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Milton Viorst on Israel’s Tragic Predicament

Posted on Feb 1, 2008
AP photo / Baz Ratner

By Milton Viorst

(Page 2)

    Zertal and Eldar, whose disciplined research complements Shulman’s passion, lay out the process by which these wrongs were piled on. The guns of 1967 had barely fallen silent before Israel annexed East Jerusalem and the land surrounding it, then adopted the concept of “liberation” to disguise the breach of international conventions that barred the transfer of population to territories occupied in war. Within a few months the army had substituted the Old Testament names Judea and Samaria for the internationally accepted “West Bank.” It was in those early days that the symbiotic relationship between army and the settlement movement was established. 

    The settlers spoke of “redeeming” the land for the Jewish people. This was a concept venerated by Zionist thinkers, but in the occupied territories it had little legal foundation. So the army came to the rescue by proclaiming that settlements were essential to military security, a notion to which international law was more sympathetic. Security became the bedrock justifying not just military policies but the web of decisions by Israeli courts that rationalized the excesses in the daily behavior of the settlers. To this day, security—whether or not the concern is valid—remains the rhetorical premise of Israel’s ongoing confiscation of Palestinian land, and for the wave on wave of restrictions that Israel imposes on Palestinians in their pursuit of everyday life.                   

    My own experience as a journalist in the occupied territories began in the 1970s, when Palestinians were still traumatized by the disaster of the Six-Day War of 1967. Having been badly bruised by the misgovernment of the Jordanians which preceded it, they imagined that Israeli rule was unlikely to be worse. West Bank life throughout the ‘70s and early ‘80s was rather serene, and Gaza was far from the hellhole it later became. Men earned decent wages working in Israel, and the standard of living—refrigerators and washing machine became commonplace—was rising. Universities were absorbing young people; travel by car and bus was easy. The absence of danger drew Israelis to local restaurants to dine on Arab delicacies, tourists visited from abroad and émigrés often returned home to be with their families. Except in the refugee camps and at a few guard posts at crossroads, it was rare even to see soldiers, much less to feel their intrusions.

    Settlements at that time were few, but, after the Likud Party won the election of 1977 on a pro-settlement platform, that began to change. Within a few years, settlers living in temporary trailer parks were driving through Arab villages on their way to work, stopping for groceries in street markets en route home. At the same time, Palestinian demography was changing, with the rise to maturity of a new generation that did not know 1967 and which found the settlers’ presence provocative. Though serious violence was still uncommon, occasionally a teenager threw a rock and smashed a windshield. 

    I recall once visiting a settler family living at the end of a narrow, rutted road in the shadow of an old British police station. Over the kitchen table, a young mother argued passionately that the army should provide settlers with more protection from the nearby Arabs. Rather naively, I asked whether she saw any possible compromise between the settlers and their neighbors, who had lived on the land for centuries. Her answer: “There is no compromise. This is our land. The Torah says so.” Slowly, it became clear that these Jews were planning to stay, and the new generation of Palestinians rising to maturity sensed that patience had serious limits, and that action was required if Israel was ever to evacuate them. Meanwhile, Israelis were growing increasingly comfortable with the spoils of their 1967 conquest. In 1987, a spontaneous, basically nonviolent uprising called the intifada broke out. Since then, with only brief respites, the confrontation between the sides has grown steadily more intense, and more brutal.   

    Of all Israelis, Ariel Sharon was the one most responsible after 1977 for the settlements’ relentless spread. A sound tactician as well as a strategist, he perceived Israel’s limits and, according to Zertal and Eldar, he warned his followers not to trespass boundaries set by the Americans, whose support for the country he considered crucial. Throughout the administrations of Ronald Reagan, father Bush and Bill Clinton, however, the Americans rarely protested Israel’s policies, and when Sharon became prime minister himself, the president was George W. Bush, who set no boundaries at all. 

    Bush, in an interview prior to his recent trip to the Middle East, reminded an Israeli journalist that Sharon, his host on his first visit to Israel, in 1998, took him on a helicopter tour of the West Bank. As Bush recalled it, Sharon, “pointing to a hill, said this is where I engaged as a young tank officer in my first battle, and see how far [near] it is to our capital and our civilization. His purpose was to make clear to me the strategic issues facing Israel.” The tour clearly made an impression. As president, Bush publicly promoted a two-state solution but sent Sharon a letter promising that Israel need not contemplate reversing the reality of the settlements. Israel’s latest figures reveal that 280,000 Jews now live in 130 settlements in the West Bank, in addition to 200,000 in East Jerusalem, roughly a tenth of the country’s population. Though Bush proclaimed Sharon “a man of peace,” Sharon’s words made clear his own agenda, belying that judgment.

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thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, February 13, 2008 at 4:49 am Link to this comment

It is strange when you consider the state of U.S. foreign policy. There is at times a complete denial of reality. Just look at South America. Suddenly the state department stumbles upon the fact that there are many countries in this hemisphere who no longer buy into United States gospel of exploiting their resources. The same can be said of the situation in the Middle East. Despite militarily championing Israel, the United States government is also entangled with all kinds of arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, U.A.E., and including nuclear technology to Turkey. The trans-national selling of weapons is what keeps this charnel house going.
The nuclear situation with Israel, with the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, denies the existence of her hydrogen bomb arsenal. But of course, her neighbors are well aware of that fact.
Here in the United States we are told plenty about Islamic extremism, but Zionist extremism? That is best left to the alternative media. But there are consequences, whether they are recognized or not. The concept of “God gave this land to me” may eventually lead to the exodus of humanity.

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By spyguy, February 12, 2008 at 7:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is the bottom line that no one seems to understand. Although I am in the process of writing a full article to explain why, I will summarize a few points:

- It is absolutely impossible for Israel to maintain military superiority over the Arabs. Due to globalization and the Internet, all the world’s technology and knowledge is freely available to everyone. The engineers in Israel are no smarter than the engineers in the rest of the world. Developing weapons technology takes lots of resources and Israel can not match the resources of its enemies.

- The US will walk away from Israel soon. No matter what people in the US may think about Israel, they are going to have to focus all their energy internally as multiple internal crisis hit on top of each other. The US will have no resources left to protect Israel. What are these crisis I talk about?  Healthcare restructuring, retirement restructuring, government debt, personal debt, peak oil, getting out of Iraq, and the list goes on. Individually each of these crisis are daunting, but on top of each other, devastating.

- The geo-political powers that will replace the US either don’t care if Israel exists (China) or are very negative (Russia) about Israel. That is, once the US is gone, Israel will have no champion. While there are a significant number of Israelis that think they can take on the world and win, sane people know that is impossible.

Once the US has totally neutered itself and Israel’s enemies have sufficient resources, it will just be a matter of time before Israel’s fate will be sealed: There are two scenarios: Israel gives up lots of land, water and cash so the very small state of Israel will continue, or more likely, they will fight until death, nuking a lot of people in the process, thereby getting nuked in return. Basically over half the Jews in the world will be wiped out due to extreme hubris (note this is NOT my wish - I want a negotiated settlement, but I am well aware of the consequences of a small group fighting a much larger group when both are equally equipped)

Obviously it doesn’t have to end with the death of millions but I see no one in Israel that has the vision nor the clout to destroy the settler movement, sign a fair agreement and give up lots of land, water and compensation cash.

I am sure there will be those that think Israel can “win” in the end, but I suggest they look at what has happened to every imperial invasion in history - the invaders ALWAYS pays a heavy price and in the last few centuries the invaders always get thrown out after a large loss of life. Make no mistake, the Jews are the invaders - they have absolutely no right to the land. I can understand the situation at the end of WW2 when there were lots of Jewish refugees and the anti-semitic US, UK and Europe decided to dump them in the ME. It was a bad decision then and has just set up a long list of tragic events. The mistake will have to be corrected eventually.

How long before the “correction?” My best guess is within the next 25 years. The US is deteriorating quickly and the rate of weapons technology introduction into the Muslim countries is much higher than most people think.

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By John Hanks, February 12, 2008 at 5:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When the bottom falls out of the U.S. Economy, Infrastructure and Crooked Government, won’t it be time to do a repeat of Hitler’s World War II stunt?  Won’t it be time to blame the Jews again?  After all quite a few Israel types have been connected with all of our disasters from Kissinger to 911.

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By Douglas Chalmers, February 12, 2008 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment

By Non Credo, February 12: “Was it “tragic” when South Africa’s apartheid system started to collapse….. “Gee, it was such a good idea! It’s just a rotten shame that it didn’t work out! What a noble if doomed enterprise!”.....”

