Thursday 17 May 2018

How Should One Deal With A Psychopathic State?

A State Attached To An Army: Palestinian leaders must give up the tactic of launching tens-of-thousands of young people against the border-fence separating Gaza from Israel. The deepening psychopathology of the Israeli state makes its response to such tactics as predictable as it has been deadly.

THE TRAGEDY UNFOLDING in Gaza poses the question: How does one deal with a psychopathic state?

Israel was founded in violence and dispossession. Many of its founding fathers were active members of terrorist organisations with blood on their hands. A much larger number came to the British mandated territory of Palestine from Europe in the years immediately following World War II – the deeply traumatised survivors of Nazi Germany’s attempt to wipe the Jewish people from the face of the earth. It is difficult to imagine a less auspicious beginning for any nation state. That it would grow into a trusting, generous and peace-loving member of the family of nations was always a very long shot.

The problem confronting Israel’s neighbours has always been one of determining how best to deal with this extraordinarily vicious cuckoo in the Palestinian Arab’s nest. Unsurprisingly, the first response of the nation’s adjoining the State of Israel was to answer its violence and dispossession in kind. Unfortunately for the Egyptians, Syrians and Jordanians, the Israeli armed forces proved extremely difficult to overcome. Even worse, in repelling the Arab armies, the Israelis came to the unshakeable conclusion that they constituted an unappeasable and existential threat to the survival of their state.

The hatred bubbled away furiously on both sides of Israel’s disputed borders, poisoning the minds of every combatant. Even more tragically, however, it poisoned all hope of peace for the Palestinians who now found themselves cast as the wronged victims of Zionism; the people for whom the rest of the Arab world was pledged to drive the Jews into the sea. Not fighting the Israelis was unthinkable: honour demanded that the struggle for Palestine – by Palestinians – must not cease until, finally, they and their children were free to return to their olive groves and pastures and reoccupy the houses and shops of their stolen inheritance.

For Israel, a nation founded by terrorists, the emergence of armed Palestinian militias and terrorist cells came as absolutely no surprise. They had driven the British out of Palestine by employing all the techniques of terrorism: bombings, assassinations, kidnappings. Not only did they know what to expect, but they also knew how to resist it. Decency, fair-play, the traditional rules of war: these were what the British had at least paid lip-service to in their fight against Irgun and the Stern Gang. The Israelis, however, knew exactly what those who attempted to fight terrorism with a rule book were called – The Losers.

In the aftermath of the Munich Massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games, the Israeli Prime Minister gathered her military and intelligence advisers around her and ordered them to hunt down and kill every member of the Palestinian “Black September” organisation involved in planning the attack. Not one of the planners survived. When a Palestinian fighter was captured by the Israelis, he or she was by no means the only person to be punished. The perpetrator’s family’s house would be bulldozed flat by the Israeli army and their farms and businesses destroyed. The price paid by the Palestinian people for their unceasing war against the State of Israel climbed higher and higher. With deadly symmetry, the terrorist responses of the Palestinians became commensurately lethal and indiscriminate.

After 70 years, the question must surely be asked: can Israel be defeated by force? Protected as it is by the most powerful nation on earth, is Israel even the most appropriate object of the Palestinian people’s quest for nationhood and freedom? If the withdrawal of United States support is the absolutely unavoidable precondition for Israel negotiating a viable “two-state solution” to the conflict, then the place where Palestinian statehood will ultimately be won is in the living-rooms of ordinary, decent Americans. But to win there, the Palestinians must first reinvent themselves entirely: forsaking forever the techniques of terrorism in favour of a political narrative stressing peaceful co-operation and mutual respect.

As part of that process, Palestinian leaders must give up the tactic of launching tens-of-thousands of young people against the border-fence separating Gaza from Israel. The deepening psychopathology of the Israeli state makes its response to such tactics as predictable as it has been deadly. In persisting with its campaign to send the inhabitants of Gaza “home”, the Palestinian leadership is displaying either the most reckless ignorance, or, the most chilling cynicism. If it is the former, then the first incoming live rounds from the Israeli Defence Force’s snipers should have wised them up. If it’s the latter, then these demonstrations are nothing more than invitations to martyrdom. The watching world recoils in horror from the actions of both antagonists.

On one side of the border fence stands the army of a psychopathic state which regards the pitiless murder of teenagers as the only viable means of guaranteeing Israel’s national security. On the other, a national liberation movement utterly convinced that the only hope of healing the broken body of Palestine is by nourishing it constantly with the blood of its children.

This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Thursday, 17 May 2018.


Anonymous said...

Just a small detail to consider.

"What if 200,000 Palestinians headed peacefully to cross the border [into their ancestral home, now called Israel], while raising a poster that says they only want to go back to their land? What would happen?''

It all started in 2011 with that Facebook post...

peteswriteplace said...

Within hours of the creation of Israel Jewish teens were murdered in outlying areas of their kibbutz.

Andrew Nichols said...

Would you have given the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto the same advice as that you are giving the inhabitants of Gaza its 21st Century manifestation?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

The Middle East is truly fucked at the moment. Trump has made sure the US will never be trusted again – not that it ever was. Even though Israel might have some justification for being paranoid, the extreme right simply wants the land "between the river and the sea". All the US can do now is to stop financing Israeli expansionism with military subsidies and written off loans, and stop vetoing UN resolutions that concern Israel. Where the hell you find an honest broker between those two sides now I just have no idea.
Seems to me that no one in Israel is actually thinking long-term, though I guess that's common in politicians, but I've asked several Zionists how they see themselves in 50 years or 100 years and have never got a satisfactory answer – except Israel will still be here. Well yeah I guess, but can you continue with the same policies as you are today? Einstein is supposed to have said that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
There are non-violent Palestinian organisations. It would be great if they got together as many people as they have now, excluded the stone throwers and fire bombers, and simply marched towards the border. Israel would then have to make a moral decision – though to be honest I'm pretty sure they would make an immoral one.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Dammit, I forgot to say. Part of this mess can be laid at the doors of bloody fundagelical Christians, who support Israel not because they really care about Israel, because let's face it Jews aren't saved – but they believe that Israel is going to bring on the end times and the rapture. In a huge war I might say. One good thing about living in New Zealand, maybe we can avoid some of the effects of this war, and once the nut jobs have been raptured we can all get on with our lives again. Unfortunately the predictions never seem to come to fruition, though my hat is off to those people who under cover of darkness put old suits of clothes out on their front lawns to surprise there fundagelical neighbours.

greywarbler said...

Israeli people need to decide to take their country back from the army. They need to conduct a country-wide ceremony of sadness for their lost people down the centuries and in the maelstrom of the WW2. They then need to pray for their souls which they are losing in this exponential fight with the Palestinians.

They obviously need to protect themselves, feel safe. But their fears are constantly being ramped up. They need to ask themselves what they want. Are they punishing the Palestinians for being on the spot where they want to be, are they going to be happy if they push them off into a wandering people with no home, just as Jews have been for so long. Is this what will satisfy their desire for a religious home? Are they choosing parallel events of violence and revenge as written in the Old Testament? Is that compatible with people who are very intelligent and sharp and who have huge effect on the thinking and understanding of mind in the modern age?

How can they expect the world to respect them if they cannot act better than the Nazis did? Is this oppression and viciousness going to create a greater and more lasting sorrow on their souls than the dreadful happenings in Germany?

And can they bring themselves to spit in the world's eye? It is like a finish to all the hopes of thinking, aspiring humanity to see this outrage continue to unfold. In the end, after all the education, and attempts to learn to be civilised, can we never rise above a hateful blackness that rises and wipes away all things good? Are they showing that even they who have suffered much, who were the fine examples of intelligent humanity, can't overcome the darkness in us that seems to remain dormant and rises in destructive cycles like sleeping volcanos? Does this map humanity's future?

Goodbye to Shakespeare's paean. What a piece of work is man, How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty, In form and moving how express and admirable, In action how like an Angel, In apprehension how like a god,
The beauty of the world, The paragon of animals.

Anonymous said...

This is the most insightful, clearest discussion of this dreadful situation I have read. It is well past time the those involved stopped and looked at their situations with open hearts and resolved to live with humane hearts and clear intelligence.

David Stone said...

I guess Britain took control of India which was an ancient civilised society, but they gave it back to the Indians eventually. Here they (we) took Aotearoa from the Maoris but they weren't so advanced a civilisation and they mostly got an improvement in their individual prospects and inclusion in the resultant nation . (For a while). But the pattern of British expansion all over the globe during that era followed a similar pattern. Palestine is exceptional in that it was taken from the Palestinians who were evicted but not yet exterminated, and given to some other people who have not wished to share the stolen land with the evicted owners. And they are still stealing more all the time.
With communications as they are these days the world is watching all the time, and the contemporary continuing violation of the Palestinian's rights is keeping the tragic history alive and present. Every new atrocity enacted to maintain the achievements of the original wrong is focusing world public opinion on the travesty that created the situation. It's getting worse for Israel all the time, not better, and the US is going down in world opinion with it.
I Think a turning point is here.

jh said...

Israel was founded in violence and dispossession.
That it would grow into a trusting, generous and peace-loving member of the family of nations was always a very long shot.
Not with Palestinians wanting it back as it will always be on the defensive?

jh said...

Good until the last paragraph Chris.

Glenn Webster said...

It's very simple.
The so-called Palestinians have only to accept citizenship in Israel as they have been offered and to stop trying to kill Jews.
Israel is doing no more than Australia would, and with total justification if new Zealand fired missiles at them.
I'm a little shocked Chris at your ignoring history which I think you are well conversant with.

Galeandra said...

You suggest that "Palestinian leaders must give up the tactic of launching tens-of-thousands of young people against the border-fence separating Gaza from Israel."
I'm not confident that it is premeditated at all,let alone tactical. Have you evidence suggesting less spontaneity and more calculation with regard to the protests which seem mostly to involve massing, vocalisation and flag/banner flying along with some stone-throwing, hardly a premeditated assault on the Israeli military presence.

Polly said...

Unfortunately, and without strong conviction to either side, it seems to me, that the fact their is an international State of Israel recognised by the UN and most of the World, is not going to change by protest against the Israeli State or its border.
More people will die and war may be created by this on-going conflict but Israel will continue as a State.
The Palestine people should pause and think, they are dieing and losing under their present leadership.
More Palestine deaths will NOT turn the world against Israel.

Nick J said...

Shame and the prospect of redemption, it's the Gandhi and Mandela approach. Violence against gun wielding atomic bomb armed people who believe that they are special only results in their siege mentality hardening. Yet when they as the naughty child or the wicked witch have to face the world in naked shame, hell that hurts. It's not fast but history shows that it gets results.

sumsuch said...

Israel's modern belief they are special, rather than anyone else deserving of fairness, is so against the message of the Holocaust and so, for...Nazis. NZ should be willing to take half a million, including pork-slurping Russians.

All of us are for the underdogs.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Within hours of the creation of Israel Jewish teens were murdered in outlying areas of their kibbutz."
Days before the creation of the state of Israel, Israeli forces began the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. With the concomitant massacres.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"It's very simple."
It is anything but.

"The so-called Palestinians have only to accept citizenship in Israel as they have been offered and to stop trying to kill Jews."

SO -CALLED Palestinians? Hasbara! First of all, they have not been offered Israeli citizenship by the so-called Israelis. Because if they were and if they accepted they would be a majority in Israel and the Israeli government doesn't want that.

Palestinians in the occupied territories are legally allowed to resist occupation. And some of that resistance would involve killing Jews. Particularly those that the Israeli government allows to steal Palestinian land and live on it.

Victor said...


A good piece but I seriously doubt the extent to which the US can persuade the Israelis to do what Washington wants them to do, when this goes against the grain of Israel’s own policy preferences.

There have been US administrations that were pretty cool towards Israel, viz. those of Eisenhower and George HW Bush. But neither of these administrations was able to alter the basic pattern of events.

As to Obama, who was extremely supportive of Israel in some ways but not in others, he was very effectively assailed on his home turf by Bibi’s pals, including the ones whom, as GS reminds us, think that all Jews are going to hell anyhow.

Moreover, what hope would there be of informative reporting of a change in Palestinian tactics on, say, Fox News? Meanwhile, Israel’s hi-tech capabilities will continue to make it a useful ally and trading partner for the US.

And, even if Washington did become strenuously critical of Israel, the latter would not necessarily be without other friends of substance. India is clearly one of these, as, with some reservations, is the Russian Federation, which, essentially, shares the Israeli penchant for hard-knuckled repression of Islamist terrorism.

It’s worth noting that, earlier this month, Netanyahu was Putin’s guest at the Victory Day celebrations in Moscow. I’m sure I don’t need to explain the significance of this event in the light of either Russian or Jewish history.

For their part, the Russian and Israeli air forces have liaised for several years now over preventing clashes with each other in the skies over Syria. And Putin’s on record as saying that Israel, with its large recent Russian-speaking immigrant population, is the country outside the Motherland where he feels most at home.

Of course, the black mark against Putin in Israel’s handbook is Russia’s co-belligerency in Syria with Iran, which is currently the closest that Israel has to an existential foe.

An optimist might suggest that this eclectic mix of interests and associations could make Vladimir Vladimirovitch the ideal go-between in forging a lasting Middle East settlement.

The trouble is, though, that the optimists have been proved wrong time and time again over this horrendous but extremely complex problem.

Victor said...

David Stone

"Here they (we) took Aotearoa from the Maoris but they weren't so advanced a civilisation and they mostly got an improvement in their individual prospects and inclusion in the resultant nation . (For a while)."

Far be it from me, a mere immigrant lad, to remind you that very substantial numbers of Maori didn't survive to enjoy the fruits of New Zealand's emerging nationhood, as they'd perished in misery and poverty from dispossession and/or the Pakeha's germs and diseases.

More generally, though, I would agree that a parallel between modern Israel and nineteenth century New Zealand is a mite more apposite than the rather silly if emotionally gratifying comparisons between the former and the Third Reich, as evinced, yet again, on this thread.

Glenn Webster

Would you like to tell us exactly when the inhabitants of the West Bank or Gaza were offered Israeli citizenship?

I've been following events there for at least six decades as well as reading omnivorously on the subject. But this apparently significant detail has thus far eluded me.

Charles E said...

Your belief that Israel was created by stealing land and violence is false so the rest of what you say about it is tainted by that belief.

Israel was finally made a state anew by the events in Europe in the 30s plus the result of WW2 but the 'other half' of it was created by the violence of the neighbouring Arab countries who had their independence already and believed they could snuff out the skinny little new country. Probably so they could carve up the place for themselves rather than create a Palestinian state. After all that could grow to dominate the region... So when Jordan occupied Jerusalem did they declare it the capital of a new Palestine?

So the violence of the Arabs in 1948, declaring total war and all their attacks since and still today, has created a bigger and much stronger Israel. When you go to war and lose that usually happens. Keep doing it and you lose everything. Here we are now.
Every attack strengthens Israel more. You could argue that is intended by the likes of Hamas. They want more blood not less. Who is their staunch backer? Iran. The Persians.

So what to do? I think the only hope for the Palestinians now is actually Israel. Their friends have proved more than useless. But perhaps Jordan plus Israel could see merit in creating a special area between them. They have a very close (and very quiet) relationship which now Saudi is joining. So if the latter two countries supported it, a type of federation between them could create a hybrid double state. It could be strong economically which is sorely needed by Jordan as it is near bust under the burden of Syrian refugees. Palestine could be a semi-autonomous state with this federation. It is their last hope I believe.
The trouble is Iran definitely has interfered for decades, a will try again to sow violence to stop this growing alliance. The Persian / Arab enmity is as old as the original Israel and as alive as the modern one.

sumsuch said...

The Israelis are only doing what empires have done from the first spurt from the agricultural revolution, let alone the European expansion from 1500. NZ. We 're knuckling in on our youngest brother, instead of ourselves. The Israelis hold their land by sword-right, and I'm for the underdog.

Long given up on their Holocaust legacy of fairness for all, now all about their 'specialness'. I think of heard of that somewhere.

Pacifist Palestinian resistance from the start would have been best. The media created Israel and could have destroyed it.

'Ordinary, decent Americans', thanks for that laugh Chris. Apparantly, in exact echo , as per Adam Hochschild , of Leopold 2's Free State of Congo, 10,000,000 have died in the last 20 years of the D.R.Congo's civil wars, without producing the remotest flutter in the consciences of Americans.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"There have been US administrations that were pretty cool towards Israel, viz. those of Eisenhower and George HW Bush. But neither of these administrations was able to alter the basic pattern of events."

AFAIK Victor, neither of them tried withdrawing aid/loans. That basically is the only leverage the US has ever had on Israel. Unfortunately, because the aid is pretty much designated for military spending in the US it's unlikely to happen. And of course now that the fundagelicals have stepped in support for Israel is likely to remain unconditional – in Republican circles at least. And probably for Democrats too.

"'other half' of it was created by the violence of the neighbouring Arab countries "

As Israel had already begun the ethnic cleansing before it became Israel, and as Israeli government documents have since revealed that they had no intention of keeping to the 1948 agreement, I suggest that the "violence of the neighbouring Arab countries" is pretty much a moot point here.
As David Ben Gurion said in a letter to his son "a Jewish state on only part of the land is not the end but the beginning."

And " Palestine is grossly under populated. It contains vast colonization potential which the Arabs neither need nor are qualified (because of their lack of need) to exploit."

Now that last is your perennial cry from a colonial power. It is under populated, they are not using the land, they're not using it in the proper way. Everywhere from North America to New Zealand.

Nick J said...

Charles, you need to check your facts. I have one primary source, my father who was put ashore in 1945 with fellow Royal Navy sailors to help Palestinians guard facilities at Jaffa.
He was shot at by the Stern gang. He can tell you any amount about "friendly Isrealis" killing both Palestinians and British.

Whilst you may be correct that there are no angels in this conflict never deny that the state of Israel is founded on a dispossessed people's land through force.

greywarbler said...

Why can't any country's actions be compared to Nazi WW2 actions?
The Nazis behaviour forms a benchmark, also that of the Japanese.
And every country has behaved badly, and the Holocaust is an example of how far we can descend into the pit. Israel should be careful it doesn't move further towards the edge.

I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.....

The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

WH Auden criticised his poem September 1, 1939. He found it wanting. I find it bluntly personal and immediate; perhaps he thought it was too emotive and unpolished. It is amazing how we can argue about things that are plainly of merit or not.

Bushbaptist said...

Victor said...

Hi Charles

I would agree that Chris has stated the issues in a provocative way. I've not noticed his use of similar terminology in describing, for example, the Assad regime in neighbouring Syria or the Iranian clerisy. But I may not have been looking closely enough.

I would also agree that his narrative excludes many of the key factors that have driven this tragic conflict (e.g. that most of Israel’s post-war European immigrants had effectively nowhere else to go and that their numbers were soon swelled by arrivals fleeing increasingly hostile environments elsewhere in the Middle East).

Yet I have to concur with the basic points he seems to be making, viz. that Hamas et al need to abandon their sponsorship of violence and their rejection of Israel’s very existence and that Israel needs to abandon its over-ready and often indiscriminate recourse to lethal force and seek a genuine rapprochement with its neighbours, including (contra the Likud’s policy platform) ending the occupation of lands beyond its 1967 frontiers.

I also have to agree with him over the impact of historic trauma on Israel’s collective psyche and hence on its actions. The same is obviously true of the Palestinians.

But I would agree with you that, ideally, a resolution of the Israel-Palestine conundrum needs to take place in a framework that includes Jordan, which was similarly part of the original mandatory Palestine and which continues to have a majority Palestinian population.

I don’t know who it was who said: “The problem with a just settlement in the Middle East is that there isn’t enough justice to go around”. But, whoever it was, I agree with him or her. And it’s a reality that would apply even in the absence of the historic trauma referred to earlier.

More space to work with may not be the same as more justice. But it might help.

So how do we convince the folks in Jerusalem, Ramallah, Gaza and (crucially) Amman?

Victor said...


You are , of course, free to compare whatever you like with whatever else you like.

But IMHO it's silly to compare the Israel/Palestine conflict with the Third Reich because the scale of loss of human life and liberty in the former, whilst atrocious, is totally dissimilar to that caused by the latter.

Moreover, there have been/are many recent conflicts (e.g. Chechnya, Syria, Myanmar, the Anglophone invasion of Iraq, the DRC, South Sudan, Dafur, Kashmir etc. etc.) where the toll of lost innocent lives and associated inhumanity have been considerably greater (in some cases by a huge order of magnitude)to that placed legitimately at Israel's door .

For some reason or other, comparisons between these other events and the Third Reich/Holocaust/World War Two are only rarely made whilst those between the Third Reich and the Israel-Palestine conundrum are two-a-penny. So the suspicion arises that this particular comparison is often only made because, in the minds of some, Jews and Nazis somehow or other belong together.

There are even those (and I’m certainly not accusing you of this) who use this alleged similarity as a tool for encouraging Holocaust Revisionism or for suggesting that the victims half brought it on themselves. We’ve even had this sort of nonsense 'argued' by posters on Bowalley Road. So, the comparison can be a tendentious and dangerous one, particularly given the current global rise of neo-fascism.

It can also be morally evasive, particularly in “settler” countries such as Australia and New Zealand, as it might prevent citizens of these nations from considering more critically their own colonial pasts, which, to a greater or lesser extent, aren’t, I would venture to suggest, all that dissimilar to Israel’s.

Moreover, it’s a totally unproductive comparison because, if you want to persuade Israel and its supporters in the Diaspora to change their viewpoint, it’s best to avoid getting up their noses with what seems to most of them like a scandalous provocation and (rightly or wrongly) as further evidence for Herzl’s argument about the inevitability of anti-Semitism.

And, take it from me, the comparison also gets up the nose of this non-Zionist Jew and recurrent critic of Israel. Perhaps that’s unreasonable of me. But it's an
objective fact that it has this effect.

In summary, I think we need to create light rather than heat over this issue and that is not something you achieve with this comparison.

I’m about to log off for a few days, as my OOS is playing merry hell. I suspect there will be objections a plenty to deal with when I go back on-line. But I hope I’m wrong as I don’t want to further aggravate my aged skeleton.


You're right about US military aid to Israel. But there wasn't, if my memory is correct, all that much of that back in Eisenhower's day, when Israel's chief ally was France.

Moreover, I wouldn't totally exclude the possibility of Israel getting military aid from other quarters.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

" that Hamas et al need to abandon their sponsorship of violence and their rejection of Israel’s very existence"
Victor. A bit short of time but AFAIK, didn't Hamas change its charter at some stage to get rid of the rejection of Israel's existence? And haven't they stopped rocket attacks on Israel several times only to renew them after Israel broke the agreement?
Two things worry me about Israel. One is that Israel is becoming more and more right wing, if you look at the poll results approximately half of Israelis want to expel all Arabs from Israel, and a great number of them want some form of greater Israel.
And the second thing is the growth of religious extremists. Because it seems to me that reasonably soon outside a couple of cities, they are going to be the majority, and Israel will possibly become some sort of theocracy. Although they resent having to serve in the army so that's going to be interesting too.
And then there's the demographics. You keep people in poverty, and they have lots of children. That's going to be interesting as well.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Dammit, forgot to mention those religious extremists don't actually do any productive work either. That is going to be explosive – or hilarious one way or the other.

greywarbler said...

I just glanced at your reply and have to go and actually do something instead of reading and thinking. But something occurred to me out of your answer.

It seems that numbers has got into the first part of the answer.
I think what concerns me is not the numbers involved, injured or killed in the conflict. It is the mindset, the viciousness, the cold determination of striking with deadly force at every movement whether of fluttering outrage, some retaliation or actual attack from the Palestinians. The cold determination to do inhuman acts against other humans, was striking in the Nazis, and it is chilling to see it being a constant against the Palestinians. Early on during the very tense newly settled State of Israel it was not surprising, but now it is a very ugly attitude that Israel seems to foster. I have the feeling that they understand Arabs very well and now play a deadly cats-paw system of subjugation with them.

Charles E said...

greywarble you are being very selective indeed as I think you will find the coldness and viciousness of a lot of the killing just to the north of Israel in two countries is way way worse and on an immensely vaster scale (backed by Russia & Turkey) yet... almost nobody has expressed a tenth of the anger we always see against Israel. Indeed I bet right this minute civilians are being killed by snipers in Syria. Or barrel bombed. Or gassed.
And when Jordan occupied over half of Jerusalem, Israel's capital btw, snipers killed Israelis regularly.
So imagine if Israelis, say 10,000 of them decided to try and breach a fence on the Syrian border with the stated aim of their fanatical religious government to kill civilian Syrians, men women & children and destroy their country. Do you think Syria would shoot them? I bet they would bomb & gas them. All of them. They have done it before. Assad's dad killed about 5,000 civilians in one go about 25 years ago, in Homs I think.

And you know folks, Jews actually have got a little touchy about people trying to kill them in recent times. Curious, isn't it. By recent years I mean like the last 1,000 years. No, 3,000 years. First it was the Persians, then Arabs, then Europeans, more recently especially Russians, Poles & Germans. Then back to Arabs & Persians now. So these days they intend to defend themselves (and have a state to do it), pre-emptively if need be. I don't blame them and I recommend that their enemies, unless they are suicidal, stop trying to kill them.

And GS, the US gave Jordan $6,000,000,000 in recent years, and similar sums to Egypt.... And the EU has given Arab states.... huge sums..
So it is crap that Israel is financed by the US. Years back they used to give military aid to both Israel & Egypt, following the peace treaty. Exactly the same sum to each.
But Israel has become totally financially independent long ago. How has Egypt done?
If the Arab countries made peace with them they could do as well and even have real economies not just Extractive & rent seeking ones. As long as they became secular democracies ….

greywarbler said...

Charles E
You make good points I am sure. My computer time is up but will come back to it. But something I notice is talk again about numbers and there is a reference to what is happening elsewhere, with an implication that Israel isn't so bad. And comparisons with attacks in the past, that Israel has had to bear. This then is presented as why Israel can't be faulted for their aggressive and hostile treatment of Palestinians.
(I think that this shows false equivalence.)

Now, day by day Israelis mount an armed border with big weaponry against the poverty stricken Palestinians. They greet every response and show of defiance from the Palestinians with tough sanctions of some kind, while they continue to encroach on the land they need, encourage Israeli-affirmed settlers to harrass and disrespect the nearby Palestinians etc. No talking about the past transgressions by Palestinians or other countries or factions excuses this behaviour.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Afghanistan ($US5 billion)
Israel ($US3.2 billion)
Iraq ($US1.3 billion)
Egypt ($US1.3 billion)
Syria ($US541,500,000)
Jordan ($US364,200,000)

These are the figures for US military aid in 2017. It doesn't include the written off loans that Israel regularly gets, so the real figure is closer to $6 billion. It's been 3% of Israel's budget, and 1% of its GDP for some years now. Your figure for Jordan must cover a number of years, because in 2017 it only got about $1 billion in total. So if this aid was cut off, there would be some belt tightening to put it mildly.

