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Opinion

Opinion

For Israelis today, it feels like May 1967 again

May 12, 2012

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In May 1967, in brazen violation of previous truce agreements, Egypt ordered U.N. peacekeepers out of the Sinai, marched 120,000 troops to the Israeli border, blockaded Eilat (Israel’s southern outlet to the world’s oceans), abruptly signed a military pact with Jordan and, together with Syria, pledged war for the final destruction of Israel.

May 1967 was Israel’s most fearful, desperate month. The country was surrounded and alone. Previous great-power guarantees proved worthless. A plan to test the blockade with a Western flotilla failed for lack of participants. Time was running out. Forced to protect against invasion by mass mobilization — and with a military consisting overwhelmingly of civilian reservists — life ground to a halt. The country was dying.

On June 5, Israel launched a pre-emptive strike on the Egyptian air force, then proceeded to lightning victories on three fronts. The Six-Day War is legend, but less remembered is that on June 1, the nationalist opposition (Menachem Begin’s Likud precursor) was for the first time ever brought into the government, creating an emergency national-unity coalition.

Everyone understood why. You do not undertake a supremely risky pre-emptive war without the full participation of a broad coalition representing a national consensus.

Forty-five years later, in the middle of the night of May 7-8, 2012, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shocked his country by bringing the main opposition party, Kadima, into a national unity government. Shocking because just hours earlier, the Knesset was expediting a bill to call early elections in September.

Why did the high-flying Netanyahu call off elections he was sure to win?

Because for Israelis today, it is May ’67. The dread is not quite as acute: The mood is not despair, just foreboding. Time is running out, but not quite as fast. War is not four days away, but it looms. Israelis today face the greatest threat to their existence — apocalyptic mullahs publicly pledged to Israel’s annihilation acquiring nuclear weapons — since May ’67. The world is again telling Israelis to do nothing as it looks for a way out. But if such a way is not found — as in ’67 — Israelis know they will once again have to defend themselves, by themselves.

Such a fateful decision demands a national consensus. By creating the largest coalition in nearly three decades, Netanyahu is establishing the political premise for a pre-emptive strike, should it come to that. The new government commands an astonishing 94 Knesset seats out of 120, described by one Israeli columnist as a “hundred tons of solid concrete.”

So much for the recent media hype about some great domestic resistance to Netanyahu’s hard line on Iran. Two notable retired intelligence figures were widely covered here for coming out against him. Little noted was that one had been passed over by Netanyahu to be the head of Mossad, while the other had been fired by Netanyahu as Mossad chief (hence the job opening). For centrist Kadima (it pulled Israel out of Gaza) to join a Likud-led coalition whose defense minister is a former Labor prime minister (who once offered half of Jerusalem to Yasser Arafat) is the very definition of national unity — and refutes the popular “Israel is divided” meme. “Everyone is saying the same thing,” explained one Knesset member, “though there may be a difference of tone.”

To be sure, Netanyahu and Kadima’s Shaul Mofaz offered more prosaic reasons for their merger: national service laws, a new election law and negotiations with the Palestinians. But Netanyahu, the first Likud prime minister to recognize Palestinian statehood, did not need Kadima for him to enter peace talks. For two years he’s been waiting for Mahmoud Abbas to show up at the table. Abbas hasn’t. And won’t. Nothing will change on that front.

What does change is Israel’s position vis-a-vis Iran. The wall-to-wall coalition demonstrates Israel’spolitical readiness to attack, if necessary. (Its military readiness is not in doubt.)

Those counseling Israeli submission, resignation or just endless patience can no longer dismiss Israel’s tough stance as the work of irredeemable right-wingers. Not with a government now representing 78 percent of the country.

Netanyahu forfeited September elections that would have given him four more years in power. He chose instead to form a national coalition that guarantees 18 months of stability — 18 months during which, if the world does not act to stop Iran, Israel will.

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

"On June 5, Israel launched a pre-emptive strike on the Egyptian air force, "

In other words, Israel started the war.

jafs 2 years, 7 months ago

If the description is accurate, that's not a fair assessment - Egypt had already declared war, and acted in numerous ways that exhibited their intentions.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

Egypt took some provocative actions, but did not start a shooting war. Israel did that. Them's just the facts.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

"Took some provocative actions" - That could just be the biggest understatement of the year. That's your problem. You give just enough information and it has just enough truth so that you can then argue that you are telling the truth. But that's not the case here. You are giving just enough information so as to be misleading. You are encouraging others to believe what is not true at the expense of what is true. "Took some provocative actions" - What did you think those 120,000 troops were doing out there? Did they bring picnic baskets with them and invite the Israelis to a BBQ? No, Bozo. They said they were going to attack Israel and wipe them off the face of the map. They brought with them arms and artillery. They built airstrips so they could cross the border quicker and strike deeper. They coordinated their military actions with Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and other Arab countries.
While Egypt was doing that, Israel was desperately trying to defuse the situation through diplomatic means. It was unfortunate that the U.N., under U-Thant, meekly removed U.N. peacekeepers without much debate. But that was done at Egypt's insistence, certainly not Israel's.
All that, coupled with Egypt's act of war in closing an international waterway fully justified Israel's actions in June 1967.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

If you care to dispute anything I've said, please present your case.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

I am curious about why the Israelis also attacked the USS Liberty. What was their justification for that? Just to prove that they could get away with it?

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

The attacking of the Liberty was a tragic mistake. The unmistakable truth is that in the heat of battle, mistakes will happen. The U.S. had communicated to Israel that the Liberty would be about 100 miles away from where it was. The U.S. also communicated to Israel that the Liberty would be precisely where it was. Some Israeli command member knew for certain that the ship under attack was the Liberty while others thought it was an Egyptian ship. Some Israeli command members tried desperately to end the attack once it had begun. Others ordered the attack to continue.
Yes, it was a huge mistake. And if you want to pick and choose your facts, as you so often do, you will find that the Israeli military knew it was the Liberty and attacked anyway. But let me turn that question around. Given the fact that the U.S. was Israel's main supporter at that time and given that Egypt was then a Soviet client, why on Earth would Israel attack an American ship?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

"The attacking of the Liberty was a tragic mistake"

The Liberty's crew would beg to differ. The ship was easily identifiable as American, but the attack was carried out anyway.

Why'd they do it? Who knows. But it certainly wasn't a matter of self-defense, as Israel likes to claim in so many of their aggressive military actions.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

"Who knows" - That's the problem with your argument. It makes no sense at all. No one can think of any reasonable explanation for why Israel would attack an American ship. The only reasonable explanation is that it was a mistake. No country is immune from making mistakes and that is even more true in the heat of the battle. Israel made a mistake, a tragic mistake and one that they admitted. Forty-five years have passed and no one has come up with anything resembling a reasonable explanation. But if you can come up with some reasonable explanation, I'm all ears.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

If it was a mistake, it would have ended much sooner that it did. And the sailors on board that day have said as much. I guess you're comfortable calling them liars.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

I didn't call anyone a liar. Please do not put words in my mouth.
Come up with an explanation that makes sense and I'll listen. But clearly an Israeli attack on an American ship would be against Israel's own self interest. So again, if you can come up with a reasonable explanation, please present it here and now.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

I don't need to come up with an explanation of any sort. Uncritical apologists for Israel such as yourself need to explain why the sailors on that ship would lie about what they experienced. Otherwise, you're calling them liars.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

You can't come up with another explanation because there isn't one. What the men on that ship said was that the attacking planes must have seen that they were American, yet they attacked anyway. What they were doing was interpreting what they believed to be true. Unfortunately, the Israeli pilots said they did not see the ship as American.
I'm not apologizing for Israel. They admitted their mistake. They apologized. It is you trying to accuse them of something, with no evidence and without using reason. If you are saying that Israel deliberately attacked an American ship, then just say so and give whatever evidence you have. Otherwise, whatever you have to say is nothing more than unfounded, irrational criticism.

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 7 months ago

An explanation? Simple. The ship was clearly marked as an American vessel. Israel's attack on the Liberty was a False Flag attack. They were hoping to sink the ship and kill everyone aboard and then the United States would be forced into joining Israel in a war against the Arabs.

Abdu Omar 2 years, 7 months ago

The men on the liberty waved American flags until they were sinking, but the Israelis didn't stop. They didn't stop because they didn't want others to see the atrocities they were commiting. This was no mistake and the commander of the Liberty has stated this over and over.

You certainly drank the Israeli cool aid and I am sorry for you. They are a thorn in the side of every sovereign nation on earth. It is the Israelis that are the terrorists.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

War is a terrible thing. It should be avoided if possible, precisely because mistakes will happen. Civilians will be hurt, Friendly fire will occur. Schools and hospitals will be mistakenly targeted. It's an unfortunate reality of war. That said, should war happen, it should be done in as efficient a manner as possible, to avoid those things I mentioned. I'd say shortening a war helps minimize those mistakes and conducting a war in six days rather than year after year should help minimize those mistakes. The Liberty incident happened during that six day war. Whatever atrocities you are referring to were necessarily minimized simply because the war was of such short duration. That's not to say mistakes didn't happen, as the Liberty incident highlights. But it does go to show that if the Liberty itself were there to see atrocities, there would have been very few to see. Of course, none of that really makes much sense. The Liberty was an American spy ship. It wasn't there to document atrocities, it was there to gather intelligence. And that intelligence would then have been shared with our allies, according to U.S. policy. Israel was our ally. Suggesting that Israel deliberately attacked a spy ship that was gathering intelligence that would then be shared with Israel makes no sense. So we're back to the beginning. The most likely answer, in fact the only logical explanation was that it was an act of friendly fire.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

"War is a terrible thing. It should be avoided if possible, "

Too bad Israel (and too many of their enemies) don't share your belief.

"The most likely answer, in fact the only logical explanation was that it was an act of friendly fire."

No, that's just the most palatable answer available to an uncritical apologist for Israel.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

I'm not sure I see where you get uncritical apologist from an admission that they made a terrible mistake. I've asked several times, I'll ask again, do you have an answer that makes more sense than the one I've given? Or is it simply hostility towards Israel for no other reason than to be hostile towards Israel that is your goal?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

Not sure that I could ever buy into the "false flag" theory, but the video clearly describes the unrelenting and extended attack on a ship easily identified as American-- whatever the motivation was, it was not a "mistake."

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 7 months ago

If it wasn't a mistake, and it wasn't a False Flag attack, what was it? Israel trying to start a war with the USA? A rouge Israeli commander and crew who have hate in his heart for America? Nope, it was a failed False Flag attack...

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 7 months ago

It's called a False Flag Attack. See my simple explanation above as to why the war mongering terrorists attacked the United States...

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

The closing of an international waterway is an act of war.

In other words, Egypt started the war.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

"The closing of an international waterway is an act of war."

You mean like the blockading of Gaza in the international waterway known as the Mediterranean? Or is that just another one of your many double standards?

