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‘Israel is wrong by any moral standard’ — Robinson says, as US media pile up

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The U.S. media’s shift on Israel continues. Last night NBC had an excellent report on the assault on the UN school in Gaza that killed 15, in which Richard Engel and Kate Snow expressed doubt about Israeli claims that it was not responsible for the attack. Engel noted that four UN schools had been hit in four days.

“Witnesses say five explosions tore through this UN run school in northern Gaza. The playground took a direct hit….. An outdoor class was soaked in blood… Ambulance after ambulance brought in the injured, mostly children, before going back for more.”

His report featured a father whose six children were blown away like scraps “of paper” and the Medea-like appearance of a Palestinian woman speaking English who expressed rage at the world’s deference to Israel and then turned away in anguish.

Eugene Robinson has burst free. At the Washington Post he writes a column headlined, “Israel is acting as if it is free of moral responsibilities.” He says the onslaught on a tiny enclave people can’t escape is “wrong by any reasonable moral standard.”

The civilian death toll in Gaza from Israel’s latest incursion is appalling. The right to self-defense is inalienable, but it is not free from moral constraints…

But unleashing such devastating firepower on a tiny, densely crowded enclave in which civilians are trapped — and thus destined to become casualties — is wrong by any reasonable moral standard…

The scale of death and destruction appears to be aimed not just at lessening the actual threat from Hamas but also at punishing Gazans for elevating Hamas to power in the first place. Netanyahu seems determined to teach them a lesson.

Eugene Robinson

Eugene Robinson

I gather Robinson was on Morning Joe today. But will Chris Matthews have him on Hardball? Matthews has been having Senator Chuck Schumer in, twice lately, to explain that Israel is far superior to Palestine when it comes to the rule of law.

Last night, CNN’s Erin Burnett had on Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer, who became defensive about all the imagery of Palestinian civilian deaths on American television, and who said that the networks aren’t telling the whole story, of rockets being found in U.N. schools. I felt that Burnett’s silence as he expostulated was eloquent. They’re children, was her message. Her approach to the interview was, Give the man enough rope and he’ll hang himself.

MJ Rosenberg was appalled. “Miami ambassador to Israel dude is clearly unhinged by bad media,” he tweets. “What a pig.” And: 

Richard Engel also isn’t buying the Israeli line:

More from NBC. Here is Ayman Mohyeldin’s photo of a child’s trike hanging from a bombed apartment building:

The tricycle hauntingly swung amidst the smoldering ruins of the building leaving one wondering if there was a child on it at the time of the strike? 

Here is Mohyeldin’s moving photo of men praying at Ramadan— at a time when so many Gazan families have been “destroyed,” Mohyeldin states.

Reinforcements for Israel: Joe Klein defends the Israeli onslaught at Time, “A Just but Bloody War.” The war hasn’t been that bad, he says, citing “alleged Israeli brutality.” I believe Klein began his career as an anti-Vietnam war writer; but here he defers to Israeli informants, even Netanyahu.

The ground campaign that followed was limited as well, confined to Shejaiya, a neighborhood on the eastern outskirts of Gaza City that was a warren of Palestinian fighters and the launch point for a very elaborate tunnel system from Gaza to Israel. The fighting has been brutal, to be sure. More than 500 Palestinians and 32 Israeli soldiers have been killed. But it was not an indiscriminate massacre. Israel was protecting its border, the right of any sovereign nation…

“I don’t like the civilian casualties that result from bombing the homes of the Hamas leaders,” [Peace Now’s Ori] Nir says. “And what’s happening in Shejaiya is horrible, but I think it falls within  the normal rules of war. The moral bottom line seems clear.” And then, semi-amazed to be doing so, he quoted Netanyahu: “‘We’re using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles.’”

There have been the predictable anti-Israel riots in Europe, mostly populated by Islamic groups; the parlor left has been appalled, on cue, by the alleged Israeli brutality–without questioning the deadly cynicism of Hamas.

The moral bottom line is clear to Peace Now, but it is not clear to Eugene Robinson. I wonder if Klein considers Robinson, Richard Engel, and Ayman Mohyeldin the parlor left. Klein does not mention the right to resist occupation and portrays the West Bank– where people have no rights, where the occupation is approaching its jubilee year, and Israel has no “border”– as a fortunate outcome, the client government having done an “excellent job” of providing “law and order.”

Back to Gaza, here is Mohyeldin’s report on/photograph of a badly-burned bank official who “did everything Israel warned him to.”

He did everything Israel warned him to do. But in the end it was not enough to save his family. Hassan Al Hallaq is a 35 year old IT manager at the Bank of Palestine. He was having dinner with his two sons, his wife, his mother, his sister and her husband and their son when two Israeli missiles hit their apartment building. His wife was 9 months pregnant with their third boy. Everyone died. He survived with a a badly broken leg and severe burns all over his face and body. I interviewed him while recovering at the hospital. “I have lost everything” he told me. Watch his interview on www.nbcnews.com

Then there’s Chris Hayes’s interview with the American victim of an Israeli police beating, Tariq Abu Khdeir, here and here, in which the amazingly-poised youth says he got just a “taste” of what Palestinians experience every day.

