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186 Responses

  1. ol cranky
    ol cranky December 27, 2008 at 2:16 pm |

    Look, I’m not at all happy with what’s going on over there but at what point in time will the terrorists who claim to be working in support of the Palestinians (they aren’t, nor has the Arab League ever given a real damn about the Palestinians) be held accountable for their actions? Would we, as Americans, not be shooting across the border if we (all citizens, not just military targets) were constantly under attack by terrorists? I don’t think so and I also don’t think that we as a country would necessarily restrain us from accepting civilians as collateral damage if the terrorists who were constantly attacking us and killing our innocent people made sure they were surrounded by civilians. This is a horrid situation and one that will continue until groups like Hamas and other terrorist organizations who control a region/country (and/or have the complicity of the host country) and the host country are held to the same standard the world holds Israel to.

  2. Dan in Denver
    Dan in Denver December 27, 2008 at 2:18 pm |

    Maybe the Palestinians should stop waging war against Israel.

  3. Dan in Denver
    Dan in Denver December 27, 2008 at 2:32 pm |

    Did I say that what Hamas was doing to Israel was right?

    No, you didn’t. Instead, you’ve been silent. There have been 2000 rocket attacks on Israel, by Hamas, in the last year or so – random attacks which were not targeted against military or security personnel. (Israel’s attack on Gaza, by contrast, is primarily hitting armed Hamas security personnel.)

    You haven’t posted at all about it. So you don’t seem to have a(n expressed) problem with people attacking civilians, you seem to have a problem with Israel defending itself.

    If I’m mistaken, and you’ve posted on how horrible it is for Hamas to randomly shoot rockets into civilian territories, please correct me and I will humbly apologize.

  4. Dan in Denver
    Dan in Denver December 27, 2008 at 2:45 pm |

    I’m not suggesting that you’re a hypocrite. I’m suggesting that you’re on one side, but presenting yourself as being appalled that civilians die in war.

    If men raped and assaulted women every day in Denver (and they do), and I never blogged a word about that, but then on December 27 a woman finally got fed up and shot someone who was trying to rape her, and I then posted about how AWFUL it was that there was so much VIOLENCE, would you assume that I was anti-violence? Or would you assume I just didn’t really care about the first part of the story (violence against women), and only cared when a man got killed (violence against men)? You have posted about being upset about violence against Palestinians, but not about being upset about violence against Israelis.

    Israel and a large-ish subset of the Palestinian population are in a war. Wars kill people. Israel has tried, far harder than Hamas and other Palestinian war-fighting organizations, to target its violence against actual aggressors. When you report only on one side’s participation in a war, and ignore the other side’s participation, then you’re not being appalled at the carnage, you’re being upset that the side you don’t like took some effective action.

    This conflict will continue until the Palestinians decide to cease waging war. Israel has nothing to gain from armed conflict, and much to gain (economic security, trade) from peace, which is why they’ve been willing to try peace over and over again, even as cease-fires and truces are repeated violated. When people stop pressuring Israel to act like sitting ducks, and start pressuring the Palestinians to accept the existence of Israel and start building lives for themselves instead of just trying to destroy, then there might be progress.

  5. Layla
    Layla December 27, 2008 at 2:47 pm |

    It’s not like Israel only just started killing Palestinians when Hamas was elected. There was no “Hamas” when the Haganah chased my father’s family out of their ancestral home in Sara. Nobody talks about the Israeli raids into the West Bank because it does not fit into the rubric of punishing the Palestinians for their democratic choice!

    And I am so sure that the press went through and examined every single body blown up today to make sure they were all “security men.”

    There will be no peace without justice for the Palestinians.

  6. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla December 27, 2008 at 3:00 pm |

    ol’ cranky and Dan, what you fail to acknowledge (since the evidence is there, we just close our eyes to it) is that Israel was founded on a massive ethnic cleansing operation that sought to remove, by force, Palestinians from their own land. 600,000 Palestinians were driven out in 1948 and 1949, with Israeli forces killing thousands of people and razing villages to the ground, and Israel has continued its practice of ethnic cleansing and apartheid since then, with massive support from the US. When do we hold Israel to account for the destruction of an entire society?

    Killing of innocent civilians is wrong. Israel has done the vast majority of that killing. You are giving Israel a pass on this based on “self-defense” when Israel has been the aggressor from the beginning, while approving the killing of innocent Palestinian civilians as so-called collateral damage.

    Please read “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” by Ilan Pappe. He has documented the planning and execution of a systemic, coordinated ethnic cleansing campaign, from documents contained in Israeli archives, written by the architects of that campaign, especially including David Ben-Gurion.

    I am Jewish, and in my practice of Judaism, this is not justice, and the founders of Israel and the current government are/were war criminals, not heroes.

  7. cats
    cats December 27, 2008 at 3:00 pm |

    But what does “justice for the Palestinians” mean? When I was in Israel, it kind of seemed like it meant “all the Israelis dead.”

    What do you mean when you say it?

  8. Jack
    Jack December 27, 2008 at 3:02 pm |

    Dan in Denver, I think it’s interesting that you are so invested in the right of Israel to defend itself, yet you don’t seem to consider that the Palestinians have the same right. Like Cara, I don’t believe that Hamas should launch attacks against civilians, but neither should Israel. And yes, occupying and stealing another nation’s lands and imposing blockades that destroy a nation’s economy and create a humanitarian crisis are indeed attacks on civilians.

    When you refuse to respond to Israeli violence against Palestine without immediately trumpeting about Israel has the right to “defend itself,” you completely ignore the immense power imbalance that exists between Palestine and Israel, the aggression and oppression that Palestinians experience on a daily basis at the hands of Israel, and the tremendous difference in the levels of death, destruction, and disempowerment that each population faces. Yes, no civilians should die be they Israeli or Palestinian, but to ignore the numbers and the power differences at play is disingenuous and grants the oppressor even more power over the oppressed.

  9. Jack
    Jack December 27, 2008 at 3:04 pm |

    Also, what Layla and GallingGalla said.

  10. Sailingwindward
    Sailingwindward December 27, 2008 at 3:04 pm |

    The truth is that Israel has never kept their word on the truce (not that they ever do), for the past months Israel has raided towns and killed Palestinians in Gaza, closed borders and cut off all food, fuel and all basic supplies to Gaza, Israel has been taunting and provoking the militants for months now. The Israelis can always rely on the news media and the US for uneven support for their cause only, Jimmy Carter was the last and only leader who understood the Middle East, I would compare Israel to South Africa years ago, just a prejudice bitter people wanting to exterminate anyone different from them.

  11. cats
    cats December 27, 2008 at 3:14 pm |

    Ok, Jack, same question. If you agree with it, then what does “justice for the palestinians” mean? What does it look like to you?

  12. David Schraub
    David Schraub December 27, 2008 at 3:24 pm |

    “And my thoughts are with the Palestinians living in Gaza and the Israelis huddling in bomb shelters.” [edited].

    Anyway. I’m very conflicted about this, as usual. The main problem as I see it is that Israel hasn’t figured out a policy towards Palestine that will yield consistent security benefits.

    That includes the one they’re exercising now (heavy duty bombing operations targeting Hamas operatives) — Hamas has in the past and will continue to respond to these attacks with further rocket attacks of its own across the border. There’s no real evidence that Israel’s military operations are actually doing anything to change the overall strategic structure of the situation with the Palestinians.

    But that also includes the more “dovish” options Israel has attempted. Withdrawing from Arab-claimed territory has had no effect on Palestinian terror campaigns. Neither has reducing restraints on humanitarian aid into Gaza. “Justice”, if you will, hasn’t done much to bring about peace either. And that’s at least in part because while the Palestinian political leadership certainly desires the things that are its just due — an independent state, access to adequate provisions for basic needs — that isn’t all it wants. Hamas is also quite clear that it wants (a) the destruction of the state of Israel, replaced with an Islamist alternative and (b) eventually, the death of every Jew on the face of the earth. Those are kind of sticking points in negotiations.

    So what do you do when nothing changes no matter what you do?

    My intuition is that until someone can develop a policy package Israel can implement that will actually result in material improvements in their security situation, they’re going to continue resorting to bombing campaigns regardless of whether they “work” or not. Political pressure to “do something” and a desire for retributive justice guarantee that. The problem is that nobody has figured out what actually has to go into the package. That’s the hump here — until we get over it, I think there is no real hope for any long term peace in the region.

  13. Layla
    Layla December 27, 2008 at 3:24 pm |

    “But what does “justice for the Palestinians” mean? When I was in Israel, it kind of seemed like it meant “all the Israelis dead.”

    What do you mean when you say it?”

    The conception of a united democratic state for both Israelis and Palestinians as delineated in Ali Abunimah’s book “One Country” seems to me the most viable and just solution.

  14. Undertoad
    Undertoad December 27, 2008 at 3:29 pm |

    This year, over 200 Palestinians, many of them children, have been killed when Palestinian munitions went off-target, hitting themselves, or detonated while being worked on, etc. Who will speak for them? Our moral compass is spinning and we are confused!

  15. JohnM
    JohnM December 27, 2008 at 4:15 pm |

    When I was in Israel, peace for Palestinians meant fair access to hospitals and an equal supply of water without special permits.

    Maybe it’s changed since then, but the attacks on both sides suggest otherwise.

    Israel has the resources to better control its use of power; it should. It doesn’t.

  16. shah8
    shah8 December 27, 2008 at 4:17 pm |

    1) Gaza currently is, for all intents and purposes, an open-air prison on the just and vile alike.

    2) Israel retain Gaza at all because there is an aquifer underneath it that once supported agriculture and the city’s water supply.

    3) Israel did this bombing because for various reasons, this is probably the last time it could degrade Hamas’s governmental structure with this level of severity.

  17. Holly
    Holly December 27, 2008 at 4:19 pm |

    How about Israel ends the occupation of the territories they invaded in 1967, recognize the right of displaced Palestinians to return to their homes, and dismantle the theocratic apartheid policies of the Israeli state that prevent full democratic participation by all citizens? That’s what I understand to be widely meant by “justice for the Palestinians.”

    Hamas is also quite clear that it wants (a) the destruction of the state of Israel, replaced with an Islamist alternative and (b) eventually, the death of every Jew on the face of the earth. Those are kind of sticking points in negotiations.

    And this isn’t what’s widely meant even if Hamas hard-liners want it. The key to getting rid of support for extremists who will never stop trying to incite bloodshed is NOT to continue the bloodshed. It’s to make sure that the people, the bulk of the people, can live their lives with liberty and safety and all their basic needs. Say what you will about the failures of appeasement, but it has to start with that principle — even if it takes generations to undo the damage that’s been wrought by seizing and occupying and ethnically cleansing.

  18. ol cranky
    ol cranky December 27, 2008 at 4:20 pm |

    Sailing, et al

    Neither side has exactly kept their word on the “truce”. Additionally, aggression and terrorism against Israel (and specifically against Israeli citizens) did not start with Hamas. There’s more than enough blame to go around on both sides. It just seems that, outside the US and within the US liberal movement, the blame is one-sided against Israel (this, btw, is how the fundies get frightened Jews of my parents’ generation and older to fear the left as much as the extremes of the right). There’s no doubt that the early elite in the Israeli government/Zionist movement were terrorist guerrillas, just as there’s no doubt that the Arab league didn’t give 2 shits about the Palestinians when they decided to use them as a political pawn by ensuring they were people without a homeland after the Balfour declaration (and the Palestinians bought the Arab League “everything wrong with the world is due to the evil Jews” BS).

    We criticize Israel for killing Arab children but not the Arabs who intentionally put those children at risk (these include the terrorists who hide in the open among civilians as much as the parents who are willing to martyr their children and use them as sheilds). Israel must give up hundreds of prisoners who are in jail for terroristic attacks in return for little (maybe the remains of a dead soldier or two) if anything. In pointing this out, I’m not saying Israel is blameless because she’s not but it seems she is the only one to forced to make any conciliatory efforts and is the only one expected to maintain any degree of restraint. I cringe every time Israel responds to an act of aggression because I know no good can come from it. The point to my initial post was that both sides must be held accountable equitably and they’re not – this is something the allegedly pro-Palestinian (I say allegedly b/c I don’t really think they care about the welfare of Palestinians in general) terrorists count on and Israelis have no choice but to accept.

    Layla: My understanding of the Israeli response to Abuminah’s solution of one country is a concern that between the competing birth rates, Jews in a one country solution would rapidly become a minority with the same lack of rights/safety as Jews in many Muslim countries (most of which are dealing with rising Islamofascism). My Arab Muslim friends are from Iran, Iraq and Pakistan, they seem to have the same take on a 1 state solution though we all hope that having it on the table will spur the Israeli government to put some real effort into the two-state solution (the sooner they run the Israeli settlers out to give that land back the better). I have no idea what the average Palestinian thinks of the possibility. Do you really think the concept of 1 state in which all citizens are afforded equal rights regardless of ethnicity/religion is possible in that region (we don’t even really have that here and we’re not as polarized as the factions in the middle east are)?

  19. Laura
    Laura December 27, 2008 at 4:47 pm |

    “Israel was founded on a massive ethnic cleansing operation that sought to remove, by force, Palestinians from their own land”

    … Israel was also founded, in part, because of a massive ethnic cleansing operation that sought to remove, by force, Jews from the *face of the earth.*

  20. Morningstar
    Morningstar December 27, 2008 at 5:06 pm |

    back in 2003 every single muslim nation on the planet, including iran, agreed to recognize israel and have a formal peace treaty with the nation if it withdrew to it’s pre-1967 borders and gave the palestinians e. jeruselum. the refugee situation was put off for further negotiations, so that wasn’t the sticking point.

    you can read the text here:

    http://www.al-bab.com/arab/docs/league/peace02.htm

    israel flat out rejected the proposal, didn’t offer a counter just gave everyone a big FU.

    and now they’re blaming the failure for peace on hamas. well what’s the excuse in the w. bank where hamas isn’t in charge? what’s the excuse for demolishing arab homes in the w. bank and jeruselum and putting jews in that land? or the constant attacks by settlers these past few months? what’s the excuse there?

    the american media, the politicians here, everyone seems to immediately put the onus on the arabs for peace, every single time something like this happens.

    the disconnect is staggering.

  21. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla December 27, 2008 at 5:08 pm |

    Laura … Zionists began planning their strategy in the 1930′s, and conducted extensive intellegence / infiltration operations and early phases of the cleansing operations themselves beginning in the early 1940′s, while the Holocaust was happening.

    The family memories of the Holocaust (and the pogroms before that) pain me greatly. Here’s my heartfelt question (and yes, I’m yelling in all caps):

    SINCE WHEN THE FUCK DOES THAT GIVE US THE RIGHT TO TURN AROUND AND VISIT SIMILAR ACTIONS AGAINST ANOTHER PEOPLE?

    Is this what we mean by “never again”? Is this what we mean by justice? That “never again” and “justice” applies only to us? How can we possibly address antisemitism and oppression of Jewish people by turning into oppressors ourselves?

  22. Renee
    Renee December 27, 2008 at 5:23 pm |

    Israel was also founded, in part, because of a massive ethnic cleansing operation that sought to remove, by force, Jews from the *face of the earth.*

    Yes and isn’t it ironic that the same people that were once housed in ghettos now house others in ghettos and starve them out. No one denies the reason for the creation of the state of Israel, but that does not give them the right to terrorize innocent Palestinians. Israel is running an apartheid state no different than the former South Africa. You cannot oppress a people for generations and expect them to love you.

  23. corwin
    corwin December 27, 2008 at 5:38 pm |

    Cara,
    then what would you do to stop slaughter of your citizens.I’m reminded of a pssage in David Niven’s autobiography,where he cites a director(William Wilder) asking for dozens of takes ojn a scene.After playing the part softly,loudly,slowly,menacingly,etc ,he was frustrated.You get the idea,(Well,maybe not).He asked the director,”For God’s sake,Willie.What do you want?”
    “I want it better.”You’ve written nothing on which one can compliment or critique.I’m reminded of a scene from ‘Groundhog Days” where Bill Murray’s character hoists a toast for ‘World Peace’ when he’s trying to get a girl’s pants off.Pretty controversial,but thought provoking.
    PS.Why can’t hose Jews be more trusting ?Eventually Hamas will run ouit of rockets.

