Subject: ON THE LOSS OF CONFIDENCE AND OTHER DISADVANTAGES.
24 March 2009
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Toward the end of his life, Mao Zedong was reported to have commented in response to a question about the future of humanity : "If a big meteor hit the earth and destroyed everything that would be a major event for the solar system but a relatively minor event for the galaxy." From the galactic perspective, whether humankind learns to flourish together with beauty and ethical relations among one another, or simply ceases to exist, is of no importance. It is the human project --the means by which we project ourselves into the future-- that determines our meaning. There are no guarantees and as Jim Morrison once said: "Nobody gets out of here alive!"
Continuing our preparation for the colloquium on "Ethics and Social Class Relationships in the United States," which will be held on 6 May 2009 at The University of Paris10-Nanterre, we have confronted both materialist and idealist descriptions of the formation of ethical behavior. Hazel E. Barnes, the American translator of Jean-Paul Sartre's Being and Nothingness (1943), criticizes Sartre for failing to realize that "the confrontation of freedom" (i.e. "the consciousness' recognition of its Nothingness" which accompanies Being) is not necessarily "a moment of anguish and despair," from which most people flee in "bad faith," taking refuge, as Sartre writes, in the serious world, "that realm of convention where one unquestioningly accepts as absolutes the prevailing values of the group in which one finds oneself." In contrast, Barnes argues that humankind's capacity to separate itself from its objects, i.e. its capacity for effecting a nothingness to achieve this separation, "may just as well be grasped as a moment of self-realization and that one may cling to it as such, either with an attitude which Sartre, too, would call ethical or by making of it a reason for choosing the nonethical." [An Existentialist Ethics,(1967, 1985), p.18]
In his book, The Ethical Animal, (1960, 1967), Scottish geneticist C. H. Waddington discusses "the evolution of evolution," reminding us of the scientific findings on "inherited traits." Indeed the genetic code is a digital communication from parents to offspring, but it has been proven that the impact of the environment in which the parent deposits the offspring has an analog effect which affects the digital genetic coding of the offspring. Waddington uses the example of the prolific fruit fly, whose eggs are submitted to an environment of ether vapor shortly after being layed. A portion of the offspring tend to have their development modified; their thorax segment is duplicated into a large second thorax which has no adaptive value. Nevertheless, this trait is passed by a substantial number of new parents on to some of their offspring which are born into an environment free of the ether vapor. "Thus," concludes Waddington, "if one merely refers to such a gene mutation [as being] "random" one does not say by any means everything of interest which can be told about it."(p.91)
In short, the choice is not merely between authenticity and unauthenticity. It is threefold, and those critics are right who have pointed out that authenticity by itself does not necessarily result in what may properly be called the ethical life. Persons who take refuge in unauthenticity and bad faith do not deliberately choose the nonethical. They recognize a need to justify their lives but are terrified at the thought of trying to do so without some clearly defined, impersonal standard which from outside themselves would guarantee certain absolute rights and wrongs. They want a certainty which they cannot feel so long as they realize that the choice of values derives from their own freedom. We cannot call their position ethical inasmuch as it is based upon self-deception, but it is the very opposite of an open choice of the nonethical. It is in reality a choice of the appearance of the ethical.
The choice to live unauthentically rests upon a refusal to recognize the existence and demands of freedom; it seeks to hide from itself the very fact that it is a choice. The choice to be ethical embraces both the recognition that one is free and the acceptance of the responsibility which freedom entails. It is an authentic choice [when] the decision to justify one's life derives from one's own spontaneous desire and is not imposed from the outside.
- There remains a third alternative . . . . We cannot call the choice unauthentic [when one] is fully aware the he and he alone is responsible for what he chooses. Indeed it is freedom itself which he chooses as the value so far beyond all others that he pits it against all possible values which might in the future result form submitting this freedom to any sort of calculated restriction, external or internal. The moment of his recognition of freedom is identified with self-realization. [In such a case, the person] prizes his freedom to be unethical. He does not have to justify himself, he is not obliged to choose happiness or any other self-evident good. He chooses his independence of all regulating value systems. . . . In this case . . . there is a deliberate rejection of responsibility for one's own past and future as for that part of one's self-projection which involves others. To reject the temporal is to reject the objective side of oneself; it is to identify oneself solely with the subjective.(p.19)
This is the process which I have spoken of as the genetic assimilation of an acquired character. Although its mechanism is quite different from the Lamarckian inheritance of acquired characters, being entirely based on the concepts of orthodox Mendelian genetics, it can in fact play in evolutionary theory the vary role for which Lamarckian hypotheses have often been invoked.
To obtain a complete picture of the evolutionary system, we need to take into account one further set of factors. These may be spoken of as the 'exploitive system'. Animals are usually surrounded by a much wider range of environmental conditions than they are willing to inhabit. They live in a highly heterogeneous 'ambiance', from which they themselves select the particular habitat in which their life will be passed. Moreover, not only do animals exhibit behavior which can be considered as the exercise of choice between alternative environmen5ts but in many cases they perform actions which modify the environment as it was originally offered to them; for instance, by building nests, burrows, etc. Thus, the animal by its behavior contributes in a most important way to determining the nature and intensity of the selective pressures which will be exerted on it. Natural selection is very far from being as external a force as the conventional picture might lead one at first sight to believe. Clearly, a whole series of problems arise in this field, but they have as yet been rather little studied, and as understanding of the mutual dependence of selection and behavior is still largely a matter for the future.
Biological evolution, then, is carried out by an 'evolutionary system' which involves four major factors . . . : a genetic system, which engenders new variation by the process of mutation and transmits it by chromosomal genes; an epigenetic system, which translates the information in the fertilized egg and that which impinges on it form the environment into the characters of the reproducing adult; an exploitive system, by which an animal chooses and modifies the environment to which it will submit itself; and a system of natural selective pressures, originating from the environment and operating on the combined result of the other three systems.(pp.95-96)
It would seem that there are some things we do not yet know about inherited traits:
In the 9 items below we offer CEIMSA readers discussions which would pertain to the art of disarming dangerous people, requiring a knowledge of strategy, tactics and logistics. This art is all but impracticable in an environment where conflict is profitable and peace exists only as a perceived threat to private advantage, where man is perceived as "a useless passion" and "thus it amounts to the same thing whether one gets drunk alone or is a leader of nations." In this context, "bad faith" poisons the environment which is sure to reproduce more of the same.
At a relatively crude level of argument, it is clear that the killing of one member of a human group by another member of the same group will tend for a number of reasons to lead to the weakening of that social unit. During much of human history there must have been a powerful intergroup natural selection, and this would lead to the spread of hereditary factors which would tend to inhibit behavior of such an anti-social kind. This is the process of the biological evolution of altruism as Haldane and Muller have discussed it; the process which Chauncey Leake christened 'ethicogenesis'. In my opinion it is likely to have had some, but only a restricted, importance.
The more important determination of man's ethical attitude toward killing are to be found in the social rather than in the biological sphere. There is, in the first place, the fact that our ethical beliefs originate in experiences with our parents and others which initially inculcate lessons of co-operation and sympathy with other individuals. However much this substratum may become overlaid in the later developments of the super-ego, every man's ethical beliefs are bound to begin with a bias in this direction. Again, at quite a different level, we must recognize that the anagenesis of man has been toward the production of personalities capable of an ever richer experience, which arises in the main from his interactions with other people in his social environment; and the type of inter-personal experience of which a man is capable is not independent of the permissiveness of his ethical system toward killing. Men who can with equanimity bring about the death of another human being are in general characterized by some insensitivity towards other individuals, and this insensitivity is likely to be increased if an act of killing is actually performed. It is, I think, these considerations concerning the killer, rather than those concerning the person killed, which have played the major part in bringing about the evolution of the widespread condemnation in modern societies of practices such as dueling, or the murderous violence of the Italian Renaissance, or even capital punishment. And it is on grounds such as these that, if we look as human ethical systems from the standpoint of evolution, we can conclude that, although death is a biological necessity, an ethical system which condemns the procurement of the death of a human individual is to be commended.(The Ethical Animal, pp.214-215)
Item A. is an article by Russian economist, Ekaterina Yevstigneyeva, first published in Pravda, on "stage two" of the current world capitalist crisis.
Item B., sent to us by Grenoble economist Jean-Pierre Juy, is an article by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, describing "the executive assassination ring" purportedly run by Vice-President Cheney.
Item C., is an article from Bob McChesney on "saving journalism" from self-imposed extinction.
Item D. is an article by Lenni Brenner exposing the astonishingly provincial ethnocentrism shared by both Zionists and anti-Semites in modern world history.
Item E. is an article written by Robert Dreyfuss and first published by Tom Dispatch discussing the imminent dysfunction of the so-called "Israel Lobby" and the fanatics behind it.
Item F. is an article first published in Haaretz describing the findings of UN special rapporteur Richard Falk's on human rights violations by Israeli soldiers in Gaza.
Item G. is an article by Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem on testimony by Israeli soldiers confessing their crimes against humanity in Gaza.
Item H., sent to us by Professor Edward S. Herman, is an article by Uri Blau, first published in Haaretz on "Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques - IDF fashion 2009".
Item I., sent to us by Grenoble graduate student Marwen Rahif, is a contemporary conversation between youth on "Israel's terrorism translated into fashion."
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research
Université Stendhal Grenoble 3
from Information Clearing House :
Date: 20 March 2009
Subject: The Economic Crash to Come and the "Miracle" Capitalist Resurection.
The United States is the largest borrower in the world. The US national debt has already exceeded the level of 11 trillion dollars as of the beginning of 2009 and continues to grow like an avalanche. Experts say that the USA has only two ways to solve the problem: to either declare default or trigger off a war.
USA Has Two Options To Save its Economy:
Declare Default or Trigger War
by Ekaterina Yevstigneyeva
According to experts’ estimates, the probability of default on US treasury bonds is very high at the moment. The rumors are not new at all. Moreover, experts say that the USA has already started to work on an opportunity to refuse from the dollar in order to avoid debt payments.
Dmitry Abzalov, an expert with the Center for Russia ’s Political Conjuncture, said that governments currently take on the debts of corporations. “The corporate debts crisis thus becomes the crisis of governmental debts. The US debt in the beginning of 2009 amounted to $10.6 trillion. Taking into consideration the current deficit budget of the United States , as well as the prospects for the deficit of the budget during the current year, it becomes clear that the US Treasury bond market is based on no alternative whatsoever. There is no other way for investors to invest their funds with treasury bonds being the only option,” the expert told Bigness.ru.
When the world economy recovers, investors will realize that there are plenty of other opportunities for investments, the European bonds, for example (if the European economy recovers from the crisis too, of course), or the bonds of developing countries.
“The pyramid of US bonds will collapse in this case. The debt percentage grows every day, which makes the USA borrow more and more on a daily basis. America will have no chances to pay off the debt,” the expert said.
Inga Foksha, an analyst with Aton Investment Company, agrees that the US default is quite possible, although she is certain that it will not happen unless the world finds an alternative to the US dollar. The dollar will collapse immediately in case of default, which is absolutely unacceptable, because 63 percent of world reserves are saved in dollars. Their collapse will trigger the global economic collapse.
“Technically, the default of the United States may occur during three or five years, although it is too early to say that it could be possible. The USA can print new dollars to pay their debts with them,” she said.
Nevertheless, the US government bonds still enjoy investors’ support and are still considered a risk-free investment.
Dmitry Abzalov believes that the current situation with the US national debt may end with a new war. The war will destroy excessive liquidity and the current debt.
“The war in Iraq began to delay the US crisis, which started brewing in the US economy at the end of 2000,” he said.
The Americans have been trying to raise their economy with the help of military actions for decades, since the Great Depression of the 1930s. A war boosts the nation’s industry, even if a recovery is based on defense orders.
from Jean-Pierre Juy :
Date: 18 March 2009
Subject: Vice President Cheney's Executive Assasination Ring.
Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh describes 'executive assassination ring'
by Eric Black
REUTERS/Fadi Al-AssaadJournalist Seymour Hersh speaking in Doha at an Al Jazeera forum on the media in 2007.
At a “Great Conversations” event (MP3) at the University of Minnesota last night, legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh may have made a little more news than he intended by talking about new alleged instances of domestic spying by the CIA, and about an ongoing covert military operation that he called an “executive assassination ring.”
Hersh spoke with great confidence about these findings from his current reporting, which he hasn’t written about yet.
In an email exchange afterward, Hersh said that his statements were “an honest response to a question” from the event’s moderator, U of M Political Scientist Larry Jacobs and “not something I wanted to dwell about in public.”
Hersh didn’t take back the statements, which he said arise from reporting he is doing for a book, but that it might be a year or two before he has what he needs on the topic to be “effective...that is, empirical, for even the most skeptical.”
The evening of great conversation, featuring Walter Mondale and Hersh, moderated by Jacobs and titled “America’s Constitutional Crisis,” looked to be a mostly historical review of events that have tested our Constitution, by a journalist and a high government official who had experience with many of the crises.
And it was mostly historical, and a great conversation, in which Hersh and Mondale talked about the patterns by which presidents seem to get intoxicated by executive power, frustrated by the limitations on that power from Congress and the public, drawn into improper covert actions that exceed their constitutional powers, in the belief that they can get results and will never be found out. Despite a few references to the Founding Fathers, the history was mostly recent, starting with the Vietnam War with much of it arising from the George W. Bush administration, which both men roundly denounced.
At the end of one answer by Hersh about how these things tend to happen, Jacobs asked: “And do they continue to happen to this day?”
“Yuh. After 9/11, I haven’t written about this yet, but the Central Intelligence Agency was very deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state. Without any legal authority for it. They haven’t been called on it yet. That does happen.
"Right now, today, there was a story in the New York Times that if you read it carefully mentioned something known as the Joint Special Operations Command -- JSOC it’s called. It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently. They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. They did not report to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff or to Mr. [Robert] Gates, the secretary of defense. They reported directly to him. ...
"Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on. Just today in the Times there was a story that its leaders, a three star admiral named [William H.] McRaven, ordered a stop to it because there were so many collateral deaths.
"Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us.
"It’s complicated because the guys doing it are not murderers, and yet they are committing what we would normally call murder. It’s a very complicated issue. Because they are young men that went into the Special Forces. The Delta Forces you’ve heard about. Navy Seal teams. Highly specialized.
"In many cases, they were the best and the brightest. Really, no exaggerations. Really fine guys that went in to do the kind of necessary jobs that they think you need to do to protect America. And then they find themselves torturing people.
"I’ve had people say to me -- five years ago, I had one say: ‘What do you call it when you interrogate somebody and you leave them bleeding and they don’t get any medical committee and two days later he dies. Is that murder? What happens if I get before a committee?’
"But they’re not gonna get before a committee.”
Hersh, the best-known investigative reporter of his generation, writes about these kinds of issues for The New Yorker. He has written often about JSOC, including, last July that:
“Under the Bush Administration’s interpretation of the law, clandestine military activities, unlike covert C.I.A. operations, do not need to be depicted in a Finding, because the President has a constitutional right to command combat forces in the field without congressional interference.”
(“Finding” refers to a special document that a president must issue, although not make public, to authorize covert CIA actions.)
Here is a tape of the full Mondale-Hersh-Jacobs colloquy, a little over an hour, without the audience Q and A. If you want to look for the Hersh statement quoted above, it’s about at the 7:30 mark.
The rest of the evening was, as expected, full of worry and wisdom and quite a bit of Bush-bashing.
Jacobs walked the two elder statesmen through their experiences of:
- The My Lai massacre, which Hersh first revealed publicly and which he last night called “the end of innocence about us and war.”
- The Pentagon Papers case, which Mondale called the best example of the “government’s potential for vast public deception.”
- Henry Kissinger’s secret dealings, mostly relating to the Vietnam War. (Hersh, who has written volumes about Kissinger, said that he will always believe that whereas ordinary people count sheep to fall asleep, Kissinger “has to count burned and maimed Cambodian babies.”)
- The Church Committee investigation of CIA and FBI abuses, in which Mondale played a major role. (He talked about the fact that FBI director J. Edgar Hoover not only spied on Martin Luther King but literally tried to drive him to suicide.)
- The Iran Contra scandal. (Hersh said the Reagan administration came to office with a clear goal of finding a way to finance covert actions, such as the funding of the Nicaraguan Contras, without appropriations so that Congress wouldn't know about them. Mondale noted that Reagan had signed a law barring further aid to the Contras, then participated in a scheme to keep the aid flowing. Hersh said that two key veterans of Iran-Contra, Dick Cheney and national security official Elliot Abrams, were reunited in the George W. Bush White House and decided that the key lesson from Iran-Contra was that too many people in the administration knew about it.)
- And the Bush-Cheney years. (Said Hersh: “The contempt for Congress in the Bush-Cheney White House was extaordinary.” Said Mondale of his successor, Cheney, and his inner circle: “they ran a government within the government.” Hersh added: “Eight or nine neoconservatives took over our country.” Mondale said that the precedents of abuse of vice presidential power by Cheney would remain "like a loaded pistol that you leave on the dining room table.")
Jacobs pressed both men on the question of whether the frequent abuses of power show that the Constitution fails, because these things keep happening, or whether it works, because these things keep coming to light.
Mondale stuck with the happy answer. “The system has come through again and again,” he said. Presidents always think they will get away with it, but eventually reporters like Hersh bring things to light, the public “starts smelling this stuff,” the courts and the Congress get involved. Presidents “always, in the long run, find out that the system is stronger than they are.”
Hersh seemed more troubled by the repetitions of the pattern. The “beautiful thing about our system” is that eventually we get new leaders, he said. “The evil twosome, Cheney and Bush, left,” Hersh said. But he also said “it’s really amazing to me that we manage to get such bad leadership, so consistently.”
And he added that both the press and the public let down their guard in the aftermath of 9/11.
“The major newspapers joined the [Bush] team,” Hersh said. Top editors passed the message to investigative reporters not to “pick holes” in what Bush was doing. Violations of the Bill of Rights happened in the plain sight of the public. It was not only tolerated, but Bush was re-elected.
And even Mondale admitted that one of his greatest successes, laws reforming the FBI and CIA in the aftermath of the Church Committee, were supposed to fix the problem so that “we would never have these problems again in the lifetime of anyone alive at the time, but of course we did.”
UPDATE: The CIA responds to Seymour Hersh (via MinnPost)
from Bob McChesney :
Date: 20 March 2009
Suject: Saving Journalism.
The Nation just published an article I wrote on the crisis on journalism with my friend John Nichols. It is titled " The Death and Life of Great American Newspapers," though it concerns the entirety of journalism. If this is an issue that you care about, I think you might find the piece of more than passing interest. We make an argument to address the problem going far beyond most of what has been proposed to date.
I apologize in advance if you get this more than once. Feel free to send this along to any friends you have who might be interested in the topic.
Robert W. McChesney
Gutgsell Endowed Professor
DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATION
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Stop Big Media
SAVE THE INTERNET
THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF MEDIA
HISTORY OF COMMUNICATION
from Lenni Brenner :
Date: 15 March 2009
When Churchill hailed Zionism, Mussolini and Hitler
Below is a letter by Lenni Brenner, published in the Spring/08 issue of COLUMBIA, that University's magazine. It is in response to a review of Michael Makovsky's new book, Churchill's Promised Land: Zionism and Statecraft, by alumnus Dore Gold, Israel's UN ambassador, 1997-99. Gold's review is below, but the feature of this documentary collection is Churchill's 1920 article, "Zionism Versus Bolshevism: A Struggle for the Soul of the Jewish People."
by Lenni Brenner
World War ll is history's most written about era. After Hitler's defeat, scholars rushed to study the Austrian and German societies that generated his fantastic personality. Eventually historians analyzed the mistakes and crimes of the winners, "the big three." The cold war generated massive research into Stalin's crimes. With the triumph of America's civil rights movement came full exposure of Roosevelt's racially segregated military. Then Reagan acknowledged Roosevelt's shameless interning of West Coast Japanese-American citizens in concentration camps and compensated the victims. But Churchill got off lightly in America. It is conceded that he was an imperialist, but his resistance to Hitler is still seen as he put it, the British empire's "finest hour." His paintings and mementos sell well here. Few rich buyers have any serious knowledge of his pre-war politics.
Did Israel's ambassador know of Churchill's sordid record when he heaped praise on the scoundrel? Read Churchill and Gold. Decide for yourself.
Dore Gold, Israel's ambassador to the UN from 1997 to 1999, makes a hero out of Churchill. According to Gold, he "never lost his fundamental sympathy with the restoration of Jewish sovereignty .... Realpolitik tempered many of Churchill's public statements, but never diluted his faith in Israel's cause." However the reality is that Churchill was infamously anti-Semitic in the 1920s and hailed Mussolini and Hitler when they came to power.
Letter in COLUMBIA, Spring 2008
by Lenni Brenner
In a February 8, 1920 article, "Zionism Versus Bolshevism: A Struggle for the Soul of the Jewish People," Churchill declared that "We owe to the Jews in the Christian revelation a system of ethics which, even if it were entirely separated from the supernatural, would be incomparably the most precious possession of mankind." But "it may well be that this same astounding race may at the present time be in the actual process of producing another system of morals and philosophy, as malevolent as Christianity was benevolent."
While assuring readers that "Nothing is more wrong than to deny to an individual, on account of race or origin, his right to be judged on his personal merits and conduct," and praising "National Jews," he warned:
"In violent opposition to all this sphere of Jewish effort rise the schemes of the International Jews .... There is no need to exaggerate the part played in the creation of Bolshevism and in the actual bringing about of the Russian Revolution by these international and for the most part atheistical Jews. It is certainly a very great one; it probably outweighs all others. With the notable exception of Lenin, the majority of the leading figures are Jews. Moreover,
the principal inspiration and driving power comes from the Jewish leaders."
He patronized Zionism as an antidote to Bolshevism:
"Nothing could be more significant than the fury with which Trotsky has attacked the Zionists generally, and Dr. Weizmann, in particular. The cruel penetration of his mind leaves him in no doubt that his schemes of a worldwide communist State under Jewish domination are directly thwarted and hindered by this new ideal, which directs the energies and the hopes of Jews in every land towards a simpler, a truer, and a far more attainable goal."
Churchill ran various British cabinet ministries from 1917 to 1920. His priority was intervention against his imagined "worldwide communist State under Jewish domination." An estimated 28,000 Jews were murdered in pogroms by Russian Czarists, supported by Britain. Yet he brazenly claimed that "Wherever General Denikin's authority could reach, protection was always accorded to the Jewish population, and strenuous efforts were made by his officers to prevent reprisals and to punish those guilty of them."
Churchill's anti-Bolshevism was fanatic. In 1927 he told Italy's Fascist Party, "If I had been an Italian, I would have been entirely with you from the beginning to the end of your victorious struggle against the bestial appetites and passions of Leninism."
After Hitler came to power, Churchill proclaimed that "if our country were defeated, I hope we should find a champion as indomitable to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations." When the Spanish civil war broke out, Nazi pilots helped Franco overthrow the Left-led republic, armed by Stalin. Churchill announced that he "will not pretend that, if I had to choose between Communism or Nazism, I would choose Communism."
Eventually Churchill realized that Hitler was a danger to Britain and fought him. And the madness of Hitler's holocaust cured Churchill of his own anti-Semitism. But even then he must be condemned for doing nothing to specifically help the Jews of Nazi-occupied Europe.
That Churchill was initially a fan of Mussolini and Hitler is well known in Britain. However, most Americans know nothing of his pre-World War ll career. Many construct an ideal Churchill out of his wartime speeches. Gold built on their ignorance, adding wonderful patronage of Zionism to their fairy-tale hero's résumé.. But Gold doesn't even mention that his pro-Zionist was, simultaneously, also a supporter of Czarism, Mussolini and Hitler. What does that tell us about Churchill, Gold, and Zionism?
New York, NY
Lenni Brenner is the author of Zionism in the Age of the Dictators.
Winston Churchill, "Zionism Versus Bolshevism: A Struggle for the Soul of the Jewish People," Illustrated Sunday Herald, February 8, 1920.
Some people like Jews and some do not; but no thoughtful man can doubt the fact that they are beyond all question the most formidable and the most remarkable race which has ever appeared in the world.
Disraeli, the Jewish Prime Minister of England, and Leader of the Conservative Party, who was always true to his race and proud of his origin, said on a well-known occasion:
"The Lord deals with the nations as the nations deal with the Jews." Certainly when we look at the miserable state of Russia, where of all countries in the world the Jews were the most cruelly treated, and contrast it with the fortunes of our own country, which seems to have been so providentially preserved amid the awful perils of these times, we must admit that nothing that has since happened in the history of the world has falsified the truth of Disraeli's confident assertion.
Good and Bad Jews
The conflict between good and evil which proceeds unceasingly in the breast of man nowhere reaches such an intensity as in the Jewish race. The dual nature of mankind is nowhere more strongly or more terribly exemplified. We owe to the Jews in the Christian revelation a system of ethics which, even if it were entirely separated from the supernatural, would be incomparably the most precious possession of mankind, worth in fact the fruits of all other wisdom and learning put together. On that system and by that faith there has been built out of the wreck of the Roman Empire the whole of our existing civilization.
And it may well be that this same astounding race may at the present time be in the actual process of producing another system of morals and philosophy, as malevolent as Christianity was benevolent, which, if not arrested, would shatter irretrievably all that Christianity has rendered possible. It would almost seem as if the gospel of Christ and the gospel of Antichrist were destined to originate among the same people; and that this mystic and mysterious race had been chosen for the supreme manifestations, both of the divine and the diabolical.
There can be no greater mistake than to attribute to each individual a recognizable share in the qualities which make up the national character. There are all sorts of men - good, bad and, for the most part, indifferent - in every country, and in every race. Nothing is more wrong than to deny to an individual, on account of race or origin, his right to be judged on his personal merits and conduct. In a people of peculiar genius like the Jews, contrasts are more vivid, the extremes are more widely separated, the resulting consequences are
At the present fateful period there are 3 main lines of political conception among the Jews, 2 of which are helpful and hopeful in a very high degree to humanity, and the third absolutely destructive.
First there are the Jews who, dwelling in every country throughout the world, identify themselves with that country, enter into its national life, and, while adhering faithfully to their own religion, regard themselves as citizens in the fullest sense of the State which has received them. Such a Jew living in England would say, "I am an Englishman practicing the Jewish faith." This is a worthy conception, and useful in the highest degree. We in Great Britain well know that during the great struggle the influence of what may be called the
"National Jews" in many lands was cast preponderatingly on the side of the Allies; and in our own Army Jewish soldiers have played a most distinguished part, some rising to the command of armies, others winning the Victoria Cross for valor.
The National Russian Jews, in spite of the disabilities under which they have suffered, have managed to play an honorable and useful part in the national life even of Russia. As bankers and industrialists they have strenuously promoted the development of Russia's economic resources, and they were foremost in the creation of those remarkable organizations, the Russian Cooperative Societies. In politics their support has been given, for the most part, to liberal and progressive movements, and they have been among the staunchest upholders of friendship with France and Great Britain.
In violent opposition to all this sphere of Jewish effort rise the schemes of the International Jews. The adherents of this sinister confederacy are mostly men reared up among the unhappy populations of countries where Jews are persecuted on account of their race. Most, if not all, of them have forsaken the faith of their forefathers, and divorced from their minds all spiritual hopes of the next world. This movement among the Jews is not new. From the days of Spartacus-Weishaupt to those of Karl Marx, and down to Trotsky (Russia), Bela Kun
(Hungary), Rosa Luxembourg (Germany), and Emma Goldman (US), this worldwide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence, and impossible equality, has been steadily growing. It played, as a modern writer, Mrs. Webster, has so ably shown, a definitely recognizable part in the tragedy of the French Revolution. It has been the mainspring of every subversive movement during the 19th century; and now at last this band of extraordinary personalities from the underworld of the great cities of Europe and America have gripped the Russian people by the hair of their heads and have become practically the undisputed masters of that enormous empire.
There is no need to exaggerate the part played in the creation of Bolshevism and in the actual bringing about of the Russian Revolution by these international and for the most part atheistical Jews. It is certainly a very great one; it probably outweighs all others.. With the notable exception of Lenin, the majority of the leading figures are Jews. Moreover, the principal inspiration and driving power comes from the Jewish leaders. Thus Tchitcherin, a pure Russian is eclipsed by his nominal subordinate Litvinoff, and the influence of
Russians like Bukharin or Lunacharski cannot be compared with the power of Trotsky, or of Zinovieff, the Dictator of the Red Citadel (Petrograd), or of Krassin or Radek - all Jews. In the Soviet institutions the predominance of Jews is even more astonishing. And the prominent, if not indeed the principal, part in the system of terrorism applied by the Extraordinary Commissions for Combating Counter-Revolution has been taken by Jews, and in some notable cases by Jewesses. The same evil prominence was obtained by Jews in the brief period of terror during which Bela Kun ruled in Hungary. The same phenomenon has been presented in Germany (especially in Bavaria), so far as this madness has been allowed to prey upon the temporary prostration of the German people. Although in all these countries there are many non-Jews every whit as bad as the worst of the Jewish revolutionaries, the part played by the latter in proportion to their numbers in the population is astonishing.
"Protector of the Jews"
Needless to say, the most intense passions of revenge have been excited in the breasts of the Russian people. Wherever General Denikin's authority could reach, protection was always accorded to the Jewish population, and strenuous efforts were made by his officers to prevent reprisals and to punish those guilty of them. So much was this the case that the Petlurist propaganda against General Denikin denounced him as the Protector of the Jews. The Misses Healy, nieces of Mr. Tim Healy, in relating their personal experiences in Kieff, have declared that to their knowledge on more than one occasion officers who committed offenses against Jews were reduced to the ranks and sent out of the city to the front. But the hordes of brigands by whom the whole vast expanse of the Russian Empire is becoming infested do not hesitate to gratify their lust for blood and for revenge at the expense of the innocent Jewish population whenever an opportunity occurs. The brigand Makhno, the hordes of Petlura and of Gregorieff, who signalized their every success by the most brutal massacres, everywhere found among the half-stupefied, half-infuriated population an eager
response to anti-Semitism in its worst and foulest forms.
The fact that in many cases Jewish interests and Jewish places of worship are excepted by the Bolsheviks from their universal hostility has tended more and more to associate the Jewish race in Russia with the villainies which are now being perpetrated. This is an injustice on millions of helpless people, most of whom are themselves sufferers from the revolutionary regime. It becomes, therefore, specially important to foster and develop any strongly-marked Jewish movement which leads directly away from these fatal associations. And it is here that Zionism has such a deep significance for the whole world at the
A Home for the Jews
Zionism offers the third sphere to the political conceptions of the Jewish race. In violent contrast to international communism, it presents to the Jew a national idea of a commanding character. It has fallen to the British Government, as the result of the conquest of Palestine, to have the opportunity and the responsibility of securing for the Jewish race all over the world a home and a center of national life. The statesmanship and historic sense of Mr. Balfour were prompt to seize this opportunity. Declarations have been made which have irrevocably decided the policy of Great Britain. The fiery energies of Dr.
Weissmann, the leader, for practical purposes, of the Zionist project, backed by many of the most prominent British Jews, and supported by the full authority of Lord Allenby, are all directed to achieving the success of this inspiring movement.
Of course, Palestine is far too small to accommodate more than a fraction of the Jewish race, nor do the majority of national Jews wish to go there. But if, as may well happen, there should be created in our lifetime by the banks of the Jordan a Jewish State under the protection of the British Crown, which might comprise 3 or 4 millions of Jews, an event would have occurred in the history of the world which would, from every point of view, be beneficial, and would be especially in harmony with the truest interests of the British Empire.
Zionism has already become a factor in the political convulsions of Russia, as a powerful competing influence in Bolshevik circles with the international communistic system. Nothing could be more significant than the fury with which Trotsky has attacked the Zionists generally, and Dr. Weissmann, in particular. The cruel penetration of his mind leaves him in no doubt that his schemes of a worldwide communist State under Jewish domination are directly thwarted and hindered by this new ideal, which directs the energies and the hopes of Jews in every land towards a simpler, a truer, and a far more attainable goal. The struggle which is now beginning between the Zionist and Bolshevik Jews is little less than a struggle for the soul of the Jewish people.
Duty of Loyal Jews
It is particularly important in these circumstances that the National Jews in every country who are loyal to the land of their adoption should come forward on every occasion, as many of them in England have already done, and take a prominent part in every measure for combating the Bolshevik conspiracy. In this way they will be able to vindicate the honor of the Jewish name and make it clear to all the world that the Bolshevik movement is not a Jewish movement, but is repudiated vehemently by the great mass of the Jewish race.
But a negative resistance to Bolshevism in any field is not enough. Positive and practicable alternatives are needed in the moral as well as in the social sphere; and in building up with the utmost possible rapidity a Jewish national center in Palestine which may become not only a refuge to the oppressed from the unhappy lands of Central Europe, but which will also be a symbol of Jewish unity and the temple of Jewish glory, a task is presented on which many blessings rest.
COLUMBIA - Winter 2007-08 issue
The Only Goal by Dore Gold
Churchill's Promised Land: Zionism and Statecraft by Michael Makovsky (Yale University Press, 368 pages, $36)
Winston Churchill is not usually regarded as one of the leading British statesmen responsible for Britain's backing of the Zionist movement and the resurrection of the Jewish national home. The names of Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, who authored the Balfour Declaration, or his prime minister, David Lloyd George, more readily come to mind. Indeed, Churchill, who in the early 1920s became colonial secretary, is more associated with the 1922 decision to cut off 75 percent of the territory of British Palestine from the proposed Jewish national home to create Transjordan, in order to give the Hashemite dynasty from
Arabia a consolation prize of sorts after their loss of Syria to the French.
Michael Makovsky helps dispel this perception of Churchill in his highly readable Churchill's Promised Land: Zionism and Statecraft. He discloses how Churchill already expressed his support for restoring Jewish nationhood in Palestine in 1908, nine years before it became British policy. In a written message to the English Zionist Federation in Manchester, which was read aloud in his absence, Churchill in fact wrote: "I am in full sympathy with the historical traditional aspirations of the Jews."
Churchill opposed the idea of seeking an alternative Jewish homeland in East Africa, which was under consideration in certain Jewish circles at the time, and instead focused on Palestine, even while it was still formally part of the Ottoman Empire. He concluded his 1908 remarks as follows: "Jerusalem must be the only ultimate goal. When it will be achieved it is vain to prophesy; but that it will some day be achieved is one of the few certainties of the future."
Churchill's Zionism did not come out of a vacuum. Like others in his era, he became a believer in Jewish restorationism - reestablishing the Jewish people as a sovereign nation. His father, Randolph Churchill, was cut from the same philoSemitic cloth, championing Jewish rights in his public addresses. Both were inspired by the great British Conservative leader and former prime minister Benjamin Disraeli, who, though born into a Jewish family, was baptized as a child and became a member of the Church of England.
Disraeli visited Jerusalem in 1831 and later wrote a novel about a Baghdadi Jew who dreams of leading his people back to Jerusalem to restore their "national existence." It was a time when Lord Palmerston, the British foreign secretary, was pressing the Ottoman sultan to allow the Jews to return to Palestine. Makovsky delves into this history to better understand the milieu in which both Churchills received their political education, for after Disraeli's death in 1881, Randolph Churchill tried to claim his political mantle.
As Makovsky details, Winston Churchill was fully aware of the Randolph Churchill–Disraeli political connection. Protesting the anti-Semitic pogroms in Russia in 1905, Winston Churchill would cite Disraeli with the remark: "The Lord deals with the nations as the nations deal with the Jews." This was a double-edged comment promising difficulties for nations that would oppress their Jewish populations, as well as a blessing for those that would defend them.
Churchill's story recapitulates a whole school of thought that was prevalent in the early 20th century in England that would provide the eventual political support for the rise of the Zionist movement. After the breakup of the Ottoman Empire as a result of the First World War, the League of Nations approved the mandate for Palestine based on the Balfour Declaration's support for creating a Jewish homeland.
The Palestine mandate gave recognition to "the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine." It did not create a new national right, but rather acknowledged a preexisting right that was broadly accepted in international circles within the League of Nations at the time. Although Makovsky does not specifically deal with the legal background of how the Palestine mandate was drafted, it becomes clear when reading his work how British diplomats would come to adopt this kind of language.
In fact, in June 1922 Churchill would declare that the Jews had returned to Palestine "as of right and not by sufferance, and that this was based on their ancient historical connection." Speaking before the Peel Commission years later in 1937, Churchill snapped at a commission member who referred to the Jews in Palestine as a "foreign race." For Churchill, the Jewish people were the true indigenous population of the land: "The Jews had Palestine before that indigenous population [the Arabs] came in and inhabited it."
Anyone reading Makovsky's book who thinks that Churchill backed the rise of a Jewish national homeland in Palestine because of his concerns with protecting the British Empire's strategic interests will be surprised. In some Western academic circles, where the rise of the Zionist movement is seen as a manifestation of Western imperialism, it is just assumed that Britain's motivation for sustaining its wartime support for the Balfour Declaration in the interwar years came out of imperial calculations: Britain sought to safeguard the approaches to its imperial jewel, India, which required control of the Suez Canal in the west, Cape Town in the south, Singapore in the east, and Palestine along the eastern Mediterranean.
But in the 1920s, when Churchill was Britain's colonial secretary, his primary consideration was finding ways of containing the expansion of the newly formed Soviet Union. Initially he even opposed the breakup of the Ottoman Empire and eventually focused on strengthening British-Turkish ties for the same reason. He was hardly enthusiastic about Britain assuming new imperial responsibilities in the Arab provinces of the former Ottoman Empire.
Makovsky explains how Churchill wrote in 1920 to Lloyd George: "You are up against a shocking bill for Mesopotamia, Palestine & Persia. More will have to be spent in these countries next year than the Navy is demanding to save our sea supremacy." His view was summarized a year earlier when he insisted that, "The need of national economy is such that we ought to endeavor to concentrate our resources on developing our existing Empire instead of dissipating them in new enlargements."
It becomes clear, reading Makovsky, that for Churchill a peace treaty with post-Ottoman Turkey was Britain's paramount Middle Eastern interest. Had the new Turkish state not relinquished sovereignty over its former Arab provinces and created a vacuum for the claims of various national movements, one wonders how Churchill's whole view of the Zionist enterprise would have changed. Still, what emerges from Makovsky is that Churchill never lost his fundamental sympathy with the restoration of Jewish sovereignty. Enraged at the Attlee-Bevin government's hostility toward the new state, he declared in the House of Commons in 1948 that Israel's independence was "an event in world history to be viewed
in the perspective, not of a generation or a century, but in the perspective of a thousand, two thousand or even three thousand years."
Realpolitik tempered many of Churchill's public statements, but never diluted his faith in Israel's cause.
Dore Gold '75CC, '84GSAS served as Israel's ambassador to the United Nations from 1997 through 1999. He heads the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
Lenni Brenner is the author of Zionism in the Age of the Dictators. He can be reached at BrennerL21@aol.com
from Zmag :
Date: 16 March 2009
Subject: The coming dysfunction of the so-called "Israel Lobby" in the United States.
Robert Dreyfuss's ZSpace Page
Is the Israeli Lobby Running Scared?
Or Killing a Chicken to Scare Monkeys
by Robert Dreyfuss
A United Nations human rights investigator said on Thursday that Israel's offensive against Hamas in densely populated Gaza appeared to constitute a war crime of the "greatest magnitude."
Is the Israel lobby in Washington an all-powerful force? Or is it, perhaps, running scared?
Judging by the outcome of the Charles W. ("Chas") Freeman affair this week, it might seem as if the Israeli lobby is fearsome indeed. Seen more broadly, however, the controversy over Freeman could be the Israel lobby's Waterloo.
Let's recap. On February 19th, Laura Rozen reported at ForeignPolicy.com that Freeman had been selected by Admiral Dennis Blair, the director of national intelligence, to serve in a key post as chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC). The NIC, the official in-house think tank of the intelligence community, takes input from 16 intelligence agencies and produces what are called "national intelligence estimates" on crucial topics of the day as guidance for Washington policymakers. For that job, Freeman boasted a stellar resumé: fluent in Mandarin Chinese, widely experienced in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War, and an ex-assistant secretary of defense during the Reagan administration.
A wry, outspoken iconoclast, Freeman had, however, crossed one of Washington's red lines by virtue of his strong criticism of the U.S.-Israeli relationship. Over the years, he had, in fact, honed a critique of Israel that was both eloquent and powerful. Hours after the Foreign Policy story was posted, Steve Rosen, a former official of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), launched what would soon become a veritable barrage of criticism of Freeman on his right-wing blog.
Rosen himself has already been indicted by the Department of Justice in an espionage scandal over the transfer of classified information to outside parties involving a colleague at AIPAC, a former official in Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon, and an official at the Israeli embassy. His blog, Obama Mideast Monitor, is hosted by the Middle East Forum website run by Daniel Pipes, a hard-core, pro-Israeli rightist, whose Middle East Quarterly is, in turn, edited by Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute. Over approximately two weeks, Rosen would post 19 pieces on the Freeman story.
The essence of Rosen's criticism centered on the former ambassador's strongly worded critique of Israel. (That was no secret. Freeman had repeatedly denounced many of Israel's policies and Washington's too-close relationship with Jerusalem. "The brutal oppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli occupation shows no sign of ending," said Freeman in 2007. "American identification with Israel has become total.") But Rosen, and those who followed his lead, broadened their attacks to make unfounded or exaggerated claims, taking quotes and emails out of context, and accusing Freeman of being a pro-Arab "lobbyist," of being too closely identified with Saudi Arabia, and of being cavalier about China's treatment of dissidents. They tried to paint the sober, conservative former U.S. official as a wild-eyed radical, an anti-Semite, and a pawn of the Saudi king.
From Rosen's blog, the anti-Freeman vitriol spread to other right-wing, Zionist, and neoconservative blogs, then to the websites of neocons mouthpieces like the New Republic, Commentary, National Review, and the Weekly Standard, which referred to Freeman as a "Saudi puppet." From there, it would spread to the Atlantic and then to the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal, where Gabriel Schoenfeld called Freeman a "China-coddling Israel basher," and the Washington Post, where Jonathan Chait of the New Republic labeled Freeman a "fanatic."
Before long, staunch partisans for Israel on Capitol Hill were getting into the act. These would, in the end, include Representative Steve Israel and Senator Charles Schumer, both New York Democrats; a group of Republican House members led by John Boehner of Ohio, the minority leader, and Eric Cantor of Virginia, the Republican Whip; seven Republican members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence; and, finally, Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who engaged in a sharp exchange with Admiral Blair about Freeman at a Senate hearing.
Though Blair strongly defended Freeman, the two men got no support from an anxious White House, which took (politely put) a hands-off approach. Seeing the writing on the wall -- all over the wall, in fact -- Freeman came to the conclusion that, even if he could withstand the storm, his ability to do the job had, in effect, already been torpedoed. Whatever output the National Intelligence Council might produce under his leadership, as Freeman told me in an interview, would instantly be attacked. "Anything that it produced that was politically controversial would immediately be attributed to me as some sort of political deviant, and be discredited," he said.
On March 10th, Freeman bowed out, but not with a whimper. In a letter to friends and colleagues, he launched a defiant, departing counterstrike that may, in fact, have helped to change the very nature of Washington politics. "The tactics of the Israel lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth," wrote Freeman. "The aim of this lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views."
Freeman put it more metaphorically to me: "It was a nice way of, as the Chinese say, killing a chicken to scare the monkeys." By destroying his appointment, Freeman claimed, the Israel lobby hoped to intimidate other critics of Israel and U.S. Middle East policy who might seek jobs in the Obama administration.
On Triumphs, Hysterias, and Mobs
It remains to be seen just how many "monkeys" are trembling. Certainly, the Israel lobby crowed in triumph. Daniel Pipes, for instance, quickly praised Rosen's role in bringing down Freeman:
"What you may not know is that Steven J. Rosen of the Middle East Forum was the person who first brought attention to the problematic nature of Freeman's appointment," wrote Pipes. "Within hours, the word was out, and three weeks later Freeman has conceded defeat. Only someone with Steve's stature and credibility could have made this happen."
The Zionist Organization of America, a far-right advocacy group that supports Israel, sent out follow-up Action Alerts to its membership, ringing further alarm bells about Freeman as part of a campaign to mobilize public opinion and Congress. Behind the scenes, AIPAC quietly used its considerable clout, especially with friends and allies in the media. And Chuck Schumer, who had trotted over to the White House to talk to Rahm Emanuel, President Obama's chief of staff, later said bluntly:
"Charles Freeman was the wrong guy for this position. His statements against Israel were way over the top and severely out of step with the administration. I repeatedly urged the White House to reject him, and I am glad they did the right thing."
Numerous reporters, including Max Blumenthal at the Daily Beast website and Spencer Ackerman of Firedoglake, have effectively documented the role of the Israel lobby, including AIPAC, in sabotaging Freeman's appointment. From their accounts and others, it seems clear that the lobby left its fingerprints all over Freeman's National Intelligence Council corpse. (Indeed, Time's Joe Klein described the attack on Freeman as an "assassination," adding that the term "lobby" doesn't do justice to the methods of the various lobbying groups, individuals, and publications: "He was the victim of a mob, not a lobby. The mob was composed primarily of Jewish neoconservatives.")
On the other hand, the Washington Post, in a near-hysterical editorial, decided to pretend that the Israel lobby really doesn't exist, accusing Freeman instead of sending out a "crackpot tirade." Huffed the Post, "Mr. Freeman issued a two-page screed on Tuesday in which he described himself as the victim of a shadowy and sinister 'Lobby'... His statement was a grotesque libel."
The Post's case might have been stronger, had it not, just one day earlier, printed an editorial in which it called on Attorney General Eric Holder to exonerate Steve Rosen and drop the espionage case against him. Entitled "Time to Call It Quits," the editorial said:
"The matter involves Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, two former officials for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC... A trial has been scheduled for June in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Mr. Holder should pull the plug on this prosecution long before then."
In his interview with me, Freeman noted the propensity members of the Israel lobby have for denying the lobby's existence, even while taking credit for having forced him out and simultaneously claiming that they had nothing to do with it. "We're now at the ludicrous stage where those who boasted of having done it and who described how they did it are now denying that they did it," he said.
The Israel lobby has regularly denied its own existence even as it has long carried on with its work, in stealth as in the bright sunlight. In retrospect, however, l'affaire Freeman may prove a game changer. It has already sparked a new, more intense mainstream focus on the lobby, one that far surpasses the flap that began in March, 2006, over the publication of an essay by John Mearsheimer and Steven Walt in the London Review of Books that was, in 2007, expanded into a book, The Israel Lobby. In fact, one of the sins committed by Freeman, according to his critics, is that an organization he headed, the Middle East Policy Council, published an early version of the Mearsheimer-Walt thesis -- which argued that a powerful, pro-Israel coalition exercises undue influence over American policymakers -- in its journal.
In his blog at Foreign Policy, Walt reacted to Freeman's decision to withdraw by writing:
"For all of you out there who may have questioned whether there was a powerful 'Israel lobby,' or who admitted that it existed but didn't think it had much influence, or who thought that the real problem was some supposedly all-powerful 'Saudi lobby,' think again."
What the Freeman affair brought was unwanted, often front-page attention to the lobby. Writers at countless blogs and websites -- including yours truly, at the Dreyfuss Report -- dissected or reported on the lobby's assault on Freeman, including Daniel Luban and Jim Lobe at Antiwar.com, Glenn Greenwald in his Salon.com column, M.J. Rosenberg of the Israel Peace Forum, and Phil Weiss at Mondoweiss. Far more striking, however, is that for the first time in memory, both the New York Times and the Washington Post ran page-one stories about the Freeman controversy that specifically used the phrase "Israel lobby," while detailing the charges and countercharges that followed upon Freeman's claim that the lobby did him in.
This new attention to the lobby's work comes at a critical moment, which is why the toppling of Freeman might be its Waterloo.
As a start, right-wing partisans of Israel have grown increasingly anxious about the direction that President Obama intends to take when it comes to U.S. policy toward Israel, the Palestinians, Iran, and the Middle East generally. Despite the way, in the middle of the presidential campaign last June, Obama recited a pro-Israeli catechism in a speech at AIPAC's national conference in Washington, they remain unconvinced that he will prove reliable on their policy concerns. Among other things, they have long been suspicious of his reputed openness to Palestinian points of view.
No less important, while the appointments of Hillary Clinton as his secretary of state and Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff were reassuring, other appointments were far less so. They were, for instance, concerned by several of Obama's campaign advisers -- and not only Robert Malley of the International Crisis Group and former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, who were quietly eased out of Obamaland early in 2008. An additional source of worry was Daniel Shapiro and Daniel Kurtzer, both Jewish, who served as Obama's top Middle East aides during the campaign and were seen as not sufficiently loyal to the causes favored by hardline, right-wing types.
Since the election, many lobby members have viewed a number of Obama's top appointments, including Shapiro, who's taken the Middle East portfolio at the National Security Council, and Kurtzer, who's in line for a top State Department job, with great unease. Take retired Marine general and now National Security Advisor James L. Jones, who, like Brzezinski, is seen as too sympathetic to the Palestinian point of view and who reputedly wrote a report last year highly critical of Israel's occupation policies; or consider George Mitchell, the U.S. special envoy to the Middle East, who is regarded by many pro-Israeli hawks as far too level-headed and even-handed to be a good mediator; or, to mention one more appointment, Samantha Power, author of A Problem from Hell and now a National Security Council official who has, in the past, made comments sharply critical of Israel.
Of all of these figures, Freeman, because of his record of blunt statements, was the most vulnerable. His appointment looked like low-hanging fruit when it came to launching a concerted, preemptive attack on the administration. As it happens, however, this may prove anything but a moment of strength for the lobby. After all, the recent three-week Israeli assault on Gaza had already generated a barrage of headlines and television images that made Israel look like a bully nation with little regard for Palestinian lives, including those of women and children. According to polls taken in the wake of Gaza, growing numbers of Americans, including many in the Jewish community, have begun to exhibit doubts about Israel's actions, a rare moment when public opinion has begun to tilt against Israel.
Perhaps most important of all, Israel is about to be run by an extremist, ultra right-wing government led by Likud Party leader Bibi Netanyahu, and including the even more extreme party of Avigdor Lieberman, as well as a host of radical-right religious parties. It's an ugly coalition that is guaranteed to clash with the priorities of the Obama White House.
As a result, the arrival of the Netanyahu-Lieberman government is also guaranteed to prove a crisis moment for the Israel lobby. It will present an enormous public-relations problem, akin to the one that faced ad agency Hill & Knowlton during the decades in which it had to defend Philip Morris, the hated cigarette company that repeatedly denied the link between its products and cancer. The Israel lobby knows that it will be difficult to sell cartons of menthol smooth Netanyahu-Lieberman 100s to American consumers.
Indeed, Freeman told me:
"The only thing I regret is that in my statement I embraced the term 'Israel lobby.' This isn't really a lobby by, for, or about Israel. It's really, well, I've decided I'm going to call it from now on the [Avigdor] Lieberman lobby. It's the very right-wing Likud in Israel and its fanatic supporters here. And Avigdor Lieberman is really the guy that they really agree with."
So here's the reality behind the Freeman debacle: Already worried over Team Obama, suffering the after-effects of the Gaza debacle, and about to be burdened with the Netanyahu-Lieberman problem, the Israel lobby is undoubtedly running scared. They succeeded in knocking off Freeman, but the true test of their strength is yet to come.
Robert Dreyfuss is an independent investigative journalist in Alexandria, Virginia. He is a regular contributor to Rolling Stone, the Nation, the American Prospect, Mother Jones, and the Washington Monthly. He is also the author of Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam (Henry Holt/Metropolitan). He writes the Dreyfuss Report blog for the Nation magazine.
[This article first appeared on Tomdispatch.com, a weblog of the Nation Institute, which offers a steady flow of alternate sources, news, and opinion from Tom Engelhardt, long time editor in publishing, co-founder of the American Empire Project, author of The End of Victory Culture, and editor of The World According to Tomdispatch: America in the New Age of Empire.]
from Information Clearing House :
Date: 20 March 2009
Subject: Israeli Crimes Against Humanity in Gaza.
March 20, 2009 " Haaretz"
UN Envoy: Gaza Op Seems to be War Crime of Greatest Magnitude
Richard Falk, UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, said the Geneva Conventions required warring forces to distinguish between military targets and surrounding civilians.
"If it is not possible to do so, then launching the attacks is inherently unlawful and would seem to constitute a war crime of the greatest magnitude under international law," Falk said.
"On the basis of the preliminary evidence available, there is reason to reach this conclusion," he wrote in an annual report submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Falk called for an independent experts group to be set up to probe possible war crimes committed by both Israeli forces and Hamas.
Violations included Israel's alleged "targeting of schools, mosques and ambulances" during the December 27-January 18 offensive and its use of weapons including white phosphorus, as well as Hamas firing of rockets at civilian targets in southern Israel.
Falk said that Israel's blockade of the coastal strip of 1.5 million people violated the Geneva Conventions, which he said suggested further war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity.
The aggression was not legally justified and may represent a "crime against peace" - a principle established at the Nuremberg trials of Nazi criminals, according to the American law professor who serves as the Human Rights Council's independent investigator.
from Information Clearling House :
Date: 20 March 2009
Subject: More on Israeli Crimes in Gaza.
March 20, 2009 " The Independent"
Israel's Dirty Secrets in Gaza
[Army veterans reveal how they gunned down innocent Palestinian families and destroyed homes and farms.]
by Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
Israel was last night confronting a major challenge over the conduct of its 22-day military offensive in Gaza after testimonies by its own soldiers revealed that troops were allowed and, in some cases, even ordered to shoot unarmed Palestinian civilians.
The testimonies – the first of their kind to emerge from inside the military – are at marked variance with official claims that the military made strenuous efforts to avoid civilian casualties and tend to corroborate Palestinian accusations that troops used indiscriminate and disproportionate firepower in civilian areas during the operation. In one of the testimonies shedding harsh new light on what the soldiers say were the permissive rules of engagement for Operation Cast Lead, one soldier describes how an officer ordered the shooting of an elderly woman 100 metres from a house commandeered by troops.
Another soldier, describing how a mother and her children were shot dead by a sniper after they turned the wrong way out of a house, says the "atmosphere" among troops was that the lives of Palestinians were "very, very less important than the lives of our soldiers".
A squad leader said: "At the beginning the directive was to enter a house with an armoured vehicle, to break the door down, to start shooting inside and – I call it murder – to shoot at everyone we identify. In the beginning I asked myself how could this make sense? Higher-ups said it is permissible because everyone left in the city [Gaza City] is culpable because they didn't run away."
The accounts, which also describe apparently indiscriminate destruction of property, were given at a post-operation discussion by graduates of the Yitzhak Rabin pre-military course at the Oranim Academic College in northern Israel. The transcript of the session in front of the head of the course – details from which were published by the newspaper Haaretz – prompted the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) military advocate general Avichai Mendelblit yesterday to announce a military police investigation into the claims. Haaretz said the airing of the "dirty secrets" would make it more difficult for Israelis to dismiss the claims as Palestinian propaganda. The course principal, Danny Zamir, told the newspaper that after being "shocked" by the testimonies on 13 February he told the IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi he "feared a serious moral failure" in the IDF.
In one account, an infantry squad leader describes how troops released a family who had been held in a room of their house for several days. He said: "The platoon commander let the family go and told them to go to the right. One mother and her two children didn't understand and went to the left, but they forgot to tell the sharpshooter on the roof they had let them go and it was okay... The sharpshooter saw a woman and children approaching him. He shot them straight away. I don't think he felt too bad about it, because, as far as he was concerned, he did his job according to the orders he was given. And the atmosphere in general, from what I understood from most of my men who I talked to, the lives of Palestinians, let's say, is something very, very less important than the lives of our soldiers."
A second squad leader, who described the killing of the elderly woman, says he argued with his commander over loose rules of engagement that allowed the clearing out of houses by shooting without warning residents beforehand. After the orders were changed, soldiers had complained that "we should kill everyone there [in the centre of Gaza]. Everyone there is a terrorist." The squad leader said: "To write 'death to the Arabs' on walls, to take family pictures and spit on them, just because you can. I think this is the main thing: To understand how much the IDF has fallen in the realm of ethics."
Ehud Barak, Israel's Defence Minister, said: "I say to you that from the chief of staff down to the last soldier, the most moral army in the world stands ready to take orders from the government of Israel. I have no doubt that every incident will be individually examined."
But Israeli human rights organisations, including B'Tselem and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, called for an independent investigation and complained that the military police inquiry had only been announced after Haaretz published the story, "three weeks after the relevant materials reached the Chief of the General Staff. This tardiness follows a pattern of failures to investigate suspicions of serious crimes".
Amos Harel, the paper's respected military correspondent who broke the story, wrote that Mr Zamir was sentenced in 1990 for refusing to guard a settlers' ceremony at Joseph's tomb in the West Bank. But he added that a reading of the transcript shows that Mr Zamir "acts out of a deep concern for the spirit of the IDF".
In their own words: Soldiers' stories
Squad leader Aviv
"At the beginning the directive was to enter a house with an armoured vehicle, to break the door down, to start shooting inside and to ascend floor by floor and – I call it murder – to go from floor to floor and to shoot at everyone we identify. In the beginning I asked myself how could this make sense? Higher-ups said it is permissible because everyone left in the city [Gaza City] is culpable because they didn't run away. This frightened me a bit. I tried to influence it as much as possible, despite my low rank, to change it. In the end the directive was to go into a house, switch on loudspeakers and tell them 'you have five minutes to run away and whoever doesn't will be killed'."
"There was an order to free the [confined] families. The platoon commander set free the family and told them to turn right. A mother and two children didn't understand and turned left. [Officers] had forgotten to tell the sniper on the roof that they were being set free and that everything was okay and he should hold fire. You can say that he acted as he was supposed to, in accordance with the orders. The sniper saw a woman and children approaching him, past lines that no one was to be allowed to cross. He fired directly at them. I don't know if he fired at their legs but in the end he killed them."
From Edward Herman :
Date: 21 March 2009
Subject: Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques - IDF fashion 2009.
You won't see anything like this Haaretz piece in the NYT. Question remains, is there any limit on what Israel does that would cause the Enlightened States to interfere with its ethnic cleansing-and-beyond process? This may be subjected to a new test with the incoming of a really rightwing government to displace the moderates!
The office at the Adiv fabric-printing shop in south Tel Aviv handles a constant stream of customers, many of them soldiers in uniform, who come to order custom clothing featuring their unit's insignia, usually accompanied by a slogan and drawing of their choosing. Elsewhere on the premises, the sketches are turned into plates used for imprinting the ordered items, mainly T-shirts and baseball caps, but also hoodies, fleece jackets and pants. A young Arab man from Jaffa supervises the workers who imprint the words and pictures, and afterward hands over the finished product.
Dead babies, mothers weeping on their children's graves, a gun aimed at a child and bombed-out mosques - these are a few examples of the images Israel Defense Forces soldiers design these days to print on shirts they order to mark the end of training, or of field duty. The slogans accompanying the drawings are not exactly anemic either: A T-shirt for infantry snipers bears the inscription "Better use Durex," next to a picture of a dead Palestinian baby, with his weeping mother and a teddy bear beside him. A sharpshooter's T-shirt from the Givati Brigade's Shaked battalion shows a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull's-eye superimposed on her belly, with the slogan, in English, "1 shot, 2 kills." A "graduation" shirt for those who have completed another snipers course depicts a Palestinian baby, who grows into a combative boy and then an armed adult, with the inscription, "No matter how it begins, we'll put an end to it."
There are also plenty of shirts with blatant sexual messages. For example, the Lavi battalion produced a shirt featuring a drawing of a soldier next to a young woman with bruises, and the slogan, "Bet you got raped!" A few of the images underscore actions whose existence the army officially denies - such as "confirming the kill" (shooting a bullet into an enemy victim's head from close range, to ensure he is dead), or harming religious sites, or female or child non-combatants. In many cases, the content is submitted for approval to one of the unit's commanders. The latter, however, do not always have control over what gets printed, because the artwork is a private initiative of soldiers that they never hear about. Drawings or slogans previously banned in certain units have been approved for distribution elsewhere. For example, shirts declaring, "We won't chill 'til we confirm the kill" were banned in the past (the IDF claims that the practice doesn't exist), yet the Haruv battalion printed some last year.
The slogan "Let every Arab mother know that her son's fate is in my hands!" had previously been banned for use on another infantry unit's shirt. A Givati soldier said this week, however, that at the end of last year, his platoon printed up dozens of shirts, fleece jackets and pants bearing this slogan.
"It has a drawing depicting a soldier as the Angel of Death, next to a gun and an Arab town," he explains. "The text was very powerful. The funniest part was that when our soldier came to get the shirts, the man who printed them was an Arab, and the soldier felt so bad that he told the girl at the counter to bring them to him."
Does the design go to the commanders for approval?
The Givati soldier: "Usually the shirts undergo a selection process by some officer, but in this case, they were approved at the level of platoon sergeant. We ordered shirts for 30 soldiers and they were really into it, and everyone wanted several items and paid NIS 200 on average."
What do you think of the slogan that was printed?
"I didn't like it so much, but most of the soldiers wanted it."
Many controversial shirts have been ordered by graduates of snipers courses, which bring together soldiers from various units. In 2006, soldiers from the "Carmon Team" course for elite-unit marksmen printed a shirt with a drawing of a knife-wielding Palestinian in the crosshairs of a gun sight, and the slogan, "You've got to run fast, run fast, run fast, before it's all over." Below is a drawing of Arab women weeping over a grave and the words: "And afterward they cry, and afterward they cry." [The inscriptions are riffs on a popular song.] Another sniper's shirt also features an Arab man in the crosshairs, and the announcement, "Everything is with the best of intentions."
G., a soldier in an elite unit who has done a snipers course, explained that, "it's a type of bonding process, and also it's well known that anyone who is a sniper is messed up in the head. Our shirts have a lot of double entendres, for example: 'Bad people with good aims.' Every group that finishes a course puts out stuff like that."
When are these shirts worn?
G. "These are shirts for around the house, for jogging, in the army. Not for going out. Sometimes people will ask you what it's about."
Of the shirt depicting a bull's-eye on a pregnant woman, he said: "There are people who think it's not right, and I think so as well, but it doesn't really mean anything. I mean it's not like someone is gonna go and shoot a pregnant woman."
What is the idea behind the shirt from July 2007, which has an image of a child with the slogan "Smaller - harder!"?
"It's a kid, so you've got a little more of a problem, morally, and also the target is smaller."
Do your superiors approve the shirts before printing?
"Yes, although one time they rejected some shirt that was too extreme. I don't remember what was on it."
These shirts also seem pretty extreme. Why draw crosshairs over a child - do you shoot kids?
'We came, we saw'
"As a sniper, you get a lot of extreme situations. You suddenly see a small boy who picks up a weapon and it's up to you to decide whether to shoot. These shirts are half-facetious, bordering on the truth, and they reflect the extreme situations you might encounter. The one who-honest-to-God sees the target with his own eyes - that's the sniper."
Have you encountered a situation like that?
"Fortunately, not involving a kid, but involving a woman - yes. There was someone who wasn't holding a weapon, but she was near a prohibited area and could have posed a threat."
What did you do?
"I didn't take it" (i.e., shoot).
You don't regret that, I imagine.
"No. Whomever I had to shoot, I shot."
A shirt printed up just this week for soldiers of the Lavi battalion, who spent three years in the West Bank, reads: "We came, we saw, we destroyed!" - alongside images of weapons, an angry soldier and a Palestinian village with a ruined mosque in the center.
A shirt printed after Operation Cast Lead in Gaza for Battalion 890 of the Paratroops depicts a King Kong-like soldier in a city under attack. The slogan is unambiguous: "If you believe it can be fixed, then believe it can be destroyed!"
Y., a soldier/yeshiva student, designed the shirt. "You take whoever [in the unit] knows how to draw and then you give it to the commanders before printing," he explained.
What is the soldier holding in his hand?
Y. "A mosque. Before I drew the shirt I had some misgivings, because I wanted it to be like King Kong, but not too monstrous. The one holding the mosque - I wanted him to have a more normal-looking face, so it wouldn't look like an anti-Semitic cartoon. Some of the people who saw it told me, 'Is that what you've got to show for the IDF? That it destroys homes?' I can understand people who look at this from outside and see it that way, but I was in Gaza and they kept emphasizing that the object of the operation was to wreak destruction on the infrastructure, so that the price the Palestinians and the leadership pay will make them realize that it isn't worth it for them to go on shooting. So that's the idea of 'we're coming to destroy' in the drawing."
According to Y., most of these shirts are worn strictly in an army context, not in civilian life. "And within the army people look at it differently," he added. "I don't think I would walk down the street in this shirt, because it would draw fire. Even at my yeshiva I don't think people would like it."
Y. also came up with a design for the shirt his unit printed at the end of basic training. It shows a clenched fist shattering the symbol of the Paratroops Corps.
Where does the fist come from?
"It's reminiscent of [Rabbi Meir] Kahane's symbol. I borrowed it from an emblem for something in Russia, but basically it's supposed to look like Kahane's symbol, the one from 'Kahane Was Right' - it's a sort of joke. Our company commander is kind of gung-ho."
Was the shirt printed?
"Yes. It was a company shirt. We printed about 100 like that."
This past January, the "Night Predators" demolitions platoon from Golani's Battalion 13 ordered a T-shirt showing a Golani devil detonating a charge that destroys a mosque. An inscription above it says, "Only God forgives."
One of the soldiers in the platoon downplays it: "It doesn't mean much, it's just a T-shirt from our platoon. It's not a big deal. A friend of mine drew a picture and we made it into a shirt."
What's the idea behind "Only God forgives"?
The soldier: "It's just a saying."
No one had a problem with the fact that a mosque gets blown up in the picture?
"I don't see what you're getting at. I don't like the way you're going with this. Don't take this somewhere you're not supposed to, as though we hate Arabs."
After Operation Cast Lead, soldiers from that battalion printed a T-shirt depicting a vulture sexually penetrating Hamas' prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, accompanied by a particularly graphic slogan. S., a soldier in the platoon that ordered the shirt, said the idea came from a similar shirt, printed after the Second Lebanon War, that featured Hassan Nasrallah instead of Haniyeh.
"They don't okay things like that at the company level. It's a shirt we put out just for the platoon," S. explained.
What's the problem with this shirt?
S.: "It bothers some people to see these things, from a religious standpoint ..."
How did people who saw it respond?
"We don't have that many Orthodox people in the platoon, so it wasn't a problem. It's just something the guys want to put out. It's more for wearing around the house, and not within the companies, because it bothers people. The Orthodox mainly. The officers tell us it's best not to wear shirts like this on the base."
The sketches printed in recent years at the Adiv factory, one of the largest of its kind in the country, are arranged in drawers according to the names of the units placing the orders: Paratroops, Golani, air force, sharpshooters and so on. Each drawer contains hundreds of drawings, filed by year. Many of the prints are cartoons and slogans relating to life in the unit, or inside jokes that outsiders wouldn't get (and might not care to, either), but a handful reflect particular aggressiveness, violence and vulgarity.
Print-shop manager Haim Yisrael, who has worked there since the early 1980s, said Adiv prints around 1,000 different patterns each month, with soldiers accounting for about half. Yisrael recalled that when he started out, there were hardly any orders from the army.
"The first ones to do it were from the Nahal brigade," he said. "Later on other infantry units started printing up shirts, and nowadays any course with 15 participants prints up shirts."
From time to time, officers complain. "Sometimes the soldiers do things that are inside jokes that only they get, and sometimes they do something foolish that they take to an extreme," Yisrael explained. "There have been a few times when commanding officers called and said, 'How can you print things like that for soldiers?' For example, with shirts that trashed the Arabs too much. I told them it's a private company, and I'm not interested in the content. I can print whatever I like. We're neutral. There have always been some more extreme and some less so. It's just that now more people are making shirts."
Race to be unique
Evyatar Ben-Tzedef, a research associate at the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism and former editor of the IDF publication Maarachot, said the phenomenon of custom-made T-shirts is a product of "the infantry's insane race to be unique. I, for example, had only one shirt that I received after the Yom Kippur War. It said on it, 'The School for Officers,' and that was it. What happened since then is a product of the decision to assign every unit an emblem and a beret. After all, there used to be very few berets: black, red or green. This changed in the 1990s. [The shirts] developed because of the fact that for bonding purposes, each unit created something that was unique to it.
"These days the content on shirts is sometimes deplorable," Ben-Tzedef explained. "It stems from the fact that profanity is very acceptable and normative in Israel, and that there is a lack of respect for human beings and their environment, which includes racism aimed in every direction."
Yossi Kaufman, who moderates the army and defense forum on the Web site Fresh, served in the Armored Corps from 1996 to 1999. "I also drew shirts, and I remember the first one," he said. "It had a small emblem on the front and some inside joke, like, 'When we die, we'll go to heaven, because we've already been through hell.'"
Kaufman has also been exposed to T-shirts of the sort described here. "I know there are shirts like these," he says. "I've heard and also seen a little. These are not shirts that soldiers can wear in civilian life, because they would get stoned, nor at a battalion get-together, because the battalion commander would be pissed off. They wear them on very rare occasions. There's all sorts of black humor stuff, mainly from snipers, such as, 'Don't bother running because you'll die tired' - with a drawing of a Palestinian boy, not a terrorist. There's a Golani or Givati shirt of a soldier raping a girl, and underneath it says, 'No virgins, no terror attacks.' I laughed, but it was pretty awful. When I was asked once to draw things like that, I said it wasn't appropriate."
The IDF Spokesman's Office comments on the phenomenon: "Military regulations do not apply to civilian clothing, including shirts produced at the end of basic training and various courses. The designs are printed at the soldiers' private initiative, and on civilian shirts. The examples raised by Haaretz are not in keeping with the values of the IDF spirit, not representative of IDF life, and are in poor taste. Humor of this kind deserves every condemnation and excoriation. The IDF intends to take action for the immediate eradication of this phenomenon. To this end, it is emphasizing to commanding officers that it is appropriate, among other things, to take discretionary and disciplinary measures against those involved in acts of this sort."
Shlomo Tzipori, a lieutenant colonel in the reserves and a lawyer specializing in martial law, said the army does bring soldiers up on charges for offenses that occur outside the base and during their free time. According to Tzipori, slogans that constitute an "insult to the army or to those in uniform" are grounds for court-martial, on charges of "shameful conduct" or "disciplinary infraction," which are general clauses in judicial martial law.
Sociologist Dr. Orna Sasson-Levy, of Bar-Ilan University, author of "Identities in Uniform: Masculinities and Femininities in the Israeli Military," said that the phenomenon is "part of a radicalization process the entire country is undergoing, and the soldiers are at its forefront. I think that ever since the second intifada there has been a continual shift to the right. The pullout from Gaza and its outcome - the calm that never arrived - led to a further shift rightward.
"This tendency is most strikingly evident among soldiers who encounter various situations in the territories on a daily basis. There is less meticulousness than in the past, and increasing callousness. There is a perception that the Palestinian is not a person, a human being entitled to basic rights, and therefore anything may be done to him."
Could the printing of clothing be viewed also as a means of venting aggression?
Sasson-Levy: "No. I think it strengthens and stimulates aggression and legitimizes it. What disturbs me is that a shirt is something that has permanence. The soldiers later wear it in civilian life; their girlfriends wear it afterward. It is not a statement, but rather something physical that remains, that is out there in the world. Beyond that, I think the link made between sexist views and nationalist views, as in the 'Screw Haniyeh' shirt, is interesting. National chauvinism and gender chauvinism combine and strengthen one another. It establishes a masculinity shaped by violent aggression toward women and Arabs; a masculinity that considers it legitimate to speak in a crude and violent manner toward women and Arabs."
Col. (res.) Ron Levy began his military service in the Sayeret Matkal elite commando force before the Six-Day War. He was the IDF's chief psychologist, and headed the army's mental health department in the 1980s.
Levy: "I'm familiar with things of this sort going back 40, 50 years, and each time they take a different form. Psychologically speaking, this is one of the ways in which soldiers project their anger, frustration and violence. It is a certain expression of things, which I call 'below the belt.'"
Do you think this a good way to vent anger?
Levy: "It's safe. But there are also things here that deviate from the norm, and you could say that whoever is creating these things has reached some level of normality. He gives expression to the fact that what is considered abnormal today might no longer be so tomorrow."
from Marwen Rahif :
Date: 22 March 2009
Subject : Israel's terrorism translated into fashion.
Dear Mr Feeley,
The use of behaviorist psychological techniques in training soldiers is a very common and effective technique to produce merciless killing machines.
Uri Blau's article, "Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques - IDF fashion 2009 " (see item H. above from Ed Herman) is a very good demonstration of the "excelling aspect" of the Israeli army in the use of such techniques. Below is a discussion between two of my friends taking very different stances on this issue.
When fashions reflects Israel's TERRORISM !!!!
Gaetano Bresci, à 20:49 le 23 mars
I don't have time to read the entire post right now, I promise I will later but let me just say that Israel wouldn't bomb Mosques if Hamas didn't use them as weapons depots
Amal Hliwi, à 20:54 le 23 mars
yeah right !! funny, but never mind, that's just one minor episode in the Israeli Crime history
but DO plz read the Geneva Convention relative to Civilian pple !!
Gaetano Bresci, à 20:56 le 23 mars
Amal, the Geneva convention states that when a religious site is used as a weapons store house or a military base, it loses its protected status.
Mosques that have weapons or Hamas fighters in them are not protected
Amal Hliwi, à 20:59 le 23 mars
r u serious, ur reading a different Convention my dear, trust me, i have it right in front of me, any way there is nthg that justifies this savage killing, u said that b4 !!!!
by the way, the article is not abt the killing itself, it's rather abt the soldeirs bragging about it !!!!!!
Doghmani Houssem, à 21:26 le 23 mars
useless to talk, everybody know
Racism and hypocrisy are the initiations of Zionism it's creation !!!!!!
but the problem now it 's, how to deal with all this in a legal order ????
no way ,hence the required breakthrough acts !!!
Amal Hliwi, à 21:30 le 23 mars
Don't worry Houssem, legal procedures are being prepared for those war criminals, when french and british lawyers decide to join the prosecutions, then it's getting serious !!
Doghmani Houssem, à 21:40 le 23 mars
Don't forget Amal ,that they were the ones who are causing the current situation since 1944 ;History speaking itself
Amal Hliwi, à 21:41 le 23 mars
yeah, well, we know, the rest of the world shall know some day !
Doghmani Houssem, à 21:44 le 23 mars
exactly , media can be the source of the remedy !!!
Gaetano Bresci, à 21:48 le 23 mars
Acts of hostility towards places of worship in international conflicts are prohibited. Places of worship may not be used in support of the military effort, and they cannot be the objects of reprisals. (Protocol I, Art. 53)
Hamas also breaches the Geneva convention by fighting from amongst the civilian population:
Feigning of civilian or non-combatant status is perfidy and prohibited by the Geneva Conventions. (Protocol I. Art. 37, Sec. 1)
Gaetano Bresci, à 21:49 le 23 mars
Hamas and the PLO have, on more than one occasion, used ambulances to launch attacks or to transport weapons and fighters.
Medical units may not be used to commit acts harmful to the enemy. If they do, they lose their protections under the Geneva Conventions after due warning has been given and a reasonable time limit has passed. (Convention I, Art. 21)
Amal Hliwi, à 21:52 le 23 mars
so, where is the phrase that says the army can target these places, even if they r used as a shelter ?? u know better my friend !!
HAMAS ??? how? by shooting some home made rockets every now nd then??? looooool, great balance of powers and comparisons !
Who's feigning what ?? u can never tell ! but what i DO know, is that those bastards are not only criminals but inhuman, braging abt their crimes and inciting violence !!
Gaetano Bresci, à 21:52 le 23 mars
In international conflicts, guerrillas must distinguish themselves from the civilian population if they are preparing or engaged in an attack. At a minimum, guerrillas must carry their arms openly. (Protocol I, Art. 44, Sec. 3)
Hamas doesn't always do that.
In the case of an internal conflict, combatants must show humane treatment to civilians and enemies who have been wounded or who have surrendered. Murder, hostage-taking and extrajudicial executions are all forbidden. (Convention I, Art. 3)... Lire la suite
I seem to remember Hamas throwing captured Fatah members off the tops of buildings. Hamas are guilty of extra-judicial executions, although I must admit so is Israel, but it confuses me that Palestinians support Hamas and Fatah and the PLO, all of whom execute their fellow Palestinians in even greater numbers than Israel.
Gaetano Bresci, à 21:55 le 23 mars
Also, don't claim that Israel practices Apartheid, as there are Arab members of the Israeli Knesset, who regularly vote in favour of the Palestinian cause. The Apartheid argument is blown apart by that single piece of information.
The genocide argument is also false. If Israel, owner of one of the worlds most powerful armies and backed by the U.S... Lire la suite, was perpetrating a deliberate genocide against the Palestinians, why has the Palestinian population increased by 30% over the past decade? Israel must be pretty bad at what they do...
Amal Hliwi, à 21:57 le 23 mars
remember ?? lool, how? were u there? well, no my friend, that was a stupid civil clash, a flaw in the palestinian strategy
As for the Geneva convention, it's clear who's targeting whom, Israel is clearly targeting civilians, they even bombarded the UNRUA schools with dime, all the world saw that, as for HAMAS using civilians, these r just .... Lire la suitesepculations, am pretty sure they would not do that !
As for statistics, seems like ur weak point my friend, inner clashes betw palestenians did not kill 1/1000 of what Israel is massacring, just lately 5000 in gaza, not to mention the successive massacres !!
Amal Hliwi, à 21:59 le 23 mars
and by the way, detainees without trials are by thousands in the Isreali prisons so, Shalit is a one pathetic case of hostage compared to the prisons stuffed with palestinians !!!
Doghmani Houssem, à 22:00 le 23 mars
all excludes , imagine that someone has taken your past and your future ...
no more reason, more logic ;dear !!!!
Gaetano Bresci, à 22:04 le 23 mars
What, exactly, makes it "clear' that Israel is targeting civilians? Women and children account for 75% of Gazas populations, and yet they accounted for fewer than half of the casualties of the recent conflict, even though the fighting was in densly packed civilian areas. If Israel was targeting civilains ,the death toll would be far higher! Also, regarding the UN schools:
look at that! Hamas was firing mortars from them! what a surprise!... Lire la suite
5000 people did not die in Gaza during operation Cast Lead. It was around 1200, and more than half of them were fighters.
It's not a speculation that Hamas fights from amongst civilians, it is documented fact. Then again, you consider everything that isn't virulently anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian to be automatically false propaganda, so there is no point in even arguing with you
Gaetano Bresci, à 22:11 le 23 mars
"so, where is the phrase that says the army can target these places, even if they r used as a shelter ?? u know better my friend !!"
Art. 52 line 2. Attacks shall be limited strictly to military objectives. In so far as objects are concerned, military objectives are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an ... Lire la suiteeffective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.
I.E, a building that contains 3 dozen mortar launchers is a military objective; it doesn't matter if that building is a mosque or a school, it becomes a military objective
Gaetano Bresci, à 22:13 le 23 mars
The Geneva Convention, in full. Read up on it
Amal Hliwi, à 22:15 le 23 mars
oh come ON !!
U r victimizing the criminal and demonizing the victim !
am looking at Israeli sources admitting all what I've said, read LE FIgaro's interview with soldiers admitting war crimes in Gaza !
Besides, even monstres should not brag abt killing a pregnant woman only coz it means getting rid of two souls, NOTHING JUSTIFIES THIS !!
U hav not read the article I presume, so do it as soon as u can, I ca only argue abt stuff U KNOW !!
Gaetano Bresci, à 22:18 le 23 mars
Also, it turned out that that UN school wasn't directly shot, an Israeli tank shot NEAR the school, the school wasn't even damaged!
Amal Hliwi, à 22:19 le 23 mars
I did my homework friend, I totally understand the clauses, just prove the UNRUA or that specific mosk or that civilian house is full with fighters, Israel never proved anythg, they just either suspect and bomb or not even suspect, just shoot and say sorry it was meant for HAMAS fighters ! absurd !!!