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Ear to the Ground

Israel’s Right-Wing Government Takes Shape

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Posted on Mar 16, 2009

Benjamin Netanyahu has taken a step closer to the prime minister’s office by signing a deal with ultranationalist Avigdor Lieberman, who will become Israel’s foreign minister if Netanyahu is able to put the finishing touches on a governing coalition. The ascendancy of both men is a major blow to the peace process.

BBC:

Under the agreement, Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman would become foreign minister, said officials from Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party.

He is a strong supporter of the Israeli settler movement and opposes exchanging land for peace with the Palestinians.

Likud still needs support from other parties to form majority in parliament.

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By Sodium, April 9, 2009 at 8:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Subject: An Opened Letter to Folktruther.

Dear Folktruther,

Hang on there as you have been hanging,since I started following your splendid writings for about a year ago: solidly unshakable,knowledgeable and strong in your belief,with a remarkable humility to win people like myself to your side of the argument.

All that loud rantings and repulsive ridiculing which are being waged against you,in attempts to stop you from telling the truth as you see it,only reflect poorly on the the ranters who are desperately trying to cover what you are honestly exposing.

Folktruther: You have been honest with yourself and with your readers of whom I am one,whenever my family circumstances allow me sometime to review the internet world wide. I thank you for the enjoyment I experience each time I read one of your informative posts.

Just keep up the good work you have been doing and never,never and never give in to THE HOT AIR POSTERS and just let them bray as long as they want.

Yours sincerely,
Sodium

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By Inherit The Wind, April 8, 2009 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

In any case, I will never conflate Jews with Israel and visa versa.  Jews are not to blame what Israel is doing to herself and others.  And while I have major disputes with ITW and Sepharad, I don’t think there is anything to gain by being hostile for the sake of hostility.  There is a great deal to be gained by remembering the common ground we share with those we fiercely disagree with.  Indeed, it is the only option we really have in the end.
******************************************

But that would make FolkTruther’s life unbearably boring—kind of like living in Buffalo or Cleveland.  He LIVES to invent fictional fantasies about Sepharad and me.

Shingo, are you so cruel you would deprive FT of his only meager pleasure in life—calling me names and inventing thoughts he thinks I should have in public?  I mean…it’s not much of a life but it’s still FT’s.  If I don’t demonstrate that he’s an arrogant ridiculous ignoramus at least once a week, he gets convulsions or tantrums or constipation or SOMETHING….so I have to do my part to help the poor guy out.

I think he’s been this way since the Soviet Union collapsed and Communist China went capitalist…Thank goodness he still has Cuba and North Korea—but Cuba’s fading fast, too!

I shudder to think what will happen to poor FT if China, NK and Cuba were to become Western-style democracies…he might flip and join DwightBaker and Christian96!  We gotta help the poor guy!

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By Shingo, April 7, 2009 at 4:39 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther,

I can’t figure out what your complaint is, but I am largely in agreement with you, but some important distinctions.

Firstly, I don’t believe that anti Semitism is a Christian tradition and more than it is a Muslim one.  religions have rarely been tolerant of one another, but that’s predictable.

I agree that the US has been historically been racist and anti-foreigner, and that anti-Semitism is simply another flavor of bigotry.

As for the War on Terrorism, I happen to believe it is a fraud, but rather than being a Zionist inspired war against Muslims, is simply re branded Westerm empirialism.  Zionism has been used as a tool fo empire, no doubt.

I also happen to agree that Israeli policies will lead to Israel’s destruction.  The Israeli-American power structure supports US policy first and Israeli government policy second.  In fact, the Israeli lobbys are usualyl furth to the right than even the Likudniks, though it remains to be seen if this wil remain the case with Lierberman in the fold.

The Sampson Option Hersh referred to was in the event of Israel facing defeat in a war that could threaten it’s existence.  It has been around for years.  Antoher tern given to it is the Massada Option.

Whether Sepharad is reasonable otherwise is besides the point.  She or any other Israeli supporter is under no obligation to be reasonable.  My only request is that they be honest about their allegiance, but at last Sepharad and ITW are moderate enough to folly in Israel’s destructive policies. 

In any case, I will never conflate Jews with Israel and visa versa.  Jews are not to blame what Israel is doing to herself and others.  And while I have major disputes with ITW and Sepharad, I don’t think there is anything to gain by being hostile for the sake of hostility.  There is a great deal to be gained by remembering the common ground we share with those we fiercely disagree with.  Indeed, it is the only option we really have in the end.

I is why I find your good natured arugments weak. You don’t appear to have anything personal at stake.

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By Sepharad, April 7, 2009 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther, You have finally lost it. Do you ever listen to yourself? Why would I or anyone else who supports the existence of Israel want it to begin or continue on a trajectory that will only lead to tragedy and destruction? People I love live there, and I also want it to survive so there is a place where any Jew can go and live where they won’t have to protect themselves against their own government, should the need arise again.

You also say that if Israel goes over the cliff the blame will be placed on Jews in general. Why would that be? And why would any Jew in their right mind want this to happen? And if it does happen, you suggest, I “will be right there doing damage control suggesting it’s someone else’s fault.” If what you say is true neither I nor any other Jew would be in any position to do anything at all but hide because there will no longer be an Israel to escape to.

You may have read Hersch’s “Samson Option” but obviously misinterpreted it through whatever filter it is that scrambles your thinking. Go look at Benny Morris’s latest book on the one-state two-state topic; it’s straight-forward enough even for you, and reflects Israel’s actual dilemma, though it lacks the action-packed conspiracy thriller scenarios that seem to engage and inspire your thinking, if thinking it can be called.

How am I “not reasonable”? (How do you even define “reason” and “reasonable”?)

Of course I want to change things that are wrong both in Israel and in the U.S., and I work toward change whenever I can. Probably a lot harder than you do, if it comes to that. Still, there are limits as to what individuals can do. For me to demand a change to Israeli policies and immolate myself on the steps of the Knesset if specific changes are not forthcoming would be useless—a tabloid blip at best—but just MIGHT satisfy whatever it is you think I could or should do. And in this country, I’m fairly certain I’ve contributed more to protecting its civil rights and promoting anti-war policies than you ever thought about.

By the way, Shingo is not naive. He just has a more subtle mind than you, is rational and does not think in circles. 

There are predatory zionists in the world, just as there are predatory caliphate-seeking Moslems, Armageddon-seeking Christians predatory Hindu nationalists and predatory atheists of all sorts.

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By Folktruther, April 7, 2009 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment

Shingo- I am beginning to think thak you are fatally naive.  Of course the US, and the West, is anti-semitic.  It has been inherited in the Christian tradition.  And the US has historically been racist and anti-foreigner, and anti-Semitism is simply one of many bigotries that the American people have inherited.

And at the present time, the least important.  the War on Terrorism is a Zionist inspired war against Muslims.  Which the TD Zionists foster.  They are all predatory lemmings that support Israel despite its continuing ethnic cleansing and continuous imperialist war policy. 

Which must inevitably lead to Israel’s destruction, as right wing Zionist occassionaly acknowledge in public.  Israel is historically following a death policy and the Zionist lemmings are all supporting its movement toward the political cliff.

But the Israeli-American power structure pefers Jewish power to Israeli security.  It’s strategy is what Hersh has called the Sampson Option, of creating as much death and destruction as it can when it is destroyed.  You don’t seem to take these historical factors into account in your replies, assuming, not incidentially, that Sepharad is reasonable.

Sepharad is intelligent and personable, but she is not reasonable.  When Israel goes over the cliff with its enormous destruction, she will be right there doing damaage control, stating it was someone else’s fault.  And it will be the Jewish community that will, deservedly,  recieve the shame of this catasrophe, including my daughter.  Just as the
Germans have to live with the legacy of the Nazis.

I is why I find your good natured arugments weak. You don’t appear to have anything personal at stake.

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By Sepharad, April 6, 2009 at 9:36 pm Link to this comment

Shingo,

You’re right about the danger of conflated nationalism and patriotism being the route to the “national socialism” of the ‘30s. Funny how the two words separately imply nothing undesirable, but combined define a dangerous state of mind. (Of course patriotism alone can become lethal when interpreted in the “my-country-right-or-wrong” sense. If everyone felt that way, whether in America or Israel, we’d end up with a country not worth having.)

As you said to Ed Harges, Inherit the Wind is definitely one of the good guys. (Also, anyone in any kind of trouble would definitely want him for a lawyer.)

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By Shingo, April 5, 2009 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad,

The experience you have described of your friend sounds horrific, but I think we should take comfort in the response of the police and the community to these vile attacks. 

I would have been very alarmed and shamed if the police had responded with indifference and not taken the threats seriously.  The fact that this groups targeted a Hispanic man also suggest that they hatred is universal.  If anything, that makes them less of a threat in terms of their appeal or influence.

If a large percentage of the public can be moved by the events in Darfur, Iraq or Gaza, then it’s a healthy sign that the population in general has no stomach for violence perpetrated against any group.

What alarms me most is the conflation of patriotism with nationalism.  Without the nationalism movement in Germany, the persecution (and ultimate genocide) perpetrated on the Jews would not have gained the momentum or critical mass at which point the Holocaust became a frightening a ghastly reality.

Personally, not only do I not think Jewish people and Jewish communities are in any danger in Western society, but they continue to command great respect and reverence, and deservedly so.

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By Sepharad, April 5, 2009 at 3:36 am Link to this comment

Shingo,

I’m not sure about most of Israel’s critics, but I do believe you would be one of the first in line to defend anyone’s rights, Arab or Jew.

As for anti-Semites being not as numerous as the KKK members, I hope you’re right. One of my closest friends, a Sephardic Jew, is a former editor of Mother Jones and now a poet laureate of a California city. A few years ago, her synagogue was firebombed, its nearby cemetery vandalized and the state police found a short list of names of prominent members of her congregation, including her, to be assassinated by people claiming to represent the Aryan Brotherhood. She and her husband and the others on the list were picked up and taken to the police station where they were advised of this and told to be cautious. Her husband overreacted by installing bulletproof glass in their car—which she thought very silly—and within a month the police had rounded up five people involved. (They’re now serving long sentences at Pelican Bay.) They’d also threatened the city’s mayor, who happened to be Hispanic. I suppose these people were the usual mishmash of white supremacists and would-be nazis, David Duke types, but they are more numerous than you might suppose. Still, they don’t concern me nearly as much as the casual remarks about Jews running the country financially (which is belied by simply looking at the Fortune 500 or the WSJ’s richest men in the world listings) or controlling the media. And a European committee has been created exclusively to respond to what they believe is the increasing conflation of anti-Israel anti-Semitic rhetoric and activity in Europe. One result is a book of essays by various sociiologists studying the phenonemon in the Nordic countries. (If you’d like the name and author etc. I can give it to you—have it written down in a still-packed notebook which I can dig out tomorrow.) It’s also true that while the Durban conference is usually an Israel hate-fest, this year Obama’s reps walked out of it in protest.

If you look for anything hard enough you’ll doubtless find more examples of it that are enough to be unsettling but have more anecdotal than statistical value. So I don’t look TOO hard for such things.

American reaction to the Moslem community following 9/11 did not develop to dangerous levels (though has certainly eroded our civil liberties) partly because it was the sort of event that brought people together rather than making them desperate and fearful (as the current economic situation might turn out) and partly because this is still America, not Amerika. But some Moslems were frightened. When we attacked Afghanistan, the wife of a couple we knew who had a rug bazaar in San Francisco was too afraid to stay home as her husband had just left on a buying trip and also to bring her sister out of Kabul and home with them. He was detained in Egypt (never was allowed to enter Afghanistan so her sister is still there). She came to stay with us for a week or so, until she felt safe enough to go back. He returned, they visited and brought us some Afghan saddlebags, and said they were closing the store because they felt doing something less public would be safer. That’s nothing like the civil liberties violations going on every day, but it’s a casualty just the same.

Although I defend Israel here, I’ve always been a critic of policies and specifics I disagree with (through my party MeretzUSA as well as other things). With this new government, I’m afraid those policies will increase exponentially—though I hope they remember that the majority of Israelis do not approve of their policies, so they shouldn’t think they have a mandate. At least Obama has Mitchell dealing with them; was sorry to see Freeman dumped as his would have been a strong countervailing voice. (It could be worse: we could have Bush/Netanyahu/Hamas leadership.)

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By Shingo, April 5, 2009 at 2:23 am Link to this comment

Ed Harges,

I sahre your outrage at the fete of Chas Freeman, but I must say that I am with ITW on this one.  The Israeli lobby does not represent the Jewish community but a minirity and extremist faction largely aligned with the Likud Party. 

Jimmy Carter summed up AIPAC best when he pointed out that AIPAC has never claimed to lobby for peace, but for support of the Israeli government.  As much as I dislike AIPAC, if that is their motto, then so be it.  I just wish they wwere forced to register as a lobby of a foreign government, but anyway.

Personally, I think that we need more people with the intellect and honesty of ITW.  He makes no excuses for Israel’s policies and behavior, while remaining honest about his support for the state.  He’s one of the good guys.

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By Shingo, April 5, 2009 at 2:16 am Link to this comment

I am sure that anti Semites seize on the public backlash against Israel as an opportunity to vent, but like memebers of the KKK, they are entirely in the minority and usually cowards.

Unlike 10939, I don’t believe anti Semitism is shared by the mojority of the population.  Even following 911, Islamophobia did not reach critical mass to crate mass persecution of Arb Muslims.

I think I speak for the maroty of Israel’s crtics when I say that if you or any other Jew I knew were being persecuted, I would be the first in line to object and dare I say it, put my safety on the line to protect your freedom and human rights.

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By Sepharad, April 5, 2009 at 1:09 am Link to this comment

Shingo, I think it’s quite possible for Arabs and Jews to live side by side in peace as long as both have first-class citizenship in their own countries because 1) Jews in Moslem countries have historically been dhimmis (second-class citizens) and 2) until the 20th century, there has been no massacres of Jews by Arabs. Some years ago, while standing in line at an Arab film festival, someone behind me noticed my Star of David and asked me if I weren’t worried about anti-Semitism. Well no, actually, not at an Arab film festival. Also, with Israeli Arabs—in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and other contested places—people, even strangers, have been courteous and hospitable.

The historical slaughters of Jews have been mostly by Europeans—Romans, Spanish Inquisitors, Crusaders, Cossacks, upset peasants, people in plague-stricken cities, the Europeans during WWII—and the murder-by-refusal of so many countries who refused entry to Jews fleeing Hitler, most notably Britain and the U.S., forcing them back to Europe, though in some cases the refugee-packed boats actually sank in the ocean, including one denied entry at New York City. (Varian Fry had to raise his own money and beg Eleanor Roosevelt to force the State Department to allow him to rescue and bring into America certain Jews—artists, intellectuals, etc. such as Marc and Bella Chagall, Leon Feurtwanger, Hanna Arendt, etc.) Almost all of these occurred when the societies in question were under social, financial, or other types of stress, such as our society may now be facing. People need, apparently, scapegoats. Some of these things have swallowed up my grandparents’ families and family friends. Though I am not a paranoid person, and believe the multi-cultural nature of our country makes American Jews, one of many minorities, if the smallest, as safe as they can ever be anywhere (except in Israel), people other than myself have sensed and written down potential scenarios—Sinclair Lewis’ “It Can’t Happen Here” and Philip Roth’s “Attack on America”—and even on this website there is unquestionable anti-Semitism (apart from anti-Israel), e.g., comments following some of the financial collapse discussions, such as eileen’s. Also, I believe that as in Europe, in this country anti-Israel sentiments are in many cases entwined with or overlaid by anti-Semitism. No less a distinguished scholar than Bernard Lewis, who has spent his life studying Islamic societies and appreciates those cultures very much, commented on another website—following a stream of anti-Israel invective—wrote a one-line comment: “The anti-Semites are coming out from other their rocks now.”

Let’s put it this way. My grandfather told me to remember that any Jew in Europe after ‘36 proved that Darwin was right (which always upset my grandmother terribly, as her entire family from Dresden disappeared). His father, brother and their families were second-generation Israelis. My other ancestors in the U.S. came in the second half of the 19th century, when Jewish immigration was not restricted, several of them being brothers were were shipbuilders, built one more small ship and sailed to America to avoid the Kaiser’s constant wars. They got here in time for the Civil War, enlisted and fought on both sides. (My brother has the Yankee sword, I have the Confederate’s.)  I love this country, have spent my life in civil liberties and FoI work as well as history magazine editor and news reporter, and hope it remains a safe haven—but then my grandmother’s people had been in Germany for 300 years, most of them doctors, some of them decorated for service in the German Army during WWI, and could not believe the stories of the fascist potential so never left, and I suppose when they finally realized they should have left it was too late. Part of the reason to study history is to learn from it, so I remain hopeful but very cautious.

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By Shingo, April 3, 2009 at 4:46 am Link to this comment

Sepharad,

I find it odd that on one hand, you say you believe there is no reason in the world why Jew and Arab cannot live side by side, yet also believe there will come a time when Jews will be forced to leave the diaspora countries or be slaughtered. Is there any evidence for this, or is this just a belief that you believe was fostered s part of your up bringing?

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By Sepharad, April 2, 2009 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment

Sodium, Many thanks for all of the information you supplied. And I’m sorry to hear of your wife’s disabilities. You did not go into specific causes of her disability, but it if is related to rheumatoid arthritis (which I’ve battled for 22 years) there is a fairly new and very effective high-tech drug called Enbrel—a monoclonal antibody that suppresses the Tumour Necrosis Factor (a major cause of inflammation) but not the entire immune system, and does not reverse damage but brings it to a crawl rather than letting it gallop along. Swimming in heated pools, is helpful, also Feldenkrais therapy (developed by an Israeli physicist devoted to soccer whose knee was shot off during WWII who devised a therapy whereby the muscles are retrained and more or less able to make up for skeletal deficiencies, allow children with cerebropalsy to learn to walk, etc). Anyway, all this has worked well enough for me to continue riding horses (also good therapy as long as they are not trotters) and walk not perfectly but unassisted. Perhaps some of it may help your wife.

I’m going to print out all the material you’ve provided and add it to my own, though first-hand experience such as yours trumps that found in most books.