"almost nobody has expressed a tenth of the anger we always see against Israel"

Well, maybe you should read a bit more widely, because from what I can see almost everyone is condemning Syria's war crimes. Obviously not the Russians, but just about everyone in the West. And if it were true that we only express 1/10 (instantly how the hell do you measure that?) Of the anger that we see against Israel, so what? Israel tries to occupy the moral high ground, and maybe should be held to a higher standard than dictatorships.

You see Charles, facts aren't simply what you FEEL should be correct but have a life all of their own.

Victor said...


I venture to suggest that, had the Nazis merely killed tens of thousands rather than many millions, they would not today be considered the benchmark of evil.

Numbers matter because, if each life is precious, then it follows that millions of deaths are worse than thousands of deaths, however deplorable the latter might be.

As to your characterisation of Israelis, where’s your evidence that their attitudes are more reprehensible than, for example, those of Russians over Chechnya, of Burmese to the Rohinya or of the Janjaweed towards the tribes of the western Sudan?

Maybe you just know more about Israelis, because so many of them speak English, because the wars they’re involved in are infinitely more heavily reported and because theirs is a country in which global media can operate with comparative ease and freedom.

Meanwhile, I would again suggest that, had one of the two ethnicities most afflicted by the Nazis not been the Jews, many would not now feel impelled to make comparisons between Jews and Nazis, when they don’t make this comparison with respect to any other situation. Perhaps it’s just an easy jump for lazy minds to make.

And, I repeat, the comparison is counter-productive if you’re seeking to persuade Israel or its supporters to change their attitudes, although you might provide aid and comfort to those trying to rewrite the history of the Holocaust so that the identity of victims and perpetrators gets blurred, along with the distinction between truth and fiction (c.f. Ken Livingstone).

At the heart of the Middle East conflict are two peoples with traumatic histories. Neither is particularly tractable and neither without an understandable but unhelpful tendency to pick at the scabs on its collective psyche. They really don’t need any assistance from you in so doing.

Victor said...


I agree with you about current trends in Israeli politics. Each decade of embattlement has made the situation more toxic, allowing scumbag (and increasingly corrupt) politicians to play the national security card as a means of holding onto office.

I would also agree with you about the challenges posed by the numerical rise of the extreme orthodox, albeit that their reluctance to participate in conventional employment might yet turn Israel into an ideal testing ground for UBI.

Meanwhile, to the best of my knowledge, Hamas remains officially dedicated to the extinction of Israel and of Jews in general. But it did at one stage offer Israel a “long term truce” which the Israelis immediately rejected.

My own view, at the time, was that Israel might as well have investigated this proposal further, in that, although it would probably have come to nothing, no stone in the search for peace should be left un-turned. But that’s not how the likes of Netanyahu think.

It's also true that Hamas has often scaled down the violence almost completely and seems to be doing so again at present, perhaps in response to Egypt's opening of Gaza's southern border and the proximity of Ramadan.

jh said...


Green MP accused of sending hate mail. Jewish lady had to block her "on her computer". Some are saying this is blowing over -perhaps it was hate in her mind and not others? maybe she lost the emails? but she was motivated to stand up and make the accusation.

Megan Wheelan talks about hate mail at RNZ. Most texters would assume their texts go straight down the dunny. RNZ don't provide feedback so in that sense they throttle the community itself (here's what You [ = We] think).
Paul Spoonley (the convener) says this is deeply personal as he gets a lot of on line discussion about him. At one end it is misconstrued and at the other...? But Sir he is one of New Zealand's foremost radicals who never goes out of the protection of his media minders so no one gets to critique the critiquer?
radical agenda is it not and he is still the voice on RNZ.

Victor said...


"No talking about the past transgressions by Palestinians or other countries or factions excuses this behaviour."

I agree. But that doesn't excuse your loose, selective, tendentious, dangerous and counter-productive Nazi comparisons.