False Dichotomies

LITERATURE HIP-HOP ISRAEL INDIA LOVE MISCELLANY

The Abbreviated Read (10)

1. Could there have been Jews in Anglo-Saxon England?

2. The Binge Trader compares the city and the IDF.

3. Therapists to the Jews.

4. George Galloway routed.

5. Home Fweet Home.  

6. Raid Gaza!

7. Kalbakken.

8. Statutory Ape.

9. Someday soon?

10. Scouse humour to the last.

88 comments

88 Comments so far

  1. Avram May 24th, 2009 10:56 am

    poor galloway – I saw that last week, he looked like an absolute fool.

  2. Gert May 24th, 2009 8:52 pm

    Not sure what the Raid Gaza! game is supposed to achieve. Disgusting, whatever it’s supposed to signify…

  3. Alex Stein May 24th, 2009 9:02 pm

    From what I understand it was made by what you might call anti-Zios…

  4. Avram May 24th, 2009 11:40 pm

    That’s what it seemed like to me Alex – I played it once in testament to you.

  5. LB May 25th, 2009 4:19 am

    2 – Freedman is really pushing the analogy.

    4 – George Galloway is an demagogue and an idiot. “We’ll see what the viewers think.” Indeed.

  6. Avram May 25th, 2009 7:25 am

    LB – the ironic thing is that so many pro-palestinians forget what the man was about in Saddam’s days; there’s a reason so many Iraqis hate his guts …

  7. Gert May 25th, 2009 6:39 pm

    Avram:

    “the ironic thing is that so many pro-palestinians forget what the man was about in
    Saddam’s days”

    No. The REAL ironic thing is that the West supported Saddam Hussein when they ‘needed’ him. The US supported Saddam Hussein when he attacked Iran. During that war Saddam Hussein used chemical munitions against Iran on numerous occasions. The West couldn’t give a fart.

    I have to laugh (or cry?) when American Neocon blogs beat themselves on the chest for deposing the Evil Dictator, considering that during the Halabja gassings you didn’t hear a peep from them about these crimes. Not a peep. Hey, he was a dictator but at least he was ‘our dictator’.

    Western hypocrisy in the ME knows simply no limits, as witnessed by its unconditional support for the criminal regime of the Zionist Entity.

  8. Alex Stein May 25th, 2009 7:07 pm

    Gert – are you now referring to Israel as the Zionist entity? Is this a new turn of phrase?

  9. Avram May 25th, 2009 10:25 pm

    Gert – you seem like a smart chap (I read your profile, so I know you’re a dude). Many countries make poor calls of judgment in ‘real time’ (ie Israel & Hamas in the 1980s etc) – vision is much clearer when you’re looking back. You didn’t hear much peeps from ‘lefties’ as Che Guevara supported nice killing sprees – people don’t peep a lot when ‘their cause’ is being served, it’s just an unfortunate part of human nature (on both right and left).

  10. Gert May 25th, 2009 11:50 pm

    Alex:

    It’s sarcasm, of course.

    Avram:

    It’s completely hypocritical to single out Galloway for meeting Saddam Hussein when what the West did [collaborated] with that regime was totally criminal. Considering also that later we got rid of him based on a complete pack of lies and that Galloway was in fact one of the few that were completely right about that.

    Where are they now, the Nick Cohens, the Christopher Hitchens and all the other ‘Leftist’ armchair generals that advocated war with Iraq? 1,000,000 deaths later and still no music from that band.

    Despite Galloway’s ridiculous speech to Saddam, he comes off looking positively saintly compared to the pro-war Left, never mind the actual perpetrators.

    As Galloway recently put it jokingly, ‘I might still make it to No10… as the last man standing!’, referring to the expenses crisis in the ‘Mother of all Parliaments’. Galloway never declared anything, not even a bus ticket…

  11. Avram May 26th, 2009 7:28 am

    If you want to ‘shower’ respect on Galloway, go ahead. Most of my Iraqi friends hate his guts – and for good reason. He’s an opportunistic idiot (I guess a politician!), who got properly embarrassed and put into his place on his very own show.

  12. Gert May 26th, 2009 4:50 pm

    Avram:

    And the fact that most of your Iraqi friends hate his guts is good enough for you… Oh, well, can you explain why these hate his guts? They wouldn’t be among the relatively few Iraqis that approved of the war, would they?

    “He’s an opportunistic idiot” is a facile and gratuitous insult with no real substance to it. Opposing an illegal war and being vindicated for it makes you an ‘opportunistic idiot’? Oh, well, if only we had more of these opportunistic idiots then… I guess Olmert, Barak and Livni were ‘brave, patriotic visionaries’ for starting the war in Gaza, a war that apart from a lot of death and destruction really hasn’t achieved anything, apart also from further tarnishing Israel’s international reputation.

    Your whole ‘critique’ of Galloway shows once again that dislike of the man runs a mile wide and an inch deep.

  13. Avram May 26th, 2009 5:26 pm

    “They wouldn’t be among the relatively few Iraqis that approved of the war”

    I don’t think you have any way to prove that one way or another. Fact is, I don’t remember any opinion polls of Iraqis liking their life under Saddam or opinions about the the war itself.

    My friends’ anger at Galloway is more directed due to his ‘kind’ words at Saddam Huessin, a man most Iraqis most likely (you see, I won’t state an opinion as fact as you did) did not like (I do hope you’re not one of those who liked Saddam)

    “Opposing an illegal war and being vindicated for it makes you an ‘opportunistic idiot’?”

    Again, who was talking about the war? Are we talking about the Second Gulf War which I, like Galloway, thought was a horrible mistake (for different reasons obviously)?

    “I guess Olmert, Barak and Livni were ‘brave, patriotic visionaries’ ”

    Sheesh, you read my mind so well here. I think all three are pathetic leaders, and take off a bit of my harshness wrt Galloway, and you probably have what I think about them.

    “Your whole ‘critique’ of Galloway shows once again that dislike of the man runs a mile wide and an inch deep.”

    Not really – But your ‘deep devotion’ to Galloway, a man who shares similar anti-Zionist views to you, doesn’t surprise me nor bother me to say the least. That being said, you don’t need to get so defensive just because he was utterly embarassed on his own show … It’s not like he’s your brother or anything.

  14. Gabriel May 26th, 2009 7:41 pm

    “It’s completely hypocritical to single out Galloway for meeting Saddam Hussein when what the West did [collaborated] with that regime was totally criminal.”

    Nobody is singling him out. It was hypocritical of Rumsfeld to be shake Hussein’s hand and then try to have him killed. Plenty of hypocricy to go around. But there is a difference. The U.S. used Hussein to try to fight a bigger enemy at the time in Iran. They didn’t love Hussein, they used him. This happens in politics all the time. The West and the Soviets used each other for example. Yes, there was hypocricy there but comparing Roosevelt’s treatment of Stalin to some idiot going to Moscow and telling Stalin “Sir…- we salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability” is silly. Galloway is a scumbag. I recently saw a clip of him saying something like “I have never met a single Iranian woman who dressed in a way she didn’t want to.” but that’s just because the Iranian government pays him now. Galloway is what is wrong with the far left. Fake principles are really just attacking the U.S. and Israel while supporting dictators.

  15. Gert May 26th, 2009 9:22 pm

    Gabriel:

    “But there is a difference. The U.S. used Hussein to try to fight a bigger enemy at the time in Iran.”

    Why was Iran to be the enemy? It’s this kind of thinking we’re still paying the price for today. And what did it solve, that 8 year war? Est. 2,000,000 Arabs/Persians dead. Who gives a crap? This is what the Left (not the Eustonite Washington mouthpieces) are opposed to. And rightly so. Not you who dons a fig leaf. You’re a hypocrite.

    “They didn’t love Hussein, they used him.”

    Oh, Gabriel, that makes it perfectly alright then.

    “Galloway is a scumbag. I recently saw a clip of him saying something like “I have never met a single Iranian woman who dressed in a way she didn’t want to.” but that’s just because the Iranian government pays him now.”

    And you’re a complete idiot. Look how Tehran women dress: hell, they compete for the finest fabrics, latest designs, make up, nose jobs and more. Yes, Iran is not a completely free society but it’s far more free than you make it out to be. Your beloved US and Israel aren’t that free either.

    Galloway works for Press TV, not the Iranian Government. He speaks for him and him alone.

    “Galloway is what is wrong with the far left. Fake principles are really just attacking the U.S. and Israel while supporting dictators.”

    Gabriel is what’s wrong with the whatever-they-want-to-call-themselves: supporting the indefensible in Israel and in other places of the ME.

    Your dislike of Galloway is driven only by his just criticism of Israel, nothing more.