At the moment, though I fervently wish for Israel’s survival, as I believe there will come a time again when Jews will be forced to leave the diaspora countries or be slaughtered, I find myself in total opposition to the new government and because of the system, there as here opposition only goes so far. I will read the book on the Mossad you suggest; quite frankly, I believe they are the only institution in Israel able to exert even the least control on the people now in charge of the government. Because of the large secular population and the large number of IDF career officers resistant to the rabbis, I think that the religious influence in the IDF may be successfully rooted out. Also, there are already a large number of soldiers who refuse to serve in the West Bank, and this has some impact on puhlic feelings. Other than that, there is not much to be done at this point besides an active opposition.

There is no reason in the world why Jew and Arab cannot live side by side when there is a minimal amount of religion floating around, and when the Israeli government compensates Palestinians who lost there homes in ‘48. I also believe in a shared Jerusalem, a second state, and close economic ties as well as quality—not religious—education. The missing piece on both sides is leadership both wise and bold.

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By Shingo, March 30, 2009 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment

Israel investigates itself and decides it is innocent.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/31/world/middleeast/31mideast.html?_r=1&hp;
How typical!!

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By Sodium, March 29, 2009 at 9:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:Sepharad,March 24 at 3:55 pm.

1 0f 3
=======

Sepharad,

I regret the delay in responding to your questions as you cited them in your above Re. My tardiness has to do with obligations I had to do for my wife of 42 years,who had become disabled and cannot walk without the help of a Walker.

You have raised several questions I have felt that it would be uncoming of me if I ignore your questions,especially if I felt they deserved responses.It is alien to my basic nature to ignore questions that do not deserve to be ignored.Your questions do deserve answers.

However,before answering your valid questions,I must be honest with you and tell you what I think of you based on the content of your posts I have read sofar. You have sounded to me as the typical propagandists I encountered so frequently and debated so many many times,in the last 50 years.Some of them had become less ideological propagandists and more Jewish humanbeings.And some of them refused to see the light,out of profound loyalty to the orientation and conditionings they were subjected to since they were very young.They just could not help themselves and be independent of their conditionings. At the same time,I respect you as a humanbeing I AM CONNECTED TO THROUGH A THING CALLED HUMANITY. This is the real reason that spurred me to try to answer your questions:

The first question of yours: What puzzles me now is in what way and at what point did General Riyadh’s communications to Egypt Central Command Control break down?

My answer: The war of 1967 was won by Israel in six hours,not six days,after Israel wiped out the Egyptian and Syrian airforces on the ground by its sneaky and surprise attacks. Jordan hardly have any airforce to wipe out on the groung. Perhaps,that was why Jordan had seemed to enter the war as Johny come late.As a result,Israel had a complete control of the sky and eventually succeeded in jamming the radars of Egypt,Syria and JordaN.In other words,General Riyadh had his work was cut off for him from the very start of the first hours of the war as soon as the Israeli of airforce dominated the sky of the war regions on the early hours of June 5,1967.The six days that followed the destruction of the Egyptian and Syrian fighting aircrafts on the ground,were desperate attempts by the Egyptian and Syrian Generals as well as General Riyadh in Jordan to make the best of extremely bad circumstances.In fact,because of Israel total and complete control of the sky,they dared to attack an American spy ship called Liberty,cruising in the eastern Mediterranean sea and monitoring the war.As a result of that attack,34 American sailors were killed and 79 were wounded.

For your informatiom,after the war was over,President Nasser resigned but the Egyptian people poured in the streets of Cairo and Alexandria, more than two millions of them to be specific,demanding he should staye on. Similarly,
demonstrations took place in other Arab cities across the Arab world.Such demonstrations were the witness that refuted the claim that Nasser had lost his popularity among the masses of the people of Arab world.I had witnessed such a huge demonstrations in Amman,Jordan after the news spread that Nasser had resigned because of his defeat in war.

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By Sodium, March 29, 2009 at 7:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

2 of 3
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Sepharad,

Your question: Based on your files are there any books out there on the 67 war you would concur are more rather than less accurate?

My answer: I trust the writings of Muhammad Hisnain Haykal,editor of the Egyptian newspaper “AL-Ahram”
which to the Egyptians as The New York Times to the American.Most importantly was the fact that Mr. Haykal was CONFIDENT of Nasser in 1967 war.
The way I may spell the importance of Haykal is to say he was the equivalent to Bob Woodward of the Washington Post. Since Mr. Haykal has been considered by the West as the epitome of Arab Journalism,most of the books he wrote in Arabic had been translated into English.Try to get them,if you can.

Another honest assessment of the Israeli side of the planning of the war was what Mr.Yitzhak Rabin’s article which he wrote while he was ambassador of Israel to the USA in Washington after the the 67 war in which he was the Chief of Staff of Israel Defense Forces(IDF).I remember reading the following in the article:

“We worked the plan. We ate with the plan.We drank with the plan. We slept with the plan. We lived the plan.”

Mr. Rabin wrote his article either in the Washington Post or in the Jerusalem Post.I cannot remember exactly where and I misplaced the copy of the article which I kept for a rather long period of time and used it in debates to show that Israel wanted the 1967 war so badly to make Nasser look bad in the eyes of his admirers who were dreaming of Arab unity to which 67 war gave a near deathly blow.

Anwar Sadat and by extention his wife Jehan Sadat could not even come close to the prestige and admiration the Arab masses in the streets gave to Nasser. This was Mr.Sadat and his wife inferiority complex that they could not overcome,inspite of the fact that Sadat had given hell to Israel in 1973 war and bled them in a way Nasser had failed to do in 1967 war. I believe that it was a matter of trust. Nasser won their trust and Sadat did not. That is why I question what Mrs.Sadat said to your friend who interviewed her for writing a book.If I were you I would discard such a claim coming from Jehan Sadat.

Your question: As for Pan Arabism,do you see any role for it in the near future? and do you think if there truly were a Pan Arab region,would it be easier for Israel to exist in peace(assuming no more attempts to expand) in some sort of Middle east Union(commercial in nature)?

My answer: A compounded question. Not easy to answer,but will try,any way:

The bigest mistake Ben Gorion,Levi Ashkol,and to a lesser extent Chaim Weisman,was their illogical and unwarranted fear of Pan Arabism and did everything they could through certain Western powers to prevent it from taking place. And they succeeded but Israel had ended up an Apartheid state and it had/has no solid security whatsoever,inspite of its nuclear arsenals and all the wars it had won.

After bussiness hours,I had lenthy conservations with members of the Ba’ath Party in Syria and Iraq,during my countless business trips to those two countries in the 1970s and 1980s.I had found those people(the Ba’athists) to be highly educated,many of them graduates of some American universities,cultured and sophisticated in their outlook. Many of them have no problem integrating Israel as an integral part of their Pan Arabism,provided justice is accorded to the uprooted Palestinians. I do not believe that there are Arabs,in their right mind,who are willing to have “Middle East Union”,just for “commercial” purposes. No way.

The Pan Arab movement lost great deal of ground in the last thirty years,because it had failed to deliver what the Arab masses wanted.It will have no significance in the near future until the people of the Arab world get tired of what is going on,in that part of the world and find a way,somehow,for Arab unity and a solution to the Arab-Zionism conflict.

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By Sodium, March 29, 2009 at 4:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

3 of 3
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Sepharad,

Reading the following books may help you become less of an ideologue humanbeing and more of a Jewish humanbeing,(reading is much better than arguing with phony names including my own,Sodium):

(1) “Arab And Jew: Wounded Spirits In A Promised Land”
By
David K. Shipler.

(2) “The Evasive Peace: A Study Of The Zionist/Arab Problem”
By
John H. Davis.

(3) “Anti-Zionism: Analytical Reflections”
By
Several Authors(mostly Jewish authors,including Rabbis)
Edditors: Roselle Tekiner,Samir Abed Rabbo and Norton Mezviky.

(4) “The Samson Option: Israel Nuclear Arsenal And American Foreign Policy”
By
Seymour Hersh.

(5) “My Friend,The Enemy”
By
Uri Avnery.

(6) “My People: The Story Of The Jews”
By
Abba Eban.

(7) “By Way Of Deception”
By
Victor Ostrovosky
Claire Hoy.

I recall that I read in one of your posts on another thread that you were not an employee of Mossad but you would be proud to work for them,if you had/have to.

Well,Sepharad,reading book(7)listed above may change your mind about the Mossad completely.If you have already read it and still proud to work for the,you might have an incurable ideological problem.

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By Fadel Abdallah, March 27, 2009 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

The following article is a representative of the Arab perspective on the Netanyahu government and its negative implications on the so-much needed peace in Palestine!
===============
Netanyahu And The ‘Future Of The Peace Process’
By Ramzy Baroud

http://www.countercurrents.org/baroud270309.htm

“Overlook the names and the titles, most Israeli major party leaders are one and the same; even their language is equally archaic and confrontational. Therefore, one fails to appreciate the panic over the ‘future of the peace process.’ As far as Gaza, for example, is concerned, it matters little whether the over 1400 people killed in 22 days were blown up by a Likud Revisionist, pulverized by a Labor dove, or bombed by a Kadima peacemaker, a fact that an envoy like Blair doesn’t seem to understand…”

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By Sepharad, March 25, 2009 at 9:23 pm Link to this comment

Inherit, Thanks. The woman who wrote the book was a long-time diplomat’s wife in Saudi Arabia and Egypt and she loved the region, continuing to live there even after her husband died. She was also a kind of part-time journalist, mainly news for the small papers circulated in the American colonies etc. then in her elderly years got homesick for San Francisco and returned. She wrote a few small books about her travels and impressions, for which we did editing and graphics (in our other-peoples’-books-and-magazines days) then being a bit of a feminist interviewed Jehan Sadat, whom she’d known when both were much younger (and had live husbands). I’d give you her name and book titles but am not eager for any identifying info on the web. Am not a criminal but promised my husband when I started posting that I wouldn’t. Sepharad is my Hebrew name and I only go by it when I’m in Israel (rarely) or among mostly Israelis and Moslem friends here—so feel fairly safe using it as it doesn’t appear on anything I’ve written or assisted in research or writing.

Again, if anyone is interested in what zionists talk about among themselves the website thezword is a place to go. MeretzUSA is the website for my party. There are many zionists—not all—who want peace. That shouldn’t seem strange to anyone: as zionists are people who consider Israel home whether they are there are not, why would they NOT want peace? It seems a long way from reality now but there is nothing to do except continue trying even though it may take a civil war to bring it about. The struggles within Israel for power and policy are at least as, if not more fraught than, disagreements with the Palestinians.

Will finally get mares in the trailer Friday a.m.—my mare’s hurt leg is well enough to travel—and be back home late Sunday night. No business, no computers, just traffic and scenery and uninterrupted conversations for a change.

Cyrena, I don’t waste my time concocting fairy tales on TD—the idea is to exchange information and opinions, no? When I want to write fiction, I do it in short stories—they don’t monopolize your life as do novels, and are much easier to write than history because there are no infuriating gaps that just aren’t documented anywhere by anyone accessible to you.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 25, 2009 at 8:10 pm Link to this comment

Cyrena:

Your blast at Sepharad means you must consider the following a total lie and fantasy:

“My information re Nasser’s call to Jordan’s king was from Jehan Sadat. You may not consider her reliable as her husband was under Nasser for quite a while and his advice not always taken, including the statement that Nasser chose overly-optimistic “intelligence” from someone in the room with him while the fighting was in progress.  That makes what she said a version of what her husband told her, i.e. a second-hand filtered account, so you are probably right. My conversations with her were as an assistant to an older women writing a book about her life and work.”

So…is Sepharad lying about what Mrs. Sadat said? Or was Mrs. Sadat lying?

Sepharad has provided specifics. It’s now up to you to prove those specifics are false. IOW,  please provide evidence that either Sepharad or Mrs. Sadat is lying. 

Otherwise your attack on her is unwarranted and unsupported.  You need a few more facts to go with your venom, cyrena.

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By cyrena, March 25, 2009 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment

If you really care,Sepharad,for true peace between Arabs and hard core Zionists,your comments quoted above are not helpfull,at all because they were not called for. They seem to me to be part of the propaganda machine that was waged then(and now now) against Nasser who was/is hated by the hard cores ideologues of Zionism,but loved by the vast majority of the Arab masses in the streets of the Arab world,inspite of his dictatorship.

And the gossipy delusion in pretending to know what Nasser told Hussein and what Hussein told Nasser will not solve the human tragedy in Palestine and Israel.”

Thanks as usual Sodium, for the wisdom displayed here. It always boils down to the same thing…the PROPAGANDA. The only real question is whether Sepharad actually believes it herself.

In other words, the gossipy delusions in the pretense IS the propaganda, (and the pretentiousness is particularly offensive) and so obviously it only makes things worse. I mean, it’s common sense that when the lies of the propaganda are being read or interpreted by somebody who KNOWS the TRUTH, it’s just common sense to realize that people who know better are going to be enraged. It’s a standard human reaction when people find themselves being lied on and defamed via bullshit and specious propaganda.

But keep in mind that it’s all we ever get from Sephard, under the guise of….whatever it is that she thinks she’s pulling off. The arrogance of course never ceases to amaze me, because the average person would stop lying after the first several times of being exposed.

Doesn’t stop Sepharad though. But then, there’s never been any reason to assume from any of her posts, that Sepharad DOES care about anything resembling ‘peace’ between hard core Zionists like herself, and the Arabs. Zionists are interested in requires the continued expulsion/Ethnic Cleansing of anything Arab from the Middle East.

Not exactly what the rest of the world sees as peace.

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By Sepharad, March 24, 2009 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

Sodium, Your information regarding General Riyadh was most interesting and appreciated. (My information re Nasser’s call to Jordan’s king was from Jehan Sadat. You may not consider her reliable as her husband was under Nasser for quite a while and his advice not always taken, including the statement that Nasser chose overly-optimistic “intelligence” from someone in the room with him while the fighting was in progress.  That makes what she said a version of what her husband told her, i.e. a second-hand filtered account, so you are probably right. My conversations with her were as an assistant to an older women writing a book about her life and work. I respected Mrs. Sadat for her efforts to improve the status of Egypt’s women, which continued after her husband’s assassination.)

The King of Jordan’s relationship to his Bedouin troops is well known (as was their loyalty to him), and General Riyadh’s command of them also makes sense despite the dialect problem. What puzzles me now is in what way and at what point did General Riyadh’s communications to the Egyptian’s central control break down? Have no doubt it was beyond the General’s control, but would like to understand how the miscommunication occurred just because I’m interested. Also am curious as to the basis of Mrs. Sadat’s comments. She did not seem like the sort of person who would just make something up especially concerning her late husband. 

I do agree that peace is unlikely unless the Jews find a Charles deGaulle and the Arabs a Mahatma Ghandi. I think in at least several posts on other threads I’ve said that without stunningly good leadership on both sides, there will be no peace. And unfortunately I don’t see anyone emerging on either side. I had hoped that Tzipi Livni’s willingness to engage on not just leaving the West Bank but on sharing Jerusalem, if supported by Ehud Barak, might have worked as Barak is a former general (some of the men in the upper echelons of Israel’s government today are not completely comfortable with a woman as young as Ms. Livni in charge, despite her considerable ability). In any case, and most unfortunately, the people in charge of the military right now are not likely to have supported such a radical proposition as Livni’s even if she had managed to form a government, though Labour’s Barak would have thrown his full approval behind her and so, probably, would have the Mossad.

Based on your files, are there any books out there on the ‘67 war you would concur are more rather than less accurate? I have quite a few, but am always interested in more information.

I’m not sure about the entire Arabic assessment of Nasser. Certainly there are many who love him for his espousal of Pan-Arabism, but others blame him for the defeat. The thing about Nasser is that though he was a politician and president he was also a military man, and very skillfully got rid of King Farouk. As for Pan-Arabism, do you see any role for it in the near future? And do you think if there truly were a Pan-Arab region, would it be easier for Israel to exist in peace (assuming no more attempts to expand) in some sort of a Middle Eastern Union (commercial in nature)?

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By Sodium, March 23, 2009 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:Sepharad,March 23 at 12:21 pm.

Sepharad writes:

“I do remember why Jorgan came in late. Jordan did not want to come in at all,but when Nasser saw thing s turning bad he called the king and assured him they were winning the war,particularly on the verge of taking Tel Aviv,just needed a little help from Jordan on their side of the country.”

Sepharad: I Thought you were much more intelligent than making such a fairy tale…....

I must tell you that I have the whole details of the six-day war of 1967 in my files.And no such tale had taken place.

I will provide you with just couple of hints: per King Hussein request,Nasser agreed in the Arab summit which Hussein surprisingly attended in Cairo before the war started,(inspite of his severe and public disagreement with Nasser),to appoint a highly qualified Egyptian General to command the relatively small but tough Jordan’s Arab Legions. Nasser had appointed General Mahmoud Riyadh who was described by some Western military experts as a soldier soldiers,in admiration of his military disciplines.

General Riyadh was killed in the West Bank,in his desperate attempts in defending it against overwhelming Israeli forces in men and in armanents.

Another hint: The whole idea of appointing an Egyptian General for the commandment of the Jordanian military forces was to have a degree of coordination between the Jordanian military and the military Central Command in Egypt. King Hussein knew that his army had highly qualified Bedouin tough Generals but needed an Egyptian General in Jordan for mainly coordination purposes. A Bedouin General,most likely,would have hard time understanding the Egyptian dialect of speech in normal time,let alone during war times.Perhaps,you know that there are different dialects in one region of the Arab world to another,although the official written language is classical Arabic language.

The point I am trying to make here without going into the details is that Kings and Presidents may make the decision to go to war,but they are the least qualified to run it. They may mingle around their soldiers to raise their moral,as King Hussein used to do with his Bedouin soldiers and they loved him for it,king Hussein left the whole running of the major military operations to General Riyadh who was the key for victory or defeat,not king Hussein,as the war started.

And General Riyadh in Jordan coordinated with his Egyptian colleagues in the Central Command in Egypt,and unfortunately poorly due to reasons beyond the good General control.

The six-day war of 1967 was the cause of all kind of fabrications,fairy tales and out right lies,because Israel won it so quickly and the Arabs became the victims of all kind of abuses and anti-Arab propaganda and even jokes,instead of helping both sides in finding a solution to such a human drama,expressing itself in a vicious circle of violence and wars and more violence and more wars.Pity the nations that have made atrocities,oppressions,violence and wars as integral parts of their very existence!

If you really care,Sepharad,for true peace between Arabs and hard core Zionists,your comments quoted above are not helpfull,at all because they were not called for. They seem to me to be part of the propaganda machine that was waged then(and now now) against Nasser who was/is hated by the hard cores ideologues of Zionism,but loved by the vast majority of the Arab masses in the streets of the Arab world,inspite of his dictatorship.

And the gossipy delusion in pretending to know what Nasser told Hussein and what Hussein told Nasser will not solve the human tragedy in Palestine and Israel.

What is needed in Israel a Jewish Charles De Gaulle and what is needed in the Arab side an Arab Mahatma Gandhi.Yes,that what is needed in both sides: BOLD AND MORAL LEADERSHIP. Unfortunately,I see none in the offing.

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By Sepharad, March 23, 2009 at 8:30 pm Link to this comment

Inherit, re why an Israel if it’s going to be like a Jewish Taliban. Why indeed? I don’t know if international investigators can do enough to derail the tendency or not, as its roots are apparently deep, but am damned well hoping the secular left and center are still strong enough to take advantage of the international interest. I’d wondered if it was wise of Livni to refuse to accept any of the religious parties in her coalition, knowing that if she didn’t the result would be Netanyhu, but she’s a Sharon protegee and he was dedicated to slapping the religious elements down as hard as possible at every juncture. I used to wonder why he was so obsessive on that point but now I understand. Also am still PO’d that Meretz and other leftish parties wouldn’t join her centrist government. But that’s water under the bridge now. Only thing to do is try to galvanize the left into unifying against this obscenity, allying themselves with the centrists as a tough opposition government instead of running around being purist.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 23, 2009 at 5:28 pm Link to this comment

Shingo:

You missed my point.  Of COURSE blowhards exist everywhere—and the GOP primaries were rife with them and the Dems had their share too.

But to describe being a blowhard as NECESSARY for an Arab dictator (as opposed to ALL dictators) isn’t fair.  I’ve noticed they don’t seem any more blowhardish (or is it blowhardy?) than “The Dear Leader” or Ex-President Botch or “Il Duce”.

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By Shingo, March 23, 2009 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment

By Inherit The Wind,

>> This borders dangerously close to racism.  I think that there have been numerous Arab leaders, good, bad and indifferent who are not blowhards, like the Saudi king. 

It’s not racist at all. The campaigns for the republican presidential nomination was a battle of the blowhards, at least in the early stages.  Each candidate tried desperately to out strongman the other.  It goes with the sideshow of politics.  The base respond to it.  Everyone knows it’s an act, btu they expect nothing less.

Yes, the Saudi and Jordanian leaders have broken from this stereotype, but

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By Inherit The Wind, March 23, 2009 at 4:02 pm Link to this comment

Shingo, March 23 at 6:44 pm #

Inherit The Wind,

Excellent points in response to Sepherad’s comments.

Apples and oranges.  Saddam’s major losses were in people, not tanks.  However, I do agree that the Soviet Threat was over-hyped by defense shills.
>> I don’t think we are any more easily frightened than anyone else.  And I only have a problem with a people being frightened when it’s based on lies—as it CERTAINLY was in March 2003.

We’ll agree to disagree on this point.  From what I have observed, Americans exhibit an anxiety and low fear threshold unlike any other population I have experienced in the West.
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Yes, I do disagree. I can show numerous examples of panicked “sheeple” in most nations, including Britain, France, Germany, Poland, Greece, Ukraine and Russia, to name a few.

But this is really not a major point of disagreement between us-I think we agree that with sufficiently clever lies ANY population can be brought to the point of total panic, not just Americans.

****************************
>> I must disagree.  Nasser was always a blow-hard—had been for years before the ‘67 War.  If he got into that position it was his own damn fault because he planned on being the New Caliph.

I think being a blow-hard is part and parcel of being an Arab leader, at least during that volatile period.  Also, while Nasser had a goal of establishing Pan Arabism, which was an Arab nationalist concept, not a Muslim one.  In fact, one theory put forth about the goal of the 1967 war was to crush this movement.  The last thing the West have ever wanted to see was a united Arab league.
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This borders dangerously close to racism.  I think that there have been numerous Arab leaders, good, bad and indifferent who are not blowhards, like the Saudi king.  He may be a cruel dictatorial SOB, but he’s not a blowhard.  Neither is the king of Jordan.  OTOH, I think dictators in GENERAL are blowhards—whether near-dictators like Hugo Chavez or actual ones like Mugabe.

But even for a dictator Nasser was especially a blowhard, and a very charismatic one.  For Nasser, Pan-Arabism meant a Moslem rule, not of all Moslems, but of all Moslem Arabs, which, is de facto rule of all Arabs.  And Nasser saw himself as the new Caliph—the equivalent of the Holy Roman Emperor—a sanctified temperol post, if that makes any sense.

Still, I must agree that the last thing the West wanted to see was a Pan-Arab movement, especially one based in dictatorship and not a Western-European-style Common Market (which existed in 1967, long before the EEC, ECSC and Euratom were combined into the EU).  Divide and Conquer has always been a strategy.

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By Shingo, March 23, 2009 at 3:44 pm Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind,

Excellent points in response to Sepherad’s comments.

Apples and oranges.  Saddam’s major losses were in people, not tanks.  However, I do agree that the Soviet Threat was over-hyped by defense shills.
>> I don’t think we are any more easily frightened than anyone else.  And I only have a problem with a people being frightened when it’s based on lies—as it CERTAINLY was in March 2003.

We’ll agree to disagree on this point.  From what I have observed, Americans exhibit an anxiety and low fear threshold unlike any other population I have experienced in the West.

>> I must disagree.  Nasser was always a blow-hard—had been for years before the ‘67 War.  If he got into that position it was his own damn fault because he planned on being the New Caliph.

I think being a blow-hard is part and parcel of being an Arab leader, at least during that volatile period.  Also, while Nasser had a goal of establishing Pan Arabism, which was an Arab nationalist concept, not a Muslim one.  In fact, one theory put forth about the goal of the 1967 war was to crush this movement.  The last thing the West have ever wanted to see was a united Arab league.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 23, 2009 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

Sepherad:
Interesting points on the 67 war—I’m not that familiar with all the details—I was 12 at the time.  But it DOES support my POV more than Shingo’s (expect the Amen Chorus to lambaste you!—as per usual).

I, too, have long been worried that the bigots and racists would get the upper hand in government and IDF—like what happened to the USAF and the USAF Academy—atrocious and shameful.  Now, there will be international investigations and I WELCOME that.

What’s the point of there being an Israel if it’s nothing but a Jewish version of the Taliban?

I’m reminded of the scene in “Kingdom of Heaven” when the priest is endlessly repeating to the passing crusaders “It is not murder to kill an infidel. It is not a sin to kill an infidel”

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By Sepharad, March 23, 2009 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

Inherit, I’m more American than Israeli: I was born here (my grandfather’s father, born in Israel, told him to move to the U.S. while his brother stayed in Israel, to maximize the family Cohen’s chances of survival). Some my family were born in Israel, others emigrated there so I do have both blood and emotional ties, as well as an understanding of why Israel needs to exist. But I’m also more American: grew up when America was deciding whether to continue as a racist sociey, so I joined people registering voters down south. Got my journalism/Near/Middle East history degree—my j-school required a joint degree so once you learned to write you’d also have something to write about. Then gravitated to FoI advocacy before jumping into investigative reporting, some brief magazine writing, then husband and I started our own mag on California history, did it for 15 years. Then our son’s siege with cancer demanded more money fast so scientific husband got into biomed research field he could do at home and I went back to original interest in Near/Middle Eastern history, then got sidetracked to Al Andalus and its causal relation to the Euro’s discovery of the New World.

So yeah, I’m emotionally biased in favor of Israel’s existence (no one in my family still in Europe was able to get out) but I’m also very much a realist, not just unwilling but viscerally unable to ignore unpleasant facts.  Sometimes I wish I were dogmatic or religious, as Stegner put it, “as calm as a Christian with four aces.” Very appealing, but no way to live.

Delayed journey back home a few days—mare hurt herself yesterday doing something stupid, and we shouldn’t to haul her 1,000+ miles until she got a bit steadier on her leg. But with work too packed up to unload, we’re forced to relax.

Enjoying your and Shingo’s exchange re ‘67 war. At home have an interesting comparison-views on some issues of that war in a book jointly written by a Palestinian journalist and an Israeli journalist and will see if they resolve any of the issues of the debate. I do remember why Jordan came in late. Jordan didn’t want to come in at all, but when Nasser saw things turning bad he called the king and assured him they were winning the war, practically on the verge of taking Tel Aviv, just needed a little help from Jordan on their side of the country.

The other thing I remember about that war is that Israel initially seized the West Bank from Jordan (from whence Jordan launched her attack) but none of my family or friends expected they would KEEP it. Jerusalem yes, West Bank no. Judea or not, it was a bald land grab and not justified as seizing the Golan Heights was because King Abdullah, pre-war, had not attacked Israel since ‘48, whereas Syria had been shelling kibbutzim in the valley more or less at random for years.

Not so happy to read Fadel’s post which is a different version of the same disturbing news in the Sunday Times. Israel is looking at a civil war to get settlers out of west bank, and can’t have the IDF so divided—some religiously convinced it is their duty to kill Palestinians and not remove settlers.

Nasser had bad intelligence and good intelligence but chose to believe the bad intelligence because it came from a worshipping “yes man” in his cabinet. The Russians provided all the weaponry, hoping for a potentially tractable ally in region to counter Western influence. Nasser wanted the war because, shortly after he and some of his officers kicked out King Farouk, he’d promised great economic gains for the previously oppressed Egyptians, believed Pan-Arabism would not only fulfill that promise but also make him more powerful as the head of a region rather than a country. His rallying cry, popular everyhere, was to destroy the Zionist entity. This version was given by Jehan Sadat in a conversation with an American diplomat’s wife and a journalist in her own right, whom my husband and I met at the San Francisco Press Club.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 23, 2009 at 9:07 am Link to this comment

Shingo, March 23 at 7:30 am #

Inherit The Wind,

The first Gulf War wasn’t ever going to be anything more than a sideshow.  Sorry, but as the saying goes, we knew what we had because we had the receipts.
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I don’t know that to be true.  What I do know is that Bush, Sr. is no fool, and there was NO WAY he was going into the 1991 war without crushing force AND support from our major allies.  He also didn’t allow mission creep to take over—fired Schwartzkopf for not understanding he wasn’t authorized to take out Saddam, just push him out of Kuwait and neutralize his military.

************************************************
First, Saddam was battered and bruised from a decade long war with Iran.  Iraq didn’t even try to use their air force in that battle, knowing it was futile.  Don’t mistake the charade we see on television with the intellgence.  I’m sure you’re aware that it has been revealed that during the Cold War, the Soviet threat and weapons arsenal was hiped by the usual suspects to fuel defense spending and keep the American public in a permanent state of anxiety.
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Apples and oranges.  Saddam’s major losses were in people, not tanks.  However, I do agree that the Soviet Threat was over-hyped by defense shills.

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Yes, Americans were truly scared.  I hate to say it but we Americans are very easily frightened.  In spite of all our weapons, technology and what have you, Americans are the most easily panicked population I have ever known.
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I don’t think we are any more easily frightened than anyone else.  And I only have a problem with a people being frightened when it’s based on lies—as it CERTAINLY was in March 2003.

************************************************
There’s something you need to understand about our military forces.  In spite of our overwhelming superiority, we usually pick our battles very carefully. Grenada, Panama, Korea, none of these posed any risk to us.  Vietnam and Iraq part 2 looked on paper as being trivial, and they were initially.
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This comes under the big DUHHHHH! category.

Sun-Tzu again wrote about it, saying a wise commander doesn’t enter a battle he hasn’t already won, and the WISEST commanders win the battle without ever actually having to fight.

But the US military doesn’t pick the wars—the President does because starting with Korea, Congress has abrogated its responsibility for the declaration of war. Korea was NOT an easy war—over 30,000 Americans died there.  Viet Nam was a military and political mistake.  Iraq 2 has been a disaster and Afghanistan was a success that was lost by engaging in Iraq 2. 

Now, of course, MILITARILY Iraq 2 was a success. Politically it has been a total catastrophe.  Post war planning was limited to assuming “They’ll throw flowers under our troops’ feet!”

***********************************************
I think it wil be debated for decades more to come, but I am of the opinion that in 1967, Nasser was forced into a position he didn’t want to be in.
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I must disagree.  Nasser was always a blow-hard—had been for years before the ‘67 War.  If he got into that position it was his own damn fault because he planned on being the New Caliph.

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By Sepharad, March 23, 2009 at 7:35 am Link to this comment

cyrena, Now you say you know about the reports which you claimed you “couldn’t find a single reference to”? Now you say you “helped put together such reports” when you sarcastically and rhetorically asked whether there actually WERE any problems with Arab society, and if so whether suchb problems were only problematical from my own view of what was normal? You now claim that you help put together all sorts of scholarly studies re Arab life and yet you pretty much denied that such things existed until I told you what to google on.

This speaks volumes about your modus operandi, and makes me wonder how much the of the many things you’ve said are actually true or just something you want to think is true and prop up with highly-selective (vis a vis POV) links people sometimes publish here like wallpaper as a substitute for study and thought and reasoning.

I’m confused here, because we’ve sometimes had what I thought were discussions re differences of opinion and I’ve respected yours even when I disagreed with your conclusions or interpretations. It never occurred to me that you might be lying. It HAS struck me that you’re invariably respectful of people who share your opinions and invariably disrespectful of those you disagree with, but wrote it off as a personal quirk that didn’t disqualify the intellectual content of everything you said. If I’m wrong about something and learn differently, I say so. You seem to see this as a weakness. In fact, admitting you’re wrong when you are wrong is something that most people with any integrity do out of intellectually honesty, unless they have such an overdeveloped ego that they feel their personal value is diminished if they adjust their opinion to accommodate new information. How can you call yourself a scholar or even a progressive if any deviation from your set-in-stone-forever opinions remain fixed despite facts to the contrary?

Here’s a fact you might be able to accept because it is critical of Israel: I’ve written in the past that formery reasonably good relations between Arab and Jew in Israel are becoming worse, more hostility and less trust. Though I’ve always been opposed to making religion the basis for any national policy, there was a lengthy piece in the Sunday New York Times that says that is exactly what is happening in the IDF to a greater extent than should be permissible. There has long been a battle to the death in Israel between those who want a theo-democracy and those who want a secular democracy. It’s spread now into and is poisoning some of the IDF soldiers, with a rabbi attached to the IDF anointing soldiers’ heads with oil and reading verses from the Torah quite openly justifying the some of the murderous excesses some soldiers have been accused of—things like “to be merciful to the cruel is to be cruel to the merciful” and other nonsense that, if accepted, could turn a religious IDF soldier into just another jihadi. Luckily, one soldier had the courage to make this public, and there is now a huge uproar inside the country that will determine what kind of a military Israel will field in future wars. Could say in someways it’s like the overweaning religiosity within the ranks of the Air Force. But it’s more serious in Israel because it’s a smaller country and the attack on the IDF reflects the religious-secular to-the-death struggle that has been waged and continues in Israel. If the religious ever get the upper hand, it will be the end of Israel, and it will become just another religion-addled Middle East state, no better than Hamas or Hezbollah fighters.

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By Shingo, March 23, 2009 at 4:30 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind,

The first Gulf War wasn’t ever going to be anything more than a sideshow.  Sorry, but as the saying goes, we knew what we had because we had the receipts.

First, Saddam was battered and bruised from a decade long war with Iran.  Iraq didn’t even try to use their air force in that battle, knowing it was futile.  Don’t mistake the charade we see on television with the intellgence.  I’m sure you’re aware that it has been revealed that during the Cold War, the Soviet threat and weapons arsenal was hiped by the usual suspects to fuel defense spending and keep the American public in a permanent state of anxiety.

Yes, Americans were truly scared.  I hate to say it but we Americans are very easily frightened.  In spite of all our weapons, technology and what have you, Americans are the most easily panicked population I have ever known. 

There’s something you need to understand about our military forces.  In spite of our overwhelming superiority, we usually pick our battles very carefully. Grenada, Panama, Korea, none of these posed any risk to us.  Vietnam and Iraq part 2 looked on paper as being trivial, and they were initially.

I think it wil be debated for decades more to come, but I am of the opinion that in 1967, Nasser was forced into a position he didn’t want to be in.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 23, 2009 at 3:54 am Link to this comment

I wasn’t debating the role of the Soviets.  If Egypt were poised to strike at Israel, why were they so surprised by Israel’s pre-emption?  You don’t start a war with your eyes closed and Nassers forces would have been on high alert if he was indeed planning to attack.

One could argue that Israel’s forces were so superior that it made no difference, but Egypt demonstrated in 1973 that they could hold their own against Israel, so this wasn’t the case.
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Ok, now we are down to a good, discussable point. You raise good questions. So…let us look back, more recently, at the first Gulf War, before the US actually began operations but was still mobilizing and staging in Saudi Arabia.

Comparisons of forces AT THE TIME made it look like the US was taking on a formidable enemy, with a lot more tanks, more soldiers and a non-trivial air force. Saddam postured and boasted “This will be the Mother of all battles!” (that’s when we started using that phrase).  Americans were truly scared—this was high-risk operation—and Saddam who had CRUSHED Kuwait was confident….

How did that all work out?  Man for man, woman for woman, tank for tank and plane for plane, the US and NATO forces were easily equal to 10 and sometimes 100 Iraqi units.  It was a crushing military defeat for Iraq (let’s not touch the political side here).

I’m suggesting that in 1967 Nasser had the same brash over-confidence, that his actual intelligence on Israeli strength, effectiveness and readiness was defective and that in 1973, Sadat had rectified most of that.

Why were they surprised?  Again, bad intelligence combined with over-confidence:  Sun-Tzu wrote, in 500 BCE “He who knows himself and his enemy will always be victorious.  He who knows himself but not his enemy will lose as often as he wins.  He who knows neither himself nor his enemy will always be defeated.  I think it was as simple as that in 1967.

Hi cyrena.  I don’t think either you or I would disagree on how evil, nasty, unprincipled or devious Darth Cheney is.  Where we disagree is I think he’s fundamentally not very smart and you seem to think him a genius.

