Profile in Courage: Ron Paul Says U.S. Should Not Take Sides in Cycle of Violence

US Politics
on 50 Comments

The most horrifying detail for me of the Jerusalem massacre was the fact that the gunman apparently worked at the school. Israelis must be saying, we can’t trust any of these Arabs, even our servants and employees. I saw that when I was in Jerusalem: the seething hatred toward Jews among Arabs, which came out when I was sitting for a while with shopowners. And I saw the same hatred on the other side, of Jews towards Arabs. I witnessed the utter separation of cultures… the absence of Arab handicrafts or arts in my Jewish friends’ homes…

There’s a cycle of violence in Israel and Palestine. The Arab gunman was stirred to violence by the killings of 120 Palestinians in Gaza by the Israelis. We will soon have retribution, and counter-retribution. Four years ago I heard Ari Fleischer, Bush’s former spokesman, brag to a Cincinnati Jewish audience that he had never used the words "cycle of violence" during his tenure in the White House. This was not an achievement; it was a distortion of reality, fostered by the Israel lobby, an effort to convince Americans that one side is virtuous in this bloody awful situation, the Israeli side. It is connected to a delusion that the Bush Administration and supporters of Israel are purveying, that the U.S. is also in this war on the virtuous side, and that our role is to crush the terrorists. But what is the lesson of Iraq? Leading American politicians have stated that the terrorism in Baghdad is born of political disputes. And so we don’t take sides in Iraq between Shi’ites and Sunnis. Well Israelis and Palestinians are the Shiites and Sunnis of Palestine; the Middle East is embroiled in violent power struggles.

Ron Paul was the sole vote in the House against a resolution that condemned the Palestinians for shooting rockets at Israel, and supported Israel’s attacks on the Palestinians. Paul was brief and eloquent on the floor: 

I believe it is appalling that
Palestinians are firing rockets that harm innocent Israelis, just as I believe
it is appalling that Israel

fires missiles into Palestinian areas where children and other non-combatants
are killed and injured.  

Unfortunately,
legislation such as this is more likely to perpetuate violence in the Middle East than contribute to its abatement. It is our continued involvement and
intervention – particularly when it appears to be one-sided – that reduces
the incentive for opposing sides to reach a lasting peace agreement.  

Additionally,
this bill will continue the march toward war with Iran and Syria, as it contains provocative language targeting these countries. The legislation
oversimplifies the Israel/Palestine conflict and the larger unrest in the Middle
East
[emphasis Weiss's] by simply pointing the finger atIran and Syria. This is another piece in a steady series of legislation passed in the House
that intensifies enmity between the U.S. and Iran and Syria. My colleagues will recall that we saw a similar steady stream of provocative
legislation against Iraq in the years before the U.S. attack on that country.

The vote was 404-1. Some day this vote will be in history books, as evidence of the miserable imbalance in our foreign policy. Ron Paul’s courage on this vote was surely shored up by his discussions with his foreign-policy advisers Robert Pape and Leon Hadar. I have to believe that Barack Obama is listening…

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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50 Responses

  1. Richard Witty
    March 8, 2008, 8:31 am

    There is a cycle of violence, but voting against (not abstaining), is NOT the way to condemn the violence. Its partially a way to encourage it.

    "Courage".

  2. Richard Witty
    March 8, 2008, 8:34 am

    One large disconnect that I perceive, from recently speaking with a Palestinian former negotiator on behalf of the PLO in Oslo, is that many Palestinians perceive that the physical manifestation of the intifada of rock-throwing was perceived as non-violent civil disobedience.

    It wasn't. It was perceived as, and was, violence.

  3. Richard Witty
    March 8, 2008, 9:02 am

    If the United States were not intimately involved with Israel, and if a peace is not negotiated this year.

    Netanyahu will win next year's Israeli elections, and Hamas will win next year's Palestinian.

    Shortly, earnest escalations will occur on Israel's part. (Olmert's are genuinely intended to be defensive. Netanyahu's will not be.)

    The Palestinians in the West Bank would be incrementally pushed out. Absent UN INVOLVEMENT, Netanyahu would/will expand the settlement program, and as individual settlement fingers become exposed, he will "defensively" annex the areas that threaten the settlements. Step by step, until there is NO West Bank Palestine, no Palestine anywhere.

    Iran will not enter the fracas without risking nuclear war, which it would lose, as it does not have nukes yet, and will not in the time period that annexation and escalation occurs.

    And, when war comes, the US will stand with Israel, as will most of Europe, having been the brunt of escalated terror (which will force it to regard jihadist Islam as a worse enemy than they already do).

    The logic of appeasement (YES< THAT word) will appeal to many in Europe and the US, but it will NOT be a successful strategy.

    The option of renunciation in involvement is NOT courage. It is renunciation of responsibility.

    The question for the US, is HOW to be involved. HOW to help.

  4. Charles Keating
    March 8, 2008, 9:12 am

    Congress Defended the Gaza Assault 404-1; 23 Congressman abstained or voted “present,” only one voted no: Rep. Ron Paul. The brave 404 against the gutless lone Paul. His reasoning indicates he thought he voted against ensuring the tit for tat cycle of violence and the bill's language which painted the white hat and the spreading black hats.

    At the time of the vote the body count was 33.3 Palestinians for every Israeli killed. Most of the Palestinian victims were civilians,and many children died. I can understand the high Palestinian casualties IF it’s true that they fire from civilian areas, BUT why are the Israeli casualties so low considering Hamas is supposedly targeting civilian areas?

