What’s the difference between incitement and patriotism?

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 140 Comments

Here you have an Israeli government minister, Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon, praising the founder of the Stern Gang.

Only a little while back, the official Israeli/hasbara talking point du jour was to beat up on Palestinians for incitement, which they defined as naming a street in Ramallah after a terrorist.

So how now do you square this circle?  What grade do we give Moshe Ya’alon’s speech in praise of Avraham Stern on our ‘incitement report card’?

While we’re at it, let’s ask how many streets and squares in Israel are named for people who committed atrocities in 1948 and after (I’m thinking right now especially of Rabin Square in Tel Aviv; Rabin led the operation that ethnically cleansed Ramle and Lydda near what is now the Ben Gurion airport, break-their-bones-Rabin in the first intifada. But there’s also Shamir, Begin, Sharon and– does Tzipi Livni’s dad have any streets named for him?).  And how many of those streets and squares (I’m thinking of Yaffa, Haifa, Akka) actually originally had Arabic names which were changed and Judaized after 1948?

So by what criteria does one differentiate incitement from patriotism? 

If I had to judge empirically, based on the behavior of the people who speak about terror and incitement the most, I would guess that the two most important criteria are 1) whether the incitement/encomium/street name is in Hebrew or in Arabic and 2) whether the people murdered were Arabs or Jews.  But maybe I’m just a little thick.

P.S. If people find it jarring to see Rabin called a terrorist–that’s certainly how Arabs view him. If someone wants to make the argument that he was a democratically-elected leader, then that’s fine. That just means you have to talk to Hamas, because Hamas is democratically elected. 

140 Responses

  1. potsherd
    June 22, 2010, 10:13 am

    Now you’re just being reasonable. That will never do.

    • Justice Please
      June 22, 2010, 10:18 am

      Wait for Dick Witty to declare comparisons antisemitic. And condemnation, don’t forget condemnation.

      “Stop with this reasonable talk! We need reconciliation, and this will not be possible if you judge Jews by the same standards as Arabs!”

  2. KenDavis
    June 22, 2010, 10:24 am

    boulos did you forget about Ayash and Dalal Mughrabi streets just named by the PA.
    We all know how the PA loves Arabs who blow up buses and kill civilians.
    Thats why streets are named after them.

    • tree
      June 22, 2010, 10:36 am


      You are aware, aren’t you, that the Stern Gang. led by Avraham Stern, blew up cars and trucks and markets and killed many Arab civilians during the 1940’s? In fact the Jewish terrorists of that time are credited with the very first car bombing and the very first letter bomb.

      So why the double standard, Ken?

    • potsherd
      June 22, 2010, 12:01 pm

      Is this today’s Zionist? A pretty poor specimen!

  3. Seham
    June 22, 2010, 10:27 am

    “We all know how the PA loves Arabs who blow up buses and kill civilians.
    Thats why streets are named after them.”

    I think it’s far worse that Israeli society as a whole continues to elect known war criminals. I mean, has there ever been any Israeli politician elected that doesn’t have the blood of innocent Arab babies dripping from their hands????

  4. KenDavis
    June 22, 2010, 10:36 am

    Seham, The unfortunate truth is that Arabs have fatally poisoned our view of them by using terrorist murder as a tactic. It has backfired on them.
    The result of their killings, and the response the killings have necessitated by Israel, is that Americans are pretty well sick and tired of Arabs and all the violence and hate that goes with them. There is no rationale or justification that could justify the behavior of these people and their killer gangs…. Samir Kuntar is a good case in point. You glorify and worship monsters! If somebody invented a machine with a button that when pushed would replace all the Palestinians with penquins, there would be a mad rush of millions to be the first to push it!

    • potsherd
      June 22, 2010, 12:00 pm

      Explain in 500 words or less why Samir Kuntar is a monster and “Captain R” is not.

    • annie
      June 22, 2010, 12:47 pm

      Americans are pretty well sick and tired of Arabs

      lololol! you wish!!! speak for yourself asshole.

    • annie
      June 22, 2010, 12:49 pm

      there would be a mad rush of millions to be the first to push it!

      and they’d all have ‘israel’ stamped on their passport.

    • Sumud
      June 22, 2010, 8:24 pm

      “The unfortunate truth is that Arabs have fatally poisoned our view of them by using terrorist murder as a tactic.”

      Who is the “our” in your statement KenDavis? You’re not speaking on my behalf. I’m not racist, stupid or untravelled enough to believe your thesis on the “Arabs” and it seems fewer and fewer people.

      It’s not 2001 KD. “They hate us for our freedoms” doesn’t wash. Palestinians have legitimate and legally supported grievances going back to 1948, which need to be addressed. They’re not going to go away.

  5. KenDavis
    June 22, 2010, 10:36 am

    The Pals fire at every single Jew they can get within their sights (Jews of every age, sex, condition and politics, including Jews who deeply empathize with the Pals.)

    • Seham
      June 22, 2010, 10:38 am

      Oh ok then. I’m convinced. Will you send me an Israeli flag?

      • Sumud
        June 23, 2010, 11:14 am

        If he does I’ll chip in w/ a box of matches Seham.

    • tree
      June 22, 2010, 10:46 am

      Good grief, somebody did a great job of brainwashing you, didn’t they? You’ve obviously never been to the West Bank or Gaza, where many Jews have developed strong and lasting friendships with the Palestinian inhabitants there.

      If you want to truly examine hate, try looking in the mirror. Your comments are some of the most bigoted, ignorant and hateful I have seen on this blog in a long time.

    • MarkF
      June 22, 2010, 11:45 am

      Wow, then I guess I better cancel my lunch with my Palestinian friend., me being a Jew and all…..

    • demize
      June 22, 2010, 11:45 pm

      You need to shut your stupid piehole right about now. I suspect you’re a Christian-Zionist of some stripe who became an expert on Islam and Arabism on or about 2001.

  6. KenDavis
    June 22, 2010, 10:38 am

    If Israel shelled civilians indiscirminantly there would be no Arabs to talk about today or to carry attacks out. The only people that carry out indiscriminate attacks are the killers of the Arab world, aka the Gaza Egyptians and the West Bank trans Jordanians.

    • Cliff
      June 22, 2010, 10:49 am

      That’s like saying there was no mass murder of [whatever group] because that group still exists.

      Israel killed 1400+ people, mostly children, in 22 days. Israel has killed 10 times the number of children as the Palestinians have killed of Israelis, and 5 times the number of civilians in general.

      That is on top of the 40+ year brutal military Occupation and all the oppression it institutionalizes.

      Palestinian violence against Israelis does not even compare. Keep trying though, you have ZERO facts on your side.

      Israel is subject to the pressures of being a ‘Western’ style country. It is true, that it is not as bad as let’s say what is happening in Darfur or the Congo or w/e.

      However, the flagrant disregard for IHL and morality and the rule of law and the humanity of an entire people is of it’s own standard for a ‘Western’ style country that pats itself on the back constantly as being the ONLY democracy in the ME.

      As if simply being a democracy means something. Israel is a fascist country for the Palestinians in the OT. It will continue to be a fascist country.

      Israel monopolizes violence and continues to LIE, CHEAT and STEAL the Palestinians people – the INDIGENOUS people of that land.

      • eljay
        June 22, 2010, 11:51 am

        >> Israel monopolizes violence and continues to LIE, CHEAT and STEAL the Palestinians people – the INDIGENOUS people of that land.

        According to RW, the only reason Israel is doing what it’s doing is because – mysteriously, inexplicably – the Palestinians don’t want to be “good neighbours”.

    • Mooser
      June 22, 2010, 10:49 am

      Holy crap, Ken, you are going to take the lead in pathetic hasbara whining! Wonderful how you can incorporate a genocidal threat (If Israels shelled indiscriminately…) with whining.

      Once again, another guy who wants to make Jews, or rather Zionism supporters, seem as odious as possible. Find a new schtick Ken.

      • Justice Please
        June 23, 2010, 2:26 am

        Very possible a neo-Nazi provocateur.

    • potsherd
      June 22, 2010, 12:01 pm

      Don’t you just wish!

    • Sumud
      June 22, 2010, 8:41 pm

      In other words, you approve of everything short of actual genocide.

      This is the ‘gas chambers defence’ Avrum Burg talks about – the use of the most extreme case (genocide) by zionists to legitimise extreme and indiscriminate violence today. In relation to the Gaza Massacre, Burg recounts a conversation he’s had repeatedly (to paraphrase):

      “yes maybe it was bad but there were no gas chambers”
      “so if you forget about the gas chambers is it still OK?”
      “well no then it was bad ..but we have the gas chambers”

      For those interested he spoke about this in his 2009 interview w/ Charlie Rose, it’s available to watch on CR’s website.

  7. Don
    June 22, 2010, 10:41 am

    “Zionist factions competed for the honor of allying to Hitler.”
    Lenni Brenner “51 Documents”
    link to counterpunch.org

    Avraham Stern and his followers announced that

    “The NMO, which is well-acquainted with the goodwill of the German Reich government and its authorities towards Zionist activity inside Germany and towards Zionist emigration plans, is of the opinion that…

    • annie
      June 22, 2010, 1:54 pm

      don, their is a link embedded in yours that leads to a section called Zionism in the Age of the Dictators. i can’t speak for the truthfulness of it but it does cite testimony from kasztner’s trial in israel which at the time riveted israeli society. apparently the case was huge, like the OJ trial. i have the hecht’s book perfidy which the banned play perdition was based upon. he was an ardent rightwing zionist and traveled to israel for the trial. i had no idea till reading that book how so many in hungary died so quickly, just horrendous.

      • Don
        June 22, 2010, 2:05 pm

        “just horrendous”… yes, Annie. No other word for it; just contemplating it is dizzying.

  8. Don
    June 22, 2010, 10:43 am

    link to saveisrael.com

    • kapok
      June 22, 2010, 11:52 am

      Wow…it’s like the whole Nordic mythos of the Nazis with all its triumphalist retric had been transposed onto the Mideast.

    • Sumud
      June 23, 2010, 11:26 am

      Note carefully Stern’s definition of the Land of Israel (from the bible of course):

      “To your descendants, I shall give this land, from the River of Egypt to the great Euphrates River.”

      It’s a threat not only against the Palestinians, but the Egyptians, Syrians, Jordanians, Iraqis and most likely the Saudis too.

      • hophmi
        June 23, 2010, 2:47 pm

        That’s an old canard; people used to claim that the two blue stripes on the Israeli flag represent those rivers, when in reality, they represent the blue fringes on a prayer shawl.

        I do not think anyone in Israel is interested in taking over Syria, Egypt, Iraq, or Saudi Arabia.

      • Sumud
        June 23, 2010, 9:45 pm

        It’s not a canard – it’s a direct quotation of Stern’s platform. Did you actually read the link?

        “2. The Homeland
        The homeland in the Land of Israel within the borders delineated in the Bible (“To your descendants, I shall give this land, from the River of Egypt to the great Euphrates River.” Genesis 15:18) This is the land of the living, where the entire nation shall live in safety.”
        link to saveisrael.com

        Though there is a direct lineage between zionist terrorist organisations and various governments in Israel (Irgun > Herut > Likud) I didn’t actually say anything about Stern & Israel today.

        You’d be hard pressed to make the point that nobody admires him – the “Save Israel” site quoting Stern is obviously one of advocacy.

      • azythos
        June 23, 2010, 10:07 pm

        Hey, not only the Stern gang.
        It also checks, without getting all the way to the Euphrates though, with the general definition of the borders of “Israel” as per Ben Gurion (1938 World Council of Poale Zion.)
        Explicitly mentions Syria, Lebanon, the Sinai, Jordan, but not limiting it…

      • hophmi
        June 24, 2010, 6:20 am

        There’s a direct linkage between every Palestinian leader and Palestinian terrorist organizations as well. Hamas is a terror group, and Fatah used to be. So your point is?

      • Sumud
        June 24, 2010, 9:22 am

        It wasn’t my point it was yours.

        I was talking about a historical text & you felt compelled to make the erroneous statement that nobody advocates Stern’s positions today.

        I mentioned Irgun/Likud because there seems to be very little difference in Irgun thinking in the 1940s and Likud thinking of 2010. The Palestinians factions evolve over time, the right Israelis groups seem intellectually paralysed – lip service aside.

      • Sumud
        June 24, 2010, 9:23 am

        How do you define terror group hophmi?

      • Chaos4700
        June 24, 2010, 9:35 am

        Isn’t it obvious, Sumud? Brown skin, Arabic-speaking and living on land that European Jews want to build condos on.

    • annie
      June 23, 2010, 1:14 pm

      there it is Don
      “14. ALIENS
      Solve the problem of alien population by exchange of population.

      this was the idea behind Yehouda Shenhav’s Nationalism and Ethnicity Examined Through the Compensation Question

      ABSTRACT: This article focuses on the immigration of Iraqi Jews to Israel in the early 1950s and examines the manner in which the Israeli State has used this immigration to offset the claims of the Palestinian national movement. It also sheds light on actions taken by WOJAC (World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries) to further Israel’s national interests, as well as on how these interests were challenged and re-formulated by WOJAC’s non-Israeli members. The history of WOJAC serves as an example of the anomalous relationship between nationality and ethnicity in the Zionist context. Lastly, this article underscores the conspicuous compartmentalization of “the Palestinian question” and the “Mizrahi question” within Israeli political and intellectual discourse.

      this is why the idea of ‘compensation’ for jews from arab countires is always segued into the conversation about palestinian compensation. the intention was always there to transfer palestinians and replace them w/arab jews and presumably that would somehow be compensation for itself which rather begs the question ‘what if they hadn’t come’ . well the zionists made sure of that.

  9. piotr
    June 22, 2010, 10:45 am

    I am not sure if you are correct, Seham. In the last elections, war criminals lost in Israel, as insufficiently bloodthirsty. Netanyahu did not even organize many assassination.

    Dubai killing was in category “everybody does it, but who uses 30 agents for a single hit??!!”

    DUBAI, Aug 31 (Reuters) – Two suspects held in the March assassination of Chechen military commander Sulim Yamadayev denied on Monday that they provided the murder weapon and helped the killers escape after the shooting.

    Makhsood Jan Asmatov of Tajikistan and Iranian Mehdi Taqi Dahuria face charges of aiding and abetting in the murder.

    Four other suspects are wanted by Dubai police in the case, including Adam Delimkhanov, a close adviser to Chechnya’s Kremlin-backed leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

    A foe of Kadyrov, Yamadayev was shot on March 28 with a Russian-made, gold-coloured handgun in the car park of a luxury seaside apartment block in Dubai.

    [I wonder if this “gold-colored handgun” has some symbolism, like sticking a white rose in the mouth of a victim in a mafia hit? Anyway, Kadyrov managed without any forged passports, something that international community apparently appreciates.]

  10. Richard Witty
    June 22, 2010, 10:50 am

    If Hamas is the representative government of Palestine, then Israel is within its rights to have virtually no contact with it and to entirely restrict the flow of traffic across its land border.

    It is at continual declared (but deferred) state of war with Israel, and as such the blockade of Gaza is not assertively illegal by international law.

    Advocacy for Hamas as the elected government of prospectively sovereign Palestine, delays Palestinian independance, sovereignty, free usage of ports, capital infusion, free movement of Gazans.

    If it changes to acceptance of both Israel and the PA as a governmental continuity and to abide by agreements that the PA has made, including with Israel, then its status can change.

    • eljay
      June 22, 2010, 11:43 am

      >> If Hamas is the representative government of Palestine, then Israel is within its rights to have virtually no contact with it and to entirely restrict the flow of traffic across its land border. … If it changes to acceptance of both Israel and the PA …

      Do the Palestinians have a right to demand who the elected government of Israel should be? And how does the imposition of collective punishment promote those “good neighbour” vibes you were touting in another thread? Or is Israel excused from having to be a good neighbour and making “better arguments”?

      In another thread, you said that Hamas must recognize “Israel as Israel”. I asked you to define what exactly that means, and to explain what, in return, Israel must do for Hamas/the Palestinians. I would appreciate an answer.

    • DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells
      June 22, 2010, 11:56 am

      It is at continual declared (but deferred) state of war with Israel, and as such the blockade of Gaza is not assertively illegal by international law.

      Gaza isn’t a state, nor is Hamas, neither can be at war with anybody.

      Legitimate authority, look it up.

    • Donald
      June 22, 2010, 12:42 pm

      Hamas has been willing to abide by a ceasefire if Israel ceases to make war on Palestinians (and the blockade is an act of war).

      And you are back to defending the blockade as a legitimate way of forcing the Palestinians to install the government you prefer, nevermind the fact that Hamas was legitimately elected and the US and Israel promptly tried to overthrow them via coups and blockades. As always with you, Israel has the right to use coercive measures against Palestinians, but never can anyone put real pressure on Israelis, because it would hurt their feelings.

      • Richard Witty
        June 22, 2010, 2:18 pm

        I’m back to advocating that Hamas and solidarity for Palestinians pursue paths that are likely to achieve the results of good for the Palestinian people rather than the knee-jerk of defense for Hamas.

        Me noting that a blockade is a legal action in a time of war is not advocacy. You again confuse advocacy with observation.

        I know that that opinion on the legality of the blockade conflicts with your simplistic propagandistic formula, but it is accurate.

        The criticisms of the blockade from European states have been on the basis of humanitarian condition, not on the basis of legality.

        Your use of the term “make war on Palestinians” is sadly a critically imprecise and rhetorical/qualitative term, and in that regard continues the impossibility of reconciliation, rather than enhances it.

        Hamas can use whatever meaning of “we recognize Israel and Israel’s right to exist” that it wants. Until it does, it remains at war with Israel, thankfully deferred.

        There have been weeks of no shelling of Israeli cities. Those weeks should be rewarded. The relationship of the siege should be a conditional one, rather than an unconditional one as until the flotilla.

      • eljay
        June 22, 2010, 4:56 pm

        >> eljay: In another thread, you said that Hamas must recognize “Israel as Israel”. I asked you to define what exactly that means, and to explain what, in return, Israel must do for Hamas/the Palestinians. I would appreciate an answer.

        >> RW: Eljay, Hamas can use whatever meaning of “we recognize Israel and Israel’s right to exist” that it wants. Until it does, it remains at war with Israel, thankfully deferred.

        That is a non-answer and utter bullshit. If Hamas were to say “We recognize Israel as a nation within the 1948 boundaries” you’d be beside yourself with adjectives and bafflegab.

        So, once again, I would appreciate a direct answer:
        – In context of the phrase “Hamas must recognize Israel as Israel”, please define what “Israel as Israel” actually means.
        – Also, please clarify what Israel must do, in exchange, for Hamas / the Palestinians.

        Thank you.

      • Donald
        June 22, 2010, 5:12 pm

        Richard–If anything remotely as severe were imposed on Israel by Arab countries (not that they have the power) you would be the first to agree with me that it was a way of making war on Israelis. You would also agree that it is collective punishment and a war crime. You know that’s true, and I intend to keep pointing it out when you defend Israel’s right to impose the blockade until you acknowledge this. Human rights groups say it is a war crime and I’m inclined to side with them over your self-proclaimed authority as an expert on international law.

        “You again confuse advocacy with observation.”

        Your standard buzz phrase now. It’s disingenuous, because you are defending Israel’s right to impose the blockade unless Hamas does what you think they should do. Your supposed observation is in fact advocacy.

      • Richard Witty
        June 22, 2010, 6:46 pm

        I thought you had decided to regard my comments seriously, not dismissively.

        Can’t carry two thoughts in your head at the same time?

        Observation is not the same as advocacy. Nearly certainly, you confused that probably going back years.

        Not surprising.

      • Chaos4700
        June 24, 2010, 9:39 am

        You’re not observational, Witty, you’re delusional. “Can’t carry two thoughts in your head at the same time?” You mean like how you make demands for “Jewish” self-determination at the same time you actively campaign against Palestinian self-determination? That’s called hypocrisy.

  11. Seham
    June 22, 2010, 11:02 am

    Well the attack on the flotilla is the first thing that comes to mind regarding this Israeli war criminal. But he was also responsible for killing unarmed protesters inside of a mosque after protests broke out when the Israelis decided to dig a tunnel under Al-Haram Ash-Sharif. Not to mention all the detainees who were tortured under his regime, many of which died. And all the Palestinians displaced, forcibly out of their homes under his various terms as Prime Minister.

    link to domino.un.org

  12. Debonnaire
    June 22, 2010, 11:04 am

    The so-called Palestinian terrorists are exterminating angels. The Israeli goon squads were\are SS slime. If there was a gong to turn all the the friends, associates and enablers of Israel into Q-Tips – The Gong Show would be back on the air – a 128 nation ringing smash hit.

    • Seham
      June 22, 2010, 11:12 am


      I prefer when the nut jobs are Zionists. I’m not convinced that you aren’t one.

      • kapok
        June 22, 2010, 11:55 am

        yeah, that “gong” thing is too reminiscent of the penguin-generating “button” of another flamboyant Zionist hereabouts.

      • Donald
        June 22, 2010, 12:46 pm

        Yeah, I normally dislike paranoia, but in Debonnaire’s case it’s justifiable suspicion. She’s either crazy or a fake.

      • azythos
        June 22, 2010, 1:01 pm

        “either crazy or a fake”

        …or just someone who just doesn’t fit exactly your exhaustively specified mind-mould of “acceptable” talk. Psychic Rosanne was OK, wasn’t she?

        I don’t think anyone here can specify such limits and impose a conception of sanity, property, etc, except on oneself only.

        Debonnaire doesn’t, in this post, express support to Zionism or racism (defined as group prejudice based on accident of birth). This kind of stpid bickering (which is, by the way, the aim of all those Menachems and Kens and Maximal-whatevers and Wittys) is distracting.

      • Seham
        June 22, 2010, 2:42 pm

        azy, the last thing I want to do is getting into a pissing match to figure out if someone is a Zionist or an anti-semite because that’s not really my battle. That being said I based my comments towards him based on various comments that I have read of his on this site. Granted, I don’t read 80% of the comments posted here but I did remember the read where he left a previous comment:
        “Kathleen Paretis should take a close look at Elliot Engel. A small ugly Nazi Jew beetweed. That’s Judaism. That’s Israel. That’s the enemy of all mankind. Appeasers like her will doom us all. ”

        I also happened to catch another of his comments about Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi where he said that Qaradaqi was the end all, be all of the “Islamic world” and I found it offensive. I personally think Qaradawi is a sectarian asshole and I hope he would hurry up and have a stroke and die already.

        So, I get a strange vibe from this Deboanaire person. But will ignore him moving forward because whether he is just stupid or a plant doesn’t matter.

      • azythos
        June 22, 2010, 2:56 pm

        Nonsense. First, this wasn’t in the post you attacked. Second, it still has to do with your own tastes and preferences. You don’t like his style or language or sympathies, and I understand you. If you want to get somewhere you must work with other people, on the basis of an understanding on only your main objective. Otherwise you just satisfy yourself. That’s OK too but not if you distract others.

      • Seham
        June 22, 2010, 3:07 pm

        No, I said that my comment to him was based on my perception of previous comments of his. I’m not understanding your point though, you don’t think it’s offensive that he said ““Kathleen Paretis should take a close look at Elliot Engel. A small ugly Nazi Jew beetweed. That’s Judaism. That’s Israel. That’s the enemy of all mankind. Appeasers like her will doom us all. ” To be honest I don’t know who K.P is but I found the Judaism comment to be offensive, so I’m not trying to work with that guy on anything. I need the people that “work” for the liberation of my country and my people to be smart enough to not make stupid comments about Judaism or to make absurd claims about Qaradawi representing all of Islam and that all Muslims love him. Does Deb know that the Shia are also Muslim? Absurd. Finally, your comment about me “distracting” people is bizarre, my experience has been that whenever people come aboard the Free Palestine ship spouting nonsense about Judaism that everything else goes downhill pretty quickly. Besides, you’re the one that chimed in and is dragging this conversation on in defense of what’s his name.

      • azythos
        June 22, 2010, 3:14 pm

        Good. Masturbate with the four blind mice that agree with you on every point and continue distracting with your defense of “Judaism” and who represents real Islam. Of course I chimed in.

      • annie
        June 22, 2010, 3:17 pm

        well, i wasn’t going to pee into this shitfest but since it seems to be gaining momentum i thought i’d mention i’m w/you seham. i support you calling it as you see it and trust your judgment. overly zealot-like advocates who spout anti semitic statements i tend to distance myself from. it’s not my bag.

      • David Samel
        June 22, 2010, 3:18 pm

        azythos – I must side with Seham here. In fact, Debonnaire wrote the following comment on the Max Ajl post a few days ago: “one of the holiest and respected Islamic leader’s worldwide *Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi has already weighed in on this and he says: VIOLENCE IS JUSTIFIED AND ALL OF ISRAEL AND EVERY ISRAELI IS A LEGITIMATE MILITARY TARGET. When he talks 1 Billion Muslims listen.” That is an explicit endorsement of targeting all Israeli civilians for death. This is not just nonsense. It serves to reinforce the hasbara claim that the Palestinians (and one billion fellow Muslims) are bloodthirsty savages with murder on their minds, not justice, freedom and equality. Neither you nor I have any way of knowing if Deb is secretly a hasbarist who is trying to discredit this website with genocidal suggestions, but if I were a paid hasbarist, I would consider myself awfully clever to come up with comments like that. You’re right that Seham was not reacting today to that particular comment, but he remembered it, and as far as I’m concerned, it does stain virtually everything Deb has to say from now on. If a commenter said that all Arabs are racially inferior, and then a few days later made less offensive remarks, I think it would be appropriate to revisit the question of racism.

        Neither Seham nor I want to police this website, but there are some comments too outrageous to ignore.

      • Frances
        June 22, 2010, 3:18 pm

        I’m with Seham. It’s important to hear a wide variety of perspectives but casual racism and religious bigotry should be pointed out.

      • Seham
        June 22, 2010, 3:21 pm

        I haven’t engaged with anyone else here other than Dick Witty, so I’m unsure who you are talking about. I’m not a Jew and I don’t think it’s my charge to defend Judaism but I do get annoyed when non-Palestinians that take up my cause say stupid things to make the rest of us look bad. And it really rubs me the wrong way when non-Muslims pretend like they are experts on Islam and what/who Muslims love/respect or don’t. So, if you non-Palestinians and non-Muslims want to keep talking about *us* without me chiming in then… that’s so freakin bad!

      • Seham
        June 22, 2010, 3:21 pm

        too freakin bad.

      • Seham
        June 22, 2010, 3:22 pm

        Hi blind mice!

      • Seham
        June 22, 2010, 3:26 pm

        I’m a she.

        It’s not just that Qaradawi’s comments are a load of crap but he is not an authority on Islam and to claim that he is ignores the tens of millions of Muslims who are Shia who Qaradaqi thinks are “worse than Jews” so when these polls were conducted on Muslims and Qaradawi did anyone ask the Shia what they thought of him? It’s as absurd as saying that Pat Robertson represents all Christians or that Bush represents all white people and it does sound like hasbara to me. Cheap hasbara at that.

