Real soldiers do not target children.

86057584_gsLexl1n If the BBC is to be believed, IDF soldiers are deliberately shooting women and children in Gaza.  Their TV reporting from the scene today interviewed doctors in hospitals who asked the obvious rhetorical question as to why they have children patients with multiple small arms wounds.  One child had two bullets in the head.  In the head, in the head, not fragments from large caliber weapons.  These were small arms bullets.  Israeli government spokesmen and demonstraters in New York are still "going on" about the peculiarly humane Israeli way of making war.  The protestations are wearing thin.  B'tselim, the Israeli human rights conscience is seeking to know whether or not these accusations of inhumanity are correct.  I, for one, will accept their judgment.

I have been in savage combats, and have had a hand in many more but the deliberate killing of children and women is something I have rarely seen.  I have seen the VC kill Montagnard women and kids.  That was the product of racial hatred on the part of the Vietnamese for these "Moi."  That was a personal exception for me.  Generally, fighters will walk away from the dead bodies of male adult enemies and leave the women and children to grieve and starve.

If this is different, the Israeli people need to know and to put a stop to it.  pl


This entry was posted in Current Affairs. Bookmark the permalink.

92 Responses to Real soldiers do not target children.

  1. Highlander says:

    The Jews must have been a right royal pain for you to deal with. When you were the Israeli desk.
    Because, to an impartial observer you sure don’t seem particularly inclined to give them the “benefit of a doubt”.
    I mean “fog of war” and potential Hamas propaganda distortions. These are things you were taught as far back as “The Institute”.
    How about giving us more of your impressions of Israel and the IDF.
    As always, thank you for your service.

  2. Keith says:

    I thought the following was an interesting bit of perspective:
    According to the author of “Black Hawk Down” up to 80% of the people killed in the first day of the First Battle of Mogadishu were innocents and civilians – roughly 800 civilians in 24 hours.
    Certainly the most polite adjective describing the apparent IDF goals in Gaza would “quixotic”, but were the goals of the initial US operation in 1993 really that much less so? Again, according to the author, Mark Bowden, “Some of the Rangers shot civilians, some of them inadvertently and some of them advertently.”
    Obviously there are differences, but I see enough parallels that I wonder how one can be depicted as a tale of epic heroism suitable for a major motion picture, and the other the worst crime against humanity since the Holocaust (to quote the most extreme hyperbole I’ve been reading).

  3. Patrick Lang says:

    I was never the Israel desk officer. I was in charge of the region from Morocco to Bangla Desh. “Jews?” Ah, the anti-semite card. I suppose that if you have no personal experience of any of this, then it is easy to “cut them slack.” “The fog of war?” Does that sum up your knowledge of Clausewitz? “Potential Hamas distortions?” Do you know that the BBC is propagating Hamas “distortions?’ It sounds like you have a dog in this fight.
    Did you have to search for this apologia for mass murder? pl

  4. adam says:

    “If this is different, the Israeli people need to know and to put a stop to it.”
    What makes you think that they don’t know about it?
    After all, for years they have been told that the women and kids of Gaza are deadly ninja enemies of Israel, each one a highly trained killing machine each one armed with the Jawbone of an Ass.
    Seriously, there is no sign in Israel that any major political group is against the current military plan of shooting everyone in Gaza. And the Israeli military isn’t going to rush to stop the killing. They like it.
    As Dan Halutz noted in 2002 the only thing he feels when dropping a bomb on civilians is a slight thump, and they made him Chief of Staff of the entire military. In 2006 he gave the famous 10 buildings order (for each rocket from Lebanon 10 multi-story buildings (or “houses” as we call them, in Lebanon will be destroyed), a straight example of collective punishment. Halutz only resigned in 2007 when his personal corruption issues caught up with him.

  5. Keith says:

    Did you have to search for this apologia for mass murder? pl

  6. S.D. says:

    As reported here:
    that is to say here.
    The rules of engagement are to “purge an area”.
    To me this sounds like orders given by Arkan, in the Drina Valley of Bosnia, to ethnically cleanse that area of Bosniaks. Truly,
    today being the 8th year since his death.
    [2000 – Zeljko Raznatovic, the notorious Serb paramilitary leader better known as Arkan, is shot and killed in a Belgrade hotel on this day in 2000 (Jan. 15]
    Apparently this is not COIN (counter-insurgency) al la Petraeus.
    There is no doubt that Hamas in firing their WWII battlefield rockets in the general direction of the father’s Palestine are committing a war crime.
    As well is Israel. The argument that this only breeds the next generation of terror as articulated here by journalist Chris Hedges
    is what I see as the net result.
    If it were happening to Basques, or Irish, Ivine County, it would be a problem. If Serbia does it to Kosovars or Bosnians…it is condemned.
    Animals have more conventions protecting them thatn this hi tech blitz.
    It is more Revenge and some vague notion of deterrence.

  7. G says:

    As a former israeli officer, and frequent reader of your blog, i’ve put aside a lot of my strong misgivings in order to learn from what seems to be your wealth of experience but this is simply too much.
    How could you claim to have spent any time at all working with the IDF in and still propagate this nonsense? This is shockingly short-sighted, especially for as someone who claims to have been in combat before. We shoot women and children on purpose? Seriously…

  8. YT says:

    Col., sir : Off topic, but glad to see that Israelis are visitin’ this site (evident from the Live Traffic Feed). A 3rd. person perspective of ’emselves?

  9. pbrownlee says:

    Ergo, these are not real soldiers — and that may have been the problem in a number of areas in Israel and elsewhere since 1967.
    Ben Gurion was right –“Now we must give all this land back at once,” he said. “Except Jerusalem, perhaps. That we will have to discuss.”
    Now it is too late.
    In 2006 Yoel Marcus wrote “…we have been wandering in a desert of illusion for 40 years, and they have been marching nowhere in blood and fire for 40 years. Enough is enough.”
    The choice will probably be between a totalitarian theocracy of some hue or a pluralist state with a nutjob rump.
    There is now no conceivable two state solution in Judaea/Palestine/Israel.

  10. Jose says:

    “The IDF has always had a problem with maintaining operational discipline over a long period, especially when reserve forces are involved.”:
    Obviously someone knows what is going on in Gaza and are preparing to do something about it:
    Hope we get more reports after the madness ends, so we can see if any war crimes charges get files.
    But I forgot, they are only Arabs….

  11. china_hand says:

    Yes, Colonel —
    It does seem as if you are drawing a few paid members of Israeli info-war units, here.
    “Jews”? In the years I have been reading this blog, you have always been keen to make careful distinction between Israel the State and the Israel of various religions, just as you are careful to distinguish between Jews and Zionists.
    I find it odd how so many American Jews seem, when involved in debate or polite conversation, to be utterly incapable of doing us gentiles the honor of publicly acknowledging these mundane distinctions.
    Thank you — very much — for providing a place on the web where loyal Americans can reasonably discuss Israeli actions and policy without having to worry about either the rhetorical abuse of people whose loyalty lies more with Israel than with the United States nor the disgusting excesses of jew-haters or other racists.
    I noticed how the BBC recently carried an article about how China is paying propagandists to surf the web and promote Chinese government policy. What i found shocking was how there was made no mention of the overt practice of Israeli and U.S. “think tanks” who do the same thing. For a taste, one only needs to spend a few days posting to the Wikipedia page on Palestine or Israel to see what i mean.
    I suspect that the Israeli intelligence services have a bureau that is devoted to precisely such harassment, but have yet to see any articles on it. It shouldn’t be surprising to me that the BBC would focus on China’s rather meager and belated efforts, but I do think it a shame that there has been no corresponding article on related Israeli efforts, which IMHO are far more worrisome.

  12. mo says:

    I was in Lebanon in 1982. The invasion where, as testified by pilots to Robert Fisk in Pity The Nation, the Israeli Air Force used photographs of buildings to find their target. Three buidlings around us, all of which inhabited by normal families were brought down. That invasion cost the lives of over 10,000 people.
    I was also still there when the massacres occured at Sabra and Shatilla.
    I was also 3 miles away from the UN compound in Qana in 96 when it was shelled by the Israelis killing 111 people. The Israelis, like when they hit the UN school in Gaza recently, and the UN base in 2006, claimed that there was firing from the base. Video footage from UN soldiers showed that, like the other examples, to be a complete and utter lie.
    And in 2006, like the report you link to, the Israelis, on more than one occasion, through flyers and/or other means, massacred convoys of people that they explicitly ordered or warned to leave certain areas.
    The fact is that through my entire life, I have seen nothing but civilian casulties at the hands of the IDF. I have, through being in Lebanon become blase to shelling. An explosion does not make me jump they way people who have led a normal life do. A gun does not scare me the way it should. In other words, I have been numbed to the dangers of war by my experiences. But something which I have seen, actually no, suffered, far too often, and have never become accustomed to (and hope I never will) is the sight of a dead child. The ultimate innocents, punished in the ultimate way.
    And when it happens with the frequency and number that it does when the Israeli army is involved, I see a pattern. A purposeful attempt to subjugate a population, be it Palestinian or Lebanese, by aiming its firepower on the children because it cannot defeat its adults.
    I believe that the Israeli defacto policy is the old adage: “It matters not if they hate us, as long as they fear us”. And it does not matter how much hate there is if there is an equal amount of fear. But what happens if that fear starts to ebb? What do you do when the enemy no longer fears you? You start to threaten his family, his children.
    Sir, if the Israeli people do not already know of their governements attitude towards Arab women and children, then they are either blind or worse, they have fallen into the trap so many socieites that have given free reign to murderous leaders, which is to become so wrapped up in their myths of victimisation, so immersed in their need for restitution, or even revenge for evils perpetrated on them in the past, that they cannot see they have become that very evil, that very victim creating criminal.
    Could it be that deep down, sub-consiously even, that the people of Israel are using the Palestinians as a punch bag to work out the many centuries of abuse they recieved in Europe? Im not qualified to even begin to answer that.
    But if anti-semitism is a way to demean and insult the people of Judaism, then I see no-one or nothing as demeaning and insulting to Judaism as the actions of the Zionists.

  13. eakens says:

    Damn near every single occasion in which a country, leader, international body (or person for that matter) condemns an Israeli action, then they are somehow either biased, anti-semitic, anti-Israeli, or simply pandering to the arabs or muslims.
    I would say that what Israel is carrying out today in Gaza is the ultimate in anti-Israel behaviour.

  14. A hasbara commenter at my blog also introduced the question of “US did it in Iraq, is it really illegal?”
    I think the purpose of such a question is to draw the blogger into an “attack on (American) troops” and hence look “un-American.”
    They may also be wishing to cast doubt in the mind of your readers as to whether killing civilians is really illegal. After all, American soldiers did it in Mogadishu, or Iraq.
    You would think they wouldn’t be so stupid as to try that tack with this blog’s audience. But you never know how stupid or desperate these anonymous hasbarim really are.
    I like that the first blogger uses Jeffrey Goldberg as a source. Oh really? Laughable.

  15. somebody says:

    this is not a military conflict, colonel.
    Israel thinks harassing civilians pressures Hamas. Hamas thinks this works for them.

  16. confusedponderer says:

    Highlander , Keith,
    you puzzle me. Just out of curiosity, what if the BBC reporting is indeed correct and Israeli troops do what is being reported? Does it matter? Does it matter to you? Do you have favourite civilian casualties?
    If what is being reported is true it is an outrage, no matter that it is being done by Israelis. It is quite simply unjustifiable.
    Or is it just the nature of war? Is this total war? Is Israel is caught in a locked, intractable struggle with Palestinians in which all Palestinian civilians are fair game, and, in reciprocation, all Israelis as well? Do you think that? If so, then an IDF trooper has the same ‘right’ to kill civilians as a suicide bomber, and both remain ‘honourable’ combatants. I don’t quite expect either of you to hold that view, or to endorse the consequences of that train of thought. But feel free to correct me.
    Or is the key to your view that there is no reciprocation? If so, why?

  17. G
    Since your wars are typically rather short, (exception would be the war of attrition with Egypt)it is virtually certain that I have spent a great deal more time in combat than you.
    Combat experience would be a barr to believing that the IDF or any other army might deliberately shoot civilians? Come now! If you really are a soldier with combat time, you know that if they are not kept under tight control, armed men are capable of almost anything. pl

  18. Keith
    Whether or not the IDF high command and the government intend mass murder in Gaza, they are accomplishing it.
    My post was aimed at street level action by units and individuals who may well be “off the leash” and acting out their hostility against civilians. This little war will end and foreign journalists will broadcast to the world whatever it is that is happening on the streets of Gaza. My guess is that little will be said of it on American corporate media, but the BBC will be there.
    Haditha? You are quick to seek to smear s–t on American soldiers. These marines were charged under UCMJ. Let us see what happens in the IDF after Gaza. pl

  19. Highlander says:

    No offense to you meant. I have the highest respect for you. Just seeking a little honest debate.
    As for media bias. I do have decades of experience in that area. And yes, it does exists. And yes, the BBC is one of the worst offenders.
    It is purely my personal opinion, but I think the BBC like a lot of liberals are closet anti semites. (oh,the irony of it all)
    I feel almost certain in your “uber spook days”, you ran across a little media manipulation.
    And no, I was not subtlely trying to play the anti semite card on you. I personally am a goyim boy.
    Technically speaking however,I believe the majority of Israelis are indeed a people called the “JEWS”. Why does everyone get a little antsy when you use the word?
    Now, it’s very cold in the hills today. I think a bit of grouse hunting is in order. I won’t be bothering you anymore.

  20. Halfnhalf says:

    If the following is Israeli’s idea of democracy: From Haaretz, January 13, 2009–“Israel bans Arab parties from running in upcoming elections”
    Then it is quite likely that the reserve IDF troops have an equally strange idea of who a Hamas fighter is.

  21. jr786 says:

    I posted on another thread that very early on in this attack Press TV and some Arab channels showed a little girl, no more than 4 or 5 it seemed to me, with two clean entry wounds in her chest. That was on day 5 or 6. Since then we here have seen dozens more.
    If you bomb a house with children in it – which the zionists admitted to doing when they killed Rayyan – is it so diffiult to believe your own eyes at images of murdered children?
    I don’t have the words to describe how I hate them.

  22. jr786 says:

    Col., these comparisons to American behavior are part of the hasbara campaign, as you no doubt are aware.
    The zionists constantly try to co-opt Americans into their crimes. They are a parasite on the United States.

  23. J says:

    One more ‘War Crime’ to chalk up against the IDF — their use of ‘white pete’ as a ‘weapon’ against unarmed women and children.
    UN headquarters in Gaza hit by Israeli ‘white phosphorus’ shells
    The IDF need to face the criminal docket for their carnage upon innocent women and children.
    Israel is truely earning their title of the Mideast’s baby killers!

  24. euclidcreek says:

    Congratulations to Israel for creating a giant concentration camp and then attacking it. The land of milk and honey indeed.

  25. J says:

    I say it’s time to ‘cut bait’ as far as our ‘relationship’ with Israel goes. We bend over backwards for the ungrateful snits, and they slap us in our faces every time. I say it’s time to ‘cut bait’
    End ALL U.S. financial and military aid to Israel. Let them use sling shots like those children whom they use their IAF F16s against.’
    Time to ‘cut bait’ and let Israel hang itself.

  26. WILL says:

    Most American have drunk the Kool Aid and have their blinders on. They just refuse to believe the truth about Israel and its occupation. Even when the brutal truth stares in the face.
    It is just a fact of life. I was watching “Morning Joe” or whatever it’s called on MSNBC today with Richard Haas and Queen Noor of Jordan. Haas was parroting that nonsense about “No Partner for Peace.” And Noor was delivering some straight talk about Gaza being under occupation and an open air prison. And there’s always the expanding settlements.
    Besides Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul, there is no conscience in Congress. Even the Arab congresspeople vote for AIPAC, albeit reluctantly, Issa, Oakar, Shaheen (married to a Lebanese American), etc. Even the black Muslim voted for the resolution.
    “An Eye for an Eyelash.”

  27. johnf says:

    If Highlander is a Highlander then I’m a banana.
    And as for him having to pop off for some grouse shooting, as any fule kno, the Grouse Season ends on the 10th of December.

  28. Ormolov says:

    A couple posts have made mention of total war and ethnic cleansing, but I think the elephant in this room needs a little more attention.
    Each one of these outrages–the bombing and shelling of schools, children as human shields, and the deliberate targeting of women and children, make no sense as military tactics except in the light of genocide. Gaza’s blockade itself must be seen as a genocidal action.
    And yes, the Palestinians are also committing war crimes. But here’s the difference: the Palestinians are not the military power in the region. Such power as Israel has comes with responsibilities. Killing 100 Palestinians for each Israeli death is the exact definition of unjust war.
    The Israeli command has no plan other than extermination, long-term. This is apparent to anyone not in an official position. No attempt has been made my entire lifetime to accommodate the Palestinians in a realistic way. And while it may be true that organizations like Hamas also hold the extermination of their enemy as a long-term goal, they are so far from achieving what is about to be wrought upon them that using existential threats to the state of Israel to defend their own genocidal actions are criminal.
    I am not ‘against’ Israel or ‘for’ Palestine. I am for justice. I am for the underdog. I am against the powerful attacking the weak.

  29. Mad Dogs says:

    It seems you’ve been put on another list again.
    I expect you’ve become quite familiar with being put on lists throughout your life.
    Lists like:
    1. Don’t invite him back.
    2. Don’t invite him to anymore meetings.
    3. Don’t invite him to ever appear again.
    4. Don’t promote him to General.
    And on and on and on!
    I hope (and believe) you wear these as “badges of honor” because they are in fact, a testament to your honor!
    As I know there is no quit in you, I won’t bother to sound the call, but rest assured, we are ready, willing and able should the need arise.
    As you have dispatched these few in your ever efficient manner, we troops will remain at ease.

  30. Byron Raum says:

    There is one thing that is unique about this genocide. What makes this one different is that it is the only one where the perpetrators expect to be commended for their restraint, humanity and general decency. There have been other events which have had excellent propaganda, but this is the only one where they genuinely expect to be believed.

  31. Babak Makkinejad says:

    US Congress and the President of the United States are freely elected representatives of the American people. And they are squarely in Israel’s corner.
    The same situation obtains in EU.
    The significance of the dissident voices in US & EU is mostly moral; that is: these dissident voices will provide the moral fig leaf of “Not every one in US and EU supported these crimes.”
    But the dissident voices cannot move these polities since both in US & EU support for Israel is an emotional issue.

  32. confusedponderer says:

    Haaretz reports that the chances that the Israeli Supreme Court holds up the bans are slim, also noting that the requests to ban the Arab parties were filed by the two ultra right parties Yisrael Beiteinu and National Union-National Religious Party, just before an election. Make of that what you will.

  33. Dan M says:

    I’m not one who thinks Israel’s ultimate intent is to starve out/kill every Gazan.
    But what other purpose than fuelling this belief is served by the destruction of the UN hq in Gaza, at the time filled with emergency food and other supplies?
    At what point does a failure of discipline and command become not an excuse, but a condemnation?
    Civilians are suffering, and Israel is damaging its own long-term interests. The fantasy of denying low-tech rockets and small arms to militants, Hamas and otherwise, in Gaza will not be realized.
    Pressure on nominally Israel-friendly governments like Egypt from their own disenfranchised, Israel-hating populations will grow.
    The US? Hah. Obama will either come to office extremely annoyed at Israel or not. But there is little he will do differently no matter his private views. Our relationships in the region will suffer as a consquence of Israeli action — and, ultimately the notion that our special relationship with Israel is more trouble than its worth will gain wider, if not wide, acceptance.
    Aside from Joe the Plumber (whose lecture of Israeli journalists, IDF veterans all, that they’re not pro-Israel enough was delightful) who wins here?

  34. RH says:

    “Obviously there are differences, but I see enough parallels that I wonder how one can be depicted as a tale of epic heroism suitable for a major motion picture” – Keith
    Major differences. Parallels not apparent. Just to start: Rangers are soldiers/men; Israel is a nation. They are different in profound ways.
    I don’t have a problem simultaneously keeping in my mind the two ideas that the U.S. mission was misguided, so probably immoral, but the Rangers, once there, were admirably heroic. Different actors, different powers, different responsibilities.
    Israel cannot be compared to Rangers in Mogadsihu. Israel had lots of options.
    Goldberg is trying to excuse the actions of Israeli soldiers in Gaza, but he missed the point. Maybe in the circumstances the soldiers’ actions are excusable. But maybe this is the way Israel wages war, or this result was otherwise predictable. We don’t fully know the circumstances. Israel has to respond like the powerful nation it is, not like a Ranger facing death in Mogadishu.

  35. Abu Sinan says:

    Has there ever been a greater lie than the one that has been sold by the Israeli government about their “Purity of Arms”?
    Palestinians are “untermensch”. That is the only way you can justify 13 deaths to 1,000 and counting.
    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
    By this point Israelis should understand that the one thing Palestinians/Arabs DONT understand is force.
    All media organisations have some level of bias. They are run by humans afterall.
    The BBC is much better than any American news outlet, by far, when it comes to this.
    Almost every American media outlet has proven itself an Israeli partisan years ago.

  36. Abu Sinan says:

    The Jordanian establishment is as much a part of the problem as the Israeli government itself.
    Aside from sending out the well made up Queen, what have they done for the Palestinians this go around?

  37. shepherd says:

    don’t know if this has been posted yet–it’s just breaking now…
    Israel Shells UN Headquarters in Gaza
    It’s hard to tell from the story, but it sounds like the first shell hit a courtyard full of refugees.

  38. David Habakkuk says:

    “It is purely my personal opinion, but I think the BBC like a lot of liberals are closet anti semites. (oh,the irony of it all).”
    Like Jenny Abramsky, who was head of radio current affairs when I worked there. Definitely a self-hating Jew.
    Or Gwyneth Williams, until recently head of radio news and current affairs, now director of English Networks and News for the World Service.
    She comes from Wales, as my own father did. Her husband, David Nissan, who used to run BBC Television’s main economics programme, and is an old colleague of mine, comes from a Polish-Jewish family.
    Or my wife’s oldest friend, Ruth Caleb, who is about to retire as a senior television drama producer with the Corporation. Her mother made it out of Vienna just in time in 1939. Probably another self-hating Jew.
    My wife and I — both of whom have worked at the BBC — have very many Jewish friends and acquaintances who have worked there. It is curious that we have yet to any of them complain about anti-Semitism at the organisation.

  39. isl says:

    Highlander: Most Americans are Christian, yet to critique American actions is not anti-Christian. Why should it be any different for other country?
    In my upbringing, Israel was held up as a shining virtue. Over the years this has been replaced first with cynicism, and since the shelling of cluster bombs into Lebanon, and now this, something stronger and far more negative.
    I read somewhere that Israel’s acts in Gaza (including the blockade) are more in line with Imperial policy than self defense or war. Given Israeli performance militarily in Lebanon, it would appear an imperator in decline, which history has noted often conduct atrocities – e.g., Dutch in Congo, France in Algeria, etc.
    Colonel, I agree 100% with you. Those who commit such acts are not soldiers. This does not condemn the IDF, but those within the IDF who deserve condemnation (and trial), not to mention their immediate and potentially higher superiors.
    As always I am thankful for your community of correspondence.

  40. McGee says:

    Wow – what a thread! Thank you as always.
    Many of us who went through the Defense Language Institute in the mid-60’s lost friends in the attack on the Liberty. And If you were in the loop then you saw or heard about well-sourced reports of the intercepts from the Israelis. That attack was as vicious and unpremeditated as can be imagined – and it was against a purported ally. Everyone was shocked and dismayed – it was particularly hard to understand if you felt strongly about the rights of the Israelis to their homeland. And it really doesn’t equate to anything the US has ever done in the fog of war, whether in Vietnam, Mogadishu or Iraq. An unpremeditated attack on an ally? Get real. It is high time to stop cutting them any slack at all and treat them like any other nation, and maybe at times not a very nice one
    P.S. The comment about creating a concentration camp and then attacking it deserved a “spew alert”!

  41. Keith says:

    I apologize if you think I’m smearing s–t on the US Marines. This was not my intention. It does strikes me that there is currently quite a bit more tangible and documented evidence regarding Haditha than there is against the IDF in this BBC story.
    In any case, if the campaign in Gaza is unique in its savagery, who has done it right? If the example provided earlier is inappropriate, what example of urban combat against an insurgent-like force can you choose to hold up against the IDF campaign as a baseline to show how it should have been done?

  42. Fred says:

    What are your thoughts on Anthony Cordesman’s 1/5/09 paper?
    300,000 working age adults, 40% unemployed. Forty percent of the population under 14 with 45,000 per year entering the work force with little prospect of an economic future. Israel’s economy divested of a need for Gazan labor and making steps to eliminate any future need for it. The borders and coast line are controlled by Israel and Egypt. Just what future doe the people in Gaza have, even if Isreal pulls out today?

  43. Mad Dogs
    The hysterical Zionist crowd must have had me on their list for quite a while. “One of them just wrote privately to call me a “commonplace Jew hating Nazi.” Most of that is their standard baloney, but the “commonplsce” thing really hurts.
    Yes. I guess I am on a lot of these lists, some of them in surprising places, often because of the cowardice of the list holder.
    Expect the assault on the wiki about me to re-commence. pl

  44. Fred
    I don’t read Cordesman’s things and he does not read mine.
    Gaza? Given open borders and the use of a hard working, well educated work force there is no reason why Gaza could not be a rather prosperous place. pl

  45. Dan M says:

    Enough with the red herrings. Haditha? How many officers went on trial for Sabra and Shatila? More recently, how many officers and soldiers have been tried for killing palestinian civilians in the past decade?
    No, the Gaza slaughter is not “unique” in its “savagery.” There are many examples from human history of savage and unacceptable behavior. The gaza slaughter is just one of the latest. Congratulations to the IDF on the company it keeps in in this grimy pantheon.
    You think you’re doing israel a service by getting into a conversation along the lines of “at least we’ve been less savage then the russians in grozny!?”
    You ask the wrong question about how an incursion against an “insugent-like foe” (what an odd, revealing phrase) can be done “right.”
    Generally, when you have a subject, caged in and resentful population, to whose welfare you contribute nothing and to whose suffering you add daily, it’s very hard to convince them to stop throwing stones (rockets) at you.
    If Israel is to have any hope of securing better relatoins with its gazan neighbors it should: stop shelling civilian refugees in UN schools; stop dropping 500 pound bombs in the middle of Gaza’s slums to swat one hamas fly and take dozens of children and other innocent “collateral” with him; stop this whole misguided course, which inevitably results in the disproportianate, horrific deaths of innocents. THEN it should make incremental openings of the border to the free flow of goods in exchange for reduced rocket fire, the resumption of inter-Israel and inter-palestinian trade (with the west bank) and help finance the construction of a proper palestinian port to provide Gaza’s people and merchants something resembling free outside access to the world, access that the rest of us (israelis certainly) take for granted).
    apparently another self-hating jew

  46. Sandra Duffy says:

    If Britain had built a wall around Dublin and then proceeded to bomb and shoot its citizens in reponse to IRA bombs in the UK we would have expected the rest of the world to come to our aid. Ireland cannot sit back and do nothing while the slaughter in Gaza continues. Please break of diplomatic relations with Israel now.

  47. WILL says:

    Jordan will one day be a Palestinian state. American Q. Noor (Lisa Halaby) is the second wife of King Hussein but half English son Abdullah is married to a Palestinian Queen Rania al-Abdullah. A majority of Trans-Jordan population is Palestinian,
    I think of the Hashemites from Hejaz in Trans-Jordan as quasi-Normans and the Palestinians as quasi Saxons of England along with all of what Churchill said of the melding of the two races in his books. I muddled the analogy b/ it’s there somewhere.
    As far as what Maddog said, I concur. He might have exited as only a full bird colonel, but he served at a level of a Lt General at DIA.
    But you know, you see talking head generals dime a dozen on TV, and a lot of them have drunk the Kool Aid. Or so what good are they.
    Now the Greeks called their top men Strategos. That’s what we have here mateys, a true Strategos.

  48. WILL says:

    One can be a peaceful Zionist. The Aliyah (the ascension ? (shades of Stargate)) can be made in a graceful way. Uri Avnery, for example.
    Then there are the settlers in Hebron, for a violent example. I favor Professor James Petras’ term “Ziocon.”

  49. Thomas says:

    Assuming the translation is correct, this logic may explain the children with multiple bullet wounds.

  50. The beaver says:

    You are d— right about “The hysterical Zionist crowd must have had me on their list for quite a while”
    This is what is happening on other blogs where the discussion about the war is running. Quite a few who are against the killing of women and children have been labeled anti-semitic and have been sent threatening messages or e-mails. Either the psy ops are out or the agents provocateurs have surfaced to ensure that only the IDF propaganda are heard around the world.

  51. Charles I says:

    “If this is different, the Israeli people need to know and to put a stop to it’
    Please, every adult Israeli, a few religious whackos aside, serves in the military, the entire society is armed and militarized. Just have a peek at the discussions going on in Haaretz comment pages. Israelis know exactly what they are doing, and the great majority seem to revel in it.
    I look forward to a Spanish Judge issuing war crimes indictments against Israeli leaders and soldiers. If Hamas members are indicted, so be it, although as non-state actors responding to blockade, starvation, extrajudicial assassinations, kidnapping and murder of government Ministers, their cases would seem more complex than the bold crimes we are witnessing. At least the Israelis are free to travel and hence susceptible to justice.

  52. Dear Pat – I’m sure you are on a list or several, with various laughable tags attached, placing you as a member of some disreputable or dissident organization or other. This list will resurface a generation later if any of your offspring speak out on the same topic.
    I was contacted last month via Facebook on the pretext of a food interview by a person who was very interested in my parents’ history; she drew me out at length. I asked why she needed all this background and she said it was to make the article about the recipe very rich and detailed. I”d googled the supposed book project but had not bothered to contact the editor, a former food writer at the NY Times. My interviewer was a researcher who had published a few business articles in local Long Island papers. She claimed to be my age and American but she was shockingly ignorant about food and about certain American cultural markers of the era in which we grew up.
    I suspected the possibility that this was an intelligence-gathering operation of some sort, but it seemed pointless to refuse to answer questions whose answers are freely available on the internet. I’m a blabbermouth and I have several Southern cousins on my mother’s side who keep genealogy websites. You can find out almost anything about my family that you want to know.
    However the next day the interviewer called to ask if my father had taught at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. Why yes, he did, from 1969-1973. Why do you ask? Oh we just want to get all the details. And did he teach at North Carolina A&T STate University in Greensboro?
    So they excavated my dead father’s name from the Anti-Defamation Leagues 70s-era database of “PLO members.” A Jewish friend informed us long ago of his appearance on this list. My father laughed and said he didn’t qualify to be a PLO member because he was Lebanese. Anyway, now they know that my little blog is written by the nobody daughter of that obscure college professor in small-town America who used to go to public meetings on Israel-Palestine and speak up. He had Jewish friends with whom he would argue; he had one or two Jewish allies who agreed with him; he was angry and despairing at the 82 war and Israel’s many other bombardments of the era. He died in despair in Sept 2006, of cancer, as Lebanon pulled herself from the wreckage of that awful war.
    THese people are cowards and they think they can threaten us. I have advanced cancer and I really don’t give a fig what sort of lies they put beside my name in their database. They are dumb and they are dinosaurs. I may not live to see them lose this war but they will lose it. The crusades only lasted 200 years.

  53. HEre’s the hasbara logic on killing civilians including children:
    1) Israel does not do it. The IDF is a humane army
    2) Israel does not do it on purpose. The terrorists force Israel to kill civilians, it is not Israel’s fault if they are in the way of Israel’s bombs. In fact, terrorists are so diabolical that they hide among their women and children, because they know that Israel’s army is too humane to shoot at targets that include women and children. Hence Israel is forced to shoot at these targets surrounded by women and children. Israel must not let itself be taken advantage of for its humane policies.
    3) If you find evidence that Israel has committed atrocities, violated the rules of warfare, or killed children on purpose, then you must not publish that evidence or hold Israel to account for it. You are an anti-Semite if you discover and point out evidence of Israel’s military violating the laws of war.
    4) Other countries, especially the US, do exactly the same thing. You are anti-Semitic because you are holding us to a higher standard.
    5) It hurts our feelings and restimulates our trauma for you to say such things about us. You must take back what you said, because when our feelings are hurt, everybody else must feel very ashamed.
    6) This was all a big mistake, the war is over, and you must forget it and let us move on. To remind us of the past is anti-Semitic. Never forgetting is a privilege reserved only for certain people regarding certain crimes.
    7) 9/11! Islamofascism! Muslim women wear veils and can’t drive cars!

  54. PS Pat says that in his view the Crusaders were the good guys. I say they were definitely my ancestors – lots of ’em stuck around after the imperial project ended, converted to Islam or joined various churches of the area. You ought to see all the redheads in my Lebanese family, green-eyed, some with milky skin like Irish lassies.
    My point is, good guys or bad, the Crusaders came, conquered, built fortresses, ruled, fell, and disappeared – but not completely. Many of them chose not to return to the colder climes of Europe. Many, many Palestinians have European blood. Israel as it is constituted now will not last longer than the rule of the Crusaders. The descendants of present-day Israelis will live amongst their cousins and neighbors more or less at peace, depending on the temperature of the times. Some might choose to leave for the WEst (many already have) others will stay and melt back into the population. I doubt I’ll see it in my life time, whether I’m granted a full span or the shortened version. But 60 years have already passed. Another 60 years will probably do the trick.
    We hope to keep reaching out to our brothers and sisters on the other side (all other sides – I am thinking of Arab Christians as well as Muslims and Jews) so that when the day comes that the oppressive regimes fall, there will be alliances and relationships in place to fill the void. We don’t want to leave society-building to the warlords, chieftains, thieves and tradesmen alone.

  55. By the way, thank you Mo for your witness, ya khayi.

  56. PeterHug says:

    I have been reading this blog for quite a while now, but your most recent set of posts motivated me to go take a look at your blog ( for anyone else who feels like taking a look).
    I can only say, I’m amazed and impressed by what you’ve put together and accomplished under what must be immense pressure from many directions at once. I truly hope that you (and all of the rest of us) will see the end of this horrible mess and a true beginning towards a lasting peace for the Middle East. (Not least, because of my selfish desire someday to be able to visit a re-reconstructed Beirut, something I’ve wanted to do since the mid-80s.)
    I have read everything you’ve written here since I’ve started to read it, with great interest–even though I don’t agree with all of it, I do agree with the underlying goal, that enough is enough, and it’s about time to find a solution instead of continuing to mouth beautiful platitudes. (That’s my impression of it, anyway…)
    Good luck, take care, and keep up the good work,

  57. J says:

    Time to ‘cut bait’ as far as Israel is concerned. End ALL U.S. aid (military AND economic) to the ungrateful Israeli snits, and let Israel go and hang itself.

  58. Keith says:

    Leila Abu-Saba,
    I sincerely don’t wish to offend, but do you not detect the slightest irony in marginalizing everybody who disagrees with you as part of the conspiracy of apologist Zionist whackos right after complaining that you were labeled and marginalized for tenuous reasons unrelated to who you are?
    Everybody else,
    I apologize for offending. Maybe this can be picked up some other time when feelings aren’t so raw. My general view is that when people say all the problem is on the Israeli side or all the problem is on the Palestinian side, or when they generalize all Palestinians as suicide-bombing nuts, or all Israelis as militarized crazies, savoring the blood of dead Palestinian babies, they probably aren’t going to get anything productive accomplished.
    I’ve heard genocide and holocaust a bunch in the last couple of weeks. There is a Palestinian march in front of the Holocaust Museum planned here in Houston. I just want to point out that the population in Gaza is in excess of 400,000. If the Israeli goal is really and truly genocide, they have a long way to go. There is a perverse glee that people seem to have in throwing these terms, along with Nazi, Wehrmacht, etc. at Israelis that I find difficult to understand.

  59. What the IDF is doing is terrible, but we’re throwing around the term genocide too loosely.
    What we have going on now is collective punishment dished out by an armed force of questionable training and discipline. Yes, it’s still horrible and most likely a war crime. The despicable goal is to demoralize the population and try to turn them against Hamas. Just more misplaced beliefs in the “shock and awe” nonsense.
    By throwing around the term genocide too liberally, though, we dilute its meaning. Over time its definition becomes muddled and weak.