  5. Charles Keating
    March 8, 2008, 9:34 am

    Terrorism is a technical term. It describes a modus operandi, a tactic. Security professionals define terrorism as the deliberate targeting of civilians in pursuit of a political goal. The key word of course is "deliberate" aka intentional.

    Gaza is cut off from Israel and from the surrounding arab countries by land and by sea, they rely on Israel (using UN & USA money) for their barest needs in food, water, electricity, and employment. Each time Israel cuts off fuel, the Palestinians do without. When Israel cut offs electricity, then they sit in the dark. Whenever Israel shuts the border, then the Palestinians don’t go to work. And so on.

  6. Issacms
    March 8, 2008, 9:46 am

    Are Jews Less Attached to Israel? Maybe Not

    By Anthony Weiss
    Wed. Mar 05, 2008

    A new study is challenging the notion that American Jews are growing less attached to Israel.

    According to a study released by three researchers at the Steinhardt Social Research Institute, a prominent demographic research center at Brandeis University, an analysis of survey data going back more than a decade suggests that American Jewish attachment to Israel has remained consistently strong.

    “Things seem to be pretty stable,” said Leonard Saxe, who is the institute’s director and one of the authors of the study.

    Written by Saxe, Theodore Sasson and Charles Kadushin, the study comes in the wake of recent publications — including a survey conducted by sociologist Steven M. Cohen — arguing that American Jewish attachment to Israel is decreasing. More broadly, it is the latest in a long series of demographic studies and articles that have vacillated between optimism and pessimism over Jewish population size, attachment to Israel, Jewish affiliation among the children of intermarried couples and a whole host of other issues concerning the future of the Jewish community.

    The Steinhardt Institute was founded in 2005 to settle precisely these kinds of contentious demographic issues; however, the institute, with Saxe as its director, has instead emerged as the consistently more optimistic pole in these debates.

    The recent boom of interest in Jewish demographics can be traced to the 1990 National Jewish Population Study, which found that 52% of Jews who were marrying took non-Jewish spouses. This number induced panic about the future of Jews in America, though several critics — Cohen included — argued that the number was inflated.

    Then, the 2000-01 NJPS, co-authored by Cohen, found that the number of Jews in America had dropped to 5.2 million from 5.5 million in 1990. This number, too, was challenged: Not long ago, Saxe and Kadushin argued in a recent study that the number was likely more than 6 million and possibly as high as 8 million, depending on how one defined “Jewish.”

    As of late, Saxe and Cohen, a research professor of Jewish social policy at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, have clashed over the significance of intermarriage, with Cohen arguing that intermarriage leads to an erosion of Jewish identity and Saxe countering that it is Jewish background, not intermarriage, that is the truer measure of whether Jews stay Jewishly involved.

    The tiff over attachment to Israel is the latest clash between the two. In 2007, Cohen and Ari Kelman, an assistant professor of American studies at the University of California, Davis, published a study showing that attachment to Israel was lower and lower among younger and younger non-Orthodox Jews. From this, Cohen and Kelman concluded that as the younger, less-attached group aged, Jews overall would become less attached.

    Now, Saxe, Sasson and Kadushin are challenging that finding. Their study, which looks at telephone surveys commissioned by the American Jewish Committee going back to 1994, found that levels of attachment to Israel among American Jews had consistently remained high through the years, with those saying they felt “close” to Israel remaining well over 65%.

    They also find that the so-called “age cohort” differences between younger and older Jews have been consistent through the years, suggesting that as Jews age, their attachment to Israel grows.

    Cohen, however, refused to concede that Israel attachment is stable, saying that the AJCommittee’s surveys weren’t an accurate reflection of American Jews at large and that the study didn’t show the long-term effects of intermarriage. He defended his demographic pessimism, saying, “I think I’m in a bit better touch with the reality.”

    Saxe, on the other hand, defended himself as a “tough-minded empiricist” and said that with the rise of new technology, easier travel to Israel and the huge numbers of young adults traveling to Israel through the Birthright Israel program, which began in 2000, the elements were in place for attachments to grow much stronger.

    “We think something fundamental is changing,” he said.

  7. Richard Witty
    March 8, 2008, 10:01 am

    "Gaza is cut off from Israel and from the surrounding arab countries by land and by sea, they rely on Israel (using UN & USA money) for their barest needs in food, water, electricity, and employment."

    Gaza shares a border with Egypt.

  8. Richard Witty
    March 8, 2008, 10:05 am

    Terrorism ISN'T a "technical" term in the sense that it has no distinct meaning, outside of "technical" definitions.

    The intent of a military operation to protect civilians from shelling from a former "nation", is justifiable, defensive in nature.

    The intent of a random assault solely at targeted civilians is murder.

    That you would FAIL to distinguish is sickening.

  9. Richard Witty
    March 8, 2008, 10:10 am

    "Absent UN INVOLVEMENT"

    That was meant to be "absent US involvement"

  10. Richard Witty
    March 8, 2008, 10:12 am

    "Absent UN INVOLVEMENT"

    That was meant to be "absent US involvement"

  11. Richard Witty
    March 8, 2008, 10:16 am

    Phil,
    As a responsible journalist, can you at least site the resolution and a link?

  12. Eleanor Lambertson
    March 8, 2008, 10:28 am

    Ron Paul is the only true American patriot in Congress as shown in this vote and other brave actions. Unfortunately the so-called "democracy" which we pretend to try to spead around the world is nothing more than rule by a congress of whores kept by Israel Lobby. It is not enough that we must go bankrupt waging wars for Israel, we must publically support all of Israel's Nazi actions and suffer world-wide hatred and anti-American terrorism as a result.

