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When Did We Stop Caring About Civilian Deaths During Wartime?

Posted on Jan 31, 2009
Gaza rubble
AP photo / Fadi Adwan

Heavy machinery removes rubble from a destroyed house belonging to the Al Dayah family. The structure collapsed following Israeli forces’ operations in Gaza City on Jan. 6.

By Robert Fisk

Editor’s note: This article was originally printed in The Independent.

I wonder if we are “normalising” war. It’s not just that Israel has yet again got away with the killing of hundreds of children in Gaza.

And after its own foreign minister said that Israel’s army had been allowed to “go wild” there, it seems to bear out my own contention that the Israeli “Defence Force” is as much a rabble as all the other armies in the region. But we seem to have lost the sense of immorality that should accompany conflict and violence. The BBC’s refusal to handle an advertisement for Palestinian aid was highly instructive. It was the BBC’s “impartiality” that might be called into question. In other words, the protection of an institution was more important than the lives of children. War was a spectator sport whose careful monitoring – rather like a football match, even though the Middle East is a bloody tragedy – assumed precedence over human suffering.

I’m not sure where all this started. No one doubts that the Second World War was a bloodbath of titanic proportions, but after that conflict we put in place all kinds of laws to protect human beings. The International Red Cross protocols, the United Nations – along with the all-powerful Security Council and the much ridiculed General Assembly – and the European Union were created to end large-scale conflict. And yes, I know there was Korea (under a UN flag!) and then there was Vietnam, but after the US withdrawal from Saigon, there was a sense that “we” didn’t do wars any more. Foreigners could commit atrocities en masse – Cambodia comes to mind – but we superior Westerners were exempt. We didn’t behave like that. Low-intensity warfare in Northern Ireland, perhaps. And the Israeli-Arab conflict would grind away. But there was a feeling that My Lai had been put behind us. Civilians were once again sacred in the West.

I’m not sure when the change came. Was it Israel’s disastrous invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the Sabra and Chatila massacre by Israel’s allies of 1,700 Palestinian civilians? (Gaza just missed that record.) Israel claimed (as usual) to be fighting “our” “war against terror” but the Israeli army is not what it’s cracked up to be and massacres (Qana comes to mind in 1996 and the children of Marwahine in 2006) seem to come attached to it. And of course, there’s the little matter of the Iran-Iraq war between 1980 and 1988 which we enthusiastically supported with weapons to both sides, and the Syrian slaughter of thousands of civilians at Hama and.  ...


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No, I rather think it was the 1991 Gulf War. Our television lads and lasses played it for all it was worth – it was the first war that had “theme” music to go with the pictures – and when US troops simply smothered alive thousands of Iraqi troops in their trenches, we learned about it later and didn’t care much, and even when the Americans ignored Red Cross rules to mark mass graves, they got away with it. There were women in some of these graves – I saw British soldiers burying them. And I remember driving up to Mutla ridge to show a Red Cross delegate where I had seen a mass grave dug by the Americans, and he looked at the plastic poppy an American had presumably left there and said: “Something has happened.”

He meant that something had happened to international law, to the rules of war. They had been flouted. Then came Kosovo – where our dear Lord Blair first exercised his talents for warmaking – and another ream of slaughter. Of course, Milosevic was the bad guy (even though most of the Kosovars were still in their homes when the war began – their return home after their brutal expulsion by the Serbs then became the war aim). But here again, we broke some extra rules and got away with it. Remember the passenger train we bombed on the Surdulica bridge – and the famous speeding up of the film by Jamie Shea to show that the bomber had no time to hold his fire? (Actually, the pilot came back for another bombing run on the train when it was already burning, but that was excluded from the film.) Then the attack on the Belgrade radio station. And the civilian roads. Then the attack on a large country hospital. “Military target,” said Jamie. And he was right. There were soldiers hiding in the hospital along with the patients. The soldiers all survived. The patients all died.

Then there was Afghanistan and all that “collateral damage” and whole villages wiped out and then there was Iraq in 2003 and the tens of thousands – or half a million or a million – Iraqi civilians killed. Once more, at the very start, we were back to our old tricks, bombing bridges and radio stations and at least one civilian estate in Baghdad where “we” believed Saddam was hiding. We knew it was packed with civilians (Christians, by chance) but the Americans called it a “high risk” operation – meaning that they risked not hitting Saddam – and 22 civilians were killed. I saw the last body, that of a baby, dug from the rubble.

And we don’t seem to care. We fight in Iraq and now we’re going back to fight in Afghanistan again and all the human rights and protections appear to have vanished once more. We will destroy villages and we will find that the Afghans hate us and we will form more criminal militias – as we did in Iraq – to fight for us. The Israelis organised a similar militia in their occupation zone in southern Lebanon, run by a crackpot Lebanese army major. But now their own troops “go wild”. And the BBC is worried about its “impartiality”?

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By cyrena, February 7, 2009 at 9:39 pm Link to this comment

2 of 2

*****The fact that international humanitarian law does not specifically prohibit phosphorous weapons does not imply that any specific use of weapons containing this substance is legal. The legality of each incident of use has to be considered in light of all of the fundamental rules I have mentioned. It may be legal or not, depending on a variety of factors.****

Does the ICRC consider white phosphorous weapons as they have been used in Gaza to be legal under international humanitarian law?

***If ICRC delegates in the field gather credible and precise evidence of violations, or if ICRC medical personnel corroborate reports by others, the ICRC would begin by discussing this with the party concerned – rather than speaking publicly – in keeping with our standard practices. We have not commented publicly on the legality of the current use of phosphorous weapons by Israel, contrary to what has been attributed to us in recent media reports.*****

Does the use of weapons containing white phosphorous, in particular incendiary weapons, in a populated area give rise to any specific humanitarian concerns?

****Yes. White phosphorous weapons spread burning phosphorous, which burns at over 800 degrees centigrade (about 1,500 degrees fahrenheit), over a wide area, up to several hundred square metres. The burning will continue until the phosphorous has been completely depleted or until it no longer is exposed to oxygen. The weapon has a potential to cause particularly horrific and painful injuries or slow painful death. Medical personnel must be specially trained to treat such injuries and may themselves be exposed to phosphorous burns. If used against military targets in or near populated areas, weapons containing this substance must be used with extreme caution to prevent civilian casualties.****

See also Customary rules of IHL

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By cyrena, February 7, 2009 at 9:22 pm Link to this comment

By Sepharad, February 6 at 10:08 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

Cyrena, I’m still very interested in following up on the use of white phosphorous and read your links, but in mid-January, the International Red Cross’ Peter Herby told the Associated Press that the Red Cross had found no evidence backing up CSM’s and other reports that IDF was usuing white phosphorous in any illegal way, or in any way that would endanger Palestinian citizens.



This is admittedly curious to me, since the ICRC hasn’t had time to do the standard investigation that they undertake in these circumstances, and the LAST people they would tell if they did, would be the Associated Press.

Here’s the deal with the ICRC, (though the precedent was shattered with the response to Gitmo). They ‘investigate’ the conditions of war to the extent that they can, keeping in mind that they are not a militarily armed unit of the World Body. They operate basically independently, and never, ever, ever, (when they draw conclusions and recommendations) provide official opinions on the CAUSE or REASONS for the conflict. (Although there are many who would like this to change).

So, IF the ICRC has ‘weighed in’ on this at all, (and there really has not been the time or conditions for them to do that, but I will check a real source and get back to you if I can find anything), they would only give us a limited amount of information. That MIGHT include the method of delivery, but again, unless one was actually THERE…I don’t see how anyone would know without sifting through the rubble, or by examining the patients and/or victims. The PHYSICIANS have already done that, (even though they waited at the Egyptian crossing for days before Israel would let a few of them in).

But, I’m still reluctant to believe an associated press report that would be making claims on as an intermediary for the ICRC, because the ICRC NEVER makes their findings know directly to the public. They tell the appropriate UN folks, and they tell the heads of the states involved what they’ve decided, but they never provide that information directly to the public, EXCEPT in the case of Gitmo. That’s how APPALLED and MORTIFIED they were when they FINALLY got to investigate that facility. (The US withheld access for ages, and of course the ICRC is the one organizations that can never be “barred” from such a location.

Anyway, they made an ‘exception’ of sorts that time, just because it’s beyond the pale in violation of just about every International Law on the books. But, that is by no means a ‘standard’ policy, and it would take them far longer than this to conduct an adequate investigation and then compile that with the information from any other Human Rights or War Law peeps.

Still, all of that said, I’m about to look right now.

Meantime, what was unconvincing to you about the fact that Israel ADMITTED to using the stuff?

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By Robert, February 7, 2009 at 9:16 pm Link to this comment

“Look at the New York Times; it’s almost an extension of Israel”

“You Can’t Talk About The Reality Of Israel”

01.27.2009 | | Inter Press Service

Omid Memarian interviews former CIA operative ROBERT BAER

“RB: Dennis Ross - the important thing is the Israelis are comfortable with him. If a dialogue with Iran occurs, they know he won’t betray them. I mean they have had years and years of testing this guy. He’s Jewish, he’s been honest with the Israelis; he’s gone along with their projects, even the crazy ones. If a dialogue is open, the Israelis know they won’t be surprised. If Obama had brought someone new in, some professor from Harvard that the Israelis didn’t know, they would immediately freeze him out and there would be huge political blowbacks.

IPS: Regarding Ross’s positions on certain issues in the Middle East and particularly Iran over the past decade, how will Obama be able to adopt a new foreign policy path in the region?

RB: Well, he [Obama] needs the backing of the Democratic Party to get these things through politically, and that’s why he has brought in people like Dennis Ross and Denny Blair, the Director of National Intelligence, simply because he needs that political backing. He cannot bring in untried people and run them against the Democratic Party, because if there is an opening with Iran, there will be a connivance of Israel, maybe a silent one, simply because the Israelis have to go along.

In American politics, you can’t do anything in the Middle East without the approval of Tel Aviv, at least on some level. It’s impossible. I mean, I cannot think of a country that is so beholden to a small country like this, even a superpower, in all of history. I can’t even think of it.

IPS: And why is that?

RB: Look at New York City. Look at the major newspapers. They have a Zionist agenda. They do. I’m not Jewish. I’m not anything. I don’t care about the Israelis. And I’m not anti-Semitic. It’s just a fact. I suggested to my publisher writing a book on Israel, and he said forget it. You can’t talk about the reality of Israel. The only place you can talk about the reality of Israel is in Israel. They tell you things you will never hear in the United States.”

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By Leefeller, February 7, 2009 at 7:40 pm Link to this comment

Don’t know about you, but I get all my news from Robert!

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By Shenonymous, February 7, 2009 at 7:29 pm Link to this comment

No. 2 in the series of Misquotes – Do you know if what you read is verifiable?
Feb. 11, 2008 by Alex Safian, PhD
For full citation:
The Fraudulent Scholarship of Professors Walt and Mearsheimer
The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (Farrar & Straus, Sept. 2007), by professors Stephen Walt of Harvard University and John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, charges that the “Israel lobby” has distorted the foreign policy of the United States in favor of Israel to the point of serious damage to U.S. interests, including allegedly making the country a target of al Qaeda and other terrorists.

While such charges are not new – Pat Buchanan, Paul Findley, Edward Tivnan, David Duke and others have at various times said more or less the same thing – the difference here is the scholarly prestige of the authors. That Walt and Mearsheimer hold named chairs at two of the leading universities in the world lends great weight to their provocative thesis, with predictable results: a veritable flood of attention and a book on the New York Times bestseller list.

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy is an extended elaboration of a “working paper” with the same title the authors published on the website of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in 2006. In their paper the authors summarize their case as follows (they make essentially the same argument on pages 7 and 8 of the book):
The U.S. national interest should be the primary object of American foreign policy. For the past several decades, however, and especially since the Six Day War in 1967, the centerpiece of U.S. Middle East policy has been its relationship with Israel. The combination of unwavering U.S. support for Israel and the related effort to spread democracy throughout the region has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardized U.S. security.

This situation has no equal in American political history. Why has the United States been willing to set aside its own security in order to advance the interests of another state? One might assume that the bond between the two countries is based on shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives. As we show below, however, neither of those explanations can account for the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the United States provides to Israel.
Instead, the overall thrust of U.S. policy in the region is due almost entirely to U.S. domestic politics, and especially to the activities of the “Israel Lobby.” Other special interest groups have managed to skew U.S. foreign policy in directions they favored, but no lobby has managed to divert U.S. foreign policy as far from what the American national interest would otherwise suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that U.S. and Israeli interests are essentially identical.

Perhaps anticipating that these claims might be controversial, the authors attempt to reassure any who might doubt them:
Some readers will find this analysis disturbing, but the facts recounted here are not in serious dispute among scholars.

Contrary to Walt and Mearsheimer, however, the “facts” they recount are in many cases not facts at all, and therefore are – and ought to be – in serious dispute. A critical example of this are the numerous quotations Walt and Mearsheimer attribute to Israeli leaders to make the argument that there is no moral case for a close relationship with Israel. In other words, that Israel is bad.

Every one of these quotations is false or falsified, violating the basic requirement in scholarly writing that quotations be scrupulously accurate, presented in full context, and if at all possible taken from primary sources.

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By Robert, February 7, 2009 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment

Condoleezza Rice accepts Anti-Defamation League award in Palm Beach

By James D. Davis | Religion Editor
  February 6, 2009

“PALM BEACH - Whatever pundits may now say, the Bush administration will one day be remembered for fighting for freedom and human rights, especially in the Middle East, the ex-president’s secretary of state said Thursday night.

“Today’s headlines and history’s judgment are rarely the same,” Condoleezza Rice said at the annual conference of leaders of the Anti-Defamation League. “I am proud to have served with him.”

Rice gave her comments as she accepted the bigotry-fighting organization’s Distinguished Statesman Award, given annually to world leaders who further peace and human rights. Some 400 people attended the award banquet at The Breakers hotel.

In his introduction, Abraham Foxman, national director of the league, noted that Rice served first under President George H.W. Bush as a specialist in Eastern European affairs and fought for the rights of Soviet Jews. In presenting the gold-plated menorah, Foxman carefully called it the “Distinguished Statesperson of the Year” award, noting that Rice was the first female recipient since it was started in 1988.”,0,4716517.story

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By Shenonymous, February 7, 2009 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment

Let’s hear it for truth and freedom of speech!
Check in here for the 1st in a series of Misquotes about Israel and related topics:
August 23, 2006 CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America)
Associated Press Corrects Misquote of Hamas Leader
The Associated Press wrongly claimed that Hamas bombmaker and terrorist leader Mohammed Deif, in a July 2006 interview on al Jazeera, called for Muslims to fight to liberate the West Bank.

After CAMERA pointed out Deif was actually calling to “liberate” Israel in its entirety, the Associated Press published a correction.

Error (AP, 7/2/06): The militant, known as a master bombmaker, called for the Arab world to push for an Israeli pullout from the West Bank. “It’s our duty and role, not only us in Palestine, but every Muslim in the world has a religous duty and role to fight to liberate this land, because it’s Islamic territory,” he said.

Correction (8/16/06): In a story July 2 about a call by Mohammed Deif, the top bomb maker of the Palestinian Hamas militia, for Muslims to liberate “Palestinian lands” controlled by Israel, The Associated Press erroneously said Deif referred just the West Bank. Deif referred to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, territories seized by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, and to what he called 1948 lands, meaning the state of Israel itself.

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By Robert, February 7, 2009 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment

leefeller…you must be watching Fox News…the kind of reports that are being posted cannot be found on CNN, Fox News & the rest.

