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Why Israel didn’t win in Gaza

6 December 2012

Summary:  Yet another in the long series of wars between Israel and its neighbors.  The trend is not their friend.  Power is not enough, especially when outnumbered and surrounded. Our support for Israel might be enabling them to act boldly but suicidally. Here is a guest post by Adam Shatz explaining what happened in Gaza.

20121206-Israeli-Bombing

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Excerpt to “Why Israel Didn’t Win
By Adam Shatz in the London Review of Books
24 November 2012
Reprinted for a limited time with their generous permission.
Go to the LRB website to read the full article.

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The ceasefire agreed by Israel and Hamas in Cairo after 8 days of fighting is merely a pause in the Israel-Palestine conflict. It promises to ease movement at all border crossings with the Gaza Strip, but will not lift the blockade. It requires Israel to end its assault on the Strip, and Palestinian militants to stop firing rockets at southern Israel, but it leaves Gaza as miserable as ever: according to a recent UN report, the Strip will be ‘uninhabitable’ by 2020.

And this is to speak only of Gaza. How easily one is made to forget that Gaza is only a part – a very brutalised part – of the ‘future Palestinian state’ that once seemed inevitable, and which now seems to exist mainly in the lullabies of Western peace processors. None of the core issues of the Israel-Palestine conflict – the Occupation, borders, water rights, repatriation and compensation of refugees – is addressed by this agreement.

The fighting will erupt again, because Hamas will come under continued pressure from its members and from other militant factions, and because Israel has never needed much pretext to go to war.

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Partners in oppression of Gaza

  • In 1982, it broke its ceasefire with Arafat’s PLO and invaded Lebanon, citing the attempted assassination of its ambassador to London, even though the attack was the work of Arafat’s sworn enemy, the Iraqi agent Abu Nidal.
  • In 1996, during a period of relative calm, it assassinated Hamas’s bomb-maker Yahya Ayyash, the ‘Engineer’, leading Hamas to strike back with a wave of suicide attacks in Israeli cities.
  • When, a year later, Hamas proposed a 30-year hudna, or truce, Binyamin Netanyahu dispatched a team of Mossad agents to poison the Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Amman; under pressure from Jordan and the US, Israel was forced to provide the antidote, and Meshaal is now the head of Hamas’s political bureau – and an ally of Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi.

Operation Pillar of Defence, Israel’s latest war, began just as Hamas was cobbling together an agreement for a long-term ceasefire. Its military commander, Ahmed al-Jabari, was assassinated only hours after he reviewed the draft proposal. Netanyahu and his defence minister, Ehud Barak, could have had a ceasefire – probably on more favourable terms – without the deaths of more than 160 Palestinians and 5 Israelis, but then they would have missed a chance to test their new missile defence shield, Iron Dome, whose performance was Israel’s main success in the war.

They would also have missed a chance to remind the people of Gaza of their weakness in the face of Israeli military might.  …

{ Go to “Why Israel Didn’t Win” at the LRB website to read the full text of this important article. }

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About the Author

Adam Shatz is a contributing editor at the LRB and reports from the Middle East for the paper.

Shatz is the editor of Prophets Outcast: A Century of Dissident Jewish Writing About Zionism and Israel (Nation Books). He edited Lingua Franca’s book reviews, was literary editor of The Nation, and has reported from Lebanon and Algeria for the New York Review of Books.  Shatz has contributed numerous articles on politics, music and culture to The New York Yorker, the Village Voice, American Prospect and the New York Times.

His articles at the LRB. His articles at The Nation.

For More Information about Israel

  1. The Fate of Israel, 28 July 2006
  2. The War Nerd shows how simple 4GW theory can be, 22 January 2009
  3. Are Israel’s leaders insane?  Jeffrey Goldberg thinks so., 15 August 2010
  4. We can only watch as the nation of Israel slowly commits suicide, 30 November 2011
  5. Israel leads America on a march to war.  A march to folly., 16 February 2012
  6. Preparing for the Evacuation of Israel, 6 March 2012
  7. Israel becomes its enemy, 20 November 2012

Attack, retaliation, retaliation — the dead accumulate

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By Ted Rall, 3 June 2004

By Ted Rall, 3 June 2004

Ted Rall’s cartoons are available here.

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54 Comments leave one →
  1. Tuvia Temujin permalink
    6 December 2012 4:43 am

    “Our support for Israel might be enabling them to act boldly but suicidally.”

    So true. By continuing conflict they are weakening themselves–however slowly–diplomatically and internally.

    Like

  2. 6 December 2012 5:37 am

    Terrific article. Learned a few new things in this one.

    Israel is in serious trouble and giving print space to a person like Gilad Sharon (with his patholoigical mind set) is very telling. After the Election of Hamas and the repudiation and unrecognition thereof by the USA, if one looked at the demographics of Israel versus the surrounding countries one could see the inevitability of the engulfing of a solely jewish State.

    The reconfigurations in the ME must be alarming for anyone trying to predict or plan. Just tonight on “Charlie Rose” former Sec of Def, Robt Gates said he openly opposed the air assault on Lybia and the unpredictability of the ME was a major reason for his resignation.

    Breton

    Like

  3. Matt D. permalink
    6 December 2012 11:14 am

    An interesting but strategically shallow article. The recent happenings in Gaza are mere theater– the real action right now is the coordinated Western effort to destroy Iranian power in the region, through blockade and targeting of allied governments. These efforts, too, might ultimately prove futile–but it is important to recognize that it is with these efforts that Israel’s hopes of long-term viability lie.

    Exactly what happens with Gaza is of almost no long-term strategic consequence. As long as there is no militarily competent hostile power in the region, Israel will be able to keep most its colonies in the West Bank and throw Gaza to the Egyptians as part of an eventual settlement. With Iran gone, all that will remain will be the petro-monarchies, fierce allies of the United States; and Egypt, which, even post-Mubarak, is far from hostile, and more importantly, whose military is joined at the hip with the United States DoD.

    It is particularly naive to think that a Syria overrun by quarrelling sectarian Jihadi groups would be a greater short or medium-term strategic threat to Israel than Assad. These groups are currently being managed by the Gulf petro-monarchy intelligence services, fierce US allies, as mentioned previously. In the near term they would have no other possible source of support other than Egypt, which, as also mentioned, is not exactly hostile. Any attempts by these Jihadi groups to form an independent agenda could be easily snuffed out by turning the different groups against eachother.

    It is certainly possible that Israel could face more random attacks on Golan as a result of a rise in anarchy, but such attacks, doing little damage and coming from groups which are highly vulnerable to counter-attack, are easily endured and easily countered.

    I would say the only short- or medium-term danger from the current strategic trajectory of the Western alliance in the middle east is that they are TOO successful in eliminating Iranian power, to the point that Sunni sectarians no longer feel threatened. But I doubt the dominant actors will allow this to happen.

    Now, in the LONG term, is it a wise strategy to sow chaos and misery throughout the region? That’s anybody’s guess. It seems to be a rather effective strategy for dissipating threats in the short term, but if Israel is unable to capitalize on its advantage to eliminate the root causes of its vulnerability, all the anarchy and injustice could eventually provide the right conditions for the emergence of an even greater threat. But for the near to medium term, the Israeli/US strategy appears, at the very least, to be consistent with its stated aims.

    Like

    • 6 December 2012 1:39 pm

      (1) “An interesting but strategically shallow article. The recent happenings in Gaza are mere theater – the real action right now is …”

      I too often get this response in the form of You wrote about X, but it’s shallow because Y is more important. That doesn’t make sense to me. Each component of the situation deserves attention. The internet is a series of small essays, not the definitive book about everything.

      (2) “the real action right now is the coordinated Western effort to destroy Iranian power in the region”

      Agreed, that’s the center ring. That’s why the FM website has 85 posts about this: see them listed here.

      (3) “through blockade and targeting of allied governments. These efforts, too, might ultimately prove futile – but it is important to recognize that it is with these efforts that Israel’s hopes of long-term viability lie.”

      I disagree totally. Isreal is surrounded by people whom it has spent generations turning from enemies into blood foes. The transition of Arab governments to more representative structures is a far greater danger than the growth of Iranian power. Israel is making a strategic error on a massive scale.

      (4) “The recent happenings in Gaza are mere theater … Exactly what happens with Gaza is of almost no long-term strategic consequence.”

      Palestine has real people in it, being oppressed with our support. I don’t understand your dismissal of this problem. So what if it has no strategic consequences? That’s a myopic perspective thru which to see the world.

      Like

    • Matt D. permalink
      6 December 2012 1:56 pm

      That a grand democratization has taken place in the middle east and that it is a threat to Israel is an oft-repeated idea, and one I must admit I don’t much understand. The only “democratic” sprouting worth mentioning has been in Egypt– Tunisia’s relevance to Israel is close to zero. The Gulf Arab states remain stable and fiercely allied with the United States. Egypt “post-spring” maintains close ties with the United States. Importantly, there has been no upheaval in its military. The majority of its military equipment and the education and training of its entire officer corps has been provided by the United States.

      There has been a marked rise in free expression of opinion by people who claim to hate Israel but also support the overthrow of Assad. In other words, gullible, powerless, irrelevant people.

      I agree that Israel’s tactics may in the very long run prove to be disastrously counter-productive, but in the near-term the spring doesn’t really look so bad for them.

      Like

    • 6 December 2012 2:03 pm

      (1) “That a grand democratization has taken place in the middle east”

      Agreed, I too read these exaggerated stories in the news media. But events of the past year suggest that these regimes are changing to more representative systems, as the people mobilize. Still early days, however.

      (2) “and that it is a threat to Israel is an oft-repeated idea”

      Because there is overwhelming evidence that it is true. Egypt is center-stage for this. Its alliance with Israel has little popular support, and seems likely to weaken in a more representative regime.

      Like

    • Matt D. permalink
      6 December 2012 2:18 pm

      Let me modify that comment– I don’t want to dismiss people who are both anti-Israel and anti-Assad as “weak, gullible, irrelevant”. People may indeed have very good reasons for these opinions. The important thing is, I think, that in Egypt’s new democracy there is a lot of diversity of opinion which gives an organized, well-prepared actor with strong intelligence services alot of material to work with. At the very least, they can support opposition parties and media sources, for example.

      Like

    • 6 December 2012 3:48 pm

      Matt,

      I don’t understand that comment, at all. Can you restate it?

      “I don’t want to dismiss people who are both anti-Israel and anti-Assad as “weak, gullible, irrelevant”.”
      Wow. Glad to hear that!

      “People may indeed have very good reasons for these opinions.”
      Glad you agree.

      “that in Egypt’s new democracy there is a lot of diversity of opinion which gives an organized, well-prepared actor with strong intelligence services alot of material to work with.”
      ????

      Like

    • Matt D. permalink
      6 December 2012 2:25 pm

      I’m curious– if Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel is eventually abrogated, what’s the worst that Israel could expect? Is it possible that Egypt would actually invade?

      Like

    • 6 December 2012 3:43 pm

      “If Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel is eventually abrogated, what’s the worst that Israel could expect? Is it possible that Egypt would actually invade?

      It’s not always about guns. In fact, international affairs are seldom about guns (at least for nations other than the US).

      Egypt is in many ways the center of the Arab region, and the Middle East. It’s could become a strong leader of anti-Israel agitation in both the region and the world. Nobody invaded South Africa, yet external pressure had an effect.

      Like

    • guest permalink
      6 December 2012 5:32 pm

      “It’s not always about guns.”

      Precisely. Behind the scenes, little discussed in the mainstream press, relations between Israel and Egypt have become much less smooth than they used to be under Mubarak.

      The disagreements on security in the Sinai is one side of the story (Israel would like Egypt to do more to secure that region, and so does Egypt, but sending Egyptian military personnel there risks violating the peace agreement). The disagreements on natural gas is another (Egypt wants to get a better price for the gas it exports to Israel — apart from all the frictions regarding the gas fields offshore from Gaza).

      Things are moving.

      Like

    • Matt D. permalink
      6 December 2012 6:45 pm

      Fabius: My comment refers to the vulnerability of representative democracy to manipulation, especially by actors with money to spend. Perhaps Israel would have preferred to keep a friendly dictator in Egypt, but a representative democracy still leaves them with a wealth of strategic options.

      The Iranian electorate, in general, probably has a very negative opinion of Israel. Yet only a few years ago a “green revolution” supported by Western dollars and advice nearly swept the current revolutionary-guard-aligned regime out of power, in what would have been an enormous strategic coup for Israel.

      Having a negative opinion of Israel did not stop Iranian citizens from taking actions which supported Israel’s strategic interests. And it was the presence and actions of undemocratic power structures in Iran which enabled the regime there to survive the coup attempt.

      As far as the pressure could be brought to bear on Israel by the regional players left standing once Iranian power is, hypothetically, crippled, I am curious. What could they really do? An economic blockade? Israel previously survived decades of a total economic blockade from its neighbors with few if any ill effects.

      As long as Israel has extensive trade ties with the West and the backing of a super-power navy, I think they have little to fear on this front.

      If small-scale attacks by non-state actors increase along Israel’s borders, then this should be a threat that Israel can easily manage. They’ve had decades of practice. Plus, without Iran, where would these groups get funds, guns, and training?

      South Africa was brought to heel not by pressure from its neighbors, but by sanctions imposed by Western nations. And we know that won’t happen to Israel as long as the US remains an ally…

      Like

    • 6 December 2012 9:43 pm

      Matt,

      (1) Can you site supporting material that the Egyptian protests were substantially supported by western governments? US support was late and weak; no surprise given the strong ties of US elites to the regime.

      Some talk in front of the cameras does not, IMO, qualify. In fact, the effects of such things are minimal IMO — despite the belief of Americans that our leaders’ words are taken very seriously by the world’s peoples.

      (2) The most significant effect of more anti-Israel regimes in the Middle East would be, IMO, to push non-ME governments to turn against Israel. Especially if, eventually, to sanctions.

      Israel has successfully ignored many of the rules of the modern international system — such as violations, far smaller than Iran’s, regarding nukes. That will work until it doesn’t, and that day might come sooner than most people (here and there) expect.

      Like

    • 6 December 2012 10:57 pm

      Matt,

      My apologies! That was a reading FAIL on my part. You clearly said “Iranian” and I thought “Egyptian”.

      Like

    • guest permalink
      6 December 2012 7:45 pm

      “South Africa was brought to heel not by pressure from its neighbors, but by sanctions imposed by Western nations.”

      Well, there was another important, albeit often forgotten factor: South Africa’s military was quietly beaten — by the combined Cuban/Angolan forces during the conflict in Angola and its spill-overs in Namibia. Seeing its well-equipped, trained and aggressive military getting bogged down and punched back must have contributed significantly to change the strategic calculations of the South African regime.

      Like

    • 6 December 2012 9:37 pm

      Guest,

      That’s an interesting point! Can anyone provide any cites about the significance of South Africa’s military defeats in the end of their white ruled State?

      Like

    • Matt D. permalink
      6 December 2012 10:49 pm

      Fabius: I don’t know whether Western government supported protests in Egypt. The example I cited was for Iran. I thought it was an uncontested fact that the US provided support to the ill-fated “green revolution” in Iran. If this point is, in fact, contested, then I will withdraw the example. There are sufficient other examples of US money and intelligence assets being used to encourage certain election outcomes and/or other political shifts in target countries– a brief survey of Latin America in the last few decades should yield enough examples about which there is no doubt.

      Like

    • 6 December 2012 11:05 pm

      Matt,

      Also — your point about US ability to influence elections is, of course, a valid one. But it’s expensive. Also, I don’t know the success rate — or the failure rate (when discovered, helps the other side). There’s probably research on this, but I know nothing about it.

      Guessing, I doubt the US has had much success with such ops during the past 30 years. These games might have grown more difficult, much like counterinsurgency warfare (by foreigners).

      Interference by Israel in Middle Eastern elections would be even more problematic, as the local blowback from discovery might be severe. Perhaps terminal for the political figures taking Israeli money. Just guessing…

      Like

    • guest permalink
      7 December 2012 12:04 am

      “Can anyone provide any cites about the significance of South Africa’s military defeats in the end of their white ruled State?”

      There is a Master’s thesis written on the topic, with references to other work (you can fetch it from Google’s cache, the PDF seems no longer directly accessible): South Africa’s Intervention in Angola: Before Cuito Cuanavale and Thereafter, Bernice Labuschagne, Stellenbosch University, 2009.

      Otherwise, there is a shorter article here: “Conflicting Versions: Cuba, The United States And Angola“, Piero Gleijeses (John Hopkins U).

      It is a specialized topic, more the matter for historians. And as it is a fairly recent event, most archives are still sealed.

      The short-term consequence of the military defeat of South Africa was the independence of Namibia — controlled by South Africa and a minority white population, following a model similar to SA or Rhodesia, and the coming to power of an African guerrilla organization (SWAPO). The writing was on the wall for the Apartheid: it could not even keep its glacis.

      If I had to hazard a guess, I would say that a similar event would have to take place — a relatively quick, indisputable military defeat of a significant scale, larger even than the last setback in Lebanon or the attrition that preceded it — before Israel changes its policy towards the Palestinians and its neighbors in general. Hypothetical sanctions, boycotts organized by NGOs and diplomatic condemnation will not be enough, just like with South Africa.

      Like

    • 7 December 2012 1:53 am

      Wow. Great material! Thanks!

      Like

    • 11 December 2012 1:26 am

      South Africa wasted a great deal of money producing nuclear weapons (with Israel proliferating much of the nuclear technology apparently in return for the South Africans helping them do a few secret tests of neutron bombs) – so one thing we can note from South Africa’s experience is that having a nuclear deterrent doesn’t work very well if you’re fighting brush-wars. The money and effort spent was probably not critical and maybe not even significant, but it probably was an unhelpful distraction and it may have also hardened high-level opinions (among those cleared to know what SA was up to) against the state.

      Like

  4. 6 December 2012 2:02 pm

    FM: “I disagree totally. Isreal is surrounded by people whom it has spent generations turning from enemies into blood foes. The transition of Arab governments to more representative structures is a far greater danger than the growth of Iranian power. Israel is making a strategic error on a massive scale.”

    Exactly. We sit on our little Island here and strive diligently to ignore the world. Even within Israel itself there is a change afoot. No longer can the Powers there count on a tacit approval of the old Guard. To sum it up and avoid listing all the problems for an Israel, I would offer that it should come as no surprise that a People who go around telling anyone who will listen anymore (and fewer and fewer do listen) that you and you alone are the special people of a God, are having a hard time making friends.

    And friends do matter. Not just one who sends guns and $$$. Go build more settlements? Brilliant,

    Breton

    Like

  5. David S permalink
    6 December 2012 8:30 pm

    Is FM real or a bad joke
    An insightful and open minded Turkish journalist writes truths that would never appear on the FM website http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/is-hamas-real-or-a-bad-joke.aspx?pageID=449&nID=36108&NewsCatID=398

    Like

    • 6 December 2012 9:35 pm

      No need to read opinion page on the Hurriyet Daily News. You can find such apologies for Israel — and condemnation of Hamas — almost every week in the US papers. it’s consensus opinion in the US. That alone disqualifies it from mention here; even long-standing themes here are usually dropped when discovered by the mainstream news media.

      What one doesn’t see in this article — or in the typical US news media — are descriptions of Israel’s violent measure to steal the Palenstinians’ land and prevent them from obtaining self-government. This perpetuates and expands the now multi-generational war in that area.

      This kind of foolish cheerleading — must massive US military and financial support — encourages Israel in its high-risk expansion. It’s part of the increasing American esteem for force, that has come to dominate our grand strategy.

      We can only guess about the future, but I doubt this will end well for Israel. Probably not for the US, either.

      Like

  6. Matt D. permalink
    7 December 2012 2:46 pm

    A couple of notes on foreign manipulation of democratic elections:

    On the possibility of “backlash” in case of discovery:

    “Backlash” in the sense of legal consequences is usually not possible in a truly open and democratic political system. In Cuba the solution is simple– lock them up. But in an open society, if a group wants to accept “civil society promotion” funds from the US State Department, and then freely express whatever views and promote whatever positions they want, what is the legal basis for sanctioning them?

    This is why there have been moves in some places, such as Russia, to pass laws sanctioning the acceptance of foreign funds by these groups. These laws have, of course, been condemned by human rights organizations.

    “Backlash” in the sense of a loss of popularity is a complex issue. In every nation around the world there is a certain segment of the population, which often includes aspiring business leaders, who think that their country would be much better off if it aligned itself politically and economically with the dominant hegemonic power. This makes them receptive to proposals which would increase this political and economic alignment, regardless of where they come from or who funds them. Such people are likely to view the fact that the State Department is providing “civil society development” funds to groups within their country as a very positive thing.

    ..

    So, as you can see, “discovery”, which has been present in all of the cases of such meddling of which I am aware, does not lead in such a straight-forward way to “backlash”. It’s more a matter of who can spin their story more persuasively, and the underlying relative strength of the “globalist” and the “nationalist” political currents in the country.

    Tactics matter, too– the only effective counter to mass street protests is mass counter-protests. After this, control of judicial and security resources also plays a role.

    Chavez’s saga in Venezuela is very instructive. Everyone knows that the opposition is massively funded by the United States, but for the large portion (20-40%) who would really like to see him replaced by a more conservative, Washington-friendly figure, this poses absolutely no problem for them. And Chavez, for all his autocratic tendencies, continues to allow these US-funded groups to operate, election after election, to maintain the principle of free speech. So far, he keeps winning anyway, but the last election was close.

    Like

    • 11 December 2012 1:30 am

      Chavez, for all his autocratic tendencies, continues to allow these US-funded groups to operate, election after election, to maintain the principle of free speech.

      Why not, as long as they don’t win? They’re just costing the US money and keeping the opposition busy. If they look like they actually do win, we might see an entirely different side of Mr Chavez.

      Like

  7. Thomas More permalink
    8 December 2012 1:00 am

    Short answer: because Israel tried to fight and win a 4GW war. In 4GW, the only winning move is not to play.

    Like

    • 8 December 2012 1:33 am

      Awesome answer! And bonus points for the pop culture reference.

      Like

    • 11 December 2012 1:33 am

      This reminds me vaguely of a lesson I learned in my dojo back in 1976… One of the other brown belts was talking with our sensei about the best way to block a roundhouse sweep-kick from a very very fast opponent – jump over it, retreat, something else, and sensei replied, “the best way to block some attacks, is to have left town on the bus the night before.”

      Like

  8. Persian permalink
    8 December 2012 4:27 pm

    FM: “Palestine has real people in it, being oppressed with our support. I don’t understand your dismissal of this problem. So what if it has no strategic consequences? That’s a myopic perspective thru which to see the world.”

    Ahhh..the pinings of a day dreaming leftist! The Shah (bless his wisdom and curse his faults) from his exile said it best…the Unholy Alliance of the Red and Black. Israel has lived and prospered for 63 years. It will live and prosper another 63 years while Fake Palestine never was and never will be.

    Matt D said it best…Gaza is just a theatre. This is a fight between Iran and Saudi Arabia and their two sponsors. Hamas just switched sides from Iran to Saudi Arabia. The rest is all theatre and you Fabius Maximus are either naive or a day dreamer!

    Like

    • 8 December 2012 4:57 pm

      Persian,

      Can you explain your comment? It’s just cheerleading, a statement of your faith. No reference to logic or data.

      It’s called jingoism. A commonplace in history, leading many nations to folly — and sometimes to destruction.

      Like

    • 11 December 2012 1:35 am

      Wait, “Palestine” is a fake country, but Iran is not? Oh, really?

      Like

  9. Persian permalink
    8 December 2012 8:23 pm

    FM: “Can you explain your comment? It’s just cheerleading, a statement of your faith. No reference to logic or data.”

    Like all elitist leftists you don’t KNOW and don’t UNDERSTAND anything but the fantasy lala land you in live in. It should have sufficed that I quoted the Shah of Iran. Even if you don’t know why he said it you could have at least researched it.

    “It’s called jingoism. A commonplace in history, leading many nations to folly — and sometimes to destruction.”

    This applies to your naive and utterly incorrect above article (if one could call it that)

    The thing about the internet is that it has now gotten to the point that anyone (specifically leftists) can write anything they want on any subject without having an iota of KNOWLEDGE or UNDERSTANDING about that subject in the hope that if a fake narrative is told ENOUGH times then ENOUGH people will believe it and then it’ll become truth.

    But as an aside I find it most appropriate NOW to tell you that Winston Churchill’s famous quote: “If at 20 you’re not a Liberal then you don’t have a heart but if at 40 you’re not a conservative then you don’t have a BRAIN” sums you up!

    Like

    • 8 December 2012 8:31 pm

      Persian,

      Thanks. I was curious if you could explain with data and logic. Your reply is a rant, showing that the answer is “no.”

      Like

  10. Persian permalink
    8 December 2012 10:15 pm

    I defer here to Winston Churchill! As for the name you have chosen for yourself, Fabius Maximus, he was known as the DICTATOR was he not? How appropriate!

    Like

    • 8 December 2012 11:11 pm

      Debugging rants is a waste of time, as ranters are usually uninterested in fact or logic. Persian’s comments contain too many errors to count. However here’s a quick note about two points.

      (1) The quote he gives is not by Churchill. For a full description see Nice Guys Finish Seventh: False Phrases, Spurious Sayings, and Familiar Misquotations by Ralph Keyes, 1992. Peter Rutland gives a summary [Washington Post, 25 May 2001]:

      Charles Krauthammer [op-ed, May 25] quotes Winston Churchill as saying, “If you’re not a liberal when you’re 20, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative when you’re 40, you have no head.” This quotation is frequently but mistakenly attributed to Churchill. It is anyway unlikely that Churchill would subscribe to this philosophy: He was a swashbuckling soldier at 20, and a Conservative member of Parliament at 25. A couple of years later he switched to the Liberal Party, and later went back to the Conservatives.

      The phrase originated with Francois Guisot (1787-1874): “Not to be a republican at 20 is proof of want of heart; to be one at 30 is proof of want of head.”

      This explanation is also given on the “Misquotations” page of Wikiquote.

      (2) Persian’s description of my politics — and that of the FM website as a whole — is equally defective. For evidence see Politics of the FM site: radical leftist reformer or right-wing iconoclast?.

      Like

    • 8 December 2012 11:16 pm

      Additional note about Persian’s misattributed quote. The Yale Book of Quotations says that John Adams said something similar.

      “A boy of 15 who is not a democrat is good for nothing, and he is no better who is a democrat at 20.”
      — Recorded in January 1799 by Thomas Jefferson in his journal as told to him by Dr Ewen.

      Like

  11. Persian permalink
    8 December 2012 11:32 pm

    Well, well, well….so you are capable of googling??? erm…researching?:)

    and later went back to the Conservatives.

    That’s exactly when he said it what I said he said! As for your political views you refer to other people’s OPNIONS of your views as fact…how convenient!

    If you’re going to claim that Israel didn’t win the war in Gaza why don’t you first preface it with facts that it was a war and not as theatre (so well described by Matt D) and then you really should do some more “research” as to the quote: “The Unholy Alliance of the Red and Black” so you would understand that red=left and black=islam…also anyone who bothered to research would know that Hamas was Saudi funded, founded and backed then switched to Iran and some months ago with the visit of the Qataris switched to Saudi again having left Syria (iran backed) etc etc etc…I mean really Mr. Dictator a little honesty would go a long way don’t you think? So you hate America and Israel and Jews…why hide it? It’s very fashionable today to hate America+Israel+Jews…why hide it?

    It’s crystal clear that you are a Leftist Elitist and you hooked up with Islamists in revenge for having your “Golden Cage” that was Soviet Socialism destroyed.

    Just be honest and let’s move on to the next “RANT” by another Leftist America-Jew Hater and be done with it:)

    Like

    • 9 December 2012 12:09 am

      “Well, well, well….so you are capable of googling???”

      It’s better than ignorance.

      Like

    • Matt D. permalink
      9 December 2012 12:19 am

      Leave me out this, Persian. If you had something worthwhile to say you would focus on saying it instead of taunting your host.

      Like

  12. Persian permalink
    9 December 2012 12:40 am

    I’m not taunting him Matt D. Truly not. FM runs a web site in which he writes his opinions. Anyone who disagrees with him (not out of venom but out of the need for some truth on the internet) has to meet a higher standard of “logic and facts” as if one can copy and paste pages out of secret CIA files:)…he’s written that due to a long history of starting wars and then agreeing to cease fires that this is proof of Israel losing the war over time. As if wars in the ME are like WWii in which the bad guys in the black hats lost and the good guys in white hats won. FM sits somewhere not in the ME and starts these threads not having been on the streets of Tehran “LIVING” a FAKE REVOLUTION and not being in either Gaza or Israel witnessing the “Bringing In From The Cold” of an enemy,,,he then asks for facts and logic as if he’s a college professor and everyone has to write a term paper listing all their references…when you say theatre I understand what you mean..he should at least take the trouble to experience the subject matter he starts a thread on.

    Like

    • 11 December 2012 1:38 am

      Anyone who disagrees with him

      The art of disagreeing with someone is more complicated than simply unzipping and urinating on his shoes.

      Like

  13. Persian permalink
    9 December 2012 12:43 am

    Here’s an exapmple of the Unholy Alliance of the Red and Black:….HRW: Iran’s statements not incitement to genocide….
    Human Right Watch leader refuses to label calls to erase Israel; compares mullah’s remarks to those of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.
    WASHINGTON – The head of the powerful New York-based Human Rights Watch refused to label as genocide Iranian calls to obliterate the Jewish state and compared Iran’s mullah leadership to the Shas party.

    The Wall Street Journal’s David Feith, as assistant editorial features editor with the paper, obtained internal HRW emails and published last week a report, headlined “Dancing around genocide,” about alleged HRW bias against Israel and an internecine conflict within HRW’s top leadership about the group’s head, Ken Roth, and his failure to take Iran’s calls to destroy Israel seriously.

    The WSJ reported that Sid Sheinberg, HRW’s vice chairman, wrote in an email, “Sitting still while Iran claims a ‘justification to kill all Jews and annihilate Israel’ is… a position unworthy of our great organization.”

    According to the newspaper, Roth wrote in one email, “Many of [Iran’s] statements are certainly reprehensible, but they are not incitement to genocide. No one has acted on them.”

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stated that “Israel must be wiped off the map,” while former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has openly contemplated firing a nuclear missile at Tel Aviv.

    Roth told the WSJ that, although a committee may look into Iran’s anti-Israel rhetoric, he believes the country is not inciting genocide against the Jewish state. Instead, he argued, the push to label Tehran’s calls for Israel’s destruction as genocidal is “part of an effort to beat the war drums against Iran.”

    In an email to The Jersualem Post on Saturday, Prof. Gerald M.

    Steinberg, the head of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, wrote, “This is a blatant example of Roth’s indifference to genocidal threats and human rights abuses when these target Israel.”

    “Roth, who has controlled Human Rights Watch since 1996, has consistently demonstrated a obsession with attacking the Jewish state, and the people he selected to lead HRW’s Middle East and North Africa division are also infected with this deep bias,” Steinberg wrote.

    “While Gaddafi was ranting against the Zionists, HRW embraced the regime as ‘human rights reformers.’ HRW’s studied silence in the face of Iran’s genocidal threats further demonstrates this organization’s moral bankruptcy.”

    Steinberg added that “George Soros, who now provides HRW with most of its budget after many donors withdrew support, shares responsibility for enabling such immoral behavior under the facade of human rights.”

    The Journal report noted that “while Hamas started indiscriminate rocket attacks against Israeli towns a decade ago, Human Rights Watch took years to issue a report. From 2000 to 2010, it published about as many reports condemning Israel as criticizing the tyrannies in Syria, Libya and Iran combined. In 2009, the group’s top Middle East official went fundraising in Saudi Arabia – that human rights paragon – where she spoke proudly of her disputes with ‘pro-Israel presure groups.’” The online Jewish magazine Tablet obtained a separate set of emails, in which Roth compared Shas’s Rabbi Ovadia Yosef with Iranian leaders.

    According to Tablet, Roth wrote, “Would you suggest that Human Rights Watch denounce these statements as incitement to genocide? If not, what is the difference between these statements and the ones by Iranian leaders that you consider incitement to genocide? After all, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s statements are arguably more direct than those made by Iranian leaders, and Israel, unlike Iran, has the means to carry them out.”

    In addition to the controversy surrounding HRW’s position on Iran’s extremist rhetoric toward Israel’s existence, the human rights organization has been embroiled in scandals over the years for failing to track and combat Iran’s lethal homophobia.

    During a wave of persecution against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community that included the presumed hanging of gay Iranian youths, Scott Long, the disgraced former head of HRW’s LGBT division, did not document the murders and repression in a systematic report. Afterwards, he sparred with critics charging him with severe incompetence.

    The online publication Queerty wrote an article titled, “Disgraced Human Rights Watch director Scott Long Quits,” about Long’s departure in 2010. HRW claimed that he left the organization for personal and health-related reasons. It is unclear if the HRW fired him.

    British gay activist Peter Tatchell recently won a complaint case against Long in late November. According to Tatchell’s website, “the UK publisher Routledge has issued a public apology to Peter Tatchell for 20 ‘misrepresentations and distortions’ and ‘inaccurate allegations’ made by the former Human Rights Watch program director, Scott Long.”

    Routledge withdraw an academic paper by Long due to his shoddy scholastic work in connection with Iran’s LGBT community and his attacks on Tatchell, who slammed Long during his tenure at HRW for failing to combat LGBT persecution in the Islamic Republic.

    Like

    • 11 December 2012 1:43 am

      So is your argument that, because HRW who are not FM, did not report an issue fairly, and you take FM to be aligned with their agenda (in broad left/right terms) therefore FM is wrong?

      You’ve gone and used quite a bit of straw constructing that mannequin, and appear to have given it a sound thrashing, but I don’t see anyone else here talking about HRW. It’s certainly an effective-looking method of argumentation to roast red herrings, but only at a very surface level.

      Like

  14. Comment received by email permalink
    9 December 2012 1:48 pm

    How about the Muslim Brotherhood/radical Islam as a topic not yet prorperly recognized as such by the mainsteam media and also curiously absent from all discussion on the FM site, in sharp contrast to Israel’s totally unrestrained and unprovoked villainy, which seems to be a pet topic of the site. Why has the MB not made it to the O of FM’s OODA loop? Is the MB using sophisticated stealth technology or are there just some subjective blindspots in the FM radar?

    Like

  15. DavidS permalink
    9 December 2012 5:30 pm

    If I need to buy a newspaper, maybe FM needs to read a newspaper? The Muslim Brotherhood has received largely favorable coverage as moderate Muslims or even as Islamic democrats. The world is just now awakening to their true colors.

    a. Case in point, FM obviously doesn’t read the NY Times whose slanted anti-Israel coverage is well documented. Admittedly they are not as biased as the FM webisite, where I have not seen a single
    uncritical word for Israel or minimal attempt at balance when discussing the Arab-Israeli conflict.

    b. I think I’ll pass on the tip jar for now, not really interested in seeing more unbalanced and often unfair slams of Israel. (Oops the Jews are using their influence to buy the media, but for such a smart race you must admit they are rather unsuccessful at this, particularly, but not just, outside the
    USA.)

    c. If these are FM’s best 3 articles on the subject, I shudder to read the rest. FM like many others makes a fundamental distinction between Al-Qaeda/jihadists and groups like the Brotherhood, blissfully unaware that they share the same worldview and only differ in tactics and strategy. Of course when they act badly, there is also the “Jews poisened the wells/killed Christ” justification to which FM is a big adherent as amply demonstrated form this direct quote in his article on Kepel’s book “According to Kepel, the failure of the Oslo peace process to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict encouraged fundamental reappraisals by both U.S. neoconservatives and Islamist militants.”

    Like

    • 9 December 2012 5:56 pm

      “there is also the “Jews poisened the wells/killed Christ” justification to which FM is a big adherent as amply demonstrated form this direct quote in his article on Kepel’s book”

      That review was not written by me. As quite clearly indicated, it was from the April 2005 issue of the Marine Corps Gazette. Write them about their “‘Jews poisened the wells/killed Christ’ justification”, as you apparently consider them a hotbed of pro-jihadist supporters.

      Your comment is over the top insane. Good-bye, you are banned here.

      Like

    • Matt D. permalink
      9 December 2012 8:15 pm

      …and regardless, the quoted review comes nowhere close to saying any such thing.

      Like

    • 11 December 2012 1:54 am

      minimal attempt at balance when discussing the Arab-Israeli conflict.

      Calls for “balance” in coverage work well on FOX News, where the coverage is supposedly both “fair” and “balanced” – but only a fool would look for “balanced” coverage of an unbalanced situation. For example, I tend to focus on casualty counts. It’s hard to cover them in a “balanced” manner when the killing is so lopsided.

      I get bored when people focus on the stereotypical and simplistic left/right divide. For example I’m generally anti-violence. A horrible dictator with bad taste in uniforms who doesn’t kill people is better than a democratic government(*) that does. In other words, I support the people of Afghanistan in doing whatever they need to do to get the US invaders to go home – even if that means wounds or deaths for my neighbors who chose to become gears in the big green machine. Does that make me a “lefty” or a “right-winger” in your world?

      Like with FOX NEWS when I hear cries for “balanced coverage” what I usually interpret that to mean is a whine saying, “agree with me!” that isn’t accompanied with any good reason for that agreement. What you’re saying is not that the coverage here is un-thoughtful but rather that you would prefer to have it all go your way. Who is the real dyed-in-the-wool ideologue, in this situation?

      (* or a high quality fake)

      Like

  16. Burke G Sheppard permalink
    9 December 2012 8:10 pm

    I wonder to what extent the Israeli decision not to undertake a ground campaign in Gaza was rooted in the realization that there was simply no compelling need to do so. The rocket bombardment never amounted to more than a dangerous nuisance. It was never an existential threat. The Iron Dome system, while far from a perfect defense, at least provided enough protection that a ground war was seen as not necessary or worth the candle. There’s no particular reason for the Israelis to worry about the bizarre obsessions of European diplomats or the Obama Administration, but neither is there a good reason to fight Hamas block by block and street by street and room by room through Gaza.

    Like

    • Matt D. permalink
      9 December 2012 8:21 pm

      Well, I think they do need to worry about the Obama administration’s position, right? Because they need the US veto in the Security Council. Fortunately for them, Obama, like any American president, has limited flexibility with his position, but it would still be possible for Israel to do something which would cross the line even with the Americans.

      Like

    • 9 December 2012 8:43 pm

      “but it would still be possible for Israel to do something which would cross the line even with the Americans.”

      No doubt that’s true, but where is that line? In this election candidates for Congress in both parties came close to swearing allegiance to Israel.

      Like

    • 11 December 2012 1:58 am

      I wonder to what extent the Israeli reluctance to undertake a ground campaign in Gaza was because they would have been out of coverage of their Iron Dome system and those old Grad rockets can be fired effectively at support range. I wouldn’t want to commit troops to advancing on any position where an enemy might treat me to close-up rocket fire where my only alternative would be to completely flatten my targets with preparatory fire. The Israelis would have had to either commit some exceptionally public and nasty atrocities or run the risk of suffering some surprise casualties.

      Like

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