Another “settler society” has just apologized - could this ever happen in Palestine - the stolen lands???:-

I don’t know if T’Dig will run another blog on “The Apology” delivered today by the Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd, to a parliament with the galleries filled with native Australians of “the stole generations”  and 1,000’s of people listening outside…...

I watched it live and it was certainly a “peace on earth thingie”, MMC. As dull and dreary as the boring suits were, it took the better part of an hour and, after the leader of the opposition replied at length, the two of them and the woman minister for indigenous affairs walked up to the people in the gallery and shook hands and embraced many of them. Video First Cut: Rudd delivers apology

The sorry road to unity - A member of the Stolen Generations speaks out,23599,23206140-2,00.html and click on “more videos”.

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thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, February 12, 2008 at 10:29 am Link to this comment

Thank you for the post. Isn’t it amazing that the words terrorist and security become the stock answer to all atrocities, all violations of human rights, torture and spying.
“A whole nation of snitches, is that the kind of country you want to live in?”
William S. Burroughs

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By John Hanks, February 11, 2008 at 7:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Don’t you think it is a bit presumptuous of you to think that such a single personal obscenity on one side justifies inflicting the same thing on the other?  Why are Zionists incapable of respect?

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By mike, February 11, 2008 at 11:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Who gave the right to the international community to split up the land.  Britan had just taken over the land from the ottomans after WW1. and as for competing claims the main claim by the zionist is that 2,000 years ago they lived there and should have it back .

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By John Hanks, February 11, 2008 at 10:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How about getting smart.  Getting tough is just the same old self gratification.

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By Howard, February 11, 2008 at 7:05 am Link to this comment

Doctors at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon were forced Sunday to amputate part of the left leg of Osher Tuito, 8, who was seriously injured in a rocket attack in Sderot on Saturday. “We are trying to keep the second leg, but it’s also in bad condition,” said Dr. Emil Chai, the hospital’s deputy director-general. “Apart from that, he has a hole in his chest and his lungs are injured.” 

  Osher, who dreamed of becoming a soccer player, does not know yet that he has lost one of his legs. He remains under total sedation so he doesn’t suffer from severe pain. Staffers at Barzilai Medical Center were themselves traumatized by Osher’s suffering, as he was conscious upon arrival at the trauma room and repeatedly screamed “Save me!” (Jerusalem Post)

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By Tony Wicher, February 10, 2008 at 8:52 pm Link to this comment

I know for a fact that Hamas has been offering a 10-year truce or “hudna” ever since they won the election. I saw the offer in a New York Times op ed piece by a man described as a senior advisor to Ismael Haniya. It was an eminently sensible and fair proposal. The Israelis did not respond to this or subsequent proposals. The fact is that, like Howard, they have no interest in any kind of good faith negotiations. Their real policy is “might makes right”. They think they have the power and that gives them the right to say anything, however obviously false and hypocritical.

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By John Hanks, February 10, 2008 at 6:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

People tolerate violence because it serves them in some way.  Israel is run by practiced criminals running scams.  If you can keep the population focused on rocket attacks you are free to run rackets at your leisure.  (The same goes for Hamas.)  People love violence in the Middle East.  They don’t just tolerate it.  Misery makes crooks rich.  They have no borders or religions or traditions.

Measured responses, Precision bombing?  Blah, blah, blah.

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By Howard, February 10, 2008 at 4:25 pm Link to this comment

The huge difference is that Hamas sends mortars and rockets at civilians on purpose; the IDF goes after the militants who fire them in a measured way to avoid casualties amongst civilians..The Hamas killers also shoot from schoolyards and from areas right next to homes.  No nation will tolerate this.

Israeli cabinet ministers pressed Sunday for sharper military action in Gaza after a rocket attack by Palestinian militants the night before seriously wounded two brothers, 8 and 19, in the border town of Sderot.

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By John Hanks, February 10, 2008 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Zionists, Neocons, and their unethical associates are vicious traitors, subversives, and crooks.  You know them by their methods, not by any claims to religion or patriotic feelings.  They have associated themselves with Republicans and Saudis to pull of their crimes.  Let’s hope it may be enough to expose them to stop them.  They are snakes in the grass.  They work in the dark. THEY ARE NOT JEWISH, ANYMORE THAN KISSINGER WAS JEWISH.

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By Louise, February 10, 2008 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment

Intifada toll 2000-2005

The four years of the Palestinian intifada have cost more than 4,000 lives. B’tselem, an Israeli human rights group, has been tracking casualty figures on both sides.

3,135 killed by security forces in the West Bank and Gaza including 627 aged under 18, 181 killed in extrajudicial executions and 288 (including at least 29 aged under 18) killed in the course of these assassinations.

54 killed by security forces in Israel
including one aged under 18

34 killed by Israeli citizens in the West Bank and Gaza
including three aged under 18


431 civilians killed in Israel
including 78 aged under 18

218 civilians killed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip
including 34 aged under 18

218 Israeli security forces killed in West Bank and Gaza

83 Israeli security forces killed in Israel


But it doesn’t get better.

Some top Israelis make it clear that they do not actually believe that Palestinian civilians even exist. Yuval Diskin, head of the Israel Security Agency (ISA), or Shin Bet secret police, responsible for hundreds of extrajudicial executions of Palestinians, told the cabinet on 13 January [2008] that the army and Shin Bet agents had “killed 1,000 terrorists in the Gaza Strip in the past two years.” [2006-2007]

By B’Tselem’s count Israel had killed 816 Palestinians in Gaza in the previous two years, of whom 152 were children and many others were adult civilians “who took no part in the hostilities.” Thus, B’Tselem concluded, the “head of the ISA defines every Palestinian killed by Israel in the Gaza Strip as a terrorist.”

The logic seems to be that Israel can do whatever it wants, as long as officials use euphemisms to describe it. As Dov Weissglas, Olmert’s advisor, so notoriously put it when Israel began its strangulation of Gaza in early 2006, “It’s like an appointment with a dietician. The Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but won’t die.”

But they do die, in large numbers.

Anyway, in the Tit for Tat Talley, Israel is way ahead.

In the winners category there are none.

In the losers category, in my view Israel is ahead, even though the losses are greater on the side of Palestine. Because eventually sanity will prevail and the world will right itself, and Israel will have to find a better way, or step aside while saner minds step in to stop the killing.

I feel pain and anguish for the 8 year old child who lost a leg, may lose the other, in the attack on Sderot Friday. I feel pain and anguish for the two Palestinian children shot by Israeli snipers when they went to the roof of their home to bring down the family laundry. They didn’t lose a limb. They are both dead.

So, whoever thinks it’s important to keep score, make of this what you will. But like it or not Israel, being the bigger and the more powerful must take the “bigger” step and do what honest human brokering requires and try to find a peaceful solution.

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By Louise, February 10, 2008 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment

A certain cynical man went to the house of Rabbi Hillel, and said mockingly, “Your Torah, your wonderful Torah! I will become your student if you can teach it to me while I stand on one foot.”

Now Rabbi Hillel knew that the man was mocking his tradition, as there is never an end to the study of the Torah, but he said, “Very well, I shall teach you the whole Torah, and I will do so while I also stand on one foot!” So the Rabbi stood on one foot and said, “This is our Holy Torah:”

“What is hateful to you, do not do unto others.”

Then he put his foot down and looked directly at the man, and said,

“That is the meaning of the whole Torah. All the rest is commentary.”


What more needs to be said?

Well maybe just this:

“The death of a single human being is too heavy a price for the vindication of any principle, however sacred.”

Daniel Berrigan

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By John Hanks, February 10, 2008 at 8:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Of course Hamas has about as much of a chance of stopping rockets as Israel has a chance of stopping illegal settlements.  Both governments need extremists to keep the scam going.  (Have you noticed how the Zionist prose is always full of propaganda phrases and talking points?)

The sleeping idiot called the United States is gradually waking up to the fact that the Republican party has been taken over by Zionist crooks called Neocons.  Let’s hope that we all become sensitive to Zionist subversion in every major aspect of our society from media to government to finance and everything else. Sometimes paranoia can be a friend.

Don’t blame Jews in general.  All human groups contain plenty of suckers and lazy cowards who form a shell for a bunch of criminals.  The real enemies are always crooks without borders and the stupidity which falls for them.  Saudis, Irish, British and Republicans have all played their part.

