Home / General / “The current death score is 159-0.”

“The current death score is 159-0.”


This Saletan column has been sitting in my tabs for several days, waiting for me to contain my amazement long enough to write about it. Fortunately, Bertram has already beaten me to the punch:

I wonder if Israel’s cheerleaders realize the damage they do their own cause when they write things like “Israel, unlike Hamas, isn’t trying to kill civilians. It’s taking pains to spare them” and “But in the Gaza war, it’s clear that Israel has gone to great lengths to minimize civilian deaths. The same can’t be said of Hamas.”…Anybody who is not parti pris can see that the Netanyahu government has partially contrived and partially been trapped by a domestic political climate that requires them to kill numbers of Palestinians in order to satisfy the Israeli electorate. Of course there’s the usual blather about “operatives” and “terrorist infrastructure”, but it is hard to take seriously the idea that anyone believes this as a description of Israeli aims. In fact nobody does, but lots of people in political power in the West think they have to go along with the story and pay lip service to Israel’s “right to defend itself”, even though concretely this takes the form of airstrikes against densely populated urban areas with predictable civilian deaths. Meanwhile, those who speak for the Israeli government go around claiming that no state could tolerate missiles being fired into its territory and that any state would have to retaliate. This is false, indeed absurd: much of British policy in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and 80s was deplorable, but though the IRA fired plenty of mortar rounds across the border, nobody seriously contemplated taking out “terror operatives” by aerial bombardment of civilian housing in the Irish Republic.

I have only a couple of small points to add. First of all, this is another illustration of why focus on motives in politics is generally misplaced. I also find Saletan’s readings of the relevant Israeli officials implausible, but it doesn’t actually matter whether they sincerely think they’re minimizing civilian deaths or not. They’re using tactics that guarantee many civilian deaths; what the motives are is fundamentally beside the point.

This also isn’t a defense of Hamas’s rocket strikes. They’re both objectionable in themselves and as with most heighten-the-contradictions strategies the chances that they will make things better by making things worse as opposed to just making things worse are roughly 0%. But this doesn’t change the fact that the Israeli response has been grossly disproportionate.

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  • Anonymous

    the so called palestinians bomb Israel everyday yet the left thinks that it’s all the jews fault for responding to them. This hatred of Jews is nothing new Gandhi is a hero to the left and he thought that the Jews should have made Hitlers life easier by killing themselves.

    • Big Gay Mal

      I don’t know what the answer to the ongoing situation with Israel and Palestine, but what the fuck would anyone expect when they 1)vote for a terrorist organization that has vowed the destruction of their neighbor and 2)continually shoot rockets into civilian populations of their neighbor.

      No one should be surprised.

      • I assume you’re referring to both “sides” voting for terrorists & bombing their neighbors.

        • DrDick

          Only one side has vowed, yes written into its charter, the destruction of their neighbor.

          • NobodySpecial

            The other side merely learned from Nixon and Reagan not to put anything in writing.

            • Pat

              Irrespective of the history discussed exhaustively below, and the question of who has what written in their charter, it is without question that for every single Palestinian death that has occurred in this instance, dozens of people in their immediate families have hate the oligarchs of Israel even more than they did before.

              • Pat

                Make that, now hate.

          • DrDick

            Nymjacking is a no-no around here, closet case.

            • It’s also remarkably stupid, when the avatars clearly show who is the real commenter.

            • Pseudonym

              See below

              • Pseudonym

                Where below?

      • Big Gay Mal

        I feel pretty,
        Oh, so pretty,
        I feel pretty and witty and bright!
        And I pity
        Any girl who isn’t me tonight.

        I feel charming,
        Oh, so charming
        It’s alarming how charming I feel!
        And so pretty
        That I hardly can believe I’m real.

        See the pretty girl in that mirror there:
        Who can that attractive girl be?
        Such a pretty face,
        Such a pretty dress,
        Such a pretty smile,
        Such a pretty me!

        I feel stunning
        And entrancing,
        Feel like running and dancing for joy,
        For I’m loved
        By two pretty wonderful boys!

      • wjts

        I don’t know what the answer to the ongoing situation with Israel and Palestine, but what the fuck would anyone expect when they 1)vote for a terrorist organization that has vowed the destruction of their neighbor and 2)continually shoot rockets into civilian populations of their neighbor.

        Like Clare had those RAF airstrikes coming after the Birmingham pub bombings.

      • DrDick

        what the fuck would anyone expect when they 1)vote for a terrorist organization that has vowed the destruction of their neighbor

        Yeah, why do you vote Republican?

    • atheist

      Perhaps the Israelis should just pancake them.

    • DrDick

      Riiiight, and there is no occupation of Palestine or illegal settlements on Palestinian land or routine atrocities committed against Palestinians by Israeli citizens and officials. The over all death toll form the conflict is about 100 Palestinians to every Israeli. The Israelis have refused to negotiate in good faith for decades and an Israeli extremist assassinated the last prime minister to attempt that.

      • Anonymous

        first of all there is no such thing as a “Palestinian” that is a made up nationality. second of all the so called “Palestinians” sided with Hitler during WWII. third Israel offered 98% of the West Bank in 2000 and the so called “Palestinians” turned it down. the so called “Palestinians” won’t be happy until there are no jews left on the face of the earth they want to finish what hitler started. the “Palestinian” flag should be treated like the swastika.

        • lanny breuer

          Isn’t “Israeli” a made up nationality as well? There was no nation called “Israel” before 1948. And more generally, aren’t all nationalities made up?

          • B.I.

            Yep. All nationalities (or any form of group identification) are socially constructed. I don’t get why Republicans/the Israeli Right harps on on this like it’s supposed to mean something special in this particular context. Stealing land and killing civilians is wrong and a violation of international law.

            • this particular troll had this particular obsession knocked into a cocked hat the last time he brought it up also. Tragic inability to learn.

            • joe from Lowell

              All nationalities (or any form of group identification) are socially constructed.

              I remember once reading about this guy who talked about his “pure Spanish blood,” apparently to distinguish himself from Latinos.

              Pure Spanish blood. Lol.

          • Anonymous

            Israel existed thousands of years ago, the anti-semitic homosexual Roman emperor Caligula destroyed the temple but the nation of israel dates back thousands of years. when Israel was reestablished in 1948 the jews were taking what is rightfully theirs.

            • Malaclypse

              Fuck, I hope the Navaho never hear this little theory of yours.

              • Well for a host of reasons the Navajo have eschewed armed struggle as a means as advancing their cause since 1868. But, the idea that they should be able to recover lost historical lands has not been an alien subject to them. The position of the Navajo, however, is far closer to that of the Palestinians than diaspora Jews before 1948.


                • witless chum

                  Have the Navajo made a play for northern Canada at any point? Allegedly that’s where they came from in ancient times.

                • Lee Rudolph

                  There’ll be lots of money to be made eventually by liquefying the Athabasca glaciers!!!

            • wjts

              The First Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar II. The Second Temple was destroyed by the future emperor Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus during the reign of Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus.

              Cripes, you’re stupid.

              • Manny Kant

                The Second temple was destroyed well after Titus’s father Vespasian became emperor, although the Jewish revolt began during Nero’s reign.

            • drkrick

              Vespasian was the emperor at the time of the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. Caligula had been dead for almost 30 years at the time. Sadly, that means this is one of the more accurate things you’ve posted on this thread.

              • wjts

                Oh, shit, you’re right – Vespasian, not Nero.

                Cripes, I’m stupid, which is why I thought the Siege of Jerusalem was in 66 C.E., not 70 C.E.

                • Malaclypse

                  Cripes, I’m stupid

                  No, that’s Pseudepigraphajennie that you’re thinking of. He’s stupid, yes.

                • wjts

                  No, intellectual honesty demands that if I call someone stupid for getting their early Imperial chronology wrong and then go on to get it wrong myself, I must call myself stupid.

                  Though in this case, it might be the beer.

                • Nobdy

                  If we’re actually being intellectually honest you were both wrong, but only one of you is stupid. The troll is a moron and would still be the stupid one even if it had been right and you had been wrong. Stupid isn’t achieved through one wrong fact. It’s earned over time and patterns of behavior.

                • Tristan

                  look i just want to know where asterix comes in

            • MAJeff

              Needs Moar Mad Libz.

            • Heron

              IIRC, the kingdom of Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians. David’s “kingdom” was Judah in the south, which survived because basically they played nice with the Assyrians and sold out the Northerners. That was later destroyed by the Babylonians(who made a point of rooting out the Yahweh fanatics, taking their children as hostages, and leaving most everyone else to their own devices), and the political entity situated around Jerusalem by the time of the Romans was roughly established by the Babylonian exiles, who returned as Persian clients, with Zoroastrian monotheism and an imperial tolerance for foreigners in tow. The “Jewish nation” is as modern an invention as the “English” or “Irish” one.

              And the Jews didn’t leave after the destruction of the temple. Jews spread throughout the Roman empire for the same reasons North Africans and Britons did; public service, in search of opportunity, or because they wanted to get away from the oppressive and violent theocratic caste system that the Priests of Jerusalem enforced on everyone else. Plenty of Jews stayed, and their descendants are the people displaced in 1948. “The Return” didn’t reclaim anything; it stole from the children of Jews who converted in the past, and non-Jews who had always lived there, because let’s face it, there has never been a time when all Hebrews have been monotheists who rejected all but one of their native pantheon, and even among the monotheist yahweh cult there is vicious and violent disagreement, as the historical persecution of Samaritans well attests. The current Israeli state is European Colonialism, plain and simple, and your willingness to mangle your own history to justify it and dehumanize fellow human beings to defend it is frankly depressing.

          • Big Gay Mal

            Isn’t “Israeli” a made up nationality as well? There was no nation called “Israel” before 1948.

            By the United Nations. Now, if you think the UN is not legitimate, then we have something to discuss…

            • malindrome

              What the UN authorized was the creation of a state, a legitimate governing authority with control over territory. We were discussing “nations”, which may or may not control a state, and are all (every last one of them) social fictions. Essentially, when a group of people think they constitute a nation, they do.

              • Actually in 1947 the UN authorized the creation of two states, one of which was never formed. I don’t think partition is generally a good idea and definitely not in this specific case. But, the UN creation of Israel also called for the creation of a Palestinian Arab state and the later admission of Israel to the UN bound them to allow the Palestinians displaced in 1948 to return to their homes. Israel has never honored this last requirement.

          • wjts

            I thought Desmond Dekker made them up in 1968.

          • cpinva

            according to the old testament, there was. it was the land “promised, by the god of Abraham, to the chosen people”. it was occupied and controlled by the jews until the romans invaded, sparking the first diaspora.

            “There was no nation called “Israel” before 1948. And more generally, aren’t all nationalities made up?”

            back then, they referred to themselves as “Israelites”, not “Israelies”. the Palestinians were named after Palestine, an old testament/current geographical area, into which arabs moved, long after the collapse of the roman empire and the major diaspora. yes, all names are human constructs, but you have to have something. otherwise, we’d be reduced to an extremely limited method of identifying anything or one.

            • wjts

              Well, no. Israel was conquered in the 8th Century B.C.E. by the Assyrians. Judah was conquered in the 7th Century B.C.E. by the Babylonians. This was the First Diaspora. Cyrus allowed Jewish resettlement in the region we now call Israel, but the people who lived there were subjects of the Persian (Achaemenid) Empire, Alexander the Great (briefly), and then the Seleucid Empire. During the disintegration of the Seleucid Empire, the Maccabean Revolt resulted in the brief establishment of the at first semi-autonomous and later independent Hasmonean Kingdom which lasted for about 100 years before being conquered by Rome in the First Century B.C.E. Subsequently, of course, the area was ruled by the Romans, the Byzantines, various Islamic dynasties, the Crusader States, and ultimately the Ottoman Empire. So for the last 2700 years or so, a fully independent and explicitly Jewish political entity has existed in the region for approximately 5% of that time.

            • Pseudonym

              I’m pretty sure many of today’s Palestinians are descendants of Israelites too.

              • DrDick

                According to the genetics, most of them are.

        • Hogan

          OK, here’s the deal. New Yorkers can have practically all of New York City; all I want to keep is the very small portion of Manhattan below 59th Street. You know, where the most valuable land and most of the key transportation connections are located.

          Pretty good deal, right? If people in Queens and Staten Island didn’t take it, they would deserve to be killed.

          • Also you will need control of all the airspace, coastal waters, and land entry points to the city. Not to mention all of the main internal roads. Finally, you need to build a wall completely surrounding the parts of the city you do not directly control to “defend” yourself.

          • cpinva

            “Pretty good deal, right? If people in Queens and Staten Island didn’t take it, they would deserve to be killed.”

            I have a better deal for you. of all the land in New York City, that was originally taken from me by force of arms, I only want back the parts you mentioned. you can keep the rest. if, on the other hand, we can’t come to a mutually civilized agreement on this, you will need to be removed by force.

            sadly, you have shown in the past a tactic of using innocent civilians as shields, while you’ve targeted your enemies civilian areas for destruction. with that in mind, we’ll do our best to try to avoid killing your civilians, up to and including warning them in advance of any attacks we may have planned, giving them time to get the hell out of the way. it will not, however, deter us from attempting to eliminate your ability to attack us with seeming impunity.

            here’s the contract, sign and date it please.

            • Patriarch of Constantinople

              Yes, if you start from the assumption that Israelis do no wrong and Palestinians do no right, it all becomes clear. In fact, you can apply that model to a lot of problems.

            • JL

              As though the Israelis don’t target civilian areas for destruction? Ever been to a destroyed Palestinian village? The Jewish National Fund builds parks on top of them, with white pines that sometimes catch fire all over the place to hide the rubble. There’s a cute little footpath through Ayalon-Canada Park lined with the stones of destroyed civilian houses from Imwas in 1967. I walked on it last month.

              Where the hell do you think people in Gaza are supposed to get out of the way to? It’s a tiny densely-populated space, made even smaller by the fact that Israel highly discourages people from living in areas too near the border.

        • Heron

          Funny you mention nazis when what amounts to political support for Jewish neo-nazis is such a big problem in Israel right now. Hell, those same people have been attacking Israeli anti-war protesters since this butchery began. So hats off to you, friend; you’re on the same side as Jews who take their lessons from the SA, deliberately seek out Anti-Fascists to bash in the street, and advocate genocide as a solution to the “Palestinian Problem”.

          You’re the one with a swastika peeking out from underneath your lapel in this sitch and your yelling about how under attack YOU are and how threatened YOUR life is, is the same sort of disingenuous malarkey that axe-carriers have been pulling since Mussolini.

      • Anonymous

        “The Israelis have refused to negotiate in good faith for decades…”

        You obviously have no idea what you’re talking about.

  • James E. Powell

    The current situation is the product of historical forces and political decisions of the last 100 years or so. Don’t expect anything to improve in your lifetime or in your children’s lifetime.

    • Manny Kant

      Things can change very quickly. I don’t see any reason to assume a 75 year horizon before anything changes there (that’s longer, for instance, than the Soviet Union existed)

      • Except Stalin was just another autocrat who replaced the tsars and a different lineage up through Putin. I don’t see much evolution in the Russian sphere – just fine tuning around the edges based on the economics (not the system, just the costs) and the military aspects of the empire.

  • Duke

    Discussing anything to do with the failed policies of Israel soon descend into the usual replies calling the critic Hitler, then come the references to the Holocaust and of course the old stand by, anti-Semitism.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, it’s just like the left throwing out ‘racism’.

      How do you like it?

      • Duke

        Oh Jeez. See what I mean? You need help.

      • cpinva

        you’re the only one doing it here, so why don’t you stop?

        “Yeah, it’s just like the left throwing out ‘racism’.

        How do you like it?”

    • Anonymous

      How dare anyone talk about real anti-semitism instead we should talk about fake racism like how it’s racist for republicans to talk about Willie horton but not racist for Al Gore to do the same.

      • Duke


        • Your Name Here

          … instead we should talk about fake racism like how it’s racist for republicans to talk about Willie Horton but not racist for Al Gore to do the same.

          Ah, zombie wingnut folklore never dies.

          You’re behind the times, Jennie. Somerby demolished that myth a dozen years ago.

          • Mike G

            You forgot “Robert Byrd was in the Klan…” (for a year back in the 1940s, then he departed and repudiated the organization), “…so Dems are the real racists.”

            • Heron

              That one year sure has grown hasn’t it? Last time I saw that bs on Fark, he was a Grand Wizard.

            • Manny Kant

              I don’t see how defending Robert Byrd on race is what we want to do here (especially when our wingnut troll forgot to mention him.) He may not have had much connection to the Klan, but he was also the only Democrat not from a confederate state who opposed all the various civil rights laws of the 60s. The man was seriously racist well into his political career.

              It’s just, I mean, who cares? Several Republican senators of his generation were also segregationists (Helms and Thurmond, most obviously), and Republicans obviously don’t care about that. The fact that several years dead Robert Byrd briefly joined the KKK and was for rather longer a staunchly segregationist senator just doesn’t tell us anything meaningful about American politics in the last 30 or 40 years.

              • Pseudonym

                But DW-NOMINATE!!!!11111eleventyone

            • cpinva

              jeebus, don’t give numbnuts any ideas!

        • bk



  • Bbb

    Remind me again, why does my support of Medicare and social security and the new deal in general obligate my support for a Palestinian polity that acts in a totally unsympathetic way? Lets start with the profound antisemitsm that informs every aspect of Hamas’ political project, and then consider the average Palestinians totally retrograde attitudes towards apostasy, homosexuality, and the place of women is society. If they make the choice to fire rockets into Israel, they can deal with the consequences.

    • Patricia Kayden

      Agreed. I have no problem with Israel defending itself but cannot agree with expansions of Israeli settlements into Palestinian territory.

      I don’t understand what Hamas believes it is achieving by firing rockets into Israel. They will never militarily defeat Israel.

      • If Hamas did not fire the rockets or if there had never been any violence by the Palestinians there would be zero coverage of them right now in the Western media. Without Palestinian violence the western world would simply turn a completely blind eye to the mass killing of people in Gaza by the Israelis. So the action makes perfect sense. Posts like this only exist because of the rockets. There has been a huge amount of peaceful Palestinian resistance to the Israelis ala Ghandi and MLK. All of it has been completely ignored by the West and of course the Israelis who have responded with violence. Getting Western attention to put pressure on Israel to respect Palestinian rights would never have occurred had there not been violence in return.

        • cpinva

          “If Hamas did not fire the rockets or if there had never been any violence by the Palestinians there would be zero coverage of them right now in the Western media. Without Palestinian violence the western world would simply turn a completely blind eye to the mass killing of people in Gaza by the Israelis.”

          conversely, one could reasonably argue that the violent actions of the arab countries, since the founding of the new Israeli state, along with equally violent actions on non-state arab/Palestinian actors towards Israel, is what spawned the ongoing failure of both sides to finally recognize the best interests of each, and work out a peaceful means of achieving them. the longer the violence continues, the harder it is to convince joe sixpack Isreali/Palestinian to demand their leaders engage in constructive, rather than destructive actions.

          “Agreed. I have no problem with Israel defending itself but cannot agree with expansions of Israeli settlements into Palestinian territory.”


      • JL

        The rockets are abominations, as is any tactic targeting civilians. I would, however, like to point out, that Palestinians have been holding unarmed protests for their civil rights in villages around the West Bank weekly for several years – I went to a couple recently – that are consistently brutalized by the IDF, and almost nobody in the West even talks about this, while when Hamas fires rockets and Israel responds disproportionately, suddenly the West is paying attention. This sucks, and I think a lot of people, including people on my own side on this issue as well as people who strongly oppose us, are complicit in it by only focusing or publicizing what’s going on when the particular thing going on involves rockets, airstrikes, and Gaza.

        So perhaps that is what Hamas in Gaza believes it is achieving. Though I would like to point out to them that this never seems to result in life becoming reasonable for Gazans.

        It’s not as though this situation is separable from Israeli settlements, either. Three settler kids get kidnapped (and, as we know now, murdered). Israel knows almost from the start that they are dead, but uses the excuse that they might be alive to collectively punish the West Bank (I was even in the West Bank during this time!) with a widespread crackdown that also involved arresting a lot of people in Hamas in the West Bank who were not involved in the kidnappings (as well as a lot of people not in Hamas at all). This arresting of a bunch of Hamas people who hadn’t done the thing in question, under false pretenses, perhaps irked Hamas in Gaza, since it was right about then when they started with the rockets.

        • It is obvious that is what Hamas is doing and it is working. Until the PFLP hijacking there was virtually no attention paid to the Palestinians in Europe or the US. The international position of the Palestinians improved remarkably in a short time following the adoption of such tactics.

          Likewise there are now international demonastrations in many major cities in the world inclduing the US against Israel. During the 1980s and 1990s that would have been unthninkable. Prominent rockstars like Eddie Vedder are publically denouncing the US funding of Israel’s bombing of Gaza. Again thing like that never happened during the 1980s and 1990s during the first Intifada. The demonstrations scare the hell out of the Zionists as they should. Once regular demonstrations against South Africa began in the US it was a relatively short time before apartheid ended. It will take longer for Israel, but I would be very surprised if Israel was treated as a “normal state” by most of the world including most Americans twenty years from now.

          This is a long term strategy. But, it has been far more successful in helping put real pressure on Israel than the non-violent protests in the West Bank. The Palestinians like the Vietnamese can lose every battle and still win the war.

      • Loud Liberal

        Patricia Kayden, in other words, you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.

    • Jordan

      If they make the choice to fire rockets into Israel, they can deal with the consequences.

      Well, thats one of your problems right there.

    • DrDick

      Hamas are idiots and assholes, but the Likud are even worse. Also the average Ultra-Orthodox Jew, who have been seriously empowered by the Likud, shares those same attitudes and beliefs. I endorse the right of Israel to exist, behind the 1968 borders. Their policies toward the Palestinians for the last several decades has been overtly genocidal.

      • ExpatJK

        +1. So interesting how these Islamophobes totally ignore the right wing insanity that is Ultra-Orthodox (and even some aspects of Orthodox) Judaism. Among my many reasons for not supporting Likud is the fact I would have basically 0 rights as a secular Jewish woman if I had to live under them.

      • Big Gay Mal

        I endorse the right of Israel to exist, behind the 1968 borders.

        That’s great, but Hamas doesn’t.

        • DrDick

          If Israel booted Likud and began acting like a civilized country, rather than apartheid South Africa, maybe Hamas would not be so popular and influential, asshat.

      • malindrome

        I assume you meant pre-1967 borders. If you support 1968 borders, you are endorsing Israeli occupation of Gaza, West Bank, and Golan Heights.

        • Manny Kant

          And the Sinai!

          • malindrome

            Ah yes, the Sinai. “Come to Israel, see the Pyramids!”

      • Loud Liberal

        No, Dr.Dick! You have no idea what you’re talking about.

        Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, Palestinian Authority, Hezbollah and PLO, are all “terrorist organizations”: (1) whose founding charters expressly call for the annihilation of Israel and the extermination of the Jews everywhere in the World, (2) which policies are shared by the vast majority of the 350 million arab islamists who surround Israel on 3 sides including the arab islamists living in Gaza and the West Bank, (3) who indiscriminately fire rockets in to civilian Israeli neighborhoods (a war crime), for the purpose of murdering Jews, from among their own civilians whom they use as human shields (another war crime), and who brainwash their own children to hate Jews so badly (whom they train to refer to Jews as pigs and apes), that they willingly blow themselves to pieces just for the chance to murder a few civilian Jews (another war crime).

    • Kal

      I like “support a Palestinian polity…”. I mean, any attempt to equate “I think Palestinian children in their homes by the dozen is not ok” with “I love Hamas” is pretty pathetic, but that phrase is one of the better attempts I’ve come across.

    • drkrick

      If Israel made the choice to empower Hamas in order to disrupt the PLO, they can deal with the consequences. See how stupid that sounds?

    • Lord Jesus Perm

      Yeah, fuck all those innocent children and citizens who aren’t Hamas!

    • JL

      I’m a bit curious whether you’ve spent much time talking to average Palestinians, about any of these things, or anything else.

    • Loud Liberal

      Good point! There is a deafeningly loud cognitive dissonance of putative “liberals” who criticize Israel for being too right wing and nationalistic, on the one hand, but who support the most far, right wing, conservative, extremism in the World – arab, islamist, fundamentalist, terrorism. These two positions are mutually exclusive and irreconcilable.

  • Joe

    Given her blog-head entry, something from Dr. Carpenter’s blog:


  • Big Gay Mal

    This also isn’t a defense of Hamas’s rocket strikes. They’re both objectionable…

    It’s not “objectionable”. It’s an act of war.

    • Anonymous

      Then how about pressuring Israel to start obeying laws of war? Under cover of law enforcement, the IDF has committed war crimes.

      • efgoldman

        Trolls arguing with each other. How lovely!

        • wjts

          When two trolls go to war
          A point is all you can score.

          • BigHank53

            Frankie Say War! Hide Yourself

          • Scott Lemieux

            I’m pretty sure none of them have ever modelled shirts by Van Heusen…

        • No matter who wins, we lose.

      • Anonymous

        Yes of course it’s a “war crime” the Jews must be in the wrong towelhead can never do anything wrong. I’m sure the Warsaw ghetto uprising(how much longer would that have lasted if the Jews wern’t unarmed due to gun control) was somehow a war crime as well.

        • MobiusKlein

          ‘Towelhead’ – nice way to Poe it up there.

        • synykyl

          I’m Jewish and I have close relatives living in Israel, but I am still disgusted by Israel’s rabid militarism and theft of Palestinian land.

          I know I shouldn’t bother replying to someone who uses the term “towelhead”, but you are such a racist jackass I couldn’t help myself.

  • Can we just do something about this current troll infestation. Nobody on this thread is responding to it, and they seem to particularly obsessed with this, so I vote for just deleting all their posts. This blog has been rather annoying to read recently because of these morons.

    • P. Jones

      Seconded. I don’t know what’s happened in recent weeks, but it’s starting to look like Deltoid in here.

      My vote would be for disemvoweling or [boner]ing. Deleting posts makes a thread unreadable.

      • Stag Party Palin

        Thirded. Boring boring boring.

  • Gotta love this modern world wherein the IDF rings Palestinians & gives them X mins. to get out of their houses before the IDF rains death from above on them, because of “intelligence.”

    • And that’s only in some cases. Apparently, if they’re targeting a specific individual, they just lob a rocket at whichever cafe they happen to be at with no warning:

      When the military aims to kill a specific militant in a precision attack, no heads-up is given. “We don’t warn terrorists,” said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israeli military. Still, the military says it makes efforts to avoid collateral damage.

      • Patrick Phelan

        And if you can’t trust the military when they say “We’re taking extra special care not to kill anybody other than the people we’re intentionally killing”, who can you trust?

        • Johnnie

          As long as I can still trust a fixed fight my faith in humanity will remain.

          • malindrome

            If you can’t trust a fix, what can you trust? For a good return, you gotta go bettin’ on chance – and then you’re back with anarchy, right back in the jungle.

            • Hogan

              That’s why ethics is important–what separates us
              from the animals, the beasts of burden, the beasts of prey.


        • Ed

          You cannot do what Israel is doing in Gaza and not kill civilians. It’s a feature, not a bug.

          I understand it’s been particularly hard to get the children to leave the house, even when their homes are under attack – they’re frightened and want to remain where they feel safest. So they are even more likely to be killed. However, many of them would grow up to be scary rock-throwing teenagers, so probably best to nip the problem in the bud, as it were.

  • ajay

    much of British policy in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and 80s was deplorable, but though the IRA fired plenty of mortar rounds across the border, nobody seriously contemplated taking out “terror operatives” by aerial bombardment of civilian housing in the Irish Republic.

    I am not sure that’s actually true, though. I can’t remember a single incident of that kind. IRA mortars were pretty short ranged, a few hundred metres at most, and the border is fairly rural without many targets close by. Normally the IRA fired mortars at targets in NI from other bits of NI.

    Plus, more to the point, the analogy’s utterly flawed in that the Republic had a functional government and police force that didn’t like the IRA any more than the British did (because the IRA used to do things like robbing banks and murdering gardai), and was happy to arrest them when necessary. Hamas, on the other hand, actually is the government.

    • ajay

      A better analogy would probably be Konfrontasi, but Bertram would have to look that up on Wikipedia.

    • wjts

      I won’t claim any great expertise in the matter, but the Armagh/Monaghan border was pretty porous, and it’s not like Sinn Fein wasn’t a fairly significant political player in both the Republic and Northern Ireland. It’s not a perfect analogy, but I wouldn’t call it “utterly flawed”.

      • ajay

        Sinn Fein was a minor political player in the Republic, and not part of the government there at any point during the Troubles. This is an important point. IRA men were actually at risk of arrest in the Republic because the IRA was and is an unlawful organisation there – being a member of the IRA was a crime (just as it was north of the border). That is a fairly major and invalidating difference from the situation in Gaza.

        And yes, the border was porous, which allowed the PIRA to smuggle arms (petrol, livestock, heroin) across, but they didn’t AFAIK fire mortars from the Republic into NI.

        • wjts

          Agreed: the fact that IRA membership was illegal in the Republic is a very important difference between the two cases. And I guess I overstated the importance of Sinn Fein in national Republic politics (I genuinely don’t know how significant it was in local politics in the border counties, but that might be an important question). It’s not a perfect analogy, but it’s not completely off-base.

          • ajay

            And another massive flaw, of course: the terror operatives who were blowing things up in NI generally lived in NI! They weren’t based in Co Clare and sneaking in across the border to blow something up in Belfast; they were there already. Martin McGuinness was not a cross-border commuter; he lived in Derry. So even if the UK government had decided to use airstrikes, they wouldn’t have been hitting targets in the Republic, they’d have been hitting targets on the Falls Road and the Ardoyne.

            • wjts

              I thought I read somewhere (Tim Pat Coogan?) that a big chunk of the South Armagh Brigade and East Tyrone Brigade memberships came from south of the border. And I know at least some members of the INLA were from the Republic. And even if the majority of active Republican paramilitaries were from Northern Ireland, a big chunk of the “infrastructure” of the organization was based in the Republic.

      • Big Gay Mal

        I won’t claim any great expertise in the matter, but

        I’m not a doctor, but…

    • Hamas, on the other hand, actually is the government.

      My interpretation was that Bertram was including N. Ireland within the UK/Britain. It’s a flawed analogy either way.

    • AuRevoirGopher

      analogy- noun, 1. a partial similarity on which a comparison may be based.
      That’s Random House Dictionary. So by definition, just because it’s not exact does not make it flawed.
      Anyway, here’s another analogy. For decades Catholic kids in N. Ireland threw rocks at British soldiers. For decades, Palestinian have thrown rocks at Israeli soldiers. So which army made it policy to shoot kids dead and which considered such actions cowardly, despicable and dishonorable?

      • Describing the occupation of Ireland as “a few decades” is kind of an understatement. Even the Republic of Ireland had existed for more than “a few decades” by the 1970s. And Catholic kids in Belfast were British, that was important and shooting them would have made it look like they weren’t.

      • ajay

        “The Random House Dictionary defines an analogy as…”

  • cpinva

    ” But this doesn’t change the fact that the Israeli response has been grossly disproportionate.”

    well, that kind of depends on how one defines “grossly disproportionate”, doesn’t it? yes, civilian deaths in military conflicts are both tragic, and not at all surprising. they’ve happened in every war, great and small, in recorded history. they’ve been both intentional and unintentional. until such time as armed enemies meet on neutral territory, set up specifically for the purpose of having it out in armed conflict, devoid of any innocent parties (though sorting them out of the crowd could, itself, be difficult), civilian deaths will be a constant.

    the noble goal would be to eliminate armed conflict as a means of disagreement resolution. I am supremely sympathetic to the Palestinians, and their completely reasonable desire for a state of their own. that said, I have zero sympathy for those claiming to represent said reasonable desire, and those desiring, using civilians as shields, against counter-attacks, while they in turn attack Israeli civilian population centers. if you’re going to assign responsibility here (and it’s reasonable to do so), start with hamas and their ilk, who initiated the latest round of humans attempting to kill humans, whilst claiming that god is on their side.

    the IDF is subject to elected civilian control, that can and does require the IDF to make great efforts to avoid needless civilian casualties; the IDF could just flatten the areas where hamas rocket attacks have been sourced, immediately eliminating the threat. they don’t, because they are subject to control. hamas has no such limitations placed on them, hence the random rocket attacks on Israeli population centers, with no concern about innocent Israeli civilian casualties.

    the other option Israel has would be to just go ahead and physically invade, using the entire military force at its disposal. recent history has taught us that if a desire to avoid, as much as possible, civilian deaths in military operations is part of your planning, invasion would be your “last resort” option.

    aside from Israel just allowing itself to be constantly attacked, and its people killed/injured, with no armed response, what would dr. Lemieux and mr. Bertram have them do? ignoring them isn’t going to cause hamas to get bored and go home.

    • wengler

      This seems like it should lend itself to a bigger discussion of asymmetrical warfare, but in short, Israel has so thoroughly destroyed the Palestinians ability to defend themselves that they are not a military threat now or any time in the near future to the state of Israel.

      aside from Israel just allowing itself to be constantly attacked, and its people killed/injured, with no armed response, what would dr. Lemieux and mr. Bertram have them do? ignoring them isn’t going to cause hamas to get bored and go home.

      This really isn’t a problem. The IDF is killing Palestinians on a regular basis. It’s not a story in the US unless an Israeli is killed. The problem is these punitive raids are very much like kicking the dog to vent frustration. Inside of Israel they appeal to electorates that Netanyahu depends on to win elections. There is no discernible military goal attached, except for blow up a bunch of houses/people/etc until the next time.

      • LeeEsq

        Has it ever occurred to you that the reason why there is still an ongoing conflict with no resolution because the Palestinian side of the conflict or at least their leadership doesn’t want a solution? I think the evidence is pretty clear that a broad spectrum of Palestinian society and leadership along with the rest of the Muslim world still sees the only acceptable solution as “no Israel.” They are still fighting 1948 again and again. They can not or will not reach a negotiated settlement with Israel because that would mean recognizing Israel. Most of Palestinian society realizes that they can’t actually destroy Israel but there preferred solution would be unilateral withdrawal so they can have independence without having to recognize Israel.

        See also http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/176673/emotional-nakba

        There are other cynical reasons why Palestinian leadership would prefer a continued occupation. A continued occupation keeps large amounts of money flowing towards them from the UN, Muslim countries, etc. and saves them from the difficult work of having to actually do nation-building.

        • wengler

          No, it hasn’t because the evidence doesn’t support it. The PLO and Palestinian Authority have been poor representatives of the people, but their leadership was smart enough to know that anything close to a ‘final settlement’ proposed at Camp David would have been widely unacceptable to the Palestinian community.

          • LeeEsq

            Any final settlement acceptable to the average Palestinian will probably be unacceptable to the average Israel since it probably involves a “right of return” of millions of Palestinians into Israel with in its 1948 borders. There is no Israeli government that could agree to this in the same way that no Palestinian government could agree to a settlement that leaves substantial number of Israelis in their territory.

        • Ronan

          jerome slater had a response to that article you linked to


          • LeeEsq

            I disagree with the response in total. It is completely erroneous and goes against the historical record. The Arab states have not sought to make peace with Israel but make demands after losing wars they launched repeatedly. Negotiations are not based on a series of unilateral demands of do this or else.

            The statements of Arab leaders in regards to Israel are usually very murky so they can be interpreted in multiple ways. For instance the article you linked to states that the Arab leaders were willing to make peace with Israel if they withdrew from the territories they “conquered” but what these territories are were not defined. It could refer to the parts of the partition that were supposed to become part of an Arab state that ended up as part of Israel’s 1948 borders or it could mean any territory held by Israel if you consider all of Israel/Palestine conquered.

            Likewise, the initial charter of the PLO, which dates from 1964 before the Occupation began, states that any Jew that was in Palestine before 1918 could stay. The problem is that it doesn’t really define what this means. Does mean that each individual Jew must prove that he or she was physically in Israel/Palestine before 1918 in order to stay? Does it include their descendants? What if a Jew has one parent that was in Israel/Palestine before 1918 and one parent afterwards? My guess is that the PLO meant the most restrictive definition. It was a way to seem reasonable without really being reasonable, which most Arab statements about Israel.

            We should also look to how minorities are fairing in the rest of the Middle East and the answer is not good. Muslims from minority sects, Christians and non-Arab ethnicities have been subject to state and non-state persecution for decades. This doesn’t leave me with confidence about the intent of Arab leadership or society towards Israel.

            • Ronan

              There isn’t anything specific here to respond to.

              Slater has a more in depth argument linked in the link I posted


              if you missed it. (Though Im not knowledgable enough on the specifics to say anything much)

              Even if your final point is correct re minorities(which Im not really accepting in the decontextualised, generalised way youve said it) it doesnt say anything specific to the way *states* deal with eachother.
              Your argument seems to be that because there are internal sectarian divisons within Arab states, then sectarianism(?) anti semitism (?) would prevent them from negotiating with Israel ? This doesnt really make any sense as (1) a number of Arab states do have good relations with Israel (some with secure l/t peace agreements) (2) the logic of your argument would preclude any arab state from ever having an alliance with any non arab muslim state (because sectarian divisions exist in their societies)
              Im sorry. i just cant make heads or tails of it..

              • LeeEsq

                My argument is that a lot of anti-Israeli arguments seem to go something like this:

                1. No Israel
                2. XXXX
                3. A peaceful and multicultural Middle East.

                I don’t think that the historical record demonstrates this at all. The only reason why there are still Jews in the Middle East and North Africa in large numbers is because Israel exists. Arab nationalism and its accompanying Islamic nationalism has long had a very exclusivist streak towards it. The treatment of minorities by the Arab regimes kind of suggests that had no intention of honesty in any negotiations with Israel with a few exceptions. They are also very murky and imprecise with their definitions. When President Abbas speaks of the Occupation he speaks in a way that could refer to the West Bank alone or Israel proper being occupied. I think the record is pretty straight that most Arab leaders regarded Israel’s existence in any form as insufferable. They had no intention of making peace after the War of Independence in any way.

                • Ronan

                  no argument has ever claimed that

                • My how convenient.

                  “They’ll never make peace so we can just keep taking their land by force (which we wanted to do in the first place).”

                • ExpatJK

                  Lee, I think that is a ridiculous strawman. Most of the commentary on this thread has never said anything even close to that. Hell, some have specifically endorsed Green Line/pre-1967 Israel – hardly in line with that “no Israel means happy days for everyone” stuff you claim you’re arguing against.

                  There have been a number of specific criticisms and people have highlighted the disproportionate death toll. It is entirely fair and reasonable to note that 159:0 is an extremely skewed ratio.

                  As for Abbas, I don’t agree at all about the murkiness. You are talking about a guy who specifically said he would not expect to return to his own birthplace, except as a tourist. Does that sound not clear to you?

                • lanny breuer

                  “War of Independence”?

                  Israel is the product of large-scale settlement from Europe and elsewhere. Sure, there was a Jewish presence before 1948 but Arabs were the majority in Palestine. To make the establishment of Israel akin to the wars of national liberation elsewhere around the same time is to gloss over the colonial nature of Israel.

                • chris

                  “They’ll never make peace so we can just keep taking their land by force (which we wanted to do in the first place).”

                  Is it weird that I can’t tell which side you’re attributing this “logic” to? Or that it seems to fit both equally well?

              • LeeEsq

                Ronan, I disagree entirely. Its implement in the pro-Palestinian arguments which tend to ignore what we were supposed to do in response to the pressures we faced in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. Its not like the New World and Western European countries where going to be enthusiastic about letting millions of Jews emigrate after World War II. At the very best, you get a lets cross our fingers and hope everything turns at okay type of feeling. At the worse you get malevolent neglect of the issue.

                Major Kong, I am shocked, shocked I tell you that when you place pressure and persecution on minority group you get a nationalist reaction. The situation faced by the Jewish communities in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa was the the type that would lead to a nationalist reaction and thats what the Europeans and Arabs got.

                • By your logic Russia should still be able to claim Eastern Europe because “Hey, we were attacked”.

                • Ronan

                  Look Lee, I like you man I really do. But you’re batty when it come to israel : )

                  And nobody in their right mind has ever said the Middle East would be a multicultual Utopia without Israel (or at least if you do hang out with such people you should rethink your social group)
                  Now, I have to be off to bed and leave it at this!

                • ajay

                  By your logic Russia should still be able to claim Eastern Europe because “Hey, we were attacked”.

                  Russia still does claim some of eastern Europe on exactly those grounds. Kaliningrad used to be Konigsberg. Lots of the Kola Peninsula used to be Finland. Half of Poland is now Belarus and Ukraine (and a big chunk of Germany is now Poland).

        • DrDick

          Ever think that ever expanding illegal Israeli settlements in Palestinian lands, routine attacks on Palestinians by police and Israeli citizens might have something to do with this? The Likud is every bit as committed to the destruction of the Palestinians as Hamas is to the destruction of Israel.

          • LeeEsq


            If an Arab-free Israel is racist than I fail to see why a Jew-free Palestine isn’t racist as well, especially since the reason why the WB was free of Jews from 1948 to 1967 was that the pogrommed out of it various riots and acts of war. Apparently its moral for Arabs to ethnically cleanse Jews and live in a Jew free environment.

            The settlements were a stupid idea in the long run but the logic behind them initially wasn’t technically unsound. Since Arab leadership decided not to negotiate with Israel at all after the Six Day War, the idea was to put facts on the ground in order to force negotiation. It didn’t work that way but that was the initial idea when the Labour Party re-started Jewish settlement in the West Bank.

            • ExpatJK

              No, the idea was not particularly sound. Staffing far flung settlement outposts with religious zealots, what could go wrong there?

              • LeeEsq

                Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank together are somewhat slightly over 10,000 square miles in size. There is nowhere in the area that could be reasonably described as far flung. The first Jews in the West Bank were also from Labour Zionist not Religious Zionist stock except the Hebron community.

                Lev Eshkol’s government was trying to find ways of getting the Arab governments to the negotiation table after the Khartoum Declaration. Letting Egypt, Syria, and Jordan back after the war without an agreement was not going to happen. The PLO wasn’t going to negotiate at this point either. The idea of putting facts on the ground to scare the Arab governments into negotiating made a certain amount of sense.

                • Malaclypse

                  The idea of putting facts on the ground to scare the Arab governments into negotiating made a certain amount of sense.

                  Yes, if you ignore any and all possible medium- or long-term consequences, I suppose that could be true.

                • It’s been a very long time since 1967 and they’re still building settlements.

                  Whatever “facts on the ground” there were in 1967 have long since passed.

                • ExpatJK

                  It’s a relative term.

                  So what if the first Jews there were Labour not religious, the government-subsidised housing there draws a disproportionate number of very religious given their family size, does it not?

                • What is the purpose of the settlements being built now, other than making a “two state” settlement impossible?

                • Manny Kant

                  And it worked, obviously! Because peace!

            • JL

              Most of the Palestinians that I spoke to favor the Right of Return – actually, all of them did – but only one favored a Palestine without Jews. They’re looking for rights and decent living conditions, not pogroms. Obviously you would also want international monitoring of some sort to enforce this.

              If we’re going to talk about ethnic cleansing in the area, we should also talk about the destruction of Palestinian villages in 1948. Have you ever seen the look on a twentysomething Palestinian’s face as she, for the first time (since she was able to get a permit as your delegation’s translator), sees and walks through the ruins of the village where her grandparents lived?

              Let’s also talk about David Ben-Gurion, who said “The Arabs will have to go, but one needs an opportune moment for making it happen, such as a war,” and Yosef Weitz, who said a whole pile of things about how necessary it was to remove Arabs from the land.

              facts on the ground

              Land grabs, resource theft, settler roads that Palestinians can’t drive on. You know, facts on the ground.

        • JL

          I have no particular love for the Palestinian leadership – and judging by the conversations I had last month while in Palestine, neither do the Palestinians – but pretending that the Israeli leadership wants to solve anything when Netanyahu says “I think the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan,” makes little sense.

          Okay then Netanyahu. Let’s have a single, just, liberal democracy, in which everyone gets equal rights and no religious or ethnic group is entitled to have permanent cultural dominance or a permanent majority (because really, if there were people in the US going around saying that their demographic group should be allowed to have a permanent majority and to determine the character of the state, we’d correctly call them racists and xenophobes).

          Oh wait, that’s not what you want, Netanyahu? You just want your boot on Palestinian necks forever?

    • LeeEsq

      I am pretty sure that the answer would be that Israel should enter into “honest negotiations” with Hamas in order to resolve the conflict. This is despite the fact that Hamas as an organization consistently and repeatedly stated that the only solution that they find acceptable is “no Israel” and the Jews gone and have consistently acted on that principle. Has it occurred to anybody that Hamas and its members just might be voicing their real opinion when it say this?

    • Licice

      Collective punishment is bound to work. But cpinva won’t fuck you either, Jennie.

      • Lord Jesus Perm

        I don’t think that’s Jennie.

        • Manny Kant

          Cpinva is a right wing lunatic when it comes to Israel-Palestine.

    • William Berry


      Are you a sock puppet for Marty Peretz, or maybe Wieseltier?

      What part of 159 to fucking nothing do you not understand?

    • tt

      if you’re going to assign responsibility here (and it’s reasonable to do so), start with hamas and their ilk, who initiated the latest round of humans attempting to kill humans

      Do we actually know this? Israel hasn’t given any proof that it was Hamas that murdered the Israeli teens.

      • Ronan

        More than likely had no organisational green light (afaik)

        • ExpatJK

          Yeah, pretty much sounded like rogue local militants. Hamas as an organisation hasn’t been shy about claiming credit for attacks in the past, so the absence of such was notable here.

          • liberal

            I thought I specifically read that it was known to the Israeli government _while they still pretended the three missing Israelis were still possibly alive_ that (a) they were almost certainly dead, (b) the killers were almost certainly members of rogue elements of Hamas who disregard the leadership.

            The entire thing smells of “let’s take this as an opporunity to launch a new incursion into Gaza.”

            • ExpatJK

              That sounds entirely plausible. I haven’t read that specifically so I limited my comment to what I knew.

            • Prok

              I think they’ve admitted (a) at this point. Not sure about (b).

            • JL

              (a) is pretty well-established at this point. I’ve heard (b) but haven’t looked closely into it.

              It was also an opportunity to mess with the West Bank a little. You know, tear gas refugee camps and houses, terrorize families with door-to-door searches, arrest a bunch of people, kill a handful, prevent anybody in Hebron from being able to go through checkpoints for a while, disrupt the lives of the whole West Bank population to various degrees.

              I was touring a refugee camp when it got tear gassed. I was sleeping in another refugee camp (safely in the guesthouse) when the IDF raided it and arrested 10 people, including people whose only crime was to be family members of the ones that they were actually looking for. I got stuck in checkpoint traffic jams caused by all the Hebron people being turned around. I was in a vehicle near Hebron when I smelled tear gas and saw the IDF barging into a roadside home. I talked to med students who couldn’t take their finals because they were from Hebron and couldn’t get to school. I saw the police station in Ramallah that was vandalized by young Palestinians after an IDF soldier shot a Palestinian there and the PA police saw and (unsurprisingly) did nothing.

      • Richard

        Before they were known to have been murdered, Hamas applauded the kidnappings. Although the PLO has condemned the murders, Hamas has not. Hamas leadership may not have ordered the killings but they have not condemned them or ordered the arrest of the people who did the killings.

    • Sledgehammers make rather poor flyswatters.

      Speaking as someone who’s wielded a sledgehammer on more than one occasion.

      • Lee Rudolph

        But did you ever even TRY to use one as a flyswatter? Hmm?
        (A hammer works pretty well on wasps, by the way.)

        • Major Kong DIDN’T. EVEN. TRY.

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          supposedly true story: years ago, an acquaintance left his sons, who I suppose were aged in the high single digits at the time, with the pickup while he went over the hill to fix fence. came back to find the truck had a broken windshield from the boys whacking at flies with a claw hammer

  • NewishLawyer

    I am going to sign on with Cpinva’s statement. Hamas purposefully hides rockets in hospitals, civilian homes, and other locations that make for highly sympathetic targets. This gives Israel a prisoner’s dilemma. They can either go after the rockets and targets and risk civilian casualties or let Hamas be. Hamas are cowards. They are not freedom fighters, they are not part of the “global left” as Judith Butler so lovingly describes them.

    This does not make all of Israel’s actions acceptable or moral. Collective punishment is immoral but note that Israel did arrest the men who murdered the Palestinian teenager and they suspended the officers who beat his cousin at the funeral. The bulldozing of houses is also immoral as punishment and Israel should stop doing that and be sanctioned for doing so.

    I still consider myself a Zionist and believe that the creation of Israel was necessary and right in 1949 and a Jewish state is still necessary today. That being said, the whole situation is a tragic and never ending cycle of violence that should break the hearts of everyone. And both sides go too far in the hyperbole game. Has any other debate caused as much hyperbolic commentary? The position of Israeli critics seems to be that Israel can do no right and that every action by Israel has a secret and conspiracy minded motive ala “pinkwashing”. Considering there is a long history of anti-Semitism being justified by conspiracy theories of Jews and banks, you would think critics of Israel would avoid the “pinkwashing” allegations but they do not.

    • wengler

      Yeah pretty poor of those critics to not avoid the allegations being hurled at them. They should do a better job at not being called things in the future.

      • NewishLawyer

        The problem with a “pinkwashing” argument is that basically means that you are not interested in an honest and reasonable debate. Now it is perfectly possible to be pro-gay rights and anti-Palestinian but there are many Foreign residing Jews and Israelis who are not Likuidnik, sincerely interested in the Peace Process, who are going to be turned off by pinkwashing because it means the opposition is not interested in a reasonable debate.

        But to say that Israel is only gay-friendly/tolerant to discredit the Palestinains is a wee bit heavy on a conspiracy theory and fails Occam’s Razor. It gets very close to “A secret cabal of Jews controls the world’s economy.”

        • McAllen

          Who are you referring to here?

          • Jordan

            Sarah Schulman, presumably.

            Not exactly a “cabal of jews run the world” – that doesn’t get at what is being claimed. Also not sure about the relevance here?

          • Anonymous

            most liberals believe that jews control the government, they express this by useing euphemisms like “wall street” “bankers” “the one percent” “koch brothers”(who are in fact not jewish despite having the same name as the former jewish mayor of New York. when someone says they want to take money out of politics they are talking about jews.

            • jim, some guy in iowa

              you are just plain out of your head

            • DocAmazing

              Yes, and when I order spaghetti I’m really calling for the invasion of Sardinia, and when I say I hope the weather clears up I am talking about immigration.

              You might want to get those fillings replaced. They’re tuning in some strange shortwave.

    • Malaclypse

      I am going to sign on with Cpinva’s Jennie’s statement.

      You should at least know who you agreed with. He has dumbprints.

      • Anonymous

        Because anyone who doesn’t believe that the jews are the cause of all the problems in the world must be “Jennie”.

        • Malaclypse

          No, but you have specific dumbprints.

          • Big Gay Mal


            So wrong…so many times

            • Malaclypse

              Keep saying that, pumpkin – maybe someone will believe you. Remember, starting another sock puppet doesn’t actually count as someone agreeing with you, though.

      • Manny Kant

        Cpinva is a mouthpiece for Netanyahu on Israel-Palestine stuff. Haven’t you guys read any other Israel-Palestine thread on this blog ever? A while ago Cpinva was going on about how it’s okay to kick Palestinians out of their homes because of ancient Biblical stuff from thousands of years ago.

    • JL

      Serious question: Why should any ethnic or religious group be able to have a state in which it is the permanent dominant power/perma-majority? What would we (do we) say about white Christians demanding such a thing in the US?

      I don’t actually see how this has anything at all to do with the Prisoner’s Dilemma, which is a specific concept in game theory. You might be able to map it onto some other game. This is a minor point though.

      The “pinkwashing” claims that I have heard are not about conspiracy theories, or asserting that Israel only tolerates LGBTQ people to discredit Palestinians, at all. They’re merely that Israel tries to deflect criticism and win the sympathies of foreign LGBTQ people by talking about how [much more] LGBTQ-friendly they are. That’s not an accusation of a secret cabal of anything. That’s an accusation that Israel engages in a certain kind of PR and tries to deflect criticism with irrelevancies.

      Now, that doesn’t mean that I would respond to Israel talking about Gaza with “Pinkwashing!” because that’s also irrelevant. The only sentiment I would respond to with “Pinkwashing!” is “You should love Israel because you are LGBTQ and it is so LGBTQ-friendly” and variations on that theme. And someone using that argument is not interested in an honest and reasonable debate to begin with.

      Israel knows that when it bombs Gaza it’s going to kill civilians – I’m not sure how much you can even call it “risk” when the risk is 100%. It’s not as though this is the first time Israel has done this. They know how it plays out.

      If you are appalled – as is entirely justified – by Hamas embedding themselves within civilian targets, then what do you think of IDF soldiers being posted at schools and kibbutzim and taking public transit while on duty, not to mention the practice of assigning groups of IDF soldiers to Birthright trips like the one I went on two years ago, full of young Diaspora Jews? Or locating a military airbase in a civilian airport in Tel Aviv? Those are also examples of the military embedding itself within a civilian population.

      • sonamib

        Thank you. That was a wonderful comment.

        And here are some examples of pinkwashing. Notice how these “ads” don’t just talk about how wonderful Israel is. They are always careful to compare gay rights in Israel and gay rights in the rest of the Middle East. And the comparisons are always with the Middle East, and not say, gay rights in the US or Sweden. (Think how weird it would be if Canada started issuing ads saying how better their healthcare was than in the US.) The subtext is clearly : “you, Western liberal, should support Israel over those backwards Arabs”.

        Never mind that all Palestinians, including the LGBTQ ones, suffer under Israeli occupation.

      • ExpatJK

        Yes, this, 1000 times.

        I’m Jewish – albeit very secular – and have a lot of problems with this idea of permanent ethnic/religious power in a state. I think it’s also worth noting that it’s increasingly the case in Israel that this power is in the hands of the Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox (neither of whom are particularly women or LGBTQ friendly, to put it mildly).

        • Tyto

          Right. I’m not sure why I’m supposed to reflexively and completely support a power structure that privileges a group that denies my and my kids’ Judaism, holds social views abhorrent to me, and becomes more demographically important with each passing year.

          Moreover, that group has no skin in the game. They are the worst kind of hypocrite: a mix of conscientious objector for the purposes of military service with bloodthirsty war pig for the purposes of domestic policy.

          • ExpatJK

            A-fucking-men. The ultra religious are basically the equivalent of Republican/chickenhawk pro-war types who think it’s a great activity, for other people’s kids.

            And yeah, even though I am as Jewish as they get in terms of lineage – had a grandfather who went to yeshiva and Jewish grandparents, great-grandparents, etc etc on every side of the family – I’d be willing to bet good money that the Orthodox and ultra Orthodox don’t consider me a Jew. Of course, since I’m a woman, they don’t really consider me a full fledged human/citizen of any kind either.

            • Manny Kant

              They’d consider you a Jew if your mom is Jew (and her mom is a Jew…etc).

    • Manny Kant

      That is not what the prisoner’s dilemma is.

  • atheist

    In general, I’ve found Saletan to be a disappointingly shallow thinker. I remember reading an article of his about JFK (and other) conspiracy theories. He showed the inanity of these theories, which is useful up to a point. But his somewhat contemptuous attitude grated. And his failure to dig into why such theories seemed plausible to many, at one point, led to an incomplete-feeling essay. One has to understand conspiracy theory thinking, not merely point out its (obvious) absurdities, in order to really attack it.

    • Bill Murray

      Saletan is perhaps even more stupid wrt abortion

      • steve

        “Why can’t you just admit that abortion is icky!?”

        People apparently get paid for such trenchant analysis.

  • joe from Lowell

    I wonder if Israel’s cheerleaders realize the damage they do their own cause when they write things like …

    My favorite is, “If the Palestinians disarm, there will be peace. If Israel disarms, there will be a massacre.”

    Lolwut? What on earth would cause anyone watching Israel over the past decade or so think that?

    • Anonymous

      in the 1920s germany passed strict gun control legislation the jews obeyed the law and a few years latter the holocaust started happeing since the jews had been disarmed there was nothing they could do about it. when jews have been disarmed they end up dead.

      • Malaclypse
      • liberal

        Wouldn’t have mattered.

        Main reason the Jews (speaking as someone who’s half-Jewish) were pretty much screwed is that they were a minority everywhere. It’s hard to mount much of a defense when you’re surrounded by people who are at best indifferent, at worst somewhat hostile.

        And even beyond that, about 3M Polish Gentiles died due to the Nazis, and they did have guns, and smuggled more. (Some of them smuggled some to Jews in ghettos.) So it’s hard to say how the Jews having some guns would have mattered.

      • joe from Lowell

        Has everyone noticed that it’s the people on the Palestinians’ side who want to talk about the facts of what’s going on, and it’s people on the Israelis’ side who write things like this in order to minimize people’s ability to talk about what’s going on in Gaza?

        Gee, I wonder what that could mean?

    • atheist

      “If the Palestinians disarm, there will be peace. If Israel disarms, there will be a massacre.”

      180 degrees from real life.

      • AuRevoirGopher

        Arguing with Israelis and their supporters is like arguing with children. Very violent children.

  • DAS

    Not that I agree with Israel’s strategy here, but there is a key difference between the IRA and Hamas:the IRA’S ultimate goal wasn’t genocide against Northern Irish Protestants. And for many Jews, a key take home lesson of the Holocaust is that when someone says they mean to kill Jews, they mean it, so you should do everything you can to stop them.

    • Ronan

      hamas ultimate goal isnt genocide

    • steve

      There are a bunch of dudes with old guns in caves in Western Pakistan who dream of the destruction of the USA. Should we destroy Pakistan?

    • Manny Kant

      I am pretty dubious that the IRA’s ultimate goal for Northern Irish Protestants was particularly different from Hamas’s ultimate goal for Israeli Jews. Not specifically genocide in either case, but both would be happy if their enemy were to not be there anymore.

    • chris

      And for many Jews, a key take home lesson of the Holocaust is that when someone says they mean to kill Jews, they mean it, so you should do everything you can to stop them.

      If “everything you can” includes “massacre people who happen to live near and possibly look like the person who says that they mean to kill Jews”, then perhaps this lesson has been learned a little too well.

      • Hogan

        That is one possible interpretation of “Never again”–let’s do it to them before/in case they do it to us.

  • Nice to see the IDF reacting with their usual tact and subtlety.

  • Matt

    I’d love to know just how many dead Palestinian civilians the “Israel über alles” trolls in this thread would consider “unjustified” as retaliation for nuisance rocket attacks. 100k? A million? Six million, perhaps? Surely even the trolls have an upper limit.

    • Patrick Phelan

      I wouldn’t tar the regular commenters who support Israel with this one – I’m more an “I don’t know anything a pox on any and all houses” type, but they got to their position rationally, I think – but the trolls? Naturally: all of them, Katie.

  • Scott’s point about Israeli “intent” applies to US liberal hawks who love air strikes too. If you like using air strikes, you like killing civilians, no matter how you rationalize your intent.

    • Derp de derp de derp de derp

      Derp derp derp derp derp derp derp.

      There, someone paid attention to you.

  • Simon

    I think anyone saying the response is disproportionate has a responsibility to say how they would respond to rocket attacks on civilians. The reasons there are no Israeli casualties is because Israel has invested in massive amounts of civil defense, air raid sirens, bunkers etc. That doesn’t make attempted murder any less unlawful.

    • CDWard

      Israel should respond to rocket attacks on civilians by returning all of the land it has stolen from the Palestinians, rebuilding all of the homes it has destroyed, replanting all of the olive groves it has destroyed, and remove all settlers behind the 1967 borders.

