Summary: Just as the West’s endemic antisemitism has infected other nations in the Middle East (or exacerbated it), Israel acts out the West’s standard imperialist scripts on the Palestinians. Take the natives’ land, oppress them, and their violent reaction justifies repeating the cycle. In Israel today, as in the many previous times in Western history, it’s done with righteousness. and indiscriminate violence.
“The Most Dangerous Moment in Gaza“, Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic, 1 August 2014 — “What happens if this conflict comes off the rails?” Excerpt:
There is near-unanimity in Israel already that Hamas represents an unbearable threat. Add in the perfidy of a raid conducted after a ceasefire went into effect and near-unanimity becomes total unanimity. The most interesting article I’ve read in the past 24 hours is an interview with the Israeli novelist Amos Oz, the father of his country’s peace-and-compromise movement, who opened the interview with Deutsche Welle in this manner:
Amoz Oz: I would like to begin the interview in a very unusual way: by presenting one or two questions to your readers and listeners. May I do that?
Deutsche Welle: Go ahead!
Question 1: What would you do if your neighbor across the street sits down on the balcony, puts his little boy on his lap and starts shooting machine gun fire into your nursery?
Question 2: What would you do if your neighbor across the street digs a tunnel from his nursery to your nursery in order to blow up your home or in order to kidnap your family?
With these two questions I pass the interview to you.
The point is, if Amos Oz, a severe critic of his country’s policies toward the Palestinians, sounds no different on the subject of the Hamas threat than the right-most ministers in Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing cabinet, then there will be a national consensus that it is not enough to manage the Hamas rocket-and-tunnel threat, but that it must be eliminated if at all possible.
This is the typical madness of imperialism. Let’s look at from different perspectives.
First, consider Oz’s question. If I shoot my neighbor it is simple self-defense. But that’s not an analogy with Gaza, which require that I use heavy weapons to destroy his entire apartment building — or the entire city block. By Oz’s analogy, I’d be guilty of mass murder. How odd that neither Oz or Goldberg see this.
Second, consider how Israel’s actions since the Six Day War resemble the typical Western imperial script. As in America’s dealings with the Native Americans. We steal their land and oppress them. When they strike back violently, we reply back in kind with righteous fury a hundred-fold, indiscriminately attacking men, women, and children. Their barbarism justifies the theft of still more land, and so another cycle. We — and Israel — get both the land and belief in our rectitude.
And so the AP reports children in Israel chanting “There’s no school tomorrow, there’s no children left in Gaza.” An op-ed at The Times of Israel website writes “When Genocide is Permissible” (see Gawker for the story).
Update, another advocacy of genocide: “1 Samuel 15:18“, op-ed by Irwin E. Blank (bio here), at The Times of Israel, 1 August 2014. Note the “clarification” he wrote later, denying the plain sense of his text.
Update about Facebook post by Moshe Feiglin, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset:
- “Israeli official calls for concentration camps in Gaza and ‘the conquest of the entire Gaza Strip, and annihilation of all fighting forces and their supporters’“, Daily Mail, 4 August 2014
- “Knesset member: Retake Gaza, put civilians in ‘tent camps’“, Times of Israel, 4 August 2014 — “Moshe Feiglin says Gazans should be given ‘generous’ incentives to relocate after all fighters and ‘their supporters’ killed”
- “Israel-Gaza conflict: Right-wing Israeli politician calls for Gazans to be ’concentrated in camps’ – and then all resistance ‘exterminated’“, The Independent, 5 August 2014
Israel tries the old ways. However successful today, I doubt it will end well for them.
Humans are a rationalizing animal. Everyone tells his story in a way that justifies his actions. Only empathy and justice can bring peace, with justice brought by force applied by the world community. Obviously we’re far from that world. And none can see the way to it.
And the tears flow on forever
Southward in silent ranks
They flow to the Jordan River
And overrun the banks.
— Heinrich Heine’s Rabbi of Bacharach (1840)
For More Information
The artwork “We steal your stuff” is by Posterchild, from DeviantART, posted with his open authorization.