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By weather, February 10, 2008 at 5:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Finger pointing:never leave the scene of the crime w/out it.

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By Howard, February 10, 2008 at 4:45 am Link to this comment

Hamas, the freely elected government of Gaza, rules the strip with an iron hand. Should Hamas wish to cease the terrorist rain of rocket fire on Israel, it can do so with a moment’s notice

It is the people of Gaza who are the innocent pawns in Hamas’s violent chess match. If the Annapolis initiative crumbles, it will be because for too long the the Palestinians have tried to avoid the reality that there are consequences for actions—- and in particular, actions that are under their control.

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By Howard, February 9, 2008 at 7:52 pm Link to this comment

Gordon has no knowledge of any peace proposal. It’s utter falsehood.

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By Howard, February 9, 2008 at 7:48 pm Link to this comment

Following many weeks of rocket barrages against Israeli communities, the likelihood of a major IDF operation in Gaza is once more at the forefront. The change is mainly linked to developments along the border between Gaza and Egypt. While smuggling had previously been rampant, the absence of any border controls in recent weeks has enabled Hamas to intensify its effort to bolster its arsenal. At the same time, terrorist organizations have sent a number of teams into Sinai, with the aim of carrying out attacks in Israel. (Ha’aretz)

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By John Hanks, February 9, 2008 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My stepfather used to stand on the battlefield with mortar shells coming down around him.  No rocket attack is trivial, but he didn’t react by calling in F-16’s to destroy a neighboring village.  It is all corrupt in Israel.  It is spy versus spy and occasional attacks keep Israelis from doing anything about the crooks in charge of their country.  The same goes for the other side.

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By Howard, February 9, 2008 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment

As for piddling rocket attacks, hope you have to never suffer beneath them. They have killed, wounded, and maimed citizens in Sidoret and are aimed at the population as a whole.

Hamas in Gaza focuses its weaponry on civilians; on children in schools and kindergartens, on families’ homes. They fire their missiles from deep within civilian neighborhoods, taunting Israeli Defense Forces to fire back, knowing that injury to the innocent people of Gaza would fuel their propaganda campaign. Israel acts only in self defense. When they do fire on Gaza it is merely in response to Hamas’ missiles and they are focused on the militants themselves.

  There has never been a ‘cease-fire ’ offered to the Israeli government by the Hamas leadership.  They only offer continued fighting until Israel is gone. Could care less about the future of their people.

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By Robert Mendez, February 9, 2008 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Israel was a mistake fifty years ago and will someday, hopefully soon, be dismantled and its people sent back to the sea.  It is vital that those who agree stop spending on anything that supports them and that you let them know why are not supporting their global hegemony. That is the only thing they will understand.

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By John Hanks, February 9, 2008 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Neocon conspiracy to use the United States to conquer the Middle East is not widely known.  Neocons grew out of the Israeli Zionist movement with the active support of the Israeli government.  They probably were a part of the 911 stunt and they certainly were active in fomenting the Iraq mess.  It is amazing how many Neocons can be found at almost every level of the Republican and Democrat governments from attorney general on.  They are almost a parody of all the fantasies that fuel anti-semetism people hold.

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By Louise, February 9, 2008 at 10:42 am Link to this comment

You poor dear thing, do you need help?

Maybe we could all come up with enough money to buy you some history books, a passport and a one-way ticket to Israel.

Would that help? smile

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By Howard, February 9, 2008 at 9:36 am Link to this comment

A couple of facts have a way of conveniently disappearing.

First, the cause of the Gazan’s ordeal is not the inevitable and measured Israeli response to an unrelenting rocket bombardment of Hamas rockets from Gazza; the cause is the bombardment, and tht bombardment will continue as long as Hamas deems it essential to its war of attrition on Israel’s very existence.

The notion of a measured response needs emphasis here; any other state being forced to die the death of a thousand cuts would long ago have declared total war against its would-be destroyers.

Second, the ordinary citizens of Gaza are not mere “pawns ” in the war of Hamas on the existence of Israel.  They have been turned into human shields by the very same Hamas they elected to represent and protect them, but whose hatred of Israel’s existence they share.

This blindness is the Gazan’s tragedy.  The disgrace remains Hamas’s alone.

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By Louise, February 9, 2008 at 8:47 am Link to this comment

Howard February 9 at 3:53 am

“Israel is willing to give up over 90 % of the West Bank ( with security adjustments ), as soon as they have a government that will recognize Israel, promise peace and renounce terrorism.  Good first-starters items at least, eh ?  Should not be too difficult.”


Good first-starters?

Should not be too difficult?

First, you have to figure out exactly where the West Bank is. Then you have to figure out what 90% of that is. Then you have to come up with a believable rational why you don’t return 100%. But that would all be predicated on the notion that you could even remember where the West Bank was in the first place, let alone Palestine!

All so much blabber Howard. Just smoke and mirrors!

Near as I can tell, the genocide of the Palestinian people is close to complete. Who’s the IDF gonna target when they’re all gone?
Who’s next?


jerry gates February 8 at 10:59 pm

“Milton Viosrt on Israel’s tragic Predicament, offers some dissent of Israel’s IDF supported settler degradation of Palestinians and shows clearly how the actions of compassionate Jews make the militants look small minded and selfish.”

“Palestinians are a product of the Israeli treatment of them. They cast stones at Israel in response to laser guided missiles, huge , armed bulldozers and IDF goons with guns who deride them and murder them as if they were assured that the stones were their only weapons and that IDF murders would never be questioned in Israeli courts, which they are not.”

“While Bush is still at the helm of the US military, Israel is safe and sound in it’s settlements and racist moorings. A growing anti Zionist campaign and anti occupation consortium of US Jews , Christians, Muslims and Atheists is preparing to bring justice to the criminals and light and freedom to those within Israel who bravely dissent the atrocities of hard line Zionists with a host of laws and resolutions which will put AIPAC in cages and set the Palestinians free.”


Great comment!

I hope you are right. Runamuck power never comes to anything good.

The trick is to stop it in it’s track. Not an easy thing!

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By John Hanks, February 9, 2008 at 8:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Zionism got going during the same century that Mormonism did.  And, they are both based on a “
holy land” fetish.  Nazism gave Zionism a huge boost by turning Jews in general into victims.  Then the Zionist protection racket really got its wings.  “You will only be safe in Israel” is the constant moronic refrain.  Israel has nuclear weapons and they still fear that they are unprotected.  (This comes from an endless paranoid weakness)

Anti-semitics loved the idea of Israel by the way.  What better way to control the Jews than to get them to go to a huge detention camp on some of the most worthless land in the Middle East.

Zionists and Jews in general carried a terrible burden.  They thought they were special because Zionism had revived the old ignorance, and they were scared out of their wits.  This combination of egomania and paranoia has always been the cause of disaster.  Much of the calculated viciousness of Isreali policy reflects the same syndrome that has plagued all other colonial powers. (The same thing is going on with the U.S. in Iraq.)

Youthful religious movements appeal to the perpetual 14 year old and they usually embrace force and fraud as their means.  No religion is worth much until it has achieved some philosophical sophistication, which is totally lacking in any young cult like Zionism, Moonies, Opus Dei, Born Again, etc.

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By Howard, February 9, 2008 at 6:58 am Link to this comment

On November 29,1947, the UNITED NATIONS VOTED to create a Jewish state and an Arab state in Palestine.  Soon ISRAEL will celebrate it 60th BIRTHDAY and the Pal’s could be having one of their own if they had accepted the international community’s judgement that the just solution to the conflicting claims of Jews and Arabs in Palestine/Israel was the establishment of two states. Instead teh Arabs decided they woiuld not accept or recognize a Jewish state in their midst and sought to destroy it. As we saw during the conference convened last November in Annapolis, little has changed.

Few people besides historians know that the Arab states did not go to war in 1947-48 to create a Palestinian state.  They were more interested in carving the territory up for themselves.  Even the Palestinians expressed little enthusiasm for statehood at the time as most saw themselves more closely associated with SYRIA or what was then TRANSJORDAN than any independent state of Palestine.

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By Douglas Chalmers, February 9, 2008 at 5:44 am Link to this comment

By Howard, February 9: “Israel is willing to give up over 90 % of the West Bank… as soon as they have a goverment that will recognize Israel, promise peace and renounce terrorism…”

A “good first-starter” would be for fools like you to realize that the fake state of Israel doesn’t “own” any land in Palestine. Nor should it be too difficult for you to understand that it is Israel which is the major oppressor once millions of so-called Jews arrived from Europe decades ago.

