Noam Chomsky: Terrorists Wanted the World Over





[Noam Chomsky is the author of numerous best-selling political works. His latest books are Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy and What We Say Goes, a conversation book with David Barsamian, both in the American Empire Project series at Metropolitan Books. The Essential Chomsky (edited by Anthony Arnove), a collection of his writings on politics and on language from the 1950s to the present, has just been published by the New Press.]

On February 13, Imad Moughniyeh, a senior commander of Hizbollah, was assassinated in Damascus."The world is a better place without this man in it," State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack said:"one way or the other he was brought to justice." Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell added that Moughniyeh has been"responsible for more deaths of Americans and Israelis than any other terrorist with the exception of Osama bin Laden."

Joy was unconstrained in Israel too, as"one of the U.S. and Israel's most wanted men" was brought to justice, the London Financial Times reported. Under the heading,"A militant wanted the world over," an accompanying story reported that he was"superseded on the most-wanted list by Osama bin Laden" after 9/11 and so ranked only second among"the most wanted militants in the world."

The terminology is accurate enough, according to the rules of Anglo-American discourse, which defines"the world" as the political class in Washington and London (and whoever happens to agree with them on specific matters). It is common, for example, to read that"the world" fully supported George Bush when he ordered the bombing of Afghanistan. That may be true of"the world," but hardly of the world, as revealed in an international Gallup Poll after the bombing was announced. Global support was slight. In Latin America, which has some experience with U.S. behavior, support ranged from 2% in Mexico to 16% in Panama, and that support was conditional upon the culprits being identified (they still weren't eight months later, the FBI reported), and civilian targets being spared (they were attacked at once). There was an overwhelming preference in the world for diplomatic/judicial measures, rejected out of hand by"the world."

Following the Terror Trail

In the present case, if"the world" were extended to the world, we might find some other candidates for the honor of most hated arch-criminal. It is instructive to ask why this might be true.

The Financial Times reports that most of the charges against Moughniyeh are unsubstantiated, but"one of the very few times when his involvement can be ascertained with certainty [is in] the hijacking of a TWA plane in 1985 in which a U.S. Navy diver was killed." This was one of two terrorist atrocities that led a poll of newspaper editors to select terrorism in the Middle East as the top story of 1985; the other was the hijacking of the passenger liner Achille Lauro, in which a crippled American, Leon Klinghoffer, was brutally murdered. That reflects the judgment of"the world." It may be that the world saw matters somewhat differently.

The Achille Lauro hijacking was a retaliation for the bombing of Tunis ordered a week earlier by Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. His air force killed 75 Tunisians and Palestinians with smart bombs that tore them to shreds, among other atrocities, as vividly reported from the scene by the prominent Israeli journalist Amnon Kapeliouk. Washington cooperated by failing to warn its ally Tunisia that the bombers were on the way, though the Sixth Fleet and U.S. intelligence could not have been unaware of the impending attack. Secretary of State George Shultz informed Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir that Washington"had considerable sympathy for the Israeli action," which he termed"a legitimate response" to"terrorist attacks," to general approbation. A few days later, the UN Security Council unanimously denounced the bombing as an"act of armed aggression" (with the U.S. abstaining)."Aggression" is, of course, a far more serious crime than international terrorism. But giving the United States and Israel the benefit of the doubt, let us keep to the lesser charge against their leadership.

A few days after, Peres went to Washington to consult with the leading international terrorist of the day, Ronald Reagan, who denounced"the evil scourge of terrorism," again with general acclaim by"the world."

The"terrorist attacks" that Shultz and Peres offered as the pretext for the bombing of Tunis were the killings of three Israelis in Larnaca, Cyprus. The killers, as Israel conceded, had nothing to do with Tunis, though they might have had Syrian connections. Tunis was a preferable target, however. It was defenseless, unlike Damascus. And there was an extra pleasure: more exiled Palestinians could be killed there.

The Larnaca killings, in turn, were regarded as retaliation by the perpetrators: They were a response to regular Israeli hijackings in international waters in which many victims were killed -- and many more kidnapped and sent to prisons in Israel, commonly to be held without charge for long periods. The most notorious of these has been the secret prison/torture chamber Facility 1391. A good deal can be learned about it from the Israeli and foreign press. Such regular Israeli crimes are, of course, known to editors of the national press in the U.S., and occasionally receive some casual mention.

Klinghoffer's murder was properly viewed with horror, and is very famous. It was the topic of an acclaimed opera and a made-for-TV movie, as well as much shocked commentary deploring the savagery of Palestinians --"two-headed beasts" (Prime Minister Menachem Begin),"drugged roaches scurrying around in a bottle" (Chief of Staff Raful Eitan),"like grasshoppers compared to us," whose heads should be"smashed against the boulders and walls" (Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir). Or more commonly just"Araboushim," the slang counterpart of"kike" or"nigger."

Thus, after a particularly depraved display of settler-military terror and purposeful humiliation in the West Bank town of Halhul in December 1982, which disgusted even Israeli hawks, the well-known military/political analyst Yoram Peri wrote in dismay that one"task of the army today [is] to demolish the rights of innocent people just because they are Araboushim living in territories that God promised to us," a task that became far more urgent, and was carried out with far more brutality, when the Araboushim began to"raise their heads" a few years later.

We can easily assess the sincerity of the sentiments expressed about the Klinghoffer murder. It is only necessary to investigate the reaction to comparable U.S.-backed Israeli crimes. Take, for example, the murder in April 2002 of two crippled Palestinians, Kemal Zughayer and Jamal Rashid, by Israeli forces rampaging through the refugee camp of Jenin in the West Bank. Zughayer's crushed body and the remains of his wheelchair were found by British reporters, along with the remains of the white flag he was holding when he was shot dead while seeking to flee the Israeli tanks which then drove over him, ripping his face in two and severing his arms and legs. Jamal Rashid was crushed in his wheelchair when one of Israel's huge U.S.-supplied Caterpillar bulldozers demolished his home in Jenin with his family inside. The differential reaction, or rather non-reaction, has become so routine and so easy to explain that no further commentary is necessary.

Car Bomb

Plainly, the 1985 Tunis bombing was a vastly more severe terrorist crime than the Achille Lauro hijacking, or the crime for which Moughniyeh's"involvement can be ascertained with certainty" in the same year. But even the Tunis bombing had competitors for the prize for worst terrorist atrocity in the Mideast in the peak year of 1985.

One challenger was a car-bombing in Beirut right outside a mosque, timed to go off as worshippers were leaving Friday prayers. It killed 80 people and wounded 256. Most of the dead were girls and women, who had been leaving the mosque, though the ferocity of the blast"burned babies in their beds,""killed a bride buying her trousseau," and"blew away three children as they walked home from the mosque." It also"devastated the main street of the densely populated" West Beirut suburb, reported Nora Boustany three years later in the Washington Post.

The intended target had been the Shi'ite cleric Sheikh Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, who escaped. The bombing was carried out by Reagan's CIA and his Saudi allies, with Britain's help, and was specifically authorized by CIA Director William Casey, according to Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward's account in his book Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA, 1981-1987. Little is known beyond the bare facts, thanks to rigorous adherence to the doctrine that we do not investigate our own crimes (unless they become too prominent to suppress, and the inquiry can be limited to some low-level"bad apples" who were naturally"out of control").

"Terrorist Villagers"

A third competitor for the 1985 Mideast terrorism prize was Prime Minister Peres'"Iron Fist" operations in southern Lebanese territories then occupied by Israel in violation of Security Council orders. The targets were what the Israeli high command called"terrorist villagers." Peres's crimes in this case sank to new depths of" calculated brutality and arbitrary murder" in the words of a Western diplomat familiar with the area, an assessment amply supported by direct coverage. They are, however, of no interest to"the world" and therefore remain uninvestigated, in accordance with the usual conventions. We might well ask whether these crimes fall under international terrorism or the far more severe crime of aggression, but let us again give the benefit of the doubt to Israel and its backers in Washington and keep to the lesser charge.

These are a few of the thoughts that might cross the minds of people elsewhere in the world, even if not those of"the world," when considering"one of the very few times" Imad Moughniyeh was clearly implicated in a terrorist crime.

The U.S. also accuses him of responsibility for devastating double suicide truck-bomb attacks on U.S. Marine and French paratrooper barracks in Lebanon in 1983, killing 241 Marines and 58 paratroopers, as well as a prior attack on the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, killing 63, a particularly serious blow because of a meeting there of CIA officials at the time.

The Financial Times has, however, attributed the attack on the Marine barracks to Islamic Jihad, not Hizbollah. Fawaz Gerges, one of the leading scholars on the jihadi movements and on Lebanon, has written that responsibility was taken by an"unknown group called Islamic Jihad." A voice speaking in classical Arabic called for all Americans to leave Lebanon or face death. It has been claimed that Moughniyeh was the head of Islamic Jihad at the time, but to my knowledge, evidence is sparse.

The opinion of the world has not been sampled on the subject, but it is possible that there might be some hesitancy about calling an attack on a military base in a foreign country a"terrorist attack," particularly when U.S. and French forces were carrying out heavy naval bombardments and air strikes in Lebanon, and shortly after the U.S. provided decisive support for the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, which killed some 20,000 people and devastated the south, while leaving much of Beirut in ruins. It was finally called off by President Reagan when international protest became too intense to ignore after the Sabra-Shatila massacres.

In the United States, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon is regularly described as a reaction to Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) terrorist attacks on northern Israel from their Lebanese bases, making our crucial contribution to these major war crimes understandable. In the real world, the Lebanese border area had been quiet for a year, apart from repeated Israeli attacks, many of them murderous, in an effort to elicit some PLO response that could be used as a pretext for the already planned invasion. Its actual purpose was not concealed at the time by Israeli commentators and leaders: to safeguard the Israeli takeover of the occupied West Bank. It is of some interest that the sole serious error in Jimmy Carter's book Palestine: Peace not Apartheid is the repetition of this propaganda concoction about PLO attacks from Lebanon being the motive for the Israeli invasion. The book was bitterly attacked, and desperate efforts were made to find some phrase that could be misinterpreted, but this glaring error -- the only one -- was ignored. Reasonably, since it satisfies the criterion of adhering to useful doctrinal fabrications.

Killing without Intent

Another allegation is that Moughniyeh"masterminded" the bombing of Israel's embassy in Buenos Aires on March 17, 1992, killing 29 people, in response, as the Financial Times put it, to Israel's"assassination of former Hizbollah leader Abbas Al-Mussawi in an air attack in southern Lebanon." About the assassination, there is no need for evidence: Israel proudly took credit for it. The world might have some interest in the rest of the story. Al-Mussawi was murdered with a U.S.-supplied helicopter, well north of Israel's illegal"security zone" in southern Lebanon. He was on his way to Sidon from the village of Jibshit, where he had spoken at the memorial for another Imam murdered by Israeli forces. The helicopter attack also killed his wife and five-year old child. Israel then employed U.S.-supplied helicopters to attack a car bringing survivors of the first attack to a hospital.

After the murder of the family, Hezbollah" changed the rules of the game," Prime Minister Rabin informed the Israeli Knesset. Previously, no rockets had been launched at Israel. Until then, the rules of the game had been that Israel could launch murderous attacks anywhere in Lebanon at will, and Hizbollah would respond only within Israeli-occupied Lebanese territory.

After the murder of its leader (and his family), Hizbollah began to respond to Israeli crimes in Lebanon by rocketing northern Israel. The latter is, of course, intolerable terror, so Rabin launched an invasion that drove some 500,000 people out of their homes and killed well over 100. The merciless Israeli attacks reached as far as northern Lebanon.

In the south, 80% of the city of Tyre fled and Nabatiye was left a"ghost town," Jibshit was about 70% destroyed according to an Israeli army spokesperson, who explained that the intent was"to destroy the village completely because of its importance to the Shi'ite population of southern Lebanon." The goal was"to wipe the villages from the face of the earth and sow destruction around them," as a senior officer of the Israeli northern command described the operation.

Jibshit may have been a particular target because it was the home of Sheikh Abdul Karim Obeid, kidnapped and brought to Israel several years earlier. Obeid's home"received a direct hit from a missile," British journalist Robert Fisk reported,"although the Israelis were presumably gunning for his wife and three children." Those who had not escaped hid in terror, wrote Mark Nicholson in the Financial Times,"because any visible movement inside or outside their houses is likely to attract the attention of Israeli artillery spotters, who… were pounding their shells repeatedly and devastatingly into selected targets." Artillery shells were hitting some villages at a rate of more than 10 rounds a minute at times.

All of this received the firm support of President Bill Clinton, who understood the need to instruct the Araboushim sternly on the"rules of the game." And Rabin emerged as another grand hero and man of peace, so different from the two-legged beasts, grasshoppers, and drugged roaches.

This is only a small sample of facts that the world might find of interest in connection with the alleged responsibility of Moughniyeh for the retaliatory terrorist act in Buenos Aires.

Other charges are that Moughniyeh helped prepare Hizbollah defenses against the 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, evidently an intolerable terrorist crime by the standards of"the world," which understands that the United States and its clients must face no impediments in their just terror and aggression.

The more vulgar apologists for U.S. and Israeli crimes solemnly explain that, while Arabs purposely kill people, the U.S. and Israel, being democratic societies, do not intend to do so. Their killings are just accidental ones, hence not at the level of moral depravity of their adversaries. That was, for example, the stand of Israel's High Court when it recently authorized severe collective punishment of the people of Gaza by depriving them of electricity (hence water, sewage disposal, and other such basics of civilized life).

The same line of defense is common with regard to some of Washington's past peccadilloes, like the destruction in 1998 of the al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan. The attack apparently led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people, but without intent to kill them, hence not a crime on the order of intentional killing -- so we are instructed by moralists who consistently suppress the response that had already been given to these vulgar efforts at self-justification.

To repeat once again, we can distinguish three categories of crimes: murder with intent, accidental killing, and murder with foreknowledge but without specific intent. Israeli and U.S. atrocities typically fall into the third category. Thus, when Israel destroys Gaza's power supply or sets up barriers to travel in the West Bank, it does not specifically intend to murder the particular people who will die from polluted water or in ambulances that cannot reach hospitals. And when Bill Clinton ordered the bombing of the al-Shifa plant, it was obvious that it would lead to a humanitarian catastrophe. Human Rights Watch immediately informed him of this, providing details; nevertheless, he and his advisers did not intend to kill specific people among those who would inevitably die when half the pharmaceutical supplies were destroyed in a poor African country that could not replenish them.

Rather, they and their apologists regarded Africans much as we do the ants we crush while walking down a street. We are aware that it is likely to happen (if we bother to think about it), but we do not intend to kill them because they are not worthy of such consideration. Needless to say, comparable attacks by Araboushim in areas inhabited by human beings would be regarded rather differently.

If, for a moment, we can adopt the perspective of the world, we might ask which criminals are"wanted the world over."


This article first appeared on www.tomdispatch.com, a weblog of the Nation Institute, which offers a steady flow of alternate sources, news and opinion from Tom Engelhardt, a long time editor in publishing, the author of The End of Victory Culture, and a fellow of the Nation Institute.



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A. M. Eckstein - 3/13/2008

No. 1710 | February 29, 2008
Hamas MP Fathi Hammad: We Used Women and Children as Human Shields
Following are excerpts from a speech delivered by Hamas MP Fathi Hammad, which aired on Al-Aqsa TV on February 29, 2008.

To view this clip, visit http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1710.htm

Fathi Hammad: [The enemies of Allah] do not know that the Palestinian people has developed its [methods] of death and death-seeking. For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land. The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahideen and the children. This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahideen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine. It is as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: "We desire death like you desire life."

Case closed.


Sally Gee - 3/9/2008

Three extracts from the BBC’s website which support the realist perspective on the Mercaz Harav shootings:

“ The BBC's Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen says that the school was no ordinary seminary. It was the ideological cradle of the settler movement in the West Bank, which could be the reason it was targeted.

“Many of its students are on special courses that combine religious study with service in combat units in the Israeli army.“

As does the summarised backstory:

“MERCAZ HARAV SEMINARY
Founded in 1924 by influential Rabbi Avraham Hacohen Kook
Some 500 students enrolled in Talmudic study
Students mainly high-school age and young adults
Graduates serve as rabbis and rabbinical judges in Israel and Jewish settlements
School has played a major role in ideology and theology of Israeli religious settlement movement
Key figures linked to the school were strongly opposed to Israeli pull-out from Gaza”

But this is the point that really stands out:

“A student reportedly shot the gunman twice before an off-duty Israeli army officer killed him.” A gunpacking student at a yeshiva? Now what kind of rabbi will he make?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7282948.stm

As I said in my earlier post in response to a statement made by Mr Friedman:

Re: Barbarism (#120558)
by Sally Gee on March 8, 2008 at 10:19 AM

"Targeting religious students - clergy - is barbarism."

"An alternative view, to which I feel we must give sufficient weight, is that in a state founded on a theological principle and engaged in acts of illegal occupation and genocide, religious students may well be considered as much combatants as soldiers. From this vantage point, it is less pathetic, as you would have us believe, Mr Friedman, than strategic."





art eckstein - 3/8/2008

1. Readers of the future, here is what Gee wrote on the "Gaza" thread this morning (Saturday) at 10:19 p.m. (posting #120558):


Re: Barbarism (#120558)
by Sally Gee on March 8, 2008 at 10:19 AM


"Targeting religious students - clergy - is barbarism." [This is a quote from N. Friedman, which Gee then ATTACKS.]

An alternative view, to which I feel we must give sufficient weight, is that in a state founded on a theological principle and engaged in acts of illegal occupation and genocide, religious students may well be considered as much combatants as soldiers. From this vantage point, it is less pathetic, as you would have us believe, Mr Friedman, than strategic."



2. Now Gee says she wasn't justifying the murders in this post. OH? To which I respond as follows:

Re: Wow! Gee now JUSTIFIES the Library Attack! (#120574)
by art eckstein on March 8, 2008 at 12:53 PM
Gee wrote:

N.F. feels the murder of religious students is barbaric. "An alternative view, to which I feel we must give sufficient weight...etc., etc., etc,"

AN ALTERNATIVE VIEW, TO WHICH I FEEL WE MUST GIVE SUFFICIENT WEIGHT...

And what IS that alternative view, to which Gee feels we must give sufficient weight? It is that because of the Nazi-religious basis of israel (according to Gee) these religious students, peacefully studying in their library (and ineligible for the army) "may well be considered as much COMBATANTS as soldiers." I am QUOTING Gee. "Soldiers, combatants" are legitimate targets.

Gee can't escape what she wrote.

I'll let readers be the judge of who has things right here.


Sally Gee - 3/8/2008

1 Relying on the facts takes much ot the effort of being even-handed, I find.

2 As I said in a previous post on this matter:

Re: Wow! Gee now JUSTIFIES the Library Attack! (#120572)
by Sally Gee on March 8, 2008 at 12:45 PM
As a simple matter of fact, and as you well know, oh bottom feeding, hyper-hysterical, Multi-Awarded one, I have not justified, nor have I sought to justify, nor have I suggested that I believe that I can, in any way, personally justify this crime, or any other act of criminal violence, whether committed in the name of Israel or in the name of a free Palestine. Murder is murder.


art eckstein - 3/8/2008

Omar can sneer at Walzer if he wishes--one of the West's leading political philosophers, and a man of the Left--but the fact is that Omar was very careless in his reading (to put it kindly) when he claimed above that no one on this thread had been able to respond to Chomsky's argument. I cited Walzer, I quoted him, and Walzer's reply to Chomsky is devastating.

Instead of learning the lesson that he should read more carefully before making his accusations, Omar responds to facts not with an apology but with more sneers.

Typical.


art eckstein - 3/8/2008

1. It is not "even-handed" to cry "Nazi!" "Genocide!' when Israel defends itself from 800 rockets fired at civilians, while issuing a demure "I regret the loss" over the Library Murders in Jersualem.

2. But this position of Gee is now beside the point. In another posting, on the Gaza thread (#120558, posted 15 minutes before this one, at 10:19 a.m. or so), Gee now JUSTIFIES the Library Murders and sees the religioius students (who do not even serve in the Israeli army) as legitimate targets!

I thought that Gee couldn't go any lower than she has on this thread. I was wrong.


Sally Gee - 3/8/2008

"1. When, after the firing of 800 rockets intentionally at Israeli civilians from Gaza, rockets fired by terrorists who intentionally use civilians as shields, the israelis finally retaliate, Gee fills HNN with her screams of "genocide!" and "Nazis!"

2. But hen Palestinian gunmen intentionally murder Jewish students in a school library--a REAL Nazi-type act--her response is suddenly a demure "I regret the loss of life on both sides".

3. What a hypocrite."

Not so much the hypocrite as remarkably consistent and even-handed, my little crododile.


omar ibrahim baker - 3/8/2008

Should you consider Michael Walzer as one of the "herd" you would be right there Prof!


N. Friedman - 3/7/2008

Art,

I think you are likely correct.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/7/2008

I see, the double standards are on the part of supporters of Israel, not on the part of the supporters of the Palestinians.

Well, S--take a look at Ms. Gee, for an example of the crowd you're running with.

I ask you, S--if Israelis had broken into a mosque and murdered the students there, and the Israeli government had officially declared the act a "blessing', and Jews had been shooting guns in the air in celebration and handing out candies to children in celebration of the deaths of young people--how would you and Gee describe that situation.

My office neighbor, a very cynical about Israel, has now given up on the Palestinians: "Who is there to talk to when they celebrate barbaric acts such as this?", he said to me yesterday. "People should understand that THAT is the Israelis' problem now."

S, you should realize that this is a reasonable position.


Arnold Shcherban - 3/7/2008

I got enough from you, mister.
Now you really p* me off.
You professour are either congenital moron, which then understandably can't follow even the shortest logical thread or deliberate fraud, or both.
I've never had (nor any of my comments) apologetic stance towards Palestinian (or any other) terrorists.
However, the amount of factual and well-known (to the world at large, though not to the US-UK-Israel "world") evidence of the state terrorism on the part of USA and Israel is as numerous (and much more deadly and destructive) as the evidence of the Muslim terrorism.
I only and always emphasize and oppose
the use of vicious double standards on the issues of terrorism and war crimes (and to everything else) continuously (as a matter of intellectual tradition) applied by the Western conserrvatives and liberals, alike.
It exactly and essentially this tradition what Chomsky and other authors on the Left illuminate in their works all the time, since it is one of the few cornerstones of all ills of the Western treatment of the
countries of the Third World.
On that I discontinue this useless discussion with you and your kind, Proferssssour.


art eckstein - 3/7/2008

6. I think Gee finds the pointing out of savage Palestinian atrocities, and the Palestinian official celebration of them, to be--not evidence of the problem the Israelis (and all of us) face--but rather, to be impolite


art eckstein - 3/7/2008

1. When, after the firing of 800 rockets intentionally at Israeli civilians from Gaza, rockets fired by terrorists who intentionally use civilians as shields, the israelis finally retaliate, Gee fills HNN with her screams of "genocide!" and "Nazis!"

2. But hen Palestinian gunmen intentionally murder Jewish students in a school library--a REAL Nazi-type act--her response is suddenly a demure "I regret the loss of life on both sides".

3. What a hypocrite.

4. And those who are upset at Palestinian barbarism, and point out the problem it poses, she accuses of shedding "crocodile tears", and "gloating".

5. And she absolutely avoids trying to answer the question posed to her of how one is supposed to deal with a government that "blesses" the Library Massacre, or a population with a genocidal death-cult so powerful that it celebrates the murder of students by handing out candy to children.

6. I think she find the point out of savage Palestinian atrocities, and the Palestinian official celebration of them, to be--not evidence of the problem the Israelis (and all of us) face--but rather, to be impolite.


Sally Gee - 3/7/2008

But right on the nose, Mr Multi-Awarded, and you are well placed in the running for the award of Mr Crocodile Tears 2008 to add to your comprehensive and still growing collection. Congratulations!


N. Friedman - 3/7/2008

Art,

Good point.


art eckstein - 3/7/2008

Or perhaps Mr. S will have us believe, as with Hezbollah, that this story of massacre of students is all slander being made up by...well... the "NYT - the world renowned huge corporate establishement of the US propaganda and of the Israeli lobby."


art eckstein - 3/7/2008

I have no doubt that Shcherban will now find a twisted way to blame the new Jerusalem Massacre on the Israelis--why those Palestinians had no CHOICE but to enter a school, go to the library, and shoot eight students! And as for the celebrations in Gaza over the killing of people in a library, the shooting in the air, the handing out of candy to children over the murder of other young people--why, it's all perfectly UNDERSTANDABLE, and only the crude and the reactionary see a problem with it!

But Shcherban--how is ANY responsible government supposed to deal with another government that calls the massacre of students in a religious school "a blessing"?


art eckstein - 3/7/2008

Don't worry, N.F.--Gee WILL find a moral excuse for this barbaric act!
To Gee, some people can do no wrong. The worst term she has employed for this massacre is "provocation" (what an old-fashioned Stalinist term!), a "provocation", that is, to the REAL evil-doers--namely, of course, Jews.


N. Friedman - 3/7/2008

Ms. Gee,

The point here is that your Palestinian Arab friends appear to have a different agenda than the one you think they have. That agenda not only massacres little children intentionally - that, after all, is the meaning of sending a gunner into a school - and then celebrates and blesses the massacre of those innocent children.

An agenda the intentionally massacres children and then celebrates and blesses it is as low as it gets. Such is no different in substance from Beslan massacre. It has no moral excuse whatsoever.


N. Friedman - 3/7/2008

True enough, Art.


art eckstein - 3/7/2008

Gee wrote the following series of insults just above::

Re: q.e.d., Gee (#120381)
by Sally Gee on March 6, 2008 at 6:02 PM

"Herr Multi=Awarded, you seem to gloat in murder and the way in which your enemies celebrate the murder of those you prefess to support.

I think you rather enjoy it when your enemies create a provocation which can justify a further murderous provocation by the occupying forces in the Occupied Territories. It's all very much a Reichstag Fire moment for you, isn't it? Very sad, I suppose."

Disgusting from first to last.


N. Friedman - 3/7/2008

Where? Please post it.


art eckstein - 3/7/2008

So far, Gee's response to the occurrence of today's barbaric massacre is to accuse me of impoliteness in bringing it into discussion.


N. Friedman - 3/6/2008

Ms. Gee,

It is not proper to post whole articles. That is a big no no.

Also note: I have not quoted out of context. In fact, I have quoted in context.

Again: I would like your views on Hamas, which blesses the massacre of students.

I would like your views on the celebration by Gazans of a massacre.

All I hear is your perfunctory statement that you do not like violence. The question here, however, is the views of those you support. Is it or is it not reprehensible for people to celebrate a massacre? Yes or No? And, if Yes, why? Is it not wrong to bless the committing of a massacre? Yes or no. If Yes, why?

Please answer my questions.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/6/2008

Gee can't answer my question, since it would underline for all to see her grotesque hypocrisy and grotesquely selective outrage. So her response to me is to say I'm gloating over a provocation--that is, she swills out another personal attack. In this way she sleazily attempts to escape the implication of the nature of the people she has been defending.

SO, Ms. Gee--I ask you again:

If ISRAELI terrorists went into a mosque and Gaza and killed eight students (it now is), and the response of the Israeli government was "we bless this act," and the response of Israelis was to shoot guns in the air in celebration and to hand
out candy to children to celebrate it--WHAT WOULD YOU CALL SUCH A GOVERNMENT AND THE POPULATION WHO DO THESE SORTS OF THINGS?

You know the answer.


Sally Gee - 3/6/2008

Herr Multi=Awarded, you seem to gloat in murder and the way in which your enemies celebrate the murder of those you prefess to support.

I think you rather enjoy it when your enemies create a provocation which can justify a further murderous provocation by the occupying forces in the Occupied Territories. It's all very much a Reichstag Fire moment for you, isn't it? Very sad, I suppose.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/6/2008

You miss the point, as usual. The Hamas government celebrated this barbaric act, and Palestinians fired guns in the air in celebration passed out candy to children on the street.

NOW, Ms. Gee--if Israeli terrorists went into a mosque and Gaza and killed eight students (it now is), and the response of the Israeli government was "we bless this act," and the response of Israelis was to shoot guns in the air in celebration and to hand
out candy to children to celebrate it--WHAT WOULD YOU CALL IT?

Answer, please.


Sally Gee - 3/6/2008

"I see that now. Answer the questions from N.F, Gee."

Always the Nazi bully, Herr Multi-Award. Can't you hear my heels click when you adress me, Mein Multi-Awarded Fuehrer?

I regret the loss of life and any other injuries. What's your problem with that? Don't you regret the loss of life? Or should I not regret the loss of life of those killed by "police special forces". Is that your problem?

Oh, and as for the Israeli media did do as I suggested and check out

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v30/n05/mend01_.html



Sally Gee - 3/6/2008

"What do you think it says about a person who has insufficient imagination to weave an argument from facts and resorts to mere reproduction of news articles?"

It says they are not distorting meaning through selective quotation, Mr Friedman.


art eckstein - 3/6/2008

I see that now. Answer the questions from N.F, Gee.

And mine:

Do you approve of this operation, Gee? Do you "bless" it, as Hamas does? Do you "understand" it, though of course...tsk-tsk?

In ANY case, how is Israel supposed to deal with a Hamas government that overtly "blesses" the murder of seminary students in a library, or a population that celebrates the slaughter of innocents by shooting guns in the air?

Same questions to Mr. Shcherban.


N. Friedman - 3/6/2008

Art,

See my post here with reference to Ms. Gee's views with reference to what occurred in Israel. Note that Hamas used the word "bless" to describe the group's approval of the operation, according to Haaretz.


art eckstein - 3/6/2008

Ten minutes ago:

JERUSALEM - Two gunmen infiltrated a Jewish
seminary in Jerusalem and opened fire in a library Thursday night, killing at least seven people, police and rescue workers said.

Channel 2 TV said police special forces killed the two infiltrators. Rescue workers said at least 10 people were wounded although Israeli media reported a larger number hurt.

A LIBRARY in a religious school, Gee and Omar. How "noble"!


N. Friedman - 3/6/2008

Professor,

I note that Sally Gee points to writers like Aristotle and Popper and Arendt when she want to BS. In that she does not evidently read history, she is now starting to post entire articles, as she did here, before the editor changed it. I think that a complaint is appropriate when one lifts entire articles. What do you think?

What do you think it says about a person who has insufficient imagination to weave an argument from facts and resorts to mere reproduction of news articles?


art eckstein - 3/6/2008

1, Is Gee denying that Palestinians, under the cover of civilian shields, have intentionally targetted civilian Sdarot with 800 missiles since January, and that some more powerful missiles have hit civilian areas farther into israel?

2. Regarding Mr. Vilnai, is Gee denying that "shoah" (a disaster) in modern Hebrew means something different from HaShoah (the Holocaust), but must always mean HaShoah even though in hebrew without the Ha- part it does not?

THOSE are facts. Does Gee now say both 1 and 2 aren't true? Otherwise, why bring up the irrelevancy of Aristotle's mistakes unless she is making an alleged parallel?

Or does she seek to free herself from uncomfortable facts in toto? (She certainly has, so far!)


Sally Gee - 3/6/2008

Didn't Aristotle present the "fact" that a woman has fewer teeth teeth in her head than a man purely on the basis of logic? Shouldn't that tell you something about fact and logic, Oh Multi-Awarded One?


art eckstein - 3/6/2008

EVIDENCE of "genocide" please--as opposed to Israel finally retaliating to the 800 rockets fired against Israeli civilians from Gaza in two months.


art eckstein - 3/6/2008

S can't read.

Besides the criticism he cites, the editorial contains two other criticisms:

1. The section that ends with "Reality isn't that simple" is an attack on the major Israeli view of the Palestinians.

2. That is followed by a statement that Abbas' government can't be harshly criticized by the Israelis because it has been consistently undermined by Israeli policy.

This is not the voice of the Zionist conspiracy, S.

Thus if you have specific EVIDENCE that the NYT reporting about intentional Palestinian and Hezbollah employment of civilian shields is inaccurate, present it now.

I remind you that even Human Rights Watch says the Palestinians do this.

And do you accept or not accept Michael Walzer's position here: When Palestinians intentionally launch rockets from civilian areas, they are themselves responsible--and no one else is--for the civilian casualties that result from Israeli counterfire.

Yes or no?

Add, of course, that the Palestinians, sending a message of genocide, intentionally target Israeli civiians, acting under the cover of their own civilian shields. To do so is, in the view even of HRW, a war crime.


art eckstein - 3/6/2008

Gee still can't distinguish between presentation of facts on the basis of logic,and sophomore-level snide remarks and sprays of presonal abuse on her part. She just makes herself a laughing-stock.


Arnold Shcherban - 3/6/2008

That's exactly what I thought: the most of the quoted excerpt is devoted to the critique of Palestinian authorities.
It contains just one reference that is critical of the course of the Israeli policies:
"Mr. Sharon's military attacks in the West Bank and the isolation of Yasir Arafat stripped the self-weakened Palestinian Authority of much of its remaining capacity for governing.".
Where is "a lot of critique"?
And can we really call this critique "high"? Oh, I know: in the convoluted mind of Zionist zealots every slightest mentioning of, perhaps, incorrect choice in even a small part of the Israel's policies towards Palestinians and Arabs, in general, constitute "high critique".
But that's exactly what I (and Chomsky) have essentially been talking about for long time by now - double standards.
It is one thing to speak about "military attacks"; it is completely another one to describe what those military attacks entailed, and who, primarily, were their victims.
What would your side say, if Al-Jazeera would "highly" criticize Hamas
by stating: by its military attacks on Israel, Hamas stripped the self-weakened Sharon's government of much of its remaining capacity for governing."?

That would be "highly critical".


Sally Gee - 3/6/2008

Can I take it that is an apology, Multi-Awarded One?


Sally Gee - 3/6/2008

The simple moral reality, Multi-Awarded One, is that Israel has been in illegal occupation for more than four decades and is currently engaged in genocide in Gaza.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/6/2008

I agree, N.F. Still, even THEY have condemned Hamas for its use of civilian shields. That was my only point.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/6/2008

Sprays of personal abuse are no compensation for lack of specific response based on facts and logic.


N. Friedman - 3/6/2008

Art,

My point is that HRW has disgraced itself, both in its stances against Israel's right to exist as a homeland for Jews and regarding the Antisemitic outrages of its enemies, as it was manifested at, for example, Durban.


Sally Gee - 3/6/2008

I think my ability to point to your weakness in communicating an idea in plain English is something I would have thought a Multi-Awarded teacher would be inclined to celebrate rather than condemn, Mr Eckstein.

I would also have thought, as a Multi-Awarded teacher, that you would be more than happy to give me one or more of your many awards for the absolute consistency of my argument. But no. No wonder they say the days of gallantry and the graceful loser are truly over. What a tawdry world it has become... But, looking on the bright side, you may add yet another item to your voluminous collection by being nominated for the award of Mr Tawdry, 2008. Perhaps then you will thank me. I live in hope.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/6/2008

I wrote the following: "She argues that the Hebrew word "shoah" (used by General Vilnai) must always mean HaShoah, the Holocaust".


Note the present tense. Not "always meant", or "always had to mean"--but "must always mean".

My message was perfectly clear, and no one in his or her right mind would claim that I was claiming that "HaShoah" throughout history meant the Holocaust even before the latter occurred. It is idiotic of Gee to make that accusation. After all, not only do I use the present tense, but we have been talking all along about the CURRENT meaning of "shoah" vs. "HaShoah" in Hebrew--as anyone who has bothered to follow the desperate Gee's twists and turns on this issue for 50 entries will know all too well.

She's just trying to cover up her own failure.


Sally Gee - 3/6/2008

And Mr Eckstein should learn that being unable to distinguish between past and present tense is not an impressive substitute for being able to distinguish between past and present tense. He certainly hasn't yet.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/5/2008

I know Gee doesn't want to hear this, but here is the moral reality:

"When Palestinians launch rocket attacks from civilian areas, they are themselves responsible--and no one else is--for the civilian deaths caused by Israeli counterfire."--Michael Walzer

Even HRW, biased as it is, admits that the Palestinians employ this tactic of civilian shields all the time in Gaza, and condemns Hamas, etc., for employing this tactic.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/5/2008

Gee should at some point learn that personal insults are not an impressive substitute for facts and logic. She sure hasn't yet.


Sally Gee - 3/5/2008

If you want credible reporting, Mr Eckstein, take a month out and consider:
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v30/n05/print/mend01_.html


Sally Gee - 3/5/2008

What can I say, Mr Eckstein? Your inability to distinguish between the past tense and the present tense probably accounts almost wholly for your ahistoric grasp of pretty much everything. At least you can spell "Duh!" correctly which must help you considerably in your work as a Multi-Awarded teacher.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/5/2008

S. wanted evidence that the NYT could be critical of Israel. This was in the context of his implied disbelief in NYT reporting on Hezbollah use of human shields in 2006, reports which he discounted by claiming that the NYT is essentially an Israel/Jewish propaganda instrument.

So:

New York Times Editorial

Published: January 17, 2006:

One critical question lost in the hubbub over who will succeed Ariel Sharon is whether there will be any valid authority left among the Palestinians when the Israelis sort out their politics.

Fatah, the late Yasir Arafat's movement, is split, while the militant and political group Hamas is gaining strength by the day. The teeming Gaza Strip, recently evacuated by Israeli settlers, is on the verge of civil war. For some Israelis, this is proof that they don't have a negotiating partner and ought to move ahead with Mr. Sharon's plan to separate Israelis and Palestinians by putting a security barrier around areas that Israel wishes to keep and withdrawing from the areas it doesn't want. But reality isn't that simple. Israel has a stake in keeping Palestinians from descending further into chaos.

So far the only reaction from Israel has been the same refrain, this time issued by the acting prime minister, Ehud Olmert, who says that the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, must do more to crack down on terrorism. Mr. Abbas has not been a very effective leader, and the Palestinian Authority has been riddled with corruption and incompetence. But it has also been systematically undermined by Israeli policies since the second intifada began. Mr. Sharon's military attacks in the West Bank and the isolation of Yasir Arafat stripped the self-weakened Palestinian Authority of much of its remaining capacity for governing."


This is an editorial with a lot of criticism of Israel, six months before the reporting we are deaing with.


Arnold Shcherban - 3/5/2008

Present some evidence that NYT <highly critical of Israel>.
I especially eager to see (actually to show others, since I know it in advance) what you mean by being "highly critical" of anything.


art eckstein - 3/5/2008

It means simply that Vilnai, speaking last week, did not mean or threaten HaShoah, the Holocaust. (Nor has one occurred.)

Note my use of the present tense. I said nothing about, say, 1925. Duh!

Gee needs to be a careful reader. Time and time again she has shown that she is not.


art eckstein - 3/5/2008

A couple of famous cases, but (a) they were discovered soon enough and the reporters dismissed, while (b) No one has challenged the NYT reporting on this.
Nor is the NYT an agent of the Israeli Lobby; on the contrary, it is highly critical of Israel, and very critical of U.S. policy in the Middle East.

If Gee intends to challenge the validity of the NYT stories, then there is only one honest and honorable way to do it: she must bring EVIDENCE that these NYT stories are fictional. EVIDENCE. General slander without evidence--her usual method--won't work.
On the other side of the coin, trying to deny the existence of specific evidence that makes one uncomfortable and undermines ideologically- cherished but utterly false beliefs is typical of both desperate Gee and Omar when faced with that evidence. So her remark above is all too typical.


Sally Gee - 3/5/2008

Don't the NYT have history of quality control problems with made up stories and the like?


Sally Gee - 3/5/2008

"She argues that the Hebrew word "shoah" (used by General Vilnai) must always mean HaShoah, the Holocaust".

Well, Mr Multi-Awarded Eckstein, how else do you interpret what you have written? Or is simple English something of a mystical form of rocket science for you?


art eckstein - 3/5/2008

Well, maybe I shouldn't have brought up this organization, given its politics, N.F.! But it seems important that even THEY condemn Hamas for its use of civilian human shields.


N. Friedman - 3/5/2008

Art,

I have no use for HRW in view of its positions in connection with the Arab Israeli conflict, as noted, for example, here. In other words, HRW's official position is for Israel's demise. Note that HRW does not demand the return of refuges to Poland and the Czech Republic, or to India or to Pakistan. Rather, they cite a few factually distinguishable circumstances to justify taking sides in a dispute.


N. Friedman - 3/5/2008

Arnold,

HRW is quite different now than before. Witness what they did - or, to be more exact, did not do - when the hatefest against Jews occurred at Durban. The old HRW would not have done such a thing.

As for the NY Times, it is generally reliable, meaning that if they report an event occurred, it likely occurred. So, when they report seeing bombs in garages in towns, they were likely there, no matter what HRW writes.


art eckstein - 3/5/2008

There is significance evidence that HRW was factually wrong about Lebanon, though its principles condemning use of human shields is fine. In any case, HRW's condemnation of Hamas for using civilian shields is clear, and it is Gaza we have been discussing. See above, #120053.


Arnold Shcherban - 3/5/2008

So, NYT - the world renowned huge corporate establishement of the US propaganda and of the Israeli lobby is much more credible and unbiased source of information, as long as the question concerns <Muslims or Jews>, than the independent organizations which actually fought for the rights of Jews and Muslims all over the world?
Who did the most for Soviet and Eastern European Jews: the NYT or Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International (along with Jimmy Carter
whom the ones like you liked then when he talked just about one side of the story, but don't like now when he illuminates the both sides of it.)?
Who fought for human rights of ALL ethnic groups and nations REGARDLESS of their SOCIO-POLITICAL and IDEOLOGICAL alignments when their rights have been violated for many decades, if not Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International?
Surely, they ocassionally make mistakes in their judgements, noone
is perfect,... but in the opinion of the ones like you are they do them exclusively (see your comment "related to Muslim or Jews") when they contradict the official Israeli and IDF pronouncements.
Just don't tell me that this is not true, or if you do give us one example when you agreed with any Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International conclusions that went against pro-Israeli version.
Ohterwise, I'm fed with your baseless insinuations.


N. Friedman - 3/5/2008

Arnold,

I did not use HRW as a source. I noted that HRW is not reliable regarding the Arab Israeli conflict and that what was written by HRW about the Hezbollah's strategy is demonstrably inaccurate. I, frankly, think that HRW has disgraced itself.

In any event, I take your position as being based on a poor source, since what HRW wrote about Lebanon is contradicted by evidence in the NY Times, not to mention the letter posted above by Professor Eckstein.


Arnold Shcherban - 3/5/2008

No sirree! I'm not going to let you to jump from one side of the story to another and from one piece of evidence to no evidence when pushed against the wall with that evidence.
You referenced Human Rights Watch
yourself, then in response to my point that the conclusions of Human Rights Watch essentially confirm that main point of mine and invalidate yours presented the excerpt from its conclusions that does (as any even half-brained can see) invalidates
"human shields" excuse in majority of the cases.
Any unbiased independent observer would tell you that you lost in this particular part of debate between you and me.
The issue of a credibility of the Human Rights Watch conclusions has nothing to do with this particular venue of our debate.
Since you stubbornly and against elementary logic don't want to admit the defeat, I lost any desire to debate any with you anymore.


art eckstein - 3/5/2008

Hezbollah isn't the issue here-- Hamas is. Nevertheless, here is some evidence S seems to have missed:

A Lebanese Shia explains how Hezbollah uses human shields:

30 July 2006

In a letter to the editor of the Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel, a Lebanese Shia explains how after Israel’s withdrawal from South Lebanon, Hezbollah stored rockets in bunkers in his town and built a school and residence over it.

I lived until 2002 in a small southern village near Mardshajun that is inhabited by a majority of Shias like me. After Israel left Lebanon, it did not take long for Hezbollah to have the say in our town and all other towns. Received as successful resistance fighters, they appeared armed to the teeth and dug rocket depots in bunkers in our town as well. The social work of the Party of God consisted in building a school and a residence over these bunkers! A local sheikh explained to me laughing that the Jews would lose in any event because the rockets would either be fired at them or if they attacked the rocket depots, they would be condemned by world opinion on account of the dead civilians. These people do not care about the Lebanese population, they use them as shields, and, once dead, as propaganda. As long as they continue existing there, there will be no tranquility and peace.

Dr. Mounir Herzallah
Berlin-Wedding

Case closed.


N. Friedman - 3/5/2008

Arnold,

Has the possibility occurred to you that Human Rights Watch is simply wrong about the events in Lebanon? Has the possibility occurred to you that they have some serious anti-Israel biases - not objective biases -?

As an example of bias - in fact, silence in the face of gutter style Antisemitism - I remind you about HRW's behavior at the so-called human rights conference at Durban (2001).

It is not that I do not believe HRW all the time. It is that I do not true HRW when it comes to anything related to Muslims or Jews.

As for the Lebanon war, HRW claimed not to find things that NY Times reporters had no trouble either finding or reporting. So, I take HRW as not being a real source with regard to that war.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/5/2008

Gee now writes:

"[He] is now trying to argue that I say "sho'ah" meant the Holocaust even before there was a Holocaust."


I said no such thing, not anywhere, and so I have no idea what Gee is talking about.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/5/2008

Gee writes:

"Hah, Multi-Awarded pops up his chuckling head again and is now tryign to argue that "sho'ah" meant the Holocaust even before there was a Holocaust."

I said no such thing, anywhere, and so I have no idea what Gee is talking about.


Arnold Shcherban - 3/4/2008

But your main accusation that started
this part of the discussion was that
Hamas' (and, certainly other pro-palestinian terrorist groups') continuous and regular use of human shields is what accounts for the majority of victims among Palestinian/Arab population.
Moreover, in ALL your articles and comments you ALWAYS stick to the point
that Israel kills civilians just by mistake or accident.
On my part, I or other unbiased observers, never claimed that those Palestinian organizations did not commit grave human rights violations.
What ALWAYS was my main point (as well, as Chomsky's one) that the
US-UK-Israel axis uses vicious double
standards when judging the actions of
its pronounced enemies vs. its own ones.
Human Rights Watch (and Amnesty International) concluded, as your own quote <Human Rights Watch did not find evidence, however, that the deployment of Hezbollah forces in Lebanon routinely or widely violated the laws of war, as repeatedly alleged by Israel. We did not find, for example, that Hezbollah routinely located its rockets inside or near civilian homes. Rather, we found strong evidence that Hezbollah had stored most of its rockets in bunkers and weapon storage facilities located in uninhabited fields and valleys. Similarly, while we found that Hezbollah fighters launched rockets from villages on some occasions, and may have committed shielding, a war crime, when it purposefully and repeatedly fired rockets from the vicinity of UN observer posts with the possible intent of deterring Israeli counterfire, we did not find evidence that Hezbollah otherwise fired its rockets from populated areas. The available evidence indicates that in the vast majority of cases Hezbollah fighters left populated civilian areas as soon as the fighting started and fired the majority of their rockets from pre-prepared positions in largely unpopulated valleys and fields outside villages.

Israeli officials have made the serious allegation that Hezbollah routinely used “human shields” to immunize its forces from attack and thus bears responsibility for the high civilian toll in Lebanon. Apart from its position near UN personnel, Human Rights Watch found only a handful of instances of possible shielding behind civilians, but nothing to suggest there was widespread commission of this humanitarian law violation or any Hezbollah policy encouraging such practices. These relatively few cases do not begin to account for the Lebanese civilians who died under Israeli attacks.> shows, exactly what I said in my previous comment: Israeli
"human shields" accusation was not valid in the majority of the cases.
Therefore, since the main excuse for
IDF killing civilians si invalidated, any logical person will tell that only
one conclusion remains: Israel is guilty in targeting civilians, the action that constitutes terrorism (in this case - state terrorism).
Stop making desperate and illogical excuses for proven unexcusable crimes.


Sally Gee - 3/4/2008

Oops. I may have inadvertently suggested you were more capable of intelligent thought than you actually are, my Multi-Awarded one. My apologies.

Hah, Multi-Awarded pops up his chuckling head again and is now trying to argue that I say "sho'ah" meant the Holocaust even before there was a Holocaust. Is this the sort of man who should be teaching impressionable young people? I leave it to others to judge.


Sally Gee - 3/4/2008

Hah, Multi-Awarded pops up his chuckling head again and is now tryign to argue that "sho'ah" meant the Holocaust even before there was a Holocaust. Is this the sort of man who should be teaching impressionable young people? I leave it to others to judge.


Sally Gee - 3/4/2008

I'm not sure if this is any consolation for you or not, Mr Friedman, but I thought I should send you this entry from the Columbia Encyclopedia in the hope that it will aid your comprehension of how us normals use language:

Columbia Encyclopedia: etymology
(&#277;t&#301;m&#335;l'&#601;j&#275;) , branch of linguistics that investigates the history, development, and origin of words. It was this study that chiefly revealed the regular relations of sounds in the Indo-European languages (as described in Grimm's law) and led to the historical investigation of language in the 19th cent. In the 20th cent. linguists continued to use etymology to learn how meanings change, but they came to consider that the meaning of a form at a given time must be understood without reference to its history if it is to be understood at all. The term etymology has been replaced by the term derivation for the creation of combinations in a language, such as new nouns formed with the ending -ness.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/4/2008

1. She has no response to the argument made by N.F. and myself. She argues that the Hebrew word "shoah" (used by General Vilnai) must always mean HaShoah, the Holocaust, goes on to slander Israel viciously on that basis, and when her premise is shown to be false (even by people who support her position on Israel), she calls it a quibble.

2. What has gone on in Gaza for the past few days is best described as a situation where Hamas having intentionally fired 800 rockets at Israeli civilian targets since January, the Israelis finally retaliated.


Sally Gee - 3/4/2008

I see this exchange as evidence of the loopy intransigence shown by Zionist fantasists when confronted by real events in the real world. "In the beginning was the Word..." and all you can do is play the amateur pedant and quibble to no great purpose that the common usage of language is somehow a "mistranslation" in a truly sinister - as well as utterly stupid and pathetic (in the most asinine kind of way) - attempt to disguise Israel's policy of genocide and ethnic cleansing. Take my shovel, Mr Friedman, and feel free to dig deeper.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/4/2008

The authors of the letter translate the phrase "a shoah (disaster)" correctly; they then offer a vile political explanation of its meaning that runs counter to their own translation. But however problematic that is, it is different from Gee. Gee insists on mistranslating the phrase. This is done by her no longer out of ignorance, as perhaps at first, but now out of stubborn stupidity and profound malice.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/4/2008

A personal insult does not make a good cover-up for gross hypocrisy.


N. Friedman - 3/4/2008

Ms. Gee,

Now you are lying.


Sally Gee - 3/4/2008

They and I say it means genocide, so stop being silly


N. Friedman - 3/4/2008

Ms. Gee,

Vile as the authors of the letter may be with their nonsense opinion about Israel's intentions, theirs is an opinion about what was said. Yours, by contrast, is a mistranslation. I gather you do not understand the difference. Or, to be more exact: You just do not care if what you say is true.


N. Friedman - 3/4/2008

Ms. Gee,

You write: No, it's not intended to be "[s]ort of self-evident [what] the rest of the world seems to think..." but is, quite precisely "Sort of self-evident the world seems to think...".

Again: Where is the evidence for this statement? There is none because it is a lie.

And, regarding the word "shoah," these people you cite to seem to think that, as used, it meant "disaster." So, are they correct or are you correct?


Sally Gee - 3/4/2008

Probably working right alongside you in the refugee camps of Darfur, oh Multi-Awarded Head of Chuckle.


Sally Gee - 3/4/2008

No, it's not intended to be "[s]ort of self-evident [what] the rest of the world seems to think..." but is, quite precisely "Sort of self-evident the world seems to think...". Perhaps you might think about it, engage your parsing skills and come out of the experience having learned something for once.

Oh, and I have never claimed claim the term "shoah" did not mean "disaster". Language does not emerge out of thin air, although experience does provide a new and primary meaning to a word which already exists as it did with "shoah". What I have said, and will continue to say along with other informed commentators, is that the term is synonymous with the Holocaust and genocide and is used accordingly. Throughout my life, I have never heard the term "sho'ah" used casually nor in any context other than that of the Holocaust. I think you desecrate the past when you attempt to play the crudest and vilest politics with a term which has so much significance for so many families - most of whom feel no sympathy whatsoever for the Zionists and their genocidal aims.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/4/2008

Where were these people when Hamas terrorists were shooting 800 rockets into Israel since January 1?


Sally Gee - 3/4/2008

"Note that even these people - whom you think, for reasons not explained, somehow represent general world opinion - claim that "shoah" means "disaster." Are they correct? Does that not make you wrong?"

Well, I guess they're correct and I'm right. As the letter says: "In a clear threat of genocide and ethnic cleansing the Israeli deputy defence minister, Matan Vilnai, has said that the Palestinians are risking an invasion of Gaza and a "shoah" (Hebrew for disaster)." I don't think it can get any clearer than that, and playing games with Hebrew isn't going to make it murky again. The Zionist aim is genocide in Gaza - one way to re-run the Samson option so they can enjoy their little fantasy for a while longer, I suppose. But the Nazis didn't last and the German people did survive, so there may be hope for us yet.


N. Friedman - 3/4/2008

Ms. Gee,

Note that even these people - whom you think, for reasons not explained, somehow represent general world opinion - claim that "shoah" means "disaster." Are they correct? Does that not make you wrong?

By the way, since you allege that this letter represents what the rest of the world thinks, prove it with some evidence.

In fact, these people do not even represent your view, since you spent an entire page incessantly babbling that "shoah" does not mean "disaster." So, what of it, Ms. Gee?

Further, what if it were true that the opinion were really representative of what most of the world thinks. I can recall that most of the world not so long ago thought that slavery was just fine. Most of the world thinks all sorts of nonsense. So, why should anyone care, if one wants to do the right thing, not just the popular thing, that the whole world holds the noted view?

Is it possible for you to make a cogent argument that is based on evidence, not on made up stuff, such as your header that it is "[s]ort of self-evident [what] the rest of the world seems to think..." Actually, it is not self-evident at all. What seems rather self-evident from your behavior on this website is that you do not care whether what you state is true or a lie.


Sally Gee - 3/4/2008

Letters
Israel, Gaza and shattered hopes for peace

* The Guardian,
* Tuesday March 4 2008

We are horrified at the escalating Israeli attacks on Gaza, the bombardment of a population under siege (Israel defiant as Gaza toll rises, March 3). Since last Wednesday more than 90 Palestinians, including 19 children, one a two-day-old baby, have been killed by the Israel Defence Forces; 63 civilians died in their homes on Saturday as a result of bombing attacks by the Israeli air force.

In a clear threat of genocide and ethnic cleansing the Israeli deputy defence minister, Matan Vilnai, has said that the Palestinians are risking an invasion of Gaza and a "shoah" (Hebrew for disaster). It is time for the international community to speak out against the policies of the Israeli government, which are in open breach of the fourth Geneva convention and international law. Their actions constitute a war crime.

We are calling for an immediate end to this barbarity by the government of Israel. Peace will never be achieved through a policy of death and destruction. Peace will only be achieved by the Israeli government stopping its brutal siege of Gaza, ending its illegal occupation and abiding by international law.

We are calling on the British government and the international community to condemn these actions and act for peace and justice for the Palestinians.
Geoffrey Bindman
Victoria Brittain
William Dalrymple
Baljeet Ghale
President, National Union of Teachers
Antony Gormley
Bruce Kent
Betty Hunter
Gen sec, Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Miriam Margolyes
John Pilger
Corin Redgrave
Michael Rosen
Dave Clinch
National Union of Teachers Devon Division Secretary
Liz Clinch
National Union of Teachers Devon
Kevin Courtney
National Union of Teachers National Executive Member
Ken Cridland
National Union of Teachers Lancashire Division Secretary
Jeremy Deller
Padraic Finn
National Union of Teachers Westminster Division Secretary
Tony Greenstein
Brighton & Hove District Trades Union Council/Brighton & Hove Unitary UNISON
Canon Garth Hewitt
Ken Jones
Professor of Education, Keele University.
John Keane
Shirley Franklin
Vice-Chair of London Region UCU
Kika Markham
Mike Marqusee
Danny McGowan
Sec. Sefton Trades Council Education Officer, Amicus (Unite) Merseyside & Cheshire Health Services
Sue Michie
UCU Professor of Health Psychology, UCL
Ken Muller
National Union of Teachers Assistant Secretary Islington Division
Laila Shawa
Ahdaf Soueif

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/04/israelandthepalestinians1


N. Friedman - 3/4/2008

Ms. Gee,

I was interested to understand your method of dissimulating.


art eckstein - 3/4/2008

No, my point is that HRW criticized Hamas for employing civilians as shields for terrorists and then complaining about civilian casualties when the terrorists got hit after they hit Israeli civilians.


Sally Gee - 3/4/2008

So what you are really getting at, Mr Multi-Awarded, is that while the Israelis routinely attack and murder and maim civilian men, women and children in the full knowledge that they are civilians, and that's alright, you support HRW in their desire to see Hezbollah fighters adopt a dress code? An interesting ordering of priorities, wouldn't you say?


Sally Gee - 3/4/2008

Oh sorry, Mr Friedman, it was you after all. My mistake. I only really associate points of that degree of stupidity withthe Multi-Awrded One.


Sally Gee - 3/4/2008

Why do you need to know, Mr Friedman? 'Cos the only point you can make is if I didn't read it in Arabic, it's the same as if I didn't read it at all. And, sadly, I do not read Arabic. But I've read a translation into English with some assistance from my fellow Arabic speaking Muslim students to help me understand passages which seem ambiguous or in some way unclear. does that help you, Mr Friedman?

Should I now hide my head under the sheets every night at the prospect of Jihad?


Sally Gee - 3/4/2008

As usual, you completely miss the point, oh Multi-Awarded One.


art eckstein - 3/4/2008

And then there is this Dec. 16, 2006 memo from Human Rights Watch; it criticized Israel too, but concerning Palestinian behavior it specified THIS:

HRC: Civilians Must Not Be Used to Shield Homes Against Military Attacks


(Jerusalem, November 22, 2006) – Palestinian armed groups must not endanger Palestinian civilians by encouraging them to gather in and around suspected militants’ homes targeted by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Human Rights Watch said today.

Calling civilians to a location that the opposing side has identified for attack is at worst human shielding, at best failing to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians from the effects of attack. Both are violations of international humanitarian law.

According to media reports, on Saturday the IDF warned Muhammadwail Barud, a commander in the Popular Resistance Committees, to leave his home in the Jabaliya refugee camp as they planned to destroy it. Barud reportedly summoned neighbors and friends to protect his house, and a crowd of hundreds of Palestinians gathered in, around, and on the roof of the house. The IDF said that they called off the attack after they saw the large number of civilians around the house. On Monday, the BBC also reported that the IDF had warned Wael Rajab, an alleged Hamas member in Beit Lahiya, that that they were preparing to attack his home, and that a call was later broadcasted from local mosques for volunteers to protect the home.

“There is no excuse for calling civilians to the scene of a planned attack,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Whether or not the home is a legitimate military target, knowingly asking civilians to stand in harm’s way is unlawful.”

Various media have reported that other Palestinian officials and armed groups have voiced support for these tactics. In a visit to Barud’s house on Sunday, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority reportedly said: “We are so proud of this national stand. It’s the first stop toward protecting our homes ... so long as this strategy is in the interest of our people, we support this strategy.” A spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees was also quoted as saying: “We call upon all the fighters to reject evacuating their houses, and we urge our people to rush into threatened houses and make human shields.”

“Prime Minister Haniyeh and other Palestinian leaders should be renouncing, not embracing, the tactic of encouraging civilians to place themselves at risk,” said Whitson.

On November 3 the BBC also reported that Hamas radio broadcasted an appeal to local women to go to a mosque to protect 15 alleged militants holed up inside from Israeli forces surrounding the building. Many women went to the mosque and reportedly two were killed and 10 more injured when Israeli forces opened fire.

It is a war crime to seek to use the presence of civilians to render certain points or areas immune from military operations or to direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attack. In the case where the object of attack is not a legitimate military target, calling civilians to the scene would still contravene the international humanitarian law imperative for parties to the conflict to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians from the effects of attack. In the event that such abuse takes place, however, parties to the conflict remain obliged under international humanitarian law to take precautionary measures and not to target civilians or cause excessive civilian injury or damage in relation to the anticipated concrete and direct military advantage.


art eckstein - 3/4/2008

Here is the basic statement from Human Rights Watch.
1. It is far more ambiguous than Mr. S says.
2. It concerns Hezbollah, not Hamas;
3. and it does not discount the PRINCIPLE that I cited from Human Rights Watch about the use of human shields as a war crime, which Hamas terrorists regularly do.

VI. Hezbollah Conduct during the War

Hezbollah was responsible for numerous serious violations of the laws of war during its conflict with Israel. Its fighters indiscriminately fired thousands of rockets into Israel, killing 43 Israeli civilians (as well as 12 Israeli soldiers), which is documented in a separate Human Rights Watch report, Civilians under Assault.71 Hezbollah also at times endangered Lebanese civilians by failing to take all feasible precautions to avoid firing rockets from populated areas, mixing with the Lebanese civilian population, and storing weapons and ammunition in populated areas. Hezbollah fighters fired rockets on an almost daily basis from the close proximity of UN observer posts in southern Lebanon, an act of shielding, at least in part, that endangered UNIFIL troops by drawing retaliatory Israeli fire on the nearby UN positions. Each of these violations is detailed below.

Human Rights Watch did not find evidence, however, that the deployment of Hezbollah forces in Lebanon routinely or widely violated the laws of war, as repeatedly alleged by Israel. We did not find, for example, that Hezbollah routinely located its rockets inside or near civilian homes. Rather, we found strong evidence that Hezbollah had stored most of its rockets in bunkers and weapon storage facilities located in uninhabited fields and valleys. Similarly, while we found that Hezbollah fighters launched rockets from villages on some occasions, and may have committed shielding, a war crime, when it purposefully and repeatedly fired rockets from the vicinity of UN observer posts with the possible intent of deterring Israeli counterfire, we did not find evidence that Hezbollah otherwise fired its rockets from populated areas. The available evidence indicates that in the vast majority of cases Hezbollah fighters left populated civilian areas as soon as the fighting started and fired the majority of their rockets from pre-prepared positions in largely unpopulated valleys and fields outside villages.

Israeli officials have made the serious allegation that Hezbollah routinely used “human shields” to immunize its forces from attack and thus bears responsibility for the high civilian toll in Lebanon. Apart from its position near UN personnel, Human Rights Watch found only a handful of instances of possible shielding behind civilians, but nothing to suggest there was widespread commission of this humanitarian law violation or any Hezbollah policy encouraging such practices. These relatively few cases do not begin to account for the Lebanese civilians who died under Israeli attacks.

When examining the practice of shielding, it is important to distinguish the serious humanitarian law violation of human shielding—the intentional use of civilians or other protected individuals to shield a military objective from attack—from the separate violation of endangering the civilian population by unnecessarily carrying out military operations in proximity to populated areas. We documented a number of instances where Hezbollah’s actions endangered the civilian population but we did not find evidence that such practices were done with the intent of using civilians as shields.

While not required by the humanitarian law applicable during the conflict, the failure of Hezbollah fighters to wear uniforms or other insignia distinguishing them from the civilian population did doubtlessly place civilians at greater risk. Since Hezbollah fighters regularly appeared in civilian clothes, Israeli forces would have had difficulty distinguishing between fighters and other male, fighting-age civilians, and such difficulty increased the dangers of IDF operations to the civilian population of Lebanon. However, the failure of Hezbollah fighters to consistently distinguish themselves as combatants does not relieve Israeli forces of their obligation to distinguish at all times between combatants and civilians and to target only combatants.


art eckstein - 3/4/2008

They blamed both sides; but that doesn't mean that their condemnation of one side is invalid.


Arnold Shcherban - 3/4/2008

Isn't it pretty ironic that some professeurs make reference to Human Rights Watch organization, the organization that
upon investigation of the last Israel-Lebanon war came to a pronounced conclusion that on many occasions the IDF "human shields" excuse was invalidated by hard evidence.
Amnesty International - another most respected human rights organization came to the same conclusion after its own, independent of the first one, investigation.
So, professeurs, do you still want make references to those independent organizations, or you will you say now that the truth belongs exclusively to IDF, the White House and to some "philosophers", and the hard factual evidence is irrelevant?


Arnold Shcherban - 3/4/2008

Crimes as defined by the UN charter, International Court, Geneva Conventions, etc., Mr Furnish.
But I know, I know: those organizations are only good for...
nodding at US actions. When their resolutions and laws, even signed by the US and Israel, deviate from the realm of US Strategic "Initiatives", all of those inter national bodies become "obsolete", "impotent" or too "liberal",... comparing to the might of the US military.


Arnold Shcherban - 3/4/2008

Instead of slaming Ms. Gee, why not actually discuss the Chomsky's article? Is it not what this discussion forum all about?


N. Friedman - 3/4/2008

Ms. Gee,

The number of people in jail has to do with sentencing, which is a separate, albeit related, issue than whether a person was given a fair trial.


Sally Gee - 3/3/2008

So if "The number of people in jail is logically unrelated to whether the accused received a fair trial", Mr Friedman, it must the result of some sort of randomised process which is unrelated to guilt or innocence so why bother with a trial, fair or unfair, in the first place? I mean, that couldn't be an intentional outcome of a criteria based process, can it?

Oh, and Mr Multi-Awarded Eckstein, I can spell too Delphic, after all. Do I get one of your multi-awards, then, for doing well in my test?


A. M. Eckstein - 3/3/2008

That's too Delphic for Gee, N.F. You need to spell it out for her.

Otherwise, she'll think you're agreeing with her.


N. Friedman - 3/3/2008

Ms. Gee,

You clearly never took logic. The number of people in jail is logically unrelated to whether the accused received a fair trial.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/3/2008

That's a lie.


Sally Gee - 3/3/2008

But true all the same, Mr Multi-Awarded Eckstein.


Sally Gee - 3/3/2008

Oh, Mr Friedman, statistically, if we assume that people in American jails "were mostly found guilty after a fair trial", then we can only conclude that unfair trials in other countries allow a disproportionate number of the guilty to be found not guilty and go free. Even I can spot how this unfairness might well work to the advantage of even the grubbiest of American and Israeli war criminals.

Oh, and offering a false hypothetical choice calls for a much more realistic extension of the initial hypothesis: I would rather be on trial in any European country than either the US or China - with the possible exception of England and Wales where the authorities seem ever more intent on aping the follies of my homeland.


N. Friedman - 3/3/2008

Ms. Gee,

Your point does not show a failure to protect the rights of the accused. Where is the evidence that the US has a high mistaken conviction rate? Where is the evidence that the vast majority of those accused did not receive a fair trial, as that term is understood in the West?

What your evidence shows is that there are a lot of people in jail. Why they are in jail does not seem to enter into your thinking. Perhaps, they were mostly found guilty after a fair trial. Is that not possible? And, even if there is imperfection, is it not far less so than, for example, in most parts of the world? Would you rather be on trial in the US or in, say, the People's Republic of China?


A. M. Eckstein - 3/3/2008

1. That's not an answer to the scenario reflected in #119984, which is the true situation, and which Walzer and Human Rights Watch are talking about.

2. The phrase "the deliberate maiming and murder of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli armed forces" is simple, crude, vicious slander.


Sally Gee - 3/3/2008

Oh right, another argument like the multiple meanings of Sho'ah, heh?

How does a "real legal tradition of protecting the accused" stack up against a prison population in the US of 2 million plus - and still rising?


N. Friedman - 3/3/2008

Ms. Gee,

I would give you no award since what you state is misleading. I think the concern is that, just perhaps, a judge from a country which has no real legal tradition of protecting the accused will be involved in judging Americans.


N. Friedman - 3/3/2008

Ms. Gee,

This is not going to be in any ICC. In any event, the law simply does not take the view you take.


Sally Gee - 3/3/2008

The specific fact is that the United States government is less than comfortable with the likely outcome of any trial of present or former American service personnel, officials and contractors for war crimes and crimes against humanity in a number of theaters of war, including Iraq and Afghanistan, oh,and Guantanamo, etc.

Do I get my very own award for that response, Mr Multi-Award Eckstein? Oh please, please!


Sally Gee - 3/3/2008

I'd rather see this argued by competent litigants in the ICC, Mr Friedman, as I'm sure it soon will be.


Sally Gee - 3/3/2008

What is clear is that both you and Mr Friedman seem to spend an awful lot of time, effort and low quality argument trying to justify the deliberate maiming and murder of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli armed forces.


N. Friedman - 3/3/2008

Ms. Gee,

The thing about law is that is requires more information than you provide in your scenario.

First, military establishments and the like simply cannot legally be placed in a civilian neighborhood. That is a grave violation of the laws of war.

Be that as it may, if A attacks B from a civilian location, B can attack back by attacking A even though A is in a civilian location. However, the fact that A locates him or herself in a civilian location places some burdens on B not to, for example, bomb indiscriminately. B must also, for example, be reasonable in presuming that the target is sufficiently important to justify attacking a military target in a civilian area. So, there is a judgment call to be made.

Hamas' activities are rather easy to judge here. They are violating International law by bombarding a civilian neighborhood indiscriminately. Moreover, Hamas violates the law by having military establishments located in a civilian neighborhood. Further, the entire military campaign of Hamas is to target civilians as the primary target which, under any circumstances, is a very grave violation of the laws of war. I should add: a strategy that is directed, as the Hamas strategy is directed, toward killing as many civilians as possible renders Hamas' war into an unjust war - at if one goes by traditional just war theory.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/3/2008

An incoherent reply from Gee, and one that does not address the specific facts--what a surprise.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/3/2008

No. It's A, hiding intentionally among civilian Aa's and using them intentionally as a shield, attacks civilians C intentionally. The government of C then responds against A (not against Aa's), and unfortunately--though actually intended on A's part for propaganda uses--the civilian Aa's also get hurt. The responsibility for this lies on A for (1) hiding intentionally among civilians Aa, while (2) using them intentionally as a shield for its intentional attacks against civilians C.

Clear enough for you?


N. Friedman - 3/3/2008

Ms. Gee,

Again, did you read the Koran?


Sally Gee - 3/3/2008

Like I said, a nod's as good as a wink to a blind horse. Maybe if you and Mr Multi-Awarded Eckstein combine forces you might be able to get a discount from a suitable provider.


N. Friedman - 3/3/2008

Ms. Gee,

The US did not sign up for the ICC for many state reasons - and, evidently, opposition has been bipartisan. President Clinton effectively killed the measure for his time in office by, first, signing it and, then, intentionally not sending it to the Senate for ratification. That is a political way of killing an issue without having to state opposition publicly.

President Bush, by contrast, has been more direct in his opposition. His administration has raised many issues with the document, of varying degrees of logic.

I think that the real concern involves the possibility of placing Americans at the potential whim of foreign courts which claim to protect the rights of accused but, in fact, likely do a far worse job than do American courts.


Sally Gee - 3/3/2008

Oh dear, I just can't seem to scrape you from the sole of my shoe, Mr Eckstein.

See if this one gets through: if A, amongst B attacks (or threatens to attack, or whatever) C, and C retaliates by attacking B. Oh, that's perfectly alright. Just Arabs, heh? Can't tell the difference can you? All the same to me. After all, a nod's as good as a wink to a blind horse, innit (as they say in Britspeak)?

If you can't see the problem, then the fault truly lies within you, Mr Mult-Awarded Eckstein, and you need more than my advice: you need the very best professional help you can get to sort out your personality disorder.


Sally Gee - 3/3/2008

I suppose it all depends what you ean by the term "read", Mr Friedman: as literature or as theology? Although you seem to have no place left for either because your little head is just absolutely filled to busting with crude - one might even say brutish - hateheaded, anti-Muslim, religio-ethnic propaganda pitched to tickle the sensibilities at the most basic sub-fascist level.

Did you major in Getting It Wrong, Mr Friedman?


A. M. Eckstein - 3/3/2008

So Human Rights Watch is wrong as well, according to Gee, that fighting from among civilians is a war-crime.

And Gee's answer to Walzer is that "he is wrong" that the ultimate moral responsibility lies with those who fight from the shelter of civilians, attacking civilians, for the counterfire that then occurs--but she offers no argument for why "he is wrong", just an assertion.


Sally Gee - 3/3/2008

Because Mr Frieman is wrong but the United States and Israel have acted as if he were correct.

Simple when you think about it, Mr Multi-Awarded Eckstein - but I guess none of your many awards are for quick thnking, heh?


A. M. Eckstein - 3/3/2008

That's just another falsehood from Omar. Read what Eckstein wrote, quoting from Michael Walzer and Human Rights Watch against Chomsky, at #119930. There follow EIGHT responses.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/3/2008

What does that have to do with anything? This is not a counter-argument to N.F. who is a lawyer.
Gee is not.


omar ibrahim baker - 3/3/2008

The notable thing here is that none of the herd addressed what Chomsky wrote!
Although it would have been dwarfs addressing a giant it would have been intersting to follow!


Sally Gee - 3/3/2008

If that is the case, Mr Friedman, for the life of me I can't see why the United States has not signed up to the International Criminal Court.


N. Friedman - 3/3/2008

Ms. Gee,

Are you an expert on International law? I do not think so. I also do not think that your analysis of International law on the topic is correct.

I think that there are, in fact, allowances pertinent to circumstances where military establishments and the like are situated within a civilian population. I think that International law places the blame on those who do so for acts directed at such establishments. Which is to say, I think you are wrong.


Sally Gee - 3/3/2008

Oh, poor, dear, deluded Mr Eckstein. I'm not really sure what point you are trying to make but let's try and untangle your lack of logic.

A soldier is guilty of a war crime if s/he kills a civilian without specific cause. A soldier is guilty of a war crime if s/he uses a civilian as a human shield.

Walzer's point "...that those who intentionally hide among civilians while firing at civilians are the people ultimately responsible for what happens when counterfire occurs" is morally wrong and legally incorrect. Soldiers, and the commanders of soldiers, have choices which are clearly defined in the law of war. Civilan "terrorists" do not have their choices so clearly defined although if they were to use a civilians as a human shield against soldiers that may well be a crime, but it is certain that a soldier who chooses to kill or maim or otherwise incapacitate those constituting the human shield will have committed a war crime.

Whatever sympathy there is for Israel, it is rightly running out as the war crimes and crimes against humanity pile up. I predict that in less than a decade, a thoroughly impoverished US will wash its hand of Israel and will merely be one small part of the coalition of forces which will dismantle the Jewish state as it is presently constituted. Samson option viable? Maybe, maybe not. But even then, only once.

You may not like it but it's very simple really, and the world knows it. And, by and large, the world doesn't have much regard for career criminals when they're caught in the act once too often.


N. Friedman - 3/3/2008

Ms. Gee,

Again, use of terms without a care in the world what they mean is the method of a brute. Such appears to be your specialty.


N. Friedman - 3/3/2008

Ms. Gee,

So, have you read the Koran?


art eckstein - 3/3/2008

Gee has no reply to Walzer's point that those who intentionally hide among civilians while firing at civilians are the people ultimately responsible for what happens when counterfire occurs. Hence Human Rights Watch calls such tactics a war crime.

Having no response to Walzer's point or Human Rights Watch, she now seeks to change the subject to crimes of the past. But if she wants to bring up Deir Yassin, as these crude propagandists always do, I suggest--without minimizing Deir Yassin--that she look up and do research on the horror of the "Mt. Scopas Massacre." Omar, for one, has refused to do this--as if the massacre of 70 Jewish doctors and nurses didn't happen. And as for the Nakbah, 100,000 more Jews were expelled from Arab lands between 1948 and 1960 than Palestinians from the Mandate in 1948 in the midst of a war started by the Palestinians themselves.


Sally Gee - 3/3/2008

Isn't that why God invented Penguin paperbacks, Mr Furnish?


Sally Gee - 3/3/2008

Messrs Eckstein and Friedman, instead of pouring out your infantile vapourings defending the racist state of Israel, whose only logic is to make its neighbours' lives a misery, why don't you follow the excellent example of Rachel Corrie and volunteer your time and effort to provide physical assistance to the threatened people of Darfur?


Sally Gee - 3/3/2008

Walzer's position on sovereignty and the nature of political communities has its attractions, particularly in the light of recent US interventions and its support of a specifically Jewish state on another peoples land.

It is a war crime to bring harm to civilians, whether intentionally or not simply on the basis of the balance of probabilities, whether or not the enemy is using civilians as a human shield, and if so, whether they do so intentionally or not.

Walzer's statement quoted above, "Civilians will suffer so long as no one on the Palestinian side takes action to stop rocket attacks. From that side, though not from the Israeli side, easy steps could be done to stop harm to civilians", does not effectively wish away Israeli war crimes when civilians are murdered and maimed and driven off their land, and its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory since 1948 merely emphasises that Israel is a state founded on the principle that the primary purpose of its existence is to commit crimes against humanity in order to maintain its control over another people's territory.


art eckstein - 3/3/2008

Don't I know it, Tim! They are impervious to facts or logic, and their reply to being confronted with devastating facts or logic is to hurl personal abuse.

Unfortunately, we must continue to reply to people such as Gee and Omar; otherwise these idiots and crude propagandists will dominate HNN. As it is, we make them look ridiculous time after time, which has its own value.


Tim R. Furnish - 3/3/2008

Art, the problem (as I'm sure you know, but like me you just get fed up with it) is that the Sally Gees of the world don't care about history, logic or common sense--just about their warped political agenda.


art eckstein - 3/3/2008

Michael Walzer is one of the pre-eminent political philosophers of our time. Here is what he writes about who is REALLY responsible for civilian deaths in situations such as that created by Hamas in Gaza:

"The crucial argument is about the Palestinian use of civilians as shields. Academic philosophers have written at great length about "innocent shields," since these radically exploited (but sometimes, perhaps, compliant) men and women pose a dilemma that tests the philosophers' dialectical skills. Israeli soldiers are not required to have dialectical skills, but, on the one hand, they are expected to do everything they can to prevent civilian deaths, and, on the other hand, they are expected to fight against an enemy that intentionally hides behind civilians.

There is no neat solution to their dilemma. When Palestinian militants launch rocket attacks from civilian areas, they are themselves responsible--and no one else is--for the civilian deaths caused by Israeli counterfire. [REPEAT; WHEN PALESTINIAN MILITANTS LAUNCH ROCKET ATTACKS FROM CIVILIAN AREAS, THEY ARE THEMSELVES RESPONSIBLE--AND NO ONE ELSE IS--FOR THE CIVILIAN DEATHS CAUSED BY ISRAELI COUNTERFIRE.] But Israeli soldiers are required to aim as precisely as they can at the militants, to take risks in order to do that, and to call off counterattacks that would kill large numbers of civilians. That last requirement means that, sometimes, the Palestinian use of civilian shields, though it is a cruel and immoral way of fighting, is also an effective way of fighting. It works, because it is both morally right and politically intelligent for the Israelis to minimize--and to be seen trying to minimize--civilian casualties.

Still, minimizing does not mean avoiding entirely: Civilians will suffer so long as no one on the Palestinian side takes action to stop rocket attacks. From that side, though not from the Israeli side, easy steps could be done to stop harm to civilians."

This is also the position taken by Human Rights Watch: hiding behind civilians is a war crime.

"It is a war crime to seek to use the presence of civilians to render certain points or areas immune from military operations or to direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attack."


art eckstein - 3/3/2008

Ms. Gee's persistent identification of Israel with Nazi Germany has been totally demolished by myself and Mr. Friedman in several long threads, on the basis of facts. Gee first argued that Israel was a "classic Nazi state," then when forced to admit that it had none of the characteristics of Nazi Germany, she called it an "evolved Nazi state," i.e., a state with none of the characteristics of Nazi Germany, but a free press, free elections, no concentration camps, no Fuhrers, etc., etc.--but still somehow "Nazi." Sure.

Her intellectual performance is disgraceful; she is a crude anti-Jewish propagandist. But this statement above is truly disgusting. Especially when she evinces not the slightest interest in Darfur, where 400,000 innocent civilians have been killed by an Islamic government.


art eckstein - 3/3/2008

Gee writes: "Will the world allow Israel, as a state whose sole purpose seems to be the commission of genocide in the name of an earlier genocide, to survive..."


This statement above is one of the single most repulsive things ever put on HNN. Really, it is disgusting.


art eckstein - 3/3/2008

The posting above is one of the single most repulsive things ever put on HNN. Really, it is disgusting.


Tim R. Furnish - 3/3/2008

Sally, Sally G,
Sorry, still having McCartney flashbacks.
I'm curious: have you ever read the Qur'an?


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

You're really losing it, Mr Friedman. But then that may be your plan. How many people take a genocidal pantaloon seriously, after all?


N. Friedman - 3/2/2008

Ms. Gee,

I think you are lying.

I think you meant that one should not read the passages to mean something which, to Western ears, would sound hateful.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

Mr Friedman, "respect" means don't deliberately seek to distort meanings nor impute distorted meanings to the adherents of a religious or, for that matter, legal text.

Simple really once you give it a little thought.


N. Friedman - 3/2/2008

Ms. Gee,

You write: "The Koran is a historical source which should be used, as should all sources, with respect."

Meaning no disrespect toward Muslims, what does "respect" have to do with this? Nothing at all. What should be employed is the same methods used by Muslims, if one wants to understand the texts as Muslims do.

In this case, Professor Furnish has not quoted anything out of context. In fact, it is rather easy to find how Muslims interpret these passages, if one is interested.

My suggestion to you is: rather than throwing out BS, as is your custom, claiming, in this case, that one needs to interpret things with respect, go investigate how these verses are understood by Muslim. That way, you might cut down a bit on the BS.


N. Friedman - 3/2/2008

Omar,

There is no way really to know the "why" regarding Hamas's victory. The polling data that has come out is contradictory. One set of polling data would have it that Hamas came in due to corruption. Another set of polling data show that 65% Palestinian Arabs want Shari'a to be the source of all law. No polling data show that Hamas won due to failures by Fatah in its "peace" policy - quotation marks around "peace" since you used them.

Whatever the case is, the fact is that Palestinian Arabs opted for complete religious lunatics to rule them. If that was a protest vote, it was a rather moronic one.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

The Gaza genocide continues apace and, as more and more men, women and children die under the Israeli onslaught while Mr Friedman quibbles.

One question comes to mind: will the world allow Israel, as a state whose sole purpose seems to be the commission of genocide in the name of an earlier genocide, to survive as long as the soviet Union or Yugoslavia? Mind, I'm sure that Mrssrs Eckstein and Friedman will take great comfort in the fact that Israel has already outlasted the Third Reich so it has already had a good innings, as they say in Britspeak.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

The Koran is a historical source which should be used, as should all sources, with respect. And the respect arises from the context in which any passage is quoted and the use to which it is put. In this sense it is like every other document containing religious teachings.

Selective quotation from a foundation document is always likely to lead to a misunderstanding of the behviour of others and merely seems to reflect unthinking acceptance the intellectual influence of the methodology of Biblical fundamentalism, Christian and Jewish, and its reliance on the literal interpretation of the Word.


omar ibrahim baker - 3/2/2008

Having failed to find fault, in principle or detail, with Chomsky's brilliant piece Professor Furnish reverted to the pathetic, school playground level argument:

" So you're firmly on the side of Hizbullah, Hamas, al-Qa`idah, the Muslim Brotherhood and other liberation organizations, eh, Ms.Gee? "

(Re: An excellent and insightful article (#119800) by Tim R. Furnish on March 1, 2008 at 4:29 PM)

How small and pitiful!

The childishness and plain immaturity of some of the "Professors" we encounter here is amazing!


omar ibrahim baker - 3/2/2008

"Re: An excellent and insightful article (#119836)
by N. Friedman on March 2, 2008 at 12:01 AM
Ms. Gee,

Secular state? My suggestion to you, Ms. Gee, is that a great many Palestinian Arabs do not appear to want a secular state. If we go by their choice of political parties, a great many of them want, instead, a theocracy in which people believing in religions other than Islam are oppressed"

Although it is only a "suggestion" the intent is clear; further denigration and demonization of the Palestinians by alluding to their election of Hamas as proof of wanting a theocratic state.
Which ,if that is their free democratic choice, should be
respected.

But it is NOT, according to all available data from the field.

Hamas was ELECTED primarily as a PROTEST movement against:
-Fatah's futile "peace" policy option
-Fatah's corruption
-Fatah's failed policies


N. Friedman - 3/2/2008

Professor,

Ms. Gee appears to question the bona fides of the scholarship of people of the caliber of Bernard Lewis. According to Ms. Gee, "Does anyone accept the existence of Bernard Lewis's "scholarship" in the Islamic world, I wonder?" Surely, you cannot expect her to accept facts such as what appears in the Koran?


N. Friedman - 3/2/2008

Ms. Gee,

Secular state? My suggestion to you, Ms. Gee, is that a great many Palestinian Arabs do not appear to want a secular state. If we go by their choice of political parties, a great many of them want, instead, a theocracy in which people believing in religions other than Islam are oppressed.


Tim R. Furnish - 3/2/2008

So do you deem it "religio-ethnic hatred against Muslims" when I read the Qur'anic passages mandating beheading of the unbelievers (such as Sura Muhammad:3,4) in Arabic and translate them accurately? How about Sura Nisa':33ff, which mandates beating of one's wives? Any possibility that Islam itself and its adherents bear ANY responsibility for the violence perpetrated by those claiming to act in its name?


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

Well, language waits for no one and we certainly need a few new words in our language to describe the kind of people who voice paranoid, religio-ethnic hatred against Muslims. "In the begging was the Word, and the Word was with God", and later on men added to the Word to accomodate a changing, and nastier, reality.

This is certainly the first time I've been referred to as a Chomskyite. You may be right so I'd better check out more of his work.


Tim R. Furnish - 3/2/2008

"Hatehead," eh? A neologism from a Chomskyite--how exciting!
Ms. Gee, I liked you better when you were just the title of a Paul McCartney B-side--and you made more sense then.


Tim R. Furnish - 3/2/2008

"Hatehead," eh? A neologism from a Chomskyite--how exciting!
Ms. Gee, I liked you better when you were just the title of a Paul McCartney B-side--and you made more sense then.


Sally Gee - 3/1/2008

Not so remarkable outside your paranoid hatehead circles, Mr Friedman, and certainly commonplace outside the United States and Israel.

At the end of the day, it may be possible to achieve a fully secular bi-national state in Palestine or, depending on Israeli behaviour, it may not and as American power weakens other nations will start to fill the vacuum. Mindful of the fact that Israel is nuclear state, if their tolerance is stretched too far, it may seem sensible to remove the Israeli state as an obstacle to any satisfactory kind of peace in the Middle East.

It will come about through Realpolitik and not the hairsplitting gabble that seems to be your favourite approach (if not, indeed, your only) to intellectual analysis.

Oh, and if you can't see the parallels between Nazism and Zionism, you are a part of the problem, not the solution.


Sally Gee - 3/1/2008

Why not read the article, Mr Furnish? You may learn something. Well, maybe..


N. Friedman - 3/1/2008

Professor,

Ms. Gee holds rather remarkable views. According to her (and I quote):

OK, suffering ethnic cleansing is not unique, but a sense of reality and a little commonsense kind if hints that the application of at least one repugnant strand of Jewish thought - Zionism - has led directly to the plight of the Palestinian people to the benefit of the Jews who have taken over their land.

Also, according to Ms. Gee (and I quote):

... I use no double standards - which is why I regard Zionism as the most direct contemporary expression of Nazism.

However, evidently, contemporary Nazism, as she envisions it, is not similar to what you and I think Nazism is. Her contemporary Nazis do not have death camps. They allow elections in which their enemies vote, etc., etc.. You may wish to read her views in detail here. This will tell you everything you need to know to understood who she is and what she believes, most especially about Jews and Israel.


Tim R. Furnish - 3/1/2008

Please explain the "criminal nature" of the "American-Israeli axis," madame. "Crimes" as defined by.......the U.N.? the O.I.C.? The DNC? Noam Chomsky?


Sally Gee - 3/1/2008

Well, Mr Furnish, since you ask, no - although I must qualify that because of the imprecise nature of what you mean by the term "liberation organisations". I do not, for instance, support the anti-Castro Cuban terrorist organisations operating out of the United States. As I said, I am against the criminal mature of the American-Israeli axis. In fact, like so many of my fellow citizens, I'm against crime in general on principle, and war crimes and crimes against humanity in particular. Does that help you?


Tim R. Furnish - 3/1/2008

"The criminal nature of the American-Israeli axis"? So you're firmly on the side of Hizbullah, Hamas, al-Qa`idah, the Muslim Brotherhood and other liberation organizations, eh, Ms. Gee?
If you live in the U.S., I need to move to Australia.


Sally Gee - 3/1/2008

The distinction Professor Chomsky makes between murder with intent, accidental killing, and murder with foreknowledge but without specific intent is a necessary basis for an understanding of the criminal nature of the American-Israeli axis. Well done to HNN for securing this article. Absolutely compelling.


omar ibrahim baker - 3/1/2008

Choking as they might, just might, be to the American public the samples of the "selected crimes of the USA and/or Israel" recited by Chomsky come as no surprise to this Araboushim, nor to his kin and people.

We have known what Zionism, Israel and the USA, relatively lately, really are for the last 75 plus years.
Neither the "philosophy" underlying these crimes nor the political goals sought through them by the Zionist/Imperialist axis will lessen our determination to repulse the aggressor .

If anything both the philosophy and political goals will only produce more and more and more "terrorists" such as Mughenieh!

It is a long haul but the real issue is "who will outlive and out fight the other ?" Zionist/Israeli aggressive racism cum expansionism and USA Imperialism or the Arab/Moslem world?

We have absolutely no doubt about the outcome for, as eloquently depicted by Chomsky, it is , for us the fight for LIFE against evil incarnate!


Arnold Shcherban - 3/1/2008

That's exactly what Chomsky emphasizes
in his article!


Jason Blake Keuter - 3/1/2008

Hezbollah is evil.