Leon’s Lament on Israel’s Self-Undermining Behavior

-

leon wieseltier.jpgNew Republic Literary Editor Leon Wieseltier is one of America’s chief gatekeepers on Jewish experience, culture and politics and has recently been one of those who has led in American journalistic circles in rebuking uncomfortable arguments by Peter Beinart and Andrew Sullivan about Israel’s self-destructive behavior.
But Wieseltier is now, partially, joining the ranks of Israel’s critics — stating the obvious — but this removes him from those who offer knee-jerk defenses of the IDF tactics in confronting the Gaza-bound Turkish flotilla.
Read the entire essay, but he starts:

Israel does not need enemies: it has itself. Or more precisely: it has its government. The Netanyahu-Barak government has somehow found a way to lose the moral high ground, the all-important war for symbols and meanings, to Hamas. That is quite an accomplishment. Operation Make the World Hate Us, it might have been called.
I leave it to others to make the operational criticisms of the Israeli action, and will say only that even my amateurish understanding of the tactical challenge posed by the interdiction of the boats suffices to suggest that there were other ways to do this. I also will not pretend to a perfect grasp of what happened on board the Mavi Marmara. I have pondered the videos that both sides have released, and concluded that the Israeli soldiers sliding down that rope had no intention of attacking the people on board and that the people on board had no way of being confident of this. I cannot expect Palestinians and their supporters to believe the best about the Israeli army. (This is what Israeli hardliners call “the restoration of deterrence.”) I do not doubt that some of the activists on the ship welcomed a confrontation with Israel, but the Israelis should not have obliged them. In any event, what took place on that deck looks to me like a tragic misunderstanding. Yet there was no reason to think that anything else would have transpired.
The important point is that the killing of civilians on the Mavi Marmara–I understand that they were “armed” with metal bars and a knife, but still they were civilians, and soldiers are trained to respond unlethally to the recklessness of a mob–cannot be extenuated by reference to “asymmetrical warfare” and Israel’s right to defend itself. This was not warfare, at least of the physical sort. Israel was not under attack.

– Steve Clemons

Comments

58 comments on “Leon’s Lament on Israel’s Self-Undermining Behavior

  1. just really worried says:

    nadine is a real poece of work isn’t she. i read her comments and just wonder what la la land she lives in.

    Reply

  2. samuelburke says:
  3. kotzabasis says:

    Norheim
    Iran itself by this new move admits it was a stunt. Now it replaces revolutionary guards providing a military escort with the Iranian Red Crescent.

    Reply

  4. Cee says:

    I want to see someone attack this witness
    http://pulsemedia.org/2010/06/06/ken-okeefe-we-the-defenders-of-the-mavi-marmara/
    Ken O’Keefe:
    “The Israeli prostitutes of propaganda can spew all of their disgusting bile all they wish, the commandos are the murders, we are the defenders, and yet we fought. We fought not just for our lives, not just for our cargo, not just for the people of Palestine, we fought in the name of justice and humanity. We were right to do so, in every way.
    In all this what I saw more than anything else were cowards

    Reply

  5. Stephen K. Mack says:

    Mr. Wieseltier begins his piece, on The New Republic website with his title

    Reply

  6. Cee says:

    Larry,
    I was only sharing the opinions of others on Hamas.
    Unfortunately Israel brought them to power to undermine the PLO and now have to deal with the results.

    Reply

  7. Paul Norheim says:

    Kotzabasis said: “And anyone who considers it as serious about
    its realization can only come from one who still resides in the
    land of the Viking.”
    Perhaps you’re right, Kotz. And perhaps that’s the reason why I
    don’t ignore news reports like this one, coming from Times on
    Sunday yesterday?
    “The Iranian Red Crescent today said it would make its own
    attempts by sending two aid ships to Gaza this week and has
    called for volunteers to act as relief workers and accompany the
    vessels.
    Iranian Red Crescent director Abdolrauf Adibzadeh told the
    IRNA news agency that the decision to send the ships was taken
    after a meeting with the foreign ministry.

    Reply

  8. ... says:

    carroll 6:15pm – i have to agree with your view on this… why else would they act so stupidly? it defies logic, some nadine does here regularly i might add!!!!

    Reply

  9. Carroll says:

    I’am just going to say this one more time.
    The Israelis specifically attacked the Turkish ship and deliberately singled out and killed Turks
    because they want to get a war going in the ME and don’t think the US is going to attack Iran for them.
    To anyone who knows how the Israeli zionist have operated since inception and anyone who has read W&M’s findings on how Israel has always created incidents to destroy US-ME relations with anyone but them…the Israeli motivations in all their actions hardly needs to be pointed out.

    Reply

  10. nadine says:

    questions, this isn’t about pressure on Gaza. It’s foolish to talk about this or that ‘relieving the pressure.’ Hamas doesn’t give a damn about the population of Gaza, beyond their own followers, are are delighted to sacrifice them.
    This is about scoring wins for Iran/Turkey/Hamas. These pathetic fools in Washington can’t even read the scorecard to know who the players are.
    The jackals smell weakness, and are closing in for the kill.

    Reply

  11. questions says:

    Sweetness and Paul,
    One more brief post….
    An absolute yes to the possibility of this nightmare.
    The other side, though is that a capitulation on Israel’s part might still cause something akin.
    This one is a real mess, and Israel has been pushed so far to the right. I actually got a bunch of right wing talking points e-mailed to me from a cousin. They are worried over there. They are worried about seeming weak and when people worry this way, they don’t get all zen or yogic and give in to the worry. They turn to the right and it gets really ugly.
    A crisis has likely been precipitated at this point and its working out will be far less pleasant than, say, the housing bubble in the US.
    There are multiple, and multiply, traumatized people, there is no good communication, there is no overarching authority, there are a lot of weapons, there’s hysteria in the air… what good can come of this, I do not know.
    Maybe the open border with Egypt (if that’s still open) is a way to relieve the nearly hydraulic pressure on Gaza. Maybe there could be a deal on new elections. Maybe the religious leaders in Iran can stop Ahmadinejad from out Erdoganing Erdogan. But for now it looks like there’s going to be escalation dominance in Islamic countries over who can be the most pro-Palestinian. Escalation dominance is a scary game.
    (and for real, I’m going to keep on not posting. it’s healthier!)

    Reply

  12. Paul Norheim says:

    Oren to Fox News re Revolutionary Guard escort:
    “Israeli Ambassador: Israel Will Do ‘Whatever It Takes’ to Defend
    Itself
    Published June 06, 2010 | FOXNews.com
    Israel will do “whatever it takes” to defend itself from terrorism,
    the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. said Sunday, without
    elaborating what actions would be taken in the face of a
    potential Iranian Revolutionary Guard escort of ships to break
    through the blockade of Gaza.
    Ambassador Michael Oren said Israel is “open to any ideas to
    somehow deal with the Gaza situation” but dropping the
    blockade is unlikely since that would mean allowing thousands
    of rockets to arrive in Hamas-controlled Gaza.
    If Iran sends its elite military unit to escort any other ships –
    as it has suggested it would — “Israel will also do whatever it
    takes to defend itself from Hamas terror,” Oren told “Fox News
    Sunday.”
    “Israel will do what it has to do to defend 7.5 million Israelis,”
    he said.
    (…)
    Oren said Israel will not apologize for taking the measures it
    did, even if it damages relations with longtime friend Turkey.
    “Turkey was a longtime friend of the state of Israel but Turkey’s
    politics have changed … and it’s Turkey who has embraced Iran
    and embraced Hamas,” Oren said.
    (…)”
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/06/06/israeli-
    ambassador-israel-takes-defend/
    ———————————
    “open to any ideas”… except the only one that would calm down
    the situation.

    Reply

  13. Sweetness says:

    Posted by Paul Norheim, Jun 06 2010, 3:26PM – Link
    Yes, indeed.

    Reply

  14. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Ending the siege on Gaza, and letting America or others that Israel trust ( I don’t know who else that could be…) inspect what comes in and goes out of the Gaza strip, is, I believe, the only way to remove the rationale for further boats and flotillas”
    Who “Israel” trusts is irrelevent. I’m quite sure that Israel would “trust” the United States to provide “inspections” of aid ships that would adhere to the Israeli line of bullshit. The relevent issue of “trust” must be gauged from the global community. In other words, who could do the inspections and be trusted by the global community? That is most certainly NOT the United States, who, thanks to Bush’s actions, and Obama’s inactions and lack of conviction or political courage, is widely reconized as a nation that bases policy and justifications for policy on BULLSHIT.

    Reply

  15. Paul Norheim says:

    Thanks for the link, …
    Well, if this escalates due to Iranian interference, I wouldn’t only
    blame Israel (or the US): such a move by the Iranians would
    simply be dangerous and stupid in the current circumstances.
    As I’ve said on a thread below, this flotilla crisis and Turkey’s
    challenge to Israel may encourage Iran and give Achmedinejad a
    boost of self confidence. He may even want to be seen as braver
    than Erdogan…If the Revolutionary guard provides military
    escort to cargo ships or activists heading for Gaza, this will with
    100 % certainty be regarded as a declaration of war against
    Israel. It would most likely lead to an attack on Iran, drag
    America into the war, and heaven knows how Turkey and others
    would react in such a scenario.
    Ending the siege on Gaza, and letting America or others that
    Israel trust ( I don’t know who else that could be…) inspect what
    comes in and goes out of the Gaza strip, is, I believe, the only
    way to remove the rationale for further boats and flotillas. This
    could very easily escalate and create a perfect storm.
    Let me just mention one nightmarish scenario:
    Erdogan personally on board in a boat heading for Gaza
    (according to a Lebanese newspaper, he is considering this
    option), escorted by the Turkish Navy; and Iran seizing the
    opportunity to send a handful of boats escorted by the
    Revolutionary Guard WHILE Erdogan and the Turkish Navy
    approaches the shores of Gaza…
    I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. If these ME powers
    attempt to play this kind of silly high risk game, motivated by a
    wish to challenge Israel and the US, or to become heros in the
    Muslim world etc., it would be extremely irresponsible in the
    current context, and with a completely unpredictable outcome.
    I really hope that Obama is focused on this, and is capable of
    persuading Netanyahu to take steps that may calm down the
    situation.

    Reply

  16. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Dennis Kucinich writes “we the undersigned” ????
    and it`s only his signature on the bottom ….”
    Yes, it certainly underscores what a majority of scumsucking whores we have in DC doesn’t it?

    Reply

  17. larry birnbaum says:

    “I am now against the two state solution. There won’t be peace until Palestinian and Israeli grandmothers live next door to one another and share the same water source.”
    Cee, I appreciate this clarification of where you stand on the issue. However, please note first that in this case your post on Hamas’s stance was bound to be confusing. I’m not going to say you were disingenuous on purpose. But that was the effect. Second, given that Israel doesn’t intend to close up shop any time soon, this is recipe for war for a very long time to come. Third, that if a single state is the outcome it is enormously pollyana-ish of you to imagine it will look as you portray it, with happy grandmothers living side by side. The Israelis can look around the region even if you are willing to blind yourself to its reality: they have no desire or intention to live in a nation with the political and civic structures of, say, Lebanon, or Syria, or Jordan, or Egypt, or, more the point, Gaza. Perhaps you imagine the outcome would be different in this instance, but I see no basis for such optimism.

    Reply

  18. marcus says:

    Dennis Kucinich writes “we the undersigned” ????
    and it`s only his signature on the bottom of that rambling fantasy he penned, ( isn`t he also the guy who claims to have been abducted by aliens ? )
    this is a perfect metaphor for the israel-bashers , they always claim to represent the world when it`s actually only a few dozen LOSERS standing in the rain, on the sidewalk , BLOCKING TRAFFIC for everyone else.
    It`s exactly like the 1/2 dozen regular`s here who ALWAYS claim to represent a global consensus, complete horseshit !
    Jeff,don`t be fooled by their propoganda. People are genaerally a very racist bunch,and the fact is that blacks,asians most anyone of color,faces alot more discrimination than jews do.
    All this negative press Israel gets is not much more than a way to sell newspapers,
    you see,people,don`t care enough about the poor people of the world–they want to see the rich taken down. That`s why the more successful Israel becomes,the greater the attacks will be,Any successful person can atest to the jelousy and cometition that they have to overcome.

    Reply

  19. samuelburke says:

    you have got to have no balls to say this, castrato style.>>”I do not
    doubt that some of the activists on the ship welcomed a
    confrontation with Israel, but the Israelis should not have obliged
    them.
    i guess the mandatory apology must be inserted in every comment
    about this little nation/project.

    Reply

  20. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Iran Revolutionary Guards offer to escort Gaza-bound ships………….”
    Interesting, seeing as how the Palestine Note has an essay up claiming that ….
    “US Navy being sent to Israel….”
    http://palestinenote.com/cs/blogs/blogs/archive/2010/06/05/us-navy-being-sent-to-israel.aspx
    So tell me, is Obama slimey enough to set us up, in league with the Israelis, for another false flag incident ala the “Liberty”???
    Or just naive enough to think these nazis in Israel won’t pull such a stunt again?

    Reply

  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    It says alot about a nation, its policies, and it’s leaders when they use an unabashed racist as a spokesman.
    Interesting they are tasking the radical racist far right to come over and lie to the Firsters. Could it be the moderates and the Israeli left are too ashamed to continue the charade?
    http://palestinenote.com/cs/blogs/news/archive/2010/06/06/israel-s-lieberman-on-us-tour-to-explain-flotilla-raid.aspx?CommentPosted=true#commentmessage
    Israel’s Lieberman on US tour to ‘explain’ flotilla raid
    New York – Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman departed for New York on Sunday on a visit apparently intended to contain the blowback from Israel’s deadly attack on a Gaza aid convoy last week.
    Israel’s Ynet news site said Lieberman plans to meet “with envoys and representatives of Israel, and Jewish communities in the US and Canada, to explain the Israeli government’s position on the flotilla affair.”
    Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish volunteers when they stormed the Mavi Marmara, one of six ships in a flotilla carrying 10,000 tons of humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip, which has been under an Israeli-imposed blockade for three years.
    Lieberman is reportedly not scheduled to meet with US government or UN officials during his visit.
    Lieberman, who lives in an illegal West Bank settlement, is the head of an extreme-right political party who has advocated the outright expulsion of Palestinians from their homes.

    Reply

  22. David says:

    When even the partially ideologically blinded see just what a trainwreck the current government and its policies are for Israel, it is time to mobilize geopolitical triage for Israel and the ally it is taking down with it, the United States. For all the limits his ideology entraps him in, even Leon can see what Israel is doing to itself. The only possible good that can come from this is if it forces Israel and the United States to bring this runaway train to a halt, and then put it in reverse.
    Can’t bring back the people who have been killed, but it is possible to prevent future killings, or in the case of Israel to choose to quit killing people. Same goes for anyone else who chooses to inflict carnage. Violence begets violence, to state the very, very obvious.

    Reply

  23. ... says:

    geez paul, i hope that doesn’t happen! thanks for the heads up… it is in line with the link i posted on the thread below of nuclear armed israeli submarines headed to off the coast of iran which has not been mentioned very much in that bastion of democracy to the south of me….
    http://www.campaigniran.org/casmii/index.php?q=node/10271

    Reply

  24. Cee says:

    I checked on how Khalid Meshaal (the man who
    survived the assassination attempt ordered by
    Netanyahu) feels
    In an interview Khalid Meshaal, the Hamas
    political bureau chief in Damascus, gave with
    Charlie Rose this week, the Hamas leader directly
    addressed this issue.
    Meshaal

    Reply

  25. Cee says:

    Larry,
    I am now against the two state solution. There won’t
    be peace until Palestinian and Israeli grandmothers
    live next door to one another and share the same
    water source.

    Reply

  26. Paul Norheim says:

    There are some very worrying signs of a potential escalation
    (from Reuters via Haaretz today):
    “Iran Revolutionary Guards offer to escort Gaza-bound ships
    By Reuters
    Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards are ready to provide a military
    escort to cargo ships trying to break Israel’s blockade of the
    Gaza Strip, a representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali
    Khamenei said on Sunday.
    “Iran’s Revolutionary Guards naval forces are fully prepared to
    escort the peace and freedom convoys to Gaza with all their
    powers and capabilities,” Ali Shirazi, Khamenei’s representative
    inside the Revolutionary Guards, was quoted as saying by the
    semi-official Mehr news agency.
    Any intervention by the Iranian military would be considered
    highly provocative by Israel which accuses Iran of supplying
    weapons to Hamas, the Islamist movement which rules Gaza.
    The Guards, with their own navy, air force and command
    structure separate from the regular armed forces, are seen as
    fiercely loyal to the values of the Islamic Republic.
    “If the Supreme Leader issues an order for this then the
    Revolutionary Guard naval forces will do their best to secure the
    ships,” Shirazi said. “It is Iran’s duty to defend the innocent
    people of Gaza.”
    (…).”
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/iran-
    revolutionary-guards-offer-to-escort-gaza-bound-ships-
    1.294500

    Reply

  27. A. Menaidy says:
  28. ... says:

    israel and the usa are in a legal quagmire… it is much the same quagmire that bush helped cultivate in his war on terror… israel wants to have it both ways – say they are at war, but not honour the laws set in place for those involved in war… the usa has continued the practices of the bush regime, which unfortunately are not good for it’s future in the world community either…… obama has been an abject failure in turning back the illegal actions of his predecessor.. he is continuing them on the advice of what is becoming an incredibly weakened state morally and ethically..

    Reply

  29. ... says:

    israel could have come alongside the boat in the daylight and approached the ship in a more neutral manner to lessen the conflict, but instead come in the middle of the night… israel wasn’t interested in a happy ending, and their motives are clear to everyone here, including Wieseltier who calls it for what it is…
    someone in the political area will take a hit for this as it is bringing much more heat on israel then if it had been approached differently…
    self defense in not approached this way.. this is another reason behind the outcry by the world community on the loss of 9 people, not to mention all the others that were injured…. the approach sucked and most any intelligent person can see this… i even venture to guess a few of the resident zionists can see it, but are too ashamed to admit it..

    Reply

  30. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Ahmadinejad says he wants to destroy Israel”
    Not really. Unless you want to rely on the MEMRI translations.
    And “yes” to your comment about Nadine.
    But far worse than harming Israel, defenders such as Jeff, Nadine, Marcus, etc. harm Jews.
    Having followed Nadine’s comments here during her tenure, and seen a number of trolls such as Marcus and Jeff take up Israel’s defense, if we placed these maggots in a file, and labeled it “Jews In General”, anti-semitism would not only be understandable, it would be the moral stance to assume, as well. Fortunately, speaking on a personal level, the Jews in my life are nothing like these worms. I like to think that the Jews I know are representative of the majority, because if I’m wrong, and Nadine and Marcus represent the majority, the future of the Jews is not going to be any kinder to them than the past has been.

    Reply

  31. sanitychecker says:

    POA: Ahmadinejad says he wants to destroy Israel. Nadine is actually doing it.
    The destructive power of delusion…

    Reply

  32. sanitychecker says:

    Dan: Good point (nitpick: this would give Gaza state-like status not the status of a state). It would also imply that Gaza is occupied territory (which Israelis claim it’s not) and that the passengers on the ship were legally entitled to kill the IDF commandos.
    No wonder Israel doesn’t want to go there.

    Reply

  33. Don Bacon says:

    The “economic pressure”, the deadly punishment of a million people, was intended to be a bargaining agent for the captured IDF soldier. Not too different from what Clinton’s US did to Iraq — thus the compatible marriage I spoke of above.
    Israel’s blockade is okay because the US did it in Iraq (and in Iran, to a lesser extent)? No, we have to start somewhere, when the opportunity arises. And here is an opportunity.

    Reply

  34. PissedOffAmerican says:

    There are two kinds of posters here commenting on the situation with Israel. A commonality between the two groups is the absolute knowledge that Israel is lying.
    That is what makes these long debates so ludicrous. The Nadine contingent, and her slimey batch of maggot compatriots, such as Marcus or Jeff, work very hard to give credibility to that that is incredible, and to defend that that is indefensible. Why so many are willing to argue with people who’s points of debate are so blatantly dishonest is beyond me.
    And assuming a pseudo-moderate stance, those such as Birnbaum practice the same disingenuous exercise in futility, albiet with a less rabid technique, which certainly doesn’t decrease the disingenuous direction of his commentary, although it does decrease the abrasiveness of his delivery.
    Why not just call a spade a spade, and recognize that EVERYONE on this blog knows that Israeli is lying? That would include Steve and his fellows at NAF.
    I can think of no foreign policy issue that so openly reveals the character and integrity of those engaged in the debate.

    Reply

  35. Dan Kervick says:

    Israel’s statements on the status and purposes of the naval blockade of Gaza, which is part of a more of a comprehensive land and sea quarantine, have been inconsistent. But the Foreign Ministry does now declare this a blockade.
    If the world chooses to accept this declaration, that means recognizing that Israel is in a state of war – an international armed conflict – with the Hamas regime of Gaza. That means recognizing that the Hamas regime constitutes a state, and that Hamas fighters can be legal combatants in that conflict. Hamas fighters captured by the Israelis must be treated as prisoners of war.
    Although a blockade is a legitimate method of warfare if the war itself is legal, that doesn’t mean that every method of carrying out a blockade is legal.
    It should also be noted that when Israel initiated the quarantine of Gaza, Israeli officials did not represent it as a blockade aimed primarily at preventing contraband and war materials from going in and out of Gaza, but as a comprehensive tool for combating Hamas by placing economic pressure on the entire population of Gaza.

    Reply

  36. rc says:

    Persian palaver, or Turkish delight?
    =======
    As Turkey mourns the death of activists by Israeli forces, Turkey’s Prime Minister considers travelling to the Gaza Strip to break the siege on the sliver personally.
    The Lebanese newspaper Al-Mustaqbal reported on Saturday that Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan told close associates about his plan to visit the strip to “break the Israeli blockade.”
    He reportedly informed the US that he considers asking the Turkish navy to accompany aid ships sailing to the Gaza Strip in the future, a plan Washington advised to delay.
    Turkey has also formed a commission to investigate Israel’s Monday attack on the Freedom Flotilla which left nine Turkish nationals killed.
    http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=129221&sectionid=351020204

    Reply

  37. Don Bacon says:

    Haaretz Editorial:
    Netanyahu and Lieberman are imposing a siege on a Jewish and democratic state that has professed to be a light unto the nations, but is becoming anathema among nations.
    Israel isn’t unique in this department. Specifically, the US/Israeli marriage has worked so well because, just like in any marriage, common traits and interests promote the union. US and Israeli leaders have long vocalized their common interests, which currently focus on efforts against Israel rivals Palestine and Iran.
    But now comes a third party, threatening to break up this marriage. Turkey is a member of NATO, along with the US. (The US has no treaties with Israel.) Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, has called the flotilla raid a “bloody massacre. . .They have to be punished for this action.” Erdo?an: “Hamas is a resistance group fighting to defend their land. They won the elections in Palestine. But they are serving time in Israeli prisons though they won the elections. I also told these to U.S. officials. I don’t accept Hamas as a terrorist organization. They won the elections, but they were denied the chance to govern.”
    And even usually dependable (from a US standpoint) United Nations Security Council has found some mojo and is moving to set up a committee to investigate the deadly Israeli raid. Netanyahu has rejected the UN proposal for joint U.S., Israel, Turkey probe, but that can’t stand.
    There has to be such an investigation: Haluk Ince, the head of Turkey’s council of forensic medicine, said in a chilling statement the extensive gunshot wounds that the nine victims suffered from during an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla was like nothing he had seen before. “I have been working as a forensic expert for 20 years, but I have seen nothing like these wounds or the bullets we recovered from the bodies,” Ince said. “The bullets are not nine millimeter. This is something different. I cannot describe in words. You need to see them for yourself.”
    And the blockade itself will be modified. Israeli Welfare Minister Isaac Herzog has told a cabinet meeting: It is time to lift the siege on Gaza, find worthy security alternative.
    “It is time to lift the siege on Gaza.”

    Reply

  38. larry birnbaum says:

    “Haniyeh responded, “If Israel declares that it will give the Palestinian people a state and give them back all their rights then we are ready to recognize them.”
    Cee,
    The operative phrase that makes this mean something quite differnt from what it seems to mean at face value is “give them back all their rights.”
    What Haniyeh means by this is that Palestinian Arab refugees from 1948 and all their descendents have the right to live in Israel. This undermines the whole point of a two-state resolution to this conflict, going back to the original UN partition plan, which is to have a state for the Jews and a state for the Arabs.
    I’d add that although it’s clear at this point that in any resolution (if one is possible) Jerusalem is going to be cut up like Swiss cheese, this also doesn’t meet Haniyeh’s requirements. But the Israelis aren’t going to hand back the ancient Jewish quarter of the Old City, nor the Western Wall, etc.
    Finally, it doesn’t matter what Haniyeh says. It matters what Meshaal says.
    Which is to say, this statement simply doesn’t mean what it seems to mean. Whether it could eventually morph from something other than intentionally confusing gobbledygook meant for propaganda purposes into a realistic basis for and intent to negotiate a resolution is unclear. Previous negotiations between Israel and the PLO / PA have already progressed way beyond this point. Another way to say this is that the Palestinians need to resolve their internal conflicts and get on the same page about negotiations with Israel.

    Reply

  39. DonS says:

    More excerpts from the Wieseltier article, which certainly makes clear why the resident zealots are furious at him. It also dovetails with Marcy Wheelers’ (and many others) point linked above that the attack on civilians is a horribly troubling change in engagement theory and practice:
    “The Israeli leadership seems to have given up any expectation of fairness and sympathy from the world. It is behaving as if it believes, in the manner of the most perilous Jewish pessimism, that the whole world hates the Jews, and that is all there is to it. This is the very opposite of the measured and empirical attitude, the search for strategic opportunity, the enlistment of imagination in the service of ideals and interests, that is required for statecraft.
    (snip)
    “The analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that absolves the Palestinians of any significant role in it is widespread. I do not see how any of this can be denied, or shunted aside, or explained entirely in terms of Israeli behavior. But it is emphatically not the whole picture, except for those Israelis and Jews whose political interests and ideological inclinations prefer it to be the whole picture. FOR THERE ARE FORCES IN ISRAEL, AND IN ITS GOVERNMENT, THAT HAVE A USE FOR JEWISH HOPELESSNESS.
    (snip)
    “The important point is that the killing of civilians on the Mavi Marmara. . . cannot be extenuated by reference to

    Reply

  40. Carroll says:

    Posted by nadine, Jun 06 2010, 6:35AM – Link
    ‘But the Jews will not go quietly again into the ovens.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Well actually that is exactly what you are doing.
    And you are doing it all by yourselves and making yourself hated around the world because of your association with and defense of the indefensible Israel.
    The christian zionistas are probably all excited thinking “this is good”, lots of jews will “convert” and deny they are jews to escape the ovens.
    Too bad we can’t offshore you to some cult colony on different planet.
    Or can we? Let’s call NASA.

    Reply

  41. nadine says:

    No matter how many lefties try to make new laws up to suit their convenience, blockades are still legal:
    From the Helsinki Priciples on the Law of Maritime Neutrality:
    5.2.10 Blockade
    Blockade, i.e. the interdiction of all or certain maritime traffic coming from or going to a port or coast of a
    belligerent, is a legitimate method of naval warfare. In order to be valid, the blockade must be declared,
    notified to belligerent and neutral States, effective and applied impartially to ships of all States. A blockade
    may not bar access to neutral ports or coasts. Neutral vessels believed on reasonable and probable
    grounds to be breaching a blockade may be stopped and captured. If they, after prior warning, clearly resist
    capture, they may be attacked.

    Reply

  42. DonS says:

    As often, Marcy Wheeler at Emptywheel, digs into the story behind the story. Here she looks at the ramifications of US backing Israel’s illegal attack on civilians in international waters with regard to implications for the US own counterterrorism methods and justifications. She pulls together the legal framework, which should be read at the link, and explains it’s importance:
    “So while the largely uncritical support in DC for Israel feels like more of our typical uncritical support for Israel, the US has something else at stake here: the underlying justification Israel used for this attack largely matches the expansive rationale the US uses in its own counterterrorism actions.
    “And that

    Reply

  43. DonS says:

    “Circular reasoning, DonS. You justify the the world’s hypocritical scapegoating of Israel by claiming that Israel is inordinately important, which is only due to the hypocritical scapegoating of Israel.”
    Exceptionalist reasoning, Nadine. You justify the purported scapegoating of poor little Israel because poor little Israel is just poor little Israel; despite having 200 nuke and threatening to start WWIII by bombing Iran and setting off and escalating chain of events.

    Reply

  44. Cee says:

    I don’t agree with Leon on Hamas
    Hamas accepts a two-state solution. When asked by Newsweek-Washington Post correspondent Lally Weymouth on 26 February 2006 what agreements Hamas was prepared to honor, the new Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh answered, “the ones that will guarantee the establishment of a Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital with 1967 borders.” Weymouth went on, “Will you recognize Israel?” to which Haniyeh responded, “If Israel declares that it will give the Palestinian people a state and give them back all their rights then we are ready to recognize them.”
    http://www.counterpunch.org/loewenstein06122006.html

    Reply

  45. nadine says:

    “By the way Israel’s actions become important because, due in large part of course to their own intentions, they affect regional and world stability to an inordinate degree. ”
    Circular reasoning, DonS. You justify the the world’s hypocritical scapegoating of Israel by claiming that Israel is inordinately important, which is only due to the hypocritical scapegoating of Israel.
    If the world didn’t hypocritically scapegoat Israel, this flotilla thing would be no more important that the last dozen Fatah guys shot by Hamas or vice-versa, or the last dozen suicide bombings in Lahore, i.e. not important at all to anybody not related to the victims, and not worth a second look by anybody.

    Reply

  46. nadine says:

    “So now even Wieseltier is contemplating supporting Hamas. To the extent you are a symbol of something, and to this observer, that is exactly what you are, a symbol, you are sending me a message: For the first time in my life I genuinely feel the State of Israel is doomed. It will not survive. It cannot survive. And it should not survive. ”
    jonst, to me you are a symbol, a symbol of blind hatred and unadmitted fear, the dark force that makes “progressives” align themselves with genocidal Islamofascists, that is pressuring Wieseltier to deny his own reason like a witness at a show trial, who casts about for some way to declare the innocent guilty and guilty innocent without debasing himself entirely.
    Israelis are asking themselves if the world has gone nuts? You are evidence that it has, that the same force which scapegoated and destroyed the Jews of Europe 70 years ago has crawled out from under the rocks again and seeks to blame the whole world’s problems on tiny Israel, the Jew among nations. But the Jews will not go quietly again into the ovens.

    Reply

  47. DonS says:

    “The double standards and hypocrisy of israel is out of control. Israel soldiers are microanyalzed ten million times more than any other soldiers in the world.” (jeff)
    Take heart Jeff. To the majority of American politicos the double standard — in favor of rubber stamping everything Israel does — is thriving.
    By the way, many of the terrible acts of violence around the world that you assert bring no calls for investigation — except perhaps by some clear eyed poster/commenters at TWN and elsewhere — bring no call because those acts are in the service of the military-industrial complex whose stock in trade is such violence. They being no call for investigation because they serve the neocon agenda, however crudely. You see where I am going.
    So where have you been all along that you suddenly discover TWN and have the self loathsome reactions. You could have voiced your disgust at neocon policy, slaughter and media cover ups all along. I think you are just throwing out a bunch off obfuscating ‘methinks the lady doth protest too much’ stuff to try to cover up the idea that Israel has done something so stupid that the world had to notice. Maybe not.
    By the way Israel’s actions become important because, due in large part of course to their own intentions, they affect regional and world stability to an inordinate degree. You sometime get results and consequences you can control, and that the Lobby can’t immediately ‘fix’.

    Reply

  48. nadine says:

    “And what’s this business about the “Netanyahu-Barak” government? The last I knew, Yisraeli Beiteinu had more seats in the Knesset than Labor, while Avigdor Lieberman was a deputy prime minister, along with Barak.”
    No, Netanyahu is Prime Minister, Barak is Defense Minister, while Lieberman is only Foreign Minister, and not a strong Foreign Minister because Netanyahu tends to handle it himself. Prime Minister and Defense Minister are the two strongest posts. Netanyahu and Barak also head their respective parties Likud and Labor. While it’s true Labor (at 13) has fewer seats than Yisrael Beitaynu (at 15), Barak is senior as an ex-PM from what used to be a major party before the Israeli left collapsed.
    It’s ironic that you have the nerve to call Lieberman a fascist. Lieberman will stand for office in the next election, which is more than you can say about your buddies in Hamas or Fatah.
    I don’t even know why I should allow progressives to use “fascist” as an insult when they support real fascists like Hamas and Hizbullah all over the place. Every move you make, supporting Chavez, or engaging the Syrians or Iran, wishing you could order things like China, says that you have no problem with autocrats. The slightest mention of democracy promotion has disappeared from the NSS. You guys should be using “fascist” as a compliment.

    Reply

  49. jonst says:

    Nadine,
    So now even Wieseltier is contemplating supporting Hamas. To the extent you are a symbol of something, and to this observer, that is exactly what you are, a symbol, you are sending me a message: For the first time in my life I genuinely feel the State of Israel is doomed. It will not survive. It cannot survive. And it should not survive.
    What may come after it might be better or worse….I don’t know, but it this Israeli won’t survive. Unfortunately, it will probably take a few nations (as opposed to “States”) down with it.
    Jeff,
    The “world” is coming to “hate” your kind (i.e. rabid, blind, dogs in a butcher shop)and that is why the State of Israel won’t survive.

    Reply

  50. jeff says:

    I hate this world.
    U.S drones kill people all the time in pakistan and no one says a world from operators in las vegas.
    Sri Lanka 20,000 dead and UN human rights council congratulates them.
    One million killed in iraq no international investigation.
    Massive killings in somalia no international investigation.
    150 killed by germany in a bombing with kids getting fuel in afghanistan but no international invesgigation. The germans said they were taliban but they were civilians yet germany rejected investigation but merkel wants one for israel.
    30 afghan civilians killed on buses.
    97 afghan civilians killed on attacks on tents.
    I can’t take it anymore. I can’t take the singling out of israel soldiers.
    I can’t take it anymore. Enough is enough from the media of their hypocritical double standards on israel and enough is enough from the world hypocritical politicans. They are so two faced.
    The guardian, BBC spend at thousand more time on israel than their own soldier atrocities.
    Guardian and BBC always talk about israel deaths compared to palestinians but how many iraqi deaths compared to UK civilian deaths. That is never mentioned.
    I hate the european hypocritical media. I hate them with an utter passion.
    I can’t stand Andrew Sullivan who was for the iraq war half way across the world yet lectures israel on stopping weapons when rockets are being fired at it every day.
    Just recently hezbollah brought massive arms through an egyptian port that was caught on the way to gaza.
    The hypocrisy is now out of control. Ban Ki Moon doesn’t have investigations besides for israel.
    Helen Thomas is symbolic of the media and the current politicians. The double standards and hypocrisy of israel is out of control. Israel soldiers are microanyalzed ten million times more than any other soldiers in the world.
    The only good thing about this is that the people currently living today will all be gone by the 23 rd century because this century the leaders and media suck. The only pleasurable thing is their individual jew hatred dies eventually because life is so short. So they can only have their jew hatred for a certain time individually before they pass it onto the next generation.
    Hopefully far out into the future there will be a different world because the singling out of jews of today is unreal and the only good thing is that no one around today will be around past the 22nd century.

    Reply

  51. nadine says:

    I am ashamed that Leon Wieseltier should abandon his both his reason and his fellow Jews to run to look for excuses to justify IHH Hamas supporters trying to kill Israelis, and to impugn Israelis who were defending their own lives.
    Liberal Jews are being pressured to choose between Israel and Hamas in order to keep their party membership. Wieseltier hasn’t quite chosen Hamas yet, but we seen him waffling. The claim that the IHH attacked the Israelis because they were scared is rubbish, and should be seen as rubbish by any sane observer. Only they were scared, but nobody on the other five ships, who didn’t suffer a scratch?
    Do scared civilians normally wear ceramic body armor, carry no IDs, proclaim their desire for martyrdom before they set out, carry thousands of dollars of cash in their pockets, and not move when somebody throws a flash-bang grenade near them?
    The IHH activists did all of this, which means they had military training. They had it all planned. They pre-prepared the iron bars, knives, guns to beat the Israelis to a bloody pulp. 10 out of 15 Israelis were wounded, most severely. What heroes these IHH thugs would have been had they made it into Gaza with a dozen unconscious new hostages for Hamas!
    As for the Israelis, if you’re only allowed to defend your life by some Superman maneuver where nobody gets hurt, no matter if you’re in a surrounded by a bloodthirsty mob like Custer’s last stand, then you are not allowed to defend your own life.
    Which is exactly the point the exercise. To keep declaring that Israel has a right to self-defense, but only if she never uses it.

    Reply

  52. ... says:

    interesting to read those commenting on leons article at the site steve links to above..
    here is one by roi that hits the nail on the head…
    the willingness of Israeli society to support a blundering right-wing government that manifests its indifference to US opinion and world opinion in a multitude of ways, apparently either from the delusion that there will be no price to pay or, as Wieseltier says, in despair that anything will make a difference in how the world behaves toward Israel. But it does and will make a difference. If Israel becomes completely isolated, it cannot stand, and the right is hell bent on arriving at complete isolation as fast as it can get there. I speculate that this is due to delusions of power that flow from delusions of virtue and the delusion that power flows from virtue rather than from the adroit use of economic, political, and military resources. But it doesn’t matter why the right is driving Israel over a cliff; it only matters that it is doing so and that its pretensions to be those best able to see to Israel’s defenses is the greatest delusion of all. The right is in fact a menace. Yes, Israeli society will decide, and Israeli society will also pay the price of its decisions.

    Reply

  53. ... says:

    i thought this letter writer to leons article was quite good so i am sharing it here..
    06/03/2010 – 12:04pm EDT | SMacEachern2
    “When did it become progressive to support a theocracy?”
    There are two different ways of approaching that question. The first is simply to note that one may support a population without necessarily supporting its government: we do this in, say, North Korea and Zimbabwe, so why not in Gaza? Absent the rhetoric (which is cheap and mutable), I don’t see that attempting to move wheelchairs, cement and, what, coriander? into Gaza is necessarily support for the Hamas government. Of the hundreds of people on those ships, what balance is there between different views of this conflict. We don’t know – so why is Henning Mankell necessarily the poster boy for the group?
    And second, when did it become pro … view full comment
    “When did it become progressive to support a theocracy?”
    There are two different ways of approaching that question. The first is simply to note that one may support a population without necessarily supporting its government: we do this in, say, North Korea and Zimbabwe, so why not in Gaza? Absent the rhetoric (which is cheap and mutable), I don’t see that attempting to move wheelchairs, cement and, what, coriander? into Gaza is necessarily support for the Hamas government. Of the hundreds of people on those ships, what balance is there between different views of this conflict. We don’t know – so why is Henning Mankell necessarily the poster boy for the group?
    And second, when did it become progressive to support the outcome of democratic elections?
    Hamas is (among other things) certainly a group of fanatical theocrats that bears as much of the blame for stifling Gaza as does Israel…. but it was also voted in to power in elections that were more free and more fair than, for example, the last elections in Afghanistan, and in the region that is no mean thing. The tactic undertaken by Israel, the USA and Fatah after those elections was simply, immediately and unreflexively to try and make the lives of people in Gaza so unbearable that they would throw Hamas out. That didn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t work – but the stupidity of the attempt at collective punishment continues. The roots of Hamas can in part be traced back to a set of Israeli initiatives in the 1970s, when the Muslim Brotherhood was encouraged to operate in Gaza and (to a lesser extent) the West Bank, as a counterweight to Fatah and other secular organisations. At that point, Israel held its nose and collaborated with Islamicists, which at least implies that the exercise is not impossible.

    Reply

  54. ... says:

    to his credit dan, many of the neo conservatives who pushed for the war in iraq never had such an awakening and still remain convinced in the rightness of their convictions… at least with this fellow as late as he is to come to a recognition of the divide israel is creating for itself with the rest of the world, it is better then never…
    i think it is hard for some folks to change their views, especially as they get older… as a crazy attempt at trying to be open minded i read charles krauthammers article on this same event.. some people are completely resistant to change.. i guess that is why them call them conservatives, but i think they give conservatives a bad name..

    Reply

  55. Dan Kervick says:

    “…and concluded that the Israeli soldiers sliding down that rope had no intention of attacking the people on board.”
    Good for Leon. Maybe he should pay attention to the numerous eye-witnesses who claim the Israelis were already firing from the helicopter before they began rappelling down onto the boat.
    The bottom line is that Israel attacked an unarmed ship in international waters.
    It’s very convenient for Wieseltier to now put all the blame on Israel’s government for the ever-increasing number of Israeli enemies, after he has spent years defending just about everything Israel wants to do. He and others have spent year manically shoveling dirt to dig Israel’s own grade. Now he finds himself standing deep in a grave with dirt all over his face, and is pointing fingers at the other guys with shovels standing next to him.
    And what’s this business about the “Netanyahu-Barak” government? The last I knew, Yisraeli Beiteinu had more seats in the Knesset than Labor, while Avigdor Lieberman was a deputy prime minister, along with Barak. Has American Jewish denial about the pathology of the Jewish state reached such a level that they don’t even *see* that state anymore? Is the repulsive fascist Lieberman now just air-brushed out of the images of the state in Jewish consciousness, even though he is THE FOREIGN MINISTER OF ISRAEL?
    That’s right, Lieberman is the man Israelis themselves have chosen to represent the Jewish state to the outside world.
    And I can’t even imagine what kind of weird echo chamber Wieseltier must live in if he thought that prior to this incident, Israel occupied the “moral high ground”.

    Reply

  56. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Blinding the Witnesses
    By Naomi Klein – June 4th, 2010
    There is something way too literal about Israel shooting out the eye of a witness to its crimes.
    This photograph of Emily Henochowicz’s bandaged face needs to be seen by the world.
    http://palsolidarity.org/2010/05/12604/
    Like many of us around the world, Henochowicz, a 21-year-old Cooper Union art student, joined protests on Monday against Israel

    Reply

  57. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The Honorable Barack Obama
    President of the United States
    The White House
    Washington, DC 20500
    Dear Mr. President,
    Israeli commandos, acting at the direction of the State of Israel, attacked and seized a Turkish ship in international waters, in the Mediterranean Sea.
    At least nine were killed in the incident aboard the Mavi Marmara. Hundreds of civilians were taken into custody and goods were confiscated. Since the United States considers Israel our most important ally in the region, whose survival is a primary concern, it is incumbent upon the Commander in Chief to call Israel to an accounting for its conduct in planning and executing the deadly military attack in international waters upon a peaceful flotilla carrying citizens from over 50 countries.
    The State of Israel

    Reply

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *