the Gaza international lip service

I am so angry.
The massacre happens. And no one does anything. People in Gaza are still living in the rubble of the destruction.
The UN commission report happens.
CNN mentions it, shows a clip of Justice Goldstone speaking then interviews Israeli spokesman Mark Regev.
Discreditation, denial, deception. CNN thanks Regev for his time.
Followed by a preview of Christiane Amanpour’s special, "Generation Islam," in which we hear her asking a man in Gaza regarding his children, "How do you teach them not to hate?"
Next up: Israel does its own investigation and everyone is happy when it says there were minor infractions of its most ethical military code.
Or, they aren’t happy. And take it to the Security Council, at which point we all know what’ll happen.
It’s all a sham.
[P.S. Here's how to talk about Gaza/the Goldstone commission: Laura Flanders gathers Neve Gordon, Diana Buttu, and Phyllis Bennis.]
Posted in Gaza

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

  1. jimby says:

    American Jewry is criminal in it’s support of this, Christian Zionists are criminal and so are we all. It is like a piece of my brain is constantly aware and pained by the plight of the Palestinians. Some days I just hate Israel.

  2. Ed_Frias says:

    Jimby why dont you learn the truth.

    link to

  3. jimby says:

    ED, i don’t bother to read your rantings. you are a racist pig

  4. jimby says:

    apologies to all posters for my outburst. “some days i can’t take it”

  5. Ed_Frias says:

    jimby, i’m a racist pig.
    Have you seen the Palestinians hate infested pro terrorist media?
    link to

  6. Ed_Frias says:

    link to
    Hamas to kids:
    Death is honor and victory
    Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook, Apr. 3, 2009

    Hamas continues its compelling message to children that death, not life, is the prime value. The following lyrics have been appearing regularly in a song on the children’s program Tomorrow’s Pioneers on Hamas TV: “Teach the children that death is honor and victory. Through death, we seek to bring the dawn and the day.” [Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), March 20, 2009]

    While the words are being sung, a young girl throws darts shaped like missiles at a target shaped like the Star of David, promoting another repeating Hamas message – violence against Israel. When the target is hit and the Star of David falls, the young girl raises her hands in victory.

    Click here to view the song celebrating death as honor.

    • Elliot says:

      A quick comparison of official Israeli records of rocket attacks in the South and Israeli attacks on Gaza show conclusively that Israel is the aggressor and that Hamas reacted to each Israeli escalation.
      For a comprehensive analysis of the Israeli data see this article (Jan. 2009):
      link to
      Why do you focus on Hamas rhetoric when Israel’s actions speak louder than their words?

    • Citizen says:

      The video Ed_Frias sends us to has been removed. The text in his supportive source
      for his POV comes from Marcus and Crook.
      According to Front Page, which is of course not exactly objective, asserts that
      Itamar Marcus is the founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch. He was appointed by the Israeli government to be the Israeli representative (communication specialist) to the Trilateral (Israeli-American-Palestinian) Anti-Incitement Committee established under the Wye Accords. From 1998 to 2000, Mr. Marcus served as research director of the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace, writing reports on PA, Syrian, and Jordanian schoolbooks. He holds a BA in political science from City College of New York and an MA in Hebrew culture from New York University. Barbara Crook is associate director and North American representative of Palestinian Media Watch. Consider the source. BTW, when’s the last time on the USA’s MSM that an english-speaking Palestinian got to state his or her POV on any issue addressing the I-P situation and the movements pro and con?

      • Oscar says:

        Kudos, Citizen. Great investigative reporting on your part.

        Ed_Frias, you gotta eat your Wheaties each morning before spewing hasbara on Mondoweiss!

      • tree says:

        Anyone interested in the reading about the bias exhibited by the CMIP, headed by Marcus, should read this from Professor Nathan J. Brown, who studied and challenged the CMIP report on Palestinian textbooks.

        In 1999, I began my research on Palestinian education by reading the only textbooks authored by the Palestinian Authority (PA) up to that point: a 1994 series on “National Education” that was to supplement the Egyptian and Jordanian books then temporarily in use. My reading shocked me—pleasantly. I had heard so much about incitement and anti-Semitism in Palestinian textbooks that I was confused: there was no mention of any location as Palestinian except for those Israel occupied in 1967; no anti-Semitism; only brief and neutral references to Israel; and often awkward attempts to deal with sensitive political issues.

        Then where had the persistent reports of incitement come from? A little digging turned up the ultimate source: an organization calling itself the “Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace” (CMIP). The organization’s publications constituted virtually the only source in English—and certainly the most widely quoted one—on the Palestinian textbooks.

        As I dug a little more, I found a series of problems with the organization’s reports. Their method was to follow harsh criticisms with quotation after quotation purporting to prove a point. However, a close reading revealed that many quotations did not support the strong charges. And those that did came not from the 1994 books that I had read but from the Jordanian and Egyptian books that the PA was working to replace. Criticizing the PA for interim use of the books was certainly fair. But the CMIP neglected to mention that the Israeli government distributed the same books in East Jerusalem schools while it refused to distribute the innocuous 1994 “National Education” supplements (because they were clearly written by the PA meaning that their use might have undermined Israeli claims to sovereignty in all of the city). Nor did the report mention the dramatic changes in the supplementary 1994 books. Similarly ignored was a richly documented Palestinian project to devise its new curriculum. A 600-page official report mercilessly criticizing existing educational practices had been published in 1996.In 1997, the Palestinian legislature and cabinet approved the Ministry of Education’s plan—based partly on the 1996 report—to write the new curriculum. Neither document contained anything anti-Israeli or anti-Semitic, so the CMIP showed no interest.

        In short, the CMIP reports read as if they were written by a ruthless prosecuting attorney anxious for a conviction at any cost. I realized from the research of Israeli academics (and also from my own children’s experience in an Israeli school for a year) that a hostile and highly selective report on Israeli education might produce a similarly misleading result. Israeli educators in the secular schools have begun an effort to revamp their textbooks to rid them of stereotypes and incendiary material. The fact that the effort has not been completed and that religious schools have shown far less enthusiasm for the project would have left enough selections for a Palestinian zealot to compile quite a report. Since almost all Israeli maps mark no border between the West Bank and Gaza, such a merciless critic might be able to claim (inaccurately) that Israelis are unwilling to consider territorial compromise. Thankfully, no such report has been written. (And when the CMIP finally issued its own report on Israeli textbooks, the organization showed a hitherto hidden ability stress context and be judicious and understanding, even when discovering some fairly distasteful material.)

        More here.

        Marcus was also one of the major sources behind the Islamic hit film, “Obsession” and he is a West Bank settler.

      • Oscar says:

        Rock on, tree! Hasbara from a settler with a messianic mission. Ed_frias, man, you gotta up your game — reciting tired propaganda sources is just going to get you scorn and ridicule.

  7. Hamas is key.

    If Hamas unifies with the PA, then there is a prospect for improvement for Gazans. If not, they are victims of Hamas’ unwillingness to join the modern world politically.

    There is no path of forcing Israel to open the blockade or renounce control over its borders that it manages.

    • Gellian says:

      If Hamas is key, Richard, what alternative do they have? Israelis often point out that Palestinians aren’t citizens, so the peace movement a la Ghandi or King isn’t going to work. Or will it?

    • potsherd says:

      Hamas joined the modern world politically. It ran for office in democratic elections. It won those elections. Hamas does not need to “unify with the PA,” Hamas is the legitimate PA. The PA headed by Mahmoud Abbas is illegal and has no legal basis for acting in any way.

      And what happened next? Israel refuses the Hamas offer of a ceasefire and makes war on Gaza by implementing a blockade, while instigating an illegal coup with its collaborators from the corrupt Fatah party that the Palestinians had just voted out of office.

      Mahmoud Abbas and his party are determined to crush Hamas and restore their control over all Palestine by force of arms, no matter whether they are Israeli arms or their own.

      But it is Hamas who needs to “join the modern world politically?”

      • Citizen says:

        Richard ALWAYS ignores the fact that Hamas was elected legally and in a better than average democratic election according to the lights of the Middle East. And he ignores that the Bush regime and Israel did all they could since then to ignore Hamas and prop up their now defunct PA agent in the West Bank.

      • When Hamas appeared, they declared that there’s was a revolutionary administration, meaning that all prior laws enacted by the PA and treaties and other agreements, particularly with Israel, would be considered void.

        That is NOT adopting joining the modern world politically, and not respecting the constitution in development of the PA.

        And, in response to revolutionary changes in a foreign state, that announces renunciation of agreements, Israel responded by coldness, by unwillingness to negotiate with Hamas until it changed its fundamental principles officially.

        It is their right to conduct their relationships by their own assessment of interest.

        At that point Hamas had continued shelling Israel from Gaza, and orchestrated multiple attempted abductions from the West Bank. It committed to its resistance approach, rather than its civil approach.

        When it changes, there will be a path. Until then, more of the same will likely occur.

      • As frustrating as it may be to shift from fundamentally an Islamic resistance movement (its name) to a participating political party, it is necessary if they wish to serve their community.

        Staying stuck is a current commitment to Gazan isolation and poverty.

      • Colin Murray says:

        Richard: When Hamas appeared, they declared that there’s was a revolutionary administration, meaning that all prior laws enacted by the PA and treaties and other agreements, particularly with Israel, would be considered void.

        Hamas has the right as the majority party in an elected government, in strictly legal terms, to dissolve any treaty they want, as long as it is done through their local political process. In practical terms, they have as much ‘right’ as anyone else to refuse to abide by any treaties they don’t like. The farce of the ‘treaties’ signed by collaborationist Fatah is a major reason why so many voters in Gaza who don’t support Hamas voted for them anyway. Their refusal to legalize their own serfdom and dispossession is a democratic expression of the wishes of their electorate.

        Every state plays fast and loose with treaty obligations. Hamas is FAR, FAR more respectable than Israel in this regard. At least they honestly and publicly state what they won’t go along with. The Israeli government just flat out lies by signing treaties or announcing that they will keep to less formal agreements, and then brazenly breaking their word five minutes later. The Geneva Conventions treaty is a case in point.

