IDF used excessive force to take Jewish Boat to Gaza. Shapira: ‘soldiers’ actions were violent and disgusting’

on 24 Comments

The story is starting to change regarding the IDF interception of the Jewish Boat to Gaza. Initial reports (including ours) seemed to indicate that the IDF took the boat in a relatively nonviolent manner. The Times Lede blog included the Israeli military’s version of events, “The boarding of the yacht was without incident, and no violence of any kind was used by neither the passengers on board nor the Israel naval forces.” But now that the boat passengers are being interviewed a different story is coming out.

From Haaretz:

Earlier Tuesday the IDF reported that Israeli naval commandos peacefully boarded the Jewish aid boat attempting to break a naval blockade on Gaza, saying “IDF naval forces recently boarded the yacht ‘Irene’, and it is currently being led to the Ashdod seaport along with its passengers.”

However, testimonies by passengers who were released from police questioning later in the day seemed to counter the IDF’s claims, with Israeli activist and former Israel Air Force pilot Yonatan Shapira saying that there were “no words to describe what we went through during the takeover.”

Shapira said the activists, who he said displayed no violence, were met with extreme IDF brutality, adding that the soldiers “just jumped us, and hit us. I was hit with a taser gun.”

“Some of the soldiers treated us atrociously,” Shapira said, adding that he felt there was a “huge gap between what the IDF spokesman is saying happened and what really happened.”

The former IAF pilot said he and his fellow activists were “proud of the mission,” saying it was organized “for the sake of a statement – that the siege on Gaza is a crime, that it’s immoral, un-Jewish, and we have a moral obligation to speak out. Anyone who stays silent as this crime is being committed is an accessory to a crime.”

Eli Usharov, a reporter for Israel’s Channel 10 affirmed Shapira’s version of the events, telling Haaretz that the takeover was executed with unnecessary brutality.

“They used a taser gun against Yonatan. He screamed and was dragged to the military boat,” Usharov said, adding that both Yonatan and his brother Itamar were handcuffed.

The Channel 10 reporter also said that the activists managed to have a serious heart-to-heart conversation with the troops once they were all placed on board the military vessel, and that “overall the atmosphere was good.”

Reuben Moscowitz, a Holocaust survivor who took part in the mission, expressed his disbelief that “Israeli soldiers would treat nine Jews this way. They just hit people.”

On the Orwell watch, note that the New York Times’ main story’s lead on the interception described it as taking place “peacefully.” Then the story quotes an Israeli army spokesperson saying a “stun gun” was used. Is this peaceful?

24 Responses

  1. Kathleen
    September 29, 2010, 9:32 am

    “with Israeli activist and former Israel Air Force pilot Yonatan Shapira saying that there were “no words to describe what we went through during the takeover.”

    Shapira said the activists, who he said displayed no violence, were met with extreme IDF brutality, adding that the soldiers “just jumped us, and hit us. I was hit with a taser gun.”

    “Some of the soldiers treated us atrociously,” Shapira said, adding that he felt there was a “huge gap between what the IDF spokesman is saying happened and what really happened.”

    How much you want to bet Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann our so called liberal media will not be inviting Shapira on their programs to report what went on.

    Maybe Dylan Ratigan. He is stepping out a bit. Wondering if he was hammered after he had Glenn Greenwald on and he and Glenn nailed Cliff May’s endless lies?

    • potsherd
      September 29, 2010, 9:38 am

      The Zionists will only say, “Shapira is a traitor, tase him again.”

    • Citizen
      September 29, 2010, 9:53 am

      Lat night, Rachel was hurling snide remarks at what she obviously considers a bigger threat, the
      “white supremists” in our midst. At the end of her snippy monologue, she tossed in some real belly humor, attacking a sports review web site that counts
      players heads on each team, for the ratio of the salt and pepper heads. Caste counting. (I guess she never heard of jewish geography’s counting of heads in every arena of human accomplishment).

      BTW, apropos generalizing generally, anybody else ever read this?

      (or, How to Argue Your Case with Jews)

      by Israel Shamir

      We shall win the war if and when we win the argument. This has been my conviction since 1991, when I witnessed how the mighty nuclear superpower collapsed because they lost a philosophical dispute. In the battle for Palestine the same rule may apply. Our adversary is protected by mighty Stealth technology made out of best sophisms but he has his Achilles’ Heel, and Apollo may still point it out to our archer Paris.

      Recently we published a tongue-in-cheek essay by Joh Domingo Philo-Semitic Attacks on the Rise and received many responses. The Jewish responses were expectable and they could be summed by one line: “You can’t say anything valid about Jews because we all are different”. Probably you have encountered this line. Without recognising it, the responders actually give you the Paradox of Zeno. This Greek philosopher ‘proved’ that Paris did not kill Achilles: at every chosen moment, the arrow of Paris was in a certain point of space, thus it did not move and couldn’t kill. There is a branch of mathematics called Integral Analysis that helps to deal with the paradox and proves what we know anyway: while an arrow rests at every chosen moment, it actually moves and kills. Likewise Jews: while being different they are perfectly able to act in unison.