  16. Avram May 26th, 2009 9:34 pm

    “Look how Tehran women dress: hell, they compete for the finest fabrics, latest designs, make up, nose jobs and more. Yes, Iran is not a completely free society but it’s far more free than you make it out to be”

    Are you serious? Have you not seen how they treat a country where “there’s no homosexuals”? Do you honestly think the 20,000 Jews there are ‘so happy’ that they need to pronounce anti-Israel statements there? I’m sure you love Amnesty, care to tell me what you think of this:

    http://www.amnestyusa.org/all-countries/iran/page.do?id=1011172

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/09/iran-humanrights

    http://civilliberty.about.com/od/internationalhumanrights/p/iran101.htm

    “Your dislike of Galloway is driven only by his just criticism of Israel, nothing more.”

    Is this the best you can do Gert? I mean, seriously?

    So because a man hates Israel (like you for example), that makes us crazy ‘Zios’ hate him?

    You sound so desperate with these kind of statements … I’m not sure what you’re really trying to prove.

  17. Gabriel May 27th, 2009 12:15 am

    “And you’re a complete idiot. Look how Tehran women dress: hell, they compete for the finest fabrics, latest designs, make up, nose jobs and more. Yes, Iran is not a completely free society but it’s far more free than you make it out to be. Your beloved US and Israel aren’t that free either.

    Galloway works for Press TV, not the Iranian Government. He speaks for him and him alone”

    Yes, that’s good arguing “you are a complete idiot”. It’s what you need to resort to because you and Galloway are so obviously wrong. Women in Iran, only a small percentage of whom are devoutly religious, are FORCED to wear clothes they don’t want to. Iranian religious police check on them in the streets. This is not some myth and there is nothing close to this in Western societies. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7457212.stm) . Of course, this doesn’t fit into your (or Galloway’s) vision of America/Israel evil/ anyone against them good so you ignore the 300+ executions a year, the rampant homophobia, the raped and murdered journalists, and the total oppression of society an instead scream about whatever is happening in Israel that day.

    “Why was Iran to be the enemy? It’s this kind of thinking we’re still paying the price for today. And what did it solve, that 8 year war? Est. 2,000,000 Arabs/Persians dead. Who gives a crap? This is what the Left (not the Eustonite Washington mouthpieces) are opposed to. And rightly so. Not you who dons a fig leaf. You’re a hypocrite.”

    Again, you just ignore parts of what I write so you can portray things in a black and white way. The West was hypocritical dealing with Iran/Iraq and I said so. However, you can’t even leave it at that. “2, 000, 000 Arabs/Persions dead. Who gives a crap?” as if the deaths were the fault of the West. Iran and Iraq were fighting and the US backed Iraq. That doesn’t mean that the US is responsible for the deaths of 2 million people. It means that Iraq and Iran are responsible for that but it’s part of the racism of the far left is that they cannot hold people to account. “The Other” have the responsibility of mentally handicapped children. They can’t help it if they are suicide bombers. They can’t help it that they oppress people. They are too stupid to be able to make decisions for themselves, they can only react to the root causes (America/Israel-always) . Incidentlly, it’s always funny to notice how the Soviets always get left out of this type of thing by the far left since the Soviets actually gave THE MOST support to Iraq during the war. In fact, this view of the world almost always leaves out the Soviet/Chinese imperialism so that America’s actions look evil as opposed to political.

    “Gabriel is what’s wrong with the whatever-they-want-to-call-themselves: supporting the indefensible in Israel and in other places of the ME.”

    No, I defend the defensible but I don’t pretend that Israel’s crimes are inherently greater than anywhere else in the world and I don’t ignore the human rights violations or other countries. I don’t pretend like the U.S. is responsible for all the problems in the world or that all the problems in the world have clear-cut answers.

  18. Gabriel May 27th, 2009 12:23 am

    I occasionally see posts on Israel by people who seriously believe that Israel has killed millions of Arabs. The entire Arab-Israeli conflict has killed something like 60, 000 people. That’s about half of what were killed in the Chechen wars, 20, 000 fewer than were killed during the Iranian revolution or in Sri Lanka and about 10% of the number killed in Angola over the past 50 years. This, of course does not excuse all of Israel’s actions nor is the conflict all about death, but it does show the massive Western hypocricy around Israel where 100 dead civilians killed by Israel leads to millions world-wide protesting while the deaths of tens of thousands elsewhere leads to complete silence. Everyone amazingly becomes a committed humanitarian when Israel is doing the killing.

  19. LB May 27th, 2009 8:29 am

    Gabriel, of course you’re right, but without expressing my view first – seriously, why do you think that is? Why do people get so worked up about Israel’s actions, but Sri Lanka, Rwanda, Myanmar/Burma, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Congo, Venezuela, Russia, Chechnya, Somalia, Tibet, and on and on and on – barely warrant a mention by the media?

  20. Gert May 27th, 2009 5:53 pm

    I do not deny the human rights violations that take place in Iran and neither does Galloway.

    I note however that when it comes to Iran a degree of demonisation is leveled that is wholly unwarranted.

    The previous regime of the Shah was one of the most brutal in the region and it was installed by US/UK and maintained and supported by it. The Iranian Revolution, in itself a bloody affair, was a direct and very popular reaction to that.

    Barely a year later the country was attacked by the tin pot dictator Saddam when we already knew how brutal the Bath regime was and we (the West) backed him in that endeavour (afterwards we wonder why Iran feels antagonistic towards us!)

    During it he uses chemical weapons against the Kurds and many Iranian positions and we do nothing.

    Finally we concoct a cock and bull story about WMD and an alleged connection to 9/11 and lay the entire country to waste.

    Now, on equally spurious grounds, Netanyahu and his criminals, including off course many hardline Zionist Americans (Jewish or not) are clamouring for war against Iran too.

    Again, if we do enter into this folly things will turn ugly beyond belief and who will we blame? the victims, who else?

    As Tony Karon put it elsewhere: “Boy, this people really never do learn, do they?”

    The real criminal regime in the region is the Zionist one. Now it seems to be descending into a new phase of proto-fascism, loyalty tests and suppression of opinion (Naqba) included. It continues to lie own about its nuclear status, instead blaming others for starting a nuclear arms race.

    You, Gabriel, presumably on the grounds that you’re Jewish, support that. I don’t.

    In principle Israel could still redeem itself by making the necessary “concessions” [cough!] but it won’t. When negotiations finally resume (unlikely in any event) imagine the two players coming to the table for a game of Texas Hold’em, no limits. Israel has stacks and stack of chips, stacked so high it can barely see the opponent (and behind Israel stands a tall guy with a briefcase full with more chips). The Palestinians come to the table with enough to pay the small blind once and the big blind once. No prizes for guessing who’s going to win the game.

    Zionists keep telling me they want peace. Sure, but entirely on their own terms! Why would they give an inch when they have no motive to do so? There’s no one with the power of enforcement that can actually tell them to start shifting, so why do it? And they won’t…

    As Jews sans Frontieres put it:

    Herzl was ashamed of being Jewish for all the wrong reasons. His “success” is that a hundred years later we can finally be ashamed of being Jewish for all the right reasons.

    As regards Galloway: he made a stupid speech to Saddam Hussein, the West supported him materially and is thus co-responsible for at least some of the deaths that occurred on his watch. Who is the real scumbag here?

  21. Gert May 27th, 2009 7:23 pm

    BTW, I’m not Far Left, am politically unaffiliated, do not and never have supported the Soviet union, have never believed the I-P conflict cost millions of lives, I do not support Hamas (but support the fact that they were democratically elected), I do not support Hezbollah (but have no problem understanding why they are so popular in Lebanon), I am a committed anti-racist, which is one more sound reason to oppose a racist State (Israel), I do not support Iran (but believe waging war against them is totally unwarranted), I’m not anti-West (but note a catalogue of misdemeanours, crimes, miscalculations and the stench of hypocrisy up to high heaven).

    I no longer believe the I-P conflict will have a satisfactory outcome for anyone, Zionist, Israeli Arab or Palestinian alike.

  22. Avram May 27th, 2009 7:45 pm

    “I do not deny the human rights violations that take place in Iran and neither does Galloway.”

    Did you read any of the links I left for you? In one post you play down their human right abuses and then you suddenly are aware they occur. How severe are they?

    “As Tony Karon put it elsewhere: “Boy, this people really never do learn, do they?””

    You think he would have said the same thing in ’81? I personally have no idea if A-mad is serious about doing anything with those nuclear weapons, but his sickening denial of the severity of the Holocaust (how do you feel about that?) and continual provocative comments about Israel’s demise etc would worry any person who lives here.

    “but support the fact that they were democratically elected”

    Do you support what they’ve done democratically to Fatah?

    “which is one more sound reason to oppose a racist State”

    How about Egypt and their treatment of their minorities? How about Jordan? How about the “We don’t allow Jews into our country” Saudi Arabia? etc? Do you post as much about those atrocities?

  23. Gert May 28th, 2009 5:45 pm

    Avram:

    “[...] and then you suddenly are aware they occur.”

    No, not suddenly at all. I’m aware of them.

