Israel

There’s plenty of science and religion stuff out there, but I think talking about anything else right now would be to ignore the elephant in the room.

There’s a basic moral principle that I subscribe to that goes like this: When your neighbor is relentlessly firing rockets at you in an attempt to kill as many civilians as possible, or barring that to make life unlivable for civilian populations, then you have carte blanche to do whatever is necessary to make it stop.

I have no patience for bloggers who sit in perfect safety on the other side of the world, and, with steepled fingers and their feet on an ottoman, argue that any country can or should be expected to put up with that. Show me someone lecturing Israel about proportionality or just war theory, and I’ll show you someone you can ignore.

And I definitely have no patience for people who write things like this:

I’ve had people try to tell me that it is justifiable — that Hamas is firing rockets into Israeli neighborhoods. I freely grant that trying to kill random citizens with rockets is also unconscionable, whether it’s done by Palestinians, Israelis, or Americans. But how can anyone condemn one and not the other?

That, sadly, is P. Z. Myers. That sure is a tough question he asks. X hits Y because he hates him and wants to hurt him. Y, after getting hit for a while, eventually decides to hit back. P. Z. cannot figure out why we might condemn one but not the other.

Moreover, of the three groups he mentions; Palestinians, Israelis and Americans; only one actually has leadership that routinely tries to kill random citizens. It’s nice for him to provide the formula for successfully bombing your neighbors, though. Apparently, so long as you are willing to hide your weapons in civilian areas, your neighbor is helpless to do anything more than ask you nicely to stop.

Hamas, whose leadership is currently waiting it out in Qatar, is getting precisely what it wants from all this. Its rockets are not really about scoring any kind of military victory. It’s about deliberately provoking Israel to reply, after which the inevitable dead civilians will grant them a public relations victory. Yes, they are that cynical and nihilistic. Let us not forget that the Hamas charter does not just call for the destruction of Israel, but for the murder of Jews generally. I keep reading that public opinion was turning against Hamas, but what Israel is doing will drive up their support. If that is true, I can only say it is hard to sympathize with people who want terrorists to represent them.

Hamas has been running Gaza for quite a few years now, and in that time they have done nothing to suggest they are serious about setting up the institutions of a functioning state. Instead they have done everything they can to militarize Gaza, and to turn as many of their people as possible into martyrs.

Gaza was a prison before this latest incursion, but it did not have to be this way. Jeffrey Goldberg
explains things well
:

The politics of the moment are fascinating and dreadful, but what really interests me currently is a counterfactual: What if, nine years ago, when Israel withdrew its soldiers and settlers from Gaza, the Palestinians had made a different choice. What if they chose to build the nucleus of a state, rather than a series of subterranean rocket factories?

This thought is prompted by something a pair of Iraqi Kurdish leaders once told me. Iraqi Kurdistan is today on the cusp of independence. Like the Palestinians, the Kurds deserve a state. Unlike most of the Palestinian leadership, the Kurds have played a long and clever game to bring them to freedom.

This is what Barham Salih, the former prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, told me years ago: ““Compare us to other liberation movements around the world. We are very mature. We don’t engage in terror. We don’t condone extremist nationalist notions that can only burden our people. Please compare what we have achieved in the Kurdistan national-authority areas to the Palestinian national authority . . . We have spent the last 10 years building a secular, democratic society, a civil society.”

What, he asked, have the Palestinians built?

So too, Massoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, once told me this: “We had the opportunity to use terrorism against Baghdad. We chose not to.”

In 2005, the Palestinians of Gaza, free from their Israeli occupiers, could have taken a lesson from the Kurds — and from David Ben-Gurion, the principal Israeli state-builder — and created the necessary infrastructure for eventual freedom. Gaza is centrally located between two large economies, those of Israel and Egypt. Europe is just across the Mediterranean. Gaza could have easily attracted untold billions in economic aid.

The Israelis did not impose a blockade on Gaza right away. That came later, when it became clear that Palestinian groups were considering using their newly liberated territory as a launching pad for attacks. In the days after withdrawal, the Israelis encouraged Gaza’s development. A group of American Jewish donors paid $14 million for 3,000 greenhouses left behind by expelled Jewish settlers and donated them to the Palestinian Authority. The greenhouses were soon looted and destroyed, serving, until today, as a perfect metaphor for Gaza’s wasted opportunity.

If Gaza had, despite all the difficulties, despite all the handicaps imposed on it by Israel and Egypt, taken practical steps toward creating the nucleus of a state, I believe Israel would have soon moved to evacuate large sections of the West Bank as well. But what Hamas wants most is not a state in a part of Palestine. What it wants is the elimination of Israel. It will not achieve the latter, and it is actively thwarting the former.

I would love to end the post there. The trouble, though, is that Israel has largely been taken over by their own crazed right-wingers. Sometimes we do not realize how good we have it in the States, where the Tea Party is all we have to worry about. Much of the Knesset, the ultra-Orthodox, and many of the settlers make Netanyahu look like the calm, reasonable one. But they are the ones who are running the country right now.

While I get very absolutist when one country is randomly firing rockets at its neighbor, the fact remains that Israel has spent much of the last several years deliberately sabotaging moderate forces within Palestine. Mahmoud Abbas was someone they could really have worked with, and he desperately needed to be seen as legitimate by his constituents. There was much that Israel could have done to strengthen him, but the right-wing forces within Israel did not want to see that happen. They are perfectly happy to have Hamas be the public face of Palestine, precisely because they do not want to end the occupation. They do not care about a functioning Palestinian state any more than Hamas does. All too many of these folks are in thrall to a lunatic religious view in which God has bequeathed the entire West Bank to hem.

Israel accomplished something incredible in its first fifty years. Even as they faced relentless war and violence from their neighbors, they built a country to be proud of, with contributions to the arts, science and technology out of all proportion to their tiny size. But the endless violence has caught up with them, and now their citizens have become radicalized. Just as many Palestinians have abandoned all hope of a two-state solution, so too have many Israelis given up all hope of peace. They are so resigned to endless violence and the scorn of the world, that they no longer worry much about creating the next generation of terrorists or of finding moderate voices to support.

Sorry to be so grim, but I don’t see much reason for optimism.

I’ll give the final word to Leon Wieseltier. He is not someone I usually quote favorably, but I agree with pretty much everything he says here:

A thousand Hamas missiles cannot erase the stain of the murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, nor can the murder of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel extenuate it. Introspection in a time of war is perhaps a lot to ask; people under attack are not inclined to guilt. But the burning of the Palestinian boy must not be eclipsed by the struggle against the aggressions of Hamas. There is no Iron Dome to intercept the conscience. The day of the atrocity against Muhammad Abu Khdeir—a revenge killing in a society that mocks revenge killings in other societies—was a dark day in the history of the state and the religion in whose name it was, however falsely, perpetrated. The maniacs who perpetrated the crime did not, in their ideas and words, come from nowhere, from no politics, from no culture. The top-to-bottom revulsion in Israel at what was done in the forest near Jerusalem, a sincere revulsion, does not end the matter. Regret, if it is to be genuine, cannot be efficient. It certainly must not become another ground for the sensation of moral superiority. The makeshift monument in the forest that was erected to the memory of the Palestinian boy was defaced, and erected again, and defaced again. Even as it endures sirens and shelters, Israeli society must cultivate its revulsion, its sickened feeling, not least because the ruin of relations between peoples is even more dangerous than the ruin of relations between presidents and prime ministers.

And later:

But this is not all that needs to be said. (Yes, the other shoe is about to drop. I have two feet.) Israel has not only demons, but also enemies. One of its enemies, according to Human Rights Watch, is committing war crimes by launching missiles indiscriminately against civilian targets. The Israeli campaign in Gaza is not an act of revenge for the slaying of three Jewish boys; it is an act of retaliation against the Gazan barrage of rockets at Israeli towns and cities. What is the difference between revenge and retaliation? It is a fair question. The difference lies in the legitimacy of self-defense. Revenge protects nothing, except the maddened psyches of those who commit it. It is not an act of self-defense, it is an act of self-expression. It is certainly not a “response” in any rational sense. The Israelis who slaughtered the Palestinian boy were not provoked; they were pre-provoked. Yet in the matter of the rocket attacks from Gaza, Israel was provoked. The security of its citizens was at risk; and security is assessed empirically, not ideologically; and security is no less fundamental, morally speaking, than peace. Israel is acting strategically, not emotionally, in Gaza. It is “degrading” an incontrovertible threat. This does not exempt it from the means-ends question, but the campaign to destroy an arsenal that is being hurled against one’s population is warranted by reason and dignity. It is not a political solution, but a missile in mid-air is not a political problem.

Comments

  1. #1 The Peak Oil Poet
    July 22, 2014

    you throw a stone
    i’ll fire my gun
    you fire a gun
    i’ll lob a mortar
    you fire a mortar
    i’ll fire a rocket
    you fire a rocket
    i’ll unleash hell

    i’ll steal your land, systematically, until you have none

    you throw a stone
    i’ll unleash hell

    i’ll ignore all cries and pleas

    you throw a stone
    i’ll unleash hell

    i’ll decimate your power to live and grow and i’ll take away all hope that your children might have

    you throw a stone
    i’ll unleash hell

    you complain and complain and your weak leaders will do nothing

    because if you throw a stone
    we’ll unleash hell

    eventually there will be none of you left

    there will be no more stones

    there will only be hell

    p

  2. #2 Thomas
    July 22, 2014

    Peace plan by Hamas: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/report-is … tions.html
    Peace plan by the deputy chairman of Knesset: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/15326

  3. #3 Thomas
    July 22, 2014

    Sorry, that first link didn’t format correctly:
    http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/report-israel-conditions.html

  4. #4 Oleg
    July 22, 2014

    You see the problem is, if you take the rockets as legitimization for retaliation against Palestine/Gaza/Hamas (whatever you prefer) you also have to accept those (the missiles) as legitimate retaliation of the killing of palestinians in Hebron during the search of the kidnapped boys. This is an almost endless perpetual cycle.
    Matter of the fact is that religious fundamentalists on both sides want this conflict and will do everything they can to prevent a peaceful resolution. As long as the land remains holy to evey side of the conflict there will never be peace.

  5. #5 G
    July 22, 2014

    Jason, I’m with you.

    What you said: “It’s about deliberately provoking Israel to reply, after which the inevitable dead civilians will grant them a public relations victory.” That is a known tactic of asymmetric warfare. And as you said, “Yes, they are that cynical and nihilistic.”

    Agreed also about the right-wingers in Israel. They seem to have alliances with right-winger Dominionist Christians in the US.

    And agreed also about fundamentalists of every stripe. To them, religion, whether Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and now Hinduism in India, is a concrete material object occupying the spacetime coordinates known as Absolute Truth, and there is only room for one such object: their own.

    All others must be crushed, and any alliances with others are only temporary toward that goal (for example Dominionist Christians in the US see Israelis and Jews generally as pawns in the Armageddon Apocalypse game, to end up being converted or “cast into the lake of fire”). (See also numerous articles on talk2action.org.)

    I find it intriguing that violent fundamentalisms are popping up all over the world at this point in history. The cognitive underpinnings of fundamentalism are a low capacity for abstract thinking and an elevated tendency toward concrete thinking, and these attributes, per current thinking about human brains, should be relatively “hard wired” and occur in a stable percentage of population over time. So clearly there is something else, some social factor, that is interacting with the neurophysiology.

