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A wider perspective on Israel and Middle East


by Katy on 5th August, 2006 at 5:01 pm    

This post has been edited and updated since it was first posted, and a substantial part had to be rewritten after a Wordpress disaster. Apologies to those who responded to the post as it was first written.

Like many Diaspora Jews, I am not an uncritical supporter of Israel and I am deeply unhappy about the current war on Lebanon.

What I would like to do is discuss and critique the conflict freely with anyone else who is interested in doing so, regardless of their background, colour, religion or nationality. But I don’t get much opportunity to do that, because I find myself having to rebut the same misunderstandings over and over again, sometimes in conversations outside of this blog, and sometimes on threads in this blog.

Even when, as Leon did recently, a thread is started with the aim of discussing how to end the conflict, it quickly turns into a battle between ill-informed tirades about Israel’s previous crimes and misdemeanours versus equally ill-informed tirades about the alleged intrinsic worthlessness of the Palestinian/Arab peoples. Neither of those lines of argument are going to get anyone anywhere.

There has been plenty of posting on PP about the war and I have already set out what I think should happen here. What I want to do in this post is address some of the points that people often put to me in conversations about Israel, and to a certain extent about being Jewish generally.

1. “Israel is not seriously under threat”

Take a look at the Hamas Charter.

Now take a look what Nasrallah has said in the past about Israel and Jews. Look here. And here.

Incidentally, why are Hizbollah still around and still armed? Wasn’t there a UN resolution about that at some point? I’ll come back to that later.

Hizbollah is funded and armed by Iran, so what has the Iranian President has been saying over the last couple of years?

He’s been saying this sort of thing. And this sort of thing.

(By the way, it never fails to amaze me that people tend to dismiss what the Iranian president says as mad semi-comical ramblings. This is the President of a fundamentalist state with an appalling human rights record who desperately wants nuclear capability and probably already has it in breach of UN resolutions. Who was the last screaming, frothing, rabidly prejudiced dictator who everyone thought was a bit of a joke and who wasn’t sure that the Jews were really human? What was his name again? Short Austrian chap with an amusing toothbrush moustache? It’ll come back to me.)

What about Syria? Well, they’ve been quietly augmenting the cultural side of antisemitism. But it’s not all bad news. At least Assad did his best to find common ground with the Pope when he welcomed him to Syria.

I had trouble putting the link on this page for some reason but if you google “Syrian Jews” you will see how Syria treats its own Jewish community.

Israel is a tiny country with a population of about 7 million. Syria has a population of about 19 million. Iran has a population of about 68 million. Israel’s neighbours hate Israel, refuse to recognise its existence and make public speeches which are not just anti-Israel but antisemitic in nature. Iran and Syria may not be directly at war with Israel but they have fostered an army on Lebanese soil in breach of a UN resolution requiring disarmament. No matter how much technological wizardry Israel has at its command and no matter how many US dollars are put its way, numbers are numbers and Israel knows it.

Read those links. No, seriously, read those links. Look at the way Israel’s neighbours feel about it and about the Jews as a people, and then come back and tell me that Israel is not entitled to feel seriously under threat.

(And no, that does not necessarily justify the way in which Israel deals with that threat, so don’t stop reading because you’ve decided that I’m a covert apologist for the Lebanese conflict.)

2. “Oh but Katy you’ve already started going on about Hitler, I can’t stand the way the Jews milk the Holocaust.”

If you see a post in which a Jewish person says, “Israel is entitled to bomb Lebanon/ occupy Palestinian lands/ do whatever it wants because the Jews suffered so badly in the Holocaust” then by all means accuse them of milking the Holocaust because that’s what they’re doing. But if I point out to you that the creation of Israel was in part an answer to the Holocaust problem (i.e. millions of Jewish refugees who had nowhere to go and a load of war-devastated states who couldn’t or wouldn’t take them in), do not - no, do not accuse me of “milking” the Holocaust. It is an historical fact that the Zionist movement was seized upon by the world’s powers as an easy solution to an embarrassing problem. You don’t have to like it.

3. “Oh but Katy now you’re talking about Lebanon and Iran having ignored UN resolutions in relation to nuclear power and disarming Hezbollah but you KNOW that Israel has disregarded all of the ones about their treatment of the Palestinians so why should Lebanon and Iran obey theirs?”

If you’re going to look at it that way why should anyone ever obey any rules at all? I don’t shoplift, but lots of people do and don’t get caught so perhaps I should make it my second career.

But actually I agree. The fact is that UN resolutions are honoured more in the breach than in the observance. Superpowers like Russia and the US don’t even get resolutions made against them, and unless for example Russia (a backer of Iran) or the US (a backer of Israel) insists on the smaller states they sponsor obeying the resolutions made, nothing happens. What the continuing Middle Eastern crisis actually demonstrates is that the UN is toothless and its resolutions achieve nothing except to stir up resentment against the UN on the part of the state against which they are made. If the UN were an effective broker of peace and had a strong leader the Middle East would not be in this state.

4. “Oh but Katy the Jews aren’t really a race anyway, or even Middle Eastern Semites, I read that they are Hungarian or something”

Er, what has that got to do with anything? But I’ll humour you. You’re wrong about the Middle Eastern, but right about the race. See my explanation of Jewish common ancestry here. What the Jews are is a group of loosely interrelated people with a common ancestor or small group of common ancestors who have remained relatively closely tied genetically because of many centuries of segregation. I suppose what we really are is a very extended family. But we are not a race. The term “race”, as I understand it, refers to physical differences setting you and people like you genetically apart from others. Apparently a big nose isn’t enough. Jews do not want to be considered a race. Forgive me for raising the Holocaust again, but it suited people like Hitler to believe that we were an alien and separate non-human race because it meant that he could slaughter us with impunity.

5. “Oh but Katy Israel is like the 51st state anyway”

No it isn’t. Israelis and Americans are as different as chalk and cheese. What you really mean is that Israel is dependent upon US funding and goodwill, and that is true. Israel is very much a minority both in terms of



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238 Comments   |  


  1. Katy — on 5th August, 2006 at 5:05 pm  

    I just want to make two points on my own post:

    1. It is not intended to be an apology for Israel’s actions in Lebanon, although it is intended to tone down some of the wilder accusations and put what Israel does in a world context.

    2. I should not have used the phrase “military army”. There is a special word for that sort of thing like “oxymoron” but I can’t remember what it is. Anyway, I can’t be bothered to go back and amend it.

  2. leon — on 5th August, 2006 at 5:08 pm  

    Man, this is the heaviest weekend open thread I’ve ever seen on here…I’m not sure I have anything more to add to this ‘discussion’, getting quite tired frankly of all the predjudice on all sides (mine included)…

  3. sabrinathewitch — on 5th August, 2006 at 5:20 pm  

    Hi Katy
    This is such a subect that you will not get many people willing to get in a debate with you.
    The trouble is that all of us only have the version of events,as it has been reported in the press. The press is given the information by the governments or politicians. So we have second hand information to base our judgment on.
    Nn of us know the true reality on the either side. But i agree with you am too disturbed by the voilence and the killings on both side. It is this emotion which makes us angry ,and we want to blame one side or other.
    Hence a rational debate is difficult.
    I too hope one day it will be possible for those who are runing this conflict to calm down,realise that the only way out is to talk to each other and reach a solution ,and reach one. I hope that day will come soon.

  4. Chairwoman — on 5th August, 2006 at 5:27 pm  

    Sabrinathewitch - There’s a good use for your magic finger. Perhaps you could enlist the assistance of Hilda, Zelda and Salem while your at it.

  5. El Cid — on 5th August, 2006 at 5:52 pm  

    Katy…
    Katy, Katy, Katy… Kateeeeee!
    What are you on about? Are these bold-faced questions something you have actually seen, or your take on what you think people really mean? Am I the only one who doesn’t recall seeing them on PP?
    Also, who … WHO.. exactly has questioned Israel’s right to exist on PP? Just tell me and let me at ‘em
    But I don’t get much opportunity to do that, because I find myself - again like many Diaspora Jews - wearily having to defend Israel’s very right to exist or rebut ridiculous and palpably untrue slurs.
    A classic demonstration of Jewish defensivenss. You’re just scared of being called a traitor by other Jews

  6. El Cid — on 5th August, 2006 at 5:56 pm  

    In my eyes, Israel has lost the right to do as it pleases in defense of its sovereign interests due to global security interests. It’s time for the world community to impose itself on the region by insisting on and financing a regional settlement that serves more than the interests of just one country. That ultimately means the threat of crippling sanctions against Israel if it doesn’t agree to return to its 1967 borders. Decade after decade while this fucking conflict continues the mayhem just keeps ratcheting up and I don’t see Israel doing anything to win the peace.
    It used to be said that plucky little Israel was a democratic oasis in a desert of dictatorships. But Lebanon was a functioning democracy too.

  7. Katy — on 5th August, 2006 at 6:03 pm  

    1. They are questions that I have been asked both on and off the board. My recollection is that commenters have suggested that Israel has no right to exist but in any event people have certainly put that to me, that Israel should never have been created in the first place and that the whole state should be given back to the Palestinians, off the board in face to face discussions. No doubt I will be corrected if I am wrong about the board.

    2. If I were scared of other Jews calling me a traitor I wouldn’t post on the topic at all. Jesus. What do you think we are, a secret society dedicated to world domination? Oh no… maybe the Head Hebe will have me strangled and dumped in the Thames! You prat.

    3. You in particular, El Cid, judge everything that I say by the fact that I am Jewish. I am not sure that you have ever replied to a comment of mine without mentioning it. I would say that you are far more interested in the fact that I am Jewish than I am.

  8. seekeroftruth — on 5th August, 2006 at 6:04 pm  

    Katy: Thank you for your thoughts. I agree with you 100%. However there is no mention of going back to 1967 borders. If Israel does not honour those borders then what are we talking about..law of the jungle?.might is right?

  9. Katy — on 5th August, 2006 at 6:06 pm  

    Seeker of truth, thankyou. I did say in my post that Israel should go back to its pre-1967 borders. The worst thing about the Lebanon conflict is that both Hizbollah and Israel have been able to distract the world’s attention from the Palestinian question.

  10. El Cid — on 5th August, 2006 at 6:11 pm  

    Yeah, because .. I find myself - again like many Diaspora Jews - wearily having to defend Israel’s very right to exist or rebut ridiculous and palpably untrue slurs.

  11. Katy — on 5th August, 2006 at 6:11 pm  

    El Cid, which bit of what I have said do you actually object to or disagree with? Where have I said that Israel has the right to do what it wants in the name of its sovereign interests?

    Perhaps you need to go back and read it again, this time without thinking to yourself “Katy’s Jewish so nothing she says on the subject of the Middle east has any validity whatsoever.”

  12. El Cid — on 5th August, 2006 at 6:16 pm  

    I didn’t say I disagreed with a lot you said. I just think there is a thread of paranoia running through it.

  13. El Cid — on 5th August, 2006 at 6:21 pm  

    Nothing personal.. you sound like a very nice person..

  14. Katy — on 5th August, 2006 at 6:27 pm  

    I view the current situation with a certain amount of fear, yes. In Seattle a man walked into a Jewish charity and shot six women, one of whom died, because (he said) he was angry about Lebanon. Antisemitic incidents in this country have doubled in the last few months. In Hampstead Garden Suburb, which is very close to where I live, a Jewish man came home to find swastikas and antisemitic abuse daubed on his house. So yes, I am frightened, and I think I have reason to be. In the same way as Muslims were frightened after 9/11 and 7/7, of being held collectively responsible for something that was completely out of their collective control.

    I posted because I was afraid of the level of anger that I sense in the press, in the people that I speak to and in commenters on this site about Israel, which seems to go beyond what is currently happening there, and I wanted to temper that by putting some perspective on Israel’s position, and by explaining why the threat to Israel was one to be taken seriously and shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand because of disapproval about the way in which they have responded to it.

  15. seekeroftruth — on 5th August, 2006 at 6:31 pm  

    Katy: I am working earnestly to counter anti-Jew racism among Muslims esp in relation to israel..co-authored a book recently on exactly this issue..wonder if you are interested in joining forces in making a joint like-minded jew-muslim student/activist org which can provide a nucleous for more muslims/jews to rally it.

  16. seekeroftruth — on 5th August, 2006 at 6:32 pm  

    correction :*rally around it*

  17. yo habibi — on 5th August, 2006 at 6:34 pm  

    you sound like a very nice person.

    Says the man who posted this earlier:

    If you are Jewish, British and a regular poster on PP, don’t come back to me with the same ol’ bullshit tribalism.

    The stereotyping and ugly language you have used is repellant.

    Jews are instinctive terrorists, like Nazis, they’re all the same, let’s boycott them… Get a grip.

    It’s time for the world community to impose itself on the region

    What is the “world community”? How many divisions does it have?

  18. leon — on 5th August, 2006 at 6:40 pm  

    Well, isn’t this a nice can of worms that’s been opened?

  19. Katy — on 5th August, 2006 at 6:50 pm  

    Leon, this can of worms has been open for days. People have been posting and commenting on this subject in these sorts of terms for some time now and Sunny invited me to write an article providing another viewpoint. That is what I have done.

  20. El Cid — on 5th August, 2006 at 6:51 pm  

    Ol’ Olmert passed through the Irgun traning school, lest ye forget… that’s who I was referring too.. that’s not the same as “Jews are instinctive terrorists”.. but go on, twist it to suit your tribal agenda..
    And if some of my lanuguage is repellent .. well, good.. It’s about time everyone looked in the mirror instead of jostling for the best victim vantage point…
    As for world community.. let’s start with Europe

  21. El Cid — on 5th August, 2006 at 6:53 pm  

    Off to the boozer, but I’ll be back.

  22. yo habibi — on 5th August, 2006 at 7:15 pm  

    Ol’ Olmert passed through the Irgun traning school, lest ye forget… that’s who I was referring too..

    No you weren’t. You said “the politicians”. What, all of them?

    twist it to suit your tribal agenda

    There you go again.

    let’s start with Europe

    Oh yeah, “Europe”. What is its telephone number?

  23. Katy — on 5th August, 2006 at 7:18 pm  

    Seeker of truth, I would be very interested. My email is electrickaty@yahoo.co.uk

  24. Refresh — on 5th August, 2006 at 7:29 pm  

    seekeroftruth, sounds a very productive exercise - good luck. You too Katy.

    SOT - can you give more details about the book and when its going to be published. And perhaps a ‘guest’ article here?

  25. yo habibi — on 5th August, 2006 at 7:34 pm  

    in joining forces in making a joint like-minded jew-muslim student/activist org

    Alhamdulillah.

    In meetings many people’s ideas don’t move. Quelle surprise.

    What’s really good about meetings is that people can go away with every idea they came with still firmly in place, but wonder, at the back of their minds, after having seen pained human faces rather than joust with mere ideas, “wouldn’t it be awful if Ahmed / Nadav / Christopher died in this conflict”. The seed of doubt, that’s the root of peace.

    Heck, dying in this conflict is a real risk in Europe too. We’re all Israelis and Lebanese now.

    Go peacemakers!

  26. Refresh — on 5th August, 2006 at 7:46 pm  

    Leon, there are no can of worms to worry about here.
    Katy clearly feels she needs to express herself, in light of what she considers hostility.

    For me, fundamentally the problem will be how people are treated as one great mass. And on top of that, the ruthless nature of Israeli political and military leadership almost from its inception.

    If these can be divined then we have a way forward. The problem until of late has been presented as a poor little Israel against a sea of Arabs.

    Another aspect is whether Israel is a US outpost; or does Israel have serious influence on the US.

    And anti-semitism: how and why that has become an issue in the Middle East. How did it get transferred from the darkest Europe to ME?

    Do Israeli values stem from the ‘enlightened west’ or from anti-semitic Europe?

    Is there a mirror to anti-semitism within Israel which reflects its conflict on to the wider Islamic world?

    What is the justification for Eretz Israel; how big is the movement how is it supported and funded from across the Atlantic?

    Lots of answers which I hope can come out of this thread.

    Or perhaps we can wait for SeekerofTruth/Katy collaboration.

  27. leon — on 5th August, 2006 at 8:08 pm  

    Katy, I was refering to the comment above me not the thread as a whole…

  28. seekeroftruth — on 5th August, 2006 at 8:08 pm  

    refresh: My contribution is just an examination of anti-semitism among Muslims and an attempt to persuade Muslims they are not even true to themselves if they engage in racism and let political agendas affect basic moral stands. There are also arguements from scriptural , tradition and theology which I’m not sure Pickled Politics is too interested in.

    I’ll give you the details once the book is published. It is a collection of essays by different ppl and is with the edinburgh uni press publisher right now.

    Katy: I’m emailing you.

  29. Katy — on 5th August, 2006 at 8:10 pm  

    Leon: phew.

    Seeker of Truth: hurray!

    Refresh: you raise interesting issues but sadly I am too exhausted from the whole first-political-post thing to read them properly. Also I have to sort out the Chairwoman’s tyres. Apparently she’s got to go to Speaker’s Corner for some reason…

  30. Opinionated Voice — on 5th August, 2006 at 8:11 pm  

    The Jews Did It!…

    Blaming everything on the Jews was once considered an irrational claim, but now it has become a reality even amidst the excuses provided by some Jews and their supporters. Now this is the opinion of any normal thinking person in this country, as e…

  31. leon — on 5th August, 2006 at 8:36 pm  

    I wonder how many other people saw that comment…?

  32. Katy — on 5th August, 2006 at 8:38 pm  

    Probably tons, but I decided it was a bit pointless so I deleted it.

  33. Refresh — on 5th August, 2006 at 8:39 pm  

    seekeroftruth: I think PP would be interested in the thinking from both Jewish and Muslim perspectives. Long overdue in my opinion.

    Katy, stick with it. As for meeting Chairwoman, I think I’ll be sending seekeroftruth.

  34. leon — on 5th August, 2006 at 8:41 pm  

    Fair enough, must admit, I actually thought I was seeing things for a second!

  35. Refresh — on 5th August, 2006 at 8:43 pm  

    Can we see it?

  36. yo habibi — on 5th August, 2006 at 8:43 pm  

    Blaming everything on the Jews was once considered an irrational claim, but now it has become a reality even amidst the excuses provided by some Jews and their supporters. Now this is the opinion of any normal thinking person in this country

    “any normal thinking person”?!?

    Jamal, sick Jew hater. Exhibit 1 in the case for Allah against the Islamists.

  37. Katy — on 5th August, 2006 at 8:47 pm  

    Refresh - I was a bit annoyed at being quoted as a Jew who makes excuses for the Lebanese offensive when I had gone out of my way not to do that, and put a comment on here about it. And I also didn’t like Opinionated Voice’s little Israeli flag with a swastika in the middle. But hey, freedom of speech and all that. (Seriously. I can’t stick up for the Motoons and then throw a wobbler about an Israeli flag with a swastika on it.)

    Yo Habibi - that’s right, any normal thinking person. :-)

  38. leon — on 5th August, 2006 at 8:56 pm  

    Interesting piece about the differing views on the current conflict in here (ie Europe) and the US: http://www.economist.com/world/na/displaystory.cfm?story_id=7255198

  39. Refresh — on 5th August, 2006 at 9:12 pm  

    Katy - OK understand. Must have been pretty intemperate. Were four letter words brought into play?

  40. Katy — on 5th August, 2006 at 9:15 pm  

    No, in that sense I was extremely well behaved. I just decided to leave people to visit the site and draw their own conclusions :-)

  41. Opinionated Voice — on 5th August, 2006 at 9:45 pm  

    Well your arguement is merely repeating the usual tit for tat arguements we have seen over and over in the past two weeks. The fact remains that Israel has been aWestern supported oppressor and terrorist in the Middle-East for a very long time.

    For the few Israeli’s that are made homeless, injured or killed, there are many Palestinians and Lebanese that are affected in a similar context. Nevertheless, it is irrelavant whether either side is considered the “bad guys” or the “good guys”. Though I dont know how you can even think you can expalinjustify for Israel whose acts genocide, crimes against humanity, breaches of geneva convention, and mass slaughter and displacement of civilians CAN compare with the acts suffered by the Jews themselves by the Nazi’s.

    At this moment in time all that should matter is campaigning for an IMMEDIATE ceasefire on both sides.

  42. Katy — on 5th August, 2006 at 10:04 pm  

    Opinionated Voice,

    I tried to stay away from the tit for tat arguments because they take things nowhere. You and I agree that it is irrelevant which side is considered the good guys or the bad guys, and we agree that the Lebanese offensive should stop.

    I was a little concerned that you seem to have a problem with the Jewish people, rather than Israel the state, or at least that is what your last post on your blog seemed to be saying. I mean, to make the leap from Israel being at war with Lebanon to “The Jews are responsible for all of the problems in the world” seems like an overreaction to me. But perhaps I have misunderstood what you meant.

  43. yo habibi — on 5th August, 2006 at 10:06 pm  

    At this moment in time all that should matter is campaigning for an IMMEDIATE ceasefire on both sides.

    From your lips to…

    Israel whose acts genocide, crimes against humanity, breaches of geneva convention, and mass slaughter and displacement of civilians CAN compare with the acts suffered by the Jews themselves by the Nazi’s.

    Learn to spell it. It’s “Nazis”. That would be a start.

  44. Katy — on 5th August, 2006 at 10:13 pm  

    Btw, Refresh, I saw your comment - thanks. :-)

  45. Saracen — on 5th August, 2006 at 10:24 pm  

    That argument is over. Israel exists, it’s there, it is a sovereign state, it is not going away. I could rant at you for hours about the history leading up to it and who was in the wrong when, but I won’t because history is exactly what it is and it takes things no further.

    I love it. While it’s okay for us to say the argument’s over, it’s not so for those who bore the brint of it; the hundreds of thousands who have been living in refugee camps for nearly 60 years.

    The thing we have to get, is that no matter how much political and military pressure is exerted, you can’t take away the resentment that a people have towards the ones who took their land in the first place. It will never happen. Israel can never have secure borders, you won’t wake up some day to find that everyone has suddenly accepted it, because it was established at the expense of others. I still believe the only way to end the conflict is the One State Solution, where Arabs and Jews are given equal right to the whole land, and one man, one vote. No sane person believes the Jews should be driven into the sea. But every sane person recognises, that until the Palestinians are given back access to their ancestral land, and the mass immigration of foriegners based solely on their (often newly-acquired) creed stops, the conflict will continue. Eventually Israel will become unviable, while for the Palestinians, their life is miserable anyway.

    We can scream all we like, realities on the ground often preclude all the politiking that one seeks.

  46. Opinionated Voice — on 5th August, 2006 at 10:27 pm  

    katy, maybe you think “The Jews are responsible for all of the problems in the world”. They got alot more work to do to be qualified for that!.

    yo.. obviously the arguement here is over your head. Although, it is good to see that even when spelt incorrectly you are able to understand that being reffered to. Isreal action is evidently similar to Nazi action.

  47. Saracen — on 5th August, 2006 at 10:28 pm  

    On a more general note, isn’t it strange how discussing (the ongoing) history of oppression against Palestinains takes things no further, yet when Israel’s reaction is questioned, suddenly a context of the continuous Hizbullah rocket attacks is given. Decontextualising is what makes this mess so much, uh, messier.

  48. Katy — on 5th August, 2006 at 10:40 pm  

    Saracen, as far as the one-state solution is concerned, I agree with you that that would be the best solution; at the moment I think we have to work towards a two state solution because I don’t believe that either side would agree to share a state at the moment. I hope that one day a one-state solution will be possible.

    As for your comment at #47, I don’t know what you are talking about. There have been a number of articles on this site from the Lebanese perspective and this article was intended to provide the Israeli perspective. It was not intended to be a justification of Israel’s existence.

  49. yo habibi — on 5th August, 2006 at 10:40 pm  

    Isreal action is evidently similar to Nazi action

    QED.

  50. Sunny — on 5th August, 2006 at 11:23 pm  

    Katy, a good article.

    Saracen - There’s a few points to be made here. Firstly, that Israel exists and will continue to stay there is a fact. Backed up by the military. And that isn’t changing soon. Some Muslim countries may be getting richer through oil but the west is speeding ahead in technological and military advancement. Actually so are India and China but anyway.

    Going by current affairs I don’t want it to change either. I would rather going to pre-67 borders and having a Palestinian state.

    In the future maybe relations between Jews and Muslims will be good enough that a one-state solution may be viable. But before that happens we would need a more normalised state of affairs where the bordering states are not anti-semitic and nor are they going on about “destroying the zionist regime” bakwaas. Because if they continue to do so, then Israelies and others will naturally feel that Muslims will happily mass-slaughter them given the opportunity. And then we won’t get any peace or a normalised life for Palestinians.

    Seekeroftruth - Am very interested in having the discussion you mentioned above. Surely you don’t think we’re a tabloidy kinda blog do you? ;)

    On the point made about the Iranian Prez. I understand that’s made towards me so i’ll address it. I don’t really pay much attention to him because I believe that while he huffs and puffs endlessly, he is under no illusion that Iran is in a position to attack anyone or can use a nuke without inviting 50 nukes in Tehran. He is an idiot, but a clever one. Unfortunately the USA’s own rhetoric on Iran has made it harder for the liberals there and got most of the country behind the president. But the desire is based more to protect against a potential US invasion (which the neo-cons still keep on the cards) than a plan to use it to obliterate Israel. You may not agree with that assessment but I believe it to be rigrorous.

  51. Refresh — on 5th August, 2006 at 11:33 pm  

    Today’s Demonstration

    “At Least 100,000 March Against US-Israeli Aggression.”

    Pics and a report on http://leninology.blogspot.com/

    Sadly we couldn’t make our way to it this time.

  52. Katy — on 5th August, 2006 at 11:43 pm  

    It wasn’t directed at you specifically, Sunny.

    Refresh - the police estimate 20,000 but either way it was a lot of people :-)

  53. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 5th August, 2006 at 11:45 pm  

    Excellent piece Katy.

    TFI

  54. Katy — on 5th August, 2006 at 11:45 pm  

    Incidentally, people, whilst adding on the bit of my post that I seem to have accidentally deleted I have rewritten a couple of bits of the post, so if people seem to have misquoted me in their comments, they haven’t, I’ve probably just added something on in response when I went back to look at it again.

  55. Sunny — on 5th August, 2006 at 11:57 pm  

    Are we all Hizbollah? I hope not. You might well think that Israel’s war with Lebanon should stop. I do. But that doesn’t make Hizbollah cute and fluffy.

    I avoided the anti-war rally today precisely because of these stupid ‘We are Hizbullah’ banners. I’m sorry I’m pro-peace, not part of a terrorist outfit.

  56. Refresh — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:08 am  

    Katy - the updates should be highlighted as updates. I think Sunny can help with that. I can’t work out which is which.

    On the 20,000 figure - always expect lower estimates from the Police. Unless you are Countryside Alliance or somesuch.

  57. Katy — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:10 am  

    Oh dear. I’m not sure I know which are the updates now :-(

  58. Sunny — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:25 am  

    If Israel made real, lasting peace with its neighbours, the combination of Israeli technical know-how, Arab gold and oil, the sheer bulk of population in the Middle East and the lack of any diversionary local conflict would quickly produce a new world superpower without the knee-jerk “democracy is the only way” instinct that stops the current superpowers from bombing each other to smithereens on a regular basis.

    Exactly! I came to this conclusion too recently. It rather helps the US and Europe to prolong the Middle East conflict because it keeps them in the region and in control. But let’s not forget there are too many stupid people in the ME who fall for this foreign policy of hate.

    I believe Katy made all the points originally, but some database issue wiped out points 6,7 and 8 for a little while. So not to worry Refresh.

  59. saurav — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:51 am  

    Katy, I don’t agree with everything you’ve said, but as someone who grew up in a diasporic Jewish community (as a goy :) , I appreciate that you are at least trying to stake out an independent position on this issue in relatively dispassionate terms. The problem, I think, is that too many people in this issue (many of whom are far from being direct partisans, including me) develop strong feelings and historical and political analyses that are completely at odds with one another with little room for common ground let alone debate let along compromise. I am usually not one to call for the establishment of a center being an American and hence in the land of the rightwing-disguised-as-center, but in this case, people are dying every single day year after year, and it really, really helps to have perspectives like this voiced.

    So thank you.

    On to your points:

    Incidentally, why are Hizbollah still around and still armed? Wasn’t there a UN resolution about that at some point? I’ll come back to that later.

    Lebanon was left in tatters after the Israeli withdrawal. From what I understand, Hezbollah, in addition to launching rockets into Israel, provides enormous amounts of social services that the state does not. e.g. see NY Times article.

    Moreover, given that Hezbollah is a quasi-state organization with the strongest military capacity in Lebanon (apparently), it would seem foolhardy for the Lebanese government to force it to disarm, even if the Lebanese government were capable of that. Even if one of Hezbollah’s aims is still to destroy Israel (which is an if, in pracical terms, considering their capacity and the world geopolitical consequences for a move like that-nasrallah is no fool), that doesn’t mean that everything else that they do can be ignored. Many countries have waged low level warfare over extended periods of time with their neighbors.

    Consider this as an example for why Hezbollah and Lebanon’s government might believe that disarming would be a tremendous mistake: for years, Hamas was told to put down arms and participate in the political process. They finally participate in the political process and, while they are still Hamas, they now have the beginnigns of obligations of a government. The response of Israel and the U.S. and other parts of the west: cripple the government and territory that Hamas runs. If Hezbollah were to enter fully into electoral politics, don’t you think the same thing would happen there?

    For better or for worse, Hamas and Hezbollah ARE Israel’s negotiating partners. The quicker Israel sees that, the better off it will likely be. You can make the argument that Hezbollah is launching rockets and there is unreliable as a negotiating partner, but your alternative is to endorse a constant siege of Israel and continued perpetual low-level warfare that sometimes flares up; those seem to be the realities of the situation. And further, it’s hardly surprising that the Lebanese reportedly flock to Hezbollah given Israel’s occupation, Sabra and Shatilla, Hezbollah’s reportedly effective resistance to Israel in the past, and Israel’s response now.

    That argument is over.

    Well, for you it is over. But to dismiss historical grievances is to misunderstand the nature of natonalist conflicts. You invoke Hitler despite that a comparison between Hitler and the President of Iran which imo doesn’t work because of their respective amoungs of destructive power and the consequences they would face if they use it. However, I undersatnd why you do it because there is a deepseated fear among Jews of the world that there will be another Holocaust. You can hardly ask Palestinians to simply give up the question of “Right of return” without significant concessions from Israel, much like you can’t ask the Lebanese to forget about Sabra and Shatilla when Israel invades. It’s part of the national mythologies of each of the three identity groups, as far as I can tell.

    What special treatment?

    Israel is the largest recipient of aid from the United States, which is the global hegemon. Agreeing that the people of Israel faces a significant amount of hostility regionally, their state still remains a) a regional military power b) an illegal occupier of several pieces of territory with a clear indication (the wall) that it has no indication of giving them back and c) understands itself as a Jewish state, which leaves the 20% or so of the population that is not Jewish at something of a disadvantage I would imagine.

    If it were an oil-rich Black Muslim state doing any of these things against White Jews, Christians, women, and homosexuals, the collective weight of the United States and Europe might be brought to bear on it in a way that it is not on Israel. If it were an African state doing these things to other Africans, people wouldn’t pay any attention at all-far less attentioin than what Israel receives. These are the hideous breaks in the world.

    In any case, many countries face sporadic rebellions and border attacks, but without the bunker mentality that Israel has developed-a capacity that that has warped its ability to make rational choices. Perhaps one might find this warranted, but surely you see how Israel is using the U.S. here and the U.S. is using Israel here in a wholly f@#ked up attempt to “reshape” the Middle East? Israel occupies a particular place in the geopolitical arrangement as the U.S.’s proxy in the middle east. In addition to defending itself (and the territories it annexed and colonized), it is also plays a role as the long arm of neoconservatism.

  60. Chris Stiles — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:52 am  


    If Israel made real, lasting peace with its neighbours, the combination of Israeli technical know-how, Arab gold and oil, the sheer bulk of population in the Middle East and the lack of any diversionary local conflict would quickly produce a new world superpower without the knee-jerk “democracy is the only way” instinct that stops the current superpowers from bombing each other to smithereens on a regular basis.

    No - this is just another cut of conspiracy theory - and even if they made lasting peace, the sort of scenario you describe is a pipe dream. Switzerland in Africa doesn’t scale, and without the sort of reforms of government associated with some form democracy the oil spigots will remain in the hands of the various ruling classes.

  61. pass the roti on the left hand side — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:56 am  

    Do We Care About The Middle East?…

    A friend, half Arab and half South Asian, IMed me the following question today:
    how come the [south asian] blogs haven’t written anything about the lebanon thing?
    i mean, there’s a point at which i think the blogs are so tunnel-visioned abo…

  62. Refresh — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:26 am  

    Finally the real debate begins.

    Sunny, I am glad to see you realise the opportunities. Something I see as a community of states collaborating and co-operating - just as we have here in the EU.

    A damn fine reason to stop the hatred developing further. Ceasefire and withdraw. NOW!

  63. limpia — on 6th August, 2006 at 4:51 am  

    katie-from nyc, i agree with most of what u say- i support israel- i have not always done so- at this point they are endangered , they have seen the writing on the wall- after leaving gaza they were still seeing a desire to annihilate them from many quarters. Israel, a small country, (certainly not guilt free), feels put in a position where they could not listen to the politically correct voices of europe .
    here in america one need not be a born again , a religious jew or a zionist to support Israel at this point.

  64. Katy Newton — on 6th August, 2006 at 10:01 am  

    Saurav,

    Thanks - I read your post as well. We might be on the same page mostly, but there are a couple of things you say that I don’t agree with.

    Well, for you it is over. But to dismiss historical grievances is to misunderstand the nature of natonalist conflicts.

    *sigh*

    I don’t dismiss the Palestinian grievances, as I thought I made clear. I don’t know how much clearer I could have made it. But the argument about whether or not Israel is entitled to exist has to be over if you expect Israel to take any meaningful part in negotiation. The justification that Israel puts forward for its uncompromising stance is the fact that its neighbours refuse to recognise it and I have some sympathy with that, although I don’t think it should stop Israel from negotiating full stop; I think recognition should be something that Israel negotiates for. (There is no point in the PA recognising it if Hamas does not because it is Hamas that has the mandate of the Palestinian people.)

    f it were an oil-rich Black Muslim state doing any of these things against White Jews, Christians, women, and homosexuals, the collective weight of the United States and Europe might be brought to bear on it in a way that it is not on Israel.

    I don’t know what the term “Black Muslim state” means, to be honest with you, but that’s my ignorance. I can only say that, for example, Saudi’s mistreatment of those very groups is legendary and no-one takes a blind bit of notice. Ditto Iran, but no one was interested in Iran until it started trying to develop nuclear capability. No country has ever been seriously taken to task by the UN for what it does to civilians within its borders. It is only when conflict spreads outside of a state’s borders and threatens some of the big hitters that the UN becomes seriously interested in human rights abuses. The US tried to latch onto “human rights” and “democracy” when there turned out to be no WMD in Iraq, but we all know it was never about that.

    As for Hizbollah, their social work does not justify what they do, it just reflects badly on the Lebanese government for failing to provide that sort of care for their people themselves. Their aim is to destroy Israel. Whether they can objectively achieve that is another matter, but that is what they say they want to do and there is no reason not to believe them. And to say that Israel should negotiate with a terrorist outfit funded by Iran and based in Lebanon over what should happen to the Palestinians is a bridge too far for me. Even if they became a legitimate part of the Lebanese government, why should Israel negotiate with Lebanon over the Palestinians?

    Surely you see how Israel is using the U.S. here and the U.S. is using Israel here in a wholly f@#ked up attempt to “reshape” the Middle East?

    If by “using” the US you mean that Israel is heavily funded by it, then yes, I said so in my post. And if by “using” Israel you mean that the US has an interest in keeping the Middle East divided, then yes, and I said that in my post too. I am starting to wonder if you read all of it :-)

  65. saurav — on 6th August, 2006 at 10:46 am  

    Katie, I don’t want to get into too much of a back and forth with you, because I did appreciate what you presented. There are certain points I disagree with, but overall, I would say it’s much more important for a middle ground to be staked out than for all the views of everyone to fall into line. I would be careful of the following in trying to do so:

    I don’t dismiss the Palestinian grievances, as I thought I made clear.

    I’m unclear whether you support the right of return or not? Because when you say “Supporters of Palestine and supporters of Israel could argue history backwards and forwards for days…” you dismiss a demand that I’ve been told (though I don’t know firsthand) is important to a lot of Palestinians.

    why should Israel negotiate with Lebanon over the Palestinians?

    It should negotiate with both! It claims to face military threats from both and so ultimately it would have to resolve some sort of agreement with all parties, no?

    No country has ever been seriously taken to task by the UN for what it does to civilians within its borders.

    This is not a moral argument.

    As for Hizbollah, their social work does not justify what they do, it just reflects badly on the Lebanese government for failing to provide that sort of care for their people themselves.

    You can’t simply dismiss the question of what happened in Lebanon over its civil war and wholly extricate Israel from responsibility. You can disagree with or detest Hezbollah for sending rockets to Haifa or kidnaping Israeli soldiers, but you can’t deny that they provide vital services to the southern portion of Lebanon or that they helped drive Israel out of southern Lebanon and, as a result, many Lebanese will have sympathy for them. Same with Hamas.

    I would also hope that you would refrain from using the T word, since all it does is polarize a debate and is frankly not all that useful in actually searching out a common ground. It’s more along the lines of the way that the U.S. uses humanitarian arguments than anything else.

    if by “using” Israel you mean that the US has an interest in keeping the Middle East divided

    No, you underestimate the creative imaginations of our neocons. They want a wholly liberal democratic free-market Arab world-even if they have to kill a lot of people to achieve it. This war in Lebanon suppported by the U.S. is probably part of that, since the U.S. troops are all tied up in Iraq. Sometimes the scarier thing is not the machiavellians-who are predictable, if nothing else-but the idealists, who have a loose hinge.

  66. El Cid — on 6th August, 2006 at 11:08 am  

    Refresh:
    For better or for worse, Hamas and Hezbollah ARE Israel’s negotiating partners.
    Ain’t that the turth. What’s particularly galling is that Israel helped to create Hamas to weaken the PLO!

    Opinionated Voice:
    The argument has actually gone over YOUR head. Blaming everything on the “Jews” is unacceptable.
    Putting a swastika on an Israeli flag and making blanket comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany, is indicative of your sordid hate-filled tribal agenda.
    Have you been drinking with Mel again?
    While I too have made occasional refs to WW2, I don’t recall there being special camps set up along the sea of Galilee where Israeli Arabs and Palestinians are marched in en masse in order to be gassed to death. I don’t even think Israeli Arabs have to wear special symbols to denote who they are. In fact, last time I looked the Israeli Arab population was growing at a faster rate than the Israeli one. Capiche?

    Yo Mama:
    Have the balls to recognise that your school boy blunder served to reinforce the very point I had been making. On what level exactly is the term “the politicians” more likely to equate with “the Jews” as opposed to Olmert?

    Limpia:
    politically correct voices of europe
    Go fuck yourself. Is that politically correct enough for you?

    I just feel for the Lebanese. I’m sure you do too Katy. Anyone growing up through the 1980s/1990s will recall the terrible state Lebanon was in, the perpetual civil war. And then finally we had stability when the Syrians came in and then something like real democracy when they left. Wasn’t it amazing when there were two huge pro- and anti- Syrian demonstrations earlier this year that passed off peacefully? And then these Israeli CUNTS just steam in and purposely destroy the infrastructure of a country, with a view to taking it back 20 years.
    Anyway, it’ll soon just be a subplot in a bigger regional conflict. I fear the scene is set for the big one, with Hizbollah backers Iran.

  67. Sid — on 6th August, 2006 at 11:16 am  

    I would also hope that you would refrain from using the T word, since all it does is polarize a debate and is frankly not all that useful in actually searching out a common ground.

    Agreed. Incuding Sunny’s use of it on #55. Hizbullah is not a wholly terrorist outfit now although at one time it most certainly was. This particular ‘terrorist’ outfit, para-military force or whatever descriptor is used for Hizbullah, is also protecting the lives of Lebanese people.

    Now thats got to be tweaking the classic definition of the word ‘terrorist’, surely.

  68. Refresh — on 6th August, 2006 at 11:26 am  

    El Cid

    I can’t take the credit for:

    “Refresh:
    For better or for worse, Hamas and Hezbollah ARE Israel’s negotiating partners.
    Ain’t that the turth. What’s particularly galling is that Israel helped to create Hamas to weaken the PLO!”

    But agree with it.

    The essential point you make about Hamas being a creation of Israel, seems to be little known. I’ve never seen it discussed. Although I did post on it a long way back in relation to how Hamas’ creation was on par and part of the same creativity that pulled in the likes of OBL into Afghanistan to deliver on another US agenda.

  69. Bert Preast — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:24 pm  

    Sid wrote: “This particular ‘terrorist’ outfit, para-military force or whatever descriptor is used for Hizbullah, is also protecting the lives of Lebanese people.”

    By starting a rather predictable war with the neighbours? Hisbollah is protecting it’s own influence and power, and to them that’s important enough that it doesn’t matter how many ordinary Lebs get trampled in the process. Nothing more.

  70. Katy Newton — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:27 pm  

    Nope, Hizbollah are terrorists and that’s what I’ll carry on calling them.

  71. Bert Preast — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:29 pm  

    At least until they’ve disarmed.

  72. Katy Newton — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:31 pm  

    Sid, if Hizbollah hadn’t launched their kidnap bid from Lebanese territory and then entrenched themselves amongst the Lebanese people, the Lebanese would not be dying now. I have already said that I think the conflict should end but Hizbollah shares the blame with Israel for what has happened. (Let’s not even start on the fact that Hizbollah has been firing rockets into Israel from Lebanon for years despite the Israeli withdrawal.)

    One person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter. You don’t think that Hizbollah are terrorists? Fine. But I do and that’s what I’m going to call them. Hizbollah come out of this debacle with no glory whatsoever as far as I’m concerned.

  73. Sid — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:32 pm  

    Pert, I mean Breasts, it can also be argued that Olmert’s over-reaction is protecting *his* influence and power since, coming from a non-military background, he felt the need to demonstrate his authority early on in his tenure.

  74. Bert Preast — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:34 pm  

    Sid - But it’s a reaction. Isn’t it? There’s the difference.

    I once had a dinghy called “Sid”. But when it was upside down on top of the car it appeared to be called “Piss”.

  75. Katy Newton — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:35 pm  

    Easy, chaps.

  76. don — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:39 pm  

    Sid,

    I’m suprised that you see Hizbullah as protecting the lives of Lebanese people. I’d formed the impression that they were wilfully endangering those lives. Of course, this doesn’t excuse the excesses of the IDF, but both parties share the guilt for civilian deaths.

  77. Sid — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:40 pm  

    Katy

    I didn’t say the Hizbullah are not terrorists, have not been terrorists or will not be terrorists again. I’m saying that if there was a terrorist group protecting your home and family from bombs, you would be grateful to them.

    No side comes out of this with any glory, if glory has anything to do with it at all.

  78. Sid — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:42 pm  

    Bert, how unfortunate for you.

  79. Katy Newton — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:44 pm  

    Look.

    You might think that Hizbollah has a just cause. I’m not really sure how you can, because their aim is to destroy Israel, not just to give land to the Palestinians, but leave that aside. Let’s say that you think that Hizbollah has a just cause, or that they do a lot of good for the Lebanese people in terms of social work, medical care, etc, etc. Fine. I agree with you that they provide care that the Lebanese government should but doesn’t.

    But the fact remains that they are an army formed by another state on Lebanese territory whose main aim is to destroy yet another state, and they carry out their attacks on that state without the consent of Lebanon and without regard for its civilians’ safety.

    Are you seriously going to say, “Oh, that’s all right because I approve their aims and I think they are very nice to the civilians of the state which they are using?”

    The reason I describe it as terrorism is because terrorism is exactly what it is. I don’t think that the good they do for the Lebanese people outweighs the harm that they have done.

  80. Katy Newton — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:45 pm  

    Sid - agreed, didn’t see your post before I posted the above.

  81. El Cid — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:47 pm  

    yesterday’s terrorists are today’s statesmen… in some cases, mention no names, *cougholmert*

  82. Katy Newton — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:47 pm  

    *coughArafat*

  83. Katy Newton — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:48 pm  

    *coughHamas*

  84. Katy Newton — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:48 pm  

    *coughGerryAdams*

  85. Bert Preast — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:49 pm  

    Sid wrote - ” I’m saying that if there was a terrorist group protecting your home and family from bombs, you would be grateful to them”

    Protecting me from what? This operation was to free their own prisoners, not to protect the local civilians from anything at all.

  86. El Cid — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:49 pm  

    *coughbegin*

  87. Katy Newton — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:51 pm  

    El Cid, you started this, not me. Most of the politicians on both the Palestinian and the Israeli sides were involved in freedom fighting/terrorist (delete as appropriate depending on your point of view) activities before they became politicians. That’s my point.

  88. Katy Newton — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:54 pm  

    PS But I enjoyed you telling Opinionated Voice where to go :-)

  89. El Cid — on 6th August, 2006 at 12:58 pm  

    *cough….actually can’t think of many more guerrillas linked to groups who specifcally targeted civilians who went on to become statesmen…*

  90. Bert Preast — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:00 pm  

    *coughNasrallah*?

  91. El Cid — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:11 pm  

    nasrallah a statesman is he? i think you’ve missed the nipple tit

  92. Chairwoman — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:13 pm  

    *cough Mugabe*

    You may not like him, but he’s still a statesman!

  93. El Cid — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:13 pm  

    For your general perusal: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1154525810323&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

  94. Bert Preast — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:13 pm  

    Come on, if you can have an Adams, surely I’m permitted a Nasrallah?

    He fits the definition of statesman better than anyone in the Lebanese government, I’d say.

  95. Sid — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:14 pm  

    Breast: Protecting me from what?

    It has been observed that Hizbullah has actively protected southern Lebanon from Israeli ‘intrusions’ even after Israeli withdrawal from Lebabon last year. Furthermore, these “terrorists” have been instrumental against Israli bombing civilian targets.

    I don’t think the Lebanese people will call Hizbullah terrorists anytime soon. And that means Israel are going to have to accept them as a composite of Lebanon’s negotiation panel.

  96. El Cid — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:17 pm  

    hmmm.. mugabe.. i can’t recall, did Zanu PF purposely attack civilians… i guess rhodesian white farmers might have been a target…

  97. Bert Preast — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:20 pm  

    El Cid’s JPost article there is something I see as good news. The sunni on the street will naturally be rooting for Hisbollah here, and he won’t like his clerics telling him it’s sinful very much at all. When the clerics try to run against popular thinking it’s been known to result in the progression of the religion - usually not how the clerics had in mind.

    And there’s quite a lot of progression needed.

  98. Ravi Naik — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:20 pm  

    Katy,

    “I have already said that I think the conflict should end but Hizbollah shares the blame with Israel for what has happened… One person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter. You don’t think that Hizbollah are terrorists?”

    If Israel indeed shares the blame for what has happened, and Hezbollah is a terrorist organisation… what do we make of Israel? I am sorry, but I expect that a democratic country with a large military force to follow humane standards in regards to human life, and not the standards used by the likes of Hezbollah or Hamas. And if fighting terrorism worldwide means air-bombing cities, killing civillians, destroying infrastructure, then god help us all.

  99. Bert Preast — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:23 pm  

    Sid - AFAIK all Israeli aggression in Lebanon since the truce has been in response to unprovoked Hisbollah attacks.

    Unless you think holding the Shebaa farms counts as a provocation? You’d be going with the opinion of Hisbollah as opposed to the opinion of almost everybody else in the world on that one, though.

  100. El Cid — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:23 pm  

    i’m a bit confused by this… are Bert and Katy suggesting Hamas, Nasrallah on a par with Olmert? hmmm.. could be the makings of a negotiated settlement… shame your both british and not israeli

  101. Bert Preast — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:26 pm  

    El Cid - Certainly not. Lahoud and almost Abbas, maybe.

  102. El Cid — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:28 pm  

    but you said…

  103. Katy Newton — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:30 pm  

    I don’t want anything that I have said to be construed as me agreeing that Israel deliberately targets civilians, because I don’t. Sorry.

  104. Bert Preast — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:32 pm  

    I mean he has more influence and support than any other figure in the country. He’d even started to go about things properly and do the government thing. But, while he still heads up his own massive private army and cabbies off rockets at the neighbours all the time he’s still a terrorist.

    The appalling thing is that this terrorist has become the main voice for all Lebanon.

  105. El Cid — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:34 pm  

    yeah, but you said…

  106. Sid — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:35 pm  

    The appalling thing is that this terrorist has become the main voice for all Lebanon.

    And guess why.

  107. Bert Preast — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:35 pm  

    He’s got the biggest guns?

  108. Sid — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:36 pm  

    No because Israel has.

  109. Bert Preast — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:38 pm  

    But haven’t we established that the threat posed by Israel to Lebanon existed only in Lebanese minds?

  110. Sid — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:40 pm  

    The destruction of Lebanon is “only in Lebanese minds”?

  111. Bert Preast — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:43 pm  

    Not now it’s not. But it’s only happening because Hisbollah bought it on. If Hisbollah were disarmed, Israel would be no threat at all.

  112. Katy Newton — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:46 pm  

    You know, I posted this thread as an attempt to find a way of compromise in the Middle East. The Lebanese conflict ends, the Palestinians get their land. But it’s turned into the same thing that all of these threads turn into, that Israel is bad and bears the blame for everything that has happened.

    El Cid, you say “The Israelis just steam in and destroy the country’s infrastructure” - what do you think of the fact that Hizbollah has fired rockets at Israel from Lebanon since the Israelis withdrew? Do you think that Israel should just sit back and take it? Is that what any other country on the planet would do or has done in that situation? What about the fact that none of this would have happened if Hizbollah hadn’t dived into the middle of the Israel/Hamas kidnapping dispute and kidnapped soldiers on Israeli soil with the intention of deliberately stirring things up, with no regard for what it might mean for the Lebanese civilians amongst whom they have hidden themselves?

    I think that Israel’s response to provocation from Hizbollah was disproportionate, and the casualties from this war break my heart - but the provocation was there, and a response of some kind was called for. The way people seem to consistently absolve Hizbollah of any substantial blame for what is happening in Lebanon truly astonishes me.

  113. Sid — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:47 pm  

    So you can say that worst fears of the Lebanese have been barbarically confirmed?

  114. Bert Preast — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:49 pm  

    We know how to find a compromise in the Middle East. But it can’t be done unless the people there trust each other. Trust will take time to build up, and it can’t even be started on until groups such as Hisbollah and Hamas have undergone some pretty fundamental changes.

  115. Bert Preast — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:51 pm  

    Sid - if their worst fears were that the constant Hisbollah attacks on Israel would provoke a large military response, then yes.

    Weren’t you going to point me to some unprovoked Israeli attacks on Lebanon? Because until you have it’s Hisbollah that are the threat to the Lebanese, surely?

  116. Sid — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:52 pm  

    Not any more, surely.

  117. Bert Preast — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:54 pm  

    The Israelis will go away again soon. But if Hisbollah remains, so does the threat.

  118. Sid — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:56 pm  

    And when the Israelis go away, will the country’s infrastructure, cities, bridges, 1 million disposses, and the national humanitarian crisis be magically be re-transformed to what it was 5 short weeks ago?

  119. Bert Preast — on 6th August, 2006 at 2:00 pm  

    Nope. And Hisbollah will have probably regained the influence they lost last year. Which is why they started this, and why they have to be disarmed for that part of the region to get anywhere.

    Without Hisbollah I see no good reasons why Israel and Lebanon can’t do business together and get along tolerably well.

  120. Sid — on 6th August, 2006 at 2:01 pm  

    Without Hisbollah I see no good reasons why Israel and Lebanon can’t do business together and get along tolerably well.

    Israel has bombed that possibility off the face of the earth.

  121. Bert Preast — on 6th August, 2006 at 2:04 pm  

    Not at all. Many nations have patched up relations quicker than you’d expect after a war.

    But Hisbollah - well, they make no secret that they don’t want to live with Israel. So one or the other must go. I vote it’s Hisbollah. Are you voting Israel?

  122. Chairwoman — on 6th August, 2006 at 2:14 pm  

    Sid - Thank goodness people are more pragmatic than you think they are. Grown ups sit down and do business with people they hate/despise/feel have done them wrong etc., ALL the time. If that were not the case there would be wars everywhere, always.

    It’s a warm, sunny, day. Frankly if I were a young person with nothing better to do than sit at my computer, I’d feel I’d failed dismally in the living stakes. So why don’t you all go out and have some FUN, I bet they’d like to be able to do that in Southern Lebanon or Northern Israel.

    Here are some suggestions: meet someone of the opposite sex or whatever sex you fancy; go to a gallery/museum; meet some friends, go to the park or someone’s place and have these these discussions face to face; go to the pub (you don’t have to consume alcohol); go shopping; try being frivolous, life gets serious soon enough; even meet with some like-minded people and trample on the flag of your choice whilst shouting slogans.

    Just get off your arses and DO SOMETHING

  123. Chairwoman — on 6th August, 2006 at 2:16 pm  

    Excuse my bad grammar. That should of course read ‘trample the flag of your choice’.

  124. Sid — on 6th August, 2006 at 2:16 pm  

    Neither you or I are stakeholders.

    Bu the events of last week will mean that Hizbullah are now, more than ever before, a democratic player in Lebanon for a long time to come. Israel’s barbaric actions have failed both morally and strategically.

  125. Sid — on 6th August, 2006 at 2:20 pm  

    Chairwoman

    thanks for the suggestions. I’m kicked off a huge bbq in the back with the kids and the large extended family, where imaginings of Israel the terrorist and Hizbollah the terrorist state within a state, won’t be figuring at all.

    ;-)

  126. don — on 6th August, 2006 at 4:22 pm  

    The Trots have this clip, which provides another perspective;

    http://www.comedycentral.com/sitewide/media_player/play.jhtml?itemId=72546

    Although I notice that Rapture Ready have removed a lot of the more excitedly squealing posts recorded here;

    http://jonswift.blogspot.com/2006/07/looking-at-bright-side-of-world-war.html

  127. Neil — on 6th August, 2006 at 4:26 pm  

    Does anyone here (katy in particular) distinghish hezbollah from Al Quaeda? I think hezbollah are terrorists and so are OBL’s boys, but they are not the same kind of terrorists. Problem is when people used the word terrorist people stop thinking with their minds are start having headline flash backs.

  128. Chairwoman — on 6th August, 2006 at 4:48 pm  

    Neil - interesting point. Personally I think that though they both ultimately have the aim of converting the whole world to Islam, currently I believe that Hezbollah’s ambitions are local, whereas Al Quaeda’s are global.

    Both however seem to think that they are more likely to persuade by threat than reason. I have never understood the thinking behind this, as personally, I can (sometimes) be persuaded by cogent arguement, but threat not only makes me dig my heels in, but literally prevents me from hearing the reasoning.

  129. Neil — on 6th August, 2006 at 4:53 pm  

    Im sorry katy but in your original post you are milking the holacaust. you are saying that Israel was the answer to the holocaust problem, so your basically saying because hitler killed loads of jews they should have their own homeland.

  130. Neil — on 6th August, 2006 at 4:59 pm  

    Chairwoman - I totally agree with you. This is evident from the Hamas reaction to the Israeli withdrawl from Gaza when they claimed it as a great victory for Islam and said it was due to the “resistance movement” for the last 60 odd-years. They vowed to continue and intensify the resistance in the West Bank and other parts of israel and said if it takes another 60 years then so be it.

    This kind of mentality is what I call oppurtunism mentality, but hey those poor palestinians haven’t got much else apart from rocks

  131. Neil — on 6th August, 2006 at 5:06 pm  

    The interesting point here is that Israel are actually very tactically aware army and I cannot remember the last time an Israeli soldier was killed by Hezbollah/Hamas (its normally civillians) before this whole thing blew up, let alone KIDNAPPED. I think it is actually much harder to kidnap a soldier then kill him, as you actually have to disarm/kill the soldiers with him then tie him up and take him away, as to kill them you just open fire and hope for the best.

    But then you get 3 soldiers in 3 weeks. “thats how this whole thing started” you will hear everyone saying, and actually they are right. Point is this is slightly different to how it “normally starts” where civillians are killed then Israel retaliate with air strikes. Dont bet against this being a trend. Then the normal terrorist/civillian targetting goes on, with both sides, who I beleive are actually maximising civillian casualties (on both sides.)

  132. Chairwoman — on 6th August, 2006 at 5:10 pm  

    Neil - what Katy said was that the rest of the world gave Jews Israel (which BTW they had been purchasing acre by acre from the existing landowners) after the war to salve their collective conscience. Actually, I’ve just spoken to her, and she said that wasn’t quite what she meant either, but suggests that you read it again

  133. Neil — on 6th August, 2006 at 5:22 pm  

    Well look just for the world to ease their conscience doesn’t mean that you remove someone elses, by uprooting people from their homes and handing it over to someone else. The holocaust arguement has dithered over the years but can you imagine what the Jews must have been saying when they moved in? to each other and to anyone who questions them being there? They would have been telling people to google the term holocaust and the arguement would have been over. Point is that im not saying Israel should not exist, Or denying the Holocaust happened. Just as you say the arguement is over when it comes to the biblical arguement over who was their first, this chapter should also be closed.

  134. sonia — on 6th August, 2006 at 5:31 pm  

    “(which BTW they had been purchasing acre by acre from the existing landowners)”

    who’s ‘They’?

