Netanyahu Wins and Obama Loses

Wednesday, March 18, AD 2015
Kathie Lee Gifford and Matt Lauer Share an Awkward Kiss for the Twizzler Challenge

With nearly all votes counted, Likud appeared to have earned 30 out of parliament’s 120 seats and was in a position to build with relative ease a coalition government with its nationalist, religious and ultra-Orthodox Jewish allies. Such a government would likely put Israel at odds with the international community over settlement construction and its opposition to Palestinian statehood, and continue clashing with the White House over hard-line policies.

The election was widely seen as a referendum on Netanyahu, who has governed the country for the past six years. Recent opinion polls indicated he was in trouble, giving chief rival Isaac Herzog of the opposition Zionist Union a slight lead. Exit polls Tuesday showed the two sides deadlocked but once the actual results came pouring in early Wednesday, Likud soared forward. Zionist Union wound up with just 24 seats.

Go here to read the rest.  This is a stinging defeat for Obama because his political operatives went all out to defeat Netanyahu:

Israel began this week abuzz with debate over whether or not the Obama Administration is trying to interfere in Israel’s upcoming elections, and if so, how deeply the White House is involved in seeking “regime change.”

It is by now no secret that President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu don’t get along, to put it mildly.

So when a new political organization going by the name of V15 (Victory in 2015) sprang up with the sole purpose of bringing Netanyahu’s premiership to an end, it didn’t take long before Israelis were pondering the level of Obama’s association.

Reports that V15 had brought on board Jeremy Bird, national field director for Obama’s 2012 campaign, as its “secret weapon” only fueled the fire.

The Senate is currently investigating Obama’s involvement in the Israeli elections:

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15 Responses to Netanyahu Wins and Obama Loses

  • What hits you is the degree to which Obama and Kerry are either (a) clueless about some of the abiding features of inter-state politics in the Near East or (b) motivated by personal pique. It does not matter much whether Israel is governed by a Likud ministry (with allies) or a Labor ministry (with allies) or a grand coalition. The disposition of the Arab publics on the West Bank and Gaza, of the Arab political class in both loci, and of the murderous government of Iran remain pretty much the same. The options for addressing the first two are pretty much the same. The options for addressing the third are altered only by the degree of fortitude in Washington (which is not impressive as we speak).

  • I personally am overjoyed that Benjamin Netanyahu won if for no other reason than it pi$$es the heck out of Barack Hussein Obama who in turn reminds me more and more of King Herod.

  • it’s not over though “they bring a knife we bring a gun” or something to that effect. There will be lot more effort against Israel, against Netanyahu and for Iran and other islamic states.

  • I am startled how nasty the Dems have been about Israel of late– and how open the hostility to observant Jews has become.
    Wonder if it’s creeping anybody else out.

  • There seems a common DNA shared by modern progressives and those of the early Twentieth Century. Yes, it is creepy.

  • I include Hitler’s National Socialists among the mix of early progressives. Many Democrats I know are not fully aware of the extent their party has drifted during the past generation or so. As to the current Administration, I have no idea of what they are trying to accomplish with Iran and view their entire agenda with grave trepidations. It’s as if the government has been taken over by aliens.

  • Drifted, or returned to a prior state?
    I’m not especially well grounded in history, but a lot of the stuff I only ever heard about in Liberal Fascism (although once I asked, the information was there) is pretty dang familiar.

    Seems like WWII snapped some folks into a different mode, for a while. It’s taken a long time, and some really big destruction of the knowledge of logical reasoning, for “life unworthy of life” to be mainstream. (The mutation of the rule that started as “the longer a discussion continues, the more likely it is that the Nazis will be mentioned” is a symptom of this irrationality.)

  • Foxfier wrote, “I am startled how nasty the Dems have been about Israel of late…”

    Years ago, Robert Redeker, writing in Le Monde, pointed out that post Cold War, the Left has replaced “sovietophilia” with “islamophilia,” and that “Palestinians and the contemporary Muslim masses replace the proletariat in the intellectuals’ imagination” as the pure, ideal alternative to Western capitalism. (Le Monde, 11/21/01). In other words, absolute anti-Zionism is post-colonial contrition coupled with a fetishisation of the “innocent” Palestinians, which, in turn, results from the ideological need to fill the post-Soviet vacuum.

    Similarly, Pierre-Andre Taguieff in Le Nouvel Observateur observed that for many “Christian humanitarians, Third-Worldists and Anti-Globalisation activists,” the world is divided between the “cosmopolitan Satan,” the unholy trinity of the United States/Israel/The West on one side and, on the other, the “dominated and the oppressed.” Thus, they recycle the old anti-Semitic stereotypes, such as the rich Jew and the dominating Jew under the “varnish of progressivism.” The Jew is once more the stand-in for capitalism, imperialism, cosmopolitanism, indeed the whole economic order.

  • Boys floating on some agenda in some political undercurrent gather to drag down men with knowledge of right and wrong.

    Taxpayer funded V15 of OneVoice Movement?? This must be an example of how the low/no info voter is used to make noisy ‘stands’ for the way the current flows.
    Balancing the budget planks burned. Taxpayers spending it on reinforcing the D’s.

  • The difference in the two is plain as “night and day.”

    Netanyahu loves his country. Obama hates us. And, there is a large dose of stupidity in the man and those that he has miscast to run off a cliff what was once the greatest country on the planet.

  • Drifted, or returned to a prior state?

    The alt-right is awash in anti-Semitic tropes and obsessions, but I suspect most of the hostility to Israel in the occident arises from the same impulses which lie behind the hostility to law enforcement or the military. Israel is also unapologetic about defending its interests against a political formation which trafficks in grievance. I suspect that accounts for the hostility of political elites and students in much of the 3d world, who fancy that grievance-mongering must always trump.

  • The who?
    A search for the term brings up mostly folks explaining how horrible they are, without many details about who is actually involved.
    I know exactly one guy who can be classed as on the right who has anything that might be considered anti-Semitic– he believes that “vast Jewish conspiracy” thing. (Not that all Jews are part of it, but that there is one– I believe he believes they’re working with the Catholic One-World conspiracy, too, but it never came up.)
    I know several guys (in person) who can only be classed as on the left who have an actual hostility to observant Jews, and especially to Israel.
    The only folks I’ve even heard (in person) that are hostile to Israel that could be on the right are the isolationist libertarians, who are at least coherent. If one really believes that all it takes to be left alone is to hide inside your borders, then Israel defending herself would be a bad thing. Similarly, as you point out, the Victim mongers on the left have reason to hate Israel because there’s no doubt that the Jews were chosen as victims– and they fought, and survived. With some hands (or arms, rather) UP, not “let me come in and do everything for you, you poor little victim” type help.
    There might be a generational thing as well, since there was a tradition of the upper classes joining into the whole Jew hate thing because it’s European.

  • Obama loses also by showing himself no statesman. petty and pitiful

  • The Left will start loving the Jews again about 5 minutes after the Palestinians have driven the last Isreali Jew into the sea.

  • Drifted, or returned to a prior state? Good question Foxfier. I suppose if it is the Democrats per se we are evaluating, they have been vacillating back and forth for a long time. The founders had a healthy skepticism in regard to democracy. Is a majority vote ever a substitute for wisdom? Perhaps I’m thinking of the changes apparent during my lifetime. Maybe it’s better to look at the progressive mindset as an ideological consistency. Whether those who consider themselves progressives also may consider themselves Agnostics, Baptists, Catholics, Jews or whatever, the fundamental assumption of the progressive policy is atheism. Indeed many of the more stalwart progressives are assertively atheist. I think the progressive’s adoption of Islamic clients is just another expression of an anti-Western bias. Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism is a convincing documentation of the common roots of the Communists, the Nazis, and the dominant faction of the Democratic Party. The people are deemed stupid, a peasantry clinging to God, guns and prejudices, and a herd to be managed by their intellectual betters. The ultimate solution to problems is seen in Government not God and that on a worldwide basis. This notion is viable only in the abstract. When it is applied, it falls apart. Israel faces a clear and present reality. They know that a UN derived top-down solution will expose them to an existential threat. Obama is just an inexperienced, poorly educated and terribly indoctrinated man of straw propped up, it seems, by unseen others. And, I say that in all charity. Netanyahu is better informed, and a mensch who knows where his duty lies. May God prosper the work of his hand.

We Are Being Sold Out

Tuesday, March 3, AD 2015

“You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war.”

Winston Churchill

 

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells Congress today that President Obama is selling us out in regard to the proposed treaty with Iran which will inevitably lead to a nuclear armed Iran.

Robert Zubrin at National Review Online gives us the details:

 

Iranian centrifuges now have a capacity of 5 SWU per year each. The regime is working on upgrading this to 24 SWU each, a figure that would match American centrifuge performance. Even if we assume that they will remain unable to reach that goal, the 6,500 centrifuges permitted by the treaty will still give Iran a capacity of 32,500 SWU per year. Examining the table above, we see that while producing 17 bombs from 0.7-percent-enriched natural uranium would require a total of about 75,000 SWU, if the first step of enrichment to 4 percent has already been accomplished, then only 17,000 SWU would be required. Thus, after allowing creation of a large stockpile of 4 percent U235, the 32,500-SWU-per-year enrichment capability that the Obama treaty will grant Iran would allow it to transform that stockpile into first-class nuclear bombs at a rate of 32 per year. We should note that the current cost of natural uranium is about $100 per kilogram, while the cost of one SWU is about $140. Therefore, if all Iran wanted was 4-percent-enriched reactor fuel, it could buy the 100,000 kilograms of natural uranium for $10 million, and have France or Russia enrich it for them at a cost of another $8 million, for a total price that is insignificant compared with the cost that current international sanctions are imposing on the country. It should therefore be clear that there is only one reason Iran needs the enrichment capability it is insisting on: so it can quickly turn reactor-grade material into a powerful nuclear arsenal.
In morally saner times, Obama would be currently facing impeachment and trial, with his own party leading the charge.
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38 Responses to We Are Being Sold Out

  • Americans may not care for the Iranian regime, but unlike other nations in the region, Israel included, they are a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, under which they have internationally recognized rights regarding the development and use of nuclear power. Why would any nation sign such a treaty in the future, if its rights under it are not recognized? As a signatory to the treaty they cannot develop a nuclear weapon. So far, there is no credible intelligence that they are building a weapon. The treaty allows them to enrich uranium, even to fairly high levels.

    The US can deter Iran from any threat they may pose to our own national security. Israel will see to their own defense; we should do likewise with respect to our own. Our interests are not identical though on occasion they do overlap.

  • “As a signatory to the treaty they cannot develop a nuclear weapon.”

    Rubbish on stilts. Anyone who thinks that will deter the Iranian regime from gaining nuclear weapons has a charming faith in paper which is completely unwarranted by the history of the Iranian regime and the ambitions of the despots who rule it. Not to mention the fact that they have already violated that treaty:

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/story/2011-11-08/Iran-nuclear-weapons-treaty/51125744/1

  • Chris C passes forth the same kind of propaganda that I see on a certain liberal progressive web site that happens (ironically enough) to be pro-nuclear power. The Koran permits – even exhorts – its Muslim adherents to lie to non-Muslims, so why should we believe anything that a radical Shiite Muslim regime says, especially a regime which kidnapped and held hostage hundreds of our own citizens back under liberal progressive Jimmy Carter.
    .
    I would also like to know why nothing is being said about Iran’s IR-40 heavy water reactor design to convert fertile U-238 into fissile Pu-239. Do we place the same belief in Iran’s claims that it won’t breed weapons grade Pu-239 as we place in Iran’s claims that it won’t enrich weapons grade U-235? Really? Exactly how gullible does this godless man of sin and iniquity in the White House assume we are?
    .
    All I have to say is this: Benjamin Netenyahu is a real man and a real leader, and Barack Hussein Obama is a despicable, contemptible traitor, but no one will do anything about it because he is the first black president. How racist is that! Oh for a Colonel Allen West in charge!
    .
    God save America because we cannot.

  • Is there anything we can do to stop this? I know of nothing if Osama (misspelled on purpose) chooses to complete the negotiations on his own. He has said repeatedly that he will act without congressional approval–and has done so many times. The only real solution I see to this matter is for Israel to take on Iran militarily.

  • No coincidence, of course, that Bibi received a bust of Churchill as a gift from the members of Congress who listened to his speech.

    I suspect Netanyahu’s address could be one of the most historically significant speeches by a head of state since Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech. The circumstances are roughly similar: Churchill warned of rising Soviet power, Bibi of rising radical Muslim power.

  • Paul, does the “certain liberal progressive website” have anything by Pat Buchanan on it? If not you’ll have to look elsewhere for the sources of my “propaganda”. Yes the Koran says what you said it does. So why is the US neck deep in a relationship; business, political, military with the Saudis? They read the Koran there don’t they? Maybe it’s time we stopped being played for suckers by other nations who would be happy to drag us into war for their own benefit, and certainly not ours. I supported the Iraq War in 2003. It hasn’t worked out well and we went in with bad intelligence. I don’t want to see a repeat.

    And Don, Iran should be watched carefully and not trusted, but the best means to do so short of war, is a regime of regular inspections and consultation, imperfect though it might be. For that the NPT is the only game in town. Unless you want to go to war now? In which case I don’t expect Russia to sit it out. What in the name of US National Security and Just War principles would justify such an engagement at this point in time?

    And on a side note, the day when the US, and the West for that matter, had any moral credibility to “police the world” is long gone, assuming it there ever was one. A nation advocating as a matter of liberty and justice, for abortion, contraception, and “gay marriage”, and pressuring other nations to go along or else, has no moral standing to set the world right.

  • “Paul, does the “certain liberal progressive website” have anything by Pat Buchanan on it?”

    When it comes to the Israel and Iran, Buchanan is always on the side of Iran.

    , “imperfect though it might be.”

    You can translate imperfect to useless when it comes to the Iranian nuke program.

    “had any moral credibility to “police the world” ”

    Similar arguments were made by those who believed that isolationism was the perfect response to the Third Reich. Actually Buchanan, your go to guy on Iran, still makes that argument:

    http://www.amazon.com/Churchill-Hitler-The-Unnecessary-War/dp/0307405168

    Without a world policeman the wolves of world feed on the defenseless, which is precisely what the Iranian regime intends, and our worthless administration is saying, “Bon apetite!”

  • I don’t think Buchanan would deny being anti-Israel.
    What is it that Iran says about destroying Israel and the US that Chris doesn’t understand?
    Terrorist with a nuclear device supplied by Iran will visit Tel Aviv, New York, Washington, Paris, London…….all on the same day. Let’s noyt get stuck on stupid people.

  • Yes the Koran says what you said it does. So why is the US neck deep in a relationship; business, political, military with the Saudis?

    Because the House of Saud is a status-quo regional power which has not undertaken a mobilization against any other power since 1924, who have no ambitions to cadge territory or erect client states, and whose foreign policy is governed by bland material self-interest (bar a pronounced antagonism to Communism). It’s just business with them in their dealings with just about everyone. C’mon Chris C., this isn’t that difficult.

  • I can’t speak for Mr. Buchanan, but I would guess he’s about as “anti-Israel” as the Vatican, which has on occasion criticized Israeli policies, in particular its treatment of those under continued military occupation. What Iran says is not what ultimately must determine what the US, acting primarily in its own interests and not that of foreign nations who can well defend themselves, should actually do. The US faced down far graver threats from the USSR and the Warsaw Pact, without going to war. Yet we’re beating the war drums now? And Shawn if you’re mortified by what Iran says, and presumably think that warrants war preparations, what do you propose we do about North Korea whose bellicosity makes the Iranians look tame by comparison? The US has ample means of deterrence, and as long as it is mindful first and foremost of its own national interest and national security, it has little to fear unless it panics its way into a war it cannot win. Or do you think a bombing campaign with or without ground troops would have the slightest chance of bringing a lasting peace to the region? Have we learned nothing from our last righteous endeavor? War has taken a horrific toll on the Christians of the Middle-East. Should we add to their already grave burdens? Their plight is never taken into account. It should be front and center, not an afterthought.

  • Maybe it’s time we stopped being played for suckers by other nations who would be happy to drag us into war for their own benefit, and certainly not ours.

    Why not take Philip Giraldi’s poisonous claptrap somewhere else?

  • The US faced down far graver threats from the USSR and the Warsaw Pact, without going to war. Yet we’re beating the war drums now?
    ==
    Because the Soviet regime was governed by a different sort of calculus and could be readily deterred.

    Nuclear weapons draw heat, which is why the vast majority of foreign countries are uninterested in acquiring them. The possession of them does nothing toward the achievement of their political goals. Pakistan was motivated to build a nuclear weapon because they’ve had a series of cage matches with India (also a nuclear power) which ended badly for them. What’s Iran’s object (not shared by any other Near Eastern state)?

  • Or do you think a bombing campaign with or without ground troops would have the slightest chance of bringing a lasting peace to the region?

    The object is to destroy production facilities. Quit playing games.

  • The US faced down far graver threats from the USSR and the Warsaw Pact, without going to war.

    In that instance, it helped our cause that the secular humanists ideologues we confronted had a purely this-worldly, material understanding of the immanenton which they sought to eschatize.

    Unlike the Mullahs, whom view Mutually Assured Destruction as a win-win.

  • “Unlike the Mullah’s whom view Mutually Assured Destruction as a win-win.” -Ernst Schreiber

    A real and frightening truth Mr. Schreiber.

    Wasn’t long ago, 2008 I believe, that the old leader was welcoming all chaos as to open the way of the Mahdi.

  • Saudi Arabia is a very reliable ally against Iran.
    Iran, whose own oil reserves are dwindling, would dearly like to get her hands on the oil-rich Shiite areas of Saudi Arabia, along with those of the Caspian. Don’t forget, a quarter of Iranians are ethnic Azeris.
    What makes Iran particularly dangerous is her rapidly declining birth rate. The government knows that, if it is ever to have a chance of creating a new Persian empire, it must act now, whilst it still has enough men of military age to do so.

  • No doubt Israel has reasons to be very concerned. The whole middle-East is in a ferment at a time of global uncertainties.
    What then is the solution?
    http://www.popeleo13.com/pope/2015/03/02/category-archive-message-board-270-the-time-for-the-jewish-nation-1/

  • After years of Obama regime unilateral, strategic disarmament Israel is better prepared to defend itself than is the United States.

    You know Net hit them where it hurts. The MSM liars (always presenting lies as news) and late-night hyenas (turning lies into farce) were out of control.

  • Saudi Arabia is a very reliable ally against Iran in the exact same sense that Soviet Russia was a very reliable ally against Nazi Germany.

  • “Salvation is from the Jews”. Bibi said, we are “Mishpocha”, and if we neglect our first “family” we do so at our peril.

  • I always get a chuckle out of T Shaw’s descriptions: “late night hyenas.” How aptly does that describe the talking heads on late night TV. I would of course include in their company jackals, baboons, warthogs, and broods of vipers (a phrase John the Baptist and Jesus both used), all different varieties of the same loathsome creature which we know as the liberal progressive Democrat journalist.

