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Israel vs. Hamas vs. the Internet
December 28, 2008 11:53 AM   Subscribe

The current conflict between Israel & Hamas is all over the news. But the most interesting bits aren't on CNN or the Beeb.

Israelis are Twittering rocket attacks. Amateur photographers are taking snapshots of pro-Hamas riots in Jerusalem, Israeli soldiers on the Gaza border and West Bank unrest.

Meanwhile, Israeli newspapers are publishing photos of rocket victims in the city of Ashdod, 40 kilometers away from Gaza and reporting that Gazans are storming the closed border with Egypt. What's next? Israeli reservists are being called up for a likely land invasion, as Israel sets off sonic booms over Lebanon.
posted by huskerdont (290 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
I don't suppose there is a chance that the US will stay out of this ongoing family fight.
posted by Cranberry at 11:58 AM on December 28, 2008


Disinformation, secrecy and lies: How the Gaza offensive came about
December 28, 2008
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent

Long-term preparation, careful gathering of information, secret discussions, operational deception and the misleading of the public - all these stood behind the Israel Defense Forces "Cast Lead" operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, which began Saturday morning....

...Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas....

posted by ornate insect at 12:10 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Damn, this conflict will never end!
I don't care about who started it or who is to blame the most. By this point both sides have definately gone beyond any form of proper behaviour and are acting like immature children with access to deadly weapons.

And all the while it is the poor and the weak who pay for their leader's actions, while others profit by producing arms etc.

I wish both sides would just wipe each other out completely..they have failed @ life.
posted by kampken at 12:20 PM on December 28, 2008


Gazans are storming the closed border with Egypt

Sounds like a good idea to me. Would you have wanted to stick around in Dresden or Tokyo as a civilian?

More disturbing is the Egyptian official who claimed that Gazan gunmen had taken control of a border crossing station—who are they letting out, and who are they letting in?
posted by infinitewindow at 12:21 PM on December 28, 2008


Two Brief Stories.

An occupying power is legitimately fighting against an illegal uprising by sub-human terrorists deliberately hiding amongst civilians.
posted by orthogonality at 12:27 PM on December 28, 2008 [23 favorites]


This was a huge "shock and awe" attack by the IDF. Haaretz reports that 40 targets were destroyed in a span of three to five minutes. The NY Times, on my Kindle news alerts says that children leaving school were hit and that there are hundreds of casualties. Radio Netherlands says that the IDF has bombed a mosque and that the casualty count at their air time was 230. AP currently reports the dead count at 290.

There have been more than 300 air strikes since midday Saturday — wreaking unprecedented destruction in Gaza, reducing entire buildings to rubble. Shlomo Brom, a former senior Israeli military official, said it was the deadliest force ever used in decades of Israeli-Palestinian fighting. "Since Hamas took over Gaza (in June 2007), it has become a war between two states, and in war between states, more force is used," he said.

Israel has not ruled out ground forces going into Palestine.

Hundreds tried to get across the border to Egypt. Egypt forces responded by opening fire on the refugees.

One of the main medicine warehouses supplying local pharmacies in southern Gaza was hit. The prison was hit, nobody is sure about the casualty count there.

There is almost no food, no medicine and now no drinking water in Gaza because Israel choked off supplies after Hamas won the elections almost 2 years ago.


Gaza's nine hospitals were overwhelmed. Dr. Moawiya Hassanain, who keeps a record for the Gaza Health Ministry, said more than 290 people were killed over two days and more than 800 wounded.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights, which keeps researchers at all hospitals, said it had counted 251 dead by midday Sunday, and that among them were 20 children under the age of 16 and nine women.
posted by dejah420 at 12:31 PM on December 28, 2008 [7 favorites]


I wish both sides would just wipe each other out completely..they have failed @ life.

I presume you're excluding the little kids and other innocents in this, am I right kampken? Or do you think should they be glass cratered too?

Life is messy; the Arab-Israeli conflict is a perfect example of the Gordian Knot in a million shades of gray. If you're looking for someone to blame, you might also want to consider the colonial powers who helped start this horrible mess.
posted by illiad at 12:32 PM on December 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


Please, please don't do that orthogonality. It's not the same thing. But when you do that you sound dumb, your argument sounds dumb and you belittle the very real tragedy of what is happening in Gaza right now. I am a Jew and today I am ashamed, but I will not let you reduce this to a trite analogy.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 12:35 PM on December 28, 2008 [12 favorites]


I don't suppose there is a chance that the US will stay out of this ongoing family fight.
posted by Cranberry at 2:58 PM on December 28


Family fight? What does that even mean?

We give Israel over $3 billion a year, almost automatically. The country has 7 million people. The US government gives Israel $428 per year per per Israeli. For comparison, recall the uproar in the US when the President gave tax rebates of $300 to the American citizens who paid the taxes in the first place.

Yes, America will get involved, and America should get involved. We bought the rights to meddle in Israel's affairs. We bought Israel the military they are using to attack others, and the United States shares the blame for the attacks from the victim's standpoint, even though the Us opposes those attacks. If Israel doesn't appreciate our involvement, they can return the money. I won't hold my breath.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:36 PM on December 28, 2008 [19 favorites]


'An earthquake on top of your head'. Dr Eyad Al Serraj, a practising psychologist in Gaza City, describes his family's terror as the Israeli attack began
posted by homunculus at 12:39 PM on December 28, 2008


Attack on Gaza: As Usual, U.S. Media (And Most Liberals) Silent -- As Israeli Newspaper Raises Doubts
posted by homunculus at 12:44 PM on December 28, 2008


There's a New Yorker cartoon that has a guy, watching a cat and a dog fight, saying to them, "I don't think you even want peace!"

Do you think that cartoon was obliquely referring to the Israeli conflict?
posted by John of Michigan at 12:44 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Gosh finally someone posted about this (And quite well, too). I'm so glad, since hostilities escalated I've been hitting refresh on Mefi because more than anywhere else I want to talk to this community about it.
posted by vito90 at 12:50 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was bracing myself for another Newsfilter post, but this is really well thought-out and has some items and info I wouldn't have seen otherwise. Plus some great links on the situation by posters infinitewindow, homunculus,and ornateinsect. Thanks.

Now I am bracing myself for another discussion about this conflict reverting to a ritualized mudslinging fest. I look forward to being wrong.

For those in the MeFi community who are interested in being part of a new lobbying organization that is an alternative voice on American policy in the Middle East (and a counterweight to AIPAC), I suggest checking out J Street (full disclosure: some friends are on the advisory board). They've already put out a press release on the situation in Gaza that sums up my thoughts nicely. Maybe it also coheres with yours.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 12:51 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


English Language blog from inside the Gaza Strip.
posted by Rumple at 12:56 PM on December 28, 2008


kampken: Damn, this conflict will never end!
I don't care about who started it or who is to blame the most. By this point both sides have definately gone beyond any form of proper behaviour and are acting like immature children with access to deadly weapons.


"Proper behaviour" according to whom, though? Is it proper to stand by and idly watch your democratically elected government get ignored and its resources withheld? Or should you politely tap your superiors on the shoulder and ask, if they wouldn't mind, could they perhaps...?

And all the while it is the poor and the weak who pay for their leader's actions, while others profit by producing arms etc.

At least on one side of the fence, the poor and the weak are the ones up in arms, the ones iring the rockets, the ones mobilising, and being mobilised! Or is it those rich feckers in their Gaza mansions?

While you may disagree with the correctness of their perspective, when your home, your way of life, your people, and your person are being subjugated and threatened, you aren't all too likely to care overmuch for those perpetrating those actions, nor those who "merely" participate in the system that enables this violence.
posted by Dysk at 12:58 PM on December 28, 2008


Pastababel said: Yes, America will get involved, and America should get involved.

I can't imagine that would be good. America is never going to take the side of those "turrists", which is what most of America thinks about all Arabs.

Look, for 60 freaking YEARS, Millions of Palestinian refugees have been living in internment camps all over the Arab world. (8 in Gaza alone, and 19 in the West Bank that together have almost a million refugees.)

SIXTY FREAKING YEARS! MILLIONS!

Nobody in this country, or any other country gives a rats' ass about the Palestinians. Nobody is coming to save them, nobody is going to stop Israel from turning Gaza into a parking lot.

The Arabic governments have turned their back on Palestine like the American government did on New Orleans. The Palestinians are the "poor cousins" of the Arab world, and they're treated as such. They get held up as symbols to rally the cries of protesters, but nobody actually does anything to help them.

And gods forbid you try as an American.

When the IDF shock troopers hit the ground in Gaza, it will become wholesale ethnic cleansing, and it won't stop until the last Palestinian is dead or driven out of Palestine.
posted by dejah420 at 1:00 PM on December 28, 2008 [13 favorites]


Pastabagel: Yes, America will get involved, and America should get involved. We bought the rights to meddle in Israel's affairs. We bought Israel the military they are using to attack others, and the United States shares the blame for the attacks from the victim's standpoint, even though the Us opposes those attacks. If Israel doesn't appreciate our involvement, they can return the money. I won't hold my breath.

Did you buy out the right to meddle in Palestinian politics and within their borders? How much was their political autonomy worth?
posted by Dysk at 1:01 PM on December 28, 2008


PostIronyIsNotaMyth writes "I am a Jew and today I am ashamed, but I will not let you reduce this to a trite analogy."

I'm not claiming moral equivalency; I put that link there as food for thought. Yes, it's different, yes the Palestinian refugee camps aren't explicitly death camps. But how different is it? Take it as a challenge; delineate that and I think we'll have a better idea of what's going on in Gaza (and Israel) today.

I once was a very strong supporter of Israel; for various reasons I can't feel that way anymore. One person's reaction, and all that, but to me Israel looks more and more like a smug bully (and the Palestinians desperate idiots with dubious morals).

Israel constantly claims the moral high ground: the only democracy in the region, the land a gift of G-d, the land a Western guilt-offering for the Holocaust and centuries of antisemitism, what have you. But if Israel wants to claim the moral high ground, Israel needs to hold itself to a higher moral standard than "might makes right" and "we have bigger guns".

Israel has got to stop the (yes I'll say it) Nazi-like collective punishments, the routine humiliation of Palestinian border crossers on their way to and from work, the IDF shooting civilians for sport, the denial of medical care as tool to get informants, the torture.

Israel's policy for decades has been to use military force and figure that no one will care if Palestinians civilians are killed and maimed. Of course, that just results in more Palestians joining the resistance.

Israelis didn't stop their terrorism against the British until they got their land and sovereignty; unsurprisingly Palestinians will do the same.

Israel's choices are decades more fratricide, committing genocide, or giving land for peace.

If you truly support Israel -- and I do -- you can't counsel more of the same eye-for-an-eye. You can't counsel more and more of the moral degradation of Israel that directly results from being an occupying power. Israel is keeping "its" land only by sacrificing its children (and the children of the Palestinians), only by training generations on both sides to hate and kill, only by losing its soul.

It's time to end this. Encouarging -- or even looking the other way at -- Israel's continuing wars of occupation is no support of Israel at all. It's little wonder that Israel's biggest non-Jewish supporters are those who prophecy that only a bloodbath there will return them their Jesus.
posted by orthogonality at 1:08 PM on December 28, 2008 [64 favorites]


Original poster here.

I'm an American who lives in southern Israel, within firing range of the Qassam rockets from Gaza. Just today, my neighbors and I found out that our local bomb shelter was being opened and that we have 60 seconds' notice before incoming missiles/rockets.

This situation sucks all around. In Gaza, Hamas are a bunch of theocratic gangsters whose first acts upon winning elections were kidnapping an Israeli soldier and firing thousands of rockets at neighboring (and, not coincidentally, dirt poor) Jewish communities in Israel proper.

In response, Israel blockaded food and water from entering Gaza in hopes it would dissuade Gazans from supporting Palestinians. It didn't work; the Gazans are standing by Hamas - whose charter calls for the violent overthrow of Israel.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military's massive shock & awe campaign is targeting the Hamas officials who are coordinating the rocket attacks in Israel. It's successfully killing the Hamas members - but more than a few Gazan civilians, including children, are dying in the process as they are caught in the crossfire.

I'm torn. I've been to Sderot, the Israeli town closest to Gaza, and have friends whose houses were destroyed by rockets there. The kids there grow up with only 15 seconds to run for shelter when Qassams hit. A new playground was constructed there with a rocket shelter in the middle. It's completely ineffectual against the rockets - they would blow them to bits - but they help shield against the shrapnel.

That's no way to live.

Meanwhile, a few rockets hit the town just up the road from me today.

My heart goes out to the civilians on both sides of the conflict. Although this current war was inevitable, it doesn't make it any less tragic. It's a shame.
posted by huskerdont at 1:08 PM on December 28, 2008 [20 favorites]


Isn't the death score currently something like 290 Palestinians, 1 Israeli? Those can't be very effective rockets. This is like the [insert bad guys] destroying entire villages of [insert good guys] to avenge the death of one of their own. Massively disproportionate response, hard not to equate it with terrorism in goals or in methods.
posted by Rumple at 1:17 PM on December 28, 2008 [6 favorites]


Rumple: That may be due to the fact that it is terrorism - it's using violence and the threat of violence to instill terror, for political ends. That's terrorism. State terrorism, in this case.
posted by Dysk at 1:20 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Rumple writes "This is like the [insert bad guys] destroying entire villages of [insert good guys] to avenge the death of one of their own."

Lidice? Oradour-sur-Glane?
posted by orthogonality at 1:22 PM on December 28, 2008


Stay safe, huskerdont.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:23 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


And thanks for this post. Great resources here.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:24 PM on December 28, 2008


Stay safe, huskerdont.

Yes. Please keep updating us.
posted by triggerfinger at 1:27 PM on December 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Proper behaviour" according to whom, though? Is it proper to stand by and idly watch your democratically elected government get ignored and its resources withheld? Or should you politely tap your superiors on the shoulder and ask, if they wouldn't mind, could they perhaps...?

Proper behaviour as in: Don't commit murder. Such a simple and basic thing (which is even written as a law in all the major religions). I get the meaning of your points, but i still don't think it justifies doing to others what they do to you, as is being done right now.
Acting like savages and committing atrocities will only make the problem worse and makes it easier for Israel to do whatever they want (and get the media sympathy) to contain the "arab barbarians" as is currently being done.

At least on one side of the fence, the poor and the weak are the ones up in arms, the ones iring the rockets, the ones mobilising, and being mobilised! Or is it those rich feckers in their Gaza mansions?

Not really. It is not the children, the women and the old who are fighting this war in Gaza. It is fueled by burning hate and anger preached by religious leaders (who twist a religion to their own gain) to brainwash young men into giving their life away for empty cause. These Hamas leaders are not in the front-line even. They are as bad as the politicians and generals on the other side. It's easy to interpret the Palestinians as a nation in uproar with 100% support from the population, but in reality most people just want to live in peace and are not willing to fight a war for anyone. It's like this in any country. Too bad only the loud and violent get noticed.

While you may disagree with the correctness of their perspective, when your home, your way of life, your people, and your person are being subjugated and threatened, you aren't all too likely to care overmuch for those perpetrating those actions, nor those who "merely" participate in the system that enables this violence.

Of course not. But what good will ever come by simply fighting fire with fire? It has been tried for the last 60 years and it has only brought more destruction, death and agony for Palestinians and Israelis alike. Im guessing your quote is written from the perspective of a Palestinian, but it's easy to turn it around and it'll justify Israeli aggression..and there we go again. At this rate this conflict will never get solved and i honestly can't see an solution if both parties continue this on this road.
posted by kampken at 1:30 PM on December 28, 2008


what the israelis have done is to ensure there won't be peace in the middle east for another generation - when is the u s going to wake up and stop funding them? - as far as i'm concerned, both sides are under the control of murderous thugs who want nothing less than the complete elimination of the other people
posted by pyramid termite at 1:31 PM on December 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Massively disproportionate response...

That's what I think too. Reminds me of the scuffle with Lebanon when Israel went ahead and salted civilian border areas with cluster bomblets even after a truce was already in sight.

I'm not an enemy of Israel, but they really do seem to swagger like the little kid with the toughest older brother on the block.
posted by hermitosis at 1:33 PM on December 28, 2008 [7 favorites]


I've been saying this for years - a NATO sponsored sustained aerial burst bombardment of powdered MDMA over Israel, Palestine, and immediately surrounding neighborhoods. It'll get in the drinking water and everyone will learn to love each other whether they like it or not. It sounds drastic, but maybe it's time, no? Ethical questions about forced medication aside, I guess it would be hard to prevent overdoses and adverse reactions. But I'm starting to wonder if it's the best course.

Disclaimer: I haven't tried ecstasy myself.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 1:33 PM on December 28, 2008 [6 favorites]


What truly baffles me about the whole situation is this: This has been tried before. Bombing campaigns, blockades, the whole megillah. Why do people think it will work this time when it never worked before?
When the next wave of rocket attacks and/or suicide bombings occurs, what then?
posted by Bromius at 1:39 PM on December 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


kampken: If this situation is a war (as the Israeli defence minister says it is) then nobody is commiting murder. Soldiers are killing one another, and there are civilian casualties. Murder is a legal term, and does not really apply here. Sure, there's loads of killing, and we could argue about moral equivalence till the cows come home, but this is not murder.

To a certain extent, it is the women who are fighting this war in Gaza. Israel has equal-opportunities conscription. I don't understand why we cling to this horribly outmoded outrage of "women and children" when we're all supposed to be equal now. I guess we're not supposed to be, then.

Fighting fire with fire is, indeed, ineffective. Napalm as a response to a match, however, is possibly more morally reprehensible. Ad-hoc insurgent rocketry is quite a different thing to the machinations of a particularly well-armed country's defence forces, so well as the state machinery behind the decisions to utilise said "defence" forces in such a manner.
posted by Dysk at 1:41 PM on December 28, 2008


posted by pyramid termite at 10:31 PM on December 28:
what the israelis have done is to ensure there won't be peace in the middle east for another generation
Don't you think that's the point? If you were a war hawk and completely against the peace process, wouldn't you do everything in your power to make peace impossible? I mean, of course the war hawks know that this latest attack will result in more palestinians joining hamas and fatah - they are not dumb. They also realize that more resistance from the Palestinians will lead to more death and destruction on the Israeli side, which will create more support for their cause and vision for Israel. Of course the same could be said about Palestinian war hawks.


posted by Bromius at 10:39 PM on December 28:
What truly baffles me about the whole situation is this: This has been tried before. Bombing campaigns, blockades, the whole megillah. Why do people think it will work this time when it never worked before?
When the next wave of rocket attacks and/or suicide bombings occurs, what then?
What I wrote above.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:47 PM on December 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


Ah, the middle east. It's the Paris Hilton of geopolitics.
posted by mullingitover at 1:51 PM on December 28, 2008 [6 favorites]


If this situation is a war (as the Israeli defence minister says it is) then nobody is commiting murder. Soldiers are killing one another, and there are civilian casualties. Murder is a legal term, and does not really apply here. Sure, there's loads of killing, and we could argue about moral equivalence till the cows come home, but this is not murder.

Killing another human being will always be murder. And it does not matter if it's by sticking a bayonet in him, pushing a button to launch a bomb at him, or just pushing him off a cliff. It isn't really a question of moral equivalence as it is of simple semantics. It's much more acceptable to say "we need to contain this situation and put an end to Hamas aggression" than to say "we are now going to end the lives of many Hamas members (including some unlucky civilians) to avenge the death of our own citizens". And for the soldiers/fighters in the field it is much easier to live with the fact that you are ordered by your government/leadership to commit these atrocities, than it is to take individual responsiblity for all the lives you have ended in the name of whatever side you are fighting for.

To a certain extent, it is the women who are fighting this war in Gaza. Israel has equal-opportunities conscription. I don't understand why we cling to this horribly outmoded outrage of "women and children" when we're all supposed to be equal now. I guess we're not supposed to be, then.

Indeed they do, but in that quote i was refering to the women in Gaza (although im aware some have been recruited as suicide bombers). And although women are conscripted in the IDF, you will be hard pressed to fight any in the frontline-roles or in the General staff, at least in the army. They are usually redelegated to the rear and occupied with logistics etc. The end result being that it is still men who are mostly responsible for war on both sides, which was my main point.
posted by kampken at 1:53 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Woops, i forgot to quote your lines..we need a edit function in here: To a certain extent, it is the women who are fighting this war in Gaza. Israel has equal-opportunities conscription. I don't understand why we cling to this horribly outmoded outrage of "women and children" when we're all supposed to be equal now. I guess we're not supposed to be, then.
posted by kampken at 1:54 PM on December 28, 2008


If anyone other NY mefites think using fight jets to decimate some of the most miserable people on earth is, well, unacceptable, there's a protest tomorrow.

For all those saying this was inevitable, keep in mind that Israel has continuously refused to negotiate with Hamas. Diplomacy is not their strong suite.

I am an Israeli, and like hundreds of people in Tel Aviv I am repulsed by this.
posted by limon at 2:12 PM on December 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


The situation is hopeless unless a powerful outside influence intervenes over the medium to long term.

It will end some day, be it through EU/US intervention, regional war, through leaps in technology, mass genocide, cultural revolution, global disaster or simply the endless march of time.
posted by parallax7d at 2:21 PM on December 28, 2008


"Israel has continuously refused to negotiate with Hamas"

Honest question: How does State A negotiate with State B, when one of State B's stated goals is the complete destruction of State A?
posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys at 2:34 PM on December 28, 2008 [10 favorites]


This was a huge "shock and awe" attack by the IDF.

Of course, let's not call this "terror".

So, 300+ families of newly grieving martyrs-to-be. I have to agree with Foci. There is no way anyone behind this is shortsighted (or forgetful) enough not to realize this won't be the result.

Honest question: How does State A negotiate with State B, when one of State B's stated goals is the complete destruction of State A?

When I was 12, there was a kid down the street, 7 or 8, who seemed to have a similar goal with regard to me. My usual tactic of negotation was holding him one-handed by the head while he failed about and then pushing him down. I didn't kick the shit out of him.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:37 PM on December 28, 2008


To those who note that the US bankrolls Israel and is thus involved in the mess, here is your thought question: Name the country that is 2nd in line for the most money paid out in foreign aid.

I won't get into the rights and wrongs of this continuing saga, but I would point out a few things:
1. I note the great accuracy which the intel Israel has for hitting Hamas buildings, places, and tunnels along the Egyptian border...that had to have taken time to compile.
2. There is never an equivalency in war. In fighting for your survival, you use what you have. If Hamas had better and bigger weapons they would be put to use. Do you expect Israel to wait for that so it can be an even fight?
3. The Israeli prime minister told the Palestinians in advance of the attack (a few days before) what would happen should the rockets continue to be fired on Israel...unusual and therefore dumb of Hamas not to lay off for a month or two. Call a bluff and you risk what then takes place.

4. Lefties in America had in the early days been ardent Israeli supporters. With the death of the Marxist dream, they needed something to take the place of ideology and so decided to side with "underdogs" wherever they were to be found. Thus the Left began to side with the Palestinians. Meanwhile, the Right in America and in Israel considered the Democrats and liberals anti-Israel and feared for an Obama win in the election. I suspect Obama will be no weaker or stronger in his pro-Israel stance than has been G.W. Bush, though manyh on the left believe Bush has made no useful copntribution to peace in the Middle ast.
posted by Postroad at 2:40 PM on December 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


"When I was 12, there was a kid down the street, 7 or 8, who seemed to have a similar goal with regard to me. My usual tactic of negotation was holding him one-handed by the head while he failed about and then pushing him down. I didn't kick the shit out of him."

If we were talking about two kids and not armed states with rockets and guns, that would make sense.

Anyone else?
posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys at 2:49 PM on December 28, 2008


it seems to me that when a persecuted group of people is given a piece of land to establish a country, they ought to shut the fuck up, get to work and, most importantly, respect the borders they were given. how many people have and will continue to suffer and die in a struggle for a "land of peace"?
posted by kitchenrat at 2:56 PM on December 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Murder is murder, regardless of whether one calls it war or not. And terrorism - the willful murder of civilians to further political aims - is still terrorism regardless of whether you call it war or have the sponsorship of a state. Israel is acting as a terrorist force in this instance, with the same disproportionate force they have utilized for decades.

We need to cut their funding. If the US justifies keeping them around as a bastion of democracy in the region, then the need to provide a suitable model that other nations would see and admire. The Isrealis are failing to provide that example; rather, they provide a terrible model with their bankrupt moral stance and increase Arab hatred for the Western democracies. As such, we need to cut their funding, and send a clear message that This is not the way.
posted by kaibutsu at 3:00 PM on December 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


If we were talking about two kids and not armed states with rockets and guns, that would make sense.

It was a scaled-down example, but perhaps you weren't up to it. Note I also did not shoot him in the head.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:04 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thank you for being unhelpful twice.
posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys at 3:06 PM on December 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


kampken: Murder is unlawful killing with intent. Ergo, what we are discussing is killing, certainly, but not murder.

Postroad: "We will kill hundreds upon hundred if you do not stop engaging in activities that will lead to the occasional casualty on our side" (to paraphrase ridiculously) does not make for a compelling moral position.
posted by Dysk at 3:07 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Christ, Postroad... You know, much of the American left isn't old enough to be reformed Marxists. I know I'm certainly not. I'm mainly offended by the distinct sense I get that the nation rescued from the concentration camps has set up a few of its own. And has decided to bomb the shit out of them for some inexplicable reason.

Israel didn't have to lay down an ultimatum involving violence. That was their choice. And it was their choice to go ahead with a bombing campaign when the terms of their ultimatum weren't met. You can't lay those choices at the feet of the Palestinians.
posted by kaibutsu at 3:08 PM on December 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


We know how many people died from the Israeli bombing. But how many died from Hamas rockets fired from Gaza before the bombing? I believe the number was zero. In other words, Israel seems to have killed 200 people in response to an annoyance.
I don't care about who started it or who is to blame the most. By this point both sides have definitely gone beyond any form of proper behavior and are acting like immature children with access to deadly weapons.
That is what it seems like, but there is a pretty extreme disproportion in play here, in terms of body count, just as there was in Lebanon.

Also this attitude that Israel needs to "show it's strength" or whatever. They've been doing this for 40 years and it obviously isn't working. I don't think the Palestinians are going to be deterred, especially given the blockade that's been going on, which could also be lethal (I would imagine) if not as dramatic.
Did you buy out the right to meddle in Palestinian politics and within their borders? How much was their political autonomy worth?
We also gave some money to the Palestinian authority.

Anyway look, the question of whether the U.S. should get involved is moot. We are involved. We give Israel billions of dollars a year and we block every U.N. security council vote that goes against their interests, preventing the U.N from sending in peace keepers or anything like that.

If the U.S. decided to disengage and leave Israel to it's own devices, I would be perfectly fine with that. But the problem is, as long as the U.S supports all of Israel's activities, we are always going to have some serious blowback issues.
Honest question: How does State A negotiate with State B, when one of State B's stated goals is the complete destruction of State A?
The same way you would negotiate with anyone? The purpose of a negotiation is to get people to change their goals by reaching some sort of compromise. Presumably, such a compromise would involve Hamas no longer seeking to destroy Israel. Are they flexible on this point? Maybe, maybe not. But how would you know if you refuse to even sit down and talk to them?
2. There is never an equivalency in war. In fighting for your survival, you use what you have.
Bullshit.
posted by delmoi at 3:11 PM on December 28, 2008 [9 favorites]


Don't you think that's the point?

it may well be

---

Name the country that is 2nd in line for the most money paid out in foreign aid.

egypt - although you'll have to explain to me why doing so is not furthering our involvement in this mess, as after all, it could be called a bribe not to make trouble for israel - (you'll also have to explain why you're not counting iraq and afghanistan)

There is never an equivalency in war.

there is, however, one in propaganda and perception - and israel has lost another round because of it

If Hamas had better and bigger weapons they would be put to use. Do you expect Israel to wait for that so it can be an even fight?

by making sure that their enemies regard them bitterly, they've ensured that situation will eventually come about

The Israeli prime minister told the Palestinians in advance of the attack (a few days before) what would happen should the rockets continue to be fired on Israel...unusual and therefore dumb of Hamas not to lay off for a month or two. Call a bluff and you risk what then takes place.

it's to hamas' long term political interest that the palestinians continue to bitterly hate the israelis - what better way to do that then to provoke a massive, unproportionate attack?

israel has done just what their enemies wanted them to do - now hamas can "justify" what it was planning to the palestinian people when the surprise is sprung

Lefties in America had in the early days been ardent Israeli supporters. With the death of the Marxist dream, they needed something to take the place of ideology and so decided to side with "underdogs" wherever they were to be found.

maybe they realized what a bunch of bloody fuckheads are running things in the middle east
posted by pyramid termite at 3:15 PM on December 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Thank you for being unhelpful twice.

Rocks versus guns then? Or is that straying too far into fiction for you?

Or in other terms: Proportionality, mo**erf**ker -- do you understand it?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:18 PM on December 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


For some helpful recent background, see:

Domestic politics fuels Gaza conflict (Christian Science Monitor, December 23, 2008)

Amy Goodman interviews Israeli Reporter Amira Hass about Gaza (Democracy Now, December 2, 2008)
posted by ornate insect at 3:19 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


If Hamas had better and bigger weapons they would be put to use. Do you expect Israel to wait for that so it can be an even fight?

Where have I heard this before, this idea that it's alright to smash your opponent into tiny pieces pre-emptive of weapons they may or may not acquire? "We don't want the smoking gun to come in the form of a mushroom cloud", or something or other.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:21 PM on December 28, 2008 [8 favorites]


delmoi: "You" haven't given a whole lot to the Hamas-led Palestinian authority we've had for the past couple of years...
posted by Dysk at 3:22 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


On "Folk Marxism":
Folk Marxism looks at political economy as a struggle pitting the oppressors against the oppressed. Of course, for Marx, the oppressors were the owners of capital and the oppressed were the workers. But folk Marxism is not limited by this economic classification scheme. All sorts of other issues are viewed through the lens of oppressors and oppressed. Folk Marxists see Israelis as oppressors and Palestinians as oppressed. They see white males as oppressors and minorities and females as oppressed. They see corporations as oppressors and individuals as oppressed. They see America as on oppressor and other countries as oppressed.
posted by Class Goat at 3:23 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


posted by Postroad at 11:40 PM on December 28 [+] [!]
1. I note the great accuracy which the intel Israel has for hitting Hamas buildings, places, and tunnels along the Egyptian border...that had to have taken time to compile.
Yes, the IDF did their home work - is that your point? Or the fact that they have been planning this for a long time? Also, just because the attacks very highly strategic doesn't mean they were proportional.
2. There is never an equivalency in war. In fighting for your survival, you use what you have. If Hamas had better and bigger weapons they would be put to use. Do you expect Israel to wait for that so it can be an even fight?
So many fallacies and weird reasoning. (1) No one has mentioned equivalency in warfare in this thread, it's not the issue here. (2) Instead of framing it as if Israel is fighting for its survival, you could ask if and how Israel will survive by continuing the conflict. (3) Again, no one has said that the fight between Insrael and the Palestinians should be fair, only that the Israeli reactions are out of proportion.
3. The Israeli prime minister told the Palestinians in advance of the attack (a few days before) what would happen should the rockets continue to be fired on Israel...unusual and therefore dumb of Hamas not to lay off for a month or two. Call a bluff and you risk what then takes place.
Are you seriously suggesting that a party that's engaging in warfare should stop doing so simply because the other side says so? Also, the Israelis had been planning the attacks for months, what makes you think that they wouldn't see them through no matter what the Palestinians did?
4. Lefties in America had in the early days been ardent Israeli supporters. With the death of the Marxist dream, they needed something to take the place of ideology and so decided to side with "underdogs" wherever they were to be found. Thus the Left began to side with the Palestinians. Meanwhile, the Right in America and in Israel considered the Democrats and liberals anti-Israel and feared for an Obama win in the election. I suspect Obama will be no weaker or stronger in his pro-Israel stance than has been G.W. Bush, though manyh on the left believe Bush has made no useful copntribution to peace in the Middle ast.
This is as ridiculous as it is completely irrelevant. What do American lefties have to do with this discussion?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:24 PM on December 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Folk Marxists see Israelis as oppressors and Palestinians as oppressed. They see white males as oppressors and minorities and females as oppressed. They see corporations as oppressors and individuals as oppressed. They see America as on oppressor and other countries as oppressed.

They drive like this, whereas folk capitalists drive like this.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:27 PM on December 28, 2008 [6 favorites]


Also, King's "folk marxism" is oversimplifying caracturistic pap that sounds like a string of complaints made by some half-drunk Palinite, dressed in weak academic-sounding phrasing.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:34 PM on December 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


Analysis: 'I don't see how this ends well' in Gaza
By Dion Nissenbaum, McClatchy Newspapers, December 28, 2008:

..."I don't see how this ends well, even if, in two weeks time, it looks like it ends well," said Daniel Levy, a political analyst who once served as an adviser to Ehud Barak, the former Israeli prime minister who's now leading the military campaign against Hamas as Israel's defense minister.

"To the extent to which there's a scenario where Israel wins a tactical round, it will again lose a strategic round," said Levy, a senior fellow at The New America Foundation, a liberal policy institute in Washington, D.C. that's providing ideas and personnel to the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama...


Note also the comment from a poster on the linked article's thread:

Let's not forget that the Bushies first insisted on Palestinian elections, against practically everyone's advice. They were free and fair, and Hamas won. The US then disowned the elections, and the Bushies supplied arms to Fatah (the suddenly rehabilitated terrorist group) to overthrow Hamas.
posted by ornate insect at 3:37 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Of course, for Marx, the oppressors were the owners of capital and the oppressed were the workers. - But folk Marxism is not limited by this economic classification scheme. - They see corporations as oppressors and individuals as oppressed.

...yep, they definetly abandoned the old Marixist logic there...
posted by Dysk at 3:39 PM on December 28, 2008


Folk Marxism looks at political economy as a struggle pitting the oppressors against the oppressed. Of course, for Marx, the oppressors were the owners of capital and the oppressed were the workers. But folk Marxism is not limited by this economic classification scheme. All sorts of other issues are viewed through the lens of oppressors and oppressed. Folk Marxists see Israelis as oppressors and Palestinians as oppressed. They see white males as oppressors and minorities and females as oppressed. They see corporations as oppressors and individuals as oppressed. They see America as on oppressor and other countries as oppressed.
Interesting. Someone managed to jam all those words together without actually saying anything.
posted by delmoi at 3:39 PM on December 28, 2008


Wow that Folk Marxism thing is really offensive and stupid. It's basically a confusing way of saying: "I think my political opponents are wrong." That kinda should be the starting point rather than the conclusion of an essay.
posted by Wood at 3:44 PM on December 28, 2008


Doesn't everyone support the oppressed, isn't that implicit in the word?
posted by Wood at 3:45 PM on December 28, 2008


Doesn't everyone support the oppressed, isn't that implicit in the word?

Only if you're a lily-livered, flag-burning, pot-smoking Wiccan communist!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:47 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wood: I'd've thought that the word "oppressed" implies that their oppressors don't, at the very least ;)
posted by Dysk at 3:48 PM on December 28, 2008


Doesn't everyone support the oppressed, isn't that implicit in the word?

Obviously not the oppressors. Anyway, I'm convinced that there are a good number of people who prefer the powerful and like seeing people oppressed.
posted by delmoi at 3:48 PM on December 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


What I was attempting to do was not to insult the Left but rather to try to explain why
in fact the Left had been such ardent supporters of Israel back in 1947 and on for a number of years but then became (more often than not) anti-Israel. And yes we all support the oppressed but what you might label someone oppresed might to others be a group of people out to destroy your country. If so many Arabs are oppressed it is often of their own doing, or, in in certain Muslim nations, because of the princes or kings in charge.

750 thousand Jews were booted out of Arab countries when Israel became a country. They were taken in by Israel and in other western nations. The Palestinians by contrast were not allowed into other Arab nations or, when they were, put into refugee camps where they still reside--oppressed, by the way.
posted by Postroad at 4:00 PM on December 28, 2008


Hamas have said on more than one occasion that they would be willing to enter into a long-term ceasefire with Israel if Israel is willing to return to 1967 borders. Negotiation is the only way forward. As others have said, the attacks are simply perpetuating the cycle of violence that has marred this region for so long.

Who would have thought that the Northern Ireland conflict could end up with many of the participants in government with each other? Negotiation is the only way forward. The answer certainly isn't bombing Gaza and killing hundreds. The British succeeded in Northern Ireland (and I pretty much think they *did* succeed), not by bombing West Belfast, but by conducting normal policing security measures combined with good intelligence and also entering into negotiations! Providing space for democracy and dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians could lead to future resolution of the issue.

Once again though, full scale military operations against Gaza or the West Bank certainly will not.

----

And at the risk of stirring up an epic shitstorm, why - in this age of enlightened liberal feeling (hah) - is the concept of a uni-ethnic state permissible? Even if the Jews didn't have a homeland, I don't think they'd be any worse off than they are today. After the horrors of WW2, people are well aware of the atrocities committed and have safeguards in place - at least in "The West" to prevent the same happening again to any group of people. We don't contemplate the creation of Christian states, and often hear criticism of Iran for being an Islamic state, but Israel is Israel and so on so is therefore beyond criticism on that front.

It always seemed to me like a rather big elephant in the room, so to speak.
posted by knapah at 4:02 PM on December 28, 2008 [9 favorites]


750 thousand Jews were booted out of Arab countries when a time arrived where they were guaranteed citizenship in a Jewish state. The Palestinians were booted out with nowhere to go. I know which group I'd rather've been in.
posted by Dysk at 4:03 PM on December 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Israel has a lot to answer for, but any comparison between Israel and Nazi Germany is inevitably glib and useless. It has no real function but to submarine discussion and should be avoided. Israel is not fascistic, and it's oppression of its Palestinian minority is a bad parallel with the Nazi's program of extermination against Europe's despised minorities. I can't imagine the function of such a parallel, except as a grotesque exercise in finger-pointing, as though Jews, who were victims of the Nazis, are now just like the Nazis. They aren't.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:04 PM on December 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


2. There is never an equivalency in war. In fighting for your survival, you use what you have.

Bullshit.


Quite. An equivalent would have been Britain responding to terrorism in the 70s and 80s by levelling Dublin with Tornados. It's unlikely the US would have let them.
posted by rodgerd at 4:07 PM on December 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


it seems to me that when a persecuted group of people is given a piece of land to establish a country, they ought to shut the fuck up, get to work and, most importantly, respect the borders they were given.

It's naive to say, "let's go back to 1967" on the one side, or "today's borders create a viable Palestinian state" (as kitchenrat seems to imply). The Zionist movement, Israel's independence in 1948, six-day war of 1967 and settlements since have made borders a fluid and contentious issue. Complex history, complex politics.

As for the international community, the League of Nations was involved before the UN even existed. Britain, Egypt and Jordan are sovereign states that have taken a direct role in the dispute over the years as well as the US. The UN Palestine site has some interesting historical maps, such as one from 1945 with rough population estimates, and the proposed borders of the UN's 1947 partition plan.
posted by woodway at 4:14 PM on December 28, 2008


"Thank you for being unhelpful twice.

Rocks versus guns then? Or is that straying too far into fiction for you? "


Thrice, now.

We asked for an honest answer, you've provided meaningless analogies instead.

Here is the original question again, should anyone wish to address it:

How does State A negotiate with State B, when one of State B's stated goals is the complete destruction of State A?
posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys at 4:14 PM on December 28, 2008


An Infinity Of Monkeys: How does State A negotiate with State B, when one of State B's stated goals is the complete destruction of State A?

...the same way it negotiates with anyone else, really. Communication, and trying to reach a compromise where those goals may be rescinded.

In the given situation, State A don't recognise the democratically elected government of State B as legitimate, it should be noted. That probably doesn't help the whole situation.
posted by Dysk at 4:18 PM on December 28, 2008


"How does State A negotiate with State B, when one of State B's stated goals is the complete destruction of State A?"

Is State B supposed to be Hamas? "Hamas drops call for destruction of Israel from manifesto"
posted by knapah at 4:22 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


And at the risk of stirring up an epic shitstorm, why - in this age of enlightened liberal feeling (hah) - is the concept of a uni-ethnic state permissible?

it's only permissible if that uni-ethnic state is armed to the nines

---

"How does State A negotiate with State B, when one of State B's stated goals is the complete destruction of State A?"

why you just keep killing people in state b until they love you
posted by pyramid termite at 4:36 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not claiming moral equivalency; I put that link there as food for thought.

I can't accept that. You chose your analogy for a reason; you chose it to make a point. You might have drawn any number of historical parallels, but you chose this one in order to draw a specific parallel: you're saying that Israel is acting in a Nazi-like way. You then go on to say
yes the Palestinian refugee camps aren't explicitly death camps [my emphasis]
You're using "explicitly" to suggest that the Gaza Strip is, in fact, a death camp.

how different is it? Take it as a challenge; delineate that and I think we'll have a better idea of what's going on

I had relatives in death camps. The point of a death camp was to kill the people within them. Hence the name: death camp. Hence the fact: all these relatives are dead. In contrast, the people within the Gaza Strip are alive. They are not merely living until the crematorium is ready for another load; they are not merely living until they have been worked to death on a starvation diet; Palestinians are not transported from all corners of the massive Israeli empire and murdered on arrival. Is that sufficient for you?

There were other sorts of "camps". Some of my relatives were used as slave labor; some of them were merely confined within ghettos until the end of the war. You might have confined yourself with an analogy of Gaza Strip::ghetto and been merely offensive. Instead you're drawing an analogy that goes far beyond reason and I can only speculate as to your motives. You demonise Jews; the Nazis demonised Jews. As you put it: how different is it? Take it as a challenge; delineate that and I think we'll have a better idea of what's going on.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:38 PM on December 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


An Infinity Of Monkeys writes "How does State A negotiate with State B, when one of State B's stated goals is the complete destruction of State A?"

I know, man! Like when Khrushchev vowed "we will bury you", and so we couldn't negotiate with him, and then when our U-2s found his missiles in Cuba, so he used them to to nuke DC, and we used our missiles in Turkey to nuke the Kremlin, and that's we we're all living in the ruins and killing each other over the last cans of food left over from A&P grocery stores bombed out in 1962.

Oh, wait.
posted by orthogonality at 4:41 PM on December 28, 2008 [27 favorites]


orthogonality, we see your point, but the Cubans (or the Soviets) weren't firing hundreds of rockets over America's borders each week, either.
posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys at 4:46 PM on December 28, 2008


As I understand it, the point of the current strike on Gaza is to cripple Hamas's ability to launch rockets into Israel. From this point of view, a "proportional" attack would have been completely pointless. Israel isn't aiming to kill some specific number of people, it's aiming to hit Hamas's infrastructure. Now, you might argue that given the fact that such a strike would necessarily kill hundreds of people, including many civilians, that it should not have been carried out. But, then you might also want to suggest a better way that Israel can put a stop to the rocket fire in the short term. By the way, those of you saying that the rockets coming out of Gaza are a mere annoyance and should just be tolerated are clearly not living within firing range of one of those things.

Full disclosure: I'm an American, currently living in southern Israel, not too far from Gaza. I very much disapprove of the Israeli government's general policy towards the Palestinians. I am also rather torn about the current strike, and seeing pictures of the dismembered bodies of children who were practically my neighbors is truly depressing. But, the self-preservation instinct in me says pretty loudly: "I want those rockets to stop now!"
posted by epimorph at 4:47 PM on December 28, 2008


An Infinity Of Monkeys: That's why negotiating is that much more urgent in this situation.
posted by Dysk at 4:49 PM on December 28, 2008


An Infinity Of Monkeys writes "orthogonality, we see your point, but the Cubans (or the Soviets) weren't firing hundreds of rockets over America's borders each week, either."

The Cubans (or the Soviets) also weren't living in what's essentially a poorly-managed prison camp either.
posted by mullingitover at 4:49 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


The situation is serious enough without hyperbole.
posted by woodway at 4:54 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


epimorph, I'm not sure bombing medicine depots, prisons, mosques, and universities is the best way to go about preventing further rocketry. In fact, given how little infrastructure flinging an explosive across a border requires, I don't think a military strike is the best way to go about preventing it.

A better way to prevent this from happening in the short term might be to offer to re-open the flow of water, medicine, electricity, and so on in return for a stop to the rocketry.
posted by Dysk at 4:54 PM on December 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


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

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

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

posted by Substrata at 4:56 PM on December 28, 2008 [6 favorites]


It is my understanding that Hamas and Israel don't negotiate directly with one another, ever, (in part) because they don't recognize each other. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but this is what I believe.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:59 PM on December 28, 2008


Where would the United States foreign policy in the Middle East be, without Israel as the military might; with an endless peace process the U.S. only supports in words, but not in actuality?
posted by captainsohler at 5:01 PM on December 28, 2008


Sorry, forgot to reload
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:01 PM on December 28, 2008


"How does State A negotiate with State B, when one of State B's stated goals is the complete destruction of State A?"

Recognize that a State is like a corporation. It is a collective that has been given legal rights. But it is as much a fiction as the bonds issued on bad mortgages. The reason the Palestinian State is 'controlled' by Hamas is that they were voted in by disenfranchised, oppressed people. Give the people reason to change their attitude, and the State will change.
posted by dragonsi55 at 5:03 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


And, seeing as we are still going on about the State A, State B stuff, I'll point out again that Hamas removed the call for the destruction of Israel from its manifesto in 2006!

By the way, the United Kingdom - of "we do not negotiate with terrorists" fame - engaged in secret negotiations with the IRA while still conducting military/police operations against them. Most probably it was these negotiations that led to eventual peace.
posted by knapah at 5:12 PM on December 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


I must admit, I didn't think it was possible that you could be posing that question seriously, an infinity of monkeys. How do you negotiate with a belligerent foe? By changing attitudes. Israel is a de facto administrative state. Administrators usually do better gaining favour through assistance rather than rockets. The threat of "destruction" has to be viewed in light of the ability to carry it out.

Tell me: how do you think these recent actions will affect sentiment among Palestinians toward peaceful resolution versus rhetoric of the "destruction of Israel"? Why exactly do you think Hamas is in power in the first place? How well is the fantasy of "eliminating the terrorists" working out in places like Iraq? Why do you think that is?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:22 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


nothing changes.
Check out this Edward Said piece from 2002
Israel's policies are wrong and they are trying to do as much wrong as possible before January 20th b/c they fear a change in policy. I doubt that will happen with Emmanuel as Chief of Staff. His father was a member of Irgun
posted by hooptycritter at 5:27 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


What I was attempting to do was not to insult the Left but rather to try to explain why
in fact the Left had been such ardent supporters of Israel back in 1947 and on for a number of years but then became (more often than not) anti-Israel. And yes we all support the oppressed but what you might label someone oppresed might to others be a group of people out to destroy your country.


Whereas the American right didn't give a squat about Israel until the Six-Day War, when they locked in the idea of Israelis as righteous A-rab ass-kickers (yeeHAW), and have been unable to add any nuance whatsoever to that position over the last four fucking decades.

Why? Because this Israel-is-fightin'-for-its-life-'gainst-the-murderous-towelheads position lets them sneer at those stupid pantywaist hippy-dippy libruls at home, and "disparage the lefty!" is the black hole at center of the Conservative American brain, sucking in all rational thought that does not orbit it.
posted by fleacircus at 5:40 PM on December 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


The Palestinians would be justified in wiping Israel from the face of the earth. The way Israel treats its Arab citizens is worse than South Africa under Apartheid. Fuck Israel (and my family background is Jewish).
posted by mike3k at 5:46 PM on December 28, 2008


The Palestinians would be justified in wiping Israel from the face of the earth.

I completely agree. The Palestinians need room to breathe.
posted by Justinian at 5:59 PM on December 28, 2008


Joe in Australia writes "You might have confined yourself with an analogy of Gaza Strip::ghetto and been merely offensive. Instead you're drawing an analogy that goes far beyond reason and I can only speculate as to your motives. You demonise Jews; the Nazis demonised Jews. As you put it: how different is it? Take it as a challenge; delineate that and I think we'll have a better idea of what's going on."

Right, because any criticism of Israel is de facto antisemitism.

Congratulations, you've un-masked me like the cartoon villain I am. I'm wearing my Totenkopf SS uniform, rubbing my hands together while I cackle in glee, with quick breaks to stroke my white cat. "“No, Mr. Bond Jew… I expect you to die!"

No, I didn't demonize Jews. I criticized Israel. Except to ultra-Zionists and certain brands of fundamentalists (and oh, some antisemetic bigots) , "Israel" and "Jew" are not synonyms.

I'm all for Jews. Hell, I'm all for Israel once Israel repairs its moral compass. I make the same criticism of other countries, and even my own, without reference to to the religion or ethnicity of the peoples involved. I don't defend America's torture by shouting "Look, the critics are anti-American"; I'll leave that to the Republican Party.

But of course, that doesn't matter to you, because you can repeat that same tired old canard, "criticism of Israel is hate of the Jews". It's a simple trump card to win any argument, to tar and vilify and, your word, demonize, and thus dismiss an opponent, to get away from seriously and honestly considering the morality of Israel's methods of occupation. "Quick, don't look at the what the IDF is doing there's a big scary antisemite! Look!"

Congratulations. I mean, once you've silenced any critics of Israel with the old antisemite libel, all of Israel's problems go away, right?

Oh, wait, they don't. Israel's still six decades into an essentially continuous war with no end in sight. The ultra-Orthodox are still beating (Jewish!) women for sitting on the wrong bus, torching video stores, and refusing to serve in the IDF. The whole country hates the Russian Jewish immigrants except when they abuse them in Tel Aviv's brothels. No apology has been made for the atomic medical experiments (paid for by the US) carried out on unsuspecting and unconsenting (Jewish!) children of Sephardic immigrants. Torture still goes on in Israel's prisons, a sadly inevitable consequence of occupation that my own country is now also guilty of. But we've found an antisemite, a scape-goat, and that makes Israel, if not pure, at least beyond criticism!

"Look, an antisemite!" Congratulations. Life would be so much more simple if there were just a few more antisemites to blame.
posted by orthogonality at 6:00 PM on December 28, 2008 [24 favorites]


One thing is for certain people. Isreal must NOT be criticised in any way, that would be anti-semetic.
posted by mattoxic at 6:00 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


If only the Palestinians would suffer more, if only they and their children endured more malnutrition and disease, if only they were more confined and constrained, if only more of their friends and family members were killed by bombs and shrapnel and exploding glass and collapsed buildings, if only more of their land and natural resources were seized or denied to them, if only there was more anguish and funerals, then they would learn their place, and the Israelis could have luxury and peace.
posted by Auden at 6:17 PM on December 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


"How does State A negotiate with State B, when one of State B's stated goals is the complete destruction of State A?"

First, you recognize (as other commenters have intimated) that there's a difference between what State B might say its goals are or the fantasyland pipe dreams State B might entertain in its fevered sleepless nights and what State B can ever realistically accomplish in the real world.

Second, you recognize that State B knows full well that its (now withdrawn) bluster about "sinking State A in the ocean" was just as practically nonsensical as your own swinging-dick bullshit about "eliminating all the terrorists and securing our borders forever-n-ever-n-ever."

Then you sit the hell down behind the scenes and start talking to people you dislike. If the Provos and Anglo-Saxons can do it, anyone can.

My personal crackpot theory is that since 1947 Israel has had the world's most massive (and understandable) case of collective PTSD and was jumpy with good cause for the first few decades. But at this point, it's more or less a large-scale version of tkchrist's dad vanquishing the Coke machine. I dunno what you do to treat this. It may just need a few more generations to burn itself out -- if the nation doesn't consume itself in the process. But once you're entrenched in that embattled state of mind, nearly any dang thing (UN peacekeepers, decrease in US arms/funding) can become just more fuel for the fire.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:35 PM on December 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Killing another human being will always be murder.

Utterly false.
posted by oaf at 6:57 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Israel has got to stop the (yes I'll say it) Nazi-like collective punishments,

Oh fuck, we're doing this here? Really?

You know, there's a reason why Godwin's law was invented : because comparing people to Nazis ruins threads!

I mean, shit. You know, when Nazi comparisons are on the table .... you know what, fuck this. There's no reason for me to be in this thread.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:00 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


How does State A negotiate with State B, when one of State B's stated goals is the complete destruction of State A?

What I want to know is how State B can aim for the complete destruction of State A when it won't even acknowledge that State A even exists.
posted by oaf at 7:03 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why do people think it will work this time when it never worked before?

What makes you think they're actually trying to fix the problem? They're not, they don't want peace.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:03 PM on December 28, 2008


Oh yeah, and really, I shouldn't have even read that far. kampken's "kill 'em all" response should have been enough to put me off. Oh look, and now I see he's defending that shit. Wow, this should be fun.

Yeah, this is no place for me.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:03 PM on December 28, 2008


Joe in Australia writes "Instead you're drawing an analogy that goes far beyond reason and I can only speculate as to your motives. You demonise Jews; the Nazis demonised Jews."

Joe, I'm not going to get into my background, or religious beliefs, or talk about how "some of my best friends are Jews". I figure you'll have to judge me on what I've posted here.

So Joe, where were you when I posted about real anti-semitism at the Air Force Academy? When I posted about a young victim of the Shoah? Was that part of my devious antisemitic plan?

How about when I posted about the forced conversion, kidnapping of Jewish children, and expulsion of Jews from Iberia?

When I was getting a rasher of shit from a few for bringing up Martin Luther's virulent and real antisemitism, where were you, Joe?

When I asked, Who Goes Nazi?, that was because I was looking for fellow travelers to go Nazi with me, right?

When I posted about Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim's work for peace, was I an antisemite? Was Barenboim?

When I implied misgivings about Germany's preeminence in the European Union by quoting the banned verses of Das Deutschlandlied, that really showed my Nazi sympathies, right?

When I posted that Nobel laureate and famed German anti-war novelist Günter Grass Grass hid the extent of his military service in an SS unit, and implied that voluntary amnesia was perhaps more common than admitted in German society, that was just more of my Germanophilia, right?

My first (undeleted) post here, in which I imply that Americans "are all 'Good Germans' now" because of our acceptance of American torture -- that was just a blind to set up, three and a half years later, my criticism of Israel, right Joe?

My numerous posts decrying American torture were just an antisemite's ploy to later demonize Jews Israel's torture, right?

My half dozen posts about the Vietnam War, and by four or five posts highlighting the poetry of our veterans that "conflict" not evidence of my sadness over the human waste of war, but just a way to mask that fact that I only hate Israel's wars.

Yes Joe, you've unmasked me. I'm just a nasty antisemite who merely pretends to be horrified by war, disgusted by torture, and sickened by the historic ugly and unjust treatment of Jews, all so that out of my Jew-hate, I can subject Israel to double standard I'd never apply to any other nation or people.

Joe, antisemitism is a horrible, terrible thing. Implying someone is an antisemite, without evidence, is also a horrible terrible thing. There are few things worse you can imply about someone. It hurts me deeply to be compared to a Nazi, and it hurts me more to see it used just to "win" an argument or to deflect criticism of Isreal.

It trivializes the Exodus and the pogroms and the exiles and the Shoah and the whole travail and suffering of the Jewish people to imply accusations of antisemtism as cheaply, casually and easily as you did. I can only assume you did it in an unthinking haste, in the heat of the moment, and that it's an aberration from your more honorable and usual conduct.
posted by orthogonality at 7:04 PM on December 28, 2008 [13 favorites]


The Palestinians would be justified in wiping Israel from the face of the earth.

As said above, ein bisschen Raum fürs Leben, oder?

The way Israel treats its Arab citizens is worse than South Africa under Apartheid.

Care to back up that statement with anything? I haven't seen that Arab citizens of Israel are mistreated. At least they can vote. Could "coloured" South Africans prior to 1994?

Fuck Israel (and my family background is Jewish).

I can't wait for round two, where we get to hear about how you have black friends, so it's OK.
posted by oaf at 7:08 PM on December 28, 2008


Thanks for this post.
posted by acro at 7:14 PM on December 28, 2008


Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza have been firing rockets at Israel almost every day, for the past few years. All of these groups, Islamic and secular, have carried out scores of deadly attacks against Israelis since the creation of the Jewish state.

The charter of Hamas, the leading Palestiinian terrorist group that has ruled the Gaza Strip following a bloody coup against the U.S.-backed Palestinian president's government, calls for the destruction of Israel. The group is backed by Iran.

Moreover, Hamas incorporate its fundamentalist propaganda against Jews and Israel in its schools, charities, mosques and even in children's television programs.

The Palestinian leadership has done absolutely nothing to stop the attacks or fill any weapons-smuggling tunnels Palestinian terrorists have been digging for years underneath Gaza's borders with Israel and Egypt. It has done nothing to stop Palestinians from carrying out attacks against Israelis inside Israeli territory despite a de facto truce. The reason? The Palestinian leadership has no power.

During multiple "ceasefires" throughout the years, Hamas and other terrorist groups have continued their attacks. The only times the violence has stopped, or at least diminished, has been after Israeli raids. It's effective house-cleaning. These groups understand only violence.

Note that most of the Palestinian casualties during Israel's current assault against Gaza terrorists were Hamas "security forces", aka terrorists who are not supported by the Palestinian president.

I think this Israeli operation is well overdue. You reap what you sow.

P.S. Speaking of which, when Israel pulled its troops and settlers out of the Gaza Strip in 2005, they left greenhouses filled with equipment and produce, ready for the Palestinians to use to build a new, prosperous life. Guess what they did?
posted by bondgirl53001 at 7:16 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


So hey, instead of having the usual flamewar, why don't we have an interesting discussion about political theory instead?

Here, I'll go first....

I think that Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank should fuse into one country, where all inhabitants are citizens and have equal voting rights. This is often referred to as the Binational Solution, or One-State Solution.

Yes, this would mean no more Jewish majority, so obviously the Israelis won't accept this plan anytime soon. But you must admit that it would be a fair solution, and that, if it could actually be brought to fruition, it would lead to long-term stability. Some would argue that this is the inevitable fate of the region, anyway.

Furthermore, this solution would be in-line with pluralistic American values. The idea of two separate states where their populations are defined by ethnicity is so far from the American system of values that I'm surprised that so many Americans support it.

I think that the Two-State Solution is unrealistic because it would create two countries where one clearly consists of Haves, and the other, the Have-Nots. In short, I don't see how it would be any closer to a peaceful solution than what we have now.

Plus, Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank are so inextricably linked economically, it's kind of an illusion to think of them being independent anyway. Political leaders like to talk about the Two-State Solution because it doesn't involve them taking any real risks; and of course, the details of these two states will always "be worked out later, at some point."
posted by Afroblanco at 7:21 PM on December 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


Hamas have said on more than one occasion that they would be willing to enter into a long-term ceasefire with Israel if Israel is willing to return to 1967 borders.

I don't recall any such statement, and in any event the point of such an offer would be that Hamas is incapable of offering peace. Its charter does not call for the destruction of Israel as a mere bargaining position: it is fundamental to Hamas' beliefs that Moslems have a sacred duty to "free" all land that has been under Moslem authority.

And at the risk of stirring up an epic shitstorm, why - in this age of enlightened liberal feeling (hah) - is the concept of a uni-ethnic state permissible?

Your message seems to have come from an extraordinary mirrror-image world in which Israel is not a multi-ethnic democracy, while Hamas is a something other than a violent Islamic revolutionary movement aimed at the eradication of Jews from what it calls "Moslem land".

As a matter of fact no Jews live within the Gaza Strip (to the best of my knowledge); they would be murdered if they tried. In contrast, a large fraction of Israel's population is Arab by ethnicity and/or Moslem by religion. It's inconceivable that a Hamas-run Gaza Strip could ever be multi-ethnic, unless that term means "except for Jews"?

We don't contemplate the creation of Christian states,

We're not contemplating the creation of Israel, either. Israel celebrated its 60th birthday this year. As it happens there are around fifteen Christian states and many more Islamic ones. I think Lebanon and Israel are the only two states in the Middle East without a national religion.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:25 PM on December 28, 2008


The charter of Hamas, the leading Palestiinian terrorist group that has ruled the Gaza Strip following a bloody coup against the U.S.-backed Palestinian president's government, calls for the destruction of Israel.

Good. Fuck Israel. Fuck it so hard it bounces for a month.

I think this Israeli operation is well overdue. You reap what you sow.

The irony, it is of a bone crushing density.

P.S. Speaking of which, when Israel pulled its troops and settlers out of the Gaza Strip in 2005, they left greenhouses filled with equipment and produce, ready for the Palestinians to use to build a new, prosperous life. Guess what they did?

People who have lived as refugees for decades didn't spontaneously secure funding and form a democratic co-op to run the greenhouses? Well cover me in brown sugar and call me oatmeal. They must be degenerate subhumans ripe for extermination.
posted by fleetmouse at 7:29 PM on December 28, 2008


bondgirl53001: 1) Hamas consider themselves to be fighting a war of liberation for the occupied territories.

2) The charter of Hamas NO LONGER calls for the destruction of Israel, in fact, as I have said above, it hasn't since 2006.

3) The "bloody coup" you mention came after an original bloody coup when Fatah (like Israel, the US, and the EU) failed to recognise the results of the 2006 election when Hamas were democratically elected by the Palestinian people.

4) The United States spent $59 million to help Fatah regain control. Our enemy's enemy is the phrase, I think. (Related to: [Hamas] is backed by Iran)

4) The Palestinian leadership - or in this case, Gazan leadership - having no power is not terribly surprising when the Israeli policy is to bomb the police stations, prisons and security complexes of the democratically elected government, is it?

5) The "Palestinian President" is the leader of Fatah, the corrupt and incompetent beneficiaries of the United States' policies. They are not the popularly supported representatives of the Palestinian people.

6) Greenhouses - Israel shuts off water, dries Gaza greenhouses - Not much use having a greenhouse without water, the materials are more use I would imagine.


If I had more time I would go into a more detailed deconstruction of your post, suffice to say that I think the current Israeli operation is counter-productive and reprehensible and that I believe your post misstates the situation to some extent.

I also refer you to the post further up the thread by substrata.

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

Since the Second Intifada broke out in 2000, Israelis have killed nearly 5000 Palestinians, nearly a thousand of them minors."

posted by knapah at 7:40 PM on December 28, 2008 [11 favorites]


Joe in Australia: Your message seems to have come from an extraordinary mirrror-image world in which Israel is not a multi-ethnic democracy, while Hamas is a something other than a violent Islamic revolutionary movement aimed at the eradication of Jews from what it calls "Moslem land".

Hamas is also a social, welfare, cultural and educational group - I'm not being funny here, like Hezbollah in Lebanon they provide a lot of services for the people of their communities who would otherwise get nothing. It also fits the mould of a national liberation movement. They consider Israel to be occupying Palestinian land (here is the offer of a "long-term truce" for 1967 borders).

Of course Israel is not an entirely ethnically homogeneous state, but there are rights enshrined in Israeli law for Jews over any other - most obviously the Law of Return. This means that it religion plays a powerful role in its governance. The problem of course comes in the definition of Jew - is it an ethnicity? Is it solely a religion? The blurred boundaries cause problems.

I'm not saying that Hamas are perfect, I condemn their use of violence as well. However, Israel should realise that using F16s to bomb Gaza - and killing civilians in the process - will not help them achieve security and will simply add to the numbers of Palestinians with dead mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters all of whom will now hold a grudge against Israel.

As a rich and powerful (practically omnipotent in this context) state, Israel has a responsibility to exercise restraint in using its overwhelming military force.

Israel is not an evil regime, the "Fuck Israel" comments are a bit foolish to me, but they are acting like a blind giant being pestered by a wasp. They bluster around, doing a bit of damage, but end up just hitting the nest. Crap analogy, but the point comes through a bit I hope.
posted by knapah at 8:02 PM on December 28, 2008


Afroblanco writes "Plus, Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank are so inextricably linked economically, it's kind of an illusion to think of them being independent anyway."

I've often wondered why the Zionists in '48 didn't sit down with the Palestinians living in the Mandate, and say, something to the effect of "hey look, we're refugees and stateless and dispossessed, but not only are we a hard working people, many of us are highly educated doctors and scientists and teachers and technicians, and we have relatives in Europe and America, and we could set up import export firms and help you grow twice the yield of figs and olives you do now and sell them abroad, and we could build schools for your kids and new mosques next to our shuls, maybe if you guys gave us some land we could build a garden in this desert together."

The greatest resource of States, like businesses, is its people -- an influx of hardened, hard-working, educated and hungry immigrants could have been a blessing for both the Jewish refugees and the Palestinians.
posted by orthogonality at 8:04 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


And just so you know what a former US President thinks of Fatah - Carter: Stop favoring Fatah over Hamas

---

Afroblanco: I'm in favour of a one-state solution as well despite its practical impossibility.
posted by knapah at 8:04 PM on December 28, 2008


Final post before bed... 4:05am, damn.

Minor correction to my response to bondgirl.

#2: The charter may still refer to destruction of Israel, but the 2006 "manifesto" does not.
posted by knapah at 8:06 PM on December 28, 2008


this conflict will never get solved and i honestly can't see an solution

How about if we give the Israelis Florida, and the Palestinians say, New Mexico. That would keep them several hundred miles away from each other and there's plenty of land for both. The U.S. doesn't really need either of those states. Land for peace.

Then the world could turn all of what is presently Israel/Palestine into a world park, kinda like national parks, but the for the whole world to come see. They could build monorails and have wildlife and stuff. Maybe even some of those artificial snow making machines.

Oh wait... the Bush Administration is almost over?

Never mind.
posted by netbros at 8:11 PM on December 28, 2008


My suspicion is that everybody on the Hamas side looked at each other, checked their calendar, and someone said "You know, we could get some good licks in right now, while all the Americans are having their holidays and everybody in the outgoing administration is too busy shopping resumes to mind the store." And then all the guys over on the Israeli side thought the exact same thing.
posted by newdaddy at 8:20 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can't imagine the function of such a parallel, except as a grotesque exercise in finger-pointing, as though Jews, who were victims of the Nazis, are now just like the Nazis.

Arguing from incredulity doesn't invalidate the comparison.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:22 PM on December 28, 2008


Afroblanco: I'm in favour of a one-state solution as well despite its practical impossibility.

Well, it's a practical impossibility right now, but I do think that it's the inevitable fate of the region. It's really the only solution that will lead to stability in the long term.

To my mind, it's really just a question of how much more fighting needs to go on until everybody comes to this conclusion.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:24 PM on December 28, 2008


The hope of Zechariah is still appropriate:

There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.
posted by dd42 at 9:08 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


orthogonality: I've often wondered why the Zionists in '48 didn't sit down with the Palestinians living in the Mandate, and say...maybe if you guys gave us some land we could build a garden in this desert together."

I imagine that was pretty much the plan on both sides, at least originally, but I think it was too late by 1948. By then, it must've seemed to the Palestinian Arab population like pure colonialism.

Coincidentally, I've been reading a very interesting collection of primary sources, The Israel-Arab Reader, and it's really illuminating to see the evolution of Jewish/Arab relations from before the Balfour Declaration to the present day. So many missed opportunities for rapprochement...
posted by greatgefilte at 9:16 PM on December 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


Afroblanco: I think that Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank should fuse into one country, where all inhabitants are citizens and have equal voting rights. This is often referred to as the Binational Solution, or One-State Solution.

Yes, this would mean no more Jewish majority, so obviously the Israelis won't accept this plan anytime soon. But you must admit that it would be a fair solution, and that, if it could actually be brought to fruition, it would lead to long-term stability. Some would argue that this is the inevitable fate of the region, anyway.


I'm a little worried that if the Palestinians become the voting majority, they will democratically act to consolidate their power (right of return, simple out-breeding) and then start the ethnic cleansing when they have overwhelming numbers and are integrated into the same areas. Alternately, they might do whatever they can to make the country unlivable for its former inhabitants (for example, institute Sharia law.) There's the problem that the two groups of people just do not want to live in the same kind of country, and it will be very difficult to find a compromise that makes both happy.

I tend to favor a two-state solution with the Palestinians as a true, sovereign nation with no influence from Israel, and a very serious uncrossable border and DMZ between the two. Rather like North and South Korea.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:26 PM on December 28, 2008


No, I didn't demonize Jews. I criticized Israel. Except to ultra-Zionists and certain brands of fundamentalists (and oh, some antisemetic bigots) , "Israel" and "Jew" are not synonyms.

Oh, bullshit. You didn't compare Israel to Nazi Germany because they are Israelis, but because they are Jews. You started with the hyperbole, and just because you got called on it with a counter-hyperbole is not permission to launch into everyone's favorite "OMG ANY criticism of Israel is ANTISEMITISM." It isn't. Most Jews are perfectly okay with reasoned criticism of Israel. You didn't offer that.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:39 PM on December 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Arguing from incredulity doesn't invalidate the comparison.

No. The fact that it is total horseshit does.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:43 PM on December 28, 2008


Every ethnic cleansing, invasion, persecution or other such treatment by one country by another leads to accusations of comparisons to Nazi Germany. It's hardly unique to Israel. If you went through MeFi it would be fairly easy to find comparisons of Bush to the Nazis, of Iran to the Nazis and so on.
posted by sien at 9:59 PM on December 28, 2008


Yes. And, in many cases, if the comparison is inapt, people will point out that fact. And you must admit, this is not simply "Oh, oppression -- just like the Nazis!" This is "Palestinians are just like those who fought in the Warsaw uprising." The comparison was explicitly meant to suggest that modern Israelis are the equivalent of Nazis and that Palestinians are the equivalent of ghetto resistance. This is a terrible parallel, astoundingly ignorant of history, and selected specifically because of the Jewish element.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:03 PM on December 28, 2008


I'm a little worried that if the Palestinians become the voting majority, they will democratically act to consolidate their power (right of return, simple out-breeding) and then start the ethnic cleansing when they have overwhelming numbers and are integrated into the same areas. Alternately, they might do whatever they can to make the country unlivable for its former inhabitants (for example, institute Sharia law.) There's the problem that the two groups of people just do not want to live in the same kind of country, and it will be very difficult to find a compromise that makes both happy.

Well, as far as population goes, here's what we have right now - (from these two pages)

Palestinians :
993,818 in the Gaza Strip
705,207 Palestinian in the West Bank
1,441,440 Israeli Arabs in Israel (not sure if all of these are ethnic Palestinians, but for now lets assume they are)

Jews :

5,838,560 (including those living in settlements)

So, right now, we have 5,838,560 Jews and 3,140,465 Palestinians.

But let's assume that all of the Palestinian refugees want to come back, including ones not currently living in Israel, Gaza, or the West Bank. Ok, then we have 5,838,560 Jews and 4,255,120 Palestinians. Even in the most extreme case, you'd have a state with 65% Jews and 35% Palestinians. So I wouldn't really be worried about ethnic cleansing.

Besides, in order to get anything done at all, members of both sides would have to strike up coalitions and work together, at least to some degree (assuming that they keep the Israeli parliamentary-style government). This is actually one of the strong points of the One-State Solution - the Israelis and Palestinians would have common cause, because they'd be part of the same country. And presumably, they'd want to get things done, like create jobs, build roads, etc. So yes, the Palestinians would have political clout. But I don't think that would be a bad thing.

Besides, I come to this viewpoint mainly from a process of elimination. It's the only solution that I can really see resulting in a lasting peace. You used North and South Korea as an example - and we see how well that one worked out!

I think that a One-State solution is inevitable because it's the only thing that can work. I may be persuaded to back a Two-State solution, but only if it was seen as an intermediary stage to make way for a One-State solution.