And, another sign of a transformation at a neoconservative stronghold– James Downie’s piece at the Washington Post on the most vile op-ed you will ever read, referring to Israel lobbyist Thane Rosenbaum’s piece in the Wall Street Journal, whose justification for attacks that kill civilians reminds Downie of Osama bin Laden.

Even if Rosenbaum’s logic about the adult population in Gaza was correct, that would still mean that well over 100 innocent children have been killed since the conflict began. (Also, why, in Rosenbaum’s telling, are the diapers in Gazans’ homes necessarily dirty? Would these people be civilians if the diapers were clean?) Second, the claim that voting for a government takes away someone’s status as a noncombatant would be ludicrous if applied to all populations in all conflicts equally. Such an attitude would at the very least contradict Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention

 

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59 Responses

  1. just
    just on July 25, 2014, 10:30 am

    Thanks, Phil.

    “The most disturbing dystopian narrative of our time is no work of fiction. It’s a real place with real people.

    It’s Gaza. The most tragic place to live on earth.

    Where some people in the world battle poverty or violence or prejudice or intimidation or hunger or lack of healthcare or freedom of movement or imprisonment or mass unemployment or constant surveillance or insecurity or deprivation of basic essentials or hopelessness or poor education or enforced isolation or disregard for their human rights or the pain of losing loved ones, Gaza’s more than 1.8 million inhabitants battle them all, every day.

    In full view of a, largely, indifferent global community.

    Women. Children. Infants. The elderly. Those living with disabilities. The innocent. They battle all these injustices every day because, for the last eight years, they have existed — not ‘lived’ — under an Israeli-imposed siege.

    A 17-year-old Palestinian boy, detained in an Israeli prison, described the everyday misery that Gazans endure.

    “It’s like being a shadow of your own body, caught on the ground, not being able to break out. You see yourself lying there but you cannot fill the shadow with life.”

    Simply put: a slow death.

    Unless you’ve lived day in, day out amidst the suffocating siege and the onslaughts, it’s impossible to understand the despair that Gazans endure. Don’t forget: 70% of Gaza’s population are refugees. ”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rania-al-abdullah/gaza-the-makings-of-a-mod_b_5615260.html

    • Citizen
      Citizen on July 25, 2014, 4:23 pm

      70% of Gaza is already refugees of #NAkba. Now the US wants to kill more of them due to #AIPAC BRIBES.

    • LeaNder
      LeaNder on July 25, 2014, 12:27 pm

      Have you read the first comment?

      Toosmart 2 days ago
      I don’t understand the weakness in the Israeli government’s position in regards to this situation. All they have to do is to slowly expel the Palestinians. Just like you’d expel a child from school if they attack another child. First day of conflict? 100 families to border, like Abraham’s Hadar, goodbye, here’s food and water. Good luck. Didn’t England do the same with Australia? Felon expulsion? 3 days later no peace, 500 families. Gone. Neer to come back. One month later? 1000 families and so on. EXPULSION till they get it. There will be no families left if you don’t behave. PERIOD. Who cares about world opinion. It’s simple and FAIR. You can’t LIVE here if you attack us. PERIOD.. I hope this message gets to the government. A warning. Gees, I should be the Prime Minister.

      Maybe one day there there will be a Nobel Price for sadism?

      Amira Hass: Reaping what we have sown in Gaza
      Those who turned Gaza into an internment camp for 1.8 million people should not be surprised when they tunnel underneath the earth.

      I’m still struggling with the need to share details of the endless number of talks I’ve had with friends in Gaza, in order to document what it’s like to wait for your turn in the slaughterhouse. For example, the talk I had on Saturday morning with J. from al-Bureij refugee camp, while he was on his way to Dir al-Balah with his wife. They’re about 60-years-old. That morning, his aging mother got a phone call, and heard the recording instructing the residents of their refugee camp to leave for Dir al-Balah.

      A book on Israeli military psychology should have an entire chapter devoted to this sadism, sanctimoniously disguising itself as mercy: A recorded message demanding hundreds of thousands of people leave their already targeted homes, for another place, equally dangerous, 10 kilometers away. What, I asked J., you’re leaving? “What, why?” He said, “We have a hut near the beach, with some land and cats. We’re going to feed the cats and come back. We’re going together. If the car gets blown up, we’ll die together.”

    • bilal a
      bilal a on July 25, 2014, 2:30 pm

      “For my fellow Jews out there. Israel’s Amb. Dermer (Miami Beach) is such a shvitzer. Not an effective cool liar like Michael Oren.”

      its a question of class, the uncouth pushy miami / new jersey soprano Don whining under a veiled threat. Typical Wharton grad living growing up in the Hillel bubble.

      This can’t be playing well in Peoria, nor in the Jewish intelligentsia.

      Keep putting him on TV Israel.

      • Citizen
        Citizen on July 25, 2014, 6:23 pm

        Wolf Biitzer on MSNBC News now, re “Israel rejects 7 day cease fire framework.” Now, “Obama mum on middle east?” and “How much is US spending to keep Iron Dome working?”

  2. MRW
    MRW on July 25, 2014, 10:39 am

    Israel is getting away with this because the American people and media are afraid to speak up. An all-out angry roar from this country could stop this in one day.

    We–me and everyone reading this–are to blame for this. [Call your elected officials and fill out the feedback forms of your local papers, the new nationals (NYT & WashPo), and NPR. 15 minutes out of your unbombed life.]

    • Kay24
      Kay24 on July 25, 2014, 11:12 am

      It is hopeless, our voices are ignored. I have written to that scoundrel Menendez many times, but simply get a stupid email, stating the Israel is our best ally in the world.
      He was supposed to be at a pro Israel rally yesterday, I have to accept the fact that he is for killing women and children, and that he pretends that Israel is the victim in this slaughter.

      • MRW
        MRW on July 25, 2014, 11:16 am

        (The threat with congressmen is to tell them they will be ‘primaried’.)

        Write Glenn Beck. Write Rush Limbaugh. Write every right-wing radio personality you know. (I only know these two.) I’ve done it. Numbers matter. Frankly, Glenn Beck counts outside NYC and DC, whether you like it or not.

        EDIT: here is John Hagee’s phone number in the US: 1-800-854-9899

        Canada and the UK are here: http://www.jhm.org/Home/ContactInfo

      • Citizen
        Citizen on July 25, 2014, 9:15 pm

        @ Kay24
        Same here in Florida. If I get any response it’s boilerplate Israel is our best ally in whole wide world.'”

    • American
      American on July 25, 2014, 12:59 pm

      MRW says:

      July 25, 2014 at 10:39 am

      Israel is getting away with this because the American people and media are afraid to speak up. An all-out angry roar from this country could stop this in one day.

      We–me and everyone reading this–are to blame for this. [Call your elected officials and fill out the feedback forms of your local papers, the new nationals (NYT & WashPo), and NPR. 15 minutes out of your unbombed life.]
      >>>>

      As someone who has been doing all that regularly for 11 years I can say it is going to take * OVERWHELMING NUMBERS* to have the slightest effect on the politicians.
      And the public’s protest must contain a OVERWHELMING THREAT to their political careers and their ‘parties’.
      And to make them take your threat seriously there must be a overwhelming DEMONSTRATION of the public’s power to enforce our threat.

      And that means you have to find like minded individuals with juice and means and various existing opposition groups and organize them into one large group.

      Also few politicians personally appear in front of the public where they can be questioned or challenged—even when up for re election—they are almost entirely removed now from the reach of the public, they are barricaded behind political ads, office staff and media soundbites. You would have to smoke them out with guerilla tactics and ambush them to corner them on Israel as was done recently to one politican and reported here.

      • Ellen
        Ellen on July 25, 2014, 10:42 pm

        American …exactly. But we are not there yet. Yet it can happen. Americans know something is not quite right,but just cannot pinpoint what it is. This makes the public vulnerable to ongoing disinformation and propaganda.

        But with clear communication of truth, the public is open to it. Tragically, there are too many interests invested in the Zio enterprise, and it’s war machine. Until that machine becomes transparently too costly, our elected whores and criminals will continue with support of the destruction of a people. Not the first time in history.

      • American
        American on July 26, 2014, 11:03 am

        Ellen says:

        July 25, 2014 at 10:42 pm

        American …exactly. But we are not there yet. Yet it can happen. Americans know something is not quite right,but just cannot pinpoint what it is.
        >>>>>

        Funny, that is almost exactly what someone said to me the other day. …”there is something bad wrong going on in this country but I dont know exactly where its coming from”…were his words or close to them.
        As I have said before, even the least informed and under educated in the populace ‘feel’ it even though they cant identify the sources.

  3. lysias
    lysias on July 25, 2014, 10:42 am

    There are interesting differences between the first paragraph of Robinson’s column as it appears in today’s print edition and the paragraph as it appears on line.

    In print, we have:

    The civilian toll in Gaza from Israel’s latest incursion is appalling. The right to self-defense is inalienable, but it is not free from moral constraints.

    On line, we have:

    The Israeli government’s motivations in Gaza deserve to be taken seriously. But they do not justify the onslaught that is now in its third week. For Israeli military action to be justifiable, it must be proportionate. What we’re witnessing is not.

    I wonder why the mantra about Israel’s right to defend itself was taken out of the on-line version. I wonder if an editor inserted it, and Robinson, discovering the insertion, objected so strenuously that it had to be deleted.

    Another interesting difference between the print and on-line versions of today’s Washington Post. The front-page story on the strike on the UN school has in print the following headlines: 16 killed in strike on U.N.-run school in Gaza: MASSIVE PROTESTS FOLLOW IN WEST BANK: Israelis suggest Hamas could be responsible. On line, the two subheadlines, including the one suggesting Hamas might be to blame, do not appear.

    • ckg
      ckg on July 25, 2014, 12:54 pm

      @lysias–I recently heard a prominent academic, who lives in NYC, speak about differences in the print and online copies of the NYT. The print copy is often more hard-line pro-Israeli, he conjectured, to suit the sentiments of a local population which identifies with the Jewish state. The online copy is then edited, with subtle shifts away from the hard-line language, to suit the broader sentiments of a younger and more ethnically diverse national readership. A similar process could be happening at the WaPo since D.C. has substantial Jewish community.