Their purpose was to take over a region that they would then call their own - as exclusivists always do. Arming themselves and thus putting their boots on other peoples’ necks was quite easy with the sinister help of the West. Forcing two thirds of the original Palestinians to flee made it simpler.

The guilt and shame is all in the minds and hearts of the sadly deluded and very stupid Western Christians like yourself who are so hypocritically biased in favor of the old-Testamant Jews and, inevitably, against the teachings of their own leader and divine prophet, Jesus, who taught a new way of peace.

It is YOU who are being un-Christian in your foolish support of the vicious Zionists rather than admit your errors and your own shortcomings and particularly that you are being manipulated by those who see you as inferior to their own religion’s “the chosen ones” status. That is, they couldn’t give a fuck or a damn about your Christianity, uhh!

Hamas should NEVER recognize Israel as a state. It is not a state and it is their oppressor. Thus they have known no peace from them since Israel existed. The state of Palestine has always existed - with Jews, Eastern Christians and Moslems side by side. You European/American Christians have no concept…....

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By Howard, February 9, 2008 at 4:53 am Link to this comment

Israel left Gaza in 2005. Rockets have not stopped since.  Makes one wonder about giving up more territory.  There has never been any kind of serious offer for cease fire by Hamas to the Israeli government.  Just promises and pronoouncements and speeches to destroy Israel.

  Israel is willing to give up over 90 % of the West Bank ( with security adjusments ), as soon as they have a goverment that will recognize Israel, promise peace and renounce terrorism.  Good first-starters items at least, eh ?  Should not be too difficult.

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By jerry gates, February 8, 2008 at 11:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Milton Viosrt on Isreal’s tradgic Predicament, offers some dissent of Israel’s IDF supported settler degradation of Palestinians and shows clearly how the actions of compassionate Jews make the militants look small minded and selfish.

    Kudos to the Machsom Watch women. What a worderful way to prevent IDF soldiers from taunting Palestinians at checkpoints with a kind of “your mother is wacthing” effort which provides a witness for Palestinians who are harrassed or detained. This effort would be seen as a stop gap “stand in the breach” if it were to grow into something bigger.

  While Israel threatens the reisiters of occupation and derides them as self hating Jews , we , in the United States, could care less is Jews deride us for exposeing their crimes in Palestine. In fact the more they wiggle and squirm, the louder our voices against the occupation get. It;s like taht in the US. Tellus we CANT speak freely and passionatly about the treatment of Palestinians by the settlers and IDF and watch the ratcheting up and amplification of anti zionist free speach reach a deafening crescendo denouncing them, not only as racists but fascists and hate mongers.

  Palestinians are a product of the Israeli treatment of them. They cast stones at Israel in response to laser guided missiles, huge , armed bulldozers and IDF goons with guns who deride them and murder them as if they were assured that the stones were their only weapons and that IDF murders would never be questioned in Israeli courts, which they are not.

  When Ariel Sharon saw his window of opportunity to amp up the settlements with US aided IDF support he took advantage of his BUSH ACCOMPLICE and created an innapropriate drive in the AIPAC community which is now being blown back into it’s holes by strong US dissent of IDF and settler crimes.

  While Bush is still at the helm of the US military, Israel is safe and sound in it’s settlements and racist moorings. A growing anti zionist campaign and anti occupation consortium of US Jews , Christians, Muslims and Atheists is prepareing to bring justice to the criminals and light and freedom to those within Israel who bravely dissent the atrocities of hard line zionists with a host of laws and resolutions which will put AIPAC in cages and set the Palestinians free.

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By Tony Wicher, February 8, 2008 at 11:53 pm Link to this comment

True. Also, if Israel were not occupying the West Bank and Gaza, there would be no response by the Palestinians. Hamas has offered a ten-year truce or Hudna on numerous occasions. Israel has never demonstrated the slightest interest in such an offer.

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By Howard, February 8, 2008 at 9:12 pm Link to this comment

If there was no instigation (rockets and suicide bombers ) there would be no response by Israel.

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By Louise, February 8, 2008 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment

And so a hungry and desperate Palestinian population spent what precious money they had buying the necessities they have so long been denied and were herded back into their cage.

A win-win for everyone. [Well except for the Palestinians who never win anything ... duh]

Egypt got the Palestinians money, and Israel’s IDF is free to once again abuse, molest and murder at will.

Move along, nothing to see here.

[Unless of course you enjoy watching people get abused, molested and murdered]

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By Howard, February 8, 2008 at 9:12 am Link to this comment

As the border with Gaza was sealed off, the Egyptian state-owned media launched a campaign apparently seeking to overturn public sympathy for the Palestinians. Newspapers have become harsh on the Palestinians, with front-page news about Palestinians shooting at Egyptian soldiers, weapons smuggling, terrorism and reports of false currency in Sinai, posing a threat to Egypt’s national security. The new content replaces earlier headlines that showed sympathy with the Palestinians.

  Rose-al-Youssef, a state-owned paper known for being the most vocal mouthpiece of the regime, has spearheaded the anti-Palestinian campaign. The paper even denied that Gaza had a humanitarian crisis, hinting that Gazans were well-off. Abdullah Kamal, the paper’s editor in chief, wrote, “Each [Gazan] comer spent an average of $260 in three days…the total spending during that period reached $220 million. These figures raise real questions about the financial situation in Gaza.”  (Los Angeles Times)

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By Louise, February 7, 2008 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment

All this really tells me is there are more incredibly wealthy people in Israel per capita than here. Noteworthy indeed. Course like here, that’s a small club restricted to those who have wealth to play with. And the ability to jack the market around. Another effective tool in keeping the middle and the little down.

And when hard-right conservative policy finally comes full circle and brings it all crashing down ... as it always does ... Israel will be in the unique position of being able to blame us, instead of the other way around.

Come on Howard. Are you trying to convince me all the people in Israel are either rich or computer geeks? Surely [besides clobbering on, or trying to defend Palestine] they must do something else!

And for goodness sake! If they are so friggen rich and so gosh-awful successful, how come they need that multi-billion dollar welfare package we send them every year?

Here’s a thought. You have completely overlooked mentioning Israel’s fabulously successful arms manufacturing industry! You know, those things that go boom and bang and kill in the night. Which incidentally has seen phenomenal growth since the Bush came to power.

Maybe that’s where OUR billions are going.

Hmmm? wink

Oh, and thanks. I had no idea you thought I was intelligent!

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By Howard, February 7, 2008 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment

Not to impress you, Louise;  goodness gracious, I realize your intelligence has got it in hand aleady.

11.  Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world.
12. Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin — 109 per 10,000 people — as well as one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed.
13.  In proportion to its population, Israel has the largest number of startup companies in the world. In absolute terms, Israel has the second largest number of startup companies after the US (3,500 companies mostly in hi-tech).
14.  With more than 3,000 high-tech companies and startups, Israel has the highest concentration hi-tech companies in the world — apart from the Silicon Valley, US.
15. Israel is ranked #2 in the world for venture capital funds right behind the US.

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By Louise, February 7, 2008 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment

[It never plugs up, ‘cause I never shove garbage in it!]

Microsoft has FIVE R&D;(Research and Development) facilities. And they are not all in Israel.

In addition to it’s others, Cisco has one in Ireland. But hey, far be it from me to confuse you with some facts!

Israeli-based ICQ introduced Instant messaging (IM) service in 1996, which was later ACQUIRED by AOL. The major IM services are AOL’s Instant Messenger (AIM), ICQ, Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk, Jabber and Microsoft’s incarnations: MSN Messenger, Windows Messenger and Windows Live Messenger.

Although third-party IM clients such as Trillian ( and Simple Instant Messenger ( were designed to interface with multiple IM services, the IM clients from the IM service itself were always proprietary to that service. Google changed that practice by basing Google Talk on the open XMPP protocol used in Jabber, which is supported by the open source community.

So while the original breakthrough, or better, concept may have originated with ICQ, IM was propelled Worldwide by others. Nothing wrong with that, that’s what global enterprise is all about.

Again, don’t discredit or simply eliminate the genius of ALL the engineers/architects responsible for today’s whiz-bang internet! It’s a good thing they’re all to busy to pay attention to trivia, or they might be just a bit ticked off by the implication that only one tiny fraction of the world-wide internet success is being given credit for ALL the world-wide internet success!


“According to industry officials, Israel designed the airline industry’s most impenetrable flight security. US officials now look to Israel for advice on how to handle airborne security threats.”


So, which of the several hundred blogs who quote the same non-informative info did you lift this from?

Facts please. Verifiable facts.

Not that I doubt Israel has companies that have developed flight security. They also have airport security companies. One being in place in Boston on 9/11, which didn’t work very well, did it? And apparently neither did the “impenetrable flight security,” assuming that was in place.

Oh silly me. Maybe you’re not talking about an in-flight gadget. Maybe you’re talking about the hard-nosed bully tactics in place in our airline terminals today. The ones that have been responsible for deaths by mistake and so much missery for people who just want to get from here to there. If that’s the case, I dont think that’s anything Israel should be proud of.


“Israel’s $100 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined. Israel has the highest percentage in the world of home computers per capita.”


Amazing what a small country can do when another country sends it billions and billions of dollars every year, huh.

I wonder what we could have accomplished if Israel had been sending us billions and billions of dollars every year.

Or better still, what we could have accomplished if we’d just kept that “welfare for Israel” in the first place! Like putting a computer in every American home! Although Microsoft has taken the first expiramental steps to implement such a program. Uhh ... that would be Microsoft here. In the U.S.

Like I said:
“I suggest if you want to impress people with your knowledge of Israel, you actually learn something about Israel!”

How about some original thoughts Howard. I mean Israel as a country really does have some good points, doesn’t it?

Is it really necessary to elevate Israel only because of four bright young men? What a mess we would be in if all we could do to justify our own value would be to cite the success of four people!

Come on Howard, how about some real successes that reflect the value of the entire nation-state of Israel. I’m sure there must be something. smile

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By Howard, February 7, 2008 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

Since you brought it up. Not me. Information only listed to show those who consistently malign Israel as to the fact that there is much that country has to be proud of.  Something the Gazans should try to emulate since Israel has left Gaza Now if those Hamas leaders could just get their act together maybe they could stop exporting only suicide bombers and rockets, etc.

Anyway here are few more items on the progressive list.

6.  Both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R&D;facilities outside the US in Israel.
7.  The technology for the AOL Instant Messenger ICQ was developed in 1996 by four young Israelis.
8. According to industry officials, Israel designed the airline industry’s most impenetrable flight security. US officials now look to Israel for advice on how to handle airborne security threats.
9.  Israel’s $100 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined.
10. Israel has the highest percentage in the world of home computers per capita.

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By Louise, February 7, 2008 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

Your post truly discredits Israel, by implying all the electronic wonders we enjoy would not exist were it not for Israel. This kind of small mind thinking makes any truly great things accomplished by people working in Israel smaller by the implication. Aside from that, your small mindedness is a real slap in the face to the thousands and thousands of engineers and architects who have worked all these years around the world to bring us a better product with better service!

Reprinting largely misleading, if not down-right dishonest, comments posted on multiple hard-right blogs does not make it so. I suggest if you want to impress people with your knowledge of Israel, you actually learn something about Israel! Same goes for the wonders of voice-mail, the cell-phone, the computer and the internet!

For example, Microsoft is located in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, North and Central America, South America and the South Pacific.

The list of countries where Microsoft has offices, plants, labs and manufacturing facilities is far too long to post here.

Likewise, Motorola and Intel!

Motorola has development centers in Illinois, Hyderabad, [that’s in India] China, Denmark, Spain, and the list goes on.

Reading the names of the engineers worldwide who have worked on the on-going expansion and improvement of cell-phone service and technology reads like an international tour. Same for Windows NT and XP, Pentium MMX Chip technology, Pentium-4 and Centrino.

Intel’s Mobile Platform Group is located in Haifa, Israel, as are the four principle architects, but that in no way implies these technologies would never have happened if Israel hadn’t done it. Nor does it imply all Pentiums are made in Israel. Israel didn’t do it. Intel and their engineers/architects did it!

Got that? INTEL did it!

The real story here is how effectively these multi-national corporations use outsourcing!

How successful would these engineers have been if they had been plunked down in India, or China, or Hoboken New Jersey?

Actually, they would have achieved the same success. Because location does not produce success! Rather the people produced the success. And those people are the direct result of companies with vision. Companies with their home office and roots firmly planted in the United States of America.

By the way; Voice mail technology was invented by Gordon Matthews who held more than 35 United States and foreign patents on the technology. Cell phone technology was invented by Martin Cooper when he was Director of Research and Development at Motorola. And Vinod Dham from Pune India, is generally credited with inventing the Intel Pentium processor.

I have a fabulous toilet made in Vietnam. But that doesn’t mean Vietnam invented the toilet! That toilet never would have happened had it not been for Kohler! But Kohler didn’t invent the toilet either. Evidence suggests toilets in use as far back as 2500 B.C. Should we suggest Israel did it?

No, actually those first toilets were in ancient Mohenjo - daro. Today that’s in, oh my goodness! That’s in Pakistan!

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By Howard, February 6, 2008 at 5:08 am Link to this comment

who says:  ” the Israelis are…”

With those strident comments it seems more like you hate yourself.

Goodness gracious.  Look at a map and study a little history. Israel, the size of San Bernadino county is surrounded by 22 Arab states with godszilla sizes of territory. Israel certainly wants peace, but a little difficult if there is noone to talk to and those people next to you are sending rockets into your cities, and also sending in sucide bombers. And trying to end your existence.  And refusing to get along with Israel for 60 years.  Hope the Hamas leadership wakes up.

Meanwhile, democratic Israel is doing ok.

1.  The cell phone was developed in Israel by Israelis working in the Israeli branch of Motorola, which has its largest development center in Israel.
2.  Most of the Windows NT and XP operating systems were developed by Microsoft-Israel.
3.  The Pentium MMX Chip technology was designed in Israel at Intel. Both the Pentium-4 microprocessor and the Centrino processor were entirely designed, developed, and produced in Israel.
4.  The Pentium microprocessor in your computer was most likely made in Israel.
5. Voice mail technology was developed in Israel.

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By Paolo, February 5, 2008 at 6:48 pm Link to this comment

My point was to say that I don’t care if any individual wants to contribute to either side in the Israeli-Palestinian issue. I’m just against using the government to make me pay for someone else’s foreign crusade. From your frequent battles with Howard and Lilmamzer, I jumped wrongly to the conclusion that you too support one side over the other, and for this I apologize. I don’t think I would be wrong in applying this standard to Lilmamzer or Howard, however.

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By Paolo, February 5, 2008 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment

My apologies, Non Credo. The error is entirely mine.

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By yours truly, February 5, 2008 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Now Is The Time For All True Jews To Come To The Aid
Of The Palestinian People

“Why is that?”

“Because the true Jew is always on the side of the slave, never on the side of the slave-master.”

“What makes the Palestinian a slave?”

“Self-hating Jews have taken over their land and to have one’s land occupied is to be enslaved.”

“And how does the settler turn out to be the self-hating Jew?”

“By putting all living beings at risk.”

“Of what?”


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By weather, February 5, 2008 at 4:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

this one for best dramatic performance of feeling sorry for themselves at the expense of others.

A role Israel has truly perfected.

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By Howard, February 4, 2008 at 9:32 am Link to this comment

A Palestinian carried out the first suicide bombing in Israel in a year on Monday, killing a woman and wounding 11 others in Dimona’s shopping center. Police said they prevented a second blast by shooting dead an accomplice before he could detonate an explosives belt. Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed the attack along with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Young Fatah supporters in Gaza handed out flowers and candy to passing cars to celebrate. (Reuters/Washington Post)

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By Giacinto, February 4, 2008 at 7:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I appreciate the article and its sentiment, but I cannot help but think that it will never be just “their” tragic predicament—but all of ours. And that they will never stop trying to make it all of ours (re: Louise). After fifty years on this planet, it seems to me that this lot clearly rate their own race- and faith-based dogmas above all other priorities for our small planet. Indeed, some of them seemingly cannot wait until their animus turns into a nightmare for us all—If they can’t have their medieval little states all to themselves and their “fab” little identities, then, clearly none of us can either. And this in a world in which soon most of us will be migrants living with “adopted” identities.

I think it was Bill Clinton whom I once heard say (not unusually, something that in the end he could not fully practice) that that unless you are sure that you can kill all your enemies, it is logical and profitable to explore a political solution. It would appear that as long as we continue to indulge them, both sides will stick with Plan A—the killing theory.

