NYT Does it Again: Noah Pollack fisks Bisharat

Noah Pollack does an excellent job of taking apart a particularly nasty op-ed which, predictably alas, the Grey Lady had no problem publishing.

He Forgot about the Poisoned Wells
NOAH POLLAK – 04.04.2009 – 2:23 PM

The New York Times publishes an op-ed today by George Bisharat, the U.S. academic whose professional mission is the indictment of Israel for war crimes, no matter how implausible. His piece starts with a lie that the Times itself had an important hand in promoting:

Chilling testimony by Israeli soldiers substantiates charges that Israel’s Gaza Strip assault entailed grave violations of international law.

Except that there never was any “chilling testimony” — there were rumors circulated by an anti-IDF activist, which were breathlessly republished by Haaretz and its American counterpart, the Times. His opening claim does, however, set an appropriately mendacious tone for the rest of the piece. Bisharat says that Israel committed six separate violations of international law during Operation Cast Lead, and the first one he cites lays the foundation for the five that follow:

[Israel violated] its duty to protect the civilian population of the Gaza Strip. Despite Israel’s 2005 “disengagement” from Gaza, the territory remains occupied. Israel unleashed military firepower against a people it is legally bound to protect.

Bishara doesn’t explain how it is conceivable under international law that Israel is still occupying Gaza, but consistency has never been the hobgoblin of international law fetishists. He cites the Fourth Geneva Convention elsewhere in his piece, so he must be familiar with its definition of occupation: “the Occupying Power shall be bound, for the duration of the occupation, to the extent that such Power exercises the functions of government in such territory.” As Dore Gold wrote in an analysis after the Gaza disengagement,

what creates an “occupation” is the existence of a military government which “exercises the functions of government.” This is a confirmation of the older 1907 Hague Regulations Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, which state, “Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army.” The Hague Regulations also stipulate: “The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.” What follows is that if no Israeli military government is exercising its authority or any of “the functions of government” in the Gaza Strip, then there is no occupation.

Bisharat continues by charging that Israel is violating Article 33 of the Geneva Conventions by imposing “collective punishment” on Gaza. This claim depends on every resident of Gaza being considered a “protected person” under the Geneva Conventions, which they are not, because Israel is not occupying Gaza. The blockade may be a bad policy, an ineffective policy, or an immoral policy — but it is not a violation of the Geneva Conventions. Side question: Why do people like Bisharat never condemn Egypt for its involvement in the blockade?

Bishara continues his indictment by saying that Israel was

Deliberately attacking civilian targets. The laws of war permit attacking a civilian object only when it is making an effective contribution to military action and a definite military advantage is gained by its destruction.

The level of dishonesty on display here is pretty amazing. Throughout Cast Lead, Hamas used all of the “civilian objects” cited by Bisharat as military installations. Rockets were fired from schools, mosques were used as weapons depots, and the Islamic University of Gaza was used as an explosives production facility and rocket storehouse. Why does Hamas use conspicuously civilian infrastructure for terrorist purposes? One reason is to make the job of Hamas’ western apologists and useful idiots so much easier.

Read the rest.

11 Responses to NYT Does it Again: Noah Pollack fisks Bisharat

  1. oao says:

    there are tons of this crap floating around for each one fisked.

  2. [...] Augean Stables created an interesting post today on NYT Does it Again: Noah Pollack fisks BisharatHere’s a short outlineNoah Pollack does an excellent job of taking apart a particularly nasty op-ed which, predictably alas, the Grey Lady had no problem publishing. He Forgot about the Poisoned Wells NOAH POLLAK – 04.04.2009 – 2:23 PM The New York Times publishes an op-ed today by George Bisharat, the U.S. academic whose professional mission is the indictment of Israel for war crimes, no matter how implausible. His piece starts with a lie that the Times itself had an important hand in promoting: Chill [...]

  3. [...] Augean Stables added an interesting post on NYT Does it Again: Noah Pollack fisks BisharatHere’s a small excerptNoah Pollack does an excellent job of taking apart a particularly nasty op-ed which, predictably alas, the Grey Lady had no problem publishing. He Forgot about the Poisoned Wells NOAH POLLAK – 04.04.2009 – 2:23 PM The New York Times publishes an op-ed today by George Bisharat, the U.S. academic whose professional mission is the indictment of Israel for war crimes, no matter how implausible. His piece starts with a lie that the Times itself had an important hand in promoting: Chill [...]

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  5. Lorenz Gude says:

    I think the fisking still needs to be done because the NY Times still enjoys an undeserved reputation as a fair and balanced newspaper. The readers of the NY Times think Fox is being outrageous with that slogan not realizing they are being mocked.

    I still think this war crimes story existed before the war and was delayed by the unanticipated Israeli improvement at information war. Their success created a war crimes shaped hole in the coverage and it took ‘activists’ some time to create just the right way to fill that hole with material that could be presented as a confession by an IDF soldier. Once you have the ‘smoking gun’ of apparent self indictment then you can pile on the distortions of the Geneva conventions and the white phosphorous innuendo and all support each other in a self reinforcing circle of propaganda.

    Still it is extraordinary that a significant portion of the Israeli and the Western intelligentsia are devoting their energies to perpetrating this kind of propaganda. I think the West lives in a bubble of prosperity that has made too many people think the unthinkable has been permanently banished to the past. If we ask what ‘good’ this propaganda serves I would guess that it preserves the illusion that we in the West are safe. That is why RL was deemed ‘dangerous’ for exposing Pallywood. I think the all too human psychology of these people is well illustrated by Bernie Madoff – they are going to cling to there illusions until it is absolutely impossible to deny them.

  6. Eliyahu says:

    “tons of this crap floating around”–oao

    oao, you ought to read, simply for scientific research puproses, the Comment Is Free blog at the London Guardian. Megatons of filth. Ignorance. Arrogant ignorance. The commenters there are not only ignorant but refuse to acknowledge any doubt or uncertainty about their own ignorance, nor any curiosity about the other side. And they are aggressive about expounding their ignorance and false beliefs — and insulting to those who may know better. What’s more, the site administrators do their best to suppress intelligent commentary that goes against the line. Just try to put up an intelligent, knowledgeable, moderately expressed comment that veers too far away from the bbc-Guardian-Independent neo-Trot party line. You will find yourself Deleted. But try it anyway.

    The UK may be leading the way towards the rebarbarization of Europe.

  7. Cynic says:

    Eliyahu,

    Just have a look at the general run of the mill comments Pollack’s post at Commentary’s “Contentions” blog received.
    For that matter some comments posted display a problematic psyche at work willfully attempting to derail any rational discussion.

  8. oao says:

    I think the fisking still needs to be done because the NY Times still enjoys an undeserved reputation as a fair and balanced newspaper.

    my point was will it make any difference? i doubt it.

    oao, you ought to read, simply for scientific research puproses, the Comment Is Free blog at the London Guardian.

    i know only too well about it. that’s why i stated what i stated.

    The UK may be leading the way towards the rebarbarization of Europe.

    i again refer to the writings of theodore dalrymple which document that the barbarization of the UK has already occurred; melanie phillips also documents it.
    so “did” should replace “may”.

  9. oao says:

    btw, i reiterate that the notion that democracy and civilization wins over authoritarianism and barbarism in history is a misconception. greece, rome, germany, russia, some of the soviet republics after the fall of USSR started as civilized democracy and have been taken over by non-democratic processes and barbarization.

  10. oao says:

    For that matter some comments posted display a problematic psyche at work willfully attempting to derail any rational discussion.

    because rationality must be inculcated in people. they are born with the capacity for it, but it must be developed.

    there are some who are incapable of it, but many are capable yet there is no development. there used to be.

  11. nina says:

    I dunno who the hell people you are but — please, give me a general list (10-20 sites) of what might fill me in on the details of what clearly many of you know. Good stuff! Nina

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