  13. MM
    March 8, 2008, 10:30 am

    Richard, with PM Olmert's recent defensive strategies yielding a 33.3-to-1 (until yesterday) kill ratio for your glorious, just, and peace-loving Zionist cause, do you have any predictions as to what future PM Netanyahu's kill ratio will be when he untertakes an actual offensive on the mosquito problem?

    By the way, is killing hundreds of mosquitos in this context genocide or just eradication?

  14. Charles Keating
    March 8, 2008, 11:08 am

    RE: "The question for the US, is HOW to be involved. HOW to help."–Witty

    The U.S. Government should demand that all attacks in either direction between Gaza and Israel cease now, permanently.  It should support a resolution to that effect in the UN Security Council.  It should pressure Israel to accept a cease-fire

    A cease-fire should be welcomed by all who truly want to see the violence stop, the siege of Gaza end, Israeli civilians secure and see a new basis for negotiations that will lead to full political rights for Palestinians according to international law and peace for Israel.  Call for an immediate cease-fire now.

    By recent poll, a majority of the Israeli public (64%) support direct talks with Hamas to achieve a mutual ceasefire.  Moreover, Knesset Member Yossi Beilin and other high level politicians have called for an agreed ceasefire with Hamas and the former head of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency, Efraim Halevy, calls for Israel and the US to negotiate a ceasefire with Hamas. Instead our brave congress plays its B-cowboys & indians movie, egging on the mostly one-sided aggression in Gaza.

    if the US & Israel’s goal is to end rocket attacks from Gaza, the most logical step Israel could take would be to respond positively to Hamas’ repeated cease-fire proposals for a complete end to rocket fire on Israel (most recently on February 23rd, when Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that Hamas will consider any initiative that will bring about a ceasefire). Hamas claims it has secured the agreement of all factions to halt rocket fire and promised to impose the cease-fire provided that Israel reciprocates. 

    Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert immediately rejected the cease-fire offer, even though a growing number of Israeli politicians and security officials are calling for Israel to accept a cease-fire. 

    Israel’s current operations are clearly about much more than securing Israeli civilians lives.  Israel could easily end the rocket fire by accepting a cease-fire.

    Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza have killed 14 Israelis and wounded hundreds more since 2001. These rocket attacks contravene international law and should stop immediately.

    However Israel’s actions themselves are war-crimes.  Attacks on severely crowded residential areas in Gaza and the targeting of civilians, including homes and medical teams, represent war crimes according to the provisions of international humanitarian law. The use of disproportionate and lethal force against a civilian population even in response to the unlawful rocket attacks carried out by Palestinian armed groups is a blatant violation of the laws of war, enshrined in customary international humanitarian law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

    This latest round of violence started when Israel air-strikes assassinated five high-level Hamas militants in southern Gaza early February 27 and Hamas responded with a rocket barrage on the Israeli town of Sderot, killing one man, the first Israeli victim of rocket fire in nine months, and then fired longer range rockets on the large Israeli town of Ashkelon.  Israel then responded with air-strikes on Gaza, including destroying the Hamas government interior ministry building, and then launched this major new operation it is calling “Operation Warm Winter,” the largest inside Gaza in the past few years.  Reports in the Israeli press suggest that Israel had been preparing for a major operation in Gaza over the past month.

    Israel’s immediate strategy: to provoke Hamas regularly into violence to deflect it from the path of organizing mass peaceful protest; to weaken the Hamas leadership through regular executions; and to ensure that an effective defense against the rockets is developed, including technology like Barak’s pet project, Iron Dome.

    Israel seeks a way to make it lawful for the army to direct artillery fire and air strikes at civilian neighbourhoods of Gaza in response to rocket fire. They are already doing this covertly, of course, but now they want their hands freed by making it official policy, sanctioned by the international community. Our congress
    (sans Ron Paul) is doing its best to comply.

    Vilnai proposed declaring areas of Gaza “combat zones” in which the army would have free rein and from which residents would have little choice but to flee. In practice, this would allow Israel to expel civilians from wide areas of the Strip, herding them into ever smaller spaces, as has been happening in the West Bank for some time.

    All these current Israeli measures – from the intensification of the siege to prevent electricity, fuel and medicines from reaching Gaza to the concentration of the population into even more confined spaces, as well as new ways of stepping up the violence inflicted on the Strip – are thinly veiled excuses for targeting and punishing the civilian population. They necessarily preclude negotiation and dialogue with Gaza’s political leaders.

    Israel's ultimate goal appears to be related to Vilnai’s “shoah” comment: Gaza’s depopulation, with the Strip squeezed on three sides until the pressure forces Palestinians to break out again into Egypt. This time, it may be assumed, there will be no chance of return.

    Hamas has proposed a cease-fire many times. The negotiations should be conducted by Egypt, particularly since it would have to open the border between the Gaza Strip and Sinai to end the siege of Gaza and give it back its freedom of communication with the world by land, sea and air. 

    Israel’s demand that it cannot negotiate a cease-fire because Hamas does not "recognize Israel’s right to exist" is nothing more than a pretext for avoiding an end to violence on anything other than Israel’s terms.  Even though Hamas has been responsible for many reprehensible and violent attacks on Israel, it is the main power in Gaza and has a track record of living up to its agreements ("More than we do" said the former Mossad chief). 

    Lack of recognition has never stopped states from negotiating with sworn enemies. Further, such recognition is traditionally reciprocal; in order for Israel to receive recognition it would have to simultaneously recognize the state of Palestine and define its own borders, which it refuses to do. And, in practical terms, if one state or group makes an agreement with another state, then it has recognized that state.  So if Hamas were to agree to a cease-fire with Israel, it is meaningless whether or not it has formally recognized Israel because in fact, it has. 

    So why does Israel reject a cease-fire, choosing instead massive military invasions and violence in Gaza?

    Under pressure domestically to stop the rocket attacks, yet unwilling to accept a cease-fire and knowing it cannot completely reoccupy the Gaza strip without major casualties, it is choosing to unleash intense violence upon the area where rocket attacks come from and upon Palestinians–both fighters and civilians–in order to pressure Hamas to halt rocket attacks.  This is a form of collective punishment; it has never worked in the past and contravenes international law.

    The deeper reason Israel chooses violence over a cease-fire is that Israel wants to avoid negotiations with a united Palestinian government that holds firm to basic Palestinian rights to a full and sovereign Palestinian state in the lands occupied by Israel in 1967.  It wants to impose an agreement upon a weakened and divided Palestinian people who could be pushed to accept a deal that allows for Palestinian rule in truncated territorial enclaves under complete Israeli control, with most of the Israeli settlements remaining on Palestinian land.  Dividing Hamas-ruled Gaza from the West Bank and refusing to negotiate any deal with Hamas helps it do this.

  15. Crimson Ghost
    March 8, 2008, 12:04 pm

    Cut 'Sovereign' Israel Loose — by Charley Reese

    link to antiwar.com

    >>Sometimes President Bush sounds like an idiot. The most recent example is his statement that he still believes the Palestinians and Israelis can reach a peace agreement before the end of his term.

    This comes on the heels of an Israeli attack against Gaza that killed more than 100 people, most of them innocent civilians. It was a reprisal attack for a few rockets fired into Israel by some Hamas hotheads. In World War II, when the Germans killed civilians as a reprisal for an attack on their forces, it was called a war crime.

    Yet President Bush and the world's most ineffective secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, can barely force themselves to say, in effect, "Tut, tut, tut. Can't you folks get along?"

    If the Palestinian rockets were slaughtering Israelis, no one could complain. Even an occupying power has a right to defend itself. But these rockets, unguided, more often than not land where people aren't. According to a recent story in the Los Angeles Times, only 13 Israelis have been killed by these rockets in the past seven years. Hamas says the rockets are in response to Israeli attacks; the Israelis say the reprisal raid is in response to the rocket attacks.

    Such circular action-reactions remind one of the wisecrack that if the world practices the old Hebrew "eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth" philosophy, the world would soon be blind and toothless. Unless the Israelis are willing to do as the Romans did and exterminate every Palestinian man, woman and child, they can't kill their way to peace. And neither can the Palestinians.

    The guilty party in this dance of death is the Bush administration, which absolutely refuses to put even the least pressure on the Israelis. Israel has all the power. The Israelis are to the Palestinians like a 250-pound wrestler assaulting a 4-year-old child. Without pressure from the U.S., the Israeli government will go right on killing Palestinians, taking their land and expanding Israeli settlements. And Palestinians, weak as they are (they have no army, no air force, no navy, no country and no international help because the U.S. blocks all such attempts), will go right on resisting as best they can.

    The Israelis are rearing a whole new generation of terrorists. When these Palestinian kids grow to manhood amid the chaos, humiliation, death and poverty the Israelis forced on them, they're going to be some mean, tough individuals unlikely to be particular about on whom or how they wreak their vengeance. We're growing our own crop of terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The Israelis are short-term pragmatists. Their philosophy is that if someone is too weak to take something, why give it to him? They believe that as long as they can control the U.S. government, tap into its wealth and technology and hide behind its veto at the United Nations, there is no need for them to make any concessions at all. This has certainly worked for them in the short term.

    In the long term, however, the Israelis are committing national suicide, just as one of their military intelligence people said. Sooner or later, General Birthrate and his armies will overwhelm them. The only way a small Jewish state can survive in the long run among a sea of Arabs is to get along with its neighbors. Other than the neighbors we bribe – Jordan and Egypt – all of the neighbors hate Israel.

    The United States should stop the $3 billion annual gift to the Israelis and tell them that as of now, the U.S. will no longer protect them from United Nations sanctions or criticism with our veto. Israel is quick to say it is a sovereign and independent country; well, it's time the U.S. put that to the test.

    If there is any part of the world where our policy should be trade and nothing else, it is the Middle East.<<

  16. J.E.Dundee
    March 8, 2008, 12:09 pm

    Clearly a mutual cease fire in conjunction with peace talks would be the best case scenario, but Hamas has had long term unilateral cease fires in the past during which Israel has continued its policy of targeted assassinations killing innocent civilians. If the Israel Lobby didn't have a stranglehold on the media, Americans would wake up to the truth and force all their representatives to do the right thing: ie dissociate the US from Israel if Israel refuses to do the right thing. Instead we have to witness the sick spectacle of Hagee's zombified sheep calling for Armageddon.

  17. the sword of gideon
    March 8, 2008, 12:25 pm

    Pardon me if the kill ratio between Jews and Arabs is not at a satisfactory level for you idiots. but since this seems to be a clash of civilizations type thing, lets go with this. There is roughly a hundred moslems for every Jew in the world. So, if there is 8 dead in Jerusalem there should be 800 dead moslems out there. After all, isn't that a proportionate response.

  18. Richard Witty
    March 8, 2008, 12:26 pm

    Israel cannot relax re: Hamas because it attempts to and does murder civilians.

    Its simple. Its terror. There is no pretense of acceptance of people or of state.

    Those of you that excuse that behavior are gullible.

  19. Charles Keating
    March 8, 2008, 12:26 pm

    "Of course the people don't want war. That's understandable. But it's always very easy to influence the people, whether it's a democracy or a fascist dictatorship, a parliament or a communist dictator. No matter which way, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them that they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country." Hermann Goering.

    And, it will work again, a notso Clean Break moving on towards its fruition, no matter Obama, Hillary, or (esp) McCain. I'm not sure even Goering imagined a small client state, via its diaspora in Superpower America, would illustrate his rule of government life so well.

  20. Richard Witty
    March 8, 2008, 12:27 pm

    Even when Hamas undertook a "hudna", it allowed and was reputed to have trained Islamic Jihad and PFLP to continue the shelling of civilians.

  21. Richard Witty
    March 8, 2008, 12:37 pm

    I don't know exactly what Netanyahu will do.

    I do know that he regards the land from the Mediterranean to the Jordan as Israel's.

    I do know that Israel being in close relationship with the US, compels Israel to be concerned with US opinions of its actions, to restrain itself.

    IF the US would sever military ties with Israel (impossible for the economic and social), and a coalition of Likud and Israel Beitanyu and the expansionist religious parties formed, it is a near certainty that the settlement project will be revived and committedly.

    And, even as the international community objected, it would survive the censure, and then have a rectangle as border (rather than the settlment maze) which it will perceive as defensible.

    And, if Hamas took power in the West Bank as well as Gaza, and confronted Israel, resulting in war, then Israel would win and the hundreds of thousands that would leave the warzone would again lose their homes.

    Idealism, fantasy, is NOT the same as realism.

    Its not the same when expansionist flavor of Zionist does it. Its not the same when the left/right does it. Its not the same when Walt/Mearsheimer do it (under the name of "realism").

    Realism is actively pursuing peace.

  22. Ed.
    March 8, 2008, 12:46 pm

    "There is roughly a hundred moslems for every Jew in the world. So, if there is 8 dead in Jerusalem there should be 800 dead moslems out there."

    Approximately 1.5 million Iraqis have been killed due to Judeofascist-driven sanctions and wars between the Bush and Clinton regimes. By your logic, gideon, that means your side owes 15,000.

    But we know how you Judeofascists really think, don't we gideon:

    “A thousand non-Jewish lives are not worth a Jew’s fingernail” Dov Lior, Rabbi of Kiryat Arba

    Note to Christians, Muslims, all the other ethnic, racial and religious groups out there, and even atheists: the good Rabbi and his people think you, as non-Jews, are worse less than a Jewish finger nail. (And Israel wonders why it's universally despised?)

    The only people worth less than a Jewish finger nail are those dimwits in Congress and the Executive branch who keep supporting and financing the murder of gentiles by the Judeofascist state.

  23. Drahcir Al-yttiw
    March 8, 2008, 12:52 pm

    Hamas cannot relax re:Israel because it attempts to and does murder civilians.

    Its simple. Its terror. There is no pretense of acceptance of people or of state.

    Those of you that excuse that behavior are gullible.

    ******

    Of these two foolish statements, this is the one with more truth.
    The blind hypocrisy of a true believer never ceases to amaze.

  24. MM
    March 8, 2008, 12:53 pm

    Wow Witty what a bully… so basically your holding the Palestinians to the ground until they scream uncle?

    …From the archives of Witty's never again dreamscape…

    Little Richie has a smaller, browner kid pinned against the wall at school and keeps insisting he gives him the rest of his lunch money, and not only that, but that he lick his boots afterwards. And the kid refuses to go along, so Richie bloodies his nose, then tells him again, then he socks the little guy in his guts, spits in his face, reaches into his pocket and takes a little more money out.

    Then when the teacher comes out and sees what Richie is doing, he freezes for a split second, turns around and grabs his right eye and falls to the ground crying, "he hit me! he hit me!"

    And because the teacher's husband is employed by Richie's father, she punishes the bad little boy who can't even hardly breath, can't tell her his side of the story, and little Richie then goes around to all the other boys puffing his chest out about the whupping, and then quickly shifts to playing the victim when the grownups are around.

    When that little dark skinned kid comes back to school, after suspension, he better be ready to lick Richie's boots, and he better do it exactly how Richie wants, or he might be forced to deal with this irritation again, this time for real!

    I suggest the kid just change schools, but all the other schools are too far away. Besides, his family lives right here.

    Richie's parents tell the principal that their son has always tried to be nice to that boy, but that the boy always just had it out for Richie. Poor Richie, he just couldn't take it any more, so he decided to defend himself.

  25. John
    March 8, 2008, 1:09 pm

    ".. Many Palestinians perceive that the physical manifestation of the intifada of rock-throwing was perceived as non-violent civil disobedience.

    It wasn't. It was perceived as, and was, violence."

    An anachronistic and silly point of view. The first intifada was largely non-violent – one of the reasons it was so successful. Most people would call rock throwing in the face of tanks and machine guns "heroic" rather than "violent" as the disproportion of force is so immense. Israeli society had not then yet degenerated to the point that it could not perceive this. Incidents when a soldier killed a youth throwing a symbolic stone still made the news; people still had the capacity to be shocked back then. If "violent", it was perceived as trivial, symbolic violence. Its manifest justness in the face of enormously greater Israeli aggression, theft and violence quickly revived the Palestinians' political fortunes. The sensible attitude you ascribe to the Palestinians was very widespread in Israel, the US and elsewhere at the time; as usual the assassins of memory are ever busy.

  26. Charles Keating
    March 8, 2008, 1:28 pm

    So the tiny USA David has grown into the Big Bully, and Israel followed suit; now, look what we have, in much less time thanks to goy guilt and (more importantly) political donations.

  27. Richard Witty
    March 8, 2008, 2:18 pm

    Actually, you have a lot of self-talk.

    Even if Hamas cannot do nothing in response to its condition, shelling and shooting civilians is NOT the method that liberates.

    And, you know it well.

    The current path of aggression on civilians is NOT a success path for Hamas, Palestinians, or Israelis.

    Israel is rational in seeking to defend its civilians, and is respected by most states for doing so.

    In the environment of terror on civilians, even the suppressive actions by Israel (that are not justified in the absence of low-level war and horrific terror), are understood as justified. (At least no state knows what they would do differently.)

    In contrast, in Gaza, there is a budding police state. There is NO free press, NO free assembly, and prospective dissenters are violently, thuggishly threatened.

    I share the criticism of Israel that it has not negotiated in earnestness to the level of achieving significant results in the form of removing settlements incrementally, of removing roadblocks incrementally, of releasing prisoners, etc.

    The actions of Hamas make the tangible problems that are solvable, UNSOLVABLE.

  28. Richard Witty
    March 8, 2008, 2:21 pm

    So, what do you see the likely consequences for Israel, for Palestine if the US follows the lead of Ron Paul, of disengagement, of renouncing any military support?

    Good outcomes?

  29. Richard Witty
    March 8, 2008, 2:22 pm

    Or, do Israelis give a shit more about Palestinians welfare than you do?

  30. Jim Haygood
    March 8, 2008, 2:26 pm

    An appalling commentary on this appalling incident was written by Bradley Burston in Haaretz, under the title "To the Westerner who 'understands' the terrorist." A key excerpt:

    ————

    Last week, when Israeli forces drove into Gaza, and some 120 Palestinians were killed, many of them were gunmen, but with children making up another sixth of the total, one grieving father spoke with quiet eloquence, saying "Other places in the world, when this happens, there is a great outcry. When this happens here, the world is silent. No one cares."

    He's right. The world has grown content to let Palestinians die. The reason is not simple callousness. And it is not, as Hamas proclaims to its followers in Gaza, that the Jews control the world media and world finance, and thus Western government as well.

    The reason is terrorism.

    The world has grown weary of the Islamist's creed, that only the armed struggle can resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that the only proper resolution is the end of Israel.

    Even the Israeli left, which for decades championed the Palestinian with courage and determination, has, in large part, had it with the Palestinians. The reason is terrorism. The reason is murder. The reason is that the rulers of Gaza are people who see an intrinsic value in the killing of Jews for the sake of increasing the number of dead Jews in the world.

    link to haaretz.com

    ————

    Burston's impassioned essay is an illustration of the power of semantics to blind. He appreciates that the brutal attack on the Jerusalem seminary was terrorism — as we all do. But he cannot see that the slaughter of 120 Palestinians, half of whom were civilians, is also state terror. Different labels have deranged his analysis. He perceives only good guys and bad guys; the bad guys deserve to die.

    One reason why Israel won't win this struggle in the long run is the evident inability of Jews to understand the Arab point of view. Failing to get into the head of one's opponent is a fatal mistake. The doomed Jim Crow and South African apartheid regimes made the same error.

    Probably it was coincidence that this terrible shooting happened within hours after the 404-1 vote in Congress for a "salt in the wounds" slanging of the Palestinians after their losses. Ron Paul is the only one who understands that vicious taunting such as this latest AIPAC-drafted screed can inspire new martyrs, who have lost their families and have nothing else to lose.

    Frankly, I believe that steady low-level losses from terrorist attacks are a price that Israel is willing to pay to keep the territories under occupation and settlement. The Israeli government can't afford to say this. But its actions in shunning any sincere negotiations suggests that it doesn't want peace now. Rather, it wants to keep the terriroties in unstable, violent limbo to extract advantage from its superior military strength.

    Bradley Burston, spare us your crocodile tears. The Foundation for Middle East Peace reports that "the settlement population west of the fence [sic] has increased by 11,338 between June 2006 and July 2007." Eleven thousand new settlers, in exchange for a dozen or so Jewish terrorist victims. Not only is one Jewish life worth a thousand gentile lives; but apparently, one Jewish death is worth a thousand settler lives, in zionism's perverted moral calculus. Carry on, Bradley!

  31. the sword of gideon
    March 8, 2008, 2:52 pm

    Ed. I reiterate, we don't hate all Christians, just you. And Keating you have to come up with something newer than Jews really being Nazi's, which I suppose makes the Arabs the real Jews. It really doesn't make sense in the world of reality, Maybe in your bizzarro world.

  32. L.Step
    March 8, 2008, 4:36 pm

    Paul is a brave man. No wonder both political parties in this nation have marginalized him.
    He is a threat to the comfortable servility of our lobby-fed Shepherds who consider themselves to be our "representatives" — which indeed they are — but only if you are a sheep.

  33. Richard Witty
    March 8, 2008, 5:15 pm

    I've quoted the Bradley Burston comments positively.

    You utterly misunderstand his point.

    Ron Paul does as well, in his good "reasons" for not condemning terror officially.

  34. Charles Keating
    March 8, 2008, 6:13 pm

    Even if Hamas cannot do nothing in response to its condition, shelling and shooting civilians is NOT the method that liberates–so given all that I said above in this thread (absolutely none of it answered–scroll up, look and see), what method should Hamas use? Even M L King and Ghandi would be perplexed if they were Palestinian in Gaza–The ruling white Americans and Brits respectively, there and then, were not a brutal force to contend with such as copycat Israel today is, unhampered by a constitution or bill of rights or borders, and empowered by the world's lone superpower (its taxpaying goy masses given no facts, and spun a la Bernays & Goebbels) and its bought government amd given a blank check by Auschwitz, which Palestinians had nothing to do with.

    And, you know it well, as does everyone posting on this blog, even if Paul Newman doesn't.

    The current Hollywood Exodus path of aggression on Palestinian civilians is NOT a success path for Likud Israelis and 5th column Americans or their tweedlee-tweedledum dogs, the USA adminstration and the bought USA congress .

    Given its circumstances, Hamas is rational in seeking to defend its civilians, and is respected by most states for doing so. Otherwise, why all those USA vetos from the UN security council?

    In the environment of the unbalanced, statistical terror on a comparative handful of Israeli civilians, the suppressive actions by Hamas are understood as justified. (At least no human group knows what they would do differently.)

    And so it is in Gaza, a prison paid for by American tax dollars, a more than budding police state. There is NO free press, NO free assembly, and prospective dissenters are violently, thuggishly threatened.

    I share the criticism of Hamas that it has not negotiated in earnestness by putting mass bodies on the march a la M L King, to the level of achieving significant results in the form of removing American tax-paid Israeli settlements incrementally, of releasing prisoners, etc.

    The difference is when you deal with Likud, you are dealing with
    racist ideology and might makes right. And, more important, that from Truman on down, the USA powerhouse depends on
    money and last of all, the feeble arab constituency in the USA.

    The actions of Israel make the tangible problems that are solvable, UNSOLVABLE–but always in Likud Israeli's favor. Scroll up in this thread and you will see why–nobody has answered my statements there –it's easy to see why.

  35. Charles Keating
    March 8, 2008, 6:25 pm

    PS: I have a USA war combat veteran status. Do you ?

  36. Michael Blaine
    March 8, 2008, 7:51 pm

    I admire Ron Paul's principled views on foreign policy very much.

    Michael Blaine
    http://www.rudelystamped.blogspot.com

  37. Michael Blaine
    March 8, 2008, 7:57 pm

    Geez, I read the back and forth about Israel this, Palestine that – and it's been going on throughout my entire life.

    It's gotten old, and it seems one side is just as reprehensible as the other.

    Bottom line: The US should cut the cord with that dysfunctional little patch of land known as Israel/Palestine or whatever. It means as much to me as an American Uzbekistan, or Tierra del Fuego, or Timbuktu.

    Who cares which side is right? Each is made up of a bunch of Third World warmongers.

    Just don't waste my time and – more importantly – my tax money on it.

    Frankly, Ecuador/Colombia/Venezuela is more important to the US national interest.

    Michael Blaine
    http://www.rudelystamped.blogspot.com

  38. Michael Blaine
    March 8, 2008, 7:59 pm

    "It means as much to me as an American as Uzbekistan, or Tierra del Fuego, or Timbuktu."

  39. Richard
    March 8, 2008, 8:01 pm

    What if we made all our foreign aid payments dependent on a minimum of, say, 90 days of non-aggression? No peace, no dollars, right?

  40. neocognitism
    March 8, 2008, 8:43 pm

    ATTENTION:

    Richard Witty
    Charles Keating
    Ed

    You are effectively SPAMming every single one of these comment threads, with way too long, and way too many posts. If your point is to stifle real discussion, which I suspect, then you are being successful.

    Post less, and stop cut n pasting entire papers. Provide a LINK. Certainly Dick Witty, you do not need to post 2-3 times in succession, multiple times per story.

    You're ruining it for all of us! This is an important blog, and if you want Weiss to take the time to read our drivel, then don't flood the thread like you've been doing.

    Please.

  41. Michael Blaine
    March 8, 2008, 9:56 pm

    "if you want Weiss to take the time to read our drivel"

    Does Weiss read any of it? How can we know?

  42. Richard Witty
    March 8, 2008, 11:34 pm

    Charles,
    The parallel posting is amateurish.

    Sure, it sounds like you have a point.

    Your point has been made a thousand times.

    There are things that Israel needs to do and probably can do to change the conditions that motivate angry people to undertake terror.

    That is acknowledged. That point having been successfully made, do you want to move on from damning to actually communicating?

    For example, do you think the Hamas strategy is effective at accomplishing anything humane for Palestinians or Israelis?

    Do you think that Ron Paul's proposal of abrupt disengagement, is likely to be effective at improving the lot of Palestinians?

    Or, are you saying "fuck them" by supporting Ron Paul's disengagement approach?

    Or, do you think that the effort of peace activists, that has accomplished recognition of the PLO for example (compared to prior rejection), is a path forward, worthy of support? (Not condemnation as "complicit")

  43. Charles Keating
    March 9, 2008, 6:01 am

    Deep within the collective soul of both Israelis and Palestinians
    beats the heart filled with the law of return. Both get fed at their respective mother's breast. Two people, both Semitic, both intellligent, both courageous, both determined to survive. The Holocaust happened. The Nakba happened. Two wrongs do not make a right. The laws of war, the neat separation between soldier and civilian is no more. Preemption morphs to endless paranoia. What to do? Is there any choice other than placing the matter square before the UN, the same agency and/or heir that placed the old seals of approval? Likud and Hamas must be forced to the UN table. Neither could survive without outside help. All the back doors must be closed. The negotiation sessions should be broadcast live around the world.

