More to discuss on the Israel/Palestine conflict

May 12, 2021 • 10:30 am

As you may realize, the whole world seems to have turned against Israel in the past few days. In an effort to understand this, here’s a thesis I am advancing, and I offer it for discussion. First the thesis, and then a few words about it:

Jews have always been condemned for defending themselves, just as they are now. I suspect this comes from pervasive anti-Semitism that denies Jews the right to fight back when attacked or oppressed. 

While an ancient idea, this began in earnest in 1948, when, after Israel was proclaimed a state, five Arab armies attacked it. While Europe and the U.S. did not condemn Israel defending itself, they imposed an arms embargo on both Arabs and Israelis. The problem was that the Arabs were amply supplied with weapons by other Arab countries, while the only country that supplied Israel with weapons in its defensive war was Czechoslovakia, as well as a few American Jews who smuggled weapons to Israel. Had the U.S. and Europe had its way then, Israel would have been obliterated.

You can see the condemnation of Israel defending itself against hundreds of Hamas rockets in several ways. First, in the Western media, which largely emphasizes Israel’s military response to the rocket attacks while downplaying the Hamas rocket attacks themselves. Here are two headlines from just now (no mention of Hamas rockets, etc.), and you can find others:



HuffPo (no mention that Gaza escalated its rocket attacks on Israel):

Some miscreant bloggers have even implied that Israel has no right to defend itself because, after all, the Hamas rockets are weak and ineffectual weapons that don’t kill many people. They are “psychological” rather than physical weapons. Tell that to the Israels who are both psychologically and physically dead! The battle, as one splenetic blogger claimed, was “asymmetrical.”

It is this issue of proportionality that bothers some. If Hamas fires 500 rockets at Israel, what right does Israel have to fight back with precision bombings that may kill more civilians than did the Hamas rockets (deliberately aimed at civilian targets)? (Note, too, that Israel’s interest is NOT in killing civilians, but that Hamas places its rockets in civilian areas, ensuring some civiliandeaths during reprisals.) The argument, so it seems, is that Israel should kill exactly as many Palestinians as Israelis killed by Hamas rockets.

But this argument for “proportional warfare” does not stipulate a military response that produces no more civilian deaths than suffered by the attacking countries.  Here’s one explanation from the US. Marine Corps Association:

Finally, we get to proportionality. The principle of proportionality recognizes that some civilian life and property will be destroyed during armed conflict. Proportionality excuses collateral damage to civilian property or incidental civilian death or injury that occurs during an attack on a valid military objective, as long as the collateral damage or incidental civilian death is not excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated from the attack.14 Thus, proportionality begins with identifying the valid military objective and identifying any collateral damage or incidental loss of life foreseeable from the attack. The commander then weighs the foreseeable collateral damage or incidental loss of life against the expected military advantage to determine whether the collateral damage or incidental loss of life is excessive. As long as the collateral damage and incidental loss of life is not excessive compared to the military advantage, then the attack does not violate the principle of proportionality.15 If there is no collateral damage, then proportionality has no effect on the size or type of weapons used against the enemy.

From Wikipedia:

The harm caused to civilians or civilian property must be proportional and not “excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated” by an attack on a military objective.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo was the Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court who investigated allegations of war crimes during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He published an open letter containing his findings; in a section titled “Allegations concerning War Crimes”, he elucidates this use of proportionality:

Under international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute, the death of civilians during an armed conflict, no matter how grave and regrettable, does not in itself constitute a war crime. International humanitarian law and the Rome Statute permit belligerents to carry out proportionate attacks against military objectives,[11] even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur. A crime occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians (principle of distinction) (Article 8(2)(b)(i)) or an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality) (Article 8(2)(b)(iv)).

Article 8(2)(b)(iv) criminalizes:
Intentionally launching an attack in the knowledge that such attack will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects or widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment which would be clearly excessive in relation to the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated;
Article 8(2)(b)(iv) draws on the principles in Article 51(5)(b) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, but restricts the criminal prohibition to cases that are “clearly” excessive. The application of Article 8(2)(b)(iv) requires, inter alia, an assessment of:
(a) the anticipated civilian damage or injury;
(b) the anticipated military advantage;

(c) and whether (a) was “clearly excessive” in relation to (b).

And from the New Atlantis:

This criticism reveals an important moral misunderstanding. In everyday usage, the word “proportional” implies numerical comparability, and that seems to be what most of Israel’s critics have in mind: the ethics of war, they suggest, requires something like a tit-for-tat response. So if the number of losses suffered by Hezbollah or Hamas greatly exceeds the number of casualties among the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), then Israel is morally and perhaps legally culpable for the “disproportionate” casualties.

But these critics seemed largely unaware that “proportionality” has a technical meaning connected to the ethics of war. The long tradition of just war theory distinguishes between the principles governing the justice of going to war (jus ad bellum) and those governing just conduct in warfare (jus in bello). There are two main jus in bello criteria. The criterion of discrimination prohibits direct and intentional attacks on noncombatants, although neither international law nor the just war tradition that has morally informed it requires that a legitimate military target must be spared from attack simply because its destruction may unintentionally injure or kill noncombatants or damage civilian property and infrastructure. International law and just war theory only insist that the anticipated collateral damage — the “merely foreseen” secondary effects — must be “proportionate” to the military advantage sought in attacking the legitimate military target. This sense of proportionality is the second jus in bello criterion; it has to do almost entirely with the foreseen but unintended harm done to noncombatants and to noncombatant infrastructure.

Finally, from the International Committee of the Red Cross (as far as I can see, all sources agree with these four construals):

Rule 14. Launching an attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated, is prohibited.

Now of course I’m not condoning the deliberate targeting of civilians here, nor by any means a mass slaughter of Palestinians by Israelis, but merely showing you how “proportional response” has been construed during wartime.

In this case, then, the fire-bombing of Dresden during World War II was indeed a disproportionate and immoral response because it was both a direct attack on noncombatants, and, further, the deaths of civilians far outweighed any military advantage (a very, very small one at best) of destroying the city. You can weigh the U.S.’s dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagisaki for yourselves.