      • liberal

        Something I don’t see mentioned anywhere in this thread is that the settlements themselves are war crimes. It’s pretty clear than under international law you can’t transport people into conquered territories as Israel does.

    • ExpatJK

      Uh, what? Your argument is, to put it mildly, ridiculous. Please point me to the posters who have said that Israel should never have invested in bunkers, or that rocket fire on civilians is super neat, or that Hamas is awesome. Their criticism comes from Israel having done 1000+ bombing runs in a small area, resulting in 159 casualties. This in and of itself is terrible, and disproportionate when one considers the RELATIVE damage wrought by the rockets.

      As for how people should respond – well, again, since no one has made the claims you say they’ve made, they really don’t have to abide by your silly standards. Also, some top Israeli military brass and ex security/Shin Bet types have been pretty up front about the need for peaceful conflict resolution and also about the role of Jewish terror (which I note was not mentioned at all in your little diatribe). So…no.

      • J R in WV

        Now, wait just a minute here! Those rockets destroyed a fueling station the other day. This is not acceptable behavior at all!

        The bombings must continue until morale improves!

        I think the west bank settlements are illegal, confiscating and destroying orchards and olive groves is despicable (and illegal theft), building roads and walls to reduce the west bank into tiny neighborhoods with the original inhabitants barred from even traveling on the new roads is illegal and immoral.

        All this said, Israel should have the ability to exist in peace, as should Palestine. I find it interesting that the name of the country now referred to as “Jordan” was called Trans-Jordanian Palestine at the time of the creation of Israel.

        I despise the ultra-Orthodox as the craziest of crazy religionists, just as I do the prosperity preachers of fundy xianity here in America. Their treatment of their own(ed) women is hateful and all too biblical in the sense of all the horror stories found in that fable. They’re even hateful and commit illegal acts here in New York (not to imply I’m in NYC at this time!).

        So pretty much a pox on all their houses. Even though I was a Zionist as a youth, the ’67 war fixed all that for me.

        • ExpatJK

          I find it interesting that the name of the country now referred to as “Jordan” was called Trans-Jordanian Palestine at the time of the creation of Israel.

          Yeah, to me this just makes the whole “we were here 2000 years ago so it’s ours” thing even more ridiculous. How many places have their original borders or anything even like it? How much of Ukraine used to be Poland, how much of Poland was Germany, etc? It’s really ahistorical.

          The ultra-Orthodox and fundie Christians have tons in common, including but not limited to their heinous treatment of women, LGBTQ, etc. I find them terrifying. I think your description of own(ed) women is right on the money.

        • Manny Kant

          Jordan was carved out of the original British Mandate of Palestine, but it was originally called the Emirate of Transjordan. By the time of the creation of Israel, it was called the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan, and changed its name to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan after the conquest of the West Bank in the 1948-49 war.

          And it was never really part of Palestine. It was a desert area basically inhabited by Bedouins that happened to be tacked on to the British Mandate of Palestine, and immediately separated from the rest of it. Even today, even though Palestinians (mostly descendants of refugees from the 48-49 and 67 wars) form the majority of the population, it is the Bedouins who are socio-economically and politially dominant.

    • liberal

      Yawn. Fact is that more often than not, hostilities are actually initiated by the Israelis. Problem is that whenever a cease fire is broken by Israel, coverage doesn’t start until the Palestinians respond.

    • chris

      That doesn’t make attempted murder any less unlawful.

      I didn’t know a neighborhood could commit attempted murder (or any other crime for that matter).

      Identifying, trying and punishing individual criminals is definitely harder than collective retaliation. That doesn’t make collective retaliation any less unjust.

  • CDWard

    Israel is the oppressor, the Palestinians are the oppressed. Oppressed people have every right to fight back against their oppressers

    • Normally this idea is supported by most people calling themselves leftists. But, in the case of Palestine there is a very large number of such “leftists” in the US who justify crimes by the Israeli state that they would never tolerate when done by the US or any other state. It is difficult to understand because it does not have any parallels elsewhere. Other colonial settler states like Algeria, Rhodesia, and South Africa did not get substantial support from self described “leftists”, “progressive”, and “liberals” like Israel does even today. Indeed unlike Israel where there are many “Left Zionists”, White South Africans including Afrikaners who described themselves as “leftists” from the 1960s almost universally opposed apartheid. Of course the idea of White “leftists” in the US supportig South African apartheid in the 1980s the way a very large number of self described US “leftists” support Israeli apartheid today is unimaginable.

      • DrDick

        Yes, there are liberals who embrace the positions you are describing, mostly hard Zionists, but the vast majority of people who embrace them are rightists.

        • Almost every single Democratic member of the US Congress is an unconditional supporter of Israel and the further left like Warren, Grayson, Pelosi, the more pro-Israeli they usually are.

          • Malaclypse

            You have a shocking ignorance of how Republicans vote.

            • The fact that most Republicans also are pro-Israel does not negate anything I wrote. But, Findley, McCloskey, and Eisenhower were Republicans. On the Democratic side there was Fulbright and McKinney, however, no presidents.

              • ExpatJK

                Um, what about the role of evangelical Christians and their views on Israel, as well as their prominence in the Republican base more generally? Hardly leftists, unless the term has lost all meaning, and a major factor in Republican voting patterns and statements wrt Israel.

                • They are fairly new. US unconditional support for Israel dates back to 1967. I think trying to totally exempt the Democrats from any responsibility of supporting Israel is really pushing it. The strong support of the US Left for Israel was one of the themes that occupied the writings of Edward Said. So it is not like nobody noticed this before.

                • Malaclypse

                  I think trying to totally exempt the Democrats from any responsibility of supporting Israel is really pushing it.

                  Right, but you only criticized Democrats, and wrote “Almost every single Democratic member of the US Congress is an unconditional supporter of Israel and the further left like Warren, Grayson, Pelosi, the more pro-Israeli they usually are.”

                  Which is, well, either wrong or really really really incomplete.

            • DrDick

              Or how American politics works generally. It is awfully hard to see the big picture with those very narrow ideological blinders on.

          • wengler

            It makes sense from a political perspective when you consider Israel has the most powerful foreign lobby in the country while Palestine has close to nothing.

            It is shameful when those same politicians don’t stand up for US citizens killed or maimed by the state of Israel however.

          • It’s wrong to quibble with Otto here. Materially, there’s not much daylight between Congressional Dems and Repubs on Israel slaughtering civilians, which is a substantial part of why Israel keeps doing it.

    • Pseudonym

      Really? So if, say, Scott or I were killed in a rocket attack launched by NDNs, you’d be okay with that?

      • liberal

        Native Americans? The idea that they’re currently oppressed anything like the Palestinians are (or even Arab Israelis) is laughable. Are there cities in the US where you’re allowed to not let Native Americans buy or rent?

        Of course, if you look at the entire history, their suffering is clearly much worse than the Palestinians, insofar as they suffered huge population losses (maybe upwards of 90%?). Sadly, while some of that was due to deliberate biological warfare by European settlers, most of it was inevitable simply from Europeans coming to the New World.

        • DrDick

          As a specialist in Native America, I think you are rather overstating your case as racism and discrimination against Indians is quite widespread and strong around the country. On the other hand, the the situation in Israel/Palestine is much more like the 18th-19th centuries here.

          • ExpatJK

            Yeah, wasn’t there recently a push which would harm NA voting rights in the midwest (I think Montana??). Certainly things are not as bad as they were previously, but talk about low bars.

            • DrDick

              Speaking as a Montanan, I would not call the Northern Plains and Rockies “the Midwest” (generally we are called the “Mountain West”), but yes there was, part of an ongoing effort to disenfranchise the Native population. Until 1964, Indians on reservations could not vote in this state.

              • ExpatJK

                Sorry – I apologise for my geographical error.

                I thought there was something more recently about lack of access to voting stations near reservations, but it’s entirely possible I have Montana confused with another state.

                • DrDick

                  No, you are correct about the voting issues. Our Rethug legislature decided to reduce the number of voting stations (already too widely dispersed) to “save money” and got slapped down for it. White Montana generally, and especially Republican Montana, hates them some Indians.

          • JL

            When one of my fellow delegates on our recent delegation to Palestine was flying home, she had a conversation with an Israeli who, upon learning that she was an American Jew, said that his country should have learned from the US and done what the US did with Native Americans.

            He was very surprised that she responded negatively to that statement.

            • Anonymous

              Considering Chicago is so much less safe than living in Israel(despite the histrionics) maybe we should turn the Army loose on the south side?

              BTW..Chicago is also much safer than it has been in past decades..people are paranoid

  • Jose Arcadio Buendia

    Your concern is noted.

  • pylon

    If teh Palestinians are trying to kill Israeli citizens, and Israel is trying not to kill citizens in Gaza, they are both doing a really shitty job.

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