Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 14072 (since 2009-08-08 06:29:45)


I wonder where the struggle between universal human rights and - “A Jew is by the nature of his creation a purer being. Similarly with the holiness of the land: The soil of Israel is essentially holier, the stones are holier because the land was destined by God to serve as the place of the Children of Israel” is headed "Either we are all sacred or none of us is" Paul Fourhorns Tenoso

Showing comments 14072 - 14001

  • 'Children killed in their sleep': Israeli artillery fire hits UN school, killing at least 20
    • It's basically Jews with guns, Mooser
      And no gun control.

      95% of them think the killing in Gaza is justified
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    • Hatikva - the hope of the return to Zion

      The reality of Hatikva

      UNRWA spokesman breaks down explaining what Zionism is doing to Gaza

      J Street signs off the butchery
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    • link to

      "United Nations officials described the killing of sleeping children as a disgrace to the world and accused Israel of a serious violation of international law after a school in Gaza being used to shelter Palestinian families was shelled on Wednesday.

      At least 15 people, mostly children and women, died when the school in Jabaliya refugee camp was hit by five shells during a night of relentless bombardment across Gaza. More than 100 people were injured.

      Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, said the attack was "outrageous and unjustifiable" and demanded "accountability and justice". The UN said its officials had repeatedly given details of the school and its refugee population to Israel.
      Palestinians fled their homes after Israel warned that failure to do so would put their lives at risk. Those at the Jabaliya school were among more than 200,000 who have sought shelter at UN premises in the belief that families would be safe.

      Analysis of evidence gathered at the site by UNRWA led to an initial assessment that Israeli artillery had hit the school, causing "multiple civilian deaths and injuries including of women and children and the UNRWA guard who was trying to protect the site. These are people who were instructed to leave their homes by the Israeli army."

      Krahenbuhl added: "Our staff, the very people leading the humanitarian response, are being killed. Our shelters are overflowing. Tens of thousands may soon be stranded in the streets of Gaza, without food, water and shelter if attacks on these areas continue."


    • Pierre Krähenbühl @PKraehenbuehl

      "This is 6th time one of our @UNRWA schools has been struck. Our staff leading int'l response are being killed. This is a breaking point"

      The UNRWA statement is worth reading in full

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      "The United Nations Relief and Works Agency has strongly condemned an Israeli strike on a UN school being used as a shelter in the Jabaliya refugee camp, which killed at least 19 people and injured 90.

      The agency appeared hit out at a lack of international action to end the violence with the words: “[T]his is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame. Today the world stands disgracedToday the world stands disgraced.”

      In a statement UNRWA Commissioner-General, Pierre Krähenbühl said: “I call on the international community to take deliberate international political action to put an immediate end to the continuing carnage.”

      Here is the statement in full:

      Last night, children were killed as they slept next to their parents on the floor of a classroom in a UN designated shelter in Gaza. Children killed in their sleep; this is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame. Today the world stands disgraced.

      We have visited the site and gathered evidence. We have analysed fragments, examined craters and other damage. Our initial assessment is that it was Israeli artillery that hit our school, in which 3,300 people had sought refuge. We believe there were at least three impacts. It is too early to give a confirmed official death toll. But we know that there were multiple civilian deaths and injuries including of women and children and the UNRWA guard who was trying to protect the site. These are people who were instructed to leave their homes by the Israeli army.

      The precise location of the Jabalia Elementary Girls School and the fact that it was housing thousands of internally displaced people was communicated to the Israeli army seventeen times, to ensure its protection; the last being at ten to nine last night, just hours before the fatal shelling.

      I condemn in the strongest possible terms this serious violation of international law by Israeli forces.

      This is the sixth time that one of our schools has been struck. Our staff, the very people leading the humanitarian response are being killed. Our shelters are overflowing. Tens of thousands may soon be stranded in the streets of Gaza, without food, water and shelter if attacks on these areas continue.We are in the realm of accountability. I call on the international community to take deliberate international political action to put an immediate end to the continuing carnage

      We have moved beyond the realm of humanitarian action alone. ."

  • The threat of sanctions worked against Israel in 1956 -- and it can work again
    • 1956 was the height of Keynesianism when rent seeking predatory capitalists were taxed to death , not running the political system as they do now.

  • Remnick gets the timeline wrong
    • It all started in April,when the bots screamed blue murder at the hamas/Fatah reconciliation.

      There is no way Israel sustained 60 IDF martyrdoms for the sake of 3 dead teenagers. The maths don't add up.

      Remnick is ALWAYS introduced as a great writer. But he has lousy judgement betimes.

  • 'Israel today, Israel tomorrow, Israel forever,' Rep. Hakeem Jeffries says at NY rally
  • Video: Mark Regev, deciphered
    • The longer the war goes on, the weaker the hasbara. Israel has just shelled its 6th UN school in Gaza. It could explain away perhaps 2 but not 6 .
      And Regev is such a liar. They just can't translate the Hebrew memes that work on Yossi Israeli successfully into English.

    • That is a very, very good video. He is so see-through.

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  • Slaughter is not self-defense: The assault on Gaza and the corruption of language
    • Marek Edelman's account of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising

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      Well worth reading
      Nobody in the Zionist leadership is worth one of his fingernails.

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      "Zionism had always preached the line of least resistance. As the anti-Nazi Boycott of German goods was launched in Britain and the USA in 1933 by the Jewish labour movement, the Zionist leaders negotiated an economic transfer agreement (Ha'avara) that led to 60% of capital investment in Palestine between 1933 and 1939 coming from Nazi Germany.

      Edelman became a ‘non-person’ in Israel. He challenged the Zionist fable that the holocaust was part of a continuous road that led to the Israeli state and that the Ghetto Uprising was part of that same road. Having abandoned the Jews of Europe to their fate, Zionism created the myth that resistance to the Nazis was a Zionist endeavour.

      As Yitzhak Laor noted in his review in Ha'aretz of 26.12.04. of Ruth Linn’s, Escaping Auschwitz: A Culture of Forgetting

      ‘How long did it take before we finally learned that there had been anti-Zionists among the fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising? Who was Marek Edelman? Why could he show up from time to time at Kibbutz Lohamei Hageta’ot (“Ghetto Fighters”) to sit down and chat with his soul mate Antek Zuckerman, while we, as readers, were kept in the dark as to the man’s charm and greatness? Because the collective memory was unable to tolerate people who had consciously chosen not to identify with the Zionist enterprise, even in the context of Holocaust memory.’
      Linn’s book dealt with another Jewish hero of the holocaust hero, Rudolf Vrba, who with Alfred Wetzler, escaped from Auschwitz, to warn the 800,000 Hungarian Jews that they were next on the Nazi butchers’ list. Their detailed description of the gas chambers and the location of their murder, the Auschwitz Protocols, was suppressed by the Zionist press and movement until the Swiss newspapers , the War Refugee Board and the Vatican, among others, blew the whistle.
      The reason for the silencing of Edelman and Vrba was because the Holocaust has been harnessed to the cause the dispossession of the Palestinians. The Palestinians were the new Nazis and anyone who disagreed was also an anti-Semite. As Richard Goldstone found out this week when Israel's finance minister, Yuval Steinitz, accused him of being an anti-Semite. (BREAKING NEWS - Israel Finance Minister: Goldstone Is 'Anti-Semite').

      As Idith Zertal wrote:
      "Nationalizing the ghetto uprisings was a way of nationalizing the narrative and removing all the contradictory, non-Zionist elements…. The fact that the umbrella organizations involved in the rebellion included all the political parties was minimized or obscured. Of all the efforts to hush up and disguise the truth, the case of Marek Edelman is perhaps the most glaring."
      As Zertal pointed out, the "Encyclopedia of the Holocaust," edited by Israel Gutman, one of Israel's Establishment Holocaust Historians at Yad Vashem, is very vague about Edelman's role, and devotes only one column to him. (The Living Dead, Yitzhak Laor)

      Marek Edelman’s book, The Ghetto is Fighting, was first published in Poland in 1945 and republished in Britain in 1990. Given that this was the only first-hand account by a leader of the Uprising, it is hardly accidental that it took 56 years, until 2001, before it was published in Israel.
      “Like Vrba, Edelman ‘ascended’ to Israel, refusing to become the ‘dead and obedient hero who could be moulded along with the political order of that time. On the contrary he remained alive and kicking and refusing and, therefore, extremely inconvenient for the creation of a heroic Zionist condensing and compensating myth.’ Zertal, I. Death and the Nation, 56-7 (Translation from Hebrew).
      As another survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, Professor Israel Shahak, wrote in a letter published on 19 May 1989 in Kol Ha'ir, Jerusalem:

      Nearly all the work of administration, and later the work of transporting hundreds of thousands of Jews to their deaths, was carried out by Jewish collaborators. Before the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising… the Jewish underground killed, with perfect justification, every Jewish collaborator they could find. If they had not done so the Uprising could never have started. The majority of the population of the Ghetto hated the collaborators far more than the German Nazis….

      the entire Nazi success in easy and continued rule over millions of people stemmed from the subtle and diabolical use of collaborators… This, and not what is 'instilled' was the reality. Of the Yad Vashem (official state Holocaust museum in Jerusalem - Ed.) theatre, I do not wish to speak, at all. It, and its vile exploits, such as honouring South Africa collaborators with the Nazis [the visit of South African Premier John Vorster to Israel - TG) are truly beneath contempt.
      And this is the reason for the silencing and invisibility of Marek Edelman and Rudolf Vrba. They were living proof that Zionism was not and never was a movement of resistance in Europe, but a movement of collaboration

      I once called up the association of ghetto fighters in Israel to ask about Marek Edelman. The laconic response I received was "Edelman is in Poland. He is not a Zionist."

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      "The second reason why I find this exhibition particularly important is the specifically Polish perspective which the Warsaw Rising Museum has provided. It helps us understand what key role the Warsaw Uprising plays in Polish history. It helps us understand why matters of freedom and independence remain so essential for many Polish people to this day.

      The Warsaw Uprising takes its place in a series of uprisings ending in defeat which can be traced through Polish history. For many Poles, however, these losses by no means led to defeatism and despondency. In 1944, most people were of a mind with the young poet Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński when he wrote, "Now we must die so that Poland may live again."

      Poland wanted to demonstrate to itself and to the world that it was capable of throwing off the German oppressor on its own initiative. And, like the Résistance in Paris, it hoped for support from the advancing Allied troops. Help from outside, however, almost wholly failed to materialise. More than 170,000 of Warsaw’s inhabitants paid for the uprising with their lives.

      After 63 days full of fervour and frustration, triumph and pain, full of hope and bitter losses, but above all full of bravery and sacrifice – after 63 days, the only remaining option was to surrender. One of the last radio messages from the fighting home army to the Polish government in exile in London ran as follows: "Those who have died have triumphed, and those who yet live will fight on, will triumph and give proof that Poland lives while Poles live."

      I was able to see for myself what an important touchstone the Warsaw Uprising was for Polish opposition forces. In Communist times, hundreds and thousands used to process on 1 August to Warsaw’s Powązki Cemetery, where those who fell in the uprising lie buried. Those fathers, grandfathers, husbands and wives were examples to the generations which followed them. "

    • Israel is straight out of 1984. Slaughter as goodness. Naftali Bennett says all they have to do is stop shooting- he never mentions the siege. They will never, ever grant the Palestinians a state yet they stretch their arm forward in peace.
      And don't get me started on how tolerant of gay people they are.
      Such a sick ideology.

      Benny Morris
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      "This is a large part of the explanation for Israel’s weakness in the various Gaza operations that have brought us to this point – the same weakness that guarantees the next round will happen very soon. This weakness is very similar to America’s policy of appeasement under President Barack Obama’s governments, which wound up weakening the status of the United States, and the West as a whole, throughout the world.
      What should we do next time? The answer is clear and well known. All that’s needed is the courage to start down this path and the determination to finish the job. It won’t be either easy or quick. We’re talking about reoccupying the entire Gaza Strip and destroying Hamas as a military organization, and perhaps also as a political one (it’s reasonable to think that destroying Hamas’ army will badly weaken Hamas as a political movement). "

      versus Christian Aid

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      "Christian Aid believes that whilst the scale of destruction and suffering in Gaza is unprecedented, the current crisis should not be a surprise to anyone. It is the result of decades of political failure and continuous Palestinian displacement. We call for an immediate end to all violence against civilians and honest and concrete measures to demonstrate to all those who breach international law that they will be held to account.
      This latest outbreak of violence is not about Gaza. The people who are now dying in their hundreds are paying the price for a lethal combination of international political impotence and indifference to decades of Palestinian dispossession and displacement. It appears from its actions that Israel disregards the most basic rights of Palestinians.
      Those who have died deserve us to be honest about what is happening. The world cannot claim to be unaware, as it has been paying for the consequences of consistent political failure, weak Palestinian leadership and Israel’s actions since the first Palestinian refugees were forced from their homes in 1947. Billions have been poured into Palestinian ‘development’ aid, while Israeli actions have fuelled ‘de-development’ and undermined a viable Palestinian economy by occupying more land for illegal settlements in east Jerusalem and the West Bank and restricting access and movement for people and goods.
      Israel controls and impacts on almost every aspect of Palestinian life. This includes forcing them through humiliating checkpoints; allowing settler violence to go unpunished; imposing a seven year blockade on Gaza; arresting and holding thousands without charge and demolishing homes and livelihoods.
      Anyone bearing witness to these facts on the ground will no doubt conclude that any possibility of a two-state solution has all but failed. Despite the international community’s claim that it is the only solution, it has not acted to stop Israel usurping Palestinian land and natural resources and has allowed Palestinians to become the highest per capita recipients of donor aid in the world."

  • Take the right position on Israel and you can raise 1/4 million, Senate candidate is advised
    • Burston is still outside the tent pissing in

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      "But I have never been to a funeral in Israel even remotely like Max's. Tens of thousands of Israelis, silent, still, showing a level of respect that implied that this was something altogether new in their experience as well.
      Nearly none of us had known him. But by the end of intensely personal eulogies by family and friends, it seemed that all of us had.

      The same could not be said of Allison Benedikt, trying to explain why someone like Max might want to tie his fate to a place like this, to people like these:

      "Maybe Max was especially lost, or especially susceptible, or maybe he was just looking to do some good and became convinced by his Birthright experience that putting on an IDF uniform and grabbing a gun was the way to do it," she wrote.

      "It turns out that it’s not that hard to persuade young people to see the world a certain way and that Birthright is very good at doing it. You spend hundreds of millions of dollars to convince young Jews that they are deeply connected to a country that desperately needs their support? This is what you get."

      She's wrong. So is Phil Weiss. So are Pam Bailey and Dr. Abdu. How do I know? For the same reason that they'll doubtless dismiss what I have to say as worthless.

      I was once a kid growing up in the Valley, like Max, not at all particularly interested in Israel, much more into music and sports. Only when I visited here, did I understand what Max would as well. Kool-Aid has nothing to do with it. Nor indoctrination, nor millions of dollars, nor uniforms and guns.
      It's the people who are here. Not everyone, but an extraordinary number, given the circumstances. Decent, loving, wounded, coping*. They have everything to do with it. "

      * 95% support the carnage in Gaza

    • You have to start talking about what the contaminated money of maybe 300 people is doing to Jewish life. Israel is out of control on the back of it. Organised Judaism is riding in a sidecar alongside. All because of money. Adelson is doing more damage to Judaism than the PLO ever did.

  • Video: If you voted for Hamas, Israel has a right to kill you, says president of NY Board of Rabbis
    • Israel is a plaything of elites but it's dependent on outside trade to keep going. Hasbara is failing. The risk landscape - Climate change, financial system disarray, low growth - the conditions that defined the post war period are all fading away. Apartheid will become impossible to support. Israel will become more and more expensive to defend and to run . What's happening within Israel- the drift ever rightward. The demographic trends- orthodox birth rate especially. I don't think Israeli society will be able to generate the growth it needs to stay independent.

      It all looks quite bleak, I think.

    • Moshiach will be along shortly. It might be like the buses in london. You wait for ages and then 3 turn up simultaneously.

    • "The principle of non-combatant immunity has gone. Is there any possibility of saving the principle of proportionality? "

      The big question. I hate Zionism above all for that. Yad Vashem is such hypocrisy when international law and the laws of warfare are torn to shreds for the sake of 5 million people.

    • Bintbiba

      Ukhti fil rooh sounds wonderful. The music does it. It doesn't matter where it comes from either.

      You must remember 82 in Beirut as well. So much pain. So much suffering , and the Palestinians had nothing to do with World War 2.

      But it's going to end. Such good people. And Israel is so lost.

    • 613 is I am hophmi your lord and you do as I say on Shabbat you miserable self hater.

    • "If you voted for Hamas, Israel has a right to kill you"

      And the answer to that is

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      nobody wins by adopting fascism

    • Mooser

      Most problems can be solved with the application of sufficient quantities of money.

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      "Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) spearheaded a bipartisan letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that criticizes his recent statement calling Israel’s military operations in Gaza an “atrocious action.”

      The letter, also signed by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), states that the secretary-general’s comments “failed to recognize an important fact: in this conflict, one side is trying to protect civilians while the other is deliberately trying to kill them.”

      “Israel is under attack,” the letter states, “and Israel, like any other state, has a right to defend itself. No nation can accept two thousand rockets being launched at its cities and towns. As you know, Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations recognizes a nation’s right to self-defense.”

      Since Operation Protective Edge began on July 8, Gaza terrorists have fired more than 2,000 rockets at Israel.

      The text of the letter follows:

      Dear Mr. Secretary-General:

      We write to convey our strong objections to your comments on July 20 describing Israel's military operations in Gaza as an "atrocious action." We share your deep concern regarding civilian casualties on both sides, but your comments failed to recognize an important fact: in this conflict, one side is trying to protect civilians while the other is deliberately trying to kill them. Israel is undertaking extraordinary efforts to avoid civilian casualties while Hamas cynically uses other Palestinians as human shields and attempts to deliberately kill Israeli civilians.

