Israel’s Defiance of International Law on Its Border Violations Has Empowered Nasrallah

My friend David Bloom knows far more about Israel/Palestine issues than I do. He has made the following smart responses to Israel defenders Steve F. and Richard Witty:

I. Steve's invocation of Nasrallah & moderation reminded me of the following. I wrote this article a month after the International Court of Justice verdict against the separation wall in 2004. Going to the ICJ was a non-violent, legal attempt by the Palestinians to secure their rights. Unfortunately, even though the UN adopted the verdict 150-6, the world has done nothing to enforce it

Michael Tarazi, a legal adviser to the PLO, described the court's ruling
as "a real bolstering for Palestinian moderates who have long argued
that violence is not the way to victory." Tarazi warned that "if the
international community sends a message that this can be ignored, it
only enforces the extremists who prey on the fact that most Palestinians
feel abandoned." (Philadelphia Inquirer, July 10)

As if to underscore Tarazi's point, the day after the ruling, Hezbollah
secretary general Sheik Hassan Nasrallah opined: "What will remove the
barrier in occupied Palestine is the intention, will, jihad and
resistance of Palestinians and the [Arab] nation." Nasrallah pointed to
UN Security Council Resolution 425, issued in 1978, which demanded
Israel's immediate withdrawal from Lebanon. Israel did not pull out
until 2000, after years of Hezbollah guerrilla attacks. "This
international resolution was not able to return for us one inch of our
occupied lands,"
Nasrallah said. "Arabs might be happy for hours or days
because of the international court's ruling but everybody knows that
this ruling is non-binding." (Ha'aretz, July 10)

II. I would point out to Witty (whose comment is below), Hezbollah was created as a backlash to the stupid Lebanon invasion. Again, Witty says it's negligent of you not to address the Nasrallah question; but Witty is against any action against Leviev, the colonizer of the West Bank who has a fancy diamond shop in New York. Is Witty also against enforcing the ICJ verdict of 2004? It calls for sanctions to be imposed on Israel if they refuse to abide by it — and they have not abided by it (that means dismantling the fence anywhere it's built in occupied territory), nor has the world imposed sanctions to compel Israel to abide by it.

This is why the villages of Jayyous & Bi'lin have initiated the campaign against Leviev — it wouldnt be necessary if Israel complied w/international law & convention. So is Witty for enforcing international law, or is he for encouraging Nasrallah? it's either/or.

Richard Witty's comment follows:

Phil,
At some point you SHOULD address the question of Hezbollah COMMITTED to
remove Israel from the map, as was quoted.

That conflicts with your stated goal of a fair and sustainable two-state
solution
.

And, it certainly confuses any simple "live and let live" relationship
to Iran.

To avoid those questions is frankly a negligence on your part, a
selective and prospectively intentional ignorance.

To intentionally ignore questions about Nasrallah and Hezbollah, not
incidental questions, leads to stupid conclusions, and then stupid actions.

Finkelstein ignores those questions. Chomsky ignores those questions.
Not exactly cutting through to truth, from my perspective.

Not good sources for the moral backbone to make peace. Resentful
"justice" is easy.

Real work is needed.

Posted by: Richard Witty | September 11, 2008 at 12:44 PM

Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 50 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Richard Witty says:

    How does that respond to any point that I made?

    "Israel is worse. Hezbollah is justified".

    That's a bullshit response.

    The issue with Lebanon and Hezbollah is solely with Lebanon and Hezbollah.

    What does a comment about Leviev (that Bloom has never dialogued with me in any way about) have to do with Hezbollah?

    The question is what actions precipitate normalization of life for Palestinians?

    Do you think Hezbollah's assertion that it will work ceaselessly to remove Israel from the map, enhances prospects for normalization of Palestinians' life, or detracts from it?

    Please keep your eye on the prize, and not get distracted by angers or irritations.

    Why the straw dog?

  2. Richard Witty says:

    Also,
    Why did you not answer personally? If you made the point to initiate a post, it obviously struck you in some way.

    Why hide behind Bloom, whoever he is?

  3. Richard Witty says:

    Also,
    Just for reference, the term "enforcing international law" is only applicable if an authoritative court has made a ruling, at a standard of equal due process under the law,

    or a UN resolution that has passed the Security Council.

    To claim that a general assembly resolution is "international law" is false.

    It is fact that resolution 242 was passed and affirmed by the security council, which requires mutual features.

    Also, that the original resolution establishing the state of Israel was passed by the security council as well.

    Also, the resolution on Hezbollah disarmament was also passed by the security council.

    I don't know if Israel regards international law as binding. But, the ambiguous status of militias (Hezbollah and Hamas prominently on the borders of Israel) within sovereign states (constructing habitual legal deniability), creates a permanent distortion and inapplicability of international law.

  4. Richard Witty says:

    Is it the same David Bloom that was associated with Fields of Plenty Food Coop in DC in the late seventies and early 80's?

  5. observer says:

    My God, Richard's gonna pop a blood vessel if he keeps up at this rate!

    Nice article, David Bloom. I had missed it at the time. Why all these lopsided 150-6 votes in the U.N. don't make people start asking why the U.S. is always out in the cold, I've never understood. And it's always nice to be reminded of that shining hour when our congressmen voted 361-45 to condemn the International Court of Justice.

  6. dave r says:

    "the ambiguous status of militias (Hezbollah and Hamas prominently on the borders of Israel) within sovereign states (constructing habitual legal deniability), creates a permanent distortion and inapplicability of international law."

    First of all, Israel has no set borders with relation to Lebanon and any Palestinian sovereignty because there isn't one. Under international law the Gaza Strip remains occupied territory and Israel is responsible for the welfare of the people within it. Israel has restricted food and fuel to the residents of Gaza, reducing their lives to barely sustainable levels. According to the charter of the U.N. occupied people have the right to resist that occupation and Hamas falls into the category of a resistance group (not a "militia" operating within a sovereign state). The legality or illegality of their tactics is an arguable point, but for a different discussion.

  7. Richard Witty says:

    International law ruled that Israel had withdrawn fully from Lebanon, that there was NO remaining territorial ambiguity.

    Hezbollah didn't accept that, and Israel has agreed to negotiate its removal from a divided town.

    The issues with Shabaa Farms are pending until either Syria renounces territorial claims over the territory, and/or Israel concludes a territorial negotiation with Israel.

    No comments on Hezbollah? Iran? Just on Israel?

  8. Richard Witty says:

    You do get that the statement "we will never cease our resistance to the Zionist entity, until it is no more", is NOT an invitation to peaceful reconciliation?

  9. dave r says:

    Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000, 22 years after UNSC resolution 425.

    Why does Israel get to violate international law?

  10. Richard Witty says:

    Also Phil,
    What does your headline have to do with the content of David's post?

  11. dave r says:

    He's saying that Nasrallah is an "extremist" and that his position was buttressed by Israel's continued dismissal of international law. It's not rocket science.

  12. sword of gideon says:

    Hezbollah likes to ransom body parts of Israeli soldiers and made a hero out of Samir( head crusher ) Kuntar. So, don't make them out has normal. Second, the UN was ok for giving the pygmies a place to rant but when they start thinking that they are in charge,that's when we have to close the place up.

  13. Andre says:

    Richard Witty said: "I don't know if Israel regards international law as binding".

    Oh, Israel sure does, but only when it serves her agenda. Hypocrisy at its 'finest'.

  14. Richard Witty says:

    Andre,
    What have you read?

    How do you understand the history?

  15. Andre says:

    Richard,

    I have studied the I/P conflict for decades very closely and know from personal experience what military occupation can do to people. When I say "hypocrisy at its finest" I didn't mean to imply that this is limited to Israel only. But Israel and its policies is mostly the subject we're discussing here, aren't we?

    My understanding from modern history is a mix of personal experience and also based on at least triple checking claims and sources before I even begin to come to certain conclusions.

    P.S. I'm from Europe and English isn't my native language so I am fully aware that anything I say can be misinterpretated. That often happened before but I'll try to make myself as clear as I possibly can.

  16. LeaNder says:

    This is funny, Richard:

    The issues with Shabaa Farms are pending until either Syria renounces territorial claims over the territory, and/or Israel concludes a territorial negotiation with Israel.

    No comments on Hezbollah? Iran? Just on Israel?

