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December 27, 2008

Annapolis: Bush's 'Peace In Our Time'

By: Bernard Chazelle

When, in a movie, you see a gun on a table, you can be sure someone will be shot within the next hour. Likewise, when yesterday Israel allowed 90 trucks into Gaza to deliver humanitarian assistance, you knew an attack was imminent.

Gaza has been under supertight siege for the last 2 months (not to be confused with the tight siege since Jan. 2006). It's an open-air prison with 1.5 million inmates denied food and medicine. Inexplicably, Hamas chose not to renew its 6-month truce with Israel. (What part of the word "starvation" could those terrorists possibly dislike?) It's been raining bombs over Sderot ever since and it can't be much fun living there: 9 Israelis have been killed since 2005; on the other hand, 1,400 Gazans have been killed by Israeli forces.

Bombing Gaza is Israel's version of "Yes We Can!" It's electoral politics by other means. (There's a big election in a month.) If Lebanon '06 is any indication, this may end up badly. A ground invasion will be resisted at all costs by Israel (too dangerous), but, without it, rockets from Gaza are unlikely to be stopped. So, then, what? The US is in no position to do anything: Condi no doubt sees birth pangs again, somewhere, and Obama is windsurfing; Bush is on his victory tour; and Hillary? She's learned not to kiss wives of terrorists and won't soon forget that lesson. Plus the US does't not talk to Hamas, anyway. The EU, as usual, talks, and that's pretty much all it does. Maybe UN soldiers from the Fiji Islands can help...? Except that the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has been missing and it's only a matter of time before his picture appears on milk cartons at your local supermarket. Tony Blair flies to the region once a month; no one knows why.

Israel's "policy" (if that's the word) is clear: Peace with Syria; Gaza is Egypt's problem; and the West Bank is Jordan's. This means a Two-State Solution is dead. Its funeral is taking so long it even has a name: Peace Process.

People call me a pessimist regarding the Middle East. I should really try to snap out of that. I mean, what's the matter with me?

— Bernard Chazelle

Posted at December 27, 2008 05:04 PM

Which brand of War Criminals do the Israelis want to be when they grow up? Serbs, Afrikans, US? Maybe a little bit of each.
Oh well.

Posted by: Richard S at December 27, 2008 06:00 PM

If there is a word that can describe sadness and hopelesness more than "HEARTBREAKING", I would use it NOW. What is happening in Gaza is beyond description. Does suffering EVER END for some people? I do not know anymore.

Posted by: Rupa Shah at December 27, 2008 06:02 PM

Info for readers in Chicago, with your permission Prof Chazelle...

"Emergency Protest"
What: Protest Israel's Massacre of Palestinians in Gaza
When: Sunday, December 28, 12-2pm
Where: Water Tower Park 830 N. Michigan (Michigan and Pearson)
Sponsored by: American Friends Service Committee, Jewish Voices for Peace, Arab Jewish Partnership for Peace and Justice in the Middle East, American Arab Anti Discrimination-Chicago Chapter, Arab American Action Network

Thank you in anticipation of your participation!

Posted by: Rupa Shah at December 27, 2008 06:45 PM

“The US is in no position to do anything”

Actually we send something like 3 Billion dollars a year to Israel so in that light we could stop funding the Israeli military. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to say the U.S. doesn’t want to do anything but is perfectly happy to see Israel cause more unrest and to create more violence, after all, it is exactly what the U.S. government likes to do. It’s the same old same old. First you incite your target to commit violence then you use that as an excuse to commit genocide. Of course the other possibility is that governments are made up of indoctrinated morons. I just read that Obama had no comment on the 200 deaths of Palestinians. Perhaps he is just putting off a statement until he can come up with something appropriately awful. Israel has already stolen almost all of the Palestinian land and wiping out Gaza is the finishing touch. And of course this must have the war profiteers in weapon sales nirvana for what could be better for sales than seeing the entire Middle East go up in flames?

Posted by: Rob Payne at December 27, 2008 07:45 PM

Rob Payne: EXACTLY! This IS genocide bought and paid for by U&I.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at December 27, 2008 07:52 PM

Pardon my typing skill ( I am always apologising).
It should read 'enough'

Posted by: Rupa Shah at December 27, 2008 08:28 PM

Rob: Forget about funding the IDF. The US could force Israel into peace tomorrow if it wanted. But that's about as likely as the US apologizing to the shoe-thrower for raping his country.

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at December 27, 2008 08:33 PM


Agreed, the U.S. could do something to stop the genocide against Palestinians if it wanted but it doesn’t want to and that’s the point I was trying to make. I was assuming that when you said the U.S wasn’t in a position to do anything you were referring to the hypocrisy of our criticizing any nation for violence against other nations. Of course hypocrisy has never stopped us in the past.

Apologizing for the rape of Iraq would take a certain amount of self-awareness which isn’t there. The official view of course is that the Iraq people need to take responsibility for themselves because we were just trying to help and it’s all their fault anyway. As for us taking responsibility for anything we do that’s just not in the national make-up. We live in a world of compartmentalized thinking and it’s just about impossible to break down those compartment walls. When we kill it’s for the common good but when “they” (anyone not of the West) kill it’s because they are inherently bad.

Posted by: Rob Payne at December 27, 2008 10:04 PM

3 billion a year to 'get rid' of a Palestinian Problem of 1.5 million, when it takes that much per month to OFF ONLY 1 million Iraqis. I feel some sort of investigation into the overpayments per carcass in Iraq. (watch the show if U think it can't happen, U PAID for the ticket.) I look forward to hearing "who could have known or forseen".

Posted by: Mike Meyer at December 27, 2008 10:20 PM

I must say I don't quite understand how this "supertight siege" thing works - what about Egypt? No siege, supertight or tight, would be possible without Egypt; maybe I don't understand something, but Egyptian government seems very much culpable. Why doesn't the public there excerpt some pressure?

Posted by: abb1 at December 27, 2008 10:25 PM

Abb1: Egypt is a non-democratic dictatorship, much like every other Arab country in the region. Why would you expect the population there to have any say about anything? The US funds Egypt's military with billions of dollars a year as well.

Posted by: Seth at December 27, 2008 10:44 PM

Some basic assumptions in the post are correct, but the time they are made is not.

No country can ignore being bombarded several weeks without doing something about it. The Egyptians had it right. They tried to extend the truce way before it expires. It didn't work for reasons that are not clear to me. We now see the results of the failure.

Killing 200 Hamas people may be defined as genocide only by people who count every person on earth as a unit while each Palestinian counts as a million units. Actually that is the essence of some views of some of the commenters. Palestinians Über Ales.

No, the US cannot force peace even if they wanted to by denying support; Israel can live well without it. Of course, the US can attack or threaten an attack on Israel, and I am sure the opposition to the Iraqi adventure will be for it, but I don't think that's the way to make peace, Halucust may be.

I also don't believe that there is a military solution to the Gaza problem, at the same time the Israeli government has to apply pressure in the form of pain on Hamas fundamentalists. That's what a democratic government does; tries to protect it people. Someone in the US may not like it; just wait until Mexico will want California and Arizona back and will bomb San Diego and Tucson.

It may all be very sad, and civilian on both side suffer (no I don't believe that comparing the number people killed on each side makes any sense and it is a bizarre measure in any event), but the EU, Russia and the UN could have done more and increase the chances to avoid this situation.

Posted by: koshem bos at December 27, 2008 10:55 PM

Seth, first of all Egypt is not quite a dictatorship, it's a country with the parliament, political parties, elections and so on. Movements and parties based on religion are banned, yes, but the Gaza blockade is not exactly a religious matter. It's true that they do rule by emergency decree most of the time, but still... This seems to be exactly the kind of a situation where the MB should be able to make a lot of troubles, yet you don't hear anything. I find it surprising.

Posted by: abb1 at December 27, 2008 11:14 PM

koshem bos: Nah, 200 isn't any where near a genocide, but then that's just 200 today. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? And with ALL THE YESTERDAYS, today's 230 makes a FAIR beginning, like the old radio dayz of Rowanda. I blame the slowdown on cheap foreign labor. I'm pretty sure them JOOOZ are non-union, that's why they only cost US 3 billion a year. The reason the "peace proccess" has taken so long is SOMEBODY has to take a siesta in the middle of the day on UNCLE SAM'S NICKLE.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at December 27, 2008 11:29 PM


I agree with Mike Meyer. No one said 200 was genocide. You seem to assume that the Israeli government wants peace, they do not. They want to get rid of the Palestinians completely and the way to do so is to incite the Palestinians to shoot rockets into what is now Israel, this gives them the excuse to do what they are doing now. The Israeli government has said that they will widen the war with Gaza and you can believe them when they say that. Israel has stolen at least 90 percent of the Palestinian land since 1946 and they won’t be happy until they have all of it under their control. That’s the way it is. This isn’t a war between two unreasonable peoples it is the complete destruction of Palestine by Israel. It is only the news media that presents the conflict the way you seem to see it.

Posted by: Rob Payne at December 28, 2008 12:31 AM

3billion a year, why Wachovia cost 25billion just this quarter alone. I wonder if the soldiers get minimum wage?

Posted by: Mike Meyer at December 28, 2008 12:56 AM

Rob: We agree.

abb1: The entire Egyptian take on Hamas is through the MB. Hence the intrinsigence. But there's something else, which is that Israel wants Gaza to be Egypt's responsibility. But Mubarak is a survivor (the common attribute of all Arab leaders) and he doesn't want anyone to replace him the way he replaced Sadat... hence the caginess. Hard to find words strong enough to describe how despicable those Arab leaders are.

koshem: You write "That's what a democratic government does; tries to protect it people" referring to Israel. Hamas is saying exactly the same thing about itself. They were democratically elected thanks, in no small part, to the US. If any Western government were in Hamas's shoes they would react with much greater violence. I don't offer this as justification. Only as indication that Hamas's actions are, by Western standards, entirely logical and trivial to understand. To call 2+2=4 something incomprehensible is the genius of the US media.

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at December 28, 2008 01:05 AM

What's the big deal here? Isn't 225 roughly the number of children who die of cholera every day in Mumbai?

I thought we always have to place each reported death in the context of all the other deaths that aren't being reported. Otherwise we are just dupes of the media.

Posted by: Seth at December 28, 2008 06:19 AM

Rob Payne (12:31 am)is right when he says Israel aims to destroy Palestine. The second half of that assessment, however, is missing: Palestine (at least Hamas and its supporters) aims to destroy Israel.
Problem for the left now is that Israelis are a lot better at destroying than the Palestinians.
So, now the left weeps for the Gazans. If the destructive shoe were on the other foot, real tears or the usual crocodile tears for the Jews?

Bernard's pessimism here is well earned. Two peoples want the same piece of (all of it) land. For themselves, not to share. Can't be done

Posted by: donescobar at December 28, 2008 10:54 AM

I feel a sense of revulsion when confronted by the images of these horrible Israeli atrocities.

The commission of these war crimes by Israel is consuming its own spirit and squandering the empathy of its supporters.

Liberal hand-wringing and platitudes are superfluous. Ultimately the Israeli people must stand up against the tyranny being performed by the criminals they have chosen to act in their name.

Posted by: Daniel at December 28, 2008 11:26 AM

I wondered how long it would take you to think of that 6:19 post, Seth. Bashing Bernard is the main thing here, obviously.

And actually, as I said in the other thread (and you mocked), we pay more attention to violent deaths than boring old deaths from malnutrition (of which there may be some in Gaza as well) in part because of how humans are. I honestly don't think this is a good thing, the way we humans are, but I don't know whether you agree, because you're making the point to dig at Bernard. The other reason (probably more important) we don't hear as much about starvation deaths is because they can often be blamed on capitalism or on our allies--you won't find many books on the Soviet Union that don't talk about communist-caused famines, but it's pretty common to find books on Indian history that say almost nothing about British-caused famines.

Which brings me back to Mumbai and Gaza. The difference in how the Palestinian deaths and the deaths in Mumbai will be treated in the US press, of course, is due entirely to who is doing the killing.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at December 28, 2008 11:37 AM


On the real vs. crocodile tears for Jews, the left, etc--

I can imagine an alternative universe not too drastically different from this one where Israel had lined up with, say, the Eastern bloc and where the US sided with the Palestinians for Cold War reasons. . And in this universe the mainstream politicians and most of the press would lionize the Palestinian "freedom fighters", Hamas and Islamic Jihad included, much as the Afghan resistance was lionized back in the 80's, and our government would be arming them and it would be the left, I think, that would be the lonely ones pointing out that suicide bombing is mass murder.

But anyway, in this universe the US has lined up with Israel and Israel has done the bulk of the murdering and oppressing, which doesn't change the fact that suicide bombing is mass murder.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at December 28, 2008 11:46 AM

And I often imagined what might have happened had Hitler sought Lebensraum by conquest without his war on the Jews. Who better as his Secretary of State than that smart Jewish kid from Fuerth with a PhD from Goettingen, Herr Doktor Heinrich Kissinger.
Political lineups are mostly far more arbitrary than those of the Arsenal or Chelsea football clubs. Follow the money or the pipelines.

Posted by: donescobar at December 28, 2008 12:14 PM

I quoted "9 Israelis have been killed since 2005; on the other hand, 1,400 Gazans have been killed by Israeli forces" on my blog, and now a reader is questioning it. Do you have a source handy?

Posted by: will shetterly at December 28, 2008 12:35 PM

Will Shetterly: You mean you quoted a blog on your blog and are being asked to back up your quotation? What a scandal!

Posted by: Seth at December 28, 2008 12:49 PM

You write that Israel has "done the bulk of the killing..."
Because they can, and because the Palestinians would like to also, but can't. As the Arab states would have liked to in 1967 ("the roads to Tel Aviv will be lined with Jewish skulls..."), but didn't get to.
It's a game of murder for land.
Some saw this coming as early as the late 1920s and through the 1930s (Jewish socialist labor types, whose writings are forgotten now).
Too late. Too much blood in the ground by now. Much like the Balkans, the "former Yugoslavia."
See Niall Ferguson in "The War of the World."
After decades of blood-spilling and hatred, what will it get? More of the same until either destruction of one side or total exhaustion of both. Homo sapiens, ha ha ha.

Posted by: donescobar at December 28, 2008 12:51 PM

Here's a link to the children killed by both sides since 2000:

Posted by: Susan at December 28, 2008 01:14 PM

Seth, I even linked back here, yet that didn't satisfy the reader. It's shocking, I tell you!

Susan, that page is devastating. Thank you for it.

Posted by: will shetterly at December 28, 2008 01:28 PM

The second half of that assessment, however, is missing: Palestine (at least Hamas and its supporters) aims to destroy Israel.

Don, I don't see any symmetry or even a potential for symmetry there. A bunch of peasants lived there, worked in their olive groves. Then Zionists came from Europe and did what they did. The fact that what's left of that peasant society wants Zionists to go away has no significance, it's a given.

Posted by: abb1 at December 28, 2008 02:37 PM

abb1: Those Zionists wear their welcome out EVERYWHERE they go, Europe, Russia, and now Israel. Why don't they go back to Miami, where they belong?

Posted by: Mike Meyer at December 28, 2008 02:58 PM

There is no symmetry, now, of military power.
There is one of desire, though.
It is the son of the old Arab desire and power, spoken and acted on in 1967 and 1973, to drive Israel into the sea.
After three defeats (with an almost-win in 1973), the Arabs have given up. Maybe for now, maybe permanently.
Save, maybe, the Persians. (Not so much the people, but a segment of the "leadership.")
And the Palestinians, who were left out in the cold as the Arab bloc-Israel relationship changed.
So, what have they got, other than the short stick from both sides. Stuck with the old dream, without the means to make it real.
Sending more than 1,200 missiles into Isreal (Jan-Dec 2008) and inviting bloody retaliation, hoping for help from their "friends."
Self-destructive strategy.
The Gazans should look to see what their cousins in the West Bank are doing. (Recent NYT article.)

Posted by: donescobar at December 28, 2008 03:11 PM

OR Israel could recognize Hamas as the lawfully ELECTED leaders that they are. Since when is "YOU ELECTED THE WRONG GUY" any sort of democracy. Jimmy Carter (as close to an "honest American politician" as YOU will ever find) said the election was square business.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at December 28, 2008 03:26 PM

"It is the son of the old Arab desire and power, spoken and acted on in 1967 and 1973, to drive Israel into the sea."

This old saw again? Not even Ezer Weizman believed that.

Posted by: Dennis Perrin at December 28, 2008 03:31 PM

Well, Dennis, explain:

1. The statements made by many Arab leaders in the months preceding the Six-Day War about the coming war being a "war of extinction" etc etc. Quoted and sourced in Michael Oren's "Six Days of War." Just having a bit of fun with those Holocaust-hysterical Jews?
2. Or, Egypt's "Operation Dawn," a preemptive strike at Israel that was just hours away from becoming operational.

Just psychological warfare or rhetoric? If so, stupid. Not in 1967, not with the Israeli population and mindset at that time.

Posted by: donescobar at December 28, 2008 03:50 PM

will: the link you asked for.

Btselem numbers

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at December 28, 2008 05:20 PM

Bernard, thanks. I'm usually more effusive when I thank someone, but those are grim numbers.

Posted by: will shetterly at December 28, 2008 06:16 PM

They want to get rid of the Palestinians completely and the way to do so is to incite the Palestinians to shoot rockets into what is now Israel, this gives them the excuse to do what they are doing now.

I wonder, if I was Palestinian, how I would feel about the guys who are being "incited" into firing those rockets into Israel. Rockets that aren't big enough to do any real damage, but are big enough to provide some "justification" for the Israeli attack.

Would I look at these Palestinian rocketmen the same way I look at our own, domestic hyper-nationalists, who love macho military gestures and don't care about the consequences? Probably.

Posted by: SteveB at December 28, 2008 10:29 PM


Who knows how one would feel, Israel has been starving the Palestinians for quite some time now, children are stunted from malnutrition, no medicine for the sick and dying. Imagine how you would feel if you had a loved one who was sick and who might die because of a lack of proper medicine. Major medical operations have been halted because of no electricity, the list goes on and on. I guess my point is we have no idea what it is like to live under such horrendous and brutal conditions. But I understand what you are saying and I’m sure there must be Palestinians who resent both Hamas and Israel. I have seen the comment in regards to this issue that a democratic government’s first job is to protect its citizens. Actually the first job of any government is to make sure that they stay in power and if that means causing the death of some of its citizens in order to stay in power they won’t blink at the death of their people. Collateral damage you know.

Posted by: Rob Payne at December 28, 2008 11:00 PM

Chris Floyd linked to an article in Haaretz which tells us that the Israel military had planned this attack against Gaza six months ago long before the cease-fire ended. In other words Israel was going to attack Gaza regardless. The truce was actually in place to give Israel time to prepare for this vicious attack against Gaza. This belies all the malarkey that a democratic government’s first job is to protect its citizens which Israel apologists are using to defend this murderous slaughter and genocide and yes it is genocide. Israel has been murdering Palestinians for more than half of a century. This is the endgame of the complete elimination of Palestine by Israel not a tit-for-tat war.

Long-term preparation, careful gathering of information, secret discussions, operational deception and the misleading of the public - all these stood behind the Israel Defense Forces "Cast Lead" operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, which began Saturday morning.

The disinformation effort, according to defense officials, took Hamas by surprise and served to significantly increase the number of its casualties in the strike.

Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas. According to the sources, Barak maintained that although the lull would allow Hamas to prepare for a showdown with Israel, the Israeli army needed time to prepare, as well.

Barak gave orders to carry out a comprehensive intelligence-gathering drive which sought to map out Hamas' security infrastructure, along with that of other militant organizations operating in the Strip.

Posted by: Rob Payne at December 28, 2008 11:31 PM

Again, I don't get the symmetry, even of desire. One side desires to return to the status quo that existed before the others arrived, uninvited. The other side wants to complete their project of depriving the native people of their rights and property.

The former is a legitimate kind of desire; for example, the UN GA often

...affirms once again its recognition of the legitimacy of the struggle of the peoples under colonial and alien domination to exercise their right to self-determination and independence by all the necessary means at their disposal.

The other desire, the desire to finalize the conquest, it doesn't seem legitimate to me at all; thus no symmetry.

How is the desire of the dentist from Minsk to remove the Palestinian farmer from Palestine is equal to the desire of the Palestinian farmer to remove this armed Minsk dentist from Palestine? It would've indeed been equal if it was happening in, say, Ecuador, but it's not happening in Ecuador, it's happening in Palestine. There is a very simple logic here, - or am I crazy?

Is there a lunatic in my head? Please, re- arrange me 'til I'm sane.

Posted by: abb1 at December 28, 2008 11:56 PM

Yes, there's a very simple logic. That's why it's the first priority of Israel boosters to try to obscure that simplicity and make the issue seem more complex than it is, or to make the positions seem symmetrical—even (especially) at a time like this, when Palestinians are dying by the hundreds under Israel's military assault.

They're the willing accomplices to Israel's crimes.

Posted by: John Caruso at December 29, 2008 12:16 AM

Here, this just popped up in my bloglines:

Posted by: abb1 at December 29, 2008 01:12 AM

I've been trying to think of an analogy to sort out my feelings about the rocket attacks on Israel, and this is the best I can do:

Imagine you're at a large, peaceful, anti-war protest, and one protester starts throwing rocks at the police. They're small rocks, and they don't do much damage to the cops, but they're just the pretext the cops were looking for, and so they wade into the crowd, enthusiastically swinging their clubs.

How would you feel about that one rock-thrower? Sure, the cops probably wanted to beat the crap out of a bunch of protesters anyway, but Mr. rock-thrower didn't help things, did he? In his defense, one could argue that peaceful protest wasn't accomplishing anything, but how much did his rock-throwing accomplish? Wouldn't you suspect that he was actually working with the cops?

I have absolutely no right to tell the Palestinians how to resist the occupation, and an occupied people have the right to use violence to resist their occupiers. Nevertheless, I think there's a useful distinction between effective violence - like that used by the Iraqi resistance - and ineffective violence, like the rocket attacks on Israel. If you're engaging in violence, but you don't have the ability to produce enough violence to actually accomplish anything, then what are you doing, other than collaborating with the people you claim to be resisting?

Posted by: SteveB at December 29, 2008 11:06 AM

John Caruso:
To you, but not to everybody, "the issue" is not all that simple. The roles played by the Jews/Zionists, Palestinians, Arab countries and Western powers--what each did, didn't do or what was done to them at different stages of this issue--these things matter.
To some uf us. And not all of us who see it that way are either "Israel boosters" or trying to obscure anything.
I'm no booster as well of the Jihad, but I can try to understand the complexities attached to the history and rage.
Not easy being both, Israel booster or apologist and Jihad justifier. But I'll stick to my complexities.

Posted by: donescobar at December 29, 2008 01:19 PM

BOTH SIDES are wrong, just try to convince that rocket man or that IDF pilot. Both sides seem to be in favor of some sort of genocide, look at who they elect of lead them. When one hires the homicidal, one IS going to find a few murders, see a few dead bodies. Begin and Arafat, both chronic bombthrowers, and this generation is no different, NOTHING has changed. NO-ONE can help such people, NO-ONE. If GOD can't make them love one another enough to live in peace, then U&I sure as hell can't.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at December 29, 2008 01:54 PM


"Well, Dennis, explain."

About '67? Ezer Weizman, the head of the IAF, said that the Six Day War was launched so that Israel could expand its borders, and "enjoy" the size and scale it eventually obtained. He and others, like Menachem Begin, said that the Arab states posed no serious threat to Israel, which is why Israel attacked when it did. This is common knowledge across the board, though Israeli apologists continually claim how "little" Israel was surrounded and about to be extinguished. The only tension before launching its attack to grab the West Bank, Gaza and Golan was awaiting the green light from the LBJ admin. Once they had that, it was off to the races.

The Yom Kippur war was fought on occupied land, and yes, Israel nearly lost that one, but had the support of the US to see it through. Sadat proposed negotiations in '71, which Israel rejected, leading to the '73 war. That close call laid the groundwork for Camp David, when Egypt was brought into the Western imperial camp, allowing Israel to focus on Lebanon and the Territories.

Posted by: Dennis Perrin at December 29, 2008 05:48 PM

There is quite a bit of disagreement among Israeli historians on this topic--see how differently Oren and Segev deal with the prelude to the war.
And as far as Weizman is concerned, there isn't "one" or "a" reason war is launched (very rarely).
If the Arab nations posed no threat to Israel:
1. How was it they came so close in '73, when their victory would have meant the end of Israel?
2. If they had no intention to destroy, why make statements like: "total war...aimed at Israel's destruction" (Nasser); "the liquidation of the Zionist existence" (Syria's chief of staff); "Our goal is clear-to wipe Israel off the face of the map" (Iraqi president)?
Many other factors--consider the years Egypt and Jordan, respectively, owned and ran Gaza and the West Bank. Look at how all the countries involved dealt with Palestinians, and what the Palestinians themselves might have wanted.
That there were and still are "Greater Israel" forces, however powerful or even in charge at times, only the ADL types might deny. But not everything that's happened in the Isr-Pal struggle can be attributed to them, including the Six Day War.

Posted by: donescobar at December 29, 2008 07:39 PM

And Saddam threatened to destroy the US.

Your point?

Posted by: Dennis Perrin at December 29, 2008 09:04 PM

Awww, not even funny.
You do know better. You read about the 1973 war.
Saddam had zilch. The Syrians had plenty.
Israel in May of 1967 wasn't the Israel in December of 2008.
You are smart and often on target. But on this topic...
I would never expect you not to be outraged by the Gaza carnage. But I would expect you not to slather that over another period and a different set of conditions and players.

Remember that splendid final passage in "The Magic Christian?" The look in people's eyes as they hunt for the store with the insane bargains that was on the corner of 82nd and Broadway just yesterday? Moved to new location. But where?
Seems to me that, sad to say, this is the look in the eyes of the new left, searching for The Great Villain of today. It ain't that simple.

Posted by: donescobar at December 29, 2008 10:58 PM

Concern trolling is getting tiresome.

Posted by: abb1 at December 29, 2008 11:55 PM

He's not concern trolling--I disagree with donescobar in some ways, but I think he's legitimately concerned that Israel not be portrayed as the only villain. I've read Avi Shlaim, Simha Flapan and a few others and like everyone here, know that Israel has not been the innocent victim searching for peace partners--rather, they've been trying to take as much land as they could and then get the rest of the world to accept this. But it's also true that they've been lucky in some of their enemies from a PR standpoint and some of the Arab leaders have come out with bloodthirsty statements (which are all the more stupid since they couldn't back them up anyway).

Posted by: Donald Johnson at December 30, 2008 08:25 AM

Thank you, Donald. Last comment:
1.Temporary remorse propelled White Men of Europe/USA to "give" the Jews a piece of land without concern for people on it in 1847-48 and during 100 years before.
2. Jews in DP camps of Europe at that time were not wanted bt anyone. Answer: give them Austria or a piece of Poland, Prussia. Punish their tormentors. But hey, that's us. Let the swarthy Arabs deal with them. Herzl's dream--out of Europe by all means--should have been reevalutated. Understood, but not necessarily accepted as the given solution to the Judenfrage.
3. What was done was done. Could it have gone other ways? That's where the roles of Nasser and Co. come in. Maybe. Israel years ago had a big "Peace Now" movement. But as we know, the better forces in most countries rarely win over the ruthless and campassionless ones. Not just in Israel.
4. Resolved: not to comment on this subject again. But wanted to point out --what Donald said, plus--Israel in 1966 was not the Israel it has become today. And many participated in this "becoming." And, finally, talking about Israel without understanding Jewish history in Europe--the mindset and permanent sliver of fear or uncertainty it planted in the mind of just about every Jew--is foolish.
Auden, one more time, "those to whom evil is done do evil to others."
So, onward to other topics.

Posted by: donescobar at December 30, 2008 10:28 AM

Well, I don't think you should shut up on the subject--it's not even like you disagree very much with most of the people here, or anyway not with me. I think there's a bit of a kneejerk reaction at lefty sites to anything that could be perceived as a defense of Israel, even if it's only to point out that Israeli leaders aren't the only bad guys over there.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at December 30, 2008 03:13 PM

And, finally, talking about Israel without understanding Jewish history in Europe--the mindset and permanent sliver of fear or uncertainty it planted in the mind of just about every Jew--is foolish.

Bullshit, man. This is not 1948, not even 1968, this is 2008. One can and must talk about Israel without worrying about Jewish history in Europe. And what you are doing here is nothing but concern trolling.

Posted by: abb1 at December 31, 2008 09:36 PM