Thursday, January 08, 2009

Using the Holocaust to beat the Israelis


Protesters around the world are right to condemn the Israeli militarism in the Gaza Strip - but the comparison that many are making with the 1941 - 43 Warsaw Ghetto is historically illiterate and dumb.

Thousands marched in many countries last weekend against the repulsive action of the Israeli armed forces against Palestinians. A few hundred people stood outside the Israeli Embassy in Warsaw in protest at what is yet another example of Israel’s lashing out, counterproductively, at its Arab neighbours.

Thousands more marched in places like Amsterdam and London. And I would have marched with them were it not for the ridiculous slogans like “We are all Hamas now,” (oh, no you are not!) and “Gaza is the new Warsaw, ” (oh, no it isn’t). These are pantomime protestors protesting something they know little about.

Ambient music wiz Brian Eno, at the rally in Trafalgar Square, called for Israel to stop making, “a Warsaw ghetto in the Middle East.”

Meanwhile, the Socialist Workers Party (yes, they do still exist, apparently) was handing out its latest comment on the situation:


A quick look at a map shows that this has little to do with stopping Hamas from sending some missiles into sections of Israel, and everything to do with strangling an entire population of people, with the aim of either destroying the leadership that was democratically elected by the Palestinians themselves or dislodging that support from the Palestinian base. I think drawing analogies between what Israel is doing and what the Nazis did in the Warsaw Ghettos of Poland is entirely appropriate.

And of course the bloggers think they have found in Israel the new Nazis.


After all, the situation faced by the Gazans is ominously similar to that faced by Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War Two. Penned in by the Nazi occupiers, the ghetto Jews suffered and starved and lived in endless fear of instantaneous death.

But it is not just the latest Israeli action that brought this analogy crawling out into the daylight. Back in 2003, two British leftwing MPs, Oona King and Jenny Tonge made the same charge. The Guardian reported:


Israel's treatment of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip was today compared to the Nazis' creation of the Warsaw ghetto by MPs who recently returned from the region.

The controversial comparison, drawn by Oona King and Jenny Tonge, will anger the pro-Israel lobby and the visiting Israeli finance minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, who met Tony Blair at Downing Street this morning.

Labour MP Ms King, who is Jewish, said Gaza was "the same in nature" as the infamous Polish ghetto.

"No government should be behaving like that - least of all a Jewish government," the Bethnal Green and Bow MP said.

Do you like the bit about the “infamous Polish ghetto”?

This comparison with the Warsaw ghetto is mindless and moronic. Israel is not embarking on the Final Solution of the Palestinians.

Quite what they think they are doing in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is a good question, however, and I am not even sure the Israeli government knows what exactly. Trying to stop the thousands of rockets that have been raining down on Israeli border towns? Well, even the Israeli side is saying it will never stop all of them. And if Israel thinks that Gazans are suddenly going to start blaming Hamas for being at the wrong end of Israeli rockets, guns and an invasion then they are very stupid indeed. Hamas will just get more popular with Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

And on the other side, it is not even clear why Hamas has been lobbing rockets in Israel for two years. These rockets, which have a very low degree of accuracy, can fulfil no military objectives at all. None. So why does Hamas do it? Are they trying to illicit responses from the Israelis, like the one they are reaping now, in the hope of outside intervention from …well, who? The European Union?

Though the suffering of Gazans is great it is not on the same scale as what happened to those trapped in the Warsaw ghetto. Virtually nobody was left alive in the ghetto after the Nazis decided to trash it. And no Palestinians have been packed off the extermination camps.

Another difference is the amazing resistance the Jews put up against the Nazis, with hundreds of thousands of casualties in many of the ghettos across Poland.

I don’t see any of the above happening in Gaza right now. When protestors - who know little of either Gaza or Warsaw - shout slogans involving “holocaust”, or “genocide” or “Warsaw ghetto” they degrade all those terms and memories, and put off one person - me - who would like to join them in condemning Israel and its stupid, bloody attacks.

71 comments:

zenek said...

"Another difference is the amazing resistance the Jews put up for 63 days against the Nazis, with 250,000 heroic casualties."

Er... you've got to read the info in your links more carefully.

beatroot said...

Meaning?

zenek said...

You confused the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising with the Warsaw Uprising.

zenek said...

You confused the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising with the Warsaw Uprising.

beatroot said...

No...I did not...I was looking for a body count in the ghetto rising...found that article...saw a figure without looking at what that figure was refering to..and then wrote it....it was lazyness...but not ignorance that there are two different uprisings...

Anonymous said...

Two years ago, the owner of this blog wrote:

«African poet, playwright, human rights worker and Poland’s ‘celebrity’ refugee, has been arrested for deliberately spreading HIV to ‘at least’ 100 women in Warsaw.

This story, to anyone who knows the guy, stinks.»

We spent 2 years defending a murderer.
The leftist social parasite is fortunately now dead.

But his friend Peter will pay soon for his arrogance...

Do widzenia!

jannowak57 said...

You fucking idiot can we make this your last "Do widzenia!"

