I Give Up, Here's a Links Round-up

Friday, June 18, AD 2010

“The Vatican” endorses the Blues Brothers.

North Korea embraces neoliberalism (baby steps).

Matt Yglesias is my kind of liberal.

The Onion channels Bertolt Brecht.

Israel further loosens border restrictions with Gaza.

A lot of people seems to think this is good news for Afghanistan. Have they never heard of the resource curse?

The menace of friendship. Paging Eve Tushnet.

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Israel to Loosen Gaza Blockaid

Wednesday, June 9, AD 2010

Palestinian official Raed Fattouh, who coordinates the flow of goods into Gaza with Israel, said soda, juice, jam, spices, shaving cream, potato chips, cookies and candy were now permitted. He said Israel rebuffed Palestinian requests for construction goods, raw materials for factories to operate and medical devices.

Israeli officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were discussing internal policymaking, said their goal in allowing more goods into Gaza was to defuse pressure for an international investigation of the sea raid.

More.  Since the blockaid is essential to Israel’s security and right to defend itself, one can only assume that the country will now cease to exist.

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  • Since the blockaid is essential to Israel’s security and right to defend itself, one can only assume that the country will now cease to exist.

    Heh.

  • Since the blockaid is essential to Israel’s security and right to defend itself, one can only assume that the country will now cease to exist.

    Ummm, but the blockade still is in place – they’ve only decided to loosen some of the restrictions – something you were whining about last week.

  • I also am not sure that many said the blockade was essential to Israel’s existence, only that it was a reasonable course of action to take in order for the country to protect itself.

  • I take the argument to be that given Israel’s decision to loosen the blockade either:

    a) The blockade was in fact, as claimed, more daconian than it needed to be in order to effect Israeli security or

    b) Israeli security is now going to be seriously compromised.

    It seems hard to claim b), so that leaves us with a).

  • I apologize in advance.

    Is Egypt also blockading Gaza?

    Since soda, juice, jam, spices, shaving cream, potato chips, cookies and candy could not be delivered from Egypt via two roads running into Rafah, running the blockaid(sic) was essential to Gaza’s survival and its right to launch rockets into Israel . . . that Gaza of the terrorists, by the terrorists, and for the terrorists shall not perish from the Earth.

  • Is Egypt also blockading Gaza?

    Not anymore.

  • Then none of this should be a problem any more.

  • It is of course as predictable as night follows day that Hamas will hail this as a great victory and intensify their war against Israel. Israel will then respond by toughening the blockade once again. That is assuming the story is not complete hooey. As for Egypt, I will hold to my prediction that their land border will be sealed with Gaza again by the end of the month.

  • The loosening of the blockade means that the land based crossings into Gaza will be operating more hours per day than before.

    Those crossings are regularly attacked by Hamas. So IDF soldiers will be risking their lives, for more hours, to ensure the long suffering citizens of Gaza can have raspberry jam and coriander.

    The blockade itself,however, is still in place. And Israel has every right to keep it in place.

  • In the mean time, perhaps the commenters here can tell us how they feel about the Reverend Archbishop Capucci, who was on the boat? This is a man who committed repeated acts of perfidy in smuggling arms to the PLO, and since those arms were used to murder civilians, he is an accomplice to multiple murders.

    This, His Eminence openly acknowledges, and has never repented.

    And yet, he deems himself in a state of grace, takes communion, and has never suffered any action against him by the Holy See.

    Pardon us Tribals if we continue to view Rome with suspicion on account of this.

  • Someone, please, correct all uses of “blockaid” to “blockade.”

  • Given some of the items on the list, I’m not certain correction is needed.

    Not that I would be completely against a blockade of items reasonably calculated to assist in terrorist acts, but potato chips and shaving cream? (although shaving cream is a bit puzzling, I thought Muslims didn’t shave?)

  • Every additional truck going into Gaza is another few minutes of an IDF border crossing guard putting himself in the line of fire. Ask yourself, C. Matt, would you put yourself at risk of Hamas sniper fire just so your enemy can have a clean shave? Those goods are not delivered under a flag of truce, you know.

  • Remember the warsaw ghettos now its the gaza ghettos.Divide and conquer!

U.S. Involvement in The Great Game Realpolitiks in Gaza

Friday, June 4, AD 2010

With the news of Israel’s blockade of Gaza still hot all around the world because of the Israeli attack on the activist boats- I think it is important to look back and assess how we have got to this point of chaos, confusion and rage.

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  • Excellent analysis, especially on the historical tie between the Christian’s moral responsibility with the Roman Empire and our own responsibility with the American experiment. In this article you call to mind the sad obligation of the prophet. Amos, Micah, Isaiah and Jeremiah had the unhappy responsibility to call the Hebrew community to moral accountability and unfortunately their words went unheeded and Israel had to learn through hardship and suffering. Jesus Christ also spoke the moral truth to a corrupt social power and within a generation Jerusalem was destroyed. What will be are lot.

    We seem to have such an unreflective society and this in the end will make us morally bankrupt as well. But hope in God we have and struggle we must to awaken the American population to the great values that once guided this nation and to the post war principles that it helped to create in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

  • Frankly the fact that Hamas was elected in a quasi-Democratic election in Gaza is of no more moral significance to me than the fact that the Nazis came to power in 1933 in German in a legal fashion. Of course the article you cite is completely wrong-headed. Hamas has always had a stronger following in Gaza than Fatah, because Hamas is regarded, rightly, as being much more wedded to the idea of waging war ceaselessly against Israel, which is what most Gazans want. The policies followed by the Hamas government are completely in accord with what a majority of the Gazan population want. Their war against Israel, unfortunately for them, simply, and predictably, is not going well.

  • It seems that what you’re saying is that Hitler should have been supported because he was legally elected. We should not have stopped his rampage throughout Europe or his extermination plans? Or perhaps the world should have waited until Germany’s next election to vote Hitler out of office? No matter the millions of lives which would have been terminated by then? It is legal in our country to perform abortions…should we cease fighting against the extermination of life in the wombs of mothers because, after all, it is the law of the land? I don’t understand you…

  • wow- so Hamas equals Hitler? In essence the Palestinians are Nazis who are just crazy to kill every Israeli they meet? I can’t argue with such fantasies- and I won’t because it is such a worn out rhetorical device used by the Left and Right to cover their own inadequacies in presenting the facts on the ground. I’m looking for more thoughtful comments- anybody out there?

  • wow- so Hamas equals Hitler? In essence the Palestinians are Nazis who are just crazy to kill every Israeli they meet?

    Considering that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians don’t believe that Israel has a right to exist, and that many if not most have little moral problem with strapping bombs to people in order to murder scores of innocent Jews, I’d say the comparison is a little less fantastical than that.

    I’m looking for more thoughtful comments-

    You first.

  • “wow- so Hamas equals Hitler?”

    Not quite Tim. Hamas lacks the power to kill every Jew in Israel. If they had the power, based upon prior statements made by Hamas leaders, I have no doubt they would kill every Jew until Palestine was Judenfrei.

  • I think the analogy holds up fairly well if you consider that the extermination of Jews was an objective of the Nazis, but not necessarily of the German people. A good number of Germans were apathetic over what the Nazis were doing, those who would have strongly objected remained silent and inactive out of fear.

    Similarly, a distinction should be made between the Islamic Palestinian people and Hamas and other groups. Thing is the extermination of Jews has a religious character here and it seems the average Islamic Palestinian is far more likely to be inclined to support Hamas’ rhetoric and objectives than the average German was to the Final Solution. I’m distinguishing between Islamic Palestinians and Christian Palestinians because I think the Christians have have suffered at the hands of Israel and would certainly want things differently, but they don’t necessarily hate Jews and want them cast into the sea.

  • Tim,

    I agree with Donald that the Vanity Fair article is completely wrong-headed (Vanity Fair? Really?). IT starts, it seems to me, from an assumption that Israel = wrong/support of Israel = wrong.

    I also disagree with your analysis of what you describe as our Realpolitik, and I disagree that our Yes should mean Yes and our No should mean No as a practical guide to international relations. While it is an ideal to be pursued, it can’t and won’t work in our international community until *everyone* approaches international relationships this way.

    Our government’s first concern should be the preservation of the state. Our country has a right to exist (as does Israel, as does Iran, as does Turkey, etc.). One could argue that the Palestinian people have a right to a homeland too; of course, they’ve never had one (and that isn’t the fault of the US), so it’s hard to say where that should be.

    As to the way events unfolded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip…well, I for one cannot blame the Bush administration for trying. Was it a correct move to try to force Hamas out? Uh…Yeah it was. Hamas is bad. Fatah is to, but the enemy of my enemy being my friend, Fatah had to look like a pretty good compromise. Are there bad people in Fatah? Of course there are. Apparently, there were some pretty bad people among the “peace activists” on that Turkish-flagged vessel, too (good people don’t beat downed soldiers with pipes).

    Governments sanction actions that harm people all the time in order to pursue their national interests. In the case of a war, a government would sanction the killing of other people (objectively evil) in order to protect its country; cities sanction the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers against evil-doers in order to protect its citizens. Your outlook about America’s support for Israel and work against Hamas in the Gaze Strip is simplistic at best.

    THanks.

  • – I’m a bit unclear what the author of the article thinks should have been done. He blames the US for supporting elections when Fatah was not in a position to win them, but he also blames the US for not accepting the results of the elections when Hamas won. He seems to think that Fatah was a better group to remain in charge — yet he blames the US for backing them and he emphasizes their torture and killing of members of Hamas much more than he emphasizes the (at least equally prevalent) torture and killing of members of Fatah by Hamas. He blames the “quartet” for cutting off aid to the Palestinian Authority, but he also blames them for trying to direct and influence Palestinian affairs. I suppose he could think that we should fund them, but not try to influence them in any way, but even then we’re left with having them in a near constant state of war with Israel, and that doesn’t seem great either.

    – Regarding the comment discussion that has developed: I’m not actually clear why comparisons of Hamas to the National Socialists are necessarily that far off. Both are militiant political parties which gained support through street fighting and popular support for their promise to restore national/ethnic dignity. Both endorse a genocidal racial policy towards a designated enemy group which is seen as at fault for the people’s sufferings — a policy which many of their supporters may not enthusiastically share, but which they are willing to overlook. Both came to power in the wake of poverty, military defeat, occupation and perceived loss of standing in the world. And both promise to reverse all of those misfortunes through greater world prestige and military adventures. It’s not a bad comparison, and unless one has particularly grotesque stereotypes about the nature of ordinary German people in the 30s and 40s, I’m not clear why it’s less flattering to the Gazan population than accuracy would demand.

  • I love it. If people discuss the way Israel seems to follow Nazi policy, we are told about “Godwin’s Law.” And that ends all conversation, like usual. But it is perfectly fine to suggest the Palestinians are like Nazis. Of course, I am sure we will also hear how Native Americans were the Nazis, too…

  • Henry,

    One of the main things people have pointed out in regards to your repeated claims that Israelis are “like Nazis” is that it’s incredibly historically insensitive. Which is true.

    In the comment thread above, the logical sequence was as follows:

    Several people pointed out that if it was necessary to support a political faction merely because they won an election, it would have been necessary to grant recognition to the Nazis after 1933.

    In return, Tim questioned whether people were accusing the Palestinians of being “crazy Nazis”.

    RL and I then both pointed out that the sense in which such a comparison might be apt would be that most Palestinians are not “crazy Nazis”, but have ended up supporting a militaristic and radically anti-Jewish faction for fairly understandable reasons — kind of like many non-Nazi-fanatic Germans did in the ’30s.

    You then show up and accuse everyone of saying that “Palestinians are like Nazis” and then go on to suggest that people will say that Native Americans “were the Nazis” too.

    How about this one: Why is it that you are convinced that Hamas is as admirable as Chief Joseph or Sitting Bull? Has Hamas ever behaved as honorably, or sought the good of their people above their own power? Hamas is an organization that routinely kills and tortures its own people, while seeking to kill Israeli civilians in order to relieve their desire for revenge. Their existence has done nothing but hurt the Palestinian people. Why do you see the need to defend them?

    Defending Hamas is not the same as defending the Palestinian people — one may care about the latter while despising the former.

  • All comparisons of present politics to Nazis and Communists that are devoid of direct connections are a stretch and should be avoided.

    With that said, Henry, there are in fact direct connections between the Nazis and Islamist Palestinians. You can begin with Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, continue to the many efforts to kill Jews for being Jews, and head right on up to the present and beyond with the Hamas charter, a document and an ideology that enjoys very strong support. All of this information is readily available, quite twisted, and beyond historical dispute.

  • Why is it necessary even to compare anyone to anyone here? Granted, there are arguably strong parallels between National Socialism and Islamic militancy as practiced by Hamas; that being said, can’t we just deal with history?

    Israel became a state in 1948, whereupon it was immediately attacked by its Arab neighbors. They one that war. Israel was again attacked in the 50’s, the 60’s (which resulted in the destruction of three countries’ military apparatus and the annexation of the Sinai, the West Bank and Gaza, and the Golan Heights. They were attacked again in 73, again in the 80’s, the 90’s and the 00’s (how do you say that in a word?). Each time, its attackers suffered military defeat at the hands of a much smaller (but better trained, equipped and motivated) IDF.