      Here is an interesting letter exchange to clarify the point:

      1. From: Lanny Cotler to Joh

      I am a Jew who is totally against the Israeli occupation.

      Why assert anything about Jews in general? Any generality you might make would not, could not, accurately describe me. So what’s the purpose, except to stir up emotions that do not broaden, but narrow, people’s mind?

      2. From Joh to Lanny,

      Contrary to what you suggest, we make general remarks about people all the time, even negative ones; Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, Christians anyone. What is more, Jews make negative remarks about people in general constantly. So what is the beef about making general remarks about Jews? Why do you personalize it? Is this not taking a ‘narrow’ view of things?

      Far from ‘narrowing’ peoples’ minds, the non-pejorative term is ‘focus’. Focus is of course a powerful tool, and it is understandable that it be delegitimised in order to keep people on the straight and narrow track. If Jews were not so narrow-minded about anti-Semitism, we could pick the guilty bastards off one at a time. So, in a way, talk of ‘narrow-minds’ is an insult to our intelligence.

      You ask, why not call them ‘chauvinists’ instead of ‘Philo-Semites’? Because I could not give two figs about chauvinists. ‘Chauvinists’, generally, are not planning to bomb an entire group of people – Philo-Semites are. Nor is it ‘bigots’, ‘racists’, ‘imperialists’ and whatever other cover may be put on it, ‘philo-Semites’ are the culprits.

      3. From JTR:

      I had a similar argument with this very same Lanny Cotler online somewhere a year or two ago. With him and so many others, I learned that it is a colossal waste of time to try and educate him and his many clones. It is impossible to cure anyone of self-delusion. Cotler’s bottom line is “Anything you say about ‘Jews’ will be a generalization and therefore you are forbidden from saying it.”

      This ‘generalisation ban’ is an integral part of Jewish Stealth technology. Without some ability to generalise, we can’t answer even an innocent question, say, how many apples are there on the desk? Otherwise, you will be answered: these apples are all different, and can’t be counted. In order to count, you have to generalise. No political discourse is possible without generalisations. And people generalise without difficulty.

      For instance, the declaration Not In Our Name signed by a Rothschild and Rabbi Lerner, among others, claims that “The Bush government seeks to impose a narrow, intolerant, and political form of Christian Fundamentalism as government policy. It aims to strip women of their reproductive rights, to drive gay people from public life back into the closet etc”. Is this generalisation? Yes, and a rather misleading one; among Christian Fundamentalists one can find Pastor Charles Carlson and his movement We Hold These Truths/Strait Gate Ministries, a great enemy of the Bush administration. Pastor Chuck supports the people of Palestine and Iraq in their defensive war against Israel and America; he is also against abortions. Joh Domingo correctly replied that

      ” . . .the entire idea of singling out right wing Christians is intolerant in itself. Is it extreme to want to outlaw abortion, suppress the imposition of homosexual values and argue that there is scientific value to spiritual experience? That is intolerance in my mind, and a direct denunciation of any alternative worldview; dismissal even. In short, it is a sign of a bigoted mind.”

      Well, but so what? One can argue against this generalisation until one is blue in the face, but I bet these guys won’t dignify your objection with their reply. The ban on generalisation applies to Jews only, and only to negative assessments: you can write about wonderful Jews day and night, and no Lanny Cotler will waste your time with his objections.

      However, Zeno-like sophism is not limited to Jews. One can find it in the writings of Joseph Massad, a Columbia Professor and a disciple of late Edward Said. Massad is now attacked by Zionist Jews, and we wish him the very best in overcoming his adversaries. But in his articles he exhibits same logical faults one finds in an average Jewish letter writer. He writes:

      “Jews, whether in America, Europe, Israel, Russia, or Argentina, are, like all other groups, not uniform in their political or social opinions. There are many Israeli Jews who are critical of Israel just as there are American Jews who criticise Israeli policy. I have always made a distinction between Jews, Israelis, and Zionists in my writings and my lectures. It is those who want to claim that Jews, Israelis, and Zionists are one group (and that they think exactly alike) who are the anti-Semites. Israel in fact has no legal, moral, or political basis to represent world Jews (ten million strong) who never elected it to that position and who refuse to move to that country. Unlike the pro-Israel groups, I do not think that Israeli actions are “Jewish” actions or that they reflect the will of the Jewish people worldwide!”

      Massad denies that “Israeli actions are ‘Jewish’ actions”. But now the Israeli government has confiscated thousands of acres of non-Jewish land and houses in Jerusalem by applying the Absentees Law. The Absentees Law made a clear distinction between Jew and non-Jew; a non-Jew lost his home and land even if he went to the next village or ran away from shelling to the forest. Thus villagers of En Hod lost their property though they moved some three km away, and villagers of Biram lost it if they went to the nearby Jish. On the other hand, Jewish property has to be ‘restored’ to Jews even after fifty years of absence and immigration, as it is happening now in Iraq and Libya, and in Eastern Europe some time ago. The confiscation is a “Jewish” action, for Jewish Halachah rejects the very concept of Gentile ownership. For the Jewish law, Gentile property is free for grabs. Thus massive confiscations of 1950s and of today are “Jewish” actions per se.