      • annie
        June 22, 2010, 3:30 pm

        and how could we forget

        The ANC had a slogan: ONE SETTLER. ONE BULLET. The same goes for les vernisage in Tel Aviv and Haifa. Did the so-called leftist Stein weep for all the WWII “Good Germans” who became collateral damage? Did he weep for the Afrikaaners? I’m just as much a Jew (if not more so) than him. But, the Israelies do NOT deserve our sympathies. They’re in this up to their eyeballs.


      • annie
        June 22, 2010, 3:48 pm

        sheikh yusuf al-qaradawi??? oh i’m so into listening to him..on memri! he’s their favorite muslim of all time, keeps them in business.

      • annie
        June 22, 2010, 4:00 pm

        Hi blind mice!

        hi seham (a she!)

      • David Samel
        June 22, 2010, 4:06 pm

        Seham, my apologies for the gender confusion.

      • olive
        June 22, 2010, 4:16 pm

        According to Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

        “Traditional scholars caution about Shaykh Qaradawi;s fiqh [Islamic Law] methodology and especially his excessive leniency that often reaches the point of laxity.

        This is because he does not limit himself to reliable positions within the four Sunni schools of Fiqh, and is notorious among scholars for many aberrant stances and positions.

        They respect him as a scholar, but they are cautious and caution others about positions he takes that depart from the mainstream.”

      • hayate
        June 22, 2010, 4:23 pm

        Whatever Debonnaire turns out to be, what the poster writes is no worse than the various witty, hophead (whatever its name was), kens and so on. At the root of the ziofascist trolling is promoting a genocidal attitude towards Muslims and defending that genocidal attitude coming from other freaks. That’s really what that freakshow is all about, if you think about it honestly. Another thing to consider, Debonnaire also writes considerably less, so the annoyance factor there is an order of magnitude less.

        I’m not siding with any one here, btw.

      • Seham
        June 22, 2010, 4:25 pm

        True, but everyone recognized Witty to be a complete and utter douche bag.

      • olive
        June 22, 2010, 4:33 pm

        Seham, as I said on this thread, I agree that Shaykh Qaradawi is not taken to be an authoritative voice among Sunni Muslim scholars. However, the Shia only make up around 8-10% of the global muslim population so its probably a bit unfair to judge a scholar based on what a minority believe.

        But I do understand your point and it is a good one.

      • Cliff
        June 22, 2010, 4:35 pm

        I recommend you all see ‘The Road’.

        Viggo Mortensen is in it.

        It was an amazing movie but difficult to watch. So bleak and some parts are the most disturbing scenes in a movie ever because they’re so realistic..

        Anyway, what struck me about the movie was the emphasis on humanity and inhumanity.

        Often Zionists use the argument that Palestine never existed, Palestinians don’t exist, and thus these people are not people but just a small blob belonging to a larger blob of ‘Arabs’.

        Or how Richard Witty has called the activists on the Mavi Marmara as ‘militants’ while blaming them for their deaths.

        It’s like, to these kinds of people, Arabs/Muslims/Palestinians aren’t human beings. They have no right to be angry. They have no right to speak out. Their actions are always taken out of context and etc. etc.

        It’s disgusting. It reminds me of the movie ‘Planet of the Arabs’ which another poster here linked the other day.

        Phil, I think you should do more stuff about Arab/Islamic identity and the dehumanization of an entire people. It’s so important.

        There is one scene in particular in The Road, that will bother you guys (with a conscience) for a long time…

        And I think the same kind of inhumanity expressed by Israeli society toward the Palestinians is shown in the movie by the various antagonists. Different reasons but basically, it’s that same casual [whatever].

        I don’t know how this has gone on so long and how it can continue. It’s like our leaders and the various Zionist Jewish supremacists count on the Palestinians and their supporters, as well as the Iraqis or the Afghans, etc. on being weak forever. Being victims forever.

        Of course Zionist leadership knows who the victims are, they just have to act like the average Joe to sell their BS.

        It’s just too much to think about sometimes. I don’t know where the Palestinians get their strength to keep going on, living next to those ‘civilized’ people.

      • Seham
        June 22, 2010, 4:38 pm

        One of the very few things I can criticize Al Jazeera about is for giving this guy a platform to spout his backwards nonsense. If not for that, this guy would have disappeared into oblivion by now.

      • Seham
        June 22, 2010, 4:42 pm

        And I think the figure is 10-15%

      • azythos
        June 22, 2010, 4:56 pm

        OK, this seems to be the majority view then, so that’s it.

        Apologies for prolonging the OT while (clumsily, I admit) attempting to shorten it.

        Of course I am aware of the other posts by Debonnaire and of the fact that s/he doesn’t come across quite as suggested by the name.

        One thing I’ll never agree to, though, happens in any movement you ever join: being blackmailed into selecting whoever wants to join forces with you (because “otherwise you’ll scare away our ‘moderate’ enemies who judge you by your following”.) Giving in has never ever helped, it only increases the absurd demands.

      • Donald
        June 22, 2010, 5:38 pm

        “One thing I’ll never agree to, though, happens in any movement you ever join: being blackmailed into selecting whoever wants to join forces with you (because “otherwise you’ll scare away our ‘moderate’ enemies who judge you by your following”.)”

        You aren’t being blackmailed–you are faced with someone who obviously doesn’t think that human rights applies to Israelis and you either agree with them or you don’t. The side I like to think I’m on is the side that believes all human beings have human rights, which is why I don’t like Zionism, which denies the right of Palestinians to live in their own homeland–I’m not interested in the side that says you can just take what rabid Zionists say about Arabs and change the word to “Jews” or “Israelis” and everything is fine.

      • azythos
        June 22, 2010, 6:03 pm

        Donald – See, your words are a textbook example of the blackmail I am talking about.
        I don’t give a shit about who believes what. Zionism has got to be destroyed and I’m staying on until right of return and one-man-one-vote, without asking anyone’s ulterior motives (yours neither). Do the ‘Zis act ashamed because of their 98% support to openly murderous, Nazi-style racism?

      • Donald
        June 22, 2010, 6:26 pm

        Blackmail, huh. I don’t think the word means what you think it means.


        “I don’t give a shit about who believes what.”

        This is self-refuting. What are you doing here if you don’t care who believes what?

        ” Zionism has got to be destroyed ”

        Why do you think that? I think Zionism is immoral because Zionists don’t grant Palestinians basic human rights.

        Do the ‘Zis act ashamed because of their 98% support to openly murderous, Nazi-style racism?”

        So because they are brutal it’s wrong to criticize others like Deb who sink to their level? That doesn’t make sense to me, unless it’s purely a question of picking tribes. But I’m not a Zionist or a Palestinian and most people aren’t, so unless one believes in universal human rights why should the rest of us give a damn? And once you do invoke human rights then Deb’s comments become unacceptable.

      • azythos
        June 22, 2010, 8:11 pm

        “Blackmail, huh” Yes, limitedly to the terms set above.

        ” Zionism has got to be destroyed ”
        Why do you think that? I think Zionism is immoral because Zionists don’t grant Palestinians basic human rights.

        One more textbook example of how divergent everything becomes when you stop concentrating one one single, common task. Just as an example, I’d say something different –that I’m in it because it’s the most obvious first step to wiping out every nationalism. Another party would will have his own, very different reasons. The only thing I need to know is the commitment to destroy Zionism.

      • hophmi
        June 22, 2010, 9:42 pm

        Wow, I don’t where to begin to sort out all of the crap in this thread.

        Anyone who supports anyone like Debonnaire in their movement should not be surprised when their movement is cited for having a lax attitude toward antisemitic bigots. I criticize the hard right in my community all the time, and I know all about the use of blackmail by extremists to make moderates (of which there are exceedingly few here) seem like traitors. It’s interesting how all of you think that Debonnaire is a fake or crazy. WAKE UP. Those views are held by a good chunk of your movement. They are repeated regularly in Arab newspapers and by people on this site. The Nazi comparisons are meant to dehumanize Jews and justify killing Jewish Israeli civilians. And most of you buy right into it, and Phil Weiss and Adam Horowitz do absolutely nothing to speak against it, to his great discredit.

        The amount of vitriol on this site makes a good number of you look psychotic in the real world, but this place is such an intellectually closed community, that most of you have no idea how ridiculous you look, so it’s comical when you criticize someone else for going too far. Most of you go too far regularly.

        Some of you are so fucked up that you compare Debonnaire, who wrote that Judaism is Nazism, to everyone on this site who disagrees with you, though not one of us has ever made such a comparison or anywhere near it, and all of us are in the mainstream of public opinion on this issue.

        “I’m in it because it’s the most obvious first step to wiping out every nationalism.”

        Wow, so you start with Zionism and Israel? Is this like an office, where there’s some sort of last-in/first-out policy? How about you start with any one of several dozen European states or several dozen Muslim states? You think nationalism will end because Zionism ended? How does that logic work?

