Et tu, Michael Oren?

US Politics
on 44 Comments

There’s a certain poetic justice about the indiscriminate treachery of Michael Oren’s new book, ironically titled Ally. Like Shakespeare’s Richard III, whose systematic betrayals punish his comrades for the parallel sins of their pasts, Oren – once Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. – is now smearing many of his Jewish-American former friends with a dose of their own medicine.

There’s no question but that Oren has betrayed erstwhile allies in order to better advance Israeli propaganda. Still, while nothing pretties up a lie, let alone a premeditated back-stabbing, it’s hard not to notice that every one of the folks offended by Oren’s new book has been just as mendacious as Oren himself when it comes to flacking for Israel.

Take Rabbi Eric Yoffie, a former president of the Union for Reform Judaism, who fumed in late June that Oren’s book is “dripping with contempt.” Rabbi Yoffie took particular umbrage at Oren’s taunting treatment of American Jews: according to Oren, they are cowardly and “weak,” with the result that they’ll throw Israel under the bus out of “fear for their well-being in America.”

Rabbi Yoffie calls this “poppycock.” And of course he’s right. But can he really be outraged over Oren’s offense? After all, he himself told the New York Times just last September that synagogues should draw a “red line” to exclude any Jews who support sanctions against the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine. Is it wrong, then, for Michael Oren to read Israel’s most credulous American enablers out of the Jewish community – for the sin of preferring Barack Obama to Benjamin Netanyahu – but right for Yoffie to slam the door on other American Jews because they believe in human rights and international law?

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And how about this chestnut from the same Rabbi Yoffie, published less than three years ago: “Extremism of a particularly vicious variety is a Palestinian disease for which a cure has yet to be found.” I am not aware of an apology from Rabbi Yoffie for this remark, which implied that Israel’s far worse “extremism” – massacres in Gaza, apartheid in the West Bank, increasingly virulent anti-Palestinian bigotry – was a misplaced “Palestinian disease” that had mysteriously infected Israeli Jews. How can you aim that sort of racist victim-blaming at Palestinians and then complain about Oren’s comparatively mild anti-Semitic jibes?

Oren’s savaging of Leon Wieseltier, the former literary editor of the almost fanatically pro-Israel New Republic, is a particularly breathtaking fabrication – but it’s also, for people with their moral priorities in order, a peculiarly fitting one. Yes, it takes chutzpah to toss the “self-hating Jew” label at a man who has not only justified Israel’s inhuman siege of Gaza, but even called Israel’s most recent turkey shoot in that open-air prison “an act of retaliation” for a “barrage of rockets at Israeli towns and cities.” (You might as well claim the Nazi devastation of Lidice was just “retaliation” for the violence of local Czech partisans.)

But when it comes to chutzpah, Wieseltier’s reaction out-Orens Oren. Sure, he’s “outraged and offended” at being called a closet anti-Semite. He should be. But has he forgotten that he once called the fine scholar Norman Finkelstein “poison,” “a disgusting self-hating Jew,” “something you find under a rock”? Presumably not. But then, how can he manage not to notice the parallel between his slander of Finkelstein and Oren’s rather milder attack on Wieseltier himself? How can he fulminate against the latter while refusing to apologize for the former?

The hypocrisy of Oren’s most recent targets – Yoffie and Wieseltier are typical examples – extends beyond the personal. It’s bad enough that they enjoy trashing principled critics of Israel, and then start bawling the moment similar tactics are aimed at them from the right. But their deeper intellectual crime, it seems to me, is refusing to see that Oren’s attacks are merely the logical outcome of the Israel-uber-alles doctrine to which all these people have contributed for much of their professional lives. Yoffie lavished praise on Oren when he was Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. between 2009 and 2013, a job largely devoted to sugar-coating Israeli apartheid and lying about his government’s bloody crimes in Gaza. (Oren even used the pages of Wieseltier’s New Republic to claim that “the Goldstone Report goes further than…the Holocaust deniers by stripping the Jews…of the right to defend themselves.”)