Like Martin Borman, Cheney was marvelous at undermining rivals and gathering power to himself, but all for limited-vision goals designed to further parochial money and “permanent majority” ends.  Again, like Borman, Cheney has very little vision beyond his own greed and vindictiveness.

In other words, he wasn’t competent to pull of 9/11—after all, he couldn’t even pull of Valerie Plame Wilson’s “outing” cleanly.

My problem with your theory is pretty simple: Who in the Botch White House administration was competent enough to pull off such a MASSIVE demolition op in such perfect secrecy. Who?  Remember—they purged the exec branch of the competent to put in politically reliable hacks.

So you have two alternatives: Find someone competent to bring off such an operation with the motive to do it, or re-examine the premise that an airliner bigger than a 707 couldn’t bring down the WTC (and remember: The buildings WERE designed to withstand a 707 crashing into it—since a bomber had hit the Empire State Building—my mom was about 20 and SAW it hit!).

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By cyrena, March 22, 2009 at 9:03 pm Link to this comment

Inherit,

Just catching up.

Ya know, there really haven’t been all that many posters here on TD who have made the Mossad Israel claim behind 9/11. I have NEVER bought into it, only because there has never been a shred of proof offered aside from the alleged high-fivers, which simply isn’t enough to make anything at all.

Now I don’t know if I agree with Shingo that Israel tried to ‘warn’ anybody, because I’m convinced that Cheney already knew what was going to happen, and when. That’s why there was no interception of any of those aircraft. (There were 14 air drills taking place at the time, all of which had redirected the bulk of NORAD coverage in that Corridor, so that there was no one there. That required a great deal of advance preparation that could only have been arranged from the very top…specifically Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and that bald-headed guy who scares the living shit out of me just looking at him. I don’t know why I can’t think of his name right now. Starts with a C. It’ll come to me, but you probably know who I’m talking about. The old FEMA guy. Not the Arabian Horse owner, but that other one…real scary looking dude.

So rest yourself on this Israel - 9/11 connection. There’s never been any substantial dots worth connecting there. Besides, Israel doesn’t need another mass murder rap on their record, and I’d just as soon blame the real perpetrators. Problem is, it wasn’t the Arabs. Bin Laden may have wanted to do that operation, but he couldn’t have managed it without Cheney et al making it possible. In other words, clearing the way so there would be none of the standard protocol in the works, which would have shot the things down the second they deviated from the plan. (not after an hour or more).

That’s where they overplayed their hand, as well as with the WTC demolitions. If they hadn’t decided to try and make us believe that a commercial airliner was allowed to enter the most protected air space on the planet, (come on, the PENTAGON?) and if they had blamed the original group for planting the explosives BEFORE allegedly flying the planes into the towers, some of us might have been ‘fooled’ for longer. But nobody with any commercial aviation experience is gonna buy that those two airplanes caused those three buildings to explode. (especially bldg 7, which was never hit by anything, but imploded in on itself and fell in it’s own dust the same as the others.)

Still, there’s not even any circumstantial evidence that can put Israel’s Mossad behind it. That isn’t necessarily a pass for Israel or Mossad, because we know they’ve been responsible for similar operations, but those are generally targeted political assassinations rather than entire populations. So, that always brings it back to the inside job that it was.

The only way Israel would have known about it is if Cheney or Rumsfeld had told them, and I doubt that he did. Then again, now that I remember, they DID know about it enough in advance to get the word out to public officials not to fly on that day. And they didn’t. The air traffic on 9/11 was like a typical Jewish holiday, (even the major airports were like ghost towns) and those are always dead days for travel. I used to volunteer to work all of the Jewish holidays, just because it was a guarantee for a far less hectic shift. 

But, as far as I know, 9/11/01 wasn’t a Jewish or any other kind of holiday. Still, the airports were all ghost towns.

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By Shingo, March 22, 2009 at 8:38 pm Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind,

>> On the first day of the 1967 War, both Egypt and Syria declared war on Israel.  Are you going to try to claim that a Declaration that a State of War exists isn’t sufficient provocation? 

Fair enough.  Egypt declared war after Israel attacked, meanwhile Syria sat on it’s hands for 2 or 3 days and then got hammered.

>> OK, so they manipulated their declared enemies. Still proves nothing.

What it proves is that Israel was itching for a fight and as is usually the case, having done so, Israel always insists that it is defending itself, while their enemies are the ones who attacked.

>> OK, I wasn’t sure—I apologize for that.

No need to apologize.  The Mossad theory gives me headaches too..

>> Huh??? That logic makes no sense and doesn’t fit historical fact.

I wasn’t debating the role of the Soviets.  If Egypt were poised to strike at Israel, why were they so surprised by Israel’s pre-emption?  You don’t start a war with your eyes closed and Nassers forces would have been on high alert if he was indeed planning to attack.

One could argue that Israel’s forces were so superior that it made no difference, but Egypt demonstrated in 1973 that they could hold their own against Israel, so this wasn’t the case.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 22, 2009 at 8:24 pm Link to this comment

Shingo:

On the first day of the 1967 War, both Egypt and Syria declared war on Israel.  Are you going to try to claim that a Declaration that a State of War exists isn’t sufficient provocation? 

“The fact that Israel prevailed and did so spectacularly proves that Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan were far from insane.” 

I would agree but it does NOT prove they provoked the war.

>> Dayan’s statements are so ambiguous that they have been interpreted this way totally out of context.  Using evidence that way can show Shakespeare wrote the King James Bible.

“You may have a point there yes, though there is no clear evidence that he was not referring to the 1967 war. And what it does tell us, is that provocation was a common theme within the IDF, even back then.
We also DO know that Israel tried to bait Nasser into a war in 1956.  Nasser did not take the bait.”

OK, so they manipulated their declared enemies. Still proves nothing.

>> So….you’re saying you don’t buy this crap that Mossad and Israel were behind 9/11?

I’ve already established that with you a while back.  No I don’t.  I actually think that Mossad tries to warn Bush, but he and his gang had their heads too far up their asses to take those warnings seriously.”

OK, I wasn’t sure—I apologize for that.  We’re on the same page 100% on this point. How those assholes ever got in power will be studied for a millennium.

>> But to goad 3 nations into a 3 front war right on your borders is, as I said before, the height of insanity, and I see no evidence that Golda Meir or Moshe Dayan were insane in 1967.

“Here is where the logic of the status quo argument falls apart.

As you’ve pointed out, the 1973 conflict was a very close battle because Israel were caught off guard.  That tells us that Egypt were no push overs. Yet we’re expect to believe that with all his army amassed, ready to attack, the Israelis got the jump on Nasser and destroyed his entire air force before he’s finished his cup of coffee?”

Huh??? That logic makes no sense and doesn’t fit historical fact.

The Soviet Union was actively aiding the Egyptians and Syrians to a FAR greater extent after the ‘67 War.  I guess the USSR wanted Israel destroyed as it was the USA’s foothold there.  Plus the Russian oil and gas fields were 30 years away from where they are now, so it would give THEM access to Arabian oil.  IOWs, the Egyptian and Syrian military orgs were far more formidable in 1973 than in 1967, with much more high-tech equipment and hi-tech training.

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By Shingo, March 22, 2009 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind,

The problem is that I don’t find your argument here very compelling.  Apart from Egypt, Israel also went after Syria a few days later, did they not?  Call them crazy, but who attacked whom?

The fact that Israel prevailed and did so spectacularly proves that Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan were far from insane.

>> Dayan’s statements are so ambiguous that they have been interpreted this way totally out of context.  Using evidence that way can show Shakespeare wrote the King James Bible.

You may have a point there yes, though there is no clear evidence that he was not referring to the 1967 war. And what it does tell us, is that provocation was a common theme within the IDF, even back then.
We also DO know that Israel tried to bait Nasser into a war in 1956.  Nasser did not take the bait.

>> So….you’re saying you don’t buy this crap that Mossad and Israel were behind 9/11?

I’ve already established that with you a while back.  No I don’t.  I actually think that Mossad tries to warn Bush, but he and his gang had their heads too far up their asses to take those warnings seriously.

>> But to goad 3 nations into a 3 front war right on your borders is, as I said before, the height of insanity, and I see no evidence that Golda Meir or Moshe Dayan were insane in 1967.

Here is where the logic of the status quo argument falls apart.

As you’ve pointed out, the 1973 conflict was a very close battle because Israel were caught off guard.  That tells us that Egypt were no push overs. Yet we’re expect to believe that with all his army amassed, ready to attack, the Israelis got the jump on Nasser and destroyed his entire air force before he’s finished his cup of coffee?

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By Inherit The Wind, March 22, 2009 at 7:30 pm Link to this comment

See what I mean?  Nothing will dissuade you no matter how compelling it is.

Shingo, March 22 at 4:22 pm #

Inherit The Wind,

With all due respects, the one introducing evidence here is me.
Whether the was wa to be 1 or 3 fronts is immaterial.

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I’m sorry. This is total ignorance.  Every leader knows getting caught in a 2-front war is the recipe for disaster, and a 3-front war has NO chance of success.  It is certain suicide.  That’s the REAL reason the USSR signed the non-aggression pact with Germany in 1939, and, just prior to the German attack, signed one with the Japanese in the spring of 1941.  Only a totally insane government would provoke a 3 front war. Are you saying that Golda Meir was insane?

Nor have you introduced facts, merely the old standby propaganda tossed out by the ultra left.

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Nor is the fact that Begin wasn’t in the government in 1967 relevant either.  Given his history, he was clearly close to the gears of government in 1967, at lest sufficiently so that he would know what trasnspired behind the scenes. 
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Fantasy, Shingo, fantasy.  Begin was Likud, part of the Orthodox movement to do away with the liberal, progressive Labor leaders. He wasn’t any more part of the Israeli government in 1967 than I was, as a 12 year old kid in middle school in upstate NY.  Besides, it would behoove Old Begin to a) discredit Labor and b) show the world (like Reagan or Dumbya) that Israel was ahead of the curve.  That’s how the old terrorist thought.  He also lied worse than Cheney.

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Moshe Dayan was certainly in the thick of it all and his statements support what Begin had to say.
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Dayan’s statements are so ambiguous that they have been interpreted this way totally out of context.  Using evidence that way can show Shakespeare wrote the King James Bible.

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The Mossad - 9/11 comparison is a straw man.  Countries throughout history have goaded or provoked other countries into war, not least of which, Israel.
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So….you’re saying you don’t buy this crap that Mossad and Israel were behind 9/11?  Well, that puts you again another rung up on a lot of people here, but you’re sharp enough for me not to be surprised by that.

But to goad 3 nations into a 3 front war right on your borders is, as I said before, the height of insanity, and I see no evidence that Golda Meir or Moshe Dayan were insane in 1967.

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By Fadel Abdallah, March 22, 2009 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

From The Independent, UK

Israelis told to fight ‘holy war’ in Gaza

By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem

Saturday, 21 March 2009

“Many Israeli troops had the sense of fighting a “religious war” against Gentiles during the 22-day offensive in Gaza, according to a soldier who has highlighted the martial role of military rabbis during the operation.

The soldier testified that the “clear” message of literature distributed to troops by the rabbinate was: “We are the Jewish people, we came to this land by a miracle, God brought us back to this land and now we need to fight to expel the Gentiles who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land.”

The claim comes in the detailed transcript of a post-war discussion by soldiers, publication of which has triggered a military police inquiry into allegations about the use of lethal firepower against unarmed civilians.

The investigation was ordered by the military’s advocate general Avichai Mandleblit on Thursday after the liberal daily newspaper Haaretz published extracts from the transcript describing incidents in which Palestinian civilians were killed and property wantonly damaged.

In the fuller version of the transcript published yesterday, the soldier, a unit commander from the Givati brigade, says: “This was the main message and the whole sense many soldiers had in this operation was of a religious war.” He recalled that his own sergeant was from a hesder yeshiva, a college combining religious study and military service, who led the whole platoon in prayer before going into battle. The commander added that he had sought to talk to the men about Palestinian politics and society and, “about how not everyone in Gaza is Hamas and not every inhabitant wants to vanquish us”.

After the offensive, Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights group called for the dismissal of the military’s head chaplain, Rabbi Avichai Rontzki, a brigadier general. It said that he had distributed to troops a booklet saying that it was “terribly immoral” to show mercy to a “cruel enemy” and that the soldiers were fighting “murderers”.

The longer transcript conveys a fuller sense of the debate involving graduates from the Yitzhak Rabin military preparatory course. At one point Danny Zamir, the head of the course, says he would have questioned the killing of 180 traffic policemen during bombing on the first day of the operation. One pilot replies: “Tactically speaking you call them police. In any case they are armed and belong to Hamas ... during better times they take Fatah people and throw them off the roofs and see what happens.”

The latest casualty figures published by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights list the names of 1,434 dead of whom they say 926 were civilians, 236 fighters and 255 police officers.”

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By Shingo, March 22, 2009 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind,

With all due respects, the one introducing evidence here is me.

Whether the was wa to be 1 or 3 fronts is immaterial.

Nor is the fact that Begin wasn’t in the government in 1967 relevant either.  Given his history, he was clearly close to the gears of government in 1967, at lest sufficiently so that he would know what trasnspired behind the scenes.  Moshe Dayan was certainly in the thick of it all and his statements support what Begin had to say.

The Mossad - 9/11 comparison is a straw man.  Countries throughout history have goaded or provoked other countries into war, not least of which, Israel.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 22, 2009 at 6:57 am Link to this comment

Shingo,
I see I could introduce all the evidence in the world and you will STILL believe that Israel wanted a 3 front war right on its borders.

Begin wasn’t in the government in 1967—that’s a fact you can’t get around.

But, then again, no matter the blatantly obvious objections, lots of posters here are utterly convinced Israel’s Mossad attacked us on 9/11 and made it look like Al Qaeda did it so we could…go to war in Iraq. (??????)

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By Shingo, March 22, 2009 at 6:03 am Link to this comment

Inherit

I don’t know Menachim Begin well enough to call him a conspiracy buff, but this is what he had to say in 1982 in a speech delivered at the Israeli National Defense College:

“The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him” (Jerusalem Post, 20 August 1982).

Now if Israel had equal reason to attack Jordan and Syrian, why did they attack Egypt first?

Israel was harassing the Syrians to clear the ground for their diversion of the Jordan River.  Moshe Dayan concurs with Begin, admitting that 80 per cent of these confrontational episodes were planned and executed by Israel…..

“It went this way: We would send a tractor to plough some place where it wasn’t possible to do anything, in the demilitarised area, and knew in advance that the Syrians would start to shoot. If they didn’t shoot, we would tell the tractor to advance farther, until in the end [the] Syrians would get annoyed and shoot….And then we would use artillery and later the air force also, and that’s how it was.”

Is Dayan a conspiracy theorist too?

The thing is ITW, it wasn’t a suicidal roll of the dice.  In fact, it was far from suicidal.  When the Israelis told Johnson about their plans to attack, he agreed that the Egyptians had no chance.  Here’s why.

In April 1967, one of these Israeli provocations became a full-fledged aerial battle with the Syrians. The Israelis shot down six Syrian planes, including one over Damascus.

At this point Nasser was highly criticised for his ineffectiveness and seen as all talk and no action. for Arab nationalism and unity. He signed a defense pact with Syria and sent troops into the Sinai hoping to deter an Israeli attack. With his first rank forces bogged down in Yemen, the forces available to him were ill-equipped and took up defensive positions only. Israel knew it and so did Washington.
The Soviets gave Nasser intel that Israel was about to attack, and Nasser asked that the UN forces be moved onto the Israeli side of the border. He did not wish to be responsible for UN casualties. Thant (U.N. Secretary General), said in his memoir that the war could have been avoided had Israel complied with this request but they refused, the UN withdrew.

It was at this point that Israel attacked.

The Isralis wanted this war.  They even contend that closing the Straits of Tiran was cassus beli, which was rediculous, given that less than 5% of Israel’s trade flowed through the Straits and was easily re-routed.

Nasser knew this as did the Israelis. It was a token gesture in protest at Israel’s behaviour in the Golan and Nasser offered a moratorium on it almost as soon as it was announced, along with an offer to have the World Court arbitrate the issue.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 22, 2009 at 5:29 am Link to this comment

Shingo,
The problem is your basic argument begins from a premise that simply doesn’t pass the straight-faced test and only appeals to conspiracy buffs.

Think about it: The premise is that Israel PROVOKED Egypt and Syria and Jordon into making HUGE military buildups right on the Israeli border to give Israel the excuse to attack all 3, trapping Israel in a 3-front war.

That’s what you are defending based on totally self-serving quotes by Menachem Begin, who, by the way, was NOT part of the government at the time, and, we both agree, was a one-time terrorist, a liar, and just a flat-out schmuck.  I STILL think Jimmy Carter deserved a Nobel Peace Prize solely for NOT strangling Begin at Camp David.

The premise is totally irrational because it’s a suicidal roll of the dice, by Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan—hard to imagine.  In fact, it’s the kind of conspiracy theory that comes out of the Arab world like the one now accepted here that Mossad was behind the attack on 9/11—attacking their most important ally.  But, to the conspiracy theorists, there’s no risk too great, no conspiracy too outlandish that can’t be attributed to those spawn of Satan Israelis and their familiars, “Zionists” (Jews) around the world who want Israel to survive.

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By Shingo, March 21, 2009 at 11:48 pm Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind,

>> Sure I can and I do.  Egypt and Syria were coordinating an attack.  40 years of propaganda from the Arab world has created this new “history”

I assume Menachin Begin was working to spread Arab propaganda too then?  Should I dig up that quote where he says quite frankly that Nasser had no intention of attacking and that it was Israel that attacked?

Israel wanted that fight.  They had been trying since 1956 to lure Nasser into a war.  That is fact, not propaganda.

>>  Do you assume EVERYTHING Israel says is a lie and EVERYTHING the Palestinians say is gospel truth?

Not at all.  That conclusion comes exclusively from Israeli or Western sources.

First, it was reported in Haaretz and CNN that Israel broke the ceasfire in November.

http://actionnooz.com/news/?p=2816

Second, even Mark Regev, admitted on camera that Hamas fired no rockets between June and November:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6e-elrgYL0

There has been no evidence to prove that this tunnel was to be used to capture IDF troops. In fact, as Uri Avnery points out, if this were true, why didn’t Israel set a trap on their side of the border?  In fact, this suggests that the Israeli story is BS because waiting for Hamas to come out the other end would only work if the story were true right?

