67 thoughts on “Will You ‘Love Israel from the First Shalom?’ – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. What do you expect a tourist board to do? All tourist boards promote the positive things about their country, while steering clear of the politics. Is there anything really remarkable in this? Does the US tourist board promote inner-city murder and degradation?

  2. Why can’t you answer the question posed? What do you expect a tourist board to do? Of course peace would be fantastic, but do you expect the tourism board to just pack in their work? Besides, tourism in Israel is pretty successful these days – something that will only get stronger in the wake of the cheap flights coming in from Europe.

  3. Israel has already denied direct responsibility for the deaths you manage to relate to an article about tourism. The deaths were caused by secondary explosions (presumably munitions of freedom fighters). Nevertheless, the IDF is continuing its investigations: no doubt because its statements never have the credibility that Arabs do.
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1208870508832&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull
    Earlier I commented that only weapons – not fuel (or food) – were being smuggled into Gaza through tunnels from Egypt. I WAS WRONG!
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,352979,00.html
    But perhaps this drastic need for fuel was because of the actions of Hamas, who just stole 45,000 liters of fuel at gunpoint from the Palestine Petrol Agency at Nachal Oz.
    http://www.palpress.ps/arabic/index.php?maa=ReadStory&ChannelID=32436
    (If your Arabic is weak, perhaps you could use Google to translate…)
    Oddly enough, Israel mentions a minimum of 60 liters only…. Maybe they’re discussing a different incident.
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1208870521477&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

  4. I suppose the same energy should be committed to outing all other mid-east countries with more oppressive, backwards regimes than Israel. Why visit Egypt or Jordan when their brutal regimes betray whatever positive looking tourist ads they can mass produce for all the world to see? Egypt and Jordan’s crimes against humanity make Israel’s pale in comparison. Same for the US and Britain, with respect to their brutal occupation of Iraq. Countries currently occupying the Chechnyans, the Tibetans, and the Kurds also need to be outed for real Tikun Olam to take place.

  5. The governments of Egypt and Jordan are not the subjects of endless, nauseating streams of praise in America. I must say that this ceaseless whining of “other countries are worse” from Israel’s defenders is pathetic.

  6. William Burns: “The governments of Egypt and Jordan are not the subjects of endless, nauseating streams of praise in America.”

    So your problem is actually with America?

  7. The moral bankruptcy of the Israeli apologist position is pathetic. The world is an imperfect place, in fact filled w. evil. Therefore, Israel’s moral failings are entirely acceptable & even justified. So the argument goes–perfect the world & then you can expect perfection of Israel. What ludicrousness.

  8. The point is that if Israel isn’t singled out, we’d have to apply the same standard to all countries that have existing, oppressive policies / occupations. Why pick on Israel only? Why not simply put this in context with every other brutal, oppressive nation looking for tourists?

    In fact – let’s go one step further. Palestinians and their economy are suffering. If tourism to the Gaza or the W.Bank could really help their economy, what’s wrong with Hamas or Fatah aggressively campaigning to bring tourists to their territories? Who would object to this on the grounds of humanitarian reasons – namely, being that the OT have atrocious civil rights records and are governed by terrorists?

    Let’s be fair.

  9. If tourism was “pretty successful” these days the Israeli tourism board wouldn’t be spending $11 million not just to promote tourism but attempting to counter Israel’s dismal image in the world.

    I have seen plenty of advertising of products in which ads acknowledge frailty & imperfection & do so in a humorous way that still manages to promote the product effectively.

    If Israel’s position in the world was as honky dory as you make it out to be you wouldn’t give a crap about anything I say.

  10. Since Israel is already singled out as the largest recipient of American foreign aid, I don’t think there’s anything wrong in it being singled out for criticism. In practice, of course, this doesn’t happen. As far as Hamas encouraging tourism to Gaza, it’s not really an option if Israel isn’t letting anyone in.

  11. There’s nothing wrong with pointing out Israel’s problems. And no one here is arguing Israel’s moral failings are acceptable or justified, only that their actions should be understood within the context of the situation (when the moral failings of the other side should also be taken into consideration – but rarely never is).

    Singling out Israel, to the point of ignoring similar or worse problems elsewhere, brings this world no closer to Tikun Olam – and everyone knows this. It’s also racist and bigoted, by all definitions, to single out Israel – especially unfairly – when context is ignored or minimized to such an extent as to make the intentions of any Israel basher quite obvious.

  12. I’m a Jew and a progressive Zionist. I’m not Sudanese, Tibetan, Chinese, Burmese, etc. This blog deals w. the I-P conflict, not the Tibet-China conflict. There are other blogs that deal with those situations & I appreciate their existence. But I wouldn’t tell anyone they couldn’t criticize Chinese policy in Tibet unless they first criticized all the other reprobate countries in the world.

    About Palestinian tourism–surely you’re joking? You want to invite European tourists to enjoy the Mediterranean surf at Gaza beach where they might get shelled by the IDF? Or have them shop in the local souk where they might get into the middle of a targeted assassination or other military action by an IDF patrol?

  13. @Yerushalimey: Israel can’t “deny responsibility” for the deaths because its shell caused them even IF (& this is by no means verified) a secondary explosion caused the deaths. It never ceases to amaze me how Israel’s staunch defenders accept IDF explanations or defenses at face value w/o any verification. And IDF “investigations” never end in the IDF accepting any culpability, even when the evidence is incontroveribly against it.

  14. A secondary explosion goes off due to palestinian ‘militants’ being armed to the teeth and this too is Israel’s fault? Wow. When are the palestinian ‘militants’ ever responsible for anything? God forbid Israeli soldiers ever shoot at a Palestinian gunman or rocket launcher ever again…..they may have 100 pds. of TNT on them that could harm others a block away.

  15. Is there any actual evidence of this “secondary explosion” or is it another case of “IDF investigation clears IDF” ? Because god forbid the IDF should ever be responsible for anything.

  16. Haaretz is actually noting that the evidence for a secondary explosion is quite limited, based on some equivocal drone imagery which may or may not show a secondary explosion after the missile detonated. The fact that a missile was directed into a residential neighbourhood and detonated next to a hut made of tin siding doesn’t seem to be in dispute.

  17. Okay, forget criticizing any other country’s policies – let’s stick to I-P only. Israel has messed up certainly, but how would you say the Palestinians have dropped the ball the past 40 years? Is the PA govt. not responsible for failing to do their part in ushering in Tikun Olam in that region? Examples being Camp David – how could Arafat planning and carrying out Intifada 2 during and right after Camp David / Taba be a preferable choice over trying to negotiate a settlement? How could Hamas terrorist policy since the Aug. 2005 disengagement be understood when occupation and all settlement activity in Gaza ended at that point nearly 3 years ago? They could have started building a state rather than attacking – and hundreds of lives could have been saved. Can you not agree that with responsible PA leadership, this fiasco should have been over years ago? How is this ‘mostly’ Israel’s fault?

    As for tourism in the OT, my point easily works for 10 years ago – before “apartheid” and when it was safer for tourists to be in Gaza and the W.Bank. Policies in those areas were as bad then as now, so would it have been “kosher” for someone to criticize PA ads for tourism in the same manner you critize Israel now, as though the PA could somehow paint a pretty picture and cover up the dismal, inhumane conditions that existed there in 1998? Would it be considered hateful or bigoted to criticize the PA just as Israel is criticized now? Or would that be unfair for some reason?

    Let’s try using equal weights and measures.

  18. **As much as “Einstein’s” problem is with Richard, yes.

    My problem isn’t with Richard – it’s with his views. This isn’t personal. Let’s just stick to facts and logic.

  19. Each side has never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity as Abba Eban used to say (though he blamed only the Arabs). There is plenty of blame to go around for ea. side as I’ve written here too many times to remember.

    But blaming Arafat for Camp David’s failure is the Clinton-Barak spin & doesn’t jibe with reality. Barak made an offer that wasn’t sufficient. He knew it wouldn’t be as did Clinton. They decided they wanted to go ahead w. the summit anyway hoping that somehow a miracle would happen–& it didn’t.

    Israeli occupation of Gaza didn’t end. It still goes on. Israel never negotiated its withdrawal with the Palestinians. A unilateral withdrawal is not a sign of willingness of embrace peace. Israel deserves no credit for the withdrawal since it never got anything in return for it. If it had negotiated the withdrawal w. the Palestinians & they had then violated the agreement, THEN you could blame them. But you can’t blame Palestinians for resisting an ongoing Occupation (or have you forgotten that the West Bank is still physically occupied?).

    No, it is not entirely or even mostly the Palestinians’ fault. It is certainly much more Israel’s.

  20. Richard,
    Your response to my, “Israel has already denied direct responsibility” notably omits the word “direct.”
    I was careful to qualify my statement because no one (as far as I know) has denied that a military action took place. Sorry you didn’t pick up on my cautious phrasing: I figured if you read the article whose URL I cited you’d understand why I specified “direct” responsibility.

    Incidentally, in today’s Haaretz http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/979116.html
    someone purported to be an Egyptian reporter repeats the claim he made yesterday that he witnessed the event, and his account corresponds with the IDF’s version. (I guess Haaretz can tell if the writer is emailing from Egypt. But I guess it’s up to you to decide who to believe…)

    As to your amazement about how Israel’s staunch defenders “accept IDF explanations or defenses at face value w/o any verification”: it is matched by my amazement that Israel’s critics immediately swallow whole any report that puts Israel in a bad light.

    “And IDF ‘investigations’ never end in the IDF accepting any culpability, even when the evidence is incontroveribly against it.”
    I can’t tell whether or not you’re right about this, because the results of IDF investigations never seem to receive the same explosions of publicity that surround the allegations of IDF misfeasance and malfeasance. Funny how that pattern recurs. However, the IDF is scheduled to tell the Knesset the outcome of its investigation today (Wednesday), if you are at all interested in what the IDF has to say.

  21. Richard: “If it had negotiated the withdrawal w. the Palestinians & they had then violated the agreement, THEN you could blame them.”
    I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying here. If we take your argument further, does it mean you believe that Israel, similarly can be held blameless because it hasn’t even made – let alone broken – an agreement with the Gazans? (I’m assuming that no such agreement exists. If there is an agreement that Israel made with the residents of Gaza, please tell me where I can find it.)

  22. If we take your argument further, does it mean you believe that Israel, similarly can be held blameless because it hasn’t even made – let alone broken – an agreement with the Gazans?

    Now we’re getting into the realm of pilpul. If Gaza was occupying Israel and withdrew fr. a portion of Israeli land & expected Israel would end hostilities against it while it still retained more Israeli land–then yes, Israel might be justified in resisting such a continuing Occupation. Next far fetched question?

    Regarding IDF investigations: the number of such which result in prosecutions, punishment or admissions of IDF culpability are so small as to be almost statistically insignificant. Yes, once in a blue moon someone is held accountable. Believe me (or not) I follow such things pretty carefully.

    I’ve just read an Al Jazeera report about the Beit Hanoun incident which, if true, blows the lid off this thing. I’ll be writing about that later.

  23. Richard,
    You may be entering the realm of pilpul, but I wasn’t.
    I asked if Israel can, as it appears according to your statement, be held blameless because it had made no agreement with Gaza. Instead of answering my question, you answered an entirely different question of your own about a hypothetical situation. I don’t want to appear antagonistic, but it now seems the only thing “far-fetched” about MY question was the hope that you would answer it directly and honestly.
    I do regret pushing you up against the wall like this, because you clearly have some valuable things to say, but when you resort to very clumsy casuistry instead of allowing that you perhaps didn’t think your argument through carefully enough it makes me question your sincerity and judgment on this particular issue.

  24. Richard – I’m afraid there’s a real arrogance in the tone in which you deal with comments (and in much of your commentaries). I agree with many of the political positions you take, but you seem to just full back on rote positions when challenged, and your tone is often exceptionally disturbing. I never claimed Israel’s position to be hunky-dory. I just said that there is nothing exceptional in this particular story – it’s the tourism board doing it’s job. You seem to be implying that – because of the matsav – it shouldn’t do it’s job. I would also suggest your blanket statements about Israeli society – “An Occupation. a nation adrift in despondency in the aftermath of the Lebanon war. A society buffeted by high-profile sex and corruption scandals.” – are wide of the mark, even leaving aside the cliched ‘dramatic pauses’. Perhaps that’s just what comes from writing about the place from thousands of miles away.

  25. Most of my commenters don’t agree w. my views. Most are antagonistic (you are only mildly so) in expressing their disagreement. I react in kind when that happens. If you find my ‘tone exceptionally disturbing’ that’s something you’re going to have to deal with yrself. I can’t help you on that one & I make no apologies. If there are specific phrases that disturb you let me know & I can parse it out. But general comments like that one don’t give me much to go on.

    I didn’t say Israel Tourism shouldn’t do its job. I said it should do its job in a honest way. This ad is the height of dishonesty or at least hypocrisy.

    As for my social critique of Israeli society–I’m afraid you’ll have to complain to the very Israeli sources which informed me about these developments. I didn’t make them up. Even my general language in describing these issues is taken directly from Israeli sources, both individuals and media. Sorry you don’t like my dramatic pauses. I guess you’re not my ideal audience. And I have Israeli readers who don’t agree w. yr judgment of the inadequacy of my analysis of Israeli society.

  26. Richard – name a tourist board in a conflict-ridden country which refers to its conflicts in promoting tourism.

  27. As for the rest of what you wrote, in the words of the Doctor to Luke Rattigan – “it’s a long time since anyone’s said no to you, isn’t it?” I had already said I agree with many (although not all) of the political positions you take. I just find it astonishing that you think reading Israeli newspapers/blogs etc is sufficient for making blanket statements about Israelis society. Don’t you think you should show a little more humility, given that you write about Israel from Seattle? What do you know about its day-to-day rhythms, about its daily grind, its unwritten stories?

    To be more specific: your tone is often arrogant, your turn of phrase is often rooted in cliches, and you don’t particularly engage with reasoned critique. It’s something you share with a lot of bloggers (left and right) writing on Israel, but it’s particularly disturbing.

  28. I find it astonishing that you think that you and other Israelis are the only ones who can present a truly credible picture of what is going on within Israeli society. If what you say is true then what academic can write credibly about any field unless he has actual physical contact with it? How can a Greek scholar write persuasively about ancient Greece if he must rely solely on written sources?

    I think reading multiple media sources AND having direct contacts with real live Israeli informants (you conveniently left that out of yr dismissal of my expertise) gives me a pretty good vantage pt. to opine on such affairs. As for the subtleties & nuances of Israeli life, we’ll have to rely on you to convey that to us in yr own writing for Comment is Free (I don’t mean this ironically). And I’m curious why you would think that the Israeli blogs I read DO NOT present Israel’s “day to day rhythms, daily grind and unwritten stories?” In fact, some of them do just that.

    All I can say is what I say to the 100 others who’ve carped about me and this blog: go write a better one yrself (and I don’t mean that ironically either). Since CiF just asked me to write weekly for them I’d say my editor has a different opinion about whether or not I “engage in reasoned critique.” You don’t like much of what I write because we disagree politically. Naturally, you don’t find my arguments “reasoned.” I wouldn’t expect anything different. Others of my audience feel just the opposite.

  29. Again, I clearly never said people shouldn’t write about Israel unless they live there. That didn’t stop you going into a predictable and cliched response about academics living elsewhere etc etc. My comment was a particular reference to your blanket statements about Israeli society, which I felt in no way reflected the reality, which is much like elsewhere: people going about their lives and struggles. I also said nothing about my own blogging – as you know, I haven’t written about Israel on CIF for quite a while now. And, for the third time, I actually agree with much of what you have to say politically. But I do think style, tone and presentation are important.

    There’s actually a good example of you not engaging above. I wrote “you don’t particularly engage with reasoned critique.” You then go on to say “I’d say my editor has a different opinion about whether or not I “engage in reasoned critique,” which conveys a totally different meaning from my original statement. I was referring to how you deal with comments, you make it seem like I was referring to the content of your articles themselves (I did that elsewhere).

    Am still waiting for an example of a tourist board that promotes its countries conflicts…

  30. Simple question. Is Israel “responsible” (in a bad way that should make Israel look bad) if this is indeed a secondary explosion? If so, isn’t this a very dangerous precedent for the rest of the world?

    Richard seems to be indicating Israel did something very bad here by, God forbid, killing some bad guys who happened to have lots of explosives on them while being in a densely populated area full of civilians.

  31. Yes, Israel is responsible if this is a secondary explosion. As responsible as those who carried the alleged munitions which allegedly blew up.

    And yes, Israel did something very bad. It killed a mother, four of her children & left the remaining two irreparably scarred for life. And it left a widowed father to care for them & somehow carry on w. his life. That doesn’t seem to bother you in the slightest.

  32. Richard,
    I feel I must call you to task about your closing remark to Einstein. It was an entirely inappropriate thing to say.
    Not only would you object vehemently to a suggestion that you seem not to be bothered in the slightest by the suffering of Israeli victims, but you would probably (threaten to) ban someone who said such a thing to you.
    Furthermore,in a comment on 2008.04.26 16:22, Einstein said: “I’m not justifying suffering on innocents at all.” So there is evidence of his concern.
    The most cynical argument I can invent to demonstrate that even the most callous, truly evil Israeli would be at least slightly bothered by the death or injury of innocent civilians is that it is a waste of munitions and a guarantee of bad publicity.
    If you sincerely believe that Einstein is not bothered in the slightest by the death of these and other victims, then your view of humanity is one of the most twisted and uncharitable I have ever encountered.

  33. Yerushalimey: All I can say is that Einstein wrote the following:

    Richard seems to be indicating Israel did something very bad here by, God forbid, killing some bad guys who happened to have lots of explosives on them while being in a densely populated area full of civilians.

    This is a willful distortion of my position, which was to denounce the killing of innocents. I never said Israel was wrong to attack militants. It is wrong to try to try to kill militants standing a few feet away from a flimsy hut containing innocent women & children.

    As Einstein above chooses to focus on what he seems to claim is a “righteous kill” and not on the loss of innocent life, I choose to judge his words on these terms & find them severely lacking in compassion or humanity. If that bothers you, so be it.

  34. Therefore, Israel should cease and desist from ever trying to defend itself by pinpointing and targetting bad guys. Who knows if the targetted bad guys are armed to the hilt and that a secondary explosion can kill others a block – maybe 10 blocks – away? One never knows, so what can Israel do to defend itself Richard? This cuts to the heart of the matter to those overly critical of Israel.

    Can you at least agree that some burden of responsibility rests on these bad guys who had all these explosives on them in a densely populated civilian area?

    Assuming a secondary explosion is indeed the cause of this terrible tragedy, would you say this is still primarily an illegal act committed by Israel that should set precedent for the rest of the world in similar situations?

  35. What’s ludicrous is to take this example and use it to perhaps criticize all countries with internal or external problems, who campaign for tourists. Held to the same standards you have for Israel, it’s disingenuous of any country to compete for my vacation time since they’re not being so honest and upfront about all their nasty problems in their nice, but dishonest, ad campaigns.

  36. The loss of innocent life is always terrible, Richard. War is hell. The question is, since Hamas, Fatah, and Hizbollah all resort to attacking Israel from densely populated civilian areas – what can Israel do to defend herself and avoid all possibilities of collateral damage? What options are available? What action would be proportional to attacks from terrorists who hide behind human-shield victims that they care little for? If Israel is to comply with international law and act morally and responsibly in situations like these, what do you propose Israel can do to protect its citizens? Imagine Hizbollah, Hamas, and Fatah all act together RIGHT NOW and start raining in missiles and rockets from their own densely populated regions – what can Israel do lawfully and morally in response?

  37. So if the USA stopped all aid to Israel, you think Israel wouldn’t be singled out much more often than many other criminally savage nations combined? Come on. Israel being constantly singled out with complete disregard to context or the responsibility of terrorist entities fighting Israel is bigoted and racist, especially when no other country in Israel’s situation (fighting a terrorist entity) would be savaged similarly.

    Suppose there’s a hudna and Gaza is capable of attracting tourists. Their advertisements paint Gaza in the best possible light. Remember that the people of Gaza could benefit and suffer less with tourism. Would it be mean-spirited and racist to light into Gaza travel advertisements? If so, why doesn’t this apply with respect to Israel? If it’s not mean-spirited, then what possible problem could anyone realistically have with right-wing media that constantly bashes, distorts, and tries to paint Palestinian society in the darkest imaginable light? If that’s problematic, then maybe you can start seeing the problem with some who do the same to Israel, but claim to be objective and fair (light right-winged media).

  38. Therefore, fighting in an assymetric war is hopeless. As long as Hamas, Hizbollah, etc.. attack from densely populated civilian populations and hide among their victims, Israel should never, ever try defending itself.

    What other option is there? How can Israel defend?

  39. How does talking to Hamas about a ceasefire do anything immediately for those being attacked by Hamas rockets and missiles if Israel is not allowed to defend for fear of collateral damage? What if it takes Hamas 30-90 days to finally stop firing, or 6 months, 2 years, etc.?

    What government in the world acts with such restraint as to never defend by force, for fear of collateral damage?

  40. “And IDF “investigations” never end in the IDF accepting any culpability, even when the evidence is incontroveribly against it.”

    What right have YOU to expect the IDF to accept culpability for what they do when YOU never admit YOU were wrong and apologize when, in this war of words we are in, something YOU wrote is shown to be incontrovertibly untrue?

  41. Richard, you wrote:
    “The salient pt as you say is that the IDF cared little for civilians living in a hut a few meters fr. their alleged target (if there even was one)”.
    ==================================

    Think about what you wrote. Do you realize most left wing, liberal and progressive Israelis serve or have served previously in the IDF? Do you think these progressive Israelis care so little for civilians, as you are suggesting with these words?

    If you think there’s some “disconnect” between Israeli progressives vs. progressives elsewhere in the world, maybe this is something you need to explore. The fact is that in Israel, most progressives have moved more to the center as a direct result of all the recent (last 8-10 years) suicide bombings and the result of the Gaza disengagement. It’s not that they suddenly don’t care anymore for Palestinian civilians – only that their hearts were broken when they found that Palestinian society tended to become more aggressive and murdersome the more Israel moved to resolving the I/P conflict (with Oslo, Camp David, Gaza).

    I’m stunned you think so little of the IDF and their regard for civilians when the IDF is comprised, and has been comprised mostly of progressive Jews (as you identify yourself).

  42. There are I think a set of separate issues to be considered here.

    One is that, like it or not, there _have_ been cases on Israel’s borders where IDF personnel at various levels have employed weapons in ways that predictably increase civilian casualties: I’m thinking here of the decision to ‘flood’ southern Lebanon with cluster munitions in the last days of the 2006 war, the decisions in Gaza to reduce the danger zones around artillery targets over 2003-2006, and the employment of 2000-lb bombs in assassinations in urban areas. One can argue that, for example, the American armed forces has done similar things in Iraq (again, with lots of civilian casualties), but that’s hardly an example for the IDF to emulate.

    There’s a larger issue as well, though – the distancing effect of employment of remote munitions, and the elevated casualties that these ‘precision’ weapons inflict. There’s a paradox in Gaza/Lebanon/Iraq/Afghanistan, in that the technologically-advanced side, the one that follows the laws of war and claims to be preoccupied with civilian casualties, actually inflicts _far more_ casualties on civilian populations than does its terrorist opponents. In large part, that’s because such weapons are more destructive and are employed remotely, so that the death of civilians is pretty much an abstraction until the news hits the papers.

    So, a nice, quiet, monochrome image from a drone, taken from a kilometre away. It shows the fighting, pans across, spots a couple of indistinct bipeds moving closer to the action, one has something rectangular (maybe an RPG?) in one hand. It can’t show who it is, and the operator isn’t close enough to hear the baby crying inside the house that they’ve stopped outside, or smell breakfast cooking. Maybe that operator is sitting at a base in the Negev, maybe in northern Israel, who knows? They don’t know the neighbourhood, they don’t have to. Easy to make the decision to launch a Spike or a Hellfire – and it really doesn’t matter too much if one is a progressive or not.

    Countries like Israel, the USA and etc (those aren’t the only culprits) have evolved a language and way of thinking about the conduct of asymmetric warfare that combines observation of the the laws of war and a more-or-less sincere regret for civilian casualties with conduct that in practice causes such casualties in great numbers. Eventually, that will have to change. That doesn’t mean surrendering when such wars occur, but it does mean taking far greater care in avoiding such casualties than is now the case.

  43. Einstein: You are monopolizing the comment threads publishing so many comments I can’t reply & spend time writing posts. Starting today, if you post more than two comments per day I will either delete comments over that threshhold or withdraw your comment privileges entirely.

    The best way to prevent terror is by agreeing to a peace treaty with the Palestinians that involves withdrawing to pre 67 boundaries. As long as Israel isn’t willing to do this then nothing can prevent terrorism against it I’m afraid.

    But if Israel IS going to attack Palestinian militants, as a state it is subject to the laws of war & international law. If it kills civilians indiscriminately as it often does, then it is violating them. Palestinians who attack Israeli civilians are also subject to the laws of war & should be prosecuted as well when the time comes.

    My job isn’t to tell Israel how to fight a counter-insurgency war against militants. My job is to tell Israel how to achieve peace with its neighbors.

  44. This is the fourth time today you’ve published virtually the same argument (using diff. words) in various comment threads. I’m really losing patience with you, Einstein.

    But in short, yes, fighting an asymmetric war against Palestinian militants IS hopeless for Israel. The only option is a negotiated peace settlement. NOW.

  45. I didn’t know my alleged imperfections freed the IDF fr. any responsibility for its own. Don’t you think there’s a lack of proportionality there?

    I’d appreciate if you wouldn’t write in riddles. If you want to claim something I wrote is untrue pls. provide a quote or something so I can know what you’re talking about.

  46. I was referring to how you deal with comments, you make it seem like I was referring to the content of your articles themselves

    I thought you were referring to my posts & not my comments. I take a different tack in the comments than I do in the posts because in the posts I’m writing for myself and in my own head, while in the comments I’m actually engaging another commenter & usually people who disagree with me.

  47. Richard,
    I do not intend any sarcasm when I say I am pleased and surprised that you state: “Palestinians who attack Israeli civilians are also subject to the laws of war & should be prosecuted as well when the time comes.” Compared to some other occasions when you have been challenged about the culpability of non-Israelis, this response seems to me to be a welcome change. Yasher koach.

    Still, I take issue with your opinion: “The best way to prevent terror is by agreeing to a peace treaty with the Palestinians that involves withdrawing to pre 67 boundaries. As long as Israel isn’t willing to do this then nothing can prevent terrorism against it I’m afraid.”
    An old, but I believe perfectly valid refutation of the first sentence is that complying with the demands of terrorists actually encourages more terrorism. Added to that is the history of terror against Jews in Israel which existed before June 1967. So I don’t believe withdrawing to those boundaries would actually prevent terror. Although certain types of terror might well cease, some terror would inevitably continue (and the closer the terror bases are to Israel’s population centers, because of the so-called “Auschwitz” borders, the more threatening such terror would become).
    I also take particular exception to the idea that “nothing” other than shrinking Israel can prevent terror. There is terrorist activity all over the world. Can worldwide terror be stopped? (You don’t really believe that Israeli withdrawal will eliminate terror everywhere, do you?) Perhaps the international community can unite and come up with a practical way to fight terror. If so, then your fear that “nothing” but Israeli withdrawal can prevent terrorism is baseless. And if the international community cannot unite to defeat terror… Well, I guess we can always pray…

    The bottom line is:You may believe that withdrawing to the pre-1967 borders is the only, or merely the best solution to Israel’s problems. I don’t.

  48. Richard,
    This may sound bizarre, but… I agreed with those critics who complained about your arrogance and I wrote the comment with the intent rehashing some of your “alleged imperfections” and teaching you a lesson in humility. However, a subsequent comment of yours (to which I’ve responded in the interim) in which you uncharacteristically – as far as I was concerned – concede the culpability of attacks on innocent Israelis has dissuaded me from pouring my wrath out on you. In a weird way I suppose I owe you an apology for planning to ridicule you….

  49. You keep throwing out these if, if, ifs–can’t you deal with the situation thats actually happening?

  50. Compared to some other occasions when you have been challenged about the culpability of non-Israelis, this response seems to me to be a welcome change. Yasher koach.

    Don’t do me any favors. My opposition to Palestinian terror against Israeli civilians is consistent & has never wavered. If you claim that it has you’re dead wrong.

    …Complying with the demands of terrorists actually encourages more terrorism.

    God, I haven’t heard that claim in a long time. It was tired & bankrupt when it was first conceived God knows how long ago & is irrelevant in the current situation. Hamas is not Al Qaeda. It has specific goals & political demands that ARE negotiable. Military resistance is a tactic toward an end & that end will not result in Israel’s destruction despite what you & others claim.

    So I don’t believe withdrawing to those boundaries would actually prevent terror.

    You are tragically & pitifully wrong.

    because of the so-called “Auschwitz” borders

    Do NOT rip off Dershowitz tropes in this blog. Again, such a phrase is banal, trite & propaganda. Do not abuse the Holocaust for the sake of scoring a political pt. I detest it.

    I also take particular exception to the idea that “nothing” other than shrinking Israel can prevent terror.

    I object to terms like “shrinking.” Israel is not going on diet or amputating a limb by withdrawing to the 67 borders. Israel didn’t control this territory before 67 & won’t after a peace deal. There’s no “shrinking” involved.

    There is terrorist activity all over the world. Can worldwide terror be stopped?

    There you go again trying to implicate every other issue in the IP conflict except Israel’s actions. I have no interest in talking about worldwide terror & it is largely irrelevant to this issue. If you want to moan about global jihad & worldwide terror you should check out LGF. That might be more conducive to yr views.

    (You don’t really believe that Israeli withdrawal will eliminate terror everywhere, do you?)

    Yes, there may be an odd terror attack after a peace deal is signed. But it will largely cease.

    The bottom line is:You may believe that withdrawing to the pre-1967 borders is the only, or merely the best solution to Israel’s problems. I don’t.

    Frankly, I couldn’t care what you think. What will happen will happen in terms of an IP settlement & it won’t reflect much if anything of what you believe. You may find this hard or cruel but that will be the way it is.

  51. A fomer IDF spokesman summed up the problem a few years back,

    “Why can’t we understand that PR is not a recipe for success, and that even good PR cannot justify bad deeds?
    It is time to admit the real problem: that Israel’s actions in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are inexplicable.”

    No number of ads with pretty pictures will obscure this reality.

  52. Richard:
    I was not thinking of Dershowitz but was quoting Abba Eban who first used the term “Auschwitz borders” in November,1969.
    I suppose the ignorance you display has much to do with your arrogance.
    But, since you couldn’t care (isn’t the correct term “couldn’t care less”?) what I think, I won’t waste any more of my time visiting your blog.
    If you wish to respond, you have my email address.
    Best wishes for your success at The Guardian, you’ll fit right in there.

  53. Even Seth Freedman in the Guardian thinks you went too far here. Seth Freedman for Gods sake. The specific goals and political demands of Hamas are the destruction of Israel. And I give them credit for clarity, they’ve been very clear about what they want. Either you refuse to see it or your ok with it. It’s one or the other.

  54. Mr. Pearlman,

    Since Israel does not openly avow its goal of destroying Palestine, does that make Hamas its moral superior?

  55. Dear Richard,
    I have come here from Seth’s thread. While I agree with you about his bad manners (he is a bit of a loose cannon) I would never have read your article without it. Thank you in general for your articulate and well argued columns in the Guardian.

  56. Richard is always telling Israel to negotiate with HAMAS. HAMAS says it will never make peace with Israel, so I don’t now how Richard expects his hoped-for negotiations to work.
    Here is a link to an article by Paul Berman of the New York Times in 2003 about the main religious thinker of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Sayid Qutb. HAMAS is a branch off from the Muslim Brotherhood. Note carefully what Qutb says about the Jews, and then you all tell me what are the chances of Israel reaching an agreement with these people.

    http://members.cox.net/slsturgi3/PhilosopherOfIslamicTerror.htm

  57. @bar_kochba132: You remember the old Simon & Garfunkel song: “A man hears what he wants to hear & disregards the rest.” That would be you.

    Khaled Meshal has just publicly announced in the Arab-lang. press that Hamas will accept an Israel that returns to 67 borders & you claim it “will never make peace w. Israel.”

    First, Paul Berman is no expert on Islamism. He’s merely a journalist w. a partisan pt of view on the issue. Second, the imam featured represents the “Egyptian Mulism Brotherhood” as you noted–NOT Hamas. You may wish to collapse them into the same entity. But that would be a typically gross distortion of political reality. Hamas is not a wholly owned subsidiary of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. It is a Palestinian movement with goals that apply to Palestine alone.

    I dare you to provide a similar quote from a senior Hamas leader.

  58. What a great add… Israel is a beautiful place with a lot of beautiful people aside from only seeing 1 thing when it relates to Israel violence and tragedy…
    It’s funny if such an add was made for the West Bank or Saudi Arabia Mr. Silverstein would kvell and then he would boisterously and condescendingly condemn any right wing Israel first extremists who might engage in the same type of back handed insulting of the Palestinians for the ‘misleading’ add….

    No hypocrisy there… but thanx I really liked the add… I knew there’d be something enjoyable about this conetentious preachy site.

  59. @Solomon123:

    Lord protect us from right-wingers & their feeble attempts at snark.

    I don’t know where the PA would get any money to fund a tourism ad; and what would they promote? Could they invite tourists to “take the waters” in Gaza where the sewage is running into the sea because Israel refuses to allow parts that would build a suitable sewage system? Or perhaps they could promote themselves to military tourist types who’d like to see a targeted assassination up close. Or maybe they’d like to promote an eco-tourism trip to the olive groves of West Bank Palestinians during harvest time so they can watch settler thugs beat up farmers attempting to harvest their olives.

    I can imagine similar ads promoting Saudi tourism. How about promoting petro-tourism? A charming new type of tourism in which foreigners come to view SA’s gorgeous oil derricks.

    The idea that this pathetic creature thinks I’m an apologist for the Arab cause & tourism is laughable.

    And as I said in my post, the only ones who will be charmed by this ad are the dyed in the wool true believers like Solomon Nebech.

  60. I don’t know where the PA would get any money to fund a tourism ad; and what would they promote?

    Sure – they could start with the tens of billions in Kuwaiti and French bank accounts that Mrs. Arafat and some higher up PA insiders have access to.

    Could they invite tourists to “take the waters” in Gaza where the sewage is running into the sea because Israel refuses to allow parts that would build a suitable sewage system?

    Oh, such dramatics… as if Ramallah isn’t 100x nicer than most cities in most Arab countries.
    How about the beautiful greenhouses in Gaza that the Israrelis left for them…thanks to the donations of those evil right wing American Zionists except that they were looted and destroyed…. they could show how their gov’t is more concerned with buying loyalty via checks to ‘police forces’ or rocket/bomb factories than regulating water usage-building new housing-schools etc… they seem to find plenty of money to produce propoganda though.

    Or perhaps they could promote themselves to military tourist types who’d like to see a targeted assassination up close.

    Sure that would definitely work!!! They could show young kids who like to shoot off rockets…. instead they could watch when Hamas and Islamic Jihad guerillas go on a farmer’s grove between trees and daily shoot tens of rockets into Sderot… kind of like when you were a kid shooting off bottle rockets instead they’re aimed at people and explode.

    I can imagine similar ads promoting Saudi tourism. How about promoting petro-tourism? A charming new type of tourism in which foreigners come to view SA’s gorgeous oil derricks.

    You mean with the billions or trillions they make with the most sought after commodity in the world – and the price formerly between $30-$40/barrel now heading towards $200/barrel they haven’t been able to build an economy that produces any GDP with anything to see? That however – does not stop their paid for law firms and ad agencies from promoting the Saudis as America’s friend… so perhaps you could ask them how they deftly put on tv adds promoting the Saudis.
    Somehow Dubai found the money to build a modern looking country that attracts foreigners?

    The idea that this pathetic creature thinks I’m an apologist for the Arab cause & tourism is laughable.

    Wait can you find a phrase where I called an apologist? Wait but you did you call me a pathetic creature?
    Now wey’re seeing the true class act that you are…
    Don’t worry I’m not very sensitive and since I know you would NEVER call me that to my face I can laugh you off for the lower class human being that you show yourself to be…
    For the record though – I can most definitely assure you that NOONE viewing you and I standing next to each other… would mistake who the unappealing figure of the two is…

    And as I said in my post, the only ones who will be charmed by this ad are the dyed in the wool true believers like Solomon Nebech.

    No, like Allison Kaplan Sommers who writes about Isreal… the country is 100x more than the conflict…. and for IP conflict firsters whose life is set on trying to promote their own importance and vitalness to the world via this conflict 24/7 365/yr as the end all be all of insight and value – ANYthing that touches on something else in a positive light regarding Israel that doesn’t concern the conflict needs to be assassinated immediately…..

  61. @Solomon123:

    they could start with the tens of billions in Kuwaiti and French bank accounts that Mrs. Arafat and some higher up PA insiders have access to.

    Are you deliberately trying to come across as a snarky, lame-assed Palestinian-hater; or is that effect unintentional??

    Ramallah is…100x nicer than most cities in most Arab countries.

    When was the last time you were in Ramallah? Or have you ever been in Ramallah? And which Arab cities have you actually visited? None? I thought so?

    OK, as I’m reading through this comment I see that your sole purpose here seems to be to spout anti-Palestinian propaganda which is a clear violation of my comment rules. So I’ll read through the rest of yr crap & if the tone or substance doesn’t change you’re history. I’m simply not going to waste my time with pure haters whether they be extremists on the Palestinian side or the Israeli. [UPDATE: I note I banned you in April. Yet you seem to have weaseled yr way back. So let’s make this yr 2nd banning.]

    As I read I see you don’t just hate Palestinians. You hate Saudis as well. Is there an Arab you don’t hate?

    Dubai found the money to build a modern looking country that attracts foreigners?

    You seem to have missed that yr beloved “moderate Arab” Dubai just ran Lev Leviev’s & his blood jewels out of the country once they discovered that he was the king of settlement builders. How’re you feelin’ about Dubai about now?

    Don’t worry I’m not very sensitive

    That certainly is an understatement. The last time you were sensitive to the suffering of an Arab must’ve been possibly when you in the womb, if then.

    I know you would NEVER call me that to my face

    The thought that I would ever have to meet you would be enough to ruin my day if not my week, month & possibly yr.

    NOONE viewing you and I standing next to each other… would mistake who the unappealing figure of the two is

    Why don’t you post yr picture here & we’ll let my readers be the judge.

    like Allison Kaplan Sommers who writes about Isreal [sic]

    As I said, “the dyed in the wool true believer” propagandists like Allison Kaplan Sommers & you. By the way, you do know how to spell “Israel” don’t you?

  62. I’am arabic, Male,plastienian, I ‘am not sure if any Isreali will believe me or not,and arabic they think I’am against them or not loyal, what ever, but I’am sure I dont hate Isreal, I believe in man kind and we have to find way to love each other, survive and this the important, I want to be free, who I love, who to be my lover, no limit to stop me, we have to cancel boundries of any kind, cancel fear,,lets start, who said it would be easy for the most, but sure their alots like me, may be my relative they will hate me in front of other arabic to feel safe, but this is me, I believe step by step, and dont ask me to hate Isreal

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