To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle.
--- George Orwell

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Israel's 'Angel Of Death' Is Also A Knesset Member; This 'Willing Executioner' Calls For Genocide v. Palestinians, Especially The Mothers

As any street smart New Yorker knows, "you can say anything about me, but when you start talking trash about my momma, you got a problem." Especially so in the context of genocide and race war.

Legal scholar and pundit Jonathan Turley has as great post on inflammatory comments by Ayelet Shaked, a member of the Israeli Parliament from the ultra-nationalist and ultra-religious Jewish Home Party whose leader, Naftali Bennett has been touted as a future Israeli Prime Minister. Turley cites a recent  Facebook posting by Shaked, which has been interpreted as a call for genocide. Turkish PM Recep Erdogan asked:”What is the difference between this mentality and Hitler’s?” 

Shaked made her post the day before the Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir was kidnapped and burned alive by six extremist Israeli Jewish youths. Her remarks are said to have contributed to the climate of revenge in Israel which led to this immolation murder and fed popular support, at least among Israeli Jews, for operations against Hamas in Gaza. These operations have been characterized as “collective punishment” against Palestinians living in Gaza and have triggered calls for a "war crimes" inquiry from top UN human rights official Navi Pilly.      

Wrote Shaked on Facebook (italics, mine):

The Palestinian people has declared war on us, and we must respond with war. Not an operation, not a slow-moving one, not low-intensity, not controlled escalation, no destruction of terror infrastructure, no targeted killings. Enough with the oblique references. This is a war. Words have meanings. This is a war. It is not a war against terror, and not a war against extremists, and not even a war against the Palestinian Authority. These too are forms of avoiding reality. This is a war between two people. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people. Why? Ask them, they started.

I don’t know why it’s so hard for us to define reality with the simple words that language puts at our disposal. Why do we have to make up a new name for the war every other week, just to avoid calling it by its name. What’s so horrifying about understanding that the entire Palestinian people is the enemy? Every war is between two peoples, and in every war the people who started the war, that whole people, is the enemy. A declaration of war is not a war crime. Responding with war certainly is not. Nor is the use of the word “war”, nor a clear definition who the enemy is. Au contraire: the morality of war (yes, there is such a thing) is founded on the assumption that there are wars in this world, and that war is not the normal state of things, and that in wars the enemy is usually an entire people, including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure. 

Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.” 

Responding in the Independent (UK) Israeli writer Mira Bar Hillel said Shaked’s remarks had brought her to the brink of burning her Israeli passport. Bar Hillel:
I can no longer stand by, while Israeli politicians like Ayelet Shaked condone the deaths of innocent Palestinian women and children.

She is young. She is pretty. She is a university graduate and a computer engineer. She is also an Israeli Parliamentarian - and the reason why I am on the brink of burning my Israeli passport. Because behind that wide-eyed innocent face lurks the Angel of Death.

Shaked’s “snake” metaphor is interesting. She must not have gotten the memo circulated by Pro Israel Language Police in the US banning words like “snakes.” And let’s not even mention the Nazi “vermin” metaphor. I also found it interesting that she would reference the "morality of war" while spewing the kind of venom that shows she has no idea what that morality involves. In fact, the kind of venom which is that morality's utter nullification. 

Here is a shot of Ayelet Shaked with her Jewish Home Party leader Naftali Bennett, who is close to Dan Senor, Mitt Romney's foreign policy advisor and frequent talking head on American television. Those like Senor arguing "shared values" as the underpinning of the US-Israeli "special relationship" might take note. If I recall correctly, Rwandan political figures who made calls analogous to Shaked's in the run up to, and during, the genocide there in the 1990's, are barred from entering the US.   


UPDATE: Noted Zionist enthusiast Seth Lipsky, a former editor of the Forward and the New York Sun who paints portraits of Zionist historical figures like David Ben Gurion and Ze'ev Jabotinsky and has them hanging in the living room of his Brooklyn Heights townhouse, has a column in the New York Post today that might be read as a companion piece to Shaked's provocative little genocidal screed. The headline of the digital version is "Hamas and Horoshima: The Grim Morality of Fighting Evil." Lipsky, said by the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg to have "the most interesting mind in journalism," likens Israel's Gaza dilemma of 2014 to the situation the US found itself with Japan in 1945, implying the righteousness of a TOTAL ONSLAUGHT AGAINST HAMAS, hang the civilian casualties and talk of war crimes. I've read many deranged things since taking up the subject of the US-Israeli "special relationship" in the wake of the smearing of Chuck Hagel in early 2013. This is certainly going to be on my personal Top Ten List. 

Michael Oren's Savage War For Peace In Gaza

It’s essential to recall that when he launched “Operation Protective Edge,” Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said the goal was to restore “quiet” between Israel and Gaza. Moving the goal posts, he then started to declare that the ultimate objective was to root out Hamas network of tunnels, which have an interesting psychological hold on Israelis. Now, Michael Oren, former Israeli Ambassador to the US and CNN commentator, articulates a much more far-reaching mission, in a Washington Post op-ed I missed last week while I was away. The piece, headlined "Isreal Must Be Permitted To Crush Hamas" calls on world leaders to give Israel “the time and the leverage it needs to alter Hamas’s calculus.” So here are Oren's ideas on Israel's ultimate---if not the final—solution for Gaza. I wonder whether Oren has made, or will be making, this argument on CNN. I've been in touch with journalists covering the Middle East, as well as the network's corporate communications shop, to know that Oren is a very polarizing figure. Many question Jeff Zucker's judgement and political/ethnic sympathies in making Oren a paid, on-air commentator, even of the treatment meted out to foreign correspondent Diana Magnay over an accurate, if somewhat intemperate tweet, has intimidated many at CNN from speaking out against Oren.

As Operation Protective Edge enters its third week , responsible world leaders can give Israel the time and the leverage it needs to alter Hamas’s calculus. They can let the Israeli army ferret Hamas out of its holes and make it pay a prohibitive cost for its attacks. They can create an outcome in which the organization, even if it remains in Gaza, is defanged and deprived of its heavy arms. Of course, Hamas will resist demilitarization, and more civilians will suffer, but by ending the cycle once and for all thousands of innocent lives will be saved.

Life in Gaza is miserable now, but if Israel is permitted to prevail, circumstances can improve markedly. U.S.- and Canadian-trained security forces of the Palestinian Authority can take over key crossings and patrol Gaza’s porous border with Egypt. Rather than be funneled into Hamas’s war chest, international aid can be transferred directly to the civilian population to repair war damage and stimulate economic growth. Terrorist groups and their state patrons can be put on notice: The game has changed unalterably.
And by letting Israel regain its security with regard to Gaza — with all the pain it entails — the United States and its allies will be safeguarding their own. Though bitter, the fighting between Israel and Hamas raging in Gaza’s alleyways is merely part of the far vaster struggle between rational nations and the al-Qaeda and Islamic State-like forces seeking their destruction. Relative to that global conflict, Operation Protective Edge may seem small, but it is nevertheless pivotal. To ensure that it concludes with a categorical Israeli win is in the world’s fundamental interest. To guarantee peace, this war must be given a chance.

Hey, it worked for France in Algeria, didn't it? 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Daily War Crime: Israeli Shells Hit UN School Packed With Refugees in Gaza; 'Today The World Stands Disgraced,' Says UN; Israelis Unperturbed

It's getting hard to keep track of the numerous attacks on the designated safe zones that the UN has established in Gaza to shelter the hundreds of thousands trapped in the Israeli military onslaught, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says will continue. According to the BBC, a UN school was hit by Israeli artillery on Tuesday night, killing at least 20 (Update: other news organizations say 16)  and wounding another 90, with hospital facilities crippled after three weeks of Israeli bombardment and ground assaults which has plunged Gaza into a full-blown humanitarian crisis, according to the New York Times.     

UN Relief and Works Agency head Pierre Krahenbuhl released a widely quoted statement from Jerusalem: 

Last night, children were killed as they slept next to their parents on the floor of a classroom in a UN designated shelter in Gaza. Children killed in their sleep; this is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame. Today the world stands disgraced. We have visited the site and gathered evidence. We have analysed fragments, examined craters and other damage. Our initial assessment is that it was Israeli artillery that hit our school, in which 3,300 people had sought refuge…. These are people who were instructed to leave their homes by the Israeli army.  

Krahenbuhl said there were at least three "impacts." He could not give a confirmed death toll, but said "We know that there were multiple civilian deaths and injuries, including of women and children and the UNRWA guard who was trying to protect the site.  He added that the victims of the attack were "people who were instructed to leave their homes by the Israeli army." 

According to Krahenbuhl:

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

The BBC quotes the UNRWA's Christopher Gunness who described children being killed "as they slept next to their parents." The Times account quoted Ahmed Mousa, 50, who was in the school courtyard when the shells hit. “My house was burned and death followed us here,” he said. “Where am I supposed to go?”

Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that  
support for the military operation among the Israeli public remained solid. A poll published by Tel Aviv university on Tuesday found 95% of Israeli Jews felt the offensive was justified. Only 4% believed too much force had been used. 
The Guardian noted that four Latin American countries – Chile, Peru, Brazil and El Salvador – recalled their ambassadors to Israel. The Chilean Foreign Ministry said:

Chile observes with great concern and discouragement that the military operations – which at this point appear to be a collective punishment to the Palestinian civil population in Gaza – don’t respect fundamental norms of international humanitarian law.

In response to the condemnation issued by Brazil for Israel’s “disprortionate use of force” in Gaza, The Washington Post reports that Yoel Barnea, the Israeli general consul in Sao Paulo, demonstrated the empathy and the grace that has endeared Israeli diplomats to their counterparts around the world. Brazil was a “diplomatic dwarf,” Barnea said, putting in a dig at Brazil’s recent World Cup humiliation.

Israel's response is perfectly proportioned in accordance with international law. This is not football. In football, when a game ends in a draw, you think it is proportional, but when it finishes 7-1 it's disproportionate. Sorry to say, but not so in real life and under international law.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Gaza Quote Of The Day: Bertrand Russell On 'The Tragedy Of The People Of Palestine'

"The refugees who surround Palestine in their hundreds of thousands were described recently by the Washington journalist I.F. Stone as "the moral millstone around the neck of world Jewry." Many of the refugees are now well into the third decade of their precarious existence in temporary settlements. The tragedy of the people of Palestine is that their country was "given" by a foreign Power to another people for the creation of a new State. The result was that many hundreds of thousands of innocent people were made permanently homeless. With every new conflict their number have increased. How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty? It is abundantly clear that the refugees have every right to the homeland from which they were driven, and the denial of this right is at the heart of the continuing conflict. No people anywhere in the world would accept being expelled en masse from their own country; how can anyone require the people of Palestine to accept a punishment which nobody else would tolerate? A permanent just settlement of the refugees in their homeland is an essential ingredient of any genuine settlement in the Middle East. 

Bertrand Russell 1970.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

America’s 'Morally Bankrupt' Israel Policy, In Action Right Now In Gaza, Comes Courtesy Of The Israel Lobby, Says Stephen Walt.

Stephen Walt in the Huffington Post rather than his usual Foreign column: “AIPAC Is the Only Explanation for America's Morally Bankrupt Israel Policy,” he argues. A must read for all the Lobby Deniers, Dual Loyalists and Israel-Firsters out there, as well as members of the US Senate. The Senate voted a unanimous resolution of support for Israel last week, even as the UN High Commissioner For Human Rights was readying to declare that Israel might be guilty of “war crimes” and Israeli Ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, made the deranged assertion in response that the Israeli Defense Forces deserve the Nobel Peace Prize for its “unimaginable restraint” in its operations in Gaza. So far of course, these operations have resulted in nearly 700 Palestinian deaths, the vast proportion of them civilians, an estimated one-third of them children. Just today, following scores of civilian casualties in the densely populated Gaza neighborhood of Shejaiya, The Guardian's Peter Beaumont reports on what sounds like a massacre in the border town of Zanna, which had been under constant fire from the IDF for almost a week.

Israel is hardly Nazi Germany, as so many lefties like to insist. But there is a good case to be made that it can be seen as the new Serbia, and has certainly forfeited the right to call itself "The Light Onto The Nations" as so many morally preening--- and moral vain--- Israelis and American Zionists have seen it. Likewise those who idealize the IDF, and its"Purity of Arms," doctrine, which is certainly an oxymoron worthy of Orwell. Pity that the blood, honor and treasure of the United States has been compromised in the process to underwrite that--- militarily through the $3 billion a year we give Israel in foreign aid and diplomatically through the blanket support the US gives Israel at the UN. As Walt writes: “Historians will one day look back and ask how U.S. Middle East policy could be so ineffectual and so at odds with its professed values -- not to mention its strategic interests.“ 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Newsflash: Obama Was Prepared to Free Jonathan Pollard, Martin Indyk Tells Charlie Rose

Newsflash 11:25 PM: Martin Indyk was just on Charlie Rose and told him that Obama "was prepared to commute the sentence of Jonathan Pollard." He made this assertion in the context of what various parties, including Obama, were prepared to do to secure forward momentum in the recent Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. These negotiations broke down in April, setting the state for the current Gaza conflagration. In appropriate diplomatic understatement, Indyk said the Pollard release wd have been "politically controversial." 

There has been lots of speculation that the Obama admin had put the Pollard release forward for discussion, but I think this is the first real confirmation that Obama had actually committed to it.  

Annotated Quote Of The Day #2: In Defending Gaza Slaughter, Israeli Diplomat Daniel Ayalon Tells Wolf Blitzer That if 'Proportionality' Mattered, 'The Nazis Would Still Be In Power'

Daniel Ayalon, a former Israeli Ambassador to the US and former Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, on CNN at around 2:30 pm EST today in response to Wolf Blitzer’s question about Israel’s disproportionate response in Gaza, and the mounting toll of civilian casualties.

There is no proportionality in war. If proportionality ruled, the Nazis would still be in power.

Must have been a Freudian slip.

Ayalon also made sure to blame the Palestinians for the failure of the recent round of peace talks, alluding to their refusal to recognize Israel as "The Jewish State," which many analysts regarded as a late-in-the-game "poison pill" designed to void any discussion of the Palestinian Right of Return. Ayalon implied that in refusing to recognize Israel as a "Jewish State" they were ignoring that "Judaism is not just a religion. It’s a culture, it’s a history, it’s values.”