• Guest, The rules for the P & N subforum have been updated to prohibit "ad hominem" or personal attacks against other posters. See the full details in the post "Politics and News Rules & Guidelines."

For biased critics of Israel, even its defensive actions violate human rights

JEDIYoda

Lifer
Jul 13, 2005
33,662
3,138
126
This is an Excellent article by Jeff Robbins...

Boston – In 1947, when excusing Soviet totalitarianism had become quite the rage in fashionable progressive circles, George Orwell eviscerated a British politician who consistently defended totalitarians but nevertheless denied that he was a defender of totalitarianism. “But of course he does,” Orwell wrote. “What else could he say? A pickpocket does not go to the races with a label ‘pickpocket’ on his coat lapel, and a propagandist does not describe himself as a propagandist.”

Orwell’s point holds true for today’s debate over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His pickpocket metaphor seems particularly applicable to those critics of Israel who can always be counted upon to decide that Israel has behaved miserably in defending herself, regardless of the suffering of Israeli civilians that their government is seeking to prevent and regardless of the actions of those who have caused that suffering.

These are individuals who nonetheless stoutly deny that they are in any way biased against Israel.

In fact, these critics view the very pointing out of what looks very much like anti-Israel bias as an affront.

Those who point out the critics’ seeming inability to ever locate a justification for Israeli actions, let alone a legitimate Israeli interest in self-defense, are dismissed as part of the “pro-Israel lobby,” who simply cannot tolerate anyone who has “the temerity to criticize Israel.” And as for the suggestion that they harbor any bias against Israel, very much like Orwell’s defenders of totalitarianism, they deny it, adamantly.

To be sure, there ought to be ample room for legitimate debate about Israeli policies. But there does appear to be a determination in certain quarters to hew to an anti-Israeli line on every issue, without exception.

Where's the context?Often, this occurs through a failure to explain the rationale or context for Israel’s actions – even actions that are emphatically defensive in nature.

For example, earlier this month, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof managed the feat of devoting an entire column to calling upon Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza, while mentioning not one word about the rocketing of Israeli civilians that had brought about the blockade, and whose recurrence the blockade is intended to prevent.

Indeed, for much of the past decade, Israel has been forced to defend itself from charges that defending itself is a crime.

From 2000 to 2004, the Palestinian leadership organized a suicide bombing campaign aimed at killing and maiming as many Israeli civilians as possible. Innocent Palestinians were recruited to kill innocent Israelis, using bombs packed with nails to do the maximum harm.

About 1,100 Israelis were blown to pieces and 5,000 more were wounded or maimed. This is the rough proportional equivalent of about 55,000 Americans killed and 250,000 Americans wounded or maimed. The launching of this campaign followed the Palestinian rejection of major Israeli concessions at the 2000 Camp David Summit, including an independent Palestinian state consisting of all of Gaza, virtually all of the West Bank, and a capital in East Jerusalem.

After asking the Palestinian leadership to stop this bombing campaign, and calling upon others to call upon the Palestinian leadership to stop it, and waiting for nearly two years in vain for it to stop, the Israelis began to construct a fence intended to bring the bombing to an end. A bombing campaign whose very purpose was to take innocent human life should have triggered universal condemnation of Palestinian violence.

Double standardsIt didn’t. In progressive quarters, the Palestinian bombing of Israeli civilians for the purpose of taking innocent life and terrorizing civilians wasn’t deemed a human rights violation. But Israel’s construction of a purely defensive fence was. That, according to several critics, was the real human rights violation.

Similarly, from 2000 to 2008, the working class families of southern Israel were subjected to somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 rockets, missiles, and bombs fired at them by Hamas gunmen embedded in civilian neighborhoods in Gaza. The use of innocent Palestinians as human shields from which to fire rockets at innocent Israelis surely constituted the Daily Double of human rights violations.

And yet for that 8 year period the progressive community remained largely silent – silent about the Palestinian use of civilians as human shields, and silent about the targeting of innocent Israeli civilians, who were doing nothing more than trying to live their lives and send their children to school in the morning with some confidence that they would return alive in the afternoon.

When in late 2008, the Israelis finally acted to stop the missile fire, here is what Richard Kemp, the former commander of Britain’s military forces in Afghanistan, had to say about their efforts to minimize the harm done to Palestinians while trying to protect Israeli civilians from the attacks: “I don’t think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare when an army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the Israeli Defense Forces is doing today in Gaza.”

Now, had it not been for the 8 years of rocketing of Israeli civilians from Gaza there never would have been any need for an Israeli response at all. Yet, those who had remained largely uninterested in the attacks on Israeli civilians for 8 years found themselves appalled that the Israelis had actually taken steps to stop them.

It turned out that it wasn’t the 8 years of targeting Israeli civilians that was the human rights violation.

It was the Israeli effort to stop the attacks.

So it has gone with issue after issue when it comes to the Mideast conflict. Those who from all appearances have to stifle a yawn when it comes to the suffering endured by Israelis can, with perfect predictability, be expected to criticize Israel for trying to stop that suffering.

And so it was only weeks ago with the flotilla incident off the coast of Gaza.

Virtually no mention was made of the broader issue of the smuggling of rockets, missiles, and bombs into Gaza, which were used against Israelis, are presently being used against Israelis, and will be used against Israelis in the future. It was hardly as though the dilemma of the Israelis, who are trying to protect their civilians from ever more dangerous weapons with ever greater range, should be taxing to understand, and yet the basic Israeli reasons for the blockade went all but unmentioned.

Reflexive biasThus, when nine members of the Turkish boat died after its passengers began attacking Israeli sailors, The Boston Globe – epitomizing reflexive, rather than considered, judgment – immediately urged the Obama administration to condemn Israel, without even asking first for an investigation, let alone waiting for one to take place.

The anti-Israel fashion that is so enthralling to so many in so many places provides a comfortable setting for those who are determined to indict Israel whatever the facts, whatever the circumstances. Those doing the indicting deny that they are biased.

And that is understandable. “Bias” is not the sort of label one wants on his coat lapel.

Jeffrey Robbins served as a United States Delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission under President Clinton. He is an attorney in Boston.
 

KMFJD

Lifer
Aug 11, 2005
22,487
23,903
136
If the Pally's shot a rocket off towards Israel and it was shot down and landed in Gaza and caused deaths, Israel would be seen as the bad guy for some reason.
 

Double Trouble

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
9,273
103
106
More of the usual drivel. Israel has every right to defend itself, and everyone else has every right to criticize Israel when they take actions that have no real defense value and are more aimed at vengeance / retribution. Vengeance is understandable, but killing civilians on the "other side" because they kill yours does not fix anything.

Further, imprisoning a couple of million people under occupation for decades doesn't exactly help much of anything either.

There are no easy solutions, but exclusively blaming one side or the other is ignorant and stupid.
 
May 11, 2008
18,309
829
126
Just out of curiosity, what is the political system in Israel ?

Free market capitalism, communism, Marxism, democracy ?

Nothing to do with modern day Israel, but what was the ethnic background of the starters of communism in the Soviet union during the 1920s ?
 

Pulsar

Diamond Member
Mar 3, 2003
5,225
306
126
Orwell is correct, Jeff Robbins is also a propagandist.
Boy, I bet no one here saw THAT response coming.

Anyway - the article has a very good point, but unfortunately he glosses over some fine points because they would hurt the persuasive nature of his writing.

For instance, he ignores the hardships caused by Israel's very restrictive list of goods that they allow into Gaza.

He ignores the hardships that the wall DID cause - hurting access to Israeli markets and causing issues with Gazans who worked in Israeli.

All in all, his point is valid. However, it would be a more balanced article had he not tried to slant it quite so much.

Either way, Lemon law is clueless, and I got a good laugh out of his very predictable response.
 

Freshgeardude

Diamond Member
Jul 31, 2006
4,510
0
76
Just out of curiosity, what is the political system in Israel ?

Free market capitalism, communism, Marxism, democracy ?

Nothing to do with modern day Israel, but what was the ethnic background of the starters of communism in the Soviet union during the 1920s ?

Parliamentary democracy
 

Rainsford

Lifer
Apr 25, 2001
17,515
0
0
This article is moronic. Beyond all the "look how sophisticated I am" noise, it's basically saying that the author's side is made up of thoughtful, balanced people holding intelligent points of view, while the OTHER side is a bunch of radicals who just don't want to be labeled as such.

Wow, welcome to every political argument that has ever been made...ever.
 

Darwin333

Lifer
Dec 11, 2006
19,946
2,325
126
More of the usual drivel. Israel has every right to defend itself, and everyone else has every right to criticize Israel when they take actions that have no real defense value and are more aimed at vengeance / retribution. Vengeance is understandable, but killing civilians on the "other side" because they kill yours does not fix anything.

Further, imprisoning a couple of million people under occupation for decades doesn't exactly help much of anything either.

There are no easy solutions, but exclusively blaming one side or the other is ignorant and stupid.
Like hell it doesn't. The day that the "innocents" on the other side fear Israels response much more than they fear the response from not allowing the bad guys to set up rockets in their neighborhoods it will get better for Israel (at least on the single issue of rockets fired with innocent human shields).

I am not taking a position on if it should or should not be done just stating a fact. You win a war by removing the other sides will to fight. You do that by brutally responding to any and all threats/attacks against your side. Threat of extermination is one hell of a motivator.
 

JEDIYoda

Lifer
Jul 13, 2005
33,662
3,138
126
This article is moronic. Beyond all the "look how sophisticated I am" noise, it's basically saying that the author's side is made up of thoughtful, balanced people holding intelligent points of view, while the OTHER side is a bunch of radicals who just don't want to be labeled as such.

Wow, welcome to every political argument that has ever been made...ever.
actually your response is idiotic at best....
Answer me this one question.
You take Hamas and Fatah and israel together to broker a lasting peace.
Who controls the radicals on the palestinian side of things?
I have always said you leave Israel alone and there will be peace!
The way things currently are, even if israel wanted peace both Fatah and Hamas do NOT have the power to reign in those radicals who want no part of a peace with Israel.

So what is a "workable" solution that both sides will agree to??
 

Double Trouble

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
9,273
103
106
Like hell it doesn't. The day that the "innocents" on the other side fear Israels response much more than they fear the response from not allowing the bad guys to set up rockets in their neighborhoods it will get better for Israel (at least on the single issue of rockets fired with innocent human shields).
That is simply a naive position. They will never fear Israeli attacks more that those among them who can easily hurt them and their family, and in most cases probably control whether they get food and medical care or not.

[quot]I am not taking a position on if it should or should not be done just stating a fact. You win a war by removing the other sides will to fight. [/quote]

When the "other side" is under your occupation, you will NEVER remove their will to fight, no matter what you do. Think about it for a second. If someone from another country occupied your city/state/country and treated you like vermin, how do you think you would react? Do you think you'd be very peaceful? Of course not. On the flip side, if someone's lobbing rockets your way all the time and trying to blow up innocent people, you're going to build a hatred for them as well. That's why this conflict has been going for so long: both sides have a valid beef, and neither wants to take the steps to fix it.

Threat of extermination is one hell of a motivator.
How well did that work in Vietnam? For the Russians in Afghanistan? The threat of extermination only works if the person has something to lose. Someone who is willing to strap a bomb around their waist and blow themselves up is not going to be very motivated by your threats of violence.
 

senseamp

Lifer
Feb 5, 2006
34,993
5,039
126
Sounds like the author is a propagandist for Israel. But of course he would never admit it.
 

Darwin333

Lifer
Dec 11, 2006
19,946
2,325
126
That is simply a naive position. They will never fear Israeli attacks more that those among them who can easily hurt them and their family, and in most cases probably control whether they get food and medical care or not.
You haven't read many history books have you? I am not going to waste much time arguing my point as it has been proven by history time and time again. They kill one of yours you kill 100 of theirs, they will eventually stop killing yours. If they don't you up the ante to 1000-1, eventually they chose extermination (I am not aware of any large population/race that ever chose to go that route) or they surrender. Japan in WW2 is a recent example.

[quot]I am not taking a position on if it should or should not be done just stating a fact. You win a war by removing the other sides will to fight. [/quote]

When the "other side" is under your occupation, you will NEVER remove their will to fight, no matter what you do. Think about it for a second. If someone from another country occupied your city/state/country and treated you like vermin, how do you think you would react? Do you think you'd be very peaceful? Of course not.
[/quote]

So what is your explanation of the Native Americans? Pretty much exactly as you described and they eventually "submitted" because they knew that if they didn't they would be wiped out. Hell, they damn near did get wiped out but there are still a few around today, why do you suppose that is? Is it because they kept fighting and they eventually "won" in a military fashion?

On the flip side, if someone's lobbing rockets your way all the time and trying to blow up innocent people, you're going to build a hatred for them as well. That's why this conflict has been going for so long: both sides have a valid beef, and neither wants to take the steps to fix it.
I don't know enough about the entire history of the issue to comment on that, I was simply pointing out how you win a war. This isn't really a fair debate, history proves me right, period.

Again, I am not trying to say its the right thing to do or its not but if your intentions are to WIN and stop the fighting that is how it is done in the quickest and most efficient way. Maybe there are other ways but this one has proven the test of time to work every single time. The concept is very simple, either they give up or you kill all of them, either way you win.

How well did that work in Vietnam? For the Russians in Afghanistan? The threat of extermination only works if the person has something to lose. Someone who is willing to strap a bomb around their waist and blow themselves up is not going to be very motivated by your threats of violence.
Everyone has something to lose, the examples you list the aggressor had very little to lose and the defenders had everything to lose. The "fox chasing the rabbit" and all that jazz, but when both sides stand to lose huge in a conflict or one side is overly motivated to win the historical path to victory is to destroy them into submission or extermination.

I can give you a few dozen examples of that method working if you would like. Its not pretty but you simply can't argue its effectiveness.

The point I am trying to get at is, if the fighting goes on long enough eventually that sort of motivation will prevail. IMO, that is a horrible outcome.
 
May 11, 2008
18,309
829
126
yep Darwin.. you sound just like a Semitic Nazi
Unfortunately for you, the methods described by Darwin333, can be found all over human history. And that is what he is writing. It is true. Wipe your enemy out, or make your enemy accept and understand, that your enemy is better of joining you unconditionally. In both situations, you must completely wipe out the history or any reference to that history of your enemy.

Situation 1 :
Wipe out enemy and wipe out any reference to that enemy.

Situation 2 :
Enemy surrenders and accepts your history and perspective unconditionally.
While you destroy any reference to the history of your enemy. Your history is now the history of your enemy as well. As such, your enemy views himself/herself identical to you. No more differences.

1 is easy but gives you bad karma.
2 takes dedication.

There are a lot of sleeping dogs in history. Really no need to wake them up...
 

piasabird

Lifer
Feb 6, 2002
17,168
60
91
So who is on the opposing side?
A group of Arabs and Muslims whose desire is to kill every Jew on the face of the earth.

In this anti-terrorist war, we have seen that to fight this kind of evil and win you often find you have to come down to their level.
 

Lemon law

Lifer
Nov 6, 2005
20,984
2
0
So who is on the opposing side?
A group of Arabs and Muslims whose desire is to kill every Jew on the face of the earth.

In this anti-terrorist war, we have seen that to fight this kind of evil and win you often find you have to come down to their level.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Such is the extremist Israeli rhetoric, but it seemed to be notably absent in Annapolis.
What was true in 1948 may not be true today. The Arabs have long ago scaled back their fantasies, but Israeli extremism never changes.
 

Freshgeardude

Diamond Member
Jul 31, 2006
4,510
0
76
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Such is the extremist Israeli rhetoric, but it seemed to be notably absent in Annapolis.
What was true in 1948 may not be true today. The Arabs have long ago scaled back their fantasies, but Israeli extremism never changes.

oh? Last I checked it is still in Hamas's charter (a MODERN day terrorist organization and government) to kill all of the jews in the "occupation"

and last I checked Hezbollah also wants to kill all of the jews in the "occupation"

AND Iran wanted to "wipe israel off the face of the map"
 

Lemon law

Lifer
Nov 6, 2005
20,984
2
0
oh? Last I checked it is still in Hamas's charter (a MODERN day terrorist organization and government) to kill all of the jews in the "occupation"

and last I checked Hezbollah also wants to kill all of the jews in the "occupation"

AND Iran wanted to "wipe israel off the face of the map"
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Hamas in not included in the Israeli PLO peace talks. If the PLO and Israeli actually ink a deal, I would imagine that the Palestinians in Gaza would get a chance to vote on accepting or rejecting the plan. And if Gaza says yes, it kinda leaves Hamas odd man out. So who cares about the Hamas plan, its not now relevant.

2. Its somewhat questionable if Hezbollah has a defined peace position, but from what I have heard, they prefer that Palestinians get voting rights in an Israeli State, which would turn Israel from a Jewish State and into a more acceptable secular state where everyone has equal rights. And that latter plan may be the end default only alternative if there is insufficient land left to form a viable Palestinian State.

3. As for Iran, much to do has been made about the Ahmadinejad statement of wiping Israel off the map, but its somewhat my understanding the wiping off the map comment refers to the gains made in the 67&73 wars, and not the original 1948 borders. And then again, since Iran is very distant from Israel and does not directly border Israel, Iran will have little voice or choice but to go along with a plan agreed to by near Arab Neighbors. The other thing to point out is that Ahmadinejad has very little real political power in Iran.

4. I keep hearing rumors of an Obama brokered peace plan to be announced this fall if
Abbas and Israel do not make progress. But if it happens, it would probably more resemble binding third party arbitration that takes away the decider rights from both the unable to agree Palestinians and Israelis. Israel may bristle with weapons, but they cannot withstand a world wide economic embargo.
 
Last edited:

dahunan

Lifer
Jan 10, 2002
18,191
2
0
So who is on the opposing side?
A group of Arabs and Muslims whose desire is to kill every Jew on the face of the earth.

In this anti-terrorist war, we have seen that to fight this kind of evil and win you often find you have to come down to their level.
You do understand that Israel was created by terrorists .. right? They committed terrorism in mossad and idf and then get promoted to leadership.

It is simple... they think all palestinians and most others who are not like them to be dirty rats.. the soldiers in the IDF hate all of the people in Gaza.. not the bad ones.. all of them..

I remember one beautiful video.. yep.. where they blast charged the door off a home.. Gods chosen would do this house to house.. innocent or not.. doesn't matter.. and so they blow the door off with explosives and it blasts into this mother and her and her husband and 2 children were there BEGGING BEGGING The Gods Chosen IDF to get help for her to get the medics etc.. they just kept on going .. and blew threw the wall to get to the house next door.. she died.. oh fucking well.. her fault for being born where Gods Chosen wants to expand her land
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY