Skip

Freedom of the Press vs. Israel's Military Secrets
April 5, 2010 12:10 PM   Subscribe

An Israeli journalist, Anat Kam (23), has been under secret house arrest since December on charges that she leaked up to 1,000 highly sensitive, classified military documents suggesting the IDF breached a court order against assassinations in the occupied West Bank, to Ha'aretz reporter Uri Blau. A court-imposed gag order first proposed by the Israeli government and now apparently supported by Kam's lawyers is preventing media investigation and coverage of both her arrest and the charges of espionage and treason against her in Israel. Blau is reportedly now self-exiled in London, and negotiating his return with Israeli authorities.

Since Israeli media are allegedly barred from reporting the story by their government, some non-Israelis are doing so:

The Jewish Telegraphic Service was one of the first media outlets to break the story.

A Facebook page ("We want the truth about Anat Kam - רוצים את האמת על ענת קם") has been created by the "elsewhere" social community, a Middle East based team of journalists and photographers.

The Tikun Olam blog has been covering the story extensively, and discussing Israel's ability to censor media outlets within their borders.
posted by zarq (38 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
And the first piece is by...Judith Miller! What a strange world.

Fwiw, Kam's story sounds a bit like that of Sibel Edmonds, and the fate of whistleblowers more generally.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 12:19 PM on April 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


The Facebook page linked in the post contains a large number of entries in Hebrew. Unfortunately, Babelfish does not translate Hebrew text or webpages. If anyone really wants to read it but can't speak Hebrew, try Babylon.com, for cut-and-paste Hebrew to English text translation.
posted by zarq at 12:22 PM on April 5, 2010


Sorry if this is a bit obtuse, but isn't the language of this a little triggered? From what I can tell, she's being charged with espionage based on the fact that she leaked sensitive government documents to the press, irrespective of what was contained in those documents (other than the fact that it was sensitive information).

How does the specific contents of the documents (i.e. 'suggesting the IDF breached a court order against assassinations in the occupied West Bank') come into play, other than to distract from what otherwise sounds like a pretty cut-and-dry espionage charge?

Disclaimer: I'm sincerely asking. I know these threads get all charged up on both sides, and I'm not trying to add inflammatory rhetoric to the fold.
posted by Brak at 12:37 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


How does the specific contents of the documents (i.e. 'suggesting the IDF breached a court order against assassinations in the occupied West Bank') come into play, other than to distract from what otherwise sounds like a pretty cut-and-dry espionage charge?

She's a whistleblower, not a spy. The documents purportedly show that the IDF violated Israeli law. Because of this, I think their contents are relevant.
posted by zarq at 12:44 PM on April 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


Brak,

In many places public interest is a defence against charges of leaking classified information.
posted by atrazine at 12:48 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fascinating. There is some US precedent, too, indicating that prior restraint -- i.e. an injunction against publication -- may be warranted under the first amendment in cases in which publication would threaten national security. But it is hard to imagine a 4 month house arrest of any US journalist. (Miller was jailed for contempt, not to keep information out of the press.) And how does it threaten Israel's national security to reveal that IDF breached a court order against assassinations? Because more assassinations are planned?

Thanks for this intriguing post.
posted by bearwife at 1:02 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Remember Mordechai Vanunu? He leaked something as well. How far right does the Israeli state have to go before its allies take notice. Bastards.
posted by adamvasco at 1:13 PM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


And the first piece is by...Judith Miller! What a strange world.

Perhaps she repented?
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:33 PM on April 5, 2010


I am interested at the moment not in what bad things Israel might have been up to but rather how one becomes a "whistle blower" rather than a "traitor" if material held to be secret by a govt is leaked to the public, a breach in the law even though what has been concealed may itself be against the law. Put in a context closer to home, if someone "back then" had leaked the (secret) fact that Pres Gerald Ford allowed for illegal wire taps (this a story I read today), then is that leaker a traitor or a whistleblower? or doesn't it really matter since it is the leaked item itself that is of most concern ? Again, curious about use of "title, names" and not the crime or fact itself.
posted by Postroad at 2:51 PM on April 5, 2010


Postroad I think when people are clearly breaking the law, as opposed to "just doing stuff you don't agree with", you are a whistle-blower.
posted by cell divide at 2:55 PM on April 5, 2010


ah another
Victor Ostrovsky
moment
posted by clavdivs at 3:02 PM on April 5, 2010


So, "secret house arrest" is the next stage after "double secret probation"?
posted by chambers at 3:03 PM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Postroad: I could be wrong, but the legality of President Ford's order seems more ambiguous than similar modern orders. His order was before the FISA courts (before such wiretapping for national security became codified by law), and there was an attempt to have accountability to the actions (not anyone could order a wiretap). I presume his order clarified activity that was already occurring.

If the legislature specifically declares xyz activity illegal and the executive decides in secret to do something else, that seems less ambiguous.

I doubt Israel's opponents consider the legislative ban against assassination a reason they can sleep peacefully at night, which would indicate that the ban on assassinations is more of a PR move than anything else.

Despite the restrictions upon Israeli press, whenever I read it, it seems more vibrant (divergent viewpoints, etc) than US press (perhaps not a compliment towards Israel, but an indictment towards the US press).
posted by el io at 3:43 PM on April 5, 2010


Put in a context closer to home, if someone "back then" had leaked the (secret) fact that Pres Gerald Ford allowed for illegal wire taps (this a story I read today), then is that leaker a traitor or a whistleblower?

There was some discussion of this in the press after Mark Felt came forward as Deep Throat.
posted by sallybrown at 3:44 PM on April 5, 2010


I am still unsure, but appreciate attempts to fix my befuddled head. Here is a case of our military (rather than the govt itself, it seems) keeping bad stuff secret but revealed by a whistleblower. I consider this a different sort of situation, though, since I don't believe the administation itself was keeping this secret:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/05/wikileaks-exposes-video-o_n_525569.html
posted by Postroad at 4:22 PM on April 5, 2010


Just came upon this, a whistleblower who may well have been murdered:

http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0405/tories-reopen-probe-iraq-whistleblowers-death/
posted by Postroad at 4:24 PM on April 5, 2010


I doubt Israel's opponents consider the legislative ban against assassination a reason they can sleep peacefully at night, which would indicate that the ban on assassinations is more of a PR move than anything else.

Pure speculation on my part, as I wouldn't even know where to look for the relevant legislation to confirm or deny, but perhaps it's being kept hidden to ensure their US funding remains active? We have laws in place that ban economic assistance to countries that engage in state-sponsored terrorist activities.
posted by zarq at 4:30 PM on April 5, 2010


Because we never, ever engage in state-sponsored terrorist activities ourselves.
posted by nathanlindstrom at 5:04 PM on April 5, 2010


and Israel's slide toward Iranian-style censorship.

I stopped reading after this. Israeli journalists have a long record of diming out various Israeli governments. Often the only record.
posted by three blind mice at 5:05 PM on April 5, 2010


Brak : From what I can tell, she's being charged with espionage based on the fact that she leaked sensitive government documents to the press

Except, she didn't work as some mid-level government employee with access to documents above her clearance level. She worked as a journalist. Someone who makes secrets known to the public, by trade.

At least in the US, you can't charge the average Joe (or Jill) with compromising sensitive information because the average Joe doesn't have access to sensitive information. The Miller case highlights this - She didn't leak classified info, she merely refused to disclose her sources, thus earning her a contempt charge. And from everything I've heard, Israel makes the US look like the Keystone Kops when it comes to actually protecting matters of national security.


bearwife : And how does it threaten Israel's national security to reveal that IDF breached a court order against assassinations?

Because Israel's entire foreign relations consists of "oh, poor us, mean Arabs... Um, The Holocaust!". Actual proof that their government basically flaunts international law when it damn well serves them would make it a whole lot harder to play the victim.
posted by pla at 8:10 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am interested at the moment not in what bad things Israel might have been up to but rather how one becomes a "whistle blower" rather than a "traitor" if material held to be secret by a govt is leaked to the public, a breach in the law even though what has been concealed may itself be against the law.

In the US, treason is defined in the constitution:
The Constitution of the United States, Art. III, defines treason against the United States to consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid or comfort. This offence is punished with death. By the same article of the Constitution, no person shall be convicted of treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.
So the question, for an American, would be "Is revealing my government is breaking the law equivalent to my levying war against my own government, or giving aid & comfort to it's enemies?" I would guess most countries have similar definitions.

Just because the government says something is a secret doesn't always mean they, as the government, have the right to keep it a secret. Especially when it involves people getting killed and the government responsible for the killing lying about it to their own people.

Was Daniel Ellsberg a traitor, or a hero? I vote hero.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:22 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey : Was Daniel Ellsberg a traitor, or a hero? I vote hero.

Agreed 100%. I would pretty much draw the line for that distinction at "profit" - Did someone do it for personal gain, or for the good of humanity? And I would extend the latter to include foreigners, incidentally... If someone, even an outright "spy", commits "treason" to improve the lives of 5 billion people including not a single American, I would still say "hero" rather than "traitor".
posted by pla at 9:41 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


rather how one becomes a "whistle blower" rather than a "traitor" if material held to be secret by a govt is leaked to the public, a breach in the law even though what has been concealed may itself be against the law.

Context is always going to play a role. Is there purely personal gain, a la Ames? Is there a public interest being served, per Deep Throat?

In this case it seems to me there's a compelling public interest - if you're an Israeli, oughtn't you know that your government, while publicly disavowing these actions and legislating against them, is organising death squads anyway?
posted by rodgerd at 12:13 AM on April 6, 2010




According to this (later) account Anat copied around 2,000 documents, most of which had nothing to do with assassinations. It's a strange case: spies don't usually sell stories to news papers, and whistleblowers don't usually copy things like drill briefings.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:01 PM on April 8, 2010


According to this (later) account Anat copied around 2,000 documents, most of which had nothing to do with assassinations. It's a strange case: spies don't usually sell stories to news papers, and whistleblowers don't usually copy things like drill briefings.

Excellent article. Thanks, Joe.

From the link:
The documents, in various classification levels, included operational military information, security and situation assessments, meetings' minutes and protocols, highly sensitive intelligence information, orders of deployment and battle, drill briefings, and warfare doctrines for the West Bank.
All of these are the sort of things that someone who was planning to face the Israelis in battle would be interested in knowing, though. Even the meeting minutes might reveal tactical information.

I wonder who else she might have sent the documents to.
posted by zarq at 11:20 PM on April 8, 2010


Was Daniel Ellsberg a traitor, or a hero? I vote hero.

Hero.

History is written by the victors, of course. One man's hero is another's traitor. And Ellsberg's actions had (then) unexpected reprecussions. In response to Ellsberg's whistleblowing, Nixon took strong action to quell further leaks and wound up seeing non-existent conspiracies and leaks everywhere, even from his most trusted cabinet members and staffers, like Kissinger. The man already had a bit of a persecution complex. But without Ellsberg's precedent, would he have been so paranoid about people turning against him? What would a less paranoid Nixon White House have looked like?

I'm mostly kidding.

But it's a fun intellectual exercise: what did the Ellsberg example teach American intelligence agencies? For that matter, what did it teach future whistleblowers?
posted by zarq at 11:28 PM on April 8, 2010


Um, some people here are posting stupid comments just to regurgitate their opinion onto the blue and it's kind of a shame, especially since I, as a left-wing Israeli and as a soldier, take this very seriously.
So this thing can be split up into three arguments: 1, is what Anat Kam did such a serious offense? 2, is what the military did such a serious offense? And 3, is the censorship such a serious offense?

Anat Kam had, during her military service, access to very secret documents. Why were these documents secret? Well, pla seems to think it's because "Because Israel's entire foreign relations consists of "oh, poor us, mean Arabs... Um, The Holocaust!""
So okay, I have a different view.

Speaking in general terms right now, information security is a really big issue and everyone has Intelligence services that work to uncover the plans of the other. So information security is a way that helps countries/organizations keep their plans secret - so that beforehand, no one will know and prepare ahead of time, and afterward so that no one will know which forces we used, how we used them, what weapons they used, etc, because then we will be easy to read. The less information gets to the enemy, the better.
Anat Kam's "whistleblowing" or what-have-you was a serious breach of information security that can jeapordize future military operations. Neither you nor I know the full extent of what was written in those files but they openly discussed every aspect of a military operation. And that kind of information is too sensitive to be leaked to the press.
So firstly, I think regardless of political opinion, Anat Kam's breach of information security is seriously harmful and should be treated as such.

Secondly, the information she leaked included statements by extremely high-ranking officials that breach decisions made by the high court of justice, and that is a problem in itself that needs to be discussed. I think some of the statements in those files are atrocious and that needs to be dealt with.

And thirdly, the undemocratic act here was the double gag order. There was a gag order on the whole story, which is understandable, it means the story can be told in a basic way and the public can then proceed to discuss it, but any police findings and details on the story would be censored - makes sense, right? But there was a gag order on that gag order, which meant that the only thing we hear here in Israel was "There's this really big story going on and the whole world is talking about it but we can't tell you what it is."
And with the press being the "watchdog of democracy" and whathaveyou, totally censoring the press is a very serious thing to do and I'm against it.

And yeah yeah I know, get my own fucking blog.
posted by alona at 12:28 AM on April 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


alona : Anat Kam's "whistleblowing" or what-have-you was a serious breach of information security that can jeapordize future military operations.

I would agree with that, if talking about run-of-the-mill military operations, rather than assassinations blatantly in violation of the very international law your country has agreed to follow!

As it stands, you and every other Israeli citizen should feel outraged not because some journalist leaked this material, but because your own government wants to play both sides of a very, very sharp fence. And yes, you can easily point to the US and say the same for me - But I do feel outraged, even ashamed, when my own government pulls crap like that.


Well, pla seems to think it's because

Look, put bluntly, Sharon should have stood trial in the Hague for war crimes - If not simply shot down like a dog by a UAV he never even saw, like any other terrorist. And as with the above, feel free to say the same for Bush, I'll agree wholeheartedly.

Netanyahu, I actually respect, largely because he doesn't play games with the rest of the world - He puts your stance out there, and says "suck it, world". I may not agree with some of his policies, but I can't call him a hypocrite. That said, I do hope he's taken Caterpillar off speed-dial.


1, is what Anat Kam did such a serious offense? 2, is what the military did such a serious offense? And 3, is the censorship such a serious offense?

No, yes, and yes. Simple as that.
posted by pla at 9:08 AM on April 9, 2010


I would agree with that, if talking about run-of-the-mill military operations, rather than assassinations blatantly in violation of the very international law your country has agreed to follow!

I don't believe that there is an international law against assassinations. Can you identify one?
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:12 AM on April 10, 2010


Joe in Australia : I don't believe that there is an international law against assassinations.

Article 6 Sections 1, 2, and 4, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(which Israel signed on December 19, 1966):
"1. Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.
2. In countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes in accordance with the law in force at the time of the commission of the crime and not contrary to the provisions of the present Covenant and to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This penalty can only be carried out pursuant to a final judgement rendered by a competent court.
[...]
4. Anyone sentenced to death shall have the right to seek pardon or commutation of the sentence. Amnesty, pardon or commutation of the sentence of death may be granted in all cases."

Tough to exercise your right to seek a pardon when the first you hear of your "sentence" consists of a muffled 9mm shot to the back of the head, wouldn't you agree?


Interestingly, Israel did include a signing statement declaring themselves in a peerpetual state of "public emergency" in accordance with Article 4 Section 1:
"1 . In time of public emergency which threatens the life of the nation and the existence of which is officially proclaimed, the States Parties to the present Covenant may take measures derogating from their obligations under the present Covenant to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not inconsistent with their other obligations under international law and do not involve discrimination solely on the ground of race, colour, sex, language, religion or social origin."

However, Article 4 Section 2 continues, saying:
"2. No derogation from articles 6, 7, 8 (paragraphs I and 2), 11, 15, 16 and 18 may be made under this provision."


Now, IANAL, and even most lawyers would probably say IANA(I)L. However, from what I've read by international law experts, it seems that although Israel didn't violate international law by assassinating, for example, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, they did violate the sovereignty of Dubai in that situation and Dubai would have every right to prosecute the Mossad agents involved.

And if all of Israel's murders all looked so clean-cut as that, I doubt many people would complain.

Instead, we can go from the indiscriminate bulldozing of occupied houses to punish one moron with an RPG (who doubtless slip out the back long before the destruction crews arrived), to a personal bug-up-my-ass, the assassination of Gerald Bull, a scientist who tried his damnedest to sell some incredibly cool tech to the Western world, before offering his services to the "wrong" people (but still as a scientist, not an arms dealer, not as an "enemy combatant", just a guy with the wrong things in his head for Israel to allow him to live.


So yeah, Anat Kam may well count as a traitor to Israel for airing its dirty laundry. To humanity, however, she counts as nothing less than a hero and a role model for us all.
posted by pla at 2:31 PM on April 10, 2010




Poll: Majority of Israel's Jews back gag on rights groups

That's not exactly news. One of those rights groups: HRW, has been repeatedly accused of biased reporting against Israel, a charge they deny. Those concerns weren't exactly allayed by the revelation that their senior military analyst, Marc Gerlasco, was an avid collector of Nazi Memorabilia.

NGO-Monitor is obviously biased, but their analysis of HRW here (pdf) was pretty interesting.

There seems to be a perception that at least one rights group is biased and unwilling to report on the situation objectively. Is it any wonder that a majority of Israel's Jews support gagging them?
posted by zarq at 10:08 AM on April 28, 2010


Also worth keeping in mind that Israel has previously accused the UN of bias, and many folks (Israeli and Non) seem to believe the UN has been biased against Israel for decades.

We Jews do have a bit of a victimization complex. It's built into our religion. (I've said this on MeFi before, there's an old Jewish joke that nearly all of our holidays can be summarized as, "They tried to kill us. We survived. Let's eat!") It's perfectly possible that this has inappropriately transferred into modern Israeli culture with regard to the way the world views the Palestinian conflict. I don't believe this is so, but it is possible.
posted by zarq at 10:49 AM on April 28, 2010


The impression I get is that the Israeli position with regard to the rest of the world can be summed up as "Fuck you, I do what I want."
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:01 AM on April 28, 2010


The impression I get is that the Israeli position with regard to the rest of the world can be summed up as "Fuck you, I do what I want."

It's a bit more complex than that. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say "We are fighting for our survival. Our neighbors tried to wipe us out for generations and while they did the world stayed silent. Because of this, the world lost the right to be moral arbiters. Especially since we are still fighting for our lives against the same enemies. Fuck you, we will do what we want."

A friend of mine from Bombay once asked me what right the US had to dictate whether or not her country should be allowed to have a nuclear weapon. We're morally superior? Better custodians of such power? The former residents of Nagasaki and Hiroshima might disagree? We discovered them first? Please. Their country's safety was at stake! This was before India became a nuclear power, obviously.

It's hard to argue successfully for humanity's net safety and the principles of human rights applied to an enemy when the person being lectured to feels a proverbial knife against their neck.

I try to keep this in mind with regard to Israel. They think they are under threat, and that affects everything they do. That doesn't justify their actions. It doesn't somehow make their violations of international law and human rights abuse right. But the situation really is a little more complex than an image of them flipping off the world.

If we're going to solve this conflict, we really do have to acknowledge Israel's concerns and find a way to address them in a better way than we've been doing. At the same time, we need them to accept and acknowledge that what has systematically been done by them to the Palestinians is Not Okay and Needs to Stop. And the third aspect of this needs to be Palestinian acquiescence for Israel's continued, unimpeded existence, without terrorism. The situation is really far more complex than this. But until we can get those three elements in place, real progress will be impossible.
posted by zarq at 11:43 AM on April 28, 2010


The impression I get is that the Israeli position with regard to the rest of the world can be summed up as "Fuck you, I do what I want."

I can totally see that. I'm not being sarcastic - Israel really is ignoring a whole lot of UN resolutions and NGO reports and all sorts of things. But let me give you an analogy -

Do you remember Ebonics? It was controversial, lots of people were for it, against it, made fun of it, declared that people were racist for making fun of it, racist for supporting it and so forth. But let's stipulate that you could be a thoroughly decent person and oppose Ebonics for thoroughly decent reasons - that it's a barrier to the acquisition of standard English and hence discourages social mobility, and you don't want any kids to be disadvantaged.

Now, you know that rap music that kids today like so much? You've got people saying it glorifies crime and violence and that rap stars are bad role models. Once again, you could be thoroughly decent and still believe that rap music is bad.

And then there are the things that Bill Cosby raised in the famous Pound Cake Speech. These are serious criticisms by someone who is part of the African-American community and whose experiences demonstrate that he is certainly no racist.

Now, let's say that you're talking to someone who says that Ebonics promotes illiteracy and social dependency, and rap music glorifies crime and drugs, and that there are too many African-Americans in prison, and too many single mothers and drug users and dropouts and ... you know, the whole rant. And this person doesn't use any racist buzz-words, and tells you that they'd be concerned about the same problems when they're found in any other social group, and that you're just evading the issue when you point to white teenagers or American Indians or bankers. And you don't like doing that anyway, because you're not interested in making your own dossier on Why We Should Be Concerned About Those Other Guys, and you suspect that doing this would turn you into a bad guy.

So how do you respond to this person who has a long list of separate and distinct faults that are all found in African Americans? Maybe you're enabling all this crime and teenage pregnancy and so forth by ignoring these faults? Maybe you're part of the problem, and what the African-American community needs is tough love!

No. The person telling you all these things is pathologizing the African-American community. Decent people are not worried about African-Americans, or Catholics, or Jews, or Masons. They might be worried about teenage pregnancy - but they're worried about it generally, not specifically in relation to African-Americans and in conjunction with a whole lot of other problems they identify among African-Americans.

So when I see things like "in 2006-07, the Human Rights Council passed one hundred percent of its condemnatory resolutions against Israel, ignoring the other 191 UN member states" or I look at the UN Human Rights Council's resolutions for this year and see that most of the condemnations concern Israel (six for Israel, two for Myanmar, two for North Korea, one for Congo) - well, I think that they're like the thoroughly decent person who's so worried about the problems of the African-American community. And you know what my response is? Fsck you. Fsck you for seeing them as a collection of symptoms. Fsck you for seeing them as other than yourself, something to be treated and corrected. And even if they're just bringing up one issue, say teenage pregnancy among African-Americans or Israel building apartments in Ramat Shlomo? Fsck you. Do you want me to pay attention to you? Show me that you're concerned about teenage pregnancy generally, show me that you're concerned about illegal construction generally, give me some reason to think that the reason you even notice this issue is because you care about it, and not because of the people you associate with it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:46 PM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Joe, I think you make an excellent point. The following is not intended to argue against it, but merely to point out additional info:

So when I see things like "in 2006-07, the Human Rights Council passed one hundred percent of its condemnatory resolutions against Israel, ignoring the other 191 UN member states" or I look at the UN Human Rights Council's resolutions for this year and see that most of the condemnations concern Israel (six for Israel, two for Myanmar, two for North Korea, one for Congo) - well, I think that they're like the thoroughly decent person who's so worried about the problems of the African-American community.

The UN Human Rights Council is a corrupt group, run by a bloc of African and Islamic countries and everyone knows it. It's mostly been used throughout its history as a tool by its members to cover their own violations of human rights, and when it has taken action (Iran) the results have been worse than useless. It also tends to be extremely slow to act, such as the genocide in Darfur. Gee, I wonder why.

Worth noting too, that China and Saudi Arabia are members, even though they have very, very poor human rights records. Cuba's a member of the HRC. Telling, no?

They're not interested in being evenhanded or fair. They're only interested in promoting their own agendas. What's more, everyone knows it, but no one can do anything about it. This is a failing of the UN. The organization is easily manipulated by countries working in concert. Frankly, the UN is only as good or effective as its members.

Show me that you're concerned about teenage pregnancy generally, show me that you're concerned about illegal construction generally, give me some reason to think that the reason you even notice this issue is because you care about it, and not because of the people you associate with it.

I can't speak for everyone else, but I care about it because I have family who live in Israel. I care about it because one of my uncles was killed fighting for Israel's independence, and another was killed in the KDH bombing. A number of my relatives fought in WWII in the US military, including my grandfather -- and to them, the rescue of Shoah survivors and the subsequent formation of the state of Israel made that awful war more palatable, and perhaps even worthwhile. I care about Israel's survival, because I worry that without it the Jewish people may well die off or be somehow wiped out in a few generations. I mean that most sincerely, by the way -- I am not being hyperbolic.

So yes, this particular issue resonates with me more than others. Then I look at what Israel does and I wonder if they're cutting their own throats. As a Jew that makes me sad as hell.

I understand what you're saying. I really do. And I don't mean to derail your excellent and correct points about institutional criticism being unfairly focused against Israel. But speaking only for myself, I participate in these threads because I'm emotionally invested.
posted by zarq at 8:08 AM on April 29, 2010


« Older Highly Unlikely Subway Maps   |   Is the Tea Party phenomenon... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post