    My going hypothesis is that it’s at least in part a tribal-retrenchment reaction in the face of ecological overshoot, population & consumption vs. resources, where those who offer rigid certainties become elevated to positions of power. If that’s correct, it should only worsen as climate change impacts worsen.

    BTW, about the “Hamas Fan Club” among people who should know better: I’ve noticed that it also overlaps with the “Putin Fan Club,” and one of the common denominators is America-hating by Americans.

    Some day there’ll be a cure. One can hope.

  6. #6 Verbose Stoic
    July 22, 2014

    I can agree up to an extent, as long as this is true: that Israel choose methods and acts in a way to MINIMIZE civilian casualties. I’m not willing to condemn Israel for defending itself, but am also not willing to grant them carte blanche to not have to worry about civilians at all. If they act indiscriminantly and, yes, disproportionately — ie if they said if you kill one of our citizens we’ll kill 10 — then they do indeed deserve condemnation.

    At which point, those bloggers you talk about should be asked one question: what can Israel do to maintain its security while reducing the number of casualities? If they have an answer, then we should all advocate for it. And if they don’t, then what do they expect Israel to do, NOT defend its citizens?

    Note that the rocket attacks are a little more complicated, because due to Israel’s own defenses not very many citizens were killed while the retaliatory strikes, as far as I’ve heard, have killed far more. The legitimate concern, then, is that, the consequences from the Israeli actions are so much worse than those from the Palestinian actions, and consequentialists will rightly — by their standards — insist that that makes the Israeli actions at least as bad if not worse (which I think is where P.Z. is coming from). But that might just be one more example to show that consequentialist ethics at least leave important things out.

  7. #7 bobh
    July 22, 2014

    Where to start with this? Until there is a negotiated settlement to this it will go on. Some Palestinians and some Israelis dont want peace and as long as they call the shots there won’t be any. When you have tanks and fighter jets you can take away peoples land in the west bank (settlements) and you can make a ghetto out of Gaza. When you don’t have tanks or fighter jets you can dig tunnels and fire cheap rockets into Israel. There are no good actors in this conflict but there are innocent people on both sides getting killed.

  8. #8 tgt
    July 22, 2014

    Your blind spot about Israel is glaring. That you think the Palestinians are the aggressors is beyond insane. It’s the Israelis that are invading Palestine, allowing the settlers to attack children, and bulldozing the homes of anyone that responds.

    Your favorable quote of Jeffrey Goldberg nails the problem: “What if, nine years ago, when Israel withdrew its soldiers and settlers from Gaza[…]”

    Israel has never withdrawn it’s settlers from Gaza. Israel, has, repeatedly, claimed that it would stop allowing more settlers, but it hasn’t followed through on any of those promises. The settlers continue to create more hamlets, and Israel continues to annex them.

    When you have invalid premises, you get invalid conclusions. Your complaint about PZ Myers comment directly applies to your comment.

  9. #9 Bilbo
    July 22, 2014

    Jason: Sorry to be so grim, but I don’t see much reason for optimism.

    Me neither, but thank you for what seems to me to be a well-balanced post.

  10. #10 eric
    July 22, 2014

    Israel has never withdrawn it’s settlers from Gaza. Israel, has, repeatedly, claimed that it would stop allowing more settlers, but it hasn’t followed through on any of those promises. The settlers continue to create more hamlets, and Israel continues to annex them

    I believe you’re thinking of the west bank. There have not been any Israeli settlements in the Gaza strip since September 2005, when the last of the holdouts were forcibly evicted (by Israel).

    When you have invalid premises, you get invalid conclusions.

    All too true.

  11. #11 proximity1
    July 22, 2014

    You said it, brother!

    Thus, IF (as is so often heard (by various forms and terms) argued by staunch supporters of Israel’s government’s policies and acts concerning the West Bank and Gaza territories)

    ” When your neighbor is relentlessly firing rockets at you in an attempt to kill as many civilians as possible, or barring that to make life unlivable for civilian populations, then you have carte blanche to do whatever is necessary to make it stop.”

    THEN —-> (mutatis mutandis et caeteris paribus)

    ” When (our) neighbor (Israel) is relentlessly firing rockets at (us) in an attempt to kill as many civilians as possible, or barring that to make life unlivable for civilian populations, then (we) have carte blanche to do whatever is necessary to make it stop. “

  12. #12 Thomas
    July 22, 2014

    “Israel accomplished something incredible in its first fifty years.”

    Yes, they drove out the British using terrorism, conquered land from the Palestinians and drove out most of them. Then attacked Egypt (in collusion with Britain and France) in 1956 to take Sinai, but were forced to retreat when USA protested loudly, again attacked Egypt in 1967 to take Sinai and when Egypt’s allies were drawn in the conflict occupied territory from Syria and Jordan. In violation of international law it then started to move settlers into these occupied territories. It has also attacked and occupied southern Lebanon a couple of times.

    Endless violence hasn’t caught up with Zionism, it has been part of it from the start. It’s a rough neighborhood, but the Zionists have just proven themselves to be stronger bullies with better foreign support. It’s true that Israel has also produced a lot of art and science, but this can’t hide the violent nature of the whole project.

    There’s a basic moral principle that I subscribe to that goes like this: When your neighbor occupies and try to take over your territory (West Bank) or put you under a severe blockade (Gaza) you have the right to fight back using the weapons you have at your disposal. It’s not necessarily a good idea when the other part is so much stronger, but you have the right.

  13. #13 tgt
    July 22, 2014

    @eric

    Thanks for the correction. You are correct that I mixed up the locations, and that undermines much of my example.

    But It doesn’t touch my main point. Israel has been the aggressor. The logic that says Israel can morally defend itself actually applies to the Palestinians.

  14. #14 John
    July 22, 2014

    The problems in the mid east can be traced to the end of WWI. The problem of Iraq and Syria is because the borders were drawn without regard to tribal boundaries. It’s true the people there are tribally (rather that state) organized. And tribes kill other tribe’s members.

    See “War: What is it good for?” Ian Morris.

    There is a solution. Israel (the more powerful) must take the land from Hamas – say half the Gaza strip AND cease the blockade (it’s very expensive). If Hamas continues their violence, Israel should take the rest of Gaza and Palestine if they fight. This is how the US grew. It works – nothing else has.

    The trend seems to be the US (Obama) is abandoning Israel.

    Israel is Leviathan. Their military force can bring peace of the graveyard and later prosperity. Israel should continue to take land until their enemies calm down or Israel controls the land.

    I think all other attempts to expect a peaceful response from Israelis enemies have failed. Now it’s time to adopt the only time proved path to peace.

  15. #15 Thomas
    July 22, 2014

    John When you say ” Israel (the more powerful) must take the land from Hamas”, do you mean that they should make the people who live there Israeli citizens or is it ethnic cleansing you suggest? Sure, as USA proved, genocide and ethnic cleansing works to create a state, but is that really acceptable in the 21:st century?

  16. #16 John
    July 22, 2014

    Thomas

    What the US did was to place people on reservations. There they could keep their tribal ways. The same in Gaza would suggest the Hamas people in the north would move to the south. This is why the embargo must stop. Then the ball would be in Hamas’ court.

    The shortest, least expensive in terms of treasure and life is to place the land under a Leviathan (Israel).

    The threat of future conquering of Arab land upon attack would be a peace motivation (inhibit war) for Israel’s enemies. This has proven a dampening of aggressive tendency. On the other hand, giving land back, settling for less than punishment (take land) is viewed as weakness and triggers future war. This is the recent and ancient history.

    Is it acceptable in the 21st century to have continual war? The long-term history of humanity has been a growth of leviathan governments and less war per capita. Stop war first, then tackle humanitarian issues in an environment on non-war (peace?).

  17. #17 tgt
    July 22, 2014

    John,

    It seems your logic is might makes right. If I can just be bigger and stronger than you, I can do what I want. Once I can do what I want, then we can talk about me doing the right thing. Trust that I’ll be fair when I don’t have to be.

    I have no idea how you think this is going to solve the war problem. It seems like its just going to create more valid reasons for war.

  18. #18 Thomas
    July 22, 2014

    John, you talk about Hamas, I talk about the 1.8 million people who live in Gaza. Are you going to put them all in reservations like this is the 19th century? As for people being moved to the south, you do realize Gaza is already an extremely densely populated area since most of the people there are refugees from the ethnic cleansing when Israel was formed? Your “leviathan” policy has already been tried. It’s what radicalized the Palestinians and created Hamas.

    If giving land back triggers further wars, why doesn’t Egypt attack Israel again they got Sinai back? At the contrary Egypt recognized Israel. And why did we get WW II, Germany was certainly punished severely after WW I, didn’t they learn their lesson? Can it be that you are wrong, that in reality your ideas only create more hatred, more violence? Only if you go full scale genocide does your strategy work. When you kill so many people that there aren’t enough left to form any resistance, no matter how much they hate you. Is genocide what you want, because that’s what your plans will lead to, and you can only pray none of the the people you want to kill get hold of nuclear weapons or there will be mutual annihilation?

  19. #19 John
    July 22, 2014

    Israel is a theocracy. This is a tough regime for Moslems. We can be sure Israel will not be what the Moslems consider fair. But Moslems have freedom – they can move. If they have a superior religion, then they can grow. The only “right” thing is to not war if the Moslems do not war. And that is what Israel is motivated to do.

    The first priority for both sides is to stop the war. You need only consult history – see the book I referenced. It worked for the US. I works until Hamas can create the society that can prosper in peace.

    With all the uncertainty in this approach, the other tried approaches have failed. We know the other approaches imply more war.

    “Solve the war problem”. War has been around for as long as life has been around. The issue is to survive. See http://www.fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2018 .

  20. #20 tgt
    July 22, 2014

    John,

    Your logic escapes me. Israel would be considered a bad state by Muslims, so we should give them a state over Muslims, and this will stop the Muslims from wanting to fight? I can’t fathom the irrationality there.

  21. #21 Craig Thomas
    July 22, 2014

    Resistance to invasion and occupation is perfectly legal under international law, and if those civiliuans don’t want to be the target of rockets, they should cease occupying stolen Palestinian lands.

    In 1967 the UN resolved in response to illegal acts of violence by Israel, that,
    i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;
    (ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.

    Israel remains in breach of this resolution (and many others) since that time 47 years ago.

  22. #22 MNb
    July 22, 2014

    “When your neighbor is relentlessly firing rockets at you in an attempt to kill as many civilians as possible, or barring that to make life unlivable for civilian populations, then you have carte blanche to do whatever is necessary to make it stop. ”
    Including genocide?

    “Mahmoud Abbas was someone they could really have worked with.”
    Yes. This is the big failure of Israeli policy. Unfortunately it’s impossible to disconnect this failure with Israel’s war against Hamas.

    “I don’t see much reason for optimism.”
    Neither do I. Neither do all the Israeli’s who leave the country.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Israel#Emigration

    My guess is that they are generally not right-wing.

    As for Israel’s invasion (again) of Gaza I prefer the Macchiavellian approach. What are the goals? Are these goals achieved? If yes, were they worth the cost? It seems to me that the answers are negative. Hence Israel has done something wrong.
    That doesn not imply by any means any sympathy for Hamas.

  23. #23 John
    July 22, 2014

    tgt
    Again see the book “War:…”.
    Remember Pax Romana, Pax Britiania. History is the example.
    The Leviathan state imposed peace through the outright, direct force or through the threat of force so great that the other side would almost certainly loose. The former implies Israel would be required to kill all Palestinians. The latter threatens to take land if Palestine starts a war. The latter requires a demonstration. So far, the Israelis can win war but then had given land back in the peace. This eventually allows Hamas to be in a no loose situation. It gains Moslem support through being willing to bomb Israel that has no down side (they will have their land returned).
    This dynamic must change.
    Both Israel and Palestine are theocracies. Neither has a structure to allow other religions in their territory. Note the radical Moslems are targeting Christians also.
    The threat of certainly loosing the war and certainly having territory taken is what stops the Moslems. The Moslems will have to learn to be self-supporting or forever be a little people. The Palestinians didn’t like loosing the west bank. When they continued the fight, Israel settled the west bank. Note the rockets are coming from Gaza where Israel gave up the strip in 2005.
    If a peace can last a few generations and the Palestinians become self-sufficient, the non-war may last longer with the competition being for the minds and for the commerce.
    The book has a much more detailed support for the answer to your question and how it works. Read the book.

  24. #24 tgt
    July 22, 2014

    John,

    I’ve already pointed out how your logic doesn’t work, and how, even if it did, it would be morally bankrupt. If that’s what your book says, then screw it.

    As for your “gave up the strip” comment, think what would happen if Mexico invaded Texas and California, then gave up California, but continued to invade Texas. Would missiles from California be uncalled for? Hell no.

    Then we get to your comments about the “Moslems” not being self supporting and being little people. Racist much? You might as well be arguing for European colonization of Africa.

    Even if we were to take your book’s idea of might to end war, why should Israel dominate Palestine? Israel is only strong due to U.S. support. Isn’t the U.S. much more of a leviathan state than Israel? Shouldn’t we just take over eveeything and impose secular democracy and stop the settlers and atrocities? Right, we’ve found out that THAT DOESN’T WORK IN THE MODERN WORLD. Thank you Vietnam, Afghanistan, Afghanistan again, and Iraq.

  25. #25 John
    July 23, 2014

    So do you have a suggestion?
    “Morally bankrupt”? What morals? Christians have been fighting and conquering peoples for millennia. Whose morals? The morals that said make slaves of the Indians? The biblical morals of Joshua at Jericho worked – the people of Jericho offered no further resistance.

    I think the governments made war and slaughtered people. The Church’s roll was to pacify the conquered people to obtain a peaceful society for the aristocracy (butchers in charge).
    You did not point out how the logic fails. You said it escapes you. Well. You need to be a bit more open minded and better read. You allow my and history’s method could work- but “screw it “ anyway. You seem to prefer the continued war we have. You think me morally bankrupt. Your think continual war is better – such nonsense.
    I did NOT say Israel dominated in the sense of supervise Moslems. They each have their own state – they’re independent. Israel can make their own tanks, their own jets, and their own atomic bombs. Can the Arabs? You think just throwing a racist slur changes the truth. It only shows your closed mind. Sorry for you.
    Why do you misread the comments?
    You really should read the book –or perhaps facts don’t interest you. You want continual war?
    Your view of history is way off base. Mexico invade the US? Why don’t they? After all the US took Texas and California from Mexico. Mexico doesn’t invade to retake the land because the US is leviathan – my point. Now several generations have elapsed.
    The examples you mention do NOT exemplify my point. The US went in as a policeman to support the existing government – not to conquer the country. According to my prescription, the US should have conquered and controlled like in Porto Rico or Phillipines or left them to their own devices. Being the world’s policeman is what doesn’t work.

  26. #26 proximity1
    July 23, 2014

    RE: post 14’s

    See “War: What is it good for?” Ian Morris.
    There is a solution. Israel (the more powerful) must take the land from Hamas – say half the Gaza strip AND cease the blockade (it’s very expensive). If Hamas continues their violence, Israel should take the rest of Gaza and Palestine if they fight. This is how the US grew. It works – nothing else has. …

    See, in addition to the Ian Morris book, this review of it from the website WarIsACrime.org :

    ( From / Source : http://warisacrime.org/content/war-good-us-dumb-new-book-claims )

    War Is Good for Us, Dumb New Book Claims

    By davidswanson – Posted on 18 April 2014

    Ian Morris has stuck his dog’s ear in his mouth, snapped a selfie, and proclaimed “Man Bites Dog.” His new book War: What Is It Good For? Conflict and Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots is intended to prove that war is good for children and other living things. It actually proves that defenders of war are growing desperate for arguments.

    Morris maintains that the only way to make peace is to make large societies, and the only way to make large societies is through war. Ultimately, he believes, the only way to protect peace is through a single global policeman. Once you’ve made peace, he believes, prosperity follows. And from that prosperity flows happiness. Therefore, war creates happiness. But the one thing you must never stop engaging in if you hope to have peace, prosperity, and joy is — you guessed it — war.

    This thesis becomes an excuse for hundreds of pages of a sort of Monty Python history of the technologies of war, not to mention the evolution of chimpanzees, and various even less relevant excursions. These pages are packed with bad history and guesswork, ….

    By the way, appeals to what are erroneously thought to be Darwin’s evolutionary biology as apologetics for the social benefits of warring behaviour in species are a gross distortion of Darwin’s authentic findings and his views. Since Darwin’s complete works are readily available on-line in easily searchable form, any interested reader can confirm this for himself.

    http://darwin-online.org.uk/

    and, books by Patrick Tort :

    L’effet Darwin : Sélection naturelle et naissance de la civilisation (2008, 2012)

    Darwin and the science of evolution (2001)

  27. #27 proximity1
    July 23, 2014

    tgt @ 17:

    “It seems your logic is might makes right. If I can just be bigger and stronger than you, I can do what I want. Once I can do what I want, then we can talk about me doing the right thing.”

    Exactly. This summary–which, by the way, is hardly novel by this late date–aptly sums up both present and past moral theory and practice with regard to Israel’s militaristic foreign policies and shows us–as though that were still necessary–that Israel and its defenders have simply no moral standing whatsoever. Violent invaders do not enjoy any “right to self-defence” or, come to that, even the “right to exist” under any theory of law or justice worthy of the name. An valid prior claim to innocence as regards one’s acts and one’s place of action is a prerequisite to any valid appeal to the “right to self-defence.”

    Once again: Violent home-invaders have no right to self-defence. But just reflect upon the incredible chutzpah of some such invaders/occupiers actually asserting that right! This, in fact, is what Israel’s government have done and, amazingly, have so long gotten away with!

  28. #28 eric
    July 23, 2014

    tgt:

    As for your “gave up the strip” comment, think what would happen if Mexico invaded Texas and California, then gave up California, but continued to invade Texas. Would missiles from California be uncalled for? Hell no.

    I disagree. If Mexico (the country) invaded CA and TX, then withdrew from CA and kept invading TX, then it would absolutely be wrong for the US to target Mexican (the civilian population) cities in the Baja peninsula with missiles. (In this scenario…) Those folks are noncombatants who are not even participating as direct logistical support to the invaders. Any rules of war that makes them legitimate targets is essentially saying anyone and everyone in a wartime country is a legitimate target; your rule of war legitimizes terrorism.
    So no, I don’t think Israeli settlements in the West Bank legitimizes the use of rockets from the Gaza strip on to Sderot, for the same reason I don’t think UK occupation of Norther Ireland legitimized the use of bombs on London, for the same reason I don’t think the US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan legitimizes the use of bombs on Boston. The way I see it, the logic is the same in all three cases, and I reject that such attacks targeted on civilian noncombatants are legitimate responses to invasion.

  29. #29 proximity1
    July 23, 2014

    Your analogies are grotesquely inapt since in every example, we lose the essence of the Israel-Plaestine conflict–which is that of an overwhelming force-superiority (i.e. Israel unconditionally backed by U.S. military support) against a
    comparatively all-but-disarmed civilian populce under illegal occupation and oppressive control (i.e. pre-1967 Palestine and Gaza strip) while various ad hoc militias and their political wings seek to represent, negotiate for and defend the real or supposed interests of the civilian arab populace of Gaza and the West Bank.

    What you need instead is either a hypothetical or an historical situation in which comparable power-relations are present– an overwhelmingly powerful aggressor force invades, occupies and oppresses a vastly weaker–or, in effect, defenceless–neighbor. Interestingly enough, there are historical precedents but, especially for self-serving reasons, Israel and its knee-jerk defenders studiously ignore or deny them as apt. It is no wonder why they do so–the examples are so utterly repugnant that to admit the relevance of these precedents would be so thoroughly disgraceful a defeat of any Zionist claims to moral legitimacy. But despite this, there remained–at least until recently–at least a handful of Jewish survivors of Nazi Germany who could not help but recognise and admit the parallels between their own horrific experiences at the hands of the Nazis and those of the Palestinians under Israeli occupation. One of the most notable and courageous of these witnesses was the late Israel Shahak who, by the way, did us all a great service by years of outstanding journalism and, not least, leaving us his book, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years ; Pluto Press, London, 1994. It ought to be required reading in secondary schools’ world-history classes and a basic prerequisite text for any informed discussion of the topics of this thread. Alas, instead, we’ve had sixty-six years of deliberate historical fraud concerning these issues.

    What is complicated about placing oneself in the part of an ordinary West Bank or Gazan civilian man, woman or child and suffering under the conditions of seige and oppressive occupation which have prevailed for more than sixty years there? Mainly, the complication comes from the fact that so many are abjectly ignorant of the facts of those conditions and so they cannot adequately take on the part of such a person and imagine how he or she would feel and beahve in such conditions.

    So, let’s take up the much more socially-approved and politically-correct and vastly better-known case: the Warsaw Ghetto under siege by the Nazi occupiers. What then? You continue to “reject that such attacks targeted on civilian noncombatants are legitimate responses to invasion” ?

  30. #30 proximity1
    July 23, 2014

    Note : My post 29 above is in response to Eric’s post 28.

  31. #31 eric
    July 23, 2014

    we lose the essence of the Israel-Plaestine conflict–which is that of an overwhelming force-superiority (i.e. Israel unconditionally backed by U.S. military support) against a comparatively all-but-disarmed civilian populce under illegal occupation and oppressive control

    Yeah, overwhelming force superiority doesn’t describe US-Afghanistan at all.
    Are you serious?

    But okay, I’ll respond to your specific scenario an then ask you to respond to one of mine:

    the Warsaw Ghetto under siege by the Nazi occupiers. What then? You continue to “reject that such attacks targeted on civilian noncombatants are legitimate responses to invasion” ?

    Absolutely the Jews were justified in fighting the Nazis, as well as any noncombatants providing direct support to them. But no, I don’t think the Warsaw Jews would’ve been justified in bombing a food market in Gdansk in response, which is analogous to the action you’re supporting.

    Now please respond to this case:

    What you need instead is either a hypothetical or an historical situation in which comparable power-relations are present– an overwhelmingly powerful aggressor force invades, occupies and oppresses a vastly weaker–or, in effect, defenceless–neighbor

    So, you think it’s fair if American Indians, right now, started a bombing campaign througout the US, targeting shopping malls, schools, etc.?

  32. #32 Josh
    July 23, 2014

    @Thomas,
    Moshe Feiglin is an exemplar of the right-wing, religious nuts that Mr. Rosenhouse mentioned.
    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moshe_Feiglin for example:
    Both Feiglin’s critics and supporters have described him as a latter-day version of Rabbi Meir Kahane [himself, one time MK, that was banned later for being racist and anti-democratic]

  33. #33 Judy
    Israel
    July 23, 2014

    Jason,
    Thanks for your considered, balanced piece. While we are standing in the stairwell or bomb shelter counting booms to decide whether it is safe to go out again, it is easy to forget that there is a “rest of the world” out there. In fact, at this point, we do watch world opinion, but only to gauge how much longer we can continue what we’re doing. And if that sounds cynical, just remember that every day the Israeli army exposes more tunnels that have been dug under the border, reinforced with cement that might otherwise have gone into building, and supplied with full sets of weapons and equipment for incursions. That is pretty much the definition of terrorism: It is your worst nightmare, and it strikes terror into the hearts of pretty much every Israeli, no matter what their political views.

    So yes, once the war is in full swing, with rockets and bits of shrapnel raining down on us, and we see how many of tunnels have been dug just for the purpose of killing us, we want the army to do its job. Even if it sometimes includes killing civilians who are being used as human shields. If it comes down to my family or that of someone in Gaza who did not clear out when they were told to leave, I’m sorry but I’ll take my family every time, thanks. (Which is not to say that I don’t mourn the lives lost there — I do. I just don’t think it’s fair to use dead babies as weapons in any war.)

    Those of us with unpopular “leftist” political views have definitely been frustrated by the rise of the rabid right and the half-hearted show of “peace talks” on both sides. While it was clear that when peace talks fail, escalation of rocket-firing will eventually ensue, this time, it feels like both sides were dragged into a war not of our own making, the tinderbox lit by fanatics on both sides.

    And of course, it is a war that can’t be won with guns. Both sides will claim victory — we, because the rocket fire will abate, at least for a while; the Hamas, because they will still be standing.

    It was Shimon Peres who said that you don’t make peace with your friends. Right now, his voice and that of others calling for tolerance is being drowned out. But we Israelis can be irrationally optimistic — that is how we survive. And there are actually some hopeful signs. Abu Mazen is suddenly our best friend, and we are being forced to admit that Egypt and other countries in the Arab world are interested in stability in our little tiny region. Who knows? It could happen.

  34. #34 Josh
    July 23, 2014

    @Verbose Stoic,
    Not to belittle the Palestinian deaths, but I don’t see why Israel is to be blamed that it can defend itself against missile attacks (an impressive technological achievement) and therefore only suffered only 1/200 of the palestinian casualties. Should it wait until Hamas has better missiles to react?

    I’m with Rosenhouse on this: Hamas is despicable using civilians as “human shield” (see for example http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/17/unrwa-investigating-20-rockets-empty-gaza-school-palestinian) and firing rockets at civilian population.

    I also agree with him that Israel is not exactly innocent in all this. Religious, right-wing nuts seem to be much more influential than the tea-party, and infuse the government, Knesset as well as the army. Besides the particular myth they believe in, they could be accepted to Hamas as honorary members.

  35. #35 Josh
    July 23, 2014

    @MNb
    “When your neighbor is relentlessly firing rockets at you in an attempt to kill as many civilians as possible, or barring that to make life unlivable for civilian populations, then you have carte blanche to do whatever is necessary to make it stop. ”
    Including genocide?

    There is a very very wide gap between Israel’s response in Gaza and genocide (regardless of the question whether its response is just/wise/whatever). A genocide is the “the _deliberate_ killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation.”

    Although there are many Palestinian casualties (over 500), Israel cannot be said to _deliberately_ killing them (if it did, we would have seen tens of thousands dead by now).

    Israel seems to warn civilians to evacuate from an area before it attacks (whether this is a legitimate practice or not is another question) – which is exactly the opposite of a genocide.

    Whether Israel could have done better at avoiding civilian casualties is again another issue (but we must not forget Hamas is more than OK with Palestinian casualties)

  36. #36 John
    July 23, 2014

    Proximoty1 #26
    Thanks for the reference. Having well thought out and documented alternatives of opinion is helpful. Unfortunately, I found davidswanson’s lacking. Ian Morris traced historical examples for his thesis with longer-term effects/results. David only stated his opinion without historical examples. Pity.
    Then we have the name calling instead of data -a sure sign of pure, false propaganda. Totally unhelpful.
    The further propaganda was in the misrepresentation of what Morris said. I think the concept of a “global policeman” misses Morris’ point. The global policeman leaves the failed government in place and only attempts a police action. I don’t recall Morris using the concept. He used “Leviathian”. By which he meant (1) totally conquer and assume control (or as Joshua did) and substitute your citizens as the US did – it worked to yield peace or (2) become so relatively powerful the neighbor won’t attack without the certainty of loosing – it worked in the case of Mexico after the US stole Texas and SW US. The Mexican war sealed the tendency of Mexico to fight. Police action don’t work to stop war. The expense is huge, the rewards small.
    “Collapse” by Jared Diamond listed several examples of isolated societies (big and small) that attained sustained societies. What was needed was an overall military (not police) to assure the subgroups didn’t war. That is Morris’ Leviathian.
    “War is a Crime” has . They have too much fuzzy thinking without long-term historical examples. If you have examples like Morris presented supporting yor case, I’d like to be informed. But lacking scientific evidence, I’m not going to follow “War is a Crime”.

  37. #37 John
    July 23, 2014

    Proximoty1 #27
    You must include the US as morally wrong in this view. Yet the US survived and grew.
    That you descended from such thought means you should die as others who hold such views will.
    Both the Palestinians and the Israelis have right to TRY to survive. It matters little if at all who wronged whom. With Israel’s power, they are magnanimous to allow the Palestinians life. Joshua and later Christians weren’t so magnanimous
    Examples, US and Indians, US and Mexico, Rome and Britain, Rome and many others, Christian Spain and Portugal and the Indians in the name of the Christianity, The Roman Church and the Cathars in France,

    Societies war. That includes the population of the enemy. The allies bombed cities with the civilian population being the target. The fairly recent idea of leaving the population alone has not stood the test of time. The ruling class warred and left the surfs largely alone. This system worked only so far as the surfs transferred their work to the conqurer. But the system failed.

  38. #38 Thomas
    July 23, 2014

    John, you talk about “Leviathan” as applied to Israel, but even if Israel due to massive foreign aid is a regional superpower it is still a small player on the global scene. Couldn’t one just as well apply your logic saying that USA, EU, Russia etc should go in, conquer Israel, kill or displace the Jews and give the land back to the Palestinians. (Or just impose an economic blockade, ruining the country which would cause mass migration from Israel) This too would end the conflict, and that seems to be all you care about.

    Josh, Feiglin is part of the ruling coalition in Israel and I just wanted to contrast his views with the rather moderate conditions Hamas proposed for a prolonged cease fire. As for the idea that the early Israelis were more moderate, read this article from Haaretz.
    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/the-last-mohican-1.250458
    “A partial Jewish state is not an end but a beginning,” Ben-Gurion wrote. “The establishment of a state, even a small one, will serve as powerful leverage in our historic efforts to redeem the land in its entirety … We will organize a sophisticated defense force, an elite army – I have no doubt our army will be one of the best in the world – and then I am sure nothing will prevent us from settling the whole land, either in mutual agreement with our neighbors or another way.”
    (And Ben Gurion was a moderate compared to lunatics like Begin)

  39. #39 Verbose Stoic
    July 23, 2014

    Josh,

    Not to belittle the Palestinian deaths, but I don’t see why Israel is to be blamed that it can defend itself against missile attacks (an impressive technological achievement) and therefore only suffered only 1/200 of the palestinian casualties. Should it wait until Hamas has better missiles to react?

    Well, I’m not a consequentialist, and so as I said it might just reflect an issue with a consequentialist position. That being said, to be totally fair to the position, the argument is essentially this: “Intentions aside, at the end of the day it really is the case that more innocent Palestinians are being killed than innocent Israelis, and this is indeed something that the Israelis could foresee. Shouldn’t the actual numbers of deaths matter?”

    Again, I’m on the side that as long as Isreal does whatever possible to reduce civilian deaths they’re okay, but there are not obviously wrong arguments saying otherwise.

    eric,

    Your reasoning works right up until someone says that, say, bombing civilians in London is the only way to end the occupation. Then, at least, we’d have to reconsider whether it would be acceptable or not. If the military and sympathizer populations can be hit and if doing so will end the occupation, then that is definitely what should be done, but if those targets are protected or won’t in any way lead to an end to the occupation but randomly targetting civilians would, no one would want to blythley dismiss taking those actions. Someone may still conclude that it would be wrong, but it isn’t just simply obviously wrong.

  40. #40 John
    July 23, 2014

    Thomas
    First approximation – sure. But then what? The Moslems will be our enemy. We would be giving land to our enemy. Better to support our friend.
    The Moslems have shown to be intolerant. Israel is a bit more tolerant. Tolerance is an absolute requirement for an ally.
    Secondly, The Moslems are organized on a tribal (at most chiefdom) level. We would have to choose one chiefdom and religious sect to rule (choose sides in Syria, Iraq, Iran, …). This looks very difficult to me.
    The Israelis can be a better trading partner to both the EU and US. All the more reason to have them take more territory.
    What I care about is having a Leviathan power as a trading partner. Israel can fulfill this if they have the will. The Moslems are not able to fulfill this. No morals except to survive. Morals to be nice won’t survive.

    Hamas did not propose a prolonged cease-fire. They proposed a respite so they could better arm for a more effective attack. Their goal is still to obliterate Israel.

  41. #41 The Peak Oil Poet
    Thailand
    July 24, 2014

    @Judy

    though i wonder if that’s your name

    your comment is clever but full of assertions that you think will slip through and be accepted as truth

    “we see how many of tunnels have been dug just for the purpose of killing us, we want the army to do its job. Even if it sometimes includes killing civilians who are being used as human shields”

    lies, myth

    blockade any humans and they will seek ways to circumvent the blockade

    Ghettoize a population, dehumanize them, take away all forms of freedom and they will retaliate – as Jews attempted to retaliate against much the same treatment in the past

    to say they hide behind their children is to hide your crimes behind a veil of self-delusion at best though outright and totally evil propaganda is more likely considering how the Israeli secret service and skill population operates

    you lot need to stop becoming more and more like those that gifted you your stolen land – and i don’t mean the Brittish – i mean your Nazi teachers

    they taught you well but you have gone one better – you have figured out how to stretch out your crime over generations so that you can get away with it

    i feel a lot of shame for having spent most of my life defending Israel from the criticism of my friends

    why don’t you just do what your teachers did and wipe them all out and be done with it

    just as your religious core desires and believes is their right by Torah Law

    p

  42. #42 MNb
    July 24, 2014

    When I wrote above

    “When your neighbor is relentlessly firing rockets at you in an attempt to kill as many civilians as possible, or barring that to make life unlivable for civilian populations, then you have carte blanche to do whatever is necessary to make it stop. ”
    Including genocide?

    I thought this question was hypothetical, rhetorical. I was wrong:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/07/07/israeli-politician-declares-war-on-the-palestinian-people.html

    “This is a war between two people. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people.”
    Justified the way JR gives cart blanche.

  43. #43 proximity1
    July 24, 2014

    @ 31 :
    http://scienceblogs.com/evolutionblog/2014/07/22/israel-2/#comment-56424

    RE:

    …”Now please respond to this case:

    …”What you need instead is either a hypothetical or an historical situation in which comparable power-relations are present– an overwhelmingly powerful aggressor force invades, occupies and oppresses a vastly weaker–or, in effect, defenceless–neighbour”…

    So, you think it’s fair if American Indians, right now, started a bombing campaign througout the US, targeting shopping malls, schools, etc.?”

    Every time you throw up such fatuous analogies I’m going to shoot them down as the nonsense they are (* details below as to why and how that is). As obscene as is the sham democracy in the United States, it is still not quite ( at least within its own contiguous borders) the immoral equal of the full-blown Israeli terrorist state now and since its inception in 1948.

    The brief and fair restatement of your trumped-up cartoon challenge goes as follows:

    IF today native American tribes were currently living under conditions of siege and violent occupation and oppression by U.S. governent authorities, and this scenario shared all or nearly all of the other essential elements of the present-day Palestinian people, illegally disposessed, etc., then yes, they’d be justified as would be any other comparable armed resistance if they resorted to a bombing campaign througout the US, targeting shopping malls, schools, etc. And, similarly, the oppressive U.S. government, its agents and its public would, in such circumstances, have no just claim to “self-defence” in meeting those resistance forces’ attacks with further violence—just as, indeed, native American tribal armed and violent resistance to the British colonial or U.S. government authorities’ wholesale massascre of them, its forced usurpation of their lands, and other well-known atrocities was then also justified as genuine self-defence; just as, indeed, the then colonisers, from the inception of colonisation, had no just claim to “self-defence” for the violence they perpetrated on the native tribes.

    (*) Now, let’s consider the facts that distinguish your junk-analogy from present-day facts:

    Unlike the American indian tribes of today, Palestinians remain today the continuing object of coordinated and constitent violent attack, siege, formally illegal and oppressive occupation and control.

    Unlike today’s descendants of the brutaliised native Americans, Palestinians enjoy no right to full citizenship under the government under which they are suffering. They have no resort to that occupier or siege power’s courts for legal redress or, for that matter, any rights under its laws except as far as Israel’s own subjective sufferance is prepared to allow.

    As I said above already, in comparable circumstances, yes, the same moral principles should and do apply.

    The atrocities of the past stand as atrocities. The fact that, in so many ways, their injuries are now beyond meaningful practical redress and reparation in no way excuses or diminishes–as your challenge would seem to suggest they do–the full potential of resistance to continuing present-day horrors –all of which could and should, under any sane and just idea of fairness, be stopped by enforced international law, or, failing that, be violently resisted by any and all means necessary under the circumstance in which the resistance forces are made to endure.

  44. #44 proximity1
    July 24, 2014

    RE : Judy @ 34–

    …”So yes, once the war is in full swing, with rockets and bits of shrapnel raining down on us, and we see how many of tunnels have been dug just for the purpose of killing us, we want the army to do its job.”

    Morally, this places you squarely in the odious company of many of– perhaps mos of– the loyal Germans who, under Hitler’s Nazi Germany and conveniently skipping over all the essential prior events from the recent decades past, could have said the same thing about Germany’s attacks upon both regular armed forces and irregular civil resistance movements operating in occupied territories–with equal justice .

    Yours are the morals of self-serving convenience. Thus, if you had to live in Gaza under Israeli siege, we can confidently predict that you’d be asserting the opposite view and defending Palestinian armed resistance– the main difference being that, in that case, you’d be in the place of the genuinely aggrieved party rather than the partisan of the prior unjustified aggressor in this conflict.

  45. #45 proximity1
    July 24, 2014

    @ 36 —

    Morris’s theses and his moral arguments are warmed over versions of the claims and arguments found in Plato’s Republic, in Machiavelli’s The Prince, in Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan (to which text Morris’s use of Leviation clearly alludes), and, especially, in Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra which author and work I suppose represents something of a heroic ideal for you.

    These and a few other works comprise what can be thought of as the central opus of Anti-Enlightnement thought [1] –ever since Plato. This is the strain of theory which opposed and sought to counter the liberal theories which came, by fits and starts and in a more or less clumsy way, provide the theoretical grounds for what we’ve come to think of as liberal democratic civic virtures. The anti-enlightenment thinkers (past and present, since these things never actually definitively retire) vehemently despise and oppose such virtues as being, in their view, mistaken, the product of diseased, corrupted morals. (See, for example, Wikipedia’s page on Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra under “Themes” — e.g.

    “The book in several passages expresses loathing for sentiments of human pity, compassion, indulgence and mercy towards a victim, which are regarded as the greatest sin and most insidious danger.”

    On the other hand, I think the Wiki’s author(s) seriously mistaken in the very next sentence where it’s asserted that,

    “Part of Nietzsche’s reactionary thought is also that the creature he most sincerely loathes is the spirit of revolution, and his hatred for the anarchist and rebel.”

    On the contrary, Nietzsche (and perhaps you, too) exult in the anarchist and rebel, seeing himself as one in fact, provided, of course, that the anarchist rebel is the faithful servant of all-powerful authority and all that woolly-minded historicism supposes as being our ineluctable directed destiny to that end.

    In all these works we have a fairly clear and simple ethic which is brutally utilitarian in the extreme–in all ways and in all things, what amounts to some (in fact erroneously and falsely ) supposed “end”, however variously defined or described more or less vaguely, justifies all the “means” thought (again typically erroneously) necessary to achieve it.

    It really doesn’t take the insight of a Sigmund Freud to see in such an ethic a pathologically infantile id at work. This is the fantansy stuff of an inner infant who still hopes to consume everything in his grasp and reduce all people and things to nothing more than servicing his most selfish desires.

    Attempts such as Hobbes’s, where such infantile violent urges are dressed up as the supposedly respectable all-powerful monarchical state–as opposed to Plato’s nakedly authoritanian dictator state in which all are some sort of slave, martial or otherwise, to the sovereign–are still recognised for the base things that they are. In this view, all human endeavor is to be measured and evaluated for its utility in advancing what the authors are pleased to call “society” toward some always future utopian condition–which, as it happens, never actually arrives in practical living fact.

    The moral and intellectual faults in these texts have been carefully exposed and explained numerous times by critics’ analyses. For me, the best of these are to be found in Karl Popper’s two-volume work, The Open Society and Its Enemies and in various essays on the history of political morals by Bertrand Russell–and his survey of history, A History of Western Philosophy

    I don’t mind and won’t hesitate in calling ethics such as you espouse for what they seem to me to be–childish and dangerously and violently so. Unfortunately, we live in times which are (again) practically bereft of any respectable counter example in person of prominent men and women in high political places. So utterly disgusting is the panoply of present-day political actors that your thoroughly discredited views can again grasp a kind of pathetic and sordid pseudo-respectability for any who have not been otherwise innoculated agaisnt them–as I have been by reading Popper, Russell and their intellectual heirs.

    Unless you can come up with something better than such dreary stuff, I don’t think we’re going to have anytyhing further to discuss here.

    [1] I owe this insight in particular to Zeev Sterhell’s writings on Fascism as in his book, Les anti-Lumières: Une tradition du XVIIe siècle à la guerre froide, Paris: Fayard, 2006 and Paris: Gallimard, « Folio Histoire » (édition revue et augmentée), 2010 ; transl.: The Anti-Enlightenment Tradition, Yale University Press, 2009 (ISBN 9780300135541)

  46. #46 proximity1
    July 24, 2014

    @ 34 : Eric writes sarcastically,

    “Yeah, overwhelming force superiority doesn’t describe US-Afghanistan at all. Are you serious?”
    (emphasis added)

    Yes, completely serious.

    The supposed key asymmetry in the U.S. – Afghanistan conflict proved to exist merely on paper and in the silly imaginations of Pentagon planners. In fact, on the ground, where it really counted, Afghanistan’s natural terrain rendered the illusion of U.S.-favoured military asymmetry a de facto Afghan resistance-favoured asymmetry instead.

    As various heads of state warned Bush and Obama would happen, the U.S. military got its collective ass kicked in Afghanistan and, some dozen years later — “As of 2013, tens of thousands of people had been killed in the war. Over 4,000 ISAF soldiers and civilian contractors as well as over 10,000 Afghan National Security Forces had been killed. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghanistan_War_(2001-Present) ] —all the U.S. has in return for the blood and money expended there is the corpse of Osama bin Laden.

    An insanely costly and stupid waste of lives and money—but, as “John” here would have it, one of the countless examples of humanity’s march onward toward eventual perfection by the grace of warfare-honed “progress”.

  47. #47 proximity1
    July 24, 2014

    @ 37:

    You must include the US as morally wrong in this view.

    Well of course I do since, by every respectable measure, they are morally wrong. The government and, ultimately, by extension, the people of United States are, as a single nation, responsible all by themeselves for the now 60+-year-long international legal and moral outrage that is the state of Israel.

    “Yet the U.S. survived and grew.”

    You argue most curiously. On one hand, you say that, given a long enough view of things, we’re obliged to heap wreaths of gratitude at the altar of Mars for the immense social benefits which war inevitably brings. That has to be what amounts to well beyond Maynard Keynes’ economic “long run” in which we already find ourselves dead and gone. On the other hand, out of your other eye, the one struck with myopia, you assert that “Yet the US survived and grew.” But that’s another and very selective veiw. No, by my reckoning, “the U.S.” didn’t survive. Like Imperial Rome, it decayed and perished. As was once the case in Imperial Rome, we’re now in the process of discovering how long it takes the populace to come to adequately appreciate this fact.

  48. #48 colnago80
    July 24, 2014

    What I find amazing is the reaction of the world community to the events in the Gaza Strip. compared to what’s going on in Syria and Iraq, the Gaza activity is small beer indeed. As of today, 170,000 people killed and more then 4 million displaced in Syria. Christians running for their lives from Mosul after the crazies from the ISIL captured the place and, apparently, the Iraqi Army which the US armed and trained at great expense utterly impotent to do anything about it.

  49. #49 colnago80
    July 24, 2014

    Re proximity1 @ #46

    Well of course I do since, by every respectable measure, they are morally wrong. The government and, ultimately, by extension, the people of United States are, as a single nation, responsible all by themeselves for the now 60+-year-long international legal and moral outrage that is the state of Israel.

    Shorter Proximity1: Give the Jews in Israel the Eichmann treatment.

  50. #50 proximity1
    July 28, 2014

    @49– Typical exceptionalist claim— your comment turns history and facts on their heads, applying a self-serving and hypocritical double-standard which suggests that, because of real or supposed suffering by the Jews in decades and centuries past, now, with the circumstances placing them in the dominant role, the heirs of those Jews are somehow entitled to persecute others as they or, more commonly, as their ancestor relatives, were themselves persecuted.

    So, then, in return here is “Shorter colnago80″ : What we Jews got at the hands of Adolf Eichmann et al between 1939 and 1945 is all that the Palestinians should expect to get at our hands from 1948 to …(present) (and future?)

    Contrary to your disgusting distortion’s summary, I object to the Jews’ treatment of the the Palestinians (since 1948) for the same reasons and grounds that I’d object to the Nazis’ treatment of Jews—and Communists, and Roms, and Slavs, and homsexuals, and the mentally retarded, and commom crimminal convicts. There were a good half-dozen classes of persecuted populations deliberately targeted by the Nazis. That is the signal difference distinguishing much of what Nazi Germany did between 1934 and 1945 and what Israel has done since 1948.

    Racial profiling with exceptional legal advantages for Jews / Germans and corresponding disadvantages for those designated as “others.” I.E. Ownership and travel restrictions for some according to religous or ehtnic “origins”; partisan political activities regulated according to criteria of religious affilitation.

    Invasion and occupation of foreign territories, taken and held by violent force.

    A press subject to ultimate control by military prerogatives and interests.

    A paranoid and Manichean view of life and world affairs which places a premium on an expansionist vision of Jewish-defined socio-economic needs and interests while viewing all others as actually or potentially threatening to those same.

    By many and varied aspects, the behaviours, official and unofficial of vast numbers of Jews in and outside of Israel are demonstrating a lurid and vicious mirror-image of the once-familiar horrors seen through the rise and fall of Hitler’s Reich.

    On the other hand, technological innovations have been put into practice which have brought new and imaginative sorts of twists on the horrors of the Nazis–

    as with the Cell-phone notice of impending air-strike– sometimes used, sometimes not, as it happens to suit them;
    with the quite startling claim that, “Since we phoned ahead,” we’re absolved of all moral and legal responsibility for what is clearly widespread and wanton slaughter of civilians–both men and women and children of all ages.

  51. #51 proximity1
    July 28, 2014

    From the mouths of Israeli IDF reservists who refuse to take part in the Operation Protective Edge:

    http://www.lo-meshartot.org/dont-serve/

    ” DON’T SERVE

    ” We were soldiers in a wide variety of units and positions in the Israeli military—a fact we now regret, because, in our service, we found that troops who operate in the occupied territories aren’t the only ones enforcing the mechanisms of control over Palestinian lives. In truth, the entire military is implicated. For that reason, we now refuse to participate in our reserve duties, and we support all those who resist being called to service.

    ” The Israeli Army, a fundamental part of Israelis’ lives, is also the power that rules over the Palestinians living in the territories occupied in 1967. As long as it exists in its current structure, its language and mindset control us: We divide the world into good and evil according to the military’s categories; the military serves as the leading authority in deciding who is valued more and who less in society – who is more responsible for the occupation, who is allowed to vocalize their resistance to it and who isn’t, and how they are allowed to do it. The military plays a central role in every action plan and proposal discussed in the national conversation, which explains the absence of any real discussion of non-military solutions to the conflicts Israel has been locked in with its neighbors. ” …

  52. #52 John
    July 28, 2014

    The Jews had the peace philosophy for a thousand years. They were persecuted and killed by the Christians. This was culminated in the Nazi time. To have a state means to have the power and willingness to use the power to keep it. I would think Jews of all people should have learned this.
    The Palestinians want to eject Jews from Israel. Peace is the path to another Diaspora.

  53. #53 deepak shetty
    July 28, 2014

    I’ll agree that Israel gets more criticism than it might deserve. But you lose the plot here
    That sure is a tough question he asks. X hits Y because he hates him and wants to hurt him. Y, after getting hit for a while, eventually decides to hit back.
    A closer story is X believes Y stole some stuff from him. Y is more powerful than X. X hits Y using whatever means he has. Y, after getting hit for a while, eventually decides to hit back not only X but X’s spouse and children . Armchair critics D, E, F all take sides arguing ad nauseam about whether X is right or Y is right.

  54. #54 deepak shetty
    July 28, 2014

    When your neighbor is relentlessly firing rockets at you in an attempt to kill as many civilians as possible, or barring that to make life unlivable for civilian populations, then you have carte blanche to do whatever is necessary to make it stop.
    On a more serious note – do you actually believe what you have written above? If the only way to stop (and lets face it , we are cynics) , is the extermination of all Palestinians , then according to you, Isreal has carte blanche to do that? There is no evidence that whatever Israel has done to date has been effective at all – so why continue the killing?

  55. #55 proximity1
    July 31, 2014

    @ 53 and 54:

    Israel gets more criticism that it deserves?

    On a more serious note – do you actually believe what you have written above? If the only way to stop (…) , is the extermination of all Palestinians , then according to you, Isreal has carte blanche to do that? There is no evidence that whatever Israel has done to date has been effective at all – so why continue the killing?

    Think. Maybe you put your finger right on the whole “point” after all: “If the only way to stop (…) , is the extermination of all Palestinians….”

    Look at a few maps and judge for yourself what Israel’s successive regimes are aiming for:

    (link: http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/mapstellstory.html )

    ITEM: Israeli supporters of Operation Protective Edge in open public demonstration chant—

    “Tomorrow there’s no teaching in Gaza, they don’t have any children left,” chanted the protesters, waving Israeli flags. … The video was published by Israeli journalist Haim Har-Zahav.

    The chant also contains the words “I hate all Arabs” and “Gaza is a graveyard,” according to the pro-Palestinian news resource Electronic Intifada.

    (sources:
    http://rt.com/news/176372-israel-racist-chant-gaza/

    http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/gaza-graveyard-sing-joyful-israeli-youths

    More food for thought and perspective–
    a well-reasoned review of the bases of this U.S.-sponsored and perpetuated horror in Palestine:

    Eight reasons why Israel is under rocket attack
    By Waleed Ahmed | July 18, 2014

    link to full text ( with supporting references ) at Rabble.ca; “News for the rest of us” :

    http://rabble.ca/news/2014/07/eight-reasons-why-israel-under-rocket-attack

    A Tale of Two Cities :

    compare and contrast these video images–

    Gaza under Israeli attack… (Al Jazeera broadcast film footage) http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/specialseries/2014/2014/07/shujayea-massacre-at-dawn-201472621348901563.html

    The U.S. State Department’s daily press spokeswoman, Marie Harf, explains the U.S. official view of such carnage…

    Transcript : http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2014/07/229636.htm

    Video version : http://video.state.gov/en/video/3691251370001

  56. #56 The Peak Oil Poet
    Thailand
    July 31, 2014

    #55 proximity1

    i wonder if there can ever be peace – the Israelis are, or at least act as if they are, rabid in their hatred and delusion

    or maybe not delusion – the Levant is really the most strategically located land on earth

    taking and holding it is worth anything – even the death of countless innocents and 1000 years of verbal abuse

    plus the spin-offs – military tech, IT tech, Propaganda expertise….

    p

  57. #57 proximity1
    August 1, 2014

    @56

    You have every good reason to wonder about it. What has occurred over (approx.) 6000 to 7000 years is now available for our honest reflection. The pregnant question is not so much whether there can ever be peace but whether humanity can survive in the interim (though I think that this is really the gist of your point, too)—here, I mean by “peace”, not some ultimate universal everlasting peace on Earth but rather the much more modest goal of peace between “Jews” and “non-Jews.”

    Personally, I reject as fallacious a Jewish / non-Jewish dichotomy both as a racial entity and, equally, as a so-called coherent “cultural” identity. But Jews–both “practicing” and “non-practicing” insist on it as the very sine qua non of their individual identity. Unlike Christians, who deliberately adopt their faith, Jews imagine that their is given by birth circumstances–perversely, it’s Ma who has to be Jewish, but, in ancient times, the males had the overwhelming share of rights and privileges. Today, a once truly obscenely vicious monotheism has been softened, humanised, by generaltions of intellectual growth. But there remains a powerfully influential segment of maniacal zealots who insist on a literal interpretation of Torah and Rabbinical rule. But, in the other details, the story is really much, much more shocking and disgusting. Not to mention necessary part of what we ought to know about history. All of the essentials of this pathetic story are compellingly told by Israel Shahak in the book I recommended, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years ; Pluto Press, London, 1994. Since then, the Shlomo Sand (See: ( The Invention of the Jews ), one of a group of historians who’ve taken up a fresh examination of the claims of Jewish orthodox history, has produced new challenges to the view that Jews sprang up as a single unified tribal cultural identity which, though migratory, miraculously remained essentially “pure” since inception.

    As Keynes warned, we are so often victims of sheer unexamined nonsense which rules our world-views. And now we have the technical means to destroy practically all of civilization in a single thorough nuclear war of just a few weeks.

  58. #58 The Peak Oil Poet
    Thailand
    August 1, 2014

    @57

    The Jews seemed very secular and enlightened for a long while there but somehow over the last few hundred years and especially the last century there seems to have been a fundamental change – similar to one the way Christianity has gone since the 60’s but far more sinister

    i once thought that a solution might be for all of Palestinians to as a whole convert to Judaism :-)

    just to see what sort of a real pickle that would place the Zionists in

    but they are unlikely ever to get over their need to deal with the constant unrighteousness of Israel

    i wonder too sometimes if the GOP’s love of God is really all about being able to hide theft and murder behind a stance of belief and inevitability

    ho hum

    i do really feel for the Muslim world and others – makes me cry in frustration and shock

    all we have done and are doing in the name of a God that only exists in the fabric of societies like a terrible flaw that so weakens it all that all of us are at risk of it being let loose

    over and over and over

    p

  59. #59 proximity1
    August 1, 2014

    Poet @ 58:

    i once thought that a solution might be for all of Palestinians to as a whole convert to Judaism

    Besides the fact that the Palestinians don’t want to do have to do that just in order to accede to rights that everyone ought to enjoy anyway, even if they did want to convert, a reading of Shahak’s history instructs us that this simply wouldn’t be granted by Jewish authorities. Depsite the much-ballyhooed PR, the actual fact is that conversion to Judaism is a highly regulated and selective matter. Those who think it’s as simple as going down to the recruitment office and joining the Army are simply living in a delusional world. Being recognised as Jewish is–especially in Israel–a socially and legally important status, full of rights to which non-Jews are not entitled–and that’s because by common design, both the religious and the secular powers don’t want non-Jews to enjoy those rights.

    If the Palestinians wanted to enjoy them–which, by the way, they do, since so many are features of what the rest of us think of as basic normal everyday civic rights in any civilised place—and were even prepared to convert to “the Jewish faith” to gain them, for most of “native Jewish” Israelis, the response would be, in a word–guess what? : war.

    Shlomo Sand recounts in his history the case of a young American (IIRC) woman who grew up in a family in which her mother was not Jewish while her father was Jewish—that is, his mother was Jewish. For years, through her adolescence, she, like many of her peers, experienced a kind of awakening to a longing for a religious fellowship. So, while still at home and still an adolescent, she determined to study Hebrew, take up Kosher living habits –though neither of her parents or other siblings did so– and in general made every effort to adopt all the habits of a young Jewish woman. Upon graduating from high school, she went to live and study in Israel. I think she may even have spent some time living on a kibbutz. In any case, she eventually wanted to get married in Israel to a spouse who, of course, was himself Jewish. Well, that required a verification that she, herself, was Jewsish–as she had long supposed herself to be. Alas, this is a question which isn’t up to her to determine. Required to produce the documentary evidence that her mother was Jewish or other proofs and reasons that she ought to be considered as such, she could not and she found her application and all her efforts formally and definitively rejected by the Jewish Israeli authorities concerned–the decision of religious authorities, not secular state officials, is final in such matters.

  60. #60 The Peak Oil Poet
    Thailand
    August 1, 2014

    so much for “welcome the stranger”

    though i suspect that for many frum Jews such a welcome is just so they have a better chance of saying their hundred blessings

    and getting past the Mosad agents at the gate might be no easy thing :-)

    p

  61. #61 proximity1
    August 1, 2014

    Sense and nonsense about the abuse of people in warfare as “human shields”–

    This topic is a leading one everywhere in the Israeli propaganda machine’s efforts to put the onus on the Palestinians for Israel’s own conduct of seige and bombardment and the attendant losses of civilian life and property–scandalous as war crimes.

    The matter merits some of our consideration.

    First, a person, combatant or non-combatant, seized by a member of an opposing armed force (regular or not) and made to serve as a human-shield against the armed forces nominally allied with the person being held hostage as a shield is, of course, a prosecutable war crime and rightly so.

    But what Israeli propaganda efforts contend is something quite different. In this case, the regular civil populace of territory under Israeli attack are unilaterally described as being human-shields used, taken advantage of, by Israel’s adversaries, the armed resistance movements in the Gaza strip, a place which is sealed off, under seige and bombarded from without by Israel’s vastly superior weaponry or that suppled to it by the U.S.

    To contend that Gaza’s (or the West Bank’s) civil populace are being made Hamas’s human shields merely by the fact of any resistance at all to Israeli seige or occupation is to try to render such resistance to Israel as tantamount to a war crime. That, if successful would be quite a public relations coup and, tellingly, it is a gambit which is thoroughly typical of Israel’s cynical approach to seeking to make the most of all convceivable double-standards.

    Israel’s contention is a simple and a cynical one which goes like this:

    ” If you, Hamas, resist our occupation or seige, you force us to attack you (in order to “defend ourselves”!) and, by the same token, you (Hamas) place your civil populace and their homes and businesses in peril by doing so. Thus, you are slyly (we’d say cynically) using these, your own people, their homes and businesses as shields against our self-defence –since they are not valid targets in combat conditions and must be spared from its destruction.”

    Thus goes the rationale with its assumptions and unstated implications. Nevermind, of course, that Israel alone determines the living conditions available to the Gazans and the facts and features of their closed borders, leaving both Palestinian combatants and non-combabtabnts in Gaza helpless to do other than submit or resist on the only grounds and by the only terms left open to them by the Israelis.
    The objective seems clear: to render any Palestinian resistance responsible for consequent Israeli armed force and thus make Palestinians responsible for their own bombardment and their resistance itself qualified as criminal.

    The kicker in all this is the fact that these people’s lives and property do not constitute the slightest impediment to Israel’s wanton warfare. Instead, non-combatants and their property are methodically targeted and destroyed without more than a perfunctory phoned voice-mail, ltext-message or leaflet “warning” to vacate the premises before they are desroyed in the coming minutes, hours or days. Such, we are supposed to believe, relieves the Israeli military from any moral responsibility for the ensuing death and destruction.

    Such is the calculated behaviour of people and their military who imagine themselves as models of the world’s most civilised combat practice in warfare despite that, in actual fact, Tshal, the Israeli army has, in past operations in Gaza or the West Bank occupied territory been known to seize Palestinian civilians–or those claimed to be insurgents, though ununiformed– and force them at gunpoint to preceed the Israeli infantry as it searches house by house for forces or booby-traps set agaisnt them.

  62. #62 John
    August 1, 2014

    Which would you (all) want in the mid east – The Jews of Israel or the radical Islam Palestine? Remember the radical Islam is targeting and killing Christians (as in days of old – convert, pay 10% higher tax, or die).

  63. #63 The Peak Oil Poet
    Thailand
    August 1, 2014

    @62

    if that’s my only choice i’ll take the Muslims

    the fucking Israeli (Jews or otherwise, whatever)

    are terrorists and the media of the world just fails to deliver that

    p

  64. #64 Anton Mates
    August 2, 2014

    Remember the radical Islam is targeting and killing Christians

    In Israel and Palestine, most persecution of Christians doesn’t come from Muslims. It comes from Jewish extremists, as well as the Israeli government (since Palestinian Christians don’t like being bombed to death either.)

    Globally, most of the countries with heavy persecution of Christians are Islamic, but Palestine’s always been an exception. Historically, it had one of the more integrated Christian/Jewish/Muslim societies–largely, I think, because it was populated by poor farmers who were too busy being oppressed by outside empires to bother persecuting each other.

  65. #65 Anton Mates
    August 2, 2014

    Screwed up the second link in the above post–it was supposed to go to this Daily Telegraph article.

  66. #66 proximity1
    August 3, 2014

    @ 62, 63 & 64:

    Ultra-orthodox Jews, (two prominent streams of which are known as Haredic judaism and Hasedic judaisim) have world-views straight out of the Old Testament’s picture of the world and of morality. The outside world–everything beyond the confines of this strict sect–is a place of evil and danger. The English language, for example, is reviled as sinful to speak or to read as well as being, of course, the primary vehicle for a broader culture which is vile and threatening. The young Hasidim and Haredim are taught tthat practically everything and everyone about ithe world beyond the sect sis to be shunned as wicked and as a temptation to evil.

    Deborah Feldman was born into a family of Brooklyn’s Satmar Hasidim Jews and she writes about her life in it and her escape from it in her memoir, Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of my Hasidic Roots (Simon & Schuster, New York) (link to details: http://www.deborahfeldman.com/about-unorthodox.php )

  67. #67 deepak shetty
    August 4, 2014

    @proximity1
    Israel gets more criticism that it deserves?
    Perhaps I should rephrase as that to use consistent. There are many willing to criticize Israel for its excesses while keeping mum about what some of the Palestinians are upto, Both sides have targetted and killed innocents (and the volume killed, is for me, only a secondary consideration) and for the life of me , i cannot figure out why people take sides in this conflict.

    “If the only way to stop (…) , is the extermination of all Palestinians
    Thats not the point. The point was whether Jason really gave carte blanche to Israel (i doubt it) – and carte blanche works both ways since each side can put a list of evils perpetrated against them while trying to minimise their evils.

  68. #68 The Peak Oil Poet
    Thailand
    August 4, 2014

    you write like they are equals

    they are not

    the Israelis killed by Hamas rockets number as a small percentage of the Israelis killed in automobile accidents

    the Palestinians killed is orders of magnitude above that

    the myth is “both sides” as if they are equal and represent equal threats

    not so

    it doesn’t take much time ob google to figure that out

    the volume is everything

    pop

  69. #69 Deepak Shetty
    August 4, 2014

    @The Peak Oil Poet
    you write like they are equals
    No they are not – but Im not in the business of comparing evils. (I have no interest in discussing whether murder is worse than rape or whether the Palestinians having a higher body count makes Israel more evil)
    the volume is everything
    To you maybe. By that right since America dropped an atomic bomb in WW-II , clearly we all supported the wrong side.
    Criticise Israel all you want, dont minimise what Palestine does.

  70. #70 The Peak Oil Poet
    Thailand
    August 4, 2014

    #69

    Deepak i will assume you are Hindu and therefore have no love for Muslims

    “dont minimise what Palestine does”

    this is the core of criminality

    they are not equal and very telling that you use the atomic bomb of WW2 that pretty much every educated schoolkid knows were dropped not to win the war but to see what a big bomb would do to a lot of human flesh and to tell the world (and particularly the Russians) who’s boss now

    so yes we did support the wrong side if we supported USA because they goaded the Japanese into war and then they firebombed the shit out of them and then they capped it off with Nagasaki and Hiroshima

    you are an uneducated brute if you don’t know these basic things yet you try and tell me that the Palestinians are equally to blame for Gaza

    you think that a million deaths is equal to one death

    only a Hindu might say as such because a Hindu would naturally think a million Muslims are not worth they life of one Hindu

    p

  71. #71 Wow
    August 5, 2014

    “they are not equal and very telling that you use the atomic bomb of WW2 that pretty much every educated schoolkid knows were dropped not to win the war but to see what a big bomb would do to a lot of human flesh and to tell the world (and particularly the Russians) who’s boss now”

    And by “educated” you mean “Agrees with my proposition here”, right? BEcause that statement tyhere is a load of revisionist bullwash. Plenty of less noble reasons are there for the bomb being dropped, but that wasn’t anywhere near right.

    Israel is careless of Palestinian deaths. Terrible,but understandable.

    Hamas (giving for the moment that the rockets are being shot by Hamas) want to kill Israelis but don’t want to die in doing so. Again, terrible but understandble.

    HOWEVER, they ALSO don’t care about the deaths of the people left behind, their own people. That’s horrendous, but left almost entirely unsaid. Why?

    The LEAST understandable group here are the palestinian civilians. They must be living next door when the rockets are set up, seeing it happening, hearing the rockets going off, and then letting them run away .

    a) WHY? They know what’s going to happen, but they prefer to be martyred and weep piteously for the cameras to actually getting out of there.

    b) Why cry and wail at the results of their (in)action? It can’t come as a surprise,and if they didn’t want the deaths to happen, why let the rockets fire at all?

    As distraught as they genuinely are, it appears to me like they would rather see the death of one israeli than save their own families from disaster. And THAT is what I cannot comprehend a reason for.

  72. #72 Deepak Shetty
    August 5, 2014

    Deepak i will assume you are Hindu and therefore have no love for Muslims
    Untrue – i have no love for Islam (or Hinduism or Christianity) – But hindus,muslims, christians ,jains I have grown up with – My reasons of liking/disliking are rarely to do with their religion.

    yet you try and tell me that the Palestinians are equally to blame for Gaza
    Did I say equally? – i said that equality is misleading, irrelevant. Is Palestine (or Hamas if you wish) killing less Israelis due to lack of intent? Why in the world should I support people who think that violence against innocents is justified because (insert reason here) – i neither support Israel nor Palestine –

    so yes we did support the wrong side
    So you would have preferred Japan or Germany to win WW-II ?

    you think that a million deaths is equal to one death
    Nope. I do think that there is no point comparing raw numbers.

    only a Hindu might say as such because a Hindu would naturally think a million Muslims are not worth they life of one Hindu
    Ha. Im amused that stating that Palestine is not the blameless victim that it is made out to be = wishing for a billion deaths,

  73. #73 Anton Mates
    August 7, 2014

    Wow @71,

    Israel is careless of Palestinian deaths. Terrible,but understandable.

    Hamas (giving for the moment that the rockets are being shot by Hamas) want to kill Israelis but don’t want to die in doing so. Again, terrible but understandble.

    It would be more accurate to say that Israel is careless of Palestinian deaths and Palestinian militant groups are careless of Israeli deaths. Neither side is attempting to maximize its body count. In particular, Hamas has pretty much abandoned its most lethal form of violence–suicide attacks–for the last decade or so. “Not wanting to die” doesn’t have much to do with this decision; Hamas has no problem finding fighters who are willing to die for the cause. But suicide attacks were unpopular among Palestinians and made Hamas look less respectable as a political entity, and they tended to enrage Israelis instead of demoralizing them, so Hamas quit doing them.

    Yes, Hamas is absolutely a terrorist organization. (So is the Israeli government. So is the US government, when we’re trying to inflict Shock and Awe on countries we’re invading.) But the purpose of terrorism is terror, not genocide.

    HOWEVER, they ALSO don’t care about the deaths of the people left behind, their own people. That’s horrendous, but left almost entirely unsaid.

    Um, entirely unsaid by whom? Israel and almost every mainstream media source in the US accuse Hamas of using “human shields,” and even those organizations that reject this charge (like Amnesty International) still blame Hamas for endangering civilians by stockpiling and launching weapons in populated areas without warning.

    Seriously, it’s absurd to claim that Hamas doesn’t get criticized enough. Most western countries won’t even talk to it directly.

    The LEAST understandable group here are the palestinian civilians.

    Consider the possibility that if you don’t understand Palestinian civilians, it’s not because they’re not understandable, it’s because you’re working from incomplete information. Do you really think that all or most of Gaza’s population–1.8 million people–are suicidally insane, due to religion or anything else? Of course not. Like the Israelis, they’re weighing costs and benefits, doing what they think is necessary to survive and improve their lives. If their actions seem bizarre to you, that’s because a) they’re desperate, and b) they have a very, very different set of expectations about Israel’s behavior than you do.

    They must be living next door when the rockets are set up, seeing it happening, hearing the rockets going off, and then letting them run away .

    I think a lot of Palestinian civilians are hiding inside with the windows boarded up, so no, I don’t think they see every launch.
    Plus, the rockets are fired at night or from mostly-hidden locations, by fighters who are not in uniform. As this article describes, almost no Western news photographers have scored a shot of a confirmed Hamas fighter or a rocket setup. I doubt the average Palestinian civilian sees them very often either.

    a) WHY? They know what’s going to happen, but they prefer to be martyred and weep piteously for the cameras to actually getting out of there.

    C’mon, think about anytime there’s a major storm coming into, say, the US. Evacuation warnings are sent out. Does everyone actually evacuate? Nope. There’s always a bunch of people who hunker down and try to ride it out; some are killed, some have to be rescued. And this despite the fact that storm lifespans and trajectories are extremely predictable, Americans are relatively wealthy on average and have ready access to transportation, there’s zero patriotic justification for sticking around to say “F U, storm”, and the US is a functional nation-state which can efficiently warn its citizens in realtime and enforce evacuation orders. Why would you expect Gazans to do any better? Particularly when Gaza has the surface area and population density of a single large city; “getting out of there” is not actually an option.

    Read articles like this and this for a Gazan-eye view of the evacuation issue. Evacuation is difficult and costly–fresh water and food are not easy to come by in Gaza at the best of times, and it’s certainly not easy to tote several days’ worth of supplies as you walk halfway across the strip. Evacuation is dangerous; many Palestinians are afraid to walk the streets at all, lest they get hit by Israeli fire, and they don’t want to end up in a militant-packed neighborhood by mistake. Evacuation is humiliating; the whole point of Palestinian resistance is that they don’t think Israel should get to dictate their lives, so they don’t want to be herded from place to place by the oppressor. Most importantly, evacuation doesn’t even work reliably as a survival technique, because there’s no way to know whether the place you’re evacuating to will be bombed as well. You know, like UN schools and refugee shelters.

    That said, plenty of Palestinians have evacuated. Roughly a quarter of the Gazan population has been displaced at this point; the Israeli military advised 400,000 people to evacuate in a single day. Imagine asking a quarter of the population of Philadelphia to evacuate and find somewhere in the same city to live for, like, a month. Are you really surprised if this turns into a snafu?

    b) Why cry and wail at the results of their (in)action? It can’t come as a surprise,and if they didn’t want the deaths to happen, why let the rockets fire at all?

    Surely you could ask the same question in any armed conflict? Each side mourns its casualties, but it usually continues to fight–and even pacifists and other opponents of the war don’t generally try to sabotage their side’s military efforts. The simplest answer to your question is that individual Palestinians don’t think they or their families will be better off if they actively oppose the rockets. The occupation and blockade will continue, periodic Israeli invasions will occur anyway, and they’ll face the hostility of more militant neighbors. What’s the payoff?

    To break this down in more detail, and most of this info can be gotten from, e.g., here: The proportion of the Palestinian population who support the use of rockets has fluctuated dramatically over recent years, roughly from 25% to 75%. Generally that proportion increases immediately after Israeli military aggression. The primary reason why Palestinians endorse rocket attacks is simple anger. They feel trapped and terrorized by Israel, and the rockets are their only means of producing similar emotions in the Israelis. They speak of equalizing the fear felt by both sides, of reminding Israel that the Palestinians are still there, still alive and still defiant. Hamas has also advanced practical arguments for using the rockets; namely, that they exert a continuous economic and psychological pressure on Israel that sometimes leads to concessions. As mentioned above, the rockets aren’t particularly good at killing Israelis; suicide attacks work much better for that. But that’s not their main purpose.

    So, that’s why many Palestinian civilians support rocket use. Most of the time, even more of them oppose it–but that doesn’t mean they have the power to prevent it. There are multiple independent militant groups firing rockets from Gaza; as of 2007, Hamas wasn’t even the group that fired the most rockets. Trying to forcibly prevent these groups from using your house as a launchpad is risky; they have killed and injured uncooperative homeowners in the past. Furthermore, the Israeli military admittedly targets locations up to 100m away from where rockets are actually stored or launched–and of course the Palestinians think that even this severely overstates Israel’s precision. So if a Palestinian wanted to protect himself from retaliatory bombing, he would somehow have to patrol his entire neighborhood (while dodging Israeli bombs) and prevent militants from launching rockets anywhere within a couple of blocks of his house. Without a functional state to back him up, there’s no point even trying.

  74. #74 proximity1
    August 9, 2014

    @ 73 : Most of what you’ve written is both factually correct and soundly reasoned and argued. However, I haven’t seen the slightest indication anywhere in this discussion that those to whom you’ve replied have taken any account of your replies and nowhere have any of them granted the slightest concession to your valid points. If anything, you’ve taken a more than generous attitude toward the manifest moral bankruptcy of the commentaries to which you address replies. Since when do we ask those who have suffered violent and prolonged armed invasion and occupation–over many decades–what concessions they are prepared to make to their invader/occupiers “in return for peace” ?

    Never have I heard that approach taken toward other resistance movements. And here I find the occasion to raise my main objection to your otherwise generally fair presentation in most other respects–

    QUESTION: From objective facts, What, specifically, distinguishes the circumstances of the French resistance movements operating in Nazi-occupied France from those of the Palestinian resistance in Gaza or the West Bank–( N.B. other than, that is, the fact that, unlike France’s national borders, which, even under Nazi occupation, were open enough to actually permit both clandestine passage by resistance agents as well as by civilians using either genuine or forged travel and identification papers, in Gaza, especially, the obstacles to open or clandestine egress from within Gaza are Herculean—hence the original and not-necessarily-military imperatives for the construction and use of tunnels (for the passage of vital non-military goods which otherwise were prohibited or too limited in their allowed quantities to satisfy civilian demand) ???

    Do you, supposing that you can cite none, then also condemn the French resistance to Nazi occupation in the same terms?— i.e. : “Yes, Hamas is absolutely a terrorist organization” Why or why not ?
    ————-

    @ 67 : RE “Both sides have targetted and killed innocents (and the volume killed, is for me, only a secondary consideration) and for the life of me , i cannot figure out why people take sides in this conflict.

    That may be because you haven’t really tried to understand. I see no evidence here of any serious attempt on your part to understand. Your comments suggest that you’ve engaged instead in an exercise which is part self-deception and part disingenuous argumentation. For example, you claim that you

    …” [are] not in the business of comparing evils.”

    and that

    ” (I have no interest in discussing whether murder is worse than rape or whether the Palestinians having a higher body count makes Israel more evil” …

    when, obviously, you have made such comparisons–if only to yourself —and, using them, you’ve decided to regard each of the antagonists as morally comparable in their actions. You ignore the fact that, in both criminal law and moral ethics, people do indeed regard criminal acts as different in their character–murder as a more heinous crime than rape, and therefore rightly to be more severely sanctioned. Similarly, 100 or 1000 or 10,000 or a million counts of murder are held as greater criminal acts than is a single count of murder and the sentences to which a defendant charged with 100 counts of murder is liable typically reflect this view.

    Interestingly enough, your claim that you have no interest in comparing the heinous character of various kinds of criminal acts places you squarely against the standard traditional Jewish view on this matter–which goes back at least to Mosaic law, under which Jews regularly considered every criminal offense or its civil tort counterpart to be subject to a comparative remedy. Many Christians today ignorantly and frequently cite the adage of Jewish biblical origin, “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life “, without understanding the actual social and legal context of that dictum. In fact, among Jews, the adage read and was invariably understood as a rule of thumb in settling disputes for (civil or criminal) damages as follows :

    “Eye -money (in compensation) for an eye (‘s loss), tooth- money for a tooth (‘s loss), and life-money for a life (‘s loss).”

    the rationale was clear: Except in criminal offenses, when one Jew’s negligent behavior caused the injury or death of another Jew, the law required a certain parity between loss and compensation—since, outside criminal acts, manslaughter–accidental death due to negligence–could not be redressed by criminal sanctions. The accused could not be punished by imprisonment or execution. (Note, by law, these terms only concerned relations between Jews. In general, murder meant, by legal convention and definition, only the deliberate taking of one Jewish person’s life by another Jewish person.) Hence, for example, under law, it was expressly prohibited for one to attempt to compensate the injury of an eye’s loss with an offer of “tooth-money” since “eye- (compensation) money was significantly greater than “tooth-money” and so on.

    If you really want to understand why many people have little or no difficulty in taking sides (in favor of the Palestinians, that is) all you need do is place yourself or anyone else about whom you really care in the position of the Palestinian people since the establishment by fiat of the state of Israel and ask yourself : If your age-old homeland had been usurped by a cabal of powerful nations and given by fiat to “the Jewish people” as a whole, and if these latter had then undertaken a mass immigration which spelled the wholesale disposition of you and your likes, with the loss of your land, homes and often all your possessions which you were unable to carry away—and if all that took place under duress and as often as not by violent force, then you may begin to imagine why so many do take sides and take them in favor of the Palestinians.

    You have to either ignore all of that or pretend to ignore it in order to claim, as you do you …”cannot figure out why people take sides in this conflict.”

    —-

    To all : I had in mind to write a comment in which I set out my views on why I believe that, in fact, Israel’s Jews and their Zionist-supporters are not at all interested in any genuine peace with the Palestinians–and that they never have been interested in it. But before I wrote it I found that this has already been very ably done, here

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-peace-conference/1.601112

    by Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy, in a column on 4 July, 2014, “Israel does not want peace” .

    Anyone who claims he or she “cannot figure out why people take sides in this conflict ” faces a serious moral challenge in the reading and honest consideration of that commentary.

  75. #75 proximity1
    August 9, 2014

    Correction:

    for “disposition ” above, please read, dispossession.

  76. #76 Phil
    August 9, 2014

    “Hamas has pretty much abandoned its most lethal form of violence–suicide attacks–for the last decade or so.”

    We could learn a lesson about how effective a patrolled 300 mile fence can be.

  77. #77 Deepak Shetty
    August 11, 2014

    @proxymity1
    You ignore the fact that, in both criminal law and moral ethics, people do indeed regard criminal acts as different in their character
    But neither you nor I are trying to figure out what punishment should be applied to Israel or Palestine- so where does the question of criminal law come in?
    I am not arguing that Israel is bad but Palestine is worse (or vice versa) so why do I (or you need to compare the relative evilness of actions?)
    or to put it in another why would you excuse the actions of some Palestinians which cause innocent Israeli deaths?

    If you really want to understand why many people have little or no difficulty in taking sides (in favor of the Palestinians, that is) all you need do is place yourself or anyone else about whom you really care in the position of the Palestinian people
    Considering that I am from a country that was occupied , and considering that a good portion of the struggle was “oppose, but not violently” – perhaps you should consider that I have indeed placed myself in their position – and I still cant imagine killing random Israelis or celebrating random deaths helps the Palestinian cause.

    You have to either ignore all of that or pretend to ignore it in order to claim, as you do you …”cannot figure out why people take sides in this conflict.”
    Your entire paragraph is related to the fact that Palestinians are oppressed(and you can add any adjective here since oppression doesnt quite capture it – Im not trying to downplay) – No argument there – I agree. Where you and I probably diverge is that you believe that justifies any response, including killing of innocent Israelis – if you don’t believe it is justified then why are you on the side of the Palestinians? If you believe it is justified then I refer you back to the moral ethics that you referred to in the start of your reply.

    You also seem to think I’m pro Israel – I’m not.

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