Will the real people of the West Bank please stand up, please stand up

on 88 Comments

Will the people of the West Bank please stand up*.  I know you had a demonstration yesterday with anywhere from 500-1000 people.  I’m sorry, but that’s not enough. Please put the shisha down, stop cracking bizir seeds for five minutes and remember, even though you are a bit better off than your brothers and sisters in Gaza you are still under occupation.  Your land in the West Bank is still being stolen on a daily basis, your brothers and sisters are still being arrested on a daily basis, your movement is still being restricted on a daily basis and you have shamefully decided to pretend that you are a separate entity, different than Gazans who are living in worse than sub-Saharan African conditions.

This is your opportunity.  Are you going to allow traitors, collaborators and criminals to broker the borders of a future Palestinian state when to date all they have shown interest in is fattening their own pockets and doing the bidding of the usurping entity?  Will you be content with that and thing wring your hands and wonder why the international community does nothing to help you?

These are the people you have chosen to represent you and it is not fair that people in Gaza bear the brunt for your idiotic choices:

*My brothers and sisters in Nilin and Bilin, I am not talking to you, please keep doing what you are doing!

P.S. can someone please explain why the absurd Ziad Asali and Hussein Ibish have both written op-ed pieces in the last week applauding the efforts of Obama (for attempting to shelve the war crimes report) and ignoring the collaboration and treason of Fatah?  I won’t link to the garbage they wrote.  But I really want to know, who are those fools working for?

88 Responses

  1. Saleema
    October 7, 2009, 9:40 am

    Thoase fools are working for their own ego.

  2. potsherd
    October 7, 2009, 10:13 am

    This is the government the US is imposing on the people of Palestine, a bunch of thugs and crooks that the people tried to throw out to get rid of their corruption. Fayyad was elected to nothing by nobody, but he is now PM. Millions in foreign aid flows through his hands, but how much of it benefits the people?

  3. BradAllen
    October 7, 2009, 10:43 am

    from wiki….. KAPO was a prisoner who worked inside German Nazi concentration camps during World War II in some lower administrative position (prisoner-functionary). The German word also means “foreman” and “non-commissioned officer”, and is derived from French for “Corporal” (fr:Caporal) or the Italian word capo[1][2]’. Kapos received more privileges than normal prisoners, towards whom they were often brutal. They were often convicts who were offered this work in exchange for a reduced sentence or parole, however they were usually murdered and replaced with a new batch of prisoners at regular intervals…..

    From the Jewish Virtual Library ……. The German concentration camps depended on the cooperation of trustee inmates who supervised the prisoners. Known as Kapos, these trustees carried out the will of the Nazi camp commandants and guards, and were often as brutal as their SS counterparts. Some of these Kapos were Jewish, and even they inflicted harsh treatment on their fellow prisoners. For many, failure to perform their duties would have resulted in severe punishment and even death, but many historians view their actions as a form of complicity. After the war, the prosecution of Kapos as war criminals, particularly those who were Jewish, created an ethical dilemma which continues to this day…..

    History or human nature.

  4. jan_gdyn
    October 7, 2009, 11:30 am
  5. Richard Witty
    October 7, 2009, 11:53 am

    In your most recent post, you decried Jews for declaring other Jews as traitors, but here, you publish (with positive framing) the same sentiment applied to Palestinians, participating in the judgement of who is a good Palestinian.

    • Diane Mason
      October 7, 2009, 12:31 pm

      God help me, but I actually agree with Richard Witty. Looks like I picked the wrong week to give up sniffing glue….

    • Chaos4700
      October 7, 2009, 1:04 pm

      I’m pretty sure what the title was a reference to was not people being “real” or “fake” people of the West Bank but rather whether people of the West Bank are going to stand up to actual traitors — people like Abbas or Dahlan who see their own brothers and sisters killed in order to reap bribe money from Israel and the US.

      What disgusts me the most, Witty, is you spend so much goddamned time condemning Hamas and defending the complicity of lapdogs like Abbas and when you’re confronted with evidence that Fatah is not simply just as bad but worse to their own people, and you decide this is merely an opportunity to attack Phil.

      You really and truly disgust me, Witty. Maybe other people on this blog can be polite to you but I can see you for the snake oil vendor that you are — you are merely poison to this debate because you don’t care about the lives involved. You just want to honor your twisted patriotism to what is ostensibly a foreign country.

      • Richard Witty
        October 7, 2009, 4:09 pm

        I believe that Fatah and especially Fayyad (who is not a member of Fatah) are good for Palestine, and that Hamas is a disaster.

        They are described by the gullible as uncorruptible, but to my mind they are the example of corruption, in their willingness to harm Israeli civilians and put Gazan civilians at violent risk, for the purpose of gaining their own street cred, and for the purpose of distorting all peace efforts.

        Fatah is not quisling, but strategic. I know that Mrs Arafat is extremely wealthy, likely on skimming, but I really only hear accusations of Fatah. (I hear it from the far left and from the far right, so that combination suggests at least that the accusations are biased, if not untrue.)

        Anyone that has followed Fatah over decades, will laugh at the accusation of quisling.

      • Chaos4700
        October 7, 2009, 5:48 pm

        Well, Witty… you aren’t Palestinian. So maybe you need to stop pretending to be the supreme Jewish overlord who tells the Palestinians, those poor simple desert folk, who they can and cannot elect. I suppose you would think the Palestinian party that has basically given up on preventing the ethnic cleansing of their own people is good for you. Seriously, dude, you do more to forward degrading anti-Semitic stereotypes just acting the way you do. Fortunately, you have proven yourself to be representative of neither Jews as a whole, nor Progressives.

        Incidentally, to say nothing of the fact that you can’t be bothered to confront the whole truth of the matter, nice straw man — “Fatah over decades” — which doesn’t really cover what Fatah is now.

      • Citizen
        October 7, 2009, 7:51 pm

        Looking over the historical list of undemocratic puppet governments the USA has backed at the expense of their respective peoples, say as one example, all those on the continent of S America, I see the Palestinian group the USA supports as just another one. I think Richard Witty would be the first to sympathize with HAMAS if it were
        a grass roots agency against any one of the puppet governments the USA has propped up over the years in S America.

      • Richard Witty
        October 8, 2009, 4:56 am

        I haven’t heard a credible critique of Fatah from you or other dissenters here, except name-calling.

        And, as I’ve said many times, I strongly believe that Fatah’s principled and pragmatic approach to give up armed struggle, and to emphasize institution building is the right approach.

        The anarchist standard of what constitutes absence of corruption, is not the world’s.

        And, Hamas has artfully alligned with the anarchist approach, which includes negativist “justice is the absence of injustice” description, which allows for opportunistic condemnation of the other (whether Israel or Fatah or US).

        It certainly does not turn the mirror on the corruption inherent in Hamas’ militia strategy of attempting to gain street cred by condemnation. (I distinguish between the Hamas social service wing and the militia wing. The social service wing implemented the keeping of the cease-fire. The hot-headed militia wing implemented the resumption of war, in which civilians bore the brunt.)

        I call that corrupt.

      • Shingo
        October 8, 2009, 5:47 am

        “I believe that Fatah and especially Fayyad (who is not a member of Fatah) are good for Palestine, and that Hamas is a disaster.”

        That’s so revealing about you Richard, because most Palestinians don;t believe Fatah is good for Palestine, but a corrupt and weak groud that are onyl too willing to do Isreal’s bidding.

        It’s much like Yeltsin was to Russia. He was widely popular in the West, but reviled in Russia. Putin is overhwlmingly popular in Russia but perceived as a menace in the West because he won’t do as he’s told.

        Fatah is worse than quisling, it is spinelss. That’s why Israel are prepare to deal with him, the same way they chose to deal with Arafat only after he was internationally idoslated, following the PLO’s backing of Saddam in the Gulf War.

        Abbas had to back down this week from accepting the findings of the Goldtone Report and he did so becuause of overwelming sentiment in the West Bank.

        There is no proof that Mrs Arafat is extremely wealthy, anymore than the sucessionof corrupt Israeli Prime Ministers who’ve been found guilty of such charges.

      • Shingo
        October 8, 2009, 5:52 am


        When you say you strongly suport Fatah’s “principled and pragmatic approach to give up armed struggle” what you rally mean is you support Fatah’s preparedness to sell it’s peopel down the stream and cast them as defenselenss, as well as homeless.

        Hamas won the election because of the stench fo corruption and spinelessness surrounding Fatah. In fact, Fatah are so weak and unpricipalled, that they took orders from Tel Avid in 2006 and abandoned unity talks with Hamas, and instead, followed orders to launch a coup to overthrow Hamas, which failed miserably. Yet it is Hamas who continue to come to the table and demonstarte a willingness to form a unity government.

        Israel have blocked this development at every turn, becasue it’s the last thing they want.

      • Richard Witty
        October 8, 2009, 2:07 pm

        “what you rally mean is you support Fatah’s preparedness to sell it’s peopel down the stream and cast them as defenselenss, as well as homeless”

        Exactly the oppossite. When Fayyad announced, a few weeks ago, that he was pursuing a strategy of institution building, and that when Palestine was ready to self-govern, he stated that he would simply declare Palestinian independance and appeal for ratification at the UN.

        Israel’s reaction emphasized the fear of unilateral independance, rather than the support for the institution building.

        The left’s reaction was that Fayyad was a quisling, that only political struggle (BDS or armed struggle) was the important focus.

        I publicly stated support for Fayyad’s approach, and continue to, though hope that Israel will discover that a friend relationship with a fully sovereign Palestine is better and more secure for them than a stimulated antagonist.

        Fayyad will succeed inevitably, and will enhance Palestinians’ and neighbors success. Hamas will fail inevitably, and will lead all to mutual violent war (if it doesn’t change its views and approach).

        The big difference is acceptance of the other. When Israel doesn’t do that, it is wrong. When Palestinians don’t do it, they are wrong.

        Both can be wrong, and both can be right.

    • Seham
      October 7, 2009, 1:39 pm

      Seriously Witty, do you ever have anything logical to say? Is everything that black and white to you?

      • Seham
        October 7, 2009, 4:15 pm

        Richard are you for true?

        “Fatah is not quisling, but strategic. I know that Mrs Arafat is extremely wealthy, likely on skimming, but I really only hear accusations of Fatah. (I hear it from the far left and from the far right, so that combination suggests at least that the accusations are biased, if not untrue.) Anyone that has followed Fatah over decades, will laugh at the accusation of quisling. ”

        Ahahahahahhahahhahhahahaha. Too, too, too funny! Well at least now I know that I don’t have to waste my time responding to you! Ahhahahhahahahaha!

  6. OhioJoes
    October 7, 2009, 1:13 pm

    Look, it’s not about Misses Chaos and her personal opinion about Mister Witty. Phil has made a huge mistake here, or hes a stinking hypocrite. Any thoughts, Phil

  7. LeaNder
    October 7, 2009, 1:21 pm

    Alert: A new blog publishing rule for Phil suggested (see above):
    No one can be published whose point of view seems to differ from anything somebody else, no matter who Phil, Adam or one of the larger chorus, has written earlier.

    One size fits all. Sorry Seham, the sword of judgment has come down. Under these rules you aren’t allowed to worry about the corruption the occupation causes. No chance, get used to it. That’s the way power handles matters. Nothing beats the pleasantness of Swizz bank accounts. (sorry Mom, not yours of course)

    • Chaos4700
      October 7, 2009, 1:28 pm

      Thank you, LeaNder, for pointing out what should have been obvious to Witty and OhioJoes.

      • tommy
        October 7, 2009, 8:20 pm

        Witty and Ohio do not even know who wrote the post.

  8. Citizen
    October 7, 2009, 2:15 pm

    What is a kapo? Someone who must decide how to deal with a superior power over what
    that superior power has ultimate control, including the either/or of why anyone “volunteers” to be a kapo. I think that every current and wannabe person who wants
    to become a member of the USA congress, or have a slot in the USA executive branch of power–is a kap0.

  9. eljay
    October 7, 2009, 2:34 pm

    During the past few months that I’ve been following this blog site, I’ve tried hard to appreciate Mr. Witty’s point of view but, most of the time, I simply can’t understand his reasoning.

    As offensive as it is at times, however, I find even more offensive the venom directed at him. Some of it has been so hateful I’m surprised the posts haven’t been deleted.

    Please, if you disagree with him, ignore him and spare everyone the hate.

    • Cliff
      October 7, 2009, 3:07 pm

      Some of us have been here for more than a year, some…for years.

      Witty has never changed. He is as dishonest and sanctimonious as he ever as.

      It’s not hate, it’s just that we’re so completely used to him, that we know exactly what he means in all his comments.

      Richard Witty is completely transparent. He adds an opposing voice but that’s superficial. His actual commentary in and of itself is meaningless.

      WonderingJew is a Zionist and he manages to be a Zionist but not completely insane. He is critical, and thoughtful (from what I’ve read so far). I think he is the first Zionist we’ve had on the blog who wasn’t a vulgar thug (Michael L./Chris Barel) or a polite fascist (Richard Witty).

      How about we stop using Witty as a measure for other Zionists? There may be some reasonable Zionists out there. I can understand wanting to keep the ‘Jewish State’, Jewish at least in symbolic terms. However, I think there are aspects of Zionism (in reality, not in theory) that must be acknowledged as being inhumane/racist/etc.

      It’s not like we’re apples and oranges here. There happens to be a common ground amongst us that has to do w/ meaningful humanization/justice/reconciliation.

      That means, the traditional Zionist narrative must be contradicted. A new Zionism emerges. One that is not built on maintaining an ethno-religious majority and on acknowledging the rights of an entire people. Simultaneously, you can keep the Jewishness of Israel. You can work out a solution to the refugee question. It’s possible and we’ve all read this stuff.

      I think Witty is just a distraction. The fact that it’s either him or the Chris Barel types, is lame. There are more challenging Zionists out there. At least we have WJ.

      • Richard Witty
        October 8, 2009, 4:58 am

        “polite fascist”?

        You don’t have a clue.

      • Shingo
        October 8, 2009, 5:54 am

        “You don’t have a clue. ”

        Oh yes we have Richard, adn plenty of them, thanks to the clues you have left us.

    • LeaNder
      October 7, 2009, 5:10 pm

      As offensive as it is at times, however, I find even more offensive the venom directed at him.

      Ok, eljay, I’ve defended Richard myself before, and I am assuming you mean my cynicism. Would an alert have helped? Richard is reading and responding on this blog almost as long as me. Thus we know each other for quite a while by now. Much has happened since than, but one thing remains constant Richard’s default setting: find something to criticise in what Phil writes, something, anything, you don’t need to second check, the first thing that enters your mind, is completely satisfactory.

      That’s Richard’s main task in life during the last years, criticizing his old friend. He may indeed be troubled, as Mooser seems to be, that Phil is harming his career, only attracting antisemites.

      My problem is that his interaction with Phil is reduced to criticism, often as here without a second thought or even a checking if what he writes is correct. Among hundreds, there were not more than a few articles that found his acceptance. In other words: No critique. Is he concerned about Phil only, since he wants him to shut down this blog?

      Make no mistake, I absolutely respect his fears surrounding the subject. But he never challenged the from my perspective dangerous Jewish conspiracy architects here, but always only Phil.

      And yes, I am really tired of his jumping to conclusions simply because he is unable to switch from the default setting: find mistakes, find faults.

      But what really made me really angry in the above case, was that I found Seham’s article just as moving as the earlier by Anonymous Jewish voice. Can you tell me, how anybody could have mistaken her for Phil? Couldn’t this only happen to someone whose default is set. The spirit: Ahh, a chance! Creates blindness.

      Both Seham’s and Anoymous articles would have deserved his comment silence.

      And yes I found it interesting that he found fault in Seham’s contribution, and even more that he mistook her for Phil. It’s always the same with ideologues, and Richard, if he wants to admit it or not, is one on Mondoweiss (not on Realistic Dove). But that’s a different story.

      • eljay
        October 7, 2009, 5:21 pm

        LeaNder, my post wasn’t directed at you specifically. It was simply a commentary regarding what I consider to be verbal assaults against Mr. Witty. I disagree with much of what he says, but I don’t feel it’s appropriate to slag him. I believe there was another poster who was flaming on this blog site and everyone was encouraged to simply ignore him. Same should apply to Mr. Witty, as should the “Comments Policy” to posts addressing him.

        Once again, sorry for taking this thread off-topic.

      • Richard Witty
        October 8, 2009, 5:02 am

        I primarily object to Phil’s adoption of the militant approach to dissent that I regard as propagandistic, rather than the effort to persuade.

        I dislike responding to posters, as their degree of study on the issue is very often very limited (even more limited than Phil’s, who hasn’t mentioned a thorough open-minded study of Zionism, even 5 years into this specific effort). I also tend to ignore those that only adopt name-calling as their mode of “communication”.

      • Richard Witty
        October 8, 2009, 5:17 am

        If I am not an ideolog on other blogs, then I am not an ideolog period.

        Perhaps the critique of Phil and of posters here, is a comment on Phil’s theses and the posters’ here, period.

        Specifically, the negativist approach. I call it a silhouette.

        I contrast that with clear statements of goal, that allow for common cause towards a genuinely positive end, with those that have some different assumptions and observations than you.

        When stated ONLY as what one objects to, there is no possibility of common cause.

        So, I ask, “what is your goal?”

        And, I primarily ask it of Phil, as someone who could “make a difference”. That I’ve known Phil for a very long time (not closely), and his family, informs me. I knew Phil in our ideologically formative years, before going off to college, before his Harvard. So, I presume that the voice of moralist idealism (not ideological revolution), is his and seek to appeal to that.

        As I’ve said, any Weiss is family to me (especially Phil’s parents and Phil), on the merit of four decades of close friendship of the Weiss’s with my aunt, and the accepted invitation to the Witty’s to be part of that.

      • Shingo
        October 8, 2009, 6:01 am


        How is it tha tyou object to Phil’s adoption of the militant approach to dissent, but insist on defending the miltant approach to maintiani the statu quo on Israel?

        Have you no concept of how nauseating your hypcrisy and double standards wreak?

        Furthermore, when it comes to degree of study on the issue, your has been found wanting and exposed all to often, so please the insufferable attitude.

        And sorry to say, yes, you are an ideologue because there can be no dispute that you are clouded by your Zionist deology. You go to great pains to sound moderate and reasonable, but underneath it all still resides a militant and extremist believe.

      • LeaNder
        October 8, 2009, 7:35 am

        Richard, I have not much time to answer now. It would take time to make this shorter and more to the point. I can’t proofread this either, e.g. taking out repetitions.

        My cynicism is only on the surface venomous. If I wouldn’t somehow care, why should I remind you that certain actions MUST harm your cause?

        But I have no problem either to say I am sorry. Here we go:

        I am sorry

        But is it honest? I am sure I at one point I told you that one of my fatal flaws is an almost instinctive reaction to what feels unfair, unjust, prejudiced. And I think you were above towards both Phil and Seham.

        Politeness isn’t only a surface, it’s ideally something real. To not go into the complex traits, versus–as someone once suggested here, in a slightly different context–surface conventions. I can with utter politeness deeply hurt someone.

        One of the most important features of politeness for me is to listen, not to jump to conclusions swiftly. These actions for me mirror prejudice. Let me give you a couple of words: attentive, friendly, helpful, concrete, accessible, authentic.

        Now let’s take an earlier exchange around “thickness”. As I realized I was a bit unfair then and here I am indeed sorry. This needs an excursus.

        I have another flaw, I have mixed feelings towards conventions. Our issue is frozen into rigidity, militancy that partly may ultimately hide fears on one side and insecurity on the other: Better say nothing at all, it may be wrong. Conventions create an atmosphere were every non-Jew only knows that certain things that may enter his mind spontaneously have to be kept in the closet. This is a wonderful basis for the merchants to offer their old/new architectures, there is simply no one else around to offer a coherent tale: an ideology. It felt to me from the start that one of Phil’s goals is to change this. Obviously I can be wrong.

        If it isn’t, well then it is my “goal” in being here. I am no leader, neither am I a follower, all I can do here is point out at what point I feel that the “architects” the fast-dot-connectors are dangerous and why. I am not an anti-Zionist nor a post-Zionist and I am not a fighter for anything but respect for every human being. And as the ideologues notice, I have a deep emotional bond to the history of my own country and the Jewish history. It got slightly upturned by the hawkish interested: goal oriented, mindset.

        And I think it is very dangerous that the far right basically controls the issue with only slight modifications in it’s long tradition. And I consider this a very, very dangerous scenario.

        Now ideologue: I am using this term for people who constantly, whatever the content of the article is, stay on message. They don’t look at the whole but pick out tiny bits that appear useful. You aren’t even close to the ones I consider the worst in this context, but you show the trait. Your goal is way more important to you than simply listen what other people feel and think. And interestingly you share some of the scapegoats with the “architects on the right” paradoxically while blaming the group you at the same time consider yourself part of. I have been watching this phenomenon seeping out from the academic ivory towers into mainstream discourse. The ultimate antisemites always were The Left. Let’s find the roots of this tradition. I would warn you that this is an interested position, but then you told us: Fairness is for the eight year old.

        I won’t have much time to comment as frequently as I did.

        Thus no need to answer, I might miss it.

    • Donald
      October 8, 2009, 9:42 am

      I ought to be predisposed to like Richard, because his long term goals are good and some of what he says is valid. The Palestinians should be completely nonviolent, institution building is good, this institution-building is what the Zionists did right, etc… That I agree with. And there is a whiff and sometimes more than a whiff of antisemitism in the comments sections around here–it staggers me that there are some who think the banned Chris/Ed wasn’t an antisemite. I ought to be Richard’s natural ally, if one only looked at what his long term goals are.

      Why, then, are Richard’s posts so disgusting to me? Because he has double standards and for me this is worse coming from a person preaching (quite rightly) peace and reconciliation. You don’t have to rely on “the far left” or the “far right” to find out that Fatah is guilty of human rights violations–you could, for example, check the freaking human rights organizations and their reports. Or you could read the evidence that Fatah and the US were the instigators of the Palestinian civil war–we’ve given Richard a link to that. But Richard just knows that Fatah is good because they do some things he likes and they are anti-Hamas and relatively subservient to Israel at the moment and that’s good enough for him. Similarly he “knows” that the Israeli right are the bad guys, and mainstream “liberal” Israelis are just fine. He also “knows ” that BDS is a horrible idea, but the blockade on Gaza, though not ideal, is justifiable. He decides what is true and what is conducive to peace based on what fits his ideology.

      I also complained about his writing style recently and it’s not a trivial point, because it conveys the impression of someone who thinks he is far wiser, far better read, and far more committed to peace than anyone here, unless they completely agree with him. Even if I fully agreed with him I’d be rolling my eyes at his style, and probably trying to get him to change it.

      If Richard were morally consistent, free of the blind spots he chooses for himself, I’d be on his side. Reconciliation is what is needed. Romanticizing violence by any side is stupid and a dead end. BDS isn’t the ideal way to go–I’d much rather see a large number of people like Uri Avnery and Michael Lerner (both Zionists) doing their best trying to persuade the Israelis that they have treated the Palestinians very badly, not since 67, but all along, and they need to build bridges to the Palestinians and work towards a solution where, even if there are two separate states, it will be the sort of boundary we have with Canada.

      • Citizen
        October 8, 2009, 10:15 am

        Donald, what is the agenda of anyone who consistently applies double moral and ethicial standards
        all the while blaring out as through a cheerleader’s horn the highest humanitarian and logical values? Witty himself makes the distinction between the good Hamas branch and the evil Hamas branch. If you value his mentality, shouldn’t you show respect for Witty’s agile & ethical brain by pointing out the good Israel and the bad Israel? Why, maybe that’s just what you did by your comment, said? So, what’s the difference between your approach and Witty’? Witty argues for less focus on who
        started it, so to speak, and more focus on gaining a mutual solution. Witty always
        ignores the tremendous advantages Israel has had all along from a succession of
        Western powers, and for a good time now, the World’s only superpower. When you add to that the fact that the Palestinians had nothing to do with the Shoah,
        do you really think Witty is a soul mate of yours?

      • Chaos4700
        October 8, 2009, 10:54 am

        “Witty himself makes the distinction between the good Hamas branch and the evil Hamas branch.”

        In all honesty? I must have missed that part. I’ve never heard Witty make a distinction between “good” Hamas and “bad” Hamas. Hell, he’s even made Israel blameless for the deaths they caused in Operation Cast Lead and put the blame squarely on Hamas (the “bad” Hamas one presumes? Like I said, never heard him make that distinction)

      • Donald
        October 8, 2009, 11:37 am

        I think Richard is a decent person whose thinking is corrupted by adherence to an ideology. It happens to a lot of people. So if I read him making general comments, I often find myself in agreement. When he gets specific on I/P issues, he turns into a fairly typical pseudoliberal of the sort that dominates the discourse in the US.

        As for good Hamas, bad Hamas, yes, Chaos, Witty has made that distinction. He distinguishes between the Hamas that does social service work and the branches that engage in violence. That’s fine with me–similarly, the Israeli government can probably be broken down into segments that oppress Palestinians and (presumably) segments which don’t.

      • Citizen
        October 8, 2009, 11:38 am

        Witty’s “good” Hamas is the Hamas branch that gives all the humanitarian services, and his “bad” Hamas is the militant branch of Hamas responsible for things like
        lobbing rockets into Israel. He never per se uses the terms good and bad, but he has often said he supports the social services form of Hamas, but not the militant form.

      • Richard Witty
        October 8, 2009, 2:23 pm

        Thanks for some recognition, even if it just supported the conclusion that I was a hypocrite.

        I think that you state that because I hold a view that seeks solutions from a set that knows and cares more about Israelis than about Palestinians, and call that a double standard.

        I am guilty of that double standard. I care an enormous amount for the well-being of Israelis (as a Jew, another oft-maligned double standard), and I only care a lot for the well-being of Palestinians.

        But, if I were an Israeli and encountered a Palestinian (or solidarity) that cared primarily for Palestinians, and only a lot for Israelis, I would be extremely confident that we could find a mutually beneficial intersection, that we could in fact make peace.

        When I encounter Israelis that believe that peace is impossible (or undesirable as inhibiting their land-lust), I state that I’ve met my Abrahamic 50. That derives from the part of Torah where Abraham pleads with God to not destroy Sodom and Gomorroh if he can find 50 righteous individuals. (Then bargains God down to ten, but can’t find his ten.)

        Just for reference, on a large number of the issues that I’ve taken a lot of heat here for (opposition to BDS for example, criticism of Hamas), Uri Avnery and Michael Lerner have stated very similarly.

        I’ve argued with Michael Lerner a few years ago. He wrote to me that Israel needed a tough love approach. I stated that if that is expressed habitually, that the only thing perceived is the tough. Tough love is a functional as a single intervention, analagous to the military doctrine of overwhelming force (stated as a less violent alternative than inadequate force). When habituated, it only continues the status of war, and confuses.

      • Donald
        October 8, 2009, 4:10 pm

        Criticism of Hamas is fine. I think they need to be negotiated with, but I don’t like them. They’re rightwing religious fundies, and practiced suicide bombing several years ago, and earlier this year they were suppressing Palestinian dissent in brutal fashion. Not a nice group at all, at least not the violent wing, as you’d put it. (Correctly so).

        But Fatah is no dream organization either and if you pay any attention or are as well-informed as you claim then you have to know that. They suppress dissent and they were involved in planning the civil war which backfired on them. Hamas wanted the unity government–they’d won the 2006 election. It was the US and Israel which was horrified by the thought of a unity Palestinian government that included Hamas.

        And as for Israel, their own war crimes (including the blockade and including the far more numerous civilian dead they caused during the years of rocket fire from Gaza) are their own responsibility, not that of Hamas. Hamas and Israel provoke each other and one can criticize the provocations, but the actual atrocities are chiefly the responsibility of those who choose to commit them.

        As for BDS, I’d probably favor some aspects of it– I can’t for the life of me see what is wrong with banning Caterpillar bulldozers from going to Israel, given how they use them. It’s like keeping rockets out of Gaza. I’m agnostic on some aspects and would be opposed to anything that might cause real human suffering that is even one quarter as bad as what the blockade on Gaza has caused. But if someone like Uri Avnery says BDS is just going to backfire, that’s worth listening to. He might very well be right.

        It’s irritating coming from you, because you condemn BDS as some sort of horror, while allowing for the blockade of Gaza until such time as some international force could come in and keep weapons out. But why not keep some weapons out of Israel? And anyway, in the meantime the Israeli blockade is ongoing and even the NYT’s Ethan Bronner has repeatedly written that it is meant to hurt Gazans, to form a contrast between the relative prosperity in the West Bank under Fatah and the misery under Hamas. That’s collective punishment–a war crime. Why do you not condemn it? One can’t help but conclude that for you, brutal sanctions on Gazans are not nearly as bad as merely cultural sanctions on Israel.

        So I’m going to continue to respect Lerner and Avnery and Avi Shlaim and various other liberal Zionists while not taking your preaching at all seriously. And since you take it upon yourself to lecture Phil and everyone else based on your self-perceived superior knowledge and wisdom, you can probably continue to expect to receive mostly harsh criticism for it. Also, your stance has been pretty much the mainstream US liberal position for quite awhile. Criticize Israeli extremists and settlers, and criticize Palestinian extremists more, often much more, show Israel continued love, and maybe things will change if they ever decide to do it. It’s worked out great so far, hasn’t it?

  10. eljay
    October 7, 2009, 5:17 pm

    For someone who is “transparent” and a “distraction”, he sure seems to generate some very tangible venom! It’s this venom, this loss of decorum, that I find disturbing and, in some cases, contrary to the “Comments Policy”:
    3. No personal attacks. We encourage spirited, passionate debate, but if you have to resort to vicious personal attack, you’re not advancing the discussion.

    Anyway, sorry to distract from the topic at hand.

    • LeaNder
      October 7, 2009, 5:24 pm

      Can you tell the difference between anger and venom, or venom and cynicism?

      Please show me the venom in the reactions to this:

      In your most recent post, you decried Jews for declaring other Jews as traitors, but here, you publish (with positive framing) the same sentiment applied to Palestinians, participating in the judgement of who is a good Palestinian.

      If there was anything else I missed, I would be pleased if you would enlighten me. I am gone now, but will check tomorrow.

      • LeaNder
        October 7, 2009, 5:25 pm

        I closed the tag in the wrong place:

        That’s me: If there was anything else I missed, I would be pleased if you would enlighten me. I am gone now, but will check tomorrow.

      • eljay
        October 7, 2009, 5:29 pm

        I’m not going to single out specific comments which I would deem “venomous”. They are either obvious, or not obvious. Regardless, I’m not looking to pick a fight – all I did was make a polite request to uphold decorum.

        I have not reported anyone, I don’t expect I will have to report anyone, and I certainly won’t raise this issue again.

      • Chaos4700
        October 7, 2009, 5:41 pm

        I appreciate your delicacy on this matter, eljay :) I can safely say it’s something I envy.

        And I suppose I apologize but it’s hard for me to just… ignore… what Witty is doing. I mean, he’s literally suborning the American Progressive movement. Like, actively undermining it.

        He doesn’t treat anybody with respect, only thinly veiled disdain. What separates Richard Witty from Julian is that Julian directly attacks people, rather than indirectly, and every now and then he peppers in some polite conversation.

        And worse than that it’s a mockery of me, as an actual progressive.

        Maybe I’m taking his act to personally, huh.

      • eljay
        October 7, 2009, 5:52 pm

        Hey, I’ve had my buttons pushed many times and, on numerous occasions, I’ve wished I could simply take a baseball bat to the people who have infuriated me. But it’s not in my nature… ;-)

      • Richard Witty
        October 8, 2009, 5:03 am

        The second line wasn’t mine. You must have quoted a second post by someone else.

      • Richard Witty
        October 8, 2009, 5:20 am

        Accept that progressive thinking is not all the same.

        Go further than “which side are you on”. Actually respectfully dialog.

      • Chaos4700
        October 8, 2009, 7:02 am

        There is no respectful dialog with a person who believes war crimes can be justified, Witty.

      • Richard Witty
        October 8, 2009, 2:25 pm

        Where did I justify war crimes?

    • Shingo
      October 8, 2009, 6:04 am


      Yes, Richard does generate some very tangible venom because underneath his moderate tone lies an ugly and extremist mindset. You can sugar coat massacres and human rights abuses in diplomatic jagon all you like, but people quickly see through the sophistry and discover someone who trivializes the lives of Palestinains as though the deaths of thousands, as we saw in Gaza, is an unfortunate act of God.

      • Richard Witty
        October 8, 2009, 2:26 pm

        How do you explain Hamas nail-bombing bus stations, cafes, hotels?

        How do you explain shelling of civilians over an 8-year period?

      • DG
        October 8, 2009, 2:37 pm

        “nail-bombing bus stations, cafes, hotels?”

        Where do you get this stuff, Richard? Does your wife dream it up when she’s not painting her “Holocaust scenes”?

      • Shingo
        October 8, 2009, 2:48 pm

        Yes Richard,

        Please elaborate on the Hamas nail-bombing of bus stations, cafes, hotels? Are nails not just a crude form of shrapnel, in which case, woudl you case to explain the razer bobinbg of southersn Lebanon with the hundreds of thousands of cluster bombs, which contain razor sharp metal?

        And as for the bombing of bus stations, cafes, hotels, the last time that happened was long before Israel carried out it’s massacres in Southern Lebanon and Gaza.

      • Richard Witty
        October 8, 2009, 3:22 pm

        The gruesome terror ended in 2002 I believe.

        It overlapped with the shelling of Sderot. Israel perceived it as a change, but a very minor one. When Israel removed itself from Gaza, Hamas could not claim that it was attacking military occupation (military personnel), and instead shelled civilians.

      • Richard Witty
        October 8, 2009, 3:24 pm

        Did you just rationalize for Hamas nail-bombing?

        Does Donald state that that disgusts him?

      • tree
        October 8, 2009, 3:34 pm

        Did you just rationalize for Hamas nail-bombing?

        No, he just pointed out your own hypocrisy in pointing out violence from the weaker side, while you are an apologist for violence from the stronger side. You blame Hamas for “provoking” Israel into the invasion of Gaza, and never blame Israel for its massive violence. In your world, Hamas bears responsibility for its own violence as well as the much greater violence that Israel commits. Israeli violence is never the responsibility of the Israeli government. That’s having a double standard and Shingo was pointing it out.

      • Donald
        October 8, 2009, 3:48 pm

        Did you just rationalize for Hamas nail-bombing?

        Does Donald state that that disgusts him?”

        I just saw this on the sidebar and wondered if someone had defended Hamas suicide bombing. I have gotten into arguments at other blogs on precisely this question–do Palestinians have the right to commit terrorist acts against civilians? My answer is no, I’ve said it there and I say it here fairly often. Defense of terrorism and collective punishment whether by Israelis or Palestinians disgusts me.

        So I come here and as one might expect, it’s just Richard oh so carefully misinterpreting someone making a direct comparison between Hamas and IDF atrocities. Looks valid to me. So I don’t have to have that argument here.

        As for where you justify war crimes, Richard, you do it when you say that the collective punishment of Gaza civilians is a legitimate action by the Israelis. No, it’s not.

      • Richard Witty
        October 8, 2009, 4:12 pm

        My comment to Shingo mirrors the responses to my comments.

        There is no instance in my posts of rationalizing harms to civilians, but I am accused of that, not even asked what I meant.

        Shingo, I don’t know about. Its really an open question for him/her.

      • Shingo
        October 8, 2009, 4:18 pm

        “The gruesome terror ended in 2002 I believe.”

        For the Isrealis yes, but for the Palestinians, it only got worse.

        The shelling of Sderot was but a tiny fraction of the shelling that Israel unleashed on Gaza over the 12 months after they withdrew. Israel fired more shells into Gaza in that period that all of the shells and rockets Hamas have fired into Israle.

        So you see, when Israel removed itself from Gaza, Hamas did not have to claim it was attacking military occupation, becaus it was retaliating to a military assault.

        And while military personnel might cease to be present in Gaza, let’s not kid ourselves that the occupation has ended.

        As Idith Zertal and Akiva Eldbyar summarized in their scholarly history of Israeli settlements n the occupied territories, “Lords of the Land”,

        “After Israel withdrew it’s forces from Gaza, in August 2005, the ruined territory was not released for even a single day from Israel’s military grip, or from the price of the occupation that the inhabitants pay every day. Israel left behind scotched earth, devastated services, and people with nearly a present or a future. The Jewish settlements were destroyed in an ungenerous move by an unenlightened occupier, which in fact continues to control the territory and kill and harass it’s inhabitants, by means of it’s formidable military might.”

      • Shingo
        October 8, 2009, 4:23 pm

        But Richard,

        You have have undoubtedlyrationalized harming civilians, as you have in the case of the Gaza attack, which you insist was necessary. As the Goldstone Report and countless IDF soldeirs have revealed, the tacgretting of civlians was intrinsic to Operation Cast Lead and you have supported it whoel heartedly.