    But it doesn’t constitute an argument. Since as no Nation State is perfect or has a clean past, none of us would ever be entitled to criticise another Nation State (this is even true at the personal level).

    “I personally have no idea if A-mad is serious about doing anything with those nuclear weapons, but his sickening denial of the severity of the Holocaust (how do you feel about that?) and continual provocative comments about Israel’s demise etc would worry any person who lives here.”

    If you look at the totality of evidence, there is no good reason to believe that Iran possesses (a) nuclear weapon(s) and that in all likelihood they are trying to achieve their own form of ‘nuclear ambiguity’. They probably have the know-how. And may ‘make good’ on it when needed. How to avoid this? Turn the ME into a nuclear free zone. Simple really…

    As regards using such a weapon against Israel that would mean committing nuclear suicide. Israel even has second strike capability and an estimated 100 – 200 nuclear warheads.

    Holocaust denial is terrible but should not be punishable by collective death.

    The remarks about Israel’s demise are undoubtedly borne out of the perceived fact that Zionism will not last forever in its current form. I agree with Mr. A.: I don’t think it will survive but that doesn’t in any way, shape or form imply a violent demise.

    “Do you support what they’ve done democratically to Fatah?”

    Israel supported financially and materially an embryonic form of Hamas, presumably to try and drive a wedge in Palestinian unity and scupper the peace process. They succeeded. Now I hear you complain. A tad ungrateful perhaps?

    As Efraim Inbar said:

    “Hamas is good for the Jews! As long as they are there it is a gift to us!”

    “How about Egypt and their treatment of their minorities? How about Jordan? How about the “We don’t allow Jews into our country” Saudi Arabia? etc? Do you post as much about those atrocities?”

    How about some more “whataboutery”? China, the US, Lichtenstein, Andorra, start with A and finish with Z?

  24. Gert May 28th, 2009 5:57 pm

    Regards Iran, everyone knows that Netanyahu’s bark is worse than his bite (a real windbag). An attack on Iran isn’t on the cards, instead of ‘bomb, bomb, bomb — bomb, bomb Iran’ far more likely we’ll get ‘talk, talk, talk — talk, talk, Iran’.

    To endlessly postpone the ‘final status agreement’, Iran is worth more alive than dead to TS/J’sem.

  25. Gert May 28th, 2009 5:58 pm

    Ooops TA, not TS…

  26. Avram May 28th, 2009 6:27 pm

    Gert:

    You’re being a tad bit easy on Iran but I won’t push it anymore.

    “As regards using such a weapon against Israel that would mean committing nuclear suicide.”

    I’m not sure if that would stop them to be honest. Alas, I find it odd you can slam the Settlers (all of them mind) for their religious extremism, and not worry what that could lead A-mad to do (have you read how he feels about his religious role?)

    “Israel even has second strike capability and an estimated 100 – 200 nuclear warheads.”

    I don’t think anyone really knows that – it also depends how/where Iran bombs.

    “Israel supported financially and materially an embryonic form of Hamas, presumably to try and drive a wedge in Palestinian unity and scupper the peace process.”

    Or they thought they were a better option for a long term peace than the PLO? Again, hindsight is 20/20. I bet you get angry when those crazy Zios worry about ‘appeasing’ madmen and they cite Daladier/Chamberlain vs Hitler.

    “How about some more “whataboutery”? China, the US, Lichtenstein, Andorra, start with A and finish with Z?”

    Thanks for proving my point Gert. Perhaps if you were as interested with the racism employed by the states I had mentioned (or aware of the shit that happens there, for example, the active slave trade in Saudi Arabia), I’d believe you were ‘opposed to a Racist state’, or however you spin it …

  27. Gert May 28th, 2009 7:54 pm

    Avram:

    “I’m not sure if that would stop them to be honest. Alas, I find it odd you can slam the Settlers (all of them mind) for their religious extremism, and not worry what that could lead A-mad to do (have you read how he feels about his religious role?)”

    On the settlers, please note what I wrote in the thread above.

    To believe the Iranian regime would collectively commit suicide is actually deeply Islamophobic. The Mullahs actually use Islamic arguments to show they have no interest in nuclear weapons. Of course things may change, Ahmadinejad may not be re-elected for instance. A hardliner may take his place or a reformist. Not long to wait now…

    “I bet you get angry when those crazy Zios worry about ‘appeasing’ madmen and they cite Daladier/Chamberlain vs Hitler.”

    The appeasement thingy is a false analogy (for one, to understand appeasement you have to understand the European Interbellum – that’s complex).

    Do you support the use of military action against Iran on the spurious grounds that ‘they might attack us first’? Israel would be likely to become the pariah of the entire world. Please don’t say: ‘I don’t care’; as any other Nation Israel needs some goodwill. Today it enjoys that. But an attack on Iran won’t be OSIRAK II…

    “Thanks for proving my point Gert.”

    I haven’t proved your point. The point remains simply that no Nation is above criticism even though other Nations don’t behave saintly either.

  28. Gert May 28th, 2009 8:05 pm

    BTW Avram, you should read Gabriel Ashe’s blogpost How to make the case for Israel and win!. We Rock! They Suck! You Suck! Everything Sucks!
    It seems to have been written with you in mind…

  29. Peter D May 29th, 2009 6:15 pm

    1) So, Alex, what do you think of the number 3? As you know, I actually do to a large extent subscribe to the view that many Jews suffer from a trauma and I find the article a very feeble, unconvincing attempt to discredit it. Nowhere does it bring a good argument why this view is wrong, besides appeals to PC and insinuation that it is nothing but another disguise for anti-Semitism. Or this gem: “events like Israel’s operation in Gaza are not construed as the destructive and misguided actions of an unpleasant government, phenomena common enough in other parts of the world”. The author is either misinformed or, which is more likely, disingenuous. The government in Israel represents the will of the people of Israel, and in this particular case it did so very well, since 90% of Israeli Jews supported the war (see, e.g., this discussion)

    2) Re: singling out Israel. Phil Weiss ran a series of posts dedicated to the issue and there are some good answers that fit different people:
    - http://www.philipweiss.org/mondoweiss/2009/03/why-do-you-single-out-israel-2-more-answers.html
    - http://www.philipweiss.org/mondoweiss/2009/03/why-single-out-israelpalestine.html
    - http://www.philipweiss.org/mondoweiss/2009/04/why-single-out-israel-well-cause-it-arrests-our-imagination.html
    etc, but the one that I like the most is very eloquently summarized by Arie Brand here.

  30. Alex Stein May 29th, 2009 7:15 pm

    Well I think it’s a convincing article. I’ve read Rose’s The Question of Zion and didn’t think much of it; the problem is that none of this stuff has ever really been done on a large enough scale to draw any robust conclusions.

    The singling out issue is a separate one, imho.

  31. Alex Stein May 29th, 2009 7:19 pm

    Just read the Brand piece – not convinced. It’s a chicken and egg situation, but all these hasbara warriors wouldn’t be necessary if Israel got the attention of places like the Congo and Sri Lanka.

  32. LB May 29th, 2009 10:01 pm

    Peter, Alex is right. If Sri Lanka was on front page in January, at the very least alongside Israel, the “PR War” would not be nearly as intense.

  33. Peter D May 29th, 2009 10:19 pm

    LB and Alex, please, consider again what you just said. Israel does not want to be considered another Sri Lanka. It is us who get into people’s faces all the time how we’re the outpost of Western democracy in the sea of Arab tyranny. It is us who invented and use hollow slogans like “most moral army in the world” and “light unto the nations”. It is us who claim support of the most powerful nation on earth on these grounds. You cannot eat the pie and have it too, simple as that. The chicken-egg effect is secondary to this. From following people’s comments on the several blogs for which I have time, I definitely see many people irked first of all by this hypocrisy. Of course, there are also people who single Israel on pure anti-Semitic grounds, but my sense is they are in minority.

    Alex, what exactly you found convincing about the article in (3)?

  34. Alex Stein May 30th, 2009 12:26 am

    Peter – I’ve already said; he shows that these studies are driven by a pseudo-scientific approach which is hard to quantify, and is only used in examining the Israeli psyche. I don’t think it’s particularly useful, suggestions that Israeli-Jews are suffering from a collective trauma notwithstanding.

  35. Gabriel May 30th, 2009 12:29 am

    “It is us who get into people’s faces all the time how we’re the outpost of Western democracy in the sea of Arab tyranny. ”

    I think that that is incredibly simplistic and really false view of how Israelis see themselves. Most Israelis do not see themselves as a bastion of Western world in the Middle East but rather a Mdditeranean/Middle Eastern country. Anyway, the entire notion that how a country sees itself having any impact on how you judge it is absurd and an unfortunate movement in modern human rights activism which has lead to people ignoring the biggest human rights problems of our age. You can see millions of people around the world protesting Gitmo while almost complete silence to the millions dead in Africa over the last decade. Millions protest the American invasion of Iraq but there has been complete silence on the murders of tens of thousands (at least) of civilians in Iraq since. Using this logic, if you took 1932 Soviet Union, 1943 Germany, and 1989 New Zealand, the last would be the most deserving of criticism because the others didn’t see themselves as Democracies. If Israel decided that tomorrow it was no longer a Democracy and then went on a killing spree, killing say 120, 000 Palestinians over the next 10 years do you really believe that that would get the same paltry attention the Russian massacres in Chechnya did?