So I am with the first respondent and Mr Paul: it is self-harming to continue to indulge either side with either money, votes or our angst. Rather, we might begin to treat them as responsible co-habitants of earth and demand they rise up to the simple democratic challenge of one-man, one-vote in a unitary and secular state.

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By AIT, February 3, 2008 at 11:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

woho… that’s a little feisty for a party cracker like you. relax zozo, thing is, I do not need to act nor threaten, I just need to make sure you realize the massive shift that is happening here, in the US, right now. Your #1 problem is not Arabs, but Zionism along with many other far right ideologies is rapidly becoming… uncool. I know, it sounds silly but as a dude who likes to rocks his night away, I’m sure you know about coolness and what it means to lose it here. It means that you’ve lost middle America and that before long, the great liberal American Jewish voice will be back at the top of the charts with a tune you’re not gonna like at all. A tune so popular, people will party all night long on it in Jerusalem and that is your real threat, dude.

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By Scotty McBee, February 3, 2008 at 9:44 pm Link to this comment
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If America could get rid of the pro Zionists in congress and the state dept. I guarantee you,d be singing a different tune. Without the river of money that pours into the Israeli coffers from the U.S you & your kind would probably living in London, Paris or Rome bewailing the fact that the disposessed Palestinians took their land back.You,d be whining that since the U.S. had cut off the arms & cash flow Israel could no longer keep the Palestinians in their ghettos. I say it is disgusting to treat human beings the way Israel has treated the Palestinians. God Forgive You.

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By Paolo, February 3, 2008 at 9:17 pm Link to this comment

The only rational foreign policy being articulated comes from Ron Paul. That is: non-interventionism in other countries’ internal affairs.

Israel is a country about the size of Massachusetts, if you include the occupied territories, or New Jersey, if you don’t (source: Wikipedia). We should have friendly and open trade relations with Israel and the Muslim world. We should form alliances and pick favorites from none of them. The whole mess is simply not our affair.

We should end all foreign aid to Israel (the number one recipient) as well as Egypt (the number two), and all the other nations of the world. It is not America’s role to choose sides in every little squabble on the surface of the globe.

In the Israeli-Palestinian mess, both sides have a lot to answer for. But again, that is their concern—not ours. It is not our role to play den-mother to fighting children. In fact, if we left them alone, they would be forced to solve their problems on their own.

If anyone (named, say, Howard or Lilmamzer or Non Credo) wants to send their personal funds to Israel or Hezbollah or Hamas, I say let them do so. If they want to re-patriate and join those countries’ armed forces, they have my blessing. Go ahead—just don’t make me pay for it through your well-armed mafia thug, aka the State.

The vision of America needs to change from world den-mother and world cop to what it once was: the land of freedom and opportunity where you can live a rich and fulfilling life no matter what your ethnic or religious background. If you want to “spread freedom”, the worst way to do it is Bush’s policy of pre-emptive war against anyone official Washington doesn’t like. The best way to do it is to create an example of what free people can do when they ignore chance ethnic or religious differences, and agree to live together peacefully.

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By Kwagmyre, February 3, 2008 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

From Writeon:

“It can lead to Israel moving in the direction of Facism, and how ‘ironic’ would be?”

Well, it already has as of a long time ago as the long term “ghettoization” of the Palestinians blatantly attests to.

And the valiant efforts of that group of Israeli women provides one of the few sources of hope that exist around there to *perhaps* turn the tide around some day
and “democratize” the society.

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By lilmamzer, February 3, 2008 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

keep digging dude, I know you know the logical end of this

If I were you I’d be very careful about acting on your threats.

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By lilmamzer, February 3, 2008 at 11:06 am Link to this comment

Israelis are not that crazy.

And neither are Americans, fringe far-left tin-foil-hat wearers like Wicher and Chalmers and that bobble-head Cyrena notwithstanding. That is why Israel is now and will remain overwhelmingly supported by the US in her struggle for peace and justice in a hostile Arab and Muslim sea of genocidal losers.

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By lilmamzer, February 3, 2008 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

Howard, you can’t just kick people out of their homes and say, “Go live over there where those other people live.

Non-Credo, you can’t just kick people out of their homes [the 800,000 Jews from Arab and Muslim countries in 1948-49] and say “ can’t even live over there [Israel] because as Jews you are not enttled to self-determination in your own homeland, and we will wage incessant war until your nation of Israel is destroyed”.

Justice isn’t just unless it works both ways.

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By Tony Wicher, February 3, 2008 at 10:10 am Link to this comment

If an American President decides that supporting Zionism is not in the interest of the United States (which it sure isn’t), for the Israelis NOT to repudiate it would be suicide. Zionism cannot survive without U.S. support. Israelis are not that crazy.

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By nrobi, February 3, 2008 at 9:39 am Link to this comment

What has to take place for the suffering to end?  What must the antagonists do to end the violence and madness of retaliation and retribution? 
First of all, there must be a change of heart, the women of Machsom, are the start of a movement, that movement which, if given free rein, will change the course of history and forever alter the landscape of Israeli and Palestinian relations. This change of heart must start with education through demonstration; demonstration that not all Israelis are the devil and that not all Palestinians are the evil one. We have, at this time and opportunity, to change the hearts and minds of the young, through learning that we as human beings are equal, and though we look different we hope and pray and laugh and cry, as all do. We, the Americans are not supporting the cause of peace, too many of the Christian Zionists, have an ulterior motive, religious though it may be, it forces the antagonists on both sides of this insane and hopeless dispute to continue their fighting. This cause in their eyes, is the supposed return of their G-d, to the earth to set up and control a thousand year reign of peace on earth.  The standard that they hold up is based upon the Book of Revelation of St. John the Divine.
Many people have tried to decipher this enigmatic book, yet none have offered the key, but in the meantime these Christian Zionists, have much power in the halls of the legislative branch of our government, and have only a short amount of time left for the “decider in chief.”
Israel and Palestine must come to the point where the people of each country, decide that enough is enough, too much bloodshed and misery has taken place, too much hatred and violence has been committed in the name of religion. Are there solutions to these thorny and prickly problems?  One need only look to the Northern Ireland problem and see that it was the grassroots women, who taking their destinies into their own hands, met the violence head on and defeated it with love and compassion. But they had to demonstrate that their love and compassion was unconditional, without regard to heritage and birth. No longer must the people of any land depend upon the leaders of our respective lands to seek the truth and best for us, the people, we the people must seek the truth and work for the best in all our dealings with those who are “enemies” and see them as people not animals who are not worthy of our love. We must work for the restoration of justice and peace throughout the world, for if we do not those in leadership will always play the trump card of fear and loathing for the “enemy.”  Take back the reins of government and elect those who will listen to the voice of the people and say, “We shall engage and work with those who are now enemies.”  The Hamas movement has put forth “hudna,” why has that not been reported in the MSM and why have not the Israelis taken up the offer for the betterment of both sides? Because if peace were to happen then the government of Amerikka would not be able to justify the idea that the Israeli side is always right. For peace to happen we the people must take back the policies of peace and love, not the military industrial complexes, justification of war and hatred.

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By Expat, February 3, 2008 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

“Our true enemy is ... the one who sits, complacent, in government offices or in the army’s high command or in the passivity of
the home. (Let our Palestinian friends deal with their own violent counterparts to such people, that is not our business.) We will meet our foe at every point—every house he demolishes, every olive tree he uproots, every rocky field he is intent on stealing. We will engage him over and over, without violence. We will watch and record and bear witness and, from time to time, we will stop him. He has guns: we have each other, determination, and some dogged convictions about what it means to be human. That, and a certain dark hope.”

You have left me breathless with your erudition on this too critical subject that should be at the core of our understanding.  This is the fulcrum of true peace in the Middle East.  Thanks.

Yes, great article.

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By Louise, February 3, 2008 at 8:21 am Link to this comment

Memory of the holocaust may have led to a fierce determination to “return” to the Holy Land. But I think it was more a yearning to have a homeland. Still, for some it was a trip forced on them by those who wanted to see them go. Those anxious for a permanent solution to the “Jewish Problem.” It wasn’t just the Germans who wanted the Jews to go away. And it did not begin with Truman!

How quickly we forget.

That guilt may partially explain the western worlds eagerness to see nothing but good coming out of Israel. But I think it’s deeper, or shallower than that. We cant see past our blinders of ignorance here in our own country. How can we be expected to understand any one else?

I doubt the holocaust memory drives most Israelis today. But it is used by forces who want to keep US in ignorance. The author was too kind giving deference to Bush. Using the example of seeing the threat to Israel laid out by Sharon as
justifying his inaction does not mask his ignorance.