    Ya can’t blame the 48 war on Israel
    s treatment of Palestinian Arabs. Nor can one blame the ’67 or the ’73 war on that. And it is axiomatic that Israel has a right to protect its existence by any proportionate means necessary; we may argue about the definition of “proportionate”, but it is up to the National Command Authority in Israel to determine what is proportionate, and to be liable for the judgment before God.

    The Palestinians are pawns in a game whose goal is the elimination of the state of Israel. If Hamas would do as it’s been asked, this would all be over. They won’t; it’s not. Why do we beat them up so?

  • I love it. If people discuss the way Israel seems to follow Nazi policy, we are told about “Godwin’s Law.” And that ends all conversation, like usual.

    The ‘conversation’ is unnecessary because the analogy is stupid and malicious and not worth discussing. The most militant sector of public opinion in Israel (KACH, Moledet, &c) has advocating expelling the Arab population and forcing them to take up residence in neighboring states. The most precise analogy might be the post-war Czech government’s dealings with Sudeten Germans or the Croatian government’s dealings with Krajina Serbs during the recent unpleasantness in the Balkans. Neither Gen. Tudjman or Eduard Benes had a political programme that resembled that of the Nazis in the least.

    But it is perfectly fine to suggest the Palestinians are like Nazis.

    Repair to the YouTube Mr. McClarey posted a while back. There is a sector of public opinion in the Arab world which has aspirations very like that. For a majority party to advocate liquidating a neighboring state is highly unsual – nay unique – in the world today. Even absent a considered programme of extermination, such a project would comprehend a great deal of killing. The precedent in the eastern provinces of the Ottoman Empire in 1915-18 is sadly relevant here.

  • Regarding the premise that an elected Hamas government is akin to Hitler’s Nazis being elected- so this scores points for the side that says the U.S. should feel free to use any means to upend the Gazan government- be it pouring money into political alternatives or funding armed resistance or perhaps even overt or covert plans of assassination. This is the slippery slope we are on here at American Catholic blogosphere.

    Here’s a little analogical monkeywrench to loosen up the pro-Israel crowd- and I do mean crowd around these parts.

    Let’s say that there was a “quasi-election” in a large nation and a regime that openly supported the termination of unborn children in the wombs of mothers was “elected” by a majority of the citizens. It is determined that in fact 3-4000 children are murdered each day in this hate-filled society. It is also determined that many of these mothers are profoundly disturbed enough to actually volunteer to take their unborn children into a medical clinic to have the personnel there dispose of these children God entrusted to them. This is the consequence of a mass insanity inculturated by a political and economic order that propagandizes that this is no big deal, that this is an expression of women’s rights and so forth. And the mainstream opposition to this situation is a major political party that claims only that this right to kill unborn children should be an issue decided by individual states- not at the federal level.

    Now suppose you live in another nation that universally recognizes the rights of unborn children to live and be born without fear of termination at the hands of their mothers/fathers/society. Should you use your ample resources to undermine the sovereignty of that evil nation of baby killers? Should you stop at public scoldings or should you send monies secretly to agents of influence who would use those foreign monies in ways illegal to their own nation’s electoral laws? And what about organizing a coup with some handpicked military men, or even stage an invasion if you have a superior military yourself?

    Surely, a nation that kills 3000 children a day in a genocide of unborn, unwanted persons is akin to a democratically-elected Adolf Hitler led Nazi Germany? For even as Hitler attempted to export his brand of Nazi ideology and invade other countries with his military- this modern nation exports the propaganda in many varying forms to the rest of the world encouraging the practice of murdering the unwanted unborn. And it is noted that millions of dollars of private monies are coming from the demented citizenry of this nation to actually fund the killing places on an international level. This is all occuring with an apparent majority of these citizen’s support- these people must for the most part be hideous anti-child, anti-decency- whatever comes of them can only be seen as justified by any truly decent citizen of the world. Why should the good people of the world allow for such Hitler/Nazi-like tendencies to continue without doing something now?? I’m sure there are a few decent members of that society who don’t see the killing of their own little ones as a human right, or as a state’s right to choose- but they are so few and have no powerful position in the mainstream political and economic order- they should be overjoyed for a foreign power such as ours to take control of their situation and nation- and save the children!

  • Tim Shipe:

    The most salient characteristic of the Nazi regime in Germany was its revanchism and the consequent impossibility of developing a stable political equilibrium in Europe absent submission to or destruction of the regime. It presented a much more acute problem for foreign governments than would the incorporation of gross injustices in the mundane social practice of a foreign state.

  • “Surely, a nation that kills 3000 children a day in a genocide of unborn, unwanted persons is akin to a democratically-elected Adolf Hitler led Nazi Germany?”

    The analogy only works Tim if they are engaged in forced abortions, a la China. Legalized abortion is an abomination, but our primary problem is with people utilizing the law to slay their own offspring. Neither Hitler, nor Hamas, would rely on private actors to kill the Jews. All the killing would be by actions of the State. When a regime is dedicated to that type of genocide, I weep no tears over efforts to remove it.

  • Let me get this straight:
    Claim: if it is morally acceptable for the US to intervene against NAZI policy to exterminate Jews, it should be morally acceptable for the US to intervene against Hamas policy to exterminate Jews.
    Counterclaim: If it is not morally acceptable for a hypothetical pro-life nation to intervene against US policy to not prohibit private abortions, then it is not morally acceptable for the US to intervene against Hamas policy to exterminate Jews.
    Is that really the level of argument here?

  • Tim,

    I don’t think anyone here is disputing that it’s fairly natural for those in Gaza to resent the idea of the US messing with their elections or providing support to Fatah in relation to a coup.

    The thing I don’t get about the article, though, (and perhaps you don’t support this aspect of it) is that it seems to be taking both sides and no side. The author blames the US for pushing for elections because Hamas won, but it also blames the US for seeking to leverage Hamas out of power again after the election.

    Yet if the US has simply not encouraged elections in the first place, then Hamas would not have come into power since Fatah wasn’t scheduling open elections.

    Then the author both blames the US for cutting off aid money to the PA because Hamas was elected, and also blames the US for giving aid money to Fatah to fight Hamas. But if the US had not encouraged elections, and had not stopped giving aid money in the first place, than Fatah would have been free to use the money to buy weapons and keep Hamas out of power via kidnapping, assassination, torture and street fighting — which is pretty much how Fatah and Hamas were mixing it up in the first place during the time when Fatah wasn’t holding elections because they weren’t “ready”.

    Now, if the answer is simply that the Palestinians would rather be left alone to have elections or coups or civil wars or whatever occurs, but without the US having a hand in it — which I would certainly understand that. On the other hand, cynical though this may sound, there are some benefits to being a region that the major first world powers are constantly sticking their noses into. The Palestinians have been in a state of recurring strife with the Israelis for sixty years now, and in that struggle they’re massively out-gunned. If the Middle East was an area that no one paid much attention to (like Chechnya or Congo or Sudan or Somalia) would the situation of the Palestinians be better or worse?

    Because there’s so much scrutiny on the area, if the Palestinians are able, somehow, to get some leaders who care more about them than about greed and violence, there are a lot of people who would very much like to see them become a peaceful and state. Israel and Ireland are both good examples of countries which made the transition very quickly from being terrorist states fighting much stronger regional powers to accepted members of the international community.

  • Well, guys, let’s not give the Allies too much credit, either. If the Nazis had never attacked any of their neighbors, but had simply pursued the Final Solution quietly within their borders, it strikes me as doubtful that anyone would have fought a war simply to end the holocaust — at least not till it was far too late.

    It’s the fact that Germany attacked their neighbors that ended in their being fought and defeated.

    The beef people have with Hamas is not that they include many anti-Jewist fanatics among their ranks — it that they tend to launch rockets at the country next door. If they kept things within their borders, the “land for peace” thing would have worked.

  • Perhaps Darwin, although I would note that Sir Winston Churchill was tireless in raising the persecution of the Jews throughout the 1930s in his indictment of Nazi Germany, as he sounded the alarm to a Britain still shell-shocked from World War I. He was joined in this, interestingly enough, by two Englishmen sometimes accused of anti-Semitism: G.K. Chesterton, until his death in 36, and Hilaire Belloc. There were others speaking out in England and elsewhere. Pius XII of course had some involvement in an anti-Hitler plot in January of 1940. If WW2 taught us nothing else, I suspect it is the folly of regarding the type of persecution that Hitler unleashed upon the Jews as ever being simply an internal matter. That, and that when a government has a long record of calling for the extermination of a group, do not be surprised that they will act upon it when they have the power to do so.

  • That, and that when a government has a long record of calling for the extermination of a group, do not be surprised that they will act upon it when they have the power to do so.

    So very very true Don.

  • I certainly agree that some people saw what the Nazis were up to, Don. But it wasn’t till the war started and the Germans were almost to the Channel that Churchill was actually called on to form a government. I fear he would have remained a voice in the wilderness if the Nazis had not actually invaded a British ally.

    That said: As I think about it, Tim, I should apologize for pushing the Nazi analogy further. The 30s being a period that particularly fascinates me (and rejecting the theories that are along the lines of: Ordinary Germans supported the National Socialists because they were eeeeeviiiiil) I’m particularly interested in the question of what pushes people to support extremist/militarist political factions which end up driving them into situations that only hurt them more — but as the “Goodwin’s law” point underscores, usually when Nazi’s are brought up in a conversation it’s because someone is trying to claim that a group of people are so lost to hate that one doesn’t need to think of them as human.

    And I recognize that by bringing up your views on this topic here, it’s already enough like facing a firing squad without terms like “Nazi” being discussed.

  • Darwin,

    I think there were about 800,000 Jews in Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland ca. 1930. Per William Rubenstein, around 360,000 Jews emigrated from Germany during the years running from 1933 to 1939. Absent the war, < 5% of the Jewish population of Europe would have accessible to the SS, so no 'final solution'.

  • When a country faces economic and social stressors, you can have spikes of transient atavism in the political sphere. David Duke’s career in Louisiana during the years running from 1989-93 would be a minor example. The 2d incarnation of the Ku Klux Klan, which had 4,000,000 members in 1924, a quarter that in 1930, and was formally dissolved in 1944, would be another. The Nazi Party was inconsequential in Germany in 1928 and nostalgic parties even more so in the post-war period; their Austrian counterparts were a modest minority readily contained by the Dollfuss-Schuschnigg ministries. One can readily imagine a counter-factual history which would have certain contingencies breaking the other way and the Nazi Party rapidly imploding. They lost support in the last parliamentary election held before Hitler was appointed Chancellor.

    What is disconcerting in comparison is that the — uh – ambitions of Arab particularists of various strains have abided for many decades now.

  • But it is perfectly fine to suggest the Palestinians are like Nazis.

    When you consider that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was Hitler’s guest in Berlin during WWII, that there were Palestinian SS troops, and that “Mein Kampf” is a permanent best-seller on the West Bank (and indeed, throughout the Arab world), I don’t see why Henry considers this some sort of outlandish comparison.

    Godwin’s Law is in effect when you compare people who really aren’t Nazis to Nazis. When you compare people who enthusiastically embrace the goal of making the world Juden-frei to people who enthusiastically embrace the goal of making the world Juden-frei, I call that – an apples-to-apples comparison.

  • I think there were about 800,000 Jews in Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland ca. 1930. Per William Rubenstein, around 360,000 Jews emigrated from Germany during the years running from 1933 to 1939. Absent the war, < 5% of the Jewish population of Europe would have accessible to the SS, so no 'final solution'.

    I suppose, to the extent it would have been easy to simply drive all the Jews out of Germany and Austria, that’s so. (Actually, as I recall, it wasn’t until part way into the war that it was decided for sure to exterminate the Jews. Prior to that, deporting them somewhere suitably out of the way, I believe Madagascar was considered, was considered by the Nazis.)

    On the other hand, I imagine that if all Jews left the Middle East, the anti-Jewish feeling in Hamas would die off pretty soon there after. It’s hard to hate someone who’s not around.

  • It’s hard to hate someone who’s not around.

    I wouldn’t bet on it. Anti-semitism is still alive and kicking in Europe, which now has very few Jews. One of the truly noxious anti-Semites I “met” on the Internet a few years back was from Wyoming. Are there enough Jews in Wyoming to form a synagogue? Yet he knew all about them, without ever having met one in the flesh.

    Just as there sure seems to be a fair number of fundamentalists living in notably non-Catholic areas who know all about the evils of the Pope and Catholicism although they meet Catholics seldom or never.

  • Well guys my impression taken from first hand observation and from the opinions of the Catholics who are actually living in the Holy Land- overwhelmingly the impression I take away is one that is radically different from the positions you hold- it makes me feel ashamed because the Catholic Church is supposed to be a universal, global brotherhood- what I find here is that most of the American Catholics here and elsewhere are so enamored with the propaganda that comes from non-Catholic sources. It seems that no one here wants to take the Palestinian Catholic viewpoint on the subject of Israel-Palestine- I’m not sure what to make of this- some sense of superiority on the part of Americans in general- you really feel a kinship with secular Jews more than Catholic Arabs? I don’t know what else it is because when facts are presented from a Palestinian viewpoint- even from the Latin Patriarch in the Holy Land- these facts and views are immediately dismissed by this crowd-

  • I’m going to move on to other issues because I feel a sick sense of being an alien in alien territory like being on a pro-abortion site and trying to present a case for the unborn- I’m kicking the dirt off my sandals on this issue on this blog in search of another front where there is at least a chance of finding common ground- there is always the easy pro-life zone- it seems to be the one place I can converse with loud and proud conservatives and not experience that sense of dread knowing what is around the next corner- a huge disconnect of mind and heart. These issues may be prudential issues but real people are being killed over them so I am deadly serious about the differences of opinion but I don’t have the time to give these things the necessary documentation to refute the overwhelming number of naysayers- I wasn hoping to attract more of my like-minded brothers and sisters to help make the case while I take care of my 3 little ones and my very pregnant wife- but alas the debate never got off the ground so I’m checking out- do few things but do them well- I can’t do this debate on my own right now- I would suggest maybe taking in Deal Hudson’s reporting- he is a devout conservative and has had lot’s of contact with Holy Land Catholics in the past few years- I have found him to be very informative- you may want to check out his reports at insidecatholic.com or email him about the Palestinians- part of the problem I do find is that the Palestinians for the most part have not defending themselves very vigorously here in the U.S.- some times it seems like I am pulling more weight on this issue than many American Catholic Palestinians- maybe they are afraid to speak out publicly? I know they have strong views when I speak to them privately- so this is a bit of a mystery- I admire the fight in those Jews who support the Israeli position here in the U.S.. I like to model my own activism on their example- even as I disagree with their position.

  • For the stray open-mind that may be reading this- for more on Middle East issues from an Arab Catholic witness- check out Monsignor Labib Kobti’s excellent web site http://www.al-bushra.org God Bless, God please bring justice to the peoples of the Middle East and the Holy Land in particular- this scandal of violence, injustice and indifference must conclude- God Willing

  • Tim,

    I recognize that this is a tough topic in a tough venue for you, so feel free not to respond to this, but I’m trying to bridge some understanding here if possible. (Grabbing a moment while my own pregnant wife is keeping the four kids under control.)

    – Do your Palestinian Christian friends agree that Hamas (and the fact that they managed to get 56% of the vote) is part of the problem, with their rocket attacks on Israel? For instance, with Northern Ireland my first instinct was always to blame the Brits for the impact their actions were having on the Catholic population — but at the same time I loathed the IRA and considered them the instigators.

    – I certainly think that living with and talking with your Palestinian friends, you probably have a better understanding than most of us as to what the impact of Israeli actions are on ordinary, non-militant Palestinians. However, do you think it’s possible that, especially given that travel is pretty locked down and news media is all controlled by one side or the other, ordinary Palestinians may often rather less appreciation for the attacks inflicted on Israel which motivate Israeli actions? For instance, on the flip side, I used to work closely with several Jews who’d grown up in Israel, and could tell stories about taking shelter during rocket attacks and seeing the carnage left by suicide bombings. Obviously, formed by this, they tended to be in favor of very militant responses to Palestinian attacks — since they were familiar with the Israeli side of the picture, which the reprisals were in “the other guy’s” territory. Might this same effect not actually make Palestinian opinion rather biased?

  • Good post, DC. I don’t doubt Tim’s sincerity or his attachment to his Palestinian Catholic friends, but it frankly, disturbs me that he appears to see it as a matter of “rooting for our tribe.”

    Rachel Corrie has gotten a tremendous amount of publicity. But she’s very far from being the only Rachel who has been killed in Israel. Here are some Rachels who had no plays written about them or ships named after them:

    RACHEL Thaler, aged 16, was blown up at a pizzeria in an Israeli shopping mall. She died after an 11-day struggle for life following a suicide bomb attack on a crowd of teenagers on 16 February 2002.

    Even though Thaler was a British citizen, born in London, where her grandparents still live, her death has never been mentioned in a British newspaper.

    Rachel Levy, 17, blown up
    in a Jerusalem grocery store

    Rachel Charhi, 36, blown up
    while sitting in a café

    Rachel Gavish, 50, killed with her
    husband and son while at home

    Rachel Kol, 53, who worked for
    20 years in the neurology lab at
    Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital,
    murdered with her husband in a
    drive-by shooting by the Fatah
    al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, in
    July 2005 (in the midst of a
    supposed Palestinian truce)

    Rachel Ben Abu, 16, killed with
    her teenage friends by a suicide
    bomber at the Netanya shopping
    mall, in July 2005 (in the midst
    of a supposed Palestinian truce)

    Rachel Shabo, 40, murdered with
    her three sons aged 5, 13 and 6,
    while sitting at home

    Should we not care or sympathize with those deaths because those women were Jews and not Catholics?

    http://www.tomgrossmedia.com/TheForgottenRachels.html

    Of course, the link is from a non-Catholic source and so, I suppose, can be dismissed as Zionist propaganda.

    Yes, I realize innocents have, tragically, been killed on the other side too. And the Arab Christians there are in a very difficult bind. If the Arabs laid down their arms tomorrow, there would be peace. If the Israelis did so, they would be slaughtered pitilessly, right down to the last infant. I firmly believe that, and that thought really does kinda bother me, even though they’re not my tribe.

  • Darwin- I really appreciate your effort to understand- I do think that American Palestinians as well Americans here now from Israel will have some obvious points-of-view- it helped me in formulating my own view to spend time with both Palestinians in a village 1/3 muslim, 1/3 Catholic, 1/3 Orthodox, and then a few weeks in West Jerusalem living with an American with a Russian Emigree wife. This was in the early 90’s during a lull after the first intifada which was truly serious overkill by the Israelis- and I went into the West Bank and saw what occupation looked like in Hebron- the Israeli military was there to police the Palestinians- something like 100,000 of them so that a couple of hundred of extremist settlers could set up shop and take over some Arab homes and establishments- this was rubbed in the Palestinian faces every day- I was supposed to take a U.S. AID job teaching English there and I turned it down because I really thought that it would be tough for some Palestinians not to respond to me with violence in their frustration.

    The facts as I saw then and have read more extensively about ever since- is that no matter if Palestinians respond collectively without violence- they do not get rewarded with a true statehood on the 1967 border lines- it seems obvious to me that Israel’s leadership has simply been buying time to move more settlers into West Bank and East Jerusalem- and when they provoke violent responses like when they assassinate some Palestinian or build up some settlement- then they respond with overwhelming and extreme force- look at the numbers of Palestinians killed over the years and especially during intifada times- how many suicide bombers were there back during the first intifada in 1987? If Israel were to give to the Palestinians what has been set forth by the UN resolutions and then continued to receive the suicide attacks of rocket attacks- then I would say- yes- this is self-defense time- I would even agree that the US should make their defense of Israel a part of the peace agreement that gives the Palestinians their WEst Bank/East Jerusalem/Gaza State and gives monetary repayment to those Palestinians forced out during the 48 War- recall that as part of geneva conventions you cannot permanently settle on lands taken during war.

    Now here is Pat Buchanan on the Gaza situation: http://www.lewrockwell.com/buchanan/buchanan138.html

  • Donna- I did not see your response when I was writing one to Darwin- I am in agreement that civilian deaths all around are horrible- that is where my deepest concern begins and ends- we differ as to who is primarily to blame for the root causes of all the violence, and also what steps should we take with our American resources and clout to do everything we can to bring an end to these tragic circumstances.

    If you look back to the First uprising by the Palestinians from 1987-1993 the First Intifada- and here is a link to Wikipedia on that- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Intifada

    You find that the Palestinians were responding to Israel’s dominance and some extreme examples of violence, and that in the beginning the Palestinian citizens responded on their own with many acts of non-violent protests, and with youths mostly throwing rocks and such- the Israeli response was not to stop and listen to the just complaints for the need to allow the Palestinian people a homeland of their own to address the situation of the post 1967 borders whereupon the Palestinians of Gaza, West Bank and East Jerusalem were placed under Israeli occupation- instead of taking the clue that the long term peace depended upon granting autonomy to the Palestinians- Israel instead decided to try to break down the Palestinians at every level- brutal tactics, and increasing Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories just heaped gasoline on the fire and was also illegal by international legal standards- you cannot permanently settle your folks on land taken during a war- and this is exactly what Israel did and actually has continued to do for reasons that appear to indicate that they hope to one day create a duplication of the American experience with the Native Americans- squeeze them out or put them into little tribal land reservations- this strategy is what I believe is the leading cause of the violence putting the Israeli and Palestinians into a quagmire of repeated violent cycles. This has not historically been a Muslim Jihad thing if you just look at the history of the Palestinian people and their leadership- it threatens to become such with the emergence of Hamas as a new model of extreme Palestinian response to the extreme position of Israel’s establishment. If you choose to see all of this as a Hamas-Jihad problem I would suggest that you have come late to the game- I was in the area in the early 90’s and the Palestinians at that time were a mix of secularists, Christians, and Muslims, Hamas had been initially a group supported by Israel to drive a wedge between palestinians who were led by mostly secularists along the PLO model- so don’t give me the storyline that the Palestinians are just a bunch of Islamists who only know about killing infidels- that fiction is one that will only serve the cause of more and perpetual killing of future civilians.

  • Tim, DC and Donna: I was dimayed by the orginal discussion attempting which attempted to paint the issue by tossing around the “nazi” label. Louis Black’s recent contribution at the Daily show to critique this type of politically bantaring hit it home for me to dismiss this type of political arguement.

    But the conversation has thankfully moved on to address the real issues of suffering and our need to create policies of compassion. Our Catholic religious community, the Passionist, has a house in Bethany and in 2005 “The Wall” was built through our property. Priority must be given for the population that is in the midst of suffering must be listened to. Scripture reminds us that the cries of the suffering goes up to heaven. If we do not tend to these systemic forms of violence then God will tend to us for the role we did or did play in tending to our brothers and sisters in the holy land.

    Both sides of the wall have faced great pain and violence. The Palestinian community suffer from a brutal occupation. The Israeli community suffer acts of terrorism to their communities. What makes the situation difficult is that neither side wants to budge. Groups have tried to bridge this ethnic divide and the Jewish voice for Peace stands out for their great work in attempting to reconcile this ethnic violence.

    Our community has a vested interest for peace. Many of our Catholic community comes from Palestine and violence againts the Palestinians makes no distinguishing difference between Muslim and Catholic Arabs. Not that a policy for peace should but of course it is only human to be concerned primarily with ones own family member. To address this concern our UN NGO, Passionist International, has taken to work with other Catholic NGO’s to go back to the legal international framework that started this entire issue. The violence that both sides face is systemic and that system is particularly rooted in the international organization called the UN. It behooves the United States to return the international body where this situation originated and to again work at empowering this body to force both sides to come to the table by applying real international pressure (primarilly through economic pressure) If Israel knew that their military financial subsidy (which is enormous) is about to be touched don’t you think their tone would change. Likewise if the Palestinian people thought for one second that they would get an actual chance to have a real and secure state that their own political tone would not change. I am not a betting man, but I would money on that possibility. A possibility that no one has wanted to really approach because the self interest of so many players have gotten in the way. Below I will share the position for Passionist International.

  • Freedom Flotilla and Israel’s Attack:
    The attack by Israeli forces on a flotilla carrying humanitarian supplies to Gaza might have left more than 10 activists dead. The survivors, mostly Turkish, have been taken to Ahshod, where dozens have been hospitalized.

    As Christians, we tend to naturally sympathize with the Jewish people because of the connection of Christian origins with Judaism, and because of the suffering the Jewish people endured with the Holocaust. Post September 11, we also tend to view terrorist organizations will little sympathy and therefore can identify with Israel, feeling it is justified in its actions of blockading Gaza. So perhaps some important clarifications are needed to gain some perspective on what is happening.

    It is true that innocents, including children, have been killed on and by both sides in the conflict that has raged between Palestinians and Israelis, and both sides have violated international law in doing so. But the violence by Israelis and Palestinians does not have the same roots, nor are the 2 sides culpable in the same way.

    Palestine has been under military occupation for some time, and this in itself is illegal. All Israeli violence in the occupied territories stands in violation of international law – specifically the Geneva Conventions that identify the obligations of an occupying power to protect the occupied population.

    The blockade is a de facto occupation of the territory, asserting control over the land and halting vital aid. The amount of material and food provided is inadequate, precipitating a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. Building materials such as cement are disallowed. Occasionally, Israel will dispense with strictness and show a tempered quality of mercy, but given the destruction of homes in Gaza and the need for building materials, that quality is thin.

    Palestinian violence is the violence of resistance, and has escalated as conditions of life and loss of hope breed greater desperation. It is carried out primarily by individual Palestinians and those linked to armed factions, and is aimed mostly at soldiers and settlers in the occupied territories. The rocket attacks in recent years have targeted civilians and are themselves a violation of international law. But the overall right of an occupied population to resist a foreign military occupation, including through use of arms against military targets, is recognized as lawful under international law.

    Israel has every right to arrest and try anyone attempting to attack civilians inside the country. But it does not have the right to occupy a neighboring country, not block aid to the civilian population. And, if it is serious about ending attacks on its own civilians, it must be serious about ending that occupation.

    It is an important fact to remember that Israel’s admission to the United Nations in 1948 was conditioned on its willingness to abide by General Assembly resolution 194, which states, “Refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return,” something Israel has never complied with.

    Also, Security Council Resolution 242, passed after the 1967 war, identifies “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.” That is understood to mean that the territory Israel captured by war must be returned; that to keep it is inadmissible.