  135. sonia — on 6th August, 2006 at 5:42 pm  

    CHairwoman - you’d be interested to know - i was reading last weekend’s TIme OUt - and they had published what the Time Out Beirut Editor was saying. they’ve got some really good nightclubs ( or HAD) and generally consider themselves something of a ‘party city’ and he was saying how lots of people were like..fine..we’ll party like it’s the end of the world.

    That’s the spirit..

    Are you really such an old biddy as you make yourself seem to be? ;-)

  136. Neil — on 6th August, 2006 at 5:50 pm  

    I think “they” means Zionists

  137. Chairwoman — on 6th August, 2006 at 5:52 pm  

    Sonia - that’s what people did here during WW2, or so my parents told me.

    Am I such an old biddy? Well, I’m 61, I’m Katy’s mum, I’m called Chairwoman because I was bitten by a mosquito 3 years ago, which caused a chain reaction which has left me chairbound (apart from the odd outing on my mobility scooter) for the last 2 years, but hopefully a recovery is finally in sight. I’ve led an interesting life. I think I’m still pretty cool. Make your own mind up.

  138. sonia — on 6th August, 2006 at 6:06 pm  

    Daniel has some very good coverage on what voices inside Israel are actually saying:

    interesting of course, i don’t know about the situation with ‘diasporic jews’ but i do know that diasporic muslims tend to have very little understanding of what goes on in muslim countries, and tend to be take for granted the peaceful lives they lead here in the West.

    http://danielscounter.blogspot.com/2006/08/israeli-papers-near-united-against-war.html

  139. sonia — on 6th August, 2006 at 6:10 pm  

    yeah CHairwoman, that’s what people in wartime tend to do - really feel alive - ! I was reading the war world II stories collected by the BBC and it was really interesting. I must blog about that.

    SUch a lot of shared experience in this world yet we seem to be dominated by all these people who’ve never been in a war and have no idea what it could be like.

  140. Neil — on 6th August, 2006 at 6:11 pm  

    When you say here Chairwomen, do you mean Israel? Out of interest where are you from Originally?

  141. Neil — on 6th August, 2006 at 6:13 pm  

    When you say here Chairwoman, do you mean Israel? Out of interest where are you from Originally?

  142. sonia — on 6th August, 2006 at 6:16 pm  

    Right :a “wider” perspective on the situation:

    extract from what Daniel says this on his blog:

    “I have looked the weekend opinion columns of the three main papers of Israel Yediot Ahronot, Haartez and Jerusalem Post. Israelis, or rather the writers in Israeli papers, are almost united in their discontent for the war. The war is too long, diplomacy has not been taken enough serious, the costs are too high, etc… this is what almost everyone is saying.

    It stands in contrast with the Jewish diaspora media who for much appears to take a still stalemate pro Olmert pro war defensive approach. In Israel however the opinion appears to be much more cautious and in teh editorials and columns Israelis feel almost betrayed and mislead by the Olmert / Peretz government.”

    http://danielscounter.blogspot.com/2006/08/israeli-papers-near-united-against-war.html

  143. sonia — on 6th August, 2006 at 6:18 pm  

    And who was it going on and on about peace activists supporting hizbollah?

    well maybe they can help Noam Segal cycle for peace.

    http://www.thepeacecycle.org/noam_ride.htm

  144. Neil K — on 6th August, 2006 at 6:25 pm  

    When you say here Chairwoman, do you mean Israel? Out of interest where are you from Originally?

  145. Chairwoman — on 6th August, 2006 at 6:28 pm  

    Sonia - sorry missed the ‘they’ bit. Yes, Zionists. Forget the connotations that word contains these days. Here’s a potted history of Zionism as I understand it.

    In the late 19th century, Jews in Europe got fed up with being less than 2nd class citizens, particularly within the Czarist Empire, and started to look for ways to improve their lot. Initially they embraced Socialism, my own Grandparents and other young members of their families literally risked their lives holding Socialist meetings in Poland, my Grandfather and his cousin were speakers, my Grandmother, the lookout (they left Poland one step in front of the Imperial Russian Army). From Socialism came the idea of returning to the ancestral home, which had been called Palestine since Roman Times, but in Biblical Times was known as Judea and Samaria or the land of Zion. Every year at Passover we have said for the best part of 2000 years ‘Next Year in Jerusalem’. It was not a whim, no one said ‘let’s steal that bit of land from the Arabs’. It was in the collective conciousness. And so a group of people got together and called themselves Zionists. Their aim was to save money and go to ‘Zion’, join the other Jews who had remained their since biblical times, buy land, and create the collective farms which came to be known as Kibbutzim. This was the plan, any hope of being once again a nation was a long way in the future. And that is what happened.

    In between, then and now, the holocaust occured, and the world salved its collective guilt by giving Jews a country so that it could never happen again. We didn’t steal it, we bought it or were given it. I’m sorry the people who lived there didn’t want to stay and build a nation with them. I’m desperately sorry no one has been able to sort it out and make everybody happy, but one of the reasons the IDF are taking this action today is because children, like I was after the war, said to their parents ‘Why did the Jews allow this to happen? Why didn’t we fight, why did we just walk into the gas chambers?’ And before anyone says the holocaust didn’t happen (though I don’t remember anyone on this site ever saying that), could they please tell me where the members of my Grandparents’ Polish families are, because I found their names on the Yad Vashem website as having died at Treblinka.

    So if you want to blame anyone, blame me. Any child dying anywhere, any teenager, any adult, any soldier, legitimate or freedom fighter/terrorist is one too many. But if it looks like it’s going to be them or us, I choose us. And so would you.

    I’m sorry if along the way I have put in some minor innacuracies, it wasn’t intentional. Actually I’m much better on the Planagenents.

    The future’s in your generation’s hands now. Take some advice, stop slagging each other off and try and reach out and find some common ground. Having so-called peace demonstrations where both sides insult the other isn’t very peaceful at all.

    (I really didn’t intend to say so much.When Katy gets home and sees this, she’s going to kill me!)

  146. Chairwoman — on 6th August, 2006 at 6:32 pm  

    Sonia - I agree about not knowing what war is like. One of my problems with the world leaders is that they send people of willy-nilly into battle without a clue what the reality of it is.

    Perhaps all leaders should be ex-soldiers, then they might be less profligate with other people’s lives.

  147. sonia — on 6th August, 2006 at 6:46 pm  

    if there are some stupid people waving hizbollah banners on peace marches, it’s even more important for the rest of us to raise our voices for peace. clearly a lot of people seem to think if you’re for peace you must be with hizbollah, and i think they need to realize there are plenty more people who aren’t.

  148. Chairwoman — on 6th August, 2006 at 6:49 pm  

    How hard it is to get the voice of peace heard above the strident voice of war (ask any married woman ha-ha).

  149. sonia — on 6th August, 2006 at 6:50 pm  

    “one of my problems with the world leaders is that they send people of willy-nilly into battle without a clue what the reality of it is.”

    i agree- they’re not the ones putting their lives on the line. But i don’t know that being an ex-soldier would make any difference, i think the only difference if their own precious skin were in real danger, they might think differently : so to any leaders who want to send their soldiers to war/ they should jolly well be prepared to go themselves. if they aren’t…well then.

    So for example Tony Blair: sunning himself in barbados now - is he prepared to go and hang out in Lebanon with little LEo - i bet you not.

    p.s. chairwoman - who’s the 30 something copper whose blog i seem to be taken to when i click the link on your name? :-)

  150. Chairwoman — on 6th August, 2006 at 6:54 pm  

    No idea, must try it.

  151. sonia — on 6th August, 2006 at 6:54 pm  

    no. 145..good one Chairwoman

  152. sonia — on 6th August, 2006 at 7:04 pm  

    Chairwoman interesting post up above. I daresay what you’ve just put can also be seen as justification for Hamas/Hizbollah :

    ‘.. because children, like I was after the war, said to their parents ‘Why did the Jews allow this to happen? Why didn’t we fight, why did we just walk into the gas chambers?’

    im sure Lebanese kids back in 1982 were asking this - and one reason why people joined Hizbollah : and Palestinian kids - hence some people became suicide bombers ( not very smart in my opinion)

    and lebanese kids NOw will be asking it. So you see, it won’t be just Hizbollah ‘fighting’ very soon - it will be other people. The only thing this sort of violence shows is that yes - people who are armed are the ones on top. as you say, after the holocaust no doubt lots of people thought fuck it, why should we be the losers. Generally, this is the psychology of trauma, aggression - once you’ve been aggressed, it’s the easiest thing to turn into an aggressor yourself. it’s much harder to take positive lessons from aggression - like shit they’re such evil bastards, i’d rather not be like that meself thanks. Yep it’s pretty damn difficult. no wonder hamas and hizbollah exist - they’re feeding violence with violence. NO good will come of it of course, but there you go.

  153. sonia — on 6th August, 2006 at 7:06 pm  

    ANd yes as you say Chairwoman -

    “The future’s in your generation’s hands now. Take some advice, stop slagging each other off and try and reach out and find some common ground. Having so-called peace demonstrations where both sides insult the other isn’t very peaceful at all.’

    Yep :-)

  154. Bert Preast — on 6th August, 2006 at 7:07 pm  

    Neil wrote: “The interesting point here is that Israel are actually very tactically aware army and I cannot remember the last time an Israeli soldier was killed by Hezbollah/Hamas (its normally civillians) before this whole thing blew up, let alone KIDNAPPED. I think it is actually much harder to kidnap a soldier then kill him, as you actually have to disarm/kill the soldiers with him then tie him up and take him away, as to kill them you just open fire and hope for the best.”

    It’s actually fairly simple. You hope you’ve got ‘em far enough away from other units, then you take out their vehicle with a rocket and hope someone survives to take prisoner. Not a world away from “to kill them you just open fire and hope for the best”, really.

  155. Neil — on 6th August, 2006 at 7:24 pm  

    Bert - I guess we will never know how it took place. Point I was making was perhaps Israel let it happen

  156. Katy Newton — on 6th August, 2006 at 7:26 pm  

    Neil

    How you can so grossly twist what I am saying is beyond me. You are doing exactly what I was complaining about in the post in the first place. Some people can’t hear a Jew so much as mention the word “Holocaust” without assuming that they are milking it for some nefarious purpose.

    Let me explain it one more time. In stages.

    After the end of World War II

    … there were millions of displaced Jewish refugees being held in various temporary camps throughout Europe…

    … none of the European states could or would take them in because they were reeling from the aftermath of the war themselves…

    … and there was this idea that the Jews should have a homeland in Israel knocking around…

    … and at the time, in the 1940s, it seemed like the perfect solution to the problem of housing this huge amount of displaced people…

    … and so Israel was created.

    Do you understand me, Neil? Thing A (the Holocaust) led, as a matter of historical fact, to Thing B (the creation of Israel). No milking. Just a fact. Or would you prefer me to pretend that Israel just sprang into being out of thin air for no reason whatsoever to make you feel better?

  157. Katy Newton — on 6th August, 2006 at 7:37 pm  

    Where have Neil’s posts gone?

    *baffled*

  158. Neil — on 6th August, 2006 at 7:44 pm  

    I was thinking the same thing - who deleted theM?

  159. Neil — on 6th August, 2006 at 7:49 pm  

    My posts were deliberetly deleted , by unknown

  160. Sunny — on 6th August, 2006 at 7:50 pm  

    For some bizarre reason SpamKArma thinks Neil is a spambot and then it assigned the spam tag to all his previous posts too. They’re back.

  161. Neil — on 6th August, 2006 at 7:55 pm  

    I was thinking it was a conspiracy for a moment (hahaha!!)

  162. Zionist Vikrant — on 6th August, 2006 at 7:57 pm  


    … and at the time, in the 1940s, it seemed like the perfect solution to the problem of housing this huge amount of displaced people…

    Bollocks Katy… Zionist movement has been around since 1890’s when Theo Herzl witnesed the Dreyfus affair. Zionism was a response to anti-semitism(esp. in Czar’s Ukraine) that abounded the European societies of the day. The early Zionists gave a little thought to Arabs though. Holocaust if anything only speeded up creation of Israel.

  163. Chairwoman — on 6th August, 2006 at 8:00 pm  

    Vikrant - see my 145

  164. Katy Newton — on 6th August, 2006 at 8:01 pm  

    Zionist Vikrant,

    WHY WON’T ANYONE READ WHAT I AM SAYING?

    What I said was that the idea of giving Jews a homeland, i.e. Zionism, was knocking around and giving the Jews a homeland was seen as a solution to the problem of the refugees. I KNOW how long Zionism has existed. I didn’t say it had been invented after WW2, I said that that was when the nations in power started to see it as a good idea.

    Argh!

    This political blogging is exhausting!

  165. Katy Newton — on 6th August, 2006 at 8:02 pm  

    PS Is Zionist Vikrant the same as PP regular Vikrant, but disguised as a Zionist?

  166. Zionist Vikrant — on 6th August, 2006 at 8:07 pm  

    umm… sorry… Katy i didnt read your post in its entirity… well i’m sur[prised PP is actually publishing remotely pro-Israel articles… (is Al-Hack on some vacation or sumfin)…

  167. Katy Newton — on 6th August, 2006 at 8:10 pm  

    Sorry, ZV, I was a little intemperate in my response there. Perhaps I should take the Chairwoman’s advice and go out and find m’self a life…

  168. Zionist Vikrant — on 6th August, 2006 at 8:10 pm  

    actually i’m considered to be religiously/politically meretricious by some here… my handle is a sarcastic dig conveying my political mood atm!

  169. Chairwoman — on 6th August, 2006 at 8:12 pm  

    Sonia - I’ve considered your comments, and while I agree that the net result will be dissatisfaction unless a solution is reached, and the whole dismal merry-go-round will crank itself up again, can I point out that Lebanon didn’t have an axe to grind, the country was enjoying peace and prosperity, then those Hezbollah twats decided it was a great idea to kidnap a couple of soldiers and lob a couple of hundred missiles into Northern Israel.

    Unfortunately not responding to blackmail isn’t a luxury governments can afford, but no doubt history will be re-written to prove that Israel started it.

  170. Zionist Vikrant — on 6th August, 2006 at 8:12 pm  

    btw i’ve got many friends in Ashdod… i was born in India’s only Jewish town!

  171. Zionist Vikrant — on 6th August, 2006 at 8:14 pm  

    Unfortunately not responding to blackmail isn’t a luxury governments can afford
    Apparently Indian goverment thinks otherwise. I’m sick of the “peace” process…

  172. Sunny — on 6th August, 2006 at 8:25 pm  

    can I point out that Lebanon didn’t have an axe to grind, the country was enjoying peace and prosperity, then those Hezbollah twats decided it was a great idea to kidnap a couple of soldiers and lob a couple of hundred missiles into Northern Israel.

    Hi Chairwoman - the egg can’t have come there before a chicken, and vice versa.

    So it is not unreasonable to add that Hizbullah was created and it filled a void precisely because Israel occupied Lebanon for years earlier. So I’m not sure I agree with the assessment Lebanon was living in perfect peace and prosperity. It still had a massive quasi-army on its doorstep, a direct result of conflict with Israel before.

  173. sonia — on 6th August, 2006 at 8:30 pm  

    well its only children who fight about who started what..

  174. Katy Newton — on 6th August, 2006 at 8:39 pm  

    Sonia, I agree, which is why I am into avoiding conversations about blame. They get nowhere. The trouble is that when you try to say “I don’t think there’s any point in having a conversation about who started this” people immediately accuse you of not taking X or Y into account and then you get bogged down in blame again. Which gets you nowhere again.

    Incidentally, the Chairwoman’s computer is switched off but she has asked me to say that she does not disagree with you, Sunny, or with you, Sonia. But Israel withdrew from Lebanon six years ago and has only attacked Hizbollah when provoked since then. Even in this conflict most people seem to accept that Israel was entitled to respond to Hizbollah in some way and the dispute is over how they did it.

    So you do get back to the whole “why was Hizbollah still in Lebanon and still expanding 6 years after Israel withdrew” question. But that is rhetorical, and gets no one anywhere; they are there, they have expanded and that’s the situation that has to be dealt with. The question is how.

  175. don — on 6th August, 2006 at 8:40 pm  

    Never mind that. Vik, stop bloody smoking.

    Trust me, the weed is a bastard.

  176. Katy Newton — on 6th August, 2006 at 8:41 pm  

    … to which, the Chairwoman says, she does not know the answer.

  177. Refresh — on 6th August, 2006 at 8:58 pm  

    Katy (#174), that is apportioning blame. Re-framing it so that the only problem that remained was Hizbollah is delusional.

    The whole Israel/Palestine issue has to be settled forthwith. No rubbish about Arcs of this, Axis of that or even global domination by Islam.

    Have a look at this:

    Beginning of the End for Israel?

    NATHAN GARDELS talks to Zbigniew Brzezinski

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nathan-gardels/beginning-of-the-end-for-_b_26247.html

    [T]he most disturbing analysis comes from Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former US national security adviser, who links the Iraq and Israel conflict and says bluntly:

    “Neocon prescriptions [of use of force to try to change things unilaterally] of which Israel has its equivalents, are fatal for America and ultimately for Israel. They will totally turn the overwhelming majority of the Middle East’s population against the United States. The lessons of Iraq speak for themselves. Eventually, if neocon policies continue to be pursued, the United States will be expelled from the region and that will be the beginning of the end for Israel as well.”

    Don’t misunderstand why I post this here and now. We need results and fast.

    Looks like the meeting with Chairwoman needs to be sooner rather than later.

  178. sonia — on 6th August, 2006 at 9:24 pm  

    http://www.juancole.com/2006/07/what-is-hizbullah-western-and-israeli.html

    on who hizbollah are and why they’ve mobilized - this guy sees them as a ’subnationalism’

    interesting

  179. Sunny — on 6th August, 2006 at 9:24 pm  

    … to which, the Chairwoman says, she does not know the answer.

    Oh c’mon, I thought you guys had figured out yesterday what needs to be done. Does this mean sunny will have to step into the fray himself and bring out the big guns? *puffs chest*

  180. Refresh — on 6th August, 2006 at 9:50 pm  

    Sonia, read the article. The comments are even more interesting.

  181. Katy Newton — on 6th August, 2006 at 10:02 pm  

    I didn’t say that Hizbollah was the only problem. It happened that Sonia, Sunny and I were discussing why Hizbollah was still in Lebanon. It was a self-contained discussion about a specific issue. Hizbollah’s actions do not further the peace process, they set it back. They are not the only thing that set it back.

    I mean, is this really controversial? To say that an organisation which has continued to attack Israel with no provocation since Israel withdrew from Lebanon isn’t assisting in the quest for a lasting peace?

    I am leaving this thread alone now, I think.

  182. Katy Newton — on 6th August, 2006 at 10:03 pm  

    Yes Sunny please sort out the Middle East. Thank you.

  183. sonia — on 6th August, 2006 at 10:15 pm  

    refresh i have read the article thanks. don’t tell me what to do - you might regret it

    your point is ?

  184. Bert Preast — on 6th August, 2006 at 10:18 pm  

    Neil wrote: “I guess we will never know how it took place. Point I was making was perhaps Israel let it happen”

    You’re suggesting that Israel deliberately patrols it’s borders in the hope that someone will attack the patrol with a Stalin organ accompaniment, so Israel can then lash out at the perceived perpetrators?

    That doesn’t make much sense, does it?

  185. sonia — on 6th August, 2006 at 10:24 pm  

    katy, i think there is definitely something shady in as much as hizbollah do seem to have gone out of their way to provoke israel this time around and seem to have their own agenda about why they’re doing that. personally i think that insomnia was right when he suggested that hizbollah needed something to re-legitimize themselves and goading israel seemed a good way, and israel seems to be playing into their hands to ensure their own security. lot of people with a lot of different agendas..

  186. Tanvir — on 6th August, 2006 at 10:52 pm  

    I mean, is this really controversial? To say that an organisation which has continued to attack Israel with no provocation since Israel withdrew from Lebanon isn’t assisting in the quest for a lasting peace?……

    As if everything should be honky doreee, as soon as they withdraw, forget all the carnage Israel had caused, including the Shatalier massacres? Well for your information the Sheba farms is yet another bit of land Israel squats on that doesnt belong to it. Israel did not withdraw fully from Lebanon, and Israel holds Lebanese prisoners, many without charge. If going by the principle that Israel can destroy Lebabnon because two of its soldeirs were taken; should there be outrage of Israel is hit by 747s or dirty bombs for the kidnap, and imprisonment without charge of its prisoners? But no, Hizbollah did something more reasonable than Israel, by taking soldiers to exchange for its own.

    Considering what has happned in the last 50 years, i dont think anyone is under the illusion that the Palestinians will get justice, nor will the Israelis play fair (I bet not even Bush and Blair have any care of that, they are just playing the game) that is, until the power balances of the world change, and it will, as it always does, it just may take a very long time. Most people / nations affected by Israels presence only want to fight for justice.

    The kind of comment i quoted above is of the similar quality of that where the zionists say ‘Ehud Barak offered the Palestinains what they wanted but they chose terror’ - when in reality Barak offered the Palestinians tiny pockets of land, divided by a network of Israeli controled roads that led to their sqauts, or settlements they like to call.

    And selectivly ignore the fact that the Arab nations, (led by Saudi Arabia of all nations!) offered Israel recognition and peace if it withdrew to 1967 borders. So basicly handing over a massive chunk of Palestine, for the sake of peace. It was a chance of a lifetime, the single biggest act of charity ever offered to a nation in the history of mankind. But the Israelis opted for the short term solution - lets just ethnicly cleanse, take more of Palestine and believe we can do this forever.

  187. Refresh — on 6th August, 2006 at 11:02 pm  

    Sonia

    Not sure you read my comment as intended.

    Its not for me to tell you what to do. I am already regretting it even though I hadn’t.

    “Sonia, read the article. The comments are even more interesting.”

    That means ‘I had’ read the article.

    Oh dear, I think I’ll take Katy’s cue and leave it for a while too.

    Katy let us know how you get on with seekeroftruth.

  188. yo habibi — on 7th August, 2006 at 12:50 am  

    Israel did not withdraw fully from Lebanon

    Yes it did.

    “The January 20, 2005 UN Secretary-General’s report on Lebanon stated that “The continually asserted position of the Government of Lebanon that the Blue Line is not valid in the Shab’a farms area is not compatible with Security Council resolutions. The Council has recognized the Blue Line as valid for purposes of confirming Israel’s withdrawal pursuant to resolution 425 (1978). The UN Security Council has repeatedly requested that all parties respect the Blue Line in its entirety.”[5]”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Security_Council_Resolution_1559

  189. yo habibi — on 7th August, 2006 at 1:13 am  

    the single biggest act of charity ever offered to a nation in the history of mankind

    Ha ha, those charitable Saudis! Aren’t we all supposed to hate them? ;-)

    Actually, they can do zakat with style; they’re bankrolling Lebanon right now, bless ‘em. But the Arab world as a whole is not with Abdullah:

    http://www.mideastweb.org/saudipeace_abdullah.htm

    “The formulation of Abdullah was not strong enough for the Arab summit in Beirut, since the resolution could be interpreted to mean that refugees would be settled in the Arab state of Palestine. They added several references to solution of the refugee problem, including the following:

    Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194.

    Resolution 194 is interpreted in the Arab world to mean that the refugees will return to Israel, thereby creating an Arab majority in Israel in a short time and abolishing Israel as the national home of the Jewish people. As such, the proposal is not acceptable to Israel of course.”

    Abdullah is a smart man. He is also Ahmadinejad’s top opposite number in the Muslim power game.

    God bless him.

  190. Amir — on 7th August, 2006 at 2:19 am  

    Katy, [& Tanvir/Refresh]

    A superb contribution to the debate, although I’d like to take a stab at one of your questions…

    6. “Oh but Katy creating Israel was a terrible mistake in the first place and it shouldn’t really exist at all and in fact it should be grateful that it is allowed to exist”

    Many of Israel’s critics seem to believe that there was at one stage a sovereign country called ‘Palestine’ out of which the Jewish nation was unfairly carved. But no such country ever existed; Palestine was never the name of anything but a Roman vilayet. Since its 1516 incorporation in the Ottoman Empire, it was part of the Damascus-Syrian province until 1660, shortly interrupted by the French occupation of Jaffa, Haifa, and Caesarea in 1799. On 10 May 1832 it was one of the Turkish provinces, annexed by Egypt, but in November 1840 it was restored to Ottoman rule.

    From the Ottomans it passed directly to the British, after the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, commanded by Edmund Allenby, captured Jerusalem on 9 Dec 1917 and occupied the whole of the Levant following the defeat of Turkish forces at the Battle of Megiddo. Up until 1947, the immediate loyalties of the area’s inhabitants were parochial – to clan, tribe, village, town, or religious sect – and coexisted with their fealty to the Ottoman sultan-caliph as the religious and temporal head of The Ummah. When Britain, bankrupt and demoralised, scuttled from the region in 1948, Palestine’s Jewish inhabitants grabbed as much as it could of this dubious legacy. Arab armies in turn seized as much as they could. And, of course, there was violence on both sides.

    Let me put it to you this way – In 1948, no Palestinian state was invaded or destroyed to make way for the establishment of Israel. From biblical times, when this territory was the state of the Jews, to its occupation by the British army at the end of World War I, Palestine had never existed as a distinct political entity but was rather part of one empire after another, from the Romans, to the Arabs, to the Ottomans.

    There is a general assumption, in conjunction with the previous one, that the Zionists had always intended to ‘steal’ land and expel its inhabitants. This, of course, is a blatant lie. The aim of Zionism prior to 1967 had not been the physical possession of Jerusalem and the control of all the holy sites. In fact, the attitude of Zionist leaders toward Jerusalem had always been ambiguous at best; they did not like the city, which embodied much of what was negative in Jewish history and from which the Zionists wanted to disassociate themselves. More tellingly… the projected ‘National Home for the Jews’ endorsed by Britain in 1917 was never intended to become a nation. Israel was to be part of the British Empire, not ruling itself but governed benignly from London, a permanent way station on the proposed land-route to India and a glacis protecting the Suez Canal from any power that threatened it from the north.

    Amir

  191. Katy Newton — on 7th August, 2006 at 8:27 am  

    Amir - good points all.

    What you say is right, and interesting, and I have just deleted a long comment adding to it, because the problem with Middle Eastern history is that once you start you get utterly bogged down in it and everyone becomes too concerned with trying to blame the other side to find a solution to the current problem, which is why I tried to avoid it.

    As I said in my post, I could rant about the history of the dispute til the cows come home, and frequently have, because a lot of people who weigh in with opinions on the Middle East and heavy criticism of Israel don’t know the history and don’t bother to look it up, which infuriates me because they often come out with things that just aren’t true as a result. But I try to stay away from that now and ask people what they think should happen now, rather than what they think happened then.

  192. Chairwoman — on 7th August, 2006 at 9:20 am  

    Tanvir - You may have your rhetoric, but Shabaa Farms is Syrian territory not Lebanese.

  193. Chairwoman — on 7th August, 2006 at 9:23 am  

    Amir - thank you for fleshing out my earlier precis with facts and dates.

  194. Sid — on 7th August, 2006 at 10:23 am  

    Amir

    Your post #190 - Boolsheeyit.

    There are 30 million Kurds who do not have a nation state since Kurdistan has never ‘existed’ as a nation state - does that mean Kurds do not have a right to self determination? From your shameful reasoning, Kurdistan should not exist either.

    Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people; it is an indivisible part of the Arab homeland, and the Palestinian people are an integral part of the Arab nation.

    The Palestinian Arab people possess the legal right to their homeland and have the right to determine their destiny after achieving the liberation of their country in accordance with their wishes and entirely of their own accord and will.

    The Palestinians are those Arab nationals who, until 1947, normally resided in Palestine regardless of whether they were evicted from it or have stayed there. Anyone born, after that date, of a Palestinian father - whether inside Palestine or outside it - is also a Palestinian.

  195. Chairwoman — on 7th August, 2006 at 10:33 am  

    Sid - Kurdistan should exist and the Arab nation should learn to share its toys.

  196. Leon — on 7th August, 2006 at 10:39 am  

    the Arab nation should learn to share its toys.

    Haha! What, like the rest of the world does?!

  197. Sid — on 7th August, 2006 at 10:39 am  

    Pakistan does not recognise Bangladesh, and neither recognises Israel and if it were up to you, no one would recognise Palestine. I find that kind of politicking to be quite shameful because it carries on the baggage of grievances for future generations.

    Expounders of your sort who go around “un-recognising” or “de-recognising” this or that nation state because of some reason or another represent the cheesiest kind of unprogressive nationalism.

  198. Sid — on 7th August, 2006 at 10:42 am  

    Chairwoman - Kurdistan is not wholly Arab in its distribution.

  199. Chairwoman — on 7th August, 2006 at 10:50 am  

    Sid - at what point did I say no one should recognise
    Palestine. Thank you, I did know that part of Kurdistan is in Turkey.

    Leon - the rest of the world has learned to share its toys, otherwise all those nation states in Africa, South America and Asia would still be controlled from Europe.

  200. Leon — on 7th August, 2006 at 10:53 am  

    Your use of the word “share” is misguided at best (dishonest at worst). Explain how all these nationstates have been “sharing” their “toys”.

  201. Chairwoman — on 7th August, 2006 at 10:58 am  

    Leon - Don’t even start to call me dishonest when you obviously haven’t read what I’ve written.

  202. Leon — on 7th August, 2006 at 11:25 am  

    I’ll ask again: Explain how all these nationstates have been “sharing” their “toys”.

  203. Sid — on 7th August, 2006 at 11:36 am  

    CW

    My post #197 was a continuation of #194 and not directed at you in particular but to the rancorous notion thrown up by Amir regrding the so-called spurious existence of a Palestinian state, which is utter ball-cocks.

  204. Chairwoman — on 7th August, 2006 at 12:11 pm  

    Leon and Sid - I’m going to try and deal with this in one fell swoop.

    During the 20th century it became apparant to European powers that the way forward was to dismantle their empires and allow third world countries self-determination, hence sharing their toys. Please don’t tell me they shouldn’t have been there in the first place. They were, they controlled, they gave them up.

    If the Arab nation gave up a very small bit of their vast lands to the State of Israel and peace prevailed, we could be looking at a new dawn of civilisation in the very place where civilisation dawned the first time.

    At the moment we have a situation where Israel has huge technical ability in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, agriculture, communications and weaponry, and the Arab Nation has petro-dollars with which it buys in a lot of those things. In a peaceful middle east, the marriage of these things could produce an economic superpower, which provided security and employment for its peoples, and could compete on the world stage. I don’t think the current superpowers would like this very much.

    BTW with open borders being established, and people moving freely between countries, what each part was called would matter less. Factor in an established Palestine and Kurdistan (perhaps the Turks could be persuaded to give up some of their land to their Muslim brothers), and we can only have a recipe for success.

    Perhaps if the leaders of certain non-Arab Muslim countries could stop their client’s jumping up and down on Israeli and American flags whilst waving their weapons in the air and shouting offensive slogans it would be a start.

    I’m not a Christian but I believe their guy said something about beating swords into ploughshares. I know we’re technologically more advanced than that, but the central principal remains the same.

  205. Kismet Hardy — on 7th August, 2006 at 12:19 pm  

    8. Oh but Katy please let’s stop this jewish/muslim hateage and be a beacon of inspiration for all to admire and videotape by rogering each other until our scarlet jism lines the rainbow skies

  206. Chairwoman — on 7th August, 2006 at 12:33 pm  

    Kismet Hardy - naughty corner!

  207. Kismet Hardy — on 7th August, 2006 at 1:20 pm  

    But does the whote paper of 1939 give me the legal right to occupy this corner you speak of?

  208. Leon — on 7th August, 2006 at 1:42 pm  

    During the 20th century it became apparant to European powers that the way forward was to dismantle their empires and allow third world countries self-determination, hence sharing their toys. Please don’t tell me they shouldn’t have been there in the first place. They were, they controlled, they gave them up.

    They “allowed” former colonies their ‘independence’ did they? Odd, my memories of fights for independence must be imaginary…hence my laughter at the idea that they ’shared’ their toys (in fact it wasn’t their ‘toys’ to begin with in most cases).

    ..by the way, they should have never been there.

  209. Chairwoman — on 7th August, 2006 at 1:54 pm  

    Leon - you’re a very selective reader.

  210. Arif — on 7th August, 2006 at 2:58 pm  

    Katy, I really like your article, and don’t think there is much that I take issue with. I particularly like the challenge to the thinking that automatically supports one side because the other side is so immoral. But to take the discussion further, I’m following up on each of your points with some questions to you:

    1. What actions by Arab States, other Muslim States, the Palestinian Authority and/or the UN do you think would be enough to help Israelis feel safe enough for, say, the implementation of UN resolution 242. I’m thinking of a bare minimum or starting point you think most realistic.

    2. Do you think that holocaust education can be done in better ways than at present to activate all our humanitarian impulses in generous ways?

    3. How do you think UN resolutions (such as they are) should be regarded by all sides. Should they be applied in any particular order? Should they be completely disregarded?

    4. Would you be comfortable for Jewish people to be called an ethnic group?

    5. What can outsiders do to help political groups that aspire to the kind of co-operative Middle East free of US or other superpower clientism?

    6. There appears to be fear on both sides that the other side has aspirations which go beyond addressing grievances to also gaining more land and resources. Is this fear unjustified? Do you think it is possible to discuss grievances without also discussing these fears, because I think some of these fears stem from each sides’ reading of history as well as contemporary policy. unless some historical acts are “regretted” at the least, can people trust each other to really engage with their grievances?

    7. Would you agree that we should pressure the UK government at least, to treat Israel and other countries consistently on the basis of their human rights and humanitarian crimes? On that basis we should be discussing the principles which would govern relations with any State that - for example - breaks UN resolutions or any particular items in the UN Declaration of Human Rights? Etc.

    Look forward to your responses.

  211. bananabrain — on 7th August, 2006 at 4:08 pm  

    katy -

    a great thread and a great piece that started it. i particularly like the idea that you are prepared to put your real-life mouth where your online mouth is (so to speak) and have real-life discussions. expect an email from me under my real name directly.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  212. Amir — on 7th August, 2006 at 5:48 pm  

    Sid

    (I) Your post #190 - Boolsheeyit.

    Let me put it to you in a nutshell… Palestine never existed as an independent nation-state. Fact. It’s always been a province of Jewish-Roman-Ottoman-Egyptian-Ottoman-British Empires. Modern usage of the term Palestine usually refers to a prospective Palestinian state, incorporating both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. One of the anti-Zionists’ main accusations (prevalent amongst left-wing types and right-wing neo-Nazis) is that the evil Jews invaded a sovereign nation called Palestine and that the Zionist ideology demanded that all Jews expel its Arab neighbours. This, of course, is a big fat lie. Jews have existed in the Palestinian province for centuries, and had every intention of existing peacefully with their Arab brethren, until, that is, the 1929 Palestine Riots.

    (II) From your shameful reasoning, Kurdistan should not exist either.

    Nonsense! Laugh-out-loud! I am (and always have been) a stalwart supporter of an independent Palestinian state, and, grosso modo, an independent Kurdish state in Northern Iraq. But if you ever tried to convince a Kurd that Kurdistan was once a sovereign nation – so to speak – they’ll laugh at you… and advise that you pick up a history book instead of a doughnut! Your contempt for history and historical enquiry is astounding.

    (III) Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people; it is an indivisible part of the Arab homeland, and the Palestinian people are an integral part of the Arab nation.

    Unfortunately Sid, these so-called ‘pre-1947 Palestinians’ would be the first to disagree with you. When the British arrived in 1917, the immediate loyalties of the area’s inhabitants were parochial – to clan, tribe, village, town, or religious sect… not to some pseudo-state called ‘Palestine.’ Neither Egypt nor Jordan ever allowed Palestinian self-determination in Gaza and the West Bank – which were, respectively, the parts of Palestine conquered by them during the 1948-49 war. Indeed, even UN Security Council Resolution 242, which after the Six-Day war of 1967 established the principle of ‘land for peace’ as the cornerstone of future Arab-Israeli peace negotiations, did not envisage the creation of a Palestinian state.

    More tellingly: since the Palestinians were still not viewed as a distinct nation, it was assumed that any territories evacuated by Israel would be returned to their pre-1967 Arab occupiers – Gaza to Egypt, and the West Bank to Jordan. Resolution 242 did not even mention the Palestinians by name, affirming instead the necessity for achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem – a clause that applied not just to the Palestinians but to the hundreds of thousands of Jews expelled from the Arab states following the 1948 war.

    Throughout the 1960s, Palestinian nationhood was rejected by the entire international community, including the Western democracies, the Soviet Union (the foremost supporter of radical Arabism), and the Arab world itself. ‘Moderate’ Arab rulers like the Hashemites in Jordan viewed an independent Palestinian state as a moral threat to their own kingdom, while the Saudis saw it as a potential source of extremism and instability. Pan-Arab nationalists were no less adamantly opposed, having their own purposes in mind for the region. As late as 1974, Syrian President Hafez al Assad openly referred to Palestine as not only a part of the Arab homeland but a basic part of southern Syria; there is no reason to think he had changed his mind by the time of his death in 2000.

    Amir… laughing-out-loud

  213. Sid — on 7th August, 2006 at 9:34 pm  

    More cheesey nationalism Amir. It’s also completely off target from the point at hand. Mind you, I find your didacticism quite charming.

    There are plenty of nation states that should never have been formed - such as Pakistan, while others that were the result of colonial action (large tracts of Africa, the USA) and others still that have not been formed at all - Palestine and Kurdistan in spite of no historical precedent.

    They have sweet FA to do with whether they existed before they were created or not.

  214. Mr Angry — on 8th August, 2006 at 6:06 pm  

    Excellent article Katy, and extremely interesting for someone who is nowhere near as close to the situation as your good self.

    Oh, the word you’re looking for is ‘tautology’.

  215. Katy Newton — on 8th August, 2006 at 6:17 pm  

    Thank you, Mr A. Tautology!!! That is the very word.

    Mr Angry: genius. Geeeenius.

    (He runs a hilarious website as well. No matter what side of the Middle East debate you are on, everyone should go and read Mr Angry’s blog.)

  216. El Cid — on 8th August, 2006 at 7:36 pm  

    Jesus Christ!
    What a load of historical wanking!
    What Israel is doing in Lebanon right now is appalling, end of… As I’ve said before, Isreel is drunk on military power. Time and time again, they’ve showed no capacity to win the peace.
    As a committed buyer of Lurpak butter until the day I die in the wake of the Mohammed cartoons, can anyone suggest Israeli stuff I can boycott?

  217. Katy Newton — on 8th August, 2006 at 7:43 pm  

    “As a committed buyer of Lurpak butter until the day I die…”

    … of furred arteries?

  218. Katy Newton — on 9th August, 2006 at 12:08 am  

    Saurav,

    You said:

    There are certain points I disagree with, but overall, I would say it’s much more important for a middle ground to be staked out than for all the views of everyone to fall into line.

    I think that this is the most sensible, mature and constructive sentence on this thread, including those contributed by me.

  219. Katy Newton — on 9th August, 2006 at 12:09 am  

    Arif, I am spent on this subject for the moment, but my email is somewhere near the top of the thread if you want to pick up the discussion again later.

  220. sonia — on 10th August, 2006 at 2:41 pm  

    a ‘WIDER’ perspective : livejournalling from Beirut

    from the popular community of bloggers: livejournal

    http://insomnia.livejournal.com/693016.html?view=5106200#t5106200

  221. Refresh — on 10th August, 2006 at 4:54 pm  

    Sonia,

    Read it.

    Its worth seeing it from ordinary Lebanese point of view. Be interested in any similar ones from the other communities?

    ps. Don’t make me regret posting the above - not again.

  222. Leon — on 10th August, 2006 at 5:09 pm  

    Sonia, that’s an excellent link…

  223. Desi Italiana — on 13th August, 2006 at 10:56 am  

    Katy-
    Thanks for taking the time to write a post illustrating your opinions. I did notice one thing, though: in the entire post, the only place you mention the Palestinians is whenever you speak of Hamas, which everyone knows you categorize as terrorists (you do mention “legitimate grievances” but I have found that this often means some vague, passing token gesture that never really gets defined, explained, and discussed. Not saying that you are doing this). I know that it’s impossible to hit all points in one post, because then the post would come out super long, but your take- ommission of the Palestinians unless one is speaking of terrorism or the favorite current “terrorist” of a given moment- ie PLO, Hamas-reflects a larger trend. Time and time again people speak and write of Israel, its founding (and really, it’s impossible to NOT speak of this, especially when Israelis and their supporters bring it up themselves) and etc without including the history of the Palestinians. How can one speak of Israel’s history- establishment, immigration/settling, politics and so on- without mentioning the history of the Palestinians? Both the Palestinian history and Israeli history are interlinked. You can’t speak of one with the other. It’s like talking about Austrailia’s history without mentioning the Aborigines at all, albeit references to them in terms of wars that they had with the white settlers (and btw, in the US, this is largely how the Native Americans are discussed).

    ““Oh but Katy the Jews aren’t really a race anyway, or even Middle Eastern Semites, I read that they are Hungarian or something”

    This might be addressed to me (and the others), since I had brought up the fact that Jews all over the world are not one race. I had made the point that Ashkenzi Jews are in fact European,of Kazhar descent, and Ethiopian Jews are in fact Ethiopian and so on. You ask, “what does that have to do with anything?” Well, in that thread, there were people who were stating that all Jews are of one race. And sometimes, there are those who argue that Israeli Jews have legitimate claims to all of Israel because ALL Jews from any part of the world can trace their lineage back to “ancient Israel” reaching back over 2000 years ago. If you ask “what does that [sharing the same genetic lineage] have to do with anything?” and think this is silly, so do I. If you are saying that European Jews are an alien race in Europe (they are European),then that is what I was saying. So we probably agree on this one, just miscommunication.

    Sorry if somebody already made these points- obviously I couldn’t read all 222 comments. Anyway, these are just my thoughts.

  224. Desi Italiana — on 13th August, 2006 at 11:03 am  

    Katy:

    TYPO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    “If you are saying that European Jews are an alien race in Europe (they are European),then that is what I was saying.”

    Forgot the operational word NOT:

    “If you are saying that European Jews are NOT an alien race in Europe (they are European), that that is what I was saying.”

    Sheesh- that typo would have gotten me into a lot of trouble (justifiably so, if I had truly thought that way).

  225. Katy Newton — on 13th August, 2006 at 11:45 am  

    Desi,

    I didn’t discuss the history of the Middle East at all. I didn’t leave one side out of it, I didn’t get into the argument full stop. I didn’t go into historical Israeli grievances against the Palestinians or the Arab nations any more than I went into the Palestinian side of it. I think people are far too happy to sling mud at the opposite side and not interested enough in finding a solution to the situation as it currently is, which is that Israel exists, the Palestinians exist, the current situation can’t go on and the only just solution is land for both.

    There are those who argue that Israeli Jews have legitimate claims to all of Israel because ALL Jews from any part of the world can trace their lineage back to “ancient Israel” reaching back over 2000 years ago.

    I think perhaps you didn’t read the links that I posted, because they make that very clear: your suggestion that Jews are Khazar is just plain wrong, I’m afraid. All Jews that did not convert, including the Felashas (the Ethiopian Jews) are descended from a common Middle Eastern ancestor. That is supported by documentary history, which tells us beyond any doubt that the Jewish people came originally from Israel. (Or tells you, I should say; we Jews have always known where we came from. It’s everyone else who argues about it.)

    That is why the Zionist movement aimed towards Israel, because it was the only land in the world to which Jews had any kind of link or tenuous claim: because it’s where we came from originally. But the state of Israel isn’t built on that claim, it’s built on the Partition Plan and the UN Resolution of 1948.

    If what you are saying is that none of that entitles Israel to go beyond its pre-67 borders to occupy Palestinian land, then I agree with you.

  226. Desi Italiana — on 13th August, 2006 at 7:09 pm  

    Katy:

    Thanks for responding. I’m going to sidestep the whole racial argument, because I have sources that suggest otherwise, but you’ll continue to rely on your sources and I will on mine. So it’s pretty pointless to get into this topic. In any case, even if your claim is/were true, I think it is still an irrelevant point. If everyone can lay claim to something that goes back more than 2000 years, we’d all be in big trouble. Which is why I think it is pretty silly when one brings things up. But one point:

    “I didn’t go into historical Israeli grievances against the Palestinians or the Arab nations any more than I went into the Palestinian side of it.”

    “I think people are far too happy to sling mud at the opposite side and not interested enough in finding a solution to the situation as it currently is, which is that Israel exists, the Palestinians exist, the current situation can’t go on and the only just solution is land for both.”

    It is not “slinging mud”, it is trying to understand the Palestinian situation. Two things:

    1. “Israeli grievances”: I am sorry, but I don’t see how Israel can have grievances when it is a colonial settler society. There are others, including yourself, who would not categorize Israel as such. But I do. If someone talked to me about Austrailia’s grievances towards Aborigines, New Zealand’s against the Maoris, and the white colonial settlers’ grievances against the Native Americans, I’d have a really hard time in seeing their grievances. Coming to take someone’s land and then establishing a state on their soil, and I could see how some people would get pretty upset.

    2. Since I have the opinion above, and you, rightfully so, point out “legitimate Palestinian grievances”, how are we supposed to understand the ROOT and CAUSE of Palestinians “grievances”? This is what I meant in my post # 223 when I talked about how people add it as an afterthought in order to appear “balanced” and “objective” (not that you are doing it). But very rarely this actually gets defined, discussed, and so on. And you state that a solution needs to be founded. If the solution is to be just and fair, then would it not make sense to really understand and discuss the Palestinian predicament? Understanding the current situation to look for a compromise doesn’t mean priveleging the Israeli narrative. Moreover, a “compromise” doesn’t mean that Palestinians have to accept an agreement on Israeli terms, whereby they retain control over land, borders, water, airspace and so on.

    Anyway, I saw in an earlier comment that you are pretty spent from posting comments. So you don’t have to respond, I’ll understand.:) [I’d get exhausted too, which is partly the reason why I didn’t jump in earlier.)

  227. Desi Italiana — on 13th August, 2006 at 7:46 pm  

    A couple of other things:

    “What the Jews are is a group of loosely interrelated people with a common ancestor or small group of common ancestors who have remained relatively closely tied genetically because of many centuries of segregation. I suppose what we really are is a very extended family. But we are not a race.”

    “Er, what has that got to do with anything? ”

    Then:

    “That is why the Zionist movement aimed towards Israel, because it was the only land in the world to which Jews had any kind of link or tenuous claim: because it’s where we came from originally. ”

    This is the reason why I and others brought this up. Because there are those who rest on this precise argument (genetic linkages tied to a geographic space). First, you state that it doesn’t have to do with anything, and that Hitler had used the contention that Ashkenzi Jews were a race apart. You say that they are not. Agreed. But then you go on to say that Jews “originally” come from present day Israel, and that it is the link, etc- basically, this is your justification for why Israeli Jews (and others) utilize in speaking about the establishment of Israel. But to point out something: despite the ubiquitous sources that “prove” this “genetic” link, this doesn’t mean that it’s wholly true and accurate. Most of the “studies” during the earlier 20th century had scientists arguing that in fact, Blacks, Jews, and others were “racially” inferior and so on. That doesn’t make it an actual fact. Furthermore, I have serious qualms about this. There are 3 and 4th generation South Asians in Fiji who have an indigenous Fijan ancestor. Yet they identify themselves as Hindu and Indian. What I am trying to say is that even within the span of a couple of generation, ethnicities can become mixed while people still hold on to a particular religion, customs and so on. So over TWO THOUSAND years, are you saying that this hasn’t occured with the Jews- wherever they live? If we are going to take serious the arguments that a particular people “originally” come from a specific region thousands of years ago, this is not only inaccurate, but dangerous. By the same logic, Balinese Hindus are the same as Sindhi Hindus, and if the Balinese Hindus want, they can go lay claim to wherever Sind historically was and establish a state over the present day Sindhis.

    Let me make something clear: there have been people on PP who have accused me of questioning the very existence of Israel, have asked me if I want to “wipe Israel off the map.” No. What I am saying is that you cannot dismiss the historical, religious/biblical, and genetic claims, especially when they are used all the time. Also, it is too easy to say “oh, what happened happened, let’s talk about today”. To not discuss the founding of Israel leads to 1) not understanding the policies enacted by the state of Israel from its “inception” to now and 2) not understanding, or undermining, Palestinians “grievances.” You (and I don’t mean Katy in particular; I’m saying “you” in the plural form) may think that it’s not something we should harp about, we need to talk about the present. But the present is shaped by the past. There are, incidentally, millions of Palestinian refugees today who are the products of 1948.Many of them are languishing in refugee camps, both inside the “occupied territories” and outside. And the predicament of Palestinians living in the “occupied territories” is a consequence of 1948. This is why I think it is important to discuss the history of all of this.

  228. Katy Newton — on 13th August, 2006 at 7:56 pm  

    I don’t see how Israel can have grievances when it is a colonial settler society.

    Look, whatever. You’ve made it clear over and over again that as far as you’re concerned Israel is in the wrong in any dispute it is involved in. I don’t accept your characterisation of Israel as a colonial settler state and I certainly don’t agree with you that Israel has no grievances, but I’m not going to get bogged down in that argument with you because (fanfare please) it goes nowhere! How is what you said in any way productive? What solution will it lead to?

    What I will say is that regardless of how in the right either side might think it is, sooner or later they are all going to have to sit down round the negotiating table and come up with a solution that is broadly acceptable to both sides even if it is not exactly what either of them would want. That’s called “compromise”. Thankfully there are more sensible people than you on either side who understand that too, and sooner or later their voices will prevail and that is what will happen. If you want peace in the Middle East then you and everyone else are going to have to live with a compromise too.

    The alternatives are for Israel to cease to exist altogether - which presumably is what you would prefer - or for the situation to continue as it is, which is obviously intolerable for everyone. Of course, if you want Israel to cease to exist, then you are choosing more war, and more death for everyone, because it won’t go without a struggle.

    Understanding the current situation to look for a compromise doesn’t mean priveleging the Israeli narrative. Moreover, a “compromise” doesn’t mean that Palestinians have to accept an agreement on Israeli terms, whereby they retain control over land, borders, water, airspace and so on.

    I will try and explain this one more time: I haven’t gone into the history at all on either side. No “privileging”, if that is what you mean. Got it? You might think that the Israeli side of the argument is wrong, but there is an Israeli side, and I didn’t go into or justify that any more than I did the Palestinian side.

    As for the second sentence, I have no idea where that comes from, because neither I in my post nor any person in the comments that follow has suggested that an agreement has to be on Israeli terms. When I say that there should be a two state solution I mean that the Palestinians should have self-determination on their own land, controlled by them. Calm down, woman, you’re only arguing with yourself.

  229. Katy Newton — on 13th August, 2006 at 7:59 pm  

    What I am trying to say is that even within the span of a couple of generation, ethnicities can become mixed while people still hold on to a particular religion, customs and so on. So over TWO THOUSAND years, are you saying that this hasn’t occured with the Jews– wherever they live?

    READ THE DAMN LINKS, Desi. It’s not me who’s saying it, it is people who are, you know, experts in ancestry? As in, not you or me?

  230. Katy — on 13th August, 2006 at 8:03 pm  

    But the present is shaped by the past.

    Unless it’s the Jews who talk about the past, in which case, according to you, they are milking it. Your double standards are so blatantly, well, double. You know?

  231. leon — on 13th August, 2006 at 9:02 pm  

    I don’t accept your characterisation of Israel as a colonial settler state

    Why not? And what is it in your eyes? (genuine question)

  232. Katy Newton — on 13th August, 2006 at 9:35 pm  

    Leon, I feel sort of trapped in a historical argument now, but I can’t answer your question without going into it, so forgive me.

    The State of Israel (within pre-67 borders) exists because the UN voted to bring it into existence. The Zionist movement was about trying to secure land through legitimate means, not invasion. The Jews began by purchasing land, mostly pretty barren and infertile, in what is now Israel, but which had been part of the Ottoman Empire and then a British mandate, from absentee landlords. They didn’t envisage a state of their own, originally, just a small area of land in which they could govern themselves and not be oppressed with minimal interference from the head of whatever state they were in. There was never a Jewish “invasion” of historical Palestine, although when the UN approved the Partition Plan in 1947 (I think) there was fighting between the Arabs and the Jews who were there, and in 1948 most of the Arabs who had lived in what became Israel fled, and many returned as part of the Arab attempt at invasion which began as soon as Israel officially came into being.

    The Jews didn’t just pitch up and drive Arabs out, is my point. They established themselves as a presence in the land by purchasing portions of it, and when things became very bad for the Jews in the early to mid twentieth century they began to lobby the other nations of the world for self determination. That resulted in a properly debated vote between the world nations in the UN, and the Partition Plan and UN Resolution which created Israel. That decision was taken against the wishes of the Arab nations, and I can see why the Arab nations were aggrieved by it, but at the time that was how nations were formed.

    There’s plenty that Israel has done since which is subject to criticism, but it came into being as a consequence of agreement between the nations of the world. To me that is very different from being a “colonial settler state”.

  233. Katy Newton — on 13th August, 2006 at 9:50 pm  

    That is a really potted history, the facts of which are interpreted very differently depending on whether you approach it from the Israeli side or from the Palestinian side, and people tend to get horribly bogged down in which version is right, which very much distracts from the here and now.

    You see, some people might say that the UN had no business just going round giving land out to people, and I can see why they would say that, but fast forward 60 years and you’ve got several million Israelis and a fully fledged state, and several million Palestinians who need a state just as badly. You have to find a solution that doesn’t make several million people homeless.

  234. Leon — on 13th August, 2006 at 10:26 pm  

    So the stories about Palestinions being forcebly moved from their lands after WW2 aren’t true?

    (again genuine question, trying to gain a real insight into how a jewish person views their history here)

  235. Tanvir — on 13th August, 2006 at 10:34 pm  

    Katy says: “You have to find a solution that doesn’t make several million people homeless.”

    If only the last sentence was taken heed of 60 years ago…. but hold on, it was! It was the Israelis who didn’t abide by the very conditions upon which Palestine was given to them. Simple common sense tells us when you break the terms of contract it becomes invalid.

    Until reading this thread of yours I did have some respect for your blogging, you have the right to your opinion, but the very title of this oneA wider perspective is a joke!! ..Please tell me you are being sarcastic??

    You talk about the destiny of people who lived thousands of years ago conveniently omitting that many of those ancestors probably also became Christians and Muslims, I would not be surprised if you could go and find jewish DNA components in many other nations. The fact of the matter is there are people still living to this day who are waiting to go home. The argument that Israel is an apartheid like state is undeniable, but instead of race it discriminates over religion, and I’m not talking about the 2nd class status of its Arab citizens, but the fact that anyone Jewish or convert to Judaism can immigrate to Israel, and the government invites migrants, yet its inhabitants that were driven out by Israel 60 years ago, whose families had lived there for hundreds if not over a thousand years and not allowed to return. So where does this 2000 year-old DNA argument stand when Israel allows converts to Judaism into Israel?

    Just more double standards eh? Just like when the oppressed are being accused of terror, when the Israeli state itself was established on terror, events of which are still celebrated by them to this day.

    What is the most ridiculous and insulting Zionist demand is that of recognition. ‘Recognize our right to be sitting on your land and be doing this to you and we will think about giving a little bit of it back.’ Surely it should be the other way round?! Perhaps withdrawal from occupied lands? Releasing of prisoners? Reparations for the destitution caused? Allowing the viable state, with its own borders, and sovereignty over land and sea access? In other words a REAL state? Perhaps then there wont be so many hard feelings, or maybe people will look upon present day Israelis as a different bunch to the evil bastards that showed up 60 years ago. Only then would those who seek to destroy Israel become a minority, sidelined and insignificant, only then will people not be so bothered by the existence of Israel.

    But what your ‘wider perspective’ seems to omit is the fact that many of Israel’s leadership are committed to further expansion of territories that do not belong to them, and have always been, as that IS the Israeli ideology as much as it is masked by screams of ‘they want to destroy us.’ Of course they want to destroy you, how can a nation be killed and driven out of their homes tolerate such actions, what did American do after 9-11? -it sought to destroy its attackers. Israel has done nothing to change this attitude towards it, why? because it doesnt care, because it knows very well that rather than the cries of ‘they want to push us into the sea’ Israel herself is commited to pushing the Arabs out as far as it can from the promised land, and it has the backing to do so regardless of morality. It is fueled by religious extreamism that will not be pacified by any reasoning or morals, only by how the world will change in the future.

  236. Katy Newton — on 13th August, 2006 at 10:50 pm  

    Yes and no. It’s a hotly disputed area of history, but my understanding is that most of the Arabs in Israel at that time fled either because they thought they would be driven out by the Israelis if they didn’t (I think there was an announcement on an Arabic radio station telling them that), or because they wanted to join the Arab invasion forces, although some Jewish leaders tried to persuade them to stay. I think that there were at least a couple of towns from which Palestinians were forcibly evicted, but there was not a “no Arabs in Israel” policy; that was a consequence of local battles, not an ethnic cleansing exercise. The Arabs who chose not to flee stayed, and their descendants are still there.

  237. Katy Newton — on 13th August, 2006 at 11:23 pm  

    I despair, I really do. This thread has degenerated into exactly the sort of pointless historical ranting that I bemoaned in my original article.

  238. Katy Newton — on 14th August, 2006 at 12:27 am  

    This thread is going round in circles and achieving nothing. It’s descended into exactly the pointless arguments and hysterical ranting that I talked about when I first wrote the article (Leon, obviously I don’t mean you). I am going to ask Sunny to close the comments.

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