Ignorance and inaction, both key to Bushes lack of resolve. Just as both are key to those “rapture” groups who meddle in Israeli affairs, and accept, if not encourage the attacks on Palestine.

Like us, most Israelis are driven by years of fear. Real or imagined, a careful campaign to bring the population under the complete control of politicians and warlords who simply want to gain and maintain control.

The holocaust is the club used to keep the western press, us, and our politicians uninformed.

As this article so clearly demonstrates it is the holocaust survivors, or at the very least those who have a memory who are working with others, trying to restore dignity to the Palestinians. When they are gone, so too will go the memory of being an innocent victim and the ability to feel compassion and empathy.

Those who continually use the holocaust to silence critics don’t really care. They are like our own hard-right conservatives who see no wrong in causing fear and grief, pain and death for the sake of personal gain. Those hard-right conservatives who frighten and silence us with 9/11, and terror.

No one knows better the true nature of one who calls themselves “conservative” and does all manner of evil in the name of God, than those who DO remember the holocaust! That’s the real lesson of the holocaust. That’s the lesson we should all have learned. That’s the lesson we should all remember, but seem so willing to forget.

“Someone needs to come and help the helpless.”

A cry that comes today from inside that wall!

Those in Israel who remember hear the cry and try to help.

People beyond our borders look at us and wonder how we can be so blind to what is being done across the world in our name.

How can we not see the same parallel among the people in Israel?

Haven’t we all expressed alarm for the future of our nation? We abhor the war. We abhor the daily discoveries of the lying and cruelty and inhuman behavior of our administration and those under their direction. And if we don’t yet, we should fear a repeat and continuation of this horror being done in our name. And that is the promise and the legacy we face if we don’t take a positive stand right now and recognize what Shulman and the Israeli activists and the Machsom Watch, so clearly see.

“Our true enemy is ... the one who sits, complacent, in government offices or in the army’s high command or in the passivity of
the home. (Let our Palestinian friends deal with their own violent counterparts to such people, that is not our business.) We will meet our foe at every point—every house he demolishes, every olive tree he uproots, every rocky field he is intent on stealing. We will engage him over and over, without violence. We will watch and record and bear witness and, from time to time, we will stop him. He has guns: we have each other, determination, and some dogged convictions about what it means to be human. That, and a certain dark hope.”

Great article

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By Bert, February 2, 2008 at 11:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think someone should call Mr. Putin, and ask him to assemble a team of trained polar bears to go forth and inspire the people of the middle east.
How do polar bears hide in olive trees? Easy. Their claws are black. Ever see a polar bear hide in an olive tree? See? It works!

Seriously, though, I think if they can do something with the electric cars and stuff like they’re talking about, or even explore the ethanol option, where there’s a will, there’s a way. The oil thing is threatening to wreck the whole global economy. Time for more inventions…energy independence and all that.

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By Howard, February 2, 2008 at 8:35 pm Link to this comment

Not a chance. Israel will not commit suicide. Arabs already have 22 states, most of them do notand have not allowed any Jewish people to live in them. Made refugees of all of them after ‘67 war.  Kicked and drove them all out. Those refugees were taken in by Israel.  Arab states have refused to absorb any Pal refugees.  They prefer to keep them in camps.

Israel is democratic country with an Arab population which have citizenship. Some serve in the Knesset. Many are physicians and nurses in the hospitals and many are teachers.

This very contentious issue of land was even around in 1947, and that’s when the U.N. decided to divide the land between the Israeli claim and the Arab claim and have 2 states.  The Arabs rejected having their own state at that time.  Started a war instead.  They have been fighting since that time to destroy Israel.  More interested in accomplishing that than haveing a 23rd Arab country come into existence with Israel around.

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By Inherit The Wind, February 2, 2008 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment

Is this really Fadel???  I am actually agreeing with this post.  Israel needs to throw the fanatics out of power and the Arab states need to step in and FORCE the Palestinians to negotiate in good faith.  Then there will be peace and both will prosper.

Still, the usual haters of Israel are posting their usual nonsense…like Non Credible…

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By dick, February 2, 2008 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment
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The USA has been sinking into the morass of Palestine for over 60 years. Truman started us down the road to mayhem, violence, and death in Palestine, which will continue, as everyone knows,  so long as there are Jews and Muslims there.

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By AIT, February 2, 2008 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment
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a small step for an ordinary racist Jew, another boost for antisemitic demagogues of all kinds, a giant step toward Israel’s grave.

keep digging dude, I know you know the logical end of this, and yeah, you’d better party real hard now because the support is crumbling down very fast over here. the leash is coming.

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By patricia, February 2, 2008 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment
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What happened? Why has Truthdig cut off the last part of Viorst’s remarkable and welcome and insightful article?
“The army refers to it as the security fence, but almost everyone else calls it simply”  Where is the rest of this important article???????

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By lilmamzer, February 2, 2008 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment

Good little blog item from friend Carl in Jerusalem.

I betcha these Gaza Arabs know they’ve been pawns of their Arab brothers in other countries for decades.

Hopefully more will follow and they can free themselves from the Islamist fascist grip of Hamas and just get the hell out of Dodge.

Oh, yeah, we’re working on a kick-ass 60th Birthday Party over here - we’re gonna rock the night away.

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By Tony Wicher, February 2, 2008 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

Is obviously the United States. If the U.S. stops supporting Zionism and begins to treat Israel as an apartheid state like South Africa, Zionism will not last a year.

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By Douglas Chalmers, February 2, 2008 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

Now need ’ peace-activists’ from the Arab side - #By Howard, February 2: “ all we need for… peace… is some corresponding action from the Pal’s and other 22 Arab countries… who could help solve the ongoing problem in 3 months…”

That would suit you and the Israelis just fine, Howard. It would mean that the final exodus of Arab refugees had taken flight and ALL OF THE LAND WOULD THEN BELONG TO THE ZIONISTS by default!!!

Why do you think the Palestinians are returning? They shopped in Egypt and returned home - to Palestine. They still want their country back. Your “peace solution” is to push them out altogether.

Like the Zionists, you are a liar and a hypocrite, Howard. You would still send all the surviving native Americans to Mexico and the African Americans back to Africa. That is your kind of reasoning.

That is the ultimate crime of the “settler society”  which exists as a kind of disease in the “new world”. That includes Israel which is merely a 1900’s version of the 1600’s-1800’s European colonialist regimes.

In other words, you are all a pack of murderers only interested in taking over the land 100% and regardless of the fate of the surviving original inhabitants. You continue to seek to justify yourselves through supporting the invasion of the European Jews in Palestine.

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By myopia, February 2, 2008 at 8:54 am Link to this comment
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Yes, there are decent and brave people everywhere, including in Israel. What one needs to keep in mind is the ratio of power these brave individuals have in relation to the demagogues who have occupied positions of power for a long time. And Sharon is not the only one! The fact that dual-nationals posing as Americans are ensconced in the upper echelons of American society explains fully why American and Israeli aims are one and the same. As long as America is held hostage by these Zionists there is no hope for any breakthrough in Israel or in America. We are all condemned. We are all pawns. We are all shamed beyond redemption.

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By Howard, February 2, 2008 at 7:22 am Link to this comment

Pretty good article; now all we need for a break out in the peace department is some corresponding action from the Pal’s and other 22 Arab countries with their millions of acreage and monies who could help solve the ongoing problem in 3 months.

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By Douglas Chalmers, February 2, 2008 at 5:03 am Link to this comment

By Jeanne Capozzoli, February 1: “Thanks to these prominent Israelis along with hundreds of thousands of other Israelis for protesting policies toward the Palestinians that we here in the US cannot protest.  Even though Israel uses American tax dollars to steal Palestinian land and water and imprison them in their own land, we must remain silent or we will be vilified (like Jimmy Carter) and labeled anti-Semitic or self-hating Jews….”

The main problem is not the American Jewish Committee (AJC) which is a normal organization representing an ethnic minority, the Jews.

It is the unofficial front for the militarist-expansionist Israeli state known as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) which is usurping Americans good will to extort as much cold hard cash and diplomatic priveleges and political promises and military support as it possibly can.

An examination of their websites clearly indicates that one (the AJC) is a community organization supporting the welfare of American Jews whilst the other (AIPAC) is a radical Zionist political organization promoting the welfare of the Israeli state regardless of the expense to the people of the USA and regardless of its support for terrorist activities and the persecution of minorities and its neighbours and threats of the use of nuclear WMD’s in the region.