The victims of Oren’s most recent treacheries are complaining about the insult to their good names and to the honor of the American Jewish public. But they gave up the right to such complaints the moment they became willing propagandists for objectives far more sinister than a snide shot at some American-Jewish intellectuals. To serve the cause of Israel, these people have presented slanders as truth, crimes as self-defense, and an officially racist and highly militaristic state as the very paradigm of liberal democracy. For the benefit of their Jewish Sparta they maligned truth-tellers and sacrificed the basic rights of Palestinians. And now they’re surprised that, as Israel’s government lurches ever farther to the right, one of their number is prepared to sacrifice a few Jewish pseudo-liberals to the same cause? There is a name for this sort of blindness – but you won’t find it in the critiques belatedly offered by the likes of Yoffie and Wieseltier.

Actually, the truth is even worse. For if Oren’s duplicity had prompted such people to an eleventh-hour burst of honesty, they might have done their readers a real service by calling attention to what is perhaps the book’s most ominous feature. As a friend of Oren’s, Yossi Klein Halevy, confessed in the Times of Israel on July 4, Oren timed the book’s release in the hope of sabotaging a nuclear agreement between Obama’s government and Iran, a deal that might lead to some easing of the war the U.S. has waged against the Iranian people ever since it toppled their elected president in 1953. “His explicit intention,” Halevy wrote of Oren, “was to call into question the credibility of the President of the United States” because “the President’s Iranian policy is placing Israel under existential threat.”

In other words, Oren wants a war with Iran; the assorted slanders in his book were part of a larger, fear-mongering effort to derail the U.S. government’s diplomatic maneuvers aimed at avoiding a large-scale military attack. If Oren’s newest victims could only see beyond their own egos – and could recognize, in Oren’s vicious extremes, the fruits of their own derelictions of conscience in support of the Jewish State – they could be warning many people of a very real danger. By calling attention to Oren’s aims, and to the methods he’s using to advance them, they could be helping to curb the Israeli government’s ambition to start yet another war, one whose results could only be disastrous for all concerned.

Alas, they haven’t got the conscience for that – not even while they’re on the receiving end of character assassination by one of Israeli propaganda’s most ruthless practitioners.

A version of this post first appeared on ZNet

About Michael Lesher

Michael Lesher, an author and lawyer, has published numerous articles dealing with child sexual abuse and other topics, including the Israel-Palestine conflict. He is the author of the recent book Sexual Abuse, Shonda and Concealment in Orthodox Jewish Communities (McFarland & Co., Inc.), which focuses on cover-ups of abuse cases among Orthodox Jews. He lives in Passaic, New Jersey. More information about his work can be found on his web site www.MichaelLesher.com.

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44 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    July 13, 2015, 12:13 pm

    what is someone said Extremism of a particularly vicious variety is a jewish disease?

    wouldn’t foxman be screaming anti semitism?

  2. Froggy
    July 13, 2015, 12:33 pm

    Rabbi Yoffie calls this “poppycock.” And of course he’s right. But can he really be outraged over Oren’s offense? After all, he himself told the New York Times just last September that synagogues should draw a “red line” to exclude any Jews who support sanctions against the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine.

    I wonder how many Jews would walk out of any synagogue where such demands were made on them by the rabbi/congregation before they could even be excluded. Would they have the guts?

    • Annie Robbins
      July 13, 2015, 1:44 pm

      I wonder how many Jews would walk out of any synagogue where such demands were made on them

      probably more than you think. http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/synagogue-nothing-massacre

      • Froggy
        July 13, 2015, 6:48 pm

        Maybe. I do realise that it is quite another thing for a suburban family to walk out of their main institution of worship, socialisation, and identity.

        That said, I greatly admire Naomi Wolf.

    • Mooser
      July 13, 2015, 3:10 pm

      “I wonder how many Jews would walk out of….”

      Ah, it is, I would say nearly indubitably not a matter of “How many Jews walk out” because the 100% rule will always apply to all those left in. Remember, this is the only religion which grows in influence power and adherents by kicking people out, so that doesn’t matter. (Just getting my MDR, sorry)

      What might matter (and for the first time in a long time) is not where they walk out of, but where they walk in to, if there is a non-Zionist Jewish denomination to receive them. I hope there is.