  24. Muslims Against Sharia
    Muslims Against Sharia December 27, 2008 at 6:09 pm |

    Hypocrisy in Action:
    Where were Egypt, Russia, OIC, EU, Britain, Sarkozy, US & Austria when Hamas was pounding Israel with daily barrage of rockets?

    http://muslimsagainstsharia.blogspot.com/2008/12/hypocrisy-in-action.html

  25. David Schraub
    David Schraub December 27, 2008 at 6:10 pm |

    You cannot oppress a people for generations and expect them to love you.

    Truer (if more ironic) words have never been spoken. When dealing with the historical baggage the Jewish and Arab communities have regarding each other (including a boatload of oppression flowing out of both sides), love — or even mutual respect within a common democratic framework — is a lot to ask for.

    [It must be said that matters aren't helped when we explode into rhetorical hyperbole to show We're Outraged Progressives(tm). A military campaign can violate human rights without being ethnic cleansing, much less apartheid, genocide, or "SIMILAR ACTIONS" to the Holocaust. Terrorist attacks against Jews can be abysmal without being kristalnacht or Russian or Arab pogroms. Such discourse is the product of people who care more about their own moral righteousness than they do about actually de-escalating tensions in a region already on the brink].

    I’m a committed two-stater, both because I don’t believe a one-state solution is feasible, and because even if it was “feasible”, I think it would be unjust. The story of polyglot nations which combine disparate groups with a history of ethnic conflict is not a good one (see, e.g., Yugoslavia, Lebanon) even under the metric of basic stability. Establishment of such states tends to happen only at the point of a gun and at the cost of significant bloodshed. Protection of minority rights is another problem: I’m inclined to think that Jews would be a minority in the new state, but it really doesn’t matter because whichever group ends up in the minority has no reason to think the majority will be particularly respectful of their rights, and there is no way ex ante to guarantee that said rights will be protected. The Palestinian rights situation is awful right now and the Israeli Arab position is mediocre. And Jews, for their part, have a disturbing tendency to be killed off when they’re in the minority. Somebody is going to lose big.

    Even if we could get past the threshold issues of stability and basic rights, I’d still think a one-state option is qualitatively bad, because it necessarily can’t respect the national self-determination rights of Israelis and Palestinians at the same time. I think it’s a solid democratic principle that no group should have to be a minority everywhere. Israel is the only place in the world where Jews are not a marginalized group. Taking that away is bad for anybody who thinks that there should be some place where Jews are the center and not alien. Palestinians likewise deserve a place where they are the norm and not the Other, and shouldn’t be forced to sacrifice that either. And for Jews, particularly, who still have rather unique and vulnerable diaspora situation, the need for a Jewish state flows particularly from the need for a haven for Jews fleeing oppression elsewhere — something that can’t be replicated even in otherwise friendly nations where Jews are in the minority. The precarious demographic balance of the hypothetical single-state would make it even less likely that it’d be willing to act as such a haven.

    My ideal outcome is a two-state solution stemming out of a quadrilateral land swap (Israel, Palestine, Egypt and Jordan) which would give Palestinians an independent state with enough territory to be viable on (it would also symbolically note that the travails of the Palestinian community represents a regional and international failure, and not just Israel’s fault, and also would probably provide better solvency for the millions of Palestinians living in surrounding Arab states, particularly Jordan). I think it’s doable, I think it’s realistic, and I think it satisfies the primary rights, claims, and obligations both sides have on each other and on global society.

    The best thing I have to say to one-state supporters is that they’re letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. The more accurate thing I have to say to them is that they’re letting the immoral and oppressive be the enemy of the good because they don’t seriously respect the preferences, rights, narrative, and experience of the other side (vague terms because I group in “greater Israel” Jews to this category as well).

  26. Laura
    Laura December 27, 2008 at 7:00 pm |

    “Zionists began planning their strategy in the 1930’s, and conducted extensive intellegence / infiltration operations and early phases of the cleansing operations themselves beginning in the early 1940’s, while the Holocaust was happening.”

    No arguments here – it’s pretty obvious they’ve been strategizing over this piece of land for at least 5000 years. After all, they wrote a book to prove that God wanted them to have it.

    I was only responding to the use of the phrase “ethnic cleansing” to refer to Israel’s actions in Palestine. The comparison strikes me as extreme – although not quite as extreme as killing 200+ and wounding 600+ in response to 4-5 deaths.

  27. shah8
    shah8 December 27, 2008 at 7:01 pm |

    David, that’s pretty fucked up.

    Name me one state that isn’t multiethnic in some way. Even places that have suffered serious ethnic cleansing like Croatia and Poland still have minorities. Korea and Japan both have ethnic and cultural minorities, for all their homogenous xenophobia.

    There are thousands more ethnic groups than there are states for them. Shall we do ‘em each a state? Or shall we get along with the process of the “can’t we all just get along?”

    Although I have to say, your proposed 4 nations swap was not a little hilarious, especially your comments about Jordan.

    In the end, Israel will be vanquished. There isn’t the room for settler ethos and settler justification. Not without the help of some heavy-duty anti-arab smallpox help. In its place will be yet another normal multiethnic country. Whether that be by violence

  28. matttbastard
    matttbastard December 27, 2008 at 7:03 pm |

    FYI re: “Muslims” Against Sharia.

    /grain of salt

  29. Dan in Denver
    Dan in Denver December 27, 2008 at 7:32 pm |

    There would be minorities in a two-state model too, Shah8.

    A two-state solution is probably the only way to have peace in the region. Interestingly enough, opposition to the two-state model mostly comes from people who insist that Israel must cease to exist. The Israelis are correct about the motivations of their enemies; this doesn’t excuse them from wrongdoing, but it does provide an explanation of why let’s-get-along platitudes have little traction with many Israelis.

    The Israelis accepted a two-state solution in 1948 and they’re willing to work with one today. It’s the people who want to commit genocide against the Jews who can’t accept it.

  30. shah8
    shah8 December 27, 2008 at 7:56 pm |

    The militantly zionist wanted a two state solution. That was what the terrorism by people like Begin was all about. I just want a stable, multi-ethnic country where the River Jordan flows, okay?

    I mean, I’m not seriously intending to have a rational discussion. Participating in a thread like this is mostly just me being uncharitable. Mostly because so many of the pro-Israel people are ahistorically nuts. If gravity wasn’t jewish, Israel would be floating off somewheres. But then again, it’s impossible to be rational with any nationalist, no matter race or creed.

  31. Bruce from Missouri
    Bruce from Missouri December 27, 2008 at 9:49 pm |

    Why should Israel move back to Pre-1967 borders? It’s those other nation’s own fault they lost them. It’s what happens when you write checks with your mouth that your ass can’t cash. If you have a shitty military, maybe you shouldn’t threaten or attack people who have a good one. If Mexico lined up their military on our border (which is essentially what Egypt did to Israel), we would be perfectly justified in taking Baja California off their hands.

    Quite frankly, I think that if Israel’s neighbors, going back to 1948, would have butted out of what was not their business, everyone, especially the Palestinians would have been much better off. But, the neighbor states have NEVER had what’s best for the Palestinians in mind. If they had, the Palestinians would not still be in camps.

  32. pro-israel, pro-peace
    pro-israel, pro-peace December 27, 2008 at 9:54 pm |

    “Israel was founded on a massive ethnic cleansing operation that sought to remove, by force, Palestinians from their own land”

    palestinians were the arabs and jews that were on the land in ’48, and they were all invited to stay. many arabs did, and today there are over a million arab citizens of israel with full civil rights. the fact that some arabs left because they didn’t want to be part of israel is their own doing.

    “Name me one state that isn’t multiethnic in some way”

    gaza. every single jewish person is out of gaza. that’s where the real ethnic cleansing took place. meanwhile there are a million arabs in israel with full civil rights.

  33. shah8
    shah8 December 27, 2008 at 10:25 pm |

    *snicker*

    gaza isn’t a country and never has been.

  34. cats
    cats December 27, 2008 at 11:08 pm |

    I don’t see anyone in this thread who called it a country, shah8. And what, exactly, are you snickering at? Is this much death and suffering amusing to you?

  35. Sylvia
    Sylvia December 27, 2008 at 11:10 pm |

    “today there are over a million arab citizens of israel with full civil rights”…

    Of course they do. FULL RIGHTS dontcha know… Why they can even marry who they want just like all the other Israelis. They can go into the West Bank and Gaza, leave the country, work in any field (including the Army!) – all free and what not. Good stuff. You know who else has it good? The African Jews in Israel. And the Eastern European Jews. Israel- the ultimate bastion of Democracy…

  36. David Schraub
    David Schraub December 27, 2008 at 11:27 pm |

    If the “militantly Zionist” wanted a two-state solution, that’s a point in their favor and more credit than I’m usually willing to give them. The Arab population in 1948 wanted a Judenrein one-state solution that was meant to begin with what Arab League Secretary General Azzam Pasha described as “a war of extermination”. Or as Jerusalem Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini put it more directly: “Murder the Jews. Murder them all.”

    A quadrilateral land swap, including most of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, part of the Sinai (both to reduce stress on Gaza and provide space for a large air/seaport facility, and part of Western Jordan (which has a huge Palestinian diaspora) would be far more viable if putative progressives would spend a bit more time figuring out how to get Palestine a viable state with enough land to live on and less time engaging in self-indulgent circle jerks about the evils of Nazi Israel and world Jewry.

  37. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla December 27, 2008 at 11:37 pm |

    Uh, cats, I think shah8 is referring to “pro-israel, pretend-peace” above, who claims that Gaza is a “state”, which is indeed laughable. shah8 is not snickering at death and suffering, not that I can see from shah8′s other comments.

    Oh, and “pro-israel, pretend-peace”, yeah, right, like 600,000 Palestinians left the villages that they lived in for hundreds of years just to be nice. Being driven out, males rounded up and imprisoned and sometimes shot, and the Zionists razing their homes had nothing to do with it. Nah, not at all.

    And what Sylvia said.

  38. TASHA
    TASHA December 27, 2008 at 11:39 pm |

    The Israeli regimes have no right to do what they are doing to the ppl of Gaza.. Hamas is not a terrorist organization. I AM AN ISRAELI RUSSIAN WHO HAS WORKED IN THE WEST BANK AND GAZA! Most ppl don’t know this but Hamas is a political party in the occupied territories. They supply medical aid to the ppl who support them and they do not fight unless they have been struck apon to do so. I worked with the red crescent and the red cross and the Jewish peace for Palestine. I have seen how my country Israel wages its war against the Indigenous ppl of the land. I am totally for Israel but, on the flip side I am for the rights of freedom for a ppl who had no fault of there own because of world politics that the west had with the British, Lawrence of Arabia and the Ottoman Empire. These Ppl had no fault in knowing what was going on in the world and they are a direct result of back handed politics. Therefore I am angry and frustrated at the killings of the Palestinian People. I want to just educate the world and let the world know that when you are struck and beaten you fight back with any means necessary. If the western world wants to call this terrorism please be my guest…… But lets not be one sided and know what Humanity is! Its is written to be with god who does not condone a huge major power stifling a small underdog…

  39. The Debate Link
    The Debate Link December 28, 2008 at 12:13 am |

    Needing a True Friend in the White House…

    So I think most of us are still trying to digest Israel’s recent attack into Gaza — one of the heaviest operations it’s launched in quite awhile. Palestinian casualties are estimated around 200. Most bloggers I’ve read seem to be assuming that figu…

  40. Ellen
    Ellen December 28, 2008 at 12:57 am |

    “Withdrawing from Arab-claimed territory has had no effect on Palestinian terror campaigns”

    I’d like to know when that has happened. Israel makes a big show of closing settlements while continuing to settle in other areas.

    “palestinians were the arabs and jews that were on the land in ‘48, and they were all invited to stay”

    That is the revisionist history in Israeli and American history books. It is a lie. The rest of the world is taught differently. There was ethnic cleansing similar to what is happening in Darfur. Unfortunately we didn’t have the internet back then.

    It is so interesting to me the different news and history we get (or don’t) in America on this topic. If you question it, you are an anti-semite. Well I am a Jew, and like many Jews around the world and in Israel, we recognize the daily human rights abuses of the Israeli government.

    This does not mean that Hamas is not a terrorist organization. But Israel’s human rights abuses were happening before Hamas existed. And Israel is the one with the most power to stop this.

    http://www.btselem.org/English/index.asp

  41. Ellen
    Ellen December 28, 2008 at 1:02 am |

    And Bruce from Missouri. Learn some history. Those other nations had no choice. They couldn’t absorb the massive amounts of palestinian refugees who were “invited to stay” (insert sarcastic tone).

  42. Ellen
    Ellen December 28, 2008 at 1:08 am |

    Dan in Denver: The word Jew and the word Zionist are not synonymous. Please don’t speak for all Jews.

  43. fauzia
    fauzia December 28, 2008 at 1:36 am |

    “This conflict will continue until the Palestinians decide to cease waging war.”

    Oh, come on. Must be all the Palestinians’ fault.

  44. Dan in Denver
    Dan in Denver December 28, 2008 at 2:10 am |

    I didn’t say it was all their fault, fauzia. I said it would continue until they decide to quit.

    Cara, I want to retract some of my earlier statements. I bet that my assumption is right, but I don’t know you and I haven’t followed your writing with any particular thoroughness and so I had no right to declare what you believe. I sincerely apologize for that.

  45. Jill
    Jill December 28, 2008 at 2:26 am | *

    Silly Fauzia. It’s the fault of Islam.

  46. fauzia
    fauzia December 28, 2008 at 2:37 am |

    “Quite frankly, I think that if Israel’s neighbors, going back to 1948, would have butted out of what was not their business, everyone, especially the Palestinians would have been much better off.”
    ———-

    right. because that makes LOADS of sense. just like if the rest of the world just “butted out” of the situation in darfur, everything would be rainbows and sunshine over there.

  47. Kate
    Kate December 28, 2008 at 8:13 am |

    19: The occupation ended in 2005. What in the world are you going on about?

    Israel has the right to defend itself after Hamas continued firing thousands of rockets at Israel even after the truce ended. I’m sick of all this propaganda, I did not see any of this aggression towards Russia when they attacked Georgia, and they practically wiped them out.

  48. Jill
    Jill December 28, 2008 at 10:00 am | *

    Also, the Israeli occupation ended in 2005 and now Palestinians have nothing to complain about? Um…

  49. fauzia
    fauzia December 28, 2008 at 10:58 am |

    just because they don’t call it an occupation anymore doesn’t mean it’s not. and seriously…what are all those palestinians on about. they’re lives are peachy keen in those refugee camps. jeez!

    …right.

  50. Dr William Dyer
    Dr William Dyer December 28, 2008 at 12:29 pm |

    Thinking on the of the ongoing fight over a land flowing with milk and honey, I am wondering if there is not going to be something similar on the other side of the Arabian Peninsula in the years to come.

    Both sides started fighting it out before Palestinian Diaspora and there is somewhere in the neighborhood of 4-5 million displaced Palestinians. Right now Iraq has ~4.5 million of displaced people from the ethnic cleansing that to some extent is still ongoing. In the years to come is there going to be a similar flair up as people try to return and find things like others taking up residence in their former homes? The ongoing conflict in greater Israel is filled with all sorts of ethnic and religious intersections that have been grossly mismanaged by the likes of the British Empire and others. The United States, that young upstart from former Empire, may be laying the groundwork for another long running intractable conflict in the Fertile Crescent.

  51. Dave
    Dave December 28, 2008 at 12:42 pm |

    Kate’s comment about Georgia is pretty spot on, but that doesn’t excuse Israel. The problem is that Israel are evil, vicious, thuggish bastards who are doing so out of (what they feel) is necessity. Israel is a country that was basically shoved down into the middle east, displacing a huge number of people who quite naturally have developed some serious hatreds. So over years of conflict Israel has become extremely aggressive in asserting themselves and letting people know not to fuck with them. Blowing up Lebanon in 2006 was a perfect example, the deaths of eight soldiers and kidnapping of two was enough to give Israel an excuse to completely destroy the infrastructure of the majority of the country.

    This situation with Gaza is incredibly messy, but controlling the strip since 1967, withdrawing in 1994, and then simply starving it out in a pseudo-siege doesn’t give Israel much in the way of moral superiority here. Hamas coming into power doesn’t help things, but I think the fact they were voted in says something about how desperate people are to do something about Israel who’s been raping that area for forty years. Hamas’ rocket attacks, though idiotic and vicious, haven’t done NEARLY what Israel has done in two days. When you have some of Israel’s biggest supporters condemning the attacks, you have to understand this is something -bad-, and going far beyond simple self defense.

  52. ol cranky
    ol cranky December 28, 2008 at 4:29 pm |

    That’s funny. I saw tons of liberal support for Georgia and opposition to Russia. What I also saw was fewer people admonishing that position . . .

    I think I was the only liberal noting that I thought Georgia was the aggressor in the recent exacerbation of that situation. Of course in Georgia’s situation, I think that BushCo prodded them on whereas in Israel they are seriously cheesed off on their own and are basically throwing the worst of tantrums. While I agree with Dave to a point, I think it’s unfair to bold stroke paint Israel as just plain evil thugs who just go around beating up on innocents. They’re pissed and acting out but part of the reason they’re giving in to the basest of instincts is because turning the other cheek and doing the right thing still results in them getting terrorized and most of the world portraying them as evil jew bastards and forgiving those who commit acts of aggression against her as pure and innocent. As I’ve said all along, there is plenty of blame to go around and it’s about time we (and the UN) hold both sides accountable. BTW, things will only get worse if Likud/Bibi Netanayu gains more power.

  53. Natalia
    Natalia December 28, 2008 at 4:33 pm |

    I did not see any of this aggression towards Russia when they attacked Georgia, and they practically wiped them out.

    I wasn’t going to comment on this thread anyway, but WHAT THE HELL are you talking about? Russia “practically wiped Georgia out”? Really? They did? Let’s see… Georgian military casualties… 144 soldiers killed. Civilian – 228 killed, 872 missing.

    All of those lives, as the lives of everyone else involved, were precious, but to claim that Russia “practically wiped out” Georgia is complete and utter BS.

    God, I am SO sick of this crap.

    /rant

    P.S. For anyone in Jordan – here’s a chance to help Gaza civilians.

  54. A Feminist
    A Feminist December 28, 2008 at 5:26 pm |

    Dave, you are an anti-Semite with an incredible lack of knowledge in this topic. I’m sure you’re ranting on here because no one in reality would tolerate your twisted mind.

    I hope people out there are going to do some actual research and realize the truth here. Anti-Zionist Propaganda is everywhere, and a lot of it comes from those terrorists and anti-Semites that know exactly what message they’re spreading. Others, just buy into it not getting where it stemmed from.

    Please people, read facts. Not editorial columns, not talk show discussions. Go and understand this. Middle East conflicts are NOT black and white, they’re complex and involve some actual understanding of the sides (and yes, there are more than two).

  55. A Feminist
    A Feminist December 28, 2008 at 6:05 pm |

    Kate, you’re right on most things except people were still not liking the violence that went on tin Georgia. They weren’t wiped out, but the Russians were definitely not kind in their assault on the area.

    Also, I think it’s sad how some of you act as if Israel does “illegal war crimes.” Please, if you’re going to blame any countries for war crimes, Israel should be far down the list while countries like North Korea and Saudi Arabia would be in the top 5.

    Israel gives millions of dollars in aid to Darfur, Chad, and many other struggling areas.

    They are the only democracy in the Middle East. Women are treated more equally than they are in the US even. They recognize gay marriages and are striving to legalize them, while other countries in the middle east hang homosexuals on the streets.

    Did you know all of the above? This is what I learned from actually researching and getting the facts from various sources. I hope for peace like all of you, but I don’t blame anyone other than terrorist organizations for this, who would drop a bomb on the entire Western world if they could.

  56. G. Featherstone, QC
    G. Featherstone, QC December 28, 2008 at 6:32 pm |

    “doesn’t give Israel much in the way of moral superiority”

    As all Jews should know well by now, you’ll only be granted that wonderful “moral superiority” to speak of at dinner parties when you’re being shovelled into ovens.

  57. FreddyBak
    FreddyBak December 28, 2008 at 7:24 pm |

    Cara, the fact that I am already the 60th commenter shows what we already knew – this is complicated stuff. But for those of us who support Israel (whether unequivocally or with asterkisks), your writing that the UN, Russia(Russia!) and Egypt have called for Israel to stop is not exactly evidence that it is that Israel should stop.

  58. SoVeryUnhip
    SoVeryUnhip December 28, 2008 at 7:30 pm |

    I don’t want to fan the flames or anything, but does anyone have any books to recommend so that I could educate myself on this conflict? Because I know a bit but not enough and I’d like to be able to see where the different sides in this conflict (and this argument) are coming from.

    (I know that’s kind of a tall order, there must be jillions of books… but I trust Feministe posters better than Amazon reviews.)

  59. Blue
    Blue December 28, 2008 at 8:00 pm |

    I can’t believe that this thread devolved into accusations of anti-semitism for not supporting Zionist principles.

    A Feminist: Zionism=/=Judaism. Zionism is a political/social system that is actually non-religious. It is designed to apply to people who are ethnically Jewish, not religiously so. There is a reason that Zionist organizations in Israel are not terribly concerned with the immigration of Ethiopian Jews. Being anti-Zionist does not make one anti-semitic.

  60. Skullhunter
    Skullhunter December 28, 2008 at 8:00 pm |

    Calling someone an anti-semite without any evidence of such is a really nasty and underhanded silencing tactic. Is Dave mistaken about the Israeli military saturating Lebanon with cluster bombs in retaliation for the eight soldiers killed? Is Dave mistaken in saying that the IDF has probably killed more people in one day of this operation than Hamas has in a week of rocket attacks? Is it also anti-semetic to say that collective punishment is barbaric? The Israelis have a right to live. They have a right not to be terrorized. They don’t have a right to kill and terrorize others who have nothing to do with the rocket attacks save for being unlucky enough to live within a five-mile radius of a launch site. Just because your enemies are callous, cruel and thuggish doesn’t excuse you trying to outdo them. And Cara is right also in that kind acts of charity do not undo vicious acts of violence.

  61. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla December 28, 2008 at 8:14 pm |

    A Feminist:

    Y’no, I’m really getting sick of the meme that any criticism of Israel, no matter how faint, automatically becomes “Anti-Semitism”. Throwing around unsubstantiated claims of anti-semitism is nothing more than an attempt to shut down the voices that are calling for justice. I’d like to know exactly what Dave and others have said that is anti-semitic. Criticism of Israel and its supporters is a far cry from blood libel, “Dirty Jew”, etc.

    We are discussing Israel’s actions here. We are not discussing Judaism or the Jewish Diaspora.

    As far as Israel being a supposed democracy, yeah, about as much as the US is. Lets ask LGBT people (especially trans people) how democratic Israel is. Lets ask the Falashas (Black Jews from Ethiopia, who’ve pretty much been excluded from participating in Israeli society). Lets ask those Arab citizens.

  62. fauzia
    fauzia December 28, 2008 at 8:33 pm |

    according to A Feminist:

    Anti-Zionist = anti-Semite?

    Interesting.

  63. Morningstar
    Morningstar December 28, 2008 at 8:39 pm |

    “I don’t want to fan the flames or anything, but does anyone have any books to recommend so that I could educate myself on this conflict? Because I know a bit but not enough and I’d like to be able to see where the different sides in this conflict (and this argument) are coming from.”

    well for something with a clear agenda, but heavily referenced and defended, i think Norman Finkelstein’s book “Image & Reality” is excellent. it nails many of the famous zionist talking points/myths and reframes the debate so people can recognize the enormous power disparity in this conflict.

  64. fauzia
    fauzia December 28, 2008 at 8:43 pm |

    @ SoVeryUnhip

    i actually wrote my thesis on the historiography of the palestinian identity (amongst other things) so i’ve got quite a reading list if you want to email me i’d be happy to send along a copy (fauziadawood-at-gmail-dot-com)

  65. sandra
    sandra December 28, 2008 at 9:05 pm |

    A Feminist: Hear, hear!

  66. Zoe Brain
    Zoe Brain December 28, 2008 at 9:21 pm |

    From the Hamas Charter:

    Article Eleven:
    The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up.

    This is the law governing the land of Palestine in the Islamic Sharia (law) and the same goes for any land the Moslems have conquered by force, because during the times of (Islamic) conquests, the Moslems consecrated these lands to Moslem generations till the Day of Judgement.

    This includes Spain, France as far north as Tours, India, and all parts of Europe east of Vienna. Osama Bin Laden is not alone in not accepting the “Tragedy of Andalucia” as he put it in one of his tapes, and so will continue to fight as long as Spain remains outside of the Caliphate. Hamas says they will do likewise, unless this translation is erroneous.

    Article Twelve:
    Nationalism, from the point of view of the Islamic Resistance Movement, is part of the religious creed. Nothing in nationalism is more significant or deeper than in the case when an enemy should tread Moslem land. Resisting and quelling the enemy become the individual duty of every Moslem, male or female. A woman can go out to fight the enemy without her husband’s permission, and so does the slave: without his master’s permission.

    An interesting section from a Feminist perspective : to praise because it gives the Right of Women to blow themselves up (as long as they kill unbelievers), or to condemn because it portrays women as slaves? To an old Abolitionist like me, any slavery is odious, whether it be due to gender or otherwise, and I don’t value the right to become human dynamite very highly.

    Article Thirteen:
    Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement….

    No more need be said on that one.

    Article Seventeen:
    The Moslem woman has a role no less important than that of the moslem man in the battle of liberation. She is the maker of men. Her role in guiding and educating the new generations is great. The enemies have realised the importance of her role. They consider that if they are able to direct and bring her up they way they wish, far from Islam, they would have won the battle. That is why you find them giving these attempts constant attention through information campaigns, films, and the school curriculum, using for that purpose their lackeys who are infiltrated through Zionist organizations under various names and shapes, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, espionage groups and others, which are all nothing more than cells of subversion and saboteurs.

    So Feminists, Rotarians, and Freemasons are all part of the International Zionist Conspiracy.

    I think that means everyone here.

    Now do you see the problem? Israel evacuates Gaza (as it should) and it’s immediately used as the largest missile launch complex in the world. 2000 rockets this year, 4000 over the last few years, and aimed at Jews in general.

    Unlike most here, I’ve actually been to the area. You know that all the roadsigns in Israel are in two, sometimes three languages? Hebrew, Arabic, and sometimes English? That 1/6 of the population of Israel are Arabs? That on a Saturday, virtually all the police on duty are Arabs, Circassians, or Druze? That the commander of the police station near the Holy Sepulchre, where various Christian sects regularly cause riots, is a Circassian Muslim (so considered “Neutral” and not a “Christ Killer”?). Israel’s one of the most multicultural places I know. On Friday, all the Muslims go to Jewish or Christian shops. On Saturday, all the Jews go to Muslim or Christian shops (and the Muslims make the best pita bread anyway). And on Sunday, all the Christians go to Muslim or Jewish shops. Not so much a “melting pot” as a plum-pudding, a conglomerate of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish enclaves on adjoining hills, each within a loose matrix that is the state of Israel.

  67. Zoe Brain
    Zoe Brain December 28, 2008 at 9:29 pm |

    Oh yes, and there’s this too:

    Article Twenty-Two:
    For a long time, the enemies have been planning, skillfully and with precision, for the achievement of what they have attained. They took into consideration the causes affecting the current of events. They strived to amass great and substantive material wealth which they devoted to the realisation of their dream. With their money, they took control of the world media, news agencies, the press, publishing houses, broadcasting stations, and others. With their money they stirred revolutions in various parts of the world with the purpose of achieving their interests and reaping the fruit therein. They were behind the French Revolution, the Communist revolution and most of the revolutions we heard and hear about, here and there. With their money they formed secret societies, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, the Lions and others in different parts of the world for the purpose of sabotaging societies and achieving Zionist interests. With their money they were able to control imperialistic countries and instigate them to colonize many countries in order to enable them to exploit their resources and spread corruption there.
    You may speak as much as you want about regional and world wars. They were behind World War I, when they were able to destroy the Islamic Caliphate, making financial gains and controlling resources. They obtained the Balfour Declaration, formed the League of Nations through which they could rule the world. They were behind World War II, through which they made huge financial gains by trading in armaments, and paved the way for the establishment of their state. It was they who instigated the replacement of the League of Nations with the United Nations and the Security Council to enable them to rule the world through them. There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it.

    This is not what their enemies are saying about Hamas. It’s what they say about themselves, what they truly believe in, their very charter of foundation. They truly believe the Jews caused every ill in the last 200 years, from the French Revolution to the UN. They control everything.
    It’s really difficult not falling afoul of Godwin’s Law here.

    A full translation is at http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/mideast/hamas.htm

    Article Twenty-Eight:
    The Zionist invasion is a vicious invasion. It does not refrain from resorting to all methods, using all evil and contemptible ways to achieve its end. It relies greatly in its infiltration and espionage operations on the secret organizations it gave rise to, such as the Freemasons, The Rotary and Lions clubs, and other sabotage groups. All these organizations, whether secret or open, work in the interest of Zionism and according to its instructions. They aim at undermining societies, destroying values, corrupting consciences, deteriorating character and annihilating Islam. It is behind the drug trade and alcoholism in all its kinds so as to facilitate its control and expansion.

    See what I mean?

  68. SammyLuv
    SammyLuv December 28, 2008 at 9:31 pm |

    idk this is kinda in the news now just because Israel responded to the terrorists..the terrorists were attacking israel, so of course they would be reacting. If this happened to america I wouldn’t want rockets here all the time :/// my friend said that it’s confirmed that most of the people dead are in that terrorist group..so there aren’t many dead regular people and if there are it’s an accident..they would know the world is keeping a close eye obviously..

  69. Skullhunter
    Skullhunter December 28, 2008 at 9:44 pm |

    See what I mean?

    If what you mean is “the founding and leadership structure of Hamas is composed of vile assholes who care more about their own power than their people” yes.

    If what you mean is “This makes it okay for the IDF to do whatever it deems necessary to defend Israel, including bombing campaigns against civilian areas, destruction of civilian infrastructure, targeted assassinations using air-to-ground missiles and suchlike, then no, I don’t.

  70. Mich
    Mich December 28, 2008 at 9:47 pm |

    What the hell Feministe?? Not cool. I used to like reading this blog every morning :(

  71. Blue
    Blue December 28, 2008 at 9:54 pm |

    I dunno Morningstar, I have heard some criticisms of Finklestein that could make him problematic. This is not wholly substantiated but I was told he had participated in some sort of Holocaust denial conference. Again, I haven’t been able to absolutely confirm this, but it is something to check.

    A good book that I have found that seems to straddle the line while still giving the account of someone who was there is Tanya Reinhardt’s book “Israel/Palestine: How to End the War of 1948″ She was an Israeli journalist and professor who deals mainly with media coverage of the conflict and with how the media coverage the West receives is cleaned up and sanitized so that the actual power imbalance is not clear.

  72. Ellen
    Ellen December 28, 2008 at 10:10 pm |

    I really wish you all would quit speaking for us Jews. There are plenty of Jews that question Israel’s policies. You are not an anti-seminte if you are not a Zionist!

    Oh, and news flash: The occupation didn’t end in 2005

  73. Renee
    Renee December 28, 2008 at 10:25 pm |

    @Cara the problem is the way that this has been framed as Israel as being always innocent and anyone else as a terrorist. To fight against injustice is to immediately be labeled an Anti-Semite even if you have made no commentary on the right of Israel to exist as a state. The point is to shut down discussion and cease questioning altogether. If we are not allowed to restructure the question at all it allows the behavior to continue unabated. These tactics occur over and over again the minute you begin to question power. Notice that when we question patriarchy we are misandrists or when a POC questions white privilege they are suddenly a “reverse racist”. They know that no one wants to own a negative label and for some that will be enough to convince them to remain silent in the face of injustice. To speak truth to power is to open yourself up to being disciplined.

  74. Morningstar
    Morningstar December 28, 2008 at 10:27 pm |

    @ Zoe Brain:

    no one here or anywhere was defending hamas.

  75. A Feminist
    A Feminist December 28, 2008 at 10:46 pm |

    Ellen: Yes, yes it did. By the way, have you ever wondered why Egypt doesn’t help the Gaza Strip? Hmm. They’re an Arab nation and they share a border with them. Yet, when they were offered to have anything to do with Gaza they immediately declined. Now they have to deal with all the terrorists who are fleeing to their land.

    Do you people realize that those in Gaza aren’t poor and helpless? Israel left them and they chose to tear down all schools and hospitals because they were “Israeli”. They get a TON of money from Ahmadinejad and his friends, yet they choose to use it for weapons, not for food or medicine. Oh, and newsflash? They’re not the image of poor little children they’re trying to set in your maternal instinct-driven mind. There are some very wealthy Palestinians there. But once again, where does their money go? I wonder.

    Mahmoud Abbas (the president of Palestine) agrees with Israel for attacking. Same with some other middle eastern countries who hate Hamas, no matter how anti-semitic they might be.

    And nobody says YOU are anti-Semitic. It’s the people who started the propaganda you are buying so easily that are. Much of what you see in the media IS fueled by them and believed by individuals like you.

  76. Morningstar
    Morningstar December 29, 2008 at 12:54 am |

    “By the way, have you ever wondered why Egypt doesn’t help the Gaza Strip? Hmm. They’re an Arab nation and they share a border with them. Yet, when they were offered to have anything to do with Gaza they immediately declined. Now they have to deal with all the terrorists who are fleeing to their land.”

    it’s really not that hard to figure out.

    hosni mubarak gets roughly $2bil from the US, which props him up and ensures that egypt gives israel natural gas and stays at peace with them no matter what.

    egypt is run by a brutal dictatorship who doesn’t give a damn about the will of the people.

    same with all the other arab nations.

    they’re puppets, so to use them as some sort of counter is pretty laughable.

    “And nobody says YOU are anti-Semitic. It’s the people who started the propaganda you are buying so easily that are. Much of what you see in the media IS fueled by them and believed by individuals like you.”

    and of course the UN is anti-semitic for showing that israel had violated the cease-fire way back in Nov.:

    http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_protection_of_civilians_weekly_2008_11_08_english.pdf

    and some more anti-semitism:

    Gunness, a spokesman for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), said the agency has been unable to get needed medical supplies into Gaza for more than a year, because of Israel’s blockade of border crossings.

    “Long, long lists of drugs and other medical supplies which in the U.S. would be considered standard in any hospital — they’re just not available in Gaza,” he said. “When people have been turning up for treatment following this massive attack, they are simply being turned away. If you’ve got things like shattered limbs, broken arms, broken legs, feet blown off, that kind of thing, you’re simply not being seen. If you’ve got very light injuries and you need bandages or aspirins, you’ll get seen.”

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/12/28/gaza.humanitarian/

  77. charlie
    charlie December 29, 2008 at 12:56 am |

    The Palestinians in Gaza are political pawns. If their leaders gave a damn about them they’d stop firing rockets into Israel and continue with the negotiated peace started by Arafat.

    If the adults don’t have the brains or courage to disassociate themselves from Hamas then they get what they deserve and THEY are the culprits for ‘their’ women and children dying.

    Hamas leaders are corrupt and inhumane.

    I do not blame the Israelis for defending their families just like I don’t blame Americans for defending their families after 9/11.

    The propaganda from Hamas is what you are buying into.

  78. charlie
    charlie December 29, 2008 at 1:04 am |

    And Ellen you can stop speaking for ‘us’ too. Not all Jews are Zionists and not all Palestinians are pro-Hamas. In fact many live, work and play next to each other in places such as Tel Aviv where the younger generation has had enough of this continuing mindless war. But for a war to stop, someone has to surrender or to stop just like in any argument.

    There are many Arabs and Muslims who have had enough of Hamas and its destructive policies. And similarly of Al Qaeda.

  79. Bloix
    Bloix December 29, 2008 at 1:08 am |

    Hamas won a majority in the Palestinian parliament on a platform of war with Israel. They fought and won what was in effect a civil war with Fatah to take control of Gaza, so that they could carry out their platform of war. They entered into a six-month truce to prepare for war, and when that ended they began their rocket attacks with the express purpose of provoking this invasion. On Dec 25, Israel’s prime minister Ehud Olmert went on Al-Arabiya TV and said, very clearly, that if the rocket attacks stopped there would be no invasion, but if they continued Israel would invade. The rocket attacks continued. Why, do you think? Is Hamas stupid? Don’t they watch TV?

    What people here are missing is that Hamas wanted the invasion. Hamas seeks a repeat of the invasion of Lebanon in which Israel utterly failed to defeat Hezbollah and emerged stronger and more prestigious than before. They’ve had six months to prepare for a Lebanon-type war. Hamas is pulling the strings, and Israel is dancing like a puppet. And Hamas has the support of the Gazan populace. They are not “innocent people.” They’re a country at war and their leadership has their support.

    And I for one don’t see how Israel can win this war. To win would require killing on a scale that the Israelis have never attempted. Just to retake Fallujah in 2004, the US killed 10,000 people and destroyed 30,000 homes, and Fallujah was a city of less than half a million. Gaza has a population of a million and a half. To subdue it, the Israelis would have to kill tens of thousands, and they are simply not capable of that type of mass destruction. At least, this government is not.

    So I don’t believe that Israel is actually trying to win. I think that Olmert is trying to do enough damage to Hamas to stop the rocket attacks for a couple of months, to give his party’s next leader, Tzipi Livni, a chance to be elected. Then Livni will try to resume negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. Of course, this strategy plays into Hamas’s hands, because it radicalizes all Palestinians and it gives Hamas the popular support it needs to resume suicide bombings in Israel proper, which is the most effective way to torpedo peace negotiations. But Olmert clearly feels he has no choice – either he can conduct a controlled invasion now, or Livni will lose and Netanyahu will conduct a far more massive and destructive invasion in the spring.

    But if Likud wins in spite of this invasion, then watch out. Netanyahu may not be willing to kill tens of thousands, but he may well be willing to kill many thousands.

  80. Nagiha Sahyouni
    Nagiha Sahyouni December 29, 2008 at 1:37 am |

    Charlie you clearly have been pulled in by the Zionist Propoganda machine. Hamas has provided schools, medicine and homes for the Palestinian people- a gesture that most paletsiniasn factions have faiiled to provide. Although many might not agree with their tactics, scores more support legitimate resistence. Nobody had a dummy spit when prior to 1948 jewish groups used force and resistance to establish Israel. Hamas is a direct product of Israel, just like Hezbollah and its about time you stopped blmaing Hamas for what is happening in Palestine. The IDF launched these attacks killing 300, not Hamas.

    ‘I do not blame the Israelis for defending their families just like I don’t blame Americans for defending their families after 9/11′

    And just like that, I dont blame Hamas for resistance against the occupiers =D

  81. charlie
    charlie December 29, 2008 at 1:55 am |

    “The Arab population in 1948 wanted a Judenrein one-state solution that was meant to begin with what Arab League Secretary General Azzam Pasha described as “a war of extermination”. Or as Jerusalem Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini put it more directly: “Murder the Jews. Murder them all.”

    Agreed and the Mufti [Yassar Arafat's uncle] supported the Moslem Leagues in Europe who supported Nazism and had their battalions actively assisting the NAZIS with the ‘final solution’

    When the Communists finally fell in Europe retaliation was taken against Moslems for their support of Nazism e.g. the former Yugoslavia. Meaning the communists had held the retribution at bay but once they lost power revenge was taken.

    It is little wonder that Begin, the Haganah etc fought so ferociously against those who opposed a Jewish homeland.

    The Jews have been persecuted for hundreds of years for simply being Jews: read Shakespeare, Dickens, read Russian/Polish etc history… and not just by Moslems, in fact mainly by Christians.

    What gets me is that DNA tests have proven that the Palestinans and Jews are of the same ancestry. In fact, the Bible says Abraham had 2 sons: both became ancestors, one of the Hebrews, the other of the Arabs.

    Whomever is indoctrinating these cousins to hate and to kill each other is the real criminal.

    And yes, Hamas has quite a strong anti-Zionist manifesto based on the same half truths that most anti-Zionists propagate. For a simple version go to Wikipedia.
    The problem is that some leaders of Hamas seriously believe this stuff as do many far-right christians such as members of the Klu Klux Klan. These fanatics will never give up attempting to kill every Jew unless they forced into submission.

    I agree with the person above who said if the Mexicans were rocketing Southern California or Texas day after day no way would we expect Americans to suffer this assault just because America has got overwhelming military force!! That is illogical as is the Hamas attacking Israel knowing full well that they are provoking the Israelis into retaliation then they can cry to the world media about it.

    This is very sophisticated playing with the hearts and minds of people similar to what the North Vietnamese did during that war. And what good did that do them. Yes, Saigon fell but 20 years on the Vietnamese who fought FOR Communism are encouraging capitalism. So much waste of life for an ideology that they have now decided no longer suits them.

    How many Israelis, Palestinians and others will have to die in the name of ideology?

    These people need to stop and to start making peace within their own communities: e.g. the discord between Al Fatah and Hamas…and work to give their children food, health and education so that they have a future to look forward to rather than a so-called martyr’s death.

    Israel will not die and nor will it give up Jerusalem and why should it? The Hebrews built Jerusalem. The nomadic Palestinians moved in when the Hebrews were exiled because they fought the imperial might of Rome. How many times do the Hebrews have to fight for the right to their homeland?

    The Jordanians have gotten on with their lives since 1947 and is an excellent example of huge numbers of Palestinians who have made a life for themselves.

    In many countries people of different ethnicities and religions live alongside each other without war. So why not the Middle East, most especially Israel and Palestine?

  82. Stlthy
    Stlthy December 29, 2008 at 2:49 am |

    That’s really cold, Charlie. Palestinian kids being killed is just a perfectly reasonable punishment for their fathers?? According to B’Tselem, by the way, that’s over 950 Palestinians killed by Israel in the past eight years, as opposed to 80-something Israeli kids killed by Palestinians. There’s a pretty big disparity in adult deaths as well. Firing Qassam rockets into Israel isn’t okay, obviously, but Israel is doing most of the killing here, so I don’t know why the unequivocal cheerleaders of everything Israel does keep insisting otherwise. I mean, we’re talking about a nuclear armed nation, unequivocally supported by the most powerful military in the world (US) as against some home made rockets.

    Those claiming that Israel ‘has a right to self defense’ (not matter how ridiculously disproportionate) – perhaps, but so do Palestinians have a right to defend themselves against ethnic cleansing, displacement, brutal military occupation, murderous blockades and annexation of their territory by Israeli settlers. Condoning collective punishment of an entire population and justifying it with ‘oh, they’re all terrorists’ is just blatant racism.

  83. Sylvia
    Sylvia December 29, 2008 at 3:03 am |

    “If the adults don’t have the brains or courage to disassociate themselves from Hamas then they get what they deserve and THEY are the culprits for ‘their’ women and children dying.”

    Arm-Chair Generals…wow. Pray tell, if I have one apartment in a building of fifty apartments, am I to believe that it’s my moral imperative to just up and leave my home because my neighbor decided to join Hamas? Is this what you’re advocating? Because if that’s the case, then maybe I should’ve just found a way to leave the South Bronx when I had drug dealers on my corner. After all, if I had gotten shot in a drive-by, it’s my own fault!!!

    Of course. It’s all clear to me now. Your pearls of wisdom are luminous…

  84. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan December 29, 2008 at 4:21 am |

    I do not blame the Israelis for defending their families just like I don’t blame Americans for defending their families after 9/11.

    It’s true! We depended on our Intrepid Commander to defend our American wimmens, and it totally is working for real! Please do not look at the mountain of corpses behind the curtain…

    This guy’s comment is so full of fail I could do a close-reading and write a book.

    More on topic, I’m likewise disappointed (if not surprised) that criticism of Israel’s *political* actions and *human rights* violations is once again getting confused with antisemitism. I really wouldn’t tolerate this shitty overkill behavior from *any* religious or ethnic group, and just because a nation has a large percentage of Jews doesn’t give it a pass on basic decency.

  85. Zoe Brain
    Zoe Brain December 29, 2008 at 6:06 am |

    Skullhunter wrote

    If what you mean is “This makes it okay for the IDF to do whatever it deems necessary to defend Israel, including bombing campaigns against civilian areas, destruction of civilian infrastructure, targeted assassinations using air-to-ground missiles and suchlike, then no, I don’t.

    Well said! And your alternative strategy is? Given that, as you said,

    “the founding and leadership structure of Hamas is composed of vile assholes who care more about their own power than their people” ?

    What alternative do you propose? One that you think that either Hamas or Israel has a chance of implementing without massive civilian casualties, far more than at present? Please read the charter again, and tell me how do we find a way that is consistent with it?

  86. A Feminist
    A Feminist December 29, 2008 at 6:13 am |

    Israel cares about Israelis as well as Palestinian citizens.

    They fight for them. What does Hamas do? They put innocent civilians in the front line, hiding in CROWDED areas with children and women so they can later point at Israelis and say “child murderers!” Nobody likes Hamas here, not even the Palestinians, so don’t side with the terrorists.

    The UN confirmed that approximately 50 out of the 300+ dead and 700+ injured are HAMAS members. Israel sent trucks with humanitarian aid to the strip today, acknowledging that they did not want to hurt any innocent citizens.

    I did not see this backlash when thousands of rockets were fired at Israel all year round. Now that Israel is retaliating, it’s making the news just because they actually protected themselves, but of course – seen as bullies. Stop acting as if there was peace all this time, there wasn’t and it just didn’t make the news.

  87. fauzia
    fauzia December 29, 2008 at 8:35 am |

    @ A Feminist:

    I’m not going to speak for Cara but I’m pretty sure no one is pretending like there was peace this whole time. No one is siding with the terrorists either.

    Palestinian does not automatically equal Hamas.

    …and I’m not even really sure what your statistics are trying to prove. If anything they contradict your prior statements. 50 out of 300+ dead and 700+ wounded were members of Hamas. Well, BRAVO!

  88. fauzia
    fauzia December 29, 2008 at 8:39 am |

    “Israel will not die and nor will it give up Jerusalem and why should it? The Hebrews built Jerusalem. The nomadic Palestinians moved in when the Hebrews were exiled because they fought the imperial might of Rome. How many times do the Hebrews have to fight for the right to their homeland?

    The Jordanians have gotten on with their lives since 1947 and is an excellent example of huge numbers of Palestinians who have made a life for themselves.”

    UGH! Jordanians DO NOT equal Palestinians. All Arabs aren’t created equal. This argument is ridiculous because asking another country to absorb an ENTIRE country’s people is unreasonable and unrealistic. On more than one level.

    Not all Palestinians in Jordan are living fabulous lives and liking it.

  89. A Feminist
    A Feminist December 29, 2008 at 8:51 am |

    Typo-
    The UN confirmed that approximately 50 out of the 300+ dead and 700+ injured are CIVLIANS..
    over 90% of those killed are Hamas members. Most bodies were found in uniform..hmm, I wonder why? Innocent civilians just happened to choose dressing up maybe? Right……

  90. joops
    joops December 29, 2008 at 9:06 am |

    SoVeryUnhip asked about book recommendations.
    Here are a few I would start with:

    Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (in fact, anything by Professor Pappe. Probably the world’s best historian working on this issue.)

    Jimmy Carter, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid

    Robert Fisk, The Great War for Civilization: The Conquest of the Middle East

    And anything by Edward Said.

  91. Sylvia
    Sylvia December 29, 2008 at 11:00 am |

    “Hamas members. Most bodies were found in uniform..hmm”….

    Because guerilla warfare in which factions make their own crude weapons have uniforms that they distribute to everyone? Seriously? Ugh…

  92. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla December 29, 2008 at 12:07 pm |

    Sylvia @ 95:

    [begin major sarcasm]
    Sure! Cuz people in Gaza have sooo much money laying around, cuz they never need to eat, drink, or go to the hospital. They were able to order the very best, premium fashion uniforms from Uniforms R Us (division of Delia’s) and have them shipped Fedex to sunny, sunny Gaza by the sea, where the palm trees sway.
    [/end major sarcasm]

    Also, what Bint said.

    Science has proven that the there is virtually no genetic difference between the Jews and all the other Semitic people in that area. The only difference is what religion each group claims. So, if having ancestors who lived there in the past gives one the right to claim the land now, then the Palestinians have more right to that land than any non-Semitic person who has ever converted to Judaism and currently resides in Israel. It also means they have just as much right to that land as those Semitic people who do call themselves Jews.

  93. A Feminist
    A Feminist December 29, 2008 at 2:20 pm |

    Ignorance is in the air. Nasrallah, Ahmadinejad, and many other lovely assholes are giving millions of dollars to Hamas. Yes, they do have lots of money. And what do they do with it? You guessed it. Our world is now a Global Village, and they know it. There were many videos which showed Palestinians sitting in a dark room while the other room was brightly lit. Children are told by their parents to cry for the cameras and do some horrific acts.
    But you don’t see that in the media, do you?

    Out of everything I’ve said, you’re sticking to the uniform fact? It’s terrifying how you act as if “they have no money” and call Palestinians the same as Hamas. You really don’t seem to get anything past your skull other than “poor Palestinians are suffering”. Please – get a clue. Nothing is that simple, and in this case – it definitely isn’t.

    Read about this.
    No, Simple English Wikipedia articles don’t count, and neither do editorial columns. I don’t care what side you’re on, you’re missing a ton of facts and being ignorant.

    I encourage everybody to read (from various sources) about the history of the Middle East as well as Zionism. This is not a simple topic, and I think that the saddest thing here is that you have no idea what you are talking about. Have you ever heard of the Six-Day War? Kuntar? Shebaa Farm conflict? If you haven’t, you have no right to pretend like you’re an expert in this area.

  94. Olivia
    Olivia December 29, 2008 at 2:50 pm |

    A Feminist: Hear, hear!

  95. sad
    sad December 29, 2008 at 2:50 pm |

    Lots for historical fiction in this thread. Here are facts, agreed to by most historians w/ the exception of those working for Saudi Arabia and other Islamic propagandists

    A majority of the Palestinians were not living in Palestine for generations when the State of Israel was founded. The majority of them had only migrated to the region because the early Zionists had come and begun to develop the economy, and they came to take advantage of the growing economy, jobs etc The British encouraged Arab emigration to then Palestinian since they had not yet made up their minds what to do about a jewish state. Straight thought WWII, they clamped down on jewish emigration, with the result that the jews who were not allowed into palestine perished at the hands of the nazis, while allowing high rates of arab emigration. Thats how most palestinians moved to the area. To hear them talk, you’d think they were all there since the Romans, but the majority came there because they wanted to benefit from jewish industry. In addition, throughout most of the past two thousand years, there has been a larger jewish presence in the area than arab, and when jerusalem was in the hands of muslims, their political and cultural center was Ramallha, and Jersualem was a backwater that happened to have a mosque. (They palestinians decided they absolutely must have jerusalem when they realized its significance to the jews)
    There was no Palestinian national identity before 48. There were just arabs there, speaking the same language, eating the same foods, practicing the same religion as other arabs in the larger region, since in fact most of them had wandered to the area from other places in the middle east only recently. There was no Palestinian national movement, since there was no Palestinian nation, under the Ottomans, and there was not even much of one under the British. They developed their cause because they decided they could not stay put and live under the jews. To be fair, it was not the average Palestinian who decided this. Rather, Arab leaders encouraged the Palestinians to flee, telling them they’d fight and win the country for themselves. Contrary to what other posters wrote, most Palestinians left of their own accord. Once they began fleeing, and announcing their intention to fight the nascent state, there were isolated attempts by Israelis to get rid of them, but even revisionist historians agree they mostly left of their own accord. They lost the war in forty eight, again in sixty seven and again in seventy three. YOu know what happened to the Arabs who were wise enough to stay? Israeli Arabs do better on almost every measure – infant mortality rates, longevity, educational achievement, employment – than Arabs and Muslims are doing in enlightened Europe. Read that last sentence again. So much for the apartheid state. They would be doing even better if not for their ties to other palestinians and the constant terror threat. Imagine if the Arabs had stayed and decided not to fight. imagine if they’d given up after losing a war or two or three. Imagine if other Arab nations had accepted them once they fled, and not insisted that they stay on for sixty years in refugee camps since it is their duty to fight israel. Imagine if none of that happeend, but they accepted a peace deal under Clinton. Imagine if they didn’t accept that deal, but that when the Israelis left them Gaza, and US, europe, israel poured money into it to turn it into a model state, the next Singapore, they had decided to develop the region instead of turning to war. The first thing the Palestinians did when they got control of Gaza was destroy the expensive greenhouses and equipement the Israelis had left behing – because the Israelis had thriving businesses there, but when they left, they left the equipment for Palestinians to use in the interest of developing a Palestinian economy as a route to a Palestinian state, and they destroyed it all. The next thing they did was elect Hamas, who in turn began slaughtering members of the PLO, and then started launching rockets at Israel.

    Incidentally, more Palestinians have been killed since 48 by fellow Palestinians – suspected of collaboration with israel or other political reasons, because they are gay, for whatever reason – than have ever died as a result of Israel’s wars or other israeli operations. Imagine if the Israeli government killed its polotical opposition. Maybe a little more attention to Palestinian corruption, violence and their depraved society, and a little less anger at Israel for defending itself? The problem here is not that Israelis don’t want peace. It’s that Palestinians have developed a sick culture of violence and death.

  96. Ellen
    Ellen December 29, 2008 at 3:02 pm |

    Did you learn your history from a Zionist private school. It is incredibly inaccurate.

  97. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla December 29, 2008 at 3:04 pm |

    FYI, to clarify, my sarcasm wasn’t directed at you, Sylvia, but at A Feminist and the other apologists on the thread. I was just riffing off your comment :-)

  98. Skullhunter
    Skullhunter December 29, 2008 at 4:35 pm |

    Zoe Brain:
    What alternative do you propose? One that you think that either Hamas or Israel has a chance of implementing without massive civilian casualties, far more than at present? Please read the charter again, and tell me how do we find a way that is consistent with it?

    Same thing I wish the US government would do. Stop giving the bad guys what they want. Stop responding to primitive unguided rocket attacks by leveling entire city blocks. Stop killing “suspected bomb makers” from the air along with anybody else who happens to be within a 30 yard radius of them. Stop using the behavior of the other nation-states in the area as an excuse. Stop treating the Palestinians as a monolithically evil entity with a “sick culture of violence and death”, apparently genetically ungrateful and violent, whom there is no hope of ever reaching.

    Every civilian that gets splattered because they made the mistake of living where the explosives are falling is another vote for Hamas, another person so miserable and angry that they’ll blow themselves up and one less person who’s going to be thinking of peaceful coexistence. And yes, this does require Israel to make the majority of the concessions. You know what? Tough. If they really want to be the good guys, that’s what it’ll take. Their brutal and sloppy tactics are enabling the people who really do harbor a psychotic hatred of Jews. They’re giving those people a ready pool of recruits from the angry and the hopeless. It’s become a feedback loop. Unfortunately the only people really capable of stepping out of it are the Israelis. Unless you actually believe that a bunch of people with homemade bombs, third-rate rockets and leftover 1970′s era weaponry is going to push the fourth most powerful military machine in the world “into the sea”. Israel isn’t going anywhere. The question is, what will Israel become to remain where it is?

  99. Kathleen
    Kathleen December 29, 2008 at 5:26 pm |

    YOu gotta love “A Feminist”‘s insistence that it’s all super complicated when the numbers make it really, really plain (from Juan Cole’s site):

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Israel blames Hamas for primitive homemade rocket attacks on the nearby Israeli city of Sederot. In 2001-2008, these rockets killed about 15 Israelis and injured 433, and they have damaged property. In the same period, Gazan mortar attacks on Israel have killed 8 Israelis.

    Since the Second Intifada broke out in 2000, Israelis have killed nearly 5000 Palestinians, nearly a thousand of them minors. Since fall of 2007, Israel has kept the 1.5 million Gazans under a blockade, interdicting food, fuel and medical supplies to one degree or another. Wreaking collective punishment on civilian populations such as hospital patients denied needed electricity is a crime of war.

    The Israelis on Saturday killed 5% of all the Palestinians they have killed since the beginning of 2001! 230 people were slaughtered in a day, over 70 of them innocent civilians. In contrast, from the ceasefire Hamas announced in June, 2008 until Saturday, no Israelis had been killed by Hamas. The infliction of this sort of death toll is known in the law of war as a disproportionate response, and it is a war crime.>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Finding a good solution for this horrible situation is, yeah, going to be really complicated. But what’s happening right now? Simple, one-sided overkill.

  100. Howie
    Howie December 29, 2008 at 6:47 pm |

    Note, please that Israelis killed have been, and have been intended to be, mainly civilians, while palestinians killed have been, and have been intended to be, mainly terrorists. Targeting civilians to terrorize them is terrorism. Targeting civilians for any reason is a war crime.

  101. Kathleen
    Kathleen December 29, 2008 at 8:07 pm |

    Howie — by any measure, then, Israelis are guilty of more war crimes than is Hamas.

  102. Kristin
    Kristin December 29, 2008 at 8:34 pm |

    A Feminist. You said:

    “I encourage everybody to read (from various sources) about the history of the Middle East as well as Zionism. This is not a simple topic, and I think that the saddest thing here is that you have no idea what you are talking about.”

    On account of the fact that these threads always make me want to gouge my eyes out, I’ll just say: Back atcha.

  103. Kristin
    Kristin December 29, 2008 at 8:35 pm |

    Also, what Galling Galla has been saying all over this thread.

  104. Howie
    Howie December 29, 2008 at 8:48 pm |

    Try Myths & Facts Online at: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/myths/mftoc.html. It quotes extensively from referenced, original source material.

  105. shah8
    shah8 December 29, 2008 at 9:26 pm |

    Effective response is really not answering these people. The typical modus vivendi of israeli right wing hawks is simply make IP threads disorderly. The medicine is pretty much just a straight up banning, or perhaps, once blogmistress code gets better, just ban people from their hobbyhorses. A one strike and you’re out policy for the crazy shit should allow for vigorous arguments without the mobbers.

  106. exholt
    exholt December 29, 2008 at 10:08 pm |

    On account of the fact that these threads always make me want to gouge my eyes out, I’ll just say: Back atcha.

    Gouging your eyes out?

    The back and forth over the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was a critical factor in a high school classmate’s decision to drop out of a PhD program in Near-East Studies many years ago. Didn’t help he encountered Profs on both sides of the conflict insisting their position was correct with no tolerance for dissent or questioning in classes and at some conferences. He signed on to learn how to become trained as a scholar in researching his academic area of interest, not subjected to what he considered to be loud obnoxious political indoctrination sessions.

  107. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan December 29, 2008 at 10:34 pm |

    Maybe a little more attention to Palestinian corruption, violence and their depraved society, and a little less anger at Israel for defending itself? The problem here is not that Israelis don’t want peace. It’s that Palestinians have developed a sick culture of violence and death.

    Hmm, call me crazy for promptly ignoring everything that comes out of your mouth, but… 9.9 With allies like these, Israel really doesn’t need enemies, does it?

  108. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla December 29, 2008 at 11:12 pm |

    G-d, Howie, I must bow to your greater wisdom. I agree that targeting civilians is a war crime.

    For example, blockading an area containing one and a half million people, preventing food, water, fuel, and medical supplies from coming in, thus causing hundreds of thousands of children to experience severe malnutrition and disease, resulting in the deaths of many, is a war crime. Unless you want to tell me that every one of those children is a terrorist.

    Or, how about bombing an entire country (Lebanon) and destroying its infrastructure (and violating their sovereignty) in order to catch a few Hizbollah fighters?

    I’m not going to play number games with you, Howie. When a population is subject to ethnic cleansing, collective punishment, and blockade for decades, what choice is there for them BUT to join Hamas or Hizbollah, out of shear desperation?

    I am not excusing the targeting of israeli citizens by Hamas, nor is anybody else on this thread. That too, is a war crime. But like it or not, the formation of Hamas is a direct result of Zionism. Stop Zionism, return Palestine to its rightful occupants, and that will stop Hamas.

  109. sad
    sad December 30, 2008 at 12:34 am |

    Stop treating the Palestinians as a monolithically evil entity with a “sick culture of violence and death”, apparently genetically ungrateful and violent, whom there is no hope of ever reaching.”

    Surely you see a difference between culture and genetics.

    Ellen: I did not attend Zionist schools, and it’s odd that you think that if someone writes historical facts they are a zionist. If you read actual works of history, writers on both sides – not Islamic apologists and wild eyed conspiracy theorists, but respectable scholars of the left and the right – you will see that what I’ve written in the consensus of scholars.

    :Hmm, call me crazy for promptly ignoring everything that comes out of your mouth, but… 9.9 With allies like these, Israel really doesn’t need enemies, does it?”

    Excuse me for thinking that raising your kids to be suicide bombers is sick. Excuse me for thinking that teaching kids that you and your society is stronger and better, because you value death while others value life – that’s sick. Excuse me for thinking that when TV teaches that Jews bake pastries and bread with the blood of Muslim children (a reworked Xian blood libel) the culture is sick. Excuse me for thinking that a group that is given greenhouses equipment, tons of money poured in, and uses this money only for weapons, at the expense of the basic needs of their own citizens is sick. Excuse me for thinking it’s nuts that Palestinians are in refugee camps sixty years after the war. The Israelis wanted to build proper housing, but the arabs did not allow it because if they gave the palestinians decent housing, why they might give up their eternal war and settle down to a normal life. So for sixty years they are in camps. I take it you think none of this is evidence of a sick culture. I recommend you read Memri for a while. Palestinian culture has become depraved, there is no two ways about it. those who deny it are enablers, and most of them think arabs are hopeless and can’t do better. These are the same people who think Iraqis don’t deserve a shot at democracy , becaue what do arabs need freedom for. Thanks, I believe in the equality of all people, and I know that the culture in the territories is sick and needs to be healed. At this point, that probably will only happen if they lose decisively enough to have interest in changing. It will not happen if folks like the ones here continue to enable them. STop treating Palestinians as lesser beings, and you will start to expect rational, positive behavior from them.

  110. sad
    sad December 30, 2008 at 12:46 am |

    “I am not excusing the targeting of israeli citizens by Hamas, nor is anybody else on this thread. That too, is a war crime. But like it or not, the formation of Hamas is a direct result of Zionism. Stop Zionism, return Palestine to its rightful occupants, and that will stop Hamas.”

    Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Is your contention that Israel ought to be destroyed since it’s all rightfully Palestinian? Otherwise, maybe you can explain how giving back land will stop a group whose stated aim is driving the israelis into the sea.

  111. charlie
    charlie December 30, 2008 at 12:47 am |

    fauzia, the Native Americans fed the pilgrims and taught them how to survive then were asked to absorb millions from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Pacific, so what’s new? Every part of the world has been colonized by another people over hundreds of years of human history.

    Jordan wasn’t even a country before World War 1. It is a country composed of Arabs. Palestinians are Arabs. They are all the same people descended from the same ancestor as I said in a previous post.

    Someone said, I was cold in my comments. War is cold. Every time Hamas fires rockets over Israel it coldly calculates that men, women, old people and children might be killed.

    These people who stay in Gaza chose to be there. They could be on the West Bank but they aren’t because someone in their family supports Hamas and decides that their wives, mothers, sisters and children’s lives are expendable because after all when they die, they die as martyrs for the cause. So why are they crying over their dead? For the media!!! Sounds cold? Well, its not me who put my wife and children in the line of fire. Its not me who won’t stop firing rockets on Israel. And its not me who destroyed all the buildings, schools, houses, hospitals etc left behind by the Israelis. No it is Hamas who did all that. Hamas is another one of the world’s extremist moslem groups who hate Jews because they jhate Jews. There is no reasoning with religious bigots. They’d rather die then change their minds that human beings are all human beings.

    See below.

    Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei urged the world’s Muslim populations to unite against Israel’s attacks on Hamas in Gaza.

    “All true believers in the world of Islam and Palestinian fighters are duty-bound to defend the defenseless women and children in Gaza Strip and those giving their lives in carrying out such a divine duty are ‘martyrs,’ ” Khamenei said through Iran’s official news agency IRNA.

    U.S. and Israeli officials told CNN that Hamas militants in Gaza have received support from Iran in the past in the form of weapons, training and cash.

    “We know of Hamas operatives, commandos and soldiers who were trained in Iran itself. We know that. So there is a close cooperation and exchange of know-how and activities,” said Isaac Herzog, a member of the Israeli Security Cabinet.

    Iran denies any involvement with Hamas. But an Iranian official told CNN Iran has ties to Shiite groups such as Hezbollah, a political party in Lebanon with alleged terrorist roots.

    IMO, if Hamas had any balls they would seek a ceasefire and ask for non-combatants to be removed and then restart this war and fight to the end. But they don’t have balls, they hide behind women, children and old people. That’s cold!!! and cowardly!!!

  112. charlie
    charlie December 30, 2008 at 1:12 am |

    “TASHA says:
    December 27th, 2008 at 11:39 pm – Edit

    The Israeli regimes have no right to do what they are doing to the ppl of Gaza.. Hamas is not a terrorist organization. I AM AN ISRAELI RUSSIAN WHO HAS WORKED IN THE WEST BANK AND GAZA! ”

    Tasha you express your sympathy and support for Hamas while remaining in Israel. As an immigrant from Russia you are part of the Palestinian’s problem. If it weren’t for immigrants there would be no Israel. So I suggest you make up your mind to be a committed Israeli or go back to Russia. You can’t have it both ways. Hamas doesn’t give a fig about your sympathy you are simply another oppressor as far as they are concerned when they fire their rockets.

  113. Howie
    Howie December 30, 2008 at 1:43 am |

    The people in Gaza democratically elected a government that promised to kill as many Israelis as possible. Unlike many politicians, they seem quite intent on carrying out their campaign promises. In this rare case, not just a few parliamentarians, but an entire entire population, voted to make unrelenting war on their neighbors.

    At what point does a population bear responsibility for their democratic choice of government?

  114. charlie
    charlie December 30, 2008 at 1:45 am |

    way to go sad!!! and Ellen perhaps you need some history lessons and you don’t even have to go to a private Zionist School to get that.
    I can’t figure if you are anti-Zionist, anti-Semitic, classist, just sarcastic or so indoctrinated by propaganda that you haven’t bothered to do your own research.

    sad is right. Palestine was a backwater waiting to see what would happen to it once the Ottoman Empire [that is Turkish Empire] fell. The Ottoman Empire was not loved by its Arab subordinates so they either colluded with the British or the Germans to gain their freedom. The British had a mandate over Palestine and chose to give it to the Hebrew people as the one place on earth where they could live without fear of Russian pograms, European ghettoization, concentration camps and gas chambers.
    Or have we got holocaust deniers here as well?
    One piece of land in the world is all the Hebrews have asked for and the right to live as a people free of prejudice by other religions.
    The Arabs have enough land and resources for all Arabs if they choose to share.

    But NO, some would rather use Palestinians as a means to ‘unite’ their own countries and to have people ignore the corruption & violation of human rights that exists inside such countries as Iran.

    While the extremists are focused on an external enemy they are blinded to the fact that their children’s futures are being stolen from them by religious maniacs and corrupt officials.

    The corruption inside the Palestinian leadership is well documented as is the story of Iran.

    But if u are anti-Semitic just remember the Arabs and the Hebrews are cousins descended from the same ancestor.

  115. Skullhunter
    Skullhunter December 30, 2008 at 3:07 am |

    These people who stay in Gaza chose to be there. They could be on the West Bank but they aren’t because someone in their family supports Hamas and decides that their wives, mothers, sisters and children’s lives are expendable because after all when they die, they die as martyrs for the cause. So why are they crying over their dead? For the media!!!

    Wow.

    There is a staggering level of irony here. I mean, I’m not even sure how far I’d have to step back in order to be able to see all the vastness of it.

    You ask me if I know the difference between genetics and culture. You mention the blood libel, falsehoods used to justify the hatred, assault and murder of Jews for centuries. And then you turn around and say that the Palestinians are pretty much uniformly corrupt, violent, sick and totally committed to killing all Jews everywhere.

    I mean really? They only cry for the media? I guess if the media’s not there they have a big crackin’ party because more of their family members got turned into high-velocity dead meat? All part of their nature, since all they do is eat, sleep and breathe their hatred for Jews.

    The worst part is, if you even realize what you sound like, WHO you sound like, you probably don’t care. Because in your mind, you’re right.

  116. fauzia
    fauzia December 30, 2008 at 6:15 am |

    amen, skullhunter.

  117. Kristin
    Kristin December 30, 2008 at 8:25 am |

    I’m sorry, but *why* are racist remarks about Arabs getting through here unchecked? Jesus… It was a good post, Cara, but seriously… People shouting about Palestinians and their “culture of death” are not engaging in good faith argumentation. They’re engaging in the kind of racist stereotyping that one expects not to have any place on this blog.

  118. Howie
    Howie December 30, 2008 at 9:03 am |

    Hamas [the democratically elected government of Gaza] actively celebrates targeting Israeli civilians.

    A video on Hamas TV Sunday morning blended pictures of Hamas fighters shooting at Israel with pictures of injured Israelis and medical evacuation scenes. In addition, the visuals include pictures of skulls dripping with blood, captioned: “Let them taste violent death”. Other narrations and texts include:
    “Send them to Hell! Tear them to pieces!”
    “Send them to Hell, Qassam missile!” (Source: Palestinian Media Watch)

    Somehow, there is enough fuel in Gaza to power broadcasting this hate.

    You can see the Hamas video at: http://www.honestreporting.com/a/gaza2008primer.html

  119. Rebecca
    Rebecca December 30, 2008 at 11:23 am |

    These people who stay in Gaza chose to be there. They could be on the West Bank but they aren’t because someone in their family supports Hamas
    BS.

  120. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla December 30, 2008 at 11:37 am |

    Thank you, Kristin. I had pretty much given up on this thread as it has become a racist trollfest. I think Howie and the gang need to get the boot or at least put on freakin’ moderation.

  121. Just Sayin'
    Just Sayin' December 30, 2008 at 1:13 pm |

    Israel needs to exist because the history of the world is that Jews will not be safe without a homeland. What do ancient Egypt, Babylon, Christian Spain, imperial Rome, Soviet Russia, Czarist Russian, newly protestant England and modern Germany all have in common? Each tried to wipe out at least the ‘local’ Jews. Israel is about stopping the annihilation of the Jewish people. And those five thousand years of history have to be considered. With an Arab (Judea/Palestine/Israel) Jews will not be safe in the world. Even here, death to the Jews is advocated. Even the women — you know half of all Jews are women.

    shah8: In the end, Israel will be vanquished. There isn’t the room for settler ethos and settler justification. Not without the help of some heavy-duty anti-arab smallpox help. In its place will be yet another normal multiethnic country. Whether that be by violence..

    Not that she is happy all the Jews have to be killed, and it will be their faulty anyway. But, you know, that how she hopes it will be.

    Dave: The problem is that Israel are evil, vicious, thuggish bastards who are doing so out of (what they feel) is necessity.

    Not that Dave is a hater or would advocate the death of evil, vicious, thuggish bastards. But really, when you put it that way, who wouldn’t?

    Sad: Maybe a little more attention to Palestinian corruption, violence and their depraved society, and a little less anger at Israel for defending itself? …. It’s that Palestinians have developed a sick culture of violence and death.

    So we have to kill them. They want to die.

    Feministe:
    Why this: “And my thoughts are with the Palestinians living in Gaza”
    Without this: and the Israelis huddling in bomb shelters.
    or this: my thoughts to all victims of this enduring conflict, the schools not built, the bombs purchased instead of food by all sides.

    West Bank Settlers and Gazan Hamas feed off each other, like bin Ladin and BushCo feed off of each other. Yes, the broken parliamentary politics of Israel empower the extremists, just as the regional blocks in the US give more power to individual Alaskan voters than New Yorker voters. Israel needs structural change, for example, a Constitution. Palestine even more desperately needs tough love from friends — like a rational functional government, which means drops the non-negotiable requirement that Israel’s Jewish population be killed or displaced. (And be honest, the Arab right of return is a call for displacing the Jewish population, not monetary compensation.)

    But I have not seen that here. The initial blog post itself was all hang wringing and pearl clutching. Alas! The war! NO ONE could have predicted!

  122. Kristin
    Kristin December 30, 2008 at 1:25 pm |

    GallingGalla: Yep.

  123. shah8
    shah8 December 30, 2008 at 1:45 pm |

    This only going to stop when the US gets in a war because of Israel. You think debates weren’t exactly like this in the North during the era immediately before the Civil War? Just check out some of the letters! It’s a time-honored custom to spam arguments with so much bigotry that no social consensus can form.

  124. Sylvia
    Sylvia December 30, 2008 at 2:23 pm |

    What gets me about people like “A Feminist” is that he/she masquerades as if they’re enlightened because he/she understands it’s not a “black and white issue” and yet the harping is relegated to one side. This fake semblance of balance is really ingratiating…

    Collective punishment of any nation or populace is an evil: be they Palestinian or Isreali.

  125. Sylvia
    Sylvia December 30, 2008 at 2:26 pm |

    Sorry- and you know what else is offensive? The premise that official state sanctioned terrorism is “defense” and legal, while ad-hoc group terrorism is just “terrorism”.

    Arggh…

  126. Kristen (The J one)
    Kristen (The J one) December 30, 2008 at 2:40 pm |

    This is one of the topics that seems to divide the progressive community more than any other. Everyone wants to pick a side.

    I think this falls into the “universe sucks” category. On both sides of this conflict there are people. Human beings. These human beings carry around enormous anger and frustration at other human beings. So much so that it seems they no longer consider each other human beings deserving of life and freedom.

    Of course both the Palestinians and the Israelis have engaged in atrocious acts of violence. Both. To the point that its impossible to determine who is more at fault. And frankly laying blame isn’t going to fix anything.

    It’s the assigning of blame that constantly interferes with the real work of finding a workable compromise. (Not to mention distracts us from one of the economic instigators of this trouble…water scarcity).

    I don’t have a solution. I know (some of) the history, but not a sufficient amount about the culture of both groups to know what can and cannot work. That’s why we need someone as smart and talented as HRC running a well staffed State Department.

    But I do know (from common sense) that Americans politicizing, for our own purposes, the situation by saying the Israelis are the good guys or the Palestinians are the good guys makes it damn near impossible for both of them to find common ground.

    It’s like having a judge or an arbitrator who says before the trial or the mediation that Party A is an asshat and Party B is a saint. Party A isn’t going to negotiate in good faith if s/he thinks the deck is already stacked.

  127. Ellen
    Ellen December 30, 2008 at 2:55 pm |

    I totally agree with you Kristin (the J one)

    It seems to me that we forget that the powerful on both sides (Hamas, Arafat, the Israeli govt, etc.) have acted despicably, and that there are innocent people on both sides that suffer from their behavior.

    Whichever version of the history you have learned seems to determine which side of the argument you fall on. Rather than screaming at each other, and telling each other we are wrong, and polarizing the argument further, shouldn’t we be getting to the bottom of the contradictory histories and finding out the truth?

    However, there is a lot at stake with that. People really can’t stand having their assumptions challenged, and learning that what their religious leaders and parents have been telling them might not be completely unbiased.

  128. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla December 30, 2008 at 3:30 pm |

    Kristen J and Ellen: Ok, yes, to some extent. But we cannot move on to a phase of mutual reconciliation / healing until the side that has the *overwhelming* power and privilege – israelis and the US-ians and other Westerners that support israel – acknowledges that and takes responsibility for that and takes some *major* steps towards correcting that power imbalance (starting with israel returning to pre-1967 borders and granting right of return to refugees), and I don’t see that happening right now.

    Yeah, Gazans have killed israelis. israelis have killed Gazans. But one side killing 25 people in eight years with homemade weapons wielded by people who are desperate after years of being collectively punished, versus the other side killing 5000 people in those same years with billions of dollars worth of high-tech heavy weaponry and communications systems is quite an imbalance of power. This is not a battle of equals. Until that gets acknowledged and addressed, nothing will change in Palestine.

  129. D
    D December 30, 2008 at 4:39 pm |

    Peace and Oppression are mutually exclusive concepts. Terror Breeds Terrorism!
    Why do I empathize with the Palestinians? Because what we are never told is how Israel uses passive aggressive tactics to keep them down. For example, these people live in refugee camps, in their own territory – some for years. They live in constant crisis and Israel has turned away the Red Cross (except of late). People cannot move throughout their territory without being stopped and asked for ID – I’m not talking about Israel, I’m talking about being a Muslim and trying to get around in Muslim territory. If Israel is concerned, they have every right to monitor and police Israel and its borders, leave the Palestinians alone. The people are not allowed to flourish. Their lives are miserable. Ever since the Zionists approached the US and Britan during WWII (when Britan siezed this area) and both agreed to grant them land in Palestine this has been going on. They were not supposed to bring refugees in from Europe, there wasn’t room. They did it anyway, Britan raised their hands in frustration and left the scene, it was down hill from there. Israel wants this, or they wouldn’t antagonize these people the way they do – not with bombs, but where it matters: Self worth, purpose, esteem are taken away. So, the people are angry and retaliate. All this talk about the Koran, ever hear of the Talmud? Basically, the Talmud which is studied by the Zionists, states that anybody that isn’t a jew is a pig. People need to really study the facts. If Israel wants to be left alone then they will leave the Palestinians alone and let them flourish in their territory. However, now so much harm has been done and the resentments are so deep I fear its to late. Stop listening to Israeli PR & propaganda and get the real information. Would we lilke it if say, Iran came over to the US and took some of the states and gave them to the Palestinians, forcing the rightful owners out to live in shelters for the rest of their life? Of course not. How is this any different? Read up on resolution 194. It called on the newly formed Israeli state to repatriate the displaced Palestinians “wishing to live in peace with their neighbours…at the earliest practicable date”. this resolution as well as many others drected at Israel have been completely ignored. Why, could you imagine if the tables were turned and an Arab state ignored the UN? Oh My! Yet, we never hear of these things, we hear about the 1 Israeli life lost that constitutes 100 Palestinian lives lost. In my opinion, they don’t have much of a life to loose thanks to Israel. Israel was founded in 1948 in a Western region that really had no capicity to resist, perfect choice. And when people were removed from their homes, their land seized, their culture and way of life interrupted, they decided to fight back. All becuase we – the US and Britan – felt a moral obligation due them becuase of what was happening. Well, what moral obligations do we have to say, Darfur? Perhaps Israel should return the moral obligation, or the US and Britan should just offer up a portion of Israel and create a new state. Do you think Israel would stand for that? Very early on, the Zionists were some of the first to introduce terrorism when they would invade the villages and scare all of the people away. I urge everybody to stop listening to the crap and study the history for yourself – Israel is wrong, and frankly the reaction is predictable isn’t it?. Nobody would stand for what the Palestinians have had to endure.

  130. Kristin
    Kristin December 30, 2008 at 7:03 pm |

    GallingGalla:

    “But we cannot move on to a phase of mutual reconciliation / healing until the side that has the *overwhelming* power and privilege – israelis and the US-ians and other Westerners that support israel – acknowledges that and takes responsibility for that and takes some *major* steps towards correcting that power imbalance.”

    Exactly. I mean, I don’t even understand why this is a controversial point on a progressive blog, but yeah… What you said. Calls for reconciliation don’t make a whole hell of a lot of sense in the midst of the huge power disparity (Israel is the unchecked nuclear power there and–notwithstanding even that–clearly has the overwhelming military advantage), and in any case, reconciliation only happens after the injustice and oppression stop. If ever. Calls for reconciliation on the part of the Palestinians have long served as a substitute for justice of any kind, and it is never clear to me what reconciliation actually is. If reconciliation requires the retraction of support for the one party in the region that has been committed to providing a workable infrastructure in Gaza, why then… That seems like a particularly tall order.

    Why the constant elision of the fact that Israel is responsible for exponentially greater civilian deaths than Hamas? One doesn’t tend to read the history of the Algerian struggle for autonomy from France in that way anymore. Why this? Calls for equality, coming to the table, reconciliation, etc., etc. do nothing but mask the tremendous power imbalance between the state of Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza.

    In any case… I don’t think those of us who watch this unfold from the US particularly… have the right to call for reconciliation here. We are not only far more ignorant than we should be on the conflict given that our tax dollars provide Israel’s greatest military support… But we are also not exactly well-positioned to tell the Palestinians how they should respond to their own occupation, given that we’re residents of the country with the greatest imperial designs on the Middle East anywhere in the world. It’s just not right. And it smacks of disingenuousness.

  131. Howie
    Howie December 30, 2008 at 7:33 pm |

    1. “Basically, the Talmud which is studied by the Zionists, states that anybody that isn’t a jew is a pig.” — Of the hundreds of people I know who have studied all of the Talmud in deep detail for many years none have ever said that to me. What page are you citing?

  132. Howie
    Howie December 30, 2008 at 8:19 pm |

    By the way, Cara, thank you very much for the opportunity to participate in this discussion.

  133. Ellen
    Ellen December 30, 2008 at 8:36 pm |

    GallingGalla, I completely agree with you. But how do we get a dialogue going that moves in that direction instead of getting people to dig their heels in further? For example, see the two posts above, arguing about what is wrong with the Talmud vs. what is wrong with Koran is going to get us nowhere. Nobody has read any of these posts and changed their minds, they have only gotten infuriated and left.

  134. Ellen
    Ellen December 30, 2008 at 8:40 pm |

    One thing that really infuriates me, is that my govt (US) subsidizes it. My taxes go toward killing Palestinians.

  135. Ellen
    Ellen December 30, 2008 at 8:45 pm |

    Just Sayin’:

    “Israel needs to exist because the history of the world is that Jews will not be safe without a homeland”

    Jews should not need a homeland to be safe. They, as well as members of every other religion, deserve to be safe everywhere in the world.

    I just want to say that I am a Jew, and I am extremely sick of everyone justifying ethnic cleansing for my sake.

  136. It’s tough determining what’s more revolting [Update] « Talk Radio is Stupid

    [...] It’s tough determining what’s more revolting [Update] Maybe I view it this way because I spend too much time in an over-opinionated blogosphere, but the first inclination one has concerning news of Israelis and Palestinians is to pick a side; and criticize others for the side they choose.  The wingnuts have certainly picked Israel, as they always will — unfortunately, Nancy Pelosi (and, surely, the rest of the establishment Democrats) agrees with the wingnuts.  Others leaning more to the left will side with the Palestinians, pointing out the acute brutality of the Israeli attacks. [...]

  137. M.
    M. December 31, 2008 at 12:07 am |

    The Washington Post ran a story today about a Palestinian couple who lost five of their nine children; the youngest was four. I don’t care what you think about the political situation in the Middle East; I don’t care who you think has the moral high ground. If you don’t agree with Cara on this one, if you don’t think that it’s fucked up that a four year old girl was crushed to death by the remains of her house yesterday, there is something seriously, seriously wrong with you and your priorities.

    I know this point has been made before, but it apparently bears repeating: Palestine != Hamas != preschool children. Hundreds of people who do not deserve to be blown up – real people who have killed no one, who love their families and who have families who love them – are injured or dying. Yes, Hamas is a democratically elected government, but they were also the only entity in Israel capable of providing social services to people who are desperately poor. I think Hamas is an evil organization, but let’s cut the bullshit: you try telling your children that you aren’t able to support them because you aren’t employed, that they can’t have a decent life, and see how altruistic you are toward the people you believe drove you into that kind of poverty, when you believe that the same organization that shoots rockets over the border will make your situation better. That doesn’t make Hamas right, but that does mean that you can’t judge the worthiness of the Palestinian people to live based on Palestine’s elected leaders, when they were elected out of desperation. Yes, Howie, there is a lot of hate toward Israel in Palestine, certainly from Hamas. But this recent strike will do nothing but fuel more hatred.

    (I think it’s also worth pointing out that George Bush is my democratically elected leader, but it would be wrong to bomb my city block in retribution for his invasion of Iraq. I live in DC, so I do live within five miles of strategic targets, but I’d be pissed off if hundreds of people from my city were killed, indiscriminately, for actions many of us don’t support.)

    Moral high ground aside: unless you think that the solution is simply to kill Palestinians until there are none left – and we have seen no indication that it wouldn’t come to that, considering the past few decades of experience – there is no choice but to make them stop wanting to bomb Israel. Palestinians probably won’t love Israelis for a long time to come, but the majority of them must somehow be given enough peace and prosperity not to want to give up their lives to destroy Israel. People with lives worth living don’t often suicide bomb. If we want to reduce Hamas to a fringe movement – and that is most definitely what we want – we must give Palestinians an alternative that they can accept. This ain’t it.

  138. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 31, 2008 at 12:09 am |

    Galling and KristIn,

    Hmm…more than calling for a reconciliation…I was mostly calling for us (un-trained U.S. civilians) to cut out the rhetorical anger and politicization of the issue. Absolutely reconciliation has come at the expense (generally) of the Palestinian people. Mainly because on the whole, the arbitrators, the peace brokers, have all be invested in a stable Israel in the region for their own political reasons. As I said, you can’t negotiate in good faith, if the arbitrator has an agenda contrary to the interests of one party.

    I want an end to the finger pointing, not because finger pointing is necessarily bad, but because I think we (American’s) have been using this finger pointing to meet our own political agenda rather than to forward the cause of peace.

    (Note this anti-finger pointing stance does not apply to those personally affected, just to the armchair poli-sci profs in all of us.)

  139. Heads I Win, Tails You Lose :: New MediaTheory

    [...] this article are found at these pro Israeli sites here and here and quoted by an anti Israel site here. It looks like the words quoted were there and then were not. However, checking the  article as I [...]

  140. The Flash
    The Flash December 31, 2008 at 11:55 am |

    Ellen… Jews should be safe everywhere, but… they aren’t, and they never will be. As long as Christianity and Islam exist, Jews will always be used as rhetorical tools for both– the intellectual underpinnings of both religions practically require it, and throughout history there have been wild swings in the treatment of Jews by the Muslim and christian worlds.

    Anyway, it’s maddening that arguments about Israel always devolve into either “Israel has no right to exist” or “Israel is so much more powerful!”. Israel exists, and arguing abotu it DOES come off as racist. Not because all opposition to Israel is anti-semitic, but because it denies any acknowledgment of the difficult situation of the Jews, both particularly at the time of founding and also in the modern world. That isn’t to say that the Palestinians deserve to suffer, but it is to say that Israel’s founding is not prima facie invalid, and the world would be a much worse place for a lot of people who feminists ought to care about (like gay palestinians or anyone who likes to write critical articles about their governments) if Israel were wiped off the face of the earth, the way that Palestinian forces, one-staters and anti-zionist Jews seem to prefer. Also, “Israel is more powerful” is an ad-hominem attack, and doesn’t deal with the underlying cause of the war. Nobody, even a more powerful nation, should sit back and let themselves get punched over and over again.

    Aaaaaand… there’s been a whole lot of silence about Hamas’ culpability among the “Israel’s wrong” crowd, with the exception of Skullhunter’s acknowledgement that they’re a bunch of dicks. Zionists and other Israel-sympathizers seem extremely willing to look inside themselves and agonize over the right course of action. Where’s the self-reflection by the anti-zionists for what they’re doing wrong? It’s been almost a decade since Edward Said was willing to come forward and rail against Arafat. Where has the internal criticism gone in the anti-Israel camp?

    Anyway, war is hell. That said, there’s a big, big gap between Serbian death squads in Kosovo and civilian collateral damage in Gaza. Nobody likes it when kids get killed, but that’s why it’s worthwhile to oppose and prevent war– and not worthwhile to demonize only one side of a war between two elected governments. Collateral damage isn’t a war crime. It’s a war tragedy. Those aren’t the same thing.

  141. The Flash
    The Flash December 31, 2008 at 12:16 pm |

    Oh, and, also, I hate it when people say “George Bush was elected and I don’t think we deserve to be attacked for his decisions.”

    George Bush was NOT democratically elected. George Bush used abuse of process and thousands of small acts of fraud and subversion of democracy to create a ruse of being elected (DOESN’T ANYONE REMEMBER FLORIDA 2000?!?!?!). Saying we’re responsible for electing George Bush is like saying Zimbabweans are responsible for things Mugabe does. Hamas won by a landslide– it isn’t the same thing.

  142. Ravenmn
    Ravenmn December 31, 2008 at 12:37 pm |

    The Flash wrote: “Anyway, it’s maddening that arguments about Israel always devolve into either “Israel has no right to exist” or “Israel is so much more powerful!”. Israel exists,”

    Then ignore those arguments. They are a digression. The issue is should Israel be a Zionist state? You say yes, I say no. I believe any state that establishes racist laws is wrong and should be changed completely. I don’t believe I deserve special privileges that other human beings are not allowed.

    The Flash wrote: “because it denies any acknowledgment of the difficult situation of the Jews”. Actually, it denies that there is only one cure for the hatred of Jews and that cure is the establishment of a Zionist, racist state. It hasn’t been working out very well. It shows no sign of getting better. Let’s find a better answer.

    The Flash wrote: “there’s been a whole lot of silence about Hamas’ culpability”. You need to broaden your reading. I see attacks on Hamas every day in my local newspapers. In the U.S. it is extremely difficult to find anyone who does not attack Hamas. This statement makes no sense in the current environment.

    For those who want a great introduction to opposing Zionism, check out Joel Kovel’s “Overcoming Zionism” here: http://www.press.umich.edu/titleDetailDesc.do?id=290383

  143. The Flash
    The Flash December 31, 2008 at 1:00 pm |

    Really classy how you twisted my words to make it sound like I was saying no one criticizes Hamas. I didn’t say that. I said no one on the (oversimplifying here, but you get the gist) “Israel’s totally wrong” side bothers criticizing Hamas.

    Having a non-zionist state in Israel is the same as denying the suffering of the Jews. The point is that Israel doesn’t exist to stop hatred of Jews, it exists as a place for Jews to run to when people decide they like to kill Jews. Which happens. ALL THE TIME.

  144. Charity
    Charity December 31, 2008 at 2:22 pm |

    “Saying we’re responsible for electing George Bush is like saying Zimbabweans are responsible for things Mugabe does. Hamas won by a landslide– it isn’t the same thing.” – the Flash

    You’re right, Flash. It isn’t the same thing, because we have not been forcibly relocated, walled off, occupied, policed, denied food, medicine, and power, and otherwise been strangled by blockades and deprivation, to the point where electing someone out of desperation, to force some kind of change when few routes of change appear viable, becomes a plausible option.

  145. The Flash
    The Flash December 31, 2008 at 2:38 pm |

    Charity… that made no sense. It had nothing to do with what I said. The reasons Gazans, and some West Bank residents, voted for Hamas have nothing to do with whether or not Hamas was legitimately elected. In point of fact, I’m saying it was, but your weird rant is a red herring on the issue of whether Gazans are prisoners of the action sof Hamas, or whether they are a polity that now has to stand behind the consequences of the actions taken by the people they elected. When Americans get killed because people hate the things George W. Bush does, we’re suffering because someone stole our government and we have no true elected officials. When Gazans suffer because of things Hamas does, they’re suffering because of actions taken by people they actually elected. Israel isn’t part of the comparison I’m making. Go ahead and make your own, if you want.

  146. Me
    Me December 31, 2008 at 3:18 pm |

    Yeah well maybe Israel shouldn’t have taken Palestinian land in the first place.

  147. Charity
    Charity December 31, 2008 at 3:31 pm |

    OK Flash, so what you’re saying is that context doesn’t matter, and people should uniformly be held to the “choices” they make, as if there is no variation in what choices are even available, or the degree of actual FREEDOM in the choice? That’s almost Bushian in its elegance. You were *directly referencing* a comparison between holding the US accountable (in the form of military retaliation) for GW’s actions and holding Gaza accountable for those of Hamas. Excuse me if I read into that that you meant the former (military retaliation against the US based on the actions of GW) would be less justified because the election was “stolen” versus legitimate. My point was, the issue of “legitimacy” is more complex and the issue of holding people accountable for their decision-making is more complex than your post suggested. No biggie if you don’t agree with me. It strikes me, though, that if you’re so inclined to disregard context and consideration of differences in power and how they influence people’s behavior, you’re going to be confused by a lot of feminist writing.

  148. The Flash
    The Flash December 31, 2008 at 4:00 pm |

    But Charity, if context has so controlling a significance– if powerful countries can never hammer little groups that like to bomb them– then how do we get, for lack of a better term, poor people to behave? What should Israel have done to stop Gazans from shooting rockets at them, besides giving them buckets of money? Gazans would be poor and miserable with or without the Israeli blockade. That’s one of the reasons West Bank residents are mostly okay with the split between the two regions– the West Bank is historically better educated and more affluent. Gaza is a bunch of backwater hicks. So Israeli blockade or no, Gazans would be poor and pissed off. So… What should Israel do to get them to stop firing rockets, since communist revolution isn’t a reasonable option?

  149. Jill
    Jill December 31, 2008 at 4:14 pm | *

    Um. Seriously, Flash?

    This isn’t my thread and I honestly don’t have time to be monitoring all the comments, but comments calling entire swaths of people “backwater hicks” is not ok. You’re welcome to comment and to voice your opinion, but that crosses a line.

    And call me crazy, but I suspect that Gazans would be significantly less miserable if they were able to access basics like food, water, work and electricity without having to go through blockades, and without the threat of it all being cut off without warning.

  150. Howie
    Howie December 31, 2008 at 4:24 pm |

    My take on a major source of this tragedy: Most Israelis have long been ready to give, on condition that the receiver recognize that it is given voluntarily. Most Palestinians have long been ready to take, on condition that the giver recognize that it was taken by force. And when the Israelis give expecting peace, the Palestinians take expecting that more force will get them more.

    This is why Oslo was doomed at the beginning. These vastly differing concepts made the idea of ‘mutual confidence-building’ impossible. The Palestinians allowed murderous rejectionists to kill Israelis — “Martyrs for Peace” in Shim’on Peres’s obscene phrase, destroying the small amount of confidence that, for a sadly brief time, followed Oslo, and forcing the Israelis to increase their security measures. Heck, we don’t even like the TSA screeners.

    To me, this sadly explains why Palestinians have allowed suicide bombers to stand in line with them at a border crossing, knowing that the result will be that the Israelis will close the border crossing.

    The only hope I see, which is actually Negotiation 101, is to negotiate an entire agreement at once. In that, I think, Ehud Barak was correct.

  151. Charity
    Charity December 31, 2008 at 4:41 pm |

    As an FYI to Cara and the other posters/mods, I followed one of the trackbacks above and found that the post at New Media Theory refers to this as an “anti-Israel” site – so that may affect your traffic in some way.

  152. The Flash
    The Flash December 31, 2008 at 4:52 pm |

    You know, before there was a blockade of Gaza, militants were still plotting terrorist attacks from Gaza. Terrorism from Gaza is nothing new, and casting it as a product of the blockade is fallacious. I’m not denying that terrorism comes from despair, but that despair, and its accordant violent outbreaks, predates the dramatic dimensions of the blockade. And, as a corollary to the connection between despair and wanton violence, explanations aren’t excuses. The fact that Gazans are stuck in a state of bitter poverty doesn’t give them license– I’m referring specifically to the ones who are launching the rockets, though obviously none of them have such license– to lash out in violence against Israeli civilians.

    And you’re right that it wasn’t fair of me to paint Gazans with a wide brush like that, especially in a moment when they’re in extreme distress. I’ll make sure to be more conscientious.

  153. Howie
    Howie December 31, 2008 at 5:03 pm |

    “The conversation has mainly become bitter, it’s over 150 comments long, and now there’s a much better and thorough post on this same topic for people to continue the conversation in a hopefully more civil manner.”

    Where?