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By Fadel Abdallah, February 1, 2008 at 11:50 pm Link to this comment

My hat off to Milton Viorst for this enlightening and timely review of the work of those great conscientious and brave Jews who, while commenting on the plight of the Palestinians and defending their rights are, at the same time, trying to save Israel from its disastrous policies. I place more hope in such fine people for liberating the Palestinians and Israelis alike than I place in the so-called Al-Qassam rockets of the desperate Palestinians, the empty rhetoric of all the Arab leaders and the shortsighted and pandering postures of the so-called Western democratic leaders who always ally themselves with the warmongers, the military-industrial complex and the merchants of death whose interests are focused on fueling the conflict than sincerely attempting to bring peace.

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By Jeanne Capozzoli, February 1, 2008 at 6:06 pm Link to this comment
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Thanks to these prominent Israelis along with hundreds of thousands of other Israelis for protesting policies toward the Palestinians that we here in the US cannot protest.  Even though Israel uses American tax dollars to steal Palestinian land and water and imprison them in their own land, we must remain silent or we will be vilified (like Jimmy Carter) and labeled anti-Semitic or self-hating Jews.  The Israeli Lobby and Israel have 300 million Americans in the back of the bus that they are driving over the cliff.  Congress remains silent for fear of being targeted for defeat by the Israeli Lobby.  So it is to Israelis that we must turn—to protest the Israeli policies that cannot be mentioned in the United States—policies that not only threaten Palestinians, but Americans and Israelis as well.

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By JimBob, February 1, 2008 at 5:32 pm Link to this comment

Israel has been given a great deal of latitude in its behavior by a world that still feels the raw guilt of what happened during WWII.  Clearly, Jews are desperate to keep that wound open, that guilt fresh because they know it’s the source of their free pass.  They’ve succeeded for quite a long time, but they’re not going to succeed forever.  A generation will come soon that doesn’t remember or know anyone who remembers the horrors of the Holocaust.  The story will have the same impact as “The Fall of the Roman Empire” or some other such history lesson we don’t believe has any relevance to us beyond curiosity value.  When that happens, Israel will be judged on the basis of what it is doing at that time; there won’t be anyone to say, “Well, let them overreact, let them be brutal, let them behave like paranoid, hate-filled warmongers.  They’ve been through so much.”  So perhaps it’s better if Israel learns to be a good neighbor now, when it still has the world’s sympathy.

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By Jeanne Capozzoli, February 1, 2008 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment
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Thanks to these prominent Israelis who speak against the Israeli atrocities and injustices to Palestinians.  In the US, the Israeli Lobby remains silent, and those of us who are not Jewish remain silent for fear of vilification (i.e. Jimmy Carter etc) and being labeled anti-Semitic.  I feel like Israel and the Israeli Lobby in the US are determining the fate of 300 million Americans, yet we have no say.  The fact that American tax dollars are being used to steal Palestinian land and water and imprison them in their own land has not been mentioned in any of the Presidential debates or on the floor of Congress.  There is a long history of targeting any Congressman for defeat if he even asks for an even handed policy in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Israel and the Israeli Lobby have 300 million Americans in the back of the bus which they are driving over the cliff.  Thanks to the hundreds of thousands of Israelis for screaming at the top of their lungs against the horrific Israeli policies that threaten us all—Israelis, Americans and Palestinians.

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By Fade, February 1, 2008 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment
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These Israelis and Jews who dare to speak out against the Nazi-like actions of Israel and the majority of its people, who enable Israel’s appalling atrocities are the bravest of the brave.

They are prosecuted by their own people for speaking the simple truth.

I applaud their efforts for peace. Until more and more Israelis take a stand against their own nation’s racism and terror, there will never be peace.

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By writeon, February 1, 2008 at 9:57 am Link to this comment
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It positive that there are reflective, reasoned and moderate voices in Israel, courageous voices that are sounding a warning, a clarion call, because they can see clearly what is happening around them and the danger that Israel faces.

One irony is that the greatest threat to Israel isn’t external, but internal. It’s a moral and cultural swamp one risks sinking into.

What I find ‘ironic’ but in a deeply disturbing way, is how Israel is changing into a bizarre and grotesque ‘parody’ of itself and its founding ideals or national myth.

That Jews, of all people, after what they’ve been through in Europe, should create ‘camps’ and ‘ghettoes’ for other people to exist behind, is almost beyond belief. And that Israel and the Israelis should become perhaps the most militarized poeple on earth is also shocking; understandable, but ultimately shocking.

The creation of a militerized state and society, has profound consequences. Totalitarianism and militerism go hand in hand. Ancient Sparta was a militerized state, Prussia was a militerized state. Need one say more? The relationship between Israelis and Palestinians is one of domination and subjugation. One side with a massive military machine, a superb airforce, tank divisions. The other side weak and desparate, armed with small arms, bombs and home made rockets.

Israelis have turned into the master race, and the Palestinians increasingly live like sub-humans confined to reservations. It is a classic colonialist relationship, and it destroys the souls and culture of both sides in the conflict. They are involved in macabre dance of degredation with each other, like two drowning, blind men, grasping each other and sinking instead of swimming.

Israel’s future is to become a normal country fully integrated into the Middle East. It can only hope to do this if it egages and compromizes. It has no real choice, because Israel cannot force or wish the Arabs away. Israel will always be a small country in an Arab world. Israel will always have a minority ethnic position in the Middle East. It is a dangerous, close to criminal, fantasy, to imagine that Israel can beat the Arabs to their knees and force them to accept Israel and ‘peace’ on Israel’s terms.

What’s frightening is the moral and cultural decay and sickness that follows on from the ‘colonial’ experience and the adoption of ‘master race’ ideology, mixed with passionate nationalism and militerism. It can lead to Israel moving in the direction of Facism, and how ‘ironic’ would that be?

Israel has to make peace with it’s neighbours before it’s too late, before Israel goes too far and provokes such a reaction in the Arab world that Israel’s very existance would be threatened. The perverse ‘dream’ that many on the Right in Israel have, that the ethnic cleasning of the remaining Palestinians from the occupied areas is a realistic, ‘final solution’ to the ‘Arab question’ is deeply problematic.

Their are many who think the entire Middle East is like Europe prior to the first world war, one little spark somewhere could start a conflagration, a war that could last for a generation. Israel would be ill-advised to start that conflagration, a fire that could engulf them as well.

And finally, what about Israel’s nuclear arsenal? Why do they have those terrible weapons? A insurance policy against being driven into the sea? The Sampson Option? Imagine Jews leveling cities with nuclear weapons. Jews perhaps killing millions of civilians; men, women and children. What would the consequences be for Jews and Israel of using such weapons? Aren’t nuclear weapons, really holocaust weapons? After everything that’s happened to them, the idea of Jews contemplating and perhaps unleashing a holocaust on another people, in some terrible future war, would be the final, grotesque and evil irony.

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By Bubba, February 1, 2008 at 8:52 am Link to this comment

Excellent article. Thank you.

Milton Viorst: “These books reaffirm that, in Israel, hope remains alive, flickering, even dark though it may be. But they leave in doubt how widely the convictions of their writers about what it means to be a Jew, and even what it means to be human, are spread through Israeli society.”

How widely are their convictions spread through Israeli society? Following is one indication which involved the 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon:

Al-Ahram Weekly, 3 - 9 August 2006, Issue No. 806, Region: “Polls show as many as 90 per cent of the country’s Jews back further attacks on Lebanon to crush the Shiite militia Hizbullah.”

Then there’s this:

08/30/06 “Information Clearing House”——All the national, state and local Jewish organizations have launched a $300 million fundraising and propaganda campaign in support of the 21 Jewish civilians and 116 soldiers killed during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon (but not the 18 Israeli Arabs who were excluded from Jews-only bomb shelters). As adjuncts of the Israeli foreign office not a single one of the 52 organizations which make up The Presidents of the Major Jewish Organizations in the US voiced a single public criticism of Israel’s massive destruction of civilian homes, hospitals, offices, supermarkets, refugee convoys and churches and mosques, and the deliberate killing of civilians, UN peacekeepers and rescue workers with precision bombing. On the contrary the entire Jewish lobby echoed in precise detail the Israeli lies that the Lebanese deaths were caused by the Lebanese resistance’s “use of human shields”, despite the total devastation of the heavily populated southern suburbs of Beirut, completely out of range of any Hezbollah rockets.

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