      • Froggy
        July 13, 2015, 6:49 pm

        I would hope so too, Mooser.

      • Froggy
        July 13, 2015, 9:47 pm

        Mooser, you are right, as always.

      • Mooser
        July 14, 2015, 1:42 pm

        Well, I may not often be right, but Brant Rosen and Tzedek Chicago seem to think I might be. I think they are, anyway.

        For the biggest majority of American Jews, support of Zionism is a voluntary commitment. If they don’t think it is appropriate for a colonial project to be worked, in part, through their religious institutions, they may not be able to stop it, but they are free to find others. If they think Zionism is distracting from or even preventing the work they want their religious institutions to do, they can make another institution not encumbered by Zionism.
        And they can even say “next year in Jerusalem” if they feel like it.

  3. Ellen
    July 13, 2015, 2:18 pm

    Oren’s taunting treatment of American Jews: according to Oren, they are cowardly and “weak,” with the result that they’ll throw Israel under the bus out of “fear for their well-being in America.”

    That is a rather disgusting sentiment.

    Maybe Oren intends to be offensive and push emotional buttons here to provoke proof of loyalty and love. These are the manipulative tactics of the abuser in a relationship.

    The day will come when many Jews do not identify with the Zionist project and will proudly and confidently walk away from this abusive relationship of the nationalistic project sucking at the teat of Judaism. And Jews will be free.

    This is what someone like Oren who has devoted his life to a mystical nationalistic cause is so afraid of. They will shown wrong and standing alone as “their people” set themselves free.

  4. radii
    July 13, 2015, 3:53 pm

    Let the I’m-More-Jew-than-You Games begin

  5. Palikari
    July 13, 2015, 4:05 pm

    If the anti-Israel crowd doesn’t like Oren’s book, that’s a good sign!

    Mazal Tov, Mr. Oren.

    • Steve Grover
      July 13, 2015, 8:19 pm

      You are correct. I read “Ally” and I enjoyed it. The BDSers are pissed because Oren doesn’t mention JVP. That sez it all.

      • just
        July 13, 2015, 11:29 pm

        You two are too funny!

        Is Yoffi “anti- Israel”, “Palikari’? And Steve brings up BDS and JVP.

        You might want to consider including some non- fiction in your libraries.

        lol.

      • just
        July 13, 2015, 11:41 pm

        Yoffi-> Yoffie.

      • eGuard
        July 14, 2015, 6:11 am

        if the anti-Israel crowd doesn’t like Oren’s book. False hoipe. It’s the Goldbergs, Gordons and Wieseltiers that don’t like his book. How tov is that.

        On the other hand, this site is enjoying the book. It will expose and extent the devide in US Jewry. It pays pro-Israel opinionators with their own coin: unbased smears & accusations of anti-Semitism. It shows Oren as the liar and a war-monger he is.

        http://mondoweiss.net/2015/07/israels-liberal-apologists

        Bring on the popcorn: next act!

      • Mooser
        July 14, 2015, 10:49 am

        “It will expose and extent the divide in US Jewry.”

        “Divide”, you say? “Divide”? As in the singular, like a big crack in the middle? Well, I never! (and it’s probably too late to start)
        “eGaurd” do you think we have been here for well over 300 years to achieve one measly little “divide”?
        The word you want is “divides”, the plural.

    • Froggy
      July 13, 2015, 9:49 pm

      Intelligent people don’t believe liars and their lies.

  6. a blah chick
    July 13, 2015, 4:09 pm

    “…Oren’s attacks are merely the logical outcome of the Israel-uber-alles doctrine to which all these people have contributed for much of their professional lives.”

    The other thing about Israel-uber-alles is that everyone is expendable. Doesn’t matter if you’re a poor Ethiopian family in Dimona or a wealthy Jewish elitist like Wieseltier in the end, once you have served your purpose, you can be throw under the bus or disrepected.

    And, if you’re a Zionist, there’s not a dang thing you can do about it.