  • Saudi Arabia is a very reliable ally against Iran in the exact same sense that Soviet Russia was a very reliable ally against Nazi Germany.

    Rubbish. The House of Saud routed its Hashemite rivals in 1924 and assumed control of the Hijaz as well as Nejd. It’s boundaries have been fixed since. then. The only neighboring state it has injured in the last 90 years has been the ghastly Ba’athist menace in Iraq, and in that circumstance, they were a crucial but secondary participant. The disagreeable features of the regime are organic l products of the local society and culture. The regime’s imperialist and revanchist disposition is nil. They’re nothing like Soviet Russia. They do have no permanent friends, just permanent interests.

  • Shiites, Wahabbists, whatever strand of Sunni Islam ISIS practices, it’s like watching the redshirts, blackshirts and brownshirts street brawl over whose strand of socialism is authentic as far as I’m concerned.

    And the Saudis use mosques much the same way that the Soviets used the Comintern.

  • No state has done more to spread Islamic radicalism worldwide than Saudi Arabia. They haven’t invaded their neighbors but so what? The Iranians haven’t either. The Saudis, by aiding in the establishment of radical Mosques have done more to threaten the US than Iran by far.
    And Art, you failed to address my first comment about the Saudis and the Koran, though you responded as if you did. Paul had pointed out that the Iranians can’t be trusted since the Koran permits them to mislead the infidel.(that’s us). The Saudis can play us for fools as well, and justify it by the same passages in the Koran, such as when they pretend to be an ally while supporting radical Islam. And I agree Art, the object of bombing is to destroy production facilities. So what? It’s an act of war. Feel free to walk us through how that will further the only legitimate and proper object of war; that of securing a lasting and just peace, and enhancing US security in the process.

  • [T]he object of bombing is to destroy production facilities. So what? It’s an act of war. Feel free to walk us through how that will further the only legitimate and proper object of war; that of securing a lasting and just peace, and enhancing US security in the process.

    Curtis LeMay might have some worthwhile opinions on how to best go about it. But yeah, I’m sure you’re right. Blowing up production facilities, while necessary, won’t be sufficient.

  • The Saudis, by aiding in the establishment of radical Mosques have done more to threaten the US than Iran by far

    Rubbish. The only threat generator there would be through the conduit of youths who leave the occident to join paramilitaries abroad, and only that portion thereof which could be attributed to Saudi promotion of the Wahhabi school of interpretation. The Saudi government is not financing foreign paramilitaries beyond the forces arrayed against Soviet Russia and the protection money they paid the PLO.
    ==
    And Art, you failed to address my first comment about the Saudis and the Koran, though you responded as if you did. Paul had pointed out that the Iranians can’t be trusted since the Koran permits them to mislead the infidel
    ==
    I’m not responsible for what Mr. Primavera says. Take your complaints to him. I’m observing the behavior and history of the two governments in question. One’s a self-interested minor irritant with which we’ve done business for nearly nine decades, one’s a lunatic asylum.

  • So what? It’s an act of war. Feel free to walk us through how that will further the only legitimate and proper object of war; that of securing a lasting and just peace, and enhancing US security in the process.

    There is no such thing as ‘a lasting and just peace’. There is merely the equilibrium of the times. Some equilibria are more stable than others. Some more just than others. The point of destroying the production facilities is to take away their capacity to harm others in five and six figure job lots. Quit playing dumb.

  • I have no complaint to make to Paul, and I already addressed the matter with him, but you chose to quote my comment to him but ignored the context, which was if Iran can’t be trusted because the Koran allows them to lie why do we cozy up to the Saudis whose Koran allows them the same privilege? And Art,do you think Augustine et al who developed the Just War theory were playing dumb as well? Maybe they know a bit more than you and I do about how to bring a Christian perspective to issues of war and peace. Back to the Saudis you have heard that 18 of 19 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi( not Iranian) didn’t you? And are you really unconcerned about Saudi influence in the propagation of radical Islam, including here in the US? This might help you get a handle on it a bit better.http://dttj.blogspot.com/2010/08/saudi-arabias-funding-of-american.html

  • chris c wrote, “Maybe they know a bit more than you and I do about how to bring a Christian perspective to issues of war and peace…”
    I would put more faith in Cardinal Richelieu and Père Joseph. They had both practical experience and pressing responsibility to mould their views.

  • Question, chirs: Were the 9/11 guys working for the Saudi government as part of a larger Saudi foreign policy scheme, do you know?

  • And are you really unconcerned about Saudi influence in the propagation of radical Islam, including here in the US? This might help you get a handle on it a bit better

    Chris, you propagate something, someone has to be listening and receptive. We’ve had since the 2d World War several bureau of the United States government whose work it was to promote an American viewpoint abroad. They operate radio services, run libraries, run exchange programs, have a speakers’ bureau etc. Currently, I think its all subsumed under the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the public diplomacy apparat of the State department. How’s that been working out for us? During the late Cold War, it was astonishing the degree to which the idle public diplomacy of 3d world countries followed a variant of the Soviet line. You want to attribute that to the effect of Radio Moscow? The Soviets may have been the megahertz champion of the world, but their radio programming was comparatively crude and their listenership a small fraction of that of the BBC World Service. These sorts of things may have a good effect (or a bad effect), but they’re a weak vector in influencing the evolution of culture.

    I would refer you to Alastair Horne’s A Savage War of Peace on the Algerian insurrection (1954-62). The association of ulema in Algeria is mentioned once in passing. The Arab world was awash in revanchist political action in 1954, a great deal of it violent. Some of it was praetorianist, some fascist, some variant communist. All of it was evil. What’s happened since is that the revanchism has remained but the idiom has changed. The Wahhabi school of interpretation has had political hegemony in the Nejd since the early 19th century and the House of Saud has been a force of interest since the advent of the Arabian oil industry more than 70 years ago. Violent political Islam dates only from 1978, and the source was not the Wahhabi sect, but the Shi’ite clergy in Iran, who had seized control of the government. This should suggest to you that there’s a limit to the power of ideas per se to motivate action or to breach the compartments people maintain in cogitating about one part of life and another.
    ==
    Back to the Saudis you have heard that 18 of 19 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi( not Iranian) didn’t you? –

    Fifteen of the hijackers were Saudis and four were Egyptian. They were also bachelors, had long histories of genteel unemployment, and derived from the educated bourgeois minority.

  • I cannot forecast to you the action of the Obama Administration. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. Is Valery Jarrett that key? Now I only know what I read “in the papers” and that isn’t much but to me she seems the dog that didn’t bark. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the sound of her voice at all. And now we hear of the former Secretary of State using a private server for all of her official business. Did the President know of this? Taken together with the Prime Minister of Israel taking the desperate expedient of going around the President to directly address Congress, these curious affairs should arouse the attention of all citizens. Be gentle as doves but wise as serpents.

  • Art, you are certainly correct; the number was 15 NOT 18. Thanks for the info on the book. Regarding violent political Islam dating only from 1978, the Armenian genocide under the Ottomans might well qualify.

    As to WK, I think the involvement of the Saudi leadership in 9/11 is a matter of some dispute. I have read there are claims that they were involved to some degree, but I’m not sure where the truth lies on that point.

  • chris c wrote, “Regarding violent political Islam dating only from 1978, the Armenian genocide under the Ottomans might well qualify.”
    No, the Armenian genocide was the result of Turkish nationalism, not radical Islam (which the Young Turks detested)

  • Michael though generally the genocide dates from 1915 it was preceded by massacres in 1894-1895, on the order of 100-300,000, and in 1909 by Ottoman forces as part of a purge against the Young Turks. Many Armenians include these events as occurring as part of the genocide, In any event it was directly against Armenian Christians as Christians by a movement that was not indifferent to Islam, although they wanted to bring it into modern times. Turkish nationalism was a movement within Islam, not apart or outside of it, and it saw Christians as expendable. Maybe it’s not equatable with todays Jihadist movement, but I think it still qualifies broadly speaking as an Islamic political movement that had grave repercussion for those in the way because of their Armenian nationality and Christian faith.

  • chris c

    Turkish nationalism was a rejection of Islam, as traditionally understood.

    It rejected the ummah and the caliphate in favour of national independence. It rejected Arab influence (the adoption of the roman alphabet and Roman law, replacing sharia with the Swiss Civil Code, the German Commercial code and the Italian Penal Code, the ban on wearing the fez and the burkah)

    It was no more (and no less) an Islamic movement, than the French Revolution and the Civil Constitution of the Clergy was a Catholic movement.

  • “Turkey is taking advantage of the war in order to thoroughly liquidate its internal foes, i.e., the indigenous Christians, without being thereby disturbed by foreign intervention.” ―Mehmed Talat
    “The Turkish elements here referred to were shortsighted, fanatical, and yet sincere in their belief. The public encouraged them, and they had the general approval behind them. They were numerous and strong.” ―Mehmed Talat

    While it is true that the wartime events occurred under the aegis of the Young Turks whose motivations were primarily nationalistic, it cannot be said that radical Islamic sentiments were not essential to the implementation of the genocide.

    Under the “Bloody Sultan” Abdul Hamid II, Christians were cut down to the cry of “Allahu Akbar”. At mid-day, the butchers knelt down and said their prayers and jumped up to resume their bloody work.
    There had been previous murderous assaults against the Armenian people, who had lived two thousand years in their ancient homeland before the Seljuk Turks conquered it. Sultan Abdul Hamid II was responsible for the massacre of about 200,000 Armenians between 1894 and 1896. Behind the opaque veil of mere statistics there transpired vicious scene after vicious scene of unspeakable horror: “soldiers” falling upon them to “outrage” many to death and slaughtering others with sword and bayonet; children set in line to see how many could be killed with a single shot.
    Throughout these years, sadistic brutality raged against the Christian Armenian population of Turkey. Rarely, a fleeting opportunity of survival was offered when the troopers would crash into an occupied church and demand the congregation to deny Christ, and embrace Mohammed. When no one answered, the troops fell upon them, and the butchery commenced until martyr’s blood flowed from beneath the doors of the church.
    In 1909, another paroxysm of persecution occurred in Adana. Over four-thousand dwellings were torched, and thirty-thousand Armenians slain. These nightmares were but practice for the carefully planned genocide the Turkish government carried out behind the obscuring fog of the “Great War”.
    The government decided that the existence of a Christian minority impeded and threatened the destiny and integrity of an expanding Turkish Empire. On November 14, 1914, to marshal the Musselmen for the task ahead, the sheikh-al-Islam, leader of all the Sunnis, proclaimed a jihad against “infidels and enemies of the faith”.
    The annihilation of one and a half million Armenians commenced on April 24, 1914. On that day, throughout the Armenian villages of Turkey, there appeared a town crier, accompanied by a boy beating a drum, announcing that in so many days they must be prepared to relocate, as part of the war effort, and to assemble at the town square.
    Once assembled, the men were marched out of town, and shot. The defenseless women and children were marched out to a worse fate. As they stretched out upon the roads away from their ancient homes, there lay in wait newly uniformed legions of released-for-the-purpose criminals eager to fall upon them with license to kill.
    One sympathetic witness, Armin T. Wegner, described the doomed deportees arrayed along the road as “like a weeping hedge that begs and screams, and from which rise a thousand pleading hands; we go by, our hearts full of shame.” Most were tortured to death. The thousands drowned by the boatload in the Black Sea suffered less.
    My comments are largely drawn from Peter Balakian’s “Burning Tigris” which has been criticized, although not credibly in my view, for being overly lurid.
    The leaders French Revolution do not appear to have used Catholicism as a motivator of say the Sans Culottes or other elements to obtain their goals. The Church was indeed actively persecuted and Catholics massacred in the Vendee and generally throughout France. Christianity is not easily bent to achieve evil ends. Her concept is of God being Love, not merely power and will. Accordingly, I find Obama’s attempt to compare Jihad and Crusade lame, uninformed or worse.

  • PS: “Who today, after all, speaks of the annihilation of the Armenians?” – Adolph Hitler, eight days before Nazi Germany invaded Poland.

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in a Nutshell

Saturday, May 3, AD 2014

A brilliant and concise explanation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by Dennis Prager.  It is impossible to make peace when one side wants the other side dead, dead, dead. Until that changes, this conflict will never be resolved unless the Palestinians succeed in defeating Israel followed by a pogrom on an epic scale, or the Israelis expel all Palestinians.

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3 Responses to The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in a Nutshell

David Mamet, Liberals, Israel and Blood Sacrifice

Wednesday, December 14, AD 2011

 

Playwright David Mamet has an interesting column in the Wall Street Journal today examing hostility towards Israel on the Left:

The Liberal West has, for decades, indulged itself in an orgy of self-flagellation. We have enjoyed comfort and security, but these, in the absence of gratitude and patriotism, cause insecurity. This attempted cure for insecurity can be seen in protestations of our worthlessness, and the indictment of private property.

But no one in the affluent West and no one among the various protesters of various supposed injustices is prepared to act in accordance with his protestations. The opponent of “The Corporation” is still going to use the iPhone which permits him to mass with his like. The celebrities acting out at Occupy meetings will still invest their surplus capital, and the supposed champion of the dispossessed in the Levant will not only scoff at American Indian claims to land he has come to understand as his—he will lobby the City Council to have the homeless shelter built anywhere but on his block.

The brave preceptors who would like to end Poverty, War, Exploitation, Colonialism, Inequality and so on, stop at the proclamation. How may they synchronize their wise fervor with their inaction?

How may they still the resultant anxiety? The Left’s answer is the oldest in the world: by appeal to The Gods. But how may The Gods be appeased? The immemorial answer is: By human sacrifice.

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3 Responses to David Mamet, Liberals, Israel and Blood Sacrifice

  • God promised Abraham in Genesis that He would bless those who bless Abraham and his descendents, and curse those who curse them. And St. Paul explained in his epistle to the Romans that God has not reneged on His promises to the Jews. Regardless that we may view ther Church as the new Israel, the inheriter of the promises of God (and there is truth to that description), nevertheless, there is still a special place in our Blessed Lord’s heart for His people, the Jews. That doesn’t make Jews superior or inferior to Gentiles, or makes us Gentile Christians not His people; we know from St. Paul’s letters that that isn’t the case. Rather, it means exactly what God promised Abraham, and liberal leftist Democrats may find that out to their own doom just as Adolf Hitler and the Nazis did. Furthermore, those who persecute Jews will almost invariably persecute authentic Christians of any religious denomination (to be differentiated from the liberal social justice or reactionary fascist types of pseudo-Christians).

    BTW, I am increasingly finding that the differences between Nazism (or any reactionary fascist group) and liberal leftist democracy (two wolves and one sheep voting on what’s for dinner) are ever narrowing more and more rapidly.

  • Oh, I forgot to add: Jesus was (and is) a Jew. Right?

  • Being filled with pure hatred and and unadulterated evil, the liberal is anti-semitic by nature.

73 Responses to Bibi & Barry

  • …This is rather depressing– Bibi was cute!

  • You talking about Bibi and Barack or Rahm Emanuel and George W. Bush?

  • Benjamin’s brother, Jonathan, is a legend in Israel. He was the head of Sayeret Maktal (Israel’s Seal Team 6) and the only Israeli commando who died during the raid on Entebbe. Benjamin was also a member of Sayeret.

    Their father, Benzion Netanyahu, was a fierce Zionist and scholar of the Spanish Inquisition, who argued that Jewish efforts to placate the Spaniards were futile from the outset. I don’t think most Americans can understand how the current Prime Minister processes the question of Israel’s survival–it’s hardwired.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/17/opinion/17goldberg.html?pagewanted=1

  • “I don’t think most Americans can understand how the current Prime Minister processes the question of Israel’s survival–it’s hardwired.”

    Considering the history of the Jews, especially the recent history of the Jews, I think it is astonishing that the Israelis have been willing to take any steps for peace that involve diminishing their security one iota. If I were a Jew I would suspect that if we were about to be massacred in Israel, the non-Jewish world, with the exception of the US (although under Obama I think that exception might be shaky), would look on with cool indifference, unless they were viewing it with rabid enthusiasm.

  • I completely agree.

    In light of history, the Jews should annex large portions of the West Bank.

    The rest they should divest to Jordan and give Gaza back to Egypt.

    They were invaded and successfully repealed the invading Muslim armies. They have every right to do what they wish with the West Bank and Gaza.

    As for the other point I mentioned, let the remaining land, of whatever is left after Israel fairly stakes their claims decide if they want to be the Lichtenstein of the Muslim world or merge with Jordan and Egypt.

  • RR,

    You mean the Rahm Emmanuel that shot at US Navy ships and killed countless American sailors and the W. Bush that served in the National Guard defending the greatest nation on God’s green earth?

    You need to make a bigger lie, a la Hitler, to even think of getting away with the psuedohistory that you peddle brother.

  • Anachronistic, Tito. Lattes were rare if not unknown in the northeastern United States when B.O. was that age.

  • Art Deco,

    I believe.

    I absolutely couldn’t tell you the difference between 3 day old spoiled chocolate milk and a latte or decaf, or a capuchino.

  • You talking about Bibi and Barack or Rahm Emanuel and George W. Bush?

    Rahm Emanuel served for a couple weeks during the Gulf War as a civilian assistant to the IDF dealing with anti-aircraft defenses.

    George W. Bush served in the National Guard flying fighter jets.

    I’m not clear how Emanuel is supposed to rate as having “fought for the survival of the Jewish State” or Bush gets cast as being like Obama.

    Which is not to say that the comparison of Netanyahu and Obama’s activities in their early 20s is hugely relevant to how good they are as heads of state now — it mostly just serves to underline that Netanyahu is an interesting person while Obama is not particularly.

    Gotta love the pictures, though.

  • “You mean the Rahm Emmanuel that shot at US Navy ships and killed countless American sailors”

    Talk about pseudo-history!

  • The pot calling kettle black.

    It just dawned on you?

    /sarcasm off

  • While I find Bibi an appealing personality, I think he is making a strategic blunder of potentially dire proportions. To quote Jonathan Chait:

    During the first quarter-century of Israel’s existence, the prospect of a massed conventional military invasion constituted the greatest threat to its existence. That’s no longer true. The greatest dangers today are the combination of demographic and political threats posed by the growing relative size of the Arab population west of the Jordan river, terrorism, and the loss of legitimacy posed by a continuing occupation and counter-terrorism policy in the West Bank and Gaza. Those dangers all dwarf the potential that armored columns of Arab armies will cut Israel in half. The tragedy is that huge swaths of the Israeli right and its sympathizers (both Jewish and Gentile) have failed to grasp this, and have placed it in danger of succumbing to the mortal new threat while guarding against the antiquated one.

  • Strategically, they should probably bomb the blank out of the surrounding areas, inform any neighbors that providing weapons to terrorists is an act of war, and generally act in a rather deadly manner to those who live near them.

    Negotiating with those who 1) don’t hold to agreements and 2) aren’t even expected to hold their agreements is a Bad Idea.