Anyway, Jimmy Cater points out that the tunnel dug by Hamas inside the wall that encloses Gaza.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/07/AR2009010702645_pf.html

>> Since WHEN are you allowed to tunnel to your neighbor’s country so you can enter covertly? 

Seeing as Israel went back on their word and refused to lift the blockade, as per the terms of the ceasefire, who is in the wrong here?  Remember that the last time Israel were blockaded, they declared it an act of war.

>> And, since when is the JUS AD BELLO response to a border and illegal entry dispute to be to shoot rockets at civilian sites?

That was AFTER Israel broke the ceasefire.  A blockade is an act of war.  Bombing the Gaza side of the borer is an act of war.  Acts of war beget acts of war don’t they?

>> I think I’ve long said that the Lebanon Invasion must have been planned for the Israelis by the Bush administration because it was such a screwup. But the issue of Lebanon is different than Gaza—hell it’s on the complete other side of Israel and involved a different terrorist organization.

I disagree.  In fact, it has been widely discussed that one of the reasons for the Gaza siege was to shake off the ghosts of 2006.

>> Say, what????  If you are attacked, does it really matter if you have 1 option or 3?  Options don’t make you right or wrong.

They do if your policies are the cause of the attacks.  The attacks are due to the illegal and criminal blockade.  Israel’s policies are inviting this response.

Israel’s isn’t being threatened here, but Palestinians are.

>> Shingo, you’re too damn smart to keep living with such a closed mind that always assumes everything in the news that isn’t from some way out source MUST be false. Let’s not forget Peres explicitly called for regime-change in Iran this week too, calling for the Iranians to stage a coup.

Right.  What’s good for the goose …

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By Inherit The Wind, March 21, 2009 at 7:48 pm Link to this comment

Shingo, March 21 at 9:48 pm #

Inherit The Wind,

First, Israel did start the ’67 war… but you cannot deny that Israel’s assault was a provocation. 
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Sure I can and I do.  Egypt and Syria were coordinating an attack.  40 years of propaganda from the Arab world has created this new “history”

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The wisdom of grabbing he west bank…before the settlements became such an issue.
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Agreed.

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Yes, if you are attacked.  The operative word there is IF and that is where your logic falls apart.

In the case of the Gaza assault, Israel broke the ceasefire.  Before November 4th, there was 5 months of calm, which Israel ended on some spurious claim about plans to use a tunnel to kidnap IDF soldiers. Israel did the provoking.
**************************************************

Do you assume EVERYTHING Israel says is a lie and EVERYTHING the Palestinians say is gospel truth?  Since WHEN are you allowed to tunnel to your neighbor’s country so you can enter covertly?  And, since when is the JUS AD BELLO response to a border and illegal entry dispute to be to shoot rockets at civilian sites?

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In the case of the Labanon 2006 border conflict, Israel escalated the skirmish into an all out war that they had already been itching to launch. ...  Israel often do the provoking knowing that the consequences are to be small.
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I think I’ve long said that the Lebanon Invasion must have been planned for the Israelis by the Bush administration because it was such a screwup. But the issue of Lebanon is different than Gaza—hell it’s on the complete other side of Israel and involved a different terrorist organization.


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In all these cases, Israel had multiple options.  The person mugged on the street does not.
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Say, what????  If you are attacked, does it really matter if you have 1 option or 3?  Options don’t make you right or wrong.

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Well in the case of Iran, they have material evidence to support that paranoia, going back to 1953.  Then there war the Iraq/Iran war that Iraq started and was encouraged to prolong by the West.  There was the shooting down of a passenger plane in Iranian air space, by the US navy, killing all 96 on board.  There is the fact that the US is supporting the MEK as they set of bombs in Tehran.

Furthermore, Iran has not called for Israel’s destruction.
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Sure sounded like it to me—of course, Fadel’s unique translation (expectedly) said otherwise. I’m saying Israel’s paranoia is just at justified as Iran’s and Russia’s and I happen to think THEIR paranoia IS justified (read my post on the Hiss thread).

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The very worst thing that was called for was an end to the Zionist regime, ie. regime change. Calls for regime change is common place in Washington and Tel Aviv.
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Shingo, you’re too damn smart to keep living with such a closed mind that always assumes everything in the news that isn’t from some way out source MUST be false. Let’s not forget Peres explicitly called for regime-change in Iran this week too, calling for the Iranians to stage a coup.

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By Fadel Abdallah, March 21, 2009 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment

As another fascist government in terrorist Israel is being formed, many Palestinians are contemplating a third Intifada. Read below on article on this prospect and the goals it’s intended to achieve!
=================================================
Intifada: A Third Chapter
By Ramzy Baroud

http://www.countercurrents.org/baroud210309.htm

“A third Intifada, in the eyes of many, could accomplish one vital task. It could provide the platform for the Palestinians to reclaim their unity (despite the prevailing factionalism of today) and declare that they will struggle until the day when they finally embrace freedom. If this is all that a third Intifada accomplishes, in the eyes of many Palestinians, then it is certainly a necessary and worthy endeavor…”

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By Shingo, March 21, 2009 at 6:48 pm Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind,

>> That it is an irritant to the Arabs who live there is clear and obvious.  To call it is a provocation is a total upending of morality.  Yet it can be ended, and most of Israel is willing and HAS been willing since before Rabin’s assassination.

First, Israel did start the ’67 war.  Jordan’s motives for joining in 2 days later can be debated, but you cannot deny that Israel’s assault was a provocation.  The wisdom of grabbing he west bank was hotly debated at the time, so I would agree that if a resolution was to take place, it would have been easier before the settlements became such an issue.

>> I find that logic childish.  If you are attacked with deadly force you aren’t obligated to respond in kind but totally as is necessary. 

Yes, if you are attacked.  The operative word there is IF and that is where your logic falls apart.

In the case of the Gaza assault, Israel broke the ceasefire.  Before November 4th, there was 5 months of calm, which Israel ended on some spurious claim about plans to use a tunnel to kidnap IDF soldiers. Israel did the provoking.

In the case of the Labanon 2006 border conflict, Israel escalated the skirmish into an all out war that they had already been itching to launch.  Bush and Blair had already been informed of these plans before the capture of the Israeli soldiers.  And let’s be reminded, this so called attack on Israel by Hezbollah has been a routine tactic by the Israelis.  The difference is that their opponents aren’t in a position to respond the way Israel is able.  So again, Israel often do the provoking knowing that the consequences are to be small.

In all these cases, Israel had multiple options.  The person mugged on the street does not.

>> No, it’s an EXCUSE. It has long been dictators’ tactics to create a scapegoat to distract from their tyranny and allow a “safe” outlet.  That’s all it is. It is nothing noble or brave.

No argument there.

>> It’s no more lame than Iran’s paranoia, or, more appropriately, Russia’s paranoia.  Just ‘cuz you’re paranoid…..etc.  It is, in fact, illegal under the UN Charter for Iran to call for Israel’s destruction, since no member is allowed to do that to another member.

Well in the case of Iran, they have material evidence to support that paranoia, going back to 1953.  Then there war the Iraq/Iran war that Iraq started and was encouraged to prolong by the West.  There was the shooting down of a passenger plane in Iranian air space, by the US navy, killing all 96 on board.  There is the fact that the US is supporting the MEK as they set of bombs in Tehran.

Furthermore, Iran has not called for Israel’s destruction.  The very worst thing that was called for was an end to the Zionist regime, ie. regime change. Calls for regime change is common place in Washington and Tel Aviv.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 21, 2009 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment

Then what of Israel? What does Jus in Bello tell us about using non-combatants as shields?  It’s very clear if the n/cs are the enemy’s people—you can’t do it.  But what about using your OWN people as shields?  Why are YOU justified doing that?  And what is the enemy justified in using if you ARE using your own people as shields?

This isn’t clear.  I meant: what of Israel’s response to Hamas’s use of Gazans as human shields?

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By Inherit The Wind, March 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment

Cute, cyrena! You made me look up jus in bello vs jus ad bello.

Thanks for NOT defining non-English terms only familiar to International Lawyers.  So I have to do it.

Jus ad bello is the Justification for going to war.
Jus in bello is the Justification for actions IN war.

Let’s look at Gaza.  Israel does NOT have jus ad bello apply—they were attacked. Therefore jus in bello is the only International Law that applies.

Hamas has to address the question of jus ad bello because they were attacking Israel.

“The legality of recourse to force is measured against the proportionality of self-defence, whereas individual actions would have to conform to the requirement of proportionality in jus in bello. However, beyond the large area in which these two standards overlap, there might be situations in which the strict application of the jus ad bellum standard makes it impossible to achieve the aims of jus in bello. In these cases, the proportionality test under jus in bello must be regarded as part of the proportionality test under jus ad bellum.

The final point should be self-evident to all of us.

“States must thus take humanitarian implications into account in determining the level of security they may seek to obtain using military action.”

Now, what was this all written in response to?  Since it all was post WWI, MY guess is that it was based on Austria’s declaration of war on Serbia after the Arch-Duke and heir to Hapsburg throne was assassinated in Sarajevo.  Thus the response by Austria was completely out of proportion and illegal.

But…what of Israel and Hamas?  Hamas didn’t fire one missile, they fired a lot AND KEPT FIRING THEM!  According to you, cyrena, the ONLY legitimate response by Israel was NO response.  That’s also the position of FT, EH, Fadel, and a whole lot of others here—the only Jus in bello was NOTHING! NOTHING!  No defense is allowed!

But what of the Jus AD Bello attacks of Hamas?  If they were aiming at military targets the argument STILL wouldn’t hold.  But Hamas is aiming at civilian targets—under BOTH Jus ad and Jus in bello, that is a clear and total violation as there are no military targets at all.

Then what of Israel? What does Jus in Bello tell us about using non-combatants as shields?  It’s very clear if the n/cs are the enemy’s people—you can’t do it.  But what about using your OWN people as shields?  Why are YOU justified doing that?  And what is the enemy justified in using if you ARE using your own people as shields?

Again, according to you, there is NOTHING Israel is justified in doing—and that doesn’t fit within your own quote of Jus ad Bello and Jus in Bello.

I stand by my original position.

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By Folktruther, March 21, 2009 at 3:04 pm Link to this comment

Shingo, Sepharad is intelligent but she is not politically reasonable.  She identifies with a Zionist policy which is historically self-defeating.  And Israeli and perhaps American political and military leaders KNOW that it is self-defeating, but prefer Zionist imperialist power to Israeli security.

this is the basis of the Samson Option, of taking as much of the world down with them when the final destruction of the Israel power system occurs.  What these committed Zionists believe in is death: glorious death.  You don’t understand fanatics; I do because I am one myself. But I am on the side of the historical interests of the American and Jewish people.

When Russia finally entered Germany at the end of WW 2, Hitler wanted to destroy German factories to prevent the Soviets from getting them.  He stated that the German people were not strong enough to conquer, so it didn’t matter if they died.  That is Sepharad and the Zionist view.  Win or die.  And there is no historical way of winning.

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By cyrena, March 21, 2009 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment

Shingo writes:
•  “And as I mentioned in my last post to her, there is also the pretense that Israel and the Palestinians are somehow equal in this conflict, which is competely absurd.”
Inherit responds:
•  “I find that logic childish.  If you are attacked with deadly force you aren’t obligated to respond in kind but totally as is necessary.  We have that same problem in criminal law:  They always start with the analogy of two drunks getting into a barroom fight—as if being mugged on the street had any relation to that.  “Equality” of opponents is irrelevant. Right and wrong are relevant.”
Inherit,
In the real world of international law and order, this ‘equality’ of opponents is VERY RELEVANT. So much so that reams and reams and reams of work had been consistently published and updated in respect to jus ad bellum and jus in bello, (both components of Just War Theory) and PROPORTIONALITY is a main component. Sorry, but your drunks in a bar example simply doesn’t qualify.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jus_ad_bellum
abstract
“This article analyses the role and content of proportionality under contemporary international law governing the use of force, with a view to clarifying the legal framework governing the conduct of the parties to an armed conflict. In the system of jus ad bellum, protection is primarily granted to the interest of the attacked state in repelling the attack; the other competing interests are considered only to curtail the choice of the means to be employed in order to achieve that aim. Conversely, in the system of jus in bello there is by definition no prevailing interest, but instead a variety of interests and values which are entitled to equal protection of the law and must be balanced against each other. The existence of two distinct normative systems, with distinct standards of legality applicable to the same conduct, does not as a rule give rise to major problems. The legality of recourse to force is measured against the proportionality of self-defence, whereas individual actions would have to conform to the requirement of proportionality in jus in bello. However, beyond the large area in which these two standards overlap, there might be situations in which the strict application of the jus ad bellum standard makes it impossible to achieve the aims of jus in bello. In these cases, the proportionality test under jus in bello must be regarded as part of the proportionality test under jus ad bellum. States must thus take humanitarian implications into account in determining the level of security they may seek to obtain using military action.”
the link below is the source.

http://www.icrc.org/Web/Eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/review-864-p779

here’s more if you care, but I think the ICRC is probably the best source for this information. It’s like getting it from the horses mouth.

http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/2/5/3/5/9/p253593_index.html

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By Inherit The Wind, March 21, 2009 at 2:15 pm Link to this comment

The question of guilt or innocence is beside the point.  When suggestions of ear crime charges being broght against Isrelis was announced, Israel said they were prepared to defend against the charges.  The leaders behind the Gaza siege will naturally be regarded as innocent in Israel, so any show trials or investigations against troops who did the wrong thing is a side show.

It’s like the way the Bush’s were happy to prosecute Lindie England the others for the Abu Graid scandal, having themselves OK’d the whole program.
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With you so far…but….

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That’s why justice is not possible, because if these IDF soldiers are found guilty, they will be viewed as sacrificial lambs, and if not, then it will confirm that these crimes are in fact an extension of Israeli policy.
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I have NO objections to letting the International Court take this on—I doubt you would object if THEY found some of these soldiers innocent and others guilty.  That’s the point.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 21, 2009 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment

Admitting one is biased is admirable yes, but bias is no excuse for laziness or belligerence.  A couple of days ago Shephard suggested that Hamas and Hezbollah should refrain from provoking Israel, while remaining oblivious to the elephant n the room called occupation that has been the greatest provocation of all.
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The occupation goes back to the 6-Day War, and Jordan didn’t enter the war until Day 2, attacking Israel. As a result of that attack it lost the West Bank, now the occupied territories.  That it is an irritant to the Arabs who live there is clear and obvious.  To call it is a provocation is a total upending of morality.

Yet it can be ended, and most of Israel is willing and HAS been willing since before Rabin’s assassination.

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And as I mentioned in my last post to her, there is also the pretense that Israel and the Palestinians are somehow equal in this conflict, which is competely absurd.
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I find that logic childish.  If you are attacked with deadly force you aren’t obligated to respond in kind but totally as is necessary.  We have that same problem in criminal law:  They always start with the analogy of two drunks getting into a barroom fight—as if being mugged on the street had any relation to that.  “Equality” of opponents is irrelevant. Right and wrong are relevant.

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The examples of Egypt and Jordan demonstrate short sightedness. The Palestinians were entirely ignored during these negotiations.  It is tragic that Sadat was murdered, as it was when Rabin was murdered.
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I totally agree.

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I don’t know of anything in Egyptian culture that should make it anti Jewish per se. The resentment in the Arab world does not exit in spite of the Israeli/Palestine conflict but because of it.
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No, it’s an EXCUSE. It has long been dictators’ tactics to create a scapegoat to distract from their tyranny and allow a “safe” outlet.  That’s all it is. It is nothing noble or brave.

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I am not familiar with the films demonizing Jews, though you are probably right.  Having been to Egypt, it is very fractured society with wide divisions between the educate and uneducated classes.
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OK.

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On the subject of Israel’s survival, isn’t this getting a bit lame?  Israel isn’t going anywhere and the Arab world is resigned to that fact.
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It’s no more lame than Iran’s paranoia, or, more appropriately, Russia’s paranoia.  Just ‘cuz you’re paranoid…..etc.  It is, in fact, illegal under the UN Charter for Iran to call for Israel’s destruction, since no member is allowed to do that to another member.

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The point re My Lai is that good people do very bad things in a war type situation. Troops are trained to kill people.  That is their job and when you send them to do that job, it is rediculous to expect them to abode by every rule in the book while avoiding being killed.  It is the policies of the leadership that sends them to war that I was criticizing.
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OK, we are on the same page here.

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By cyrena, March 21, 2009 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

By Sepharad

“Arabs are not stupid or in self-denial; they’re aware of the severity of the problems affecting their societies are facing, and that’s why they are issuing so many reports not just of their own but with the UN. I’m amazed that you, Fadel and others don’t know about them.”

~*~*

Thanks Sepharad, and actually, WE DO know about them. (I’m speaking for myself, of course, but since Dr. Fadel Abdallah is a friend and colleague with a shared academic career in the study of all things Middle Eastern, I think it goes without saying that he’s aware of the work by NGO’s not to mention the 22 sovereign countries that make up the Arab world.

Thanks for recognizing that’s Arabs are neither stupid or in self-denial, since that’s been the point I’ve been trying to make for a few years here, and that seems to be something, you’ve only just recently decided to accept.

In fact, prior to now, your posts have inferred exactly that opposite, that they ARE in self-denial and stupid. Matter of fact, I’ve actually SAVED your posts that basically say exactly that.

Do you remember the one when you were explaining how you ‘know’ so many Arabs, and you’ve talked to them over countless years and hours, and how they just can’t ‘get over’ or ‘move beyond’ the Nakba the way the Jews got over the Hitler/Stalin Holocaust? Remember that?

Anyway, don’t worry about the UN Report Sepharad.I wasn’t asking you to produce it because I doubted it’s existence, (especially since I’ve been a contributor to much of the editing and compilation of such reports…it’s what I DO Sepharad) but because I knew that you wouldn’t be able to produce it yourself.

What that does is to expose you for the fraud that you are, proving that you’re working from the standard Zionist talking points. It’s the standard MO of the Zionist propagandist, but it’s old. It was effective enough prior to the introduction of the Internet technology, because the US is a big place, and it was simple enough to control public awareness via the controlled media.

But now, the truth is just busting out all over the place. We now have many highly developed academic institutions devoted to the study of EVERYTHING Middle Eastern. So yep, we know about these things all right. Oh yeah…we DEFINITELY know.

The point of course, is that YOU don’t. That isn’t particularly ‘amazing’ but your arrogance is.


Toodles.

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By Shingo, March 21, 2009 at 6:50 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind,

Admitting one is biased is admirable yes, but bias is no excuse for laziness or belligerence.  A couple of days ago Shephard suggested that Hamas and Hezbollah should refrain from provoking Israel, while remaining oblivious to the elephant n the room called occupation that has been the greatest provocation of all.

And as I mentioned in my last post to her, there is also the pretense that Israel and the Palestinians are somehow equal in this conflict, which is competely absurd.

The examples of Egypt and Jordan demonstrate short sightedness. The Palestinians were entirely ignored during these negotiations.  It is tragic that Sadat was murdered, as it was when Rabin was murdered.

I don’t know of anything in Egyptian culture that should make it anti Jewish per se. The resentment in the Arab world does not exit in spite of the Israeli/Palestine conflict but because of it.

I am not familiar with the films demonizing Jews, though you are probably right.  Having been to Egypt, it is very fractured society with wide divisions between the educate and uneducated classes.

On the subject of Israel’s survival, isn’t this getting a bit lame?  Israel isn’t going anywhere and the Arab world is resigned to that fact.

The point re My Lai is that good people do very bad things in a war type situation. Troops are trained to kill people.  That is their job and when you send them to do that job, it is rediculous to expect them to abode by every rule in the book while avoiding being killed.  It is the policies of the leadership that sends them to war that I was criticizing.

The question of guilt or innocence is beside the point.  When suggestions of ear crime charges being broght against Isrelis was announced, Israel said they were prepared to defend against the charges.  The leaders behind the Gaza siege will naturally be regarded as innocent in Israel, so any show trials or investigations against troops who did the wrong thing is a side show.

It’s like the way the Bush’s were happy to prosecute Lindie England the others for the Abu Graid scandal, having themselves OK’d the whole program.

That’s why justice is not possible, because if these IDF soldiers are found guilty, they will be viewed as sacrificial lambs, and if not, then it will confirm that these crimes are in fact an extension of Israeli policy.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 21, 2009 at 5:19 am Link to this comment

Shingo
Of COURSE Sepharad is biased.  She’s Israeli.  That means she sees the world with Russian-type paranoia.  Namely that the world around Israel wants it destroyed, wiped out, and has openly said that for 61 years.

Right or wrong it makes that people tough and determined to survive—look how tough the Aghani or Vietnamese people are to survive.

Yes, two neighboring states, Egypt and Jordan have made peace with Israel.  But the foundation of the radical Islamic movement that murdered Sadat and many others was born in Egypt in the 1950’s—Nasser hanged its intellectual founder (whose name escapes me).  Osama Bin Laden’s chief lieutenant is an Egyptian doctor born in that movement.

My point? Egypt, as a culture, is virulently anti Jewish, screening popular films with stereotypical Jewish villains that would create an uproar in the West.  And this is the nation with whom Israel has the BEST relations of her neighbors!

So, of COURSE Sepharad is going to be “biased” when the survival of her native land is the object of debate and derision.  Yet she IS a humanist and is, like all of us, horrified by soldiers acting like animals—is My Lai already forgotten? WE were horrified that our “all-American boys” were slaughtering babies in their mothers’ arms.  WE were horrified at the tortures at Abu Ghraib (the tip of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld GULAG iceberg of torture) by our own troops.

Unfortunately, if there is an investigation, any IDF member who is acquitted will be assumed in these pages to be guilty, and any found guilty will be assumed to be a token.  So whether justice is possible (and I TRULY don’t know if it is, but hope it is), I don’t believe most posters at TD will look at it objectively.  I hope you will.

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By Shingo, March 21, 2009 at 2:29 am Link to this comment

Sepharad,

You seem like a reasonable and intelligent person who’s perspective is distorted by a fundamental flaw.  You regard the conflict as a battle between two equal parties, which has no basis in reality.  The Israeli’s hold all the cards, the money, the military force, the international support and the diplomatic power.

That it a reality that perhaps you are unable to see by being too close to the conflict. That is why your understanding of history is so archetypal of most Israeli supporters.  Your account is disconnected form historical realities because your perception is entirely colored by your perspective as a Zionist.  What you are others of similar belief like to insist is that the nature of the conflict is complicated.  This is just sophistry – it’s the same tactic used by China whenever their policies or human rights record is scruitinized.

There is nothing complicated about this conflict.  Israel are the ones with the power, the options and the influence to fix this mess.  They choose not to because they rgard the price as too high.

It’s not that I am not interested in the Arab’s reform reports, it’s that they are not relevant to this issue.  Israeli apologists often pull this argument out of the hat to imply that the Arabs are disfunctional and therefore incapable of being a partner for peace.  The same rationale was used to demonize the North American Indians and the Aboriginees in Australia.

I have no doubt there are many soldiers in the IDF who disaprove of the policies of the Israeli government, past and present.  Indeed many have come forth to speak out, much to their credit.  There is however, a disturbing trend among fundamentalist settlers who are introducing an extreme element into the IDF also.

I hope your time away will be spent relaxing and enjoying some peace.

God bless.

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By Sepharad, March 20, 2009 at 9:49 pm Link to this comment

Shingo, I believe you believe most of what you say, except that whatever Israel has done, the people in charge at the time have believed necessary to survive. This not saying they were always right, and I trust Abba Eben and Menachem Begin in their evaluations. Also Golda Meir, who said “We can forgive them for killing our children but not for forcing our boys to kill.” Obviously this may be dismissed as self-serving by one person, and accepted at face value by another. I’d also point out that there are Jews in Israel who take varied and often opposing positions on combat, pacifism, anti-war sentiments. Even in Ha’aretz, the most leftwing paper, if you read it regularly you’ll find people writing who do not agree with each other on policy. 

I see Israel’s history one way, you see it another. Nothing I’ve said about the soldiers I’ve known and their training and what I’ve observed has been untrue. Perhaps I’m too close to be completely unbiased, just as perhaps you are too far removed to judge. On the other hand, I also know that people who are pressed beyond endurance and see only one way out are not going to behave the way outsiders, comfortable in their living rooms, would like them to—and I’m speaking not only of the Israelis but also the Palestinians.

You also have to take into account the generational changes among the Israeli people as a whole, most of whom at one time or another have served in IDF. At this moment, I would say hostility between Israelis and Palestinians is about has high as it’s ever been. Both sides feel betrayed and damaged by the other, both are very angry and this is going to be reflected especially in combat. There are still people on both sides who want to live differently, and they will keep trying but it’s much more difficult than even a few years ago. Netanyahu and Hamas are not ideal compromisers.

But I don’t think you truly understand the realities, the history of the region. And I’m not sure you want to. At least, even if you don’t care to know the Israeli story in all its fullness and contradictions and attempts to reach some reconciliation with the Palestinians, please do read the Arab’s reform reports because they will give you a different picture than you have now. 

Many IDF soldiers are sick of serving in the occupation even though the occupied territory is Judea, from which the Jews took their name. Many do not like the kind of warfare represented by Gaza. The ones who do like it, as opposed to those who serve because the country needs them, are in danger of losing their souls (not in a religious sense) and perspective. But most of them do what they must as well as they can and with as little loss of civilian life as is possible given the terms under which they have to fight. Those few who have turned on Palestinian civilians WILL be punished, though it’s hard to tell what their motives were. One Israeli soldier said where he was, it was as if the rules for fighting were that Palestinian lives were not as important as the soldier’s lives. This is something that has to be taken seriously and changed. I don’t know the ins and outs of what it was like on the ground; I do know what Hamas’ intent was, what their methods are and that they apparently put little value on Palestinian lives. But for IDF soldiers to adapt a similar view is clearly unacceptable. 
I probably will be away from the computer for more than a week. But did want you to know that I do consider what you say and will think more about it.

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By Shingo, March 20, 2009 at 3:56 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad,

The issue of the problems in Arab societies are obvious, but the argument that they have themselves to blame is simply bogus.  Like I have always aid, any analysis that ignores the role played by colonialism and empire is fundamentally flawed.  It would be like trying to identify the problems in North American Indian societies, while ignoring the genocide inflicted on them when white men came to North America.

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By Shingo, March 20, 2009 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad,

Part 1 of 2

Only this week, there is a story of the IDF admitting to crimes against humanity.  How you can continue to deny this has always been the case is a perfect example of self delusion.  In both Gaza and Lebanon, Israel did not specifically target it’s enemies, but went after the population to pressure them to exert pressure on those elements Israel deemed it’s enemies.

May I remind you of what Israeli leaders have also said?

“The Israeli army has always struck civilian populations, purposely and consciously. The army has never distinguished civilian from military targets, but has purposely attacked civilian targets.”
Ze’ev Shiff (Israeli journalist and military correspondent for Ha’aretz. )

“There was a rational prospect, ultimately fulfilled, that affected populations would exert pressure for the cessation of hostilities, satisfying Israel’s goals.”
Abba Eben (Israeli diplomat and politician)

Commenting on a speech by Menachem Begin, that resented a picture, Eben said, “of an Israel wantonly inflicting every possible measure of death an anguish on civilian populations, in mood reminiscent of regimes which neither Mr Begin nor I would dare to mention by name”

In 2005, an Israeli solider shot and killed 13 year old Palestinian girl.  Having emptied a magazine into her, he reloaded and emptied the second into her body.  He was cleared of all wrong doing by an Israeli court. Is that the “Morality on the Battlefield” you are referring to?

Israel banned the foreign media from entering Gaza, even in contravention of the rulings of it’s won Supreme Court.  The fact is that Israel doesn’t even care what they are caught doing, because they have become so used to being able to control the message to the media. During he conflict, every news outlet was giving Israel’s version of events.  Even in Lebanon, where they were not able to ban the media, they were able to do so.  Of course, the truth comes out after the event, but by that stage, the public has little interest in the subject, so the propaganda cost is minimal.

Take the revelations that are coming to light now about the Bush administration’s use of torture.  Had this come to light at the time it was being debated, it would have been damaging, but these days, the public has little interest.

Israel has long maintain that war has been it’s only option to survive, but this has been proven false time and time again.  Even with rockets being fired by Hamas, it would have taken 400 years for Hamas to kill the same number of Israelis that Israel killed in 2 weeks.  Hezbollah has never been a threat to Israel’s security, only to it’s supremacy.

I am very sorry to hear about your nephew, but he and his colleagues had no business being in Jenin. Yes there are good people in the IDF. The men who told about this story, are clearly men with a conciense.

http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/20090319_israeli_soldiers_confess_gaza_crimes/

it’s not even about the IDF soldiers, it’s about the policies of the Israel government/military and the instructions they are given.  You might recall what Seymor Hersh said when he went to interview one of the vets involved in the Mai Lai massacre.  He spoke to the mother of the boy first, and she said that she had given the military a good boy and he had come back a monster.

The story of the UN school is entirely irrelevant.  Why?  Because Israel made a choice to attack Gaza.  It was not their only choice, but they opted for violence.  Israel have admitted that Hamas fired NO rockets at Israel during the ceasefire.  NONE.  The rocket fire commenced after Israel broke the ceasefire and attacked Gaza.

Now if Israel wanted to stop the rocket attacks, all they needed to do was observe the ceasefire.  Instead, they rejected Hamas’ offer to extend it and opted for an attack instead.

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By Shingo, March 20, 2009 at 3:50 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad,

Part 2 of 2

Israel solderis are NEVER punished for killing civilians.  As happens here in the US, Israel’s own military will investigate itself for it’s own actions and determine that it was an accident or that technically, nothing wrong was done.  Look at what they did to Sharon when Israel determined that he had committed a war crime?  They elected him. Some punchement!!

BTW.  The BBC have been demonstrated to be a pro Israeli news source, so I wouldn’t rely on their reporting as being accurate or exposing any reports critical of Israel unless another news outlet beats them to it.

I heard that one of the reasons the Lebanon war went so badly is because a lot of Israeli troops did not believe in the fight.

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By Sepharad, March 20, 2009 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment

Shingo, I find it hard to believe the scale of IDF brutality constantly alluded to (but only occasionally verified, and when it is they are punished) because I know many IDF soldiers, past and present, am related to some, know a lot about their training and have observed them on patrol in East Jerusalem. Of course war is what it is, yet Israel’s soldiers are among the world’s most disciplined in their fighting as well as heavily lectured on what some refer to as “Morality on the Battlefield.” It’s not that Jews are inherently more moral than anyone else, but Israelis know everything they do will be scrutinized by people just hoping they’ll cross a line, and that they are often engaged by people who deliberately put civilians in danger. International outsiders and Hamas are not the only people watching: Israel has a handful of active, extremely pacifistic pacifists—either for religious reasons or personal belief that it’s better to die than to kill. While there are many more peace proponents in Israel, anti-war and literal pacifism are not the same thing. To most Israelis, anti-war means no war, no killing, if there is any other way to survive. This may seem like a semantic quibble to some, but I assure you it is not.

On a previous post here or elsewhere, I mentioned my nephew who was killed in Jenin in the ‘02 intifada. He was a captain and his squad had been in a fire-fight for hours with militants. The next morning, they wanted to make sure it was cleared of people before a tank shot at it to explode any weaponry left behind.  A Palestinian bystander said none of the militants were there but there was an old man on the upper floor in a wheelchair who couldn’t come down unassisted. So my nephew told his squad to wait outside across the street, and went in to get the old man out but when he walked through the door it blew up and he was killed. This is not an unusual or isolated incident; they are trained to be careful.

I realize anecdotes are not statistics, and in all armies there are all kinds of people, but I know too many IDF members to make it EASY to believe everything that’s said of them until it’s been verified. E.g., the story that they’d fired on a UN school was a cause celebre but not so much publicity was given to the fact, verified by numerous Palestinian witnesses both inside and outside the school, that IDF never fired at the school but only at people outside quite close to the school, some under a window, firing at them. (No one was killed in the school, only combatants out of it even though the placement of the militants makes it seem as if they were HOPING an IDF bullet would find its way inside the window, then there would be Israeli soldier as schoolchild killer.) 

Some accusations—and Gaza has produced some pretty horrific ones, like soldiers shooting and killing Palestinian children deliberately—will turn out to be true, and when they are the soldiers will be punished. But there are a lot of BS accusations made, and when they’re found groundless there’s never as much publicity as the accusation got. (This is one reason I look at the Honest Reporting website where they double-check everything and ask for retractions where merited. They get a lot of them. BBC takes awhile, but they eventually will acknowledge an error.)

I have friends who fought in the first Lebanon war who, when rotated back across the border to rest, spent their time sort of awol, going down to the valley where they hung out with Bedouin friends and their families. Most Israelis do not hate Arabs. Really. This friend now lives near us in the US, where his wife is caring for her dying father. Their two daughters went back to Israel to serve their IDF stint, and when they returned the first thing they did was jump into the local campaign for Kerry/Edwards. Now they’re in college and when they graduate will go back to Israel even though they know they won’t make as much money there as here.

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By Sepharad, March 20, 2009 at 7:48 am Link to this comment

cyrena,

Google UN Arab Development Report; also if you google UN documents re problems of Arab Society you’ll find information on the report (actually there are two of the, one in 2002 & one in 2003), the first entry is a U.S. Institute of Peace Special Report that describes the specific reports I had in mind but also lists and describes a number of other NGO reports, many of them sponsred by Arab countries themselves. If you want to get more on Arab’s reports there is the Beirut Summit Letter.

The UN cosponsored reports I referred to were written by 40 “distinguished” (UN’s description, not mine)Arab scholars, 30 advisers and peer reviewers.

I tried UN document links which are supposed to have both reports (and others) in toto but pages didn’t come up.

Arabs are not stupid or in self-denial; they’re aware of the severity of the problems affecting their societies are facing, and that’s why they are issuing so many reports not just of their own but with the UN. I’m amazed that you, Fadel and others don’t know about them.

The googled items are just a few of many—you can pursue it as long as you don’t mind reading things that you don’t want to think about. (I do it all the time re Israel—there are many things I wish I didn’t know but you can’t change anything if you refuse to see reality.)

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By Shingo, March 19, 2009 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad,

That’s the second time you have said that you will “always will find it hard to believe IDF soldiers are capable of brutality”. It boggles the mind how can you make such a naive and absurd statement.  What is unique about Israeli soldiers that makes them unique and incapable of brutality and why will you “always” find it hard to accept the obvious, if not for an ideological blind spot that keeps you in a permanent state of denial? 

Yes it is to Israel’s great credit that they have some of the most credible human rights groups in the world, though based on the evidence so far, they haven’t been able to reign in the the IDF to any degree.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 19, 2009 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment

Thanks Fadel.  I’ll keep your advice in mind.

I have found that ALL religious fanatics should be suspect, but converts more so.  And former communists are frequently the MOST passionate and therefore the most suspect because they had to come the farthest to conversion and have the most to lose, psychologically speaking.  After all, it’s a move from one form of religious fanaticism (and I am absolutely convinced Communism is a religion) to the extreme opposite.

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By Folktruther, March 19, 2009 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

Some real Israeli peace groups, as opposed to fake ones,  are collecting evidence from Israeli soldiers who have testified to the random shooting of Palestinian women and children in Gaza.  Like every colonial military, the IDF increasing brutalizes the population it occupies. Most of the people killed in Gaza were women and children.  It was previously documented that soldirs dismounted from Israeli tanks to blow up Palestinian homes and businesses.  the attacks on UN falicilities was also previously documented.

It is evident, from the number of comments of soldiers about cold blooded murder, that there is increasing disgust with Israeli slaughters, even by Israrli soldiers.  They of course are not in command of the IDF.  Like every occupation army, the IDF increasingly induges in massacres while maintaining it “purity of arms.”  the smae “purity of arms’ that the SS maintained.

In another article in countercurrents today, Richard Falk argues that bringing Israel up on legal charges can be used to increase the legitimacy of the Palestinian people.  This might serve to lessen the brutality and barbarism of Israel.  Although with the new right wing government in place, it lessens its effectiveness.  Like American Zionists, it characterizes on any focusing on Israeli atrocities as anti-Semitism.