    • lysias
      July 13, 2015, 4:55 pm

      The Washington Post the other day actually mentioned the complaints of Ethiopian Jews in Israel about discrimination against them, in an article by their Jerusalem bureau chief, William Booth. The mysterious case of the Israeli who slipped into Gaza:

      Family members charged that Mengistu’s disappearance and possible capture by Hamas would have been treated far differently if he were not of African descent. In recent months, Ethiopians have staged large demonstrations to protest what they call racist treatment by Israeli police and society.

      • lysias
        July 13, 2015, 5:07 pm

        Irony is that Ethiopians are true Semites. The official language of Ethiopia, Amharic, and the other languages of Ethiopia and Eritrea are Semitic languages.

      • piotr
        July 13, 2015, 6:45 pm

        “There’s no question but that Oren has betrayed erstwhile allies in order to better advance Israeli propaganda. ”

        I have opposite impression, namely that Oren attacked his allies TO THE DETRIMENT OF THE ISRAELI PROPAGANDA, and while is he probably intelligent enough to see the damage, his adherence to principles (however weird they may be) won the day.

        One of the schticks of crafty practitioners of hasbara is to assert that while they would never equate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism or self hatred, “why! I myself criticized Israel many times!”, what the night crawlers like Mondoweiss, BDS or Finkelstein are doing is waaaay beyond the pale, veritable distillation of hatred and so on. To me it looks like a clever schtick, but it insults the conviction that Jews form the supreme subspecies of mortals, and they have something similar to spiritual hierarchy from neo-Platonic or Kabbalistic diagrams. In that diagram Aliya is higher than Galut, and Lords of the Aliya are immeasurably higher. I surmise that Oren’s ego is substantially enlarged since he was admitted to the ranks of those Lords.

        Thus even to feign criticism with the explicit goal of having more “credibility” when spouting hasbara points is an act of despicable contumely.

      • piotr
        July 13, 2015, 6:48 pm

        It is not clear that Jewish Ethiopians were Semitic, because historically they were speaking a Cushitic Agaw language.

      • lysias
        July 13, 2015, 7:00 pm

        I wonder how good the evidence is that the Ethiopian Jews ever spoke a Cushitic Agaw language. Their liturgical language is Old Ethiopic, Geʻez (also the liturgical language of Ethiopian and Eritrean Christians), which, like Amharic, is a Semitic language.

      • Elisabeth
        July 13, 2015, 7:20 pm

        Cushitic belongs to what was formerly called the Hamito-Semitic language family, which is now called ‘Afro-Asiatic’. (The name was changed because the name Hamito-Semitic was deemed nonsensical as it divided the languages according to the skin color of the speakers: Ham for black speakers, Sem for white speakers.)
        Cushitic at least belongs to the same language family as Hebrew, which is more than can be said of Yiddish (Germanic) or Ladino (Romance), the languages spoken by European Jews. Reasoning like this, Ethiopians have more claims to be Semitic than European Jews. But as we all know, populations switch languages easily and all the time, not just now but also in the past. Black Americans speaking English does not mean they are Anglo-Saxons, and South American Indians speaking Spanish does not mean they are Iberians.

      • Mooser
        July 14, 2015, 11:01 am

        “Irony is that Ethiopians are true Semites. The official language of Ethiopia, Amharic, and the other languages of Ethiopia and Eritrea are Semitic languages.”

        Yup, Noah’s kids got around. But their Dad made them spend their entire summer cooped up on some ‘floating zoo’ scheme he had going, and when it went under, they got outta the Ark, and played heck with the ladies!

    • JWalters
      July 13, 2015, 7:16 pm

      “The other thing about Israel-uber-alles is that everyone is expendable.”

      This is also standard operating procedure among criminals, not coincidentally.

      • Mooser
        July 14, 2015, 11:12 am

        “This is also standard operating procedure among criminals, not coincidentally.”

        Not in The Litvaks it isn’t. We don’t snitch, or even admit we break the….ooops.

  7. echinococcus
    July 13, 2015, 4:42 pm

    Congratulations for having identified the most relevant contradiction among the Zionist riffraff. It is to be hoped that this papers of this kind breed and multiply.
    One thing, though:

    …according to Oren, they are cowardly and “weak,” with the result that they’ll throw Israel under the bus out of “fear for their well-being in America.”
    Rabbi Yoffie calls this “poppycock.” And of course he’s right.

    Not on your life. The opposite is true: any American Jews who decide to “throw Israel under the bus” to protect their well-being in America are to be commended and encouraged –no matter the reason why they do it. They show that they are not made of the same foul-smelling material as the former Mr Bornstein formerly from New Jersey.

    • JWalters
      July 13, 2015, 7:27 pm

      Agree. And for most the motivation will be to save America’s universal ideals from corruption by Zionist bigotry. For all its imperfections, America’s blueprint is on the side of the future. Israel’s blueprint is archaic insanity, buttressed necessarily by fact omissions, lies, and emotional manipulation.

      • echinococcus
        July 14, 2015, 10:25 am

        J Walters,

        Your pious wishes are commendable and I join you in your hopes, even though I see precious little evidence to be hopeful that way. As far as one can see both the US and the Zionist entity are led by the same people. And they are Americans –living in the US.

  8. justicewillprevail
    July 13, 2015, 4:56 pm

    Oren and co must be examples of those famous ‘self-hating’ Jews we keep hearing about. Since they are of American origin, but hold Americans in contempt. Fighting amongst each other is a sign of their insecurity and inability to corral people into their delusional belief system. The cognitive dissonance is too much.

  9. yonah fredman
    July 14, 2015, 1:30 am

    Michael Lesher- You wrote: (You might as well claim the Nazi devastation of Lidice was just “retaliation” for the violence of local Czech partisans.) – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/07/et-tu-michael-oren#sthash.wuk63dxv.dpuf
    I wonder if such rhetoric is helpful? I suspect not.

    • Mooser
      July 14, 2015, 11:09 am

      “I wonder if such rhetoric is helpful? I suspect not.”

      Exactly, Yonah! There’s no accuracy, no mathematical logic behind it!
      Now, if it’s “helpful” “rhetoric” you want, let’s talk about “half-Jews” and “quarter-Jews”. There we have scientific fractions! Numbers! Taxes! Dollars! (“That’s where he lives, Dallas, Texas!”) Arithmetic! Go argue with Archimedes!

      Like the woman said: ‘Yonah, I don’t think that was good for anybody

      • Mooser
        July 14, 2015, 1:27 pm

        Yonah, BTW, do you happen to know if there were any “half-Jews” or “quarter-Jews” at Lidice?

    • Kris
      July 14, 2015, 11:48 am

      @yf: “Michael Lesher- You wrote: (You might as well claim the Nazi devastation of Lidice was just “retaliation” for the violence of local Czech partisans.) wonder if such rhetoric is helpful? I suspect not. ”

      Really, Yonah, you should use “google” to inform yourself before you make silly remarks like this.

      The Nazi destruction of Lidice was like the Israeli destruction of Gaza: retaliation for resistance, just as Mr. Lesher says, and also, like Gaza, became a symbol of the occupier’s barbarity. It’s an excellent analogy.

      Adolf Hitler personally ordered the destruction of Lidice in retaliation for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in Prague. In May 1942, Czech agents had assassinated Heydrich, the highest-ranking Nazi official in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. After the attack, the Germans unleashed a wave of terror against the Czechs. The village of Lidice was set on fire and the remains of the buildings destroyed. German units shot all the men in the village over the age of 16 and deported most of the women and children to camps in Germany. The destruction of Lidice became a symbol of the barbarity of German occupation policies and a rallying cry for opponents of the Nazi regime.

      The village was rebuilt after the defeat of Nazi Germany. http://www.ushmm.org/learn/timeline-of-events/1942-1945/germans-destroy-lidice

      • Ian Berman
        July 14, 2015, 6:52 pm

        Kris, Yonah is right. Lidice is not comparable. The Israeli attack on the West Bank and Gaza was far worse and based upon far less of an incident. Essentially, Israel attacked all of occupied Palestine on the basis of three murders, not an act of any Palestinian organization.

        After the assassination of Heydrich, who was not just “the highest-ranking Nazi official in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia,” but also a possible successor to Hitler, the Nazis did destroy all of Lidice. Yet that was in response to the death of an incredibly high ranking official and was conducted over a relatively small area of response in light of the entire theatre of war. I am not suggesting this was just, but it was relatively light compared to the Israeli’s reaction to the murder of three teens.

        First, the Israelis conducted operation Brother’s Keeper in the West Bank while “looking” for the three teens they already knew were dead, but lied to the Israeli public and the world.

        “The initial evidence was the recording of victim Gilad Shaer’s desperate cellphone call to Moked 100, Israel’s 911. When the tape reached the security services the next morning — neglected for hours by Moked 100 staff — the teen was heard whispering “They’ve kidnapped me” (“hatfu oti”) followed by shouts of “Heads down,” then gunfire, two groans, more shots, then singing in Arabic. That evening searchers found the kidnappers’ abandoned, torched Hyundai, with eight bullet holes and the boys’ DNA. There was no doubt.

        Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately placed a gag order on the deaths. Journalists who heard rumors were told the Shin Bet wanted the gag order to aid the search. For public consumption, the official word was that Israel was “acting on the assumption that they’re alive.” It was, simply put, a lie.”

        http://forward.com/articles/201764/how-politics-and-lies-triggered-an-unintended-war/?p=all#ixzz3QHbQ1nLT

        The Israelis also knew the clan behind the killing was not responsive to Hamas leadership.

        http://www.dailydot.com/politics/israel-gaza-kidnap-false-inaccurate/ and

        http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/07/hamas-didnt-kidnap-the-israeli-teens-after-all.html

        And then the Israelis attacked Gaza first.

        Analyzing the timeline of events (as reported by Israeli think-tank Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center) in early July 2014 that precipitated Israel’s launch of “Operation Protective Edge,” the National Lawyers’ Guild report shows that Israel’s air and ground attacks on occupied Palestinian territories preceded any rocket fire from Hamas.

        “The Hamas rocket fire was neither actually occurring nor imminent when Israeli forces launched a non-judicial execution in Gaza, killing a Hamas member and severely wounding three civilians on 11 June,” the report states. ”Nor when Israeli forces launched their massive assault on the West Bank on 13 June 2014. The Israeli attacks were not necessary to stop rockets because rockets were not being fired at the time by Hamas and non-Hamas groups. Nor was rocket fire imminently threatened at the time.”

        From: ICC receives report debunking Israel’s “self-defense” claims for Gaza attack, 2/2/15
        https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/charlotte-silver/icc-receives-report-debunking-israels-self-defense-claims-gaza-attack

        We all know how much death and destruction was used against Gaza thereafter. So if there are such things as Nazi ghosts, those who worked in occupation forces must be looking on and saying, “geez, even we never went that far for so little.”

      • Kris
        July 14, 2015, 9:05 pm

        Ian Berman, thank you very much for this. You’re right, of course.

      • eGuard
        July 15, 2015, 8:30 am

        Ian Berman: Kris, Yonah is right. Lidice is not comparable.

        It IS comparable, as Berman himself shows in his second sentence (“far worse”, “far less”). Maybe Berman wants to say: “it is not the same”.

        Anyway, Yonah was not about comparision (he’d loose that right away, and he knew). Yonah asked: if such rhetoric is helpful?. To which the answer is: yes, Yonah, very helpful. First it shows analogy and other clarifications, second it shows reference to the same moral scheme, and third, we know that Yonah has no response. Very helpful.

      • Ian Berman
        July 15, 2015, 1:46 pm

        eGuard, don’t split hairs. Comparable in the literary sense of not on the same scale.

        Further, by discussing the differences between the two chains of events, I am showing it is helpful to discuss. I just didn’t use that language. Was it necessary?

      • Mooser
        July 17, 2015, 12:01 pm

        Thanks, Mr. Berman.

        Poor Yonah. Even when he’s positive he hasn’t stepped in a steaming pile, one seems to grow under his feet!

  10. MHughes976
    July 14, 2015, 2:51 pm

    I notice that the word ‘retaliation’ is used, as if uncontroversial, by the Nizkor Project, which describes itself as against Holocaust denial, in its (seemingly quite useful) introduction to the Nuremberg prosecutor’s speech about Lidice.
    However it was not retaliation in the true sense of like for like. The Czech Resistance had dealt a very humiliating blow: the famed and feared Nazi security system had failed to protect one of its own most important representatives. The response had to be based on much more than like for like in order to restore required levels of fear. Reprisal is a better word. The Israeli attack on Gaza had the same aspect of disproportion as the essential means and high levels of fear as the desired result.
    I concede to Yonah that Israel does not use Lidice-style firing squads and does not take young girls with a Semitic look away to be Judaised. But the toehold this gives Israel on the higher moral ground does seem, in view of the whole swollen global mass of suffering we contemplate, quite tenous.

    • Kris
      July 14, 2015, 2:57 pm

      Thank you, MHughes976, you are right; reprisal is a much better word for the Nazi attacks on Lidice and the Israeli attacks on Gaza.

    • lysias
      July 14, 2015, 3:05 pm

      Vergeltung = retribution. V-1 and V-2 were Vergeltungswaffen, hence the “V”. German Wikipedia entry on Lidice describes the measures taken by the Germans in response to the assassination of Reinhard Heidrich as “Vergeltungsmaßnahmen”.

    • Ian Berman
      July 15, 2015, 1:57 pm

      In the case of Israel actions, it was not a reprisal. It was an opportunity to deal a death blow to the unity government of Fatah and Hamas. As discussed below (and copied from above), the murder of the three boys were not part of organized resistance. It was a case of murder by members of clan operating independent of Hamas orders and the Israelis knew that.

      So while the Nazis were conducting an act of reprisal, Israel took the opportunity to crush Hamas and Palestinian civilians. Using the Israeli military vernacular, they were mowing the lawn. (The functional links can be found above.)

      First, the Israelis conducted operation Brother’s Keeper in the West Bank while “looking” for the three teens they already knew were dead, but lied to the Israeli public and the world.

      “The initial evidence was the recording of victim Gilad Shaer’s desperate cellphone call to Moked 100, Israel’s 911. When the tape reached the security services the next morning — neglected for hours by Moked 100 staff — the teen was heard whispering “They’ve kidnapped me” (“hatfu oti”) followed by shouts of “Heads down,” then gunfire, two groans, more shots, then singing in Arabic. That evening searchers found the kidnappers’ abandoned, torched Hyundai, with eight bullet holes and the boys’ DNA. There was no doubt.

      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately placed a gag order on the deaths. Journalists who heard rumors were told the Shin Bet wanted the gag order to aid the search. For public consumption, the official word was that Israel was “acting on the assumption that they’re alive.” It was, simply put, a lie.”

      link to forward.com

      The Israelis also knew the clan behind the killing was not responsive to Hamas leadership.

      link to dailydot.com and

      link to nymag.com

      And then the Israelis attacked Gaza first.

      Analyzing the timeline of events (as reported by Israeli think-tank Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center) in early July 2014 that precipitated Israel’s launch of “Operation Protective Edge,” the National Lawyers’ Guild report shows that Israel’s air and ground attacks on occupied Palestinian territories preceded any rocket fire from Hamas.

      “The Hamas rocket fire was neither actually occurring nor imminent when Israeli forces launched a non-judicial execution in Gaza, killing a Hamas member and severely wounding three civilians on 11 June,” the report states. ”Nor when Israeli forces launched their massive assault on the West Bank on 13 June 2014. The Israeli attacks were not necessary to stop rockets because rockets were not being fired at the time by Hamas and non-Hamas groups. Nor was rocket fire imminently threatened at the time.”

      From: ICC receives report debunking Israel’s “self-defense” claims for Gaza attack, 2/2/15
      link to electronicintifada.net

      We all know how much death and destruction was used against Gaza thereafter. So if there are such things as Nazi ghosts, those who worked in occupation forces must be looking on and saying, “geez, even we never went that far for so little.”

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