      • Cliff
        June 22, 2010, 9:57 pm

        Blah blah blah


        I’ve been reading the blog for a few years now. During the Gaza massacre, we had a bunch of hasbara-bots trolling the blog saying the most outlandish stuff about Arabs/Muslims/Palestinians/etc.

        It took months for Phil to put up the ‘Comments policy’ section. And even then, it was never enforced. The people spamming the blog w/ hateful sewage has been by and large – Zionists. Not the anti-Zionists.

        That doesn’t detract from your concerns of course, but you’re not even trying. You just latch on to the first target and conflate the entire blog along w/ it – just like yonira used to do. Just like most other Zionists used to do here.

        They’d be totally blind to their own racism and hate and double standards. Spamming the blog w/ articles from FrontPageMag or IsraelNationalNews or whatever or always talking about JEW this and JEW that. Like how Maximalistperspective will frame the Gaza withdrawal as an ‘ethnic cleansing of Jews’. And that these Jews were made refugees.

        You don’t say anything about that. I don’t even care either. I’m not going to waste my time talking about, how we talk about the conflict. It’s old. Get over it. Get over yourself.

        You can parse the blog all your want (i.e., WHINE ) but your side does the same thing. I remember Phil banned some guy who had a website called ‘Judeofascism’. ‘Islamofascism’ is a mainstream term used in our political culture regularly. Saying Judeo-whatever is taboo though. Blah blah blah double standards abound.

        There is so much cry wolf from your type that I admit, people become desensitized to genuine antisemitism. That being said, stop your sanctimonious denunciations.

      • hayate
        June 22, 2010, 11:29 pm

        azythos June 22, 2010 at 8:11 pm

        Donald went after me for some bs crap, as well. It’s a team player.

      • demize
        June 22, 2010, 11:52 pm

        “Seham, my apologies for the gender confusion.” Some folks call that a party cowboy.

      • azythos
        June 23, 2010, 2:49 am

        hopmi: “…wrote that Judaism is Nazism”

        This Hopmi …thing seems to have talent on a par with Dr. Goebbels. Mind-blowing even by the standards of Propaganda-Abteilung criminals.

        Of course, Zionism is easily comparable to Nazism. But Hopmi is the only one that wrote the sentence at the top.

      • hophmi
        June 23, 2010, 3:01 am

        Azythos the antisemite responds predictably. Small mind, smaller thought.

        You must have missed the part where Seham quoted Debonnaire as comparing Judaism to Nazism.

        LEARN TO READ.

      • hophmi
        June 23, 2010, 10:10 am


        I need no lessons from you or any other regular here on sanctimoniousness.

        I can only go by what I’ve seen since I got here. By and large, despite a comments policy that supposedly welcomes dialogue, there are a couple of mainstream left-center Zionists who argue their points respectfully, and a whole lot of nasty people who mostly write profanity and insults in response while expressing views that are far out of the mainstream, and Nazi comparisons seem to be encouraged. Phil and Adam do nothing about them.

        Whatever, as I’ve said before, this is typical of diaspora activists; they are always trying to be more Catholic than the Pope. In this case, the Pope is Hamas, so people here try to out-Hamas Hamas. On my side, the Pope is the right-wing in Israel, so people try to talk tougher than that.

        Both groups accomplish one thing – making the conflict more intractable and neither accomplishes the important thing, which is bringing peace to the region.

        Sorry is this is too sanctimonious for you.

      • David Samel
        June 23, 2010, 10:53 am

        demize – haha – I didn’t notice how that would sound

      • Donald
        June 23, 2010, 12:24 pm

        “Donald went after me for some bs crap, as well. It’s a team player.”

        Do you understand the concept of irony? Was that gentle self-mockery going on. You said nothing substantive– all you did was jump in and accuse me of “team playing” when that is precisely what you’re doing.

        Something you might want to try doing sometime is paying attention to what people say and possibly responding to the actual argument. Conceivably it could be that people who support mass murder for any cause get on my nerves and that is what motivates me. I’m also bothered by people who can’t seem to wrap their heads around this simple point, but whine about “team players”.

        This is a freaking comment post at a blog. Obviously we don’t all agree on some really basic moral points. People who think those points matter may feel the urge to comment on them without being a “team player”.


        Of course there are anti-semitic, hate-filled people in the pro-Palestinian movement. But if you don’t see the equivalent on the Zionist side you are blind. It’s easy to condemn what openly bigoted people say–what’s more interesting and in some ways worse are the words of self-described liberals. I can’t recall what precisely you’ve written, but a great many self-described liberal Zionists who claim to favor peace have written countless words of apologetics and rationalizations for Israeli war crimes. There’s something to be said for the claim that hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue, but it’s still vice. When someone complains about Palestinian terror and doesn’t condemn even more vigorously Israeli war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and apartheid-like policies then they are no better than some leftist a**hole who openly favors murdering Israeli civilians. The political mainstream in the US generally gives Israeli terrorism a pass–that doesn’t mean I have to respect it.

      • hophmi
        June 23, 2010, 2:59 pm


        Of course I see the parallel on the other side. I pointed it out above, remember? It’s a disease of diaspora activists of all stripes to try to be holier than the Pope on pet issues.

        I could turn this around and say someone who complains about Israel’s actions while remaining silent on suicide bombing is in the same boat.

      • hayate
        June 23, 2010, 10:46 pm

        Donald June 23, 2010 at 12:24 pm

        Your post that I was referring to read like a 15 year old wrote it. If you think teenager level ad hominim is irony, you must be an american.


      • azythos
        June 23, 2010, 10:46 pm

        Let’s have a look at a typical Propaganda-Abteilung employee. Or goon.

        “Azythos the antisemite responds”

        Proof, please. And solid proof. Meaning proof of malignant, targeted group prejudice about people defined as “Jews” because of that accident of birth.

        In the absence of proof I will be expecting abject apologies from the Propaganda-Nut.

        “You must have missed the part where Seham quoted Debonnaire as comparing Judaism to Nazism.
        LEARN TO READ.”

        Wow. Now the Propaganda goon is really surpassing himself. First he implies that he, differently from Azythos, can read. Then he is distorting the quote right under our eyes by adding his own spin to it, while that quote is right there, on the wall.
        Looks like he did learn that lesson well from the Zi propaganda office.

  13. Citizen
    June 22, 2010, 11:24 am

    Want to trace the history of terrorism from biblical days up to 9/11?
    Go here: link to guyanajournal.com

  14. David Samel
    June 22, 2010, 11:38 am

    Boulos, you make your point quite well, but I can’t help but add a little to your list. Rabin was PM for 1993’s Operation Accountability, which resulted in a death toll of approximately 100 civilians in South Lebanon. What made this event significant, despite its unexceptional casualty figure (how gruesome does that sound?), was Rabin’s explicitly stated terrorist rationale for the operation. His objective was to inflict enough damage to incite hundreds of thousands of Lebanese to flee in panic toward Beirut and pressure the government to rein in Hezbollah. Rabin stated: “We will not permit a situation where there is no calm and security in Israel, while there is calm and security in southern Lebanon. Our goal is to make this clear. We expect the Lebanese Government, and those backing it, to control the rockets fired by Hezbollah. . . If there will be no quiet and safety for the northern settlements, there will be no quiet and safety for south Lebanon residents north of the security zone.”

    Of course, other heroes of Israel, such as Golda Meir and Ben-Gurion himself, were responsible for intentional mass killings of civilians. It surely would take more than one thick volume to give a thorough and complete accounting of all such operations since 1947 which do not earn the “T” word solely because they were conducted by “the good guys.”

  15. David44
    June 22, 2010, 11:39 am

    The best illustration of the hypocrisy of the Israeli right wing with regard to the “naming after terrorists” complaint isn’t people like Begin or Rabin (who are being celebrated less for their violent acts in the War of independence, and more for their subsequent lives as political figures). It’s more people like David Raziel we should be looking at.

    Raziel was the commander of the Irgun in the late 1930s, and led the campaign of mass terror against Arab civilians in the summer of 1938, where (among many other atrocities) several bombs were placed in Arab market places, killing dozens of people. (See link to en.wikipedia.org ).

    Yet Raziel is honored throughout Israel. There is an entire village called “Ramat Raziel” named for him; pretty well every major Israeli town has a street called “Rehov David Raziel” or “Rehov Raziel”. As long as Israel celebrates its own terrorists so warmly, I have trouble taking seriously its complaints about the Palestinians doing the same.

  16. Sumud
    June 22, 2010, 11:40 am

    On the naming of streets and squares after repugnant figures:

    “In Israel, there are more streets, parks and squares named after Jabotinsky than any other figure in Jewish or Israeli history.”
    link to en.wikipedia.org

  17. olive
    June 22, 2010, 11:41 am

    Psychiatrist of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Commits Suicide

    link to rebelnews.org

    • olive
      June 22, 2010, 11:45 am

      I suspect that this story is just an amusing hoax but hey, you never know….

      • annie
        June 22, 2010, 12:56 pm

        i know this to be true olive:

        In a somewhat surprising development, psychiatrists world-wide are rallying to support their embattled Israeli colleagues by forming a Free Israel movement. As their first major action they are planning to sail a flotilla to Tel Aviv loaded with humanitarian relief supplies for Israeli psychoanalysts and their high-profile patients; that is, tons of anti-depressants for the former and elephant tranquilizers for the latter.