If you haven't the mental capacity to interact with others in an appropriate way on a blog then play a video game or something.

redbedhead said...

Um, thanks for the link to my blog but, in fact, it is not foolish to compare Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto or to argue that the actions and goals of the Israeli state are genocidal. This isn't the same as saying they want a Holocaust or that Israel is a fascist regime. Though, it is worth pointing out that an Israeli government minister promised the Palestinians in Gaza a "shoah" or holocaust.
But let's look at some of the reasons for the comparisons to Warsaw (and by the way, the number killed during the uprising wasn't hundreds of thousands but 13,000).
In Warsaw, the Nazis first strategy was to pen in the population and cut them off from the outside world. Food and other supplies were used as a weapon to weaken resistance inside the ghetto. Any resistance was met with a disproportionate and indiscriminate force.
Look at Gaza - Since Hamas was elected in 2006, Gaza has been subject to a total blockade, isolating it from the outside world. Even the power plant was blown up in 2006 - an illegal act - and now fuel is being denied, causing blackouts, the loss of clean water, and the danger of flooding from sewage backing up.
Food, of course, has been strictly limited to an amount guaranteed to cause widespread hunger. As Dov Weisglass, an advisor to Ehud Olmert put it: "The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger."
As for disproportionate and indiscriminate, there are many accounts of the ongoing slaughter in Gaza that makes it clear that Israelis are knowingly targeting civilians and medical personnel, blowing up schools with civilians inside and even forcing dozens of people into one house, then levelling the neighbourhood and not even bothering to help surviving children and wounded, who are left to starve and fend for themselves. The mayhem that they are unleashing isn't even sparing non-Palestinian civilians and organizations. As of yesterday the UN had announced that due to repeated targetings by Israeli tanks and missiles that they were suspending aid operations in Gaza.
I would suggest that these facts alone would be enough to level a charge of genocide, defined by the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide as being "the organized attempt to deliberately and systematically destroy, in whole or in part, an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group." But we can also look at statements from every leader of Israel and the Zionist movement prior to its foundation, from Theodor Herzl's suggestion that they needed to "spirit the penniless Arab population" across the border and out of Palestine, to Golda Meir's repeated denials that the Palestinians even existed or that there were people living in Palestine prior to the founding of Israel. The removal of the Palestinians has always been part of the plan - the only debate has really been over the method of achieving this goal. That, my friend, is genocide - even if it's not fascist or Nazi.

mjn said...

Well, beetroot, your commenter zenek above is correct. The Warsaw uprising lasted the famous 63 days. The Ghetto uprising was shorter or longer depending if one counts from January or April when the real fighting started.

Including those shipped off to Treblinka the death toll lands somewhere around or above 55000. The insurgents were fewer, less than 1000. However, one could of course argue that from the ghetto's establishment until the end of the uprising indeed several hundred thousand killed. Of them at least 100000 from starvation and illness in the ghetto itself.

beatroot said...

yeah...you are right...I will lop off the 63 day bit...I was knackered yesterday when I wrote that, but was just annoyed at the comparison with Palestine...

but the bit about the number of those died in the ghetto is in the hudred of thousands...over two years...add that to what happened in the other ghettos in Poland and the figure rises into millions...

So, to repeat - to compare what happened in Poland to the admitedly awful stuff going on in Gaza is just so dumb.

And it isn;t just the numbers involved but the intention of the Nazis back then as opposed to the intent of the Istaelis now. Are there any extermination camps in Israel? Are Palestinians getting shipyed off to them? Is there a Final Solution that Israel is preparing for Srabs?

No...so no wonder the left wing in places like UK is a shell of its former self. This is one of the reasons I know longer identify myself with the Left anymore...dumb, dumber, dumbest...

mjn said...

"So, to repeat - to compare what happened in Poland to the admitedly awful stuff going on in Gaza is just so dumb."

With this I agree completely. Not only does it diminish the horrendous events in Europe 60-some years ago, it also does nothing to understand the present terrible situation in Gaza.

And not to look down on the plight of the Gazans, but we are talking about maybe 800 dead over a two week period. In many places of our planet, completely left out of the spotlight this is a normal state. So it would be nice if people weren't so quick to jump into overblown "analogues".

It might add, regarding the last paragraph, to prevent myself to be flamed into a crisp, that I think that the present Israeli actions are stupid and counter-productive. Israel has a right to defend itself, that's clear, and they might even have a RIGHT to do what they are doing now. That doesn't mean it the SMART thing to do.

ge'ez said...

Maybe the demonstrators were just a bit knackered, too, BR.

Redbedhead, while you show you can differentiate between the Holocaust and the current Israeli military actions as well as between Israel's democratic government and WWII Germany's fascist dictatorship, you miss the mark when you make reference to the Warsaw Ghetto in historical isolation, especially when you do it on a blog about Poland. It would be much wiser not to leave it at the "Warsaw Ghetto" but rather in the same sentence provide the historical context of Nazi responsibility vis-a-vis the Third Reich's occupation of Poland. Do you get my drift?

