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Old 09-01-2006, 10:48 PM   #1
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Ban these anti-semites!

http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0901-22.htm

"On July 18, Human Rights Watch condemned Hezbollah rocket strikes on civilian areas within Israel, calling the strikes "serious violations of international humanitarian law and probable war crimes." So far, so good. You can't lose when you criticize a terrorist organization.

But Roth and Human Rights Watch didn't stop there. As the conflict's death toll spiraled — with most of the casualties Lebanese civilians — Human Rights Watch also criticized Israel for indiscriminate attacks on civilians. Roth noted that the Israeli military appeared to be "treating southern Lebanon as a free-fire zone," and he observed that the failure to take appropriate measures to distinguish between civilians and combatants constitutes a war crime.

The backlash was prompt. Roth and Human Rights Watch soon found themselves accused of unethical behavior, giving aid and comfort to terrorists and anti-Semitism. The conservative New York Sun attacked Roth (who is Jewish) for having a "clear pro-Hezbollah and anti-Israel bias" and accused him of engaging in "the de-legitimization of Judaism, the basis of much anti-Semitism." Neocon commentator David Horowitz called Roth a "reflexive Israel-basher … who, in his zest to pillory Israel at every turn, is little more than an ally of the barbarians." The New Republic piled on, as did Alan Dershowitz, who claimed Human Rights Watch "cooks the books" to make Israel look bad. And writing in the Jewish Exponent, Jonathan Rosenblum accused Roth of resorting to a "slur about primitive Jewish bloodlust."

Anyone familiar with Human Rights Watch — or with Roth — knows this to be lunacy. Human Rights Watch is nonpartisan — it doesn't "take sides" in conflicts. And the notion that Roth is anti-Semitic verges on the insane.

But what's most troubling about the vitriol directed at Roth and his organization isn't that it's savage, unfounded and fantastical. What's most troubling is that it's typical. Typical, that is, of what anyone rash enough to criticize Israel can expect to encounter. In the United States today, it just isn't possible to have a civil debate about Israel, because any serious criticism of its policies is instantly countered with charges of anti-Semitism. Think Israel's tactics against Hezbollah were too heavy-handed, or that Israel hasn't always been wholly fair to the Palestinians, or that the United States should reconsider its unquestioning financial and military support for Israel? Shhh: Don't voice those sentiments unless you want to be called an anti-Semite — and probably a terrorist sympathizer to boot. "
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Old 09-01-2006, 11:53 PM   #2
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How did adopting a reflexively pro-Israel stance come to be a mandatory aspect of American Jewish identity?
Uh. I'll pass on sharing my first reaction to this verdict, but suffice to say I find it breathtakingly sweeping at the very least. If she's willing to jump to such conclusions about 4 million people based on the opinions of 3 activists, plus a couple conservative rags...not sure there's much to be said in response. Apparently by her attributed criteria, I too am "an anti-Semite — and probably a terrorist sympathizer to boot."

I'm inclined to guess you're posting this by way of response to someone or something in particular, financeguy, but I have no idea who or what that might be and would rather not get into assuming things, so I'll leave it at that. My apologies if I'm wrong.
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Old 09-02-2006, 12:31 AM   #3
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"Roth noted that the Israeli military appeared to be "treating southern Lebanon as a free-fire zone," and he observed that the failure to take appropriate measures to distinguish between civilians and combatants constitutes a war crime."



financeguy,

I read your post a few times. I don't want to be wrong on what I think you are saying.


I will not go into all the past history of the Jewish people being driven from their homeland and the result of that area being a wasteland...trampled on...etc.


>1948

A good year to rewind or go fast forward >>>

*if you are interested in the truth about the trouble*
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Old 09-02-2006, 03:26 AM   #4
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“Though Israel may often be deserving of criticism, what is missing is the comparable criticism of equal or greater violations by other countries and other groups. This constant, often legitimate criticism of Israel for every one of its deviations, when coupled with the absence of legitimate criticism of others, creates the impression currently prevalent on university campuses and in the press that Israel is among the worst human rights violators in the world....it is not true, but if it is repeated often enough, it takes on a reality of its own.” - Alan Dershowitz
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Old 09-02-2006, 12:01 PM   #5
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Originally posted by yolland
I'm inclined to guess you're posting this by way of response to someone or something in particular, financeguy, but I have no idea who or what that might be and would rather not get into assuming things, so I'll leave it at that. My apologies if I'm wrong.
Not really, but as a general observation Irish people tend to have more of an affinity with the Palestinians than with Israel. Indeed Ireland and Israel did not even have embassies in each others countries until fairly recently and I welcome the fact that we now have a better diplomatic relations than previously.

The problem with the quote from Dershowitz that A_Wanderer posted is it that while it may be true in and of itself, what it ignores is that Israel claims to be a more-or-less Western style liberal democracy and therefore in my view it should be judged by the same standards as the US, Britain, France etc.
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Old 09-02-2006, 03:03 PM   #6
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I don't have an opinion on statements made in the article, but I would like to share what an palestinian man on coast to coast with George Noory said on his radio program. I can't remember his name, but he was in his late forties and grew up in Palestine during the 60s and he saw the changes in education in Palestine at that time. He said that they began to teach that the jews came from pigs and did not have the right to exist as such. They basically teach hatred of the jewish people (and other koranic laws) and have been doing so for decades now. Christianity was slowly and systematically expunged from their society, whereas before, palestinains and christians and jews were living and working together. (His mother was a Christian who was eventually forced to wear the islam garb and never speak of her beliefs) This man was fortunate to get out of Palestine and receive a more balanced education and now he's trying to speak out for the right of Israel to exist. But if anyone's wondering why Hamas was elected, this is probably why.
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Old 09-02-2006, 03:29 PM   #7
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Alan Dershowitz has said some extremely troubling, frankly disturbing things lately concerning the lives of civilians. One interview I saw in particular made me want to throw up. Pity, the man is otherwise intelligent.
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Old 09-04-2006, 01:49 PM   #8
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Originally posted by the iron horse
"Roth noted that the Israeli military appeared to be "treating southern Lebanon as a free-fire zone," and he observed that the failure to take appropriate measures to distinguish between civilians and combatants constitutes a war crime."



financeguy,

I read your post a few times. I don't want to be wrong on what I think you are saying.


I will not go into all the past history of the Jewish people being driven from their homeland and the result of that area being a wasteland...trampled on...etc.


>1948

A good year to rewind or go fast forward >>>

*if you are interested in the truth about the trouble*

Ok Iron Horse I went back to 1948 and I found these quotes made by David Ben-Gurion either in that year or subsequent decades:

"We came to a region that was inhabited by Arabs, and we set up a Jewish state. In many places, we purchased the land from Arabs and set up Jewish villages where there had once been Arab villages. You don't even know the names [of the previous Arab villages] and I don't blame you, because those geography books aren't around anymore. Not only the books, the villages aren't around..." The quote is taken from an address Moshe Dayan gave to Technion University students on March 19, 1969. A transcription of the speech appeared in Ha'aretz on April 4, 1969.
"The boundaries of Zionist aspirations are the concern of the Jewish people and no external factor will be able to limit them."[3]

"The boundaries of Zionist aspiration include southern Lebanon, southern Syria, today’s Jordan, all of Cis-Jordan [West Bank] and the Sinai." [4]

"We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population." Ben-Gurion, A Biography, by Michael Ben-Zohar, Delacorte, New York 1978.

"What is necessary is cruel and strong reactions. We need precision in time, place, and casualties. If we know the family, we must strike mercilessly, women and children included. Otherwise, the reaction is inefficient. At the place of action, there is no need to distinguish between guilty and innocent." January 1, 1948 diary entry[5]

{source: Wikipedia}
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Old 09-04-2006, 07:49 PM   #9
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Originally posted by financeguy
I went back to 1948 and I found these quotes made by David Ben-Gurion either in that year or subsequent decades:

{source: Wikipedia}
Wikiquote is always a dicey source for info--it gets a lot less scrutiny than the regular Wikipedia entries do.
Quote:
"We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population." Ben-Gurion, A Biography, by Michael Ben-Zohar, Delacorte, New York 1978.
This is a fabrication and has been debunked numerous times. You can search Bar-Zohar's book here ("Bar" and "Ben" are just two different ways of rendering the same affix); that quote is not in it. This quote has also been attributed by numerous sites to a 1974 report written by Israel Koenig, Rabin's Interior Ministry of the Galilee--it's not in there either.
Quote:
"We came to a region that was inhabited by Arabs, and we set up a Jewish state. In many places, we purchased the land from Arabs and set up Jewish villages where there had once been Arab villages. You don't even know the names [of the previous Arab villages] and I don't blame you, because those geography books aren't around anymore. Not only the books, the villages aren't around..." The quote is taken from an address Moshe Dayan gave to Technion University students on March 19, 1969.[3]
Yeah, and Dayan wasn't quoting Ben-Gurion, so I'm not sure why Wikiquote even files this under that, but anyhow...the context is that Dayan was objecting to a suggestion, made by a student, that Israel deal with Palestinian criminals by deporting them to Jordan. Dayan replied that this was incompatible with the strategy Israel must adopt for addressing its problems with the Arabs, namely peaceful coexistence, then proceeded to expound on that by saying the above, concluding "There isn't any place that was established in an area where there had not at one time been an Arab settlement."
Quote:
"What is necessary is cruel and strong reactions. We need precision in time, place, and casualties. If we know the family, we must strike mercilessly, women and children included. Otherwise, the reaction is inefficient. At the place of action, there is no need to distinguish between guilty and innocent." January 1, 1948 diary entry[5]
Ben-Gurion's diaries of the '47-'49 Arab-Israeli war, which is what this is from, are available online here (in Hebrew). The next sentence is "But where there has been no attack, we shall not strike." In context, he was writing about the moral dilemmas of fighting a guerrilla war, which was technically all it was at the time--Britain remained in control until May 1948, but of course everyone on both sides knew what was coming.
Quote:
"The boundaries of Zionist aspiration include southern Lebanon, southern Syria, today’s Jordan, all of Cis-Jordan [West Bank] and the Sinai." [4]
Although presented as a quote from Ben-Gurion, this is in fact a quote from Noam Chomsky (in Fateful Triangle), who was paraphrasing Israel Shahak's paraphrasing of statements made by Ben-Gurion in 1937, as recounted in a 1981 article by Shahak in the Journal of Palestine Studies. Shahak cites as his source the 1937 Report of the Congress of the World Council of Poaley Zion, which is not a document I have access to, but anyhow, the context was a debate over whether to accept the Peel Commission's Partition Plan. That Congress rejected the proposed borders, but approved further negotiations for the next Congress in 1939--an ill-fated gesture, as Britain had by that time effectively ended negotiations, instead settling for issuing the White Paper, which reduced the immigration to Palestine of European Jews fleeing the Nazis to a trickle (while agreeing, along with France, the US and a couple dozen other "Western-style liberal democracies" attending the Evian Conference, not to raise their own already low immigration quotas). This series of events had a tremendously radicalizing affect on Zionism generally.
Quote:
"The boundaries of Zionist aspirations are the concern of the Jewish people and no external factor will be able to limit them."[3]
Again, this is from well before 1948. All citations I found of it online, including the one from Wikiquote, are clearly taken from Noam Chomsky's translation (again, in Fateful Triangle) of a passage from a 1977 article in the Israeli magazine New Outlook, attributing this quote to a 1936 speech before a Zionist group concerning the Peel Commission's Partition proposals, which was apparently cited in Ben-Gurion's Memoirs.

----------------------------------------

Certainly 1948 was a godawful bloody mess (like much that came before and after it) and Israeli forces did plenty of deplorable things, I wouldn't argue that one for a minute. And then of course there's the 711,000 (per UN estimates) Palestinian refugees produced by the war, who were not allowed to return to the homes their families held for centuries. (Although it's often overlooked that about 800,000 Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews fled into Israel from North Africa and the surrounding Arab countries at the same time, and for precisely the same reason--real or perceived immediate threat of being slaughtered. But of course they were quite content not to return to their former homes.) There's no way the creation of a Palestinian state could really "make up for" everything that's happened to the bulk of these people since then. But it is a moral necessity, and hopefully would go a long way towards both peoples putting the ugliness of the British Mandate period, and everything that proceeded from its twisted string of compromises, behind them. That is an optimistic view, but I couldn't really hold any other one. Unfortunately, neither the present Israeli government nor the present US administration appear to consider retrieving the "road map" a priority, and I don't know whether they will so long as Hamas remains the party at the other side of the table.

And Dershowitz is a brilliant man, but all too often also a hypocrite.

I still find the article you started the thread with (ironically, given the objects of its rage) to be a study in shrill, defensive hyperreaction, though.
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Old 09-04-2006, 08:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland



I still find the article you started the thread with (ironically, given the objects of its rage) to be a study in shrill, defensive hyperreaction, though.
Did you read the entire article?

(not just the cut and pasted part)

I read this op/ed piece in the L A Times the day it was published

and I think financeguy did the author and piece a disservice by only posting "the middle part".

It had an opening, middle and conclusion.

also, the call to action title of this thread spins a certain way.
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Old 09-04-2006, 08:15 PM   #11
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See my first post in this thread.
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Old 09-04-2006, 08:51 PM   #12
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yes,

i do see
that you did quote one line that came just after what was posted

this part does ask a fair question

Quote:
How can we have a real discussion about Mideast peace if speaking honestly about Israel is out of bounds?

In a climate in which good-faith criticism of Israel is automatically denounced as anti-Semitic, everyone loses. Israeli policies are a major source of discord in the Islamic world, and anger at Israel usually spills over into anger at the U.S., Israel's biggest backer.

With resentment of Israeli policies fueling terrorism and instability both in the Middle East and around the globe, it's past time for Americans to have a serious national debate about how to bring a just peace to the Middle East. But if criticism of Israel is out of bounds, that debate can't occur — and we'll all pay the price.

if one criticises Israeli policies

there are many that do call them anti-Semitic
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Old 09-04-2006, 11:15 PM   #13
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What I was objecting to, deep, and what I was calling shrill and hyperreactive, is the use of language like "mandatory," "automatically," "pariah," "out of bounds," "reflexively," and "anyone." Yes, there are certain public settings (academia not generally being one of them) in which offering reasonably balanced, considered criticisms of Israeli policy will likely lead to one or more Jewish neocons defensively, and in some cases ferociously, accusing you of anti-Semitism. I received a couple lovely responses bordering on hate mail myself for a guest editorial I wrote, which ran in a couple newspapers out here, calling for an end to Israel's campaign against Hezbollah. On the other hand, American Jewish peace activist groups have many times been cold-shouldered by umbrella organizations they belong to for having expressed discomfort with the excessively anti-Israel tone of other participating groups (here is a rare example of one such instance that made it into the press) and I have seen this happen firsthand, too.

Roth is a vocal and influential human rights activist; it's to be expected that he'll have enemies in the media, and in fact his own replies to his "pro"-Israel critics over the years (see, for example, this one) have typically been much calmer and more focused on facts than Brooks' piece is. Certainly I've never seen him blame the Israeli or American Jewish public categorically for the criticism of HRW's reports.

I don't know if you saw this article about the influence of the Israel Lobby that I posted in here awhile back--in my view, this is a much more constructive analysis of what the problems there are and aren't. (You can also read the paper it's responding to here (.pdf) ). It's certainly more nuanced and plausible than the idea that the difficulty in protesting Israel(i) policies is that Jews are going to charge you from all sides howling anti-Semitism.
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