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Is ISIS a crisis for the so-called Jewish state?

Opinion
on 44 Comments

There has been a great deal of discussion lately about the relationship of ISIS– the borderless radical Islamist entity in Syria and Iraq– to the Jewish state a few doors over.

Zionists have welcomed the rise of ISIS because it offers the hope that the United States will double down on Israeli’s side in Israel’s religiously-tinged war against its neighbors. Thus Benjamin Netanyahu has said again and again that Hamas, an Islamic Palestinian political party and resistance force, and ISIS are identical. We face the same enemy you do, Netanyahu lectures the west.

The Islamophobe David Horowitz also embraces ISIS in the National Review— for demonstrating to Americans that Islam is an intolerant, violent religion:

And then came ISIS. The horrific images of the beheadings, the reports of mass slaughters, and the threats to the American homeland have accomplished what our small contingent of beleaguered conservatives could never have achieved by ourselves. They brought images of these Islamic fanatics and savages into the living rooms of the American public, and suddenly the acceptable language for describing the enemy began to change. “Savages” and “barbarians” began to roll off the tongues of evening-news anchors and commentators who never would have dreamed of crossing that line before, for fear of offending the politically correct.

This is obviously a dangerous game. Several network anchors have acted as demagogues. Barack Obama says we don’t a war with Islam, and Chris Matthews, who began by demagoguing about the beheadings, now says we have already killed plenty of Muslims; and that’s destroying the U.S.’s image.

But what is ISIS doing to Israel’s image? I believe it’s hurting Israel. Max Blumenthal and Rania Khalek have gotten considerable traction on twitter with a campaign comparing #ISIL to #JSIL– the Islamic State in the Levant to the Jewish state in the Levant. Here’s Khalek’s list of similarities: chiefly borderlessness, ethnic cleansing, and the use of religion to validate the movement. They have gotten a lot of media coverage for the campaign. Favorable at Al Jazeera, “awful,” says New York magazine.

Whatever the merits of the parallels, I think Blumenthal and Khalek are right to believe that the hatefulness of ISIS is going to damage the Jewish state in the end. Letting the religious genie out of the bottle was a bad idea, Harry Truman said when he held his nose and backed the creation of a Jewish state; and Uri Avnery makes the same point in saying that ISIS’s ideas are potent: the movement successfully casts Israel as the modern crusaders. And to escape that paradigm Israel must cease to be a fortress-state.

I believe that this coupling of the two terms [Zionist and Crusader] is extremely dangerous for us. I am not afraid of ISIS’ military capabilities, which are negligible, but of the power of their ideas. No American bomber is going to eradicate these.

It is getting late. We must de-couple ourselves from the Crusaders, ancient and modern. 132 years after the arrival of the first modern Zionists in Palestine, it is high time for us to define ourselves as we really are: a new nation born in this country, belonging to this region, natural allies of its struggle for freedom.

Israel participating in the struggle for freedom? That sounds like democracy to me, and the separation of religion and state. That is the happy outcome of ISIS’s rise, it problematizes “loose interpretation of religious text to justify existence,” as Khalek says. On National Public Radio the other day I heard an announcer describe ISIS as “the so-called Islamic state.” She was surely reflecting Juan Cole and the Arabist and many Muslims organizations’ rejection of ISIL’s claim that it represents Islam.

 

Well, many non- and anti-Zionists say that the so-called Jewish state has nothing to do with Jewish values, we don’t want any part of a state that slaughters Palestinian children with such regularity– and that uses religion to justify Jewish privilege. The rise of ISIS is helping that argument. Hard-core Zionists scored an own-goal last week when they waved ISIS-style black flags at an anti-immigrant demonstration in Tel Aviv.

On that note, Taxi just sent me Jamal Kanj’s piece on “Islamic State vs Jewish State,” in the Gulf Daily News, in Bahrain. He says that ISIS is drawing strength from the Jewish state’s atrocities. I don’t see how you counter this argument without calling for the complete separation of church and state.

The JS [Jewish state’s] slaughter of innocents, the continued starvation diet imposed on women and children in Gaza, the appropriation of Muslim and Christian properties in the holy city of Jerusalem and land confiscation in the West Bank to benefit “Jewish only” colonies are lifelines for IS.

IS exploits peoples’ anger to recruit frustrated young men and women, aiming to establish a utopian religious state, just as the Zionists have done.

How could the West accept JS’s claim of a special covenant with a god to displace non-Jews from their homes, but deny IS the right to claim the same with their god? IS and JS are two states proclaiming monopoly over the absolute truth to justify the most abhorrent acts in the name of God.

Western support for JS while it condemns IS must stem from hypocrisy, racism or both.

While almost everyone knows about IS’s crimes and self-righteous interpretation of religion, JS’s crimes are sanitised and very few are exposed to its pretentious monopoly on God…

War might force IS to retreat, but the jihadists’ idea will grow for as long as the US continues supplying oxygen to regenerate bacteria in a cesspool replenished by Western double standards. IS and JS share the same philosophy, the only difference is their point of reference.

 

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of Mondoweiss.net and founded the site in 2005-06.

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44 Responses

  1. Sassan on October 13, 2014, 1:03 pm

    What a ridiculous article. Israel’s founder Theodor Herzl was an atheist Jew. The founding of Israel was a secular project. Israel has had atheist Jews as their Prime Minister’s. In Israel, gays are free to live their own lives and even serve in the IDF. Women are also empowered inside of Israel and serve in the IDF as well. Arab-Israelis have the same rights as Jews inside of Israel. In contrast ISIS beheads civilians for the sole purposes of their faith or ethnicity. ISIS kills gays, stones women to death and imposes draconian Shariah law. If Israel wanted to do what ISIS wants to do, they would wipe out the Palestinians in one day. To compare ISIS to the democratically elected state of Israel is truly shameless.

    • a blah chick on October 13, 2014, 4:38 pm

      Though you did hit all the necessary points: women; gays; Arabs; I could only give you C-. And I’m being charitable.

      Look, your level of hasbara talking points might fly in the letters column of the NY Times or the Washington Post but isn’t going to fly here. We know Israel too well for it to work. So go back and consult your manual and come back with a reply that is above the level of a fifth grader.

      Oh, and since Israel maintains shariah courts IN Israel, I wouldn’t mention them. It just looks like you don’t know what you’re talking about.

      • Mikhael on October 17, 2014, 6:47 pm

        Oh, and since Israel maintains shariah courts IN Israel, I wouldn’t mention them. It just looks like you don’t know what you’re talking about.

        Fail. Israel maintains Sharia courts alongside Jewish batei din and canon law courts for Christians and Druze religious courts to adjudicate civil matters (e.g., marriage, divorce, and inheritance) for members of the various confessional groups. This is a legacy of the Ottoman millet system and they operate in tandem with civil courts and are don’t impose penalties on non-believers. Similar dual religious/civil law systems exist in the states neighboring Israel as well. None of this is remotely close to ISIL’s goal of a state where Sharia is the supreme law of the land imposed on believers and non-believer alike.

    • Citizen on October 13, 2014, 5:03 pm

      @ Sassan

      Other than barely veneered bribery by AIPAC et al, contemporary Israel is propped up by those with tremendous influence inside and outside of Israel who conflate the contemporary state of Israel with the Jewish community world-wide–none of these people separate the Jewish religion in this matter. Israeli jets bear the modern symbol of Judaism. And, BTW, Israeli Arab citizens have equal paper rights unprotected by a Constitution, juxtaposed to over 50 Israeli laws that discriminate against Arab Israelis.

    • Shingo on October 13, 2014, 5:21 pm

      BTW. I love how people insist that Zionist founders were atheists when they still insisted hat God gave them the land.

      • Marnie on October 14, 2014, 1:16 am

        That would be a superb definition of hypocrite, yes?

      • Mikhael on October 17, 2014, 6:57 pm

        Shingo
        October 13, 2014, 5:21 pm
        BTW. I love how people insist that Zionist founders were atheists when they still insisted hat God gave them the land.

        The founders of the modern political Zionist movement in the 19th century and early 20th century were indeed mostly atheists and agnostics, and did not insist that “God” gave them the land, but promoted the Jews’ right to independence in their homeland on the well-known fact that Jews worldwide collectively constitute a national group that has roots in a shared ancestral homeland in which Jews have always maintained a presence despite centuries of foreign rule. Of course, it is true that there have also always been religious Jews who were active advocates of modern political Zionism and saw no conflict between the modern Jewish national movement and Jewish religion. It is natural that this is the case as Jewish religion views the Jews as one unitary people with its own land; this does not alter the fact that most modern political Zionists were indeed atheist/agnostic and that the fundamental nature of the Jewish state’s institutions are secular.

      • Shingo on October 18, 2014, 4:30 pm

        The founders of the modern political Zionist movement in the 19th century and early 20th century were indeed mostly atheists and agnostics, and did not insist that “God” gave them the land, but promoted the Jews’ right to independence in their homeland on the well-known fact that Jews worldwide collectively constitute a national group that has roots in a shared ancestral homeland in which Jews have always maintained a presence despite centuries of foreign rule.