  44. Richard Witty
    March 9, 2008, 6:49 am

    Kadima is NOT Likud.

    Likud's platform is that the land from the Mediterranean to the Jordan is Israel.

    Kadima's platform is that the West Bank and Gaza are occupied. (Even Sharon said that.)

  45. Richard Witty
    March 9, 2008, 6:51 am

    Actually, Gaza is not occupied, but it is blockaded.

  46. Charles Keating
    March 9, 2008, 9:54 am

    I was using Likud in the sense of the more intractable group; Kadima's relative power may be short-lived.

    On March 2 Israel sent a whole regiment (about 2000 men) into the Northern Strip to occupy Jabalya and Sajiyah. On March 3, Israeli troops searched the towns, and then pulled out, but Olmert said Israel would soon return to counter the rocket firing and said the airstrikes would continue.

  47. Jim Haygood
    March 9, 2008, 12:13 pm

    Here we go again. From AP:

    ————

    JERUSALEM – Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has approved new construction in a West Bank settlement outside Jerusalem, a Construction Ministry official said Sunday, just days after a Palestinian man killed eight Israelis at a religious seminary.

    The news immediately drew Palestinian condemnation and came just days before a U.S. general was due in the region to monitor progress in troubled peacemaking.

    Construction Ministry spokesman Eran Sidis said a project for 546 apartments in the Givat Zeev settlement has proceeded in fits and starts since 1999. With Olmert's approval, those apartments will be completed and the ministry will soon market more than 200 more, bringing the project to some 800 units in all, Sidis said.

    link to news.yahoo.com

    ————

    Standard procedure at work, in two respects:

    1. Escalation — after a terror attack on a seminary associated with the settler movement, accelerate settlement building, knowing that this action will provide the justification for the next terror attack. Hey, we may lose another dozen Israeli citizens, but we get 800 new apartments!

    2. One-upmanship — snub the U.S. by making a provocative announcement just before the U.S. envoy arrives, thus crudely illustrating who's in charge.

    Needless to say, if Jim Haygood were president, all US payments to Israel would be halted by executive order this morning, under the principle that "those who have the gold make the rules." Oops, we have only paper dollars now! No wonder even half-pint states like Israel stick out their tongues and moon us.

  48. Dave
    March 9, 2008, 1:43 pm

    So, Mr. Witty, what you are saying is the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were terrorism and murder, since they targeted civilians, not the military?

  49. Joshua
    March 9, 2008, 1:58 pm

    Maybe the Palestinians have had enough of the total lack of support from any important state to alleviate some of the brutal aspects of the occupation which leads many to despair and others to outright retribution at all costs. It is interesting how the West can make studies on how an occupation can victimise the soldiers on the front lines and yet miss the traumas that those soldiers afflict on the indigenous people. Certainly the methods of Palestinian resistance can sway many to shy away from solidarity with their position of ending an occupation; but Palestinians are not just involved with militancy and violent resistance.

    The first and second intifadas begun with a civil disobedience and organised non-violence. As usual it was met with bullets and oppression of the occupier kind. Despite the constant reprisals with rockets and suicide bombings, that never stopped non-violent resistance from occuring in the occupied territories, it was only outshone by the spectacular focus on terrorism in all its horror (by a very compliant press).

    Secondly, Palestinians who do get involved politically against Israel are under threat of imprisonment and torture or even political liquidations. This deters many from taking such a path and could very well hide amongst other factions who give a sense of security because they have guns and weapons.

    Thirdly, the Palestinian non-violent movement has more or less been ineffective against Israel's occupation. With Fatah being involved with Oslo and other failed peace processes, Israel only accelerated its annexation and dissected the West Bank into enclaves and the Gaza Strip into a human prison. The lessons are learned the hard way: that Israel is unwilling to give a concession unless coerced into one.

    So Hamas and the other political movements in the Gaza Strip see these lessons and take the road of armed resistance, making Israel pay a price for continued oppression and colonisation of Palestinians and their land. Hizbollah didn't make Israel withdraw through non-violence and neither will Hamas make Israel recognise them unless they are proven strong enough to at least fight Israel to a standstill.

    This context should not be missed and that's why (in my opinion) Ron Paul did not vote in favour of the Resolution since the occupation (largely) the reason why Hamas fires rockets into Israel. What else is Hamas to do? Sit still and let Israel dictate what to do in order to be seen as a legitimate body in the conflict? Would it have been correct for other resistance groups in history to do such a thing and let "might make right"?

  50. Richard Witty
    March 9, 2008, 3:07 pm

    The effectiveness of non-violence isn't necessarily measured by whether the effort succeeds at the specific stated object.

    Its success is in the expression of willingness to suffer, but unwillingness to harm, COURAGE.

    It is distracted by the willingness to harm, in word or deed.

    Hezbollah didn't make Israel withdraw. World public opinion and the prospect of UN controlled demilitarized zone on the border between Lebanon and Israel did. Of course, that promise of UN demilitarization didn't occur.

    Similarly, Hamas has never succeeded at chasing Israel out of Gaza or the West Bank.

    The only significance of their efforts has been in the spin that the gullible accept.

    In contrast, the intellectual portions of the Intifada, and the rock-throwing at tanks (ala Tienamin Square) struck the world's imagination (including Israelis), but the rock-throwing at young Israeli soldiers on foot struck Israelis and the world as violence, not non-violence.

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