After Itamar: Exploring the cynical logic that makes everyone a target

Israel/Palestine
on 99 Comments

Everyone is rushing to condemn the gruesome murder of a family in the illegal Israeli settlement of Itamar. Even President Barack Obama felt compelled to offer his “unequivocal condemnation” of the murders. For what it’s worth (very little), I offer my own denunciation of the killings. Murdering kids can not be justified on any human level. However, even if the motives of the killer seem obvious to everyone, journalists covering the incident must be reminded there is no hard evidence that a Palestinian terrorist committed the crime. No viable armed faction has taken credit, and Israeli police are even treating Thai workers as suspects.

Itamar is heavily guarded, surrounded by an electrified fence, and monitored 24/7 by a sophisticated system of video surveillance. Yet there is no video of the killer. Like it or not, until the identity of the killer is confirmed, the murder can only be described by journalists as an “alleged terror attack.” Legitimate outrage is no excuse to flout the basics of journalism 101.

Given the amount of violence visited upon local Palestinians by the residents of Itamar and nearby settlements, I will not be surprised if the killer turns out to be a rogue Palestinian bent on revenge. In one instance documented in 2007, settlers from Itamar stabbed a 52-year-old shepherd named Mohammad Hamdan Ibrahim Bani Jaber to death while he tended to his flock. Routine attacks from Itamar have prompted the near-total evacuation of the village Izbat Al Yanoon, while settlers from nearby Jewish colony of Yitzhar have staged homemade rocket attacks on local Palestinians and torched their mosques. As I have reported, Yitzhar is home to Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, author of the notorious “Torat Hamelech,” which uses rabbinical sources to justify the killing of non-Jewish civilians, including children, in combat situations.

Medical Xray of live ammunition lodge in the skull of Ussayed Qadous, shot at point blank range by Israeli troops near Itamar in 2010

Medical x-ray of live ammunition lodged in the skull of Ussayed Qadous, shot at point blank range by Israeli troops near Itamar in 2010

A year ago in nearby Palestinian farming villages Awarta and Iraq Burin, Israeli soldiers were accused of executing local youths during riots against settlement expansion. As Jesse Rosenfeld reported, despite the clear evidence of execution style killings, none of the soldiers who held the Palestinians in custody at the time they were shot were convicted of any crimes. And to my knowledge, no official American response followed. Thus the besieged villages near Itamar have been left without any recourse or legal means to redress their harassment and murder.

Israel’s method of occupation and its military rules of engagement — which are supported by the US in spirit and through acts like the recent UN settlement resolution veto — openly skirt international law, eliminating any outside mechanism for mediating conflict or redressing the grievances of civilians harmed by war. Under these terms, where distinctions between civilians and combatants are deliberately blurred in order to deepen Israel’s control over land gained through military conquest, horrific attacks like the kind allegedly witnessed in Itamar become all the more possible.

To establish an ethical basis for military operations aimed at consolidating the occupation, the Israeli army has turned to Zionist academics like Tel Aviv University philosophy professor Asa Kasher. In the service of the army, Kasher churned out elaborate manifestoes justifying Israel’s tactics during Lebanon II and Operation Cast Lead. Kasher’s concepts of warfare are best defined by his explicit justifications for killing unarmed civilians in any instance when an Israeli soldier believed that they were in danger. Kasher strained his logic to the point that he highlighted the 2004 US invasion of Fallujah in Iraq, when American troops fired white phosphorous shells into the city center and demolished hundreds of homes, to justify Israeli actions in Gaza. “If it’s between the soldier and the terrorist’s neighbor, the priority is the soldier,” Kasher said. “Any country would do the same.”

Another academic with close ties to the Israeli military-intelligence apparatus, Professor Arnon “the Arab Counter” Soffer of Haifa University, urged the army to massacre Palestinian civilians after the withdrawal from the illegal settlement of Gush Katif in Gaza. Soffer, who devised the separation wall policy in order to confine the Palestinians of the West Bank to what he called “three sausages,” reasoned that mass murder was the only way to maintain the security of the Southern Israeli perimeter communities while avoiding political concessions to the Palestinians of Gaza.

Prof. Arnon Soffer: "Kill, kill, kill."

Prof. Arnon Soffer: “Kill, kill, kill.”

“When 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe,” Soffer argued. “Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. The pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.” And that is exactly what Israel did when it followed Soffer’s logic in Operation Cast Lead. (Note the use of the word “animal” in Soffer’s language and in the language of Israelis responding to the murders in Itamar; the word is essentially a signal to kill Palestinians indiscriminately).

While Soffer and Kasher have both served as outside consultants for Israeli governments and the army, another advocate for slaughtering Palestinian civilians, Yaakov Amidror, has been appointedto serve as Benjamin Netanyahu’s National Security Advisor. “That’s a totally illegal order,” Amidror once snapped at Israeli news anchor Haim Yavin, who had said that Israeli soldiers were instructed to avoid civilian casualties in Lebanon. “What should be said is ‘kill more of the bastards on the other side, so that we’ll win.’ Period.” Amidror has criticized Kasher for formalizing the army’s ethical code — “I said this should remain unwritten, so there wouldn’t be anything written, as [then] it would become technical,” he declared — and even called for the on-site execution of Israeli soldiers who refused to advance in battle. (Amidror also happens to be a religious settler who lives in the West Bank.)

Kasher, Soffer, and Amidror’s arguments relating to the killing of civilians are eerily similar to those advanced in a halakhic context by religious nationalist rabbis. Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira of Yitzar, a settlement that neighbors Itamar, has written in his book “Torat Hamelech” that non-Jews are “uncompassionate by nature” and should be killed in order to “curb their evil inclinations.” A guide for anyone pondering when killing goyim is permissible, the book has been described by Rabbi Dov Lior of the settlement Kiryat Arba as “very relevant, especially in this time.” Lior, who has said that“gentile sperm leads to barbaric offspring,” is also a firm advocate of slaughtering Palestinian civilians. In 2008, when the IDF’s chief rabbi, Brigadier General Avichai Ronski, brought a group of military intelligence officers to Hebron for a special tour, he concluded the day with a private meetingwith Lior, who reveled the officers with his views on modern warfare: “no such thing as civilians in wartime.” (For his part, Ronski has urged Israeli troops to show Palestinian civilians “no mercy.”)

National Security Advisor appointee Yaakov Amidror: kill civilian "bastards" and shoot non-compliant soldiers on the spot

National Security Advisor appointee Yaakov Amidror: kill civilian “bastards” and shoot non-compliant soldiers on the spot

So what is the difference between rabbis like Lior and Shapira and secular academics like Kasher and Soffer? I put this question to a 20-something settler (he is the last guy I interviewed in this video) during a rally in defense of the publication of “Torat Hamelech.” “Well, the difference is that someone like Kasher is speaking from his kishkes [guts],” the settler told me. “But Yitzhak Shapira is speaking from Torah; he’s speaking from Hashem.” In other words, the philosopher and the rabbi share a philosophy that justifies killing non-Jewish civilians, but the ethicist uses rational arguments rooted in secular Enlightenment thought, while the rabbi claims to be translating for God from ancient documents. In the end, both are working to cultivate an environment in which legal and moral protections for civilians are discarded in order to advance the maximalist goals of Jewish nationalism.

During his opening statement in his debate against Judge Richard Goldstone at Brandeis University on November 5, 2009, former Israeli Ambassador Dore Gold claimed that the Goldstone Report was in fact an attack on Israeli society. In a section entitled “Maligning Israeli Society,” Gold and Lt. Col. Jonathan Dahoah Halevi wrote: “The language used by the UN Gaza report — and the gravity of its allegations about “deliberate” Israeli attacks on civilians — maligns Israeli society as a whole, for the Israel Defense Forces is a citizen’s army, an army which is made up of the people of Israel.”

In Gold’s own words, there is no difference between Israeli civilians and soldiers — the army issociety. Without knowing it, Gold deployed the very same argument Palestinian militant factions have used to justify suicide attacks inside Israel and the murder of the children of settlers in the West Bank. Thus Gold revealed the extent to which the process of comprehensively militarizing Jewish Israeli society — a central goal of Zionism since the days of Joseph Trumpeldor — had obliterated the distinction between civilian and combatant, transforming every human being into a possible target.

In such an environment, horrific violence against the innocent is not only possible, but inevitable. Of course, most of the violence will be meted out against the Palestinians, who live under a seemingly permanent occupation with negligible deterrent capacity and no political rights. But Israelis must also live in this moral wasteland and face the depressing consequences. Having to someday accept that they were responsible for its creation might be the cruelest fate of all.

This post originally appeared on Max Blumenthal’s blog.

About Max Blumenthal

Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and bestselling author.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

99 Responses

  1. Kathleen
    March 15, 2011, 10:44 am

    An amazing post Max.

    Went to sleep last night in tears thinking about that 12 year old illegal settler girl finding her parents and siblings who had been so brutally murdered. The little guy (I believe four) who they had found a pulse on and tried to save. The 3 month old baby asleep with her parents who were also so brutally murdered.

    While the decades long building of Palestinian anger and hatred is within understanding. As you point out there is no evidence as to just who it was who committed this horrific crime. Also appreciate how you point out that so many brutal crimes have been committed by Israeli’s against and on Palestinians with absolutely no justice focused on. Just swept under the rug by Israeli officials.

    Demonstrating once again with solid evidence that there is a deep embedded racism in Judaism and in many Israeli individuals in the military. I have been in close ear shot of some of the most racist comments against “goyim” I have ever heard in my life while attending Jewish weddings, older Jewish friends birthday parties etcwhere folks had forgotten I was there.

    Thank you Max for showing us how violence begets violence.

    Trying to follow how much time NPR gives these horrendous murders. Because we know they do not cover the murders of Palestinians

    Guy Raz more focus on the conflict (have to say he did not seem to be doing his part to rebrand Israel in this interview)
    ‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem’ Tells A Tale Of Two Cities

    March 12, 2011 – GUY RAZ, host:

    this is the only story I have heard about these murders on NPR this week
    Tuesday Morning Edition

    Middle East
    Family’s Murder Adds To Israeli, Palestinian Tensions[3 min 47 sec]

    • Justice Please
      March 15, 2011, 3:22 pm

      Truly an amazing post, thanks Max! Covery everything that needs to be said on the matter.

  2. Woody Tanaka
    March 15, 2011, 10:44 am

    The fact that garbage like Lior, Shapira, Kasher and Soffer aren’t in prison or under indictment or at least ostracized tells you what you need to know about Israeli society.

  3. Citizen
    March 15, 2011, 10:46 am

    I see that 3 Scandanavian international solidarity folks are locked in Awarta while the search is on to ferret out the murderers who apparently came from inside, not outside the settlement.

  4. Oscar
    March 15, 2011, 10:53 am

    When you consider how Bill Maher can get away with telling Rep. Keith Ellison that the Qu’ran is a “book of hate,” it’s appalling to read this comprehensive discussion of the Zionist mindset.

    • chet
      March 15, 2011, 1:34 pm

      Bill Maher’s hypocrisy in portraying himself as a champion of progressive causes while engaging in Islamophobia seemingly at every opportunity is disgusting – his recent confrontational discussions with the female Egyptian journalist and now with Rep. Ellison have made his contempt for Muslims plain.

      There is no doubt that he is fervently pro-Zionist (see his fawning interviews of Netanyahoo on Youtube) and now he has allowed that bias to support Israel by attacking Muslims. To blame the entirety of the peaceful followers of the Quran for the misapplication of it by a tiny proportion of terrorists is reprehensible.

      • Ellen
        March 15, 2011, 4:32 pm

        Maher is a Glen Beck in the drag of “liberal” or “progressive” cloaking.

        He is worse than a Glen Beck because most all of his viewers think he is hip or progressive in his thinking. Instead he is racist, misogynistic and a dull bulb. If the conversation gets into something beyond sarcastic ridicule of others, he gets all confused.

  5. annie
    March 15, 2011, 11:35 am

    there is no hard evidence that a Palestinian terrorist committed the crime. No viable armed faction has taken credit……Itamar is heavily guarded, surrounded by an electrified fence, and monitored 24/7 by a sophisticated system of video surveillance. Yet there is no video of the killer. Like it or not, until the identity of the killer is confirmed, the murder can only be described by journalists as an “alleged terror attack.”

    thank you thank you thank you. it is imperative we not let our own racism jump to conclusions about the ethnicity of the murderer(s) who committed this heinous crime just as we should not excuse it based on ethnicity for it is inexcusable. It should be investigated scrupulously.

    • Hu Bris
      March 16, 2011, 1:08 pm

      Israel demands CNN apology over attack coverage
      Israel is demanding an apology from CNN over its coverage of Saturday’s terrorist attack in Itamar claiming it was “tendentious and deceptive.” Government Press Office director Oren Helman sent a letter to CNN’s Bureau Chief Kevin Flower saying he was astonished at the network’s coverage of the ruthless attack. A CNN website report avoided describing the event as a terror attack, noting that the IDF consider it an act of terrorism. Helman wrote:

      Only you decided to use the term terrorist attack in quotation marks, as if this were not necessarily the case. There is a limit to the extent of objectivity regarding such a horrific deed.

      The CNN report stated:

      Five members of an Israeli family were killed in the West Bank early Saturday morning in what the Israeli military is calling a ‘terror attack.’ According to a military spokeswoman, an intruder entered the Israeli settlement of Itamar near the northern West Bank city of Nablus around 1 am, made his way into a family home and killed two parents and their three children.

      The IDF’s official statement noted that forces were searching for a “terrorist” and not an “intruder” as the CNN report noted. The terrorist [* what 'terrorist'?] was also [correctly] referred to as an “assailant” later in the report. There was no mention of the possibility this was the act of a Palestinian terrorist. [Nor was there mention of the possibility that it was an imported foreign slave nor of the possibility that it was Israelis themselves who might have done it in order to provide a justification to continue with the incessant land-stealing. * In other words, it was an objective factual account completely without ANY unfounded conjecture attempting to blame it on Palestinians- no wonder the Israelis hated it] The BBC also referred to the terrorist as an intruder in its report. The BBC reported Saturday:

      The family, including three children, were stabbed to death by an intruder who broke into their home, Israeli media reported.

      Readers might deduce the family members died in a failed burglary attempt. The BBC went further and evinced its stance on Israel’s policy in the territories. The report stated:

      Nearly half a million Jews live in more than 100 settlements built since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. They are held to be illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.

  6. Potsherd2
    March 15, 2011, 11:43 am

    You’ll never see any of this stuff coming out in the US press.

  7. annie
    March 15, 2011, 11:56 am

    the process of comprehensively militarizing Jewish Israeli society — a central goal of Zionism since the days of Joseph Trumpeldor — had obliterated the distinction between civilian and combatant, transforming every human being into a possible target.

    i recommend this video w/israeli elik elhanan speaking @ around 16 minutes on the militarizing of israeli society. culturally it’s something we’re not used to and something i don’t think most people understand in terms of how the military permeates social standing, advancement and mindframe. he speaks later in the video also about how his consciousness changed after the death of his sister from a suicide bombing and how his military commander reached out to him in terms of healing thru retribution. it’s a unique testimony.

  8. seafoid
    March 15, 2011, 12:01 pm

    The response of the Israeli government and the settlers to this is deeply disturbing. The only reason there are 500,000 Jews in the West Bank calling the territory Erez Israel is because of the use of violence. If there was no Israeli state ethnicity violence machine they would live somewhere else. Why aren’t there half a million Jews in Lebanon or Jordan? Why isn’t the Sinai Erez Israel? why don’t they live in Israel? Lots of questions revolve around the Israeli property market and local elites.

    And the settlers are a tragic people. Conflating ethnicity based bigotry with Christian Jew hatred is wrong. This is not about antisemitism. It is about apartheid in the name of a deluded offshoot of Judaism. Here’s an example of where the Settler conversation is headed.

    Bruce Dov Krulwich of Beit Shemesh published a letter in the NYTimes:
    To the Editor: Re “Suspecting Palestinians, Israeli Military Hunts for Killers of 5 West Bank Settlers” (news article, March 13): Any statement that legitimizes the killing of a 3-month-old baby in her sleep because of the proximity of Israeli settlements to Palestinian towns is contributing to the problem. Such murder cannot be legitimized whatever the politics. Thousands of Israeli Arabs live in dozens of Arab towns within Israel’s borders, and no Israelis would say that their existence legitimizes killing their children. Rather, they are minority-group citizens with representation in the Israeli Parliament. The democratic Western world should demand that the Palestinians similarly tolerate a Jewish presence in their midst, instead of legitimizing murder of neighbors because they’re Jews.

    • Mooser
      March 16, 2011, 12:50 pm

      “legitimizing murder of neighbors because they’re Jews.”

      Of “neighbors”? Oh, I see, the settlers are their “neighbors”? Gah, that is nauseating.

  9. Chu
    March 15, 2011, 12:03 pm

    Many British were brutally murdered before they finally got out of Ireland. And Israel is a late-blooming colonial enterprise that parallels British mistreatment of the Irish in the way they subjugate the Palestinians.

    Israeli leaders are exuberant of their new Jewish empire and they just cant stop stealing, killing and cheating the public with their skewed propaganda. It’s an addiction, this sense of power they continue to abuse.

    • seafoid
      March 15, 2011, 12:26 pm

      The problem, Chu, is that it’s not about the settlers any more. This is about the Jewish state. 43 years on Israel doesn’t have enough Jews to hang onto 78% of Erez Israel. YESHA was based on assumptions that didn’t work out.

  10. fuster
    March 15, 2011, 1:01 pm

    The response of the Israelis is entirely human and predictable.

    They will resist having their babies butchered in their beds and will lash out defiantly.

    As someone said somewhere else on the blog,,,,,,,,,,,,if you treat people like animals, you can expect them to lash out.

    • Donald
      March 15, 2011, 1:44 pm

      “The response of the Israelis is entirely human and predictable. They will resist having their babies butchered in their beds and will lash out defiantly.”

      Of course it is. (No snark.) But it goes deeper than that. It’s a very human trait to hate and despise the people you are oppressing, to treat them like animals because they have something you want, and when one of Them commits an atrocity, to denounce it and claim with complete sincerity that this proves that They are barbarians who only understand force. David Samel wrote about the Nat Turner revolt yesterday. How do you think Southern whites reacted to that? Were they sincere in their belief that blacks were inferior beings best kept subjugated or they would murder white people in their sleep? Of course they were.

      • Donald
        March 15, 2011, 2:23 pm

        Though, btw, the cynical use of the murders as an excuse to increase settlement activity–well, that’s very human too. Humans pull all sorts of crap.

    • Woody Tanaka
      March 15, 2011, 1:52 pm

      “The response of the Israelis is entirely human and predictable.”

      “They will resist having their babies butchered in their beds and will lash out defiantly.”

      And if it turns out that the murderer was a settler, will they lash out against the settlers or with this disappear as just a tragedy of a lone nut (while the settlements get bigger and bigger)… ??

      • marc b.
        March 15, 2011, 2:14 pm

        An Asian worker is suspected of the murder of the Fogel family, a settler family from Itamar settlement near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, according to Palestinian press sources.

        Quds Net news quoted local residents from the area that he was infuriated with an Israeli settler for not paying him his wages carried out the killing of the settler’s family in Itamar, Palestinian press sources reported.

        Quds Net news agency on Monday quoted a Palestinian family from Awarta village next to the settlement as saying that Mr. Fogel refused to pay 10,000 shekels in wages which he owed an Asian worker he hired. The worker threatened to kill the settler and his family.

        The worker is suspected of committing the crime after midnight Friday using a knife then fleeing the scene to nearby Palestinian villages, the report added.

        sorry if already posted elsewhere.

      • Potsherd2
        March 15, 2011, 3:00 pm

        Does this mean they’ll put Awarta back together?

        Retract all the racist remarks?

        Call off the bulldozers?

        APOLOGIZE???

        Yeah, right.

      • Potsherd2
        March 15, 2011, 6:34 pm

        This report is very hard to find. The IDF has imposed a gag order on the investigation. This concerns me. The Israeli government now has a large vested interest in “proving” that a Palestinian did the murders. Will the gag order be used to cover up evidence that points in another direction?

        I’ve seen one report that has significant details, if true. No details as to how these conclusions were reached. But it claims that the intruders (2) first waited a long time until the 12 year old left the house.

        In other words, the Fogel house would seem to have been specifically targeted. The intruders seem to have known that the 12 year old would be leaving. Why wait for her to leave, with two adults known to be home?

        Ever since I first learned of these killings, it’s seemed to me that it made no sense. This theory, at least, does make some sense. Of course the killer would know Israelis would blame Palestinians.

      • Avi
        March 15, 2011, 7:41 pm

        1. No Palestinian group or organization has claimed responsibility for the murders.

        2. Both Hamas and Fatah, as well as their loose affiliates have condemned the murders.

        3. The security fence around the colony is not your usual joe-six-pack fence. It’s an electronic fence with sensors, barbed wire and razor wire. It’s also more than 8 feet high. The security company that patrols the perimeter claims that the perpetrator had climbed over the fence. If that is the case, then the perpetrator either climbed the fence or used a ladder. If he climbed the fence, when he made it over, he had to have jumped to the ground. If so, then his landing on the dirt road should have left some kind of imprint, a sign that someone had jumped over the fence. The security company claims that when the sensors indicated an intrusion, they rushed to the area only to find no physical evidence of an intrusion. The use of a ladder is highly unlikely given the need to move quickly and travel lightly, if you will.

        4. Assuming the perpetrator came from outside the colony, how did he enter the home of these colonists without waking anyone from his/her sleep? Did he have a key? Did he force his way in without waking anyone up or is it common practice to leave doors within the colony unlocked?

        5. How did the perpetrator get away undetected? Did he follow the same routine as he did when coming in? If so, why didn’t he trigger any sensors? If he had, surely the security company would have made that clear, as well.

        6. Have Blood Hounds or German Shepherds been used by the army to attempt to track the perpetrator and locate him? If not, why not?

      • Potsherd2
        March 15, 2011, 8:22 pm

        Did he force his way in without waking anyone up or is it common practice to leave doors within the colony unlocked?

        iirc, when the 12 year old returned home, she found herself locked out and had to call for someone inside to open the door. This suggests the doors were commonly left unlocked.

        Conjecture:

        The crime would seem to have to be either personal (revenge) or political (terrorism).

        The range of suspects would have to be Palestinian, Israeli or guest worker.

        A – If personal

        1 – A single Palestinian might be movitated by insane rage and have knowledge to target the Fogel house. However, the IDF seems to suggest that there were two perpetrators, which makes this less likely.

        2 – An Israeli with a grudge against Fogel might count on the crime being blamed on Palestinians, and might ensure this by committing the atrocity against the children. A member of the settlement wouldn’t have to get past the fence. But it’s hard to credit that a settler would kill a Jewish child. (Is it possible that the children were not killed premeditatedly, but because they were crying out?)

        3 – A guest worker could easily have had a grudge against Fogel and suppose that Palestinians would be blamed. He would also probably find it easier to get into the settlement. He would also be less likely to have a specific taboo against killing Jewish children. But then who was the second perp?

        B – if political

        1 – No Palestinian groups have claimed credit, all have denounced the act.

        2 – The Israeli settler movement has been the sole party to benefit from the crime and has the greatest interest in blaming the deed on Palestinians. But the aversion to killing Jewish children for purely political reasons would seem to be overwhelming.

        3 – No obvious political motive for guest workers to do such an act. This set of suspects would have to be considered to have personal motives, if any.

    • Avi
      March 15, 2011, 2:21 pm

      As someone said somewhere else on the blog,,,,,,,,,,,,if you treat people like animals, you can expect them to lash out.

      You seem to be claiming that the colonists are treated like animals. If that’s the nonsense you are trying to peddle, then you are out of your mind.

    • Potsherd2
      March 15, 2011, 2:59 pm

      Yet when Palestinians resist having their babies dragged off in the middle of the night to be tortured, when they lash out, you call them animals, not “entirely human and predictable.”

      • fuster
        March 15, 2011, 5:57 pm

        Pots, when you find some actual, like, evidence of my having called Palestinians resisting having their babies dragged off to be tortured “animals”, show it to me and shame me with it.

        I’m more likely to call them animals if they DONT resist that.

      • Potsherd2
        March 15, 2011, 6:25 pm

        My “you” was a general one, as this seems to have been the general theme of the Israeli reaction.

      • fuster
        March 15, 2011, 7:15 pm

        Pots, I’m much relieved to know that. My comment was at the top and you were paraphrasing my words, so it seemed that you were directing you comment to me.
        I’m very pleased to be incorrect and I’m sorry to have understood you so imperfectly.

      • Potsherd2
        March 15, 2011, 7:47 pm

        I’m sorry I was unclear. I see how it might have read that way.

      • Avi
        March 15, 2011, 8:11 pm

        fuster March 15, 2011 at 7:15 pm

        Pots, I’m much relieved to know that. My comment was at the top and you were paraphrasing my words, so it seemed that you were directing you comment to me.
        I’m very pleased to be incorrect and I’m sorry to have understood you so imperfectly.

        That’s ok. Don’t worry.

        As long as you’re polite and maintain a civil disposition, you can say anything you want. You can even justify genocides and ethnic cleansing as witty has done on a few occasions.

      • fuster
        March 15, 2011, 8:29 pm

        Avi, thank you. a lecture on politeness and civility coming from yourself is a rare and wondrous thing.

        much obliged.

      • Cliff
        March 16, 2011, 6:44 am

        Why does the frog sound so much like yonira?

        This nugget of wisdom had me laughing out loud:

        As someone said somewhere else on the blog,,,,,,,,,,,,if you treat people like animals, you can expect them to lash out.

        Again, what is one of the points we can derive from Max’s article? That these abuses and horrors are visited upon Palestinians 10-fold and for DECADES on top of racism/institutionalized racism and discrimination.

        Yet, the frog and his ilk keep beginning history when a colonist dies.

        The act itself is a symptom of the occupation and decades of criminality. There is NO PARITY between your side, frog, and the Palestinians who live under the heel of Zionist colonialism.

        So, it takes no effort, no political capital at all to condemn this act. It was a horrifying act. To kill children is inexcusable. Just don’t think it says something noble about Israeli society. WHY ARE YOUR FELLOW ZIONISTS ON PALESTINIAN LAND?

        And to the other Zios, what does it mean for the stateless Palestinians under occupation to watch for decades as their land and property are stolen?

        This is the SAME STORY.

        The MSM and our politicians afford more sympathy for the settlers and Zionism because it has more political capital. THATS IT. It’s a big show.

        I don’t know why everyone in this thread thinks this is a complicated issue.

        We are seeing the all too typical responses from the Zios like the frog and everyone else. I mean, just look at the crazies, saying this is an indictment of Palestinian society. REALLY? Coming from another society who require their young to serve in the military, and have occupied colonized blah blah blah blah for decades?

        There is no controversy. There is no hard facts. We are dealing with theater here. It’s because of the influence of money on our political system and identity politics (Jewishness within the Zionist context) in combination with sell-outs and cowards in congress/media/elsewhere.

    • pjdude
      March 16, 2011, 3:39 am

      SOS( same old S***) its reasonable for the Israelis to act like monsters but nothing on tyhe palestinians who are harmed. yet anothger attempt to strip the palestinians of their right to be angry. if you want to say it reasonable for Israelis to murder when palestyinians snap you have to say the palestinians snapping as a result of Israels brutal theft and rape of palestinian property and rights is reasonable.

    • tree
      March 16, 2011, 4:13 am

      The response of the Israelis is entirely human and predictable.

      Probably so, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a clear example of extreme racism, which is, sadly, entirely human and predictable. It is not clear who the guilty party is at this point, but yet many Israelis have not only decided that a Palestinian is guilty of the crime, but that ALL Palestinians are guilty and deserve a collective punishment. It makes as much sense as saying that all white people should be punished for the acts of Jared Lee Loughner. I’m sure that no would claim that the brutal murder of 6 people, including a 9 year old girl proves how “bloodthirsty” white people are.

      This reminds me of the reaction a few decades ago to the death of an Israeli settler girl in 1988. A group of kids from one of the Jewish settlements went on a hike with two armed guards on land belonging to the Palestinian village of Beita. One 15 year old girl was killed in the village and throughout Israel the word went out that the Palestinian villagers had killed her with stones. Cries of revenge went up all across the country, the villagers were rounded up and all males were arrested, one youth was killed, and a total of 15 houses were blown up by the IDF in the next several days, and several of the villagers were deported.

      A few days later the full story came out. One of the two Israeli guards had first shot and killed a Palestinian man from the village in his fields and when the hiking group continued on to the village the guard was confronted by the villagers. He shot another Palestinian villager and during the ensuing melee he also accidentally shot and killed the Jewish girl. The villagers sheltered the young Jewish hikers until the IDF came and no other Jewish child was seriously injured.

      None of this stopped the IDF from demolishing houses, and deporting some of the villagers. The army knew it had to appease the settlers who, rather than being relieved that the girl had not been killed by the villagers, were instead upset with the IDF for telling the truth.

      link to query.nytimes.com

  11. eljay
    March 15, 2011, 1:25 pm

    >> First of all, the fence is not built like the Berlin Wall. It’s a fence that we will be guarding on either side. Instead of entering Gaza, the way we did last week, we will tell the Palestinians that if a single missile is fired over the fence, we will fire 10 in response. And women and children will be killed, and houses will be destroyed. After the fifth such incident, Palestinian mothers won’t allow their husbands to shoot Kassams, because they will know what’s waiting for them.
    >>Second of all, when 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. The pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.

    Sounds reasonable to me. Now all the Palestinians have to do is “humanize ‘the Other'” and “make ‘better wheels'”. Add in a little “negotiation”, possibly some ethnic cleansing (“currently not necessary”, but not never necessary) and – voilà! – you have a nice little supremacist “Jewish state”.

    Okay, so some of you out there might have to “hold your noses” and “Remember the Holocaust!” while evil that is “required” is undertaken, but it’s that kind of dedication that makes the Zionist dream so sparkly and exciting.

  12. hophmi
    March 15, 2011, 2:37 pm

    To hear Max Blumenthal talk about “Journalism 101″ is a little rich. When he tries something other than talking to drunk college kids and editing their comments for shock value, I’ll listen to his lectures on Journalism. He’s an advocacy journalist.

    • marc b.
      March 15, 2011, 2:55 pm

      so fill us in, hophmi, who did it? palestinian, gastarbeiter, fellow settler? who? or is the pavlovian press reaction part of the understandably human ‘lashing out’? if blumenthal’s tactics are such an affront to your sensibilities, why do you sanction the press’s blood lust?

      • hophmi
        March 15, 2011, 3:08 pm

        I’m not sanctioning anybody. Blumenthal would not be so careful if the assumption was that Israelis did it. He’s a partisan activist, not a journalist.

      • Avi
        March 15, 2011, 3:48 pm

        hophmi March 15, 2011 at 3:08 pm

        I’m not sanctioning anybody. Blumenthal would not be so careful if the assumption was that Israelis did it. He’s a partisan activist, not a journalist.

        How do you know that?

      • Chaos4700
        March 15, 2011, 8:43 pm

        Simple, Avi! He can’t be a journalist! Max isn’t reprinting IDF press releases so obviously he’s not a journalist by any mainstream American standard of the word.

      • Cliff
        March 16, 2011, 6:45 am

        There are very few journalists, hop. And the cry for neutrality coming from YOU of all people means zilch.

      • Mooser
        March 16, 2011, 12:55 pm

        “He’s a partisan activist, not a journalist.”

        Get used to it, buddy. You wanna have a state, there will be partisans. It’s what you wanted, chump.

      • Mooser
        March 16, 2011, 1:19 pm

        Okay, Max Blumenthal is a “partisan activist” but settlers are, of course, just disinterested observers of the Palestinian scene.

        Hophmi, please remind me, should my legal problems rise to that state, to look elsewhere for counsel. You could get me life for jaywalking.

    • Avi
      March 15, 2011, 3:00 pm

      hophmi March 15, 2011 at 2:37 pm

      To hear Max Blumenthal talk about “Journalism 101″ is a little rich. When he tries something other than talking to drunk college kids and editing their comments for shock value, I’ll listen to his lectures on Journalism. He’s an advocacy journalist.

      So when the Jewish world gasped in revulsion at the news of John Galliano’s anti-Semitic tirade, it was misguided?

      Why is it that an intoxicated John Galliano is taken so seriously, enough to warrant Dior sacking him and Natalie Portman expressing shock and disgust, and yet when Max Blumenthal relays views held by intoxicated
      Jewish American youths, he is scuffed at? Why weren’t the journalists who relayed Galliano’s remarks meted with the same condemnation and damnation?

      • Potsherd2
        March 15, 2011, 4:10 pm

        An intoxicated Mel Gibson isnt’ an antisemite?

        In vino veritas, hophmi.

    • Woody Tanaka
      March 15, 2011, 3:12 pm

      “To hear Max Blumenthal talk about “Journalism 101″ is a little rich. When he tries something other than talking to drunk college kids and editing their comments for shock value, I’ll listen to his lectures on Journalism.”

      So Lior, Shapira, Kasher and Soffer didn’t say these evil things??? or do you think that they, too, are merely “drunk college kids”???

  13. CK MacLeod
    March 15, 2011, 3:51 pm

    So Lior, Shapira, Kasher and Soffer didn’t say these evil things???

    Soffer offers an essentially amoral perspective about what, according to his understanding of geography (which includes resources and demography), he believed the survival of the ethnically Jewish state would end up requiring.

    Since Soffer ends up siding with the Israeli state rather than with its opponents, you can call him a collaborator with “evil,” but everyone, it seems to me, is playing with the same cards here. Consider what he said prior to the scary words excerpted in the post:

    Let’s view it from a Palestinian perspective. Let’s pretend you and I are Arafat and Yasser Abed Rabbo looking at the map. Look at what the Jews are going to leave us for a state. They’re going to leave us the Gaza Strip – which is no more than a crowded “prison.” Then there’s another “prison” called Hebron, and another, larger one called Samaria. Here there are 1.6 million, here 1 million, and here 1.5 million (soon to be 3 million). Each of these “prisons” is cut off from the rest. The Jews won’t permit us to have an army, while their own powerful army will surround us. They won’t permit us to have an air force, while their own air force will fly over us. They won’t allow us the Right of Return. Why should we make a deal with them? Why should we accept a state from them? Let’s wait patiently for another 10 years, when the Jews will comprise a mere 40 percent of the country, while we will be 60 percent. The world won’t allow a minority to rule over a majority, so Palestine will be ours. The fact that in the meantime Palestinian kids are being killed doesn’t matter; what matters is that Palestine will be ours.

    Isn’t it logical for the Palestinians to see it this way?

    So, while Abed Rabbo is off talking to Yossi Beilin, and Sari Nusseibeh is off talking to Ami Ayalon, time is passing and Palestinian women are getting pregnant. This, coupled with the flood of Arabs from other countries – 300,000 since 1948 – means they’re going to finish us off.

    This is why I keep saying that in order to save the State of Israel, we have to separate unilaterally, and as quickly as possible.

    He puts the argument in terms that support his preferred course of action, seen from the perspective of a few years ago, but the same set of facts operate in everyone’s calculations today – and underlie many of the arguments of those who seek something different. Calling him “garbage” or “evil” won’t make the facts go away, or remove the necessity of dealing with the consequences. If he’s wrong, why is he wrong?

    • Avi
      March 15, 2011, 4:27 pm

      If he’s wrong, why is he wrong?

      I’m not sure if you’re willfully dense or are merely beyond reason and sensibility.

      It’s times like these when the true face of Israel’s defenders — self-styled liberal Jews like you — reveals itself for what it is.

    • Woody Tanaka
      March 15, 2011, 4:59 pm

      Bullshit. He offers the kind of immoral policy advice of the kind that should have died at Neuremberg. He blithly labels innocent people “animals,” strategizes for the foreseeable demise of children, plans for the wholesale destruction of other people’s lives and whispers in the ears of PMs about committing crimes against humanity, all because of his paranoid racism. No attempt to dress up that bullshit as realpolitik theorizing hides that evil.

      “Since Soffer ends up siding with the Israeli state rather than with its opponents, you can call him a collaborator with ‘evil,'”

      No, I don’t call him evil because he’s “siding with the Israeli state,” I call him evil because his ideas and recommendations are evil.

    • Donald
      March 15, 2011, 7:03 pm

      Soffer’s words in the post are a cynical justification for caging Palestinians and killing them and you come along and point out that he is capable of looking at the situation from the point of view of a Palestinian. So what?

      Basically, you seem to be saying that because Soffer is an analytical technocrat who can juggle numbers and look at data in a cold logical manner then he can’t be “evil”. But that’s wrong. Cold logical people can juggle numbers and look at circumstances from varying viewpoints, come back to their own viewpoint, and make a recommendation that amounts to a justification for war crimes.

      • fuster
        March 15, 2011, 7:30 pm

        Donald, it wasn’t said that he can not be evil. it was said that calling him such requires more than a naked assertion.

      • Avi
        March 15, 2011, 7:51 pm

        fuster March 15, 2011 at 7:30 pm

        Donald, it wasn’t said that he can not be evil. it was said that calling him such requires more than a naked assertion.

        You’re either a bored retiree with nothing else to do, or a paid shill.

        Which is it?

      • Chaos4700
        March 15, 2011, 8:45 pm

        My vote is on retiree. Fuster just reeks of ancient inflexibility. Sort of like what Witty will be in a few years when his sun finishes receding over the horizon like so much hairline.

        Also, on second glance, the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

      • Hu Bris
        March 16, 2011, 12:42 pm

        retiree -

      • Mooser
        March 16, 2011, 12:59 pm

        Gosh, you guys say “retiree”? And yet he gives me the impression of a kind of willfull stupidity I associate mostly with the indoctrinated young.
        Fuster is the Peter Pan of Zionist shills, the little boy who never grew up.

      • Hu Bris
        March 16, 2011, 1:21 pm

        exactly – ~I pity the missus

      • fuster
        March 16, 2011, 1:22 pm

        Chaos, may you be blessed with never growing much older and may you stay entirely flexious.

      • annie
        March 16, 2011, 1:43 pm

        avi, my vote is he’s a paid shill.

      • fuster
        March 16, 2011, 1:47 pm

        votes??????

        I vote that he’s a frog who thinks that y’all be a bunch of jack-orphans who are tarnishing the web site with your small-mindedness.

      • marc b.
        March 16, 2011, 2:02 pm

        annie, i vote that he couldn’t have been born this stupid, that his ignorance would have to have been carefully cultivated over a period of decades. ‘hothouse’ stupidity, i’d call it.

      • Potsherd2
        March 16, 2011, 2:54 pm

        I vote that people should concentrate on the issues and stop obsessing about other posters.

      • CK MacLeod
        March 16, 2011, 12:39 am

        Donald, I’m not sure what difference it makes what anyone here thinks about Soffer the man. For all we know, he’d be gratified to learn that he holds a spot on the MondoWeiss Enemies Of Humanity List. Either it’s worth understanding his ideas – perhaps because they’ve become basic to the overall argument or because they help predict or explain developments – or it isn’t.

      • Mooser
        March 16, 2011, 1:22 pm

        “his ideas”

        I think you have a real problem understanding the meaning of the second word in the above quote. And I wonder about the first, too, come to think of it.

      • Donald
        March 16, 2011, 2:42 pm

        “Either it’s worth understanding his ideas – perhaps because they’ve become basic to the overall argument or because they help predict or explain developments – or it isn’t.”

        I think it’s worth understanding his ideas precisely because they are used to justify events like the Gaza slaughter. It reminds me somewhat of what Chomsky wrote in his first book “American Power and the New Mandarins”, about the coldly analytical reasoning of Americans who justified what the US was doing in Vietnam. I mean it’s sort of a truism, I thought, that some of the worst atrocities are ordered or argued for by men in air-conditioned offices who never have to raise their voices–that last bit was a close paraphrase of something C.S. Lewis wrote, btw. Given the history of the 20th century it’s not surprising to me that a lefty radical like Chomsky and a conservative Anglican like Lewis noticed a similar pattern about evil in the 20th century.

      • CK MacLeod
        March 16, 2011, 4:00 pm

        We’re in agreement, then, about the significance of Soffer, Donald, and I think it’s a different kind of significance than that of the other figures Blumenthal indicts. The words taken from Soffer’s 2004 interview, given just before the vote on the Gaza disengagement plan, have become something of a staple in leftwing polemics. You can find the full context here – where the full interview is re-produced: link to rabbibrant.com A follow-up interview appears here: link to fr.dir.groups.yahoo.com

        Neither the original nor the follow-up clears Soffer of the charges of 1) expressing himself brutally, and 2) supporting a brutal policy. His familiar defense boils down to “but we don’t live in an ideal world.” On that note, Chomsky may be right about the American Mandarins of the Vietnam Era, but others will indict Chomsky on identical charges, leaving Chomsky with, in the end, the same defense. For that matter, C.S. Lewis has his critics, too: He can also be seen as a retrograde propagandist for “evils” of various types.

        Soffer sees himself not as calling for violence as an end in itself, but as recognizing its inevitability and seeking to ensure it serves a worthwhile purpose. One of his premises is that the Israeli state as a collective entity will very likely fight to preserve itself according to its concept. It can fight and lose, or it can fight and win. He prefers the latter, but his analysis leads him to believe that the former is also a strong possibility, even the more likely result on current trends.

        A similar analysis has therefore, unsurprisingly, been of interest to anti-Zionists, somewhat in the manner that Soffer described in the excerpt I provided above. It would be of greater comfort if only there were some good reason to believe that, if Zionism loses, it will lose quietly. Do you imagine the Israelis – all those evil Zionists with their evil professors and evil ideas and evil tendencies – simply withering away peacefully, quietly voting themselves out of existence, or quietly packing up and leaving, while their neighbors and adversaries watch patiently and passively?

        You don’t put your alternative in numbers and maps. Actually, I don’t know what you support. If you state your alternative clearly, we can perhaps analyze its prospects and the likely costs, and compare them to Soffer’s plan. My guess – it’s only a guess, I hope you’ll forgive me if I’m wrong – is that, since you see your end as more just, you’ll be willing to accept even higher human costs, and you might even say so without raising your voice. On the other hand, if your bottom line is “least overall cost in blood,” then it may very well turn out that Soffer has as good an argument as you do. Or maybe your standard is, the best that can be achieved without hurting anyone. That tends to cede the field to others – and so also entails a real human cost, whether you like it or not.

      • Donald
        March 16, 2011, 4:11 pm

        I’d suggest that the Palestinians go the nonviolent route. If they want to strive for one man one vote in a single state, they have morality on their side. Whether they have practicality I don’t know, but practicality isn’t really on anybody’s side at the moment.

        A two state solution is acceptable to me if acceptable to most Palestinians. A one state solution imposed by force (which is sort of what we have now) is the least good option. I don’t think it could be imposed by the Palestinian side by force, but if it could that wouldn’t work out well. I can’t really imagine it happening.

        Pressure on Israel from the US would help, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards anytime soon.

        Soffer seems to just go straight for realpolitik. Shut them in their cages and shoot them if they cause trouble, which they will.

      • Mooser
        March 16, 2011, 4:43 pm

        It would be of greater comfort if only there were some good reason to believe that, if Zionism loses, it will lose quietly…”

        Oh please, they are theives, not warriors. When the time comes they will slink away.
        I’m willing to take the chance, I don’t admire them as much as you do.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 16, 2011, 4:49 pm

        “Either it’s worth understanding his ideas – perhaps because they’ve become basic to the overall argument or because they help predict or explain developments – or it isn’t.”

        You want to understand Soffer’s ideas?? Read Hannah Arendt. Soffer’s thoughts are the banality of evil in practice. His evil isn’t the same species as that for which the Israelis hanged Eichmann, but it’s the same genus.

        The rest is sophistry.

      • MHughes976
        March 16, 2011, 5:14 pm

        Is he that banal? He’s an ideologist and an agitator, which I’d have thought made him generically different from an Arendt-style soulless bureaucrat.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 16, 2011, 6:17 pm

        “He’s an ideologist and an agitator, which I’d have thought made him generically different from an Arendt-style soulless bureaucrat.”

        In one sense, I guess. But on the other hand, he’s an elderly, frail-looking demographer, a professor even, advocating near genocide. Yet, he’s not a pariah in that state, rather, he gets the ear of the PM and gets a “cute” nickname. (Somehow I doubt that a nickname like “Heinrich the Jew Counter” would have gone over in past decades…) The evil he represents has been normalized, mundane, common in that society. I think that’s what I was getting at.

      • CK MacLeod
        March 16, 2011, 6:29 pm

        advocating near genocide

        Seriously, what does he say that equates with “advocating near genocide”?

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 17, 2011, 8:29 am

        “Seriously, what does he say that equates with ‘advocating near genocide’?”

        His plan for pressing the Palestinians into Bantustans — the “three sausages,” he demonically calls it — in order to force them to leave, to go to “Iraq, or Kuwait, or London,” no doubt to have the Palestinian nationality melt into the larger Arab nation or whither in exile, is a call for near genocide. (Although in some scholar’s view, if the intent is for the nationality to disappear, even without the physical destruction of its member, it is not just near genocide, but genocide.)

      • CK MacLeod
        March 17, 2011, 12:01 pm

        in some scholar’s view, if the intent is for the nationality to disappear, even without the physical destruction of its member, it is not just near genocide, but genocide

        According to that logic, the calls for a “bi-national state” also amount to a call for genocide, since it would entail the disappearance of the Jewish nation-state. Setting aside the practicality of such plans, it would likely also entail the “voluntary transfer” of numerous Israelis – possibly to New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. For some reason, you seem to expect that the Israelis should be ready to “melt” into a majority Arab state in a overwhelming majority Arab region, but Palestinian Arabs being impelled to do the same thing should be seen as victims of a holocaust.

        Soffer’s “demonic” description rests on the same set of facts that has made a succession of compromise plans unacceptable to large numbers of Palestinians. If Soffer calls what the Palestinians are being offered unattractive and probably unsustainable as a coherent, self-sufficient national entity, it’s demonic. If someone on the other side says approximately the same thing, it’s a reasonable explanation for continued resistance.

        Soffer may be demonic, but it wasn’t Soffer and his patron Satan who denied the Levant sufficient fresh water or other resources to sustain a growing population. It wasn’t even Soffer and Satan who implanted this unwanted colony Israel at the Eastern end of the Mediterranean, at the often embattled intersection of the European maritime and Asian land-based systems.

        Soffer views Israel’s status in the Middle East in about the same way that the saintly Hamas, angelic Hezbollah, and much of the rest of the Arab and Islamic world do. He believes that if “they” could, they would erase the Jewish state as an independent political entity. Wouldn’t you? The problem for everyone, devils and angels alike, and the true tragedy of the situation, is that there’s no solution that doesn’t tend to imply either gross injustice or major violence or both.

        Soffer believes that Israel can and should withdraw to a politically and materially defensible position, and leave the former occupied territories to their own devices. Under substantial international sponsorship the new Palestinian state might even rise above the geographical baseline, but, if Soffer said that, it would likely be taken as propaganda. He instead simply states that, if he was a Palestinian, he wouldn’t take what’s being made available to them either. Therefore, in his view, Israel needs to prepare either to cease to exist or to cope with 100 years of violent resistance. As a geographer, he expects the eventual resolution to be determined by material factors foremost, with states or proto-states doing whatever they need to do to survive (if they can survive), regardless of how people pretty up the picture for popular consumption.

      • CK MacLeod
        March 17, 2011, 12:48 pm

        Donald, see below, in my reply to Woody Tanaka, what as far as I can tell is Soffer’s unvarnished view of essentially the same thing you describe:

        Virtual 1-state (apartheid Israel) = current situation, politically and demographically unsustainable; ditto but even more so for “transfer” plans

        “Bi-national” state (secular democratic Palestine) = hard to imagine being brought about for a variety of reasons, including very strong religious-sectarian and ethnic opposition

        2-state = basically unjust, since under almost any imaginable configuration it leaves the Palestinians with the very short end of the historical stick, and likely in some degree of dependency on the international community and Israel itself. Even after substantial aid and compensation to the Palestinians, still likely to leave a significant minority, if not the majority, deeply dissatisfied.

        “Soffer seems to just go straight for realpolitik. Shut them in their cages and shoot them if they cause trouble, which they will.”

        Serious question: Other than the fact that he expresses himself brutally, how is the likely, real world result of what he proposes worse than the actual implementable alternatives? Or – as I think is arguable – is his alternative the underlying tendency of the situation regardless of political preferences or abstract theories of ideal justice? In short, don’t your and Soffer’s visions in effect largely overlap, the main difference being that he directs himself to an Israeli polity that he’s trying to shock into action and away from what he considers untenable extremes (post-Zionism, Eretz Zionism), while you direct yourself to the moral responsibility of the international community to ameliorate the situation?

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 18, 2011, 9:43 am

        “According to that logic, the calls for a “bi-national state” also amount to a call for genocide, since it would entail the disappearance of the Jewish nation-state.”

        No, because the disappearance of a state is not genocide, by any definition. The Jewish people would still exist as a nation in a bi-national state, in the same way that they existed as a nation when they had no state. The difference is that Soffer has no problem wiping out the Palestinians as a nationality because, by all accounts, he and the like-minded, filth like Golda Meir, refuse to recognize that the Palestinians are, in fact, a people. This disgusting act of bigotry akin to racism, coupled with the judeo-supremacy at the core of Zionist ideology, is the essence and sum total of his “thinking.” The rest is sophistry.

      • CK MacLeod
        March 18, 2011, 12:47 pm

        If “the disappearance of a state” isn’t genocide” by any definition,” then how is it genocide, or “wiping out the Palestinians as a nationality,” to offer a less-than-ideal state to the Palestinian Arabs, or to expect them to subsist within a larger Arab multi-ethnic nation? If you can have a “nation” without a nation-state, then that would apply to the Palestinians as well. In addition to ignoring what your proposed solution would actually require, you’ve bypassed your own logic, and constructed this special exception for the side you favor, because you’re emotionally attached to your hatred of the Israelis, especially the people you refer to as “filth,” even while accusing others of “bigotry akin to racism.” You apparently don’t care what happens to the people who would be sacrificed on the altar of your self-righteousness – most of them probably on the side you favor. People like you are too unimportant to be exhibit A in Soffer’s case, but you and the self-mutilating political tendency you represent are in the brief, and help make his program, or something even worse, much more likely.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 18, 2011, 3:00 pm

        …how is it genocide, or “wiping out the Palestinians as a nationality,” to offer a less-than-ideal state to the Palestinian Arabs, or to expect them to subsist within a larger Arab multi-ethnic nation?”

        I did not say those things were genocide. I told you which portions of Soffer’s ideas, in my mind, do constitute advocating near genocide. If you disagree, you disagree; I really don’t care.

        In addition to ignoring what your proposed solution would actually require…

        I’m not aware that I’ve ever offered a “proposed solution.” To the extent I have one it would simply be for everyone to treat everyone else with the human rights and equality to which they are entitled as humans, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, etc.. One state, two states, ten states, no states… I don’t really give a damn how it is accomplished, so long as it is accomplished.

        …your hatred of the Israelis, especially the people you refer to as “filth,”

        I don’t hate “the Israelis,” I hate the ideas some Israelis have and some of the policies they follow, but I don’t have the people as a poeple. And I didn’t refer to “people” as filth. I refered to a particular person, Golda Meir, as filth. Because she was filth.

        You apparently don’t care what happens to the people who would be sacrificed on the altar of your self-righteousness…

        Quite the reverse. I have no desire other than to see that the human rights, respect and equality of all the people of the region are absolutely respected. Period.

        People like you are too unimportant to be exhibit A in Soffer’s case, but you and the self-mutilating political tendency you represent are in the brief, and help make his program, or something even worse, much more likely.

        Whether I’m important or not is really of no moment; too much suffering has been had in the history of the world by “important” people.

        And if Soffer’s “program” or something worse comes into existence, it will not be because of anything I’ve done, but will be due to the fact that those in power don’t have the morality or character to do otherwise.

  14. CK MacLeod
    March 15, 2011, 4:01 pm

    Also on Soffer, I wonder what the source for his supposed statements on Gush Katif is. I frankly don’t trust Blumenthal’s characterization, but remain willing to be enlightened.

    In the meantime, some of you all might enjoy Soffer’s 2005 open letter entitled “An Existential Threat called ‘YESHA.'” Though he remains committed to the Israeli state, he is unsparing in his condemnation of the Settlers, and blames them for de-legitimizing his “precious Israel.”

    link to mideastweb.org

    The point isn’t to defend Soffer or the Iraeli politicians whom his ideas inspire, but to be wary of grouping people together in an undifferentiated manner.

    • Avi
      March 15, 2011, 4:32 pm

      The point isn’t to defend Soffer or the Iraeli politicians whom his ideas inspire, but to be wary of grouping people together in an undifferentiated manner.

      Such as the fact that Israeli polls indicated that 96% of Israelis supported the massacre of Gazans in early 2009?

      If you want differentiation, you’ve earned it. You are differentiated as one of the dense Israel defenders who think they hoodwink others.

      • CK MacLeod
        March 15, 2011, 5:04 pm

        DELETED

      • Mooser
        March 16, 2011, 4:45 pm

        “DELETED”

        That sounds like a bulls-eye to me!

      • MHughes976
        March 15, 2011, 5:10 pm

        I’d put it to Soffer that he is using ‘remain alive’ in a sense that means ‘alive as a politically dominant minority’ and ‘kill’ in a sense that refers to plain physical slaughter. Incessant slaughter may indeed be necessary for endless ethnic domination, but that fact, if it is a fact, does not show that it’s necessary to kill physically in order not to be killed physically, since the end of domination and subservience – as an alternative to endless killing – may bring an end to the whole regime of violence. What this fact does show is that being dominant politically has a morally unacceptable cost, since killing is generally regarded as wrong and the demand for a superior position and greater power is not generally regarded as an excuse.

      • Hu Bris
        March 16, 2011, 10:10 am

        yeah – the completely fatuous CK’s sad&pathetic attempts at disguise are freakin hilarious – his ‘impartial observer’ beard is kind of completely pointless given the company he regularly keeps – playing tag-team with his BFF Fuster kinda puts the kibosh on any notion that he is anything other than a kool-aid addicted Zio-naut peddling 100%-pure Hasbara-BS, while wearing a very bad disguise

      • piotr
        March 16, 2011, 2:25 pm

        The statistic of 96% is suspect. Surprisingly many polls in Israel provide data only for Jewish Israelis, so one should check before citing a poll. And a link could be helpful too.

      • Avi
        March 16, 2011, 4:44 pm

        piotr March 16, 2011 at 2:25 pm

        The statistic of 96% is suspect.

        You’re right. I was wrong. It’s not 96%. It’s actually 94%.

        This picture of absolute support within the Jewish population for the operation was repeated almost exactly in the data collected by the War and Peace Index of the Tami Steinmetz Center. In a poll taken January 4-6, 2009,[6] 94 percent of the Jewish population responded that they strongly supported the operation; 92 percent thought it had security benefits for Israel; 92 percent justified the air force strikes on Gaza; and 70 percent felt that sending ground troops into Gaza was “a necessary step.” The poll charted a reverse picture among Israeli Arabs: 85 percent opposed the operation.

        Here’s your link:

        link to inss.org.il

        Have fun.

        Now buzz off.

      • Hu Bris
        March 16, 2011, 5:11 pm

        here’s another – link to haaretz.com

        this one claimed ‘82% support [the Gaza Massacre]‘ and also that ‘Less than 10 percent see the operation as a “failure.”

  15. Les
    March 15, 2011, 4:36 pm

    The attack justifies building additional settlements the way Operation Cast Lead justified building more settlements. When you think about it, building more settlements is the best justification in the Israeli mindset for building more settlements.

  16. seafoid
    March 15, 2011, 5:08 pm

    Building more settlements is the same logic that brought keeping the Greenspan boom going by extending into subprime. Don’t stop because if you do it will all collapse. Hope for the best.
    It just means the mother of all crashes.

  17. RoHa
    March 15, 2011, 9:04 pm

    ” the on-site execution of Israeli soldiers who refused to advance in battle.”

    Wasn’t this the practice in the Red Army?

  18. thetumta
    March 15, 2011, 10:20 pm

    Still haven’t seen any evidence that would gain a conviction in an American court, maybe not even an indictment? So why speculate? At this point, who has gained from this incident and who has lost? “The usual suspects”
    Hej!

    • Avi
      March 16, 2011, 1:52 am

      In the Israeli court of public opinion, the guilty party is Palestinians.

  19. Hu Bris
    March 16, 2011, 10:06 am

    Quds Net news: Killer of Colonist Family is ‘Asian Worker’ angry about being stiffed on ‘wages of 10,000 Shekels’ by the Colonists

    ABLUS, (PIC)– An Asian worker is suspected of the murder of the Fogel family, a settler family from Itamar settlement near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, according to Palestinian press sources.
    Quds Net news quoted local residents fro at infuriated with an Israeli settler for not paying him his wages carried out the killing of the settler’s family in Itamar, Palestinian press sources reported.
    Quds Net news agency on Monday quoted a Palestinian family from Awarta village next to the settlement as saying that Mr. Fogel refused to pay 10,000 shekels in wages which he owed an Asian worker he hired. The worker threatened to kill the settler and his family.
    The worker is suspected of committing the crime after midnight Friday using a knife then fleeing the scene to nearby Palestinian villages, the report added.
    It noted that the Israeli army knows of the information leading to the suspect but refuse to announce or deal with it for political as well as security reasons.

    the source is at least as credible as ANY Israeli source on this, or indeed any, matter

    • Mooser
      March 16, 2011, 4:48 pm

      Oh my, this thread sorta died, right there with that report, didn’t it?

      • Hu Bris
        March 16, 2011, 5:19 pm

        link to desertpeace.wordpress.com

        Why is it that Israel refuses to even investigate the possibility that the horrendous murder of an Israeli family of settlers might have been done by a NON Palestinian? It was reported yesterday on an Arab news site that the suspect in the killing was a disgruntled Asian worker. It was posted on THIS Website as well as on a number of other Blogs…. Except for THIS report from the Jerusalem Post (denying the possibility) there was NOT ONE WORD in the Israeli press.

        I can only conclude that Israel does not want to acknowledge the possibility that this might be true. Zionism can only continue in its chosen path by maintaining its polices of racism and oppression. In the Pavlovian sense, those two elements are what makes the zionist salivate like the dog used in Pavlov’s experiments.

      • Cliff
        March 16, 2011, 5:35 pm

        eee and the rest of the haters collectively jumped for joy to blame a Palestinian while feeling like victims (pathological).

        lets see how this develops.

    • Chu
      March 17, 2011, 10:15 am

      That’s the problem when you work for someone who excels at taking things that are not rightfully theirs in the first place.
      Dont expect to get paid from people like this.
      I wonder if the culprit even had a contract from the settler?

  20. MHughes976
    March 16, 2011, 5:10 pm

    Whether or not the Thai did it in this case I’d still think it plain that there are on both sides of this conflict people who would willingly and with a sense of justice kill members of the other side, women and children included, if circumstances brought this within their power. And of course if some people want me dead I have, as Thomas Hobbes explained, some degree of reason – logical not cynical – for wanting them dead.

Leave a Reply