  36. Avram May 30th, 2009 9:31 pm

    Gert:

    “To believe the Iranian regime would collectively commit suicide is actually deeply Islamophobic.”

    So now because I don’t trust some crazy Mullahs, I’m ‘Islamophobic’. Sheesh, you do make some sweeping statements ole chap.

    “Ahmadinejad may not be re-elected for instance. ”

    Considering how the elections have been run (I’m sure you’ve been at the forefront of criticizing them), I somehow doubt it wont be A-mad again.

    “Do you support the use of military action against Iran on the spurious grounds that ‘they might attack us first’? ”

    I don’t know to be honest. Not attacking them might be the best thing and result in something positive, waiting around may leads us down the same path Gold Meir chose in 1973 (where we were lucky to get out of it with such ‘little’ damage’). I’m glad I don’t have to make the decision because I have no clue what’s the best course of action.

  37. Gert May 31st, 2009 9:37 pm

    Avram:

    The belief that ‘Mad Mullahs are out to suicidically destroy the Israel/the world’, a belief held by many, is Islamophobic indeed. And on quite a few levels too.

    Firstly it implies that such nonsense can be found in the Qu’ran, when in reality in all likelihood it can only if a reader pulls some verse completely out of context. How would you feel if a non-Jewish reader did the same with a Judaic Sacred text?

    Secondly it implies that a good dollop of Iranians (not just the ‘Mad Mullahs’) would be OK with that. Most Iranians are Muslims.

    Thirdly, it completely negates what the ‘Mad Mullahs’ keep saying that contradicts such a belief: they actually say quite frequently not to have any intentions of attacking anybody and that possessing nuclear weapons is considered unislamic in Iran.

    Fourthly, it falls in line with the often held Islamophobic belief that Islam is a ‘Death Cult’ where sacrificing one’s own life for the slaughter of many more, is actually how Muslims see things.

  38. Avram May 31st, 2009 11:00 pm

    “The belief that ‘Mad Mullahs are out to suicidically destroy the Israel/the world’, a belief held by many, is Islamophobic indeed.”

    You sound like Galloway

    “Firstly it implies that such nonsense can be found in the Qu’ran, when in reality in all likelihood it can only if a reader pulls some verse completely out of context.”

    I assume you also believe this even when Imams themselves are happily saying this on various Arab channels?

    “How would you feel if a non-Jewish reader did the same with a Judaic Sacred text?”

    Many people do, Jews included, and that means (for me at least) I read them and try and find ‘smarter’ people to help me understand context, time period etc. I am not a ‘Rabbi’ or a ‘Judaic Sacred text’ expert, so I try and use them to help better understand statements that are brought up by others.

    “Secondly it implies that a good dollop of Iranians (not just the ‘Mad Mullahs’) would be OK with that”

    Uuuuh in your mind Iguess. This is what I assume you call a ‘strawman’, right?

    “they actually say quite frequently not to have any intentions of attacking anybody and that possessing nuclear weapons is considered unislamic in Iran.”

    So the fact they’re about to possess them in (give or take) 1-5 years, A-mad is being ‘unislamic’ – as are those who are voting him in for another term? Is that how you honestly feel?

    “it falls in line with the often held Islamophobic belief that Islam is a ‘Death Cult’ where sacrificing one’s own life for the slaughter of many more”

    Which falls in line with a radical sect within Islam that does believe this, and practices it. What the % is, I doubt anyone really knows. I always say it’s the minority – but I don’t know more than that (What I’ve typed is obviously false though if you feel that ‘suicide bombings’, ‘planes crashing into high rise towers in NY’, ‘train bombs in Madrid’, ‘night clubs burning in Bali’, etc were committed by ‘fake Muslims’ who were really _____ (insert faith of your choice) …)

    Sometimes I wonder if you really believe some of the stuff you type …

  39. Gert May 31st, 2009 11:50 pm

    Avram:

    “You sound like Galloway”

    No surprise: we agree on that.

    “I assume you also believe this even when Imams themselves are happily saying this on various Arab channels?”

    You speak Arabic and Farsi now? Which Imams are you talking about now? Iranian ones? Syrian? Lebanese? Egyptian? And what exactly are they saying?

    “So the fact they’re about to possess them in (give or take) 1-5 years,”

    Not a “fact” at all. A possibility, yes. Fact, no. Big difference…

    “I always say it’s the minority – but I don’t know more than that”

    And the ‘Mad Mullahs’ belong to that minority? You know this how?

    “Sometimes I wonder if you really believe some of the stuff you type …”

    Rest assured: I do.

  40. Avram June 1st, 2009 8:20 am

    “You speak Arabic and Farsi now? ”

    No, I don’t bar a few phrases in Arabic. But my friends do, and they always confirm what the English translation (usually Memri says). In fact, some Imams have said horrible stuff in English too.

    “And what exactly are they saying?”

    That there are imams (Again, I have no idea what the # is) that preach something that many Musilms do term ‘unIslamic’. That doesn’t mean we can ‘push it under the carpet’ or pretend it’s not a major issue in the world today due to our political leanings.

    “Not a “fact” at all. A possibility, yes. Fact, no. ”

    Come on Gert, that is ridiculous. They will get nuclear weapons in the next few years – we both know that. We just don’t know what their intentions with the weapons really are.

    “And the ‘Mad Mullahs’ belong to that minority? ”

    Uuuh, because they preach something that most Muslims don’t believe in. They preach this ‘end of day’, ’72 virgin’ crap … I’m glad you agreed however with my ‘comment’ re: the minority within Islam being fundamental and dangerous – don’t worry, that doesn’t make you an ‘Islamaphobe’

  41. Gert June 1st, 2009 5:28 pm

    Avram:

    “Come on Gert, that is ridiculous. They will get nuclear weapons in the next few years – we both know that.”

    Nope, nothing ridiculous about that. We DON’T know, unless you’re a mind reader. It suits the West very well to try and isolate Iran, thus nuclear stories are enormously helpful. Cui bono. Israeli estimates are consistently more pessimistic than American ones for instance, what gives?

    We don’t KNOW with any reasonable degree of certainty.

    The ‘Mad Mullah’ aren’t even mad: they’ve shown themselves to be very skilful negotiators: giving where needed, taking when they can.

  42. Avram June 1st, 2009 10:52 pm

    “We DON’T know, unless you’re a mind reader”

    Ok dude – All these missile tests and plants are just for fun and games. I get you now. My bad, I for some reason you were just joking.

    “they’ve shown themselves to be very skilful negotiators”

    Gert in finding positives shocka.

  43. Gert June 1st, 2009 11:09 pm

    “Ok dude – All these missile tests and plants are just for fun and games.”

    Nope, never said or implied that either.

    Is Israel the only country in the region allowed to develop a strong military?

    Do strong militaries only have one purpose (i.e. offensive)?

    They are skilful negotiators, which is strongly indicative of being entirely subject to reason. Religious follies aren’t exactly an Iranian prerogative.

    Iran want regional influence, that’s for sure. Bit pot and kettle though isn’t it, seeing what your American benefactors have been doing in the ME since WW II, Iran being a fine point in case?

    Again I ask you: does attacking Iran have a positive cost/benefit ratio fro Israel at this point in time?

  44. Peter D June 2nd, 2009 4:48 am

    Alex and Gabriel, sorry for the late reply.

    Gabriel,
    First of all, in my comment I did not say that Israel is judged by how it sees itself, but by how it presents itself to the world. Second, regardless of that, I still claim that most Jewish Israelis see themselves as a bastion of the Western World and dispute your claim to the contrary. I’d appreciate if you explain why you think so, with concrete examples, because I am incredulous you could really think so. (I would also go out on a limb and guess that chances that you and Alex would find yourselves with Israeli citizenship would have been slim had you perceived Israel as “a Mdditeranean/Middle Eastern country”.)
    Third, I disagree with your claim that “Millions protest the American invasion of Iraq but there has been complete silence on the murders of tens of thousands (at least) of civilians in Iraq since.” This is not the case from what I see on the web. People who oppose the invasion of Iraq are very likely to talk about the Iraqi civilian deaths (some estimates putting those above 1 million, see here). But there is an important point to bear in mind and that you cannot expect people to get worked up about things they have little chance to affect. Internecine violence in Iraq is terrible (regardless whether you blame it all on the American invasion or have a more nuanced view), but what exactly can the people in the West do about it? This is another reason why singling out Israel makes sense: the Western governments actually do have levers to affect Israeli policy that they don’t in other places.

