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  • Technorati: graph / links

    Israel prepares evacuation; Hamas claims victory


    by Sunny on 19th January, 2009 at 5:56 pm    


    (Cartoon by Peter Brookes at The Times)

    Today’s Reuters reports:

    * Most Israeli troops to be out of Gaza by Tuesday
    * U.N. chief to visit Gaza, Israeli officials say
    * Hamas claims victory
    * Saudi king pledges $1 billion in Gaza reconstruction aid

    Bulldozers cleared rubble from streets and the Palestinian statistics bureau put the total repair bill at $1.9 billion.

    Gaza medical officials said the Palestinian death toll included at least 700 civilians. Israel, which accused Hamas of endangering non-combatants by operating in densely populated areas, said hundreds of gunmen were among the dead. According to figures released by Hamas and other militant groups, 112 of their fighters and 180 Hamas policemen were killed. Israel put its dead at 10 soldiers and three civilians.

    For now, Gaza’s situation looks much as it did before the conflict — armed standoff and a dim future for the 1.5 million people fenced inside the strip by a blockade aimed at punishing Islamist Hamas for rocket fire and ambitions to destroy Israel.

    So, the dynamic hasn’t really changed much. Hamas has a few hundred of its “soldiers” killed but it will face no problems in replenishing those numbers given that Palestinians will be even more anti-Israeli now and Hamas are the only “freedom fighters” in town. What exactly did Israel achieve through its foolish military action than the death of hundreds of innocent civilians and even more polarisation?

    Did it actually think Palestinians would turn towards moderation while it was raining white phosphorous on them? I thought Bush was stupid, but the Israeli government takes the biscuit in idiotic realpolitik. And will Israel now pay for the destruction of Gazan infrastructure? Now that its reduced so many schools and basic amenities to rubble, I can really see Gazans not blaming them for their increasing hardship.



      |   Trackback link   |   Add to del.icio.us   |   Share on Facebook   |   Filed in: Middle East, Terrorism, United States




    64 Comments below   |  

    1. Amos Keppler — on 19th January, 2009 at 6:50 pm  

      It is yet another step in their ethnic cleansing campaign. They’re bombing schools, hospitals, ambulances, farm fields, medicine storage facilities, buildings storing food, everything not military targets. They started the campaign in 1948 and it has continued to this day.

    2. SE — on 19th January, 2009 at 6:51 pm  

      Here comes Boyo the Israeli (Palestinian blood drinking, HP wanking) apologist!

    3. fug — on 19th January, 2009 at 6:53 pm  

      but in a sense it plays well to their forced feedback loop.

      generate a course of events that makes more people hate your state. generate more citizens for israel and people who believe in fortress israel from other lands.

      it has created new facts on the ground for the obama administration and disturbed the organisation of the resistance. it has also raised the stakes for anybody who may feel inclined to resist their strangling presence and blockade.

      israeli soldiers now feel better about themselves and have gained comradery through their deeds. and the ‘moderate’ israeli establishment looks more hardcore to an essentially hardcore zionist votebank.

    4. Leon — on 19th January, 2009 at 7:21 pm  

      Funny how this whole invasion wraps up neatly before Obama takes office isn’t it? The current Israeli government has proved itself to be opportunistic to a deathly extreme.

      Anyway…

      * Saudi king pledges $1 billion in Gaza reconstruction aid

      Is that actually as big a number as it sounds? Also what are the strings attached to that (no aid is given without strings)…?

    5. El Cid — on 19th January, 2009 at 7:52 pm  

      I don’t know why you said “idiotic realpolitik“!!!
      What you really mean is “idiotic”, full stop.

    6. MSK* — on 19th January, 2009 at 8:47 pm  

      S-

      As it happens, Hamas has also lost support among Gazans because of its confrontational policies.

      Yes, they hate Israel even more (& probably always will) but there’s quite a bit of “So what good does it do us to be righteous victims who get bombed all the time?”

      L-

      The “strings” are not overt. Such monies are usually just distributed. But, of course, everyone knows it’s Saudi support. And there will be “Rebuilt with $$$ from the Guardian of the Two Holy Places” banners. It’s just like the Qatari etc. $$$ that flowed into Southern Lebanon after the 2006 War.

      It’s a competition for goodwill & support & PR.

      And it’s also a bit of plastering over the perception that the Saudis politically supported Israel during the last 3 weeks …

      -MSK*

    7. comrade — on 19th January, 2009 at 8:56 pm  

      No occuping force can defeat the Resistance/resolve of the people to be free, no matter how violent or oppressive that may be. Recent example Iraq, even with 250000 troops plus 200000 Private Army have failed. And Obama is going to make the same mistake in Afaganistan by sending extra 30000 troops, even in the knowledge that,they can not win. It’s beyond my understanding.

