So Hezbollah Can't Be Crushed?

News Abroad

Ms. Muir is an historian. The working title of her current project is “What Good is a Nation: A Clear-Eyed Look at Nations and Nationalism."

Last Tuesday morning a “senior (Israeli) military source” said that Israel seeks "to significantly weaken Hezbollah but not crush it, since it is impossible to crush a popular, religious movement."

Conventional wisdom is with the senior Israeli officer, but in fact popular, religious movements have been crushed by military force many times, and in all parts of the world.

The Zanj movement formed in 868 CE in the vast delta where the Tigris meets the Euphrates. Zanj autonomy flourished for 15 years under Ali bin Muhammad, who claimed descent from Imam Ali, the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law. He further claimed to be the mahdi (messiah) and to have directly “received surahs of the Quran.” Tens of thousands followed him under a green and red banner that read, “God has purchased the souls of the believers and their property, for they have attained to Paradise fighting in the way of God.” The revolt was crushed in a series of battles and massacres where the dead are said to have numbered in the tens of thousands. Muslim historians characterize Ali bin Muhammad as a bloodthirsty impostor and his followers as insubordinate black slaves. It may be more accurate to think of the Zanj as Muslims who, like their contemporaries the Kharajites, were committed to a simple theology and to principles of economic leveling not unlike those of radical Protestant reformers. We cannot be certain because we do not have a Zanj version of history, only Zanj-minted coins that read “al Mahdi Ali b. Muhammad.”

The Cathar religion arose in Languedoc (Occitania), now incorporated into southern France. Whether it is conceptualized as a Christian heresy or a version of Manichaeanism, there can be no doubt that this was an intensely popular religious movement. The Catholic Church decided to wipe out the Cathars in an armed crusade. The fighting went on for twenty years and included such incidents as the massacre of 20,000 Cathars - the entire population of Béziers and its surrounding villages - on July 22, 1209. By the end, the Cathars were no more.

The Czech Hussites earned the condemnation of the Church in 1415 for adherence to doctrines that the Church called heresy, and which historians call proto-Protestant. They successfully defended an independent Czech Hussite state against large Catholic armies for twenty years, before agreeing to strike a compromise with the Church. Large numbers of devoted Hussites rejected the political compromise. Many were killed in battle with a combined Czech/Catholic army near Prague on May 30, 1434. Surviving “Warriors of God” were eliminated in a series of small battles, captures, and hangings.

On February 5, 1597, Shogun Toyotomi Hideyoshi decided to crush Christianity in Japan. He considered the rapid increase, geographic concentration, and intense devotion of Christians to be threats to the state. The newly introduced religion had over 300,000 adherents, of whom between 5,000 and 6,000 were executed, many by crucifixion. Christianity as a movement was eliminated from Japan.

I could multiply examples of large populations united by intense religious commitment that have been crushed by the state power. Not obliterated – remnants of Japanese Christianity survived underground, for example – but crushed to the point where a movement no longer existed.

I am certainly not defending the morality of Hideyoshi’s actions, or the crushing of the Cathars, Hussites, or Zanj. I am simply pointing out that popular religious movements can be forcibly destroyed. If some policy makers and pundits actually believe that it is impossible to crush a popular religious movement, they are wrong. Hezbollah can be crushed as completely as the Cathars were.

What the unnamed Israeli officer might have said, is something like this:

Israel seeks to significantly weaken Hezbollah in order to reduce Hezbollah’s capacity to slaughter the innocent in community centers, embassies, and private homes.

We could crush Hezbollah if we so chose. We could do it with a combination of military actions, arrests, and trials, and through the elimination of Hezbollah schools, Hezbollah television, and the other institutions that promulgate Hezbollah’s murderous ideology.

We are making this choice not because we lack the power to destroy Hezbollah, we have that capacity. We are exercising restraint because the Jewish State —at some considerable risk to itself—values human life, even the lives of those who would destroy us. We have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but hope rather that the wicked will turn from their evil ways and live.

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omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Had it been within its military capacity with any thing short of the A bomb ( which is an altogether different issue)Israel does not/will not hesitate to attempt using both mass murder and genocide against its enemies as its present war on Lebanese and Palestinian civilians is demonstrating.

According to Israeli media casualties of Hizb Allah combatants are few and far in between and the heaviest toll is paid by non combatant civilians in al Dahia, the Hizb Allah stronghold in Beirut, whereas in occupied Palestine, particularly in Gaza, the distinction between the two has seized to exist long ago.

Targeting the infra structure and civilians particularly in resistance heavy areas is a conscious tactical decision through which Israel hopes to isolate the resistance movements, subject them to heavy public pressure to desist, flee the battlefied and ,where ever the ingredients of a civil war are present, to launch it.

Mass murder and genocide of noncombatant civilians in Deir Yassin and Tantura was deliberately used in 1948 to dislodge the Palestinians and effect the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Arabs desired by the then nascent Jewish state.

omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

But it, the entire Arab/Moslem world, does share the ideology and strugle of deZionizing Palestine that Hizb Allah is presently spectacularly fronting .
On what grounds do you base your " I don't think so."?
I base my assertion on daily direct and indirect contact with the people.
If you want it numerically supported all you have to do is document the results of "free " elections where ever held.

omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Should the phenomena of Hizb Allah be a transient event in Arab/Moslem history AND the Arab/Moslem-Zionist/neo con US conflict , as was the rebellion of the Zung, then Ms Muir would have had something note worthy to say.
However if perceived through its historical perspective the Hisb Allah phenomena would have an immeasurably different significance and historical impact than the Zung episode.
I contend that it is of historical importance for three fundamental reasons:
1- It is derived from, a continuation of and is based on a long standing historical tradition of Islamist led Arab/Moslem resistance to and ultimate repulsion of alien incursion and attempted deArabization/deIslamization of Arab/Moslem lands as was the case of the Crusaders and , more recently, the French conquest of Algeria.
2-It is the stage into which the present phase of the anti Zionism/anti imperialism, anti Israel cause, firstly led by nationalist and/or secular forces, developed into a religiously led movement supported by all nationalist and /or secular forces ie the overwhelming majority of the Arab/Moslem public thus achieving a historical consensus.
3-That it has the vast, unflinching and deep support of, possibly for the first time in modern history, of Sunni (Arab etc) and Shiite (Iranian etc) masses and the covert and overt alliance between their respective outstanding political/military movements : the Moslem Brotherhood/Hamas and Hisb Allah.

It is ultimately a matter of perception of ongoing historical developments.

But that Israeli officer seems to know a little bit more about the subject than does innocent Ms Muir.

omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Ms Applebaum
Your comment, masked as a question , is Irrelevant, rapidly verging on , and converging with, the inane re the issue under discussion!
Is it "history knowledge parading" or what?
What has this to do with your absurd contention "I do not think So"?
You fail to indicate how you reached that conclusion.
Is it your "hunch" ,"wishful thinking" , more like it, or simpy an(?) inspired interpretation of events?
To really know, before "you think so", what is going on do some analysis of public stands as numerically documented in election results where ever held in the Arab/Moslem world.
Then you can think whatever you want but tell us how you reached your conclusion.
Or was that a printer's mistake and what you really wrote was:" I really do not hope so."?

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. Noonan hits the nail on the head.
The comparisons in the article are dubious for the reasons he states.

The article's main other point, rather clumsily tacked on to the end: that Israelis, or the "Jewish State", "value human life" more than do its hardcore Islamist opponents is undeniable, but of minor relevance to what is going on now in Lebanon. The key comparison there is that Israelis value a few their own lives more than those of hundreds of thousands of innocent Lebanese and foreign civilians who are being killed, injured, and forced to flee for their lives due to an attempt of Israel to correct for its past miscalculations. These horrors are in large measure a result of the cowardice which led prior Israeli regimes to exchange hundreds of their prisoners to get a back one or two Israelis, thus giving maximum incentive for the Hezbollah kidnapping of the two soldiers which, in turn, provoked the recent Israeli aggression against Lebanon and its people.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. Friedman, I think Mr. Thomas is right in saying that you do not have any basis for calling his remarks here "lies" or "bigoted".

Thomas's comments are, however, highly inconsistent with what he has said in other posted comments to other HNN articles. Thomas is extremely critical of Israel here, and has been in many other comment boards as well. This extremism is more conscious and more severe even than your extreme and more often subconsious support of the Israeli government regardless of its policies. But, many of the things Thomas critizes Israel for doing in Palestine, he supports the Bush administration for doing in Iraq. Many aspects of Bush's bumbling policy in Iraq could have been (although I do not think they were) written in Israel by militaristic "hawks" there. Thomas talks out of one side of his mouth here, and another when the topic turns to George W. Bush and the American invasion and botched occupation of Iraq.

andy mahan - 9/18/2006

Mr. Kolli,

The paper was a refutation of the claim that Hibsolla can't be destroyed. Why would it be necessary that Ms Muir argue against her thesis? Just because you are politically opposed does not make her effort lacking.

andy mahan - 9/18/2006

I suspect you are wrong. Israel has far more military power than is necessary to defeat and occupy Lebanon without help from anyone. It is a matter of what is in the best interests of Israel. Occupying Lebanon is not.

andy mahan - 9/18/2006

dispationate and "clear eyed." A simple impartation of historical fact. I learned a lot. No doubt it is not for lack of physical wherewithall to crush Hizbollah that will allow its survival.

N. Friedman - 8/1/2006


I beg to differ.

Peter Kovachev - 8/1/2006

LOL! Mr. Clarke. God preserves fools and little children, as they say. You do actually seem genuinely puzzled by Mr. Thomas's hickups in logic and consistency. Let me enlighten, if I may.

Mr. Thomas is one of the brightest characters on these forums. He can be a formidable oponent and his posting are always a jolly good read, even when one disagrees with the arguments. But Mr. Thomas has one "little quirk" in that he's a serious and genuine antisemite. At least if you believe that Holocaust revisionism, faith in conspiracy theories about Jews and an uninhibited desire for the destruction of the Jewish state amount to antisemitism. In this he's actually admiringly consistent; no bad word about or deed against the Jews, be it from the Left, Right or Mars is opposed.

The thing about antisemitism is that it's kind of like a Black Hole (and here I beg Mr. Thomas' forgiveness for the inept, pseudo-scientific analogy), which warps everything and anything, including reality, in its proximity. Another, more low-tech analogy, would be those anything-can-happen places marked it ancient portolanos with a drawing of sea dragons and "Here be Monsters" captions.

So, as much as Mr. Thomas may lean to what you think is classical conservatism, and regardless of his genuine no dislike of terrorists and disdain for Islamists, for example, he hates Jews and Israel even more, which allows him to turn his otherwise natural enemies into temporary and situational victims and heroes. You don't actually think he cares for the lives of Pal Arabs or Hezbollah Lebanese, do you? Nothing unusual in that; check out your typical "anti-Zionist" rally and see all the Palestinian, Islamists, anarchist, socialist, environmentalist and neo-nazi flags and banners all waving in happy comity. Hate for Jews and Israel trumps all and makes for odd bed-fellows and seeming lapses in logic.

paul kolli - 8/1/2006


Thanks for your comment however whether Ms Muir is opposed to my views or not is irrelevant. I read hundreds of articles which I don't agree with but I chose to comment on this one because I thought for someone who is described as an "historian" the logic was simple at best.

Even if you killed every living thing in Southern Lebanon doesn't mean Hezbolah or something like would not resurrect itself in future times. Ethnic cleansing by Militery Power only provides limited or temporary relief. There are plenty of historical examples of movements, powers, etc which have been completely destroyed only to come back again in in future generations and much more dangerous the next time. Unless Israel removes the reasons Hezbolah was created in the first place you're only buying time, nothing more. Destroying Hezbolah will accomplish very little in the long run.

I suggest you get a good book on the Crusades and study it. It took the Moslems 200 years to get rid of that Western colony in the Holy Land and there were plenty of times that the Crusaders thought they had secured their future by militery means, only to find another more dangerous enemy later on.

For the record I have been to Israel and I think it's a wonderful country and they deserve to live in security, but I don't believe their present course of action will help them. Like all powers which rely on the "might is right" rule they'll find that militery domination cannot last forever. Any good historian should know that.

James Frusetta - 7/29/2006

And my problem with folks like yourself is that you're happy to make an argument without providing proof other than "I read something I can't or won't repeat or name." Wheeeee!

Let's play fun with deconstruction!

"no matter how factual, proven, conclusive and authoritative definitions and statements regarding any topic"
Hard to tell, since you've provided no references beyond unnamed documents and individuals, isn't it? I said, "bombing an airport doesn't seem to be against the 1949 accords." Last I checked, the 1949 accords are the *basis* of attempts at authorative definitions. If you can point to where in the accords it says it is, I'll either say, "My goodness, I must have read them wrong," or "I don't know, I don't interpret them that way." That's, uh, why I mentioned the source I was using.

"but to win the argument by any means"
Uh, no. I've stipulated I might be wrong. If I'm wrong, I'd very much like to know this: I teach on the subject. But I'd want to see the UN documents or source to know this, rather than some random blogger on HNN, just as I insist that students use sources rather than random cybersources.

"regardless how stupid they look to any more or less logical person."
Yes, insisting on sources is very stupid. Did the PoMo crowd take over completely when I was not looking?

"thus annulling my efforts to bring the pertinent info up to you attention."
And you base this on a penetrating analysis of my personality from two posts, apparently.

"So, please, don't waiste my time, go
and find the info yourself."
You can be offensive, I can be offensive. I'll bet you don't have the infomation, because if you did, you'd provide it. I'll further bet that you're getting this from secondary sources and have no real idea what the original documents say. Now, if you can address what I'm saying, clearly I'm wrong and I will happily admit it.

See? An easy way to get rid of me: provide the source. Show me my error. Not just say, "Oh, you'd never admit it."

"And I don't care a bit what you think of me."
Good thing.

Randll Reese Besch - 7/29/2006

You must also acknowledge that Hezbollah is as integrated into the social structure of Lebonon as much as Zion-Judism is in Isreal so to crush Hezbollah may mean leveling Lebonon and killing every person in it.
Isreal was certainly prepared for the responce to their attacks with the bombardment of suspected Hezbollah facilities but Lebonese gov't offices as well.Curious isn't it?

E. Simon - 7/29/2006

Anything that carries the slightest potential to be tagged as such gets noted in the discussions for a non-neutral point of view.


Not much point in providing sources and cites for someone who can't even locate a half-way decent encyclopedia. I'm not sure why I'm even bothering with this, seeing as how even a concern "for the record" here, doesn't count for much - and thankfully so, given the paucity of literary heft demonstrated by Thomas.

Arnold Shcherban - 7/29/2006

You see, my problem with such folks
as you are has always been the same:
no matter how factual, proven, conclusive and authoritative definitions and statements regarding any topic are they refuse to accept
their defeat. I guess, the reason for such behaviour is that they are not looking for the truth, but to win the argument by any means, regardless how stupid they look to any more or less logical person.
Therefore, I can bet that upon delivering all the evidence you asked
for in this case you still will be
stubbornly arguing your case, thus annulling my efforts to bring the pertinent info up to you attention.
So, please, don't waiste my time, go
and find the info yourself.
And I don't care a bit what you think of me.

James Frusetta - 7/29/2006

Could you reference one of these "major UN documents?" I've stated up-front that a specific reading of the 1949 conventions (this is called a "source") doesn't seem to support your point on the airport. You've responded with, in summary, "Nu-uh, not according to other documents I won't name, and you're a meanie and unnamed people agree with me and they're REALLY famous and smart and high-ranking and I won't argue with you because all this secret stuff shows you're stupid and mean."

Wow, I'm crushed.

Sure, I might be wrong, but of course, since you can't apparently name the senior UN official, major documens, and since apparently you can't handle someone disagreeing with you, I must be professionally incompetant. Because I named *my* source. Referred to the specific articles. Referred to the specific passages. Gosh. Say, wait a minute --

You can sulk in your tent, oh Achilles, or you can actually provide some names of documents and officials that support what you're saying. This does not seem unreasonable.

See, it's called _history_. That means you provide _sources._ When I publish articles I give _sources._ When I teach about genocide and war crimes, I have students read the original _treaties_ and _documents_ so they can form arguments based on _original sources_. So that, if my argument is indeed fallacious, people can go look at the _source_ and point out where I've erred.

In fact, my key point seems to be, "People that post here without referring to specific sources make bad arguments." And yet, your rebuttle confirms this. Those are some fine rhetorical skills you're sportin' there!

Have a good fantasy life.

Arnold Shcherban - 7/28/2006


Read definition of a war crime in
major UN documents, and you will see
that intentional bombing of civilian infrastructure (such as the Beirut
International Airport) even provided
the infrastructure is used for weapons
delivery (what is the only excuse worded by Israel), but not as military means by itself, constitute
a war crime, period. No buts.
It is not coincidental that one senior UN legal official that was a contributor in prosecution of Milosevich and other infamous war criminals of the latest decades moderately characterized the recent Israeli attacks against civilian targets in Lebanon, as "very likely constituting war crimes". But I guess, you know international laws on the issue and the facts on the Lebanese ground much better than the professionals of such a high rank.
Therefore, it would have been just ridiculous and foolish on my part to continue this debate with a person who does not recognize the facts, not mentioning well-proven professional competence.
Have a good life.

paul kolli - 7/28/2006

I don't wish to be rude but I found this article to be very shallow with holes in the logic you could drive a truck through. I love reading histories and biographies but I'm not really interested in someone who calls themselves a Historian but is only capable of presenting one side of the story and basically just rehashing propaganda. One of the reasons I admire the Bible is it's such an honest book. It doesn't pull any punches and portrays its characters with warts and all and doesn't hide anything. Many of it's characters are brutally flawed. I consider any history should be able to be at least as brutally honest as that ancient text. The Bible shows the Israelites as being very violent. In fact the first time the word Jew is used int he Bible it is when the Jews at at war with the other Isralites, a civil war in fact. Why can't so-called historians be as honest as the Bible and admit that both sides have been brutal and committed war crimes. If a historian can only take one side they should stick to writing novels. History is not Ms Muir's forte.

N. Friedman - 7/27/2006

Mr. Thomas,

Assuming that everything you claim were so - which is doubtful, as the UN version of events is deeply flawed and your version of the UN portrayal even more deeply flawed -, how does that justify what Arabs, living in, for example, Libya, did to Jews who lived in Libya? or, what Arabs did to Jews living in Egypt? or, what Arabs did to Jews living in Iraq? or, what Arabs did to Jews living in Yemen?

The above quote is said with your statement in mind that: "They gave away their rights to exist in a civil society by denying those rights to others on a wholesale basis." I note that the word "they" in your post refers to "Zionists" but the topic you were writing about, namely, Jews displaced from Arab countries, was what you intended.

Now, if you meant that Jews living in Arab countries did not deserve to exist in civil society, then you are a bigot. Such people were not part of the conflict. They were merely the recipient of Arab vengeance.

As for what the Israelis did to create a country, I note that Israel's founding was, by world standards, rather tame. Compare what occurred in the New World, where whole populations were exterminated. The same can be said about the Arab conquests, with, in some instances (e.g. in India), many, many millions of people put to the sword.

Frankly, the Arab population in what is now Israel fought a war of extermination - when, in fact, a compromise was on the table and in defiance of the United Nations -. The Arab side lost. One of the things that happens to losers who start vicious, unnecessary wars is that they become displaced. Ask the Sudetens - far more of whom were displaced than Arabs were displaced by Israel's creation -. Tell the Arab side to settle its own, just like the Jewish side did.

Frederick Thomas - 7/27/2006

Mr. Daniel, please read my above posts.

Frederick Thomas - 7/27/2006

Mr. Friedman,

A lie is a deliberate misstatement of fact. I stated an opinion. "Lie" can not apply to opinions.

The Bunche UN report is as factual as it gets. I notice that you tacitly agree that it is unassailable.

A bigot is one who prejudges a person or group without cause. The military overthrow and ethnic cleansing of Palestine by a gang of murderous Europeans of whatever ethnicity is a cause, unless one is utterly bigoted in favor of that group, and willing to propagandize (lie) endlessly for it.

It is up to us, yes, you and me, as Americans, not as Israelis, to try to put this crime right. The first step is to bring back to light the covered up truths about Israel's founding.

The second step is to withdraw US military support from Israel, and prosecute AIPAC with the same fervor as Charles Lindberg once was.

If matters continue as they are now, through arrogance or inability to accept the truth, then Israel will probably go up in smoke over the next 10 years. As Tom Friedman once said, "Is that real enough for you?"

Steve Broce - 7/26/2006

To address Israeli restraint, let's turn to today's headlines. French News agency AFP reports:

Army chief of staff Dan Halutz has given the order to the air force to destroy 10 multi-storey buildings in the Dahaya district (of Beirut) in response to every rocket fired on Haifa," a senior air force officer told army radio on Monday.

Why don’t you post a link for this claim?

I have searched the AFP, BBC, CBC, and CNN and can not find any reference to this story.

I googled the claim and got a few hits, but they all go back to either the Khaleej Times, Al Jazeera, or a bunch of wacko web sites. Even the web sites that reference the source as”AFP” and hot link it, when you click on the link, it links to the Khaleej Times, not AFP.

The story itself doesn’t appear to make any sense. It refers to a nameless officer announcing on “army radio” that such orders have been given. This would not appear to make any sense. Why would such an announcement be made?

This sounds suspiciously like disinformation that is being spread on the internet.

Let’s see the evidence.

Steve Broce - 7/26/2006

Why don’t you post a link for this claim?

I have searched the AFP, BBC, CBC, and CNN and can not find any reference to this story.

I googled the claim and got a few hits, but they all go back to either the Khaleej Times, Al Jazeera, or a bunch of wacko web sites. Even the web sites that reference the source as”AFP” and hot link it, when you click on the link, it links to the Khaleej Times, not AFP.

The story itself doesn’t appear to make any sense. It refers to a nameless officer announcing on “army radio” that such orders have been given. This would not appear to make any sense. Why would such an announcement be made?

This sounds suspiciously like disinformation that is being spread on the internet.

Let’s see the evidence.

E. Simon - 7/26/2006

"Does this huge wall being built have anything to do with it?"

Only if you think the Israelis, in the long run, have any interest at all in governing the Palestinians - from behind A WALL.

At this point, it seems the Palestinians would prefer the wall not be erected simply (but not only) because they would perhaps prefer that scenario (minus the wall) to governing themselves.

Given the incompetence of the leaders they keep bringing to power, I'm not surprised.

Lorraine Paul - 7/26/2006

I don't think I'm misinformed, it seems to me that even a mild criticism of Israel is enough to bring on the accusations.

As for the matter of Apartheid, it was related to me a year or so ago that those who promulgated this evil into law in South Africa got the idea from Israel. When I first heard this I looked a bit askance at the teller of this tale, but now you have mentioned it perhaps it isn't so far-fetched.... Does this huge wall being built have anything to do with it?

Charles S Young - 7/26/2006

The military officer's orders were specific about attacking generic buildings in retaliation for missiles. So they are targets, not collateral effects.

The fact that you approve of the bombings, and the US does similar things, does not change the Geneva definition of collective punishment. Look up Article 33 in Wikipedia.

Glad to hear you have no agendas, that's nice.

N. Friedman - 7/26/2006

Actually, the Arab Times' editor indicated in an editorial that Israel was doing the right thing!!!

N. Friedman - 7/26/2006

Mr. Thomas,

Claiming that a cite is a PR site does not mean that anything said was false or distorted. And what you write is, by contrast, bigotted, to say the least.

I draw your attention to your comment: "They gave away their rights to exist in a civil society by denying those rights to others on a wholesale basis."

That is not only a lie but it is bigotted beyond belief. Consider, those Jews living in the various Arab countries had nothing to do with Israel or its creation. So, how are they responsible? Or, is this an example of collective punishment?

You, sir, are a bigot!!!

James Frusetta - 7/26/2006

Have you *read* the Geneva Conventions or is this just some kind of conventional wisdom?

You might want to read through Articles 52-59 of the Conventions of 1949/1977.

The aggravating thing I see in the discussion here is how rapidly it degenerates into polemics between the convinced, without any reference to the basic contemporary or historical sources. To wit: Are Israel's attacks affecting the civilian population? Yes! Is it doing so in ways that infringe on the Geneva Convention? Arguably, yes! Does a reading of the GC suggest that bombing the airport was a war crime? Not in my reading. Its "nature, location, purpose or use make[s] an effective contribution to military action". Nor is it an "object[s[ essential for survival." You're undercutting your own argument: I might suggest that the bombing of apartment blocks or would support an argument based on the GC more than referencing the targeting a dual-use facility. :P

Given that this is the "History News Network," is a little attention to the sources by *everyone* too much to ask? Given that -- last time I taught historiography -- basing arguments on sources seems highly stressed in the profession in its various forms?

Frederick Thomas - 7/26/2006

Mr. Friedman:

The post which you gave me was for a pro-Zionist PR site. Its purpose is to create sympathy for Zionism, much like the pro-Zionist US press.

But sometimes a little straight truth leaks through. The author qualifies his description of (850,000 Jewish refugees) as "Throughout 1947 and 1948 these Jews were persecuted."

What was going on during 1947 and 1948 to cause the Arab outrage?

The following is from the Report on Zionist Terror in Palestine by Ralphe Bunche, UN Commissioner to Palestine.

This is just the summary for January 1947, for brevity-it gets worse. With such atrocious bombings, murders, kidnappings, thefts, etc. the Zionists proved themselves worthy of nothing but execution.

They gave away their rights to exist in a civil society by denying those rights to others on a wholesale basis. All forms of present terror were invented by these murderers. Ben Gurion, Begin, and Shamir deserved the gallows. No wonder the Arabs were in an uproar. Any civilized nation would be:

"January 1, 1947, Jerusalem. Dov Gruner was sentenced to hang by a British military court for taking part in a raid on the Ramat Gan police headquarters in April of 1946.

January 2, 1947, Palestine. A wave of terror swept Palestine as Jewish terrorists staged bombings and machine gun attacks in five cities. Casualties were low. Homemade flame-throwers were used in several cases. Pamphlets seized warned that the Irgun had again declared war against the British and Arabs of Palestine.

January 4, 1947, Jerusalem. British soldiers have been ordered to wear sidearms at all times and were forbidden to enter any cafe or restaurant.

January 5, 1947, Egypt ,Eleven British troops were injured in a hand grenade attack on a train carrying troops to Palestine. The attack took place near Benha, 25 miles from Cairo.

January 8, 1947, Palestine. British police arrested 32 persons suspected of being members of the Irgun terrorist gang's “Black Squad” in raids on Rishon-el Zion and Rehoboth.

January 12, 1947, Haifa. A single terrorist drove a truck filled with high explosives into the central police station and exploded it, killing two British policemen and two Arab constables and injuring 140 others. The terrorist escaped. This action ended a 10-day lull in the violence and the Stern gang took the credit for it.

January 13, 1947, Haifa. British soldiers and police screened 872 persons in Haifa and detained 10 for further questioning as Arabs and Jews both condemned the bombing.

January 14, 1947, Jerusalem. Yehudi Katz is sentenced to life in prison by a Jerusalem court for robbing a bank in Jaffa in September of 1946 to obtain funds for the terrorists.

January 21, 1947, London. Dr. Emmanuel Neumann, vice president of the Zionist Organization of America, declared US Zionists would spend “millions” to finance illegal immigration of Jews to Palestine. A Haganah spokesman in Paris claimed that 211,878 Jews entered Palestine illegally during the past 15 months.

January 22, 1947, Palestine. Sir Harry Gurney, Chief Secretary, stated that the British administration was taxing Palestine $2,400,000 to pay for sabotage by the terrorists.

January 22, 1947, London. Colonial Secretary Arthur Creech Jones informed the House of Commons 73 British subjects were murdered by Palestine terrorists in 1946 and

“no culprits have been convicted.”

January 27, 1947, London. Britain's conference on Palestine, boycotted by the Jews, reconvened. Jamal el Husseini, Palestine Arab leader, declared that the Arab world was unalterably opposed to partition as a solution to the problem. The session then adjourned.

January 29, 1947, London. It was officially announced that the British Cabinet decided to partition Palestine.

January 29, 1947, Jerusalem. Irgun forces released former Maj. H. Collins, a British banker, who they kidnapped on January 26 from his home. He had been badly beaten. On January 28, the Irgun released Judge Ralph Windham who had been kidnapped in Tel Aviv on January 27 while trying a case. These men had been taken as hostages for Dov Bela Gruner, an Irgun member under death sentence for terrorism. The British High Commissioner, Lt Gen.. Sir Alan Cunningham, had threatened martial law unless the two men were returned unharmed.

January 31, 1947, Jerusalem. General Cunningham ordered the wives and children of all British civilians to leave Palestine at once. About 2,000 are involved. This order did not apply to the 5,000 Americans in Palestine."

E. Simon - 7/26/2006

I think the point is that so many governments and media sources, who are generally either hostile or indifferent to Israel, found it completely unfathomable to give any toleration or understanding to Party of God's (Hizbullah's) role in antagonizing and perpetuating this conflict. In that sense, The Guardian probably found it about as difficult to lash out against Israel as did Saudi Arabia.

Arnold Shcherban - 7/26/2006

And this "one thing", when you bomb civilian infrastructures such as international airport, is already qualified as war crime according to the major UN definitions,... but, sorry, I forgot: when we'are talking
about the US and Israel actions no
UN definitions are applicable - they are beyond the international laws, even those they signed for.

N. Friedman - 7/26/2006

If you think that The Guardian is pro-Israel, you live on a different planet.

That paper admits, as do all European papers of repute, that Israel exists and should continue to exist but, at the same time and routinely, does not believe the Israelis may take any real steps, other than to do what the Palestinian Arabs demand, to further such result.

The paper routinely badmouths Israel and publishes outrageous nonsense that Israel is like apartheid South Africa - a Big Lie -, etc. It is, in other words, you who is misinformed.

Lorraine Paul - 7/26/2006

Umm! have you also noticed that they do not actually fight in them as well?

Lorraine Paul - 7/26/2006

Mr Friedman, the 'pro-Arab' newspaper you mention i.e. the UK Guardian the other day announced itself as pro-Israeli.

If you can get that wrong, what else?

John Chapman - 7/26/2006

“Conventional wisdom is with the senior Israeli officer, but in fact popular, religious movements have been crushed by military force many times, and in all parts of the world.” And what the “Israeli officer might have said” is irrelevant.

The Israelis and the rest of the world’s enemies of freedom and perpetuators of war are all of the same stripe. Neo-cons like William Kristol ("now is the time to strike at Iran") and Charles Krautheimer ("Israel should invade and occupy Lebanon") sound strangely hollow and bizarre now. Just as America has no capacity to back such projects with force, as its difficulties in Iraq and Afghanistan illustrate so vividly neither do the Israelis. All these bigmouths know how start wars but no one out there has a clue on how to end them.

Thomas Bockhorn - 7/26/2006

Simple answer: bombing the capital is one thing, sending troops to occupy it is quite another.


michael Randolph stephenson - 7/25/2006

I must emphatically disagree with the assertion that Hezbollah is a religious group. They are in fact no different than any terrorist group. The rank and file are deluded into believing that they are doing God's work by killing innocent people because they are not co-religionists. The mullahs of course do not bloody their own hands. Why do not the leaders of Hezbollah come down and face the working end of an Israeli howitzer? The answer is simple: God does not care about denominations because ALL of them are man-made and thus fallible.
I do however agree that Hezbollah will not be crushed. Syria and particularly Iran must use terror groups to foment rebellion not only in Israel but in the Sunni world. The Iranians seek nothing less than to dominate the region and Hezbollah are mere pawns in a greater game

Steve Broce - 7/25/2006

Pete, I didn’t think this would happen.

You grossly overstate the toll in human lives in Lebanon—361 deaths, many undoubtedly Hezbollah fighters.

But you are right on the money with your analysis of past Israeli practices of trading a few hostages, or in some cases remains of hostages, for hundreds of Hezbollah killers.

Israel is now undoubtedly reaping the harvest of those hostage swaps. I recall thinking at the time what a moronic policy that it was.

Don’t get me wrong, I still believe that the timing of the attacks, coinciding with the G8 summit was based on Iran’s desire to get the world attention off its nuke program. But Hezbollah had good reason to believe, based on Israel’s past flawed policy, that this would likely be a productive enterprise.

N. Friedman - 7/25/2006

Mr. Young,

I do not understand your logic.

Hezbollah, for practical purposes, is the army of Southern Lebanon. Hezbollah is also part of the government of Lebanon. Which is to say, Hezbollah's acts are either on behalf of the government of which it is part or, by contrast, it acts as if it were the government along the border with Israel.

Either way, when Hezbollah attacks another country, that attack is an act of war. Hezbollah and the country which allows Hezbollah to use or control territory have, accordingly, started a war, plain and simple, as even the pro-Arab UK newspaper The Guardian recognizes.

Israel, evidently, treated the Hezbollah attacks exactly as they are, namely, acts of war and, in response and by the laws that have defined reality since the dawn of time, counterattacked. In the process, civilians, many of them innocent, have been hurt and killed - but compared to what occurred in Fallujah after 4 Americans were killed and, in response, up to 700 to 1,000 in Fallujah were killed and the town was badly damaged, the Israelis have been rather tame -.

Now, you call it "collective punishment" for Israel to destroy an apartment building. In that we are dealing with a war, not a form of punishment, I do not see how your interpretation of the events is very informative.

Would you call the US war to topple the Taliban collective punishment? Far more innocent people were killed in that war than in the current war. The Taliban's involvement with al Qaeda was rather less than is Hezbollah's involvement with the government of Lebanon, of which Hezbollah is part.

My suggestion is that the argument about collective punishment is a propaganda argument, not a reasonable analysis.

N. Friedman - 7/25/2006


Read this article: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/jewref.html

Evan Matthew Daniel - 7/25/2006

Here are a few countries:


I have Mizrahi friends in Israel whose parents were forced to flee all four of these countries.

Family names: Behar, Bouthik, Eliahu, and Yona.

Here are a few more countries:


Here are a few links to educate yourself:

Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa

“In 1948, nearly 900,000 Jews - indigenous to the Middle East and
North Africa - lived in what are now known as the "Arab States." ~
Today, 99% of these indigenous Jewish communities no longer exist. ~
Arab governments forced us to leave, confiscated our personal and
communal property and stripped us of our citizenships.”

THE FORGOTTEN REFUGEES: the causes of the post-1948 Jewish Exodus from
Arab Countries
Philip Mendes Latrobe University
Presented at the 14 Jewish Studies Conference Melbourne March 2002

Jewish Political Studies Review 17:3-4 (Fall 2005)
The Forgotten Narrative: Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries
Avi Beker

Frederick Thomas - 7/25/2006

If revenge is a dish best served cold, so is political analysis, which is well-chilled in your comment.


Frederick Thomas - 7/25/2006

Ms. Paul, thank you for your highly pertinent and eloquently brief question.

Frederick Thomas - 7/25/2006

"after WW II and the veritable expulsion from mmost Arab land sof their Jewish and Christian populations"

Please name any one "arab land" which did this, and the name of one jew so "expelled." This sounds like just more concocted propa-garbage.

diana muir appelbaum - 7/25/2006

Mr. Baker, a question, does "the entire Arab/Muslim" world "share the ideology and struggle" of de Magyarizing Hungary, de Christianizing Sicily, de Spanishizing Iberia, de Hinduizing Hyderabad, and de-Greecifying Greece?

Lorraine Paul - 7/25/2006

"Might have to go deeper..." How much "deeper" can you go when you are already bombing the capital?

Lorraine Paul - 7/25/2006

No, no, don't be shy. Tell us your reasons for this prediction. Was it because of the usurpation of Arab land and the exploitation of middle-east oil which would lead to conflict between the takers and the losers?

Perhaps it was because of the entrenched colonialist worldview of the "Ghengis Khan" form of leadership just emerging and heading into the straight for a 'winds of change' prize?

I could go on but I'm more interested in sitting at your feet and having your prescient wisdom flow over me! So comforting. Are you a Christian by any chance?

Ricardo Luis Rodriguez - 7/25/2006

"Consistently, from the Hezbollah heartland, my message was that Hezbollah must stop this cowardly blending ... among women and children," Egeland said. "I heard they were proud because they lost very few fighters and that it was the civilians bearing the brunt of this. I don't think anyone should be proud of having many more children and women dead than armed men."
Barbaric savages like the 10:1 ratio

diana muir appelbaum - 7/24/2006

"Israel would have to conquor the entire Muslim world and hold it indefinately to crush Hezbollah completely."

Are you actually saying that the "entire Muslim world" are members of Hezbollah, or, even, that either "the entire Mudlim world" or all "Shia Islam" share Hezbollah's ideological commitments?

I don't think so.

Paul Noonan - 7/24/2006

The Zanj, Cathars and Hussites all only existed in a limited area that their enemies were able to utterly dominate for an unlimited period. Japanese Christians in 1597 were in a position where their European co-religionists were not able to assist them.

For Israel to even think about utterly destroying Hezbollah the way the other movemments were destroyed it would have to be prepared to occupy all of Lebanon (not just the south)and hold it indefinately, ruling with an iron fist. Even so, some Hezbollah fighters would be able to escape Lebanon and carry on the struggle against Israel from elsewhere in the Muslim world and their numbers would be swelled by non-Lebanese Shiites who would join their cause. So, Israel would have to conquor the entire Muslim world and hold it indefinately to crush Hezbollah completely. I doubt even the most ardent fans of the IDF believe this is possible.

Incidentially, Hezbollah is not a religion in itself (like the other movements discussed) it is a militant movement within Shia Islam. Despite the fact that Sunnis are the majority in most Islamic countries and are intolerant against Shia (in many places) they are unable to stamp our the Shia, even in a practically totalitarian country like Saudi Arabia.

MARK Wall - 7/24/2006

Its time to relegate terms like mass murder and genocide to those acts they actually describe. Whatever the past actions (where is the condemnation of what went on after WW II and the veritable expulsion from mmost Arab land sof their Jewish and Christian populations - some of whom predate the Muslims living there)Israel attempts its defense these days with as much consideration for civilian populations as is possible under the circumstances. Would that the other side were as considerate of life.

Thomas Bockhorn - 7/24/2006

Lets put it this way, Israel can wipe Hezbollah out with its vast array of military resources. The question then becomes at what cost and consequences. To take out Hezbollah, Israel might have to go deeper into Lebanon possibly enlarging the war. Besides, even if Hezbollah was destroyed some other group will take its place. With an enlarged war and more radicals streaming to Lebanon to help with the war effort, Israel will be bogged down just like their last invasion. It is in Israel's interest to condict a very limited war, not causing the complete destruction of Lebanon, and demonstrate symbolically that Israel means business.
Personally, I feel Israel is making a huge mistake. It would have been better to use special forces to take down those rockets causing very little damage as oppose to punish all of Lebanon for what a few radicals did and continue to do.


Frederick Thomas - 7/24/2006

Israel was formed by ethnic cleansing of the worst and most vile sort.

Do you claim that the masacres of Dier es Salaam and Quiryat Arba, done by Shamir and Begin respectively, did not happen or were not the exact plan worked out by Ben Gurion and conveyed to the WJC in 1935?

Israel was formed under very dark clouds, madam: 100,000 entirely unarmed Palestinians murdered, 900,000 expelled at bayonet point, and a resentment created which will never be lived down. Professional murderers like Menachem Begin blew up the King David Hotel, and plotted to murder Foreign Secretary Blevin in London, which was fortunately foiled. Too many of his crimes succeeded.

Your favorite state is an abomination. It is the proceeds of armed robbery, followed by continual mass murder, and Richard Cohen's statement that it was a mistake is an understatement.

I wish there had been some ability of the Palestinians to have fought for their land, against these criminals. Perhaps we would have no need for all the endless war had they been as well armed as their attackers.

Ronald Dale Karr - 7/24/2006

The 10:1 ratio seems to extend to Lebanese-Israeli casualties in general, doesn't it? This is typical when "barbaric savages" confront "civilized nations" throught history. Civilization is much better armed!

John W Bland - 7/24/2006

I enjoyed Diana's article . . . and look forward to reading her book. Good minds going in good directions are rare delight to me.

I predicted more than a decade ago—to the point of being a social nuisance—that we would have to fight Islam. I am not happy to have been correct, nor did I imagine how the vision would flesh out. That my "prophecy" seems to have been on the money does not prove the fact basis upon which I made it nor will I elucidate it here lest further premonitions therein inspire/incite a more critical mess. In view of what we are witlessly becoming I may write about what's bad about a nation . . . but I'm betting Ms. Muir will cover the TAO side as well.

Charles S Young - 7/24/2006

To address Israeli restraint, let's turn to today's headlines. French News agency AFP reports:

Army chief of staff Dan Halutz has given the order to the air force to destroy 10 multi-storey buildings in the Dahaya district (of Beirut) in response to every rocket fired on Haifa," a senior air force officer told army radio on Monday.

This is collective punishment -- holding civilian Lebanon responsible for what Hezbollah does. The attack on the Gaza power station was similarly collective punishment, which is defined as a war crime in Geneva Article 33.

Israel routinely mets out collective punishment, but Dr. Muir would have us believe this is a form of restraint. Why? Because Israel is physically capable of killing more than it does, it must therefore value life.

The author sees a blood spatter and calls it a rose.

And the sweepiing comparisons to other historical examples is breathlessly facile. I think I'll take the professional opinion of the IDF officer.

diana muir appelbaum - 7/24/2006

I suggest precisely the opposite. The point of the piece is that Israel is not the kind of nation that chooses mass murder or genocide, not even when confronted by an enemy that vows to wipe Israel off the map and aims guided rockets at civilian population centers.

Frederick Thomas - 7/24/2006

I would hesitate to use the extermination of the Cathars as a model for Israel to exterminate Hezbollah, and, by implication, all Muslims. This would put Israel into the same mode as the "Albigensian Crusaders," ie opportunist thugs seeking to steal the land of others by use of mass murder and convenient charges of "heresy."

Or perhaps mass murder is Israel's true realpolitik, as you suggest? If so, then who would play the role of Simon de Montfort, and who the role of the Papal Legate, Arnaud-Amaury, author og the above barbaric statement? (This part would surely be played by Netanyahu.)

diana muir appelbaum - 7/24/2006

Actually, the Protestant example is interesting because Protestant was indeed curshed in the Iberian and Italian peninsulas. Quite ruthlessly.

In focusing on the religious aspect of the Hezbolah, I certainly do not deny that the Hussites were also a nationalist movement, or tht the Zanj had both ethnic and economic grievances against the Arab occupiers of Mesopotamia.

However, it is the religious aspect of the Hezbollah that leads analysists to suppose that they cannot be crushed. If Hezbollah were a purely or primarily political movement, no one would suppose that it was impossible to eliminate it.

Cathy Stanton - 7/24/2006

Ms. Muir also conveniently ignores the histories of popular religious movements that have *not* been crushed by the use of state military, legal, and other kinds of power (the struggles of the Protestant Reformation come to mind here, as well as the Islamic revolution in Iran and many other examples).

It is also too simple to characterize many such movements (including Hezbollah) as purely "religious" in character. That is, religion is not the only thing going on here, any more than the Irish "troubles" were purely a case of Protestants vs. Catholics. That's the kind of logic that leads to statements like "Oh, those groups have been fighting for thousands of years - they'll never stop." Wars, even wars of which religion is a significant component, are also precipitated by specific political and economic conditions in specific times and places, and in this case it's far too simplistic to look at this as just an attempt by a nation-state to crush a popular religious movement.

There's also the issue that the "slaughter of the innocents" is taking place on both sides in this case...

Arnold Shcherban - 7/23/2006

The author of the article makes plausible, one-sided interpretation of the real meaning of words of one senior Israeli official, but the
historical examples presented by her
together with today's reality
hardly support the main essense of her interpretation: the humanity of the state of Israel displayed in continuing offensive against habitants of Gaza and Lebanon.
All and everyone of her historical
excursions illustrate just one strategy in rooting out of popular, religious movements: by physically
exterminating (one way or another) the people - active participants of those movements, along with many thousands of just passive converts and totally innocents.
The author concludes that Israeli
authorities could crush Hezbollah completely through <a combination of military actions, arrests, and trials...>, which are all sufficiently legal defensive actions, but they are pretty much opposite to the slaughter of the religious, political and ideological adversaries
practised at the times the author takes her examples from, which are
considered genocide in modern times. And that was the most effective method to crush the enemy accoding to her historical excursions.
Logical fallacy, at least.
Plus, IDF has already killed (intentionally or not) hundreds of
civilians, much more that it killed
Islamic militants (the alleged exclusively intended target), during just the first week of the current offensive, the fact that punches big hole in the author's interpretative construction.