  17. Ed says:

    Witty seems to be a good case study in what happens to a committed Zionist when the ugly truth of his ideology is repeatedly thrown in his face: he completely loses his mind.

    He reminds me of those haywire cyborg robots from sci-fi movies with spinning heads and smoke coming from their ears that go into meltdown when their programming conflicts with their learned behavior.

    Fascinating.

  18. Richard Witty says:

    That was funny, not a Freudian slip. It was "Israel concludes a territorial negotiation with Syria."

  19. Slim says:

    >> The issues with Shabaa Farms are pending until either Syria renounces territorial claims over the territory, and/or Israel concludes a territorial negotiation with Israel.

    Question for Richard Witty: Please tell us what Israel feels to be its international borders. Please tell us what Israel claims to be Israel.

    This is a straightforward question.

  20. Andre says:

    Slim said: "Question for Richard Witty: Please tell us what Israel feels to be its international borders. Please tell us what Israel claims to be Israel.

    This is a straightforward question".

    I have asked this question myself at least one hundred times when people claim that Israel should be "recognized". My question was: within what borders? It was usually met with a deafening silence.

  21. Richard Witty says:

    I regard 67 borders as Israel, with the exception of the old city of Jerusalem, which I consider Israel.

    Jordan and Egypt were able to recognize Israel. Certainly Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Iran can as well.

  22. fatman says:

    Richard,

    I am new to ME polemics, but I do know something about Hezbollah. Their history is rather amazing and I know they would be open to dialogue with Israel on any and all issues–in fact, as the only serious military and political organization in Lebanon they probably do meet with the Israelis regularly, if for no other reason than to avoid any unintended military confrontations.

    They are not the demonic, madrasah-head, "kill all jews", Islamic militants-types you may imagine. They are not exactly secular either, but mostly pragmatic. They are disciplined, reliable, and because of their honesty and incorruptibility, they have truly huge grassroots support–among Christians and Muslims in Lebanon. Sheikh Nasrallah is not the degenerate,dissolute Walid Jumblatt and his narco-trafficking colleague Harriri in Beirut. Or Yassir Arafat (and his confused, corrupt PLO) for that matter now that I think about it.

    Hezbollah has no more than about 1–3,000 dedicated full time fighters. The bulk of his "army" are irregulars–bakers, beer distributors, street sweepers, and school teachers by day and militiamen when conflict arises. (Maybe not beer distributors, but you get the idea).

    They own and maintain their own fiber-optic communication network which they use to co-ordinate their activities and operations. It was this communication network that was the focal point of the crisis in Beirut a few months back. When they were ordered by the Harriri govt to dismantle their comm network, they mobilized quickly, routed the other militias with very little fighting, and pretty much everyone said "OK, you can keep your network." The "Lebanese Army" strolled about in their APCs but stayed clear of the Hizbollah fighters. And these guys were just the reserves! They weren't even Hizbollah's frontline, hard core fighters! They could have overthrown the govt, but Nasrallah elected not to. Why?

    They are often portrayed as "terrorists," but that is truly not an accurate label. They consider themselves and behave as Lebanese resistance fighters. They started as a force to liberate Southern Lebanon from Israeli occupation, and they still see themselves as the only safeguard of Lebanese sovereignty given the pathetic state of the "Lebanese" army.

    From little more than a youth group they have grown to be a very powerful group, and this is mostly due to their statements and practice of defending Lebanon. They have not participated in suicide-bomber killing of Israelis sipping cappucinos or disco-dancing. It is not their goal to kill all Jews and to "wipe Israel off the map."

    So, why Israel's antagonism? Mostly, I think, they do not like the challenge a well-disciplined, highly armed independent force poses on its frontier. It kind of limits their freedom of action in the region. Not a lot, but who wants restraints? Simplistic, perhaps, but this is how I see Hezbollah, and how I think the Israelis do as well…nothwithstanding their rhetoric about their being a "terrorist" organization which is just a bunch of BS. Getting beyond the propaganda reveals a far more interesting opponent of Israeli hegemony and a more pliable one than the "terrorist" propaganda line would have you imagine.

  23. Andre says:

    Thanks fatman for your spot on and very insightful post!

