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It’s time for liberal Jewish bodies to take a stand

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Rabbi Laura Janner Klausner

Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, senior rabbi to UK’s Reform Jewish community

A letter to Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to the UK Movement for Reform Judaism, first posted at Robert Cohen’s site

Dear Rabbi Laura,

I listened to the Gaza conflict debate on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme on Tuesday 22 July. I was grateful that you were willing to take part in a discussion, alongside journalist Mira Bar-Hillel, that demonstrated to listeners that there are a variety of views within the UK Jewish community when it comes to Israel, and in particular what’s happening right now.

It was good to hear you stay well clear of the Israeli government lines that are being used to justify the killing of so many civilians, including at least 132 children (so far).

Most of the UK pro-Israel comments I have read in the last two weeks have avoided any attempt at historical context  – the decades of occupation, the seven year siege of Gaza, and the economic and social collapse this has led to. They certainly avoid referring to the immediate timeline that led to the renewed violence – Israeli missile attacks on Gaza following the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers and the arrest of  hundreds of Hamas supporters on the West Bank.

Instead this is what we get:

“What country could tolerate rockets rained down on its people?”
“They use their children as human shields.”
“We are acting in self-defence.”
“We value human life…they celebrate death.”
“What would any other country do?”
“We warn them to move out before we strike.”
“We only target known Hamas operatives.”

“They choose the telegenic dead to gain world sympathy.”

In contrast, Rabbi Laura, you showed common humanity and reflected how emotionally torn many in the Jewish UK community must be feeling right now. These were your comments that I noted down from the radio discussion yesterday:

“People feel absolutely frightened by what’s happening…There is empathy for people on both sides…I have seen people in front of me weeping for civilians on both sides…They understand how complicated it is…We are Pro-Israeli and Pro-Palestinian.”
Having grown-up in the UK Reform movement, I recognise your more nuanced understanding of the situation and the desire to uphold Jewish ethical values. Unlike many Jewish/Israeli voices I hear, you are not attempting to dehumanise the Palestinian people nor claim that they all hate Jews and only want the “destruction of the State of Israel”.

I very much welcome your stand because it is so much better than most of what I am hearing.

But at the end of the day it fails to address the real situation that Judaism and the Jewish Diaspora community is facing. Our treatment of the Palestinians is the greatest challenge to us today. Right now we are failing that challenge with horrific consequences.

There is clearly a line that you, and your fellow Reform and Liberal rabbis, are unwilling to cross – at least in public. It is a line that, in crossing, would put you in direct opposition to the current government of the State of Israel.

Prayers for both Israelis and Palestinians, and acknowledgement of the deaths and suffering happening on both sides of the conflict, may look like good morality and feel like ethical responsibility.

But it’s not.

In the end it’s a moral cop-out.

At the end of the day you have to make a stand. You have to cross the line.

You have to decide, which side has the real the power? Which side has the real weaponry?

You have to decide, who are the oppressed and who are the oppressors?

We are taught to seek justice and speak truth unto power. As the Hebrew prophets discovered, this can quickly put you at odds with your own community and its leadership. But what else should Judaism stand for? The Reform and Liberal movements have upheld the tradition of prophetic Judaism for more than two centuries. But that tradition needs to be acted upon to be truly honoured.

If Israel is to survive as a liberal, democratic nation, then it will have to sit down and talk to Hamas. It will have to end its blockade of Gaza and allow its people to rebuild their economy.

If Israel really wants ‘peace’ rather than merely ‘quiet’, it will have to acknowledge Hamas as legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people, along with Fatah. It will have to negotiate with a Palestinian Unity government, rather than attempt to destroy it.

If you, and your rabbinical colleagues, want to make a real difference in the name of Jewish values then this is what you need to be talking about, very clearly and very loudly.

It will take great courage and conviction and you will need to draw deep into the well of Jewish ethics.

The time is over when expressing sorrow for both sides and insisting on the ‘complexity’ of the situation is enough…if it ever was.

At the end of the day, you have to make a stand. You have to cross the line. I hope you will feel able to do this before it is too late for the Palestinians and for Israel.

With all best wishes and encouragement for your work.

Robert Cohen, author Micah’s Paradigm Shift

Robert Cohen

Cohen is a British writer. He blogs at Micah's Paradigm Shift. http://micahsparadigmshift.blogspot.co.uk/

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43 Responses

  1. seafoid on July 23, 2014, 2:16 pm

    Give us a break talking about liberal Judaism- come back when you have neutralized people like the Dersh and Adelson. Something like the von Stauffenberg attempt of July 1944 is required. The extremists are walking all over you.

    A lot of liberal Jewish bodies are taking a stand at airline counters in Turkey wondering when they are going to be able to get home and presumably whining about how Khamas is ruining their holidays and business trips, as if Israel should somehow be immune from the contingency of life, in the country that runs the 47 year old occupation and has suddenly started paying for it.

    ” If Israel is to survive as a liberal, democratic nation” and my aunt grows a pair of elf ears .
    Israel was never democratic.

    • Chu on July 23, 2014, 2:54 pm

      ” If Israel is to survive as a liberal, democratic nation” I reread this
      section also. What a farce…

      Their problem is the world sees their continued encampment for
      six decades and has rotted the concept of a Jewish homeland.
      We’re looking a a giant melon covered in blight, everyone sees
      the rot on the outside, but those on the inside see it as still sweet
      within.

      • MRW on July 23, 2014, 3:21 pm

        Substitute what Netanyahu wants in this phrase, and the logic becomes laughable.

        If Israel is to survive as a liberal, democratic nation

        ===>>

        If the Jewish State is to survive as a liberal, democratic nation

      • seafoid on July 23, 2014, 3:55 pm

        @ Chu

        All they do is talk. Don’t want to upset anyone

        http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/23/british-jews-gaza-conflict-jewish-community

        “For example, on the BBC’s Today programme yesterday, leading the leader of the Reform Judaism movement in Britain Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner said she was “completely heartbroken” by what is going on and that she feels “empathy for both sides”, yet she did not go so far as to say that Israel’s actions are wrong.”

        Total waste of space. The UN is investigating war crimes and the leader of the grooviest sect in UK Judaism can’t even go so far as to say what Israel is doing may not be prudent.

        Janner Klausner’s US homologue is Rick Jacobs, he man the bots sent to the Presbyterians to urge them to prefer dialogue with Israel over divestment

        http://blogs.rj.org/blog/2014/07/20/an-update-on-stop-the-sirens/

        “As you know, the conflict in Gaza has intensified. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the Israeli soldiers killed in action, with our brothers and sisters in Israeli, and with all who are in danger.
        When the conflict began, the Reform Movement made a decision to join Stop the Sirens, a community-wide campaign, coordinated by Jewish Federations of North American (JFNA), to provide relief and support to the most heavily impacted Israeli communities. We did this rather than creating our own campaign to support our Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) congregations and the vital work the IMPJ itself is doing because we thought it was important to show support for the larger communal effort.
        We encourage all members of Reform congregations to continue to provide funds and donations to their local Jewish Federations to assure that continued funding will be available in the coming weeks as it is likely that the current crisis will not end in the next few days. Our ongoing support for Israel and its citizens will continue to be desperately needed. ”

        Another complete waste of time.

        Liberal Tribalism won’t do anything .
        Walt put it very well a while ago

        http://www.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/03/25/empty_words
        “For realists like me, in short, halting a colonial enterprise that has been underway for over forty years will require a lot more than wise and well-intentioned words. Instead, it would require the exercise of power.”

        I wouldn’t bother calling liberal Judaism

      • Boomer on July 23, 2014, 4:14 pm

        Thanks for the link to Walt’s analysis from last year. He was so right, and so depressing. A shame that Obama hasn’t surprised us. There is much he could have done, and chose not to do.

      • on July 23, 2014, 5:36 pm

        “For example, on the BBC’s Today programme yesterday, leading the leader of the Reform Judaism movement in Britain Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner said she was “completely heartbroken:…

        This is the talking point of the day.

      • W.Jones on July 23, 2014, 8:05 pm

        Seafoid,
        A friend who defended the community’s stance said that when the Gazan rockets happened now it closed down Israeli summer camps, so the American community decided to send “care packages”. She said that people in the community asked “What about the Palestinians?”, so they sent care packages to Palestinians too.

        Is this for real? Maybe that was a nice sounding way of saying that the packages went to Israeli citizens at large, some of whom are naturally Palestinian Israeli citizens?

    • W.Jones on July 23, 2014, 3:15 pm

      I was OK with the article up to “If Israel is to survive as a liberal, democratic nation”. What about the 50 laws discriminating against Palestinians? Palestinian Israeli citizens have an extremely hard time even buying new land or founding a new town, not to mention reclaiming the towns they were kicked out of.

    • Mooser on July 23, 2014, 4:12 pm

      “Give us a break talking about liberal Judaism- come back when you have neutralized people like the Dersh and Adelson. Something like the von Stauffenberg attempt of July 1944 is required. The extremists are walking all over you.”

      Dersh and Adelson are Reform Jews? Who knew?

      • Chu on July 23, 2014, 4:17 pm

        I think he’s saying stop talking amongst yourselves and take the fight to you zionist henchmen. but what do I know…

  2. James Canning on July 23, 2014, 2:22 pm

    Israel clearly saw an opening to wreck the Unity deal between Hamas and Fatah.

  3. John Douglas on July 23, 2014, 2:34 pm

    This is an issue where people should not hide behind a false moral equivalency. Jon Stewart’s recent piece got headlines for focusing on how difficult it is to talk about Israel but ended with (paraphrasing) “… and it’s the same for Palestinians.” It’s not the same. Media reporters don’t get sacked for being pro Israel, indeed it seems to be their job.

  4. can of worms on July 23, 2014, 2:45 pm

    Just spoke to some highly educated liberal jewish zionists living in a demographically engineered jewish-only protected and fenced area in the heart of the galilee. Said their fear for the next few weeks was that the war theater could move into their own residential area, because (truly I quote) “then it will be worse than Gaza.” –Worse than Gaza? —

  5. MRW on July 23, 2014, 3:17 pm

    It’s time for liberal Jewish bodies to take a stand

    Fat chance.

  6. Kathleen on July 23, 2014, 3:21 pm

    It’s time…yes indeed. Past time..and better late than never

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

      It’s time to bury Zionism and start over

      • just on July 23, 2014, 4:37 pm

        Zionism must be buried and never allowed to resurface.

      • seafoid on July 23, 2014, 5:00 pm

        Denazification would be a good prototype

      • just on July 23, 2014, 5:06 pm

        precisely.

  7. just on July 23, 2014, 3:50 pm

    I appreciate this, but……….

    It’s time for all HUMAN BEINGS to take a stand. Liberal or Conservative, Jew or Muslim or Christian or Atheist etc., Black or White or Brown or Purple!

    Israel is a place now inhabited by people doing horrific things to and against an indigenous population– it is a massacre and a genocide done by terrorists.

    Anyone who is not against it will rue the day, and should be deeply ashamed and shunned.

  8. joer on July 23, 2014, 3:53 pm

    Speaking of liberal Jews, here is a debate from Democracy Now between JJ Goldberg and Ali Abunimah…JJ is glib and his usual witty self, his comment about “the monotony of massacres”(explaining the lack of coverage of the Gaza massacre) was a real knee slapper. Ali wasn’t laughing though….just because his country is being destroyed is no reason he can’t enjoy a good chuckle.

    http://www.democracynow.org/2014/7/23/a_debate_on_gaza_ali_abunimah

  9. seafoid on July 23, 2014, 4:11 pm

    “It will take great courage and conviction and you will need to draw deep into the well of Jewish ethics.”

    Most of those ethics, however solemn, were developed in the absence of political power. And as soon as the Jewish State emerged they were dumped.
    Now they are tortured daily across Israel.

    And who wants to” draw deep into the well of Jewish ethics” to face the Goldstone treatment ? Who wants the full Max Blumenthal ostracisation package ?

    http://virtualmethodist.blogspot.ch/2009/09/coasters.html

    “You coasted along
    To larger houses, gadgets, more machines
    To golf and weekend bungalows,
    Caravans when the children were small,
    the Mediterranean, later, with the wife.

    You did not go to Church often,
    Weddings were special;
    But you kept your name on the books
    Against eventualities;
    And the parson called, or the curate.

    You showed a sense of responsibility,
    With subscriptions to worthwhile causes
    And service in voluntary organisations;
    And, anyhow, this did the business no harm,
    No harm at all.
    Relations were improving. A good
    useful life. You coasted along.

    You even had a friend of two of the other sort,
    Coasting too: your ways ran parallel.
    Their children and yours seldom met, though,
    Being at different schools.
    You visited each other, decent folk with a sense
    Of humour. Introduced, even, to
    One of their clergy. And then you smiled
    In the looking-glass, admiring, a
    Little moved by, your broadmindedness.
    Your father would never have known
    One of them. Come to think of it,
    When you were young, your own home was never
    Visited by one of the other sort.

    Relations were improving. The annual processions
    began to look rather like folk-festivals.

    When that noisy preacher started,
    he seemed old-fashioned, a survival.
    Later you remarked on his vehemence,
    a bit on the rough side.
    But you said, admit, you said in the club,
    ‘You know, there’s something in what he says’.

    And you who seldom had time to read a book,
    what with reports and the colour-supplements,
    denounced censorship.
    And you who never had an adventurous thought
    were positive that the church of the other sort
    vetoes thought.
    And you who simply put up with marriage
    for the children’s sake, deplored
    the attitude of the other sort
    to divorce.
    You coasted along.
    And all the time, though you never noticed,
    The old lies festered;
    the ignorant became more thoroughly infected;
    there were gains, of course;
    you never saw any go barefoot.

    The government permanent, sustained
    by the regular plebiscites of loyalty.
    You always voted but never
    put a sticker on your car;
    a card in the window
    would not have been seen from the street.
    Faces changed on posters, names too, often,
    but the same families, the same class of people.
    A Minister once called you by your first name.
    You coasted along
    and the sores supperated and spread.

    Now the fever is high and raging;
    Who would have guessed it, coasting along?
    The ignorant-sick thresh about in delirium
    And tear at the scabs with dirty finger-nails.
    The cloud of infection hangs over the city,
    A quick change of wind and it
    Might spill over the leafy suburbs.
    You coasted along.”

  10. seafoid on July 23, 2014, 4:20 pm

    http://www.haaretz.com/misc/iphone-article/.premium-1.603116

    “The toughest talk at the service was made by Israeli consul-general to New England Yehuda Yakov, who reminded his audience of the fact that “Israel still lives in the jungle. As much as we want to wish it away, the jungle is still there.” The threats that surround the country mean that “along with start-up Israel and the multicultural mosaic, we also have to be Fortress Israel, and I don’t say that with any glee, that’s a fact.” His rallying cry to the American Jews in the sanctuary: “We still need you desperately, we need you to understand, we need you to identify and we still need you to explain.” Shrage struck a similar theme, saying that the Jewish state “is in the midst of a dangerous neighborhood – and we can’t expect the state of Israel to behave like the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We live in a blessed place. They live in an extremely dangerous place. ” “I urge you, I beg you – I pray that you will remember what your responsibility is tomorrow … only we can stand up for Israel, we are in the catbird seat.” He entreated them to “not be silent if someone says something about Israel that is negative, jarring, or offensive” because “we are what stands between Israel and destruction in many ways” and that without U.S. support, Israel would be in “triple and quadruple amount of danger” and “it is incumbent upon us to speak up so that blood will not be, god forbid, on our hands.” “

    • can of worms on July 23, 2014, 8:53 pm

      Colonial kitsch galore. “Israel still lives in the jungle. As much as we want to wish it away, the jungle is still there.” A common refrain, used whenever the reverse, the “villa in the jungle” refrain of Ehud Barak, fails. Thus hasbara appeals to colonial nostalgia, the old glory.

  11. michelle on July 23, 2014, 4:43 pm

    .
    there are now enough children
    to fill five class rooms gone forever
    .
    shame on the hatefilled people who
    blame them for their own murders
    .
    there are no good reasons
    there is no excuse
    people are dying
    while you’re being obtuse
    you have the power to stop this
    and we all know you would
    if it were your loved one
    facing death
    for the ‘greater good’
    .
    stop the killing of citizens
    right here and now G-d pound you
    .

  12. NormanF on July 23, 2014, 4:44 pm

    Sure.

    Robert Cohen is an uber -dhimmi. He has never read the Hamas charter or followed its bloody record of terrorism.

    Or its rejection of peace and exaltation of jihad and death. He wants Israel to talk to folks whose grievance is the existence of the Jewish State itself.

    There can be no compromise with or meeting of the minds with jihadists. The only thing that can be done is to destroy them.

    • pjdude on July 23, 2014, 8:42 pm

      and the likud charter? funny how for the palestinians once a terrorist always a terrorist but were supposed to ignore Israel’s terrorist roots

    • Mooser on July 23, 2014, 8:47 pm

      “There can be no compromise with or meeting of the minds with jihadists. The only thing that can be done is to destroy them.”

      Oy look who’s a big shot, a macher! It’s Norman, all dressed in his battle gear, and ready to fight terrorism, if his Mom lets him cross the street.

      Norman, Norman, A lung un leber oyf der noz!

  13. Nevada Ned on July 23, 2014, 4:48 pm

    The Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) has a good piece on Jewish Criticism of Israel.

    Check it out!!
    -John

  14. lysias on July 23, 2014, 4:50 pm
    • just on July 23, 2014, 4:55 pm

      Now, that IS taking a stand.

      Let’s see what happens to these reservists. Will there be more to join the ranks? Will these guys/gals be vilified?

      • lysias on July 24, 2014, 11:31 am

        One of these reservists appeared on Democracy Now! this morning.

  15. Kay24 on July 23, 2014, 5:22 pm

    “What country could tolerate rockets rained down on its people?”
    – the country that hold people under a brutal occupation and blockade for decades,
    have to tolerate those rockets, and anything else that comes there way as
    resistance.

    “They use their children as human shields.”
    – so do Israeli soldiers, pictures on google, twitter and social media.
    Israeli soldiers also kidnap and kill Palestinian children.

    “We are acting in self-defense.”
    – going into Gaza is not self defense, it is a massacre against civilians
    the Palestinian people depend on Hamas for their self defense.
    The victims of Israel’s brutality and ethnic cleansing have every right to defend
    themselves.

    “We value human life…they celebrate death.”
    – that is a load of zionist Bull.
    700 Palestinians killed by Israel who celebrates
    Palestinian deaths mounting by the day. The side that inflicts more casualties
    seem to be celebrating those deaths.

    “What would any other country do?”
    – any other country would not wield power over indigenous people, steal their land,
    and occupy them for nearly 50 years. Moot point.

    “We warn them to move out before we strike.”
    – the world now knows all about those bloody warnings. Get real.

    “We only target known Hamas operatives.”
    – yeah? Then how come 700 Palestinians are killed, EIGHTY PERCENT WERE
    CIVILIANS. It is HELL of a pinpoint operation.

    “They choose the telegenic dead to gain world sympathy.”
    – Perhaps if you had bigger numbers you would have chosen your telegenic dead too
    for world sympathy, you have pretended to be victims in all this for world
    sympathy too, along with the holocaust.
    Aren’t you lucky only 2 civilians have been killed.

  16. RoHa on July 23, 2014, 7:39 pm

    “It’s time for liberal Jewish bodies to take a stand”

    What, now? You sure? Maybe better to wait another 117 years before you show signs of a conscience.

  17. thetumta on July 23, 2014, 8:43 pm

    “liberal Jewish bodies ”

    Has to be the Oxymoron of all Oxymorons?
    Or at least a bunch of the most recent ones?

    Hej! Tumta

    • eljay on July 24, 2014, 7:15 am

      Hey, Tumta! Welcome back. It’s been a while since you posted.

    • Mooser on July 24, 2014, 4:05 pm

      “liberal Jewish bodies ”

      Oy Gevalt it’s not an oxymoron, it’s a euphemism! This PC talk really gets to me. “Liberal Jewish bodies”? Feh! In my day we just called them zoftig and nobody got their feelings hurt. It could even be a compliment.

  18. seafoid on July 24, 2014, 4:39 am

    Liberal Jews should walk away now. Israel is set on YESHA, set on apartheid, set on regular massacres

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/045dca8a-6725-11e3-a5f9-00144feabdc0.html

    “As Israel’s political relations fray with the EU – and some question its relationship with the US – Mr Netanyahu’s government is seeking to diversify its economic relations by strengthening ties with faster-growing countries.“The lesson we learnt from the recent experience negotiating with the EU over Horizon 2020 was that Israel cannot put all of its eggs in one basket,” says Naftali Bennett, Israel’s economy minister and head of the rightwing, pro-settler Jewish Home party. “We need to scatter them.”
    Another government official, reflecting on a recent visit by Chinese politicians to Israel, put matters more bluntly: “They don’t care about the [Palestinian] issue,” the official said. “They want to talk about three things: Israeli technology, Israeli technology and Israeli technology.”
    Israel’s economic pivot to the east and south is a welcome development for the majority of Israelis who reject Europe’s growing drive to isolate their country economically over its Palestinian policies.
    However, defence minister Moshe Ya’alon, a leading rightwinger in the ruling Likud party and a sceptic of the peace talks, said he preferred “EU boycotts over rockets on Tel Aviv”. His comments reflected a steelier view within government that Israel is ready to weather economic isolation.
    Mr Bennett, a former businessman who co-founded and sold a successful software company before entering politics, is a principal architect of Israel’s push into new markets. Among leftwing Israelis, he is an object of scorn for his categorical rejection of a Palestinian state. He once compared Israel’s ability to live with the conflict to a man he knew who was able to adjust to life with a piece of shrapnel in his rear end.
    While remarks such as these have made headlines, Mr Bennett has – more quietly – led economic delegations to China and India. His ministry is closing Israeli trade missions in Sweden and Finland and opening missions in China, India and Brazil.”

    One super comment below the article

    . http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/045dca8a-6725-11e3-a5f9-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz38NDp3WX4

    “The main issue Israel faces is that in contrast to the US, emerging powers like China won’t help Israel pursue its political agenda. They don’t give a damn about the Palestinians but they don’t give a damn about Israel and European Jewish history either. They will buy technology from Israel, buy oil from Iran and then sell second-rate copies of Israeli technology to Iran and watch them fight each other from a safe distance.
    Israel will never have as sympathetic a global hegemon to support it as the present-day United States. Maybe they should cash in their chips now and look for detente with regional powers like Iran and peace with the Palestinians instead of living with the shrapnel in their butt.
    But that would involve giving up that piece of land East of the Wailing Wall and West of the River Jordan and guys like Naftali Bennett think God promised it to him. I’m waiting for someone rational in Israel to call bulls**t on Bennett and other settlers. ”

  19. DICKERSON3870 on July 24, 2014, 8:03 am

    RE: “What country could tolerate rockets rained down on its
    people?”
    ~ Bibi NuttyYahoo (from above)

    MY ANSWER TO NETANYAHU: To the extent Palestine is a country from the perspective of the UN (certainly not thanks to the U.S. and/or Israel), the Palestinians unfortunately have little choice but to tolerate (or, at least, endure) not only “rockets rained down”, but also the following (among many others): cluster munitions, Hellfire missiles (fired from Apache Helicopter Gunships), Tomahawk Cruise missiles, Patriot missiles, flechettes, white phosphorus, Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) munitions and, likely coming soon, “Bunker Busters” (a/k/a, Massive Ordnance Penetrators – and I suspect that just the mere thought of using one of these Massive Penetrators probably gets Netanyahu really ‘hot and bothered’).

