Category Archives: War

The Nation on Gaza

Standard

[No links in this post. Feel free to visit The Nation’s website if you are so inclined.]

I don’t read The Nation that much these days. What’s the point? The authors always provide a standard lefty perspective that is predictable to the point of boredom. But a good friend of my wife stops by on occasion to chat and she always drops off her old copies of the magazine (as well as the New Yorker, another magazine I find grating).

So, while I was in the restroom this morning, I happened upon The Nation’s Gaza extravaganza and there was plenty to get my bowels moving. First up was an editorial claiming:

Israel’s invasion of Gaza has dramatically worsened a grave humanitarian crisis and will benefit only those who always benefit from war. There is no military solution to what is fundamentally a political conflict.

My reply is, tell that to Hamas.They don’t seem to agree with you, Nation editors. Instead, the organization is ideologically dedicated to Israel’s destruction and the murder of Jews.  Why do these authors feel the need to project their own politics onto Hamas? Why don’t they take the time to understand Hamas in their own words?

Next was Alexander Cockburn’s “Beat the Devil” column. Cockburn is a knee-jerk anti-Zionist and his hatred of Jews has been well documented. One sentence of his article was especially relavent:

[I]f the elites are as solidly a part of the amen chorus as they have been down the decades, once you leave the corporate and political highways and get on the side roads of the Internet, the picture is changing.

Yes, on the cesspools of the Internet like Cockburn’s Counterpunch the picture is not so much changing as it is getting more shrill regarding the so-called “Holocaust” and “genocide” in Gaza.

By the time I got to Naomi Klein’s “Israel: Boycott, Divest, Sanction” (BDS for short) I got the picture loud and clear. Like most of the loony left, the pundits at The Nation place an extremely negative emphasis on Israel while denying the war crimes and other human rights violations of Hamas. Hamas is rarely, if ever, mentioned in any of these pieces. Instead, we have a narrative where Israel (and the United States) are to blame for all of Gaza’s ills, rather that the genocidal, totalitarian, and theocratic motivations of Israel’s enemies.

Zombietime: “Globalize the Intifada”

Standard

Zombietime provides a comprehensive roundup of peace anti-Jew rallies around the world:

On January 10, the war between Israel and Hamas became a global conflict. No longer confined to the Gaza Strip, the fighting spread to cities around the world: what were billed as “anti-war” demonstrations from Los Angeles to Copenhagen and beyond were in fact overtly pro-Hamas demonstrations, and on Saturday, January 10 there was a unprecedented eruption of violence and extremism in dozens of European and American cities, surpassing anything seen at anti-war rallies in recent years.

Read it all here.

Rabbis Bachman and Lerner on the Gaza Conflict

Standard

Rabbi Michael Lerner is a clown and does not need any more publicity, but did you read his article, “It Breaks My Heart to See Israel’s Stupidity” a little over a week ago? Here is a choice bit:

Israel’s attempt to wipe out Hamas is understandable, but stupid…

Killing 500 Palestinians and wounding 2,000 others (at the time of writing) is disproportionate. Hamas can harass, but it cannot pose any threat to the existence of Israel. And just as Hamas’s indiscriminate bombing of population centres is a crime against humanity, so is Israel’s killing of civilians (at least 130 so far in Gaza, not to mention the thousands in the years of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza).

Lerner received a lot of heat for that piece. Some of the more thoughtful critiques were provided by Eric Lee (Labourstart) and Ami Isseroff (ZioNation).

But you may have missed these posts by Rabbi Andy Bachman of Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn (and Brooklyn Jews). Rabbi Bachman was in Israel when the Gaza assault started. Like Lerner, he would probably describe his politics as progressive, but he is as far away from Lerner as you can get regarding his interpretations of this recent conflict.

Rabbi Bachman is not responding to Lerner directly in any of these posts but they really spoke to me. This post was, coincidentally, published the same day as Lerner’s op-ed (January 5):

As Israel’s incursion into the Gaza Strip moves well into its second week, most of us watch from the sidelines or a distance with a heavy, heavy heart over the loss of innocent life. No one deserves to die who has not brought death on to him or herself, least of all an innocent child.

So to be fundamentally clear: even those of us who support Israel’s efforts to break Hamas and seriously damage its ability to torment Israeli towns with terror mourn loss of every innocent life and grieve with those families. In addition, our hearts go out to those terrified by bombs dropping in homes, on streets, in mosques.

But Israel’s war, I believe, is a just war.

When Israel pulled out of Gaza, tearing deeply at the fabric of its own society to uproot families there (a disengagement I strongly favored and still do) the entire world was able to see if it chose to look that Israel was willing to risk the unity of the nation to take fundamental steps toward peace. The Hamas leadership took the exact opposite steps, took no risk, brutally murdered its own in waging violent and bloody civil war with the Palestinian Authority, and continued on its self-destructive path of trying to wage existential war against Israel. Never has it seriously addressed Israel’s justified existence; never has it accepted Israel’s RIGHT to exist; and never has it seriously sought to make peace. Rather, it has embarked on a hundred years plan, to wear down the psyche of the Israeli population with terror, kidnapping, and the selling of a religio-fundamentalist viewpoint that completely de-legitimizes any Jewish claim to the land.

It’s truly depressing.

You have leaders who deny that a Temple ever stood in Jerusalem–archaeological and historical evidence to the contrary; you have posters at rallies all over Europe, the US and the Arab world saying, “Palestine from the River to the Sea,” the implication being, of course, that in the final analysis, Israel will be an historical footnote, soon to be no more.

[read it all here]

I also recommend reading “Adapt and Live” and “Just the Nasty Business“.

Boot Vs. Bolton

Standard

No, not exactly. Just a juxtaposition of their views regarding Israel’s struggle against Hamas and possible solutions. Starting with Max Boot,

The Wall Street Journal today runs my article on the prospects for the Israeli invasion of Gaza. To sum up, I basically think that Israel has no choice but to strike back against Hamas, but it also has scant chances of eliminating Hamas or winning lasting peace. Hence the headline: “Israel’s Tragic Gaza Dilemma.” A year ago, in another Journal article I compared the Arab-Israeli conflict to the Anglo-Scottish conflict which ran for almost 450 years (1296-1745).

I hope I am not being too gloomy here. I realize my perspective runs counter to the typical American attitude that there is no problem in the world without a “solution.” Yet all attempts to “solve” the Israeli-Arab dispute have made, at best, limited progress–for instance with the cold peace that prevails between Israel and Egypt and Jordan. Notwithstanding those peace accords, which are deeply unpopular with the people of Egypt and Jordan, there is little reason to think that the Arabs as a whole, and the Palestinians in particular, have accommodated themselves to Israel’s right to exist. The more common view seems to be that, yes, perhaps Israel will exist for a few more decades, maybe a century or two, but eventually it will be wiped out just as were the Crusader kingdoms established by Europeans in the Holy Land during the Middle Ages.

Given this reality, Israelis have no choice but to get on with their lives as best they can while recognizing they will have to fight a constant, low-intensity struggle against groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. The real risk for Israel is not fighting these types of wars; it is the risk of complete annihilation which is raised by Iran’s development of nuclear weapons.

John Bolton disagrees:

[W]e should ask why we still advocate the “two-state solution,” with Israel and “Palestine” living side by side in peace, as the mantra goes. We are obviously not progressing, and are probably going backward. We continue poring over the Middle East “road map” because that is all we have, faute de mieux, as they say in Foggy Bottom.

The logic to this position is long past its expiration date. Unfortunately, it is hard to imagine a new approach that the key players would receive enthusiastically. If the way out were obvious, after all, it would already have been suggested. So consider the following, unpopular and difficult to implement though it may be:

Let’s start by recognizing that trying to create a Palestinian Authority from the old PLO has failed and that any two-state solution based on the PA is stillborn. Hamas has killed the idea, and even the Holy Land is good for only one resurrection. Instead, we should look to a “three-state” approach, where Gaza is returned to Egyptian control and the West Bank in some configuration reverts to Jordanian sovereignty. Among many anomalies, today’s conflict lies within the boundaries of three states nominally at peace. Having the two Arab states re-extend their prior political authority is an authentic way to extend the zone of peace and, more important, build on governments that are providing peace and stability in their own countries. “International observers” or the like cannot come close to what is necessary; we need real states with real security forces.

I sympathize with Bolton’s perspective but is it politically possible? I doubt it. Neither Egypt or Jordan seems likely to agree, or the Palestinians. Why would they? Given this dynamic, Boot’s “gloomy” analysis may be the best Israel can hope for, especially in the short to medium term.

IDF Enters Gaza

Standard

Israeli ground forces have entered Gaza after a week of aerial and naval strikes and hours of artillery fire. Leaflets dropped on Gaza claimed:

Area resident, as result of the acts undertaken by terror activists in your area against Israel, the IDF is forced to respond immediately and operate in this area. For your own safety, you are asked to leave the area immediately.

The stated objective is stopping the rockets launched by Hamas, destroying the terrorist infrastructure and eliminating the organizations’ leadership. The end-game is unclear. Does the Israeli leadership have the political will and public support to decisively defeat Hamas or will this end in another symbolic cease-fire?

The following is from YNet:

Israel Defense Forces ground troops entered the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday evening, as the army launched its long anticipated ground operation.

An officer and a soldier were seriously wounded during the night-time fighting against Palestinian gunmen. They were evacuated to the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer. Eighteen other soldiers sustained light to moderate wounds.

Eleven of the injured troops were evacuated to the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba for treatment.

Army officials confirmed that dozens of terrorists were hurt in clashes with IDF ground troops, saying some of them were killed. In several cases, armed terrorists approached Israeli forces and were shot at by ground troops and IDF gunships. There are no reports of Israeli casualties at this time.

Large IDF ground forces, including Armored and Engineering corps units, as well as infantry soldiers are currently operating in the Beit Lahiya and Beit Hanoun areas, from which rockets have been launched toward Israel.

The army is preparing to enter the third phase of the operation, which is expected to be much broader in scope. In this framework tens of thousands of reserve soldiers will be heading to training bases in north and south Israel during the early hours of Sunday morning.

The reserve soldiers may take part in the third phase of the operation or be deployed in central and northern Israel in case of escalation on those fronts.

H/t to Noah Pollak (Contentions) for this list of Israeli live-bloggers and links:

Our Israeli friends Carl in Jerusalem, Aussie Dave, and The Muqata are live-blogging the ground war. And don’t miss a couple of excellent analyses: Israel’s Gaza Strategy by Martin Kramer, and On The Ground in Gaza by Barry Rubin.

Coverage by Z Word here.

MORE:

These videos from the IDF’s Youtube channel show what Israel is facing including, mortars launched from UN schools and weapons caches hidden in mosques. They should also make apparent that, as opposed to what protesters are shrieking in the streets, Israel is not targeting civilians.

In fact, as Bill Roggio (Long War Journal) notes:

The Israeli strikes are remarkably accurate and are causing a relatively low degree of civilian deaths despite airstrikes being launched in built-up, urban areas.

Compare this with Hamas rocket and mortar attacks, or previous suicide attacks when the Palestinians terror groups could pull these off inside Israel. Hamas and others have clearly targeted civilians; the attacks are aimed at civilians in the heart of cities and villages. Yet the reporting invariably hints that the Israeli attacks are indiscriminate while the Palestinian attacks are a response to Israeli aggression and part of the “cycle of violence.”

Engage: Gaza Round Up

Standard

Another Gaza round up, this time from Engage. If you have not peeped their new site, go have look:

Jeff Weintraub here.

Iranian Jews demonstrate their ‘loyalty’ to the regime, here.

Ben Cohen here and here and here.

Michele Sieff, here and here.

Eamonn McDonagh here and here.

David Aaronovitch here.

Alex Stein here.

Michael Weiss here.

David Grossman here.

Gene, Harry’s Place here.

Adam LeBor here.

Eric Lee here.

More on Operation Cast Lead

Standard

Round up from around the web:

Ben Cohen (ZWord): Gaza and ANSWER

Contentious Centrist: Loads of posts here, here, here and here.

Elder of Ziyon: Protests don’t reflect reality and Why would Israel bomb a university? Here’s Why!

Terry Glavin: The Debasement of Language: “Israeli Genocide”

Jeffrey Goldberg (The Atlantic): A Fatah Friend Writes: I’m Supporting the Israeli Air Force

Yossi Klein Halevi (TNR): Why Gaza Matters

Eric Lee (Labourstart): The Left, Israel and “Holocaust” in Gaza

Noah Pollak (Contentions): The Cycle of Cease-Fires

Michael Totten: What Would a Proportionate Response Look Like?

Random Thoughts: Gaza Round Up 3.5

Sultan Knish: The Gaza Picture Show and The Terrorists are Always the Victim

Much more at ZWord.