    Unfortunately the combination of the U.S.-Israeli “special relationship” and the vast superiority of Israel’s power in the region, with the 5th most powerful nuclear arsenal in the world and one of the most powerful conventional militaries anywhere, means that other countries in the region and around the world will tend to limit their diplomatic imagination to what they think Israel will accept. That means acquiescence to continued U.S. control of any negotiations. And here in lies the danger, for the U.S. position has never placed international law and U.N. resolutions at its centre.

    Branding activists as terrorists and denying the human situation in Gaza will not help an Israeli cause that is proving more alienating the longer it persists. If there is an inquiry into this incident, it will have to be wide ranging and international.

  • Thanks John for your extensive comments- we will see if anyone who spoke out earlier will take up your challenging perspective.

    As for my own use of the “Nazi” comparables- I did so only to show that such linkages can be cover almost any political situation where there is a conflict with Jewish involvement if one wants to play the Holocaust card in the Israel-Palestine Conflict- but it could also be applied to any situation where there are mass killings taking place with seeming public indifference of support- like the Germans who mostly accepted Hitler’s plans, or much closer to home- Americans who don’t see or don’t want to see the humanity of human lives being terminated in abortion clinics- some 50 million lives according to reports I’ve heard- so when I see the Palestinians- Hamas in particular called out as Hitler Wanna-Be’s- I think that is more than a bit much- it is way to tough to separate out how much of Hamas’ rage against the Jews is really just rage against the Machine of Israeli occupation and assassinations et al. And we have to make clear that our own society is full of contradictions such as our stated ideals of democratic self-determination and aversion to foreign influences- and then taking on the right to intervene in all kinds of ways in places all over the world without really defining how our interests are coinciding with the interests befitting a majority Christian nation.

    Finally- to Donna et al- it is important to place special interest on Catholic Palestine and take care to help with special concern the Catholic Palestinian community- this is something that the Church has always upheld- one of the defenses of the Pope during WWII was that he was compelled to attempt to defend his flock wherever they may be- the reason being is that for the Church to fulfill her evangelical mission She must spread and inculturate everywhere- The Church implanted first by foreign missionaries, is to become impregnated with indigenous priests and bishops- this is what has happened in the Palestinian community- as evidenced by the Latin Patriarchs in the Holy Land- we need to take special interest in listening to their cries, their perspectives must be taken deep, deep into our consciences especially when they are calling out their American Catholic brothers and sisters- I am and I have been listening very intently- I don’t believe that many of the commentators here at American Catholic are quite getting the significanse of this necessary point of contact between Catholic communities. If we are indeed concerned over the possibility of a global radical Islamist movement- then we should do everything in our power to assist the smaller Catholic communities in the Middle East- they are the seeds of hope for the future- to be peacemakers, to be the bridge between peoples- Middle Eastern and Western. Now according to Fr. Mitch Pacwa of EWTN, he estimates that in Israel upwards to 80% of the citizens of Israel who are “Jewish” are actually atheistic or agnostic- so “Jewish” has come to indicate something cultural/biological for some and not really connected to a belief in the Torah/Judaism. This is relevant since we are always debating the Israel-Palestine conflict along the lines of how being on the side of Israel is to be on the side of those closest to us and our way of living and believing- this would be true only if by “we” we are referring to the secular liberal American society- which I don’t think most conservative Catholic commentators are suggesting. So this is just more food for thought for those who have taken a hard position in favor of “Israel- good guy- yesterday and today- Palestinians- violent- not appreciative of Israel’s good faith offers- Islamic radicals bent on wiping out all Jews- just like Hitler”. I will continue to challenge those who pen such beliefs at every turn- they may feel like they and Israel are receiving so much unfair criticism all the time- but just follow the money and the military hardware- Israel has received billions of American public and private dollars every single year for decades- Israel has received American political support in international bodies at every turn as well- American Catholic Israel supporters are hardly the “Davids” in this debate- they are the all-time, big-time, winners if one judges by the facts of where all the American establishment clout has been directed- short answer- it hasn’t been to support the Palestinian Catholics and their leadership’s views on how Americans should act in the Holy Land. I stand with my brother and sister Catholics in the Holy Land- if you wish as Catholics to stand with the mostly secularized Israelis- that is your call- I’m just here to challenge your stated positions and check your influence as Catholic witnesses who are actually harming the Catholic peoples of the Holy Land- contradictions abound here at American Catholic.

  • No sooner did I post the above – then I read that the Vatican shares the perspective that religious freedom is vital in our relationships with Muslim countries- as I wrote a blog entry about a couple of weeks ago about- and also blame is attached to Israel for undermining the Catholic community in the Holy Land- read the article for yourself at http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100606/ap_on_re_eu/eu_cyprus_pope

  • Tim,

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply, I hope that you’ll feel that I live up to the tone in responding to it.

    I must admit, if I’m understanding your description of when Palestinians would see as a suitable point to consider attacks against Israel unacceptable:

    If Israel were to give to the Palestinians what has been set forth by the UN resolutions and then continued to receive the suicide attacks of rocket attacks- then I would say- yes- this is self-defense time- I would even agree that the US should make their defense of Israel a part of the peace agreement that gives the Palestinians their WEst Bank/East Jerusalem/Gaza State and gives monetary repayment to those Palestinians forced out during the 48 War

    it gives me very little hope that there will ever be peace in the region. It represents pretty much a best-case demand, and I can’t think of any situation in history where insurgent nationalists have received that. (Also, a few elements are notably one-sided: I don’t imagine anyone is stepping forward to compensate the equal number of Jews expelled from surrounding Arab countries in the ’48 war.)

    Consider, by comparison, the way the Irish won independence:

    During the Irish War of Independence of 1919-1921 (which was only the most recent of centuries of Irish rebellion against British rule), the Irish civilian population suffered frequent reprisals from British military/police organizations such as the Black and Tans. One egregious example was the football massacre on Bloody Sunday, when in reprisal for the targeted assassination of 13 British intelligence officers and military personnel, British auxiliaries sent to look for IRA gunmen at a soccer match ended up firing randomly into the crowd with rifles, pistols, and a machine gun mounted on an armoured car.

    In the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921, the Irish delegation led by Michael Collins got far less than they had hoped for. They sought a united and independent Irish republic — they got an Irish Free State, which had to acknowledge the British crown, and they didn’t get Ulster.

    In many ways, perhaps, it was the same as the situation that Arafat found himself in the Camp David Summit. Fortunately, however, Collins was a much greater man than Arafat. The treaty was put up for a public referendum, and Collins (who had won popularity through his leadership of the IRA during the war) supported it publicly.

    When the treaty was in fact passed, a significant minority of the revolutionaries refused to accept it, and the Irish Civil War began. Irish Free State leaders who until months ago had seen their comrades tortured or put before firing squads by the British, had to turn to the British for arms and supplies and fight their own former comrades in order to secure the imperfect free state.

    That was the price for freedom and peace. Once the Irish had shown themselves as a peaceful and responsible neighbor, and once the wounds felt on both sides had healed, there was no violence when Ireland declared full sovereignty in 1937, or left the commonwealth in 1949.

    Keenly though the Palestinians feel their injustices, it’s important to understand that the Israelis also believe themselves in the right — and given the amount of blood spilled at this point there will never be peace if the condition for stopping the violence is that the Palestinians get everything they want. One can only pray that there will someday be a Palestinian leader with the moral and personal courage of a Collins (who was himself killed in the Civil War).

    recall that as part of geneva conventions you cannot permanently settle on lands taken during war.

    I probably shouldn’t bring this up, since it’s a tangential point, but this strikes me as an example of how the UN and modern international agreements are sometimes more an obstacle to peace than a move towards it. The fact is, wars have, throughout history, resulted in the acquisition of territory. And indeed, there’s a certain irony that it was enacted in 1949, as from 1945 to 1950, the Allied powers had set new boundaries in Europe as a result of being the victors in the war, and engaged in the largest act of ethnic cleansing in recorded history: deporting around 14 million ethnic Germans from Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania and the Netherlands in order to make the ethnic makeup of Europe match the newly drawn borders and assure that a resurgent Germany would never again justify aggression by claiming they were only “liberating” the German-speaking populations in neighboring countries.

    By holding out the promise that property loss 60+ years ago will somehow be made right at some point in the future, if only people will hang around in refugee status indefinitely, I think our international community probably makes nasty conflicts of ethnic nationalism (such as that in the Middle East) even worse than they would otherwise be.

  • Tim Shipe,

    The Arab leadership passed on three clear opportunities to obtain an Arab state on portions of the former mandatory Palestine demographically dominated by Arabs. That, without a lot of deal-breaking paraphenalia, is simply not a political goal of theirs.

  • The highest ranking Catholic in the Holy Land (just recently retired), has been the Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah (lpj.org). The Patriarch has been pleading for years that American Catholics need to work to change the American policy of financing Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory. He has stated that: “ The State of Israel encompasses 78% of historical Palestine…the remaining 22% was occupied by Israel in 1967, and this is all Palestinians want- a small part of what they had before 1947. They want that 22% to be free of occupation, all of it. Israel cannot have both things- security and occupation. They must give up occupation for security.” (As quoted in the St. Anthony Messenger). The Church has stood behind the Geneva Conventions regarding the right of people displaced by war to return to their homes, and the UN Resolutions 194, 224, and 478, as well as Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of human rights.

    I’ll stand by the Holy Land Catholics- if American Catholic commentators want to deny them and write off their view of their own immediate situation then that’s your deal- I can only urge you do some Deal Hudson type of research instead of relying on whatever dubious sources you have been up to this point- has anyone commenting here actually spent any time in a Palestinian city, town, or village?

  • By holding out the promise that property loss 60+ years ago will somehow be made right at some point in the future, if only people will hang around in refugee status indefinitely, I think our international community probably makes nasty conflicts of ethnic nationalism (such as that in the Middle East) even worse than they would otherwise be.

    Exactly so. Since 1948, the Palis have lived as human title deeds on the West Bank and Gaza. That was not done out of concern for the Palestinians’ well-being (I believe their fellow Arabs could care less) but solely out of a desire to hurt the Israelis.

    Tim, again, you might discount this source because it’s not Catholic, but the renowned Israeli novelist Amos Oz wrote back in 2002 that he recalled his parents telling him that in the Poland of the 1930’s, graffiti abounded saying “Jews to Palestine.” Now graffiti writers in Europe scrawl (and American journalists say): “Jews out of Palestine.”

    Amos said “We are not supposed to be in Europe. We are not supposed to be in Palestine. The message is: don’t be.

    Where, Tim, do you think the Jews should be?

  • This article appeared in the Asian Times:

    It may seem odd to blame the Jews for the misery of Middle East Christians, but many Christian Arabs do so – less because they are Christians than because they are Arabs. The Christian religion is flourishing inside the Jewish side. Only 50,000 Christian Arabs
    remain in the West Bank territories, and their numbers continue to erode. Hebrew-speaking Christians, mainly immigrants from Eastern Europe or the Philippines, make up a prospective Christian congregation of perhaps 300,000 in the State of Israel, double the number of a decade ago.

    The brief flourishing and slow decline of Christian Arab life is one of the last century’s stranger stories. Until the Turks killed the Armenians and expelled the Greeks, Orthodoxy dominated Levantine. The victorious allies carved out Lebanon in 1926 with a Christian majority, mostly Maronites in communion with Rome. Under the Ottomans, Levantine commerce had been Greek or Jewish, but with the ruin of the Ottomans and the founding of Lebanon, Arab Christians had their moment in the sun. Beirut became the banking center and playground for Arab oil states.

    The French designed Lebanon’s constitution on the strength of a 1932 census showing a Christian majority, guaranteeing a slight Christian advantage in political representation. With the Christian population at barely 30% of the total and 23% of the population under 20 – Lebanon’s government refuses to take a census – Lebanon long since has lost its viability. The closing of the Christian womb has ensured eventual Muslim dominance.

    Precise data are unobtainable, for demographics is politics in Lebanon, but Lebanon’s Christians became as infertile as their European counterparts. Muslims, particularly the impoverished and marginalized Shi’ites, had more babies. In 1971, the Shi’ite fertility rate was 3.8 babies per female, against only 2 for Maronite Christians, or just below replacement. Precise data are not available, but Christian fertility is well below replacement today.

    Lebanon was a Catholic project from the outset, and the Vatican’s thinking about the region is colored nostalgia for a dying Christian community and a searing sense of regret for what might have been. If only the State of Israel hadn’t spoiled everything, many Arab Christians think, the Christian minority would have wielded enormous influence in the Arab world. It is true that in many Arab countries, Christians comprised a disproportionate share of merchants and intellectuals. But the same was true of the 130,000 Jews of Iraq before 1947, who owned half the businesses in Baghdad.

    Contrary to the Arab narrative, the peak of Arab Christian influence occurred a generation after the founding of the State of Israel, when Boutros Boutros-Ghali became Egypt’s foreign minister in 1977, and Tariq Aziz became Foreign Minister of Iraq in 1983. In fact, the founding of the State of Israel propelled Christian Arabs into leadership positions in Arab governments. The Arab monarchies installed by the British in Egypt, Jordan and Iraq failed miserably in their efforts to crush the new Jewish State in the 1947-1948 War of Independence. Young military officers replaced the old colonial regimes with nationalist governments, starting with Gamal Abdel Nasser’s 1952 coup in Egypt.

    Nationalism opened the door of political leadership to Arab Christians. The Syrian Christian Michel Aflaq founded the Ba’ath party which later took power in Syria and Iraq. The rise of secular Arab movements with strong Christian influence was a response to the Arab failure to prevent the founding of the State of Israel. After the Turkish destruction of Orthodox Christian populations in the Levant, the Arab Christian elite – for centuries graced by not a single name the world remembers – saw its chance to shine. Lebanon, previously a backwater, and the pugnacious Maronite population, a marginal group except for their ties to France, improbably emerged as the focal point of Levantine Christianity.

    But Arab nationalism failed just as miserably as did the monarchies invented by the British after the Turks were thrown out. Having rolled the dice with Arab nationalism, Arab Christians were left with diminished leverage and declining numbers on the ground in the advent of political Islam. Both in politics and demographics, the Arab Christians largely had themselves to blame. Understandably, they find it more palatable to blame the Jews.

    A case in point is Father Samir Khalid Samir, a Jesuit of Egyptian Arab origin who prominently advises Pope Benedict XVI on Islam. I reviewed his fine book 111 Questions on Islam last March [1]. Samir is circulating what he calls a “Decalogue for Peace”, leaked August 9 on the website of veteran Vatican analyst Sandro Magister [2].

    According to Samir:
    The problem goes back to the creation of the state of Israel and the partition of Palestine in 1948 decided by the superpowers without taking into account the population already present in the (Holy) Land. There resides the real root of all the wars that followed. To repair a serious injustice committed in Europe against a third of the world Jewish population, Europe (supported by the superpowers) decided to commit a new injustice against the Palestinian population, who are innocent of the martyrdom of the Jews. The original decision-making was shaped largely as reparation by the superpowers for doing little or nothing to end a systematically organized persecution against the European Jews as a ‘race’.
    Samir’s plan includes international troops on Israel’s borders, recognition of the Palestinian right of return, an international commission to decide the future of Jerusalem – in short, what the Israelis would consider the end of their sovereignty and the liquidation of the Jewish State. That a prominent Vatican Islam expert would take such a stance speaks volumes about the power of nostalgia.

    There is not a single fact in place in Samir’s presentation.

    Leave aside the fact that the League of Nations in 1922 confirmed the object of the British mandate to establish a homeland for Jewish people in Palestine, and that preparations for the Jewish State were complete before World War II. Leave aside also the pope’s Biblical belief that the Jews are in the Land of Israel because God has commanded them to be there. The fact is that most Israelis, contrary to Samir, descend not from the Jews driven out of Europe by the Holocaust, but rather from Jews driven out of Arab countries after 1947.

    There were 600,000 Jews in Israel on the day of its founding; an additional 700,000 were expelled from Arab lands, including Iraq, where the Jews had lived for 1,000 years prior to the arrival of the Arabs. By expelling the Jews, the Arab countries created a population concentration in Israel that made possible the country’s emergence as a regional superpower. The results were an exchange of populations of roughly equal numbers, Palestinians leaving the new State of Israel and Jewish refugees arriving from Arab countries.

    No, Tim, I haven’t lived in or visited any Palestinian Christian communities. I haven’t lived in or visited any Israeli Jewish ones either. Have you ever considered that your closeness to Palestinian Catholics might be distorting your views a bit?

    Palestinian Christians might think they’ll get a better shake under Muslim Arab rule than under Israeli rule. The facts seem to point in a different direction.

  • Tim, your recommendation makes sense only under the assumption that American aid to Israel in an impediment to some sort of settlement. That aid gives the Jewish population the wherewithal for greater resistance, but that is not a problem for the United States and would not be much of a problem for the Arab population either if the Arab leadership and populace maintained a set of political goals which could be incorporated into a stable political equilibrium. They do not, and no amount of ‘research’ by Deal Hudson or gas from the Latin Patriarch are going to change that one bit.

    Why do the Jews have a state? Because they built one. What problem do you have in the Fertile Crescent? The entrepreneurial sector have other things to do with their lives than cope with the environment created by that region’s wretched political elite and emigrate – to the Gulf emirates, to the United States, to France. The process is most advanced on the West Bank and Gaza where the field has been left to capos, gangbangers, and ululating hags.

  • I have to say that I spent only two weeks in Israel and the West Bank. Went there with a Franciscan priest who lived there for 19 years. Met with both Israelis and Palestinians. Found both prejudiced in their own way. Felt hate towards the other by both. Israelis can be biased. Like American Catholics, so can Palestinian Catholics also be biased.

0 Responses to If You Heard Palestinians Playing the Violin, You'd Understand

  • It sure seems like the Israelis allow the basic life necessities to enter into the Gaza Strip.

    I don’t think that either a donkey or a violin is a necessity for living.

  • I imagine it is some Israeli Min of Finance bureaucrat’s idea of promoting self-reliance among the Gazans. Hay, fertiliser and animal feed for the local industry. Pepper, rice and chickpeas don’t grow well in the dry Mediterranean climate. No metals though for improvised weapons. Little here that an agrarian can find fault with.

  • Ivan

    What? They are not given the materials (like lumbar) nor the resources (like hatcheries) to actually be agrarian, to be self-reliant. Look what is forbidden. They are not being given what is needed to be anything but indebted to aid.

  • I don’t think that either a donkey or a violin is a necessity for living.

    Neither is prohibiting them necessary for Israel’s security.

  • Ah, but now the Gazans can import whatever they want from Egypt, until the Egyptians slam the border shut again which I predict they will do before the end of June. The Israelis are not the only state to have a great many problems with the Gazans and their Hamas government.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007%E2%80%932010_blockade_of_the_Gaza_Strip

  • Donald,

    I keep hearing people make this point, but I’m not sure what to make of it. Is the idea that if Egypt does something it can’t be bad?

  • The idea BA is that Hamas is a noxious terrorist group that is abhorred by not only Israel, but Egypt and the Palestinian Authority. You can also toss into that mix Jordan. The main backer of Hamas is Iran with Damascus having an on again-off again relationship. The problem in this case isn’t Israel or the blockade, but that the people of Gaza chose to have their state led by a gang of terrorists. Political decisions have consequences and the people of Gaza are reaping what their ballots sowed.

  • Anyone who follows the Vatican knows the Pope’s stand here.

    He has been against the blockade: http://presstv.com/detail.aspx?id=94604

    http://sify.com/news/pope-condemns-israeli-raid-on-gaza-aid-ships-news-international-kgcvuffdeij.html his reaction has been that of those some people call “liberal.” Funny that.

  • The idea BA is that Hamas is a noxious terrorist group that is abhorred by not only Israel, but Egypt and the Palestinian Authority.

    And by me. But what does that have to do with whether Israel allows fresh meat to be imported into the Gaza Strip?

  • Everything BA. Israel will maintain the blockade as will Egypt until Hamas is no longer in power. The Gazans have it within their power to correct this situation, a power I am certain they will not exercise. In regard to fresh meat as opposed to packaged meat, I assume the distinction has to do with the smuggling of arms and ammunition. When one state has chosen to be in a state of war with another state, a choice the Gazans manifestly made when they picked Hamas, they have to put up with a lot when they end up losing the war.

  • In regard to fresh meat as opposed to packaged meat, I assume the distinction has to do with the smuggling of arms and ammunition.

    Thanks, Donald, I needed a laugh.

  • So BA, you simply assume that the Israelis are being irrational and doing it for the hell of it? Smuggling arms and ammunition would be far easier in meat carcasses than in pre-packaged frozen meat. Thank you for the returned amusement. Libertarian ideals and the real world so often have such a poor fit, such as your obvious belief that the solution to the Gaza problem is trade.

  • Awe come on. You know how “creative” terrorists are these days. If a person can hide drugs within their own self, then terrorists could probably figure out a way to use an animal and sneak in a donkey bomber (sarcasm).

  • So BA, you simply assume that the Israelis are being irrational and doing it for the hell of it?

    The restrictions are irrational if the goal is to stop arms from coming into Gaza. They aren’t irrational if the goal is simply to punish Palestinians for electing Hamas (some of the restrictions also appear to be based on a protectionist motive). Since punishing Gaza residents is one of the explicit aims of the blockaid, trying to figure out how nutmug poses a security threat while cinnamon does not is a fool’s game.

  • Megan McArdle had a good post on this on Tuesday:

    “Many of my commenters seem to think that the point of the Gaza blockade is simply to keep war materiel from reaching insurgents in Gaza. That is not the reason for the Gaza blockade, though it may be one goal. But the strategy is much farther reaching than that: it is to topple Hamas by immiserating the people who elected them. […]

    “I know that terrorists can be fiendishly clever, but there is no real evidence, only unconfirmed rumors among the intel community, that Hamas actually has the Coriander Bomb. Most experts put them at least 5-8 years away from developing that sort of destructive technology. […]

    “But whether or not you agree with the policy, this was not particularly about keeping Hamas or other groups from getting weapons–the “weapons cache” found aboard consisted of knives, slingshots, and wooden batons, which pose no threat to Israeli civilians even if they make it to Gaza. This was about control.”

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/06/what-is-israels-blockade-for/57574/

  • Considering how the number of terrorist incidents against Israel have plunged, I’d say that the blockade from an Israeli standpoint is quite rational and working swimmingly. The blockade is a problem for the Gazans and not for the Israelis, unless one takes seriously world public opinion which the Israelis are rational enough not to.

  • I can certainly imagine that one of the pleasant side-effects of having a complex and nonsensical list of banned items for the blockade is that enforcing those restrictions involves the Israeli’s inspecting enough of what goes in and out that they end up being pretty effective in blocking weapons as well. However, there are a couple obvious points here:

    1) If Israel enforced a blockade that really did ban only weapons, it would he harder for people to work up international sympathy about the cruelty of it all. There’s a certain amount of international opinion (out of Europe and some parts of the American left) which is always going to be dead-set against Israel, but they’ve also always recognized that a certain amount of international support is necessary to their survival in a region which would much rather see them exterminated.

    2) Enforcing a blockade (as opposed to an embargo, such as the US embargo of Cuba) means you have to be prepared to sink or board any ships which are attempting to run the blockade. Against the determined opponent, this will mean killing a lot of people. I think that raises a legitimate moral question as to whether it’s acceptable to kill a large number of people in support of crippling Gaza’s economy in order to put pressure on the Gazans to replace their government. Surely, having the Gazans replace their government would be a good thing. But killing a number of people in support of such an indirect means (We had to sink their ship to keep our coriander and musical instruments so they’d get rid of their government!) of achieving that objective seems morally problematic. If it’s really worth killing a number of people over, the traditional way of getting rid of a government is via invasion and occupation. (Though in this case, the Israeli’s have tried that as well and it didn’t work out well.)

    It would arguably be more moral and just as effective to embargo (rather than blockade) Gaza, clear a dimilitarized zone around it, point artillery at it, and be very clear that if they manage to kill Israelis with their cross border attacks, they’ll be hit back hard.

  • Considering how the number of terrorist incidents against Israel have plunged, I’d say that the blockade from an Israeli standpoint is quite rational and working swimmingly.

    Actually this plunge occurred before the blockaid, as can be seen by this data compiled by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

  • I think that raises a legitimate moral question as to whether it’s acceptable to kill a large number of people in support of crippling Gaza’s economy in order to put pressure on the Gazans to replace their government.

    There’s also the question of whether making Palestinians suffer is actually an effective means of making them turn against Hamas. From what I know of human nature, I would say not.

  • The Chart you reference BA includes the West Bank and the Second Intifada. Rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza plunged from 2,048 in 2008 to 566 in 2009, only 160 of which were fired after the Gaza War. The Gaza War caused Hamas to shoot off most of its rockets and the blockade have prevented them from doing much to replenish their supply.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Palestinian_rocket_attacks_on_Israel,_2009

  • But the blockade also includes things that have *nothing* to do with munitions, Donald.

    I can understand trying to keep explosives and their ingredients away from Hamas.

    I can’t understand trying to keep dried bananas and ginger away from the people in Gaza.

  • Rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza plunged from 2,048 in 2008 to 566 in 2009, only 160 of which were fired after the Gaza War.

    I don’t know why people keep citing statistics comparing 2008 to 2009 when the blockaid started in early 2007. The number of rocket attacks increased significantly after the blockaid was imposed, and the plunge of which you speak happened after the Gaza war. So clearly it was a blockaid and not the war that caused the decline.

  • “The number of rocket attacks increased significantly after the blockaid was imposed, and the plunge of which you speak happened after the Gaza war. So clearly it was a blockaid and not the war that caused the decline.”

    It is both the war BA and the blockaid that has caused the decline. In the war Hamas depleted their arsenal of missles and the blockaid has prevented Hamas from replenishing their missles to the same extent pre-blockaid. Without the blockaid rest assured that Hamas would be rapidly replenishing their missles for another round of lets-see-if-we-can-provoke-the-Israelis-into-flattening-us-again.

  • Some parts of the “concentration camp” are not doing so poorly though.

    http://www.bivouac-id.com/2009/12/06/attention-photos-insoutenables-gaza-affamee/

  • Thanks for that link, Phillip. Yeah, it looks just like Buchenwald there. I didn’t spot coriander amongst the foodstuffs piled high. That proves the Israelis are terrible, terrible oppressors.

    The list of “forbidden items” unwittingly shows how truly petty the complaints of the Israel-haters are. People who had the misfortune to live under Japanese or Nazi rule in 1943 would have been thrilled if the only thing they had to worry about was a ban on spices and violins.

    Why is it that when it comes to Israel, otherwise sensible people completely lose all sense of proportion? What is it about that potato-chip sized country that drives folks around the bend? They want so badly to believe that a tiny bunch of Jews who have faced an existential threat since the day their country was founded are heartless Jack-the-Rippers. Why, it seems like just yesterday I was reading breathless accounts of bodies piled to the sky in Jenin – a report that turned out to be utterly false. Now we’re supposed to feel indignant because Gaza residents can’t toss a bit of coriander in the tabbouli.

    As for violins, it seems to me what Mark Steyn calls the “world’s most comprehensively wrecked people” (wrecked not by Israelis, but by their own hatred, addiction to violence, and status as Left-wing victims par excellence) have been playing the world’s smallest one since 1948.

  • On the other hand, Donna, it seems that any criticism of the actions of the state of Israel means that the person making the critique has lost all sense of proportion and been driven around the bend.

    I’m fairly confident that BA supports the right of Israel to exist, and I know that I do. But that obviously doesn’t mean that their actions can’t be critiqued.

    In this case, the point is that this blockade is *not* simply about keeping explosives out of the hands of those who hate Israel, but rather is about squeezing the civilian population as an indirect attack on Hamas. Can we at least agree on that?

  • If we also agree Gaza isn’t a “Concentration Camp.”

  • Sure, but no one here has said that anyway, Phillip.

  • Chris, it’s true that some of the items on the list are puzzling. But in this world of manifest evils, I see the list as a mote in the eye, not a beam. I’m sorry – in a world in which news of female circumcisions, honor killings, beheadings, etc are met by our enlightened elites without a blink of an eye, while Israel gets pilloried for – coriander bans, well, all I can say is we are truly living in the Age of Stupid. If I seem knee-jerk to you, it’s because I’ve gotten awfully tired at hysterical Internet assertions (I am not saying BA is guilty of this) that the Israelis are committing “genocide” in Gaza and that they’re every bit as brutal as the Nazis. I’ve read enough about the extermination camps to know what an absurd and wicked comparison that is.

    You know, maybe I am a bit reluctant to come down hard on Israelis because I have no idea what it is like to live in a postage stamp of a country surrounded by millions of people who hate me and wish me dead and to have the question of whether my country has a right to even exist debated daily by the world and answered in the negative by most of the world. That’s quite apart from what Israelis do or don’t do. It’s not like they get any credit when they make concessions. I expect that after 60 years of constant attacks, Israelis (who are just human like the rest of us) sometimes make mistakes, just as Americans do. I’m sick of Israelis and Americans getting condemned because they don’t always live up to impossibly high standards, while our enemies are not expected to live up to any standards of humane behavior whatsoever.

  • Chris, here is another reason why I am unmoved by Gazans who have to endure life without coriander:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9331863/

    Israeli settlers in Gaza had created a booming greenhouse business, one that competed with the Dutch. And what did the Palestinians do when they took control of Gaza in 2005? Their first act was to strip and smash those greenhouses, to utterly destroy that thriving business. And now we’re supposed to feel pity because they don’t have spices? Well, gee, maybe if they hadn’t trashed the greenhouse business they wouldn’t have to worry about lack of nutmeg or coriander.

    That’s the thing that maddens me. The Palestinians destroy. They destroy innocent people at Seder dinners and on buses and discos, they destroy Israeli homes with bombs, they destroy infrastructure, even infrastructure that can be used to their advantage. That is all they do. That seems to be all they know how to do. And why should they create, when the more they destroy, the more the world sympathizes with their troubles and takes pity on them. The Israelis create and build, make the desert bloom,develop businesses and trades – and my, how the world hates them.

  • The defense of the list is “spices aren’t a big deal.” They ignore what is the big deal.. typical.

  • You a quite correct, Chris. No one said it here. But it is a continuation of a conversation which you clearly did not read here:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/06/01/israel-vs-the-freedom-flotilla/#comments

    One even provided a link to the innane comments of the Cardinal that originated the quote.

    But its good that we can agree that such a comment is false and unconstructive in discussing the topic.

  • It’s true that a lot of criticism of Israel is overwrought. On the other hand, I think a lot of those supportive of Israel have fallen into the somewhat lazy habit of dismissing any criticism of Israel as based in Jew-hatred or as otherwise illegitimate. Israel has the complete right to defend itself, but a ban on musical instruments isn’t necessary to protect Israel’s security and in fact has the potential to seriously harm Israel’s security interests long-term.

  • It’s a hard balance to hit because of the way that we normally tend to think about contentious issues, in terms of faction. On the other side, we see this in some of the folks who come over here from other blogs and while insisting that they “abhore violence”, defend anything and everything that thugs like Hamas do because “it’s understandable given all they’ve suffered.”

    As someone who is pro-Israeli in outlook, I want to avoid making the same mistake. As such, I think it’s important to be able to criticize individual Israeli actions, without in the process being taken to support Hamas or those who tacitly support its violence.

  • Much of the world jumped to conclusions right off the bat and declared that Israel was in the wrong. I stated in my own post that I would need to wait and see as the facts unfolded and became clear, and then I would decide whether Israel was in the right or wrong in this matter. Maybe, the Israelis could have handled this situation better? But, it seems that Israel was in a no win situation here, where if the Israelis did something different and acted in a more peaceful manner there could have been many more dead, and with the situation that did occur Israelis were more prepared, and maybe they saved more lives from being killed because of taking more of a proactive role, but in the end many in the world condemned their actions.

    I think these no win situations also apply to the blockade and what items the Israelis allow to be brought into Israel. Should they allow public opinion to sway how they conduct their national security or should they do what they perceive to be best to save lives in Israel?

  • Blackadder:

    A ban on musical instruments is not going to harm Israel’s security in the short, medium, or long run.

    Darwin:

    I would agree with you with one caveat: few of us have granular knowledge of what the likely implications are of undertaking or failing to undertake certain sorts of action with regard to security. So, unless you are making a normative argument that such and such an action is inherently wrong, you generally have to be very alive to the possibility you misunderstand what is being done and why.

    Evaluating police shootings presents similar problems for the layman. There can also be key facts left out of common narratives. The arrest of Rodney King in 1992 would be relevant here. (King’s companions were unmolested by the police and a short segment of the film in question which showed King charging the officers was not broadcast).

    As for functional pacifists who busy themselves filing lawyers’ briefs for the gratuitously violent, you might consider the possibility that both poses could serve similar ends, with little to do with politics and war in the Near East. (See Political Pilgrims by Paul Hollander and Vision of the Anointed by Thomas Sowell). The reluctance of some of these characters (any I have ever talked to) to delineate for you what is their idea is of an agreeable equilibrium in the Near East is instructive.

  • “As for functional pacifists who busy themselves filing lawyers’ briefs for the gratuitously violent,”

    Thank you Art! That goes right into my little black book of memorable quotes I have stolen.

  • As such, I think it’s important to be able to criticize individual Israeli actions, without in the process being taken to support Hamas or those who tacitly support its violence.

    Fair enough and I hope you realize I do not consider either you or Blackadder to be in the pro-Hamas club. No country is above criticism. At the same time, nobody can say Israel is in danger of being under-criticized.

  • At the same time, nobody can say Israel is in danger of being under-criticized.

    Ain’t that the truth…

  • At the same time, nobody can say Israel is in danger of being under-criticized.

    DarwinCatholic said “Ain’t that the truth…”

    I second that.

  • Teresa,

    Thanks for joining in the many conversations we have here.

    Want to add a pic to your icon?

    http://en.gravatar.com/

  • There ya go!

    Your husbands next.

  • Thank you very much, Tito.

    Yes. I’ll get him to add a pic also.

  • A ban on musical instruments is not going to harm Israel’s security in the short, medium, or long run.

    I would imagine that being known as a country which is willing to kill foreign nationals in order to enforce a ban on things like musical instruments and coriander would in fact be damaging to one’s security in some term or other.

  • Certainly Israel is in no danger of being under-criticized, although various individuals may be in danger of either under-criticizing or over-criticizing.

Israel Confronts the Freedom Flotilla

Wednesday, June 2, AD 2010
NOTE: This roundup will be continuously updated with further information

This past Memorial Day weekend, “Israel boarded a Gaza-bound ‘Freedom Flotilla’ and killed an indeterminate number of innocent bystanders as they attempted to take control international waters.”

Well, at least that’s the take of Henry Karlson of Vox Nova — who appears to be taking his talking points from Egyptian passenger Hazem Farouq:

“It was hell on the sea. I saw Israeli soldiers killing activists in cold blood and then walking on their bodies … The Israeli soldiers sprayed bullets as if they were a mafia in an American film.”

Unfortunately, as with such accounts of Israel’s actions, the facts tend to get in the way. Let’s examine the various claims of this Catholic blog regarding what happened this weekend …

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74 Responses to Israel Confronts the Freedom Flotilla

  • Great Post! It is very informative. Over at Vox Nova, the moderators and some of their commenters woudn’t want to let the facts get in the way of their anti-Israeli sentiment.

    Over at Vox Nova they even like to think that a Cardinal from the Vatican when speaking out on political matters that have to do with the Middle East is speaking for the whole Church. Vox Nova lets their liberalism supercede their Catholic faith and they consistently show how they like to circumvent and tinker with 2000 years of Church Tradition.

  • Christopher,

    If you aren’t careful, you ae going to be persona non grata at Vox Nova like me. The Thought Police there amost never let my comments through anymore, no matter how toned down they are.

  • The Israelis were rather reckless with the lives of their commandos. I saw the clip, it was like landing on a lynch mob.

  • “The Israelis were rather reckless with the lives of their commandos. I saw the clip, it was like landing on a lynch mob.”

    I think the Israelis were extremely careless and gullible — according to a quote that’s circulating, attributed to a “Free Gaza” spokesperson:

    We were not going to pose any violent resistance. The only resistance that there might be would be passive resistance such as physically blocking the steering room, or blocking the engine room downstairs, so that they couldn’t get taken over. But that was just symbolic resistance.

    They fell for it.

  • Well I don’t think they fell for it, it looks like a major snafu with 20 year olds, ordered to hold the line with minimal violence being unable to do so.

  • Let me attempt a more objective recitation of the facts.

    Tantamount to Piracy?

    Israel’s action was illegal. Even if we grant that Israel is at war with Gaza, a blockade cannot extend into international waters.

    A disproportionate or justified use of armed force?

    Israel’s explanation here is plausible at the very least. I think the video evidence is pretty damning.

    Humanitarians and “Peace activists”

    IHH is an extremist organization. Turkey banned the organization from providing humanitarian assistance after the 1999 earthquake.

    Against the Distribution of Humanitarian Aid?

    Israel does not allow adequate aid through. This is a fact that even the Obama Administration acknowledges. Maybe we can get international monitoring of aid.

    In sum

    Hamas is not “wholly committed to the eradication of Israel.” They regard as an acceptable agreement the 1967 borders, right of return, and the capital at Jerusalem. Beyond that, Hamas says it will respect the will of the Palestinian people if they wish to stop there or demand more. True, Hamas may not stop there but at the very least they aren’t “wholly committed” to further action.

  • Forgive me, I was assuming such based on Hamas’ own charter:

    Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it”

    The Islamic Resistance Movement is a distinguished Palestinian movement, whose allegiance is to Allah, and whose way of life is Islam. It strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine…

    Initiatives, and so­called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement.

    There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with.

    Of course they might have distanced themselves from the letter and spirit of their founding statement — but I remain skeptical.

  • Yes, they have distanced themselves from the charter.

  • Christopher,

    Well done. What you keep saying is “Israel says it was good, therefore it must be.” I mean, you start with:

    For what it’s worth, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides a page explaining….

    Iran can explain the legality of their nuclear program… would you accept their claims?

    So, let’s see what others have to say on the legality: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/01/AR2010060102934.html

    Now in this situation, Israel has already been caught lying, several times, about what happened. People who watched it live saw Israeli fire which came upon the ships even before they boarded the ship. This is also what those who were released have said:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/01/gaza-flotilla-eyewitness-accounts-gunfire

    Do you think that might have made the people aboard the ship jumpy and willing to react self-defense when someone boarded the ship?

    Here is former US Ambassador Edward Peck’s account:

    http://beforeitsnews.com/news/71/741/Former_Freedom_Flotilla_US_Ambassador_Held_by_the_Israelis_Speaks_Out.html

    Israel gave warnings, and told people to stop
    Yeah, so? I am sure many a thug says “I told them to give me the money. They didn’t. It’s their fault.”

    The soldiers were not well armed
    FALSE. Again, I love how Christopher first of all accepts ALL that Israel has to say of the matter without question. This is how Israel keeps lying to the world. Now if one looks to the matter, one can begin to see Israel has been caught already lying about the situation: http://www.politicaltheatrics.net/2010/06/the-gaza-flotilla-how-israel%E2%80%99s-ministry-of-foreign-affairs-fakes-photos-of-seized-weapons/

    And this is what the ambassador said about the paintball guns, which shows how much of a joke it is:
    http://www.democracynow.org/2010/6/2/israels_explanation_for_deadly_gaza_aid

    In our little boat, a couple of them had paint guns attached to their submachine guns, along with stun grenades and the pepper spray and the handcuffs and the pistols, you know. So this is sort of a twisting reality, which of course I understand why they’re trying to do it. I’ve been a diplomat. But it’s laughable..

    Paintguns don’t kill; the soldiers were armed with more than paintguns.

    And I love how Christopher completely and utterly ignores the disaster on the ground in Gaza. MM discusses this well:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/06/01/israel-vs-the-freedom-flotilla/#comment-45805
    —-

    And Christopher, btw, I wrote the original article. I wonder what that says about the rest of your points.

  • http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jyuAfrswzcOz1plxmxQSsxZEhinA

    Pope saddened by flotilla raid violence

    (AFP) – 21 hours ago

    VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI said violence during an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla carrying aid left him with “a heavy heart.”

    “Violence does not solve disputes, but increases their tragic consequences and generates more violence,” the Pope said at the end of his Wednesday audience in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican, according to Vatican Radio.

    “With great trepidation I followed the tragic events that occurred near the Gaza Strip. I feel the need to express my heartfelt condolences for the victims of these painful events, which worry those who care about peace in the region,” he said.

    Israeli commandos boarded the aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip in a pre-dawn raid on Monday that left at least nine passengers dead and sparked global outrage.

    The Israeli military accused activists aboard the ship of provoking the bloodshed by attacking its soldiers as they boarded.

    “I appeal to those who have political responsibilities, locally and internationally, to relentlessly seek just solutions through dialogue, to ensure the people of the best living conditions, harmony and serenity,” the pope said.

    A Vatican document leaked Tuesday called the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories a “political injustice,” Italy’s ANSA news agency reported.

    The occupation is a “political injustice imposed on the Palestinians,” said the Instrumentum Laboris, a working document on an upcoming synod of bishops on the Middle East, embargoed for release until Sunday, when Pope Benedict is to present it during a visit to Cyprus.

    The Vatican has said the raid “will not influence” the pope’s trip to Cyprus, from which the flotilla set off.

  • http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/gaza-flotilla-drives-israel-into-a-sea-of-stupidity-1.292959

    From Gideon Levy:

    The Israeli propaganda machine has reached new highs its hopeless frenzy. It has distributed menus from Gaza restaurants, along with false information. It embarrassed itself by entering a futile public relations battle, which it might have been better off never starting. They want to maintain the ineffective, illegal and unethical siege on Gaza and not let the “peace flotilla” dock off the Gaza coast? There is nothing to explain, certainly not to a world that will never buy the web of explanations, lies and tactics.

    Only in Israel do people still accept these tainted goods. Reminiscent of a pre-battle ritual from ancient times, the chorus cheered without asking questions. White uniformed soldiers got ready in our name. Spokesmen delivered their deceptive explanations in our name. The grotesque scene is at our expense. And virtually none of us have disturbed the performance.

    The chorus has been singing songs of falsehood and lies. We are all in the chorus saying there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. We are all part of the chorus claiming the occupation of Gaza has ended, and that the flotilla is a violent attack on Israeli sovereignty – the cement is for building bunkers and the convoy is being funded by the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood. The Israeli siege of Gaza will topple Hamas and free Gilad Shalit. Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levy, one of the most ridiculous of the propagandists, outdid himself when he unblinkingly proclaimed that the aid convoy headed toward Gaza was a violation of international law. Right. Exactly.

    It’s not the siege that is illegal, but rather the flotilla. It wasn’t enough to distribute menus from Gaza restaurants through the Prime Minister’s Office, (including the highly recommended beef Stroganoff and cream of spinach soup ) and flaunt the quantities of fuel that the Israeli army spokesman says Israel is shipping in. The propaganda operation has tried to sell us and the world the idea that the occupation of Gaza is over, but in any case, Israel has legal authority to bar humanitarian aid. All one pack of lies.

    Read the rest on the link.

  • Yes, they have distanced themselves from the charter.

    Isn’t that cute?

  • Christopher, here you go again, taking a subject of blog rants and turning it into a suject of research, careful study and dispassionate analysis. When will you learn that blogs are for shoot-from-the-hip commentary, no reflection and emotional diatribes? 🙂

  • “Yes, they have distanced themselves from the charter.”

    I assume that was a comedic statement restrainedradical? Any one who does not think that Hamas remains entirely dedicated to the destruction of Israel simply has not been paying attention to Hamas.

  • Straight from the mouth of Khaled Meshaal just last week:
    “Hamas accepts a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967 with its capital Jerusalem and with the right of return. This stand by Hamas is announced, practiced, and it signed an agreement with Fatah, which is the national compact document. So, the whole world should deal with Hamas, with what it practices, its political stance that it declared, and not on the charter that was put 20 years ago.”

  • Completely meaningless restrainedradical. Everyone on the ground in the Middle East knows that Hamas will never give up its war against Israel, including Palestinian President Abbas.

    http://www.upi.com/Top_News/International/2010/05/06/Abbas-decries-Hamas-weapons-smuggling/UPI-26911273179949/

  • I think you posted the wrong link, Don. That article says nothing about Abbas believing that Hamas will never give up its war against Israel. Even if Abbas did say that (which he didn’t), it should be taken with a grain of salt considering they’re political rivals. And how does “everyone on the ground in the Middle East” know Hamas’ intentions? You just made that up.

    I take “wholly committed” to include verbal commitments. Instead, we have the opposite. Even if Hamas wants to eradicate Israel, it’s clear they aren’t “wholly committed.”

  • Don’t be deliberately dense restrainedradical. Abbas knows why Hamas is smuggling arms into the West Bank and stockpiling them and it isn’t as a sign of their peaceful intentions towards Israel.

  • Oh and the quote you have from Meshaal is from an interview with Charlie Rose. Here is what he said later on in the interview:

    CHARLIE ROSE: But just within the territories of the `67 boundaries?

    KHALED MESHAAL: In other words —

    CHARLIE ROSE: This is an important point.

    KHALED MESHAAL: Don`t request the Palestinian people to have a certain stance from Israel while living under the Israeli occupation. Give the Palestinian people the opportunity to live in a normal situation in a Palestinian state, and then the Palestinian people with complete freedom will decide.

    http://www6.lexisnexis.com/publisher/EndUser?Action=UserDisplayFullDocument&orgId=574&topicId=100023528&docId=l:1197225133&isRss=true

    This by the way is an old tactic of Hamas. They make moderate noises to foreign language sources in hopes of convincing gullible foreigners of their moderation. In Arab language sources they are much more forthcoming as to their ultimate plans for Israel, which have not changed one whit.

  • The best evidence of what people intend to do is their abiding habits, dispositions, and patterns of response. You would not, on reviewing the history of the last 60 years, expect constructive collective action from the populations in question. That aside, the last episode of trading something palpable for promises ended badly.

  • Henry,

    I’m unclear what you’ve added here other than the obvious, “Oh yeah, well anti-Israel activists say otherwise.”

    Yes, if you believe everything that Hamas and other Gaza activists say, then Israel was universally the bad guy in this. If you believe everything that the Israeli government says, then they had very little fault in this. Clearly the truth lies somewhere in between — at least to those not wholly wedded to one viewpoint or the other.

    I think the best move for Israel would be to drop the blockade — both for their reputation and for the good of the population. But those taking the Palestinian side so wholeheartedly in this need to admit the truth of the situation: One of the main imports that Hamas will bring in will be weapons, which they will use against Israel. Which will bring the next outright military conflict between Israel and Gaza that much closer. Hamas and their fellow activists have pulled off some nice theatre through this whole series of events, but anyone who imagines that their primary aim is anything other than to be able to get heavy weapons shipments under cover of “aid” is being terribly gullible.

    And I think Israel is being quite forthright in their motives for the blockade: they want to keep out weapons, and they want to make things miserable enough in Gaza that the population will throw Hamas out of power and elect a better government. This strategy is totally backfiring, however, and so they should drop it and realize that war will be that much sooner.

    It’s a lousy region…

  • DC

    1) Evidence exists that Israel is making things up and lying about the events.
    2) People who watched it live, and officials for many nations, and reporters from many nations, have said Israel’s claims of the events are false.
    3) Israel is saying “We don’t want external reviewers, just believe us.” If they are the one suspect, then they need an external reviewer. Why are they saying no external review? It’s like a police officer accused of murder saying, “I didn’t do it. I will review my actions and report to you what I find out.” Come on.

  • To whoever wrote this jaded neocon propaganda – I did not write what you claim I have written. Please correct, thanks.

  • This post argues: “I believe Israel has the right to protect its citizens from harm by way of a blockade of assistance to Gaza.” It then goes on to shocking talk about how Israel is really doing nothing wrong to the inhabitants. I guess the following is all OK:

    – 80 percent of Gazans dependent on humanitarian aid.
    – Massive spike in poverty and unemployment. UN: 60 per cent of households are “food insecure”.
    – Over 90 per cent of Gaza’s factories shut or operate at less than 10 per cent of capacity.
    – Exports reduced to almost zero.
    – Severe restrictions on fishing activity.
    – Only half the weekly fuel needed for Gaza’s only power plant let in, and less than half of needed monthly gas supply. Widespread electricity shortages.
    – Humanitarian aid at whim of Israelis. WHO trucks repeatedly turned away.
    – Almost no movement of people. Familes ripped apart. West Bank students and seminarians trapped.
    – Medical emergencies that cannot be dealt with in Gaza require a permit to leave, which is often delayed or denied. Some deaths resulted.
    – Banned list includes basic goods, including food.
    – Banned list designed in part to protect the profit margins of Israeli producers.
    – Widespread shortages, including of basic goods like soap, school materials and clean drinking water.

    What I find absolutely shocking is the continued dominance of the pagan neocon mentality among the Catholic right. They will support the instrinic evil of collective punishment of a civilian population for consequentialist reasons. They will support the immiseration of 1.5 million children of God to make a point. And they paint Hamas as the devil, while giving a free pass to those in the Israeli government (such as foreign minister Avigdor Liberman) who have made statements just as inflammatory as any Hamas official.

  • 1.5 million children…consequentialist reasons…why does that seem so familiar?

    Oh yeah, something to do with voting for Obama being OK.

    Not that I think Israel did the right thing in this case, but it’s rather ironic condemning consequentialist thinking on this issue, yet being rather blind to it in other situations.

  • Assuming Israel had the right to enforce the blockade in international waters (a questionable assumption at best), why didn’t they disable the ship as someone else suggested?

  • And they paint Hamas as the devil, while giving a free pass to those in the Israeli government (such as foreign minister Avigdor Liberman) who have made statements just as inflammatory as any Hamas official.

    I’d be interested to hear the Israeli official who said something akin to this:

    Allah will also dignify the whole Islamic Nation. Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him said: “You will keep on fighting with the Jews until the fight reaches the east of Jordan River. Then the stones and trees will say: ‘Oh Muslim, of (servant) slaves of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him.”

  • what other consequentalist reasoning do you refer to, cmatt?

    Let me go a little further – any person who supports this blockade cannot be described as pro-life.

  • What I find absolutely shocking is the continued dominance of the pagan neocon mentality among the Catholic right. They will support the instrinic evil of collective punishment of a civilian population for consequentialist reasons. They will support the immiseration of 1.5 million children of God to make a point.

    No, MM, those who support the blockage (and several of us have said we don’t) don’t support it “to make a point”, they support it because they believe that it’s necessary in order to keep weapons out of the hands of Hamas and to try to put pressure on the Hamas government in order to topple it and achieve a more reasonable government there.

    I don’t think the blockade is being successful in the latter, and I don’t think it’s worth the former, but I can hardly see how someone of your political commitments is in a position to cast stones on this one.

  • I would like to highlight this paragraph from the Yaacov Lozowick post, as I think it makes an important point that otherwise risks getting lost in the scuffle:

    We all know that the threat from Hezbollah is greater than from Hamas, yet we don’t blockade Lebanon. The price would be too high, so we grimly prepare for the next war in the hope that being prepared well enough will postpone it for a while, and in the meantime it’s not an international detriment; on the contrary, perhaps we gain a measure of goodwill that we’ll cash in on eventually. So why blockade Gaza? Is the blockade essential? Six months from now, or six years, we’ll lift it, and Gaza will still be full of people who fervently wish for our destruction, just like in Lebanon: nu? At that point the defunct blockade will no longer be essential?

  • Mornining’s Minion,
    So, you would be okay with Hamas “owning” and controlling Israel and Palestine and doing whatever else they wanted — like fundng all sorts of terrorist activities — as long as there was food and water?

    You must like having the Devil in charge of the common good?

  • “Let me go a little further – any person who supports this blockade cannot be described as pro-life.”

    Coming from a fellow who proudly voted for Obama, the most pro-abort president in our nation’s history, I find that statement both pathetic and laughable.

  • Let me go a little further – any person who supports this blockade cannot be described as pro-life.

    Let me one up you by saying anyone that continues to support a pro-abort President, while also excusing the actions of Palestinian terrorists and subtly yawning over the Holocaust, cannot be described as sane.

  • “on the contrary, perhaps we gain a measure of goodwill that we’ll cash in on eventually.”

    That statement is delusional BA. Any Israeli who thinks that Israel can cash in on “international good will” under virtually any circumstance is just not operating in this frame of reality.

  • Paul

    Your logic is, like usual, quite flawed. Supporting the blockade is supporting the evil itself, as would be supporting abortion. Supporting someone who is pro-blockade or someone who is pro-abortion is different from supporting the blockade or abortion.

  • That bit of Lozowick’s post struck me as well, BA, and I think that it is dead-on.

    Certainly, there are many in Europe and a smaller number in America with whom it is impossible for for Israel to gain any goodwill. But although that group can make a lot of noise in a combox, that does not mean that it is not important for a nation to act in the best way possible. And Israel’s continued support by countries such as the US is in part determined by it’s continuing to appear more sinned against than sinning, though people are willing to give Israel a fair amount of benefit of the doubt.

    Israel should lift the blockade — despite the full knowledge of the fact that Hamas is much more interested in bringing in weapons than food, and that those weapons will bring war with Hamas that much sooner.

  • You should read some statments from Avigdor Liberman, Paul. This is the foreign minister who used to belong to the terrorist Kach group (then again, many Israeli politicians used to be terrorists, didn’t they?). This is the man who repeatedly talks about the ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Israel (by force), and the execution of Arab members of the Knesset. He once spoke of busing thousands of released Palestinian prisoners to the Dead Sea to drown them. He thinks that Putin in Chechnya is a role model for how Israel should deal with Palestine. And he suggested that the Americans had the right approach in Japan.

    This is the foreign minister of Israel. He was democratically elected and enjoys widespread support. So why the double standard?

    But I’m not done, Paul. You yourself link on your blog to one Robert Stacy McCain, and have quoted him with approval on occasion. Here is what this McCain had to say about Israel/ Palestine:

    “Swear to God, if they ever want a Gentile prime minister, my first order would be to deploy the IDF in a north-south line, facing east. My second order would be “forward march” and the order to halt would not be given until it was time for the troops to rinse their bayonets in the Jordan. After a brief rest halt, the order “about face” would be given, and the next halt would be at the Mediterranean coast.”

    Over and over again, I see the bloodlust of the American right being reflected by American Catholics. But I guess RS McCain and Avigdor Liberman are no “pro-abort” so that makes then OK.

  • Over and over again, I see the bloodlust of the American right being reflected by American Catholics.

    Exactly how have you seen American Catholics reflect this bloodlust? In your mind, does one have to either fully support the Palestinian cause and hate Israel, or else by default endorse genocide? Bit of dualism there…

  • Darwin – one needs to condemn violence, respect life, and defend human dignity. That’s all. Sounds simple, but it would be a big step.

  • “Over and over again, I see the bloodlust of the American right being reflected by American Catholics.”

    You give your whole hearted support to the most pro-abort President in our nation’s history, and are, to put your position in the best light possible, a “useful idiot” for blood drenched Jihadists. Once again, my reaction to this statement by you is that it is both pathetic and laughable.

  • one needs to condemn violence, respect life, and defend human dignity. That’s all. Sounds simple, but it would be a big step.

    Oh, indeed, it would be a big step. And if you seemed more interested in doing that consistently rather than taking a selective view of the world in order to reinforce your prejudices and paint your opponents in the worst possible light, I would have very little issue with you.

  • Sanctimony on stilts + blinkered ideology = MM

    Even when people here are criticizing Israel’s tactics (boarding) and strategy (blockade), you still cry “bloodlust.” Get a clue.

  • This is Christopher’s thread and I know he likes his threads to concentrate on debate over the topic and not get involved in personalities. Therefore I have place in moderation Morning’s Minion’s comments and the responses made to him, including my responses. Morning’s Minion is being placed in temporary moderation for a cooling off period. Christopher may appove the comments I have placed in moderation or delete them as he wishes. Everyone else, dial it down a few notches and concentrate on debating the topic of the thread. I include myself in that last admonition.

  • “one needs to condemn violence, respect life, and defend human dignity. That’s all. Sounds simple, but it would be a big step.”

    Have you ever condemned the violence being committed against Israel? Have you condemned other terrorist oragizations? You seem to be giving Hamas a pass because of their claims that they had humantarian aid. Have you ever heard of a rouse? Or plausible deniablility? Hamas could have planned the whole thing and had some items of humanitarian aid on hand for the sole purpose of plausible deniability? Why do you have faith that a known terrorist group is telling the truth?

    I guess condemning violence is great as long the violence doesn’t involve using metal pipes to attack Israelis armed with paintball guns.

    Okay, so as far as Karlson’s concerned supporting evil and supporting murder (abortion) is okay as long as it as least “once removed” from the direct source.

  • You are free to moderate as you wish, and I have no objection (unlike some here who complain about being moderated at Vox Nova!). But I would say that: (i) my responses, while admittedly taking on various people directly, have been focused on the core issue at hand; (ii) the tone has not been heated (certainly, I was not angry when writing, and am not angry now); (iii) I’m still awaiting a correction for false attribution in the post itself — thanks.

  • Don, I never said Hamas was peaceful, only that they’ve softened their position over the decades.

  • Okay, it seems that as far as Karlson’s concerned supporting evil and supporting murder (abortion) is okay as long as it is as least “once removed” from the direct source (voting for Obama, who is a pro-abortion president).

    If the blockade was not one of Israels primary forms of safety from Hamas’ violence then I am sure that Israel would stop the blockade. If Hamas would stop lobbing rockets and committing other acts of violence than it would seem logical and would think that Israel would then lift the blockade.

  • Teresa

    Do well NOT to lie about others. I do not support evil, nor support abortion — though Teresa, and her husband, have both supported abortion of Canaanite children (!!!). I did not vote for Obama. I am, however, making the point, which is a moral point, which is well within the domain of moral position — that a support of a person (the person) does not mean one supports all the evil they do. This is exactly what is shown to us by God, whose love for us, is a love for us as a person, and he supports us, continuing our existence, despite our sin. His support for us is not a support for sin. This is also true about the Church’s declaration of saints. Proclaiming St Mary of Egypt a saint does not make her prostitution any good. Teresa, in the whole, is following the way of the Pharisee, which is quite typical — they will demand great virtue of others, on a level which they don’t follow themselves. Indeed, she also confuses various forms of cooperation with evil. The Church has consistently said that we cannot support a politician because of an evil they support, but it has also said we can despite such evil they hold to.

  • I think we can support the existence of Israel also without supporting all they do.

  • Phillip

    Agreed. I indeed support the existence of Israel, I have said the place needs reformed.

  • Karlson,
    If you can read, then you’ll notice that I never said that you voted for Obama. Plus, Karlson believes in limited inerracy, where the Bible is concerned, which is not adhering to Church teachings. But, that shouldn’t surprise too many people here- the Vox Nova crew not adhering to Church teachings prior to Vatican II is a pretty “orthodox” thing for them.

  • If the blockade is immoral, then I would also agree with Darwin that Israel should be allowed to defend itself, even with just war, if and when Hamas uses weapons shipped to them to attack Israel.

  • Karlson,
    Are there any reforms that you would support for Hamas?
    What kind of reforms would you propose for Israel?

    Israel should end the blockade but it should be contingent on Hamas stopping their terrorist activities and denouncing their official charter. If Hamas has already distanced themselves from their charter then it wouldn’t be too much to expect that Hamas denounce their official charter publicly.

  • And they paint Hamas as the devil, while giving a free pass to those in the Israeli government (such as foreign minister Avigdor Liberman) who have made statements just as inflammatory as any Hamas official.

    Mr. Liberman does not object per se to an Arab state on the West Bank and Gaza (much less an Arab state anywhere else in the world) and has suggested that sections of the Galilee be included in any hypothetical territorial deal.

    This is the foreign minister who used to belong to the terrorist Kach group

    The KACH Movement was an electoral vehicle for the Jewish Defense League. KACH itself did not engage in any sort of direct action. He wasn’t a member for very long.

    (then again, many Israeli politicians used to be terrorists, didn’t they?).

    If you are referring to the Irgun, it was dissolved in 1948. So, unless it be your contention that Israel’s corps of working politicians is chock-a-block with octogenerians, no.

  • Art Deco,

    You are forgetting that service in the IDF = terrorism to this crowd. Never mind the fact that Hamas bombs Passover seders and then names a soccer tournament after the murderer… It’s the Israelis who are the “terrorists.”

  • The IDF shouldn’t be a problem since Israel has a right to exist and when legitimate means to deter aggression have failed, they can invade Gaza.

  • Teresa continues to misrepresent many factors, and indeed, many people from diverse positions on the net have seen the fundamentalism of Teresa when it comes to Scripture and have said she and those with her are in error. She has been shown to be ignorant of what the Church actually teaches, or, at other times, so say she doesn’t care what the Church says she is right, she will do as she wills! She has said as much – no Church will tell her what to do! Enough with that.

    Philip: should Gaza be able to defend itself?

  • Henry & Teresa,

    Whatever your history about Canaanites and scriptural interpretation and such is — it’s not the topic here and none of us know anything about it. Please take it elsewhere. The topic of this thread is not people’s past run-ins.

  • DarwinCatholic-Thank You for saying that because I didn’t bring up the topic to begin with. Karlson did. The only reason I responded was because I didn’t want to be rude by not responding and the fact that he continues to impune and slander me across the net is just plain unchristian.

    From now on I will stay on topic.

  • Against unjust aggression. Yes. But the whole point of the conversation is that Israel is trying to deter aggression. If the blockade is immoral, and if weapons are imported and used against Israel, then the IDF can most certainly and justly wage war.

  • Phillip

    On the other hand, all the people suffering in Gaza are also trying to deter the unjust aggression on them. The Vatican has spoken out against it many times.

  • On the other hand, all the people suffering in Gaza are also trying to deter the unjust aggression on them.

    To a point, yes. And in that sense, it’s okay.

    The most recent source of the problem is that when Israel withdrew from Gaza, having Gaza to themselves was not enough for Hamas — they started launching rockets across the border at Israel all the time. Which may have made them feel better about their wrongs for a while, but resulted in bringing the IDF back across the border after a while to stop them.

    These things are not as simple as you’d like to imagine.

  • [Morning’s Minion]: To whoever wrote this jaded neocon propaganda – I did not write what you claim I have written. Please correct, thanks.

    MM – oh, dear — my apologies. And here I was trying to be careful with direct citation from the post. I guess I expected Henry’s writing to be more “academically inclined” and mistook this pathetic rant for your own. My apologies!

    CORRECTION — the following statements are properly attributed to Henry Karlson, Vox Nova:

    “Israel boarded a Gaza-bound ‘Freedom Flotilla’ and killed an indeterminate number of innocent bystanders as they attempted to take control international waters.”

    Israel is claiming the massacre is justified because their soldiers were attacked. They fail to point out they were attacked when they were boarding a vessel they had no lawful authority to board, acting like pirates who think they control the seas.

    Probably those who attacked the soldiers were acting reflexively without thinking. Let alone the moral question, in all practicality, this was not the wisest thing to do, because the soldiers were heavily armed and could take control of the ship without difficulty.

    Here we see the situation involves not just Muslim nations, but many of the nations of the West, such as the United States. We also see that the retired Archbishop of Jerusalem is on board the ship, indicating the active role the Church has had in this humanitarian aid.

    Having just gotten home I’ll review today’s comments and respond accordingly. I would request that people try to stay on topic and address the specific content of the post.

  • Henry,

    Ditto what Darwin said. But I’m glad you agree with Darwin and I that, when Gaza starts using weapons that arrive past a blockade that is seemingly contra international opinion, that Israel will be justified in waging war with Gaza.

  • Okay, Tony, as long as you’re going to play the guilt-by-association game and continue to link Paul to some outlandish comment made by R.S. McCain simply because Paul has quoted McCain on his blog in the past, how about we hold you to the same standard?

    On January 9, 2010, here’s what someone with the moniker “Morning’s Minion” wrote at Salon.com about Helen Thomas:

    “We have few journalists of Helen Thomas’ quiet dignity, fierce journalistic instincts to ask the hard questions, and resolution to follow stories where they will take her. Seeing how frail she has become gave me a pang. The thought that Bill Moyers and Helen Thomas might both retire in one year is a disquieting proposition; they are two of the few holding the diminishing line between real journalism and chaos.”

    http://letters.salon.com/b23f022e31a83dc9b2b9160cb4fa902f/author/index93.html

    Meanwhile, here’s your girl Helen holding the line on “real journalism” by telling the Jews in Israel to “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go back to Poland and Germany”:

    http://gatewaypundit.firstthings.com/2010/06/far-left-reporter-helen-thomas-tells-jews-get-the-hell-out-of-palestine-and-go-back-to-germany-poland-video/

    That would be the Germany and Poland where approximately 6 million of their fellow Jews were systematically roasted in ovens in an effort to exterminate every Jew in Europe. Not that such an occurrence was particularly unique in history or anything.

  • Helen Thomas is awfully opinionated for someone who is unawares that the majority of Israel’s Jewish population derives from immigration streams originating in the Near East and North Africa.

    On, R.S. McCain. IIRC, his subsequent elaboration upon his remarks was as follows: absent something akin to Sherman’s March through Georgia, the war between the Jews and the proximate Arab population simply will not end.

  • Jay – that “Morning’s Minion” was definitely not me. Seems like this post is becoming a platform for claiming I said stuff I did not!

  • Well, I guess if you decided to stop using a fake name and had the courage to put your real name to stuff you wrote, it would be a little less confusing, right?

  • Tony, I apologize, then. It’s not a common pseudonym, so I made a faulty assumption. My mistake.

  • Paul, he would still potentially be subject to petty identity theft.

  • Absolutely terrifying I felt it in missisauga