    Alex,

    he shows that these studies are driven by a pseudo-scientific approach which is […] only used in examining the Israeli psyche

    Really? I actually think that invoking collective post-traumatic experiences is pretty common in historical analysis. How about post-Versailles wounded psyche of the Germans?
    Why do you think it is unhelpful? If we can identify the factors affecting what we perceive as unfortunate state of affairs (in our brains, in this case), shouldn’t we be better equipped to address them?
    I also do not see where it “shows” that the approach is “pseudo-scientific”. If I have more time, I’d go line by line of the article and show how it has no real substance behind it but innuendo and demagoguery. I realize we might both lack time for a serious point by point analysis, but I think you should re-read it with a bit more critical eye than just flowing with it because it agrees with your distaste for such approaches.

  45. Peter D June 2nd, 2009 5:12 am

    Avram,
    to chime in on the Iran nuclear ambitions debate, you say

    All these missile tests and plants are just for fun and games.

    In fact, we don’t know. American intelligence agencies reached a conclusion that Iran does not have an active nuclear weapons program, and clearly Israel does not have a proof to the contrary either. They might still be engaged in a very well concealed program. Now, smart people, like Arye Amihay, ask, why on earth, if Iranians want to build a nuclear weapon, does Ahmadinejad open his big mouth with belligerent anti-Israeli statements? That’s somehow counterproductive to the effort to build a bomb without all the fuss the international community is making about it. There might be several possible answers. One would be that Iranians are not rational, but (a) there is little indication that it is so and (b) this does not leave anything for a meaningful political analysis (see Arye’s comments). Another explanation, which I prefer, is that Iranians essentially won the game with a checkmate in a few steps no matter what you do. In fact, they’d like nothing more than Israel launching a useless attack, which, besides maybe setting back the program (whatever that is) a couple of years back, would be a God-given gift to the Iranian regime, allowing it to cramp down on any internal decent, unite the rest of the Iranians behind it, consolidate their standing in the region and leave Israel with a black eye, from which it might not recover. On the other hand, even if Israel does not attack, Iranians will continue to hold the region (and the West) by the balls with the potential to build the bomb (in fact, they might prefer the route of nuclear ambiguity all the way; it works splendidly for Israel).

  46. Avram June 2nd, 2009 7:24 am

    Gert:

    “Is Israel the only country in the region allowed to develop a strong military?”

    Considering Egypt’s army, or Iran’s, or even Syria’s – the answer is a no.

    “Iran want regional influence, that’s for sure. Bit pot and kettle though isn’t it, seeing what your American benefactors have been doing in the ME since WW II, Iran being a fine point in case?”

    Since WWII? Perhaps you should read up a bit more into this history and see where US/British/European involvement in this region began … I’ll give you a hint, it ‘really’ starts with Ibn Saud.

    “Again I ask you: does attacking Iran have a positive cost/benefit ratio fro Israel at this point in time?”

    I’ve answered this already. That you choose to ignore my answer is your decision, not mine.

  47. Avram June 2nd, 2009 7:28 am

    “American intelligence agencies reached a conclusion that Iran does not have an active nuclear weapons program”

    Now you trust American intelligence – glad to see. I’m sure you were skeptical during the last war? I just hope they’re right here, I somehow doubt it.

    “Now, smart people, like Arye Amihay, ask, why on earth, if Iranians want to build a nuclear weapon, does Ahmadinejad open his big mouth with belligerent anti-Israeli statements?”

    I like how you define ‘smart’. I guess this region doesn’t have a history of belligerent leaders who make strong anti-Israel statements, so he has a point.

    “that Iranians essentially won the game with a checkmate in a few steps no matter what you do”

    Sad you ‘prefer’ this. It’s not like they don’t “cramp down on any internal decent” already – heck those wankers already blocked facebook! FACEBOOK man!

  48. Gabriel June 2nd, 2009 8:37 am

    “This is another reason why singling out Israel makes sense: the Western governments actually do have levers to affect Israeli policy that they don’t in other places.”

    That is complete nonsense. Western countries have the ability to effect almost every single country in the world by not buying that country’s goods, by not traveling there, and by marching to protest those countries’ policies. Some countries, mostly Asian, that are in China’s sphere of influence are out, but that’s only a few countries. Say, the West wanted to pull levers on Saudi Arabia. Well, first stop buying gas, second the U.S. could stop protecting them. Egypt? Stop vacationing there. U.S. could stop giving billions a year, the West could stop meeting with Musharef. The West could do this with almost any country. The fact that people choose to boycott Israel alone says more about them than about Israel.

    “I still claim that most Jewish Israelis see themselves as a bastion of the Western World and dispute your claim to the contrary. I’d appreciate if you explain why you think so, with concrete examples, because I am incredulous you could really think so.”

    Concrete examples of how people think? How about this-in my entire time in Israel I have never heard a single person refer to Israel as a bastion of the Western World or even anything resembling that. I’m not saying that nobody thinks that, but it is vastly overstated. Some Israelis may see themselves on the front line of Islamic terrorism and many definitely feel better than the surrounding countries, but seeing themselves as a Western outpost or something? It just isn’t true. If you walked down the streets of Tel Aviv asking people “do you see Israel as a bastion of the West?” I am sure you’d get more laughs than anything.

    “American intelligence agencies reached a conclusion that Iran does not have an active nuclear weapons program, and clearly Israel does not have a proof to the contrary either.”

    This is also not true. There was ONE American report that stated that and a number since that have refuted it.

    “One would be that Iranians are not rational,”

    No. It’s that Ahmedinijhad and the Mullahs are not rational which is a pretty reasonable assumption.

    “Third, I disagree with your claim that “Millions protest the American invasion of Iraq but there has been complete silence on the murders of tens of thousands (at least) of civilians in Iraq since.” This is not the case from what I see on the web.”

    Forget about the web for a second (even though I disagree with what you say about that-the web articles almost exclusively blame Americans for violence yesterday). Take two recent conflicts-the one in Gaza and the one in Sri Lanka. In Gaza, before 100 civilians were killed, marches all over the world were organized. Millions and millions of people marched around the world. The conflict in Sri Lanka lasted many times longer, killed what, 8X the number of people and nobody outside of Tamils gave a flying F***. It’s the same thing with the Gaza blockade. Protests around the globe, special envoys visiting, millions spent trying to get aid in-to people who were not starving. (I’m not saying they were rolling in paradise, they were suffering, but they were not dying.) In the meantime, something like 7.5 million people starved to death and again, nobody cared at all. 7.5. million people died to less media and less protest than 1.5 million hungry people.If you are a humanitarian only when Israel is inflicting the punishment which most of the world seems to be, then you are not a humanitarian at all. It’s like ignoring hundreds of dead white women and only protesting when they are killed by a black man and then pretending that you just care so so much about people being killed. Not buying it.

  49. LB June 2nd, 2009 7:16 pm

    ” If you walked down the streets of Tel Aviv asking people “do you see Israel as a bastion of the West?” I am sure you’d get more laughs than anything.”

    So, so true. I’m laughing just picturing such a scenario.

    “American intelligence agencies reached a conclusion that Iran does not have an active nuclear weapons program, and clearly Israel does not have a proof to the contrary either.”

    This is also not true. There was ONE American report that stated that and a number since that have refuted it.

    That isn’t what the NIE said anyway. It basically said they put the weapons part of the program on hold, but was not stopping nuclear production. In a traditional centrifuge-based enrichment program the difference civilian-grade and weapons-grade uranium is only a matter of time (allowing the enrichment to continue working until a higher percentage is reached). This was after Iran already had missiles capable of reaching Israel. The NIE was phrased in a misleading and political way – most of the information was in the footnotes, and it managed to mislead a lot people, but it did not say they were stopping all activity towards a nuclear weapons program. And that was 2 years ago anyway.

  50. Avram June 2nd, 2009 9:17 pm

    ” If you walked down the streets of Tel Aviv asking people “do you see Israel as a bastion of the West?” I am sure you’d get more laughs than anything.”

    I think you will find it in certain segments of Israeli society – but I’ve not heard it in the groups I’ve been around …

  51. Peter D June 2nd, 2009 9:39 pm

    Gabriel

    That is complete nonsense. Western countries have the ability to effect almost every single country in the world by not buying that country’s goods, by not traveling there, and by marching to protest those countries’ policies.
    What influence can I, as a Westerner, expect to wield on the situation in Sri Lanka? In Iraq? Is Sri Lanka’s conflict as destabilizing for a whole region as IP?
    Say, the West wanted to pull levers on Saudi Arabia. Well, first stop buying gas, second the U.S. could stop protecting them.

    OK. First, why should people in the West march against the Saudis? It is a country with poor human rights record, of which there are many, true. It does not receive and does not need financial and diplomatic support from US and European countries, which will hurt themselves first of all if they stop buying their oil. Why single out Saudi Arabia, exactly? And, yes, it does not get in your face about being the beacon of light in the Middle East.