    8. Refresh — on 19th January, 2009 at 9:22 pm  

      The $billion bill should be sent to Israel.

      Everytime the IDF bull is let loose, Israel should get a bill. I am sure it already runs into many many billions.

    9. Boyo — on 19th January, 2009 at 9:38 pm  

      TBH we will have to wait and see. I suspect Israel may have achieved its strategic objective.

      And it’s a measure of your stupidity SE that you will probably interpret a remark like that as an “apology” for Israel. One can only hope that when you grow up you will be ashamed of your adolescent anti-semitism. But sadly the way things are going you’ll probably end up a “community leader”.

    10. Refresh — on 19th January, 2009 at 9:44 pm  

      ‘I suspect Israel may have achieved its strategic objective.’

      Another decade of not having to negotiate, whilst settlements spread like tentacles?

    11. Boyo — on 19th January, 2009 at 10:01 pm  

      Refresh, quite possibly, plus the support from the US and Egypt to prevent further tunnel-building and tighten the borders. A key concern was to prevent the next generation missiles getting through, which would have placed all Israel under threat - a deal was agreed with Rice the other day. Also, Hamas in Gaza have admitted their shock at the attack and desire for a ceasefire - it was their Damascus wing that was more resolute (no surprise there). So all in all, just as Hezbollah were silenced following the Israeli “loss”, I suspect the hope is Hamas will be, and over time they will come to be replaced by Fatah. That’s my guess anyway.

    12. fug — on 19th January, 2009 at 10:14 pm  

      i think reclaiming the tunnels is a vital point for pro palestine campaigning. They were under seige for ages, now these lifelines have been broken how are they now to get basic commodities?

      is turkey going to assert itself as a guardian at rafa? if rafa and gaza port can be internationalised people will come and trade.

      i think fatah look very stupid now, and callous. they are probably history despite attempts to revive them from outside. the next step from pressent day hamas is anybody’s guess. Fatah died when arafat was poisoned to death by israel and undermined by the west.

    13. Hermes — on 19th January, 2009 at 10:22 pm  

      fug,

      The next step from Hamas is probably thousands of angry young men plotting their revenge…maybe not even organised into a political or paramilitary group, but a group which the Israelis will find impossible to control.

      So, yes Boyo, you have achieved a strategic goal or making sure there is a whole new generation devoted to your country’s destruction. And without the support of Bush…who knows!!

    14. comrade — on 19th January, 2009 at 10:23 pm  

      ‘I suspect Israel may have achieved its strategic objective.

      Accoding to the UN 50,800 people are homeless,400,000 are without running water. Entire neighbourhoods have been flattened. 1,200 Palestinians have been slaughtered, half of them women and children, 13 Israelis have been killed, 3 of them civilians. Hamas millitary wing is still intact and still able to launch rockets. Support for Hamas has increased. The Muslims across the World have been pushed more towards extreamism, { which is a big setback for the West’s war on terror} The only people who have achieved thier ‘objectives’ are Israeli leaders who are candidates in the comming elections.

    15. Steve M — on 19th January, 2009 at 10:41 pm  

      Here’s an interesting extract from BBC News:
      http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=926_1232340064

      I don’t see why Israel should pay for the damage caused by an invasion provoked by 7 years of missile strikes by the government in Gaza but in any event they won’t be given a chance to as the Saudis and Iranians rush to establish influence in the region. So far Saudi has pledged £1b.

    16. douglas clark — on 19th January, 2009 at 10:52 pm  

      comrade @ 14,

      Assuming your statistics are correct, and I have no reason to doubt them, how the heck is this a victory for Hamas?

      If what you say is true about Hamas’ ability to still launch rockets then even the Israeli leaders objectives are unsecured.

      The whole thing is a disaster, and the 1200 dead are not able to tell us whether they thought their snuffed out lives was a price worth paying. They, you see, cannot comment on here or anywhere else.

      It is same as it ever was, same as it ever was bullshit. Politicians fight, people die.

      I think Leon @ 4 hits the nail on the head. This was opportunism in the dog days of a failed Presidency.

    17. aji — on 20th January, 2009 at 6:01 am  

      * Saudi king pledges $1 billion in Gaza reconstruction aid

      How the Saudis love to throw their petrodollars around, and usually a lot of their “development” money goes into building madrassas - the indoctrination centres for virulent Islamist extremists. I don’t think Israel will be too pleased with this offer.