  24. fatman says:

    You're welcome Andre. Sheikh Nasrallah really is an interesting guy. The whole "terrorist" label kind of confuses people into thinking Hamas=Al Quaeda=Saddam Hussein=Hezbollah=Iraqi resistance=Mahdi Army=PLO of yesteryear. This is simply not the case at all. We are just supposed to conclude that they all deserve to die! I know the Israelis know better and so do our intelligence agencies, even if the Washington Post and NY Times don't–or pretend they don't.

  25. Joshua says:

    Didn't Syria already recede the Sheeba Farms to Lebanon?

    link to un.org

    link to domino.un.org

  26. Eurosabra says:

    So it's really, really interesting that a whole lot of people think Hezbollah did the AMIA bombing in the 90s, and the bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, and has been linked to plots to kidnap Israeli and foreign Jews out in the wide, wide Diaspora, isn't it? That it plans major military operations around the seizure of live Jewish bodies and their transformation into corpses, and the ransoming of said corpses for the return of terrorists?

    They are disciplined ghouls, and if any Hezbollah leaders "met" with Israel recently, it was Imad Mughniyeh. And the Syrian general Slimane. THAT is how Israel-Hezbollah meetings tend to run, or the fate of Eldad and Udi and Omar and all the rest. Hezbollah has taken several Israelis since the pullout in '00, 1 returned alive, the drug-dealer Elhanan Tannenbaum. An embarassment to Israel will be returned alive.

    While it is true that Israel did have security contacts with the PA at the height of Oslo, contacts with Hezbollah are relating only to terrorist-for-bodies exchanges, with Israel dealing with the UN through Ras Nakourah for liaison on wider Lebanese issues.

    There are many, many Israelis who agree that the path Israel chose in Lebanon, at least since the Beirut Airport raid in '68 or '69, has been grievously aggressive and damaging. But they do not discount the enmity involved or Hezbollah's declared goals and capability.

  27. Slim says:

    Richard Witty replies:

    "I regard 67 borders as Israel, with the exception of the old city of Jerusalem, which I consider Israel."

    You're not answering the question, Mr. Witty. I will repeat:

    "Question for Richard Witty: Please tell us what Israel feels to be its international borders. Please tell us what Israel claims to be Israel.

    This is a straightforward question."

    Please?

  28. Richard Witty says:

    "Their history is rather amazing and I know they would be open to dialogue with Israel on any and all issues"

    You are new to mideast politics, yet you "know" what Hezbollah would negotiate.

    They've stated that they don't regard Israel as existing, past, present or future. They've initiated shelling of civilian towns. They've undertaken suicide terror attacks in South America, on children and families in a community center.

    You've digested PR, without the natural intellectual skepticism necessary to discern truth from rapture.

  29. Richard Witty says:

    Israel is in a state of flux as to what it regards as borders.

    It suffered from the very bad precedent of the Begin/Shamir administrations that regarded all of the West Bank as annexed.

    Thats when the settlements really imprinted to the point that they were homes, towns, not possible (or extremely difficult) to uproot.

    So, now its ambiguous, and a morally compromised border is the only feasible one.

    Jordan, Egypt have been able to recognize Israel. Shortly, Syria and Palestine will recognize Israel with defined borders roughly at 67 lines. (Its a tragedy that it took so long to get to the same place). And, if promises are reliable, all in the Arab League will establish diplomatic relations as well.

    Iran will not likely. Lebanon, dominated by Hezbollah will not likely.

    And, they could screw the whole effort up, both Arab fanatics and Jewish.

    Discipline and encouragement are needed, not denouncement. That is exactly what stops it.

  30. anon says:

    Richard, where is the morality of all this? It's like looking at the real estate issue in the USA…

  31. Paul Malfara says:

    Richard Witty replies:

    "I regard 67 borders as Israel, with the exception of the old city of Jerusalem, which I consider Israel."

    I guess the fact that you regard the old city as Israel just makes it so, right Richard? Or does the continued dispossession of Palestinian land from East Jerusalem, the growing ring of settlements, the "facts on the ground", make it so?

    What about international law? What does it say?

    Isn't the "old city", or East Jerusalem, part of the Occupied Territories?

    The previous poster who said that Israel respects international law only in cases where it favors Israel should have included American Zionists in the subject and made it a blanket statement.