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

Not at all. The blockage of Gaza is indeed an act of war. Just as Egypt's blockage was an act of war.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

While killing one and killing a thousand are both killing, and both are tragic, one is clearly worse than the other. Israel clearly has the military might to expel every Palestinian from Gaza. They could then use that land for whatever they wanted. The fact that they haven't is a clear indication that that is not their intent. The blockade is an attempt to encourage certain behaviors and discourage others. What it is not is anything at all like Auschwitz. And for you to liken the two is to diminish the tragedy of Auschwitz and what it represents, the Holocaust. But then you've done that before and I guess you'll do it again.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

"While killing one and killing a thousand are both killing, and both are tragic, one is clearly worse than the other."

And the killing of nearly 1400 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including hundreds of children and women, in the Israelis latest exercise of shooting Palestinians in a barrel? How tragic was that?

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

It is very tragic, Bozo. I am deeply disturbed by all the killing in that region. However, you compared it to Auschwitz, which is itself a symbol of the Holocaust. The two are not comparable.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

They're by no means equivalent, but they are most certainly comparable.

But if you want a more apt comparison, Apartheid would be one.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

Perhaps Apartheid would be a better comparison. But then what would you call the thousands of crude rockets streaming from Gaza in civilian territories of Israel? Would terrorism be an apt term?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

Yes, that would be an apt term. But there's a big difference between home-made rockets that rarely hit anything and cause very few deaths or injuries, and is nothing like the military onslaught or the permanent state of siege that Israel inflicts on Palestinians. And even the so-called Israeli Arabs live a very "Jim Crow" existence.

No matter how desperately you try to put them there, Israel does not occupy any sort of moral high ground. While Jewish history has many tragic chapters, sadly, their modern state is founded on genocide, war crimes and theft.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

"founded on genocide, war crimes and theft". - It was largely founded by refugees who were fleeing for their lives. That they weren't welcomed with sanctuary, like you would have the U.S. do with every immigrant that reaches our country, is a large part of the tragedy. I was reading a book recently, (In The Garden Of Beasts, by Erik Lawson) a book about the U.S. Ambassador to Germany during Roosevelt's first term, which coincided with Hitler's early rise to power. I was surprised to learn that in 1934, ten thousand Jews who had fled Nazi Germany in 1933 had returned. Why would they do such a thing? Didn't they see what would happen? The fact is that no, they didn't. Of course, we can surmise what became of those ten thousand. The overwhelming majority probably died. The rest? They probably fled to Palestine, hoping for better. But having been unable to predict events in 1934, they also could not predict events in the next 6+ decades. What they hoped for and what they received were two different things and they were things they could never imagine. But what they could not do was stay in Europe with it's centuries long history of anti-Jewish pograms, Holocaust, etc.
Remember, Bozo, the history of that region did not begin in 1947. Patterns of immigration, conquest, etc. have been ongoing since man walked upright. It is unfair to discuss 1947 without discussing what happened during WW II and before. Reasons existed prior to that for each side behaving in the manner in which they did. Accusing Israel of genocide with it's inception without mentioning that Palestinian civic and religious leaders were calling on Germany to implement a final solution in the Middle East after he was done in Europe is to turn reality on it's head.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

The majority of Germans weren't members of the Nazi party.

And in the only slightly paraphrased words of David Ben-Gurion, the George Washington of Israel, "Of course the Arabs hate us-- we stole their land."

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

"The majority of Germans weren't members of the Nazi party" - I'm not sure what point you're trying to make with that comment. Like the majority of Americans aren't Democrats, yet Obama is our President? I don't know where you're going.

But you didn't respond to the story. Or it's meaning. That being that the Jews going to Palestine after the war had no idea what the future would bring. They didn't know of wars to come, whether or not a country could be founded. They didn't know of displacements. These are the same people who in 1934, having left Nazi Germany, returned to near certain death. What they knew was that they had to leave Europe to live. I'm certain they hoped for peace in Palestine. And if you'll see my response to wounded, the war drums were beating louder in foreign Arab capitols than in Palestine itself. Perhaps without that foreign intervention and instigation, a solution acceptable to both might have happened. It's all guesswork at this point. But that's my point. No one knew then what would happen. You've in previous discussions used the term "wholly predicable" to describe events that happened. I dispute that. What you are really saying is that because you can tell me last week's lottery numbers, I should be able to tell you next week's lottery numbers. It doesn't work that way.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

"I'm not sure what point you're trying to make with that comment."

You want to excuse Israeli actions because the majority of Israelis likely aren't/weren't terrorists, even though their leadership and militants/military regularly carry out terrorist actions. Are you willing to excuse the actions of the Nazis because the majority of Germans could be similarly described?

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

I'm still not exactly clear as to what your point is, but I'll take a stab at it, though I might wind up being off target. If, you're referring to that time post WW II and prior to the formation of an Israeli government, that time when several Jewish militias carried out actions against Palestinians. If that's the time frame you are referring to, then each group and each commander should be evaluated independently according to their actions. Just as I do not blame every Palestinian for the actions of terrorists, the same standard should be applied to those people. The Nazis of Germany might be evaluated somewhat differently. And that's because they were in possession of a functioning government that governed with the consent of the people. However, that consent is never absolute. And let me give an example. In a free society, where people may leave should they choose, then the affirmative act of staying gives legitimacy to the government by the governed. But if a person, group of people, etc., do not have permission to leave, then that government does not have legitimacy over that individual, group, etc. So the Nazis were the legitimate government of the general population of German people, yet not of German Jews, communists, those who were mentally challenged, etc.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

Let's put your double standard to the test, Bozo. I've said that the blockade of Gaza is an act of war, the same as Egypt's blockade was in 1967. Do you concur?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

It's a war crime against a defenseless, subjugated population.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

Was the Egyptian blockade in 1967 an act of war?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

By definition, it was. But nobody got killed till Israel started the shooting. But as usual, while there is plenty of blame for that pointless war, for you, it's all Egypt's fault, even though there was plenty of evidence at the time that they had no intentions of invading Israel.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

You have an interesting take on culpability. Egypt commits an act of war in it's blockade. They abrogate the terms of previous truce agreements by forcing U.N. peacekeepers out. They state clearly they are going to wipe Israel off the map. They enter into military agreements with other countries in the region that are also dedicated to Israel's destruction. They then move over a hundred thousand well armed troops towards the border. They move tanks forward. They move artillery forward. They build airstrips forward so they can strike with little warning and strike deeper into Israel.
During that time, Israel worked hard through diplomatic channels to try to get Egypt to stand down. It was Israel that wanted no part of that war. With those facts, you blame Israel for starting the war. Your exact quote was "In other words, Israel started the war". Up is down and down is up in your world, Bozo.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/18

'It ain’t necessarily so. In August 1982, then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin admitted publicly: “In June 1967, we had a choice. The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai approaches (did) not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”'

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

Isn't having 20/20 hindsight a grand thing. Compare the perception of Israel in the months prior to 1967's war with the perception today. In 1967, Israel was a small country surrounded by much larger and much more powerful nations. They had not yet acquired nuclear weapons and their conventional forces were badly outnumbered. Israel was a besieged nation, something that became exacerbated with the forced closing of one of it's major ports due to the actions of Egypt. Yet in just a few short months, the perception of Israel would change dramatically.
The fact is, that unless you assume that Egyptian military leaders were either suicidal or stupid, they must have believed that victory was achievable. I do not believe they were either suicidal or stupid. They underestimated the strengths of Israel, better intelligence, better tactics, and troops more committed. We know that now, Egypt found out the hard way, as did Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. But no one knew that prior to the war, not Israel, not the Arabs, no one in the world.
The comments made after startling events are interesting to see. But they should be seen for what they are, comments made with information that was not available prior to the startling events. I can predict the events of 9/11. Big deal. I know all the troubles the Vietnam War brought. Big deal. I can tell you last week's winning lottery numbers. Big deal. Tell me next week's lottery numbers and I'll be very impressed. Thinking of this thread for a couple of days, Bozo, has caused to to question a certain line of thinking. Quite begrudgingly, you finally admitted that the military blockade by Egypt was a technical act of war, though no one was killed. But you then state that Israel's blockade of Gaza is not just a technical act of war, not just an act of war, but a war crime. Given my description of the perception of Israel prior to the 1967 war, however one describes the two blockades, they should be described using similar terms. They are very equivalent. If one is an act of war, so is the other. One a war crime, so too the other. Whatever suffering in Gaza you attribute to Israel's current blockade, Egypt's led to the 1967 war with all that followed.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

Hindsight? Begin (former Israeli terrorist) was not speaking from hindsight.

Your hole is already deep enough, j-- stop digging.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

If your previous quote is correct and was made 15 years after the 1967 war, then it certainly was made with the benefit of hindsight. Beyond that, Mr. Begin was not Prime Minister at that time and would not become PM for several years to come (and 3 PMs in between).
(former Israeli terrorist) - Now that's a term that becomes somewhat problematic and highlights your penchant for giving just enough truth to encourage someone to believe things that are not true. In the years just after WW II and prior to the creation of the state of Israel, several Jewish militias conducted military actions in British Palestine. None of those militias could be rightfully called Israeli, as Israel did not yet exist. That some of the actions of the militia that Begin was involved in conducted actions that are described as terrorist is correct. Of course, these actions were not conducted in a vacuum. Arab militias also were engaging in actions that the same descriptions should be used.
What is interesting is that upon the declaration of the state of Israel, Begin's group continued to engage in actions that the Israeli government did not sanction. Not terrorist actions, but actions of gun running to arm Jewish militias. The response of the then legitimate government of Israel was to forcefully respond, even sinking a ship with badly needed arms. The government knew that for them to be considered legitimate, they would need to control the actions of it's citizens. I've long said that for the Palestinians to gain legitimacy, they need to control it's citizens. As long as the PA cannot control Hamas, it fails in it's call for legitimacy. And should Hamas claim legitimacy, then the actions of Gaza's residents must be controlled. Hezbollah as well needs to cede authority to whichever Palestinian entity claims legitimacy. Until one group emerges as the legitimate spokesperson for the Palestinians, Israel has no one to talk peace with.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

"If your previous quote is correct and was made 15 years after the 1967 war, then it certainly was made with the benefit of hindsight."

Translation-- he no longer parroted the propaganda put out 15 years previous.

Now if our own local Israeli govt. spokesman could learn to do the same.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

The point is that he wasn't in a position to know everything 15 years earlier. His statement was made later, after he ascended to the position of PM. where he would have had additional information. Let me give you a simple example of how that works. Suppose one intelligence officer estimates the Egyptian forces at 100,000 and another officer estimates it at 200,000. If the first estimate is correct, then Israel might think they can wait until a full scale attack comes and still successfully fend it off. However, if the correct number is 200,000, then Israel cannot withstand a full frontal attack and must strike first. Based on this information, a decision must be made. They make decisions based on a worst case scenario, and use the 200,000 number. Years later, it's understood that the correct number was 120,000, closer to the lower estimate. So maybe they could have waited.
But that doesn't change the fact the the Egyptians did all those things I described earlier. It's no different than if someone points a very real looking toy gun at a police officer. The officer's shooting will be justified, even if hindsight proves that the gun was a toy. Egypt played with fire and got burned.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

BTW, no matter how hard you try to change the subject, Begin was a terrorist-- full stop.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

And how would you describe Arafat? Or any of the leaders of Hamas, P.L.O., Black September Hezbollah, etc? Past and present?
Freedom fighters, right?

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

If you are defining terrorist organizations in such a way as to be quite broad and in such a way as Israel qualifies, then several other countries come to mind, such as The U.S., China, Russia, and in fact, every country on the planet, to some degree. However, should you choose to single out one country and one country alone, your motives become a legitimate area for scrutiny.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

No, not every country in the world uses terroristic tactics. But the ones you list, along with Israel, most certainly do. And considering its size, Israel has few peers in that category.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

There are many in that neighborhood that use tactics such as Israel. Why not name them, Bozo. Name them loud and clear so that we can see your objectivity. And have you considered for just a moment that Israel's tactics, while repulsive at times, is a reaction to events related to that neighborhood?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

Ah, yes, everything Israel does is a "reaction," while anything done against Israel is a crime against God's children.

Regardless, no country gets as many US taxpayer dollars and US weaponry, and US political cover to carry out their atrocities. A fact I'll never hear you acknowledge.

Abdu Omar 2 years, 7 months ago

Every time someone disses Israel, we jump on the Anti-semitic band wagon. That is pure bunk. Israel does terror and lots of it. Yes, so do the Palestinians in response to the terrible atrocities commited by Israel in the 30's and 40's to get their own country, and it continues. However, two wrongs don't make a right. Terrorism is a terrible thing to use against PEOPLE and Israel wrote the book on it.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

I do indeed acknowledge that Israel gets more U.S. taxpayer support, more weapons and more political cover than any other individual country. But again, that tells just enough truth as to me misleading. Add the amount going to Arab countries and you will find the number to be much higher.
And the fact is that when countries have come forward seeking peace with Israel, they have received peace. What more do you want? Egypt received every inch of land they wanted that had been conquered in 1967. And while Jordan chose not to reclaim land, they too have been at peace with Israel. Perhaps the Syrians, Lebanese and Palestinians should give it a try.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

The hard right of Israel will never cede territory or anything else to the Syrians, Lebanese or the Palestinians. They are the mirror image of Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Bathists. Nothing more, nothing less. I don't support any of the militaristic/terroristic tactics of any of those groups. The difference between you and me is that you do support one of these groups of terrorists.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

I would support any peace they agree to. I don't live in that region and I don't have to live under the constant threats they do.
And while you say the hard right won't cede territory and a few posts earlier you deride Likud, it should be noted that it was Likud who did indeed cede all territory to Egypt.
But your post brings up a problem. Israel is not able to make peace with Hamas, Hezbollah or the Bathists. Israel can make peace with Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. it is up to those countries to reign in those other groups. Just like at Israel's inception when the government had to crack down on Jewish militias. Just like when Israel forced Jewish settlers out of Gaza when they withdrew. And should a removal of settlers become a part of a comprehensive peace agreement, then Israel will be responsible for doing that. But none of that will happen until Israel has someone to talk to. Assad (father and son) have never shown a desire to talk. Syria has purposely kept Lebanon fragmented. And the Palestinians have spoken with a dozen voices.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

"But none of that will happen until Israel has someone to talk to."

Which is why Israel put a good deal of effort into promoting Hamas as a rival to the PLO-- they don't want a unified Palestinian entity, because they like the Apartheid status quo much better than what a true peace accord would result in.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

More half truths that are intended to mislead. At the time you reference, both the PLO and Hamas were terrorist organizations dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Neither had any interest at all in peace. Fomenting discord between the two was a legitimate function. That one group has since evolved into a group that might seek peace is hopeful. That the other continues to promise death and destruction is problematic. That Hamas continues to receive popular support is very troublesome. When the groups seeking peace prevail, then Israel will have someone to talk to. But at the time you reference, neither the PLO nor Hamas was that peace partner. They were terrorists.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

It should be noted that all of these countries you refer to get money for doing the bidding of the US, and that includes not attacking Israel.

Israel, on the other hand, gets massive amounts of US aid with absolutely no strings attached, and they can and do act with total impunity-- actually, that's not quite accurate. There are strings attached, but it's Israel who does the tugging.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

You're complaining that in return for American aide, those countries support the policies of the U.S.? Do you also oppose the sun rising in the east?

jafs 2 years, 7 months ago

That's not what he said.

He said that Israel gets money without supporting the US - that's his complaint.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

Then Bozo would likely be wrong. And let me give you one example, shared intelligence. It is common knowledge that certain intelligence share information. And it is common knowledge that some intelligence services are better than others. Israel and the U.S. share information, yet it's precisely the type of information that you and I and Bozo will never hear about. At some time, we must trust our elected leaders to make the correct balance, our we getting enough bang for our buck. A more interesting question might be, and I admit it's all speculation, but are we getting a bigger bang for our buck from Israel than say, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, etc.?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

Utter BS. Israel only shares its intelligence on a transactional basis, and regularly spies on its supposed US ally.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

Certainly true that Israel spies on it's allies. Of course, just about every country spies on just about every other country. That's just the nature of the intelligence community.
That said, it is absolutely true that Israel and the U.S. share intelligence. The exact benefits are by their very nature unknown and hopefully unknowable to the general public. That's what we have elected policy makers for, to make assessments as to whether or not we're getting value for our aid.

jafs 2 years, 7 months ago

I don't trust our elected leaders much, in a variety of ways.

Just as I don't think Obama "speaks for me".

Especially with all of this secret stuff, that we don't get to know about.

Over the years, there have been enough stories about the abuse of power that has happened at the governmental level, involving "national security".

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

Like it or not, we have a social contract between the government and the governed. Each has certain rights and responsibilities. For it's part, the government must protect our rights of free speech, religion, etc. and we have an obligation to obey the laws, pay our taxes, etc. In a free society, and by that I mean we are free to leave should we choose, we own the actions of the government if we take the affirmative action of staying. Like it or not, we own things like Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, etc. We own treaties that have been entered into, trade agreements, etc. Should you find any of them so onerous as to be intolerable, then you have the freedom to leave. By accepting the benefits society provides, you've entered into that social contract. The alternative is that you wind up sounding like Liberty_One who is wants to be thought of as being an island of his own. He's not, we're not.
We own Iraq, Afghanistan, aid to Israel, the tax structure we have, etc. Even if you are very much opposed to those specific policies.

jafs 2 years, 7 months ago

I completely disagree with that.

Of course, we pay taxes and obey the laws - at least I do.

However, I am not at all responsible for actions that are taken by elected officials with which I disagree.

Sounds like you're saying that, which is crazy to me.

Accepting the benefits provided by society (or government) may obligate me in certain ways, like paying taxes, etc. which is how I disagree with LO.

When the government acts in ways that are objectionable to me, it's not my responsibility, especially if I vote and make my views known to them. If they aren't representing my views, then I'm not responsible for their actions.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

I wish I could disagree with you, or you with me, but the truth is still the truth.
If one examines the concept of a social contract, as our founding fathers did, then you will see the rock upon our country was built. Writers like Hobbs, Locke, Rousseau set the foundation. Just like Liberty_One, who wants to set himself apart from what society has to offer and goes on to say that he's willing to forego the benefits in return for not being obligated to pay for them, that's what you're trying to accomplish. He says he doesn't want to pay taxes and should he drop on Mass. St. in full cardiac arrest, don't call the paramedics. Unfortunately, paramedics will be called regardless of his wishes, therefore, he must pay. If I, in full KKK robes march down Mass. St., I will have my 1st. Amendment rights protected, whether or not I want them. Therefore, I must pay.
Now let me give you a more complicated example. Suppose I say I like what SRS does as well as other social service agencies, however, I don't like the waste and fraud. May I pay say 90% of my obligation? No. I must pay for the good as well as the bad. I can vote for people who promise to eliminate the waste and fraud, but until then, I still must pay. If it becomes so bad, I could go somewhere better of my liking. Until then, however, much I dislike it, I own the waste and fraud. So, too, with waste in the military, so too, if the military mistakenly drops a bomb on a hospital. So too, if they drop a bomb on the hospital on purpose because a well known terrorist is inside. If our military leaders, and I include the commander in chief, decides that that is what it will take to keep you safe in Lawrence, Kansas, then you own it. The affirmative action you take of accepting the protections government has guaranteed in it's part of the contract obligates you, sometimes in ways you would rather not. Whether that's paying taxes or accepting responsibility for those actions. What you can't do is breach that contract without consequences. Thoreau taught us the correct way to breach the contract when he refused to pay taxes for a war he didn't support. So did those who went to Canada to avoid fighting in Vietnam. But you can't sit on your couch, accept the benefits and not own up to your responsibilities.

jafs 2 years, 7 months ago

Again, I disagree.

I accept that paying taxes is part of the social contract.

But I think LO has the right to opt out of benefits in order to stop paying for them - I don't think he should be forced to pay for them and accept them if he doesn't want to.

And, I disagree that you "own" the waste and fraud simply by virtue of paying your taxes, if you advocate for the reduction/elimination of them, and vote accordingly.

The most disturbing part of your comment is the one that begins "If our military leaders..." - I in no way own their decisions, if I disagree with them. Especially if I disagree that they are benefiting us, and keeping us safe.

My responsibility is to pay my taxes, obey the laws, vote and participate in the political process, all of which I do.

Your willingness to be responsible for things you don't agree with is odd to me - are you really responsible for what Obama does, even if you didn't vote for him, or want him to be president?

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

I have a couple of problems with your line of thinking. No one can opt out of receiving paramedic services any more than someone can opt out of freedom of speech or freedom of religion. Nor can you opt out of the protection the military provides. You may say you want to opt out, but that does not make it so. The only way to do that is to leave, which in today's U.S. is an option available. Your "very" affirmative action of staying is an acceptance of all those things, whether or not you want them. By not leaving, you are accepting the terms of the contract. Look at it this way. Suppose I could opt out of the 10% waste and fraud that exists in any given government entity. And suppose you opted out as well. In fact, no one wants to own up to the waste and fraud so everyone opts out. Who owns the waste and fraud? The fact is that because no one wants to own it, we all must. It's a shared responsibility that we assume simply because we all know that the government will never function in 100% agreement with our philosophy. Not only won't they be in 100% agreement, but they can't be. So we all share a bit of the mess. I own up to your mess and you own up to mine. We do it under the umbrella of Obama, Brownback, city hall, whatever.
I'm assuming you're too young to have faced the issue of Vietnam, though it illustrates my point. When drafted, you didn't have to agree with the policy, but you were obligated to behave in a certain manner. And if behaving in that manner became so against you convictions, you had the option of prison (think Thoreau) or Canada. What you could not do was take the benefits that war provided and then sit back on the couch and not pay for it, both with your life and with your tax dollars. (Of course, Vietnam is almost universally seen as a mistake, the benefits of which are of course non existent. But I specifically used that example to show that you must pay even for our mistakes. You may pay with your life, your freedom, your citizenship, whatever. But you must pay).

Flap Doodle 2 years, 7 months ago

At least these threads serve to remind us which side of the fence bozo is on.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

"ethical, honest" - you're joking right? An argument that misleads as it's intention is the opposite of ethical or honest.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

While you suggest my last sentence is an apt description of the average right ring poster, I was accurately describing Bozo's posts. Logically, then, Bozo is your average right wing poster, complete with the obligatory FOX reference. I wonder if Bozo will agree with your description.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

No, thinking Israel is a terrorist state does not make one anti-semitic. What makes one anti-semitic is when one singles out for scrutiny that country to the exclusion of all other countries. Simply look at that region and if you can honestly state that Israel is a terrorist state and Syria and Egypt are not. Look to Iraq and Iran. Look at Saudi Arabia. But don't limit your search there, as that might be anti-Muslim. Look to Russia, China, North Korea. Look to Argentina and Cuba. And don't forget to look at your own mirror. But if your condemnation is of Israel and only Israel, then yes, you too may be an anti-semite.
And if you narrow your search in such a way as to exclude American actions, America's banker (China), America's adversaries, etc. if you narrow your search so finely that the only countries that qualify begin with "Is" and end with "rael", then yes, you too may be an anti-semite.

Abdu Omar 2 years, 7 months ago

Being anti Semitic means that one hates Jews for being Jews. I can tell you that there are more than Jews who are semites. The whole Arab world are semitic and therefore being anti semitic includes them. No one hates the Jews because they are Jews, not even Muslims who find them in error of their beliefs. But Muslims respect the Jew and the Christian, but that is not returned. Arabs are not at war with Jews, they are at war with zionists that have taken Arab land and killed to retain it.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

Sorry, wounded, but again you are giving half the story. Land may belong to a people for a period of time and then transition to another. It can happen peacefully or not, but it happens all the time. When you say they have taken Arab land, you are clearly implying that not only was it Arab land, but it is Arab land forever. The Zionists you mentioned began their "conquest" of Palestine long before the state of Israel's creation. And the method of this conquest was what? They bought land and then lived on the land they bought. But according to you, the land is still "Arab". How does that work. The Zionists, having become the majority in some small sections of that region (I hesitate to call it Palestine lest someone believe that Palestine was a country unto itself. It wasn't then and has never been.) tried to establish their own country in those regions (an area much smaller than today's Israel). But these new immigrants, the Zionists, were themselves fleeing hatred and death in foreign lands. Rather than being given sanctuary, they were met with violence. Remember the Palestinian uprisings of the late '20's and into the '30's.
Surely not all Muslims (or Christians or Jews) believe in any certain way. But if one recalls Palestinian civic and religious leaders calling on Hitler to implement a final solution in the Middle East after he was done in Europe, and combine that with the Palestinian uprisings prior to WW II, and you will see that the flood of refugees who survived the Holocaust were in no mood to speak to those same leaders. They chose to live, rather than trust their lives to others. Interestingly, Palestinian opposition to this influx was ambivalent, to some degree. It was sharp opposition in Cairo and Damascus, in Amman and Beirut that fueled hostilities.
The numbers of Palestinians displaced at Israel's creation is roughly equal to the number of Jews who fled Arab lands. The biggest difference is that the Jews who fled knew they were never returning. The Palestinians were told by their Arab brothers to never give up that dream. They could have had their own country, alongside Israel, decades ago. When they give up their dream that all that land is Arab forever, they might just live in peace. BTW - If, by chance you are living here in the U.S., then your status is not much different than that of an Israeli. You are living on land that was once Native American. They did not organize the land into a country, just as Palestine didn't. But they owned it just the same. Yet here you are, I presume, a settler. Israeli settlers' argument for legitimacy is the same as your argument for legitimacy. I would never ask you to leave, why would you expect them to leave?

jafs 2 years, 7 months ago

And, if/when we broaden our criticism to those other countries, and perhaps more, then we're accused of being unrealistic and idealistic.

I criticize all of them, including us, for those sorts of activities.

You?

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

Certainly Israel can be and should be criticized when appropriate. As should every country. As much as Bozo would like to say that I always support Israel, that's not true. However, I have a big problem when someone gives facts that are half truths intended more to mislead than to enlighten. That's fine for a debating event, not so much for honest discussions. Let me discuss immigration for a minute and tie that up with Israel, as so many seem to have a problem with how Israel was created. The U.S., the U.N., and many first world countries have general consensus about how immigrants are classified. There are economic refugees and political refugees. It is generally agreed that economic refugees may be returned to their country of origin while political refugees must be given sanctuary. Now how that is administered varies from country to country and from time to time. But the principle is the same. A girl fleeing female genital mutilation must be given sanctuary as might a gay fleeing persecution. As might a religious minority, ethnic minority and on. However, a person just seeking a better life, an economic refugee is given no such guarantee. Now what were those who fled into that region known as Palestine? Whether you look at the time before WW II when Zionists settled there or if you look after WW II when Jews came from Europe and from scattered communities in the region, you will see political refugees. To a large degree, that makes Israel different.
Explaining that leads to the next point, intent. Given their legitimate flight to avoid persecution, what was their intent? Was it to displace people? And what was the response by those who were obligated to give sanctuary? Now we're getting into complicated areas, complex actions and responses, that looked at with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, we may very well be seeing what they never saw. That was my intent when I disputed Bozo's assertion that events were "wholly predictable". They are anything but that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

"However, I have a big problem when someone gives facts that are half truths intended more to mislead than to enlighten."

And yet that is precisely what you do in 99% of your postings on this subject.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

You mentioned above that I was giving the Likud version of history. I challenged you then and I'll do it again. If you dispute anything I've said, make your case.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

You mentioned above that I was giving the Likud version of history. I challenged you then and I'll do it again. If you dispute anything I've said, make your case.

JackMcKee 2 years, 7 months ago

Am I the only person who is perplexed by the odd editorial choices of this newspaper? These columnists seem better suited for the Wichita Beagle.

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 7 months ago

Let's keep in mind that religion and racism are at the root of all this trouble. Zion, or the Land of Israel. The notion of the "Land of Israel" has been important to the Jewish people since ancient times. According to the Torah, God promised the land to the three Patriarchs of the Jewish people. So you see, gawd said it was Israel's land and we know this because it's written down in a book that the Israelis wrote.

Always remember: It is easier for lasagna to pass through the holes of a colander than it is for a rich person to enter Paradise.

Hail meatsauce, full of beef. The Spaghetti Monster is with you...

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 7 months ago

Flying Spaaaghetiee Monsterrrr...

I was alone with my stupidity, I didn't know what to believe. Now I found my way, I know where we come from. Everything's clear, I'm a Pastafarian!

Flying Spaaaghetiee Monsterrrr...Flying Spaaaghetiee Monsterrrr...

Flying Spaaaghetiee Monsterrrr...Flying Spaaaghetiee Monsterrrr...

He created what we see and what we feel. He is the father of the universe. Jesus, Muhammad, Moses, and The Band are just like us -- His children.

Flying Spaaaghetiee Monsterrrr...Flying Spaaaghetiee Monsterrrr...

Flying Spaaaghetiee Monsterrrr...Flying Spaaaghetiee Monsterrrr...

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 7 months ago

He is made of spaghetti and meatballs...he flies through the universe touching things with his noodly appendage. You have been touched, I have been touched, we are his children - the Pastafarians.

His only enemy is common sense. You will never find it here. We are useless and we need a guide. Let him fill our empty braaaains.

Flying Spaaaghetiee Monsterrrr...Flying Spaaaghetiee Monsterrrr...

Flying Spaaaghetiee Monsterrrr...Flying Spaaaghetiee Monsterrrr...

Pasta-hallelujah! Feel the power of His balls!

Joe Hyde 2 years, 7 months ago

I hope Mr. Krauthammer is mistaken in his analysis of Israel's political moves and war-making preparations as relates to Iran. He's probably right, though.

Israel's military is capable (I suspect) of flying successful airstrikes on Iran's nuclear facilities, but it is not capable of prosecuting a ground war against Iran. Nor is Iran capable of launching a ground attack on Israel. So we're talking about Israeli airstrikes vs. Iranian...what?

My fear is that Israeli airstrikes would provoke Iran's political leadership and military to launch attacks on all nearby US forces. Why would they do that? Well, the US already has substantial military assets located in nations bordering Iran, making them easier to reach. Thus upon being bombed by Israel, Iran might order counterstrikes against the United States, a long-term ally and financial supporter of Israel. This would make sense from the Iranian point of view.

Counter-strikes by Iran could involve shore-based anti-ship missles fired at US carrier battle groups operating in the Persian Gulf. Or there might be ground offensives by the Iranian Army against comparatively unprepared US ground forces (unprepared for major combat operations because they are presently disposed to fighting small groups of Taliiban and other insurgent types).

Should Iran order either type of "displacement activity" counter-attack against US forces following an independent Israeli air war campaign against their country, the world's major powers could find themselves sucked into a type of regional fracas that might get real hairy, real quick.

If yet another destabilizing Middle East regional war is not in our national interests, it might be prudent to pre-position our sea and air power to intercept, deflect or if necessary defeat Israel's airstrikes before they reach targets inside Iran. No easy trick; we'd be the beat cop stepping between two belligerent drunks to prevent one of those "bar fights to the death", in hopes that once each party sobers up they'll get along okay at least until next Saturday night.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

Here's a letter to the editor (that the Washington Post refused to print) in response to Chuckie's latest fact-free posting. It's written by former CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/18

"In his May 10 op-ed column, “Echoes of ’67: Israel unites,” Charles Krauthammer refers to May 1967 as “Israel’s most fearful, desperate month” and compares it to today, claiming that Iran poses “the greatest threat” to Israel’s existence.

It ain’t necessarily so. In August 1982, then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin admitted publicly: “In June 1967, we had a choice. The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai approaches (did) not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”

Today’s “threat” from Iran is equally ephemeral. Krauthammer, though, warns ominously about “nuclear weapons in the hands of apocalyptic mullahs publicly pledged to Israel’s annihilation.”

The allusion is to an illusion — the alleged threat by Iranian President Ahmadinejad to “wipe Israel off the map.” But he never said that, an inconvenient reality reluctantly acknowledged by Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor early last month. And in January, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and his Israeli counterpart both publicly affirmed the unanimous assessment of U.S. intelligence that Iran is not working on a nuclear weapon.

Who, then, is being apocalyptic? Krauthammer’s agenda is so transparent that a rigorous Fact Check should be de rigueur."

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

Bozo, given your deep research into the matter, given all that transpired, the act of war, the removal of U.N. peacekeepers, the troop movement, movement forward of artillery, tanks, planes, etc., given their statements that they were going to attack, why would anyone come to any other conclusion?

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