Israel and Palestine, take 3.

May 13, 2021 • 9:00 am

I have two pieces to call to your attention, one by Bari Weiss and the other an announcement by an anti Israel NGO (non-governmental organization) showing the carnage inflicted on Palestinians by their own rockets. (Hamas has now started launching guided suicide drones.)

First, Ms. Weiss:


Weiss begins her piece by saying that she’s writing from a fertility clinic. She and her partner Nellie are trying to have a baby with IVF, and she ends her column saying this:

The truth needs people who are willing to stand up for it. It needs people willing to publicly resist moral perversion and nihilism. People willing to fight for a sane future.

That’s why I’m writing this. And it’s why we’re trying to start a family.

I suppose this means they’re trying to create a family of truth-tellers, but of course you can’t control how your kids turn out, and even that reason seems a bit strange to me. Regardless, Weiss, who says she wept while writing the column, is distraught over what’s going on in Israel—especially the internecine violence, which, giving the lie to a touted intra-Israel harmony between citizen Arabs and Jews, also discombobulates me. In the meantime she weeps for the lies sweeping the world. Just an excerpt (she doesn’t let Israel off the hook, either); Weiss’s words are indented

As you may have gathered, this complicated truth about a tiny country surrounded by enemies making hard decisions about how to protect its citizens doesn’t sell. Hamas, its paymasters in Iran, and their allies in the Western press know this well, and are skilled in exploiting every piece of bad news about Israel’s actions that they can to promote The Narrative (™).

The Narrative (™) holds that all Hamas’s violence is the justified reaction to the original sin of Israel’s existence. That if Israel only withdrew to the 1967 borders, if only Israel abandoned settlements in the West Bank, if only Israel split Jerusalem in half, and so on and so forth, Hamas would cease launching rockets aimed at Israeli homes and schools.

The Narrative (™) insists that Israel is not just an oppressive force, but the last standing bastion of colonialism in the Middle East, white interlopers in a foreign land squatting on the rightful territory of brown people. Israelis are baby killers, they are racists, they are supremacists. And Zionists? What are we? We are the facilitators of all this evil.

Never mind the fact that most Israeli Jews are not of Eastern-European descent, but are from the Middle East and North Africa. (The history of Israel, despite what facile activists would have you believe, is not color-coded.) Never mind the fact that Zionism flourished in defiance of imperial British — and, in an earlier era, Ottoman — rulers.

Never mind the fact that Palestinian militants have regularly partnered with large, powerful nation-states in the region in an attempt to cripple Israel. Never mind that the Jewish people have an indigenous history in the land dating back thousands of years, and that most Israeli citizens came back to the Holy Land in the last century because nowhere else would have them.

None of that matters to The Narrative (™) — a story about good and evil that has taken thousands of years to perfect in which the Jewish people, and now the Jewish State, plays the role of villian.

When you grasp the depth of The Narrative (™) it makes sense to watch the way certain kinds of lies spread like wildfire. Among them, this popular meme, in which we are told that Israel is not a country:

Sarkeesian is a blithering idiot. But wait! There’s more!

Or this viral video, which has been viewed 14 million times and is a total fraud:

. . . Take five minutes and read Hamas’s charter. It insists that “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad” and that “there is no way out except by concentrating all powers and energies to face this Nazi, vicious Tatar invasion.”

. . . Nevertheless, The Narrative (™) rockets around the world, with influencers like Bella Hadid and Dua Lipa and Halsey, and progressive darlings like Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush, Marc Lamont HillRashida Tlaib, and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, speaking in unison.

Even the smart celebrities are getting in on the action. Trevor Noah weighed in with this gem: “I just want to ask an honest question here. If you are in a fight where the other person cannot beat you, how much should you retaliate when they try to hurt you?”

Just so we have this straight: A country should accept a terrorist group launching deadly rockets at its civilian population because a comedian thinks that the terror group won’t win? If there was no Iron Dome, and more Israelis were killed by Hamas, would it be okay with the Noted Military Strategist Trevor Noah for Israel to . . . try to stop the rocket attacks? How many dead Israelis are necessary for a response to be OK? Did anyone have the temerity to tell America that we shouldn’t go after the Taliban or hunt Osama bin Laden after 9/11 because they had no realistic chance of destroying America?

. . . The world has gone Corbyn. Look online. When Andrew Yang, the frontrunner in the New York mayoral race, tweeted on Monday “I’m standing with the people of Israel,” AOC rallied the online hordes. The anodyne statement was, she said, “utterly shameful,” and the pile-on ensued. By Wednesday, Yang had all but apologized. The ratio is the new veto. How pathetic.

. . . . If you can’t stomach the whole thing —  there is a part about how the Jews were behind the French Revolution, the Communist revolution and control the media — watch this clip from last week of a senior Hamas official asking Palestinians to go out and buy five-shekel knives to chop off Jewish heads:


How come the Western media doesn’t publicize things like this? You don’t hear senior Israeli officials announcing imminent decapitations of Palestinians with cheap knives (5 shekels is about $1.50). But never mind—Palestinians have a right to call for decapitations because they’re oppressed. And we all know about the Jew hatred and Israel-destruction taught to Palestinian children from the time they are very young. They don’t do that in Israel. But never mind—Palestinians have a right to teach hatred and murder because they’re oppressed. (Perhaps Dr. King should have taken a lesson from Gaza!)

And one more piece, which shows that many people, including the dead children invariably imputed to IDF activities in news reports, are actually caused by malfunctioning Hamas rockets. This comes from an Israeli website reporting verbatim on news put out by an NGO (Defense for International Children Palestinian [DICP]) which is against Israel.

Defense for Children International-Palestine, an extraordinarily anti-Israel NGO which has made bald-faced lies in the past, has unwittingly proven that most of the children killed in Gaza so far have been killed by Hamas – and others are killed because they are human shields. A quote from the Israeli site which you can verify on the DICP site):

An Israeli drone-fired missile killed 15-year-old Mohammad Saber Ibrahim Suleiman shortly after 6 p.m. while he and his father Saber Ibrahim Mahmoud Suleiman were on their agricultural land outside the city of Jabalia, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International – Palestine. Father and son were both killed instantly. Mohammad’s body was subsequently transferred to the Indonesian hospital in Jabalia where doctors reported there were shrapnel wounds throughout his body.
Mohammad’s father was reportedly a commander in Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, a Palestinian armed group and the armed wing of Hamas, according to information collected by DCIP.
Mohammad was a human shield for his father. But what DCI-P admits next is amazing
In a second incident around 6:05 p.m., initial investigations suggest a homemade rocket fired by a Palestinian armed group fell short and killed eight Palestinians, including two children. The rocket landed in Saleh Dardouna Street near Al-Omari Mosque in Jabalia, North Gaza, according to evidence collected by DCIP. Mustafa Mohammad Mahmoud Obaid, 16, was killed in the blast, and five-year-old Baraa Wisam Ahmad al-Gharabli succumbed to his injuries around 11 p.m. on May 10.
Palestinian security sources and explosives experts indicated the cause of this explosion was a Palestinian armed group rocket that fell short. Another 34 Palestinian civilians were injured in the blast, including 10 children, according to DCIP’s documentation. 
Eight killed and 34 injured from one Hamas rocket.
Palestinian media reports 17 Palestinian children killed by Israel’s strikes. The totals above include 13 children killed by Hamas rockets. Were these counted as Israeli casualties?
And then:
Six Palestinian children and two adults were killed in a third blast that occurred around 6 p.m. in Beit Hanoun about 800 meters (2,600 feet) west of the Gaza Strip perimeter fence. Those killed included Rahaf Mohammad Attalla al-Masri, 10, and her cousin Yazan Sultan Mohammad al-Masri, 2; brothers Marwan Yousef Attalla al-Masri, 6, and Ibrahim Yousef Attalla al-Masri, 11; as well as Hussein Muneer Hussein Hamad, 11, and 16-year-old Ibrahim Abdullah Mohammad Hassanain, according to information collected by DCIP. When the blast occurred, members of the al-Masri family were reportedly harvesting wheat in the field outside their home, and their children were playing nearby, according to information collected by DCIP.
DCIP has not yet confirmed the cause of these deaths. At the time of the incident, Israeli drones and warplanes were reportedly overhead and Palestinian armed groups were firing homemade rockets towards Israel. DCIP continues to investigate these incidents to determine and identify the responsible parties.
The deaths of the al-Masri family was already confirmed by Israel on Tuesday as being from Hamas rockets. There was clearly no military target and Israel doesn’t randomly target a family – Israel diverts rockets when it sees children in the area, and they were outside.

Do not get me wrong: these are tragedies—self-inflicted ones, to be sure—but none the less tragic for that. The point is that all this misery then gets blamed directly on Israel, and finds its way into the Western media and the Internet.

Just remember, when people come on the internet, or make pronouncements like those of Trevor Noah or Anita Sarkeesian, more likely that not they know very little about what’s going on in Israel and almost nothing of the history of that country. (Alternatively, they could be ideologically blinkered.) I can’t say I’m an expert myself, but I do try to keep up. All I can say now, though, is that Israel has every right to defend itself against rockets from Gaza, but that one possible solution (a ground invasion of Gaza) seems untenable, while quashing an internecine civil war between Israeli citizens seems impossible. It’s ineffably sad that Israeli Jews and Arabs who once considered themselves friends and neighbors are now beating each other up and killing each other.

(h/t: Malgorzata)

65 thoughts on “Israel and Palestine, take 3.

  1. “the carnage inflicted on Palestinians by their own rockets.”

    Just another reminder: PZ Myers (2009 Humanist of the Year) suggests their rockets are “glorified fireworks” over at Pharyngula (the commentators there are engaging in all sorts of hate and antisemitism, BTW).

    The Hamas “glorified fireworks” have killed numerous people, Israeli and Palestinian, in the last few days.

    1. Yeah if they were glorified fireworks why do Israelis have to hide in shelters when they are fired towards them?

      1. The “glorified fireworks” part was rhetorical rather than a flat-out statement, but, that said, what Myers wrote was dismissive of the threat the rockets pose. For the record the full paragraph was:

        These things seem to be remarkably ineffective. Are they little more than glorified fireworks? I had to look them up on Wikipedia to get the basics, and yes, they are nasty little things I wouldn’t want fired in my general direction, but they aren’t useful weapons of war.

        1. Yeah “aren’t useful weapons of war” well maybe not in the long run but I think they are pretty effective. I wonder what the US response would be if Canada or Mexico started lobbing similar rockets into US border towns. I guarantee it wouldn’t be dismissive, it wouldn’t be “awww shucks we shouldn’t retaliate”.

        2. The V2 was pretty ineffective as a military weapon as well. But I don’t want one coming down anywhere near me.
          But ineffective does not mean that they are not terrible destructive. Like the V2, they only lack precision guidance.
          But the Palestinians are not really trying to engage IDF strongpoints. They are trying to hit neighborhoods. Unguided munitions work pretty well for that.

          1. Indeed! There was a bomb crater from a “doodlebug” just on the other side of the fence separating my junior school playing field from the woodland at the edge of the village I grew up in. By then, some twenty-odd years had elapsed but there were still residents who could remember the terror of the V-rocket attacks in southeast England.

            1. I would have been looking for bits of it whenever possible. I have a bit of a V-2 fin in a little display frame, but that one was used in postwar tests in New Mexico. It was still a pretty cool find.
              Of course, I recognize that it was probably not as much fun when you were in the landing zone.

    2. If memory serves, I recall M**rs supporting Dawkins’ excommunication from the American Humanist Association. The asterisks I’ve placed in his name reflect the feeling I get thinking of his anti-humanist, counterproductive moves on so many matters over the years.

  2. “Just so we have this straight: A country should accept a terrorist group launching deadly rockets at its civilian population because a comedian thinks that the terror group won’t win? ”

    Amazingly, the truth is even worse than that. Because that terrorist “group” is actually the government of Gaza. And the Palestinian government in Israel, the Palestinian Authority, also is a terrorist group. Google “Pay for Slay” if you are skeptical. The Palestinians are a people whose official governmental policy is terrorism.

    Because, they say, they are ‘oppressed’. How exactly are they ‘oppressed’? It’s a valid question, and one which Cory Gil-Shuster asked of Palestinians. The answers are pretty illuminating. They all say the suffer terribly. But when asked to give examples, all they can come up with is that there are delays in the their lives passing checkpoints. The checkpoints exist because of Palestinian terrorists murder aspirations. Here is the video:

    1. Interestingly, a number of “anti-imperialist”/”anti-war” types who shout about Israel responding to terrorists, actively defend Assad and Putin’s wholesale (hundreds of thousands) slaughter of innocent Muslim civilians. Worse still, they** will claim that those civilians were “terrorists” or “al Qaida” or “ISIS”, who gassed themselves in “staged chemical weapon attacks”, even though there is a mountain of evidence incriminating Assad and his forces.

      ** Max Blumenthal, Aaron Mate, Ben Norton, George G****way, Nathan Lean, Rania Khalek, et al.

      PS Yes, Palestinian people are oppressed – by Hamas.

      1. Underdogs in a conflict (see Hamas) or victims of an oppressive military dictatorship are not necessarily nice people themselves. The majority of the militant rebels in Syria were in fact Islamists. Al-Nusra had the largest following of all the groups even in 2012, and they explicitly saw themselves as a part of Al Qaidah. ( The rebel militias all fled or were evacuated to Idlib, just have a look at who has power there now (
        The Assad regime is a brutal military dictatorship, but the majority of the fighting rebels weren’t any better, just as many of the “Mujahedeen” the US supported in Afghanistan were no better than the Soviet-sponsored Najibulllah regime — look what happened once the Soviets were gone, an Islamist “Republic” that quickly drifted to internecine warfare between corrupt warlords like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (
        Also, the many thousands of bombs the US und its allies threw on Ar-Raqqah in Syria killed people just as cruelly as the bombs Assad threw on Aleppo. The US did not enter these conflicts because of humanitarian or heartfelt democracy-sponsoring reasons, but as part of a geopolitical conflict with Russia and between the US gulf allies and Iran.

        1. When I see a bunch of Blue Tick “journalists” suggesting the people of Raqqah somehow bombed or gassed themselves in “staged red flag” events, I will take your equivalence slightly more seriously than the utter disdain that I take it now.

          Assad (backed by Putin) is responsible for the vast majority of deaths in the Syrian Civil War, and is responsible for all of the chemical weapon attacks that have killed countless civilians. Apologists for Assad will always fall back on a number of tactics: whataboutery (wHatAboUt iRaQ); Islamophobia (conflate all the Muslims killed by Assad as all being terrorists); or conspiracy theories (the chemical weapons attacks were “staged”).

          As I said before, the “journalists” mentioned above are not “anti-war” or “anti-imperialist”. They are warmongers and apologists for mass murderers.

          Now jog on.

    2. “They all say the suffer terribly. But when asked to give examples, all they can come up with is that there are delays in the their lives passing checkpoints.”

      The “oppressed” hate to be asked to give examples of their oppression. In the US, when we ask nonwhite students at elite universities who complain of widespread racism to give examples, you get crickets.

      So rather than reevaluate these claims of racism, the radical left has made it taboo to even ask for examples…oppression is to be believed on faith alone!

  3. I am saddened by Yang caving in to his regressive supporters. I’d tweeted his statement supporting Israel on Monday. Not unsurprisingly, people who’d followed me for six years unfollowed. But I didn’t know he’d taken his support back until reading this post. I just read his pitiful retraction. Too bad. I realize he doesn’t want to be ostracized and lose as possible mayor of NY. But who will ever be able to stand up to the regressive left? I take great encouragement from seeing how Liz Cheney did the right thing despite her party. We need people like her in the Democratic Party.

    All things race, trans, and Palestine are so sacred no dissent is tolerated in the public sphere. I’m so sick of thinking about this and the culture wars.

    Yes, the world has gone antisemitic Corbyn!

    I’m glad we have a growing number of people willing to be part of institutions that oppose all these attacks on Enlightenment liberalism. That’s at least something and a better place to dwell.

    1. I agree. I’m a fan of Yang but this makes him look weak and indecisive. Surely he knew that he would get some flak from the radical left halfwits for his support of Israel, so it makes no sense for him to back down so quickly from what he must have known was coming.

      It would have been better to be silent on his support for Israel, then to offer it and withdraw it at the first sign of trouble.

    1. I am very late getting to weit today, but still wanted to thank you for bringing all of this to jerry’s attention malgorzata. I always trust and value your thoughts on these matters.

      1. Thank you. I’m just trying to follow the facts because I really dislike “narratives”

  4. Because there seems to be no end or even suggested conclusions to the Middle East problem we are reduced to covering the media and the internet for pro and con arguments. I do not know what doing this is suppose to accomplish but I think it is not good for the mental health of those who do it. Maybe it is because nothing else is available? Maybe it is the desire to say something for our side, I don’t really know. Going over the history both recent and long ago is also done a great deal but the other side never listens. I guess if something positive is ever going to take place most of the past must be left behind and some very smart people will have to work on today and tomorrow. If this cannot be done there is no chance for any peace.

    1. I don’t know. The fact that Israel is forging new alliances with Arab/Muslim countries recently is doing quite a bit toward ostracizing the Palestinian Authority, which really was freaking out – even talking about having – gulp – an election. This whole mess is their reflexive response – back to the good old violence and PR war. I think their time is slowly coming to an end. Most Palestinians do not like the PA, and see life under Israeli sovereignty as preferable.

      1. Maybe Israel going to new alliances with other countries is a good thing. The influence on the Palestinians from other Muslim area may be the only hope. It certainly seems better than what they have gotten from America. We have no credibility with anyone and frankly, have used up several bad ideas that went nowhere. Every leader thinks they are the real deal and come in to save the day. The last president was a joke in that area with everything he toughed including Israel.

        1. I am no fan of Trump, but I have to say that every thing he did re Israel was spot on the money, from my point of view.

  5. The Narrative (™) holds that all Hamas’s violence is the justified reaction to the original sin of Israel’s existence. That if Israel only withdrew to the 1967 borders, if only Israel abandoned settlements in the West Bank, if only Israel split Jerusalem in half, and so on and so forth, Hamas would cease launching rockets aimed at Israeli homes and schools.

    It’s a crappy and disingenuous narrative. As someone probably more in the middle than most people here, I’d still disagree with it. Here’s how I’d reformulate it:
    1. Hamas’ violence is not justified.
    2. Israel IMO *should* withdraw to the borders, because it is a powerful action and symbol in demonstrating their seriousness and willingness to implement a two-state solution (conversely, continuing such actions is a powerful action and symbol demonstrating they have little interest in a realistic two-state solution).
    3. Even if they were to withdraw to those borders, Hamas will still attack. This sucks, but honoring the borders is, IMO, still the right thing to do. Analogy: Russia, Syria, and NK has used chemical weapons in violation of the CWC. But this doesn’t and shouldn’t justify the US using them. Sometimes, the only way to make an accord stick over the long term is to maintain it in the face of an adversary’s violation of it in the short term. Such maintenance shows you’re serious about it, even in the face of disadvantage to you.
    4. Both groups would have to give up a lot of deeply held notions for peace. At this point, I see no willingness for either to give up what they need to give up, so I see no realistic path to a two-state solution or peace. This is not to imply full parity – Hamas are certainly the aggressors in terms of unjustified violence and Israel does nothing even comparable the attacks on civilians Hamas regularly carries out.. But it is to argue that there is parity in terms of political unwillingness to compromise on core issues (status of Jerusalem being a good example).

    1. The only flaw in this prescription is this: the Israelis can only achieve political parity with Hamas,
      Islamic Jihad, and the other Palestinian Arab militants by withdrawing from Israel en masse, and leaving the Middle East entirely. But wait, they (and Jews elsewhere) would still be guilty of refusing to accept
      Islam, and of being related to the Arabian Jews of the Banu Qurayza, whom the followers of Mohammed
      (PBUH) defeated and slaughtered in 627 AD. What powerful symbolic act could Jews undertake in order to mollify proponents of jihad who like to chant about the slaughter of the Banu Qurayza?

      At a lesser level of compromise with its opponents, Israeli governments under Barak and Olmert have offered 2-state solutions with Palestinian sovereignty over 91-95% of the disputed territories (including east Jerusalem), plus some further swapped land. The Palestine Authority turned these offers down.

      1. What you’re pointing out is that Hamas is unwilling to compromise on it’s core issues. I agree.

        Neither the Barak nor Olmert plans are examples of some well-accepted Israeli peace deal that was unilaterally turned down.

        In the case of Barak, he and Aarafat came up with some key notions during the Taba summit, which ended in a joint statement on 27 January 2001. Barak was then defeated in the Israeli election, by right-winger Ariel Sharon, on Feb 6, 2001…two weeks after the statement! Sharon immediately stopped all talks and declared any previous statements non-binding. So you want to claim the rejection of the Barak plan was all on the shoulders of the Palestinians?

        The Olmert plan didn’t have much of a longer lifespan in Israel. He proposed it in 2006, stopped forward movement on it in 2007, lost the election in 2009, and the Likud never took it up again. The plan had a 70% disapproval rating in Israel at the time Olmert was working on it.

        So I think your citations support rather than undermines my point that the Israelis in general are not particularly compromise-ready either. Yes they have had leaders who have suggested compromises. Then they vote those leaders out of office the first chance they get, before the plan can be implemented.

  6. “I just want to ask an honest question here. If you are in a fight where the other person cannot beat you, how much should you retaliate when they try to hurt you?”

    Enough to deter them from trying to hurt you, obviously.

    1. The problem is that that is not truly an honest question. The honest question would be “If your country was subject to more than 100 years of murderous terrorist attacks by an enemy which has no qualms about your annihilation and no intention of ever achieving peace with you, what would the proper response be if we look at the history of the world?”

  7. All of Trevor Noah’s anti-Semitic jokes surfaced when he was hired for The Daily Show. In his book, Born a Crime, he tells a story about his DJ’ing years. He had a dance group and one dancer was named Hitler. Noah claims none of them knew anything about WWII history, Hitler, or the Holocaust. Once, Noah and the dance crew performed at a Jewish school. Hitler danced along as DJ Noah shouted and cheered, “Go Hitler!” They were astonished by the shock and backlash from the teachers and students. Noah offers the story as just another funny anecdote about what happens when ignorance and cultures clash. Somehow he has become a political and social justice expert. I don’t fault him for his past ignorance that he can’t help and I don’t have an issue with his career as a comedian. I did buy and read his book. But, the man is an ignoramus on many political points. He is a public figure with a platform and his lack of knowledge is significant, particularly when he cluelessly spouts off on grave matters. I do not believe that he knows anything at all on the subject, and when he seems to know something I think he is being fed talking points by his writers. He should be called out. That’s my take.

  8. Netanyahu seems to be a poisonous individual who has ramped up the rhetoric in a similar way to Trump. I suppose it comes down to whether you think a state actor has a duty to try to calm thinks down or react to violence with redoubled violence.

    1. It would be interesting to see comparison of Netanyahu’s statements (could you give an example of a “poisonous” one?) with statements by Mahmoud Abbas, Mohammed Deif or Fathi Hammad (I hope the two latter names are familiar).

      1. Mahmoud Abbas: “The Al-Aqsa [Mosque] is ours, and they have no right to defile it with their filthy feet. We will not allow them to, and we will do everything in our power to protect Jerusalem.”

        Mohammed Deif: “We say to our enemies: you are going on the path to extinction (zawal), and Palestine will remain ours including Al-Quds (Jerusalem), Al-Aqsa (mosque), its towns and villages from the (Mediterranean) Sea to the (Jordan) River, from its North to its South. You have no right to even an inch of it.”

        Fathi Hammad: “A knife costs five shekels [about $1.50]. Buy a knife, sharpen it, put it there, and just cut off [their heads]. It costs just five shekels. With those five shekels, you will humiliate the Jewish state.”

        1. I agree with Dom about Netanyahu. The obvious fact fact that Ayatollah Khamenei (or Fathi Hammad) are worse is irrelevant. In any case, a discussion of Israel’s role in the conflict can help to understand it better. I am quite sure such a discussion wouldn’t weaken Israel’s position.

          1. Jeremy Bowen knows the conflict very well -

            But seriously, this is another one of those things that cannot be solved as extreme parties on both sides will not compromise. You can perhaps only solve these conflicts by either meeting someone half way, or one side or another being annihilated.

            “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent”

          2. Sheesh. It seems pretty relevant to me. I think this comment misses the point that Jerry is making in this post and other posts and for years, and that Malgorzata has tried to make repeatedly, recently and in the past. The fact that Abbas, Deif, Hammad are “worse” is the entire point. The call to discuss Israel’s role and for everyone to “understand it better” frankly I find it pretty frustrating, in light of the fact that this entire post is about those who “understand” the conflict.

            1. Matt Bowman, I just naively thought that Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself is self-evident, perhaps because I cannot care less about the pro-Palestinian propaganda. But now, when I am thinking about it, perhaps this propaganda needs further rebuttal… what do I know? In any case, I didn’t miss Jerry’s and Malgorzata’s point (with which I mostly agree) – I wanted to go beyond it.

  9. So to the statements quoted above by Matt Bowman (from the last days or at least – as with Abbas’ words – repeated in Palestinian TV almost daily) you want to compare what Netanyahu said 2019. And what, apparently, was deeply misunderstood.
    There are two types of states: nation state and state “of all its citizens”. In both all citizens have civil and political rights, but in “nation state” national rights (right to decide about the falg, national anthem, national holidays etc.) belong to the the national group whose state it is. Most European states are in this meaning “nation states”, while, for example, US Canada, Australia are “states of all citizens”. And this is the most “poisonous” statement by Netanyahu that you managed to find!
    In a situation when thousands of rockets are raining on the heads of your citizens (both Jews and Arabs) the responsible attitude it to try to stop this rain of rockets. And that’s exactly what Netanyahu is doing.

    1. I accept that those people Matt quotes said those things. I was not supporting them!

      Honestly I did not look very hard to find statements by Netanyahu. If you support him, fair enough. I am sure that is a justifiable position to take as you say. I thought he had sided with right wing ultra nationalists? Did he manage to convince a majority of voters in the recent elections in Israel that he was the right person. to lead? I thought it was a very close win depending on coalitions, but I cannot pretend to follow the politics there more than superficially.

      Is Netanyahu not on trial for corruption or did he get off?

      1. This is an article about ongoing violence with thousands of rockets fired at Israel. It’s not about Israel’s internal politics and I don’t see any reason to comment about Netanyahu. I took your comment as an subtle attempt to deflect the blame from the terror organizations, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and to direct it on a figure you dislike.

          1. A negative comment about Netanyahu doesn’t deflect the blame from Hamas! Comments about Netanyahu are relevant, but perhaps only for those who want to mention other aspects of the conflict, beyond those discussed by Jerry.

    2. I live in Germany. People who live here are either citizens or they are not. All citizens have the right to vote and be elected and thus decide on the flag, national anthem, national holidays,whatever. (In addition, with proportional representation, the system is much more democratic than in many countries which call themselves democracies.). Please explain why most European states are “nation states” and not “states of all citizens”.

      1. In Hungary Orban is trying to reimpose that idea of the state – & who are his international buddies?

      2. I live in Poland. The majority ethnic group are Poles. We have minorities (German, Ukrainian, Belorussian etc.) and every citizen has eqal civil and political right. But the official language is Polish, national anthem starts with “Yet is Poland not lost”, we have a “right of return” for people Polish whose ancestors emigrated from the country, we talk about “Polish Republic”. The same goes for many countries in Europe. It’s not stated in law but “selfevident” that no minority ethnic grup would be allowed to change any of this. That’s why I call them “nation states”

        1. I’m willing to concede that Poland (along with Hungary) is a right-wing outlier in modern Europe. But even in Poland where, as you say, all citizens have the right to vote, the national language could be changed via such a vote. It hasn‘t been, because the majority doesn‘t want it to be changed. That is called democracy. It has nothing to do with marginalizing citizens who are part of an ethnic minority.

          Your distinction makes no sense.

          And explain how the other countries you mentioned are different in this respect.

          1. I’m talking about reality. In almost every European state (Switzerland is a notable exception) there is one ethnic group which is in a majority and its language and culture are the language and culture of the state. As you know, multination states in Europe have a rather bad record (see Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia). In all these states ethnic minorities have the same civil and political rights as majority. The day an ethnic minority gains the majority it may (and probably will) change the national character of this state by changing the official language and culture. It will still be a nation state but another nation’s.

            1. OK, but now explain how that is different from the USA, Australia, and Canada. Yes, Canada has French as an official language as well as English, at least in parts, but for that matter Germany, the Netherlands, etc. have other languages which are official languages in parts.

              Certainly the USA, Australia, and Canada have one dominant ethnic group. There is no difference such as that you describe, neither legally nor in practice.

              Of course, the USA, Canada, and Australia are different from European countries because they have been heavily influenced by immigration from the UK in recent centuries, but that is neither here nor there.

              1. There is a huge and evident difference in history and culture because everybody is a (relatively) recent immigrant, even the ethnic group which is in a majority (for the moment).

  10. Gad, I hate even suggesting this, but would it be better for Israel to mainly use the iron dome to protect their citizens from rocket attacks without counter-striking for an extended time? Casualties on their side would be essentially the same (due to rockets getting through), and the only Palestinian casualties would be mainly from Palestinian rockets. There is more than one kind of war going on here, the other war being one of public opinion, and in this Israel is not doing well because of the inept media. This seems a ridiculous suggestion, I know.

    1. I think Israel is doing great. Too much importance is sometimes attached to what some extreme left or Arab media say about the conflict. Israel has wide support from many quarters, so there is no reason for Israel to stop responding to rocket attacks just to appease The Huffington Post or Al Jazeera. Whether the Israel’s military response is proportionate or not, and whether one of it’s goals is to appease the scared and angry population WITHIN Israel, is another matter. The Huffington Post and the Likud voters shouldn’t be a factor in decision-making during the war. Call me naive…

    2. The Palestinians cannot readily fire from hardened positions, or even use less easily concealed purpose built launchers, because they would quickly be destroyed. If that threat were taken away, we should expect them to escalate to barrages of katyusha rockets at a minimum, and probably some of the MLRS systems developed by the Iranians.

      We have discussed the fact that the Palestinian rockets are pretty ineffective militarily. Most of that is because they have to resort to improvised, disposable launch systems.

    3. From what I see, Israel is naming the key military actors that its strikes have targeted and killed, and these deaths have been acknowledged by Hamas etc. This strongly suggests that the Israeli attacks are based on reliable information and militarily justifiable. Civilian deaths are sadly inevitable, but not the aim of the attacks.

      The Israelis killed, on the other hand, have been almost exclusively civilians; the very small number of military personnel who have died have been low-level troops exposed to opportunistic attacks in the line of duty.

  11. I can’t believe that anybody would say what you just did: let them rain rockets on us and kill our citizens but we will offer no offense on our side. And you say this because of OPTICS!

    Do you think for a minute that the U.S. would tolerate this kind of behavior?

  12. Dear professor Coyne, in a previous post you said antisemitism is about denying Jewish people the right to self-defense. The Jewish physicist David Deutsch proposed the exact same explanation, and I think he will discuss it in his forthcoming book. You may be interested in reading his ideas.

  13. Thx for bringing this to our attention – from the media you’d think Israel was just hammering the Pals for no reason.
    This idiocy and violence in the “Holy Land” – brought to you by the largest open air mental hospital on earth.
    As Hitch said: “Religion poisons everything”.

    Yang puts his foot in his mouth sometimes, like Uncle Joe, but he’s a good chap and I’ll vote for him. NOT the “Squad” though. Especially Tlab. After Linda Damn Sasour (and Lynn Cheney) she’s the most toxic American.


    1. The most toxic American…hmmm that is one long list. Without much thought, I put Trump at the top, much higher on the toxicity scale than Sasour and even, cough, Cheney. Murdoch is worse, but not American…

        1. Yup, but currently living in the UK and got his Covid-19 vaccination free via the NHS, I believe…!

  14. But if the Israelis would simply surrender and consent to being driven into the sea, then Hamas wouldn’t have to kill Palestinian children by using them as human shields and by their crappy, frequently misfiring rockets. Obviously, the Israeli government is the sole villain in this sad story. I just don’t understand how anyone could not find this explanation convincing. 🙂 For real, though, it seems the biggest problem facing the Palestinian people is their own corrupt and uncaring leaders.

  15. I think the only solution is a two-state solution. A willingness to compromise on both sides. And when Palestine is created, all resources should be devoted to the reconstruction of that country, not to an endless war.

    Both sides of the conflict are at home, no one will be wiped off the map, no one will be pushed into the sea, so theoretically the only solution is dialogue.

    I think the world may one day wake up in a completely new reality.
    Then and only then will all the priorities on which we base our policy today be reevaluated.

    Sorry to find my comment a bit next to the main thread.

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