Pharyngula

There is no religion of peace

I’ve been hiding from the horrible news in the Middle East, but this story induced me to poke my head out of my tortoise shell…so I can puke. A rabbi consulted his holy books to see what God had to say about the vicious violence going on right now, and you can guess what God’s word might be:

Eliyahu ruled that there was absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians during a potential massive military offensive on Gaza aimed at stopping the rocket launchings.

Of course. Did we expect anything else? No moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians. Thank you for the carte blanche, God. How about raping? Is that OK? Baby butchering? Raping butchered babies? I’m sure it’s all good.

Sometimes it is so difficult to be an atheist. I don’t even have the solace of imagining Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu sizzling in hell, right next to Arnaud Armaury.

Comments

  1. #1 JackC
    January 11, 2009

    One of my favourite quotes: “Pity the poor Atheist. He has no one to tell him whom to hate”.

    JC

  2. #2 NewfieGOD
    January 11, 2009

    THOU SHALT NOT KILL.

    rules are an inconvenience to the religious… and they don’t even see the irony.

  3. #3 Wowbagger
    January 11, 2009

    Yeah, colour me unsurprised as well. Holy books are like horoscopes: you can choose to interpret them in such a way that, no matter how obnoxious the behaviour you want justified, it’s telling you not only that you can, but often that you should.

  4. #4 Diagoras
    January 11, 2009

    That there is no moral prohibition is clear from just looking at the violence in the Bible. http://dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com/2009/01/how-many-has-god-killed-revised_04.html

  5. #5 Jadehawk
    January 11, 2009

    once upon a time, I believed Jews were the only rational religionists out there. then I’ve learned that they think they feel they’re divinely entitled to take away the land of others, by all means necessary :-/ It was quite a shock to me to learn that not all Jews are secular Jews.

    But then, I once thought ALL religionists were just culturally religious. The discovery of fundamentalism was unpleasant to put it mildly; and that’s when I stopped calling myself a catholic.

  6. #6 Keviefriend
    January 11, 2009

    As a reasonably new Atheist, I just feel bad for the children. The adults who are members of this cult or that cult can deal with their own problems, but as I understand it, they’re bombing schools…

    Dr. Myers, I don’t believe in Hell, HOWEVER, I do believe that these religious people are in their own hell now. They have to act and behave a certain way, agree to mutilate and be mutilated (circ), only eat certain foods, and give up what adds up to be a considerable amount of money and time in services and tithing. I only had to do about 2/3 of that as a Catholic (I was mutilated, but I have no kids, so I didn’t have to do that, and catholics aren’t kosher) and it was VERY burdensome. That was hell enough for me!

    As for Israel “deserving” the land that (again, as I understand it) belonged to someone else until after WWII and was basically stolen from whoever had it, I call bullshit. If they can’t sort out their own issues, and don’t have the maturity to not kill each other over it, then they both don’t deserve it. Maybe another neighboring nation should take it over and they can take turns renting it or something. OK, it’s a horseshit solution, but they can’t come up with anything better on their own!

    Kev :)

  7. #7 PlaydoPlato
    January 11, 2009

    No moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians.

    If any trolls are in attendance, please educate me on how this is any different from Joe The Mullah (TM) declaring a fatwah on Israeli civilians?

    Evil bastards.

  8. #8 Kel
    January 11, 2009

    Stop being so anti-Semitic PZ, you bigot you ;)

  9. #9 Opisthokont
    January 11, 2009

    …And the religious keep saying that they have a monopoly on morals. I might be amused at the irony if I weren’t utterly disgusted with things.

  10. #10 JasonTD
    January 11, 2009

    You are oversimplifying his position. His argument rests on the concept of assigning collective guilt to Gaza residents for terrorist attacks against Israel.

    From the article you linked,
    “According to Jewish war ethics, wrote Eliyahu, an entire city holds collective responsibility for the immoral behavior of individuals. In Gaza, the entire populace is responsible because they do nothing to stop the firing of Kassam rockets.”

    I have to wonder why you chose to quote only the part of his argument that makes him look the worst, rather than giving the full context. Even after reading the full article, I am ready to agree that he is staking out an unsupportable and inhumane position.

  11. #11 Mr Twiddle
    January 11, 2009

    That’s the one thing that I don’t like about religion – hypocrisy …. and intolerance. That’s the two things that I don’t like about religion – hypocrisy, intolerance and lack of compassion. That the three things that I don’t like about religion – hypocrisy, intolerance, lack of compassion and belief in the supernatural. I don’t like religion.

  12. #12 Sastra
    January 11, 2009

    There is nothing more subjective than religious belief, and nothing more variant than morals built on religious belief. The same book that inspires pacifists, also inspires killing in the name of God. You can justify anything.

    You can justify things that make no sense from a reasonable point of view based on observations of the world. The “inside information” which religion reveals to the believer demonstrates that this is an inherently moral universe, structured on a hierarchy of worth and value — and so there is the ‘objective’ possibility that some people don’t have any.

    All religion adds to the discussion is the ability to insist that faith has made you so small, so insignificant, and so modest, that you have become the conduit for the Higher Will of the Higher Power. Therefore, when one argues with you, one is really arguing with God.

  13. #13 Donnie B.
    January 11, 2009

    “You listed ‘raping butchered babies’ twice.”

    “I like raping butchered babies!”

  14. #14 Janine, Bitter Friend
    January 11, 2009

    That article is dated May 30, 2007. But I am sure that the kindly rabbi has no changed his opinion in the last year and a half.

    “If they don’t stop after we kill 100, then we must kill a thousand,” said Shmuel Eliyahu. “And if they do not stop after 1,000 then we must kill 10,000. If they still don’t stop we must kill 100,000, even a million. Whatever it takes to make them stop.”

    JasonTD, what part of what Shmuel Eliyahu wrote does not make him seem like a monster.

  15. #15 Eamon Knight
    January 11, 2009

    The good rabbi’s justification for bombardment in preference to infantry incursions (which might at least be more selective in its targets): The former chief rabbi also said it was forbidden to risk the lives of Jews in Sderot or the lives of IDF soldiers for fear of injuring or killing Palestinian noncombatants living in Gaza.

    There you have it: religion as ingroup/outgroup marker. One of Us is more valuable than any number of Them.

  16. #16 ad
    January 11, 2009

    Janine, Bitter Friend:

    How is that different to what the Allies did during WW2? If you are being attacked you use whatever force is necessary (escalting as necessary) until the opponent ceases. If you don’t, you surrender and probably die.

  17. #17 e-sabbath
    January 11, 2009

    Look, not for nothing, but remember, Judaism is _different_ from Christianity. It’s a much older religion. It dates back to when basically, you made a pact with a god, and the god gave you rules, and you followed them. There is no real morality in Judaism, in relation to the Lord’s decrees. Just a list of things he says to do and a list of things he says to not do.

    And really, look, this is the OLD Testament here. Elijah and the She-Bears. Sodom and Gomorrah. This is not the Prince of Peace. That’s Christianity.

    Now, the human commentary on this, the human lessons learned, the words of the rabbis… that’s got morality in it.

    But the 517 rules? Those are rules. You follow them.

    You can bend them as far as you want, as long as you don’t actually break them. It’s a legal thing, not a moral thing.

    C’mon. You’ve read the Old Testament, right? Why are you surprised here?

  18. #18 Noni Mausa
    January 11, 2009

    In Gaza, the entire populace is responsible because they do nothing to stop the firing of Kassam rockets.”

    So, does this apply to other peoples too? I did nothing to stop Bush from dropping cluster bombs in Iraq — am I complicit? But then, I am living out of the country. Maybe there’s a distance factor in here? Gaza is just a small area about 3 x 24 miles, maybe Gazans are assumed to be in easy walking distance. So if all Gazans are complicit (even the babies, who negligently slept and nursed when they should have been out protesting) are all Americans complicit in the evils of their leaders, or just the ones close to Washington?

    Sigh.

    Noni

  19. #19 Twin-Skies
    January 11, 2009

    Thou shalt not kill. Murder. The fifth commandment. But if you think about it ? if you think about it, religion has never really had a problem with murder. Not really. No, more people have been killed in the name of God than for any other reason. All you have to do ? all you have to do is look at slavery, the Middle East, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Holocaust, and the World Trade Center, and you’ll see how seriously the religious folks take “Thou Shalt Not Kill”. The more devout they are ? the more devout they are, the more they see murder as negotiable ? it’s negotiable. It depends, you know? It depends, it depends on who’s doing the killing and who’s getting killed. – George Carlin

    Couldn’t have said it better

  20. #20 JasonTD
    January 11, 2009

    Janine,

    Nothing that I wrote should suggest that I find him to be otherwise. I just was disappointed that PZ was misrepresenting his actual argument. What he actually said (in full) is bad enough.

    The situation in Gaza is complicated, and every effort should be made to acknowledge all of the facts, not just the ones that make one side look the worst.

  21. #21 dave
    January 11, 2009

    Baby butchering? Raping butchered babies? I’m sure it’s all good.

    Psalms 137:9, KJV: “Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.” (but curiously, abortion is off-limits for some reason)

    Numbers 31:17-18: “Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.”

  22. #22 Helioprogenus
    January 11, 2009

    And people say that Judaism is a more tolerant branch of religioun? It doesn’t matter what your religion is, it’s susceptible to bullshit rhetoric like this rabbi’s, which does nothing but foment further derisive anger and hatred at other’s who believe in another similar mass delusion. Get your head checked before you assume to speak of good religions and bad religions. Their attempts at explaining natural phenomena are wrong, their attempts at group cohesiveness, though possibly true, helps further generalized hatred and xenophobia, and their appeal to authority falls short on liars and cheats. Ultimately, religion has failed in every way, and if you need proof, just look at the Middle East. Sure, most of their problems are economic, but it doesn’t help to have religion interceding and further conflagrating an already volatile situation.

  23. #23 Anonymous
    January 11, 2009

    I remember a discussion I had with a Baptist about the meaning of the 6th commandment, and whether it prohibits killing or whether it prohibits murder.

    His argument was that killing is morally distinct from murder, which implies an immoral motivation for killing. Therefore, the commandment only refers to this specific, immorally motivated type of killing.

    As long as you’re only killing people that god designed so erroneously that they must be killed (even though god is perfect and by definition could not create such a mistake) then you’re good to go.

    Disgusting.

  24. #24 10ch.org
    January 11, 2009

    What about Buddhism or Shinto? Nobody has mentioned that yet.

  25. #25 Zarathustra
    January 11, 2009

    This will be a somewhat long response.

    I am a Secular Humanist. I grew up in a predominantly Jewish area, where even among the more moderate Jews there was a prevalent feeling that Israel could do no wrong. This “Israel can do no wrong” feeling disgusts me to the same degree that Islamic terrorism disgusts me. As I have come to understand more about the situation, I have been forced to dispense with some of my more left-wing notions.

    Let me make this clear. Israel is a secular democracy in the middle east. It is not only strategically important, it stands for many of the same enlightenment principles that we secular humanists do.

    That being said, I think Hamas is a disgusting terrorist organization that should be hunted to extinction and bombed back to the frakking stone age if necessary. I may be a secular humanist, but I am not a pacifist.

    However, Israel is NOT innocent. Israel has made Palestinians second class citizens without the right to even vote for representation in the government that is occupying their frakking territories. Even in the Gaza strip, Israel established colonies and roads that are forbidden to Palestinians to use or live in. This is called colonialism, and it was supposed to have died out decades ago. I believe that as much as Hamas is guilty of terrorism, Israel is guilty of human rights violations, and must answer to those crimes.

    I do not believe there is a peaceful way out. I think the only way out is war, and I would only ask that as few people are killed in the process as possible. Other than that, let the Middle East go wild. Let people kill each other. Maybe if enough of the right people kill each other off, the rest of the world can have some semblance of peace.

    Sorry if this is extremely misanthropic, but I am sick to death of people who think that a nonviolent solution is even possible in the face of religious zealotry and terrorism.

  26. #26 Lsuoma
    January 11, 2009

    s/Armaury/Amaury/

  27. #27 Twin-Skies
    January 11, 2009

    @10ch

    Shinto, according to my understanding, is more like a loose system of beliefs and traditions than it is an actual religion, so I’m not too sure.

    Buddhism on the other hand…were you thinking about concept like the Hagakure, or kamikaze?

  28. #28 KristinMH
    January 11, 2009

    And people say that Judaism is a more tolerant branch of religioun?

    Judaism doesn’t proselytize; in fact it’s quite hard, I believe, to become Jewish if you’re not born into it, which is where that conclusion comes from. In North America at least it’s very much the case. (When was the last time you got a tract that read “Gehenna is real! Accept Moses as your personal prophet!”?) But I agree with your main point (and with PZ’s) – *no* religion is immune to the horror of war and violence for god’s sake. Puts the lie to that whole “without god what stops you from committing murder?” canard.

  29. #29 DLC
    January 11, 2009

    War is bad enough, claiming it’s okay to kill innocent civilians is just wrong. and it’s also one of the top ten reasons I abhor organized religion. (a blog post I’ll write if I ever take up writing a blog)

  30. #30 KristinMH
    January 11, 2009

    Twin-Skies, that’s actually a really good point. I forgot about Buddhism. I once saw a couple of Buddhist monks get kicked off of a train from Toronto to NYC by customs officials. I mentioned it to my dad, who’s a religious studies scholar, remarking on how unlikely it seemed for a Buddhist to turn to religious terrorism. “Well, a Buddhist monk did assassinate the president of Tibet in 1959,” he said. 1959!

  31. #31 10ch.org
    January 11, 2009

    @#27 Twin-Skies
    Well… no. Hagakure and kamikaze seem hardly connected with formal religion at all.

    As for Shinto, though, it is very much an actual religion, but a very loose and flexible one.

  32. #32 Meng Bomin
    January 11, 2009

    Israel is a secular democracy in the middle east.

    Perhaps you and I have different definitions of “secular”, but I was under the impression that Israel was created to be and exists as a Jewish state.

  33. #33 BobC
    January 11, 2009

    the horrible news in the Middle East

    It would be more accurate to call it the horrible religious news in the Middle East.

    A century from now in the year 2109 the exact same religious conflict will still be going on. It’s never going to end until religious insanity is completely eradicated from this planet.

  34. #34 Aquaria
    January 11, 2009

    Nothing that I wrote should suggest that I find him to be otherwise. I just was disappointed that PZ was misrepresenting his actual argument. What he actually said (in full) is bad enough.

    May I confirm a suspicion that you are new here?

    If you aren’t then forgive the following, but if you are, consider that PZ provided a link to the article (for our further, horrifying edification. We can look at it if we want a deeper understanding. Then he commented on the point central to a recurring theme he addresses, that all religions are bad. That was his point, not whether or not Israel is justified, or other minutiae arguments about the situation in Gaza. It’s not really a forum for general discussion about ME politics, but an illustration for a type of discussion particular to this one blog.

    I hope this explains what’s going on.

    Now for the general:

    Israel has some redeeming qualities, but those are systematically negated by a paranoia fueled to a disturbing degree by sectarianism (although not entirely). That paranoia makes them engage in behaviors that do not improve the situation, but often exacerbate them, which feeds into a vicious (and ever more brutal) cycle. But I don’t see them changing.

    Maybe the Palestinians need a Ghandi or MLK type of figure to teach them the principles of nonviolent resistance. A few instances of Israeli tanks running over innocent Palestinians, a few Israeli soldiers beating up Palestinians trying to vote, etc., and world opinion would shift pretty damn fast to the Palestinians.

    But who am I kidding?

  35. #35 Raytheist
    January 11, 2009

    The rabbi justified his ruling by citing Genesis 34: This is the story of Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, who was raped by Shechem. Shechem really wanted to marry Dinah, so his father, Hamor, proposed the two families/tribes intermarry. Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, were deceptive (v. 13) and said their sisters couldn’t marry uncircumcised men. Hamor thought they were making a friendly counterproposal (v. 21), so he and all the men went ahead and were circumcised, believing they would then be able to intermarry. Yet, while the males were still in pain from the circumcision, Simeon and Levi killed all the males and plundered their goods, took their livestock, etc. (v. 25-28).

    This story apparently seems to approve mass-murder of innocent people as a proper punishment for one man’s raping of a woman (the rape was definitely wrong and the one man should have been punished, of course), but also seems to endorse dealing with deception and trickery to underhandedly disadvantage their opponents while pretending to be friends.