      Massad asserts that “Israel in fact has no legal, moral, or political basis to represent world Jews who never elected it to that position and who refuse to move to that country.” Now, this is a strange claim for a Columbia Professor. Elections are not the only legitimate way to become a representative or a ruler of a body. Kings were not elected, but they duly represented their people. There are a few Jews who would agree with Massad; but they are rarer than the Americans who claim that President Bush does not represent them – see the Not in Our Name initiative of Kerry Democrats. It should be taken as a figure of speech, as an expression of disagreement with Israeli (or Bush’s) policies rather than an assessment of reality. In reality, support of Israel by people who define themselves as Jews is very high (by the US statistics, well over 80 per cent) but even more important is the non-Jewish acceptance of Israel as the Jewish state that represents Jewish interests.

      The legal basis of Israeli representation is well established: Germany, a prominent member of the family of nations, transferred to Israel the intestate properties of Jews – German citizens who had no connection to Israel. Israeli law allows for persecution of every person on earth who has acted against a Jew, even if the Jew had no connection to Israel. The Eichmann trial was an example of such a rough justice, and Israel was not reprimanded by any considerable body of Jews or by states.

      Another convincing proof was fashioned this week, when Auschwitz commemoration ceremonies were accompanied by Hatikwa, the Israeli national anthem and chaired by Israeli officials. Massad invents a claim of his opponents, who imply, in his view, that “all Jews, whether Israelis or non-Israelis (and the majority of world Jews are not Israelis), are responsible for all Israeli actions and that they all have the same opinion of Israel. But this is utter anti-Semitic nonsense”, he writes. Now, it is not “utter anti-Semitic nonsense”, but utter nonsense. Naturally, there is a whole range of opinions among Jews in Israel and outside of Israel; actually there are more Jews in Israel who object to the government policies than there are in the US. And again we come to Zeno: this plurality of views does not mean that the arrow does not fly and kill.

      Beyond the denial of Massad and of many antizionist Jews, there is another denial: that of Jewish polity. It is supposed to be a purely metaphysical entity, without any material signifiers. But Massad could make a trip to Jerusalem and find there an imposing mansion in Talbiye carrying a clear sign: The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute (see the picture). Thus when Zeno claimed there is no movement (for what is valid for an arrow is valid for every ‘moving’ body) Diogenes quietly walked in front of him. This demonstration of movement was a fine refutation of Zeno’s sophistry.

      As for responsibility, it is a moot point. Is Joseph Massad, an American citizen, responsible for the war the US carries out in Iraq? If the answer is ‘yes’, a Jew is equally responsible for the actions of the Jewish polity. If the answer is ‘no’, the very concept of individual responsibility for a polity’s decision collapses and war loses its legal base. If and when the Iraqi patriots extend their defence of their land to their enemy’s territory, the accepted theory of War will justify them, as it justifies the actions of Palestinian fighters, for it establishes the right of belligerent response. This right of response is based on the individual responsibility for a polity’s decision – otherwise, the response would be just unlawful killing.

      Massad states: “I have always made a distinction between Jews, Israelis, and Zionists”. Good, but in the Middle East war, who of these three is the belligerent adversary of Palestinians (and Iraqis, Iranians etc)? Is it the Israelis? But the ‘Israelis’ consist also of one million Palestinians and of other Christians, Muslims, even Bahais. Is it the Zionists? But there are very few Israelis who describe themselves as ‘Zionists’ – the name of Uri Avnery is one of these few for this fighter for freedom has this title defended in an Israeli court of law. Even the virulently anti-goy Lubawitsch movement does not consider itself ‘Zionist’, though it demands the expulsion of the Palestinians from the Holy Land.

      This question is far from trivial; “know thy enemy” is the first political decision, stated the legalist Carl Schmitt. We can’t win until we identify the adversary. For pure Hegelians, “the spirit of Judaic supremacy” is the most suitable culprit, but if the choice is between “Jews, Israelis, and Zionists” the belligerent party is probably the Jewish polity, world Jewry, despite their plurality of opinions. It is not an enemy of our choosing: it would be easier to have just Hebron and Gaza settlers as the enemy; or some Zionists, at least. But the Jewish polity decided to wage war, and thus became a belligerent party.

      Massad and other friends do not dare to come to this conclusion for fear of ‘bigotry’, this second universal Jewish defensive device. In my article Tsunami in Gaza I compared Jewish obsession with separate (from goyim) burial, as manifested during the tsunami, with their obsession of living separately as manifested in the weird idea of bodily removing the Jewish settlers from Gaza. In my view, the settlers may stay if they wish and if they can manage to live in peace with their neighbours. This comparison annoyed some Jews on an ad hoc mail list, and they attacked it as ‘bigotry’.

      1. Brian wrote:

      – I am Jewish… In this article, when Shamir writes that the attitude he’s criticizing is “part and parcel of the Jewish faith,” I think he’s stepping over into bigotry.

      2. Donna wrote:

      Bigotry should not be tolerated by any of us towards anyone. i am learning from this discussion, in the past few years people have made bigoted comments to me about jews and i am speechless.

      3. Liat wrote:

      We need to openly discuss bigotry against Jews, and you say that it isn’t necessary. I am asking for your partnership in this movement. And that to me means that I expect you to take anti-Jewish oppression (sic! – ISH) seriously. Especially when four Jews raised questions about bigotry in the posting that you sent, I expect that you will consider us as partners in this work and worth your while to examine how your posting might have affected us.

      Instead of discussing the actions of Israel: that is, mass confiscation of goyim’s land and enforced separation of Jews and non-Jews, the peace-loving Jews on the group steered the discussion into “anti-Jewish oppression” and “anti-Jewish bigotry”. These four Jews in one group have succeeded in slanting the discourse as they often do. They have terrorised and intimidated the group moderator, and I am not sure their contribution to the struggle in Palestine justifies the bother.

      Here is their summing up of the argument:

      Israel’s actions in the tsunami disaster are completely irrelevant to shedding light on the occupation. But the issue of whether or not an article that you, Alison, sent is bigoted against Jews is absolutely relevant to our work. If we are Westerners, we have grown up with a huge legacy of anti-Jewish oppression. It’s important that bigotry against Jews be addressed head-on, rather than avoided. I think that much of Shamir’s work, included the article below, is bigoted, and I think that it’s incumbent upon all of us to do the necessary personal work against all kinds of bigotry, for bigotry against Jews is a bad thing, as is bigotry against any other group.

      Where is the fault in this apparently impervious argument? Bigotry, i.e. prejudice against an imaginary non-structured and non-belligerent group – say, blondes, or blacks, or people called ‘Peter’ – is not nice. It is a moral fault like hypocrisy or stinginess. “This is utterly inexcusable. So was your failure to answer Aunt Bee’s last letter.”, – in words of our Michael Neumann. For instance, a blonde girl from Eastern Europe has a hard time to enter Israel as she is automatically suspected of being a prostitute. But some sort of prejudice is normal – it is a calculation of expectation. For instance, there are posters calling upon young persons to use condoms while having sex with strangers. It is an expression of prejudice – one can get venereal disease from one’s own partner as well; but it is a useful prejudice; as is a poster warning you to beware of pickpockets in certain places. Would you consider the statement: “a banker/ a lawyer will rip you off” – a bigoted statement? If so, I am all for bigotry. The chances are, a banker or a lawyer will rip you off given a slight chance to do so. Yes, there are exceptions: Lenin and Robespierre were lawyers – but they would be the first to agree with the prejudice.

      Moreover, the concept of bigotry can’t be used in relationship to belligerent groups. It is false to call any attitude to, say, the Communist Party, or Neo-Cons – “bigotry”. At war, structured groups fight; for instance, Catholics fight Protestants in Northern Ireland; in Palestine, Jews fight non-Jews; in the World War Two, Russians and Americans fought Germans and Italians; in Iraq, Americans fight Arabs. Israeli soldiers are under order shoot to kill every armed Arab, every suspicious non-Jew, as it happened in case of the English peace activist Tom Hurndall. Bigotry is not coming into it at all: this is war.

      As for Jews – they are a structured belligerent group presently at war. For the American Jews – a structured sub-group – there is a colonial war they carry out (not just support) in Palestine. They are as hostile to pro-Palestinian forces as the Americans are to the Arabs in the Iraqi war. It does not mean that every American (or Jew) is an enemy; moreover, there are many good Americans (or Jews) who are against the Iraqi (or Palestinian) war. Let these Jews (or Americans) be proud that they crossed the lines, for this is a great individual achievement. However, their presence on our side does not cancel the war. Likewise, there were good and brave Americans who hailed to Hanoi during the Vietnam War, but the war continued unabated.

      This understanding of the Jews as a belligerent party fully conforms to the declaration of war on Germany by Hayim Weitzman on behalf of the Jewish People. This does not mean that we approve of total war. There are unacceptable things in war as well. We do not wish to revive the thoroughly Judaic diatribes of Iliya Ehrenburg who called on the Russian soldiers to kill ‘females and unborn whelps of the accursed [German] race’. This war is not forever, it does not have to be total, but it is a war; and B la guerre comme B la guerre. Where there is war there is no bigotry, but normal warfare; the prejudice is called ‘presumption’ and is considered to be acceptable behaviour.

      Another peace-loving Jew, Alan Levin, argued against it:

      What you say in your message is that “we” (and here I think you mean all those seeking the liberation of the Palestinian people) are “at war with the Jews”, in much the same way as America was at war with Germany. Your argument follows a pseudo-logical path, describing the somewhat innocuous bigotry towards blonds and lawyers, preparing the way for bigotry against Jews (as the nation, not of course the individual Jews) with whom “we” are at war. And since we are at war, this is not bigotry.

      Even if you believe this kind of sophistry, you may at least concern yourself with the practical consequences of such an argument. A growing number of Jews are shifting their understanding about Israel and moving towards support of ending the occupation and even a growing number are understanding the inherent problem of a “Jewish state”. Do you think your rhetoric will help with this movement? Likewise, there is a growing understanding within the Palestinian and Arab world of the distinction of Jews and Israel and opening to alliances with Jews and Jewish groups. Do you think your war rhetoric will help with that?

      It sounds reasonable and wise, but on second thought we find yet another instance of sophistry. Indeed, Levin’s argument is applicable to every war. Many, probably a majority of Palestinians are not connected with the Resistance and prefer to live in peace even under the sub-human conditions imposed by the Jewish state. However, the Jewish state does not apply Levin’s argument to itself but carries out a merciless war against civilians. Many, probably a majority of Iraqis prefer peace to the American attacks, but the US troops keep attacking them. Levin says “A growing number of Jews are shifting their understanding about Israel”. Very good, but it does not end the war. “Shifting of understanding” is not enough.

      Millions of Germans did not just ‘shift their understanding’ but voted against Hitler in the last free elections. Still, it did not stop the American and British Air Force from bombing millions of perfectly innocent Germans – women, children, anti-Nazis. The Americans bombed Belgrade and Baghdad – did they care who is for and who is against Saddam or Milosevic? Millions of Americans demonstrated against the war in Vietnam, but in the same time Mi Lay village was razed.

      This is the logic of war. A Jewish child in New York or Montreal or Tel Aviv is innocent – but he is not more innocent than a German child in Dresden, or a Palestinian child in Khan Yunes. War includes the killing of innocents. That is why war is bad. But in the war forced upon us, it makes no sense to demand two different approaches to Jews and to non-Jews because of the dubious concept of ‘bigotry’.

      Coming to Jews active on our side, I would like to quote Zev Chafets, an American Jew, who wrote in an American Zionist paper The New York Daily News:

      “Edward Said didn’t blow up Marines in Lebanon in 1983, ignite the Palestinian intifadeh or send Wahhabi missionaries to preach violence against infidels. He certainly didn’t fly a plane into the World Trade Center. What he did do was jam America’s intellectual radar’.
      Some US Jews do exactly that – by raising the spectre of prejudice (bigotry) they try to jam our intellectual radar. They have indeed succeeded in jamming the radar of Joseph Massad; he has even published a review of a book by Norton Mezvinsky and the late Israel Shahak, accusing them of bigotry and antisemitism:
      “For the authors, as for the anti-Semites, it is Judaism, not Zionism and a Zionised Judaism, that is the culprit. Baruch Goldstein, who massacred Palestinians in al-Haram al-Ibrahimi on Purim, is not seen in the context of a racist and colonialist Zionism and its myriad massacres against Palestinians, but rather as part of a tradition of Jewish murders of non-Jews. The authors’ commitment to Zionism’s assimilationist project of transforming Jews culturally into European gentiles while still calling them Jews is everywhere in evidence. While the authors have a long history of opposition to colonial Zionism, they are in agreement with an assimilationist Zionism which borrowed from the Haskala its assimilationist impulse.”
      There is some poetic justice that Massad, who accused Shahak of antisemitism, is now the accused of the same offence: like Zinoviev who accused Trotsky of betrayal until he found himself accused of treachery. I agree with Shahak, even though Massad lists him among ‘bigoted antisemites’: the crimes against non-Jews in Palestine have a quasi-religious context, like the Night of St Bartholomew did. Massad is mistaken assuming that assimilation drive is limited to Zionists – Soviet Communists and Christians were as assimilationist as Zionists. De-judaisation of Israel is a desired stage on the way to establish one democratic state – the wish of Edward Said. It would represent victory over the main belligerent party, Jewry, for a de-judaised Israel will become Palestine even if not a single Israeli were hurt or forced to emigrate. Chad Powers stated correctly:
      “If rank-and-file Jewry (let alone the Gentile world) were ever allowed to freely face the factual hypocrisies, paradoxes, and outrages of Jewish identity and history, the community would probably self-destruct with an exodus of shame and disillusionment. Robbed of their incessantly propagandistic “victim hero” status, many “born Jews” would inevitably migrate out of the Jewish Fortress Against Other People, seeking new identity allegiances ” – Palestinian in Palestine and American in the US.
      Our friend, supporter of Palestinian cause and a prolific Internet writer George Pumphrey, was also taken in by Zeno. For instance, Manfred Stricker, following Hanna Arendt, referred to the ‘Jewish usurers of Alsace’. Pumphrey immediately slapped his hand:

      To speak of “the Jews of Alsace” is a gross generalization, when merely addressing the situation of the Alsatian usurers, but not the rest of the Jewish population of Alsace. Nor was one claiming that all Alsatian Jews were rich or usurers. But the way it is used here could (mis)lead to this impression.

      Here again, every generalisation – referring negatively to even some Jews – is banned. Pumphrey goes further:

      Thanks to Zionists, no other people on the planet are as generalized – both positively and negatively – as Jews. Jews are never allowed to be people, with positive attributes and faults.

      This is obvious nonsense. Every group is ‘generalised’ – not least of all the Germans (Pumphrey lives in Germany), but equally the Russians, the Arabs, the French. Probably the people of Liechtenstein are not generalised for not many are aware of their existence; otherwise, ‘to be a people’ means to be generalised. Pumphrey is not above having a go at generalisation about Jews, but a positive one:

      Jews, who, in their majority, are universalistic, do not accept the chauvinist “ethnic purity” concept for their “homeland”.

      In my experience, every word in this generalisation is false. The Jews are ‘universalistic’ if it is good for Jews; and perfectly particularistic otherwise. But this is peanuts compared with the next claim of our friend:

      Anti-Semitism is a chauvinism. It does not begin with hostility toward Semites, but with a feeling of superiority over Semites (and eventually anyone else). The choice of the object of the chauvinism is a tactical rather than a strategic question. A chauvinist feels superior to various groups of people, but lives out his chauvinism along lines of momentary/tactical priority.

      It is a factual error: there are hardly any antisemites who feel superior to Jews (let us skip this ‘semite’ stuff). Negative feelings towards one’s enemies – and we presented (above) the case that the Jews are a belligerent party – are normal; they can’t be described as ‘bigotry’ or ‘chauvinism’. For instance, during the Franco-German war of 1870, the French hated the Germans and the Germans hated the French. They were not “bigots,” as at war this concept is not applicable. They needed this hatred as a psychological defence in time of war: it is difficult to kill without hate. After the war was over, relations soon normalised and now they are quite fraternal. Equally, if and when the Jews cease to be a belligerent party, they will not be hated.

      The errors of George Pumphrey, a good thinker and activist, are based on his obsession with ‘bigotry’ and ‘chauvinism’. He writes:

      In the aftermath of the Second World War the dominating standard of civil behaviour was to abhor any ideology based on chauvinism, because ANY ideology based on chauvinism as being a precursor to a development that could lead toward ethnic cleansing (whether through territorial expulsion or through genocide).

      I tend to doubt every dominating standard, for if it were good for us, it wouldn’t be dominating. The biggest ethnic cleansing(s) were carried out after WWII by its victors, without any chauvinist ideology: I mean the deportations of ethnic-Germans out of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Prussia. Anti-chauvinism dominates the discourse for it provides a philosophical weapon to deal with native resistance to foreign takeover. Thus Russian opposition to the Western takeover is usually described as ‘chauvinist’ or ‘Red-Brown’. Anti-chauvinism dominates the West-imposed liberal discourse for it allows Transnational companies to operate; to import cheap labour, and to sanctify the Jews as the traditional enemies of chauvinism.

      But nowadays, only “our side” is afraid of “bigotry”. Daniel Pipes, a favourite pundit of Bush and a fervent Jewish nationalist, made it clear that the Jews are not afraid of this accusation at all:

      “For years, it has been [Pipes’] position that the threat of radical Islam implies an imperative to focus security measures on Muslims. If searching for rapists, one looks only at the male population. Similarly, if searching for Islamists (adherents of radical Islam), one looks at the Muslim population. But Leftist and Islamist organizations have so successfully influenced public opinion that polite society shies away from endorsing a focus on Muslims. The intrepid [Jewish] columnist Michele Malkin’s recently published book, bearing the provocative title In Defense of Internment: The Case for Racial Profiling in World War II and the War on Terror. She correctly concludes that, especially in time of war, governments should take into account nationality, ethnicity, and religious affiliation in their homeland security policies and engage in what she calls “threat profiling”.
      Pipes and Malkin, the cutting edge of organised American Jewry, call for the internment of Muslims in detention camps and the stripping of their constitutional rights. Guantanamo is a first swallow of their success. They are not afraid to use the weapon of prejudice against the non-belligerent Muslim community because they rely upon our friends Massad, Pumphrey et al to block any similar move against them.

      This problem is much in evidence all around the world. In Sweden, the activists for Palestine are led by a young man of Palestinian origin but Swedish upbringing, Ammar Makboul. This Makboul hates ‘bigotry’ so much that he has forbidden any reference to ‘Jewish settlers’ in Gaza, for reasons similar to those stated by Pumphrey concerning Jewish usurers in Alsace. In his view, they should be described as ‘settlers’, without ‘bigoted and antisemitic reference to their Jewishness’.

      The opponent has no such misgivings. Alan Dershowitz calls for the torture of Palestinians and the erasure of their villages; and he is still a professor of law at Harvard. Another American Jewish professor, Linda Allen of Baruch College, CUNY, New York, calls for the transfer of Palestinians to Sinai. This situation is unacceptable. The chivalry of our friends reminds me of the foolhardy Polish cavalry in 1939 – they actually tried to stop Heinz Guderian’s tanks on horseback, as they felt tanks were not honourable enough for their noble souls. As we know, Poland capitulated within one month.

      The friends of Palestine have no problem with individual Jews – they could be good or bad, our supporters or our antagonists. But the friends of Palestine have a problem with ‘Jewry’ – the organised structure of Jewish communities. A few weeks ago, Haaretz published a huge page-long ad signed by all prominent Rabbis of the land – three hundred of them – calling for “Vengeance to the Evil Folk” [Palestinians] and enforcing religious obligation “never to surrender a single inch of the sacred land to them”. It is a call to holy war.

      A call for war usually is met by war. When the Germans declared war on France (in 1939) or on Russia (1941) all Germans suffered the consequences, though the decision was taken by a few persons in Berlin. Now the vast majority of organised Jewish communities carry out their war on Palestine, but our friends (ostrich-like) try to see no evil.

      The position of individual Jews is much better than that of any other national collective. Individual Jews can opt out of the conflict by opting out of organised Jewry. Nobody has to be a Jew – every person calling himself ‘Jew’ has another identity as well. He is an American, or an Israeli, or a Frenchman. Thus, the friends of Palestine have to confront – not people of Jewish origin, but Jewry consisting of people who choose their ‘Jewishness’ as the most important identifier.


      In the present war, Jewry is a belligerent party; this polity decided to wage war on too many enemies at once. Individuals of Jewish origin could be good or bad; but the organisation is hostile to us. The victory over it is possible, but we have to pierce its Stealth shield manufactured by many skilled hands in many arguments.

      [1] link to [2] Zeno’s Paradox of the Arrow; A reconstruction of the argument (following Aristotle, Physics 239b5-7 = RAGP 10):
      When the arrow is in a place just its own size, it’s at rest.
      At every moment of its flight, the arrow is in a place just its own size.
      Therefore, at every moment of its flight, the arrow is at rest.
      [3] link to [4] [5] link to [6] link to
      [7] link to

      Israel Shamir’s website:

      POSTED FEBRARY 2, 2005

      • Citizen
        September 29, 2010, 9:57 am

        I apologize for pasting the whole article; I thought I had only posted the hot link. This is the second time I did this. Scary.

      • potsherd
        September 29, 2010, 11:54 am

        Beware of quoting Israel Shamir – Zionists will reject anything connected with that source as antisemitic.

      • Chaos4700
        September 29, 2010, 1:19 pm

        Potsherd, I had an Israeli forward the case to me that the Smurfs was a venue of anti-Semitism. I don’t think Zionists throwing that word around really means anything anymore.

  2. Avi
    September 29, 2010, 9:34 am

    Shapira: ’soldiers’ actions were violent and disgusting’

    The IOF’s violence toward the passengers of the MV Irene, is part of the We’re-going-to-teach-you-a-lesson tactic the IOF often employs against anyone who dares challenge the Zionist state.

    Every Jewish person owes it to himself to visit the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza and to see with his and her own eyes what Israel continues to do in the name of Judaism.

    Otherwise, Israel will drag Jews the world over down with it.

    What sane person would want to be associated with that?

    • Philip Weiss
      September 29, 2010, 9:43 am

      agreed Avi. Every Jew must do that. it is our inheritance right now, the savage treatment of the palestinians

      • Avi
        September 29, 2010, 9:57 am

        I don’t mean to sound overly dramatic, but I was contemplating how with this impasse — as Ali Abunimah often calls it — I sometimes feel as though the weight of the world is on my shoulders. And so “inheritance” carries a special and powerful meaning in that regard, for it truly is one.

      • Citizen
        September 29, 2010, 10:02 am

        As part of the enabling nation, every gentile American is getting dragged down too. What sane person would want to be associated with such enmeshment?

    • Chu
      September 29, 2010, 9:57 am

      The military premeditated brutalizing the crew, so it will make other aid efforts think twice about another mission; on land or sea. The state is a growing dark vortex, and will suck others down with it.

  3. Kathleen
    September 29, 2010, 9:40 am

    Did a recent post of Phil’s come down? I thought he had one up about the boat to Gaza. Am I having a senior moment?

  4. Avi
    September 29, 2010, 9:44 am

    […] former Israel Air Force pilot Yonatan Shapira saying that there were “no words to describe what we went through during the takeover.

    This will be justified by the media, politicians and the file and rank as a fitting treatment for a traitor, which Yonatan will be quickly branded as one.

    That’s how things work. An individual makes sacrifices, devotes himself to the state, and in return he gets tazered and thrown to the wolves.

    I bet he’s looking forward to the smear campaign, and for his neighbors to shun him.

    • Antidote
      September 29, 2010, 10:18 am

      While pro-Palestinian activists frequently counter accusations of being anti-Israel by pointing out that Israel has to saved from its ultimately self-destructive course, the same argument is now being made about ‘leftist’ Jews having to be saved from themselves – by force, if necessary. Hence, even though the Jewish boat to Gaza posed no plausible threat to Israel, the Jewish passengers’ lives were actually being protected by IDF intervention.


