Sunday, July 23, 2006


Why I probably won't participate in the demonstrations against the Israeli attacks on Lebanon

I want to thank my callers on my radio show Thursday night (I also apologize for the technical difficulties at the beginning). I expected much more dogmatism and far less thought given the topic which was: Can there be a decent left? based on the Walzer article of the same title. The show gave me some hope that there can be. Only one caller attempted to defend Hezbollah's actions in all this, and even he backed off a bit when we brought up the fact that Hezbollah's rockets being sent into Israel are stuffed with ballbearings with no strategic value except to kill Jews (and as Steve Lewis points out, anybody else who happens to be in the area).

But I'm also discouraged by an e-mail I received today about a demonstration in London yesterday at which George Galloway exclaimed:
"I am here to glorify the resistance, Hezbollah. I am here to glorify the leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah."
Well, below is a photo of the movement gorgeous George wants to glorify. I'm taking it from Harry's Place, the site of a left wing blogger who puts the problem this way:
"The most chilling thing about this Hezbollah ceremony is that it took place just across the border from Israel-- the houses in the background are in the northern Israeli town of Metullah. Are people like Galloway even capable of imagining what an elderly Holocaust survivor who happened to glance across the fence might have felt?"

And for good measure, here's a quote from Hezbollah's venerable leader:
If they (Jews) all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.
--Hassan Nasrallah, quoted in the Lebanon Daily Star, October 2002
Is that something you leftists out there want to support? These people, I won't call them evil. They were raised in a dark aged milieu conditioned by constant war and conflict. But they are bad news. Whatever your feelings about Israel, don't jump on this bandwagon without getting the facts, or you'll find yourself embracing the ignorance expressed in the following comment from a female activist in New Zealand:
"We socialists had a telling off from a Muslim woman for not chanting
"Victory to Hezbollah", so we took a vote and decided to adopt that
slogan, and I'm proud of it.
The very same ignorance is expressed at Lenin's Tomb, which posts photos of signs that read "We are all Hezbollah." As Harry points out, these elements are making certain that these are not anti-war demonstrations, but instead pro-fascist. I am at least encouraged by the fact that attendance at similarly themed demos in the US have been minimal (Lest I appear to hold Israel blameless, the shots of the children writing messages on Israeli missiles are also very sickening - the photos are posted towards the bottom).

So let's make sure I'm clear. I oppose what Israel is doing to Lebanon. I think they're playing right into Hezbollah's hands. I also believe that bonafide peace demonstrators ought to be much more discerning about their associations.

Update: I neglected to link to a photo essay about a recent demo in SF. Thanx to Fred for the heads-up. Also somebody sent me an "explanation" for the photos of the Israeli children writing messages on the weaponry, but I just don't see how it mitigates anything about what I'm seeing in those photos. And apparently an obnoxious right wing blogger was assaulted at a "peace" rally. I'm sure his behavior was less than innocuous, but it doesn't justify the aggression. Here's an interesting account of a journalist who spent some time with Hezbollah folk. And here are some more shots of the NYC demo, again with some decent people and some not-so-decent signs. I must admit I'm fascinated by some of the shots of Hasidim in these demos. I wish they'd speak to some of their fellow demonstrators about the anti-semitism.

Also, speaking of Michael Walzer, he has published in TNR a "just war" analysis of the current conflict.

And about the Hassidim - they're a group called Neturei Karta. Somebody just sent me a Salon article link, but you have to register to read the whole article.

Second update: And here are some photos of the London demo, which was pretty large. Note that there is a little more to George Galloway's comments (captioned under his photo), which I think are at best ignorant but more likely fundamentally irresponsible pandering. Give him credit for balls though. Some of these photos are particularly intense. I wouldn't have felt comfortable there.

Third update: I got most of these links from Michael Pugliese, who has also spread a link to this post around. He deserves production credit.

In case you haven't seen it, Zombie has a photo essay of demonstration in San Francisco earlier this month on the same topic. Check it out at
Actually, I forgot to link it myself - it's where a couple of my photos come from. I'm not sure I agree with all of his interpretations, but it's certainly worth looking at.
While I trust the Israeli administration's judgement more than our current US admin, you may be right about Hezbollah "playing them". Nasrallah said this was being planned for five months and the Israelis had to make decisions in hours.

For the sake of Israel and Lebanon, I hope the IDF is very effective in destroying rockets and reducing Hezbollah postions on the border.

I don't see any way of being sure at this point which side is "winning", but as Israel essentially started in a "lose - lose" situation they have to be extraordinarily effective to achieve a strategic victory and the longer this plays out, the less likely that is.
It seems stupid to try and label this a right vs. left conflict.
Niether the IDF nor Hezbollah can claim any moral highground in my opinion.
Until we in America understand our role in all this, our political, military and economic support of a rogue state that continually violates U.N. mandates, this Israeli vengeance madness will continue.

Until Americans realize Israel has created an apartheid state worse than South Africa was, this Israeli madness will continue.

The 20th Century saw the last of European colonial expansion except for Israel. The 21st Century will not tolerate Israeli colonial imperialism. It is only a matter of time before Palestinians reclaim control of all of the Holy Land. Only our American policy irrationally supporting Israeli interests over Palestinians human rights prevents this from occurring.
I like Steve's meanwhiling the whole thing. Well, 9/11 happened, meanwhile worldwide people are starving and without proper AIDS medication, etc. The implication is Israel deseves it.

A good quote on this kind of thinking:

"'The root cause of this issue has been America's backing of Israel on Palestine'. Suppose this were true — that terrorists blew up Oz honeymooners and Scandinavian stoners in Balinese nightclubs because of "the Palestinian question." Doesn't this suggest that these people are, at a certain level, nuts? After all, there are plenty of IRA sympathizers around the world (try making the Ulster Unionist case in a Boston bar) and yet they never thought to protest British rule in Northern Ireland by blowing up, say, German tourists in Thailand"

You know, it occurs to me the Palestinians, had they been even minorly intelligewnt about their resistance, could have a state right now. In thgis they could have even looked at the tactics of the American blacks and the American Left. That was a success story because it was, in the main, non-violent. Instead, we have nutters continually doing this. Well, whether they deserve a state or not, they sure don't act like they want one. This isn't about Palestine, this is about insane people, lots of 'em.

It's also kinda cute, the naivate' of someone who thinks Palestine is actually the cause. Say Palestinian question was solved tomorrow: do you think it would stop anything?
Oh, and the "they deserve it" poaradigm is not just for Steve! Yes Eric, I'm sure the guy assaulted at the rally was doing eeeevil. Sure pal.
Jim - well, Brodsky has a history of incidents like these, but I'm sure it's always everybody else's fault.
It's true this isn't about Palestine. It's about Israel. Israel was set up by European-Americans controlling the U.N. in 1947 as a European-American Jewish colony in the Middle East. Palestinians were never invited to participate in that set-up process which divided their land into two unequal parts with Jews with less than 30% of the population to have more than half the land. Of course Pals and Arabs rebelled at this injustice. Who wouldn't if they didn't want to see a mass invasion of foreigners taking over their land?
Okay, disregard my post about Brodsky. I've just been informed that I'm confusing him with somebody else.
I will always demonstrate against the Israeli zionazis.
Been doing it for over twenty years.
Those photos of the Israeli girls were a set-up photo by an AP journalist. Old story.
Thank God most Americans are better informed about Mideast issues than some of these commentators. I used to respect the mind of Steve Lewis, but his analysis of Israel_Palestine is right out of the Islamo-fascist playbook. By the way, the Arabs who live in Israel (about 20% of the population) have voted with their feet: they'd rather live in Israel, with all its flaws, than a few miles away in Jordan, where Jews are verboten and Palestinians constitute the majority.
To All You Joooo-Haters Out There:

You don't really think that a nation which has outlasted its enemies these last 3,300 years and has flourished in a sea of Arab hatred and witnessed the extermination of the powerful Nazis and the disintegration of the mighty Communist Israel-hating empire just a few years back is gonna be done in by the likes of Nassrallah, do you?
Didn't think so!
anon 9:15 - My relative position on this with regard to Steven is kind of an odd place to be. Between this and the LGF post, I'm having a little bit of an identity crisis!

Actually, somebody said it earlier. This isn't really a right/left issue. It leads to natural reallignments - ideological anomolies. Sounds like something from Star Trek doesn't it?
Also 9:15 - Israeli Arabs have been victimized by the Hezbollah rockets as well. One of the Bay Area papers had a very moving photograph of a Jewish woman embracing an Arab woman after their apartment building had been destroyed. Think I'll try to track that one down.
"You don't really think that a nation which has outlasted its enemies these last 3,300 years and has flourished in a sea of Arab hatred and witnessed the extermination of the powerful Nazis and the disintegration of the mighty Communist Israel-hating empire just a few years back is gonna be done in by the likes of Nassrallah, do you?"

What nation is this? Palestine? Surely not Israel which didn't last as an independent nation for more than couple hundred years before Assyrians wisked Hebrews off to Babylon. After they returned, it wasn't long before the Romans came with their puppets. All in all, "Israel" as a nation hasn't been around anywhere near as long as Jews think they have.

And as for the "great kingdoms of David and Solomon", no archeological traces of this Jewish mythology used to back up their stealing land to form a modern "Greater Israel" from Palestinians and worse still, using these Jewish myths as rational for killing Pals who resist.
I'm sorry but I have absolutely no respect for Jewish Zionism. It is a hideous racist philosophy no different from the "Manifest Destiny" concept that drove European-Americans across the continent killing and stealing the land of indigenous peoples everywhere they went. Like Jews say of Palestinians, European-Americans too said the native peoples never developed their land as if this gave right for European-American land theft.
"It's true this isn't about Palestine. It's about Israel. Israel was set up by European-Americans controlling the U.N. in 1947 as a European-American Jewish colony in the Middle East"

While I do agree with the part about the artificiality of Israel, the "European-American colony" thing is a bit, um, crazy. I've never been a supporter of Israel in any sense and consider myself neutral on the issue, which allows me to note when a side has a point- like, the Jews who had been living in what is now Israel for a couple thousand years.

So we can't do anything about the state existing now, too bad. So where do we go from here? You can't throw them out, so we're left with a small piece of land given to the yids. Contrary to your line of thinking, this does NOT give anyone the right to exterminate them, or attack. As I'd noted earlier, we could have had a state long ago, had they been willing to negotiate for it.
Not only have they not, but they've willingly made themselves less than human, feral even, which means they don't have a right to a thing.

So you're a meanwhiler. So the fuck what that the questionable existance of Israel have to do with murder? They don't have the right under any circumstances. Your response is pretty much insane: it's a colony so it's understandable they have genocide committed against them (which is your clear implication). You're not serious, Steve. You're just a leftist.
"I used to respect the mind of Steve Lewis"

Wow are YOU a bad judge of character.
"You don't really think that a nation which has outlasted its enemies these last 3,300 years and has flourished in a sea of Arab hatred and witnessed the extermination of the powerful Nazis and the disintegration of the mighty Communist Israel-hating empire just a few years back is gonna be done in by the likes of Nassrallah, do you?"

It will the second the US decides to stop sending guns, chief. You forget, the Jews didn't save themselves, they were saved. First by America and then, well, by America. I don't know if you noticed it, but the Jews were saved from extinction not from their own badassness but by other European descended people. You implied it was the badassness of the Jews that saved them, but inadvertantly got it right when you said they "witnessed" the destruction of the Third Reich. Despite '67 and '73, Jews, in the last 100 years, have been pretty much spectators in their own fate.
Steven Lewis the leftist. Yep. That's why we love him.

Jim - There was also Warsaw circa 1943. The Irgun circa 1946. And you've forgotten 1982 and pretty much every year on some scale since 1948. What year did they beat up on Nasser?

And they certainly haven't sat by idle when it comes to tracking down nazis over the years.

Also, about 1/4 of the Lincoln Brigade was Jewish.
80% of the Russian Commissars were also Jewish.

Being Jewish doesn't give Jews the right to go to someone else's land and steal it for their own. It doesn't give Jews the right to kill Palestinians who fight for their homeland.

Less than 2% of the European Holocaust victims moved to Israel so that rationale for creating Israel was trumped up by Europeans and Americans for using European-American Jews as colonists for the new European-American colony in Palestine making sure the 'Rabs didn't have the whole oil-rich Middle East to themselves.

Like Eric says, take away America's guns and money from Israel and Israel will cease to exist within days.
As for me being a Leftist, well, let me tell you about my little classroom demonstration.

I take a world globe off its stand on the teacher's desk and toss it up in down in my hands while asking "Who wants to save the world?"

Student hands go up and I say, "Here, you in the front row. Save the world." And I toss the globe to him which he catches without dropping it.

I say, "Now, Johnny, which hand did you use to catch the world? The right hand or the left one?"

And Johnny says, "Both hands."

I say, "That's right. You didn't risk catching the world globe with one hand. It takes both hands to save the world, both the right and the left are needed."
UN Resolutions 181 and 1599.

Or is the UN irrelevant?
What is the substance of those resolutions?
For the 181 Resolution go to:

Here are a few places where Israel violates this U.N. mandate.

Freedom of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals, shall be ensured to all.

No discrimination of any kind shall be made between the inhabitants on the ground of race, religion, language or sex.

All persons within the jurisdiction of the State shall be entitled to equal protection of the laws.
hey Erik - you've been Berubéd! (Don't worry; I think there's a shampoo for it.)
Homeboy got it goin' on, I tell you what.

Oh, and look here -- it's Steven Lewis the political philosopher. He confabulates with _both_ hands.
Dang!! I wanted to be the first one to make a snotty comment about the Michael Berube link.
This post has been linked everywhere it seems, including on Littel Green Footballs of all places.

My biggest post since the country music songs.

Berube has actually posted in one of the most recent threads incidently.
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