Chicago Boyz

                 
 
 
 

Recommended Photo Store
What Are Chicago Boyz Readers Reading? Click here to find out.
 
Make your Amazon purchases though this banner to support our blog:
(Click here if you don't see the Amazon banner.)
 
  •   Problem? Question?
  •   Contact Contributors:

  • CB Twitter Feed
  • Lex's Tweets
  • Jonathan's Tweets
  • Blog Posts (RSS 2.0)
  • Blog Posts (Atom 0.3)
  • Incoming Links
  • Recent Comments

    • Loading...
  • Authors

  • Notable Discussions

  • Recent Posts

  • Blogroll

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Precious Dirt

    Posted by Shannon Love on July 28th, 2006 (All posts by )

    I confess that my thinking on the Israeli-Arab conflict has gone through a major revolution in the last 24 hours. In the past, I felt great moral revulsion at the use by Arabs of tactics that clearly qualify as war crimes. I thought that no one had an excuse to intentionally target civilians for no other purpose than killing them. I thought that the very purest instance of a war crime. However, after reading many blogs and comments I learned something that completely altered my thinking. I understand that my thinking lacked sophistication and nuance. Now I understand what the Israelis did to the Arabs that was so incredibly unjust that it justifies any response no matter how horrible it might appear to unsophisticated eyes.

    Here it is: It seems that, sixty-odd years ago, The Israelis, in connivance with the rest of the free world, stole some land from the Arabs!

    I know! Shocking, isn’t it? Don’t you feel like an idiot for supporting Israel all these years? I know I do.

    Of course, land is so fantastically important that its loss justifies any response in the attempt to get it back. Land is after all…well I mean it’s…..it’s….

    Okay, so land is just basically dirt.

    But I bet the land that Israel stole must be super-special dirt! That is the only thing that makes sense! That stolen dirt must be composed of chromium ore alternating with gold! I bet sweet, sweet crude oozes out from every rock! It must be such fertile dirt that you can grow a rainforest in a just a pot or bowl full of it, before breakfast every morning!

    And dirt is so fantastically importantly in the 21st Century. A nation is only as rich as its dirt. That is why South Korea is so much better off than North Korea. South Korea got all the good dirt. Hong Kong is famed for its dirt. The rest of the dirt in China sucks, although apparently it’s been improving of late. Heck, look at historical Holland. The Dutch basically invented the institutions of the modern world because that had vast tracts of great dirt. They felt so proud of their dirt that they decorated it with canals, dikes and windmills for no apparent reason. (Of course, this was hundreds of years ago when people didn’t have modern technology. Its not like today when you can just push back the sea a bit and make more dirt.) Yep, the Arabs have to get that dirt back if they have any hope of peace and prosperity.

    I mean, look at the present war in Lebanon. Hezballah demands that Israel turn over to them a piece of Syrian land called the Shebaa Farms, a no doubt verdant swath of land over 1 mile deep and nearly 9 miles wide. I mean, jeebus! What were the Israelis thinking? That’s a probably gold-plated, oil-bearing chunk of land nearly the size of a rather small American suburb! What sane person wouldn’t blindly fire artillery into a populated city in an attempt to get it back?

    The Israelis brought all this on themselves by stealing the Arabs’ precious, precious dirt. What? Speak up, I can’t hear you! You say that…the…land…in…Israel…is…mostly…dessert. You mean like Apple Pie?

    Oh, you said “desert.”

    What? Salt encrusted! How the hell does dirt get salt encrusted? … Wow, you don’t say.

    Still, even if it is desert it must have large deposits of natural resources like oil or ores or….

    Nothing? You have got to be %$#@! me! Who the hell goes on a sixty-year killing spree for utterly worthless land?

    The Israelis must have done something else. I know! They must have dissed the Arabs! Man, you have to respond to that. You let an insult stand and the next thing you know your woman is talking back to you, kids laugh at you in the street and the guys down at the bar make kissy-kissy faces at you and imply you’re a homosexual. The only reasonable and moral solution is to track down the bastard who insulted you and pop a cap in him. And, if you can’t find him, you can morally kill his kids. No, really! All the great moral philosophers (on death row) agree with me on this.

    After all. isn’t that what the Jews themselves did? Back in WWII tens of thousands of Jewish partisans operated in Eastern Europe. Most had watched their entire families die horribly and whenever they could, they exacted payback on the German people. They avoiding attacking the powerful German military and its economic assets and instead targeted German civilians whenever possible. They even attacked German school children and broke into German homes and shot little girls to death in their beds. To this day, Germans live in daily fear that Jewish extremists will wreak bloody vengeance on any random German in payback for the mass-murder of their grandparents’ generation.

    No! Don’t go look it up! Trust me! I mean, think about it. If anyone in the last hundred years possessed a clear justification for a perpetual war of revenge, it’s the Jews. Hell, if the Jews could come to some kind of accommodation with the Germans then anyone could make peace with anyone else. The Arabs would look like complete psychos if, over nearly 60 years, they couldn’t negotiate some kind of settlement with the Jews over dirt when the Jews had learned to live on the same planet with the people who made a strong run at wiping them out completely.

    Besides, Israel is a liberal democracy, and as anyone with an advanced degree in the humanities can tell you, liberal democracies cause the lion’s share of the troubles in the world. The multiple political parties, competitive elections, independent judiciary, rule of law, a free press and the rest of all that crap lead to a kind of frenzied madness that spells nothing but trouble for the just, honest and above all reasonable autocracies of the world. (I mean look how peaceful Cambodia became after the “peace” movement let the communists take over. I am told that vast stretches of the country are now natural wonders, places of calm and quiet where you can hear the birds sing. It’s like there’s not a human soul around. You don’t see liberal democracies pulling off things like that.) Besides I am sure the Arab autocracies have a proven track record of humane governance and economic success that throws the hell the citizens of Israel, both jewish and non-jewish alike, must live in into stark contrast. You certainly don’t see autocracies provoking wars to distract their populations from their own shortcomings.

    Israel brought this horror upon itself by stealing the Arabs’ precious, precious dirt. One can almost hear the poor traumatized wretches, crouching in the bunkers their benevolent autocrats built for them, muttering to themselves about the infamy perpetrated upon them, “They took our preciousssssss…dirt. Wants it back we do. Our preciousssssss! Our dirt! Dirty Jewbits took it and we wants it back! Our preciousssssss….” Then they fire a missile at a school and who can blame them? How can you negotiate with someone who stole your dirt? Dirt is everything in the modern world. What amount of money could compensate you for your valuable and beloved stretches of utterly worthless desert? If someone offered me a huge pile of cash in exchange for my dirt I know I would rather suffer generations of poverty, oppression and pointless bloody warfare rather than surrender my claim to my utterly useless dirt.

    It’s terribly sad but, frankly, the Arabs are perfectly justified in killing, by any means necessary, any Israelis, their children, oh, and their little dog too.

    It’s all so clear now.

     

    32 Responses to “Precious Dirt”

    1. Bombadil Says:

      The situation becomes even more absurd when you realize that Israel didn’t even do this little bit.

      Say rather that after the previous owners of the dirt pile defaulted (Ottoman Empire) the local Jews and Arabs swapped dirt, with the Arabs getting virtually all of the pile. The Jews got a little sandy sliver along the edge, which they proceeded to turn into a garden by working really hard.

      Now the Arabs want even that little sliver of dirt as well. Nice Arabs. They have tried to kill all the Jews and take that little piece five times in the last 60 years. They got their asses handed to them a couple of times – oops. And now they want to achieve by political blackmail and terrorism what they could never, never hope to achieve by the force of their pathetic military might.

      Question: what is the cultural difference between a Palestinian and a (Syrian | Lebanese | Jordanian) that necessitates a separate state for them? Answer: there is none, it’s just a convenient club to bludgeon Israel with.

    2. Ginny Says:

      Actually, the importance of dirt – of home, of place – is about as archetypal as it gets. I can understand that. I can’t, however, understand what seems to go along with that passion in the middle east.

      For one thing, I always thought that passion for the land arose in part from the sense of giving back to it, to making, as Eisenhower said, your spot better than when you arrived on this earth. That is what Israel has been doing – it is blooming in the desert. The often restless, self-destructive, neurotic Palestinians seem to spit on their land, to take no actual pleasure in nurturing that land.

      People need to reconcile themselves to history at some point. My English acquaintances that keep refighting WWII whenever my son-in-law is around or mentioned, my friend who disapproved of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” at the ceremony following 9/11 – well, I figure that is nuts and they can get over it. That is nothing next to the theory that Spain should be part of the great Caliphate, as it was prior to 1492 (or whatever historical allusion is handy before suicide bombers are sent out). We’ve had a hell of a lot of history on this continent alone since then.

      You don’t get to make up a history that begins & ends with the point when your people held the most territory & consider everything after that some kind of weird “out of history” history. The Austro-Hungarians don’t get their empire, the Poles don’t theirs, the Germans don’t theirs, and certainly Europe isn’t to be pulled together and handed over Rome. But, fortunately, the average Italian doesn’t go around bombing up to northern Germany and the Scottish borderlands in some attempt to retake their old territory.

    3. Lex Says:

      I don’t agree. If it were, say, Florida, that had been taken from the USA and a hundred years went by we’d want it back. Vladimir Jabotinksi said in the 1920s that Israel would have to exist behind an iron wall of Jewish bayonets, forever, because the Arabs would never rest until they got their land back. The Jews took 1878 years to come back for their land. They wanted their dirt back. they took it. I don’t hold that against them. We are all like that. I’m an American. My country is built over the bones of the Indians. They wanted to keep their land, the Americans wanted it, too. The Americans had railroads and factories and firearms and finance. So this continent is ours now. Someday, I am sure, someone will take it from our descendants. It is a nice piece of dirt. So disaster will eventually befall us. It may take centuries. I hope so.

      My problem with the Palestinians is their methods, and to the extent they share it, Islamist ideology.

      I am about 99% friendly toward Israel. And I respect them and their regime far more than I do any of their opponents. But I don’t hold it against the Palestinians that they want their land back.

      Jabotinsky:

      Compromisers in our midst attempt to convince us that the Arabs are some kind of fools who can be tricked by a softened formulation of our goals, or a tribe of money grubbers who will abandon their birth right to Palestine for cultural and economic gains. I flatly reject this assessment of the Palestinian Arabs. Culturally they are 500 years behind us, spiritually they do not have our endurance or our strength of will, but this exhausts all of the internal differences. We can talk as much as we want about our good intentions; but they understand as well as we what is not good for them. They look upon Palestine with the same instinctive love and true fervor that any Aztec looked upon his Mexico or any Sioux looked upon his prairie. To think that the Arabs will voluntarily consent to the realization of Zionism in return for the cultural and economic benefits we can bestow on them is infantile. This childish fantasy of our “Arabo-philes” comes from some kind of contempt for the Arab people, of some kind of unfounded view of this race as a rabble ready to be bribed in order to sell out their homeland for a railroad network.

      This view is absolutely groundless. Individual Arabs may perhaps be bought off but this hardly means that all the Arabs in Eretz Israel are willing to sell a patriotism that not even Papuans will trade. Every indigenous people will resist alien settlers as long as they see any hope of ridding themselves of the danger of foreign settlement.

      That is what the Arabs in Palestine are doing, and what they will persist in doing as long as there remains a solitary spark of hope that they will be able to prevent the transformation of “Palestine” into the “Land of Israel”.

      That spark of hope must be extinguished again and again by Israeli military power and other methods of violence, forever. Or their can be no Isreal. And there is no “exit strategy”. It never stops and Israel never gets to be a “normal country”.

      Do the Israelis have the fortitude for that? In perpetuity? They have the means. So their own will is the only question.

    4. GFK Says:

      First of all, great post Shannon. I’ve learned alot about alot of things from this site and it’s posts like these that do it.

      Second, I see your point of view Lex, but I’m not sure it’s as strong of a stance as you make it out to be.

      It’s not entirely correct to assert that the Jews came back and took (or even bought) the land.

      Let’s take Jerusalem as an example. It’s Jerusalem. It’s jewish. And not only was it historically jewish, but in 1844 the Jews formed a plurality and were a majority of the population in the late 19th century and still are the majority today. (source: wikipedia.)

      Other major cities like Tel Aviv were founded on what was practically open desert. The jews built them from scratch and if the land was owned, usually by remote arabs given title by the Ottoman empire, the land was bought.

      With regard to the arab population of palestine, it was sparse and a large number weren’t even “indigenous”, many were Egyptians (even Yassar Arafat was born there) that migrated in the 19th century to leave the unrest of their home country. Many more came later when the jews brought western industry and created jobs.

      On these points I don’t think the debate about land holds water and with the exception of fleeing Roman, Muslim and Crusader armies, jews have historically had a presence in the region as much, if not more than arabs.

      That said, there was ALOT of Jewish immigration and as we all know from our current situation, immigration can be a sensitive issue, but I personally don’t think it’s ultimately about land, I think it’s about power. Irredentism is a relevant concern given the current debate here in the states. The question is, was it a justifiable concern to the arabs? I think it’s open to debate, but I personally don’t think so. The jews did gain some power over a small peice of land, but they didn’t take that power from arabs. The arabs never had the power to have it taken. They may have wanted it, but they can’t rightly say that they had it taken away.

    5. Michael Says:

      Hey, when all is said and done, the Jews are the only ethnic group that MOST of the world still feels it’s ok to hate. Get over it. The Arab world (as a whole, and I understand there are limited exceptions) would have nothing to live for if the Jews left Israel. I’ll bet if you gave them 10 years in Israel, they could have it looking just like Beruit (did yesterday).

      As a Jew, I’ve lived through 45 years of this crap from the United States. I can only imagine how hard it is for an Israeli Jew. I’m sick of the BS. I hope the US and Britain have the balls to let Israel do what it should. For the most part, I think President Bush is “competence-challenged” but I have to give him his due on this conflict. Rather than cower to world opinion (read: third world whining), he is fine with letting Israel duke it out until the Hizbollah (Hezbollah) extremists are sufficiently disabled. Of course, Bush’s reasons for passively intervening might be that he’s been doing the same thing in Iraq with one-tenth the moral, ethical, business and domestic justification.

      Just ramblin’ here. I can’t take it anymore. I hope Israel flattens Lebanon. Yes, civilian casualties will occur. But that happens when your country harbors terrorists who like to blend in with civilians. The UN can quit whining now and go clean up 100 years of government oppression in virtually all of Africa if they are worried about innocent civilians.

      What is the cause for Hezbollah/Hamas again? Can’t be land. They never did anything with it and never owned it. Besides, Israel has given a bunch of that back and that hasn’t stopped anything. And what happened to the other billion square miles of desert that their Arab/Muslim bretheren own? I don’t see Syria stepping up with a parcel of land. Is the world blind to this or do a lot of people just need someone to hate to give purpose to their otherwise useless existence?

    6. Shannon Love Says:

      Lex,

      If it were, say, Florida, that had been taken from the USA and a hundred years went by we’d want it back…

      Perhaps abstractly but I don’t think we would target children over it. The arabs have basically grown their entire political existence around Israel. They have created this idea that the creation of Israel wounded them in some near fatal way and only by its destruction can they ever hope to prosper. I believe that various autocrats have fostered this idea for their own selfish reasons but culture plays a strong part.

      I don’t think any liberal-democracy could maintain such a delusion for long. Its to costly to the general society.

    7. Lex Says:

      You: “…but I don’t think we would target children over it.”

      Me: “My problem with the Palestinians is their methods…”

      So we agree on that.

      But we would never give up on anyu such lost territory. And we would seize any opportunity to get it back. Just like China will have a nuclear war with us before it will concede the loss of Taiwan. Just like the French raised to generations of young men to fight for revanche for the loss of Alsace. Just like virtually no American school kid hears much about the Mexican War, but every Mexican kid knows that America attacked them and took half their country and that they want it back. Just like the Serbian cab driver I had once who nearly drove off the road, yelling “those motherfuckers, we will never let them take Kosovo!”

      Jabotinski understood this basic fact. He correctly warned his more soft-hearted Zionist colleagues that making Israel was going to require driving out Arabs, and that those Arabs would not forgive, or forget, but would have to be held at bay by force forever. He was right.

      Lincoln said somewhere that a country consists of its land, its laws and its people. That its people come and go, they live and die. And its laws can change over time. But it must fight for its territory no matter what, since its territory is its very existence.

      “The arabs have basically grown their entire political existence around Israel. … culture plays a strong part.”

      Culture plays a huge part. Islam is based on a principle of violent expansion. It cannot accept that any territory it once occupied can be lost again. They will never give up on that.

      I also agree that the political leadership in these countries has made the existence of Israel a convenient excuse for all their failures.

      All that said, I do not think the Palestinians, or the Arabs in general, or Muslims in general, will ever become reconciled to the existence of Israel or the loss of that territory. They recall the Crusader kingdoms that lasted a century or so but eventually were driven out. Moreover, I do not think this is a surprising attitude.

      I am pro-Israel. I want Israel to survive and prosper. I expect its enemies to be the way they are forever. Israel can naver have peace. It can have longer or shorter lulls between wars, depending on how thoroughly it smashed its enemies the last time around.

      I see no fact that makes me think anything else is possible.

      [Note: I added Lex as the author of this post because the author was originally left off. My responsibility if its a misattribution.—Shannon]

    8. LotharBot Says:

      “Bush’s reasons for passively intervening might be that he’s been doing the same thing in Iraq with one-tenth the moral, ethical, business and domestic justification.”

      More likely, Bush’s reasons are that he understands the nature of the conflict between the free world and the world of Islamic Fundamentalism. Israel v. Hezbollah, US v. Saddam, US v. Taliban — they’re all part of the same war. The only question is, will the rest of the “free world” get a clue and help take down the Mullahs (whether by force or some other method)?

    9. GFK Says:

      Again, jabotinsky may have correctly framed the argument as the arabs teach it to their children, but he did not grasp reality. The reality is that Israel has been consistently jewish for thousands of years and that the jews did not take power from arabs. After the fall of the ottoman empire the jews took power of a small amount of that land lost by the turks while the Arabs took power in more than 95% of it. The analogies to mexico, the serbs, whatever, do not hold water. Jabotinsky was wrong on the reality of the situation. Please quit making those comparisons unless you can justify why they are valid.

    10. JANB Says:

      ISRAEL IS PROTECTING ITSELF

      THE MEDIA IN AMERICA MAKES LIKE THE IDF IS INVINCEABLE – TO THE POINT WHERE HIZBOLLAH LOOKS LIKE “FREEDOM FIGHTERS”

      THATS THE PROBLEM

      THE REAL “RESISTANCE” IS AGAINST TERROR – AND DARKNESS

      THIS IS THE HIZB’ALLAH THE WORLD MUST SEE – THE REAL HEZBOLLAH

      AND THE POINT THAT HIZBALLAH DOENST NEED TO WORRY ABOUT CIVILIANS
      ITS A REAL PROBLEM TOO
      – LIKE ITS OK FOR THEM TO KILL AS MANY AS THEY WANT
      – BUT ISAREL MUST BE RESTRAINED

    11. Robert Naiman Says:

      Every criticism of the Israeli government’s actions in Lebanon should acknowledge the role of the Bush Administration, which has given the green light, blocked efforts for a cease-fire, and provided the weapons. And the British government, which has supported the U.S. and is allowing U.S. shipments of weapons to Israel to pass through Scotland.

      Robert Naiman
      Just Foreign Policy
      http://www.justforeignpolicy.org

    12. James R. Rummel Says:

      Every criticism of the Israeli government’s actions in Lebanon should acknowledge the role of the Bush Administration,…

      What in the world makes you think that it is Israel’s actions that we are criticizing?

      Something tells me this is a spambot comment. either that or a nimrod who doesn’t read the posts before typing out a response.

      If you decide to delete Mr. Naiman’s little contribution to the discussion, Shannon, then please delete this one as well.

      James

    13. mahral Says:

      [NOTE: I deleted this post because it was nothing but a link. Those type of comments are not allowed. Write some comments and provide excepts if you want to provide a link.—Shannon,b>]

    14. Leiif Says:

      In case you don’t all know about this. The Isreali’s have created a tool that they are using to alert all their supporters to articles, polls, surveys and other sites of interest that they feel need to have the opinion adjusted more to their favor . Go to http://giyus.org/ and download their tool “megaphone” so you will be alerted to the same sites in order to counter their countering efforts . 2 days ago they had a page on the link where it says “make a “difference”” that showed a snapshot of a yahoo survey before and after they sent out their alert . It showed a totally skewed survey, of course . They pulled that page . The following link shows what they are working on this morning http://giyus.org/alerts/ . Sometimes you must use the oppositions tools . They are clever and organized, that I will give them . Most of the pro-israeli comments are from their minions.

    15. Jonathan Says:

      Yes, those clever Jews. Don’t let them fool you.

      giyus.org (the word “giyus” means mobilization in Hebrew) seems like a straightforward pro-Israel PR effort by a private group. If they’re telling supporters to vote in online polls, well, that is certainly damning information, since no other groups do that.

      Yawn.

    16. shannon Love Says:

      Robert Naiman,

      The criticism you list aren’t bugs, they’re features. The US is supporting Israel because (1) it’s a liberal-democracy (2) it’s in our long term strategic interest to do so (3) it’s the right thing to do.

      A cease fire now would have the same effect as a cease fire in 1943. Our long term goal is the destruction of the political entities that trigger violence and consistently block any attempts at a negotiated solution. We shouldn’t do anything to give them breathing room.

    17. Shannon Love Says:

      Lex,

      I agree we face a persistent problem with Arabic and other Islamic attitudes towards Israel. My point, no doubt ineptly made, is that those attitudes are by the standards of contemporary Westerners, completely irrational. We would not ever excuse a Western who made a premeditated attack on civilians, especially on children, just because they believed someone gypped them out of some land.

      I think that many people excuse the Arabic response to Israel because that do not conceptualize the Arabic people as intellectual or moral equals to Westerns. They think the Arabs are to childlike to control their violent impulses. I think they place the onus on Israel because they think Israel is culturally mature enough to control its violent impulses. That model doesn’t explain all the reflexive criticism of Israel but I think it is the genesis of a lot of it.

      I think we should consistently undermine the often unstated presumption that the formation of Israel represented such a vast crime against the Arabic people that any reasonable person could understand why they must use the tactics they do.

      As I told one Israel basher sometime ago, “If you think the the formation and actions of Israel justify terrorism by Arabs I hate to think what you would let the Kurds get away with.”

    18. Jonathan Says:

      I think that’s correct. Even many Israelis, particularly left-wingers, accept uncritically the notion that it’s right to hold Israel to a higher standard (and by extension, right to hold Arabs to a lower one).

    19. Lex Says:

      Shannon, your attribution is correct, a slip up by me.

      I only meant to make a couple of points.

      1. Clinging to a piece of real estate, or pining for the return or restoration of a piece of real estate, is pretty normal in history. The Jews wanted to return to Palestine and not Uganda, after nearly two millenia, for that reason. This fact is not something I hold against the Palestinians, in itself.

      2. So, we should not be surprised that this is a persistent factor in dealing with the Arabs, or that it is manipulated by Arab leaders and demagogues.

      3. This is all without regard to issues of whether the Jews have a right to be there, or were always in Jerusalem, or any of that stuff. However intersting such historical stuff may be, all those arguments are well known and they are not going to change anyone’s mind at this point. Everybody knows where they stand on this stuff, and conversations about who is “right” are all preaching to the choir. Both sides are certain they are right.

      4. Therefore, the “onus” on Israel is simply this: Defend what you have. The people who want to take it from you, and who in fact want to kill all of you, are not going to change their minds. They may conclude that it is impossible to win, and give up for a time on trying. But they will never abandon the principal, and there is no point in trying to convince them to.

      5. I cite to Jabotinsky to show that this basic framework for Israel’s existence as a permanent “fortress” was foreseen long ago and should not be a surprise to anybody, and that wishful thinking that Israel can ever have relations with its neighbors like the USA enjoys with Canada, for example, are delusional. Wishful thinking this regard will only lead to more people getting killed.

      6. Finally, given the state of affairs in the world as of today, 2006, I am about 99% pro-Israel, I consider Israel an island of the West in a sea of the West’s enemies, and I consider Israel’s enemies to be America’s enemies. If the past 60 years had gone differently, we might not have been in this situation. I wish they had gone differently, but that is neither here nor there. They didn’t and we play the hand we are holding.

    20. Ginny Says:

      Well, isn’t it more a question of not holding the Arabs to any standard?

      Using your own children as shields is reprehensible. The terrorist’s tactics use others’ respect for standards that our culture has spent thousands of years refining; we believe children are to be saved, helped, protected. We believe this is true across the board.

      But to a terrorist the children around him and on the other side are useful pawns. It is not that we don’t have people in the west that think like that (literature is scattered with them – Col. Grangerford & Ab Snopes come to mind easily.) Our task is to retain the values of our civilization without committing suicide. Listening to the radio news this morning, it was clear that many in the international community don’t mind being played and don’t mind ignoring the real tragedy – which is the thought process in those who use children as shields.

      This tribalism is willful & barbaric – as we can be, as were perhaps all of us not too long ago. Still, a tribalism that encourages people in Iran and Afghanistan to think of Israel as “their” land is so broad (temporally & geographically) that we have no other comparisons. This isn’t the Sudetenland, this isn’t the Rio Grande. This matches a willful sense that wants to mark others so harshly that these assertations that the rights – even of the families around them – are worth nothing.

    21. Lex Says:

      “…a tribalism that encourages people in Iran and Afghanistan to think of Israel as “their” land is so broad (temporally & geographically) that we have no other comparisons.”

      That seems to be the black-letter Muslim view. Once it is Muslim land, it is always Muslim land. It is not some kind of extremist view among them, it appears to be mainstream and well-founded doctrinally in Islamic orthodoxy. So, if the Jes want keep their slice of Palestine, the cost is permanent war with the entire Muslim Umma, with the occasionally truce from exhaustion or as a tactical ruse.

      I agree absolutely as to the depravity of the methods and mindset of Israel’s enemies. Osama, who is if nothing else honest about his intentions, put it best. He said that his side is stronger because they love death, while we love life. We shall see if he is right. It is not over yet.

    22. Jonathan Says:

      Actually, Lex, Arab nationalism, Palestinian Arab nationalism in particular, is a recent invention. Nobody was pining much for what is now Israel, before the Jews came there. Jerusalem, which now routinely gets lip service as a holy city of Islam, was a neglected backwater pretty much until Israel took over the eastern part of the city.

      If you read between the lines of what Arabs say today you can still see some of the outlines of the old views. For example, Syria considers Lebanon to be part of Syria. It used to (maybe still does) consider Palestine to be “southern Syria.” The notion of a distinct Palestinian Arab identity is new. Until the 1960s or 1970s, if you asked a West Bank Arab where he was from he would probably say Ramallah or Bethlehem or some other town. Now he would probably call himself a Palestinian.

      Palestinian Arab national consciousness and Jewish national consciousness are not parallel phenomena.

    23. Lex Says:

      “Nobody was pining much for what is now Israel, before the Jews came there.”

      The Sioux weren’t pining for their prairies until they lost them, either. I don’t see what this does for us. I don’t pine for Florida. If a foreign group moved there, occupied it, formed a country on it, and said, well, a lot of our people were here so its ours now, as an American, I would be pissed and I’d expect our government to drive them out.

      Whether or not that is true is irrelevant, anyway. The Germans weren’t Nazis 50 years before 1933, either. We are where we have gotten to, today.

      I can convene a room full of people who agree that the Jews have a “right” to be in Palestine.

      Hamas can convene a room full of people who want to send their teenage children to blow themselves up as shaheeds in Israeli restaurants and discoteques.

      The first group can talk all day, and even be right. It doesn’t matter.

      The second group will never, ever listen to them. They just need to be defeated.

    24. Jonathan Says:

      The rhetoric and history matter even if westerners think they don’t. Look at the PLO/PA’s long-running campaign to hide or destroy archaeological evidence of ancient Jewish settlement and structures under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. After doing this for years the PA started claiming openly that there had never been a Jewish temple in Jerusalem. What the PA did was all very logical and intended as the premise of logical arguments: the Jews are newcomers and therefore aren’t entitled to be here, while we Arabs have been here since time immemorial and therefore should own the place. (Never mind that Jews have lived in Jerusalem and what is now Israel for thousands of years, and that many if not most of the “indigenous” Arabs are either immigrants themselves or are the descendants of immigrants who came after the Jews did.)

      The Arabs and Muslims who are “implacably” convinced of their right to throw the Jews into the sea weren’t born that way. They had to be taught and convinced. That’s why the PLO/PA has been so assiduous about teaching hatred for Jews and Israel. Now they have to be defeated, not only because some of them will never change their minds but also because there isn’t time to do anything else. But in the long run it is important also to change what they are taught. That will take time but I don’t see why it isn’t doable. And the way to start is by not accepting the premises of their arguments. They should not be assumed by default to be the indigenous people of Israel.

    25. israeli Says:

      The Truth about QANA today, PLEASE READ:

      first. watch this IAF movie which proves that Hizbullah shoot from Qana.
      www1.idf.il

      more movies:
      http://www.4law.co.il

      Hizbullah lies all the time.

      some facts:
      IDF bombed the home at 1:00 AM.

      The first reports about casualties arrived at 8:00 AM, the first pictures at 8:30 AM.

      THE TRUTH:
      How about 7 hours passed withput report about casualties ?

      the House was attacked at 1:00 AM, how at 8:30 AM people are running away from that house ? does it take them 7 hours to get out of the burning house ?!

      One injured man from Qana said in the media that the house bombed at 1:00 AM, this is also proves the Hizbullah put weapons in the houses in Qana, and actually the civilians injured because of the weapons that Bombed later at this house or another house next to it (in the pictures you can see 2 houses destroyed). the IDF bomb probabaly caused damage to the house, and later the fire bombed the Hizbullah weapons, and the building collapsed.

      Moreover, in this operation died more than 10 Hizabullah people, is was reported in the media. This proves the Hizbullah involvement.

      IAF COMMENT:

      One of the heads of IAF Amir Eshel: “The building bombed at 00:00 to 1:00 AM.”

      “another targets away from the building were bombed at 2:00 AM and 7:30 AM, and destroyed successfully.”

      “The building collapsed only at the morning, we can’t understand what happened in the 7 hours between.”

      And I say:

      There was more than 5 hours to the ambulances to arrive !!! and how can you explain that the civilians escaped from the house injured only at 8:30 AM ???

    26. israeli Says:

      Please read and share:
      http://ws.giyus.org/points/point?id=69

    27. Guy Says:

      it’s even more absurd when u find out that israel declared a nation of less than half than what they have today, the arabs opened wars against israel so many times in order to anihilate and lost more and more land, and now all they do is try to kill civillians. and eventually 90% of our self rightous world will blame Israel. Why? because it’s easy…
      Thank u for giving us this sarcastic view point of the conflict. i acctually really enjoyed it (and it’s much nicer than debating with ignorants who know nothing about that conflict… and that’s what i’ve been doing all day long)
      so thanx again and have a nice day.

    28. israeli Says:

      Please watch and share this movie and see the Israeli side:

      http://ws.giyus.org/points/point?id=70

      think: does Israel mean to kill civilians ? why should Israel do that ?!

      Hizbullah launched above 2500 missiles on Israel only to kill as many CIVILIANS as he can.

    29. Lex Says:

      “And the way to start is by not accepting the premises of their arguments.”

      The time for premises and arguments is over. Have them if you want. But the fact is, the entire world has already chosen sides.

      The Israelis have to decide how much they really want to keep their country.

    30. Jonathan Says:

      Yes, that is part of the problem. Many Israelis have accepted enough of the other side’s narrative to lose some of the national self-confidence they once possessed. They are weaker as a result.

      This war won’t be won or lost in Lebanon. If Israelis wanted to they could win the war decisively in a few days by using overwhelming force. The war will be won or lost in the hearts and minds of Israelis. They have to decide to win it. It is harder to decide to win when you have doubts about your cause and your country’s legitimacy. That is one of the reasons why history matters, and why Arab propaganda matters and must be disputed constantly. Anti-Israel propaganda by Arabs and their apologists has seeped into the ground water of western political thought and affects even Israelis, most of whom are sick of war and many of whom are susceptible to national self-doubt in the way Europeans after WWI were susceptible to pacifism.

      The Arabs’ belief that the events of a thousand years ago matter greatly gives them great strength. The tendency of many westerners, particularly Americans but also Israelis, to treat the past as past and consider only concrete facts is a strength in daily life but it can be a weakness when great national resolve is called for.

      Mark Steyn’s latest column touches on similar themes.

    31. tim Says:

      YOU CAN LIE AND LIE SUCCESSFULLY BUT YOU CANNOT HIDE THE TRUTH. The Isreali Zionist neocons have created a tool that they are using to alert all their supporters to articles, polls, surveys etc that they feel need to have the opinion adjusted more to their favor. Download their tool “megaphone” so you will be alerted to the same sites in order to counter their deceitfully misleading efforts . 2 days ago they had a page that showed a snapshot of a yahoo survey before and after they sent out their alert, it showed how they totally skewed the survey results in their favor. The following link http://ws.giyus.org/points/list shows what they are working on this morning. Stand up to this attempt to mislead public opinion and drown this misleading voice under the wave of true public opinion like it deserves. This is an example of the **WAR waged by Israel upon EVERY one of US**, we are as a global society being fired upon by the israeli cyber-guerrillas. Arm yourselves!

    32. Jonathan Says:

      Is that you, Mel?