      Israeli newspaper, Arutz Sheva, reported a prominent Israeli anti-terror expert had said the IDF interception likely saved the lives of the activists. Retired Major-General Yigal Pressler told the newspaper
      “Gaza is enemy country. People who go there are putting their lives at risk and the leftists are also in danger. They could get abducted.”

      Read more: link to

      • Avi
        September 29, 2010, 10:34 am


        Good catch.

        […] IDF interception likely saved the lives of the activists.

        But, somehow, for some unfathomable reason, Jeff Halper and Amira Hass, both of whom are Jewish, both of whom are Israeli, somehow through divine intervention perhaps, were spared the wrath of those terrorist fanatics when they entered Gaza in recent years.

        But, to save the lives of those on the ship, the IOF had to tazer them and brutalize them. No Jew Left Behind, eh?

        It used to be there was one TV channel and the government’s shill was on it every evening. Nowadays, every clown is an “expert”.

      • Antidote
        October 1, 2010, 8:55 pm

        Well, you see, Halper, Hass and countless others are the EXCEPTION, whereas Shalit, sole prisoner of Hamas and an IDF soldier, of course, is the RULE: an innocent peacekeeper kidnapped and imprisoned by terrorists.

        It all depends on perspective, distortion and repackaging. I wouldn’t be surprised if some government shill came up with the same line in order to rescue the myth of Jewish solidarity.

        Actually, it’s a faint echo of the sophistry employed when Christians went after their Christian brothers and (mostly) sisters during the witch craze in most un-Christian ways. The argument for subjecting them to torture and the stake was that only this way could their souls be saved, so it was really for their own good. Ugly business, but somebody had to do it in order to save the deluded from the clutches of the devil and eternal hellfire. That way, the myth of Christian brotherhood was preserved despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. An old trick that apparently works even under the most extreme pressure from reality. Compared with that, justifying a bit of rough handling of the Jewish activists should be a breeze.

      • potsherd
        September 29, 2010, 11:56 am

        “They could be abducted.” Time for the Hannibal doctrine! Kill the activists before the terrorists abduct them and make Israel pay ransom.

  5. Susie Kneedler
    September 29, 2010, 10:01 am

    Reuben Moscowitz, a Holocaust survivor who took part in the mission, expressed his disbelief that “Israeli soldiers would treat nine Jews this way. They just hit people.”

    We all are sickened that the “Israeli soldiers would treat ANYONE this way.”

    To his credit, that’s what the very brave Moscowitz meant, for he added:

    “I as a Holocaust survivor cannot live with the fact that the State of Israel is imprisoning an entire people behind fences,” Moscowitz said, adding that “it’s just immoral.”

    “What happened to me in the Holocaust wakes me up every night and I hope we don’t do the same thing to our neighbors,” Moscowitz said, adding that he was comparing “what I went through during the Holocaust to what the besieged Palestinian children are going through.”

    • Kathleen
      September 29, 2010, 10:28 am

      Really do not like saying this but at least they are treating Jews who are willing to stand up to the crimes being committed against the Palestinians like they treat non Jews.

      Well hopefully they will not shoot any of these brave activist in the head the way they did the brave activist on the Mavi Marmara

  6. Kathleen
    September 29, 2010, 10:31 am

    ot but important
    Did anyone take notice of O’Donnell’s rant about Iran? He repeated all of the neo cons talking points. He repeated the debunked (Prof Juan Cole at Informed Comment) bull that “Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map” He was channelling John Bolton, Cheney, Micheal Ledeen and Reuel Marc Gerecht on Iran. Helping set the stage for an attack on Iran by repeating this horseshit.

    Lawrence O”Donnell drank the neo con kool aid on Iran. Who needs Fox News to repeat the neo con lies when you have Rachel Maddow (have heard her rant about Iran and repeat the “Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map” hooey and Lawrence O’Donnell repeating the lies about Iran.

    Dangerous and irresponsible.

    Wondering when Lawrence O Donnell , Rachel Maddow or anyone else on MSNBC will have former Bush administration official and former CIA middle east analyst Flynt Leverett (Race for Iran) or Prof Juan Cole (Informed Comment) on their programs to discuss the situation with Iran instead of repeating the unsubstantiated talking points of the same people who lied this nation into Iraq?

    Dylan Ratigan is the best thing going on MSNBC. Stepping out of the off limits territory. Bet he has been slammed by the Israeli lobby after that Glenn Greenwald slamming of Cliff May He would be the most likely person to have some sane dialogue and information on about Iran.

    Rachel and O’Donnell drank the kool aid on Iran

    • Chaos4700
      September 29, 2010, 1:09 pm

      Well, Ms. Maddow learned what she did about foreign affairs from Mr. O’Donnell, among other like-minded pundits. So it’s not a surprise.

  7. kapok
    September 29, 2010, 12:50 pm

    This is paradoxical. They have to beat people up to scare others, but they have to portray themselves as saints in the aftermath.

    • Chaos4700
      September 29, 2010, 1:07 pm

      Ethnic supremacy complex. We saw it in Germans in the 1930’s, and we see it in Zionists today.

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