Investigate the investigators: A time to rebuke Goldstone

Rebuke Goldstone’s Report

[This has been published without links at the Jerusalem Post. Text in brackets was cut from the published version.]

Judge Goldstone has presented his Report on Gaza and, among other recommendations, suggested that Israel conduct its own inquiry. Israeli government officials, assuming he meant an investigation, like his, into Israel’s misdeeds, declined, noting that that they have and continue to investigate their army’s behavior on a constant basis.

But after reading most of the report, another possibility presents itself. It rapidly becomes clear to any reader not driven by a thirst for “dirt” on Israel, that Goldstone’s work represents a new low in the tragically deteriorating world of international justice. It fails on every count, from it’s handling of evidence, to its legal reasoning, to its unstated but pervasive assumptions of Israeli guilt and Palestinian innocence, to its astonishing conclusion (from someone who knows the gruesome details of Bosnia and Rwanda), that Israeli behavior was so bad it might well constitute “crimes against humanity.” As a result this report takes the army with the best record in the history of warfare for protecting enemy civilians (even by dubious Palestinian statistics), and accuses it of targeting them. Goldstone makes Kafka’s Trial seem fair.

Nor is this legal and moral travesty just a “free shot” at Israel. It’s a direct assault on the right of any civilized nation to defend itself against enemies who worship death and hide among their civilians. Goldstone presents himself as someone who wants peace and decency in the world, and yet he could not have written something more encouraging to the worst war-mongers and war criminals around the globe, a roadmap for them on how to conduct an asymmetrical war with Western democracies. So the question arises: how could such an inversion of both deeds and intentions have happened, especially given Goldstone’s previously sterling reputation?

[From one point of view, the report embodies most of the major Western cognitive failures of the 21st century, failures especially acute among those who militate for human rights around the world. As one missionary for these failures noted at a party in Jerusalem, “Israel is the greatest violator of human rights, and her disappearance would constitute a victory for global human rights.” The moral inversion here is astonishing – she believes the accusations about Israel made by people who live in cultures of intimidation and scapegoating, and therefore wants to destroy the only place human rights exist in the Middle East. But, get rid of Israel, and the boot stamping on the human face triumphs. Goldstone, whether he understands or not, gives wings to that kind of disastrous Newspeak.]

Given all this, I’d like to suggest a different approach to the question of “investigation.” I propose that either the State of Israel, or an International Citizens’ Tribunal should begin an investigation into the Goldstone Fact-Finding Mission’s proceedings. In it they should ask the fundamental question: “How could this “Mission” have conducted itself with such systematic violation of the simplest rules of equity in judgment. In doing so Israel could bring to light three fundamental issues that the Goldstone Report systematically downplayed in their considerations:

They should gather high level legal and military experts, they should summon witnesses that Goldstone either refused to hear – Yvonne Green and Richard Kemp – or ignored — Dr. Siderer and Noam Bedein — people who have worked on the “data” – Jonathan Dahoah Halevy and Elihu Richter — as well as specialists on urban warfare to compare Israel’s records to other nations, not just to those like Sri Lanka and the Soviet Union, who have no concern for civilians, or to Arab “armies” who target civilians as in Sudan and Iraq, but also to the US, Great Britain, and other countries who uphold the Geneva Conventions. And legal experts could highlight the way in the which the commission violated basic principles of legal procedure, equity, and reasoning.

At the same time, Israel could address a series of problems that Goldstone either ignored or dismissed, but lie at the heart, not only of his own Commission’s failures, but more broadly, the reason why Israel has been so maligned and the Palestinians treated so gently by both journalists and NGOs, why the only narratives they carry out of the Palestinian territories are lethal accusations against Israel, while a resounding silence reigns over Palestinian misdeeds.

With these factors in mind, the Commission might reexamine the Palestinian testimony to the Goldstone Commission and offer some of the hard questions that, had these judges had any self-respect, they would have raised in challenge to the extraordinarily dishonest testimony they systematically accepted. Alas, the proceedings were geared at getting damning testimony – reliability be damned.

After going through these crucial issues with very broad implications for the way the rest of the world views this conflict, Israel could then conclude the investigation by interviewing people who could testify to the nature of the cognitive war that Jihadis like Hamas, Hizbullah, Hizb-a-tahrir, the Muslim Brotherhood, al Qaeda, and so many others wage against the West. They could illuminate the way in which Israel, for peculiar reasons, represents the soft underbelly of the ultimate target in this war, the West.

Goldstone gave Israel the floor; let Israel take up the challenge, and strike back. To paraphrase Ecclesiastes: “there’s a time for receiving rebuke and a time for rebuking…” and the time for rebuke has come.

Richard Landes teaches history at Boston University, blogs at the Augean Stables and the Second Draft, and has just launched a new collective website: Understanding the Goldstone Report.

Please visit the site and suggest articles to include.

133 Responses to Investigate the investigators: A time to rebuke Goldstone

  1. E.G. says:

    What’s an International Citizens’ Tribunal?

    Where does such a body draw its legitimacy from?

    What means of investigation does it have?

  2. As far as I saw, after a quick search, Mr G does not even mention Hamas Charter and what it says and that it is what they follow.

  3. chaim says:

    Love the new website “Understanding the Goldstone Report” and until this article (which I couldn’t find at JPost) I had no idea that website existed. It’s about time all the Israel bloggers work together for such a cause.

    It also appears that many good articles and viewpoints criticizing Goldstone are not yet on that site (many from the very bloggers contributing to the site).

    May I suggest we all do what we can to contribute – at least recommend good articles to include at this one-stop shop on all that’s Goldstone?

  4. Cynic says:

    E.G.,

    What’s an International Citizens’ Tribunal?
    Where does such a body draw its legitimacy from?

    Well for a start let’s say that in the interest of balance it should be the opposite of the ICC – International Criminal Court.

    And with regard to its legitimacy? Well it should be the opposite to that of the International Court of Criminals.
    If judges like Goldstone and Dugard are involved then their legal deviancy is criminal.

  5. Cynic says:

    chaim,

    Supply the links to those articles for our benefit.

  6. Cynic says:

    Besides Richard Kemp there’s an Australian General’s opinion worth noting (Retired major general Jim Molan was chief of operations of the Iraq multinational force in 2004-05):
    UN’s bias binds Gaza

    Given the legal regime recognises the difficulty of military decision-making amid the fog of war, and thus obligates planners and commanders to base decisions on information reasonably available at the time, how did the report handle this issue?
    On these and many other questions, the Goldstone report is strangely silent, a luxury that I did not have in Iraq, and a luxury that the Israeli commanders probably did not have in Gaza.
    The Goldstone report is an opinion by one group of people putting forward their judgments, with limited access to the facts, and reflecting their own prejudices. The difference in tone and attitude in the report when discussing Israeli and Hamas actions is surprising.
    ……………
    But having stated my prejudice, I think I may be more honest than Goldstone, who seems to pass off his prejudices in a report that cannot be based on fact, and uses judicial language and credibility to do so. It comes down to equality of scepticism: if you refuse to believe anything the Israelis say, then you have no right to unquestioningly accept what Hamas says.

  7. E.G. says:

    Curiously, this analysis omits part of the Hebrew version.
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1120099.html

    In particular:
    צעיר כבן 18, התייצב אל מול מצלמת טלוויזיה של אחד הערוצים הערביים, כשהוא עוטה כאפייה על פניו, והסביר כי בא לכאן כדי להגן על אל-אקצה. לבוש בג’ינס צמודים, נעלי התעמלות של נייק וחולצה של טומי הילפיגר, הוא סיים את דבריו בכך שבא להביע הזדהות עם האנשים שנמצאים במסגד. את הכאפייה הוריד מייד לאחר הראיון, סידר את הג’ל בשיער, הריח קצת מהבצל (סגולה ידועה נגד גז מדמיע) והצית סיגריה. כאשר שוחח עם חברו, חיקה את דבריו שלו עצמו בלעג.

    An approximately 18 YO youth took position before an Arab channel TV camera and, wearing a Keffiyeh on his face, explained that he’s come here to defend Al-Aksa. He was wearing tight jeans, Nike snickers and a T. Hilfinger T-shirt, and ended his speech saying he’s come to express his identification with the people in the Mosque. He took the Keffieh off as soon as the interview was over, put some gel in his hair, sniffed a bit of onion (a well-known remedy against tear-gas) and lit a cigarette. Chatting with a friend, he mockingly imitated his own statements.

  8. oao says:

    folks, i don’t think you appreciate the seriousness of the situation.

    the west has already decided that israel does not deserve to exist. all the evidence to the contrary does not count, it is is either disbelieved or ignored. alibama was the last and most important protective wall that fell. from now on things are gonna get worse and not better.

    you can continue these activities, as it is extremely difficult to sit by and do nothing. but they will not have any significant impact. they are expressive not instrumental behavior: it is a means by which defenders of israel can express themselves and their frustration with a world gone nuts, but it won’t eliminate the nutiness.

  9. Joy Wolfe says:

    This really says it all
    There has been so much criticism of this outrageous report, interestingly from the Palestinians as well as those of us who are pro Israel that it is surprising it could not be dispatched to the dustbin where it belongs
    Most irritatingly Goldsotne claims he is too busy to answer any of the criticism and continues to give interviews justifying his incredible failings
    Hopefully just for the once there will not be a blanket vote to support him, especially since the Palestinians dislike it too and it has placed President Abbas in a very difficult position just at t a time when he was making a bit of progress.
    As for Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize, that is a real joke. He may have peaceful aspirations but he has achieved absolutely nothing yet and the jury is very much still out.
    If he is not careful and if the US does not reject the Goldstone report, he could find himself having made things worse in the Middle East rather than better

  10. E.G. says:

    oao,

    We’re not yet in a Warsaw Ghetto remake. And we’d rather avoid getting there. But I think at least some of us learnt the lesson.

    Nobody, I think, aspires to eliminate “world nutiness”. We’d just not let the nutiness drive us crazy, suicidal, or deprived of decency.

  11. Cynic says:

    Joy Wolfe,

    He already made things worse what with his Cairo speech which removed Israel’s millennial roots in the region and reduced the context to the Holocaust as the raison d’être, which the Arabs have been pushing for decades to remove the legitimacy of the state, and his demands that Israelis stop living in parts of Jerusalem as part of his attack on settlements which only further empowered the Arab narrative.
    For all the waffle about the Roadmap and its demands on both sides, the Arab intransigence on not complying has been further strengthened.
    If he sincerely hope to achieve peace we will not know because those pulling the strings behind the scene have been transmitting the worst possible “advice” for peace.

  12. E.G. says:

    So (predictably, oao would say) once Abbas complies to Hamas-
    Mashaal: Abbas leading us to doom

  13. JD says:

    One way to attack it is not on its findings, but foundations.

    An international petition of protest by leading jurists and experts questioning fundamental justice issues, essentially damning the report with a call for a retrial.

    Issues such as the selection of the human rights expert, to serve as judge, who previously declared Israel guilty. There are other such experts, why stick with one who expressed prejudice? That is a fundamental no-no.

    ——
    Although remaining Western leftist attachment to the Soviet anti-Zionism campaign may still be playing out with Goldstone, there could be international forces. Such as South Africa’s tight relationship with Iran.

  14. JD says:

    “and reduced the context to the Holocaust as the raison d’être,”

    Many believe that. In large part, Steven Spielberg’s fault.

  15. oao says:

    We’re not yet in a Warsaw Ghetto remake. And we’d rather avoid getting there.

    How?

    Nobody, I think, aspires to eliminate “world nutiness”. We’d just not let the nutiness drive us crazy, suicidal, or deprived of decency.

    Excuse me, but my impression is that quite a few here, including RL, make or believe in these efforts as a means to help the situation.

    If you are saying that nobody believes that these efforts to counter the nonsense are NOT made to have an impact, then you basically agree with me that this is expressive, not instrumental behavior. It’s a way to avoid craziness, suicide or deprival of decency.

    But are others agreeing with us?

  16. oao says:

    So (predictably, oao would say) once Abbas complies to Hamas-

    abbas is nobody. all the strings are pushed by hamas and the only response fatah can have is to be worse than hamas. because there is no serious pal constituency for anything else. this is due to generations of hatred instillment and manipulation by iran/syria and funding
    by the west.

  17. oao says:

    An international petition of protest by leading jurists and experts questioning fundamental justice issues, essentially damning the report with a call for a retrial.

    you really believe that, do you?

    1. what leading jurists would come to israel’s defense?
    2. if they do, who would care? (one reason why some won’t)

  18. E.G. says:

    oao,

    In a world where the mere words Hope & Change have made such an impact, it’s hard to dismiss minority voices that resonate the same sounds.

    Of course, it’s not a courted minority, rather the contrary. But if the alternative is to sit and passively wait for the slaughter – it’s been tried and hasn’t proved all that beneficial. So better act. Neither you nor I (or anyone else) are endowed with the gift for prophecy, it’s a bit hard to predict the results of such actions. And there is a likelihood for some instrumental value.

    But even a “merely” expressive one is good enough, for the record (History) and for the survivors.

  19. JD says:

    “you really believe that, do you?”

    yes.

    “1. what leading jurists would come to israel’s defense?”

    You utterly and completely do not understand. What I suggest is not a defense of a country, but a defense of due process, as the efficient way to attack the report. In the context of this report there are obvious defects, such as the choice of the Human rights expert who expressed prejudice. There will be jurists and experts who will feel this particular report besmirches the United Nations. Heck, the Irish Durban lady, Mary whatshername might even sign it.

    “folks, i don’t think you appreciate the seriousness of the situation.”

    I appreciate your hysteria. I attribute it to your youth, and inexperience in international anti-semitism. It has declined much, since it peaked in 2002 with the Western Europe leftist marches against Israel, in tacit support of the Arabs’ stoking the West Bank in hopes of distracting America from Iraq.

  20. E.G. says:

    JD,

    Anti-Semitism has not declined since 2002.

  21. oao says:

    You utterly and completely do not understand. What I suggest is not a defense of a country, but a defense of due process, as the efficient way to attack the report.

    No, you don’t. Whatever the objective about the only interpretation it will have — or will be claimed — is the defense of israel. Nobody’s gonna look at “defense of the truth” because that is nothing the world cares about anymore. If it did, things such as goldstone report and worse wouldn’t have occurred and certainly wouldn’t have been received the way they are.

    I appreciate your hysteria. I attribute it to your youth, and inexperience in international anti-semitism. It has declined much, since it peaked in 2002 with the Western Europe leftist marches against Israel, in tacit support of the Arabs’ stoking the West Bank in hopes of distracting America from Iraq.

    oh, really? now that would be funny if it weren’t so wrong.

    1. wanna compare ages and backgrounds?
    2. anybody who believes anti-semitism has peaked in 2002 does not deserve further attention.

    as to hysteria, let’s talk again in a few years, OK?

    Dream on.

  22. oao says:

    But if the alternative is to sit and passively wait for the slaughter – it’s been tried and hasn’t proved all that beneficial. So better act.

    Note that I NEVER said to sit and do nothing. On the contrary, i quite justified the action as psychologically necessary. What I alert to is that expressive and instrumental behavior should not be confused.

    Neither you nor I (or anyone else) are endowed with the gift for prophecy, it’s a bit hard to predict the results of such actions. And there is a likelihood for some instrumental value.

    Of course not, but there is nothing in the empirical evidence to make one predict effectiveness. Hope and wish and even a need to do something are not predictive ability.

  23. nelson says:

    oao is right: “the west has already decided that israel does not deserve to exist. all the evidence to the contrary does not count, it is is either disbelieved or ignored. alibama was the last and most important protective wall that fell. from now on things are gonna get worse and not better.”

    as i’ve said many times here, i spent 3 years in paris: from 2001 to 2004; most parisian “manifs” passed just below my window, since i lived exactly between the Institute du Monde Arabe and the Bastille; there were some pretty big anti-israeli (and anti-american) manifs; and there were some very small ones; it was easy to see the difference: the big ones were organized and funded by powerful organizations, backed by the government and the media; the small ones were spontaneous; at least in France (but elsewhere too, i suspect), the common man is, say, 98% uninterested in Israel, Palestinians, the Middle East; the presence, absence or size of the marches is irrelevant; when the governments think they are useful, then we have marches; but most citizens everywhere are indifferent; and they won’t move a finger for or against;

    what’s worrying, then, is what governments and the elites think and do; that Walt and Mearsheimer could write and publish their paper, even in spite of the noisy negative criticisms, and the fact that they, as well as the Carters and Brzezinkis are influential in the high spheres, this is more worrying than 100 marches in Paris, and more symptomatic too.

    and yes: everything points to the fact that our cynical elites have decided to throw Israel to the lions. Do they believe they’ll buy peace? Or only a short truce?

    and this situation, something like an International Citizen’s Tribunal, even if it could be done, would be too little, too late; but it can’t be done; why? because the organized left, the ngos, the islamists, the thirdworldists etc. have a thousand times more know how and resources when it comes to agitate for “peace”, “justice”, to create “independent tribunals”, to manipulate all concepts created from the enlightenment on, including human rights; that’s a game they cannot be beaten in.

    for the time being, there are only two places where something can be done; israel is the uk circa mid-1940; israel has to be prepared to fight (and bleed) and try to resist and stay alive alone until something happens in the only other place that really counts: the US; I can easily imagine how it felt to be a londoner during the blitz, under the luftwaffe bombs day in, day out, and looking across “the pond” and despairing; that’s what it is to be an israeli (and, quite likely, a jew anywhere else) today.

    trouble is: many, perhaps most, israelis and, certainly, the great majority of diaspora jews are still living somewhere in lala land circa 1880; at most, israel thinks it has a manageable image problem; and it is here that i agree-disagreeing or disagree-agreeing with oao: israel was already thrown to the lions with the oslo process: that was NEVER a peace process, but a process of internal subversion and corrosion that could have destroyed israel; israel, however, was saved guess by whom? by arafat; he lost his patience and started the second intifada; maybe he knew he was terminally ill and wanted to achieve victory before dying.

    my disagreement: there is still a chance the us –its people, i mean, not the elites– can wake up and change course; maybe its enemies will overplay their hand; maybe obama will commit too big a mistake;

    i agree with oao that democracy is not the end of a linear progress, something inevitable that cannot be stopped or reversed; it obviously can; but i don’t exactly like to compare contemporary democracies with very different civilizations like classical greece or republican rome; the key to understanding today’s advanced and free societies is something different: it is modernity or modernism, economic growth and scientific-technological innovation; all this can be interrupted, reversed or killed; but no in the same way as greece or rome were; arguably, the 30s and early 40s (and, in Eastern Europe, China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba etc., the late 40s, the 50s, 60s etc) were as dark a time as our own, if not more; decline and obscurantism could be reversed then too, though most of the elites were as hopeless as our own;

    I’m not saying I’m optimistic: not at all; but in the same way as innovation, new ideas, unexpected strengths came often from unexpected quarters, still something can happen; and the place where this something could happen is in the us, among the non-elite people;

    the elites managed to elect obama; but even I am amazed at how short much of the enthusiasm was; though these elites convinced themselves that obama’s election meant that the people backed their agenda, actually I think that a very large part of the voter were voting against something, not exactly bush, but the whole political establishment; where all experienced and well known politician were suspect, obama’s lack of experience and the fact that he was (and the press kept him) virtually unknown (people got to know him, his name and face, but not much else about him) were features, not bugs; many Americans voted against the insiders and thought, for a while, that in some way he was a true outsider, a true “mr. smith goes to Washington”; and, in some ways, there really was a racial angle to this: blacks were and are still seen (not only by themselves) as outsiders in a mainly white political establishment; in this sense, even many whites might have seen him as someone who, uncorrupted, would fight all those nasty white elitist politicians; his blackness meant, up to a point, that he was “one of us”, the people; I’m well acquainted with this phenomenon because our own Brazilian president, lula, and ex-blue collar worker (who’s, nevertheless, much smarter the bho), has managed to keep his archetypal image; fortunately, that has not been the case with obama.

    Israel is obviously a problem: it hurts the arabs’ and muslim’s ego while elites everywhere use it (and the jews) to deflect attention from themselves; but it is a trouble also because Israelis are not defenseless Rwandan Tutsis; for many, Israel is exactly a bomb: it cannot be kicked aside and it cannot be simple smashed or quickly destroyed; it has first to be dismantled by specialists, otherwise it could blow in their faces; whoever has even the most elementary knowledge about bombs knows they are tricky things, devices created to defeat even crafty experts; there are good reasons to think Israel has been built and works in the same way; if people are scared about how iran would react to being bombed and deprived of its forthcoming nukes, Israel too can make its own dismantling a very dangerous operation.

    anyway, we’re still somewhere in the middle of the story (i hope) and the end doesn’t seem to has been written yet; sh….t may happen, but not only and necessarily to our side.

  24. E.G. says:

    oao,

    I suggest we settle for a comparison of pre and post-hoc evaluations of the action’s effect(s).

  25. E.G. says:

    RL,

    Why is it titled “investigate the investigators” and not the investigation?
    It’s the latter that’s important to counter.

  26. oao says:

    I suggest we settle for a comparison of pre and post-hoc evaluations of the action’s effect(s).

    is there any other way?

    but this requires staking predictions, so that we can assess them, no?

  27. JD says:

    No, you don’t. Whatever the objective about the only interpretation it will have — or will be claimed — is the defense of israel. Nobody’s gonna look at “defense of the truth” because that is nothing the world cares about anymore.

    I don’t need compare “ages and backgrounds” because such are not indicia of knowledge. And now you proved yourself a liar in pursuit of shouting down opposing views. You lied when you wrote “defense of the truth” and enhanced the lie when you inserted those four words in between quotation marks. I never wrote such, but you want other readers think that, enhancing the specious effect with the punctuation.

    In a small degree, I am flattered you feel the need to lie. Clearly my position in prior posts is the legal alternative strategy of “defense of the truth”, attacking the process. I fear your sense of righteousness will not allow solutions to be calmly considered if they do not arise from yourself, an aspect of your personality so important you will lie to protect.

    If I am wrong, and you honestly believed my position was “defense of the truth,” and the quotation marks were accidental, I deeply apologize. But if this is the case, your stake to wisdom on age and background isn’t worth a plug nickel.

  28. oao says:

    they will always be victims because that’s why they are funded and that’s what they know.

    they are much better off this way then with their own state which would not be able to sustain itself or be functional. so they stick to what they know, with the tantalizing possibility that the west will lead to them taking over israel, robbing it blind and getting rid of the jews.

    given their history it would be absurd to expect anything else. fayyad represents nobody and abbas represents a bunch of incompetent corrupt elders.

    the pals’ future is hamas and all that derives from that.

  29. Eliyahu says:

    Israel is not being thrown to the wolves, although it may seem that way. Certain Western govts, first of all, the UK, have been uninterruptedly anti-Israel, anti-Jewish since the 1920s, although some of the UK’s prime ministers in that period may have been pro-Israel [not Churchill]. The UK was a silent partner in the Holocaust. It publicly pushed the Arabs to set up the Arab League. It worked for a great pan-Arab state centered on Damascus after WW2 [see documents studied by Meir Zamir]. And it created powerful images for use in cogwar/psywar against Israel. This process of image creation goes back to the 1940s. So the hostility against Israel/Zionism goes far back, before the alleged misdeeds of Israel post-1967 or even post-11-29-1947.

    I view the UK as more dangerous to Israel than all the Arabs together. But of course the UK works subtly, smoothly. It can bob and weave. It makes tactical retreats. It speaks excellent English, albeit tony blair usually sounds vapid to me.

    Part of the defense of Israel ought to be understanding the truth of 20th politics, especially that the “Left” is not always very far from the Establishment.

  30. E.G. says:

    Nelson,

    why? because the organized left, the ngos, the islamists, the thirdworldists etc. have a thousand times more know how and resources when it comes to agitate for “peace”, “justice”, to create “independent tribunals”, to manipulate all concepts created from the enlightenment on, including human rights; that’s a game they cannot be beaten in.

    You mean it’s a fatality we’ll need to live with and die by?

    I can easily imagine how it felt to be a londoner during the blitz, under the luftwaffe bombs day in, day out, and looking across “the pond” and despairing; that’s what it is to be an israeli (and, quite likely, a jew anywhere else) today.

    Really? Can you also imagine what it felt like to be an Israeli kid in 1967? And in 1973?
    I can think of a few other ways of being Israeli today. Although the look across the ponds is undeniable, its importance or preponderance appears to be mainly for a minority of Alter-Israelis (those who cry “help us help ourselves via boycotts” etc.) rather than to the majority.

    everything points to the fact that our cynical elites have decided to throw Israel to the lions. Do they believe they’ll buy peace? Or only a short truce?

    The shortest of truces is enough. The length of the elective mandate.
    Après moi le déluge.

  31. E.G. says:

    For Goldsone’s attention:

    Abbas went on to accuse Hamas leaders of fleeing during Israel’s assault on Gaza at the turn of the year, which killed some 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis and left vast swathes of the impoverished territory in ruins.
    “Hamas leaders, and I am saying this for the first time, fled to Sinai in ambulances and left their people to be slaughtered,” he said.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5h-kqAmyvuJtYTD-4RKmZ5qfcP_Hw

    Hamas leaders “have fled to Sinai using ambulances during the war and left the people to be killed,” Abbas continued.
    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-10/13/content_12224944.htm

    Whose ambulances?

  32. Eliyahu says:

    EG, indeed, goldstone and his gang of fraud-mongers, ought to read how the Hamas leadership misused ambulances. On the other hand, maybe Abu Mazen is lying. Then what does that tell us?? Maybe the UNHRC can tell us that. Either the Hamas misuses ambulances to run away from a war that they started OR Abu Mazen is a liar. Choose One.

  33. E.G. says:

    Sorry, Eliyahu

    it’s not for me to choose. It’s for an internationally mandated investigation team to establish the facts and to denounce the fiction.
    (And, did the PA collaborate with the Goldstone team?)

  34. oao says:

    Israel is not being thrown to the wolves, although it may seem that way.

    we must agree to disagree. the evidence points to the contrary.

    Part of the defense of Israel ought to be understanding the truth of 20th politics, especially that the “Left” is not always very far from the Establishment.

    the problem on both sides is precisely their UNWILLINGNESS to understand where the evidence leads them, because of the implications and the consequences that derive from that are hard to accept.

    israel can’t bring itself to accept that there is nothing that will convince the arabs/pals to agree to peace with israel; and the west cannot accept that the islamists want to get rid of the west via violence, soft jihad and, in bankruptcy, access to their oil and money.

    the implications for what they have to do if they accept those things are unbearable, so they refuse to accept them regardless of how obvious and clear the evidence is.

    it’s called denial.

  35. oao says:

    i agree-disagreeing or disagree-agreeing with oao: israel was already thrown to the lions with the oslo process: that was NEVER a peace process, but a process of internal subversion and corrosion that could have destroyed israel; israel, however, was saved guess by whom? by arafat; he lost his patience and started the second intifada; maybe he knew he was terminally ill and wanted to achieve victory before dying.

    what makes you think we disagree? there is no doubt that arafat and the pals intended to undermine israel — he was explicit about it. neither there is doubt that some in the west also had the same intentions. but it is fair to say that many if not most in the west — and, unfortunately, in israel — also believed that there would be peace. that was denial too.

    asto the rest of your comments, i completely agree.

  36. oao says:

    In the context that nelson and I are making here I urge everybody to read this:

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/1009/Fatah_cools_on_Obama_and_Mitchell.html

    in the context of this:

    http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/spengler/2009/10/13/obama-in-nightmare-alley-what-asia-times-online-refused-to-publish/

    and see if you can try to predict what happens next in the “peace process”.

    The 2nd piece is perhaps the best and most persuasive analysis — based on empirical evidence and logical inferences — I’ve seen about alibama. The 1st is one of the consequences predicted by it. Now, if spengler is correct, what do you expect will be alibama’s next move?

    Be afraid, be very afraid.

  37. E.G. says:

    Israel thrown to the wolves – sorry guys, it’s been nearly 10 months that wolves have turned into sheep. The whole point is about turning the former sheep (you know, those who let themselves be led to slaughter) into big bad wolves that need to be tamed, or disposed of.

  38. nelson says:

    E.G.

    In 1967 and 1973 the world was still a different place. Even bad old Europe itself was still a continent of individual nations, some of them free, some other occupied by the Russians. It wasn’t yet the Brussels-ruled, multicultural proto-Eurabia.

    In a worst case scenario, the Israelis who’d like to leave would have been relatively easily accepted elsewhere: in the US, Canada and much of Latin America, in Western Europe, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand.

    Nowadays, I wouldn’t feel quite comfortable living in London, Paris or Barcelona if my neighbours knew I was Israeli. For God’s sake, today I’d hide my nationality even if I were a student at an Ivy League college.

    In 1973, though a teen, I had already travelled a bit. Even so, I only knew about the Muslims’ existence because I read read stories from the Thousand and One Nights. Islam seemed as remote and antique as Greek mythology.

    36 years later, even in New York (Jew York as it used to be called), whoever uses a skull cap has to think twice about which neighbourhoods he’ll be able to visit safely.

    36 years ago, if Israel was destroyed, it didn’t, at least on the surface, seem as necessary as today. Surviving Israeli Jews would simply move to any and many of the world’s peaceful and flourishing Jewish communities.

    But now, where exactly could they go, even if allowed in?

    In 1967 and, even more, in 1973 Israel was firmly anchored in one of the two camps the world was divided in by the Cold War. In 2009, Israel is a camp by and unto itself. Or rather, it is an unwilling part of a camp, the Western one, contaminated by a death wish.

  39. oao says:

    nelson,

    absolutely right.

    remember what happened to displaying the israeli flag on a window in germany and in counter-demonstrations in the US?

    there is an outright refusal to see the writing on the wall — everybody’s wishing and hoping it’ll be OK.

  40. E.G. says:

    Nelson,

    You’re missing the point. Israelis learnt long ago to count first on themselves.

    Had you been a kid in 1967 Israel, you’d have heard a summary explanation about a popular song poking fun at De Gaulle (see: embargo), and have gotten some instinctive (re)actions about abandoned parcels, refrain from speaking Hebrew when visiting foreign countries, got used to ElAl pre-check-in procedures, and to opening your bag before entering a cinema or a concert hall.
    (And would have had a strange reaction every 1st Wednesday of each month at 12 in Paris)

    Don’t underestimate Israeli resilience.
    Most Israelis choose to live and raise their children in Israel. Even those who can do it elsewhere.

  41. E.G. says:

    Of course everybody’s wishing and hoping it’ll be OK.
    Well, those who didn’t pack up and leave the Old Continent.

    But one shouldn’t imagine European Jews curbing their backs in a replay of the ’30’s either.

    The next few years are crucial.

  42. oao says:

    You’re missing the point. Israelis learnt long ago to count first on themselves.

    no, it hink you’re missing it.

    the fact that israelis choose to live there and have learned to rely on themselves does not mean that it can survive a decision by the world that it should not exist, including actions which facilitate its demise such as curtailing its ability to defend itself.
    and it does not mean that the elite is strong enough to withstand the pressure. unlike in the past israel is also quite americanized as a society and that is also
    destructive when it comes to hardships.

    anti-semitism is now a growing factor in places where 5-10 years ago you would never believe it would happen so openly and explicitly e.g. the US.

  43. oao says:

    Of course everybody’s wishing and hoping it’ll be OK. Well, those who didn’t pack up and leave the Old Continent.

    1st, wishing and hoping is understandable psychologically, but it should not be confused with reality.

    2nd, there are those who may want to leave but cannot.
    for example, i would LOVE to leave the US but cannot.

    3rd, as nelson argues, there are not many good alternatives anymore.

    But one shouldn’t imagine European Jews curbing their backs in a replay of the ’30’s either.

    wanna bet? i already see it happening.

    diaspora jews are also wishing and hoping and in the process facilitate the opposite, or at least do not do what’s necessary to realize the hope. they’re trying to ingratiate themselves with the anti-semites.

    they believe they are safe. they are not.

  44. E.G. says:

    oao,

    The world’s changed – no doubt. And not only about Israel.
    Is this change permanent? It won’t change anymore?
    And isn’t there any possibility for Israel to survive this cycle of changes?

  45. E.G. says:

    oao,

    wanna bet? i already see it happening.

    diaspora jews are also wishing and hoping and in the process facilitate the opposite, or at least do not do what’s necessary to realize the hope. they’re trying to ingratiate themselves with the anti-semites.

    they believe they are safe. they are not.

    Really? All of them?
    What should they do that they don’t in order to realise the hope?

  46. nelson says:

    I’m not saying anyone should leave Israel. What I said is that, if in a worst case scenario, Israel had been defeated or occupied or simply destroyed as a country in 67 or 73, most Israeli Jews at the time would still have had some decent options about where to move.

    That’s not the case anymore. 40 years ago there was no lack of non-Muslim, non-Arab countries that disliked both Israel and Jews, but Israeli Jews were not, in general, considered then the very incarnation of evil.

    Soon, any Israeli male over 18 will have to be careful about visiting Europe, because he’ll be liable, as a soldier or reservist, to face trial as a war criminal.

    I know that Israel and Israelis are self-reliant: that’s, after all, what the country is about. But it is also true that a considerable part of the local elite adopted both the post-zionist vision of history and the transnationalist view of international relations.

    Besides, I can’t really imagine Ben Gurion, Golda or Begin signing the Oslo agreement: can you? Just think about where it was signed. I like to imagine that weren’t Rabin murdered, he would have been among the first to turn against it, and he would have had the moral authority to move others. But I don’t really know.

    Obviously, it is a positive development that Israeli Jews were probably the first group in the world to see through Obama. But consider that sincere zionists, as many who write for TNR are, backed him and only now, a bit late in the day, are having second thoughts. Most American Jews still back him. What exactly does this mean?

    Israel exchanged baby killer Samir Kutnar for a couple of murdered corpses and ten women terrorists for a fu…ing videotape. Can you imagine the government doing this, say, in 1976, at the time of the Entebbe raid?

    Besides, I’m not so sure most Israelis, for whom the Holocaust is history, something vaguely related to their grandparents, actually get it, that they do really undestand non-Islamic anti-semitism. But I hope I’m wrong.

  47. oao says:

    Really? All of them?<//I

    C’mon, you know better than that. There is no “all” in human generalizations. There are always exception, but enough of them to count more than those.

    What should they do that they don’t in order to realise the hope?

    they should not have voted alibama for one. they should disassociate from the left. they should comprehend how important the existence of israel is for them (which they don’t). they should educate themselves of the history of the jewish people. they should not fool themselves that they are safe. and they should speak out much more than they do.

  48. oao says:

    Besides, I’m not so sure most Israelis, for whom the Holocaust is history, something vaguely related to their grandparents, actually get it, that they do really undestand non-Islamic anti-semitism.

    they don’t.

    paradoxically isarel and self-reliance has induced a notion that anti-semitism is no longer something that can affect them in a serious way. when i try to warn people about the dangers they pooh-pooh it. “not to worry” they say, there’s always been anti-semitism and we’re still here.

    that’s true but it’s also dangerous to rely on that too much.

  49. E.G. says:

    Nelson and oao,

    Thanks for your replies. I’d be grateful if you could/would also answer my #54.

  50. oao says:

    Is this change permanent? It won’t change anymore?

    There are certain patterns to systemic changes in history and the forces necessary to affect them.
    When we have some concrete evidence that the world is changing again we will accept it. As it is, currently such a change is DESIRED, not predictable. It cannot be relied on.

    And isn’t there any possibility for Israel to survive this cycle of changes?

    Yes, but it much depends on its own actions vis-a-vis the pals, the arabs and the west. To date its behavior does not inspire confidence, to put it politely. But more than that it depends on what the west does to get rid of it, and that is much more scary.

  51. oao says:

    here’s one of the consequences of the stupid policies of the US and EU:

    http://www.debka.com/article.php?aid=1408

    and here’s another:

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2009/10/024703.php

    the world is changing alright. in the wrong direction.

  52. oao says:

    btw, with regards to turkey, the israeli response is exactly what israel should NOT do if it is to survive.

    israel should not let anybody pee on it and pretend it’s raining.

  53. oao says:

    here’s another thing israel should not do:

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1255450648383&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    apparently israeli elite is not much different than alibama.

  54. Eliyahu says:

    oao, you talk about Turkey. What I gather from following the news from there over the past 15 years is that the US, that is, the Bush administration, encouraged Erdogan’s Islamist party to take over Turkey. The State Dept/CIA crowd seems to have something of a schoolgirl’s crush on radical Islamists. Look how they are now making googoo eyes at the Muslim Brothers in Egypt and Hamas, not to mention Hizbullah, the Iranian regime, and so on.

    As I recall, Erdogan’s AKP party only got about 35% of the vote in the election in ca. 2002. They did not win the popular vote overwhelmingly. So pressures could have been put on the AKP by Washington to moderate, etc. Instead, the USA continued to demand that the EU let Turkey in, despite the AKP’s Islamic extremism. Condi was very big, I recall, in pushing for acceptance of Turkey under the AKP.
    It seems to me that Washington wanted AKP rule in Turkey. This means to me, oao, that Washington was not operating out of fear but out of a policy to promote radical Islam.

  55. nelson says:

    Elyahu.

    Bush’s second government basically surrendered its foreign policy to the State Dept. apparatchikis. Nothing was as significative in those years as, on the one hand, the eclipse of people like Rumsfeld and Bolton, and, on the other, the rising star of Condoleeza Rice.

    It seems that Ms. Rise started as Bush’s “man” in the State Dept.to eventually become the State Dept’s gauleiter in the White House. In this sense, there’s probably not so sharp a discontinuity between that administration’s foreign policy and Obama’s.

    Turkey started to be lost at the time of Iraq’s invasion, when its government didn’t allow US troops to invade Iraq from its territory. The blunder, already then, was the State Dept’s and Colin Powell’s.

    Those, however, who pressured Turkey to take that decision were Chirac and Schroeder. Turkey still hoped to join the EU, and both France and Germany threatened it with definitive exclusion. In the meantime, knowing that those in Turkey who were closer to the US (and Israel) were the military, the Old Europeans also backed the civil (and Islamist) government against them.

    The Turkish military, whose main internal and institutional role since the days of Kemal Atatürk had been that of the ultimate secular bulwark against clerical reaction, were slowly weakened. And neither Washington, much less Israel knew how to or even tried to counteract. Thus was Turkey lost.

    America’s big problem in cases like this is that, while most countries’ elected government can count on their foreign policy establishment, on its loyalty and professionalism, the US president, particularly if he is a Republican, has to fight continuously against his diplomats and bureaucrats. And he usually loses.

  56. E.G. says:

    Nelson,

    Chapeau! Spot-on.

  57. nelson says:

    E.G.

    No change is necessarily permanent and we’re talking about tendencies. I’m trying to feel what direction is the wind blowing.

    There are many things to consider and those facts whose deepest meanings we can be reasonably sure about (for the time being) are few and far between. Then, I, like most of us, am limited to what I’m able to gather and infer from open sources. All I can do is to collect information, attribute it degrees of reliability, make some informed and skeptical guesses about how much more there is that I ignore, and then, through trial and error, lay out my data in a meaningful pattern the plausibility of which will be either confirmed or falsified by the next information I obtain.

    Making a long story short, there’s basically one fact, one event the meaning of which I’m reasonably sure about. That’s 9/11. What does it tell me? That there is a scary and determined enemy out there. It is political or fanatical Islam, Islamism, Islamofascism or whatever we call it. That, whatever else it plans, thinks, wants or desires, its intentions are global and genocidal. That, if on September 11, 2001, it had a thermonuclear device, it would have used it. That it cannot be ignored or negotiated with. Nor will it go away by itself. Left alone, it will grow, and grow stronger. Besides, it is central and anything else has to be considered, weighed and measured in relation to it.

    A united and motivated West or alliance of democracies would probably be able to defeat it, but not on the cheap and not without much effort and determination. Israel, left to itself, would be unable to defeat it, but might resist and survive for a while. For how long, I don’t know. But what if much of the West, the US included, turn against Israel, if for no other reason, just to appease the enemy or buy some time? And what if Israel itself is divided or internally paralyzed? That would be a very, very dangerous situation.

    When all is said and done, America is still the essential nation. Trouble is, though not too big to fail, America seems capable of surviving for a long time by simply adopting a defensive posture. As it could have possibly done in WW2, it still can isolate itself from a progressively unpleasant, hostile world, leaving it to its own devices and disasters. What will it do?

    The US is still the only real revolutionary democracy, the only structurally and genetically modern country in the world. Its elites look hopelessly unreliable and decadent. But, in theory at least, the point of being a truly modern democracy unlike any other is that, when push comes to shove and the elites fail, the citizenry –the people—can and do assume control.

    I don’t want to sound grandiloquent, but of all documents that have ever been written, the one to be read and reread now is the Gettysburg Address. (BTW, let me state it clearly: it’s not because of Obama; he is not THE problem; he’s just a symptom.) What is being tested right now is whether that new, revolutionary kind of social organization Lincoln talked about is for keeps, whether it is actually resilient, better, stronger, more vital than the alternatives. I know how much more pleasant it is to live in a modern, liberal, affluent democracy. But is it also a superior form of human organization?

    Well, this is as close as I can get to an answer.

  58. oao says:

    eliyahu,

    What I gather from following the news from there over the past 15 years is that the US, that is, the Bush administration, encouraged Erdogan’s Islamist party to take over Turkey.

    indeed. and not just US. EU kept pushing for less involvement of the military in politics. and they got it: the generals gave up and are now with erdogan.

    but then most of the problems in the ME were created by the west.

  59. oao says:

    nelson,

    i would like to believe that 9/11 is not the only evidence you have for the islamist dangers. there is so much more.

    anyway, I think that violence is not the worst danger.
    rather is the soft jihad coupled with the suicidal behavior of the west.

    But what if much of the West, the US included, turn against Israel, if for no other reason, just to appease the enemy or buy some time? And what if Israel itself is divided or internally paralyzed? That would be a very, very dangerous situation.

    do you see any evidence that this is NOT where it’s going? because I don’t and without that I can’t accept EG’s position of “things will change”.

    Trouble is, though not too big to fail, America seems capable of surviving for a long time by simply adopting a defensive posture.

    1st, i am not entirely sure it has not failed already.
    and if not, let alibama do his thing and he’ll guarantee it.

    2nd, neither am I sure that a defensive position is sustainable. physical separation by oceans is no longer an obstacle and the world is no longer structured to protect isolation but to kill it.

    The US is still the only real revolutionary democracy, the only structurally and genetically modern country in the world.

    here i disagree. it is in decay at all levels. because of its initial position it’s only the beginning, but the trend is quite clear and fast. all its institutions are corrupt and ineffective as is its elite — business, govt and academia. its educational system has collapsed. it is essentially bankrupt. the state is increasingly a kl

    when push comes to shove and the elites fail, the citizenry –the people—can and do assume control.

    i don’t think so.

    it’s not because of Obama; he is not THE problem; he’s just a symptom.)

    correct

    I know how much more pleasant it is to live in a modern, liberal, affluent democracy. But is it also a superior form of human organization?

    it is, but it must be continuously fought for, not taken for granted. this is its main weakness in the long term. name one system which started that way and survived. greece? rome? what happened to them is happening to america.

    and i don’t think it can be avoided.

  60. nelson says:

    oao.

    I have to think a bit harder about your points.

    For the time being, however, consider the following.

    Germany was more or less defeated in 1918. Its army crumbled as did many other of its institutions. They weren’t really rebuilt during the Weimar years and, besides, economic crises, maxi-inflation, the crash, internicine fight between several radical ideologies kept ravaging the country throughout the 20s. Then, in the next decade, the country invested its best energies in rebuilding itself in all the wrong ways around a mad, nihilistic and ultimately suicidal project.

    By May 1945, not only most of its institutions, but also much of its civilizational hardware lay in ruins. 10% of its population was dead, including and a much higher proportion of its productive and/or creative young men. Almost immediately, Germany was flooded with twice as many refugees, the Volkdeutscher expelled from Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and so on.

    And yet, ten years later, the the Federal Republic was already in the midst of the economic miracle. OK: there was the Marshall plan, a rational and benevolent American military occupation etc. But what was it that really made things work? I’d say it was a kind of cultural software: they knew how to plan, organize and work hard.

    The same applied to Japan too and, last but not least, to Israel. Jews didn’t have much experience at building and running a country for, say, 18 hundred years. Yet, in a few decades, less than 500.000 of them, in the Yishuv, built, from zero, a country complete with all its institutions and, already by 1947, it was better, more efficient and stronger than any other in the neighbourhood. Soon, it was absorbing three times its own population, a mix of the remnants of destroyed European communities and the Jews from Arab lands who weren’t much more modern or westernized than the people among whom they had lived.

    In short: what was the software or mentality that alowed, each in their own way, Germans, Japanese and Jews to create or re-create their institutions?

    I also think that most or the main American institutions, begining from the political and educational ones, are rotten to the core. But is or isn’t there something below, something scatered in the minds of millions of Americans that would allow them to build or rebuild whatever is necessary in an emergency? Up to a point, that’s what the US did after the demoralized 30s, didn’t it?

    I’m not being optimistic, only curious. But then, one of my favorite books in my early teens was Jules Verne’s The Mysterious Island.

  61. oao says:

    Putin’s Iran Plan
    By RALPH PETERS

    Iran’s traditional emblem has been the Persian lion. Russia’s should be a vulture: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin intends to feed on the carcass left by any confrontation with Iran.

    For Moscow, this crisis isn’t about Tehran’s acquisition of nukes. It’s about Russia’s acquisition of a stranglehold on global energy markets.

    Putin’s playing with fire — but he’s sure we’ll be the ones burned.

    As for the Obama administration’s desperate (and stunningly naive) hope that economic sanctions can deter President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and his fellow thugs-for-Allah from pursuing nuclear weapons, forget it.

    Even were Putin to permit his front-man, President Dmitri Medvedev, to agree to half-baked sanctions, Moscow would violate them before Obama could step out of Air Force One with a piece of paper in his hand guaranteeing peace in our time.

    The current crisis is a win-win-win for Putin. But before laying out his plan, let’s run the numbers:

    The Persian Gulf’s littoral states hold over 60 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves and 40 percent of the natural gas. Russia has “just” 10 percent of the oil reserves and 35 percent of the world’s natural gas.

    Do the math: Iran and its neighbors, along with Russia, own two-thirds of the world’s oil reserves and 70 percent of the natural gas. And the global economy still runs on oil and gas, folks.

    Despite the State Department’s compartmentalization mentality, Russia and Iran don’t exist in separate worlds. It’s less than a day’s drive from Russia’s southern border through Azerbaijan to Iran’s northwestern border. I’ve driven it.

    This is one macro-region for energy, the zone of ultimate control. Putin gets it, even if we don’t. Here’s Czar Vladimir’s strategic trifecta:

    * For now, Russia profits wonderfully from its trade, both legal and illicit, with Iran, while the West talks itself to death. Life is good.

    * But life could get even better: If Iran’s nuclear quest isn’t blocked, a nuclear arsenal will give Iran de facto control of all Persian Gulf oil. Putin envisions a Moscow-Tehran axis, an energy cartel that dramatically increases the value of his oil and gas — the only economic props keeping the corpse of Russia upright.

    * If Israel’s driven to a forlorn-hope attack on Iran’s nuke program, Iran will respond by striking Gulf Arab oil fields and facilities, while closing the Strait of Hormuz. The US military will be in it, like it or not. Oil and gas prices will soar unimaginably — and the bear will have its paws on the golden tap.

    So the worst outcome for Putin — more of the same — is still good. A bad outcome for everybody else is even better in Putin’s strategy to renew Russia’s superpower status.

    Why on earth would this guy help us stop Iran? When he hates us, anyway? (It isn’t you, Barack. It’s just business.)

    For all his viciousness, Putin’s a serious strategist. We don’t have any high-level strategists. Not one. On either side of the Potomac.

    In his first decade on the throne, Czar Vladimir focused on addicting Europe to Russian gas, while moving successfully to exert control over as many pipelines as possible. That was the constructive decade.

    The second decade in the reign of Vladimir I is the energy-cartel-building phase. This will be the confrontational phase.

    Energy’s the only real power Putin has, so he’s maximizing it.

    It’s no accident that a strategic triangle has emerged between Moscow, Tehran and Caracas — home of the great Latin mischief-lover, Hugo Chavez, who thrives on his own nation’s petro-wealth.

    For us, the Iran crisis is about peace. For Putin, it’s about power. Yet the self-deluding Obama administration really believes that Moscow’s going to support us. After our president gave away our only serious bargaining chip, the missile-defense system promised to our European allies.

    Putin thinks in 10-year-plans. We can’t think past the next congressional roll-call vote.

    The Obama administration’s primary legacy to the world is going to be a nuclear-armed Iran.

  62. oao says:

    Avi Shavit in Haaretz:

    But things are not all right – they really are not. Why? Because underneath those still waters on which Israel’s ship is sailing lurks an iceberg.

    The Goldstone report marked the iceberg’s first appearance. Turkey turning its back on Israel was the second. Attempts by European courts to try Israel Defense Forces officers were the third; the boycott of Israeli products and companies in various places round the world was the fourth; and global indifference to the nuclearization of a regional power that threatens to wipe Israel off the map is the fifth. Every week, almost every day, the iceberg peeks above the surface. And when one takes a good look over the railing of this pleasure cruise, one can see exactly what it is: The iceberg is the loss of the State of Israel’s legitimacy.

  63. oao says:

    of course his explanation for it is pure crappola:
    both the right and tje left in israel are responsible.

    not the pals, not the arabs. not the west for supporting them.

    what masochists and idiots the leftists are. they can see so clearly the situation but are completely blind as to its causes.

  64. E.G. says:

    See: AN OPEN LETTER TO MR JUSTICE RICHARD GOLDSTONE (p.14)
    http://www.sajewishreport.co.za/pdf/2009/oct/16-october-209.pdf

  65. E.G. says:

    I got there by clicking on an advert…
    http://www.mfa.gov.il/GazaFacts/

  66. oao says:

    Another view:
    World according to Goldstone

    “Do you really want to risk Judge Goldstone’s meddling, not only derailing the Mideast peace process, but further unraveling NATO’s counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan as well as US unmanned drone attacks on al-Qaeda in Pakistan?”

    At this point the target is israel. i think the attackers are shrewd enough to not do any goldstone on the US or the west until such time as they kill israel’s ability to defend itself. with the west scared, gullible and bankrupt and unable to think strategically, it will ignore the warning that it may well happen to it afterwards.

  67. oao says:

    implication of the ignorance due to collapse of education:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/10/terrorism_and_bathtubs.html

  68. oao says:

    nelson,

    is this the democratic system that you described? do you see “the people” taking over from these asses?

    http://theeprovocateur.blogspot.com/2009/10/no-time-to-rest-on-health-care-reform.html

  69. oao says:

    give them a finger, archbishop, and they’ll demand the whole hand:

    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/134080/Now-Muslims-demand-full-Sharia-law

  70. Cynic says:

    oao,

    From your link in #73 to Pollack:

    So let’s get this straight: Judge Goldstone led a “fact-finding mission” to Gaza and then produced a 575-page report that contains “nothing” that could be “proven in a court of law.” It may not contain facts, in other words. Despite his lack of confidence in his own claims, he insists that “the burden is now on Israel to counter these findings through its own probe”

    He should have included that Goldstone trashed Israel’s Judiciary in his report.

  71. oao says:

    He should have included that Goldstone trashed Israel’s Judiciary in his report.

    how can the israeli court comapare to his illustrious expertise and wisdom? only the UNHRC is worthy of that task — particularly lybia and sudan.

  72. nelson says:

    Back to the original topic of this thread.

    Goldstone, again, is not the problem. The UN would have found a complicit Jew anyway. There’s no lack of them, not even in Israel.

    Problem number 2 is the UN. As an instrument for dealing with internationl political matters, it was, in its best years, useless. But for long now, it has been an important weapon in the hands of the international left, the transis and the Muslim bloc.

    Problem number 1, thus, is the US. No American government was ever really tough on the UN. But the Obama administration actually puts the UN’s authorithy and interests above of its own country and citizens.

    France, for instance, knows how to use diplomacy and the multulateral institutions to project a strenght it doesn’t even have. America actually uses them to get weaker and project weakness.

  73. oao says:

    Goldstone, again, is not the problem. The UN would have found a complicit Jew anyway. There’s no lack of them, not even in Israel.

    indeed, there is no paucity of kapos. but goldstone is an illustrious kapo.

    No American government was ever really tough on the UN. But the Obama administration actually puts the UN’s authorithy and interests above of its own country and citizens.

    per spengler if you want to weaken the US that’s exactly what you do.

    America actually uses them to get weaker and project weakness.

    it can be argued that to the extent this was done in the past it was the opposite of what was intended due to incompetence. now it is intended.

  74. E.G. says:

    Nelson,

    Thanks a lot for taking the time to explain.
    I agree the situation is worrisome. And that the trend seems to follow a dangerous path.
    I also (almost) agree with oao about soft Jihad and what he terms “suicidal behaviour of the West” being at least as dangerous as spectacular terror attacks. I suspect they’re both faces of the waged war coin.

    My impression is that the West got fed up with feeling guilty about its errors (of commission and omission) affecting the Jews, and chose to replace them with another group of victims, about whose plight they have no (direct) responsibility. Nor guilt. (And revising a bit of history to adjust facts into the new framework). And Jews not being into the victimhood thing readily fits the new framework.

    My point is that unpredictable events change the course of “established” trends, and they can occur at any point in time. Plus, despite terrible times, the Jewish people has been there for quite a while. So giving up action, hope, is hardly the most reasonable thing to do now. Especially now that the Jews are, again, fighters in and for their ancestral homeland.

  75. oao says:

    My point is that unpredictable events change the course of “established” trends, and they can occur at any point in time.

    Yes, but you cannot depend on it. furthermore there are certain social forces/trends such as the fall of dominating powers that cannot be averted.

    Plus, despite terrible times, the Jewish people has been there for quite a while.

    yes, but the quality of that life is quite important.

    So giving up action, hope, is hardly the most reasonable thing to do now.

    as long as the hope does not contradict or at least is not confused with reality.

    it is not clear, given the collapse of the west, what action is effective to reverse the trend.

    Especially now that the Jews are, again, fighters in and for their ancestral homeland.

    the point is that the jews are not allowed to fight.

  76. nelson says:

    Obviously, things like the Goldstone report and the MSM coverage have helped to erase the good, or at least positive, news.

    After its own way, the Gaza campaign was brilliantly planed and acomplished. In the most difficult –some would say impossible– evironment, Israel managed to achieve its immediate goals with no real losses, punishing heavely Hamas and doing minimal harm to civilians (who, btw, deserved much worse). The same applies, with a couple of restrictions, to Defensive Shield, which defeated Arafat’s Intifada, and to the fence and other measures that have been keeping the country safe from terrorist attacks.

    This means that, in military terms, Israel is good, even better probably than it has ever been. Its citizen army seems as reliable and motivated as always.

    No surprise, thus, that what the Arabs, Muslims and international community are trying to do is to tie its arms down. Will they manage to do it? Well, they surely are achieving some results. And what Israel is really inept about is in manouvering through the waters of foreign policy. But there was a time, from the mid-40s on, when, compelled to do it, they were much better at it. And both the Yishuv’s institutions and army knew at the time how to go and work underground, how to use propaganda against the Brits and so on. These are skills that have to be relearned.

    One important asset Israel still has is the Jewish American vote. I’m not so sure there’s no more that could be done to mobilize the American Jewish community in Israel’s behalf. Anyway, it hasn’t been tried hard enough.

  77. oao says:

    i am not hopeful about US jews, quite the contrary.

    and i am not sure that israel can survive based on mainly the military.

  78. E.G. says:

    oao,

    the point is that the jews are not allowed to fight.

    As Nelson reminds, these days (British Mandate) are over. And I’d like to remind you both that the world and former Palestine have changed since the mid-40s. So it’s not the same skills that have to be relearnt.
    “Maneuvering through the waters of foreign policy” is one set of skills/behaviours that – at last – need to be appropriately implemented, if not learnt.

  79. E.G. says:

    Let me be clear: I’d rather break the law forbidding me to fight than not fight. It’s my life, not the law’s.

  80. oao says:

    As Nelson reminds, these days (British Mandate) are over.

    indeed. it’s the whole world that israel must contend with now, not a collapsing british empire.

    Let me be clear: I’d rather break the law forbidding me to fight than not fight. It’s my life, not the law’s.

    absolutely. except that’s not what israel is always doing and when it does, it fights with the hands tied behind its back.

  81. E.G. says:

    Indeed. Israel only fights as a last resort.
    When she does, it’s reluctantly and according to much stricter self-imposed rules than those recommended by Intl. conventions.
    That’s the Jewish way of winning wars.

  82. nelson says:

    Auto-immune diseases occur when the body’s immune system starts, so to say, to overreact and attacks its own healthy cells and tissues.

    One thing that was characteristic of healthy Western societies during most of the time was a vigorous immune system, that allowed them to fight back external threats while keeping themselves healthy, that is, free and democratic.

    Perhaps the first symptoms of such misdirected immune reaction appeared in the late 60s/early 70s. Small, apparently rather insignificant movements like the Red Army Fraction (Baader-Meinhoff gang) in Germany and the Red Brigades in Italy, exactly at a time when both these countries had never been freer or more democratic, showed that there was something deeply wrong with those societies’ immune reaction.

    Soon, precisely many of the meachanisms and institutions built to protect modern societies from the pre-modern ones –and from becoming like them– started to blame, attack, combat the healthiest societies on earth as if they were the more diseased ones. Due to this very attack, now they actually are the most diseased and weaker ones.

    The disease is so advanced by now that, whenever those societies are attacked from the outside, they react attacking themselves even more vigorousy.

  83. oao says:

    Indeed. Israel only fights as a last resort.
    When she does, it’s reluctantly and according to much stricter self-imposed rules than those recommended by Intl. conventions. That’s the Jewish way of winning wars.

    yes, but that’s only part of the story. in recent years israel has not fought or stopped fighting to appease the west, not to win. in the last 2 cases at least.

  84. oao says:

    nelson,

    i don’t entirely disagree with the process you describe, but it think it’s part and parcel of dominant powers which start as relative democracies.

    do you know of any dominant democratic system in history that has not succumbed?

  85. oao says:

    re israel’s fighting:

    http://www.debka.com/article.php?aid=1409

    will it or won’t it? my guess is it won’t.

  86. nelson says:

    “do you know of any dominant democratic system in history that has not succumbed?”

    Not really, though I tend to be cautious when comparing modern industrial and/or post-industrial countries with ancient civilizations.

    Actually, no system we know about has lasted, not the Roman Empire, nor the original Muslim Arab Caliphate etc. But, seen from different angles, we could say that Imperial China, with ups and downs, lasted quite a long time, and so did, from the early republic to the fall of Constantinople, Rome. With this I just mean we can use history to prove us whatever we want.

    However, neither among the ancient Greeks, nor in Rome or in Imperial China there seemed to be large and ever growing groups or factions according to whose mentality the barbarians or the outsiders were necessarily superior to them. In this sense, the suicidal PoMo mentality that has been taking hold of the West looks like a real novelty.

    Many things contributed to the decadence and downfall of Rome itself, but I don’t remember having read any Latin author according to whom Rome deserved to be defeated and conquered by the barbarians because earlier Romans had been unfair to Carthage and, consequently, their descendents should be punished.

    I’m just curious about the following. We can argue that Western Europeans got tired of war and that two or more generations of welfare state turned them into people unable to decide, to think by themselves. But, in theory at least, Americans should be different. Some kind of reaction should be expected from the very openness and hurry with which Obama is trying to transform the country into its opposite.

    It’s pretty obvious by now that, in the best of hypotheses, Obama will do nothing to revert America’s decline. But is this decline what most Democrats devoutly wish? Do actually most Americans want to live in a world dominated by the likes of Ahmadinejad, Osama bin Laden, Kim Song Il, Hugo Chávez, Fidel Castro, Vladimir Putin? If that’s what they want, they’ll get it –and much more– sooner than expected.

  87. oao says:

    Not really, though I tend to be cautious when comparing modern industrial and/or post-industrial countries with ancient civilizations.

    there are thorough comparisons of US with rome which are quite uncanny.

    But, seen from different angles, we could say that Imperial China, with ups and downs, lasted quite a long time, and so did, from the early republic to the fall of Constantinople, Rome. With this I just mean we can use history to prove us whatever we want.

    i specified “that started as democracies” — china does not qualify. and rome succumbed very fast to dictatorship.

    there are 2 points I made: that domination ends — for global empires it takes a long time; and that democracy
    collapses, which may be a slow process, but shorter.
    they can occur together.

    In this sense, the suicidal PoMo mentality that has been taking hold of the West looks like a real novelty.

    i would argue that in all cases the dominant empire has brought it on itself, even if by a process which is different.

    But, in theory at least, Americans should be different. Some kind of reaction should be expected from the very openness and hurry with which Obama is trying to transform the country into its opposite.

    yes, and it did for a while. but decay and decadence is unavoidable. it’s been happening for a while.

    Obama will do nothing to revert America’s decline.

    i think he is actively pursuing it. despite your belief in the US public taking over if the elite fouls up, it has never demonstrated such capacity in decades, quite the contrary. once you kill education it’s over.

    I don’t believe americans realize the danger you refer to.

  88. oao says:

    perhaps if the US will fall anyway, better to fall via appeasement than via war.

    or some such.

  89. Eliyahu says:

    nothing new in the notion that democracy declines. Plato long ago said that democracy tends to become tyranny.

    There is another question: That is, how do you define democracy? Is it simply majority rule? If so, a majority could quite democratically wipe out a minority. But is wiping out a minority democratic by our terms?

    Be that as it may, the State Dept thinks that democracy is merely majority rule. That is, vox populi vox dei OR vox turbae vox dei.

    The State Dept are probably right in saying that the Muslim brotherhood could win a fair election in Egypt, for example. As Hamas has already won an election in the Panamanian Authority. But is Hamas or the MB democratic? Do they respect minorities’ rights? How about minorities that are not Sunni Muslim? In any case, they don’t respect the rights of their own brethren in Fatah [dropping them off high buildings, for instance]. So how could they respect Jews? That is, given that the Jews are the ultimate Other for Islam since Muhammad’s days in Medinah. Yet the State Dept wants to “engage” with MB & Hamas. The State Dept and the US foreign policy apparatus believe and do some quite dangerous things. And the so-called “Left” serves the SD as a cheering section, cheering acts of submission to Muslim jihadists.

  90. E.G. says:

    Nelson,

    Just as Michel Crozier described and analysed “The Bureaucratic Phenomenon” in the 1960’s, it’s time to expand your description and analysis of “The Demopathic Phenomenon”.

  91. oao says:

    democracy is defined by the rules of the game and there are more of them than the tyranny of the majority.

  92. nelson says:

    Actually, it is somewhat easy to have a democracy in a small, prosperous and homogeneous country. Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, Holland.

    The problem begins when a certain population threshold is crossed. Then, to begin with, the population begins to be divided or to divide itself along several lines (cultural, ethnic, regional, linguistic), some of them potentially conflictive.

    I’m not favorable to the equality of results and to economic redistribution, but, unless that country is rich and its economy keeps growing, inequality will eventually be manipulated by politicians and demagogues. And class warfare becomes inevitable.

    Ideally there’d be, on one side, the individuals and, on the other, the nation. Actually, several different intermediary groups develop, each with its own interests, each trying to empower more and more its own members, and only them.

    Ideally, all rights would be only negative rights: I don’t have a right to be nourished, but I have the right of not being robbed of my property. In fact, however, people are easilly seduced by favorable positive rights.

    Coming to think of it, oao is right. It’s actually a miracle that some form of democracy lasted so long in the US.

  93. Eliyahu says:

    oao said, democracy is defined by the rules of the game and there are more of them than the tyranny of the majority.

    So there is such a thing as the tyranny of the majority. Indeed. Where such a tyranny exists, there is an uncomfortable time for the minority. The problem is what to do about the insane, disastrous desire of the State Dept to “engage” with tyrants and bigots and mass murderers [current and potential] — all in the name of democracy. This problem did not start with Obama but his election has much accentuated it.

  94. […] I’m on record here. The real travesty of justice here is dual: Goldstone’s Report and Hamas’ unexamined and scarcely denounced behavior. Once one cuts through the lethal narratives that have no support outside of highly suspect “testimony”, the Israeli army behaved no worse than any, and better than most. So to demand that Israel wash its dirty linen in public so that war and hatemongers can have a field day picking through the corpses is completely uncalled for. Israel — including the IDF — has a longstanding tradition of self-regulation. […]

  95. E.G. says:

    Nelson,

    I’m not sure size is an important factor. The Kibbutz experience failed, and not only due to economic/ideological problems. Societal problems contributed a lot.

  96. Ray in Seattle says:

    Nelson, I think what makes it work is the idea of a legal constitution, an independent judiciary that can declare bad laws as unconstitutional and the built in ability to adapt to changing times through new legislation by elected reps. It makes a flexible system that often gets out of wack but can be changed and made better. It’s dynamic like a living organism that can adapt as its environment changes.

    We are experiencing the aftermath of Viet Nam. We entered that war without a clear understanding of why we were doing it. In a democracy that is very problematic. If there is any difficulty, if the operation is not quick and painless, successful and over with – the political opposition will be able to completely discredit the current administration to the detriment of us all.

    That happened with Viet Nam. The years of anti-war protest were such a huge national trauma (epitomized by the images at Kent State, for example) that it created a strong ideological shift to the left. Many of the anti-Israel pro-Palestinian progressives today are children of anti-War left parents from the sixties and seventies. But Dems, independents and Repubs are now all skeptical about any government claims that we need to go to war with some enemy. And it’s because of that legacy.

    But it’s a view that is used for partisan advantage – not so much for anti-war ideology. Repubs can be equally vicious about it if it’s a Dem administration making the claim. Repubs raked Clinton over the coals relentlessly for his attacks on S. Hussain after Iraq had withdrawn from Kuwait. Repubs took up the Arab claims that that plant in the Irag desert was for baby formula – not bio-weapons production, if you recall. Also, Repubs were relentless critics of Clinton’s leadership in the Nato war in Kosovo that accomplished honorable anti-terrorism goals with no American casualties to speak of. It was largely fear of Repub opposition that prevented Clinton from dealing with Rawanda and preventing the disaster there that in fact occurred.

    So it’s not a left / right thing. The notion that militant self-defense is (or can be) immoral is a powerful meme. It’s a loaded and cocked weapon, an strong emotional belief living in most Americans’ minds that each side – right and left – can use against the other for political advantage. And they do. This has existentially created an emotional deficit in our ability to protect ourselves from violent enemies that is still a potent factor in our foreign policy.

    I think a major part of the animosity and deep mistrust that the progressive left directs toward Israel was nurtured by the ghosts of Viet Nam who still dance in their parents’ dreams. We have the ability to recover from that eventually because of our resilient system but a shock as traumatic as Viet Nam can take more than one generation to work itself out.

    I think Islamists understand this at some level. As time goes by the chances that the Western left and right will unify in opposition to Islamist violence increases. Once we do unite and get serious about this asymmetrical war crap the result will be serious destruction of Arab / Persian governments that identify as our enemies. Their cities, infrastructure and societies will be largely destroyed.

    This is likely IMO because fortunately, Arab culture makes any serious coherent cooperative projects between them such as a unified Arab war against Israel and the West, almost impossible – unless maybe they can find a Saladin. Even then, I doubt a modern Saladin would have any chance to unite the Islamists in some grand cause. Their system lacks the resiliency that eventually will allow ours to adapt to changing realities in order to work cooperatively in our own defense.

  97. Ray in Seattle says:

    I apologize for the length of my last post but it seemed necessary for what I needed to say.

  98. nelson says:

    Ray,

    what’s odd is that the Vietnam war was actually started by Democratic administrations (Kennedy & Johnson) and ended by a Republican one (Nixon).

    In the early 60s, most American opinion makers seemed to understand that Vietnam wasn’t something remote and isolated, but an integral part of the Cold War. An almost identical earlier war, Korea, was fought without protests or national trauma.

    So, what actually happened in the meantime, between, say, the early 50s and mid-60s?

    I’d say a whole different elite culture came to age in the US, a culture strongly influenced by the New Left, open to hostile and subversive Soviet propaganda, and promoted by a leftist intellectual subculture that was beginning to become dominant in the academia and the arts.

    One thing you’ll note is that almost no other country on earth has, for instance, a cinema which constantly depicts its own government and businessmen as the bad guys. There may be some such films here and there, but the European national movie industries are not, respectively, anti-French, anti-German and so on. For a while, the Italian cinema depicted Italian politicians as corrupt. But that’s as far as it went.

    Now, for the last 40 years or so, Hollywood has been at least as anti-American as if it had been situated in Moscow at the height of the Cold War. And the same applies to the MSM. Where else, besides Israel, would one find a media so constantly opposed to each and any of their own country’s interests?

    I got tired of hearing French intellectuals telling me repeatedly how great a country France was, how better it obviously was than the US, and that it also was the best place on Earth. I’ve never heard a French diplomat criticizing his country, neither have I heard an American one praising or at least defending the US.

    BTW, there’s no such thing as a French Chomsky or a German Howard Zinn or a Scandinavian Michael Moore. European intellectuals and artists are paid by their governments and they are allowed to freely criticize… the US and Israel.

    Where are the Belgian films about the genocide in the Free State of Congo? The most important film about the Algerian War, The Battle of Algiers, was made by an Italian, Gillo Pontecorvo, and was for long forbidden in France. How long after the war did it take for France to make the first important film about its own collaborationism (Lacombe Lucien)? When will the next one be released? When will the Russians make the first film about their 1939 invasion of Poland or about the invasions of Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968, if ever?

    The point is: most countries on Earth couldn’t care less about what the other nations or the so-called International Community think of them. France, Russia, Italy, Spain, Germany. Sweden and so on won’t ever elect a president or a prime-minister just to please the foreigners.

    Israel is a small country perpetually surrounded by genocidal enemies. Thus, it is at least partly understandable that it needs to please some foreign constituencies, though even in this Israel has for too long allowed these to dictate what is can or should do.

    But what the US needlessly does is almost incomprehensible. Why do Americans want to go to extremes in order to please the Arabs, the Europeans or Russians? I have to recognize that at least some of the criticism the Europeans make is to the point: America’s need to be loved and its consequent behavior are naive and childish.

    Thus, while the academia, Hollywood and the MSM keep trying to explain the Vietnam War according to old Soviet propaganda talking points, that conflict will necessarily be seen as a national trauma. For God’s sake: Obama himself was a kid (and living neither in the US or Vietnam) when that war ended, and I don’t really think that he ever immersed himself in books about that subject. How many Americans still have any significant memory of that war or a decent historical knowledge? However, many of them need to look regretful about it in a way no living German is regretful about WW2, the Holocaust, the destruction of Warsaw, and no living Japanese is regretful about his country’s genocidal actions in China or the massacre in Manilla. Americans, who famously have a very short historical memory, seem to live enslaved by a past they know nothing about and about which they understand even less.

    Exactly 20 years ago the US won a victory in so clear cut a fight between good and evil as one will ever find: the Cold War. The URSS was defeated and half of Europe liberated from almost 50 years of an odious tyranny and real foreign occupation. And who, in America, remembers that? Where are the commemorations? Obama, the winner of the Nobel prize for peace won’t even take part in the German celebrations. And what will the Germans be celebrating? The peaceful end of the Berlin Wall. How can a country that’s unable to be proud of its achievements be ashamed of something it neither remembers nor understands? One of these days Obama will make a speech thanking the Germans for having, with at most some American help, defeated the Nazis. That’s the way the president and many Americans see history and their own country. According to them, there’s no evil in world history for which, in some way or other, America is not ultimately responsible. Were it up to them, the next step, after having socialized America’s economy, would be to give the country’s administration up to the UN.

  99. oao says:

    The problem is what to do about the insane, disastrous desire of the State Dept to “engage” with tyrants and bigots and mass murderers [current and potential] — all in the name of democracy.

    i personally don’t think there is something that can be done. it is part and parcel of the US collapse and the DoS will get its upcomance together with everybody else. unfortunately that will include those of us who were always gainst this crap

  100. oao says:

    I’d say a whole different elite culture came to age in the US, a culture strongly influenced by the New Left, open to hostile and subversive Soviet propaganda, and promoted by a leftist intellectual subculture that was beginning to become dominant in the academia and the arts.

    i would call it the left of luxury: parasites on the capitalist system and talking their mouth off to the gullible youth. they never lived in a left system and experienced its glory. it’s easy to be a leftist in the west.

    America’s need to be loved and its consequent behavior are naive and childish.

    not all america. the elite.

    check out steyn:

    http://www.ocregister.com/articles/mao-million-don-2610375-saying-dream

  101. oao says:

    nelson,

    you are correct about alibama and in agreement with spengler.

  102. Ray in Seattle says:

    Nelson, thanks for your detailed remarks. When you said, “I’d say a whole different elite culture came to age in the US, a culture strongly influenced by the New Left, open to hostile and subversive Soviet propaganda, and promoted by a leftist intellectual subculture that was beginning to become dominant in the academia and the arts.”

    While I find much of your comment rings true to my experience, this is the part I had most trouble with.
    I came of age at this same time (born 1942). I was not at all aware of this elite culture you describe. Admittedly, I was heavily focused on acquiring an engineering degree, surfing and women at the time – in reverse order of importance. I remember the beatniks, coffee house poetry, suspicions of pot smoking. It all seemed rather exotic but not much more than a cool place to take a date in the early sixties. And I was living in a California beach community at the time – places that seldom expressed any squeamishness about adopting the latest trends.

    It still seems to me that Viet Nam was the transformative experience that caused many young people to question the beliefs that we grew up with – i.e. American exceptionalism, esp. when it comes to war. My Dad fought in Germany and Japan in WWII and saved the world as far as I was concerned. I think most of my contemporaries saw it that way too.

    Also, Dems and Repubs were not yet mortal ideological enemies as is taken for granted today. I don’t recall the Repubs objecting significantly to Kennedy’s decision to send “advisors” to Viet Nam to help the Catholic / Bhuddist S. Vietnamese protect themselves from the communist Viet Minh. It was an American thing – not a Democratic thing. It seemed like (and was justified as) a little police action – a due diligence thing that any democratic country would take on as a matter of making the world a safer place from communism if they had the capacity. I first read about Viet Nam in a National Geographic mag in maybe 1961. I still remember the color photos of a train trundling through a thick jungle with armed S. Vietnamese troops on board for protection.

    We seem to have ended up with significantly different views of that history. I could simply have not been paying attention. But since then I have not read much (anything really) about this rising leftist elite in America that you describe at the time. When I was in High School one of the most popular TV shows that ran for many years was “I Led Three Lives” supposedly based on true life experiences of Herb Philbrick, who worked for our government as a spy among the reviled communist party that was trying to infiltrate our God fearing country. No-one I knew identified with “the commies”. It would have been unthinkable. Philbrick was an American TV hero.

    OTOH, by 1969-70 – post Tet – I recall parties where you’d see people carrying copies of Mao’s little red book around with them. I also knew some communists by then. I enjoyed having philosophical discussions with them as I had become interested in political philosophy and had read everything Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Brandon ever wrote at the time. Of course, by then I was a confirmed atheist. Perhaps that’s what made our discussions even possible. But I remember those as friendly, academic and intellectually stimulating discussions.

    Can you help fill in the gaps in my view that you see but that I seem to have missed?

  103. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    Although I wasn’t there (on Earth or in the US), may I offer a hypothesis (inspired by Bezmentov)?
    Young you lived the ideological penetration phase, mature you lived the impregnation/settlement phase, older you lives the divisive-conquering one.

  104. oao says:

    Young you lived the ideological penetration phase, mature you lived the impregnation/settlement phase, older you lives the divisive-conquering one.

    some don’t come out of the first phase.

  105. nelson says:

    Ray,

    all I can tell you is: try to figure out what happened in and to the US between the beginning of the Korean War and the end of the Vietnam War. Why such similar wars elicited, in the end, such a different response from the American public — or, at least, from its noisiest parts?

    In any other country on Earth it takes a lot for a war to be seen as very important, deeply significant, central indeed. It’s easy, for instance, to understand why the 1936-39 Civil War remained central during so many decades for the Spaniards. Its result affected their lives for a long time, and would have affected them one way or another. By the late 70s, however, even the citizens of post-Franco Spain had already turned the page and were dealing with quite different things.

    There’s a distance of about 40 years between us and Vietnam. In WW2 terms that would mean the early 80s. How many Europeans were so obsessed at that time with a hugely more important conflict than Vietnam? Are the French still obsessing about Algeria?

    Unless we were among the small minority that had been deeply immersed in Vietnam, whatever we know, think, think we know and feel about it is mediated by the newspapers, magazines, TV, cinema, books and so on. Whatever we think we objectively know, we actually know through many, many sources. If the majority of those sources are slanted in a certain direction, if they have a certain bias, we’ll take in and then reflect, reproduce that bias and that slant until, with a strong and sustained effort at critical thinking and lots of study, we manage to arrive not at historical truth, but at least at a more individual or personal way of seeing and understanding the subject.

    I’d say that Vietnam is a national trauma because every newspaper, every teacher at every school, highschool, college, university, almost every book that has been positively reviewed, every film which deals, even if only tangentially, with it, every TV documentary not only about the war, but about the 60s in general and so on — they all keep repeating that it was a national trauma. Anyone who’s entirely disinterested in history or politics, but who loves pop culture and knows anything about Woodstock will already feel inclined to see the Vietnam War in such a light.

    Now, take any other subject and apply this prism to it, and you’ll get the currently approved, politically correct, socially accepted opinion or point of view about it. Why? Because up to the 50s, there was a range of opinions represented in all levels of culture and public discourse, in the papers, academia, TV, books, magazines, films and so on. What has happened is that that range of opinions has been slowly narrowed to the point that nowadays all we have is a strict, and strictly enforced, orthodoxy.

    But, if you really want to know how that orthodoxy is achieved and what it is good for, then you’ll have to study the writings of an Italian communist boss and theoretician who wrote in the 20s and 30s while in a fascist jail. His name is Antonio Gramsci.

  106. […] is another idea: Investigate the investigators, and the defective process by which the report came […]

  107. […] Submitted By: Joshuapundit – The Augean Stables – Investigate the investigators: A time to rebuke Goldstone […]

  108. […] Submitted By: Joshuapundit – The Augean Stables – Investigate the investigators: A time to rebuke Goldstone […]

  109. Watchers Council Nominations – Insincerity As A Political Ideology…

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  110. […] Second place with 1 1/3 point – The Augean Stables – Investigate the investigators: A time to rebuke Goldstone […]

  111. […] The methods used by the commission were so biased as to be laughable:  evidence and testimony were chosen selectively. Pro-Israel testimony was discredited Even when the same person presented testimony that included anti- and pro-Israel components, the pro-Israel ones were discarded. Accusations made by Hamas or Hamas-linked groups were accepted as fact, while IDF rebuttals were deemed non-credible. Much of it was simply copied from reports published by highly anti-Israel NGOs like Human Rights Watch. […]

  112. […] Second place with 1 1/3 point – The Augean Stables – Investigate the investigators: A time to rebuke Goldstone […]

  113. Last Week’s Watcher’s Council Winners…

    Winning Council Submissions First place with 1 2/3 points! – Joshuapundit – J Street – A Particularly Nasty Dead End To Be Avoided Second place with 1 1/3 point – Bookworm Room – The march of the thought police Third……

  114. […] Arab change of heartME Forum on UNRWANGO Monitor on DiakoniaNY Daily News – Exercise the VetoJeffrey Goldberg on the origins of the ME conflict – the so-called “Naqba”Richard Landes – Investigate the Investigators/Goldstone ReportThe Australian – UN Bias […]

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