    18. bananabrain — on 20th January, 2009 at 10:16 am  

      is there no end to the venom and demonisation of israel that is going to go unanswered on this site? it is the job of political cartoonists to be reductionist in order to make their point. it is surely not in the interest of a serious political blog like this to continue to pander to the “zionists control the media and they’re a bunch of ethnic-cleansing baby-eating nazis” peanut gallery, is it?

      things have really gone downhill, i am despairing of reasonable discussion on these points whilst we are still coping with this influx of frothing imbeciles.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    19. chairwoman — on 20th January, 2009 at 10:22 am  

      Funny how this whole invasion wraps up neatly before Obama takes office isn’t it?

      It’s almost as though they’d consulted him before invading isn’t it?

    20. chairwoman — on 20th January, 2009 at 10:25 am  

      is there no end to the venom and demonisation of israel that is going to go unanswered on this site?

      No.

    21. douglas clark — on 20th January, 2009 at 10:34 am  

      bananabrain,

      Try to stand back an inch or two. There is no ‘reasonable discussion’ possible when so many lives have been lost.

      I have always enjoyed our jousts. And I really do think you are amongst the best, and most engaging commentators on here.

      But your common humanity, which you have in Spades, has been subsumed by a denialist trope. So, it is me that despairs, it is me that thinks there is no centre ground and that all is lost.

    22. douglas clark — on 20th January, 2009 at 10:45 am  

      Chairwoman @ 20,

      You are also someone I respect. But you too have chosen a side. I cannot, for the life of me, see why you, of all people, would see aggression as friendly, war as peace, you know the rest of it…

      It is beyond parody to view what Israel did as reasonable.

    23. Anas — on 20th January, 2009 at 10:52 am  

      is there no end to the venom and demonisation of israel that is going to go unanswered on this site?

      israel conducts a bloodthirsty campaign of terrorism and mass murder in Gaza (and it’s only diehard Israel supporters who think the purpose of the slaughter was anything but to terrorise the people of Gaza, and not just Hamas) with complete impunity from the West and you’re surprised it becomes the subject of venom and demonisation? would you have been equally worried about the demonisation of al qaida after 9/11?

    24. bananabrain — on 20th January, 2009 at 11:21 am  

      douglas:

      Try to stand back an inch or two. There is no ‘reasonable discussion’ possible when so many lives have been lost.

      reasonable discussion is always possible. if you do not believe it is possible in this case, then groupthink has taken over. my point of view may not be popular, but it is certainly reasonable. i am not in denial of anything and, as a parent, as a jew and as a human i am appalled to see the suffering of innocent civilians on either side of this. there are a number of different narratives going on here. the one which is concerned with making sure that everyone joins in and condemns the right people in the right terms and starts worrying about who’s sharing platforms with whom on the right demonstration is one which i have no sympathy with, either on the israeli or palestinian “sides”. even more so does that go for the name-calling, jew-baiting trolls that have swept in here like a tide of raw sewage, using this opportunity to air their hatred and in more than one case hold me and my children responsible for being jewish, picking the imagery of nazism as the best vehicle for rhetorical effect (why not rwanda? why not cambodia? no, let’s pick the one that will hurt the jews - http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1056844.html ) regardless of its inapplicability to the situation - and it goes unanswered for the most part.

      you seem to be saying that there’s only one “reasonable” side to pick and i’m saying a) that that isn’t true and b) it isn’t about “sides” in any case. i’m not trying to prove the israelis have the right of it. there have been times in the last few days where i have no longer felt safe in this country and, after seeing some of the discussions here, have come to understand why i wouldn’t trust “progressives” to protect me as a fellow-citizen - so if you learn anything about the democratic society in which we live, learn this. attacks on me and my community are being excused, justified and encouraged by this ridiculous, self-congratulatory pretence that “anti-semitism” will not be tolerated, but anything else goes. i’ve got news for you, guys: the jew-haters know the rules now, so they will always steer clear of your definitions of hate-speech, but make no mistake - they know the code-words they’re using and so do we.

      But your common humanity, which you have in Spades, has been subsumed by a denialist trope.

      not at all. i think i’ve made it abundantly clear what my emotional response has been. it is echoed here by no less a figure than david grossman:

      http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1056955.html

      but leaving aside all the breast-beating for a moment, i’ve been considering the diplomatic dimension in some detail and i made a quite long post here: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/2669#comment-145247

      about what i believe is going on. my analysis has been matched in both the arab press and just yesterday by the magisterial zvi bar-el:

      http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1056662.html

      that, i believe, can be discussed without the emotionalism.

      oh, look, here’s anas, come to pour on the petrol.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    25. cjcjc — on 20th January, 2009 at 11:31 am  

      Hamas criminality now back to normal…

      http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1232292907998&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

    26. chairwoman — on 20th January, 2009 at 11:33 am  

      Douglas - This site has adopted an agenda of demonisation of Israel. It refuses point blank to see that Hamas has been deliberately goading the Government of Israel since the withdrawal from Gaza.

      Personally I would not have risen to the bait. But then I am not a bloke.

      When you look at the wild and intemperate language used on this site by men, even when they hide behind female names, why do you find it so hard to understand that one group of men can be goaded into acts of violence by another.

      Only a couple of days ago, Sunny assured us that he has and would engage in physical violence for being called a name. No matter how disgusting name calling is, it is rarely an excuse for violence.

      I say this as somebody who feels violent quite frequently, and who poked Dmitri with her stick only last week. But, as most women do, I have learned to control the impulse to lash out.

      But I digress.

      First let me state again. I shall always support the existence of Israel. That’s it. It does not mean that I will always support the actions of Israel’s government. Hear the difference.

      When Israel pulled out of Gaza, the Israelis, at the Palestinians request, demolished all the houses they had built there. The rationale was that they needed apartment buildings rather than houses. That made sense.

      But what sense did it make to destroy all the greenhouses that could have been growing food for home consumption, if not to help the economy? The Israelis left them behind, the Gazans smashed them to smithereens.

      I think that was an indication of their mindset.

      And once again, and this is not condoning in any way the death of over 1000 people whether they were Hamas fighters or not, how long do you think it would be before Tel Aviv was razed to the ground if Hamas had Israel’s fire power?

      Happy Inauguration Day.

    27. chairwoman — on 20th January, 2009 at 11:35 am  

      you seem to be saying that there’s only one “reasonable” side to pick and i’m saying a) that that isn’t true and b) it isn’t about “sides” in any case. i’m not trying to prove the israelis have the right of it. there have been times in the last few days where i have no longer felt safe in this country and, after seeing some of the discussions here, have come to understand why i wouldn’t trust “progressives” to protect me as a fellow-citizen - so if you learn anything about the democratic society in which we live, learn this. attacks on me and my community are being excused, justified and encouraged by this ridiculous, self-congratulatory pretence that “anti-semitism” will not be tolerated, but anything else goes. i’ve got news for you, guys: the jew-haters know the rules now, so they will always steer clear of your definitions of hate-speech, but make no mistake - they know the code-words they’re using and so do we.

      In a nutshell bb.

    28. Shamit — on 20th January, 2009 at 11:36 am  

      Douglas

      The sane voice of the sage amid the insensitivities that surround this emotive topic.

      The common bond of humanity is the truth that we all from time to time tend to forget especially when we identify with a cause. When the cause tends to be wrapped around with religious sentiments sanity seems to be driven out of any discourse on the topic. And when you add to that entrenched narratives and perceptions that have been inculcated in people since their childhood — we have nothing but senseless accusations laced with attitude and remarks that does not befit a rational human being.

      And, trying to objectively view both sides is simply not acceptable to most who would prefer us condemning one side or the other solely. Supporting the right of Israel to defend itself against stupidities of Hamas is made out to be supporting unbridaled aggression and death of innocent civilians especially children. And, you are accused of being anti-muslim.

      Until a settlement is reached and there is a viable Government with ability to deliver services in Gaza, Israel has moral responsibility towards the welfare of those 1.5 million people in Gaza. And trying to hold Israel to a higher moral standard than its adversaries is often viewed by many as supporting anti-semitism.

      What is most ironic most people who have chosen sides is because of their religion — and both are religion of the Book and both groups believe in the same GOD. I wonder what GOD might think of those children of his who uses HIS name to create division and hatred. How could GOD support attack on innocent civilians including children on both sides?

      To me, faith is important but it is a personal matter and I would be very uncomfortable to define my public persona d by my religious identity. Maybe I am wrong — but unless we can put religion in the back burner and look at the Middle East with pragmatism I fear the solution would be hard to find.

      Leaders have responsibilities towards their people and in this case both the Israeli Leadership and Hamas Leadership have failed the 1.5 million people who live in Gaza. And Hamas has direct responsibility towards the people of Gaza who elected them — and bringing more misery and destruction to them through their stupid rocket attacks don’t make much sense to me. And then claiming victory yesterday — well these guys don’t give a toss about people in Gaza.

      Israelis have a far more important question to answer as a nation. You are more powerful than almost all nations in the Middle East and with power comes responsibilities. United States after 9/11 could have nuked Afghanistan and its caves out of existance but that would hve brought more misery to an already unfortunate country. Israel should have known better and this operation was disproportionate to say the least and to me it was a complete abuse of power — Israel has one of the most effective and deadly intelligence agencies — they never had a problem dealing with unsavoury people — and I believe they could have handled this differently.

      I think in this last days as PM - Ohmert is being driven by ego rather than anything else. Hope we find some sanity back soon.

    29. Sid — on 20th January, 2009 at 12:01 pm  

      BB:
      picking the imagery of nazism as the best vehicle for rhetorical effect (why not rwanda? why not cambodia? no, let’s pick the one that will hurt the jews - http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1056844.html ) regardless of its inapplicability to the situation - and it goes unanswered for the most part.

      I understand why this is unacceptable on so many levels, but why is it deemed acceptable to use the “imagery of nazism” when antisemitism is the subject of discussion?
      Here HP is using the image of Kristalwoche to describe the antisemitic attack of a Starbucks outlet in central London. Presumably that kind of use imagery is more acceptable, more “progressive”? Why is this so?

      CW:
      And once again, and this is not condoning in any way the death of over 1000 people whether they were Hamas fighters or not, how long do you think it would be before Tel Aviv was razed to the ground if Hamas had Israel’s fire power?

      That’s the kind of rhetoric of pre-emptive attack we’ve come to expect from George Bush and sounds no less disgraceful coming from someone I respect. Iran does have the kind of fire power Israel has claim to (well sort of) but Israel chose not to raze Tehran to the ground. Why Gaza? The imbalance of this death toll says that more clearly than any propaganada ever could. Do you see how asking that question after after 1,300 have died, thousands more injured and Gaza raised to the ground by Israeli forces sounds so disgraceful?

    30. chairwoman — on 20th January, 2009 at 12:17 pm  

      Sid, I’ve got to be honest, not really.

      The point I’m trying to make, and I’m obviously not as eloquent as I thought I was, is that if Israel was really as evil a force as everybody seems to think it is, then the casualties would have been far greater.

      That does not condone over 1000 dead.

      Did you actually read what I said?

      All of it?

      Just one more thing. You’re a parent. Would you allow your kids to constantly throw pebbles at big boys armed with rocks? Day after day? Would you encourage them to do so? Would you supply them with the pebbles?

      Well that’s what Hamas (encouraged of course by Iran) does.

      Criticise Israel, certainly, but can we have an end to gallant little Hamas protecting its own, because it damn well isn’t!

    31. Anas — on 20th January, 2009 at 12:23 pm  

      I’m sorry but a cold and rational analysis of a slaughter designed to invoke extreme terror among an already embattled population of men, women and children isn’t something it’s easy to muster up — unless you’ve lost your sense of humanity and compassion for the victims of the brutality. Do you think Picasso was overreacting when he painted Guernica, too?

      People are going to feel angry because if you aren’t seething at the massacre of hundreds of children then there’s something lacking with your basic human sense of empathy with others.

      And this tactic of Israel’s apologists of quickly glossing over the fact of the slaughter or shedding a crocodile tear or two, before focusing almost exclusively on the threat of renewed anti-Semitism & blaming the victims for making Israel murder hundreds of them isn’t new either. It’s fooling less people than ever though.

    32. douglas clark — on 20th January, 2009 at 12:27 pm  

      bananabrain @ 24,

      That is not what I am trying to say at all. I really don’t know how to correct a diatribe like that.

      Honestly.

      I think reasonable discussion is hampered by killing folk.

      I am not at all happy that British Jews should be seen as a legitimate target by mad and bad Islamophobes, and probably the BNP too.

      So, if you want me to be seen as one of your allies, could you wind down the rhetoric a bit?

      As far as I know, searching into my soul and stuff like that, I am not a Jew hater. I actually seem to like Jews, ’cause they seemed to like me.

      Anyway, onto Chairwoman, another Jew I respect… this is getting ridiculous. Couldn’t you and Chairwoman simply be citizens or something?

      Your aggression seems to equal the trope of the nutters that are Al Quida.

      Look, it is hardly reasonable to expect a neutral such as me, to have every little fact at their fingertip. But your own knowledge of ‘the facts’ makes you play a game I don’t want to enter.

    33. chairwoman — on 20th January, 2009 at 12:36 pm  

      I will accept there’s possibly something something wrong with my basic human sense of empathy.

      I will not however accept that I should empathise more with this group of people more than other groups throughout the world.

      You all really don’t get it.

      What gets up our noses as Jews is that (a) you hold us collectively responsible for something that we can do nothing about - did you notice that I said I personally would not allow myself to be goaded into this action, and (b) that Israel is held to different criteria from other countries.

    34. Katy Newton — on 20th January, 2009 at 12:37 pm  

      Your aggression seems to equal the trope of the nutters that are Al Quida.

      Wow. You can’t actually mean that, Douglas.

