Dan Rather says Israeli missile defense saved Palestinian lives in Gaza

Israel/Palestine
on 20 Comments

Horse feathers at Huffpo. Dan Rather comes up with some hasbara of his own, and, reporting on Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, claims that it saved hundreds of lives inside Gaza.

In the recent conflict, the Israeli missile defense system may have saved more Palestinian lives than Israelis. To understand my reasoning, take a step back and look at recent history. Since 2007, the Islamist group Hamas has run the densely populated sliver of territory to the south of Israel known as the Gaza Strip. Militants from the territory, in recent years, have launched hundreds of crude rockets, provided by Iran, into southern Israeli towns. In 2008, Israel responded with Operation Cast Lead — A brutal aerial bombardment and ground invasion that left more than 1,000 Palestinians dead and brought Israel widespread condemnation from abroad. November’s conflict left about 150 Palestinians dead.

How do you explain the stark difference in the death toll? One element would be Iron Dome.

Rather explains that unguided Palestinian missiles would have caused destruction inside Gaza. Yes but would Iron Dome have stopped all the missiles that Israel sent into the strip, many of which killed civilians? And what about the human rights reports after Cast Lead that showed that Israel targeted civilians, and that damaged the nation’s reputation around the world? Thanks to Max Blumenthal

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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20 Responses

  1. just
    January 23, 2013, 8:57 am

    You’re very gentlemanly to use the term “horse feathers”…Perhaps Dan is losing his noodles.

  2. Kathleen
    January 23, 2013, 9:07 am

    Read Rather’s piece over there forgot to mention it over here but Max caught it. Odd conclusions by Rather.

    Phil/Annie Chris Matthews has spent the last two nights talking a bit about how he thought Obama was reaching out to Iran for negotiations and how this is a slap in the neocons face. As Joy Reid nodded her head in agreement with Chris Matthews as he was saying these things Howard Fineman looked pretty damn uncomfortable. Chris Matthews also brought up that Obama did not mention Israel at all in his inauguration speech and how his speech almost sounded like the words of a “pacifist” Monday and Tuesday night

  3. kayq
    January 23, 2013, 9:42 am

    Did the Iron dome really prevent Palestinian deaths though?
    Maybe it could have, maybe not.

    The only reason there was such a stark difference this time round is because of time length. Israel shot missiles into the Gaza strip for 8 days, as opposed to 22 days. In ’08-’09 offensive, they even conducted an incursion into Gaza which increased casualties.

  4. eljay
    January 23, 2013, 10:22 am

    Dan Rather would probably argue that the rapist’s handcuffs save the victim from serious physical abuse. With her handcuffed to the bed, he didn’t need to constantly beat her into submission to prevent her from harming him…I mean, from potentially harming herself.

  5. JeffB
    January 23, 2013, 10:27 am

    Violence feeds on itself in both direction. Iron Dome by preventing successful missile strikes likely prevented severe Israeli retaliation for those successful strikes. Israel can hit Gaza much harder than it has but in general tries to keep the death toll semi proportionate so their actions are seen as “wars” and not “massacres”.

    I think it is fair to say anything that reduces Palestinian military effectiveness as least in the short term reduces not increases Palestinian casualties.

    • eljay
      January 24, 2013, 8:49 am

      >> Iron Dome by preventing successful missile strikes likely prevented severe Israeli retaliation for those successful strikes. Israel can hit Gaza much harder than it has but in general tries to keep the death toll semi proportionate so their actions are seen as “wars” and not “massacres”.

      And since they’re not “massacres”:
      - the supremacist “Jewish State” continues merrily along with its 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder; and
      - hateful and immoral Zio-supremacists continue merrily to justify and excuse it.

  6. Chu
    January 23, 2013, 10:27 am

    Does Dan need to eat crow for a while so he can get back on 60 minutes? A little more prostrating to the Zionist state will put this man-goy in good graces with Moonves.

    Please stop your pathetic groveling acts, Dan. Fabricating stories about the iron dome is not going to further your tarnished reputation - although that may be debatable in the mainstream american media.

  7. mondonut
    January 23, 2013, 11:21 am

    Rather explains that unguided Palestinian missiles would have caused destruction inside Gaza

    When did Rather make this claim? Unless I am missing something it is not in the Huffington story or the video.

    Yes but would Iron Dome have stopped all the missiles that Israel sent into the strip, many of which killed civilians?

    What in the world does this mean? Is Israel expected to shoot down its own missiles?

    And what about the human rights reports after Cast Lead that showed that Israel targeted civilians, and that damaged the nation’s reputation around the world?

    What of it? Does it somehow disprove what Rather reports? In fact, where in your entire essay is there anything that disproves Rather’s assertion that Iron Dome permitted an Israeli political decision to not conduct a ground invasion?

  8. MRW
    January 23, 2013, 1:24 pm

    Ohh, I get it, Mr. Rather. They used a gun with less bullets. So that makes Israel more humane, then. Oh, OK. Got it.

  9. kylebisme
    January 23, 2013, 2:10 pm

    Is Dan Rather really so ignorant as to believe that correlation equals causation?

  10. ThorsteinVeblen2012
    January 23, 2013, 3:37 pm

    Looking at some of the “missile” parts I was struck by how crude most of them are. The impact often shows no explosion because they lack a warhead. Their targets are frequently Israeli towns only a couple of miles away from the border.

    How many millions are being spent to protect Israelis from what more often than not something little more than the rockets hobbyists fire anywhere else in the world?

    • mondonut
      January 23, 2013, 5:19 pm

      ThorsteinVeblen2012 says: Looking at some of the “missile” parts I was struck by how crude most of them are. The impact often shows no explosion because they lack a warhead. Their targets are frequently Israeli towns only a couple of miles away from the border.
      ==================================
      Removing the warheads allows them to travel further, but they are often just as effective as payload weapons – as the point is to terrorize the civilian population. Which they do. And BTW, each and every one is war crime.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 23, 2013, 6:22 pm

        they are often just as effective as payload weapons

        really? you mean payload weapons rarely kill people either? and if you think gazan rockets are terrorizing try imagining how terrifying it would be if they were as effective as israel’s arsenal. night and day, 99 times more blood and guts all over the place. now that’s terrifying.

        looking on the brightside, no one in gaza has the weaponry to be be making targeted assassinations on a regular basis either. in contrast, with the US shoving billions a year at israel funding these high tech deadly operations, as well as israels regular bulldozer excursions wiping out palestinian homes, and 3 am child stealing raids, the degree of terror experienced by israelis, is minimal. but you’re right, it’s a war crime.

      • eljay
        January 23, 2013, 7:26 pm

        >> Removing the warheads allows them to travel further, but they are often just as effective as payload weapons – as the point is to terrorize the civilian population. Which they do. And BTW, each and every one is war crime.

        Guess what else terrorizes a population and is a war crime:
        - terrorism and ethnic cleansing;
        - the creation of an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist state; and
        - a 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder.

        Yup, that’s pretty terrorizing and (war) criminal. But since your co-collectivists are on the giving – and not the receiving – end, it’s probably just “cool” or “good fun” or “Promised Land” to you.

        Man, you are a hateful and immoral piece of Zio-supremacist work.

      • ThorsteinVeblen2012
        January 24, 2013, 1:00 pm

        They aren’t removing warheads, they never had them.

        Many of them are simply pipes with fins and a point welded to them filled with a crude propellant and fired across the border as an act of defiance.

        If the roles were reversed, Sundance would have a film about them and applaud their ingenuity.

  11. DICKERSON3870
    January 23, 2013, 4:29 pm

    RE: “And what about the human rights reports after Cast Lead that showed that Israel targeted civilians” ~ Weiss

    SEE: “Israeli reporter admits suppressing images of ‘piles of bodies of civilians’ when Israel went ‘crazy’ in Gaza”, by Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss, 1/20/13
    LINK – link to mondoweiss.net

    • DICKERSON3870
      January 23, 2013, 4:36 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “IDF rabbinate publication during Gaza war: We will show no mercy on the cruel”, By Amos Harel, Haaretz, 1/26/09

      [EXCERPTS] During the fighting in the Gaza Strip, the religious media – and on two occasions, the Israel Defense Forces weekly journal Bamahane
      - were full of praise for the army rabbinate. . .

      Officers and soldiers reported that they felt “spiritually elevated” and “morally empowered” by conversations with rabbis who gave them encouragement before the confrontation with the Palestinians.
      But what exactly was the content of these conversations and of the plethora of written material disseminated by the IDF rabbinate during the war? . . .
      . . . An overview of some of the army rabbinate’s publications made available during the fighting reflects the tone of nationalist propaganda that steps blatantly into politics, sounds racist and can be interpreted as a call to challenge international law when it comes to dealing with enemy civilians. . .
      . . . Following are quotations from this material: “[There is] a biblical ban on surrendering a single millimeter of it [the Land of Israel] to gentiles, though all sorts of impure distortions and foolishness of autonomy, enclaves and other national weaknesses. We will not abandon it to the hands of another nation, not a finger, not a nail of it.” This is an excerpt from a publication entitled “Daily Torah studies for the soldier and the commander in Operation Cast Lead,” issued by the IDF rabbinate. The text is from “Books of Rabbi Shlomo Aviner,” who heads the Ateret Cohanim yeshiva in the Muslim quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem.
      The following questions are posed in one publication: “Is it possible to compare today’s Palestinians to the Philistines of the past? And if so, is it possible to apply lessons today from the military tactics of Samson and David?” Rabbi Aviner is again quoted as saying: “A comparison is possible because the Philistines of the past were not natives and had invaded from a foreign land … They invaded the Land of Israel, a land that did not belong to them and claimed political ownership over our country … Today the problem is the same. The Palestinians claim they deserve a state here, when in reality there was never a Palestinian or Arab state within the borders of our country. Moreover, most of them are new and came here close to the time of the War of Independence.”
      The IDF rabbinate, also quoting Rabbi Aviner, describes the appropriate code of conduct in the field: “When you show mercy to a cruel enemy, you are being cruel to pure and honest soldiers. This is terribly immoral. These are not games at the amusement park where sportsmanship teaches one to make concessions. This is a war on murderers. ‘A la guerre comme a la guerre.’” . . .
      . . . In addition to the official publications, extreme right-wing groups managed to bring pamphlets with racist messages into IDF bases. One such flyer is attributed to “the pupils of Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg” – the former rabbi at Joseph’s Tomb and author of the article “Baruch the Man,” which praises Baruch Goldstein, who massacred unarmed Palestinians in Hebron. It calls on “soldiers of Israel to spare your lives and the lives of your friends and not to show concern for a population that surrounds us and harms us. We call on you … to function according to the law ‘kill the one who comes to kill you.’ As for the population, it is not innocent … We call on you to ignore any strange doctrines and orders that confuse the logical way of fighting the enemy.” . . .

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to haaretz.com

      • seafoid
        January 23, 2013, 5:43 pm

        “An overview of some of the army rabbinate’s publications made available during the fighting reflects the tone of nationalist propaganda that steps blatantly into politics, sounds racist and can be interpreted as a call to challenge international law when it comes to dealing with enemy civilians. . . ”

        link to youtube.com

        History repeats itself
        Coiling down into the future
        When it’s one second to twelve
        The hands touch and furrow deeper

        History repeats itself
        I didn’t learn, I wouldn’t listen
        I couldn’t see the books were on the shelf
        For my concern, I never missed ‘em

    • DICKERSON3870
      January 23, 2013, 4:38 pm

      P.P.S. AND SEE: “‘You are fighting a religious war against gentiles’: What rabbis told Israeli soldiers in Gaza war”, By Mail Foreign Service, The Daily Mail, 3/20/09

      [EXCERPTS] Rabbis in the Israeli army told battlefield troops in January’s Gaza offensive that they were fighting a ‘religious war’ against gentiles, it has been revealed.
      An army commander wrote of the shocking command in an Israeli newspaper today – one day after it emerged that Israeli soldiers were told they could kill innocent civilians during the war.

      ‘Their message was very clear: we are the Jewish people, we came to this land by a miracle, God brought us back to this land and now we need to fight to expel the gentiles who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land,’ the commander said.
      The account by Ram, a pseudonym to shield the soldier’s identity, was published by the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper in the second day of revelations that have rocked the Israeli military.
      They were leaked from a February 13 meeting of armed forces members to share their Gaza experiences.

      Some veterans, alumni of an Israel Defence Force (IDF) military academy, told of the killing of civilians and their impression that deep contempt for Palestinians pervaded the ranks of the Israeli forces.
      The institution’s director, Danny Zamir, confirmed that Thursday’s published accounts were authentic.
      In longer excerpts in its Friday ‘Week’s End’ edition, the daily quoted ‘Ram’ as saying his impression of the 22-day operation was ‘the feeling of an almost religious mission’. . .
      . . . [T]he rabbinate’s message imparted to many soldiers the sense that “this operation was a religious war”.

      A squad commander from Ram’s Givat Brigade, named as Aviv, recounted his misgivings about orders to break down doors with armoured vehicles and shoot anyone inside, floor by floor. In the event, the order was amended to include ‘operating megaphones’ so advancing troops could tell people they had five minutes to get out or be killed.
      Aviv said ‘there was a very annoying moment’ when he briefed his men and one challenged that order, saying: ‘Yeah? Anyone who is in there is a terrorist, that’s a known fact. . .
      ‘And then his buddies join in: “We need to murder any person who’s in there, yeah, any person who’s in Gaza is a terrorist’ and all the other things that they stuff our heads with, in the media,’ Aviv said. . .

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to dailymail.co.uk

      • DICKERSON3870
        January 23, 2013, 5:02 pm

        RE: “[Y]eah, any person who’s in Gaza is a terrorist’ and all the other things that they stuff our heads with, in the media” ~ member(s) of the IDF speaking sarcastically (from the above-excerpted Daily Mail article)

        SEE: “Israel’s Weird Elections”, by Uri Avnery, Counterpunch, 1/04/13:

        [EXCERPTS] . . . The Israeli media are already to a large extent neutralized, a creeping process not unsimilar to what the Germans used to call Gleichschaltung. [ Gleichschaltung @ Wikipedia - J.L.D. ]
        All three TV channels are more or less bankrupt and dependent on government handouts. Their editors are practically government appointees. The printed press is also teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, except the largest “news” paper, which belongs to Sheldon Adelson and is a Netanyahu propaganda sheet, distributed gratis. [Naftali] Bennett repeats the ridiculous assertion that almost all journalists are left-wingers (meaning traitors.) He promises to put an end to this intolerable situation. . .
        . . . In the coming four years, the official annexation of the West Bank to Israel may become a fact. . .
        . . . If the government continues on its present course, this will lead to certain disaster – the entire country between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River will become one unit under Israeli rule. This Greater Israel will contain an Arab majority and a shrinking Jewish minority, turning it inevitably into an apartheid state, plagued by a permanent civil war and shunned by the world.
        If pressure from without and within eventually compels the government to grant civil rights to the Arab majority, the country will turn into an Arab state. 134 years of Zionist endeavor will come to naught, a repetition of the Crusaders’ kingdom.
        This is so obvious, so inevitable, that one needs an iron will not to think about it. It seems that all major parties in these elections have this will. Speaking about peace, they believe, is poison. Giving back the West Bank and East Jerusalem for peace? God forbid even thinking about it.
        The weird fact is that this week two respected polls – independent of each other – came to the same conclusion: the great majority of Israeli voters favors the “two-state solution”
        , the creation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders and the partition of Jerusalem. This majority includes the majority of Likud voters, and even about half of Bennett’s adherents.
        How come? The explanation lies in the next question: How many voters believe that this solution is possible? The answer: almost nobody. Over dozens of years, Israelis have been brainwashed into believing that “the Arabs” don’t want peace. If they say they do, they are lying.
        If peace is impossible, why think about it? Why even mention it in the election campaign? Why not go back 44 years to Golda Meir’s days and pretend that the Palestinians don’t exist? (“There is no such thing as a Palestinian people…It is not as though there was a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away. They did not exist.” – Golda Meir, June 13, 1969) . . .

        ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to counterpunch.org