      When leaders and organizations of the United Nations blur the clear distinction between a nation-state defending itself and a terrorist organization attempting to murder civilians-and suggest the two are morally equivalent-it results in three dangerous outcomes. First, it does a great disservice to the credibility of the U.N. Second, it lends a degree of perceived legitimacy that terrorist organizations do not deserve. Third, and most problematically, it undercuts the legitimate right of nation-states to defend their citizens.

      Israel is under attack, and Israel, like any other state, has a right to defend itself. No nation can accept two thousand rockets being launched at its cities and towns. As you know, Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations recognizes a nation's right to self-defense.

      While we share your desire to see an end to hostilities as soon as possible, your statement was not helpful. We respectfully request that your future comments recognize the fact that the "atrocious action" is the deliberate terrorist attack on civilians-not the measured response of a nation-state trying to defend its citizens.

      Thank you for your consideration of our concerns. "

      R stands for Rabid
      I think NH means New Hampshire.

    • Bennett and Schumer are on the same page

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      "Economy Minister Naftali Bennett lashed out at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday over the latter's stated policy regarding the goals of the war in Gaza.
      In a statement to the press, Bennett publicly countered Netanyahu's declarations of demolishing Hamas' terror tunnels as the primary goal of the operation – saying that it was the "defeat of Hamas" that Israel should consider as the ultimate target of the war.
      Bennett nevertheless said that he did not support a full reoccupation of the Gaza Strip. Israel must operate in order to "forcefully root out Hamas' faith in its ability to win."
      "The tunnels are not the root of this problem," Bennett. "They are strategic avenues for destroying Hamas. What needs to be done? A target must be marked: the demilitarization of Gaza, as in Judea and Samaria [West Bank]. No missiles, no tunnels. The IDF must be given a clear task: Make that happen."
      Bennet emphasized that the cabinet must instruct the IDF not relax or stop until this goal has been achieved – whether by force or by agreement. Israel need not answer positively to all requests for humanitarian cease-fires, he added. "Hit Hamas without mercy," Bennett said. "Day and night. On weekdays and holidays. Without respite and without rest. Until they are defeated." "

      His Blitzer interview is a real keeper.

    • The mask is off. He would have been at home on Radio Milles Collines
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      "But over the weekend, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry ruined everything. Very senior officials in Jerusalem described the proposal that Kerry put on the table as a “strategic terrorist attack.” His decision to go hand in hand with Qatar and Turkey, and formulate a framework amazingly similar to the Hamas framework, was catastrophic. It put wind in the sails of Hamas’ political leader Khaled Meshal, allowed the Hamas extremists to overcome the Hamas moderates, and gave renewed life to the weakened regional alliance of the Muslim Brotherhood.
      The Obama administration proved once again that it is the best friend of its enemies, and the biggest enemy of its friends. The man of peace from Massachusetts intercepted with his own hands the reasonable cease-fire that was within reach, and pushed both the Palestinians and Israelis toward an escalation that most of them did not want.
      So that is why everything now hangs in the balance. Hamas is exhausted, but fanning the flames time after time. Israel is showing restraint time after time. Netanyahu and Ya’alon are still managing a battle against those who may very well entangle Israel in a real war. But the way Kerry played into the hands of Turkey and Qatar, and the extremist Palestinians and Israelis, has created a situation that is still quite dangerous.
      If Israel is forced to ultimately undertake an expanded ground operation in which dozens of young Israelis and hundreds of Palestinian civilians could lose their lives, it would be appropriate to name the offensive after the person who caused it: John Kerry. But if the escalation does not happen, instead we should remember that those who prevented it are three people the Obama administration loathes: Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi, Benjamin Netanyahu and Moshe Ya’alon. "

    • 2 more

      Bás Mrs. Price
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      Djivan Gasparyan

      I will not be sad in this world
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      This is not just a disaster for Gaza. It is a catastrophe for Judaism.

    • Binti

      This one is a favourite of mine for slow/sad times
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      Gol Na Mban San Ar- the crying of the women after the slaughter, originally composed during wars in Ireland in the 1590s. Real quality.

    • Amira Hass says this moral collapse will reverberate for decades.
      And John Trudell would speak about the lies they tell themselves and to us

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      February 14, 2014 6:48 pm

      The story of Israel: ‘My Promised Land’ and ‘Israel: A History’

      By Simon Schama

      "An ‘enthralling, morally dignified’ history of Israel is also a much-needed literary lapel grab
      My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel, by Ari Shavit, Scribe RRP£20 / Spiegel & Grau RRP$28, 464 pages
      Israel: A History, by Anita Shapira, Weidenfeld & Nicolson RRP£25 / Brandeis RRP$35, 528 pages

      If Ari Shavit is not actually the angel in the minefield he certainly writes like one. Not a page of My Promised Land goes past without a smart provocation – “He wonders about the mysterious bond between Jews and oranges” – or a perfectly focused vision: “The land my great grandfather sees [in 1897] is just as he hoped it would appear: illuminated by the gentle dawn and shrouded by the frail light of promise.” Shavit conducts this orchestration of the senses like a maestro, even when his subject encompasses hatred, slaughter and (less inevitably) taking ecstasy in Tel Aviv. His accomplishment is so unlikely, so total – a history of Israel and Zionism written by an unapologetic and impassioned lover of his country who nonetheless fully registers the disasters inflicted on Palestinians – that it makes you believe anything is possible, even, God help us, peace in the Middle East.

      To those of us Jews whose identity and personal history are locked together with the fate of Israel, much of what Shavit unsparingly records makes bitterly painful reading, which is precisely why his book is not just enthralling, but morally dignified. The insomnia mission – keeping us up at night worrying open the scars that are more easily left untroubled – has been the historian’s obligation ever since Thucydides did a number on Athenian hubris. Our professional honour is preserved by such cold comforts, rather than the toasty pleasures of national self-congratulation. And it is just because Shavit’s pages are so full of unresolved conflicts, personal anguish and humane compassion for both suffering peoples, along with a brilliant gift for capturing the high voltage creative exuberance of an Israel living on the edge, that his book is, by some light years, the best thing to have been written on the subject.
      . . .
      Beginning with its title, which is at the same time spring-loaded with irony yet also innocent of it, Shavit has the rare gift of dual empathy. As you would expect, he conveys the anguish of Jews in the late 1930s and during the war, when they realised they had been abandoned by the rest of the world. That anguish reached its most acute moment in 1942, when at the same time, the killing centres opened for business in Poland and Rommel’s Afrika Korps stood poised to break through to Egypt and Palestine. But at no point does he ever look away from the magnitude of the Palestinian catastrophe. In fact, he seems all the more of an Israeli for being able to think and feel like a Palestinian.
      Shavit is no sentimentalist. He tackles the failings of the peace movement to which he once belonged with as much unsparing scepticism as he brings to the messianic delusions of the settler movement. He shares the view that either Israel ends the occupation or the occupation will end Israel. But he wants to make you understand that the condition of any kind of peace is the effort of alterity that also defines the historian’s vocation: thinking like someone you are not. Shavit is neither a Zionist romantic nor an anti-Zionist self-mortifier in the style of the new (revisionist) history. He just does that supremely difficult thing: telling it like it is – even when clarity brings cruelty along for the ride. His view of Israeli power is Machiavellian, in the sense of unblinking realism, but every page is stamped by decency and a stern respect for the truth.
      It helps that Shavit, whose strong-minded columns have appeared in the liberal-left leaning Israeli newspaper Haaretz since 1995, is one of the most dazzling non-fiction writers alive. He has the eye of a painter. To its young climbers in 1942, the shadow of the desert fortress of Masada falls “like the shadow of a hulking, sunken ship”. Nor does his intellectual seriousness preclude moments of fun: “Although he believed in labour and preached labour, the young Tabenkin [a socialist Zionist from Warsaw] was not very good at labour.” Even if you’ve had it up to here with the Jews and the Arabs, this book will sweep you up in its narrative force and not let go of you until it is done. It is a reminder that if the first obligation of history is self-criticism, the second is philosophically enriched storytelling – and how very rarely this goal is achieved. Most of our histories are too heavily costumed, too charming by half in their invitations to saunter down memory lane. Or else they err in the opposite direction, confusing seriousness with solemnity, getting trapped in the airless conventions of academic writing.
      This, alas, is the case with Anita Shapira’s Israel: A History. Professor at Tel Aviv University and an Israel Prize laureate, Shapira has written what is in many respects an important, exhaustive and richly thoughtful march through the annals of Zionism. But its arguments and stories are hobbled by the ball and chain of grimly formal prose. It is not just a trivial matter of style. History is pointless without connection beyond the academy, and all it has to make that connection with are words chosen to bring the dead to life.

      What Shapira’s history does do, however, is to engage with subjects that are glossed over or missing from Shavit’s vaulting narrative: Zionist institution-building in Mandate Palestine; the against-the-odds victory in the war of 1948-49; Suez and the airlifting of Ethiopian Jews in the 1980s along with the Israeli debate about their identity. There are moments, too, when she supplies crucial context for the unfolding drama, reminding us, for instance, that 1946-48, when the uprooting of Palestinians and Jews in Islamic lands took place, was also the time of immense movements of the helpless and homeless in central and eastern Europe, and in India and Pakistan. Shapira’s book is best used as a gap-plugging aid after reading Shavit. But for all its virtues, it is not a work designed to grab the attention of the intermittently interested non-Jewish passer-by.
      And the present moment is so woefully choked with malignant distortions, mutually screamed polemics, ancient stereotypes and recycled hatreds that we cannot afford to do without the literary lapel grab, a gripping narration grounded in scholarly integrity. To meet that challenge, Shavit has produced a historical narrative pitched to our restless times, and cinematic in its widescreen pathos. The expulsion of the Palestinian population of Lydda in 1948, for instance, is seen through the eyes of the conquering Israeli military governor: “He climbs the tall minaret of the Great Mosque. From the top he watches chaos engulf the town. The people of Lydda grab anything they can: bread, vegetables, dates and figs; sacks of flour, sugar, wheat, and barley; silverware, copperware, jewelery; blankets, mattresses. They carry suitcases bursting at the seams, improvised packs made from sheets and pillowcases . . . the procession gathers into a long biblical-looking column.”
      Defying the conventions of the Olympian, impersonal narrator, Shavit forthrightly puts himself inside the action even when it occurs before he was born. He freeze-frames his great-grandfather, Herbert Bentwich, momentously poised to disembark at Jaffa from his ship in 1897, to ask whether it would have been better for everyone had he not? He agonises over whether facing the truth of the massacre and exodus from Lydda means he must abandon Zionism and decides not: “I’ll stand by the damned. Because I know if it wasn’t for them, the State of Israel would not have been born. They did the dirty, filthy work that enables my people, myself, my daughter and my sons to live.” If this sounds too artful for its own good, it isn’t. It is simply a modernised version of the philosopher RG Collingwood’s appeal to make history an “imaginative re-enactment” – without the slightest trace of fiction.
      My Promised Land is constructed as a chain of linked, exemplary episodes, each one set in a particular landscape, distilling the ethos of a moment in the torn-up history of Palestine and Israel. The pioneering of the kibbutz in the 1920s is set in Ein Harod in the Jezreel Valley, where “the blades of the sun catch the blades of the ploughs as they turn the valley’s soil, penetrating the crust of the ancient valley’s deep earth. And as the ploughs begin to do their work, the Jews return to history and regain their masculinity.” The burgeoning enterprise of the 1930s happens in the orange groves of Rehovot, Shavit’s own town, where the day-to-day working relationship between Arabs and Jews is smashed by the mutual murders of 1936. The Israel of Holocaust survivors is embodied in a housing estate built in 1957, where Shmuel Gogol tries to tell the young about his time playing harmonica with his eyes shut in the Auschwitz death orchestra. “But the children . . . want to leave their fathers’ nightmares and their mothers’ migraines behind. They want to play volleyball, basketball, soccer, go to the scouts and have parties.”
      At two ends of the psychospectrum, Shavit draws on his own traumatic memory bank in an interrogation prison in Gaza: “fifty yards from the showers where I try to rinse off the day’s dust and sweat, people scream. Eighty yards from where I try to eat, people scream”; and at the other, in 2000, he escapes all that pain into orgiastic hedonism, following a troupe of dawn revellers, driving from Club Allenby 58 in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem “smiling and red-eyed and dressed like vampires or satanic demons carrying pitchforks”.
      . . .
      The jump-cuts of Shavit’s narration inevitably mean breathtaking omissions from the Zionist canon, all of which it’s clear he mischievously enjoys. So there is little mention of Chaim Weizmann, the Zionist leader, except one reference to the building of his house in Rehovot; two brief drive-bys past Vladimir Jabotinsky, the patriarch from whom the hard nationalist Likud political tradition descends. Instead of an account of the 1956 Suez campaign, Shavit stages a talk with Avner Cohen, the senior heavy-water carrier when Dimona was beginning to go nuclear. And instead of some generalised treatment of the challenge of Sephardi religion and politics to the Ashkenazi establishment he delivers a revelatory chapter on the charismatic fallen hero of the non-European Israelis, Aryeh Deri. Shavit sums up that deep cultural schism by commenting that the Israel designed for one kind of Jews (European in origin) became populated by another people entirely (the Moroccans, Yemenis, Indians, Ethiopians).
      Knowledgeable readers will have their chicken bones to pick. Shavit’s great-grandfather Bentwich appears ex nihilo, without any of the story of Victorian philo-Semitism (one part moral hydraulics, the other part Bible evangelism). Perhaps Shavit might have economised on the throbbing gristle of the club scene in Tel Aviv to give us instead a bit more about the calamity of the Lebanon war. And given the subject, we can guarantee that hardliners and boycotters in both the Israeli and Palestinian camps will find something to complain about, which in turn will mean Shavit has acquitted himself well. But with any luck all readers of this scrupulously just, wisely impassioned book – Jews, Muslims and everyone else – with their prejudices shaken loose by the truth will be prepared to share just a small piece of the modest optimism with which the book ends: Shavit’s children running towards him on the quayside of Tel Aviv port.

      Israel may be a fortress in a storm-racked sea of Arab chaos but Shavit knows that it is not impregnable. The Iranian threat is real; and the slaughters engulfing the Arab world make it likelier that the threats to Israel will come from loose cannons, lethally armed, than from any war of states. On the Israeli side, Shavit thinks the election of 2013 did bring about authentically new politics. Whether or not that is true, he is committed to a redefinition of his nation, “a new Jewish Israeli narrative”. If that does come to pass, Ari Shavit will be recognised as having written its inaugural text."

    • It's the notion of Jewish otherness with unlimited military power. Very like Syria and the Alawis.
      And Gaza is a threat to the status quo. So it must be destroyed, like Amalek.

      link to

      "Mainstream Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, regarded them as ghulta, “exaggerators.” Like other sectarian groups they protected their tradition by a strategy known as taqiyya—the right to hide one’s true beliefs from outsiders in order to avoid persecution. Taqiyya makes a perfect qualification for membership in the mukhabarat—the ubiquitous intelligence/security apparatus that has dominated Syria’s government for more than four decades
      Moosa suggests that like other schismatic groups residing in Syria, such as the Druzes and Ismailis, the Nusayris do not take their beliefs literally, but understand them as allegorical ways of reaching out to the divine. While this may be true of the educated naqibs, or spiritual elders, such belief systems may have different ramifications for semiliterate peasants, reinforcing a contempt or disdain for outsiders who do not share these beliefs. Like the Druzes and some Ismailis, Nusayris believe in metempsychosis or transmigration. The souls of the wicked pass into unclean animals such as dogs and pigs, while the souls of the righteous enter human bodies more perfect than their present ones. The howls of jackals that can be heard at night are the souls of Sunni Muslims calling their misguided co-religionists to prayer.It does not take much imagination to see how such beliefs, programmed into the community’s values for more than a millennium, and reinforced by customs such as endogamous marriage—according to which the children of unions between Nusayris and non-Nusayris cannot be initiated into the sect—create very strong notions of apartness and disdain for the “Other.”"

    • Imagine if Martin Buber was around to see this.

      link to
      "Buber believed the potential of Zionism was for social and spiritual enrichment. For example, Buber argued that following the formation of the Israeli state, there would need to be reforms to Judaism: "We need someone who would do for Judaism what Pope John XXIII has done for the Catholic Church".[9] Herzl and Buber would continue, in mutual respect and disagreement, to work towards their respective goals for the rest of their lives."

      What a sad time for Judaism

    • This war in Gaza is so different to Cast Lead and the 2012 version. This time it's so obvious, the putrefaction of Zionism, the brainwashing in the Israeli education system, the complete contempt for human rights, the absence of any meaningful left in Israel, the role of people like Schumer and those senior NY rabbis in keeping the tone low, the complete abandonment of morality in the name of the "Jewish homeland". And it won't stop here either. The iterations are just going to get worse.

    • I don't see much in the way of people standing up to it either. It's really scary.

    • 9/11 was fine by that logic.

    • He is also saying that Yossi Israeli is a legitimate target.

    • Israel desperately needs something like Stiff Little Fingers

      "Inflammable material is planted in my head
      It's a suspect device that's left 2000 dead

      Their solutions are our problems
      They put up the wall
      On each side time and prime us
      Make sure we get fuck all

      They play their games of power
      They try to mark the pack
      They deal us to the bottom
      But what do they put back?

      Don't believe them
      Don't believe them
      Don't be bitten twice
      You gotta sus-sus-suspect device

      They take away our freedom
      In the name of liberty
      Why can't they all just clear off
      Why can't they let us be

      They make us feel indebted
      For saving us from hell
      And then they put us through it
      It's time the bastards fell

      Don't believe them
      Don't believe them
      Don't be bitten twice
      You gotta sus-sus-suspect device

      Don't believe them
      Don't believe them
      I try to question everything you're told

      Just take a look around you
      At the bitterness and spite
      Why can't we take over
      And try to put it right

      Please don't believe us
      Don't believe us
      Don't be bitten twice
      You gotta sus-sus-suspect device

      We're a suspect device if we do what we are told
      But a suspect device can score an own goal
      I'm a suspect device the Army can't defuse
      You're a suspect device they know they can't refuse
      We're gonna blow up in their face"

    • It is dreadful to see this happening to Judaism. As if there is no escaping the Holocaust, ever. And all driven by the donors.

    • Is there a court for Gaza or is halacha the authority ?

    • That completes my collection of Conservative, Reform and Orthodox bloodlust.

  • Amira Hass and the end of Jewish ethical history
    • Hass' parents came from Romania. She knows what happened to the Germans of Siebenburgen after the war when there was no Wehrmacht to defend them.

      link to

      Zionism is not a permanent condition. And what will Israel's Jews have when it's gone? Naftali Bennett videos ?

      “On a number of occasions I felt doubts about the illogical, irrational beliefs and perhaps at times I thought of the eloquent fanatics surrounding me as idiotic or incomprehensible.

      To tell the truth I continued to fear these beliefs shared by everyone else. I felt the helplessness of one who sees truth, though but faintly, even in the midst of the turbid waters of fanaticism.

      It was not apprehension. It was because I continued to think, in the midst of the madness of war, that being possessed by such illogical assetions as “Japan , the land of the gods, can never be defeated ” or “spiritual strength is stronger than science” might be necessary as motivating forces for victory.

      It was because of the frightening suspicion that my logical manner of thinking might be mistaken in the present human world, a world that might better be described as animal” .

      Yamado Futaro, September 1945, Japan

      quoted on p 119 of

      link to

    • “Judaism has a moral standard…. When that morality is compromised, we need to talk about it publicly.”

      Jonathan Kuttab @jkuttab · 1m Unbelievable: entire neighborhood destroyed in ONE HOUR. Must see time lapse to believe it

      Norman Finkelstein on why Israel does this

    • the ongoing crisis :

      link to

      "Bar Ilan University students, faculty and administrators are up in arms over a law professor’s email to his students that opened with an expression of sympathy for all victims of the Israel-Gaza war, implicitly reminding them that the overwhelming majority of those victims are Gazans.

      Prof. Hanoch Sheinman’s email was sent to reassure his second-year law students that because the security situation had disrupted many students’ routines, there would be an additional date scheduled for his course’s final exam. Sheinman opened the email, however, by saying that he hoped the message “finds you in a safe place, and that you, your families and those dear to you are not among the hundreds of people that were killed, the thousands wounded, or the tens of thousands whose homes were destroyed or were forced to leave their homes during, or as a direct result of, the violent confrontation in the Gaza Strip and its environs.”

      Sheinman then proceeded to inform the students of the additional testing date.

      Sheinman’s reference to the victims of the fighting with no reference to their national affiliation led many students to complain to the dean of the law faculty, Prof. Shahar Lifshitz, who issued an urgent message to the students yesterday. “I was shocked to learn of the email sent to you by Professor Sheinman,” Lifshitz wrote. “It was a hurtful letter, and since this morning we have been justifiably flooded with messages from students and family members, many of whom are involved during these very days in the battles in the south.”

      Lifshitz added, “Both the content and the style of the letter contravene the values of the university and the law faculty. The faculty champions the values of pluralism, tolerance, and freedom of expression, but the inclusion of positions as were included in the administrative message sent by Prof. Sheinman to the students on a matter relating to exams does not fit into the framework of academic freedom or freedom of personal expression in any acceptable sense. This constitutes the inappropriate use of the power given to a lecturer to exploit the platform given to him as a law teacher to convey messages reflecting his positions, in a way that, as noted, seriously offended the students and their families.”

    • El Gordo

      link to
      Gaza is trigger for American Jews’ tension and dissonance on Israel

      Despite the calls for solidarity, the Gaza conflict is alienating increasing numbers of American Jews from Israel and from the organized Jewish community, which equates being Jewish with a monolithic political position on Israel.

      By Emily L. Hauser | Jul. 29, 2014 | 3:26 PM | 3

      "It’s hard to sketch an absence or reproduce a silence. It’s easier to report whispers, but those who whisper often seek anonymity. And anecdotes, of course, are not data.

      Yet anecdotally, in whispers and off-the-record comments, in sudden Facebook defriendings or empty chairs at services, Israel’s most recent wave of hostilities appears to be leading to increasing alienation for a number of American Jews, despite the call for solidarity. For many of these members of our community, the sensation comes as a deep, identity-shaking shock.

      The sense has been building for some time – as Ori Nir reported in May, “Lately, American friends are asking me whether Israeli leaders are thinking straight, whether they realize how unreasonable their statements sound here in Washington… These are people who support Israel… who follow the news from Israel with genuine concern, and who cannot comprehend what seems to them like self-destructive behavior.”

      But whereas outright war usually muffles such doubts, for many the current violence has created a powerful cognitive dissonance.

      From Birthright returnees who now take Israel’s word with a grain of salt, to stalwart community leaders who admit to occasionally removing regularly-worn identifiers of their Jewish identity – whether to avoid conversation, or out of a stunned sense of disgrace – many are experiencing an anxiety that is new, and distancing.

      “I hear a lot of pain over the current tension between the terrible, terrible things that are happening to people in Gaza,” says Rabbi Amy Schwartzman of Virginia’s Temple Rodef Shalom, “and the feeling that Israel needs to defend itself.”

      Judaism has a moral standard…. When that morality is compromised, we need to talk about it publicly.” "

      Better late than never, eh, Mooser ?

      Would she be any relation to Dougie Hauser MD ?
      link to
      He would have identified Ziocaine as the problem, I'm sure.

    • "Israel won’t be haunted by its transgressions"

      I bet it will. Israel won't give up an inch of Erez Israel Hashlemah. A slow decline under climate change and then Masada 2.0.

  • As night follows the day, deaths of 10 Israeli soldiers lead to deaths of 30 Palestinian civilians
    • The symbolism of going the other side of the wall and taking out 4 soldiers, not children

    • Video of Nahal Oz attack from the guardian site.

      "The Qassam Brigades have released a video (Warning: graphic content) that Hamas says shows an attack via a tunnel on an Israeli military outpost. "

      top youtube comment :
      Drew G30 minutes ago

      Call of Duty 6: Palestine Liberation !

      I bet they won't show it on channel 10

      The IDF, bunch of losers. They can shoot children alright but they can't keep the deterrence going.

    • Thanks for the link . Very interesting.

      HaFink says that Israel is running a campaign of terror , destroying everything so the people in Gaza will turn against Hamas and accept the continuation of the siege, albeit with a ceasefire.

      One of the more interesting angles is that damage to date is estimated at $6bn which is massive for Gaza but peanuts for the outside world. Qatar could easily afford it.

      And the damage to Israel's image comes in far higher.

      But Israel is in existential danger

      link to

    • The Israeli Army is above all scared about what the tunnels say about the future. Zionism was fine as long as those brave Jews had a technological advantage over the backward Arabs.

      Bibi gives the theme legs here

      And as long as the IDF dudes had the sunglasses and could insult the aravim at the checkpoints and go to Gaza every few years and Hamas would threaten to open the gates of hell and then run away everything was kosher.

      Humiliation would keep them in their place

      link to

      But Israel's strategy in Gaza has failed . Listen to Kramer in 2010

      Starving Gaza didn't work.
      Killing 11 people on the Mavi Marmara didn't work.

      The cheap occupation is over. From now on it's going to cost.

      Gideon Levy
      link to

      "What exactly were we thinking? That Gaza would live forever in the shadow of Israeli (and Egyptian) caprice, with the restraints sometimes loosened a bit, or sometimes painfully tightened? That the biggest prison in the world would carry on as a prison? That hundreds of thousands of its residents would remain cut off forever? That exports would be blocked and fishing restricted? What exactly are 1.5 million people supposed to live on? Is there anyone who can explain why the blockade, even if partial, of Gaza continues? Can anyone explain why its future is never discussed? Did we think that all this would continue and Gaza would accept it submissively? Anyone who thought so was a victim of dangerous delusions, and now we are all paying the price.
      But please, just don’t act surprised. Just don’t raise hell about the Palestinians raining rockets on Israeli cities for nothing – such luxuries are no longer acceptable. The dread that Israeli citizens are feeling now is no greater that the dread felt by hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who in recent weeks waited in terror for the soldiers to break down their doors and invade their homes in the middle of the night, to search, trash, destroy, humiliate, and then snatch a member of their household. The fear we’re experiencing is no greater that the fear felt by Palestinian children and teens, several of whom were killed needlessly by Israeli Defense Forces fire in recent weeks. The trepidation Israelis feel is certainly less than that felt by Gaza residents, who have no Color Red warnings, no “secure spaces,” and no Iron Dome to save them, only hundreds of scary sorties by the Israel Air Force that end in destruction and the death of innocents, including the elderly, women, and children, who have already been killed during this operation, as it during all its predecessors."

      Shavit before he started barking at the moon

      link to
      " The rocket attacks on Israel are an attack of chaos on order. In the old Middle East, the constant threat facing the Jewish state was invasion by regular armies. In the new Middle East, Israel faces the danger of irregular forces from irregular entities disrupting domestic order. The Gulf wars and the Arab Spring have broken down most of our old enemies — Iraq, Syria and Libya — but another enemy has risen up: chaos.
      Up until June 2014, we managed to prevent the chaos from spreading over our borders. But now, Hamas’ rockets are bringing that disorder into our orderly bubble. The combination of fanaticism, desperation and rocket capabilities are only the precursor to what we can expect over the next years and decades. Yesterday’s complacency is on its way out, making way for awareness of unending regional violence and disorder. "

      Zionism was always about patching things up and moving forward. They conquered Gaza like that in 1967. Why they did I really wonder. Because it's going to bring them down.

      They are now trying to close Pandora's box. Let me be clear here. Let me finish.
      It is dreadful for Zionism. And Shavit and Schumer and the various rabbis in NYC have had to drop the pretence and come out as they really are. Very distasteful.
      And Mrs Yossi Israeli is asking lots of questions. Why can't the IDF deliver?
      Bibi deserves it. It's his ideology that's in bits.

  • Israel advocates are in a battle with US media
    • Super comment.
      They can't back down so they have to crush every Palestinian bid for freedom.
      The occupation is permanent. As long as it is not resolved the costs stay off the balance sheet.
      But the structure is precarious and if the US loses interest it's all over.

    • Even people like Jonathan Chait who followed the hasbara loyally for many years are sickened by Gaza.

      And that is the big question. How can Israel act according to the values of Bennett in Israel and sell it as liberal Zionism back in New York? It can't .

      link to

      ." Either Israeli politics or Netanyahu’s own preferences kept Netanyahu from striking a deal. And since that failure, the most moderate leadership the Palestinians ever had, and probably ever will have, has been marginalized.
      Viewed in this context, the campaign of Israeli air strikes in Gaza becomes a horrifying indictment. It is not just that the unintended deaths of Palestinians is so disproportionate to any corresponding increase in security for the Israeli targets of Hamas’s air strikes. It is not just that Netanyahu is able to identify Hamas’s strategy — to create “telegenically dead Palestinians” — yet still proceeds to give Hamas exactly what it is after. It is that Netanyahu and his coalition have no strategy of their own except endless counterinsurgency against the backdrop of a steadily deteriorating diplomatic position within the world and an inexorable demographic decline. The operation in Gaza is not Netanyahu’s strategy in excess; it is Netanyahu’s strategy in its entirety. The liberal Zionist, two-state vision with which I identify, which once commanded a mainstream position within Israeli political life, has been relegated to a left-wing rump within it."

    • Let's be cleah heah. Regev can't hold up the hasbara.
      Israel is not able to justify all the dead kids.

    • If the operation had lasted say 10 days it would have been fine. Israel gets atrocity passes for 10 days or less.

      Longer operations are difficult because they are like table legs to randy dogs for the media and then civilians in the West start asking questions about all the dead people. And it's hard to explain why Israel gets knee jerk support. Throw in social media now and it's a mess.

      It all reminds me of that Cleveland kidnapping when Charles Ramsey comes across the woman who escaped. People are fundamentally decent. He wasn't going to put her back in the house even if Chuck Schumer rolled up and told him to.

      Gaza is like those 3 women. Zionism is Ariel Castro.

    • He is very impressive. Two videos from the link worth watching

      link to

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