This is not the case when Israel targets the Hamas leaders and bomb-makers that are waging war on Israel.  Given that Israel is trying to neutralize a military threat, the argument of unequal numbers of lives lost in a purely military exercise doesn’t apply.  (Someone also argued “but Palestine doesn’t have an Iron Dome system to stave off Israeli airstrikes.” The response was “But they do: it’s called ‘Don’t fire rockets at Israel.'”)

No person of good will can look at the deaths of innocents and civilians with a cold heart. Whether Palestinian or Israeli, a civilian killed leaves behind a world of heartbreak, loss, and misery. But I maintain adamantly that in this case Israel has the right to defend itself as it is doing, so long as its response is a military one and not directly aimed at killing civilians. Remember that Hamas’s main aim, according to its charter, is the elimination of the state of Israel. They will do so if they have the means.

And Hamas has it within its power to minimize civilian casualties by not placing missile-launching sites in civilian areas.

These are just some thoughts I had this morning; feel free to discuss them below.

88 thoughts on “More to discuss on the Israel/Palestine conflict

  1. This is a stunning 24 second youtube of Israel’s famed “Iron Dome” striking and destroying Hamas’s rockets targeting Tel Aviv.

    The Dome’s existence means that far fewer people are being killed, likely keeping retaliation and war at a somewhat cooler scale than without the Dome.

  2. I agree. I do wonder, however, how the present vacuum in Israeli leadership will affect how this conflict develops. Given that no one has formed a government, who ultimately is in charge and can forge a truce? I fear this conflict is on “autopilot” on the Israeli side. Could someone more knowledgable than I about how Israeli government works comment on this?

    1. Until a new government is formed Netanyahu is still Prime Minister and the previous government is still functioning.

  3. Hypothesis:

    The “woke left” hates Israel because it is successful. It’s a much better place to live (even if you are a Muslim) than its neighbouring countries. The woke left hates any suggestion that the “Western” way of doing things — a combination of individual liberties, democracy, and a capitalism-based economy — leads to success, because underpinning their ideology is a belief in collective action and radical socialism. Just see how much opprobrium Stephen Pinker gets for simply documenting the fact that things are better than they have every been, and continue to get better. See also CRT’s labelling of all the attributes/attitudes that lead to success (things like maths) as being “white”.

    1. I agree. To the Woke any group that is successful in comparison to another group is automatically double-plus bad. It’s ancient zero sum thinking. Success equals bad because it requires that others must have suffered unjustly.

      1. “Success equals bad because it requires that others must have suffered unjustly.”

        Am reminded of those in the classroom who complain that a student’s outstanding academic performance makes them look bad (for the unacknowledged reason that they can’t be bothered to much study).

  4. I think you’re right in your thesis, at least that seems to be the position of some pro-Palestinian groups. Israel evicted some Palestinians. They have their reasons, the Palestinians don’t agree with them. Even granting the Palestinian position on the eviction for sake of argument, a wrongful eviction in no way merits the response of a massive rocket attack. That’s just sort of crazy to claim it does. The eviction also does not justify aiming those rockets at Israeli civilians (rather than, say, IDF)

    Proportionality is a tough issue. Hamas is essentially embedding their military capability within civilian infrastructure. Some of that infrastructure happily supports them, but some of it is probably coerced into supporting them at the literal point of a gun. So we have here a situation where your enemy has grabbed human shields. Not just one – in some cases 5, 10, 20 per enemy. And you aren’t sure whether those ‘shields’ are truly innocent or working with the enemy. And now you have to decide whether to shoot through them to get to your enemy. Ultimately, I can’t find anything wrong with firing back at mortar and missile emplacements which fired on you. That’s absolutely warranted. That’s the case where your enemy is actively shooting at you from behind the shields. Other military targets which don’t pose an immediate attack threat, such as planners or senior leaders…I think we need to acknowledge that the ethics of doing that is a little more complicated.

    1. Eric, the ‘evicted’ Palestinians were in fact legally squatters, and, per Malgorzata’s post in the previous thread on this topic, occupied those properties as a consequence of the Jordanian forces’ expulsion of Jews from the area when they illegally occupied Jerusalem as part of the five-army invasion of Israel that began, in effect, the moment the State was declared by the UN vote. Those Jewish occupants had titles to the property, acquired by purchase during the Ottoman occupation of the Levant. As Malgrzata reported, the occupants acknowledged this history in 1982 and were in negotiations with the property owners to arrange a settlement—but were forbidden to do so by the PA. I don’t see what the argument that the eviction will wrongful is based on.

      Certainly we agree that the response by Hamas is not on the same planet as the evictions, in terms of scale. But it’s important to keep the foregoing (publicly documented) facts of the case clearly in view, because to the best of my knowledge not one single major media source has presented them, or even alluded to them in passing. Which tells you all you need to know about the agenda of those sources so far as Israel is concerned…

      Telling, is it not, that the two Israelis—father and son—killed by the new rocket attacks this morning were memers of the Israeli Arab community. Does Hamas give a rat’s ass about that? Why should they? They know that the Western media will let people assume that it’s just a couple more dead Jews, so what’s the big deal?

      1. I’m aware of Malgorzata’s reporting on the evictions. It’s great background info. But I expect the Palestinians would not agree with it. This in some ways goes back to the two-state solution, the pre-1967 borders which the UN and rest of the world tried for a long time to push and which Israel (and the PLO…and Hamas…) rejected, which thus leaves the sovereignty of that part of Jerusalem in dispute. Hamas doesn’t recognize the landowners’ claim because they don’t consider the land part of Israel. No UN treaty considers that part of Israel. The borders drawn on the map when Israel was formed don’t consider that part of Israel. And before Trump, the US was pretty neutral on the question. In opposition to that, Israel has considered it part of Israel, held practical control over it, and administered it for the past 50 or so. But should we accept that? Pause before saying yes: should we accept Crimea is part of Russia? Should we accept Tibet is part of China?


        I don’t have any solution for this. The two-state solution is essentially dead. Neither Israel nor Hamas want it. So I expect we will see more killings by Hamas and retaliations by Israel, in a seemingly never-ending tit for tat. This low-level war will continue for the forseeable future. Israel will continue to expand it’s territory, and this will cause a violent response. But even if they stopped expanding, Hamas and the Palestinians would violently attack them anyway, for the ‘crime’ of existing.

        1. According to the final British Mandate for Palestine (the original one encompassed both todays Jordan, Israel, West Bank and Gaza) and San Remo binding decision by the League of Nation the area east of Jordan River was supposed to be for Palestinian Arabs (all Jews were immediately ethnicly cleansed) and the whole area west of Jordan River for the Jews (nobody ethnicly cleansed Arabs from this part of the Mandate). The UN Karta endorsed this decision. UN’s resolution about the partition of the land west of the River was advisory and not binding until both parties agreed to it. Jews agreed, Arabs rejected it. Ergo, the resolution was null and void. Directly after Ben Gurion’s announcement about the establishemnt of the State of Israel five Arab armies invaded Israel with the intention of “pushing the Jews into sea”. They didn’t manage, however Jordan (with British arms and with British commanding officers) managed to take a big part of the land which was to be Jewish National Home according to still the only binding international legal document: the one from San remo.

        2. The problem with that “1967 border” is that it was never a border, but just a cease-fire line when the Israeli forces stopped the Jordanian army. The border was going to be sorted out by mutual agreement, but that never happened because the Arab League vowed never to negotiate with Israel or even to recognize it.

        3. “The borders drawn on the map when Israel was formed don’t consider that part of Israel. ”

          Sorry, that is completely false. The borders of Israel on May 14th, 1948 are precisely those on the only map that matters – that of the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine Commission. Exactly how the borders of all seventeen Mandate nations were drawn. And those borders DO consider that (The West Bank) part of Israel, because they drew the eastern border of Israel right down the center of the Jordan River.

          “No UN treaty considers that part of Israel.”

          The UN has never made a treaty, because the UN can not make any treaty. It can not make a border, nor make a nation. The UN does not have the powers that the League of Nations had.

          1. The borders of Israel on May 14th, 1948 are precisely those on the only map that matters – that of the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine Commission

            Show me. Specifically, show me a map made by the League of Nations that grants control of Jerusalem to Israel. It doesn’t exist.
            Here is a sequence of maps from the beeb. The league of nations tried to make Jerusalem an international city. Then the green line divided the city. At no point in history did the League or it’s successors, or most of the international community, or even the two sides attempting to develop a cease-fire or treaty, ever recognize Israel’s claim to the entire city. Israel has insisted since early on that the entire city is theirs. In practice, they control it. Trump recognized this claim. That is all the authority there is on the subject. Implying that Israel has a right to the entire city based on the foundational documents of the country is wrong and ahistorical; that was never part of any of the foundational agreements or any of the cease-fires agreed to during the conflicts.

            This is one of the most intractable issues of the two-state solution. Both sides are firmly set in insisting the territory of east Jerusalem belongs to them. And unlike settlements, this is not something that can be laid at the feet of Israeli hardliners or Netanyahu; you can go back to Rabin and find the same non-negotiable stance. So i really don’t see any resolution to it any time soon.

            1. The Green line is from 1967. And you have confused the United Nations for the League of Nations. The divided city was from the 1947 UN Partition plan – which was a proposal, not a legal partition, because the UN has zero power to make an actual partition. The Beeb was presenting a partition proposal – which was rejected – as if it resulted in a treaty which would have resulted in a bona fide map change. There was no such treaty. Your strong sentiments are based on deep misunderstandings.

              Malgorzata gives you the official map from the League of Nations, which resulted in the actual borders of Israel on 1948.

  5. I disagree about Dresden. It was not a direct attack on civilians. While I don’t agree with the strategy, the Royal Air Force used area bombardment to destroy housing and infrastructure in an attempt to undermine the workers ability to do their jobs in supporting the war effort. (The United States Army Air Forces rejected this strategy in favor of precision bombardment of key industries, although they did do what amounted to area bombardment when conditions required it. They abandoned the practice of precision bombardment against Japan, where conditions both operationally and industrially were very different.) If the RAF had targeted civilians, they would have been at pains to make their raids a surprise so that people could not get to cover, and to target things like air raids shelters. As to whether Dresden was an appropriate target, it was a major communications center for the Eastern Front at that point in the war (in fact the Soviets asked for Dresden to be targeted), and had many industries turning out war material. The enduring myth of Dresden started with Goebbels.

    1. I suspect Dresden is a ‘worked example’ of the Trolley problem in philosophy.

      There are people who argue that the Germans never intended to bomb British civilians, but did so by mistake. Perhaps so… but when you are in an existential war with another country Britain couldn’t fail to respond (and perhaps was too aghas tnot to).

      Pass over the Blitz and the corresponding bombing of German cities, various invasions, various counter attacks, attempts to sink food supplies and destroy shipping… towards the culmination of the war, area bombing of a civilian city might easily have been seen a horrible but necessary cost of ending the war.

      Perhaps Dresden was the bulky man on the bridge you push onto the track to stop the trolley and save a greater number of lives. Not a pleasant thought at all.

  6. Headlines and often stories in the conventional media often emphasize the much greater toll of Palestinian as oppose to Israeli casualties—leading to the implication for naive readers that Israel is
    the aggressor, or is at the least guilty of “disproportionate” military response.

    I submit, therefore, that a tabulation of military deaths in World War II demonstrates that Poland, France, and the UK were the aggressors, and Germany the victim; or, at the least, that the allies were
    guilty of “disproportionate” behavior against the poor, victimized Third Reich. Here are the figures, from

    Military deaths in WWII:

    Poland: 240,000 France: 217,600 UK: 383,600

    Germany: 5,533,000

    1. I agree with your general premise, but Russia’s 23,000,000 military deaths negates your WW2 analogy.

  7. When it comes to issues of identity politics and Israel, mainstream media can’t be trusted to present a fair picture…..and not just mainstream media. It is a mass of sins of omissions and commissions.

    I believe it was 2006? when Hezbollah and Israel warred. Journalistically, it was an eye-opening moment when I realized that the NYTimes would portray Israeli soldiers looking recumbent and out of uniform, etc…..looking like losers. But the photographs of Hezbollah soldier were those of military alertness and competence.

    From that moment on, my trust of the NYTimes sank to near nothingness and soon after cancelled my subscription as I saw other examples of that kind misreporting throughout its pages.

    1. I have been watching CNN, and it is really jaw-droppingly blatant how one-sided the reporting is. It is all about buildings coming down in Gaza, Gazans being made homeless by bombs, and so on. It is sometimes begrudgingly noted that they are homeless but not dead because they had a warning from the IDF, which tries to save enemy civilians even when their own government puts them in harm’s way. It is like being on a jury and hearing only several cases for the prosecution and little, if anything, for the defence. Doesn’t anybody notice this? Does anybody think this is a fair way to report a conflict? I am always baffled by this.

  8. A thought on proportionality – Dresden, the fire bombing of Tokyo and the nuclear attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Sherman’s march through the South, all of these are, I would think, war at a different level. The idea is, that even if all concerned believe the war to have been won, the losing side has no intention of conceding. So, it would be considered strategically justified to attack the civilians so as to end their will to resist. Not to do so would drag out the war for much longer than necessary. I’m not defending it, just pointing out that it is a different kettle of fish.

    1. Quite so. The US in 1945 didn’t know how the war could be ended.

      The navy said blockade, which was already starving Japanese civilians; the airforce said bombing, which was already incinerating Japanese civilians; the army said invasion, which would have obliterated civilians in the crowded coastal plains, either by bombardment or by infantry aware of Japanese propaganda about 100m people ready to die for the Emperor: Okinawa had given both the army and navy a depressing foretaste of the likely costs of an invasion.

      Allied POWs in Japanese hands were threatened with mass execution in the event of an invasion and already dying in sizeable numbers; at least 100k Asian civilians, mostly Chinese, were dying every month the war continued – but even after Nagasaki and the Soviet attack in Manchuria the war cabinet split evenly on surrender.

  9. The whole world has ‘not turned against Israel’. The rest of the world hardly cares. If you’re not involved, it’s a really stupid conflict between two parties incapable of making peace. And yes, if you evict Palestinians from their land, you do not want peace, just like Hamas does not want peace.

  10. Has anyone here taken even a second to consider the role of the Jewish state in allowing settlers to takeover homes legally occupied by Palestinian families? This has been an ongoing issue that has continued to fester and has hobbled efforts to come to anything approaching a just settlement. It would also appear to have been central to this latest outbreak of violence. Given the blatantly one-sided, pro-Israel actions of Trump and Kushner, no one any longer takes seriously American claims to be acting in good faith when it comes to Israel-Palestinian relations.

    1. About “the role of the Jewish state in allowing settlers to takeover homes legally occupied by Palestinian families”–but they are often not “legally occupied”. In the present case they are being evicted because they haven’t paid their rent. The already complicated laws of land ownership (sometimes going back to Ottoman times) were made extra complicated by the Jordanian occupation of much of the original state of Israel for 19 years during which they destroyed synagogues and drove out Jewish residents. When Israel regained the land in 1967 it was now inhabited by Arab ex-Jordanians who were living in houses that had belonged to Israelis before they were thrown out. I think this kind of thing is the cause of much of the problem in Judea and Samaria (conveniently renamed the West Bank when Trans-Jordan seized it and became just “Jordan”). Ditto “East Jerusalem”, which had never been separate from Jerusalem except for the 19 years when Jordan expelled Jews and destroyed 50+ synagogues. Sorting out the deeds and land-ownership questions would be a headache even without riots and Hamas rockets.

      1. Do you have a more complete history on these? I haven’t seen this before and was wondering where you found the information.

        1. It’s hardly a state secret! These facts are very well known and long established. There is a vast bibliography–some of it accurate, some not so much. I recommend Alan Dershowitz, The Case for Israel, for some specific points, also Ephraim Karsh. NOT Ilan Pappe, whose view of history is that it should conform to one’s ideological agenda (I mean, he has said that in so many words). Please do read some reputable history–it is much more interesting than you would guess from all the ill-informed opinion in circulation..

          1. Thank you for the book recommendations, most of the descriptions of the evictions from mainstream news seems to frame the dispute as though they were being carried out to make way for “jewish settlers”. Little information was provided as to the legal status of the properties or the court cases going back decades.

            Googling can be difficult on the topic of Israel as the anti-Israel groups have had such success in getting their version of events accepted as fact.

            1. Another good book that addresses a huge variety of relevant topics is Myths and Facts by Mitchell Bard. I think it is online as well as in paper.

  11. My thoughts on this are strictly my own. I do not have a dog in this hunt but have generally been in favor of what Israel has done since the 67 war. I believe there came a time maybe back in the 80s or 90s when the possibility for a settlement was possible. However, that possibility never happened and the chance for anything since then has only become worst. The 2 state solution is gone and frankly the United States is not the place to accomplish anything good. Why some people think so I do not understand. The U.S. is in turmoil and cannot find their backside with both hands so that is not going to happen. The enemies are going to need to look elsewhere and I do not know if that is possible. After so many years it does not seem, from actions taken by either side, that anything but continued war is in the cards. So the question I cannot answer is, what could any country do that would resolve this mess?

  12. Here is the root atrocity: theocracy.

    Until it is obliterated, this will continue. After all, if you politics is rooted in God, your God, it cannot be wrong.

    There should be no Jewish State. No Christian State. No Muslim State.

    Someone should put a large dome on the entire Middle East and impose a secular, minimalist government. You can be a citizen and practice your irrational beliefs, but don’t dare to invoke “God” in law.

    [this still does not solve the private atrocity: adults can and do indoctrinate their offspring into theism, automatically setting them up for both hate and victimization.]

  13. Reply to Nivtric (#9 above): it was never ‘their land’. It was land expropriated by the occupying Jordanian forces in Jerusalem at the end of their failed invasion of Israel, along with four other armies, from Jewish families whose title to the properties was issued by the authorities from the late Ottoman occupation of the Levant. Try looking a bit at the history, eh?

    See also the legal details of the case involving these properties in 1982 as reported in Malgorzata’s reply to Gerdian de Jong, post #6 in the post, ‘The blood libel of the Onion’ from yesterday.

      1. Your reply makes no sense whatever. There was a legal title issued by the Ottoman authorities that validated the Jewish owners’ rights to that property by purchase. How does ‘equality before the law implies it should be valid for all groups’ have anything to do with this simple fact? What are you talking about here?

        I think it’s pretty clear that Jerry’s diagnosis here is spot on.

        1. Not just the Ottoman authorities, but various regulations under the League of Nations and the British Mandate for Palestine. Often land was bought from absentee landlords living in Damascus or Cairo. It was often scrubby unproductive land and the landlords were delighted to have some gullible Jews willing to pay more than the land was worth. I think this is part of the myth that “Palestinians” were driven off their land by Jews–they weren’t the owners in the first place. A good rule of thumb is: Whatever you know or have heard about the history of the region, rest assured it is more complicated! (That goes for me, too.)

          1. “A good rule of thumb is: Whatever you know or have heard about the history of the region, rest assured it is more complicated! (That goes for me, too.)” – Me too, agreed absolutely!

          2. The legal disputes are complicated, and both sides claim that the other’s documentation is forged or otherwise legally invalid in some way.

            Given the decades of legal arguments between the experts in the field I see no hope for the rest of us in reaching an impartial viewpoint. And even if the law could be decided to everyone’s satisfaction (of course, it can’t), there’s then the religious dimension…

            In divided societies, where oddly enough each side usually has vastly more in common than they are willing to admit to, it is very hard to see how any meaningful reconciliation can be achieved. More than two decades on from the Good Friday Agreement (or Belfast Agreement – even the terminology can be contested) the so-called “Peace Walls” still separate the (predominantly) catholic and protestant communities in Northern Ireland and were the scenes of violent clashes earlier this year. Peace is fragile and the leaders of competing communities know what buttons to press when they want to trigger a reaction if they think that it is to their advantage or if a distraction from internal events is deemed necessary.

    1. Sorry, but the UN is fixated on demonizing Israel. Palestine has given the world FAR FAR more reason to criticize it, and they don’t want criticism.
      The difference is that the Israeli media is often criticizing the government, but Palestinian media isn’t allowed to.

      You are completely neglecting Palestine here in your rush to demonize Israel. And why is Israel, among all the world’s countries, the subject of the vast majority of UN resolutions? It’s not because Israel behaves the worst of all countries, believe me. (cf. Palestine, Iran, North Korea, Syria, etc. etc. etc. etc. ).

  14. The NYT bias against the state of Israel is consistent with a peculiar feature of its reporting during World War II: this was its downplaying of the Third Reich’s project of exterminating all Jews as a people (see: ). This reporting bias seems bizarre in retrospect, such as an account which managed to “tell the story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising without mentioning Jews.”

    Laurel Leff, whose book “Buried by the Times” exposed this oddly slanted reporting in the newspaper, postulated that it reflected the “assimilationist” views of publisher Arthur Hays Sulzberger. He belonged to an established, German-Jewish NY family, followed Reform Judaism, and believed that Judaism “was only a religion and that Jews were neither a race nor a people any more than Presbyterians or Methodists.” From that point of view, Israel as a Jewish state would make no more sense than the idea of a Presbyterian state. This attitude, or its underlying assumption, has apparently persisted in his newspaper for many decades.

  15. I disagree with the assumption that ” the whole world seems to have turned against Israel in the past few days.” For example, the British Foreign Minister said Israel had an absolute legitimate right of self-defence (according to The Guardian). German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that “the rocket attack on Israel is absolutely unacceptable and must end immediately. Israel has in this situation the right to self-defence. This escalation of violence can be neither tolerated nor accepted.” (according to France24). White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that President Joe Biden’s supports for “Israel’s security, for its legitimate right to defend itself and its people, is fundamental and will never waver”. (according to France24), The reactions of EU and of the International Criminal Court sound pro-Palestinian. The reports in Le Monde and in The Guardian seem to be quite balanced. The reports of TASS (Russian News Agency) look balanced, but Putin’s reaction sounds pro-Palestinian. Therefore, the general picture of the world’s reactions is not clear-cut.

    1. I was just making a throwaway statement and though I do appreciate the corrections, the disapprobation of America’s left-wing media for Israel was my primary point there, though the MAIN point, which nobody seems to be addressing, is how Israel seems to be denied the right to defend itself.

      People are concentrating on these small nits and not on the main thesis. But I do appreciate your summary!

  16. If Israeli armed forces came to my home and threw me out because of some stupid Israeli court decision, Hamas would have a much easier time to convince me it’s okay to shoot rockets at Israeli cities.

    Hamas is a tool of Netanyahu and other corrupt, rich politicians. Netanyahu’s life is never in danger, and he doesn’t give a fuck about Israelis dying. Every time his corruption profits are threatened, he gives Israeli “settlers” green light to harass Arabs, knowing it would give Hamas an excuse to shoot their rockets and start a new round of violence. Israel has a nazi problem just as big as Arabs.

    1. This comments seems so totally ignorant and written with malice that I don’t know how to answer. So there was no protracted court case (from 1970s until now, with many suggestion to compromise on the way) – no, to this anonymous author Israeli armed forces just came and started to evict people!

      Hamas is a tool of Netanyahu! Settlers harass Arabs and not the other way round (I suspect that those three Israeli teenagers shot at in the beginning of current riots, with one of them already dead and the two others fighting for their life in hospital were NOT shot by Arabs but by… settlers? maybe Netanyahu personally?) This Anonymous either is full of oldfashioned Judenhass or he smoked something exceptionally strong.

    2. This is one of the dumbest and most obtuse comments I’ve seen on this website. In fact, I would urge you to go spew your mush at some other website. Nazi problem my tuchas. .

    1. I managed five paragraphs before I had to quit in disgust at how unbalanced it was against Israel. When he characterized Palestinian-glorified terrorists who get lifetime salaries by using murder tunnels to slaughter Israelis as “lone wolves”, I couldn’t take it anymore.

      Newsweek should be ashamed of themselves.

    2. Thanks for directing us to this article and asking for a response. I have now read it, and it is not quite as bad as it could be, perhaps because this Gazan is living in Sweden and can hazard the odd criticism of Hamas without facing immediate retribution. He begins with an emotional appeal based on devastation, dead children, crowded hospitals, blood everywhere. This may or may not be true, but Israel does not purposely target civilians and Hamas does. This would also be the scene in Israel if not for bomb shelters. (We never hear about Hamas bomb shelters. Can it be that part of their strategy is dead and wounded civilians in spite of Israel’s best efforts to prevent it? For years we have seen how that plays in the media.) So he is saying that alleged police brutality in Jerusalem prompts Hamas to “fire a barrage of projectiles into civilian neighborhoods”. As for those “lone wolf attacks” by Palestinians. The PA dictatorship has created what amounts to a DIY army by continuous propaganda against Israel and Jews. Little children at school sing about growing up to be suicide bombers and kill Jews. Public information bulletins explain the best way to hold a knife to stab someone. Anyone who succeeds in killing an Israeli is handsomely rewarded by the PA (the same PA that needs hand-outs from the rest of the world because it can’t afford medicine or infrastructure). The author tells us about the forceful eviction of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, but he neglects to say that the dispute concerns two properties where the residents have not paid their rent. It’s not even about ownership of the properties. There are “settler attacks on Palestinians across the West Bank”, but the shoe is really on the other foot. We hear that some Jewish hotheads have chanted “Death to Arabs!”, but he doesn’t mention that before that crowds of Arabs were chanting “Death to Jews”. As so often with the Palestinian account of events, it boils down to “It all started when he hit me back!”

  17. As far as I can see, the Israeli strikes are aimed at legitimate military targets and at individuals with military roles. Yesterday, Islamic Jihad confirmed that the head of the group’s special rocket unit, Samah Abed al-Mamlouk. and two other senior figures were killed in a strike on a building in central Gaza. Given the numerous rocket attacks on Israel, the response would seem to have been targeted and justifiable. It should also be noted that Israel warned the occupants of a Gaza tower block to evacuate well in advance of attacking it. Any civilian casualties of the strikes are accidental, albeit inevitable, and regretted.

    By contrast, the Palestinian rockets are fired randomly at Israeli civilian areas without any meaningful warning, and are killing both Palestinians and Israelis. It is hard to discern a military strategy behind the rocket attacks beyond intentional terrorism of the citizens they are “aimed” (I use the term loosely) at.

  18. I caught the tail end of an interview on NPR’s afternoon coverage – the interviewer had a British accent, so guessing a PRI clip. He was interviewing a Hamas bigwig, and it was a very stern interview. It was uncomfortable to listen to, with the Hamas rep just barreling through the talking points, not answering the question, etc. The interviewer did not let up in asking how it was protecting the Palestinian people if they know Israel is going to retaliate. There was no satisfactory answer.

  19. I support Israel and the biased coverage is nothing new. Unfortunately, it is to be expected and is the norm. The thing that disappoints me most about the coverage is that there is never any mention of Iran. The rogue, terrorist-sponsoring state supplies Hamas with the rockets that are fired at Israel. Iran seems to be more emboldened lately… I wonder why?

    1. Always confused when trying to leave comments on my phone as to whether the comment will land under other comments or the primary post, which is my intent.

      I appreciate the discussion. The anti-semitism in the media is glaring and painful, so much so that I can barely tune in.

      Why is this sort of anti-semitism an ages-long, perennial problem? It strikes me as the epitome of unchecked envy, glorified as a twisted (and deadly) moral virtue; sanctioned sadism.

      1. I see my comment landed as a nested one. But I had wanted to just generally comment. Please interpret it as a general remark and not one about the thread it placed itself in.

  20. I don’t agree with the thesis. From the Wikipedia article on 2016’s Resolution 2334, citing the UN:

    The resolution [2016] states that Israel’s settlement activity constitutes a “flagrant violation” of international law and has “no legal validity”. It demands that Israel stop such activity and fulfill its obligations as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention. — Resolution 2334

    It’s not factually correct, according to the UN, that Israel is merely defending itself. That does not mean that I approve of Palestians firing missles, or that Israel cannot fight back against such missle attacks. I cast doubt on the premise that Israel is unfairly criticised because of anti-semitism. It’s a sort of war, and it cannot be understood by looking at a snapshot of who is firing at a given moment.

    It’s rather a complicated situation full of greys. The important players, including the USA, never agreed to a neat solution. Various parties appear to have interest in this conflict continuing. The cost in human lives are apparently deemed acceptable. Overall, the conflict draws a lot of international money in, as support, as charity, and is profitable (e.g. for arms dealers), and also furthers nationalistic aims in the region.

    Israel is commendable as a modern democracy. Its expansion and unsolved situation with Palestine, and its support from far right parties or think tanks internationally does allow for legitimate criticism. The conflict also rose to a “matter of general interest” so that opinions unfavourable to Israel are not automatically a sign of anti-semitism.

    1. Aneris, you’re seriously offering UN resolutions as having some kind of moral authority to pass judgment on Israel? The same UN whose Human Rights Council seats China, Russia, Pakistan and Cuba as members and which just elected Iran to the Council on the Status of Women? That UN??

      1. The UN security council is composed of six permanent members: China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States — i.e. “Great Powers” who have veto rights.

        Ten states are temporary and rotate every two years. In 2016 these were: Angola, Egypt, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal, Spain, Ukraine, Uruguay and Venezuela.

        What you wrote is of course a triple red herring. First, the UN is composed of whoever is sent there by the countries, including the USA. Secondly, the security council is not the same as the human rights council, neither in composition nor in its aims. And third, even the “sameness” is changing all the time, based on what happens bottom up in the member states, who gets send, who is voted in.

        The position of each state is listed in the article, please do read the US position. The US diplomat there was John Kerry acting on behalf of the US.

        “The United States did in fact vote in accordance with our values, just as previous administrations have done,” Mr Kerry said. “The vote in the United Nations was about preserving the two-state solution. That’s what we were standing up for.”

        Mr Kerry pointed to the official position of Mr Netanyahu, who has said he supports a two-state solution. Yet, the top US diplomat said that the Israeli leader was allowing himself to he directed by extremists in his government – “the most right-wing in Israel’s history”. — — Source, Independent, 12/28/2016

        1. The problem here is that the UN – all aspects of the UN from the General Assembly to the ICC – are political animals, not necessarily objective ones. Just like US administrations. With specific regard to 2334, it is very difficult to “occupy” territory which actually belongs to you under real International law – law which has nothing to do with the UN.

          Israel has always, albeit quietly, claimed sovereignty over these territories, as everything from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean is within its 1948 borders. Which is why I did my level best to investigate whether that position is justified. I found that it most definitely IS justified, and that the position of the UN necessitates that it disregards its own founding precepts as well as its positions regarding other countries around the world. In other words, the UN is not a disinterested party.

          I would suggest doing your own deep dive into these issues, and to stop regarding UN Resolutions as necessarily grounded in good faith.

          1. Jerry’s thesis was that “Jews have always been condemned for defending themselves [and] this comes from pervasive anti-Semitism”. My argument was that member states in the UN security council have criticised Israel, too, including the USA (rather sharply) and that this shows that it is perhaps not all anti-semitism. However, Jerry was framing Israel’s actions as merely defensive, while several UN resolutions going back decades don’t accept that framing, including the recent one from 2016.

            The argument of yours and the poster before has been that the UN is disreputable or that their opinions (arguably the highest political body) should not count. Rather than using the correct argument you are defending, namely, that the motive is anti-semitism, you have introduced a few vaguer terms by writing that all aspects of the UN are “not necessarily objective ones” that the UN aren’t a “disinterested party” and that such UN Resolutions aren’t “necessarily grounded in good faith”. The question is: are you therefore saying that they are all anti-semites?

            In case you don’t, my point sails through unconcerned. I never argued the UN states are disinterested, objective or acting “in good faith” because I reject such notions altogether on this level of organisation, and import. It’s beside the point. I believe however that their decisions are not driven by anti-semitism, which was the question at hand.

            1. It’s a matter of what controls the political aspect. The Muslim world, the Arab nations, and their petrochemical interests use their influence to control and direct the political narrative. They are the largest bloc in the UN. And, yes, they are by nature antisemitic and virulently anti-Israel. The UN is undeniably biased against Israel, and you can trace their bias back through 1948.

          2. +2, RL—took the words right out of my mouth!

            Aneris’ first post is totally dependent for its coherence on the moral authority of the UN; my reply provided evidence that the organization in fact has no such moral authority, with some of the worst human and women’s rights abusers given status on the UN agencies supposedly dedicated to the elimination of such abuses worldwide. In reply, I get a quite unneeded primer on basic facts about the internal structure of the UN, which is about as irrelevant to the question of the outfit’s ethical integrity as you can get—unless, of course, you want to make the case that the moral foundations of the UN Security council membership is completely different from that of the associated rights agencies. Well, let’s see: out of the three heavies amongst the permanent membership, we have China, responsible for the 60+ years of brutal occupation and efforts to submerge indigenous Tibetan culture and political autonomy, and Russia, whose behavior in Ukraine speaks for itself. Anyone seriously want to argue that the General Assembly of the UN, its Security Council and its satellite special agencies represent any more than the ruthless calculus of Realpolik in action? Like, seriously?

            And the point that the language in which the Obama administration and various European government framed the argument against Israel in terms that didn’t use the language of Der Stürmer is supposed to show that, ‘no indeed, anti-Semitism, us? Not guilty!’ Would anyone rationally expect them to express that attitude explicitly? But just look at the political relationships that that administration and those Euro governments worked so hard to cultivate with Iran, which has repeatedly threatened Israel with annihilation. Have any of them ever expressed anything like the same endless focus on Israel’s supposed crimes with respect to the the various actually repressive authoritarian states in the Middle East? Funny that the only Jewish nation-state in the world is consistently held to blame for pretty much every failure of its antagonists’ own societies. There were red herrings aplenty in our previous exchange, but they weren’t in my post.

            We’re not talking about the lofty language of the outfit’s founding charter; we’re talking about reality, including Obama’s personal animus against Netanyahu (and let’s not even get started on Kerry’s role in diplomacy which effectively shifted the whole moral burden of the Palestine-Israel conflict to Israel’s shoulders). The UN shows perfectly, in its nasty workings, that the inversion of Clausewitz’ aphorism is equally true: diplomacy is an extension of war by other means.

            1. Does Russia’s “behavior in Ukraine” in any way establish their anti-semitism towards Israel? If so, it’s not apparent. Also, Ukraine was a member in 2016. That doesn‘t add up. What about China’s “60+ years of brutal occupation and efforts to submerge indigenous Tibetan culture”, how does that establish their anti-semitism? Again, not apparent to me. What are the heinous crimes of New Zealand that made them join in on the resolution? I don‘t recall any, and it doesn‘t like a pattern.

              You simply forgot the USA and their carpet bombing with chemical weapons in three Asian countries, the countless regime changes, helping dictators everywhere, or the war crimes in Iraq more recently, and so on. Would any of this establish their anti-semitism against Israel? Again, it doesn‘t.

              Because that’s all whataboutery. But this shows how your argument works: For the US, it’s not their heinous foreign policy, as is for Russia or China, but here you switch to a different reason: it’s “Obama’s personal animus against Netanyahu”.

              What are the reasons then for close cooperations between Israel and Europe, or with many other countries? You now somehow need to carve out special rules why the ties are generally good and close, but once the states enter the UN security council the anti-semitism rears its ugly head.

  21. I am happy to see commenters here that seem to understand the history of the Palestinian tenant conflict that set off the latest spate of violence.
    My view, from experience in Israel, is that there is no possibility of a two-state solution. Even if every Jew in Israel elected to move into one square mile in the most desolate and isolated part of the Negev, The Palestinians would almost immediately start fighting to expel the Jews from there, and to drive them into the sea.
    And in response to Aneris23, it does always seem to be based in antisemitism. It is a complicated form of antisemitism, as many of it’s adherents are of Jewish heritage. Some claim that is is really about facets of the Israeli government, but often those beliefs are formed after exposure to propaganda produced with the aim of creating those specific biases.
    The intent of Palestinian and affiliated media reports are exactly the same as the motivation behind the publishing of “Der Giftpilz” in 1938.
    When US media repeat those claims uncritically, they are complicit in the results.

  22. Aneris, you’re seriously offering UN resolutions as having some kind of moral authority to pass judgment on Israel? The same UN whose Human Rights Council seats China, Russia, Pakistan and Cuba as members and which just elected Iran to the Council on the Status of Women? That UN??

  23. The more I’ve read on this topic, the less I think I understand it. And I’m struck at how certain people are about it and what ought to be done and who has the moral high ground. Seems like an intractable mess to me.

    While I get the impression that some on the Left won’t be happy until Israel is dismantled (there can be no two state solution because Israel can’t be trusted), some of the concerns about the extent of Israeli aggression in “defending themselves”, or expanding their territory, or denying rights to Palestinians, seem reasonable reactions to what’s going on. And those concerns are similarly in line with what’s expressed about US foreign policy.

    1. “The more I’ve read on this topic, the less I think I understand it. And I’m struck at how certain people are about it and what ought to be done and who has the moral high ground. Seems like an intractable mess to me.”

      That sentiment is certainly understandable. Google is not your friend on this topic, as the misinformation is rampant.

      I took a year to research this topic. I went back to source documents, trying to understand just whose land was Israel. And the more I read, the more clear it became to me that the only entity to the sovereign claim on this land was the Jews and Israel. UN Resolutions, the ICC proclamations, the various claims of the so-called Palestinians are all red herrings.

      What it boils down to, for me, were two issues:

      1) What part of Palestine rightfully belongs to Arabs, and what part to the Jews

      2) What were the legal borders under International law of Israel on May14th, 1948.

      You have to go back to 1918 to understand how these questions are properly answered. Not 2021, not 1967, not 1948. 1918.

      1. This is where I feel it’s an intractable mess – I’m not sure how one begins to say that religions or ethnicities can have an inherent right to a land without at least some arbitrary designation that usually to my mind comes across as post hoc rather than something that would be agreed upon by a neutral observer.

        It’s funny when I looked into the history, I came to the opposite conclusion – that there were scores of people illegitimately dispossessed from their land. How did you decide that they didn’t matter from a moral standpoint?

        1. “I’m not sure how one begins to say that religions or ethnicities can have an inherent right to a land without at least some arbitrary designation that usually to my mind comes across as post hoc rather than something that would be agreed upon by a neutral observer.”

          You get the entire world to vote on it. That is what happened after the previous owner – the Ottoman Empire – ceded the land for this very purpose.

        2. “It’s funny when I looked into the history, I came to the opposite conclusion – that there were scores of people illegitimately dispossessed from their land. How did you decide that they didn’t matter from a moral standpoint?”

          The Arabs who became refugees – almost all of them – moved by their own volition at the behest of the invading Arab armies so that the genocide of the Jews could proceed apace. Their fate rests solely on the shoulders of the Arab nations – who then refused to allow them to immigrate in order to promulgate the very issue that troubles you. And you don’t have to take my word for it – here is Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority, saying exactly that:

          1. There is a really touching passage in, I think, “A Land of Our Own”, where David Ben Gurion asks Golda Meir to go to the Haifa docks as a last-ditch effort to ask Arabs not to leave. The reply she got then and on other occasions leading up to the 1947-48 hostilities was that “we know you won’t hurt us, but the Arab invaders certainly will because they will think we are traitors and they will kill us.” The brave ones who stayed put became Israeli citizens and the others turned into eternal “refugees”.

  24. We in ‘civilized’ society should be careful about feeling smugly self-righteous as we look down our figurative noses to condemn the evil acts of one racial/ethnic/religious/cultural group or another. I once heard a philosophy professor say (in a television documentary) that all of us should avoid believing that we, as human beings, are not inherently predisposed to committing an atrocious act. Contrary to what is claimed or felt by many of us, he said, deep down there’s a tyrant in each of us that, under the right circumstances, can be unleashed.

    While some identifiable groups have been severely victimized throughout history a disproportionately large number of times, the victims of one place and time can/do become the victimizers of another. I’m not one who holds much faith in the Bible, but I still give credence to the claim within (a verse somewhere stating) that base human nature is indeed “desperately wicked”. And maybe even more so when convinced ‘God is on our side’.

  25. Let’s recap, the thesis to discuss was whether criticism of Israel is anti-semitic, as critics don’t allow Jews to defend themselves. I cited the UN Resolution issued by a security council stacked with international members and “Great Powers” showing that the framing of self-defence is not internationally recognised. It includes the USA and other states that are not generally seen as anti-semitic. If they are also anti-semites, the whole lot from New Zealand to the USA, I’d like to see this substantiated.

    I never argued that the UN has a moral high ground. This was a security council stacked with “Great Powers” and random countries. I am also probably the last commenter in this section who would ever argue moralistically in big politics, as you have done. Foreign politics isn’t about Good Guys and Bad Guys, and being critical of one country is not endorsement of whoever is deemed the opposite.

    I think you have conceded the point already by saying that the UN is motivated by all sorts of national interests. If that this is the case, you also say they aren’t apparently motivated by anti-semitism.

    1. Strange, this was supposed to be a reply to Type Logician but this particular comment is not visible here, but it is in the wordpress reader, it starts

      Sigh. Look: your original post cites the various UN resolutions and declarations as though they reflected something other than the realpolitikal calculation of the players. The only basis for doing that entails that UN resolutions and so on actually have some kind of objective status as ethical judgments. […]

      1. Aneris, I’m going to try one last time to get you to see the problem with the logic of your argument. My insistance that in your words ‘the UN is motivated by all sorts of national interests’ is not a concession that ‘they aren’t apparently motivated by anti-semitism’; rather, it’s the keystone of my argument that your citation of UN resolutions and statement and whatever cannot possibly constitute evidence against Jerry’s position, because those statements reflect only the cynical power politics of totally amoral diplomacy, and cannot be taken at face value with any plausibility at by anyone who looks at the composition of UN agencies from the ethical perspective that the organization pretends to follow (e.g., the Council on the Status of Women and Iran’s appointment thereto). It was you who challenged Jerry in the first place by referencing these UN declarations as though they constituted evidence against his position. But given that what actually motivates such statements is the need to posture in ways that conceal the agendas of competing states for power and leverage, they prove nothing whatever about the true motivation for such actions. Jerry is asserting that that true motivation is antisemitism, leveraged into a political force, and the truth of that assertion would be totally consistent with the UN declarations you keep referring to as though we could take them at face value. In a nutshell: UN statements have no bearing on the truth of what Jerry is alleging. They are purely self-serving cover-your-ass pieties intended to conceal the actual motivations involved, and hence have no bearing on what those motivations are. Jerry alleges anti-Semitism, and I find that very plausible. That is completely consistent with the morally empty UN SC declarations about self defense. Period.

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