  4. W.Jones
    W.Jones on July 25, 2014, 10:49 am

    “I don’t like the civilian casualties that result from bombing the homes of the Hamas leaders,” [Peace Now’s Ori] Nir says. “And what’s happening in Shejaiya is horrible, but I think it falls within the normal rules of war. The moral bottom line seems clear.” And then, semi-amazed to be doing so, he quoted Netanyahu: “‘We’re using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles.’”

    An Israeli “Peace Now” defending war now?
    What’s the point of having a Peace “Now” group. with a name of such urgency, if it advocates continuing the assault?

    • tear-stained uzi
      tear-stained uzi on July 25, 2014, 12:40 pm

      Which is why they so richly deserve their nickname, “Peace Never.”

      Such ‘leftist’ tools make me sicker than any hardcore rightwing Zio-thieves.

      The real ‘genius’ of Israel is propaganda, not high-tech. The “Spinning Izzies” have such an infatuation with glib and odious slogans. Bulldoze the Truth and smother the crushed remains under a ‘telegenic’ JNF forest.

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones on July 25, 2014, 1:41 pm

        I think it falls within the normal rules of war. The moral bottom line seems clear. ~ Ori Nir of “Peace Now”.

        A “faux pas” or a “faux pax”?

      • Polly
        Polly on July 25, 2014, 1:52 pm

        We have been so conditioned to hate Arabs in the west that there only has to be a shred of doubt about whether or not they deserve to be butchered and it will be almost 100 percent accepted – turn straight to the sports section. All most people are aware of is that there is another war in the middle east, between 2 peoples who just “can’t get along”. And since one side are Arabs then who really cares?

  5. mijj
    mijj on July 25, 2014, 11:02 am

    Zionist logic :

    : The rapist kills his victim to defend himself from her struggles. He says if she hadn’t struggled he wouldn’t have had to kill her. So it’s her fault.

    • Kay24
      Kay24 on July 25, 2014, 11:10 am

      Sounds like Bill Maher to me.

    • Citizen
      Citizen on July 25, 2014, 6:31 pm

      On MSNBC now: Wolf Blitzer telling US public how Americans are protecting Israel via Iron Dome. Folks on food stamps are not being told that they pay for 8 of 10 of the Iron Dome units. They do say “It’s money well spent.”

  6. Kay24
    Kay24 on July 25, 2014, 11:09 am

    Eugene Robinson did start out saying Israel has the right to defend itself.

    But afterwards he seem to convey the outrage we are all feeling, and it was almost surprising, to hear him say that Israel has gone too far.

    This issue is not about religion. It is about human rights, a people being blown to bit, in their own homes, and disgracefully in schools where they feel they are safe, considering they do not have shelters like the Israelis do. Any parent who sees the little babies dead, lifeless, or injured with horrific injuries, hundreds of them, must feel the unfair of the situation. How long can they keep protecting the aggressors, and justifying this brutality?

    • American
      American on July 25, 2014, 12:12 pm

      ” Eugene Robinson did start out saying Israel has the right to defend itself”

      I am sick of hearing that shit. ….Israel does not “”have a right to defend itself’….any more than a burglar or car jacker has a right to defend himself from his victim trying to fight him off.

      • Kay24
        Kay24 on July 25, 2014, 2:25 pm

        No one seems to agree or admit, that the vulnerable Palestinian people ALSO has the right to defend themselves, or be protected from Israel’s deadly weapons. No one has the decency to address the Palestinian people’s issues, and what they are suffering.
        If these were caucasian blue eyed Christian people, would the US and other western nations, allow them to suffer so much?

      • Citizen
        Citizen on July 25, 2014, 6:35 pm

        Dunno about the blue eyes, but Christian Palestinians are being massacred by Israel right along along with Muslim Palestinians. Dick and Jane are ok with that.

  7. subconscious
    subconscious on July 25, 2014, 11:17 am

    The link currently provided in the article for “Mohyeldin’s report on/photograph of a badly-burned bank official” is erroneous. It should be http://instagram.com/p/qzfFXCHEJK/

  8. Sycamores
    Sycamores on July 25, 2014, 11:26 am

    it’s early days but in Britain, 5000 protesters force BBC to confront its pro-Israel bias http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/amena-saleem/protesters-force-bbc-confront-its-pro-israel-bias

    the BBC’s flagship news program Today on Radio 4, ran a seven-minute segment asking, in the words of presenter Mishal Husain, “Are the protestors right? Have we been biased at the BBC in favor of Israel?”

    Answering the question was Greg Philo, co-author of More Bad News from Israel, an in-depth study of the BBC and ITV’s (another British television network) coverage of Palestine, and professor of Communications and Social Change at Glasgow University.

    Philo’s answers also broke new ground for the BBC. Uninterrupted, Philo was allowed to talk about subjects which normally appear to be taboo across the BBC’s output: Israel’s occupation, its siege of Gaza, the forced displacement of Palestinians in 1948, Israel’s “brutal apartheid” as he was allowed to describe it, and the illegality of Israel’s actions.

    to speed up the U.S. media’s shift similar protests should be held outside U.S. MSM HQ’s for fair and balance reporting.

    all due respect to Engels, Robinson, Mohyeldin and Rosenberg for their honesty but it’s simply not enough to make any real change to U.S. media pro-Israel bias.