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By Sepharad, March 19, 2009 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

Folktruther, can you tell me where to read the study on economic inequality?

I always will find it hard to believe IDF soldiers are capable of brutality, but war is what it is and incidents have to be punished. Whether every bit of information they get is correct, it helps that there are so many human rights groups monitors in Israel; keeps the IDF on its toes ... most of the time.

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By Fadel Abdallah, March 19, 2009 at 10:52 am Link to this comment

This comment is written solely in defense of Cyrena’s right to “call a spade a spade.” It’s also intended to expose the ugly hypocrisy of people such ITW, who insist on posing as the ultimate arbiter on TD. Read below the latest ugly, rude statement of ITW leveled against me on another thread in which I wrote a general opinion that was not even directed to him or anyone else in particular. The evil Zionist propagandist, unprovoked, wrote the following about me: 

“Meanwhile Fadel has just exposed to us that he is the MOST dangerous kind of religious fanatic, a convert from THE OTHER SIDE (as in “Godless Communism”).”

Document to me, stupid, fanatic ITW, one case where my religious convictions caused a personal danger to your personal life or property?! You’re the typical ugly Zionist always playing the victimized when you’re proven, again and again, that you’re the worst victimizers modern history has known.

My final advice for you! If you want to save your self from calling you what you’re, then refrain from responding to my general comments which are not directed to you!

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By Folktruther, March 19, 2009 at 10:09 am Link to this comment

On the front page of the Zionist NYTimes today is a piece about Israel being isolated by the world and, by US Jewish opinion,  because of the Gazan slaughter and the right wing government it is installing.  the Times of course, and the Zionist Obama administration as well, wish to prevent this from happening and this article is in the nature of damage control

This world and US isolation of Israel is the only defense for the increased racist attack on the Palestinians by the Natanyahoo governement, including an attack on the Israeli Arabs. A study has indicated that Israel has the most economic inequality of any developed capitalist country, including the US, its racism being more preditary.

The new government has already released a report increasing the half millioin settler population by
two hundred thousand, hundreds of Palestinian homes already being targeted to be destroyed.  The last year of Bush’s fake ‘Roadmap for Peace” increased the settlers by 67%.  A fake peace program has, since trhe Oslo peace accords, disguised the enormous increase in the Israel colonial stealing of Palestinian land.

As Israel policy becomes more barbaric, US Zionist’s defense of Israeli imperialism is becoming more irrational, suppressive and distractive. But it is precisely in the US and the Western countries that this isolating strategy can be most effective. Israel cannot survive historically isolated from the world, and the knowledgeable Zionists know it. 

Therefore their historical strategy is a death strategy, involving not only the Israeli massacres of the past, such as the Beirut and Goldstein massacres, but the use of nuclear weapons as well. 

The fascist wing of my relatives advocate the use of nuclear weapons. And I have no doubt that most Zionists would, after their use, begin a damage control strategy justifying them.  they prefer Zionist imperialist power to Israeli security, and this is disgusied by their peace rhetoric.  they are religoius fanatics whose religious presuppositions guide their political policies.

A peace movement of the US must oppose Zionism if it is to be effective, becuase Zionism was a major force in attacking Iraq, in a projected attack on Iran, and in the War on Terrorism.  The isolation of Israel can be effective in the same way as the isolation of its ally, apartheid South Africa, was effective in destroying that regime.  And it may help prevent a nuclear war, or restrict its destruction.

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By Fadel Abdallah, March 19, 2009 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

Two other informative articles about tiny Israel, the so-called “Light unto the Nation” according to the worst false propaganda campaign ever launched in human history!
===========================================
Israeli Soldiers Expose Atrocities In Gaza
By Jerrold Kessel & Pierre Klochendler

http://www.countercurrents.org/kessel190309.htm

The report includes the testimony of one NCO: “A company commander with 100 soldiers under his command saw a woman walking down a road some distance away, but close enough that you could’ve gunned down whoever you identified…She was an elderly woman - whether she raised any suspicion, I don’t know. But what the officer did in the end was to put men on the roof and with the snipers bring her down. I felt it was simply murder in cold blood.”

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Israel’s War Crimes
By Richard Falk

http://www.countercurrents.org/falk190309.htm

“Lack of international action against Israel’s war on Gaza illustrates the grand hypocrisy of human rights rhetoric. But civilian groups can now use international law to show the ‘legitimacy gap’ of Israeli government tactics in the Palestinian territories, argues Richard Falk..”

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By Inherit The Wind, March 19, 2009 at 8:50 am Link to this comment

Shingo:

“Sepharad is also intelligent, but continues to recycle the same lazy arguments.”

Then say so! Whether I agree with this statement or not (and I don’t) it is a LEGITIMATE criticism to make.

Besides, as much as I like cyrena, and I do, I’ve NEVER seen her launch attacks like this on someone whose basic POV is the same as hers, only on those who disagree.

In her defense I HAVE seen her gently comment that someone has gone overboard and too far when that person shares her POV, but the vitriol is solely for opposing POVs.

That ain’t right.

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By Shingo, March 19, 2009 at 4:30 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind,

Cyrena might have been hard on Shen in the other thread, but in this occasion, Cyrena is on the mark.  Sepharad is not only peddling the usual crap but is doing so having been corrected on her faulty arguments on a number of occasions. 

Cyrena’s point it is that there is no way to verify is Sepharad quoted or misquoted from a UN report because it doesn’t appear to exist. Sepharad invited all of us to read it but never linked to it and Cyrena seems to have noticed that this is a common habbit when it comes to Sepharad.

Sepharad is also intelligent, but continues to recycle the same lazy arguments.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 19, 2009 at 4:20 am Link to this comment

Boy Cyrena! Who pissed in YOUR coffee today?  That’s two nasty attacks that seem WAY out of proportion.  Since when do you launch personal attacks on people who simply hold a different POV than you?

Did Sepharad quote a UN report that doesn’t exist? Did she mis-quote it?

Did she mis-interpret it or draw incorrect inferences?  That’s not lying, is it?

I never saw you lay into FT that way and HE mis-interprets stuff wildly everyday, frequently mis-represents it, and ALWAYS says what he “knows” I’m thinking despite it being 180 degrees from what I’ve said and believe.  But you don’t rip him up because he basically has similar POVs as you.

Think about it—you’re too smart for this.

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By cyrena, March 19, 2009 at 2:29 am Link to this comment