(a) Interesting recent articles about Israel:
- “How Hamas Won: Israel’s Tactical Success and Strategic Failure“, Ariel Ilan Roth, Foreign Affairs, 20 July 2014
- “Wounded Knee 1890 – Gaza 2014. Manifest Destiny in the United States and Israel“, by WP at Sic Semper Tyrannis, 24 July 2014
- “Stop the rockets, but lift the siege“, The Economist, 26 July 2014 — “Any ceasefire will be temporary unless Israel starts negotiating seriously with the Palestinians”
- “Israel’s fears are real, but this Gaza war is utterly self-defeating“, Jonathan Freedland, op-ed in the Guardian, 26 July 2014 — “Palestinians and Israelis are saddled with leaders who with every move make their people less, not more, secure.”
- Essential history of Gaza, background to the fighting: “Israel mows the lawn“, Mouin Rabbani (senior fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies), NY Review of Books, 31 July 2013
“Palestine: The Hatred and the Hope“, David Shulman (Prof Humanistic Studies, U of Jerusalem ), NY Review of Books, 2 August 2014 — “Since the Gaza war began, an unprecedented wave of blood lust and racist violence has raged within Israel. Yet there are also hopeful developments in the pro-peace demonstrations.”
- “Hamas’s Chances“, Nathan Thrall (senior analyst, International Crisis Group), London Review of Books, 21 August 2014 — Clear, incisive analysis of the origin and possible outcome of the current conflict in Gaza.
(b) Posts on the FM site about Israel:
- The War Nerd shows how simple 4GW theory can be, 22 January 2009
- Are Israel’s leaders insane? Jeffrey Goldberg thinks so., 15 August 2010
- We can only watch as the nation of Israel slowly commits suicide, 30 November 2011
- Israel leads America on a march to war. A march to folly., 16 February 2012
- Preparing for the Evacuation of Israel, 6 March 2012
- Israel becomes its enemy, 20 November 2012
- Why Israel didn’t win in Gaza, 6 December 2012
- Important: The Fate of Israel, 28 July 2014
38 thoughts on “Israel learned from its patron the art of righteous theft and killing”
Palestinians are not native to the “land.”
The word “native”, like most words in our large but imprecise language, has multiple meanings. I use the word in the second sense of the two listed below. With “original” in the sense used by “European travelers”: who was there when they arrived there.
Tom you are going to have to do better than repeat the usual Israeli propaganda about there being no Palestinians there. It’s so obviously a lie and there is far too much evidence that it is a lie.
Actually, the Palestinians are more “native” to the area than are the Israelis.
Nearly all of the original founders/settlers of Israel (that is, before its establishment in 1948) came from Europe, which was where their ancestors had been living for countless generations.
On the other hand, the ancestors of the vast majority of Palestinians were born and lived in the lands (that Israel now occupies) for countless generations.
Yes. In one sense it’s one of the odder defenses for Israel’s land grabs in the East Bank. On the other, it’s a logic extension of the logic that led to the establishment of Israel in the first place.
This is why we have war. People take what they want when the have the power to do so, despite the people standing in the way. Rationalizations follow.
I have been marveling at the increasing madness of the Israeli cause and the amazing number of supporters it has here in the US. People who have been speaking with growing doubt about our endless wars immediately start describing the current incursion as a good or a necessary war.
Let me respond to Amos Oz for a moment. The fact that my house is heavily armored and my neighbor is a remarkably bad shot gives me far more options than your analogy indicates. The first and biggest one is that I would involve other forces such as the police or my neighbors. The fact that you have not indicates:
a) You made a bad choice in moving to the neighborhood (neighbors you can live with are very important to consideration when moving into a region)
b) You’ve further poisoned relations with your neighbors. This is fatal to your ability to continue to exist here
Then I’d probably find out what my neighbor wanted. Perhaps he is tired of my blockade around his house that keeps his family constantly in starvation and the continual bullying of his children by my spoiled wayward children.
If I could not deal with his demands (and what does that say both of us?) I would consider moving or forcing my neighbor to move. The fact that you really can’t get any support from your neighbors reinforces the theory that you are currently in an untenable position.
Undoubtedly you will point out that my country has had a long history of aggression. This is true, and we are finally beginning to learn our lesson and stop attacking because it only makes things worse in 4th gen warfare. But we had the advantage of distance, you do not.