  9. Marnie
    Marnie on July 25, 2014, 11:27 am

    What is the rest of the world afraid of? This little patch of sand, with its bellicose blowhards throwing temper tantrums and the rest of the world cowers in their wake? The israeli government has done nothing but bring chaos and discord to the rest of the world, mocked the office of the US president calling him weak, and treated the entire country like their own personal ATM. What is wrong with you US? Great Britain? What has israel given the world but a global migraine ? As someone said (paraphrase) “The US didn’t have any problems in the ME before the state of israel”.

    • Mooser
      Mooser on July 25, 2014, 12:19 pm

      “What is the rest of the world afraid of?”

      I find Israel’s illegal and uncontrolled nuclear arsenal pretty frightening. Or can we count on Israeli “restraint”?

      • Marnie
        Marnie on July 25, 2014, 12:39 pm

        Whoa, that slipped my mind.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on July 25, 2014, 8:24 pm

        It used to slip my mind too. But what I’ve seen in the past two weeks has brought it right back to the forefront.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer on July 25, 2014, 8:39 pm

        Pffttt nukes. Everyone knows poorly equipped third world civilian militias are an existential threat.

  10. Donald
    Donald on July 25, 2014, 11:31 am

    “The scale of death and destruction appears to be aimed not just at lessening the actual threat from Hamas but also at punishing Gazans for elevating Hamas to power in the first place”

    In the middle of the 2009 war on Gaza, Tom Friedman said the same thing about Israel’s war on Lebanon in 2006 and suggests that punishing the Gazans might be the reason for the war in 2009.

    Tom Friedman January 14 2009

    The difference between Robinson and Friedman is that Robinson is condemning Israel and views this notion of punishing civilians with horror, while Friedman writes like a sociopath who can only empathize with the powerful in his society and actually approves of it. This, incidentally, is the key to understanding everything Friedman writes.

  11. ritzl
    ritzl on July 25, 2014, 11:33 am

    Yeah, Israel’s criminality is a ratings bonanza. It’s evokes such pathos. Probably more pathos than TWO missing blonde white girls.

    When are these media businesses going to realize that and loose the dogs (i.e. reporters, resources, and air time). Make some money, media empires.

    • a blah chick
      a blah chick on July 25, 2014, 1:35 pm

      “Probably more pathos than TWO missing blonde white girls.”

      If the rumors are true and the Gaza boys have captured a soldier named Tania (!) we may be in for a bumpy ride.

  12. MHughes976
    MHughes976 on July 25, 2014, 11:48 am

    100 years ago in Europe many peace parties suddenly became war parties. Let’s look at the great Netanyahu quote – that Peace Now endorses (thanks for info, WJ) it is of course, we must admit, a tribute to his political skill. There are surely no victories quite so satisfying as those that result in the capture of one’s opponents mind-processes.
    ‘We’re using missile defence’ – come on, now. The best you can say is ‘We are attacking with missiles in order, according to our best judgement, to protect our civil population, even though we know that the victims will be civilian; we wish they weren’t, but that they are doesn’t stop us. It may be that we could achieve short-term protection simply by agreeing a truce but that’s only a maybe and in any event the short term isn’t everything’.
    This would be true: I will not deny Eugene Robinson’s claim that Israel’s case deserves serious consideration. But it seems to me that Hamas could say exactly the same with just as much truth. On both sides, of course, the leaders are conscious of purposes far beyond protection of their civil population.
    ‘They are using their civilians to protect their missiles’ – where ‘using to protect’ means attempting to deter attacks by raising vigorously publicised objections to civilian deaths and therefore deliberately not doing everything possible to minimise civilian casualties. True again.
    But it’s not a simple thing, as Zionists often say. The myths and legends of 1940, on which I was brought up, include supposedly admirable decisions not to evacuate all children from areas of bombing and potential invasions and preparation to defy international law by organising armed resistance to a ruthless foe by civilians – ‘you can always take one with you’ – really? Civilian suffering – ‘Britain can take it!’ – was used to promote national unity at a time when it was on the verge of cracking. Later on it was used to justify horrendous revenge on German cities. Not a simple thing.

  13. wondering jew
    wondering jew on July 25, 2014, 11:50 am

    Macro and micro, big picture and small picture. In the small picture:
    1. Tunnels are more unnerving than Gaza’s rockets. Maybe this is merely the effect of the subconscious. (This is only now that Iron Dome is in working condition and I’m not sure that the average person in Ashkelon would agree with me.)

    2. Assassinating low level Hamas leaders when they are surrounded by civilians is wrong (for lack of another word). When we were dealing with one leader: Rantisi or the paralyzed Yassin, those are ugly, but possibly necessary: considering there was an intifada going on. And in fact, though it is impossible to ascertain true cause and effect, the perceived net result of those assassinations was the end of the intifada and thus worthwhile. But these small fry in Hamas or even big fry, this is not a one time:kill this guy and change the equation type of thinking, but in this campaign Israel seems to be stating: all Hamas leaders should know that they can’t eat at home, that they must hide out, and killing one civilian next to such a low level Hamas person is wrong.

    3. If Israel invades a city in order to undo its tunnels or its rockets with a ground effort, such an effort is bound to be accompanied with artillery and air force. A ground effort is far easier to justify than an air campaign (see David Landau this week), but ground efforts are not surgical, and you don’t tell your soldiers, it is a city with civilians so therefore you ground guys are going to have to go in alone with bayonets but no bullets.

    Big picture:
    1. I think proportionality is a stupid word and not very useful. There is a goal, is it achievable or not? Is it worth it or not? Removal of the rockets? Not achievable in less than a 12 month occupation, so therefore not achievable. Destroying the tunnels: achievable in a four week operation with a limited incursion: achievable.
    Deterrence is not an acceptable goal either.

    2. Cast Lead was a turning point in my thinking (or reacting, which is what I am mostly doing these days, and right now trying to turn my reactions into thoughts.)
    the pain that is felt by so many of those with whom I shared a city: Jerusalem, was not something that I could freeze off and disregard. When my fellow Jerusalemites feel pain at the deaths in Gaza, I must share my fellow Jerusalemites’ pain. This led to the thought: I would not have run this war this way. which has two possibilities: either israel is fortunate not to have me as the one who runs this war or: no, this is not working and israel is unfortunate not to have someone like me to run this war (amram mitzna). the stubbornness of Netanyahu and his unlikability add to this, as do the cast of characters of dannon and Lieberman and bennet and feiglin, they add to my conviction that the direction of the Likud is wrong headed.

    3. Empathy for the dead and mourning. Dead soldiers by the dozens and funerals hurts me to the bone, primarily because of the dead of the 73 war whom i knew personally and my ability to put the scenes of mourning into a context that I experienced, these facts and memories add up to pain and I feel the Palestinian pain more and not less as a result of feeling the Israeli pain. The Palestinian pain: Entire families, fathers, daughters, sons, mothers. It’s an incredible amount of pain.

    4. The direction of Israel of the Likud is like a repeating record and all they can promise is more of the same. “There is nothing wrong with the status quo”, isn’t that what we were being told a few months ago?Well, there is something wrong with the status quo, particularly in Gaza, but also in the West Bank and it’s tough to imagine this Likud crew as being capable of anything but more of the same.

  14. Mooser
    Mooser on July 25, 2014, 12:25 pm

    Sure, Yonah, whatever. You know the old saying: A khasuren die kalleh is tsu shayn”?

  15. hophmi
    hophmi on July 25, 2014, 12:26 pm

    You may think her silence is eloquent, but his point should be well-taken by any honest observer. There’s nothing eloquent about her silence, and nothing good journalistically about showing dead children in a school and neglecting to report that the UN has repeatedly admonished Hamas about placing weapons in UNRWA schools.

    Every terrorist organization knows very well that dead civilians help the cause. Unfortunately, most journalists unwittingly play along.

    You guys are worse. You’re openly encouraging Hamas to do what they do.

    • Donald
      Donald on July 25, 2014, 12:47 pm

      They’ve placed rockets in empty schools, or that’s my understanding. But yes, Hamas has fired from near civilians or so we’re told. But we’re also told that civilians have been killed with no Hamas fighters in sight, like those kids on the beach.

      How did the Zionist underground organizations hide their weapons under the British? Did they build bunkers, clearly labeled? Did they make careful attempts to avoid killing civilians? Well, no, in reality they did pretty much the same things that the Palestinians have done.

      “Unfortunately, most journalists unwittingly play along.”

      It must be intensely painful to have American reporters actually on the scene, being able to check many of these things out for themselves, rather than simply saying that it is Palestinian propaganda.

      Most people in the US are critical of Hamas and for good reason, but the attempt to shift all the blame to Hamas for Israel’s own actions is shameful and you are encouraging Israel to do what they do. And take comfort hophmi, in the fact that the majority of Americans, brought up on the Palestinian=terrorist tropes, agree that Israel has used the right amount of force, or not enough. It must be great blowing away children with a clear conscience, knowing that one can always chant some mantra like “Hamas uses children as human shields” to cover all cases. Saves the problem of having to look more closely.

      • gracie fr
        gracie fr on July 25, 2014, 3:25 pm

        “It must be intensely painful to have American reporters actually on the scene, being able to check many of these things out for themselves, rather than simply saying that it is Palestinian propaganda”…..
        And it must be excruciatingly painful to stand under the relative safe umbrella of a major Western news organization were the mandatory credo is to present a balanced view consisting of opposing narratives when the unarguable facts point to open season slaughter. In the face of such devastation, it’s crazy that Israel’s studied and well honed practice of ambivalence wins hand down and all that is retained are the litany of counter arguments: “human shields”, “stored rockets in domestic settings and schools” and we are the most ethical miliary out there as the civilians have been forewarned….

        The Beit Hanoun elementary school, which was being used as a shelter, had around 800 people – mostly women and children – inside when the attack took place at 2.30pm today. UN spokesman Adnan Abu Hassna told ITV News that the Israeli military attacked the school, despite having received the exact co-ordinates of the facility. Israel neither admittted or denied responsibility for the attack
        http://www.itv.com/news/2014-07-24/itv-news-witnesses-aftermath-of-un-school-attack-in-gaza/

    • Sumud
      Sumud on July 25, 2014, 7:41 pm

      I thought the UN didn’t know the origins of the rockets but you say “the UN has repeatedly admonished Hamas”.

      Source pls.

      Also can you explain why, when Hamas kills about 10% civilians and Israel is killing 80% civilians, in vastly greater numbers (3 vs 600) you describe Hamas as a terrorist organisation but not the IDF?

      • Mooser
        Mooser on July 25, 2014, 8:33 pm

        Sumud, Hophmi doesn’t need any sources! His sincerity is his credibility!

        And nobody believes a goddam word he says.

      • Sumud
        Sumud on July 26, 2014, 12:01 pm

        I know Mooser but I like to give people the opportunity…

    • oldgeezer
      oldgeezer on July 25, 2014, 8:44 pm

      “nothing good journalistically about showing dead children in a school and neglecting to report that the UN has repeatedly admonished Hamas about placing weapons in UNRWA schools. ”

      I disagree. Unless there were weapons in that school then it would be inappropriate to throw that in there at all. It would imply weapons were there when they weren’t.

      “Every terrorist organization knows very well that dead civilians help the cause.”

      Then stop killing them. Israel has more than enough technology to find and destroy those tunnels outside of Gaza without the wanton and criminal slaughter it has voluntarily initiated.

  16. Marnie
    Marnie on July 25, 2014, 12:50 pm

    To Amb. Dermer – could it be you’re so upset about all these images of the of dead, dying, wounded and terrified Palestinian people and their children and there bombed out city, because there is no israeli equivalent? What we see on the israeli side are israelis on the beach, having a barbecue and cheering at the rockets heading to Gaza. What a PR dilemma huh?

    • Kay24
      Kay24 on July 25, 2014, 2:30 pm

      PR dilemma indeed. I just saw their Minister of Intelligence, rant and rave and blame everyone he could for what THEY do, it seems they are getting jittery.

    • Shingo
      Shingo on July 25, 2014, 6:14 pm

      A double dilemma,

      After weeks of claiming Israelis were facing mortal danger from rockets, they realized their PR was working to well, leading to the unintended consequence that tourists stayed away. Hotels are empty and the tourism season is dead.

      That led to damage control. So they cles on Blumberg to fly to Tel Aviv and insist that Israel could not be safer and that he feels safer than in NYC.

      Talk about a messaging train wreck!!!

  17. iResistDe4iAm
    iResistDe4iAm on July 25, 2014, 1:06 pm

    is wrong by any reasonable moral standard

    Israel abolished the death penalty in 1954 and put a Nazi war criminal on trial. But Israel routinely uses warplanes or death squads to summarily execute thousands of Palestinians (including women and children) WITHOUT charge or trial.

    A recent mass summary execution occurred on 20 July 2014 at around 7:00pm (during iftar meal) when Israel obliterated 25 Palestinians from one family, the Abu Jame’ (Jami) family (plus one other) in their four-storey home, in a densely populated residential neighbourhood in Khan Yunis:
    http://www.btselem.org/press_releases/20140721_killing_of_abu_jame_family

    Why did Israel obliterate 26 human beings? Because Ahmad Suliman Sahmoud, a “Hamas operative” was visiting a member of the Abu Jame’ family.

    And what crime was Ahmad Suliman Sahmoud convicted of?
    And why did this particular “Hamas operative” have to be summarily executed at that particular instant while 25 other people were having dinner?
    And how does the position of “Hamas operative” compare to “leader/founder of al-Qaeda” who was summarily executed without executing his family who lived in the same compound?
    And how does the position of “Hamas operative” compare to Nazi war criminal who had the benefit of a trial BEFORE being executed?

    And what were the crimes of the NINETEEN (19) CHILDREN (remembered below), five women (3 of whom were pregnant) and one other man who were summarily executed at the same time?
    01. Nujud Taysir Ahmad Abu Jame’, 4 months
    02. Bisan Bassam Ahmad Abu Jame’, 6 months
    03. Rinat Taysir Ahmad Abu Jame’, 2 years
    04. Nur Yasser Ahmad Abu Jame’, 2
    05. Soheila Bassam Ahmad Abu Jame’, 3
    06. Tawfiq Tawfiq Ahmad Abu Jame’, 4
    07. Bitul Bassam Ahmad Abu Jame’, 4
    08. Siraj Yasser Ahmad Abu Jame’, 4
    09. Rayan Taysir Ahmad Abu Jame’, 5
    10. Maysaa Tawfiq Ahmad Abu Jame’, 7
    11. Sajedah Yasser Ahmad Abu Jame’,7
    12. Husam Husam Abu Qeins, 7 (Fatmeh’s grandson)
    13. Ahmad Tawfiq Ahmad Abu Jame’, 8
    14. Haifaa Tawfiq Ahmad Abu Jame’, 9
    15. Ayub Taysir Ahmad Abu Jame’, 10
    16. Aya Tawfiq Ahmad Abu Jame’, 12
    17. Fatmeh Taysir Ahmad Abu Jame’, 12
    18. Jawdat Tawfiq Ahmad Abu Jame’, 13
    19. Razan Tawfiq Ahmad Abu Jame’, 14

    Here’s the picture of the 4-storey-house where 26 human beings were obliterated:
    http://static01.nyt.com/images/2014/07/22/world/GAZA02sub/GAZA02sub-articleLarge.jpg

    Wiping out the Abu Jame’ family in their home was not an isolated war crime. There have been at least 15 similar attacks on families in the current Gaza massacre. Here’s some of them:
    http://www.btselem.org/gaza_strip/20140713_palestinians_killed_in_illegal_attacks_on_houses

    Selective morality is the epitome of immorality.