    Seems like some things never change, eh?

  36. #36 inkadu
    January 11, 2009

    Why the hate against this rabbi? He’s right to point out that civilian massacre is justified by his religion. That’s certainly my reading of the Old Testament.

    Zarathustra:
    Let me make this clear. Israel is a secular democracy in the middle east. It is not only strategically important, it stands for many of the same enlightenment principles that we secular humanists do.

    I’m not so sure. Israel is a weird hybrid of a modern Western enlightened democracy mixed with an anachronistic ethnic nationalism and a good bit of power doled out to the orthodox branch of religion for good measure.

    I also don’t think much of it’s strategic usefulness, since support of Israel is historically the number 1 recruitment poster for terrorism. But if we are supporting it for strategic reasons, then it is, in effect, an imperial colony that happens to have a democratic/arpatheid government.

    I do not believe there is a peaceful way out. I think the only way out is war, and I would only ask that as few people are killed in the process as possible… Sorry if this is extremely misanthropic […]

    Well, I don’t think it’s necessarily misanthropic. What conquering civilizations do is exterminate or absorb the original populations. Since Israel is actually supposed to be the Jewish Homeland, it can NOT absorb the muslim population and maintain its identiy. And since it’s not cool to commit genocide any more (due to the Jewish holocaust itself (irony!)), they can’t exterminate the population either.

    […] but I am sick to death of people who think that a nonviolent solution is even possible in the face of religious zealotry and terrorism.

    I think you misunderstand the roots of this conflict. As long as people are oppressed, they will struggle against their oppression. You can blame individual actors for their crimes, but you can’t expect them not to exist. I agree non-violence is a largely fraudulent and overhyped philosophy of struggle BUT there are political (ie non-violent) solutions. Israel can give Palestinians a viable state (but they will have to have a civil war over the settlers) or they can absorb the Palestinians as full citizens (in which case Israel eventually ceases to be a Jewish state). Both those solutions would end a majority of the oppression and ultimately pare down the number of people who turn to violence.

  37. #37 scooter
    January 11, 2009

    This is just old school European white supremacist colonialism. The united states has a far higher percentage of superstitious religious idiots than the Israelis or Palestinians.

    It’s no more about religion than Northern Ireland.

    As for the asshat above trying to compare this to WWII, there is a perfect allegory, the Warsaw Ghetto.

    For moar great information on the conflict, see veteran war correspondent, Joe the Fascist’s report… http://www.rumproast.com/index.php/site/comments/joe_the_fascist/

    Why not , he’s as accurate as any other MSMediot, especially the faux-left fucks like maddow and olbernamm who seem to be at a loss for words all of a sudden.

    un-fucking-believeable
    and props to Jon Stewart as usual

  38. #38 Aquaria
    January 11, 2009

    Well, a Buddhist monk did assassinate the president of Tibet in 1959,” he said. 1959!

    The Aum Shinrikyo is a Buddhist offshoot cult (with some weird bits of Hinduism & Christianity thrown in the mix) that carried out the 1995 sarin atttack in Tokyo, and Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese Buddhists aren’t always on their best behavior with minority ethnic and religious groups. Of course some of the minority groups haven’t always been very nice, either.

  39. #39 amhovgaard
    January 11, 2009

    #34: I think you are confusing US opinion with “world opinion”.

  40. #40 Pierce R. Butler
    January 11, 2009

    … how unlikely it seemed for a Buddhist to turn to religious terrorism.

    My Googling, Kartooing, and Wikipediating didn’t turn up much (not even the Mahablog search produced anything very relevant), but I strongly suggest you read up on the cosmic harmony between the Buddhist Sinhalese and Hindu Tamil populations in Sri Lanka.

    A lot more Kablooey! than ??Kumbaya ? in the air over there.

    (According to this missionary sympathizer, the local Buddhists & Jesusists in old Serendip don?t share much bliss either.)

  41. #41 Aquaria
    January 11, 2009

    Scooter, I think you’re right that it’s not all about religion in the ME, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to notice that it’s often the vehicle used to further justify behaviors. I don’t think we can get around that, so it seems like we need to work within how it plays into their thoughts and actions to find some solutions. Unless you know another way.

    I suggested Palestinians might try nonviolent resistance, but I don’t know how that would have to work for them. I’m simply not familiar with their culture.

  42. #42 Feynmaniac
    January 11, 2009

    Eliyahu ruled that there was absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians during a potential massive military offensive on Gaza aimed at stopping the rocket launchings.

    It’s funny when people say that atheism leads to immorality. However, pretty much all the atheists here are horrified by “indiscriminate killing of civilians”.

    A little while ago I quoted 2 Kings: 2 23-25 to Facilis. In it 42 children are killed by two bears for merely mocking Elisha for being bald. Facilis, the theist, said it was right while all the atheists said it was absolutely horrible.

  43. #43 Crudely Wrott
    January 11, 2009

    Has any of these knuckleheads yet recalled those beloved words:

    “For God so loved the world that he . . .” ?

    Funny how I recall them just now. D’ya suppose that if the words were broadcast loudly over the battlefield that those who hear will recognize that they all serve the very same master? Nah. Me neither. Though I rather wish they could. That is, if they did, maybe we could have a little PEACE AND QUIET FOR A CHANGE!

    Damned acolytes. Blowing each other up because they each have permission to do so from their imaginary, and boringly similar, sky daddies. Too bad we all can’t just say that our actions are sanctioned by the greatest guy in the universe. What a privilege! Blow ‘em away, give thanks to the spook and be home in time for dinner.

    Hi, Honey! I’m home!
    How was your day, dear?
    Oh, routine. Musta wasted a dozen in God’s name. Boy, am I hungry!
    Well you just sit right down. I’ve got a treat for you tonight.
    You always know how to make it right. No wonder I love you so.
    (This exchange makes perfect sense in several languages. Cultural subtleties not withstanding.)

  44. #44 Pierce R. Butler
    January 11, 2009

    Aquaria @ # 34: Maybe the Palestinians need a Ghandi or MLK type of figure to teach them the principles of nonviolent resistance. A few instances of Israeli tanks running over innocent Palestinians, a few Israeli soldiers beating up Palestinians trying to vote, etc., and world opinion would shift pretty damn fast to the Palestinians.

    But who am I kidding?

    If even the murder of a nonviolent, young and pretty American woman doesn?t break through the media blackout on Israeli atrocities, what chance could any Palestinian Gandhi- or King-wannabe expect?

  45. #45 Aquaria
    January 11, 2009

    #34: I think you are confusing US opinion with “world opinion”.

    Not all Americans think America is the center of the universe.

    In case you were operating under some delusion.

    I hope it doesn’t afflict you too harshly or often if you were.

  46. #46 Aquaria
    January 11, 2009

    If even the murder of a nonviolent, young and pretty American woman doesn?t break through the media blackout on Israeli atrocities, what chance could any Palestinian Gandhi- or King-wannabe expect?

    Did MLK get there just with Rosa Park’s one action?

    Besides, that was an American. The Palestinian people need to organise and take actions that work in ways that will be effective for their situation, not what some idealistic American thinks they need to do.

    Look, I know it’s a hard road. MLK and Ghandi knew it too. Effort like that takes a lot of sacrifices, in time, effort, and, yes, even blood, not just one.

  47. #47 Tulse
    January 11, 2009

    A friend of mine refers to Israel as simply a modern version of the Crusader states. It is interesting to note that the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem, covering much of modern Israel, actually existed for nearly 200 years before it was lost back to the Muslims. From that perspective, Israel’s 50 year history is relatively short.

  48. #48 azqaz
    January 11, 2009

    OK. Maybe I just missed something. After reading the article it seemed that he was saying that it was right to engage in indiscriminate killing of civilians to stop the killing of civilians. That just sounds like someone wanting to implement the “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” philosophy. You can’t make war so horrific that people will refuse to fight.

    No matter how you use terror, ON BOTH SIDES, there will be someone on the other side willing to ramp up the stupid and horrible to new levels. We have religious people on both sides saying that it is right and proper to kill the people on the other side simply because they are the other side. So sayeth GOD! (Who happens to be on my side by the way, because I am right and good. God said so.)

  49. #49 Timothy Wood
    January 11, 2009

    @ NewfieGod #2

    That’s the beauty of a holy book that contradicts it’s self so much. You can literally pick and choose everything. Choose “judge not” when it benefits you… and “judge righteously” when it doesn’t.

  50. #50 RamblinDude
    January 11, 2009

    For what it’s worth, Jon Stewart seems to be one of the few not tripping over themselves leaping to Israel?s defense.

    http://www.thankyoujonstewart.com/

  51. #51 Quiet Desperation
    January 11, 2009

    “According to Jewish war ethics, wrote Eliyahu, an entire city holds collective responsibility for the immoral behavior of individuals.

    Many years ago when I was an undergrad in the mid 1980s, a local political commentator was an invited speaker at the college as part of a series on real world political experiences, particularly politicial writers who had given talks in other parts of the world and what they experienced.

    He spoke in part about another talk he gave at a university in a predominantly Islamic country (Egypt, I think) about American history in the second half of the 20th centry. The topic of the Kennedy assassination came up, and a couple students there, during Q&A, expressed what seemed to be a common feeling in the room: they were perplexed why hordes of folks from elsewhere in the country did not rush to Dallas, kill everyone there and burn the city to the ground.

    That mindset is a lot more common than many outside the mental sicknesses that generates it think. Calling religion a poison is an insult to honest poisons everywhere.

  52. #52 Aquaria
    January 12, 2009

    OT, but maybe not too much, from Japan Times last month:

    Then there is the notion that the U.S. government is taking over significant parts of the U.S. economy. Those on the left gleefully note the return of “socialism”; they exaggerate but this creeping intrusion into the private sector is proof again of the need for skeptical pragmatism rather than blind ideology. As Congress debates aid to other sectors, such as automakers, the incoherence of U.S. thinking is evident.

    I just loved these two:

    proof again of the need for skeptical pragmatism rather than blind ideology
    the incoherence of U.S. thinking is evident

    Well, that certainly pegs 99% of what was going on the last 8 years, and what continues to cause problems. The lack of critical thinking is proving catastrophic, in way too many places.

  53. #53 inkadu
    January 12, 2009

    Aquaria:
    Look, I know it’s a hard road. MLK and Ghandi knew it too. Effort like that takes a lot of sacrifices, in time, effort, and, yes, even blood, not just one.

    Non-violence isn’t magic. It doesn’t work in every situation, and it’s insulting to a lot oppressed people to think it does.

    The British were going to pull out of India, just like they’d pulled out of almost all their other colonies at the time. Ghandi was an impressive political organizer, but the non-violence movement is not what chased out the British.

    And if there had not been a lot of white people sympathetic to civil rights, the non-violent protests of MLK would never have gotten off the ground. Imagine how effective non-violent protests would have been in 1890.

  54. #54 shonny
    January 12, 2009

    Once again I’ll plug this little chronicle in Sydney Morning Herald by Sara Dowse, arguably one of the most factual and honest ones around:

    Shocking cynicism of a poisoned homeland
    Sara Dowse
    January 8, 2009

    It has taken me days to begin writing this, so horrified have I been by Israel’s latest actions. My sense of justice, however – as a mother, a Jew, and above all as a human being – impels me to try.
    The massacre in Gaza has its roots in virulent European anti-Semitism and the 1917 Balfour declaration, when the British government promised Zionists that Jewish people would have a homeland in Palestine if Britain was victorious in World War I.
    The key word here is homeland, and it should be remembered that the promise was qualified by the condition that such a homeland would “not be to the detriment” of the Palestinians. The steady increase in Jewish immigration under the British mandate provoked riots and protests, but Palestinians were still in majority until, in the aftermath of the Holocaust, the Zionists unilaterally declared an Israeli state.
    Despite the suffering of the Palestinians, whose land was taken from them, for many years the sympathy of the developed world was with Israel, refuge for the survivors of the Nazi slaughter of European Jews, and beleaguered by surrounding hostile Arab states.
    With the 1967 occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, Israel could no longer be accepted as a victim. Yet it has continued to play on the sympathies of Western governments, most particularly the US, and Jews of the diaspora. In reality, Israel has been a colonising state, masquerading as the most democratic, most humane, most modern nation in the region. It has served the Western powers to have such a proxy in the Middle East, and most recently, under the Bush Administration and in concert with the Israelis, they have played a cynical game of divide and rule, encouraging the Israelis in their blind refusal to negotiate with Hamas, just as for years Israel refused to negotiate with the Palestine Liberation Organisation, the forerunners of Fatah, whom they now support.
    Hamas is not a terrorist organisation, but the legitimate, democratically elected government of the Palestinian Authority. We may not like what it stands for, but that is no reason for sidelining it. Undermining that government by Israel and the West is but one of a string of cynical actions on their part.
    The rationale that Hamas has refused to accept Israel’s existence or to eschew violence is yet another example of how the truth has been twisted. What Hamas rejected was the continued, barbaric Israeli occupation of the West Bank, and the laying down of arms against an aggressive military occupation. I have heard with my own ears the Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, say exactly that. Is he to be trusted? It would have been worth a try.
    And who now would trust Israel?
    So here we have it: a tough, technocratically savvy, nuclear power with the backing of the largest military power the world has known, bombing, then invading, a territory the size of a small city, with a population of 1.5 million, most of whom are civilians, to “defend our citizens”.
    The ceasefire was meant to lift the Israeli blockade on Gaza, but it didn’t. It was meant to facilitate the release of Palestinian prisoners, many of whom were members of the elected Hamas Government, but it didn’t.
    Israeli planes raided southern Gaza in November. The Hamas rockets continued. Which side broke the ceasefire? Hamas may not be blameless, but the situation is far more complex than Israel claims. The fact that more than 600 people have died because in a couple of weeks the US will have a new government and next month Israel will have an election, is the most shocking form of cynicism the Palestinian people have yet faced.
    Since the 2006 invasion of Lebanon I have undergone what for me, as a Jew, has been an agonising realignment of my feelings about Israel. I have come to believe that a specifically Jewish state has been a terrible mistake.
    A homeland is different from a state. There have been examples throughout history and there are in our own time polities with mixed ethnic populations and official sanction for their living in harmony together. Australia is one.
    I don’t know how it will come about – I hope with as little bloodshed as possible – but I look forward to the distant day when the land becomes a multicultural country again, perhaps as a federation, perhaps in another form, but similar to what it was before it was destroyed with the poison of ethnic territorial nationalism.

    Sara Dowse is an author who wrote Sapphires, a novel about three generations of Jewish women.

  55. #55 RamblinDude
    January 12, 2009

    The topic of the Kennedy assassination came up, and a couple students there, during Q&A, expressed what seemed to be a common feeling in the room: they were perplexed why hordes of folks from elsewhere in the country did not rush to Dallas, kill everyone there and burn the city to the ground.

    It’s always fascinating to hear anecdotes like that. (Unnerving, but fascinating.)

    It?s a good thing our elected officials had enough intelligence to understand and appreciate the complexities and sheer foreignness of customs and attitudes in Middle Eastern culture before we went bulldozing our way in there.

    Oh, wait. . .

  56. #56 Pierce R. Butler
    January 12, 2009

    Aquaria @ # 46: The Palestinian people need to organise and take actions that work in ways that will be effective for their situation, not what some idealistic American thinks they need to do.

    It’s been tried: nonviolence is not “effective for their situation”. Please read up on the history of the intifadas and nonviolent Palestinian resistance during and before them. If the British in the Raj or the whites in Alabama had reacted half so violently against unarmed demonstrators as have the Israelis, neither King nor Gandhi would have lasted long enough to become a footnote.

    Why is it so few “idealistic Americans” are trying to urge the Israelis to put down their stones Apache helicopters, Hellfire missiles and Merkava tanks?

  57. #57 IncognitoToday
    January 12, 2009

    Maybe a Gandhi is needed? They have already taken this “long hard road” – the 5 years of interfada where youths protested throwing stones and sticks. The response – killed with rubber bullets and live rounds. Then the family home would be destroyed – I saw one (TV) being blown up halfway up an apartment block, no doubt making the whole structure dangerous. What of the images of israeli tanks chasing a civilian in a wheelchair before killing him? Do people remember this? no. Non-violent protest (and I do not count rock throwing against armed soldiers violent) not only has been done, but it failed dismally against the Israeli PR machine and the emperors of Wall Street and Hollywood.