      • olive
        June 22, 2010, 1:42 pm

        Ah yes, lets hope that no unfortunate incidents happen on the SS Freud …..

      • hayate
        June 22, 2010, 4:30 pm

        Psychiatry has always been a “profession” akin snake oil selling.

  18. Sumud
    June 22, 2010, 11:47 am

    On Yitzhak Rabin as a terrorist: in this 1991 interview about Canada Park, Rabin admits (15:50) he personally ordered the destruction of the 3 Palestinian villages in the Latrun Salient.

    link to palestineremembered.com

    Going back further in time (to 1948) Rabin was the IDF deputy commander of Operation Danny, which included the expulsion and death march from the Palestinian villages of Lydda and Ramla:

    “The harsh conditions of the exodus, known as the Lydda death march, caused deaths among the refugees, with figures ranging from a few to 355, mostly from exhaustion and dehydration. Eyewitnesses said people were killed by Israeli soldiers for refusing to part with their valuables.”
    link to en.wikipedia.org

  19. Debonnaire
    June 22, 2010, 11:47 am


    (“nutjobs”) Was I talking about your looks? And, in the spirit of “Cepsis” (STALAG 17), I AM convinced if anyone’s a Zionist, c’est vous.

    Also, banging that gong would be a good many Jews, I among them.

  20. Seham
    June 22, 2010, 12:00 pm


  21. Debonnaire
    June 22, 2010, 12:26 pm

    You heard me, Mike. You want to be a stupid motherfucker and question MY bonafides in this cause, go ahead – waste everyone’s time. Send Michael Neumann an email, and ask him if he’ll vouch for “Debonnaire”. Of course, he may want to know if “Seham” is Eric Alterman’s handmaiden.

  22. Seham
    June 22, 2010, 12:28 pm

    Haha, your nuts.

  23. Debonnaire
    June 22, 2010, 1:02 pm

    Hoho, you’ve got one finger up your ass, and the other in the wind.

  24. Bumblebye
    June 22, 2010, 1:16 pm

    Debonnaire, are you “playing” with the incitement theme of the post header? Or are you just a deeply unpleasant individual?

    • azythos
      June 22, 2010, 1:30 pm

      Don’t you think that’s pushing it a tad too far?

      If you need “pleasant individuals” try a matchmaking site. If there is anything in D.’s present posts that are working against the fight against Zionism, show it. This gratuitous bitching grates on one’s nerves as much as Mordekai’s sniveling.

  25. harveystein
    June 22, 2010, 2:02 pm

    Many good points about the relativity of that loaded word “terrorist”. But you could have made the same points more effectively by being less strident yourself, less “inciting”. For example, you generalize about Rabin the ‘terrorist’ – “that’s certainly how Arabs view him” you say.
    Here’s a video I made with a Gazan journalist, who interviewed a Gazan man who (most of the way into the vid) calls Rabin a courageous peace maker: link to vjmovement.com

    • Don
      June 22, 2010, 2:09 pm

      Cool website, Harvey. Very important work you are doing.

    • Richard Witty
      June 22, 2010, 2:23 pm

      I defer to your direct assessment of Palestinian solidarity over what I perceive here.

      From your interviews, it is clear that the Palestinian solidarity that you’ve encountered do not have a knee-jerk defense of Hamas, nor a simplistic demonizing interpretation of Israeli actions.

      The humanity of change in conditions is necessary, but if it results in a pendulum swing of suppression of Israel, I hope you would conclude that that very undesirable.

      I also hope that you acknowledge that the presence of leadership like Nelson Mandela and Mbeki who consistently taught forgiveness as a primary component of their political message, is different than what is presented by Hamas.

      • Chaos4700
        June 23, 2010, 3:40 am

        This would be the same Nelson Mandela whose opinion you denounce, Witty, as knowing nothing when he equates the Palestinian experience to South African apartheid, only much worse?

    • David Samel
      June 22, 2010, 2:47 pm

      Harvey, can’t one be both a terrorist and a courageous peace-maker? If Rabin intentionally ordered the death of civilians, he is a terrorist, and remains so throughout his life. In fact, I cited his terrorism of 1993, just two years before his death and after the Oslo Accords for which he won the Nobel Prize. As for whether he was truly a courageous peace-maker, that is a matter of debate that cannot be settled by one Gaza man in an interview, but even if we accept his opinion, it is not unfair to call Rabin a terrorist. Nor does this individual disprove Boulos’s claim that “the Arabs” view Rabin as a terrorist. He surely was not implying absolute unanimity of opinion.

      I don’t think I’m nit-picking here. I think it is very important to evaluate the crimes of Israeli leaders (and US and other countries’ leaders) because these people enjoy a great amount of undeserved immunity from accusations of mass murder. People who kill others without justification should be held to account, and should not escape recognition of their crimes; of course, actual prosecution is almost always out of the question.

      It’s nice that you concede that Boulos made “many good points,” but you deflect and deflate those good points by accusing him of overdoing it. I think he was rather restrained.

      • tree
        June 22, 2010, 3:10 pm

        Very well spoken, David.

        And I might add that Harveystein was himself being someone strident. If you really aim to foster good listening and dialogue, harvey, you need to try restrain your own desire to negate those voices who present a differing viewpoint from your own. Was boulos “inciting” or were you simply reacting emotionally because his viewpoint conflicts with your own?

  26. Debonnaire
    June 22, 2010, 2:34 pm

    My focus just like almost everyone else here is to vigorously support the necessary marginalization of The Israel Lobby insofar as the death-grip it has on U.S. foreign policy has finally been called into question by no less than General Petraeus, and the burgeoning disdain with which America’s Silent Majority regards Israel. Obviously, after six decades plus of degrading, enslaving, murderous oppression at the hands of the Israelis – the Palestinians have to be helped in every way possible by the outside world, and whatever frustrations any of us feel at a given time for the the scrofulous, anti-American pro-Israel policies that U.S. leaders still pursue – it is less than nothing of the daily anguish and horror the Palestinians have to endure.

  27. hophmi
    June 22, 2010, 4:11 pm

    This post illustrates some of the faults in pro-Palestinian thinking. Rabin Square was not named for Rabin in 1948. It was named for Rabin in 1995, after he was assassinated by a right-wing Israeli who objected to his participation in the Oslo process. It’s named for Rabin the peacemaker.

    The question is not whether Palestinians name streets for suicide bombers. (And by the way, it’s not the naming that’s the big deal. It’s the celebration of the culture of martyrdom that’s the problem. Please respond predictably with profanity and accusation of racism.) The question is whether one could see the Palestinians naming a street for someone who is non-violent.

    And there is no comparison between Rabin’s election and Hamas’s. Rabin’s party lost the next election and there was a peaceable transfer of power. During Rabin’s tenure, the people of Israel had civil and political liberty.

    I don’t see Hamas turning over power to anyone vis-a-vis another election, and the manner of rule does not protect civil and political rights.

    David Raziel’s activity was condemned by the entire Jewish establishment at the time as immoral. Can you see Mahmoud Abbas issuing a similar condemnation?

    • David44
      June 22, 2010, 11:31 pm

      On Mahmoud Abbas condemning terrorism, it took me about 3 seconds to find this: link to telegraph.co.uk .

      As to what the “big deal” is, it’s pretty clear (if you read the article linked to – link to jpost.com ) that the Israelis regarded the positive naming of a street after a Palestinian terrorist as the big deal, not some sort of metaphysical argument about the absence of streets named after other people. It’s equally clear that, unable to defend Israel’s hypocrisy on that score, you are simply switching the topic, to attempt to come up with some other distinction that will show Israel in a better light.

      But in any case your attempt fails, since we can easily see the Palestinians naming a street for someone non-violent – Arab culture is rich in non-violent figures who are widely celebrated. To pick one obvious example, an area in front of the cultural palace in Ramallah is named for the great poet Mahmoud Darwish, who died in 2008. Did you not know that?

      As for David Raziel, the condemnation, while it certainly happened, was pretty half-hearted, as is shown by the fact that a decade later streets and villages were being named in his honor – an awkward fact that I notice you didn’t care to address. I for one do not regard a culture that celebrates a Jewish mass-murderer as morally superior to one that celebrates an Arab one. Do you?

      • hophmi
        June 22, 2010, 11:48 pm

        I’d like to see the details of this “denouncement.” Usually Abbas simply says suicide bombing is unhelpful to the Palestinian cause, i.e if it were helpful, he’d have no problem with killing civilians. Irgun bombings were condemned in strong terms by the mainstream of the Jewish community in the Yishuv and by Zionists around the world. Raziel is celebrated today in part because he was a World War II hero who was killed by the Germans.

        I’m glad to hear that the Palestinians named a street for Mahmoud Darwish. He was not a political or military leader. Obviously, plenty of streets in Israel are named for non-political leaders, from poets to classical scholars to ancient Kings. As I said above, it doesn’t matter much to me who the Palestinians name streets after. It matters more that suicide bombing is celebrated by people as something to aspire to. To me that is something of a problem to be overcome.

      • David44
        June 23, 2010, 10:38 am

        Calling Raziel a “WWII hero killed by the Germans” is something of a stretch. He certainly supported the British against the Nazis, but not to the point of “heroism” (for details of his (brief) career as a British agent see link to etzel.org.il ). He was only “killed by the Germans” in the sense that he died during a German air raid in Iraq shortly after his arrival there to engage in covert operations. I can see no evidence either that his actions here to the slightest degree outweigh his role as a terrorist mass murderer of Arab civilians, or that it is because of them that he is so widely celebrated in Israel. He is famed for his major role as the leader of the Irgun, not for his minor role as a supporter of Britain during WWII.

        Your “in part” pretty well concedes that last point – but you do not seem willing to follow it through to the obvious conclusion. I agree with you that it is a problem that Palestinians celebrate suicide bombings as something to aspire to, but it is ALSO a problem that Israelis whitewash terrorist murderers and celebrate them as heroes of the state, because it is part of a still-existing pattern whereby the killings of Arabs are constantly excused, or else ignored as if they were something irrelevant. You seem to be concerned only by the former, and not the latter.

        Darwish may never have held political office, but he was an intensely political figure whose political writings are inseparable from the respect in which he is held among Palestinians. And he certainly has a far better claim to be considered “non-violent” than Rabin or anyone else mentioned here does.

      • azythos
        June 23, 2010, 11:53 am

        Well, well. The Propaganda-Abteilung goon who sends the bombs to kill people by the thousand while sitting cozily in his armchair, or perhaps even tank to judge by his tone, has the immortal crust to question other people’s admiration for the courage it takes to go to one’s death because it’s the only way they thought they could oppose an aggressor. As that Hopmi [autocensored] flippantly says about his being an accessory to tens of thousands of murders, c’est la guerre.

      • Sumud
        June 23, 2010, 11:57 am

        Right, the Irgun bombings were “condemned” but allowed to continue as they helped the zionist cause considerably. Can’t think of another nations that celebrates terrorists and mass murderers to the extent that it elects them as Prime Minister – multiple times!

        Did Netanyahu attend the 60th anniversary celebrations of the King David Hotel terroristic attack or not? Who has the most streets, squares and parks named after them in Israel? Jabotinsky.

        It’s “tough jew” mania. Wake up – the holocaust really is over.

      • hophmi
        June 23, 2010, 2:46 pm

        As I said a number of times, the street names don’t bother me that much. It’s the culture that’s I’m concerned with.

      • hophmi
        June 23, 2010, 2:49 pm

        A predictably loony response.

        Seems to me many have found a way to challenge aggressors without dressing up like civilians and killing themselves.

      • hophmi
        June 23, 2010, 2:53 pm

        Allowed by who? The British certainly tried to stop them.

        You can’t think of another nation that celebrate mass murderers? How many places in Syria do you think are named after Hafez Al-Assad, who killed 20000 people in a week? How many places in Jordan are named for King Hussein, who offed a couple of thousand Palestinians in a month? Before his deposing, how much of Iraq was named for the mass murderer of Iranians and Kurds, Saddam Hussein? How many places in the United States are named for Andrew Jackson, who terrorized the Native Americans?

        Think before you speak.

      • Sumud
        June 23, 2010, 9:53 pm

        Allowed by Ben Gurion amongst others. The gap between the hasbara and reality on the ground in Israel has always been large.

        LOL hophmi – that was a graceless transtion from

        2. They suck to
        4. Everything sucks w/ a bit of
        3. You suck thrown in for good measure.
        link to jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com

      • hophmi
        June 24, 2010, 6:28 am

        What do you mean “allowed by Ben Gurion”? Fatah is always complaining about how Hamas cannot be stopped (except for 1996 when they actually made an effort.) These were two groups living under British colonial domination. I’m not sure what power you think Ben-Gurion had to stop the Irgun. All I know is that condemnation of Irgun tactics by the Haganah was consistent, widespread, and on moral terms. Why you criticize the Irgun, I have no idea, since with the tactics you support, you obviously greatly admire them and have gone way beyond anything they ever did.

        It’s always interesting when someone adopts the British game of defining the King David Hotel attack as terrorist. The King David Hotel was British military headquarters, and repeated warnings were given which the British chose to ignore. Doesn’t sound like a terrorist attack to me.

        You are the one who said, with no apparent irony, that no other place named streets and squares after former terrorists. It is so laughably wrong and stupid.

      • David44
        June 24, 2010, 8:27 am

        I agree with you that the King David Hotel was a legitimate military target (though it is more controversial than you imply whether the warnings were sent to the right people and in enough time for them to respond).

        But here too the thing that leaps out is the Israeli hypocrisy – for Israel, exactly like Britain in 1946, habitually defines guerilla and bombing attacks against its own military as “terrorism”. For example, the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, a uniformed soldier on active duty, may have been many things (and the conditions in which he is currently held are illegal), but it is certainly not “terrorism”. Yet Israel insists on defining it as such (see e.g. link to mfa.gov.il ). Can we at least agree that Israel is wrong to do so?

      • Sumud
        June 24, 2010, 9:47 am

        Ben Gurion had a history of condemning publicly and privately taking no action – because the Irgun’s actions served his purposes. In the period when the Irgun were attacking the British Ben Gurion probably did have little chance of effecting Irgun actions but by 1947/8 the Irgun and Haganah were walking in lock-step.

        Israel’s leaders seem to have few qualms about lying so forgive me if I don’t take “widespread condemnation” seriously.

        Can you cite some examples of the tactics I supposedly support hophmi?

        If a Palestinian group secretly planted bombs and blew up the Knesset would that be deemed a terrorist attack? It would.

        KD Hotel was more than just military headquarters, it was also administrative headquarters and to remind you the majority of those killed were civilians. Planting bombs in the basement does not constitute a military action.

        Don’t misrepresent what I wrote hpphmi, I said “Can’t think of another nations that celebrates terrorists and mass murderers to the extent that it elects them as Prime Minister – multiple times!”

        I did not say “no other place”. What is laughably wrong and stupid is your lack of reading comprehension – and willingness to turn a blind eye to the hypocritical celebration of zionist terrorism.

      • Sumud
        June 24, 2010, 9:57 am

        *and it’s hardly as if King David Hotel was an isolated incident.

        All kinds of CIVILIAN facilities were targeted by the zionist terrorist groups in coordinated campaigns. Don’t be so ignorant.

        For example, the campaign of attacking buses:

        link to lawrenceofcyberia.blogs.com

      • hophmi
        June 24, 2010, 10:21 am

        Look, I think we all suffer from an imprecise definition of terrorism. Controversies over the definition tend to break down over two issues. The first is whether a state can engage in terrorism. I think the answer is generally no; historically, terrorism is a weapon associated with non-state actors. That’s not a value judgment; there are other terms available to describe unjust acts by a state. Remember that historically, arguments against terrorism are tied into arguments against guerrilla warfare; they have as much to do with the imperative of the state having a monopoly on the use of force as they do with the inherent injustice of targeting civilians.

        I have never thought the kidnapping of Shalit was a terrorist act; Shalit is military. If you look at the link you provided, you’ll see that Israel doesn’t actually call the kidnapping a terror act, though they call the kidnappers terrorists. But if you said that this is definition-of-what-is-is stuff, I wouldn’t disagree with you. I generally agree that Israel overuses the term as the British did. This is all irrelevant on some level. Whether the act is terrorist or not, Israel retains a right to respond to it.

        The second controversy is over what constitutes an act of terror. State actors facing guerrilla insurgencies will try to expand the definition to cover any act of guerrilla warfare. Guerrilla groups facing state responses will try to expand the definition to any act where civilians are killed, which is especially easy for them to do because civilians are always killed in urban warfare, and many terrorists do not wear uniforms.

        I think the definition of terrorism is a violent act by a non-state actor specifically targeting civilians in service of a political cause. Thus, acts targeting military targets are not terrorism. Acts targeting military targets in which civilians are killed is not terrorism, and I say that without commenting on the legality of this or that act. I think it’s actually a pretty simple concept.

      • hophmi
        June 24, 2010, 10:51 am

        “In the period when the Irgun were attacking the British Ben Gurion probably did have little chance of effecting Irgun actions but by 1947/8 the Irgun and Haganah were walking in lock-step.”

        Well, Ben-Gurion definitely tried hard during the independence war to integrate the Irgun back into the Haganah for obvious reasons, but as I’m sure you know, there is also the Altalena incident where the Haganah shot Irgun members.

        Widespread condemnation encompassed Israeli leaders and most mainstream Zionist leaders around the world at that time. I’m sure you are familiar with the newspaper ads denouncing Begin in the 1940s. And while some of these people did get elected eventually, it took 30 years. It’s not like they were elected in 1948 or 1950.

        “If a Palestinian group secretly planted bombs and blew up the Knesset would that be deemed a terrorist attack? It would.”

        Yes, because the Knesset is a civilian target.

        “KD Hotel was more than just military headquarters, it was also administrative headquarters and to remind you the majority of those killed were civilians. Planting bombs in the basement does not constitute a military action.”

