Cutting through the bullshit.

Friday, 17 November 2006

Large scale

The Jerusalem Post reported the other day

If moderate elements in the Palestinian Authority don't get stronger, the IDF must prepare for a large-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip, said Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin to the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday.

What we have been witnessing since June, and before, in Gaza, must therefore be something other than a large scale military operation, presumably a small scale military operation, so watch out.

Gideon Levy points out what is apparently too obvious for anyone else to notice,

Nineteen inhabitants of Beit Hanun were killed with malice aforethought… anyone who bombards residential neighborhoods with artillery can't claim he didn't mean to kill innocent inhabitants.

In an article on CounterPunch, Norman Finkelstein quotes some ‘key statements’ from Jimmy Carter’s new book on Palestine, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, among them,

The United States has used its U.N. Security Council veto more than forty times to block resolutions critical of Israel. Some of these vetoes have brought international discredit on the United States, and there is little doubt that the lack of a persistent effort to resolve the Palestinian issue is a major source of anti-American sentiment and terrorist activity throughout the Middle East and the Islamic world. (pp. 209-10)

I suppose it must be to Carter’s credit that there was only one such Security Council veto exercised during his administration, against draft resolution S/13911 on 30 April 1980. That draft, moved by Tunisia, basically reaffirmed previous UN resolutions calling for Israel to withdraw from the territories it had occupied since 1967 and so forth.

US Ambassador McHenry concluded his statement explaining the Carter regime’s objection to the draft resolution,

I know that in many quarters there is skepticism that negotiations in this [Camp David] framework can succeed. The road ahead will be difficult. But together with Israel and Egypt, we ask only that we be judged on the results we obtain.

…It is to the end - the attainment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East - that my government has committed itself. We solemnly reaffirm that commitment here today.

The United States will oppose the resolution before us. [emphasis added]

Thanks in large measure to the cynicism of Carter, his predecessors and successors, twenty-six years down the track, the results he obtained in this way are no peace and certainly no justice. But it seems he no longer wishes to be judged on that basis. At the risk of repeating myself, as the old saying goes, ‘Embarrassing a politician with accusations of hypocrisy is like embarrassing a dog with accusations that he licks his own balls.’

Israeli author David Grossman gave a speech at the Rabin memorial event on 5 November that has received a lot of comment. It was purportedly a masterpiece of Hebrew rhetorical prose, composed by a literary master. I won’t take issue with this assessment, because it is unsurprising in any case that the literary qualities are not evident in the translation.

Gilad Atzmon has already pointed out the contradiction inherent in Grossman’s ‘secular miracle’,

I am totally secular, and yet in my eyes the establishment and the very existence of the State of Israel is a miracle of sorts that happened to us as a nation - a political, national, human miracle.

Gilad also mentions his problem with Grossman’s ‘Jewish and universal values’. One of the thins that struck me about the speech was his description of Israel as

a state that holds as an integral and essential part of its Jewish identity and its Jewish ethos, the observance of full equality and respect for its non-Jewish citizens

Even if there weren’t a contradiction inherent between a state with a ‘Jewish identity’ and a ‘Jewish ethos’ somehow observing ‘full respect’ for non Jews, who do not comprise part of the state’s ‘identity’ and whose ‘ethos’ is excluded, it takes a very blinkered approach to the history of the Zionist project to miss one of its central aspects - ethnic cleansing of the non Jewish population and marginalization of those who managed to remain. Benny Morris was quite clear a couple of years ago when he characterized Ben Gurion’s failure to ‘cleanse the whole country’ as a ‘fatal mistake’. Ilan Pappe’s new book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, is now out and on its way from Amazon. I understand it fleshes out this story in considerable detail, amply documented.

Gilad also makes this cogent observation about Grossman’s quite blatant racism,

The critical reader may ask oneself what really Grossman refers to when he says “people with our powers of creativity and regeneration”? It is rather simple. Grossman truly believes in the uniqueness of the chosen people. In other words, Grossman is not more than a biological determinist…I find it hard to believe that the Guardian would give a voice to a German philosopher who praises Aryan people’s ‘powers of creativity and regeneration’.

Some comments that I’ve come across let Grossman get away with,

Yitzhak Rabin took the road of peace with the Palestinians, not because he possessed great affection for them or their leaders.

It’s true that the Nobel committee awarded Rabin its coveted Peace Prize, and I’ve written elsewhere what that indicates. The point is that Grossman accepts at face value and promulgates as fact that the Oslo Accords had something to do with achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians, when it was never anything other than a stalling tactic that created the bloated and ineffectual quisling Palestine Authority while doubling the Jewish population colonizing the West Bank with a view to its ultimate annexation.

One, however, published on the Electronic Intifada on the 9th, by Raymond Deane, certainly hasn’t missed this crucial point, or many others.

With Lieberman you know where you stand, and self-styled democrats and peaceniks can polish their humanistic credentials by flinging mud at him. With David Grossman, however, the same premises lead to a discourse in which everything has become muddied and inverted, the occupier has become the victim, the victim has become a twisted fanatic, and only the humanistic man of letters has retained any kind of wistful integrity. This discourse is understandably popular with those who, sometimes with honourable if misguided motivation, wish to believe that Zionism can be a liberal, humanistic ideology rather than one that is supremacist and racist to the core.

His ‘Anatomy of a Beautiful Soul’ pulls no punches and I recommend it highly.

On a lighter note, I recently reminded myself to check out David Pope’s website, which I have to recommend visiting more conscientiously than I seem to manage. I reckon he is consistently the most incisive political cartoonist I know of, although some of his material will be obscure to those who do not recognize Australian politicians or keep track of developments in Australian politics. An example (which will not display in this blog)

For more laughs, I found a link to the Dilbert site not long ago from Riverbend’s Baghdad Burning blog, of all places!

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