    All the techniques used by jihadist terrorist today were developed by zionist terrorists. The day that Israel was given statehood the massacres began. Stateless terrorist became State sanctioned terrorists. The plane hijackings, SMS triggered bombs (bali) – all zionist and mossad creations. Osama Bin Laden claims he got the idea for the WTC atrocity whilst watching Israeli warplanes bombing civilian apartment buildings in Lebanon.

    To claim the recent atrocities against Prison Palestine are justified by the killing of one of Hamas’ top men shows the stupidity when we see that he is survived by 4 wives and 14 children – all VERY pissed off. The recent targeting of a mosque (killing 4 agnostic children next door) and a UN school, loading of buildings with civilians then blowing up the building does not look so strange on past history. One atrocity that stands out was the mining of a sandpit in a children’s playground, killing a few kids.

    And Israel is complaining that the starving millions they are denying water, food and medicine, that they are killing with impunity have the audacity to throw joke bombs into their stolen back yard?

    Do not forget either that the recent attacks by Israel are prompted by Hamas refusing to renew the ceasefire they brokered and mostly enforced over the last couple of years. During this time there were frequent attacks by the Israel military. Israel just wanted to shoot them in the back before they could honourably attempt to defend themselves. I suspect that more Israelis die murdered by mobs for driving on the sabbath or by bee-stings than hamas rockets.

    What the UN gave, The UN (or the US) can take away. The UN should have maybe given something they owned though, not someone elses – especially based on the fraudulent claims of the Old Testament. It has the same legal standing as the forged documents the Catholics used to usurp the Roman Empire.

    It is difficult to split zionists from Judaists from ethic Jews that are atheist, agnostic (or buddhist, shinto etc). I pity poor Kunst, the atheist Jew in a Nazi concentration camp.

    The good rabbi may find his words come back to haunt him. When every Israeli citizen is either a soldier, going to be a soldier or a retired soldier things look bleak. Some may be breeding soldiers or unfit for service and supporting in logistical roles or through their taxes. All Israelis are actually responsible and like Germany, even the non-nazis suffered retribution.

    Some comments infer that the war crimes involved are just minor offenses or accidents. Justified. Self-defense. They are not and the world courts (and future generations) will not judge them as anything other than Crimes Against Humanity and Acts of Genocide. This is the single blackest mark on humanity since the Stockholm Syndrome inducing Hitler. Were the brave Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto terrorists? The French Underground just thugs murdering innocent Nazi soldiers? The more perspective you get on this issue, the worse it looks.

    Israel would do well to look at Zimbabwe. The world tried and tried and kept being ignored. Somalia is headed the same way. We get sick of screaming about the trainwreck unfolding. Zimbabwe can burn. When the modern day Sparta that is Israel burns, don’t expect anyone to race to quell the flames. We will maybe pick through the charred remains, feed any kids that survive, but that’s it.

    This is ultimately religious. I don’t know if Israel is evil men doing evil things or good people doing evil things through religion.

  58. #58 amphiox
    January 12, 2009

    Parse this rabbi’s words and all it really boils down to is his conviction that the lives of “his” civilians are more valuable than the lives of the other side’s civilians.

    It’s basic tribalism. All the religious argumentation is just high-falutin sophistry.

  59. #59 Pierce R. Butler
    January 12, 2009

    Incognito Today @ # 57: All the techniques used by jihadist terrorist today were developed by zionist terrorists.

    Give credit where due: (Hindu) Tamil separatists in Sri Lanka invented the suicide vest, and pioneered the systematic use of suicide bombings in general.

    Massacres, however, long predate 1948 or even the first whisper of Zionism.

  60. #60 Paliban Mom
    January 12, 2009

    @Raytheist (#35), it seems you’re misinterpreting what happened to dear Dinah. I do not see in the Scripture of Genesis 34 a “rape” or abduction. It is neither stated nor implied that Dinah was raped; she was “defiled”, which means only that she was deflowered outside of marriage. If she were raped, it is Biblically correct for her to marry her rapist (Deuteronomy 22:28); Shechem would not have had to pay a dowry, but rather a specified fine. He was honorable and requested her hand in marriage because “his soul cleaved to her”, i.e, he was in love. He offered a dowry, anything Jacob named. That’s not the story you misrepresented.

    As for the good Rabbi in our May, 2007 story, I feel it likely that his position has not changed with the current offensive. The Bible hasn’t changed; why should Eliyahu?

    I must ask why it is that people somehow think that Judaism is less “legal” than Bible-believing Christianity. The vast majority of the Law that God expects us all to obey is in the Old Testament. Those are the Hebrew Scriptures, friends.

    Modern “Reform” Jews ignoring their Scriptures just as much as average modern so-called “Christians” ignore theirs doesn’t change the Scriptures. It only means that they’re all on a one-way train to Hell.

  61. #61 IncognitoToday
    January 12, 2009

    Many thanks for the clarification.

    My “identity” today is concealed because I expect to be travelling to a large Hindu country next week, so your reference is most topical for me.

    Agreed re massacres. It must also be remembered that it is frequently a different sect of the same death cult that is butchering the other (eg Catholic vs heugenots, ireland). I’m not sure if Masada was religious or political. There must have been countless gods before then deemed responsible for mass murder.

    An interesting difference between Nazi Genrmany and modern Israel is the same problem assassins had extracting protection money from the Templars. Every Templar leader they kidnapped or murdered was replaced immediately by a new elected templar. The same with Israel (and all modern democracies). Leader does something wrong/criminal just vote them out, the incoming Government (from the same rugger club, even if on a different team) exonerates them and then does the same thing under a different policy name. Bush, Blair and Howard will never stand trial for war crimes over Iraq. Instead some lame duck in the White House insults Obama by giving Howard his bed? Apologies friends in the USA, we voted Howard out, just like you got rid of Bush, like McCain, some failures just don’t know when to die.

  62. #62 RickrOll
    January 12, 2009

    I Know this is off-topic, but i was wondering- considering this link:
    http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/otarch.html

    Is there anything like that for the New Teastament? I’m afraid i really don’t have the time to research it. Sorry and thanks!

  63. #63 Norman Doering
    January 12, 2009

    Sastra wrote:

    There is nothing more subjective than religious belief, …. The “inside information” which religion reveals to the believer … you have become the conduit for the Higher Will of the Higher Power. Therefore, when one argues with you, one is really arguing with God.

    What a dangerous invitation into madness.

    And we all might be closer to that insanity than we know.

  64. #64 natural cynic
    January 12, 2009

    Has anyone heard of read anything about any group of Jains committing acts of violence?

  65. #65 Brandon P.
    January 12, 2009

    I am a Secular Humanist. I grew up in a predominantly Jewish area, where even among the more moderate Jews there was a prevalent feeling that Israel could do no wrong. This “Israel can do no wrong” feeling disgusts me to the same degree that Islamic terrorism disgusts me.

    I agree. I am sick of Zionists claiming that disagreeing with Israel’s policies is anti-Jewish. In fact that very attitude—that anyone who professes to be a Jew is immune from criticism—strikes me as religious bigotry, because it implies a belief in the moral superiority of Jews.

    As for the situation in Israel…honestly, I am angry with both sides. They’re both dualing tribes of mental savages brainwashed by superstition into killing each other. They’re a textbook case of what Abrahamism does to people who take it too seriously.

    Why are we even allies with Israel? The only reason I can see the neocons supporting it is because of racial prejudice against Arabs.

  66. #66 BMcP
    January 12, 2009

    @25 However, Israel is NOT innocent. Israel has made Palestinians second class citizens without the right to even vote for representation in the government that is occupying their frakking territories

    Actually Palestinians are allowed to vote in Israel. There are even Palestinians that hold seats in the Knesset, the United Arab List-Ta’al, Hadash, and Balad are three of these parties.

    Even in the Gaza strip, Israel established colonies and roads that are forbidden to Palestinians to use or live in.

    There are no more Jewish settlements in Gaza, it is 100% Palestinian. Of course before now there were never an independent Palestinian Gaza, before the Six day war Gaza was part of Egypt (and before that it was Britain and before that it was the Ottomans, before that the Malmukes, and so on…)

  67. #67 Erynn Shea Kelly
    January 12, 2009

    Someone posted this:
    “How is that different to what the Allies did during WW2? If you are being attacked you use whatever force is necessary (escalating as necessary) until the opponent ceases. If you don’t, you surrender and probably die.”

    This whole self-defense crap is making me insane.

    Let’s just suppose that the Muslim population here in the U.S. became so great and powerful that they decided to “take over” our country. They decided that somewhere in their holy book, America is “rightfully” theirs and Alla has given it to them and given them permission – no better yet he has DICTATED – that they slaughter all those who don’t follow him. But rather than slaughter everyone, they decide to be “merciful” and allow all non-Muslims a little piece of the country for themselves. Let’s say, Kansas. Anyone who protests and doesn’t go quietly will get slaughtered – those who cooperate will just be “caged” in Kansas.

    So now everyone who has been forced from their homes and made to live in Kansas is going to be really pissed off, don’t ya think? Do you think those in Kansas are just going to sit back and take it? Even if it drags on for years, decades, centuries…. the stories will be passed down for generations about how the ancestors once enjoyed freedom and could live anywhere they wanted in the U.S. and practice whatever religion they wished to practice, WHEREever they wanted to practice it.

    Do you think they will just sit there quietly? NO! They will fight! The Christians, the Jews, the Pagans, the Atheists, the Agnostics, the Hindus… everyone exiled to Kansas is going to fight for as long as it takes to reclaim their land and their freedom. And they won’t back down until they get it. So whoever was defending Israels actions with, “If you are being attacked you use whatever force is necessary… until the opponent ceases.” I have this to say: Right back at ya! The same argument can be made for the Palestinians as for the Israelis. Both feel they are being attacked and both feel they are acting in self-defense. The Israelis want to keep their claim on the region and the Palestinians want it back. I may not agree with the Palestinians tactics, but I don’t see where they have that many options. At least they have a somewhat rational reason for fighting. The Jews forced them out of the home and segregated them to a very tiny strip of land that is too small to accommodate their population. I tend to have more sympathy for them than the Jews, who are fighting because a book is telling them to. A book that – just like the Bible – was fabricated by power hungry men with agendas. Imagine if today George W and Cheney decided to write a “holy book” and declared the words were passed down to them from God himself. As absurd as that sounds, their are probably some who would believe it and create a whole new religion around it. And if they burned anyone at the stake who didn’t go along, you would probably end up with a pretty good following eventually – a following of those who actually believed and those who were just to afraid not to believe.

    This battle between the Jews and Palestinians has been raging for thousands of years – all because the Jews believe Israel belongs to them and them alone. They believe God has made them his own “chosen people” and the land is theirs… the land of milk and honey. And our primarily Christian government here in the U.S. supports Israel because Christians believe that Jesus will not come back until the Jews have full occupation of Israel. It’s all terribly selfish, really, because Christians also believe that all Jews are going to burn in hell once Jesus arrives. That we should invest so much in something that is nothing more than a fairy tale is absurd.

    So it’s all about agendas. The Quran is no better. Mohammad had an agenda and there is no doctrine in that book that did not in some way further his agenda and help him acquire more power. Any time he wanted something, he’d have a “prophecy.” One wife wasn’t enough, so he “prophesied” that Allah wanted him to have multiple wives. All this bloodshed just because a bunch of people were conned by a greedy, horny man. The Mormons were also conned by a greedy, horny man.

    From the perspective of a non-religious person, this sounds completely ridiculous. It’s all insane. All of it. In the words of Christopher Hitchens, “RELIGION POISONS EVERYTHING.” I am not an atheist – I’m a pagan. Pagans don’t follow any “holy books” or doctrine. We can be spiritual without being religious. But just shedding it ALL and becoming an all-out atheist is really appealing to me at times…. maybe not as much fun, but definitely appealing.

  68. #68 uncle frogy
    January 12, 2009

    the thing I just do not understand is how can any of the people involved and the Israelis most particularly the other side at all.
    The jewish “people” have been through a lot of very bad history and they have never “given up!” what in hell makes them think that the Palestinians will ever “give up”? and go away and stop bothering them?

    is their thinking any different than “the final solution” ?

    a pox on all of them
    religion and nationalism uguh barf!

  69. #69 Rey Fox
    January 12, 2009

    “But just shedding it ALL and becoming an all-out atheist is really appealing to me at times…. maybe not as much fun, but definitely appealing.”

    It’s as fun as you make it.

  70. #70 DyingALittle
    January 12, 2009

    This may have already been pointed out, chemical warfare is being used. So I don’t know about raping, but the killing of babies is certainly a possibility.

  71. #71 Psychodigger
    January 12, 2009

    JasonTD,

    Since when does reading the full article make the rabbi appear less insane!?!

  72. #72 BMcP
    January 12, 2009

    @34Maybe the Palestinians need a Ghandi or MLK type of figure to teach them the principles of nonviolent resistance.

    That isn’t going to happen because their crazy, violent religion will not allow it to happen. On the other hand teaching about how the infidels are slime works well when justifying firing rockets at civilians.

  73. #73 Brownian
    January 12, 2009

    Is there any good reason why Israel (or more generally, a Jewish state) can’t exist somewhere else? If not, I suggest we move Israel to Manitoba. It’s 29 times the land area of the current State of Israel, so there’s no shortage of land; it’s marginally arable, so there’ll be lots of work for the kibbutzim; and the indigenous population has already been marginalised and set on reserves. Sure, some farmers might be pissed off, but what doesn’t piss off a Canadian farmer?

    Canadians, we have the land and thus the means to end the fractiousness in the middle East. Lobby your MP now!

  74. #74 mothwentbad
    January 12, 2009

    It’s about as surprising as it is encouraging.

  75. #75 Aseem
    January 12, 2009

    Paliban Mom @ #60 said:

    It only means that they’re all on a one-way train to Hell

    Are you serious or sarcastic?

  76. #76 Miguel
    January 12, 2009

    KristinMH said (#28):

    Puts the lie to that whole “without god what stops you from committing murder?” canard.

    Ah, but it’s not murder if it’s sanctioned by a magic-man. You see, if a red soldier kills a blue civilian, that’s murder. But if a blue soldier kills a red civilian, that’s justice! Quite straightforward really. (Actually, I might have gotten the colours mixed-up.)

  77. #77 Ragutis
    January 12, 2009

    Retaliating against overgrown bottle rockets with F-18 strikes and artillery barrages of phosphorus shells, the deaths of hundreds of women and children… that’s going to look fantastic on Hamas recruiting posters and at Saudi fundraisers.

    Good job there at perpetuating stoking the idiotic conflict of all idiotic conflicts.

    Only a mind deluded enough to think that bushes talk could come up with a justification for such actions. They should have called Moses on his bullshit and stuck with the cow statue. Could it have been any worse?

  78. #78 The Atheist Jew
    January 12, 2009

    PZ, you left out the reason the rabbi said it was ok. It had to do with the fact that the people of Gaza aren’t doing anything to stop the bombing of Israel. I’m not sure if there is a reason that the rabbi would cite when it comes to condoning rape.

    I’m not going further, because I know that rabbis can spin just about anything. You put three Jews in a room and you wind up with four opinions.

    Complete idiocy here comparing Israel to the Nazi regime. Jews had no choice. The Palestinians could have accepted the partition in 1948. By that time there was a Jewish majority in what was supposed to be the Jewish governed part of the partition. Ironically, the Arabs accepted the partition that created Pakistan as a Muslim state in 1947.

    Between 1948-1967, why wasn’t a Palestinian state created? How come those borders are accepted today by most on the Far Left when they weren’t acceptable to the Arabs and still isn’t to Hamas, without even more conditions which includes Israel committing ethnic suicide.

    Israel left Gaza, and look what happened. Hamas, a party that has a major goal of wiping out Israel was elected. If Canada elected a party that was out to destroy the USA, I’d expect to be dead today.

    As for the blockades, if I was Israel I would do everything in my power to try to prevent Hamas from bringing in arms. But what do I know, I just a dumb atheist.

  79. #79 clinteas
    January 12, 2009

    Zarathustra @ 25,

    it stands for many of the same enlightenment principles that we secular humanists do.

    Im astounded that nobody has commented on this yet.
    Exactly what enlightenment principles does Israel stand for? Take Saturday off work?Someone throw a Molotov cocktail over the fence,get your military force to murder thousands of civilians to make your point?Play colonial superpower in a land that doesnt belong to you?

