Seattle Conference: Gaza Humanitarian Crisis
Yesterday night, 200 people joined us for the conference I initiated, Gaza’s Humanitarian Crisis: the Failure of U.S. Policy. I was delighted with the turnout and the quality of the talks by Steve Niva, David Schermerhorn, and Hazim Shafi.
This event was, in a way, a sequel to an event I organized last December on the Iran nuclear crisis and the failure of U.S. and Israeli policy in that arena.
When you blog as intensively as I do about the Israeli-Arab conflict and face an especially severe crisis, you want to do something more than just write a blog post. You want to go into your community and reach people where they live; motivate them to do something on behalf of sanity, justice and human decency.
That’s why I approached Brenda Bentz of SABEEL of Puget Sound with my idea, which she graciously supported along with St. Mark’s Cathedral, which provided the venue. I am sorry to say that Seattle’s Jewish community is not yet ready to confront these issues by hosting such a panel. Though through some lobbying of my own, the JTNews sent a reporter to the event and there will be a story about it in the next issue. I understand there were four “operatives” from Stand With Us in attendance as well. Undoubtedly, they were seeking proof that we were propagating “anti-Israel” propaganda.
Below, I’m going to post my own remarks from last night. When we have video, audio, or photos available, I’ll upload that as well:
Israel Under Siege–Enforces Consensus, Jettisons Democracy
I have the unenviable task of telling you tonight about the state of the State of Israel. In short, it’s not good. I’ve been following Israeli politics since I was a teenager in 1967 and I don’t think I’ve ever felt more alarmed and depressed about what is happening within Israel.
We all knew when Bibi Netanyahu became prime minister that we were in for a far-right government. But sad to say I think we were spoiled by the more centrist governments that preceded them. We thought that since both Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert were former Likud political leaders that Bibi would perhaps be a slightly more conservative version.
But Bibi has been a revelation, and not a good one. Under his rule, the Israeli peace and human rights community have come under fire as never before. The leader of the New Israel Fund, a relatively tame advocate of Israeli civil society and democracy, was vilified in all the major Israeli newspapers in an ad displaying a caricature of her with a rhino horn sprouting from her forehead. It was an ugly display worthy of some of the lowest propaganda of the Nazi anti-Semitic publication, Der Shturmer.
A few months ago, Uri Blau, an Israeli journalist writing for Haaretz was forced into exile because he received secret documents from an IDF soldier named Anat Kamm. These memos documented major military violations of an Israeli Supreme Court ruling barring targeted killings of Palestinian militants who could be apprehended non-violently. Not only did the Israeli intelligence service, Shabak, threaten to prosecute Uri Blau, Haaretz’s military correspondent now residing in London, they did prosecute Kamm, threatening her with a life sentence. Essentially, this woman is an Israeli Daniel Ellsberg, yet she faces calls from the Israeli far-right for hanging.
An Israeli Palestinian Knesset member, Haneen Zoabi, joined the Gaza flotilla and sailed on the ill-fated Mavi Marmara. If she’d been a regular Israeli citizen she could’ve been arrested and imprisoned for her action. Luckily for her, she had parliamentary immunity. When she returned to the Knesset, right-wing MKs called her a traitor and killer. She arose to defend herself and all hell broke loose. A Jewish female Knesset member lunged at her and would’ve taken her down if she hadn’t been restrained by Knesset security. Everyone knows how fractious and dysfunctional the Israeli parliament can be. Many of us have seen the shouting matches and bad behavior. But this was a different order of magnitude. Even an Israeli TV newscaster called it a “near-lynching.”
The Israeli security apparatus has gone to war against Israeli Palestinian political leaders. This goes back to an announcement in 2007 by Yuval Diskin, Shin Bet chief, that he planned to wage all-out combat against Palestinian nationalists. He viewed even legal political activities that advanced views that were detrimental to the notion that Israel was solely a Jewish state, as anathema. He made clear as part of this crusade, he would pull out all the stops. And he has done so.
In the past month, the Shin Bet arrested the director of an Israeli Palestinian NGO named Ameer Makhoul. They came to his Haifa apartment in the dead of night, ransacked it, and confiscated all the electronic equipment in it, including cell phones and computers belonging to his teenage daughters. They slapped a gag order on his arrest. No Israeli reporter could say what had happened to Makhoul. He essentially disappeared into the maw of the secret police.
One of my jobs as a blogger is to break such gag orders and I’m pleased to say that with the help of Israeli sources I did. After my reporting, we knew who had been arrested. We found out about the preposterous charges against him, that he had consorted with known Hezbollah agents and offered to spy against his country.
The identity of the alleged Hezbollah agent was also under gag order. But I broke that too and revealed that Hassan Jaja was so dangerous that he was a landscape designer and nurseryman in Amman who ran an Arab environmental NGO.
Despite the ludicrousness of the charges, this didn’t stop the Shin Bet from torturing Makhoul during the three weeks when they held him incommunicado, preventing access to his lawyers or family. He was deprived of sleep, tied to a chair that was bolted to the floor and forced to confirm a narrative that his interrogators dictated to him. It reminds me of a Teheran show trial.
This is how low Israel has gone. In an effort to combat the international campaign to hold Israel accountable for its actions its actions in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, the nation has inflicted upon itself and the rest of the world a sort of pathological madness.
It called Judge Richard Goldstone, author of the UN report on the war, a traitor to his people. Accused him of a blood libel against Israel. Accused him of being a moser, a Jew who during the Holocaust ferreted out Jews in hiding and betrayed them to the Gestapo. They tarnished Goldstone’s record as a South African anti-apartheid judge by comparing him to Josef Mengele.
Some of us attended the last SABEEL conference held here in this Cathedral and heard Israeli Professor Neve Gordon’s address. He, several months ago, electrified observers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by publicly expressing his support for the global BDS movement in the Los Angeles Times and The Guardian. For this, he too was excoriated. The president of Ben Gurion University where he teaches, claimed he had crossed a red line that no professor had a right to cross, doing damage to the State. Israelis across the political spectrum attempted to make the case that academic freedom did not entitle someone to speak ill of Israel or Zionism. They suggested not so subtly Gordon might be happier living elsewhere (a fate that befell Ilan Pappe and Tanya Reinhardt).
Ben Gurion’s President Carmi essentially said she would fire Gordon if she could. But of course she couldn’t since there is such a thing as academic freedom still honored in Israel.
Add to this, the fact that a British trustee of Ben Gurion told a Jewish newspaper that Prof. David Newman, a colleague of Gordon’s should die because he criticized Israeli policy in a British TV documentary. 140 faculty members protested to the president about the trustee’s irresponsible statement and she promptly ignored them.
Speaking of dying, last week Neve Gordon received a bona fide death threat from an anonymous source, calling him a traitor and warning him that the writer would come to the campus and kill him. While Pres. Carmi denounced the act, she also in effect blamed Gordon for bringing it on himself by his “irresponsible” behavior.
In light of the repression and paranoia I’ve outlined above, it isn’t surprising that the IDF perpetrated the debacle it did on the Mavi Marmara. I don’t know exactly what happened. But in the most charitable interpretation I imagine that after it faced resistance from some passengers and the belief among the assault team that some members were captured, I believe there was a general breakdown in unit discipline and chaos ensued. While I don’t believe the IDF planned to execute anyone and engage in cold blooded murder, the stage was certainly set by spokespeople who threatened that Israel was prepared to use force to prevent the ships from reaching Gaza.
Now, a word on the Israeli investigation of this disaster. In short, it too is a disaster. Netanyahu has appointed three Israelis and two foreign “observers.” The panel is chaired by Yaakov Tirkel, a 75 year old retired Supreme Court justice who has said publicly that he holds the honor of the IDF above “the enemy.” The justice is known for siding with the government on national security cases. Another Israeli panelist is Amos Horev, an 86 year-old retired general who, in 1943, was accused of castrating a Palestinian villager who sexually harassed a Jewish woman. The third member is Shabtai Rosenne, a 94 year-old former diplomat who counseled the Israeli prime minister after the notorious Kibya massacre orchestrated by Ariel Sharon to lie to the world by claiming that Israeli civilians perpetrated the killings and not the army. An Israeli newspaper photographed this poor man at his home wearing the type of summer shorty pajamas worn by elderly folks and tended by his Filipino caretaker. I call this the geriatric commission. They should hold the sessions in a retirement home rather than a government conference room.
One of the foreign observers, Lord David Trimble, just co-founded a European pro-Israel advocacy organization whose mission is to oppose “delegitimization” of Israel within Europe. The second observer is a former judge in the Canadian army.
In short, the fix is in. No one really believes this body will satisfy anyone except Israel. Haaretz has editorialized to that effect. Ban Ki Moon has warned the commission isn’t credible. We need a true international investigation. Nothing less will suffice.
Now, I’d like to turn to U.S. policy. As an American Jew and supporter of Israeli-Palestinian peace, I had high hopes of Barack Obama. I still do. But I’ve become doubtful that any of those hopes will ever be realized.
When faced with the intransigence of the Israeli government, whether the settlement freeze, the Goldstone Report or the Gaza flotilla massacre, the operative mode seems to be keeping things quiet and under control. There never seems to be backbone when it’s called for.
When the Goldstone Report was first issued, the U.S. attempted to block it and threatened a Security Council veto if it was brought up there. When Turkey and the nations of the world demanded an international investigation of the Mavi Marmara murders, the U.S. said an Israeli investigation would do. When things got hot and heavy in the aftermath of the killings and pressure mounted to end the Gaza siege, the Obama administration made do with merely easing the suffering rather than ending it completely.
This is an administration satisfied with half measures. There are times when half-measures may work to quiet a crisis if it isn’t terribly severe. But we’re way past severe when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The situation calls for backbone, for perseverance, for fortitude. Instead we get waffling, and zig-zagging.
Finally, I want to note that today is the fourth anniversary of the capture of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit by Palestinian militants. During that time, there have been negotiations between Israel and Hamas over his fate. Essentially, the latter demanded the release of several hundred jailed Palestinians. Israel balked. While everything about the case is veiled in a fog, from what I’ve read the sides were close to agreement a number of times. But negotiations foundered over which detainees would be released and how many. Israel balked when faced with the prospect of releasing those with blood on their hands.
I want Gilad Shalit to return to the bosom of his family. But I also want Israel to recognize Hamas and end its siege. I want the residents of Sderot to be safe from Qassam rockets. But I also want the residents of Gaza to be free from paralyzing fear and anticipation of the next war.
There is a way out of this mess. The 2002 Saudi initiative proposed Arab acceptance of Israeli in return for a withdrawal to near-1967 borders. Israel has rejected this peace plan, which is still on the table. There is only one way to save Israel: to make peace. Everyone knows the parameters of the future settlement. The only question is how many will have to die before Israel comes to its senses and agrees to it. To quote a Jewish saying: “may it happen speedily and in our day.”
22 thoughts on “Seattle Conference: Gaza Humanitarian Crisis – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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if gilad shalit was indeed “captured” as you say, then by the rules of the geneva convention, he must be allowed to have regular visits by authorities of the red cross.
i think you have it backwards. israel does recognize that hamas are the duly elected representatives of the gazan people. which is why they believe the blockade is legal, as they are engaged in an active war with hamas. for that is the only way shalit could have been legally “captured”.
it is hamas that has in its charter the destruction of israel and the annihilation of all her people.
and you really think the ohlmert government that ran cast lead was more centrist than bibi’s? far out.
These are the same old tired arguments scores of commenters before you have presented & which have been rebutted. Pls. don’t waste our time by repeating the same old bulls(&t. First, Israel doesn’t recognize Hamas. In fact, considers Hamas a terrorist organization, refuses to negotiated directly with it, will prosecute any Israeli who meets w. Hamas, & has imprisoned Jerusalem Arabs who are Hamas members. Second, there is no legally declared or recognized war with Hamas. In fact, there is a ceasefire that Israel negotiated w. Hamas which still is in effect. Can a country be in a state of war & ceasefire at the same time?
Shalit was captured because he was a member of an Occupation army whose act of occupation is considered illegal by every relevant international body or nation except Israel. But his capture and ongoing imprisonment is objectionable as is the imprisonment of those Palestinians held by Israel, some for yrs. w/o any trial whatsoever.
These are the same old tired arguments scores of commenters before you have presented & which have been rebutted. Pls. don’t waste our time by repeating the same old bulls
First of all, not everyone in the world has read all the posts you have made since the beginning of time, so they may not be aware of what was said in the past.
Secondly, when you bring up points that you have stated in the past, it is legitimate for those who disagree with them to refute them, even if they were stated previously, unless, of course, you want to end the practice of allowing comments, which is your right, since it is your blog.
That’s not my problem. This is my blog & I read every comment. So it bores the crap out of me to read a comment containing arguments offered 40 or 50 times before. My goal in life is not to be bored to tears by the same tired stale arguments. So yer damn right I’m gonna be a little pissed at repetition & gonna call whoever wastes my time w. it.
Hamas Leader Mahmoud Al-Zahhar: Our Plan Is to Establish a Palestinian State Without Recognizing Israel and Without Giving Up the Right of Return
Refugees march for Lebanon rights
Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon: Righting a Perpetual Wrong
YOu’ve violated several comment rules. YOU’ve linked to MEMRI, which is a propaganda site. Second, you’re way off topic. Third, your comment isn’t an argument or anything articulate. Fourth, you’ve misunderstood what this blog is & what commenters do here. THey don’t score points for or against anyone. They don’t grandstand. So your future comments if any will be moderated until you can follow the rules.
Richard, I beg to differ, if I may. Of course, you have the right to make and uphold any rules you want – it’s your site and I’m your guest here, but at least hear me out and please post my response. Then, if you so decide, I’ll shut up and disappear forever from here…
You say: “I want Gilad Shalit to return to the bosom of his family. But I also want Israel to recognize Hamas and end its siege.” Well, you need only listen to Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahhar by the link above to see that this is unfortunately quite impossible. I believe this does relate *directly* to the discussion and, in fact, answers your own question there. Regarding MEMRI: how else would we get a translation of a speech in Arabic intended for Arab listeners? Regardless of whether or not you consider MEMRI a propaganda site (from your viewpoint), you should only challenge its translation accuracy here. Do you?
As for the other two links – one from Al Jazeera and one from a Palestinian who is obviously no big fan of Israel (no fear of propaganda here, I suppose…) – Well, doesn’t this tie directly into the very title of your post “Gaza Humanitarian Crisis”? Which appears to be based on an axiom that the sole responsibility here is Israel’s (please correct me if I’m wrong). I contend the Hamas has an interest in sustaining the refugee status of Gazans as a political stunt (compare with the situation in the West Bank, which, while by no means ideal, is orders-of-magnitude better than in Hamas-controlled Gaza.) I submit to you this is a well-known Arab ploy, ever since the creation of Israel, preferring to prolong even in their own countries the suffering of their Palestinian brothers so as to keep the cause alive and not dilute the right-of-return’s momentum (aside from sheer racism and pure xenophobia, but that’s for another discussion…) Doesn’t it look like now the Palestinians in Lebanon, at least, are having enough of their host’s “apartheid-regime”? Don’t you think this should have happened in Gaza as well, with attempts by the populace to defy the oppressive Hamas? (Unfortunately, as far as I know the situation there is quite the opposite, with a few extremely-militant al-Qaeda factions challenging the Hamas’s hegemony with claims it’s not radical enough, to their taste…)
I maintain that putting the humanitarian plight of the Palestinians in this context (as well as putting it in perspective with current atrocities elsewhere in the world: Darfur, East Congo, etc…) changes and broadens the discussion to a point where Israelis may be willing to overcome their own knee-jerk paranoia of being singled-out by double-standard hypocrites, and begin looking in earnest for an *acceptable* and *workable* solution, as opposed to the suicidal ones from their own point of view. I don’t see how you can ever get anywhere closer to improving the humanitarian situation otherwise – but for risking a major war and instability affecting the entire world. Not to go this way, and continuing to examine the situation through a narrow tunnel-vision (no relation to Gaza tunnels intended…), is tantamount to just empty words, which I classify as, well, simply propaganda…
In any case, I do take the blame for not clarifying myself in my original comment. I’m new here, and wasn’t sure what to expect from a site so totally focused and committed to one side of the issue. Looking forward to continue an honest and sincere debate, always relevant and to the point, according to well-respected rules that do not, however, violate basic principles of free-speech!
I repeat–MEMRI is NOT a reliable or credible source for ANYTHING. Their translations have been proven to be wrong & intentionally so. They edit their translations also to place the Arab subjects in the worst possible light. So if you can find a source quoting Zahar & saying what MEMRI claims he said then I’ll pay attention. Till then, nope. And don’t link to MEMRI or any other propaganda site like it in future. Read my comment rules on this & related matters.
And next time, don’t just insert links into comments. It’s a lazy way to do things. Write a comment & say what you mean. No shorthand pls.
The notion that Hamas would willingly continue the suffering of Gazans is offensive & I reject it. There are many things about Hamas I do not like. But claiming they want their followers to suffer is repugnant.
Another comment violation. Racism is NOT welcome or tolerated. If you want to comment here again you will read the rules. Break them again & you won’t be commenting here.
Do yr homework & find other credible websites which offer translations of Palestinian speeches. MEMRI is not the only source. And even if it were the fact that it might be the only source, but an unreliable one doesn’t justify using it. It’s bad. It’s wrong. It’s unacceptable.
I don’t know Arabic. But journalists who do on numerous occasions have proven its mendacity in its translations. So I don’t trust ANYTHING it produces. At all.
More racism & now stupidity. What you object to is that the Palestinians have not responded to their suffering in the way YOU and Israel would like. But that doesn’t disqualify their response, which is entirely valid. Jews held out hope for centuries for a return to Zion. We have no right to deny Palestinians what we accord to ourselves, the right to live free and not under Occupation.
You want ME to say that Gazans should’ve risen up against Hamas? And you think this is something that would be legitimate for me to do, why?? Do you think it would be legitimate for a Palestinian to question why Israelis haven’t risen up against their own gov’t for its oppressive policies? Of course it would be utter foolishness & none of their business. But if you’ll allow Palestinians to plan revolutions within Israel I’ll countenance Israel & her supporters fomenting revolutions in Gaza: deal?
How quaint. You want Palestinians to soften their most annoying habits so that Israelis may be able to see them as cuddly, agreeable creatures w. whom they can get along. How nice for you & for Israel in that event. Sorry, Palestinians won’t go along w. yr scenario. I’m afraid Israelis will have to negotiate & come to terms with Palestinians AS THEY ARE, & not as Israel would wish them to be.
I see. So yr views are clear-thinking, forthright, bold, lacking in cant or partisanship. But Palestinians’ are propaganda. That will sure win you friends among them.
Oh, you mean “a site so totally focussed & committed to a side of the issue that disagrees with my own?” Is that what you meant? Of course it is. This site is NOT–repeat NOT–totally focussed & committed to “one side” of the issue. The fact that you believe this indicates just how committed YOU are to your side of the issue.
Well, first of all thanks for the reply. You’ve clarified your position and answered most of my points, except for my main argument… What do you say to the Palestinians protests in Lebanon? (That article written by Ramzy Baroud and the Al Jazeera item – no MEMRI intervention there.) Don’t you trust THEM as well on the matter? Either you think they are lying about it, or else you have an explanation justifying the Lebanese apartheid. Please clarify. And in the latter case, do you intend to hold meetings supporting the Palestinians in their just quest to regain their basic human-rights in Lebanon – as you do regarding Israel – or will you simply ignore this issue altogether?
You’re diverting fr. the main issue which is Israel’s illegal siege against Gaza & the Occupation. As far as I’m concerned, when there is peace the issues for Palestinians in Lebanon will be vastly reduced as they will be able to return either to the former homes or new ones in Palestine. They will no longer need to be refugees & outsiders in Lebanon.
I have absolutely no interest in being diverted fr. Israel, Gaza & the W. Bank. Be my guest if Lebanon interests you & you think you can score pts by pointing out how poorly Palestinians fare in Lebanon. The fact is were it not for Israeli’s expulsion of 700,000 in 1948 there would be very few Palestinians in Lebanon to experience this unjust treatment.
I find the question & the tone to be offensive. I’m going to do whatever I think is useful fr. my vantage pt. I don’t follow yr agenda or yr orders. I’d suggest you organize your own program on the subject & all 5 of you on the podium & in the audience will be both edified & educated about something or other.
RE: “While everything about the [Gilad Shalit] case is veiled in a fog, from what I’ve read the sides were close to agreement a number of times….” – R.S.
BY URI AVNERY, 10/05/09: …The denial started at the first moment. The Israeli government refused to call the capture by its proper name and insisted that it was an “abduction” or even “kidnapping.”…
…The moment Gilad was defined as “abducted,” he was condemned to what followed…
…The greatest danger hovering over the head of Gilad since falling into captivity does not come from Hamas, but from our own army.
It was clear that, given an opportunity, the army would try to free him by force. That is deeply embedded in its basic ethos: Never give in to “abductors.”
If I were Gilad’s father and a praying man, I would pray every day: Please, dear God, don’t let the army find out where Gilad is being kept!
Our army commanders are prepared to expose prisoners to immense risks in order to free them by force, instead of exchanging them for Palestinian prisoners. For them it is a matter of honor.
In such an operation, the lives of the liberators are put at risk. But above all, it’s the life of the prisoner that is endangered…
ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://original.antiwar.com/avnery/2009/10/04/the-betrayal-of-gilad-shalit/
P.S. FROM HAARETZ, 06/26/10: A day before a massive rally for the release of Gilad Shalit, Hamas spokesman Ayman Taha on Saturday again blamed Israel for undermining a prisoner exchange deal that would see the Israel Defense Forces soldier freed from Hamas captivity…Taha also addressed accusations against Hamas for failing to allow Red Cross representatives to visit the abducted soldier, who has been held captive in Gaza for four years. “We can’t allow the Red Cross to visit Shalit because he is not in a prison. Therefore, revealing his location would be very dangerous,” he said…
ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/hamas-we-won-t-let-red-cross-visit-shalit-because-we-can-t-reveal-his-location-1.298371
ALSO SEE: Israeli Trade Minister Reacts to International Criticism, ABC News/International
Close Confidant of PM Netanyahu Says, ‘It Is Painful to Hear Such Criticism’
Israel Has to Return to the Negotiating Table
…SPIEGEL: The negotiations over the release of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit are also a strain in Israeli-German relations. The efforts of the German intelligence service, the BND, hit a dead end after Israel rejected a proposal for a prisoner exchange half a year ago.
Ben-Eliezer: The Germans did an excellent job, as always. I think it was a mistake to reject the offer. Since then the situation has developed to our disadvantage. Hamas is constantly raising the “price”. We are ready to release about 1,000 terrorists tomorrow. We only demand that a small part of them will neither go to the Gaza Strip nor the West Bank. They should be expelled to other countries….
ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://abcnews.go.com/International/israeli-trade-minister-benjamin-netanyahu-ally-reacts-international/story?id=10969823&page=2
FROM NEWSWEEK, 06/23/10: …Official and unofficial spy aficionados are still puzzled over why Israel would ruin its previously friendly relationship with authorities in a key Gulf emirate, and blow the identities of so many undercover operatives, just to eliminate an obscure Hamas operative. One theory gaining support among intelligence experts is that Mossad’s intent was to drug and kidnap Mabhouh, and then try to use him in a trade for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held hostage in Gaza by Hamas. But the Israelis, according to this theory, may have overdosed their target on knockout drops…
ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.newsweek.com/blogs/declassified/2010/06/23/mystery-man-arrested-in-poland-may-have-aided-alleged-mossad-hit-team.html
It’s reassuring to know you are out there fighting this good fight in different venues.
Congratulations on this great effort.
I am not a regular reader, so you may have already dealt with these issues, but I wondered how you feel about Replacement Theology, the core of Sabeel Center’s teachings.
Frankly, I don’t trust anyone who, as an outsider would make claims about what is the core of SABEEL’s teachings. It sounds like you have an axe to grind. I don’t. And I don’t trust yr judgment about what SABEEL is or what SABEEL believes. But nice try.
I attend this event, and It was really awesome! It feels better to know there are still people who can speak out against injustice and the ethnic cleansing that Israel has been practicing over 40 years
As you have eloquently documented, israel leads among the nations in war crimes. How can you still support its legitimacy? Isnt is time that you endorsed BDS?
Isn’t it time you stopped telling me what to do? Write yr own blog.
Richard, as one completely on the other side of the fence than Aji X above, I’d like ask you – Isn’t it time you start treating commentators in yr blog more respectfully? I mean, what’s the whole point of setting up a blog and inviting people to comment if all you do is scare them off the minute they’re questioning your own opinion???
You don’t agree w. my views therefore you’re insulted on behalf of those whose views you agree with & who you feel I treat poorly. It all depends on whose ox is being gored, doesn’t it? When it’s yr ox then I’m an unreasonable ogre.
Well, actually I was wondering whether it’s possible at all to argue a different viewpoint than yours on your site *without* you getting angry, insulted and offended all the time, regardless of which side of the fence this viewpoint is… But never mind… Keep up the good work!