    I’m new at this, but, for this topic, I suspect that this thread is more civil than most. Even those who have no intention of changing their minds are at least learning what other people are thinking.

  154. Charity
    Charity December 31, 2008 at 5:07 pm |

    Flash, my references were not to those launching the rockets, but rather to the civilians trapped in an untenable situation, but i suspect you know that.

  155. Howie
    Howie December 31, 2008 at 5:18 pm |

    A number of sites for reference:

    http://www.obsessionthemovie.com/ — on the cultural of war issue

    http://www.shoebat.com/ — A former Plaestininan terrorist, now pro-Israeli, in part after seraching in vain for Israeli songs that glorify war.

    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/ — A general news site run by a Christian Arab

    http://www.arabsforisrael.com/ — A site by a Muslim born in Egypt

    Brigitte Gabriel http://www.americancongressfortruth.com/ — A Lebanese Christian, now pro-Israeli

  156. Kristen (The J one)
    Kristen (The J one) December 31, 2008 at 5:43 pm |

    World Net Daily?…BINGO!!!!

    Is there a prize?

  157. little light
    little light December 31, 2008 at 6:00 pm |

    It ain’t a civil conversation in here if you’re a Palestinian reading it.

    It doesn’t matter how polite your syntax is, or how free of emotional involvement you fancy yourself, if you’re still calling an entire people duplicitous, inherently violent, sinister criminals who would kill their own children and fake injuries and lie about having no water or electricity or food, as part of a sinister plot to somehow kill all Jews–with, apparently, a smartly-equipped crack military they don’t have.
    It’s not civil if you’re reading about your family in here, and how monstrous they are, and how devoid of any human decency they are, children included–and how they deserve to be annihilated.

    It doesn’t matter how politely you word it. If you’re calmly, rationally calling a million people subhuman, depraved, lying thugs, it doesn’t matter how pretty you make it or how many books you cite to make it look decent. There’s nothing civil about Holocaust denial, either, no matter how measured your tones.

    I’m reminded of a staunch Zionist I went to school with, who wanted to have a rational, calm, reasoned discussion based on the premise that “all Palestinians are baby-killers.” God forbid anyone get all emotion or hostile about it–he was being civil! He could even cite articles and anecdotes that proved it was true. Every Palestinian, down to the last child, thinks of nothing but exterminating global Jewry, and just happens to be a baby-killer. What’s uncivil about that assertion? It’s just an opinion, based on facts.
    (As I recall, a friend had to physically pull me out of that conversation before I became a kind of uncivil I would regret.)

    I shudder at the thought–as an Ashkenazic Jew, myself–that any of the Palestinians I know and care about had to read this wonderfully civil thread.

  158. Howie
    Howie December 31, 2008 at 6:13 pm |

    “More civil than most” doesn’t mean a whole lot when you’re the one reading through and deleting unpublished comment that say a.) all Palestinians are evil (insert slur here) and deserve to die or b.) the Israelis are evil, greedy and also big whiners, because the Holocaust didn’t happen.”

    Wow! And I thought that this was the bad stuff! Thanks for even trying.

  159. Blue
    Blue December 31, 2008 at 6:14 pm |

    Howie,

    that obsession movie is pure racist propaganda, but thanks for playing.

  160. Ravenmn
    Ravenmn December 31, 2008 at 6:36 pm |

    Flash, I’m not sure how defensive you are feeling, so I will respond to your comment with some lattitude:

    Flash wrote: “Really classy how you twisted my words to make it sound like I was saying no one criticizes Hamas. I didn’t say that. I said no one on the (oversimplifying here, but you get the gist) “Israel’s totally wrong” side bothers criticizing Hamas.”

    I wasn’t twisting your words, I simply did not make the connection. You keep bringing up people with entrenched dogmatic beliefs and claiming they are entrenched and dogmatic. I agree with you.

    That is why I suggested you ignore them. Don’t bother discussing them. They aren’t worthy of my time or yours. By focusing on them, you can miss out on other possibilities and that would be a shame.

    Flash wrote: Having a non-zionist state in Israel is the same as denying the suffering of the Jews.

    There is no logic in that statement. An orange is not an apple. You may have reasons for leaping to this conclusion, but it isn’t expressed in the statement as it stands.

    Flash wrote: The point is that Israel doesn’t exist to stop hatred of Jews, it exists as a place for Jews to run to when people decide they like to kill Jews. Which happens. ALL THE TIME.

    I think you can say this for every human being, not just Jews. I agree that there will always be hatred and that some groups of people will always be hated. You seem to believe the answer is for the hated people to set up exclusive safe havens. Your solution is to have conclaves of ethnically pure groups of individuals scattered across the planet. Israel can be Jewish. Pakistan can be Islamic. There can be a black nation for blacks. A Native American nation for Native Americans. A lesbian nation for lesbians. A transgender nation for transgender people. And so on.

    We do not have enough space on our planet to allow for every one of these groups to set up a safe space. And we certainly can’t decide to set up these places in areas where a population currently exists and must be cleared out first in order to guarantee our own survival.

    So to go back to your statement: “Having a non-zionist state in Israel is the same as denying the suffering of the Jews.” See this thread for the many people who disprove your conclusion. People who have personally suffered the racism of Jew-haters who nevertheless work toward a non-zionist state in Israel. I guess the only way to continue your belief would be to assume that we are all lying. Why not open up to the possibility that other conclusions are possible?

  161. sad
    sad January 1, 2009 at 12:32 am |

    the Talmud says the opposite of course, that all humans are created in the divine image, that all can go to heaven and not just jews etc (it’s more ecumenical than mainstream xianity that teaches that one must accept jesus to go to heaven)

    what was quoted from the koran is true – now maybe muslims dont have to follow those verses in the koran, I’m fine with that. But what was quoted about the talmud was a vicious lie. THAT is the problem. Why is the culture full of lies about what Jews believe (Zionism began as a secular movement anyway so the talmud is not so relevant) It’s this culture that repeats lies that has to end. The problem is not that westerners or israelis dont thikn muslims can move beyond this or that verse in koran to be moderate. The problem is the palestinian culture that among other things (like encouraging suicide bombing) is full of vicious antisemitism taken striaght from Nazi propoganda. How can you equate a true statement about what the koran actually says with a lie aobut what the talmud says? Because it’s unfair to admit that the two sides are not on equal moral footing? When Israeis spread lies aobut the Koran, then you can equate the two.

  162. Kristin
    Kristin January 1, 2009 at 7:52 pm |

    *applause @ little light*

  163. Morningstar
    Morningstar January 1, 2009 at 11:11 pm |

    “http://www.shoebat.com/ — A former Plaestininan terrorist, now pro-Israeli, in part after seraching in vain for Israeli songs that glorify war.”

    this guy is an evangelical christian and was exposed as a fraud a long time ago, the only people who quote him are agenda driven zealots.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walid_Shoebat#Criticism

    “what was quoted from the koran is true -”

    which quote?

  164. Howie
    Howie January 4, 2009 at 2:39 am |

    Simple point: There are no Israeli songs that glorify war or martyrdom.

    Simple question: Can you say the same of Palestinian songs?

  165. Sylvia
    Sylvia January 4, 2009 at 5:18 am |

    @morningstar- That’s what I want to know. Jews (as well as Christians) are “People of the Book” and are not excluded from heaven according to Islam based on their faith. That’s Islam 101. Anyone who states otherwise, is an outright fraud and/or is just just ignorant of the tenets of the religion.

  166. Howie
    Howie January 4, 2009 at 1:36 pm |

    Seems to me that there are a lot of Muslim de facto leaders who apparently flunked.

  167. Blue
    Blue January 4, 2009 at 3:57 pm |

    Howie, your simple point about songs proves nothing, nor is it simple. In an effort to make your absurd point, you are blatantly ignoring context and actual lived experiences. The Palestinians aren’t forcing the Israelis to live in some of the worst conditions in the world either. Can you say the same of the Israelis re: the living conditions of Palestinians?

    Seriously, you failed to address this point in the other thread, so I will bring it up here. Why do you expect a group of people living in egregious circumstances to have more forbearance and forgiveness than people who live in some of the most prosperous and comfortable countries in the world?

  168. Howie
    Howie January 4, 2009 at 4:59 pm |

    OK. Then tell me about popular songs in Egypt, Syria, and Iran.

    It seems to me that where one is on the spectrum of empathizing — understanding — explaining — excusing — justifying is important. Years ago, NPR concluded its report of a Palestinian sniper in Hevron putting a bullet through the head of a three-month-old baby with Hanan Ashwari justifying his actions.

    Is there anything that Palestinians can do to others or to themselves that you won’t excuse? Do you think there is anything they can do for themselves?

  169. Sylvia
    Sylvia January 5, 2009 at 12:30 pm |

    Honestly, Howie, you’re just bigoted. Islam doesn’t have a religious heirarchy and as such anyone can create a fatwa and proclaim himself or herself to be a religious scholar. The equivalent of what you’re doing is saying that Falwell speaks for all Christians. Every single one of these assholes that proclaim themselves to be men of God have something to gain- politically, monetarily and/or socially against yes, dammit an Occupier-which is what Israel is. By sheer virtue of you demonizing Muslism/Palestinians carte blanche as a monolithic whole speaks volumes. Why don’t you just own your hate and vitriol outright?

    Let me flip your question back to you: is there anything that **some Israelis can do to others or to themselves that you won’t excuse? Do you think there is anything they can do for themselves?

    **Unlike you, I can comprehend the idea that Israeli society has a veriety of views and beliefs.

  170. Angela
    Angela January 5, 2009 at 9:57 pm |

    Here is a great website to see:

    http://ifamericansknew.com

  171. Angela
    Angela January 5, 2009 at 9:57 pm |
  172. War « Shut Up, Sit Down
    War « Shut Up, Sit Down January 6, 2009 at 7:23 am |

    [...] words tend to fail. Writes Like She Talks has a round-up of links, as does Kim Pearson at Blogher. Cara weighed in, and La Macha at Bitch magazine’s blog wrote a post that led to a comments conversation about [...]

  173. Howie
    Howie January 6, 2009 at 9:13 pm |

    Sylvia —

    Regarding your last point: Yes, of course there are. Knowing how the Israeli Police treat Jewish Israeli demonstrators, I assume that what they do to Israeli Arabs is even more objectionable. Conditions and treatment in Israel’s prisons seems unacceptable. This BBC report raises some sobering issues, particularly the bombing of educational institutions: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7811386.stm

    I find that reading the posts here that contain actual information or arguments have moved my thinking on the empathizing — understanding — explaining — excusing – justifying scale for both Palestinians and Israelis. But it seems to me that the people in this discussion who call others names and dismiss their questions or arguments without answering them are not interested in either learning or teaching.

    Back to your first point: I certainly get the impression that the education given to Muslims in countries like Britain, France, Egypt, Syria, Pakistan, Iran, and others does not treat non-Muslims well. (So-called, if you prefer) Muslims in England, France, and Belgium have been attacking Jews for years. People from no other religion riot over what newspapers in other countries publish. People from no other religion become suicide bombers. I have heard that there are recent popular Arabic songs that glorify war and martyrdom. Is that true or false? (And yes, I don’t have much distinction in my mind between Muslim and Arab outlooks on other people). A former colleague from Pakistan said that, were Salman Rushdi standing before him, he would shoot him. A big problem to me is that the good guys don’t make nearly as much noise as the bad guys. As far as I know, no national Muslim organization (US or otherwise) ever publicly condemned 911. At the time, NPR carried an interview of a Muslim doctor (I forget in what country) saying that we got what we deserved — and he was trained in Indiana! Seems to me that there are an awful lot of badly-educated (if you prefer, so-called) Muslims.

    On the other hand, all of the Muslims I have worked with have been reasonable and friendly people. And the Indian Muslim association in charge of Indian Muslim cemeteries refused to bury the Mumbai terrorists – that was hopeful.

  174. Charity
    Charity January 6, 2009 at 10:25 pm |

    Howie, if you don’t see the bigotry in that last post of yours, i trust that anyone else reading it will, unless they themselves are also bigots. I hope you wren’t trying to “disprove” Sylvia’s assertion with that comment.

  175. Howie
    Howie January 7, 2009 at 7:03 pm |

    Let’s see what happens if we change the participants and the location:

    1. Let’s say that both English-speaking and French-speaking people have come, over many years to live in Quebec.
    2. After years of vocal demagoguery and incitement from English-speaking extremists, some of the English-speaking population of Quebec starts attacking and killing the French-speakers.
    3. After this goes on for a while, the UN in its wisdom decides to divide Quebec into English-speaking and French-speaking areas, establishing Montreal as a UN-administered enclave.
    4. The French-speaking people accept, but the English-speaking people reject the proposal after which the US and the English-speaking people in Canada invade the planned French-speaking part of Quebec.
    5. Amazingly, the French-speakers in Quebec beat back the invasion. For a variety of reasons, half of the English-speaking people in Quebec leave.
    6. The US and the rest of Canada refuse to accept these English-speakers, who become refugees, mainly in the remaining English-speaking part of Quebec. The English-speakers who didn’t leave the French-speakers’ part of Quebec become citizens of the French-speaking part of Quebec and are treated for a number of years with suspicion and discrimination, which is limited by the legal protections of their citizenship.
    7. At the same time, due to discrimination and mistreatment, all of the other French-speakers in Canada, and many from other parts of the world, move to the French-speakers’ part of Quebec.
    8. Twenty years later, the US and the English-speakers’ part of Canada decide to finish the job and invade again.
    9. Remarkably, the French-speakers, by now having obtained arms from Europe, are again victorious, even managing to occupy (reoccupy?) the English-speakers’ part of Quebec. Some of the French-speakers hail a return to ‘Greater Quebec’ and start living again in areas where they lived before the separation war.
    10. After thirty years of degrading treatment, the English-speaker refugees start attacking the French speakers on both sides of the separation line.
    11. The French-speakers withdraw from part of the English-speakers’ part of Quebec, forcibly dragging out the French-speakers who had relocated to their former homes in that portion of the English-speakers’ part of Quebec. Not trusting the US or the English-speaking Canadians, the French speakers try unsuccessfully to keep the English-speakers from getting rockets.
    12. The English-speakers elect a terrorist organization as their government, and, after about twenty minutes of quiet, the terrorists start shooting ‘homemade’ and Iranian rockets into the part of Quebec to which the French-speakers have withdrawn.
    13. Questions: What would you now do if you were a French-speaker? Or if you were an English-speaker in the part of Quebec from which the French-speakers had withdrawn, now governed by the terrorists you have elected? Or if you were the US and the English-speakers’ part of Canada? Would you tell the French-speakers to return Quebec to the English-speaker refugees and go back to their former homes in the English-speaking part of Canada? What would you now do if you were a European looking across the Atlantic Ocean trying to figure out why the English-speakers and the French-speakers can’t just get along? How would you establish a durable peace between the French-speakers and the English-speakers?

  176. Howie
    Howie January 13, 2009 at 12:19 am |

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123137495711862883.html ->> Just look at the spate of attacks this week on Jews and Jewish institutions around the world: a car ramming into a synagogue in France; a Chabad menorah and Jewish-owned shops sprayed with swastikas in Belgium; a banner at an Australian rally demanding “clean the earth from dirty Zionists!”; demonstrators in the Netherlands chanting “Gas the Jews”; and in Florida, protestors demanding Jews “Go back to the ovens!”

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article5459435.ece ->> Last night a Jewish congregation in Helsingborg, in southern Sweden, was attacked by someone who “broke a window and threw in something that was burning,” a police spokesman said. ….In Denmark, a 27-year-old Dane born in Lebanon of Palestinian parents is alleged to have injured two young Israelis last week, opening fire with a handgun…. …including an arson attempt on the Brondesbury Park synagogue in northwest London on Sunday.

    And bricks thrown into four synagogues and a school in Chicago on Friday night.

    Note that these were all Jews and Jewish institutions in Western countries, not Israeli institutions in Israel.

    What excuse and justification will be made for these attackers many of whom have grown up and gotten their Muslim education in Europe and the US?

    As far as I know, no Muslim institutions were attacked while Hamas sent rockets into Israel for years.

    If pointing these things out is bigotry, so be it.

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