing but neverendingwar everywhere on earth because humanity refuses to reject and repudiate massmurder.
    I have attempted to draw the distinction between any religion, sect, klan, state, nation, culture, class on one hand, – and those who support, condone and execute massmurder on the other. It is the massmurderers, and the condoning of massmurder for any reason under any circumstance that are the problems. Until those “simple” problems are redressed, this wild and violent world will continue the wanton slaughtering innocents ad infinitum until the bitter end.

    Reply

  224. varanasi says:

    Posted by … Jan 04, 2:13PM
    “your suggestion is that israel or the usa are on some higher moral ground.. they aren’t and it is dishonest to suggest such…”
    i’m sorry, but as a non-american and as a non-jew, i DO believe that israel and the u.s.a ARE on a higher moral ground than armed islamic jihadis.

    Reply

  225. varanasi says:

    Cee,
    and then this inhuman terrorist killed every civilian inside the nariman house, including a pregnant 25 year old woman.
    but thanks for making my point. armed jihadism is only in part about israel. in its larger context it represents a war between the jihadis and the entire civilized world.
    and in response to the carnage in mumbai? not a single vigil to peace and reconciliation anywhere in pakistan or the muslim world.

    Reply

  226. Joe M. says:

    POA,
    You have no idea what I have and have not fought for in my life. And while I am in the usa now, I have talked to my cousins in Gaza who are, as you correctly said, cowering in their homes (they do not have basements). My most immediate family was lucky enough to get sponsorship in the USA (many years ago), not everyone had such luck. But we do not forget them, and I have a better understanding of what our fight is than you and your computer screen. And the only reason I have spent my time defending our rights to fight zionism on this forum is because the narrative is epically lopsided, and I am trying to provide balance.
    And I will agree that armed resistance to zionism is not going to win this particular battle today. But we do not delude ourselves to believe that we can win a specific battle with the zionist military machine. They have every temporary advantage. But slowly we will bleed them to death. The difference is that they are fighting for a concept (zionism) while we are fighting for our very lives and land. No imposed solution (in the words of clemons) will change that reality.
    I have said many times here that I am perfectly happy to live with the Jews in equality, just as I live with the Americans with equality (more or less). But the “inflexibility” of my hatred of the zionist project is their fault. It is amazing that, even though you are sympathetic to the Palestinians, you continue to grant legitimacy to the zionists narrative by rejection to my rejection of it.
    While we Palestinians are glad to have support, we will not base our resistance on it. Our resistance is justified in itself. It doesn’t need to be sanctified by the bloody hands of the west.

    Reply

  227. Cee says:

    Zotzabasis
    Hamas acquired dozens of Iranian-made Fazr-3 missiles
    I’d like to see the proof. Janes? What?
    Varanasi
    Since you mention Israel
    December 23, 2008
    Through Tel Aviv
    India’s Reckless Road to Washington
    By VIJAY PRASHAD
    On Thursday, November 27, in the middle of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, Imran Babar, one of the terrorists, called India TV from Nariman House. He used a cellphone that belonged to Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, the co-director of the Chabad-Lubavitch Center. The following day, Babar and his associates killed Rabbi Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka. The phone call he made was not long. Babar opened with a comment that made little sense to most people: “You call [Israel’s] army staff to visit Kashmir. Who are they to come to J &K [Jammu and Kashmir]? This is a matter between us and Hindus, the Hindu government. Why does Israel come here?”
    http://www.counterpunch.org/prashad12232008.html

    Reply

  228. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Joe….
    Your inflexible argument is waged while your people are under attack, cowering in basements, under siege, poor, and imprisoned. I note you are not in-country, fighting to change this. So, you are providing the incendiary rhetoric that fuels the conflict, and provides Israel’s stated justification, while your people reap the effect of your words.
    It is unrealistic of you to expect to prevail in any sort of armed conflict with Israel, besides being quite cowardly of you to advocate such conflict while failing to take up arms yourself. Thats exactly what these fucking cowards like Bush and Cheney have done, while the general populace niether wants war nor benefits from it.
    Blurting the words of a warrior while relaxing comfortably in front of your computer, stateside, making unwilling martyrs out of your countrymen in Gaza, hardly seems constructive to me.
    But hey, you’re right; what do I know?

    Reply

  229. Carroll says:

    Do we have a dual loyalty problem with the US zionist and Israel and by extension the Jews?
    Of course we do…it’s not a big secret…and not a big secret that it is gotten worse since Eisenhower, who was probably the last real American president we had.
    Let’s disconstruct what Ike said:
    http://www.eisenhowermemorial.org/presidential-papers/first-term/documents/2063.cfm
    “As we began to uncover evidence that something was building up in Israel, we demanded pledges from Ben-Gurion that he would keep the peace.10
    We realized that he might think he could take advantage of this country because of the approaching election and because of the importance that so many politicians in the past have attached to our Jewish vote.
    I gave strict orders to the State Department that they should inform Israel that we would handle our affairs exactly as though we didn’t have a Jew in America. The welfare and best interests of our own country were to be the sole criteria on which we operated.11”
    What Ike is sayng is that he is well aware Israel ‘counts on’ jews in the US to urge and pressure the US to do what Israel wants regardless of the US interest and that is exactly what the jews do in regard to Israel. And he is basically saying fuck you to the domestic jewish vote and campaign bribery and Israel.
    Actually this is one of the more polite statements made by former US Presidents.If you go thru all the Presidential Libraries you will see that all of them made statements like this about the jews and their political minipulations in the US for their loyalty to Israel. Even Truman who expressed some doubt about his support of Israel when he later saw what they were doing in Palestine. I won’t post what he said ..but it was along the lines that the jews were as bad as the nazis once they got an advantage.
    We need another Ike. If we had an Ike we wouldn’t be watching what we watching right now.

    Reply

  230. ... says:

    varanasi.. you tacit support of israel and the usa in their butchery is apparent… nothing about war is anything other then butchery.. to claim something else is dishonest… your suggestion is that israel or the usa are on some higher moral ground.. they aren’t and it is dishonest to suggest such…

    Reply

  231. PW says:

    Time out to be grateful to Steve and one or two other sources of balanced discussion of these issues.
    The more international one’s personal experiences — whether Jew, Arab, or any other affiliation — the less sympathy one has for Israeli aggression and for Arab intransigence. Since (whether we like it or not, and many are angry and scared by it) we are becoming more international in everything we do and think, our relationship with Israel is bound to change. Zionism is mortally wounded but still a very dangerous rattlesnake which may wind up delivering the most poisonous damage to America.
    Kudos to Joe M. Hard to disagree with him.

    Reply

  232. varanasi says:

    Joe M.
    i’m sorry, but i do see a connection between hamas and armed islamic jihadism. one espouses the other, sir.
    further, with all due respect to you and your persepctive, i also believe that you are dooming yourself to more butchery by following and supporting these madmen.

    Reply

  233. Joe M. says:

    varanasi,
    Can you have some respect and discuss your general issues with Islamist violence at a time other than when the Palestinians are under such massive attack? Hamas is not the same as those who did the attacks in India. Hamas is clearly and legitimately defending the Palestinian people while under massive attack.
    Outraged American,
    thank you for your defense of my views.

    Reply

  234. ... says:

    varanasi i can’t help you to see that other then to point out that where the experts have gotten us to date leaves much to be desired… the experts came up with nuclear weapons..have they helped any??? i don’t trust ‘experts’ but others may wish to continue to…

    Reply

  235. Joe M. says:

    POA,
    What I most dislike about your views on my positions is:
    1) you seem to fail to realize that Israel is a political entity. Thus, when i call Israel a cancer (which it is), and that I want it to die (which it will), I am directly talking about the state. If you ask me whether I “hate” Israel, of course I do. Is it wrong to hate such an unjust and violent state? I don’t think so. You apparently do think that type of hate is wrong. I think that type of hate is productive and positive. Had I been South African and not Palestinian, and had I said I hate the structure of Apartheid, I find it unlikely you would consider me an extremist. That I want to destroy the cancerous state is a good thing, not a bad thing.
    2) you seem to think that there is a need for balanced rhetoric on this issue. You fail to see that the zionist narrative is so dominant that criticism of it is (like mine) is considered extreme. Thus, for example, you seem to believe their sensibilities must be appeased for the discussion to be justified. Well, the fact is that must of my rhetoric is purposely strong because I would like to re-define the discussion. I will not accept the boundaries that you try to place on my discussion. Had I been criticizing Nazism or Stalinism or some other violent political system, you would not call me extreme or part of the problem.
    3) you seem to believe that you have a right to say what is right and wrong for us Palestinians. Truth is, we don’t give a shit about you in the west any more. If we wanted to follow the west, all our eggs would be in the basket of Fatah and Abu Mazin. But we have long since given up on the likes of you. We just don’t give a damn about voices like yours. If we want freedom, we will gain it ourselves. And we will confront the zionists as we believe best. Currently Hamas is our best hope. And despite being totally over-powered, the diligence of their fighting is proof that the zionist project has no option but death. And I am proud of that.

    Reply

  236. MNPundit says:

    How is supporting a country that brutalizes its weakest neighbors and gets us hated by hundreds of millions in our interest?

    Reply

  237. varanasi says:

    sorry dan. i seem to have conflated carroll’s post with you. please accept my apology.
    but as for carroll, i stand by my admonition.

    Reply

  238. varanasi says:

    Posted by … Jan 04, 1:28PM
    i’m sorry, but i do not see israel’s, or india’s nuclear arsenal for that matter, as the same threat to the world that i see pakistans.
    every foreign policy expert i know has identified pakistani instability and islamic jihadsit elements with the ISI as the gravest nuclear threat.

    Reply

  239. varanasi says:

    carroll and dan:
    i am a “religious racist”? wow. that is quite an allegation to make on a blog and direct towards someone you know nothing about.
    simply put, i disagree with you and i won’t dignify your posts with a response.
    best regards to you both. surely yours is a more thoughful american rhetoric.

    Reply

  240. ... says:

    sorry bout that steve.. maybe you can remove the 1:09 and 1:12pm posts as what i wanted to communicate is in the 1:13 and 1:14pm posts.. first time that cut and paste hasn’t worked for me..
    varanasi if you are going to argue >>the underlying threat of islamic jihadism – which we all know is growing and threatens the world…<< then you have to equally acknowledge the other sides military and nuclear build up that is growing and threatens the world… neither side in are behaving any different.. they are both intent on murder and warfare.. your argument is like tony forestas thinking because one is cleaner and sanitized that is it someone one some superior or higher ground.. all people and countries need to embrace love as opposed to hate.. the tools in the hands of those who hate may be different, but the result is the same..

    Reply

  241. Carroll says:

    Posted by Dan Kervick Jan 04, 3:10AM – Link
    Totally agree.

    Reply

  242. Carroll says:

    Posted by varanasi Jan 04, 12:21PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    You are a religious racist ..that’s plain. You, the zionist and the radical Islam fanatics are all the same.
    You had a friend killed…boo hoo…I have a British friend whose father was killed in the Israeli false flag bombing of the King David hotel by the zionist terrorist. We all know people who were killed because of ethnic and religious slime like you.
    Idiot.

    Reply

  243. ... says:

    poa quote >>So whats left for the Palestinians? Not much. The inevitable conclusion to this is the demise of the Palestinian people. Its only a matter of time.<< the actions of the israel state are leading to the demise of the ‘israeli’ people as well, as no nation can keep another in prison while thinking the inmates have no right to address the injustice.. neither can one nation assume because it has hugely disproportionate military strength that’s enough to overcome it’s own injustice and brutality… the actions in the middle east suggest israel is doomed no matter how much warfare and mayhem they want to throw at the gaza captives…

    Reply

  244. ... says:

    this is getting ridiculous… here they are separately..
    tonyforesta quote >>To falsely imagine there is not some clear distinction between mass murder operations and any other action that results in the loss of innocent lives is either rank ignorance or pathologically partisan bruting of propaganda.<< using precision tools is not the same as using crude tools, but the spirit behind them is the same.. they are both meant to inflict pain and suffering and lead to the same result – loss of innocent life.. one who doesn’t have the precision tools can be forgiven to having to resort to using crude ones.. if they had the precision tools they would be using them and claiming the same high moral ground that is a completely dishonest to characterize the mass murder they are indeed inflicting… your post is full of propaganda bullshit..

    Reply

  245. ... says:

    it happened again! so much for copy and paste! there are two paragraphs.. one addressed to poa.. the other to tony foresta.
    poa quote >>So whats left for the Palestinians? Not much. The inevitable conclusion to this is the demise of the Palestinian people. Its only a matter of time.>To falsely imagine there is not some clear distinction between mass murder operations and any other action that results in the loss of innocent lives is either rank ignorance or pathologically partisan bruting of propaganda.<< using precision tools is not the same as using crude tools, but the spirit behind them is the same.. they are both meant to inflict pain and suffering and lead to the same result – loss of innocent life.. one who doesn’t have the precision tools can be forgiven to having to resort to using crude ones.. if they had the precision tools they would be using them and claiming the same high moral ground that is a completely dishonest to characterize the mass murder they are indeed inflicting… your post is full of propaganda bullshit..

    Reply

  246. ... says:

    above post got truncated… here is the proper data from poa quote down..
    >>poa quote >>So whats left for the Palestinians? Not much. The inevitable conclusion to this is the demise of the Palestinian people. Its only a matter of time.>To falsely imagine there is not some clear distinction between mass murder operations and any other action that results in the loss of innocent lives is either rank ignorance or pathologically partisan bruting of propaganda.<< using precision tools is not the same as using crude tools, but the spirit behind them is the same.. they are both meant to inflict pain and suffering and lead to the same result – loss of innocent life.. one who doesn’t have the precision tools can be forgiven to having to resort to using crude ones.. if they had the precision tools they would be using them and claiming the same high moral ground that is a completely dishonest to characterize the mass murder they are indeed inflicting… your post is full of propaganda bullshit..

    Reply

  247. varanasi says:

    poa:
    i can’t direct you towards any particular article, but most of them do point towards the ISI and its jihadists as the culprit in the latest mumbai attack, and the lone captured terrorist is pakistani.
    as for false flag attacks, of course this a reality of warfare. but i do NOT for a minute believe that the mumbai attack – only the latest in MANY jihadist attacks in india – is such an example.
    imo, to raise this discussion in this context only distracts from the underlying threat of islamic jihadism – which we all know is growing and threatens the world.
    remember, zardari and his henchmen DON’T have their finger on the button in pakistan!

    Reply

  248. ... says:

    outraged american unfairly characterizes poa… outraged american loses much credibility as a result..
    downtown – sounds like you now know who owns the local media/tv in your area… you might want to switch off the tv and recognize how it is more a propaganda tool then a news outlet..
    poa quote >>So whats left for the Palestinians? Not much. The inevitable conclusion to this is the demise of the Palestinian people. Its only a matter of time.>To falsely imagine there is not some clear distinction between mass murder operations and any other action that results in the loss of innocent lives is either rank ignorance or pathologically partisan bruting of propaganda.<< using precision tools is not the same as using crude tools, but the spirit behind them is the same.. they are both meant to inflict pain and suffering and lead to the same result – loss of innocent life.. one who doesn’t have the precision tools can be forgiven to having to resort to using crude ones.. if they had the precision tools they would be using them and claiming the same high moral ground that is a completely dishonest to characterize the mass murder they are indeed inflicting… your post is full of propaganda bullshit..

    Reply

  249. Outraged American says:

    I’m not that ignorant: I just got off the phone with a journalist in
    Gaza City. An Israeli helicopter was targeting them. Needless to
    say, the call ended abruptly, and I can’t get through again.
    I’ve interviewed Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer and asked
    them why they felt only a two state as opposed to a one state
    “solution” would work. A two-state solution is apartheid, and is
    not viable in any way, shape or form. Beyond that, why should
    we support a nation where one religious group is allowed not
    only to dictate who gets what, with a graduated social structure
    starting with European Jews at the top?
    Why should my tax dollars go to Israel’s attacks on her
    neighbors?
    I think that Joe M makes VERY valid points. I don’t think that
    Israel can exist in her current form: she is a rogue, terrorist,
    apartheid nation, and the fact that we fund her genocide of the
    Palestinians will lead to endless blowback.
    And Varanasi, I spent eight years in India. To call it a
    functioning democracy is laughable. I am very sorry that you
    lost a friend in the Mumbai attacks — I lost a friend on 9/11.
    But I would also suggest that you also remember the thousands
    of Muslims slaughtered by Hindu nationalists in the last few
    years, and all the Indian Christians currently being slaughtered
    by Hindu nationalists.
    Just after the attacks I did, in fact, talk with a lot of Indian and
    Pakistani journalists, many of them thought that the Mumbai
    attacks were a false flag operation by the BJP (virulent Hindu
    nationalists) to garner outrage amongst the primarily Hindu
    populace of India in a run-up to elections.
    Sound familiar? Israel’s elections are right around the corner.
    Quite a few of those journalists suspected Mossad involvement
    because Israel is courting India in her fight against the entire
    Islamic world/ any country that stands in her quest for regional
    hegemony.
    I am not Muslim, but I’m so sick of this war on Islam, disguised
    as a “War on Terror” that we Americans been sucked into
    because of the relentless pro-Israel propaganda machine, from
    Hollywood to the mainstream media to the U.S. government/
    Israel c*cksuckers themselves.
    And I am sick to my stomach that a young journalist in Gaza,
    one who I have tremendous respect for, might have been killed
    in the last few minutes, while I vented my frustration, that I, as
    an American unwillingly responsible for the bullet or bomb that
    might kill him, cannot do anything to help him.

    Reply

  250. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Don’t forget Rahm Emanuel.
    BTW, I backtracked through the threads, looking for Joe M’s intitial comments from a couple of days ago, to use in underscoring my argument. Unfortunately, his initial comments appear to have been removed. Or am I just not looking close enough? Anyone remember which thread he initially showed up on?

    Reply

  251. Carroll says:

    Posted by TonyForesta Jan 04, 12:19AM – Link
    The fascists in the bushgov destroyed America Carrol. Get that fact straight and stop blaming anyone else for America’s demise. The fascists in the bushgov are singularly and exclusively responsible for America’s swift decline and inevitable unravelling. Your pathetic attempt to blame America’s nightmare on Israel reveals your hatred for Israel, and your ignorance of the true causes of America’s demise. Ye shall know the truth, and the truth will make your free. You might want to look into it..
    For example, Israel or America or any other nation striking a high value target with hellfire missiles from a predator that results in the destruction of an entire building and several innocent people as well as said high value target is entirely different from intentionally sending some seventeen year old martyr to blow up a buss full of civilians, or children, or slaughtering 300 people in a school, or detonating an IED at a disco where unarmed youths are gathered for an evening of baccanalian revelry.
    The first is a legitimate strike against legitimate threats with unfortunate collateral damage. The second scenario’s are cowardly despicable acts of massmurder against unarmed univolved, innocent civilians for the expressed and singular and exclusive purpose of terrorism, and abhorant, and repugnant.
    The first should be investigated and vetted for any untoward conduct or mistakes and tried accordingly for failures. The second are acts of massmurderers, and massmurder operations and anyone involved should be mercilessly hunted and killed.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Oh plezze..enough of your facist and Islam boogey man ranting…you spout this tripe all the time like a one note brainwashed cult member..’it’s the facist,it’s the facist”!..it’s the same crap every time…. now you are really down into mad drooling drivel.
    There is a difference in dropping bombs on civilians and being a sucide bomber?….and you want all terriers hunted down and ‘mercilessly’ killed?…you are so stupid you don’t even see what a siompled minded nutcase you are.

    Reply

  252. DonS says:

    ColinL says “I’d like to see some discussion of the public careers of Martin Peretz, Alan Dershowitz, and Pam Gellar that explains their activities as anything else but the expression of dual loyalty”
    That would be a trick of blind prestidigitation. But, not to worry, you won’t see that discussion anytime soon. Oh, and you might as well throw in Eliot Abrams, Richard Perele, Paul Wolfowitz, Dougie Feith, and a bunch more.

    Reply

  253. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Varanazi…..
    Uhm, can you direct me to a source that unequivicably proves who it was that waged the Mumbai attacks?
    Also, uh, how about you dispute my contention that Israel engages in false flag terrorist attacks?

    Reply

  254. ColilnLaney says:

    Varnasi writes “ahh… the “dual loyalty” canard. i guess it was just a matter of time before that disgusting and ignorant can of worms was opened.”
    He then goes with more name calling and references to bad people who talk about dual loyalty. But note that he doesn’t bother to argue there is no such a thing as dual loyalty in the politics of US Middle East policy. That’s a hard argument to make.
    I’d like to see some discussion of the public careers of Martin Peretz, Alan Dershowitz, and Pam Gellar that explains their activities as anything else but the expression of dual loyalty.

    Reply

  255. DonS says:

    let me correct that first sentence to something at least cogent:
    “Outraged American”, I can’t see where you got the reading of POA that you did, as supporting the US role in the ME as presently constituted?
    BTW, when I mention dispersion of the Palestinians, a seeming contradiction to “Jews” becoming a vast numerical minority, I am thinking mostly of the emmigration of educated, professional, stakeholding Palistinians, needed to form the core of any emerging viable entity. We could certainly see the continued ghettoization of the Palestinians for decades more, but without the leader class.

    Reply

  256. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “As a fellow Pissed Off American I wish you, and every other American who defends Israel’s U.S. taxpayer funded genocide, were in Gaza right now, and under an Israeli white phosphorus
    attack”
    Gads, you idiot, where am I “defending” Israel’s actions? Are you really so fuckin’ stupid that you think that Joe’s incendiary comments do not work in Israel’s favor? Do you really think mouthing the actual words that Israel constantly uses as justification is working in the best interests of the Palestinian people?
    I suggest you examine this blog, and show me a post where I “defend” Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people. Or AIPAC. Or JINSA. Or Israel. Or anything connected to them.
    Jeez man, you illustrate my point as well. Some of you are just too ignorant for logic anyway, even if you cast aside emotion.

    Reply

  257. DonS says:

    “Outraged American”, I can’t see where you got the reading of POA that uyou did, as supporting the US role in the me a presently constituted?
    Maybe you misinterpreted the notion that we cannot return to the ‘status quo ante’, can’t just eliminate Israel [or the Palestinians] in the short term; hence a ‘solution– by whomever — must start with the current mess, not some theoretical alternative. This is not to say that, if some ‘solution’ of a more permanent sort isn’t arrived at sooner than later, elimination of one party is more likely than not, either by dispertion of Palestinians, or diluting the “Jews” in Israel to an unsustainable minority.

    Reply

  258. varanasi says:

    one more thing:
    and you know what? NOBODY in pakistan raised their voices to protest this massacre perpetrated by their intelligence service (ISI) and their young men!
    no march. no community protest. no calls for an end to murderous jihadism. silence in the arab and muslim world.
    i guess israel is the only acceptable object to protest. you’d think that these people mught be concerned about other issues closer to home, such as lack of women’s rights, lack of homosexual rights, or zero religious tolerance and freedom?
    evidently not.
    shame on the arab world for their silence and the despicable imams and theocrats who killed my innocent friend and attack my beloved country.

    Reply

  259. varanasi says:

    ahh… the “dual loyalty” canard. i guess it was just a matter of time before that disgusting and ignorant can of worms was opened.
    in india there is much talk of dual loyalty also. it is often a talking point of BJP loyalists and it is directed against India’s muslims. maybe all the world’s countries should deport their minorities. with all due respect, collinlaney, i find this talk repugnant and fascist.
    JoeM: it is nice to know that even though we disagree on some issues we can do so respectfully. that is something that is all too often missing in these and other threads.
    but, with all due respect, while not an expert on any issue, i do have relevant experience and an informed opinion. i currently live in india and have spent a considerable amount of time in the arab middle east, including dubai and saudi arabia. you talk about the need for representative democracy in israel but what about the rest of the arab world? saudi arabia, the “capital” of islam belongs in the stone ages. during my time there i witnessed public executions, zero egalitarianism and a brutal, repressive theocracy. i was not even allowed to vist the city of mecca because i am not a muslim! so much for apartheid. dubai, while on the surface more “secular” is anything but. i have never felt more insecure and disrespected as a human being than i did in the arab middle east, and please don’t blame this on the western powers or israel!
    imo, islamists are islamists whether arab or asian. they are monsters. they are destroying this world in the name of their god.
    and as i said at the beginning of this thread, they killed a close friend of mine recently in mumbai. she was NOT killed because of israel. she was NOT killed because of her support for israel.
    she died as a result of a murderous and reprehensible theology called islamic jihad. period.

    Reply

  260. rich says:

    I did turn up one article covering Israel’s ramming of the relief ship headed to Gaza, in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
    http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/dekalb/stories/2008/12/29/cynthia_mckinney_gaza.html
    The AJC quotes Jonathan Peled, spokesman for the Israeli embassy. Yet compare his statement to the CNN eyewitness:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_TwTSWzC7M
    Peled: “The ship wasn’t rammed.” “The boat came very close, we called the ship to basically to turn around, we informed the ship that they wouldn’t be allowed to enter Gaza.”
    CNN eyewitness Karl Penhaul: The ship was rammed. No warning was given.
    Peled: “They said that the didn’t need any assistance,” he said. “It passed peacefully, apparently no damage, no wounded, no nothing, but a slight collision.”
    CNN video: the ship shows a gaping hole to its hull and top, characteristic of damage that could only be inflicted intentionally by a much larger vessel.
    Israeli authorities: “it was an accident,” that the ship “was attempting to outmaneuver the patrol boats.”
    CNN Karl Penhaus: “that just did not happen on the boat where I was.” Penhaus then apologizes for reporting the truth: “I’m sorry to say it in such emphatic terms, but this is what I saw.”
    Peled: “We see all these ships as pure propaganda, they have journalists on them and all kinds of other people who are coming basically to provoke.”
    CNN: Witnessed and reported the truth.
    Suddenly journalism is propaganda, and journalists and delivery of food and medicine is “a provocation.”
    Let’s review:
    Israel intentionally rammed the relief boat. View video in which Karl Penhaus recounts the event.
    Israeli naval & embassy spokesmen then:
    –lied about the ramming, claiming it was an “accident” and a “collision.” The ramming was clearly intentional.
    –lied about the damage. Peled said it “passed peacefully, apparently no damage, no nothing.” It had a freakin’ gaping hole.
    –lied about the boat ‘attempting to outmaneuver’ the patrol boats.
    –lied about giving a warning, when none was given.
    –lied about the relief boats purpose, saying it was a “terrorist activities” and doctors and relief workers “come to provoke.”
    Note well:
    The pattern merely exposes the greater raft of lies Israel floats about the situation, as standard practice.
    They say they let humanitarian aid into Gaza. Yet everyone knows it’s a drop in the bucket–and a fig leaf designed to hide the fact that Gazan Palestinians are starving due to Israel’s blockade.
    Who struck first, which side has provoked the other, and who is acting in self-defense is also openly misrepresented by Israel’s PR machine.
    Israel has given Gazan Palestine legitimate casus belli, many times over. You just can’t take someone’s land, ghetto-ize an entire people –and than claim the other guy has started it or has ignited hostilities just because the victims want their lands back. It’s absurd.
    You can’t eliminate Arafat and support Hamas–and then complain when a radicalized Gazan electorate votes Hamas. You can’t complain when the violent groups you denounce take your advice and go the peaceful route by entering the political process. The Israeli position is fundamentally absurd.
    And really, the whole pathetic charade calls into question whether the rockets — supposedly the provocation — are any danger at all. Has Israel presented any evidence whatsoever that these are any real threat? Of course there is damage and certainly they sow fear. They also target villages from which Gazan Palestinian landowning families have been removed. They’re aimed at the former homes of Gazan Palestinians.
    But if these rockets can’t even punch a hole in the pavement, are they really a threat? Or just a cheap excuse? POA posted links to two photos and IF the rocket photo is representative, Israel—as it clearly has all along—is manufacturing excuses to finish an extermination. Blunt talk? America and Israel doesn’t seem to understand anything else. And unsubtle inversions of reality is all America and Israel is willing to use. So, no sympathy, without some active acknowledgement on our part, and on Israel’s part.
    “POA @ 11:34PM – Link
    Heres an interesting visual dichotomy….
    http://www.reuters.com/news/pictures/searchpopup?picId=7701736
    http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/12/28/world/28gazarubble_600.jpg
    “Can you guess which damage was caused by one of the deadly Hamas rockets? The other shot, of course, is an image of humanitarian aid, Israeli style.”

    Reply

  261. Outraged American says:

    You know what Pissed Off American? I used to enjoy your
    commentary (or rather rants), but now, with your attacks on Joe
    M., I think that you’re an asshat.
    As a fellow Pissed Off American I wish you, and every other
    American who defends Israel’s U.S. taxpayer funded genocide,
    were in Gaza right now, and under an Israeli white phosphorus
    attack.
    You aren’t a true American POA, you have obviously never
    studied the words of our Founding Fathers who advised us
    against attachments to foreign nations, and to not go in search
    of monsters to destroy.
    Joe M, as an American who is deeply concerned about the fate of
    the Palestinian people, I offer my sincerest apologies that so
    many Americans are condoning and even endorsing the
    genocide of the civilian population of Gaza.
    And Pissed Off American, so you think that the Bible is a legal
    document that granted “The Holy Land” to the Jews? Even
    European Jews, like Livni and Netanyahu, descendants of
    converts who have absolutely no claim, even a mythical one, to
    the land? May you join Falwell, and all other “Christian” Zionists,
    in hell.

    Reply

  262. David says:

    “You epitomize fairness in your stimulating prose that makes everyone who reads you think. You make your friends proud.”
    Well maybe not everyone, but this certainly captures who Steve Clemons is and what this blog represents.
    Brezinski is spot on regarding this very, very sad, deadly debacle. The “first world” created this nightmare and has a particular obligation to turn it from a nightmare to something tenable for both Palestine and Israel, maybe even something eventually humane in its dynamics.

    Reply

  263. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Reading Joe M’s incendiary comments, which have been somewhat tempered since he first arrived here, I find it ironic that he chooses to surrender the moral ground he and his people have gained these last couple of years.
    At a time when public sympathies and sentiments is shifting over to the Palestinians, thanks to a greater access to information via the internet, and there is a true public outcry against AIPAC and JINSA’s stranglehold on American foreign policy, (just check out Barack Obama’s “question site”), Joe engages in the very kind of rhetoric that the pro-Israel camp uses as justification for Israel’s actions. Declaring that Israel needs to be completely erased is exactly what Israel wants people like Joe M to say, as it is the fuel that powers the Israeli war machine.
    The two solutions that are argued, a one or a two state solution, are untenable, as demonstrated by Joe M’s comments. There is simply no way that two peoples can live as good neighbors, either next to each other on the same street, or next to each other on the same continent, when such age old animous exists between the two.
    As Paul points out, Joe completely misunderstands my position. Why? Because as simple as my argument is intellectually, Joe is not interpreting my words intellectually. His is an argument based on strong emotion. Emotion so strong that it clouds his ability to apply common sense and logic to the pursuit of solutions. Its this intransigent emotional response that both sides apply to events and circumstance that completely voids any hope one can have that there is a solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people. Even the so called “intellectuals” and “experts”, on both sides, when interviewed, cannot seem to get past this emotional fervor that drives their every comment. You can hear it in their voices, and detect it in their words. Listen to these people like that sack of shit Dershowitz, and you cannot help but note the zealotry and emotional fire that is the foundation for his commentary. Such emotional fervor and hatred knows no logic or compromise. And we are considering two entire populations that are stricken by this irrational fervor of emotional response to circumstance and events.
    The Palestinian people are doomed, unless the balance of power shifts, because the ONLY plausible outcome to this kind of conflict is the eventual conquest, eradication, or assimilation, of one or the other antagonist. Assimilation is unlikely, because of the above stated argument. A shift in the balance of power is unlikely, as Israel and the US will go to war with Iran before they will allow such a shift.
    So whats left for the Palestinians? Not much. The inevitable conclusion to this is the demise of the Palestinian people. Its only a matter of time.

    Reply

  264. downtown says:

    What the fuck is B. Netanyahu doing on my TV screen on a Sunday Morning (Good Morning America 9am)???? This right-wing piece of crap is given access to one of the 4 networks to spout his hatred unmitigated by any dissenting opinion. On Channel 2 (NYC) they had the Israeli Consul giving his blatantly distorted viewpoints. I want these fucking Israelis OFF my TV screen, once and for all. If you really must have the political candidates of a 6 million people country on air, then I much prefer the politicians of Finland. In addition, we have our (??) asshole mayor, Bloomberg, visiting some Israeli town where 4 deaths have been reported. The piece of shit never saw fit to visit any place in Gaza. Did anyone tell him that he’s not a member of the State Department? There are hundreds of thousands of NYers of Middle Eastern background, but Bloomie considers it his duty to pay homage to the tribe.

    Reply

  265. DonS says:

    . . . whew! Them’s a lot of words!
    A couple of things strike me from my cullings:
    The notion that Israel is in greater danger over time seems true given, as noted, the increasing sophistication of weaponry to reach within that tiny country. What’s Isr/US going to do “defensive war” against the whole world? Hmmm. Wearing down and eliminating the Palestinians in the territories will not lessen the zealous core. I.e., there is no ‘security’ based on fear and violence.
    Paul Nordheim is indeed optimistic in assuming Obama remains quiet on Palestine because he thinks SUBSTANTIALLY differently than the decider/neocon/MSM. To think SUBSTANTIALLY differently would commit Obama to fighting the AIPAC war along with the domestic political wars, and the intercession of the two. I’ll have to see that with my own eyes. Obama’s already shown himself an incrementalist, and willing to ignore the more progressive wing (his main supports for God’s sake!). He’s not about to throttle the Israelis, or even back off on American support.
    Some on the left blogosphere have been on this issue. Two I’ve noted are Glenn Greenwald, and Firedoglake contributors, as well of course Helena Cobban. But I have to agree with Dan K that the massacre and the events leading up to it have been all too evident, but perhaps we’ve been numb or inattentive. Certainly the MSM (the small part I’ve seen) in the US has been doing its usual schizophrenic best (no offense to schizophrenics intended); glorying in along the shock and awe pageantry of the Israeli war machine, and alluding to the Palestinians as an afterthought, just caught in the middle, its all that nasty Hamas’ fault.
    I see this morning that now Israel states they do have a plan — to cover eventual disengagement after they cause sufficient mayhem – and that is to ‘stop the rockets”, not to eliminate HAMAS. Now that’s strategic thinking we can all believe in, eh PEBO.

    Reply

  266. fyi says:

    Tony Forresta:
    US has enemies among an extremely narrow & small group of neo-Salafi Muslims. Statements such as yours which calls Islam “the cause of trouble” only serves to suck US into a religious war against the world of Islam.
    US cannot and will not win a conflict (hot or cold – short or long) with Islam. US is not that powerful. Issuing threads against the core identity of 1.5 billion people on this planet is not the right way to win friends and influence people. 800 years ago the Church concluded that there is no margin in fighting Islam and it behooves you and others who think like you to pay attention.
    Your anti Bush rhetoric is not warranted; he, his government, and the Congress of the United States are still the representatives of the American people. And Bush has only amplified policies that already had been in place before he came to office.

    Reply

  267. ColilnLaney says:

    It is time to face the fact that “dual loyalty” is no longer an anti-Semitic canard, but a fact — and a problem — in American public life. I would like to see anyone who denies this explain the activities of Martin Peretz, Alan Dershowitz, and Pam Geller in any other way.
    George Washington warned: “[A] passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. …[I]t gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.”
    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/12/30/democracy/index.html

    Reply

  268. rich says:

    Why did I have to learn Israel had rammed a relief ship carrying food and medicine to Gaza in a phone conversation with a friend in the midwest?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_TwTSWzC7M
    I don’t have cable–the story was carried on CNN–so I used The Google to find a virtual news blackout by newspapers and the MSM.
    Jonathan Schwarz did the same, and found nothing:
    http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/002752.html
    Whether the Berlin Airlift in 1948-1949, breaking the blockade of Israel in 1967 — or liberating Gaza by breaking Israel’s blockade in 2008 — ensuring the free flow of commerce, medicine, and food is a humanitarian, economic and legal imperative. There’s no way to pretend that ‘things are different’ for Gaza-Israel.
    And Israel felt it extremely important to establish blockades as a casus belli, and maintain that stance. Now Israel’s blockade of Gaza is a casus belli that more than justifies Hamas’ use of rockets–ineffectual though they are.
    Suddenly the American news media is being run by George Orwell. Down the memory hole goes current news AND recent history:
    Gaza was occupied by Israel to break a blockade, which used that blockade as a casus belli–now Israel blockades Gaza for years, and no one remembers that is itself a casus belli for Gazan Palestinians to defend themselves and break that blockade by any means at their disposal. Clearly recognized concept–one established by Israel’s own precedent and maintained at Israel’s own insistence.

    Reply

  269. Paul Norheim says:

    What are the Israelis going to do after the ground offensive; after
    destructing “the infrastructure of terror” (read: the infrastructure
    of Gaza)?
    Create a fortified “Green Zone” in Gaza, and rule in the midst of
    chaos and ruins?
    The belief that the Palestinians will revolt against Hamas if the
    Israelis starve them & bomb them seems like a heritage of the
    grave miscalculations of the Bush administration.

    Reply

  270. kotzabasis says:

    All those who continue to approach this tragic conflict, which emanates from an array of past soft failed policies implemented by the U.S., the EU, and their Middle East allies, with olive branches in their hands and a new “credible peace negotiation process” wishfully hoping that once they lay this conflict on their Procrustean bed of peace they will put this conflict to sleep for ever after, are like “certain octogenarians who hurl themselves at women to whom they are no longer capable of doing any serious danger”, to quote Marcel Proust.
    Clemons who is an expert fisherman who finds and fishes aggressors from the depths of the ocean has found the aggressor of Gaza being Ehud Barak the Defense Minister of Israel who, according to Clemons, is “itching to manage a war.” So to Clemons the threat to more than half a million Israelis who live and work in the proximate range of Quassam rockets is merely an Israeli ‘itch’.
    Another one on TWN, not an octogenarian but in one’s robust prime, sails through the Clashing Rocks of the Bosporus without his dove and the help of Orpheus’s music and without his Medea, unlike Jason, on erroneous routes in search of the Golden Fleece of peace in the Middle East. Dan Kervick, in his well-crafted narrative but badly-crafted strategic thinking, argues that it’s an error to think that by killing few bad actors and destroying their organizations one could resolve the problem, as those who have been killed will be replaced by other “Hamases”.
    On this issue, he is unwilling–for understandable reasons who loathes to concede, that despite the heavy price, Iraq has been a tremendous success of the Bush-Cheney administration– to learn the lessons of the Surge in Iraq and the irrefutable evidence as presented by Bob Woodward in his new book, that it was the clandestine operations of Special Forces that killed al-Qaeda and al-Sadrist operatives in Iraq that has brought the country on the threshold of democracy. Where are the signs that those leaders of the insurgency in Iraq that have been killed are to be replaced by others? Haven’t they who escaped the deadly American grip all run to Afghanistan and Pakistan? Providing the Iraq government and its Western allies are vigilant and are prepared to take severe measures at the first signs of an al-Qaeda or al-Sadrist resurgence in the country there will be no renascence of a new insurgency in Iraq.
    As for Kervick’s smart Alec comment that Israel is shooting at Palestinian “pea-shooters”, one can only say that he makes a farce out of a great danger. Hamas acquired dozens of Iranian-made Fazr-3 missiles that could reach nuclear warheads at Dimona. Are these “pea-shooters”?
    More seriously, Brzezinski says that that the Israelis and the Palestinians have failed to rise to a level of strategic, forward-looking maturity to solve this problem and therefore the burden must fall on others such as the US and Europe and their Arab allies. I would agree with this proposition but with one important rider. The burden must be extended beyond its diplomatic purview. They must put troops on the ground. They must place an INTERNATIONAL GARRISON of troops in areas of Palestine where recalcitrant elements of Hamas and other terrorist organizations operate and continue to launch their rockets into Israel not as PEACE KEEPERS but as PEACE ENFORCERS, with the mandate that this international garrison will operate as an OCCUPYING POWER, with the use of its military armaments that are related to such a status against Palestinian militants.
    This is the hard way to peace and to the establishment of a Palestinian state and not in the misguided search for diplomatic Golden Fleeces of Peace.
    Hic Rhodus hic Salta

    Reply

  271. rich says:

    History lesson:
    Israel originally took over Gaza to end Egypt’s blockade of the Strait of Tiran, which stopped shipping in and out of Eilat–saying that any such blockade was a casus belli.
    So why isn’t Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip also a casus belli, sufficient to justify military actions by Palestinians, Hamas or otherwise?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_TwTSWzC7M
    From Jonathan Schwarz, via Digby:
    “The funny thing about the Israeli attack on Gaza following its long blockade is that Israel’s original justification for taking over Gaza in 1967 was that Israel was being subject to a blockade. This is from the official Knesset history of the Six Day War:
    Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser blockaded the Straits of Tiran on May 21st and 22nd to all shipping from and to Eilat; the area was open to Israeli ships under UN supervision since 1957, and Israel repeatedly stated that such a blockade will be considered as casus belli (justification for acts of war).”
    http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/totally-different-by-digby-jonathan.html

    Reply

  272. Paul Norheim says:

    Why the silence from Barcak Obama?
    He did comment on the Mumbai bombings, but not on the Gaza
    attacks…
    I`m not an optimist, but if I were, I would say that the President
    Elect is silent because he disagrees with the Lame Duck, but
    wishes to respect a “gentlemen agreement” regarding the
    transition period.

    Reply

  273. John P says:

    Obama’s silence = complicity
    Barak Obama is a COWARD!

    Reply

  274. Paul Norheim says:

    Tony,
    in principle I clearly see the difference between terrorism as a
    method/tactic, and targeting an enemy killing civilians as a side
    effect, as “collateral damage”. I also agree that this principal
    distinction is crucial.
    But in real life, states tend to blur that line themselves.
    A fictive example (but not far from real life): what if you intend
    to kill BOTH an enemy combatant AND his family/relatives (as
    “collective punishment); are we then talking about collateral
    damage or terrorism?
    Or what if you simply don`t care about the collateral damage,
    as long as you destroy “the infrastructure of terror” – (except for
    the PR effects): is it then legitimate strikes against an enemy or
    terrorism.
    This blurring of the lines occurs frequently in the actual conflict,
    and your tools are to primitive and abstract to handle this
    phenomenon.
    While you demonstrate your moralistic, abstract, and simplistic
    analysis tools, it`s getting harder and harder to distinguish
    between your position and the Israelis`position, as well as that
    of the Bush government. Applied in real life, you`ll end up on
    the side of those states responsible for blurring that line – a fact
    confirmed in your support for the Israeli attacks on Gaza.

    Reply

  275. TonyForesta says:

    Nice try P Jan, but you cannot link me to the fascist in the bushgov no matter how hard you try. The fascist in the bushgov are the problem, not the solution. Reread my posts and get back to me.
    There are no wild attacks Joe M. Revisit my original post. I do not support Israel aparthied policies, nor do I accept the fascist policies and wanton profiteering of the fascists in the bushgov. Again, – all those who perpetuate massmurder are the problem, not the solution, and it everyone on earth should repudiate, renounce, reject, and abhor these policies as I do.
    You make a good point in that American can no longer stand on any solid ground as purveyors of justice and the rule of law. My hope is that the Obama administration will forcefully work to right the terrible bloody costly wrongs of the fascists of the bushgov. Further, I contend that the fascists in the bushgov do not now, and never did represent the American people. Rather the fascists in the bushgov represented, advanced, protected, and shielded the predator class in America who seek and profiteer wantonly from neverendingwar.
    You slime me without hearing, or appreciating my positions. America voted for change. We either demand that change or we don’t. Demanding that change will require a new paradigm and a repudiation of Israels policies and the blind support of all things Israel. That new paradigm however does not involve absolving the Gaza massmurder gangs from thier thuggishness and massmurder campaigns.
    My point is that all the massmurderers, including and specifically those in the fascists bushgov must be excoriated from the planet for there to be any hope for peace.
    The alternative is neverendingwar and wanton profiteering by the predator class and the unabated perpetuation of the exact same horrors and failure.
    It is a nuanced position, because I believe America does no accept and will not tolerate the wayward policies of the fascists in the bushgov, or Israel. Change, real change is required, and that means tossing away the oldworld ways, and adopting new more realistic approaches to resolving the many conflicts on earth, and particularly the Israeli/Palestinain conflict.
    We cannot continue doing the same failed things, holding to the same failed positions, and bruting the same failed hopes.
    Real change is in order. Real change for Israel, for Palestinians, for Amercans, for islam, for all people. If not – we will all suffer, hazard, burden, and pay for the unabated perpetutation of the exact same failed policies and actions ad infinitum.

    Reply

  276. Paul Norheim says:

    Joe M,
    Though I disagree with some of your statements (and agree
    with others), I would like to repeat what … said above: that you
    are very welcome here as a clear and articulated voice, speaking
    from a background, and with experiences that none else among
    the regular commenters at The Washington Note have, as far as
    I know.
    However I regret your earlier remark about Israel as a “cancer”
    (just like I regret comments from the other side about Arabs as
    “rabid dogs” and similar inflammatory vocabulary) – and I also
    think you misunderstood the positions of POA.
    In any case, your interesting comments brings in some fresh air
    here.

    Reply

  277. SansS says:

    Let me try to put the question that needs to be asked out there.
    How can we survive as free, intelligently self-organizing and caring people if there is more than one moral compass in use?
    We can’t navigate the present or the future with more than one pole. In reducing the moral compasses religious fanaticism and self interest go away and justice returns.

    Reply

  278. Paul Norheim says:

    For the sake of clarity in communication here, things went too
    fast with the Bush Doctrine comment.
    It was signed a certain “P”, but that was me: Paul Norheim.

    Reply

  279. P says:

    “It is time for new paradigms, and real change. Part of that
    change in my mind, and I hold no regrets for this position – is
    eliminating all massmurderers, and all those who aid and abet
    them on the planet.” (TonyForesta)
    This, Tony, is the infamous Bush Doctrine explained for gorillas.

    Reply

  280. TonyForesta says:

    A thousand pardon for the multiple posts, but the points are warranted.
    To falsely imagine there is not some clear distinction between massmurder operations and any other action that results in the loss of innocent lives is either rank ignorance or pathologically partisan bruting of propaganda.
    For example, Israel or America or any other nation striking a high value target with hellfire missiles from a predator that results in the destruction of an entire building and several innocent people as well as said high value target is entirely different from intentionally sending some seventeen year old martyr to blow up a buss full of civilians, or children, or slaughtering 300 people in a school, or detonating an IED at a disco where unarmed youths are gathered for an evening of baccanalian revelry.
    The first is a legitimate strike against legitimate threats with unfortunate collateral damage. The second scenario’s are cowardly despicable acts of massmurder against unarmed univolved, innocent civilians for the expressed and singular and exclusive purpose of terrorism, and abhorant, and repugnant.
    The first should be investigated and vetted for any untoward conduct or mistakes and tried accordingly for failures. The second are acts of massmurderers, and massmurder operations and anyone involved should be mercilessly hunted and killed.
    If anyone does not recognize the obvious differences, then there will never be an end to the horrors. Massmurderers operations will be accepted as legtimate by oneside, and various military forces operations will be accepted by the other ad infinitum. There is a marked difference, and defining that difference defines and frames who and what we are as human beings.
    There are laws and boundaries, and basic human dignity – or there are not. If there are, then targeting and massmurdering civilians is legitimately punishable to the fullest extent of the law until death, and targeting eliminating massmurderers is legitimate even if there is collateral damage.
    If they are not, then we have what we have today where our freedom fighters are also evildoers depending on the political expediency of the predator classes and there will be unending slaughter of innocents ad infinitum.
    Intentionally targeting civilians is massmurder. If you or anyone is incapable of deciphering the difference than may allah or the lord or the goddess have mercy on your sould, for you are yourself a massmurderer. It is a simple difference and easily recognizable and definable.
    Cut out the partisan and secterian blandishments and the intentional massmurder of innocents is massmuder of innocents and repugnant.

    Reply

  281. Joe M. says:

    I will just re-link the BBC article about Mary Robinson. This is a must read.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7708670.stm
    Tony, when you talk about Hamas as mass murderers, ask yourself why they would be so motivated to attack Israel as they do. This article was written while there was a ceasefire.
    Also, by your standard, Abraham Lincoln was an epic mass murderer, as with all American presidents (and, indirectly, American people) since, who have bombed countries senselessly.
    You should know, Hamas is not fighting Israel because of Islam or because the Israeli army is made up of Jews. They are fighting because Israel refuses to recognize the Palestinian people. And Israel will always seek to destroy a group like Hamas, even if they were non-violent, because Hamas will never grant legitimacy to zionism. That is the root of the current war.
    SO the question is how to reconcile these two positions. My view is that the Palestinians (and the Arabs in general) are not going anywhere, and the Jews need not go anywhere. All we need is an inclusive political state that does not formally define itself as either Jewish or Palestinian. Basically, the zionist project must be pronounced dead.

    Reply

  282. Paul Norheim says:

    Ok folks, please spare us the frequently repeated claim that the
    recent Hamas rockets were the reason for the Israeli attack on
    Gaza.
    I don`t have the habit of pasting big articles into the comment
    section of TWN, but this is important reading for everyone, so
    here we go:
    Chris Mcgreal commenting in today`s The Guardian (UK):
    “It is a war on two fronts. Months ago, as Israel prepared to
    unleash its latest wave of desolation against Gaza, it recognised
    that blasting Hamas and “the infrastructure of terror”, which
    includes police stations, homes and mosques, was a
    straightforward task.
    Israel also understood that a parallel operation would be
    required to persuade the rest of the world of the justice of its
    cause, even as the bodies of Palestinian women and children
    filled the mortuaries, and to ensure that its war was seen not in
    terms of occupation but of the west’s struggle against terror
    and confrontation with Iran.
    After the debacle of its 2006 invasion of Lebanon – not only a
    military disaster for Israel, but also a political and diplomatic
    one – the government in Tel Aviv spent months laying the
    groundwork at home and abroad for the assault on Gaza with
    quiet but energetic lobbying of foreign administrations and
    diplomats, particularly in Europe and parts of the Arab world.
    A new information directorate was established to influence the
    media, with some success. And when the attack began just over
    a week ago, a tide of diplomats, lobby groups, bloggers and
    other supporters of Israel were unleashed to hammer home a
    handful of carefully crafted core messages intended to ensure
    that Israel was seen as the victim, even as its bombardment
    killed more than 430 Palestinians over the past week, at least a
    third of them civilians or policemen.
    The unrelenting attack on Gaza, with an air strike every 20
    minutes on average, has not stopped Hamas firing rockets that
    have killed four Israelis since the assault began, reaching
    deeper into the Jewish state than ever before and sending tens
    of thousands of people fleeing. Last night Israel escalated its
    action further, as its troops poured across Gaza’s border, part
    of what appeared to be a significant ground invasion. And a
    diplomatic operation is already in full swing to justify the
    further cost in innocent lives that would almost certainly result.
    Dan Gillerman, Israel’s ambassador to the UN until a few months
    ago, was brought in by the Foreign Ministry to help lead the
    diplomatic and PR campaign. He said that the diplomatic and
    political groundwork has been under way for months.
    “This was something that was planned long ahead,” he said. “I
    was recruited by the foreign minister to coordinate Israel’s
    efforts and I have never seen all parts of a very complex
    machinery – whether it is the Foreign Ministry, the Defence
    Ministry, the prime minister’s office, the police or the army –
    work in such co-ordination, being effective in sending out the
    message.”
    In briefings in Jerusalem and London, Brussels and New York,
    the same core messages were repeated: that Israel had no
    choice but to attack in response to the barrage of Hamas
    rockets; that the coming attack would be on “the infrastructure
    of terror” in Gaza and the targets principally Hamas fighters;
    that civilians would die, but it was because Hamas hides its
    fighters and weapons factories among ordinary people.
    Hand in hand went a strategy to remove the issue of occupation
    from discussion. Gaza was freed in 2005 when the Jewish
    settlers and army were pulled out, the Israelis said. It could have
    flourished as the basis of a Palestinian state, but its inhabitants
    chose conflict.
    Israel portrayed Hamas as part of an axis of Islamist
    fundamentalist evil with Iran and Hezbollah. Its actions, the
    Israelis said, are nothing to do with continued occupation of the
    West Bank, the blockade of Gaza or the Israeli military’s
    continued killing of large numbers of Palestinians since the
    pullout. “Israel is part of the free world and fights extremism
    and terrorism. Hamas is not,” the foreign minister and Kadima
    party leader, Tzipi Livni, said on arriving in France as part of the
    diplomatic offensive last week.
    Earlier in the week Livni deployed the “with us or against us”
    rhetoric of George W Bush’s war on terror. “These are the days
    when every individual in the region and in the world has to
    choose a side. And the sides have changed. No longer is it Israel
    on one side and the Arab world on the other,” she said. “Israel
    chose its side the day it was established; the Jewish people
    chose its side during its thousands of years of existence; and
    the prayer for peace is the voice sounded in the synagogues.”
    It was a message pumped home with receptive Arab
    governments, such as Egypt and Jordan, which view Hamas with
    hostility. “Large parts of the Muslim and Arab world realise that
    Hamas represents a greater danger to them even than it does to
    Israel. Its extremism, its fundamentalism, is a great danger to
    them as well,” said Gillerman. “We’ve seen the effect of that in
    numerous responses, in the public statements made by [Egypt’s]
    President Mubarak and even by [Palestinian president] Mahmoud
    Abbas and other Arabs. This is totally unprecedented.”
    Indeed, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said
    his government knew exactly what was coming: “The signs that
    Israel was determined to strike Hamas in Gaza for the past three
    months were clear. They practically wrote it in the sky.
    Unfortunately they [Hamas] served Israel the opportunity on a
    golden platter.”
    Also crucial was what was not said. Just a few months ago Livni
    was talking of wiping out Hamas, but that would be unpalatable
    to much of the outside world as a justification for the assault.
    So now the talk is of pressing Gaza’s government to agree to a
    new ceasefire. Occasionally someone has got off-message. A
    couple of days into the assault on Gaza, Israel’s ambassador to
    the UN, Gabriela Shalev, said it would continue for “as long as it
    takes to dismantle Hamas completely”. Infuriated Israeli officials
    in Jerusalem warned her that such statements could set back
    the diplomatic offensive.
    In the first hours of the attack, Israel repeated the same
    messages to the wider world. Livni and the Labour defence
    minister, Ehud Barak, were widely quoted on international TV.
    The government’s national information directorate sought to
    focus foreign media attention on the 8,500 rockets fired from
    Gaza into Israel over the past eight years and the 20 civilians
    they have killed, rather than the punishing blockade of Gaza
    and the 1,700 Palestinians killed in Israeli military attacks since
    Jewish settlers were pulled out of Gaza three years ago.
    Lobby groups, such as the British Israel Communications and
    Research Centre (Bicom) in London and the Israel Project in
    America, were mobilised. They arranged briefings, conference
    calls and interviews. The Israeli military posted video footage on
    YouTube. Israeli diplomats in New York arranged a two-hour
    “citizens’ press conference” on Twitter for thousands of people.
    At the same time, Israel in effect barred foreign journalists from
    witnessing the results of its strategy.
    Livni has suggested that Israel’s assault is good for the
    Palestinians by helping to free them from the grip of Hamas.
    “She’s basically trying to convince me that they’re doing this for
    my own good,” said Diana Buttu, the Palestinian Liberation
    Organisation’s legal counsel and negotiator with the Israelis
    over the 2005 pullout from Gaza. “I’ve had some Israeli friends
    reiterate the same thing: ‘You should be happy that we’re
    rooting out Hamas. They’re a problem for you, too.’ I don’t need
    her to tell me what’s good for me and what’s bad for me, and I
    don’t think carrying out a massacre is good for anybody.”
    And when the killing started, Israel claimed that the
    overwhelming majority of the 400-plus killed were Hamas
    fighters and the buildings destroyed part of the infrastructure of
    terror. But about a third of the dead were policemen. Although
    the police force in Gaza is run by Hamas, Buttu said Israel is
    misrepresenting it as a terrorist organisation.
    “The police force is largely used for internal law and order,
    traffic, the drug trade. They weren’t fighters. They hit them at a
    graduation ceremony. Israel wants to kill anyone associated with
    Hamas, but where does it stop? Are you a legitimate target if
    you work in the civil service? Are you a legitimate target if you
    voted for Hamas?” she said.
    Similarly, while Israel accuses Hamas of risking civilian lives by
    hiding the infrastructure of terror in ordinary neighbourhoods,
    many of the Israeli missile targets are police stations and other
    public buildings that are unlikely to be built anywhere else.
    Israel argues that Hamas abandoned the June ceasefire that Tel
    Aviv was prepared to continue. “Israel is the first one who wants
    the violence to end. We were not looking for this. There was no
    other option. The truce was violated by Hamas,” said Livni.
    However, others say that the truce was thrown into jeopardy in
    November when the Israeli military killed six Hamas gunmen in
    a raid on Gaza. The Palestinians noted that it was election day
    in the US, so most of the rest of the world did not notice what
    happened. Hamas responded by firing a wave of rockets into
    Israel. Six more Palestinians died in two other Israeli attacks in
    the following week.
    “They were assaulting Gaza militarily, by sea and by air, all
    through the ceasefire,” said Buttu. Neither did the killing of
    Palestinians stop. In the nearly three years since Hamas came to
    power, and before the latest assault on Gaza, Israel forces had
    killed about 1,300 people in Gaza and the West Bank. While a
    significant number of them were Hamas activists – and while
    hundreds of Palestinians have been killed by other Palestinians
    in fighting between Hamas and Fatah – there has been a
    disturbing number of civilian deaths.
    The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights says that one in four of
    the victims is aged under 18. Between June 2007 and June
    2008, Israeli attacks killed 68 Palestinian children and young
    people in Gaza. Another dozen were killed in the West Bank.
    In February, an Israeli missile killed four boys, aged eight to 14,
    playing football in the street in Jabalia. In April, Meyasar Abu-
    Me’tiq and her four children, aged one to five years old, were
    killed when an Israeli missile hit their house as they were having
    breakfast. Even during the ceasefire, Israel killed 22 people in
    Gaza, including two children and a woman.
    Perhaps crucial to the ceasefire’s collapse were the differing
    views of what it was supposed to achieve. Israel regarded the
    truce as calm in return for calm. Hamas expected Israel to lift
    the blockade of Gaza that the latter said was a security response
    to the firing of Qassam rockets.
    But Israel did not end the siege that was wrecking the economy
    and causing desperate shortages of food, fuel and medicine.
    Gazans concluded that the blockade was not so much about
    rocket attacks as punishment for voting for Hamas.
    Central to the Israeli message has been that, when it pulled out
    its military and Jewish settlers three years ago, Gaza was
    offered the opportunity to prosper. “In order to create a vision
    of hope, we took out our forces and settlements, but instead of
    Gaza being the beginning of a Palestinian state, Hamas
    established an extreme Islamic rule,” said Livni. Israeli officials
    argue that Hamas, and by extension the people who elected it,
    was more interested in hating and killing Jews than building a
    country.
    Palestinians see it differently. Buttu says that from the day the
    Israelis withdrew from Gaza, they set about ensuring that it
    would fail economically. “When the Israelis pulled out, we
    expected that the Palestinians in Gaza would at least be able to
    lead some sort of free life. We expected that the crossing points
    would be open. We didn’t expect that we would have to beg to
    allow food in,” she said.
    Buttu notes that even before Hamas was elected three years
    ago, the Israelis were already blockading Gaza. The Palestinians
    had to appeal to US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and
    James Wolfensohn, the president of the World Bank, to pressure
    Israel to allow even a few score of trucks into Gaza each day.
    Israel agreed, then reneged. “This was before Hamas won the
    election. The whole Israeli claim is one big myth. If there wasn’t
    already a closure policy, why did we need Rice and Wolfensohn
    to try to broker an agreement?” asked Buttu.
    Yossi Alpher, a former official in the Mossad intelligence service
    and an ex-adviser on peace negotiations to the then prime
    minister, Ehud Barak, said the blockade of Gaza is a failed
    strategy that might have strengthened Hamas. “I don’t think
    anyone can produce clear evidence that the blockade has been
    counterproductive, but it certainly hasn’t been productive. It’s
    very possible it’s been counterproductive. It’s collective
    punishment, humanitarian suffering. It has not caused
    Palestinians in Gaza to behave the way we want them to, so why
    do it?” he said. “I think people really believed that, if you
    starved Gazans, they will get Hamas to stop the attacks. It’s
    repeating a failed policy, mindlessly.””
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/04/israel-gaza-
    hamas-hidden-agenda
    ——————
    BTW, it`s ironic how the fancy metaphors and jargon of the
    universities in the 90`s were turned into dangerous propaganda
    tools. First Shimon Peres loved to talk about the “topography of
    peace”; later they hammered in the phrase: “the infrastructure of
    terror”. I stick to the original: Burton`s “Anatomy of Melancholy”
    (1612)

    Reply

  283. Joe M. says:

    varanasi,
    I will admit again that I am not a scholar of all Islamists movements, and I only follow the Arab Islamists. But to deny the political (not religious) motivations of Bin Laden, or any Arab radical Islamist group is ridiculous. Bin Laden might have some pretty unrealistic political goals, that often fuse religious and political goals, but he is not stupid and he is not crazy. And he has basic popularity with the Arabs because he is seen as standing up to the “massmurder gangs” from Israel and the West. That is plain and simple. That so few people realize it a reflection on the media coverage of Bush and Bin Laden. The USA was so quick to jump all over itself and support any stupid thing Bush said, that the American people were never given a chance to understand what happened.
    That is not to say I support Bin Laden. But to blow him off as crazy is shear ignorance. And dangerous too.
    And I advise you to realize you know less about the Islamist movements than you think. I don;t know anything about you, but I have lived with these groups, and know enough not to underestimate them. You should too.
    TonyForesta,
    You try to degrade my positions with wild attacks, but Paul is correct. By my account, the American military is the #1 massmurder in the world. Israeli military is #2. Hamas, Hizbullah and all the Arab resistance movements are childs play against the violence the USA rains on the world. So, by your standard, I suggest to you to go after your tax paying self. As you are pretty damn complicit in massmurder yourself.
    At least Hamas, though they do kill, are fighting legitimately for our freedom against an enemy that stole our land and continues to destroy us. That is far more than you can say.
    Dan, good words.

    Reply

  284. ... says:

    i am in agreement with much of Joe M’s comments.. i also agree with Dan Kervicks comments above, especially the last 2 paragraphs.. thanks for posting both of you as you bring a lot of insight into the conversation..

    Reply

  285. TonyForesta says:

    I appreciate your criticisms Paul Norheim, but you miss the point. First, I am just a desperate dad hoping beyond hope for a better future for my daughter. Secondly, the issues are simplistic. People globally either accept massmurder as tolerable policy from their leadership, or they don’t. It is that simple. If people do, there will be more of the same. If people do not, then there will be change, and a repudiation, rejection, and renouncing of massmurder as state, religious, cult, class, or sectarian mandate for achieving political objectives. If people do actually repudiate, reject, and renounce massmurder as legitimate – then there is some hope. I do not really see this happening. I do not see people being truly civilized, but I am only hoping, and praying, because in the end, the alternative is notchange and the continuing unabated perpetuation of the same insanity you are evidently supporting ad infinitum. The divide we hold, is that you do not seek real change, and I do.
    I am a student of history and political science and stand by my positions regardless of your attacks on me personally. If history teaches us anything, it is that empires are easily corrupted when all the wealth and resources of any empire are funnelled to the perverted and malignant predator class, the result is repeatedly collapse, anarchy, revolution, oceans of innocent blood, and a new way.
    The oldwold ways are miserable failures on every front, in every way, across all political, religious, class, or sectarian arena’s and boundaries – and all that exists in todays world is the horrible, bloody, costly, failure, and wanton profiteering by the predator class perpetuating these failing policies and vectors ad infinitum. Until real change arrives, and it will be radical, and it will not be pretty, or peaceful, – and it will destroy all the oldworld ways, – there is no hope.
    We continue the same bloody, costly, neverendingwar and wanton profiteering policies of the past ad infinitum at our peril. It is time for new paradigms, and real change. Part of that change in my mind, and I hold no regrets for this position – is eliminating all massmurderers, and all those who aid and abet them on the planet.
    There can be no peace until the massmurderers are eliminated. If I may offer an analogy. Imagine a rattle snake. If one encounters a rattle snake in the forest or in the desert or wilderness far from civilization, – then the best option is to walk away and avoid confrontation. Yet if a rattle snake is discovered in your backyard, where your children play, and your wife tills the garden, – the rattle snake must be killed.
    It may be simplistic, but that is the way of nature. Protect the home and hearth from threats at any cost, and by any means. Condemn me if you will, but I am only pointing out the obvious that most everyone on earth abides by, and denying this reality is not only fruitless, but suicidal.
    There world is a wild and violent place. There is no peace on earth, and no good will towards men. If there was, we would not be slaughtering innocents all over this planet.
    Better to accept the hard harsh maybe hideous realities than to imagine there is some utopian hope for peace without Herculean effort, sacrifice and real foundational change.
    I do not see the later happening, so I hold to the harsh realities of eliminating all threats, before they threaten my loved ones or me. I would hazard to guess the most of the worlds human beings latch onto similar objectives.

    Reply

  286. Paul Norheim says:

    I am not confused, Tony.
    With your natural tendency to divide groups into good and evil,
    your frequent political comments and recommendations are
    among the most simplistic I`ve ever seen at TWN.
    Good and peaceful people versus mass murders, uh?
    How brilliant!
    Who is going to decide who are the “mass murders”? You?
    The Hague? UN? The national governments or courts?
    Do you think they`ll do it?
    And to what effect?
    Do you think they`ll agree, and establish a minimum of
    consensus regarding the question who really are the mass
    murders?
    And if they kill all these groups and “gangs of mass murders”,
    wouldn`t their defenders (who may say that they are freedom
    fighters and heros) seek revenge, thus escalating the killings
    back and forth ad nausam…?
    Your latest effort to divide human beings into decent peaceful
    and well meaning people on one side, and “mass murders” on
    the other side (reminds you of the good Dems. on one hand,
    and the GOP-fascists, predators and wanton profiteers blablabla
    on the other, doesen`t it), is just one in a long list, created by
    you brain`s bad habit of always dividing the world into two
    groups: the good guys and the bad guys.
    This is political theory fit for the Stone Age, and certainly not
    for the 21. century. And you`re telling us that “Islam” is the
    problem?
    And you`re saying: “If the Palestinian people want peace, they
    should reject, renounce, and repudiate the massmurder
    operations, unrelenting rocket attacks by the massmurderers in
    Hamas. If not, then Israel will continue to pound these
    massmurderers and tragically anyone else in their immediate
    vicinity until the rocket attacks and terrorist operation end.”
    I quote it just to show how ridiculously primitive your analytical
    tools are, resulting in this kind of useless crap. There you`re
    showing us an incarnation of your decent, peace loving people:
    the IDF (and those giving them the orders), bombing and killing
    the “mass murders” in Gaza. Netanyahu would certainly applaud
    your “analysis”.
    Tony, I think you should study more history and sober political
    theory before commenting on political matters.

    Reply

  287. Dan Kervick says:

    “But as Brzezinski said, the Israelis and Palestinians have proven unable to rise to a level of strategic, forward-looking maturity to solve this problem and others now need to stabilize the situation, engage in a credible peace negotiation process that involves the other major Arab stakeholders, the US and Europe.”
    Your policy suggestion is right, Steve, but your dismissive language smacks too much of the easy parallelism, moral equivalency and jaded ambivalence that seems de riguer among the punditry and Washington smart set these days. It’s too easy to say, “A pox on both their houses.” To fail to distinguish oppressor from oppressed is to side with the oppressors.
    As this crisis has unfolded, I have been reproaching myself bitterly for my own moral negligence. I was too distracted by our election this year, and only tangentially registered the siege of Gaza that has been going on for many months, carried out with Israel’s cynical, medieval siege tactics of “putting Gaza on a diet”. I was only vaguely aware of Mary Robinson’s trip to Gaza this fall, and her horrified report of what she found there:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7708670.stm
    Gaza is a prison. It is effectively an internment camp filled with the dispossessed and the children of the dispossessed, living in wretched slums and poverty. Israel is their jailer, the power responsible for concentrating their defeated refugee victims in the prison. The Israelis control what goes in and out. Their long-term strategy is to get Palestinians to auto-transfer themselves by making life for the Gazans so miserable that the latter eventually beg to leave and be taken in elsewhere in the Arab world. Israel desires that the West Bank become and remain the same kind of prison. That’s Israel’s version of a “peace settlement”. Our tax dollars and weapons sales support this barbarism – yours and mine. As enabling Americans, we are all smeared with the filth of Israeli policy.
    Israel would like the world to believe that this military operation is merely a response a few homemade Palestinian rockets. Bull. This operation was planned for months and is the natural culmination of a siege that was designed to soften up Gaza, and to separate Gazans from Hamas, or from any other halfway-coherent political leadership. It is also an election stunt that has boosted Barak’s fortunes substantially. Killing Palestinians is apparently a cheaper and more effective appeal to the Israeli voter than paid TV ads.
    Are the Gazan prisoners politically “immature”? I should say so. Political maturity grows with the prosperity and power of a state. But there is only one state in this conflict, a very wealthy and militarily powerful state, with its powers arrayed against a miserable and divided people who have never had a state or properly functioning civic institutions. What happens when a much more powerful country sets its predatory sights on a much weaker people and their land? The stronger power wins – unless others outside the conflict shake off their cynicism and come to the aid of the oppressed.
    Do you think you’re more mature than Palestinians? Do you think Zbigniew Brzezinski is more mature? You’re not more mature. You’re just better off. You just don’t have anyone stealing your land and forcing you into ghettos and open air prisons. Status-obsessed beltway denizens would probably have a mental breakdown if someone so much as stole their parking spaces, or their latest dinner invitations. They don’t have any business lecturing Palestinians – who have had their land, homes and basic dignity stolen from them – on lack of maturity. The Palestinians do what they can: throw rocks or lob ineffective rockets. That dignity of token resistance is all they have, since they appear to have no realistic chance of defeating their oppressors, as the more “mature” political strategies have only met with repeated failure given the self-satisfied negligence of the world’s more powerful and well-off inhabitants. Nevertheless I am somewhat inspired by the indefatigability of folks such as the Free Gaza movement:
    http://www.freegaza.org/
    Whatever Israel might have been once upon a time, it is now a brutal, racist and ugly colonial power. I am sick of its slick-talking, lawyerly spokesmen on CNN, with their perfect command of English, and their skill in pushing American buttons. I am tired of their endless armies of American apologists. I am tired of the Israel-tilting pundits, operatives and advisors who have been telling us why Barack Obama must stay out of this crisis, or why the White House should stay out of this crisis, or why the UN should stay out of this crisis. These characters are just running interference for Israel, accompanied by a lot of phony hand-wringing, and are keen to talk Americans into giving Israel the time and space it needs to finish its bloody and criminal business.
    Perhaps it is time for you and me and others, including the embarrassingly diffident Barack Obama and the armies of cowed politicians he exemplifies, to stand up more forcefully against oppression, sheer brutality and outright thievery, instead of affecting a world-weary contempt for the immaturity of the wretched and brutalized slum-dwellers of the world.

    Reply

  288. TonyForesta says:

    You are half right varanasi. Joe M’s postitions are conflicted. But what you term bushco, and I term the fascists in the bushgov have not been right about anything. In fact they have been horrifically wrong about everything as any cursory examination of facts or reality will make glaringly clear. The US armed, trained and funded al Quaida and bin Laden specifically in Afghanistan against the Russians. Yesterdays freedom fighters are majikally shapeshifted into todays evildoers, only to be morphed again into allies in the neverendingwaronterror tomorrow for political and economic expediency of the predator class.
    The fascists in the bushgov inexplicably ignored Hamas, Hesbollah, Islamic Jihad and all the Gaza massmurder gangs originally in their insane and psychotic thirst for commandeering Iraq’s oil resources. None of these terrorists (massmurder) organizations were even mentioned by the fascists in the bushgov for four years. All that mattered was al Quaida. The fascists in the bushgov falsely fabricated al Quaida links with Iraq which did not exist, and woefully and purposefully ignored al Quaida links with all the other massmurder gangs which did exist for political and economic expediency and gain.
    The fascists in the bushgov are no different than Hamas, Hesbollah, al Quaida or any other terrorists massmurdering gang. They are all born of, funded by, supported, and advanced by the same unholy cloth. In truth and fact there is no difference between al Quaida and the facsists in the bushgov. They use each other for political and economic gain, and are equally willing and zealous in slaughtering or supporting the slaughter of innocents for thier singular and exlusive economic and political gain.
    This is the reality America must face and muster the courage to confront. Our government under the fascsists in the bushgov aids and abets the very evildoers, the bushgov is wantonly profiteering from persecuting. The fascists in the bushgov profiteer wantonly from the socalled neverendingwaronterror, while at the same time aiding and abetting the evildoers we are supposedly combatting. All for the wanton profits of the predator class.
    The real threat to the “foundation of human civilization” is the fascsist in the bushgov who aid and abet and conspire with our sundry enemies for political and economic gain, and who promote and advance fascist policies globally that undermine any hope for freedom, peace, or any dim hope for the rule of law.
    The fascists in the bushgov seek and are perpetuating neverendingwar, and global destruction, because they alone, and singularly and exclusively profit from the nefarious enterprize.
    Another caveat for there being any peace on earth or any hope for stability is holding the fascists in the bushgov accountable, trying them for crimes, and executing justice to the full extent of the law.
    If not, – there will be more of the same costly, bloody horrorshows ad infinitum.

    Reply

  289. varanasi says:

    Joe M:
    I’m surprised that you have the audacity to defend Bin Laden as a purely self-defensive actor. he and his supporters are anything but.
    however, much to your credit, you admit that you have no idea about the reality and threat of global armed jihadism.
    bushco should be tried and probably sentenced to prison for high crimes and misdemeanors, but they were right about one thing: global jihadism -which includes hamas – threatens the foundations of human civilization.

    Reply

  290. TonyForesta says:

    You confuse the insane and dangerous positions of massmurders with the simple fact that massmurderers cannot, and should not be tolerated in any civilized society. I am calling for hunting down and killing massmurdering criminals, not any specific cult, sect, religion, nationality. Nor do I, ever did I, or would I ever condone or promote random violence. I am calling for target merciless violence against all massmurderers, all massmurder gangs, and all those who aid and abet massmurder, massmurderers, and massmurder gangs. That is not random violence. It is target and I say again merciless violence against specific individuals, networks, systems, assets, and operation. Again, there is no difference between jihadist, evangelica christian, zionist, hindu, buddist, athiest or any other massmurdering gang, – all of them must be hunted and mercilessly killed, excoriated from the planet until their is not one of them left.
    America is a mangled perverted country now after eight years of fascism, tyranny, treason, betrayal, perversion, and wanton profiteering by the fascists in the bushgov, – but the America people do not and most of us will not support America invading, occupying, and conquering other nations for the wanton profits of the predator class. There will be blood on our streets before that kind of fascist policy is accepted. Most American, most Europeans, most Asians, most everyone on earth do not seek or support the destruction of any other people, or religion. It is islam alone that is pathologically bent on this insane policy, and islam alone that has declared an actual war on all infidels (that would be everyone else on earth, including the sisters in brothers in more moderate islam) that is seeking to kill indescrimantly. Islam is the problem, and islam must have a discussion within itself and decide once and for all if they are willing to enter the 21st century as civilized human beings or remain mired in the malignancy of hatred and jihadist insanity and the delusions of 72 browneyed virgins and martydom, and the indescriminate massmurder of innocents.
    Though no one here is without sin, – civilized nations and civilized people to not accept and universally repudiate this insane malignant and pathological pyschotic delusion. It is islam that it is the problem, and islam that must change, and islam that must greet the 21st century or suffer the fiery terrible reprecussions.
    America made it’s choice, and repudiated at least on paper the fascist criminal policies of the bushgov. Most Americans do not accept and will not tolerate America as a tyrannical nation. We want peace, the rule of law, an honoring, and respect for our Constitution, and hold to the basic principle that all men are created equal, and that we all have certian inalienable rights, specifically life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I would hazard to guess the most of the worlds population aligns with and supports these basic principles
    Massmurder as state or cult, or religious mandate for political gain is malignant, perverted, and intolerable, and every nation on earth must reject, denounce, renounce, repudiate, and universally condemn massmurder as a means for political gain.
    Until that day, there will be the unabagte continued slaughter innocents, the wild and brutal divides between thehaves and thehavenots, and neverendingwar.

    Reply

  291. Joe M. says:

    TonyForesta,
    What you say is totally insane. 30 years ago, someone could have made a similar argument as your about Catholicism because of the liberation theology movement. It is just horseshit to blame a religion in the way you do. You have been watching too much Fox News.
    Even Bin Laden himself made clear that he was going after those who attack him, not random violence. Just look at what he says in this speech:
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article7201.htm
    “People of America this talk of mine is for you and concerns the ideal way to prevent another Manhattan, and deals with the war and its causes and results.
    Before I begin, I say to you that security is an indispensable pillar of human life and that free men do not forfeit their security, contrary to Bush’s claim that we hate freedom. If so, then let him explain to us why we don’t strike for example – Sweden? And we know that freedom-haters don’t possess defiant spirits like those of the 19 – may Allah have mercy on them.
    No, we fight because we are free men who don’t sleep under oppression. We want to restore freedom to our nation, just as you lay waste to our nation. So shall we lay waste to yours.
    No-one except a dumb thief plays with the security of others and then makes himself believe he will be secure. Whereas thinking people, when disaster strikes, make it their priority to look for its causes, in order to prevent it happening again.”

    Reply

  292. Paul Norheim says:

    “I am of the opinion that every mass murderer on the planet and
    all those who aid and abet them on the planet must be
    mercilessly hunted down and killed. Every single one of them.
    Jihadist, Zionist, evangelica Christian, Hindu, Buddist, all of them
    – all those who support and execute mass murder of innocents
    must be hunted down and killed just as any sane society would
    hunt down and kill any massmurdering threat to that societies
    children.” (Tony Foresta)
    Ladies and Gentlemen: welcome to the first global civil war!
    I urge you to rethink your positions, Tony. If implemented, they
    would be even more insane and dangerous than the positions of
    the Zionists, Hamas, etc. etc.

    Reply

  293. TonyForesta says:

    With all due respect, I disagree fyi. We all have dog in this fight, because of islam. Israel is not seeking to dominate or destroy its neighbors, or they would be conducting far more broad military engagements. Israel (though far from sinless in this horrorshow) is attempting to protect and defend Israel and Israelis. America is a mangled perverted country now after eight years of fascism, tyranny, treason, betrayal, perversion, and wanton profiteering by the fascists in the bushgov, – but the America people do not and most of us will not support America invading, occupying, and conquering other nations for the wanton profits of the predator class. There will be blood on our streets before that kind of fascist policy is accepted. Most American, most Europeans, most Asians, most everyone on earth do not seek or support the destruction of any other people, or religion. It is islam alone that is pathologically bent on this insane policy, and islam alone that has declared an actual war on all infidels (that would be everyone else on earth, including the sisters in brothers in more moderate islam) that is seeking to kill indescrimantly. Islam is the problem, and islam must have a discussion within itself and decide once and for all if they are willing to enter the 21st century as civilized human beings or remain mired in the malignancy of hatred and jihadist insanity and the delusions of 72 browneyed virgins and martydom, and the indescriminate massmurder of innocents.
    Though no one here is without sin, civilized nations and civilized people to not accept and universally repudiate this insane malignant and pathological pyschotic delusion. It is islam that it is the problem, and islam that must change, and islam that must greet the 21st century or suffer the fiery terrible reprecussions.

    Reply

  294. Joe M. says:

    varanasi,
    I can’t answer your questions because I am not familiar enough with the world wide islamist movement to accurate statements on the issue.
    All I can say, based on my own experience with Islamists (which, i have varied experiences with them), is that it is useless to fight them directly because their ideology already accounts for direct combat. But if you want to reduce their strength, you must pull the rug out from under them. In the case of the Arab world, the way I would recommend to address them efficiently would be to out do them in terms of social services and resistance to the American/Zionist project.
    Every 20 year-old in the world has the potential for fanatical religious views. I think this is just part of human existence. But the reason why the Islamist movements in the Arab world thrive is because their movements also legitimately represent an improvement over the status quo. Hamas, for example, is better at fighting israel, is better at clean government, they are legitimately of the people, they actually help people when they are in need.
    I assume that other Islamists movements are also popular in places where they are more effective than the status quo powers. So, the only suggestion I can make is that there need to be better alternatives to both the status quo and the Islamists.
    You sure as hell will not win via violently confronting them. In reality, the Islamists are a genuinely democratic movement. I don’t know why Islamists movements would use violence in non-violent situations. So I can’t totally answer you question, and my knowledge is based on my experience with the Arab Islamists. And that situation is not the same as in the rest of the world.

    Reply

  295. fyi says:

    US has no dog in that fight; it is a war between Jews and Muslims.
    Neither Israel nor Palestine are your country; butt out.
    Peace is not achieveable on anyone’s terms any longer.
    The war will continue for a few more decades.

    Reply

  296. Joe M. says:

    TonyForesta,
    You think are pragmatic and realistic, but you are actually supporting ethnic violence and apartheid. You wouldn’t have made the same argument 20 years ago about South Africa. It just shows the intellectual violence against the Palestinian cause.
    The problem is that you listen to too many American pundits, and it seems to blind you to the fact that Israel simply has no future. You think that just because the zionist project has the support of the west, that means it is viable? Israel is already dead today. It shows this every time it has demolish the entire region just to prove that it is “legitimate”. The only question is when it will become official.
    The simple fact is that Jews can’t continue to dominate the region, and specifically the Palestinian people. It can’t impose itself on us, and act like there is no history. This is a simple fact.
    Even the Jews know it. Just listen to the Zionists former parliament leader, Avrham Burg. He knows what is inevitable, he has taken a French passport, and knows that every day Israel is destroying itself more than it is destroying resistance to zionism.
    I will say again, it is up to the Jews to decide whether they want to stay or leave. There are only two choices in the end. Either the Jews can accept a one-state solution, with equal rights between Jews and Palestinians. Like South Africa, I am absolutely sure the Palestinians can live with the Jews in peace and equality. But if the Jews insist on total domination of Palestine, they will eventually be forced to leave. It is simple as that.

    Reply

  297. larry says:

    Israel has lost me….forever.
    Sadly…My only wish now is that they suffer equally..

    Reply

  298. TonyForesta says:

    The fascists in the bushgov destroyed America Carrol. Get that fact straight and stop blaming anyone else for America’s demise. The fascists in the bushgov are singularly and exclusively responsible for America’s swift decline and inevitable unravelling. Your pathetic attempt to blame America’s nightmare on Israel reveals your hatred for Israel, and your ignorance of the true causes of America’s demise. Ye shall know the truth, and the truth will make your free. You might want to look into it.
    Lastly, your comment that “…the UN and Amnesty have both said that 20 Israelis have been killed or injured by Palestine rockets in the past 8 years and 890 Palestines have been killed in the past 8 years by Israeli incursions,assassinations and bombings” is exactly the point. Israel wants and will do everything in their power to insure these numbers and trends continue along the same vectors. What are the Palestinians going to do. Can they not add. Are they so ideological and pathological, that they are willing to see their own children masacred in a fruitless suicidal attempt to alter Israeli policies through massmurder operations and by supporting mass murder gangs?
    Though it is tragic and sad, and we all grieve for the slaughter of innocents, – the simple truth and fact remains that if the rockets stop – Israel will draw back and quit the bombing, – and not until then.
    I am of the opinion that every mass murderer on the planet and all those who aid and abet them on the planet must be mercilessly hunted down and killed. Every single one of them. Jihadist, Zionist, evangelica Christian, Hindu, Buddist, all of them – all those who support and execute mass murder of innocents must be hunted down and killed just as any sane society would hunt down and kill any massmurdering threat to that societies children. Until people everywhere on earth reject, repudiate, and renounce massmurder as a viable means of political remidiation, there will be no end to the bloodshed, and the dominate militaries will continue to exact a terrible toll on stupid or primitive, or malignant societies that support, defend, or apologize for massmurder, massmurderers, and massmurder gangs.
    If the Palestinian people want peace, they should reject, renounce, and repudiate the massmurder operations, unrelenting rocket attacks by the massmurderers in Hamas. If not, the Israel will continue to pound these massmurderers and tragically anyone else in their immediate vicinity until the rocket attacks and terrorist operation end.
    Israel is the stronger military and while it may be a duck or turkey shoot, – that is the point. Victory. Killing and subduing enemy. Do the Palestinian people have any hope of defeating Israel militarily? Obviously not. Perhaps they should entertain alternative options and solutions. If not – then there will be more of the same ad infinitum.

    Reply

  299. Paco says:

    Dear Steve:
    I love Israel and consider myself a supporter. If I lived there and my children were under threat from HAMAS, I wouls also want their destruction. However, If I was living in GAZA and I have nothing to do with HAMAS and my family, especially my children are killed by Israeli forces, you can bet your life that I would seek to destroy Israel. Hence, it is a no win situation for anyone. As violence increases, so does the circle of violence. It goes round and round.No leadership exists. U.S. Administrations have always been biased and supported Israel blindly. Our Foreign Policy decision makers are all mostly bias towards Israel. Sadly also our Security Council. So, how are the Palestinians or any other Arab government are able to deal with us and believe in the U.S. leadership when we are so clearly on Israel’s corner.
    Anyways, it is sad to see violence on both sides.

    Reply

  300. varanasi says:

    oh, and about that horribly disturbing picture of those dead little children? here’ what their daddy had to say last week from the pulpit:
    “Our only language with the Jew is through the gun.” see: http://tinyurl.com/9td5vp
    guess that kind of gives new meaning to the saying, “live by the sword, die by the sword,” huh?
    your leaders are maniacs. in a way, maybe these children are lucky. nizar rayan sent his other son into israel as a suicide bomber and he blew his body to bits along with two israelis. as for me, i find a quick death in aerial bombardment an easier way to die.

    Reply

  301. Carroll says:

    I am replused by the ‘cool’ way ‘the very serious people’ discuss this killing, this ducks in a barrel shoot.
    This is not a war between two forces,this is pure carnage and slaughter…and I and others told you Israel would do this.
    I rely on neither side for accuracy about this…I do believe what UN Observers and Amnesty International and Oxfam and Doctors Without Boarders have to say. And the UN and Amnesty have both said that 20 Israelis have been killed or injured by Palestine rockets in the past 8 years and 890 Palestines have been killed in the past 8 years by Israeli incursions,assassinations and bombings. I do not believe for a second that Israel’s attack is for the sole purpose of stopping a bunch of homemade rockets that hit a target one out of a thousand times. It is to destroy as much as they can of Gaza before any change in US policy that might take place. If they can they will push this into a conflagration in the ME specifically by harping on links of Iran to Hamas. Just keep listening, that will be the next Israeli talking point. There is nothing theIsraelis and neo’s would like more than to see this lead to an attack on theUs that would reignite the GWOT.
    Iraq has flown 4 air lifts of aid for Palestine by way of Egypt according to their Ministry of Defense. Afaghan is rioting and demanding the American troops get out of their country.
    The Israeli -Palestine fight is at core about Palestine’s land and Israeli occupation. We all know that.
    Give them their goddamn land back Obama and put US troops between Israel and Palestine.
    Israeli is destroying more than Palestine it is destroying America.

    Reply

  302. varanasi says:

    you miss my point entirely, Joe. i’m talking about the larger issue of armed jihadism and murderous muslim theocracy that has nothing to do with israel and of which Hamas is and will remain – even if israel does disappear – an acive participant.

    Reply

  303. TonyForesta says:

    First Joe M. I said it was controversial. Second, you cannot uninvent history. What is done is done. Israel exists for better or worse, and no matter how illigetimate some people may frame that existance. You could make the same argument for America’s existance.
    Israel is also a viable partner in the community of nations who provide valuable usable products and services (particularly high tech products and services) to the entire world. The Israeli people have contributed to the global community is many ways.
    The Arab world is sorely lacking in this regard if you subtract oil. What viable product or service beyond oil and massmurder tactics has the Arab world contributed to the global community in a hundred years?
    A single state solution is not an option, unless that single state is Israel, because no matter how hard you wish, or how passionately you condemn Israel’s existance, – it does exist, and nothing short of nuclear obliteration will alter that fact – ever. And know this, that any nation foolish enough to attempt to strike Israel with nuclear weapons would be reduced to glass faster than you can say jihadist massmurder gang.
    I grieve for the Palestinian people as much as you. I agree with you that many of Israels actions and policies are aparthiedlike and must change for there to be any hope for peace.
    That said, as long as the Gaza mass murder gangs resort to mass murder operations and raining rockets, (regardless of how ineffective they may be) on Israel, and as long as the Palestinian people support these kinds of unholy and fruitless efforts, – Israel will continue to conduct the kind of overwhelming force military options with sadly witness today.
    Israel is the dominant force is the region, and all your wishing, praying, pleading, and passionate hopes will never alter that grim fact.
    We all need to look beyond the fantasy of peace on earth and good will towards men and the visionary utopian hopes for a single Palestinian state. It is never going to happen. All parties must examine the current situation with reason, based on the real facts, and in light of the harsh, far from perfect, and far from pretty realities, – and work within those confines to end this decades long conflict.
    In the end, Israel will always dominate militarily, but can never achieve any real progress or peace through military means alone. So also the Palestinian people must recognize that continuing to terrorize Israel, and resorting to, and supporting terrorist activity as the primary means of achieving political objectives is doomed to fail, and certain to exact terrible costs and oceans of innocent blood on Palestinian people.
    Hamas is the chosen legitimate government of Palestine. Give them a real chance to govern and hope the Palestinian people and moderates or sane (non massmurdering) individuals within Hamas recognize that there is more to gain by acting like civilized human beings and seeking peaceful solutions, than will ever be won by supporting massmurderers, massmurder gangs, and massmurder operations.
    The alternative is more of the same ad infinitum.

    Reply

  304. kim says:

    I think the picture is a little odd. It’s the
    children of the Hamas leader killed in yesterday’s
    attack. They paraded the kids for the media —
    and I guess TWN.

    Reply

  305. Joe M. says:

    POA,
    TO my knowledge, you have not said that a one-state solution is superior to a two-state solution. If you are for a one-state solution, i have no problem with your views…
    joe

    Reply

  306. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Why do you believe so much in the “two-state solution”? Why are you a supporter of zionism?”
    Thats a comedy. You don’t get it, do you? Even someone like myself, who is one of the most voraciously anti-Israel/anti-zionist posters on this site is targeted for your tunnel visioned zealotry. You’re so full of hatred you can’t even think straight. Right on the heels of me saying that a two state solution can’t work, you accuse me of supporting such a solution.
    Listen, Joe, you just reinforce my point that THERE IS NO SOLUTION to your kind of blind hatred, particularly when the zionists share the irrationality of possessing such blind hatred. You are your own worst enemy. You fight insanity with insanity, too much the zealot to see the futility in such an effort. How’s “your way” working for you and your people, Joe? You’d think, after half a century of this shit, that you and the Israelis would figure out that theres no solution to be found in hatred and violence.
    Personally, man, I’m sick of this shit, and close to deciding the world would be better off if you and the Israelis just finished each other off and quit fucking things up for everybody else. Maybe we oughta just give you nukes to even things up, then stand back and watch while you crazy bastards on both sides incinerate each other.

    Reply

  307. michael claussen says:

    original approx 1927 lyrics.
    Hoping DC bound got what it takes. Maybe need our
    friend Steve workin the levee with Barak
    If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s goin’ to break,
    [X2]
    When The Levee Breaks I’ll have no place to stay.
    Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan, [X2]
    Got what it takes to make a mountain man leave his
    home,
    Oh, well, oh, well, oh, well.
    Don’t it make you feel bad
    When you’re tryin’ to find your way home,
    You don’t know which way to go?
    If you’re goin’ down South,
    There ain’t no work to do;
    If you’re goin’ North,
    There’s Chicago.
    Cryin’ won’t help you, prayin’ won’t do you no
    good,
    Now, cryin’ won’t help you, prayin’ won’t do you
    no good,
    When the levee breaks, mama, you got to move.
    All last night sat on the levee and moaned, [X2]
    Thinkin’ about my baby and my happy home.
    Going, going to Chicago… Going to Chicago…
    Sorry but I can’t take you…
    Going down… going down now… going down….

    Reply

  308. Ty Lookwell says:

    Carol is exactly right. But the creepy cowardice and warped morality goes beyond Bush and Obama, or the warped morality and active propaganda of the American media… where is the liberal blogosphere saying anything about this? It’s a suffocating silence. Disgusting.
    Keep up the good fight, Joe M.

    Reply

  309. Joe M. says:

    varanasi,
    I don’t know much about issues related to India/Pakistan. So, if that is the basis of your views, i can not add much input. If you want to discuss the Arabs, I am open to it.
    POA,
    Why do you believe so much in the “two-state solution”? Why are you a supporter of zionism? Why do you seek to legitimize their ethnic cleansing of our land and the occupation of our people? Why is their ideology that they have the right to the land because they are Jews greater then my right to the land because my family lived for generations there and were forced from our home because of their violence? How do you right that wrong? By asking the French to “impose” a solution on us? What if my history is in the rubble of their shit state?
    All I want is the right to my history and land. Again, if they want to stay, I would not force them to leave. As long as they are willing to live in equality. Were all the people share the rights to the land, and the government protects all of us.
    Why are you invest in a racist and ethnically based state? Why is the concept of zionism more important to you than righting the injustice done against the Palestinians?

    Reply

  310. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Joe M’s comment perfectly underscores why I say his people are doomed. Such intransigent hatred, coupled with wistful and unrealistic goals, cannot prevail. If the Palestinian people were militarily capable of of destroying the zionist state of Israel, they would not be imprisoned like animals, slowly being starved, humiliated, and decimated.
    Joe M’s rhetoric is just as reprehensible as Zivni’s, based in the same kind of fanatical bigotry, and equally as damaging to any prospects for peace. In fact, words like Joe M’s provide, in many people’s minds, the justification for Israel’s actions.

    Reply

  311. Joe M. says:

    varanasi,
    you misunderstood my point. let me be more specific. I know many many progressive Arabs who oppose the religious political movements. But they are the only ones organized enough to fight against the forces that directly oppress us (Israel, the USA and the puppet regimes). So even if we are against these groups, we are not against them (as much as we are against the others. For example, the Islamists are not bombing us, as the USA, Israel and the puppets are).
    So that is a large part of the answer when you ask why there are no demonstrations against them. There are many other reasons as well. For example, one major reason is that the secular Arabs failed in our battle and we recognize that the Islamists are legitimately popular now. In the 50s-70s, the secular progressives were dominant. We were in power in almost every country. But we were destroyed. Not by the religious side, but by a combination of the Americans, the Israelis, and our own failures and infighting. And in the mean time we have witnessed their growth. Many of us are worried about them in a lot of ways and we are not unaware of what happened to the leftists in Iran after the Iranian revolution. Yet, we face almost the same fate today at the hands of the Zionists and Americans. So many of us feel it is worth giving the Islamsts a chance.
    Anyway, this is a complex discussion and not entirely appropriate in the face of massive zionist violence. I will never protest Hamas in its fight against the Zionists. Because, despite the stupidity of the American media, this is not a fight against Islamists or Hamas or rockets, but a battle about the legitimacy of opposing the Zionist project. And right now, Hamas and Hizbullah carry that torch. And I dream for their victory against the Zionists. The zionists deserve the violence they have created. It is the pedestrians who do not. But those innocents have never been spared zionist violence, and we have come to understand this over the years.

    Reply

  312. carol says:

    Where is the condemnation for this carnage against the Palestinian people from the US…why do we sit and watch this unfold and not one word from Bush or PE Obama I think it is shameful.
    Israel seem to have the power to do whatever they like whenever they like and we just keep giving them the green light to do it.
    Shame on us for being so gutless and not standing up for what is right.

    Reply

  313. varanasi says:

    i appreciate what you have to say joe, but again, the larger problem that the world faces is not the conflict between israelis and palestinians.
    lashkar e taiba, elements in the ISI and, imo, al queda, could give a rat’s ass about israel. they are murdering and destroying the world for other reasons.
    i too am appalled by many u.s. and israeli policies, but jihadist mass movements and a silent arab majority threatens me more!

    Reply

  314. Joe M. says:

    Ken and POA,
    It is not the Arabs who have created this violence. And it is not progressive in the least to continue to occupy and destroy the Palestinians as the zionists do. Make no mistake. If you think Israel is progressive, you must also think Bush’s foreign policy was progressive. Additionally, even the most backward place on earth, like Dubai, can become “modern” if it buys it. Israel superiority is nothing to be proud of, it is proof of the conspiracy against us.
    And it doesn’t take much to discredit the Arab countries, I do it myself constantly. But that speaks nothing to the Zionist enterprise. Comparing the Zionists favorably to Mubarak or the other puppet governments is hardly an accomplishment. Good for you, comparing rotten apples to rotten oranges.
    Also, make no mistake that Israel’s legitimacy is not determined by you or the POA or Bush, the Europeans or Mr. Clemons or any other blow-hard who believes they can impose their views on us. It is solely determined by the Palestinian people. And we will not accept this cancer in our midst. That is a simple fact. That it has to use epic violence on a daily basis to maintain itself is evidence of its lack of legitimacy.
    Now, what becomes of the Jewish people who tried to sustain their violent, racist and stupid zionist project? Well, that it up to them. I am sure the Palestinian people would allow them to stay if they decided to stay in peace and equality. But we will not allow the legitimization of the theft of our land and their decades of brutality.
    Also, POA, let me just point out that 20% of the citizens are Palestinains. And they might not live joyously with the Zionists, but they live rather safely generally. This 20% are those who the zionists dispossessed and who’s society the zionists destroyed. I think it is perfectly clear that it is possible. One need not expect the perfect harmony that exists in Europe or the USA between all classes of people (the harmony of racism and class war that you westerners must be very proud of). We simply want our land back.
    The one-state solution is the best way. Destroy the zionist project, and you will have peace. Try to enforce some insane “solution” on our heads, and you will solve nothing. you may create a temporary lack of violence, but you will not have peace. It is impossible for the Palestinians to have peace with Zionism. Zionism is by definition incompatible with Palestinians. They must give up their racist state, then we can consider peace. It is up to us, not you or them.

    Reply

  315. varanasi says:

    sorry JoeM, but i don’t agree with your premise about the root causes of armed jihadism. surely israel is an agonist, but i don’t believe it is the primary motivation of these jihadi animals and their suicidal religious leaders.
    the latest assault on mumbai had NOTHING to do with israel. it was most likely orchestrated by the ISI and lashkar e taiba and it was directed against the largest democracy in the world.
    …and don’t kid yourself about the numbers. these murderous monsters have more than nominal support in some madrases and streets in the muslim world.
    like i said earlier, i’m still waiting for a large demonstration ANYWHERE in the muslim world against these actions.
    nobody can claim that the actions of israel and the U.S. aren’t often and vociferously criticized by their own people and by the rest of the world every day.

    Reply

  316. Cee says:

    Having the Saudis, Jordanians, Egyptians, Americans, and Europeans impose a solution
    Steve,
    How interesting that you left out Iran and Syria.
    I’m not interested in anything that puppet regimes have to say.
    Been there. Done that.

    Reply

  317. bangzoom14 says:

    Well it’s 2009 – a brand new year. I wonder how many spots on the planet we’re going to stick our crummy two cents in and create havoc in the name of freakin’ democracy? I can only hope it’s none.
    BTW, Happy New Year to you Steve, your partner and all the TWN readers.

    Reply

  318. easy e says:

    “Watching Death Day and Night So Close By…”
    Sadly, American sheeple only “watch”. The rest of the world is outraged and protests in the streets. Could it be because their media hasn’t been corrupted. It’s been common knowledge not to expect balanced reporting from the Corporate U.S. Media. What a disappointment to now find that web-based outlets are selling their souls to the devil: $25 million investment financing provided to Huffington Post by Israeli arms dealer. Hope the almighty $$$ doesn’t bias the mission(s) of TWN and New America Foundation
    * * * * * * * *
    THE HUFFINGTON POST: ISRAELI-OCCUPIED TERRITORY
    Why is the Huffington Post carrying water for the IDF? Follow the money …
    by Justin Raimondo
    http://antiwar.com/justin/
    Pat Buchanan was widely vilified by the neocons and the politically correct left when he famously described the Congress of the United States as “Israeli-occupied territory.” Oh, what a conniption the liberals and the Commentary crowd had! That was during the countdown to the first Gulf War, when almost no one rose to object – and those who did, like Pat, were smeared for their trouble. Today, such an observation is hardly considered controversial: it is simply a known fact.
    There is more discussion in the Knesset over the pros and cons of US intervention in the Middle East on Israel’s behalf than there is in on Capitol Hill. There’s a sense in which this sort of uniformity must be a little embarrassing for the Lobby, in that it underscores their fear that a real debate will suddenly break out. The regularity with which the American Congress endorses every fresh Israeli atrocity has a certain deadening metronomic quality about it – and, while we’re on the subject of monotony, the American media, too, plays an identical role as advocate and staunch defender of the Israeli case, as a matter of course. The “mainstream” televised and dead-tree-media has historically been a reliable “reporter” of the merits of the Israeli case. Now, the wannabe “alternative” online media is following suit, with an alacrity that is none too surprising.
    It is especially unsurprising in the case of the Huffington Post, which founder Arianna Huffington touts as a “people’s media” in which “truth” is the highest value. As she put it to the San Francisco Bay Guardian:
    “Our highest responsibility is to the truth. The truth is not about splitting the difference between one side and the other. Sometimes one side is speaking the truth … The central mission of journalism is the search for the truth.”
    Taking Ms. Huffington at her word, one can only conclude that, when it comes to Israel’s rape of Gaza, the Huffington Post is siding with the rapist. Their “news” coverage of the ongoing devastation is heavily slanted toward the Israelis, with those journalistically unique paragraph-long lead-story headlines never mentioning Palestinian casualties (a number would suffice). When a genuinely antiwar voice is allowed on the site, it is prefaced by an apologia, as our own Jeremy Sapienza reports:
    “Huffington Post was so very kind this week to give space to almost frustratingly moderate Palestinian intellectual Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi. In his well-reasoned article, ‘Palestine’s Guernica and the Myths of Israeli Victimhood,’ he supplied all the basic facts behind the problems in Palestine. … But what gives with the long disclaimer marring the top of Barghouthi’s article?
    “HuffPo runs all kinds of commentary from all over the political spectrum (or at least its leftish side), but only those who dare speak against the sainted Israelis seem to require an editorial explanation that resembles an apology.
    “Shame on Huffington Post for its disgusting lack of integrity.”
    Shame? Jeremy is a fine lad, and very smart, but perhaps a bit naïve in believing these people even accept the concept of shame, applied to themselves: indeed, they oppose it as a matter of high principle. There’s a ready explanation of why, as the Israelis pound Gaza, the formerly antiwar Huffington Post has become a cheerleader for the IDF: it is due entirely to this.
    When Arianna nabbed $25 million from Oak Investment Partners, of Palo Alto, California, she was acquired by a financial network that also has significant investments in the Israeli arms industry – an industry, I might add, directly subsidized and controlled by the Israeli government. For example, Oak Investment has invested in IET/Intelligent Electronics, now morphed into Clickservice Software, an Israeli-based company that makes sophisticated weapons systems and sells them to clients such as “an unnamed Far Eastern country.” Oak Investment partner Fred Harman now sits on the Huffington Post’s board.
    Case closed. Mystery solved.
    Since Arianna is so into “truth,” how about a little when it comes to how she’s financing a $25 million media gig that still refuses to pay bloggers! Not only that, but they were recently forced to apologize to a Chicago media outlet for brazenly stealing content. Whatever her contributions to the journalistic profession, let alone the pursuit of “truth,” Arianna is sure giving tackiness a bad name.
    What’s so galling is that the Huffington Post poses as an “alternative” media outlet, the virtual embodiment of the new online populism that gave rise to the blogosphere. The nerve it takes to pose as an opponent of “corporate greed,” and war, while taking a $25 million “investment” from an exemplar of both is simply breathtaking – but about par for the course for Arianna. In her odyssey from the Newt Gingrich right to the Obama-ite left, the founder of the Huffington Post personifies the utter vacuity of our age, the emptiness that has nothing at its core but an ideological vacuum waiting to be filled by the dictates of fashion and commerce.
    From her days as the high priestess of the “John Roger” cult in California – a New Age outfit grouped around a charismatic and controversial leader “John Roger” – Ms. Huffington has always been an ideological weathervane, taking on the colors of whatever ideological craze is in season. As a kind of Greek sibyl interpreting the divine zeitgeist, her style has lately become even more magisterial, now that she’s getting closer to real power. “I only text three people,” she boasted at a London dinner, “my two teenage children and Barack Obama.”
    God help us if that woman has the President’s ear, if only because we’ll have to endure four long years of relentless name-dropping.
    More seriously, though, the Huffington Post’s disgraceful performance on the Gaza issue is really just a reflection of the laughable uniformity of Western coverage of Middle Eastern issues, and this is especially true when it comes to Israel and its interests in the region. It’s a widely-noted irony that the nature and extent of the “special relationship” is never discussed as openly in the US as it is in the Israeli media. How and why this came about is well-documented by professors John Mearshemier and Stephen Walt, in their book, The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy[short version here], but a new riff on their theme is the extent to which the online media have been co-opted by the Lobby – in this case, bought outright.
    http://antiwar.com/justin/

    Reply

  319. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I see that Joe M has tempered his remarks to imply a more moderate tone. But not much. Unfortunately, his comments here initially let the cat out of the bag as to his true sentiments.
    If this conflict is to ever achieve anything resembling peace, it is hard to believe such a result will be achieved without unbiased mediation, international monitors, and an enforced separation of the two antagonists.
    Considering the history, it is doubtful that either side can act in good faith, EVEN IF a two state solution is constructed. Does anyone really believe that these two antagonistic enemies can live side by side without violent confrontation?
    Perhaps if left to the people, Israelis and Palestinians could find a common ground based in humanity, a shared desire for security, health, welfare, etc, those things that all humans crave and value. But the leaders of both sides, in their positions because of the unhealthy allure of absolute power, being elite and privileged, are rarely left wanting for those basic needs of humanity. They will never give their people peace, for power is their pursuit, and peace does not beget power.
    Power will prevail, and Israel has the power. The Palestinians simply cannot win. They will, to a large degree, be exterminated, and to a lesser degree, assimilated. But as a people, they are doomed.
    The only question is, will history write it as a victory, or a holocaust?
    I suppose, it will depend on the author, won’t it?

    Reply

  320. Ken says:

    I suppose Joe M prefers the home grown variety of violence and imposed control…
    I think the creation of the state of Israel lacked understanding, let alone legal or ethical perogative, but there it is, it exists. Like it or not, history has created Israel(sounds very much like how many countries are formed… move in to a land that is someone elses and stay, but I digress). Israel is one of the most progressive, stable and modern societies in the Middle East (yes, Joe, modern. In its policies towards its people, its national ethics, its political traditions, and for that it thrives. Condescending? I think not. Talk about righteou…). Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (and other Arab nations) need to come to terms with this fact, and help generate a solution to the violence, a compromise that accounts for Israel’s existence, rather than continue to perpetrate violence against it. That would be righteous: accept the present, preserve the future. It just has to stop, or it will go on, and on, and on, as it has for the past 60 years. You want to talk about failed strategy? 60 years of head banging… And not a thing accomplished, except a lot of dead people. Israel isn”t going anywhere, now as a matter of principle if for no other reason.

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  321. JohnH says:

    The New Orleans levee analogy is apt. How long can it be before the levees fail?
    Personally, I cannot see Israel lasting in its current form until its 100th birthday. Possibly not until its 75th. Advances in cheap, mobile rocketry are making all of Israel (including Dimona) increasingly vulnerable to attack in the same way that F-16s made Israel’s neighbors vulnerable for decades. Israel maintains an edge in sheer destructive capability, but is probably less resilient after widespread destruction.
    The bottom line is that Israel really has three choices. The first choice, pursuing the current strategy, is untenable because of Israel’s increasing vulnerability, though I expect Israel to try it for a few more years. This path can lead only to the second choice–ever more destructive rampages and the real liklihood of a Palestinian holocaust, which the world led by the United States will either numbly accept or firmly oppose. So far there is no sign that any level of Israeli violence is unacceptable, so the rampages escalate. Eventually, there will be a tipping point. The current Gaza rampage may be the tipping point. If not, then the next one. The final choice, of course, is peace and the creation of single Palestinian/Jewish state. The two state solution is DOA because it offers Palestinians nothing more than their shrinking bantustans.
    Hopefully, the world will get its act together sooner rather than later and force a peaceful solution. It worked in South Africa.

    Reply

  322. Joe M. says:

    varanasi,
    Who do you think have taught the Arabs that life is cheep? Who’s war machines have massacred the Arabs for decades? Also, isn’t Israel itself a product of religious violence? The entire zionist project has been an effort at legitimizing religious violence in the name of Judaism.
    I am not religious myself, and don’t have a taste for religious violence, but it is a fact of our world today. But pragmatically, you can’t kill it by cutting off its head. It will just grow two more… The only way to stop it is to change the paradigm in which it operates. The flames of religious violence are fanned by the injustice that permeates the conditions today. With discredited “secular” leaders who use their American weapons against their own people and blocked political participation in all places except the mosque. And with American “Christianity” raining down righteous bombs on their heads, while Israel uses a lexicon of Jewish superiority to perpetuate all this oppression.
    This Islamic religious violence is the natural offspring of current situation. A situation that has been imposed (Similar to the one Clemons wants) on the Arabs.

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  323. varanasi says:

    i hope i don’t get flamed for expressing my opinion, but heck, i’m entitled to a bias also, right?
    as for me, i’m still waiting for a popular protest or movement against armed jihadism ANYWHERE in the muslim world!
    i ache for the scores of innocent gazans caught in the crossfire, but i shed no tears for militant hamas leaders and their ilk who are shown the door to their “paradise”.
    forgive me for my resentment towards these theological murderers, as well as their friends next door to me in pakistan and throughout the world, but i lost a good friend – a beautiful, loving person – in the attacks on mumbai.

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  324. JP Carter says:

    Steve,
    Joe M. has a good point. It comes down to 2 things that are not compatible:
    1) The Israeli belief of a promised land and the resulting issues with that.
    2) The Palestinian belief that they have to allow Hamas and Hezbollah to decide their fate.
    In the long run, both parties are being manipulated by outside forces: The US and the Iranians and other minor parties.
    Unless another party – Saudi Arabia, etc. gets it together, we are going to be in an unending cycle of death, terror, and anger.
    Make the area neutral (Austria/Switzerland, etc), and then work from there.
    Until you take away the reason to kill (land), you will always have the same fight. The issue of Israeli settlers is the biggest issue to deal with.
    I know that I am a dreamer, but you have to start somewhere.

    Reply

  325. Joe M. says:

    TonyForesta said:
    “It may be impossible, but it is the only option that has not been tried, and all the other previous attempts at reconciling this bloody costly conflict have failed miserably time and time again.”
    and also referred to Israel “as a legitmate neighbor.”
    TonyForesta, how legitimate is a country founded on the theft of Palestine? How legitimate can a racist movement (zionism) be when it has spent 60 years fighting the fact that it is clearly illegitimate? How legitimate was Apartheid in South Africa? There is no difference.
    You are wrong that your view is the only thing that has not been tried. Recognizing Hamas will not change the illegitimacy of this history.
    The only real solution is the dismantling of the zionist project and replacing it with a one-state solution. You would not have to remove settlements if you simply made them open to both Palestinians and Jews. You would not have to figure out water rights if there was a government that dealt with all people equally. You would have no reason for Palestinians to fight Jews with rockets and suicide bombs if Palestinians and Jews could fight politically through the same system.
    ZIONISM HAS FAILED. THIS MUST BE RECOGNIZED. END ISRAEL. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS “JEWISH DEMOCRACY”. THIS IS RACISM. THERE IS ONLY ONE KIND OF DEMOCRACY, EQUAL DEMOCRACY FOR ALL.

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  326. TonyForesta says:

    Hamas, though a pest, is not Hesbollah. The former is incapable of conducting more than harrassment on Israel, while the later is capable of inflicting real damage as 2006 proved. The longer this spectacle continues, the fewer options are left for Israel, and the more likely will be other involvements and complications.
    It may be controvesial, or even impossible considering all the intertwining politics involved, – but Israel might benefit from recognizing Hamas as the legitimate government of Palestine, and working with the more moderate elements of Hamas to achieve some kind of sustainable peace.
    It is unimaginable that the majority of the people in Gaza and the West Bank do not want some kind of sustainable peace, and real progress in establishing a legitimate Palestinian state with Israel as a legitmate neighbor.
    Israel will be forced to compromise; take down settlements, negotiate reasonable water, electricity, ingress and egress rights, and the Palestinian people will also be forced to renounce, reject, and repudiate terrorist acts as the primary means of political advancement.
    It may be impossible, but it is the only option that has not been tried, and all the other previous attempts at reconciling this bloody costly conflict have failed miserably time and time again.
    Something has to change fundamentally. The Palestinian people elected Hamas, not Fatah, and the rest of the world and particularly Israel, and America must respect the legitimate voice of the Palestinain people, and allow Hamas the opportunity to govern in peace.
    If after recognition and acceptance of Hamas and goodfaith attempts by Israel and America to work toward peace – the rocket attacks, and other sundry terrorist operations continue, – then Hamas and the Palestinian people would have had their chance and squandered it, – and the rest of the world would not be so eager to prevent or condemn Israel from protecting it’s citizens by any means necessary and slaughtering every single Hamas thug, and eliminating every single Hamas asset, operation, system, and network.
    To give peace a chance, – Hamas must be recognized as the legitimate government of the Palestinian people, and given the opportunity to join the community of nations in goodfaith, and afforded the political and economic oxygen to work toward a prosperous peaceful Palestine.
    If not, then these ugly horrible spectacles will continue ad infinitum.

    Reply

  327. Ty Lookwell says:

    Joe M is absolutely right. (ok, his last part is a little… angry… though justified)
    and your comment: “and I should add that this guy is about as positive about “modernity” as one can find in Middle East blogging circles:” … what does this mean? Do you know how offensive it sounds?

    Reply

  328. ken melvin says:

    America can expect a hit in retaliation. Israel, seemingly unable to change, will someday be hit extremely hard. For Obama, ’tis an opportunity to establish himself as one of the greatest.

    Reply

  329. Joe M. says:

    Mr. Clemons,
    You are very wrong about how bad it would be to have an imposed solution. Maybe you don’t realize it, but the current status quo is the same “solution” you want to be imposed by egypt, Jordan, Israel, the usa… These countries have imposed a puppet leadership on the palestinians, have imposed settlements on the palestinians, have imposed poverty, suffering… Everything the Palestinians currently experience is because the shitty international community has coordinated with Israel to try to fight the reality that Zionist project has totally failed. These people you want to “impose a solution” are the ones who have built the current instability.
    You are 100%, totally wrong.
    Just like in economics, when you “impose” a political solution against the wishes of the local populations, you distort the reality market. Eventually these distortions must reconcile. And that is why Islamists are becoming so powerful, they are a rebellion to the imposed solution of the western powers (and the zionists).
    The colonialist minded western powers continue to impose Mubarak on the Egyptian people by funding Mubarak’s army of repression. A similar imposition in Palestine is why Hamas is so powerful today, because the west has imposed its regime of aid and diplomatic cover to the puppet abu Mazin, his gang of crooks and Israel. This distorts the reality of the situation and only builds pressure for a legitimate solution as the refugees continue to suffer, and Israel occupation of Palestine continues to fester. All the major problems in the region have been imposed on the Arabs, as even our brief moments of independence (via Nasser) were always fought tooth and nail.
    Israel itself has been imposed on us, and only survives because you continue to impose it on us. The zionists are able to destroy palestinian society, because the west gives legitimacy to that shitty zionist cancer of the middle east.
    What we need is for the west to give us Arabs a chance to breathe. We need the west to stop being involved and stop imposing things on our heads. If anything, it is time for you to boycott Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, the Palestinians…. Until we are able to create our own balance of reality. I would be perfectly happy with a total western diplomatic/trade/military embargo on the region (with the exception, if needed, the west can get oil, nothing else).
    STOP IMPOSING EVERYTHING ON US, WE DON’T WANT YOUR IMPOSED VIOLENCE ANYMORE. IT WILL ONLY CAUSE MORE SUFFERING. UNFORTUNATELY, IT APPEARS THAT YOUR COLONIAL MIND CAN ONLY UNDERSTAND YOURSELF AS RIGHTEOUS, AND DOESN’T REALIZE THAT YOU HAVE THE MIDAS TOUCH OF DEATH.

    Reply

  330. ... says:

    i 2nd the first post… aside from america’s role in all of this is the rest of arab worlds role as they seem to be turning a blind eye to the tragedy as much as the usa.. i guess the difference is there may have been some assumption of leadership coming from the usa, but it has never appeared and they have never been an honest broker for peace.. thanks again for your posts and this blog..

    Reply

  331. varanassi says:

    one simple truth, no matter what one’s bias in the ongoing arab/israeli/muslim/judeo-christian/hindu conflict:
    war is hell.
    may God protect the innocents on all sides.

    Reply

  332. Friend of Steve says:

    Steve,
    You epitomize fairness in your stimulating prose that makes
    everyone who reads you think. You make your friends proud.
    I’m glad that people on both sides of this terrible conflict are
    communicating with you.

    Reply

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