By Sepharad, March 17 at 5:41 pm #

No Ed, I said I wasn’t sure because I wasn’t sure. Sometimes I think I remember something but if it’s been a long while since I read it I need to recheck. As a writer I can appreciate your remarks about symmetry, but as a historian, if I don’t remember and I KNOW I don’t remember something specific I have to go back and look it up.

~~~~~

Maybe you just shouldn’t write anything until you ARE sure Sepharad, because it somehow always works out that you’re always WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG. And, for whatever the reason, you NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, provide a single reference to any of your propaganda. Like this UN report. You’ve got tons of posts here and on other threads discussing it, but I’ve yet to find a link to this publication or UN report, and I’ve looked.

So, do you have any clue to what you’re talking about, EVER? Are you familiar with how to use the internet to search for stuff, so that you don’t have to lie and then say that you’re not sure, and that’s why you told the lie but did a CYA to say that you aren’t sure?

People really shouldn’t lie after a certain age. Liars just waste their own time, because of course as soon as the lies are obvious, (and the fact that you never provide references really doesn’t help your case) nobody bothers with it, unless it’s simply to point out the liar that you are.

Seems like you’d be sort of embarrassed by now.

Ah, silly me, of course you wouldn’t be embarrassed by being caught up in your own lies and ignorance.

Your type never is.

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By Shingo, March 18, 2009 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther,

I don’t regard Sepharad as a fanatic, but an ideologue who is committed to presenting a pre determined argument and looking the other way when inconvenient facts come to light.  Sadly, this behavior seems to go hand in hand with Zionists, though there is no reason it should be synonymous with Zionism.

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By Folktruther, March 18, 2009 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment

Shingo, what Sepharad and the other Zionists have kept from the American people, and the Jewish population, is that Israel is systematically isolating itself.  Israel kills a lot of people but it is losing war after war and Jewish emigration is increasing faster than immigration.  The Gazan war, even more than the 2006, horrified the world and countries are cutting diplomatic recognition, trade and supporting the Palestinian cause.

It has gotten to the point that even Israel is worried about it, with the new right wing regime assuming office and the racist Lieberman being put in as foreign minister.  Even the pretense of a peace process is contemptuously brushed aside. 

Zionist like Sehparad are fanatics and will support Israel no matter what they do, including nuking populations, but realists understand that the Zionist power structure is pursuing a death strategy. Israel simply can’t survive being isolated from the world.

But that doesn’t meant that they can’t kill a lot of people before their power structue collapses.  And their military leaders and strategists, like van Clealand, threaten it opoenly.  the Sampson Option, detailed in a book by Seamour Hirsch.  Just as the Nazis killed a lot of people, including Jews, after the war was lost, so does Israel plan to do so.

WEhat can prevent this massacre by the Israelis is an increasing movoement against Israeli Zionism in the US.  If the world movement to isolate Israel gans traction in the US, it is more likely that Israel will defer to world opinion.  Isolating Israel so that even Zionists understand that Israel can’t survive with its present policies historically is essential to solving the Israeli problem.

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By Shingo, March 18, 2009 at 5:28 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad,

There is no disputing that Arab societies are not progressing as they should.  Unless the “Arab scholars” have addressed the consequences of the influence of foreign powers on their governments, your beloved UN 2002 report about it is likely to be BS.

Are we talking about the same UN that has passed over 90 resolutions against Israel that Israel flouts?

As for your beloved Israel, why would such a marvel of progress require tens of billion in welfare from the US, more than any other country in the world?

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1070318.html

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By Sepharad, March 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment

Shingo, Folktruther, Sodium, Ed etc—You can talk to yourselves all you like but I still suggest you read the 2002 UN report on the reasons that Arab socieities are not progressing as they should—written by a number of Arab scholars who are not connected to anyone you would criticize, and who care enough about their own societies to see them clearly. Until you do understand them there’s no way you can help anyone. (If, in fact, that is what you want to do underneath all the BS.)

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By Shingo, March 18, 2009 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther,

Isn’t it amazing how Sepharad can speak about Hamas provoking Israel, while ignoring the fact that the occupation has been a 40 year long provocation?

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By politicky, March 18, 2009 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment

5 words

stop US aid to Israel

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By Folktruther, March 18, 2009 at 11:27 am Link to this comment

Sodium, Zionists like Sepharad have to obfuscate, disguise, justify and distract attention from three historical tendencies:

1. Israel ethnic cleansing that is stealing the country, land, homes and busineses of the Palestinians.

2.  Israel foreign policy is based on war, necessary to unite theJewish population around the incrreasingly fascist power system.

3. Israel has largely hijacked US foreign and domestic policy, which is being conducted for the benefit of Lichud Zionism.

there is no way to do that without strategic deception.  Since Zionist policy horrifies decent people, they have to lie about it.  Sepharad does so in a clever, professional way.  Sepharad identifies with evil, so lying is the least of her sins.

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By Sodium, March 18, 2009 at 8:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To whom IT May Concern:

Question: Who is exactly Mort Zuckerman?

Answer:He is the publisher of the U.S.World and News Report magazine and a former “President of the Zionist Organizations of America”

Question:So,what so important about mentioning his name here?

Answer:Well,he is the boss of Foad Ajami when Ajami submits his “Scholarly?” written articles for publication in Zuckerman’s magazine.That fact by itself discredits Ajami’s writings at once.Zuckerman hates Arabs and particularly Palestinian Arabs.Ajami is a subservant to his paying master.That is Ajami’s “scholarship?” for you whoever interested to know.

Just mentioning Ajami’s name next to Edward Said’s name is a rude insult to Edward Said in his grave.And whoever does that should be ashamed of himself/herself.Edward Said was a scholar giant of all giants.Just read his scholarly written book entitled “Orientalism” to appreciate his beautiful mind.A Fascinating mind….I wish I could say the same about Ajami.ABSOLUTELY,NO WAY.

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By Shingo, March 17, 2009 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad,

You are wrong about the peace agreement.  Arafat did not walk away.

The Camp David agreement did fail and Bill Clinton recognized that the terms offered to Arafat were unacceptable, so he came up with a list of parameters, later to be knows as the Clinton parameters.  They were vague but both parties regarded them as workable.  This led to the negotiations in Taba, where both parties said that had they had ore time, they would have reached an agreement.  Barak called an early end to the negotiations because of the impeding Israeli elections.  Sharon won the election and the rest is history.

It was the closest we’ve come to a political settlement in 30 years.

There are a number of reason that Netanyahu and Lieberman did so well in the elections.  Olmert conducted a failed war against Hezbollah.  He was also under suspicious for corruption.  The attack on Hamas was a last ditch attempt to save the party, but in times of war,  populations always lean to the right as they did here after 911.  One pundit in Israel calculated tghat for every 40 Arabs killed, Olmert gained another seat.
The size of Israel’s land mass is no measure of the threat it poses.  It has the worlds 4th most powerful military force and 200 nukes. Jews have never been a threat to the world, in fact, they have been a shining light among humanity.  Don’t conflate Jews with Israel.

King Abdullah is a tyrant, like most of the Arab leaders.  In a country that is largely impoverished, he enjoys absence wealth and continues to be on th payroll of Washington.  Along with Egypt, Jordan is the second highest recipient of aid behind Israel, so yes, Abdullah is a sellout.

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By Shingo, March 17, 2009 at 4:41 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad,

The question of who caused greater damage in the Middle East is academic, the point is that the Middle East has been the target of colonialism and empire for centuries, thus it is futile to ignore the influence this has had ion the region and societies in general.

Ever wonder what would have become of Iran had he US not overthrown Mossadegh in 1953?

Israel has not been in the Middle East since the Israelis returned from Egypt,the same way there is no ancient Rome today.  Ancient Israel is long gone.  There was no Israel at the time fo it’s creation in 1948.

While the Romans defeated Israel and changed the name of the country to Palestine, many of the Jews who remained converted to Christianity or Islam.  Who rules over Palestine is also irrelevant.  What is relevant is that there was a thriving and industrious society there at the time that Israel was created.  ti was certainly not a land without a people as the myth tells us.

Yes, Israel has had a continual Jewish presence, but so have the Palestinians, who are not just the Arabs that came from Arabia, but the indigenous population hat existed there prior.  Villages like Jericho date back 4 or 5 millenia, so they pre date Judaism.

At the time of Israel’s creation, Jews were very much a minority, and only owned 7% of the land.  The state of Israel owned 40% and the Arabs about 50%.m This is what led to the ethnic cleansing of the Arabs from Israel.

The 700,000 Palestinians did no flee from Israel, bu were driven out as part of a pre planned goal of removing/transferring Arabs from the land ensure a Jewish majority.  This marked the beginning of Israeli expansion and colonialism.

Re Fouad Ajami.  The more you describe him, the more of an ideologue he seems.  What you have confirmed is that he subscribes to the concept of using military aggressions as a righteous form of cleansing, a concept close to eh heart of the neocons.

How anyone could believe that a military attack on a repopulating that had endured 2 wars and 10 years of crippling and genocidal sanctions could lead to improved conditions for Iraqis is beyond the pale.

It’s not like Ajami can cite a historical precedent for outside force might lead to benefits for the population being attacked.  Even more bizarre, is that he supported attacking what you admit was secular, and well education population to test his theory.

Unlike Vietnam, the Arab states have not been released from the grip of the West. Most Arab states are dictatorships that are supported and protected by the West.  This bromide is all to obvious.  The West does not really favor democracy when it comes to client states, because democracies re unpredictable.  Didactically elected leaders are by usually populists, meaning that they put the good of their country above foreign interests. This is the last thing the US or Britain want.  The overthrow of Mossadegh is perfect example of this.  Dictators, on the other hand, are entirely predictable.  They are driven by self interest and self preservation, therefore they are easily corrupted and easily manipulated.  These very leaders know that without US supoprt and protectino, they would be easily toppled.  The Saudis for example, are obscenely wealthy, but hoard their wealth and send it offshore to Western Banks.  They do so as part of an mutual arrangement with the US. 

Thus, most of this money does not get invested in the Arab states and society fails to benefit from this wealth.  Ajami’s ability to sidestep these major issue and assert that the Arabs have themselves to blame for their plight can only be explained by an ideological (even fanatical) blind spot.

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By Ed Harges, March 17, 2009 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad;

Let me walk you through this. You said that it was Arafat who ended the talks. I reminded you that it was Barak who ended the talks. and you said Yes but Barak only did that when Arafat’s demands became unreasonable.

Do you understand? You were willing to concede that Barak ended the talks when you still thought I was stupid or passive enough to accept “Arafat’s demands became unreasonable” as a legitimate way to get Barak off the hook and transfer the blame to Arafat. When I showed that your attempt to shift the blame to Arafat was bogus —because it ignores the fact that Arafat had the very same right to walk out, for the same reason, but didn’t — THEN you said well maybe you weren’t willing to concede for sure that it was Barak who walked out.

This is the kind of slippery intellectual dishonesty that I’m just not god-damn having any more from pro-Israel “liberals” like you. It’s why even when we elect a Democrat to the White House, we go on and on and on pursuing illiberal, evil policies in the Middle East on behalf of your darling little Holy State.

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By Sepharad, March 17, 2009 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

No Ed, I said I wasn’t sure because I wasn’t sure. Sometimes I think I remember something but if it’s been a long while since I read it I need to recheck. As a writer I can appreciate your remarks about symmetry, but as a historian, if I don’t remember and I KNOW I don’t remember something specific I have to go back and look it up.

I can’t speak for anyone else but I certainly don’t think Zionists are “better than other people”, which is what I think you meant. I do think that many Zionists, myself included, are perhaps more afraid than other people, and less trusting of governments than other people. Otherwise we would not feel the need to have, like other people do, an ancestral homeland where we can go if need be and not have to worry about our own government turning on us.

I didn’t become a Zionist until I was in college because what my grandfather had always said about family members on my grandmother’s side murdered under Hitler was that “any Jew who was still in Europe in 1938 proves that Darwin was right.” I took that to mean that people who were reasonably aware and reasonably prudent would have had the good sense to leave. And if they didn’t, well, it was comparable to just lying down on the train track waiting to be run over. When I realized that such was not the case, that’s when I became a Zionist. (In truth, huge numbers of Jews wanted to get out of Europe, not just Germany, in the mid-30s because they COULD see which way the wind was blowing. But they couldn’t leave without somewhere to go and other countries did not want them to come, apart from the Dominican Republic and a handful of other small places where they were willing to take a few thousand Jewish emigres. The PM of Australia said that there was no anti-Semitism in Australia, but he was afraid it might spread if they let European Jews in. The British had held their Palestine Mandate since defeating the Ottomans in WWI, and while they certainly did not want any Jewish immigrants on English soil they thought perhaps some might go to Palestine, but were reminded by the Arab countries that if they wanted to keep their influence and keep the oil flowing, they had to restrict Jewish immigration to Palestine. (By then, there were quite a few Zionists in Palestine, including my great-great-grandfather who came there in 1828 from Romania. Too many pogroms in Romania and elsewhere—Russia, Poland, and from these countries as well as England Jews had been migrating to Eretz Israel in increasing numbers before the first Zionists called themselves by that term.)

Jews in Palestine smuggled as many European Jews in as they could before, during and after WWII—about 500,000 altogether. These are all people who would most likely otherwise been killed in the camps, boosting Hiter’s famous six million to six and a half million. That is what made me a Zionist. Many of those people had lived good lives, integrated into their communities in Germany and France and Poland for a very long time. They could not bring themselves to pick up and leave because someone got an attack of hysteria. They all thought the government would come to its senses, and they were wrong. And while I doubt (usually anyway) that anything similar could occur in America—this is such a diverse country—I don’t know that to a certainty. And as we DO have an ancestral homeland, there, under a Jewish government there where we can defend ourselves if need be.

It’s tough for Arabs to accept non-Moslems on Islamic land, but it also was once Israeli land, and indeed since the Romans has never been ruled by the natives of the region until modern Israel was born. And the second state, ruled by the Palestinians, will likewise will be a “first” for them. It can be done but not easily. When Israel returns the territory it’s captured when rolling back Arab armies—only the West Bank is left now—there might be a chance for peace and economic cooperation.

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By Ed Harges, March 17, 2009 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad writes “Anyway, all I was going to say to you was that I’m not absolutely sure Barak actually walked out…”

Well, Sepharad, you plainly admitted that Barak DID walk out. But now you suddenly say you’re not sure. Why? Because I have shown that this makes him the rejectionist.

Because you see, Barak’s reasons for walking out (“Arafat is making unreasonable demands”) could have served with perfect symmetry as reasons for Arafat to walk out (“Barak is making unreasonable demands”). And yet Arafat did not walk out.

But Sepharad, you will never be able to see this symmetry, because like all Zionists, including “liberal” Zionists, you cannot rid yourself of an inner conviction that Jews, especially Israeli Jews, are better than people.

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By Sepharad, March 17, 2009 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment

Fadel, Why do you think that Ajami was taken in by rather than taken up by the neocons? His point of view re Arab society, pretty much echoed by and greatly expanded on by the group of Arab scholars who wrote the UN report re why Arab societies are still so far behind, was doubtless quite handy for the neocons. He was taken in as far as he believed the neocons would use his formula to give a boost to Iraq’s society, and though I wouldn’t criticize his analyses of Arab society I do question that any major outside force would do anything but cause more Arab infighting than there already is. He is a smart guy, quite the intellectual equal of any neocon, and he probably thought he was using them instead of the other way around. (I don’t have a TV so I didn’t know he was a “talking head” till someone mentioned it to me, long after the invasion.)

Ajami is not Edward Said (nor is Khalid Rashidi, who holds that chair now), but both he and Said realized that public exposure can be good for one’s cause. I think you’re too hard on Ajami. He also was probably affected by the writings and pleas of Kanan Makiya, whose whole family was wiped out in one of Saddam’s gassings of Kurd villages. Having been born a Shi’ia, too, Ajami may have been repulsed by Saddam’s brutal treatment of those Shi’ia who stood up too him (though I don’t think religion was very important to Ajami). 

Myself, I feel sorry for Ajami because his scholarship is real; he and his good intentions were betrayed by people who used him and probably never intended to deliver on whatever fine promises they made him about establishing a flourishing country. What they were after was oil and profit, and if indeed they ever get it I doubt they will lose one moment’s sleep over the deaths of all the Iraqis and all the American soldiers and aid workers and everyone else who also meant well without any thought of profit.

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By Sepharad, March 17, 2009 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment

Ed, meant to respond to your post but Shingo’s was more interesting. Anyway, all I was going to say to you was that I’m not absolutely sure Barak actually walked out though I do remember reading somewhere that last-minute demands from Arafat were things Israelis would not accept—maybe right of return into Israel proper? We will be going back home at the end of March and I have some books there I want to look at, including Dennis Ross’ “The Missing Peace” that will have exact details and cites. I would like to get it right, also to find whatever source it was that stipulated Arafat knew a good deal when he saw it and did not want to be the first Palestinian to give away any part of Palestine (like Israel). To me that in itself was not the worst thing he did to the Palestinians. The worst was to keep them in such deprivation even though he and his wife and his cronies were sucking up all the considerable monies flowing in to build a Palestinian society from the Euros, the Americans, and all the rest. That financial betrayal, that huge corruption, was not just a matter of embezzling a litte cream off the top; it literally deprived the Palestinians of the means who take action and rebuild their lives. For that reason, the Gazans voted in Hamas and that is a lot to answer for. The Palestinians deserve a leader who will lead them to their state, not to death.

I must say Madoff has outdone just about any sleazoid money thief I’ve ever heard of, even the Arafat gang, but at least M’s crimes have destroyed a lot of individual lives but deprived no one of their own country.

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By Sepharad, March 17, 2009 at 11:54 am Link to this comment

Shingo, As long as the U.S. has been involved in the Middle East, the British and French have been there far longer and done much greater damage, especially in taking apart the Ottoman Empire with zero regard for ethnic, religious and sectarian populations. I agree the U.S. holy quest for oil—in which the Europeans have energetically also participated—has added significantly to the problems, but nothing like the dissections performed by the French and British. There is a WESTERN elephant in the room that can’t be ignored, and the hacked-up colonial divisions the Europeans created are going to be major problems as long as the Middle East exists. The U.S. involvement is post-colonial and merely greed-for-oil based.

Israel has been in the Middle East since the Israelis back from Egypt were united by King David with the tribes of Judea, from which alliance the Jews took their name and their country Israel its name. The Romans defeated Israel and changed the name of the country to Palestine (referring to the Jews’ old enemies the Philistines), and from that time till the present no native of that region ever ruled it. The last foreign rulers of the Levant et al were the Ottomans, defeated by the Allies in WWI. The first native government since the Romans devastation was modern Israel—and when the second state in the region comes into existence, incorporating Judea as well as other regions, it will be Palestine and also for the first time governed by native Arabs. Israel has had a continual Jewish presence despite the Roman’s best efforts —e.g., Mose Maimonides, Jewish sage and Salah-ah-din’s physician, visited his father’s brother’s family in Jerusalem occasionally though he himself lived in Moslem lands after fanatics drove Jewish and Islamic scholars out of Cordoba. Jews returned to Israel in larger numbers during the 19th century when Jews (like my great-great-grandfather in 1828) decided that enduring European pogroms passively was dumb, and deemed returning to the ancestral home a better idea. From the early 1930s through the end of WWII more Jews fled to Palestine: had they not Hitler would’ve had six and a half million Jews killed instead of only six. (In the ‘30s Jewish refugees were not welcome in most countries except the Dominican Republic and a few others who were able to take a few thousand refugees. Even during the war the U.S. turned away Jewish refugees, though a man named Varian Fry convinced Eleanor Roosevelt to force the State Department to allow in a few dozen intellectuals, artists and the like.) 700,000 Palestinians fled the new country Israel during the Arab attack and 900,000 Jews driven from Arab countries streamed into Israel, which was a larger immigration than that comprised by WWII refugees. So yes, Israel has been involved in the Middle East for a long time.

Re Fouad Ajami: His analysis of Arab society is much like that of medieval scholar Ibn Khaldun and much like that put forth in the 2002 UN Development Paper written by Arab scholars re why Arab societies have remained far behind others that were equally troubled by colonial adventures—Vietnam etc.; see my earlier post. His books (except for “The Foreigner’s Gift” which I haven’t read)were fine works of historical scholarship. His weakness, I think, was that he became so desperate to build Arab society that he convinced himself that only a major, traumatic force from the outside could shock people into changing. Secular scholars (such as those who wrote the UN report) had been writing themselves blue in the face with no effect at all on the stunted societies dominated by a religion. So Ajami, having decided that an outside force might work, encountered the Iraq issue and decided Iraq was a good place to start because Saddam’s Baathists, being secular, had provided some education so that the Iraqi population was more educated than the average Arab society.) I think this is why he lent his support to the U.S. invasion.

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By Ed Harges, March 17, 2009 at 11:20 am Link to this comment

I notice that Sepharad didn’t dare reply to my post, By Ed Harges, March 16 at 4:31 pm. And is it any wonder? Sepharad wants us to believe that it was Arafat who “rejected peace,” or whatever, in January 2001. But I have shown that it was Israel, in the person of the “liberal” Barak, which was the rejectionist.

Spare us the fake humanism and fake liberalism of Zionists like Sepharad. Netanyahu strips away the bullcrap and allows himself to be seen as what all Zionists inescapably are: stubbornly selfish and cruel racial supremacists, heirs to an ideology that infects them with an outrageous, insatiable sense of entitlement, who will continue to take and take and take from the rest of us until we either perish or stop them.

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By Fadel Abdallah, March 17, 2009 at 8:36 am Link to this comment

By Shingo, March 17 at 1:11 am #

“Given the length and extent of Israeli and US involvement in the Middle East, it’s only too easy to practically blame everything on the U.S. and Israel.  it’s like trying to write the history of Colombia without addressing the influence of the drug cartels.  The US and Israel are the elephants in the room and try as you might, you are not going to avoid this fact by pointing at the wallpaper.”

“How did he (Fouad Ajami) manage to dissecting Arab society in the absence of Western power and influence in the region?”

“Seeing as being is favor of the American invasion of Iraq was not a position that would have been sustained by scholarship, it stands to reason that his scholarship previous is equally tainted.”
===============================================
Well done Shingo! Precise, pointed and learned response to the almost incoherent piece by Sepharad, who is a hard core fanatic Zionist, despite her misleading efforts to present herself as a moderate liberal.

Foud Ajami’s scholarship is not only tainted, but he is known to have been the darling of Neocons who sold his soul and so-called scholarship to reach the position he had reached. He was always a favorite guest on Fox News and other right wing outlets, who reveled at his slanted rants. He is one of the most hated personalities among Arab intellectuals. The few times I heard him I felt like throwing up. And that’s why he is a darling of the Zionists, and the Zionist propaganda outlets recommend him to its members and activists as a source of propaganda material against Arabs and Muslims; hence the bringing of his name as an authority by the Zionist Sepharad.

He is originally a Lebanese Shi’ite who came to the US as a young student, then due to his desire to climb the ladder of so-called scholarship, he knew exactly what to do. Since Zionists have coined the phrase of a “self-hating Jew” for decent and free thinking Jews, I am going to coin a phrase to describe Ajami as a “self-hating Arab Muslim.” But in the case of Ajami, he is not a decent free-thinking scholar; he is a first-rate propagandist who sold his soul for the dirty dollar and the glitter of TV shows! As there are military mercenaries, there are also thought mercenaries, and Ajami is one of those. He is not an Edward Said! And as and Arabic maxim puts it, “What has the soiled ground to do with the Pleiades?!

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By Shingo, March 16, 2009 at 10:11 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad,

Sepharad said: Yet reviewer Traub suggests that Obama read this book “not so much to chasten his sunny view of our recent past in the Middle East as to be reminded how very hard it is to make progress iin a region where memories are long, and practically everything is blamed on the U.S. and Israel.”

Given the length and extent of Israeli and US involvement in the Middle East, it’s only too easy to practically blame everything on the U.S. and Israel.  it’s like trying to write the history of Colombia without addressing the influence of the drug cartels.  The US and Israel are the elephants in the room and try as you might, you are not going to avoid this fact by pointing at the wallpaper.

Sepharad said: Fouad Ajami, head of John Hopkins’ University Middle East Research Institute took a much more thorough approach to dissecting Arab society in “The Arab Predicament” and “The Dream Palace of the Arabs”

How did he manage to dissecting Arab society in the absence of Western power and influence in the region?

Sepharad said: but as he was in favor of the American invasion of Iraq, his previous scholarship will probably be discounted by most people reading this on this site.)

Seeing as being is favor of the American invasion of Iraq was not a position that would have been sustained by scholarship, it stands to reason that his scholarship previous is equally tainted.

Wouldn’t you agree?

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By Sepharad, March 16, 2009 at 7:58 pm Link to this comment

Some of you might be interested in Edward Said chairholder Rashid Khalidi’s new book “Sowing Crisis: The Cold War and American Dominance in the Middle East.” It’s interesting that he is primarily attacking American meddling (from ‘33 on, when the American oil consortium Aramco signed an exclusive deal with Ibn Saud) and other familiar and squalid acts of American capitalist intervention. Khalidi is not a nutty conspiracy theorist, like some who shall remain nameless on this thread, but he’s pretty selective, not mentioning the even greater intervention of the Euros—though he makes the Russians play the heavy when they’ve done so and doesn’t let the Arab governments’ complicity go unmentioned. But when James Traub reviewed the book in the NYTimes Book Review, he said it read more like a polemic than a history because of the author’s perceptions and less than stringent fact checking. No one will argue that the U.S. has been self-serving in the Middle East, but Rashidi doesn’t ask if this is why the Arab societies are such failures. We were also self-serving and behaved badly in southeast Asia, yet as the reviewer points out Vietnam is a stable autocracy experiencing rapid growth and Thailand is a shaky but semi-prosperous democracy.

There is a document I’ve urged TDers to have a look at over the years that might have given Khalidi material to coax out a stronger, maybe different underlying issue in his book’s arguments, and that that is the UN’s Arab Development Report written by a group of Arab scholars in 2002. Their conclusion is that Arab societies suffer from a freedom deficit, from pervasive gender inequality, a weak commitment to education and the widespread denial of human rights. Reviewer Traub might have added, as other Arab writers have in the past, that the colonial experiences and cold war have left Arab societies with a deeply ingrained habit of blaming their problems on outsiders.

Yet reviewer Traub suggests that Obama read this book “not so much to chasten his sunny view of our recent past in the Middle East as to be reminded how very hard it is to make progress iin a region where memories are long, and practically everything is blamed on the U.S. and Israel.” (Fouad Ajami, head of John Hopkins’ University Middle East Research Institute took a much more thorough approach to dissecting Arab society in “The Arab Predicament” and “The Dream Palace of the Arabs”—but as he was in favor of the American invasion of Iraq, his previous scholarship will probably be discounted by most people reading this on this site.)

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By Fadel Abdallah, March 16, 2009 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment

Another good article on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, mostly expressing the basic facts and exploding the common propaganda myths!
====================================== 
Israel-Palestine Conflict 101:
Taking Off The Blinders In The U.S.
By A.M. Khan

http://www.countercurrents.org/khan120309.htm

Now that Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is off the front page and the Gazans are left to deal with the aftermath outside of world media attention, it makes sense to step back and review how the Israel-Palestine conflict is depicted in U.S. mainstream media. This depiction shapes how the U.S. public views the recent events in Gaza. It also shapes how the public understands what constitutes a just resolution to the conflict.”

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By Fadel Abdallah, March 16, 2009 at 4:48 pm Link to this comment

Two other articles related to TINY Israel that constantly tries to control GREAT America by remote control!
=========================================
The Freeman Affair
By Robert Dreyfuss

http://www.countercurrents.org/dreyfuss160309.htm

Here’s the reality behind the Freeman debacle: Already worried over Team Obama, suffering the after-effects of the Gaza debacle, and about to be burdened with the Netanyahu-Lieberman problem, the Israel lobby is undoubtedly running scared. They succeeded in knocking off Freeman, but the true test of their strength is yet to come…”
=======================================
Israel Lobby Humiliates Obama Administration
By Uri Avnery

http://www.countercurrents.org/avnery160309.htm

Now the first skirmish has taken place, and the president of the United States has blinked first. Perhaps one should not rush to conclusions, perhaps Obama needs more time to find his bearings, but the signs are ominous for any Israeli interested in peace…”

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By samosamo, March 16, 2009 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment

With the indicated ‘blow to the peace process with the rise of Netanyahu and Lieberman’ I cannot see this as anything but keeping america as a hard core consevative fundamentalist ruled country since obama is recorded as toeing the line with izrael. When izrael barks, america will ‘snap to’ waiting for instructions. Izrael is just not worth it but just imagine it, our 51st state running the USA from the middle east.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 16, 2009 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment

Fadel Abdallah, March 16 at 3:02 pm #

The barking Zionist “dogies”, such as Jason and ITW, are here in full force trying to scare off the clouds in the sky! What a loosing prospect!
**************************************************
Dogies don’t bark—they low—a kind of moo.  A Dogie is a kind of cattle.

But if you mean doggies, well I have to say I like a lot of dogs a lot more than many people I know. 

Dogs are loyal, honest, non-judgmental, unprejudiced, non-racist, brave, protective, loving, playful and hard workers, just for a delicious liver snap or two and a pat on the head.

Dogs have lived and worked with people for over 10,000 years, have been our most loyal companions and have been terribly wronged by being labeled as evil creatures by the likes of Fadel.

Next time you see a cute puppy or “stupid pet tricks” ask yourself how this could be the evil thing Fadel describes it as.

I like dogs, Fadel, a lot more than I like you.

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By Ed Harges, March 16, 2009 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad writes:

“Barak walked away when Arafat’s demands became ridiculous.”

Ah, and there we have the double standard writ right plain, my dears.

Seph, please read this carefully: Barak’s demands were certainly as ridiculous to Arafat as Arafat’s were to Barak, but Arafat didn’t walk away. Barak walked away, which you admit.

So you see, Seph, it was indeed Barak who was the rejectionist here.

Check and mate.

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