What about the use of “White Phosphorus” that was used by the Israel IDF on Lebanese & Palestinian civilians…do you think that it is false/propaganda?

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By Robert, February 7, 2009 at 6:32 pm Link to this comment

February 2, 2009

Israeli War Crimes
Under the Black Flag


A Spanish judge has instituted a judicial inquiry against seven Israeli political and military personalities on suspicion of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The case: the 2002 dropping of a one ton bomb on the home of Hamas leader Salah Shehade. Apart from the intended victim, 14 people, most of them children, were killed.

For those who have forgotten: the then commander of the Israeli Air Force, Dan Halutz, was asked at the time what he feels when he drops a bomb on a residential building. His unforgettable answer: “A slight bump to the wing.” When we in Gush Shalom accused him of a war crime, he demanded that we be put on trial for high treason. He was joined by the Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, who accused us of wanting to “turn over Israeli army officers to the enemy”. The Attorney General notified us officially that he did not intend to open an investigation against those responsible for the bombing.

I should be happy, therefore, that at long last somebody is ready to put that action to a judicial test (even if he seems to have been thwarted by political pressure.) But I am sorry that this has happened in Spain, not in Israel.

* * *

ISRAELI TV VIEWERS have lately been exposed to a bizarre sight: army officers appearing with their faces hidden, as usual for criminals when the court prohibits their identification. Pedophiles, for example, or attackers of old women.

On the orders of the military censors, this applies to all officers, from battalion commanders down, who have been involved in the Gaza war. Since the faces of brigade commanders and above are generally known, the order does not apply to them.

Immediately after the cease-fire, the Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, promoted a special law that would give unlimited backing by the state to all officers and soldiers who took part in the Gaza war and who might be accused abroad of war crimes. This seems to confirm the Hebrew adage: “On the head of the thief, the hat is burning”.

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By Leefeller, February 7, 2009 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment

Articles of fact are absent, hear say and opinion are not facts.  Truth is not an objective, just insemination of lies and If the last post by Robert is not Propaganda, we can sell you a bridge in Arizona. 

Spin is not fact nor truth, but guess some will never know the difference, probably because truth is much harder to tackle, especially if it is not what one wishes to hear.

I used to feel sorry for the Palestinians, but my feelings of sympathy are waning, for I find, simplistic rhetoric insulting to reason.

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By Shenonymous, February 7, 2009 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad, the link is

This is the article:
Rashid Khalidi, Columbia University Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies, has been caught in a lie. Khalidi concluded a January 8, 2009, op-ed that appeared in the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune with the following quote ascribed to former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon:

    The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.

The problem is Ya’alon never made this statement and both publications have since had to excise it from the op-ed and issue corrections. Here’s the New York Times:

    An Op-Ed article on Jan. 8, on misperceptions of Gaza, included an unverified quotation. A former Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff, Moshe Yaalon, was quoted as saying in 2002 that “the Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.” This quotation, while cited widely, does not appear in the Israeli newspaper interview to which it is usually attributed. Its original source has not been found, and thus it should not have appeared in the article.

The bogus quote originated with a 2002 Haaretz interview in which Ya’alon, when asked to define victory, responded:

    “I defined it from the beginning of the confrontation: the very deep internalization by the Palestinians that terrorism and violence will not defeat us, will not make us fold. If that deep internalization does not exist at the end of the confrontation, we will have a strategic problem with an existential threat to Israel. If that [lesson] is not burned into the Palestinian and Arab consciousness, there will be no end to their demands of us.”

The distorted version of Ya’alon’s words has since become a staple of anti-Israel rhetoric, leading Khalidi to employ it on more than one occasion. Before the current op-ed, Khalidi used the quote in a May 22, 2003, column in The Nation, as well as in his 2005 book Resurrecting Empire.

Khalidi spouted propaganda as a PLO spokesman in the 1980s. It’s inexcusable that, as a Columbia professor, he hasn’t changed his tactics.

Shall we start quoting the reports of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America as an antidote to Robert’s copious messages?  Yes I do think so.  Robert, the trooth will out!

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By Robert, February 7, 2009 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment

This just in: Israel is indeed our 51st State!

By Melissa Rossi

February 07, 2009 “Huffington Post”— I’d thought it would just be a breezy Friday afternoon, when I clicked on today’s post of M.J. Rosenberg, here on Huffington Post.

Director of Policy for the Israel Policy Forum, Mr. Rosenberg’s blog entry concerns the upcoming Israeli election—and he tells us the outcome is “really not our business.” After all, he blithely notes, “As Americans, our job is to promote policies that are best for America, and for Israel.”

There weren’t comments when I started reading—but by the time I read through his post and hit the reply button, there were already five comments and more pending. All of them saying the same thing—no, Mr. Rosenberg—our job is to promote policies that are best for America. PERIOD.

I am truly alarmed at the idea that Israel is indeed our 51st state—falling, apparently between Indiana and Kansas—but this idea is fairly entrenched in US foreign policy. After all, unbeknownst to most Americans, Israel—an affluent country—receives more US foreign aid than ANY other country in the world—and the bulk of it goes for arms, a result of the 1979 Camp David Agreement that brought Israeli-Egyptian peace, as I note in this entry.

Thus, everytime Israel makes a military move, it reflects on the US—since they’re using our freebie arms, as I note here.

The neocons who dominated both the Bush administrations, son’s and father’s, adopted the idea that what’s good for Israel is good for the US, and there are those that argue that in fact our 2003 march into Iraq was more about conquering a threat to Israel than destroying a threat to the US.

And certainly, if Israel makes a move on Iran—which remains a distinct possibility whoever wins the election—and perhaps even before, as I discuss here—it will not only reflect on the US yet again, it may pull us directly or indirectly into the ugliest war we’ve yet seen in the Middle East.

So, sorry, Mr. Rosenberg, it is our business who wins the elections in Israel—nevertheless, Israel is not our latest state. And Mr. Rosenberg, I will be happy to debate you on this issue is any forum you name.

—Melissa Rossi is the author of What Every American Should Know about the Middle East.

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By Shenonymous, February 7, 2009 at 10:29 am Link to this comment

By the way:  (Also posted on another forum on TD) Here again jJust in case you missed it!
NYT:  Feb. 7.  JERUSALEM — Israeli officials said on Friday that they had deported most of the activists on a Gaza-bound cargo ship with humanitarian aid intercepted a day earlier by the Israeli Navy. The officials said Israel had sent on to Gaza 1,000 units of donated blood found aboard.

A military official said that some 15 of the people on board the ship were either Lebanese or Syrian and had been driven to Israel’s border areas with those two countries on Thursday night and sent across. The handful of remaining activists, citizens of European countries, were to be deported soon, the official said.

Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the military’s civil affairs department, said that apart from 1,000 liters of blood that had already been sent to Gaza, there were toys, food and medicine that would be handed over to a charity group and sent to Gaza on Sunday or Monday. 

Of course, the supplies will have to be guarded so that Hamas doesn’t steal it all from the desperate Palestinian people.

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By Sepharad, February 7, 2009 at 12:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, couldn’t get copy and paste to work again, but since Rashid Khalidi has been misquoting an Israeli spokesman over and over, supplied to truthdig by Robert and others, FYI the NYTimes wrote a retraction and notice of the error, but a campus watch blogger went farther and got the original statement that Khalidi apparentlyscrambled to put his own spin—a false one—on an Israeli state of mind.

Google “Rashid Khalidi gets caught in a lie” and click on the first entry which gets you to the link. Can’t miss it—and you shouldn’t want to.

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By Sepharad, February 7, 2009 at 12:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I put the Danny Pearl link in and sent it before something could go wrong. This is the first time actually got the copy & paste thing to work on this computer. What struck me when I read it is how different Judea Pearl is thinking and feeling from the way he thought and felt shortly after his son was murdered. I remember his and his family’s plea for more understanding, and at the time thought it that had been my son, such a killing would have told me all I wanted to know about the killers. But Judea was a better, more tolerant person than I am—and yet the craziness of the intervening years (so incarnate on truthdig threads)drove him to write this on the seventh anniversary of his son’s murder.

Like most people, I remember what I was doing when Cheney, Goodman and Schwerner’s bodies were discovered in Mississippi, when JFK was killed, when Martin Luther King was killed, when RFK was killed, when the Munich Olympic Israeli athletes were killed and when it was announced that kidnapped Daniel Pearl was killed, whose only crime was to understand the Islamist point of view better so he could communicate it to the West, maybe even to the suits on the Wall St. Journal where he worked. (I can’t imagine what Gilad Shalit’s parents must be going through.)

Except for you and Inherit the Wind and a few others, who see the world for what it is and not what they’d prefer it to be, I’m not sure Judea Pearl’s words will have much impact. But they may make just a few people wonder about their intransigent stances re the Israeli-Palestinian tragedy rolling out before them. It may also explain why too many Israelis are beginning to be less patient, angrier, and more frightened. It’s not just Hamas/Hezbollah but the world’s reaction to same that is driving a wedge between continuing to try to realize our best hopes rather than fortify ourselves against our worst fears. I can’t remember when I’ve felt so pessimistic, but at least Judea Pearl puts his finger on exactly why.

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By Sepharad, February 6, 2009 at 11:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Shenonymous and Cyrena, You both might want to read this for different reasons. (By Judea Pearl, professor of computer sciences at UCLA and founder of the Daniel Pearl Foundation for Cross-Cultural Understanding). “Daniel Pearl and the Normalization of Terror”, Wall St. Op Ed page, Feb. 3, ‘09

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By Sepharad, February 6, 2009 at 11:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Cyrena, I’m still very interested in following up on the use of white phosphorous and read your links, but in mid-January, the International Red Cross’ Peter Herby told the Associated Press that the Red Cross had found no evidence backing up CSM’s and other reports that IDF was usuing white phosphorous in any illegal way, or in any way that would endanger Palestinian citizens. He went on to say that it was used conventionally for illumination or to create obscuring smoke. (Hamas did put some white phospherous in a rocket shot into Israel, but that had no effect on Gazans.) The photos I saw of uniformed and helmeted soldiers in backpacks carrying weapons hunched over and running into Gaza through clouds of whitish smoke that hung on the ground and i.d.‘s in the photos as white phospherous smoke were posted—there were a number of them—on an IDF site that had many photos of the war, probably not in “real” time. I didn’t get the dates on each photo, but some were during the first incursion into Gaza itself and then later in fighting in Gaza City. I could see their faces, partly smudged with dark camoflauge paint, but no special protective gear other than uniforms. I did read in a newspaper report noted in a previous post that an IDF colonel said they had intelligence reports of Hamas using white phospherous explosives—- but then I’d have to know who the intelligence reports came from to decide whether they were valid. However, the Red Cross’ Herby sounded pretty certain of his facts, which jibe with earlier IDF statements that they would be using the gas to veil soldier’s movements. But, as I say, I will continue looking for anything else I can find.

One thing we do disagree on is that I believe there needs to be more than a Jewish “influence”—though I think that might be helpful to Moslems in the region, and hope economic cooperation and education can be established between Israel and the state of Palestine. There must be a Jewish state, because living under Moslem rule these days would be impossible. Back to dhimmihood of course, but also the hostility and back-to-fundamentalist religion trend among Moslems would be the worst thing imaginable. (Ironically, Iraq—a war I was against—may turn out to be the most stable and due-process Moslem country in the region.) There aren’t many Jews left in the world, and there has to be an Israel where Jews can defend themselves lest someone go crazy again, particularly with hard times coming. I know there are many American Jews, Orthodox and otherwise, who dislike both the idea and policies of Israel—they’re so assimilated they’ve forgotten their own history. I can’t believe my own grandmother’s family could not bring themselves to leave the country of Goethe, Schiller and Beethoven where they’d lived assimilated and feeling safe for generations, early female physicians and all that. Not likely I’ll forget that lesson. Unfortunately, I do think peace is looking more and more remote, given the tinder-box nature of the coming Sunni-Shiia battle. (Wrote about it in a recent post earlier to Shenonymous—no question, the Oriental Levant Semite mind (Arab and Jew that is) is even more devious than the Byzantine.) But we have to keep on trying.   

Re my country right or wrong, if a guy like Netanyahu came back into power, I wouldn’t turn my back on Israel but simply ratchet up my involvement with Peace Now, ditch my book and do as much as I could to oppose his policies. With Obama in instead of Bush—particularly with Mitchell involved—it’s not going to be so easy for bully-boys like Binyamin to get there way.

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By cyrena, February 6, 2009 at 9:23 pm Link to this comment

I’m not so sure that we’re actually in disagreement on the Israel-Palestine Conflict, at least not all threads of it. It’s just that I have a wider or maybe just a few more channels from with to view it. For instance, I have no argument with the fact that Jews have lived in the region for Centuries, and I’m not in disagreement with your philosophical or personal politics that argue for a Jewish ‘influence’ in the region. Needless to say however, if it’s an ‘influence’ that can’t or won’t recognize that other humans have been living there for an equally long period of time. If that ‘influence’ can only be sustained at such a huge and long term cost of human life, there is something obviously very out of balance here.

As an aside, I find myself in agreement with the majority of my friends, family, colleagues and various other personal and professional associations, at least in terms of this conflict. And while it shouldn’t ‘matter’, I’ll mention that MANY of them are American Jews – some Orthodox, others less religiously inclined, but all still very proud of their Jewishness. They just aren’t proud of Israel.

I don’t think you really understand the difference, if only because it takes an enormous amount of courage to take a stand on right vs wrong…
It’s like a colleague likes to remind his students about the rest of the American Loyalty Vow that says: “Right or Wrong, I love my country (America).” The rest of it goes, “When she’s right, KEEP her right, and when she’s WRONG, MAKE her right.”

I’ve said something similar about my own personal loyalties. I have only one sibling…a dear sister. I love her, and would do just about anything for her. A kidney, a lung, a forever godmothership to her children, and all of my blood if she ever needed it. (though actually, she’s had to provide that to me in the past – not all of it, just a couple of pints). So there is little or nothing that I wouldn’t do to continue her existence in this life, at least anything within my own power.

BUT, if my sister was guilty of doing harm to anyone else in her own existence, I’d have to find a way to make sure that she could not continue to do that.

Sounds simplistic, but that’s pretty much what it boils down to.

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By Robert, February 6, 2009 at 8:56 pm Link to this comment


“January 5 The Times reports that telltale smoke has appeared from areas of shelling. Israel denies using phosphorus

January 8 The Times reports photographic evidence showing stockpiles of white phosphorus (WP) shells. Israel Defence Forces spokesman says: “This is what we call a quiet shell – it has no explosives and no white phosphorus”

January 12 The Times reports that more than 50 phosphorus burns victims are taken into Nasser Hospital. An Israeli military spokesman “categorically” denies the use of white phosphorus

January 15 Remnants of white phosphorus shells are found in western Gaza. The IDF refuses to comment on specific weaponry but insists ammunition is “within the scope of international law”

January 16 The United Nations Relief and Works Agency headquarters are hit with phosphorus munitions. The Israeli military continues to deny its use

January 21 Avital Leibovich, Israel’s military spokeswoman, admits white phosphorus munitions were employed in a manner “according to international law”

January 23 Israel says it is launching an investigation into white phosphorus munitions, which hit a UN school on January 17. “Some practices could be illegal but we are going into that. The IDF is holding an investigation concerning one specific unit and one incident” Source: Times database “

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By Robert, February 6, 2009 at 8:51 pm Link to this comment

From The Times

January 24, 2009

Israel admits using white phosphorous in attacks on Gaza

{James Hider in Jerusalem and Sheera Frenkel in Gaza City.}

“After weeks of denying that it used white phosphorus in the heavily populated Gaza Strip, Israel finally admitted yesterday that the weapon was deployed in its offensive.

The army’s use of white phosphorus – which makes a distinctive shellburst of dozens of smoke trails – was reported first by The Times on January 5, when it was strenuously denied by the army. Now, in the face of mounting evidence and international outcry, Israel has been forced to backtrack on that initial denial. “Yes, phosphorus was used but not in any illegal manner,” Yigal Palmor, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, told The Times. “Some practices could be illegal but we are going into that. The IDF (Israel Defence Forces) is holding an investigation concerning one specific incident.”

The incident in question is thought to be the firing of phosphorus shells at a UN school in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip on January 17. The weapon is legal if used as a smokescreen in battle but it is banned from deployment in civilian areas. Pictures of the attack show Palestinian medics fleeing as blobs of burning phosphorus rain down on the compound.

A senior army official also admitted that shells containing phosphorus had been used in Gaza but said that they were used to provide a smokescreen.

The Ministry of Defence gave lawyers the task before the attack of investigating the legal consequences of deploying white phosphorus – commonly stocked in Nato arsenals and used by US and British forces in Iraq and Afghanistan – inside the Gaza Strip, home to 1.5 million Palestinians, and one of the most densely populated places in the world.

“From what I know, at least one month before it was used a legal team had been consulted on the implications,” an Israeli defence official said. He added that Israel was surprised about the public outcry. “Everyone knew we were using it, and everyone else uses it. We didn’t think it would get this much attention,” he said.

Because Israel is not a signatory to the treaty that created the International Court of Justice in The Hague, it cannot be tried there. Any country that is a signatory to the Geneva Convention, however, can try to prosecute individuals who took part in the Gaza operation as culpable of war crimes.

Despite a denial when The Times first reported the use of white phosphorus, an army spokeswoman said yesterday that the military had never tried to cover up its deployment. “There was never any denial from the beginning,” she said.”
Israel uses “white phosphorus” AGAIN:

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By cyrena, February 6, 2009 at 6:57 pm Link to this comment

By Sepharad, February 6 at 12:59 pm
•  “(If it turns out that Israel used white phosphorous bombs on civilians—something that I do not believe any Israeli would ever do—then they have much to answer for, as it betrays everything the country stands for, and whoever made such a decision should pay dearly.)”
Might be a good idea to come to grips with the reality that some Israelis DID DO exactly this Sepharad, ‘cause they did. And you’re right…Vietnam napalm style is an accurate enough analogy/comparison, and it betrays everything that ANY civilized collection of humanity is supposed to ‘stand for’. It betrays all of the laws of the land that ALL countries agree to when they commit to the Geneva and other Conventions of Universal Law.
Anyway, it’s already ‘turned out’ that Israel has used white phosphorous on Palestinian civilians, and it’s not the first time. They used in on the Lebanese in their assault on that country in 2006, and the US military has used in on civilian populations in Iraq as well.

On this:

•  “I’ve been reading about the white phospherous explosive damage and wondering why the IDF chose to use phosphorous gas to conceal their ground troop movements because, moving through this stuff—and there are pictures of them doing so—they would definitely be burned as well as anyone else in contact with it. Maybe white phosphorous, to be dangerous, has to be in a bomb some some IED.”

You’ll have to reference the first link that I posted to a piece here at truthdig, just to give you an idea of how the stuff has been used most recently on the Gazans. It doesn’t have to be made into a bomb or other IED so to speak, in order to be dangerous, but that IS how it’s been delivered in this most recent case, but FROM THE AIR, NOT on the ground.

So, where exactly have you seen pictures of the IDF GROUND TROOPS ‘moving through’ this stuff? Were they dressed up like soldiers; carrying standard MILITARY PROTECTIVE equipment,  seeing as how that has a tendency to make a difference? I would be very interested in seeing these pictures Seph, but just for the purposes of conversation. We ALREADY KNOW that Israel has used the stuff in violation of the Geneva and other Conventions and Treaties. The only thing open for any valid discussion/argument would be WHY, they did it, and lot’s of us know that as well.

Still, that sounds like the area that you would want to focus on, since you’re the one who doesn’t believe that an Israeli would ever do such a thing. The evidential history disproves you on this, but I’ll leave it to you to examine such evidence when you think you’re ready for that step. This whole transition from the parallel universe/alternative realities back to the real world, can be a slow and painful progress. Almost like kicking other bad habits and addictive behaviors. But, it’s worth doing, if only because we’re probably not doing a whole lot else.

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By cyrena, February 6, 2009 at 6:47 pm Link to this comment

1 of 2
By Shenonymous, February 6 at 1:58 pm #
OXFAM needs to deliver with gunners on its trucks to keep Hamas from stealing the provisions.
Ah jeeze…here we go, here we go, here we just keep on going……going…..going….GONE!! Over the edge, ‘round the bend, whatever.

Hell hath no fury like that of a woman scorned by handsome and intelligent Arabs. wink

We DO feel the fire. The flames are singing/melting my screen, and I even see some whiffs of smoke coming out of the edges…it’s almost like a magic show of smoke and mirrors. (or maybe one of those weird adventures in Haunted Houses)

Anyway, the last provisions weren’t “stolen” by anybody, although several UN workers were killed and/or injured in the process of trying to deliver it. And nope, it wasn’t the kids throwing rocks or the militants with their homemade stuff either.

Check it out.

“UN, Red Cross Suspend Relief Work After Lethal Israeli Attacks on Aid Convoys”
“The measure came hours after the UN shut down major aid operations in Gaza after Israel attacked one of its aid convoys. Israeli snipers killed two Palestinian aid workers who were reportedly trying to retrieve the body of a colleague who had been killed in a previous Israeli attack. The killings reportedly came during the three-hour pause to the bombing agreed to by Israel to allow humanitarian relief.

UN relief spokesperson Christopher Gunness: “I can confirm that UNRWA has suspended its operations in Gaza because of staff security. We’ve had a shooting of a driver in a convoy clearly marked as a UN vehicle. There have been a number of attacks in which UN facilities have been hit with direct hits and others. We’ve had no choice but to suspend our operations until we can get guarantees of the security of our staff. We’ve lost—our staff have been killed. We’ve had no other choice.”

The UN says it’s lost all confidence in Israeli pledges. Israel has attacked several UN and medical installations this week, including a UN school where forty-six civilians were killed.

WHO: 21 Palestinian Medical Workers Killed in Gaza Attack

According to the World Health Organization, twenty-one Palestinian medical workers have been killed and another thirty injured in the Israeli assault on Gaza. The International Committee of the Red Cross, meanwhile, said it would scale back aid operations for at least one day after one of its convoys also came under Israeli fire.”


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By cyrena, February 6, 2009 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment

2 of 2

“UN: 30 Died in Israeli Shelling of Crowded Home
The Red Cross made the announcement as it accused Israel of blocking access to a bombing site where several emaciated children were found next to their dead mothers. Overall, dozens of dead civilians were found in a one-block span of the neighborhood of Zeitoun. Red Cross mission chief Katrina Ritz described the bombing’s aftermath.

Katrina Ritz: “I think one of the big shocks was that these people were very weak. They were children, children being next to their dead mother. There were no assistance given to these people. There were around eighteen wounded which have not had medical aid, and very, very weak people. The children could hardly stand. There was no water for them. There was no food. And they were with all the dead bodies.”

In a report Thursday, the UN said thirty of the victims killed in the Zeitoun attack had been taking shelter in a home on orders from the Israeli military. More than 100 Palestinians had been evacuated there and told to stay indoors. Palestinian paramedic Attia Barami was among the first to reach the victims.

Attia Barami: “The Red Cross got permission for us for three ambulances to enter the northern area of Gaza. We found bodies that the tanks drove over. The medics checked the bodies and found damage at the cellular level, and bodies. This baby girl, age five months, she has been dead for more than two days. The dogs ate parts of the baby’s body. This baby was burned because you can see her face and body are dark and charred.”

Most of the dead were members of the same extended family, the Samounis. The death toll was initially lower but rose as more bodies were pulled from the rubble.”


Please feel free to read the rest of this reality, IF you can stand it. Like I mentioned to Sepharad, this transition from instilled propaganda to accepted realities can be a very painful one, more so for some than others.

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By Robert, February 6, 2009 at 5:34 pm Link to this comment

The Nightmare of Netanyahu Returns

This is the man calling for the re-occupation of Gaza to ‘liquidate’ its elected government

By Johann Hari

“February 06, 2009 “The Independent”——Israel is about to make a misjudgement as disastrous - and deadly - as the attack on Gaza. In a few days, it looks as if it could elect Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister once again.

This is a man calling for the violent re-occupation of Gaza to “liquidate” its elected government. This is a man who says he will “naturally grow” the West Bank settlements. This is a man who says he will “never” negotiate over Jerusalem, or the Golan Heights, or control of the West Bank water supply.

This is a man who says establishing a Palestinian state would leave Israel with, “an existential threat and a public relations nightmare reminiscent of 1938 Czechoslovakia”. This is a man who Yitzhak Rabin’s widow said helped create a climate of hate that led to his murder.

The political beneficiaries of Operation Cast Lead have been Israel’s hard-right. The opinion poll numbers have surged for Netanyahu’s Likud and for the even more extreme Avigdor Lieberman. They say the only problem with the 23-day bombing of Gaza - killing 410 children, and hugely strengthening support for Hamas - is that it did not go far enough. The world urgently needs to look at these individuals - and ask how this came to pass.

The key to understanding Netanyahu lies with his father, Benzion. He is a distinguished scholar of medieval history who believes the world is eternally and ineradicably riddled with genocidal anti-Semitism. When he arrived in British Mandate Palestine, he declared that the majority of Jews there were naïve and idealistic. They had to immediately seize the entire Biblical land of Israel - taking all of the West Bank and stretching right into present-day Jordan. There could be no compromise, ever, with the Arabs, who only understand force. The man he calls his mentor, Abba Ahimeir, described himself proudly as “a fascist”.

Today, Benzion’s son routinely compares dealing with the Palestinians to dealing with the Nazis. He can only understand their anger as a resurfacing of Europe’s irrational, murderous hate. He insists they have no right to a share of the land because they “stole” it - in 636AD. Accordingly, Netanyahu rubbishes every peace initiative offered by Israel. His reaction to Yitzhak Rabin’s decision to sign the mild and moderate Oslo accords with Yasser Arafat reveals the depth of his opposition to compromise. He warmly addressed crowds that chanted “Rabin is a Nazi” and “through blood and fire, Rabin shall expire”. He called the former prime minister “a traitor”, shortly before Rabin was murdered by a Jewish fundamentalist who agreed.

The other person who has surged ahead in the polls - and looks likely to be Netanyahu’s coalition partner - is Avigdor Lieberman, a Russian ex-nightclub bouncer who says the model for dealing with the Palestinians should be Vladimir Putin’s 1990s bombardment of Chechnya, which caused the death of a third of the entire population. He wants the political parties elected by Israeli Arabs to be criminalised, snapping that they should be dealt with “like Hamas”.

Perhaps even more depressing than their rise is the flat and flat-lining response form the other parties. Both Kadima and Labour militantly defend the blockade and bombing of Gaza, not least because their leaders - Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak - led the charge in Cabinet. Even Barak has picked up the comparison to Putin and started approvingly quoting the new Tsar of Russia. The brave pro-peace parties like Meeretz are shunted far to the margins of the debate.”

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By Robert, February 6, 2009 at 5:29 pm Link to this comment


It really doesn’t matter to me where you choose to place feet. Please feel free to do so & to believe what you want to believe. You keep mentioning Fox News or as some people call it “False News”...I waste NO TIME on its agenda(s). I do care about the TRUTH.


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By Sepharad, February 6, 2009 at 5:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Shenonymous, It’s great to hear your voice again. As always, you follow the facts as they are painfully pulled out of the confusion of war, and much is still not known. (The Israelis, thank goodness, are so fractious that their government has trouble keeping anything deep-sixed-classified for very long. Sometimes it hurts them, sometimes it helps them, but in the end is probably a good thing.)

I read the article in the NYTimes from your link, and it mentioned another factor in the Arab’s inability to react in unity to the Gaza hostilities. That is, their Sunni fear of the growing influence of Shiia Iran. It’s easier for Syria to make nice with Iran because their dictator’s particular brand of Sunni is a small weird sect, so they’ve never gotten on well with Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia et al. The other thing about Iran Shiism at the moment is that it is very fundamentalist—I didn’t understand quite how fundamentalist until I read, several years ago, a book written by the then-leader of Hezbollah—which makes it not that terrible from the perspective of the Muslim Brotherhood and some of the other violent Islamic groups. So, the Sunni rulers don’t want to do anything that would anger the local Sunni fundamentalists (Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic Jihad) so much that it threatens their governments, yet those fundamentalists back and are pretty much the same as Hamas. Hamas, always backed by Syria, is now also supported so heavily by Iran that the Hamas leader in Damascus publically thanked Iran for its support public, non-public and material. I really hope the Taliban and Al Quaeda don’t leap into the fray which would complicate everything further, though there already are representatives of Al Quaeda mucking around Gaza and the West Bank, just checking out the ground.

It’s like a snake-pit, a labyrinth to end all labyrinths. I don’t know what will become of Israel and Palestine, such a beautiful place, from the Galilee to the Negev, from the sea to the river, the Jezreel Valley to the Judean hills ... so much history, and so bloody much potential. If I followed my thoughts all the way out, it might be so paralyzing that I wouldn’t know what to do, or not do, think, or not think. So I’m not doing that. For the moment, Israel needs to survive, help the Palestinians get their state on its feet, and in time those two little states might provide the beginning of a solution ... and, first things first.
(And Lebanon, beautiful Lebanon, now dictated to by Hezbollah/Syria/Iran. Why couldn’t the Brits and French just have left the Ottoman Empire intact so that Ataturk could have risen, given women their lives back and built a secular society that would have evolved, surely in a more balanced way than what exists now?)

Don’t stay away so long next time.

Leefeller—Please ignore complaints of “whiny barking.” What you’re doing is not whiny and not barking. You’re asking questions and thinking. That is never a bad thing, and on a site theoretically dedicated to getting at the truth, well, absolutely essential.

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By Sepharad, February 6, 2009 at 4:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Cyrena, the Alzheimers research is Dr. Rebecca Solomon’s (can’t remember but I think at Hebrew University, or the University of Tel Aviv), solid enough for her to get backing for a company doing an all-out push. It’s in the mice stage, involves phages, something no one else ever considered. Her experiments are startling, not only halting the Alzheimer damage to the mice’s brains but reversing it longterm. (Mom, a concert pianist, went through Alzheimers’ long mental decline before she died. After words and familiar voices meant nothing to her, she still responded to music. Our youngest son would play the violin then switch to the piano while I held the phone.)

True, Israel has no golden synagogues and hasn’t completely desalinated the Red Sea. They invest a lot in biomedical research and green energy stuff,  also very heavily in education at all levels for everyone. Need to get back to some of the old socialist/kibbutz/moshav values and rein in some of the capitalists without slowing down the research. Too many ultra-rich people on top, with the majority sort of lower-middle to middle-class by American/Euro standards—range from doctors to construction workers—and a smaller proportion of poverty-level and/or unemployed citizens than you find in Western countries. In Be’er Sheva’s weekly Bedouin market, Arabs and Jews looked about equally non-prosperous to American eyes, warped by living in our land of plenty.