    Let’s not hope too hard for them to think strategically, given what the body count would be…. *shudder*

  • Strategically, they should probably bomb the blank out of the surrounding areas, inform any neighbors that providing weapons to terrorists is an act of war, and generally act in a rather deadly manner to those who live near them.

    As strategy this leaves something to be desired.

  • As strategy this leaves something to be desired.

    As does the fool’s bargain with those who will not hold faith, as does falling back to indefensible borders, as does committing mass suicide (directly, since most strategies end up being this….)

    It’s hard to have a really desirable strategy when you’re surrounded by those who think you have no right to exist, let alone be successful.

  • It strikes me that Chait has a point that the 9 mile depth of the old Israeli territory that Netanyahu doesn’t want to go back it is not the danger that it was in the 40s-70s, for the reason that Israel now has such incredible and obvious military superiority over all its direct neighbors that one would imagine that actual states would have the wisdom not to attack and face the choice that either:

    a) The Israeli conventional military would defeat them quickly and spectacularly or else

    b) If things seemed tight, Israel would nuke them.

    That said, for those same reasons, I’m not sure that Israel necessarily needs to make seriously dangerous sacrifices in the interest of “legitimacy” with countries that would tend not to like them anyway. (Turkey and Western Europe seem unlikely to become their fans no matter what, much less their immediate neighbors.)

    This probably means it would make sense for them to pull out of parts but not all of the West Bank and then announce that cross border attacks will be treated as acts of war — but one thing that probably is not in the cards is that the Palestinian leadership announce they are actually happy with any deal that’s ever offered.

  • Being that the West Bank is the high ground and of strategic importance to Israel, I would see their need in taking it back. If I were President Obama, I would stay out of the fray, except to ensure rights for Christians who are native to the area. Unfortunately, our President always makes the wrong moves and ruffles the feathers of the wrong people.

  • Foxfire,

    There’s nothing indefensible about the pre-1967 borders. The idea that Israel would be at risk from an invasion by Jordan if it returned to those borders is a bad joke.

    The Palestinians have long since abandoned the idea that you can defeat Israel by military force. Instead, the new plan is to try and turn Israel into a pariah state akin to Rhodesia or South Africa. The way you counter that threat is by ending the occupation. That was Sharon’s vision (roughly), and if he hadn’t had a stroke he may well have pulled it off.

  • I very much doubt if there is any diplomatic solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians, the vast majority in any case, have never come to terms with Israel as a permanent reality. They assume that something will occur which will remove Israel from the equation and they only have to wait. Israel is often compared in Palestinian writings to the ephemeral Crusader States of the twelfth and thirteenth century and the Palestinians view time as being on their side.

    The main military threat to Israel is not conventional, although I would note that Israel suddenly has a potentially hostile Egypt now on its southern border. The military threat to Israel comes from a massive terrorist strike involving WMDS probably backed by Iran. I have heard that the Israelis have viewed with increasing alarm the infighting going on within Iran’s leadership fearing that it may presage an attack on them. Things will get very dicey over there before this year is out.

  • BA-
    how about that it involves abandoning tons of their citizens? How about that it involves giving in to terrorists that aren’t going to be happy until they’re gone– and probably not even then? And who on earth limited it to Jordan?

    The military folks that I know are good with this stuff say they’re indefensible to easily foreseeable Arab aggression–even if one ignores whatever the frick happens with the “Palestinians.” (A radio show that is pretty representative of what the folks I trust say would be “Dark Secret Place“– the host of which is no big Israel fan, incidentally, although he’s not hostile.

  • The main military threat to Israel is not conventional, although I would note that Israel suddenly has a potentially hostile Egypt now on its southern border. The military threat to Israel comes from a massive terrorist strike involving WMDS probably backed by Iran.

    The Egyptian army is not a real threat to Israel. Iran is a real threat, but to do that you need U.S. support. The best spin I can put on Bibi’s actions is that he’s written Obama off as an ally and is trying to hurt his chance at reelection in the hopes of having someone more favorably inclined get elected President.

  • I would note the Prime Minister and the Likkud are now saying this was overblown by the media.

    And not to be offering an opinion but just correcting the misstatement that “They were invaded and successfully repealed the invading Muslim armies” I would remind folks that almost all of the uniformed Christians in this conflict were among the invaders.

  • how about that it involves abandoning tons of their citizens?

    What Obama outlined doesn’t involve abandoning any Israeli citizens.

    How about that it involves giving in to terrorists that aren’t going to be happy until they’re gone – and probably not even then?

    It’s not about making the Palestinians happy. It’s about removing their main weapon against you (which I suspect will make them very unhappy).

    And who on earth limited it to Jordan?

    Given where the border is, it’s pretty much geographically limited to Jordan.

    If the idea is that a Jordanian attack would be accompanied by attacks by other Arab states, well, that’s been tried before. In 1967 it took the Israelis six days to rout the combined forces of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq. If there was a repeat today it would probably take about six hours.

  • What Obama outlined doesn’t involve abandoning any Israeli citizens.

    *snort* Yeah, sure, if Israel can talk the Palestinians into trading them.
    “Here, I’ll give you all this land that I have right now– and then we’ll work on trades, how about that? Oh, by the way, will you trade me the west bank where most of our 300,000-ish settlers live?

    It’s not about making the Palestinians happy. It’s about removing their main weapon against you (which I suspect will make them very unhappy).

    How does giving in remove their ability to badmouth Israel? Look at how they removed the last weapon– by destroying the tactic, not by rewarding it.

    Given where the border is, it’s pretty much geographically limited to Jordan.

    And Palestine–wherever that ends up being– and anyone that the Palestinians let march right on in, and Egypt with whoever the Muslim Brotherhood wants to come in, and Syria, and Lebanon.
    That’s before we even start thinking about sea and air power, and assumes that— ha!– terrorism stops.

    If the idea is that a Jordanian attack would be accompanied by attacks by other Arab states, well, that’s been tried before.

    I thought you were upset about fighting the last conflict when the facts on the ground have changed?

    I missed it the first time, but my dark suggestion actually agrees with your statement– the way to win is to end the occupation. There’s two ways to end any occupation, only one of which doesn’t leave Israel with an even bigger border and a reputation for backing down from attacks.

  • The Palestinians have long since abandoned the idea that you can defeat Israel by military force. Instead, the new plan is to try and turn Israel into a pariah state akin to Rhodesia or South Africa. The way you counter that threat is by ending the occupation.

    I get that, and it strikes me as the strongest argument for a unilateral pull-out from most or all of the West Bank. I guess I’m still a little uncertain, though, as to how effective this would be in stopping the attempt to label Israel as a pariah state.

    Admittedly, they haven’t left Gaza entirely alone since pulling out (though their interventions were provoked) but the pull out there has if anything increased the pressure on them from that quarter not reduced it.

    I’m not entirely sure one could be confident that the same would not be the case with the West Bank if they did a unilaterial withdrawal.

    If the idea is that a Jordanian attack would be accompanied by attacks by other Arab states, well, that’s been tried before. In 1967 it took the Israelis six days to rout the combined forces of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq. If there was a repeat today it would probably take about six hours.

    There, I agree. And indeed, if Jordan was willing to actually take back the West Bank, I would imagine that Israel would jump at the chance, as then they’d have the rest of Jordan to also aim force at if the West Bank got out of hand. The thing which makes the West Bank so problematic is that it seems little to willing to immolate itself if Israel is likely to get burned in the process. And it’s so messed up already, it’s not as if threats to blockade or bomb it are really all that efficacious. (Which, at the same time, is why it’s almost impossible for Israel to police when they are in charge.)

  • “The Egyptian army is not a real threat to Israel.”

    It came very, very close to being a major threat in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and without Nixon’s airlift of supplies the Israelis might have faced a very precarious military situation in the Sinai. Now the main problem it presents for Israel is that their military can no longer count on a quiet border with Egypt in a crisis.

  • *snort* Yeah, sure, if Israel can talk the Palestinians into trading them.

    The Palestinians aren’t likely to agree to any peace deal. Since the Palestinians aren’t going to agree to a peace deal, it serves no purpose for Israel to let itself be perceived as the one who won’t agree to a peace deal. In fact it is positively harmful, since it allows the Palestinians and their allies to paint Israel, rather than the Palestinians, as the obstacle.

    How does giving in remove their ability to badmouth Israel?

    The Palestinians can say whatever they want. The question is whether anyone will listen.

    I submit that that people are more likely to feel sympathy for the Palestinians if (1) Israel continues to occupy the West Bank, and (2) Israel is perceived as being unwilling to negotiate a peace deal. It therefore behooves Israel to try to eliminate these sources of Palestinian sympathy if it can do so consistent with its own security (which it can).

    And Palestine–wherever that ends up being– and anyone that the Palestinians let march right on in, and Egypt with whoever the Muslim Brotherhood wants to come in, and Syria, and Lebanon.

    As I said before, if it came down to it, the IDF could rout the combined forces of Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon in about six hours. They really really are not a threat to Israel’s security. Anyone who tells you different is either lying to you or doesn’t know what he is talking about.

  • I think there’s a lot to what BA is saying, but I agree with Don regarding sweeping generalizations about the Arab militaries. In the air–perhaps. But on the ground, the Egyptians and Syrians fought very, very well in 1973, as did Hezbollah back in 2006.

  • “The Egyptian army is not a real threat to Israel.”

    It came very, very close to being a major threat in the 1973 Yom Kippur War

    That was 40 years ago when Egypt had Soviet backing and was, if not at the height of their power, then at least a lot closer to it than they are now.

  • The Palestinians can say whatever they want. The question is whether anyone will listen.

    If it’s a hammer against Israel, they’ll listen. Facts haven’t changed anything thus far, and I doubt they’ll change things in the future.

  • I wouldn’t overestimate Israel’s ability to fend off another multi-nation attack. Yes, on paper it may look like a cake walk even compared to their earlier victories. However, war doesn’t usually play out like it does on paper. It wasn’t five years ago when Israel entered Lebanon and pulled out in a month. I don’t think they even claim that campaign a success.

  • Darwin,

    There is a kind of fatalism among some on the right when it comes to public perceptions of Israel. The view is basically that it doesn’t matter what Israel does, the people who don’t like her won’t like her, while the people who support her will stand by her.

    I don’t think that’s right. You mention Turkey and Western Europe, for example, as countries that aren’t going to like Israel no matter what. Yet Israel either has or has had excellent relations with both Turkey and Western Europe. Certainly there are some people who will oppose Israel no matter what, but there are also lots of people whose attitude towards the Mideast is going to be determined by whether Israel seems like an oppressive colonial power or a country that wants peace and is only defending its right to exist.

    In the long run continued Israeli occupation of the West Bank is untenable. Either it will have to make the area and its inhabitants part of Israel proper (which for demographic reasons would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state) or it must withdraw from them.

  • It wasn’t five years ago when Israel entered Lebanon and pulled out in a month.

    This was for political rather than military reasons. Militarily the IDF could have occupied Lebanon for as long as it wanted.

    I would note that during the early days of the war, western opinion was almost universal in support of Israel, and even the Arab states were publicly muted and privately supporting (belying the claims that people will condemn Israel regardless of what happens). It was only once it became clear that Israel wasn’t going to really commit to destroying Hezbollah but instead was going to use bombing to affect Lebanese opinion that support evaporated.

  • It was only once it became clear that Israel wasn’t going to really commit to destroying Hezbollah but instead was going to use bombing to affect Lebanese opinion that support evaporated.

    Definitely not how I remember it. More like, Israel was actually attacking Hezbollah instead of doing a quick smack after they were invaded and had their soldiers taken captive. While rockets kept firing into their country, too– I CAN remember failing to be surprised that Israel’s bombing got condemned, but the stuff headed their way was just accepted.

  • There is a kind of fatalism among some on the right when it comes to public perceptions of Israel. The view is basically that it doesn’t matter what Israel does, the people who don’t like her won’t like her, while the people who support her will stand by her.

    I don’t think that’s right. You mention Turkey and Western Europe, for example, as countries that aren’t going to like Israel no matter what. Yet Israel either has or has had excellent relations with both Turkey and Western Europe.

    I think there’s a measure of truth to this, I’m just not sure I’d take it as far.

    Yes, Turkey and Western Europe were both fairly positive on Israel for a while, but in Western Europe there’s a three way set of motivators to stay anti-Israel now that they’ve got there:

    – Opposing Israel as a colonialist power helps them feel about their colonialist pasts.
    – Seeing Israel as a wicked or at least ambivalent power helps them feel less guilty about the Holocaust (since it suggests that the Jews are no better than they are and would have done the same thing given the chance.)
    – It fits with a pattern of Antisemitism which is a lot older and more rooted than the more recent period of good feelings toward Israel.

    Given all these (and the fact that Israel’s enemies can sell them oil while Israel can’t) I’m not sure it’s realistic to expect Europe to feel much differently about Israel any time soon, even if Israel takes the high road in every way possible.

    Turkey, on the other hand, has had it’s own massive demographic shift over the last couple generations which may well make it permanently a religiously oriented power rather than a secular one — and one way for it to try to return to being a leader among religiously focused nations in its region is via opposing Israel.

    That said — I’d agree that some sort of unilateral “peace deal” on Israel’s part, which involves “giving back” the parts of the West Bank which Israel can obviously never govern peacefully is the right thing to do. I just think that they’ll get no credit for it except among their traditional supporters and continue to be portrayed as a colonialist power. (Though behind closed doors, I would imagine that most of the Arab governments will continue to be glad to see them make the heavy blows against the local terrorist organizations when necessary.)

  • An interesting take on the differences of cultures.

  • Despite mass media spin and what Israel would like to believe, it is not “a Jewish state.” There are 500,000 Palestinians living in Israel, a quarter of the population, and this is the reason why the Jews are against “the right of return.” In no time, they would become a minority.

  • Of course the Arabs, after the 48 war, chased about a million Jews over the years out of their countries, not infrequently confiscating their property. The vast majority of these refugees made a new home for themselves in Israel. Too bad the Arab world, with a vastly greater land mass and resources, did not make new homes for the refugee Palistinians, instead keeping them in “refugee” camps in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan to this very day, the better to stoke their hatred of Israel and use as pawns in the neverending war against the Jewish State. There are even “refugee” camps in the West Bank and Gaza which is absolutely farcial.

  • Yes, Turkey and Western Europe were both fairly positive on Israel for a while, but in Western Europe there’s a three way set of motivators to stay anti-Israel now that they’ve got there

    I don’t think it’s as bad as that. I can think of a number of current or recent European leaders, Blair, Sarkozy, Aznar, etc. who have been decently pro-Israel, and the overall trend in Europe is towards anti-immigrant parties who tend to be more favorably disposed to Israel. Overall Western Europe tends to be a lot more anti-Israel than the U.S. but then in general the political spectrum tends to be shifted leftward in Europe as compared to the U.S. on pretty much every issue.

  • I think Paul Johnson in his excellent book, “The History of the Jews,” points out there were at least 3 times the Palestinians/Arabs could have had a better deal, their own state, etc. but rejected all attempts, always holding out for more while Israel gave more than it got. Perhaps this long-running conflict will never been solved because Esau got outwitted by Jacob and never forgave him and never will.

  • The Palestinians Joe have had the worst leadership of any population since World War II with the exception of the North Koreans, and that is saying a mouthful. They never miss an opportunity to fail to give a forwarding address to all potential opportunities.

  • I have no sympathy or concern for the Palestinians, who have become progressively more radicalized Islamists. I do have concern and pity for the Arab Christians.

    I have only slight concern for Israel, a secular, liberal country which, while formally secular, continuously advances religious reasons for its existence and permanence, reasons ridiculously embraced by American Evangelicals. It’s ironic to see an aborting, sexually immoral, modern western nation defended as the “sacred homeland of the Jewish people,” as if the Patriarchs and Prophets would supporters of the Israeli state.

    In any event, I don’t see that we have a dog in this fight. Support of Israel has done nothing for our national interests since the fall of Communism (when Israel was a counter-weight in the Middle East). I don’t particularly wish to see Israel fall, but don’t think preventing that is worth one drop of American blood.

  • I agree, Tom, that Israel, armed to the teeth by the U.S. already and possessing nukes, can take care of itself no matter how many fronts it has to fight. The Arabs, far from united in purpose and strategy, are vastly overmatched in weaponry and soldiering skills. It should be noted that Israelis are not monolithic either in their views, with a political and religious spectrum that runs the gamut. Nor is a drop of American blood for Iraq/Libya/Afghanistan worth it.

  • I’m warm to the idea of hitting the Islamists, with whom we ARE at war, whether we want to acknowledge it or not (Libyan intervention would not be related to fighting Islam, so I can’t see our national interest there). Only to that extent do I see Israel as offering us anything of interest: they’ve got an impressive military and intelligence leg up on radical Islam. But I don’t care to see the Holy Land in the hands of a secular Israel any more than I would care to see it in the hands of the Moslems.

  • “But I don’t care to see the Holy Land in the hands of a secular Israel any more than I would care to see it in the hands of the Moslems.”

    They are the only two games in town Tom, and I much prefer the Israelis controling the Holy Land than the adherents of the Religion of Peace.

  • Agreed, Don, but only insofar as for the time being Israel shows more willingness to allow Christian access to the holy places. Whether they would be so accomodating if they didn’t need to curry favor with the West, who knows? You can guess and I can guess, but that’s what they are: guesses.

    That issue aside, I see no compelling national interest at stake for us in picking sides in this fight, at least as far as our blood or treasure is concerned.

  • Tom,

    Since 1948 the Christian population under Israeli control has more than doubled.

    In the West Bank and Gaza, it has dropped from 20% to barely 1%.

    Combined with the fact that even though Israel treats Catholic Holy Sites with contempt, they do allow access and have ruled in the Church’s favor time and again whenever it was confronted with Radical Muslims demanding space near Christian holy sites.

    I’ll take a hedonistic Israel over an anti-Christian/radical Islamist state any day of the year, decade, or century.

  • Sure, if that’s the only choice. But that’s hardly reason to support Israel qua Israel, and certainly not to the extent this country has. let’s not forget Johnathan Pollard– Israel spies on us not for just diplomatic reasons, but for military technology.

    We ought to keep both the Islamists and the Israelis at arm’s length.

  • Comparing Esau to the Palestinians is rather unfair ( to Esau). Some time after he had been cheated of his birthright, Esau went on to become a rich man through his own efforts. The Bible records that he forgave his cowardly brother and continued to maintain good relations with him. A most likeable and unusual man. Anyone who has gone through the trauma of a property division would recognise immediately that Esau was a gem of a man, a man in a million. He received some negative publicity from the Talmudists, who were concerned to present Jacob as a paragon of virtue. But the Bible takes a more relaxed view of these things; who among us knows how he will behave under similar circumstances?

    Had the Palestinians been largely Christian, the dispute between them and the Israelis would have been solved years ago, through mutual forgiveness and a sincere desire to let bygones be bygones. Being Muslims, peace with the Israelis is for them impossible short of the Second Coming. Their model and proximate idea of peace is the hudna – the temporarising ceasefire – that the pervert Mohamed agreed to liberally whenever he did not hold the upper hand militarily. Their ultimate ideal of peace is of course far worse, submission to the dead hand of Islam as befell the Bani Quraytha – Jews who could not hold their own against the grasping hand of the prophet of Islam. For this reason I hold all the peacemongers including sadly some nutcases in the Vatican to be misguided fools or worse.

  • Ivan,

    I agree wholeheartedly.

  • Bibi is a soldier and a mensch. Obama is a crafty community agitator and a cunning demagogue.

    Israeli/Jewish interests are not exactly equivalent to American/Catholic interests. They are closer than terrorists” interests.

    The enemy of my enemy . . .

  • I don’t have my comparative religion text on hand, but isn’t Esau the traditional ancestor of the Arab people?

    (Took a class several years ago…it was pretty good once one accepted that they viewed all religion like mythology, dead and with no real authority to what this or that group believed. Compared to the actively hostile to X and Y group ones, that’s pretty good.)

    Other than that, agreed, Ivan.

  • The Muslims Foxfier regard Abraham’s son Ishmael as being the father of several Arab tribes. He is regarded by them as one of the great prophets and a forefather of Muhammed.

  • “The Muslims Foxfier regard Abraham’s son Ishmael as being the father of several Arab tribes. He is regarded by them as one of the great prophets and a forefather of Muhammed.”

    From Dale Price’s Comprehensive Warehouse of Useless Trivia:

    In Byzantine historical sources, the Arabs are routinely referred to as “Hagarenes” in reference to Ishmael’s mother.

  • Malachi 1:3 (New International Version)

    3 but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his hill country into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.”

  • Looking at my Catholic edition of the New American Bible, it notes that “hated” should be read as “rejected,” and “loved” as “preferred,” and notes that St. Paul used the passage to point out God can call the Gentiles to Him if He wishes.

  • Hamas rejects Obama’s call for a return to the 67 borders:

    “Speaking to Al-Emirate Al-Youm, Zahar asked “Why won’t we talk about the 1948 borders? Why won’t we discuss the partition plan which was internationally recognized?””

    http://hotair.com/archives/2011/05/24/hamas-rejects-the-1967-borders-too/

    That would be the partition plan which was agreed to by Israel and rejected by the Arabs. As if Hamas would be satisfied with a do-over that would roll back the clock to 1947. Anything less than a Juden Frei Palestine is merely a step in the right direction as far as they are concerned.

  • ALSO; Bibi knows what the year is, although he doesn’t use AD.

    Obama (today signed register 24 May 2008) believes it’s 2008 in Great Britain.

    Can you imagine the media/intellectualistas’ reaction if Sarah Palin or any Republican was so bloody stupid?

    Maybe Bibi didn’t do HIGH school HIGH on WEED, either.

    Hey, let’s bring the federal budget back to the 1967 limits!

  • BA,

    You may be right on that, I’ll admit that I tend heavily towards the more cynical approach.

  • I’m not upto speed on Malachi, but isn’t it a much later book with all the overlay of subsequent history? The Catholic Encyclopedia appear confused; Jacob had cheated his brother and thus he had every reason to be wary. Unless this a cautionary tale of a fool and his money going their seperate ways, I do not see any significance in describing Esau as a ‘greedy’ man, when to a modern ear Jacob is clearly the malefactor. Yes Esau married many wives, but Jacob was no slacker in that department either.

  • That issue aside, I see no compelling national interest at stake for us in picking sides in this fight, at least as far as our blood or treasure is concerned.

    We have never devoted any manpower to the defense of Israel. About 11% of the foreign aid budget is distributed to Israel, or about $3 bn. That would amount to about 2% of Israel’s domestic product.

    they’ve got an impressive military and intelligence leg up on radical Islam

    But apparently, we should not contribute to maintaining it.

    It’s ironic to see an aborting, sexually immoral, modern western nation defended as the “sacred homeland of the Jewish people,”

    Israel has a lot of black hats. That aside, your objection would apply to the defense of any occidental country, including our own. One is reminded of George Kennan’s remark (ca 1980) that he did not care for the expense and risks necessary to defend the porno shops of Washington, D.C.

    I gather that with the death of Joseph Sobran, you think it necessary to take his place.

  • Ivan-
    looks to me like they made a deal. A bad deal, but a deal. Reading the translation in my home Bible, the main similarity is that they both emphasize that Esau cared so little for what-would-be as opposed to what-is that he sold his birthright for immediate gratification. Betting that’s about as big a no-no as you can get in such a culture, kind of like how we’re horrified that folks name their child after a retail product.

  • Art, yep I figured it would not take long for the ad hominems to start once the most modest suggestion is made that support of Israel is not in our national interest.

    You’re absolutely right, though, I don’t think we should be spending a single dime of our money on any of our 1st world allies, but certainly not on Israel, since whether there’s a Jewish state or a Palestinian state, or a mixture of the two in that region is of zero interest to American security.

    As late as yesterday, Netanyahu was calling Israel “the Jewish state.” I don’t think it’s out of bounds to question the duality involved in claiming that Israel is some sort of religious homeland while simultaneously Israel is as aggressively secular as any western nation.

    And what other country could get away with claiming to be a religious state? Would we tolerate Ireland, for instance, referring to itself as “a Catholic state” much less “THE Catholic state?” We criticize Iran and other Islamic states who are conciously and self-identified as religious… why not Israel?

  • Oh, and as for Israel being an ally, I wonder when it became the norm for allies to spy on us?

  • Oh, and as for Israel being an ally, I wonder when it became the norm for allies to spy on us?

    I know we spied on them during the Vietnam era– pretty openly, too.

  • Again, in Israel, Bibi could not give 1,372 waivers from Obamacare to his friends; nor tell Boeing to building its assembly plant somewhere far away from South Carolina; nor use Israeli tax police to punish criminal organizations guilty of supporting opposition political candidates.

    Tom,

    I was where you are until 0846 hours 11 Sep 2001.

    From then on (for me), support of israel became our national interest.

    Ditto, Fox. During the 1973 war, we were 24/7 flying SR-71’s over Israel. If I told you more, I’d have to shoot myself.

  • Oh, and as for Israel being an ally, I wonder when it became the norm for allies to spy on us?

    Ages ago. Friendly nations spy on each other all the time. We do it, and we’d be stupid not to.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2106079/

  • Art, yep I figured it would not take long for the ad hominems to start

    Rubbish. Your remarks resemble the late Mr. Sobran’s with near precision. (Down to the argumentitive contrivance below). Sorry the comparison bothers you. He remains revered by the Rockford Institute.

    As late as yesterday, Netanyahu was calling Israel “the Jewish state.” I don’t think it’s out of bounds to question the duality involved in claiming that Israel is some sort of religious homeland

    The term ‘Jewish’ denotes an ethnic group and a cultural minority as well as a confessional one. That’s the ‘duality’.

  • “Oh, and as for Israel being an ally, I wonder when it became the norm for allies to spy on us?”

    We spied on the Brits during World War II all the time, and they returned the favor. I can’t think of two closer allies, but routine spying is simply a fact of life between nations.

  • Foxfier,
    I have to agree that Esau’s flippancy meant that he did not deserve the responsibility of being the father of Israel.

  • Much of the 3bn that the US provides to Israel is in reality a cross subsidy to the US arms industry. Giving F16s to the Israelis who are unlikely to use them against US interests, is far better than giving them to either Egypt or Pakistan. The Israelis are the only ones who can field test US weapons and associated tactics given their peculiar circumstances. The 3bn aid should considered a part of the defence R&D budget.

Israeli Spy Arrested by Saudi Arabia

Tuesday, January 4, AD 2011

Many have sought to question the Zionist narrative that Israelis are strictly the victims of Arab hate when it comes to Middle East conflict and their darkest fears are certainly confirmed by this story of Mossad perverting nature in order to spy on their neighbors:

Saudi Arabian security forces have captured a vulture that was carrying a global positioning satellite (GPS) transmitter and a ring etched with the words “Tel Aviv University.” They suspect the bird of spying for Israel, Maariv-NRG reported Tuesday. The GPS and ring were connected to the bird as part of an long-term project by Israeli scientists that follows vultures’ location and altitude for research purposes.

The arrest of the vulture – whose identification code is R65 – comes several weeks after an Egyptian  official voiced the suspicion that a shark that attacked tourists off the Sinai shore was also acting on behalf of Mossad. The incidents may reflect a growing irrational hysteria among Arabs surrounding Israel’s military prowess and the efficacy of its intelligence services, possibly fueled by the Stuxnet virus’ success.

Those vultures!

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10 Responses to Israeli Spy Arrested by Saudi Arabia

  • Some irrationality can be expected after the almost certain Israeli involvement in the Dubai assassination, the Iranian computer virus, and most recently in the Lebanese spy cameras.

  • Oh, you beat me to it! Where is Karlson to warn about the threat posed by Zionist avians? How does a vulture keep Kosher? How does this connect to the mass bird drops in this country? Inquiring tin foiled covered minds want to know!

  • Perhaps if the vulture converts to Islam it will be forgiven.

  • Some irrationality can be expected after the almost certain Israeli involvement in the Dubai assassination, the Iranian computer virus, and most recently in the Lebanese spy cameras.

    Based on what little I know I would bet that Israel was indeed responsible for those things. However, I don’t think that is or should be the cause of irrationality in the region (or the West!). I think the irrationality in the region preceded and even created those events.

    For example, the Iranian government, frothing with hatred toward Jews and Israel, outwardly talks about wiping Israel off the face of the map and is trying to build nuclear weapons to that end. The virus, if created by Israel with Iran as the target, intended to thwart Iran’s horrific objectives via non-violent means. I’d say the irrationality of Iran led to the virus’ creation.

  • Not to mention that, if WikiLeaks is to be believed, the leaders of Saudi Arabia and other local countries privately told the US: You need to make sure that Israel does something about that Iranian nuclear program.

    Still, I can’t resist getting a chuckle or three out of the dastardly Hebrew Vulture. You simply can’t make these things up.

  • I do know the Jews against Zionism website know that political zionism is no joke even though this is made to look like one.

  • You cannot be too careful!

    Seems saudi security is “taking a page from the playbook” of the Obama/Napolitano homeland security strategy, which boils down to grope Grandma, poke grandpa.

  • If that vulture is a Mossad spy, I’d like to know who his handler is! ROTFL!

  • How does a vulture keep its yamaka on?

  • So, the Mossad is now training birds and fish to spy. Right! Then again the U.S. Navy was discovered training and working with dolphins.

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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0 Responses to Israel to Loosen Gaza Blockaid

  • 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!

Hearst Stands Behind Anti-Semite Helen Thomas

Sunday, June 6, AD 2010

Breaking News: The USA Today is reporting that Helen Thomas has retired following her anti-Semitic comments from last week (Biretta tip to TAC reader Phillip)

The Hearst Corporation, which owns Hearst Newspapers, continues to stand behind their ‘news reporter’ the anti-Semite Helen Thomas despite video evidence of her anti-Semitic remarks.

In her anti-Semitic remarks she called on Jews in the Middle-East to ‘get the hell out of Palestine’ and go back home to ‘Germany’ and ‘Poland’.  Apparently forgetting that they have been inhabiting the Holy Land for several thousands of years.

The Hearst Corporation, Helen Thomas’ employer, continues to stand behind her, but are saying her comments do not represent the values of the Hearst Corporation.

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49 Responses to Hearst Stands Behind Anti-Semite Helen Thomas

  • Fire the bigot. She has shamed herself, her profession and any organization she represents. Her apology rings hollow. She has revealed her true face and no mealymouthed apology can take that away.

  • The bigot should be fired. I am so sick of there being a double standard in our society. Liberals can get away with pretty much anything, while conservatives have to walk around treating every situation, every person, and everything with kid gloves for fear of being taken out of context or being falsely accused of something. She has violated journalistic integrity, ethics, and needs to go.

  • A bigot is a bigot, whether liberal or conservative! While I am personally left of center on political and social issues, I have no tolerance for racism. With respect to this issue, Hearst Corporation needs to fire Helen Thomas for her ignorant and inflammatory words and quickly distance themselves from this pitiful person.

  • GaryS,

    I tweaked my post just a bit to be more balanced.

    Bigots come from all parts of the political spectrum.

    It’s our duty as New Media journalists to call for fairness in reporting and even our columns.

    Helen Thomas may be a liberal, but that’s not the reason why she’s a bigot.

    She’s a bigot because she’s ignorant.

  • ISRAEL HAS DIRESPECTED AMERICA AND THE CATHOLIC RELIGION LONG ENOUGH WE HAVE SEEN ENOUGH KILLING ITS TIME TO STOP AND BY NOT STANDING UP TO THEM MAKES THE PROBLEM LAST. OBAMA IS AMERICAS #3 BEST IN HISTORY GET IT RIGHT

  • What Helen said is true,then why that much hullabaloo..
    It seems even “The American Catholic” is sleeping over the hubris of total silence which prevails here,so much so that speaking about zionist barbarism and holocaust is taboo.Lets break this shield and make this country free from the grip of zionist menace.

  • The Jew haters are crawling out from beneath their rocks Tito, which is completely unsurprising. Anti-Semitism is an interesting example of how fools project their own failings in life upon some “devil” group. Similar headcases can be seen among the ranks of Catholic haters and among those who today fear that the Masons are behind all things evil. For these type of loons, evil is personified in the group they hate and fear and reasoned debate with such idiots is as futile as attempting to debate a forest fire.

  • Liberalism is a pathology.

    God bless freedom loving-people everywhere. God bless the gallant Israel people courageously building their nation under constant rocket attacks from Gaza and south Lebanon.

    ATG: Who were the other two great POTUSes? Carter and Clinton?

    If nothing else (and there are other reasons to support Israel, including it’s our ally in the global terror war on us), Isreal is the only democracy in the entire Mid East. Seems you rats hate Jooooos more than you love freedom.

    Get out of the way. There is a war on, morons.

  • I agree, Donald. How about like debating a robot or a brick wall?

  • It’s amazing that people would come out defending such bigotry Don.

    I agree on projecting. If they would only turn to God and pray they will find relief from the grip of hate they are in.

  • Not to defend Helen Thomas in ANY way (she’s always been an overrated gasbag in my opinion), but perhaps Hearst Corp. fears that they will get MORE flak from the MSM if they throw the almost 90-year-old “dean of the White House press corps” under the bus. Perhaps a bit of reverse sexism is at work here also… they can’t bring themselves to treat a woman, especially an elderly woman, with the same harshness that would certainly be meted out to a young or middle-aged man who said the same thing?

  • Elaine,

    Playing devil’s advocate is tough.

    But in that case, then it would be reverse ageism.

  • For what its worth,

    The recent ‘go back to Poland’ remarks of Helen Thomas did not come out of the blue. She has made literally hundreds of remarks over the past 30 years that come from the same mind set.

    Anybody who considers themselves shocked at her latest remarks hasn’t been paying attention.

  • I apologize in advance.

    Jim Treacher, “Remember: You’re a Nazi for saying we should enforce our own immigration laws… But not for telling the Jews to beat it.”

  • Beat you to the punch by seconds Phillip!

    That’s an interesting crowd.

  • I support Helen Thomas.

    Helen, keep speaking your mind. You are an inspiration.

  • Though Mike gives needed perspective. Like pro-abort nuns show that some Catholics voted for Obama because he is pro-abortion, Mike shows that some who oppose any and all Israeli actions do so because they want Jews to abandon Israel.

  • WOW, I see Hamas has their media commenting here on politico, how about let’s try this. I say, “All Muslims should leave America and go back home to the middle east, I guess Mecca” put on your burkes, take off your socks, put on your crocks, and start doing some pushups to the black stone” let’s try something else, Muhammad was a evil devil, and the Muslim religion runs on blood, like a car runs on gas, Muslims survive on blood, you kill, you slaughter, even your own children if they dear take off the burke, you choke them with your own hands, and then you go to mecca, take these big iron chains and you bang yourself up until you see yourself standing in a blood bath. My point is, get out of America and do some more of that iron chain bloody banging thing.

  • Thanks Phillip for that update.

    Need/want a job that doesn’t pay anything?

  • Always looking for non-paying jobs.

  • My message is of support for Helen Thomas. Helen Thomas spoke a truth and she should be thank for her frankness. She is right – Israel should get out of Palestine. After WW II, Germany should have been required to provide the land for the Jewish home state – not the Palestinians.

    The pressure of a few Zionists changed the course of Middle East history. According to President Truman, “The facts were that not only were there pressure movements around the United Nations unlike anything that had been seen there before, but that the White House, too, was subjected to a constant barrage. I do not think I ever had as much pressure and propaganda aimed at the White House as I had in this instance. The persistence of a few of the extreme Zionist leaders — actuated by political motives and engaging in political threats — disturbed and annoyed me.”

    AIPAC continues that pressure and propaganda today and the White House continues to do their bidding. It’s irrational and unbalanced.

  • Germany should have been required to provide the land for the Jewish home state

    Germany, home of the Jews. Not like, say, Judea or any place near there.

  • She had de facto tenure like Strom Thurmond in the Senate and the old man who changes the toner at work. They shouldn’t be there anymore but nobody has the heart to throw them out.

    Question: When was the last time you read her column? I honestly never have.

  • RR,

    I don’t disagree, but I’d point out that the old man changing the toner is not mean and even Strom mellowed a lot with age, but HT was famous for her wicked tongue, acid pen, and unabashed anti-Semitic views. Most companies would not tolerate a toner-changer who lapses into chronic bigoted commentary.

    Also agree that no one read her though.

  • RR,

    Thurmond is elected.

    Helen Thomas is employed.

    Big difference.

  • Helen is right to tell the right-wing killer state of Isreal to get out of Palenstine!

  • “Isreal to get out of Palenstine”

    Isreal and Palenstine? If you are going to spew hate at least adjust the tin foil hat to spell check mode.

  • “The archeological record indicates that the Jewish people evolved out of native Cana’anite peoples and invading tribes. Some time between about 1800 and 1500 B.C., it is thought that a Semitic people called Hebrews (hapiru) left Mesopotamia and settled in Canaan.”

    So, why should the Jews be forced to leave Israel?

  • I don’t really care what the reason is, I’m glad she isn’t propagandizing, er, ah, I mean reporting from the White House.

    As for her being a bigot – It is an odd thing since she is of Lebanese descent that makes her as Semitic as Sephardic Jews. Of course, Karl Marx hated Jews too and he was born Jewish – go figure. She isn’t necessarily wrong that Ashkanazi Jews are of European stock (for the most part). Nevertheless, lefties tend to take a small kernel of truth and arrive at a severely erroneous conclusion. Perhaps she forgot what happened to Jews in Germany and Poland.

    She’s anti-Jewish for the same reasons most people who hate Jews are – Jews represent the spoken Word of God. Jesus was a Jew. Usually when it is unfashionable to attack Christians because they represent a political majority then it is better to attack Jews. Hitler attacked Jews because most Germans were Christian (nominally in most cases in the decadent Wiemar Republic – huh – seems familiar). He didn’t want the Christians to feel threatened – yet. Of course, Hitler, like all lefties was a pagan and wanted a racist-nationalistic-pagan (probably homosexual) ethos to rule. Christ had to be evicted without upsetting the Christians. So evict his origins – Salvation comes from the Jews. Once the Jews were demonized and paganism unleashed – Catholic priests were next in line and then more and more Christians of all stripes.

    I don’t know who is surprised by her statements – they are nothing new, nor are they unique. Most ‘Arabs’ feel that way. Sadly, I have to state that I share a common heritage with Thomas – I am of Levantine descent born in Lebanon with roots from Jerusalem, Palestine. Incidentally, Palestine has never been a country so I am not sure how Israel can occupy it. Palestine is an ancient Roman province and has been occupied as such by various regimes most notably the Ottomans and the British. Most other Arabs, Muslims and liberal opportunists use the Palestinians (many of whom are truly suffering) as tool to beat Israel with. They don’t care about the people who live in Gaza and the West Bank anymore than liberal opportunists (racists) cared about the plight of American Negros in the 60s – blacks were just a convenient tool with which they beat the Man, the establishment. Liberals have done nothing to help blacks – in fact, liberals are responsible for the holocaust of 15 million blacks in this country. As usual when your scheme is based on a victim class – you cannot allow that class to ever stop being victims.

    If the Palestinians had welcomed the Holocaust survivors things may be very different today. Nevertheless, Israel played a hand in the animosity – many atrocities were committed (then again I love America and we slaughtered Indians and enslaved Africans so we can’t all be proud of everything our nation does/did). Additionally as inhospitable as Muslims are to Christians, Israel hasn’t been much of a friend either. The true victims of this Palestinian/Israeli conflict are the minority of Christians whose roots go back to the time of Christ in His land and most notably in the city He conquered with His own Blood. Don’t confuse Jews with Israel and don’t confuse the modern-nation state with ancient Israel and certainly not with the inheritors of the promise as most of our Protestant brothers do.

    Nothing good ever comes from anti-Jewish expressions because once the demon of bigotry is unleashed he attacks the source and we all know the source is God.

    Since liberals (lefties) are godless, it goes to follow that they will hate Jews and by extension the Church. Nothing new under the sun.

  • Many Americans feel the same way! She was an easy target to push away! I remember when I attended a lecture at USC by President George H W Bush with my ex girlfriend who was a USC Student and Jewish. She was upset by the comments by the former president when he said that “one of the problems in America is that that Jews have too much power and influence in Washington”. I could not believe my ears, all the board of trustees were there, the university president, and the notable members of the Jewish community of Los Angeles, President Bush knew that they were present because we had attended a diner and got photographed. Yet he did not care to upset them and the event when without further incident. The tapes released about president Nixon and many other presidents show that they all have issues with Israel and Jewish people.

  • I suspect Mr. Paterson that you are lying not only about what former President Bush said, but also about ever having a girlfriend who was Jewish. As to the comments by Bush, link to a news account of them.

  • In reply to Tito – Ignorance is a lack of education not understanding. Thomas is a bigot not out of ignorance, for she is certainly what society would call an educated person; she is an anti-semetic loon whose bigotry and hatred of President Bush finally emerged. There are few things worse than closet bigotry. I can’t agree with Obama’s racism but at least he is out in the open about it. (Read his book.)
    Thomas on the other hand hid hers and probably effected many aspiring Jewish writers before she fortunately lost her control and spouted forth her true feelings.
    Remember this absolute truth about the Middle East: When the Arabs lay down their arms there will be peace; when the Israelis lay down their arms there will be a slaughter that will make the Holocaust pale in comparison.

  • Well stated American Knight ! I was thinking of composing the same message until I read your post 🙂

  • Donald & Erik,

    I doubt that even Mr. George “NWO” Bush (41) would have been stupid enough to make comments like that, even if he believed them. Of course, his anti-Jewish feelings could have been inherited from his Nazi-supporting father – but I don’t know of any evidence that indicts George H. W. of this directly.

    As for Jews having too much power and influence in the U.S. I totally agree that they do. Of course that can only be true if by Jews we mean liberals of Jewish origin that hardly practice a tenet of the Hebrew faith and are represented in larger percentages than the Jewish population at large in Hollywierd, the press (so-called), and academe. Of course, if one were to really ask these ‘Jews’ about their Jewishness – it would be a cultural identity and not a religious conviction. I’d suspect a properly catechized Catholic knows more about the Hebrew religion than the average, secular, lefty-loony ‘Jew”. These people can hardly be Jewish – even just culturally – after surviving the extermination of as much as 85% (Germany and Poland – Ms. Thomas) of your population, how can you abort babies at such high percentages – something is very, very wrong and sadly most Hebrews are making sacrifices to Moloch and not following Moses and the Prophets.

  • “from his Nazi-supporting father”

    Prescott Bush was not a support of the Nazis AK. That is simply another meme of the tinfoil hat brigade. He served in WWI as an artillery officer and participated in the Meuse-Argonne offensive.

    The Anti-Defamation League years ago addressed the vile conspiracy allegations against Prescott Bush:

    “Rumors about the alleged Nazi ‘ties’ of the late Prescott Bush … have circulated widely through the internet in recent years. These charges are untenable and politically motivated. Despite some early financial dealings between Prescott Bush and a Nazi industrialist named Fritz Thyssen (who was arrested by the Nazi regime in 1938 and imprisoned during the war), Prescott Bush was neither a Nazi nor a Nazi sympathizer.”

    Prescott Bush did have close ties with Planned Parenthood which of course makes him persona non grata for me. However, fair is fair, and conspiracy nuttiness is conspiracy nuttiness.

  • Perhaps ‘Nazi-sympathizer’ is a bit extreme; however, he was indifferent to the evils of Nazism. He made a fortune and continued to work with the Nazi financiers after the war started and after the nature of Nazism and the atrocities committed by them was known.

    Perhaps Nazism isn’t what Sen. Bush wanted, but it is pretty clear that he desired some form of totalitarianish society and he most certainly was a Eugenicist. Fellow-travelers are just as guilty as those they travel with.

    This is not conspiracy nuttiness (although there is much of that out there). This is conspiracy fact, although it would be foolish not to admit that since conspiracies are secret it is often difficult, but not impossible, to discern the proper context.

    Republicans are not infallible and the party has been controlled by those not loyal to orthodox conservatism far more often than it has not. Not every attack on a ‘Republican’ is from the left and many of the attackers are legitimate conservatives. Perhaps if more Republicans were orthodox conservatives, America would not be in the state she’s in and people like Helen Thomas would not have voices to spread propaganda and maybe even BHO would not be the chief executive – of course, neither would John McCain.

    Ignore conspiracies at your own peril Mr. McClarey – King Louis certainly did and so did the residents of the Wiemar Republic.

  • “He made a fortune and continued to work with the Nazi financiers after the war started and after the nature of Nazism and the atrocities committed by them was known.”

    Complete baloney AK.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,100474,00.html

  • Fox News isn’t exactly the source I would go to for this. The declassified (with some redaction) papers indicate that many American capitalist/industrialists were involved with the Nazis and also the Bolsheviks – including Sen. Bush. Profiting from war is not a new activity and it hasn’t gone away. The Soviets, the Nazis, the Chi-Comms and many others would not have ever been able to come to the level of power they achieved without the financial help of trans-national financiers – many of them ‘Americans’. For that matter Saddam and the opium warlords couldn’t survive for long either and when they get taken down who profits again?

    Some of these men were perhaps just interested in making money, some may have been misled, but at some point they knew what they were involved in and either didn’t care, chose to ignore or were complicit in the atrocities committed by the regimes they were supporting and profiting from.

    Just to be clear – I don’t transfer Prescott’s guilt to his son, although I suspect that G.H.W. had a sinister agenda and was placed in the Reagan camp to undermine orthodox conservatism – I don’t ascribe Nazi sympathies to him – and certainly not to W. But, I also don’t accuse J.F.K of the guilt of his father either.

    Believe what you want, but I would strongly suggest a little more skepticism toward the duo-opoly propaganda that is designed to manage the way we think. By creating an us vs. them, we are right they are wrong paradigm – there are powers that seek to manage outcomes while giving us the false impression of choice. We are fools if we confuse the GOP with authentic conservatism. If one is a Republican party member with a my party right or wrong attitude, one is hard-pressed to call themselves a conservative.

    John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Nelson Rockefeller are all Republicans – non of them are conservatives – at least one of them is an honorable man who loves his country – but that doesn’t change the fact that he isn’t conservative. Wake up – the time to play party games has passed. Blindly defending everything Republican is almost, but not quite, as foolish as Thomas blaming Israel and Jews for all the world’s evils. This is not a personal attack – it is a fraternal correction. I believe that all orthodox Catholics are conservative by nature – but we shouldn’t be Republicans and we can’t be Democrats.

  • ATG insists that Israel disrespects America and the Catholic “Religion”. This borders on paranoid delusion. It is true that many actions and policies taken by the modern state of Israel were not enacted in order to better adhere to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The same could be said about many of the actions and policies of our own bishops- particularly here in the good ol’ US of A.

    As for Israel and the Catholic religion, what came first, the chicken or the egg? Catholic shrines and orders in the Holy Land have taken a bit of abeating recently at the hands of the Israeli government in matters relating to immigration and visas. Given the absolute trash spewed out by some who were authorized (or at least allowed) to speak from Peter’s See, had I been in charge of Israeli INS operations and policy, I would have zeroed out visa requests from the Vatican not tied to diplomatic necessity.

    I would have to say that a fair measure of the maltreatment of Church officials and interests in Israel was richly earned; not by Church teaching, but often by those expected to teach it.

    There are many seemingly even handed statements that can have no other political effect than to morally equate attempted mass murder (burka bombers, rocket attacks) with any reasonably effective steps available to prevent it. When church mouthpieces have uttered these statements, they have done willful violence to the truth and have brought shame on the Body of Christ.

  • Fox News isn’t exactly the source I would go to for this. T

    AK, though your intentions are honorable, you have this nasty habit of simply dismissing any piece of evidence that contradicts your worldview. Donald has now provided a couple of links to discredit your position, and yet you just charge ahead based on nothing more than supposition. Do you have any evidence to back up your claims that Prescott Bush was a Nazi sympathizer.

    If one is a Republican party member with a my party right or wrong attitude, one is hard-pressed to call themselves a conservative.

    Talk about a non sequiter, the only person making a partisan point is you. I don’t think Donald or anyone else here is defending Prescott Bush because he was a Republican – indeed Donald indicated disliking him because of his associations with Planned Parenthood. I couldn’t care less about salvaging the reputation of anyone with the last name Bush. But what’s fair is fair, and accusing someone – even a person long dead – of being a Nazi sympathizer is a pretty serious charge that should be backed up with something resembling real evidence.

  • What Paul said.

  • Paul I accept the criticism fairly – I will admit that I take the com boxes to be more a casual conversation than a master’s thesis and my inflection, etc. doesn’t translate into writing – I don’t think I am particularly good writer. I am also aware that I tend to be a velvet hammer in debating – please accept my apologies for the nasty habit – I meant no harm – I like y’all. Please also accept my apologies for not listing all the source documents. I can list one or two – only due to lack of time; however, my technological capability isn’t any better than my writing so the link probably won’t work.

    As for my world view, I try to make sure it is a Catholic world view – I am sure I fail often. I will admit that I am extremely skeptical of government power and see numerous conspiracies in history – I assume that there are numerous conspiracies now – although, I am sure I don’t know about them all and may have some incorrect information about some of them, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t occurring. I am not referring to aliens, Area 51, and other nutty ideas; rather, things like Jacobins, Masons, Nazis, Bolsheviks, etc.

    Here is a facsimile of the Federal Register listing Prescott Bush as one of seven owners of Union Banking Corp, which handled financial interests for Fritz Thyssen – an early supporter of the Nazis. Assets seized by the US government for supporting enemies of the USA.

    http://www.mbpolitics.com/bush2000/Vesting.htm

    Also, see an article by John Buchanan in the New Hampshire Gazette – I think it was October 2003.

    There is no question that there are some in power who wish to manage the whole globe and the lives of every human – although not every human currently living because they want to reduce our numbers – they are eugenicists after all. It is also clear that they are using psychological warfare to manipulate our thinking because they prefer to set up totalitarianism on the Brave New World – happy slavery model; rather than the 1984 forced slavery models used in the past. It seems that Sen. Bush was one of those men, or at least willing to go along with their designs even if he didn’t agree or couldn’t see the whole conspiracy.

    This is not a reflection on both presidents Bush – although H.W. was certainly leaning in the new world order direction.

  • Here is an unbiased article on the accusation that Senator Prescott Bush was a Nazi sympathizer.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/sep/25/usa.secondworldwar

  • Here is a good overview of why the accusations against Prescott Bush are firmly in the realm of the deranged:

    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2434/was-president-bushs-great-grandfather-a-nazi

  • Deranged?

    “So, did Bush and his firm finance the Nazis and enable Germany to rearm? Indirectly, yes.”

    That last word is YES – indirect? So what – it was still done. If he is such a good banker how could he not have seen it?

    “But they had a lot of company. Some of the most distinguished names in American business had investments or subsidiaries in prewar Germany, including Standard Oil and General Motors. Critics have argued for years that without U.S. money, the Nazis could never have waged war. But American business has always invested in totalitarian regimes–witness our dealings with mainland China.”

    So that makes it OK, because most of the other American big wigs have been and continue to invest in totalitarian regimes. This sounds more like a support for my ‘theory’ than a refutation.

    “Loftus tells me there’s more to it than that. He says that the value of German industrial assets in which Bush and friends invested increased during World War II, in part due to slave labor, and that Bush benefited from this increase when the assets were returned–supposedly he got $1.5 million when UBC was liquidated in 1951. I’ll buy the claim that Bush got his share of UBC back–it was an American bank, after all–but the idea that his German holdings increased in value despite being obliterated by Allied bombs is ridiculous.”

    Actually most ‘American’ assets in Germany, especially Rockefeller/IG Farben structures were specifically not bombed. Much like all the targets that our Naval aviators were not allowed to bomb during Vietnam. Does anyone think that we couldn’t have won in Vietnam and for that matter Iraq in less than a decade – how about a couple of months? That is unless our military is specifically not allowed to bomb certain things because certain politicos backers have interests in prolonged wars.

    Read Ephesians 6 and tell me that St. Paul is a conspiracy theorist.

Juden Raus!

Saturday, June 5, AD 2010

Helen Thomas, the Deaness of the Washington Press Corps, delivered the above charming sentiments at a Jewish Heritage Celebration at the White House on May 27.  Thomas has been a left wing loon forever, and has always been hostile to Israel, but here she let the mask slip to reveal the bigot within.  She later made a perfunctory apology for saying what she obviously believes with all her heart.

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20 Responses to Juden Raus!

  • Will there be a cry for her employer to fire her?

    If she were a conservative there would be hell to pay.

  • I thought a house landed on her.

  • T. Shaw,

    You shouldn’t drag down witches like that. It’s an insult to witches everywhere.

  • I apologize.

    Silver lining: She’s an appropriate “spokes-model” for the antisemites masquerading as peace and justice liberals.

  • If Helen Thomas was, say, a woman of 40, I’d blame such a ridiculous statement on ignorance due to an appallingly poor educational system. But she was in her 20’s when WWII ended and they showed newsreels of the death camps in the movie theaters. No excuses.

    Thomas also seems unaware that a majority of Israeli Jews are not from “Germany and Poland” but are Sephardis from the Muslim world who were booted out of their old countries when the state of Israel was created.

    If she is so blatantly ignorant of such basic facts, I’d say it’s long past time she retired.

  • Tito, if she were a conservative, liberals would nod in silent agreement and conservatives would jump through hoops to explain why she didn’t really mean what she said.

  • “liberals would nod in silent agreement and conservatives would jump through hoops to explain why she didn’t really mean what she said”

    You are wrong about the latter part of that equation restrainedradical. Most conservatives are very supportive of Israel and have very little tolerance for anti-Semites.

  • Additionally the mind boggles at the concept of Helen Thomas as a conservative. One might as well attempt to consider Bill Clinton as a trappist monk.

  • conservatives would jump through hoops to explain why she didn’t really mean what she said.

    Pat Buchanan would like a word with you.

  • I probably should expand upon my comment just a tad, in case it flew over anyone’s head. Pat Buchanan is regularly excoriated by many conservatives for his anti-Israeli sentiments (and indeed defended by those sympathetic to his worldview).

  • I was thinking the same thing Paul

  • Re: Anti-Semite Helen Thomas
    She shows her complete lack of knowledge concerning Israel. Historically, the land belongs to them. She should read up on the kings of Israeland how the Jewish nation was formed.
    The UN gave back a portion of the Jewish land to its people in 1948. They have a legal right to be there. “Palestine” was a name given to the land of Israel by the Romans to humiliate the Jewish people. If she reads her history she will learn this.
    SHE SHOULD BE FIRED! She’s an insensitive bigot.

  • Though I think Buchanan was deemed an anti-semite by William F. Buckley a number of years ago in an articl at National Review. Good to know we all agree that Helen Thomas is in he same league.

    RR is right that here are anti-semites on the right. I think it is becoming much more fashionable on the left however. That’s not to say anyone who disagrees with Israel is. But there they are.

  • And as Buckley’s example shows, Conservatives kick them off the magazine. What will liberals do with Thomas?

  • Actually, IIRC Buckley was less definitive re Buchanan. What I believe he wrote was something to the effect that given all the evidence a reasonable man could conclude that Buchanan was anti-semitic. But that was enough for many conservatives, including those who otherwise agreed with many of PB’s positions.

  • I think the best quote from the article in question is where Buckley found it “impossible to defend Pat Buchanan against the charge that what he did and said during the period under examination amounted to anti-Semitism, whatever it was that drove him to say and do it: most probably, an iconoclastic temperament.”

    So he perhaps didn’t see him as an anti-Semite though he found what he wrote and said anti-Semitic.

  • Pingback: Hearst Stands Behind Anti-Semite Helen Thomas « The American Catholic
  • Fire the bigot. She has shamed herself, her profession and any organization she represents. Her apology rings hollow. She has revealed her true face, and no mealymouthed apology change that.

  • I’ll grant that PB is extremely non-interventionist. I don’t think that necessarily equates with anti-semitism. He seems to advocate cutting foreign aid pretty much across the board. But most journalists, left or right, are extremely afraid of making any criticism of Israel (or our aid to them) and incurring the A-S label.

  • I don’t really think Thomas and PB are in the same league. PB, although I suppose you could interpret his stance against aid to Israel as anti-semitic, I don’t recall him advocating for kicking the Jews out of Israel. He seems to be more of the opinion that it’s simply not our business (and not in our interest) to get involved. I would welcome any correction on that.

    Thomas seems to clearly advocate the US and the world being involved, and wanting the Jewish people out, with apparently very little interest in the various claims involved. I can’t really tell from the clip if she was referring only to the occupied territories, but the fact she said they should go back to Poland and Germany (rather than Israel proper) reveals that she considers Israel itself to be occupied territory.

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

Israel vs. the "Freedom Flotilla"

Tuesday, June 1, AD 2010

I’m generally sympathetic to Israel. Despite its faults, it’s one of the most stable and liberal regimes in the region, and many of its critics fail to account for the corrosive effect on the national consciousness of being surrounded by peoples who want them exterminated and routinely take steps (however ineffective) to visit random violence upon them.

However, while it’s easy to understand their seige mentality, this doesn’t mean that this mentality does not at times cause them to go to far and put themselves in the wrong. In this regard, I think Megan McArdle has a pretty good and balanced response to the attack on the “Freedom Flotilla”:

Continue reading...

84 Responses to Israel vs. the "Freedom Flotilla"

  • The Israeli government has said that international law allows the boarding of a vessel which is attempting to circumvent a declared embargo even while the ship is still in international waters. Not being an expert in international law, I can’t say whether that is an accurate statement or not.

  • Is this not yet another effort to see actions by other countries through U.S. eyes? These matters are far more serious than can fit into term paper discussions. How many of those who feel called upon to comment can speak and read Hebrew? Arabic? How many know the day-to-day situation?
    It is one of the calamities of our education system – reflected in the “mainstream media” – that survey courses pretend to understand truly complex situations.

  • The Israelis had previously indicated that the flotilla could have docked at any Israeli port. The cargo would have been searched for weapons and other contraband and then sent on to Gaza. Considering that the Palestinian President Abbas recently accused Hamas of smuggling large amounts of arms and ammunition, I think the Israelis have a legitimate concern.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100506/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_palestinians

  • I agree the Israelis had a legit concern, and that the Flotilla organizers were clearly trying to create exactly the sort of incident that occurred by refusing to dock at another port or undergo inspection. Anyone portraying this is a “oh, poor Gazans” thing is clearly being a ‘useful idiot’ for a propaganda operation.

    However, the main weapon being carried by this flotilla was pretty clearly not arms and ammunition (let’s be honest, Israel can handle Hamas with no problem) but propaganda, and by allowing themselves to be maneuvered into the “attacking aid ship in international waters” situation, Israel seems to have needlessly pointed that weapon at themselves and pulled the trigger.

  • I’m usually suspicious of Israel. They have a history of disproportionate response. But I had the same reaction as McArdle. It was at least conceivably proportional but for the fact that they were hijacking a civilian ship in international waters.

  • The “declared embargo” alluded to by Blackadder is of course the core issue here, and is a gross violation of the moral law, and most likely a war crime. After all, the Vatican accused the Israelis of turning Gaza into a “big concentration camp”. One could argue that attempting to break this blockade is actually just.

  • One could argue that attempting to break this blockade is actually just.

    One could. But one would also be an morally obtuse useful idiot for Islamist terrorists for so declaring.

  • Israel was in a lose-lose situation and I think they made the right choice. Allow convoys free access to Gaza and who knows what interestng devices could turn up in the hands of Hamas, once Israel established the precedent that they would not stop such a convoy.

    As to Tony stating that the Vatican accused Israel of turning Gaza into a “big concentration camp”, whoever made that obscene comment, I doubt if it was made with the approval of Pope Benedict. His family lived in fear of real concentration camps for years, and he can distinguish between them and hysterical comments by individuals calling Israelis Nazis out of political bias and latent, and not so latent, anti-semitism.

  • MM,

    Would you say that there was a moral imperative for the flotilla to insist on going straight to Gaza rather than allowing itself to be searched for weapons? It would seem that there is a distinction between not allowing anything into a region, and trying to control all shipments in so as to avoid the import of arms.

    I think Israel probably did itself and the region more harm than good here — but to class the organizers of the convoy as virtuous in this exchange is pretty delusional. Their primary objective was pretty clearly to cause an incident, not to get aid to Gaza (which they could have done just fine without a fuss if they’d allowed themselves to be searched.)

  • Perhaps MM has a link to the “Concentration Camp” statement.

  • Actually, I’m inclined to agree with MM on this one. The blockaid has always struck me as being morally dubious at best, and things like the flotilla incident make me think that it’s not even a good idea from a practical standpoint.

  • Considering that the Hamas government has continually carried out acts of war against Israel, I think Israel had every right, legally and morally, to impose a blockade. The attitude of the Hamas government is amusing on this score. They continually make the most bloodthirsty pronouncements against Israel, allow terrorist acts to continually be launched from Gaza, and then they are shocked, shocked, when the Israelis act as if they are in a state of war with the government of Gaza.

  • I guess the good news is Egypt is opening its border with Gaza for humanitarian aid to flow. Now why has Egypt had a closed border with Gaza? I thought this was just an Israeli problem.

  • Considering that the Hamas government has continually carried out acts of war against Israel, I think Israel had every right, legally and morally, to impose a blockade.

    I disagree. Blockaids are problematic because they attack the people instead of the government.

    I also don’t agree that Israel is acting like it’s at war with Gaza. If they were, it would be a simple matter for the IDF to just invade and take the place over again. That they have not done so suggests that, in the mind of the Israeli government at least, allowing themselves to be attacked is preferable to the political and tactical consequences that would come from an outright invasion. It seems to be that a similar calculus would apply to the existence of the blockaid.

  • Watch the border be closed again just as quickly Phillip. Hamas has strong ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and other revolutionary groups in Egypt, and the Egyptian government hates Hamas almost as much as the Israelis do.

    “I disagree. Blockaids are problematic because they attack the people instead of the government.”

    Not in this case since the Israelis are only intent on seizing arms and ammunition.

    “If they were, it would be a simple matter for the IDF to just invade and take the place over again.”

    Been there, done that. The Israelis do not want to run Gaza and neither do the Egyptians whose territory it originally was in 48. Gaza is a hellhole with no natural resources except angry Palestinians. Israel would leave Gaza strictly alone if Gaza had a government that would leave Israel alone. That seems to be beyond the capabilities of the Gazans, so Israel will continue to do what it believes is necessary for its safety whether the rest of the world approves or not.

  • Not in this case since the Israelis are only intent on seizing arms and ammunition.

    The blockaid isn’t limited to arms and ammunition.

    The Israelis do not want to run Gaza and neither do the Egyptians whose territory it originally was in 48.

    Israel doesn’t want to run Gaza because it believes the costs of doing so outweigh the benefits. I believe the same calculus applies to the blockaid itself.

    Put it this way: whatever you think about the flotilla incident, it has clearly been a major propaganda victory for the pro-Palestinian forces. Given that, it would be naive to think that they won’t respond by launching more “freedom flotillas” and to force the IDF to either attack them again or let them through. At some point, I suspect that the Israeli government will conclude that the costs of maintaining the blockaid just aren’t worth the benefit (just as they concluded that staying in Lebanon wasn’t worth it, that staying in Gaza wasn’t worth it, etc.) The question is how long it will be before they reach this conclusion.

  • Enough with the conseqentialism, Paul – the imposition of an economic blockade that reduces a civilian population to conditions of great deprivation is an intrinsically evil act. I may be an “idiot” by your ideology, and that’s fine, because it is the correct “moral” position.

    Read what the Church in Gaza and the rest of the occupied territories are saying. I gave the same advice during the Iraq war – listen to bishop Warduni and other Iraqi clerics who will have a perspective that -surprise, surprise – deviated substantially from the kind of Fox News American triumphalism that was so dominant at the time. In other words, side with the ‘least among us’.

    And in fact, there are clear similarities between the leadership of Hamas and Israel – both come with a militarist mindset, both wallow in victimhood, both have engaged in extreme forms of rhetorical violence about cleansing their territory of the other. Both have attacked civilians and defended it. Oh, but one has nuclear weapons and the other has firecrackers.

  • “At some point, I suspect that the Israeli government will conclude that the costs of maintaining the blockaid just aren’t worth the benefit (just as they concluded that staying in Lebanon wasn’t worth it, that staying in Gaza wasn’t worth it, etc.) The question is how long it will be before they reach this conclusion.”

    Different situations BA. Unlike Lebanon, the Israelis aren’t in Gaza. The Israelis have no place to withdraw from. Additionally, the Israelis have evidence that the blockade has worked as terrorist attacks on Israel from Gaza have plummeted since the blockade was initiated. Between taking over Gaza militarily again, and maintaining the blockade, I know which I would choose if I were an Israeli. Of course if Egypt keeps open their land border with Gaza, which they will not, the entire issue would be rendered moot.

  • So I guess MM doesn’t have an official Vatican statement that Gaza has been turned into a “Concentration Camp.”

  • Phillip,

    See here.

  • Actually I was looking for an official statement of the Vatican. We know Cardinals are capable of using the Nazi analogy quite easily from recent immigration discussions.

  • At the time, Cardinal Martino was president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace i.e. he was the Vatican official speaking directly in his area of responsibility.

  • I suspect you realize that not everything a Vatican offical says is an official statement of the Holy See.

    But perhaps given that, maybe California can start lobbing missles at Arizona given Cardinal Mahoney’s recent assessments of events there.

  • There is no real way to spin this in Israel’s favor. Yeah, the flotilla is from a Turkish Islamist organization. Yes, it was seeking a confrontation, which the the Israelis gave them–in just about the worst way possible. The AKP government in Turkey is in full freakout mode, which adds to the debacle.

    “Own goal” is about the nicest way to put it.

  • It wasn’t “the Vatican”, but an extremely culturally tone-deaf and insensitive Cardinal Martino who invoked Godwin’s Law against the descendants of Holocaust victims:

    http://proecclesia.blogspot.com/2009/01/appalling-level-of-cultural-tone.html

  • Cardinal Martino was a long time victim of hoof in mouth disease.

    “But Vatican sources have said Pope Benedict wants his cardinals to keep a lower profile and that Martino had been told by Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone to keep the lid on and not be so controversial.”

    http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld/2009/01/09/cardinal-martino-does-it-again/

  • Darwin,

    You claim that the aid-brigers were seeking to provoke. Perhaps so, but was this unjust? It sounds to me like a classic non-violent resistence strategy. After all, Gandhi’s tactics were designed to provoke a maximal response from the British (which is why I dispute McArdle’s contention that somehow Gandhi would not have approved). He was very shrewd.

    I also dispute the fact that the aid would have been let in had they agreed to a search. We will never know the answer to this, and the architects of the blockade saying so does not give me comfort.

  • This is the reality of the situation in Gaza. This is from someone intricately connected to the formation and development of Israel, as a friend of Israel. He is himself a Jew.

    The idea that “oh, the Cardinal just fell into Godwin’s Law” shows the stupidity of people who think Godwin’s Law means anything. It doesn’t. It is not a logical fallacy to use analogy. Indeed, those who deny analogy are showing a reductionistic, positivistic, anti-Catholic sensibility. Catholic thought is analogical.

  • The UN has been feeding and clothing the people of Palestine for about 60+ years. The Gaza strip (I thought) butts up on Egypt. The flotilla (eight little ships are going to feed 1,000,000 people!) could have sailed to Egypt. Or, Egypt won’t let them pass either?

    There is no humanitarian catastrophy that requires a flotilla of terrorists to run any (moral or immoral) blockade.

    I see and hear a lot of anti-semitism in all the unjust attacks against Israel.

    And, I know wherof I speak. Until 9/11, I was one of the worst anti-semites.

    These “nonviolent” terrorists are out to detroy Israel as are cathoblog anti-semites calumniously attacking the gallant State of Israel.

  • You claim that the aid-brigers were seeking to provoke. Perhaps so, but was this unjust? It sounds to me like a classic non-violent resistence strategy.

    Is beating soldiers with metal pipes also a classic non-violent resistance strategy?

  • Your Ghandi analogy would be more convincing if there was no resistance to the boarding (assuming the reports are accurate that there was – at this point, I find it hard to believe anyone in that region).

    That said, Dale put it quite accurately – “own goal” indeed. Shaw, really? You see criticism of Israel regarding this incident as unjust?

  • As one who abhors violence, I will not condone this reaction. But it certainly falls under the banner of what most Americans consider “legitimate defense”, no?

  • This guy went and looked up the relevant laws.

    The ships acted like gun-runners for the other side, so Israel was forced to respond like they might, possibly, be a threat. (Me, I’m shaking my head over having bloody paintball guns.)

    As one who abhors violence, I will not condone this reaction. But it certainly falls under the banner of what most Americans consider “legitimate defense”, no?

    Nope. You break into my house and the cops pull a gun on you, you don’t have a right to defend yourself, even though your life is in danger.

  • “(Me, I’m shaking my head over having bloody paintball guns.)”

    Indeed Foxfier. It appears that the Israelis have been infected with some of the unicorn and fairy spice rubbish in regard to the use of force that captivates so much of the West. If the Israelis had gone on heavily armed, I suspect the riot that confronted them may not have happened, and that a much lower body count would have been the result.

  • It seems impossible to make definitive statements about exactly what happened in this raid. The Israelis jammed media and communications on board the vessel, though a satellite feed was able to broadcast some of the event until it was halted by the IDF (at least according to the cameraman who has since been released). Other eyewitnesses claim to have had photographs and video of the events but everyone had their equipment seized. What we do know is that the Israelis boarded the vessel outside of their own exclusionary zone and in the cover of darkness. They have since released their own video and version of the events. However, short of all the available evidence we don’t really know what happened. Based on what we do know, I don’t see how anybody could justify this. Just from a prudential standpoint, it was an idiotic move on Israels part, and they are going to have to face the consequences. They are isolating themselves diplomatically and shifting the worlds attention away from where they need it (on, say, Iran). I happen to suspect that the Israeli actions were probably unjust and illegal, but even from the standpoint of their own self-interest, this action was stupid. Even if your sympathies lie entirely with the Israelis, I cannot see how someone could defend what happened here.

  • As one who abhors violence, I will not condone this reaction. But it certainly falls under the banner of what most Americans consider “legitimate defense”, no?

    Whatever one thinks of the actions of the men with clubs, they certainly can’t be considered “a classic non-violent resistence strategy.”

  • It strikes me that this whole series of events underscores the difficulties with the approach to “international law” and avoiding war which has been so prevalent since WW2.

    While the idea of keeping weapons shipments out of Gaza, while not going to war with it, is in theory appealing, the fact of the matter is that the means of enforcing a ban on shipping weapons to Gaza have to be so draconian to be effective that people will frequently be outraged by it. And at the end of the day, if Israel isn’t willing to use act-of-war type means to keep away ships ignoring their blockade, then the blockade ceases to have any meaning.

    Nonsensical though such a strategy might seem, it would probably make the most sense to take a completely hands-off approach to Gaza, and then, when Hamas does something truly unacceptable, roll in with tanks, flatten things for a bit, and then leave again.

    Countries are able to make war pretty effectively, but their ability to enforce peace is tenuous at best.

  • Israel and Iraq are the only mideast/Arab countries not suffering under the yoke of Islamo-fascist dicatorship or monarchy/oligarchy/sharia misrule.

    Freedom flotilla my eye.

    Anti-semitic commmenters seem consistent. They apparently support both abortion (Obama) and Islamofascist tyranny.

  • Even though I take for the most part the narrative of Palestinians as primary victims in this whole Israel/Palestine debacle over the years- I do not justify acts of terrorism directed at civilians conducted by Palestinians- I comprehend the rage that is at the root of such actions, but I don’t try to justify them- to comprehend and wish to prevent root causes is not the same as justification or endorsement.

    Now, it seems that many of my Catholic friends who take the side that Israel is the principal victim of Palestinians et al- many seem to labor hard at justifying any and every violent action on the part of the Israel establishment ( not saying the author of this entry is doing so)- be it the actions during the First and Second Intifada, the most recent attacks on Lebanon soil, the blockade of Gaza, the attack on Gaza, and this assault on the activist’ boat. None of these actions seem to constitute a moral dilemma for many Israel supporters even though civilians are very often caught up right in the middle things with civilian centers bombed, and civilians, not soldiers, being on board the boats. No matter that the WHO has condemned the embargo of Gaza- to many Israel supporters, all international organizations are rejected to a degree that is to my ear decidedly un-Catholic- if one is taking their cue from the Hierarchy- a prudential judgment to be sure- but so is the fact that I love my wife even if 9 of 10 American Catholic writers express their doubts.

    I would only suggest that those Israel defenders who also like to leap at the notion that those who generally take the Palestinian “victims of the Victims” line, are anti-semites who just hate Israel and maybe hate America as well.. Well I would only suggest that those out there who are taking this line, please look long and hard in the mirror and ask yourself if you may hold some deep-seated anti-Arab, anti-Persian prejudices that cause you to get angry at the drop of a hat- and maybe the very idea of Muslims causes a thick hatred in your heart, and maybe the reality of some of these types of persons- civilian or not- getting wacked by Israeli high or low command- actually makes you feel pretty, pretty good. Maybe it is an unspoken aspect of anti-Semitism that now holds aloft the Victims of the Holocaust but also feels no sympathy for low rent Arabs, Palestinians, or any of the rest of those who don’t feel blessed by the advent of secular Zionism or Christian Zionist Fundamentalist prophesies.

    I’m just saying that in my prudential judgment and as the result of my own eye-ball tour of Israel-Palestine years ago- it seems pretty obvious that the Palestinians are the little guys with very few friends who have any real clout in the major power centers- or at least are willing to use that clout- the Israeli side of the fence seems to be a yard full of European living standards, American-style military hardware and Intelligence operatives, and even a couple of hundred of nukes hidden away- and to think that Hamas and a 4th world economy in Gaza with homemade rockets are really providing an existential threat to Jews akin to Hitler’s Germany?? I just don’t make those kind of difficult leaps in my thinking. And so it goes for those of us more connected to brother and sister Catholics actually living in the Holy Land, and who take in the Hierarchical view from the Latin Patriarch with lots of interest and respect. As a Catholic convert, I had thought that part of being Catholic was being very much formed in the conscience along the lines of the Hierarchical teachings and leadership views- allowing for prudential judgments but for one to really put on the Mind of Christ, one couldn’t really just circumvent the thinking of the official Church and her Hierarchs. But I have learned that many Catholics like to take matters into their own hands, to be bold liberals and conservatives standing up to the old fuddy-duddy out-of-touch bishops and prelates in the Vatican. Good luck with that:}

  • tim shipe-
    The tools don’t matter. What you’re willing to do with them, does. Doesn’t matter if I have an M-16, if I won’t use it; doesn’t matter if you have “only” a baseball bat to use against me, if I won’t use my gun.

    If Israel were willing to carpet-bomb Gaza, then their troubles would be over. (For the obvious impaired: wouldn’t be right, but it would be simple.)

    Were they willing to send their guys in with actual weapons drawn on those trying to break the blockade, this would be a more complicated story.

    Didn’t happen. They took the idiots at their word, more the fools they.

    The biggest testament to Israel’s good will? The long line of volunteers for America’s liberals to get cheap grace by “standing up” to them.

  • “Nope. You break into my house and the cops pull a gun on you, you don’t have a right to defend yourself, even though your life is in danger.”

    Funny that. Israel was the one who “broke into” someone else’s house.

  • “As a Catholic convert, I had thought that part of being Catholic was being very much formed in the conscience along the lines of the Hierarchical teachings and leadership views”

    On secular matters Tim that has never been the case. In regard to foreign policy matters for instance Catholic rulers and peoples have never simply followed the Pope. There is a very long history in this area of Catholics making up there own minds on these types of questions, for good and for ill. I might add that this type of independence includes some of the greatest saints of the Church, for instance Saint Louis the IX of France always respected the popes of his day, but never forgot that he was King of France with duties and responsibilities in the secular realm that might well clash with the wishes of the Pope.

  • Even though I take for the most part the narrative of Palestinians as primary victims in this whole Israel/Palestine debacle over the years-

    Error #1.

  • This post by British MEP Daniel Hannan does a good job of expressing my views on the subject.

  • No, Karlson, the people who are “stupid” are the ones who compare (or defend those who compare) the admittedly deplorable conditions in Gaza to the systematic rounding up and murdering of 6 million people by roasting them in ovens.

    Can you really not recognize the cultural insensitivity of making an inapt Nazi comparison in accusing Jews of turning Gaza into a “concentration camp”?

    I won’t defend Israel over what is taking place in Gaza. My problem with Cardinal Martino’s statement isn’t in his bringing attention to the conditions in Gaza, it’s in the symbolically loaded words that Cardinal Martino used in doing so. Given what they went through in the Shoah, for Jews to be accused of acting like Nazis (especially when they are, in fact, NOT acting like Nazis) is despicable.

    Apart from the specific cultural insensitivity involved in accusing Jews of being like Nazis, let’s address the use of Nazi comparisons, in general. Analogical thinking is useful so long as the things being analogized are alike and the comparison is at least somewhat apt. Comparing people (or their actions) to Nazis is certainly an EASY rhetorical device because it invokes such strong imagery and paints the person being accused in the worst possible light. But it is the last refuge of the intellectually lazy and unthinking.

  • Give Karlson a break Jay. I suspect he thinks Israelis, at least those who run the military and the government, are Nazis, analogy be hanged.

  • Calling Gaza a big concentration camp does seem historically insensitive. I would have said “giant prison.”

  • I think a more accurate phrase is “a giant lunatic asylum”.

  • Some interesting information on some of the flotilla participants.

    http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/4265.htm

  • Funny that the “peaceful flotilla” was going to break into Israel’s backyard.

  • Here’s an interesting quote right up front on Don’s link:

    “Al-Baltaji, who is deputy secretary-general of the Muslim Brotherhood parliamentary bloc in Egypt, said at a March 2010 conference, “A nation that excels at dying will be blessed by Allah with a life of dignity and with eternal paradise.” He also said that his movement “will never recognize Israel and will never abandon the resistance,” and that “resistance is the only road map that can save Jerusalem, restore the Arab honor, and prevent Palestine from becoming a second Andalusia.[1]”

    One may look at Palestinians as being “alone” against Westernized Israel with “Big America’s” help. But there are tens of millions of Arabs who think like this.

    Is Israel innocent? No. Can Arabs like this prove an existential threat to Israel? I don’t know if they can now but they certainly did in the past. Can Arabs and Palestinians who think like this kill many Israelis? Yes. Should Israel protect itself against their like? Yes. How should they do that? I don’t know.

  • I might also add that if Gaza is a “giant prison” then its not Israel alone that is the prison guard. Egypt also seems to have problems with Palestinians by keeping their border with Gaza closed. I’ve never seen Egypt as a Western style, “Big America” type of country. But maybe that’s my anti-Muslim prejudice.

  • We need to get beyond the notion that the Shoah was somehow unique in history, and that the Jewish people have been wronged in a particularly unique manner, which justifies a “soft glove” treatment concerning the actions of Israel. This has been the consistent tactic of the secular state of Israel – to daub itself in the blood of the Jewish dead and dare us to criticize them. This must stop. Of course, the holocaust was a monstrous evil, but no worse than other great genocides of the 20th century, from Armenia through Stalin through Mao through Saloth Sar through Rwanda.

    The descendents of those who suffered in the Warsaw ghetto are now the ones patroling the ghetto in Gaza. They are the perpetators of injustice, and should be called out for it. And the foreign minister, Avigdor Liberman has used rhetoric that does indeed sound like the nazis. That they get away with consistent war crimes and human rights violations is a disgrace.

  • MM,

    I think the reason why people have difficulty seeing that approach as something other than simply anti-Jewish is that very often the same people insisting that the Isreali’s need to just toughen up and get over their hurt feelings about the Shoah are at the same time insisting on reparations to Palestinians for territory and property lost in ’48 or ’67.

    In a region afflicted with long memories, insisting that one side forget the past, while holding that the grudges of the other side are valid, doesn’t work well.

  • It’s not clear to me that people are excusing Israeli actions because of the Holocaust. I think most are saying that equating Gaza to a “concentration camp” is flawed and certainly not a Vatican pronouncement. As noted, there are other countries that are contributing to the problem including countries such as Jordan that have in the past rejected Palestinians efforts to live there. (What ever happened to the right to immigrate?!)

    Comparisons with Nazi Germany are unfortunate polemics. They do nothing to address the complex problems that both sides contribute to.

  • Minion, whether Israel is treated with a soft glove or an iron fist, the structural defect which prevents a stable equilibrium between the contending parties remains and is unaddressed.

    It has been remarked that material conditions in Gaza are rather less agreeable than those in Singapore or Hong Kong. Could have something to do with who lives there.

  • It is interesting that many seem to think that the American Left is effectively anti-Israel- the fact is that the mainstream liberal forces that dominate the Dems and media like the NY Times is hardly friendly to the progressives like Chomsky et al on the Israel/Palestine issue. The Dem party has been even more pro-Israel on the whole than the Repubs- in the book – They Dare to Speak Out- the majority of voices are Republican conservatives who have faced the charges of anti-Semitism due to their criticism of Israeli policies. Today you do see some strange bedfellows with progressives and “American conservative” types sharing disdain for such things as the Federal Reserve Board, American Empire “blowback” foreign policies, and the broad and excessive official support for the State of Israel- no matter what. So- I would say that it is a mistake to label the criticism of Israel as Leftist or anti-Semitic- even if you can find some Leftists and anti-Semites who criticize Israel with unusual intensity.

    My own passion is somewhat unique in that I didn’t visit the Holy Land/Middle East as a soldier or as a spiritual tourist focused on the Bible places and ignoring the humanity and politics around me. I won’t back away from an argument on Israel/Palestine because it is personal, it is Christian Holy Land, it is a situation of bigtime American involvement to support only one side in the Israel v. Palestine question, and I have lived and accepted the hospitality of both Palestinians and Israeli civilians when I stayed in the area for 3 months. I’m not interested in scoring points for the Left or the Right- I’m a Catholic not some liberal or conservative ideologue with a chip on his shoulder trying to dumb down the universe into a corrupt stream of human political sentiment- and I don’t have some racist or patriotic darkness that makes claim on my soul. I found Christ and His Church by following a simple prayer- “Lead me to the Truth”.

    Now let’s get serious- all the “Israel is the good guy- the victim in all this” crowd- stop whining about a few progressive online stories- you have been winning every battle for the sake of the support Israel movement for decades now- America doesn’t send billions of dollars of “aid” every year to Palestinians to use pretty much as they please, America doesn’t transfer the latest military technology and weaponry to Palestinians, America doesn’t lead the interference on behalf of Palestinians in the U.N. or any other international body- no my friends you pro-Israel types are the clear winners here in America- congrats on one of the most one-sided fights ever conducted- but I am lined up in opposition to you because you are wrong. That is my prudential judgment after long years of paying close attention to this issue. To view the Palestinians as the primary victims in the Israeli conflict is to be myself in a small minority status here in the U.S.- if I was running for Congress or the Presidency it would probably kill my campaign chances- so the world here in America is so obviously stacked in Israel’s favor- ok- you pro-Israel types are powerfully successful- that’s all you have though.

    I consider the Israelis and Palestinians to be equal in their human worth and I judge the political conditions they are in accordingly- I think it is clear that the Vatican and most Catholics with authority have determined that the best way forward is to see to it that all parties adhere to the natural law, the international laws, the international consensus as documented in the U.N. resolutions- and this is where I feel the confidence of my position since it is the same one I have arrived at after my own research, my own time spent in directly observing things in the region, and my own common sense. I think there has been a massively successful propaganda campaign in this country in both major establishments in the Left and Right Dems/Repubs, to portray things upside down in the Middle East- to ignore the facts on the ground like how beholden most of the Middle Eastern leaders are to outside the country forces- which explains why the polls of the people and the policies of their leaders are in such a state of disconnect. The result is that the Palestinians as a whole are left to rot, left to be occupied/embargoed/invaded/settled over and there is almost nothing to be done about it- except to pray and speak up, and wait for God’s judgment on all of us. It is very, very, important to me to have a clean conscience on this matter relating to the people of the Holy Land- if we can’t get that deal straight then where is the hope for any part of this planet? And we can’t hide from responsibility as the world’s superpower -especially since we have collectively laid down a fortune in time and treasure defending the Israeli position of absolute superiority and command of the air, sea, and land.

  • It has been remarked that material conditions in Gaza are rather less agreeable than those in Singapore or Hong Kong. Could have something to do with who lives there.

    It might also have something to do with the fact that the blockaid prevents any industry or commerce from taking place there. If Singapore of Hong Kong were subject to the same restrictions on the Gaza strip, material conditions would be pretty horrid there as well (and I dare say you’d say a fair amount of political extremism among the population).

  • Tim,

    They Dare to Speak Out was a polemic published twenty years ago by Paul Findlay. Not to current and not necessarily a thorough survey of that particular perspective. Quite likely biased in favor of political circles Mr. Findlay found otherwise aggreeable.

    You might suggest to your Arab hosts the next time you visit that they concoct a somewhat more elevated ultimate objective than running an ethnic cleansing extravaganza. Don’t imagine they’ll take that to heart, but you can make the attempt.

  • Blackadder, the blockade, whatever its effects, is comparatively recent. The place has been a hellhole for decades.

  • I might also note the list of folk inclined to run a blockade of Singapore or Hong Kong is short. There is a reason for that.

  • Blackadder, the blockade, whatever its effects, is comparatively recent. The place has been a hellhole for decades.

    I believe the amount of stuff allowed in and out under the blockaid is between 1/4th and 1/40th of what was occurring before the blockaid began (that includes food).

  • “They Dare to Speak Out”

    Written by Paul Findlay, the pro-abort, PLO loving former Republican Congressman from Springfield. The only time I have personally helped out Democrats to defeat a Republican. We finally took him out in ’82. He was defeated by Dick Durbin who ran as a pro-lifer. He then went to Congress and flip-flopped on abortion I think around 88 or 89 when he became ambitious and realized that a strong pro-life Democrat had no future in the Democrat leadership in Congress. The district is currently represented by a pro-life Republican. Mr. Findlay has spent his retirement railing against Israel. Hey Paul! Don’t forget us pro-lifers! We helped retire you also!

  • Foxfier,

    If aid to Gaza really did go up 900% in 2009 that would be a rather strong indictment of Israeli policy there, no?

  • Blackadder-
    Since they’ve been talking about how the Gaza strip needs more aid for as far back as I can remember, no, not really.

  • Mildly amused… just dawned on me: Israel stopping aid to Gaza: they’re big meanies. More aid than ever going into Gaza: they’re big meanies. Can’t win for losing.

  • Mildly amused… just dawned on me: Israel stopping aid to Gaza: they’re big meanies. More aid than ever going into Gaza: they’re big meanies.

    The fact that you find this a paradoxical combination suggests a touch of innumeracy. You seem to think that aid to Gaza increasing 900% means there must be lots of aid, whereas if anything it suggests the opposite. Imagine trying to increase the amount of food you consume by 900%. Heck, imagine trying to increase it 100%. If I tell you that a guy has increased his food intake by 900% and you had to guess whether he was obese or underweight, which option would you pick?

  • One difficulty you have had in the Near East is the dole from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency which has been continuous for 60 years. That has tended to insulate a section of the Arab refugee population from a consideration of the real costs and consequences of various courses of action.

    The population is subject to a blockade because they misbehave; they are heavily dependent on aid because they are comparatively unproductive. One might even speculate that the lack of human capital and the lack of salutary and constructive political goals have a common source.

  • To solve this, one must know how much aid was going in before and how much is now. Using the analogy of how much food one eats doesn’t really help. We need real numbers.

  • I think that was Blackadder’s point – 900% doesn’t really tell us much in absolute terms.

  • – 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. Rampant black market (benefits Hamas).

    And there are still Catholics and those who claim to be pro-life that support this???

  • I would not stipulate that all of the conditions you enumerate are in force, but the description does not surprise me.

    I do not ‘support’ that state of the world. I do not ‘support’ people drinking themselves to death either, but they do. No, I do not think it is wise to unconditionally subsidize hopeless alcoholics.

    Why are they dependent on ‘humanitarian aid’? Because they are not producing for export. They neither migrated to locales where they would be useful nor developed local industries. (Labor migration in the Arab world in the 1970s was immense, by the way). Neither (after a certain date) did they conduct themselves in a manner congruent with maintaining orderly international commerce. Well, there they are. There is a great deal of pathos in their situation, particularly in so far that there are undoubtedly many who are quite innocent in any corrupted population, but it is not a destiny they collectively sought to avoid.

    It is generally not that difficult to live with your neighbors. It is difficult to live against your neighbors, if that’s what you want to do.

  • The fundamental problem is 1). Hamas and the many other radical Islamist groups in the area 2). the very large percentages of the population that support these groups.

    There are very deeply sick cultures the Iraelis, and any decent person in the region, has to deal with on a daily basis.

    Responsibility for the unfortunate fact that Gaza and other areas have been one giant welfare black hole for decades rests with the population, and with their death-worship ideologies.

    Odd and sadly predictable that so many continously bash the only humane liberal democracy anywhere in sight – the only place where can be openly gay or an athiest and not worry about keeping their life, for example – with little condemnation Hamas and Egypt (and why do they treat their fellow ethnics so badly?), among others (such as the Iran and Syria that smuggle weapons and support young “martyr” cannon fodder to the more than eager residents of Gaza).

    BTW, Not a surprise:
    http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/06/02/israel.palestinians.aid/

    And let’s not be pretend that this latest stunt by “peace activists” (what a joke) was not (it now seems pretty clear) anything else than one more effort by Turkey to seek regional prestige – probably against Iran.

  • Blackadder-
    “aid coming in” is quite a bit different from “amount of food being eaten.”

    A more fair comparison may be “taxable income”– which it is entirely possible to have go up by 900%; should someone’s taxable income go up by 900%, it means they are not going without pay…but it does’t needfully mean their taxable and untaxed income put together was lower.

    You still haven’t explained how Israel is letting only between a quarter and 1/40th of (you imply) the food it was before and admitting more (official) aid than before. Now, if it’s 1/4th the total weight of EVERYTHING it was before, and they were shipping in lots of bunker building supplies, that would make sense…and kinda prove Israel’s point.

    Phillip, c matt– the numbers are linked from the link I posted. If Blackadder objected to relative amounts being used, he probably wouldn’t have used them himself.

  • “We need to get beyond the notion that the Shoah was somehow unique in history,”

    What an appalling statement Tony. I will defer to the Jewish philosopher Emil Fackenheim on this point:

    “The “Final Solution” was designed to exterminate every single Jewish man, woman and child. The only Jews who would have conceivably survived had Hitler been victorious were those who somehow escaped discovery by the Nazis.

    Jewish birth (actually mere evidence of “Jewish blood”) was sufficient to warrant the punishment of death. Fackenheim notes that this feature distinguished Jews from Poles and Russians who were killed because there were too many of them, and from “Aryans” who were not singled out unless they chose to single themselves out. With the possible exception of Gypsies, he adds, Jews were the only people killed for the “crime” of existing.

    The extermination of the Jews had no political or economic justification. It was not a means to any end; it was an end in itself. The killing of Jews was not considered just a part of the war effort, but equal to it; thus, resources that could have been used in the war were diverted instead to the program of extermination.

    The people who carried out the “Final Solution” were primarily average citizens. Fackenheim calls them “ordinary job holders with an extraordinary job.” They were not perverts or sadists. “The tone-setters,” he says, “were ordinary idealists, except that their ideals were torture and murder.” Someone else once wrote that Germany was the model of civilized society. What was perverse, then, was that the Germans could work all day in the concentration camps and then go home and read Schiller and Goethe while listening to Beethoven.”

    Other examples of mass murder exist in human history, such as the atrocities committed by Pol Pot in Cambodia and the Turkish annihilation of the Armenians. But none of those other catastrophes, Fackenheim argues, contain more than one of the characteristics described above.

    I might add Tony that while the Holocaust was going on more than a few Palestinians, including the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, were cheering Hitler on. The Holocaust does not absolve Jews from moral responsibility for their actions, but it should make any thinking individual understand why the Israelis are concerned for their security, especially when a staple of Palestinian propaganda are calls for a second Holocaust.

  • “aid coming in” is quite a bit different from “amount of food being eaten.”

    So your view would be what, that the vast majority of food shipped into Gaza just sits there rotting after the Palestinians have all eaten their fill?

    You still haven’t explained how Israel is letting only between a quarter and 1/40th of (you imply) the food it was before and admitting more (official) aid than before.

    The blockaid has been in place since 2007. The statistic you cited was that aid in 2009 was 900% higher than aid in 2008. Is it really so hard for you to understand how both these things can be true?

    Suppose that, prior to the blockaid, 40 million tons of food is brought into Gaza a year. After the blockaid, only food aid is allowed into Gaza. One million tons of food aid is brought in in 2008; ten million tons is brought in in 2009. Result: aid went up 900% in 2009, yet the total amount of food brought in is still 1/4th of what it was before.

  • Why are they dependent on ‘humanitarian aid’? Because they are not producing for export.

    Export is all but prohibited by the blockaid, so the fact that Gaza isn’t producing for export is hardly shocking. And given the nature of the land in the Gaza strip, the only way for people to be able to feed themselves by selling exports. And since that’s not allowed, dependency on food aid is inevitable. If you were under the restrictions placed on Gaza you would have to depend on food aid too.

  • The blockade was imposed in June 2007. Gaza was not a prosperous little city-state prior to that. Again, the UNRWA dole has been in place for sixty years. It is the most durable example of collective mendicancy in the world today.

    Likewise, political revanchism is not a product of any blockades imposed in the last three years. Revanchist candidates won the municipal elections Israel held in the West Bank and Gaza in 1972 and 1976. An authentically liberal-democratic strain of political thought is inconsequential on the West Bank and in the Gaza strip and that is just the deal.

  • Blackadder-
    You pretty clearly aren’t even bothering to try to find out what’s up.

    First you say there’s only a tiny fraction going in, then you say that because there’s a lot going in things are dire, then you think all the aid is food– even though GLANCING at the list of items on any of these stories would let you know that “aid” is all sorts of things (fuel not being counted in the weight) and now you’re not even aware that, hey, Gaza actually does export. It is a bit restricted, since they have a habit of being used to smuggle the primary export of “kill the Jews,” but every other outrage about Gaza is how Israel is horrible for messing up their exports.

    Me, I’m startled that thousands of flowers (last St. V’s day’s outrage) thousands of tons of strawberries and tomatoes is both “prohibited” and not worth mentioning.

    Shoot, maybe if they had greenhouses they could grow more food….

    Meh, screw it; I’m done with banging against this wall. You’ll just decide to insult me, again. It’s like arguing against contraception with a child of the ’60s.

  • The flotilla organizers drew attention to the illegal blockade. I’m not convinced, based on what I’ve read, that resistance preceded violence on the part of the commandos. There are reports that suppressive fire resulted in activist deaths prior to the commandos boarding. It also sounds like the Israeli team lacked the means to engender crowd dispersal (such as tear gas). An American was shot 4 times in the head and once in the chest but I suppose he had it coming, despite being unarmed, because he was “spoiling for a fight” and at least associated with people who aren’t “nice.”

  • “despite being unarmed, because he was “spoiling for a fight” and at least associated with people who aren’t “nice.””

    I guess Mr. Furkan Dogan, who had dual Turkish and American citizenship and who was living in Turkey, wasn’t clear on the concept that “running a blockade” might not be the safest of pastimes. As to people who aren’t “nice” I think that is a rather mild description of the terrorist affiliations of the individuals on board the Turkish ship.

Inherent Tensions on Nationalism

Monday, April 26, AD 2010

Nationalism, a hydra of a term which in this case I am using in the sense whereby it refers to the idea that “a people” of unified ethnic, cultural and/or religious heritage have a “right” to their own nation state which expresses their identity as a people, is a force which has been at the root of a great deal of suffering since it burst upon the world scene — arguably via the French Revolution followed by Napoleon’s empire. As such, it has a fairly well deserved negative reputation these days. And yet, like many intellectual vices, it is often denounced even by those who hold it dear.

Case in point: Can one seriously claim to be against nationalism if one believes that the Palestinians have a natural and human right to their own nation state in which they are the dominant ethnic and cultural force?

For a couple decades, the “Palestinian” territories were parts of Jordan and Egypt respectively. For the last 50 years, they have been controlled by Israel. If one is truly against nationalism, is either of these situations a problem? Or the the problem only when whatever governing authority controls the West Bank and Gaza Strip fails to provide equal political rights and privileges to the residents of those areas who are Muslim or Christian Arab in background?

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4 Responses to Inherent Tensions on Nationalism

  • DC,

    The operative definition of “nationalism” in this piece is not necessarily the concept that the political left might object to.

    When nationalism involves very strong self-identification with one’s nation, it might include that one’s nation is of primary importance. To be clear, I am primarily interested in human affairs as they relate to America because they affect me, the people I love, and the country I live in. However, without the right moral parameters, patriotism can morph into a nationalism that involves a negative view of other races or cultures based on broad generalizations that are not necessarily rational. I would bet there is an extreme positive correlation between self-identified patriots who believe in “supporting Israel” and who hold the prevalent Republican view on immgiration.

    So, I think there is a question regarding definition of “nationalism.”

    Either way, I don’t think the “left” or “right” are terribly consistent on these issues.

  • Fair point. We are, often, two factions divided by a common language.

    That said, I would argue that the definition of nationalism that I just outlined underlies most of the manifestations of nationalism which the political left decries (as well as some it applauds.)

    After all, the instinct to desire a “pure” Jewish state of Israel is really no different from the desire to have a “pure” Arab state of Palestine — except that the two desire are mutually exclusive, since both groups claim the same land.

    Since one of the things that most Americans admire about the US is that it is a “melting pot” of immigrant groups, I think it’s far too easy for us to forget that in nearly every other part of the world (and certainly in Europe and the Middle East) nationalism is very much connected with the desire (often militant) of cultural/ethnic groups to have a state to themselves.

  • We are patriots. They are nationalists. It brings to mind the old George Carlin quote: “Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?”

  • One important distinction to consider is the odd monkey-wrench which the United States happens to throw into the usual considerations on nationalism.

    Usually in the history of the world “nationalism” is an expression of some form of racialism. The Germans of the 1930’s weren’t unusual in this regard: They rallied around their German-ness defined by family lines, culture, history, and genotype, and even invented some silly unscientific views of their origins to support it. (Aryan! Ha! The closest things to Aryans the Nazis dealt with were the gypsies, or “Roma,” who they slaughtered with only slightly less gusto than they did Jews! Now if they’d invaded [i]Persia[/i] they could have dealt with some Aryans.) This was all part of German identity, it was who they were.

    The United States, though, takes a very different approach to identity, to self-definition. German-ness may be all about family, but American-ness is centrally about a particular approach to human liberty and its implications about what constitutes good government. Americans have traditionally gone out of their way to emphasize that the “great American melting pot” was held together, not on racial lines, but by that common agreement on a point of [i]ideology[/i]; something with which anyone could potentially embrace, no matter their birthplace.

    Put crudely: When a war occurs between other nation-states and in other centuries, peoples would get worked into a state of frenzy asserting that [i]we[/i] were better than [i]those guys[/i]: A necessary bit of cheerleading, perhaps, but when the only differences between us and them are our genetic heritage and those bits of culture which come as accidents of birthplace rather than from willful adoption of a creed or cult, then…? What? Surely we can’t claim [i]moral[/i] superiority on such a basis. It is hard for most nations to exhibit nationalism without going for some kind of racial superiority angle because that, at heart, is what defines the nation.

    But whenever the United States was involved in a war, nationalism took a different tone: From the revolution onward, an ideology was involved. Thus does American cheerleading differ from the conventional nationalism: It is about freedom and human rights and opposition to tyrants and such.

    The odd thing is that this means the American expression of nationalism — the kinds of things being said and championed — has a better than usual chance of actually being true, of being worth championing.

    Setting aside the issues of justification and the violated ceasefire terms and all that, it is plainly true that Republics with Constitutionally Limited Government by Democratically Elected Representatives with Encouraged Entrepreneurialism, Enforceable Contracts, and Educated Populaces are just plain [i]better[/i] than anything the Taliban, or Al Qaeda, or the sleazeball Saddam & Sons regime, or Russian kleptocrats, or the Soviets before them, could ever offer.

    Don’t misunderstand what I’m claiming, here. I’m not attempting to argue for justification for attacking the Taliban. I’m not saying that the nation with the best ideas about government should go ’round invading all the ones with lesser notions.

    I am putting all that to the side, and focusing on the question: Does American “nationalism,” when expressed, differ in any qualitative way from “nationalism” as usually defined?

    I think it does. I think a person who rallies to the flag in the U.S. isn’t rallying to a race or to a racial culture or to a racial history, as he would be in other countries. He is rallying to a set of abstract moral imperatives embodied in an approach to governance and society-formation.

    And, all things considered, the moral imperatives and the approach to governance and society-formation which are cheered on when an American puts up his flag are [i]good[/i] ones. Quite good, actually.

    That this difference between American nationalism and Xian nationalism is overlooked accounts, I think, for the disconnect about “patriotism” between right and left.

    The fellow on the left sees a bunch of red-staters mounting flags and gets surly and suspicious: Don’t they know how badly white people treated the American Indians? Don’t they know about exploitation by American corporations in Latin America?

    Meanwhile the fellow on the right sees the fellow on the left getting surly and suspicious and feels that limited government, enumerated powers, democratic republicanism, and the Bill of Rights are being dismissed or shown contempt — by someone who enjoys their benefits, no less!

    Now if the fellow on the right thought “America” meant his relatives and their cultural habits and history, he’d agree the guy on the left had a point. But since his idea of America is all tied up with the Revolution and the Constitution, he thinks the guy on the left is merely off-topic, and a bit of an ingrate.

    The guy on the left takes note of the frown of the guy on the right, and shouts, “Don’t question my patriotism!” The guy on the right responds, “Didn’t say a thing, bud…but if the principles I hold dear offend you so much, y’know, there are other places you could live where they hold different ones….”

    And neither side realizes that the other is talking about something entirely different.

Son of Hamas Founder Converted to Christianity, Helped Israel

Friday, February 26, AD 2010

Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of Hamas co-founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef has a just written a book, Son of Hamas which is surely going to cause some controversy. Mosab, who now resides in California, writes about how starting in 1996 he became an informant for Israel, passing information about suicide bombers and terrorist attack to Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, from the innermost circles of Hamas.

He tracked down suicide bombers and their handlers from his father’s organisation, the Haaretz newspaper said.

Information supplied by him led to the arrests of some of the most- wanted men by Israeli forces, including Marwan Barghouti, a Fatah leader tipped as a potential president, who was convicted of masterminding terrorist attacks, along with one of Hamas’s top bombmakers, Abdullah Barghouti, who is no relation of the jailed Fatah chief.

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10 Responses to Son of Hamas Founder Converted to Christianity, Helped Israel

  • A wonderful story Darwin. He of course will now be a marked man by Hamas, unless the influence of his father can protect him.

  • Now who could doubt a French communist paper? No Karlson, although it is an article of faith of the Israel hating Left, the Mossad did not create Hamas.

  • I’m not entirely clear what your point is, Henry. Yes, there are persistent rumors that Mossad initially gave some covert support to Hamas in hopes that they would weaken other Palestinian nationalist organizations. However, even if one accepts that as entirely correct, it doesn’t change the fact that Hamas is in fact run by Palestinian nationalists and religious radicals, and that it is in no way controlled by Israel or doing what Israel wants at this point. This is like when people point to the fact that the US supported Islamist insurgents against the Soviets in Afghanistan back in the 80s and then make the irrational leap from there to suggesting that Al Qaeda is in some sense US controlled or doing what the US wants.

    If anything, it’s a good example of why governments should be very leery of helping nationalist insurgent movements in hopes of some pragmatic gain. But I’m not clear what bearing it’s supposed to have on the story of Mosab Yousef, either his work against terrorism or his conversion to Christianity.

  • Let’s look at this clearly:

    The son himself is more or less admitting the family work with Hamas is all as informants for Israeli intelligence. That it has been suggested, with good evidence, that his father was indeed doing that from the beginning, and we see him saying he was doing it, there is a good case that the whole Hamas was indeed just that. And if we see that is the formation, then it is not hard to see further actions, even now, are in line with the Mossad and at their orders. Something is fishy with his story (as with many other “former Hamas” who then create all kinds of legends about Palestinians which are false).

  • No, Henry, that’s not looking at it clearly, that’s looking at it nonsensically.

    If there’s serious evidence which seems credible to those in Gaza that Sheikh Yousef works for Israel, why does he continue to be revered by Palestinian nationalists and elected to the Palestinian Parliament, even as he’s imprisoned by the Israelis?

    He in no way says that his whole family are informants for Israel, in fact he says the _opposite_. Where are you getting that?

    I mean, seriously, what are you trying to suggest here? That Israel is fighting a proxy war against itself through Hamas just to keep the Palestinians in Gaza down and have an excuse to cause trouble? And that in the process, the totally innocent populace, which would on its own have no interest in such a movement unless provoked by the evil Israelis, were in the process duped into elected Hamas as their dominant political party in Gaza? Surely that’s not where you’re going. That makes about as much sense as the old Protocol Of The Elders of Zion narratives, and probably springs from roughly the same instincts.

    Seeing defectors from violent and despotic regimes join the other side is hardly unusual. There was, for instance, a steady trickle of defections (some of them fairly high level) from the communist bloc countries to various Western nations throughout the height of the Cold War. And exactly what “legends about Palestinians which are false” are being spread here?

    I get that you have a strong dislike of Israel, but don’t lead that into accepting every crack-pot theory you run into on the “internets”. That way lies madness (or at least extreme conversational tedium.)

  • Lovely case of the apple not only falling far from the tree, but being an entirely different type of fruit.

    Hope the guy has a CC license.

  • I think that the historical record is pretty clear that the geo-politics of the U.S. and also that of Israel- was from the 50’s well into the 80’s, that the threat to the status quo was found in Arab/Persian secular nationalist movements- this led to many decisions to support in mostly covert ways- the Islamist movements- which they hoped would be ultimately controllable much like the conservative but radical House of Saud- just keep a lid on the people redirecting them from concerns over foreign dominance in the economy and so forth. Fromkin’s treatise on the history from after WWI – A Peace to End all Peace- is necessary reading.

    Of course, I don’t find too many on the Right here in America willing to accept the fact that the causes of many of America and Israel’s current problems of security are found in the geopolitics of the past decades- just as not many are fond of looking squarely at the question of just what are America’s “interests” that have defined our collective governmental and corporate behavior towards other nations and lands over the past decades. I am a Catholic and an idealist- I don’t accept the philosophical premises of Pragmatism or Real Politick- so I took Pope John Paul II’s advice and looked at the root causes of Middle Eastern terrorism and Palestinian violence, and found many unsavory partnerships, historical patterns of imperialism/neo-imperialism, and flaws all around. The choice to try to quell, disrupt or destroy nationalist movements across the Middle East- before the Islamists were dominant- similar to the way the U.K. decided to deal with the Irish Catholics by way of overwhelming force and dehumanization- these approaches led to more rage and temptation to violence- that much is certain in my mind.

    If one wants to box in the Left as America haters, then I would return the favor and declare that the Right is the group of ideologues that loves America but could care less for the rest of the world. Of course, since I am not a Leftist ideologue I don’t believe that either statement above is true- but the true Left and Right believers seem to really believe that all criticisms coming from the Left or Right are always wrong- never right- and that approach to things is decidedly one-sided, ideological, and definitely contrary to the life and teaching example of our Magisterium/Holy See on matters related to global politics. I want to be defined by my love of Truth, not by my hatred to one or another ideological group that will soon change, fade or die off.

    For the record- I don’t support or condone Hamas terror attacks, I don’t support Israel’s rejection of Palestinian rights to a true independent nation, I don’t support the huge flow of American tax money and political clout to support Israel’s rejection of the Palestinian case according to international law and UN resolutions- as well the Holy See and Holy Land Hierarchical positions on such. I do support the positions of the Holy Land’s Catholic Hierarchy- and I reject the idea that American Catholics know better than Palestinian Catholics, the situation dealing with Muslims and Israelis in Israel/Palestine. I spent 3 months living with Palestinian Catholics to research some of this at the ground level. Not many who have actually spent time with the people and the clergy there in the Holy Land come away from the experience and fall all over themselves praising the U.S. and Israeli policies- quite the contrary- so either the palestinian Catholics are excellent brain-washers, or the facts on the ground just scream the truth which only a brute could ignore.

  • I’m not clear that it is the case that conservatives reject the notion that the problems in today’s Middle East are to a great extent the result of the machinations of the Western powers after the Great War and WW2. It’s fairly obvious that the fact that the Allies helped bring European ideas of ethnic and cultural nationalism to the Middle East in order to undermine Turkey, and in the process ended up promising multiple groups the same territory, would result in nationalist strife. Indeed, both Israelis and Palestinians can rightly feel aggrieved in that the European powers had at various time promised both Arabs and Jews control over the entire region.

    However, I think what conservatives (rightly) reject is that the fact that the Middle East was infected with ideas of ethnic nationalism and then forced into a highly compromised set of borders somehow means that the behavior of nationalistic groups in the region is somehow justified.

    At this point, it’s been a very, very long time since the ’48 and ’67. I think the best and most Catholic outcomes would be either:

    – For the West Bank and Gaza strip to cease thinking of themselves as temporary camps until they’re able to return to lands within Israel’s current borders, and instead focus on building a stable and peaceful country where they are now

    – Even better, for people to get past that nationalistic idea that each ethnic/cultural group should have its own exclusive state. Israel has, at least, made more progress in this area than any other country in the region, in that it has had throughout its history Arab Muslim and Druze members of the Knesset. While I would see it as better if Israel was simply a “state” rather than a “Jewish state”, it is by far the freest and most egalitarian country in the region to live in — so long as one isn’t bent on blowing up its citizens.

4 Responses to Catholic View of the Political Community

  • “10 Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle [b] and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day.”

    19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” ”

    I’d say that the warnings about Kingship (Government), are some of the more accurate prophecies in the Bible.

  • Belloc however noted that the president of the U.S. acted as a prince [his word for the executive] and the country was thus spared the corruption and weakness of parliaments.

  • This may be rather more of a libertarian reading than you were thinking of — but one of the things that had always struck me about the list of evils surrounding having a king (which Donald quotes above) is that it underlines the trade off which communities make as they move from a society of direct personal relationships, to one of rulers, to one of laws.

    There is no state of primordial social goodness, in that humans as we know them are fallen creatures drawn to take advantage of others, but in the most basic organizational level of society we see people interacting with each other as people with direct relationships. However, in order to martial the centralized resources to achieve a certain level of power and prestige, a society must establish some sort of ruling power — which in turn is invariably abused to some extent.

    Those weilding power (whether kings or legislatures) are always capable of doing things that increase the common good — but also capable of either bumbling or actively abusing. There is, thus, a constant search for balance, whether to give more power to the ruler[s] so that they may try to improve society, or restrict their power to curtail their ability to harm society.

  • A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.

    Gerald Ford

Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Israel and the Holy Land

Thursday, May 7, AD 2009

Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Israel and the Holy Land will begin tomorrow, May 8-15, 2009.

I’ve set up a special blog devoted to the Papal Pilgrimage as a vehicle for rounding up news, coverage and commentary, and where I’ll be posting from now until the duration of the Holy Father’s journey (upon which time I’ll resume blogging here at American Catholic).

Following are some interviews and links which will set the tone for the papal journey:

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The Hebrew Catholics Of Israel

Tuesday, May 5, AD 2009

With the upcoming visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Israel there are many stories that come to the surface that I find especially intriguing.  For example, I came a cross an interesting article on the small community of Hebrew Catholics living in Israel.  They consist of:

Christians married to Jews, monks and nuns who live in Israel out of solidarity, Christians who immigrated from the former Soviet Union and Jews who converted.

There are approximately 4000 in all of Israel today.  They are in full communion with the Catholic Church.  Probably the only difference between them and Latin Rite Catholics is that their liturgy uses Hebrew and they celebrate the Jewish holidays as well as those contained in the Catholic liturgical calendar. 

I’d like to point out some historical nuances with certain Hebrew words that are used in their unique liturgy.  For instance certain words are updated to remove the negative connotations that the Jews themselves had attributed to Catholic terms and names.  An example is the name of Jesus:

Linguists say the modern Hebrew word for Jesus, Yeshu, is derived from the word, Yeshua or Yehoshua, which was given by rabbis in the Middle Ages and which is in fact an acronym of the expression “may his name and memory be obliterated.”

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