So yes, I think that some time will need to pass before we can reach a One-State solution. And unfortunately, until that day, more blood will be shed. However, I refuse to give up hope and just say, "Feh! The Middle East! They'll always be fighting!"
posted by Afroblanco at 10:13 PM on December 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Afroblanco: But let's assume that all of the Palestinian refugees want to come back, including ones not currently living in Israel, Gaza, or the West Bank. Ok, then we have 5,838,560 Jews and 4,255,120 Palestinians. Even in the most extreme case, you'd have a state with 65% Jews and 35% Palestinians. So I wouldn't really be worried about ethnic cleansing.

Didn't you just say up above that a one-state solution would mean the end of the Jewish majority in Israel? I was working from that. Anyways, it's also worth considering each respective group's population growth rate - if the Jews weren't a minority right away, it might still only be a generation or two before they were.

Besides, I come to this viewpoint mainly from a process of elimination. It's the only solution that I can really see resulting in a lasting peace. You used North and South Korea as an example - and we see how well that one worked out!

It worked out fine for the South Koreans and the only reason it didn't work out fine for the North Koreans is because their government was terrible. Sure, it's an ugly solution, but ending interaction ends violence. I think this may be the only way to end the violence in this case.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:36 PM on December 28, 2008


But, the self-preservation instinct in me says pretty loudly: "I want those rockets to stop now!"
posted by epimorph at 4:47 PM on December 28


Your options are are genocide or negotiation. But Israel doesn't negotiate because it doesn't recognize the results of the free and fair elections. So it looks like Israel will continue its policies of simply exterminating the Palestinians. The comparisons to Nazi Germany are very apt, don't tell me otherwise.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:40 PM on December 28, 2008


it's also worth considering each respective group's population growth rate - if the Jews weren't a minority right away, it might still only be a generation or two before they were.

I don't necessarily think it has to be that way.

Ortodox Jews are quite fecund. And you may see more Jews emigrating to Israel if it became a safer place.

As far as the Palestinians go, you might see birthrates drop if their standard of living improved. That's happened all over the industrialized, western world.

And even if the Palestinians became the majority, I think it would only be fair for the government to reflect that. Still doesn't mean ethnic cleansing would take place.

It worked out fine for the South Koreans and the only reason it didn't work out fine for the North Koreans is because their government was terrible. Sure, it's an ugly solution, but ending interaction ends violence. I think this may be the only way to end the violence in this case.

Yeah, I still wouldn't hold up the Koreas as something we want the Middle East to aspire to. Remember, North Korea has nukes, and that's a very bad thing.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:41 PM on December 28, 2008


But Israel doesn't negotiate because it doesn't recognize the results of the free and fair elections.

To what are you referring?
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:46 PM on December 28, 2008


A one state solution with a representative democracy for all of Israel/Palistine (they can call it the United States of New Jerusalem) is really the only way to end this nonsense. If we get cracking we can have everything done by New Years.

What?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:51 PM on December 28, 2008


Afroblanco: And even if the Palestinians became the majority, I think it would only be fair for the government to reflect that. Still doesn't mean ethnic cleansing would take place.

Fair for who? The phrase 'tyranny of the majority' comes to mind. Even if the Palestinians don't actively use the law to torment the Jews, which they would, just making the government to suit them would result in a hostile environment. Look at all the other middle eastern countries and how tolerant they are of different religions and lifestyles.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:57 PM on December 28, 2008


It is my understanding that Hamas and Israel don't negotiate directly with one another, ever, (in part) because they don't recognize each other. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but this is what I believe.
I've never seen any evidence that suggests Hamas is unwilling to negotiate with Israel. I'm pretty sure they are willing. But Israel has steadfastly refused to do so.
Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza have been firing rockets at Israel almost every day, for the past few years. All of these groups, Islamic and secular, have carried out scores of deadly attacks against Israelis since the creation of the Jewish state.
Between the ceasefire in june and the bombing, those rockets had not killed a single person. In comparison, this bombing killed over 200
The charter of Hamas, the leading Palestiinian terrorist group that has ruled the Gaza Strip following a bloody coup against the U.S.-backed Palestinian president's government, calls for the destruction of Israel. The group is backed by Iran.
As someone pointed out, the charter no longer even calls for that. And furthermore, Hamas has no capability to wipe out Israel, anyway, and the purpose of negotiation would be to change things like that. Hamas won the elections that the U.S. forced the Palestinians to have, so that would make them the 'legitimate' government. Requiring them to have elections was an unbelievably stupid act, especially given that we weren't willing to deal with the party most likely to win.
Its charter does not call for the destruction of Israel as a mere bargaining position: it is fundamental to Hamas' beliefs that Moslems have a sacred duty to "free" all land that has been under Moslem authority.
Actually, its charter does not call for the destruction of Israel at all. It was amended in 2006, as other people have pointed out. The fact that it was removed indicates it was never all that important, at least not recently and could have been negotiated away. And if you are unwilling to negotiate, you will never find out which positions are flexible, and which are not.
posted by delmoi at 11:04 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


South Africa's apartheid and Bantustans are a better comparison than the Nazis anyway.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:07 PM on December 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Astro Zombie, perhaps the whole debacle surrounding Hamas' election?

Mitrovarr, Afroblanco: I do think your argument about whether or not Jews would continue to be the ethnic majority is a bit ridiculous... Who is the ethnic majority is utterly irrelevant, unless you have a state predicated more or less on uni-ethnicity, which is really quite a problematic position to defend. "Israel for Jews" is not that different to "Islamic Iran" or the BNP's "England for the English!" rhetoric. So yes, if Palestinians were a homogenous voting block purely on the basis of their ethnicity, they'd be able to control parliament... so what? This is only problematic if they're a oppressed underclass - then they'd have some greivances to get back at people for. If not, I don't think you'd see any more oppression of Jews on the basis of another ethnic group controlling parliament than you do in Denmark or Australia.

...but again, to think "the Palestinians" will do this and that if they are a voting majority is a bit... off.
posted by Dysk at 11:08 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


mitrovarr:Afroblanco: And even if the Palestinians became the majority, I think it would only be fair for the government to reflect that. Still doesn't mean ethnic cleansing would take place.

Fair for who? The phrase 'tyranny of the majority' comes to mind. Even if the Palestinians don't actively use the law to torment the Jews, which they would, just making the government to suit them would result in a hostile environment. Look at all the other middle eastern countries and how tolerant they are of different religions and lifestyles.


We see a Chinese majority in Singapore... are they making life hell for all the other ethnic groups present there? And why does the 'tyranny of the majority' only apply when the majority is non-Jewish?
posted by Dysk at 11:11 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fair for who? The phrase 'tyranny of the majority' comes to mind. Even if the Palestinians don't actively use the law to torment the Jews, which they would, just making the government to suit them would result in a hostile environment. Look at all the other middle eastern countries and how tolerant they are of different religions and lifestyles.

Well, the fact is, the United One-State (don't know what they'd call it - Israelestine?) would not be like the other Middle Eastern countries.

If we could actually get to the point where Israelis and Palestinians would accept a One-State solution, it would be after generations of efforts to put aside past grievances and forge a new path. And to a degree, I agree with Brother Dysk - the current attitude of the Palestinian people is born from being an underclass, refugee people. If they had a standard of living closer to that of the modern-day Israelis, if they had a fair stake in a proper government, if they had incentives to build a coalition with their Jewish compatriots, I do not think that ethnic cleansing would be a forgone conclusion.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:21 PM on December 28, 2008


Brother Dysk: We see a Chinese majority in Singapore... are they making life hell for all the other ethnic groups present there?

I don't know if that's a strictly analogous situation. There's less cultural difference between the two, and vastly less hostility.

And why does the 'tyranny of the majority' only apply when the majority is non-Jewish?

It doesn't, of course, which is why I support a two-state solution.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:23 PM on December 28, 2008


A people defending a land they believe was given to them by their supernatural being. Those same people funded by a powerful nation led by many that believe their supernatural being holds those self same lands as not only the birthplace of the son of this same supernatural being but ground zero for the end times as transcribed in a novel that these same supposed leaders hold to be the actual word of this supernatural being.

Meanwhile on the other side a young man straps an explosive device to his body with the intent of destroying as many unbelievers in his all perfect supernatural being and with his death has also assured both him and his families place in a perfect eternity.

God is a funny kind of guy.
If you can't swim here comes a flood.
posted by pianomover at 11:25 PM on December 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Astro Zombie, perhaps the whole debacle surrounding Hamas' election?

Yes. That probably is it. Thanks for the clarification.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:28 PM on December 28, 2008


It's amazing that anything less than carefully constructed, well thought out, considered, courteous and polite commentary is expected from people who are thinking, "Wow, could Israel be even slightly more Nazi-ish?" Myself, I find it hard to find a nice, reasonable way to say, "It's just Psychology 101 isn't it? The victims have become the tormentors. The Nazis." I mean, what the fuck, does Israel have magical powers that make it able to escape logical conclusions?
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 11:30 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, I think I've stated my ideal goal for the region. Miltovarr, why don't you make a case for a Two-State solution? Why do you think that it would work in the long term? How would a Two-State solution be any different from what we have now?
posted by Afroblanco at 11:30 PM on December 28, 2008


To an extent, we already have a sort of two-state situation (not really much of a solution) where oppression, subjugation, and violence are the order of the day...
posted by Dysk at 11:34 PM on December 28, 2008


(And let's try to stop the Israeli/Nazi comparison argument. It's done as done can be, and I'm tired of it. Yes, it's offensive when people compare a political movement that has slaughtered 9 to 11 million people to .... well, anyone or thing that hasn't slaughtered millions of people. But the people making the comparison are clearly trolls, and as such it's best to stop feeding them. Yes, it's hard to just stand by and watch them defecate on themselves, but it's not like you're going to convince anybody. Just let them look stupid.)
posted by Afroblanco at 11:35 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Israel has a lot to answer for, but any comparison between Israel and Nazi Germany is inevitably glib and useless."

I disagree. There's a certain type of Israel-defender who loves to play the Holocaust card as some sort of claim of universal innocence for any action the state of Israel ever takes. Comparisons between the state of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians and the build-up of Nazi power in the 1930's are fair game.

That's the thing about analogies -- they're, ya know, analogies. Some are better than others. But looking at the Nazi establishment of ghettos before the wholesale liquidation of Jews? And looking at what's being done to people in Gaza today? Yup, pretty good analogy. Certainly not a perfect one.
posted by bardic at 11:35 PM on December 28, 2008 [6 favorites]


Somehow I missed out on my Holocaust card. When was that supposed to be sent out?
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:46 PM on December 28, 2008


MetaFilter: missed out on my Holocaust card.
posted by Dysk at 11:47 PM on December 28, 2008


Things to avoid if you don' want to be compared to nazis:
* Anything resembling ethnic cleansing
* Putting groups you consider undesirable into anything resembling camps, ghettos, walled areas, that sort of thing.
* Neat uniforms, shiny shoes.
* Invading all or part of other countries.
* Use of eagles.

I bet there isn't a country on earth with one or more of those characteristics that doesn't get compared to nazis, fairly or otherwise. Israel gets it doubly of course because peopel think they're being clever.
posted by Artw at 11:49 PM on December 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


Never quite understood why they built L. Ron's Scientologyland in the middle of a fervently Anonymous neighbourhood. Cheaper land?
posted by davemee at 11:58 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Move along folks- no Nazis to see here!
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 12:00 AM on December 29, 2008


BTW If the situation out there degenerates further I'm using this thread as a shitty analogy for it.
posted by Artw at 12:05 AM on December 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


until people who seek and gain power refuse to use power to achieve their ends there will be no lasting peace. its not a Palestinian or Israeli problem its a problem of power and politics. what both nations need is leaders willing to risk their own careers for the sake of the peace process - and these leaders need to arise at the same time. not only that but arbiters from all the nations who have an active interest in the conflict need leaders willing to do the same thing.

until that happens the IDF will always overfund and outperform everyone in the region and whoever they are fighting will have to make do with more manpower and multidimensional threats. maybe someday one side will even win, but i doubt it. war is too profitable for the third parties.
posted by Glibpaxman at 12:06 AM on December 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


Artw, I'm asking for trouble, here, but if I can assume that IDF uniforms are spiffy, then four out of five is going to lead to more Nazi comparions than if you just had nice uniforms or just eagles, say. This is evidenced by falconry's low incidence of Nazi accusations.
posted by Dysk at 12:31 AM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Disapointingly utilitarian, but they do sometimes have very nice tanks and guns.
posted by Artw at 12:33 AM on December 29, 2008


Astro Zombie writes "You didn't compare Israel to Nazi Germany because they are Israelis, but because they are Jews."

Actually, a few days ago I'd been reading about the Warsaw Ghetto fighters, and one thing that stuck in my head was that the fighters snuck out of the Ghetto to scrounge for food. In retrospect, it was something I'd heard about before, and I certainly knew that there'd been privation and starvation the in the Ghetto, but it still re-surprised me, because to some extent I'd taken for granted there'd be some food. It's part of being a well-enough-off American; I've been hungry at times, but never hungry.

So when I read about Israel cutting off food and medicine to Gaza, it clicked for me, and I had this flash of the Palestinians superimposed over the Warsaw Ghetto fighters. That may be a false equivalence, it may be offensive even, and if it is an equivalence, it's a rough one. But food is food, and hungry sick children universally, regardless of tribe, evoke pathos.

The roughness of it is why I made it a link, without much further fleshing out the argument; I wasn't quite sure what the argument should be, and I wanted each person who clicked to confront the juxtaposition for himself, and draw his own conclusions. But while, yes, the link invites comparing the Israelis to the Nazi -- and I don't apologize for it, occupying powers from Sumer to our own mistaken mission in Iraq act in broadly similar ways, and the situation in Gaza is much worse than MacArthur in Japan but not the horror of Japan in Manchuria --, I was much more interested in seeing what, if anything, people might get by looking at the Ghetto fighters as facing tribulations similar to those faced by the Palestinians.

To be clear: I wanted to compare Palestinians to the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, or more properly, get each reader to make that comparison, and weigh it in the balance, himself, much more than I wanted to compare Israelis to Nazis. Now I can certainly see how comparing Palestinian Freedom Fighters/terrorists to the Warsaw Ghetto Fighters/insurgents that can be offensive, for good honest reasons of respect for the unique historical situations of both Palestinians and the Ghetto Fighters, but also --and I don't accuse you of this -- for people who are resolutely against according the Palestinians (or the Ghetto Fighters) a shared humanity.

And frankly, I couldn't readily think of another such "fluid siege", in modern times, where the surrounded people have their land and their governmental structure, which government at times works with, at times against, the fighters, at times negotiates with the occupying power, where the besieged have relative freedom of movement within, but are circumscribed without, where there is privation and lack of food inside and plenty outside, where inside people must fight with improvised weapons and at times recruit their children, while without the adversary has the most modern war machine in the world and the luxury of choosing when to fight.

Perhaps in one of Genghis Khan's sieges, or some drawn out conflict along the Scottish borders, but the Warsaw Ghetto was the best modern analog I knew. If you know a better one, I'll be glad to use it next time.
posted by orthogonality at 12:41 AM on December 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


And let's try to stop the Israeli/Nazi comparison argument. It's done as done can be, and I'm tired of it.

Hey, you I bet the people of Gaza are tired of people getting killed and shit. I mean seriously, 200 people die and you're complaining about salty talk on the internet? Get some fucking perspective.
posted by delmoi at 12:43 AM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


That said, I don't think that comparing Israel to the Nazis is necessarily a good idea. I think it does more to discredit the person making the comparison then convince anyone.
posted by delmoi at 12:47 AM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


The inhabitants of the Warsaw Ghetto did not revolt by targeting German civilians in Germany. So yeah, they aren't really comparable.
posted by grouse at 12:53 AM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


delmoi - Gaza: Warsaw Revisited
posted by Artw at 12:54 AM on December 29, 2008


Oops, that was meant for orthogonality.

The other example mentioned is the embargo of Iraq, make of that what you will.
posted by Artw at 12:55 AM on December 29, 2008


Artw writes "Gaza: Warsaw Revisited"

So it's not just me? I don't know whether to be relieved or disappointed. As I wrote, I did come up with it by myself.
posted by orthogonality at 1:12 AM on December 29, 2008


In retrospect, my comment about "getting some fucking perspective" was overly harsh, sorry about that. It just bothers me that people are complaining about the "emotional appropriateness" of certain arguments in the midst of people getting killed seems very self centered. Certainly you can argue that the argument is wrong, but just complaining about being offended bothers me.
posted by delmoi at 1:27 AM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yes the Warsaw Ghetto does come to mind.
What also comes to mind is electioneering and more of the same: Leaders Lie; Civilians Die..
And from Johann Hari: The sound of Gaza burning should be drowned out by the words of the Israeli writer Larry Derfner. He says: "Israel's war with Gaza has to be the most one-sided on earth... If the point is to end it, or at least begin to end it, the ball is not in Hamas's court – it is in ours."
posted by adamvasco at 1:58 AM on December 29, 2008


The Palestinians would be justified in wiping Israel from the face of the earth. The way Israel treats its Arab citizens is worse than South Africa under Apartheid. Fuck Israel (and my family background is Jewish).
posted by mike3k at 8:46 PM on December 28 [+] [!]
----
The Palestinians would be justified in wiping Israel from the face of the earth.
I completely agree. The Palestinians need room to breathe.
posted by Justinian at 8:59 PM on December 28 [+] [!]

Ah yes. The intelligent, non-formulaic, pro-peace crowd.
Thank you, Postroad, for providing a lonely dissonance to the choir.
posted by bokononito at 3:15 AM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ah yes. The intelligent, non-formulaic, pro-peace crowd.
Thank you, Postroad, for providing a lonely dissonance to the choir.


I'm pretty sure the second comment was sarcastic.
posted by delmoi at 3:25 AM on December 29, 2008


... I'm Jewish and descendant of holocaust survivors. Moreover, I've been a Zionist all of my life. I went to a Zionist school, I was active in Zionist youth groups. I've always been a fervent supporter of Israel as a refuge for Jews around the world who seek a place to exercise their traditions and embrace their identity in peace.

I sang the Israeli anthem in the train rails of Aushwitz-Birkenau and I pledged to fight every day of my life to make sure the savage crimes that had taken place there would never happen again. Every year I pledged: Never Again. Remember and Never forget.

Well, I haven't forgotten. And so to honor that pledge, to honor the memory of my family members who died in those death camps and because "there comes a time when silence is betrayal", today I finally and publicly end my support for the state of Israel.
posted by orthogonality at 4:43 AM on December 29, 2008


Check out the Mexican papers for images you won't see in the US.
posted by telstar at 5:02 AM on December 29, 2008


Your options are are genocide or negotiation. But Israel doesn't negotiate because it doesn't recognize the results of the free and fair elections. So it looks like Israel will continue its policies of simply exterminating the Palestinians. The comparisons to Nazi Germany are very apt, don't tell me otherwise.

Yeah, you're right. Hamas was elected democratically, blames the Jews for all their ills and wants them destroyed. The same mindset is there, if not the same military might.
posted by oaf at 5:11 AM on December 29, 2008


Murder is murder, regardless of whether one calls it war or not. And terrorism - the willful murder of civilians to further political aims - is still terrorism regardless of whether you call it war or have the sponsorship of a state. Israel is acting as a terrorist force in this instance, with the same disproportionate force they have utilized for decades.

Massive FAIL! I sentence you to 10 years solitary confinement with a dictionary.
posted by chlorus at 5:34 AM on December 29, 2008


So it looks like Israel will continue its policies of simply exterminating the Palestinians.
Considering the military hardware that Israel has at it's disposable, if their aim is exterminating the Palestinians (within the next say 100 years) they're doing a piss poor job at it.
posted by PenDevil at 5:34 AM on December 29, 2008


Yeah, you're right. Hamas was elected democratically, blames the Jews for all their ills and wants them destroyed. The same mindset is there, if not the same military might.

How do you know what Hamas wants? They are at least willing to negotiate, as far as I can tell. If side A and side B are fighting, and side B is willing to negotiate, and side A is not, then how can you not say that side A is more at fault for continuing the violence?
posted by delmoi at 5:39 AM on December 29, 2008


You know who else was willing to negotiate?

(Figured that if we're going to mindlessly Godwin this thread all to hell, it should at least be symmetrical.)

Obama's take on the whole business: “If somebody was sending rockets into my house, where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that...” Found this article interesting for it's wider examination of how the renewed Gaza hostilities are just one of a number of unpleasant new international developments he'll have to deal with.
posted by AdamCSnider at 5:48 AM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sadly and predictably, this thread has reverted to what seems to be the default in discussions of the Israeli-Palestianian conflict: an angry back-and-forth about who's who in what seem to be the requisite analogies to the Nazi regime.

There's lots of reasons to object to these sorts of comparisons, but the bottom line is that they inevitably derail the conversation and that they aren't particularly illuminating or insightful. Any further word on Israeli army maneuvers on the border? Reports from Gazan bloggers? Domestic reactions in Israel? Responses from Obama or Bush?
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 5:57 AM on December 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm torn. I've been to Sderot, the Israeli town closest to Gaza, and have friends whose houses were destroyed by rockets there. The kids there grow up with only 15 seconds to run for shelter when Qassams hit. A new playground was constructed there with a rocket shelter in the middle. It's completely ineffectual against the rockets - they would blow them to bits - but they help shield against the shrapnel.

That's no way to live.


There are lots of places where this isn't a problem. Why don't you* move? I mean this sincerely - if my town was suddenly a war zone, and especially if I had small children, I'd be somewhere else to protect my life and the lives of those I love - because that's what's most important to me, regardless of whether the house used to be my great-great-grandfather's, or whether I had a cool garden in the back, or whether God told me it was where I should live, or whether it was dishonorable to move.

It certainly would suck, a lot, that I had to move to survive, but ultimately isn't that the choice to be made? If playgrounds need bomb shelters, something is severely wrong. Is it the Michael Bolton** thing?

* The collective You, not specifically you, I don't mean this personally, though if you would like to share your personal reasoning I would be most interested.
** Why should I change my name? He's the one who sucks.

posted by odinsdream at 6:14 AM on December 29, 2008


I think this Israeli operation is well overdue. You reap what you sow.

Yeah, I've been hearing that for decades. How's that working?
posted by krinklyfig at 6:40 AM on December 29, 2008


foxy, here's some updates from the front:

Massacre in Gaza: The Paradox of Peace
(Palestine Chronicle, which is publishing online, but their offices have been bombed.)

Whatever side of this argument you are on, there is no denying that neither side wants peace.

From the "baby, why you make me hit you?" files: White House demands Hamas stop firing on Israel

Middle East newspaper roundup
posted by dejah420 at 7:57 AM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


The inhabitants of the Warsaw Ghetto did not revolt by targeting German civilians in Germany.

They did launch a violent revolt during the siege and lead resistance efforts after the Ghetto was razed. So this doesn't necessarily invalidate the comparison, either.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:59 AM on December 29, 2008


Odinsdream, looks like I got back into this thread at just the right time.

So my story... I'm a graduate student at a university located within missile distance of the Gaza Strip. I only live here temporarily and have the option to move elsewhere if things get bad. I'm not an Israeli and just happen to be a witness to all this.

But much like the Gazans, the Israelis in the towns bordering the Gaza Strip don't have that choice.

Since the Hamas missile attacks started against Sderot and the surrounding communities (which now go 20+ miles up to Ashdod & Ashkelon), house prices plummeted. A nice 3br house in Sderot can be purchased for ~US$20,000. In other words, they're impossible to sell.

People who rented apartments have largely moved unless they could not afford it. People who have friends or family in other parts of the country are taking shelter there.

The Israeli government doesn't offer financial assistance for relocation to residents of towns hit by Hamas rockets... They're stuck there, unless they want to live in a homeless shelter where their kids will be stabbed instead of hit by shrapnel.

Hence the playgrounds in bomb shelters.

War is a mess, but I can't blame the Israelis for not wanting their residents to live under constant rocket fire. I just hate that innocent Gazans are dying along with the Hamas appratchniks responsible for this.
posted by huskerdont at 8:07 AM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


dejah420, thanks for those links! I didn't know about that BBC monitoring project- and I'm looking forward to further excerpts from publications in the Middle East to try to get away from tiresome generalizations about "the Arab street."
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 8:15 AM on December 29, 2008


For the record, pretty much all major media outlets in the Middle East have an English version. I read the Beirut news fairly regularly.

Here's a list of Lebanese news outlets.

Syrian news outlets.

Egyptian news


Here's Al Jazeera in English

Onlinenewspapers.com has a ton of other resources from around the region, but he father you get geographically from Palestine, the more it becomes about rhetoric rather than actual facts. Like I've said before, wealthy Arabs don't give a rat's ass about the Palestinians as anything other than a rallying cry against Israel and the US. It's not like they've ever actually done anything to help them, like send money, medicine or actively work to bring about peace in the area. (As someone who is both ethnically Jewish and ethnically Lebanese, I find the Arab treatment of Palestinians as abhorrent as the Israeli treatment of Palestinians. The Palestinians have been everyone's whipping boy for about 60 years.)
posted by dejah420 at 8:48 AM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sistani Calls for Action on Behalf of Gaza; Third Day of Bombardment; Gaza Hospitals Overwhelmed
posted by homunculus at 9:26 AM on December 29, 2008


Thanks Homunculus. Can anyone more informed than I offer an opinion on the potential for this to escalate in, say, Iran beyond merely a propaganda coup and trigger some sort of military action?
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 9:52 AM on December 29, 2008


Tens of thousands of Lebanese Hezbollah supporters protest Israel's air assault on the Gaza .
Protests against Israeli assault on Gaza in pictures.
Timeline
Winning the war but losing the peace
posted by adamvasco at 10:50 AM on December 29, 2008


“If somebody was sending rockets into my house, where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that...”

Well, he said that a while ago, during the campaign, and before this new bombing raid.
posted by delmoi at 10:52 AM on December 29, 2008


Daily News, Egypt." No Egyptian wants to be dragged into a war with a vicious enemy, but how long will Egyptian sovereignty be undermined by an occupying, expansionist state that dictates how we secure our own borders"
posted by adamvasco at 10:59 AM on December 29, 2008


orthogonality, this Gaza supermarket looks pretty stocked to me. And that's just one example.

Ever been to Gaza? Ever talked to an actual Palestinian? You're basing your arguments over what you read in the media, not what you've seen with your own eyes.

If there's one thing the Palestinians are extremely good at, it's lying.
posted by bondgirl53001 at 11:06 AM on December 29, 2008


If there's one thing the Palestinians are extremely good at, it's lying.

Not acceptable. Take the racist generalizations elsewhere, please.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 11:07 AM on December 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


And: BondGirl, the photo you linked to was taken **3 months ago.** It says so in the caption. The photo is dated September 3, 2008.

3 months ago: British journalist and peace activist Lauren Booth, sister-in-law of former British premier Tony Blair who is now an international Middle East peace envoy, shops at a grocery store in Gaza City on September 3, 2008. Booth said today she is trapped in Gaza as Israel refuses to let her leave the Palestinian territory she entered aboard a protest boat.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 11:14 AM on December 29, 2008


Meaning that if you're trying to argue that the current casualties and destruction in Gaza are the invention of a media conspiracy, I need a little more evidence.

Sorry for splitting this up in to chunks...
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 11:22 AM on December 29, 2008


Oh that current casualties and destruction in Gaza are no invention, although most the media does not bother to specify that the majority of the casualties were in fact terrorists and most of the infrastructures destroyed were used by them. But that's just specifics. Not important.

I was just demonstrating how Gazans were definitely not starving throughout the "siege" imposed by the Israelis since the pullout. Why doesn't Egypt, which shares a border with Gaza, allow the movement of humanitarian and relief workers in and out of the territory? Israel has no obligation to supply such aid -- not to mention water, electricity and phone lines -- yet it does anyway as part of outdated obligations left over from the now-defunct Oslo peace accords.

Also, if you'd like, here is more photographic evidence of the "famine" inside the Gaza Strip:
posted by bondgirl53001 at 11:36 AM on December 29, 2008


Bondgirl, your reading comprehension scores are REALLY low, aren't they?

That picture: December 07.
posted by dejah420 at 11:47 AM on December 29, 2008


dejah420: Read it again...s-l-o-w-l-y.
posted by bondgirl53001 at 11:49 AM on December 29, 2008


Here are some other photos from the Palestinian photographer Abid Katib who is in Gaza at the moment. (mouse over for text). bondgirl: the caption in the photo you linked to from 7 Dec says "Most of the sacrificial sheep in Gaza have been smuggled through tunnels between Rafah and Egypt as Israel still blocks their crossings with Gaza Strip".
posted by adamvasco at 11:50 AM on December 29, 2008


[We're pretty well far into Mefi Doesn't Do This Well territory. If people could lay off the blanket generalizations and "Fuck X" invective going forward and stick to civil discussion and updates/links to actual content, that would be really, really great.]
posted by cortex at 11:53 AM on December 29, 2008


Also, if you'd like, here is more photographic evidence of the "famine" inside the Gaza Strip:

I don't think anyone here mentioned a famine, so I'm not sure who you are quoting. Are you referring to this link, posted above:

Since the Second Intifada broke out in 2000, Israelis have killed nearly 5000 Palestinians, nearly a thousand of them minors. Since fall of 2007, Israel has kept the 1.5 million Gazans under a blockade, interdicting food, fuel and medical supplies to one degree or another.

This seems to be a reasonable summary of the effects of the blockade, and links to reports from the Red Cross and others. From what I can tell, the most grievous impact seems to have been on medical supplies rather than on food.

Ever been to Gaza? Ever talked to an actual Palestinian? You're basing your arguments over what you read in the media, not what you've seen with your own eyes.

This also seems to come out of nowhere. Are you basing your arguments on your experience in Gaza? If so, please elaborate.

Also, I spent almost a year in the region and have met many people who hadn't, but still were better informed and had a stronger grasp on the situation than I did. If being a eyewitness is a requirement for having an opinion, no one would have much to say about anything.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 11:53 AM on December 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


Global Voices coverage of the Gaza Strip bombings
posted by homunculus at 11:55 AM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I stand corrected on the date, and apologize for the snark. But the fact is that your racist bullshit needs to go away.
posted by dejah420 at 11:59 AM on December 29, 2008


bondgirl53001, I don't think I've seen anyone in this thread claim that there was a famine in Gaza, merely that they sorely lack medicines, fuel, and now drinking water. But hey, at least the supermarket where Tony Blair's sister-in-law can afford to shop was stocked, so they must be doing okay, right?

...most of the casualties were terrorists? How exactly is that ascertained? By whom? What constitutes a terrorist for this rather vague and unsourced claim?

And yeah, I'm sure most of the infrastructures were used by Hamas - they are the democratically elected government and all, so their agents propbably operate within such deviously evil sites as police stations, universities, mosques, public transport, hospitals, etc. But then, even without the Hamas link this would be true, in that "terrorists" are people, and most or all people use police stations, universities, mosques, public transport, hospitals, etc... That doesn't automatically make it anything like acceptable to bomb them.
posted by Dysk at 12:00 PM on December 29, 2008


Leveling as much infrastructure as possible seems to be pretty much Israeli SOP, to the point where I wonder if it’s an economic tactic as much as military one.
posted by Artw at 12:08 PM on December 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Israeli warplanes launched counterattacks on dozens of security compounds across the Hamas-ruled territory in unprecedented waves of airstrikes. Most of those killed were security men, but an unknown number of civilians were also among the dead. Hamas said all of its security installations were hit, threatened to resume suicide attacks, and sent at least 70 rockets and mortar shells crashing into Israeli border communities, according to the Israeli military. One Israeli was killed and at least six people were hurt." (Riechmann, Deb. Dec. 27, 2008. "US Urges Hamas to Cease Rocket Attacks on Israel". Associated Press.)

"Hamas's main security force has grown since its takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, in part because the Islamist group has money to pay salaries. The core of the force is mostly members of the Hamas armed wing, the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, but it includes some members from allied militant factions such as the Popular Resistance Committees." (Reuters. Dec. 28, 2008. "FACTBOX: Facts about Palestinian group Hamas")
posted by bondgirl53001 at 12:09 PM on December 29, 2008


SabbahBlog has an astounding slideshow. Warning, it's graphic and is likely to make you cry.
posted by dejah420 at 12:09 PM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Mahalo for the links, everyone ... we will pass them on.

Protest in Honolulu tomorrow -- join us at the Federal Building (Dec 30 4-6 pm).

Obama is still visiting here with family; he needs to make a statement.

Malama Pono.
posted by Surfurrus at 12:19 PM on December 29, 2008


if you comparing armed forces...
posted by adamvasco at 12:20 PM on December 29, 2008


Oh that current casualties and destruction in Gaza are no invention, although most the media does not bother to specify that the majority of the casualties were in fact terrorists and most of the infrastructures destroyed were used by them. But that's just specifics. Not important.

You've been there in the past couple days I take it? Had a look around and took a census of the corpses?
posted by delmoi at 12:25 PM on December 29, 2008


Washington Post, 29 Dec 08, A01
At the first light of dawn, the mother of five sent her son to the bakery to buy bread. Hundreds of Palestinians had the same idea, joining a never-ending line. "There's no food in the market," Bardaweel explained in an interview with a reporter. Her son did not return until nightfall [...]

Many Palestinian residents said they received recorded messages purportedly from the Israeli Defense Forces saying that anyone with guns or weapons would be targeted without warning. When asked about the phone messages, an Israeli military spokeswoman said the military used "different means" of reaching out to Palestinians and declined to comment further.
posted by woodway at 12:43 PM on December 29, 2008


Egypt's Daily News reports that 7000 Egyptian forces are being sent to the Gaza border and that anyone who escapes the bombardment will be hunted down and returned to Gaza.

Al Jazeera and the NY Times have reported that Israel has created a "buffer zone" of 2 to 4 kilometers, which has traditionally been a precurser to ground action. Journalists not already in Gaza are forbidden from entering the buffer zone or Gaza proper.

The Syrian News Agency reports that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has called UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asking the UN to do something to stop Israel's attack on heavily populated civilian neighborhoods.

Al Manar TV
is reporting that more than 20,000 people are on the march in Jordan, and that the protesters delivered a letter to the Prime Minister Nader Dahabi demanding that the Jordanian Israeli peace treaty be revoked. It further reports that Israeli ambassadors have been called to appear by the governments of Jordan and South Africa.

Body counts in Gaza have risen to over 315 reportedly, and over 1,400 casualties.
posted by dejah420 at 12:50 PM on December 29, 2008


Mixed messages: Suicide bomber hits anti-Israel protest in Iraq (Probably some local thing)
posted by Artw at 12:52 PM on December 29, 2008




On number 25 of the photo slideshow at the Sabbah blog, there's a street protester carrying a sign with a picture of Arafat. I don't know Arabic, so don't know what it's saying. Is it just a memorial gesture? A Fatah party poster? An anti-Hamas poster?
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 12:55 PM on December 29, 2008


I was in Gaza this summer.

I have lots to say about that experience, but what I think is relevant here is the degree to which Hamas is a part of every aspect of life there. Hamas checks your passport when you get in, Hamas is the police, Hamas controls the social outreach organizations. Hamas has control over the smuggling tunnels, some of which are especially dedicated for fuel, others which are designed for public use. (For a relatively affordable sum you can have boxes shipped back and forth. It's quite official; there are size and weight restrictions and everything.)

What this means is that to a certain eye, everyone in Gaza is Hamas. If you voted for Hamas, if you go to their food and medicine distribution centers, if your brother-in-law shoots rockets for them, you're Hamas.

Israel's legitimate need is to protects its civilians. And Israel's claim is that Hamas is responsible for the rocket attacks in Sderot and now in Ashkelon. So far so good. But it goes further to say that its best and only option is to respond militarily to Hamas members.

The problem is that everyone is Hamas.

I had a disturbing encounter with Alan Dershowitz earlier this year, as he spoke at a gathering of Jewish students in Cambridge, MA. He was arguing for a term he called civilianization, by which he meant that we should start seeing the quality of being a civilian as a continuum rather than as a binary. In other words, under the Geneva convention, you need to pick up a gun and fire it in order to become a combatant; to Dershowitz, voting for Hamas doesn't quite make you a combatant, but it makes you less of a civilian. This is monstrous, but it speaks volumes about a certain Israeli perspective these days.

Read the talkbacks on Haaretz or the Jerusalem Post, if you can stomach it, and you'll come across this perspective. The siege ultimately comes from Hamas, not Israel, they say. The citizens of Gaza should have risen up against Hamas long ago. This is just chickens coming home to roost.

I'm speechless at what I see. I can't tear myself away. It destroys me to hear another defense of Israel's legitimate need to defend itself, and I'm distraught when I hear someone else ask me what Israel's proper response ought to be. Criticism is legitimate even when it's not constructive.

I'm repulsed.
posted by awenner at 12:58 PM on December 29, 2008 [16 favorites]


So, let me get this straight, completely without Irony Alan Dershowitz used a justification which is the same as that for every terrorist attack against civilians ever?
posted by Artw at 1:05 PM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yes.
posted by awenner at 1:11 PM on December 29, 2008


Which would also be roughly the same justification that the British used for their treatment of the Boers, and we all know where that went?

Fuck, with apologies to Astro Zombie did he at that point start talking about a final solution, and goose stepping up and down with his finger under his nose? Because, well, shit...
posted by Artw at 1:16 PM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


"civilianization," by which he meant that we should start seeing the quality of being a civilian as a continuum rather than as a binary. In other words, under the Geneva convention, you need to pick up a gun and fire it in order to become a combatant; to Dershowitz, voting for Hamas doesn't quite make you a combatant, but it makes you less of a civilian.

Just to clarify- he wasn't endorsing the Bush Administration's classification of non-state combatants as ineligible for Geneva Convention protections, including the Convention's stipulation that people captured in conflicts should be considered civilians unless proven otherwise (by arms, uniforms, etc)? And he wasn't referring to the sometimes blurry line between formal and informal combatants in general? Was he specifically saying that voting choice - to take the example you mentioned - legitimized treating someone as a combatant rather than a civilian?

Don't think I don't believe you -- I find that Dershowitz is becoming ever more awful as he grows older. I just want to get his argument straight.

This is besides the point, but I don't see how this could possibly be codified, not least because such a spectrum of civilian-ness would be impossible to define and it would be in no way clear at what point civilians at certain points on the spectrum should be treated like combatants.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 1:20 PM on December 29, 2008


foxy_hedgehog said: On number 25 of the photo slideshow at the Sabbah blog, there's a street protester carrying a sign with a picture of Arafat. I don't know Arabic, so don't know what it's saying. Is it just a memorial gesture? A Fatah party poster? An anti-Hamas poster?

The yellow flag they are waving has the Fatah emblem. Ergo, I would guess that those are protesters in the West Bank, rather than inside Gaza. (Speculation on my part though.) I find it unlikely that there's a whole lot of Fatah support inside Gaza right this minute.
posted by dejah420 at 1:22 PM on December 29, 2008


IIRC the election news story in 2006 was that Gaza citizens, fed up with Fatah and its corruption, elected Hamas MPs instead. The Bush Administration saw democracy in action and thought, "Oh, shit."
The election results stunned U.S. and Israeli officials, who have repeatedly stated that they would not work with a Palestinian Authority that included Hamas, which both countries and the European Union have designated as a terrorist organization. In Washington, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that a party could not "have one foot in politics and the other in terror. Our position on Hamas has therefore not changed." Washington Post, 27 Jan 06
Since inappropriate analogies are all the rage here (literally), I'll say how grateful I am that I haven't been held personally accountable for Bush winning US elections, or for wanting change.
posted by woodway at 1:23 PM on December 29, 2008


Sorry, forgot the Jan 06 WP link.
posted by woodway at 1:25 PM on December 29, 2008


This is besides the point, but I don't see how this could possibly be codified, not least because such a spectrum of civilian-ness would be impossible to define and it would be in no way clear at what point civilians at certain points on the spectrum should be treated like combatants.

I suspect people who think along these lines don't desire codification so much as ad-hoc facts-on-the-ground action, perhaps nice unhindered use of military action with all the niceties dropped so they can really sort things out once and for all.
posted by Artw at 1:29 PM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I suspect people who think along these lines don't desire codification so much as ad-hoc facts-on-the-ground action, perhaps nice unhindered use of military action with all the niceties dropped so they can really sort things out once and for all.


I think you're right, but that's why it's interesting/dismaying/grotesque to see someone making a legal argument for this in the context of the distinctions that international law draws between combatants and civilians. Ultimately, I think folks like Dick Cheney and John Yoo -- and perhaps Dershowitz -- actually have beef with the very concept of the Geneva Conventions in particular and international law in general.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 1:36 PM on December 29, 2008


bondgirl53001: "Israeli warplanes launched counterattacks on dozens of security compounds across the Hamas-ruled territory in unprecedented waves of airstrikes. Most of those killed were security men, but an unknown number of civilians were also among the dead. Hamas said all of its security installations were hit, threatened to resume suicide attacks, and sent at least 70 rockets and mortar shells crashing into Israeli border communities, according to the Israeli military. One Israeli was killed and at least six people were hurt." (Riechmann, Deb. Dec. 27, 2008. "US Urges Hamas to Cease Rocket Attacks on Israel". Associated Press.)

Given that an unknown number of civilians were killed, how can you know that the majority of those dead were not civilians? They claim to know, then claim to not have knowledge of something necessary in order to know. That sounds iffy...

awenner, I wonder if Alan Dershowitz has considered how that logic affects Israeli civilians, who are drafted in to some form of military service at 18, and can technically be called back up to their units to serve at any given time...
posted by Dysk at 1:37 PM on December 29, 2008


Dershowitz is apparently a string proponent of punitive leveling of civilian buildings, leaving the people still in them is presumably not that much of a step further for him.
posted by Artw at 1:40 PM on December 29, 2008


Oh, sorry, one more thought -- the idea behind encouraging terrorist groups to make the transition to mainstream politics (such as the PKK; see also here) is based on the idea that involving them in the formal political process will necessitate moderation, since they have to actually win elections, provide goods and services, abide by legal conventions, etc. Hamas seems to be a counterexample. Can anyone provide context or comparisons on this?
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 1:40 PM on December 29, 2008


Oh everyone will be back to persecuting the shit out of the Kurds by the end of the century. They just happened to be momentarily useful.
posted by Artw at 1:43 PM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


(Gross oversimplification analogy ahead)
Getting back to your point, I guess Fatah would be the IRA/ Sinn Féin, and Hamas would be like the Real IRA. Only the UK Government wouldn’t be playing ball, any kind of peace delas would be a total faliure, things would keep getting worse for the people and theyld end up voting for the political wing of the people seen to be fighting back instead (not that the actual Real IRA has one that I am aware of).
posted by Artw at 1:50 PM on December 29, 2008


This isn't going to get better anytime soon. Israel has once again proved itself to be incredibly excessive, and the Islamic world will not respond well to this blind aggression.
posted by ageispolis at 2:05 PM on December 29, 2008


You mean goverments, Iran and the like? They will most likely fume and do nothing, whatever happens. Maybe increase their backhand support of terrorist groups. Or if you mean muslims in general, yeah, as ever this will tip more over into supporting bad shit, but it's not like it's anything new.
posted by Artw at 2:10 PM on December 29, 2008


Just another day in Fuckedupistan.
posted by Stonewall Jackson at 3:11 PM on December 29, 2008


bondgirl53001: "Ever been to Gaza? Ever talked to an actual Palestinian? You're basing your arguments over what you read in the media, not what you've seen with your own eyes."

I lived in Palestine as an ambulance medic... many of my friends are fighting right now to save the lives of children who are far too often caught in the streets when the shooting begins. Many, many of my friends are Palestinian Christians who's children have been "deported" into Gaza from various parts of the West Bank and elsewhere. Israeli prisons are full so they've begun airdropping "suspicious" Palestinians into Gaza. This is, I believe, where most of the "open air prison" talk comes from. The fact that Gaza is actually an open-air prison - at least as far as the Israeli courts are concerned.
This is why they're bombing Gaza. They're probably making room for more prisoners.

"If there's one thing the Palestinians are extremely good at, it's lying."

You are a racist.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 4:03 PM on December 29, 2008 [15 favorites]


I had a disturbing encounter with Alan Dershowitz earlier this year

I imagine that any honest, decent human being would find any encounter with Dershowitz to be disturbing. The man is an amoral monster.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:55 PM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


"If there's one thing the Palestinians are extremely good at, it's lying."

You are a racist.


I don't believe that Palestinians constitute a "race." The word you are probably looking for is "bigot."

/pedant
posted by AdamCSnider at 7:18 PM on December 29, 2008


J Street, a "Pro-isreal, pro-peice" lobbying effort -- sort of like like a Dovish counterpart to AIPAC has a petition you can sign against the violence in Gaza.
posted by delmoi at 7:23 PM on December 29, 2008


This is from much earlier in the thread, but I didn't see anyone respond to this--

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

Since the Second Intifada broke out in 2000, Israelis have killed nearly 5000 Palestinians, nearly a thousand of them minors."
(emphasis yours)

False comparison much? You're equating damage done to ONE town in Israel with all of the Palestinians killed by Israelis in that same 8 year period of time?


odinsdream: There are lots of places where this isn't a problem. Why don't you* move?

I went to Sderot earlier this year, and I'm guessing a whole lot hasn't changed since then. The reason the people I spoke to didn't move away from Sderot is because they were all really, really poor.
posted by lullaby at 7:25 PM on December 29, 2008


lullaby - do you seriously want to do the bodycount thing? I thought zionists usually avoid that like the plague.

o.k. - here you go: Fatalities, 29.9.2000 - 30.11.2008

This, of course, doesn't include the Gaza bombings that are taking place right now. So go ahead and tack on another 4 to the Israeli side and another 364 to the Palestinian side.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:14 PM on December 29, 2008


do you seriously want to do the bodycount thing? I thought zionists usually avoid that like the plague.

Where in my post am I denying that the Israelis have killed thousands of Palestinians over the years? I have no reason to avoid the subject - it's plain fact.

I think it's disingenuous to compare "X amount of people were killed in Sderot" and "X amount of Palestinians have been killed altogether"... That doesn't make any sense.
posted by lullaby at 8:24 PM on December 29, 2008


Okay, lullaby, then let's put it this way. 4 Israeli civilians have been killed in villages near Gaza. In response, Israel has killed, by conservative estimates, 54 Palestinian civilians. Please explain to me how this is ok?

Please read the article I linked to above and justify this to me because, as a medic, this is fucking insanity and any rational person would be justifiably outraged. I'm really loosing my shit, here. I just can't understand how people stand for this. I've tried to be neutral about this kind of thing in the past but this is a war crime.

These people have nothing. They are being slaughtered.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:38 PM on December 29, 2008


Please explain to me how this is ok?

I am not saying anything is okay. You are arguing against a point I am not making.
posted by lullaby at 8:55 PM on December 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


I thought zionists usually avoid that like the plague.

Is that really necessary? Seems to me like you could make your point without making sneering generalizations about "zionists."
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 9:30 PM on December 29, 2008


...And thus it was only in 1948 that a Jewish nation-state was established in formerly Ottoman Palestine. But the founders of the Jewish state had been influenced by the same concepts and categories as their fin-de-siècle contemporaries back in Warsaw, or Odessa, or Bucharest; not surprisingly, Israel's ethno-religious self-definition, and its discrimination against internal "foreigners," has always had more in common with, say, the practices of post-Habsburg Romania than either party might care to acknowledge.

The problem with Israel, in short, is not—as is sometimes suggested—that it is a European "enclave" in the Arab world; but rather that it arrived too late. It has imported a characteristically late-nineteenth-century separatist project into a world that has moved on, a world of individual rights, open frontiers, and international law. The very idea of a "Jewish state"—a state in which Jews and the Jewish religion have exclusive privileges from which non-Jewish citizens are forever excluded—is rooted in another time and place. Israel, in short, is an anachronism.

. . . .

...Israel can keep control of the Occupied Territories but get rid of the overwhelming majority of the Arab population: either by forcible expulsion or else by starving them of land and livelihood, leaving them no option but to go into exile. In this way Israel could indeed remain both Jewish and at least formally democratic: but at the cost of becoming the first modern democracy to conduct full-scale ethnic cleansing as a state project, something which would condemn Israel forever to the status of an outlaw state, an international pariah.

. . . .

For many years, Israel had a special meaning for the Jewish people. After 1948 it took in hundreds of thousands of helpless survivors who had nowhere else to go; without Israel their condition would have been desperate in the extreme. Israel needed Jews, and Jews needed Israel. The circumstances of its birth have thus bound Israel's identity inextricably to the Shoah, the German project to exterminate the Jews of Europe. As a result, all criticism of Israel is drawn ineluctably back to the memory of that project, something that Israel's American apologists are shamefully quick to exploit. To find fault with the Jewish state is to think ill of Jews; even to imagine an alternative configuration in the Middle East is to indulge the moral equivalent of genocide.

In the years after World War II, those many millions of Jews who did not live in Israel were often reassured by its very existence—whether they thought of it as an insurance policy against renascent anti-Semitism or simply a reminder to the world that Jews could and would fight back. Before there was a Jewish state, Jewish minorities in Christian societies would peer anxiously over their shoulders and keep a low profile; since 1948, they could walk tall. But in recent years, the situation has tragically reversed.

Today, non-Israeli Jews feel themselves once again exposed to criticism and vulnerable to attack for things they didn't do. But this time it is a Jewish state, not a Christian one, which is holding them hostage for its own actions. Diaspora Jews cannot influence Israeli policies, but they are implicitly identified with them, not least by Israel's own insistent claims upon their allegiance. The behavior of a self-described Jewish state affects the way everyone else looks at Jews. The increased incidence of attacks on Jews in Europe and elsewhere is primarily attributable to misdirected efforts, often by young Muslims, to get back at Israel. The depressing truth is that Israel's current behavior is not just bad for America, though it surely is. It is not even just bad for Israel itself, as many Israelis silently acknowledge. The depressing truth is that Israel today is bad for the Jews.
posted by orthogonality at 11:06 PM on December 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Bush Refuses To Interrupt His Final Vacation As Middle East Crisis Escalates
posted by homunculus at 11:30 PM on December 29, 2008


View From a Palestinian Leader: Palestine's Guernica and the Myths of Israeli Victimhood
posted by homunculus at 11:31 PM on December 29, 2008


It has imported a characteristically late-nineteenth-century separatist project into a world that has moved on, a world of individual rights, open frontiers, and international law.
What fantasy world is this article written in? Probably half the countries in the Western world (and almost none anywhere else) can't meet those criteria.
posted by PenDevil at 2:00 AM on December 30, 2008


'can meet those criteria' rather.
posted by PenDevil at 2:01 AM on December 30, 2008


Israel intercepts humanitarian aid vessel.

Some Blogs
From Gaza with Love
Diary of a Palestinian mother.
posted by adamvasco at 2:06 AM on December 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


The problem with Israel, in short, is not—as is sometimes suggested—that it is a European "enclave" in the Arab world; but rather that it arrived too late. It has imported a characteristically late-nineteenth-century separatist project into a world that has moved on, a world of individual rights, open frontiers, and international law. The very idea of a "Jewish state"—a state in which Jews and the Jewish religion have exclusive privileges from which non-Jewish citizens are forever excluded—is rooted in another time and place. Israel, in short, is an anachronism.

PanDevil, he's saying that the rest of the world *has moved on* to "a world of individual rights, open frontiers, and international law."

Tony Judt's article is terrific - it provoked a very powerful reaction (not sure if any of the letters to the editor and follow-ups are available on the NYRB site, but they're also worth reading. There's also an excellent, more in-depth exploration of this point in Carl Schorske's book on Vienna (see "Politics in a New Key") which places the emergence of the Zionist movement in the context of the struggle for political self-determination among other minorities in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

That said, I think the habit of reducing events and phenomena to being "good for the Jews/bad for the Jews" is tiresome, reductive, and unhelpful. And Judt also falls short here:

The behavior of a self-described Jewish state affects the way everyone else looks at Jews. The increased incidence of attacks on Jews in Europe and elsewhere is primarily attributable to misdirected efforts, often by young Muslims, to get back at Israel.

This seems to me to be reductive. Judt doesn't note that it is also "attributable" to the cynical use of the plight of the Palestinians by the governments of many Arab countries to distract from the anti-democratic character and many failings of their own regimes and to channel dissent in a manner which is politically useful - while many of them happily let Palestinians rot away in ghastly conditions in refugee camps with absolutely no concern for their welfare on the ground.

Also, I'm not sure what Judt is proposing. He's crazy smart, much smarter than most people and certainly smarter than me, but he seems to be suggesting here that Jews speaking out against Israeli policies will somehow change the minds of people who are have decided to make all Jews at fault for Israel's behavior (and increasingly, in the style of late 19th-th C. Europe, at fault for basically everything else).
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 2:34 AM on December 30, 2008


Oops, sorry, PanDevil, is totally misread your comment. My apologies.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 2:36 AM on December 30, 2008


"Israel’s siege of Gaza began on 5 November, the day after an Israeli attack inside the strip" from Sara Roy, LRB.
On 5 November the Israeli government sealed all the ways into and out of Gaza.
The majority of commercial bakeries in Gaza – 30 out of 47 – have had to close because they have run out of cooking gas.
Banks, suffering from Israeli restrictions on the transfer of banknotes into the territory were forced to close on 4 December.
During the week of 30 November, one truck carrying drugs and medical supplies from the MOH in Ramallah entered Gaza, the first delivery since early September.
This is not just a war about Hamas. This is collective punishment of an entire people because they democratically elected the wrong party. So America what does your great leader elect have to say about this monstrous electioneering stunt of your greatest ally ?
posted by adamvasco at 3:27 AM on December 30, 2008


If side A and side B are fighting, and side B is willing to negotiate, and side A is not, then how can you not say that side A is more at fault for continuing the violence?

Is there any evidence that Hamas is willing to participate in bona fide negotiations?
posted by oaf at 5:23 AM on December 30, 2008


Afroblanc: the current attitude of the Palestinian people is born from being an underclass, refugee people. If they had a standard of living closer to that of the modern-day Israelis… I am with you. Economic solution is integral for winning the peace: cf WWI vs WWII. But animosity has a long memory. Yugoslavia comes to mind, as does the post-election situation in Kenya. As for Zimbabwe, I seriously doubt that it would be a tranquil place even if the economy were back on track considering what has happened. I would be delighted if the future proves me wrong.

Gamian Boffenburg: The victims have become the tormentors. Postcolonial theorist Frantz Fannon might agree, but it isn’t a foregone conclusion even when slavery and segregation are involved. Hence my sliver of hope that the future could be brighter than present events suggest: not everyone in Israel is a warhawk; not every Palestinian is a radical militant.

Brother Dysk: This is evidenced by falconry's low incidence of Nazi accusations. I caught that wink, but it might be worth adding that the Nazis adopted the eagle an imperial symbol; neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis are trying to conquer the region, much less the world. I’m feeling wistful about Godwin’s law.
posted by woodway at 5:55 AM on December 30, 2008


Is there any evidence that Hamas is willing to participate in bona fide negotiations?

bona fide as opposed to what? Look, if one side says they're willing to negotiate and the other says they're not, you can't just come back and say "well, maybe the side willing to negotiate is LYING!!!"

Actually, I'm not even sure if they have explicitly said they were willing to negotiate. I'm sure that's on the record somewhere, but what Israel has done is announce explicitly that they wouldn't negotiate.

It's impossible to know what someone's positions are, and where they are flexible if you're not even willing to begin negotiations.
posted by delmoi at 6:25 AM on December 30, 2008


This isn't the time to speak of ethics, but of precise intelligence. Whoever gave the instructions to send 100 of our planes, piloted by the best of our boys, to bomb and strafe enemy targets in Gaza is familiar with the many schools adjacent to those targets - especially police stations. He also knew that at exactly 11:30 A.M. on Saturday, during the surprise assault on the enemy, all the children of the Strip would be in the streets - half just having finished the morning shift at school, the others en route to the afternoon shift.

This is not the time to speak of proportional responses, not even of the polls that promise a greater share of Knesset seats to the mission's architects. This is, however, the time to speak of the voters' belief the operation will succeed, that the strikes are precise and the targets justified.

Take, for example, Imad Aqel Mosque in Jabalya refugee camp, bombed and strafed shortly before midnight on Sunday. These are the names of the glorious military victory we achieved there - Jawaher, age 4; Dina, age 8; Sahar, age 12; Ikram, age 14; and Tahrir, age 17, all sisters of the Ba'lousha family, all killed in a "precise" strike on the mosque. Another three sisters, a 2-year-old brother and their parents were injured. Twenty-four neighbors were wounded and five homes and three stores destroyed. This part of the military victory did not open our television or radio news broadcasts yesterday morning, nor did they appear on many Israeli news Web sites.
posted by orthogonality at 6:41 AM on December 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


Look, if one side says they're willing to negotiate and the other says they're not, you can't just come back and say "well, maybe the side willing to negotiate is LYING!!!"

So what you're saying is that reputation is totally irrelevant. That's just silly. It's known that they agree to things they have no intention of adhering to. Pretending otherwise can, depending on who you are, put you directly in harm's way.
posted by oaf at 7:42 AM on December 30, 2008


So what you're saying is that reputation is totally irrelevant. That's just silly. It's known that they agree to things they have no intention of adhering to. Pretending otherwise can, depending on who you are, put you directly in harm's way.

The Israelis, on the other hand, have kept every promise they've ever made.
posted by delmoi at 8:03 AM on December 30, 2008 [5 favorites]


The Israelis, on the other hand, have kept every promise they've ever made.

Of course they haven't.

But they also don't think that every truce ends with "or until we have more Qassams to fire at you."
posted by oaf at 9:46 AM on December 30, 2008


Why Israel Feels Threatened
posted by Artw at 9:48 AM on December 30, 2008


Man...
posted by ageispolis at 10:25 AM on December 30, 2008


Well, not for nothing, but perhaps if the Israeli's hadn't used guerilla tactics to drive out all of the people who were in Palestine when the West gave it to the European Jews, just perhaps, we wouldn't be having these problems.

Look, before WWII, there were Jews in Palestine. Everyone got along. Jews lived next door to Christians and a Muslim minority was fairly well dispersed. Christianity was the primary religion in a large part of the land mass that is now Israel.

It wasn't until 1947 when the "Jewish state" was declared, and everyone who wasn't Jewish was barred from living in their own homes that things started to get ugly. Then the "right of return" in 1950 caused a massive immigration that forced out even more natives. For every European that came to Palestine, a Palestinian was displaced. The immigrants didn't settle the zillions of acres that are in the area, they chose to displace people who had been there for centuries; taking their homes, beating their women and children, and the Irgun stepped up bombings and other terrorist activities against the native Arabs who were already there.

So...yeah, obviously if you use terror against civilians...the civilians begin to use terror in response.

I understand the psychology behind why the Irgun and the rest felt like terrorism was their only method of achieving freedom. Back in the day, we used to call the terrorist we liked "freedom fighters".

But to suggest that everything Israel has done to the Arabs in Palestine is either rational, logical, or ethically defensible is absurd. There is a 60 year history here of a group of people with no ties to the land other than a religious tradition decimating and destroying the people that were already there.

How a group of people who survived the death camps could then create their own ghettos for another race defies logic. That they could then demand that the rest of us who share their heritage close our eyes and defend her decisions to treat the people of Palestine as animals unfit to live on their own land is soul-shatteringly horrible.

Have the Islamic radicals responded in ways that are indefensible? Yes. I'm not going to defend the actions of the radicals.

But what other options have we, the world, given the Palestinian people?
Have they been offered the right to return? No.
Have they been offered the right to live without restrictions? No.
Have they been allowed to reclaim their lands, their property, their graveyards, their churches? No.
Have they been allowed to live in dignity, with the full rights of a citizen? No.

What, exactly, are they supposed to do? Roll over and die? Isn't it more rational to expect that they will themselves adopt the activities of the Irgun and become freedom fighters/terrorists?

Imagine, if you will, that Russia decided it was tired of the various ethnic groups it has, and without clearing it with you, decided to drop a couple hundred thousand people into your neighborhood and told you that you would have to give up your house, all your property and worldly goods, and that you would be moving to a tent in the desert, surrounded by fences, dogs and guns. And that you were being displaced because *you* were less worthy than the immigrants. That their holy book was superior, and therefore you as a person were inferior and therefore it was only right for you to be stripped of everything and forced out of the land reserved for the "deserving".

Now, imagine that your children were born in that camp. And then their children. And then THEIR children.

Do you not think that by the time you get to the 3rd generation of people who have been trapped like dogs you're going to have some pretty fucking angry people? Do you not think that if you watched your mom die from lack of medicine, or your sister die at a border crossing trying to get bread, or your father humiliated every morning as he goes to work as a menial laborer under the watchful eyes of armed guards that poke and beat him for laughs, that you might pick up a rocket and try to take a few of those bastards out? Do you not think that's possible?

If Israel wants peace in the region, then they should treat the Palestine people as PEOPLE. It's not asking too much for human rights to be extended to everyone.

What Israel is doing right now, by penning millions of people into a camp and then bombing the piss out of them while they have no way to escape is guaranteeing that there will never be peace. The images of dead baby girls, blood streaming from their little corpses peppered with ammunition paid for with American tax dollars, will carry this conflict for another 20 years.

War has never been the path to peace.
posted by dejah420 at 10:43 AM on December 30, 2008 [19 favorites]


Israel Consulate Twitter feed
posted by Artw at 11:05 AM on December 30, 2008


Everyone got along. posted by PenDevil at 11:06 AM on December 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


Young sisters die in Israeli strike on donkey cart
posted by homunculus at 11:07 AM on December 30, 2008


dejah420 writes "Do you not think that by the time you get to the 3rd generation of people who have been trapped like dogs you're going to have some pretty fucking angry people? Do you not think that if you watched your mom die from lack of medicine, or your sister die at a border crossing trying to get bread, or your father humiliated every morning as he goes to work as a menial laborer under the watchful eyes of armed guards that poke and beat him for laughs, that you might pick up a rocket and try to take a few of those bastards out? Do you not think that's possible? "

I wish I could favorite this once for every Palestinian born in the camps, and again for every Israeli who just doesn't get it.
posted by orthogonality at 11:12 AM on December 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


I just listened to Isaac Herzog on Channel 4 news. I feel like getting sick. Paraphrasing slightly, "We regret the civilian casualties, we did all we could to avoid them, we sent leaflets...."

Leaflets??

Also, "Gaza is a very big place, they can avoid the bombings". Sick.
posted by knapah at 11:13 AM on December 30, 2008


PenDevil, all of those occurred after the Balfour Declaration of 1917.
posted by dejah420 at 11:17 AM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Anything interesting going on in Europe in 1938?
posted by Artw at 11:18 AM on December 30, 2008


But they also don't think that every truce ends with "or until we have more Qassams to fire at you."

Taking "Hamas bad, Israel good" as an axiom, and going from there is not an argument.
posted by delmoi at 11:58 AM on December 30, 2008


IDF Spokespersons Unit Youtube Channel
posted by PenDevil at 1:01 PM on December 30, 2008


Al-Maliki's Party Calls for Boycott of Israel; Nasrallah Calls for Arab summit; Widespread Protests in Arab World
posted by homunculus at 1:07 PM on December 30, 2008


I just hope the truth comes out about the hamas/hummus connection.
posted by mullingitover at 1:54 PM on December 30, 2008


Robert Fisk: Why bombing Ashkelon is the most tragic irony

Robert Fisk: The self delusion that plagues both sides in this bloody conflict
posted by Rumple at 5:56 PM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949.

Part III : Status and treatment of protected persons
Section I : Provisions common to the territories of the parties to the conflict and to occupied territories.

No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.
posted by Rumple at 6:03 PM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Brzezinski Calls Scarborough "Stunningly Superficial" On Israel / Palestine Expertise
posted by homunculus at 8:31 PM on December 30, 2008


In 2003, a Jewish Member of the British Parliament compared Gaza to the Warshaw Ghetto:
Referring to [the] Warsaw [Ghetto], scene of the historic uprising by its Jewish inhabitants, [Labour Member of Parliament and a member of the Jewish Council for Racial Equality Oona] King said: "It is the same in nature but not extent."

She stressed the "very, very big difference" between Gaza and the infamous ghetto established by the Nazis in Poland's capital.

"Palestinians are not being rounded up and put in gas chambers," she said.

But the MP said: "What makes it similar is what happened to the Jewish people in that time which was the seizing of land, being forced from property, torture and bureaucracy - control used in a demeaning way over the smallest task.

"On top of that building a wall around them - and that is precisely what the Israeli government is doing. In doing so it is building a political ghetto. I don't think it can escape that conclusion."

Ms King also said: "As a Jewish person, I hoped I would never live to see the day I was ashamed of the actions of the Jewish state."

The situation had worsened considerably since she last visited with pressure group Labour Friends of Israel in 1998, she added.

Ms Tonge agreed: "You are almost getting a situation like the Warsaw ghetto - people can't get in or out. They can't work, they can't sell anything. There is this gradual squeeze."

However, the Richmond Park MP also offered a comparison of her own.

"I feel it was an apartheid system and it is certainly getting worse - the area where the Palestinians live is getting smaller."
So is Oona King an antisemite too?
posted by orthogonality at 10:12 PM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Brzezinski Calls Scarborough "Stunningly Superficial" On Israel / Palestine Expertise

Yeah that was fun. By the way (just to make it extra awkward), the female co-host is Brzezinski's daughter, Mika.
posted by delmoi at 11:22 PM on December 30, 2008


Taking "Hamas bad, Israel good" as an axiom, and going from there is not an argument.

If that were what I had been doing, you would have an effective rebuttal there. But it's not, and you don't.
posted by oaf at 4:08 AM on December 31, 2008


So is Oona King an antisemite too?

I don't think much of her, but she's obviously a lot more balanced than you are. No offense, but you did ask.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:19 AM on December 31, 2008


Israel Rejects Ceasefire, Hits PM Office; Iranian Students attack UK Embassy
posted by homunculus at 9:26 AM on December 31, 2008


Israeli Army Videoblogs Blowing Up Gaza, Gets Censored By YouTube
posted by homunculus at 1:24 PM on December 31, 2008


Victory is near - Wow Hamas dude, way to be 1) Obviously full of shit since it quite clearly isn't and 2) That's not really a message that's going to get you much help is it? "Yay, we're winning"? Maybe you should have a look into how Israels PR works to see how it's actually done.
posted by Artw at 1:50 PM on December 31, 2008


Hamas has offered to stop firing rockets into Israel if Israel lifts its blockade of Gaza, Russia’s foreign ministry announced on Wednesday. (One assumes they want Israel to stop carpet bombing them also.)

Thus far, there has been no response from Israel, and Israel has resisted any suggestion of a cease fire.
posted by dejah420 at 7:39 PM on December 31, 2008


Hamas has offered to stop firing rockets into Israel if Israel lifts its blockade of Gaza, Russia’s foreign ministry announced on Wednesday.

It would be rather better if Hamas' leaders made a public statement (that is, rather than "voicing readiness" in a private conversation with the minister of Russia) saying something like "We are not going to fire any more rockets into your territory, ever, and we expect you to end your blockade of our territory". The way it is at the moment it's
(a) a report of a conversation via a third party, and so is subject to denials, rephrasing, clarification and so forth;
(b) not actually an offer at all, but rather an offer to treat: "I'm ready to do X if you do Y" doesn't mean "I will do X if you do Y";
(c) is actually a threat to continue committing war crimes, as every randomly-aimed missile is an attack on a civilian population.

Oh yes, and then Hamas can get on with amending their charter and their logo so that they no longer call for the destruction of Israel. Yes, I know that when they ran for election they didn't mention it in their manifesto. But if it wasn't important to them then why wouldn't they have changed it, given that it's actually very important to the other side?
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:44 PM on December 31, 2008


What is "The Middle East" to we Americans? "The Middle East" is a conundrum for sure, but why does it occupy such a fixed place in our minds?

It is the ultimate thing that people cannot agree on. It's the thing people argue about. The thing people get passionate about. The thing people feel so strongly about that they strap explosives to themselves and walk into an Israeli disco. The thing that causes young Israeli men to shoot rockets into an occupied territory, regardless of who happens to be in the way.

But most of all, it's the thing that people cannot agree on.

Case in point - this thread.

There are a number of people here who will go on, at great length, about how appropriate it is to compare Israel to Nazi Germany. And while this point of view may have some traction in the tiny, left-leaning nation of Metafilter, the fact is that among Americans, you are so far outside the mainstream that it hurts. And I say this as somebody who has a pretty non-mainstream perspective. (see above comments)

So my point is this : You want to convince people. You want to influence people. You want to show people how wrong they've been about the Palestinians. And I think that's great! I think America has been way way way wrong about Israel. I hope that, in the new year, our new President and administration will put some real pressure on Israel to change its ways. But the fact is - and you must deal with this fact, whether you like it or not - most Americans are pretty goddamn pro-Israel.

And so we've seen some back-and-forth in this thread, which is evidence that this is one political issue that, on Metafilter, doesn't just involve straight-up choir preaching. Which means that you have a golden opportunity, so rare on sites like this - you actually have the chance to convince some people!

So may be in your interest to adjust your rhetoric. Realize that this is a very sensitive issue for some. Realize that even secular, non-Israel-supporting-Jews wince a bit when people talk about an "AIPAC Conspiracy." Realize that criticism of Israel isn't automatically taken as antisemitism; although vicious, one-sided, insensitive criticism of Israel can sometimes be indistinguishable from such. Realize that hatred of Jews is far older than the current mess with the Palestinians.

And finally, realize that digging up Hitler and dragging him to the table may not be the best way to convince people of your viewpoint. That is, of course, assuming that you are actually trying to convince people, and are not merely looking for an opportunity to vent.

That is all for now. Happy new year! May this year be greatly more peaceful than the last.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:48 AM on January 1, 2009


Just got this from my cousin on Kibbutz Magen - 4.5 kms from Gaza. Taken on her iphone and sent to me with the subject: Landed 20 metres from our house.
posted by gman at 8:33 AM on January 1, 2009


What helped the rise of Hamas? U.S., Israel policies, turns out
posted by homunculus at 9:31 AM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Day 6, no end in site. Death count above 400, casualties in the thousands. Children dying by the busload.

But I guess those babies deserved to die, huh Joe?
posted by dejah420 at 2:39 PM on January 1, 2009


But I guess those babies deserved to die, huh Joe?

What an appalling thing to say. I can't think of anything I have said or done which could justify innuendo like that.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:07 PM on January 1, 2009


When you defend the massacre, you thereby implicitly agree that the death of innocents is acceptable. After all, if those "Moslems", as you put it...a term, by the way that is generally only used in modern English by people like this asshat, (it's like calling Black people "Negros", it's just not done), but linguistics aside, if the Palestinians had elected the PLO instead of Hamas, and had changed their logo, then you'd be four square against rounding up millions of people, putting a target on their back and raining death on them from the sky?
posted by dejah420 at 5:01 PM on January 1, 2009


When you defend the massacre, you thereby implicitly agree that the death of innocents is acceptable.

I have never defended a massacre.

"Moslems", as you put it [...] it's like calling Black people "Negros"

Perhaps that's the case where you live.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:21 PM on January 1, 2009


Ibeleiove that it is Not The Preferered Terminology most places, isn't it?
posted by Artw at 6:47 PM on January 1, 2009


gman, I can understand if you're none too happy about that, but judging from the size of it, and the size of the crater it created, it'd not have done a whole hell of a lot of damage if it had beat the very long odds and hit the house...
posted by Dysk at 5:10 AM on January 2, 2009


BTW If the situation out there degenerates further I'm using this thread as a shitty analogy for it."

I withdraw the "if".
posted by Artw at 11:44 AM on January 2, 2009


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