You and I will never agree about Israelis and Palestinians. Of the two peoples, they have had a harder time adjusting to the Nakba—than Jews did after the Holocaust and getting ousted from Arab countries, but I don’t understand why—and I’ve thought about this, discussed it, researched it thoroughly. It may be something as simple as the degree of flexibility or tolerance for uncertainty and change within each society. For the Jews left in Palestine after the Romans left, nothing ever was the same and they’ve been adapting for a long time, just as Jews running in, through and out of the Diaspora were always in flux. The Arabs were always in Arabia and nothing much—except for Islam in the 700sAD/CE and the experience of the flowering then deterioration of Al Andalus—ever changed in their society. But nothing is ever that simple. I couldn’t love a country the way I love Israel if its people killed for pleasure or out of stubborness or lack of imagination or even, as is more common worldwide, for gods and greed.

Speaking of desert peoples—looks like we will be here through March as well, so since I’m kind of limited in continuing the book-research-based writing have decided to read off-topic without feeling guilty. I’ll get a copy of Wolin’s book (some used copies might be available on Amazon, if you’re using them in a class). My husband and I are about at the age when Americans expect to retire, but can’t. Still, life is not dull, and we do as much as we can of what we love. Interestingly, most of the corporate-employed stock-investing people husband sort of kept in touch with since college—i.e. not close friends—frequently derided him for not have a portfolio and going our productive but up-and-down way, but as it turns out they can’t retire either and are very upset. (You yourself would probably get bored sipping drinks on a tropical shore. But it would be nice to have the option.)

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By Leefeller, February 6, 2009 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment

“Jewish scholars & others who are on the side of humanity, justice, human rights, fairness, equality, international law. UN Resolutions and peace. We are fortunate to have them to stand up and speak up about the above important issues. Glad to see that they are NOT on the side of Israeli/Zionism’s genocide, Apartheid, IDF, Olmert, Netanyahu and mass killings of men, women and children”.  I do not disagree with this quote, we had eight years of Bush disregarding the same.

Assuming becomes you Robert, must say I am pleased to see you write something yourself.

What you seem to not understand, differences between facts and hear say. You seem to post articles not all, but some which reflect hear say, maybe’s possibles may haves, could of would of.  Speculations abound. 

You and others who promote and dish out subjective “your with us or against us attitudes,  will not win over any of us.

Bravo; as you call it my “pale whiny barking from the sidelines is all barking and that is all about it’. Glad to know you research other than Fox not the News.  Dumping your tons of your preferred cherry picked rhetoric I had believed you could not express your own opinions.  By the way what is your opinion? 

Being on the side lines makes me a Zionist according to TFolker. A difference between you and I, is I do not believe everything I read, even if I did cherry pick it.

It may be worth mentioning, we can agree and support the quote above, from Jewish Scholars or not.

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By Shenonymous, February 6, 2009 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment

OXFAM needs to deliver with gunners on its trucks to keep Hamas from stealing the provisions.

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By KDelphi, February 6, 2009 at 2:02 pm Link to this comment

The Starving Out of Gaza (change to get posted)

Gaza’s agricultural industry has been destroyed, by 35-60%, says OXFAM, and, Swedish Palestinian Solidarity Org. Ecomomic losses are close to $1.9 billion, which is greater thean Gaza’s annual economic output. The World Food program says that, although Israel is (now? it changes from day to day) allowing in 100 trucks per day, it is far less than the 160 a day that was the average in 2008, and far less than the 600 a day, est,. to be needed to sustain the population and, to rebuild agriculture.

Oxfam is seeking to deliver basic items such as food and medicine, but it also plans to do what it can to help Gaza’s farmers prepare their fields for the critical planting deadline. “If we don’t plant crops now, we won’t harvest in three or four month’s time, and the one and a half million people of Gaza will be completely dependent on food aid,” says Baily.

“The effects are hitting home for Samir Sawafiri, a poultry farmer. Surveying the carcasses of some 65,000 chickens strewn across his farm in Zeitoun, while several dozen live chickens—the only ones that survived the war—scrounged for food, Sawafiri told a reporter. “They are all that is left, and I have nowhere to put them.”

“I evacuated on January 9,” said Sawafiri. “Three days later, on January 12, tanks came with bulldozers and leveled the fields. They wanted to spoil the economy—that’s the only answer. There’s no justification for what they did.”

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By KDelphi, February 6, 2009 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment

The Starving Out of Gaza

Gaza’s agricultural industry has been destroyed, by 35-60%, says OXFAM, and, Swedish Palestinian Solidarity Org. Ecomomic losses are close to $1.9 billion, which is greater thean Gaza’s annual economic output. The World Food program says that, although Israel is (now? it changes from day to day) allowing in 100 trucks per day, it is far less than the 160 a day that was the average in 2008, and far less than the 600 a day, est,. to be needed to sustain the population and, to rebuild agriculture.

Oxfam is seeking to deliver basic items such as food and medicine, but it also plans to do what it can to help Gaza’s farmers prepare their fields for the critical planting deadline. “If we don’t plant crops now, we won’t harvest in three or four month’s time, and the one and a half million people of Gaza will be completely dependent on food aid,” says Baily.

“The effects are hitting home for Samir Sawafiri, a poultry farmer. Surveying the carcasses of some 65,000 chickens strewn across his farm in Zeitoun, while several dozen live chickens—the only ones that survived the war—scrounged for food, Sawafiri told a reporter. “They are all that is left, and I have nowhere to put them.”

“I evacuated on January 9,” said Sawafiri. “Three days later, on January 12, tanks came with bulldozers and leveled the fields. They wanted to spoil the economy—that’s the only answer. There’s no justification for what they did.”

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By Sepharad, February 6, 2009 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Leefeller—Concluding one of your recent posts, you suggested, as I read it, that even the most stupid surely know that it’s wise to “be kind to your neighbor because he knows where you live.” Hamas may be many things, but “stupid” isn’t one of them.

I also know that continuing threats and harassment of a small country, no matter what the body count is, virtually guarantees that in an army in the midst of intense, confusing urban fighting with combatants not in uniform who have in the past and are trying again to kidnap members of that army, someone at some point is going to flip out and behave in an unjustifiably cruel way even to innocent civilians. The NYTimes reported such a case involving several soldiers a couple days ago on its front page, which the IDF is investigating as if they believe it, so I have no reason to doubt the accusation. (This is what Golda Meir must have meant in her prescient comment “We can forgive our enemies for murdering our boys, but we’ll never forgive them for forcing our young people to kill.” So no one is innocent.)

I’ve been reading about the white phospherous explosive damage and wondering why the IDF chose to use phosphorous gas to conceal their ground troop movements because, moving through this stuff—and there are pictures of them doing so—they would definitely be burned as well as anyone else in contact with it. Maybe white phosphorous, to be dangerous, has to be in a bomb some some IED. Then I noticed in Robert’s post from Ha’aretz that an IDF colonel said they had intelligence that Hamas was using white phosphorous explosive ordinance. Perhaps that was what was in the photo (on the same front page of the NYTimes as the story about the Israeli soldiers who shot and killed unarmed civilians) showing the kitchen of a Gaza house booby-trapped by Hamas with a large explosive device. If it’s found that Hamas did this to their own people, I hope that Gazans whose loved ones were burnt by this horrible stuff (sounds like Vietnam-era napalm) know where the Hamas leaders are living or hiding. (If it turns out that Israel used white phosphorous bombs on civilians—something that I do not believe any Israeli would ever do—then they have much to answer for, as it betrays everything the country stands for, and whoever made such a decision should pay dearly.)

It can take awhile for the truth to come out.

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By Folktruther, February 6, 2009 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

Robert- you perform an extremely valuable service in producing little known pieces, and so you will be attacked by Zionists and their sympathizers. 

The only defense of the Palestinians against Israeli ethinic cleansing is provided by Hamas, and the only defense of Lebanon against Israeli invasion is provided by Hesbollah, so they are conceived as Terrorist organizations by the Zinnist media.  The operative meaning of Terroist in the media is any opposition to American or Israeli imperialism.

Bertil- It is quite common for intelligence agencies to support opposition groupings that are thought to be more moderate than others, or can be used to combat them. 

Czarist secret police supported marxists against the terroist People’s Will.  The CIA support anti-marxist Progressive artists and public intellectuals during the Cold War, as detailed by Francis Conors Saunders, the British historian,  in WHO PAID THE PIPER?  The Mossad helped turn Fatah and Abbas into an Israeli puppet, funded by the US,  so the defense of the Palestinians now rests with Hamas.

American pseudo-progressive now justify Israeli ethnic cleansing by damning the military defense of Hamas, saying its stupid, calling for non-violent resistence, or whatever.  It is completely impossible to evaluate the defense that Hamas is putting up without information tht we don’t have, so critics simply accept the reports of Zioniss, which consists largely of lies and omissions. 

For trying to undersatnd what is really happening, I have found Robert’s reprints invaluable.

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By Robert, February 6, 2009 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment

leefeller or may be you like to be called “brainy-feller”...I hear you barking for the sidelines and that is about all that you are doing here.

I happen to think that Amira Hass is one of the most respected Israeli journalist. She does NOT stand on the sidelines just to watch…she happens to report the TRUTH and is NOT afraid to do it. In the article that I posted, Amira Hass is reporting about the Israeli IDF use of “White Phosphorus” against civilians. The Israeli IDF did use this chemical weapon in Gaza. Take a close look at this propaganda as you labeled it.

Where is the propaganda…leefeller? May be you would like to go Gaza & see for yourself. You can report to us…just like “Joe the Plunger”!

There are several Israeli/Jewish scholars & others who are on the side of humanity, justice, human rights, fairness, equality, international law. UN Resolutions and peace. We are fortunate to have them to stand up and speak up about the above important issues. Glad to see that they are NOT on the side of Israeli/Zionism’s genocide, Apartheid, IDF, Olmert, Netanyahu and mass killings of men, women and children.

There are innocent people/civilians being killed on both sides of this tragic conflict. This conflict will NOT be resolved so long as the American people and other peace loving people just sit on the sidelines & watches/listens to the AIPAC controlled MSM news megaphones.

So leefeller…you don’t have to read any of my posts at all, your pale whiny barking from the sidelines is all barking and that is all about it.

I will continue to post credible journalists, scholars and others who are on the side of TRUTH, HUMANITY, FAIRNESS…etc… I happen to sympathize with the victims of this long conflict…the Palestinian people.

And you leefeller sympathizes with the Israeli IDF…Perhaps!

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By Leefeller, February 6, 2009 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

As usual, no opinions, just rehashed sameo sameo, maybes and could of’s and possibles.  Maybe Robert has a brain and maybe he could use it, but it may not be possible.

Constant propaganda from either side is insulting.  Even one paragraph with an opinion like Bertil is appreciated. Dumping articles from other sources without any comment provides nothing new.Quotes from Fox and the like are really not going to educate, but instead infuriate. 

Those of us who do not have a dog in this fight would like to form our own opinions from assimilated facts, not propaganda and if you introduced the link with your comments it would be much more worthy of scrutiny. Saturation is not worthy of reading.

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By Bertil, February 6, 2009 at 8:54 am Link to this comment


Sharon’s Terror Child
How the Likud Bloc Mid-wifed the Birth of Hamas

“Hamas is considered one of Israel’s greatest threats, but the Islamic terrorist organization found its beginnings in the misguided Israeli effort to encourage the rise of a religious alternative that would undermine the popularity of the Palestine Liberation Organization and Yasir Arafat.

The strategy resulted in the birth of Hamas which rose from these Islamic roots. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was a member of the government when the policy was developed in the late 1970s.”

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By Sepharad, February 6, 2009 at 8:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I this blasteds computer working yet?

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By Robert, February 6, 2009 at 8:17 am Link to this comment

February 5, 2009

Israel’s Unjust War on Gaza
Self-Defense Against Peace


Did self-defence justify Israel’s war on Gaza?

“Objections have been raised to this claim on grounds of a lack of both proportionality and necessity. To kill over 1000 Palestinians in 3 weeks, hundreds of them children, and wound thousands more, in order to deter a threat from rockets that did not kill or injure anybody in Israel for the six months the truce was declared by both sides, or even before Israel launched its attack on December 27, is so disproportionate as to be intolerable in any ethical system that holds Palestinian lives equal in value to Israeli lives. It is also so disproportionate as to defy belief that defence against these rockets was the real motive of the war. To ignore the many diplomatic avenues available to avoid even this threat, such as lifting the suffocating 18-month siege, suggests the same thing.

A more fundamental objection, however, is the self-evident legal and moral principle that an aggressor cannot rely upon self-defence to justify violence against resistance to its own aggression. You can find this principle in domestic law and in the judgments of the Nuremberg tribunals.

To quote one Nuremberg judge:

  On of the most amazing phenomena of this case which does not lack in startling features is the manner in which the aggressive war conducted by Germany against Russia has been treated by the defense as if it were the other way around. …If it is assumed that some of the resistance units in Russia or members of the population did commit acts which were in themselves unlawful under the rules of war, it would still have to be shown that these acts were not in legitimate defense against wrongs perpetrated upon them by the invader. Under International Law, as in Domestic Law, there can be no reprisal against reprisal. The assassin who is being repulsed by his intended victim may not slay him and then, in turn, plead self defense. (Trial of Otto Ohlendorf and others, Military Tribunal II-A, April 8, 1948)

So who was the aggressor here?

There would have been no question as to who was the aggressor had this attack taken place before Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza strip in 2005. At that point Israel had been committing a continuous aggression against Gaza for 38 years, in its illegal and violent occupation of it, along with the rest of the Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, after its conquest in 1967.

By 2005, the occupation had been condemned as illegal by the highest organs with jurisdiction over international law, most notably the International Court of Justice in its 2004 opinion on the separation barrier. A central illegality of the occupation for the International Court lay in Israel’s settlements, which violate the law against colonization, and which are central to the occupation. The fifteen judges of the International Court were unanimously of the opinion that the settlements were illegal and the wall itself was held by a majority of 13-2 to be illegal, partly because it was there to defend the settlements, and not Israel itself, and thus could not qualify as self-defence.

The rocket attacks from Gaza started in 2001 and took their first Israeli victim in 2004. Since then, there had been 14 Israeli victims prior to the current war. Tragic, indeed, but obviously paling in comparison to the 1700 Palestinians killed in Gaza during the same period. One death is indeed a tragedy, but many deaths are not just “a statistic”, as Stalin had it; they are the tragedy multiplied many times over. Given Israel’s illegal, aggressive and violent occupation, prior to the withdrawal, Gaza rockets could only be regarded as necessary and proportionate self-defence, or as reprisals against Israel’s aggression.

Did Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 change the situation?”

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By Robert, February 6, 2009 at 8:12 am Link to this comment

Gaza burn victims exhibit possible signs of white phosphorous wounds

02.05.09 | Haaretz
By Amira Hass

“GAZA - Palestinian doctors at a number of hospitals in the Gaza Strip informed foreign medical experts allowed into the area over the past two weeks that they were witnessing an unexpected deterioration in the condition of their burn victims.

They described the same phenomenon: Two weeks after being injured, the burn victims seemed to be getting worse, requiring skin grafts abroad.

In other instances, internal tissue was also destroyed. Some of the wounded died a week to 10 days after being injured, even though they had not appeared to suffer extensive injuries. The doctors only later discovered that their liver and kidneys had been affected. But at this point, it was already too late to save many of the wounded.

The precise number of those who suffered burn wounds and then died is still uncertain.

Doctors take care to note that until the necessary laboratory work is done, they will be unable to determine with certainty if the burns were caused by the white phosphorus bombs the IDF dropped during its ground offensive in the Gaza Strip.

They are also unable to state with certainty whether the patients’ deterioration and the spread of infection stemmed directly from being hit with the phosphorus mortars.

However researchers from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, who have spent the past three weeks in the Gaza Strip, have concluded with certainty that the white phosphorus bombs struck residential neighborhoods.

The initial treatment of the burns, before the doctors in the Gaza Strip had realized that they were caused by white phosphorus, was deemed useless.

“We had never seen phosphorus burns before,” a veteran foreign surgeon told Haaretz. “In the [medical] literature, what is known about these burns is what was done as experiments, in lab conditions, or in military bases, perhaps as the result of accidents.”

However, three Israeli documents Haaretz received, which were written during Operation Lead Cast, describe the sort of burns caused by white phosphorus and match the descriptions of the medical personnel in the Gaza Strip. The documents were prepared by the office of the IDF chief medical officer, the Medical Field Operations HQ and Magen David Adom.

A document bearing the signature of Dr. Zvi Feinberg, chief of medicine at Magen David Adom, and Rami Miller, a senior paramedic, writes that “white phosphorus contained in a bomb or a missile ignites when it comes into contact with oxygen ... the phosphorus that comes into contact with skin causes serious and deep burns.”

Another document, this one signed by Dr. Gil Hirschorn, who is also a colonel in the army and head of trauma in the office of the IDF’s chief medical officer, states: “During Operation Cast Lead, intelligence was received that Hamas was making use of an ordinance that contains phosphorus. Phosphorus is a poisonous substance, white-yellowish, similar to wax, that is used in mortar shells and hand grenades.

“When the phosphorus comes in contact with living tissue it causes its damage by ‘eating’ away at it. Characteristics of a phosphorus wound are: chemical burns accompanied by extreme pain, damage to tissue ... the phosphorus may seep into the body and damage internal organs. In the long run, kidney failure and the spread of infection are characteristic ... In conclusion: a wound by an ordinance containing explosive phosphorus is inherently dangerous and has the potential to cause serious damage to tissue.”

A document entitled “Exposure to White Phosphorus,” prepared by Medical Field Operations HQ and sent from the Health Ministry notes that “most of the data on phosphorus wounds stems from animal testing and accidents. Exposure to white phosphorus is highly poisonous, according to many lab experiments.”

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By Leefeller, February 6, 2009 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

Hamas is and has been constantly touted as a terrorist organization by the msm, now I know the msm is a propaganda machine, so I was skeptical of the accusation. Now I am not so sure.

If peace is not an option, their are other goals designed by Hamas, one could suspect they do not include the best interests of the Palestinians in their agenda. 

Manipulators like fecal matter seems to always work their way to the top.  Egos, power and I suppose money are all part of the programed hate agendas, if indeed religion is included all the worse. 

It was Napoleon who said something like this.  “if it were not for religion, the people would attack the wealthy”. sic. Of course Napoleon was talking about Christian religion, but no difference manipulation is what religion does. We have seen the uncomfortable manipulation under the guise of religion, by the Talabon and Iran to some degree, history has many others to show examples.

My point is,  the senseless attack on Israel with the rockets under Hamas control shows a disregard for the people of Palestine.  If anything from a point of stupidity, for you should be kind to your neighbor, he knows were you live.

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By Bertil, February 6, 2009 at 7:41 am Link to this comment

“Let me now warn you in the most solemn manner. Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all. The Nation which indulges toward another an habitual hatred or an habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest.”?President George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796

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By Shenonymous, February 6, 2009 at 5:55 am Link to this comment

Mr. radson, I will reply to your question this evening. 

Since none of the pro-Hamas commenters have ventured an answer to my question about the Arab empire, I will provide an answer.
If you are honest in wanting to know the truth (the contrary of trooth) you might read the article at:
From a much longer article, here is one comment found in the revealing article.
On January 17, Robert F. Worth NTY wrote about the Arab empire.
“Why the Arabs Splinter Over Gaza
Most Arab regimes are terrified of Islamist movements like Hamas, which represent the greatest threat to their legitimacy. Many, including Egypt and Jordan, face challenges at home from their own popular versions of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas’s ideological parent. Most Arab leaders are also reluctant to provoke the United States and Israel (with which Egypt and Jordan have peace treaties).”

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By cyrena, February 5, 2009 at 11:20 pm Link to this comment

“Cyrena, tax dollars to Israel like any other use to which our government puts them is always debateable by those of us who pay taxes. As investments go you could do worse. The environmental advances, biotech/biomedical research—maybe a cure and reversal of damage for Alzheimers patients—and other positive aspects of Israel’s contributions to the world—not to mention frivolities such as educational opportunities in the region, music, literature and archaeological activity are balm for the civilized world.”

Correct about the debate on how the money that belongs to the American people should be spent. I’m not an investment adviser at anything other than the basic level, though I think sometimes that fundamental theories (basics) are where the answers lie. So, I can’t speak to the worth of Israel as an investment in terms of all that they supposedly come up with. If this is true, (and I have no reason to doubt you), than I am PERSONALLY grateful for their contributions in these areas. Education of course, is NOT a ‘frivolity’ ANY place on the planet, nor should it be considered as such.  And if Israel has contributed anything toward a cure for and/or reversal of damage for Alzheimer’s patients, then I am overwhelming pleased with that, though admittedly, I’m only just now ‘hearing’ this from you. But, I’m willing to check it out.

So none of this is REALLY about the US giving Israel these multibillions of dollars for such a very small population, on such a very tiny piece of global real estate.  Were that the case, (and based on what we’ve coughed up over the decades) Israel should have a museum, synagogue, mosque, university, on every single corner, all built in gold, and they should have managed to de-salinate the entire Mediterranean.

But, they haven’t. Their infrastructure should be the best on the planet, given the amount of money per capita, that population has ‘processed’ over the past 4 decades.

So at the end of the day, the price/investment just doesn’t ever balance out, when we’re talking about the bulk of all these billions to Israel being absorbed by THEIR Military Industrial Complex, which maintains the 4th largest (though I’d say far better equipped) military on the planet. All for that little space. Over 200 nuclear weapons ready to fire away and take out at least half the world..all for that little space, and a (relatively speaking of course) small population.

So while my brother-in-law, (and his patients of course) can certainly appreciate those swallowable cameras that take those excellent photos of the insides of our guts; one is forced to confront the reality that for every stomach saved by one of the cameras, (and good physician diagnosis) we’re funding Israel to slaughter the same or more people with a variety of lethal and illegal weapons targeted toward civilians; be they in Lebanon or any other area of the Occupied Territories.

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By cyrena, February 5, 2009 at 11:18 pm Link to this comment

2 of 2

That means that from the investment view of a global citizen and/or an American citizen, this simply is not a good investment at all. There is no way to balance the lives lost over the decades (including those who continue to breathe but can’t come anywhere close to actually LIVING) to these other things that do of course provide some benefits to other parts of the population. I don’t think we should fail to invest in those types of creative things, (and I don’t really know what ‘new-agey’ is, but at my age, -56- I suspect I’m not whatever it is either.) but clearly the on-going mass slaughter of human life just isn’t about that “construction”. Rather, it is what it is, and that’s murder by various methods. That’s what we’re paying for. We’re paying for mass destruction, the target being—- HUMAN LIFE and the infrastructures that support it for a large portion of the Middle Eastern population.

There is no way to reconcile the intentional destruction of human life, with any rational ideology. That is UNLESS there really WAS some sort of a ticking bomb scenario, …and the ticking bomb was a huge population of people infected with something that would wipe out all the rest of the world, before they ultimately succumbed themselves.  But we know, (even as the Zionist propaganda from the extremists continue to push this) that the Palestinians are simply NOT a ‘threat’ to anybody. (At least no more of a ‘threat’ than any other caged population struggling to stay alive under the very heavy razor steel boot heel of the Israeli military.)
So no. It isn’t a good investment for us, and it isn’t a good investment for Israel’s agenda either, if we really wanna be practical about it. It’s like financing a heroine junkie to keep buying dope. (as opposed to investing in a safe withdrawal program) But in the case of the average heroine junkie, we would simply be financing his or her own personal demise. In the case of Israel, we’re financing a murder suicide that involves too many innocents that have never been given the opportunity to ‘choose their own poison’, let alone to choose not to take it at all. (unlike the junkie who, even in the occasional very rational moment, actually DOES make that choice).

Rarely is there any real ‘investment’ opportunity available in DE-struction, unless you’re thinking from the Halliburton-KBR/Blackwater/Bechtel/Lockheed Martin/Northrop/IDF/etc perspective.

As for Wolin’s book, I have indeed read it, and I’ve been using it extensively – along with multiple other sources of course- on an academic project that I’m both working and advising on;  in what I hope will eventually be a collaborative effort in terms of “continuing education” for the sort of sandwich generation that I think of myself as belonging to.  As much as I’d like to be hanging out on some South Pacific island sipping spirits out of coconut shells, and growing botanicals in what I’d planned as an extended version of my golden years, it AIN’T HAPPENIN’!!

Anyway yes, I continue to recommend Wolin’s book, as I have for nearly a year now. I even used it as assigned reading in a couple of courses at the undergraduate level. This is a good thing to help reform our population over time, but we also need some emergency education directed at our boomers and the other sandwich generations that have been ‘out of the loop’ for so very long. We can’t afford to rest on our laurels, because there aren’t any laurels left.  We middle-agers need to get up to speed with some sort of crash refresher courses. It’s a new world, and quite frankly, not a particularly attractive or efficient, or productive one, at least at this point in time. But unlike the more pessimistic Mr. Hedges, I think there’s a chance at survival, at least for the long term.

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By Inherit The Wind, February 5, 2009 at 8:56 pm Link to this comment


When I need a shrink I won’t come to Truthdig to find one in public on the Internet.  So please stop you quackish malpractice of “diagnosing” me.  You aren’t qualified.  Even if you have a degree in shrinkery, it is malpractice to do it on-line, in public.

I know, I know—you are still stuck in the old Soviet idea that anyone who challenges the State and Marxism MUST be clinically insane and thus they locked up dissenters.  I see you are their ideological child.

I haven’t had to “figure out” that Likud is a disaster for both Israelis and Palestinians—I knew it 30 years ago when Begin, an ex-terrorist himself, made the Camp David accords so difficult to reach.  I still don’t know why Jimmy Carter wasn’t the one with Nobel Peace Prize—He was patient beyond belief and didn’t strangle Begin—as hard as it must have been to resist.

So quit your quackery and save your fiction for when you write YOUR “Great American Novel”...

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By radson, February 5, 2009 at 8:23 pm Link to this comment

To Shenonymous

Thanks for the reply ,from what i have read there already exists constructive dialogue between us .You have highlighted
Folktruthers name and spelled it correctly,not bad at all. Actually i do enjoy taking hikes im an outdoorsman it’s good
for the body and mind.A basher of trees i am not,could you please explain to me what a Hamas sympathizer is,might it
be similar to the Coalition of the Willing or is it more closely related to the other Europe.There is one final question that befuddles
me ,and that is what is the definition of the State of Israel. OH whether you stay or not is your choice.


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By Folktruther, February 5, 2009 at 8:22 pm Link to this comment

Radson- you get the idea.  Shenonymous is suffering some kind of intellectual confusion that I don’t really understand very well, but, unfortunately,  may be common in the American people, or in all people.  She’s not a bad person, or even a Zionist like Sepharad or Inherit, but, while being intellignet, she just doesn’t seem to be able to think straight.  the reason it is important is if it is common in the American people, they can’t be reached easily, or at all,  by reason or evidence.

For example, Shenonymous believes that the Palestinians should be Transferred from their homes and country, which should be turned over to the Israelis.  No other truthdigger says this openly, even hardened Zionists, although this is increassing in the Jewish Israeli population, who will probably elect Natanyahu to further it. 

This ethnic cleasing can only be implemented by war, as was the ethnic cleasing of nearly a million Palestinians in the founding of the Israeli state.  Shenonymous literally doesn’t seen to realize the horrfic implications of depriving 3 or 4 people of their homes, jobs, busnesses and country. And lives.

This is not a consequence of moral callousness so much as a mental disconnect of some kind. This is true, to a lesser extent, with Inherit as well, who spouts the Aipac line at the same time, in my opinion, he understands in some sense that the Likud historical approach is not a viable historical strategy. He is like my relatives in that respect so I am more familiar with it.

If this is common in the American people, then they can’t be reached by reason, or at least by the kind of reason that is normal in Educated discourse.  My wife thinks it IS the rule in people, and they cannot be persuaded by reason.  It is true with her and she is a very intelligent, logical person in her work, which is supervising lawyers.  But she says quite frankly, about larger questions, I don’t like to think, it hurts my brain.

This non-rationality bothers me more than the irrationality of the religious dingbats.  How are people ever to rule themselves, how is political and econmic democracy ever to evolve historically if people can’t or don’t want to think straight?  We will simply be deluded by new forms of power delusions like those of religion and politics which has deluded people throughout history.

But most people can think straigher about their personal lives than more generally about people and power, not because we are so personally rational but because we are so politcally irrational.  I have a strong feeling that I am not thinking about the ideological problem in the right way.  All I’ve done was get Shenonymous very defensive and going on and on about Freedom of Speech or whatever.

The simple truth of the matter is that we simply don’t know how to change people’s ideology toward reason, and must rely on historical events that are a very stern teacher.  This would be a very melancholy and omnious conclusion.  Robert Musil, the Austrian novelist, maintained that we all live in the shadow of impending historical events to which we are blind and deaf.  I hope he is more wrong than right, but I’m afraid I tend to agree with Hedges.  It’s not going to be OK.

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By Shenonymous, February 5, 2009 at 7:20 pm Link to this comment

I don’t mind repeating, Mr. radson, for your benefit, the motivation for my comment.  Please read, “Inherit argued that Israel had no choice but to kill Palestinan defenseless, and Maani argued that the chldren in the homes were probably terrorists anyway. Sepharad and Sheronymous simply ignore Israli barbarism, or deny it.

This is understandable since Sheronymous is openly in favor of ethinic cleansing, Transfering the Palestinians and takeing away their homes, jobs and country,  and the other Zionists disguize this incressingly popular Israeli view with various apologetics and anti-Muslim bigotry.” Posted By Folktruther, February 5 at 4:45 pm. 

Now unless you are just another Shenonymous banshee basher, kindly keep your own vicious comments to yourself.  If you are, then you are to be bagged along with your Hamas sympathizing coalition.  Perhaps you need to read more about the virtue of freedom of speech before you try to give any poly sci lectures.  By the way, I can be just as crude as is given.  Worse really.  But I refrain until it is dished out.  If you don’t like my posts, take a hike.  I’m here to stay.

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By radson, February 5, 2009 at 6:25 pm Link to this comment

To Shenonymous

I found your rebuttal to be very crude and ignorant and also threatening, but nevertheless i pity you.Why is is that you may ask,because you
are a victim of extreme propaganda,which is inhibiting your ability to think clearly and independently ,but you are not alone.This nonsense
has been guiding the lives of the majority of the citizens of this small planet for as far back as you wish to go.As time goes by the techniques
being employed are becoming more coercive and dangerous to all involved.Masters of this game are mostly infamous individuals and it’s a shame
that so many study them in order to better the craft ,needless to say it is not for the improvement of societies in general.Freedom of speech is a
fundamental right of all people regardless of colour or creed ,but unadultered knowedge is also fundamental especially for the future which comprises
all children of all races.I welcome all points of views ,because the point of a discussion is to delve into the unknown to further one’s understanding
of the individualism which is inherit in all of us .Shenonymous if you wish to talk to robots call the Japanese they will build as many as you desire,in the
meantime try to be more diplomatic ,and respect the truthdiggers pen names.

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By KDelphi, February 5, 2009 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment

I would like to apologize to anyone who signed the petition, at the link I provided, on one thread, in support of CBS/60 Minutes report about Gaza. I hope none of you got the propaganda emails I am now getting. I sould give you his email. I dont know where he got mine. If you get one, it says it is from CBS/60 Minutes, but, it is from some guy—-never heard of him, and, I am afraid to click on the link he gives.

This propaganada machine is really turning people off…not helping Israel’s “cause” one bit!

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By Shenonymous, February 5, 2009 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

Oops, meant to say
I hope the day for quite a few of you is totally ruined by Shenon’s showing up.

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By Shenonymous, February 5, 2009 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment

So this is where the Hamas thieves of aid supplies consolers are hiding out.  Someone told me.  You see, Folkliar, not everybody hates the grandame Shenonymous.  The tongue-tied have skedaddled the other forum.  The right to free speech wins!

Do see the New York Times article published Feb. 4 “Agency Says Hamas Took Aid Intended for Needy.”  Just like the bloody rats!  Did they think no one was watching?  Or didn’t they get to murder the watchers soon enough?  The agency is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.  Who is going to be the first to accuse Unrwa as being Zionist sympathizers?

Sepharad, if I may be so bold as to offer a small bit of advice, even though you are one of the strongest, most gentle minds to grace Truthdig.  Do not say one word in defense, unless you want to that is.  You do not need to.  The tongue-tied Hamas sympathizers that have invaded the Truthdig forums say nothing of real importance.  None has your intelligence nor honest altruism.

I hope the day for quite a few of you by showing up.

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By Inherit The Wind, February 5, 2009 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther, February 5 at 1:45 pm #

As Israel gets increasingly barbaric, their advocates become incrreasingly brutal and dishonest.  Inherit argued that Israel had no choice but to kill Palestinan defenseless, and Maani argued that the chldren in the homes were probably terrorists anyway. Sepharad and Sheronymous simply ignore Israli barbarism, or deny it. 

Please stop presenting your fantasies as if they were actual facts and events that happened.  Nobody said anything of the kind.  Your predilection to invent awful things that you claim other posters have put up is truly some sort of compulsive sickness.

Or may be it’s a deliberate propaganda effort, a la the tactics used for 30 years by the radical religious fundamentalists on the far right—keep saying something and it becomes “the truth” regardless of its factual basis.

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By Leefeller, February 5, 2009 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment

If indeed Israel is doing any of the things mentioned then accountability needs to be addressed and the culprits called to task.  Tall tails may not be accepted. 

Making accusations towards other posters as the Previous comments, by saying someone supports ethnic cleansing is unfounded for I have read all the accused posts and the unsubstantiated accusations, show a high regard for twisting facts only one jump from the original quotes. one can imagine if distanced by a few more adjustments, growing lies and twisted stories can accuse posters of throwing Palestine babies in the air and catching them on their bayonets. 

Sick as the war is, constant twisted lies will never solve anything, excreted from small minds like this,  we see some sort of sick self righteous vindictive got you, nothing more. 

It is one thing to disagree, but to accuse as such, sort of shows us the reality of things as it escalates into madness, such as war itself.

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By Folktruther, February 5, 2009 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

Bertil-There are other horrifying eyewitness accounts of Israeli soldiers shooting parents in front of their children or children in fromt of their parents.  McCachy newspapers printed 8 different independent accounts of Israeli soldiers using Palestinian women and children as bait or guides in destroying homes and families.

As Israel gets increasingly barbaric, their advocates become incrreasingly brutal and dishonest.  Inherit argued that Israel had no choice but to kill Palestinan defenseless, and Maani argued that the chldren in the homes were probably terrorists anyway. Sepharad and Sheronymous simply ignore Israli barbarism, or deny it. 

This is understandable since Sheronymous is openly in favor of ethinic cleansing, Transfering the Palestinians and takeing away their homes, jobs and country,  and the other Zionists disguize this incressingly popular Israeli view with various apologetics and anti-Muslim bigotry.

You are quite right that the Zionist War on Terrorism is dirrected primarily at the American people, and Obama is continuing it with this in mind.

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By Leefeller, February 5, 2009 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

Actually I am skeptical of either story, seems truth is always hidden behind the flabby folds of rhetoric. As witnesses pass on the stories to others,  stories move further away from fact.

One thing I do believe, is people are dieing for reasons of no reason at all. 

Blame is the pointers tool.

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By Bertil, February 5, 2009 at 1:28 pm Link to this comment

“An eyewitness account of the horrors of the aftermath from Barbara Lubin of the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA)

I entered the Gaza Strip on Wednesday night with my friend and fellow activist Sharon Wallace after waiting ten hours at the Egypt/Gaza. The destruction and trauma is even greater than I expected.

In just two short days I met with families who were given minutes to evacuate their homes and are now living in overcrowded UN schools; I saw the ruins of bombed greenhouses; I looked out the window at fields and roads torn up by the tread of Israeli tanks; and I visited two universities where MECA supports students with scholarships-severely damaged by Israeli bombs.

Out of all the devastation I have seen so far, there is one story in particular that I think the world needs to hear. I met a mother who was at home with her ten children when Israeli soldiers entered the house. The soldiers told her she had to choose five of her children to “give as a gift to Israel.” As she screamed in horror they repeated the demand and told her she could choose or they would choose for her. Then these soldiers murdered five of her children in front of her. The concept of “Jewish morality” is truly dead. We can be fascists, terrorists, and Nazis just like everybody else.”

Reminds me of what Leefeller wrote about how the Japanese treated the Chinese.

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By agman, February 5, 2009 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

Who used these children as shields? Who placed their weapon in the midst of their civilian population, in their schools, in their mosques? Who has in their charter the goal of destroying Israel?  Who broke the cease fire?

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By Leefeller, February 5, 2009 at 8:57 am Link to this comment

It seems to be if one side says it will push the other into the ocean and if the other side does not want to go into the ocean, peace is not an option.  I find the beerdoctors last post most acceptable from the US perspective.  Your with us or against us mentality is not steps in the direction of peace. 

Insults to posters who disagree with others opinions seem the same small bigoted mental attitude which continue on for ever,  an emulation of no resolve but enchantment. 

Bigoted thought is not thought at all.

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By Robert, February 5, 2009 at 8:37 am Link to this comment

Irish Civil Society Calls For Boycott of Israel

By Pulse

February, 04, 2009 - “Pulse”—The following letter was published in a full-page advertisement in The Irish Times on 31 January 2009:

The original ad, including signatures may be downloaded here. [PDF]

“Israel’s bombardment of Gaza killed over 1,300 Palestinians, a third of them children. Thousands have been wounded. Many victims had been taking refuge in clearly marked UN facilities.

  This assault came in the wake of years of economic blockade by Israel. This blockade, which is illegal under international humanitarian law, has destroyed the Gaza economy and condemned its population to poverty. According to a World Bank report last September, “98 percent of Gaza’s industrial operations are now inactive.”

  The most recent attack on Gaza is only the latest phase in Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people and appropriation of their land.

Israel has never declared its borders. Instead, it has continuously expanded at the expense of the Palestinians. In 1948, it took over 78 percent of Palestine, an area much larger than that suggested for a Jewish state by the UN General Assembly in 1947. Contrary to international law, Israel expelled over 750,000 Palestinians from their homes. These refugees and their descendants, who now number millions, are still dispersed throughout the region. They have the right, under international law, to return to their homes. This right has been underlined by the UN General Assembly many times, starting with Resolution 194 in 1948.

In 1967, Israel occupied the remaining 22 percent of Palestine: the West Bank and Gaza. Contrary to Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel has built, and continues to build, settlements in these occupied territories. Today, nearly 500,000 Israeli settlers live in the illegal settlements in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), and the number grows daily as Israel expands its settler program.

Israel has resisted pressure from the international community to abide by the human rights provisions of international law. It has refused to comply with UN Security Council demands to cease building settlements and remove those it has built (Resolutions 446, 452 and 465) and to reverse its illegal annexation of East Jerusalem (252, 267, 271, 298, 476 and 478). Since September 2000, over 5,000 Palestinians, almost 1,000 of them minors, have been killed by the Israeli military.

Eleven-thousand Palestinians, including hundreds of minors, languish in Israel jails. Hundreds are detained without trial. In addition, Israel is breaking international law by imprisoning them outside the occupied territories, thereby making it almost impossible for their families to visit them. Every year, hundreds of Palestinian homes are demolished. The Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza livesw imprisoned by walls, barriers and checkpoints that prevent or impede access to shops, schools, workplaces, hospitals and places of worship. They are subjected to restrictions of every kind and to daily ritual humiliation at the hands of occupation soldiers and checkpoint guards.

Invasion, occupation and plantation of their land is the reality that Palestinians have faced for decades and still face on a daily basis, as their country is reduced remorselessly. Unless, and until, this Israeli aggression is halted, and the democratic rights of the Palestinian people are vindicated, there will be no justice or peace in the Middle East. Israel’s 40-year occupation of the West Bank and Gaza must be ended.

The occupation can end if political and economic pressure is placed on Israel by the international community. Recognizing this, the Palestinian people continually call on the international community to intervene.”

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By thebeerdoctor, February 5, 2009 at 5:09 am Link to this comment

re: cyrena

reading your 2/4 post at 8:13 pm, reminded me of what the beef about the Middle East conflict is truly about as an American citizen. To be quite honest with you, all that religious stuff, is quite frankly, just more cumbersome stuff. I mean I do not give a damn what a person professes their faith to be (the big 3 desert gods are always causing one another trouble), I am just seeking peace through mutual respect and understanding.
If the situation was reversed, and the United States chose to support some Muslim entity in a massacre of a neighboring population, my protests would be exactly the same. No U.S. money for murder, period.

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By cyrena, February 5, 2009 at 3:37 am Link to this comment

By Bertil, February 4 at 6:28 am

Mad as Hatters eh Bertil? Yes, I do believe YOU are!! There’s still that racism problem we haven’t quite fixed. You’re part of that unresolved issue, but natural attrition is picking up speed.

That’s the good part.

Shouldn’t be long now, before we can finish shedding ourselves of this riff-raff, or at least keep you all safely at bay in your rabbit hole.

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By Sepharad, February 4, 2009 at 10:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Inherit—Thanks for trying to buffer Folktruther’s craziness. His thinking that I’m anything even approaching a Likud Zionist, hardened or otherwise, makes about as much sense as saying I’m “above” Howard and you in some weird way only he understands. (I’ve MET some visiting Likud Zionists futilely pitching to our local JCC, and to put it mildly we did not hit it off. They don’t like being questioned by anyone else with ties to Israel and they don’t like facts any more than Folktruther does. But what they REALLY hate is Peace Now and Amos Oz. I’m not usually rude to strangers but sometimes nothing else short of violence makes sense. In any case, they left in a huff and didn’t stay for our area’s annual Seder on the River gathering.)

At the moment, I’m curious to see what’s going at the “It’s Not Going to Be OK” thread. Have you read Wolin’s book?

Cyrena, tax dollars to Israel like any other use to which our government puts them is always debateable by those of us who pay taxes. As investments go you could do worse. The environmental advances, biotech/biomedical research—maybe a cure and reversal of damage for Alzheimers patients—and other positive aspects of Israel’s contributions to the world—not to mention frivolities such as educational opportunities in the region, music, literature and archaeological activity are balm for the civilized world. You’re welcome to focus on the armaments or whatever else you find objectionable if you want, but it is not the whole picture. If I were a New Agey person which I am not, I might say Israel is lllife-affirming and more than pulling its weight, especially per capita, in justifying taking up breathing space.

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By cyrena, February 4, 2009 at 9:13 pm Link to this comment

•  “We are no less loyal Americans for our devotion to the survival of Israel, and in fact reflect the best qualities of America in pushing hard in the peace movement, in attempting to nurture and back joint economic projects between Israelis (Arab and Jew) and people living inside the West Bank and, pre-Hamas, in Gaza as well).”

I get your well-intended meaning here Sheparad, especially since you actually admit that Israel should contain their ‘existence’ within the pre-1967 boarders to which it was generously relegated to begin with.  The only people in the history of the modern world to ever be ‘awarded’ their very own Apartheid state, and have it recognized and supported by US taxpayer dollars, for over 60 years.
However, it that latter minor detail that DOES make you less than loyal Americans, because YOUR devotion to the survival of Israel shouldn’t be costing the rest of us money. As a tax-paying American citizen, I have absolutely NO PROBLEM with your or anyone else’s ‘devotion’ to the survival of Israel, as long as it is NOT at my or any other person’s EXPENSE! It’s only when another entire ethnic group of people have to DIE, or when we Americans have to contribute to the cost of their slaughter, that you become very DISloyal Americans in your devotion to the survival of Israel.

The survival of Israel ~in its current form~ (which is the only form acceptable to the political powers in Israel) is DEPENDANT on the destruction of the Palestinians. Without the destruction of the Palestinians, Israel cannot exist in it’s preferred Apartheid form. (neither could South Africa). And without US aid that amounts to at LEAST $3billion a year, Israel wouldn’t be able to finance the occupation and the continued destruction. Your devotion to such efforts to maintain such a state is therefore costing us a whole bunch of money, and the lives that could be saved with it, here and there.

Not so loyal at all.

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By Inherit The Wind, February 4, 2009 at 8:07 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther, February 4 at 4:55 pm #

Sepharad is by far the most sophisticated, hardened and thus dangerous of the Likud Zionists, miles above Howard and Inherit.  We are lucky that there aren’t many like her.

Sepharad a Likud Zionist???????????  FT, are you out of your tiny mind???? (wait—I withdraw the question).  You’ve never seen or MET a Likud Zionist if you think that.

I’ll chalk this one up to reckless exaggeration, rather than an out-and-out canard.

You gotta be careful of Sepharad, FT…She cheats, you know.  She uses facts and logic, not absurd neo-marxist religious dogma pretending to be analysis.  No wonder she scares you!

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By Folktruther, February 4, 2009 at 5:55 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad is by far the most sophisticated, hardened and thus dangerous of the Likud Zionists, miles above Howard and Inherit.  We are lucky that there aren’t many like her.

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By Leefeller, February 4, 2009 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment


Yes the Rape of Nanjing from what I have heard was the worst, the Japanese were quite ruthless.  Always remember reading about the Japanese solders throwing babies into the air and catching them with their bayonets.

For some reason I do not believe Israel is as ruthless as the Japanese were during the 1930’s and 40’s.

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By Sepharad, February 4, 2009 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

thebeerdoctor—I sympathize with Ed Harges point of view and in fact responded at length in a post that either was lost by the computer or censored by the webmaster. I’m one of many Zionists who do believe Israel should go to the pre-‘67 borders (even though it’s still hard to wrap my mind around Jews not belonging in Judea). Sharon realized this long ago, based on demographics and the realization that no Arab country was ever going to allow the Palestinians to build normal lives, so if Israel wanted to survive in peace the settlers in Gaza as well as West Bank had to go, and Israel needed to make sure the second state could sustain itself. (As the father of the settlement movement in the first place, Sharon was uniquely qualified to pulls this off, and the stroke that put him into a coma could not have come at a worse time for both Palestininans and Israelis.)  Before that time and since, Israelis (both Arab and Jew) have been attempting to build economic partnerships with West Bank Palestinians, some of which, though interrupted by the second intifada, have miraculously survived and made some measurable economic gains but not enough. Given the situations with Iranian-supported Hamas and Hezbollah, Peace Now and similar movements are having an increasingly harder time garnering support from distrustful Israelis who object to rockets in their backyards and kindergarten roofs. I don’t know why it’s so difficult for people with the intellectual capacity of many truthdiggers to understand that there are huge variations of opinion and program among zionists of all stripes, among Israelis, etc. People such as Daniel Pipes and Richard Perle are frequently held up as typical American pro-Israel Zionists, and it’s assumed that all of us agree with every policy of the Israeli government. That only strengthens extremists who say to Israelis “See? The world doesn’t understand you; only we do.” They represent a strain of thought that will only lead to more sorrow and suffering. For a more representative example look at the Jewish Forward, an East coast-based paper that’s been around since the late 1800s, originally printed only in Yiddish. Its orientation re American, international and Israeli matters reflects just about every point on the spectrum from the old Lincoln Brigaders to farther right (but rarely as far as Perle and Pipes, who come in for a lot of criticism as does Israel when she steps out of line.

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By Kathy, February 4, 2009 at 11:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When did we stop caring about civilian deaths during war?

At first, Dresden came to mind, and the bombing of Japan, then I remembered the Rape of Nanjing.

The slaughter of Chinese civilians in Nanjing was not done at thousands of feet by droping a bomb. It was done on the ground, with the evey of all the foreign powers right there, watching, wringing their hands, and silent afterwards. So, my vote goes to the Rape of Nanjing, because the world stood by actually watching, and not on TV, but watching live, as civilians were slaughtered in the most brutal and savage ways.

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By thebeerdoctor, February 4, 2009 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

Ed Harges 7:13 pm post gets to the heart of the political confusion concerning the Middle East (Prometheus is chained to the rock). Equivocating posters such as Sepharad will offer such gems as: “Arabs and Jews don’t have to LOVE each other: they just need to find a way to live next door,” Which is reasonable enough, if you recognize that much of what consists of the country of Israel is actually illegally stolen land. Putting aside the Nakba, it behooves the self proclaimed chosen people to move back to their previous 1967 borders, as called for in U.N. res. 242, but of course the Zionist extremists will hear none of that. Funny how they are shocked that Hamas would like to them see out of Palestinian land, but actually claim they want the Palestinians to recognize their right to exist, when Israel’s policy is one of constant violence and humiliation. What an outlandish hideous joke.

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By Leefeller, February 4, 2009 at 8:02 am Link to this comment

Comparing Obama to Bush is ludicrous, at least give Obama eight years for the body count comparison.

Using drones to hunt down and Kill alleged bad guys may be useful in the lovely world of Palin, she could use them to hunt down wolves,  but it will be harder to pick up the carcass trophy’s. 

The great Military complex is so big and the only money maker in the new world order of things.

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By Bertil, February 4, 2009 at 7:28 am Link to this comment

Obama has become a murderer.  Recently, he okayed a strike in Afghanistan that killed 20 people including some children.  He also will not stop the renditioning program as developed by that fat-ass Scheuer. 
He has to step it up if he wants to match or even compete with George W.‘s tally of more than one million Iraqis and Iraqis. 
Military thinkers have known for a long time that you cannot win a war by bombardment, so why’s this tactic being used.  Well, I think that they now think that with the drone and they can stand behind the “precsion bombing” lie, and Americans will buy it or ignore it or maybe just get used to it.  Recruits especially like the high tech approach, after all, it might lead to a job after their career in the killing business. 
But behind that naivete is another reason no one wants to face. The War, the long War is against us—civilians, all over the world, of all colors.
Both Bushes were backers of the C. Boyden Gray family plan of eugenics.
Now, Obama seems to want to count himself in. I think with the American oligarchs, the eugenics policy has become more urgent. 
After 3 weeks of this clown in the WH, I can see the attacks on innocent civilians stepping up.  There will be no peace until this country rids itself of the rule of a few finianciers.  Let’s face it, these people are, no doubt, mad as hatters, and they won’t stop.

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By cyrena, February 4, 2009 at 12:53 am Link to this comment

By richardbelldc, February 3 at 9:54 am
“..I don’t oppose efforts to create norms restricting violence against civilians. But George W. Bush has so tragically demonstrated, there will always be lawyers at hand ready to justify ignoring legal restrictions. The question remains, what are we willing to do to stop or to punish any nation that begins killing civilians.”

Bullseye on the real question here richardbelldc, since the norms have already been created to restrict violence against civilians, AND to establish rules of war. The Geneva Conventions and the stuff from the International Committee of the Red Cross put it all into the normative process long ago, and this is codified. It’s codified in the Genocide Convention and the Torture Convention, and dozens of others we could cite here. So the real question is, as you say, when are we going to actually enforce these laws, which includes prevention and punishment.

It’s true that Dick Bush (with Cheney’s shadow guys like David Addington and John Yoo, just to name two) did everything they could to pulverize our own Constitution, and obviously ignored all other International Laws as well. But, they were for the most part an anomaly. Not to say that prior administrations haven’t done their own share of lawbreaking, but the Dick Bush regime has the record, and at least the last 30 years of US foreign policy has been dictated by a Zionist/Apartheid agenda for Israel. Until that changes, we won’t get about the business of stopping this violence against civilians or punishing the culprits. But, I think that has already begun to change in US policy.
There have been some moderate successes within other societies that have suffered under military dictatorships and genocides, at least in terms of trying to get to something via the Peace and Reconciliation Commissions. (Rwanda had one, and so did the people of Chile in a symbolic way that at least acknowledged what had been done to them by the Pinochet regime).

Still, until the world community steps up and calls things what they are, CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY, and actually uses the tools (specifically the Laws) to enforce a stop and the punishment, then we’re pretty screwed. As more people become more informed however, there’s that much more pressure on the bad guys.

Meantime, there is ZERO excuse for ignoring the carnage of innocents in Darfur and Somalia, because it’s the same old thing..nobody will call it what it is…Genocide…and send help from the International Community.

Meantime, that hardly lets Israel off the hook for the past 60 years of their killing sprees.

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By Sepharad, February 3, 2009 at 9:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ed Harges, I understand what you’re saying and sympathize. (I too am weary of having to defend Israel to fellow progressives while also prodding Israeli policies and practices from the inside AND trying to fight those who pose existential threats to Israel, education being the strongest weapon in the arsenal.) We are no less loyal Americans for our devotion to the survival of Israel, and in fact reflect the best qualities of America in pushing hard in the peace movement, in attempting to nurture and back joint economic projects between Israelis (Arab and Jew) and people living inside the West Bank and, pre-Hamas, in Gaza as well).

Yes, there are some pretty scary people in hard-core American Zionist movements and Aipac and many of us, myself included, also oppose them at every opportunity as they endanger both America and Israel. I don’t know if you’ve ever read the Jewish Forward (no reason you would actually; it’s an old, old newspaper which in its inception was printed only in Yiddish, and pretty much represents mildly leftish American Jews back East, not so much the orthodox and conservative religious—think old Lincoln Brigaders and young left-wing Zionists) but it frequently criticizes Israeli politicians and policies yet most of its readers would probably lay down under a tank to save Israel, as long as Israel was in a righteous place. And boy do American lefties hammer them when they aren’t. You think YOU’RE sick of us!

Therre has been excessive lobbying the last 60 years needed to compensate for one word: Oil. Israel has not a drop, and friendly U.S. Presidents such as JFK have had to fight their own state departments and CIA to a stand-off to do anything at all for Israel. As Bush Sr.‘s guy Jim Baker said, “F—- the Jews. Our interests follow the oil and it ain’t in Israel.” Some people on truthdig—Patrick Henry comes to mind—are very resentful of the amount of American treasure that has gone into Israel. He’s entitled to that opinion, he’s not an anti-Semite. But being opposed to Israel does not mean someone is NOT an anti-Semite, either, and it’s not hard to distinguish. When people like Eileen, hearing of the financial crisis last year, comment that the rich Jews are in trouble now, or something to that effect, it’s not progressive: it’s sheer ‘30s Germany anti-Semitic demagoguery. And speaking of being sick of something, it’s disgusting when people who should know better reflexively defend Hamas and Hezbollah as being pure shields of Islam standing up to the nasty Israelis. I spend a lot of time in Israel talking with Israeli Arabs and others, as well as with Jews. Born into a Peace Now family divided between America and Israel, I never stop trying—and neither do most Israelis, to bring out what is best in that country, to make life better for the Palestinians, our cousins really, who also have long historical roots in the same region. They need their own state, and it needs its own army and police, but first there has to be a semblance of an economy and the beginnings of a decent educational system. Israel needs to apologize to the Palestinians for the uprooting of their lives during the ‘48 war but the Palestinian refugees also must realize that by leaving Israel to be destroyed by Arab armies instead of staying to fight next to them (as many did), and by massacres of Jews pre-war and actions taken against them since, they too have apologies to make. Then the Palestinians can take responsibility for themselves and stop waiting for other Arabs to show any interest in helping. If they’re not wanted in Egypt, Jordan or Lebanon, fine, they will have their own state next to Israel, and Israel will be glad to help in exchange for peace and recognition of their right to exist. It will take a long time for resentments on both sides to heal but we share much in common but it’s late: Palestinians are angry and Israelis are scared and angry. So we’ll see.

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By Ed Harges, February 3, 2009 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment

To vancemack and other pro-Israel zealots who wonder why so many of us on “the left” don’t grouse as much about the violence in Darfur or Syria or Tibet wherever else as we do about Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians:

There are two main reasons that we focus like a laser beam on Israel.

They are these:

(1) Of all of these foreign conflicts it is only in the case of the Israel/Palestine conflict that for more than 60 years our government has been committed to a degree that can only called fanatical to supporting the party that is fundamentally not only in the wrong but by far the stronger. Furthermore, only in the case of Israel is this fanatical US government commitment to one side in the conflict so extreme that it is contrary not only to any sort of “moral values” Americans are supposed to represent, but even diametrically injurious and contrary to US material interests conceived in any practical sense whatsoever, including the crassly materialistic. This fanatical dedication has resulted in a situation where the US is identified with the perpetrators of these crimes, to a degree that is simply not the case with respect to Darfur or Syria or wherever. Only in the case of the Israel/Palestine conflict does one side of the conflict enjoy a fleet of powerful foreign lobbies in Washington that do not even have to register as a foreign lobbies or abide by the restrictions that are placed on all other foreign lobbies in terms of campaign financing and other political activities.

(2) It is only in the case of the Israel/Palestinian conflict that we have the anomalous situation where — because of the long-standing role of American Jews in left/liberal causes, law, and journalism — there is a blind spot within the left and within the antiwar movement, because the passionate commitment to Israel makes Israel sacrosanct to many of those who otherwise are liberal, left, or even radical in their politics. Indeed, many on the left - especially Jewish leftists - will condemn the US government and even the American people in terms that amount sometimes to demonization, but will not tolerate any criticism of Israel that is not couched in the most reverential terms which imply an essential moral and spiritual superiority on the part of the Holy Nation. We on the left are required by these zealots - on pain of being charged with anti-Semitism - to be more unquestioningly supportive of Israel than of our own country. This, after a while, becomes nauseatingly intolerable, and one finally begins a long process of vomiting up a lifetime’s worth of pro-Israel force-feeding.

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By brewerstroupe, February 3, 2009 at 8:04 pm Link to this comment

You missed the point….my statement compared “accurate” weaponry and INTENTIONS with the “accuracy and intentions” of a truck bomb parked outside of a nightclub.  Which is more humane?
Please link me to the episode you speak of. To the best of my knowledge, when Hamas became a political Party they declared a moratorium on terror attacks and have stuck with it for about 6 years.

- what gives Hamas the “right” to break a cease fire that THEY agreed to?

Your information is incorrect. The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center admits that Israel (a) did not keep their pledge to open the border crossings and (b) broke the ceasefire on U.S. election day with a raid that killed 6 Palestinians.
Rabbi Henry Siegman, director of the US Middle East Project in New York, a visiting research professor at SOAS, University of London, former national director of the American Jewish Congress and of the Synagogue Council of America informs us:

“The truce, which began in June last year and was due for renewal in December, required both parties to refrain from violent action against the other. Hamas had to cease its rocket assaults and prevent the firing of rockets by other groups such as Islamic Jihad (even Israel’s intelligence agencies acknowledged this had been implemented with surprising effectiveness), and Israel had to put a stop to its targeted assassinations and military incursions. This understanding was seriously violated on 4 November, when the IDF entered Gaza and killed six members of Hamas. Hamas responded by launching Qassam rockets and Grad missiles. Even so, it offered to extend the truce, but only on condition that Israel ended its blockade. Israel refused. It could have met its obligation to protect its citizens by agreeing to ease the blockade, but it didn’t even try. It cannot be said that Israel launched its assault to protect its citizens from rockets. It did so to protect its right to continue the strangulation of Gaza’s population.

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By KDelphi, February 3, 2009 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

thebeerdr—Thank you, and, radson, thanks for your link (Canadian). The only thing they want to report on in the uS MSM is POLITICS.

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By Sepharad, February 3, 2009 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks, radson, for providing the Canadian Mail link. I read dozens of foreign papers online but basically only use the computer for writing articles and books and am easily thrown by trying to provide a link. Also I can’t cut and paste but have mitigating competencies in other regards.

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By Sepharad, February 3, 2009 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To the question asked by the article, I don’t think “we”, if by “we” the author means most of the decent people of the human race, have ever stopped caring about civilian deaths or, for that matter, the deaths of soldiers and the grief and long-term impact that has on their families. But I don’t think there has ever been some golden period when civilian death in wartime or natural disaster has not been significant. The reaction of course is governed by culture and custom, from tribes who leave old people behind to die on their own when are no longer productive and can no longer keep up, to people who embrace death as the martyr’s road to heaven or paradise (depending on which religion or ‘ism you’re talking about) to death before dishonor as practiced by samaurais and 20th-century Japanese officers after defeats, to the Aztecs amusing themselves with games played with other tribes in which the losing team was executed. The world has always been dominated by the conquest cycle; the creation of leagues of nations etc. really doesn’t change that reality, whether the conquest or resistance is in the form of physical fighting or economic dominance, because essentially human nature hasn’t changed. If you doubt the reality of economic warfare or domination, just look at the photographs by an old aquaintance, Sebastiao Saigado—ghostly gold miners in South Africa and Brazil, stick-like Somalians trekking through a barren landscape hoping to reach an inadequately staffed and supplied aid camp long since overwhellmed by the need, etc etc.

No country, no ethnic group, no race, no tribe does not have blood on its hands. (Yes, even the native Americans “displaced” other tribes who probably trekked across the land bridge from Siberia first, judging from linguists’ research on remnants of the Siberian Ob-Ugrian language buried in certain California tribes’ languages. The only way Pizarro and his 35 Spaniards were able to conquer the Inca empire that ruled from Equador to Chile was the lucky chance of arriving in the midst of a civil war between Atahualpa and his brother. Of course the Inca themselves had long since destroyed more learned, sophisticated tribes of which remain only traces.

Perhaps it only SEEMS that people are indifferent to civilian death because so much death occurs so much of the time all around the world that we no longer react to all of it unless it somehow affects us or people with whom we identify or is a consequence of acts by people we want to discredit or people we want to prove are good and true. What has anyone done about Darfur, or Chechenya, or Somalia or Zimbabwe or inter-sect warfare in which civilians die by the thousands?

Some countries try harder than others to avoid collateral damage; some people devote some of their time if not their entire lives to easing the suffering (i.e., more than simply airing their opinions). Most people decry calamitous man-made events but do little substantive to affect them and feel self-righteous anyway because they can say they cared enough to notice. But there is nothing new under the sun, the more things change the more they stay the same or (any other cliche that makes you feel morally more comfortable).

By all means, do whatever presents itself in your lifetime that you think will contribute to the quality of life—stop slavery wherever it exists, register voters, get an act declassifying government information so we at least know what they’re doing wrong, set up counseling for soldiers, help out their families while they’re gone, protest against wars your government is determined to wage and hope that what you do is not one of those obviously right things that down the line may have been the wrong thing. Pleasant dreams.

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By T, February 3, 2009 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

when has mankind ever cared about civilian deaths in war-time? What a stupid article w/no thought given to the history of man.  As always Mr Fisk you go out of your way to distort the facts to fit your world view.

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By radson, February 3, 2009 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment

To CTOS with reference to Patrick Martin’s article

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By Mark Dolce, February 3, 2009 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The bombing of innocent civilians behind enemy lines began in World War I - The War to End All Wars.

The killing of civilians of the enemy began a long time ago - this is another subject.

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By thebeerdoctor, February 3, 2009 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment

re: KDelphi

Thank you for the links to the Palestinian catastrophe.

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By Ctos, February 3, 2009 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment


Care to provide a source for your statement re Patrick Martin?

I can’t find anything at the Globe’s website to back up your assertion.

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By KDelphi, February 3, 2009 at 12:18 pm Link to this comment

Here is a link to the commercial , made by End The Occupation, with a grant from Culture of Resistance, that was supposed to be placed on Direct TV, who is now refusing to show it!

View it here (30 second version) (there is also an extended version)

Sign the petition to Direct TV:

Here is the Culture of Resistance site:


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By Sepharad, February 3, 2009 at 11:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Patrick Martin, Middle East correspondent of the Canadian Globe and Mail, reports that the Israelis DID NOT SHELL the UN school, and no shells fell in the school playground. He said that contrary to earlier reports, not a single child or adult inside the school was injured. The 43 people who were killed were outside the school and died from falling plaster and shrapnel from shelling the several sites of Hamas rocketing near the school, as well as from shooting. I suspect that the EU and UNRWA spokesmen will retract their condemnation of Israel in this affair, but do not expect any truthdiggers to pay attention. This site has become more witchhunt than truthdig.

Fadel Abdallah—found Fred Reed’s article interesting and indeed expressing some of the worst nightmares Israelis have themselves for their country. But there are enough Israelis who believe that peace can be achieved to the extent that Livni has said the settlers will be removed even if it takes a civil war to do it, echoing Ariel Sharon (not one of your favorite people, I know, but as the father of the settlement system he was uniquely well placed to call for its destruction if necessary for Israel’s survival). If the worst happens and Netanyahu is elected it will set everything years back, which I’m sure is what Hamas intended when it began its campaign to rocket Israel, knowing that the government could not forever not react. But I still think there will be a second-state resolution even it’s longer in coming. There are other aspects of Israel that must change: too much socialism almost destroyed the country but the resulting swing to too much capitalism with the consequent corruption is also dangerous and must be moderated. Meanwhile, I still believe that the people of Israel per capita have more than justified their existence in terms of what they have done to advance knowledge in a wide variety of areas. As I know you recall, Jews and Moslems long fought for the same land and Jerusalem against the Crusaders. This is why there is such a strong residual base in Israel who believe that there can be peace between Israel and Moslem countries. I know you don’t agree with me, but I did want to thank you for the Reed piece.

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By richardbelldc, February 3, 2009 at 10:54 am Link to this comment

Much as I admire Robert Fisk’s work, I’m puzzled by the weakness of his argument that there was some golden age, or at least a few moments, after the indiscriminate carnage of WWII when there was a meaningful consensus that slaughtering civilians was wrong. I don’t oppose efforts to create norms restricting violence against civilians. But George W. Bush has so tragically demonstrated, there will always be lawyers at hand ready to justify ignoring legal restrictions. The question remains, what are we willing to do to stop or to punish any nation that begins killing civilians.

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By Shelly, February 3, 2009 at 9:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This theme has been done by many many people way before this article.  Mr. Fisk needs to keep up with the bloggers and podcasters!
Yes, war has been normalized. Yes, war is now a normal part of U.S. life.  He’s right—civilian casualties are not people, they are “collateral”.  We are a completely militarized society and have been for some time. The United States Militarized Zone of America. That’s why the hiring of Obama as president is so numbing, because it clinches it.  War is what the people want. War is what they’ll get.  Drones drop bombs on houses in another country, the bombs say “U.S.A.” on them and no one cares. We buy bombs that kill people with our taxes and no one cares.  Israel bombs the frak out of Gaza, no one cares. Just a bunch of poor “collateral” dying. The apathy is the frightening thing.

People have been renamed other things too:  militants, insurgents, terrorists, enemy combatants, “the enemy”, what am I missing?  When you label people something to justify killing them, you can stop counting them when they die.

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By vancemack, February 3, 2009 at 9:00 am Link to this comment

I wonder…when will the ‘journalists’ take their crusade of peace (a noble cause I might add!!!) to the mountains of Pakistan, to the public squares of Iran, to the streets of Syria, to the homes of Hamas, to the leaders of AlQaida, to the terrorists in Algeria, or the Philippines, in Tibet for Gods sake…

This is as impotent as Bono going to south America and singing a crusade for Jews and Muslims to get along. Pretty safe and a wonderful message…very well received in Argenfreakintina…but probably wouldn’t be as well received in Tehran.

Its a little like going to police officers and screaming for an end to gang violence.

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By WMark, February 3, 2009 at 8:45 am Link to this comment

To Sepharad and BrotherWalt - well said!

To Brewerstroupe, who wrote:

“How is it that Hamas rockets, which cannot be aimed,  kill fewer than one or two Israelis in any one year and Israel just killed 1200, mostly women and children in a couple of weeks with “extremely accurate” weapons?”

You missed the point….my statement compared “accurate” weaponry and INTENTIONS with the “accuracy and intentions” of a truck bomb parked outside of a nightclub.  Which is more humane? 

To the others that have thrown personal insults back at me for my original comment - is there a question for me in there somewhere?  Here’s a question for you - what gives Hamas the “right” to break a cease fire that THEY agreed to?

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, February 3, 2009 at 8:27 am Link to this comment

War Lord mentality has been, though out history and continues with US being one of the biggest. Peace is not an option. Rightness of war is always touted as the reason, when the winner defines the final right.

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By radson, February 3, 2009 at 8:06 am Link to this comment

The heroes are bemedalled

the saints are few

the fools are many

the blue-blooded rule regardless of the cost

for chaos is the definition of progress

where profit is prime

regardless of crime

for crime it is when innocence is robbed of time

the cries go unheeded

for the children of the damned have no voice

or is it no choice

when capitalist greed spreads a seed is born

though at first it is unbeknown to most

yet after time it requires an insatiable thirst

that rapes the land and also the hand

the hand which toils until it falters

yet there are few alters

for progress needs none

still progress needs the son

to blind the one’s who die for naught

as we witness what is wrought before our eyes

and innocence dies

we laugh and drink as societies sink

into the quagmire of ruin

where history is lost or rewritten with poisonous fumes

to what end will this lead us

perhaps to the path of perdition.

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By BrotherWalt, February 3, 2009 at 6:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Fadel and Sepharad,

The three of us know that the ‘two state’ solution is a fiction. There has never been a Muslim map that has shown the state of Israel, because the entire Muslim world sees through Hitler’s glasses. They repeatedly say in Arabic what the President of Iran has stated openly: The Jews must be entirely destroyed! They have no peaceful intentions as long as one single Jew exists in the Middle East.

The Jews are being sold down the river by everyone and the stage is being set for the final eradication of the entire Israeli state. The US is being played like a grand piano by the Arabs. And we the people, have pretty much lost control of our own government. When politicians start talking up “The New World Order,” they aren’t whistling ‘Dixie’, they are an integral part of the international “One World Government” club that seeks complete and total control of the world’s financial and political systems. Many of these sweet folks loaned money to both sides in WW II. They can be traced back to the late 1700’s as The Illuminati, The Tri-Lateral Commission, The Masons, The Bildergergers, and several other groups. Queen Beatrice of Holland, David Rockefeller, and G.H.W. Bush, Henry Kissenger, and Dick Cheney are all leading the pack.  They all have one thing in common with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, that is they all hate the Jews.

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By cyrena, February 2, 2009 at 11:41 pm Link to this comment

By Fadel Abdallah, February 2 at 9:34 pm #

By WMark, February 2 at 5:33 pm #
How can someone take this stance (that civilian deaths are ignored during wartime) when it is radical Islamic terrorism that specifically targets unarmed civilians?  How can we accuse western forces of being barbaric when terrorists operate out of mosques and place rocket launchers next to school buildings? 
The same stinky bullshit coming from your stinky rectum rather than you brainless head!
Oh Fadel,
I laughed so hard I nearly fell off of my little homeless stool again. This sounds like something a few of my colleagues would say. (not to mention my young scholars and/or my nephews.) Their parents used to make mild protests, “(watch your language son) but now they don’t bother, especially since it’s almost ALWAYS true and therefore perfectly ‘appropriate.’

But, I’m getting really burned out on this ignorance, never really knowing (at least initially) if these creeps like WMark are really that ignorant, (because lots of them are) or if they’re on the Zionists’ Propaganda Payroll, making a couple of bucks off of each post as they troll this shit from site to site.

Either way, they’re dangerous and should be exorcised from any forum claiming to promote the search of the truth.

re: By brewerstroupe, February 1 at 3:38 pm

“{..}In the five years that I have been visiting Gaza and the West Bank, I have met hundreds of Hamas politicians and supporters. None of them has professed the goal of Islamising Palestinian society, Taleban-style. Hamas relies on secular voters too much to do that. People still listen to pop music, watch television and women still choose whether to wear the veil or not.

The political leadership of Hamas is probably the most highly qualified in the world. Boasting more than 500 PhDs in its ranks, the majority are middle-class professionals - doctors, dentists, scientists and engineers. Most of its leadership have been educated in our universities and harbour no ideological hatred towards the West. It is a grievance-based movement, dedicated to addressing the injustice done to its people. It has consistently offered a ten-year ceasefire to give breathing space to resolve a conflict that has continued for more than 60 years…” /guest_contributors/article5420584.ece


As usual, Thank you!!

Needless to say, this is worth posting again and again, until people begin to opt for the truth/reality over this insane propaganda from the Indian Jones movies. I mean really, it’s worse than the old Alice in the Rabbit Hole stuff.  I’m truly, truly, SICK of it!!

In fact, I’ve decided this is exactly the problem in the Western World, (or at least in the US). These people have more than 500 PhD’s in their ranks, and it’s very true that they are professionals across the spectrum. Meantime, over here in the USA, we’re mostly completely stupid, and suck up any half-baked bullshit they feed us. That includes but is not limited to accusing them of everything from honor killings to using their own beloved population as human shields. I swear I think that last one pisses me off more than any of them.

Or, maybe that’s just the one that grates hardest at the moment. After so many lies, and so much demonization, they all sort of start to blend together. It’s always refreshing to hear/read these truths/realities posted. It can’t happen enough.
Meantime, the hypocrisy of so many folks worried over the Islamizing of Palestinian Society – Taliban Style, while at the same time worshipping at the altar of Zionist Apartheid never ceases to amaze me.

Thanks again for the excellent resources.

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By Fadel Abdallah, February 2, 2009 at 10:34 pm Link to this comment

By WMark, February 2 at 5:33 pm #

How can someone take this stance (that civilian deaths are ignored during wartime) when it is radical Islamic terrorism that specifically targets unarmed civilians?  How can we accuse western forces of being barbaric when terrorists operate out of mosques and place rocket launchers next to school buildings? 
The same stinky bullshit coming from your stinky rectum rather than you brainless head!

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By Sepharad, February 2, 2009 at 9:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Brother Walt—I found, and referred to people on this website, though a different thread, a lot of the material about Hamas guaranteeing a huge civilian death toll, testimony from the Palestinian doctors in Gaza, Gazan eyewitnesses, etc. But no one has so much as looked it up, or commented or wants to be bothered. They believe that Hamas is good and Israel is bad and anything that doesn’t follow that line is ignored or written off as Zionist propaganda.
Anyway, I’m glad you picked up on the same material I found and am wondering how so many here have managed to avoid it, especially as some of it is being reported by Palestinian reporters as well as by Gazan civilians there when it happened.

I don’t believe that Israel bears zero responsibility for the civilian deaths in Gaza. I do believe that they made every attempt to minimize civilian deaths, that they went in knowing that Hamas would do what it could to raise that number of deaths, that there would be booby-traps to kill soldiers and civilians alike, and that there would be plans and efforts in place to kidnap Israeli soldiers. No other fighting force in the world has had to go into battle knowing all these things about its opponent, factors that the IDF had very little control over. They did the best they could, better than any other country’s forces would even try to do, and they did it in defense of their country’s survival. So yes they were responsible for some civilian deaths, and most of them regretted having to do that at all, but for Israel there is no choice until their antagonists recognize their right to exist and open normal relations. Arabs and Jews don’t have to LOVE each other: they just need to find a way to live next door, in economic cooperation and peace, and they cannot do this as long as Hamas or any other enemies dedicated to the destruction of Israel continue to indifferently target their civilians. Israel must feel safe enough to yank the settlers out of the West Bank, so the Palestinians can have their state. Gaza, inshallah, will one day get rid of and recover from Hamas.

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Robert's avatar

By Robert, February 2, 2009 at 8:28 pm Link to this comment

Postcard to Kenneth Roth

Palestines fault?

01.30.2009 |
By WiZaNe

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By brewerstroupe, February 2, 2009 at 6:55 pm Link to this comment


“Fortunately, today’s modern weapon technology enables us to be very selective and extremely accurate with our targets”

How is it that Hamas rockets, which cannot be aimed,  kill fewer than one or two Israelis in any one year and Israel just killed 1200, mostly women and children in a couple of weeks with “extremely accurate” weapons?

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By WMark, February 2, 2009 at 6:33 pm Link to this comment

How can someone take this stance (that civilian deaths are ignored during wartime) when it is radical Islamic terrorism that specifically targets unarmed civilians?  How can we accuse western forces of being barbaric when terrorists operate out of mosques and place rocket launchers next to school buildings?  Fortunately, today’s modern weapon technology enables us to be very selective and extremely accurate with our targets, unless you compare it to a truck bomb parked outside a nightclub.  That’s pretty darn selective, too.

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By richard east, February 2, 2009 at 6:12 pm Link to this comment

If only there were more Robert Fisks in the media today. There seems to be some small glimmer of hope for mankind when I read posts on truthdig; but then I think about the collective mentality of the nation, and I am once again depressed.

The question is, will humans ever evolve past the point of meaningless brutality and violence…all in the name of some obscure notion of power and wealth. Are human lives really worth it?

Humans were once sacrificed to please the gods. Now they’re sacrificed to please the gods of greed and power (the gods of war).

Felicity, I think you hit the nail on the head about our “glorifying of the soldier.” Of course, this has been done for thousand of years (but will it continue?)

Peace truthdiggers.

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