  60. mo says:

    The population of Gaza is closer to 1.5 million.
    Genocide can be relative. You look at it in pure numbers. Others look at it in numbers to what you can get away with ratio. Israel is merely using the alloted quota Western govts. have allowed it.
    Productive? Accomplished?
    Oh we are well past that. We are well past accepting whatever the Palestinians sign as it was their fight first and foremost. Now, after Lebanon and this, there will be no positive accomplishments.
    Close on 3,000 people have been murdered in the last 2 and half years in this war. About 30 of those were Israelis civilians.
    Does the Jewish race have a monopoly of never forgetting and never forgiving? No.

  61. fanto says:

    The memory for the Victims of Auschwitz is defiled by what Israelis are doing

  62. Ormolov says:

    Cold War Zoomie:
    You are right that the term genocide must be protected. But in this case, it is genocide because the ultimate goal, to any dispassionate observer, is the complete destruction of a people. It’s just the time-scale isn’t what you’re used to. But the fact that they take 60, 80, 100 years to accomplish their goal instead of 14 weeks still makes it genocide.

  63. euclidcreek says:

    In the local print and radio in the SF Bay area, nazi is usually used in referring to Muslims. Plenty of holocaust pornography about the Palestinians wanting to set up extermination camps, the Grand Mufti & Hitler, and of course, islamofacism. And debating about what is or is not genocide, brings back memories of the US government quibbling during the bloody slaughter in Rwanda.

  64. Keith says:

    If you want to Itbach al Yahud, fine. I gather that the far right in Israel has assumed that that was the case all along, so you just further empower them. But if that is your goal, if total destruction and genocide is your preferred outcome, it seems to me that you forfeit the right to be upset or shocked when the IDF seek to return the favor.

  65. Byron Raum says:

    I think you’re somewhat mistaken; from what I have observed, Mo is saying that total destruction and genocide is the IDF’s goal. He based his conclusion on the way they behave. And no, no one ever forfeits the right to be upset or shocked when a group, any group indulges in genocide. I am sorry, but that is the way it is.

  66. Jon T. says:

    Within and without the debate, the cleansing needed in me is internal, not external. My desire for revenge is a flaw, belying the possibility that there is a higher form of life than my own pain.
    Victims can be passive or aggressive. We are oppressed and have been hurt and are justified by Scripture to have a homeland. And because we have been hurt so egregiously, we will take what is rightfully ours by Divinity. We will settle and demand recourse and those that oppose us will fall into the accusation of victimizer.
    Now, as always I propose something that will never happen, ever, because it appears that the people in the region who have weapons of destruction at their disposal will act continually on their pain, no matter what allegiance.
    Coming from pain and hurt and victimization is such a turning away from the possibility of recognition of another way to be, it makes me weep without ceasing.
    Jerusalem is a Holy City, to all. It has beautiful temples and mosques and shrines.
    Establish a cease fire, end of fighting, create a new word. Stop killing and breaking the rule of law and the precepts of all True Worship of The Creator, no matter how your family does it.
    Declare and create Jerusalem as a Holy City.
    Go there and pray and establish a way to turn this charnel house into a farm for life where people of all ethnicities can get past their limitations and absolute base addiction to MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY and live in higher ways.
    If no one believes this is possible, then why the endless talk of permutations of killing and rationalization and deceit. It just is there.
    And the children, poets, singers, artists, composers will be killed, just as they have for century upon century.
    Read Yeats and Rumi.

  67. Keith says:

    “Itbach?” Someone will have to explain this verb to me. pl

    I’m sorry. I don’t speak Arabic, and when I went to confirm spelling, I see that I was way off. The correct verb is ‘idbah’ which apparently means slaughter, as in ‘slaughter the Jew’. The right wing Zionist version is, ‘Idbah el Arab’.
    My understanding is both are heard frequently chanted in the vicinity of Palestine/the Levant by each side’s less ‘accommodating’ members. It also made its way into some of the pro-Palestinian rallies in the USA these past couple of weeks.

  68. McGee says:

    Wow – what a thread! Thank you as always.
    Many of us who went through the Defense Language Institute in the mid-60’s lost friends in the attack on the Liberty. And If you were in the loop then you saw or heard about well-sourced reports of the intercepts from the Israelis. That attack was as vicious and unpremeditated as can be imagined – and it was against a purported ally. Everyone was shocked and dismayed – it was particularly hard to understand if you felt strongly about the rights of the Israelis to their homeland. And it really doesn’t equate to anything the US has ever done in the fog of war, whether in Vietnam, Mogadishu or Iraq. An unpremeditated attack on an ally? Get real. It is high time to stop cutting them any slack at all and treat them like any other nation, and maybe at times not a very nice one
    P.S. The comment about creating a concentration camp and then attacking it deserved a “spew alert”!

  69. mo says:

    Its never been about total destruction or genocide of any people let alone one based on their religion or ethnicty. This is the same mythology white South Africans used to to hear about what would happen to them if the “blacks” ever got power.
    It was about justice, resistance and diginity. What Israel has done in the last two years is take the amount of compromise that would have been accepted to achieve these and cut it to nothing.
    But assuming all the above wasn’t true and it was as you say. Exactly who would be returning the favor to whom?

  70. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Jon T.
    Welcome to the Fall of Man.
    By the way, Rumi wrote in Persian; the language of Paradise according to a Hadith of the Prophet.

  71. Keith says:

    mo –
    Do you honestly believe that if Hamas somehow overthrows Israel and establishes a Palestinian state in its place that you won’t see the pogrom to end all pogroms? Really?

  72. euclidcreek says:

    Sorry your delicate stomach was bothered by my comment re Gaza. But if Gaza is not a concentration camp, and Israel is not attacking it, what is it then? A fish fry?

  73. G says:

    I respectfully accept that there are many people on this board who have seen more combat than a 26 year old such as myself, but I also can’t understand how people here can honestly think that there is some higher sinister purpose to the excessive civilian cost of this conflict.
    And while you may have spent more time with more armies shooting at more people than I have – I believe I am the only one posting here who has actually served in a combat unit in the IDF (never in Gaza but practically everywhere else, including lebanon).
    So let me say it clearly: The IDF, officially, has VERY UNAMBIGUOUS rules concerning shooting at civilians – whether or not these rules are followed is certainly up to debate. But I would like to impress upon those reading this blog is that I have never met a soldier in all of my service – and I’ve served with some poorly disciplined soldiers – who I feel would be capable of callously taking a life like those described in the article.
    The truth is, the IDF suffers from the exact opposite syndrome. As was researched in WWII veterans, many soldiers, when in combat, cannot bring themselves to fire at the enemy. We have this problem ten-fold. Because of the serious legal and bureaucratic mess involved with each and every discharge of a rifle, many soldiers are too scared to shoot, even when it is completely justifiable.
    Now for those of you who claim that I am just a paid agent of the zionist propoganda machine – please don’t bother responding, because i, nor anyone else who does not share your twisted world view, will ever change your mind about anything.
    I am simply a former soldier defending my own conscience and the honor of my nation against what are basically charges of coordinated genocide.
    And as a final note for those comparing us to the Nazis, if you studied the Holocaust as much as we have, you would know that it is impossible to effectively carry out a genocide with bullets alone – you need to invent far more efficient and industrial means to exterminate people. When they open the first death camp in Israel – i’ll begin to take your hysteric claims a little more seriously.

  74. Andy says:

    I don’t have much to add here except to pass along some interesting statistics I ran across today on the demographics of Gaza: 40% of the population is under 10 years old and over 60% is under 19 years old. The place is literally filled with kids. What an awful place to fight a war (not that there is any good place).

  75. fdixon says:

    Colonel Lang,
    Posting here to see if you would be interested in thread on ICRC and Israeli use of WP munitions, specifically AP article claiming head of ICRC legal mines-arms unit stated “there was no evidence the Jewish state was intentionally using phosphorus in a questionable way, such as burning down buildings or consciously putting civilians at risk”
    I think it highly questionable that ICRC would have made such a statement given the evidence and ICRC’s history of caution in public statements. The ICRC web sites contain no link to a press statement or transcript of a press conference. The only source for the reported statements from ICRC’s Peter Herby is this one AP article (dateline 01/14/2009, Geneva byline: Bradley S Klapper ,indeed AP reporter Geneva). The article simply states “the ICRC said Tuesday” without stating the specific venue or circumstances.
    I do not think we need to belabor the use / misuse of white phosphorus munitions… there is plenty of information available on web. Rather does this statement by ICRC represent ICRC policy or did Mr. Klapper buttonhole Mr. Herby in a bar somewhere ? This article is now the basis of Mr. Mark Revev’s statement that IDF use of WP munitions is exonerated. It all seems rather uncharacteristic to me.

  76. Dan M says:

    My feelings aren’t raw. I’m not offended by your ignorance and epistemological failings. Whether your failings trouble you, I care not. But perhaps they do and you’re projecting.
    As for your latest string of red herrings – you ascribe to many of us here sentiments that have not been expressed (Israel “savoring the blood of dead Palestinian babies?” Oh dear. No. We Jews bathe in the blood of Christian babies – Palestinian or not. Try to keep up with the blood libel. tsk.)
    On a serious note: In any conflict the “side” that is killing civilians at a rate of about 100-1 will generally get the worst press.

  77. Keith says:

    Dan M –
    The concept that all Israelis are militarized psychos was expressed in the post at the top of the page where my comments appear. And while the exact line ‘savoring the blood of Palestinian babies’ was taken verbatim from another board, the same post identified earlier expressed the same idea albeit in less colorful language saying, “Israelis know exactly what they are doing, and the great majority seem to revel in it.” I say this not to try and confront or call out anybody, but I feel it necessary to respond to your canard that I am creating some grotesque strawman caricature of other peoples words to knock down. The original post is right there to look at, if you care to.
    With regards to the passive aggressive sarcasm, I don’t know what to say. If you are looking to get into some sort of internet flame war, I’m not interested.

  78. Eric Dönges says:

    So let me say it clearly: The IDF, officially, has VERY UNAMBIGUOUS rules concerning shooting at civilians – whether or not these rules are followed is certainly up to debate.
    Does Israel actually ever punish anyone for not following these rules ? If it does, perhaps Israeli PR efforts would be better spent publicizing this fact than attempting to claim that all the civilian casualties are just regrettable accidents. How would you explain IDF soldiers firing at humanitarian aid convoys whose passage had been officially approved of and coordinated with the IDF ? Simple incompetence ? Lack of discipline ?
    I am simply a former soldier defending my own conscience and the honor of my nation against what are basically charges of coordinated genocide.
    Then perhaps you should start to question the actions of certain segments of your country’s population, lest you be tarred with the same brush.
    And as a final note for those comparing us to the Nazis, if you studied the Holocaust as much as we have, you would know that it is impossible to effectively carry out a genocide with bullets alone – you need to invent far more efficient and industrial means to exterminate people. When they open the first death camp in Israel – i’ll begin to take your hysteric claims a little more seriously.
    I agree that comparing Israel with Nazi Germany is inappropriate, though not for the reason you cite. It is perfectly possible to commit genocide without even using bullets – history is full of examples (you may want to start by reading the Old Testament). Like almost everything else, it’s just more efficient when industrialized.
    A better comparison would be with the European settlement of North America and Australia – force the natives off all the good land, round them up in reservations, slaughtering any that dare to resist. Justify this by claiming a divine mission to bring enlightened civilization to the savages. This kind of behavior was perfectly acceptable in the 19th century, but unfortunately for Israel, it was founded in 1948, not 1848.

  79. David Habakkuk says:

    You might be interested in some comments recently made by the veteran Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman in the House of Commons:
    ‘My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town of Staszów. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed. Madam Deputy Speaker, my grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza. The present Israeli government ruthlessly and cynically exploit the continuing guilt among Gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians. The implication is that Jewish lives are precious, but the lives of Palestinians do not count. On Sky News a few days ago, the spokeswoman for the Israeli Army Major Livovich was asked about the Israeli killing of, at that time, eight hundred Palestinians. The total is now a thousand. She replied instantly, “Five hundred of them were militants.” That was the reply of a Nazi. I suppose the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw Ghetto could have been dismissed as militants.’
    The speech is well worth watching in full, among other things as an indication of the problems created for many Jews outside the United States, who have always felt a profound commitment to Israel, by current Israeli and U.S. policy.
    Not only does Kaufman think the Israeli action in Gaza wicked — he simply cannot see that it is underpinned by any coherent long-term strategy whatsoever. ‘It is time for peace, but real peace,’ he says’, ‘not the solution by conquest, which is the Israelis’ real goal, but which is impossible for them to achieve. They’re not simply war criminals; they’re fools.’
    For my own part — as a non-Jew — I tend strongly to agree with those who say that Jews would have poor prospects in a binational Palestinian state. But I cannot see any good long-outcome of the attempt to hold down a Palestinian population in Greater Israel which is growing significantly faster than the Jewish one — as Kaufman notes.
    It is clearly his view — as it is mine — that the two state solution provided the only possible basis for the long term survival of a Jewish state in Palestine. But the time for that is going — if has not already gone. So what good outcome is then left?
    As to what drives the disillusion of the originally strongly Zionist Kaufman with Israel, some remarks of his from a speech in 2002 are of interest:
    ‘It is time to remind Sharon that the star of David belongs to all Jews, not to his repulsive Government. His actions are staining the star of David with blood. The Jewish people, whose gifts to civilised discourse include Einstein and Epstein, Mendelssohn and Mahler, Sergei Eisenstein and Billy Wilder, are now symbolised throughout the world by the blustering bully Ariel Sharon, a war criminal implicated in the murder of Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila camps and now involved in killing Palestinians once again.’

  80. mo says:

    Yes really. But I’m pretty sure I won’t dissuade you otherwise.
    If you launch a war that you do not have to against the most densely populated patch of land on the planet after 2 years of “putting them on a diet” you are going to kill civilians and lots of them. And maybe you are right, maybe you and the rest of the infantry do not in general execute civilians, but your artillery men and your pilots have no such qualms. Maybe its not so much of an issue if you can’t see your victims.
    You were in Lebanon? You may be visiting again soon.

  81. N says:

    The trap we fall in constantly is equating Israel’s defense forces with Hamas and Hizbullah resistance forces.
    Hizbullah and Hamas are legitimate entities, , their aim is to end the occupation and live in dignity in a time where the rule of law is hijacked by the civilized nations, headed by the US .
    On the contrary Israel is obliged under international laws to protect all its subjects, Israel wants the Palestinians to die on their knees and not on their feet.
    Hopefully Obama will restore our confidence in international laws .

  82. Keith says:

    mo –
    Fair enough. For what it’s worth, I’m also pretty sure that there would also be a return of Stern Gang/Lehi type Jewish massacres against Arabs.
    David Habakkuk –
    I appreciate that you are sincere when you talk about Holocaust guilt. At the same time I don’t doubt the sincerity of the Republicans who told me that the reason people voted for ‘Obama the magic negro’ was black guilt. Both explanations are incorrect. I feel no personal guilt for either the Holocaust or slavery. And if Holocaust guilt were the explanation, the countries of Europe would be Israel’s biggest supporters. Instead, with their large Muslim populations they are decidedly less than friendly to Israel, relative to the USA.

  83. David Habakkuk says:

    I did not talk about Holocaust guilt. Sir Gerald Kaufman did.
    Kaufman has been at the heart of British political life ever since he worked for the Fabian society and was a political journalist for the Daily Mirror, back in the mid-Fifties of the last century. He was been a Member of Parliament since 1970.
    Certainly none of this means that his judgements should be accepted uncritically.
    However, I would be interested to be clearer as to why you regard yourself as qualified simply to dismiss them. Perhaps you have lived for long periods in Britain or other European countries?

  84. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Phil Weiss, at his website “Mondoweiss“, described MP Kaufman as the “most beautiful Jew in the world”.
    And speaking of acts of moral courage on this side of the “pond”, Weiss, as a journalist, has stood up for Americans as few have, particularly in regard to our disastrous US foreign policy in the Middle East.
    At some point, Americans need to stand up for Phil Weiss.

  85. David Habakkuk says:

    Sidney Smith,
    Back in the 1983 election, when all the New Labour people — very much including Blair — were spouting imbecilic left-wing rhetoric, Kaufman memorably described the party’s election manifesto as ‘the longest suicide note in history.’
    Twenty-five years later, Blair is still spinning webs of words, and getting lost in them. He has been instrumental in encouraging the delusion that one can divide political forces in the Middle East into ‘moderates’ and ‘extremists’, and create a durable peace by marginalizing the latter.
    Kaufman’s speech cut through this nonsense, just as he cut through the nonsense of the Labour manifesto a generation ago.
    I am not certain ‘beautiful’ is quite the word I would use for such a notably abrasive character — but amid so much empty verbiage and equivocation, it is precisely the abrasiveness which comes as a blessed relief.

  86. Keith says:

    David Habakkuk –
    I’m not sure which of my comments require ‘expert verification’. The fact that I feel no holocaust guilt? The fact that the USA supports Israel much more stridently than Europe? The fact that Europe has more cause to feel Holocaust guilt?
    In any case, I have a not particularly profitable hobby business that to some degree involves the subject. This doesn’t involve extended residence in Europe, but it does involved some very focused time spent specifically exploring the subject in question. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert by any definition, but I do have more than a little personal experience from which to base my opinions.

  87. David Habakkuk says:

    I did not mention ‘expert verification’.
    What I asked you was what credentials you have for disputing the views expressed by Sir Gerald Kaufman — not me, as you erroneously appeared to assume — about continuing Holocaust guilt among gentiles and its exploitation by the present Israeli government.
    As to the question of whether ‘Europe has more cause to feel Holocaust guilt’. A continent is not a person. Today’s 25-year olds are the great grandchildren of the 25-year olds of 1933.
    Some of those great-grandfathers doubtless had much to be ashamed of, others did not. But how much relevance does that have today?

  88. Keith says:

    David Habakkuk-
    Ok, I don’t mean to get tedious (which generally means, that I realize that I am about to get tedious), but when you go around quoting someone without qualifiers, you are effectively championing their position. To ‘quote and run’ seems to me more than a little bit disingenuous and a pretty good way to make accusations and assume positions without having to defend them.
    Furthermore, there are only a handful of people still living that had any direct involvement in the Holocaust. If as a basic premise you don’t think people expect collective guilt or feel collective guilt for what their parents or their countrymen have done, then the whole idea of holocaust guilt, and therefore the whole point of what Sir Gerald Kaufman (but not you) is saying is bunk from the get go.

  89. David Habakkuk says:

    Of course I share Kaufman’s views on the importance of Holocaust guilt — I never in any way implied I do not, but simply pointed out that the remarks to which you were responding were not mine, but those of a figure whose views deserve a rather more considered response than your casual dismissal.
    I quoted Kaufman’s remarks at length, and hoped you would take them seriously, partly because he combines a rare length and depth of experience of British politics with a long history of involvement in Zionism. So it seemed to me that his views might carry rather more weight than my own with American Zionists patently ignorant about British culture and history.
    Incidentally, have you watched Kaufman’s speech? It doesn’t take long to do so, as never having been once to mince words, he managed to produce a root and branch critique of current British, European and American policy in less than six minutes.
    You will recall that Olmert told Haaretz, just over a year ago, that if the ‘if the day comes when the two-state solution collapses’, Israel is ‘finished’.
    A central premise underlying European policy towards the Middle East, one championed in particular by the former leader of Kaufman’s party, Tony Blair, has been that a two-state solution can be achieved by marginalising ‘extremists’ (like Hamas) and making piece with ‘moderates’, like Abbas.
    One of the legacies of Holocaust guilt is the expectation that for any peace to be possible, those involved on the Arab side must formally accept the legitimacy of Israel, as Hamas are not going to do — rather than simply concluding a ‘hudna’, which they are would accept.
    One of Kaufman’s key points is that this is a high road to nowhere — he made amply clear his dislike and contempt for Hamas, but quoted Abba Eban’s remark that ‘you make peace by talking to your enemies.’
    If one accepts this argument, and also that made by Olmert — as I think Kaufman clearly does — it follows as a simple point of logic that Blair and those who think like him are actually helping Israel commit suicide. So also are those who defend actions such as the bombing of Lebanon and the attack on Gaza — rather than following Kaufman in attempting to persuade Israel to change its policies before it is too late.

  90. Babak Makkinejad says:

    David Habakkuk:
    You wrote: “…helping Israel commit suicide.” But this is another way of realizing the eschatological aspirations of so many Protestant Christians in US: destruction of Israel followed by the Second Coming of Christ.

  91. David Habakkuk says:

    Babak Makkinejad,
    As a scientist you will have noticed the obvious logical fallacy in Keith’s suggestion that the fact that the European countries are less friendly to Israel than the U.S. demonstrates the irrelevance of Holocaust guilt. The conclusion only follows, if one assumes all other conditions are equal.
    Among many significant differences, clearly, is the much greater salience of eschatological beliefs among large numbers of American Evangelical Protestants.
    (Interestingly, although as Clifford Kiracofe has noted, premillenarian dispensationalism originates in England back in the 1840s with John Nelson Darby and Edward Irving, the eschatological strand is not remotely as strong among Evangelicals here. What explains the difference? I do not know.)
    A nefarious effect of the secular cult of the Holocaust, on which you have commented, is that it has prevented European leaders facing up to the simple point which is made alike by Sir Gerald Kaufman and Alistair Crooke — that peace with the ‘moderates’ is no longer on the table.
    In so doing, they are handing rope to the Israelis to hang themselves. But of course, if they do this, they are liable to take a lot of Muslims with them. It is a prospect which those of us with no taste for End Times scenarios would much prefer to avoid.

  92. Keith says:

    David Habakkuk –
    Respectfully, you are the one who is arguing that Holocaust guilt is this great first-order variable of utmost importance in defining the relationship between countries and Israel.
    If you wish to classify it as a secondary or tertiary influence, that is reasonable. But you can’t have it both ways. Either it is the be-all end-all in defining the relationship or it isn’t.

Comments are closed.