And while I think the Israeli response has been way over the top, I don't think it constitutes genocide. And I don't think the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto were regularly launching mortar attacks against the Nazis aside from during the short span of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, either. I'm not even sure they had mortars then.

The definition: "the organized attempt to deliberately and systematically destroy, in whole or in part, an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group" hinges on how you want to interpret *destroy* as well as *in whole or in part*.

jannowak57 said...

Israeli actions were justified but I agree not altogether that smart. There is an election coming up and Israeli voters are pissed at no action being taken to protect them after several years and several thousand rockets being fired at them. This was no doubt a part of the motivation to act. The other was that Washington’s reaction was very predictable and avoided the danger of complete isolation on the international scene because they knew how the Bush Whitehouse would react. They didn’t want to do this with an Obama administration, which may not have reacted in a totally predictable manner although an unlikely possibility.

The problem for the Israelis is they will not get the result they are seeking which is the elimination of Hamas but rather the exact opposite which will be to strength it in the Palestinian community. Hamas on the other hand by provoking the Israelis may have succeeded in forcing the region and perhaps beyond to deal with them as legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people, after all they were elected.

Hamas is the worst possible direction the Palestinians could take with an irrational notion of “pushing the Israelis into the sea” the peace process will go nowhere.

beatroot said...

Israeli voters are pissed at no action being taken to protect them after several years and several thousand rockets being fired at them.

I understand that reaction...what people don;t realise is that these rockets have been landing on towns for two years...thousands of them, directed at random, so civilians are the target...and that is not good.

But surly the best way to deal with this is to address the occupation. This is the cause of the Palestinians hatred.

Sylwia said...

"This comparison with the Warsaw ghetto is mindless and moronic. Israel is not embarking on the Final Solution of the Palestinians."

While I wouldn't make the comparison myself, I'm not sure that those who make it look at the situation from the same point in history. Actually it's clear Ms King doesn't.

Technically when Germans created the Warsaw Ghetto they weren't embarking on the Final Solution themselves. The situation changed in the meantime, and that's why they liquidated the Ghetto. They found another solution.

Of course we know that Germans had early plans to get rid of all Polish citizens by the 1970s, and that Jews were their priority, but their original thinking differed. They meant isolation, property overtaking, limitation of rights, slave labour, food shortages etc. If ghettos were created but the Final Solution didn't happen we all would look at the developments differently today. We see the ghettos as a part of genocide, because the genocide followed, but originally they were not a part of the Final Solution. No one, not even Germans, knew what would happen to the Jews when they were created. Yet, it was the right time to speak up.

Dan said...

You'll never find the perfect analogy. But just how similar do two situations have to be before we are allowed apply the lessons learnt from the first one to the second?

This goes equally well for comparisons of the current recession with the Wall Street Crash. They're not exactly the same but that doesn't mean we should ignore everything that was learned from 1929.

Good point by Sylwia too. Are we supposed to wait until the Gaza strip is levelled before saying "Oh, _now_ it's like Warsaw. Perhaps we should do something after all."

beatroot said...

If something is not analogous then it isn’t an analogy. The Holocaust is not analogous with Gaza. So the “lessons we learned” cannot be applied to this situation, which is not analogous.

I just get a little uneasy when the West starts saying “we must do something…”. Do what? Sanctions? I would hope we “would have learned” these only harm normal people, not their rulers. And they are counterproductive.

Bomb Israel? Invade Israel? Make heroic nations before the UN?

Already, Sarkozy - still in international statesman mode, is striding around the middle east trying to stake out some influence for the EU. It will be interesting to see how Obama acts. Will he take the “real change” mantra seriously and…you know…criticise Israel…eeekkk!

ge'ez said...

Seems with Hillary in there as Secretary of State that's there's little likelihood of that.

beatroot said...

Indeed. Another possible area of conflict.

Mark said...

Beatroot said:

"But surly the best way to deal with this is to address the occupation. This is the cause of the Palestinians hatred."

I agree with this in part only, the "occupation" is a component here. It could also be argued that the real cause of this conflict is radical Islam, which shows no capacity to tolerate a non-Islamic and democratic state in what it deems is its territory. The same historical assertiveness can be seen whenever it feels itself in the numerical majority anywhere else.

Radical Islam provokes such Israeli responses to its repeated aggression because it has learned that the global left is in denial as to its true nature. Thus, it remains is the position to exploit another opportunity to cast itself as a "victim", and to further its cause.

ge'ez said...

Israel refuses to consider or work towards a two-state solution with any rights of return for Palestinian refuges.

It is not just the "left" that condemns excessive Israeli force and the occupation but rather just about every country in the world aside from the US and a handful of small countries in Asia.

Palestinians casting themselves as victims? As if they are not? Tell that to the parents of the kids who have been killed or the kids whose parents have been killed.

And not all Palestinians fit the mold of radical Islamists. In fact, most do not. At this point but I'm sure that's changing as long as the massive military assaults continue.

beatroot said...

Islam has got “radical” not because of the occupation itself but the failure of Fatah, Arab nationalism and the old secular politics to deliver.

jannowak57 said...

Beatroot said: “But surly the best way to deal with this is to address the occupation. This is the cause of the Palestinians hatred.”

This is obvious and logical, but with whom do we negotiate? With Palestinian society so fragmented there is no basis for starting any meaningful talks until the Palestinians can form a united front. Also are they prepared to except the existence of Israel and the security guarantees that would be required?

Fatah under Arafat was notorious for saying A to the western media, B to the Israelis and C to their own people. Gaza is not home to most of the people who live there; they are refugees from what is today the State of Israel. They dream of returning to “their ancestral land” and their leaders (Fatah or Hamas) have not got the courage to level with them, that it just isn’t going to happen. Hamas on the other hand is forthright about its intentions with a statement in its founding charter that says liberation and restoration of every inch of Palestine is its goal. However one it’s leaders did say in an interview that return to the pre-67 border could be a start point for negotiations.

Until both sides take a pragmatic and realistic approach also simultaneously prepare their people for such an outcome, little can be hoped for. I like the idea of EU involvement as they are seen by the Arab world as bit more impartial than the US and logically the US is not in the position to solve every world problem on it’s own.

jannowak57 said...

ge'ez said... “Palestinians casting themselves as victims? As if they are not?”

Yes of course their situation is unfair but they cannot go one trying to remedy their problem with the same old and failed tactics. At some point cold pragmatism is necessary.

ge'ez said... “Israel refuses to consider or work towards a two-state solution with any rights of return for Palestinian refuges.”

Right of return would be suicidal for Israel and such a condition will go nowhere.

ge'ez said...

Pragmatism in response to militarily enforced ghettoization including the cutting off of supplies means what? While I object to labeling it genocide, it's becoming perilously close to it.

Why is the right of return suicidal for Israel if a two state solution is embraced rather than fought against at all costs? No right of return can only result in continued hostilities.

It's a terribly messy situation but it's going to continue unless the US pretty much forces the opposing sides to sit down at the table and negotiate. I have no clue what Obama/Hillary have on their minds. Their silence is deafening.

jannowak57 said...

ge'ez said...”Pragmatism in response to militarily enforced ghettoization including the cutting off of supplies means what?”

It means not firing several thousand rockets at Israel therefore not having to face Israeli retaliation in response.

The two state solution means there will be two separate entities, which is not ghetto-ization.

ge'ez said...” Why is the right of return suicidal for Israel if a two state solution is embraced rather than fought against at all costs? No right of return can only result in continued hostilities. “

The Palestinian notion of right of return may differ from yours; we are not talking about displaced Palestinians going to live in a new Palestinian state as may be defined in a peace settlement but rather to return to their original homes inside what will remain as the state of Israel. For obvious reasons something no Israeli is likely to agree to.

I don’t see the US in a position to pressure Israel rather the other way around, therefore not really an impartial arbitrator.

“terribly messy situation” is right.

Mark said...

It could be argued that while this conflict is ostensibly between Israel and the Palestinians, in a broader scope, it is between Israel and radical Islam, an amorphous entity with many power centers. The Palestinians may be viewed as willing and unwilling local proxies in this fight.

I don't think radical Islam is interested in reaching a two state solution, because the Palestinians are much more useful to it as a perpetually aggrieved and radicalized group. The immediate goal of radical Islam is to eliminate Israel, not to reach a peaceful solution in this conflict.

If Israel is perceived by the West as making mistakes in its defense, it should hear this in the form of a dialog among friends, not as harsh denunciations from a distant and judgmental world. Beatroot showed this friendy and balanced approach in his post.

Radical Islam, on the other hand. must be defeated. If it wins with Israel, it will then proceed to its next targets.

ge'ez said...

Well of course "they" shouldn't be firing rockets aimlessly into Israel but who are "they"? Are the Israelis going after and killing "them"?

As a starter, the Israelis have to withdraw from their settlements. If that's not done, there's no hope of stopping various factions of Hamas and whatever other factions firing off the rockets which just about anybody over there can get their hands on like a five year old can get cotton candy at a carnival.

The two state solution is not ghettoization. What is happening now is ghettoization.

I'm not convinced that a flood of Palestinians will want to return to Israel if they have an option to get reimbursed for their their property and can move to an independent Palestine.

Radical Islam, whatever that is, cannot negotiate for the Palestinians. Sure, there are so many factions that it is hard to say who can with any reliability. But right now, Hamas was elected and controls whatever Palestinian government there is and that's where negotiations have to start. And the US will have to be smack dab in the middle. This is going to be Hillary's first big test. As much as I've always held her in a lot of disdain, I'm hoping she might not be so one-sidely pro-Israeli as she has proven to be in the past. We'll see.

And if you want to defeat radical Islamists, then build schools and hospitals to create alternatives to madrassas and the like instead of bombing the hell out of people to make them free or whatever the hell it is we think they should be. It's cheaper, too.

Mark said...

Ge'ez:

Look at just the most recent history of this region. Israel did withdraw from the Gaza strip - it got a daily barrage of rockets aimed at civilians in return. What makes you think future gestures of this kind will produce different results?

Radical Islam is not interested in peace or negotiations, it is interested in winning, expansion, and control.
Those who stand in their way become targets.

As far as building schools and hospitals - these are fine humanitarian sentiments. However, I don't think the regimes and radical factions in control of Muslims countries would allow Western charities and other organizations to come in on their territory, and perform these works of corporal mercy. They want to keep the Westerners away from their populations.

ge'ez said...

The Gaza strip should belong to the Palestinians so withdrawing only means the Israelis shouldn't have been there in the first place. Then there is the issue of continued Israeli settlements which is prolly the biggest reason for the rockets (which aren't even aimed).

The only expansion I see is by the Israelis into Palestinian territory.

Sorry but compared to the shenangans of Wall Street and Corporate America, I view "Radical Islam" as posing a much lesser threat to my and my family's well being.

And I will happy to provide you, Mark, with a number of charities that will ensure that your desire to provide Palestinians your corporal mercy -- if you really have such intentions.

beatroot said...

Yeah, radical Islam is a threat to Muslims much more than to non-Muslims...and that's a deep flaw in the "war on terror" and has been from the very start.

As far as Gaza is concerned...well, Gaza plus what is left of the West bank is not really a viable state. And that's been the trouble with the "two state solution" from the very start. It isn;t really a solution.

Sylwia said...

Somehow I can't forget that in the 19th century Poles were called terrorists, and during WWII they were "bandits".

I have a feeling that while people here speak of radical Islam, Muslims there speak of radical Judaism or Christianity. We all mean to be so clever in calling ourselves reasonable and civilised.

ge'ez said...

I don't think Polish insurgents targeted civilians or celebrated civilian casulties.

Mark said...

Sylwia:

Neither Judaism or Christianity advocate a bloody holy war to convert the entire world to their religions, or to wipe out this or that country from the face of the earth.

The WWII and 19th century Poles were called bandits and terrorists by criminal and authoritarian colonial regimes. The aims of those Poles did not include the religious and political takeover of anyone's country.

Let's see the differences here, and avoid any sentimental and false comparisons. The enemy of both the Israel's and the Palestinian's peaceful interests is radical Islam.

Freedom Fighter said...

For those of you who think the Israeli defense is 'over the top', a question:

Prior to the IDF going back into Gaza, thirteen Israelis had been killed and around 6,000 rockets,including the relatively powerful Iranian-supplied Grads have been fired at Israel an daimed at the civilian population from the moment Hamas took over.And that doesn't include the mortar attacks.

Tell me,if Israel fired 6,000 rockets back at Gaza, would you consider that a 'proportionate response?'

You know damned well you wouldn't...because there are special rules when it comes to Israel that apply to no other country, and we all know why.

As it is, Israel is catching crap for trying to do their best to avoid civilian casuaties when Hamas is using people as human shields.

And just like with the Nazis and the allied raids on Germany, some civilians are going to get killed. But then again, just like Germany, you're dealing with a civilian population that freely voted in the genocidal Hamas and endorsed them.If the boot were on the other foot, do you think most of these people would be protesting Hamas' disregard for civilians or would they be ululating and screaming for the death of the Jews?

It's fitting that the Warsaw Ghetto got mentioned in this thread. This time, the Jews are armed,they have a country of their own to defend and they're not going to go quietly.

Dan said...

Beatroot asks what the international community could do. Not much, perhaps, but the US could stop abstaining from or vetoing every UN resolution condemning Israel. More concretely, they could stop arming Israel.

Mark said it could be argued that this conflict "in a broader scope, [...] is between Israel and radical Islam." You could indeed argue that -- if you wanted to label people fighting foreign occupation as radicals, terrorists, fundamentalists, Great Satans etc.

As for Muslim intransigence, the Arab League embraced a two state solution in 2002. Check this article in the Jewish Journal.

If you google "neighbourhood procedure" you don't get too many hits so here is a link to B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights organisation, that explains what it is.

ray said...

beatroot,
what surprises me in the way you consider the war israel wages against hamas is that you never seem to ponder the monstruous nature of hamas.

You should know better. hamas is rather extremely explicit regarding how they plan to "solve" the conflict: by killing the jews.
(that's usually how they call israelis)

you certainly know that the laws of conflict are also explicit regarding what can be done in the frame of legitimate defense: one has a duty to back fire in order to bring quiet to its own population.

there is a lot of material, sometimes coming from hamas itself, showing how they use civilians while targeting israelis.
how they exploit children and how they exploit their death with no respect for the deads whatsoever.

So when hamas fires rockets into israel from a highly populated area, it commits a double crime.

The international laws are well done and cannot comdemn a soveraign country to wait and see until they decide to stop just because they shoot missiles from schools... and this means that it is clear the laws put responsibility for the death of civilian (indirectly caused by legitimate back fire) in the shoulder of the hamas.

unfortunatly for the principle of moral equivalence, hamas bears all of the responsibilty for the sufferings (which is huge) of the innocent palestinians who are maimed in this war.

you should start considering that not everyone on earth has the same way of thinking, the same aspiration for justice etc... just listen to them.

and no, gaza is not a gheto, add to your list also the fact that it has a frontier with egypt that's not controled by israel...

beatroot said...

Freedom fighter
Tell me, if Israel fired 6,000 rockets back at Gaza, would you consider that a 'proportionate response?'

Come on…6,000 of Israeli weaponry is worth a lot more than the hit and hope Palestinian stuff.

But anyway, since when was “proportionate” a war term? One side tries to smash the other…so that argument I don’t actually go along with. Israel is an occupier, gets a feeble response from Hamas and then goes blundering in…to the benefit of nobody.

Dan
Beatroot asks what the international community could do. Not much, perhaps, but the US could stop abstaining from or vetoing every UN resolution condemning Israel. More concretely, they could stop arming Israel.

That’s correct - it is essential the US gives more realistic responses to this kind of action by Israel if they want to be credible again in the Arab world. But I don’t thunk that will necessarily do Palestinians much good.

Ray
beatroot,
what surprises me in the way you consider the war israel wages against hamas is that you never seem to ponder the monstruous nature of hamas.


I don’t think I have ever given the impression that I am a supporter of hamas…and I have criticised the “we are all Hamas now..” types many times. In fact those kind of people make me puke.

But you have to look at why Hamas has got popular - and it is popular in Gaza and increasingly in the West Bank. And that’s for two reasons - one, the failure of secular politics in places like Palestine; and also because of the occupation. There is no getting away from the fact that Israel has helped form and nurture Hamas. That’s simply a fact.

ge'ez said...

FF wrote:
"As it is, Israel is catching crap for trying to do their best to avoid civilian casuaties"

--> I didn't know that. All those photos of dead civilians including children sure fooled me.

BR, the use of "proportionate" response is key to Catholic just war teachings. Warring nations need not simply try to wipe each other off the face of the earth. Especially when one side has such disproportinate means to do so, and is doing so, as you recognize.

Ray said...

beatroot,
my point is certainly not that you are a supporter of hamas,

just that you're misunderstanding of the responsibilty of hamas and of its nature leads you to a wrong reading of the situation.

take the fact that in the occupied West bank there are almost no major demonstration compared to europe. why?
also, how is it that hamas took control of gaza AFTER israelis totally left the place... and though they are present there, they do not control the still occupied Wesk bank...

hamas got 60% of the votes in gaza.
they gained the missing 40 by dropping fatah members from rooftops and killing about 200 policemen.
that's why the ME is not a simple place.

An armed hamas will only bring destruction, either to the israelis if the international community does not allow them to react... or to the palestinians if israel does.

to my understanding, the only chance the two side live in peace is by disarming hamas.
that's why calling for the ending of the israeli operation will only mean delaying the confrontation to another day... make it in months or years... hamas will launch bigger missiles to bigger cities and we'll have to discuss the same discussion yet again... while innocents hide in bunkers or die.

Anonymous said...

Hey Beatroot how about you stop debating semantics and make a stand against the occupation of Gaza.

Over 900 killed now in 16 day 1/3 of these children over 4,000 injured. This is a crime against hummanity and the failure of those to make a stand against shows a lack not just of political will but moral worth. The citizens of Gaza are resisting the occupation but not as you like - doesn't quite match how you think a 'real' resistance should look like. Those (in both uprisings) that resisted the occupation in Warsaw were courageous and I would have supported them unconditionally. The same in Gaza.

There was a sizeable and vocal demonstration on Saturday in Warsaw. The majority of these people were Palestinians. Where were you? No wonder you've got a link to Harry's Place - a truly disgusging blog.

Gavin

ge'ez said...

WTF? I haven't looked at Harry's Place for about a year. It sure look like his politics have changed dramatically. Didn't his website used to be all red starish and hammer and sicklely?

beatroot said...

Yeah, but these are the Lib-cons...sub-Chris Hitchens types. Islam is the new fascism, that kind of thing.

Anon - I think I have made it clear I am against the occupation. I am also sceptical of a two state solution being the solution.

Ray - It is noticable the rather subdued reaction in the west bank, although there have been some riots etc. But what I was told when I was there in October was that hamas has gained popularity in West banks areas too. And that seems to be backed up with what many journalists are saying. So do not underestimate Hamas - they are popular and Fatah is not.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your scepticism about a two state solution. The point now is to organise as many as possible against the war in Gaza

Next event in Warsaw: http://viva-palestyna.pl/news/news.php?news=vivanews/2009/01/0110172.php

Gavin

beatroot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beatroot said...

Cheers. But if see a "we are all hamas/hezbollah now" banners I am gonna burn it...

ge'ez said...

But you will see those posters. And you won't just be protesting against the Israeli incursion.

And what realistic alternative is there to a two state solution? That said, it's hard to expect any kind of solution given both sides' unrelenting intransigence.

beatroot said...

Geez, the alternative to a two state is a one state solution. And I don;t mean the usual lefty "smash Israel" solution, either.

I think it would tactically and practically better for Palestinians and the nations that surround it to except that Israel is there, that it is now an established state and that it isn't going to go away anytime soon. So, why not so "OK, we support your right to exsist so we want complete and full rights within that state...".

It would be very hard for Israel to resist those demands. Israel is a progressive state in many ways in that region - in terms of democracy etc. So a progressive solution would be a one state solution with a mixed citizenship.

but do I see this happening anytime soon? sadly, no. But that does not make it the wrong solution.

ge'ez said...

The Palestinians have a better chance of getting full and complete rights in Long Island.

beatroot said...

:-) Actually, if the palestinians launched a campaign of non violent action, supported non violently by states around it, which declare Israel's right to exsist the pressure on Israel would be huge. The only way that america can say that "Israel has every right to defend itself" is because there are those who wish to see Israel pushed into the sea. If Arabs etc stop doing that then they won;t have a leg to stand on...

I think that is quite a reasonable political strategy. It's a winner. But many will have to swallow hard before doing it...

and it's a lot better than what we have now...

Anonymous said...

I think that two facts which are often ignored when discussing this topic are 1) that Arabs are also Semites, and 2) that many (if not the majority of) Jews have openly spoken out against and condemned Israel's policies.

Also interesting is that, with some exceptions (i.e., politicians such as Joe Lieberman) the main supporters of Israel in the U.S. are probably not so much Jews as they are Evangelicals, Southern Baptists, Pentecostals, etc.

So in any case criticizing Israel's actions cannot be termed "anti-Semitism."

The U.S. position as espoused by neocons during the Bush administration is not likely to change during the Obama administration. As a matter of fact, the Obama team may prove to be even more Pro "only Israel" in its stance than the Bush team.

Americans who wanted any actual change with regard to the U.S. position towards the Palestinian/Israeli situation should have voted for a third-party candidate during the Presidential elections, as both Republicans and Democrats (once again with very few exceptions, such as Ron Paul of the Republicans or Dennis Kucinich of the Democrats) support Israeli's actions almost blindly.

ge'ez said...

And if the third party candidate managed to get about 8% of the vote, McCain would have won and would have provided even more military support to Israel and turned an even blinder eye to Israeli militaristic overkill, not to mention launcing all other sorts of militaristic adventurism as well.

And BR, maybe American diplomacy can get the Palestinians to see the light. Given that there's been no such attempt at diplomacy over the past 8 years, who knows? I think Obama was very crafty in putting Hillary in the position of Sec of State. Either she pulls a rabbit out of the hat or ....

Anonymous said...

ge'ez said:

'And if the third party candidate managed to get about 8% of the vote, McCain would have won and would have provided even more military support to Israel and turned an even blinder eye to Israeli militaristic overkill, not to mention launcing all other sorts of militaristic adventurism as well.'

Actually, third party candidates nearly always help the Democratic Party. Obama's lead in polls over McCain extended after third-party candidates entered the race. Clinton won thanks to Perot in 1992. Wilson won thanks to the Bulldog party. And Bush would have gotten even more votes in Florida in 2000 if no third-party candidates were running in the state.

Wasn't every vote cast for Kerry back in 2004 a vote "thrown away," anyway? It didn't help anything. And the Kerry/Edwards team refused to adequately look into the discrepancies between the exit polls and the actual vote count. As a matter of fact, it was only third-party candidates who launched investigations into the matter.

If the Democratic Party weren't so arrogant in that race with its insistence that certain third-party candidates be removed from the voting ballot, perhaps they would have faired better.

The "lesser of two evils" is still an "evil." Unless you think that voting in favour of FISA, voting against Universal single-payer Healthcare, being against a two-state solution in the Middle East, believing that nuclear power should be an open option for energy, that the war in Afghanistan must continue on a heavier scale, and that wanting to expand the death penalty are all "good" things.

Anonymous said...

"Bulldog Party," typo there, sorry. I meant Bull Moose Party!

ge'ez said...

Nearly always but not in the most recent current context as amply demonstrated by Gore's loss. Your contention that "Bush would have gotten even more votes in Florida in 2000 if no third-party candidates were running in the state" is simply not borne out by the facts.

Anonymous said...

By recognising Israel, does this mean accepting its right to exist as a Jewish state? Isn't this the point which is causing apartheid in the region?

Gavin

Anonymous said...

ge'ez,

It certainly is "borne out by the facts."

Even a quarter of a million registered Democrats there voted for Bush, rather than accept the deplorable Gore/Lieberman ticket. Can you imagine how many more would have voted for Bush had there be no third-party candidates to choose from?

And this is just talking about one state in the U.S. - not to mention the other 49!

Anyway, the same basic argument was made against the Abolitionist party in the 19th century: "you can't win, so just vote for the party which is for some slavery rather than the party which is for more slavery."

If the Abolitionist party listened to this, slavery may have never been abolished in the U.S. But they kept to their principles and their ideals, and refused to vote for "the lesser of two evils." They kept the pressure on the two leading parties. And eventually they won their cause.

beatroot said...

Oh, Gavin.

“By recognising Israel, does this mean accepting its right to exist as a Jewish state? Isn't this the point which is causing apartheid in the region? ”

So, when folk are not using the ridiculous Holocaust when describing what is going on in Gaza, then we switch to the apartheid metaphor. But it isn’t apartheid, and thinking that is not really going to help you understand what is going on there.

Apartheid was a socially exclusive system based on race. But when you go to Israel - which doesn’t need recognising - it is simply a fact - you will notice that there are in the main two types of citizen. The Europeans who came after the Holocaust (the real one) - mainly socialist in ideology - and “Arab Jews” who came from all over the place, but mainly Morocco and Iraq in the earlier days…and mainly rightwing and the more nationalist of the two groups.

But Arab Jews is what the latter group is - so this is not about social exclusion threw race (although there has been discrimination against the Arab Jews…less go to university etc.

So apartheid this is not because being a Jew is not being part of a Race…so, no apartheid.

These easy slogans make what should be a principled demonstration against what is going on in Gaza look like a pantomime with some dubious overtones.

ge'ez said...

Anon,

What facts?

The vast, vast majority of folks who voted for Nader would have never, ever voted for Bush.

Let's get real here, heh?

And if you are going to include the other 49 states in your calculations, you might want to consider who won the popular vote in that election.

ge'ez said...

I think Gavin was making a point about Israel not only being recognized as a state but as *a Jewish state*.

beatroot said...

No..I think I know Gavin and he mewans that israel should not be recognised...he's from that kind of politics...

Anonymous said...

ge'ez,

Didn't you earlier blame Al Gore's "loss" on Nader? Now you're saying that it shouldn't matter because Gore "won" the popular vote, anyway?

Circular reasoning, you have there. Which just proves that you who blindly follow Democrats (nearly all of whom favoured the Iraqi war, and nearly all of whom were against impeaching Bush/Cheney) are little more than twins of those who blindly follow Republicans.

I won't even get into the subjects of the million of Iraqis who were starved to death, the later bombing of Iraq, the bombing of at least one pharmaceutical plant elsewhere (which poor people in that area relied on for their medicine) and the brutality carried out in the Balkans - all of which were spearheaded by guess-which-Party even before that Party became the Bush-lite Party.

ge'ez said...

Circular reasoning, heh? A blind follower? I have nothing to gain from attempting to discuss anything with a committed loser, anon. Sorry, but I think you're the disjoined Republican twin because the best you can possibly achieve is to help them win.

BR, I can't speak for Gavin but Israeli PM Olmert made it clear recently that the gubmint there, no matter it's politics, is first and foremeost concerned about maintaining Israel as a Jewish state: "If we are determined to preserve the Jewish and democratic character of the state of Israel, we must inevitably relinquish with great pain parts of our homeland."

The problem for the Israelis who want to maintain control over the West Bank and Gaza is that they are even now outnumbered by Palestinians in that conquered greater Israel: 5.5 million
Arabs to 5.4 million Jews. The Palestinian birthrate is higher and the projected population estimated for 2020 is 8.5 million Arabs and 6.4 million Jews for the same area.

Indeed, some Arab intellectuals are saying, like you, fuhgidabowd the two state solution and just wait a coupla decades.

So if the Israelis want to maintain their Jewish state, which they obviously *insist* upon, they better figure out that they need to work towards a two-state solution. And that they are shooting themselves in the foot and maybe even worse by bombing the hell out of the Palestinians instead of sitting down and seriously negotiating with them. And the only way they can do that is to give up the settlements and provide generous compensation for property lost by Palestinian refugees. Or abandon the idea of a Jewish state, which they ain't gonna do no how, no way.

Anonymous said...

ge'ez said: "Circular reasoning, heh? A blind follower? I have nothing to gain from attempting to discuss anything with a committed loser, anon. Sorry, but I think you're the disjoined Republican twin because the best you can possibly achieve is to help them win."

The anti-abolitionists during the 19th century would have loved you as one of their own, ge'ez - you're using the same exact same arguments as they did.

And just like the anti-abolitionists, you are arrogantly attacking and persecuting people who actually take a stand for liberty, human rights, and non-violence.

Oh, well...I guess you'll be happy no matter what, as long as your beloved Party is in power. The same Party of the Vietnam war, slavery, the anti-suffrage movement, planned nuclear attacks on Cuban farmers, the starvation of Iraqis, the bombing of Kosovo, deregulation, and a host of so many other "wonderful" things.

ge'ez said...

Blah-blah-blah. Loser.

Anonymous said...

This proves my point, exactly.

ge'ez said...

You have no point and no purpose other than to elect Republicans. Loser.

Anonymous said...

Typo clarification from earlier - "nuclear" should have read "chemical" and "farmers" instead "sugar cane workers."

ge'ez said: "You have no point and no purpose other than to elect Republicans. Loser."

Such a high degree of polemics!

Unable to make even a single valid argument in favour of your case, you resort to the textual equivalent of mooning.

You've represented the type of individuals who share your views perfectly, ge'ez.

Case closed.

ge'ez said...

I didn't realize you were attempting to be polemical.

My argument is validated by you supporting losers and being a loser yourself.

And you've consigned a number of viewpoints to me that I don't hold. That's typical of the way losers argue.

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