    35. douglas clark — on 20th January, 2009 at 12:38 pm  

      Chairwoman @ 30,

      Jesus Christ!

      if Israel was really as evil a force as everybody seems to think it is, then the casualties would have been far greater.

      Are they not bad enough?

    36. chairwoman — on 20th January, 2009 at 12:43 pm  

      Douglas - Where on earth have I been aggressive? And as for trying just to be a citizen - well I’ve done that for years, and I’m still seeing signs saying ‘Kill the Juice’, hearing cries of ‘Jews to the Gas’, hearing politicians and religious leaders in other countries call for Jews everywhere to be killed, still being called pigs and dogs (fond as I am of both species I am not either}…..it goes on and on.

      Tell them to be effing citizens, because I’ve had enough!

    37. Katy Newton — on 20th January, 2009 at 12:43 pm  

      Hello? Douglas? You just said that bananabrain and my mother were as aggressive as Al Queda? Are you standing by that?

    38. Sid — on 20th January, 2009 at 12:45 pm  

      oh god…

    39. chairwoman — on 20th January, 2009 at 12:48 pm  

      Of course it’s bad enough Douglas, just remember Coventry and Dresden.

      Also remember what I always say, it’s sixties, it’s trite, but it’s true.

      War’s a bad scene!

    40. douglas clark — on 20th January, 2009 at 12:49 pm  

      Katy Newton @ 34,

      Yes, I do. I am completely pissed off with aggressive speech, aggressive viewpoints and deadly intent. There is nothing much to choose between the killers.

      Love you lots.

    41. chairwoman — on 20th January, 2009 at 12:51 pm  

      Douglas where did I make aggressive anything?

      And where is my aggressive viewpoint or intent?

      Now I am seriously angry.

    42. Katy Newton — on 20th January, 2009 at 12:51 pm  

      focusing almost exclusively on the threat of renewed anti-Semitism

      I’m sorry if you think it’s outrageously self-interested for me to be concerned about my safety in this country. I’ve said all over these pages how appalled I am by the deaths in Gaza but perhaps you don’t believe me because you know that I’m reluctant to dismiss the whole of Israel as bloodthirsty maniacs. I don’t know.

      Anyway, I remember plenty of Muslims being highly disturbed at the increase in Islamophobia following 9/11 and the July bombings. I thought it was pretty reasonable, actually. But that’s because I didn’t hold them responsible for what people in a different country who they had no control over had done.

    43. Anas — on 20th January, 2009 at 12:52 pm  

      Chairwoman has a point. I mean, compare Gaza with Hiroshima. Those bloody Hamas got off lightly.

    44. Katy Newton — on 20th January, 2009 at 12:53 pm  

      Douglas, when you calm down I’m sure you’ll see how utterly ridiculous it is, not to mention grossly insulting, to compare a disabled widow in her sixties behind a computer with the people who crashed four planes in America, killing 2750 people. Probably.

    45. chairwoman — on 20th January, 2009 at 12:54 pm  

      focusing almost exclusively on the threat of renewed anti-Semitism

      Dmitri, who looks Jewish and considerably younger than his 29 years (and who will give as good as he gets if push -or worse- comes to shove)has taken to wearing a Kevla jacket.

    46. Katy Newton — on 20th January, 2009 at 12:55 pm  

      Oh, knock it off, Anas, you know perfectly well that she was not saying that the Palestinians “got off lightly”. She was making a point about reading Israel’s intentions from what it did.

      I know you don’t like me but I did think you had enough respect for my mother not to twist her words for fun.

    47. chairwoman — on 20th January, 2009 at 12:56 pm  

      et tu Anas?

      You know my views and you know me better than that.

    48. Sid — on 20th January, 2009 at 12:58 pm  

      who’s Dmitri CW?

    49. bananabrain — on 20th January, 2009 at 12:59 pm  

      Why is it more acceptable to use the “imagery of nazism” when antisemitism is the subject of discussion?

      is that a serious question? because if it’s about oppressing jews, the democratically-elected nazis used every trick in the book, so any anti-jewish action with accompanying ideology of demonisation in a normally peaceful and tolerant european society is going to be strongly and directly reminiscent, isn’t it? by contrast, you can’t show me anything other than the rantings of a few cranks on the fringes of the israeli right-wing (ok, i’ll give you that bastard lieberman) that amounts to anything even vaguely genocidal. nobody is voting for “death to the palestinians”, or “palestinians aren’t really human” or “palestinians eat babies”, or “palestinians control the world” - or maybe you have to live in the community to really understand that, i don’t know.

      Here HP is using the image of Kristalwoche to describe the antisemitic attack of a Starbucks outlet in central London. Presumably that kind of use imagery is more acceptable, more “progressive”? Why is this so?

      i’m not interested in whether something is “progressive” or not. when jewish-owned shops have their windows smashed (or even shops that are perceived as having some kind of tenuous link, like starbucks - an italian trade union has called for a boycott of JEWISH-OWNED shops, note emphasis) as has happened to M&S and ahuva, when synagogues are being firebombed, when jewish neighbourhoods are being daubed, when a campaign of intimidation and abuse of jews for being jewish is under way, without even so much as a pretence at finding out what jewish opinion actually is (that’s the giveaway, really) and in spite of what feels to me like a deafening silence from the community in terms of support for specific actions, if not the need for action, in favour of deliberately neutral terms like “solidarity” and “peace for the people of israel and gaza”, yes, that feels like pogroms to me. if this was greeks smashing turkish shops, i’d think “cyprus, 71″. if it was looting in brixton, i’d think “rodney king”. if it was ibo against hausa against yoruba, i’d think “biafra”. it’s just what the historical association is.

      as i’ve just said, there’s a direct link now between the drawing of nazi parallels to israel and attacks on jews. even if this wasn’t wrong, it would still be noteworthy.

      Iran does have the kind of fire power Israel has claim to (well sort of) but Israel chose not to raze Tehran to the ground. Why Gaza?

      well, that’s what i’ve tried to analyse in my other comment - it seems to be mostly about deterring iran’s other strategic asset, hizbollah. what i don’t understand is why they haven’t gone after the iranians directly in some way, i’m not saying “bomb tehran”, but there must be other options.

      The imbalance of this death toll says that more clearly than any propaganada ever could. Do you see how asking that question after after 1,300 have died, thousands more injured and Gaza razed to the ground by Israeli forces sounds so disgraceful?

      it is disgraceful that 700 civilians have died, yes, if more care could have been taken to avoid this, which i don’t really think happened, but it seems to me to be both unrealistic and spectacularly blinkered to imply that somehow it would be more “fair” if hamas rockets had killed an equal number of israeli citizens, just as it would be ridiculous to imply that instead of their air force, the israelis should use random rocket attacks instead. i also think it’s spectacularly tendentious to gloss over the fact that hamas use their own civilians as human shields and celebrate civilian deaths on the other side when the israelis do neither. it’s not much to you, perhaps, with the people that have died, but for me, at least this small amount of morality is worth hanging on to.

      and then hamas trying to declare “victory”? what planet are these fools living on? not just the israelis, but both sides must realise that a balance of terror and civilian death is a futile exercise. the only thing they can say is that they’re still hanging on to gilad schalit after 800-odd days of pointless posturing.

      douglas:

      I think reasonable discussion is hampered by killing folk.

      so do i. but that is precisely why iran has engineered this situation, to prevent such discussions taking place. not the israelis - they were the ones doing the talking, to syria in turkey.

      As far as I know, searching into my soul and stuff like that, I am not a Jew hater. I actually seem to like Jews, ’cause they seemed to like me.

      that’s not what i said. what i said is that it is becoming abundantly clear - and i’m not talking rhetoric here, i’m talking actual stuff that is happening to MY community, IN LONDON, NOW, because of this.

      Couldn’t you and Chairwoman simply be citizens or something?

      well, that would be nice, but apparently whenever israel does anything like this, our right not to be targeted as jews disappears. and if i ever did, i don’t expect “progressives” to lift a finger after this display.

      Your aggression seems to equal the trope of the nutters that are Al Quida.

      like katy says, you can’t possibly be serious.

      But your own knowledge of ‘the facts’ makes you play a game I don’t want to enter.

      i fail to see how facts can make worse. look, douglas, i’ve presented an analysis of why this situation is occurring, did you take a look at it? i want to know what you think you and i can usefully do in this situation. i want to know what you think the israelis and the international community ought to do about iran. personally, i’d get an international force into gaza right now and give it more teeth than unifil has ever had. i’m not talking about platforms, demonstrations or condemnations. i’m talking about genuine policy and strategy here, which i don’t think need to be conducted in rhetorical terms.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    50. Katy Newton — on 20th January, 2009 at 12:59 pm  

      No, Mum, you’re just another member of the IDF as far as he’s concerned. And apparently to Douglas you’re just another member of Al Quaeda. How lovely. How welcome I feel here. The home of rational debate. So much better than Harry’s Place, where they rip into people using ludicrously overinflated imagery, relentlessly judge people according to their position rather than reading what they actually say, and have no respect for reasoned debate… er…

    51. chairwoman — on 20th January, 2009 at 1:01 pm  

      He’s my ward who lives with us. Also known as the Aspergers Kid :-)

    52. douglas clark — on 20th January, 2009 at 1:01 pm  

      Chairwoman,

      I quoted what I thought you said to be wrong.

      Here:

      if Israel was really as evil a force as everybody seems to think it is, then the casualties would have been far greater.

      Go on, justify. I don’t think a sensible person can. And you are sensible….

    53. Katy Newton — on 20th January, 2009 at 1:04 pm  

      Go on, justify.

      I do hope she doesn’t, frankly, until you withdraw your ridiculous, offensive, insulting comment about Al Quaeda. It astonishes me that you and my mother are the same age and yet you could come out with something so utterly unjust.

    54. Katy Newton — on 20th January, 2009 at 1:08 pm  

      i’ve presented an analysis of why this situation is occurring, did you take a look at it? i want to know what you think you and i can usefully do in this situation.

      Heh. That’s what I said on here for days. I said it until I was blue in the face. And in return I got called a murderer, a member of the IDF, a drinker of Palestinian blood, an apologist for genocide. Don’t bother. It’s not worth it. No one’s interested.

    55. chairwoman — on 20th January, 2009 at 1:09 pm  

      Douglas - It is, unfortunately, common sense. Saying that casualties could be greater, doesn’t justify the casualties that have occurred, it just makes the point some constraint has been shown.

      Katy - You know I will always try to negotiate and conciliate as long as I can :-).

    56. Katy Newton — on 20th January, 2009 at 1:11 pm  

      You and bb have fun with that.

    57. douglas clark — on 20th January, 2009 at 1:15 pm  

      Katy,

      Nope.

      I am pissed off with your unilateral certainty. It is you that seems to view aggression as just.

      Love you lots.

    58. persephone — on 20th January, 2009 at 1:21 pm  

      A whole load of people need to calm down. Everyone’s views are so entrenched (on all sides) that any rational discussion, even on a blog of comparative strangers, has been lost.

      Can’t we all just get along? After all we don’t want to repeat the behaviour that led to the warring b/n Israel & the Palestinians

    59. Katy Newton — on 20th January, 2009 at 1:28 pm  

      no, I’m sorry but I won’t calm down. These are real people, these commenters, and they are saying what they mean.

      When Douglas says that my mother is like Al Quaeda, that’s what he means. When he says that I “think aggression is just” (which is not something that i have ever said), that’s what he means.

      When Anas implies that there is something wrong with anyone who tries to look at what’s going on rationally and coldly - even though that’s the only way that anything will get sorted out - that’s what he means.

      When Hermes calls bananabrain an inhuman jewboy, that’s what he means.

      When SE accuses me of being a “bloodthirsty murderer”, that (amazingly) is what he means.

      These are real people saying real things. There is no difference between saying them here and saying them to my face in real life. It bothers me that people nurse this level of hostility towards me personally over one issue of foreign policy. You try being called a murderer and an apologist for genocide and see how long you manage to put up with it without ending up in tears - whether it’s online or in real life.

    60. Katy Newton — on 20th January, 2009 at 1:32 pm  

      and Douglas: not reciprocated. I often disagree with you and you have often been incredibly rude and aggressive to people on this site - remember when you got deleted for telling someone to fuck off for no reason? - but I would never dream of suggesting that you are like murderers or terrorists.

      It was bang out of order, and you know it, and my mother is entitled to an apology from you. No ifs, no buts.

    61. chairwoman — on 20th January, 2009 at 1:34 pm  

      Persephone - Everybody should calm down

      I started off pretty calm and reasonable at 20 and then the personal abuse started, so I explained myself more fully at 26, and the personal abuse continued, and now I’m fed up.

    62. bananabrain — on 20th January, 2009 at 1:43 pm  

      i have to say i’m pretty disappointed in you, douglas. this is exactly how right-wing israelis (and americans) characterise “progressive” europeans - all mouth, but no trousers, ready to demonstrate for the oppressed masses in a heartbeat, but deaf and blind to abuses of liberal democracy going on right under their noses. shame on you for making me feel like i can’t rely on the essential fairness and decency of the citizens of the united kingdom. next time some idiot israeli says “these guys, if it ever happens again, they won’t lift a finger”, i will find it much harder to argue that people have changed.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    63. Rumbold — on 20th January, 2009 at 1:53 pm  

      I am closing this thread. I don’t think it will be missed. Let’s not let the poison that infects so many others infect us Picklers too.

    64. links for 2009-01-21 « Embololalia — on 21st January, 2009 at 6:03 pm  

      [...] Israel prepares evacuation; Hamas claims victory What exactly did Israel achieve through its foolish military action than the death of hundreds of innocent civilians and even more polarisation? [...]

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