        If a country is at war with the United States, is the Pentagon a legal target? It is both a military and an administrative headquarters. I would say yes. I’m curious as to why you think planting bombs in a basement is not a military action.

        “Don’t misrepresent what I wrote hpphmi, I said “Can’t think of another nations that celebrates terrorists and mass murderers to the extent that it elects them as Prime Minister – multiple times!”

        I did not say “no other place”.”

        Huh? You wrote you can’t think of another nation. I gave you several examples. It’s a pretty dumb statement, particularly coming from a supporter of the Palestinian nationalist movement. When Palestine becomes a state, I promise you that the most attractive candidates will have been involved in terrorism or mass murder of one kind or another. Arafat was a terrorist, an unapologetic one. Hamas, whether you buy into division between political and military wings or not, was elected at least in part because of its terrorist acts.

        You can try and make the case the Yitzhak Rabin was a terrorist all you want based on 1948. Knock yourself out. The man was murdered at a peace rally for a two-state solution outside of the Arab world, where the focus is always anywhere but inward when it comes to this conflict, Rabin is considered a hero. Anwar Sadat supported Nazi scum during WWII. But he died for a good cause, so I don’t feel the need to bring that up. Mahmoud Abbas wrote a whole thesis denying the Holocaust. But he’s basically a moderate who puts his life on the line, so I don’t see a need to constantly bring up that fact. It doesn’t help my side. Calling Rabin a terrorist will not help the Palestinians.

        The examples of countries electing past military leaders is so long and legion that it is ridiculous to start listing names, but I’d say the best example in American history is Andrew Jackson, who made his bones in part by massacring Native Americans.

      • David44
        June 25, 2010, 1:46 pm


        First, let me thank you for the intelligence and courtesy with which you have engaged in this debate. It seems to me that the discussion is generating more light than heat, which is in my experience relatively uncommon in this forum.

        As to the issues you raise, your definition of terrorism isn’t unreasonable in itself, and you do seem to be applying it consistently. But there are still a couple of problems with it. First, it doesn’t take into account WHY people are so keen to apply the term broadly to their opponents: namely that it is a term whose evaluative overtones are uniquely strong. By which I mean that even if we may think – and indeed say – that a country dropping a bomb from an aeroplane on top of a group of civilians is just as bad as a non-state group planting a bomb underneath that same group of civilians, if we constantly apply the word “terrorism” to the latter and refuse to apply it to the former (or worse, if we call the latter “terrorism” and the former “war”, with the license for violence that implies), we are implicitly making a moral distinction that will be perceived as such by our hearers, however vehemently we may deny such a distinction.

        In other words, faced with a term which has both narrow propositional content and unique evaluative overtones, it seems to me more important to extend the propositional content to ensure that the range of actions covered by it appropriately mirror the evaluation, than to use the term narrowly and to hope that the audience catches that no differentiation of evaluation is intended between the actions covered by the term and those not covered. (Or else it is better to eschew the term altogether, if one feels this circle cannot be squared.)

        Second (but not unrelated), it doesn’t take into account the fuzziness of the concept of “civilian”. For example, is an off-duty Israeli soldier a “civilian”? My own feeling is that he is, and hence is not a legitimate military target – but then I note that Israel appears to regard all members of Hamas as legitimate military targets at all times, even when asleep in their beds, and I find it hard to justify that distinction. Similarly, I would rather agree with you that a bomb in the Knesset would count as “terrorism”, being an attack on a civilian target – even though the Knesset in many ways sets military policy and gives military orders. But then I note that during the Gaza campaign, Israel regarded the entire infrastructure of Hamas as a legitimate military target, even those parts not directly connected with Hamas’s fighting capacities. Again, I have trouble making a moral distinction between these positions. And (to go back to my first point) if we use the term “terrorism” for the former, it is, in my view, a moral evasion to refuse to apply it to the latter simply on the grounds that one involves a state and the other does not.

      • hophmi
        June 25, 2010, 2:28 pm

        “that a country dropping a bomb from an aeroplane on top of a group of civilians is just as bad as a non-state group planting a bomb underneath that same group of civilians, if we constantly apply the word “terrorism” to the latter and refuse to apply it to the former (or worse, if we call the latter “terrorism” and the former “war”, with the license for violence that implies), we are implicitly making a moral distinction that will be perceived as such by our hearers, however vehemently we may deny such a distinction.”

        Well, again, not to nitpick, but you are making an error in my view when you say the definition of a terrorist act has to do with who was killed. It really doesn’t. It has to do with who the target was. If Hamas sends someone to bomb a pizza parlor, that’s a terrorist act. We can agree on that. The target was civilian. Similarly, firing a rocket into Sderot is an act of terrorism whether there are casualties or not because the target is civilian. The aim of terrorism is to hold civilians hostage so that the army will go away, because terrorists cannot fight the army alone.

        If Israel drops a bomb and kills civilians in a pizza parlor, we have to first ask who the target was, what the intelligence was, determine proportionality, and determine whether negligence, if present, was so obvious that the actor must have been purposely targeting civilians. This is exceeding hard to do in urban warfare. And I would still argue that other terms, similarly loaded, are available to describe such an act if intentional, like “war crime.”

        The nature of terrorism (and perhaps this as much as anything defines it as a weapon of the weak) is that it is much easier to define a terrorist act when someone acts on the ground, ie a suicide bomber or someone who plants a bomb in a public place.

        Israel rejects the distinction between the political and military branches of Hamas, and I understand why many would take issue with that, though it is very different from making the off-duty soldier argument, because that argument is context-specific and is taken much further by Hamas itself. Hamas has long made the argument that all adults in Israel are legitimate targets because of conscription. I think all of us know that this is nonsense, both from an international law standpoint, and from a reality standpoint, since Hamas suicide bombers have never shown much care for distinguishing adults from children or reservists from retirees.

      • David44
        June 27, 2010, 1:54 pm

        A few things:

        While I’m happy to refer to “targeting” (I see that you put that in your original definition; it’s my fault for not picking up on it), I think you exaggerate the difficulty of determining that civilians are being targeted by aerial bombing. To pick a non-ME example, there is really little doubt that the bombing of cities (by all sides) during WWII was often aimed at the civilians in the cities, not at anything specifically military.

        “Israel rejects the distinction between the political and military branches of Hamas, and I understand why many would take issue with that, though it is very different from making the off-duty soldier argument, because that argument is context-specific and is taken much further by Hamas itself.”

        First, you’ve misinterpreted my argument, which fell into two distinct halves. The “off-duty soldier” analogy was not compared to Israel’s refusal to distinguish the political and military sections of Hamas, but to Israel’s willingness to target members of Hamas (let’s say, to clarify things, uncontroversially military ones) even when they are not engaged in militant activities (I used the example of “being asleep”). The fact that Hamas uses the off-duty soldier argument in an (even) more extended way does not show that a narrower use of the same argument is not pretty precisely analogous to Israel’s willingness to attack Hamas members at all times. But I would regard even the narrower use of the argument as legally and morally wrong. Wouldn’t you?

        I raised Israel’s failure to distinguish Hamas’ political from the military as a separate issue: in comparison to the hypothetical bombing of the Knesset, which you said (and I agreed) was a civilian target, not a military one. Since the Knesset is certainly involved in military policy and planning, this seems to me precisely the same issue as targeting the political branches of Hamas. I do not see how the one is more “military”, and hence more legitimate to attack, than the other.

  28. demize
    June 24, 2010, 12:44 pm

    Why is the incorrect nomenclature being continually used in regards to Gilad Shalit? He was not “kidnapped”. He is an captured enemy combatant, essentially a prisoner of war. If we use the the bullshit PR. language that they use we have already made a concession in their favor.

    • kapok
      June 24, 2010, 12:54 pm

      I wonder at that too. But this is reassuring; even if people don’t have a clue about the issues they will know a soldier on active duty cannot be “kidnapped”. Even if they nod their head along with the Nice Man on TV a part of them will understand the truth.

    • hophmi
      June 24, 2010, 1:13 pm

      Well, he’s certainly not being treated as a POW. He’s being treated like hostage. And it’s questionable whether a guerrilla group can take POWs.

      Be careful what you wish for. If Shalit is a enemy combatant, Hamas is an enemy. If a state of war exists between Israel and Hamas-ruled Gaza, Israel has every right to treat Hamas as the enemy it is and stop doing things like sending humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip and there is no application of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

      You can’t have it both ways.

      • demize
        June 24, 2010, 3:53 pm

        Really? Israel is the recognized force of occupation in Gaza as so they are compelled by International Law to provide for the well being of those civilians under occupation. They are forbidden as such to transfer populations or use food as a weapon. Secondly under UN. Charter an occupied people have the inherent right to oppose said occupation by force of arms. I will also add that Israel holds thousands of CIVILIANS, women, children, the elderly in military detention. They have been perpetually used as bargaining chips. Are they “hostages”Personally I could give a fuck about Gilad Shalit. Your sophistry in regards to legal distinctions is interesting. Israel recognizes no law except that of the jungle as does the decrepit, decadent Empire in which I happen to reside.

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