  18. Walid
    Walid on July 25, 2014, 2:10 pm

    iResist, A follow up to your story on TGIA’s blog:

    “Thursday, July 24, 2014
    Israel bans radio broadcast that named children killed in Gaza

    A Palestinian man takes a wounded boy to hospital following an Israeli strike
    A radio broadcast that announced the names of some of the children killed during the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip has been banned in Israel. Human rights group B’Tselem was told by the Israel Broadcasting Authority that the broadcast was “politically controversial” and has already had an appeal against the ruling rejected. “Is it controversial that the children [aren’t] alive? That they’re children? That those are their names? These are facts that we wish to bring to the public’s knowledge,’ B’Tselem said.
    Read more

    Posted by thankgodimatheist at 5:45 AM

    http://angryarabscommentsection.blogspot.com/2014/07/israel-bans-radio-broadcast-that-named.html#comment-form

    • Kay24
      Kay24 on July 25, 2014, 2:32 pm

      The criminals cannot stand to hear the names of their helpless victims. The babies who were innocent, did not carry a weapon, nor was a threat to them.
      This is genocide by ruthless butchers, plain and simple.

    • oldgeezer
      oldgeezer on July 25, 2014, 8:47 pm

      Why do you object to a free press? Israel not only permits but constantly hold debates with all viewpoints permitted.

      Well…. Except when they don’t. And if you’re really bad as a journalist they will fire you. At you, I mean.

  19. bilal a
    bilal a on July 25, 2014, 2:52 pm

    Rosenbaum wrote: “To make matters worse, Gazans sheltered terrorists and their weapons in their homes, right beside ottoman sofas and dirty diapers”

    what does that mean ?

    Ottoman sofas double as additional beds for kids in large families in the Middle East. Hence the connection to dirty diapers, poor people cannot afford throw away diapers (they wash cloth ones and reuse them).

    So these are poor families with lots of kids underground with terrorists from which we get the Times of Israel commenter meme, sewer rats.

    Search the Times of Israel

    “Right at the heart of Gaza City. This is not about Tehran or the mad mullahs. This is about a bunch of sewer rat nuisance under your basement.

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/search/?q=sewe+rats&submit=Go

    The pro Israeli commenter’s there explain everything.

  20. ckg
    ckg on July 25, 2014, 3:28 pm

    New comics from Pat Oliphant and Ted Rall.

  21. ahbrooks
    ahbrooks on July 26, 2014, 12:33 am

    Does anyone other than me find it odd that when Tariq came out of the bakery, FIVE MINUTES after talking to Mohammed who was sitting nearby, not only is Mohammed gone but there’s a freaking police car there??? What are the Israeli thugs… er, cops doing there within a few minutes of an abduction that supposedly no one knew about yet? Or is it just a coincidence that they spotted a Palestinian teen to beat the s**t out of who just happened to be related to another teen who had just been abducted?

  22. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870 on July 27, 2014, 12:53 am

    RE: ‘Israel is wrong by any moral standard’ — Robinson says, as US media pile up

    A COMMENT AT POLITICO IN SUPPORT OF THE IDF PERPETRATING A GENOCIDE IN GAZA:

    Jack Jackson • a day ago
    I don’t care if Israeli operations are pinpoint or not. Don’t stop until the vermin have been exterminated
    • Reply•Share ›

    Avatar
    dickerson3870 Jack Jackson • a day ago
    RE: “Don’t stop until the vermin have been exterminated” ~ Jack Jackson

    MY COMMENT: Exterminated? Really? Would you approve of the IDF locking all Gazans (Muslim, Christian and otherwise) into as few buildings as possible, and then using Zyclon B to gas those buildings?

    Would you approve of the IDF using the same tactics to effectuate a genocide of the Palestinians in the West Bank? Christians as well as Muslims? What about the Bedouins? And the Druze?

    Would you approve of the IDF using the same or similar tactics to effectuate a genocide of the Palestinians in Israel proper (i.e., within the green line)?

    Additionally, please tell us a little about yourself, Mr. Jackson. For instance, are you a devotee of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane. Are you a member of the JDL/JDO? Or, are you perhaps a member of John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel (CUFI)? Also, would you be willing to participate in a study of how character traits unique to psychopaths manifest themselves on the internet. I certainly hope so, because you would clearly be a highly prized test subject.

    Lastly, thank you, Jack Jackson, for enlightening us with you fascinating ‘world view’ (a/k/a, worldview)!

    SOURCE – http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/07/gaza-through-the-looking-glass-109190.html#.U9RyG_ldV8E

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