    Egypt? Stop vacationing there. U.S. could stop giving billions a year, the West could stop meeting with Musharef [sic]

    US gives Egypt money to support the “moderate”, Israel and US friendly regime. Why single out Egypt, again?

    The fact that people choose to boycott Israel alone says more about them than about Israel.

    And what does it say, exactly? Do you yourself boycott any countries, or you just say “whatever, I will not care what happens elsewhere”? What’s wrong with people feeling passionate about the conflict? How many people actually boycott, as opposed to criticize, Israel? You seem to imply that they all must harbor anti-Semitic (or, maybe, self-hating) feelings.

    How about this-in my entire time in Israel I have never heard a single person refer to Israel as a bastion of the Western World or even anything resembling that. I’m not saying that nobody thinks that, but it is vastly overstated. […] If you walked down the streets of Tel Aviv asking people “do you see Israel as a bastion of the West?” I am sure you’d get more laughs than anything.

    Let’s do this: you ask people if they think Israel is more Western than Eastern country. Whether they think it has more in common with the US than with Jordan or even Lebanon.

    “American intelligence agencies reached a conclusion that Iran does not have an active nuclear weapons program, and clearly Israel does not have a proof to the contrary either.”
    This is also not true. There was ONE American report that stated that and a number since that have refuted it.

    The one American report was called the National Intelligence Estimate of December 2007 I don’t know what you mean by “a number since that have refuted it”.
    No. It’s that Ahmedinijhad and the Mullahs are not rational which is a pretty reasonable assumption.
    I don’t think it is and I don’t see which actions by the Iranian leadership since the Islamic Revolution can be seen as irrational. I think they are playing a rather sophisticated game.

    Take two recent conflicts-the one in Gaza and the one in Sri Lanka. […] If you are a humanitarian only when Israel is inflicting the punishment which most of the world seems to be, then you are not a humanitarian at all. It’s like ignoring hundreds of dead white women and only protesting when they are killed by a black man and then pretending that you just care so so much about people being killed. Not buying it.

    Again, a question: did you do anything about Sri Lanka? Do you protest anything at all? What’s the alternative? You‘re clearly piqued that your side is singled out for criticism. It is an understandable emotional response, but it is unhelpful. It means that people either need to spend their lives protesting everything worth protesting in order not to appear biased, or forego protest at all. About why Israel matters more that Sri Lanka I talked already.

    P.S In Gaza in the first few hours of the assault there were more than 200 killed civilians. Don’t remember the exact number, but that’s what most Americans, for example, woke up to find on the front pages. I, the rabid self-hater, felt the utmost urge to do something about it, forgot all my duty to protest the oppression of the Tibetans and the genocide in Congo, and rushed to join the demonstration of mostly Arabs-Americans (with the usual suspects from Neturei Karta and other solidarity types), getting a hold of a sign “Stop killing children in Gaza” or something to that effect. That was the first time I joined a demonstration, disliking any type of marching, shouting slogans, holding signs and flags etc.

  52. Peter D June 2nd, 2009 9:41 pm

    Oops, the link tag above wasn’t closed correctly after “National Intelligence Estimate of December 2007″. Alex, can you fix it?

  53. Peter D June 2nd, 2009 9:42 pm

    Avram

    Now you trust American intelligence – glad to see. I’m sure you were skeptical during the last war? I just hope they’re right here, I somehow doubt it.

    In the run-up to Iraq war there was a conflict of interests in that the administration was interested in intelligence that would support its case for the war. That’s how the Office of Special Plans was set up – to cook up evidence, essentially. The NIE of December 2007 came at a time when Bush was in office and clearly seemed at odds with the line of the hawks in the administration (led by Cheney). Clearly, if there were a proof of nuclear weapons program that estimate could not have been produced. So, the question is, on the balance of available info, how the conclusion that Iran likely had no active nuclear weapons program reach was reached. So, you don’t have to trust it, because you may say that some interested parties intervened and skewed this balance. But then what is your conclusion to the contrary based upon? Debka? Oh, these guys are unbiased… Finally, Iranians don’t have to actually build the bomb, as I said before. By merely knowing how to build one and with enough ambiguity, they hold all the trumps.
    I like how you define ’smart’. I guess this region doesn’t have a history of belligerent leaders who make strong anti-Israel statements, so he has a point.
    It’s just that you missed the point entirely, Avram. It is not about “leaders who make strong anti-Israel statements”, but about a regime that supposedly wants to build a nuclear bomb making these statements. By the way, Arye’s blog (and its less updated English version) is highly recommended. He really does not fit in the boxes of left and right and is always thought-provoking.
    Sad you ‘prefer’ this.
    I prefer the explanation – not the state of affairs – because it seems to me to have the best explanatory power.
    Listen, sometimes it is important to admit that you lost the game, or, rather, this round of the game. The US surely wasn’t happy the Soviet Union managed to build the A-Bomb in the early 50s, but they could do nothing about it besides the efforts to manage the situation. The round was won the Russians (and this was inevitable, anyway). Just as Israel won the round by building its bomb despite the American objections. So this round is won by the Iranians. I don’t see how anybody can prevent them from building a bomb by force.
    It’s not like they don’t “cramp down on any internal decent” already – heck those wankers already blocked facebook!
    You know what nuance is? There are degrees of things. Most observers of Iran agree that it is a relatively free country, which quite a number of freedoms. Nowhere near the ideal, but not a totally repressive regime either. The pro-American feelings of a large sector of Iranian public are well known. The public is not uniform and there is a delicate power struggle to shape the future of the country by the more moderate reformists and the more hardline Islamists (and Richard Silverstein reports on the ostensible efforts by Israel to influence the upcoming elections to make sure the hardliners stay in power). Any attack on the country will play to the hands of the hardliners.

  54. Avram June 2nd, 2009 10:16 pm

    “But then what is your conclusion to the contrary based upon?”

    MI, Iranian sources (ie those opposed to A-mad), other American Intelligence estimates. To be honest, no one really knows what’s ‘true’ or ‘false’ here – bar a select few in the govts of a few countries. We’re all playing guessing games here – and going with what ‘our gut’ says (or what our political leaning leads us to believe)

    “but about a regime that supposedly wants to build a nuclear bomb making these statements.”

    You sure Saddam didn’t make any ‘statements’ in the late 70s early 80s before Osirak was destroyed?

    “sometimes it is important to admit that you lost the game”

    I don’t think it’s ‘lost’ – there’s no real winners here. But the US was how close to nuclear war over the Cuba Missile Crisis in ’61? That’s what I hope we don’t approach – then again, you may be 100% right about Iran – I still remain very skeptical.

    Re: Ari’s blog. I checked it out once or twice after you linked the article on Magnes.

    Your link to Tikkun Olam is not the right one – though I skimmed the article earlier. I don’t really buy it – but hey, that’s not new. Wrt ‘play to the hands of the hardliners’ – surely then you don’t want Israel to make any land compromises or even a one state solution as that will only strengthen the hardliners in the Palestinian (& probably the radical elements within the Islamic world) world who will celebrate this (like Gaza and Lebanon) as a victory of the resistance …

  55. Gert June 2nd, 2009 10:34 pm

    Avram:

    “We’re all playing guessing games here – and going with what ‘our gut’ says (or what our political leaning leads us to believe)”

    What happened to:

    Come on Gert, that is ridiculous. They will get nuclear weapons in the next few years – we both know that.

    Another decent article on the Iranian nuclear question is this one in Newsweek by Fareed Zakaria

  56. Gert June 2nd, 2009 10:37 pm

    And on Iran in general, what Peter D. said, right on the money IMHO…

  57. Alex Stein June 2nd, 2009 11:18 pm

    Too tired to change links! Repost it!

  58. Peter D June 2nd, 2009 11:42 pm

    Something happened to my links, damn! Just to clean up:
    - National Intelligence Estimate of December 2007
    - Office of Special Plans
    - Richard Silverstein’s report

    Avram,
    - surely then you don’t want Israel to make any land compromises or even a one state solution as that will only strengthen the hardliners in the Palestinian (& probably the radical elements within the Islamic world) world who will celebrate this (like Gaza and Lebanon) as a victory of the resistance …

    You sure have a knack for finding these red-herring “analogies”, geez. I’ll let you think about it for a second and see where it break for yourself (and, by the way, they are not “compromises”; when you steal something and return it you are not doing a tzedaka.)

  59. Peter D June 2nd, 2009 11:44 pm

    OK, the links break because of some bug with the site. I am sure I pasted the right ones in the comment above. The first one is fine, the two others are screwed. Screw it…

  60. Gabriel June 3rd, 2009 12:24 am

    “Again, a question: did you do anything about Sri Lanka? Do you protest anything at all? What’s the alternative? You‘re clearly piqued that your side is singled out for criticism. It is an understandable emotional response, but it is unhelpful. It means that people either need to spend their lives protesting everything worth protesting in order not to appear biased, or forego protest at all. About why Israel matters more that Sri Lanka I talked already. ”

    No, I didn’t, but I have never been to a protest against a foreign government in my life. You create a completely false dichotomy (how apt!) which many anti-Zionists do. Either A) You can single out Israel, attack it constantly in a way that no other country gets attacked, protest more than against any other country, boycott it, or B) You can do nothing. It’s not whether Israel matters more than Sri Lanka (it doesn’t, especially to Sri Lankans) it’s that it matters more than every other country in the world put together. How many people have been killed by Pakistan in the Swat Valley? I have no idea and nobody does because there is no coverage because nobody really cares and Pakistan is a vastly more important country in world terms than Israel is.

    “Most observers of Iran agree that it is a relatively free country, which quite a number of freedoms. Nowhere near the ideal, but not a totally repressive regime either”

    Who? I would guess that you don’t know a lot of Persians living outside Iran. Let’s see 1) Women are forced to cover themselves up in accordance with the religious police’s desires 2) No free press 3) No free speech 4) Who runs for the fake democracy is chosen by the Mullahs 5) No due process. 6) No freedom of movement. So what exactly makes Iran “relatively free?”. The jailed bloggers? The 16-year old girls executed at someone’s whim, the persecution of minorities? The execution of homosexuals? Well, I suppose it might be relatively free compared to North Korea.I am really disturbed by how many people want badly to think that Iran is just a flip side of the US or Israel. It isn’t. The last Freedomhouse rankings I saw, tied Iran with China for press freedom.(Behind such free countries as Sudan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.). Iran executes people for being homosexual, it persecutes Bahais and other groups, it jails people for no reason, etc…

  61. LB June 3rd, 2009 2:08 am

    “Again, a question: did you do anything about Sri Lanka? Do you protest anything at all? What’s the alternative? You‘re clearly piqued that your side is singled out for criticism. It is an understandable emotional response, but it is unhelpful. It means that people either need to spend their lives protesting everything worth protesting in order not to appear biased, or forego protest at all. About why Israel matters more that Sri Lanka I talked already. ”

    There’s an important distinction to make. If I, as an Israeli, protest issues in the region (pro, anti, whatever) there is a clear reason – I have more than just a passing interest. The same goes for a Palestinian, or even all of Israel’s immediate neighbors (Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan). But when some white kid from Berkeley decides to criticize Israel, but ignoring Sri Lanka – that is where the hypocrisy comes out. And when the NYT (who has a lot of power in deciding what is news and what is not) decides to devote a month of front pages to Israel in Gaza, and to Sri Lanka – very few – motivations of actions such as these are to be questioned.

    (Of course Sri Lanka is just one example of many.)

  62. Avram June 3rd, 2009 7:30 am

    Gert:

    “Come on Gert, that is ridiculous. They will get nuclear weapons in the next few years – we both know that.”

    To me, that’s a ‘given’ – I just highly doubt Iran is developing ‘nuclear capabilities’, when it already has enough oil (& natural gas imports from Turkmenistan) for ‘energy purposes’ … I also highly doubt they’re developing the most sophisticated missiles in this region to prove their intent for peace.

    Peter:

    “they are not “compromises”; when you steal something and return it you are not doing a tzedaka”

    ha … How far back do you go back ‘moralitly’ wise with stolen goods? I mean, do you think most of North America, South America, Africa etc is stolen too? Maybe land you live on currently in good ole New York isn’t that kosher either, eh?

  63. Avram June 3rd, 2009 7:33 am

    Gabriel:

    “Iran executes people for being homosexual, it persecutes Bahais and other groups”

    Even more ‘liberal’ governments in this region have issues with the Bahais – The Egyptian govt banned the religion last year. I’ve tried to see if it actually was nullified but no luck yet. By any chance do you know if this is ‘official’ Egyptian policy now?

    Did you catch last month what happened to all the pigs in Egypt (ie the property of the Christian minority)?

  64. Gabriel June 3rd, 2009 8:32 am

    “Did you catch last month what happened to all the pigs in Egypt (ie the property of the Christian minority)?”

    Yeah but that got a lot of coverage internationally. Certainly much more than say the Sudanese killed in the Sinai ever get. The same thing happened in Afghanistan with the Buddhist statues. People just don’t matter much.

    “There’s an important distinction to make. If I, as an Israeli, protest issues in the region (pro, anti, whatever) there is a clear reason – I have more than just a passing interest. The same goes for a Palestinian, or even all of Israel’s immediate neighbors (Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan). But when some white kid from Berkeley decides to criticize Israel, but ignoring Sri Lanka – that is where the hypocrisy comes out.”

    It’s even worse than that especially in Europe. Europe is, without a modicum of hyperbole, responsible for most of the world’s problems either directly or indirectly. The dire poverty of Africa, the massacres there, are a direct response to colonialism, to artificial borders, and even to unfair trade practices that exist today. The first nations people in Australia, Canada, The U.S. and throughout the Americas that almost all live in poverty was directly caused by European imperialism. To see protests in The UK or France about Israel taking Palestinian land after 600 years of raping the world with no consequences simply reeks. I saw one article about a (non-Jewish) kid from Kingston, Ontario who was protesting in the West Bank. Now, I happen to know for a fact that very close to Kingston are reserves where Natives live in third world conditions. Did this person stay and deal with the problems that his ancestors caused that still remain? Of course not. Israel is what matters. For Jews or Palestinians all over the world to be actively engaged, even obsessed with the I/P conflict makes sense. It’s the fact that everyone in the world ignores their own crimes to hate Israel instead.

  65. LB June 3rd, 2009 3:55 pm

    “Even more ‘liberal’ governments in this region have issues with the Bahais – The Egyptian govt banned the religion last year. I’ve tried to see if it actually was nullified but no luck yet. By any chance do you know if this is ‘official’ Egyptian policy now?”

    An Egyptian friend of mine told me that it’s something along the lines of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Apparently religion is noted on ID (or passport, not sure), and someone sued, and the courts decided in their favor so now Baha’i don’t have religion listed. The irony here is that they still stand out – according to same Egyptian, from now on Baha’i will be the only ones without a mention religion on their IDs…

  66. Gert June 3rd, 2009 5:33 pm

    Gabriel:

    “To see protests in The UK or France about Israel taking Palestinian land after 600 years of raping the world with no consequences simply reeks.”

    Very funny.

    It’s precisely the anti-Colonial, anti-imperialist European Left that takes the lead in protesting Israel’s crimes. For this many on the Eustonite Left or so-called Social Democrats (including many at HP) blast us as anti-West, pro-Jihad (LOL), self-haters etc etc. Yet it’s those people that have learnt lessons from the past.

    It’s precisely those on that traditional Left that see Israel for what it is: a neo-colonial project, racist in nature and hell-bent on stealing someone else’s land and resources since 1948 (and before) and to this very date. On the irrelevant basis that Jews are a people and the Palestinians are not.

    You, in your criticism of the critics end up dragging everything and the kitchen sink into your discourse, thus hopelessly contradicting yourself. What riles you is not the alleged ‘hypocrisy’ of the critics but the criticism itself.

    Allow even that we are hypocrites, does that absolve Israel in any way, shape or form? It really takes a rather twisted form of morality to answer that question with a ‘yes’.

    Israel is a Terror State. Period.

    FREE PALESTINE!

  67. Avram June 3rd, 2009 7:20 pm

    I’m with Gert!!! Death to all (Zionist) Juice!!!

  68. Gert June 3rd, 2009 7:34 pm

    Avram:

    Yawn…

  69. Avram June 3rd, 2009 10:09 pm

    it was a joke – for an Englishman, your sense of humor is rather lacking …

    Btw Gert, have you thought how many Jews & Palestinians will die if ‘Free Palestine’ (from the land to the sea as you so desire) comes to reality?

    Here’s an interesting piece for anyone interested:

    http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/1998/1948/371_khdr.htm

  70. Gert June 3rd, 2009 11:16 pm

    Avram:

    Free Palestine! is a rallying cry and as such can mean rather a lot of things. I’ve given up imagining solutions to this conflict some time ago: at end of the day the Palestinians and Israelis will have to slog it out between themselves, with or without assistance/pressure from outside.

    Interesting text.

  71. Avram June 3rd, 2009 11:34 pm

    “at end of the day the Palestinians and Israelis will have to slog it out between themselves, with or without assistance/pressure from outside.”

    I hope that the ‘slogging’ will just be verbal and afterward, a few le’chaims (i don’t know the Arabic equivalent) and two countries and a workable peace like we have with Jordan or Egypt.

    May not happen in my life time but I’d rather not ‘give up’ – otherwise, what’s the point in living here and raising your kids here?

  72. Peter D June 4th, 2009 4:50 am

    But when some white kid from Berkeley decides to criticize Israel, but ignoring Sri Lanka – that is where the hypocrisy comes out.

    Why would a kid in Berkley care about Israel? Maybe because it is one of the most long protracted conflicts in the world; maybe because he’s been to a lecture by a Palestinian and their story cut him to the quick; maybe he s just becoming politically active and joins a struggle that is accessible; maybe because he doesn’t see how he can influence the events in Sri Lanka; maybe he doesn’t want to see his tax money support human rights abuses; maybe because he feels that I/P conflict destabilizes the whole region and thus is dangerous to him as well; there is also a slim chance that he just dislikes the Jews.

    I went to a lecture by Mads Gilbert a Norwegian doctor, who spends a lot of time in Gaza (and was there during Cast Lead). What makes him obsessed with Israel/Palestine? Why in ’67 he went to work as a volunteer in a kibbutz to replace the men who left for the war, and since then his all life is connected to the Palestinians and not to the Sri Lankans? Who am I to question him?

    What makes this young girl go to the WB and write about the settler violence?

    If a person uses correct arguments in stating his or her position, at times the same arguments I could be using, I am not going to question his or her motives and say: “this toy is for Jews/Palestinians (i.e., involved sides) only; your input is not required”. As long as the arguments are valid.

    Besides, LB, using your logic, you’d have to agree that most of the people involved in “Save Darfur” and related movements are hypocrites, since what does Darfur have to do with them?

    You create a completely false dichotomy (how apt!) which many anti-Zionists do. Either A) You can single out Israel, attack it constantly in a way that no other country gets attacked, protest more than against any other country, boycott it, or B) You can do nothing. It’s not whether Israel matters more than Sri Lanka (it doesn’t, especially to Sri Lankans) it’s that it matters more than every other country in the world put together. How many people have been killed by Pakistan in the Swat Valley? I have no idea and nobody does because there is no coverage because nobody really cares and Pakistan is a vastly more important country in world terms than Israel is.

    I never created this dichotomy, you did the mirror image of it (either protest more than Israel/Palestine or don’t touch it at all) . All I was pointing out is that while it is certainly true that Israel gets singled out, there are valid reasons for doing so. There are bad reasons too, sure. (The Magnes Zionist puts it nicely: ““What, then, would bother me? Well, if people criticized Israel for behaving in ways that they excuse, or worse, approve of, in others, without further justification, then that would raise my suspicions. If an American of Irish descent would see nothing wrong in the IRA killing innocents and then would blame Israel for doing the same thing, then I would question that person’s consistency, sincerity, and motives. If a person criticized Israel’s actions because she felt that they embody the negative qualities of Jews everywhere, then she would be a member in good standing of the Antisemite tribe.”)

  73. LB June 4th, 2009 6:23 am

    Peter – the point is that Israel is in the headlines, and the focus of so many’s attention above and beyond other conflicts, that are just as long and protracted, and have caused many more deaths. Why? And yes, I find it somewhat hypocritical for a girl from Ithaca to devote all this time to something on the other side of the world when she hasn’t looked at the problems closer to her home first.

    And Mads Gilbert? The person who spent all this time in Gaza and saw almost no Hamas fighters? The person who took participated in the staging of untruthful videos? Please.

  74. Avram June 4th, 2009 8:03 am

    Citing Mads Gilbert does making you come off as a rather extreme leftist Peter (If he was a right winger, you’d slam him. I just hope that you’re honest enough to criticize his bs).

    Btw, I saw your response in Magnes (& I do know a lot about Stalin’s purges, I have a 1000+ pg book about him and Hitler – comparing them etc) but I won’t respond as I said you’d have the ‘last word’.

  75. Gabriel June 4th, 2009 10:17 am

    “What, then, would bother me? Well, if people criticized Israel for behaving in ways that they excuse, or worse, approve of, in others, without further justification, then that would raise my suspicions.”

    Well, for me this extends to behaving in ways they would completely ignore in other countries. There was a story on the BBC a few weeks ago about airstrikes in Afghanistan killing almost 200 people. It was a news in brief and the video showed a couple of men sweeping for about 10 seconds. Can you imagine what the coverage would be if it were Israel? Round the clock coverage. Dead children being carried by their fathers. Women wailing in the streets. Inside analysis from multiple sources. People in the streets around the world yelling. And Britain is actually fighting in Afghanistan and it’s still not that important. I don’t think it is all antisemitism by any stretch, the media’s obsessive coverage (which is different from its coverage of any other country) of Israel plays a big roll among other things. However, when Israelis see nothing, nobody giving a crap about anything else in the world and then millions march to protest Israeli actions that other countries do all the time, what are they to think? “Wow, suddenly everyone cares about human life”? ” You want to believe that. I know it’s bullshit.

    Also, citing Mads Gilbert would be like someone saying “I went to see the settler who says all Palestinians are animals.”Gilbert is as trustworthy as a that guy would be.

  76. Gert June 5th, 2009 7:28 pm

    Gabriel:

    “Gilbert is as trustworthy as a that guy would be.”

    Why would that be, Gabriel? Because Gilbert has seen with his own eyes things you or I will never see and isn’t shy talking about them?

    Your dismissal of first-hand witnesses really takes the biscuit…

  77. Gabriel June 6th, 2009 4:47 am

    “Why would that be, Gabriel? Because Gilbert has seen with his own eyes things you or I will never see and isn’t shy talking about them?”

    How is that different than a radical settler?

  78. Gert June 6th, 2009 5:08 pm

    And a radical settler’s testimony is to be dismissed out of hand too?

    Why?

  79. Avram June 6th, 2009 9:32 pm

    I think ‘radical’ is the issue here ole chap.

  80. Gert June 7th, 2009 12:47 am

    Avram:

    The truth stands on its own, unaffected by those who behold or utter it. ‘Radical’, ‘extreme’, or ‘moderate’ are normative terms anyway without an absolute scale against which to calibrate them.

  81. Avram June 7th, 2009 9:53 am

    That’s a very dangerous statement then –

    Take for example, ‘The Elder of Ziyon’ truth. It still stands on its own – going strong for over 1000 years – What say you?

  82. Gert June 7th, 2009 8:43 pm

    Avram:

    That’s not the truth (assuming you’re referring to ‘The Protocols’), it’s a proven hoax.

    Absurd example or weak joke, not sure…

  83. Avram June 7th, 2009 9:53 pm

    Gert:

    That you (thankfully), and I think it’s a ‘proven hoax’ is good. That is still remains a top of far too many people’s reasons for Anti-Semitism leads me to believe that the ‘hoax’ has sadly become a truth for far too many people. So much does it ‘stand on its own’, that you hear people non-stop saying how “Jews control the US” etc … So again, if it ‘stands for 1000 years’, who are we to say it’s not ‘the truth’?

    (Was Goebbels who made that famous statement about the ‘truth’? – I don’t remember)

  84. Gert June 8th, 2009 8:14 pm

    Oh, Avram, Avram, Avram.

    The truth may be elusive but it exists. Lies cannot be turned into the truth.

    Goebbels said that if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth. Goebbels was a liar. And that’s the truth.

  85. Avram June 8th, 2009 10:40 pm

    ha ha – “Lies cannot be turned into the truth.”

    I guess you hold that as truth. I’m not so sure. But hey, I’m happy if you’re right in this instance.

  86. Gert June 9th, 2009 5:52 pm

    Not everything is a ‘matter of opinion’. Something may be a ‘matter of opinion’ when it’s hard to establish what precisely happened or what underlying mechanism is at play.

    The Holocaust isn’t a ‘matter of opinion’, we know it happened with a very high degree of detail. Similarly the Earth isn’t flat and gravity does exist and does obey Newton’s law of Universal Gravity.

    Scientists didn’t one day decide that nuclear fission would be a good idea, instead they quite literally stumbled on it. Quantum Mechanics explains exquisitely and very precisely (accordance between theory and outcome of experiments) why some atoms are fissionable and how this works. But the deeper meaning of Quantum Mechanics remains subject to some controversy, a ‘matter of opinion’ you could say…

    Truth stands on its own, even if it may remain unknown to us.

  87. Avram June 9th, 2009 9:12 pm

    I get what you’re saying Gert – but I think you’re missing my point … For example, you say:

    “The Holocaust isn’t a ‘matter of opinion’, we know it happened with a very high degree of detail”

    If enough people ‘believe’ currently it was a made up event by _______ (who cares tbh) where only 1 million Jews died – and that spreads, there is a chance it could be taken as fact by many people. Now whether the truth stands with people like you, or me, or whoever – the more ‘that’ truth gains acceptance, the more it stands a chance of replacing ‘the’ truth.

  88. Gert June 9th, 2009 11:27 pm

    No, I do know what you’re hinting at: the belief that ‘truth’ can be manufactured as long as enough people believe the same thing.

    But we mustn’t think like that or let our judgment be clouded: hard as it may be in many cases, the truth can be gotten to. But it is not arrived at by majority or by consensus, even though superficially it may look that way. Democracy e.g. does not seek the truth, instead it’s a very imperfect way of decision making.

Leave a reply