I’m getting tired of this dance, let’s cut to the quick, Amos Oz: the Palestinians are an expensive nuisance that will never stop attacking you while they exist. Especially if you continue to treat them so badly. Since you’ve reduced all of your options to blood and iron, when are you going to take the last step and KILL ALL OF THEM? Because your only two options now are leaving (which doesn’t seem to work for you) and genocide. Everything else is prelude to your flight/exterminate decision.
You formed your country in response to being victims of genocide. When are you finally going to commit the crime yourself? Your current actions are creating unrest among the Palestinians that will not die down in less than a generation of peace, and this is your third bloody incursion in the last 10 years. Peace is no longer an option, only extermination or flight. WHICH WILL YOU CHOOSE?
History is patiently but very insistently waiting for your answer and will not be denied.
Merits aside, I don’t understand why Hamas shells Israel with rockets. They serve no military purpose and give Israel a pretext for its actions.
I see no viable strategy for the Palestinians unless they link up with the Muslim Brotherhood, various Islamist factions in Libya, Syria, ISIS, or the like.
In particular, I see no way in which they can maneuver or trade space for time while occupying Israel / Palestine at the same time.
This is grim, unpalatable, highly objectionable. I am cynical about the remarkable difficulty Israel’s supporters, such as Mr. Oz, constantly have with the settlements and related topics. They always need to be reminded of them. As if they did not know.
But the essence of guerrilla warfare is “He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day.”
The rockets provoke an overreaction. The guys in the ‘open air prison’ fire a few rockets, Israelis bomb a few UN schools, and it’s the strong fighting the weak. Chairman Mao worked this all out, really, it’s standard 4th generation warfare stuff.
The ‘Hamas rockets as the greater evil’ still plays on Fox News, but much of the rest of the world isn’t buying it. If it wasn’t rockets, anyway, what does it matter? There so many Angry oppressed Arabs, every now and then someone is going to snap. There will always be some incident to build up to justify killing.
And not ISIS or the Taliban or any of the standard bogeymen, it’s South America that’s first to crack.
“Bolivian President Evo Morales on Wednesday labeled Israel a “terrorist state” and announced that Israelis need visas to visit, the latest in a series of measures Latin American countries have leveled against Israel for the violence in the Gaza Strip.”
I’ve read Chairman Mao – I recall lots of stuff about inferior forces retreating and avoiding direct confrontations with superior forces – but I missed the section about firing rockets and having the strong beat up the weak.
I was specifically thinking about the Long March and suggesting the Palestinians think in those terms.
Here’s a Maoist document of the type I was thinking about. There are lots more:
“Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung
ON THE TEMPORARY ABANDONMENT OF YENAN AND THE DEFENCE OF THE SHENSI-KANSU-NINGSIA BORDER REGION ”
Considering how the Palestinians could win using 4GW is an interesting exercise. But in fact their leaders have been and are fools (a commonplace of history).
Mao might tell them “it’s not that I think your methods are unsound. I don’t see any method.”
Yeah, that’s a good site. I was thinking more of this.
” I hold that it is bad as far as we are concerned if a person, a political party, an army or a school is not attacked by the enemy, for in that case it would definitely mean that we have sunk to the level of the enemy. It is good if we are attacked by the enemy, since it proves that we have drawn a clear line of demarcation between the enemy and ourselves. It is still better if the enemy attacks us wildly and paints us as utterly black and without a single virtue; it demonstrates that we have not only drawn a clear line of demarcation between the enemy and ourselves but achieved a great deal in our work. ”
Best chances for Palestinians is not military victory, but for Israel to become ‘South-Africa.’ South Americans pulling their diplomats, etc., it’s not just Bolivia, it’s quite a few — Israel is not South Africa yet, but it’s going that way. This does matter.
I believe Mao would consider the Palestinian leaders to be fools. By “being attacked” he doesn’t mean “slaughtered to no tactical or strategic gain”.
I don’t see that the Palestinians have any vision of what they want to achieve or how, given realities, they might possibly get there.
The transformation of the MidEast and North Africa into networked patterns suggests they should consider not a two state but rather a non-state solution. These networks, BTW, doubtlessly will penetrate into Europe.
Meanwhile, Israel remains a threatened, at least partially paranoid and agresslive, but nuclear armed state backed by a United States that is, itself, growing increasingly arbitrary and irrational.
“I don’t see that the Palestinians have any vision of what they want to achieve or how, given realities, they might possibly get there.”
It’s a common response in history — by losers. Bouts of senseless indiscriminate violence between periods of apathy. That’s another similarity of current Middle East with our conquest of the Native American tribes.
“Merits aside, I don’t understand why Hamas shells Israel with rockets. They serve no military purpose and give Israel a pretext for its actions.”
Hamas rockets serve two purposes [Hamas perspective]: first they tell Israel “we are still here, and your past and future attacks/blockade didn’t/won’t change this”. Second, it provides some level of deterrence against Israel: “If there were no rockets, Israel would have gone too far…” – [I highly doubt the second one, it is already way too far…]
Currently, Hamas does have a “strategy”, which is : “wait; wait for an ‘authentic power’ to rise in the Arab world -[most likely Egypt]- that will obliterate Israel one day, but don’t lose more land while waiting”. for this, they are willing to accept what they call a temporary state within the 1967 border, and the easiest way to achieve this – as PLO’s negotiations keep failing- is [Hamas perspective] armed resistance. – [one might argue that this is more like a wishful thinking than a strategy…]
FM’s analysis is so detached from reality that it would be laughable if the situation were not so sad.
1. Regarding the Israeli military’s use of force, the Palestinian Health Ministry has reported about 1,320 civilian fatalities (using a grossly overstated 80% civilian casualty rate), while the IAF has flown about 4,300 sorties over Gaza. This works out to about 0.31 civilian casualties per sortie (the real number is much much lower, because we are ignoring IDF ground fire and drone strikes, not to mention the numerous Gazan civilians killed by Hamas rocket misfires). The conclusion is either the IAF is totally incompetent or else that it is indeed trying its best to avoid civilian casualties. A respected military analyst believes it is the latter.
2. Despite what FM writes, Israel has demonstrated a willingness to trade land for peace with its Arab neighbors numerous times including the 1979 withdrawal from Sinai, the 1993 Oslo accords transferring lands in the West Bank and Gaza to the Palestinian Authority, the 2000 Camp David peace offer of over 90% withdrawal, the 2005 Gazan disengagement and evacuation of Israeli settlements including 4 in the northern West bank. and the 2007 Olmert peace proposal of about 95% of the West Bank. Polls show that a large majority of Israelis would support a 2 state agreement that provided for real peace and security for both sides.
3. The examples of Israeli racism taken from AP and the Gawker reflect the views of such a very tiny, totally unrepresentative minority of Israelis that FM could only have selected them to intentionally malign the character of Israel. There is not a single country in the world, where one could not find equally repugnant extremist views on myriad topics, as FM well knows from his analysis of contemporary American thought.
4. It is incredible that FM could discuss the unfortunate violence in Gaza without once mentioning
Hamas, the radical terrorist group behind the rocket fire at Israel, the construction of terror tunnels
across the border and the use of Gazan civilians as human shields. I suggest that FM read the Hamas Covenant as a first step towards educating himself on this topic.
The essential aspect of the situation is that Israel has expanded its borders since the Six Day War. This is their long-standing policy, over several changes of administration since then. All else follows from that choice.
You can dance and smile to your heart’s content, but taking land creates war. Assigning responsibility for what follows in war, parsing the vague rules, running scores — all these have proven themselves a fool’s game for centuries.
Cheer your team and watch the bad guys blood flow. Mourn the “inevitable” deaths of children. Just ecuse those of us who don’t join in your horrific game.
It probably will not end well for Israel. That’s not a moral verdict of nature, Nature’s God, or some similar intangible being. Just the workings of the cold equations of strategy, who are different to our cares or values. Multiplying enemies while alienating allies is bad strategy, which no material or tactical superiority can overcome.
“The conclusion is either the IAF is totally incompetent or else that it is indeed trying its best to avoid civilian casualties.”
Hammering the law of the excluded middle is such an obvious, worn out rhetorical trick that I am amazed it is still used.
There are of course other explanations, the most obvious one being that the aim of the IAF is to destroy Gaza infrastructure (civilian or not) utterly. In other words, turn Gaza into rubble and ashes — casualties being only a side-effect, not the objective.
There is a steady discussion in the background about the famous huge gas fields offshore Gaza, which Israel is very much intent on capturing for its own benefit. The problem: as long as the Palestinians, especially Hamas, formally control Gaza, there is no way that Israel can legally move on to capture that hydrocarbon bonanza.
Hence the plan:
1) Bomb and destroy everything.
2) Without houses, schools, hospitals or utilities, life becomes unbearable and Palestinians will leave Gaza.
3) Those who will stay will revolt against Hamas and bring a pliable PLO stooge who will readily sign a leonine agreement with Israel about the gas fields.
4) If Palestinians prove incorrigible recalcitrants, then, after the 4th, 5th, 6th pacification operation, declare that a radical solution is needed, hence invade Gaza, deport most of its population to the West Bank, and then annex the strip to Israel.
5) Then Gaza is Israeli territory — so profit!
And we are back to stealing the land of the natives.
80% of wars are explained by a fight for resources. In the West Bank it is about land and water. In Gaza, there was so far nothing to fight for — until now. This fits nicely in the picture of the numerous tensions and outright conflicts around large oil and gas producing or prospective regions (Iraq, Libya, South Sudan, Darfur, Yemen, Syria, Iran, Senkaku islands, South China sea) or transit regions (Afghanistan, Ukraine) during the past decade.
It’s interesting to attempt reconstruction the motives of the various participants in this tragedy. It will give future historians fodder for thousands of dissertations. As all appear to be firmly rooted in irrationality, my guess is that full understanding will remain beyond our grasp until a new psychology and a new sociology extends it boundaries to cover a wider range of life than they do now.
RP3: “It is incredible that FM could discuss the unfortunate violence in Gaza without once mentioning Hamas, the radical terrorist group behind the rocket fire at Israel, the construction of terror tunnels across the border and the use of Gazan civilians as human shields. ”
FM: “The essential aspect of the situation is that Israel has expanded its borders since the Six Day War. This is their long-standing policy, over several changes of administration since then. All else follows from that choice.”.
Yes, what more is there to add? They expanded the borders and kept expanding the settlements and now some of the Palestinians want to kill Israelis. That’s sad isn’t it? I do feel sorry for the Israelis. Self-inflicted pain hurts just as badly.
RP3 acts like a troll; of course he’s wrong (if RP3 says it’s raining, look out the window to confirm). The very opening section:
The post is only~500 words long.
FM’s response to my comment is totally vacuous as he does not address any of my 4 points of criticism/
Here’s an easy test, RP3. Can support your words, or are you just making stuff up?
“There is not a single country in the world, where one could not find equally repugnant extremist views on myriad topics, as FM well knows from his analysis of contemporary American thought.”
Give us an example from the USA during the past 20 years (a generation) of something similar to the 2 (now 3) examples I cited. Especially an op-ed or editorial from the major media equivalent to the Times of Israel clearly advocating mass killing (aka “genocide” in the vernacular, although not in the literal sense).
It’s an ancient legal test. Falsus in unum, falsus in omnibus.
Another advocacy of genocide
“1 Samuel 15:18“, op-ed by Irwin E. Blank (bio here), at The Times of Israel, 1 August 2014. Note the “clarification” he wrote later, denying the plain sense of his text.
Interesting incisive analysis:
“Palestine: The Hatred and the Hope“, David Shulman, NY Review of Books, 2 August 2014 — “Since the Gaza war began, an unprecedented wave of blood lust and racist violence has raged within Israel. Yet there are also hopeful developments in the pro-peace demonstrations.”
David Shulman is the Renee Lang Professor of Humanistic Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an activist in Ta’ayush, Arab-Jewish Partnership. His latest book is More Than Real: A History of the Imagination in South India. (May 2014)
Excellent analysis of the origin and possible outcome of the current conflict in Gaza.
“Hamas’s Chances“, Nathan Thrall, London Review of Books, 21 August 2014
Nathan Thrall is a senior analyst with the Middle East and North Africa Programme of the International Crisis Group.
FM, fyi the Times of Israel is far far from a major media publication in Israel. It was founded in 2012 and is an online newspaper which does not even have a Hebrew edition, which in case you are unaware is the primary language in Israel. It should also be noted that the editors did remove the offensive post because it contradicted its editorial policy. So enough with putting up straw men, you will not find a major mainstream media publication in Israel advocating genocide. So, until then, I do not have to search for a genocidal post in a major US media publication. My point stands, there are racist hate groups all over in the world. In Gaza, one called Hamas actually runs the place. Now that we have clarified that, maybe you would care to respond to my other 3 points.
The referred article is perhaps the most lucid dissection of the motives, strengths, weaknesses and political calculations of the parties involved in the conflict that I have ever read so far.
Below is the Times of Israel’s disavowal of the genocidal blog post in question.
You looked like a troll, making provocative statements which you cannot support. Thank you for your reply that proves it. Nobody of sense feeds trolls (it’s a waste of time, like arguing with a drunk).
As for the Times’ statement — almost all Kinsey gaffes (statements of the unspeakable truth) are followed by “disavowals”. Only the gullible believe them. That there have been two such statements on the same day also validates their honesty.
Well FM. if you consider me as a troll, I regard you as the wonderful Wizard of Oz, who knows how to posture, pontificate and to repeat a few mantras, but is in reality just a charlatan behind a screen. It is certainly easier for you to call me a troll than to respond to my valid points of criticism
of what is (imho) your seriously flawed and distorted analysis. but who am I to question the all knowing, all seeing Oz?
“if you consider me as a troll”
You act like a troll, which I show by evidence. Your reply is that of a troll: insults.
I feel sorry for you, and for all trolls. What a sad way to spend your scarce hours on this world. I use to ban trolls, but then realized it’s not worth the effort.
Follow, follow, follow the yellow brick road! What is not worth the effort is your futile attempt to analyze the Gaza situation. Why not take up basket weaving, instead?
Trolls insult instead of using logic and evidence. That’s what makes them trolls. That’s why we feel sorry for them.
This time, Gaza fighting is ‘proxy war’ for entire Mideast
“While Hamas’ rocket attacks and Israel’s military actions may look familiar, they’re taking place against a whole new backdrop.
“This is unprecedented in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict,” says CNN’s Ali Younes, an analyst who has covered the region for decades. “Most Arab states are actively supporting Israel against the Palestinians — and not even shy about it or doing it discreetly.”
It’s a “joint Arab-Israeli war consisting of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia against other Arabs — the Palestinians as represented by Hamas.””
“”The Israel-Hamas conflict has laid bare the new divides of the Middle East,” says Danielle Pletka, vice president of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. “It’s no longer the Muslims against the Jews. Now it’s the extremists — the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah, and their backers Iran, Qatar and Turkey — against Israel and the more moderate Muslims including Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.””
Late entry here. FM, you might find this interesting re Israel.
“America’s Deep State: Foreign Agents, Lobbyists, Corporations, Military-Intel“, John Stanton, op-ed in the Sri Landa Guardian, 3 August 2014.
John Stanton is a Virginia based writer.
Anyone who doesn’t realize Israeli is a terrorist state really isn’t paying attention. They have been ever since the founders of the state blew up the King David Hotel in order to murder British soldiers.
I only realized it after two tours in Beirut in the 80’s while in the Marines. We know the Israelis assisted the Christian forces there in murdering hundreds of defenseless Palestinian women, children and old me at Sabra and Shatila.
The Israelis referred to the Palestinians as “cockroaches” among other things. I told an Israeli office isn’t that what the Nazi’s called Jews?
A lot of Marines changed their opinions about the Israelis after witnessing what they did there including keeping Palestinians in open air camps with minimal food and water and firing indiscriminately into Palestinian refugee camps. This is after the Palestinian fighters were evacuated to other countries.
To their credit there were demonstrations in Israel against this barbarity. Where are the demonstrators now?
About a disturbing Facebook post by Moshe Feiglin, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset: