Dying of schmaltz

While uneasy about the asymmetry of the Shalit deal between Israel and Hamas–a thousand Palestinian prisoners ( invariably described in Israel as “terrorists”) for one Israeli–the Israeli and the American Jewish media are also full of hymns of self-praise for us wonderful Jews: the “price” we paid was “a moral victory for Israel,” demonstrates our adherence to “profound Jewish values” such as “the pride in the value we place on every single human life,” is “a sign of humanity” that is “sadly absent in large parts of the world, especially in this region,” and the like. The implication is unmistakable: we are different from them, the parents of the 1000 Palestinians, and the nation they represent, either did not grieve or had no right to grieve over their “children” in Israeli prisons, nor rejoice over their release.

The blatant racism and infuriating claims of moral superiority aside, there are indeed significant differences between the Israeli and Palestinian prisoner situations.

While some of the Palestinian prisoners were truly terrorists seeking the unjust cause of the destruction of Israel, surely many others were essentially soldiers in a just cause, national liberation and the creation of an independent state in a small part of Palestine. On the other hand, Shalit was a soldier of a nation whose real cause (continuing the de facto occupation of the Palestinians and Jewish expansion into what remains of their territory) is unjust and whose “profound Jewish values” and “adherence to the dignity of all human lives” does not prevent it—stop me when you think I’m misstating the facts—from occupying, killing, repressing, imprisoning, blockading, and deliberately inflicting deep economic as well as psychological pain on another people.

Who are these people, anyway? Never mind our supposed Jewish moral values, how about our celebrated commitment to reason? Or even self-preservation? Are they quite mad?

This is a crosspost from Jerry Slater’s site.

About Jerome Slater

Jerome Slater is a professor (emeritus) of political science and now a University Research Scholar at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He has taught and written about U.S. foreign policy and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for nearly 50 years, both for professional journals (such as International Security, Security Studies, and Political Science Quarterly) and for many general periodicals. He writes foreign policy columns for the Sunday Viewpoints section of the Buffalo News. And his website it www.jeromeslater.com.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

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

  1. American says:

    Yes Jerome, you have it exactly right this time.
    They are quite mad.

    What does the world do about a country whose leadership is mad and a has a large number of mad people?
    What is the solution?
    The US leadership isn’t the solution, it’s also quite mad.

    • kapok says:

      Hilary, the Latin scholar

      link to news.antiwar.com

      Look at her face. That woman is disturbed.

      • American says:

        I just saw the tail end of a clip of a Hillary interview on Afghan on the news.
        She said something like..’we came, we saw, we died’…that’s probably not exact but close.. in the clip she was smiling when she said ‘we died”….very weird.

        It will probably show on the net soon so we will see exactly what she said.

    • Keith says:

      AMERICAN- “The US leadership isn’t the solution, it’s also quite mad.”

      Although you paint with an overly broad brush, there is much truth in what you write. Our business and government leaders are hyper-ambitious power seekers who will do practically anything to increase their power and influence regardless of the consequences to others. They are bona fide sociopaths. Why else all of the wars, killing and heartless exploitation down through history? It is quite depressing to realize that the people calling the shots are the last people a sane person would want calling the shots.

      • American says:

        This will interest you.

        The Sociopath Next Door Martha Stout Ph.D., Havard

        Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by selfishness, ruthlessness and the inability to feel guilt or empathy.

        Characteristics of Psychopath
        (Sociopath, Anti-social Personality Disorder
        PCL-R model of psychopathy)

        Grandiose sense of self-worth.
        Pathological lying
        Conning/manipulative
        Lack of remorse or guilt
        Callous/lack of empathy
        Parasitic behavior
        Poor behavioral controls
        Irresponsibility
        Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
        Narcissism

        Tactics used by sociopaths in their interactions with others:

        Denial
        Rationalization
        Diversion
        Covert Intimidation
        Guilt-tripping – One thing that aggressive personalities know well is that other types of persons have very different consciences than they do. Manipulators are often skilled at using what they know to be the greater conscientiousness of their victims as a means of keeping them in a self-doubting, anxious, and submissive position. The more conscientious the potential victim, the more effective guilt is as a weapon
        Shaming
        Playing the Victim Role
        Vilifying the Victim
        Projecting the blame

        #The Pity Play.
        “Bear in mind that the combination of consistently bad or egregiously inadequate behavior with frequent plays for your pity is as close to a warning mark on a sociopath’s forehead as you will ever be given.”…Stout

        If Israel was a person instead of a state it would fit the clinical definition of a psychopath. So would a larger number of leaders and politicians and especially zionist. The “Pity Play’ as Stout says is a dead giveaway of psychopaths when contrasted when their actions.
        The APA says 4% of the population are sociopaths.

        Bottom Line:
        “You can’t negotiate or bargain with psychopaths”…Stout

        Which is why I say you can’t negotiate with Israel and you can’t ‘reform” our currentUS political crop…you have to get rid of them. Period.

        • ToivoS says:

          American that is an interesting comparison, ie defense of Israel with sociopathy. The parallels are frightening. You should put this out there more prominently. This comparison never occurred to me before nor have I seen it elsewhere.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Guilt-tripping – One thing that aggressive personalities know well is that other types of persons have very different consciences than they do.

          Sounds like my being dogged by DBG, i.e. “You’re Catholic/gay/white/American so you shouldn’t be supporting Muslims.” Of course, his problem is, while he recognizes that I have a conscience, he doesn’t fathom how a conscience actually works, which is why his identity-based attacks and slanders are ineffectual.

        • American says:

          @ Chaos

          Exactly.

  2. Donald says:

    “While some of the Palestinian prisoners were truly terrorists seeking the unjust cause of the destruction of Israel, surely many others were essentially soldiers in a just cause, national liberation and the creation of an independent state in a small part of Palestine. ”

    I would draw the line a little differently among the Palestinian prisoners who had killed Israelis. The line is between those who killed Israeli soldiers, which is a legitimate act of resistance (whether a smart tactic is a separate question) vs. those who deliberately killed civilians. Doing the latter is wrong whether the cause is good or bad.

    Of course a far larger number of Palestinian civilians are killed by Israelis, and millions are living under Israeli oppression.

    • Walid says:

      I also draw a line on the killing of civilians, Israelis and Palestinians. Military people like Shalit were fair game.

    • Potsherd2 says:

      There is nothing unjust about the cause of the destruction of Israel. Indeed, it is the cause of justice, overturning injustice and righting the original wrong of its creation.

    • Shmuel says:

      There are other groups as well: those accused of political “crimes”, those wrongly accused, those denied a fair trial, those held without trial on the basis of “secret” evidence, etc.

      It is not only that Shalit was a participant in repression. The wholesale imprisonment of Palestinians (hundreds of thousands since 1967) is, in itself, a central mechanism of Israeli repression and terror. Shalit’s capture – intended to facilitate the release of Palestinian prisoners – was thus an act of legitimate resistance.

      • Keith says:

        SHMUEL- “Shalit’s capture – intended to facilitate the release of Palestinian prisoners – was thus an act of legitimate resistance.”

        Absolutely correct and very well stated!

  3. American Jewish media are also full of hymns of self-praise for us wonderful Jews: the “price” we paid was “a moral victory for Israel,” demonstrates our adherence to “profound Jewish values” such as “the pride in the value we place on every single human life,” is “a sign of humanity” that is “sadly absent in large parts of the world, especially in this region,”

    But hey, according to professor Mearsheimer “Jews don’t fall for propaganda”, so we don’t have to worry.
    They will just treat it as it should be treated–a brainwashing propaganda that tries to booster somewhat wounded egos.

    • Citizen says:

      Mearsheimer would except the ultimate propaganda- his book with Walt clearly shows how Jews do fall for propaganda designed to target their worst fear of the next pogrom right around the corner unless they rubber-stamp Israel, or at least, don’t air their criticism of Israel on the Goy laundry line.

  4. radii says:

    israel always plays at least a double-game, sometimes triple and quadruple … most of these 1000 were being held for bogus or no charges as a way to intimidate the larger Palestinian populace and were let go because they didn’t do anything wrong in the first place … and, since israel is gearing up for more attacks on Gaza and other Palestinian places and backs up the settler-monsters at every turn they figure they’ll get these released prisoners one way or the other in the future

    • piotr says:

      The bad goat is exiled into a desert and the good goat is sacrificed. This really makes it less relevant to establish: which one is good and which one is bad.

  5. jnslater says:

    Donald:

    You are exactly right, in every respect. Still, my own view is that killing civilians in an unjust cause is even worse than killing civilians in a just cause. In fact, I would contend, most of us do make this distinction in our own minds, although we are unwilling to make it explicit–perhaps for good reasons.

    • Jerome,
      I would argue that the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state in order to build a single state, in other words, to democratically reorder the one that has existed, de facto, since 1967, is a just cause. While I do not justify targeting obvious civilians within the Green Line, those who have elected to live in the illegal settlements, who carry arms and who have used them against the Palestinians and who harass their villages and uproot their trees, should not enjoy the same immunity, although I consider all attacks on civilians, in general and apart from the moral question, politically stupid and in the end, self-defeating. The presence of the apartheid wall attests to that every day .

      On the other hand, as long as the occupation exists, every Israeli soldier is a legitimate target, whatever side of the Green Line and, as I have argued before, had the Palestinians used their weapons exclusively against them in the West Bank and in Gaza, before 2005, the label of “terrorist” would have been more difficult for Israel to make stick outside of its worldwide support network.

      As I mentioned in a post some months ago, one of the most significant and bravest acts of resistance against the occupation was taken by a Palestinian sniper, reportedly with the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade, who, firing from a hillside, killed seven Israeli soldiers at a roadblock in March, 2002, and managed to get away.

      Continuation of attacks like that, which was as legitimate and lawful as those carried out by European partisans against their German occupiers in WW2, would have radically changed the dynamic of the struggle. Instead, it shifted to suicide vests and attacks on Israeli civilians inside the Green Line which ended up killing innocent civilians and setting back that struggle.

      Why that successful action in 2002 has largely been buried in Palestinian resistance lore is as mystifying to me as has been the failure of the Palestinian leadership as well as the solidarity movement to have mounted an international campaign to free Marwan Barghouti along the lines of the one organized to free Nelson Mandela. Finding good leadership (and keeping it alive) has never been the Palestinians’ strong suit.

      • Keith says:

        JEFFREY- “…those who have elected to live in the illegal settlements, who carry arms and who have used them against the Palestinians and who harass their villages and uproot their trees, should not enjoy the same immunity….”

        I agree completely! As I have stated in the past, the term “settlers” is far too innocuous. These people are paramilitary invaders, paramilitary occupiers, paramilitary terrorists. Under these circumstances, armed resistance is self defense.

        • Hostage says:

          JEFFREY- “…those who have elected to live in the illegal settlements, who carry arms and who have used them against the Palestinians and who harass their villages and uproot their trees, should not enjoy the same immunity….

          There have been reports regarding settler violence dating back to the 1980s Israeli Karp Commission Report and the Database Project on Palestinian Human Rights report edited by M. Cherif Bassiouni and Louise Cainkar. The UN General Assembly recognized the legitimacy of armed struggle waged by peoples under colonial domination to exercise their right to self-determination and independence in resolution 2105 (XX) adopted in 1965.

          Then, during the second intifada, Palestine produced waves of suicide bombers, just like many other occupied countries. The General Assembly and Security Council adopted the Quartet Road Map which contained a quid pro quo. The Palestinian Authorities were required to stop violence in exchange for an end to the occupation and a state of their own.

          So despite the fact that the ICJ had just ruled that Israel was illegally colonizing the occupied territories, the General Assembly called on the PA to end the armed struggle:

          Condemning all acts of violence, terrorism and destruction,
          .
          Calling upon both parties to fulfil their obligations under relevant provisions of the road map, the Palestinian Authority to undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks, and the Government of Israel to take no actions undermining trust, including deportations and attacks on civilians and extrajudicial killings,

          The General Assembly also:

          Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, comply with its legal obligations as mentioned in the advisory opinion;
          .
          Calls upon all States Members of the United Nations to comply with their legal obligations as mentioned in the advisory opinion;

          The international community has repeatedly failed to live up to its obligation to make Israel comply with international law. So, the PA went to the International Criminal Court as a last resort. The United States, Israel, and the EU have responded with the irrelevant claim that criminality can only be eliminated through a negotiated agreement with Israel; statutory protections for Israeli officials; and threats to de-fund any international organization that recognizes the statehood of Palestine. That is a very good example of legal impunity and immunity.

        • American says:

          “The United States, Israel, and the EU have responded with the irrelevant claim that criminality can only be eliminated through a negotiated agreement with Israel; ”

          And such total bullshit it makes me sick to my stomach.

      • Citizen says:

        The French resistance, e.g., snipers etc–mostly appeared only when Allied troops were coming, and not far away. This suggests (although it doesn’t justify) killing of Jewish civilians is much less personally risky than killing IDF troops. Since the settlers are armed, and protected by Jewish cops & IDF, the risk their to Palestinian resistance fighters falls in between.

        I don’t think there’s any Allied troops coming soon to rescue the Palestinians from nuclear-armed & US-fed IDF troops. Maybe that’s why the Palestinian leadership doesn’t model the Palestinian sniper?

      • American says:

        I would say that snipering of the IDF is legitimate when they make raids into Palestine, if for instance the IDF is bulldozing homes or kidnapping Palestines. In fact the only reason Hamas or other resisters don’t use it is probably because of the collective punishment, as in bombing entire areas, that Israel would inflict in return. I would say that Palestine using snipering, because it doesn’t result in collateral damage of civilians unlike Israel’s attacks, and kidnappings are a more effective form of violence or ‘bargining”.
        I also wonder if there is a way for Hamas to use kidnapped IDF as human shield deterents by letting Israel know or think they within areas Israel’s bombs and as subject to being killed by Israel as the Palestines they are bombing.

        Some interesting sniper cases from history:

        On 9 May, 1864 a confederate sniper took what was to be considered an incredible shot at that time. During the Battle of Spotsylvania, Sgt. Grace of the 4th Georgia Infantry, took aim and fired at a distant Union officer. Grace was using a British Whitworth target rifle and the distance was 800 yards. Grace’s target, Major General John Sedgwick, fell dead after uttering the words “Why, they couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist…”. Sedgwick’s death resulted in a delay of the Union attack which in turn gave General Robert E. Lee the edge he needed to win the day at Spotsylvania.

        Unknown Confederate Sniper.
        On September 19, 1863, a confederate sniper armed with a Whitworth .45 caliber percussion rifle, most likely shooting a 530 grain bullet, mortally wounded Union General William H. Lytle, during the battle of Chicamauga. General Lytle was leading a charge at the time. He died the following day. The Confederate army relied heavily on these marksmen to make up for their lack of heavy weapons and war fighting material. They were quite effective at harrying Union troops, artillery units and specialized in the taking of union officers. They were certainly one of the most effective forces on the battlefield and the Union was hard pressed to match their skill.

        Simo Häyhä. Finland. 1939 – 1940.
        A member of the 34th Infantry Regiment and a farmer by trade, Simo Häyhä became a most feared sniper during the 1939-40 (30 November 1939 14 March 1940) Winter invasion of Finland by the Soviet Union. Using nothing more than an iron sighted Mosin-Nagant Model 28, Simo is credited with killing 505 Russians during a three month period – a feat still unmatched today by any sniper in any conflict. (Editor’s note: Some sources say as many as 542 kills in this period.) The impact of Simo and men like him forced the Soviets to pay dearly for their transgressions.

        Sulo Kolkka. Finland, 1939 – 1940.
        During 105 days of combat Sulo was credited with 400+ enemy kills as a sniper in the Winter War (30 November 1939 14 March 1940). He used an iron sighted Mosin-Nagant rifle. He often took the war to the rear of the Soviet lines, causing much fear and frustration as this area was supposedly safe. Hunted often by the Soviets, he outlasted them all, killing the sniper sent to hunt him at 600 yards with a single shot.

        The name of Zaitsev has become synonymous with snipers at Stalingrad. He is credited with killing 242 German soldiers during the late 1942 siege at Stalingrad. His final count tallied 400 by the end of his service in WWII.

        Gunnery Sergeant Carlos N. Hathcock II – United States Marine Corps. 93 confirmed.
        Probably the name most associated with modern military sniping in the United States, Carlos Hathcock has become legend in that nation for his exploits during and after the Vietnam war. The lessons learned by Hathcock and others during the Vietnam conflict were used to rebuild and revitalize sniping within the US military. The sniping of a Vietnamese general under conditions that can only be described as impossible. Displaying the ultimate in patience and field craft, Hathcock crawled approximately 1000 yards across an open field for four days to get into a position enabling him to take this particular general. He successfully completed the mission with a 700 yard killing shot.

  6. Posts kicked out twice?

    Again, Shalit was in Israel, in a role of defense, not offense.

    In even “just causes” it is always innocents that get the brunt. There is no retributive form of resistance that does not exact collective punishment on civilians, whichever way the resistance or defense occurs.

    When civilians or non-belligerants are harmed, it doesn’t matter whether a cause is or not just, or is perceived or not as just.

    Determining that, whether a right-wing government official or a dissenter is a vanity of judgment, taking another’s life and death into one’s own hands.

    • annie says:

      Again, Shalit was in Israel, in a role of defense, not offense.

      and when have you ever acknowledged israel has acted in offense? spare us.

      • Your joking Annie.

        You don’t read my posts fully do you?

        • annie says:

          rarely. enlighten me. when does israel act in offense, according to you.

        • Perhaps it is because your posts are an indecipherable jumble of tangled syntax. I doubt annie is a cryptologist, so no wonder she doesn’t get whatever tortured logic you profess.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Yes, Witty. Provide specific examples, this time.

        • I’ve written mostly about the methodology of Israel’s expropriation of land, the institutionalization of suppression.

          That is what I consider clearly offensive.

          I described Cast Lead as excessive. I described Lebanon as excessive.

          I find myself in the position of encountering right-wing Israelis or supporters and grossly disagreeing with them, to the point of motivation to dissent more clearly and assertively.

          And, then I come to places where “committed” dissenters convey their understandings, and I find them equally abusive and self-rationalizing.

          I so desire a Palestinian solidarity approach that is based on kindness rather than animosity, and by that I don’t mean that Palestinians should be kind to their oppressors, but that dissenters should be motivated by goodness.

          The invocation of “justice” for example strikes me as primarily retributive.

          The invocation of political solidarity strikes me as similarly naming Israelis or any that feel any affinity into non-persons.

          Its so counter-productive.

        • eGuard says:

          Witty, when Shalit was in Israel, in a role of defense, not offense,

          how do you know he and his tank batallion was on defense? What was he doing near Gaza Strip?

        • annie says:

          when does israel act in offense

          specific dates work for me. speeches are not necessary.

          I described Cast Lead as excessive. I described Lebanon as excessive.

          excessive is not a word i used. was either the massacres on gaza and lebanon offensive attacks? just name an attack or specific action you would describe and offensive in nature. the assassinations? which one. spit it out.

        • So ,are you trying to be on both sides of the barricade, at the same time, or maybe you are just sitting in the middle of it, and act as a white flag “waver”.??
          Be careful , it is the worst position during any conflict, you will get kicks from both sides.
          Nobody likes it.

        • MRW says:

          I so desire a Palestinian solidarity approach that is based on kindness rather than animosity

          You’re preaching to the choir. Tell it to Netanyahu and the settlers. They’re the ones with the guns, bombs, tanks, and the full force of the IDF on their side.

        • Donald says:

          “And, then I come to places where “committed” dissenters convey their understandings, and I find them equally abusive and self-rationalizing.”

          First, people who criticize you here are critical of you for making excuses for Israeli violence. Most of us don’t claim that Palestinians have the right to use indiscriminate firepower against Israelis, so when you say we are “equally abusive” you are telling us that you find harsh criticism of Israeli war crimes just as “abusive” as endorsement of Israeli violence.

          You don’t really make distinctions between people who criticize Israeli violence more harshly than you do. To you we’re all the same–those who condemn atrocities no matter which side commits them are the same as people who support terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          So how many dead children are you willing to tolerate, Witty, until it becomes “excessive?” Be specific.

        • Citizen says:

          Witty, you write as if Justice is not a very key self-declared motivator in Jewish biblical and Shoah literature, in Jewish humanist verbiage too. People who argue that Jewish tradition & bible primarily push Revenge or “retribution” are customarily attacked as “anti-semitic.” So, are we to glean from your comment (“The invocation of “justice” for example strikes me as primarily retributive.) that you are a Jew-hater?

        • LeaNder says:

          I described Cast Lead as excessive. I described Lebanon as excessive.

          Nice argument, unfortunately you are attempting a far too easy way out. You supported both as absolutely necessary, up to the point of perception management/propaganda lies with the invention of quotes about threats from changing Hamas groups or leaders.

          The invocation of “justice” for example strikes me as primarily retributive.

          Maybe you can tune down the grandstanding tzaddik and explain why justice is equal with retribution (apart from your justified core fears, considering the larger scenario), only when it is a demanded for the Palestinians? Remember legally justified retribution was your main argument in the support of both Cast Lead and Jordan 2006. Retribution under the cover of defense. All Israeli attacks have the accompanying component of bombing the targets several decades back, for quite some time now. And the necessary scenario doesn’t seem to hard to produce.

      • Dan Crowther says:

        Actually, Witty – his role was most certainly not defense, and his kidnapping was a direct result and retaliation for the kidnapping of two Palestinians the day before….The Israeli’s actually crossed into Gaza to carry out the kidnapping…..
        link to democracynow.org

        Chomsky:

        The day before Gilad Shalit was captured at the border, Israeli troops entered Gaza, kidnapped two brothers, the Muamar brothers, spirited them across the border, in violation of the Geneva Conventions, of course. And they’ve disappeared into Israel’s prison system. I haven’t a clue what happened to them; I’ve never seen a word about it. And as far as I know, nobody cares, which makes sense. After all, unpeople.

        • Potsherd2 says:

          Shalit was a member of a tank crew. No one seems to know exactly what operations that tank crew carried out. Did it conduct incursions into Gaza? Did it fire into Gaza? How many Gazans were killed or wounded by that tank? How many Gazan homes and fields and trees did it demolish and crush?

          It wasn’t stationed there on the border to shelter Sderot’s traumatized chickens.

        • Quite a rationalization Dan.

          Was Shalit in the region of the abduction? Was he directly involved? Or, is just that he was in uniform sufficient for you to call him target?

          Were the individuals abducted implicated in any substantive violence against Israeli civilians?

          At least he was a soldier, and not a civilian.

          Your glee at his abduction, does not look well in the mirror.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Yes, but they were Palestinian so Witty doesn’t count them for having human rights…

        • annie says:

          pay attention witty

          Shalit was part of a tank unit that had been involved in the IDF’s firing on Gaza since May 2006 or before. Palestinian civilians were killed and injured by the IDF tank fire. I know you like to think that Israeli shells only hit “terrorists” with “blood on their hands” but most of the time its Palestinian civilians that suffer the deaths, injuries and damage. More Palestinian civilians were killed by Israeli tank fire in 2006 than were Israelis killed in 10 years of Gaza rocket fire.

          Its likely that Shalit never really knew what or who was killed or injured from shells fired from his tank, but he’s an IDF soldier. The idea that he is some babe in the woods who never hurt a fly is simplistic nonsense. Soldiers kill people. Its what they are trained to do.

        • What’s the point?

          That he deserved it? That he was a valid target, and what’s the fuss?

          How does that partisan approach result in less deaths?

        • tree says:

          What’s the point?

          The point is that you falsely claimed he, and the IDF by association, only ever acted in “self-defense” as a soldier. Your’s is the partisan approach. You are attempting to make a differentiation between an Israel tank soldier and a Gazan militant firing rockets that is purely partisan in nature and not accurate. Your approach is part of the problem. Drop the partisanship and view the conflict more rationally. Pretend its between two groups that you have no connection to, or special affinity for, if you can. You might even begin to write more intelligently if you aren’t hampered by your partisanship and apologetics.

        • Elliot says:

          A few days again, Netanyahu wrote a letter to Israeli victims of Palestinian terror in advance of the prisoner swap. In his opening sentence he identified his brother, Yoni Netanyahu as a “victim of terrorism.” Col. Yoni Netanyahu was the commander of the commandos in the Entebbe raid. He was killed in that military action.

          Israel identifies all Jews who die in the conflict whether they are soldiers or civilians, innocent or combatants as “victims of terrorism.”

        • Donald says:

          This is your usual blindness at work Richard. Pay attention, because I’m going to explain this and I want to see if you are capable of saying “Oh, I see. Good point.”

          When you say the Gaza War was excessive you also say it was legitimate for Israel to defend itself from Palestinian rocket attacks, but maybe they went too far. I will set aside whether it was in fact necessary for Israel to kill anyone (Jerome Slater had some long articles on that.) For the sake of argument suppose you are right–suppose Israel had to use force against armed Palestinian forces.

          Then you also have to grant Palestinians that same right. Israel inflicts violence on innocent Palestinians all the time, they take prisoners, some of them innocent of any act of violence, they steal land, etc…. The harm Israel inflicts on Palestinians far exceeds the harm Palestinians inflict on Israel by any measure.

          So why was it wrong to attack Shalit? He was in uniform, a member of the IDF, stationed near the Gaza border. That makes him a legitimate military target. Now ideally the Palestinians would only shoot at Israelis they knew beyond doubt were personally guilty of war crimes, but they don’t have that capability. (I’m not sure anyone does and certainly Israel doesn’t restrict itself that way.) How can you claim Israel has the right to use violence to defend itself and deny it to the Palestinians? How can you hold Palestinians to a far higher standard of conduct when they suffer more and don’t have Israel’s military capacity?

        • Dan Crowther says:

          Witty,

          Was he in the area? I dont know the answer to that
          Was he involved the kidnapping ( of the Muamar brothers)? I dont know the answer to that either

          Does his uniform make him a legitimate target? Yes, absolutely.

          The actions the day before were direct aggression by a hostile military’s uniformed soliders – aka an act of war. Truth be told, the guy is lucky he was only captured.

          I dont see how anyone could rationally say that a uniformed soldier of the occupying/hostile military isnt a legitimate target for kidnapping especially after hostilities have commenced (the kidnapping the day before) It is well founded that uniformed soldiers- especially of the occupying force- during hostilities are afforded far less rights than civilians – they are functionaries of the state.

          You can refer to the Geneva Conventions or even the US uniform code of militrary justice, its all the same language.

          As for me and my “glee” – shame on you. I have written nothing to make anyone think I am happy Shalit was kidnapped – I am just being rational.

          Ive also been in the US military and know the rules of the game – the idea that a uniformed soldier is just some lost puppy, totally innocent and not a legitimate target for retaliation (even though he was part of a occupying force, who had engaged in hostilities) is so out of bounds, its really not even worth reacting to.

        • straightline says:

          Witty – you argued that Shalit was not acting in an offensive capacity a little earlier. Someone has provided evidence that this is not true. You then decide to change the subject.

          As to your last line: “How does that partisan approach result in less deaths?” I reserve the right to use it every time you post.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          How does your bloodthirsty approach to endorsing air strikes against schools and hospitals and boarding actions against humanitarian aid flotillas help? Gilad Shalit is alive, and that’s more than can be said for 350 children that your Israel slaughtered.

          Pound for pound, your five times the religious fanatic and deathmonger that any single Hamas leader is, Witty.

        • “The point is that you falsely claimed he, and the IDF by association, only ever acted in “self-defense” as a soldier. ”

          While I agree with Slater’s conclusions regarding a two-state approach, I am very upset with one of his conclusions in a prior essay (and partially reiterated here), that because Israel has even done wrong (many times from my guess, violence beyond necessity), that no Israeli military can be treated as defensive ever.

          I don’t know if he said that exactly, but your comment Taxi, seems to be an elaboration on that partisan scheme.

          That partisan approach conflicts with my sense of morality. I’ve never been drafted or expected to participate in military or even patriotic exercises. (I grew up in the late 60′s, early 70′s, anti-Vietnam War and such, I was drafted but never called up, even with a low lottery number.)

          But, now that I am older, I don’t regard my son’s friends that enlisted in the Navy for example, as legitimate targets just because the US has done some clear wrong, and much that is perceived as wrong.

          I’ve stopped calling police “pigs” for example, for a few decades now.

        • “This is your usual blindness at work Richard. Pay attention, because I’m going to explain this and I want to see if you are capable of saying “Oh, I see. Good point.””

          Donald,
          You know well, that when I’ve encountered a reasoning that makes sense to me, from whomever’s pen, I’ve acknowledged that.

          Terror is real. Horrific, not “just” resistance. The relationship of the IDF to terror is that it has an obligation (way beyond a right) to protect Israeli civilians.

          While that might create a tension in your or Jerome Slater’s mind as to their identity and role, their obligation to respond is NOT set in a political context, but isolated.

          For example, even if Israel conducted targeted assassinations of those that it regarded as terrorists, and guessed wrong, and killed innocents in the effort, and Hamas and others responded by shelling civilians in Israel, the IDF still had a responsibility to stop the shelling, and by any means necessary (as much as I hate the term).

          I use the term “excessive” because I understand that the means adopted extended beyond the necessity. But, given Hamas shelling of civilians, and continued, and escalated, the state of war made the Israeli response somewhat beyond what was necessary in the context, not as grossly as conveyed here.

          And, you know that I describe that as a dance between ideologs and a dance between fanatic powers, in which civilians bear the brunt.

          So, observing that war results from a heightened vehemence to ideology, rather than a consented heightened urge to head off violence, I consider the urging of resistance, the rationalization of resistance, to be a mirror of the urging of Israeli excesses.

          I get that it creates difficult choices for occupied, and even more profound difficult moral choices for those rationally sympathetic.

          The sad element of Slater’s article, is that if the headline is his, the article adds to the rationalization that “by any means necessary” in resistance is just, rather than the relaxation of it.

          War is always an attempt to control, to control others. “Stop this” said in dialog, but in ways that also say “escalate this”.

        • Shmuel says:

          violence beyond necessity

          Pursuant to Donald’s excellent comment above –
          link to mondoweiss.net – do you think you could ever make such a statement about Palestinian resistance?

        • Hard to know what you are asking.

          I get that the relationship of a state to a non-state is problematic.

          A non-state by definition is not self-governing, but something else. (Who knows what Gaza is?)

          In all cases though, the obligation of the defense forces within a state are to defend the state’s civilians, and if you are empire at all, interests. (US, French, Russian, Chinese, Saudi, Iranian, etc.)

          The question of whether the state did so effectively is the primary question that citizens will ask, and hopefully subsequent consequences are in their math.

          The question of whether a state did so humanely is a legal and moral question, that a non-state is not internationally responsible for, but hopefully morally.

          The urging of any form of “by any means necessary” by a state or a non-state, conflicts with moral sensibilities.

          Still, the difference between the obligation of a state to defend civilians, and the choice of a cadre and solidarity of a non-state to resist, is a qualitative, gamed juxtaposition.

          A choice, with all the moral consequences of one’s choice, versus an obligation with all the immunity from moral consequences of one’s duty.

          Again, the place that I’ve made my choice is the effort to reduce hostility, to confront the rationalization for “by any means neccessary” solidarity AND the rationalization for manipulative patriotism.

          You?

        • MRW says:

          Important point, Elliott.

        • annie says:

          Donald,
          You know well, that when I’ve encountered a reasoning that makes sense to me, from whomever’s pen, I’ve acknowledged that.

          the operative words here one supposes is makes sense to me.

          because what we all know well richard is you continually evade acknowledging reasonable arguments, in fact you regularly divert when you encounter one and often add on pissy ridicule.

          try scrolling up and reading dan’s comment that resulted in you accusing him of ‘glee at his abduction’, coupled with your other snide remark about ‘not looking well in the mirror’. are you so thick you could not see any reasoning that makes sense wrt the abductions of two civilian brothers by the idf the day before in addressing your claim israel was acting in defense that day on the border. then you scoff when i say ‘when have you ever acknowledged israel has acted in offense?’ and thus far have not named one specific action or day even tho you claim we don’t read all your posts or know what you are about.

          then, you ask a series of questions and people answer then for you in detail and you respond with :

          What’s the point?

          That he deserved it? That he was a valid target, and what’s the fuss?

          How does that partisan approach result in less deaths?

          more questions, no acknowledgments whatsoever. so, i guess it just doesn’t ‘make sense to you’ how soldiers part of a tank unit involved in firing on Gaza for years killing and injuring Palestinian civilians could be legitimate targets in a retaliatory abduction.

          that’s what i mean by not listening. you’re constantly making claims about yourself that have little bearing on reality.

          and thus far i am right, you have yet to acknowledged one specific incident or event in which you claim israel acted in an offensive operation. not one. you’ve moved the goal post to ‘excessive’. divert and then plummet us with more lectures and questions so we can runaround fulfilling these little tasks you set up for us while not acknowledging the logic of the counter argument at all.

        • Annie,
          You do know that an abduction is not a retaliation, but solely a bargaining chip, a kidnapping.

          The brothers were sought out specifically. I don’t know what they did, or if their capture was just or not.

          I know that Shalit’s was random, ANY Israeli soldier would do. No specific justice in it, at most general justice, collective “justice”.

        • Citizen says:

          Witty, so, back in the day, you would not have defended the right of any occupied person to snatch any hapless member of a Wehrmacht tank crew & hold him as a bargaining chip against the local German officer who has rounded up 1,000 locals?

        • annie says:

          You do know that an abduction is not a retaliation, but solely a bargaining chip, a kidnapping.

          iow, israel’s abduction of the brothers the day before was only a bargaining chip? well where’s the bargain for them? no one has seen them since as far as i know. how was that “solely a bargaining chip”?
          and would you categorize it as an ‘offensive’ operation?

          or do you just mean ‘according to richard witty when referencing the abduction of shalit that particular abduction cannot be seen as a retaliation because in witty’s world it’s israel that gets the ‘reaction’ excuse’ ? is that what you mean?

          how bout you cut the “You do know ” crap and just state your opinion sans the authoritarian lingo.

          I know that Shalit’s was random, ANY Israeli soldier would do. No specific justice in it, at most general justice, collective “justice”.

          so tell me righard, when the idf invades villages in the middle of the night to photograph children at 3 am and abducts a number of them to get just one who will point the finger at community organizers do you think ANY child from the town will do? No specific justice in it, at most general justice, collective “justice”. heck israel wrote the book on ‘no specific justice ‘ and collective punishment. that’s what the whole blockade is about, or haven’t you heard?

          have you read Yediot: Secret Israeli-Egypt Efforts to Counter Iran Threat, IDF Report Confirms Eilat Terror Cells Not from Gaza,

          they bombed gaza the last week of ramadan and killed 20 people. ‘no specific justice ‘ because they had no evidence the eliat attack came from gaza. they just used it as an excuse to bomb them because unlike egypt or iran they have gaza in a prison. kind of like a sadist keeping a person in the closet they can flog anytime they want to get their rocks off. that’s ‘no specific justice ‘.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          But of course, Witty WOULD have supported “German self-determination.” Isn’t that right?

        • annie says:

          The brothers were sought out specifically. I don’t know what they did, or if their capture was just or not.

          what difference does it make that they were sought out specifically if the capture was unjust? and why the reference to ‘capture’ for the brothers when you insist shalit was ‘kidnapped’? he was captured was he not?

        • annie says:

          you would not have defended the right of any occupied person to snatch any hapless member of a Wehrmacht tank crew & hold him as a bargaining chip

          hell no, witty would have claimed because he was chosen randomly and not specifically targeted it would have been “no specific justice”. bad bad bad. like shalit.

        • annie says:

          Witty WOULD have supported “German self-determination.”

          they should have been able to ‘self govern’.

        • Soldiers on active duty are never kidnapped, they are captured. Kids and civilians may be kidnapped but this description has only been applied to Israeli soldiers as part of the unwritten law that allows the Zionists not only to dominate the media (and to dismiss anyone stating that truth as an “anti-semite”) but to define the English language as they see fit.

          The campaign to free Shalit was, in a word, an obscene example of this and he was no more deserving of the world’s attention than any soldier of any occupying army anywhere on the planet. That the US Congress (and the French parliament–he was French-Israeli) passed resolutions on his behalf is a further obscenity that will cause future generations of Americans to shake their heads and ask, “How did all this happen? How was a minority of a minority of this country’s population able to achieve such power over our political system?”

          To deny that power which so many otherwise intelligent people continue to do is not only no longer excusable.

        • Donald says:

          “even if Israel conducted targeted assassinations of those that it regarded as terrorists, and guessed wrong, and killed innocents in the effort, and Hamas and others responded by shelling civilians in Israel, the IDF still had a responsibility to stop the shelling, and by any means necessary (as much as I hate the term).”

          The IDF has the duty to do what the government of Israel tells it to do, unless it is ordered to commit war crimes. (Unfortunately they commit war crimes anyway. They should refuse to do so.) The responsibility on the Israeli side ultimately falls on the Israeli government, which should protect its citizens by ceasing to provoke Palestinians into supporting terror attacks. That’s what Israel should be doing first–seeking a just solution.

          In your own hypothetical example cited above, which I think is pretty close to what actually happens in many cases, it was Israel which initiated the violence. Their duty to protect their civilians would dictate that they not engage in first strikes which initiate retaliatory attacks by Palestinians. If a cycle of violence starts then the thing to do is try to stop it via diplomatic means and not to continue the cycle by striking back. Striking back should be the last resort. And then heads should roll (metaphorically) among the bureaucrats responsible for the initial decision to launch the hypothetical attack.

          And I repeat that the logic goes both ways–if the Israeli government has the right to self-defense so do the Palestinians, and the Palestinians have to do it with much cruder and less precise weapons. In my opinion both sides are making a mistake (both practically and morally) using violence, but there’s no logical way one can say that Israel has the right to self-defense and deny it to the Palestinians. I don’t think you’re facing up to that.

          As for the Gaza War, I think Jerome Slater’s articles (which can be found on his blog) pretty definitively show that Israel didn’t have to launch the war to stop the violence. They just didn’t want to lift the blockade as Hamas (quite rightly) demanded.

        • Joining in on nazi invocations now, Annie?

          You know, I agree that Israeli military action and Hamas shelling of civilians alike demonstrate an element of collective punishment.

          I just don’t buy the Slater contention that once Israel does a wrong, that defense of civilians is no longer defense of civilians.

          The difference between identifying known terrorists and capturing them and kidnapping random individuals because they are Israeli IDF for the purpose of ransom, is profound.

          As I said, at least he was a soldier, and not a civilian that was kidnapped.

          Hamas wasn’t trying the brothers for crimes committed on Gazan soil. They didn’t regard attacking civilians as a crime.

          Its odd that you would equate them in any way.

          That is not the case in Israel. Settlers for example that kill Palestinians are regarded as criminals.

          That their prosecution is not satisfactory is a very different issue.

        • American says:

          ” You might even begin to write more intelligently if you aren’t hampered by your partisanship and apologetics.”…tree

          witty’s writing is incoherent because he tries to pretend he hasn’t ‘totally’ taken the zionist side, when in fact he has….that’s why it’s mostly impossible to make sense of what he says.

        • “In your own hypothetical example cited above, which I think is pretty close to what actually happens in many cases, it was Israel which initiated the violence. Their duty to protect their civilians would dictate that they not engage in first strikes which initiate retaliatory attacks by Palestinians. If a cycle of violence starts then the thing to do is try to stop it via diplomatic means and not to continue the cycle by striking back. Striking back should be the last resort. And then heads should roll (metaphorically) among the bureaucrats responsible for the initial decision to launch the hypothetical attack. ”

          If you are saying “let cooler heads prevail” which is at least partially in your comment, I agree.

          The exchange that occurred in Gaza is so complicated and spun, that to adopt the view “they started it”, is incorrect (whoever you are speaking of).

          Here we have the rationalization of Muammar Brothers taken, justifying the Shalit abduction, justifying the blockade, justifying shelling of civilians, justifying targeting sites of the shelling, then identification of facilitators of the shelling, justifying more shelling, justifying a tighter blockade, ad infinitum.

          You want to accurately declare which of those is a “starting point”?

          Whoever started it, once spinning, once the status is 60 rockets a day being fired at civilians in Sderot, the IDF has a responsibility to respond. 1 a day is too many, and will invite military response. (Yes, response.)

          Thats what provocation does, it starts the spinning. Within Israel there are those that desire that the cycle stop spinning and there are those that desire that there are excuses for hitting harder.

          Within Palestine (Gaza and elsewhere), there are those that desire that the cycle stop spinning and there are those that desire that there are excuses for hitting harder.

          ANY solidarity that ever advocates for hitting harder (turning the bicycle wheel faster), that calls themselves an advocate of peace, is lying.

          They have shifted outside the range of peace, to the range of partisanship.

          I am a liberal Zionist, never claimed to be anything else. That means that I value the community that I am related to, AND in a form that values the other.

          It does not extend to desiring that my related community suffer, nor accept verbal or physical retribution. And, it does not extend to advocating for the harms to others.

          And, it does extend to urging that my related community reform.

          You an ally of that theme, or an opponent?

        • Donald says:

          Okay, Richard, part of that makes some sense. I don’t think Palestinians should respond to Israeli violence with violence. I should stipulate that I think that ultimately Israel is the aggressor here, because they have been stealing land for decades, but of course in any given time period there are lulls where no one is blown up and then there are periods where one side kills, the other responds, then there’s a further response, etc…. In such cases I think both sides should stop “responding”, no matter which side actually initiated it.

          But if you concede Israel has the right to self-defense I think you have to concede the same for Palestinians. That’s where I think you are falling short here. You consistently hold the Palestinians to a much higher standard on human rights than you hold Israel. You think rockets on Sderot merit a military response no matter what Israel has done to provoke them, and you don’t think that the far greater harm Israel inflicts on Palestinians merits a military response. In theory you want peace, but when it comes down to specifics you have the usual double standard. That’s too bad.

          “It does not extend to desiring that my related community suffer, nor accept verbal or physical retribution.”

          Verbal retribution? What does that mean? Is criticism of Israel the same as firing rockets at Israel?

          Anyway, Richard, the first portion of your post was decent. But then the double standard kicked in and it took a downward slide.

        • Hostage says:

          I don’t regard my son’s friends that enlisted in the Navy for example, as legitimate targets just because the US has done some clear wrong, and much that is perceived as wrong.

          Fair enough, but if they are in the same theater of operations where the US has done some clear wrong, then they certainly are a legitimate military target for the purposes of retaliation. The same rationale applies to the IDF and Gilad Shalit.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          They didn’t regard attacking civilians as a crime.

          Its odd that you would equate them in any way.

          That is not the case in Israel. Settlers for example that kill Palestinians are regarded as criminals.

          Oh, bullshit. The settlers have and are committing crimes against Palestinians simply by being settlers, the f’ing Israelis don’t consider that a crime; hell, many, if not most, consider that the actions of the settlers makes them good Jews; “redeeming the land” and that garbage.

          Do you think that the Palestinians willingly walked away from that land??? No, it was viciously and violently taken from them at gunpoint, often with consequences of death to the rightful Palestinian owners; the settlers either did that or aided and abetted it. That crime, which your god damned people adore and praise, is millions of times more significant and criminal than the random capture of some soldier.

        • Donald,
          I think only a portion of Gazan Palestinian actions are self-defense.

          I get that it is a dilemma to have only limited options, only options with severe moral confusions (for those that consider the moral implications of actions).

          The sequence that Slater and you are judging (that word) are not sequences that are subject to judgment. Again, in the sense that whatever precipitated a violent action taken against civilians (shelling of Sderot for example), once that violent action is occurring it is the undeniable responsibility of a state, of a state’s defense, to stop the shelling and prevent it if possible.

          The worst that I could criticize Israel in that respect is the two ways that I have, that the response was excessive (violent beyond necessary effectiveness) and that the it failed to politically apply imagination and skill to realizing a more benign context.

          The cycle is not a description of “Israel was predominately responsible for the context”. It is a description of a bicycle wheel spinning, sometimes Israel putting weight into the spin, sometimes Hamas.

          In any measurement of momentum, it is impossible to say, literally impossible, to say that Israel pushed this 1/40th of a rpm, and Hamas pushed this 1/50th of an rpm, and gravity caused this 1/30th an rpm.

          It is possible to say, the bicycle wheel is spinning out of control, lets reduce its spin, lets put the brakes on so we can stop and talk.

          Hamas conducted one “large” action, and 1600 daily reiterations, each iteration added to the bicycle wheel spinning.

          It depends on what your goal is. If your goal is to blame, then you should acknowledge that each instance of blaming ADDS to the wheel spinning, while a small shift in the way the same observation is presented, stated as an effort of persuasion to change policy results in a slight braking from the wheel spinning.

          Your litmus test has been that I haven’t condemned. But, my observation is that my condemning rather than attempting to persuade (left and right, solidarity and patriots alike), adds to the speed of the wheel.

          I don’t desire “justice” for Palestinians, except in the form of realizing Palestinians on their feet. That is the form of “getting their due” that I subscribe to.

          I desire peace, which is a realization of live and let live.

          Let live on the part of Palestinians and solidarity starts with the idea that Israel has the right to self-govern, to identify in the format that it desires.

          It doesn’t demand that Palestinians accept suppression, but that it not desire to suppress in the name of affirming their own liberation and self-governance.

        • Hostage says:

          You do know that an abduction is not a retaliation, but solely a bargaining chip, a kidnapping.

          You do know that abducting civilians for use as bargaining chips is illegal under the terms of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention? OTOH members of regular uniformed military units are subject to capture and internment for the duration of an armed conflict. People don’t ordinarily characterize that sort of thing as an abduction.

        • Hostage says:

          the IDF still had a responsibility to stop the shelling, and by any means necessary (as much as I hate the term).”

          Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts
          Article 25, Necessity

          2. In any case, necessity may not be invoked by a State as a ground for precluding wrongfulness if:

          (b) the State has contributed to the situation of necessity.
          link to untreaty.un.org

          The ICJ cited that when it declared the wall and the associated administrative regime in the Occupied Territories illegal, but it would apply to the example Witty provided. We are way beyond the stage where either side can cite necessity.

        • Donald says:

          Richard, you keep saying you are the reasonable one who wants peace, but you can’t help yourself–you defend Israel’s right to use violence in circumstances much less extreme than what Palestinians face from Israel, and you always come back to blaming Hamas while disclaiming any intent to blame. (I’m not sure what the large action and the 1600 iterations are, but it sounds like once again Hamas is entirely to blame for Israel’s actions and Israel just found itself somehow in a situation where it had to use force.) You’re at war with yourself.

          And you might want to take a look at Hostage’s comments–he’s obviously forgotten more about international law than both of us will ever learn. (Which if anything greatly understates the case.)

        • Shingo says:

          So terror is real and horrific, but ethnic cleansing,mass murder, occupation is neither real nor horrific – according to Witty.

        • Donald,
          The 1600 iterations, are the 1600 days that Hamas decided to continue holding Shalit.

          It was 1600 decisions.

          The decision to resist, the decision to undertake solidarity, is a decision that an individual makes, with the moral consequences of an individual.

          The obligation to serve in the IDF, to defend civilians is more than a decision, a legal obligation.

          You didn’t get the point about the distinction between a moral decision and a compulsory duty. (I know the next response will some invocation of nazi parallel.)

          Hostage selects the elements of law that support his assertions. Some support, some conflict with his assertions. The legal status of the occupation is not as clear as he imagines, and you gullibly believe because of the volume of his quotes. He rarely applies modern civil, or Israeli statutory law in his pallette.

          He’s made some good points that I’ve learned from, and at the same time, many of his points are utterly skew to the reality and skew to issues raised.

          For example, in his assertion about necessity above, that would apply to the inadmissability of a very limited number of instances in Cast Lead.

          As I’ve stated before, Hamas declared on multiple times that it was thoroughly prepared for the Israeli invasion and would punish IDF that invaded. So, in that light, the scope of the Israeli effort, by necessity, required a larger scope of operation than if the IDF sincerely believed that the IDF would receive much more limited resistance than claimed.

          It was ONLY when the level of resistance proved to be much less and much less effective than anticipated was the operation legally and morally excessive.

          If you honestly think that the point about the cycle of violence of escalation is a good, a reasonable point, why not incorporate that into your thinking, and into your responses to me.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          If you honestly think that the point about the cycle of violence of escalation is a good, a reasonable point, why not incorporate that into your thinking, and into your responses to me.

          AHEM, Witty. I think I’ve pointed you at this dozens of times and you never address the truth.

          The violence is, statistically, CAUSED BY ISRAELIS.

        • Hostage says:

          Hostage selects the elements of law that support his assertions. Some support, some conflict with his assertions. The legal status of the occupation is not as clear as he imagines, and you gullibly believe because of the volume of his quotes. He rarely applies modern civil, or Israeli statutory law in his pallette.

          I guarantee you that I’ve blockquoted more Israeli High Court of Justice decisions on MW than most legal specialty blogs have ever bothered to devote to the subject. The same thing applies to the landmark International Law Digest cases from the journals of the ICJ, the PCIJ, and etc. I’ve supplied long lists and analyses of modern Israeli civil statutes and military orders that discriminate against Palestinians. I’ve provided references and links to US, UK, and Israeli state archival materials, verbatim minutes of UN deliberations and Knesset debates, official preparatory works and commentaries for most of the major international treaties, and a plethora of citations to books and journal articles. So, I’m always fascinated by the comments that suggest I’m trying to conceal something or that I should add something more arcane to an otherwise full pallette (be careful what you ask for:-)

          I readily admit that I don’t bother with discredited fringe theories or crackpots who still claim that the legal status of the occupation is unclear. The human rights treaty monitoring bodies, the Reconvened Diplomatic Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions, and the primary UN political and judicial organs have all addressed and settled that matter very conclusively.

          For example, in his assertion about necessity above, that would apply to the inadmissability of a very limited number of instances in Cast Lead.

          It ought to be painfully obvious that: a) the closure of Gaza pre-dates Operation Cast Lead; b) the human rights treaty monitoring bodies and the humanitarian rights watchdog organization have declared the closure to be an illegal form of collective punishment; and c) Israel cannot cite necessity to preclude the wrongfulness of any of its actions during Cast Lead, because it has contributed to the situation of necessity.

        • annie says:

          hostage, witty is not the sharpest tool in the shed. he might not fully grasp sharper minds can simply click on your name, enter data into the search function of your archives and access the amazing amount of essential critical information you’ve publish on this blog.

          meanwhile students of international law and researchers on the history of palestine/israel probably mine your posts here regularly and will be doing so for years to come.

          thanks for all your contributions. huge. HUGE. i know i speak for many and someone will be reading this comment of mine decades down the road (probably because it is in response to yours) and say..she’s so right!

        • Hostage says:

          He rarely applies modern civil, or Israeli statutory law

          A quick check of the archives reveals dozens of references in my comments to the non-applicability of local statutory limitations to war crimes and crimes against humanity. I always point out the Nuremberg principle whereby certain acts give rise to criminal liability under international law even if those acts do not constitute a violation of the domestic law of the country in which they were committed. So modern civil, or Israeli statutory law is not particularly relevant to a discussion of the legal consequences of those situations.

        • Hostage,
          You exhibit what I described.

          International law is one component of what constitutes law in the region. It also includes common law, natural law, statutory law within multiple jurisdictions, all of which have relative weight.

          Where statutory law of one state conflicts with the statutory law of another, there need be a reconciliation of the conflicts in law, by a non-biased third party or consented entity, with the continuing credibility for the consent to continue, and with executory power to implement the law.

          Your points are important and I learn from them, but they are not complete, not authoritative, not non-biased, and not enforceable for that combination.

          There are MANY here that are fixated on “international law”, as the sole basis of legal protections that residents have.

          And, you ignore or even promote the varying responsibilities of a non-state with a state under international law, written and implied. And, that ends up supporting the illegal activities of non-state actors, and holding them immune from international law.

          Most of the issues that you speak about as clear in law and clear in application, aren’t.

          It is a nature of law to be an evolving set of consents, not static, not authoritative in the sense of a single interpretation superceding other law.

          You still have to reconcile the dilemmas of a state or non-state engaging with a state or non-state that ignores international law.

          The concept of necessity in the issue of whether an action during war is a necessity or not, applies to Hamas AND to Israel.

          I’ve described some of the features that contributed to the general scope of Cast Lead as being initially potentially admissable.

          Annie and others calling me “not the sharpest tool in the shed” is a personal insult, an intentionally dismissal. Its too inconvenient for her “moral” and other arguments to deal with contradictions to her certainty.

          Your last conclusion is incorrect. “so modern civil, or Israeli statutory law is not particularly relevant to a discussion on the legal consequences of “those” situations” (not particularly specific – what are “those” situations?)

          Neither civil, statutory, nor international law are perfectly authoritative in those situations, not that they are irrelevant in the slightest.

          Contribute to the actual evolution of international law, so that the law can be relied on rather than largely ignored in the current state.

          A siting of law only to represent a case is important but makes a step and a half backward (in the form of international dismissal of international law, still tentative and somewhat arbitrary in practice). while taking a step forward on the defense of those that are abused.

          Its the fetishizing of international law, and the ignoring of the legal assertions of the other, that is the problem.

          This is a fawning audience. They desire the encouragement to continue their resistance, and desparately starve for “reliable” cover from law (rather than adherence to law relative to others).

          Rather than putting their effort into plausible reconciliation, or even responsible approaches to dissent, always a prospect no matter what appears to be happening.

          I am not a lawyer, not an expert in the slightest on international law, not a judge, not an advocate, just an observer that the statements of authority (by Israeli and by Palestinian advocate alike), don’t add up as presented.

        • LeaNder says:

          RW : As I’ve stated before, Hamas declared on multiple times that it was thoroughly prepared for the Israeli invasion and would punish IDF that invaded. So, in that light, the scope of the Israeli effort, by necessity, required a larger scope of operation than if the IDF sincerely believed that the IDF would receive much more limited resistance than claimed.

          Reminds me of your Hamas threats:
          Here again the collection of statements you made about these threats from the different sources you attributed them too?

          Richard quite obviously you invented these quotes. The use of blood, street, soldiers are rather frequent in this dispute, but I have so far not found one that threatened Israel to “drown the streets with the blood of soldiers” or your different variations on the theme in case they enter Gaza.

          Let’s look at real statements in the larger time-frame you refer to containing “blood” and whose source are whatever Hamas speakers or fractions:

          “The Israelis began this tension and they must pay an expensive price. They cannot leave us drowning in blood while they sleep soundly in their beds,” he said.

          Your changing quotes obviously could have been psychological warfare, if they existed as you insist, why don’t your many statements show here?

          Let’s finally have your sources, Richard, before you go on spinning.

        • DBG says:

          again Chaos, this HP article deals with merely the deaths of Israelis and Palestinians. it has nothing to do with ‘how ceasefires end’ It basically gives a greenlight to any rocket fire from Gaza, unless someone is killed. Kinda silly, don’t you think?

          We defined “conflict pauses” as periods of one or more days when no one is killed on either side, and we asked which side kills first after conflict pauses of different durations

        • LeanDer,
          I’ve stated a dozen times that I remembered the quote, and also could not find a direct citation when I looked for it in Google.

          That is not a statement that my memory was factually incorrect as quotes of mine that appear in my blogs for example, also don’t appear on Google searches. The quote though is the kind that someone would have pointed to.

          The statements by Hamas officials that they were militarily prepared for and IDF ground assault, and would punish Israelis that attempted a ground assault are on record and frequently, and contributed to the point that Israel considered that threat in its choice of scope and mode of operation in defense against rocket fire directed at civilians.

          The point is what is important, and the point remains relevant in discussion of admissability of Israeli actions in Cast Lead.

        • annie says:

          That is not a statement that my memory was factually incorrect

          we’ve been thru this like you say ‘dozens of times’. obviously had hamas made your (yes, it originated with you) ‘blood in the streets’ statement the hasbara department would have pumped it til kingdom come. how much bandwidth do you want to waste defending your imagination?

          and that’s being charitable, notice i didn’t call you a liar.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          …except that the article doesn’t just talk about rocket attacks, DBG. It’s too bad propagandists like you work for Israel instead of the US, our country needs the facelift. But of course we’re in this mess because of people like you, so.

        • LeaNder says:

          Look Richard, I can follow this up to the very end where your prevarications will not work anymore. A newspaper does not use the same technique as your blog.

          You started using this quote 1 1/2 year after you supposedly read it? You attribute the quote to slightly changing sources, and phrasing it slightly different. At one point you promise Dan Fleshler, who also distrusts you, to not use a quote anymore on April 9, 2011 and use quotation marks again three days later.

          There is no, I repeat NO, other source on the web for the quote than you. Are we supposed to believe that no one but you picked up on a such a Hamas statement at the time? How stupid do you think we are?

          Look we can go this to the very end, if you resort to prevarications, here are your core facts: (if we leave out for a while, that they kept changing and that your quote only surfaced only one and a half year later)

          Per Haaretz reports from December 18 – 29, Hamas first withdrew its request from other factions to withhold firing, but claimed to not fire themselves. After a couple days, they acknowledged that they had fired. …
          At around the 22nd or so, reported in Haaretz, leaders of the Al-Qassams Brigade declared that they were militarily prepared for an Israeli invasion, and that if Israel entered on the ground, they would wipe the Gazan streets with Israeli blood.

          I am not finished with you on this issue, if you do not change your stance. Besides I don’t have more time now.

        • Hostage says:

          International law is one component of what constitutes law in the region. It also includes common law, natural law, statutory law within multiple jurisdictions, all of which have relative weight.

          Richard I’ve discussed the fact that customary international law is part of the common law of Israel and the United States on countless occasions, e.g. the application of the Hague regulations in the Elon Moreh case, the law of nations in the United States v Perchman, and a half dozen Alien Tort Statute cases in the federal district courts and the Supreme Court. I’ve also explained that in dualist systems conventional international law, like the Palestine mandate, may only be enforceable in the courts to the extent that it has been incorporated in local enabling legislation or on the condition that it does not conflict with the specific provisions of other municipal laws, e.g. the 1940 Palestine Land Transfer Ordinance in Bernard A. Rosenblatt (petitioner) vs. the Registar of Lands, Haifa ; Director of Land Registration, Jerusalem; Edmond N. Levy (respondents) (High court case no. 19/47): in the Supreme court sitting as a High Court of Justice ; before the chief justice Sir William Fitzgerald and Mr. Justice de Comarmond; hearings on 9th May, 1947 and 12th May, 1947.

          I’ve discussed the conflict of laws between international law and Israel’s legislation. For example the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said that there are over 7,000 prisoners in Israeli jails. That practice violates the non-deportation provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949. The Oslo Agreements only granted Israel criminal jurisdiction “in accordance with international law”. But Israel has formally refused to comply with the provisions of international law. The Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ) recently rejected a petition to order the State to refrain from holding Palestinian prisoners and detainees in facilities located in Israeli territory within the Green Line. The HCJ held that since national legislation overrides the provisions of international conventions to which Israel is party, including conventions that reflect customary international law, the petition should be rejected. But the Palestinians only agreed that Israeli legislation would not derogate from international law in cases involving Israel’s legislation over Israelis in personam. The notion that national legislation can be employed to sanction breaches of international humanitarian law or commit serious war crimes (population transfer or deportation) is thus part of the judge-made fundamental body of law that the Courts have incorporated into Israel’s unwritten constitution.

          You can argue that international criminal law is not enforceable, but Israeli officials know better. They have to plan their foreign travel with some attention to the very real threat of arrest and prosecution.

          And, you ignore or even promote the varying responsibilities of a non-state with a state under international law, written and implied. And, that ends up supporting the illegal activities of non-state actors, and holding them immune from international law.

          In fact, I’ve explained my position on that in great detail, i.e. that neither side can invoke necessity; that retaliation against civilians (ala the Derfner editoral) is never justified and that it is illegal. I’ve repeatedly cited the Nuremburg principles and explained that they apply to unrecognized communities and linked to the ICRC rules of customary international law that apply to states and non-state actors that engage in armed conflict. link to icrc.org See also Sienho Yee, The Tu Quoque Argument as a defence to International Crimes, Prosecution, or Punishment”, Chinese Journal of International Law, 3, p. 87-133. link to chinesejil.oxfordjournals.org

          Its the fetishizing of international law, and the ignoring of the legal assertions of the other, that is the problem.

          No the problem is hundreds of thousands of victims of deportation or exile; thousands of dead and wounded; wrongful imprisonment; home demolitions; extrajudicial killings; the creation of racial enclaves and ghettos; denial of the right to adequate food, water and housing; denial of the rights to free speech, freedom of movement, freedom to work, freedom to pursue an eduction, and freedom to obtain adequate health care; and the granting of superior rights and privileges to persons of Jewish descendancy – to name just a few.

        • Sumud says:

          There is no, I repeat NO, other source on the web for the quote than you. Are we supposed to believe that no one but you picked up on a such a Hamas statement at the time? How stupid do you think we are?

          This isn’t the first time Richard has miraculously discovered remarkable quotes which later just evaporated.

          Remember a few months ago when he supplied 2 different texts apparently from the BDS Movement’s 2005 BDS call? Two versions, different wording, and he claimed one was from a year ago, and one from now, and the claim was that the text had been edited to include “militant warring language”, because as Richard sees it, militancy is the only language muslims and arabs understand.

          I asked him for weeks and weeks to supply a link and he never could…

          He’s a compulsive liar.

        • MRW says:

          LeaNder,

          Your “your core facts” link above doesn’t work because you added an additional mondoweiss.net into it. Here is the correct link:
          link to mondoweiss.net

          I also took him on over the issue and found all extant copies of the quote on the web (here, Shalom Rav, and Haaretz) . . . all his:
          link to mondoweiss.net

          James North weighed in as well.

        • Donald says:

          “And, you ignore or even promote the varying responsibilities of a non-state with a state under international law, written and implied. And, that ends up supporting the illegal activities of non-state actors, and holding them immune from international law.”–RW

          “In fact, I’ve explained my position on that in great detail, i.e. that neither side can invoke necessity; that retaliation against civilians (ala the Derfner editoral) is never justified and that it is illegal. I’ve repeatedly cited the Nuremburg principles and explained that they apply to unrecognized communities and linked to the ICRC rules of customary international law that apply to states and non-state actors that engage in armed conflict.”–Hostage

          Moral and legal consistency is something Richard steadfastly refuses to acknowledge. When confronted with it head-on he invents his own reality. Some part of him realizes his position is logically and factually indefensible, so he pretends his opponent is a defender of Palestinian terrorism. He’s done this with me. It’s a reflex with him–the erection of strawmen.

          I’m curious to see how he will respond to your point here, but one thing one can just about guarantee–the fact that he has made a false accusation and that you are in fact morally consistent won’t make the slightest difference to him. But I thank you for your detailed responses–just realize if you haven’t already that Richard will never surrender on any point he thinks crucial to his position, no matter what the facts.

          It is funny seeing him lecture you on your lack of understanding of the law. If Feynman were resurrected and brought to this blog, Richard would argue with him on physics if he thought it necessary to defend his position on the I/P conflict.

          Richard also said to me–

          “You didn’t get the point about the distinction between a moral decision and a compulsory duty. (I know the next response will some invocation of nazi parallel.)”

          Wrong again, Richard. I think the IDF has a compulsory duty not to commit war crimes. But since Israel is not a military dictatorship (except for the Palestinians), it’s not really the IDF’s duty we should be talking about here anyway–it’s the duty of the Israeli government not to oppress Palestinians and provoke terrorist responses (which, to be clear, are also immoral.)

          BTW, I almost never invoke the Nazis when talking about Israeli crimes. I generally don’t think it’s appropriate for various reasons. It’s weird that you imagine I would do this, but then you have this habit of lumping all your critics into one undifferentiated mass.

          “If you honestly think that the point about the cycle of violence of escalation is a good, a reasonable point, why not incorporate that into your thinking, and into your responses to me.”

          The “cycle of violence” is a standard cliche about the I/P conflict. I think it’s the right one to use on one level–one side (most often the Israelis) kills someone, the other side retaliates, the first retaliates for the retaliation etc…. Both sides kill civilians. So I agree with you when you say that, but of course you then backtrack and talk about how the IDF has a compulsory duty to “defend” Israeli civilians, which means in practice you excuse the Israeli actions. I condemn both sides, you endorse one side, and then you demand that I follow the principle that you disregard.

          Some of the people here think the rest of us shouldn’t respond to you. In one way they are right. When you sound like you’re being reasonable you then take it back. But you also reflect how many (not all) liberal Zionists argue, so it’s worthwhile responding to that, even if we know from long experience you yourself aren’t going to change. The really interesting question is how many liberal Zionists are as intransigent as you are, and how many are capable of changing their minds when confronted by the sorts of arguments Hostage and Jerome Slater and others can make so well.

        • That is my recollection of what I read.

          You are interested in an interrogation around my memory of a quote?

          You don’t think the Al Qassam Brigades declared that they were militarily prepared for an Israeli ground invasion?

        • “No the problem is hundreds of thousands of victims of deportation or exile; thousands of dead and wounded; wrongful imprisonment; home demolitions; extrajudicial killings; the creation of racial enclaves and ghettos; denial of the right to adequate food, water and housing; denial of the rights to free speech, freedom of movement, freedom to work, freedom to pursue an eduction, and freedom to obtain adequate health care; and the granting of superior rights and privileges to persons of Jewish descendancy – to name just a few.”

          I agree that in the cases where they occur, those are injustices, that one of conscience should contest, and that some of them may be adjudicated in color-blind courts.

          I take issue with your “of Jewish descendancy phrase”, but that can pass.

          I’m actually not clear what we are arguing about at this point.

          Are you joining in the “Witty is a racist idiot chorus?”, or are you addressing substantive comments?

        • LeaNder says:

          Thanks, for the reminder, MRW:

          You’re not confused. You’re cunning. I took the time to do this because I want to expose you. This site may be a boxing arena, which you complain about on your blog, but at least the majority of people here come armed with what they know to be the truth. I’m not up for your Bernays sauce.

          I sometimes wonder if the confusion (the semantic grammatic brain knots) may be caused by his super ego’s arcane dictates.

          But did anyone ever suggest he was confused?

          This can easily lead into inquisitorial realms, which is a strange aspect of the topic.

          It simply feels that these type of perception management techniques, bad as they are, since they don’t even closely fit the real patterns we could all watch, are ultra-ultra-counter-productive to what he claims are his aims.

        • LeaNder says:

          Sumud, sounds interesting. I can’t remember what you mean, maybe I didn’t follow the comments at the time. Some more details?

        • “The really interesting question is how many liberal Zionists are as intransigent as you are, and how many are capable of changing their minds when confronted by the sorts of arguments Hostage and Jerome Slater and others can make so well.”

          Almost all liberal Zionists are as “intransigent” as I. When we encounter physical and philosophical abuses by right-wing Zionists we confront them, and when we encounter physical and philosophical abuses by dissent we confront them.

          You are continuing to argue that the term “excessive” is insufficient criticism of Israeli policy, that only “illegal”, “criminal” will do.

          I take seriously my role as not a judge, having incomplete information of the law and of the circumstances to judge. That is a lot of incomplete information.

          I stated that I’ve learned from Hostage, but that I regard him as an advocate, not as an observer, and as such selects the elements of law that support his contentions, and dismisses or deflects from the elements of law that conflict with his contentions.

          I am not sufficiently knowledgable of Israeli statutory law, common law, international law to confidently address his assertions.

          But, I am sufficiently knowledgable of others’ knowledge to confidently declare that the majority here judge prejudicially, and at all costs seek to silence plausible question.

          And, that deters my confidence in the dissent here, as skepticism is a measure of the bar that I need to hear in order to be confident.

          What question do you think I should even consider relative to potentially changing my mind?

          Single-state vs two-state? Illegality vs “excessiveness” of Cast Lead?

          Support for BDS vs opposition to BDS?

        • LeaNder says:

          Donald: he has made a false accusation and that you [Hostage] are in fact morally consistent

          This is something that should be watched closely. Hostage is a very, very respected contributor here. And Richard knows. I decided not to respond.

        • annie says:

          richard, you admit you have insufficiently knowledgable of Israeli and international law to confidently address hostage’s assertions while at the same time allege he dismisses or deflects from the elements of law that conflict with his contentions.

          can you please give us an example of the alleged deflection and dismissal and explain which ‘elements of the laws’ you are referencing? thanks.

        • annie says:

          You are interested in an interrogation around my memory of a quote?

          who is interrogating who here!

          you want to be able to place words in the mouths of others and whine about interrogation when asked to back up your lies. you just like making accusations to get yourself out of the hotseat. you won’t put up evidence of your allegations and you won’t back down. sweeeet/not.

        • “richard, you admit you have insufficiently knowledgable of Israeli and international law to confidently address hostage’s assertions while at the same time allege he dismisses or deflects from the elements of law that conflict with his contentions.

          can you please give us an example of the alleged deflection and dismissal and explain which ‘elements of the laws’ you are referencing? thanks.”

          The point of my comment was definitional, that Hostage is an advocate, and not a jurist responsible to judge with veracity, with similarly incomplete knowledge of the events at hand.

          I assume that he knows the events and evidence that support his perspective. But, I don’t believe that he knows or can know what intelligence the IDF has.

          So, my preference is honesty, that he declare what his personal context is, what his goals of advocacy are, and what contributed to the conclusions that he came to about those goals.

          If it is genuinely a love of the law, I respect that. If the law is a tool, a weapon, then I have fundamental reservations about aspects of that.

          In a court, an attorney for a defendant declares his role, his relationship. It is an honorable role to represent a client, not dishonorable. But, it is stated clearly.

          My point about Hostage was also a point of the psychology of political advocacy. Many here relish Hostage’s comments as supportive of their conclusions. That makes sense. Its important that others with knowledge reinforce one’s own intuitions.

          But, I also observe a blindness to the reality that there are legally credible perspectives that differ with Hostage’s conclusions, that those that relish his points, do so at least partially for the purpose of avoiding considering differing perspectives.

          For backbone, for determination, for endurance, whether or not that backbone is used for good ultimately (liberation, democracy, peace), or for evil (ethnic cleansing, suppression, dogma).

        • annie says:

          thanks, but i didn’t ask for your point, i was more curious about the allegations you made about how you arrived at it. so, i guess the answer would be ‘no’, you cannot provide us with an example of the alleged deflection and dismissal and explain which ‘elements of the laws’ you are referencing.

          somehow that doesn’t surprise me in the least.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Witty, you’ve routinely rejected liberation, democracy and peace in favor of ethnic cleansing, suppression and dogma.

        • Bumblebye says:

          Richard, have you not noticed that since Hostage started posting, those zio-self-declared “experts” in international law like, ooh, maxNarr, have just about disappeared? They simply can’t counter the facts, can they?

        • Richard’s goal/job/assignment is not to convince his critics that he is correct and that they are wrong but to tie up a host of Mondoweiss bloggers in an endless tunnel while most of the site’s readers have, I suspect, tuned out and turned to other articles.

          I think there are two ideal responses to Witty. The first is to completely ignore him. Period. The second is to use the time spent on responding to him to type up a flyer about some aspect of the present political situation. make copies of it on our home printer or at a cheap copy place and distribute them at a local supermarket with each flyer containing a dedication at the bottom to Richard Witty. When the curious ask, “who is Richard Witty?,” we can respond that he is a Zionist agent or sayan who is trying to use the internet to counter legitimate criticism of Israel and that this is our way of countering his efforts. If they ask what a sayan is, which one would hope, we can explain that it is a Jew who lives in a foreign country that is willing to perform services for Israel without pay. Who knows? The person asking may think that this is a noble endeavor on Witty’s part. Then again, he or she may not.

          I write this after having been off my computer for two days and finding scores of responses, one after another to Witty in my email box. Who knows? He may be getting paid by the response, like the “old penny a liner.”

        • Donald says:

          “But, I don’t believe that he knows or can know what intelligence the IDF has.”

          More double standards. No one needs to know exactly what “intelligence” Palestinians had to condemn their violence. But Israelis need to make a complete confession before we can judge their actions.

          This has been another example of Richard playing Lucy to my Charlie Brown. He says something reasonable, condemning the violence of both sides–soon enough, it turns out he didn’t really mean it.

          But I thank Richard for eliciting some more useful comments from Hostage. On this whole question about what we should be doing with respect to Richard, maybe that’s the answer–let Hostage respond if he chooses to. At least then it becomes an opportunity to learn something.

        • Hostage says:

          The point of my comment was definitional, that Hostage is an advocate, and not a jurist responsible to judge with veracity, with similarly incomplete knowledge of the events at hand.

          Isn’t that sort of irrelevant when I’m only citing the findings of fact contained in an advisory opinion of the ICJ? It was written by 14 of the best jurists in the world. They had a 1000+ page dossier and fact finding reports from the Secretary General and a couple of dozen written statements, including an 800+ page pleading from Palestine and a 200+ page submission from Israel. BTW, they noted that there was ample evidence available from open sources to confirm the facts of the case.

          I assume that he knows the events and evidence that support his perspective. But, I don’t believe that he knows or can know what intelligence the IDF has.

          Here is one example: In his autobiography, Rabin said the IDF GHQ Intelligence assessment in June of 1967 was that Israel was facing a repetition of Operation Rotem, and that Egypt would eventually withdraw from the Sinai. I’ve probably cited more Israeli author’s on the subject of IDF intelligence and strategy assessments than any one else on MW, Here is another example containing a summary list: link to mondoweiss.net

          FYI, 972+ Magazine just reported that the IDF had nothing to say about the findings that Egyptians were responsible for the recent Eilat attacks. The Courts are required to operate under a presumption of innocence, but the rest of us are not. There is strong prima facie evidence that the IDF used the events in Eilat as an excuse for launching illegal attacks on Gaza. The IDF has offered nothing to refute that evidence. A lot of people were killed. Why shouldn’t we ask them to defend their actions in open court”? link to 972mag.com

          I’ve also cited declassified historical documents from Israeli, US, and UK state archives together with verbatim minutes from Knesset debates, Sharett’s dairy, Rabin’s biography, Ben Gurion’s letters, & etc. which revealed what the military echelons knew.

          But, I also observe a blindness to the reality that there are legally credible perspectives that differ with Hostage’s conclusions

          Richard the written statements and fact finding reports in the 2004 ICJ Wall case alleged that Israel was committing many of the constituent acts of the crime of apartheid listed in Article 2 of the international convention. The Court affirmed them in its own findings of fact. Article 3 of the convention explains that international criminal responsibility shall apply, irrespective of the motive involved. So, the Court dismissed Israel’s arguments based upon its security and necessity claims and declared the on-going situation illegal. There is no “psychology of political advocacy” involved. I’m just reporting the facts.

        • Taxi says:

          Jeffrey, personally I ignore 99% of what Doctor Ice, cousin of Doctor No, has to say for himself.

        • Citizen says:

          If Hostage is an advocate, so of course is Witty (and proudly wearing a liberal Zionist badge on his breast). Hostage supports his claims with outside authorities, evidence, and we can all go and check them. Witty does not. Witty simply counters by saying nobody here is privy to what the Israeli government may know that may legitimize its conduct at issue at the time and place in question.

          Witty wants Hostage to pin some identifying badge on his chest too. Hostage says, in effect, I don’t have a badge–I am just passing you the facts as I see them, and here, btw, are my authorities, Just the facts, Mame.

          We are all the jurists. Jurists argue together on what the dueling advocates have presented, and they come to a conclusion, their comments. We’ve seen the outcome time and time again here on MW.

          Witty concludes most regulars here are biased. Like a biased judge in a bench trial or a biased jury. He recommends an alternate transfer jurisdiction, his own blog. Nobody finds it worthy except himself. They come running back to Phil & Adam’s domain.

          Bush Jr & Rummy have been out selling books, books in which they maintain that they made the decision to attack Iran based on the best evidence available at the time by official intelligence agencies regarding the character of the threat posed by Saddam H & his regime.

          This in the face of much directly contrary evidence that has come out.
          All governments classify, keep state secrets. When and if it finally comes out, it’s always way after the fatal events in question.

          All law is ultimately political. In the West there is a tradition to keep Justice blind as much as possible; this grows harder as the political implications grow larger (as the little case “gets bigger.”). The latest AIPAC spy case was arrested and buried due to alleged state security issues. SCOTUS too declines to accept cases under the Political Question doctrine.

          There is no good reason to respond to Richard Witty at all except to demolish his vague and nearly always unsupported abstractions for the benefit of newer lurkers and newbies to Mondoweiss who might be confused by his deflection technique.

        • “Isn’t that sort of irrelevant when I’m only citing the findings of fact contained in an advisory opinion of the ICJ? ”

          Its relevant to the discussion of winning the argument.

          Its less relevant to the discussion of why I or others should change our views of what is occurring, including in law.

          “I’m just reporting the facts.” “Just?”

          I regard your contributions that address content raised to be important.

          And, if honestly identified as advocacy, rather than the pretense of just “facts”, is honorable.

          The ICJ is not an authoritative body, but responsible for the referral of cases to other jurisdictions. (That I know, a fact.) It is analagous to the grand jury in ways in the US, that determines that a case is considered worthy of the investment in time and money to prosecute.

          But, the only fact applicable is that the ICJ referred the case, including their determination that there was merit to the case. Similarly, for human rights organizations determinations.

          They are opinions of law, not determinations of law.

          The relationship of intentionally non-state actors (Gaza could declare itself a state, then later reconcile with West Bank Palestine and unify if it chose), and state actors, is a current/new wrinkle in the international law that you describe.

          The examples often cited (I don’t remember if by you) of French resistance to nazi occupation, are only indirectly parallel to the Israel/Palestinian issues.

          The relationship of international and national obligations in addressing violent resistance movements is nowhere clear (there are nuanced interpretations that are reliable, but are not of the nature that “resistance to occupation is a right guaranteed under the Geneva conventions”.)

          The arguments of international law are often abused by proponents of Zionism. (I am sickened by the repetitions of “the San Remo agreement conveys Jewish authority over the Palestinian mandate”, as I am sickened by the repetitions of “Israel was illegally blockading Gaza, therefore Hamas had every legal right to shell Israeli civilians “in defense” and Israel had no legal obligation to attempt to stop the shelling.”)

          The way to avoid the confusions, the abuses of selective interpretation of international law is really only by mutual acknowledgment.

          To Donald on the question of Palestinians right to self-defense.

          Hamas and other resistance probably has the “right” to militarily oppose a ground assault by guerilla efforts. As a non-state, they do not have the right to cross a border and abduct, nor to shell or fire rockets. They also do not have the legal right to conduct border surges.

          They have the right to peaceable assembly in the area of their jurisdiction.

          As a state, Israel does have the right to engage in air strikes relative to valid targets, so long as it sincerely endeavors to minimize casualties to civilians.

          Granted that that definition is grey and abusable. And, it is also substantive, and included in the training that IDF personnel are given and expected to comply.

          Hamas militiamen are not instructed in international law, and are not expected to conform to it. There is not the issue of insufficient conformity as there is none.

        • Hostage says:

          Its relevant to the discussion of winning the argument.

          You complained that I am not a jurist, but the ICJ is composed of jurists. They advised the UN General Assembly on the legal consequences for other states and the UN organization arising from a situation that the General Assembly had already declared to be illegal.

          Its less relevant to the discussion of why I or others should change our views of what is occurring, including in law.

          The General Assembly is tasked by the UN Charter with promoting the progressive codification of international law. One example of that was when the General Assembly convened the UN Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court. It adopted the Rome Statute of the ICC which has subsequently been ratified by 119 states. Palestine could quite easily become the 120th. That should provide plenty of incentive to change Israeli laws.

          They are opinions of law, not determinations of law.

          John Dugard has served as Special Rapporteur of the International Law Commission and as a Judge on the International Court of Justice. He reported to the General Assembly that:

          The International Court of Justice is the judicial organ of the United Nations. Moreover the General Assembly has by an overwhelming majority repeatedly given its approval to the Opinion. This means that it is now part of the law of the United Nations. As such the representative of the United Nations in the Quartet – the Secretary-General or his representative – is in law obliged to be guided by the Opinion and to endeavour in good faith to do his or her best to ensure compliance with the Opinion.

          So, neither the UN Charter nor the Statute of the Court suggest that an advisory opinion is not a legal determination based upon the applicable law. In any event the General Assembly directed Israel and all of the member states to carry-out their responsibilities as described in the ICJ advisory opinion. The UN Charter explicitly states that one purpose of the Organization is “to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained”. All of the member states have a treaty obligation under Article 2(5) to “give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the present Charter” See Resolution ES-10/15, August 2, 2004 and please stop dissembling, international law is binding law:
          link to unispal.un.org

          The examples often cited (I don’t remember if by you) of French resistance to nazi occupation, are only indirectly parallel to the Israel/Palestinian issues.

          I’ve explained at great length that the General Assembly supported the right of colonial peoples to resist foreign domination and alien occupation, but that it had called upon the Palestinian Authority to undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks, and the Government of Israel to take no actions undermining trust, including deportations and attacks on civilians and extrajudicial killings. Once again see resolution ES-10/15 at the link provided above.

          I’ve also explained that during the trials of the WWII War Criminals, the opinions of Hersh Lauterpacht from Oppenheim’s International Law, 6th and 8th Editions was cited to define reprisals and to determine when reprisals against civilians, towns, and villages were customarily authorized in accordance with Article 50 of the Hague Convention (see pages 3 & 4) – and that reprisals against occupied civilian populations were subsequently outlawed by common article 3 of GC IV and the 1st Additional Protocol.

        • Hostage says:

          I agree that in the cases where they occur, those are injustices, that one of conscience should contest, and that some of them may be adjudicated in color-blind courts.

          I was citing the findings of fact from an ICJ advisory opinion. Among other things, it also said that, under the terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel is under an obligation to search for and bring before its courts persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, grave breaches of international humanitarian law flowing from the planning, construction and use of the wall. You may have noticed that Israel has failed to honor its obligations to the other High Contracting parties in that respect.

          I take issue with your “of Jewish descendancy phrase”, but that can pass.

          The JNF is a public state body in Israel. Its Memorandum of Association, Article 3(a) says it is established: “To purchase, acquire on lease, or in exchange, or receive on lease or otherwise, lands, forests, rights of possession, easements and any similar rights, as well as immovable properties of any class…for the purpose of settling Jews on such lands and properties.”

          Article 3(c) says that accrues: “benefit, whether directly or indirectly, to those of Jewish race or descendancy”.

          I’m actually not clear what we are arguing about at this point.

          I’m explaining why neither you nor Israel can justify Operation Cast Lead, or any similar indiscriminate attack on a built-up area with a civilian population on the basis of “necessity”. The ICJ found that Israel could not justify its on-going illegal acts on the basis of security or necessity in 2004, and the situation has only gotten worse since then. Israel has designated Gaza as an enemy entity and has employed a blockade against it. The U.S. State Department explains that blockades have historically resulted in belligerent recognition, because they are “a weapon of war between sovereign states.” link to future.state.gov

          In wars between states, the armed forces of the enemy may be captured and taken prisoner, but they are not abducted. The State of Israel killed Gaza policemen at the outset of Operation Cast Lead because they were part of a uniformed militia, but it has never treated captured Palestinian militia members as POW’s. You really can’t have it both ways. All of this has happened despite the fact that Palestine has acceded to the Geneva Conventions and the additional Protocols. The UN political and judicial organs have repeatedly demanded that both sides should scrupulously abide by the terms of the Geneva Conventions. Nonetheless the government of Israel doesn’t even mention the Third Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War as part of the applicable framework of international law, e.g. See paragraph 31
          link to mfa.gov.il

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Shalit was standing in around the vicinity of the ethnically cleansed Palestinian village of Najd, and that’s “defense.” Right.

    • tree says:

      Again, Shalit was in Israel, in a role of defense, not offense.

      Shalit was part of an IDF tank unit. That tank unit, along with other units in the vicinity of Gaza in that time frame, had been pounding Gaza with tank and artillery shells since Israel’s unilateral withdrawal of its settlers in 2005. As I stated on another thread a few days ago, more Palestinian civilians had been killed by IDF artillery shells in 2006 than all the Israeli civilians killed by rocket fire from Gaza, ever.

      To repeat, for the memory challenged, from a report by HRW reposted at EI:

      Since its September 2005 pullout from Gaza, the IDF has regularly struck northern Gaza with artillery shelling, in response to Qassam rocket attacks from the area by Palestinian armed groups. In the last 10 months, Israel has admitted to firing more than 5,000 artillery shells into the area. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs puts the number at 5,700 IDF shells fired since the end of March 2005.

      According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, IDF artillery fire has killed 47 Palestinians, including 11 children and five women, and injured 192 others since September 2005. It has also damaged dozens of homes in northern Gaza.

      Human Rights Watch researchers visiting the area say almost every house on the periphery of areas of Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahia in northern Gaza has holes in it indicative of Israeli artillery shrapnel. In a June 10 interview with the New York Times, General Aviv Kochavi, the Israeli commander for the south, indicated that the purpose of the artillery shelling is to deter future attacks and punish area residents: “The message we are trying to convey, you can call it deterrence, but it’s ‘Ladies and gentlemen, there is an equivalence: so long as you shoot qassams at us, we’ll shoot at you.’”

      link to electronicintifada.net

      To call Shalit’s role one of “defense”simply because he was stationed on Israeli soil makes as much sense as calling the rocket fire from Gaza “defense”, because it was likewise initiated from Gaza soil. You could try to make an argument that Shalit’s role was “defensive” in nature, but if you do, for the sake of consistency, you have to acknowledge that those who are firing back from Gaza, are likewise doing so for “defensive” reasons.

    • Mooser says:

      “In even “just causes” it is always innocents that get the brunt. There is no retributive form of resistance that does not exact collective punishment on civilians, whichever way the resistance or defense occurs.”

      Oh, I see. That makes it alright, then. But do understand, I am struck with admiration at the depth, complexity, and sophistication of your conclusions. What a wise man you must be!

    • American says:

      I read last night in JP or somewhere that Israel had gone in and kidnapped several more Palestine children in a raid yesterday.
      Is it their plan to kidnap more children to make up for having to release some Palestine prisoners?
      I was waiting for Israel to renig on some part of swap, maybe this is their revenge instead.
      Would be typical.

    • Hostage says:

      Again, Shalit was in Israel, in a role of defense, not offense.

      Reality check. Shalit was a member of an IDF tank crew. Here are some examples of the sort of tasks they perform:
      *IDF has fired more than 5,100 shells at Gaza in six weeks
      *Earlier in the day, Israeli tanks fired at a home on An-Nazzaz Street in the eastern part of the Ash-Shaja’iya neighborhood in Gaza City. Abu Salmiya said members of the Abu Hilu family were playing football outside the home when the shell hit. Muhammad Jihad Al-Hilu, 11, Yasser Ahed Al-Hilu, 16, Muhammad Saber Harara, 20, and Yasser Hamer Al-Hilu, 50, were all killed in the attack, and several others were injured, the medical spokesman said. link to maannews.net

      UN Special Rapporteur John Dugard wrote: Persons responsible for committing war crimes by the firing of shells and rockets into civilian areas without any apparent military advantage should be apprehended or prosecuted. This applies to Palestinians who fire Qassam rockets into Israel; and more so to members of the IDF who have committed such crimes on a much greater scale. link to unispal.un.org

      • MRW says:

        Let’s repeat that because Witty won’t read more than the first paragraph:

        UN Special Rapporteur John Dugard wrote: Persons responsible for committing war crimes by the firing of shells and rockets into civilian areas without any apparent military advantage should be apprehended or prosecuted. This applies to Palestinians who fire Qassam rockets into Israel; and more so to members of the IDF who have committed such crimes on a much greater scale.

    • pjdude says:

      how is helping keep occupied territory a defensive role?

  7. eGuard says:

    … our supposed Jewish moral values: eee will answer.

    • American says:

      “our supposed Jewish moral values”

      Will someone for once tell me what Jewish moral values are and how or if they are any different from non Jewish people’s values?
      I constantly see this and don’t know if they are using “Jewish” values because they are ‘appealing to Jews’ to assert some moral values, in the way Americans might call upon American values or principles, or if they are using Jewish values as if they are a higher standard than the norm.
      Maybe it’s some of both. But I never see it phrased as calling upon Jews to just uphold universal values or those common to most people.
      I am making a note to myself to not use ‘American values’ any longer when talking about moral positions. Although I might still refer to certain principles that were set out as guidelines for America by our founders just because they were good principles.

      • Woody Tanaka says:

        I’ve always assumed that it was merely appealing to the vanity of the religious. A lot of people do that. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard people say that someone “is a good Christian” when they mean “is a good person.”

        Theologically, I can’t say. Being an atheist, I don’t have much good or nice to say about any religion on the theological grounds. But I am happy to see that most people, of every religion, pretty much ignore all the bad stuff in their doctrines (and they all have them. Lots of them.) and just try to be good people. That gives me hope that one day, someone’s religious affiliation will be like their zodiac sign — something that you have, but not something that you take seriously or that you let affect the way you look at the world or how you treat other people.

  8. Charon says:

    It’s the self-praise that reminds me of the psychopaths who make up the executive level of many American businesses. You can’t ever expect them to be fair with the peons but in the rare instance where they think they are trying to help by giving the staff $20 Olive Garden gift cards, they never let you forget it. “You can’t say we haven’t been fair to you, I gave you that gift card, see? That makes me a fair guy so you can’t say otherwise”

    Not surprising considering we are dealing with the exact same thing when it comes to Israel’s leaders – psychopaths. Bibi passes the Hare psychopathy test with flying colors. Go watch that old UN video where he is called Netay and repeats that same tired rhetoric full of lies that he continued to say to this day. The guy’s a manipulative pathological liar and there is no way he has ever felt a shred of empathy. Psychopath, guaranteed.

    • Citizen says:

      Maybe young Bibi learned his psychopathology when he was rubbing shoulders with the then also young Americans in their ivy league halls?

    • Keith says:

      CHARON- “It’s the self-praise that reminds me of the psychopaths who make up the executive level of many American businesses.”

      I think “sociopaths” is more correct, but why quibble? As for the “self-praise,” a stunning example of this is President Obama’s remarks on the death of Gaddafi (linked below). US/NATO basically made war on a militarily weak oil rich country, totally destroying their infrastructure and their quality of life. In his remarks, he praises the “brave pilots” who dropped bombs on defenseless civilians. He also says that now Libya’s future looks quite bright, no doubt true for Western business and for the satraps and compradors, the immiseration of the majority a regrettable but unavoidable consequence of neoliberalism. Methinks that the “white man’s burden” is rather easily borne, and our benevolence rather exaggerated, to say the least. Link to Obama on Gaddafi- link to dandelionsalad.wordpress.com

  9. RE: “Shalit was a soldier of a nation…whose ‘profound Jewish values’ and ‘adherence to the dignity of all human lives’ does not prevent it…from occupying, killing, repressing, imprisoning, blockading, and deliberately inflicting deep economic as well as psychological pain on another people.” ~ Jerome Slater

    MY COMMENT: That’s why I sometimes refer (only half-jokingly) to the Dissociative State of Israel.

    FROM WIKIPEDIA:

    (excerpt) Dissociation is an altered state of consciousness characterized by partial or complete disruption of the normal integration of a person’s normal conscious or psychological functioning.[1] Dissociation is most commonly experienced as a subjective perception of one’s consciousness being detached from one’s emotions, body and/or immediate surroundings [in other words, the person has "lost touch with reality" - J.L.D.].[2] Van der Kolk et al.[3] describe dissociation as a “compartmentalization of experience.” Under normal conditions, consciousness, memory, emotions, sensory awareness, affect, etc., are integrated; with dissociation, in contrast, these traits are discretely compartmentalized to greater or lesser degrees.
    Dissociation describes a wide array of experiences that can affect any aspect of a person’s mental functioning.[4][5][6][7] Although some dissociative disruptions involve amnesia, other dissociative events do not.[8] At one end of a continuum, dissociation describes such common events as becoming lost in thought while driving a vehicle and not recalling parts of the journey. At the other end of the continuum are a cluster of dissociative disorders, such as dissociative amnesia, that can occur in response to severe psychological trauma such as rape or military combat. In such cases of abuse or trauma, dissociation can be regarded as a coping mechanism to help with an overwhelming experience.[9]…

    SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org

    P.S. ALSO SEE: Avraham Burg: Israel’s new prophet ~ By Donald Macintyre, The Independent, 1 November 2008
    Avraham Burg was a pillar of the Israeli establishment but his new book is causing a sensation. It argues that Israel is an “abused child” which has become a “violent parent”. And his solutions are radical, as he explains to Donald Macintyre.
    LINK – link to independent.co.uk

    • @Dickerson .
      Stop scaring me with your new avatar photo. I will have nightmares:))
      I think that Israel also suffers from Multi-personality Disorder.
      They have many of them ,and use them as needed.
      One for that occasion, the other for another, the third one is a special one , the forth one is not seen taht often ,and so on….
      The one, in this article is : “oh, poor me , I’m sooo good, so honorable ,and nobody (except my own family) wants to see that”.

      • RE: “Stop scaring me with your new avatar photo. I will have nightmares:))” ~ dumvitaestspesest

        NIETZSCHE SEZ: What does not kill you makes you stronger.
        I ADD: But it might also drive you nuts.
        P.S. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

        • annie says:

          lol, you crack me up dickie

        • Citizen says:

          Heh. Nietzsche in fact went nuts in the end. Probably as he watched his form of western Buddhism being turned into social Darwinism, into premature Hitler worship–sorta like the Buddhists who now worship Buddha virtually as a God?

        • Mooser says:

          Jeeves to Bertie: “She intends to start you on Nietzsche, sir. You will not like Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound.”
          I ask you, is it meet, is it wise, to ignore Jeeves’ lightest word? And so on to the Palace of Beauty!

      • RE: “Stop scaring me with your new avatar photo. I will have nightmares:))” ~ dumvitaestspesest

        FORTUNATELY (OR NOT), I JUST FOUND THE ANECDOTE – link to niqnaq.files.wordpress.com

        • They say :”Eyes are the window to the soul”.
          Looking at THOSE eyes, it is scary to think what is hidden behind them.
          Picture of “Dorian Grey” comes to my mind.

        • RE: Picture of “Dorian Grey” comes to my mind.

          OSCAR WILDE SEZ:

          • A man’s face is his autobiography. A woman’s face is her work of fiction.
          • It is better to be beautiful than to be good. But… it is better to be good than to be ugly.
          • A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.
          • Life is never fair, and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not.
          • Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.
          • We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

          SOURCE – link to brainyquote.com
          “We are our own devil, and we make this world our hell.”
          Company Of Thieves – Oscar Wilde (VIDEO, 04:50) – link to youtube.com
          Oscar Wilde – Los Vidrios Quebrados (VIDEO, 02:05) – link to youtube.com

  10. American says:

    Heard the latest? …Without aid to Israel, there probably would be no foreign aid at all because the Israel aid package is the locomotive that drives the aid legislation forward.
    Okey dokey…add foreign aid to the list of US policies that AIPAC controls.
    Just gets piled deeper and higher.

    Opinion: Putting a price tag on Israel aid
    by MJ Rosenberg, Foreign Policy Matters

    In my last piece, I highlighted a Washington Post column in which Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Walter Pincus urged that the $3 billion aid package to Israel be re-examined.

    Israel, with a population of seven million, receives $3 billion a year from the United States while the entire continent of Africa, with a population over a billion, receives $8 billion. Israel is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, while many countries in Africa languish in poverty and disease, especially HIV/AIDS. Obviously, these relative aid levels are ridiculous.

    Nonetheless, I am now having second thoughts about the issue as a result of a call from a friend who works to increase aid levels for Africa.

    She agrees that the foreign aid levels disproportionately favor Israel. But she points out that without aid to Israel, there probably would be no foreign aid at all because the Israel aid package is the locomotive that drives the aid legislation forward.

    Simply put, the foreign aid bill passes due to AIPAC’s pressured lobbying for it (because it contains the Israel aid package). Needy countries in Africa would probably receive little aid from the United States at all if not for Israel’s inflated aid package and AIPAC’s fevered determination to enact it.

    Any doubt on that score would be eliminated by reviewing what the Republican candidates have said about foreign aid in their various debates and by what Republican and conservative Democratic members of Congress say about it.

    Virtually all of them oppose foreign aid and would eliminate it altogether. When asked which government program they would cut to reduce the deficit, foreign aid is at the top of their list even though it represents 1 percent of the budget.’

    • MRW says:

      That’s bullshit. Complete bullshit. MJ is being bamboozled. The foreign aid IS CUT, but not aid to Israel. Israel didn’t go to bat for the other countries.

    • Keith says:

      AMERICAN- “Simply put, the foreign aid bill passes due to AIPAC’s pressured lobbying for it (because it contains the Israel aid package).”

      Unless I am mistaken, there are moves afoot to move the Israel aid package from the foreign aid appropriation and stick it elsewhere, Defense I think.

      • Citizen says:

        Keith, yes a bill has been proposed by Israel First congress critters to transfer the Israel aid package to DOD to avoid blanket cuts proposed to Foreign Aid; this happened months ago; some resisted a bit later at the time, arguing that would put aid to Israel under undesirable kleig lights, and now, we have not heard much about it in MSM. Anybody got an update?

  11. Slater states, “While some of the Palestinian prisoners were truly terrorists seeking the unjust cause of the destruction of Israel, surely many others were essentially soldiers in a just cause, national liberation and the creation of an independent state in a small part of Palestine. On the other hand, Shalit was a soldier of a nation whose real cause (continuing the de facto occupation of the Palestinians and Jewish expansion into what remains of their territory) is unjust.

    While inclined to agree that an Israel that has not defined its borders regarding the West Bank in particular there is a large element of expansionism involved in the IDF’s “real cause”, I think Slater gives too wide a berth to those who would capture Israeli soldiers. Were the Israeli soldiers who were killed on the border with Lebanon in 2006- Regev and Goldwasser also involved in an unjust cause?

    And while Israel’s violation of the border of Gaza is manifest, Israel’s “relationship” to Gaza is in a separate category from the West Bank expansionism. On the West Bank Israel is truly taking land whereas regarding Gaza it is a different dynamic with no claims on the land.

    • Walid says:

      “Were the Israeli soldiers who were killed on the border with Lebanon in 2006- Regev and Goldwasser also involved in an unjust cause? ”

      WJ, just or unjust, just charge it against the 30,000 innocent Lebanese civilians that Israel has killed over the years without reason. Regev and Goldwasser were captured as a result of Israel having reneged on its 2004 conditional agreement to release Kuntar when Hizbullah swapped the Israeli spy Tannenbaum and the bodies of Avitan, Avraham and Sawaid captured from Lebanon’s occupied Chebaa Farms in 2000.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      The soldiers who were killed on the Lebanese border have NOTHING to do with the Gazans. It’s just your racism against Arabs worldwide that conflates it.

      • Mooser says:

        Wondering Jew, the settler viewpoint is well-represented here, and we get it straight, without a gloppy coating, from many others. So your efforts are sort of redundant. Save your energy, is my advice, you’re gonna need it.

        • Hey Mooser,

          Do you read books? I’d like to hear your reaction to “The Finkler Question”.

        • Donald says:

          “Do you read books? I’d like to hear your reaction to “The Finkler Question”.

          I wish Phil would get around to that one. He’s said he would. I read a review in the NYT–it sounded like it was in part a snarky unfair portrayal of Jewish pro-Palestinian activists. The sort of thing novelist might do to someone he doesn’t like very much.

  12. Elliot says:

    The real meaning of the 1000:1 ratio is not that Israel is 1000 times more moral than the Palestinians but that it is 1000 times more powerful. The IDF/Shin Bet/Border Police can arrest Palestinians at will. Hamas has to engineer a daring exploit to capture one Israeli soldier.
    Since we’re talking numbers, how about percentages: Israel got 100% of its POWs in return for releasing just 20% of the other side’s.
    Now, who’s more moral?

    • Walid says:

      Good point, Elliot, with another 5 or 6 thousand Palestinians still held in jail and a reserve pool of 3 million prisoners between Gaza and the WB, 1027 prisoners is chicken-shit for Israel but it’s using that number to pretend its superior morality.

  13. At some point there will have to be an awful lot of forgiveness forthcoming from both sides for things to move forward.

    who’s up for that?

    • I agree… But then I just asked myself what Israelis need to forgive Palestinians for…. The only thing they need to forgive is the violent resistance, especially terror attacks, which were in direct reaction to Israeli crimes and the earlier aggressive Zionist moves to create a Jewish state in a land that was quite recently <10% Jewish (with the concurrent unwanted and illegal immigration, exclusionary and discriminatory policies, and terror, all with an ultimate goal of the wholesale theft of a country to make a Jewish power structure/state).

      And what do Palestinians need to forgive Israelis for? Wow is that list long. BUT, how can they begin to forgive when they are not only historically, but CURRENTLY being abused, dispossessed, and suffering supreme injustice? It would be like forgiving someone as they punched you in the face, endlessly.

      My point being, though there are crimes on both sides, and blood in the sand, one side is continually oppressing and with STATE sanctioned crimes, while the other side has a sporadic occurrence of regrettable violence in resistance to the crimes they suffered, often in an unorganized manner from fringe groups.

      Israel needs to stop the insanity, then maybe people can start forgiving. And most Palestinians I know already forgive, and are willing to accept some past injustices, quite openly…. They just can't live with the daily insanity and injustice, and cannot "forgive" ongoing crimes.

      It's like how the Israeli right wants "peace" for peace (just go away and be happy we are expanding, and forget past grievances, let along your pressing current ones), but they are not interested in a modicum of justice, which is the requirement for peace.

      • Citizen says:

        Witty says above the Palestinian & Solidarity cry for Justice is the main problem. That’s the difference between a traditional liberal Jew like Phil and a liberal Jewish Zionist like Dick.

    • Taxi says:

      Have the euro jews forgiven Hitler? Will they turn round and tell the new generation of Germans born afer 1948 that they need not pay any further reparations cuz they’ve been TRULY forgiven?

      • Citizen says:

        If the Palestinians gain statehood, will they be helped by the Wester World to track, capture, and harass geezer IDF guards until they die? How much of Israel’s stance & conduct based on psychiatric projection?

    • Mooser says:

      “At some point there will have to be an awful lot of forgiveness forthcoming from both sides for things to move forward.”

      Kindly tell me what the Palestinians need to be forgiven for? Existing? Living where they do? Not organising themselves into a religio-facist state? Wearing those funny clothes?
      You can take that equivalency hasbara and shove it where the sun don’t shine. I would suggest the inside of Witty’s skull, where no light has ever penetrated.

  14. stevelaudig says:

    Think on this: it’s merely a Zionist Israeli “catch and release and catch and release” program in action funded by the dopey American taxpayer and the dopier American voter who persists in electing people to Congress who place another country’s interests ahead of the the United States. When the U.S. runs out of money to pay for Zionist Israel’s defense, then there will be a peace.

    • Citizen says:

      From what the #GOP POTUS contenders and current congress say, you will get anything you get from government cut off before one cent is cut from the Israel package. Ron Paul is the exception, but there’s been no follow up when this question was raised during the CNN debate.

  15. MRW says:

    Good piece, Jerry. You’re right. The schmaltz and melodrama is over the top for the final exercise of cashing in a political bargaining chip.

    Do you recall the name of the POWs who spent five years curled up in 4′ x 6′ cages semi-buried in the ground while McCain was fêted as a celebratory detainee and wore his dress whites in his prison apartment?

    No? I didn’t think so. None of us can.

    And just for the record, I don’t recall any of the US Jewish agencies exhibit “the value we place on every single human life,” or show any greater “humanity” than their US Gentile counterparts as American citizens for these men, either.

  16. mcsense says:

    Excellent point. Came across a similar commentary on racism:
    link to news.yahoo.com

  17. MRW says:

    The 1000-for-I trade keeps up the myth that a Jewish life is worth more than a Gentile’s. That was its underlying purpose: feed the myth.

    • DBG says:

      the underlying purpose was to get Gilad back.

      • Citizen says:

        Yes, DBG, it’s the same reason that explains move to get Pollard released, and to Israel.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        If Israelis really cared about Gilad Shalit, why did they bomb prisons, hospitals, government buildings etc. in Operation Cast Lead? In other words, why did they target (among other things) all the buildings he was likely to be held prisoner in?

        Livni’s biggest failure was that she didn’t make a martyr out of him, and Israel was shamed into releasing hundreds from its prison camp system.

      • Mooser says:

        “the underlying purpose was to get Gilad back.”

        Oh look, DBG is on a first-name basis with the famous Israeli prisoner. Well, I guess that’s only natural for the re-incarnation of Israel’s first Prime Minister.

  18. thetumta says:

    The “Witty” thing is starting to reflect badly on those of you who respond to him. Bullies are not pretty and he is so easy. He has to work this out in private.

    • Donald says:

      “The “Witty” thing is starting to reflect badly on those of you who respond to him. Bullies are not pretty and he is so easy.”

      Um, “starting to?” Personally I’ve been responding to him for years. I don’t care if it looks like “bullying”. Richard keeps posting things many of us think are wrong and we keep responding. Frankly, in some ways the whole issue is intellectually trivial–the Israelis steal Palestinian land and oppress them, some Palestinians respond with terrorism, the Israelis keep oppressing them, while calling it “self-defense”, and Israel defenders try to whitewash Israeli crimes as much as possible. It’s the same damn thing year after year after year and it’s a pattern one sees throughout history. Those of us who are American just happen to be involved in supporting the oppressors in this case. On an intellectual difficulty scale of 1 to 10, understanding this falls somewhere around, oh, say, 2. An intelligent 9 year old could follow it. We aren’t talking quantum physics here.

      Richard is a proxy for much of what passes for “liberal Zionism” in the US. Jerome Slater is the honorable type who doesn’t try to hide the harm Israel has done, but people who think like Richard have much more power in American politics than we have. Richard has some odd personal foibles, but the important thing is that he is squarely in the American political mainstream. We aren’t.

      • MRW says:

        Jerome Slater is the honorable type who doesn’t try to hide the harm Israel has done, but people who think like Richard have much more power in American politics than we have.

        The difference is that Slater is smarter than Witty, by a few thousand miles…squared. Witty represents the lowest common denominator of US thinking: something Jews should not be advertising if they want to palm off this we’re-smarter-than-gentiles fantasy.

        • MRW says:

          P.S. Add Blankfort, who has moral intelligence (even though I am still undecided about the Wikileaks issue, and he thinks I am wrong to question it.)

        • Citizen says:

          At any rate, Witty has less moral & intellectual integrity. He’s more like a Xtian fundy. In the end, he’s a true believer, which he tries to mask with abstract humanist verbiage.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Please. I can’t speak for any other nationality, but the sad fact is, most Americans respect a display of strength over polite waffling. Witty knows that and that’s why he strikes as hard as his verbose nature permits — calling people “fascists” and “militants” and “terrorists” and “anti-Semites.”

      Sometimes, you have to fight fire with fire, because some fires are so big no amount of water you can carry will put it out.

    • Mooser says:

      “He has to work this out in private.”

      Maybe, but no matter when he makes himself available, no matter what kind of expensive wine and champagne he buys, or what kind of DVDs he gets in a plain brown wrapper, Phil refuses to come over to his place and give him a chance to prove his love.
      All Phil would have to do to turn Witty into a fervent anti-Zionist is give him a spot on the Mondoweiss staff. Well, a pat on the head, or maybe brushing up against him in the halls of the Mondoweiss offices would quicken the process.
      Of course, when Mondoweiss is the only website on the entire Internet, it is hard for Witty to tear himself away from it.

      • MRW says:

        All Phil would have to do to turn Witty into a fervent anti-Zionist is give him a spot on the Mondoweiss staff.

        LOL.

        • Mooser says:

          “All Phil would have to do to turn Witty into a fervent anti-Zionist is give him a spot on the Mondoweiss staff.”

          I’m not joking. Witty seems to think that Phil owes him something, and Witty is going to get it, or poop all over the place.
          Isn’t it obvious that Witty is, more than anything else concerned with the Mondoweiss blogg itself, not the information offered here? He never seems to absorb or credit any of it, but is on a fruitless, bootless quest to invalidate Phil’s efforts.
          Ask yourself this: Why does Witty write many, many more times more words at Mondoweiss instead of his own blog?
          I tell you again, Witty would be wrapping himself in the Palestinian flag if Phil would just return a fraction of the love Witty bears him.

        • MRW says:

          I know you’re not joking, Mooser, and you’re dead right. That’s what made me laugh out loud when I read it.

        • “All Phil would have to do to turn Witty into a fervent anti-Zionist is give him a spot on the Mondoweiss staff.

          LOL.”

          Its funny, but its partially true.

        • A blog post is meant to be responded to.

          The subsequent discussion is not the subject of the blog.

          I won’t take the partisan pro-Palestinian approach, except to the extent that I have, that of supporting the rational, sober approach of Fayyad and Abbas, as I’ve written candidly in my own blog.

          You can’t stand dual awareness though, how someone could be both pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli at the same time.

  19. RoHa says:

    “profound Jewish values”
    “adherence to the dignity of all human lives”

    E.g.: link to mondoweiss.net

    link to 972mag.com

    link to huffingtonpost.com

    • Citizen says:

      Atzmon focuses on the tension between “Jewish values” and humanistic values (tribal v universal) in his latest book, the one it seems Jews on all sides of the aisle criticize harshly as a book from a self-describe “self-hating Jew” and/or “anti-semite.” So far, they come out right away by stating they have not actually read his book.

  20. POA says:

    I don’t understand why Witty upsets you guys so much.

    A ghoul he’s not. Some of you are like children at the circus, terrified by the clowns, while unfazed by the lions roaring in the background.

    A real pity that eee, Dimatok, Hophni and DBG aren’t as harmless as this poor buffoon Witty.

    • Donald says:

      “I don’t understand why Witty upsets you guys so much.”

      It’s been explained a few thousand times, a few times in this very thread. I’d try again, but it seems pointless.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Witty isn’t harmless. His brand of racism is the most insidious. DBG is blatant, and when he croons about being part of an “interfaith community,” everyone knows it’s horse shit.Witty masquerades as an intellectual, and he submerges his hatred of Arabs and Muslims in icy cold pseudo-philosophy and practiced logical fallacies.

      It’s hard not to perceive favoritism for Witty by Weiss here, to put it bluntly, and that makes Witty dangerous.

      • Mooser says:

        “It’s hard not to perceive favoritism for Witty by Weiss here”

        What can Phil do? There’s only so much a guy’s conscience can stand.
        He may not like him very much , but who needs to feel guilty about a suicide?
        Ask yourself this: what keeps Witty from arguing his “case for Israel” on his own blog?
        Witty has no case for Israel, all he’s got is a case against Phil for spurning him.

  21. jnslater says:

    I think I’ll put my two cents into this Witty debate. Witty is indeed harmless–who could possibly be influenced by his incoherent ramblings?–but he certainly is irritating. But that doesn’t mean that the rest of you must compulsively enter into exchanges with him, or gleefully compete with each other in pointless insults of him.

    I admit to a self-interest in this matter. As you know, I’ve been publishing–either directly, or crosslisted from elsewhere–on Mondoweiss for a number of years. I always hope that what I write will lead to serious responses, but what invariably happens is that there are initially a few responses directed at what I’ve written–favorable or unfavorable–and then Witty comes in, and that’s the end of that.

    • Why don’t you try discussion Jerome, rather than solely dismissal.

      I disagree with your contention that because the political context of Cast Lead appeared to be oppressive to Gaza Palestine, that there then is no possible legally admissable response to 60 rockets being fired a day at Sderot and surrounds.

      Did I summarize your conclusion accurately or innaccurately?

      Is that a distraction, or on topic? Simple-minded or substantive?

      • LeaNder says:

        that there then is no possible legally admissable response to 60 rockets being fired a day at Sderot and surrounds.

        Could we have the statistics for that number. That would make 21.900 a year and and 219.000 in 10 years.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          21,900 Qassams a year would also equate to roughly 438 metric tons of TNT, just for their warheads (and assuming 20 kg “warheads,” not the 5 kg “bottle rocket” type of Qassam). That means Hamas somehow managed to smuggle the equivalent weight of at least 220 automobiles worth of TNT, into Gaza, past the IDF and Egyptian security forces, in less than a year (since you have to account for time to actually make each rocket).

          Witty? You’re a liar, or you’re an idiot. Take your pick.

        • MRW says:

          Actually, Chaos, a metric ton of TNT is the equivalent of one small car. So make that 438 automobiles. Can’t remember the equivalent in railroad cars.

          (This is also a handy thing to remember when “truck bombings” occur, like the one in Oklahoma where seismometers recorded 3.0 on the Richter scale 4.3 miles away at the Science Museum Oklahoma, yet we were led to believe there was only 2.5 tons of TNT on that truck. Think of it as 2.5 automobiles on that truck. How could they drive it? Further 2.5 tons of TNT equals 2300 kg TNT. An exploding barbecue propane tank (30 liters; 750 mega joules of energy) has the equivalent energy of 171 kg of TNT. So that truck bomb in Oklahoma that registered 3.0 on the Richter scale (and blew out the core of a building) was the equivalent of 13.4 small backyard propane tanks blowing up on the street. Another myth people believed because they won’t—or don’t know how to—do the math.)

        • From mid-November until mid-December, 60 missiles a day or thereabouts was fired at Israel.

          Don’t dismiss the number. It is material to the question of whether it was legally admissable for Israel to respond at all, and other factors contribute to the question of to what extent and in what form.

        • DBG says:

          MRW,

          so Oklahoma City was a conspiracy to?

        • MRW says:

          2.5 tons of TNT cannot produce 3.0 on the Richter scale under any stretch of your imagination or small-time sarcasm, DBG. It’s called math and physics.

        • Hostage says:

          From mid-November until mid-December, 60 missiles a day or thereabouts was fired at Israel. . . . Don’t dismiss the number. It is material to the question

          60 missiles a day x 30 days = 1800. According to Israeli sources, a total of 125 rockets were fired into Israel during November 2008 (compared to one in October) and 68 mortars shells were fired (also compared to one in October). According to Israeli sources, 71 rockets and 59 mortars were fired into Israel between 1 and 18 December. See paras 257 and 259 on page 79 & 80 of the Goldstone report, A/HRC/12/48. link to www2.ohchr.org

          The fact finding mission found that Israel initiated hostilities (para 254):

          After two months in which few incidents were reported, the ceasefire began to founder on 4 November 2008 following an incursion by Israeli soldiers into the Gaza Strip, which Israel stated was to close a cross-border tunnel that in Israel’s view was intended to be used by Palestinian fighters to kidnap Israeli soldiers. The soldiers attacked a house in the Wadi al-Salqa village, east of Deir al-Balah, which was alleged to be the starting point of the tunnel, killing a member of the al-Qassam Brigades. Several Israeli soldiers were wounded. In response, the al-Qassam Brigades fired more than 30 Qassam rockets into Israel. Israel responded with an air strike that left a further five members of the al-Qassam Brigades dead. Both sides blamed the other for the escalation of violence.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        You’re not worth the time, Witty. Your son could be standing on a mountain of burned Palestinian baby corpses and you’d still be blaming Hamas for what your son did.

      • Hostage says:

        I disagree with your contention that because the political context of Cast Lead appeared to be oppressive to Gaza Palestine, that there then is no possible legally admissable response to 60 rockets being fired a day at Sderot and surrounds.

        Would you like to explain why every Israel leader from Ben Gurion onward has refused to allow international peace keepers to be stationed on “provisional” Israeli and Palestinian territory under a Chapter VII mandate that would allow the use of deadly force to enforce the terms of the armistice?

    • Mooser says:

      ” I always hope that what I write will lead to serious responses”

      Yes, there’s no doubt, Prof. Slater, that Witty finds your contributions inspiring. I wonder why?

      soldiers in a just cause, national liberation and the creation of an independent state in a small part of Palestine.”

      Oh sorry, Prof Slater, I never before realised just how breathtakingly generous your attitude towards Palestinians is!
      You and Witty are, frankly, two of a kind.

    • MRW says:

      Jnslater,

      You’re right, of course, at October 23, 2011 at 9:11 am. Absolutely right; however, it’s blog protection on our part. Phil refuses to ban him because he represents the thinking of unaware Jews who toe the party line. Left alone, Witty was hijacking every damn thread from the top with his stream-of-consciousness airy-fairy political drivel. Feet of it. On and on. Then we caught him running around the web making up provocative quotes (his own) that he was attributing to sides in the I/P situation.

      You seem to bring him out of the woodwork (happened with your Cast Lead piece in April). I mean, you’re a big catch. If he can cow you, he can prove something; hence, his Don Quixote-style questions to get you to engage with him directly (just look at his inane response to your complaint about him). It’s going to go with the territory with this twerp whenever you publish here. Kind of a back-handed compliment, but there you are. Phil won’t 86 him.

      As for ‘why won’t you ignore him’? Because we get newbies on here, and we won’t let him set the tone. So we have smack-down days, and your posts bring out the best of them.

      • MRW says:

        More, Jerry:

        It’s sort of For The Record. We correct things for the record. I’m sorry for you that it always seems to happen on your day to say, but it appears to be the case. We don’t hear from Witty for weeks, or he’ll make a one-sentence whimper. But when you post here, he becomes the uber-Jew again, and starts his crap. Because people apart from this blog follow you and google searches will bring outsiders here, some of us feel compelled to correct his shit.

      • So, the character defamation is allowed, but Jerome Slater won’t test the truth of the assertions.

        I am a liberal Zionist, far politically from the right, and far politically from the left and left-right here.

        Finkelstein, Slater, Chomsky, others advocate for a two-state approach, for one of two reasons:

        1. It is the only possible approach
        2. It is the desirable approach

        Finkelstein, Slater, Chomsky all have failed though to consider the issues associated with my contentions of possible admissable scope of Cast Lead.

        Its a perspective that progressives hold, unless you define progressive as only relative to whether one condemns Israel.

        You know PEP.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          I am a liberal Zionist, far politically from the right, and far politically from the left and left-right here.

          Oh, so your political ideology occupies some divine position above the “common” political spectrum? Why am I not surprised that you would stake out such a position. It sounds like this article could have easily been about you. Not, you know, that I ever expect you to comment on it.

    • Donald says:

      I think that you’d need a more interventionist moderating stance to get what you want. I don’t know what political blogs you read, but nearly all the ones I’ve seen have comment sections which are mixtures of substantive responses mixed in with personality clashes and even sheer idiocy. (You often get two out of three in the same post. Sometimes I think I’ve gone three for three.) People in charge of moderation have to crack down to keep this from happening. Then they have to make judgment calls about who to censor and who not to censor.

  22. annie says:

    Who are these people, anyway? Never mind our supposed Jewish moral values, how about our celebrated commitment to reason? Or even self-preservation? Are they quite mad?

    i liked your post jerome slater. but as for these questions i can’t answer them. i think they are being led by madmen and i think they are brainwashed. but i wouldn’t go so far as to describe the society as ‘quite mad’. to be ‘quite mad’ it stands to reason they would not understand what they are doing and i think they understand quite well.

    this is an ugly stain of immense proportion.