    I think the only way out is war, and I would only ask that as few people are killed in the process as possible. Other than that, let the Middle East go wild

    What a fucking cynical asshole you are !

  80. #80 clinteas
    January 12, 2009

    @78,

    As for the blockades, if I was Israel I would do everything in my power to try to prevent Hamas from bringing in arms. But what do I know, I just a dumb atheist.

    How cute.And prevent Hamas from bringing in arms is best done by wiping out the civilian population and shooting rockets at UN aid convoys?

  81. #81 The Atheist Jew
    January 12, 2009

    Israel wiping out the civilian population? There are 1.5 million people living in Gaza. Israel must have worse aim than Hamas.
    If the Arabs dropped their arms there would be peace. If Israel dropped their arms, there would be no Israel.

  82. #82 Feynmaniac
    January 12, 2009

    The atheist Jew,

    PZ, you left out the reason the rabbi said it was ok. It had to do with the fact that the people of Gaza aren’t doing anything to stop the bombing of Israel.

    “[I]ndiscriminate killing of civilians” includes the killing of children. Did the children of Gaza not do enough to stop the bombing of Israel?

  83. #83 Stephen Wells
    January 12, 2009

    From the Daily Mash, the best analysis I’ve seen:

    http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/international/loving-this%2c-admit-israel-and-hamas-200812291481/

    “LOVING THIS, ADMIT ISRAEL AND HAMAS

    ISRAEL and Hamas last night admitted the latest wave of deadly violence was one of the best they had seen in years.

    As the international community condemned Palestinian rocket attacks against southern Israel and the corresponding Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip, both sides agreed it was ‘more fun than a barrel of heavily-armed suicide monkeys’.

    Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert said: “You’ve got to hand it to Hamas, they are the dog’s bollocks when it comes to unrelentingly insane terrorist opponents.

    “Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas are so sensible and tedious. It’s all talking and protesting and chucking a few rocks once a week.

    “Sure we can flatten a few streets but it’s not the same. Rocket attacks mean you can go balls-out crazy apeshit. I just love Hamas. They really get us.”

    Meanwhile a Hamas spokesman said: “Hats off to the Israelis, they’ve done it again.

    “This is the sort of top drawer, high quality violence that could keep us all going for years and years. Vintage stuff.

    “In fact, if I wasn’t a Muslim being attacked by Jews I’d say it was the perfect Christmas present.”

    He added: “Imagine if they invade! No, stop, I don’t want to jinx it.”

  84. #84 The Atheist Jew
    January 12, 2009

    Feynmaniac, in war innocents are killed, it happened in Japan at the end of WW2. It is a tragic consequence of war, but Hiroshima prevented worse damage during the Cold War especially as one side for sure would have tested how lethal the A bomb was to a civilian population if Hiroshima didn’t happen.
    The Greater Good comes to mind.
    As for Israel, I believe Israel is right here. Maybe because I’m not a far left Moonbat, Dhimmi, or Muslim. That being said, Israel’s job is tough especially since the Hamas way of fighting includes shooting missiles from civilian zones, know full well that commenters like Clinteas will call Israel evil for retaliating.

    Israel has a goal. It is eventual peace and coexistence. Close to 40% of Jews in Israel are atheist or agnostic. This is not a religious war.

    To achieve peace, Israel needs to eliminate their active enemy, Hamas. No country on this planet would stand for having bombs lobbed into their neighbourhoods. None.

  85. #85 KnockGoats
    January 12, 2009

    Non-violence isn’t magic. It doesn’t work in every situation, and it’s insulting to a lot oppressed people to think it does.

    The British were going to pull out of India, just like they’d pulled out of almost all their other colonies at the time. Ghandi was an impressive political organizer, but the non-violence movement is not what chased out the British.
    – inkadu

    You’re right in general, but wrong in the particulars. Other than the southern part of Ireland, India was the first part of the British Empire to go. Non-violence was (partially) effective in India because the British ruled through local collaborators (there was no other way of doing it considering the size of the two populations), which placed limits on the violence they could use. There were moves toward giving India “dominion” status (semi-independence) during the 1930s, but these were blocked by none other than Winston Churchill. Nehru despaired of forcing the British out at times, because they were quite successfully using divide-and-rule tactics, building up local collaborationist elites in the provinces (c.f., the US in Iraq today). It was the 1941 Japanese attack on the British Empire in the far East that forced a promise of Indian independence after the war – Britain desperately needed Indian troops and resources – although there was no actual agreement and there was both non-violent resistance (the “Quit India” movement led by Gandhi, who nonetheless supported the British war effort), and violent opposition from the “Indian National Army” of Subhas Chandra Bose, which sought Axis help. At the end of the war, British near-bankruptcy, mutinies in the Indian army, and the Labour victory in the 1945 general election combined to make rapid withdrawal inevitable. This was the beginning of the end for the British Empire, of which India had been the lynchpin since the revolt of those insolent dogs in the 13 colonies!

  86. #86 clinteas
    January 12, 2009

    As for Israel, I believe Israel is right here. Maybe because I’m not a far left Moonbat,

    Im sorry,ad hominems or calling people that dare to critizise Israel left Moonbats wont get you to wriggle out of this one,I have no agenda here other than pointing out that killing civilians and hindering aid deliveries is not a matter of being right or wrong in a conflict,but a matter of common decency.
    Especially for a society that claims the moral high ground based on their religious superstitions.

  87. #87 Aseem
    January 12, 2009

    Knockgoats @ #85

    Wow! That was a fairly accurate description of how India attained independence. I am really impressed by a non-Indian taking such keen, detailed interest in India’s history.

  88. #88 The Atheist Jew
    January 12, 2009

    Clinteas, I didn’t mean those as ad-hominems, I meant it as fact.
    As for the the UN convoy being shot at, I haven’t read the explanation for it yet, but I do know that Israel has had several cease fires to allow aid to get in to Gaza. Have you forgotten about those?

    I think they are showing common decency. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t agree to the temporary humanitarian cease fires.

  89. #89 Feynmaniac
    January 12, 2009

    Atheist Jew,

    in war innocents are killed

    You have to differentiate “collateral damage” (euphemism for accident deaths of innocent civilians) and what this Rabbi is preaching, “the indiscriminate killing of civilians”.

    It is a tragic consequence of war, but Hiroshima prevented worse damage during the Cold War especially as one side for sure would have tested how lethal the A bomb was to a civilian population if Hiroshima didn’t happen.

    Possible, but not definitive. If nuclear weapons were dropped in uninhabitable areas or military bases it might have been just as successful without the massive killing of civilians.

  90. #90 Spiro Keat
    January 12, 2009

    Message #2.

    “THOU SHALT NOT KILL” was originally “thou shalt not kill OTHER ISRAELITES.”

    “Thou shalt commit genocide on anyone who gets in your way.”
    seems to be the more obvious message from Eliyahu in his book of instructions.

  91. #91 KnockGoats
    January 12, 2009

    No country on this planet would stand for having bombs lobbed into their neighbourhoods. None. – The Atheist Jew

    Right. So when the PIRA was planting bombs in British cities, and being funded from the USA, Britain should have bombed New York and killed hundreds of innocent people including scores of children.

    There would be some credibility to the claim that “Israel has a goal. It is eventual peace and coexistence.” were it not for the continued building of illegal settlements on the West Bank. Even while 8,000 settlers were evacuated from Gaza, 12,000 were moving into the West Bank. That shows quite conclusively that Israel does not want peace as much as it wants other peoples’ land. You don’t need to love Hamas to recognise that they were freely elected by the Palestinian people; if Israel wants peace, it has to talk to the representatives of its enemies, not atttempt to dictate who those representatives should be. It’s also worth noting that there was a six-month effective truce between Israel and Hamas, which ended when the Israelis killed a number of Hamas militants. That was predictably (although wrongly) followed by a resumption of rocket attacks. Together with the approach of the Israeli elections, this sequence of events arouses suspicions that the attack on Gaza is a cynical move to boost the current coalitions’ electoral prospects by showing “toughness”.

  92. #92 The Atheist Jew
    January 12, 2009

    Feynmaniac, A bomb tests wouldn’t have done it. People don’t buy into Global Warming today with all the scientific data we have, how can you expect the maniacal political leaders during the Cold War to believe test results on plant life versus the real thing when humans are involved?

    As for indiscriminate killing, Israel isn’t practicing that, the innocent victims are collateral damage. If Israel were like Hamas, how many dead Palestinians do you think there would be right now?

    I think the rabbi’s use of indiscriminate killing is a semantic thing as Israel is not indiscriminately killing, the rabbi is rationalizing collateral damage deaths, blaming them on the people’s decision to vote in a terrorist group and to collectively not stop the terrorist group from terrorizing.

  93. #93 dave
    January 12, 2009

    this is so ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING i don’t even know what to say

  94. #94 clinteas
    January 12, 2009

    The “Atheist Jew” is a bit of a homicidal maniac.No surprise here,par for the course it would appear.

    By the way,40%of jews are atheists? Isnt that,like,a contradiction? Like saying 40% of creationists are atheists….

  95. #95 Ragutis
    January 12, 2009

    Posted by: The Atheist Jew | January 12, 2009 6:12 AM

    As for Israel, I believe Israel is right here.

    Israel is wrong for exactly the same reason Hamas is: They’re killing civilians. Collateral casualties are expected in war, but this is simply beyond justification. We’re talking hundreds. And how many Israeli civilians have died in this recent spate of rocket attacks? 2?

    I don’t give a fuck if Osama Bin Laden is in there, you simply do not bomb or shell an apartment block full of innocents attempting to take out one dirtbag.

  96. #96 Brian Coughlan
    January 12, 2009

    If they can’t sort out their own issues, and don’t have the maturity to not kill each other over it, then they both don’t deserve it. Maybe another neighboring nation should take it over and they can take turns renting it or something. OK, it’s a horseshit solution, but they can’t come up with anything better on their own!

    There is a solution it’s called law. It works within nation states and supranational regions like the EU, there is no reason it can’t work globally.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLX_0af5OkA
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zStM5-IYGAg

  97. #97 The Atheist Jew
    January 12, 2009

    Knockgoats, Israel is targeting terrorists. If what you say is true regarding PIRA, Britain had a right to go after those who were funding the terrorists.
    As for the West Bank, I consider that land to be up for negotiations, not Arab land, not Jewish land, not Muslim land.
    The West Bank belonged to Jordan and they gave up the right in 1987. There are Jewish settlers there and there are Arab settlers there as far as I’m concerned.
    That being said, I think it was a terrible mistake for Israel to expand the Jewish population into the West Bank to begin with. Not that they had no right to, just that they added to a problem that already existed.
    I don’t think the recent 12,000 added settlers to the West Bank included expansion of “Jewish” territory in the West Bank though.
    And no, if Hitler was elected democratically (which he wasn’t), it doesn’t mean that any European country would have been obligated to negotiate how Hitler intended to expand his Reich.
    Israel is not obligated to talk to a group that has an ultimate goal of destroying them. The voted in democratically nonsense shows where the Palestinians “heads” are at, and why they are so “oppressed.”

  98. #98 Feynmaniac
    January 12, 2009

    Atheist Jew,

    A bomb tests wouldn’t have done it.

    I wasn’t talking about tests. I was talking about dropping the bomb on an uninhabited part of Japan or possibly a military base.

    how can you expect the maniacal political leaders during the Cold War to believe test results on plant life versus the real thing when humans are involved?

    Do you honestly think anyone would see a gigantic crater left by an atomic weapon and think a human being could survive being right near that when it was set off?

    I think the rabbi’s use of indiscriminate killing is a semantic thing

    No it isn’t. From the article,

    “If they don’t stop after we kill 100, then we must kill a thousand,” said Shmuel Eliyahu. “And if they do not stop after 1,000 then we must kill 10,000. If they still don’t stop we must kill 100,000, even a million. Whatever it takes to make them stop.
    In the letter, Eliyahu quoted from Psalms. “I will pursue my enemies and apprehend them and I will not desist until I have eradicated them.”

    That’s not “rationalizing collateral damage deaths”.

  99. #99 clinteas
    January 12, 2009

    And no, if Hitler was elected democratically (which he wasn’t)

    Yeah,i thought so…..
    Ideological airhead with no clue whatsoever.

  100. #100 The Atheist Jew
    January 12, 2009

    Ragutis, I can’t argue with rhetoric and false assumptions. No point.
    Feynmaniac, thanks for the clarification on the rabbi. But Israel is not practicing what the rabbi is preaching.
    As for the giant crater. I don’t think it would have been enough to stop a bigger catastrophe from happening during the Cold War. Especially the lingering affects on the survivors of Hiroshima. That probably stopped a few buttons from being pushed.
    Clinteas, no contradiction. Do your own research on the topic.

  101. #101 Sigmund
    January 12, 2009

    The Atheist Jew is partly correct that complete surrender of weapons from the Palestinian side would lead to peace.
    I think it would require a little more than that. Guns can always be re-acquired and explosives can be made from household products. So long as there is a substantial Palestinian presence in refugee camps or cordoned off west bank security zones then the chance for peace is limited. One must face the fact that a peaceful and viable Israel requires the end, not only to current attacks, but also future attacks. To achieve this end will require the surrounding Arab nations to accept as refugees ALL the potentially insurgent Palestinian people. Israel is a small segment of the middle east, the vast majority of which consists of Arab Nations that could easily afford to assimilate the several million Palestinians that currently reside in Gaza, the West Bank and within Israel proper.
    Is it really too much to ask the Palestinians to make this one small sacrifice for peace?

  102. #102 scooter
    January 12, 2009

    OT

    Buffalo Beast’s 50 most loathsome Americans of 2008 came out today. http://buffalobeast.com/134/50mostloathsome2008.html

    There are some Pharyngula Phavorites amongst the loathsome, most notably Michelle Bachman and

    wait for it

    BEN STEIN

    good work ben

    andbytheway

    FUCK ISRAEL, the only difference between a Palestinian firing a rocket up an Israeli’s ass, and and Israeli bombing the shit out of their New (learned from the best) Warsaw Ghetto, is that I don’t have to PAY for the Palestinian rockets.

    I have to pay taxes so the shithole failed State of Israel can collect a BILLION FUCKING DOLLARS A YEAR from the US.

    It doesn’t get any more EPIC FAIL than when you have a small country, sitting on prime real estate, that needs 80 FUCKING BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR in welfare.

    That is so Fail, not even the Sudan or Somalia are so failed that they could ever need that much money, they could be up and running on a tenth of that.

    The US doesn’t need Israel and we can’t afford them anymore. If they want to play Polish Cowboy and shoot the brown people, fine, as long as they do it with their money.

    Let AIPAC send the money direct to Israel, and leave the American taxpayer out of it. Without multiplying it 500 times through bribery, subversion, extortion and blackmail, it ain’t much money, but at least they can keep the losers from starving for a couple of months until they drag their sorry white fucking asses back to Europe and Florida.

    And

    I want a refund.

  103. #103 clinteas
    January 12, 2009

    But Israel is not practicing what the rabbi is preaching.

    And a no true scotsman !

    Are you sure youre not a creationist??
    LOL

    As Hitchcock used to say,most people have forgotten the title of a book midway through….The title of this thread is “There is no religion of peace”

  104. #104 Adult programmes on TV
    January 12, 2009

    Seems like some of us keep our ignorance to ourselves and others like to celebrate it at least once a week. Middle East = Middle Ages.

    “God probably does not exist” – seen on a bus today.

  105. #105 clinteas
    January 12, 2009

    And what scooter said.

  106. #106 The Atheist Jew
    January 12, 2009

    Sigmund, I don’t think anything like that is needed. Over 3 quarters of the Arabs living in Israel proper don’t want to leave Israel, and the Arab population there is not a threat to Israel.
    The terrorist element just needs to go. We seem to do well in the West when it comes to getting rid of it, why is that not possible in Gaza and the West Bank?

  107. #107 Brian Coughlan
    January 12, 2009

    But Israel is not practicing what the rabbi is preaching.

    I’d be interested to know what you think Israels upper limit might be, on collateral damage. 10K? 100K?

    The rabbi reckons a million.

    Is their a formula one can apply? Perhaps 100 palestinians for every Israeli? That’s roughly the ratio right now.

  108. #108 Jud
    January 12, 2009

    Whew, it’s rough to see such idiots speaking in the name of Judaism, since my heritage is Jewish and I prefer to see that heritage represented by people speaking kindness and sanity.

    JasonTD calls the rabbi’s notion of collective guilt “context.” Great, but I feel that’s actually the worst part of the entire thing. The notion of collective guilt is odious, and there’s no limit to the evil it can be used to justify, as easily seen here. That any Jew can subscribe to this notion mere decades after it made Hitler’s job easy (one anti-Semitic nut is no cause for worry; motivate half of Europe using the collective guilt of the “Christ-killers” and you have a Holocaust) is completely and utterly disgusting.

    Regarding the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Yeah, the Israelis could all be moved to Manitoba, or the Palestinians could all be moved to the hundreds of times greater land areas in the Mideast controlled by Islamic regimes supposedly sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. Or Israelis could act Gandhi-esque and Hamas, Hezbollah, Fatah, etc., would be only too happy to wipe them out (I’m sure they could find many Islamic clerics just like our rabbi friend, who’d say it was moral, if not a religious duty, to do so). But none of those things is gonna happen. We’re going to have to hope that a more competent U.S. administration (and perhaps a more politically stable Israel after the elections?) will be able to persuade the Palestinians to accept victory in the form of their own homeland.

  109. #109 Brian Coughlan
    January 12, 2009

    We seem to do well in the West when it comes to getting rid of it, why is that not possible in Gaza and the West Bank?

    Try 30 years of not killing innocent people as reprisals for attacks. Worked for the British in Northern Ireland, barring the occasional lapse. Takes patience though.

    I consider Ireland incredibly fortunate to have had the UK as a “terror partner” … so to speak. If it had’ve been Israel, they would have nuked Dublin by the mid 80’s.

    Simply put, if you’re 50 years into a conflict with no end in sight, it’s safe to say whatever you think you’re doing, you’re doing it wrong. Try something else.

  110. #110 The Atheist Jew
    January 12, 2009

    Clinteas, you are too far gone. Now you are just trolling me.
    Bye fool.

    Brian, I don’t like any collateral deaths, but if truth be known, if Gaza was about to launch a nuclear bomb, I would say 1.5 million.
    I haven’t thought about the limit of deaths that are acceptable. I look at this as a war, and that Israel has every right to try to rid Gaza of terrorists bent on Israel’s destruction.

    Scooter, did you copy that rant from David Duke.org? Around two third of the Jews in Israel today were born there. Where should they go back to?

    I do have faith that Israel is doing its best to minimalize civilian causalities though.

    Here is a Youtube video from an atheist Jew in Israel.

  111. #111 The Atheist Jew
    January 12, 2009

    Brian, the Jews leaving Gaza was Israel stating an end is in site. But not for the Palestinians as they elected Hamas in response and used Gaza as a terrorist playground instead of building the place.
    As for 30 years of killing people in response for attacks. That was Israel trying proportional response. A suicide bomber came in and bombed innocent Israelis, the Jews went after the terrorist homes and razed them and also bombed a few suspected terrorists. That didn’t work. Maybe disabling Hamas will.
    Notably, there isn’t much of sound coming from the West Bank. Does this mean the West Bank Arabs are glad Hamas is being destroyed? I hope so. It means peace is possible.

  112. #112 Sigmund
    January 12, 2009

    #106 The Atheist Jew said,
    “The terrorist element just needs to go. We seem to do well in the West when it comes to getting rid of it, why is that not possible in Gaza and the West Bank?”
    I think you know as well as I that affording the same rights to the West Bank and Gaza Palestinians as is currently enjoyed by Israelis Arabs would be a disaster for Israel. 60% of the Palestinian population is under 25, a real demographic time-bomb.
    The birthrate of the Palestinian Arab population (in common with all desperately impoverished societies) is such that Arabs would soon become the majority within Israel.
    The peaceful alternatives to this are either a two State solution which is not economically viable for Israel due to the loss of the water resources of the West Bank, essential for Israeli agriculture, or alternatively the ‘removal’ of the Palestinians to distant locations, most probably other Arab countries.

  113. #113 Brian Coughlan
    January 12, 2009

    I haven’t thought about the limit of deaths that are acceptable. I look at this as a war, and that Israel has every right to try to rid Gaza of terrorists bent on Israel’s destruction.

    I couldn’t agree less. I think Israel as the victim of the hamas attacks, is the least capable party of making rational and proportional decisions regarding what to do about Hamas. As evidenced by their killing of 800+ civilians (some 250 children) on the basis of rocket attacks that have killed about 20 people since 2002.

    It’s like asking the father of a 10 year old rape victim what to do to guy that probably raped his daughter.

    Hence the need for a global judiciary to hold both Hamas and the hysterical overreaction of Israel to account. Both are guilty of some pretty awful stuff at this stage.

  114. #114 clinteas
    January 12, 2009

    Brian, I don’t like any collateral deaths, but if truth be known, if Gaza was about to launch a nuclear bomb, I would say 1.5 million.
    I haven’t thought about the limit of deaths that are acceptable. I look at this as a war, and that Israel has every right to try to rid Gaza of terrorists bent on Israel’s destruction.

    Talk about too far gone !

    Im still waiting for proof to your claim that 40% of jews are atheists btw.
    So Hamas gets their arms via tunnels ,would you care to explain to me how the bombing of civilians and blocking humanitarian aid will further the cause of destroying those tunnels?

    In the end,whichever way you want to spin it,its just a dirty war for land and resources,like every other war,and the jewish thugs are just as bad as any other kind of thugs.Nothing special about them.

  115. #115 Brian Coughlan
    January 12, 2009

    As for 30 years of killing people in response for attacks. That was Israel trying proportional response. A suicide bomber came in and bombed innocent Israelis, the Jews went after the terrorist homes and razed them and also bombed a few suspected terrorists. That didn’t work.

    If you consider this proportional, you’ve got some catching up to do.

    The most sensible way to proceed, is for the stronger party to take it on the chin, and pursue the terrorists through law enforcement. In fact until Bush hove into view, that was becoming the norm around the world.

    Hopefully with a sane, literate non-moron in the white house, we can get that back on track.

  116. #116 The Atheist Jew
    January 12, 2009

    Sigmund, I never said that Israel should take the Gazans and West Bankians in as Israeli citizens. That would be suicide for Israel.
    A two state or even three state solution is the most desirable outcome, and I don’t think the water rights in the West Bank would be an issue if it meant a lasting peace.

    Brian, I disagree with you regarding disproportionate response. The Israelis shouldn’t have to live their lives worried about whether one bomb will hit them. If Hamas cared about their children, they would stop the bombings.

    I agree that an international force is needed in Gaza in a big way right now. But Hamas wasn’t allowing it. Now with Hamas being pulverized, the Gazans may allow it to happen.

  117. #117 clinteas
    January 12, 2009

    If Hamas cared about their children, they would stop the bombings.

    So,if Iraq cared about their children,they would stop the bombings?
    The most non-sensical statement I have heard in a long time.Man,youre fucked in the head.Big time.

  118. #118 The Atheist Jew
    January 12, 2009

    Clinteas, I wasn’t going to address you, but you are getting stupider and stupider with each post.
    Israel would not be bombing anyone if Hamas stopped. Are you an Arab Muslim, because you sure “think” like one.

  119. #119 Brian Coughlan
    January 12, 2009

    Brian, I disagree with you regarding disproportionate response. The Israelis shouldn’t have to live their lives worried about whether one bomb will hit them. If Hamas cared about their children, they would stop the bombings.

    I think is a pretty weak rationalisation. Along the lines of “I beat my wife because she talks back, if she just shut up already, there wouldn’t be a problem.”. For the record, I don’t beat my wife.

    That said, your position seems, to me at least, to be the moral equivalent of blowing up a bus full of hostages, to ensure you get the bad guy. In addition, your justification works just as well for Hamas as it does for Israel, and thus basically distills down to “might is right”. I disagree with that.

  120. #120 Sigmund
    January 12, 2009

    #116
    “I never said that Israel should take the Gazans and West Bankians in as Israeli citizens. That would be suicide for Israel.
    A two state or even three state solution is the most desirable outcome”
    A three state solution?
    I’ve never heard that one before. How about a ten state solution?
    I was talking about solutions that would end the violence.
    What a lot of people question is the idea that Palestinians must live in a sort of national no-mans land, the inhabitants of a non-democratic security buffer zone.
    Of course you can disarm the Palestinians and keep them in security patrolled refugee camps like Gaza with no hope of regaining their ancestral land and property but the barbaric conditions you make them live under will always result in acts of resistance or terrorism (depending on who is defining it).
    If we aren’t interested in completely ending the violence then we are merely debating what PJ O’Rourke described as an ‘acceptable level of violence’.
    Perhaps we’re even witnessing that level today.

  121. #121 KnockGoats
    January 12, 2009

    Knockgoats, Israel is targeting terrorists. If what you say is true regarding PIRA, Britain had a right to go after those who were funding the terrorists.

    And kill hundreds of non-terrorists, including children, in the process?

    As for the West Bank, I consider that land to be up for negotiations, not Arab land, not Jewish land, not Muslim land.
    The West Bank belonged to Jordan and they gave up the right in 1987.
    – The Atheist Jew

    Absolutely false, as you should know. The West Bank never belonged to Jordan (nor Gaza to Egypt). The same UN Partition Plan that legitimised Israel’s existence, assigned all of the West Bank, Gaza – and indeed other areas – to an independent Palestinian State. It is Palestinian land, pure and simple. Settling and annexing land occupied in war, as Israel has done, is a gross violation of international law, and as I say, shows conclusively that Israel values land theft above peace.

    As to Hamas, you know as well as anyone why the Palestinians elected it: the gross corruption of Fatah. The arrogance of Israel presuming to say who may speak for the Palestinians speaks for itself, and shows once more that Israel gives peace a low priority. Let us remember too that Israel has more than once elected terrorists as its leaders.
    Israel’s aim for the Palestinians is quite clear: if they cannot be ethnically cleansed altogether from the West Bank, they are to be forced into a series of “bantustans”, neither territorially contiguous nor economically viable.

    Israel is a small segment of the middle east, the vast majority of which consists of Arab Nations that could easily afford to assimilate the several million Palestinians that currently reside in Gaza, the West Bank and within Israel proper.
    Is it really too much to ask the Palestinians to make this one small sacrifice for peace?
    – Sigmund

    Is this intended seriously? If so, it shows the depths of racism to which the Zionist right descends.

  122. #122 The Atheist Jew
    January 12, 2009

    “The most sensible way to proceed, is for the stronger party to take it on the chin, and pursue the terrorists through law enforcement.”
    *******************************
    How exactly does this work when it comes to bombs being lobbed into Israel from Gaza?
    I agree that if it happened in sovereign territory and the terrorists were domestic.
    Are you saying that Israel should let Hamas arrest rocket launchers or that Israel should go in and arrest rocket launchers?

  123. #123 The Atheist Jew
    January 12, 2009

    Brian, you are exaggerating to make a point as what you say is not what is happening. Israel is killing more militants than citizens, and is going out of their way not to kill citizens.
    Hamas, elected by the Palestinian people, has a mandate to destroy Israel. What did the Palestinian people think would happen if Hamas sent rockets into Israel? Or didn’t they think about it?
    Knockgrats, who occupied the West Bank after the 1948 war?
    Israel has given land back for peace, or have you conveniently forgotten?
    Gaza has a lot of potential. It is more economically viable than Tel Aviv was back in 1909 when Jews built the city on sand dunes.

  124. #124 Brian Coughlan
    January 12, 2009

    I agree that if it happened in sovereign territory and the terrorists were domestic.
    Are you saying that Israel should let Hamas arrest rocket launchers or that Israel should go in and arrest rocket launchers?

    Good questions. Firstly, we don’t have a proper global judiciary, so Israel should be lobbying their incredibly powerful ally to ratify the ICC and push the agenda of binding global law. That of course is longterm and doesn’t solve Israel’s rocket problem I grant you.

    Attacking the rocketeers specifically, is a course of action I’m much more sympathetic to, but all such actions have to be scrutinsed by independent third parties, Israel is much to biased to be left to it’s own devices. I’d also feel a greater sense of urgency if Hamas ever … you know … hit anything. It’s hard to make the case for “clear and present danger” when the rockets rarely kill or even injure people.

    Long term, neither party should be involved in policing the other side, that should absolutely be left to 3rd parties. The real problem is that the global structures, a parliament, a judiciary and a robust law enforcement institution don’t exist, or exist only in embryonic form.

    If you want real peace for Israelis and Palestinians, support democractic global governance.

  125. #125 Ben Hur
    January 12, 2009

    The Jews learned in World War Two what happens if you don’t fight back. Holocaust.

    Their motto is NEVER AGAIN.

    That, or they will take half the world with them by unleasing the nuclear weapons they have.

    The lesson is, that when you kill Jews, the Jews strike back unrelentingly.

    Simple Solution.

    Stop killing Jews.

  126. #126 clinteas
    January 12, 2009

    Fascinating.
    Just like debating creationists.
    Dont let facts get in your way.

  127. #127 Ben Hur
    January 12, 2009

    Clintea, facts?

    I wonder…are you a Holocaust Denier? (a lot of them seem to be surfacing about now.)

    YES or NO?

  128. #128 clinteas
    January 12, 2009

    The lesson is, that when you kill Jews, the Jews strike back unrelentingly.

    Simple Solution.

    Stop killing Jews.

    Yes.Thats it.Stop killing 20 jews in 10 years,or we will exterminate you and make Hitler look like Barbie doll.
    But he loves you !

  129. #129 The Atheist Jew
    January 12, 2009

    Brian, Sderot residents should not live in fear each day that a bomb might kill them. Would you like to live in an area that bombs come flying in all day whether they hit you or not? Would you not expect your government to take all the necessary actions it could to stop them?

    Clinteas, classic projection. Thanks for the laugh.

  130. #130 Brian Coughlan
    January 12, 2009

    Israel is killing more militants than citizens, and is going out of their way not to kill citizens.

    Well, I’m not convinced, and even were it true, it’s not enough. I simply isn’t acceptable to lob bombs on people and wring your hands when innocent people get killed. Particularly when you know in advance the likely numbers, if not the specific individuals.

    The Israeli military had a pretty good statistical grasp of what would happen when they invaded, and simply reckoned rather a dead Palestinian than a dead Israeli. Indeed, rather a hundred dead Palestinians than a dead Israeli. Or as the rabbi would have it, rather a million …. you get the picture.

    Someone should be brought to trial to explain that reasoning before an independent and impartial judiciary.

  131. #131 The Atheist Jew
    January 12, 2009

    Brian, Israel is at war right now and they have a goal. Would you prefer proportional response? Israel lobbing the same amount of Hamas made bombs into Gaza hit or miss aimed at civilian populations?
    What would that solve?
    Israel is trying to weaken Hamas militarily right now. They are succeeding. I don’t think they ought to go on trial for this, but they should go on trial if they were doing the Hamas thingy instead.

  132. #132 Sigmund
    January 12, 2009

    #121
    “Is this intended seriously?”
    Yes and no. Try reading between the lines.

  133. #133 clinteas
    January 12, 2009

    I wonder…are you a Holocaust Denier?

    *Looks around in wonderment*

    Is this candid camera or something?

    Atheist Jew,
    would you care to explain to me where I projected?

  134. #134 Brian Coughlan
    January 12, 2009

    Brian, Sderot residents should not live in fear each day that a bomb might kill them. Would you like to live in an area that bombs come flying in all day whether they hit you or not? Would you not expect your government to take all the necessary actions it could to stop them?

    Well yes of course. In exactly the same way as any victim of crime demands justice. The point is in our nation states we have a system to preclude such (not unreasonable) demands for justice spilling over into vigilantism, and turning our nations and neighbourhoods into heavily armed dystopias. We need a similar system at a global level, to pull regions like the middle east out of the dystopian hell holes they have become. The whole eye for an eye thing isn’t working, and genocide isn’t allowed any more.

  135. #135 clinteas
    January 12, 2009

    I wonder…are you a Holocaust Denier?

    *Looks around in wonderment*

    Is this candid camera or something?

    Atheist Jew,
    would you care to explain to me where I projected?

  136. #136 JackC
    January 12, 2009

    clinteas – can you say Karl Marx? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_atheism

    No percentage given there, but of the Jews I know, 40% is probably not far off.

    JC

  137. #137 KnockGoats
    January 12, 2009

    Knockgrats, who occupied the West Bank after the 1948 war?
    Israel has given land back for peace, or have you conveniently forgotten?
    Gaza has a lot of potential. It is more economically viable than Tel Aviv was back in 1909 when Jews built the city on sand dunes. The Atheist Jew

    I see you do not dispute the facts I gave – so you must agree the whole of the West Bank is legally Palestinian land. Jordan occupied the West Bank in 1948. It had no legal right to do so. So what? It is Israel that is occupying it now, and annexing parts of it illegally. The fact that Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt does not excuse its illegal actions on the West Bank. Gaza might indeed have potential, if it was not under blockade; as it is, it’s simply a large open-air prison camp.

    Throughout your response, you follow the diversionary tactics of someone who knows their case is completely spurious.

  138. #138 clinteas
    January 12, 2009

    JackC,

    can you say Karl Marx?

    here’s the thing.
    And I cant believe I have to point this out again.
    To bomb civilians and prevent aid deliveries is fucked up.
    To block access to work,and water,and aid,is fucked up.
    To occupy territory that is not yours is fucked up.

    I dont give a flying fuck if its done by atheists,or jews,or muslims,or crocoducks.
    Its wrong.

  139. #139 JackC
    January 12, 2009

    Clinteas

    No question. However that has nothing whatsoever to do with my post. I presume you did not even glance at the link, which admittedly is one of the merest one can come up with.

    JC

  140. #140 The Atheist Jew
    January 12, 2009

    KnockGoats, were you using diversionary tactics knowing your case is spurious when you accused Israel of not trading land for peace when you knew full well that Israel traded the Sinai for peace with Egypt?
    As for Gaza and the West Bank, I still maintain they are territories up for grabs, though I would like to see the Arabs get them in trade for peace.
    Things changed in the region in 1948 when the war broke out. Even Israel proper is now on more land originally awarded as a Jewish state by the UN. Had the Arabs won the war, there would be no Jewish state at all. War changes things, including borders.
    Again, I think Israel made a mistake putting Jews into the West Bank to live, as it makes the question of peace more difficult. But now dismantling the Jewish settlements there will become even more difficult thanks to the way the Palestinians reacted to the Gazan withdrawal.
    I’m for reparations and a land swap of some sort and a two or even three state solution, since it is almost impossible to connect Gaza with The West Bank anyway (and I’m curious why peace seekers have never brought this up as a possible solution).

  141. #141 inkadu
    January 12, 2009

    Re: Atheist Jews in Israel.

    I have found numbers on the interwebs claiming between 15-37% of Israel is atheist or agnostic.

    I don’t know what conclusions you can draw from that. Even atheist Jews seem to have a strong affinity for Israel, for Israel’s right to exist, and for Israel’s right to exist where it does. Being an atheist doesn’t mean you’re rational, especially not about highly-charged issues around ethnicity and politics.

  142. #142 KnockGoats
    January 12, 2009

    KnockGoats, were you using diversionary tactics knowing your case is spurious when you accused Israel of not trading land for peace when you knew full well that Israel traded the Sinai for peace with Egypt? – The Atheist Jew

    No. I said “Even while 8,000 settlers were evacuated from Gaza, 12,000 were moving into the West Bank. That shows quite conclusively that Israel does not want peace as much as it wants other peoples’ land.”
    It is thus quite clear what “other people’s land” I’m referring to, and the fact that Israel returned Sinai is completely irrelevant.

    I think Israel made a mistake committed and continues to commit crimes putting Jews into the West Bank to live

    Fixed for you – no thanks necessary.

    War changes things, including borders.

    In other words, might makes right. I think it is most unwise for Zionists to take this attitude, as might will not necessarily continue to be on their side.

  143. #143 Laen
    January 12, 2009

    Overall I back Israel. I think they have made mistakes, I think they could do better at showing the world that they can be reasonable and their opponents can’t. On the other hand when I’m at home I don’t have to worry about rockets and bombs blowing up every day so I can’t completely get into their mindset. I want to address a couple of things though, specifically what is considered excessive or ridiculous when dealing with terrorists.

    “To bomb civilians and prevent aid deliveries is fucked up.”

    You are right, but they aren’t aiming for civilians, the terrorists just hide out behind the civilians. They also hide weapons in humanitarian aid deliveries, or just take the deliveries for themselves and continue to let the people starve. I’ve seen this in person both in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    “To block access to work,and water,and aid,is fucked up.”

    When you can’t trust the people to be going to work without suicide vests on…when the people working on improving the sewers set IED’s and the trucks coming for water bring in more people to setup IED’s…you limit people’s access to water points. Seen both of these things in person in Iraq.

    “To occupy territory that is not yours is fucked up.”

    True, but if that territory continues not only to deny that you have the right to exist but to attack your civilians, what is your response? I don’t in any way link this to Iraq.

  144. #144 Lilian Nattel
    January 12, 2009

    Puking understood. But I don’t blame religion for that kind of attitude, I blame people–who will justify their own hatred with religion (if available) or without religion (if not). I suppose there is some zip in saying God, the creator of the universe, told you to kill. But there are lots of examples of godless wars, too. People can invent a peaceful religion, if they so choose, and invoke God to give it zip if they need to. The Talmud (which superseded the bible in Judaism) specified that in order, for example, to impose the death penalty, a number of conditions were required. First the person had to be caught in the act by two witnesses. Second, the person has to be warned by the witnesses that if the person doesn’t desist, the death penalty would be imposed. Third, the person has to indicate that, yes, he has heard & understood but chooses to continue in the act nevertheless even though aware of the consequence. Needless to say, under those conditions, the death penalty would be rare. This kind of re-interpretation is a 2000 year old tradition in Judaism. It reflects the values of the people doing it. They’re the ones to blame. People can’t help whether they believe or not. Some people’s brains are wired to do so, others aren’t. But people can choose their values.

  145. #145 OctoberMermaid
    January 12, 2009

    Sure, it sucks that we can’t imagine bad people like this burning in hell for eternity, but on the other hand, when they die, we can take comfort in knowing that they’re gone for good. They’re not still existing on some level, ranting and being the kind of douchebags we’ve come to know and love.

    Just gone. One less asshole.

  146. #146 Sigmund
    January 12, 2009

    “if that territory continues not only to deny that you have the right to exist but to attack your civilians, what is your response?”

    Fire some rockets at them?

    Does Israel not deny the right of Palestine to exist?
    Does it not attack and kill innocent Palestinian civilians?
    What is the best case scenario Israel can offer to the Palestinian people? I still don’t know. It seems to me that the objective here is to have permanent war – a ‘war’ in which the death of one Israeli civilian can lead to over 900 Palestinian dead, where Joe the plumber turns up mouthing his usual fascistic idiocies and yet he sounds virtually indistinguishable from the rest of the well behaved on-message US media. We’ll watch as the numbers of dead rise till an uneasy truce is declared and we get to wait for the next episode, which will just be another repeat.

  147. #147 llewelly
    January 12, 2009

    Aseem | January 12, 2009 4:24 AM :

    Paliban Mom @ #60 said:

    It only means that they’re all on a one-way train to Hell

    Are you serious or sarcastic?

    It’s hilarious that people feel they need to ask someone with a name like ‘Paliban Mom’ if she’s being serious.

  148. #148 tony shim
    January 12, 2009

    how interesting, considering that according to the mosaic law, one could be killed just for ACCIDENTALLY killing another human being. If one built a faulty house and someone was killed because of that, the family members of the dead individual could legally kill you. If one were fighting and accidentally killed a fetus in the womb, one could be stoned to death. If you injured your fellow man on the job accidentally, you had to live in the city of refuge for many years or the family of the deceased could kill you.

    Categorically and unequivocally, the Mosaic law but a high regard on people’s lives and quality of living, even NON-JEWS. Indiscriminate killing without judge is murder…eye for eye not eye for 50 eyes, one of which is the right one.

    So how dare a religious leader say otherwise.

  149. #149 Mike
    January 12, 2009

    Anti-semitism can be easily recognized – not by the criticism of crazies in Israel, or even criticism of Israeli military action to protect themselves, but by the lack of criticism of Israel’s enemies (You remember. Those guys killing Jews and Americans for Allah?). PZ’s statement, as stated, is a judgement on the Israel military operation against Hamas, and not just about some crazy old ultra-orthodox rabbi. As stated, it is anti-semitic. Its representative of the huge amount of Jew hating taking place as Israelis desperately try to defend themselves. Now maybe this isn’t what PZ meant to do, but it certainly looks that way.

  150. #150 Tualha
    January 12, 2009

    Buddhism is very peaceful but not much like a religion in the western sense, aside from the mystical woo-woo aspects.

    Shinto as practiced today is not warlike. However, in Japan during the period leading up to WWII, Shinto was gradually turned into “State Shinto”, which was extremely nationalist and warlike, and Buddhism was suppressed. State Shinto was in turn thoroughly suppressed by the American occupying forces after Japan’s surrender, and the old-style mix of peaceful Shinto and Buddhism was restored.

    However, there is still the Yasukuni shrine, which honors Japanese war dead and supposedly serves as a home for their spirits (“kami”), including a handful of notorious war criminals. Very much a point of contention between Japan and its neighbors, even today, whenever a new Prime Minister makes an official visit.

  151. #151 Ron Gove
    January 12, 2009

    No surprise–Just read the Old Testament; God is always encouraging the killing of civilians. Just save the virgins to be your wives.

  152. #152 Jonathon
    January 12, 2009

    In the article, the rabbi is quoted as saying “All civilians living in Gaza are collectively guilty for Kassam attacks on Sderot.”

    So, Hamas can now say that the indiscriminate killing of Israelis is justified because the entire population of Israel is collectively responsible for attacks on Gaza?

    Bullshit. There is no moral difference here between this rabid rabbi and the mad mullahs who call for the death of Israel and all Jews.

    As Mahatma Ghandi so wisely said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” In this case, as in so many others, religion is just an excuse and a weak justification for hatred.

  153. #153 Rudy
    January 12, 2009

    One elderly rabbi, somewhere, with horrifying tribal notions of justice: and PZ says “there is no religion of peace”.

    Umm, Amish? Hopi? Mennonites?

    How many Americans do you know that think that we had to kill hundreds of thousands of civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end the war? (lots). How many think this on religious grounds? (I haven’t met any).

    Interestingly, the museum in Hiroshima attributes the US urgency to end the Asian war quickly on its desire to prevent the Soviet Union from getting involved (and presumably having postwar influence or domination in Japan). This is not something you hear in the US.

  154. #154 Emmet Caulfield, OM
    January 12, 2009

    Mike #149,< \p>

    In other words, any criticism of Israel is antisemitism unless it’s ?balanced? by criticism of Israel’s enemies. Surely, then, fairness requires that this principle applies in reverse, requiring that any criticism of, say, Islamist terrorism must be ?balanced? by criticism of ?Zionist aggression?, or some similar term acceptable to Islamist terrorists, lest we be accused of Islamophobia that ?can be easily recognized??

  155. #155 Brownian
    January 12, 2009

    Anti-semitism can be easily recognized – not by the criticism of crazies in Israel, or even criticism of Israeli military action to protect themselves, but by the lack of criticism of Israel’s enemies (You remember. Those guys killing Jews and Americans for Allah?). PZ’s statement, as stated, is a judgement on the Israel military operation against Hamas, and not just about some crazy old ultra-orthodox rabbi. As stated, it is anti-semitic. Its representative of the huge amount of Jew hating taking place as Israelis desperately try to defend themselves. Now maybe this isn’t what PZ meant to do, but it certainly looks that way.

    Are you fucking kidding me?

    So, I can criticise the Bush regime, I can call Stephen Harper an asshat, I can say Mugabe’s a cunt, but if I criticise Israel I have to preface it with a disclaimer denouncing Hamas otherwise I’m an anti-Semite?

    It’s idiocy like this that makes me (and others) even more suspect of Israel’s policies and motivations.

    Fuck. That. Noise.

  156. #156 Tony Shim
    January 12, 2009

    People misunderstand the promised land incidents in the Bible. It was not a war, it was an execution of punishment on the civilizations that inhabited the area because their civilization as a whole was terribly bad. They used to burn their children to gods and then build their bones into the walls of their houses along with forces temple prostitution of females etc..etc..

    In fact, the Bible states at Gen 15 that the reason Abraham’s seed was to be mistreated and oppressed for 400 years beginning in Canaan and ending in Egypt was because “the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure” Gen 15:16 – “In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure” It was again reiterated to the Israelites that they were not inheriting the promised land because they were somehow great people, but because the Amorites were so bad. In effect the Israelites assumed the role of executioner. That role was limited to that particular instance.
    To my knowledge, there are no rules in the Bible with regards subsequent wars of self-defence from immediate attack. But since the rest of the mosaic law espouses the sacredness of life, one can assume randomly killing people, according the the hebrew scriptures is wrong. from a true Christian stand-point, war in general is wrong..

  157. #157 Fang, son of Great Fang
    January 12, 2009

    I assume that less than 150 of your respondents so far have pointed out that indeed, according to the Old Testament works, rape and the butchering of babies is quite perfectly fine in the eyes of the war-god of the bronze-age Hebrews. Or at least in the eyes of his publicists.

  158. #158 Brownian
    January 12, 2009

    People misunderstand the promised land incidents in the Bible…from a true Christian stand-point, war in general is wrong.

    When it comes to the Bible, everyone’s interpretation is always wrong but yours. Thanks for the exegesis, but you might as well have used an acid-trip reading of Where the Wild Things Are to explain the Bosnian War, notwithstanding the fact that some do use that useless collection of cribbed anecdotes called the Bible as justification for whatever they wish whereas no one’s been killed over whether or not they thought it was justified that Max be sent to bed without his supper.

  159. #159 Endor
    January 12, 2009

    “Amish? Mennonites?”

    I’d suggest asking women who’ve escaped such groups how “peaceful” a religion they are.

  160. #160 Sigmund
    January 12, 2009

    “no one’s been killed over whether or not they thought it was justified that Max be sent to bed without his supper.”
    I’ve always wondered how he managed to become King of all the Wild Things by simply staring into their yellow eyes without blinking. I mean he turns up there in the land of the Wild Things and next thing we know he’s in charge of the place!
    It’s clearly an illegal occupation. No wonder they were gnashing their terrible teeth!

  161. #161 Rudy
    January 12, 2009

    People do evil things, and they are as likely to use the Bible as they are to use Mao’s Little Red Book to justify themselves. There was no shortage of people using Social Darwinism to justify their racial bigotry in the early twentieth century.

    Neither the government of North Korea nor Burma are known for their piety, but no one here (including me) thinks that being an atheist puts you in their evil company. If someone here complains about the lumping of all Christians/Muslims/Jews/Buddhists etc. into one irrational, evil, mass, they are mocked for talking about True Christians/etc. This is just childish.

    Complain about stupidity and evil. There is a lot of it around. None of us is immune to doing stupid and evil things just because we have The Right (un?)Beliefs. In that sense PZ is right, there is no Religion of Peace. Disbelief won’t get you there either. The only escape is not being stupid (hard) and not doing evil (way harder).

  162. #162 Kalirren
    January 12, 2009

    I really have to disagree with you here, PZ. Buddhism as it is practiced by its adherents (which is as good of a metric as one can really hope to have) seem to be a religion of peace.

    The fact that the most important religions have gotten that way because they have been the cause of more strife in the world than other religions have been is no basis for the inference that there is no religion which practices the pursuit of meaningful, tolerant peace.

    I get the feeling that what most Western liberals mean when they say they detest religion is, on a certain level, akin to what many Western religiobots mean when they say they detest Darwinism. Both are labels that are very ill-defined in the sense that what a liberal will call religion/science is not what a religiobot will call faith/Darwinism and vice versa. It is unfortunate when poor semantics becomes a root of disrespect and precludes meaningful dialogue.

    I can understand denouncing faith much more readily than denouncing religion as a whole.

  163. #163 Rudy
    January 12, 2009

    Endor, you must be thinking of other groups. Women and men are free to leave their Amish communities at any time, and teens are even encouraged to go wild for a while to see if they like it better outside. As for Mennonites, they are about as cult-like as the Methodists.

  164. #164 negentropyeater
    January 12, 2009

    (emotional on)

    Disclaimer : I don’t like Hamas

    Opinion : what Isral is doing is monstruous, they’ve lost all my support. Forever.

    (emotional off)

  165. #165 DGKnipfer
    January 12, 2009

    Not to interrupt the love fest going on here, but doesn’t Gaza share a border with Egypt? So what is Egypt doing to help get aid to the civilian populace in Gaza?

  166. #166 Brian Coughlan
    January 12, 2009

    I can say Mugabe’s a cunt

    Ah, Ah don’t be racist AND mysogynist. Naughty.

  167. #167 Brian Coughlan
    January 12, 2009

    So what is Egypt doing to help get aid to the civilian populace in Gaza?

    Not dropping bombs on them? Seems like a productive and inexpensive start.

  168. #168 Brownian
    January 12, 2009

    So what is Egypt doing to help get aid to the civilian populace in Gaza?

    Nothing as far as I know. It seems most of the surrounding states are happy to denounce Israel and claim tacit support for Palestinians while actually doing squat for Palestinians.

  169. #169 DGKnipfer
    January 12, 2009

    “Nothing as far as I know. It seems most of the surrounding states are happy to denounce Israel and claim tacit support for Palestinians while actually doing squat for Palestinians.”

    In the end that’s why I have no sympathy for either side politically. Nobody involved seems to have a moral compass (or even a moral sextant) and all their supposed allies (on both sides) are only supporting them with their own political/religulous goals in mind. It really does seem to me that both sides want this to continue for purely political reasons regardless of how many suffer or who suffers.

  170. #170 Endor
    January 12, 2009

    “you must be thinking of other groups.”

    Whatever helps you sleep at night, dude.

  171. #171 teammarty
    January 12, 2009

    #11 You should know Mr. Twiddle.

    Noone expects the Spanish Inquisition!!

    If someone beat me to it, I just skipped down comment before reading the old ones

  172. #172 Notagod
    January 12, 2009

    So the rabbi(t) wouldn’t mind being killed as a consequence of Israel using cluster bombs in Lebanon as a precondition to cease fire. Suck it rabbi(t).

  173. #173 Ktesibios
    January 12, 2009

    Perhaps a solution to this problem, which, like the propensity of Internet discussions to degenerate into a load of assholes with rigid, non-negotiable beliefs screaming past each other, seems to be rooted deep in the human psyche can be found in biology.

    We’ve learned about the remarkable effect Toxoplasma gondii has on the brains of rats and mice which it infects. Rodents infected with Toxo lose their fear of felines and actively seek out the odor of cats, increasing the probability that the Toxo will wind up in a cat’s digestive tract where it can complete the sexual part of its life cycle.

    If only there were an infectious organism which altered the human brain so that those infected lost their fear and loathing of the Other, instead seeking out close contact with them, increasing the probability of the organism spreading to new hosts.

    OK, biologist and geneticists- roll up your sleeves and get to work. Engineer us a spreading epidemic of good sense.

  174. #174 Paul
    January 12, 2009

    People misunderstand the promised land incidents in the Bible. It was not a war, it was an execution of punishment on the civilizations that inhabited the area because their civilization as a whole was terribly bad. They used to burn their children to gods and then build their bones into the walls of their houses along with forces temple prostitution of females etc..etc..

    All that tells us is that Bronze-Age goatherders are capable of propaganda. Honestly, doesn’t that sound like something the Nazis would say about the Jewish Conspiracy? All it needs is more vampirism. You say “it was not a war, it was an execution of punishment”, whereas any neutral observer would simply call it genocide (well, I suppose they let the virgins live to be raped and married, but that hardly makes it better).

  175. #175 BMcP
    January 12, 2009

    @165So what is Egypt doing to help get aid to the civilian populace in Gaza?

    Nothing, most of the Arab (and by extension the non-Arab Muslim) world’s interest not to really actually help the Palestinians financially, socially, or economically outside of supplying weapons, as it better serves their geo-political, domestic, (and for many, their religious) interests to keep the Palestinians poor and destitute. It creates a prefect enemy in Israel to whip up the domestic populations against so they don’t focus on the lack of freedoms and opportunities at home.

  176. #176 Sondra
    January 12, 2009

    This is slightly off topic but somehow seems appropriate.

    http://www.dailymotion.com/Albert10110/video/x2cnix_fair-and-balanced_politics

    Summary….
    If you “don’t have religion you should shut up”. Very useful I’m sure. The same old “this is a christian country”. Phooey.

  177. #177 Scott from Oregon
    January 12, 2009

    This nojnsense of arguing bewteen these two “people” has been going on for so long I won’t stomach it. The same arguments were used back in the 60’s when we lived in Jerusalem.

    For scientists, many seem to forget a simple fact– The “Jews” and the “Palestinians” are in fact related, from not too long ago, and simple DNA research will demonstrate that.

    What you have, is in fact, a family fued that’s gone on far too long…

  178. #178 Brownian
    January 12, 2009

    Ah, Ah don’t be racist AND mysogynist. Naughty.

    I know, I know. I know there are good reasons to not use the words ‘cunt’, ‘retard’, or ‘gay*’ to describe people or things one doesn’t like, but they derive their power from their shock value. And when dealing with the creotards here, Shakespearean insults are likely to go over just as well as trying to explain to your dog why he needs to stay at the kennel while you live it up at an all-inclusive in Tahiti for a fortnight. But Mugabe is an unmitigated ass, and I say this as an Africophile; that continent doesn’t need any more fodder for bigots thinly veiled as right-wing ideologues. Or bigots thinly-veiled as left-wing development set types.

    * My coworker, who is gay, once warned a particularly thick student she knew from grad school that although she wasn’t so much bothered, there were some who found it insulting when the term ‘gay’ was used derogatorily, and that she might consider using other language if she didn’t want to offend those people. About a week later, this student once again said something like “Ohmigod! That’s so gay!” in my coworker’s presence. Realising her mistake, she immediately corrected herself, “I’m so sorry–I meant to say, ‘That’s so homosexual‘!”

    If only there were an infectious organism which altered the human brain so that those infected lost their fear and loathing of the Other, instead seeking out close contact with them, increasing the probability of the organism spreading to new hosts.

    I’ve already got one–I call it my dick. While I’m often content to hang out with those like me, it seems more interested in the chestier, less testicularly-endowed variants of human.

  179. #179 Hittman
    January 12, 2009

    How is that different to what the Allies did during WW2?

    You can’t justify bad behavior by pointing out someone else’s bad behavior.

  180. #180 DDeden
    January 12, 2009
  181. #181 Erp
    January 12, 2009

    “no religion of peace”

    The Society of Friends (aka Quakers) may be the closest despite a few who do fight.

    They have also been working on peace in Israel-Palestine
    http://www.quakerpi.org/Activism.htm
    and have been present in Ramallah for well over a 100 years.

    I would also suggest people read the US State Department Human Rights Report on Israel and the Occupied Territories (2007).
    http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100597.htm
    Remember this is written by a country highly supportive of Israel.

  182. #182 Jason
    January 12, 2009

    |> If any trolls are in attendance, please educate me on how this is any different from Joe The Mullah (TM) declaring a fatwah on Israeli civilians?

    I suppose its finally time to pop my Troll cherry then.

    The difference is that the Israelis are taking this action to stop the continued use of violence against its civilian population. The Israeli goal is to use the least amount of violence necessary to keep the rockets from attacking civilian settlements within Israel.

    The world is aghast that the Israelis would trade the inevitable deaths of hundreds of Palestinian citizens for the mere possibility of ending the rocket attacks. I’d like to know which world leaders would act differently. How long would French or German leaders allow rockets to fall on Nice or Munich before launching a military action against the territory from which the rockets were launched?

    From the Israeli perspective, every Palestinian that has died was killed by Hamas. Hamas has three options:

    1. Do not attack Israel

    2. Attack Israel, but avoid using Hospitals, Schools, Mosques, Urban Centers and any other location against which a reprisal will result in certain civilian casualties.

    3. Attack Israel from locations that make civilian casualties inevitable should Israel attack.

    Hamas has explicitly chosen option #3 leaving Israel two grossly oversimplified choices:

    1. Do not attack Hamas despite the continued rain of rocket attacks.

    2. Attack Hamas despite the inevitability of civilian casualties.

    If there is a government in the world which would choose the second option, I’d like to know about it.

    For more about the Israeli view you can see the following article in today’s New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/13/world/middleeast/13israel.html

    My bottom line is this: no civilization voluntarily accepts violence by an external source against its citizenry. Israel is no different.

  183. #183 Rudy
    January 12, 2009

    Endor,

    How do you know I’m a dude?

    Rudy (or is it Rudi?)

    p.s. do you know about the mathematical curve called The Witch of Endor?

  184. #184 windy
    January 12, 2009

    How is that different to what the Allies did during WW2? If you are being attacked you use whatever force is necessary (escalting as necessary) until the opponent ceases.

    So, for example, the Soviets were completely justified in raping and killing German civilians, since they had been attacked, and the opponent hadn’t quite ceased yet?

  185. #185 hje
    January 12, 2009

    I guess the rabbi is “old school”–as in kill every living thing or God will kill you “old school.” Or dash their babies against the rocks “old school.” You can’t fault him for not being biblical in his worldview.

    But at least he’s not the new & improved version of God featured on the History Channel programs during their interminable “Armageddon Week.” That God is the new school” ass-kicking, destroyer of worlds, bloodthirsty kind of God. The suffer the little children–to die!–kind of God favored by pro-life ev-fundies.

  186. #186 Silver Fox
    January 12, 2009

    “No moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians.”

    I don’t know how much consolation it is for those who are taken aback by the Rabbi’s injudicious remark, but he did cite a nice Psalm from the Old Testament that would seem to justify the massacre of civilians. Anger appeared to have been his prevailing emotion and I’m sure it might have gone down better if he had conjured up a modicum of sympathy for those eradicated by the carpet bombing of Gaza that he has recommended from time to time. Respirators are, generally speaking, beneficial to have around. Some time ago, the Rabbi was in critical condition and survived by virtue of a respirator thus raising some suspicion as to how universally good they are.

  187. #187 BC
    January 12, 2009

    Kind of throws all the exegesis of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” out the door, doesn’t it? The religious said this was a command to be PROPORTIONAL in response. When there were barbarians, so it goes, then if I kill one of yours you may kill 100 or 1000 or 10000 of mine. But, then YHWH civilized us and it became PROPORTIONAL – if I kill one of yours, you can kill one of mine. But now the religious are going back and saying YHWH was wrong and the barbarians were right. My head has been spinning for all of the 21st century.

  188. #188 Aseem
    January 13, 2009

    llewelly @ #147 said:

    It’s hilarious that people feel they need to ask someone with a name like ‘Paliban Mom’ if she’s being serious.

    No. Seriously. When I saw that Paliban site the link to which Dr. Myers posted a few posts back, I couldn’t make out if it was serious or sarcastic. I guess it is a variation of Poe’s law at work here.

  189. #189 Brian Coughlan
    January 13, 2009

    My bottom line is this: no civilization voluntarily accepts violence by an external source against its citizenry. Israel is no different.

    … and we shouldn’t object, suggest a change or point out problems with this arrangement. Because, lets face it, it’s obviously working so well.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLX_0af5OkA

  190. #190 John C. Randolph
    January 13, 2009

    If Israel were like Hamas, how many dead Palestinians do you think there would be right now?

    More to the point, if Israel were like Hamas claims they are, then Gaza would have been wiped out seven years ago. Israel has been far less willing to expend Palestinian lives than say, the King of Jordan or the Christian Lebanese were.

    -jcr

  191. #191 Brian Coughlan
    January 13, 2009

    More to the point, if Israel were like Hamas claims they are, then Gaza would have been wiped out seven years ago. Israel has been far less willing to expend Palestinian lives than say, the King of Jordan or the Christian Lebanese were.

    This seems to consider inaction worse, than actively dropping bombs on peoples head. By this measuring stick, the entire rest of the world is more culpable than the Israelis.

  192. #192 ConcernedJoe
    January 13, 2009

    Sometimes I feel like an old man (’cause that is what my adult kids call me?) yelling at clouds but I’ll raise my voice again:

    Preface: I can glean PZ’s broader points beyond his phrasing but I need to set stage for my broader point. So here is the setup:
    [begin setup]
    Stating things like “NO religions of peace” confuse the issue in two ways: (1) in context these statements somehow equate god belief with raving lunatic evil actions (they give basis for a straw man like that at least) and we have many examples that falsify that hypothesis – and I might add the counter-hypothesis that non-belief leads to same, and (2) it is not a well-formed scientific statement; “NO” implies the negative “ALL” and to have an “ALL” conclusion in science would have required testing beyond the capable.. thus such “NO” or “ALL” statements are opinions – usually of the “no true Scotsman” variety.. and they should be taken very lightly in decision making or for approximating truth.
    [end setup]

    To me there are many forms of religion (no god or gods are required). Usually they manifest themselves as “-isms” or things that imply an “-ism.” So Nationalism, Communism, Fascism, Protestantism, Catholicism, Fundamentalism, being “Maoist” in an organized group of “Maoists”, etc. are religions to me — god or no god.

    The determining issues to me are:
    * does something dogmatic (something unquestioned and/or impervious to evidence) underpin the “-ism”,

    * is some leader authority (living or dead, real or imagined) considered somewhat infallible and “better” than the followers,

    * is there some degree of organization and a hierarchy associated with it that is formalized,

    * are the members rewarded or punished by the group or by some power the group professes is over them, according to their adherence to the dogma

    * are outsiders (non-followers) somehow thought of as the enemy, even if that thought is loosely defined – e.g., members should avoid association with “others”

    To me “-isms” of all natures have a potential to be dangerous especially if they stem from or are taken on by “State” authorities that have power to wield and ambitions to fulfill.

    I am an Atheist – with a capital A. However I would run from “Atheism” (meeting my definition) like my life depended on it.

    More than an Atheist I want to be a rational freethinker AND tolerant. This is the path to inner and outer peace I think. In my experience “-isms” do not allow these things and thusly they make the road to peace and harmony generally more bumpy.

    So – typically thought of religions as “-isms” — give me the jitters. An by the way – if there was a real “Darwinism” I’d be as wary of it.

    I might add that that is why I think our standard religious fundamentalist wants disparately to convince themselves and outsiders that there is a “Darwinism” and/or a “Scientism” — because they in some perverted way know that they then can easily project all the nasty stuff of their “-ism” onto them in some fashion. They deep down somewhere in their mentality see the danger of their “-ism” — and they need some “swine” into which they can cast their demons.

  193. #193 Phoenix Woman
    January 13, 2009

    By the way, Israel’s claim to being a functioning democracy just got a little shakier:

    There aren’t words to describe how disgusting and unjustifiable this is. Israel is moving toward banning Israeli-Arab political parties from participating in the forthcoming elections. (Via Yglesias.) The only reason this is being done is because the Arab parties are against the Gaza war. Under a proposal that passed a Knesset committee, Arabs can vote, just only for political parties that are controlled by Jews; and can run for office in those same parties. So it’s the Mideast’s Only Democracy, with 20 percent of the population disenfranchised based on race?

    Meanwhile, if you’re wondering about the blogswarming that occurs when Gaza gets brought up in any way, check this out:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article693911.ece

    Israel?s Government has thrown its weight behind efforts by supporters to counter what it believes to be negative bias and a tide of pro-Arab propaganda. The Foreign Ministry has ordered trainee diplomats to track websites and chatrooms so that networks of US and European groups with hundreds of thousands of Jewish activists can place supportive messages.

    In the past week nearly 5,000 members of the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) have downloaded special ?megaphone? software that alerts them to anti-Israeli chatrooms or internet polls to enable them to post contrary viewpoints.

    ?

    Doron Barkat, 29, in Jerusalem, spends long nights trawling the web to try to swing the debate Israel?s way. ?When I see internet polls for or against Israel I send out a mailing list to vote for Israel,? he said. ?It can be that after 15 minutes there will be 400 votes for Israel. It?s very satisfying.?

  194. #194 ESP
    January 13, 2009

    War is a product of evil. Although wars have been waged in the name of God, it is being separated from God and belief in his own power and the pursuit of that power that humanity have been victims of war.

    For the second great commandment of God next to loving Him with all your heart and soul is loving your neighbor as you love yourself. And so how can you harm your neighbor if you care for him just like you care for yourself?

    It was unfortunate for the Jews to endure the holocaust and and forced to carved out a state on its historical land long occupied by Arabs. It was unfortunate that the Palestinians have been displaced after several wars because Arab countries in the region will not accept a state of Israel unless forced to.

    It is unfortunate for the Palestinians in Gaza to have let Hamas won in the election. Hamas have the destruction of Israel on its agenda and have goaded it to wage this present war with its resultant human suffering.

    It will be unfortunate for all peace loving people if governments can not persuade Hamas to change its agenda and live in peace with Israel as neighbors. Otherwise its intolerance will be exported to the whole world.

  195. #195 Paul
    January 13, 2009

    War is a product of evil. Although wars have been waged in the name of God, it is being separated from God and belief in his own power and the pursuit of that power that humanity have been victims of war.

    Except for those pesky tribes the Christian God ordered the Israelites to wipe out, of course.

    For the second great commandment of God next to loving Him with all your heart and soul is loving your neighbor as you love yourself. And so how can you harm your neighbor if you care for him just like you care for yourself?

    Did Abraham love his son? Did he care for him?

    It was unfortunate for the Jews to endure the holocaust and and forced to carved out a state on its historical land long occupied by Arabs. It was unfortunate that the Palestinians have been displaced after several wars because Arab countries in the region will not accept a state of Israel unless forced to.

    Nobody forced the Jews to carve out a state on someone else’s land. They didn’t exactly object to the idea. And then they went ahead and annexed even more of the surrounding land.

    It is unfortunate for the Palestinians in Gaza to have let Hamas won in the election. Hamas have the destruction of Israel on its agenda and have goaded it to wage this present war with its resultant human suffering.

    Why would they vote for an organization with such a radical agenda? It couldn’t possibly be that they agree due to feelings of persecution. It’s arrogance to presume you have the right to tell others how they should vote. If people don’t like who they are voting for, perhaps we should look at the reasons why they feel so disenfranchised as to vote for the party we don’t like. Things don’t happen in a vacuum.

    Or we could always just topple their government and install a puppet government. That’s always worked well in the past.

    It will be unfortunate for all peace loving people if governments can not persuade Hamas to change its agenda and live in peace with Israel as neighbors. Otherwise its intolerance will be exported to the whole world.

    This isn’t a one-sided conflict. Israelis as a whole (and especially the government elite) are not known for their tolerance, either.

  196. #196 Ka
    January 13, 2009

    @ Phoenix Woman # 193

    Israel is moving toward banning Israeli-Arab political parties from participating in the forthcoming elections.

    To be fair, it is expected that the Israeli Supreme Court will prohibit this. From the Haaretz article in your link:

    Members of the CEC conceded yesterday that the chance of the Supreme Court’s upholding the ban on both parties was slim.

    But in other news: Israeli Prime Minister Olmert has boasted about his influence on the US government regarding the vote in the UN Security Council:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090112/pl_afp/mideastconflictgazaolmertusrice_newsmlmmd

  197. #197 Gingerbaker
    January 13, 2009

    “I see you do not dispute the facts I gave – so you must agree the whole of the West Bank is legally Palestinian land.”

    What???

    ‘Palestine’ does not mean “Palestinian’.

    First of all, none of the Arab nations accepted the partition plan anyway – they always denied the very idea that Jews could have a homeland in the Middle East. It is difficult to say that any of this land “belongs” to any Arab – they rejected any legal rights to it, preferring to settle things through war. Then, they lost three wars and yet still claim “rights”. Amazing.

    Secondly, Trans-Jordan took over the land designated for any new Arab state – presumably for the displaced Arabs from the general area of ‘Palestine’ which today the ‘Palestinians’ claim as their rightful title. Truly, today’s ‘Palestinians’ really should be having their squabble with Jordan.

    Or, more to the point, it seems to me that the world should be pressuring Jordan to take in the ‘Palestinians’, who after all, if they have a ‘right’ to any area involved, it is in Jordan. But, alas, that would involve an Arab state actually helping the Palestinians!

    Thirdly, the fact is that Balfour promised the entire region as a Jewish National Home, and the only reason why we are even talking about such tiny areas as Gaza or the West Bank is that as usual for this saga, the Arabs wanted and took just about everything by hook or by crook.

    Look at a map. See how tiny is the land mass of Israel compared to what the word ‘Palestine’ meant in 1917.

  198. #198 ConcernedJoe
    January 13, 2009

    Gingerbaker, you may be factually spot-on.. sounds about right. Problem is that this is not the problem at hand. Ordinary Palestinians got the dirty end of the stick (home displacements, etc.) — perhaps they did not play their hand as compliantly as the World wanted and perhaps their so-called brothers are nothing but self serving despots. None of that matters … today we have INNOCENT people that probably in normal circumstance would want to live as peacefully as any Israeli or American. Yes they are not served well by their leaders and “false friends” — and yes they feel hopeless enough to cling to any seeming “savior” — but who wouldn’t. They are people – generally good people — generally educated — generally like all normal people. They are squeezed in between the powers that be and they are VICTIMS (of the situation) and innocents are suffering. Sorry the basic point is .. we who are more fortunate, and this includes Israel, have an obligation to make things right for them – regardless of historical correctness.. and that to me is the salient point – all “facts of the past” considered.

  199. #199 Bezoar
    January 13, 2009

    This is so outrageous that it doesn?t deserve a response except for the exasperation I just showed. By the way, if it weren?t for religion of one type or another we wouldn?t have wars. sorry, that might be too sweeping and harsh. What I meant to say was if it weren?t for Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism there wouldn?t be any wars. The only religion I can think of, of hand, that didn?t start a war of some sort are the Rastafarians. And let?s not forget they have a real neat devotional tool.

  200. #200 John C. Randolph
    January 13, 2009

    Truly, today’s ‘Palestinians’ really should be having their squabble with Jordan.

    They tried that. They lost.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_September_in_Jordan

    -jcr

  201. #201 John Sherman
    January 13, 2009

    Arnaud Armaury was the monk/general who infamously said “Kill them all. Let God sort it out,” when his army reached the town of Bziers, where Christians and heritics had lived in peach for many years.
    I have found that if you leave out the first part (“Kill them all.”) you have some sound advice. I don’t believe in God, of course, but I’ve swayed some religious people with the advice of “Let God sort it out.” Gays? Married priests? Abortion? “Let God sort it out.”

  202. #202 Sigmund
    January 13, 2009

    “Thirdly, the fact is that Balfour promised the entire region as a Jewish National Home”
    Did he?
    That was very generous of him, wasn’t it.
    The entire Balfour Declaration is as follows:
    “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country”.
    Its clearly nothing like you’ve suggested – at most its support for a homeland somewhere within the land of Palestine and one which doesn’t dispossess the non Jewish native population.
    It’s a clearly unworkable document but not out of keeping with many other such empty promises made at that time (for instance the promise that Ireland would be given home rule, a promise that was delayed by WW1 and unilaterally broken by the British government at its end).

  203. #203 Kalirren
    January 13, 2009

    Hamas has explicitly chosen option #3 leaving Israel two grossly oversimplified choices:

    1. Do not attack Hamas despite the continued rain of rocket attacks.

    2. Attack Hamas despite the inevitability of civilian casualties.

    If there is a government in the world which would [not] choose the second option, I’d like to know about it.

    My bottom line is this: no civilization voluntarily accepts violence by an external source against its citizenry. Israel is no different.

    Jason, I just wanted to point out that your self-avowed “gross oversimplification” is the very root of the international objection as it currently stands. I do not believe that any state believes that the state of Israel does not have both a foreign and a domestic duty to ensure and deliver peace within its own borders. Rather, the current objection is that Israel is pursuing a disproportionate and indiscriminate course of action.

    A consideration of the following would illustrate this point.

    Let’s say that Israel does go with option 2 “Attack Hamas despite the inevitability of civilian casualties.” like any sensible state would. The question then becomes, how?

    I can think of many possible answers to this question.

    A (The most immediate risk to Israel; uses even less power than Hamas, will harm very few civilians that Hamas does not directly and unilaterally harm). Send uniformed ground troops in to the territory; open border crossings; establish a police presence in the area significant enough to forcibly clear civilians out of danger zones should airstrikes of strategic targets be necessary.

    Z (The least immediate risk to Israel, but grossly disproportionate and indiscriminate). Erect massive border walls; send no ground troops into the territory; disrupt all humanitarian efforts to relieve the confined populace; 24/7 continuous airstrikes on any and all targets regardless of proximity.

    And in between A and Z there are all sorts of intermediate options. Right now, the situation as I understand it is this:

    Send uniformed ground troops into the territory; allow some border crossings in case of medical emergency; disrupt non-sanctioned humanitarian efforts to relieve the populace; airstrikes for 21 out of 24 hours on “designated strategic targets”.

    I think that rates at about an S on the scale from A to Z. An approach that is exactly as proportionate and discriminate as Hamas’s tactics are would probably fall around G or H, simply because Hamas is just so much less powerful than Israel is.

    My question is, where do the courses of action lie on this gamut that will most conceivably lead to peace within the region at large? Can Israel actually -afford- to pursue a strategy that avoids that much immediate risk? Especially considering the recent decline of the international standing and influence of the United States, it seems increasingly likely that the disproportionate and indiscriminate strategy being pursued now in Gaza will invite further worsening of relations with Israel’s neighbors, as well as a general destabilization of the region as a whole.

    If Israel continues to waste its own standing like this, the year may come when the only tenable diplomatic solution for Israel will be to give up its standing as a Jewish state. I find it unfortunate that there are many in Israel who would rather fight another war than give up that label.

  204. #204 John Greeley
    January 13, 2009

    I think you could make the argument that Christianity from the extant teachings of Jesus is the Religion of Peace. Jesus preached a form of radical pacifism where even violence in self-defense was prohibited. Of course this preaching has to be reconciled with his whipping of the money changers in the temple; however, there is no way to derive any justification to kill another human being from Jesus’ teachings in the synoptic gospels. St. Augustine had to make a number of logical leaps to even incorporate “just war” theory into Christianity. I also think a similar argument could be made for Buddhism as the Religion of Peace from the extant teachings of Gautama Buddha.

  205. #205 stoat100
    January 14, 2009

    Religulous types have no time for petty indiscretions like genocide – they are far too busy protecting society from the twin horrors of gay marriage and stem cell research

  206. #206 KnockGoats
    January 14, 2009

    Sigmund@132
    #121
    “Is this intended seriously?”
    Yes and no. Try reading between the lines.

    Thing is, Sigmund, there are Zionist extremists who would go considerably further than your initial “suggestion” – all the land between the Nile and the Euphrates was promised to the Jews by Jahweh, don’t you remember? I’m afraid you would have to be considerably more outlandish than your #101 to make it clear you were being satirical.

  207. #207 KnockGoats
    January 14, 2009

    Jahweh->Yahweh@206.
    Sorry, bit of Rastafarian (or JW) influence crept in there!

  208. #208 Sigmund
    January 14, 2009

    #206
    It wasn’t really an attempt at direct satire (my satires tend to be much more to the point as you will see if you look at my blog). I was merely spelling out the reality of the anti-Palestinian argument – its not one I support but it is one that many pro-Israelis do support. They just don’t always come out and say that this is what they mean as their preferred permanent solution to the problem.
    I would disagree that the biblical version of Israel is a realistic possibility. There is just too much land and too little Israelis for them to achieve that sort of security coverage and they would certainly lose US support if they took over huge chunks of the ‘liberated’ Iraq.

  209. #209 Rudy
    January 14, 2009

    John (#204), yes, Christianity started out as a religion of peace. It took a long time for compromise with secular authorities to erode this (also the early focus on the benefits of communitarian life and the evils of money were eventually discarded).

    There are many other religious groups around the world that are pacifist; in addition to most Buddhist sects (but see the book “Zen at War” for an analysis of how the military state can co-opt that religion), the Jains are pacifist, as are some of the Japanese Shinto offshoots like Omotokyo. I mentioned the Hopi also, earlier in the thread.

    There are are also some tribal cultures (like the Semai in Malaya) with strong nonviolent cultural mores, albeit without a religious component.

    The Bhagavad-Gita, despite its importance to Gandhi, has been interpreted by some historians as a polemic against the pacifist views of Buddhism and Jainism which arose before the time of its composition.

  210. #210 clinteas
    January 14, 2009

    Christianity started out as a religion of peace

    *Looks at his beer in wonderment*

    Gee,whats in that stuff?The last time i was high on beer was on chech stuff called Kozel.
    I must be high,because Im reading that someone is calling christianity the religion of genocide,rape,murder,foreskin collection peace.

  211. #211 Sigmund
    January 14, 2009

    #210
    “I must be high,because Im reading that someone is calling christianity the religion of genocide,rape,murder,foreskin collection peace.”
    To be fair to him he simply stated that Christianity “STARTED OUT” as a religion of peace, not that it was a religion of peace for most of its history.
    We know so precious little about the real start of Christianity and know so much more about how it became the official religion of the Roman Empire that we can assume a lot of changes must have occured within its teachings over the first few hundred years. You can easily make the case that Jesus (if he existed) was a pacifist (sermon on the mount, turn the other cheek, etc) so its not entirely implausible that it might have been a very pacifistic religion at the beginning – certainly compared to other contemporary religions.

  212. #212 Rudy
    January 14, 2009

    Clinteas,

    Well, tomorrow morning when you’re sober :) read over my post again. “Started out as” is not the same as “remained”,
    unfortunately. But the idea of pacifism (also sometimes poverty and communism) keeps coming back.
    See
    What If Every Church Had Been A Peace Church? by Dick Davis
    http://peace.mennolink.org/articles/davis0303.html
    from Peace Mennonite Church in Dallas.

    ps Although circumcision has never been required for Christians; there was a debate about this in the early days, and Paul’s view (against requiring it) won out.

  213. #213 Gingerbaker
    January 14, 2009

    John C. Randolph said:

    Truly, today’s ‘Palestinians’ really should be having their squabble with Jordan.

    They tried that. They lost.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_September_in_Jordan

    -jcr

    They tried it, yes, but only for a year. Arabs have been killing Jews in Palestine for about 100 years – it takes perseverance, you know.

    Actually, what is instructive, at least to me, about Jordan’s response was that they actually forcibly expelled the whole rebellious lot out of their country.

    Often have I wondered why Israel does not do the same. A month or two of bad press.

  214. #214 Oneirozine
    January 14, 2009

    Yes, someone mentioned the Jains, undoubtedly and unequivocally non-violent, they don’t believe in God as such, but they make non-violence their God …

    Ahimsa=Non-violence=Friendliness…ahimsa is a state of mind, non-violence in thought as well as action

  215. #215 Sigmund
    January 14, 2009

    Gingerbaker, the situation that Jordan had to cope with was the sudden arrival of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees onto its territory in 1948. Its the equivalent of the USA accepting 50 million Mexicans all at once after Mexico had been taken over by another group. They weren’t a ‘rebellious lot’ in Jordan, they were a group of displaced refugees primarily interested in regaining their land in Palestine and only a very small percentage were actually forced out of Jordan (essentially just the PLO leadership – most of the refugees who reached Jordan stayed). Nonetheless this was a destabilizing influence on Jordans ability to rule itself and brutal steps were taken to keep the Kingdom in Royal hands.
    I don’t doubt that Israel would indeed like to expel all the Palestinians if it could. The trouble is that neighbouring countries have seen the disastrous effects of taking in hundreds of thousands of displaced people (for instance look at the catastrophe in Lebanon). Getting rid of the Palestinians in this way is tantamount to an act of war on Israels neighbours.
    And if no country will accept millions of Palestinian refugees then whats the alternative? Drive them into the Mediterranean?

  216. #216 Hugh M.
    January 15, 2009

    “War is a product of evil”

    I beg to differ. War is a product of humans. I don’t know if it’s genetic, or some type of collective insanity. Perhaps it’s just because we’re…

    Dumb all over (and maybe even a little ugly on the side).

  217. #217 amk
    January 16, 2009

    A video of rabbis claiming that there are no innocent civilians in Gaza as they elected Hamas, and that a war is waged against an entire nation, civilians and all. Never mind that some of them didn’t vote Hamas, and never mind that that reasoning cuts both ways.

  218. #218 amk
    January 17, 2009

    Whereas this is an explicit call for genocide. The original article doesn’t appear to be online, although this refers to the Amalek analogy.

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