        I have been unabiguous about my opposition to any attacks on civlians, but I will not stand for you singling out and cherry picking cases of Hamas’ trasngressions while ignoring the elephant in the room, which are Israel’s trangressions, which are a magnitude of scale greater.

      • Richard Witty
        October 8, 2009, 4:53 pm

        The reason that the blockade is not a trivially simplistic issue is the status of Hamas as alternately a militia and alternately a political party, but NEVER part of a state.

        The significance of their rejection of submission to Palestinian constitution and prior law, is minimized by its apologists. (Maybe you are not one, maybe you are just misled.)

        Again, I encourage you, challenge you, to advocate for a consented international body to control the port, so that Gaza is not isolated, but is still accountable to international laws of port management and import/export.

        It is a path, but paths are rejected.

        The 300 or so terror incidents that Hamas took credit for, is not incidental, and the shelling of Sderot is not incidental.

        You are accurate that I regarded the Israeli military response to Hamas escalation in December as necessary. You are innaccurate in describing my views as advocating for the scale that was excessive, meanly targeted, or questionable use of weapons.

      • Shingo
        October 9, 2009, 2:31 am

        The reason that the blockade is very simple.

        Since it withdrew from Gaza, Israel have sought to strangle and punich Gaza in any way they could. Your argument about Hamas’ status is purte hot air. How the hell can Hasm be part fo a state that doesn’t exist and which doesn;t exist bevasue Israel will not allow it to materiliaze?

        Israeli propagandists like yourself were arguing that the Palestinians were underserving of a state until they demonstrated democracy, and when they did, Israel punished them for it.

        Plese don;t leture to us about rejectiong of consituitionand prior law. Israel’s government frequently flouts Israeli and international laws at will, not to mention vilating close to 100 UN Resolutions and the Geneva Conventions.

        How about we agree to advocate for a consented international body to control the not just the part of Gaza, but the occupied territories as well? If accountabiolity to international law is of such concern to you then why not the occupied terirtories and the enforcement of the UN Resolutions that Israel refuses to abide by?

        Perhaps the 300 or so terror incidents that Hamas took credit for, is not incidental, and the shelling of Sderot is not incidental, bu the attack on Gaza, teh attack on Lebanon, the raids on Gaza in 2006, not to mention the countless incursion and enthnic cleasing by Israel are of a far graters and graver scale

        You cannot distinguish between the Israel’s escalation in December and he scale of the vilence they unleashed, because it was pre-planned and pre ordained to coincide with the Israeli elections.

        Israel decided they wanted a change to redeem their humilating defeat of 2006, and chose a soft target that would assure a suitable outcome.

      • Richard Witty
        October 9, 2009, 7:36 am

        Sorry Shingo.

        Hamas is responsible for its actions. And, its actions affect a great deal, hence the phrase cycle of violence.

        You err in assuming that I don’t regard Israel as responsible for its actions.

        In the case of Gaza in December, I believe my summary is accurate.

        Which is:

        Hamas initiated a state of war by shelling first desert (a valid warning), to Sderot (civilians), to Ashkelon (an escalation), to Beersheba (a further escalation), INTENDING to evoke Israel to respond militarily. Israel did and excessively.

        The net result of that is that Hamas’ “temporary” poor judgement used the Gazan civilians as human shields, while Hamas’ militia hid.

        And they “won”, in that Israel acted improperly and looks bad.

        But, they “lost” in that their poor judgement is seen by any that allow their minds to cool to a point where they can actually see.

      • Chaos4700
        October 9, 2009, 7:54 am

        I can’t believe this! You are literally making the “She was asking to be raped” argument. “Oh, her skirt was short, she was wearing a slutty top and she was clinging to me like a cheap suit. Obviously she actually wanted it.”

        And you wonder why you get so much flak here, Richard. Seriously. Every time — every time! — you exonerate Israel for its crimes and shift the blame to the Palestinians. And maybe you claim you are limiting it to Hamas, but the fact is you aren’t because by extension, you blame the Gazans themselves for electing a party that defends itself against Israeli aggression.

        Not a word do you speak of the constant incursions by the IDF into Gaza after the “unilateral withdrawal.” Or the kill zone within Gaza that the IDF maintains. Or the fact that it was Israel that broke the cease fire. Or the fact that Hamas is “initiating” violence against a community that was manufactured wholesale atop the ethnically cleansed Palestinian village of Najd.

        You’ve elevated hypocrisy to an art form.

      • Shingo
        October 9, 2009, 8:12 am

        Sorry Richard,

        But we’ve been through this before and you’ve had it pointed out to you that your mythical version of events in Gaza does not hold up.

        Firstly, someone pointed out to you that a cycle of violence requires 2 sides to perpatuate it.

        You err in assuming that I don’t regard Israel as responsible for its actions.

        In the case of Gaza in December, let me correct you.

        Apart from teh fact that Israel initiated a state of war from the day it imposed the blokcade on Gaza, an act of war in itself, Israel escalated the war when it violated the ceasfire on the 4th of November. It attacked first and killed 6 Palestinians in the proess. The intention was clear, to evoke Hamas to respond so that Israel could then justify the full scale on Gaza they had in the planning for 6 months.

        Hamas responded with rockets attacks and shelling, which killed no one.

        The only factor that makes Hamas’ actions one of poor judgement is becasue they are outgunned by Israeli firepower, and thus, your rationale is that might makes right.

        There were no use of human shields by Hamas in Gaza. In fact, the only side that was revealed to be using human shields were the IDF. Remember, that Isral uised the human shields argument in the Lebanon war and subsequent investigation debunked those claims. Hamas are Palestinians in Gaza, and thus are not hiding in Gaza so much as living there. It is the most denly populated place on earth, so there are no places to hide or for the Gazans to run to.

        For Israel, it was a turkey shoot.

        Israel did act act improperly and look bad because thei commited gross vilations of huma righs and war crimes. Isreal also lok bad because the facts don’t support their version, of events, or yours for that matter.

        Let’s hope you can move on and accept the facts and stop peddling your propaganda.

  11. javs
    October 7, 2009, 7:24 pm

    Real first people of the west bank in rahmallah are christains, and the criminals using the lable fatah are really the infiltraitors that killed arafat (dahlan) & abbass.
    The traitors are so many and for many different reasons, some are paid others are threatened and so on and on. The third antifada will be against the traitors and from what I can tell on the ground there, the usa and aparthied criminals will never have a legit reason for mass murder. The entire criminal element on both sides is ending and not in a good way from the signs. These things that are called human beings have no moral outlook and never will as long as they keep getting juice from the aparthied. These kappos called fatah are not the voted party because of the lack of response of fatah. However the very fact genocide has been brushed over so many times can be related to CASH cold and hard. The people of the Palestinian populous of all walks must do the right thing and abruptly make the criminals cold and hard and exile the entire families from ever going back, strip them of the citizenship and put them out to sea if you need. There are too many things being hidden from world view and if it were germany it wasn’t stood for neither should it be with the jews of the aparthied state called israel and the usa as well. just recently kelly of the state department tried to use the rocket excuse of why gaza happened, well hang kelly high as collaborator to the zionist as well as everyone in the usa government whom supports them . As for the patsy obummer he should have thought of what he was doing to his childrens future or now a lack of any ever. Yes there is blame to pass around after 110 years and the real people majority wise of the west bank and all of Palestine 18 million minimally were driven out or killed so the real people of the west bank is a strange title. Should you title one: would the real usa citizens in aparthied please go back to the usa, and the majority of the aparthied would be gone and Palestinians could go back to rebuild a once beautiful place which has been destroyed by haters like the apaprthied. It all comes back to the international criminal courts and the un and the usa, a revolution is comming to the usa (surely) it is in the air. And I will gladly welcome the down fall of the usa’s criminal elements running the show whom are still behind the scenes today doing what they do best …hating and killing in the name of lies lies and more lies. Face the truth and you too will be free. Evil is just that evil and it runs our country and murders others and corrupts others. Is it not enough to be the most hated on the planet. Is that what you want for your children….though I have seen many a little girl writing to the children of gaza this is a present ( on bombs). As far as goldstone well the name says it all. The foxes guarding the hen house. I hope the world ends it would be fitting for the alien ships that lead a man named moses and started majority of the cults with his ten commandments and flood and so on and so on. Let the real people do what they will, but it won’t ever be enough to rid the world of the curse and cults running the show. So let the people of the world be done with the hate once & for all, it is fitting, cause you know it will not change and the most richest people will eat while the others starve as usual.

  12. tommy
    October 7, 2009, 8:09 pm

    Oppressed people are often too stressed and distracted to engage in informed protest. Palestinians are not only oppressed with high tech munitions and the daily banalities of occupation, their leadership has been wiped out through decades of targeted assassinations. Palestinians seem to be under greater threat now than at any time, because Israel is in total control. I am not Palestinian. I cannot presume to tell Palestinians what to do, although I have advocated for nonviolent civil disobedience. I do not know what they can do to avoid the pummeling Israelis desire to deliver as they conquer more territory. Perhaps the only thing Palestinians could do is beg for the US to stop sending Israel arms. If they put more effort into communicating how US weapons given to Israel make them victims, perhaps that would soften the blows. Any form of confrontation with Israel is going to just bring a rain of American steel and chemicals on unarmed civilians, and America needs to bear a greater part of the blame.

    • Chaos4700
      October 7, 2009, 10:26 pm

      Truer words have yet to be spoken, in my opinion, Tommy. I think you have the right idea, both about the way things are and about what we should think about. Israel wouldn’t have cluster bombs, white phosphorous, bunker busters and F-16s if it wasn’t for US.

  13. javs
    October 8, 2009, 3:27 am

    I would like to take a second to correct the error I made when writting earlier. I had wrote 18 million since the start of the aparthied state when I ment 1.8 million
    I forgot the decimal. But anyhow the message is still the same.

  14. morris
    October 8, 2009, 4:16 am

    Khalid Amayreh: Goldstone report, the PA and Abbas

    link to youtube.com

    • DG
      October 8, 2009, 3:58 pm

      from the above interview with Amayreh :

      “Many people are reaching the conclusion that Abbas and Fatah cannot be trusted to really represent the Palestinian cause. People are saying that if Abbas can bow to American and Israeli pressure on comparatively simple matters like the Goldstone report, then it would be foolish on the part of the Palestinian people to expect Abbas to be tough when cardinal issues such as Jerusalem and the right of return come up for discusssion.”

  15. Citizen
    October 8, 2009, 7:57 am

    It appears that Obama’s backstepping on his Cairo notice insisting on a settlement freeze and Abbas staying silent in the matter, coupled with his decision to delay UN processing of the Goldstone report, both inactions due to the Obama administration leaning on him,
    has united more West Bank Palestinians with Hamas:
    link to reuters.com

    Hence impending reconciliation as between the two Palestinian agencies seems doubtful;
    hence Israeli expansion continues and Israel can keep saying, Who are suppose to make peace with? We are willing.

    • Chaos4700
      October 8, 2009, 8:40 am

      I can tell you from what I know that Palestinians over here in the US are furious at Abbas and his cadre. Were that Americans — Democratic voters especially — so intolerant of hypocrisy and selling out.

      And anyway, Fatah has undermined the reconciliation process with Hamas so many times now (at least once with our government’s help, and in case anyone’s forgotten: link to vanityfair.com ) that I don’t think it’s even possible anymore. Abbas’ government has pretty much lost every tenuous shred of legitimacy it possibly might have still had.

      And as a side effect, we can kiss Obama’s much mythologized foreign policy brilliance goodbye. No one’s going to trust us now that we have a Democratic president who, maybe doesn’t sound like a Republican president, but certainly acts like one to the rest of the world.

      • potsherd
        October 8, 2009, 8:55 am

        Obama acts like nothing but an Israeli puppet.

        He doesn’t seem to realize that the “peace process” is long-dead and rotting, that he gave it the killing blow himself with his weakness, and in sacrificing every other issue of importance to it, is dragging the situation backwards to futility.

        If Obama had actually wanted to make progress in negotiations, he would have helped to give the Palestinians a real bargaining chip by supporting the Goldstone report and a situation where Israelis might be vulnerable to international war crimes prosecutions – a thing that they seriously fear and which they might have made serious concessions to avoid.

        But no, Obama gives everything away to Israel and then, with no possibility of putting any pressure on them, wants to start up “negotiations” again, in which Israel will, again, tell the US as well as the Palestinians to fuck off.

      • Chaos4700
        October 8, 2009, 9:01 am

        Well, I wouldn’t say the peace process was dead when Obama came into office (or really is dead, even now) but the Obama administration is definitely burying it with their actions, either way.

        Historically, the peace process has only moved along when there was pressure on Israelis from American presidents — Democratic presidents, specifically. And I think the Obama administration is living proof of how successful the powerful lobbyist bloc — of which Zionism is a prominent member — has been in destroying American democratic (little ‘d’ as well as big ‘D’) integrity.

        You’re dead right about the Goldstone report. If the administration were genuinely interested in a brokered peace, with ourselves as the mediator, that would have been our tool for sitting the Israelis at the table. As it stands, Obama has shown that the US is unequivocally corrupted by our blind support of Israel.

        Our hands are on Israel’s purse strings. That means some of the blood of the Palestinians are on our hands as well.

      • potsherd
        October 8, 2009, 9:45 am

        Obama is simultaneously burying the “peace process” and digging it up again to prop up the stinking corpse at the table. If he can’t put meaningful pressure on Israel, he ought to leave the thing in its grave. Nobody believes his HOPE shtick anymore.

        Obama has effectively delivered the message to Israel that it can do as it pleases, evict all the Arabs from Jerusalem, steal as much land in the West Bank as it wants, kill as many Palestinian children in whatever cruel ways it feels like – with impunity. There is no crime so henious that Israel is not free to commit it under the umbrella excuse of “fighting terrorism” and “defending itself.” Israel could drop one of its unacknowledged nukes on Gaza, and Obama would just blink and say, “What nukes? I don’t see no nukes. And besides, we can’t talk about it because it might derail the “peace process.””

      • LeaNder
        October 9, 2009, 4:13 am

        potsherd, Obama’s hands are bound concerning the Goldstone report. If we discuss Israeli war crimes what about US ones? What about Iraq? How can anyone ever handle the, oh sorry, we really believed this, partisans? Do you think we will ever know the whole story? Niger Yellow Cake, Curveball, Student’s paper, Powell, Tenet?

        Look at this interesting debate. It’s long and it concerns Afghanistan. This will be Obama’s most important decision.

        Reading it, it felt to me as if Patrick Lang, Steve Clemont and Ralph Peters were misused in a setup that was created to produce a specific outcome. Shaping public opinion? Powerful framing. Their team obviously has to support the America will fail part of the issue. Which isn’t at all their point of view.

        Consider what side the winners represent, they are on the side of much more money made inside and flowing out of America. Watch especially what they leave out. Now of course this is a complex issue the war trade is also connected with US jobs. And this issue has strong lobbyists in congress and senate.

        I wish I had been on a PR team handling the side of one of my “net friends”: Colonel, Patrick Lang and had had a chance to help create a more fair setup under which they had at least a fair chance to reach a 50/50. It’s very easy to see how you could get confused by the production and how it forced you towards one side, if you aren’t familiar with the larger debate.

        My love to the Americans applauding at the point that I marked bold, but it feels “my group” is somehow unprepared for the special production. They should have interfered in the way their side was presented:

        PROGRAM Rosenkranz Foundation—“Intelligence Squared U.S.”—“America Cannot and Will Not Succeed in Afghanistan and Pakistan” (10/6/09) Page 81/82.

        —that’s the alternative to the counterinsurgency strategy that the other side is advocating. My question is, as you know, Stan McChrystal was our top counterterrorist, he was the head of the Joint Special Operations Command, from 2003 to 2008. He was the guy who was out there in charge of the forces that were
        capturing Saddam Hussein, killing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. He knows more about our Special Operations capability than anybody else live. But he has conclude that all our counterterrorist capabilities are not capable of keeping us safe in Afghanistan and Pakistan and that we need to do— [APPLAUSE]

        That, that is not—

        —a counterterrorism strategy. So my question for you, Ralph—


        —and the others—

        [UNCLEAR] want to hear what the question is—

        My question is—

        Yeah, what is the question—

        My question is, why do you have more confidence in our
        counterterrorist capabilities than our top counterterrorist general.

        Well, for two reasons. [APPLAUSE] First of all because, you’re
        mixing apples and oranges—

        Do I get to answer this—?

        General McChrystal was given a mission, by the President. And the mission was pacify Afghanistan. He succeeded wonderfully, in the counterterrorism. But he has failed miserably and we will continue to fail, in the pacification effort. Now, nobody—I hate this stuff where people twist what you say. I said that we need a compact, lethal force, you need boots on the ground for intelligence, you need
        Special Forces, you need enough conventional forces for raising security. You probably need 15 or 25,000 guys. You don’t need 120,000 guys, and so, again, let’s—please, let’s be fair to each other and listen to what the other persons say, and not try to score points. The other answer is this. I get calls from the military
        around the world. There’s a myth out there that the military supports General McChrystal’s strategy. The calls I get are running about 50 to 1 against sending more troops. Only call or message I’ve gotten supporting General McChrystal’s strategy, came from Kabul, and one of General McChrystal’s subordinates.

  16. Citizen
    October 8, 2009, 9:48 am

    Obama’s team has purchased the Israeli stance that the Goldstone report would interfere
    with the peace process at this neophyte juncture. Thus Obama has chosen to go through a charade of chess over abstractions, and when the Goldstone factiual details come up again in about 5 months, presumeably the people at the peace table chattering away all this time can then incorporate those factual findings in the process in what way? It’s clear that Israel would be hurt more than Hamas by the Goldstone Reports evidence, especially if the Report’s recommendations were inacted–there’s a reason why Hamas
    is not obstructing or delaying recommended next step investigations/trials attendant the Report despite Goldstone’s own narrative spin holding Hamas guilty too–there’s a not so sly reason why the US so recently joined that international group effecting what
    happens to the Report after years of not joining…

    • Chaos4700
      October 8, 2009, 10:58 am

      Does anyone else find it as incredibly heinous as I do that the Obama administration considers the Goldstone report to be a threat to the peace process, but the atrocities on which the report documents are, apparently, not?

      • Citizen
        October 8, 2009, 11:48 am

        Obama is like the first black president, Clinton. Both have a lot of Irish in them, hence their verbal abilities and charm. Obama thinks he’s the real deal. He won’t make a mistake like getting a blow job in the oval office–but his comes from the same place; both are into the same politics.

      • tree
        October 8, 2009, 2:50 pm

        Yes, but not really surprising. I am ashamed of my government on this.

  17. wondering jew
    October 8, 2009, 9:51 pm

    Israel is in a tough spot vis a vis Hamas and the Gaza Strip. Hamas is/was a terrorist group that was responsible for some rather heinous anti Israeli and anti Jewish acts. Hamas’s charter is a foul thing. Israel’s experience with the PLO was to wait them out, until they rescinded their charter and denounced terrorism, even if in fact these words were only pro forma. Israel wishes to wait out Hamas as well. But Hamas won an election in 2006 and even if their rule over the Gaza Strip was as a result of a coup d’etat (whatever the causes), they remain the rulers over that piece of land. The response of siege is cruel and the response of allowing Hamas and its rule over the Gaza strip to prosper seems foolishly weak. Yossi Alpher of bitterlemons.org has in the past advocated offering to speak to Hamas. (If Hamas then refuses to speak to Israel the onus will be on them.) There is danger in speaking to Hamas particularly when Israel wishes to weaken Hamas in the West Bank, but the siege seems to be ultimately too cruel with no end or strategy for an end in sight.

    Regarding negotiating a final peace accord, Hamas certainly complicates the situation. Firstly they will not negotiate a full peace without a “right of return” something that Israel sees as a recipe for disaster. Lacking a “right of return” Hamas has offered a long term truce. Their definition of long term is 10 years. My definition of long term is 61 years. I’d be willing to settle for 45 years. But they want a full withdrawal from all pre 67 territory without any exchanges. I can’t foresee an Israeli government willing to settle for less than the Clinton Parameters or the Olmert offer, which involve territorial exchanges and certainly Jewish sovereignty over the Jewish and Armenian Quarters and the Western Wall. I don’t think Hamas would agree to that. And I believe the PLO under Mahmoud Abbas would not agree to it either. Therefore I am pessimistic regarding the potential for a successful peace process.

    • Chaos4700
      October 8, 2009, 10:23 pm

      Kind of stupid for Israel to actually fund Hamas to set them up against Fatah. Whoops! Sorry. Didn’t mean to sully your descent into racist propaganda with actual history.

      Phone me when Israel actually has a treaty it doesn’t break, incidentally.

      • wondering jew
        October 8, 2009, 11:34 pm

        Has Israel broken its treaties with Egypt and Jordan?

      • Chaos4700
        October 9, 2009, 7:58 am

        You obviously aren’t familiar with the first section of the Camp David Accords. Look them up. And they haven’t explicitly broken treaties with Jordan, but the West Bank has been released by the Jordanian government to Palestinian control. So by continuing to ethnically cleanse and colonize it, Israel is in fact demonstrating its hostility to both the Jordanian and Palestinian peoples.

    • potsherd
      October 8, 2009, 10:49 pm

      I don’t believe the Israeli strategy towards Hamas is to “wait it out.” Israel has attempted many times to overthrow Hamas in Gaza by force, either directly or through the agency of its collaborators in the Fatah party. The true goal of Operation Cast Lead was the destruction of Hamas, or failing that, the collective punishment of the Gazan people (a war crime) who elected them.

      Hamas has on many occasions made overtures of truce and ceasefire towards Israel, to which Israel has always refused to reply. If there is reason for pessimism regarding peace, it lies primarily in the intransigence of the Israelis.

      • Chaos4700
        October 8, 2009, 11:12 pm

        I was rather surprised when I learned that from some Palestinian friends of mine — that Hamas actually has made overtures of peace, even before the recent cease fire that Israel made a complete sham of.

        Not that that excuses the nasty things Hamas is also responsible for, both to Israelis and to the Palestinians. But it’s pretty clear the constant Hasbara line of Hamas as “irrational ultra-violent genocidal terrorist faction” is a lie.

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