        You’ve just demonstrated my point. The notion that Jews constitute a national group is not a fact but a myth that Zionists like yourself have been struggling to explain or make sense of without resorting to religious dogma about being God’s chosen.

        The the absurd notion that Jews belong to a national group is ridiculed by the fact non Jews can convert to Judaism through religious conversion that as soon as that process is completed, those converts can suddenly claim that Israel is their ancestral homeland.

        No other nation in the world has such messianic and delusional basis. The fact that Roman Catholics have maintained a presence in Italy, Spain, France etc does not make those states the ancestral homeland of Roman. Catholics.

        The founders of the modern political Zionist movement in the 19th century and early 20th century might have been atheists and agnostics, but we’re happy to insist that they had a greater right to it than any other group because “God” gave them the land.

      • Mikhael on October 19, 2014, 2:13 pm

        Shingo
        October 18, 2014, 4:30 pm You’ve just demonstrated my point. The notion that Jews constitute a national group is not a fact but a myth that Zionists like yourself have been struggling to explain or make sense of without resorting to religious dogma about being God’s chosen.

        It’s no more a myth than any collective of human beings with shared ancestral and linguistic ties constituting a national group. Judging by the criteria of how any population of humans can be defined as a “nation”, Jews, collectively, hit all the criteria. Like other national/ethnic groups (e.g., Armenians, Thais, Greeks), Jews, as a group, have ancestral links to each other traceable to a shared historic homeland, a common linguistic heritage, and shared history. A Jew whose ancestors lived within the borders of what is now present-day Germany or Poland for over a thousand years is more closely related by all these criteria to a Jew whose forebears lived in present-day Iraq or Morocco than to a German or Polish goy. The Ashkenazi Jew whose family formerly lived in Bavaria is certainly not an ethnic German, and the Mizrahi Jew whose forebears lived in Baghdad is certainly not an ethnic Arab.

        the absurd notion that Jews belong to a national group is ridiculed by the fact non Jews can convert to Judaism through religious conversion that as soon as that process is completed, those converts can suddenly claim that Israel is their ancestral homeland

        Conversion to Judaism has historically been rare throughout Jewish history. Though it is certainly true that converts have always entered the Jewish fold and various Diaspora communities have had their numbers augmented by them throughout the ages and although there are more converts to Judaism in the present day than during any period of the past, it’s still a relatively rare phenomenon. It doesn’t alter the fact that most Jews in Israel and the Diaspora alike (barring very recent converts) are descended from people who lived in the Land of Israel, along with ancestors who converted to Judaism at some point.
        So, individuals who have undergone a thorough and recognized process of conversion to Judaism are, generally speaking, eligible to apply for and receive Israeli citizenship. That’s a good thing. It would be wrong and discriminatory to deny citizenship in the Jewish state to those who choose to identify with the Jewish people through conversion (and who are, in many cases, married to people born to ethnic Jew) solely on the basis of the fact that they were not born or raised in ethnic Jewish families.

        No national group is “pure” and suggesting that because modern-day Jews are in part descended from converts to Judaism along with their ancient Judean/Israelite ancestors cannot claim a sense of collective peoplehood is a racist argument. If pure bloodlines are necessary condition, then those Arabic-language speakers who have adopted a Palestinian national identity in recent decades would be ineligible to assert that claim, because they are certainly descended from people who have migrated into this area at various stages of history from many lands (e.g., present-day Bosnia, Chad, Egypt, the Hauran region of present-day Syria, and the Hejaz region of present day Saudi Arabia), along with having ancestors who lived within the land that the British dubbed Palestine and the Jews have historically called Eretz Yisrael for centuries. The fact of the Palestinian Arabs’ mixed ancestry alone doesn’t (and shouldn’t) undermine their sense of national identity.

      • Shingo on October 19, 2014, 5:54 pm

        Judging by the criteria of how any population of humans can be defined as a “nation”, Jews, collectively, hit all the criteria.

        Actually, they got none of them, because hen it comes to defining themselves as a nation, they are the only nation that claims nationhood without a “nation”.

        Armenians, Thais, Greeks define nationhood based on a specific territory and none recognize members if their nations based on religious conversion.

        It is impossible for Jews to have any ancestral links to each other if those who clearly has no such links are able to become as member if that group through religious conversion.

        It’s just messianic and religious mumbo jumbo.

        It doesn’t matter whether Conversion to Judaism has historically been rare, the very fact religious conversion does exist violates any legitimate definition of barionhood. At to that the fact that rabbis on Israel get to determine if someone is Jewish based on religious guidelines adds further ridicule to your argument.

        It is not a fact that most Jews in Israel and the Diaspora are descended from people who lived in the Land of Israel – in fact, the evidence suggests the opposite.

        It’s not a question if national purity, it’s the fact you and your fellow messianics conflate religion with nationalism and ethnicity.

        you then those Arabic-language speakers who have adopted a Palestinian national identity in recent decades would be ineligible to assert that claim, because they are certainly descended from people who have migrated into this area at various stages of history from many lands

        Cut the Jobe Peters fraudulent crap. The Palestinians were there for millennia, many were des events of the Hebrews and bear a closer connection to the land than most pretenders who simply belong to the Jewish faith.

        Nor did the British dub it Palestine. The name dates back to 1000 BCE.

        Whether some Jews like to believe they belong to a nation because if some drek they read in the Bible is their business, but they are not a nation under any legitimate or customary guidelines.

      • lysias on October 19, 2014, 4:46 pm

        Conversion to Judaism, far from being rare, was extremely common in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Shlomo Sand presents the evidence, but I can attest to familiarity with some of the primary evidence myself, from my 10-year job cataloguing the Greek and Latin Inscriptions of Anatolia (Asian Turkey) and the offshore Greek islands.

      • Mikhael on October 20, 2014, 12:52 am

        lysias
        October 19, 2014, 4:46 pm

        Conversion to Judaism, far from being rare, was extremely common in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Shlomo Sand presents the evidence, but I can attest to familiarity with some of the primary evidence myself, from my 10-year job cataloguing the Greek and Latin Inscriptions of Anatolia (Asian Turkey) and the offshore Greek islands.

        As I stated, converts have always been welcomed into the Jewish fold and every Diaspora Jewish community has had its numbers augmented by proselytes from among the host populations in the countries they had settled in and other peoples they had come into contact with. That said, mass conversions to Judaism were few and episodic and are the exceptions to the rule. The “conversions” to Judaism in the Hellenic world that you claim to have personal experience of viewing primary source material likely refer to groups of so-called “God fearers” in the world of classical antiquity. It’s generally agreed that these people were non-Jews who were sympathetic to Jews and Judaism and observed a form of “Judaism lite”, without undergoing full-blown conversion to Judaism and the rites associated with it such as circumcision. Of course, proselytes existed then (as they do now), but converts and/or their offspring generally marry people born into Jewish families.
        Judaism spread out of its cradle not through missionary activity and convincing people born outside the faith in distant lands to adopt it, but by Jews making babies with other Jews in foreign countries.

    • Marnie on October 14, 2014, 1:24 am

      “To compare ISIS to the democratically elected state of Israel is truly shameless.”

      To paint israel as a paradise for all (“even serve in the IDF” – WOW!) is truly shameless. Got a bit of a crush on the IDF? Ugh. Yes, they proved over July/August how morally superior they are. Where’ve you been mister? Off the planet for a bit? When will you cheerleaders for zion ever learn that when you go to “look what ISIS did” and are comparing israel to ISIS, anyone is going to sound better. Is that where you intend to go? Comparing israel to ISIS? WTF?

    • Boomer on October 14, 2014, 7:22 am

      Regarding the founding of JSIL, you forgot to mention that it, like ISIL, also availed of terrorism directed at innocent victims. The big difference, of course, is that the JSIL terrorists were supported by the UK (and later by the US), while ISIL is opposed by them. In this world, more often than not, might makes right.

    • Atlantaiconoclast on October 14, 2014, 9:52 am

      Yes, most Israelis are atheists, but they still adhere to a religiosity centered on their specific ethnicity. And Israel decapitates Arabs all the time, not with swords, but with missiles and bombs. Gays still can’t marry in Israel. And Jews can not marry non-Jews, unless of course, the Jew converts to a non-Jewish faith.

      • Mikhael on October 17, 2014, 7:30 pm

        Atlantaiconoclast
        October 14, 2014, 9:52 am

        Yes, most Israelis are atheists,

        In present-day Israel, most Israeli Jews probably define themselves as traditional believers, with a large minority who define themselves as strictly religious and small minority as completely atheist/secular.

        Nevertheless, Israeli law guarantees freedom of worship or non-worship to anyone.

        but they still adhere to a religiosity centered on their specific ethnicity.

        Secular Jews, by definition, don’t adhere to any “religiosity”. That said, to be a Jew is in essence to to be part of a certain ethnic group. Nothing wrong with that.

        And Israel decapitates Arabs all the time, not with swords, but with missiles and bombs.

        When Israel’s Arab enemies shoot rockets at Israeli civilians in Israeli cities, Israel’s defense forces will respond with deadly force. Sometimes this deadly force might decapitate a Hamas fighter or commander. That is always a good thing. Sometimes an innocent civilian might also be harmed. It’s quite possible that some have also been decapitated. That’s an unfortunate thing, but it is what happens in wartime. During WW2, hundreds of thousands of innocent German civilians were also killed in Allied air raids and many probably had their heads blown off. The Allied air raids were still definitely a good thing.

        Gays still can’t marry in Israel.

        Gays in Israel can enter into unregistered cohabitation status, which is the equivalent of common-law marriages in Israel, and get survivor benefits, hospital visitation rights for their partners, can legally adopt their partner’s children, and foreign-born partners of Israeli gays in a common-law marriage can get Israeli residence and eventual citizenship, Same-sex marriages performed abroad in jurisdictions that recognize same-sex marriage are extended full faith and credit and recognized as valid in Israel. Therefore, in essence, gay marriage is recognized in Israel, although an actual gay marriage ceremony performed in Israel won’t be recognized. Are you saying that gays the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant extends the same treatment to any gays living under its jurisdiction?

        Jews can not marry non-Jews, unless of course, the Jew converts to a non-Jewish faith.

        Marriages between Jews and non-Jews that are solemnized abroad are recognized as valid in Israel. Of course, there is no institution of civil marriage yet in Israel; only religious marriage, and only certain religious confessions’ ceremonies are recognized as valid (although not illegal). Within the Jewish community, only Orthodox rabbinical authorities are recognized by the state for performing marriage. Orthodox rabbis won’t marry a Jew and a non-Jew (unless the non-Jew converts to Judaism). Nevertheless, a Jewish Israeli citizen can marry outside the faith either by entering into a civil marriage abroad (1-hour flight to Cyprus) or if they still want a Jewish-tinged ceremony even if they marry someone the Orthodox rabbinate doesn’t recognize a s a Jew, they can also find a Reform rabbi in the USA or Europe to marry them and the marriage will be recognized by Israel (or they can have a civil marriage outside Israel for purposes of having it legally recognized by the state, and the Reform Jewish ceremony in Israel for the Jewish “flavor”if they wish to have it without the Orthodox rabbis’ approval). Of course, the lack of a civil marriage option or an alternative to the Orthodox Jewish monopoly for Jews is a serious problem, but it’s not as if marriage between Jews and non-Jews is outlawed. There are several legal workarounds that grant ethnically and religious mixed couples all the same rights and benefits that other married couples have. Of course, as someone thrice-divorced, I think all marriage should be outlawed.

  2. Boomer on October 13, 2014, 3:26 pm

    Philip, if people thought about this situation logically and objectively, then the answer to your question might be “yes.” People don’t, however, so the answer is “no.”

  3. Citizen on October 13, 2014, 5:10 pm

    No. ISIS spokes person declared the time if not ripe to attack Israel directly; higher priority is weakening the USA first. Something’s fishy about this.

  4. just on October 13, 2014, 6:13 pm

    #JSIL fits.

  5. Keith on October 13, 2014, 6:20 pm

    AVNERY- “I am not afraid of ISIS’ military capabilities, which are negligible….”

    Interesting comment, which I would love to see Avnery develop. Many others describe ISIS as virtually invincible. Their capabilities are obviously well above “negligible,” what with being armed with US tanks, artillery and anti-aircraft rockets. Now, how did they get hold of this equipment and training in its use? Of course, if they are too successful, just make Turkey cut off their fuel and munitions. Tanks and artillery require intensive support which ISIS is obviously receiving from some of those now crying wolf.

    • mcyda on October 14, 2014, 8:04 pm

      Keith, do not confuse IS’ military success with their strength. IS’ success is purely a reflection of their foes inability. It exposed how weak the Iraqi army was and how unwilling were they to fight any fight without a line of sight. In Syria, the devastation of that country has been ongoing until IS came out. Therefore, it is correct that IS, whose combatants can barely fill a small size stadium, is a negligible military force.

      In addition, just wanted you note that one thing IS does not need is fuel, as they produce the stuff in Syria. The support for their heavy machinery and weapons is readily available by payment of the locals. You don’t really need to put the blame on anyone to describe the efficiency of IS.

      • oldgeezer on October 14, 2014, 9:53 pm

        Are you sure that they don’t need fuel? ISIS is supposedly pumping and selling crude oil but crude oil is not fuel. Or is it? The only refineries I know of are under Syrian control. I’m serious about that question btw… I don’t know enough about either oil or fuel requirements for different pieces of military equipment.

      • Keith on October 15, 2014, 1:10 pm

        MCYDA- “The support for their heavy machinery and weapons is readily available by payment of the locals.”

        Are you joking? Lightly armed guerrillas can live off the countryside, armored units including artillery require massive logistics to function. Perhaps you are not aware of the long US history of using Islamic extremists to attack targeted countries? A few quotes and links not found on the MSM.

        “ISIS leader Abu Bakr Baghdadi is known to be a US intelligence asset, according to a former senior Al Qaeda operative, Nabil Naim, among other sources.” (Finian Cunningham)
        http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/isis-beheadings-on-cue-from-washington-and-london/#more-167452

        “The absurd contradictions and deceptions of this latest US-led war in the Middle East should be brazenly obvious for anyone not brainwashed by Western “news” propaganda. The extremists that Washington is supposedly hunting now down are the progeny of American covert war in Syria that the Syrian government has been battling against for the past three years. The Saudi and Qatari allies now joining US warplanes to pound Syria are the financiers and weapons suppliers of the very terrorist networks that they are claiming to attack.” (Finian Cunningham)
        http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/09/us-seeks-to-target-syrian-government/#more-55818

        “Let’s us dig in the issue of ISIS a little more. Among the countries who have joined the U.S. led coalition against ISIS, aren’t there some that still finance ISIS? Yes, there are. In case Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan were to stop the flow of money and arms to ISIS, it would not take more than a week for the whole business to be over. However, other than a few symbolic measures, nothing substantial has been done on that front. In other words, the reactionary coalition keeps feeding the organization that they have declared as the “enemy”. Who would believe you after this?

        But they want us to believe it. ISIS is out of control(!). Let us state it then: it was desired that ISIS gets out of control!” (Kemal Okuyan)
        http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/25/isis-the-u-s-and-turkey-are-they-all-crazy/

        “The Empire began attacks against its own creation – the Islamic State or ISIS as it is known here in the Middle East. Countless ISIS cadres were armed and trained in the NATO-run refugee camps in Turkey and Jordan, right on the Syrian border. And the main purpose of ISIS was to destabilize and destroy Bashar al-Assad’s Government in Damascus.

        ISIS did not fall from the sky. Nor is it some sort of spontaneous movement. Like the Mujahedeen forces in Afghanistan, which fought both, the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) and later the Soviet Union, ISIS were paid, armed and trained by the United States and its allies.

        It is a common tactic used by the West, to identify and groom the most radical forms of Islam, including Wahhabism, which is now choking Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region.” (Andre Vltchek)
        http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/26/syria-the-latest-crusade/

        Western intelligence officials say they can track the ISIS oil shipments as they move across Iraq and into Turkey’s southern border regions. Despite extensive discussions inside the Pentagon, American forces have so far not attacked the tanker trucks, though a senior administration official said Friday “that remains an option.” (David Sanger, The New York Times)
        http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/world/middleeast/struggling-to-starve-isis-of-oil-revenue-us-seeks-assistance-from-turkey.html?_r=0

        “It is clear, however, that the U.S. has no intention of destroying IS’s impressive armor and artillery capabilities, which have been heavily deployed in the siege of Kobani yet only lightly damaged by American air power.” (Glen Ford)
        http://blackagendareport.com/node/14449

  6. Keith on October 13, 2014, 6:44 pm

    PHIL- “Thus Benjamin Netanyahu has said again and again that Hamas, an Islamic Palestinian political party and resistance force, and ISIS are identical.”

    Identical? Hamas has been supplied with US battle tanks, artillery and anti-aircraft missiles? Hamas fighters are treated in Israeli hospitals before resuming fighting? Hamas is being covertly assisted by the US and Israel? Who knew? An interesting question is why ISIS’ military objectives include parts of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, but not Israel? Why doesn’t Israel ever get attacked by ISIS or al Qaeda?

    • Atlantaiconoclast on October 14, 2014, 9:55 am

      exactly! And why has the Israel lobby pushed so hard for war against Syria? Why has Israel attacked Assad, recently in fact while Syria was trying to win a specific battle against ISIS, but not ISIS?

    • mcyda on October 14, 2014, 8:06 pm

      Just because IS and Al-Qaida did not succeed in attacking Israel doesn’t mean they have not been trying.

      • Shingo on October 15, 2014, 12:07 am

        Just because IS and Al-Qaida did not succeed in attacking Israel doesn’t mean they have not been trying.

        True, but they have not been trying. in fact, the curious thing about ISIS is that they have threatened everyone from the Mile to the Euphrates except for Israel.

      • W.Jones on October 15, 2014, 2:13 pm

        I disagree. that “Just because IS and Al-Qaida did not succeed in attacking Israel doesn’t mean they have not been trying.”
        Al Nusra is along the Israeli border. If they tried to attack the state, they would have succeeded in actually attacking it because it’s so close to their forces.

        If a man has a hammer and is standing next to the fence, then if he didn’t attack the fence with his hammer it means he didn’t even try to.

  7. Dan Crowther on October 13, 2014, 8:41 pm

    No way ISIS is bad for Israel. ISIS is probably the best thing that ever happened to Israel. I’m of course talking of “Israel as it is” not the Israel some hope it to be. They’ve already added the Golan Heights!

    • Dan Crowther on October 14, 2014, 8:41 am

      I’d like to add: I find it both interesting and distressing that even some “radical” Americans are taking up the line of “ISIS is a threat to us, US strategy is in tatters, ISIS is bad for Israel, it’s a big blowback etc etc” even Patrick Cockburn at counterpunch was saying these things.

      But what about the critical points Keith mentions in his comments here? How can Phil, and Cockburn and Blumenthal and others, in the face of ISIS rolling around in TANKS not ask themselves: What’s really going on here? They’re literally flying over ISIS positions to bomb the Syrian army. ISIS is attacking Hizbollah, but not Israel? What about the much talked about attack on Jordan? Never materialized, huh? Weird.

      • Keith on October 14, 2014, 3:07 pm

        DAN CROWTHER- “I’d like to add: I find it both interesting and distressing that even some “radical” Americans are taking up the line of “ISIS is a threat to us, US strategy is in tatters, ISIS is bad for Israel, it’s a big blowback etc etc”

        I don’t know that I would call Patrick Cockburn a radical, however, other than that I agree completely. It is almost comical. Last year when Obama was opposed by the American people in his desire to bomb Syria, these same folks said his policy was in tatters. Now that his plan to bomb Syria (relabeled ISIS) has overwhelming approval these liberals once again claim that his policy is in tatters. For me, the fact that public opinion can be turned on its head so easily and quickly says volumes about empire and the manufacturing of consent. It is easy to believe what is convenient to believe, and self-deception is the rule, not the exception!

        Dan Crowther- “No way ISIS is bad for Israel.”

        Once again, spot on! We have reached a point of rapid change where empire needs to quickly destroy potential competitors, and is doing so efficiently. Iraq has been destroyed and is now being divided into three areas, Libya has been destroyed and the African Union rendered moot, the Egyptian “Arab Spring” has been crushed, the remnants co-opted, Syria effectively destroyed and under continued attack putting Hezbollah in jeopardy, Hamas severely weakened, perhaps fatally, etc. As for Israel, apparently some folks are unaware of the Oded Yinon plan which reflects upper level Israeli thinking but has lain dormant for close to forty years awaiting propitious timing. I conclude with a quote from an analysis of the plan by Israel Shahak along with a link to the full discussion.

        “The following essay represents, in my opinion, the accurate and detailed plan of the present Zionist regime (of Sharon and Eitan) for the Middle East which is based on the division of the whole area into small states, and the dissolution of all the existing Arab states….Here I want to draw the attention of the readers to several important points: The idea that all the Arab states should be broken down, by Israel, into small units, occurs again and again in Israeli strategic thinking. For example, Ze’ev Schiff, the military correspondent of Ha’aretz (and probably the most knowledgeable in Israel, on this topic) writes about the “best” that can happen for Israeli interests in Iraq: “The dissolution of Iraq into a Shi’ite state, a Sunni state and the separation of the Kurdish part” (Ha’aretz 6/2/1982). Actually, this aspect of the plan is very old….The strong connection with Neo-Conservative thought in the USA is very prominent, especially in the author’s notes.” (Israel Shahak)
        http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/pdf/The%20Zionist%20Plan%20for%20the%20Middle%20East.pdf

      • Keith on October 14, 2014, 5:46 pm

        DAN CROWTHER- I came upon an article today which fits in nicely with my comment above in regards to US/Israel ME strategy. Quote and link below:

        “With US politicians and the American media engaged in an increasingly acrimonious debate over the strategy guiding the latest US war in the Middle East, the United States Army has unveiled a new document entitled the Army Operating Concept (AOC), which provides a “vision of future armed conflict” that has the most ominous implications. It is the latest in a series of documents in which the Pentagon has elaborated the underlying strategy of preventive war that was unveiled in 1992—that is, the use of war as a means of destroying potential geopolitical and economic rivals before they acquire sufficient power to block American domination of the globe.” (Bill Van Auken and David North)
        http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-army-drafts-blueprint-for-world-war-iii/5407869

      • Dan Crowther on October 15, 2014, 9:33 am

        Thanks for the great reads Keith!

      • Pixel on October 17, 2014, 8:52 pm

        Just keep asking the questions…

  8. wondering jew on October 13, 2014, 11:55 pm

    This is ignorant. Name one Arab country that has complete separation between church and state. (mosque and state). throw turkey and iran into the mix as well if you want. our concept of separation of church and state is very different than what goes on in that part of the world. the propaganda equating ISiL and JSil are sophomoric and reflect some more preaching to the choir. ISIS is a reaction to the fall of the prevailing order in two states: Syria and Iraq. This game of saying that Isis has to do with mixing religion and state is child’s play and ridiculous. Attacking Israel on the merits of the case is one thing, attacking it, based upon we must be evenhanded if we attack isil we must attack Jsil is just an example of shallow thinking in a soundbite era.

    • wondering jew on October 14, 2014, 12:00 am

      This is not the war of ideas, this is the war of slogans.

      • wondering jew on October 14, 2014, 4:36 pm

        Annie- the whole tone is nyah, nyah, nyah. i suppose that bibi doesn’t deserve any better. but don’t pretend like this is about ideas. It’s not.

    • annie on October 14, 2014, 8:03 am

      Name one Arab country that has complete separation between church and state.

      why? Name one Jewish country that has complete separation between church and state.

      our concept of separation of church and state is very different than what goes on in that part of the world.

      which is why israel does not ‘share our values’.

      the propaganda equating ISiL and JSil are sophomoric.

      and netanyahu’s propaganda? where do you think this ‘equating’ meme started?

      ISIS is a reaction to the fall of the prevailing order in two states: Syria and Iraq.

      2 states that cumulatively the US invested trillions in destabilizing. don’t pretend we didn’t know exactly what would happen. the neocon plan is to balkanize the ME, redraw the map. this is someones idea of an efficient plan for destabilization. it’s a tactic that’s been used time and again and israel has used against palestinians (ie supporting and empowering hamas to weaken the plo). where’s the culpability?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YENbElb5-xY

      • wondering jew on October 14, 2014, 4:41 pm

        annie- your whole tone is nyah, nyah, nyah. okay, maybe israel under bibi deserves no better. but don’t pretend that this is a war of ideas. it’s not.

        the cause and effect of the birth of Isis can definitely be attributed to the war in iraq. (syria might be more an offshoot of that gigantic expenditure of blood and treasure, but syria has not been the specific target of anything comparable to what was spent on iraq.) but my point is: this has very little to do with religion and Israel has very little to do with religion and this whole line of thought is schoolyard taunting and not of substance. whereas US expenditures in the war are to the point, separation of church and state is just slogans and not the point.

      • Mooser on October 27, 2014, 2:05 pm

        Yonah, that was a perfectly good question. Why don’t you answer it? I thought this was stuff you’ve been studying your whole life? So, again:

        “Name one Jewish country that has separation of Church and State?”

        Anytime, Yonah.

  9. snowdrift on October 14, 2014, 4:43 am

    Another negative about ISIS from Israel’s point of view is on the diplomatic front: it helps the US-Iran rapprochement (even though officially, Iran isn’t part of the anti-ISIS coalition, as a sop to the Saudis and neocons), and the fight against ISIS even grants increased legitimacy to Hezbollah.

    In that light, Israeli military officials going on about the “next war in Lebanon” since the end of the Gaza war and the increased frequency of shootings of Lebanese sheepherders across the border look like the symptoms of a temper tantrum.

  10. ivri on October 16, 2014, 1:45 pm

    ISIS is the new guy in the neighborhood and nobody can yet figure out what they role in the already permanent mayhem in the region will be. However, if we care to remember every such new guy had an initial dramatic effect, which lasted until the other guys understood what goes on and counteracts developed. Given the infinite power superiority of the US and the obscureness of the game of the “new guy” all this is likely to go the way of all the past “big” and “dramatic” changes and developments. Remember: “Political Islam” and all the hopes it gave rise to, Al Queida emergence, The Arab spring, Iran`s hegemonic aspirations for regional dominance, the more recent Turkey`s Neo-Ottoman ambitions with the abrupt turn against Assad, and all the rest – they all come to naught in no time.

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