        No political Zionist has a shred of credibility petulantly whining about anyone else’s treaty obligations. Is there even a single instance of Israel abiding by an agreement after they decided it was no longer in their interest without someone else (usually us, in the old days) twisting their figurative arm behind their back and yanking hard? Is this deceptive behavior a manifestation of the vicious racism Israelis have recently been displaying to the world? I won’t hold Hamas or any other Palestinian organization to a higher standard than I would expect from Israel, especially because doing so is is very bad for America. We want a stable final status agreement; we want your damn squabble solved. Don’t talk to me about Hamas’ lack of honor when you political Zionists have none of your own.

      • They have rights, but as you say within the context of the constitution that they state they are abiding by.

        And, Israel similarly, has the right to change its policy to address the new character of its neighbor.

        Hamas though didn’t respect the constitution as whole, but only the parts that supported its power, and a “minor” civil war emerged.

      • Shingo says:

        “Staying stuck is a current commitment to Gazan isolation and poverty.”

        As by Idith Zertal and Akiva Eldar tell us in their book, “Lords of the Land”, this has been the goal of Israel all along.

        “Hamas though didn’t respect the constitution as whole, but only the parts that supported its power, and a “minor” civil war emerged.”

        Cavil war “emerged” miraculously did it Richard? When are you going to stop the lies and face the fact that the civil war was a US and Israel sponsored coup to overthrow Hamas?

    • jimby says:

      There is speculation that Marwan Barghouti will be exchanged with other prominent Palestinians for Shalit. This move has been blocked over and over. He could conceivably unite Hamas and the PA. He was recently elected to the Fatah central council. The usual complaint is that he has “blood on his hands” (jewish blood or course). Is there a single Israeli negotiator who doesn’t have Palestinian “blood on his hands”?

      He is maybe the best hope for peace. He has not been accused of corruption like the majority of the PA and he is well thought of with the Hamas constituency. He is a natural leader and was a negotiator at Oslo.

      • Oscar says:

        On this site in the past, Phil has lamented the fact that there is no Palestinian Gandhi rising up from the rubble of Gaza and electrifying the world. That’s probably because Israel has systematically locked up all the charismatic leaders such as Marwan Barghouti and held them without due process.

        From the Israel perspective, Shalit is a “kidnap victim,” and the tens of thousands of Palestinian men, women and children imprisioned by the IDF are “criminals.” What a world.

        PS — I am completely empathetic to Gilad Shalit and fervently hope for his release as soon as possible. Seems to me his detainment continues to play to Likudnik interests — as long as Shalit is locked away, the collective punishment of the embargo is justified in the minds of the IDF.

      • jimby says:

        Oscar, Actually there was a trial and it was a big sensation. Israel had nothing more than circumstantial evidence and Barghouti did not offer a defense. He said it was Israel that should be on trial. He was an important person for Fatah.

    • Donald says:

      As usual Richard ignores or excuses Israel’s actions. Their blockade is justified, their violence up to a point is justified and everything is the fault of Hamas. Israel can commit atrocities, but no boycott against them is justified.

      And this is supposed to be the position of one who imagines himself a proponent of reconciliation. The cognitive dissonance is stunning.

      • Again, when Hamas changes to acceptance of Israel, there will be a path to good conditions for Gazans. Until then, a state of conflict and periodic war will be the status.

      • potsherd says:

        Why doesn’t Israel change and accept Hamas? Accept the elected government of the PA?

        Until Israel changes, it will continue to block all paths no matter what the Palestinians do or say.

      • Citizen says:

        What do you mean by “acceptance of Israel” Richard? Do you in your wildest imagination think any Palestinian imagines the Israeli state does not exist? What Palestinians don’t accept is that they should just roll over to whatever Israel wants at their continuing expense because Israel has more physical & economic power than they do. You sound like a German wondering why there was a revolt in the Warsaw

      • tree says:

        Again, when Hamas changes to acceptance of Israel, there will be a path to good conditions for Gazans. Until then, a state of conflict and periodic war will be the status.

        In case anyone missed the significance of this statement, let me point out that this is Witty justifying the Israeli blockade and invasion of Gaza.

        Mister “BDS-is-war”, we must try “mutual understanding” is obviously only for “understanding” for Israel. Its OK for Israel to use extreme punitive measures to force a change in Hamas’s policies, but it is blasphemy to suggest that the world use much less punitive actions against Israel to force an end to the decades long Israeli occupation. In Witty’s world, Hamas is to blame for Israel’s actions against it, but Israel is not to blame if the rest of the world chooses BDS. Can you say HYPOCRITE? I knew you could.

      • Oscar says:

        Richard, I mean, for God’s sake, man . . . how can you possibly object to BDS for Israel, yet be IN FAVOR of a blockade that’s creating a humanitarian crisis in Palestine? Families squatting in the rubble of what was once their homes.

        Plain and simple, if that’s your position — and no soft and fuzzies to obscure it — then really, why are you wasting your time and everyone else’s on this site? It’s so intellectually dishonest that you’re not even a worthy foil to the people who populate Mondoweiss. In this case, Israelis are not simply inhumane . . . they’re inhuman.

      • I’m of mixed feelings about the blockade. As I said before, there are likely alternative ways that the port access could be managed by actually effective international oversight.

        The danger of that is that the international forces historically have been incompetent in those responsibilities, and Israel is much more risk averse with an organization that willingly bombed school buses as targets, cafes, hotels.

        Again, although the spotlight is kept on Israel, that is a negligent form of dissent in this case, as changes also need to happen on the Gaza side for any improvement to occur for the Palestinians.

        Perfect Israel does not result in peace, and if war occurs at all, Palestinian civilians get the short end of it.

        It takes Hamas to change, or be marginalized electorally for the condition of Palestinians to improve materially.

      • Donald says:

        Notice in Richard’s reply that once again, it’s all Hamas’s fault. The logic he uses is actually fairly common –in some hypothetical world, Israel might start behaving perfectly (whatever Richard means by that) and it’s possible that Hamas might still behave badly. Therefore it’s not Israel’s fault.

        Like I said, I’ve seen people use that reasoning before on this subject. It’s bizarre, because they actually seem to believe it.

    • Chris Moore says:

      Witty: “Hamas is key…to [Gazans] join[ing] the modern world politically.”

      Well, gee. That explains why the Zionists dumped white phosphorous all over the Gaza Strip like molten lava. That was nearly GUARANTEED to radicalize Hamas and turn it back toward terrorism, which was Israel’s goal all along. Equating Palestinians with terrorists in the mind of the world via Hamas is key to taking the West Bank, which is Israel’s primary goal.

      Jewish Zionists don’t want peace, and never have. They want total control, total authority and total victory, or death. Totalitarianism or death.

      • Oscar says:

        The “most moral army in the world.” Richard Goldstone may have a slight objection to that catchphrase.

      • The Israeli army is probably high on the list, given the number of military and terror attacks levied against it.

        Would you call Hamas “ethical”?

      • Koshiro says:

        For Pete’s sake, no we wouldn’t. We wouldn’t call them an “army” either. Hamas are a deeply nasty bunch, to quote Gerald Kaufman, we all agree on that, no one here defends their conduct, can we stop with that strawman now?

      • To even use the term “strawman” indicates that are asking entirely different questions.

        I’m NOT exploring who is to blame.

        I’m exploring in what conditions change would be possible.

        That is the pragmatic approach, in contrast to the magical, in which what should be just materializes (once defined).

    • Citizen says:

      “As frustrating as it may be to shift from fundamentally an Islamic resistance movement (its name) to a participating political party, it is necessary if they wish to serve their community.”

      As frustrating as it may be to shift from fundamentally a proactive stance of
      “A land without people for a (always victimised) people without land,” it is necessary if Israel wishes to serve their community with the security of world
      approval and according to the notion of the jews being a (postitive) light to the world.

      Witty: “Staying stuck is a current commitment to Gazan isolation and poverty.”

      Saying stuck is a current commitment to growing Israeli isolation and increasing
      unwillingness of the world, especially the USA, of funding its high life style and
      ability to thumb its nose at the very international agencies that gave it any credence in the first place.

      • I agree that when Israel does not change its settlement policy for example, it continues the past, rather than changes it.

      • Michael Weiz says:

        This from the guy who told us: “ANY effort to remove Israel as Israel will be fought and ruthlessly, and result nearly inevitably in more intent ethnic cleansing, permanent occupation of all of greater Jerusalem, and war that civilians bear the brunt of” and then got all offended when his appalling nature of his words was pointed out!

    • Mooser says:

      “unwillingness to join the modern world politically”

      Sure, that’s right, Richard, cause there is nothing that typifies the modern political world like a fanatic desire to reclaim your Biblical homeland! Aww, you just gotta love Zionism, it’s embrace of ninetenth-century British public-school Biblical geography is so touching. Now, there’s assimilation for you! Add a little Mittel-European romantic nationalism, Kosher style, and wham, you got yourself an ideology. Of course, you gotta throw it on the backs of the suffering of the Jews in Europe to really see it come to life, but the Zionists had no problem with this.

    • Shingo says:

      Hamas has tried to unify with the PA, and each time, Israel derail the process. It’s the last thing that Isrel want.

      As Tzipi Livni said, a long deasefire is not in Israeli iterests because the longer the ceasfire, the more moderate and reasonable Hamas begin to look. It’s Israel, not Hamas that are unwilling to see Hamas join the modern world politically.

      You claim there is no path of forcing Israel to open the blockade, but you stil support the path of forcing Hamas to capitulate.

  8. Ed_Frias says:

    One wonders why Jimby doesn’t get sick over Arab racism and hatred?

    link to
    1. Denial of Israel’s existence, calls for Israel’s destruction:
    a. Muhammad Dahlan, a senior PA official, stated plainly on official PA TV: ” I want to say for the thousandth time, in my own name and in the name of all of my fellow members of the Fatah movement: We do not demand that the Hamas movement recognize Israel. On the contrary, we demand of the Hamas movement not to recognize Israel, because the Fatah movement does not recognize Israel, even today.” [PA TV March 17, 2009]

    b. A PA TV educational geography program has been broadcast regularly since August 2007, and most recently in January 2009, teaching there is no Israel and all of Israel is “Palestine:”
    “… another section in Palestine …Ashkelon in the south, until Haifa, in the Carmel Mountains. Haifa is a well-known Palestinian port… To its north, we find Acre. East of Acre, we reach a city with history and importance, the city of Tiberius, near a famous lake, the lake of Tiberius [Kinneret- Sea of Galilee]. Jaffa, an ancient coastal city, is the bride of the sea, and Palestine’s gateway to the world.”

    Note that all of these are Israeli cities, spread over the entire country.

    c. Official PA schoolbooks describe a Middle East without Israel:
    “Coastal states differ in terms of their access to water sources, such as…: states located on sea coasts with accesses to two seas, for example: Palestine and Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea.”
    [Physical Geography and Human Geography, Grade 12, p. 105]

    “Palestine has a long coast facing the Mediterranean sea and a short coast on the Gulf of Aqaba.”
    [Health and Environment Studies, Grade 8 (2003), p. 130]
    Note that the Israeli city of Eilat is on the Gulf of Eilat (Aqaba).

    “… The Tiberias Lake [Sea of Galilee], in Palestine”
    [Physical Geography, Grade 5, p. 25]

    Israel is painted over in the colors of the PLO flag in PA government Census Bureau announcements. These announcements were aired on PA TV (Fatah) – often several times a day – during and after the Annapolis conference at the end of 2007. Maps similar to this one continue to appear on official web sites in 2009 [see below].

    2. Hatred is actively promoted as policy for children and adults. Hate videos, libels and lies remain a backbone of PA TV.
    a. The official PA newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, has propogated a long-standing blood libel against Israel, falsely accusing Israel of conducting horrific Nazi-like medical experiments on Palestinian prisoners:
    “Many of the male and female inmates received injections from needles they had not seen before, and which caused their hair and facial hair to fall out permanently … others lost their sanity, or their mental condition is constantly deteriorating… and some are suffering from infertility.” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 4, 2008]

    b. Another wild accusation concerns the deployment of “supernatural rats” against Arab residents of Jerusalem’s Old City:
    “… [Israeli] settlers have been bringing chests filled with rats and releasing them in the Old City’s [Arab] neighborhoods… the [Arab] residents’ efforts to counter this infestation have failed, especially since cats run away from these rats because of their size and ferocity… All of the conventional efforts to kill them have not succeeded… which compels Jerusalem’s [Arabs] today to face the dangers of settlement and the infestation of rats…” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 18, 2008]

    c. PA TV has been broadcasting a music video from 2007 to February 2009, with the repeated refrain, “My enemy, my enemy.” Israel is called a “snake, coiled around the land.” The hate video denies Israel’s right to exist and anticipates Israel’s destruction: “You have no choice, O enemy, but to leave my country.”

    3. The PA openly glorifies not only past but current terrorists, venerating terrorist murderers – even those who have murdered since Annapolis.
    a. The suicide terrorist in the Israeli city of Dimona, the killer of the eight Jerusalem yeshiva students, arch-terrorist Imad Mughniyeh and other terrorists were all glorified as Palestinian heroes in official PA newspapers and television in 2008.

    b. In February 2009 the PA glorified the terrorist who murdered three civilians and seven Israeli soldiers in a 2002 ambush. The terrorist and his action were praised as “the hero of the Intifada… [doing] what tens of brigades and platoons, and hundreds of missiles and heroic stories, failed to do.”
    [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 17, 2009]

    c. On March 11, 2009, PA TV broadcast a special program commemorating and celebrating the 30th anniversary of the most deadly terror attack ever carried out in Israel – a bus hijacking that left 37 civilians dead. The program opened with the narrator glorifying this attack as “one of the most important and most prominent special operations, executed by the Palestinian revolution by sea, on the coast between Haifa and Tel Aviv. This operation, carried out by a team of heroes and led by the heroic fighter Dalal Mughrabi… .”

    4. Far from distancing itself from earlier Arafat ideologies, the PA leadership continues to advocate Israel’s destruction.
    PA Fatah MP: “It doesn’t mean that we don’t want the 1948 borders [i.e. destroy Israel], but in our current political program, we [Fatah] say we want a state on the 1967 borders…”
    [PA TV Aug. 25, 2008]

    Contrary to the perception that Hamas alone preaches terror, violence and denial of Israel’s right to exist, this PMW Special Report documents that the PA-Fatah leadership and media promote the same message. In contrast to the moderate message that it conveys to the English-speaking world, the Palestinian Authority’s Arabic-language world continues to be imbued with hate promotion and promises of Israel’s expected destruction.

    • Citizen says:

      Please explain to us how anyone can deny anything that exists? I don’t think a single Palestinian on earth denies Israel currently exists as Israel. Why conflate absurdity
      with justification of what Israel does?

      • Citizen says:

        And furthermore, why blame Palestinians for wanting to exist with the same rights
        the Likud Zionist interlopers enjoy thanks to, in turn, England, France, USSR, USA (& now Israel’s courting
        China, Asia, and Russia, just in case Uncle Sam wakes up from his slumber)?

    • Shingo says:


      How typical that you should highjack a thread with irrelevant material.

      1. Please point to a statement by any Israeli official that recongiozes Palestines right ot exist? Meanwhile, you might want to chek your fact and realize that even the leader of Hamas has said he recognizes there’s a state called Israel.

      2. Hatred is also propmoted in Israel. Would you like me to link to picures of young children writing messages on bombs about to be dropped on other children?

      There is ample evidence to support the notion that Israle is harvesting organs from dead bodies. In fact, Israel’s first heart trasnplant involved taking a heart from a stroke victim without the family’s permission.

      Israel have condcyted experiments on their own children. See the Ringworm children story.

      3. If anyone glorifies terrorism, it is Isrel, which was not only founded on terrorism but elected the leaders of 2 terrorist groups to the office of PM. In 2006, Israel even celebrated the 60th anniversary of the bombing of the King David Hotel.

      4. Arafat was the first PA leader to recognize Israel. Meanwhile, Israel’s foreing minister continues to advocate the destruction of Palestinians.

      Your talking points are getting old and they happen to be false.

  9. spuxx says:

    First we were told Gaza was in Lockdown because of rockets. There have not been any rockets for a while, so why is Gaza still in lockdown?

    The empror has no clothes, but the subjects are bashful.

  10. BluePearl says:

    a big welcome to our new hasbara cadet Ed_Frias.

    • Citizen says:

      Probably one of the old hasbara guard under a new name? Hard to tell one from the other… At least the ones who simply called critics (of Israeli policy and the de facto USA policy that supports it) bad names, as in a 3rd Grade sandlot, seem to have left
      the room. That’s a good thing.

  11. marc b. says:

    I just listened to an hour-long interview of Jeremy Ben-Ami and Marty Peretz on the local NPR station. How utterly depressing. The deference that Ben-Ami gave to that crank Peretz bordered on the obsequious. But Ben-Ami’s fawning acceptance of Peretz’s narrative ‘history’ of the various peace initiates was worse, with Peretz capping it all off with the statement that the prospect of Israel negotiating with Hamas, as J Street proposes, “would be like the US negotiating wth al-Qaeda!” Refresh my memory Marty, but in which government exactly is the ‘al-Qaeda Party’ the duly elected representative?

    The underlying theme of Ben-Ami’s position seemed to be that American Jews and Israeli opinion will both become irrelevant in American policy towards Israel and the Middle East if American Jews and Israelis don’t tone down the venom. Unbelievable.

    • Citizen says:

      Maybe Ben-Ami should encourage Hollywood and TV executives to rerun Exodus
      once a week? Maybe– plus a rerun of the Seinfeld episode where are favorite characters agree that being cut is more aesthetic than being uncut, more “normal?”

      • VR says:

        I think they should do a comedy of the “exodus” with Seinfeld….lol

      • marc b. says:

        Ben-Ami is trying to create a reasonable, humane face for AIPAC it seems. He was uncritical (at least during the interview) of AIPAC’s positions, and was explicit that he didn’t see J Street and AIPAC as competitors on any level, simply complimentary players.

        Still Peretz is despicable. One sincere young woman called in to ask Ben-Ami for advice, given how delicate the issue of J Street’s arrival on the scene is for older American Jews. In response to her statement that she had a difficult time broaching the subject with family members without initiating an emotion-laden conflict, Peretz had the gall to intervene before Ben-Ami could reply, and state that the issue was not a matter of political differences, or god forbid ‘self’-censorship within the Jewish community, but ‘a personal psychological problem’ unique to her and her family. Even the suggestion that IP is a taboo subject in America was enough to knock the rabid Peretz off his rocker.

    • Oscar says:

      Is Ben-Ami a ringer? Suspicions seem to be running high that he’s not the savior we think he is, but perhaps AIPAC lite?

      Reminds me of the Harlem Globetrotters with the “stooge” team of white guys known as the Boston Shamrocks. The Shamrocks were paid to lose, but to make it seem like it was a competitive game. In 38 years, however, the ‘Trotters had a record of 12,594 to 2. Please tell me AIPAC is not the Globetrotters and J Street is not the equivalent of the Shamrocks.

    • LeaNder says:

      Ben-Ami’s position seemed to be that American Jews and Israeli opinion will both become irrelevant in American policy towards Israel and the Middle East if American Jews and Israelis don’t tone down the venom.

      But that is absolutely true. If I hadn’t experienced this enormous venom mixed up with feverish war cries in support of WWIII/IV against these “camel drivers”, I surely wouldn’t have read up on the topic as much as I have by now. I simply wasn’t aware of the amount of anti-Arab racism till then. Hubris, hiding what? Threats. …

      The enormous applause for Bush in Israel coupled with the courtier attitude towards him in the US ( partly over here too) e.g. in the Bush-court-magazine The National Review did the rest.

      I think, I am not the only one. People want to understand what they are witnessing. So surely many looked closer than they ever did before.

      • marc b. says:

        It’s true, but it doesn’t suggest a sincere concern about the underlying problem. Rather it so much handwringing by Ben-Ami as he worries about the public relations battle that he believes could be lost. The 2006 war in Lebanon was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back in my case. Only the ignorant or dishonest could conclude that Israeli conduct was justified. Up until that event, I had considered IP one of those intractable tribal conflicts, like N.Ireland, that was indecipherable to anyone outside of the particpants and a handfull of government officials and academics.

  12. Citizen says:

    Breaking news:
    Rush Limbaugh was on the radio blasting away while I was driving to the gym a few hours ago. He blustered that Osama Bin Laden just recommended we all read Carter’s book
    and so Carter was championing the Palestininans when he should be praising the Israelis, and that Carter is an anti-semite, a peanut farmer, a national hemmoroid disgrace that
    no amount of Prep H could heal. He mentioned Osama had also recommended another book but did not ID the other book (W & M’s The Israel Lobby). He then recommended
    a book by a Jewish author and he said the book had not been brought to our attention by the NYT, suggesting the NYT was in bed with Bin Laden and Carter. I forgot the
    name of the book Rush recommended to the bewildered public–I never heard ot if or its author….

  13. Oscar says:

    It amazes me that conservatives like Rush and Hannity have become Zionist-empathizers, since the neo-cons of the Office of Special Plans got us into the misadventures of Iraq and Afghanistan, squandered American blood and treasure, drove up our deficits, and basically destroyed the Republican party. Full stop.

    Hannity, especially, has been banging the war drums alongside Bret Stephens for the US to bomb Iran. Hannity’s millions make him immune to $300-a-barrel oil prices, so what does he care, but destabilizing the Middle East will finish off the US as a superpower. China and Russia are sitting on the sidelines, refusing to increase sanctions against Iran, so Israel can manipulate the levers of power and coerce Obama into doing its “Clean Break” dirty work. The decline of the US as the world’s sole superpower, on full display.

    • Citizen says:

      Beck calls himself an Independent, and he does bring an independent and inquirying
      open mind to many issues on his show–he is only obviously ideological when it
      comes to Israel, completely towing the hasbara line, just like Rush, Hannity, and K Obermann, and Rachel M on MSNBC. Jeez, at least Greta V S asked open ended
      questions to that former congresman recently out of jail–and she normally does
      not focus much on macro foreign policy issues–or even domestic ones, by comparison–I’m sure she’s been brought up the short hairs and won’t sin again
      when it comes to allowing anyone to publically question congress and Israel
      on the I-P issue and the danger to the USA of continuing to rubber stamp Israel and fund
      its international transgressions

  14. MRW says:

    The decline of the US as the world’s sole superpower, on full display. Some are now saying by design.

  15. harveystein says:

    >On this site in the past, Phil has lamented the fact that there is no Palestinian Gandhi rising up…>
    I have repeatedly reached out to Phil to do a post on Khaled Mahameed, who is a passionate Palestinian activist who lives in Nazareth, but has spent countless days in the West Bank. Mahameed has studied Gandhi and others, and uses Gandhi’s “satyagraha” as a weapon against Israeli soldiers and others. I am making a feature documentary on him, and you can see an excerpt here: link to

  16. Colin Murray says:

    the underlying problem:
    This is Zionism

    I would prefer the title ‘This is what Zionism has become’, but notice how the New York Times labels the image: Fervent Believers. I suppose it’s progress that they would publish it all. I wonder how long whoever put that slideshow together pondered on a title that wouldn’t lead to pressure on management to end his or her job. The only fervency I see in that image is the need of that young man for a few weeks in jail, several hundred hours of community service, an elementary lesson in manners and respect for women, and a public apology.

    • Colin Murray says:

      embarrassed correction:

      I didn’t catch that the title was for the entire slideshow, not just for the image of the hooligan. It’s a marginally decent title for the whole set.

  17. Mooser says:

    The Palestinians can hope to produce a Ghandi when Israel bears the slightest resemblance (insofar as the aspects of it which made Ghandi possible) to the British administration of India.
    If a Palestinian Ghandi did arise, what would keep the IDF from shooting him? Public protest and civil confrontation were the hallmark of Ghandi’s aproach.
    I mean, c’mon, trying to shame the Israelis? Can’t be done.

    That Palestinian Ghandi shit is so weak. I doubt even Phil is enough of a schmendrick to fall for that. For those who don’t know, shmendrick is Yiddish for “post-Zionist”.

    • Citizen says:

      I was thinking the same thing, Mooser–I mean its old hat for Palestinian officials
      and local leaders to vanish, be jailed for years and years by Israel, and governmental assassinations of foreigners it deems antithetical to its interests has long been a forte of Israel. Does’t the term shmendrick also have a more general, older meaning in Yiddish?

  18. Kathleen says:

    Not a mention about the UN report by Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann those liberal journalist. Too chicken shit or bought out to go where no other MSMer will go

  19. harveystein says:

    Khaled is not Gandhi, but he has deeply studied Gandhi and his methods. “Satyagraha” is one of Khaled’s tools – he believes that showing Israeli soldiers (from inches away) photos of the Holocaust will shame them into thinking a bit about the suffering they are directly causing Palestinians in West Bank towns like Niilin and Bilin.

    My other point is that, unfortunately Phil and most others who post to this site are armchair leftists, who find it much easier to comfortably critique than to point out positive activism on either side. What I’ve found after living in Israel for 3 yrs now (and visiting many times before) is that my shrill leftist romanticism is SLOWLY transforming into a sober (sometimes depressing!) realism. I’m a little more inquisitive about your average Israeli or even your average Israeli settler, when I talk with them and see they are oh so human (for example, I videod (for hire) settlers for 3 days last week. Almost EVERY one of them mentioned a relative who was killed in the Holocaust —– not to excuse their behavior, but to see and hear so graphically their woundedness….

    • Shingo says:

      It’s easy to forget that human being are behind the despircable policies that Israel inflict.

      It’s poignant that you should mention the Holocaust Harvey. I remember an anecdote about a Holocaust survivor who atended the trials at Nuremberb and sat in the from row of teh public gallery as the Nazi perpetrators were tried. By the end of the trial, he apparently broke down and was overcome with grief. He explained that he had sat there and studied these people to catch a glimpse of what it was that made them so evil and to his horror, all he learned was how normal they all were.

      So yes, the settlers and those who support ISreal’s murderous policies too would unoubetedly be human, but like you said it doesn’t excuse their behavior. In the case of those who have lose relatives to the Holocaust, one would expect a greater capacity for empathy and humanity.

      • The way to change policies is by persuasion.

        If you are seeking Israel’s removal, then changing policies will not be sufficient. If you are seeking either peace or improvement in Palestinians lives, then it is exactly the change in policy that is needed.

        And, if persuasion is what is needed to achieve that, then you will apply your skills and energy to accomplishing that. Persuasion does NOT mean that you give up, or lie to yourself. It does though compel you to hear others’ experience and reasoning.

      • Shingo says:

        Obama has tried persuasion and it’s not changing anything Richard. It’s time you either gave up your false prescription or just admitted that you are opposed to toucher measures against Israel, because your only concern is for Israel and not the Palestinians.

        No one is seeking Isreal’s removal, unelss you are talking about the occupation.

  20. Obama has changed a lot. How can you say that nothing has changed?

    Netanyahu has to jump through hoops and risk the support of the US, to undertake settlement expansion now. Under Bush or McCain he would have gotten no resistance at all.

    I’m not convinced that you don’t seek Israel’s removal, with all the denunciation of Israel’s origination. I’m DEFINITELY not convinced that Hamas does not seek Israel’s removal. Are you?

    Its a dilemma. Either you then state, “Hamas is of no consequence”, or you acknowledge “You’re right, their agenda includes removal of Israel.”

    • Shingo says:

      Please provide one iota of evidence that US suport for Israel is in any way, at risk? What “resistance” is Netanyahu experiencing that is preventing him from carrying out his right wing policies?

      I suspected that sooner or later, you would accude me and others of wanting Israel to be removed. I certainly don;t want ot see Israel destroyed or harm to come to it’s citizens.

      As for Hamas, even if you insist that they seek Israel’s removal, the simple fact is that they have no hope in hell of achiving it. Howver, Meeshal has not only backed a 2 state solution (meaning that one fo them woudl be Israel) but has stated that he realizes there is a state called Israel.

      • Not knowing your mind, is not the same as accusing you Shingo.

        I’m glad that you want Israel to thrive and be a healthy state, next to a healthy and viable Palestine. That would make you a two-state advocate.

        Again, Netanyahu would not have considered ANY settlement cessation if Obama hadn’t spoken up. I don’t know what is next.

        Meshal has backed a Palestinian state at the 67 borders, I think he means “initially”. Its better than nothing, and maybe a starting point. I don’t believe that he has stated “We accept Israel’s existence, as Israel”. And, I certainly don’t believe that he has stated that with any sense of permanence.

        The critical action to achieve even clarity does start with Israel stopping and hopefully renouncing its settlement expansion, including in East Jerusalem.

      • Shingo says:

        Settlement cessation Richard?

        Do you honestly believe that Netanyahu’s bait and switch accoutns for settlement cessation? Are we talking about the cessation of outrposts that had alredy been dismantled and re-built?

        Sy Hersh reported that in a conversation with Meshal, Meshal stated that he recognizes that Israel is a state and is not going anywhere. Jimmy Carter has confirmed this. What Hersh pointed out is that as a laders of a resitance movement, Meshal cannot publicly make such a statement. IN deed, in a NYT piece, Meshal pointed out that Araft did make an official statement of recognition and it got him nowhere.

        Furthermore, initial acceptance will lead to a permanent situation, as peace and calm usually make the extremists irrelevant.

      • Meshal can’t make the statement as an official unless the organization changes its mission. (If it didn’t change its mission or official position, then a comment in an interview is at best a feeler. Israel should experiment with improving relations, but to imagine that a feeler is yet a substantive change, is delusional.)

        “Furthermore, initial acceptance will lead to a permanent situation, as peace and calm usually make the extremists irrelevant. ”

        I hope you are talking about Hamas accepting Israel officially. Israel similarly accepts that Hamas exists, but rationally desires that it change its policies to ones of efforts for co-existance.

      • Shingo says:

        Meshal can make any statement he likes, because in 2006, he stated that the Hams Charter was no longer revlevant. As he stated, the accepteance or recogtion red herring is just a stalling and tactic by Israel. Israel and Hams knwo that recognition of Isrlae before Isrlae recognises a Palestinian state, is a defacto acceptance of Isrle as it exists today – an occupying power.

        Liek Mehsal said the the NYT interviewer, recongizing Israel got Arfat nowhere.

    • Citizen says:

      I don’t follow the logic of your final deduction, Witty. You write as if it’s Israel who does not have the lockstep support of the superpower USA and guilty EU, and does not have nukes and the 4th most powerful military force in the world. Why don’t you imagine what it’s
      like in Hamas’s position? Just once, put yourself in the Palestinian shoes, rather than
      riding Caterpillar treads and clicking on Motorola Walls.