    PM

  32. Eurosabra says:

    Israeli civil law applies to the area within the Green Line, the Latrun salient, the municipality of Jerusalem (including Old City and an expanded E. Jerusalem), and the Golan. Insofar as the lines are unrecognized by Syria and the PA as final borders, the relevant '49 Armistice and the later '94 treaty setting a permanent border with Jordan are the relevant international documents, with Israel and Jordan the mutually-contracting parties. The Israel-Egypt border is also demarcated and fixed by treaty.

    If you don't want the Israeli border anywhere you tend to complain–waa!–when its jurisdiction is unilaterally declared somewhere, pending recognition you have no intent of granting.

  33. Slim says:

    Richard Witty replies to the question: What does Israel claim as its international borders?

    "Israel is in a state of flux as to what it regards as borders."

    In other words, they refuse to state openly what they feel to be their own borders. Fair? Fair.

    Name me one other country in the world that refuses to state where it feels its own borders are.

    Secondly, how can one possibly negotiate with someone who refuses to openly state what its position is? If two sides are to come together, one must know what those two sides are, otherwise, negotiation is impossible. What does Israel want?

    Thirdly, insofar as Israel refuses to state openly what it wants, can you blame people for concluding that it wants "as much as possible"?

  34. fatman says:

    Looks like everyone has lost interest in this topic. For those who may come across this post and the comments here, this is an excerpt from Sheikh Nasrallah's Ramadan address to the Lebanese people:

    "I ask all Lebanese from different religions and political trends to be far away from being fanatical to any figure, party, sect, area or geography; be seekers of what is righteous; don’t allow any sedition or bloody conflict; refuse any who delivers a tensioning address or calls for a sedition…"

    The whole text (English mistakes and all) is here. Far cry from the "terrorist" depiction he receives in the West.

  35. fatman says:

    Richard,

    You lack intellectual curiosity. You want to bandy about the cliches about Hezbollah instead of regarding the facts. Why does my failure at ME "polemics" (I believe that is what I said) make me ignorant?

    Leave the Yeshiva Talmudic cult world for a while and read a little about the real world you like to talk about so much!

  36. fatman says:

    Hezbollah shelled civilians…yeah, that would be after the Israelis (out of frustration) bombed the shit out of Lebanon and Beirut. That was who started total war first. The Argentinian bombing is more likely a Mossad false-flag operation. No evidence of Hezbollah involvement at all, and you know it!

  37. Eurosabra says:

    Hezbollah being Israeli-border centric, when they are under indictment for a 1990s bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, and blamed for another of the Israeli embassy, and stalking Israelis and Jews abroad?

    Israeli security watchers DO hold that Hezb is very sensitive to realpolitik in terms of escalation*, which means that it is deterrence-prone in a way that Al-Q *isn't*, but saying it won't take any opportunity to hurt Jews qua Jews that it gets is balderdash. Moreover, its goal is pretty explicitly the dissolution of Israel. Now, given the Israeli history in Lebanon one could argue that that type of radicalization is to be expected, but no one seriously argues that Hezbollah intends to be less than a strategic threat to Israel's survival. Zelzal missiles from Iran capable of hitting the Negev didn't survive to be launched in '06, but that doesn't mean they weren't there and that Hezbollah's overall intent is confined to the Israel/Lebanon border.

    Again, lots of Israelis KNOW what has been done to Lebanon, and still favor replying to force with force. The "care" you ascribe to Hezbollah applies to their management of the domestic Lebanese political scene, where it is very shrewd indeed.

    *In the absence of strategic parity, it attempts to make an Israeli escalation politically impossible while operating at a low level of violence that maximizes harm to Israel.

  38. Eurosabra says:

    "Mossad false-flag."

    Now I know what you are.

    A large bombardment of the Galilee border was simultaneous with the abduction of the Israeli soldiers in '06, and an infiltration attempt at Metulla was beaten off later that day.

  39. fatman says:

    Eurosabra,

    The supposed link between Hezbollah and the Argentine bombings was debunked long ago.

    Gareth Porter does not make the assertion that I do, but he pretty convincingly shows that it was not Hezbollah behind the bombings.

    You can listen to Scott Horton's interview with Gareth Porter here.

  40. Committee for Accuracy says:

    "A large bombardment of the Galilee border was simultaneous with the abduction of the Israeli soldiers in '06."

    This is false. There was a small diversion while Hezbollah captured the IDF patrol. Then Nasrallah issued his offer for the prisoner swap. Then Israel responded with its attack on Lebanon. By nightfall that first day, Israel had already killed more than forty civilians.

    "In a news conference held in Beirut a couple of hours [after the capture], Hezbollah's leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah explained that their aim was to reach a prisoner exchange, where in return for the two captured Israeli soldiers, Israel would return three Lebanese prisoners it had refused to release in a previous prisoner exchange. Nasrallah declared that "he did not want to drag the region into war", but added that "our current restraint is not due to weakness… if they [Israel] choose to confront us, they must be prepared for surprises."
    link to usa.mediamonitors.net

  41. Richard Witty says:

    Nasrallah originally reported that the abduction was in Lebanon, when he KNEW that the abduction was in Israel, long-planned.

    The significance of the shelling of two towns prior to the abduction was that it had historical precedent, that was extensive, and that Israel rationally feared that Hezbollah perceived that Israel was "on the run" from the previous week's abductions in Gaza, heightened shelling from Gaza, and other incidents originating in the West Bank.

    What occurred was that Israel remobilized and shifted its focus north, that for an extended period had been relatively contained.

    Hezbollah might have thought that its shelling was "innocuous" and would be perceived as so, but that is just an indication of their wishful thinking. "We've got them on the run", but "the shelling was innocuous", in the same sentence.

    Your bullshit detectors are on low beam, Fatman.

    Also, the nation article described a single investigator's absence of discovery of Iran's involvement, NOT Hezbollah's. Is that a Freudian slip on your part, acknowledgement of the assumption that Iran and Hezbollah are one and the same, in conflict with your earlier reference to the Nasrallah speech. (I read it, and couldn't really understand it well. I definitely did not conclude from it that Hezbollah was humanist and really moderate, as you inferred. You know, misrepresented in the press.)

  42. LeaNder says:

    Thanks Committee for Accuracy: Tanya Reinhard, Israel's New Middle East Media Monitors Networks

    *********************************************

    Seem I start to understand my confusions now:

    Richard Witty: The significance of the shelling of two towns prior to the abduction was that it had historical precedent, that was extensive, and that Israel rationally feared that Hezbollah perceived that Israel was "on the run" from the previous week's abductions in Gaza, heightened shelling from Gaza, and other incidents originating in the West Bank.

    *********************************************

    Human Rights Watch: Background to the Israel-Hezbollah war

    At about 9 a.m. on July 12, 2006, Hezbollah fighters crossed into Israeli territory and attacked an IDF convoy patrolling the border, killing three IDF soldiers and taking two captured IDF soldiers back into Lebanon. The Hezbollah operation appears to have been well-planned, as it was preceded by diversionary Hezbollah rocket fire on IDF positions at the coast and near the Israeli town of Zarit. 56

    **********************************************

    So the rockets were part of the abduction, intended to attack IDF forces and partly hit a nearby town??? One two. Which town additionally?

    NYT, Oct. 1 2006, Zarit: The last soldiers to leave padlocked the border gate at Zarit, close to where Hezbollah fighters seized two soldiers on July 12, setting off the war with Israel.

    ************************************************

    Zarid: In a very fast search Zarid surfaces in an article in der Spiegel, the German weekly magazin. It's an article from 1972 concerning the Olympics in Munich. "Aren't the Germans militarists any more?" an Israeli lieutenant from the Israeli Frontier Defense in Zarid asks.

    Passage in German: Sind die Deutschen etwa keine Militaristen mehr?" fragte ein Leutnant des israelischen Grenzschutzes in Zarid,

  43. LeaNder says:

    Also, the nation article described a single investigator's absence of discovery of Iran's involvement, NOT Hezbollah's.

    Richard, I haven't read the article and did not listen to the antiwar.com Horton interview.

    My impression about these incidents, is that different suspects seem to surface in temporal contexts. In other words the "seasonal perpetrators" seem to be in a flux.

    Before the Iraq war much on the net about south American terrorism incidents seemed to point towards Iraq/Saddam. Saddam has completely disappeared by now, to be replaced by Iran and Hezbollah.

    Since the net is in a constant flux, it would be really interesting to record rumors and their sources and seasonal changes in relation to the larger political mood.

    What's wrong with a single investigator if he studies matters and sources closely?

  44. Richard Witty says:

    Media studies is NOT a study of history.

    If you want to discuss the media alone, that would be an entirely different topic.

    The report of the shelling of two towns varied by account. UNIFIL and the human rights watch quoting (ignoring prior history of Hezbollah shelling of Northern Israel). The New York Times at the time reported two towns shelled.

    Nasrallah and Juan Cole reported the abduction in Lebanon proper, but then later spoke of the planned operation within Israel (without mentioning Israel, as he doesn't acknowledge its existence by ANY measure).

  45. Richard Witty says:

    Lebanon is an interesting study in the degree of difference of perspective resulting from an historical event.

    I don't believe that the difference can be attributed to the media.

    I, for example, perceived the initiation of hostilities as intentional provocation, initiating a third front in a hot war, in which militants perceived that Israel was on the run, and would snowball.

    The left though, partially following Juan Cole's, Chomsky's, Finkelstein's lead that Hezbollah was solely a defensive resistance movement and that the abduction occurred in Lebanon, assumed that it was an Israeli incursion gone bad and caught them with their pants down.

    As such, combined with a bias against Israel (earned and unearned), they concluded that Israel was the aggressor and the Hezbollah and the Lebanese were entirely victims, and those that Hezbollah shelled were understandable deterrence.

    Well, guess what. Hezbollah screwed up, lied about it from day one, escalated, played their PR game, and the gullible bought their line.

    That does not excuse Israel from its abuses, but the idiotic statements that Hezbollah is a noble defensive resistance organization is false.

  46. Eva Smagacz says:

    Fatman,

    Good post on Hezbollah. Polish resistance was a terrorist organization of yesterday in the eyes of Soviet and German invaders.

    Israel cannot afford for them to be seen as resistance to occupation, but they are recognized as such by those who reason.

    Their recent restraint in the internal politicking in Beirut has earned them increased, if grudging, respect from some new and unexpected quarters from across the Sunni-Shia divide inside Lebanon.

  47. Richard Witty says:

    Where do you see reason Eva?

    Do you consider lying to the public about the original abduction reason? or something else?

  48. LeaNder says:

    Media studies is NOT a study of history.

    One If you consider that media is the main tool in shaping public opinion the main tool in perception management, this is a strange statement. I find historical media studies–e.g. 18th century media, or even more media under the Nazis, absolutely interesting. Media studies is no part of history?????? Are you kidding?

    Two If you of course allude to the truism of a gap between truth and reported truth; that journalists work under pressure and necessarily must use government or other interested sources without having the needed time for all the fact-checking needed and that their "objectivity" is shaped by their political perspectives, that's a completely different story. I have been puzzled myself with the easy confusion of reported facts with truth lately.

    *****************************************

    Three Media studies are the most interesting field in post-911 times for me. Absolutely no doubt. And it will be a huge part of post-911 history and the Bush admin. No historian will be able to ignore the part media played in the larger scenario, surely depending on his "objectivity" bend. If you of course think, the administration (every administration with the exception of a "left" one does the right thing, you won't be bothered that the admin worked well in shaping public perception according to its design.

    Four Would be interesting to see your definition of media's job,function, assignment. If that e.g. would be to entertain only, than surely it would be historically of much less importance.

  49. LeaNder says:

    meaning what? Could you please paraphrase this?

    Lebanon is an interesting study in the degree of difference of perspective resulting from an historical event.

  50. LeaNder says:

    Richard, Eva used the verb not the noun:

    VERB:
    rea�soned , rea�son�ing , rea�sons
    VERB:
    intr.

    1. To use the faculty of reason; think logically.
    2. To talk or argue logically and persuasively.
    3. Obsolete To engage in conversation or discussion.

    VERB:
    tr.

    1. To determine or conclude by logical thinking: reasoned out a solution to the problem.
    2. To persuade or dissuade (someone) with reasons.