    P.S. Knowing full well that a ceasefire was imminent, “The World’s Most Moral Army℠” spent the final 48 hours of Israel’s 2006 invasion of Lebanon raining out-of-date cluster munitions onto a large part of Lebanon. As a consequence, (and partly due to the very high rate of failure of the old munitions to detonate), the IDF left about one million live, unexploded cluster bomblets covering the southern part of Lebanon. The icing on the cake was that for years afterward Israel refused to provide Lebanon with any information as to the locations targeted by the IDF. Consequently, ordinance disposal teams have been working for the last eight years (partly paid for by Iran) to defuse and clear the million bomblets. Not to mention that Lebanese citizens (mostly children) are regularly injured or killed by the remaining bomblets occasionally detonating, as one did last year when an 18-year-old shepherd unwittingly stepped on it, dying instantly.
    I suppose Ghandi must have had in mind something like Israel’s gratuitous use of cluster munitions in Lebanon back in the last two days of the 2006 war when, pursuant to his having been asked what he thought of modern civilization, Gandhi is said to have told news reporters: “That would be a good idea.”
    That Mahatma was such a farceur!

    • DICKERSON3870 on July 24, 2014, 8:13 am

      P.P.S. ALSO SEE: “18-year-old Lebanese killed by Israeli cluster bomb”, By Mohammed Zaatari, The Daily
      Star
      , 8/10/13

      SIDON, Lebanon: An 18-year-old was killed Saturday when an Israeli cluster bomb exploded in Hasbaya, south Lebanon. Hisham Abdel-Al, a young shepherd, was working on a farm in the Hallat village when he stepped on a cluster bomb, dying instantly.
      Israel dropped some 4 million cluster bombs in Lebanon during the July-August 2006 war, most during the last 48 hours of the conflict, according to the United Nations. Hundreds have been wounded in cluster-bomb related incidents since 2000 and 2006.
      The Army’s Lebanon Mine Action Center along with the U.N. and other international organizations have been working since 2006 to remove the deadly ordinance from the south.

      SOURCE – http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2013/Aug-10/226887-18-year-old-lebanese-killed-by-israeli-cluster-bomb.ashx#axzz2dray05RT

      P.P.P.S. AND SEE: “How Many Violations of US Arms Laws are Too Many?” ~ by Franklin Lamb, Counterpunch, 3/16/12

      [EXCERPTS] . . . Alarm centered on whether or not Israel had used U.S.-supplied antipersonnel cluster bombs against civilian targets during its carpet bombing West Beirut during the nearly three month siege.
      The House Foreign Affairs Committee held hearings on this issue in July and August 1982. On July 19, 1982, the Reagan Administration announced that it would prohibit new exports of cluster bombs to Israel. . .
      . . . During a late June 1982 meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Begin, Reagan was handed a note from George Shultz. Based on the information he had in hand, Reagan directly told Begin that the US had reliable information than Israel was using American weapons against civilians in Lebanon. At this point according to Reagan, Begin became very agitated. He lowered his glasses and while glaring at Reagan and shaking his index finger said, “Mr. President, Israel has never and would never use American weapons against civilians and to claim otherwise is a blood libel against every Jew, everywhere.” Following their meeting Reagan told Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger, as reported by Weinberger and by various biographers of Reagan that “I did not know what the term “blood libel” meant, but I know that the man looked me straight in the eyes and lied to me.” . . .

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/03/16/how-many-violations-of-us-arms-laws-are-too-m

  20. piotr on July 24, 2014, 11:34 am

    I disagree. I pondered what does it mean “liberal”? The term originated from political divisions in Spain and France ca. 200 years ago, and clearly, its meaning was changing over time. Now the best explanation is “sounding nice but not standing up for anything”.

    Thus it is preposterous to demand that “liberal bodies to take a stand”. They are good in joining the herd of not-so-liberal bodies in stands of “full solidarity”, but the ability to make a separate stand is simply not there. It is like recommending a bungee jump to an acrophobic person.

    Perhaps “striving to get more nuanced understanding” is the max of what they can do. Does it sound nice? A bit strange aesthetic, if you ask me, and confusing if you mean it literally. But I guess it is kind of mellifluous.

  21. eGuard on July 24, 2014, 12:45 pm

    Not precise enough, mr Cohen. It’s time for liberal Zionists to take a stand. A pity you turn this into a Jewish thing. It’s politics, not religion.

    But alas, we know enough. Every so called “liberal” outing in the future will be checked against: what did you say in July 2014, when it mattered? (And being silent does not help you).

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