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How the Israeli discourse on terrorism seeks to justify blatant war crimes

Israel/Palestine
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Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: AFP)

Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: AFP)

Appearing on CNN a few days into the current offensive in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described Hamas as “the worst terrorists, genocidal terrorists.” He said they want to “pile up as many civilian dead as they can,” and, he added, to “use telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause.”

By contrast, Israeli strikes are said to be aimed at the “terrorists,” who are by definition legitimate targets. Any civilian casualties that may result from such uses of force are unintentional, and in fact should be blamed squarely on Hamas. Indeed, Netanyahu explained, not only do they target civilians but they also “hide behind civilians,” thus committing “a double war crime.”

According to this narrative, often embraced in toto by elected officials and political commentators in the United States, “terrorism” is a very clear, non-controversial concept. “Terrorism” is the use of violence against civilians for political purposes.

This discourse on “terrorism” is a deeply moral discourse, one that makes important normative claims about a given conflict and the parties to it.

It draws its power from a simple claim: what separates “us” from “them” is a fundamental conception of the value of innocent life. “We” respect innocent lives, demonstrated by our refusal to target civilians. In stark contrast, not only are “the terrorists” more than willing to hurt our civilians, but they also hope that we will kill theirs too.

The discourse on “terrorism” is thus an essentialist discourse: it claims to say something about the very essence of “the enemy” (cue recurring references to “barbarism”) and, consequently, about us (and our “civilized” values.)

On closer inspection however, this discourse fails precisely where it claims to be strongest. Israel’s actual practices, informed by its combat doctrine, are fundamentally at odds with how international law defines the concept of “civilian.” In actual fact, the discourse on “terrorism” and the practices it informs and justifies drastically erode the distinction between civilian and combatants as commonly understood in International Humanitarian Law.

On July 21, in an Op-Ed published by the Wall Street Journal, Thane Rosenbaum, from New York University’s School of Law, wrote that “on some basic level, you forfeit your right to be called civilians when you freely elect members of a terrorist organization as statesmen.”

A few days later, at a demonstration in support of Israel attended by numerous elected officials from both political parties, Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner made a similar argument, insisting that if you had taken part in the election process of Hamas, a “terrorist organization” that calls for the destruction of the state of Israel, “you are complicit and you are not a civilian casualty.”

As several commentators immediately noted, such arguments are extremely dangerous. In fact, the logic that underlies them is precisely the same as was used by Osama Bin Laden in 2002 to rationalize and justify the September 11, 2001 attacks.

However, despite the central role of this concept in Netanyahu’s discourse, the US press has so far paid very little attention to how Israel itself defines who is and, perhaps more importantly, is not, a civilian, and to the consequences of such definitions on the battlefield.

The necessity of such a critique cannot be overstated, as a column just published in Haaretz makes all too clear.

There, Michael Sfard, the legal advisor of the Yesh Din organization, argues forcefully that Israel’s combat doctrine, supported by the IDF’s legal division, rests on interpretations of the laws of war “shockingly different from their accepted interpretation by experts in the field worldwide” and which represent, as stated in the article’s remarkable headline, “A ‘targeted assassination’ of international law.”

In his analysis, Sfard focuses on two aspects of Israel’s combat doctrine. First, the IDF has “redefined what constitutes a legitimate target for attack,” so that its target bank now includes, for example, “symbols of the Hamas government” (offices, policemen, the parliament building).” As the author notes, the consequences of this “innovative definition” have been dire: “Dozens and perhaps hundreds of civilians have been killed in assaults on such structures.”

Second, Israel now considers that, in an urban conflict, it is “entitled to treat the entire area as a legitimate target and bombard it via air strikes or artillery shelling – as long as we first warn all the residents of our intention to do so and give them time to leave.”

As Sfard notes, this method was first implemented in Dahiya, a Beirut neighborhood, in 2006. This is how General Gadi Eisenkot, the Israeli Northern Command chief, describes what is now commonly known as the “Dahiya doctrine”:

What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on. […] We will apply disproportionate force on it and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases. […] This is not a recommendation. This is a plan. And it has been approved.

Major General (Ret.) Giora Eiland is also quoted as arguing that, should Israel find itself once again in a conflict with Hizbullah, its objective should not simply be the defeat of that organization but “the elimination of the Lebanese military, the destruction of the national infrastructure and intense suffering among the population.” As he further explained, “Serious damage to the Republic of Lebanon, the destruction of homes and infrastructure, and the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people, are consequences that can influence Hizbollah’s behaviour more than anything else”.

Remarkably, Eiland wrote an Op-Ed on August 4, 2014 entitled “In Gaza, There Is No Such Thing as ‘Innocent Civilians’” where he called on Israel to “avoid the artificial, wrong and dangerous distinction between the Hamas people, who are “the bad guys,” and Gaza’s residents, which are allegedly “the good guys.”” “We are dealing with an enemy state,” he explained, “not with a terror organization which is seemingly operating from within an innocent civilian population.

Dozens of international law academics and practitioners recently signed a statement condemning many of Israel’s practices as illegal and criminal. Just as starkly, Sfard insists that its combat doctrine represents “a declaration of war against the fundamental principles of the laws of armed combat.”

Despite Israeli elected officials’ repeated claims about the need for “moral clarity” in the face of the so-called terrorist threat, the Israeli discourse is extraordinarily vague about the way in which Israel does define, in the real world and especially in its decisions about the use of armed force, the concept of “civilian.”

One important internal contradiction of the Israeli discourse on “terrorism,” therefore, is that it claims to present a strong defense of civilian life while in fact justifying uses of force based on an extremely narrow understanding of that concept, one that erodes the fundamental distinction between civilians and combatants.

Further, a look at the manner in which Israel has used the word “terrorism” over the years demonstrates that accusations of “terrorism” have been made against Israel’s enemies regardless of the actual nature of their uses of force. Israeli elected officials have, repeatedly, described and condemned as “terrorism” attacks against purely military targets.

In fact, in international institutions such as the United Nations, Israel (alongside the United States) has repeatedly opposed efforts towards defining “terrorism” in a way that would differentiate between attacks against civilian and military targets, a basic historical fact that the US media has consistently failed to report.

The Israeli discourse on “terrorism,” just like the American discourse that it has so heavily influenced, is thus a fundamentally ideological discourse.

It is deeply incompatible with an enlightened understanding of the most basic principles of international law and, despite its claims to the contrary, profoundly weakens the protections the rule law affords to innocent, civilian life.

RemiB
About Rémi Brulin

Remi Brulin received his PhD at La Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris) in 2011. His dissertation is a historical analysis of the American discourse on "terrorism," and can be accessed and downloaded here. He has taught at New York University, George Washington University and, currently, at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. You can follow him on Twitter here: @rbrulin.

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56 Responses

  1. American
    American
    August 9, 2014, 12:29 pm

    Short version of all Israelism propaganda….

    “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”

  2. Abierno
    Abierno
    August 9, 2014, 1:04 pm

    Netanyahu is one of Frank Luntz’ most ardent and skillful students. This article is an important analysis of why, particularly in the US, there is less outrage than one would expect given Israeli war crimes. The tragedy is that the verbal obfuscation actually becomes “real” in the minds of those using it and those hearing it, thereby obscuring their ability to accurately perceive events. Thus – the enemy has no civilians in war, opposing armies are terrorists looking to storm kindergartens with
    machine guns, soldiers who die in battle are kidnapped by terrorists. Netanyahu and his political fellow travelers from Likud and other extremist parties have extended and elaborated the Israeli narrative defined by Sharon and Ben Gurion of a small, beleaguered nation surrounded by a host of bloodthirsty, barbaric, virulently anti semitic neighbors, held off only by the racial, moral and military superiority of the plucky Israel Defense Forces. Given this percept which is reinforced every day by all of the state controlled media, and in a culture which suppresses any dissent, it is not surprising that Israel is country which is best characterized as having a collective psychosis, tragically one which since its inception has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths of innocent civilians, whose greatest crime is that they are not Jewish.

    • Mike Northern
      Mike Northern
      August 10, 2014, 11:01 am

      Have you read The Israel Project’s 2009 Global Language Dictionary authored by Luntz

  3. ramzijaber
    ramzijaber
    August 9, 2014, 1:05 pm

    Whether it is this war criminal Nutnyahoo or zio-idiots on the other end of the hate and racism spectrum like joan rivers, the world is closing in on these criminals and there will be legal prosecutions for their heinous crimes.

    As I always say, the arc of history always bends towards justice and our cause is just!

    • Justpassingby
      Justpassingby
      August 9, 2014, 1:09 pm

      COuld you give some examples on how it is closing in on them?

      • ramzijaber
        ramzijaber
        August 9, 2014, 5:08 pm

        oh, in so many ways my good friend justpassingby. let’s start………

        1- globally, with the exception of a few politically-backward countries like the us, canada, australia, and micronesia (lol), zionism is looked upon with disdain and contempt. no place to hide for zionists. they have overplayed their hand and they are being ostracized.

        2- in countries where zionism still has political *not popular* clout (see countries above), the younger generation at best could give a damn about zionism and in reality don’t even know about it, understand it, or care about it. they don’t even know let alone care about the holocaust, so are immune to blackmail and guilt. look at what’s happening on american campuses. from the 70s to last decade, hillel CONTROLLED american campuses. no more. in fact, zionists are terrified of this loss of control since they know this is where the next political generation is coming from.

        3- in these same countries, young jews are losing interest in zionism (and even in israel proper as “the motherland”that they must blindly and totally support and pledge allegiance to). many of these young jews are making a distinction between judaism and zionism. they also cannot and do not want to reconcile their humanitarian and civil positions on many social, economic, and humanitarian issues with the fact that such views and positions take a 180 degree right at the door of the palestinian cause.

        4- zionism as an ideology is an unstable concept that stands on a feeble and illogical foundation. zionism started as a movement in vienna as anti-semitism was spreading in the late 1800s. herzl and others devised a concept to protect jews from such blatantly racist and wrong attacks. (btw, the jewishness of the matter to me and almost all palestinians have never been the issue. zionism was, is, and will continue to be THE issue until we get our freedom and justice prevails.) these anti-semitic attacks that essentially singled out jews -unfairly and wrongly- as “not belonging”. so in order to achieve that protection that jews so deserved, herzl and the zionists (wrongly in my opinion as the facts today bear it) devised a strategy that was founded on “protecting” the jews by taking them away into their own place, palestine as it turned out unfortunately. in order to protect jews from attacks rooted in “not belonging”, zionists pulled the jews into the utmost of “no belonging” zone instead of fighting to protect jews and guarantee their rights as protected and respected minorities in any country where they are. this would have nullified anti-semitism as it would have joined forces with all other minorities found in every country, a united front that wins. instead, zionism back-fired and is having this negative (and unintended consequence i would think) result that we see today.

        5- as evidenced by extreme positions and statements by zionist leaders in israel and many of their supporters in the west (e.g. joan rivers stupid racist comments), these are the results of zionists themselves knowing that the tide is turning and they are now acting as fish out of water. they know what their internal surveys, polls, and focus groups are saying and they are terrified.

        6- money buys politicians but does not buy votes (people vote, not money). so yes zionism has still some power left in a few countries but it is dying with the dying and departing breed of current zionist-bought politicians on their way out of power.

        7- the number of zionists in the world is declining rapidly, reaching well below 0.2%. this is driving zionists in occupied palestine to build a fortress, physical and emotional, all around them which will suffocate zionism out of its own oxygen.

        8- france, uk, south africa, un, and others recently started to say the unspeakable: blame israel openly and strongly. condemn and threaten with potential war crime investigations. even saying that a solution must be imposed. this would have been heresy even a few months ago.

        9- social media and the internet are the great equalizers. hasbara and zionists never anticipated this. the tsunami shift towards palestinians is taking place at a massive speed, to the point where even american mainstream media is starting to challenge and argue with zionists on air. unthinkable a few weeks ago.

        10- the palestinian case is just and moral. zionism’s is fraudulent and criminal.

        so justpassingby, keep the faith as history is measured in decades and centuries not in months or years. keep hope alive, we shall overcome!

      • Frankie P
        Frankie P
        August 9, 2014, 8:29 pm

        @Ramzi Jaber,

        Thanks for that injection of optimism in the midst of the horrible massacres going on in Gaza. May the world continue to close in on these criminals until breathing becomes difficult for them and they are forced to face up to their crimes, make amends to the Palestinians, and start serving their sentence.

        FPM

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        August 10, 2014, 8:12 am

        I too think that Zionism will not conquer for ever but I also think RJ is being too optimistic. The UK may be ‘starting to say’ the right things but the emphasis should be very much on ‘starting’ – our voice becomes pretty strangulated pretty soon. There are quite loud voices calling for the cancellation of arms export licences to Israel but they are being met by double-talk and circumlocution and won’t for a long time yet succeed, not even in that limited objective. I was at the London demo yesterday and it was very well attended but very dependent for good numbers on Muslims and on the far left, both very much minorities. It will take some time for the mass of people here to move beyond vague condemnations – they will need to be led by a political figure prepared to put career at extreme risk, and I think that the same is true in the United States.
        And it’s not quite true that money can’t buy votes – not directly, maybe, but indirectly by paying people with communication skills and influential voices – often happens.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 10, 2014, 3:53 pm

        Great list, Ramzi!

      • Justpassingby
        Justpassingby
        August 10, 2014, 5:36 pm

        MHughes976

        Yes the positive views by Ramzi is not how I see it. I would say its much worse now than lets say cast lead on all fronts possible.

  4. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby
    August 9, 2014, 1:08 pm

    Yes and this reason is why the world, today – 9th of august, have already “forgotten” the 2000 dead. After all the victim should be blamed according to the west. Israel just defended their land. Hopeless.

  5. jon s
    jon s
    August 9, 2014, 1:10 pm

    There’s a question that I want to pose, this thread is as good as any.
    It’s addressed to the Mondoweiss editors and staff. To Phil, Adam , Scott, Annie, Alex , Allison ( I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone). Both individually, and in the name of the Mondoweiss “brand”.

    The question is:
    Do you support Hamas? (I’m referring to both goals and methods)

    I would appreciate any answer or answers.

    • Justpassingby
      Justpassingby
      August 9, 2014, 5:12 pm

      jon s

      The goal is free themselves from occupation and that with resistance. You arent fooling anyone.

    • amigo
      amigo
      August 9, 2014, 5:21 pm

      “The question is:
      Do you support Hamas? (I’m referring to both goals and methods)

      I would appreciate any answer or answers.”jon s

      I will answer your question with a question for you??.

      Do you support the issuing of the “Lehi Ribbon of honor” to Israeli soldiers , given that Lehi were a terrorist group.

    • Frankie P
      Frankie P
      August 9, 2014, 8:48 pm

      @jon s

      Since you posted this question on an open comments thread, I will respond, even though I am NOT a Mondoweiss editor or staff member.

      I support the right of Hamas and all Palestinians to resist the Israeli oppression and occupation of their lands.

      Now we all know what jon s means when he says “goals and methods”, so let’s steal his thunder and address his complaints pre-emptively. First, jon s sees Hamas’ “goals” as the destruction of world Jewry, wherever they are!, because, damn it, that’s what it says in that outdated and subsequently superseded Hamas charter. The talking points of hasbara say we must focus only on the Hamas charter, and ignore all later official statements and offers for long-term truces from the leadership of Hamas. Hammer the charter!!! will be our slogan!!! Ignore the fact that Hamas would gladly follow the will of the Palestinian population as a whole if they wanted to accept a reasonable offer of peace from Israel. Hammer the charter.

      Now, the methods. Jon s wants the methods to be framed as follows: Hamas shoots rockets into Israel, with the sole intention of killing civilians; Israel, of course, must retaliate. Hamas digs tunnels into Israel, with the sole intention of killing civilians (specifically, they dig the tunnels to find kindergartens.) More hasbara that needs to be demolished. In fact, the Hamas rockets are the retaliation, not the original action. In addition, Hamas KNOWS full well that their rockets are inaccurate and will cause little or no civilian death. The rockets are a statement: you are killing us, and we shall do what we can to scare and inconvenience you, shake things up a bit. As for the tunnels, well let’s look at the results. Hamas has killed many Israeli soldiers by gaining entrance to Israel from the tunnels, and from ambushing Israeli soldiers who dare to enter the tunnels. I haven’t read much about them attacking civilians, because Hamas has NOT attacked civilians from the tunnels.

      The Warring Scorecard from the latest and ongoing mowing of the lawn is revealing: Dead Palestinians: approximately 75% civilian. Dead Israelis: approximately 95% soldiers.

      Now, jon s, the ball is in your court.

      Do you support Israel? I’m referring to both goals and methods.

      FPM

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      August 9, 2014, 9:16 pm

      The question is:
      Do you support Hamas? (I’m referring to both goals and methods)
      I would appreciate any answer or answers.”

      Don’t answer it! I think it’s a trick question!

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      August 9, 2014, 9:28 pm

      “I would appreciate any answer or answers.”

      And if the answer is “yes” I’m gonna tell Aunt Polly, and you’ll ‘catch it’.

    • Inanna
      Inanna
      August 9, 2014, 9:29 pm

      Go back to your hasbara handlers for retraining jon s. The bullshit isn’t working. What the world sees is Israel pounding on the weak at the same time as it’s people and politicians are spewing racist and genocidal discourse towards Arabs and Palestinians. That is why countries are withdrawing recognition and relations with Israel, refusing to supply it with weapons and that is why thousands of people all over the world are turning out in mass rallies week after week. And all you can come up with is a lame version of ‘are you now or have you ever been a communist?’

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 9, 2014, 10:35 pm

        What did it for me was the phony pretexts of the Israelis. Do they take delight in making liars out of anybody who even tries to argue their case? Such as it is, their case, of course.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        August 9, 2014, 10:48 pm

        Anyody want to ask jon s if he supports the goals and methods of the Warsaw ghetto uprising?

      • jon s
        jon s
        August 10, 2014, 11:47 am

        Citizen, what an obscene comparison.

        News from today: The Hamas opened fire on the Kerem Shalom checkpoint, through which humanitarian supplies are delivered to Gaza, forcing it to close.

        From Haaretz website:
        ” The defense establishment has decided to close the Kerem Shalom border crossing, due to rocket fire in the area.

        The borders authority in the defense ministry said after the decision was announced that the rocket had nearly hit trucks carried flammable materials to Gaza. (Gili Cohen)”

        I also saw a report on a Hebrew website that the Hamas executed a large number of their tunnel-builders after they had completed their jobs, to prevent leaks.

      • Justpassingby
        Justpassingby
        August 10, 2014, 5:38 pm

        jon s

        So first they open fire then you link to a source saying:
        “The defense establishment has decided to CLOSE the Kerem Shalom border crossing, due to rocket fire in the area.”

        Again you blame the victim and the ghetto uprising is perfect example and a perfect example on your hypocrisy.

      • Marnie
        Marnie
        August 11, 2014, 7:14 am

        @Jon S “Rebel against the Occupation. No–it is forbidden for us to rule over another people, to oppress another [people]. The most important thing is to achieve peace and an end to the cycle of blood[letting]. My generation dreamed of peace. I so want to achieve it. You have the power to help. All my hopes are with you. If only [you could].” – Chavka Fulman-Raban, arrested and imprisoned at Auschwitz, two of her family members died as resistance fighters. Last year, long before this current round of blood-lust, Chavka Fulman-Raban, among the last of the Warsaw Ghetto survivors delivered, On Yom Ha-Shoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), “a fierce denunciation of evil and injustice, including the Israeli Occupation. Her speech was offered to guests at the ceremony of Beit Lohamey Ha-Getaot (the Ghetto-Fighters House)”, says Richard Silverstein, who has translated the speech into English.

        You don’t understand what is resistance. You fight the oppressor by any means necessary.

      • jon s
        jon s
        August 10, 2014, 4:33 am

        1. So far, noone from Mondoweiss has seen fit to reply.
        2. No surprise that some of the commenters support the Hamas terrorists. That’s pretty obvious.
        3. By now it should also be pretty obvious what the Hamas’ goals and methods are, for anyone who can read, hear and see.
        4.Amigo, as far as I know the LHY ribbon is not given to soldiers. It was given to -by now elderly-veterans of the LHY.
        5.Mooser, it wasn’t a super-sophisticated, tricky, talmudic question. It was simple and blunt, could even be answered by yes or no.
        6. Inanna, again with the “hasbara handlers” nonsense? I don’t have handlers or a handbook. I’m a private person and I write my own observations and opinions.

      • Marnie
        Marnie
        August 10, 2014, 8:06 am

        Do you support netanyahu and his war on Palestinians? And a reminder, Hamas was democractically elected and the fact that you may not like them doesn’t mean shit. They aren’t going anywhere and anyone with half a brain would realize by now they best stop killing and start talking directly to Hamas, instead of the copout “won’t negotiate with terrorists” line, especially since a lot of the world that isn’t on the zionist payroll has made it very clear that the state of israel is a criminal enterprise, a terrorist regime, a rogue state, hiding under the stars and bars, I meant star of david and the disgusting sound track of hatikva.

      • Marnie
        Marnie
        August 11, 2014, 7:22 am

        If Jon and Hophmi and Yonah woke up tomorrow morning as women, say orthodox jewish women, or african american women, Hispanic women, Indian women, Native American women or even white women, then they might be able to appreciate a little (emphasis on little) what it’s like to be oppressed simply because of who you are, and maybe with that little bit of understanding, would be able to feel some rage about what is happening to Palestinians. Or, just ask your women.

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        August 10, 2014, 12:49 pm

        @jon s- Are you a Sean Hannity wannabe?

        Nobody is answering you because they’re stupid, simplistic, arrogantly assumptive, and therefore unanswerable (or is that ignorable) questions.

        Define “goals.” Define “methods.”

        I’d define goals as ending the brutal, murderous blockade and the accompanying slow death of a people. So that would be a Yes from me.

        I’d define methods as anything that makes maintaining that slow-death Occupation a non-normal state of being for Israelis. Since Israel only seems to respond to violence, that unfortunately means using violence (it is a right of the occupied). But even in that case the violence is only a contrast-framed doorway into a non-violent/diplomatic effort.

        So are you for solving the core issue of slow-death Occupation, or not? Do you think Israel’s goals and methods are in line with doing so?

        PS. If you’re going to trot out the nonsense about “targeting civilians,” I’m going to point out, as so many have already, that the rockets aren’t accurate and Israel embeds its military infrastructure in civilian areas. Collateral damage it is, and negligible at that.

      • jon s
        jon s
        August 10, 2014, 1:21 pm

        ritzl, Since you’re not a member of Hamas , it’s not up to you to define their goals . So “I’d define goals ” is meaningless, it’s not your call. They themselves define their goals very clearly, in their Anti-Semitic charter and in their statements. Just a couple of days ago I heard their spokesman reiterating their commitment to “liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea”.
        Their method is terrorism: to try to kill as many Jews as possible through rockets, mortars, tunnels, bombings, whatever…and also to cause as much death , destruction and misery as possible among their own people.

        If you’ve read my past comments, you know that I support ending the occupation through the two-state solution, the only possible solution.

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        August 10, 2014, 7:36 pm

        jon s, I guess I should have known better. Oh well…

        If your belief is that only members of Hamas can know the meaning of your questions let alone answer them, what sense does it make to even ask them? Or more fundamentally, assuming you’re not a member of Hamas, how do you even know what you’re asking?

        I guess this is what the “baffle ’em” phase of the anti-Palestinian hasbara looks like, eh?

        Peace.

        Fin.

      • amigo
        amigo
        August 10, 2014, 1:36 pm

        “1. So far, noone from Mondoweiss has seen fit to reply.” jon s.

        How then do you explain your items , 4,5 and six.

        “4.Amigo, as far as I know the LHY ribbon is not given to soldiers. It was given to -by now elderly-veterans of the LHY.” jon s

        Lehi were terroists.

        The question again.

        Do you think this Ribbon honoring Terrorists should be rescinded.

        Yes or no.

      • jon s
        jon s
        August 10, 2014, 3:34 pm

        Amigo, I meant from the MW editors and staff. That was the point of my question. I know that some commenters support hamas.

        I oppose honoring anyone who engaged / engages in terrorism. You don’t have to go way back to the LHY. The extremist settlers honor the terrorist Barukh Goldstein, and I think that’s despicable.

      • jon s
        jon s
        August 11, 2014, 1:23 am

        Ritzl,
        I didn’t ask what the Hamas goals and methods are, I assumed that they’re well known. I asked Mondoweiss editors and staff whether or not they support Hamas.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 10, 2014, 3:57 pm

        “Mooser, it wasn’t a super-sophisticated…”

        Don’t answer back to me, chump. When I want to hear from you, I’ll ask you. In the meantime, just sit there and take it. You got nothin’ to say.

      • jon s
        jon s
        August 10, 2014, 4:15 pm

        You know, Mooser, you used to be amusing, at least occasionally. Now you’re just nasty.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 11, 2014, 11:15 am

        “You know, Mooser, you used to be amusing, at least occasionally. Now you’re just nasty”

        Am I sending F-16s to bomb your house? Am I killing your children and women? No, I’m just talking to you like you are a grown-up. But of course, to you, that’s “nasty”.
        Of course, sarcasm, irony and anger are unknown in Israel, or in Zionism.
        C’mon now, ‘jon s’ time to give us a taste of the Hasbara whine, this year’s vintage, with an aftertaste of blood. Everybody is so “nasty” to poor little you.

      • Inanna
        Inanna
        August 10, 2014, 9:54 pm

        jon s, I’d go get some training since you really suck at this and everyone here is running rings around you. The problem is that you are so deeply sunk in hasbara to recognise it. Any even-handed person looking at this situation would see an occupier and an occupied. They would also see that the occupied, under international law, have a right to resist their occupation, which is precisely what Hamas is doing. The occupier is murdering children in their sleep and in UN shelters and while they are playing on beaches and using every propaganda tool they can to blame the victims for their own deaths. And this is after have shoved their grandparents out at gunpoint and stolen their homes and lands using terrorist methods that Jewish terrorists imported into the Middle East that were later coped by opponents of Israel.

        But I know that none of this is going to make a dent in your mind. You are so blinded by hasbara that you fail the humanity test as it concerns the Palestinians, you can only see your own pain and your own history and it blinds you to theirs. As such, you doom yourself and the country you say you support as it crashes every right-ward and becomes a shadow of what you support until eventually, you will be forced to become a fascist ultra-zionist or leave zionism behind in disgust as many of your fellow Jews are doing now during this assault on Gaza.

      • jon s
        jon s
        August 11, 2014, 1:37 am

        Inanna,
        I’ve been a consistent supporter of Palestinian rights, probably longer than any other commenter here, and I’ve paid a personal price. I also happen to support the rights of my own people.

        I’m horrified by the scale of death, destruction and misery in Gaza, caused deliberately by Hamas. If you support Hamas, then it’s you who fails the test of humanity.

    • eljay
      eljay
      August 10, 2014, 9:43 am

      >> The question is:
      >> Do you support Hamas? (I’m referring to both goals and methods)

      I support Hamas whenever it fights for justice and morality (e.g., the overthrow of Zio-supremacist oppression and the liberation of Palestinians) and does so within the bounds of international law.

      I support a secular and democratic Israel – a state of and for all of its Israeli citizens, immigrants, ex-pats and refugees, equally – whenever it fights for justice and morality and does so within the bounds of international law.

      I do not support aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction, torture murder and supremacism – not when Hamas does it, not when Zio-supremacist Jews do it, not when a supremacist “Jewish State” does it.

    • LuLu
      LuLu
      August 10, 2014, 1:31 pm

      Jon, Hamas is a resistance movement. They are referred to as a terrorist organization because Israel says so the master made sure US and UK followed big daddy echoing the same. Hamas NEVER EVER attacked the US, UK or any other country. Only Israel because of the oppression and raciest ways. Hamas does not hate Jews, there is a HUGE difference between Jewish and Zionist. Zionist actually in my opinion can not call themselves Jewish because to be Jewish you have to follow and uphold the Torah. No where do I see anything that Zionist do in the Torah. Torah is a sacred Holy Scripture from God, Zionism is a 100 year old, a satanic cult which was created by a Atheist sociopath lunatic thug. Hamas has EVERY single right to defend themselves, to be honest with you, they follow Gods commandments, it is their duty to fight those who oppress them, until there is no oppression anymore. The entire world condemned Israel and called it a terrorist state, all these protests and you still believe in your brainwashed mind that Hamas is the terrorist? Yes, they have done suicide bombing which has been condemned and has nothing to do with Islam. They admitted it and said they were wrong and desperate. Those people are all gone who were behind that and you have not seen it for years. There were so many loners who committed those horrendous acts on innocent people which is not acceptable. If you read the Wikileaks cables about what Israel states they have and are doing to Gaza than you will start seeing Israel lies about everything it says and does to the public and does another behind the scenes,. If you think Hamas is going to sit back and watch Israel unleash its lunatic aggression, think again, it shamed itself around the world. People obviously never learn from Punishments God sent, He promised He will repeat if transgression and evil continued. Sad part is there are many Israeli’s who are not Zionist and innocent on what their leaders are doing and will be caught in Gods Punishment.,

      • jon s
        jon s
        August 10, 2014, 4:02 pm

        LuLu,
        Hamas is considered a terrorist organization, because that’s what it does: murders innocent civilians. Not only the US and the UK: Egypt has also outlawed Hamas. Israel is “the master” of Egypt, too?

        I think that you need to improve your knowledge regarding Judaism and Zionism. There are plenty of Jews today -a majority, in fact – who do not live according to the Torah, and are still Jews. There are many who do live according to the Torah, and are also Zionists.

        Zionism wasn’t created by one person . I presume you’re referring to Herzl?

        Hamas regrets the suicide bombings? That’s news to me.

        As to Hamas not hating Jews, see Hamas Charter:

        “For our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave…”
        “…Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! …”
        Also Article 22
        see here:
        http://www.thejerusalemfund.org/www.thejerusalemfund.org/carryover/documents/charter.html?chocaid=397

  6. pjdude
    pjdude
    August 9, 2014, 1:11 pm

    you have to remember zionist jews in palestine have always been terrorists. terrorism is anational value for them.

    • jon s
      jon s
      August 10, 2014, 4:42 am

      pjdude,
      So , for example, the immigrants of the Second Aliyah, young idealists bent on establishing a socialist utopia -were terrorists?
      Holocaust survivors, emerging forom the death camps and seeking to rebuild their lives in the Jewish historic homeland – were terrorists?
      Jews from Yemen and from Ethiopia, crossing deserts on foot to reach Israel -were terrorists?

      • Djinn
        Djinn
        August 10, 2014, 8:26 am

        If they then took up arms with any of the armed groups committing the ongoing Nakba, then yes they were terrorists.

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        August 10, 2014, 10:46 am

        That was easy.

      • jon s
        jon s
        August 10, 2014, 11:36 am

        Anyone who joined a terrorist group was a terrorist. That’s not what pjdude wrote.

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        August 10, 2014, 7:21 pm

        Jesus, jon s. You keep trying to play “gotcha” games but you’re not really equipped to do that. The facts just aren’t on your side (and other factors).

        Djinn simply used the conditional to clarify and answer your otherwise unanswerable “What color is the sky? YES or NO!” Hannity-like questions.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        August 10, 2014, 12:52 pm

        Djinn:

        If they then took up arms with any of the armed groups committing the ongoing Nakba, then yes they were terrorists.

        And if they were at all sympathetic to the ongoing Nakba, they were– “terrorist sympathizers.”

      • amigo
        amigo
        August 10, 2014, 1:51 pm

        “Holocaust survivors, emerging forom the death camps and seeking to rebuild their lives in the Jewish historic homeland – were terrorists?”

        When they joined terrorists Orgs such as Lehi, they became Terrorists.

        When they went to squat on someone else’s land they became terrorists as that is a war crime.

        You may well have the blood of Terrorists coursing through your veins , judging by the way you try to convince others that Israel had nothing to do with Terrorism.

        Hamas,s terrorism is required to prevent the theft of lannd.Israel,s terrorism is used to steal land.

        I know who gets a lighter sentence in my opinion,

        Israel was born in terrorism and still practices it.

  7. gracie fr
    gracie fr
    August 9, 2014, 2:38 pm

    From Yonatan Mendel’s “Diary” March 6, 2008:
    At a time when there were many Israeli raids on Gaza I asked my colleagues the following question: ‘If an armed Palestinian crosses the border, enters Israel, drives to Tel Aviv and shoots people in the streets, he will be the terrorist and we will be the victims, right? However, if the IDF crosses the border, drives miles into Gaza, and starts shooting their gunmen, who is the terrorist and who is the defender? How come the Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories can never be engaged in self-defence, while the Israeli army is always the defender?’ My friend Shay from the graphics department clarified matters for me: ‘If you go to the Gaza Strip and shoot people, you will be a terrorist. But when the army does it that is an operation to make Israel safer. It’s the implementation of a government decision!’
    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v30/n05/yonatan-mendel/diary

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      August 9, 2014, 10:52 pm

      Last time I looked Hamas won the election, which was monitored by objective Americans who told the world it was an honest election. The new unity government was scheduled to have new elections in Gaza–that’s when Bibi trumped up a pretext to bomb Gaza.

  8. Eva Smagacz
    Eva Smagacz
    August 9, 2014, 2:55 pm

    Well the handle of being “anti-Semitic” is already not working very well, so new ways of controlling a discourse have to be devised. Accusing someone of being a Holocaust denier still works, to a degree, but people are increasingly queasy about using Holocaust as a shield for unsavoury political stances. Accusing your opponents of supporting resistance does not have that certain moral superiority ring to it.
    But if you can nail them as supporting terrorism the world is your oyster.
    You can throw a Patriot’s Act at them!

    So Jon S, nice try, but no banana, ask again once Hamas (or at least their political wing) will be off the terror list. If England can differentiate between Qassam Brigades and Hamas, so can, in the fullness of time, USA.

  9. Bandolero
    Bandolero
    August 9, 2014, 5:33 pm

    While I agree that terrorism is not a term of international law and that Israel and it’s friends misuse the term terrorism I completely disagree with Rémi Brulin on the conclusion. My opninion is that we – as activists for justice, humanity and Palestine – should talk more about terrorism, not less.

    The reason in short: we should not let get Israel and the Israeli-led international axis of terror get away with their terror tactics, and we shall fight back.

    The reason a bit longer. Terror is, like massacre, not a term of international law, but it is rightly and commonly understood as horrible behaviour, and the almost all people in mankind in all parts of the world rightly rejects terror from the deepest of their hearts and with greatest disgust.

    When Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff just called Israel’s military actions in Gaza a “massacre” she didn’t speak in terms of international law, but people around the world understood very well what she meant with that word: Israel committed mass murder. How to hold Israel judicially accountable for that mass murder shall now be a task for jurists.

    An act of terror is not defined as a term of international law, but people around the world have some basic understanding of what it means: the deliberate killing and injuring of innocent people and/or the destruction of their collective or private property, with the intent to achieve political or military goals.

    What many people lack is a deeper and sound understand of terror. We should educate the people about some basics of terror tactics. The most important: the logic behind an act of terror usually follows one of two basic strategies:

    – either the act of terror is executed straight with the intent to be applauded (and replicated) by their own terrorist (supporter) group, with the ultimate goal to spread fear among a group to which the targeted victims belong so they subjugate themselves to the political and/or military demands of the terrorists
    – or the act of terror is executed as “false flag terror” with the intent to blame the act terror on a third party to provoke outrage and action against that third party.

    The use of terror actions by Israel to subjugate opponents to their will is beyond any question. Israel has a long record as a user of terror means. From the King David hotel bombing over endless massacres like the ones in Deir Yassin and Sabra and Shatila, what Israel did is straight mass murderous terror, executed by the IDF with the clear intent to subjugate opponents to the political will of Israel. One could say, that acts of terror in the distant past should not count to make a group of people, or a state, rightfully be labelled a terrorist. I agree. But then this rule should be applied to states like The Islamic Republic of Iran and groups of people like Hezbollah and Hamas, too. However, as Lebanon 2006, Gaza 2008/2009, the Mavi Marmara raid and now Gaza again show, Israel is still routinously using straight terror tactics. Israel shall be condemned for the application of terror means, and should rightfully be labeled “terrorist,” a “terror state” or a “terrorist entity”. With Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups the situation is not so clear. They were earlier confronted with quite substantial allegations of terror, but they seem to have changed behaviour since and their record of terror became quite clean in recent years. For many of the newer terror accusations against these, there are indications that these were acts of false flag terror commited by “someone else” – exactly to falsely blame it on them.

    Since it is very clear that Israel routinously uses stright terror tactics since decades and to this very day, it should be also a prime suspect for the routinous application of false flag terror tactics. When we carefully look back in history, we find some quite clear hints that Israel seems to have a record of using false flag terror tactics, too, like the killing of many innocent US soldiers on the USS Liberty warship with the obvious intent to blame this act on Israel’s enemy Egypt. Israel and it’s lobby also constantly try to blame others with crimes they know they did not commit. See as an example the four generals who sat years innocent in prison in Lebanon for being framed by friends of Israel of having murdered Rafiq Hariri. So there are quite clear indicators that Israel do not only routinously execute straight terror like the recent massacre in Gaza, but that Israel – and it’s friends – also still execute false flag terror plots.

    In sum: Israel should be named and shamed as cruel terrorist state, Israels hasbarists shall be named and shamed as propagandists of a cybically lying terrorist state, and whereever a terrorist act with no clear perpretrator occurs, from which Israel might benefit, an Israeli false flag terror attack shall be seriously considered as a possibility, because Israel has a clear record as terrorist and false flag terrorist and there are no signs that Israel changed it’s terrorist behaviour.

  10. Kay24
    Kay24
    August 10, 2014, 9:22 am

    This is a pathetic attempt by the murderous government of Israel to re write history, like they always do, and make the world re-think what they have concluded about the massacre in Gaza, after seeing the ghastly scenes and extreme violence by Israel.
    They are trying to shape the narrative, after their display of brutality and disregard for civilian lives were seen in the media throughout the world. There is NO doubt Israel lost the PR war, and this is a lame effort to salvage their image. Now they worry that the only nation that has been brainwashed into supporting and pouring in the aid and weapons, have seen the true Israel, and it is looking too evil and ugly.

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